What is the goal of human evolution

  1. This might be a bit off topic, but im curious about cycles of evolution. What is the goal of human evolution and how does the process happen in sync to the enviornment?

    My thoughts:
    Wouldnt the evolution goal be control? Meaning control by having the forces of the universe bend to you and control over any species.. such methoids like.. indoctrination or.. etc..
     
  2. jcsd
  3. phinds

    phinds 8,342
    Gold Member

    Evolution does not have a goal other that better opportunities for procreation of each species. Why do you think it would/should have a goal other than that?

    Control? Really ???
     
  4. D H

    Staff: Mentor

    Evolution is a mindless process. It has no goals.
     
  5. Yes besides the mindless part of it, i mean engineering evolution to have a goal.. is there research in the field?

    Edit:
    And yes, control.. think about it.. bio/chem tools to control would give the greatest edge/advantage.. dont u think?
     
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    If you are asking about genetic modification, that is not evolution. Also, we don't allow text speak here, please type out all words.
     
  7. Sorry im on my phone as my computer is faulted. Im talking about the possibility of engineering evolutionary protocols to focus on such thigs or be specific.. is that possible or is there any current research i could see in the field?
     
  8. phinds

    phinds 8,342
    Gold Member

    That is COMPLETELY not what your original question asked. Please be more precise in your questions to keep discussions from going off the rails.
     
  9. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Are you asking how evolutionary principles can be applied to solve problems? If so look no further than selective breeding, a practice that has been in place for tens of thousands of years and has given rise to all manner of plants and animals that humans regularly come in contact with.
     
  10. Ok let me restate, sorry I was unclear at first.

    Ill state the general topic first then ask some questions. Actually I will an example of what im thinking so i dont confuse myself or you guys anymore.

    So without having to selective breeding, is it possible to engineer the evolutionary process to develop lets say.. the ability to set up a connection with another life form (.. like quantum neural entaglement (meaning a connection with a lesser brain of some sort (cat lets say))) and control it. However as time progresses and lets say... An alien (just for example i know its a bit extreme haha) who might be more intelligent then us, or there brain/systems are superior. Then our engineered evolution protocol adapts for us to be able to over come such obsticle and advance the control function we have.. thats just an example, now..

    My question.. so what feild or research would i be able to find such studies if even being conducted, or would this even be an evolutionary function?

    So key things on the protocol im looking for:
    - advance key functions and/or add new features/senses/etc.. due to enviorment change
    - potential for this to occur in a very fast pace, and real time situation.. or the fastest such changes could be made.

    Let me know what you guys think, thanks.
     
  11. Are you talking about some kind of evolutionary Vulcan mind meld?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65dzjOIkwwI

    I don't know what you'd expect to get from that. Symbiosis between and among species tends to encourage the continuing survival of each participant species through their specialization to a specific niche. One example, say, being protozoans that live inside termites and help them digest wood. Rarely do you get two species who's symbiosis tends to potentiate each other into some superintellectual organism, as seems to be what you are looking for. Maybe some others can think of an example of such a case in nature, but I cannot off-hand.
     
  12. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,534
    Science Advisor

    I think the term you may be looking for is directed evolution. In these types of experiments, researchers will engineer a specific trait into a biomolecule or organism by placing that molecule or organism into an environment where that trait would confer a selective advantage, then let evolution do the work. Although the examples you give are quite far fetched, researchers have used directed evolution for a variety of bioengineering goals. For example, researchers have replaced one of the four bases in a bacterium with an artificial base, engineered enzymes that can replicate synthetic genetic materials that look very different from DNA, and created organisms that use amino acids not found in nature, to name a few examples.
     
  13. Thank you thats what i was looking for
     
  14. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Aside from the fact that quantum entanglement cannot be used for communication the answer is no, there is no conceivable way to engineer telepathy or whatever it exactly is you mean.

    All of your questions seem to boil down to human enhancement of which directed evolution could be a part along side genetic engineering and other speculative technologies. This is not however current science and thus there isn't anything more to say about it unless you have questions about specific things you have read.
     
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  15. When we will know much more about genetics than what we do now, it is conceivable (I did not say likely) that it will be possible to create 'superhumans' with enhanced or new abilities. For sure not things like quantum entanglement control or telepathy, but in principle traits which occur naturally in other animals or humans, why not?
    For example cetaceans can dive into water for a very long time because their variant of hemoglobin can take more oxygen molecules than ours, an hypothetical human with such hemoglobin would be a champion diver-swimmer.
    Dogs can smell much better than us, possibly we could never smell as they do unless we would also get their nose morphology :rofl: but possibly we could improve our sense of smell while keeping our noses (which might not always be a pleasant thing btw).
    Pigeons can find their home hundreds of miles away. Bats can echolocate... the number of abilities present in other animals which we humans do not have or have in very limited measure is huge, not to mention the abilities which a few humans have but most of us do not (I wonder if anybody cared to preserve some DNA sample from Srinivasa Ramanujan, the genius who could 'see mathematics intuitively' so when we understand more about genetics we can try to figure out what gave him this gift).
    Even more likely is the possibility that in the future it will be possible to extend lifetime (not meaning just via better nutrition and healthcare as now, but truly genetic lifetime).
    We know much less about behavioral genetics but knowledge will advance, and it may come a time in which behavioral traits can also be manipulated, not only in humans, but let's say, imagine creating a lion-pet which is sweet and not aggressive and longs for interaction with a human in the ways dogs do.

    We are still very far from all these and of course, whether such 'modified humans' would be physiologically viable is questionable, let alone the huge ethical issues involved. But I have little doubt that eventually, we humans will need to start discussing these things because they will get nearer and nearer, and once the technology exists there is the risk (or rather, inevitability) that someone will be tempted to try it, and it's better that we get to that point well prepared and discussed.
    There is already rumor that some countries may be using genetic engineering / selection techniques in order to 'breed' more fit athletes for the future Olympic Games.

    The OP was rather poorly worded but I think that discussing about these subjects, which are often rejected as taboo, is necessary. When the knowledge and technology will be there, there will be those who will claim that 'the "goal" of evolution (or rather, the inevitability of our evolutionary path) is to perfect ourselves into 'more advanced beings'.
     
  16. Goals and Cognition

    The concept of goals applies to one category of entities - those that have the ability to reason - humans. Other thinking animals can have desires, by that I mean immediate, non-abstract, wants, but the idea of a goal subsumes the idea of planning and sub-goals, etc. Chemical processes do not have goals.

    Don't worry, it's a good question. The idea that evolution has a goal, is a very common misconception that is consistent with the religious idea that humans are the finale of a grand plan.

    I might say evolution is a random chemical process present in living things - "living" here means reproduceable by some mechanism. But, although, evolution most certainly began as a random chemical reproductive process, it quickly was affected by selective reproduction based on the organism's suitability to it's environment.

    If this topic is of particlular interest to you, you might think about evolution from the standpoint of individual reproducers (a molecular biology issue) versus from the population biology perspective. The first deductively proves the system, but the second is where the inductive gravy is. Txs, Jack
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  17. Ha not what I meant :p I'm meaning for humans to control evolution for a future outcome that is predicted by us and not on instance.

    So could "logic" functions in the brain (engineered by us) control certain chemical processes causing for a call fucntion in the selective breading? The ability to predict enviornment and be selected because you have such changes would be the point I'm originally trying to get at. (I study physics and computer science, I'm just interested).

    I'd be interested in building such a device on a small scale level but I'm not that well educated in the bio/chem area. If I can interface with such processes it would be fun! I've built brain interfaces to control light switch and thats how far that went (easy but fun hobbist project.. yeah I wanted to become engineer but i like it more as hobby).
     
  18. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,482
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Evolution is subject to many random effects. It is a blind, random, emergent process, in that it has no "goal" it is simply (oversimplification) driven by natural selection. Which in turn is altered every year or reproductive season by a changing environment: dry, wet, cool, too hot, etc.
     
  19. That was true until humans evolved.
    For the human species (and for many others which are influenced by human activity), evolution is no longer a blind process driven by natural selection. We stopped natural selection long ago for ourselves and for many other species and now it's us who select for survival not the fittest but the ones which are most convenient for our purpose (seedless fruits being a simple example evidently not the result of natural selection evolution).
    Whether this can still be considered as a 'natural blind process, part of the whole blind game' or not is debatable.
     
  20. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,596
    Gold Member

    Humans don't intentionally mutate their genes and select them through environmental pressure in any intelligible or tractable way.

    When it comes to animals in the lab and selective breeding, we contribute to selection pressures, but we still have very little say in the course of evolution as a whole and as we control for traits we care about, we have no idea about traits we don't care about; there are always unintended consequences to consider because of the complexity inherent in any given biological system.
     
  21. We may not (yet) directly mutate our genes but we continuously interfere with what could be considered as true natural selection, any sort of medicine is essentially that. The 'most fit' or 'less fit' have essentially the same chances for surviving and reproducing. We even can fix some genetic disorders allowing those organisms to survive and reproduce, which would not have probably in a true natural environment.

    We have natural reserves where we actively interfere in order to maintain the ecological balance we consider 'correct', even those 'wild' animals are not so 'naturally wild' anymore.
    We protect endangered species, and we even keep their DNA so in case of total extintion we may recover them via cloning.
    I don't think the dogs, cows, pigs, horses, cats, chicken, flower plants, wheat, rice (insert here hundreds or thousands of species names) individuals we see alive today are really the result of nature having selected 'the fittest' from their ancestors.

    OK all that may still constitute a relatively small part of the total biosphere, but that humans have long altered real natural selection is an unquestionable fact.
    And the fact that we are not aware of the results of much of what we are doing is causing in the evolution of traits we don't care about does not make it any more 'natural' but in any case all the contrary. We are not only altering that we care about but also consequently causing unknown effects in what we don't.
     
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