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View Full Version : Some human predecessors lastd for 10^6 years, Neanderthals for 500, 000 yrs. Us?



potoole
2012-Aug-16, 04:12 AM
Our human ancestors existed for as long as a million years. They didn't progress too much during that time.
Neanderthals hung around for about 500,000 years, also not progressing too far.
Homo sapiens (us) have been around for less than 100,000 years, and our kind has made huge cultural and scientific advances, mostly within the last 5000 years.

Is it possible that our kind could hang around for as long as the Neanderthals did? And what if our descendents do? That would give us another 400,000 years. What could be accmplished by homo sapiens in that length of time? Or will we reach a dead end as the Neanderthals did?

Perhaps our descendents will find it necessary to computerise themselves, or use bio-engineering in order to advance.

Spookyness, :confused:

PO'T

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-16, 04:47 AM
Depends on what sort of setbacks humans experience that threaten the survival of the species.

potoole
2012-Aug-16, 05:48 AM
Depends on what sort of setbacks humans experience that threaten the survival of the species.

Oh, yeah, I suppose.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-16, 12:51 PM
...Or will we reach a dead end as the Neanderthals did?
Except for the social, political and other things that we may inflict on ourselves, from an evolutionary point of view I see this as different.
Neanderthal had a competitor that was in direct competition with a better suited being. I don't see that in the human race at this point. We may evolve to something else, but I don't think that implies an end.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-16, 01:12 PM
I suspect part of it is also that the distinction between recent brands of humanoids have narrowed down as we get closer to us, so the distinction between homo sapiens sapiens and homo sapiens is less than the distinction between homo sapiens and homo heidelbergensis, while the difference is bigger yet from homo heidelbergensis to homo erectus.

The longer time they existed may well be an effect of classifying more of them as being part of the same species rather than being a result of actually being the same for longer.

swampyankee
2012-Aug-16, 01:49 PM
I believe that, right now, the fossil evidence is that modern humans have been around about 200,000 years (http://blogs.plos.org/mitsciwrite/). Obviously, I'm willing to be corrected on this, as human evolution is far from my areas of study. Hominids seem to have been around about a dozen times longer than H sapiens. How long they were "behaviorally modern" is a different question, and one which may not even make sense ( see http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658067 ). One of the definitions of modern behavior is probably tool use, but I would be very surprised if tool use did not precede Homo sapiens by several hundred thousand years.

primummobile
2012-Aug-16, 01:57 PM
I believe that, right now, the fossil evidence is that modern humans have been around about 200,000 years (http://blogs.plos.org/mitsciwrite/). Obviously, I'm willing to be corrected on this, as human evolution is far from my areas of study. Hominids seem to have been around about a dozen times longer than H sapiens. How long they were "behaviorally modern" is a different question, and one which may not even make sense ( see http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/658067 ). One of the definitions of modern behavior is probably tool use, but I would be very surprised if tool use did not precede Homo sapiens by several hundred thousand years.

The mainstream view is that Home Sapiens reached behavior modernity about 50,000 years ago. Of course, like everything else this is debated.

Swift
2012-Aug-16, 02:14 PM
One of the definitions of modern behavior is probably tool use, but I would be very surprised if tool use did not precede Homo sapiens by several hundred thousand years.
I assume that it is a given that tool use preceded Homo Sapiens. There is evidence at least as far back as H. habilis for tool use, as I understand it (1 to 2 million years ago). And given that chimps are tool makers and users, it would almost shock me if early hominids did not. But termite sticks and similar tools would not be well preserved in the fossil record.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-16, 02:18 PM
The mainstream view is that Home Sapiens reached behavior modernity about 50,000 years ago. Of course, like everything else this is debated.
That's based on that being the time for the first imagery that's kept, which means it's used as the time for the beginning of symbolic thought.

primummobile
2012-Aug-16, 02:38 PM
That's based on that being the time for the first imagery that's kept, which means it's used as the time for the beginning of symbolic thought.

Forgive me for being dense, but I'm not sure what you mean by "the time for the first imagery that's kept".

KABOOM
2012-Aug-16, 02:47 PM
Forgive me for being dense, but I'm not sure what you mean by "the time for the first imagery that's kept".

Cave paintings, symbols, etc.

primummobile
2012-Aug-16, 02:55 PM
OK, that's what I thought it might be. Thanks.

ShinAce
2012-Aug-16, 03:12 PM
I don't like the idea of pretending that we understand every step of human evolution. The genetic tree for hominids still has holes in it. There is evidence that surgery, specifically, trepanation, was performed long ago. From an evolutionary standpoint, how do you explain that a bunch of simple gatherers decided to drill holes in their skulls hoping to make themselves smarter? Have we really been fighting evolution that long now?

Plus when I consider things like the Antikythera device, I start to wonder just how advanced we are, or how backwards are ancestors were, if at all.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the topic is presumptuous. Seeing as how our species has enslaved other members of the same species, there is still much room for 'progress'. It's all going to depend on what you consider progress. I think that spoken language must have been one of the bigger steps.

primummobile
2012-Aug-16, 03:48 PM
I don't like the idea of pretending that we understand every step of human evolution. The genetic tree for hominids still has holes in it. There is evidence that surgery, specifically, trepanation, was performed long ago. From an evolutionary standpoint, how do you explain that a bunch of simple gatherers decided to drill holes in their skulls hoping to make themselves smarter? Have we really been fighting evolution that long now?

Plus when I consider things like the Antikythera device, I start to wonder just how advanced we are, or how backwards are ancestors were, if at all.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the topic is presumptuous. Seeing as how our species has enslaved other members of the same species, there is still much room for 'progress'. It's all going to depend on what you consider progress. I think that spoken language must have been one of the bigger steps.

We don't have any evidence of trepanning being practiced prior to about the neolithic age, which was only about 10,000 years ago... so in the last 20% of 'behavior modernity'. And art from that time doesn't indicate they thought it would make them smarter, but was used to attempt a cure for specific ailments. It's not much of a leap for someone who had a headache to pinpoint that pain as having come from his head.

The antikythera device is probably less than 2200 years old. That is well within the time frame given by the OP. And while there are huge gaps in our knowledge of ancient history, we do know that early homonids made very little technological progress compared to the progress of late. We have Neanderthal artifacts that cover a period of almost 300,000 years and they changed remarkably little.

We managed to advance so far so quickly because we developed agriculture and it's possible we may have been the first to develop true language capable of conveying abstract thought. While slavery is a terrible practice, I fail to see how the practice of owning slaves relates to how long we will survive as a species.

I also don't see it as being presumptuous. We are simply better equipped than our genetic ancestors to advance technologically. It's not an opinion. It's a fact. It's like a cheetah saying that he can run faster than a lion. The cheetah isn't boasting. He is simply stating that what nature gave him is better for running fast. We are probably more intelligent than Neanderthals were, but I wouldn't want to be forced to fight one of them hand-to-hand. Fortunately, smarts beats anything else nature has to offer.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-16, 05:48 PM
Forgive me for being dense, but I'm not sure what you mean by "the time for the first imagery that's kept".
Brain freeze, I meant something like "first imagery we know of because it survived".

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-16, 07:41 PM
I think a lot of potential human endeavor was limited not by intelligence but by opportunity. You can't have cave paintings if there wasn't a cave or paint. You also can't easily paint in a cave if a large predator is living in there when you feel the need to leave your mark.

Even Newton said that he saw farther because he was standing on the shoulders of giants, but perhaps early humans didn't have any giant shoulders to stand upon. They may have been too busy trying to survive. This may be due, in part, to social organization. If small wandering tribes needed large territories to hunt then there'd be a lot of walking and hunting and recovering from injuries that didn't leave a lot of time for finding caves to paint in. And they might have spent a lot of time fighting for control of a territory from other humans or other hominids, or other animals, meaning what communicative art they did create was meant for much more open display and public consumption instead of in a hidden-cave gallery, which means it would deteriorate from exposure. And there's a lot of stuff that may have been covered by rising seas, meandering rivers, covered by shifting sands or destroyed by melting ice. We don't know their social structure, but I wouldn't be surprised if different tribes met yearly or seasonally to exchange information and to decide who got to hunt certain regions or to exchange members.

In other words, I suspect that behaviorally modern humanity can go back farther, although I can't say that it did. Of course, that depends on what you define as "behaviorally modern". I'd suggest that trade is at least as indicative as art, and some scholars claim trade was occuring as long ago as 150 kya. Assuming that it's limited to stuff that can survive that long, it might have gone on earlier with items that don't last, like food, membership, land rights, technological information, wooden spears and atlatls, and wooden or dried-clay art/totems inside of and between different groups.

primummobile
2012-Aug-16, 08:23 PM
I think a lot of potential human endeavor was limited not by intelligence but by opportunity. You can't have cave paintings if there wasn't a cave or paint. You also can't easily paint in a cave if a large predator is living in there when you feel the need to leave your mark.

Even Newton said that he saw farther because he was standing on the shoulders of giants, but perhaps early humans didn't have any giant shoulders to stand upon. They may have been too busy trying to survive. This may be due, in part, to social organization. If small wandering tribes needed large territories to hunt then there'd be a lot of walking and hunting and recovering from injuries that didn't leave a lot of time for finding caves to paint in. And they might have spent a lot of time fighting for control of a territory from other humans or other hominids, or other animals, meaning what communicative art they did create was meant for much more open display and public consumption instead of in a hidden-cave gallery, which means it would deteriorate from exposure. And there's a lot of stuff that may have been covered by rising seas, meandering rivers, covered by shifting sands or destroyed by melting ice. We don't know their social structure, but I wouldn't be surprised if different tribes met yearly or seasonally to exchange information and to decide who got to hunt certain regions or to exchange members.

In other words, I suspect that behaviorally modern humanity can go back farther, although I can't say that it did. Of course, that depends on what you define as "behaviorally modern". I'd suggest that trade is at least as indicative as art, and some scholars claim trade was occuring as long ago as 150 kya. Assuming that it's limited to stuff that can survive that long, it might have gone on earlier with items that don't last, like food, membership, land rights, technological information, wooden spears and atlatls, and wooden or dried-clay art/totems inside of and between different groups.

This is what Wikipedia says constitutes behavioral modernity:

finely-made tools
fishing
evidence of long-distance exchange or barter among groups
systematic use of pigment (such as ochre) and jewelry for decoration or self-ornamentation
figurative art (cave paintings, petroglyphs, figurines)
game playing and music
foods being cooked and seasoned instead of being consumed in the raw
burial


You can find the article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_modernity They say it is usually associated with the development of language.

Swift
2012-Aug-16, 08:56 PM
I think a lot of potential human endeavor was limited not by intelligence but by opportunity. You can't have cave paintings if there wasn't a cave or paint. You also can't easily paint in a cave if a large predator is living in there when you feel the need to leave your mark.

Even Newton said that he saw farther because he was standing on the shoulders of giants, but perhaps early humans didn't have any giant shoulders to stand upon. They may have been too busy trying to survive. This may be due, in part, to social organization.
Yes, I completely agree. That extends through much (all?) of human history; the serfs and peasants and farmers and hunters spent almost all their available time just staying alive. That is why the development of agriculture really sped up the development of so many new technologies; a little better food supply freed up time for some people to start domesticating animals, metallurgy, pottery, etc., etc.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-17, 07:02 AM
I've said it before and I will say it again, in my opinion the breakthrough came with storytelling, aka external information storage and telling cause/effect relationships to others. Teaching others rather than just learning from observing others.

Agriculture was a result, not a primary cause.

First humans needed the minds to understand the story "more plants grown where you put seeds in the ground" and needed the language to teach that to each other, then agriculture could come about.

primummobile
2012-Aug-17, 09:37 AM
I've said it before and I will say it again, in my opinion the breakthrough came with storytelling, aka external information storage and telling cause/effect relationships to others. Teaching others rather than just learning from observing others.

Agriculture was a result, not a primary cause.



First humans needed the minds to understand the story "more plants grown where you put seeds in the ground" and needed the language to teach that to each other, then agriculture could come about.


I don't think anyone doubts that. The article I linked to said that behavioral modernity is associated with the origin of language.

Agriculture is what allowed us to live in permanent settlements and start to make great advances because we controlled the availability of food rather than the availability of food controlling us. That came tens of thousands of years after language.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-17, 06:31 PM
This is what Wikipedia says constitutes behavioral modernity:

finely-made tools
fishing
evidence of long-distance exchange or barter among groups
systematic use of pigment (such as ochre) and jewelry for decoration or self-ornamentation
figurative art (cave paintings, petroglyphs, figurines)
game playing and music
foods being cooked and seasoned instead of being consumed in the raw
burial


You can find the article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_modernity They say it is usually associated with the development of language.

The Continuity hypothesis seems more likely to me, for which there is some evidence of Behavioral Modernity as long ago as 164 kya. A lot of the indicators, as you list above, can be made with non-permanent methods or they may have been made to be intentionally disposable as a matter of religious belief or to give a reason for artisans to continue making new ones. I mean, you could drill a hole inside a shell to make a necklace, or you could tie a knot in a reed and push it in to hold it with friction until it eventually fell out (if you live along the beach, there's a lot of shells). I think that part of the reason for the rapid change 50 kya may have been due to natural disasters and climate change forcing different groups together, which meant new ideas started to spread and a sense of permanence in a changing world might have been desired and therefore created, and these objects were created, used, lost and later found in areas that were easily accessible to archeologists (unlike submerged sites).

primummobile
2012-Aug-17, 09:14 PM
The Continuity hypothesis seems more likely to me, for which there is some evidence of Behavioral Modernity as long ago as 164 kya. A lot of the indicators, as you list above, can be made with non-permanent methods or they may have been made to be intentionally disposable as a matter of religious belief or to give a reason for artisans to continue making new ones. I mean, you could drill a hole inside a shell to make a necklace, or you could tie a knot in a reed and push it in to hold it with friction until it eventually fell out (if you live along the beach, there's a lot of shells). I think that part of the reason for the rapid change 50 kya may have been due to natural disasters and climate change forcing different groups together, which meant new ideas started to spread and a sense of permanence in a changing world might have been desired and therefore created, and these objects were created, used, lost and later found in areas that were easily accessible to archeologists (unlike submerged sites).

I happen to agree with this. But others who know much more than I seem to think differently.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-17, 10:53 PM
I happen to agree with this. But others who know much more than I seem to think differently.

I'm not sure which side has more adherents or evidence.

primummobile
2012-Aug-18, 01:18 PM
I'm not sure which side has more adherents or evidence.

I can't tell you that, but I can tell you that I hear more about a "great leap forward" than I do anything else. The way I understand it, they think nothing advanced until we developed language, and they put c50,000 years ago as that date.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-18, 06:54 PM
I can't tell you that, but I can tell you that I hear more about a "great leap forward" than I do anything else. The way I understand it, they think nothing advanced until we developed language, and they put c50,000 years ago as that date.

Squeaky wheel? I dunno, Wikipedia has a long article on the origin of language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_language) that I haven't read through yet and I don't recall much about that from my anthropology classes way back when. Of course, that may depend on what's meant by language: basic communication or sophisticated language. I'd think that language must have originated very early as it's necessary to perform many activities in a group setting, such as hunting. I'd assume that hominids started experimenting with vocalizations as soon as that mouth evolved to allow for complex speech.

primummobile
2012-Aug-18, 08:17 PM
I love this sentence from the introduction:


since neither languages nor the ability to produce them fossilize.

It basically says that there is no real consensus. Neanderthals were physically able to speak, but anthropologists don't believe that they had a fully developed language. It goes further to say that modern humans were probably unable to speak anything other than a Pidgin-like language until some unspecified brain mutation took place about 70-50K years ago.

Then it says that there is considerable debate over whether language developed gradually over thousands of years or just appeared suddenly.

I've actually read that article before because the origin of language is fascinating to me. No matter what, I think that humans would have had some form of language long before the 50K mark because so many words in completely unrelated languages are so similar. I do think that at some point we had a kind of culture-explosion where we advanced rapidly on all fronts for a period of time, but I don't know when or for what duration. I think it likely that it probably happened before we started to migrate in opposite directions, but it seems from this map that we didn't leave the near East longer than around 50K years ago.

17419

Going back a few posts, something to consider when you see Neanderthal art on cave walls is whether they actually thought about art in the same way we do. I'm not really sure how to put what I'm thinking into words, but I'll do my best. I am unaware of any Neanderthal art that doesn't depict something concrete that the artists would see in their daily lives. So they may have not needed to think abstractly in order to paint or draw representations of what they had seen. So, while I think that we were the first species capable of abstract thought in the true sense of the word, I don't think we have any real idea of when we made that jump.

Sorry to be so wordy just to agree with you.

potoole
2012-Aug-18, 09:01 PM
primummobile
Established Member , stated
"It basically says that there is no real consensus. Neanderthals were physically able to speak, but anthropologists don't believe that they had a fully developed language. It goes further to say that modern humans were probably unable to speak anything other than a Pidgin-like language until some unspecified brain mutation took place about 70-50K years ago. "

Does anybody think that humans will further evolve; maybe another advantageous brain mutation?
What if humans hang in there for another 100K, or even 500K years, how far could we(they) go? Anybody have any thoughts on that?
I know that is a very, very long way into the future, and there could many possibilities.

PO'T:confused:

Anybody?

Grey
2012-Aug-18, 10:42 PM
I've said it before and I will say it again, in my opinion the breakthrough came with storytelling, aka external information storage and telling cause/effect relationships to others. Teaching others rather than just learning from observing others.I'd absolutely agree. Suddenly, each person doesn't necessarily have to learn every single thing all over again. Complex language allows hard-won knowledge to live beyond the person that figures it out, and suddenly knowledge is cumulative.

Grey
2012-Aug-18, 10:54 PM
I love this sentence from the introduction:


since neither languages nor the ability to produce them fossilize.Of course this is true, but sometimes you can get some astonishing circumstantial evidence from the fossil record. For example, the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the tongue, passes through a specific hole in the skull. In early hominids, this hole is very small, but later hominids (starting about 500,000 years ago), have a much larger hole. Of course, this isn't conclusive, but it's strongly suggestive that at about that point, control of the tongue became much more precise, and our ancestors became capable of much more complex vocalizations.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-19, 12:15 AM
I love this sentence from the introduction:



It basically says that there is no real consensus. Neanderthals were physically able to speak, but anthropologists don't believe that they had a fully developed language. It goes further to say that modern humans were probably unable to speak anything other than a Pidgin-like language until some unspecified brain mutation took place about 70-50K years ago.

Then it says that there is considerable debate over whether language developed gradually over thousands of years or just appeared suddenly.

I've actually read that article before because the origin of language is fascinating to me. No matter what, I think that humans would have had some form of language long before the 50K mark because so many words in completely unrelated languages are so similar. I do think that at some point we had a kind of culture-explosion where we advanced rapidly on all fronts for a period of time, but I don't know when or for what duration. I think it likely that it probably happened before we started to migrate in opposite directions, but it seems from this map that we didn't leave the near East longer than around 50K years ago.

Going back a few posts, something to consider when you see Neanderthal art on cave walls is whether they actually thought about art in the same way we do. I'm not really sure how to put what I'm thinking into words, but I'll do my best. I am unaware of any Neanderthal art that doesn't depict something concrete that the artists would see in their daily lives. So they may have not needed to think abstractly in order to paint or draw representations of what they had seen. So, while I think that we were the first species capable of abstract thought in the true sense of the word, I don't think we have any real idea of when we made that jump.

Sorry to be so wordy just to agree with you.

I haven't read the article in full, getting distracted earlier. It makes me want to reconsider graduate school (a Communications professor said I should go into the Communications Theory graduate program, it was my minor as an undergraduate) but I didn't due to other desires and a random strange event that changed my mind.

Anyway, part way through reading that article I had a lot of potential ideas floating through my head. I suspect part of the difference between other apes and humans was related to adaptation for mobility and the different environment and threats. In a jungle/forest with lots of trees to climb and foliage, simple high-pitched vocalizations would be sufficient to reach through short distances of visual obstruction and climbing between close trees would be possible. However, on the savannah where hominids had started living, people could wander farther out of eyesight but still be within earshot. This would mean that high-pitched sounds might be attenuated faster and that a range of pitches would be advantageous for communication. Furthermore, hand signals might develop since a hand could be raised above tall grass, and that means more abstract gesticulations would be useful because facial and body non-verbal cues would not be visible. Moreover, lions and other predators might have been a problem and climbing trees to escape them might have meant verbal communication over longer distances (fewer trees with wider separations than in the jungle) would be necessary, especially since larger size and non-grasping feet meant hands were needed for stability on branches. I can imagine how a group might coordinate leap-frog tactics to get away from a pride of lionesses by alternately jumping down as a diversion while another group in another tree runs to the next tree, and then the other group does the same thing. Maybe they'd pick up rocks to pelt at the predators too along the way until the predators gave up. I guess my point is that I suspect the gesture hypothesis makes a lot of sense to me once you start thinking about the physics involved (which answer some of the criticisms).

Generally, my understanding of evolution suggests a lot of random mutations might happen well before the organism has an opportunity to use it. Humans may have had the capability for sophisticated speech but didn't start developing it until they devised methods of obtaining better nutrition that gave their brains the energy to make use of the structure. Cooking would serve this purpose, and it might mean teeth wore down slower which meant less tooth pain or other headache sources, which can make it hard to talk and focus mentally. And cooking would use fire, which meant more need for social exchange and would also mean more night-time communication where verbal cues may be more important since non-visual cues are less detectable.

The debate over lying is informative, but it's not resolved and has been one of the biggest problems through human history and continues to be to this day. I suspect that technological innovations made trust much more lucrative and with less cost, making it worth the risk. Hominid see hominid do. Once a hominid sees something, they may figure out how to do it, so trusting someone in a task can also mean learning how to perform that task making one ultimately less dependent. But the ability to learn techniques extends to learning to detect nuanced changes in vocalizations and non-verbal cues that might signal deception. So, not only is language a technique, it a technique for learning and acquiring new techniques. Besides, lying isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can have beneficial results, some of which are advantageous even for the one being lied to --one might be deceived in order to be taught a new technique if one didn't think it was possible previously. Also, deception can lead to practical jokes which, as a form of hazing, can strengthen social bonds. And this leads to general humor theory where surprise and deception in the form of misdirection is necessary.

potoole
2012-Aug-19, 03:06 AM
How does one unhijack a hijacked thread, or original post?

My OP was to basically ask if anyone had any thoughts on far future possibilities, Not about pasture maybes or could have beens.

I feel that my original question has been overthrown by various dissertations on anthropology.

PO'T

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-19, 06:52 PM
How does one unhijack a hijacked thread, or original post?

My OP was to basically ask if anyone had any thoughts on far future possibilities, Not about pasture maybes or could have beens.

I feel that my original question has been overthrown by various dissertations on anthropology.

PO'T

You don't believe in evolution? After all, you referred to early humanity and neanderthals, so how can we answer your question without trying to figure out what happened in the paradigm you're asking us to extend.

Ask a mod to split it off if you feel that strongly about it.

primummobile
2012-Aug-19, 10:15 PM
How does one unhijack a hijacked thread, or original post?

My OP was to basically ask if anyone had any thoughts on far future possibilities, Not about pasture maybes or could have beens.

I feel that my original question has been overthrown by various dissertations on anthropology.

PO'T

I really don't understand this. You made a statement about human ancestors not advancing, and used that assumption to lead to your question. The first thing that needs to be done to answer your question is to establish why and how humans advanced. If it makes you feel that bad I won't comment in this thread anymore.

potoole
2012-Aug-20, 12:08 AM
OK, I stand corrected.

I apologize.

PO'T

potoole
2012-Aug-20, 02:54 AM
You don't believe in evolution? After all, you referred to early humanity and neanderthals, so how can we answer your question without trying to figure out what happened in the paradigm you're asking us to extend.

Ask a mod to split it off if you feel that strongly about it.

Yes, I believe in evolution.

eburacum45
2012-Aug-20, 03:08 AM
The next stage in the evolution of intelligent life on Earth might ocur within the next hundred years or so, a very short time in geological terms.

What that next step might be I don't know for sure. It might be an artficially intelligent entity, or a genetically modified or artificially augmented human; it might be an electronically emulated or uploaded human, or even a genetically modified non-human organism such as a dolphin or chimp.

It might even be all of these.

-----------
On the other hand, our species itself might last a very long time, if only in storage. Now that we can record and store entire genomes, there is no reason any species need die out, least of all our own. There may be humans present when the last star dies, if anyone can be bothered to dig them out of the files.

potoole
2012-Aug-20, 03:10 AM
The next stage in the evolution of intelligent life on Earth might ocur within the next hundred years or so, a very short time in geological terms.

What that next step might be I don't know for sure. It might be an artficially intelligent entity, or a genetically modified or artificially augmented human; it might be an electronically emulated or uploaded human, or even a genetically modified non-human organism such as a dolphin or chimp.

It might even be all of these.

-----------
On the other hand, our species itself might last a very long time, if only in storage. Now that we can record and store entire genomes, there is no reason any species need die out, least of all our own. There may be humans present when the last star dies, if anyone can be bothered to dig them out of the files.

Thank you.
PO'T

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-20, 06:26 AM
On the other hand, our species itself might last a very long time, if only in storage. Now that we can record and store entire genomes, there is no reason any species need die out, least of all our own. There may be humans present when the last star dies, if anyone can be bothered to dig them out of the files.
Assuming the rather naive idea that the genome holds all information about an organism, which is quite obviously wrong.

primummobile
2012-Aug-20, 12:36 PM
Assuming the rather naive idea that the genome holds all information about an organism, which is quite obviously wrong.

I'm confused by this. How is it 'obviously' wrong?

primummobile
2012-Aug-20, 12:38 PM
The next stage in the evolution of intelligent life on Earth might ocur within the next hundred years or so, a very short time in geological terms.

What that next step might be I don't know for sure. It might be an artficially intelligent entity, or a genetically modified or artificially augmented human; it might be an electronically emulated or uploaded human, or even a genetically modified non-human organism such as a dolphin or chimp.

It might even be all of these.

-----------
On the other hand, our species itself might last a very long time, if only in storage. Now that we can record and store entire genomes, there is no reason any species need die out, least of all our own. There may be humans present when the last star dies, if anyone can be bothered to dig them out of the files.

I think it likely that the next stages in our evolution will be directed, either through gene manipulation or artificial augmentation. Or more likely, a combination of both. Whatever the case, I don't see our species lasting as it is now for more than a few hundred years unless you find groups who are purists and decide to remain completely human.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-20, 01:37 PM
I'm confused by this. How is it 'obviously' wrong?
Apart from the mitochondria which have their own genome (that's the obvious part), there are such things as prions, which influence protein folding without being coded for in the genome, plus the state at any time of the entire control system which determined which parts of the genome are transcribed.
There are large parts of the system for controlling which proteins are expressed and how they are folded which isn't coded for in the genome but is instead determined by the current relative concentrations of the enzymes in the cell.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 07:23 PM
Yes, I believe in evolution.

I was referring to thread evolution, not biological evolution. I should have changed that part when I edited it to refer to humanity and neanderthals. Sorry about that.

BTW, I don't think humanity will be drastically different in the next hundred or few hundred years. I suspect our technology will prevent us from evolving in any major functional way, and I feel our social structures will prevent us from wanting to. There may be adaptations to enhanced diet, but I'm not even sure about that. IIRC, having a larger genetic pool means less chance for speciation. Our medical technology will allow us to treat people with disease and allow them to live to reproductive age. Our transportation system will allow people to intermingle. That may help maintain and spread new combinations of genes, but you need a bottleneck for recessive genes to expressed and for non-desirous genes to propogate. Right now some people don't have kids because they're unattractive, but in a genetic bottleneck (e.g. last man/woman on earth), they may get a shot at procreation.

I think we will see genetic cures and such happen, but in no way, shape or form will humanity now be distinguishable from humanity then. Although we might turn into hobbits. Research of the population of Framingham, MA suggests that people are getting fatter and shorter. This makes sense in a world of easy availability of food. If lack of food is a limiting growth factor and people get enough food, then people with genetic shortness may be able to grow to their max size. Men and women both tend to prefer a tall-male with shorter-female aesthetic, so that may select for shorties while lanky women go unloved. (Of course, chubbiness works against everyone's reproductive potential). If humans later enter a population bottleneck, then the morphologically max-height genetic-shorties may shrink to a smaller size commensurate with limitations in diet. Of course, I could be wrong.

potoole
2012-Aug-20, 08:48 PM
I think it likely that the next stages in our evolution will be directed, either through gene manipulation or artificial augmentation. Or more likely, a combination of both. Whatever the case, I don't see our species lasting as it is now for more than a few hundred years unless you find groups who are purists and decide to remain completely human.

Also interesting, thanks.

potoole
2012-Aug-20, 08:58 PM
I was referring to thread evolution, not biological evolution. I should have changed that part when I edited it to refer to humanity and neanderthals. Sorry about that.

BTW, I don't think humanity will be drastically different in the next hundred or few hundred years. I suspect our technology will prevent us from evolving in any major functional way, and I feel our social structures will prevent us from wanting to. There may be adaptations to enhanced diet, but I'm not even sure about that. IIRC, having a larger genetic pool means less chance for speciation. Our medical technology will allow us to treat people with disease and allow them to live to reproductive age. Our transportation system will allow people to intermingle. That may help maintain and spread new combinations of genes, but you need a bottleneck for recessive genes to expressed and for non-desirous genes to propogate. Right now some people don't have kids because they're unattractive, but in a genetic bottleneck (e.g. last man/woman on earth), they may get a shot at procreation.

I think we will see genetic cures and such happen, but in no way, shape or form will humanity now be distinguishable from humanity then. Although we might turn into hobbits. Research of the population of Framingham, MA suggests that people are getting fatter and shorter. This makes sense in a world of easy availability of food. If lack of food is a limiting growth factor and people get enough food, then people with genetic shortness may be able to grow to their max size. Men and women both tend to prefer a tall-male with shorter-female aesthetic, so that may select for shorties while lanky women go unloved. (Of course, chubbiness works against everyone's reproductive potential). If humans later enter a population bottleneck, then the morphologically max-height genetic-shorties may shrink to a smaller size commensurate with limitations in diet. Of course, I could be wrong.

Thank you

eburacum45
2012-Aug-20, 10:24 PM
Assuming the rather naive idea that the genome holds all information about an organism, which is quite obviously wrong.
Good point; there's an awful lot of epigenetic information that needs to be stored too, but that doesn't seem to be a complete showstopper.

eburacum45
2012-Aug-20, 10:47 PM
in no way, shape or form will humanity now be distinguishable from humanity then
I think you are probably wrong. It seems almost impossible to imagine that humanity will not change in response to the acceleration in biotechnology and information technology that is just beginning. Our descendants will probably be able to redesign their own bodies, and those of their descendants, at will. That might mean that, on occasion, they will conform strongly to a perceived ideal; but what that ideal might be, and how it will change over time, is anybody's guess.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-20, 11:01 PM
I think you are probably wrong. It seems almost impossible to imagine that humanity will not change in response to the acceleration in biotechnology and information technology that is just beginning. Our descendants will probably be able to redesign their own bodies, and those of their descendants, at will. That might mean that, on occasion, they will conform strongly to a perceived ideal; but what that ideal might be, and how it will change over time, is anybody's guess.
It's more than just a guess, it's based on about a hundred thousand years of natural selection. As the saying goes, "You can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl."

As I wrote on another thread where you brought this up, those who are capable of contriving or paying for such changes are going to be least likely to engage in it because of social pressure, and I don't think that will change in a few hundred years. Even cybernetic adaptations are unlikely to be permanent, unless either invisible to to repair obvious morphological deformities from birth or injury.

Directed genetic evolution will require altering germ cells and/or embryos and that will mean that people won't be making the change for themselves, but for their children. The egg comes before the chicken. How many people will want to give birth to something that's not like them, to something that's not a chip off the old block, to a monster? Now, if we have a change in perception and social mores and tech that allows animals to be bred and born in mechanical wombs, then you may see animal and even anthropoid life-forms created wholly created in a lab, perhaps to serve as slave labor, but I can't imagine a woman would want to be a test tube for a strange, alien creature.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 01:13 PM
... those who are capable of contriving or paying for such changes are going to be least likely to engage in it because of social pressure, and I don't think that will change in a few hundred years. [...] How many people will want to give birth to something that's not like them, to something that's not a chip off the old block, to a monster?
I don't think it will change much either, but I think social pressures would be only a minor part of that. I'm sure there will be plenty of people that have the means that will make "tweaks" if it's reliable enough and very low risk of creating that monster. Maybe something like taller, shorter, or other minor attributes that might give them a bit of an advantage.

But; I think the reason not to do it is more from a preparation point of view. Certainly there is a population that will plan/prepare for birth, and a portion of those will plan/prepare for minor changes.
I think the number of people that don't would be an overwhelming majority, and those changes might get bred back out of the population for the most part.

And; of course. It's going to be a matter of someone wanting to mate with someone with those genetic enhancements (or even knowing if they have the enhancements for thier later life)

A risk to that would be that if there are enough people with the will and the means go for it, they may bread among themselves and we would end up with two different evolutionary paths.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 05:43 PM
I don't think it will change much either, but I think social pressures would be only a minor part of that. I'm sure there will be plenty of people that have the means that will make "tweaks" if it's reliable enough and very low risk of creating that monster. Maybe something like taller, shorter, or other minor attributes that might give them a bit of an advantage. Risk of what? I'm not talking about genetic accidents but intentional results.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 06:02 PM
Risk of what? I'm not talking about genetic accidents but intentional results.
So; you are saying that minor tweaks would be viewed by parents as monsters?
Even chips off the old block have changes without genetic manipulations, and I don't think I've ever heard a parent complain they are different. In fact, I've seen plenty of parents proud that thier child is developed better than themselves.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-21, 08:15 PM
Ithink it's almost inevitable that if the technology exists, someone will try to use it. Picture some nuveau riche lottery winners who are tired of their old-money neighbors nattering about their "superior breeding". So the lotto couple with low self-esteem decide to improve their kids by making them supersmart and good-looking. Hardly "monsters".

Or picture an eccentric rock star or self-indulgent celebrity. Right now they tend to do things like saddle their kids with odd names and reality shows. In 100 years, they could be giving those kids superstrength or horns just because they think it's cool.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-21, 08:21 PM
Or picture an eccentric rock star or self-indulgent celebrity...
Ok; I guess there are some that want to create a monster just to be different.

primummobile
2012-Aug-21, 08:28 PM
I think that the movie Gattaca has an interesting interpretation gene manipulation. I think it will start very much like it does in that movie. We will probably have laws against the type of discrimination you saw in that, but it won't matter. If your offspring isn't genetically manipulated before birth they will not be capable of competing with the offspring of others. Laws can't change that.

The same thing goes for technological augmentation. Why have a really good memory if you can have a perfect memory? We may have changed little over thousands of years, but I really don't think that's relevant for today. We are on the cusp of having the capability to determine how we will develop. It would probably start with the modification of genes that allow us to be susceptible to cancer or other diseases and then go from there. Next it will be something to increase intelligence or height. After that, who knows? But people are willing to do weird things for their kids. If I knew I could produce the perfect human specimen by substituting a few genes, I may consider doing that. I think a lot of other people would too. It may start out as a taboo, but that doesn't mean it would have to stay that way. While we have changed little physically, our taboos have varied wildly over just the last 5,000 years. Who knows what changed before that?

Noclevername
2012-Aug-21, 08:45 PM
I think the most interesting potential "tweaks" will not be those of physiology, but of the brain. If we ever figure out how to set the genes to make people think in different ways, that will probably make far more difference in our evolutionary divergence than gross physical changes. A human with gills but a "normal" brain still thinks like a human. A superhuman brain thinks like...?

primummobile
2012-Aug-21, 08:56 PM
I think the most interesting potential "tweaks" will not be those of physiology, but of the brain. If we ever figure out how to set the genes to make people think in different ways, that will probably make far more difference in our evolutionary divergence than gross physical changes. A human with gills but a "normal" brain still thinks like a human. A superhuman brain thinks like...?

I don't know... I do a ton of scuba diving, and I would give almost anything to have a set of gills in addition to my lungs. (but assuming we are making these changes for our offspring, it wouldn't really matter for me) Gills would be great!

Of course you're right. Superbrains are far more interesting. I'm just wishing I had gills.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 09:40 PM
So; you are saying that minor tweaks would be viewed by parents as monsters?
Even chips off the old block have changes without genetic manipulations, and I don't think I've ever heard a parent complain they are different. In fact, I've seen plenty of parents proud that thier child is developed better than themselves.

I wasn't talking about tweaks and I don't think Eburacum was either. He's mentioned adapting people for such things as living on Mars. That's not a gradual adaptation, it's live or die, so it would need to be a dramatic change.

eburacum45
2012-Aug-21, 09:50 PM
In a few hundred years, possibly less, those gills should be available as a medical procedure, possibly with associated somatic gene therapy to prepare your tissues for a life aquatic. Someone who has altered themselves to live in the sea might not be averse to altering their children's genome so that they would not need the surgery.

In deep space there are many possible 'tweaks' that could allow a human to live permanently in zero gravity; prehensile feet, a more agile body, a more flexible neck; alterations to the balance mechanisms, even increased radiation resistance; a thousand years from now almost all humans living in freefall will probably have some, or most of these tweaks. They might even think it cruel for an unaltered human to be born into such an environment.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 09:51 PM
I think that the movie Gattaca has an interesting interpretation gene manipulation. I think it will start very much like it does in that movie. We will probably have laws against the type of discrimination you saw in that, but it won't matter. If your offspring isn't genetically manipulated before birth they will not be capable of competing with the offspring of others. Laws can't change that.

The same thing goes for technological augmentation. Why have a really good memory if you can have a perfect memory? We may have changed little over thousands of years, but I really don't think that's relevant for today. We are on the cusp of having the capability to determine how we will develop. It would probably start with the modification of genes that allow us to be susceptible to cancer or other diseases and then go from there. Next it will be something to increase intelligence or height. After that, who knows? But people are willing to do weird things for their kids. If I knew I could produce the perfect human specimen by substituting a few genes, I may consider doing that. I think a lot of other people would too. It may start out as a taboo, but that doesn't mean it would have to stay that way. While we have changed little physically, our taboos have varied wildly over just the last 5,000 years. Who knows what changed before that?

I've thought about that, but I think the reverse may be true, similar to the plots of every Super-human-mutant tv-show/movie. Normals/Mundanes will ban and/or persecute the mutants/x-men/homo-superior/homo-GMOnsis. There will be so many people who are against it for ethical or religions reasons and so few people who will be able to afford it, that I doubt they'd ever be able to get away with such procedures publicly. Privately, they may, but I doubt that any increases will be able to create a sub-species much smarter or capable without being an obvious GMO-mutant, so I doubt they will ever get ahead in government, religion or society and over-turn human nature. Even if one strain did, they'd almost certainly try to fight off rival strains that happen to have different capabilities or a different lineage. While fiction would have us believe that vastly different looking mutants will hate us but get along with each other will work as a metaphor, we need to realize that it is only a metaphor --they will be as capable of intra-species racism as anyone.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 09:58 PM
I don't know... I do a ton of scuba diving, and I would give almost anything to have a set of gills in addition to my lungs. (but assuming we are making these changes for our offspring, it wouldn't really matter for me) Gills would be great!

Of course you're right. Superbrains are far more interesting. I'm just wishing I had gills.

I wonder how large those gills would have to be to support a human metabolism when exerting oneself underwater while trying to maintain core temperature without thermal insulation.

primummobile
2012-Aug-21, 10:18 PM
I wonder how large those gills would have to be to support a human metabolism when exerting oneself underwater while trying to maintain core temperature without thermal insulation.

I don't know. I just like the idea of not having to pay thousands to replace and maintain equipment. Even better is not having to worry about dissolved nitrogen in my blood. I'll leave that problem to the bioengineers. :)

primummobile
2012-Aug-21, 10:21 PM
I've thought about that, but I think the reverse may be true, similar to the plots of every Super-human-mutant tv-show/movie. Normals/Mundanes will ban and/or persecute the mutants/x-men/homo-superior/homo-GMOnsis. There will be so many people who are against it for ethical or religions reasons and so few people who will be able to afford it, that I doubt they'd ever be able to get away with such procedures publicly. Privately, they may, but I doubt that any increases will be able to create a sub-species much smarter or capable without being an obvious GMO-mutant, so I doubt they will ever get ahead in government, religion or society and over-turn human nature. Even if one strain did, they'd almost certainly try to fight off rival strains that happen to have different capabilities or a different lineage. While fiction would have us believe that vastly different looking mutants will hate us but get along with each other will work as a metaphor, we need to realize that it is only a metaphor --they will be as capable of intra-species racism as anyone.

That is a good point.

primummobile
2012-Aug-21, 10:23 PM
In a few hundred years, possibly less, those gills should be available as a medical procedure, possibly with associated somatic gene therapy to prepare your tissues for a life aquatic. Someone who has altered themselves to live in the sea might not be averse to altering their children's genome so that they would not need the surgery.

In deep space there are many possible 'tweaks' that could allow a human to live permanently in zero gravity; prehensile feet, a more agile body, a more flexible neck; alterations to the balance mechanisms, even increased radiation resistance; a thousand years from now almost all humans living in freefall will probably have some, or most of these tweaks. They might even think it cruel for an unaltered human to be born into such an environment.

I need to look up some stuff about this, but I remember reading a book about engineering humans to make them more adaptable to life in space. I need to find the book before I really comment.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-21, 10:39 PM
In a few hundred years, possibly less, those gills should be available as a medical procedure, possibly with associated somatic gene therapy to prepare your tissues for a life aquatic. Someone who has altered themselves to live in the sea might not be averse to altering their children's genome so that they would not need the surgery. That may be more socially acceptable, but I suspect it would be less effective from a systemic point of view.


In deep space there are many possible 'tweaks' that could allow a human to live permanently in zero gravity; prehensile feet, a more agile body, a more flexible neck; alterations to the balance mechanisms, even increased radiation resistance; a thousand years from now almost all humans living in freefall will probably have some, or most of these tweaks. They might even think it cruel for an unaltered human to be born into such an environment.If they solve the zero-g physiological problems, or if they never want rotational artificial gravity or never want to go to a planet with a deep gravity field or never plant to be on a rotating hab used by those people who want to be able to go to a planet. I don't expect there would be a lot of people in space nor that many people who'd want to give up the possibility of visiting and/or living on planets, without expensive and painful surgical procedures, especially when medical, apparel and cybernetic solutions may be cheaper and more robust and adaptable.

Even these days there is a debate over parental-choice with regards to parental decisions on certain morphological adaptation procedures performed on baby boys and little girls.

SkepticJ
2012-Aug-21, 11:56 PM
How can one possibly guess what people centuries from now will really do?

It's conceivable that in a couple centuries the only people who look and think like people will be the Amish, Buddhist monks, and others with similar motivations.

The rest of us could look no more like Homo sapiens than do the Sentinels from The Matrix.

Living on a planet might be the future equivalent of living in a mud hut. Yes, it's something you can do, but if you have better means it's not likely that you would, and order your life around the possibility that you might want to live in one someday.

eburacum45
2012-Aug-22, 01:01 PM
It would be nice to nbe able to change one's body shape at will; that would avoid most of the qualms about gene-line modification. You could be adapted to microgravity one day, Superterrestrial gravity the next. Would mutability of this type be more difficult to achieve than reliable gene-line modification?

I think it probably would, but in the long term humans may well have access to both possibilities. Assuming we don't all become robots, of course. A robot might shuck off its body and put on a new one like we put on an overcoat.

primummobile
2012-Aug-22, 03:33 PM
It would be nice to nbe able to change one's body shape at will; that would avoid most of the qualms about gene-line modification. You could be adapted to microgravity one day, Superterrestrial gravity the next. Would mutability of this type be more difficult to achieve than reliable gene-line modification?

I think it probably would, but in the long term humans may well have access to both possibilities. Assuming we don't all become robots, of course. A robot might shuck off its body and put on a new one like we put on an overcoat.

I think that for those types of situations, such as adapting a body for microgravity, it would need to be done well after birth. I don't think it would be very ethical to modify the genes of your children for future space missions. I think the only exceptions would be for people already living in microgravity or if the survival of the children depended upon leaving the Earth.

eburacum45
2012-Aug-22, 07:38 PM
I don't think it would be very ethical to modify the genes of your children for future space missions. I think the only exceptions would be for people already living in microgravity or if the survival of the children depended upon leaving the Earth.

At some point in the far future most of our descendants won't even know where to point in the sky to find the Earth.

transreality
2012-Aug-22, 11:43 PM
There is a part of the skull, I think it is the sphenoid, that in development determines the ratio between brain size and jaw size. Mutations that affect the shape of this bone have lead to a lineage of increasing brain size in hominids and reducing jaw size. As pointed out in the OP, the frequency of this mode of mutation leading to new species is approximatly halving each iteration. The expectation should be that at some time a mutant will arise that has a larger brain and is more intelligent that us humans. This mutant if fortunate will give rise to offspring, the mutation will prove advantageous, the population will increase, and eventually the mutant and its offspring will replace us. If this mutant is unlucky, no matter another will soon arise. Since the point of intelligence is get others to do things for you, we will not be able to resist, and probably won't even notice (or mind) our impending extinction as a species.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-23, 11:22 AM
Since the point of intelligence is get others to do things for you, we will not be able to resist, and probably won't even notice (or mind) our impending extinction as a species.
The point of intelligence, aside from the fact that it has no "point" and is merely an advantageous adaptation, is figuring out better ways to do things. If doing it yourself provides better results, then that is the intelligent thing to do.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-23, 11:50 AM
I wasn't talking about tweaks and I don't think Eburacum was either. He's mentioned adapting people for such things as living on Mars. That's not a gradual adaptation, it's live or die, so it would need to be a dramatic change.
I'm not sure what context Eburacum was coming from. All I saw was "ideal" but not ideal for what purpose. I was thinking ideal in relation to the flaws that we have.
But; for further adaptations (and what Eburacum said in his latest post) it does seem like more. Yes; those changes would be more drastic.
In that case, I would think that changes like that would happen after colonization off Earth. The original inhabitants would be human, but thier offspring would be bred for the conditions. Slowly or quickly depending on the technology. Humans would be the same, but off-worlders would end up a different species.

primummobile
2012-Aug-23, 03:30 PM
At some point in the far future most of our descendants won't even know where to point in the sky to find the Earth.

Yes. In a way I think that is sad.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-23, 05:21 PM
Yes. In a way I think that is sad.
Sad in what way?

It's sad that people don't know thier geography now. There's already people who can't point to the country of thier ancestors even if they know what country that is.

primummobile
2012-Aug-23, 05:51 PM
Sad in what way?

It's sad that people don't know thier geography now. There's already people who can't point to the country of thier ancestors even if they know what country that is.

I agree. I think that's sad too. But I was reading a story not too long ago. Maybe it was The Last Question. People in the far future were wondering what galaxy man had come from. Not only did they not know where it was, but they didn't even know the name. That part of the story always makes me depressed.

I'm an American, and my ancestry is Irish and German. I can find all three on the map. But even if I couldn't, I would still know the names of the places of my origin.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-23, 06:55 PM
How can one possibly guess what people centuries from now will really do?by studying history, anthropology, sociology, psychology communications and politics, then look at the future with the limitations of physics, engineering, chemistry and biology in mind.


It's conceivable that in a couple centuries the only people who look and think like people will be the Amish, Buddhist monks, and others with similar motivations.

The rest of us could look no more like Homo sapiens than do the Sentinels from The Matrix.

Living on a planet might be the future equivalent of living in a mud hut. Yes, it's something you can do, but if you have better means it's not likely that you would, and order your life around the possibility that you might want to live in one someday.Conceivable perhaps, but probably not likely due to a dizzying array of reasons that mitigate against it.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-23, 07:11 PM
I'm not sure what context Eburacum was coming from. All I saw was "ideal" but not ideal for what purpose. I was thinking ideal in relation to the flaws that we have.
But; for further adaptations (and what Eburacum said in his latest post) it does seem like more. Yes; those changes would be more drastic.
In that case, I would think that changes like that would happen after colonization off Earth. The original inhabitants would be human, but thier offspring would be bred for the conditions. Slowly or quickly depending on the technology. Humans would be the same, but off-worlders would end up a different species.

One of my points is that I don't think the conditions won't really require a radical change. Appropriate engineering solutions will make the issue moot and will be available sooner and at lower physical, emotional, social and financial cost than genetic engineering humans to suit. I wouldn't rule out GMO-humans entirely, but I suspect they would be all but indistinguishable from regular humans, and will focus more on repairing genetically-induced flaws than on creating new morphologies. Cosmetic changes might happen and it might be allowed in certain jurisdictions or it might be an underground culture among the wealthy, but anything that appears obvious may not be accepted or even tolerated. Perhaps space will be the jurisdiction for those wishing to play with GMOH, but it may not be compatible with the goals of the wealthy who can afford it to create morphologically different designs that can't take up the mantle of their wealth and power on Earth. Furthermore, I don't really see humanity in space expanding at a rate faster than politics, economy and society can maintain control of it. Otherwise you may realize those fantastic stories of megalomaniacs setting up their own petty kingdoms on a rock far away and grow his own genetic army and sling asteroids at cities on Earth.

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-23, 07:42 PM
I agree. I think that's sad too. But I was reading a story not too long ago. Maybe it was The Last Question. People in the far future were wondering what galaxy man had come from. Not only did they not know where it was, but they didn't even know the name. That part of the story always makes me depressed.
That reminds me of the ST-Voy episode "Distant Origin (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Distant_Origin_(episode))".
They left Earth so long ago that they wouldn't even entertain the idea that they came from somewhere else.

SkepticJ
2012-Aug-23, 07:50 PM
by studying history, anthropology, sociology, psychology communications and politics, then look at the future with the limitations of physics, engineering, chemistry and biology in mind.

I can't help but suspect that if you went back to the early-to-mid 18th Century and asked experts what they think the 21st Century will be like, you'd get guffaw-inducing answers filled with anacronistic technology, clearly defined roles for the sexes, slavery . . .


Conceivable perhaps, but probably not likely due to a dizzying array of reasons that mitigate against it.

Like what?

As a whole, the world is getting more and more liberal, tolerant of differences. Take a look at the last 60 years in particular, and what's happening now. If the technology to do it exists, it will be. Has technology ever been successfully banned?

Genetic engineering that you seem to think would be controversial would be accepted with open arms in some subcultures.

Ask an average geek if they wouldn't die to be able to scurry around on walls like Nightcrawler, with the caveat that you have to look like him too. Or whatever superhuman feat you want to use, so long as it's physically possible. You think xenophobic hicks are going to stop them?

primummobile
2012-Aug-23, 07:54 PM
That reminds me of the ST-Voy episode "Distant Origin (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Distant_Origin_(episode))".
They left Earth so long ago that they wouldn't even entertain the idea that they came from somewhere else.

Is that the one with the Hadrosaur on the holodeck?

NEOWatcher
2012-Aug-23, 08:18 PM
Is that the one with the Hadrosaur on the holodeck?
Yes.

primummobile
2012-Aug-23, 08:21 PM
Yes.

I'm sorry. I didn't even notice that was a link. I'm at work and I'm distracted.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-23, 10:04 PM
I can't help but suspect that if you went back to the early-to-mid 18th Century and asked experts what they think the 21st Century will be like, you'd get guffaw-inducing answers filled with anacronistic technology, clearly defined roles for the sexes, slavery . . . Interesting. What experts and what do you think the Experts would have said? Do you think the Experts then knew what they were talking about? What experts and what do you think the experts now would say? Do you think that experts now know what they are talking about?


Like what?Have you studied; "history, anthropology, sociology, psychology communications and politics..." and "physics, engineering, chemistry and biology"? It could become a very involved thread. A lot of it is obvious from a cursory glance, but if you don't take the prima facie case that people resist change, then it can get really involved with minutia.


As a whole, the world is getting more and more liberal, tolerant of differences. Take a look at the last 60 years in particular, and what's happening now. If the technology to do it exists, it will be. Has technology ever been successfully banned? Is it now? Forum rules make me think I had better not answer this with examples and analysis of why it's not necessarily so.


Genetic engineering that you seem to think would be controversial would be accepted with open arms in some subcultures.I see that you agree with me. I said it would be accepted in some subcultures. What I also said is that subcultures probably won't be able to get away with it.


Ask an average geek if they wouldn't die to be able to scurry around on walls like Nightcrawler, with the caveat that you have to look like him too. Or whatever superhuman feat you want to use, so long as it's physically possible. You think xenophobic hicks are going to stop them?First of all, "hicks" is insulting. Second of all, there is a long history of xenophobic societies doing exactly that.

SkepticJ
2012-Aug-23, 11:35 PM
Interesting. What experts and what do you think the Experts would have said? Do you think the Experts then knew what they were talking about? What experts and what do you think the experts now would say? Do you think that experts now know what they are talking about?

Why the difference in capitalization?

Obviously they didn't. How could they? They had imperfect knowledge, as do modern experts.

Futurists make laughable pronouncements about times just decades into their future. Are we all wearing Tyvek clothes, eating food pills, commuting to work via jetpack and using slide rules when our vacuum tube computers are on the fritz?

Imagine the culture shock of a late Victorian transported to the 1960s: just an average lifetime later.


Have you studied; "history, anthropology, sociology, psychology communications and politics..." and "physics, engineering, chemistry and biology"? It could become a very involved thread. A lot of it is obvious from a cursory glance, but if you don't take the prima facie case that people resist change, then it can get really involved with minutia.

Funny that the 20th Century saw more social and technological change compressed into it than happened in thousands of years previously. Inflexible humans.


Is it now? Forum rules make me think I had better not answer this with examples and analysis of why it's not necessarily so.

I said as a whole.

As a whole, people with supernatural worldviews have managed to accept biological evolution as a fact. Just because some diehard yahoos gain a little traction here and there is insignificant on the scale of the world.

The United States isn't the center of the world, which may come as a shock to many.


What I also said is that subcultures probably won't be able to get away with it.

Like they don't get away with the body modification they already do?

Look up The Enigma, or Stalking Cat, or others.

Neither have been run out of town by torchlight.


First of all, "hicks" is insulting. Second of all, there is a long history of xenophobic societies doing exactly that.

Good, it was meant to be, like "idiot" is an insult for people who don't think.

Living in a mobile home and driving an El Camino doesn't make someone a hick; being an ignorant, bigoted mouth breather does. Or at least that's this Southerner's opinion.

Which logically means that it will happen again, everywhere?

transreality
2012-Aug-24, 12:17 AM
The point of intelligence, aside from the fact that it has no "point" and is merely an advantageous adaptation, is figuring out better ways to do things. If doing it yourself provides better results, then that is the intelligent thing to do.

It so rarely is the better thing to do, so we end up with complex and adaptable social organisation. If we had bigger claws and teeth we could do for ourselves, but we don't. In fact, we are singularly lacking in such equipment. Intelligence has just as much point as the teeth of T-rex, it is our defining adaptation, and when something comes along that does it better than us it will replace us.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-24, 08:21 AM
Obviously they didn't. How could they? They had imperfect knowledge, as do modern experts. That sounds like a false equivalency. Or are you claiming the equivalency is real? Can you qualify or quantify that statement?


Futurists make laughable pronouncements about times just decades into their future. Are we all wearing Tyvek clothes, eating food pills, commuting to work via jetpack and using slide rules when our vacuum tube computers are on the fritz?

Imagine the culture shock of a late Victorian transported to the 1960s: just an average lifetime later.More false equivalencies and strawmen. Are you asserting that there is no difference between those changes and the use of genetic modification to make humans radically different in morphology?


Funny that the 20th Century saw more social and technological change compressed into it than happened in thousands of years previously. Inflexible humans.Even funnier is how there's hardly any morphological changes in all that time or else your claim might have merit.


I said as a whole.

As a whole, people with supernatural worldviews have managed to accept biological evolution as a fact. Just because some diehard yahoos gain a little traction here and there is insignificant on the scale of the world.

The United States isn't the center of the world, which may come as a shock to many. And my interpretation of the rules of the forum is that talking about international politics is still politics because the forum is open to people from other countries because we know that "The United States isn't the center of the world". Again, I won't comment on your example, because counter examples from any country run counter to the rules, or so I surmise. But to explain my previous statement a little more but without example, I'll point out that liberalization in various aspects of society/governance isn't necessarily a permanent state. Things change. Moreover, some political actions create opposite and equal reactions. Justice done to one group is necessarily injustice done to another group.


Like they don't get away with the body modification they already do?

Look up The Enigma, or Stalking Cat, or others.

Neither have been run out of town by torchlight. Explain your references if you want, I'm not going to look them up blind. Point is they won't likely ever be given the reigns of power. There's two reasons for this. First, society tends to resist change. Second, subcultures tend to like to stay that way, that is to say non-mainstream. It's part of the whole point. Those that have espoused support for GMO and cloning, such as Raelians, haven't made a whole lot of headway.


Good, it was meant to be, like "idiot" is an insult for people who don't think.

Living in a mobile home and driving an El Camino doesn't make someone a hick; being an ignorant, bigoted mouth breather does. Or at least that's this Southerner's opinion. I don't think doubling-down on the insult makes it any more acceptable for use on this thread or this website.


Which logically means that it will happen again, everywhere?Everywhere there's a xenophobic society? Probably a good chance.

SkepticJ
2012-Aug-25, 01:04 AM
That sounds like a false equivalency. Or are you claiming the equivalency is real? Can you qualify or quantify that statement?

It's not a false equivalency; we obviously know a lot more than we did then, but there's much we still do not know.

Metamaterials do what was thought to be physically impossible just twenty years ago. What else are we wrong about?


More false equivalencies and strawmen. Are you asserting that there is no difference between those changes and the use of genetic modification to make humans radically different in morphology?

They're neither. All I'm saying is people are adaptable, and a lot more accepting of change than you seem to think.

Consider that in the American South, Black people went from not even being human to having the right to vote in a little over a century.

You seem to be assuming that radical changes in morphology would happen in a single generation, or two--that there would be no time for people to get used to the idea.


Justice done to one group is necessarily injustice done to another group.

*guffaw*


Explain your references if you want, I'm not going to look them up blind. Point is they won't likely ever be given the reigns of power. There's two reasons for this. First, society tends to resist change.

Look them up, you'll be safe. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and all that.

Ever? Like women don't hold positions of power, which was "contrary to nature/religion" in the 19th Century?

The United States doesn't have a Black president? An ethnic group that, as previously stated, wasn't even considered as human in the 1850s.


Those that have espoused support for GMO and cloning, such as Raelians, haven't made a whole lot of headway.

That couldn't possibly be because they're a UFO cult?

I seriously think you need to go around and ask average people if they would be okay with genetic changes to make their kids smarter, better at sports . . .

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-25, 01:53 AM
It's not a false equivalency; we obviously know a lot more than we did then, but there's much we still do not know.If you're agreeing that they're not equivalent then your previous statement of equivalency is false.


Metamaterials do what was thought to be physically impossible just twenty years ago. What else are we wrong about?Strawman, we're talking about biology, not materials science.


They're neither. All I'm saying is people are adaptable, and a lot more accepting of change than you seem to think.

Consider that in the American South, Black people went from not even being human to having the right to vote in a little over a century. To respond to this would be politics. Suffice it to say that it's not that clear cut.


You seem to be assuming that radical changes in morphology would happen in a single generation, or two--that there would be no time for people to get used to the idea. Correct, a single generation in germ-line (or the same individual in somatic mutations) is the basis of the discussion. It's been stated explicitly. If you're referring to gradual change, then you're having a different conversation from the rest of us.


*guffaw*Not sure what you're guffawing about. That's basic Political Science.


Look them up, you'll be safe. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and all that. If you can't even describe it...


Ever? Like women don't hold positions of power, which was "contrary to nature/religion" in the 19th Century?And your point is? I'm not sure that supports your assertion. Perhaps you can explain it better.


The United States doesn't have a Black president? An ethnic group that, as previously stated, wasn't even considered as human in the 1850s.Again, I'm not sure this supports your assertion. The sample size is too small to extrapolate a trend. But even ceding that trend, what makes you think that it's not just a regression toward the mean. Or are you saying blacks are equivalent to genetically modified mutant human monsters?


That couldn't possibly be because they're a UFO cult? A space-loving subculture? Sounds equivalent to me. Why are they not?


I seriously think you need to go around and ask average people if they would be okay with genetic changes to make their kids smarter, better at sports . . .Again, this is not the topic. It's been stated repeatedly that we're talking about obvious and dramatic morphological changes.

SkepticJ
2012-Aug-25, 02:33 AM
Well, I'm done in this thread; I can see I'm wasting my time here.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-26, 04:47 AM
Well, I'm done in this thread; I can see I'm wasting my time here.

That happens when you make unsupported statements and fallacious arguments.