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Are humans as a species de-evolving?

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#1 Pakman


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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:20 PM

Ok so it's obvious people appear to be getting lazier and lazier, as we get more and more technology handed to us to make our lives easier. More and improved medicine to help folks who are sick, and more science to help build better cities, cars, infrastructure. So, doesn't the plethora of these modern conveniences and technology mean we are less and less dependent on our good genes and natural survivability, and more and more upon man-made "artificial" improvements?

My rant today is about how the evolution of man through the process of natural selection (if you so choose to believe in), as theorized and observed in nature, is being screwed up by humans themselves. As I stated above, a lot of the modern sciences today allow us to live more healthy, and make things easier to do, that may otherwise be next to impossible to achieve. But what exactly do I mean? I'm sure many of you have thought about this before, and didn't look back at it, because your iPhone went off indicating your next appointment starts in 15 minutes, and you've got 30 minutes of prep work you forgot because you were playing on the XBOX all night long. :huh: Maybe?

Well the idea about natural selection is, for those of us not so up and up with that, nature has its way of adapting via random chance. As in, a few random genetic changes/mutations occur in a species every so often in the cycle of endless reproduction, that causes the living things with the best adapted "mutations" to live on, while essentially rooting out the "not so well adapted" individuals out of existence (i.e. they aren't able to compete/keep up with the conditions and so they cannot breed and so they die off).

Where does technology and all our medical science come in? Well, it only throws a giant anvil into the gears of evolution, according to a the commonly talked about idea or theory, that while the rest of nature continues to adapt to its natural environment, humans have either halted, or even caused their own evolution to go backward in some cases. Why? Aren't we more advanced now than we were just 100 years ago? 1000 years ago? 5000 years ago? Yes, and no.

We have plenty of new technology to help us, as learned over the ages. But at the same time, it means we are less and less reliant upon our own skill, our own abilities, to survive on a day to day basis. Take one of the most common modern conveniences of all, the Automobile. No longer do we have to tame horses or trudge through dirt roads, suffer through endless deserts navigating with the stars, or wild and dangerous mountain trails to get from point A to point B. Give me rest stops and motels baby! All I have to do now is flick the GPS a few times and it'll show me right where to go. Turn the key to the car and it'll rip roar through the perfectly paved streets (well, depending on your state's current budget crisis) and highways to get from destination to destination. Where are the navigation skills that we required not 100 years ago, to make sure we were going the right way, just like the native American population did, for thousands of years, on foot, and then later by horseback? What about physical fitness? Need to go grocery shopping? Hop in the car and hit the local grocery store. Why walk and carry the heavy groceries back home? Or what about just a thousand hundred years ago, when we relied heavily on growing our own food in order to feed ourselves. Most people back then had to know how to plant and grow crops over the course of the year. Most folks today know how to play Cropville and can't wait 15 minutes for their virtual berries to grow. Where are the survival skills in all that?

We have had remote controlled TV's, VCR's, then DVD players, and now even our cars are starting to drive themselves. We don't need to get up and exert ourselves, physically, or mentally. It's all done for us. Where's the reason for natural selection to work any more?

So what about medical sciences? Surely they're only for good, I mean they help me live a healthier, longer life. I can expect to live a life well into the 80's today. Back a hundred years ago you'd be lucky to survive past your 60's. But therein lies the problem.

Take nature and wild animals. There, we can see how this can be a bad thing, for argument sake. Animals that do not adapt well to their environment, die out. Look what happened to the Neanderthals. Most scientists believe that the majority of the Neanderthal population died out within a short span of time, because they simply could not adapt and compete with the advanced emerging "Homo Sapien" (modern human) population, and climate/environmental changes.
What I'm trying to say is, all these medicines and advancements that we've made in increasing the human lifespan, are also the reason why we live as long as we do, not necessarily because we're physically better off somehow. Take away the medicine, and people with less than perfect health will eventually die off. Yes, that sounds depressing, but it is one of those many factors, which I believe contribute to the overall NON-evolution of man. I am near sighted, and without glasses, I wouldn't last 1 hour out in the wild. I wouldn't be able to see danger, and sure as heck wouldn't be able to smell my enemy, since humans never really adapted to rely on their sense of smell. Take people with cancer, or heart disease. Would they survive as long as they do, without technology? Nature would claim such folks as myself and others, if it were not for technology.

But all is not lost While it may be true that our technology and advancement may be causing "natural evolution" to perhaps halt in its steps, what about adaptation and evolution, though? Don't we still have those small mutations and deviations occur every so often as a human race? Don't we then, by definition, "evolve" to better live with those conditions that surround us? Aren't we better adapted to living the fast life with iPads, internet, and cars, than perhaps our "living with nature" ancestors? But the question is, what happens when we pull the plug? Will we have the resilience, the knowledge, the physical stamina, the ability to adapt quickly, to outlast the impending "doom?"

Hmm... me wonders. :)
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#2 Andy600rr


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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

Technology has caused minor changes in the environment/nature which modern day humans have to adapt to, however it is to a very limited extent... pretty much infinitesimal. What we DO have to adapt to though is the technology created by humans. A simple explanation is someone who is new to recent technology, and struggles to use an iPad for example, vs. another who can zip around and actually get important work done using one. The second person has adapted to the new tech. and uses it as a means to get work done quickly and efficiently. You can pit a completely new fighter pilot with all sorts of guns vs. primitive humans, but if that pilot hasn't adapted to the technology he is sitting inside, he will just crash and burn.

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