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A question on evolution.

jedipengiun
Posts: 169
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11/24/2012 3:27:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'm not questioning the validity of evolution, I'm really sorry if it was your intention to come and pwn me or something.

I have a genuine question though.
What are the effects of Reason on evolution? Does it slow it down, speed it up, stop it?

I was thinking that if we are rational beings, and we live in a rational manner, then wouldn't evolution stop. These are the premises of what i'm saying, Genes are not necessarily taken into account in our day to day life. Racism and discrimination is on an incredible decrease, I hope, and if we believe that we are all equal then we are going to breed (that is such an awful word) in this manner aren't we?
This rests upon the assumption we are rational, and I know this isn't necessarily true, believe me, I have seen Jersey Shore. But the majority are rational, and that's what i'm appealing too.
We are no longer animals that act on mere impulse and desire, we are getting more rational, and this has got to effect evolution in some manner, what is the effect?
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Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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11/24/2012 6:23:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Evolution is all about your genetic code responding to changes in the environment and changing over time for beneficial reasons. The former option is virtually non-existent for humans because humans can easily change the environment without the use of genes and mould it to their suiting. The latter option is a lot more likely but evolution is all about differential reproductive success and even a mutation that might be objectively beneficial, would likely be on an even playing field with other normal humans because we have so many artificial societal structures to make society more equitable that aren't just available in the "red in tooth and claw" nature.

So are humans going to stop naturally evolving? Probably. Is human evolution going to stop? Hellz naw.
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Wulfyn
Posts: 33
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11/25/2012 6:44:43 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
When the ideas of evolution were first being discussed, hereditability was a very hot topic. A french biologist called Lamarck proposed an idea of 'soft inheritance' whereby experiences that an organism underwent during its lifetime would be passed on to the next generation. At it's most extreme (and this is somewhat of a strawman) then it would say that if an organism lost a limb during its life then its offspring would also lack that limb.

Clearly this is not what happens, and genetics demonstrates the concept of heritability from an information code being passed on that is separate to the experiences of organisms (although epigenetics is still investigating such an idea as it is thought that genetic material in food can have an effect upon the organism that ingests it).

The remarkable thing is that Lamarck was correct but in the wrong way - although humans do not pass on biological heritability in this way they do pass on knowledge and culture in this way. The important thing to realise is that this is still a passing on of information. So it is not evolution as we would biologically term it, but as your question was about the effect of rationality (which requires knowledge) then I think it is pertinent to think of it in this way.

So the information that we learn and discover about the world has led us to do things in a few hundred years that might be evolutionarily impossible. For example not only do humans fly, but they fly faster than any animal can. We have invented a way to make us resistant to almost every known bacterium. So this has now overtaken biological evolution because why would you need to adapt to become resistant to a disease when you can use science to discover vaccination? Maybe in the future we will be able to custom design the DNA of our offspring to make them 'naturally' resistant to these diseases.

So yes I would say that rational thought has caused biological evolution to slow down, but that is because we have advanced beyond it.
slo1
Posts: 4,364
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11/25/2012 8:29:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/24/2012 3:27:23 PM, jedipengiun wrote:
I'm not questioning the validity of evolution, I'm really sorry if it was your intention to come and pwn me or something.

I have a genuine question though.
What are the effects of Reason on evolution? Does it slow it down, speed it up, stop it?

I was thinking that if we are rational beings, and we live in a rational manner, then wouldn't evolution stop. These are the premises of what i'm saying, Genes are not necessarily taken into account in our day to day life. Racism and discrimination is on an incredible decrease, I hope, and if we believe that we are all equal then we are going to breed (that is such an awful word) in this manner aren't we?
This rests upon the assumption we are rational, and I know this isn't necessarily true, believe me, I have seen Jersey Shore. But the majority are rational, and that's what i'm appealing too.
We are no longer animals that act on mere impulse and desire, we are getting more rational, and this has got to effect evolution in some manner, what is the effect?

I would not agree that a majority of people are rational. A majority of people may live within social norms, but there is nobody but spock or maybe sheldon on Big Bang Theory who are rational.

Even if we were very reasonable and made decisions in a clear non emotive benefit cost analysis manner, we are still involved with change over time.

Not to mention that as much as I would like to believe technology will ensure nobody has a need for basic resources such as food, I think that is wishful thinking. We are actively a part of nature just as we always have been.