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  • Humanities next evolutionary leap?

    What do you consider could be humanities next possible evolutionary leap, assuming we do not end our species prematurely?

    I overheard a comment by a political extremist that pure babies should be seen to have intelligence and physical ability to look after themselves early on. I began to think that it was the opposite that made humans human. The fact that our children are basically rubbish at looking after themselves for several years is one of the elements that makes us different from any other species.

    The average number of heartbeats that we make before we die is substantially greater than other mammals.

    So the question remains. What do you feel could be the next evolutionary leap for mankind? Do you think it could be a weakness we overcome (eg feeble children) or a strength (eg tougher heart), both or something completely different?
    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    What do you consider could be humanities next possible evolutionary leap, assuming we do not end our species prematurely?

    I overheard a comment by a political extremist that pure babies should be seen to have intelligence and physical ability to look after themselves early on. I began to think that it was the opposite that made humans human. The fact that our children are basically rubbish at looking after themselves for several years is one of the elements that makes us different from any other species.
    I think you have nailed it here. Compared to other primates we are born prematurely, because of our large crania when we are fully developed. What that resulted in was offspring who are pretty helpless and "immature" for years and years. Result--things like strong family groups and a reliance on learned/taught behaviour (i.e. "culture") over instinct . Culture is a big part of what makes us human.

    So the question remains. What do you feel could be the next evolutionary leap for mankind? Do you think it could be a weakness we overcome (eg feeble children) or a strength (eg tougher heart), both or something completely different?
    The question can be phrased as "What are or will be the next big selective pressures on the Earth's population?" I might go for food--large-scale die-off, followed by smaller more energy efficient bodies. Yay.
    Every 10 years a great man.
    Who paid the bill?

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    • #3
      Eugenics. I see man engineering himself for greater potential in future. Space travel, Resistance to acquired to syndromes like Alcoholism, drug addiction, violence, certain virus strains...

      Almost a "Gattaca" future.

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      • #4
        A second remark I overheard was about West Africans becoming immune to malaria. How true that is I don't know, but I began considering that environment impacts development. Then I thought that if we control our environment (air-con, decent health-care etc etc) then we may have just limited our physical development. However, humanity can be defined by its brain and thought processes imo.

        Assuming we don't kill ourselves off early, I think our brain is the most likely to be enhanced by evolution. I often feel some type of constriction in my thought processes and feel my answers to any question are more limited than they could be .

        As far as brain enhancement is concerned, I'm not talking psionics, telepathy or esp, but perhaps more along the line of Mentats as in the novel Dune. Or perhaps those who are socially inept, but have great powers of recall may be next in the evolutionary tree?
        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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        • #5
          It is already here:

          1. poorer eyesight

          2. poorer dentition

          3. weaker physical bodies

          4. obesity

          5. declining IQ

          6. lowered immunity

          7. degraded smell and hearing
          Last edited by Mountain Man; 26 Apr 10, 09:27.

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          • #6
            We don't make major leaps but small changes over time.

            A dentist told me that we are in a change now while some people no longer get "wisdom teeth" be cause we have been eating less unprocessed grains and they no long have a function.
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              It is already here:

              1. poorer eyesight

              2. poorer dentition

              3. weaker physical bodies

              4. obesity

              5. declining IQ

              6. lowered immunity

              7. degraded smell and hearing
              Well that cause we feel sorry for people and the Darwinist mechanisms are removed. Fat, dumb, deaf, blind, lazy, weak people would normally perish and not breed into the gene pool.

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              • #8
                On a plus side, isn't it true that the brains of modern men, particularly the youth are VERY good dealing with a flood of sensual information compared to the oldsters?

                And point two to seven of Mountain Man may quite frankly be more a result of lifestyle then genetics. The human body is quite adaptable for bad or good.
                Reaction to the 2016 Munich shootings:
                Europe: "We are shocked and support you in these harsh times, we stand by you."
                USA: "We will check people from Germany extra-hard and it is your own damn fault for being so stupid."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Acheron View Post
                  On a plus side, isn't it true that the brains of modern men, particularly the youth are VERY good dealing with a flood of sensual information compared to the oldsters?

                  And point two to seven of Mountain Man may quite frankly be more a result of lifestyle then genetics. The human body is quite adaptable for bad or good.
                  Part of the problem is that we have bodies that are adapted to cyclical periods of feast and famine, but we ("we" being the denizens of industrialized societies) live in "feast" societies. Craving sugar and fats and stashing them away on your thighs for later is an adaptive trait when you rely on foraging and scavenging, but not when you live in a society where donuts and Big Macs are freely available.
                  Every 10 years a great man.
                  Who paid the bill?

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                  • #10
                    We have been told that when we cross a certain milestone with computer technology, we might see a day when we can leave our organic origins behind.

                    Granted, that will likely require a certain belief that all we are is an organic existence, and that there is nothing else to us, in what makes us what we are.

                    And I'm not ready to get rid of the fun messy way of getting more of us just yet.

                    Most of this planet's key evolutionary advances have only happened after mother nature initiated a massive extinction level event.

                    It is possible nothing much will happen to us, until something drastic happens TO us.
                    Life is change. Built models for decades.
                    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                    I didn't for a long time either.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bellerphon1971 View Post
                      Well that cause we feel sorry for people and the Darwinist mechanisms are removed. Fat, dumb, deaf, blind, lazy, weak people would normally perish and not breed into the gene pool.
                      Correct. Evolution is a constant and on-going process, and human beings have been de-evolving for a long, long time, a process that is constantly accelerating due to our lifestyles cou0pled with modern medicine, which has long been held to be one of the greatest deterrents to evolution in history.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by les Brains View Post
                        We have been told that when we cross a certain milestone with computer technology, we might see a day when we can leave our organic origins behind.

                        Granted, that will likely require a certain belief that all we are is an organic existence, and that there is nothing else to us, in what makes us what we are.

                        And I'm not ready to get rid of the fun messy way of getting more of us just yet.

                        Most of this planet's key evolutionary advances have only happened after mother nature initiated a massive extinction level event.

                        It is possible nothing much will happen to us, until something drastic happens TO us.
                        Oh, yeah...the "pure intellect" so often described by sci-fi writers. Not going to happen to us, as will not survive long enough to ever reach such a hypothetical plateau of development. I'm not sure we would even want to. What rewards or joys would accompany such a "life"?

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                        • #13
                          We can see the next step for the human body : Bio-techno with nano tech and sofwares. All included for 10 000 bucks and you've gat Norton antivirus for free.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by grosnain View Post
                            We can see the next step for the human body : Bio-techno with nano tech and sofwares. All included for 10 000 bucks and you've gat Norton antivirus for free.
                            "That there is funny - I don't care who you are!"
                            - Larry the Cable Guy

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                            • #15
                              Depends on what the next evolutionary pressure is.

                              You might be fat because your digestive system is much more efficient than the average person. In global famine you might have better odds of survival. If you are fat because you never say 'no' to a cheese burger, well, you might not do so well.

                              A lethal pandemic could actually penalize groups that have high reproductive rates. Communicable diseases spread most rapidly in areas of high population density and poor sanitation. Think Rwanda, Gaza, or Haiti. But if you work from home and have a robust internet connection, you might never need to come out until a vaccine has been fielded. Your mental abilities could confer a form of passive immunity even though you are biologically no more resistant to the pathogen than the next person.

                              In the mean time we will continue to accumulate random mutations that have no relavance to our immediate reproductive environment. When our environment shifts again, we'll find out after the fact who the winners and losers are.
                              Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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