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DarbyBartholomew t1_irag87k wrote

Am I wrong to interpret that as "some of the time this reduces your chances of getting cancer but on rare occasions it increases it instead"? So might cause cancer, might prevent cancer?


ScoobyDeezy t1_irat42a wrote

DNA editing is a crap shoot. Good mutations survive and get passed on, bad mutations die.

It’s a tale as old as time.


verasev t1_irb81fa wrote

Even then, some genes offer both benefits and negatives. It might be better to stop categorizing mutations as good or bad and just examine whether they're useful for a given context.


Technic235 t1_irdc32g wrote

The only questions that matters is can I survive and can I reproduce? If both are yes, then the mutation is an evolutionary win.


verasev t1_irdcmas wrote

By survive, you mean survive long enough to reproduce. Nature doesn't reward long life, it rewards reproduction. Life is just an entropic process. It's all the things that come as side effects that matter to humans. I read a book that argued destroying our consciousness would be an evolutionary boon. Made me think that at a certain point you have to choose between quality of life or evolutionary fitness.


Technic235 t1_irdetao wrote

Ya, you're right about surviving. This next part is my personal view of evolution. I have begun to think that biological evolution is only the first step of evolution. Social bonds is the 2nd step in that knowledge gained through lifetimes can be passed down through generations through culture rather than just hard-coding behaviors into our DNA. To get from step 1 to step 2 takes the longest but each step is exponentially faster to progress. Step 3 is technology that emerges as a natural consequence of culture and generational knowledge. Step 4??? Maybe it's AI? Step 5??? Maybe it's revisiting step 1 and editing our own genes. Like I said, I expect each step to be faster than the previous.


verasev t1_irdfdb1 wrote

I imagine the line between mechanical and biological will also blur and you'll have organic robots. So it could be both AI and gene editing. I've contributed to culture through raising a step-son but I'm a dead-end biological reproduction-wise. And I'm here on the internet, scribbling in the margins of human culture's great big electronic record book. Who knows what parts of me will persist? Probably nothing significant.


salablesaturnine t1_irdhz8r wrote

I've thought along similar lines. There are multiple levels of "intelligence", each building upon the last and characterized by a new, faster, and more efficient way to process and store information about how best to live.

    1. Dumb matter
    1. Life - stores information about how best to live as DNA; updates it via evolution; passes it down via reproduction
    • 2a. Life with isolated brains - stores information about how best to live as synaptic weights; updates it via thinking; no ability for thoughts to be passed down
    1. Brain that can speak - stores information about how best to live via often-retold stories; updates it via making up new stories or modifying existing ones; knowledge is passed down by retelling stories to children - the genesis of family
    1. Brain that can write - stores information about how best to live as persistent symbols applied to physical objects; updates it via publishing new works or modifying existing ones; knowledge is passed down by duplicating these works - the genesis of society
    • 4a. Brain that can write very efficiently - printing press, radio, telephone, television, the computer, the internet - we are here
    1. ??? - anything that makes updating memory faster, particularly if it allows also updating lower levels (e.g. humans currently find it much easier to update their memories than to update their DNA)

rephaim_ t1_irb8a8t wrote

Bad mutations that aren't known, aren't cared about, or don't present until after children are reared get passed on. That's why we still have known bad mutations on top of the garden variety natural mutations.

[Edit: typos]