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Is the evolution of our technology and medicine leading to de-evolution ?

  1. Apr 30, 2010 #1
    Is the evolution of our technology and medicine leading to "de-evolution"?

    First off, I have a very limited biology background, so I apologize now. Secondly, it's hard to show emotion through typing; what I'm saying in not meant to be derogatory or offensive to anyone.


    Survival of the fittest slowly changes the genetic coding of the species at large, tweaking it here and there to constantly make it better adapted. In our human world today, people can wear glasses and contacts to correct vision, makeup and fancy clothes to correct appearances, get surgery to correct physical defects, and many other things like that thanks to the advances of medicine and technology. However, no part of their genetic code is changed. Why would the code need to be changed to correct vision if it thinks that it is perfectly fine [due to the superficial glasses]. This concept can be applied to all of the above, as well as many other examples...why does nature need to correct anything, and even more importantly, how does nature know that there is a problem if the person is able to live a normal life? In earlier times and in the uncivilized areas of other animals, plants, microbes, etc., these physically inferior individuals would die early or not mate. But in our society they can live a normal life, and pass their genes onto the next generation.

    I guess my question is this...are the advances in technology and medicine going to ultimately reverse the evolution of the human species? Will we eventually reach a plateau where our physical bodies have declined to the point that only our technology keeps us alive? And if that's not a valid question because if involves so much guesswork about the future, here's my basic question: are we inhibiting our evolution by superficially covering our flaws?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2010 #2
    Re: Is the evolution of our technology and medicine leading to "de-evolution"?

    Well for starters, there's no such thing as 'de-evolution' or 'backwards-evolution'. Evolution is a one way street and that's forward.

    Your post leads me to assume you think that evolution means 'naturally better in all ways'. This isn't exactly true:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

    Now then to address your question from my opinion I would look at advancements in technology and medicine as a possible cause for further evolution. We live longer and with less problems(more comfortably) than our ancestors had.

    It doesn't matter if a blind/deaf man 10,000 years ago wouldn't have mated limiting the possibility of him passing on his genes. If we can fix peoples vision and hearing at somepoint then there probably will not be any reason to select against those genes and they will be passed along. Is this good or bad? Mostly good... as I said comparing our lives to our ancestors this is clear. If however we suddenly got sent back to the stoneage it may be bad... but I'm 100% sure it wouldn't be the end of humans. We would probably go back to selecting against that blind/deaf man and their genes would be shoved to the sideline again.
     
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