Thread: Ancient Aliens
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Old December 15 2012, 09:01 AM   #451
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post

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.
Mutations correlate more strongly with survivors - wits lots of offspring - on a consistent basis ONLY when they're beneficial.
Mutations that are neutral depend on random chance to correlate consistently (and the chance is quite small).
Mutations that are disadvantageous do not correlate at all with survivors on a consistent basis (to be exact, them correlating is HIGHLY improbable).

'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."
What you just wrote here is accurately described as straw-men and forced semantic interpretations:
Evolution does NOT work abruptly, producing a new species from the beginning (that's a straw-man); evolution produces races different from the ones existing and goes from there.
Genetic therapy will do just this - creating de facto new human races with significant differences in their genotypes from baseline humans.

Natural selection - AKA selections of the most adapted to the environments - will most definitely be involved once the subjects of genetic therapy leave the hospital.

Breeding IS evolution (the breeded most adapted to their environment survive, becoming a new race of their species; in a relatively short time, with mutations accumulating, even a new species).

Newtype_alpha, in order for you to have an argument, you want to restrict the concept of "evolution" to only something that happens naturally, with no intervention from intelligence and on a very long timescale. That's a failed semantic forcing: you see, the concept of "evolution" has no such restrictions - except in your own mind.

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.

newtype_alpha, you forget, your posts are there for everyone to read - for example your non-sense about evolution not being possible because only a small subset of the initial population will have access to genetic therapy (read - mutations designed to be advantageous in the present and likely future environments), etc.

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.
And here you're reduced to try to name EXTREMELY IMPROBABLE future environments in order to give your supported position some credence.
And personifying "NATURE" to some transcedental, unknowable entity.
And coming with ad-hoc, unsupported assumptions such as "willingness to resort to violence" only for a specific group, etc.

newtype_alpha - I already told you, we can predict the most likely future environments. And, guess what? Intelligence, resistance to disease, etc are advantageous in all of them.

And another thing - the human species lives not in a single environment, but in a multitude of environments.
The chance of all these environments becoming of the extremely unlikely variety you are so desperate to advertise, for any length of time, is practically 0.

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.
And another batch of staw-men:
No society in human history had the technological means to give a person specific desired traits via genetics (not even the current human societies have the technology to do this - yet).
Having the delusion of being able to do this is NOT the same as being able to do this. And it's no surprise that irrational fanaticism such as this will lead to a society's downfall (due to its influence on society, economics, politics, etc).

And another one - that the genetic therapy changes in the genome will not be transmitted the old fashion way, but that each new generation will have to go to the doctor for their "brain pills".
Or your assumption that becoming more intelligent, etc equals reaching some imaginary peak of genetic perfection.

And yet again you come with extremely unlikely future scenarios for the sole purpose of creating irrelevant what-ifs as arguments for your points:
For example - that advanced technology will disappear from human society in thousands of years.

Yet again you transform nature into an unknowable entity, etc.

PS - in conclusion, your entire post is made up of straw-men, extremely unlikely what-ifs and attempts to muddle the ideas discussed by forced semantic changes and ad-hoc assumptions.
As said - your "arguments" are highly unconvincing, newtype_alpha.
"Let truth and falsehood grapple ... Truth is strong" - John Milton

Last edited by Edit_XYZ; December 15 2012 at 11:20 AM.
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