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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Utopia - Is This it?

'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,' said Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, who is to present his argument at a Royal Society Edinburgh debate, 'Is Evolution Over?', next week. 'Things have simply stopped getting better, or worse, for our species.'

For the full article, click HERE

Firstly apologies because in this post, I won't be adding anything unique to the debate. I dont think I can make it any better by adding/subtracting to it and so I have refrained from doing it. However, I thought that it was quite an eye opener for me and so on it comes on my blog.

In a gist, Prof. Steve Jones has based his argument on the principle of natural selection. He argues that the principle tool of natural selection is 'Death' and human beings have almost taken this tool out of the hands of nature. A piece of statistics: The chance of a child in the west reaching the age of 25 has become 98%. The life spans have increased. And so virtually every tom, dick and harry can pass on his genes whether or not he is the best specimen out there. As a result, the process of natural selection is hindered. And hence stagnation.

Controversial? Of course yes. With the olympics just gone by where so many new levels of human accomplishments were recorded, when we believe that our intelligence level is higher than ever before, it comes off as a bit of a shock. But consider this: Both our brain size and the physique have reduced over the past ten thousand years. Counterintutive?

There are a few arguments against the above doomsday scenario:
i) Constant mixing of human races vis inter-racial marriages. Although, the article states that this will further thwart the evolution in the long run. But, in the mid-term, it will lead to uniformly brown race which should classify as evolving.
ii) Biologist Christopher Wills argues that there is a premium on sharpness of mind and ability to earn money and thus this becomes the modern evolutionary path.
iii) Peter Ward states that there is a way out if we can influence our own evolution by Gene therapy and cloning.
iv) The Evolution goes on unchecked in the developing world. For example, after some time, Africa might only be populated by people who carry HIV but are unaffected by it.

What do you think?

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