Will humans become two subspecies?

UPDATE: I’ve heard from Dr. Curry about this piece; he’s appalled that it was published and explains the situation:

I’m sorry that you had to waste some of your valuable time dealing with the old news story about the future of human evolution. The story purports to be about my ‘research’ on the future of human evolution; it is in fact a PR stunt by the television company Bravo. The real story is that, back in 2006 I was commissioned by Bravo to write an essay on the future of humanity. The essay was science fiction, intended to illustrate some aspects of evolutionary theory to an audience of television executives. It was not serious academic research, let alone a prediction about our actual future(!). However, Bravo put out a sensationalist press release about the essay, portraying it as science fact, and this press release was subsequently reproduced by the media (including the BBC). I watched in horror as the story spread around the world, and I am equally horrified each time the story bubbles up on the ‘most read’ list on the BBC homepage (as it does every few years, for reasons that are mysterious to me, as it did again the other day, hence your flurry of emails). As I am sure you can imagine, this is a recurring professional nightmare for me; and I am grateful to you for correcting some of the misunderstandings that the story has generated.

________

I haven’t read the paper that this BBC article refers to, nor do I know whether it’s even been published in the scientific literature, but several readers sent me this piece and wanted my take on it. Since it’s from 2006, I’m not sure why several readers sent it simultaneously.

The piece at BBC News is given the provocative title, “Human species may split in two.” And the theory floated in that piece, by Dr. Oliver Curry, a lecturer at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a research associate at the London School of Economics, seems deeply unsound: in fact, not even wrong.

Here’s how the BBC describes his “theory,” but again, if there’s a paper about it (one isn’t mentioned), I haven’t read it. All the article says is that Curry’s views were presented on a “men’s satellite TV show”:

Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge.

The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said – before a decline due to dependence on technology.

People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.

The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the “underclass” humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

. . . Further into the future, sexual selection – being choosy about one’s partner – was likely to create more and more genetic inequality, said Dr Curry.

The logical outcome would be two sub-species, “gracile” and “robust” humans similar to the Eloi and Morlocks foretold by HG Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine.

. . . He carried out the report for men’s satellite TV channel Bravo.

I see no evidence that humanity will divide into two moieties in this way. In fact, intermarriage between humans will become more prevalent with greater migration between countries, creating genetic admixture between all kinds of genetically different populations. I’m curious how Curry manages to conclude that the human species is—or will be—splitting into two groups that will remain genetically and reproductively distinct, and that there is a bimodal distribution of matings, with attractive, creative, and tall humans on one end and short, squat, and ugly ones at the other. Is there any evidence of this happening now? Not that I know of.

Further, even if there were assortative mating for looks (and I suspect there is), it’s neither complete or associated with intelligence. Where are the data showing not only bimodal mating for height and attractiveness, but that those traits are strongly associated (for a strong association is needed to split the species) with intelligence?

There is simply no data to butress these speculations, which get press only because they’re sensationistic, smacking of 1984.  Any tendency for such assortative mating wouldn’t create bimodality unless it was mandated by the government, for there’s sufficient gene flow between his dichotomous categories (attractive people of one sex marrying not-so-attractive people of the other, and so on) that this kind of “splitting” will not occur.

Curry goes on about receding chins, our loss of capabilities due to medical technology that allows the medically deficient to breed, and so on, but I’ll ignore that for the nonce. He adds this:

But in the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

This is again insupportable. 1000 years is only about 30-40 human generation, and if we are supposed to increase a foot in height by then, there would have to be pretty strong directional selection for height (or sexual selection practiced by both sexes). Again, I don’t know of any evidence for a higher reproductive output of people whose genes make them taller. We have no such data, nor do we know how much of height difference between human populations is based on genetic versus environmental differences. Since World War II, for example, the Japanese have increased several inches in height, but that change is due entirely in improvement of diet, as there’s only been one or two generations since then and nutrition has improved markedly. As for those squarer jaws, longer penises, and pert breasts, that’s just bunk. As far as I know, we have no data showing reproductive advantages (actually offspring number) accruing to men or women with those features.

The stuff about human morphology becoming more uniform over time is one thing that Curry probably got right (even a blind pig can find an acorn). Certainly humans are moving around more now, and people from different ethnic groups are intermarrying, evening out the lumps in the landscape of human morphology.  We all know of “hybrids” between people of different ethnic groups; I see them all the time among my students: children of Asian/Caucasian marriages, for instance. And you can often recognize them because their facial features and hair color are an admixture. But I don’t think we’ll be uniform in even a millennium.

And really, penis length? What data do we have that men with larger generative organs leave more offspring? Curry’s talking through his hat here.

This kind of unsupported speculation gives evolutionary biology a bad name.

 

 

72 Comments

  1. Cara
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Subscribe.

    • francis
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      //

  2. Gordon Hill
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    You mean we haven’t? ;-)

  3. mattpenfold
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The LSE is also home to Satoshi Kanazawa, who has some very odd views on race and poverty as related to evolution. There must be something in the water there that leads these academics to spout such nonsense.

  4. Dermot C
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    A spoof?

  5. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Yep, I disagree. If anything, the split will be between “jocks” (including cheerleaders) and “nerds”.

    Those two groups are much less likely to intermix than wealthy than poor, plus there are distinct morphological and behavioral traits that separate the two groups. These appearance and behavioral traits encourage a sexual selection process that does tend to create a divide within the species.

    … honestly, I can’t tell if I’m joking or not.

    • Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      I can tell you are joking. I suppose there is some genetic predisposition for innate intelligence and athletic prowess, but those traits are complex and do not breed true. Nerdy science couples often produce less intelligent young, and jock couples can produce science nerds.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        That’s because somewhere back there, there was some female who was secretly smart, but played dumb. :)

        • merilee
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          +1!!

          BTW, this height-challenged but intelligent (despite being blonde) female, takes exception to being lumped with the dummies;-)

          Tea Party vs liberals might be a more believable divide…

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Yeah me too! My 5’2″ ¾ self protests!

            • Merilee
              Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

              Ya got 3/4″ on me:-). I’ve never minded being short.

              • lisa parker
                Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

                I am 5 feet tall. Whenever someone asks (usually filling out some document), he/she always says “5 what?” Many years ago I had a dear friend who was 6 feet tall; she always gave her height as 5 foot 12. We also always told anyone newly met that we were identical twins (our hair was the same color.)

              • Merilee
                Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                When I was teaching Grade 10 Math a few years ago, one of my Korean students mentioned that he was born in L.A. I said that that was where I was born, and one of the brighter lights in the class asked if we were twins…well, John Kim and I were about the same height, but maybe 40 yrs different in age, and he very Korean looking and I very Scandihoovian…details…

  6. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    From Curry’s page at http://www.icea.ox.ac.uk/about-us/people/dr-oliver-scott-curry/

    “Oliver Curry is a Departmental Lecturer in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Oliver completed his Ph.D. in 2005 in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics. His thesis argued that morality could be seen as the product of a suite of ‘adaptations for cooperation’ that evolved to solve the problems of cooperation and conflict recurrent in the lives of our ancestors. He is currently engaged in a number of empirical projects testing evolutionary theories of human social behaviour, including work on cooperation, coordination, friendship and coalition formation.”

    I couldn’t find any publications of his dealing with the specifics of his claim that humanity will split. All his publications appear to be in the areas of psychology and morality.

    It’s not clear to me from this that his knowledge of evolution is sufficient for his claims to be taken seriously. All else being equal, I’ll accept the assessment of his work by people like Jerry, hands down.

  7. Slumbery
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “…into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall,…”

    I am a giant. :)

    As for the main claims: I think Oliver Curry overestimate the gene flow necessary to keep a species together and underestimate the number of generations necessary for split (underestimate it a lot).

    Also just think about it, there were societies that operated actual caste systems for millennia and they do not show any sign of forming subspecies. In fact there were obvious gene flow even in formal caste systems.

    Even if some time in the future a very strong caste system would be built up (stronger than anything ever existed) our societies still do not persist long enough for the formation of a subspecies.

  8. gbjames
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Someone confused a science journal with a science fiction magazine?

  9. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Given modernity’s role in the reduction in the variability of male reproductive success, it seems reasonable (maybe not actual) that certain factors like phenotypes, extended phenotypes and maybe even sociotypes could eventually become something akin to a pre-zygotic barriers. Couldn’t these sorts of mechanism actually drastically speed up reproductive isolation between certain sub-populations?

    Actually as memory serves,are there not three distinct genetic signals ‘diverging’ in sympatry in the Indian subcontinent – these genotypes seem to be related to the cast system, as it was suggested.

    Anyway Its interesting you seem to rule out penis size/morphology as a mechanism of speciation, isn’t the penis a potent mechanism of speciation in some species? Beetles and geese jump to mind.

    I would have thought that given the morphological variability of the organ, its role as an adaptation to sperm competition and it being a factor in semen displacement, that it could certainly be a suitable driver of speciation. On top of that I’m guessing the penis has the potential to be a trait (hollywood would suggest this) open to sexual selection – isn’t sexual selection a rather efficient driver of speciation?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I once watched some show on TV about body image or something. Some guy got his penis made way too big, thinking he was going to be a big stud and he was actually surprised when women were horrified, thinking of pain. He didn’t seem to understand that he actually wasn’t getting anymore action and was just bragging about the fleeing women!

  10. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Seems like a fairly obvious spoof/parody of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, in which in the future man is divided into two species, the subterranean, squat, grotesque, and intelligent Morlocks, and the tall, beautiful, stupid Eloi. (Here’s one of each.)

    • Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      If it’s a parody, it’s so hidden as a parody that it took people like me in. Also, do you think someone like Curry would really be party to a parody that could damage his reputation?

      No, I think it’s real and will stick to that until I have evidence otherwise.

      • lisa parker
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        I was really, really hoping it was a joke. Besides, as more and more ‘successful’ people spend more and more of their time inside, semi-secluded, sitting and staring at screens (for both occupational and recreational reasons), I can’t see that leading to taller, more attractive and more fit offspring.

    • Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Checking the BBC piece, I see the comparison to Wells is explicit; not sure if the comparison was made by the BBC or Curry, though. The Bravo channel in the UK must not be related to the channel of the same name in the US.

  11. Barry
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I thought his article “Who’s Afraid of the Naturalistic Fallacy?” was quite good (I read it several years ago). And let’s face it, if you want a new ethics or morality based on science, then the first thing you’ll need to do is silence the people waiting to draw the naturalistic fallacy on you like it was a super weapon.

  12. Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    If the case can be made that humans are likely to fracture into sub-species, then the weak argument is that we’ll split along lines of physical attributes, as in tall vs short, as Dr. Coyne points out. The selection pressures just aren’t there.

    And it’s valid to point out that easy travel makes geographical separation less of a factor in maintaining genetic separation. It creates opportunities for genetic mixing.

    But, there is a fracture line that is so obvious that it must be taboo to mention, because it never is mentioned. That is the split between rich and poor. If there’s going to be a genetic split among humans, it will grow from socioeconomic stratification. How much genetic mixing do you suppose there is between, say, the richest 20 percent of the population and the poorest 20 percent? Can’t be much.

    Wouldn’t normal evolutionary theory predict that subspecies should arise from such a situation, through what is called sympatric speciation? Wikipedia entry for sympatric speciation is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Sympatric

    • Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      There will be gene flow between the middle 60% and the upper and lower 20%. The simplest (and probably not realistic) trend is that we will become something like the California salamander ring species . But I have learned here that even those are not really reproductively isolated at their extremes.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Here’s the Wikipedia entry for US personal income. Interestingly, the 80th percentile falls around $60K, and the 90th around $85K. We’re not talking about millionaires here. So it doesn’t seem that implausible to me that people in that income bracket could meet and mix genes with people considerably less wealthy than themselves.

      • Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        The comments of Sturtevant and Kusnick raise the question as to what conditions must be met for sympatric speciation to occur. When genes stratify in a population but without geographical barriers separating the strata, won’t there always be mixing (drift?) at the interfaces between strata? And won’t that mixing defeat speciation? Has anyone quantified the variables involved and determined more precisely under what conditions sympatric speciation can be expected to occur?

  13. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Failure to use contraception results in higher numbers of offspring, and this correlates with certain inherited characteristics such as impulsivity aggression, and low intelligence, which might explain why, in the UK, men with criminal records have twice as many children as those without.

    I can’t see the ‘haves’ evolving ‘upwards’, as money and education etc correlate with small family size in the UK. The current availability of state funds to pay for the needs of those without jobs and with plenty of children in principle constitutes an evolutionary pressure. I guess.

    However, as multi-drug resistant STDs become increasingly common, the trend might reverse!

  14. anthrosciguy
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Why a dim-witted lower class? I’ve been poorer and I’ve been richer, and it definitely takes fewer smarts when you’ve got money.

    This guy is starting from the idiotic presumption that people with money have it because they’re smarter.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Yes. If you could create a superior human through selective breeding then you could explain Prince Charles.

  15. Genghis
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    This is a very old article (2006) but I noticed that it recently appeared on the Most Popular list for some reason.

  16. Brygida Berse
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Tall and slim = attractive = better?

    Someone is reading to many girlie magazines.

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      **too many**

  17. Barry Lyons
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    This is all irrelevant because I predict that humanity will be finished 300 to 500 years from now. We’re locusts on the planet devouring all the natural resources in our path. We’re treating the sky like a toilet and we’re killing the oceans. I see little chance that humanity will radically correct its ways — and correcting its ways radically is what we need to do if we’re going to survive. So I think this show is nearly over. We can already see the curtain coming down.

    Too bad. Humanity did have a pretty good run, I’ll give it that much.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry to say this, but your prediction all by itself is not enough to finish off the human race. =D It has to be correct too.

      Humans have been quickly dominating the biomass for complex multicellulars, as a successful universal generalist would. But we are nowhere near dominating the biosphere on that regard.

      And we know from history (productivity) and statistics (functionality, eg Rosling/Gapminder statistics) that our society is quickly becoming orders of magnitude more efficient. E.g. the first farmers used about an order of magnitude more land/capita than we do. UN projects the population will stabilize within the century*. That’s where your prediction seems to go into the toilet you mention.

      And we won’t run out of any crucial resources anytime soon, but can change resource use as we go.

      So, no worries except the balance between AGW diminishing productivity of farming and the remaining population increase. It should be no problem, but just maybe the margin will be slim. That could escalate into a problem, of course.

      * I used to worry that the population would diminish, even faster than the increase, because the drop in birth rates.

      However, the latest UN projections is that it will fine tune nicely. For some reason couples want the family size that keeps density up, when use of children for work is not adamant as in dysfunctional societies.

    • lisa parker
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      I think you will be wrong. Think of all those really, really massive herds of really, really massive sauropods merrily deforesting the planet while also emitting massive amounts of methane. They lasted a good long time, and there is no evidence that their demise was brought about by starvation, drastic changes in topography due to erosion or air quality issues.

  18. Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    A split between the ruling classes and the working classes with reproductive isolation would only be likely if we had any historical evidence for it whatsoever, which we don’t. The history of the ruling classes should tell us three things:

    1. any family, with enough support, can rise to power and depose the handed down genetic line of rulers.
    2. rulers who have tried to isolate their genetic line have become genetically unhealthy due to inbreeding..
    3. the alphas of the human group are not above sleeping with their subjects.

    If the populations were going to split they would have been much more likely to do it when the working classes were illiterate and spoke a different language to the land lords but that didn’t last. More likely with regime imposed barriers like the Great Wall but that didn’t last either. Maybe when we can conquer other planets there will be genetic isolation and selection pressures different enough to make us into two species but, right now, it’s too easy to have a one-night stand with someone on the other side of the world. Even language is no longer that much of an obstacle.

    • Sam Salerno
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Number 3. Best point ever. Thomas Jeffersons wife may have looked like Pamela Lee Anderson in her prime. I don’t know. But he still banged his slaves.

  19. The Militant One
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Sounds like this guy watched the movie “Idiocracy” one too many times and conflated it with a viable future.

    That movie is hilarious, though.

  20. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering how Curry imagines that average lifespan will increase by selection. We still don’t know why humans gets so old compared with other apes. And the selective pressures is (mostly or perhaps all) on traits on individuals before they procreate, at a much younger age.

  21. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I was reading Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” a couple of weeks ago and he has a chapter-long rant about how this sort of poorly thought-through clap trap like this is damaging to both science and to the public perception of science.

  22. Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    When contraceptives are available to all, will there be selection for the desire to have children?

  23. Mobius
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    This sounds like it was taken straight from “The Marching Morons”, a classic Sci-fi story. While it was an entertaining read, the science presented was simplistic at best.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:09 am | Permalink

      Thanks! I remember that story well, but had long forgotten the title.

  24. Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Curry’s definition of future evolutionary trends seems to be built around today’s socially mediated ideals of look and fashion rather than anything actually biological. Personally I see two possible futures; one is that the development of genetic engineering means we (eventually) control our biological evolution. The other, and probably more likely one, is that future humanity will – like past humanity – be a minority species living in caves and eking out a miserable hunter-gatherer existence. In which case the usual principles of speciation, genetic drift, and so forth, apply.

    • aljones909
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      We may eventually understand the changes we can make to our DNA to make us smarter, healthier and more beautiful. The question may then be how widely available this technology becomes. If it is limited to an elite then we could then see a rapid divergence of two strands of humanity.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:15 am | Permalink

        “The Eyes of Heisenberg” – Frank Herbert

  25. Faustus
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I am certain this is an advertisement dressed up as news. It is a common way to get free advertising. Pay a scientist a few dollars to come up with some formula, say at Christmas time an equation to compute how long to cook a Turkey. Then send it out as “News”, with references to, say Bernard Mathhews’ Turkeys, and the over-worked and under-educated [on matters of science at least] journalists of many papers will print it. Free ads!

    In this case it is for the channel Bravo. There are any other such examples:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3537938.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4468884.stm

  26. azhael
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I´m off to watch Idiocracy which from now on shall be known not as obvious fiction but as a documentary based on the predictive power of not having a fucking clue about what you are talking about and speculating your arse off…i mean, based on Dr.Oliver Curry´s work.

    • aljones909
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I love the scene where one of the idiots is taking temperatures (I think) but mixes up the oral and anal thermometers.

  27. Celtic Atheist
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Richard Dawkins interviewed Oliver Curry briefly for the second episode of Root of all Evil (The Virus of Faith). The interview starts around 41.15 and they discuss how we don’t need religion to explain morality, and that we probably have an evolved moral sense. I couldn’t find a clip on youtube but the whole episode is there.

    Curry also got a thank you from Dan Dennett in Freedom Evolves. I think Dan tried out some of the material from that book in lectures and seminars at LSE as he was writing it.

    • azhael
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      He´d do well in keeping to his subject of expertise then, where he seems to do a fine job.
      Making wild speculative predictions based on some current trends superficially observed in some populations and some individuals and that these trends can be extrapolated to the entire species is embarrashing…

  28. merilee
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think of Bravo as a men’s channel???

  29. Sam Salerno
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Well certainly something will cause us to speciate. Obviously geographical boundaries are out of the question. And though Mr. Curry may be wrong. Certainly behavioral isolation is a good candidate for how we may speciate. Being an evolutionary biologist, Jerry, I wonder what ideas you may have on this subject?

  30. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    “People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.”

    The young male of the species has never shown this tendency. When it’s been a long time since the last one (‘long’ being anything from months to last Saturday night) the degree of choosiness declines to minimal values. We have umpteen million years of evolution on one side, and various repressive dicta usually uttered by old men in funny hats on the other – which is going to win in the long run?

  31. frankschmidtmissouri
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Receding chins are an environmental artifact, caused simply by a change in diet to softer foods in smaller pieces. The phenotype appeared in China at the same time as chopsticks.

    More to the point: Why do so many “futurists” think there was a Golden Age, some centuries ago? Gee – it sounds like the Bible…

  32. Posted April 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    This makes the Facebook round right now, and I guess it fits here, somewhat…

    National Geographic covered the changes in America physically as the country continues to be the melting pot for the world and as interracial marriages become more prevalent. “We’ve become a country where race is no longer so black or white.”

    http://sftimes.co/?id=459

  33. Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Ye gods, where do people come up with ideas like these? I recently saw similar nonsense where some online journal had somebody extrapolate and the humans of hundreds of thousands of thousands of years in the future were shown as Caucasians (of course) with, for some strange reason, really really huge eyes.

    But the weirdest is this:

    The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said – before a decline due to dependence on technology.

    My highschool sports teacher believed the same: humanity is going down because everybody who doesn’t ruin their joints through excessive exercising as he did was a weakling.

    The thing is, once we have burned all fossil fuels and all uranium, which even under very optimistic assumptions will happen within a time that is the blink of an eye from the perspective of human evolution, where will the energy for all that technology we supposedly rely on come from?

    Fusion power does not look technically doable at the moment, and even if it were it is unlikely to be economically viable. When I envision civilization 10,000 years in the future, I see plow horses, solar cookers and water mills, but certainly no robots carrying us around on their backs.

  34. Posted April 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    More to the point, due to the reasons mentioned by several others in the thread (e.g. ruling groups tending to sexually exploit their subjects) the only way humanity would ever split into several species would be geographic isolation. And that will only happen if our descendants suffer such a techological collapse that they forget even how to build wooden ships, on a global scale, and remain in that ignorance for at least a couple hundred thousand years. Seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.

  35. Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I feel that Dr Curry’s lack of experience of the world today has prompted his predictions. The peoples of the world are already irrevocably divided. What we see as simple Class divisions at home is representative of a worldwide phenomenon; that all societies I have encountered seem to be split between 60% Workers and 30% Middle Class. Class allegiances are so very strong, and usually unrecognised by people who live comfortably within their class, having perfunctory contact with other classes. Above all those within a class come to believe that they represent all humanity, and that other classes are somehow mistaken in their beliefs and behaviours. That has given rise to the common howler that the middle Classes are uniquely intelligent or uniquely moral, over the Working Classes.

    There are rarish occasions of inter-class marriages. Often you get children of a mixed-class background maintaining a ferocious loyalty to the class of each of their parents even when they, themselves, have almost no residual behaviours of one or the other.
    After the mass killings of young men in twentieth century wars, many Middle Class gals were obliged to take Worker husbands, and the result were a large number of classless children who had those characteristics of multi-cultural people who wandered the earth not fitting-in with anybody except people like themselves.
    You can see it in places like Geneva, home of the UN, where classless people with little cultural baggage tend to congregate.
    It is quite strange that there are people who feel alienated from the common classes, and typically they drift towards lives of self-expression that are attempts to recreate a reality that allows for their own particular collection of beliefs and behaviours. Artists and writers for example.
    In my researches worldwide there is one group who stand-out as the core administrators of society. They are the enablers of political, religious or regal domination. They are the functionaries, or civil servants to the rich and powerful. They are the Drones; people for whom all knowledge comes from authority; who gather into institutions of self-interest such as government offices, campuses, the clergy, the Law, the professions generally, education and IT. They have no idea that they represent an atypical human grouping. Many are religious. What is quite characteristic of that group is the denial of personality or individuality; the ability to dissemble whereby their thoughts do not match their words; a dependence upon an authority-structure to the level that they are always seeking guidance from authorities (‘I have a stack of unread books by my bedside that are going to inform me of my opinions!!’)
    Many gather into committees in order to make group decisions that somehow relieves them of individual responsibility for their actions and decisions. But above all their group decisions often bring them to agree upon a course of social action that may not necessarily benefit themselves, but that benefits society as a whole.
    I have made a ten-year study of Drones worldwide, and of their importance in the evolution of eusociality in the human race. The hypothesis concerning Eusociality in humankind is called ‘Human Sub-Set Theory’

    • lisa parker
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      As long as those who want money and power know how to seduce those with money and power, this will never come about.

  36. Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    This sounds like the sexual fantasies of Curry.


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