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Re: Evolution

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  • raybell_scot
    ... feedback. ... that for ... in the winter, ... warm cave ... people alive who ... fiction story ... It depends on how you define evolution. I ve mentioned
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 1, 2005
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      --- In sciencefictionclassics@yahoogroups.com, derhexer@a... wrote:
      > MSNBC was running a series on evolution and soliciting reader
      feedback.
      > Here's the URL to that feedback
      >
      > http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7807712/
      >
      > One theme was that since we have taken control of our environment,
      that for
      > humans evolution has stopped. For example, our homes are heated
      in the winter,
      > so we no longer have to be smart enough to drive wolves out of a
      warm cave
      > (just smart enough to pay the utility bill), or we are keeping
      people alive who
      > would have died from diseases like diabetes a century ago.
      >
      > Comments?
      >
      > For some of the responses, I could almost pick out the science
      fiction story
      > the idea appeared in.

      It depends on how you define evolution. I've mentioned Olaf
      Stapledon before. He's not well known enough, but even though many
      of his ideas are outdated, he did come up with some highly original
      outcomes which have been much copied since.

      The first problem is that we haven't taken complete control of our
      environment. We've got rid of most of the predators, but when we
      encounter volcanoes, earthquakes and so on, we die. There's little
      we can do about them. And we're a problem in ourselves.
      Overbreeding, and poisoning ourselves. Not to mention killing each
      other in many places like in the Sudan. Then of course there's
      threats beyond the Earth, and enough stories have been written on
      all of those.

      The second problem is whether this evolution includes genetic
      modification, cybernetic life, cloning etc etc. Some people have
      talked as if artificial life is the next step in evolution after us.
      I wonder though if that counts as evolution. It implies evolution is
      a kind of spiritual force, rather than scientific.

      I thought this was an interesting comment in line with some of my
      own ideas:
      "Gary Propheter, Medford, Ore.:
      "Unfortunately, I see humankind evolving into the domesticated
      version. One of the key aspects of civilization has been the
      declining emphasis on individual ability (intelligence/skill) and
      the increasing impact of genetic resistance to disease. Modern
      medicine and genetic engineering will only strengthen this trend as
      religious traditionalists will prevent measurable diversion
      from "God's creation." In time ... a new disease will rip out the
      heart of societies worldwide (remember the black plague?) and all
      that will be left are some lemmings who don't understand their tools
      well enough to continue to survive."

      The big danger though, and I see this in a lot of the posts is
      imagining the world from how the western world is now. We're the
      minority, and a shrinking one.

      "Shirley, Grain Valley, Mo.:
      "Well, this isn't my own idea, but I like it. It's based on a book I
      just re-read — "Darwin's Radio," by Greg Bear. In this book, big
      jumps are made in our evolution in one generation. The change is
      motivated by our own genes in response to our environment (That's
      one theory in the book.) ..."

      Anyone read this?
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