As a biological species what is happening to our diversity?
In the past our populations were small, we lived in tiny bands separated by oceans, mountains and often by xenophobic hostility as well. We spread across the world, and adapted to different environments through the flexible tools of culture.
This was a prime time for the development of diversity in our species. The shape of cold dwellers diverged from that of heat dwellers. The skin of sun dwellers diverged from those of people forced to hide their skins from biting cold. Cultures solved the problems of life differently and rewarded the winners of these games with more offspring. Different ideas of beauty shaped our features the finest were embraced hungrily and often.
Then the mixing began. People began to travel more frequently, more easily. Old ideas of separation broke down, at least in some places and at some times. Human genes from across the planet mixed, arguably creating even more diversity through previously impossible combinations of people who had not met for many hundreds of generations.
For many the pressures of selection changed too. People who would have died young in harsher times can now survive to reproduce as our species made progress in feeding and healing its members. These new survivors also added genes that would previously have been lost to the population.
Now as we pull further away from the constraints of biology the possibilities for our species multiply. As we pull away from the biological substrates from which we evolved the pressure for change increases.
There are some who recognise that much human suffering results from that pulling away. The lack of natural landscapes, of ancestral diets, of complex varied movements on which we used to depend for survival take a toll in the form of mental and physical illness¹. They advocate a recognition of these problems and yearn for a world in which our biological selves can be cared for along with the vast oceans of life that we are part of. I count myself as one of these, I am biophile.
There are others who want to accelerate the leaving behind of biological constraints.
One currently sensitive area is sex and gender. The general sexual dimorphism of our…