Thread: Ancient Aliens
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Old December 15 2012, 11:30 PM   #458
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Mutations correlate more strongly with survivors - wits lots of offspring - on a consistent basis ONLY when they're beneficial.
I'm sorry, but that's simply untrue: there is no such thing as a beneficial mutation. Beneficial traits correlate with survival, and those traits are usually the combination of tens or hundreds of discrete mutations, the combination of which becomes a new trait with enough staying power to actually BE inherited by a significant number of one's offspring.

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)
And I never said it did. I said evolution produces gradual variation in the genome through natural selection of beneficial traits over deleterious ones by the gradual accumulation of gene mutations to produce new traits over time.

Genetic engineering doesn't produce gradual variation, doesn't involve natural selection, and doesn't produce new traits over time. Therefore it doesn't fall under the definition of "evolution" and there's no reason to pretend it is in any way similar to it, especially since genetic engineering itself would really only be a transient source of new information which would factor into natural evolution anyway.

Genetic therapy will do just this
Of course it will. And genetic therapy is not evolution.

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.
Only on timescales much longer than human beings are in any way equipped to contemplate and plan for, which are timescales in which evolution plays out. In the very short term -- speaking in terms of a few centuries or a few millennia -- political, military and cultural forces play a far greater role than natural selection.

Breeding IS evolution
No, breeding is breeding.

Newtype_alpha, in order for you to have an argument, you want to restrict the concept of "evolution" to only something that happens naturally
I don't "want" to do anything at all. Evolution is a scientific concept with a discrete definition, one which you have chosen to expand to include things that otherwise have nothing to do with evolution.

Genetic engineering and/or selective breeding can do all kinds of things for the human race, but it won't create a new species, and it won't directly affect evolution. For pretty much the same reason that strip mining and fracking won't affect plate techtonics and space exploration won't affect the Earth's orbit.

newtype_alpha, you forget, your posts are there for everyone to read
Then you should probably start READING them instead of scanning for potential counterarguments.

And coming with ad-hoc, unsupported assumptions such as "willingness to resort to violence" only for a specific group, etc.
Certain people ARE more willing to resort to violence than others. That, too, is a beneficial survival trait, and conditions have existed in the historical past where it was the ONLY trait that really mattered.

And, guess what? Intelligence, resistance to disease, etc are advantageous in all of them.
Not necessarily, especially from an evolutionary standpoint.

You realize, of course, that we're talking about traits that correlate with a large number of offspring -- NOT financial or political success as such. A smarter populace might make the calculated decision to have fewer children, realizing that smaller families are easier to manage financially and emotionally, and also being smart enough to practice effective family planning. Meanwhile their stupider counterparts in the developing world continue to breed like rabbits, popping out litters of children that they can barely feed. To some extent this is ALREADY the case in western countries, where wealthier/college educated parents tend to produce fewer children than high school dropouts who don't even have the wherewithal to use birth control. What's more, it seems to be the case that highly intelligent women tend to pursue things like career goals and personal satisfaction rather than simply staying home and popping out children by the dozen.

And those are the conditions we have RIGHT NOW, where intelligence is NOT a beneficent evolutionary 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
Which is why I mentioned selective breeding instead of genetics, and why I said "even if they had the technology," none of them survived long enough for the use of that technology to make a difference.

And another one - that the genetic therapy changes in the genome will not be transmitted the old fashion way
I never said they wouldn't. Significantly, "transmission of traits" is not the same thing as evolution.

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.
Even if this is a safe assumption for "advanced technology," do we actually know that GENETIC ENGINEERING will still be possible -- or practiced, or even LEGAL -- three thousand years from now? It would be a hell of a thing to assume so, considering we do not even use genetic engineering NOW and there's even less to assume that if and when we start using it that we will continue to do so for anything like the time it would take to contribute to evolutionary changes.

PS - in conclusion, your entire post is made up of straw-men
FYI, "Strawman" does not mean "something I assume you believe because I think you're wrong."
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