Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Human De-evolution

I've been thinking of human evolution lately … sure it helps that I've been reading essays from Stephen Jay Gould's book, Dinosaur in a Haystack, but I've been pondering this question for years…

Since evolution is simply the collective byproduct of individuals having more sex than others, over sufficient time, you'd expect that humans would evolve into creatures that could get more. While 100,000 years ago, a smarter man could learn and adapt quicker than his dim-witted cousin, could find more food, and not become food, and therefore live long enough to mate… we find humans getting smarter over time.

But what about now?

I used to think that, being the egghead that I am, that I would be more desirable for my ability to make lots of money during the dot-com booms that lots of hot women would want my seed for their children. Hey, why are you laughing?

But if we look around the world, we actually find the opposite. As your individual specimen grows in education and affluence, the number of offspring drop. Sure, there are exceptions like R.A Fisher††Let me just state, for the record, that my reference to R.A. Fisher is in no wise an advocation or endorsement for his either positive or negative eugenics. However, I have finally had enough time to actually discuss the eugenics debate. and Bach with his twenty-some-odd children, but those are exceptions.

But given this trend, does this mean that we will never evolve into those psionic-wielding, bulbous-brain fellows of science fiction? Probably not. Especially given the relative evolutionary stability our species has been enjoying over the last 100,000 years. We just don't need anything different.

But that could change. As soon as the next comet strikes the Earth causing the next wave of extinction, will we be able to survive better than the rats and cockroaches? Actually, a more likely possibility is that we will poison the world so much that only cockroaches and humans who mutated to live on carbon monoxide will survive. But what type of human will be sexy then? Hopefully the ones that can lift boulders with their minds…

This brings up another debate that I would like to give the final answer. Surely you've heard of the arguments between the Catastophists vs. the Uniformitarians … the former believing that changes only occur when major catastrophes, like asteroid impacts and floods occur. The latter claiming that change happens inevitably over time primarily due to genetic mutation.

The short answer is, they're both right. They both happen and they both produce the results we see. The comet kicked the dinosaurs out, and opened up a window of opportunity for the mammals… but the mammals also had to adapt in order to survive the very same situation that doomed the dinosaurs.

But there are also lots of other minor catastrophes, like changing weather patterns creating a desert out of a jungle and making some apes walk around a lot more for their food. Others happen due to slower adaptations where one animal was just a little quicker at catching that bug.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to seeing if my children can bend spoons and levitate toys, as I'm sure that will be important in the future for impressing the ladies in the post-apocalyptic holocaust.

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