have we stopped evolving?
October 12, 2019 at 2:40 pm #28843
The nightmare just won’t end in places like Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq and much of Africa. The rest of the world barely helps and in general just makes it worse. Fighting over a pile of rubble and religious nonsense. This is how evolved we have become?October 12, 2019 at 5:15 pm #28844
The day we care about the welfare of other animals-the day Machiavelli is no longer relevant-the day ideologues cease to exist-religious institutions seal their doors…which is to say never happen.
It is not fair to calumniate those people as they have more excuse than Europeans and Americans. Aint been much in the way of ethical evolution..October 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm #28845
It is not fair to calumniate those people as they have more excuse than Europeans and Americans..
That is a very fair comment. I wonder if the Kurd’s might have helped out in Normandy if they had not been under the control of France at the time. The Middle East would look completely different today if European powers had not drawn arbitrary lines on their maps when their colonial powers began to ebb.
Religion has retarded human progress for most of the last 2000 years. It is only in the last 400 and especially the last 150 years that we have started to recover.
As a species we are, from a physical point of view, still evolving.October 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm #28846
Primates are inherently violent. All species closest related to humans are, somewhat intelligent, social, somewhat emotional and capable if extremely barbaric violence. In isolation humans are not that bad (but can be). Putting together a bunch of humans in one place is a recipe for horror with, of course, very breif exceptions when humans follow an exceptionally enlightened philosophy and peace and order reigns. But otherwise, yes, humans are extremely ugly when collected in numbers (more than a handful of families loosely arranged). It may sound overly cynical, but that’s what recorded history shows. I don’t know how anyone could possibly survey world history and conclude otherwise. War, harsh laws, enslavement, misogyny, petty squabbles, serfdom, religious oppression and a high level of cruelty. People tend to fight this picture (Dr. Bob for example in his extremely sanitized history of Christianity) by pointing out those brief moments or those rare civilizations were more humane than others or that one civilization was a little better in some aspects than another. But these exceptions define the rule. Humans, when put together in numbers, are cruel, violent and insane.
As for cultural evolution, I’d say there have been a few extremely brief moments where a society had something slightly approximating what we have in the modern western democracy. And we are living in a very unique time with law and order and individual respect and rights and a general aim of avoiding suffering. Ever since this project took shape there have been forces aggressively trying to chip away at it. And based on human history, I cannot imagine how this could possible last more than another century or two. Which is why I say…do not take for granted this very special time, where at least in our countries, humans aren’t out of control cruel, vicious and insane. Enjoy these freedoms while they last and make every moment count. Women should, of course, fight for more equality, but also feel incredible pride in what they have uniquely achieved in the history of humanity and enjoy this rare opportunity to have a voice. Someone who is LGTBQ+ should take advantage of every opportunity as though they are thousands of repressed souls living in countless other civilizations in time and even today. Atheists should enjoy every chance they have to openly speak about religions that want to oppress them and others.
We are only one very small step away from those in Afghanistan. To answer your question: yes, That’s how humans have evolved to this point. As Reg said, evolution never stops. Judging by the overall evolution of primates…I wouldn’t hold my breath.October 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm #28847
Atheists should enjoy every chance they have to openly speak about religions that want to oppress them and others.
When the religious tell me I am too anti-religious I agree with them. I practically despise religion which I see as the greatest stumbling block to the evolution of humanity and an affront to human intelligence. I do so because I am free to do so. It was not so long ago that I would have been murdered by Christians for saying what I say. I will stop when they leave me alone.
Judging by the overall evolution of primates…I wouldn’t hold my breath.
I recently heard the “Primate of All Ireland” pontificate about the importance (to Catholics) of some ignorant piece of theology. When the moronic applause of the flock calmed down I thought I heard their knuckles hit the ground.October 12, 2019 at 11:23 pm #28848
Can you imagine where evolution would have taken us if science had replaced religion?October 13, 2019 at 12:18 am #28850
Christianity has fought against every major advance that Science has revealed. Christian apologists still twist it to make Science compatible with their faith. They block their ears to the explanations for natural phenomena that Science has revealed and that make their Biblical interpretations obsolete. But what they really fear most about Science is that it has revealed to us what religious belief is. Science has broken it down in terms of psychology, anthropology, history, etc. It is man-made, just like the thousands of invented gods humans have believed in. Atheists have evolved beyond such primitive thinking.October 13, 2019 at 2:09 am #28853
There are ways we have actually DEvolved. My cat eats food off the floor, walks around in her litter box and then licks her paws, even licks her asshole and none of that makes her sick. She obviously has a far more effective immune system than we do. I suspect our neanderthal ancestors also had more effective immune systems.October 13, 2019 at 2:26 am #28854
Not sure about that Unseen…it seems like i have read a number of instances in which ancient peoples are thought to have been wiped out by disease. There is a theory that may have occurred with Neanderthal lacking immunity to diseases carried by Homo Sapiens out of Africa which is i suppose analogous to Europeans giving native americans smallpox. Of course we know that Neanderthal assimilated with us…not africans but asians and europeans.October 13, 2019 at 2:42 am #28855
I can’t think of “evolution” without breaking it down in to its types. Natural Selection drives the most classically discussed type, along with natural genetic drift mentioned (but not by name) in the article referred to above. There’s also cultural, scientific, and to be honest, even religious evolution, making it unreasonable to infer that “evolution” always means “progress”. I like to call some of the deleterious evolution “devolution”, but I don’t see it in science books.
I think the fastest genetic evolution we’ve undergone in the past ten thousand or even several hundred thousand years are related to our brain, bipedalism, manual dexterity, and new abilities to adjust our omnivorous diet to changing environmental conditions. A lot of these genetic adaptations happened so quickly (especially in the brain department) that some new diseases resulted and still exist to this day. Think schizophrenia, types of OCD, large swings in peaceful vs violent behavior; upright-walking spinal, foot, knee, and hip ailments; perhaps even autism due to those fast evolving types of brain circuits that can’t always develop “consistently”.
How about people who just can’t step on a crack on a sidewalk because of some built-in compulsion, perhaps having to do with how we bipedal creatures now have to calculate our steps and plan exactly (but differently from four leg paths) which path to take when running after prey or from predators?
Our fascination with fire, with a few crazy arsonists? Our deeply embedded desire to cook and learn to cook with expertise, for each other, and with creativity (although I can’t think of any deleterious dysfunctions there)? Using fire constructively was a huge, quick leap of evolutionary fitness.
And then large penises… ok, let’s save that sexual selection evolutionary theory for later. 🙂 But tribal marriage ceremonies have evolved, and in-group vs out-group breeding pressures had to adapt most effectively to current environmental pressures, just more “culturally” controlled now than (say) in our purely pack-level animal pressure days.
Short answer: “Evolution” happens in a lot more complicated ways than it used to, back in our small brain, knuckle-dragging, tiny penis, estrus advertising days. Short question: should we act more like chimps, or bonobos?October 13, 2019 at 2:58 am #28856
Pope, do you have any evidence to substantiate your assertion that OCD and schizophrenia arose because of rapid changes in human evolution? Or is it your intuition? Seems to me mammals in general are subject to a host of mental illness. (I reject that label because anything real is physical.)October 13, 2019 at 6:40 am #28857
have we stopped evolving?
but we’re still stupid.October 13, 2019 at 11:01 am #28858
Have you guys heard of agent detection? (I’m sure most of you have) But the theory is that what seperated natural selection types and survivor types is also what generated the foundation of religion itself.October 13, 2019 at 11:14 am #28860
Yes, our ability to detect agency in the world around us helped our evolution. We would rather come up with a wrong reason for crop failure than have no reason for it. Why did the lightening strike our village? There must be a reason behind it. I mean why our village and not the village of the rival tribe? God must favor them more than us so we must make changes to our behavior.October 14, 2019 at 1:51 am #28871
Not sure about that Unseen…it seems like i have read a number of instances in which ancient peoples are thought to have been wiped out by disease. There is a theory that may have occurred with Neanderthal lacking immunity to diseases carried by Homo Sapiens out of Africa which is i suppose analogous to Europeans giving native americans smallpox. Of course we know that Neanderthal assimilated with us…not africans but asians and europeans.
You totally missed my point. You’re talking about something like a pandemic, which is a new disease on the scene that their immune system hasn’t been prepared for through regular exposure. What I’m referring to is that they had no idea about sanitation and were probably exposed daily to stuff that would have us down and out in no time, like e coli, for example.
On a bit of a tangent, scientists are studying the immune systems of crocodilian (alligators, caymans, and of course crocodiles) because they obviously have monstrously efficient immune systems. When two of these critters fight, they use their “death roll” technique, often removing a big chunk of tail or even an entire limb, and even though these animals live in intensely unsanitary environments, their wounds don’t get infected. It’s way beyond “crocodiles never catch a cold.” (Read more here.)
Our ancestors would have needed a far better immune system than we have today. It’s one area where we have devolved. I can imagine our cave man ancestors having sharper senses as well.
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