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originally posted by: TzarChasm
in your opinion, what are the likely consequences of our applying our mechanical and chemical prowess to...darwin-proof ourselves, if you will. do you think this poses a risk of stalling us? is there a possibility we could hijack evolution entirely and reengineer the human race?
originally posted by: TzarChasm
...and one more thing - is there any compelling evidence that a sentient agency has been steering evolution this whole time? for the benefit of those reading.
Admittedly, I still feel quite frustrated when I feel as though I've explained something very clearly several times, and 'this' time was the most informative, and then the explanation and effort was simply dismissed. I try to keep composure when it happens, though, as the same reason for that mentality stems from the same place they found the misinformation, so again, I can't really blame them for it.
It is argued that the blanket view of religion as a disease, advocated by Dawkins, is inconsistent with the principles of parasite ecology. These principles state that vertically transmitted parasites evolve towards benign, symbiotic states, while horizontally transmitted parasites increase their virulence. Most of the world's established religions are transmitted vertically, from parents to children, and are therefore expected to be benign towards their hosts. Yet, certain horizontally transmitted cults, such as the Aum Shinrikyo, seem to effectively exploit their hosts in a way similar to an infectious disease.
originally posted by: Ghost147
a reply to: Eilasvaleleyn
Well, we can't really answer that because we don't really know how much refinement there could be until we actually find issues.
However, we could also answer this by saying 'it can use an infinite amount of refinement' if we're looking at the fossil record. We've only really been searching and categorizing fossils for a short period of time, and there is always room for more discoveries referring to them.
Oh.. and Astyanax in my research I found some more responses to your question you made a few pages back (about how evolution accounts for art and religion. Again, it's rather speculative. Nevertheless, here's that response:
~ Art is a form of creativity, and creativity has plenty of evolutionary advantages (for example, allowing us to think up new and better tools).
~ A fear of death has obvious survival advantages and is probably as old as emotions. When intellect evolved to the point that imagination became possible, we could start thinking about alternatives.
~ Humans and other primates live in dominance hierarchies. A social structure with "higher" and "lower" beings is part of our genes. We can always point to other animals as lower beings, but sometimes a higher being requires something unobvious.
~ With the origin of symbolic thinking (which language requires), the abstract higher beings could be thought of in more specific terms.
~ With language, gods could be talked about. From there, religion developed via cultural evolution.
~ Fear of the unknown gives further reason for believing in gods. Dealings with a god, such as sacrificial offering or intercessory prayer, allow one the impression of some influence over events that are beyond one's control.
here's some references for some further reading, if you're interested.
~ Cullen, B. 1998. Parasite ecology and the evolution of religion. In Heylighten, F. (ed.), The Evolution of Complexity. Link
~ Gottsch, J. D. 2001. Mutation, selection, and vertical transmission of theistic memes in religious canons. J Memetics
~ Boyer, Pascal. 2001. Religion Explained. New York: Basic Books.
~ Burkert, Walter. 1996. Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of biology in early religions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (It concentrates on early cultural aspects of religion but still has some relevance to religion's origin.)
~ Dunbar, Robin. 2003. Evolution: Five big questions: 5. What's God got to do with it? New Scientist 178(2399) (14 June): 38-39.
~ Konner, Melvin. 2002. The Tangled Wing: Biological constraints on the human spirit, New York: Henry Holt and Co.