The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?  (Read 1965 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
David Van Heel has been studying the Born in Bradford cohort to search for
so-called ‘human knockouts’.
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here

or Listen to it now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 16/09/2015 23:21:51 by _system »


 

Offline Franklin_Uhuru

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #1 on: 14/09/2015 15:58:50 »
The Horizon program "Are we still evolving" is currently available (for 29 days) on the BBC iPlayer.

That will give you a deeper understanding of what is going on here.

I am alive today because my mother inherited the mutation in Caucasian populations which gives limited resistance (compared to American Indians) against TB.
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4714
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #2 on: 14/09/2015 20:44:34 »
There are apparently a whole bunch of other useful Caucasian mutations, including a tolerance of alcohol (which permitted the growth of cities that would otherwise have been unsustainably insanitary, and exploration by long sea voyages) and the ability to digest cheese (thus providing storeable protein in northern Europe).

Having eradicated most communicable diseases, and developed agriculture to a state of continuing surplus, it is arguable that western man has no environmental stresses that will lead to further evolution.         
 

Offline Franklin_Uhuru

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #3 on: 14/09/2015 21:14:31 »
Quote
The technological and ethical problems with genetic engineering may be vast but the ability to manipulate our genomes is likely to have a profound effect on our future evolution.  We're about to turn the page of a new chapter in the history of our species.

It's clear the we'll never stop evolving, but how we evolve depends on how the world changes and how we change the world
- Dr. Alice Roberts, Horizon "Are we still evolving"

Is that perspicacious enough?

Or do you want to wait for the next pandemic to see who has evolved and who has not -as was the case with the plague?
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4714
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #4 on: 16/09/2015 07:22:14 »
Evolution hitherto has been a lottery, and many species seem to have drawn losing numbers. So let's suppose that we can design and manufacture homo futuralis to do just one thing better than anyone around at present.

What characteristic would you choose to enhance?

Would the new species (a) be able to reproduce at will, or must they (b) be made to order (like mules and sterile GM crops)

If (a), would it compete with homo sapiens for resources?

If (b), how many would you make? And for what purpose? In a mechanised world, we don't need any more bodies, so would they be pets, perhaps? They will need feeding, so any significant number will compete with the poorest humans for food.

It would be nice, for instance, if hom fut was not susceptible to breast cancer. This clearly makes economic sense as well as being emotionally desirable. If (a) they obviously won't want to interbreed with us as that will risk losing their genetic superiority. So will they eventually decide to discontinue breast cancer services for the remaining hom saps?

Whether (a) or (b), we would indeed be a remarkable species - the first ever to vote for its own extinction.
« Last Edit: 16/09/2015 07:27:26 by alancalverd »
 

Offline Franklin_Uhuru

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #5 on: 16/09/2015 10:28:43 »
Quote
Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future is a little like having bees live in your head. But, there they are.
- The Honorable Chester Cadaver, The Firesign Theater, "I think we're all Bozos on this bus.


Only the most chauvinistic simpleton would imagine that we are the pinnacle - the end product of evolution. We are going to become extinct. We either evolve into the next version of humanity or we die off. Exuent Omnes. Pax vobiscum.

Quote
Rise up to be born with me, brother.
Give me your hand from the deep
- From the heights of Macchu Pichu
 

Let us hope that mankind version 2.0 appreciates Pablo Neruda's poetry
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4714
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #6 on: 16/09/2015 12:40:38 »
Not only mankind, but everything around us is by definition the pinnacle of evolution, but "prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."

I'm pretty sure that homo futuralis will consider Neruda's poetry to be primitive drivel compared with whatever is fashionable a few centuries hence. Evolution produces very few coelocanths or Shakespeares.
 

Offline Franklin_Uhuru

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #7 on: 16/09/2015 17:34:26 »
My actual words were that only a chauvinistic simpleton would consider us to be the end point of evolution.

If mutations can cause us to evolve, can they not cause some of us to devolve?


Neruda's poetry is a refutation of the vile nationalism - the devolution of mankind - that afflicts us today. We saw it drown a 3 year old the other day because he wasn't "European" enough.

Neruda died "of natural causes" the day after Pinochet's bloody coup. As his cortege was carried past people too cowed to speak, one man stood forth and shouted, "I represent for Pablo Neruda!"

Let Dr. Van Heel find the gene that retains in mankind the traits of heartless, conniving  weasels.

« Last Edit: 16/09/2015 18:19:00 by Franklin_Uhuru »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: What are 'human knockouts' and what can they tell us?
« Reply #7 on: 16/09/2015 17:34:26 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length