Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. Joined
    20 Oct '06
    Moves
    7578
    25 Apr '18 17:43
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "Bruce Lahn, a geneticist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, has reported
    evolutionary changes in the brain, caused by two new genes involved in
    brain growth that emerged around 37,000 and 5,800 years ago."

    ""I'm confident that unless we go off and colonise some other planet, we
    could come back in 5,000 years and people would look much the sa ...[text shortened]... abilities," he says.

    Why doesn't Wildgrass ask (or troll) Chris Wills? It's his prediction.
    I didn't ask him directly, but it looks like his research does not necessarily support this prediction. I'm guessing it was part of a larger interview in which he qualified it in some important ways. More info is needed and I was asking if you knew what it was. His research seems to based on mechanisms that maintain overall genetic diversity.

    I don't know why you would post this if you didn't want people to think about it. To me, mankind seems to be thriving on earth from an ecological standpoint. Aside from a near-apocalypse, I cannot envision a scenario where human intelligence significantly evolves from it's current state. Maybe social media has changed the way we think about human relationships. Elon Musk has stated that we are already ostensibly human cyborgs, in that our brains partly exist in our computers and cell phones. Finding a partner to raise a family with requires a different set of skills than it used to. Will this societal change lead to an evolution of intelligence?

    The basic premise of your argument is still true though. There is evidence of recent human evolution. That's why I asked you, not Chris, what might be a plausible mechanism for the evolution of human intelligence.
  2. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    26 Apr '18 00:503 edits
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    I didn't ask him directly, but it looks like his research does not necessarily support this prediction. I'm guessing it was part of a larger interview in which he qualified it in some important ways. More info is needed and I was asking if you knew what it was. His research seems to based on mechanisms that maintain overall genetic diversity.

    I don't k ...[text shortened]... ked you, not Chris, what might be a plausible mechanism for the evolution of human intelligence.
    "I don't know why you would post this if you didn't want people to think about it."
    --Wildgrass

    Wildgrass misunderstands. Of course, I want people to think about it.
    What irritated me, however, was Wildgrass's apparently nagging me to cite evidence to
    support a prediction that I did NOT make, as though I must be responsible for Chris Wills.
    I cannot read his mind.

    "The basic premise of your argument is still true though. There is evidence of recent human evolution."
    --Wildgrass

    I cited some of that evidence. But Chris Wills goes far beyond what I cited.
    My evidence was about comparatively simple direct measurable physical differences.

    "He [Chris Wills] believes our brains will be the main focus of future evolutionary changes.
    "The essence of human beings is their intelligence and at the present time people have
    an enormous range of different abilities. My prediction is one of the ways we'll evolve
    is to add genes that increase our range of abilities," he says.""

    What added genes? What increased range of abilities? I don't know what Chris Wills means.

    If I may hypothesize, however, it seems to me that when children become as accustomed
    to learning from virtual reality (being plugged into devices from their earliest days) as from
    the traditional real world, the brain may develop differently. It may be interesting to compare
    the brains of traditional hunter-gatherer children to the brains of children who have grown
    up connected to the internet, their smartphones, and their digital / robot assistants 24/7.
  3. Joined
    20 Oct '06
    Moves
    7578
    26 Apr '18 14:19
    Originally posted by @duchess64

    If I may hypothesize, however, it seems to me that when children become as accustomed
    to learning from virtual reality (being plugged into devices from their earliest days) as from
    the traditional real world, the brain may develop differently. It may be interesting to compare
    the brains of traditional hunter-gatherer children to the brains of childr ...[text shortened]... own
    up connected to the internet, their smartphones, and their digital / robot assistants 24/7.
    This is exactly what I was aiming for with that question. I'm sorry it came across as nagging.

    Of course, if this social change were to lead to an evolutionary change in brain chemistry, it would require that some of the "children who have grown up connected to the internet" were able to reproductively outcompete some of the other "children who have grown up connected to the internet" based on a specific genetic difference between the two groups.

    Given how distracted and disorganized everyone seems to have become, what would a gene variant for "focus" do to increase/decrease reproductive fitness?
  4. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52874
    01 May '18 12:30
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    This is exactly what I was aiming for with that question. I'm sorry it came across as nagging.

    Of course, if this social change were to lead to an evolutionary change in brain chemistry, it would require that some of the "children who have grown up connected to the internet" were able to reproductively outcompete some of the other "children who have gr ...[text shortened]... have become, what would a gene variant for "focus" do to increase/decrease reproductive fitness?
    It seems to me if such an adaptation happened and this new population was tied to having to have the tech of social media and games, what would happen to such a population if they grew to say 90% of the world population and then some catastrophe ended technology? Would that population have the resilience to survive the lack of technology?
    I was thinking of some genetically engineered plants where they are essentially a colony of clones and if some plant disease comes along that kills one, it is likely to kill the entire population, it has already happened, ruining science experiments along those lines.
  5. Joined
    20 Oct '06
    Moves
    7578
    01 May '18 15:11
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    .....what would happen to such a population if they grew to say 90% of the world population and then some catastrophe ended technology? Would that population have the resilience to survive the lack of technology?.....
    Sure. The other 10% would be fine. Probably at least a billion people would survive that.
  6. Joined
    20 Oct '06
    Moves
    7578
    01 May '18 15:14
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    ......I was thinking of some genetically engineered plants where they are essentially a colony of clones and if some plant disease comes along that kills one, it is likely to kill the entire population, it has already happened, ruining science experiments along those lines.....
    It's not really an issue with GMOs in particular, but his is a big problem in agriculture for sure. The underlying problem is mono-culturing. It's really easy for diseases to kill a crop when everything is exactly the same. Same field, same corn, same fertilizer, same insecticide /herbicide year after year after year. What happened to rotating crops, alternating rows and such?
  7. Standard memberapathist
    looking for loot
    western colorado
    Joined
    05 Feb '11
    Moves
    9664
    05 May '18 11:03
    Originally posted by @kazetnagorra
    Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of evolution theory knows that human evolution has never stopped and never will.
    Natural selection does move a bit slowly. We're doing directed evolution now.
  8. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    05 May '18 22:35
    Originally posted by @sonhouse to Wildgrass
    It seems to me if such an adaptation happened and this new population was tied to having to have the tech of social media and games, what would happen to such a population if they grew to say 90% of the world population and then some catastrophe ended technology? Would that population have the resilience to survive the lack of technology?
    I w ...[text shortened]... l the entire population, it has already happened, ruining science experiments along those lines.
    "Would that population have the resilience to survive the lack of technology?"
    --Sonhouse

    It would depend upon the circumstances. Let's suppose that 100 persons were taken
    out of a modern city where they had lived for their entire lives and compelled to attempt
    to survive as hunter-gatherers (like the San) in the Kalahari? How many would survive?

    Many, perhaps most, modern students depend so much on technology that they would
    seem hardly capable of doing basic arithmetic if their electronic calculators did not work.
  9. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52874
    06 May '18 13:511 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "Would that population have the resilience to survive the lack of technology?"
    --Sonhouse

    It would depend upon the circumstances. Let's suppose that 100 persons were taken
    out of a modern city where they had lived for their entire lives and compelled to attempt
    to survive as hunter-gatherers (like the San) in the Kalahari? How many would survive? ...[text shortened]... ld
    seem hardly capable of doing basic arithmetic if their electronic calculators did not work.
    There is an American TV show, don't know if ever heard about it, 'Naked and afraid', where they send a man and woman together, strip all clothing and they are in the most dreadful parts of Earth they can find and they are to survive 21 days, just 3 weeks given only a couple of tools of their choice, fire starter, machete, maybe a pot to boil water so it is safe to drink.
    Whatever they find is ok to use. A lot of them tap out unable to make it even 3 weeks. I was wondering how many of them could survive say for 21 MONTHS in the same conditions. Just 2 people would be a definite challenge but less so for 100 people but still, I don't think the average person has the skills or could learn the skills in time to save their lives and there would be wholesale deaths where only the best of them would last years in such jungles or deserts.

    I think the DNA record of very early modern humans showed we humans, homo sapiens, were down to just 20 or so individuals from many times that so it seems to me to show how difficult it would be for even the ancients to survive a hostile environment.

    Modern soft humans would not stand much chance and the population, whatever the starting size would be cut down drastically, not saying the whole group would die but for sure the genetic diversity would go way down minimum.

    Early humans had been brought up to be tough enough to survive with little in the way of technology, Atlatl, fire starting, stone tools, bow and arrow, pretty much it but that gave them the ability to construct temporary housing and they learned early on how to make effective ropes to bind housing, rafts and so forth.

    How many modern humans in the same situation would be able to create stone tools? My guess is never since that depended on finding obsidian and flint, glass like rocks capable of knapping? Not sure what range of rocks can do that but soft rocks like sandstone would never be able to be made into tools.

    It would seem then such a population would be limited to making spears out of wood and they would have to relearn even the basics like making fire with friction on wood like they learned 200,000 or so years ago.

    I am sure a certain percentage would grow tougher so they could at least walk for many miles to find food sources and they would probably have to make buildings out of mud bricks laden with grass but they would be severely limited in their ability to make better tools via knapping unless the group was very lucky and had one person in the know of ancient technology. A bunch of bankers or insurance salesmen thrust into that situation, not many would survive.

    The information of primitive life is certainly out there, like this site:

    http://www.primitiveways.com/index.html

    How many ordinary people would even know about such sites, much less how to start fires with hand drills and such or knapping flint or even how to make mud bricks.
  10. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    06 May '18 20:395 edits
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    There is an American TV show, don't know if ever heard about it, 'Naked and afraid', where they send a man and woman together, strip all clothing and they are in the most dreadful parts of Earth they can find and they are to survive 21 days, just 3 weeks given only a couple of tools of their choice, fire starter, machete, maybe a pot to boil water so it is ...[text shortened]... s how to start fires with hand drills and such or knapping flint or even how to make mud bricks.
    Under extreme circumstances, a community's survival is not gender-neutral.
    A community can be viable (and reproduce) with almost no men, but not almost no women.
    It's essential to keep potential child-bearing women alive and healthy even if they, as individuals,
    lack the skills to survive on their own. Men with better survival skills need to protect these women.

    An all-male group of well-trained special operations specialists may be able to survive personally,
    but their community would not unless it could reproduce. So they would be eager to find
    and impregnate women, if necessary by rape, and keep their children under their control.

    There could be a biological rationale for the traditional principle of 'Women and children first!'
    to be saved in lifeboats if there's a shipwreck upon an isolated uninhabited island.
    It would be easier for a community to sustain itself through reproduction if it starts out
    with many women and few men than with many men and few women.

    Consider what happened after the mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty. Led by Fletcher Christian,
    eight other British sailors and more Tahitians (nearly all women) settled on Pitcairn Island.

    "The island proved an ideal haven for the mutineers—uninhabited, virtually inaccessible, with plenty
    of food, water and fertile land.[183] For a while, mutineers and Tahitians existed peaceably."
    --Wikipedia

    The white men impregnated the Tahitian women, who bore children. But there was trouble in paradise.
    The seed of racism had taken root. The white men regarded the Tahitian women as their property.
    (The white men also may have prevented the few Tahitian men from relations with the women.)
    Civil war broke out among the men, with the deadly fighting motivated by racial hatred or
    conflicting claims to possess desirable women. Some of the women wanted to flee the island.
    Only a few men (all white) survived the war, and they began to fight among themselves.
    When a passing ship eventually rediscovered the island, there was a surviving community
    of only one man, nine women, and more children. Their descendants still inhabit the island.
  11. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52874
    06 May '18 21:38
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Under extreme circumstances, a community's survival is not gender-neutral.
    A community can be viable (and reproduce) with almost no men, but not almost no women.
    It's essential to keep potential child-bearing women alive and healthy even if they, as individuals,
    lack the skills to survive on their own. Men with better survival skills need to protect t ...[text shortened]... ty
    of only one man, nine women, and more children. Their descendants still inhabit the island.
    In some kind of random catastrophe they wouldn't be so lucky as to land on Pitcairn island with its lack of predators and abundant food sources.

    It certainly would be in the interest of survival as a species to have more women than men but still if there was a situation where there was one man and a hundred women, all gotten pregnant by that one man, the genetic diversity would be low indeed. Of course it would be low if there was 50/50 men and women too.
  12. Zugzwang
    Joined
    08 Jun '07
    Moves
    2120
    06 May '18 22:01
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    In some kind of random catastrophe they wouldn't be so lucky as to land on Pitcairn island with its lack of predators and abundant food sources.

    It certainly would be in the interest of survival as a species to have more women than men but still if there was a situation where there was one man and a hundred women, all gotten pregnant by that one man, t ...[text shortened]... c diversity would be low indeed. Of course it would be low if there was 50/50 men and women too.
    I cited the Pitcairn Island community in support of what I wrote about a community being
    able to survive with a major gender imbalance, NOT as an example of a future catastrophe.

    I would add one should not assume that a future catastrophe must be sudden.
    Like climate change, it could unfold over many years or many generations.
  13. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52874
    07 May '18 14:48
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    I cited the Pitcairn Island community in support of what I wrote about a community being
    able to survive with a major gender imbalance, NOT as an example of a future catastrophe.

    I would add one should not assume that a future catastrophe must be sudden.
    Like climate change, it could unfold over many years or many generations.
    Yes unless Yosemite blows again. There is major rumbling going on underground as we speak. If I remember right it blew majorly maybe a million years ago and spread lava over an area the size of Colorado or so. That would be the death knell for our civilization since the cloud cover and SO2 would cover the whole planet for months.

    Of course climate change is gradual and will take 100 years or so to be fully felt so humans can adjust to smaller land masses and so forth. We would just lose a lot of NYC, London, New Orleans and such but it would be gradual enough we could rebuild inland.
    It would be a different planet for sure, no more Burmuda, or Andros Island where I used to work but we would survive.
  14. Joined
    20 Oct '06
    Moves
    7578
    07 May '18 15:53
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    That would be the death knell for our civilization since the cloud cover and SO2 would cover the whole planet for months
    Would we have to keep paying mortgages?
  15. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52874
    07 May '18 18:01
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    Would we have to keep paying mortgages?
    🙂 I think we would have slightly bigger issues in that case.....
Back to Top