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Old 05-31-2010, 09:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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^That (duga's post) is indeed a statement and I think you should always be a bit careful when making statements. At least ask yourself "how do I know this is true?"!
It's a widely held belief amongst anthropologists. Granted, it is the type of thing that can't be proven, but it makes a lot of sense to me as well as people who study human development and evolution.

Edit: Just to expand a little bit, this theory is supported by fossil records. Without getting too technical, archeologists have found higher frequencies of hominid fossils in areas known to have been incredibly fertile and mild in climate at certain points in history. This means for a time those hominids were able to halt their nomadic nature and live off the fruits of the land. Does this prove that the result is self awareness? No, but what advantage does self awareness provide when it comes to basic survival? Not a whole lot. One of the only ways it would have come about is with the scenario I just described.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:56 PM   #22 (permalink)
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No offense, but I think yours might be - at least slightly! As a biology student, I see no real mystery here and I think the notion that there is or the idea that humans have stopped evolving stems from misconceptions about evolution.

What is evolution? What is it you think drives evolution? Who do well in evolution and who get weeded out and why? Some kind of answers to those questions will solve much of the mystery.
If plants and animals evolve in response to the changes in the biosphere; like a change in climate, maybe an introduction or disappearance of flora and fauna that would totally alter their way of life, thus creating a change of their position in the food change or eating habits, like evolving to elude beig eaten, or evolve to be harder, better, faster, stronger plant and/or animal etc. So if plants and animals evolve because they have to adapt, human don't have to the changing world around them humans can alter the habitat they live and create tools, instead of adapting on the genetic level like plants and animals, so why would they have to evolve - it would be a mute point.

Cheetas are lean mean hunting machines, they evolve to run fast, and take out their prey, on the other hand human don't have to evolve for speed they can just create say a bow and arrow right to hunt and kill, right? That would deminish the need to evolve into a fast running species or some subspecies of super fast humans who can chase after prey, while the rest of the species would live a more sedentary lifestyle as like being hunter/gathers or into some kind of husbandry.

Some scientist once siad that the human race could not survive as a species if it wasn't for their intellect. He point out that humans aren't the fastest, or the strongest, and without the domiciles they know how to build, and the clothes they know how to make, the human species would not be suitable to live all over the world like they actually do.

So in short it's human's intelligence that stops us as humans from evolving.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:56 AM   #23 (permalink)
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If you mean that people can possibly select the sex of their child due to things like the "test tube" baby or artificial insemination, then sure. But in regards to natural conception, there's no such thing as selecting the gender of the child. You get what you get.
Sexual selection is roughly the same as assortative mating which means we don't pick our partners at random. We are attracted to some people and others .. not so much. We are selective when it comes to partner choice, the people we want to have children with. People we find attractive have qualities which typically makes them "fit", for example good mothers. You prefer a lady who has some boobs and tush to one which looks like a plank. Likely, boobs and ass is good if you want to give birth to and then raise a child. Attractiveness of the face (symmetry and so on) can be indicators of how fit people are in other traits, a sort of general quality indicator. Smell (sweat) is thought to give knowledge about the properties and quality of the person's immune system.

There's little basis for saying sexual selection plays a greater part now. At least I think so! If other selection pressures are higher, say food is sparse and there are more diseases (not saying that would be the case some tens of thousands of years ago, but), then finding a partner who is healthy and able could be arguably even more important.

Sexual selection is generally thought to have been extremely important in our evolutionary history. Some use it to explain why we are as kind and social as we are. The sex who has the most parental investment, the females, get to be choosy with the kind of males they want to have sex with. F.ex if you're gonna be pregnant for 9 months and then raise a baby after, you'd want a man who's loyal to you, kind and helps raise the child. Still, if it wasn't for this sexual pressure on men, it should make more sense from a selfish point of view to cheat as much as possible because as a man, you can potentually have children with very little investment. The investment is potentially as little as the sperm load you ejaculate and the energy spent courting and having sex.

So, some biologists believe a lot of our social aspects have evolved from sexual selection pressures on men from women. Some even hypothesize that women's gossiping is a way to exchange information about the quality of potential partners. "Have you heard? Lisa is so upset. She had an argument with Ben and he hit her!"

Needless to say, a statement that says sexual selection is more important now than before (when before?) is just a statement which is vague, non-specific and currently without support.

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It's a widely held belief amongst anthropologists. Granted, it is the type of thing that can't be proven, but it makes a lot of sense to me as well as people who study human development and evolution.

Edit: Just to expand a little bit, this theory is supported by fossil records. Without getting too technical, archeologists have found higher frequencies of hominid fossils in areas known to have been incredibly fertile and mild in climate at certain points in history. This means for a time those hominids were able to halt their nomadic nature and live off the fruits of the land. Does this prove that the result is self awareness? No, but what advantage does self awareness provide when it comes to basic survival? Not a whole lot. One of the only ways it would have come about is with the scenario I just described.
That's well and fine, but it seems a little naive to me. The rough history of man I've heard is that we started walking on two which freed our hands which is important as we're tool users and we switched from a diet based on plants to a diet based on meat. You get a lot more energy per pound of meat and you don't need a huge stomach to digest enough to keep you going. You also don't have to spend most your day foraging and then resting as you digest, something other plant diet apes have to.

Basically, we switched to a source of nutrition which allowed our brains to grow big and we had our hands free and we also got a lot of free time on our hands. When you don't have to spend all day getting food, you can spend it developing culture.

The people you talk about who lived in locations of plenty, I'm not sure what species of man you're talking about, but if they had a culture (could switch off being nomadic and choose to settle), then I'm thinking they were probably already self-aware and had been for a long time.

Even Coco was self-aware!



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Originally Posted by Neapolitan View Post
If plants and animals evolve in response to the changes in the biosphere; like a change in climate, maybe an introduction or disappearance of flora and fauna that would totally alter their way of life, thus creating a change of their position in the food change or eating habits, like evolving to elude beig eaten, or evolve to be harder, better, faster, stronger plant and/or animal etc. So if plants and animals evolve because they have to adapt, human don't have to the changing world around them humans can alter the habitat they live and create tools, instead of adapting on the genetic level like plants and animals, so why would they have to evolve - it would be a mute point.

Cheetas are lean mean hunting machines, they evolve to run fast, and take out their prey, on the other hand human don't have to evolve for speed they can just create say a bow and arrow right to hunt and kill, right? That would deminish the need to evolve into a fast running species or some subspecies of super fast humans who can chase after prey, while the rest of the species would live a more sedentary lifestyle as like being hunter/gathers or into some kind of husbandry.

Some scientist once siad that the human race could not survive as a species if it wasn't for their intellect. He point out that humans aren't the fastest, or the strongest, and without the domiciles they know how to build, and the clothes they know how to make, the human species would not be suitable to live all over the world like they actually do.

So in short it's human's intelligence that stops us as humans from evolving.
You should read my post on the previous page. I wrote a set of criterias which have to be fulfilled for there to be no evolution.

A quick comment still, you think we don't have to evolve in the same "arms race" as the fish we eat and the chickens we kill. This is true, we don't. But how about the viruses, bacteria and range of parasites that still infect us on a daily basis? We're talking here about organisms and evolutionary particles which have a very short generation time which means they evolve incredibly fast in this arms race against us.

We don't stop evolving. You seem to think it's something animals do because they "need" to. They don't, it's a consequence. I keep saying it is, but I'm not sure people get what it entails. Basically, it's not something we choose to do. It's not something we can turn off. Evolution will continue to happen as a consequence unless we can turn off the causes. If life as it is was constant and could not vary, not even mutate, from generation to generation, then there would be no evolution. However, hereditary variability is an integral capacity of life as it is and evolution comes with it. It can be slow, it can be fast, but the main point is it's happening.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:40 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Neapolitan View Post
If plants and animals evolve in response to the changes in the biosphere; like a change in climate, maybe an introduction or disappearance of flora and fauna that would totally alter their way of life, thus creating a change of their position in the food change or eating habits, like evolving to elude beig eaten, or evolve to be harder, better, faster, stronger plant and/or animal etc. So if plants and animals evolve because they have to adapt, human don't have to the changing world around them humans can alter the habitat they live and create tools, instead of adapting on the genetic level like plants and animals, so why would they have to evolve - it would be a mute point.

Cheetas are lean mean hunting machines, they evolve to run fast, and take out their prey, on the other hand human don't have to evolve for speed they can just create say a bow and arrow right to hunt and kill, right? That would deminish the need to evolve into a fast running species or some subspecies of super fast humans who can chase after prey, while the rest of the species would live a more sedentary lifestyle as like being hunter/gathers or into some kind of husbandry.

Some scientist once siad that the human race could not survive as a species if it wasn't for their intellect. He point out that humans aren't the fastest, or the strongest, and without the domiciles they know how to build, and the clothes they know how to make, the human species would not be suitable to live all over the world like they actually do.

So in short it's human's intelligence that stops us as humans from evolving.
Nice Daft Punk reference.

From my understanding I don't think we are evolving at anywhere near the pace of other animals due to the fact that we change our surroundings to suit us, rather than changing to suit our surroundings.

Natural selection happens as the ones with the more advantageous mutations are more likely to survive and therefore breed, passing their genes on. With humans, there are all kinds of things we've made to make mutations to survive unnecessary; e.g. in other animals, a creature with a genetic condition would likely die before it passes the genes on, so the conditon slowly dies out. In humans, medical care allows people with these conditions to survive and pass their "bad" genes on (I'm not saying we should kill everyone with genetic conditions, don't get me wrong).
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:15 AM   #25 (permalink)
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That's well and fine, but it seems a little naive to me. The rough history of man I've heard is that we started walking on two which freed our hands which is important as we're tool users and we switched from a diet based on plants to a diet based on meat. You get a lot more energy per pound of meat and you don't need a huge stomach to digest enough to keep you going. You also don't have to spend most your day foraging and then resting as you digest, something other plant diet apes have to.

Basically, we switched to a source of nutrition which allowed our brains to grow big and we had our hands free and we also got a lot of free time on our hands. When you don't have to spend all day getting food, you can spend it developing culture.

The people you talk about who lived in locations of plenty, I'm not sure what species of man you're talking about, but if they had a culture (could switch off being nomadic and choose to settle), then I'm thinking they were probably already self-aware and had been for a long time.

Even Coco was self-aware!
Well, that's the beauty of science, isn't it? If you are not convinced, you don't have to believe it. I don't see how your scenario is much different...the hominids I was referring to encountered a place with plenty of food including animal life to ingest. Hunting in scarce lands is still a mentally exhausting endeavor, so it would make sense that the mental development I was referring to wouldn't have happened unless animal life was readily and easily available.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:47 PM   #26 (permalink)
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How do you know it plays a greater part now than it did say .. 20 000 years ago?
I don't "know", I'm making an educated guess.
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If you mean that people can possibly select the sex of their child due to things like the "test tube" baby or artificial insemination, then sure. But in regards to natural conception, there's no such thing as selecting the gender of the child. You get what you get.
Erm... Sexual selection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:13 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Even Coco was self-aware!
That (Tore) is indeed a statement and I think you should always be a bit careful when making such statements. At least ask yourself "how do I know this is true?"!

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Originally Posted by tore View Post
You should read my post on the previous page. I wrote a set of criterias which have to be fulfilled for there to be no evolution.

A quick comment still, you think we don't have to evolve in the same "arms race" as the fish we eat and the chickens we kill. This is true, we don't. But how about the viruses, bacteria and range of parasites that still infect us on a daily basis? We're talking here about organisms and evolutionary particles which have a very short generation time which means they evolve incredibly fast in this arms race against us.
So if some humans survive some pandemic and passes that particular gene that ensured their survival, the pathogenes only up the ante and move the goal post back and the advances that are made in the humans genetic level seems all for naught.

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We don't stop evolving.
Well I didn't quite say we did or didn't, but the more pertinant question or point I was trying to make was can the human species be exempt from evolving into a new species? I'm more interested in the philosophical side of the question, is there a species that doesn't have to evolve, that it is near perfect for all conditions and that if it does have some mutations in it's genetic code at least it doesn't evolve into another species. Like hypothectically speaking maybe a million years from now, will the Human species be considered a fossil species like the Ginko biloba or the Coelacanth?

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You seem to think it's something animals do because they "need" to.
I don't seem to think that, it's the impression that I get from most scientist, so if I sound that way it's only the impression I that get from those scientist, and I am only relaying what they present to me.

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They don't, it's a consequence.
Yes I agree, because the whole universe is mutable, only God is immutable. So yes it is a consequence of living in an ever changing world.

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Evolution will continue to happen as a consequence unless we can turn off the causes. If life as it is was constant and could not vary, not even mutate, from generation to generation, then there would be no evolution. However, hereditary variability is an integral capacity of life as it is and evolution comes with it. It can be slow, it can be fast, but the main point is it's happening.
Yes, because all things change. When God created the universe He left a sign on the bottom of it that said "All things are subject to change." I keep saying it is, but I'm not sure people get what it entails. Basically, it's not something we choose to do. Everything in the universe changes. It's not something we can turn off. All things change from from the tiniest sub-atomic particles to the giantest cluster galaxies, everything changes. So yes since genes are part of a mutable universe hypothetically/theoritcally they are subjuect to change too.

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Nice Daft Punk reference.

From my understanding I don't think we are evolving at anywhere near the pace of other animals due to the fact that we change our surroundings to suit us, rather than changing to suit our surroundings.
thanks, I couldn't said it better.
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Actually, I like you a lot, Nea. That's why I treat you like ****. It's the MB way.

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Old 06-02-2010, 03:29 AM   #28 (permalink)
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That (Tore) is indeed a statement and I think you should always be a bit careful when making such statements. At least ask yourself "how do I know this is true?"!
I realize this is a parody of myself I "know" this to be true because Koko is one of the most famous animals in the world, a gorilla which has been taught sign language and she definetly seems to turn attention on to herself and her needs. She is one of the well documented cases of gorillas who have passed the mirror test, a test specifically designed to show whether or not an animal is self-aware.

The reason I mention Koko is that it shows self-awareness should have evolved long before we got up on two legs and created nomadic (or not) cultures.


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So if some humans survive some pandemic and passes that particular gene that ensured their survival, the pathogenes only up the ante and move the goal post back and the advances that are made in the humans genetic level seems all for naught.
Well, again - evolution doesn't have a purpose, it's a consequence so it may seem like it's for naught. On the other hand, if we had not evolved in this arms race, we would not have been here to talk about it.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:26 AM   #29 (permalink)
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The reason I mention Koko is that it shows self-awareness should have evolved long before we got up on two legs and created nomadic (or not) cultures.
It sounds like you are making the classic mistake that we evolved from apes. I'm sure you know this, but for the sake of others I will just point out we did not evolve from modern apes. We had a common ancestor and subsequently diverged in our evolutionary paths. It is very likely modern apes evolved self awareness in the past few thousand years and in no way infers that self awareness evolved long before the scenario I mentioned earlier.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:58 AM   #30 (permalink)
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It sounds like you are making the classic mistake that we evolved from apes. I'm sure you know this, but for the sake of others I will just point out we did not evolve from modern apes. We had a common ancestor and subsequently diverged in our evolutionary paths. It is very likely modern apes evolved self awareness in the past few thousand years and in no way infers that self awareness evolved long before the scenario I mentioned earlier.
What I am suggesting is that our common ancestors some 5 to 8 million years ago may have been self-aware. The reason I'm using Coco as an example is of course not because we come from gorillas, but to show that all the great apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas) are self-aware in mirror tests. The other great apes live lives which we assume are closer to what our common ancestors did. That indicates that our ancestors didn't have to crawl down from the trees, get up on two legs and shift diets before they could evolve to become self-aware. I'm guessing that our (chimps and humans) ancestor wasn't "dumber" or less able to be self-aware than chimpanzees are today. At least I can't think of a reason why that should be an immediate assumption.
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