Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.
I agree, it is very likely that in the future genetic manipulation will play a substantial role in human evolution.
I'd imagine that before we get into selecting any traits more complicated than eye colour we start knocking out disease genes and replacing them with functional ones. First we target single faulty genes; disorders involving multiple genes are likely to be a challenge for years to come.
I predict that we are already deterministically set to head in this direction:
Sorry for not having provided more details!
Some of giant eyed ones look a little hideous but it represents the look that the human mind sees as desirable even though it is not common in our morphology, yet. Artists often exaggerate features this way, or it's airbrushed onto pictures of models.
I think it's possible epigenetic switching has what you would call "genetic drift" taking us in that direction. Would not be a survival of the big-eyes struggle. Reason would be in how genes are being copied or increasingly expressed. Our desiring something like this that does not exist yet could be our being able to internally sense where our genome wants to go, sort of speak.
Our mind also has a distorted self-image of ourselves caused by some areas having many touch sensors expressing themselves. We here have giant cartoon-like lips and hands, which is another source of seeing ourselves differently than is reality. But that looks Mickey Mouse comical not something we would actually want to look like.
I think this has a lot to do with our natural affection for small babies. It may sound funny, but humans are genetically prone to feel big-eyed (kitten-like, puppy-like) figures attractive or cute. This is probably so because people are more likely to take care of and protect something that they find "cute".
Now, the Japanese seem to have some sort of fetish for this and have projected it to anime/magna and such art. And it is becoming increasingly popluar in other parts of the world as well. Some of this type of art has a clear tendency towards subtly sexually depicting underaged girls (even though usually acting as if they were adults) in many Japanese adult animations. Of course, nobody is allowed to say this because it can insult the Japanese people :P Where big part of the men in Europe and America hopes that they could freely download naked images of 15-16 year-old gilrs, the Japanese simply draw these and there's no legal problem! (And the Arabs simply marry them...) Again, of course, everybody is quick to claim that this isn't true, but let's face it: male sexual desires don't really care if the object is 14 years old or 18 years old, as long as she looks sexually mature enough to suggest some sort of fertility. Naturally this has nothing to do with child pornography that deals with pre-teen subjects, which is much more deviated form of any natural desires.
And what all this has to do with big eyes and natural selection? There could be a subtle drift towards an appearance like this, but I believe it is not because of epigenetics. I don't think that what we desire in life affects the gene pool unless we actually have children with the target of that desire ;)
I admit, though, that there is probably a lot to learn in the area of epigenetics and we are likely to see some surprising findings in the next few decades. But is there anything to support your view that simply by finding big-eyed girls in school uniforms attractive our offsprings' genetic profile is somehow altered? :)
I was about to warn that even though this exaggeration of real life is from cartoons kids watch on Japanese and US television it was taken to the level of porn. Same thing seems to have happened to all the other examples I could give including ones you only thought existed on a Hallmark Card. Even the "I luv you this much" sure isn't what I recall seeing in drugstores.
You did though help show how what women find cute about babies is also the look some wish they had for a mate which is the same as in grade school which is in reality predatory behavior. That helps show how much of an influence it is on the human mind. And women use eyeliner to achieve the bright bigger eyed look, so it's not inherently a perverted sort of thing even when only kinda painted on usually looks better to others. What I am here describing is change that would result in eyes that would not benefit from being made to look any bigger with makeup. Hard to show what that would look like in a photo since it's not a trait common in our morphology yet other than maybe expressed by Tammy Faye Bakker?
A bit of humor there! But most seem to remember her heavy makeup without the thinking she's a hooker or anything.
In the theory I'm putting together I describe it as:
There is a selection going on, yet male peacocks must first be able to add more spots which means they are already drifting in that direction.
It is true that in one end we have children's movies without anything suspicious even though they have big-eyed girls and animals and whatever, and on the other end there's straightforward porn. What I simply tried to indicate is that there is no clear-cut line as to where something completely harmless becomes subtly sexual in content and one cannot either draw a (biological) line to what is normal and what is not. Although the law makes this line nice and easy by stating that a person must be N years old to be allowed to do this and that, the nature has no such absolute criteria.
The women become sexually mature much earlier than what the law (in most countries) says, which indicates that as far as the nature is concerned, people should start having sex much earlier than that 18 years of age which is just about the standard in most countries. It is true that nutritional and environmental factors have made girl's puberty to take place even earlier, but even the "normal" age of puberty is, as everyone knows, much earlier than what the law says. Whether the girls (and boys) of that age are socially mature enough is completely another story of course; evolution hasn't quite caught up all the aspects of modern-day human societies :)
Maybe adult (men) watching big-eyed innocent-looking girls are just doing what their genes in the background try to make them do: have sex with young girls. In this sense, big eyes and eye makeup for women might be an unconscious way to take advantage of this desire of men to look for young partners?
But like I said earlier, it is completely out-of-line for any man to confess that they would desire an under-aged girl, so this kind of conversation is often very difficult unless you risk yourself being labeled as a freak.
I am not so sure humans will even be here
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these".
~ George washington Carver
Linn, try to look on the bright side of things. Even with all the modern dangers it's still a more certain future than where we all lived in the trees of some volcanic island. In our species the trend towards increased intelligence might be deterministic in a way that we become smarter and wiser. We have to at least try to find reason, even though it at times seems humans will never survive attempting to control the power of their current accumulated knowledge. Maybe we can go for millions of more years with only a few more near-extinctions in between.
Sometimes I think about what it would take to get the science that we now know through another ice-age where the resources of almost the entire planet is buried deep under ice. Easy to pump oil to stay warm would not there anymore. There is no way the remaining population would have the luxury to spend half of their expected life sitting in a classroom. Survival itself would be the 24/7 routine. But "culture" including religion would still be there. The Discovery Institute tried to influence it with a Theory Of Intelligent Design.
Getting back to predicting future morphological changes by human mate-selection choices, I thought back to when I was a teenager and right away big-eyed Sally Field superstar was smiling back at me.
For others it might be another sex-symbol Dolly Parton.
http://www.insidesocal.com/outinhollywo ... is-62.html
Gary's "Weird Science" of course right away includes Lisa.
http://www.fanpix.net/picture-gallery/4 ... icture.htm
Now imagine where were all the doll that was plugged in had for eyes was two tiny black dots the size of a pea. The mole-eye Lisa wanting to love us to death would be more frightening a monster than Frankenstein! It would even be so ghastly it would be disprectful to Lisa/Kelly to show what that would look like, so I won't go there.
In art (culture) larger than life eyes are very popular including into what biohazard explained is total smut even perverse. In trying to find an example I went back in time to when in film men and woman slept in separate beds even though that was not reality and there was the extremely popular Betty Boop that I saw a little but only remember the giant eyes and her representing a biologically mature second generation Jewish immigrant to the US trying to fit-in with a culture while her parents wanted her to fully remain in their culture making all choices for her. I know a woman who very much associated with her in a role-model way while growing up. I figured that with everything back then being all clean there would be no problem at all with showing something like an old poster of her or film clip, then was honestly quite surprised to find that this is one of the lesser suggestive popular image.
http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Betty-Boo ... 11866_.htm
Eyes that are too freakishly large look like an alien from outer space. But even if that were the case then we can expect bug-eyed moms will still love that all the same.
We also prefer less hair where it doesn't seem to do much good anyway so we have that conscious directive, with none sure where that preference comes from either. Yet other than a hair-hat we are in fact already as hairless as mammals get making it more likely we are drifting in that direction than the other which in turn could be why the common preference exists.
If we are drifting the big-eye direction then we can expect adults will in time have the facial proportions of young teens. It's hard to predict whether our conscious ideals would change in proportion to morphology but where it remained about the same child porn and predation can be expected to become less a problem.
And even though looking at art to determine conscious human ideals unavoidably connects to all kinds of smut, it sure doesn't help society for what produces that phenomena to remain unknown because we think it's best not to try figuring out why it's there. I'm also piecing together an intelligence theory and the thinking about sex is so much a part of how human intelligence works that it's impossible for me to not try accounting for that. Sex is the number one thing on the mind of young adults. Even where you keep them head to foot covered the mind thinks about that.
The number one thing that the genome needs to do to keep going in time is replicate. So achieving that is more than in some brain produced mind it's from molecular intelligence that cellular intelligence then human intelligence is emergent from. We with our own mind still make our own choices. But the primitive part of us is based on a level of behavior too simple to make moral judgements required to form societies with culture. The levels of intelligence from genome on up depend on each other doing the right things at the right time.
With what drives us the most all starting with Biology-101 with the genome controlled "cell cycle" we can expect that other things that the genome wants to do can be sensed by asking it, or looking at its culture to see how it sees itself. It is unexpected there be attraction for much bigger than life eyes (way beyond baby proportion even) to the point where like with Betty Boop her pupil alone is the size of her whole mouth. But then again the resource poor "island effect" that makes small things like reptiles very large also makes big things like elephants and like with hobbit very small and maybe without loss on neuron numbers most seem to expect when measuring brain size by volume alone.
In this island effect there is change in size but still looks relatively the same. Where epigenetics switches that on we could become the giant eyed as relatively fast as Darwin's island finches change genome switching to meet seasonal climate demands.
One possibility for chemical signals that switch it on could come be surviving off giant reptiles and dwarf island mammals. The genome here changes to a minimal resources mode to accommodate the existing chemical cycles that are sensed to exist. The genes remain the same, the change is accomplished by regulating amounts of protein production to produce smaller but still as functional size brain cells to fit the brain space of an island morphology we might possibly be able to quickly become along with all the other mammals that change this way after being stranded in such an environment.
Looking at a comparison to our current morphology we find two eye distances to where teeth come together, where the hobbit humanoid has only slightly more than one eye socket distance.
http://theprancingpapio.blogspot.com/20 ... heast.html
We can also see that nose top to bottom ratio remain unchanged. Above the eye sockets is from what I can see is a Dolly Parton proportioned cranium to go with the wide mouth.
Since artist reconstructions (like on website skull picture is from) take such creative liberties towards showing primitive and unkept looking, for the sake of science I had to make one showing what the hobbit would look like where brought back and made a star too. And wouldn't you know it Kelly LeBrock has the same eye proportions as the human skull and even after morphing she still looks like an attractive woman in a complimentary to her way so Lisa lives again to show another state where we could easily drift towards that I cannot show any other way!
[Image removed until skull comparison software can do a better job showing hobbit.]
With someone like Tammy or Dolly or Kelly trying to make them look good for the camera a picture of her might more resemble that. Where the starting point was us on an island we could expect that would be the case, not an apish looking creature just because we became a smaller sized version of what we now are.
I have a hunch that this is a possible morphological state our genome can produce without recoding of the genes, expressed from the genome on up to our human level intelligence in a way that we can in some sense "see" us as being. That would help explain why in art these proportions still look human and sexy, to our human mind. Where we grew up looking like that too how we look now would look out of place but something they in a strange way feel they could get used to being us since small eyes would likely be what is found oddly expressed in their art.
Last edited by GaryGaulin on Tue May 05, 2009 8:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
But what about people that cannot afford to have their children as athletic, tall, intelligent or healthy? Do you see why this could result in a widening between social classes as unenhanced humans are discriminated against, can't make as much money and as a consequence can't afford to have enhanced children?
It is that kind of argument that are used to argue against cosmetic gene therapy, nobody thinks having smarter children is bad in itself.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
In a future in which a large number of children are genetically preprogrammed to be beautiful, intelligent, healthy and athletic, you fear social discrimination compared to 'ordinary' kids?
In what way does this differ from the present, in which the children of wealthy parents (rich Dad and trophy wife) are good looking and expensively dressed, with the latest cell phone, and discriminate from poorer kids?
In fact, with genetic manipulation, the benefits of good looks, brains, health and athleticism are passed down through the generations. After a few such, everyone becomes one of the beautiful people.
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