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Assuming evolution is factual, what do you think is the next step in our evolution? 
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Post Re: Assuming evolution is factual, what do you think is the next step in our evolution?
Interbane wrote:
RT wrote:
My prediction of human evolution is that we will work out how to live in peace and prosperity on our planet. This will require a paradigm shift from the current state of ignorant belief into a new framework where culture will be based on scientific knowledge.

Culturally, we evolve a little bit each day. What are your thoughts regarding the next step in our biological evolution?
Evolution has entered an entirely new phase driven by human intelligence, with the capacity of the brain to alter its environment causing far more rapid change than anything possible through genetics. Cultural evolution to enable longer life spans is an example. Homo Sapien has had basically the same genetics for several hundred thousand years, with dexterity of hands and probable ability to communicate through speech.

But medical intervention is driving physical change, with narrowing hips for women probably the best example. Before caesarean section became possible a century or so ago, any woman with narrow hips would die in child birth. That is no longer the case, so the causal path – speech requires brains which requires large skull which requires wide hips for the birth canal – has been broken.

As well, it used to be the case that rich people had more children than poor people, and this has now been reversed, largely due to government transfer payments which make it harder for rich women to combine career and family and easier for poor women to ensure their children survive. It may be unlikely that there is any pattern of genetic difference between rich and poor, but that is a question that is hard to answer on available evidence.
DWill wrote:
a real, visceral feeling about all of humanity that doesn't come naturally to us. We seem wired to care about that which touches us day to day, and we respond with energy to that close situation, having nothing left, really, for more remote ones, such as Darfur or the warming of the planet.
This is precisely where Christianity offers a path to cultural evolution, in its argument that rational ideas about love for the world should be valued more than instinctive desires for personal gain. The evolutionary transformation of humanity from isolated hunter gatherer bands to urban industrial societies requires a capacity to use our intelligence to evolve a mode of social organisation suited to the new context.

Central Christian ideas such as ‘love your enemies’ and ‘the last will be first’ go against our hardwired instincts, but are necessary if humanity is to evolve into a peaceful and prosperous global civilization, defining a durable long term path towards universal stable abundance.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Assuming evolution is factual, what do you think is the next step in our evolution?
DWill wrote:
Movie Nerd wrote:
There is a difference between the FACT of evolution, which is the tested fact discerning the growing, adaptation, and outward cropping of new species of life, and the THEORY of evolution, which is man's continuing study of the fact. There's a neat youtube video which briefly discusses it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxLzmoidR5M

Also, based on what I understand of the science behind this (and as a layman I'd ask that you take it with a grain of salt), I don't think you can just up and predict where our next step will be. So many environmental, social and global factors have to be taken into account; throughout history, little events cause big ripple effects. The same goes with evolution.

That was a good video, Movie Nerd. The conscientious objector looked like the comic Kevin James, but I don't suppose it was really him. Anyway, about our next evolutionary step, I would think that physical changes that would alter our behavior, species-wide, are pretty much out of the question for us. That would mean that evolution doesn't apply for us in the way that it does for other animals, and the reason is our culture. Our culture (cultural evolution, if you like) has far outstripped the changes that could ever be brought about by physical evolution. We're going at warp-speed change just on the synergism of our culture. The question is whether as we barrel along like this, we're also learning as we go. Or let me amend that: the question is whether there can really ever be a human-wide "we" that would learn anything. The strongest pull of evolution, whether physical or cultural, is with the individual; after that comes the group. Our groupishness is perhaps the most distinctive thing about our sociality, as Jonathan Haidt says. That has made possible our civilizations, but it also might be the biggest drag on anything like a true conception of humanity as the primary unit. To amend again, it's not a concept we need to have, but a real, visceral feeling about all of humanity that doesn't come naturally to us. We seem wired to care about that which touches us day to day, and we respond with energy to that close situation, having nothing left, really, for more remote ones, such as Darfur or the warming of the planet.


Perhaps it will largely be that of social evolution over the physical--after all, what separates us from the Homo Erectus anf other primitive humans is the ever-climbing ability to form a culture and society (not that these primitive forms didn't have these things, but obviously as we've developed in intelligence we've expanded their use). However, does this negate mankind's physical changes given worldwide shifts in climate and physiology? Certainly the effects of climate change (and I know that is another argument entirely) will affect us in the long run; wouldn't it be safe to assume that those who come after us will have to adapt and change along with it as our ancestors did?


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Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:56 pm
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Post Re: Assuming evolution is factual, what do you think is the next step in our evolution?
Interbane wrote:
ant wrote:
Then please tell me specifically how evolution predicts the rise of consciousness.




As far as I know, evolution makes no such prediction. The outcomes are contingent, not necessary.



ant wrote:
Simply saying our tree is proof is scientifically unsatisfying.




Who said the tree is proof of anything?


The standard view I think is that of contingency, which seems evident if mutations are random and environments are changeable and unpredictable.
Paleobiologist Prof Simon Conway Morris takes a different view much of it based on his study of convergence in evolution.
I'm a sceptic of macro-evolution myself but Morris is not and you guys might find his views interesting on the question of the next step in human evolution.
On the subject of convergence, I wonder how environmental pressure would result in echo-location in both bats and dolphins given their different environments and the fact that dolphins have perfectly good eye sight?
Bats can see too though not as well.
Anyway here's the engaging if mildly eccentric Simon Conway Morris giving a talk titled; Is convergent evolution becoming too popular? www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBrsHMxDOXk



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