July 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm #18433
Toward The End – the Evolution Footsteps of Human Beings
[Abstract] As human beings, the words that we take most pride in are: "other animals can only passively adapt to the environment, while human beings can create a better living environment." But we could not ever have imagined that it is just the superior environment created by ourselves that leads us to the road of extinction. Why is that so? The reason is simple, that is, the biological evolution (The Evolution).
The day is not too distant when human beings end! This is absolutely no sensation. The end of mankind is neither because of the nuclear war, nor the environmental catastrophe, nor the asteroid’s hitting the earth, but rather because of the evolution direction of human beings – toward destruction.
All the living creatures are constantly evolving with no exception of human beings. The mankind has evolved from the apes, which no one in academia doubts. But now there is a view that the evolution of modern people has had great tendency to slow or even stop, on the grounds that human beings have a more and more comfortable artificial environment while are subject to less and less impact of natural factors. In fact, this is a wrong understanding. The reason for biological evolution lies in the gene mutation, which naturally occurs. Whatever environment it is, it cannot prevent the occurrence of mutation. Whether living in the remote mountains and wilderness, or live in a warm rooms, the mutation will happen all the same. Goldfish is an example. Goldfish’s ancestors are wild gold crucian carps, and after entering into the artificial environment that is much superior than the natural environment, there are much larger changes happens than in nature during the hundreds of years.
July 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm #116259
The principle of biological evolution is well known by all of us, that is mutation – selection – survival of the fittest. The process of selection (natural selection) is the process of retention and elimination, that is, the retention of favorable traits and the elimination of unfavorable traits, which thus enables the biological population to preserve the favorable traits. These traits, such as the run ability of the hare, protective color of the fur, are essential to its survival. In the process of reproduction of generations, due to the continuous mutation of genes, each trait will produce many different variants. Only those with the strongest running ability and the best protective fur color could get the more chance of survival. Deteriorating running ability, blackening fur, or whitening fur are all unfavorable and thus have been eliminated, as a result the population stably maintains these favorable traits. It is relative to the selection factors whether the traits are favorable or unfavorable, in natural conditions, the selection factor is the natural environment. Take the European geometridae for an example. There are two variants, black and white, and when the bark is white, the white one could hide well and more of them are reserved. However it is not favorable for the black to hide and many of them are eliminated, therefore, the white prevails in number. When the dust pollution blackens the bark, the disguise of black moths improves, and the number increases to the opposite of the white. This is a well-known example of evolution.
So, what happens if a trait is in a status that is unfavorable with it and not harmless without it? This kind of example is not rare in nature. For most animals, the importance of the eye is palpable. In the normal environment, the eye defects are extremely detrimental to survival, so as those with eye defects have been eliminated, the population preserves good visions. When the fishes enter the dark underwater cave, the eyes no longer play any role. No matter how good the vision is, it will not have any help to the survival. And the loss of vision will not cause harm to survival, then the eyes became a useless trait as they are unfavorable with and not harmless without. How it would be if a trait is useless? Nature has already given the answer; the fishes in the cave will eventually lose their sight and become blind or eyeless fish. As the gene mutations are mostly harmful, in case the eyes and vision have gene mutation, there will always be some problems or defects. When the environment no longer plays any role of selection and elimination on these variants, these defects will accumulate and spread generation after generation. To a certain time, the entire population will lose sight and become blind fish. At this time the eye as a useless vestigial organ continues to exist. But the vestigial organ will not exist forever, and it will continue to decline until it finally disappears and the fish becomes eyeless.
July 30, 2017 at 4:38 pm #116260
There are so many similar examples, and this is the "use and disuse" phenomenon in the biological evolution. The useless traits are bound to decline. The reason why the traits become "useless" can be various. The eyes degenerate as they are not useful into the dark. Most birds living in the sea can fly, and if the penguins could ever fly, the flight capacity would be useful. Because they adopt the way of swimming for a long time, the flying feathers have degenerated and the wings have become swaying oars. The reason why the leaves of the cactus evolve into spines is because the stem substitutes the function of the leaves. The way of relying on photosynthesis to survive has not changed, and rather this task has been transferred to other organs, therefore the original organ degenerates. Nude mice live underground in the borrowed holes for their whole lives and never walk out of the caves, thus they have become as blind as blind fish. Because of the long-term life in cave, the warm protection role of hair is no longer important, so they have become bare-skinned as result of the fur degeneration. For many species of artificial breeding, many self-defense traits that their wild ancestors possessed have degenerated or disappeared, or changed to better satisfy requirements of the humans. The defense tasks are to be borne by the human beings. For example, the goldfish has a colorful body and moves slowly and clumsily. They are unable to survive in the river but only to live in the aquarium as ornamental for people. For many crops, those traits that fruits’ wild ancestors have such as hard shells, trichome, poison, and hard thorns, etc. have been greatly changed after domestication to be more suitably tasted by humans. Ducks cannot hatch eggs, which is the behavior degradation, therefore the hatch task are done by the artificial as replacement……. In short, once the traits of the creatures become useless and their lacking do not endanger the survival, then they will surely degenerate and eventually disappear. Here I would also like to explain two concepts; evolution refers to the biological evolution generation after generation. During the evolution process, there are always some traits that start from scratch, enhance and increase, while other traits ends up losing, degenerating, and disappearing, where the latter is called degradation. Therefore, degradation is a manifestation of evolution, and evolution contains degradation. The “use and disuse theory" is the summary of evolution performances, and evolution and degradation cannot be considered as two opposite processes.
July 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm #116261
It should be noted that, before Darwin, Lamarck had proposed an evolutionary theory of "acquired genetic traits ", which has proved to be wrong. But when proving the mistake of Lamarck, people have made another mistake and defined his theory as with "use and disuse theory". In fact, "use and disuse theory" is just a phenomenon rather than a theorem, of course, cannot even be called “theory ". Lamarck theory should be called as" acquired inheritance theory". Lamarck’s finding of "use and disuse” phenomenon is a great contribution instead of a mistake, and it is thus an academic mistake to define the theory of Lamarck as "use and disuse theory".
So what about the evolution of mankind today? In recent years, there have been more and more prominent health problems, which are the most significant signs of human evolution. People always think that with the development of scientific and technological and the improvement of medical technology, one day human will enter the eternal healthy state with any perplexing disease. However, the reality facing to us is that the morbidity rates have been surging, the incidence of diseases is increasingly trending to younger and younger age, new difficult and mysterious problems continue to emerge, non-disease "sub-health state" is also popularizing, the overall health of the population continues to decline, and the desired comprehensive health becomes far beyond of our reach. So, why all these things are happening? Let us have a look at the relationship between health and evolution.
From a biological point of view, the health or non-health has always been showed through the strength or weakness, superiority and inferiority, and presence or absence of some traits. And the superiority and inferiority of the traits are just determined by the evolution, and they have been in evolution. Just compare the importance of the health traits for the modern Homo sapiens and the ancient anthropoid and then we could know how health evolves.
Without all the modernity, the anthropoid and protohuman had lived under the same conditions as the common wild animals. Back to that time, the physique of human beings enjoyed the common characteristics of wild animals: strong, powerful, attack-resistant, strongly immune to diseases, resistant to cold and heat, and excellent at hearing and vision. The superiority and inferiority of all these traits are a matter of life and death and withstand the harsh tests. In the past 10,000 to 20,000 years, the development of wisdom has brought a lot of application technologies and has greatly improved the living conditions, which makes those excellent physical qualities are less and less important and nearly “useless". As mentioned earlier, the useless traits are inevitable to decline, herein "useless" means that the survival will not be endangered in absence of these traits, rather than the common meaning.
July 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm #116262
In ape era, people spent their day and night in the wild, from spring to winter, facing all kinds of weather of wind, frost, rain and snow while without any equipment like coat, quilt, house or stove. Same with the other wild animals, their bodies could fully adapt to the natural environment, and even until today, this is the still case for the livestock and poultry such as cattle, sheep, etc. After the mankind invented the heating methods and anti-cold items, the cold-resistance trait became "useless", kept degrading, and basically lost by so far. Modern people in the winter without coat, stove and house will die, which is unique in the biology world. In nature, whether it is the giant homothermal animals, or the tiny heterotherm creatures, none of them have to rely on heating to resist cold and to survive. Modern people’s ability of heat-resistance is much stronger than that of cold-resistance; it is because for a long time, the popularity of heat-prevention/cooling technology and equipment are falling far behind heating and cold-resistance. The use of the refrigerating machine just starts recently. After the popularity of the refrigerating machine, given enough time, people will die from heat without air-conditioning just as the case in winter without coat and stove.
Similarly, the bones of modern people have been greatly degraded. The thickness of Peking man’s skull is nearly two times as that of the modern people and the teeth are also larger, therefore it is speculated that the systemic skeleton should be generally stronger than that of the modern people. In ape-man era, whether it is general labor, vital fights, or any other activities, none of them is not relying on physical power as there is no machine. A solid skull can withstand collision or crash. The food at that time was not as soft and refined as in modern, which required them to have strong and tough teeth; teeth was also a wrestling weapon, therefore the mouth of the apes protruding forward. As the skull of modern people becomes thinner and teeth smaller, the morbidities of poorly-aligned and easily-decayed teeth, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, aseptic necrosis, etc. have been also rising. Some people will have fracture from a slight fall, and some patients even have extreme “congenital osteogenesis imperfecta”, who will fracture when wearing by a bit of effort."Congenital osteogenesis imperfecta ", congenital skull defects or abnormally thin skull have become very common, They need to be implanted with artificial bones or wear a special helmet for life.With strong and sharp nails, modern apes can quickly climb the tree by clinging to the bark and also scamper on the steep rock like on the flat ground. Presumably, human’s remote ancestors— dryopithecus must also be the same. Modern people almost do not need nails, so they degenerate to the thin and soft shells.
July 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm #116263
Similarly, the strength of primitive man is much stronger than the modern people. Nowadays, with a variety of machinery human life has become less effort-requiring and more relaxing, where physical strength has nothing to do with the survivability. Wild animals follow the rules of natural selection—reserving the strong and eliminating the weak. For example, before feeding the young birds, penguins run first and the young try to catch up, so those weak ones will be eliminated without obtaining food, which is a quite common phenomenon among many creatures. It is so cruel and merciless from the perspective of the current social consciousness of mankind, however the penguin maintains to be strong species by doing so. This is the survival way found during the evolution of millions of years, while the countless creatures failing to find the way have long been rotted in the dust of history. Contrary to the human beings, a wide range of care and assistance are provided to the weak, every effort are made to the freak or morbid to ensure their survival, and the infant mortality is made to the minimum. The strong will have to do more high-risk labor work, which benefits the survival of the weak and the ill. In the long run, the strength keeps degenerating with each generation. Of course, we are by no means advocating abolishing the humanitarian care or making the infirm engage in dangerous work. Here we just state one problem of biological evolution, and how to solve this problem is another thing.
The apes and other wild animals have tough skin, and are born with fur, scales or feathers which provide good protection. Modern people’s skin looks soft and delicate with such poor protection that a slight scratch could cause injury. As a result of wearing clothes for a long-time, the fur has completely degraded. Nowadays, the skin lesions are more and more, and all kinds of inflammation, allergy and other morbidity are rising. It is reported that one patient was without dermis, but a thin film of epidermis. As a slight touch will cause bleeding, the body must be wrapped with gauze tightly. This is an extreme example.
July 30, 2017 at 4:43 pm #116264
For the living creatures in natural state, their body must have sufficient self-regulating and self-balance ability, and only in this way could they be ensured to have enough vitality in the ever-changing environment. For some important microelements, their amounts that are contained in the natural food and water is not uniform and constant, rather they are greatly different. This requires the body must have enough adjustment ability to respond the changes, so that it does not get poisoned when there is too much and it has replacement and compensation ways when there is too little. The food, medicine and other conditions for people are many times superior to that of other animals, and thus the automatical adjustment ability of people’s body has been greatly degenerated. For cretinism, people already know it’s hereditary. It is lucky that this can be solved by adding iodine, and unlike color blindness there is no prescription for it. So cretinism is named as "iodine deficiency disorders", and tried to forget its hereditary origin. Diabetes in the past is an incurable disease, and the patients can basically survive now through methods such as medication, injection of insulin, diet control and so on. So, the body’s function of automatically adjusting sugar metabolism is replaced artificially. From the biological point of view, when the body no longer needs this feature, it becomes "useless", The body’s function will inevitably decline, and as a result the morbidity rate continues to rise with tendency to be younger and younger. A variety of "iodine deficiency disorders" are also following the same law.
In recent years, the incidence of vision defects are also rising rapidly, People are always attributing it to the lack of light or improper use of the eyes and other external reasons. However, despite of the popularity and improvement of health care, the incidence rate does not decline as expected, but rather rises and changes with the passing days. Those various kinds of eye lesions can by no means be explained by external reasons. If we know the eye development history of the blind fish, it should be not difficult to understand the experience process of human eye. The difference lies in that the human eye become useless not because of entering the darkness and they still need vision. As the vision defects do not affect survival, it might be deemed "useless" from the perspective of evolution.
July 30, 2017 at 4:44 pm #116265
The activities or all kinds of behavior of higher animals are all controlled by the brain. Under natural conditions, animal behavior is not allowed to deviate, because it is impossible to get outside help for their survival but to rely on themselves. In case that a wild animal fails to understand what it shall understand, or is unable to do what it shall do, or the outside information deforms after getting into the brain, or behavior and action do not match with the circumstances, then there would be no reason for it to survive. For example, if it mistakenly thinks its own kind is threating, challenging, or attacking itself, hears some sound that does not exist, sees some bizarre fantasy images, smells the strange smell that does not exist, and becomes somehow dread, nervous, excessively excited, or indifferent, or think they have extraordinary magic skills, or feel controlled by some kind of invisible power … … and so on, if these symptoms happen to the wild animal living in nature, it will be by no means saved. Contrary to that, normal people in the human society live hard while mental patients have been greatly tolerated and preferentially treated. As long as the dementia or silly can eat, they live a more carefree life than anyone else. The normal people will be headed if commit some crimes, the mad and the crazy can do whatever they want and enjoy immunity. Therefore, morbid thinking beyond control has survival space in the human society, and naturally the morbidity rises. madness and dementia have become the common phenomenon in the human population, which is unique among the creatures on earth. It should be noted that madness and dementia only account for a small part of mental illness, while more mental diseases do not manifest so obvious and strong symptoms, therefore the total of them cannot be ignored.
Some animals do not make nest and their cubs were born on the ground such as antelope, zebra, hare, etc. The cubs can walk in a few minutes after birth, and can bounce and run in one or two hours. This is seemingly a common phenomenon but it is guaranteed by the perfect physical function of the body where the nervous system and muscle of the fetal must be completely mature before birth. Those animals that make nest, such as rats, rabbits, wolves, birds, etc., these physiology qualities are relatively poor due to the protection of the nest. The pups will hide in the nest for some time, and it will not be long for them to run or fly, in about fortnights or one to two months. Apes are arboreal animals without any lair, although the cubs cannot climb trees at birth, they will firmly grasp their mothers and are able to bounce freely in a few days, presumably the ancestors of human ancestors must also be similar. this physiological function has been completely lost. Now the baby at birth can only randomly move their hands and feet without any ability to turn over. It takes about one year for them to stand and walk, which is unique in the biological world in terms of the degree of slow development. If things keep going in this way, the baby’s parenting will become increasingly cumbersome, complex, difficult, and a more expensive and very difficult task.
July 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm #116266
The viscera of human beings including heart, lung, intestine, stomach, liver, kidney, etc. are all developing along this revolution route—new lesions constantly occur and the incidence rate steadily rise. It is easily seen that all the so-called diseases are all related to the innate factors, and not just the part that was named as "genetic disease". So, all kinds of diseases caused by the bacteria and viruses seem to have nothing to do with the innate factors, right? No! As bacteria and viruses are omnipresent, all the creatures including the ancestors of human ancestors are surrounded by them at any place and any time, and the creatures must have sufficient immunity to coexist with bacteria and viruses and survive. Having a superb medical technology, disease resistance is no longer important to survival, and anti-infection ability of human beings also significantly decline especially with the invention of antibiotics and other new drugs in modern times. In recent years, biologists have found the reason that people are susceptible to influenza is because of one gene defect which leads to the loss of immunity to influenza. Now normal people will have diarrhea occasionally, and they will recover after taking medicines. Even if there is no medication, it can be self-healing in a few days. There are a few patients who cannot do without furazolidone every day for decades, and will have diarrhea if they skip medicine for once. This example is sufficient to show that the pathogenic microorganism is only an external cause while the body itself is internal cause. Now when the cattle, pigs and other livestock have undergone a surgical operation, they do not need intravenous antibiotics, rather only the wound dressing. Anthropoid must also be the same. If the same method is applied to modern people, then I am afraid it would be a miracle to "escape from death". It can be seen that the pathogenicity of microbes is not unilaterally determined by microorganisms. When the body degenerates to a certain extent, the microorganisms that originally are not pathogenic will become pathogenic. All new drugs developed need to do experiments on animals, and this is the reason why many new drugs that work well on other animals have disappointing effect on human beings.
All aspects of the physical qualities such as reproductive capacity, the development of newborns, and the resistance to bacteria and viruses, etc. are in recession, as the humans do not need these qualities to survive. When a disease occurs to a small number of individuals, it is a disease. With the improvement of the technology and the maturity and popularity disease curing method, the disease spreads among the population, and then it would become a common trait of the population and no longer is a disease. But a new demand would arise in life – "improved living standards". And then on this basis, further new lesions would emerge, which would be followed by the further development of medicine and technology and further "improvement" of living standards. In anthropoid era, there were no coats, stoves, houses, and bedding, which were not needed. At that time, if one could not survive without these heating and cold-resistance equipment, then it was a congenital "cold-fear disease". When the whole population is inseparable from these, it is no longer disease and has become one of the distinctions between people and other animals. In the case that several individual fishes have eye defects among ordinary fishes, it is no doubt a disease. But for the blind fish, this kind of eye is normal, and it has become a special mark of the species. In the process of evolution of ordinary fish to the blind fish, there may be several individual fishes with visual acuity. It is caused by mutation, and in this situation it is an “atavism” phenomenon. In terms of cold-resistance, there was a cold-resistant “atavism” phenomenon that one person refused to wear clothes from childhood and was naked for whole year. He was never afraid of cold, and in addition his body grew long hair. This person was just in China, on whom the repeated news was reported. As the "improvement of living standards" will certainly not stop, in the future there will be more and more diseases to be removed from the medical concepts, since they have become a common trait of the human population. I would also like to give an example: with the implementation of iodine supplementation among the whole people, the incidence rate of "iodine deficiency disease" has steadily improved. Until the day when it reaches one hundred percent, the disease will no longer exists as iodine supplementation is indispensable like three meals a day. In the future, the precise control of diet, injection of insulin, blood extracorporal dialysis, the installation of artificial mechanical heart, lung, electronic eyes, electronic ears, implanted artificial bones, living in constant temperature and sterile enclosed chamber … … and so on, with “the improvement of living standards " , they will become characteristics of human beings distinct from other creatures one by one. In the end, the concept of "disease" will completely disappear. By that time, the whole town that people are living will be a large hospital while all the houses will be the wards. They are of course not called as the hospital or ward as all the vocabulary related to "medicine", "disease" will not exist.
July 30, 2017 at 4:48 pm #116267
However, things would not end there. The body’s organic organs will continue to degenerate or collapse, while more and more machinery and electronic organs are required. Ultimately the original physical organization would be replaced by mechanical and electrical equipment, and humans would complete the ultimate evolutionary process—evolved into a robot. This seems to be absurd and bizarre, but it is of scientific reasoning. The principle of biological evolution tells us that the root reason of biological evolution lies in genetic changes, and it is impossible to use artificial methods to prevent genetic variation. If the damaged gene is not eliminated, it will accumulate more the more. When the damaged gene has accumulated to a certain extent, the remaining parts do not suffice to constitute a viable organism. Like an article, if there is a small amount of typos, it still can be modified, but when there are so many wrong words that make up no sentence or statement and the original meaning by no means to be understood. The rest of those "right" words become meaningless, and it is impossible to be modified, but to take the only road of using machines to assemble human beings.
"(Other) animals can only passively adapt to the natural environment, while human beings can create a higher standard of living!" This is a capital that humans are most proud of. However, it is seldom known that although mankind has created superior material conditions so that they do not have to passively adapt to the harsh natural environment, rather they have to passively adapt to the superior artificial environment that is created by them. Adapting to the natural environment can create a strong vitality, while the results of adapting to the superior environment are the recession of vitality and stepping to the abyss of destruction. The reason why the wild species in natural state do not decline is that they are constantly subject to the strict screening and eliminating. Their excellent quality is at a cost of high mortality, and the ancestors of human ancestors are no exception. And now, this has become the essential difference in natural quality between the human beings and other wild species. The reduction in infant mortality is a prominent achievement in modern medicine, which is seen as a health sign of the population. Actually, it is a sign of the degradation rate of population, where the lowest infant mortality represents the highest degradation rate. In recent years, the medical burden to the society is growing, which is an initial sign of this medical achievement.
Modern people can no longer return to the original path of the wild animals and not to mention that people simply do not want to admit this reality. Things are objective while knowledge is subjective. People always do not want to accept or take the attitude of rejecting or resisting for the things they do not like, while look forward to hope those they like. Even if the things they like do not exist, they would rather believe they do, which is an important reason why so far the human beings have been unable to see the direction they are going to. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the invention and creation of our ancestors have brought us from the apes’ times to today. In the future, where will the science and technology take us to? Whether we have courage to face this problem or not, as it is the most realistic and most pressing issue that is placed in front of the humans.
If this problem is recognized, the next question we face will be "How to do?”. This is no small problem, and it is by no means to give up all the existing things to completely return to the state of wild animals millions of years ago. This is not only because we cannot do so, but also because the evolution of the road is irreversible. Therefore, returning the original road is simply impossible. What we need to consider is how to find a "sustainable development" road that not only keeps good things existing in the civilization, but also to avoid leasing ourselves to destructions.
April 16, 2020 at 12:23 am #117020Laura carverParticipant
Our discussion today with renowned Biologist Dr. Scott Solomon from Rice University on how and when human settlement on Mars will lead to an entirely new species distinct from earth humans:
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