Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time Machine revisited

Rachel wrote:

Today I was browsing Yahoo and noticed this article as the headline for the homepage:
"the human race will eventually split into two"

I read it and noticed that it talks alot about what we discussed in class when we read The Time Machine. And, it makes a brief reference to the book as well.

My initial excitement that H.G. Wells's predictions are still newsworthy was tempered by the first comment at the bottom of the page: "This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
So, I did a little more investigation.

"The alarming prediction comes from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics..."
Part of Curry's theory reminds us of our class discussions on Wells's novel The Time Machine, "While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is the possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other."
My students came to this same conclusion in our discussions of the novel! So how much more reliable is this coming from Oliver Curry? He's not a geneticist or a physical scientist at all. He received his doctorate from the London School of Economics and currently teaches at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science in the London School of Economics, according to Wikipedia and his own website, He seems to spend his days pondering human evolution in terms of morality and political theory.
So the jury's out on the physical evolution of the human race, but it's certainly worth thinking about the ramifications on our bodies of the wide spread use of computer technologies. See these related articles:

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