Evolution is a constant. One can no more escape evolution than one can escape the universe, as it is an intricate part of life. If humans, in the future, are doing genetic engineering and removing "freaks of nature," or curing blindness, or stimulating nerve regeneration, or whatever you like to imagine, then humans are merely influencing the direction of human evolution. By the very fact that we would be changing we would be evolving.

For those who are unaware, natural selection can work if you're killed by your own species or another. If we kill all the people with a hereditary disease, and that disease disappears, then natural selection will have taken place.

For those who were unaware, natural selection is a part of evolution. It isn't something that can be encouraged or discouraged separate from evolution.

Evolution is relevant to the present because it takes just a moment for a mutation to take place or a species to disappear or even a single life to die. Your radical ideas about the concept of time have already occured to others.

The concept of evolution applying only to the past is ridiculous, as outlined above, as evolution occurs no matter what you do. If you've developed a sure fire way to prevent evolution from happening, please share it with the class. Evolution is inescapable, and not even death will spare you; you've removed your genes from the genepool and have thereby encouraged others.

If you define evolution as 'change in gene frequency over time', then evolution will continue to happen. Even genetic engineering would count as evolution.

Even if you want to specifically focus on some type of Darwinian evolution, which might be defined as 'change in gene frequency over time through the process of natural selection', evolution still effects us today. (Although when talking about evolution 'today' it's important to note that we are either talking about microevolution, or using 'today' to refer to the 10,000 years surrounding the present date. I will focus on microevolution in this writeup).

We have car crashes constantly. Equal crashes will not wound all people equally. Every time you hear of a death in the news, ask you're self, is there any human who could have survived that because of a modified genotype?

Not good enough? Modern medicine allows negative traits such as congenital heart defects, diabetes, phenylketonuria, pyloric stenosis, and others to survive at greater levels in todays population than in populations of the past; this is called dysgenics. The percent of the African-American population with the sickle cell anemia trait dived when malaria stopped being a major influence on the population; it has slowed its dive as modern medicine manages to keep those afflicted with a double dose of the sickle cell gene alive long enough to pass it on to their children. It may begin to spread again. (I assume that the same is true for thalassemia). On the other hand, there are still a few diseases that are selecting for certain genotypes in modern Western populations; AIDS/HIV is probably the best known of these, although the population that is immune to it is so small that they are not likely to have a large effect on the population as a whole. Ebola has great potential as a selector, but hasn't struck yet. Influenza has struck before, taking out large segments of the population, and will likely strike again.

Although traditional Darwinian evolution does not include sexual selection (although Darwin was aware of sexual selection and thought it to be an important aspect of evolution), it may be a force acting on human populations. I'm not going to try to argue this, but it might be interesting to ponder on your own.

If you expand that 'us' to include people in 'other' countries (Countries w/o computers?), starvation and disease are still very strong selective factors, as is war.

There's two ways this can go I think, either :-

1. You can look at intelligence as nothing more than an evolutionary adaptation to the environment; no more or less special than a rhino's horn. In which case changes to the environment can render our adaptation obsolete; just because we are clever, doesn't mean to say we won't get out-evolved if our environment changes. This means evolution will still be a pressure, and can shape our genes.

2. The theory of evolution does not and can never fully accomodate intelligence. With suffiecently advanced intelligence, it is possible that the world external to the human individuals never affects their genes. By which I mean the intelligence is able to keep the environment constant, and as such remove all evolutionary pressures.

If you believe intelligence cannot remove all evolutionary pressures, you are left in position one above, if you believe it can, you are left with position two.

As yet we are not, perhaps, 'intelligent' enough to counter all the effects the environment may have on our genes, and we do not have a long enough perspective on our technology; the point is still, perhaps, moot.
Humans are not unnatural.

We are as firmly embedded in our environments as any other species and the forces present in those environments will shape the future of our species.

That we craft the environments for ourselves is irrelevant to evolution. We may change the variables that ensure our reproductive success (or failure, as the case may be) but these new pressures will work in the equations just as well as the old ones.

What sort of human might we expect to thrive in our new natural environment? A resistance to repetitive stress injury will play a role. So too will the ability to acclimate to the new techologies and social changes that are occurring at an apparently ever increasing pace. The tendency of people to marry (and remarry) later in life will benefit those that age well in our youth obsessed culture.

Not all humans will thrive equally in the sedentary, high-fat, toxin laced cesspool we're racing towards. That inequality is all that it needed for evolution to continue.

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