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Survival of the fittest? [View All]

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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 01:27 PM
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Survival of the fittest?
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This is a question that interests me in a purely academic way. I am not advocating anything, nor am I curious beyond the intellectual level. It's a "what if" question to me, as a lover of science fiction and fantasy, and I'm just curious to hear the opinions of others based solely on speculation and imagination.

The question is this: have we passed a point in our evolution where we are threatening our own existence by not heeding the "survival of the fittest" mandate?

We help to feed, clothe and shelter a great portion of our own population here in the U.S., but we also help aid many millions around the world. If we stopped doing that, as the human race, not just as U.S. citizens, these millions of people would die from starvation, lack of medical help, or some other natural cause.

Here in the U.S. it's the same thing--many people are dependent on the services of the government to live even in the smallest of ways. The same things that would kill those in other nations would take the lives of our fellow citizens, and probably already have in many cases.

By the natural laws of evolution, those who are strongest are the ones who will live to fight another day. Our roots as natural hunters keep those alive who were most capable and those who would perish because of weak constitutions and problems were gradually eliminated from the gene pool.

While many of us consider ourselves above that basic level of survival, who possess a higher consciousness and such things as kindness, compassion and sensitivity, in a war completely based on strength of will and power, we would be wiped out quickly.

I know, for instance, in my own life, I certainly would be dead on that criteria: my health is not good, I can barely see without glasses, and I have no real will to survive otherwise.

So the question is, if we are supposed to survive based on the "fittest" of our race, have we gotten to a point where we are helping many to survive who will, in some future time, be the cause of the destruction of our species?

There are many who physically might not be among the fittest, but whose keen intellect make them survivors based on a different criteria. It sounds completely melodramatic to think of it in this way, but the Eloi and Morlocks of Time Machine fame are part of a possible scenario in the future by the parameters of Natural Law.

Are we simply beyond the simplest interpretation of evolution? Are we at a point in our lifeline where "fittest" is not a value based on strength and brilliance, but on characteristics such as wisdom, fair-mindedness, kindness and love? And if so, how do we exhibit, in a scientific fashion, these traits of humanity which still prove we are moving ahead on the evolutionary scale? Science is not famous for its compassion, but as a purportedly logical, objective line of work. It's difficult to graph emotions on a scale, so scientists have to sort out the ethereal from the solidly concrete manifestations.

If we, meaning the human race, had not made major leaps and bounds in our medical knowledge or in any one of a dozen other scientific fields, we might not have so many people who are dependent on the rest. These people would have never gotten to a point where they might breed, where their lines would have died out in the end. Even now, some families have roadblocks in their lines which are supposed to cull them from further reproduction, but who, because of medical advances alone, continue to live and reproduce. If it were a dog, a cat, or some other domesticated animal who presented with such a hereditary problem, we would not allow the line to continue, but we would sterilize the animal and possibly euthanize those who were living, depending on the severity of the problem.

So I'm curious to hear how others look at this paradox in human existence. I have to wonder at what point the human race figures out how to really manipulate the genes we were born with, and how some unscrupulous scientist somewhere starts deciding the criteria he/she chooses to represent the human race, and starts to eradicate the "less desirable" traits which are supposed to separate us from our more belligerent forebears. It sounds like science fiction, but it's not without the realm of possibility in the real world.
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