Human evolution News

Lose the Evolve fish. Humans no longer evolving.

Spread the love

So says nature broadcaster David Attenborough.

Just when the ghost of literary Darwinism has briefly risen from the grave to explain how storytelling helps evolution through natural selection … David Attenborough has announced that humans have stopped evolving,

… after becoming the only species to “put halt to natural selection of its own free will”, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he predicts the “cultural evolution” of the future.

So, let’s see. There isn’t natural selection any more. There is free will.

Last we heard from Attenborough, he had renounced atheism (sort of) and thinks that natural selection is only a theory. Still, in this interview, he said,

.“Because if natural selection, as proposed by Darwin, is the main mechanism of evolution – there may be other things, but it does look as though that’s the case – then we’ve stopped natural selection.

“We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 95–99 per cent of our babies that are born.

Actually, it is increasingly unlikely that natural selection is the main mechanism of evolution; it is rather the main mechanism of tenure in evolutionary biology departments inhabited overwhelmingly by Darwin’s followers.

Anyway, the fact that most babies grow up today is not as significant as Attenborough supposes. The future, in his terms, depends on who has children, and increasing numbers of people do not. The population bomb he seems to fear is probably a dud.

Anyway, here’s Attenborough’s vid on the Cambrian.

Here’s him on origin of life:

3 Replies to “Lose the Evolve fish. Humans no longer evolving.

  1. 1
    sigaba says:

    So, let’s see. There isn’t natural selection any more. There is free will.

    It’s an interesting question because it brings up the demarcation between natural and artificial. I seem to recall there are conniptions on these threads every now and then when someone alleges that non-human animals exhibit some kind of innate intelligence. Consternation is understandable, since ID requires a very bright line between natural and artificial and can’t really be sustained without one.

    Unfortunately I think this is sort of a trap for Attenborough — it plays into the narrative that some individuals are “better” or “worse” for the species genotypical than others, and because we let the “worse” ones survive, we are somehow defeating a natural process, and thus when we use judgement, we’ve “stopped” something by preserving all the useless eaters.

    Of course fighting to preserve all life* is an aspect of decency, and perhaps decency is a more important trait to preserve than any genotypic one.

    * Except unwanted fetuses of course!

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    Beautiful photography, but full of conjecture presented as fact. For example

    And then, people began to look in rocks of this great age all around the world. And lo and behold, they discovered the whole range of fossils that enable us now to put together–in extraordinary detail—the first chapters in the history of life.

    Wow, we really must have this OOL business nailed!

    I also learned that oxygen is a fuel (that presumably can be burned in the presence of . . . more oxygen?).

    That living organisms do not live forever (think mitosis).

    That sponges haven’t changed at all for 650 million years, but that other animals went extinct precisely because they were sessile. Sponges are a modern, well-adapted animal that was found buried in the wrong strata, so scientists speculated that the evolution of sponges must have mysteriously stopped over a half billion years ago because they were so well adapted and conditions in their watery environment must not have changed at all.

    That we can use “radioactivity” to “precisely” date some rocks.

    That some animals are “very primitive” or that there are “very simple animals” that could be programmed with a few lines of code on a PC (a piece of cake) or that a toddler can put together like blocks (even easier, obviously child’s play).

    That volcanoes melted the ice in the first ice age a half billion years ago (but were also the cause of subsequent ice ages—volcanoes are tricky devils).

    That early segmented animals could grow simply by adding segments.

    That colonies of phallic-like sessile worms all having nearly the *same anchor diameter* (attachment structures to the sea floor) is for some reason “strong evidence” for sexual reproduction (at least to Dr. Mary Droser, who was displaying her evidence after working in the hot sun for a long time).

    Most of the organisms look though they would do reasonably well in a modern setting, especially one that looked a lot like pinnate seaweed—as long as they weren’t being smothered in tons of volcanic ash.

    Like I said, the photography was wonderful, just turn off the audio.

  3. 3
    News says:

    sigaba, you might want to pay more attention to what is actually said here before attempting to interpret.

    “I seem to recall there are conniptions on these threads every now and then when someone alleges that non-human animals exhibit some kind of innate intelligence.”

    No, ID would predict some kind of innate intelligence. But much research time is wasted on attempts to show that it is “like human intelligence.” Not only isn’t it, but it need not be. Read Thomas Nagel’s “What is it like to be a bat?” Or research the intelligence exhibited by slime molds or ant colonies.

    “Consternation is understandable, since ID requires a very bright line between natural and artificial and can’t really be sustained without one.”

    I confess that I simply don’t understand what you are talking about. What ID authors have you read?

    Sorry, I don’t mean to centre you out, but too many people come here hoping for an easy victory demonstrating their faith in tax-funded rubbish, when they mainly demonstrate that they have a unionized government job or get a pension or some other position in life that means that they are not really tested. We hope that’s not you and that you will actually try to understand what you wish to critique. – O’Leary for News.

Leave a Reply