Has Evolution Met Its Match?

By Miguel Diaz 29 Jan 2004

Don’t ask me how (I don’t know), but my brain went off on one of its tangents today and started pondering Darwinian evolution theory in the context of today’s world. Now, this may seem like an interesting subject to you, but I was disappointed in my brain (strippers damn you! strippers!). Anyway, I figured it would be something of a waste if I didn’t at least share the thoughts I had. So here we go.

<p>Doctors these days seem to have this theory that they need to fix <span class="caps">EVERYONE</span>.  As such, the life expectancy of the average human has increased significantly over the past &lt;insert your favorite number&gt; years (unless you&#8217;re a black male&#8230;then the <span class="caps">NYPD</span> will still get you before you&#8217;re 25).</p>

<p>Now, previously when I&#8217;ve had these Darwinian tangents they&#8217;ve mostly centered around handicapped people and their effect on the gene pool.  I guess I&#8217;ll get today&#8217;s thoughts on that out of the way first, although I think they probably aren&#8217;t the most interesting.</p>

<p>Years ago, if someone had a disease that left them physically handicapped their chances of dying before they could procreate were much higher; thus preventing their genes (which may or may not carry the disease) from continuing on in the gene pool.  Now that doctors have found ways for these people to live more normal lives, they find themselves living longer and eventually they (perhaps) have children.  This throws a huge wrench in humanity&#8217;s Darwinian evolution.  The same argument can be made for people who are mentally handicapped (I won&#8217;t repeat it).</p>

<p>Poking around a bit today, I found some interesting comments/rants on this subject that made some compelling arguments about where we would be without people like Steven <a href="http://www.mchawking.com">Hawking</a> and others.  And, to a point, they&#8217;re right.  By using our technology to prolong the lives of these people humanity has indeed benefited.  But I still think it slows down the evolutionary process.</p>

<p>What I found most interesting about todays tangent was when I got thinking about issues that humans are probably <span class="caps">ALWAYS</span> going to have because of the way medicine has interfered with evolution.</p>

<p>I don&#8217;t know about you, but I was born with an appendix (I think).  I&#8217;m sure that out there somewhere there are people who weren&#8217;t.  Without the ability of doctors to keep us from dying from appendicitis, the people without appendices would eventually take over and humans as a whole (with the odd exception) would no longer have them.  Granted, this is a somewhat pointless observation by itself (because it really is so easy to just take it out), but it begs the question, &#8220;what else is &#8216;modern&#8217; medicine keeping us from evolving out of (or into)?&#8221;  More importantly, the fact that we now keep a large majority of people alive (well, large majority of white people with money in developed nations that support the evil American regime), is going to slow down the evolutionary process so that only the most extreme mutations (i.e. you were born without a head) are killed off by natural selection.</p> 

Tags: darwin wednesday bored