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Is man still evolving?

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posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 01:41 PM
The way i see it is that MAN (Humans) have not evolved more than that we are more an this planet now than before. The only thing that is evolving is ouer tecnology and understanding off it.

If we suddenly should loose ouer tecnology we would be back to being savages just like before.

[edit on 27.06.08 by spy66]

posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 02:28 PM
There is going to be an interesting show on the National Geographic Channel called the Neanderthal Code.


Neanderthal Code


Who were the Neanderthals? How human were they? Why did they go extinct? For 150 years the fate of our closest relatives has been a mystery. But now scientists can start answering these questions - with the help of DNA.

These are US times.


posted on Sep, 17 2008 @ 02:56 PM

Originally posted by Good Wolf
reply to post by v01i0

i see the different classes in society becoming genetically distinct.

Variation within a species.

I dont know if it will lead to separate species, however, it may, like in the moth example only lead to greater representation in the species of one variant over another.

I think we forget that evolution is not always obvious in biological terms. Individuals that look very much the same can have some different gene variants. (Or lack ones, or have multiple copies of others) For the last 30,000 to 40,000 years, (at least) behavior and culture have been the single largest factors in who wins the evolutionary war and who loses. I chose that time frame because of the Neanderthal. Physically, in terms of their bodies, they were much more adapted to the climate of Northern Europe than the Cro Magnon. They still lost the evolutionary battle and went extinct. Something about the way Cro Magnon's used technology and culture allowed them to win. (Or in all fairness, it could have been resistance to disease as well)

Science seems to indicate that behavior is at least in part, genetically determined.

The researchers' findings suggest that genetic influences account for as much as 40 percent of the variation in how people respond to unfair offers. In other words, identical twins were more likely to play with the same strategy than fraternal twins.

"Compared to common environmental influences such as upbringing, genetic influences appear to be a much more important source of variation in how people play the game," Cesarini said.

There are lots of other sources for this kind of observation, the most important being studies of twins and adopted children which seemed to indicate that regardless of rearing, children retained some of the behavioral qualities of their genetic families. Twins raised apart had some remarkable similarities.

So the "next big thing" in evolution may be something invisible to the eye. It may "merely" be a propensity to behave in a certain way, that when the selective pressure is brought to bear, causes those who behave in one way to fail, and those who behave in another way to succeed. I have my money on cooperation vs "selfishness." I personally feel, considering as many variables as I can, that those who act more cooperatively will be able to formulate a strategy to allow them to adapt to the need for lowered population, wiser application of technology and management of significantly diminished resources.

Those who stand by the older standard of "take as much as you can, and do whatever it takes despite the consequences to your self long term and others short term" I feel will not win this game.

In part, because of technology.

Technology and culture require a high degree of cooperation. Although today, the world is run by the highly UN cooperative, the more selfish, these more "selfish" people are NOT the ones developing (inventing) the technology they are exploiting. In a total breakdown, they would not be the ones able to pick up the pieces and move on. Unless they could manage again to harness the more cooperative like Oxen to a yoke and continue the game of exploitation.

I am hoping that if circumstances are dire enough, the more cooperative will not have the luxury of allowing this to happen.

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:02 AM

Originally posted by Good Wolf

As to living in space, we will not live in Zero-G because the body can't handle it. It can't even adjust to it because we evolved to live upright. There is no upright without gravity. So man would have to continue to synthesise gravity like they do with current astronauts

im not actually versed on zero g evironments but i thought people could live in that environment. at least i thought

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:38 AM
reply to post by miriam0566

We I suppose to be philosophically correct, I have to say yes they could, but they wouldn't healthy at all. Have you ever done a hand stand and noticed that it's significantly harder to breath and all the blood is rushing to your head? Well imagine that at maybe a quarter or a third as bad but permanently. Our cardiovascular system is only suited when in conjunction with gravity. Now consider people with spinal injuries who have to sit in wheel chairs all the time. Notice how tiny their legs are? all their muscles are tiny and their bones are weak. This is because of the 'use it or loose is' principle. In space, your health would go to custard.

I doubt a baby could even survive through infancy in Z-G and it would be unethical to test the idea.

Because the environments are so different (earth/space station) you would never be able to have a species that would be able to retain health in both environments for any length of time.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 01:57 AM
Yeah and then there is always that darned radiation to contend with.

Space radiation - which is caused by cosmic rays emanating from the Sun and from stars beyond our solar system -- is one of the most deadly hazards human crews of interplanetary missions will confront. MARIE's findings, therefore, are vital to preparations for future human missions to Mars and other planets.

This intense form of radiation - which mostly falls in the energy range of 15 Me V to 500 Me V per nucleon - expels the kind of energy that can damage human DNA, catalyze cancer, and cause serious damage to the central nervous system. Not surprisingly, the team is, in Gibbs' word "ecstatic" that she is back in operation.

Moving out into space would very likely require some physical changes. One of the Alien theories I like to entertain is that they are our descendants from the future come back in time to study us.
It would explain why they would not interfere with our stupidity and observe us only.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 02:25 AM
Biology can't evolve resistance to evolution though, so any defence developed will need to be technological.

And if you're thinking 'but a cockroach can survive a nuclear blast'. well that depends on how close it and how long it takes the roach to leave the area. Mythbusters explained their resistance as due to a very simple biology.

But if/when he colonise the cosmos, I think well make ships perfectly suited to our physiology. We won't need to adapt.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 02:37 AM

Originally posted by Good Wolf

But if/when he colonise the cosmos, I think well make ships perfectly suited to our physiology. We won't need to adapt.

Ah, but accidents happen, or things we didnt realize we needed to protect ourselves from will manifest. We really are quite careless, and incredibly poor planners in the long term.

I would love to have a glimpse at what the descendants of humans would look like 100,000 or more years in the future. (Assuming we do not go extinct before then) Whether we leave the Earth or not. I could imagine humans that moved out into space looking similar to the "greys" that people report. Of course that is pure fantasy, but amusing to contemplate.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 02:47 AM
Of course we're still evolving since our race is still "young". Of course we cannot notice it, but since evolution takes millenias or some million years, it will take a great amount of time to see a real change in our evolution.
BTW: I'm new here. Great to meet you!

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 03:41 AM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

I had an idea a while ago that it would make more sense to colonise the ocean before space. I mean think of the real estate unused down there. It'd be cheaper to build under the ocean anyway.

Wither that or I'm insane.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 10:34 AM
reply to post by Good Wolf

No, I dont think you are insane.

I think it would be an excellent test of our capability to inhabit an "alien" environment with which to test our technology before moving further away from Earth.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by Nagas

Welcome Nagas.
It is nice to have you here at ATS.

And yes, it would be hard for any of us to notice evolution in one lifetime for that reason.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 11:29 PM
Thanks, gander. I certainly don't think subaquatic-colonies is a new idea (just look at that game, bioshock), but I really think it's under considered because it certainly has merit.

I've actually been writing up a plot for a book on the idea.

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 12:53 PM
I wanted to make a long, tightly reasoned, link-saturated post on this thread but I find I'm too lazy. So I'll just say what I think and why.

I think people are evolving faster than ever.

Before I explain why, let's get the 'proliferating weaklings' argument out of the way.

It's true that people with genetic and behavioural defects don't get culled mercilessly in modern society the way they did on the African savannah or even in the Middle Ages. But there's a difference between surviving and passing on your genes. You have to live till you're old enough to have kids, then find somebody to have them with, then live long enough and be able enough to raise them till they're old enough to look after themselves, find spouses of their own and have grandchildren.

That's not so easy.

And the human gene-pool is bigger than the Pacific. Almost seven billion of us - that's enough scope and more to carry all the genetic diversity you want, including a lot of personal genotypes that last for a while and eventually get bred out of the population. In fact, the danger is not so much that you hang on to the bad genes but that you swamp the good ones. There's a phenomenon population demographers call 'regression towards the norm' that makes the descendants of people with exceptional abilities less talented than their forebears - things like Olympic-standard fitness and intellectual genius rarely run in families (though artistic talent seems to).

So the fact that the carriers of relatively deleterious genes survive in a humane world in no way causes the human genome to deteriorate.

Now for the evolution bit.

The drivers of evolution are:
  1. mutation
  2. genetic drift
  3. environmental change (where 'environment' is used broadly to denote everything from the weather to the toilet habits of your relatives)
  4. sexual selection

Mutation is what causes new genes to appear. Many of them are highly deleterious, and organisms carrying them are never born, or are handicapped in life. But some survive, adding to the the palette from which natural selection chooses its colours.

Genetic drift is what we were talking about before. Another source of new genes. It creates variety in a population. So long as the new gene doesn't code for something nasty, the gene is carried in the population until natural selection selects it out. So - salamanders in different colours and with different sexual habits, etc. All doing perfectly fine until...

Environmental change occurs. It is Nature's winnow, the engine of natural selection. It sieves out bad genes by presenting the species with survival challenges, which the fittest survive.

But Nature has another winnow, and it's called

Sexual selection. It happens when one sex in a species gets hooked on a particular characteristic of the opposite sex and prefers mates who display it. That's the way peacocks' tails happened. Some people say it's the way language happened, and civilization too. Sometime it works in tandem with natural selection, but often it works against it, producing traits and characteristics that are actually a handicap - like peacocks' tails, imagine the energy it takes to grow one of those and carry it around - but valued because they advertise the owner's fitness (he can grow and carry his tail and still survive and overcome rivals).

Okay, now let's ask ourselves: which of the above drivers of evolution are present in the human condition, and which are absent?

Mutation, in an environment contaminated with the outfall of two hundred years and more of industrialization, is likely to have increased rather than decreased. i wonder if anyone has trustworthy statistics for this; probably not. What do you think?

Genetic drift increases with size of population. 6.7 billion people on Earth. Need I say more?

Environmental change? We've change the blessed climate, for heaven's sake. But maybe you don't believe in that. You don't have to. Look at our megacities, our megaslums, our industrial wastelands, our monocultural farmlands which, in biodiversity terms, are deserts. Look at our society, punch-drunk with the speed of change, barely able to swallow, let alone digest, one new world-shaking revelation after another as the old certainties topple. Our social relations - families, mates - turned into a chaotic experiment.

And finally, we have

Sexual selection. Hahahahaha! Have you seen what's happening? In the last hundred years and especially since the Second World War, the power balance between men and women shifted - first in the West, to be sure, but it has spread and continues to spread - for the first time in, probably , a million years. I think that has to affect us. And it's actually been coming for a long time before that...

With all the drivers of evolution still functional, I would imagine that humans are evolving at a furious pace. And various studies (this is where the links should come in) have actually suggested very strongly that this is true. So does anecdotal evidence such as that from the director of The Right Stuff, who said he found it hard to cast the test pilots because 'you don't see faces like that any more'.

I think we're evolving. Fast. And I'm all for it.

[edit on 20-9-2008 by Astyanax]

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 01:20 PM
We, collectively, are not "evolving". No way, no how. Just like Spy66 said, technology is evolving and our understanding of that technology. We, as physical beings, are not evolving because of the suppression needed to develope or produce things.

Our minds have to expand in order to evolve. Not the expansion into "things" but the expansion of understanding the self. In other words, you have to look inside to evolve.

A good book I suggest reading is Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson which goes into great detail about this and is easy to follow.

Correction: I should have said that we all evolve to a certain point, then stop. The vast majority of us never truly live up to our full potential.

[edit on 20-9-2008 by JimBeam]

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 01:22 PM
................yes, I see what you're saying and agree to a degree.

I'll pull you up on this:

Mutation is what causes new genes to appear. Many of them are highly deleterious
No. Mutations are almost always completely neutral. Of those that aren't, the majority are deleterious.

And environmental change and sexual selection are grouped under natural selection.

The other thing is that I've read a few studies explaining how humanity has a very low biodiversity. Our modern mercy means that the diversity in humans is growing far more now than at any other time in our development. Right now I see that the evolutionary processes, for the most part, has temporarily stagnated.

My family has a strong history of heart attacks even before the age of 50, and looking back through my genealogy, I'm almost fated for it. This is a family trait for us Knowlers. But it's still going to get on. It's deleterious but it ain't leaving the gene pool.

Fortunately looking at my genealogy, I can see that I wont go bald or go grey before I'm 75. I also see that my forefathers are also good at surviving their heart attacks, (my great granddad had 4) yet we all seem to hit 85, most hitting 90.

I think our gene pool is just gathering non beneficial genes as our numbers grow.

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 01:51 PM
reply to post by Good Wolf

Many of them are highly deleterious

No. Mutations are almost always completely neutral. Of those that aren't, the majority are deleterious.

Many, not most.

[edit on 20-9-2008 by Astyanax]

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 02:09 PM

Originally posted by Good Wolf

My family has a strong history of heart attacks even before the age of 50, and looking back through my genealogy, I'm almost fated for it. This is a family trait for us Knowlers. But it's still going to get on. It's deleterious but it ain't leaving the gene pool.

Fortunately looking at my genealogy, I can see that I wont go bald or go grey before I'm 75. I also see that my forefathers are also good at surviving their heart attacks, (my great granddad had 4) yet we all seem to hit 85, most hitting 90.

I think our gene pool is just gathering non beneficial genes as our numbers grow.

It's all in your head.

Everybody in my family wears glasses(brother, sister, mother, my dad did, aunt, uncle, etc.), I'm the only one in my entire family that doesn't wear glasses and have 20/10 vision. My mother's dad went bald and my brother went bald. I still have a full set of hair on my head and am in my 30's. I could end up going bald or have to wear glasses at some point, but it's all up to me.

It's in my head.

The minute you decide that your fate lies in your genealogy, it will.

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 02:16 PM
Viruses are an example of our bodies evolving, they are updating ourselves to protect us and thats how they will always be constantly changing to suit the situation it is in. And can even evolve to reject some types of medicine thats a fact

posted on Sep, 20 2008 @ 02:22 PM
i dont think man is evolving at the rate he once was. The fact is, man manipulates his environment to suit him. We create new technology which means we do not need to "evolve" physically. We dont grow shells or horns, because we make weapons (bad comparison i know) but mentally speaking we are and will continue to evolve.

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