December 17, 2007

Man Is Evolving Faster Than Ever, But Ron Paul Doesn't Buy It

Cool article: Are humans evolving faster? Findings suggest we are becoming more different, not alike

Researchers discovered genetic evidence that human evolution is speeding up – and has not halted or proceeded at a constant rate, as had been thought – indicating that humans on different continents are becoming increasingly different.

The idea that change happens in different environments is the basis for evolutionary mechanisms to go wild. It makes sense that since man share common ancestry in Africa 60,000 or so years ago, that many have diverged a lot since then from those who even remain indigenous to Africa today. Of course, even more dramatic environmental changes have occurred since the end of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago which led to the agricultural revolution (leading to many changes in our diet and evolutionary changes in the way some populations digested foods).

7% of our genes are undergoing rapid evolution today.

Will the fact that the world is getting smaller (with respect to immigration, mixed marriages and globalization), begin to homogenize our species going forward? That is a good question. We still have all sorts of very different environments on the globe today, and they are going to go a lot more unstable as time goes on. It will probably lead to even quicker evolution and more diversity.

And yes, I realize we aren't talking man turning into a new species (YET) Fundy lurkers. But I will ask you, since most of you believe in microevolution, where does evolution stop?

OK, now about Ron Paul. Here is why he cannot be President.
Skip forward to around the 2:45 mark. That is when some hick sounding individual asks "Dr." Paul if he believes in evolution:

"...and I um, I uh I er, I think there there it's a theory, the theory of evolution and I-I don't accept it."

From Wikipedia
Ron Paul received his doctorate at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC in 1961 and he served in the Air National Guard while completing his residency (1965–1968), having switched to ob/gyn at the University of Pittsburgh. To be fair, the science behind DNA was in its infancy in the 60's, but I find it maddening that many doctors don't believe in evolution in today's day and age (18% of doctors believe God created man in his present form) This study was done in the US where 50% of those surveyed also believe God created man as is.

To me, this means doctors don't really have to think about the biology part of their studies. They just need to memorize and pass the test. I doubt many medical researchers don't believe in evolution though. That really would be troubling.

All I can say is that you cannot give the power of Veto to someone who doesn't believe in evolution in 2007 and beyond. I don't care how much they say it isn't an election issue. If a President is that ignorant of the actual past, he can't be trusted to take America into the future.

A few more things:

Those who don't believe in evolution tend to be more intolerant on issues of homosexuality, for example (it is a choice or a curable disease, not something one can happen during fetal development or something one is genetically predisposed to). This has to cloud one's judgment and bias them on certain issues.
They also obviously deny reality, and their perception of how they deal with evidence has to be questioned in a big way (um, maybe like George Bush Jr.). There is too much information out there for anyone with an objective POV not to accept evolution.
I might accept a politician who said "I don't have enough information on the subject." But when someone states they don't buy it, that means they "thought" about it, and they are making an "informed" decision.


  1. "To me, this means doctors don't really have to think about the biology part of their studies."

    Really? To me, this means Ron Paul knows full well that as a Republican candidate he's committing suicide the second he goes against the religious right. I'd bet he believes in it, even if he believes it's divinely directed and not happening to humans.

    I'd bet that's the case with most creationist doctors-- they don't think humans are evolving (and we aren't on the laboratory timescale, anyway) but they know that diseases evolve, which is the important part; they also mostly believe in microevolution.

    Should he be President? No. Should he be a doctor? Sure, why not? Should he be a medical researcher? No.

    BUT if he is intolerant of homosexuality he would not make a good doctor. Period.

  2. Also, I think we're evolving to be more homogeneous in a bad way. Think of all the premature babies that get saved, the debilitating illnesses we cure-- we aren't letting natural selection chose for the people who are healthiest. This is not an argument for eugenics, of course, and some changes, like getting rid of racial features and illnesses that target one specific group, will be good, but I think over time we will wind up less healthy because of interventionist medicine, and medicine will constantly have to catch up to the increasingly unhealthy population.

    Just my two cents.

  3. I'm really not to sure about this "human evolution is speeding up" thesis. There are technological changes coming up on the horizon that will affect humans in a way that will put any genetic changes (evolution) in the shadows. Life extension technology e.g. may, in less than 20 years from now, allow humans to live up to 200 years (and possibly much longer that that). Gene therapy may soon make most genetic disorders a thing of the past. The now realistic prospect of being able to grow just about any organ on demand will change the transplant market beyond recognition.

    These changes, assuming they materialise of course, will change the pace of cultural evolution in such a way that genetic evolution may become nothing more than background noise.

    Re Ron Paul: is there one single Republican presidential candidate that does accept evolutionary biology? At a guess perhaps Ghouliani but that's about it...

  4. There are too redundant words in the header of your post, BEAJ:

    Man Is Evolving Faster Than Ever, But Ron Paul Doesn't. Buy It

    Guess what they are ;-)