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Future Human Evolution

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Future Human Evolution

Postby evo4ata » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:34 am

Hello every one
Just wanted to share with you these links which discuss this interesting topic "future human evolution" , they have ideas and views about how humans will look like in the future and what they are evolving to:

http://www.humansfuture.org
http://www.betterhumans.com

cheers :)
Last edited by evo4ata on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Darby » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:57 pm

The only way to make a prediction is to know what the environment will be like over many generations, and how accurate would such a prediction have been even 20, 30, 40 years ago?
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Re: Future Human Evolution

Postby evo4ata » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:02 pm

Sorry ,the first link was broken and I have just fixed it :)

Darby
these spectulations are based on scientific studies and methodologies, It is all explained on this link
http://www.humansfuture.org/future_studies.php.htm
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Re:

Postby biohazard » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:43 am

Darby wrote:The only way to make a prediction is to know what the environment will be like over many generations, and how accurate would such a prediction have been even 20, 30, 40 years ago?


40 years ago most of the factors that affect us today would've been fairly easy to predict well enough to see what might affect our evolution: technology, medicine, environmental pollution, lesser need of physical traits etc.

It is true that foretelling is impossible, but it's not a reason to stop speculating. General trendlines of future human environment can be reasonably well predicted. Like 40 years ago, the same factors still apply: we're likely to rely even less on our physique and more on mental traits, similarly, the role of machinery and electronics will increase. Thus one could expect evoltuion to emphasise people with good brains even if they had bad muscles, so to speak :)

We will be able to live with many conditions that would have killed us earlier (many genetic conditions that may be curable in the future). This is likely to increase the number of "bad genes" in our genome, which in turn makes us rely even more on medicine and therapeutical options. For example, genes that make people susceptible to dieabetes are likely to increase, because people nowadays live and have offspring even with the given condition. Diseases with a genetic background that today are likely to kill us when we are young may in the future be passed on in a similar manner.

Alternatively we may become so skilled in genetic engineering that genetic diseases can be eradicated altogether, which of course leads to a different kind of evolutionary path. Or in the likely event that we manage to colonize space, factors such as zero gravity or cosmic radiation start affecting us.

Also, it's quite likely that "cybernetics" or whatever you want to call it and/or nanotechnology take a much bigger role: artificial limbs, organs, drug delivery systems etc. etc. may have a profound effect on us: in the distant future we might evolve to a direction that allows us to live in symbiosis with machines, a bit the same way some bacteria started to live in symbiosis with our single-celled ancestors in the distant past.

Of course anything can happen, maybe we nuke ourselves into oblivion, or an asteroid brings us back to stone age, who knows. But I think human evolution in the future is an interesting topic, and the fact that predicting future is difficult is not a valid reason to not contemplate this matter!
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Re: Future Human Evolution

Postby wbla3335 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:42 am

I agree that you can't possibly predict with much confidence from the viewpoint of biological evolution. Too many zigs and zags. But, and it's a big but, we're at a juncture where we can loosen absolute control from Mother Nature. Enter post-biological evolution into whatever you want to call it. No species has been able to do that, on our planet. We will always be biological and will continue to change (smaller fingers for those ******* telephones), but we're writing a new chapter of a story that has never been observed before. We are able, if we choose, to determine where we want to go, and then go there. But to do that, we need to: stop the fighting, clean up our act environmentally, stop believing in fantasy worlds, and just try to be nice. There. That's all I have to say.
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Postby plasmodesmata11 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:40 pm

Biohazard has got it. We won't evolve since we are not letting unfit genes die off. Humans are not susceptible to natural selection at this point in time, and as long as medicine is around, I doubt we will be soon.
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Postby canalon » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:35 am

We are evolving. Probably not as fast, and not along the line of pure natural selection but evolving nonetheless. I have no idea how and what changes will result of that, but I am pretty sure that chnages are happening, slowly but surely. The only thing that sacre me a little bit is that fecondity is not necessarily favoring traits that I would think desirable. Most notably intelligence...
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Postby biohazard » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:56 am

We are evolving, I agree with Patrick there. It's evolution even if we accumulate some disadvantageous mutations at the moment: I think one of the main concepts of evolution is that there is no drive towards "good" or "bad" design, just towards something that seems fit at the moment. And at the moment it's good enough if you have diabetes but can also have insulin treatment - that's all evolution needs. The evolutionary pressure would surely become all the different if all insulin pens suddenly disappeared!

Natural selection still works: those of us (or those of our genes) who can have offspring that can have offspring prevail, and the ones of us who cannot have children get eliminated from the gene pool.

What I meant with my earlier post and what Plasmodesmata also noticed is that the evolutionary pressure today is different: you do not need to have a good back, strong arms, good vision; you don't need to be a fast runner. You can even cope with conditions that several decades ago would have killed you before you had any children.

Instead, the evoltuion is likely to drive us towards a type of human being that has even better chances to interact with complex machinery and techonolgy, and utilize these tools to aid our survival. Medicine is one of these tools, but many other technological innovations are likely to become more and more integral parts of human life in the future. A trade-off in this may be that we have many more disadvantageous genetic conditions, which are not eliminated efficiently from the gene pool, and thus we must rely even more on technology. This might create a sort of positive-feedback loop, where accumulation of these genetic elements actually speed up our evolution towards "symbiosis" with technology, if you like.
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Re:

Postby biohazard » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:03 am

canalon wrote:The only thing that sacre me a little bit is that fecondity is not necessarily favoring traits that I would think desirable. Most notably intelligence...


Now you must remember, that even the dimmest Big Brother watcher is mighty intelligent if you compared them to, say, a flatworm. Thus, even though the current way of the world doesn't seem to promote intelligence too much, I'm pretty certain that some basic intelligence is not critically endangered. Despite reality tv!

But I don't think the average IQ would necessarily increase in the future because of evolution and our co-existence with high technology. Like now, also tomorrow the few bright ones probably come up with all sorts of helpful gadgets for the rest of us, but evolution might favour those of us who can readily utilize these innovations; for example, evolution probably favours those who don't get a brain tumour from cell phones before they manage to have children. Or so ;)
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Re: Re:

Postby canalon » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:53 pm

biohazard wrote:
canalon wrote:The only thing that sacre me a little bit is that fecondity is not necessarily favoring traits that I would think desirable. Most notably intelligence...


Now you must remember, that even the dimmest Big Brother watcher is mighty intelligent if you compared them to, say, a flatworm. Thus, even though the current way of the world doesn't seem to promote intelligence too much, I'm pretty certain that some basic intelligence is not critically endangered. Despite reality tv!


Basic intelligence, probably not, but less than basic, who knows? Unless there will be a speciation event... But I was mostly kidding there. I really do not have a clue about where evolution will go. The only thing I am pretty sure of is that the winner at this game are and will remain bacteria.

biohazard wrote:But I don't think the average IQ would necessarily increase in the future because of evolution and our co-existence with high technology. Like now, also tomorrow the few bright ones probably come up with all sorts of helpful gadgets for the rest of us, but evolution might favour those of us who can readily utilize these innovations; for example, evolution probably favours those who don't get a brain tumour from cell phones before they manage to have children. Or so ;)


I am also quite certain that the average IQ will stay quite the same. May I hazard a guess it will be 100 points. Hmmm.. maybe also because by construction, the definition of an IQ of 100 is the average value (since we assume a normal distribution of IQ in the human population, of course). As for the rest, see above. Still clueless
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Re: Re:

Postby biohazard » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:46 pm

canalon wrote:I am also quite certain that the average IQ will stay quite the same. May I hazard a guess it will be 100 points. Hmmm.. maybe also because by construction, the definition of an IQ of 100 is the average value (since we assume a normal distribution of IQ in the human population, of course).


Fair enough ;)

But you probably got what I mean!
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Re: Future Human Evolution

Postby skeptic » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:00 am

My personal view is that genetic engineering will utterly dominate future human evolution. Natural evolution is slow and subtle. However, using the full power of GE will drive human evolution at breakneck speed.

Already there is a technology available whereby would-be parents can choose an embryo that is free of certain genetic diseases. It is only a matter of time, and probably not long, before this selection includes genetic traits such as eye colour. Soon, we can expect that gene insertion will become an available technology.

Lots of people will claim this is somehow immoral. I disagree. I think history shows that morals change, and whatever is of benefit gets accepted. Artificial insemination, only a few decades back, was considered somehow immoral. Today, lots of children are conceived this way.

In time, we will see parents 'designing' children to be taller, more athletic, more intelligent, better looking, healthier etc. I see this as a substantial step forwards.

Many people who look at only 'natural' evolution assume humans will become more sickly over time. I think that directed evolution will achieve the opposite.
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