October 08, 2008

Evolution is Dead, Long Live Evolution (again)!

Brain evolutionPractical Ethics: If evolution grinds to a halt, we move on - my blog about Steve Jones claims that we are not evolving any more. It is roughly the same claim as I did earlier, that autoevolution is better than evolution in any case.

Ah, I just noticed that I forgot to mention the evidence of recent rapid evolution, which further undercuts Jones claim. Even if that selection has stopped, we are still a long way from equilibrium.

He also seems to claim that the current developed world environment is as close to utopia as we could come, at least evolutionarily speaking. I doubt that. We still have more than 50% embryo mortality and a finite reproductive lifespan. And from a human perspective we could clearly do with more freedom, intelligence, creativity, beauty, happiness and material wealth. Even if the marginal returns of wealth in terms of happiness are small, it is very helpful against disasters and to bring about desired things (like going into space, spreading life to other planets or just make really nice personal handmade birthday presents). And then there is the possibility of posthuman sources of value, which could be arbitrarily greater. I think our current "utopia" is going to look pretty quaint very soon.

Posted by Anders3 at October 8, 2008 06:37 PM