SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE NEW MYTHOLOGY
paradigms, programs, and prejudice
what it is
where it comes from
its as necessary to understand the fundamental implications of evolution, as it was once necessary to understand the implications of the Earth being round.
out of darkness
born in blinding light
divides into elements
creating space and time
matter in motion
a progression of interrelated phenomena
a process of continuous change
from a lower, simpler, or worse
to a higher, more complex, or better state
stars, planets, solar systems, and galaxies
form, revolve around each other
dissolve and reform
an immense chunk of rock
revolving and orbiting a star
comes into being
from an infinite number of influences
which span the universe
from the first moment of creation
a fire ignites within the rock
cracking it open like an egg
releasing gases and molten rock
creating atmosphere, ocean, and island
electrical storms bond atoms in the atmosphere
into the molecules of amino acids and nucleotides
the building blocks of living matter
these biological molecules
fall into the primordial stew
which is the surface of the Earth
over the span of a billion years
a strange molecule forms
– the replicator –
a molecule that creates copies of itself
a primitive ancestor of the control center of every living cell
of every living thing on the planet
the dna molecule
the essential mechanism of life
simply because these facts are so basic to the world we live in and because they so intimately and powerfully determine our existence, what we are suggesting is the essence of the scientific view in broad and general terms. Of course, scientific knowledge only goes so far, it can’t explain what “caused” the big bang and it can’t prove what “caused” replication. It can only symbolize, measure, and compare aspects of observable phenomena.
a note on natural selection
‘the natural process that results in the survival of individuals or groups best adjusted to the conditions under which they live and that is equally important for the perpetuation of desirable genetic qualities and for the elimination of undesirable ones as they are produced by genetic recombination or mutation.’
natural selection is just another term for the physical laws of matter and energy. Its like the rules established in the first moment of time brought forth stars, galaxies, and planets – raw, pure, and awesomely powerful nature decrees the form life takes just as much as our dna does. Life arose out of the continual flowing movement of stimulus and response between matter and energy in space over time and out of the continual flowing movement of information between the probing replicators and the environment they found themselves in. All forms of life fit their environment like a key fits a lock.
The original matter of life and death.
a molecule that reproduces itself
sometimes makes mistakes
creating not itself
but a variation
over the course of billions of years
-essentially an eternity in human terms-
the number of replicators
and variations thereof
within the confines of competition
among a countless number of a variety of replicators, the molecular building blocks in the ancient oceans became increasingly scarce and more valuable. Certain types of replicators survived and became more numerous while others became less numerous or extinct. Replicators that could break up other replicators and use the freed building blocks for themselves set the standard of ruthless selfishness for the process of natural selection that brought forth the human being.
Here emerges the first prejudice – the human perspective.
competition – active demand by two or more organisms or kinds of organisms for some environmental resources in short supply.
to compete – to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective.
remember – until human beings came along there was no such happenings as “demands”, “srivings”, or “desires” – there was no meaning or purpose. The universe, space and time, matter in motion, just existed according to its own innate properties and laws. The universe and life unfolded as one infinitely long, extraordinarily complex physical, chemical, and biological reaction. Life was unconscious. It did not “want” to evolve. It did not “seek” more abundant life or “chase” objectives of higher value like greater mobility or more flexible adaptations or keener sense.
Bearing that in mind, we may proceed with the terminology that best describes the appearance of events – as if the universe were acting with a will that passionately desired the evolution of life.
replicators acquired walls within which they gathered materials for their reproduction and were protected from the environment. These cells were so successful, replicators without walls became extinct.
with the ability to store, process, and consume food within the cell membrane, the replicators grew larger and more powerful, becoming the architect and engineer for every living form we see – deoxyribonucleic acid – dna.
plant cells appeared first, living off sunshine and ocean by way of green chlorophyll, producing oxygen as a waste product. Animal cells came along consuming the oxygen which provided a greater concentration of energy, allowing the animal to seek its food more aggressively and outrun its enemies more quicklly.
cells learned to adhere, one to another, for the enhanced survival aspects – a member of a group might die but the organism as a whole lived. Organizations of cohesive cells flourished, opening the door to the next step of evolution – specialization through the division of lavor. The division of labor allowed for a more complex organism. Some cells would form a protective covering, the forerunner of skin, some would process food and oxygen, which became guts and lungs, other cells would become sensitive to light, vibrations, or chemicals which developed into our senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste.
these multi-celled creatures became the next dominant form of life, with their increasing ability to hunt food, avoid danger, grow and reproduce. Over the span of a billion years the multi-celled life formed a primitive worm up to two feet long – another billion years and man will arrive. The pace of evolution is constant acceleration.
the worm evolves into fish. Shrinking oceans and expanding land evolved fish into amphibian into reptile. For a time dinosaurs ruled the Earth but there small brains and cold bloodedness didn’t allow them to adapt to dramatic climatic changes. They became extinct and mammals inherited the Earth.
in order to make up for their lack of size and strength in a world dominated by dinosaurs, mammals had developed proportionately larger brains.
of the mammals that inherited the Earth, the ones that lived in trees advanced evoluition – from squirrels to monkeys to apes. They had to develop hands to grip tree branches and binocular vision to jump from branch to branch. Most of all these tree dwellers had to develop their brains. Split second mental computations had to come into play in order to calculate distances, wind speeds, branch movements, and body balance along with a keen memory of past experiences with acrobatic stunts.
again nature forces the hand of evolution through drier weather which formed expanded clearings in the forest. The apes came out of the trees and stood up to look across the savannas of tall grass. Picking up rocks and sticks to hunt food and kill his enemies the first hominid creates tools and begins his domination of the planet.
over vast amounts of time, billions of years and thousands upon thousands of generations of dna molecules, with only two overriding concerns – survival and reproduction – evolve through environmental pressures from one-celled life into a human being.
while the dna molecule evolved from the stellar dust of the big bang.