Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Einstein was at a scientific meeting when a noted astronomer said, “To an astronomer, a man is nothing more than an insignificant dot in an infinite universe.” “I’ve often felt that,” Einstein said,” But then realise that the insignificant dot who is a man is also the astronomer.”

Science is for man and all enquiries regarding which direction science is taking consequently must be set in terms of man as the end user. If science is spooky science it is simply because man is fearfully and wonderfully made. Let me quote an astronomer.

“I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both those facts is the fact that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact I look up- many people feel small because they’re small and the universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms come from those stars”- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astronomer

In order to make man see the difference as his self and the visible world without he requires mind.

What is mind?.

Absent-mindedness is a mental condition where a person pays low level attention to events around him. To our present intent and purpose we may say the person is so preoccupied with a specific problem he merely goes through motions of doing basic daily things.

Prof. B.Hoffman, who was working on some relative theories of his own at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, one day called on Einstein at his residence. He explained the reason for his sudden visit. Einstein was willing to hear him and help him if he could. “Put the equations on the board,” the great man directed, “but please go slowly because I don’t understand things quickly.” Unlike Einstein whose mind was contemplative and slow we have geniuses whose mind with lightening speed could solve a problem on hand. John von Neumann was one such, who impressed Hans Bethe, who was the director of the Theoretical Physics Division to wonder “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man?”

Mind of man is his brain in application. Not all men are equal but each holds certain personal tag with which he perceives his world and it must speak for man as the species. His hyper-focus comes at the loss of certain characteristics that we call as absent-mindedness. Some whose intellect never raises above the ground are necessary for compensating the lapses in superior minds. All in all such profiling of mind of man does not make substantial difference. Our safety is in numbers and the cooperative effort of the whole. Man and other species included. Yellow canary in the mine helps as safety lamp when a miner descends into the deep pits of the earth.

Mind is consciousness considering man sees dreams when asleep and mind when awake can recall them and it requires a consciousness that is of a different quality. Nature always spreads her gifts so no man can do without the rest. Dreams visions are all part of a creative Power and Wisdom so man who is clever with hands is as useful as who shall conjure up visions marking the direction for mankind. One represents the whole similarly mind of man is a pixel of the Mind that supplies the necessary inputs for man to evolve. If he has come this far for evil, as we witness the worst excesses of mind in Charlottesville, Virginia, who is to blame? His color?or God? Or godlessness?




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Scientists have decoded the secrets behind a goldfish’s ability to survive in ice-covered lakes.

While humans and most vertebrates die in a few minutes without oxygen, these fish are able to survive for months in icy conditions in ponds and lakes in northern Europe.

Researchers have now uncovered the molecular mechanism behind this ability.

In most animals there is a single set of proteins that channel carbohydrates towards the mitochondria, which are the power packs of cells.

In the absence of oxygen, the consumption of carbohydrates generates lactic acid, which the goldfish can’t get rid of and which kills them in minutes.

Luckily, these fish have evolved a second set of proteins that take over in the absence of oxygen and convert the lactic acid to alcohol, which can then be dispersed through the gills.”The second pathway is only activated through lack of oxygen,” author Dr Michael Berenbrink from the University of Liverpool, UK, told BBC News.

In order to understand this survival strategy let us look how mitochondria came into our cells. Billions of years ago these were free organisms but they struck a deal with the cells. When these evolved into multicellular organisms these did not break off association with mitochondria because it was a useful association. Each of our cells do have them, tiny factories where they combine molecular oxygen with food we ingest in order to convert it into energy. We have some trillions of them working as though one! What drove each into the others arm eons ago? Creative power of God is the timelessness that envelops our concept of time. Once we accessed to this power, the wisdom was in evolving into what we call ourselves Homo sapiens!

Thus the gold fishes can turn lactic acid in their bodies into alcohol, as a means of staying alive. Scientists have known about the peculiar survival abilities of goldfish and their wild relatives, crucian carp, since the 1980s.

“The ice cover closes them off from the air, so when the pond is ice-covered the fish consumes all the oxygen and then it switches over to the alcohol.”

The longer they are in freezing, airless conditions the higher the alcohol levels in the fish become. Despite the fact that the fish are literally filled to the gills with alcohol, it’s not the drink that kills them. If the winter lasts too long, they run out of fuel that’s stored in their livers and die.

The researchers say there are some very important lessons to be learned about evolutionary adaptation that produces a duplicate set of genes that allows the species to maintain their original function but also to keep the back-up set if it also delivers useful function.

What caused mitochondria go into partnership with the cells? Evolution presupposes economy and when we speak of brain it is basically the nerve net of jelly fish and reptilian brain of lizards some 600 million years ago. In such partnerships evolution has specific scaffolding of power and wisdom of God to develop. Ignoramuses fight tooth and nail for Creationism or for Evolution without bothering to know full facts. Science without giving ‘why’ is limited in scope.





“The ethanol production allows the crucian carp to be the only fish species surviving and exploiting these harsh environments, thereby avoiding competition and escaping predation by other fish species with which they normally interact in better oxygenated waters,” said lead author Dr Cathrine Elisabeth Fagernes, from the University of Oslo, Norway.

“It’s no wonder then that the crucian carp’s cousin, the goldfish, is arguably one of the most resilient pets under human care.”


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This essay is on the premise: the earth is the only home destined for human habitation. From whence came influences, I mean intervention from a divine or higher agencies (as some books would claim of Alien visitation) that pulled human species into a group from his ape-cousins is beyond the scope. Rise of humans we might assume was determined as a whole by environment. Human migrations played their roles in so many waves and these can be dated and also their route by tracking genetic changes. (Recent news item: Most humans have a little bit of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes. Only those with recent African ancestry don’t.)

We have no record of any single ape ancestor having led the whole in the dawn of time as Patriarch Moses did with the Children of Israel in the Judaeo-Christian narrative.

Our Ape ancestors found it better option to separate from ape cousins than their arboreal existence in which they shared space with them.

Two clues we have on the possible reason why they parted ways.

Firstly they could walk on two feet. Other ape cousins also had similar ability but their larger brain space and its flexibility must have convinced it as an option.

(“Taung Child,” the fossil skull of a child of three or four was discovered in 1924 and dates back to about 2.5 million years ago. Scan of the skull show joints between the child’s skull plates (called the metopic suture) hadn’t fully fused, a uniquely human trait.

These brain joints close quickly after birth in monkeys and other apes, the researchers said, but in humans, this fusion happens much later. This flexibility in the skull may have existed only because the body first had to reconfigure hips of the mother to accommodate bipedalism. This in turn would have let prefrontal cortex, a brain area crucial for advanced cognitive capabilities, expand and grow over time. The researchers could see from the imprint of the brain on the inside of the skull that these brain areas had started expanding and changing. (the journal dated May7, 2012- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences/reprinted in LiveScience.com/2012) )

Secondly the tool making ability of the humans was of a different league than of ape cousins.

“The tool kits of most chimpanzee populations consist of about 20 types of tools, which are used for various functions in daily life, including subsistence, sociality, sex, and self-maintenance,” primatologist William C. McGrew wrote in an essay in the Apr. 30, 2010, issue of the journal Science.)

Our ape ancestors must have perceived many small positive gains supplied by their communal living was strong enough to separate themselves for the savannah.


Such similar shifts in perception of their environment led our ancestors to changes in an altogether different direction. Climate and availability of fruits and food was one. Another was the quality of soil.

In the plentiful supply of food hunter-gatherer only need gather daily quota of fruits or hunt their prey. No one was the head but each hand adding to the whole group. Chief of families, clans and tribes came much later at a time agriculture put an end to their nomadic existence.

Inclement weather made gathering of fruits daily irksome. With agriculture as a way of life diet became more predictable. Not much variety was possible. Crop failure and threat from other groups in search food led to social changes. Farmers needed to organize and look to those who ensured safety of their crops and fields. Thus came into being the Chief as the Head and hands that served the king and at lower level the hands that supplied their needs. All the hands serving the king were required to secure the property so the king and his nobles were in turn provided for by the farmers who tilled the land supplied men in times of war. Wealth became essential to keep the social structure from collapse and it was appropriated by the King and his knights.

Once primitive ancestors went on their own way there occurred several slight shifts. These social changes led to the creation of a triad: Head, Hand and Wealth. (to be concluded)

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Evolution gave man a brain where nerve nets of jellyfish and brain of lizards served as the basis. These were set some 600 million years ago and our ape-ancestors who later peopled the earth did not have a brain that could be said as state of the art. It would take millennia in terms of evolutionary timescale a wink so to speak. So the civilization that we take pride in has been with a back up from many other species. Brain is still evolving and it shall indeed the case whether we colonize the moon or some super-earths some light years away. This being the case what prompted him to this grand vision of a civilized world? Tool making capacity determined man’s progress.

March of progress worked on two speeds. A solution based technology that took care of his specific needs and it allowed no delay. While his brain developed on the slow lane as with all events in evolutionary timescale he set about creating his world in his image. If our civilization has shown several cracks the blame for this must be in the variable speeds. It is more soulless mechanics of supply and demand, time and motion and many other exercises in futility that guide us. Consider how this has blighted our parenting skills? How shall not a man fail if his one leg were to shoot up faster than the other one? We seems blissfully unaware of our human side that needs time as a child requires time to mature. His brain develops quickly around three till he is six. But it would take some 20 years for all the brain circuits to be fixed. He is considered fully mature and responsible by the age of twenty. Technology has won us over to do its bidding and we aren’t even conscious what we have sacrificed to appease a monster. Our best part, our wealth in compassion and altruism is being chipped away steadily. All because we have failed to negotiate the two speeds that make up our existence. In missing the cue of variable speeds whatever we have touched has come with its downside. Man left arboreal living to build cities and also created slums and inner cities.

Consider man in relation to all other species. A shrew has heart beats so fast that a whale must consider it as impossible. Nature has allowed both to develop according to their biology and evolutionary demands. Nature of lions is affected by their physiology. So their predatory behavior has to account for it. With relatively small hearts and lungs they are not fast runners; a maximum speed of 60 kph, nor do they have the stamina to keep this pace for more than a 100 – 200m. As such, lions rely on stalking their prey and seldom charge until they are within 30m, unless the prey is facing away and cannot see the charge. Why did lions become the only sociable cat? Is it because they would have higher success rate if they hunted in groups?
Only man seems to have missed this curious fact. His inability to develop all round by his technology may be compensated by pooling life experience of all and old and present. If one were to look closely there is a running thread that makes us connected with our environment and all life forms. Instead we have degraded the earth all for profit. The very idea of things motivating man is derived from technology. As John Ruskin so eloquently puts it,’There is no wealth but life.’ Our reliance on technology is a case of progress being derailed. Technology is power; accumulation of material wealth by technology has created fragmentation of the world into different blocks. Wars had never been the solution but still man relies on it . Why? Both technology and war acts as one. It is a Geiger counter to detect and ferret out more wealth. This must explain the present human predicament.
Peter Pan never grew up. Perhaps he could serve as a timely warning, a metaphor: He shall grow old only in terms of exigencies of Nature. Never-never land is a place where nothing grows but according to the slow speed of evolution and he shall ever be vital and clear-eyed since he is in step to a different drummer than we do.

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In my previous post Unequal Partnerships I mentioned how multiculturalism failed us. How can it not fail us since our very mind is shot through the Unconscious and Conscious Mind?
Think of human civilization as a structure. At the base we have the brain which is evolving still. When our ape ancestor parted from ape cousins it was not perfect,- and in evolutionary timescale 2.5 million years is not adequate. We became more adept that is all. Our short attention span and optimism etc; are still worrying points.
We have a window to look at how we were at the dawn of time. The fossil skull of ‘Taung child’ reveals a soft skull with larger cranial space for brain development. 2.5 million year old specimen also hints at a possibility that man would have set out on the strength of his bipedalism. At the same time ape specimens of the same period and man share a common characteristic: both could climb trees. Man’s dexterity for tools decided his decision to separate and go his own way. Rational decision it was since weighing two abilities his tool making capacity outweighed the advantage of climbing trees. Thus he opted for the plains than an arboreal existence.
He would at every turn allow his innovative skills to determine the next course. If foraging at all weathers was inconvenient he would settle down to farm. But Agriculture limited the marine food rich in nutrient he could exploit. Only drawback was that consequences of his many innovation woud have spread far while the innovation addressed only the specific need. All these while his brain was still evolving. His toolmaking was only one symptom of intelligence.
Human civilization as I said at the outset was based on his evolving mind and collective experience. Whether he learned to restructure his society or build up a belief-system it had to be on the collective experience of mankind.
If man would coin an idea ‘Deutscheland uber alles’ or God of Vengeance both were carved out of a mind imperfect. Hitler drew the German nation to come behind his banner with the promise of avenging the national shame. These rallies were orchestrated with music and pageantry, same as with the same religious fervor that the flagellants would walk on their knees, punishing their bodies with flail. These are all manifestations from the same source: the same dark regions of his subconscious translating from the collective experience of mankind. Only his rational mind would make doctrines, observances and recitations etc., Such rank tomfoolery would go on multiplying endlessly.
The State cannot escape it anymore than religion. Multiculturalism is our knock-kneed mind in sunday clothes.

Animism came before religion. Our human ancestors considered all objects are endowed with spirit. Trees, rivers, birds etc., Do we not follow the animism even now? When I am party to a contract how do I legalize it? My signature stands for me. Pure animism in modern clothes. When mass is elevated according to Catholic theology the bread is transformed into the body of Christ. Religion is rooted in Animism.
With such a mind that can trip us at every turn multiculturalism will continue to show surprises. So the watchword is Expect the Unexpected.

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First let me give opinions of an anthropologist and a biologist. ‘Our emotions make us unique 

While human aggression is a naturally evolved phenomenon we have in common with other animals, the difference between human and animal violence comes down to the complexity of the emotion driving it, said Elizabeth Cashdan professor of Anthropology of Univ. of Utah in 2009.

Aggression in few animals goes beyond protecting one’s territory, mates, offspring and food — there is some evidence that domestic dogs and chimpanzees do hold grudges, said Carrier, a Biologist also from Univ. of Utah — but human violence has evolved to stem from less typical sources.
“Humans are unique in the complexity of their social relationships and their highly developed social intelligence. Revenge and spite are quintessential social emotions and so are not likely to be found in many, if any, other species,” she said.
“For example revenge killings, and the cultural institutions that support and restrain it, 
shape human aggression in new ways,” said Cashdan. The intelligent reasoning that lets most of us override any innate desire to be violent also makes some people, such as parents that kill their children, as well as institutions justify violence illogically, experts say.
With our complex brain we splice frustration, fear for the future all the emotions violent and beautiful into shapes never thought possible. A chimpanzee can never commit hara-kiri a ceremony to wipe of dishonor. Whereas a man can flagellate for God or to show his intense sorrow for a dead saint.

Worry over the future

An understanding of the evolutionary roots of human aggression could help institutions make better policy decisions, according to experts.
“Evolution didn’t just shape us to be violent, or peaceful, it shaped us to respond flexibly, adaptively, to different circumstances, and to risk violence when it made adaptive sense to do so. We need to understand what those circumstances are if we want to change things,” said Cashdan.
Though conflicts like the ones that occurred in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s may seem a distant memory, the tipping point between peace and that sort of violence is a finer line than we think, said Carrier.
“My personal opinion is that Western society, as a whole, is in mass denial about the magnitude of the problem that violence represents for the future”.
In a caste riddled Hindu society breaking rules of gotra the village elders may punish man and woman with death. If we consider such acts can only occur in a primitive society think of Grimmer of Texas, America.
Rachelle Grimmer, 38, pulled a gun on the welfare office supervisor, Roberto Reyes, and her two children out of her frustration at being denied food stamps. The office’s other employees were able to safely evacuate the building, according to the San Antonio Express.
A SWAT team surrounded the building, and officers communicated with Grimmer throughout the ordeal.
But at midnight — shortly after Grimmer hung up on police — three shots were fired, causing the police to storm the building.
(abc Good Morning America-7 Dec.2011)Frustration in progressive society is over future and in a primitive society is over the past. While we speak of superstition and ridiculous beliefs of the other cultures how we feel about future rely on the brain that is less than efficient. Our emotions we may shape into new forms but cannot escape the forces that bear upon the brain.

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This Russian scientist came to the U.S. as a student and chose to remain there when the spurious environmental doctrines of Lysanko became the communist dogma under the Stalin’s regime. He began his research on the fruit fly ‘Drosophila’ but soon became interested in the evolution of human populations. This led him to a study of race and later to the attempt ‘to understand mankind as a product of evolution and as an evolving whole’. In 1959 he was invited to deliver the Silliman lectures at the Columbia University, which formed the basis of ‘Mankind Evolving’. He stressed that the most important point of Darwin’s evolutionary theory had been missed – man not only has evolved but is still evolving. He argued that man, by changing the world, changed also himself both culturally and physically. He saw in this the hope that changes resulting from knowledge could also be directed by knowledge. ‘Evolution need no longer be a destiny imposed from without. It may concievably be controlled by man’. He is best known for works such as Genetic diversity and Human Equality and Heredity and the Nature of Man. His ‘Mankind Evolving’ has been dubbed the most judicious scientific treatis ever written on the nature of man.


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