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Michael Godfrey

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Do you believe that evolution is ultimately over for humans?

The term 'evolution' refers not to just small or extreme changes in genetics but also small or extreme changes in physical characterisitcs and prowess.

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    Jun 16 2012: I've pondered this from time to time.

    First my definition of biological evolution is the shift from less adapted to more adapted - I was taught this is via random mutations, variation and natural selection (survival of the fittest to reproduce and pass on their genes/DNA which is not random).

    I note most of us survive to have offspring these days in rich western countries impacting or slowing the natural selection effect. I guess in some countries there are higher mortality rates so there will be more selection via survival of the fittest. The other factor is who has the most babies and is there a genetic component to this.

    A pessimist might suggest the poorly educated are having more babies than the richer elites and this may lead to a shift in the gene pool that is perhaps not better adapted.

    I guess different groups reproduce at different rates so the mix in the gene pull will change. I guess we will see more intermarriage and more people from groups with higher population growth. So I guess less white Caucasians over time.

    Mutations will continue for all of us, so some form of change will occur. Diseases, pandemics etc may also impact gene propagation.

    While natural selection may have reduced I guess we will still change slowly.

    Another unknown is whether we will genetically modify ourselves. I guess we will address genes that lead to disease, but this is a moral challenge as well as a scientific one.

    Social, economic and political factors may also determine who is allowed to have children in the future.

    The environment may change dramatically introducing new selective pressures.

    designer babies anyone?

    In a million years or ten million or 100 million our descendents will most likely not be homo sapiens.
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    Jun 11 2012: Through acts of charity (Special Education programs) and the development of new drugs (allergy pills/antibiotics), I think it's fair to say that we've nearly eliminated Darwinian evolution from our species.

    While I thought this was a bad thing, I came to the realization that many of the people that have been saved by these evolution-barriers have contributed in huge ways to our society. I think that we’re at a point where social/cultural evolution is more important than the evolution of our physical composition.
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    Jun 12 2012: Hi.
    I don't believe humans evolved in the first place, but I do agree it is a matter of belief,& it is up to the individual what they believe.

    :-)
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      Jun 12 2012: "I don't believe humans evolved in the first place"

      I don't blame you. Given the obviously misleading knowledge you have of what "evolution" means, you'd be a fool to buy any of it.
  • Jun 12 2012: As we all know, the only constant in this universe is change. Everything always changes, everything either moves forward or backward. Nothing stagnates or stops moving.
    For 1000s of years humans have been evolving primarily on the physical level. More recently the bulk of humanity has evolved hugely on the intellectual level. Now I believe that we are on the threshold of embarking on our next evolutionary stage, the spiritual level.
    Of course , evolution is not totally linear. There are always humans living on this planet evolving simultanuosly on different levels. There are still relatively undeveloped tribes who have not yet moved far along the scale of intellectual development, but might have already experienced considerable spiritual development.
    Plus the way we humans are degrading our environment, the matrix that sustains us, it is quite possible that we are going to regress on the physical level.
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    Jun 12 2012: To believe something is "over", one must believe that that something was a reality. So, my answer to your question is, "no." Please note that my answer does not imply that I believe evolution is ongoing for humans. My answer is no because I do not believe that Darwinian Evoultion was ever a reality for humans, or any other living thing.Thank you Mr. Godfrey.
    • Jul 10 2012: For some one to say that one spices has not gone threw this process and just appeared is foolish that saying that we are completely different from any other animals on this planet not one shares any similarities with us other then the amount of intelligence we have If we have DNA then Darwin's theory is the reason why we are here today how we look, how we work, and how we think.

      http://discovermagazine.com/2009/mar/19-dna-agrees-with-all-the-other-science-darwin-was-right/
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        Jul 10 2012: I was invited to express my opinion about whether evolution is over for humans. I expressed my opinion. I understand you consider my opinion to be "foolish". I will note your opinion for future reference.
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        Jul 11 2012: Matthew,
        By way of "future reference " to which I referred previously, may I ask you to peruse this list of great figures in the history of science?:
        Louis Agassiz (1807-1873): glacial geology, ichthyology.
        Charles Babbage (1792-1871): actuarial tables, calculating machine, foundations of computer science.
        Francis Bacon (1561-1626): scientific method of research.
        Robert Boyle (1627-1691): chemistry, gas dynamics.
        Sir David Brewster (1781-1868): optical mineralogy, kaleidoscope.
        Georges Cuvier (1769-1832): comparative anatomy, vertebrate paleontology.
        Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829): thermokinetics.
        Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915): entomology of living insects.
        Michael Faraday (1791-1867): electric generator, electro-magnetics, field theory.
        Sir John A. Fleming (1849-1945): electronics, thermic valve.
        Joseph Henry (1797-1878): electric motor, galvanometer.
        Sir William Herschel (1738-1822): galactic astronomy, double stars.
        James Joule (1818-1889): reversible thermodynamics.
        Lord William Kelvin (1824-1907): absolute temperature scale, energetics, thermodynamics, transatlantic cable.
        Johannes Kepler (1571-1630): celestial mechanics, ephemeris tables, physical astronomy.
        Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778): classification system, systematic biology.
        Joseph Lister (1827-1912): antiseptic surgery.
        Matthew Maury (1806-1873): hydrography, oceanography.
        James C. Maxwell (1831-1879): electrical dynamics, statistical thermodynamics.
        Gregor Mendel (1822-1884): genetics.
        Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872): telegraph.
        Isaac Newton (1642-1727): calculus, dynamics, law of gravity, reflecting telescopes.
        Blaise Pascal (1623-1662): hydrostatics, barometer.
        Louise Pasteur (1822-1895): bacteriology, biogenesis law, pasteurization, vaccination, and immunization.
        Sir William Ramsey (1852-1916): inert gases, isotropic chemistry.
        John Ray (1827-1705): natural history, classification of plants and animals.
        (continued in next reply).
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        Jul 11 2012: John Rayleigh (1842-1919): dimensional analysis, model analysis.
        Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866): non-Euclidean geometry.
        Sir James Simpson (1811-1870): chloroform, gynecology.
        All of these men are "foolish" according to your statement . . . "for someone to say that one spices (sic) has not gone threw (sic) this process and just appeared is foolish. . . ".
        Do you truly list all these men as fools, Matthew? Thank you for your consideration of this list. Be well!
        • Jul 11 2012: considering that all those scientist lived over 200 years ago sure they believed what the science of their time offered them and given the opportunity to know todays knowledge their view could be different if not already believed in it you never know.
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        Jul 11 2012: First there were Creationists. Then there were Evolutionists. Now there are both. I offer three rhetorical questions for you to consider: 1) Do you propose that if something Darwin came up with had been known to Newton it would have changed the Law of Gravity? 2) Do you suggest that Bacon's concept of the Scientific Method would not be what it is if he had only known Darwin's theory? 3) Do you insist that anyone who doubts, questions, or rejects Darwinism is "foolish"? One quote and I leave you to your chosen belief that all but Darwinian Evolutionists are "foolish".QUOTE-- “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree...The difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection , though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.” ― Charles Darwin. That's all I have Matthew. Thank you!
  • Jul 10 2012: I believe that darwinian evolution is a process in witch the physical body of the spices grows and develops to properly adapt to its environment this happens in every organism on this planet this stops at a point where the spices has become the top of its food chain. after the first step takes place I believe that another process begins that is similar to the way that the darwinian theory works but this process happens with our brains and happens on a fast scale.
  • Jun 16 2012: Natural history is revealing as to the dynamic aspects of biological evolution. The human generation span is about twenty years this influences the rate of evolution over time. It tends to be much slower than an animal with a shorter maturing cycle.

    Natural selection weeds out the less fit and molds the direction of evolutionary change. Fortunately, there exists hundreds of thousands of years of human biological evolution and despite the relatively long generation cycle to breeding period the evidence is rich and getting richer over this history of human biological evolution in the fossil record.

    The modern world has changed and as a species we have modified natural selection to include artificial factors that mostly help us live more comfortably and longer. If anything these artificial factors may "weaken" the population and make it more subject to the elemental forces of the ever present selective factors of biological evolution. Also, our niche and numbers has broadened via improved clothing, shelter, food, etc., which may tend well tend to accent differences between populations

    It appears to me, any damping effect on human biological evolution due to our technology and ingenuity would be relatively nil. The effects of our growing numbers and negative impact on the environment may well bring the more basic natural selective forces back into play.

    Regarding you specific question - human evolution continues as it has in the past.
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    Jun 12 2012: Evolution is over the day we die at random, for reasons that have nothing to do directly or indirectly with our genetic information, and the day we chose mates randomly.

    Until then, it's still going on.

    On the other hand, interesting to note that we're clever enough to carry out universal purposes, that our brains once used to live in hunter-gatherer societies have always had everything in them to design particle accelerators.
    Not that we were meant to, of course.
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      Jul 10 2012: If we died at random, then our evolution would be random. But it would still not stop. Our genetic background as a population would still fluctuate and sometimes make for a phenotypic difference. There is no escape. Even random drift is uneven.
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    Jun 12 2012: Evolution does not stop. The 'target' or characteristics that are selected upon change, but selection do not stop. The population structure of our planet is quite different than that of 1,000 or 10,000 years ago. However, the population dynamics in the East is different from the West and 1st and 3rd world countries also have additional differences.

    Fitness, as in the reproductive success of an individual, for humans does not equal to 1. Therefore selection is happening and thus evolution as a process continues.
  • Jun 11 2012: Very true Alex, social and cultural evolution are more imortant than physical evolution, but changing our physical strucutre, the parts that are asociated with our behavior, my in fact be the key to bringing about such changes.