2003-11-25 16:16:31 ET
"I suspect that nature will weed out the genes that inhibit our ability to mentally adapt to consistent and rapid change."
Not at all. Though I don't think that our genetics have anything to do with our acceptance of new things, but rather the environment we are raised it. That's nurture over nature.
Although, with most great biological changes that can be seen through out history, and I'll pick on the plague, just because its easiest, you'll notice that many have to die (excluding them from the gene pool) before you'll see a rise in the mental faculties of the surviving adaptable people. In the case of the plague, the people with the weaker immune systems died out, and those with stronger ones pulled through and survived. Its also been seeen in medical research (and I'm sorry, but I have no website to draw on for this one) but people who have had decendants who survived the Black Death are much more resistant to the weakening qualities of AIDS.
Now, looking at the idea of people dying out so that those who are more maluable rise up and impose their more useful genetics on the future, with the way our societies are build now a days, if say, poverty and malnutrision were the cause of all the deaths which would be needed to purge the less able from society, we are still troubled by the beaurocracy on which we base our civilization.
The rich will survive while the poor die. Now some of these rich people will be rich because they had the necessary genes to adapt. However there will be those CEOs and other big-shots who were just at the right place at the right time and had enough resources to pull through.
That could stunt the next phase of our evolution.
Why? Because stupid people would be breeding.
So the real problem that I see to humans becoming more than they are is that we have moved away from a natural life.
The mass death that would be needed likely won't ever happen because we have such a highly regimented society because of our governments which step in whenever a natural or not-so-natural problem occurs.
SARS had the potential to do the same thing that the Plague did. But science saved our ass. HIV and cancer just don't compare these days becuse rates of both are somewhat managable.
War? Well, for western civilization, it doesn't exist, but as the weak die off in the less fortunate countries genetics will pull through creating more hearty people.
Poverty and famine? Again, not a western issue.
I believe that the majority of our evolution will be happening in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
What has the western world done for the development of humanity? Well, we encourage schooling for all, so you could assume that as the less fortunate nations are breeding more physically able people, we will be breeding people with higher capacities for learning. But considering what we do to our bodies, we will be horribly fragile people.