Will current Homo Sapiens go the way of the Neanderthal due to DNA engineering of the human species? (electric, dish)
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
I'm getting the feeling that there is a bit of confusion between a genetically improved human and a entirely new species which are two entirely different matters. I am sure that one could use genetics to advance many human attributes but would such individuals constitute a new species.
I think the human mind has evolved to a point that we will be able to alter our own DNA structure much faster than nature itself, but are we not part of nature. So is it really just nature evolving itself, but at a much faster rate because nature(DNA) has become sentient. It just means nature can think now. Does not have to rely on random mutations to change, but can actually decided what to do to itself. No one could of even imagined the computer or the internet 100 years ago. So what is to say that 100 to 200 years from now we will have not created a form of man way more sophisticated than we are. I realize to be a new species though it will not be able to breed with current form of man. Guess that opens up all kinds of ethical questions. Do you create something better than yourself. It kind of like bringing an alien invasion on the human race yourself. Nature has always tried to make things that are more adaptable, and our current human mind seems to be the perfect tool for nature to do that.
Your thinking on this mirrors an argument which I have been making for quite a long time...that there is some division between nature and humans. The apparent dividing line stems from the habit of distinguishing "man made" from "natural" and the root of that distinction would be the former being deliberate while the latter being random.
But....humans themselves, and the human brain with the options and choices it provides, are products of nature. That we can think and can make choices is a consequence of the same evolutionary path which fixed it so that birds fly and skunks stink. My argument would be that a dam built by a beaver, and the Hoover Dam, are distinguished only by complexity, not by the former being a natural phenomena and the latter being artificial. Nature is as responsible for the Hoover Dam as it is for the sticks and twigs on the creek.
Therefore, tinkering around with human dna to generate a specifically desired result, will also be a product of nature when viewed through the larger perspective. I am imagining the opposition to genetic engineering's prime argument will be..."This isn't natural, this is playing God."
That's a dumb argument, why would improving humans be playing God any more than would transforming a virgin forest into an urban sprawl be playing God?
Like every single other idea that could possibly benefit humanity, this too will inevitably be abused for interests and personal gain. Just like everything else this will be placed in the hands of a lucky few who'll wallow in it and make some bank making designer babies or humans that withstand warfare better or some crap like that. Power like that in our hands is not going to turn out pretty, we're just foing to f#ck it up. We'll just make a bunch of genetically antered tough guys to keep the masses in line or something along those lines. It is this element of humanity that will make the human race dissappear.
And yes thanks for this link. It shows further proof by scientists of the Africans of today being the living transitionals of the apemen of the past. I have been arguing this point for a long time now and the link you provided is the proof. At the bottom of the link is an article from Newsweek magazine. As I always say, listen to science and watch their pictures and illustrations. Europeans are the most further advanced humans on the planet and it fits perfectly with this thread beginnings. Thanks again, no other discussion necessary http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/48/Adam_and_eve_newsweek_cover.jpg (broken link)
As Troop pointed out there's two separate issues, the actual changing of our DNA that will affect future generations as well as the mix of biology and technology with the potential of adding computer-like upgrades to our mental abilities as well as replacing parts of our bodies with man made materials which we're already doing with hip replacements and that sort of thing. I have no doubt that if parents had the choice of choosing particular physical and mental traits that seem more desireable many would do so. In other words if you were able to choose your baby to be a tall, blue eyed, attractive and very intelligent boy or girl, or whatever your choice might be, it's quite possible that in a few years that choice might be available. This would change future generations because we'd be altering our genetics. Personally I think it's inevitable that this is going to take place and I also think that we'll eventually have implants that can greatly improve our memory, give us computational skills like a computer, etc. That would drastically change the human race and because it would cost money to do these things it could also create an even larger difference between the rich and the poor.
The new species would almost certainly be genetically structured so that interfertility would no longer occur. Then, only neos could mate with neos, and not with sapiens. Sapiens would almost certainly die out, then, unless the neos used them as slaves and kept breeding them for that purpose. That would have the obvious advantage of no Jeffersonian misadventures messing with the gene pool.
Oh that's right, we white folks hale from Africans. Someone needs to tell them Europe only conquered them for their own good. If we had'nt come by, they still be killing each other with Bows N Arrows, Sticks and Rocks rather than the sophisticated inventions we Higher Evolutionary Thinkers gave them like the Assault Rifles, Granades, Landmines, anti-personel carrier weapons, etc
Don't get me wrong, I am not a Young earth Creationist. I believe the universe, right down to our very earth has been here for millions of years, perhaps billions. But mankind has not been around for the outrageous 200,000 years that has been a commonly espoused by the much worshipped intellects of our modern day. If they had been, we would'nt now be here having this discussion. Mankind would have turned this planet with all of it's marvelous ecosystems and lifeforms into a burnt out cinder Eons ago. There is evidence that the inhabitants of Easter Island , the Maori of New Zealand, and even the Anazasi from the Four Corners region of the USA all disappeared because they destroyed their habitats and these were the very people who did use bows N arrows, sticks and rocks.
Well, if some new so-called human species appeared any time soon, I'm sure Monsanto and the U.S. Government had something to do with it.
I must correct myself. Homo erectus is a completely separate branch long before either neanderthal or homo sapiens. It's thought neanderthals and homo sapiens evolved separately from homo rhodesiensis. Neanderthals became extinct and homo sapiens remained.
I have no idea what your point is about white folks and Africans. Your examples make absolutely no sense. I'm not sure anyone knows what color the earliest humans were. Some of the "worshipped intellects of our modern day" you mentioned seem to feel it's possible modern humans evolved separately in different areas around the world, but the evidence is sorely lacking. Based on your comments you must think white folks somehow appeared into existence fully equipped with assault rifles and grenades. Did aliens from M-31 bring them here? Please, do tell. Inquiring minds want to know.
You complain about the "worshipped intellects of our modern day", but then state mankind has not been around for 200,000 years. Then how long do you think they have been around? You examples don't seem to say. I forgot, you said because mankind would have turned this planet into a burnt out cinder Eons ago. Eons? That's a LOT more than 200,000 years.
Your examples of Easter Island, New Zealand, and the Anazasi may partially be right. Well, Easter Island anyway. Easter Island is just that - an island - with limited resources. Once those resources were used up because of increased numbers in the population, the island would've been unsuitable to support a viable population. Okay, I can agree with that.
As for the Maori of New Zealand, please explain how they destroyed their habitats. And as for the Anazasi, please explain how they also destroyed their habitats?
Exactly how these shining examples relate to this thread is a greater mystery.
How foolish of me. I should've guessed that Monsanto and the U.S. government would be behind any sinister creation of a new human species. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the MIB might have their sneaky hands in it as well.
I don’t know if I would call this evolution as we define it today. The replacement of organic body parts, nano technology, and implanted micro chips would be man controlled evolution, but because the traits would not be written in our genetic codes they could never be considered a pure form of evolution as defined today. It may require the definition of evolution to evolve as well, or require the species to form a subspecies which include forms of human mechanical modifications.
I'm not correcting you, cncracer, but merely adding...
The replacement of organic body parts, nano technology, and implanted micro chips would NOT be considered evolution the way we know it in any way whatsoever. Circumcisions, body piercings, tattoos, shaving and any other artificial 'addition' or 'subtraction' we do to our bodies or have done to our bodies have had no effect on our DNA with only a few rather frivolous exceptions.
One of those exceptions is the fact that certain chemicals absorbed into the body, certain levels of radioactive exposure, and other things of that nature have been known to cause birth defects and/or alter the genetic coding of the newborn. The only reason I point this out is so that people understand the point I will make later in the post.
Second of all the only effect on our 'evolution' or our DNA that something like body piercings, tattoos, etc... may have had on our DNA is how those kinds of things may have altered the sexual selection choice made in the direction of other individuals. I would say that a man or woman who tattoos and modifies their body to represent an animal such as a tiger or lizard may decrease their reproductive capabilities and thus pose an impetus on their reproductive chances. Though this does not necessarily mean their genes will not be spread, I would say that doing such things tends to greatly reduce the opportunity of the individual.
Yet, whether we are talking about bionic bodies, microchips, tattoos, piercings, etc... I would like to remind everyone that none of these things actually alter our genetic code in such a fashion that would bolster the development of, say, an artificial limb in the next person. After all, if a man tattooed, pierced and cut in such a fashion so as to represent a tiger married a woman who was tattooed, pierced and cut in such a fashion so as to represent a lizard, their offspring would be born with clean skin, no piercings and no other alterations save for what was already written into their DNA.
The reason for this is that DNA is a one-dimensional instruction set, NOT a three-dimensional blueprint. The difference in this is essentially the difference between Lamarckian Evolution and Darwinian Evolution. Lamarckian evolution, might I remind those still following along, suggest that as a creature strives to do something throughout its life, it will pass those desires along to its offspring. For example, Lamarck believed that because giraffe's continually tried to reach the treetops their whole lives in order to eat from tall trees that this somehow altered their bodies and allowed for the offspring to be born with longer and longer necks. This, as Darwinian evolution has shown time and again, is simply not true. Darwinian evolution makes the point that those giraffes who are born with slightly longer necks have a slightly better chance than their compatriots at surviving. Thus, the gene for longer necks tends to be more available due to the slight chance of it having benefited that particular giraffe. Thus, the giraffe is more likely to make it to breeding age and mate with another giraffe that has also been born to best fit into its environment. What tends to take so long is the fact that not every giraffe with a 'slightly' shorter neck will die. Certainly, many of them will live. However, in due time, the traits that offer the better survival functionality in an overall capacity tend to become more dominant and expressive and time wears on.
Back to my point about DNA being one-dimensional and not a three-dimensional 'blueprint.' A blueprint, say of a building, airplane, etc... allows you to make modifications to it. Say, for example, that a particular part on an airplane causes problems. With a blueprint, you simply go in, erase that particular part from the blueprint, insert a different blueprint and move along. Though one could get wrapped up in the intricacies of this comparison as opposed to a one-dimensional DNA comparison, the actual workings are enormously different. A one-dimensional instruction set is just that. It is like an instruction manual that tells the user how to assemble or make the product. For example, you might read in airplane manual:
1. Clamp rudder surface in a faired position.
2. Slide sensor into collar and collar crank.
3. Rotate sensor until index marks on sensor splined shaft and sensor body line up in the bracket.
And so on and so forth...
Now, once we organisms are 'assembled,' the instruction set is basically configured for that specific organism. There is no going back and saying "Well, I don't like the fact that my toenails tend to be much longer than my toes on an ordinary basis, I'd like to alter that DNA." You cannot. It's basically 'set in stone.'
No matter what you do to your body, no matter how often you cut those excessively long toenails, they are pre-conditionally set to grow at a certain length. You may, through some sort of medical breakthrough, be able to slow the parts of the body down that produce excessively large toenail growth, but you are not changing the expressive genetics passed on to your offspring. Again, as I pointed out earlier, with the exception of certain chemicals and radioactive exposure that may actually change the sperm or egg cells' DNA coding, often with radical and horrible effects, you really cannot change what is 'preset.'
This is what has made non-asexual reproduction so powerfully effective in the biological world. Because each time an organism procreates with another member, the diversification of the gene pool grows a little bit more. Though I have no knowledge of any Asiatic traits in my gene pool and I do not knowingly express any Asiatic traits in my gene pool, if my wife and I decided to have a child, our child would possess both Asiatic traits and my traits due to the fact that my wife is 100% Japanese. This diversification of the gene pool may help or hinder my own offspring. It may make him/her very attractive, or indeed, very ugly. It may make them strong or weak, smart or dumb, etc... etc...
Thus, I would like to state that with all of the above having been mentioned; the addition of microchips, bionic limbs, artificial organs, etc... will not compel an evolution of the human race by altering its' DNA. For that, some sort of actual genetic manipulation must be done, usually in the instance of a test tube. We will not be giving birth to babies with artificial hearts and limbs. Those are additions 'after the fact' just like a piercing, a tattoo or a circumcision.
To quip, we will not be giving birth to the children of the X-Men any time soon. Sorry to break your heart. Now, whether or not we can artificially alter ourselves after our births to become so "un-human" that we become more like robots is an entirely different concept and one that will still lead us to giving birth to rather human babies but one that, in my opinion, most certainly does not dignify a change in our 'evolution.'
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $53,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.
Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.