What will human become? A Chinese girl needs your help

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I am from Shanghai,China and I am not a native English speaker so there might be some mistakes in my words and I am sorry for it.

Back to the topic.

I have read some papers that some researchers believe with the development of technology, our evolution will come to a halt.

What is your oppinion about it? What will our brain turn to be? What about of our other organs?Is there any possibility that we can control the evolution and may become to be what we want us to be? Or is it possible that we will become extinct without disasters of nature?

The future refers to millions years later, not after hundrends years.
I need your help because this topic is a open question in my finnal exam and it is important to me!

Also if you are interested in China or Chinese, you can connect with me.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
I am from Shanghai,China and I am not a native English speaker so there might be some mistakes in my words and I am sorry for it.
Welcome to PF. Don't worry language is not much of an issue here.

I have read some papers that some researchers believe with the development of technology, our evolution will come to a halt.
Where did you read this? Could you post the link if it was an online resource?

What is your oppinion about it? What will our brain turn to be? What about of our other organs?Is there any possibility that we can control the evolution and may become to be what we want us to be? Or is it possible that we will become extinct without disasters of nature?
Evolution will definitely not stop. However natural selection will be less significant, and a major role will be played by society and culture. There is similar thread in PF. Check https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=492760

Also check
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biocultural_evolution

The future refers to millions years later, not after hundrends years.
The species as we know it today will have undergone major changes if not a complete overhaul, in many million years. Consider this, Homo sapiens sapiens, the species to which we belong, originated only about 200,000 years ago in Africa.

what's more, no matter whether there is any scientific basis or just a imagination, I want to share ideas with you and have a discusion.Please connect with me and I am looking forward to your emails.
I am afraid that would not be possible in the Biology sub-forums as PF is pretty strict about sticking to mainstream science. For discussions relating to things other than science you could go to the General Discussion Forums. (It is the second last forum listed on the home page)

Also if you are interested in China or Chinese, you can connect with me.
I am really interested in Chinese culture (all cultures in fact).
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
To quote from the other PF thread on this issue (paraphrased)

The Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium describes the necessary events for evolution to stop. Fairly specific, right?
1) A population must be large
2) No mutations may occur
3) Mating must be random
4) No migration
5) No differential reproductive success
Assuming our species survives it will be very different in hundreds of thousands of years, let alone millions. But natural selection and genetic drift will become less and less of an issue (with better standards of living and globalization).
 
  • #4
24
0
As humans learn more and more about the world and the bodies we are trapped in we have been able to meddle with our own properties. Before evolution was guided by nature, but now we have started to meddle with nature. Our evolution will be influenced more and more by us. I think the only way it will stop is then we kill our selfs off.
 
  • #5
386
5
Those exciting eons of evolution was gone, not because of human activities in my perspective, but the environment has changed vastly, it is no longer suitable for those great evolutions.

I believe that ambient effect has the greatest ramification on livings, evolution is just the adaption to the environment. At this stage, the surroundings are too favorable that no more evolution is required (e.g. mutations can no longer be useful to living, them the mutated DNA would extinct under intense competition with other livings). Thus evolution is fated to stop at last, just like any thing can come to saturation.

Last but not least, I am also Chinese and I'm in Nanjing (not as large as Shanghai of course), I also have tonnes of problems on syntax, vocabularies, but feel free to talk, it also helps your English. This place is not place for ENGLISH, but SCIENCE, if you love it, be bold to show!
 
  • #6
Those exciting eons of evolution was gone, not because of human activities in my perspective, but the environment has changed vastly, it is no longer suitable for those great evolutions.
A change in the environment triggers the process of natural selection for beneficial traits. The environment is not a "medium" in which evolution occurs but is one of its driving forces. Therefore it would be incorrect to say that the environment is not "suitable" for evolution.

I believe that ambient effect has the greatest ramification on livings, evolution is just the adaption to the environment. At this stage, the surroundings are too favorable that no more evolution is required (e.g. mutations can no longer be useful to living, them the mutated DNA would extinct under intense competition with other livings). Thus evolution is fated to stop at last, just like any thing can come to saturation.
Check the above post for the conditions for evolution to stop. Do you really think all those conditions will be happily satisfied?
 
  • #7
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
Those exciting eons of evolution was gone, not because of human activities in my perspective, but the environment has changed vastly, it is no longer suitable for those great evolutions.

I believe that ambient effect has the greatest ramification on livings, evolution is just the adaption to the environment. At this stage, the surroundings are too favorable that no more evolution is required (e.g. mutations can no longer be useful to living, them the mutated DNA would extinct under intense competition with other livings). Thus evolution is fated to stop at last, just like any thing can come to saturation.

Last but not least, I am also Chinese and I'm in Nanjing (not as large as Shanghai of course), I also have tonnes of problems on syntax, vocabularies, but feel free to talk, it also helps your English. This place is not place for ENGLISH, but SCIENCE, if you love it, be bold to show!
What makes you think the environment doesn't allow evolution? The biosphere is vast with millions of habitats and species to evolve to them. There is always a chance to adapt more.
 
  • #8
386
5
A change in the environment triggers the process of natural selection for beneficial traits. The environment is not a "medium" in which evolution occurs but is one of its driving forces. Therefore it would be incorrect to say that the environment is not "suitable" for evolution.



Check the above post for the conditions for evolution to stop. Do you really think all those conditions will be happily satisfied?
But comparing to the harsh time that ancient animals have, it is much better now. If you put a homo sapian in that age, he (or she) would feel bad, I bet. The point I'm trying to make is that the evolution is much slower than before, microbes are evolving fast, because they are facing stronger immunity, powerful drugs. Much more favorable environment would not make natural selection to mutations with advantages.
 
  • #9
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
But comparing to the harsh time that ancient animals have, it is much better now. If you put a homo sapian in that age, he (or she) would feel bad, I bet. The point I'm trying to make is that the evolution is much slower than before, microbes are evolving fast, because they are facing stronger immunity, powerful drugs. Much more favorable environment would not make natural selection to mutations with advantages.
I don't think it's fair to say that ancient animals had a harsher time without pointing to a specific time and stating why (I.e. "the end-Permian represented a harder time for terrestrial animals because..."). Life is ok for us because we are tool using and have shaped the environment to suit us better.
 
  • #10
386
5
What makes you think the environment doesn't allow evolution? The biosphere is vast with millions of habitats and species to evolve to them. There is always a chance to adapt more.
The environment is not as harsh as before in the current situation. A mutation that brings advantages is not as competitive as it was millions of years ago. Thus if the mutation is in small amount they will not win the race with other populations (unless superman is evolved, who is extremely competitive).
 
  • #11
386
5
I don't think it's fair to say that ancient animals had a harsher time without pointing to a specific time and stating why (I.e. "the end-Permian represented a harder time for terrestrial animals because..."). Life is ok for us because we are tool using and have shaped the environment to suit us better.
But in my perspective, intelligence is also a way to adapt to the environment. When the first form of life appeared on earth, there wasn't ozone layer. Later on, there was age of glacier, age of darkness (I'm not familiar with history of life, but only some facts that I know, sorry for that). Even the presence of large carnivorous animals is a type of stimulus, as natural selection would kill the weak. But when we enter this stage, we are powerful enough to survive.

For example, small dinosaurs evolved to birds (one type of hypothesis), because their life is threatened by larger ones, so they found an alternate way to survive. But humans are not threatened by anything (in some S.F. movies, humans evolve because of catalysm or aliens), so human who has evolved cannot win via natural selection (e.g. intelligent human, mutated with IQ of 200, they last for generations and extinct). I think at least to humans, evolution is slowing down and would come to halt finally.
 
  • #12
178
0
I believe that...
I think that one of the key lessons that you learn when you engage with this website as someone seeking a deeper understanding of science and scientific ideas is the utter incompatibility of those words ‘I believe…’ with the basic principles of science. You can see them littered all over various threads in various forums ‘I believe that it is possible to travel faster than light…’; ‘I believe that Darwin was mostly right but…’; ‘I believe (a myriad of different misunderstandings of the point) about the many worlds theory’ etc. and inevitably, those words do eventually begin to jar uncomfortably. Science, of course, is not about what anyone believes, not even the most experienced expert in any given scientific field. Science is about that for which there is dispassionate evidence to support.

Undoubtedly, there is an unavoidable philosophical aspect to science. Ultimately, if science is for a purpose, then that purpose must relate in some way to human existence and human experience, and at that level there is scope for personal belief. But the science itself provides no such scope.

There is a philosophical dimension to the concern about the motivations some have for suggesting that modern lifestyles have brought about a stasis in human evolution. But at a purely scientific level, as others have demonstrated on this thread and the other recent strongly related thread, it is clear enough that this notion is not supported by the scientific evidence. It is an interesting point to contemplate whether our distant descendants will be able to discern in their own genetic makeup some evidence of the influence of the lifestyles we lead today. That is a genuine possibility. But it is abundantly clear, human evolution has not stopped, neither is it likely to do so any time soon.
 
  • #13
386
5
I think that one of the key lessons that you learn when you engage with this website as someone seeking a deeper understanding of science and scientific ideas is the utter incompatibility of those words ‘I believe…’ with the basic principles of science. You can see them littered all over various threads in various forums ‘I believe that it is possible to travel faster than light…’; ‘I believe that Darwin was mostly right but…’; ‘I believe (a myriad of different misunderstandings of the point) about the many worlds theory’ etc. and inevitably, those words do eventually begin to jar uncomfortably. Science, of course, is not about what anyone believes, not even the most experienced expert in any given scientific field. Science is about that for which there is dispassionate evidence to support.

Undoubtedly, there is an unavoidable philosophical aspect to science. Ultimately, if science is for a purpose, then that purpose must relate in some way to human existence and human experience, and at that level there is scope for personal belief. But the science itself provides no such scope.

There is a philosophical dimension to the concern about the motivations some have for suggesting that modern lifestyles have brought about a stasis in human evolution. But at a purely scientific level, as others have demonstrated on this thread and the other recent strongly related thread, it is clear enough that this notion is not supported by the scientific evidence. It is an interesting point to contemplate whether our distant descendants will be able to discern in their own genetic makeup some evidence of the influence of the lifestyles we lead today. That is a genuine possibility. But it is abundantly clear, human evolution has not stopped, neither is it likely to do so any time soon.
Sorry, I am no expert at all, so there is a lot of misleading information. I'm just show my own perspectives that I learnt a little bit about, just like you said there is no support or experimental proof, only some hypothesis, I don't wangt to mislead anyone.

Now homo sapians are too young, far younger than any other species. It is not strange that homo sapians are still evolving, but what about FAR future, just like the thread talks about? Are we going to just keep evolving and becomes super sapians? I think (again no proof own idea) there only would be new form of humans if homo sapians extinct, just like now homo sapians dominate the world, but homo erectus has extincted (although this is contraversial idea).
 
  • #14
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
Sorry, I am no expert at all, so there is a lot of misleading information. I'm just show my own perspectives that I learnt a little bit about, just like you said there is no support or experimental proof, only some hypothesis, I don't wangt to mislead anyone.

Now homo sapians are too young, far younger than any other species. It is not strange that homo sapians are still evolving, but what about FAR future, just like the thread talks about? Are we going to just keep evolving and becomes super sapians? I think (again no proof own idea) there only would be new form of humans if homo sapians extinct, just like now homo sapians dominate the world, but homo erectus has extincted (although this is contraversial idea).
There are many many species younger than homo sapians, most breeds of dog for instance. Modern humans are nearly 200,000 years old.

I think you have a few misconceptions about evolution (that's ok, everybody learns sometime). It's not about getting better and better, it's about inheritable change over time. Under selective pressures this results in organisms better suited to their environment (unless sexual selection is a greater force than natural).

But in my perspective, intelligence is also a way to adapt to the environment. When the first form of life appeared on earth, there wasn't ozone layer. Later on, there was age of glacier, age of darkness (I'm not familiar with history of life, but only some facts that I know, sorry for that). Even the presence of large carnivorous animals is a type of stimulus, as natural selection would kill the weak. But when we enter this stage, we are powerful enough to survive.
I think you'd probably be interested in going and reading about the history of life on Earth. Wikipedia is probably a good start (be very wary about random websites). The conditions on Earth have changed drastically over the past half a billion years since multicellular life arose but I don't think that now life is in any better condition than it has been (nor is it the worst). What I mean by this is that selective pressure is still strong on most of the millions of species that we have alive today.
 
  • #15
150
0
Science is about that for which there is dispassionate evidence to support.

QUOTE]

or pursuing that evidence, which you wouldn't do without believing one way or the other.
 
  • #16
386
5
But what about humans? This thread is mainly about humans. At least I think that today is much better for HUMANS than time when there wasn't ozone layer (now we are saving ozone layer), or the ice ages.

I think that dogs are evolving fast (although they are largely affected by human activities) comparing to humans.

By getting better, I mean stronger ability to live. Just like the birds, they are getting smaller and weaker, but they have more skills to survive than when they were small dinosaurs. But in the case of modern human society, normal humans are enough to survive the environment (even in some places Africa where life expectancy is much lower than average they are still living longer). Supposing that a population of humans evolved to suit their environment, but there are too many normal humans, that they still can't exist in large amount. What about it?
 
  • #17
150
0
perhaps we will replace our bodies with machines. then evolution will be technological.
 
  • #18
386
5
perhaps we will replace our bodies with machines. then evolution will be technological.
So you mean like Terminators? But I think a better way is by enhancing technology in genetic engineering. Did anyone here saw the movie of Resident Evil or played the video game? In that plot they used virus to change DNA configuration and create superhumans. Actually they want to slaughter humans and create new humans and that's an artificial evolution, just like I posted previously.
 
  • #19
As humans learn more and more about the world and the bodies we are trapped in we have been able to meddle with our own properties. Before evolution was guided by nature, but now we have started to meddle with nature. Our evolution will be influenced more and more by us. I think the only way it will stop is then we kill our selfs off.
I am totally agree with u. we will kill ourselves~
for example, if we know the codes of genes,we may find out the aging secret or we can handle those genetic disease and people will be longevity like turtles.The number of people will only increase so the problem is the earth can not support that huge number of people to survive.what's more,the result of destroying environment like ozone hole and lacking of resources may related to our extinct. BALABALA lots of evidence
 
  • #20
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
But what about humans? This thread is mainly about humans. At least I think that today is much better for HUMANS than time when there wasn't ozone layer (now we are saving ozone layer), or the ice ages.

I think that dogs are evolving fast (although they are largely affected by human activities) comparing to humans.

By getting better, I mean stronger ability to live. Just like the birds, they are getting smaller and weaker, but they have more skills to survive than when they were small dinosaurs. But in the case of modern human society, normal humans are enough to survive the environment (even in some places Africa where life expectancy is much lower than average they are still living longer). Supposing that a population of humans evolved to suit their environment, but there are too many normal humans, that they still can't exist in large amount. What about it?
If you are going to make general statements along the lines of "all birds are getting smaller and weaker" you are going to have to provide references. I have seen no evidence that humans have got "smaller and weaker" over the last 200,000 years.

Because of our technological society most of us get to live when we would previously have died. Our society allows greater genetic diversity, also fitness is a relative measure. When you say "suppose some humans evolve better suited to the environment" you have to remember that they are no fitter than other humans if other humans survive thanks to technology (unless technology disappears).

Natural selection has less of an influence on humans purely because of our technology. The ozone layer formed nearly 2 billion years ago and homo sapiens has lived through multiple ice ages. We will continue to evolve because the conditions of that the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium describes for evolution to stop have not been met.
 
  • #21
150
0
So you mean like Terminators? But I think a better way is by enhancing technology in genetic engineering. Did anyone here saw the movie of Resident Evil or played the video game? In that plot they used virus to change DNA configuration and create superhumans. Actually they want to slaughter humans and create new humans and that's an artificial evolution, just like I posted previously.
i was thinking along the lines of surviving, say dramatic climate change. radiotion maybe? lack of atmosphere we could do alot with conscious machines.
 
  • #22
perhaps we will replace our bodies with machines. then evolution will be technological.
what about we can combine our gene with plants~then we can make photosynthesis. machines need energy but plants can produce energy by themselves
 
  • #23
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,839
707
what about we can combine our gene with plants~then we can make photosynthesis. machines need energy but plants can produce energy by themselves
That's getting a little off topic. Plant's don't produce energy by themselves, they use photosynthesis to harvest the sun's energy.

We are a long long way from being able to genetically engineer ourselves (we may have the technology but lack the experience/expertise to be able to reliably/safely genetically engineer without unforeseen side-effects)
 
  • #24
Those exciting eons of evolution was gone, not because of human activities in my perspective, but the environment has changed vastly, it is no longer suitable for those great evolutions.

I believe that ambient effect has the greatest ramification on livings, evolution is just the adaption to the environment. At this stage, the surroundings are too favorable that no more evolution is required (e.g. mutations can no longer be useful to living, them the mutated DNA would extinct under intense competition with other livings). Thus evolution is fated to stop at last, just like any thing can come to saturation.

Last but not least, I am also Chinese and I'm in Nanjing (not as large as Shanghai of course), I also have tonnes of problems on syntax, vocabularies, but feel free to talk, it also helps your English. This place is not place for ENGLISH, but SCIENCE, if you love it, be bold to show!
wow~Nanjing!
I am not majored in biology so maybe i can not use some theorys about what will people become in the far future.I am majored in psychology and i am interested in biological psychology. my professer ask me to imagine it and i am really confused.can we have a discussion in chinese?
 
  • #25
386
5
If you are going to make general statements along the lines of "all birds are getting smaller and weaker" you are going to have to provide references. I have seen no evidence that humans have got "smaller and weaker" over the last 200,000 years.
I mean compare to the Archaeopteryx they are definately smaller, I'm trying to say that better doesn't simply stronger or powerful

Because of our technological society most of us get to live when we would previously have died. Our society allows greater genetic diversity, also fitness is a relative measure. When you say "suppose some humans evolve better suited to the environment" you have to remember that they are no fitter than other humans if other humans survive thanks to technology (unless technology disappears). Natural selection has less of an influence on humans purely because of our technology.
But humans society is created by the ability that has been evolved, like birds know how to build nest; chimpanzees can use simple tools like sticks to catch ants. They have the ability to suit to their own environment. We can use more advanced technology to make ourselves adapted to the environment of the earth. If it is the case it means we, humans, has evolved to the age that we can deal with the pressure of natural selection, thus no more evolution for humans is required.

The ozone layer formed nearly 2 billion years ago and homo sapiens has lived through multiple ice ages. We will continue to evolve because the conditions of that the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium describes for evolution to stop have not been met.
But putting humans to the ice ages definately gives them more pressure to their living.
 

Related Threads for: What will human become? A Chinese girl needs your help

Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
13
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
37
Views
4K
Top