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Studies Show More: The Emerging Science of Evolutionary Species Futurology

The good news, in a way, is that, over the next thousand years, we will become uniformly better looking, with prominent body parts improving in both size and shape. But around 3000 overdependence on technology will cause our species to peak out. Then we may lose all our social skills and emotions, not to mention our chins. Eventually we may well divide into two sub-species.

Discussions - 18 Comments

Well...given assortative mating (i.e., college kids marry other college kids), is this so far-fetched? I will say that I think there would be revolution long before this occurred, but this is simple extrapolation from current trends...and not particularly creative.

dain, it is silly. Yes, it is very far-fetched. Do you think people have not been selective in their mating habits in the last two thousand years? Have we changed, physically? Look at Classical Greek sculpture. What is different in those physiques from anyone’s today? I met a man the other day who looked just like Julius Caesar. I was struck by the resemblance. How do I know he looks like Caesar? The Romans portrait busts are extant. They were not idealistic, or rather not until the empire moved east - which is a long and irrelevant story.

"Interbreeding" has gone on forever
and there are still racial differences because everyone does not interbreed. Even so, interbreeding is not to genetics like homogenization is to milk.

Longer lives I can believe, but only because of improved medicine and nutrition.

Of course, like so much science, when predictive of the future, or postive of our distant past, how is it science when it can not be observed and proved?

Ok, Kate, whatever you say.

I don’t think it’s so far-fetched. I think we’ll see in our lifetimes some very specific selection of what children get born and which ones do not. And if science ever gets to the point of being able to "program" the physical characteristics of the child, then the hypothesis becomes even more plausible. Unfortunately, that stuff is probably closer than we think.

Here are my predictions for the year 3000:

1. The average height of an Americano will be 7’. Several NBA centers will exceed 9’6" but not one of them will be able to shoot a free throw.

2. Libertarian Presidente de Los Estados Unidos de Norte y Sur America, Vicente Fox, XVI will call for an amendment to the constitution to declare Spanglish to be the official language. Minority party Republicanos will filibuster, led by Harry Bush...uh, make that George Reid... who will dishonestly deny, throughout his carreer, that he is a direct descendant of both Harry Reid and George Bush.

3. France will petition the Eurabian Union to reduce the required number of prayers in a day from 5 to 4. The Archbishop of the Mosque of England will oppose.

There will be a statue of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban at the Vatican. Italian Muslims will threaten to riot until it is explained to them that it is not a statue of THE Muhammad.

5. I won’t have a chin. I’ll look like this.

Don, You right that you’d have to start talking actual biotech eugenics to make the predictions less (but only less) far-fetched. And UG, your list is actually pretty funny.

U.G., Your list is VERY funny. And I find it just as plausible a prediction as Oliver Curry’s.

I might prefer to look like this. 3000 years from now. I can picture my "gracile" (I might presume this as I am college educating the current, and tall, crop.) descendant wearing me on her least finger, because she is so tall it is the only finger where I fit. On the other hand, (ha) she might not wear jewelry at all, as we will have become culturally advanced as to NOT do something humans have always done to this date. If there are museums, yet perhaps there will not be, people being so retrograde, we might end up on a shelf as examples of some of the bizarre funerary rites of our era. Yet only if we have not been dropped and shattered or lost down a drain, if there are drains.

We may presume there will still be gravity as there is now? Why?

Hell, skip the "lifegem" nonsense and just wear your loved-one’s teeth around your neck. Yuck!

dain, Isn’t a ghastly idea?

If Curry is correct, I should like to predict that one day the argument will be about "devolution." Some will say, "Once we were a noble race. In about the year 3000, we were grand and now we are the ignoble seed of giants."

Heck, when you read about what people had to do in the past to survive (e.g., Welsh coal miners, 12 hour days, 6 days a week, 3 unpaid holidays a year), maybe we can already say we are the wastrel brats of a noble people?

Yes, I would say that.

In the words of Keynes...In the long run we are all dead. A thousand years is quite a bit past my nose... I think the Transhumanists suffer from grossly unrealistic expectations...but I wouldn’t be suprised if we were all stored on computers by then...In a thousand years the world might be post-human.

My prediction... In a thousand years people will be divided into two camps... those who are busy making predictions about the future and those who are busy making predictions about the past. The conservative types if you can call them that will be those who study the past...or historians loosely speaking. "work" will be a term known only to those who study the past...The only work left will be in trying to pin down what can reasonably be expected to happen next...People will more or less come to some forms of agreement on some "events"...but sometimes it will be simpler to agree that the event never took place rather than to re-work the math that is otherwise 99.9-99.2% correct.

John Lewis, I think an impressive quantity of memory, of data, is stored in computers (at least of my memory, stored in my laptop and discreet hard-drives.) and if we are what we were, or what we know of what we were, or is it what we remember? (maybe it is too early in the morning for me to be thinking like this) then quite a bit of what is human is stored on computers already and if so, then computers already are uncomfortably human because full of human memory. Much of what is essential memory, for me, is stored herein, even in forms that are in defunct computer languages (Will I ever again access the journaling I did in Q&A beginning nearly twenty years ago - saving memories of life’s journey, as John Adams said to do of the traveling kind lest it be as if it never happened - and now in an "ancient" computer language for which I need some digital Rosetta stone?) Memory fails - even to phone numbers that we do not have to remember because they are stored in our various telephones.

So if this is lost, what is stored on computers, or even if all of this is held to be subjective information, then yes, there will be no collective agreement about "events," and sometimes it will be simpler to agree that the event never took place. Is there really anything new in that? Archaeologists will dig through this data, rather than getting dirty on the probable site of Troy or Jericho.

Your prediction seems to be that in the future there will no people left but bloggers, for your two camps sound awfully familiar.

Now, John, are you ripping off the old ’Gateway’ science fiction series? In that, the humans who were put "on tape" didn’t function all that well, as I recall.

This article confuses me. Perhaps I’m missing something on the ABCs of natural selction here, but won’t almost all of the human evolution in the future be by sexual selection or by genetic engineering(and the later only if it can be done one a large scale)? Since the advent of modern food production and medicine, hasn’t the evolution caused by humans born with "less-fit" traits DYING prior to reproduction almost entirely ceased? So how in the world are humans going to develop receding chins/weak jaws due to processed foods, and so on? Nobody dies young or reproduces less because he has the unnecessary trait of strong jaws. Either I don’t know something basic, or this guy is a kook.

That’s not to say it’s kooky to worry about sexual selection in a quantifiable meritocracy producing, given a milennia or so, two biological classes of humans.

If, over the generations, those born with "less-fit" traits had died prior to reproduction, would we have any or many "less-fit" traits in people today? You would think that in generations of hunters/gatherers, or just in every day life in any society prior to the invention of glasses, those people as nearsighted as I am could never have survived. How did I inherit this distinctly "less-fit" trait?

Also, as to the weak jaw due to processed foods thing, I thought Lamarck’s
theory that acquired traits can be inherited had long since been discredited. I say this guy is a kook.

Kate, that’s easy...selection-neutral traits. Heart disease, baldness, near-sightedness...all plague middle-aged people for the most part. Any trait that onsets after the prime reproductive years will be retained.

dain, I am sorry I neglected to come back here for so long. I have been otherwise occupied.

I have been near-sighted since my childhood. I did not know I could not see until I was twelve years old and was failing a class after being moved to back of the room. That teacher noticed my problem. I was not living with my parents who were too busy hating one another to notice much about us, their kids. The Home we lived in arranged for me to see an optometrist. Boy, did I need glasses! One of the best memories of my childhood was walking out of that office wearing those corrective lenses and being able to see leaves on the trees, the street names on street signs, and the faces of people as they walked by. Most of my kids were nearsighted in childhood, as well, but I had their eyes tested and they have worn glasses.

So the type of natural selection I meant was not sexual, but rather I am surprised that those of us with poor eyesight do not die before that selection is an option. I still have uncorrected (because I wear contact lenses) astigmatism that probably contributes to my missing my footing and falling down more than is healthy for limb, if not for life.

What’s deadly about baldness?

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