Why hasn’t one species “won” evolution? Why hasn’t one super-species outcompeted all competitors?

Humans are the dominant species based on our technology and industry intelligence, opposable and language skills. There are creatures that eat humans, but homo-sapiens as a species won’t be wiped out because of it. Most of us just avoid being in a place where we might get eaten by a shark or a crocodile or a lion.

We have our educational institutions, Internet, electricity, cities, medicine, cellphones, transportation and so on.

In that sense, we are the super-species.

But there’s nothing saying we will improve in the future. We could devolve over a few hundred thousand years time. Dependence on technology and shopping in supermarkets doesn’t advance mean we will evolve “upwards.” For example, I wear eyeglasses, but it used to be in days of yore if you couldn’t see clearly you’d die soon enough. There’s nothing saying that our eyesight, teeth and a host of other things will improve over time.

Right now, however, we’re the pinnacle, standing at the top of the hill. Like this picture that I took in Caprock Canyon State Park in Texas and then heavily modified it inside The GIMP.

caprockcanyonstatepark

 

What will be the next major step in the evolution of the human species?

You know, evolution doesn’t always mean things get better.

It used to be if someone couldn’t see clearly they’d die of starvation. Now we have eye-glasses, so the need to have perfect eyes isn’t required by our species anymore. It used to be if someone had no teeth they’d starve. Now we have dentists that fix teeth, so having good teeth isn’t a requirement for our species anymore.

So it could be that in the future mankind will have bad vision and bad teeth.

We might devolve, which just means the rules for survival of the fittest changes.

This image might strike a point. Please excuse the vulgarity of the message. It was not my intent to offend.

devolution

What are the chances that we will have an answer to “do extraterrestrial life exist?” within the next 10 years?

Finding extraterrestrial life within 10 years?

There is very little chance in the next ten years. We are to assume that it is highly likely that microbial life exists somewhere, perhaps in our own solar system, but even that we are unlikely to discover within 10 years.

Finding something living off Earth is the holy grail of science. As of date, Earth is the only planet we know for sure that has life. As for a multi-cellular organisms, that may also exist somewhere in our solar system, but our discovery of microorganisms or more complex lifeforms within 10 years is impossible.

When will a rogue planet collide with Earth?

Worry about the future of life itself on the only planet ever found to have life.

When will a rogue planet collide with Earth? Probably never again, although smaller objects like comets might hit us. However the future for Earth and life on Earth doesn’t look good either way.

For a planet to collide with another is like a bullet hitting a bullet. Space is big compared to a tiny planet, and the chance that a rogue planet might actually collide here is a long shot, even though we believe it may have already happened once.

It’s pretty unlikely to happen again because that was back in the day when the solar system was still forming and more volatile.

But what is happening is that the sun is running out of fuel. Every billion years or so it gets about 10% hotter as a result. We estimate that in 1.1 billion years it will be too hot to sustain life on Earth. The oceans will evaporate, greenhouse gasses will take over and Earth will become like Venus: too hot and raining sulfuric acid. All this happens way before the sun becomes a red giant and destroys Mercury, Venus and probably Earth.

So you don’t have to worry about that rogue planet hitting us. You have to worry about the future of life itself on the only planet ever found to have life.

Am I a pessimist or a realist?

What do you find most puzzling about white supremacists?

Relics of the Past Destroyed? Is it Islamic Extremists Again?

Back when the Taliban Government under Sudam Hussein was destroying relics and statues of Buddha in Afghanistan that were thousands of years old, historians were horrified. Could you imagine, for example, blowing up the pyramids of Egypt? The Taliban’s actions were reminiscent of the Nazi’s burning books, or of the Spanish burning all of the Mayan civilization books and with it their history.

Although the war between the North and the South was largely about slavery – owning people – it is still part of our history. It may not be the brightest point of our history, much, I suppose, like the Taliban saw their country’s roots in Buddhism and Hinduism (Afghanistan is a word coming from India’s Sanskrit language). They destroyed statues, figures, relics, historical monuments and every remnant of the past that they could get their hands on. Should we do the same, or should we see the bigger historical perspective?

Is it okay to have statues of important figures in the Confederate States of America? They went to war against the United States much like the thirteen colonies declared independence against the King of Britain and wrote the Declaration of Independence. The outcome of the two wars was different, but both were states fighting for independence.

Had the colonies lost their war and America stayed part of the British Empire, would we now be destroying the Declaration of Independence and all evidence of the revolutionary war? Probably not. It would be history nonetheless. Similarly, should we now destroy all evidence there was a war – our deadliest war – now that there is no more a Confederate States of America?

These symbols – the Confederate heroes statues and flag – are seen not just as reminders of our unfortunate past of slavery but in today’s climate as a line drawn by white racists against the rest of us.

Admittedly, the issues are boiling over.

Once again racism rears its ugly head. We see the revival of the KKK and an alt-right president who comes just after the first African American president. The country could not be more divided – except perhaps in civil war.

Historically, we’re in a time of extreme pendulum swinging from left (Clinton) to right (George W.)  to left (Obama) to alt-right (Trump). The swinging is getting wider and wider and different views seem irreconcilable.

Despite the troubled times of the present, would the destruction or removal of these statues be met with blessings from historians four hundred years in the future, or will they see it in the same light as destruction of the Mayans, blowing up of Buddha statues or burning of books?

People will do what people do and this article will not change history in any significant way, however it’s one liberal’s opinion.

To Be or Not to Be

My wife has gone all religious on me. I’m not used to that. For years she was leaning towards atheism. I was uncomfortable with atheism even though I lean heavily toward physics.

Atheism makes sense. More sense then most evangelicals, ISIS, Catholics, Jews and so on. At least to me. I think all religions could use a dose of atheistic realism.

However, I’m mortal, like you, and I’m sixty-four, like Paul McCartney’s song. Days flow by into months which flow by into years. I’ll die. Now my fascination with science kicks in. Survival of the fittest: evolution. All species seek to live, not die. The fittest survive longer than the weakest. So I seek to live, not die. I really don’t want to die. That’s what all people feel except those who are mentally ill and want to commit suicide.

So we dream of never ending life. Religion is born and we convince ourselves we won’t die forever.

There’s glitches in that theory, I know. Science points us to galaxies, expanding universes, black holes, the possibility of life on Titan, Saturn’s moon. But is that it? Is there no mystery to life itself?

An atheist would say no. In my heart I feel otherwise. For most of my life I’ve been devoutly religious. There’s subjective as well as objective. I really don’t feel the subjective is due to chemical reactions in my brain or the brains of many people both now and the past that have had religious experiences.

And my wife is suddenly, almost inexplicably, drawn toward religion. I mean, like, it’s her only thought all of a sudden. Weirdly, I’m the best one to teach her in the direction she wants to go.

There’s probably more to this thought on this post, but that’s what I’ve got for now.