Comments on Two Human Species In 100,000 Years? Stick With Wells
Will the human species bifurcate into Haves and Have-Nots? Eloi and Morlocks? (Read
the complete story)
|"It's a silly idea. The assumption is that these classes won't mix, but historically the ruling class likes the occasional romp with the workers, so you'll always get some mixing."
(Rob 10/28/2006 8:49:15 AM)
|"What 3 books did he take back to eloi land?"
(Cliff 10/28/2006 8:00:09 PM)
|"I wouldn't be too dismissive of the possibility of respeciation, nor assume that it will take tens of thousands of years to accomplish. You claim that some scientists "reject outright" the possibility of a split occurring without geographical isolation, but aren't we simply talking about the elimination of interbreeding between two populations - combined with environment pressures for change, genetic mutations and other factors? What should it matter whether the separation is geographical, so long as it happens?
The respeciation I (a knowledgeable layman) would expect to see will, however, be distinct in natural history in that it will be self-guided and driven by technology.
Obviously, we are on the verge of an era when efforts will be made to "perfect" the genetic fitness of individuals and their offspring, eliminating causes of disease, amplifying desired features such as intelligence, and enhancing longevity. The therapies will be very expensive, however, and unlike other technologies, cutting edge medicine shows no signs of becoming cheaper. On the contrary, we are already seeing the emergence of advanced diagnostics and therapeutics the cost of which no foreseeable health system will absorb, e.g. preventative body scans, testing for known genetic risk factors, laser vision correction and such. These measures are available only to the wealthy.
Once the privileged class succeeds in genetically fine-tuning itself, why would its members risk interbreeding with the hoi polloi? Genetic isolation will occur, as surely as if this superhealthy population were stranded on a desert island. (Not to say they won't dally sexually with the underclass, but reliable contraception in such cases will be a given.)
It seems to me that, based on what we observe in the existing natural world and fossil record, it seems naive to me to assume respeciation cannot or will not occur among H. sapiens. It will happen, and with unprecedented speed based on the above factors.
One caveat: I would not presume to guess at the sociopolitical ramifications when the unwashed - uh, unmodified - masses realize that the train to immortality and super-hot looks is leaving without them. Could tick people off, cause an armageddon-like uprising. Maybe I should write a sci-fi book along these lines.
(misfire 10/29/2006 3:13:04 AM)
|"I'll start at the end first (if that makes sense!). I like your idea of wondering what happens when the 'masses realize that the train to immortality and super-hot looks is leaving without them...' One of the things that has kept our economy working is the relentless effort to put something that at least _looks_ like it is cool and shiny within the reach of ordinary people. The $25K Mercedes, Botox rather than plastic surgery, etc. Also, it looks like medical benefits might also be amenable to relentless cost reduction; it is already possible to buy a radiology opinion from well-trained radiologists for just $20 - because the doctors live in India.
But what happens when there is a difference in _kind_, like almost everyone dies by their seventies, but the superrich live to be _200_ in full health. This was actually covered in Heinlein's Methuselah's Children, when the 'shorties' learned about long life. In the story, political pressures forced a massive investment in gerontological research that paid off and was made available to everyone. In that story, some members of the Howard Families actually asserted that speciation had occured between themselves and the short-lived people."
(Bill Christensen 11/1/2006 5:16:09 PM)
|"I haven't read the Heinlein book, but there is a fictional treatment of genetic life extension therapy which really got me thinking along these lines. The fantastic Mars colonization trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson - Red Mars, Blue Mars and Green Mars - are several years old now, but feature a number of technological concepts that have since become mainstream in the fields of space flight and Mars development - space elevators for one.
In it, the Mars colonists are among the first populations provided with a form of broad-based gene therapy, in which the individual's genome is analyzsed, and a personally tailored gene cocktail is administered via a virus-like delivery system, correcting all flaws within a couple of days.
As I recall the books, the treatments extend the Martians' lives into the 150-200 year range. This becomes only one of the sources of political strife between the colonists and the folks stuck back on dirty, crowded Earth."
(misfire 11/2/2006 2:37:24 AM)
|"Robinson's Mars trilogy is one of the larger holes in the site; I'm hoping someone will use the contact form to provide technovelgy examples and quotes!"
(Bill Christensen 11/2/2006 4:32:13 AM)
|"Here is a link to an ABC news report, on predictions that parents will be able to select many genetic traits for their unborn children: http://www.yahoo.com/s/430907 The report suggests that there may be some philosophical/moral resistance to genetic tinkering beyond basic screening for disease traits. I'd predict, however, that if the technology becomes safe and cost-effective, such qualms will quickly give way to parents' overwhelming desires for their children. After all, as the report points out, parents who resort to in vitro fertilization are already selecting embryos for desired gender. This has happened with little or no "slippery slope"-type moralizing.
(misfire 11/6/2006 6:22:31 AM)
|"Silly notion, but what more can one expect from an Economist? Economicw is not s science, it is a conflicting collection of hypotheses with no experimental evidence to back any of them up.
In q hundred thousand years from now, either there will be no humans left after they have caused ecological collapse and damaged the biosphere so much that it has to reecover for that period of time to get back to a fully diverse one like we used to have, or humans will have escaped the confines of one small planet, and have genetically modified themselves into many different species or at least uncrossable subspecies with cultures suited to their various new environments. Not only was this economist economical with his imagination, he copied HG Wells."
(Briar Lorenz 11/14/2006 1:00:45 PM)
|"He seems to have forgotten that there will be one gender. Men these days are much more woman-like than they were a hundred years ago, hence the slight roundness of the breast and larger nipples in men. And there is so much proof that what is done to a species in the course of its life will not develop into something in their children- like the experiment with the mice. They went through generations and generations of mice, cutting off their tails and seeing if some of the children would be tailless. This is a hypothesis with no evidence. While the splitting of species may be possible (it's happened before, according to the theory of evolution)he's got alot wrong."
(Rachael 1/23/2011 8:26:46 AM)
|"Rachael, I don't think I've ever read anything to suggest that two gender species might lose one. Perhaps an sf or fantasy story? Like 'When it Changed' (Russ) or 'The White Plague' (Herbert)?"
(Bill Christensen 1/23/2011 9:31:22 AM)
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