Friday, April 13, 2007

Big thoughts for a Friday!

So Wednesday was kind of a thought provoking day for me.. First thanks to the UU's who have their coffee clatch on the second Wednesday of the month. The UU's brought a very thought provoking discussion to the table on Wednesday. The talk came around to evolution and the awful global warming that is occurring today. It was pretty much a consensus that many species would be becoming extinct due to the warming process that the earth is encountering today. Certainly in our life time we will see increased catastrophes which will only aid in the eradication of certain animal and plant life. My question was this... given that many scientists feel that the amount of warming occurring on the earth is a natural evolution caused by many things but speeded up excessively due to human "contamination" and given that for many eons now, life on earth has evolved to meet the living needs it faces here on earth.. could we in fact see life on earth evolve in order to continue to survive here on earth? The group seemed to think that this type of evolution could not occur rapidly enough for certain species to survive and that in fact it would take millions of years to occur at all. I suggest that possibly this evolution is what is occurring now before our very eyes. Here is my summation on this evolution. One of the reasons that my theory was shot down was that birds are now having to fly to different areas to eat and nest and are having to do this at different times of the years now.. Well.. the thing is is that birds are doing this. They are evolving to meet the needs of their survival. Nesting, eating etc. has been believed to be an instinct for these animals. This instinct is controlled by the brain (so scientists believe) so could it be that the brain of these birds is evolving to deal with the birds survival? If instinct is not a function of the brain then doesnt that go even farther to show how evolution is working today to ensure survival of the species? The other argument was that when these birds move to new habitats they are leaving large "holes" or voids in the environment. Insects that these birds preyed on are thriving and disease is destined to grow because of this.. However, in the last 5 years there have been several reports that have been announced about new species of animals never known to man and about two species of animals that were thought to be extinct and indeed are not. Could it be that nature (given the fact that she does not like voids) in an attempt to fill the gaps caused by evolution in other animals is now filling in the gaps with other species that have evolved or changed? This is a really big question for me and although I found the answers from the UU's interesting I am forced to admit they did not really settle my curiosity. To make things more interesting, I posed this question to a friend of mine while walking this morning and she agreed with my summation and added this anecdote to it. I maintain that man is in a constant state of evolution. When my mother was born it was almost unheard of for someone to not have wisdom teeth. I have never had wisdom teeth. Indeed after talking to my dentist I discovered that more and more children are being born without these teeth. It is felt that these teeth are no longer needed for our diets so we are evolving by eliminating them. The same can be said for the appendix and the tonsils. (Although children born without these are smaller in number they are still being born.) My girlfriend Kimi said that she had just read a very interesting article related to hyperactive children. She said according to the article 1 out of every 4 boys are being diagnosed with hyperactivity before the age of 12. There is a group of people who recognized that these children should be studied to determine what it is that is causing this hyperactivity. They also related to hyperactivity to our poor diets and thus began studying these children. It was interesting to learn that what the scientists studying these children learned was that these childrens bodies seem to be able to utilize sugar in a more advanced way than the rest of us. The sugar seems to be changed into a more complex protein that gives these children the energy needed to maintain the activity their bodies require. In other words their bodies were evolving to be able to survive and in fact thrive on a diet comprised of junk food. My father was a scientist. He taught science for many years prior to my entering high school. He was also an evolutionist. He was adamant that life evolved and that rather than a species ending at a specific state by evolving there that the state was a constant state of flux so no one or no thing is evolved with an ending.. rather we are all just evolving. What was really interesting then was to think ... wouldnt it be interesting if we took evolution and religious beliefs and philosophies and rather than excluding them as fallacies accept them as all having some truth and being a result of the evolution of man work them all together to show how man does evolve and deal with those events and ideas that become a model of the times? Could we possibly find a way to prove that all these religions, philosophies and theologies actually have some basis in fact that have helped man to evolve? If we did find this then would that be the key we needed to get past "my religious beliefs are the only right ones and if you dont believe this way then you will go to hell" type of mentality? Now given that this was my thought also recognize that these types of thoughts are soooooo far beyond my normal thought processes that I will no doubt be able to follow through with this idea or even understand its processes but I just thought that this was an interesting idea and i would throw it out there for all you computer geeks and scientists out there.

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