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The end of the world as we know it: An analysis of evolutionary and cultural factors which may reduce future human survival


Saniotis, A; Henneberg, M (2014). The end of the world as we know it: An analysis of evolutionary and cultural factors which may reduce future human survival. Global Bioethics, 25(2):95-102.

Abstract

At present, various national populations are now at different stages of the demographic transition. This transition may have far-ranging consequences for future humans. With the envisaged artificial support for human life, the significance of these non-metabolic processes may increase. Though the Earth is a thermodynamically open system receiving energy from the universe, the amount of energy flow is limited and the way its flow is structured on the globe restricts human development. Therefore, the future relationship between human population and the Earth may be constrained by a number of conditions; it may no longer be a simple conquest of the world by technology-wielding humans. Human cultures are still adapted to a world of high mortality, high fertility and little mass migration, where the structure and function of the human body was automatically adjusted by natural selection requiring medical intervention only rarely in cases of acute diseases or injuries. Moreover, human population may also continue to increase its “genetic load”, leading to a further decline in population fitness. This article will provide possible future scenarios for humankind from both evolutionary and cultural perspectives which may reduce long-term human fitness.

Abstract

At present, various national populations are now at different stages of the demographic transition. This transition may have far-ranging consequences for future humans. With the envisaged artificial support for human life, the significance of these non-metabolic processes may increase. Though the Earth is a thermodynamically open system receiving energy from the universe, the amount of energy flow is limited and the way its flow is structured on the globe restricts human development. Therefore, the future relationship between human population and the Earth may be constrained by a number of conditions; it may no longer be a simple conquest of the world by technology-wielding humans. Human cultures are still adapted to a world of high mortality, high fertility and little mass migration, where the structure and function of the human body was automatically adjusted by natural selection requiring medical intervention only rarely in cases of acute diseases or injuries. Moreover, human population may also continue to increase its “genetic load”, leading to a further decline in population fitness. This article will provide possible future scenarios for humankind from both evolutionary and cultural perspectives which may reduce long-term human fitness.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:26 Feb 2015 08:14
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 23:23
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1128-7462
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/11287462.2014.897069

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