Technology & Antibiotic Resistance
Humans have removed themselves from the natural selection process to a large degree through technology. One of the most powerful examples of this has been the development of antibiotics which eliminate bacterial infections that would normally kill some of the population. Having created antibiotics many forms of dangerous disease have been mostly eliminated. However, this does not mean that humans have completely overcome the selection process. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are also a great example of natural selection. The ability of bacteria to survive an attack by an antibiotic is an excellent example of natural selection at work. Bacteria that develop a mutation that allows them to survive an antibiotic will live long enough to reproduce and so spread the ‘survival’ gene to subsequent generations. Those bacteria with this gene will survive and become more numerous in the bacterial population. This is happening today with certain strains of AIDS and Tuberculosis (Lensk, 1998). These diseases have managed to evolve into being resistant to certain drugs. In fact the overuse of antibiotics is believed to be causal of this mutation. It could be argued that in some instances, that humans have not overcome the process of natural selection but rather have altered the course of such selection.
Paul S. Agutter & Denys N. Wheatley (2008). Thinking about Life: The History and Philosophy of Biology and Other Sciences. Springer. p. 43.
Richard E. Lensk (1998) Bacterial evolution and the cost of antibiotic resistance Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, US