This is a question I've been thinking about for some time now.
And when I saw a cartoon pic in one of the discussions here, it reminded me of this question and decided to post this thread. (Sorry if it's repeated, I didn't really check)
If we invented many things that help us live our lives and do our jobs much easier, will that make us evolve backwards to the point where we lose some of our naturally selected organs that give us some abilities?
I know that all of us won't witness it if it happens but I'm just wondering!
I don't know about the percentage but yes I know it's a large one!
We have an "Islamic" university!! Specialized in Islamic studies. (Imam University)
But also there is a new university less than 2 years old (KAUST), specialized in science and technology. So I hope this will increase the percentage of degrees in other studies. I also hope that science in this university is not 'Islamized'.
Evolution doesn't work like that. There is no 'backward', like we become more primitive. We improve. That's what evolution is about-- adaption.
An interesting theory I used to discuss with a friend was that we could, a long, LONG time from now, evolve into something like Greys. With the continued use of technology replacing our normal mobility and activity, we may evolve:
Longer, thinner fingers to deal better with fine circuitry and because we would have no need for more robust, stronger fingers when we are no longer hunting.
Larger, more complex eyes that absorb more light or perhaps more of the light spectrum beyond what we can currently see (an interesting tidbit: flowers that appear plain yellow or red to us are actually sometimes colored on the ultraviolet spectrum, where we can't see-- that is, bees and other insects don't see that plain yellow or red flower, they may see a white flower with a bright 'runway' pattern to help guide them in to feed on nectar in the center).
A smaller nose, and our olfactory senses may dull further (it's already known we used to smell much better than we do now; we have certain olfactory nerves that are vestigial/useless because we have no need for them anymore, since we're not out in the wild hunting and gathering all the time) because we will be in more lab-like environments that require sight more than smell-- and the same thing may happen to our ears, becoming smaller on the outside because we do not have to hear as far for any type of survival.
Our skin color may dull to very pale tone by default when we gradually get less and less sun as a species.
We may lose muscle tone and become very lithe / stringy types of people with no need to be strong anymore, when technology does everything for us.
Movies that touch on how easily this could come to fruition are things like 'Surrogate', where people lay all day in a sort of bed and allow their surrogate to live for them. 'Wall-E', where everyone is guided around their duties by chairs and technology gets them ready every day, so they needn't lift a finger (although they're depicted as obese, I have a feeling that the human race may adapt to need LESS food, instead of more; it's possible we would consume dehydrated food much like astronauts, a possibility observed in older 'futuristic' movies where there were instant dinners in the future world).
Just a thought!
The point is more or less that evolution does not occur in reverse, but only moves forward. If we re-adopt traits we used to have, it would be because they became useful again, which does not mean 'evolving backward' by any means.
I know what you mean.
But when I said "backwards" I didn't mean re-adopting previous traits, of course if they come back then that means we need them. What I meant was losing some 'current' traits to technology without adopting any new or old ones! And if the needed technology is not supplied in that time for some reason, this could severely affect the survival of the human species.
If that happened, then humans didn't lose those traits because of "natural" selection, they lost it because of "technological" substitutes. Nature do require those traits and we lost them!
I think describing it as "backwards" is wrong, sorry!
An interesting theory I used to discuss with a friend was that we could, a long, LONG time from now, evolve into something like Greys. With the
continued use of technology replacing our normal mobility and activity,
we may evolve:
Interesting list. Yet, while we may indeed evolve traits that were selected against in the past (like poor olfactory senses), I think it's much less likely we ever evolve beneficial traits, such as wide-spectrum vision. These mutations themselves may indeed occur, but as long as we kindly take care of our maladapted and allow them to contribute to the gene pool, it's unlikely they're ever selected for in a significant way.
That is, unless we find a way to genetically modify humans on a grand scale, but that would be artificial, rather than natural evolution. Plus, it would require a major societal change to sell: eugenism has a rather bad rep at the moment.
Evolution means adapting to the environment. As we began changing our environment constantly, we are going to take other paths than those we took until now. For example, we've pretty much lost our fur and tail. Our physical strength is not remotely comparable to that of other animals similar to us in stature. Our senses aren't as good either. Our immune systems are getting weaker and weaker for not being exposed to so much crap microbes and stuff. So of course we're going to take a different path, thus some of our current abilities will start to fade away but that's only if we don't need them. The ugly part would be if the time comes when we really need them, but don't have them anymore.
However, with the rapid development in genetic engineering, natural evolution will probably need to step aside. Let's hope we'll be ready for that change when the time comes.
Yes. Although it is fanciful, the movie presents the scenario that we should be worried about.
The problem currently facing humanity from an evolutionary standpoint is that humanity has created conditions where the only significant factor facing us and affecting (;-)) our evolution is ourselves. It seems to me that the two primary questions concerning whether or not a person reproduces are 1. Can he or she adequately find a way to deal with the mob, and 2. Does he or she choose to reproduce and how often.
Clearly, this is not a situation that bodes well for outliers on the intelligence spectrum.
I don't know what to do about this, but I do think it's a problem.
There is no forward or backward direction to evolution. Evolution is the generational adaptation of species to specific environments and natural phenomena.
The idea that evolution is moving "forward" implies that there is some distant point in the future that evolution is striving for or that there are certain biological characteristics that evolution is striving for. That simply isn't the case.
It doesn't matter if we are "strong" or "weak" or if we are "smart" or dumb" or any other subjectively valued human construct. All that matters to evolution is how successful one is at passing his/her genes on to the future generations. If, for some reason, the weak and stupid are better at passing on their genes (as appears to be the case in our society) then the "forward" direction of evolution will be toward a dumber, weaker species. But it won't be evolution in reverse or going backwards because that doesn't really make any sense from the perspective of evolutionary theory.
Well as I replied to Ava before, describing it as a "backward" evolution was wrong. Sorry again!
But does evolving to a weaker species that may not survive nature considered not improving to what the nature needs?
You can read my reply to Ava here in this discussion to understand what I 'wrongly' described as a "backward" evolution.
Sorry, I didn't read through all of the comments here and I'm sure more than a few people pointed out the "backwards evolution" error.
The idea of a evolving to a "weaker species" doesn't really make sense either. The individuals who are better at passing on their genes are the ones who drive evolution. If they are physically weaker or intellectually weaker or creatively weaker it only matters so far as it affects their ability to survive. And of course, their survival and the duration of their survival directly relates to their reproductive fitness. So evolution tends to weed out the "weak" through natural selection anyway.
But overall, evolution is only concerned with what works better and what doesn't work as well at allowing individuals to pass on their genes to future generations. If for some reason more girls dig stupid, scrawny guys who can't lift a pencil to write a love poem then those guys are the evolutionary winners in a society where we are not in danger of dying from such characteristics.
However, there are plenty of circumstances in which the reproductive success of a species could result in its demise. Take humans for example. We have been so good at passing on our genes to the next generation that we have overpopulated the planet and now stand at the precipice of our own extinction because of it. By that I mean we very well may kill this planet and barring anywhere else to go will likely all die too. How's that motivation for successfully passing on your genes?
(I must disclaim intimate familiarity with how evolution works)
It seems to me that, since many humans with genetic "flaws" live full lives and reproduce, humanity might diverge into many different evolutionary directions. The "weak" or, rather, unfavorable genes that at one time would die out with their human now get passed on thanks to our uniquely strong ability to survive.