TED Conversations

Ahmed Ben Yaghlen

Student, Youth & Science Association of Tunisia

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Does evolution destroy us?

Evolution occurs when a mutation is beneficial to survival right? Well with us humans, we have civilizations and surviving in our time means being educated and getting a job and making money. Well could the next stage of our evolution be us merging with technology to make us more efficient? Or on a scarier thought, could we create computers and robots that surpass us, take us all out, and those robots continuously build more robots that surpass the last in an exponential growth of inteligence?Could that be the future of human evolution?

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    Jun 18 2013: Look at it this way.
    The evolution of nature created man.
    The evolution of men created culture.
    The evolution of culture created technology.
    The evolution of technology creates something new.

    In total it is the evolution of self-awareness from consciousness.
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      . . 100+

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      Jun 18 2013: I know I am only a caterpillar ;-) who can read :) and write :) and at the end of the day there isn’t much hope for me becoming human......but.......as I do push myself to evolve also,
      I would appreciate it when you would instead use the word human :-) ♥ in your insightful writing.
      • Jun 18 2013: 'Hu' - breath of god, 'man' -mind ( or hand ) in Sanskrit.
        As far as i understand ' Hu' is the degree of our awareness of our ' Hu '
        No religion required :)
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          Jun 18 2013: " ' Hu' ' man' = Degree of Awareness Mind

          huh!....I am liking Sanskrit:)
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        Jun 19 2013: Nothing can destroy us, says Vedas.
        Om Bhur Buvaha Suvaha
        Thath Savithur Varenyam
        Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
        Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayath
        which means:
        I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and
        divine grace of universal intelligence.
        We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.

        The ancient Aryans went to the extent that man was called 'Amritasya Putrah' (Son of the immortal) in Svetasvatara Upanishad.
        I am happy that you like Sanskrit. :)
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          Jun 28 2013: ....I give thanks...
          to "a benevolent arrangement of things,
          the greater part of life is sunshine"
          showing up always in form of the friend
          always and forever on time...

          ... liking Sanskrit a lot :)
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        Jun 19 2013: To be a writing, reading caterpillar is very special, Juliette.
        More special than a walking, talking human being.
        However, to be or not to be, that's the question, for everything is evolving and doesn't pause at any state.
    • Jun 18 2013: I don't know how true it is, but it's the way i look at it :)

      Hi, Frans !!!
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        Jun 19 2013: Hi, Natasha
        Could it be a little bit true?
        Never anything put into words can be true for truth is the limit of what you can see about that is.
        And words are limited to what we all can think.
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      Jun 21 2013: .
      "The evolution of technology creates" invalid (harmful) happiness,
      which creates humankind self-extinction, too!

      (from Be Happy Validly!)
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    Jun 19 2013: Ahmed,
    I believe we have merged with technology, which is a tool we created as evolving humans. Like any other tool, we can use technology to destroy ourselves, or, use it to learn about, and contribute to our self-awareness and consciousness as we continue to evolve:>)
  • Jun 26 2013: Biological evolution occurs when a population's distribution of traits changes over time, not due to any underlying programming. That is it. There is nothing at all about "beneficial to survival". It is possible for a population to evolve itself right into extinction. Evolution is survival-neutral. Natural selection, which is one of several potential evolutionary driving forces, but not the only one, is survival-mediated. However, there are other forces, including purely stochastic elements. The idea that evolution is automatically related to survival is simplistic. There is nothing deterministic about evolution. There is no innate "direction" to it. There is no such thing as a "next stage" in evolution, because a "next stage" is deterministic, and evolution is non-deterministic.

    Evolution is an example of a long-term chaotic process, not a long-term deterministic process.
  • Jun 23 2013: I tend to think of the term evolution in another way. If I were to redefine evolution to suit most peoples taste it would be a change in a species that is advantageous to its survival..something like X-men type evolution with superpowers. But it doesn't work that way..evolution i believe is merely a change in a species that enables it to survive more efficiently-if we are going to talk about the entire progression of a species starting from its primordial origins.Some species might probably NOT even need to evolve because its environment suits it very very well... ever wonder why algae or lichens still exist? why didn't they ever evolve into something very complex like a mammal or a reptile?why did the algae refuse to evolve into something else? probably because it doesn't need to...

    your question is difficult to answer. You are worried about biological beings undergoing evolution to merge with technology... something like a Borg (startrek). But This is very difficult to answer as we do not know the full range of spectrum that evolution can do to a biologic being. So far we have seen evolution as "biologic" in its being... animals that can sense extremely low frequency vibrations. Animals that can see different light spectrums beyond our range.. Fish that evolve limbs because they spend more time in land that in the water. These in my opinion are changes that are somewhat predictable... or at least, it is what we know. Can genetic mutations occur that will allow us to develop mind reading abilities? develop some form of laser vision?..evolution happens because we need to adapt to our environment. why on earth would we develop these capabilities? If we were to integrate with machines/technology... it probably won't be via evolution. more of tinkering with the machines to adapt to US rather than we biologic beings to adapt to IT. so to answer your question, I don't think we will evolve in such a way. Im more worried about cancer and its ability to jump generations.
  • Jun 20 2013: I think it's naive to say humans stopped evolving. As long as we don't start eating rocks or stop inhaling air, we will always be a part of nature. And nature is not confined within earth either. Yes we can protect ourselves from earthquakes, floods and diseases for now, but that doesn't mean we will always be able to. Yes we may have taken giant leaps in technology in a short period of our existance but a quasar nearby or explosions in the sun can well alter our atmosphere and our style of living. Whatever nature gives us, we can find a way to survive, but that also changes us in the long run. We can reach singularity where a human consciousness can be transferred to a non-living thing (ie robot) and we'll be out of natural evolution but then we'll cease to be humans, we'll be something else. Believing we're no longer evolving now is the same as people believing 2000 years ago that humans were perfect beings created in the image of some god. Only constant thing is change.
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      • Jun 21 2013: Thanks for the links Juan, watched em long time ago :)
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      Jun 21 2013: It depends on how you describe our evolution, physical and/or mental. There are many scientists who openly state we are no longer undergoing a physical evolution, suggesting that our current human form is the final pattern locked within our DNA, all other mutations being insignificant. It is often stated that we don't use our full brain "potential", not to be confused with a percentage of some physical quantity associated with the physical brain.

      Example, not all of us are super math wizards, even though we may conclude that we all have that potential. I tend to confer with this assessment until something better comes along.
      • Jun 21 2013: Not true. Every cold you catch, every flu you go thru leave a mark on your DNA, as long as you survive them. These genes are passed onto your offsprings making them less prone to those illnesses. But different strands of flu comes out every year. We evolve with them. Why do you think most of our 3 million pair of genes is junk? It is a history book of everything your ancestors've been thru.

        And the braşn capacity thing..brain is not some magic organ that would allow us to bend spoons or fly if we could use 100% of it, it is simply a network of nerves & neurons. Oh, and we do use 100% of our brains, just not at the same time. It's like you can't read a book while watching tv. Different areas in the brain are responsible for different tasks, simple as that.
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          Jun 21 2013: That is incorrect. It has not been established that the DNA records every incident that occurs in our life. DNA is a Molecule, a chemistry set for life and how to interact within it.To my knowledge no one has done a study to see if the DNA in each cell of our body were changed after a bout of the flue. Where did you get your information? I would be interested in reviewing it.

          The DNA structure is very stable and not so easily disturbed. It is also self-repairing and self-replicating.

          It has been established by laboratory experiments that the brain can cause very real physical conditions within our bodies. We can increase the heat emitted from our hands and this has an influence on the environment, small but detectable. People have been known to do extraordinary feats of physical strength in times of stress that defy the bodies ability to endure weight and force. No, we don't use all our brain's "potential". If we did we would all be a clone of Dr. Michi Kaku. :) I know I would. (note: see changes in previous post).

          And no, you can't read a book and watch TV at the same time. You eyes scan the environment and bring the window of focus to the forefront of you mind. You can read the book, then watch the TV but not both at the same time.

          I don't know what the 3 million pairs of junk genes are and neither does anyone else.

          You might find it interesting to know that some people are born with a brain condition and their entire brain is located in a mass the size of a tennis ball. Some have a smaller area. You would never know because they don't exhibit any symptom and can be very intelligent. Such people make brain scientists scratch their heads when reviewing their Brain Scans. I understand there are some scanning experiments going on concerning these people. It will be interesting to read the results.

          I edited my previous post to deal with your objection to the brain potential statement. I hope this meets with your approval. Did I leave anything out? :)
        • Jun 23 2013: "Every cold you catch, every flu you go thru leave a mark on your DNA, as long as you survive them. These genes are passed onto your offsprings making them less prone to those illnesses."

          Sorry, no, that's not how evolution works.
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          Jun 26 2013: John -- can I get a link to the 'tennis-ball-brains." I might be one. At least that's what my wife tell me! All jokes aside, that is a link I'd like to see. I want to learn about that!

          Also John, mother's who breast feed pass antibodies to their offspring that protect them during the time of their mild dependency. That actually helps educate the immune system of the baby and this makes it stronger. Most pediatricians will tell you " always Breast FEED if you can!" That is, if you are female w/a child. Not all of us are equipped to breast feed.

          Oh, & John, I'm going to sign up w/Udacity. There is also another competing sight that was discussed in a TED talk. I'll pass that link (to the Ted Talk a least) in a reply/note later. I"m at the library right now. The browser here doesn't have all my links in it.
      • Jun 22 2013: "I don't know what the 3 million pairs of junk genes are and neither does anyone else."

        But they are still there, and they are being discovered one by one. They just have no function. They're inactive. Sometimes these inactive genes become active and birth defects occur where a baby is born with a tail or is covered with hair.

        "The examples of human vestigiality are numerous, including the anatomical (such as the human appendix, tailbone, wisdom teeth, and inside corner of the eye), the behavioral (goose bumps and palmar grasp reflex), sensory (decreased olfaction), and molecular (junk DNA). " You can do a lookup on junk DNA on google.

        You brain has areas for every limb and organ you have. If you lose your left arm, for example, your left eye vision could improve a lot because the areas that control them are pretty close. When you lose a limb the area that is tasked for that particular organ is of no use anymnore and other tasked areas start using this area of the brain. Sometimes this area is never used, as if the limb is not lost, causing you to still feel your lost limb, like how people who lost their legs say their legs are itchy sometimes.

        And about the brain causing real physical conditions within our bodies...Did I say anything contradictory? Of course it does, because brain controls every limb and organ, is the control center of your sensory network. There is no magic potential here. Just because some people can still use their vestigial traits (ie being able to move ears, raising body hair upon wish, or even locally increasing blood pressure) does not make them have greater potential than other people. Everyone has these traits, but the genes are inactive.

        And about external forces changing our DNA...Our bodies is a conglomerate of many different organisms. We have billions of bacteria in our body,our cells are different. Bone cells are different, skin cells are different. Our body even contains the DNA of the food we eat. You can google it.
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          Jun 22 2013: Good Job Bora.

          I did more than Google it. I studied at Udacity University. They have a nice course there on Evolution and Genetics. You appear to have an inquisitive mind. I think you would enjoy it. It's free. Check it out. From your questions, it appears you have recently discovered something about our bodies.

          Ernest Rutherford discovered that atoms were mostly empty space, he was afraid to get out of bed for fear he'd fall through the floor.

          Earlier, you said it was naive to think we have stopped evolving. But, the top scientists in the world state that we have stopped evolving, because evolution is a function of environmental pressures. Many species of plants and animals stopped evolving many millions of years ago. Human beings are relatively recent players in the evolution game.

          Have a look at this video featuring Dr. Michio Kaku, talking about human evolution to get a real good picture of just how little the pressure is for us to evolve.

          The evolutionary pressure that existed far back in our past is no longer a function of our evolution. According to Dr. Kaku: in the future, we will look pretty much the same as we do now.

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          Jun 24 2013: @ John Moonstroller
          That is seen too simply in my opinion, while it is true there is no real environmental pressure yet. You don't include technological evolution.
          I don't think the contemporary human form is the most ideal one in every environment.

          When we are able to properly engineer and enhance organisms, we are only bound by ethics and our creativity. Some social groups will want to distinct themselves, think of races in fantasy films.
      • Jun 22 2013: John,

        I've seen every Michio Kaku video out there :P

        But as I've said earlier, environmental factors are not confined within this earth. Humanity, it it doesn't end soon, will go to space. Space has different environment. If Humanity settles on another planet, environment will be different there too. Humanity will evolve. We are even different than the people 2000 years ago. Even today average height of people is higher than 100 years ago. Baby steps. Evolution doesn't necessarily mean mutation of genes and changing into some other species in time. Who knows environmental factors won't change in the next 200 years on earth? What if earth enters an ice age that will last 100,000 years? I'm pretty sure there will be physiological differences between people now and people 100,000 years from now.

        Will humanity be even taller next millenium? More obese perhaps? Less fertile? Even the underwear we use, the drinks we drink, the food we eat affect our fertility. Sure, we can have artificial insemination but that is also due to changes in human physiology, and that is evolution. (living things don't necessarily evolve to a "better" state).

        Factors constantly change. In recent history, humanity has created its own factors. But they are factors nonetheless. This is why I said it is naive to think humanity has stopped evolving.
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          Jun 22 2013: Oh... Okay. I understand what you mean now. I still disagree from a basic evolutionary standpoint but space is a different horse to ride. I guess we'll see when we start cruising around out there.

          And, yes, I hope there are some serious physiological changes in people. Hopefully, I'd like to see them within the next ten years or so, myself.

          All things remaining the same, I doubt the human race will be here in 100,000 years.
      • Jun 23 2013: "There are many scientists who openly state we are no longer undergoing a physical evolution"

        No evolutionary biologists say that.

        "It is often stated that we don't use our full brain "potential""

        Not by educated people.
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          Jun 23 2013: I'm educated. I say that. Dr. Michio Kaku said that. He's educated too.
          Are you an evolutionary biologist?
          "Question: Have human beings stopped evolving? Will humans look any different in the future? (Submitted by Kiran Uttarkar)

          Michio Kaku: Kiran, if you read science fiction you might think that humans in the future will be slender, short, bald, with big heads and big eyes that sort of the stereotype that you get from the comic books. However, you have to realize that as far a gross evolutionary pressure is concerned; there is none anymore on the human race. For example, in the old days, when we lived in the forests, there was enormous selection and pressures placed on us to develop a large brain, to understand how to use tools, to run, to be able to navigate, to survive in the forests. Enormous pressures on us because if you were not fit to live in the forest, you died. And so your genes are not here today..."
          ~ http://bigthink.com/videos/mankind-has-stopped-evolving
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    Jun 19 2013: Let's twist this ever so slightly and refer to ourselves not as evolved humans but as evolved parasites ravaging the planet and destroying everything that would prove beneficial to long term existence here. The evolution of technology has intensified and caused the destruction to speed up exponentially. We don't have a defense against ourselves, instead of our best traits being passed down to future generations we are leaving a horrendous mess in our wake and complicating existence for future generations.
    Merging our bodies physically with technology may become the answer when faced with losing a small child to a terminal illness or leaving a young family to function without a parent.
    We already store all of our intelligence and knowledge that's been gained throughout history in technological databases to be recovered on a whim with our fingertips.
    Cell phone attachment is borderline addiction, people can't seem to function without access to some form of technology every minute of the day. In a sense we have already been surpassed by technology and in an exorbitant number of situations, completely replaced. We have created our own worst enemy in many of the technological advancements that we've seen thus far. Robots that build machinery parts and do a significant number of the jobs that used to be performed by humans at a much higher proficiency rate is already common.
    As for our level of efficiency, we are only more efficient with the access to that technology, if the systems went down we would actually prove to be less evolved as I don't think many people would be able to survive.
    Without internet I'm under the impression that far too many people would be lost and wandering in the dark without a clue as to how to proceed in a world without answers in one central place but actually have to be learned through trial and error.
    Human evolution has all but ceased and technological evolution moves forward every day at an astonishing pace.
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      Jun 21 2013: .
      I agree.

      Certainly, humankind will be killed by technology.
      The only way to save ourselves is to quit the invalid (harmful) happiness of technology.

      (from Be Happy Validly!). .
  • Jun 18 2013: Humans are off the natural evolution path, we are not evolving physically anymore. Our evolution has more to do with the mind and social interactions.
    • Jun 18 2013: Humans are considered to be non evolving species. It's because there is no room for consciousness in the dictionary of Darwin.
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      Jun 18 2013: where do you get the idea our species has sidestepped natural evolution?
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        Jun 19 2013: Environmental changes selected the appropriate genes for survival until a thinking mind started to change the environment to fit the existing genes.

        The reason why humanity could spread around the globe is that they had become independent from their surroundings. They make whatever is necessary for any given place.

        If you look at nature as a living body than our species behaves within it like a tumor.
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        Jun 20 2013: @Juan Valdez
        It looks like we're not able to change our behavior in a decisive way to avoid natural things from happening. Perhaps some will survive the destruction of that cradle that brought us to life.
        As you pointed out elsewhere there are threats from volcanoes or from outer space and as it was with the dinosaur a few better equipped species brought about a new world and again this time it could be that this time the same or another kind of catastrophe will create a new stage on which technology plays a major role.
        Consciousness can't happen in a static world, it must change and develop without end.
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        Jun 23 2013: @Juan Valdez

        I can't react directly on your elaborate answer by lack of a Reply button.

        I'm not sure what point you will make but I quote from your text:
        "existence/non-existence of God"

        You first tell me who or what God is then I will tell you about the existence of that.
        If that question isn't answered properly than it is a non issue for science.
    • Jun 19 2013: Humans are off the natural evolution path,
      Scott, how can you make this statement? We are most certainly not off the path of evolution. We may be making strides to change those mutations that occur and are not successful, but that doesn't stop mutations from happening. I believe we are not seeing major strides in the evolutionary scale because the big reason it happens and is successful depends on the bobbing of the solar system out of and back into the milky way. This 60 million year cycle has been shown to not only kill off species, but to allow for an explosion of biodiversity. Other drastic changes in enviroment may also explain why a species can go several million years without mutating or dieing out.
      • Jun 20 2013: we are off the natural evolutionary path because essentially we have conquered most of the natural forces which cause natural selection and evolution. We have conquered many fatal disease and are capable of preventing the rest.

        Predators: the only predators we have are ourselves.

        there is nothing to prevent bad genes from being passed along which means we are essentially off the natural evolution path.
    • Jun 20 2013: very very wrong humans are still evolving and we have several times in our recorded history but these changes are very subtle it will be a very long time before there are major changes noticed and the idea that humans are non evolving species is a terrible simple minded idea what so you think this ape body still with a tail bone hair on our body and many other animal features is just going to stop for literally no reason after millions of years of it changing?
      • Jun 20 2013: who said for no reason, the reason I am stating is that nearly all human genes are being passed along now. Evolution is caused by only certain genes being good enough to keep the individual alive and thus are passed down to the next generation. If every gene gets passed on to the next generation then there is no evolution.
        • Jun 20 2013: That is illogical from what you say that means more genes are passing down and evolution is only changing to survive better (it is mostly) but what if now are bodies are adapting to fight heart disease diabetes dying at age of 80 or anything else want an example how about malaria and actually there has been an adaptation to malaria it's called the sickle cell gene which reduces oxygen flow but increases resistance to malaria. it is a mutation and it helps survival rates also it is higher in concentration in africa and high amount of deaths from malaria.
          The real question is how does evolution know that we're ok now we don't need its adaptations anymore and it can stop evolution cannot distinguish between it keeping you alive from saber tooth tigers or your back from deforming from sitting in a really bad chair all your life
        • Jun 20 2013: ps. sorry for the bad grammer i got lazy haha
      • Jun 20 2013: sickle cell adapted because those without it died, or got very sick leaving those with the condition to thrive and pass on their well adapted genes.
        What I am saying is that there is too much movement of people and genes, as well as too high of a survival rate for all genes (very low infant mortality in any western area). To allow specialization which is the main ingredient in evolution.

        I cannot see evolution to fight heart disease since for the most part people breed before heart disease can kill, or are medically saved allowing them to pass on the genes responsible, thus no evolution. Evolution is the process of genes dying out and the surviving ones giving advantage to the descendants, so if the vast majority of genes are being passed on, they disadvantaged ones have less chance of dying out and thus stalling out evolution.
        • Jun 21 2013: ok i get what you mean now. you are implying that all evolution is survival of the fittest. Well that's is the biggest problem you have because for one we are still not positive what causes evolution but survival of the fittest is the oldest and first ideas of evolution and ii generally not considered true.

          And the problem with your idea of evolution is that genes just don't die out i really wish i could give you specific details you should go read some articles of people much smarter than I.
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    Jun 17 2013: I'm not worried about robots taking over. Intelligence implies unpredictable behavior. Machines that do not behave predictably are not considered "intelligent". They are considered broken.
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    May 30 2013: L’Évolution consciente se produit au sein de notre génération parce que nous avons une plus grande compréhension des processus de la nature: le gène, l'atome, le cerveau, l'origine de l'univers, et toute l'histoire de la création, du Bing Bang jusqu'à nous. Nous sommes en train de changer notre compréhension de la façon dont la nature évolue ; nous allons de l'évolution inconsciente par la sélection naturelle à l'évolution consciente par le choix. Avec cette connaissance accrue et la puissance qu'elle nous donne, nous pouvons détruire le monde ou nous pouvons participer à un avenir de dimensions incommensurables. Le pouvoir de co-destruction ou de co-création a été mis entre nos mains. .
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      May 30 2013: The Human conditions and circumstances have always been unprecedented. Since our proliferation from Africa, we have always devised new environments for ourselves always adapting to new situations.
      Yet there is a scary variance, we now have the capacity to destroy civilization and all life in the planet in the process. Can humanity evolve a sense of responsibility if anything for self-preservation? Or is the undirected evolution of our culture too sluggish or inappropriate? Can the same be asked of Biological evolution?
  • Jun 24 2013: Yes.

    As we watch the Hanford Washington Nuclear Waste Storage Tanks leaking their contents
    into the nearby river we must address the idea of humankind becoming extinct due to stupidity.

    Occam's Razor
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    Jun 23 2013: Evolution is not an answer to a question. It is the question. Human beings, Homo Sapiens, have a frontal cortex in the brain that allows us to perceive the future, and build abstract mental models for planning, and survival actions. Evolution in humans can be literally, and substantially self guided. In other words let's all get our heads out of the sand. Start evolving, philosophically, psychologically, socially, and physically into the creature capable of sustaining itself, through space exploration (in the long run) , but soberly facing the essential survival task of using our existing resources to the highest possible degree of efficiency, and cooperation. This will defuse conflicts, and spend our energies on symbiosis, instead of counterproductive primitive predation philosophy and mindless consumption leading to our extinction as we
    are now doing. Mindless predatory capitalism, oppression, corporate feudalism and economic slavery will only hasten our demise.
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    Jun 18 2013: well evolution could work to our advantage if we wanted it to, the problem that we have with evolution is that human evolution is not influenced genetically it is influenced by the decisions that we make, which might not always be beneficial, like our predisposition to believe that money is the source of progress is an evolutionary mistake that was caused by decision, but if humans used their evolutionary capacity to create technology for the higher efficiency of energy, better preservation of nature, and the expansion of technology for the purpose of human health, then our evolution would have been well worth it.
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    Jun 17 2013: Another reason I'm not concerned that machines will be smarter than humans: As we make a step forward, we become one step ahead of where we were a step ago. When we create a machine as smart as a human, we will become smarter than that machine.
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    Jun 16 2013: By definition, yes.

    Since evolution is the changing of something and [us] is what we are, then "evolution of us" means we are changing. Thus, we are no longer the [us] that we were. [Us] is therefore destroyed by evolution.
  • Jun 9 2013: Perhaps we can strive to become like ants, or sharks or many other species that hadn't changed in 100s of millions of years. How they manged this beats me.
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      Jun 17 2013: They stayed true to themselves :)
      • Jun 18 2013: They most certainly did :-)
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          Jun 18 2013: Beautiful! I'll put it on my desk as follows :-)
          " we can strive to become like ants, eagles, dolphins, butterflies or many other species that hadn't changed in 100s of millions of years. " (putting in animals that I would choose to be ;-)
  • May 31 2013: Yes, eventually, one way or another, the current human species is doomed.

    The most likely scenarios are:

    1. We will change the environment to the degree that genetic adaption is required to survive.
    2. We will invent technologies that will displace us.
    3. We will intentionally modify the genes of our descendants.
    4. A microbe or natural disaster will wipe us out.

    There are many other possible scenarios. Check out this talk:


    The least likely scenario is that the current human species will survive unchanged until the end of the Earth.

    The big question is when.
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    May 30 2013: The Borg or the Terminator or what about a kinder gentler version of either.

    Sometimes I think Sci Fi is very prescient. Nano engineering will likely make Borg type bodies possible.We already have the collective mentality.

    Lets hope we don't have the Terminator as he will go around destroying governments and marriages.
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      May 30 2013: It makes me smile, just to read this, Alexander. I feel the same way but I don't agree with your question "Evolution occurs when a mutation is beneficial to survival right?".
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        May 30 2013: Not always Ahmed. sometimes the mutation gets eaten before it can procreate. There may have to be many mutations covering a long time period before enough are able upset the population numbers through breeding.
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      Jun 18 2013: Very nicely put how our basic perceptions are influenced critically by the interests of corporations and by other systems which we ourselves have created. Also completely agree about the machines and the wrong belief about their intelligence.
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    Jun 29 2013: Did we replace the Neanderthals? Or did their inadequacies to adapt remove them?
    Evolution does not replace it merely makes attempts at change where better changes endure.
    So if we are someday bettered by our descendants and they have observed/learned our ways will we be in danger?
  • Jun 29 2013: I think that technological increase with regard to artificial intelligence will have an upper limit. Our machines will continue to get more complex, capable, and similar to us...however, humans have a deeply ingrained and cherished concept of what it means to be human, and I don't think we are willing to let go of this. The creation of supremely intelligent robots won't happen overnight, and during this slow and steady progression, the scientific community will likely be met with strong opposition from the humanists, and from any scientists who also realize the value of humanity. We are in control of our machines, and I have faith that we will be cautious enough to maintain such control in the future.
  • Jun 29 2013: Nonthing is impossible:)
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    Jun 27 2013: Yes, is a very real possibility but as you could see on the latest events with the Koreas it won't be so easy to happen but i as i said on my first comment we have to pay attention and contribute to change.
  • Jun 26 2013: Thank you!
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    Jun 26 2013: Here is a video that gives some of the most current info on how evolution and Human Evolution, in particular, is viewed. http://www.ted.com/talks/harvey_fineberg_are_we_ready_for_neo_evolution.html

    As for the rest here; the debates & subdebates:
    Got it. Offending comments deleted. Good luck. Try to inject some authoritative Science into this and try to at least link to the source where you get your information. If you learned this in school, say so. If nothing else, cite Wikipedia w/a link. Read the article you cite. Even if the experts disagree, you can still cite the debate via web link -- somewhere. Wikipedia articles are good about having "Controversy" sections describing areas where experts disagree.

    I guess my professional training has spoiled me on fun debates over . . . stuff. Sorry, gotta leave it there. Peace. Out!
  • Jun 26 2013: My thoughts are that the iterative driver of all existing systems, where in everything manifest follows similar emergent self-reflective chaotic complex mathematical rules, is the Singular Consciousness reproaching a whole knowingness which then expands once more. More specifically, when humans interface intimately and fully, and quantum computing (eg. D-wave based in Vancouver) divides the second into trillions of calculations, what TIME will we as a species exist in? When we can simulate a universe of possibilities in a microsecond where will our segregations reside? Not in space not in time but only in unity trapped in the limits of our space-time. I think then as WE the oneness exist apart from the natural law In order to experience experience once more we will as we have into infinity simulate a universe of universes seeding with emergent feedback from beginning to end all the determined choices on the playground of real consciousness. We now, in time, riding the edge of the paradoxical "present" are a function that complete system in which entropy and complexity evolve to begin again and again. Our necessary movement in time had to have been for everything to become. In short I think technology is organic, there is both free will and determinism, reaching the conscious singularity is our ultimate driver and emergent behaviour is as universal as the water drop of an idea in my grade 1/2 classroom. So........ If you could be me could you still judge me? I believe you are me and I love me so I love you too. After all, if all of our probabilistic paths are written for us to choose from how can I judge you when you choose the wrong one? Some people don't have many good probable outcomes.
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      Jun 26 2013: How cool is that! That is so wonderful! Here is a gift. You might enjoy this: http://weavesilk.com/

      Back in the day, I taught 3rd grade for a while. Those kids were collectively so much smarter than me! And i hate to admit it, but sometimes (many times) my classroom management reflected that fact. I also taught first graders for a month. But that was too short a time. Enjoy. I'm gonna come back & read this again.
      • Jun 26 2013: Thank you Juan. That was meaningful for me in many ways. This is the first time I have shared these thought cohesively. I am glad someone read to understand it and found connection.
  • Jun 25 2013: Evolution is exemplified by the phoenix, through destruction comes rebirth. Regardless of how the evolution occurs the reality is that the succeeding group will create and establish a new paradigm, those unable to accommodate themselves for survival will face extinction, evolution is more than just mutation as mentioned with the robot theory their are many ways in which intelligence can develop, if history has shown us anything its that as groups of evolved individuals increase those unable to accommodate fight those who are looking to enter into the new paradigm. Like the kings falling to the masses or the dictators in the east being subdued by protestors, people who have adapted and gained power will be the first to lose that power to the next generation of evolved individuals. Yes evolution always destroys us because those unable to join the evolutionary shift will fight against it so they may still survive, in which case survival of the fittest takes over and we see whether or not the evolutionary change has brought about a great enough change that the paradigm shift and the evolved individuals succeed and gain power until the become contested by future generations. Coming full circle, returning to the phoenix idea, as we destroy ourselves we create our rebirth in some sense. The level of destruction however is based on what factors ? : how stable the current paradigm is, how much power the current individuals with advantages have, and how significant is the evolutionary change of the contesting individuals. Ultimately as any of these factors increase the level of destruction increases. Again the endless cycle of the phoenix both constant destruction and constant rebirth, ying and yang, one does not exist without the other.
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    Jun 24 2013: My point Jim, was that only those mutations that are retained by the species are those that can benefit the species and allow an advantage or a better fit with a changing environment; not to dwell on the rate molecular mutants appear on the DNA chain. So, as the environment becomes more polluted, those physical attributes a mutation will manifest can be adapted and insure that we as the human race will survive or better yet evolve.
    • Jun 26 2013: Your "point" is wrong ... the vast majority of mutations are neutral. And deleterious mutations are retained too ... that's why there are genetic diseases. Evolution is a slow process ... by the time one deleterious mutation has been dropped from the gene pool, numerous others have been added. And whether a trait is beneficial or deleterious depends on circumstances ... many traits, such as sickle cell, are both beneficial and deleterious, depending on the environment and how they manifest (sickle cell is deleterious when inherited from both parents).

      " better yet evolve"

      Again, evolution is simply the change over time of the frequency of alleles in a population; the popular notion of evolution as "getting better" is not part of modern evolutionary science.
  • Jun 24 2013: "Are you an evolutionary biologist?"

    My brother is the human evolution correspondent for Science magazine, so I know a thing or two about it ... more than you or Michio Kaku, neither of whom are evolutionary biologists. But in any case, Kaku said no such thing ... he said there is not "a gross evolutionary pressure", which is nothing at all like saying "we are no longer undergoing a physical evolution". In fact, in your very source, he said "evolution is still taking place, it takes place every time two people mate. It takes place inside our bodies, in our immune systems, in our body chemistry. Evolution is still taking place."
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      • Jun 26 2013: Please follow the thread ... I merely repeated John Moonstroller's quotation of Kaku, for which he gave a citation. What I took objection to is John's claim that Kaku, in addition to the quoted statement, had asserted that "we are no longer undergoing a physical evolution" -- Kaku said no such thing ... in fact, he said otherwise. It isn't Kaku I'm disagreeing with, it's John's erroneous argument from authority that put words in Kaku's mouth.
  • Jun 23 2013: Humans will never stop evolving... we will always evolve to our environment. Whether we will develop unusual capacities to withstand pollution, certain chemicals.. dangerous mutations, etc.. problem is... how long do these "evolutionary" changes take place? at the rate we are poisoning the environment that sustains us.... will we survive? or will we develop deleterious mutations that will enhance the formation of cancers that will jump generations and kill us all. Will time allow us to evolve beyond these difficulties? or are these things just happening too fast for evolution to catch up? I don't think the fish grew limbs overnight... nor did the elephant grew a long trunk in a hundred years... can evolution catch up? or can we change the environment and push it back to what it was 500 years ago.