Assessing the Future of Human Evolution.
Evolution has seen man do well since the first Algae like life began releasing oxygen into our atmosphere. The genes that build and bind our bodies together have survived and evolved to endure everything the world has cooked up to challenge us with. But now mankind has reached a point where it is creating its own battles for out genes to survive. As man takes his first tentative steps on the road of aggressive gene manipulation he is venturing into a place where no other creature on Earth has ever gone and one which is more dangerous than the combined challenges that have gone before.
To ask man not to make these steps is to go in the face of what man is. For man has evolved far beyond his humble beginnings as a mere hunter, gatherer. He became a thinker, a questioner an experimenter. Our steps into the strange world of genetic engineering have been inevitable ever since we first asked the questions, "What is that and How does it work." It is our nature that took us from the cave, that same nature that first took us into space and it is this same nature that will mold our genetic future.
But where will this genetic future bring us. (leaving aside the moral question of whether it is right and wrong and accepting that it is as inevitable as death and taxes)
What kind of future will man carve out for himself and what are the dangers that lie in wait. Medicines seem the most likely advantageous beginning to this new world. Cancer, cystic fibrosis, and heart disease could all soon be curable as well as most other debilitating disease. We might well be able to jolt the body into growing new limbs for those who have lost them.
The genetic development of Food crops is another area that controversial tests and experiments are being carried out on right now. In fact a lot of us are already eating some of these foods without ever realizing it.
But where will it end, if ever. As more and more people survive and are born, genetically modified to eliminate disease and to the physical and aesthetic wishes of their parents we will see trends of people rather than random variations. I'm not someone who believes that we will all end up blond and blue eyed because as soon as most of us are the fashion will surly change and turn to darker skin with dark hair and eyes and so on and so forth.
But populations will grow and food will be needed as will homes for all these peoples. The greatest threat I believe will be to those people in the under developed countries who will not have access to these new technologies. They will become ever more marginalized and squeezed, perhaps almost to the point of extinction. With luck advancements in energy technology will save us from the pollution these new masses will cause to the environment. But what if we find a way to prolong life indefinitely,
What then? Will we see a cap on children or clones born? I would think so.
To surmise I will be brave and try and make a prediction. I will describe the world as I think it may look two thousand years from now.
Man will live in giant hive cities, where birth is controlled and only allowed to replace people who have died of accidental causes. Peoples physical appearance will be subject to fashion and the variety will be small and of narrow parameters. All water will be recycled. Food crops will be genetically controlled. When it grows, how it grows and the yield that is needed. The marginalized people of planet Earth will have been nearly wiped out of extinction altogether. Finally being rounded up and kept on one small part of the Earth, as a means to satisfy our guilt. However they will not be free. For the most part they will be left to their own devices but they will also be studied and even culled when their numbers grow too high. Eventually the people of the cities will start to look different to the people they have left behind and the beginnings of a two species human Earth will have begun.
I know my prediction is bleak but there is some hope there too. I like to think that the better parts may come true and the worst will not. Perhaps this new mankind will find new homes to travel to on distant worlds, leaving behind the original race that they have become so different from But do you know what, if that happens, how long do you think it would take for the process to start all over again.