Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Evolution or Bust

When I was in grad school, one of the topics we discussed concerned the onward pace of humanity. One school of thought, the fatalistic side, argued that we humans were evolving at a rate of speed far beyond our own ability to correctly perceive it. The other side, the optimists, argued instead that we were instead on the path towards telepathy.

I find myself more inclined to the former viewpoint, but let me qualify it slightly by saying our technology is evolving at a rate of speed beyond our ability to make ethical decisions regarding it. The pace of technology which grows more hyperactive by the moment doesn't provide us much time to reflect, contemplate, or ponder. What was new yesterday becomes antiquated and outdated today and I doubt seriously we can get our minds around much of anything that progresses in such a fashion.

A different but related matter comes to mind. Regarding human evolution as a whole, I was directed today to a link in National Geographic Magazine.

Human Evolution Speeding Up

It makes sense, when you think about it. Evolution is, as we know, a process expedited by exposure to stimuli. With more stimuli and more people comes more evolution. As our human population swells, so with it comes evolutionary mutations to bacteria and animal alike. The article points out that the rapid pace of evolution is a recent phenomenon. Perhaps the problems of modern society are a response to a reaction wholly unprecedented in the history of man.

Not only are we evolving at a faster clip, but we are evolving far beyond each other. Africans are evolving in totally different fashion that Europeans. Asians are evolving differently than Europeans. With such much evolutionary friction and cross-pollination, one wonder what end results will be created by the process of exponential growth. By the year 2050, the planet Earth which will contain fully 12 billion residents.

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