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Peak of our Evolution

  1. Jul 4, 2010 #1
    Do you guys think we reached the peak of our evolution? Is there any higher advanced form we can evolve into as time passes, or are we really at our peak?

    Natural selection doesn't appear to take place for humans anymore, since the average human isn't being weeded out by some physical defect.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2010 #2
    I don't think so. I cannot even accept that there will be a peak in evolution. Evolution is a slow gradual process, so I don't know the next step. My wish is that humans should soon overcome natural death by some means. Science should help geniuses for example Einstein (this is my personal view) to live longer and longer (eternally if they wish) who can unlock the mysteries of nature.
    Until now, we are loosing great minds since death overtakes them before they accomplish their dreams, and we are waiting for centuries till a next great mind arrives. (Some one may say this is the way it should work, but I can't accept)
     
  4. Jul 4, 2010 #3
    In the industrialized countries natural selection of the original type still takes place in the form of the occaisonal snakebite or slip off a cliff. But for the most part, the nature of selection has changed.

    The most successful "species" of people are the poor who reproduce quickly and efficiently with material support from the self sufficient. There is economic mobility but almost no class mobility. If this situation persists, and people aren't allowed to suffer negative reproductive consequences to unproductive behaviors, then eventually this may get set into the genetics. A few hundred more years of inverted selection will lead to an unstable society like an inverted pyramid where lots of people with very little chance of surviving on their own will depend on a very few for everything.

    A mass die-off or a massive permanent underclass are the only possibilities. The way to avoid it is to let stupid people suffer the grave consequences of their stupidity and not pass it on to future generations.
     
  5. Jul 4, 2010 #4
    Evolution doesn't have peaks or troughs, except in terms of magnitude of sustained mutations. Evolution isn't necessarily about progress, just change, and as we are still changing in small ways ("pinkie" fingers shrinking) we're not done.
     
  6. Jul 4, 2010 #5
    Everything is constantly evolving. We adapt and change to suit the environment. There can be no peak, because the 'ideal' will only exist at that time.
     
  7. Jul 4, 2010 #6
    Humans are on the cusp of a new paradigm of evolution, where our own manipulations/modifications of our genome will quickly take us off onto infinite branches. Also mechanical enhancements and symbiotic implants will be a part of this new self guided evolution.

    The evolutionary retards that find diversity so impossible to live with now will have even more to whine and grumble about.

    If there is a way to speed up the evolution of compassion and empathy over self interest in the majority of peoples, quality of life for the world population and production could reach a point where very few people will need to work as we now understand it. This will probably take much longer than the perfecting of cyborgs...:smile:
     
  8. Jul 23, 2010 #7
    We might be on the edge of a totally new direction in evolution, and perhaps have human assisted development of new species, maybe even the superior of ourselves (a humanoid partly biological, partly mechanical/electronical being).
     
  9. Jul 23, 2010 #8
    That seems like a simplification of what Quantum-lept posted directly above you days ago.
     
  10. Jul 23, 2010 #9
    This is a persistent idea – that humanity is no longer evolving because of our ability to control our environment. It is of course, complete nonsense. Here is an excellent example of evolution that is taking place in humanity right now:

    Written into human DNA is the story of many of our past battles with various devastating diseases that cut through huge swathes of the human population at various points in history. Perhaps humanity’s greatest active battle is with malaria. Sickle red blood cells is a phenomenon that has developed through all populations of malarial areas in the world. It has been shown to be a very specific counter to the threat of malaria.

    Who knows what stories future human DNA will tell of our battle with the HIV virus?
     
  11. Jul 29, 2010 #10
    Dead right. My only reservation is about the expression "small ways". As far as I can tell, some of our current evolution is unusually fast. However the very concept of evolutionary "progress" or "superiority" is very difficult to define at best, and as such terms usually are used, they generally are misleading or even meaningless.
    What Ken says helps put this matter in a proper perspective. The very idea of a "peak" is not definable, because evolutionary adaptation is a contingent thing. It depends, not on what one is in isolation, but how one fits in with the environment, animate and inanimate, and that environment keeps changing. That has been relevant to some of the major extinctions in the past, where for sometimes hundreds of millions of years evolution had been following particular lines of development, and then endogenous and exogenous changes upset the apple cart drastically.
    We might be one of our own fatal changes. Maybe the major one.
    Just to cheer everyone up!
    Jon
     
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