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Goodbye Jesus

Darwinism Vs. Human Equality


Guest peavy

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Guest peavy

Sorry in advance if this is a sore spot for anybody.

 

But I had a unprecedented string of thoughts the other day (some would call it an epiphany).

If the Darwinian idea of "survival of the fittest" is true, and life forms likely evolve into stronger species because the weak ones fall away, are humans doing anything to hinder the process? I submit to you that as a society, we as humans are indeed hurting nature's efforts to weed out the weaklings.

 

Hospitals do everything in their power to make sure every child born stays alive, now matter how unlikely (because of physical deformities or other genetic anomalies). We have asylums that treat mentally ill people and attempt to make some of them more acceptable for society. When a person's personality is one of laziness and lack of ambition, they end up unemployed, but the government compensates them with money, so that they can still buy food, feed themselves and their kids (who are just as hardworking). These kids, with the same genes, end up dropping out of high school, flip burgers for awhile, quit the burger joint, and end up in the same situation as their parents. Or perhaps, consider this somewhat rare case: when a person's survival extinct causes them to commit a crime, such as strangle another man to death, we lock 'em up and sometimes execute them.

 

In other species, the opposite tends to happen. If an offspring is born with a mutation that isn't to its advantage, it dies off because it is less capable of surviving. Over several generations, the anomaly occurs less and less until it's practically extinct. When two aggressive animals have to compete neck and neck for a mate, food, territory, or just simply survival, the strongest lives and the "loser" is the one that is annihilated. The stronger then will go on to reproduce, and the repeated process over generations will produce stronger species.

 

Yet, the fact remains: humans are animals, too. The difference is that our increased consciousness, empathy, and compassion is slowing down the process which has regulated and moderated the exponential growth over billions of years.

 

Now, I am, by no means, suggesting that we simply do away with previously mentioned institutions and practices. If I declared that all impoverished people and all mentally ill people should be allowed to die out, then that would earn me the label of "inhumane." Many times, such conditions are arrived to not because of genetic makeup, but simply out of poor circumstances. However, as with anything, the issue is not simply black or white. It is near impossible to say, for instance, the sole reason why a person becomes poor. It is not just genetic traits or growing up in the ghetto; it's more often a conglomeration of causes that leads to the tragic effect. (Aside: this is also true for homosexuality) So, while it would be extremely convenient for us to be able to get rid of the "unemployment gene" or the "anemia" gene, the endless work of scientists has not yet made it that easy.

 

But, hopefully one day, we will have that ability. To be able to eliminate hereditary diseases and other undesirable traits will possibly be the greatest things for science to give us. While it wouldn't solve the problem of population growth, it would certainly reduce the suffering from such diseases.

 

 

Damn, this always happens when I write essays. They end up, long, full of content, and with no conclusion. Oh well, hoped you enjoyed my little rant.

Replies? Refutations? Regrets?

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Ha, one of the big ugly questions that even the intellectuals are afraid to touch.

 

Not only medical technology, but what about aid programs overseas where food drops allow people to live on land that has undergone environmental disasters due to poor farming habits, wars, overpopulation, etc...

 

It seems to me these programs just create a bigger time bomb set to go off sometime in the future.

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In answer to the OP question... No, it's not slowed anything, just changed it's direction.

 

To say it's 'slowed' implies an end point, the poster's subtext being some elevated state compared where we are today. In evolutionary terms the 'end point' is extinction... same end point for all species. So if we take the actual endpoint as extinction, then in some respects we've hastened the point at which our evolution stops...

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Who trusted God was love indeed

And love Creation's final law

Tho' nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I think this is based on a mistaken view of life and evolution. Nature since Darwin has often been painted red in tooth and claw. But one of my favorite biologists was keen on pointing out that life, at its root, is based on cooperative structures.

 

Compassion may be just the beginnings of a new emergence. Much as life existed for billions of years without minds, one day minds emerged. Things like compassion and consciousness suggest to me that there may be higher orders of organization than even mind.

 

So I am not convinced that a thing like compassion is somehow a weakness or an aberration.

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Thank you Gradstu. :thanks:

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Sounds like faith, not science.

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Sounds like faith, not science.

To the untrained it might. :grin:

 

Love ya Vigile.

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Altruism is seen in all sorsts of other species, including non mammalian ones such as birds.

 

 

Inter species altruistic behaviours have been observed in the wild too...

 

So I'd say it's not necessarily one of Legion's articles of faith, but it's a conceit to apply it humans exclusively...

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I don't believe emotions such as compassion, envy, hate, etc., have anything to do with evolution, per se. Evolution of emotional well-being may be affected but I can't see how physical evolution can be affected. An organism can't hate itself into extinction or love everything else so much it cannot evolve.

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Survival is the goal, not perfection eh?

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The issue is are we allowing the gene pool to become 'corrupted' by saving so many people who really have only survived by serious medical intervention rather than happy chance...

 

The answer of course in 'no' since there is no such thing as 'pure' gene pool, only one that will or won't survive. Now, will allowing people to live who would have died without technology increase or decrease our long term survival chances?

 

Who can say? The fact man evolved as a hairless bipedal is unlikely but it clearly happened... and who looking at the shrew thing that was the common ancestor of all mammals would have guessed that?

 

For me, I think our evolution has given us a higher chance of wiping oursleves out, more so than any other animal on the planet at this time... and to me, that ISN'T the pinacle of evolutionary greatness... the ability to wipe yourself clean out of your biosphere, to me, is a retrograde step...

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Survival is the goal, not perfection eh?

 

Looking at the way species, once they have no real threats, all but become static (look at the crocodillians, more than 60% of known beetle species, etc) I would say from an evolutionary stand point "Survival IS perfection"

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I've heard it said that humans are seen by mother nature as parasites, and she's trying her damnedest to get rid of us all.

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Survival is the goal, not perfection eh?

Survival is the goal. If an organism cannot reproduce or is too sickly to conceive and carry to term, it dies out. It is not the strongest physically that survives but the strongest organism of the species to reproduce. If you have three buffalo that are huge and strong and a slightly skinner one but only the fourth one can breed, the physical strength of the other three comes to nothing if they cannot breed and pass on those genes. The skinnier one has to be able to fight and survive to reproduce also or have a large number of offspring that can also reproduce.

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Fitness is a species' ability to survive and reproduce in its environment. Nothing more and nothing less. The big problem with our species IMHO, is that the big brains we evolved have enabled us to affect huge change in our environment. We have gotten too big for our britches, ecologically speaking, and have reached the end our ability to manipulate the environment to our own ends without suffering the consequences for doing so.

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Well, yes, if we were perfect for our environment then yes, there could be a "correct" genetic code and a form of perfection could be achieved. Once that environment/place in the environment changes, however, you're good and rightly boned.

 

Keep in mind that any form of evolution requires diversity, even "undesirable" traits. To quote a character from Ghost in the Shell: "Overspecialize and you breed in weakness; it's a slow death." It seems that this little fact is overlooked by all sides in a "Darwinsim" discussion. In other words: eugenics is based on a faulty premise and results in the extinction of species, not the enhancement of them.

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I've heard it said that humans are seen by mother nature as parasites, and she's trying her damnedest to get rid of us all.

 

If Gaia is alive, she's probably just noticing she has a slight fever and some nasty skin patches... I'd say we're screwed when she really starts to get he back leg up to the itch...

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Guest ChrisMR

An aspect of human evolution that has so far been ignored in this topic is the opportunity for directed evolution. Every day that passes, our knowledge of genetics and our ability to alter our own genes grows. Our children's fitness may vastly outstrip our own. Why worry about the progress of natural evolution?

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Humans are very strongly female sex-selective. (Lots of animals are, but we even legislate it these days!). That is to say, the female of the species determines who she procreates with.

This means evolution is still being driven, in subtle ways, in both physical and emotional make-up. It has been suggested that musical ability for eg is sex-selected over time. Perhaps compassion is one of those selected traits?

 

Human males are slowly evolving the way peacocks have, with huge elaborate displays to gain a partner; but that big tail leaves them vulnerable to attack... who knows? Maybe we all get eaten by cockroaches?

 

As an aside, evolution in all areas of the biosphere appears to be progressing at a similar rate as in other periods of history, so human compassion can't be having too great an effect just yet...

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