posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 03:16 PM
At the risk of coming off too philosophical, this is one of the long-term reasons we need a space program. An asteroid wiping out Earth would
not be the unimaginable thing if there were a viable colony of humans on another planet, either within or outside of our own solar system.
Assuming we don't blow ourselves up or poison ourselves, I think that the way that we evolve will be unique for two reasons.
(1) So far, the evolutionary paradigm has been "successful critters adapt to the changing environment, unsucessful critters don't adapt".
We've changed the paradigm; we're the first critters who change the environment to suit ourselves.
(2) Animals have sustained or improved chances for racial survival by attempting to improve themselves via a one-on-one mechanism. The female
would choose the "best" male; or the lions would "choose" the strongest prey critters by eating their slower and stupider brethren.
We've changed that paradigm too; first, we select for weakness by curing and ameliorating genetic flaws that, under a "natural" scenario,
would rseult in the death of the weaklings. Second, we have the ability (for the very first time in our species' history) to effect major genetic
"improvements" via gene splicing, bio-engineering, etc.
What does this mean for our race's (and all the other critters we impact) future? I don't think anyone could answer that
The ability to change the environment eliminates a major evolutionary driver, so we could theoretically "stagnate" evolutionarily for millions of
years. On the other hand, our ability to scientifically determine racial weaknesses and fix them via genetic engineering could lead to a race of
people who could live for millennia, incorporate subordinate and supplemental hearts, make the vermniform appendix go away, etc., etc.
Time will tell, children, but we won't be around to see it!
"And so I say to you pimps and hos, 'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'."