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Are we, as mankind, devolving?

Bambulus

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Nov 13, 2008
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Here's a crazy thought: we are exactly the way we are evolved to be. There is no hypothetical in terms of evolution; we are the factual product of it. There is no other way we were 'meant' to be and everything you see in society today has evolved to be this way for a reason. Even fatties.

I've seen a load of crazy hypotheticals thrown around in this thread based upon an understanding that it's only times of difficulty that act as selective pressures, as if evolution has taken the wayside for the past millennia. That's flat out wrong. Evolution has been present the entire time, it's just that people only look at physical traits and only believe it's active when things get difficult.

I've seen a lot of misplaced faith in 'the biggest and best' as the prime survivors (again, only theorised in times of difficulty; nuclear winter anyone?). This is ludicrous, and certainly has no evidence from biological or archaeological studies. It hasn't been observable in the past or present, in either our species or those related to us. In fact, you can look at tribal societies today, where we believe they live very much the way we lived in ancestral societies, and they're all skinny as. Not because food is limited, but because it's easier to survive like that.

Sorry Buddha, but I'm arguing very much against you here.

Larger mammals require higher amounts of calories to maintain their body, they have to eat high fat or high protein sources of food continuously. There's a reason that larger dinosaurs either disappeared or shrunk, they couldn't maintain themselves. This applies to bigger people too. Muscle especially, it's hard to maintain.

In the cases where survival is based upon difficult times where food is limited, it'll be the runts that survive longest. They need less calories to keep going and they are quick and agile enough to get away from any predator that would have at us. In fact, it's our ability to harvest high calorie sources of food that we are able to have 'prime' specimens (ie: intelligent and muscular - traits which we subjectively believe to be the best. I could write an essay just on that sentence alone). 'Prime' specimens are a product of cushty eating arrangements, and would be the first to go if food ever became limited - go look at an Olympian's diet if you need proof. The reason we believe it to be so attractive (sexually, and as a human trait) is because it is associated with the ready ability to source high quality food, simple as. We believe them to be good providers for their kin.

I also see mass ignoring of the human social structure in a lot of these arguments. I'm sorry guys, we are not sharks; we don't work alone. We haven't done so for any observable amount of time in our ancestry, nor will we ever. It's not beneficial for us to do so.

We will always work in groups, and the ability to be large and muscular will be nullified because of it. We have no need to one person to be overpowered when we have the ability to work as a coherent group. Hunting is always done in groups and the haul is always better that way, you can actually go watch it if you want to visit an Amazonian tribal society. We use group hunting to take the very best of prey; one guy taking on a mammoth would be in deep sh#t - get a bunch of us, we're eating for a month. There is no need for 'prime' specimens, as you put it.

Evolution applies as strongly to the human social structure as it does to our physicality, we have developed an absolutely fantastic society that allows us to survive - humans are incredibly good at adapting their environment to suit them, rather than being forced to work the other way around. This is an evolved beneficial trait of the human condition - not the absence of selective pressures, as it seems to be assumed in this thread.

We originally lived in tribal societies as it was beneficial for us, there is safety in numbers and combined efforts lead to a bigger haul. As we got better at sourcing food and other necessary products for survival, societies have got larger; always in relation to our resources. Jump a few hundred millennia and you have what we have today: global scale sourcing of food/resources and the largest population of people ever in existence. Evolution hasn't been nullified by large societies, as seems to be the point of this thread, it's just that it's the human social being that has been evolving. ;) As I mentioned before, pressures have shifted.

You'd think Memes are just funny tidbits of the internet - nope, they're the social equivalent of the gene. There's a whole facet of (serious) research dedicated to Memes. Read up a bit on Memetics, and you'll see that evolution has been going strong. Cultural evolution, people. Culture. Always hand-in-hand with human physiology.

If you want a really good topic, get into the evolution of the social being. Read up on memes (though I personally hate the theory itself) and cultural evolution from our ancestors to now, and you'll see every aspect of human characteristics differently. It will further your understanding of evolution far more than theorising nuclear holocaust ever will.
 
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Cook$

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Good post man....!

the thing that I took from that is that there is no real goal, we evolve as we evolve, so I guess strcitly speaking devolution would still be evolution? Do you agree?

Also, do you think we have actually evolved in any great sense since we started getting clever, (such as developing agriculture, etc...)?
 

Bambulus

Wreckballer - PMGWC#2
Nov 13, 2008
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Good post man....!

the thing that I took from that is that there is no real goal, we evolve as we evolve, so I guess strcitly speaking devolution would still be evolution? Do you agree?
Exactly that.
;)

Evolution isn't directional - it isn't based on the traditional sense on what qualities make a person, or even humankind, 'better'; only what makes procreation more successful. It's impossible to devolve in evolutionary theory.

It's also worth noting that the qualities that we hold to be preferable in a person aren't necessarily the best for procreation, I wrote an entire dissertation on, effectively, what makes stupidity (or what most sensible people would determine to be stupid behavior) as evolutionarily beneficial, both to the individual and in the wider sense.

People always work on the assumption that evolution is the progress of a species to an observable goal, which it isn't. It's essentially random, based on whatever environmental pressures are working on a community at any one time.

Many people have also argued that the fact we live in such a large and global society has completely neutered the effects of evolution. I'd argue that they are incredibly wrong, but I don't have the time to write that up now; they just are. Evolution is happening as much now as it ever has done, it's just that the environmental pressures have shifted.

I know this is very short, but I'm tired. I can barely function right now, let alone write my thesis
Also, do you think we have actually evolved in any great sense since we started getting clever, (such as developing agriculture, etc...)?
All of the evidence that we have on our ancestors, going back to before records, says no; we are physically no different to humans about 200,000 years ago.

Our brain capacity is the same so, in terms of function, we don't even think any differently. We're not any smarter (or any dumber), we just have a more developed understanding. In many regards, the kind of people you see walking around today would be the kind of people you'd have seen walking around with the Aztecs or Egyptians (and even further back).

Socially, we really started to develop sometime after our physical changes (or at least the evidence seems to say so - around 50,000 years). This is when tools started to appear in abundance, and when cultural changes took off. As I said before, our last biggest steps in evolution have been societal/behavioural changes (you could argue cause and effect either way); but physically, no. Not at all.
:)
 

Dup

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2012
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I also see mass ignoring of the human social structure in a lot of these arguments. I'm sorry guys, we are not sharks; we don't work alone. We haven't done so for any observable amount of time in our ancestry, nor will we ever. It's not beneficial for us to do so.
you clearly have not watched jurrasic park....that dude gets shazammed by those raptors :p
 

Missy-Q

300lb of Chocolate Love
Jul 31, 2007
2,527
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Exactly that.
;)





All of the evidence that we have on our ancestors, going back to before records, says no; we are physically no different to humans about 200,000 years ago.

Our brain capacity is the same so, in terms of function, we don't even think any differently. We're not any smarter (or any dumber), we just have a more developed understanding. In many regards, the kind of people you see walking around today would be the kind of people you'd have seen walking around with the Aztecs or Egyptians (and even further back).

Socially, we really started to develop sometime after our physical changes (or at least the evidence seems to say so - around 50,000 years). This is when tools started to appear in abundance, and when cultural changes took off. As I said before, our last biggest steps in evolution have been societal/behavioural changes (you could argue cause and effect either way); but physically, no. Not at all.
:)

We're taller now.
 

Missy-Q

300lb of Chocolate Love
Jul 31, 2007
2,527
1,132
198
Harlem, NY
I'd rather have a smokin hot 31yr old Grilf for a grandmother than have to sit on a cushion to drive my car, and thats a fact.
 

Buddha 3

Hamfist McPunchalot
Here's a crazy thought: we are exactly the way we are evolved to be. There is no hypothetical in terms of evolution; we are the factual product of it. There is no other way we were 'meant' to be and everything you see in society today has evolved to be this way for a reason. Even fatties.

I've seen a load of crazy hypotheticals thrown around in this thread based upon an understanding that it's only times of difficulty that act as selective pressures, as if evolution has taken the wayside for the past millennia. That's flat out wrong. Evolution has been present the entire time, it's just that people only look at physical traits and only believe it's active when things get difficult.

I've seen a lot of misplaced faith in 'the biggest and best' as the prime survivors (again, only theorised in times of difficulty; nuclear winter anyone?). This is ludicrous, and certainly has no evidence from biological or archaeological studies. It hasn't been observable in the past or present, in either our species or those related to us. In fact, you can look at tribal societies today, where we believe they live very much the way we lived in ancestral societies, and they're all skinny as. Not because food is limited, but because it's easier to survive like that.

Sorry Buddha, but I'm arguing very much against you here.

Larger mammals require higher amounts of calories to maintain their body, they have to eat high fat or high protein sources of food continuously. There's a reason that larger dinosaurs either disappeared or shrunk, they couldn't maintain themselves. This applies to bigger people too. Muscle especially, it's hard to maintain.

In the cases where survival is based upon difficult times where food is limited, it'll be the runts that survive longest. They need less calories to keep going and they are quick and agile enough to get away from any predator that would have at us. In fact, it's our ability to harvest high calorie sources of food that we are able to have 'prime' specimens (ie: intelligent and muscular - traits which we subjectively believe to be the best. I could write an essay just on that sentence alone). 'Prime' specimens are a product of cushty eating arrangements, and would be the first to go if food ever became limited - go look at an Olympian's diet if you need proof. The reason we believe it to be so attractive (sexually, and as a human trait) is because it is associated with the ready ability to source high quality food, simple as. We believe them to be good providers for their kin.

I also see mass ignoring of the human social structure in a lot of these arguments. I'm sorry guys, we are not sharks; we don't work alone. We haven't done so for any observable amount of time in our ancestry, nor will we ever. It's not beneficial for us to do so.

We will always work in groups, and the ability to be large and muscular will be nullified because of it. We have no need to one person to be overpowered when we have the ability to work as a coherent group. Hunting is always done in groups and the haul is always better that way, you can actually go watch it if you want to visit an Amazonian tribal society. We use group hunting to take the very best of prey; one guy taking on a mammoth would be in deep sh#t - get a bunch of us, we're eating for a month. There is no need for 'prime' specimens, as you put it.

Evolution applies as strongly to the human social structure as it does to our physicality, we have developed an absolutely fantastic society that allows us to survive - humans are incredibly good at adapting their environment to suit them, rather than being forced to work the other way around. This is an evolved beneficial trait of the human condition - not the absence of selective pressures, as it seems to be assumed in this thread.

We originally lived in tribal societies as it was beneficial for us, there is safety in numbers and combined efforts lead to a bigger haul. As we got better at sourcing food and other necessary products for survival, societies have got larger; always in relation to our resources. Jump a few hundred millennia and you have what we have today: global scale sourcing of food/resources and the largest population of people ever in existence. Evolution hasn't been nullified by large societies, as seems to be the point of this thread, it's just that it's the human social being that has been evolving. ;) As I mentioned before, pressures have shifted.

You'd think Memes are just funny tidbits of the internet - nope, they're the social equivalent of the gene. There's a whole facet of (serious) research dedicated to Memes. Read up a bit on Memetics, and you'll see that evolution has been going strong. Cultural evolution, people. Culture. Always hand-in-hand with human physiology.

If you want a really good topic, get into the evolution of the social being. Read up on memes (though I personally hate the theory itself) and cultural evolution from our ancestors to now, and you'll see every aspect of human characteristics differently. It will further your understanding of evolution far more than theorising nuclear holocaust ever will.
Great post, thanks for that.
You are not arguing against me though. I just posted a point of view, not my opinion, just something we could debate on.
That said, there are some huge and glaring mistakes in your post, though most of it is good stuff.
Since I am on a tablet for the next few days, I will reply to your post in a couple of days. I hate typing lots on a tablet...