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Simple013

'Man', the species

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There are those who see 'man' as the pinnacle of evolution. Then there is a school who see 'man' as an aberration.

 

For me, well, I don't know.

 

Those who see 'man' as the pinnacle of evolution may be right, but somehow I don't think so.

 

Take away any of the 'invented' stuff and 'man' has a hard time surviving a harsh winter. Take away penicillin and we crock. We need wars to keep numbers down (or something like a new plague). In some ways we act as a virus; gobble up all natural resources and to hell with the offspring. That does not sound like a pinnacle of evolution...

 

Then there is 'man' as aberration. It pains me to say this but the more I think (in the privacy of our bedroom), the more I discuss this in public, the more I feel we 'man' indeed is an aberration. Take away our intellect and the world will live on. Since we obviously are intelligent and not willing to stop ravaging the planet, the only outcome should be death of 'man'.

 

Is 'man' doomed? I don't know, but looking at the way our society functions...

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I'm not gonna take the Victorian view of humanity slowly and surely reaching perfection. I believe the two World Wars has pretty much refuted that notion (plus there's my religious beliefs on man being a fallen creature...etc).

 

But I'm will take a more optimistic view than you and counter that man has proven itself to be very resilient and capable of adapting to change and overcoming the odds. Even if a massive cataclysm were to occur (which seems unlikely at present), the human race is more than capable in overcoming it. Our technology won't a crutch in these hellish scenarios but instead, they may even be our salvation.

 

Take away any of the 'invented' stuff and 'man' has a hard time surviving a harsh winter. Take away penicillin and we crock. We need wars to keep numbers down (or something like a new plague).

 

The UN estimates that the global population will plateau in the later quarter of the century and will slowly start to decrease. The rise in our global population ATM can be attributed mostly to the developing world and increasing wealth. Once a goof portion of these communities break into the middle class and achieve a certain standard of living, expect the growth rates to flat-line and even fall as is the case in Singapore, Japan and Europe.

 

I will close by saying that people have been predicting a global population crash for more than 200 years. They say we'll run out of food, that our longer lifespans are unsustainable...etc...etc. Time and time again we have shown that humanity is more than capable of feeding itself and I firmly believe that if we just invest in the right infrastructure (irrigation in poor African states, fertiliser for poor Indian farmers), we continue able to feed people for centuries to come.

 

That does not sound like a pinnacle of evolution...

 

Barely anyone holds such lofty ideals anymore. Evolution is a continuing process. There is no peak. We still are evolving today.

 

Is 'man' doomed? I don't know, but looking at the way our society functions...

 

I would like to see examples of what in our society can "doom us". Kill off many people maybe but "doom"?

 

There are those who see 'man' as the pinnacle of evolution. Then there is a school who see 'man' as an aberration.

 

I hold neither but that's going into theology which is for another time. :P

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Any survivor in an evolution development model is an aberation, many thousands (millions?) of failures in a similar line are obviously not good enough to become pinnacle of their particular niche.

 

While homosapiens may have been an evolutionary success, generally in its ability to adapt & utilise the environment to suit our limited physical forms i believe that it is now stagnant. There are arguments for the modern social & technoligical levels being another form of evolution, but with limited access for populations I dont think it really works.

 

Evolution in its most basic reading is the "survival of the fittest" & natural elimination of the sick, weak, & the ones who would be a drain or damage the development. Modern humanistic technological development, morals, & political correctness have denied the otherwise inevitable - not only enabling the ones that would be nominally elimnated to survive but also to reintroduce their "bad" genetic material to the pool & reverse the direction of normal evolutionary development.

Even if someone was to go to extremes now & close down all medical systems, eliminate support programs... basically end civilisation as we know it - evolutionary process has been seriously altered & would take a long time to kick start again.

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Man has progressed to a point where the lame need not be killed off because he can't run fast enough to escape the predator. This is a good thing considering that being amongst the strongest and fittest of our race doesn't guarantee you being bright or moral. Some of the greatest achievements of our race is all thanks to people with disabilities or defects.

 

This notion of humanity no longer evolving thanks to the lame and sick not only goes against the scientific literature, it also screams of the Social Darwinism that caused many of our woes in the 20th century. It's a belief held by big men with guns,

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Man is presently the pinnacle of evolution, but nature could create a better species, or make man even better than where he is now.

 

I highly doubt that artificial evolution efforts will succeed, personally.

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The UN estimates that the global population will plateau in the later quarter of the century and will slowly start to decrease. The rise in our global population ATM can be attributed mostly to the developing world and increasing wealth. Once a goof portion of these communities break into the middle class and achieve a certain standard of living, expect the growth rates to flat-line and even fall as is the case in Singapore, Japan and Europe.

Yup, that is the consensus from the UN. Since you did not give the link, I will.

I will close by saying that people have been predicting a global population crash for more than 200 years. They say we'll run out of food, that our longer lifespans are unsustainable...etc...etc. Time and time again we have shown that humanity is more than capable of feeding itself and I firmly believe that if we just invest in the right infrastructure (irrigation in poor African states, fertiliser for poor Indian farmers), we continue able to feed people for centuries to come.

I hope the picture you paint will pan out. The problem is that, unless there is a radical rethink on how we preserve our biodiversity, food, in the long run, runs out. Since about ten year the number of bee colonies are dwindling, and that does not bode well for our capacity for food production. Couple that with the unwillingness of the UN to put into effect rules to stop raping the planet, I do not have high hopes.

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Survival of the fitest is a very general phrase - the fitest could be the strongest, or the most intelligent, or the most generally capable who never reaches the peak of any particular skill but the general set enables adaptabilty to an range of environments they encounter.

Tehnology has enabled many more people to survive whether by massive increase of the food supply, medical improvements, or simplifying social interaction & bringing people from all over the worlds different environments to mix both personally & culturally - the evolution of social contacts is part of the counter argument I refered to above. Whether this is natural evolution or an aberation of it is the key dispute.

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Tehnology has enabled many more people to survive whether by massive increase of the food supply, medical improvements, or simplifying social interaction & bringing people from all over the worlds different environments to mix both personally & culturally - the evolution of social contacts is part of the counter argument I refered to above. Whether this is natural evolution or an aberation of it is the key dispute.

 

In the present it has enabled more people to survive, but the effects of said technology is what needs to be examined (though that's impossible as they are in the future, though they can be foreseen). If evolving through the development of technology, which encases the use and waste of resources in order to create and use the technology, eventually begins to hurt man, then they have arrived at an ironic twist in their "natural" development. It is here that certain aspects of mankind must be divided; are we truly developing as nature intended, by effectively diminishing the world around us in order to survive, or are we operating outside of our planned species? In which case, I go beyond my own personal depth, as I can't understand what is beyond nature's course for a species, but at the same time can't accept that natural evolution would result in the destruction of that evolving species.

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Evolution is not survival of the fittest.

 

Source: Me, I got that question wrong on my high school freshman bio exam :(. Has scarred me since. :P

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Evolution is independent of fitness. Further, nature does not make plans.

 

It's common to view nature as having plans or wanting to make a better creature. It's common to view humans as being above evolution, or as some exception to evolution. Neither is the case.

 

So exactly what is it? Evolution in itself is the growth of a species to further its chances of survival, correct? If so, nature would intend for those creatures to become better.

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Evolution is independent of fitness. Further, nature does not make plans.

 

It's common to view nature as having plans or wanting to make a better creature. It's common to view humans as being above evolution, or as some exception to evolution. Neither is the case.

 

So exactly what is it? Evolution in itself is the growth of a species to further its chances of survival, correct? If so, nature would intend for those creatures to become better.

 

And we are getting better. We are still changing. The scientific literature points to how our brains have become more smaller and more efficient in the last 30,000, how we are loosing our wisdom teeth thanks to a softer diet not requiring big jaws, how we can digest lactose into adulthood when previously we couldn't.

 

There was this study in Nature back in 2012 which says that we have over 1.15 MILLION nucleotide variations in our DNA strands compared to our early ancestors. Look at how Europeans have changed in appearance over the last 5,000 years.

 

I reject this notion that evolution has been stiffiled as a result of technological advancement because the literature says otherwise.

Edited by Phoenix Rider

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Evolution is independent of fitness. Further, nature does not make plans.

 

It's common to view nature as having plans or wanting to make a better creature. It's common to view humans as being above evolution, or as some exception to evolution. Neither is the case.

 

So exactly what is it? Evolution in itself is the growth of a species to further its chances of survival, correct? If so, nature would intend for those creatures to become better.

if nature intended anything it would be a God...

there is no intention there is no "nature" as such

 

living beings evolve not for a reason but as a result of trying to stay alive as good as possible (as a species)

 

the discussion about the view on humanity as the pinnacle of evolution or as an aberration, a virus etcetera starts from the premise that there is a point to evolution for the former or sees nature as having divine properties.

 

I'm a "real" atheist, I don't believe in any god(s) and neither in divine properties of nature like so many do. That however does not mean I don't think that the main treat to humanity is humanity itself. I think the chance of a war rendering the earth inhabitable higher than any other 'cosmic' or other cause. And no earth means no humanity (for now and most likely a long time still)

Edited by Egghebrecht

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Sometimes evolution produces a less fit organism. Sometimes it produces a fitter organism. Both are just evolution- there's no aberration of evolution or reverse evolution.
And sometimes nature surprises us all. So, what is that organism to replace 'man'? I have a sneaky feeling it might be a virus...

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Sometimes evolution produces a less fit organism. Sometimes it produces a fitter organism. Both are just evolution- there's no aberration of evolution or reverse evolution.
And sometimes nature surprises us all. So, what is that organism to replace 'man'? I have a sneaky feeling it might be a virus...

 

 

Even if a virus does bring down civilization, it doesn't doom man. Man has the ability and technology to wear out nearly all natural/man-made disasters that can be thrown at it.

 

Also, virus as the dominant species? That's an arbitrary value judgement.

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Sometimes evolution produces a less fit organism. Sometimes it produces a fitter organism. Both are just evolution- there's no aberration of evolution or reverse evolution.
And sometimes nature surprises us all. So, what is that organism to replace 'man'? I have a sneaky feeling it might be a virus...

 

 

Even if a virus does bring down civilization, it doesn't doom man. Man has the ability and technology to wear out nearly all natural/man-made disasters that can be thrown at it.

 

Also, virus as the dominant species? That's an arbitrary value judgement.

Of course it arbitrary. But so is the notion nothing will replace 'man'. What is in the future is not known. That was the main reason for this topic. Edited by Simple013

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A virus is not an organism.

 

Source: Me, I also got that question wrong on my high school freshman bio exam :(. Aaaaaand I'll show myself out. :tongue:

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I'm happy to see that at least someone here (Lilshu) actually knows what evolution is...

Kinda being a hypocrite at the moment. I just finished a course about evolution and ecology :P

 

A virus is not an organism.

 

Source: Me, I also got that question wrong on my high school freshman bio exam :(. Aaaaaand I'll show myself out. :tongue:

True enough, it has no metabolism ;)

 

 

 

AAAAANYWAY.

 

What humanity is doing right now, is actually normal in the field of ecology:

We got enough resources, we use these resources. While there are enough resources, we keep reproducing at a rate which exceeds the amount of deaths. That's a normal ecological principle.

 

Reason humanity is so successful at surviving at the moment, is because we have a) A giant variable gene pool, we are not having problems with genetic drift (losing of gene variety). B) we are having a giant population (I mean.. 6 billion.. yea..) C) We have a gigantic habitat (basicly, we can live everywhere on the land. If somewhere a population dies/gets thin (Vesuvius eruption, tsunami at Indonesia..), there are more than enough sources (other countries) which can take up the space of those who died.

 

For these reasons, we are an ecological/evolutionary very advanced population, not even speaking of our intellect. I doubt there are many other species (except maybe for Tardigrades, or ants or something..) that are so well evolved.

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