What are your thoughts on the human species separating into 2 separate species through technology “in the not so distant future” based on the given scenarios?
1. We know that that the gap between the rich and poor is massive in all 3rd world countries and is becoming like that in the US and in other wealthy countries.
2. We know that disease and illnesses are more prominent in the low economic societies due to not only healthcare, but through food contaminants, disease, hygiene etc…causing negative consequences in the DNA as well.
3. The lower economic classes with poor health and genetic factors produce lower fitness offspring that mate to produce the same low fitness offspring with similar health problems.
4. We know most parents want their children to find mates in the same social class or higher for obvious reasons. This is something that has been going on as long as we’ve been human. This will be the driving force behind the splitting of our species by the upper class.
5. Biotechnology has come to the point where we can select the physical traits we want our children to have. For now it’s only things like eye, or hair color. In the future it will be things like agility, strength, and cognitive ability. All for a substantial price which only the rich can afford.
6. If the upper classes are willing to spend this kind of money producing genetically enhanced offspring through this technology, then they would probably want their offspring to only be able to have viable offspring with other genetically enhanced offspring. The extremely rich and extremely poor would not intermix so this would not be hard to do. Its like that already anyways.
7. Also, It would be possible to manipulate or create a gene that can only allow genetically modified humans to have offspring with other genetically modified humans with the same biomarkers. This of course would lead to the separation of the human species through technology.
Survival of the fittest. I don’t think technology would do any dividing into the human nature. And negative mutations lead to death usually, unhealthy organism isn’t going to give a healthy birth. Also, I’m not sure about the decision of the hair color or eye color of future kids. What’s up with that? People give other people names, now they choose their eyes and hair? Babies come to this world with less natural choices? Or, we could change “naturally” whenever we want to. But why worry! We could teleport to a place where people think like us!
Technology is definitely having an effect on evolution (see Chalmer’s extended mind discussion…and I have more if anyone is interested. Here is an overview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksasPjrYFTg). However, I think @beyond is right. If there is a divide that becomes so great between social classes, the ones left in poorer health will not survive.
It won’t be just technology that affects our evolution either. Chromatin manipulation (mentioned above) as well as environmental stimulus (now that we understand that a cell’s membrane is the brain of a cell, and it communicates with the environment …see Lipton http://www.brucelipton.com/articles/brain-versus-gonads/) will have a hand in the next jump in human evolution.
I think I may be using evolution too loosely though. Truthfully, the landscape of the world as a whole will only have a real effect on evolution over the next several THOUSAND years. On a very small scale, however, we can at least observe changes in gene expression.
You can never control evolution, that would be a paradox. No matter how “in control” you think we may be, we are never actually in control of evolution. Not that anyone said we were.
I believe, more or less, that eventually we may split. Those that are particularly self-interested, and those that are not.
A divergence in species, though, as pat points out, is very slow. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of years usually. It doesn’t happen over night and really, we may be wiped out before the human population actually sees a divergence of species. Beyond that we are too diverse, I think. A species split
I believe it was Brave New World which touched upon this. Different classes of people would be based on height, weight, intelligence and importance to society. I understand how you could feel evolution acts very slow and we could not control it, however if read the book you may feel differently. It deals with a break-down of the family structure, humans are grown mostly artificially and the five castes of people are forced to develop to their chosen fate.
Obviously it would be a long time running to get humans to accept a society raised and educated entirely for the state, but since the original question was the context of technology and sickliness I figured this was relevant.
I think the human species could split up for reasons 5, and 6. Also if we colonize the solar system, and later the stars, there would definitely be sub species formed. Just due to the isolation of the populations, as well, the populations would adapt to the new environmental conditions of those planets.