We keep developing new dangers for ourselves to have to deal with in order to continue to survive. For instance, electricity, smoking in bed, plugging in too many Christmas lights, pulling a poorly-secured TV onto your head when you’re a toddler, finding your dad’s gun, being careless around large machines — so much of our technology can kill us (or our children) if we don’t adapt to deal with it.

Meanwhile, we’ve sort of slowed down our biological/genetic evolution with our medical technology and our having such large populations that don’t really undergo the same kinds of bottlenecks you’d see in earlier humans with smaller populations, so much of our evolution takes place intellectually and technologically instead. That is, we are evolving through what we create and not necessarily as much within our own bodies.

It’s an interesting effect in that it’s sort of like evolving these spinning bone blades on your shoulders that you have to learn to avoid by not leaning the wrong way or they’ll take your head off.

15 thoughts on “Fitness”

  1. Mmmh, eugenics, perhaps? But then again, it would be hard to know what is necessary to make a “verily fit” human: One who can give all to intelligence, and keep it’s mind and body living through technology, or a well rounded induividual that reduces maintenance costs to a minimum?

  2. Hyakureiki: oh good lord, no. The last thing we need is the government trying to figure out what good survival traits are. Need I remind you that these are the people who handed seven hundred billion dollars to a bunch of fuckups and said “merry Christmas?” Just imagine the kind of horrors that would be visited on the human race by these idiots doing selective breeding.

    Still, Jabberwock’s got a point. Remember Wall-E? I really do fear that’s the future of humanity.

  3. @ commodorejohn:

    Government treated eugenics, or fat slobs of lard… Both are the fuel that will keep my nightmares going.

    I guess, as usual, the only thing we can do is hope that people desire to become better by themselves and forget the commodities of having everything done by others… Which, taking in mind most people are willing to choose yet more 4 years of mistaken politics because of an unrational fear, it just means we might as well expect for penguins to develop intelligence and enter mass-murdering-of-humans- mode.

  4. “Eugenics”, in the original sense of the word, refers to the art of selectively breeding individuals with desired traits to increase the presence of said trait, NOT the extermination of unwanted traits. So, Hitler didn’t just do something extremely evil, he also Failed Biology Forever.

    But why not provide cash incentives, or something similar, for those with genetic traits such as high intelligence or high capacity for physical fitness to donate zygotes? Eventually, after enough generations, these traits will be so prominent that anyone who conceives as child with someone from the “regular” population will still have those genes show through, as well as getting the genes of the other parent. The best of both worlds, in other words.

    Seriously, why not?

  5. I am personally waiting for the day when I can upload my consciousness into a computer, leaving my body behind as a lifeless husk. I just find mental pursuits so much more fulfilling and interesting than physical ones.

    I guess that statement proves why I’m fat 😀

  6. But why not provide cash incentives, or something similar, for those with genetic traits such as high intelligence or high capacity for physical fitness to donate zygotes?

    This has been attempted in a number of different ways throughout the past 100 years, generally ending in hilarious failure. Back in the 1920s, agricultural shows used to offer awards and cash prizes to the best-bred human family, in exactly the same way that they’d pin a medal on a prize bull. More recently, there was the ill-fated Repository for Germinal Choice, which solicited sperm donations from Nobel Prize winners and other well-to-do eccentrics vain enough to believe that their genes must be passed on. It closed in 1999 because there really wasn’t that much interest in the service they were offering.

  7. The next decades will be definning for the human race, if we overcome the future energy crisis when oil runs out worldwide.

    The “bootlenecks” mentioned by J Crowley are an euphemism for disease, starvation and predators, those “bottlenecks” are the ones that make other species “live in harmony with nature”.

    Technology has allowed us to overcome those obstacles, and if we are to fullfil our destiny we must not seek to live “in harmony with nature” but to become independent from it.

    We must no longer be constrained by harsh environments, nor relying on this planet’s limited resources.

  8. BTW: Cases of less-than-optimal evolution examples: (aka: dangerous spinning bone blades)

    * The fact that we use the same tract for eating and breathing which can lead to fatal chokings.

    * The fact that an embryo can implant itself on the fallopian tubes causing an ectopic pregnancy which was always fatal before surgery was available.

  9. I just want to say that “spinning bone blades” sounds like a band name that’s either hilarious or horrendous, depending on what kind of band you are.

  10. The Wall-E scenario is kinda funny, in an over-the-top unreal way. Well, that’s what I thought until I remembered my twice-a-week treat of a Shakeaway milkshake.

    For those unfamiliar with Shakeaway, it’s basically a milkshake bar where you go to the counter, pick two chocolate bars / cakes / biscuits / whatever, and have the nice lady liquidise it (with milk), which you then drink through a straw.

    Anyone who’s seen Wall-E should be thinking “cupcake in a cup!” right now. =)

    Anyone who hasn’t should go see it ASAP, ‘cos it’s awesome! (Shakeaway milkshakes are also awesome, but you should really combine them with exercise, m’kay)

  11. Humans are an evolutionary dead-end in the biological sense, because every schmuck can (and (regrettably) often does) breed.

    And evolution outside the biological sense isn’t really a meaningful scientific concept necessarily.

    As for human culture though, well me I personally think, forward thinking individuals aside, its still mostly pretty ass-backwards. Not sure if its going in the right direction either… But we knows.. maybe. Or maybe sorta. I think there are to many humans though. Billions of ’em… A few million would suffice really with the ecological impact and everything. But what can you do, eh? Even so it’d be good if human numbers didn’t rise even further, because already two-thirds of humanity is dirt poor at best. And we’re currently already overtaxing the planet as it is. (Which suggests to me that the peak capacity for human life on this world is probably actually only about 2 billion with current technology.)

    As for the human future. My money is on ‘eventual self-inflicted indirect extinction.’ But maybe I’m wrong… If humanity doesn’t go extinct in the next few millenia, then I’m thinking people’ll start to upgrade their brains technologically. Something I think would be a great idea myself. Stupidity is not something to be treasured, and there’s lots of idiots around nowadays.

    But I’m not sure… humans as a species have a lot of mostly unwarranted love for themselves. And that’s often been a destructive pride.

  12. Spinning shoulder bone blades would be an argument for intelligent design. Why? Because if I were a Supreme Being, I’d totally give my creations tragic killer flaws and laugh my ass off at the resulting carnage.

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