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Mutation, Disease and Human Evolution: What Are the Options?

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posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 12:00 PM
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Electropollution and chemical contaminations have altered the structure and composition of the organic molecules that circulate in this planet's ecosphere. In turn, these altered organic molecules, or biomacromolecules, cause mutations in living cells and organisms. The earth's electrobiogeochemical composition has changed so much that the process cannot be stopped, although it still might be possible to slow down the rate of change.

Many new mutations appear to be "disease," but likely represent essential steps in the evolutionary process. Whether we define new mutations as disease or an evolutionary step, they represent a conundrum, and our options to deal with them are limited.

This purpose of this thread is to identify and evaluate the options we have to deal with mutation, disease and humanity's escalating process of evolutionary change. The thread Mutation and Human Evolution is a companion to this one, created to develop a scientifically accurate description of the situation.

The Options

The thing is, we are in an evolutionary crisis - it's happening whether we like it or not. And it's not just happening to us, this crisis is occurring in every living thing from viruses and bacteria to mycoplasma and fungi, to plants and animals. Microbes are mutating, evolving and adapting quickly - and integrating altered biomacromolecules that give them better access to complex organisms. From a certain perspective, microbes are vehicles that transport biomacromolecules between living organisms and non-living systems, thus balancing and standardizing the planet's biogeochemical composition. In comparison to microbes, complex organisms like humans are evolving slowly - perhaps too slowly.

We seem to have four options:

1. Clean up the planet and everything it in so we can get back to normal.

Analysis: It's too late. Electrochemical contamination no longer is our biggest problem - we're facing widespread electrochemical alterations on circulating organic molecules. These altered biomacromolecules now are an integral part of the global ecosystem. We cannot even identify all the altered biomacromolecules, never mind find them and remove them from the environment. And we already are far past dealing with secondary and tertiary effects.

NOTE: Clean up is essential in the adaptation argument - not to restore the planet to its original balance and composition, which is now impossible, but rather to slow down the rate of change in hopes that we might keep up with it in an evolutionary sense.

2. Put our faith in medical technology and transhumanism.

Traditional medical interventions covered by insurance include medication and surgery; insurance does not cover transhumanism technologies like stem cell therapy, gene therapy, cloning, and tissue engineering.

Analysis:

a. Medication treats the symptoms, not the cause. Most modern medicines are targeted to proteins and cause protein misfolding as a "side effect." First stage effects are beneficial, but subsequent effects are not. Medication represents a destructive dead end that perpetuates and worsens the crisis.

b. Surgery treats the symptoms, not the cause - and generally is available only after symptoms become life threatening. Not a significant option IMO - and the writing is on the wall: enrollment in surgery has plummeted.

c. Transhumanism: Stem cell therapies, gene therapy, cloning, and tissue engineering for example go straight to the cause of disease - and deal with protein production in differentiating cells. Unlike medications, these therapies work and do not alter macromolecules in the body. However, unless the planet is cleaned up, individuals will be constantly re-exposed to altered biomacromolecules - and the contaminations that alter biomacromolecules - and will require ongoing treatment and genetic "tune-ups" throughout their lifetimes.

The two most apparent flaws in transhumanism therapies are: a) Accessibility. Insurance companies refuse to cover these technologies, which means that the individuals' ability to get treatment is determined by their economic status; and b) Non-adaptation. Beneficiaries of stem cell therapies and tissue engineering are not adapted to the planet's changed environment. Moreover, the treatments are designed to restore adaptations relevant to an ecosystem that no longer exists. The long term implications are difficult to assess but at the least, very likely will result in infertility.

Of interest:


Expanding the Genetic Code

What is amazing is that every form of life on Earth uses the same set of 20 amino acids to make all proteins. Indeed, this set of amino acids is the basis for the genetic code, the code that specifies the relationship between the nucleotide sequence of a gene and the amino acid sequence of a protein. This fact leads to the rather interesting question of why every form of life has the same set of building blocks. Why not 21 or more? Moreover, if we can add new amino acid building blocks to the genetic code, will we be able to create proteins or even new organisms with enhanced chemical, physical, or biological properties?

...Our goals for 2005 are to incorporate unnatural amino acids into multicellular organisms; show that amino acids with altered backbones can be incorporated; incorporate metal-binding amino acids, fluorescent amino acids, and posttranslationally modified amino acids; and determine x-ray crystal structures of mutant synthetases that encode heavy-atom, keto, and glycosylated amino acids.




3. Remove ourselves from the natural ecosystem to prevent altered biomacromolecules from affecting our cells and genes.

This involves creating totally synthetic environments - a possibility explored in synthetic bio-habitats, and much science fiction.

...A seriously dumb solution imo, when we had such a beautiful planet to start with. And it won't work anyway - synthetic biohabitats rely on elelctricity, which creates "alien" electromagnetic fields, and alters biomacromolecules inside the body and in the environment.

Of interest: One of my favorite sci-fi scenarios is Twilight of the Basilisks written by Jacob Transue (Joan Matheson), and published in 1973.

4. Go with the flow, trust to nature, adaptation, and the evolutionary process - and hope for the best.

Analysis: Successful species are adapted to their environments. It is not the "fittest" that survive environmental change - but rather, those species able to adapt to the changes.

For humans and other complex organisms, the main constraint is the speed of mutation required in the current environment. We are changing our environment far more quickly than we can adapt to the changes. Microbes can adapt rapidly - but humans and other animals are constrained by their rates of reproduction. As we already have seen, welfare programs designed to push reproduction rates and "breed for immunity" have not worked - proving that mutation, adaptation and evolution will not succeed without additional efforts.

With altered biomacromolecules like prions, the amount of exposure determines the speed of the effect - and at least superficially, the rate of change in the body determines individual survival. So on the surface at least, minimizing the amount of exposure will allow the individual - and species - more time to adapt and evolve. Clean up is essential - not to restore the planet to its original balance and composition, which is now impossible, but rather to slow down the rate of change in hopes that we might keep pace with it.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What's your analysis? Are there other options? Do you think we can change along with our world, and adapt? Should we trust to science and technology to change us, and modify our cells, organs and/or genes so we can live in this new world we have created? Is transhumanism the answer? Or should we hit space and find a cleaner place?




posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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I agree option with what you say about option 1. It is too late now. Even if we had all the knowledge to clean up the world right now, those who have the power won’t allow it. To them it is more profitable not to clean up or change the way we do things.

This may surprise some but I think option 4 is our most realistic option. We will have to hope that adaptation will come into play. Not only should we physically adapt but we should also adapt our way of life. We need to be focusing on alternative forms of transportation and life style. However like I said before, those who have the power are unwilling to make this change. This will have to depend on the individual to make personal changes. This is a difficult thing to do. I can compare it to quitting smoking and then having to work in a bar or bingo hall where everyone is smoking. It is a healthy choice to quit smoking but it is futile due to the fact that you are being constantly exposed to second hand smoke. This is the same for those who make the individual choose to make a difference in slowing environmental damage.
Environmental damage means personal damage. We are all connected to this earth and each other.



posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 12:57 PM
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We gotta Go with the Flow and continue to develop the technologies that will lessen our impact on the planet. Nano-toxicity is one of those fields which will have direct implications on the planet as a whole as just about every type of hazardous material can be understood much better through Nano-toxicity studies (and perhaps even engineered out alltogether), it's one of the fields in which I'm seriously thinking of specialising in.



posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 12:58 PM
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We are already de-evolving because of medical tech. Those genes that should have died off are saved and allowed to breed. We also still see like breeding with like but bottom end tends to have more offspring than top end and so we are dumbing down the entire gene pool to some extent. Used to be only wealthy and successful that had offspring that lived. Those that were not had lots of die off's. We also don't need the large families that an agrarian lifestyle had.

I think it’s also worthwhile to pose "what do we want to evolve to or enhance". Is it brains and the ability to make money or height or cold resistance or what. I think geographic and racial mixing are good but resistance to nasty critters and the like..??

There is no doubt that medical tech will allow selective choosing of characteristics and while it may be banned somewhere, it will be available somewhere else. Super atheletes are a sure bet....



posted on Jan, 3 2006 @ 01:02 PM
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Genetics and Cybernetics will most likely be used to remediate the effects of our escape from Natural Selection which I think is a good thing, its one of the things that has made us into competitive, bloodthirsty savages it helped us turn into what we are today now it's time to turn the page into the next chapter of Human Evolution the self-directed evolution of the Individual. Several species could be created by us within the next hundred years.

[edit on 3-1-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Jan, 4 2006 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by Umbrax

This may surprise some but I think option 4 is our most realistic option. We will have to hope that adaptation will come into play. Not only should we physically adapt but we should also adapt our way of life. ...We are all connected to this earth and each other.


Thanks for your thoughts Umbrax. IMO we already are adapting - I see modern "disease" as evidence of the process. Many so-callled genetic diseases already are known to confer immunities to other more acute diseases and/or environmental assaults. The evidence suggests many more provide as-yet-unrecognized benefits. ...Maybe slowly progressive chronic cancer is an evolutionary transition - a trade-off that prevents sudden death from bird flu. Maybe ADHD and other new "perceptual problems" are a direct adaptive response that ensures brain cell survival and prevents Alzheimers. We don't know.

My concern is whether or not we can adapt fast enough. ...I like your comments on "purposeful adaptation" - kind of 'conscious evolution' stuff - and I'd like to hear more of what you have to say about that.




Originally posted by sardion2000
We gotta Go with the Flow and continue to develop the technologies that will lessen our impact on the planet. Nano-toxicity is one of those fields which will have direct implications on the planet as a whole as just about every type of hazardous material can be understood much better through Nano-toxicity studies (and perhaps even engineered out alltogether), it's one of the fields in which I'm seriously thinking of specialising in.


Thanks sardion - and you go guy!

But I have some comments and some questions. ...We're in trouble because science accidentally mucked up our ecosystem and created the conditions leading to biological mutation and an evolutionary crisis. Nobody knew how interconnected things are, or the mechanisms involved in those interrconnections - and they still don't know. So why do you believe science can fix it? Do you honestly think science promises to create a better balance than nature? Or - how do you see the science/nature complementarity developing and working?



Originally posted by UofCinLA
We are already de-evolving because of medical tech. Those genes that should have died off are saved and allowed to breed.


Thanks UofCinLA - interesting comments. ...But most of the "genes" you're talking about are actually mutations resulting from exposure to environmental contaminations. Moreover, although many mutations cause disease or other negative genetic impacts, they also confer immunities and/or provide other benefits. The usual example used to illustrate this effect is the genetic mutation that causes sickle cell anemia, but also provides immunity to malaria.

My question is - How do you know which mutations should survive, and which ones should die out? How can anybody know?

Also FYI - even a quick overview of the epidemiology shows clearly that the world's health problems cannot possibly be "genetic" in the commonly understood sense - modern disease is too widespread by far.



We also still see like breeding with like but bottom end tends to have more offspring than top end and so we are dumbing down the entire gene pool to some extent.


So you are saying that the ability to acquire wealth proves genetic superiority?




We also don't need the large families that an agrarian lifestyle had.


I don't agree that high reproduction rates are solely cultural. As a gardener, I know that individuals respond to life threatening conditions by reproducing, rapidly - you want a plant to flower, just stop watering it. ...IMO humanity went through a period of rapid population growth precisely because we created life threatening conditions, albeit unrecognized ones. And FYI - world reproduction rates now have slowed down so much that some authorities are wondering if we're looking at widespread infertility problems.





I think it’s also worthwhile to pose "what do we want to evolve to or enhance". Is it brains and the ability to make money or height or cold resistance or what. I think geographic and racial mixing are good but resistance to nasty critters and the like..??


Not sure what your last comment means, but I'd like to hear more about what you consider to be desirable characteristics. ...And how these might be developed to survive -and flourish- in our altered biosphere. Existent medical technologies and standards were developed in a different biochemical world, and may no longer apply.




There is no doubt that medical tech will allow selective choosing of characteristics and while it may be banned somewhere, it will be available somewhere else. Super atheletes are a sure bet....


How will we know what characteristics will ensure individual or species survival in our all-new and altered ecosystem? Or are you advocating the production of throwaway consumable humans?

...My point is that we've altered our ecosystem, perhaps beyond recognition. So we need to understand the new chemistry and "rules" before we can design anything we might expect to survive here.

BTW - re your signature, "stop thinkin and just get a humpin." In my experience, intellectual foreplay often precedes some of the very best humpin you could possibly imagine. Granted, the process involves a fair degree of stamina and requires that numerous and frequently unrecognized muscles be developed prior to the event.




Originally posted by sardion2000
Genetics and Cybernetics will most likely be used to remediate the effects of our escape from Natural Selection which I think is a good thing, its one of the things that has made us into competitive, bloodthirsty savages it helped us turn into what we are today now it's time to turn the page into the next chapter of Human Evolution the self-directed evolution of the Individual. Several species could be created by us within the next hundred years.



The way you are using the term "Natural Selection" seems to presume that genes are static - when clearly they are not. You also seem to recommend short-circuiting the "natural" adaptive mutational response - without understanding the response itself or the conditions that trigger the response. ...Humans are part of a larger complex system, right down to the atoms and macromolecules that make up our 'being.' Yet you seem to be ignoring the existence of the larger complex system, and the individual's complex interconnectedness with it. ....?

...I do agree with the concept of conscious self-directed evolution. I just don't think it can work in isolation from the larger system/s. Another conundrum - and I want to hear more from you about it.



Everyone's comments here speak to 'conscious evolution' in some way.


...Seems we're just sorting out the details. More please.





posted on Jan, 5 2006 @ 09:12 AM
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sardion - One more question - actually a request. Can you please help out here:

Mutation and Human Evolution ...?

I'm looking for a simple description of how biomacromolecules sustain the ecosphere, and then how altered biomacromolecules muck up the works (re: carbon sequestration, hydrogen, other cycles). Thanks.



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 04:57 PM
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I think our only option is to adapt and treat our internal and external environments the best we can. Personally, I prefer mostly natural aids. I was bed-ridden less than two years ago. This was already after I changed my diet to drop all processed foods, and stopped drinking sodas or any sources of HFCS. Now I must use high-doses of nutrients to keep me in tip top shape. I've gone without them recently for a couple of weeks, and I was just okay, but still much improved over how I was previously.

My regiment:

-1-2 grams ascorbic acid with bioflavinoids & 1 gram niacin (inositol-hexanicotinate) thrice daily.

-B-50 complex and p5p 50mg daily

-Various herbal teas

-Adaptogens: eluthero, american ginseng, gotu kola, bacopa

-organic & nonprocessed foods

-far infrared sauna sessions twice daily

I would like to eventually go off all vitamins. I'm pretty sure to be fighting off many pathogens which are just too strong otherwise. Both niacin and ascorbic acid destroy many different pathogens. The adaptogens are another story. They modulate the HPA axis, and have non-specific means of bringing about homeostasis. I would like to stay on these indefinitely if possible.

The sauna stimulates the immune system, lymphatic system, and removes toxins via sweat which normally wouldn't be detoxed. Herbal teas have definitely helped as well. Just need to be sure and switch them around.
-------------------------------------------------------


This is all what I find to work for my individual biochemistry, atm. What can humanity do on the whole?

Prepare: spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I've come to realize lately that at our current rate of evolution, sanity essentially went out the window some time ago. Norm no longer truly exists. Interestingly, this has brought out an enlightened sense of non-judgment to myself in others. It seems to judge someone today for much of anything is equivelent to judging someone for the way they were born. Both are out of their control. Too much internal change occurring which we most aren't even aware of, yet.

Besides prepping, take action! There must be some innovative minds out there who can come up with ways to dampen the amount of change in our atmosphere. To clean up our water supplies. To enhance our immune systems bio-energetically.

The most important step right now seems to be spreading the awareness. Unfortunately, there's a lot of money preventing info from coming to light. Not only that, humans seem to not care much about things until it directly impacts their-selves or those they love. While this whole mess is infecting enough people to have a global paradigm shift, those who are aware need to actively push this out to those who are suffering. Let them know what's really going on, and get their families and anyone else who will listen involved.

That's my not so scientific, .02.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by unityemissions]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 11:03 PM
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Worth repeating...


Originally posted by unityemissions

.....What can humanity do on the whole?

Prepare: spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I've come to realize lately that at our current rate of evolution, sanity essentially went out the window some time ago. Norm no longer truly exists. Interestingly, this has brought out an enlightened sense of non-judgment to myself in others. It seems to judge someone today for much of anything is equivelent to judging someone for the way they were born. Both are out of their control. Too much internal change occurring which we most aren't even aware of, yet.


.....



Thanks for your post unityemissions - important info for personal survival with insightful wisdom.




posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 01:55 AM
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The only problem : is the system.

You are wrong if you focalize on other thing : the problem is the system.

If you don't understand : learn about system theory.

The problem is not war, pollution, terrorism, ufo, 2012 : the problem is OUR system.

An isolated system cannot exist.
A regulated system mean an undemocratic class society : but there is always alternatives.

"
The four worlds of the Metaverse Roadmap could also represent four pathways to a Singularity. But they also represent potential dangers. An "open-access Singularity" may be the answer. The people who have embraced the possibility of a singularity should be working at least as hard on making possible a global inclusion of interests as they do on making the singularity itself happen, says Jamais Cascio. "

Many of us rightly worry about what might happen with "Metaverse" systems that analyze our life logs, that monitor our every step and word, that track our behavior online so as to offer us the safest possible society—or best possible spam. Imagine the risks associated with trusting that when the creators of emerging self- aware systems say that they have our best interests in mind, they mean the same thing by that phrase that we do.

For me, the solution is clear. Trust depends upon transparency. Transparency, in turn, requires openness.

We need an Open Singularity.

At minimum, this means expanding the conversation about the shape that a singularity might take beyond a self-selected group of technologists and philosophers. An "open access" singularity, if you will. Dr. Kurzweil's books are a solid first step, but the public discourse around the singularity concept needs to reflect a wider diversity of opinion and perspective.

If the singularity is as likely and as globally, utterly transformative as many here believe, it would be profoundly unethical to make it happen without including all of the stakeholders in the process—and we are all stakeholders in the future.

Openness and the Metaverse Singularity by Jamais Cascio

> You think : i can do nothing.

No you can become autonomous : create your own system : an autonomous system.



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 08:23 AM
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Originally posted by psychederic
The only problem : is the system.

...the problem is the system.

If you don't understand : learn about system theory.

...

An isolated system cannot exist.




Thanks psychederic.


imo - You're absolutely right. It's all about the SYSTEM. ...and we changed the system - by changing the parts.

Thanks for the link. ,,,Also, Chrichton's book "prey" has some great refs about systems and chaos theory.

A QUESTION for you:

Can you briefly describe / define a. singularity; and b. SOC (self-organizing -point of- criticality)? ...Does the SOC lead to the singularity?




For me, the solution is clear. Trust depends upon transparency. Transparency, in turn, requires openness.

We need an Open Singularity.

At minimum, this means expanding the conversation about the shape that a singularity might take beyond a self-selected group of technologists and philosophers. An "open access" singularity, if you will. Dr. Kurzweil's books are a solid first step, but the public discourse around the singularity concept needs to reflect a wider diversity of opinion and perspective.

If the singularity is as likely and as globally, utterly transformative as many here believe, it would be profoundly unethical to make it happen without including all of the stakeholders in the process—and we are all stakeholders in the future.

Openness and the Metaverse Singularity by Jamais Cascio




YES. Trust -> Transparency -> Openness = Open Access to information - NOT information as commodity.





> You think : i can do nothing.

No you can become autonomous : create your own system : an autonomous system.



Not to be argumentative, but have a question of logic:

Given that everything exists within the context of a single(?) macro system, even apparently 'autonomous' and discrete micro systems, then how can an individual 'autonomous' system be truly or actually autonomous?

...Are you talking spiritual and emotional 'autonomy'? ...Do you think autonomous and discrete spiritual and emotional 'systems' might influence the macro system within which they exist?


Thanks much,
sofi

PS. Sorry. My head's not really here - I'm working on something very different and demanding right now - but I love this discussion. Thanks again.



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