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Will medical science allow Evolution?

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posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 07:29 AM
I've been thinking about this for a while now, but can't come up with a satisfactory answer... (Please correct me if I make any faulty statements about evolution/etc.)

So the human body is still evolving, right? We know the human brain is doing the evolution thing... Article on the brain's modern evolution.

At the molecular level, life’s ability to reproduce begins with the replication of DNA, during which two new spirals are created that are exact replicas of the original molecule. Sometimes a change in the sequence of nucleotide bases occurs in the DNA polymer. This is called a mutation. Mutations can occur randomly, from radiation damage (impact with high energy g-rays or cosmic rays), from exposure to chemical agents called mutagens, or simply by error in the DNA replication process.

When a mutation occurs in part of the DNA where information for a protein is encoded, it can cause the wrong amino acid to be inserted into the protein being constructed. This result may be harmful (the new protein may perform its function poorly resulting in a reduced probability of survival for the organism involved), helpful (it might also do its intended job better) or merely neutral (no effect at all). Beneficial mutations can lead to fitter organisms that pass on their advantages - higher resistance to disease and cold, better survival instincts etc.. - to successive generations. As a result, organisms carrying these favourable mutations will come to predominate in the population and this is the process Darwin called natural selection (often referred to now as 'survival of the fittest'). Differential reproduction - whether reproduction proceeds with lesser or greater success - is central to the process of natural selection; it determines whether a given mutation becomes established in the general population. Thus natural selection, together with successful differential reproduction, causes the characteristics of a species gradually to change when adaptive (i.e. beneficial) mutations sweep through the population. In this way, differential reproduction allows one species to gradually evolve into a new species. This is the process of evolution.

Put simply:
According to the evolution and natural selection models, "adaptations" or evolving according to the surroundings can be referred to as "mutation". There is a genetic "defect" which is passed on from one generation to the next, and in the end with this "defect" the next generation is better of than other members of the same species that doesn't have the defect, because its chances of survival are now better.

Thus: A genetic mutation can make a species better evolved to survive.

Now, the other day someone suggested that humans might evolve to be able to use (computer) keyboards better. We can elaborate and say that our dominant hands may evolve in a form to handle a PC mouse better. I'm sure we can paint many scenarios.

But when we look from the medical side of this, we see that it doesn't work that way. Deformed babies are born every day. The parents are shocked and doctors do everything they possibly can to correct the mutations/deformities for the baby to be "normal" (compared to other humans). An extra finger/toe is amputated. Corrective glasses for "eye-problems". Deformed limbs are operated on. Hormone supplements if a child doesn't grow as he/she is supposed to. It's an endless list.

But medical science and concerned parents don't see the "big picture". What they see as a deformed child, may be the next step in evolution... I'm not saying that we should leave babies with "mutations" as they are born.

That's my point. Medical science doesn’t allow the human body to evolve. Above we saw that the human brain is evolving. This cannot be corrected by medicine, if it was seen as a "defect". We also know that (some) humans evolved to be able to drink milk. This can also not be "stopped" by medicine, as it isn't "abnormal".

Thus my question. Are we stopping the human race from evolving further with our modern medicine?

posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 08:53 AM
I understand what you're saying...

In a sense, you are right. Modern medicine seems to remove a good bit of the selective pressure on humans today. BUT, modern medicine is actually USING evolution more and more (for example, Darwinian medicine). This is useful in using antibiotics to treat things and treatments for viral infections.

So, not only does medical science allow evolution, it uses some of its principles.

posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:20 AM
Also, evolutionary mutations are small and subtle changes.
When your already talking about deformations and disabilities like reduced sight and hearing or plain clear bodily deformations, your not dealing with mutations that benifit the evolution of the species.

One example of a mutation that could benifit the evolution of man has come forward just this week.

A very first person recorded in history has had AIDS overcome by his own immune system(check atsnn article on the brittish dude that has been found cured of aids after 2 years without taking any meds).

Here truthseeka's point is very important.

Now instead of relying on reproduction and survival of the fittest, man's inginuity alows him to propagate these kinds of mutations troughout the entire species trough his skills of medicine and genetic engineering.

We have come to a point where the evolution of mankind isn't dependant solely on survival of the fittest and slowpased mutation trough reproduction anymore, but where mankind is able to directly and quite severely alter and repair its own genetic makeup, making natural mutations like the aids resistance something that can be spread over nearly the entire human population in one single generation, instead of having to wait untill this natural resistance against aids is propagated troughout the species trough crossbreeding, which quite frankly would take ages if not millenia if it had to be done the natural way.

On the other hand though, we all know we are currently facing a huge problem of over population by mankind of this blue marble.

Makes you wonder if nature hasn't created aids and other desceases to drasticly reduce the number of humans on earth while also providing what is needed for the species to survive?

Nature is a ballanced machine, mankind is trowing this machine out of ballance. The more we fight against nature to stay around at these massive overpopulated levels, the harsher nature might become in its methods to restore its ballance.

Will we be able to restore nature's ballance without having to compromise in our numbers, or will we eventualy be able, trough our technology and inginuity, to restore this ballance in nature without having to reduce our numbers?

[edit on 15/11/05 by thematrix]

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