I have argued before that humanity has reached a pinnacle of evolution and will not continue to evolve. (See: Human Evolutionary Dead-End)
It occurs to me, though, that we are in fact heading in the opposite direction. We are going to de-evolve, at least in the sense that our negative genetic characteristics will eventually dominate our positive ones. Our survivability as a species will taper off and decline. We are heading for a slow extinction brought on by technology and science.
When I say “brought on by technology and science,” I don’t mean we are doomed to destroy ourselves violently in war or whatnot. What I mean is that the very intelligence that gives us the capacity to survive in defiance of nature will be the cause of our extinction.
Science has provided us with the tools to defeat nature – to survive against its forces, whether its the cold of winter or the plague.
What would have killed one person a hundred years ago wont today, genetic ailments included. Science will eventually allow for people to survive even though their genetics say they should otherwise.
In allowing survival, we will be permitting flaw and genetic disease to survive and persist in our genome, spreading from generation to generation throughout the population – simply because saving and prolonging lives is the ethical thing to do.
What I see eventually happening is the slow degradation of the genome. Genetic mutation will compound onto genetic mutation. There are no natural-selective filters to weed out the gross genetic disease. But individual lives will survive and persist and procreate nonetheless, thanks to advances in medical technology.
The way I see it, we are saving the lives of the individual now at the cost of the entire species later. Individual-now sits opposite species-tomorrow… because our mentality as a species forces us to feel responsible to apply our knowledge to do good works now, if possible, with little consideration to unforeseeable potential futures.
Eventually, I believe, our genome will be so corrupted with mutation and degradation that even our medical technologies wont be able to sustain our survival. Unless we develop the technology to purify the genome, at any rate.
At that point, we will be left with the only option left – to abandon technology and allow natural selection take its course. Before that happens, our societies may be forced to regulate human selective breeding or like-processes to prolong the species’ existence.