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!
Oh, I didn't mean to say that you were hoping for a catastrophe. What I meant was that, given mankind's apparent inability to even agree when a plan is necessary, there is a strong likelihood that any drastic change in our population will almost certainly be a result of a catastrophe.
All of this is really a tangent. The question really is whether we descend into a semi-animalistic dystopia--a new, better armed, dark age.
I'm wondering if we are still evolving anyway.... or are we?
Given enough time, genetic drift could lead anywhere, but the timescale required probably means the human species is more likely to have become extinct before any significant changes occur by that mechanism.
Evolution is primarily driven by the emergence, usually from genetic mutations, of characteristis that tend to provide a reproductive advantage. Any characteristic that appears, but makes no difference on the chances of survival to a reproductive age will not continue to evolve, linearly. Therefore, "backwards" evolution through natural selection is highly unlikely. Furthermore, what counts as "backwards" is culturally biased. But that does not mean that we can't see significant changes in our morphology for reasons other than evolution.
We have become a taller species, especially in the U.S., in just the last 100 years. But that is NOT evolution. That is a result of medical and nutritional changes. True, a case could be made that tall men have a reproduction advantage over short men, in which case we would indeed evolve to become a taller species. But that takes many more years than just a century.
However, there is one caveat: if the Republicans and the Jesus freaks take over the country, being stupid may indeed provide a better chance of survival. If so, we could be looking at a future as envisioned in the Luke Wilson film, “Idiocracy.”
The evolution pictured in “Idiocracy,” however is not so much driven by survival as it is by choice. The writer, Mike Judge (“Office Space”), imagines that the ACTUAL FACT that stupid people are reproducing at a much faster rate, BY CHOICE, than are smart people, means that future populations are sure to be less intelligent. Can’t really disagree with that. Beware the G.O.P.!