Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The French screw up evolution. Again.

Yes, this ad is grotesque. Posted on the  I Believe in Advertising blog, it  is by DraftFCB Paris, for the CHRONIC'ART web magazine:

“What impact will new technologies have on human evolution?”
Click to enlarge. If you dare.

It also shows the difference between art and science. Or, at least, between art and bad science.

Evolution is one of the most misunderstood sciences of all, and you can blame it all on France as well. Specifically one Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a biologist who predated Charles Darwin, and who believed in something called "soft inheritance" — that organisms could pass on acquired traits to their offspring. The classic example of this is the (seemingly-logical) theory that giraffes grew such long necks because they kept reaching up for higher leaves.

Evolution, however, does not work that way. It happens through millions of random genetic mutations, most of which get weeded out by natural and sexual selection. Those that make it through typically (but not always) seem, in hindsight, to be designed for their environmental niche. In reality, their mutant ancestors just happened to do a little better there.

The Lamarkian fallacy seems to come naturally to human beings. Evolved, ourselves, to guess the motives of other self-aware humans, we mistakenly infer intelligence and will in things and processes that have none.

Nobody is immune. How often do you hear phrases like "my computer hates me" or "my car just won't cooperate"? We may be half-joking when we say these things, but superstition is current and real, even among otherwise skeptical people.

That's why most people misunderstand evolution. A friend of mine recently posted, jokingly, on Facebook a comment about whether current grooming preferences against pubic hair would eventually lead to hairless humans. This ad says essentially the same thing — that whatever changes technology is introducing into our lifestyle now will change our physical being.

Don't worry. It won't. Although a few technologies have changed us. The invention of shoes, between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago, changed the shape of our feet. Domesticating and milking cows lead to lactose tolerance, independently, in two different Eurasian and African populations.

But these were artificial changes to the human environment that were long-term and consistent, allowing blind old evolution to eventually stumble its way into the niches they created. At today's pace of technological change, how could we possibly adapt — over scores of generations — to something as fleeting as an iPad or a 3D TV?

Stick with the art, CHRONIC'ART. There are enough people talking shit about science already. You are not helping.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, but I play one on social media.


  1. Well, actually if you think about it, natural selection is occurring as we speak. Where do the most deaths occur in the world: small african countries, due to the effects of poverty. These people are dying off of this planet and they have specific traits within them. Face it, a white man does not have the anatomy of a black man and a black man does not have the same anatomy of an asian man. We all have slight variations. With the "natural" african species is dying off; dark skin with a high resistance to harsh sunlight, long slender bodies, and coarse hair, the earth is losing a part of the homo species, or more appropriately a portion of the primate species (and I'm not racist 1) I'm biracial; black and white 2) I am referring to the entire homo species as being primate lol as I know how this could be taken) But you see, who lives the the longest? European men and women. They will surpass this disappearing race of africans. more and more die from poor sanitation and starvation and the europeans, not that they are particularly greedy, have excess of every thing. Existing adjacent to the largest transporter in the world, china, while this community is cut off entirely. They will disappear and within humanity there will always be a low level species and a high level. the healthiest, well nourished, pampered will out live the dead and dying. You must realize that evolution in humans occurs WAY slower than that of the giraffe with the tall neck, which is true. Also, please consider hitler's doings as israelites do contain specific traits; darker hair off a specific shade it seems, its very constant within the women, i cant name the correct shade but something like a dark brown, olive skin, longer necks and rather large noses ( again my aim is not racism its hard to avoid the stereotypes, but at least we can see where the stereotypes originated: speciation of the homo sapiens!) Millions of casualties of this trait, now there is in fact fewer jewish israelite traits on earth, far more than there would be if hitler hadn't been so corrupted. We act out our own natural selections. the spartans leaving the supposedly "weak" newborns, as they saw it, on the side of mountains to die. Another thing occurring is what i am: biracial. look at world renowned golfer tiger woods' dna, i bet it looks like someone left a hot dog in the microwave too long! we are happening more and more often, soon mixed people will become there own races, on the act it'll have blasian, blatino, eurasian and casian lol. im not being to serious but do you understand what I mean? Natural selection occurs within humans as well. The end.

  2. !! Also think about foods, hormones and such.