Register to reply

Is de-evolution taking place?

by maximus
Tags: deevolution
Share this thread:
BoulderHead
#19
Jun5-03, 01:09 PM
P: n/a
The evolutionary question is...will that hurt or help our species in the long run? Seems our current track is set on intelligence and culture, not physical health (although that is still a major factor in sexual selection of course).
I think you make some really good points.
Didn't the 'Hitler group' among others believe it was harmful to the human race to allow such things to continue?
Yet, it's not like we really 'know' where evolution is 'supposed' to be taking us, is it? If millions of years of breeding produced the couch-potato, then maybe that's what the whole darn thing was about in the first place, haha.

Are we not somewhat rudderless in the direction of evolutionary changes, with some groups simply claiming "it ought to be this way..."?

I think it would be facinating to see if humans actually evolve and end up losing their toes or earlobes. Sometimes I don't know which I'd like to know more; where did mankind come from, or where will mankind end up.
maximus
#20
Jun5-03, 08:40 PM
P: 487
alright! that you for the feedback! (even if much of it was repeatative)



but now let me elaborate on my original idea using some ideas i posted in another thread:
if we do not believe that we are 'de-evolving' (by which i mean gaining more non-benifical [to humans, not the evolutionary process!!!! let's get that clear!] than benificial ones, than might we agree that in our society there is potencially less benificial traits than there would be in a enviornmentally stressed society. as we all know, in a stressed enviornmemt, such as microscopic activities) many mutations become more noticable than they would in a relaxed enviornment like ours where your survival doesn't hang in the balance. i'm not saying that more mutations occur (unless the enviornment is near a nuclear power plant!), but only that a benifical trait might become quickly noticable and its effects more helpful. i do consider many of your posts saying that sexual traits have the most sway in this enviornment but there still are others.

any input?

p.s.= i am allowed to deffer my own thread, aren't i?
Phobos
#21
Jun7-03, 03:09 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 2,020
Originally posted by BoulderHead
Yet, it's not like we really 'know' where evolution is 'supposed' to be taking us, is it? If millions of years of breeding produced the couch-potato, then maybe that's what the whole darn thing was about in the first place, haha.

Are we not somewhat rudderless in the direction of evolutionary changes, with some groups simply claiming "it ought to be this way..."?

I think it would be facinating to see if humans actually evolve and end up losing their toes or earlobes. Sometimes I don't know which I'd like to know more; where did mankind come from, or where will mankind end up.
Yeah, we need to watch out for falling into the easy trap of thinking of evolution as a ladder or path instead of a bush of variation. There was no certain path leading our way and there is no certain path ahead of us. Even "us" represents a wide variety of characteristics within our single species (we are not one uniform organism heading down one uniform path).

I'm currently reading Gould's Full House, which speaks to this.
Phobos
#22
Jun7-03, 03:19 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 2,020
Originally posted by maximus
if we do not believe that we are 'de-evolving' (by which i mean gaining more non-benifical [to humans, not the evolutionary process!!!! let's get that clear!] than benificial ones, than might we agree that in our society there is potencially less benificial traits than there would be in a enviornmentally stressed society. as we all know, in a stressed enviornmemt, such as microscopic activities) many mutations become more noticable than they would in a relaxed enviornment like ours where your survival doesn't hang in the balance. i'm not saying that more mutations occur (unless the enviornment is near a nuclear power plant!), but only that a benifical trait might become quickly noticable and its effects more helpful. i do consider many of your posts saying that sexual traits have the most sway in this enviornment but there still are others.

any input?
(1) I seem to recall reading that some bacteria do increase mutation rates in stressed environments (DNA-repair mechanisms are relaxed in a pitch to survive the stressor).
(2) Your idea may play into 'punctuated equilibrium' where variation over time is small until some big event kicks in and locks onto a certain variation.
(3) Reading the "Beak of Finch", they show examples if how a species population has traits which can bounce back and forth (small evolution from year to year due to climate/ecosystem variations). Presumably, this may offer some flexibility to be ready for a change due to some stressed time.

more later...
Another God
#23
Jun10-03, 05:02 AM
Emeritus
PF Gold
Another God's Avatar
P: 1,026
I am surprised that this only started to be touched on in the last couple of posts by Phobos. This, to me, is the most beautiful aspect of Evolution, and it is probably amongst the least understood... The way that single species numerate, out compete many other species, then end up being the focal point for the forking of all future species....

Idealistically, every creature on earth would have its own personalised niche. Within that niche that creature would live its life, competing with its predators and its prey for survival, evolving 'improvements' to keep itself competitive, but maintaining that one niche lifestyle.
But what happens when it 'improves' too far? Well it escapes all of its predators, and numerates too far, and quickly eats all of its prey, causing famine, and wipes out 99% of its own species by being over-succesful. Hahaha..I love nature. Tall poppy syndrome. Anyway....What 1% survive? The 1% which didn't 'improve' down the path that the species had taken, but instead ..i dunno, been lazy creatures which were slow stupid creatures which ate half as much...

Or perhaps, the 1% that survived, were the 1% which had stopped eating that prey....the 1% which had started to move out of its niche, into another niche?

Look at humans. What are we doing? Do we have a niche? No, we don't...we are TOO damn succesful. We are still on the succesful side of the hill, and ironically, we are SO DAMN SUCCESFUL, that we are not going to just 1. Kill all of our prey, and 2. Cause the death of all of our predators, but we are going to move out into all other niches which are similar to the one we originated from, and we are going to kill everything in them too. Just because we are super succesful, and we need to do it to prolong our success.

Whats going to happen? Well, eventually, we will run out of niches to keep the supply of food etc up, and we will hit hardship. Who survives then? Will it be the 'optimum' design for humanity? NO...humanity will have already had its time in the sun. What happens after an event like this (the overarching success of an inter-nicheal organism), is that the broadly skilled, all round succesful organisms will die out as the single minded, single skilled organisms out compete them on all fronts.

This is how evolution works. In times of success, it builds up a huge pool of variety..HUGE pool, with samples of everything in it... all kinds of phenotypes, everything imaginable, and some unimaginable, and it continues to produce this variety, because it can... and then one day...the success stops working. And it is at this time that the variety produced becomes important. The odd organism here and there which just happens to be well suited to the new environment, will succeed. Not because it is perfect for "THE ENVIRONMENT" as a whole...but because it can slip into one niche which may not have been used before....

But the important thing to remember is: It is during the times of success, that the evolutionary freedom to produce all sorts of unlikely phenotypes occurs.

These 'otherwise unfit' organisms, are the potential candidates for future branches of this evolutionary bush.
Another God
#24
Jun10-03, 05:04 AM
Emeritus
PF Gold
Another God's Avatar
P: 1,026
sorry about the long ramble..this is just a topic which I love delving into.

It's my precious...
maximus
#25
Jun10-03, 12:23 PM
P: 487
well, i'm glad some people are finally seeing me eye to eye on this. and i very much share your intrest in this feild of study, Another, and appresiate the long post. ---Gollum!---Gollum!--- (whew, excuse me!)
Sting
#26
Jun10-03, 02:04 PM
P: 228
I think I've seen "de-evolution" in two places. One place was my high school graduation and the other was my introductory calculus class where people just stopped using their brains and allowed a TI-89 to do EVERYTHING for them. Soon they forgot how to factor.
Phobos
#27
Jun10-03, 09:52 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 2,020
A.G. -
Reminds me of typical "Monod Kinetics" graph for new populations...slow start, then rapid/exponential growth, then plateau, then die-off. Seems we're in the rapid growth phase now...maybe toward the end (isn't the population projection to level off within the next century?). Hopefully we can sustain a long plateau (and maybe a new growth phase if we colonize other planets ).
Another God
#28
Jun11-03, 04:33 AM
Emeritus
PF Gold
Another God's Avatar
P: 1,026
There's the cool thing about us Humans, which may make us so much more exceptional than any other species so far to have existed. We are the only species to continually stave off that unavoidable, inevitable plateau.

We have hit it in the past, and I guess you could say we still hit it today in local cases, but we have always been able to remove it, and continue growing through one thing or another.

Whether it be improved farming techniques, expansion, better technology leading to better transport of food to remote areas...alteration of food substances (genetic engineering...)...interplanetary travel... We just keep staving off the inevitable.

Its sorta cool.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Difference between Identical , Equal , Equivalent Calculus & Beyond Homework 9
Can evolution theory work from a plan over generations ? Biology 18
The jury is still out on evolution Social Sciences 101
Group reading/discussion of A Place for Consciousness General Discussion 28