Thread: Ancient Aliens
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Old December 4 2012, 02:40 AM   #448
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha

Natural evolution works by selecting from many random mutations the VERY few that are actually beneficial.
Half right. The mutations don't actually need to be beneficial, they only need to correlate more strongly with survivors (who produce a lot of offspring) than early dyers (who produce less). TRAITS can be beneficent, of course, but it takes a long time for any combination of mutated genes to produce consistently identifiable traits.

Blue eyes is a relatively clear example: they're no actual benefit to HAVING blue eyes, but that particular trait correlates more strongly with people who overall have lower skin and hair pigmentation, which itself is a trait that has become beneficent over time. Significantly: there is no one mutation that causes a person to become blond white and blue-eyed. That is the result of TENS OF THOUSANDS of discrete mutations all layered on top of each other. And even then, there's still enough variation in the genotypes of Europeans that if their climate were to suddenly change, in another ten thousand generations they would probably turn black again.

'Artificial' evolution would work by selecting from highly beneficial mutations the ones that are the most advantageous...
That's not evolution. That's medical therapy you only have to take once.

Really, you've sort of got you terms muddled up here. Even if it were possible to genetically engineer an entirely species from scratch, that still wouldn't be evolution, since that species didn't actually evolve. On a much longer timescale producing small but useful variations in a single race, still isn't evolution. That's called "breeding" and we've been doing that with animals already for thousands of years (we've also been doing that with royalty, but I repeat myself).

You're describing a process that works over two or fewer generations, doesn't involve natural selection, doesn't produce a new species and doesn't produce a distinct genotype as an end result. That's "artificial evolution" inasmuch as a basketball is an "artificial moon."

I told you before, newtype_alpha - your 'happy ending', politically correct version of evolution
... is a a strawman and a figment of your imagination that is also totally unrelated to anything I have ever written in this thread.

in the future, perhaps, the ones too poor to make themselves thrice as smart, beautiful and resistant to disease, etc by merely undergoing a treatment - are the ones disappearing. They have no say in the future evolution of the species - they never did in the past...
Unless, of course, they all pick up machineguns and massacre the modified humans in a holocaust of irony, achieving global victory only because of their superior numbers and greater willingness to resort to violence. This is the thing that you -- and many geneticists -- don't understand about evolution: what WE consider beneficent and what NATURE considers beneficent are two completely different things. Ultimately, it's just as likely that a ruthless man with a tendency for subversion (and an inborn knack for hitting moving targets with a rifle) could be better adapted to survive than a super-intelligent pacifist with a photographic memory and a high respect for authority figures.

Indeed, it's impossible to assume that the "loser" traits that currently exist among humans actually ARE non-beneficial in evolutionary terms. It's not hard to envision environmental conditions in which laziness becomes a valid survival technique, where snap-judgement prejudice is usually the safer position, where the survival of the species could actually depend on the willingness of males to rape their female counterparts. Intelligence and strength are things that HUMANS value, but it is not necessarily something that has evolutionary value.

As for a 'super-race', genetically pure, etc - that's non-sense. A species, race that doesn't evolve, changing, adapting continuously (gaining traits that are better in its environment) cannot be called 'super' by any relevant criterion
Which is why "artificial evolution" is so much bullshit. Even the best geneticists in the world cannot control -- let alone predict -- how those genetic modifications will affect the human species except in a very limited scope and in a very limited timeframe. To assume otherwise is to assume that the technological paradigm that allows for genetic modification in the first place would become a permanent fixture in human society, relatively unchanging for thousands of years.

And yet in the whole of human history, virtually nothing we have EVER created -- no government, no institution, no technology, no culture -- has ever endured long enough to affect evolutionary change in humans, even if they HAD the technology to do so. Ironically, the few human societies that DID make any concerted effort to pursue a genetic upgrade -- either by breeding up or by eliminating undesirables -- either collapsed much faster or gave up those policies after they became untenable. Apparently the drive not to be expunged from the human gene pool is ALSO a beneficial survival trait.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; December 4 2012 at 03:04 AM.
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