Has technology made humans weaker?

  1. i'm going to say yes

    yes because i notice i've been drinking tap water since i was a kid and even though its not fully treated or clean at all my body overtime can take it

    while i notice ppl who only drink 100% pure clean bottled or treated water, for eg. my aunt who visited from overseas, when she drank tap water she was sick the follow day

    idk if thats some form of evolution like how we adapt to our surroundings and but i think technology is making us weaker as a race

    when the power cuts off thats the end of us

    whats your thoughts
  2. jcsd
  3. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    Electricity is a big deal for people who always stay indoors.Anyway,Pure water is much healthier.My doctor recommended me to drink it.(Our immune system can adapt to different environments)
    Technology can also make us stronger.(Think of the benefits it give to weaker and older people)
  4. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    In "pre-technology" times at least a third of people would die from infections, of those remaining many would have lifelong conditions that massively inhibit their health, others will be crippled from broken bones that never set properly, people would have missing teeth, pox scars and likely parasites. So no, I don't think technology has made us weaker.

    There is an argument known as the hygiene hypothesis which states that due to our high levels of cleanliness some people's immune systems aren't developing correctly leading to increased allergies. But I'd take a world of increased (treatable!) allergies over widespread death from disease any day.
  5. I believe technology has made survivors weaker. Consider an average male today from an average American city and one back several hundred years ago. In my opinion, our earlier male could out-work, out-hunt, out-fight, and probably out-sex our contemporary one. And the reason I believe this is that there were greater selective pressures prior to modern times, the cutting edge much sharper then it is today; if you weren't strong you didn't survive. That strengthened the gene pool providing a healthy, fit, reproducing population. Today, both technology and American overly-compassionate laws contribute to saving everyone, including the weak ones and this influx of weak traits into the gene pool results in an overall weaker population.
  6. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    How did the ability to hunt and fight make previous generations of Americans more successful in terms of reproduction? Do you know of any reason to think why historically an American man who was worse at fighting and hunting wouldn't reproduce as much as any other? And what on earth does out-sex mean :confused: as for work do you have any evidence that working hours relate at all to reproduction?

    You've made these mistakes before jackmell attributing selective pressure to specific traits without any evidence that they are under selection in the circumstances you describe.

    See above: there's little reason to think that any of those traits would lead to greater reproduction even in the times you think. I don't have much time today to respond but I'm sure others can point out the flaws in your pseudo-eugenic ideology.
  7. Dang it guys. This thread was in general discussion when I made my comments and so I felt I could express my honest opinion without the more rigorous requirements of evidence required in this forum. Had this thread first appeared here I likely would have said nothing as I fully realize how controversial my comments are and I too do not have the time to research and cite references.

    With this in mind I hereby withdraw my comments.
  8. adjacent

    adjacent 1,540
    Gold Member

    This problem could be solved by posting more general comments,comments on which everyone agree.
  9. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    That doesn't mean she's weaker. We just have different organisms here in America than they do overseas. Heck, you can go from one coast to the other and have the same thing happen. If anything, people are exposed to a much wider range of disease organisms today than they were in the past thanks to vastly increased travel and introduction of non-native organisms. Your immune system can adapt to fight new diseases, but you're usually going to get a little sick first.

    That has nothing to do with evolution and everything to do with how our society is set up and dependent on technology for food, water, and other goods.
  10. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,824
    Science Advisor

    I would argue that the improvements in human health and nutrition due to modern medicine and modern agriculture have vastly improved the overall "strength" of the human population, outweighing any potential evolutionary loss of fitness from relaxed selection pressures. For example, how many Olympic records are from the past few Olympics games and how many are from back when the events started?
  11. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,483
    Gold Member

    I agree with the general sentiment that technology has made humans, overall, stronger. However, in specific domains, you may argue it has made us weaker. For instance, it's very easy to survive a sedentary lifestyle nowadays, which makes individuals literally weaker (less muscle mass, possibly more fat). Furthermore, we can exploit the positive subjective aspects of foods (like sugars and fats) that are not necessarily healthy for us through food manufacturing. One might also recognize how dependent younger minds are on technology as a memory and processing device since they store everything on their mobile phone, email, and the cloud in general (there's been a couple studies hitting on this point). Math and science students no longer have to grind out tedious calculations that their computer can do (then again, you have to learn how to use the software, so there's a trade-off there).
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  12. Well, one thing's for sure. Technology has certainly greatly increased the ranges of variation in people's physical attributes. :tongue:
  13. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    Evolution is negligible on the timescale of a few generations, and not really game-changing over a few thousand years. If you could "get" a baby from ancient Greece/Rome in our modern world (and let it grow here), I doubt you would see a difference.

    With our technology, we are certainly stronger. We can move faster and longer, we can lift heavier objects, make better tools, .... in nearly every category we win against humans from the stone age. We are worse in throwing spears, but who needs spears if you can have a gun?
    Without our technology... well why do you want to compare that?
  14. Depends, on what aspect of weak people are talking about. Biologically yes, especially when it come to health. Sometimes the medical community gets so worked up about developing new technology to make things 99.9999% sterile.Such as developing the latest soaps and hand sanitizer to make our homes and hospitals sterile.Which is a good thing... we are less likely to get sick from infection and hey,clean medicals supplies!However, our bodies are also less likely to adapt to certain bacteria and needs more energy to fight them off when we do fall ill. On top of that it can cause bacteria strains to adapt to the sterile environment and we risk getting sick by these super bugs,but I hope that's not likely going to happen in the near future.:/
  15. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,824
    Science Advisor

    At the same time, because of technology large proportions of our populations are now immune to many of the viral diseases that once contributed significantly to childhood mortality rates. Indeed, vaccination has eliminated or is close to eliminating some of these diseases. This is a clear example of technology enhancing our biological health.
  16. I have to say, I notice people often assume that if we lost power or our technological toys for some reason, that the human race would be finished. I don't think that's true. If you look at human history, we have had perpetual obstacles thrown against us left and right, and we've managed to survive them all. If we lost electricity all of sudden, we would adapt.
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