Does Darwin's theory say that we'll evolve even further than we already have?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by science man, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Ok let me just get something straight before I go into the question which's the base of this thread. I'm not an atheist but I'm 100% on board with Darwin's theory of evolution. Do not ask me why or how. Just figure it out for yourselves. Ok now that that is settled, does Darwin's theory of evolution say that we will continue to evolve further than we already have? If so, does it say into what?

    P.S. One thing you will notice (if you have not already) in time is that I'm a big fan of predicting what will happen in the future. Hence my interest in quantum computers, time machines, technology of everything and in general ect.

    mods I wasn't sure whether or not I should put this in here or in the biology forum so be my guest to move it if you wish
     
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  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    It depends on what you mean by "further." Evolution is a process whereby life adapts to its conditions, and evolution is clear that we should continue to adapt to our conditions. If our conditions change rapidly (and one can argue that they did after the agricultural revolution), then we should adapt to meet the needs of the new order of things.

    If conditions were stable, then we could settle into a particular form and stop changing dramatically (much as sharks have looked roughly the same for many millions of years).

    It is possible though that humans could evolve to be *less* intelligent, physically weaker, etc...so evolution is not pushing us "further" in the sense of objectively improving us, it's just pushing us to be well adapted to the environment in which we find yourselves.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Darwinian evolution means that yes, we will continue to evolve. In fact, we may have reached a turning point no less significant than the so-called Cambrian explosion. Things are accelerating. But, it's also a time of great danger, we could also die out rapidly and be an evolutionary dead end. Or we could branch out into new hominids. This is almost certain if we become biologically isolated, like if humans colonized different planets.
     
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  7. what's a physical description of hominids?
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Large-brained bi-pedal apes.
     
  9. CptBork Robbing the Shalebridge Cradle Valued Senior Member

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    We're evolving all the time, that's why you tend to see such distinct traits in humans from each part of the world. But yeah as has been pointed out, we just evolve to survive and reproduce better in whatever environment we happen to be in. A kind of fake but simple example: if there were low amounts of food available and somehow people with reduced brain sizes and lower IQ's were able to survive ok, with the reduced brain meaning they needed less protein to survive and have kids, then eventually we could evolve to have smaller brains. But in reality, Darwin's theory just says nature will select adaptations in our descendants that will allow them to survive under whatever the conditions happen to be. It doesn't predict what those future conditions will be, nor what the adaptations will be as there are many different ways to adapt, but that's where other branches and theories in science are good for filling in the details.

    I note that modern medicine actually gets in the way of evolution, by saving the lives of people whose genetics alone wouldn't suffice to keep them alive and allow them to pass those genes on to their kids. Not saying we should just let them all die so those traits won't keep popping up in the population, but it is a fact that we're interfering with natural selection right now and thus we'll be having lots of diseases and conditions for many generations that would have long ago vanished in a harsher world.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That doesn't get in the way of evolution.

    Widening and deepening the gene pool, in any way whatsoever, provides more material basis for future evolutionary change in the event of a selection. Human beings are currently deficient or narrow, compared with other animals of similar size and distribution, in genetic variety.
     
  11. cool hopefully we can then be able to move things with our minds.
     
  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Unlikely. Where would such a power start? Evolution requires a gradient of successful adaptation that provides an advantage. Or, it can use something adapted for one purpose for something else. It cannot make leaps of invention. More likely we will use technology to accomplish the same thing.
     
  13. You got any cooler ideas that will happen in the process of evolution?
     
  14. krreagan Registered Senior Member

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    Evolution is a continuous process, we are more evolved as a species today then we were yesterday, albeit to such a small degree that it's indistinguishable.

    It never stops! Humans have-and will increasingly-interfeared with the natural progression of evolution, but we can never stop it.

    KRR
     
  15. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    As noted, the process is not "onward and upward". The things that develop develop gradually based on random mutation with the beneficial mutations being disproportionately passed to the next generation and the harmful mutations tending to die out. (Though what is "beneficial" can be counterintuitive...intelligence is only sometimes a net advantage, for example.)

    Guessing at what will develop is nearly impossible, but it would rarely be anything like "gills" as those dramatic changes are rare. It would more likely be something like "teeth better adapted to a agriculturally based diet" or "psychological traits better suited to non-hunter-gatherer living."

    We are however at the stage where natural evolution might take a backseat to genetic engineering. We still likely will not be able to move things with our minds (as there is no genetic basis for such an ability), but one imagines parents will want offspring that are smarter, stronger and better looking than our current troll-like human children.
     
  16. synthesizer-patel Sweep the leg Johnny! Valued Senior Member

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    sure - selection is still going on, but instead of natural selection it is more skewed towards sexual selection.

    So look forward to a race of huge breasted Uber Babes!

    (this isnt as flippant as it may first appear)
     
  17. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    Yes,
    we will have green hair and beard,the longer the better,
    and we will feed directly from solar energy through the process of photosynthesis.
    Thus we solve the overpopulation of the earth.
     
  18. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    hmm, that's weird, i mean, we are still the same since, well, 15 000 years?
     
  19. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    .

    you forgot that we will be able to fly, and use our mind power to move things, we will even be able to live underwater!
     
  20. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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    Evolution/adaptation happens as the result of environmental changes. Wait til global warming hits!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Actually at least one significant change happened about 10,000 years ago- our ability to digest milk into adulthood.
     
  22. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Just think about if there was a evolution and the humans who didn't like the way the evolution took place just killed those that evolved not allowing them to spread their genes so others could advance as well. :shrug:
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's always happening, we just don't see the effects because it's so slow.
     

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