ARE WE STILL EVOLVING ?

August 12, 2013

evolution

Perhaps it is because of my extraordinary warped sense of humour that many people fail to take much of what I say seriously and of course I have to accept that that is largely my own fault. You see years ago I stopped getting angry at people just because they chose a certain path and started to poke fun at them instead. After all is said and done ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and therefore if someone is perfectly happy being ignorant then who am I to pop up and ruin their day with a reality check ?

It is true that I am no great fan of organised religion (any of them) choosing, as I do, to believe that they are manmade as a device of mass mental control over the majority. This works upon the principal that most people will happily go with the flow because they just want to be left alone to get on with their lives. In my book Religion is all about Power, the power of the few over the many and always has been.

Also in the past I have poked a lot of fun at those who, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, choose to ignore the science of Evolution in favour of the completely unsubstantiated and totally illogical notion of creation by some sort of Supreme Being. Of course I have long been of the opinion that such belief is not belief at all but rather that all too human inbuilt inability to recognise, or even admit, that they might have been misguided for centuries. Or to admit they are just… well… Wrong!

Then recently I heard someone ask a very serious question about Evolution it was;
“As a species Are WE still evolving ?”

No it wasn’t a joke or trick question but something that is starting to raise the eyebrows of more than a few scientists, and ME ! Why, well because over the years I have often joked that all you need to prove to yourself that Darwin’s original theories about evolution are correct is to look around at the present state of humanity. I point out that if you look closely enough you can see the evolution of man, as a species is in many respects going backwards.

Is this something we need to worry about or is it a bit like Global Warming where we can just shrug collectively and say ‘Sod It’ and leave it to the next generation to sort out. Of course the problem then becomes what if the evolution of man has actually stopped how many more generations will there be who are intelligent enough to sort it out or even care ? Will they stop ‘Twittering’ long enough to notice or text one another to ask “is there an App for this ?”
The questions scientists are asking is this a natural phenomenon or is it something we did or are continuing to do that is endangering the long term existence of the species and if so what can we do about it?

Many already believe they know the answer to both questions is an emphatic YES! It is something we did a long time ago and yes it is something we are doing every day that continues to makes it worse.

Mental Health Warning: OK…
If you believe in Creationism it is time to leave this article NOW, trust me it will make no sense to you whatsoever and if it does you won’t believe it anyway.

For those of you who are still with me, let me say that Darwin was by no means the first or only person to question the over simplistic answers to the ultimate question of ‘Creation ’? To them the answer “God Did It all in about 6 days about 6,000 years ago, starting on a Thursday in October, apparently, didn’t quite stack up !”

They settled for the more realistic concept of Evolution by Natural Selection. It is to be blunt all about the simple rule of the jungle or even more simply the Survival of the Fittest. It is usually at this point where Creationists, Seven Day Adventists, other religious zealots and anti Darwinists stick their collective heads up their backsides and start spouting that mankind is above that sort of thing.

Of course it is in discussion with the same groups that you quickly come to realise that they have little or no idea about ‘Natural History’ or Reality for that matter.

They find it hard, if not impossible, to accept that when you look back at the natural history of our species that we were pretty pathetic when compared to most other species on the planet, in fact it’s amazing we survived at all. Our ancestors had to have been pretty far down the food chain back then and were probably on the menu of more than one species knocking about at the time.

There’s the point, or at least one of them. We are still part of the food chain if we are dumb enough to be in the right place at the wrong time. Forget the Media Headlines ‘Man killed in vicious Shark attack,’ Bad Shark !

Why do you think in some countries where the Big Cats live and hunt that occasionally man ends up on the menu ? Let’s be honest here, an old or injured big cat is still a fair match for a weak unarmed human. Bad Kitty !

That’s what human evolution is all about, we were never going to out run the big cats, out wrestle a Bear or out swim a shark but there again we didn’t need to just so long as we could out run or out swim the poor bugger next to us !

OOPS ! Not a very nice thing to do, after all we are Nice, Intelligent human beings we are above all that sort of thing full of the ‘Milk of Human Kindness,’ ‘Love thy Neighbour’ so on and so forth….

Yeah Right !

Trouble is an awful lot of people believe it, little realising that what they accept as civilisation is little more than a veneer over our more natural instincts of survival. Ever seen pet dogs abandoned in a city coming together to form a pack ? Study it and you will see the dominant Alpha male and female take charge and then see how quickly they lose that cuddly ‘Man’s best friend’ image ?

Ever seen a March for Peace turn angry and then into a Human Mob ?

Ever wonder how stable our society would be or for how long if we lost everything we take for granted ? Can you imagine how long a city would survive without electricity for an indefinite period of time? What happens after all the food and fuel is looted ?

Not exactly a time for thinking the ‘Meek shall Inherit the Earth‘ that’s for damn sure.

So I ask again, “Are we still Evolving as a species ?”

If not … Why Not ? Where did it all go wrong, I mean we are the smartest animal species on the planet aren’t we ? That is at least the belief of all those who accept the fact that we are actually just that, just another animal species.

There are a lot more of course who can’t or won’t accept such a notion, those who actually believe that we were somehow put here after everything else was created as some sort of superior being to take charge of everything. They even wrote stories about it, how their God gave them dominion over all living things and all the bounty of the Earth as theirs to do with as they liked and taking that to mean “No Shareseese” with other species.

The very day Mankind arrived at the conclusion that they were superior to all other life forms was the day that they started to believe they were the Masters and all the laws of Nature no longer applied to them.

Of all the species on the planet only mankind suffers from the delusion that all life on the planet is not interconnected and interdependent.

There again I don’t suppose any other animal bothers to think or worry about it. To them life’s little mysteries were solved eons ago IE Self preservation, survival of the species both in the short and long term.

Now let’s give credit where credit is due most other species have become pretty good at it without the need to create imaginary supreme beings, religion, war, deforestation, planet destroying weapons of mass destruction or the rest of mankind’s greatest achievements.

All life on the planet has, or at least had, a natural cycle, you are born, you grow, you try to reach maturity without dying (but most won’t). Then once you have the survival thing nailed you might try your hand at a bit of breeding.

That’s what Natural selection is all about, living long enough to reach maturity and then if you are good enough try and pass on your strong genes to the next generation.

If you got sick along the way you died ! If you were injured and could no longer keep up you got eaten. If you were weak in body or mind the girls didn’t want to breed with you. Be honest breeding is all about the survival of the species and therefore the female should want to give her offspring the best chance in life by selecting from the Biggest, Strongest, Fastest, Smartest.

This system works reasonably well for all animal species and it has to be said it worked well for mankind as well until that superior gene kicked in again.
Take a look at man’s survival rate through history up until the era of the Industrial Revolution. Take a wander around the graveyards and look at the ages of death. Look too at the high mortality rate of children and how many never reached double figures. What we see and misinterpret as cruel and unnecessary is actually Natural Selection at work.

In the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries mankind set out to conquer disease and all the other weapons of natural species control in the armoury of Mother Nature.
Up until then Natural Selection kept us more or less in check, true as a species we were on a steady increase. Around 8000 BC with the development of farming on an organised scale the world population was an estimated 5 million. By AD 1 the world had reached 200 million or so and it took us until the 1800 hundreds before we clocked up our first Billion.

In spite of the First World War we notched up our second Billion by the 1930’s and even with another World War we clocked up another Billion by the end of the 1950’s. And within my lifetime the World population has more than doubled to reach a staggering 7 Billion and still we have Doctors and Scientists playing God, by saving and extending Life as if we were upon the verge of extinction.

So man has actually eliminated natural selection all together. Whereas at one time the female of the species had a degree of control by trying to select the best possible mate or mates to ensure the best for her off spring, we have now reached a stage in human evolution where it’s a breeding free for all.

Hands up everybody who thinks this makes for a well developed gene pool ?

So by denying who and what we are and where we truly came from have we reached a point of no return in the evolution of our species?

I believe we have, after all nothing in Nature ever stands still it is either going forwards or backwards. I’m sure there are thousands, nay millions out there who will want to give me an argument. They will undoubtedly point to all of Mankind’s achievements over the centuries and our inventiveness as proof of the continued evolution of mankind.

I say they are wrong, that is not evolution and I leave you with a quotation from one of my favourite authors.

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time.

But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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10 Responses to “ARE WE STILL EVOLVING ?”


  1. Well thought out and put together Merlin. The arrogance of mankind dictates that we rule when in a fact a microbe can bring us to a screaming halt. I think we are devolving in many ways. We should be better in every way yet age old fears and beliefs are dragging us backwards.
    Laurie.

  2. merlinfraser Says:

    Thanks Laurie,
    You can’t imagine the shit I have received over this article mainly from Religious Nut Jobs but I have to admit that I find it faintly disturbing how many normal people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit !

  3. Jim Sellers Says:

    A well written and scholarly dissertation Professor Merlin. You are fighting a losing battle when you take on all the world’s religions at once, no matter how right you are (in my opinion). Remember that God made the Earth in 6 days, 6,000 years ago, thought Man to build churches and ships and guns and go around taking land and resources from the natives who lived in their countries several thousand years before the Earth was made (hmm?) and now they run things.
    I would add to Laurie’s point that a man is not really on the top of the food chain when both a microbe and a bear/lion/polar bear/ big dog/chicken bone can kill him.
    Are we still evolving? Yes, we are becoming more alive and relevant on the Internet than in life. We have more friends on Facebook than in life and we are ruled by that virtual presence.
    You need one more character on your banner image, the thin,old man, hunched over similar to the first ape but pushing a walker.

  4. patgarcia Says:

    Hi,

    Even though I don’t agree with your didactical conclusions about God, faith, and evolution, you have written an excellent article that warrants me to say, well done.

    I believe that mankind is still evolving, but I am also a Christian that believes that God is real,even today. However, I am not trying to change your mind. I too believe that each person must choose his own way. If that is your way and it makes you happy, that is okay with me. It doesn’t stop me from listening to what you have to say.

    Therefore, what you have said here is interesting and I truly enjoyed reading it. Great job.

    Ciao,
    Patricia

  5. merlinfraser Says:

    Hi Patricia, lovely to hear from you again even if we are on opposite sides doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy healthy debate.

    For reasons way beyond my comprehension I see many people who really, really need there to be a God. I have no idea why and that is one of the things that separate you and I.

    The difference in our thinking is that while you seem to embrace religion I see it as a man made device for mental control where they use God as a means of that control. IE Play nice and do as God’s messengers on Earth tell you and you will be rewarded, (after death) with a place in Heaven. Don’t play nice and you will suffer everlasting torture ( again after death) in Hell.

    Difficult to present a joined up argument against God’s Earthly messengers without being able to produce any witnesses to stand up and say ” Sorry Guys! I’ve Been There and it Ain’t true.”

    Of course, the Holy Joe’s haven’t exactly played fair have they ?
    They too offer no witnesses or hard evidence they just DEMAND you believe. I think that’s where the faith bit comes in, Blind faith.

    In fact I would go further and say this about Organised Religion, not just Christianity, all of them. if they were legitimate businesses subject to all the rules and laws of business they would be guilt of fraud. Not one of them can supply one independently verified fact to prove or substantiate any of their claims.

    Like you I am not out to change anyone, that sort of change can only come from within. All I ever wanted to do is make people think for themselves, ask themselves WHY do I believe ? Do I believe because I believe ? Or is it because I was Told to, Made to, long long ago and after a while it became the habit they wanted me to have ?

  6. Raani York Says:

    Hi Merlin, I LOVE this article and do agree with many things you say! What I love of course is the humor within your writing. Then, I’m sometimes having controversial ideas that I better don’t write down – in particular not when they’re published… 🙂
    And what I like very much is the last “bold printed” sentence by Douglas Adams… very interesting!


  7. Dear Raani, You could always send your controversial thoughts privately… You know how I love controversy and I never kiss and tell !!!

    Have you read Douglas Adams books The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ? If not you are in for a rare treat, not only for his zany humour but as you start to see between the lines you see the pure genius of the man and why he has become something of a Guru to those of us who challenge the insanity of religiousness !!


  8. Hi Merlin. I just stumbled on your blog through Linked in and I’m so pleased that I did because we share the same “beliefs!”

    I’m going to respond separately to other aspects of your blog but this one is on evolution.

    This is what I believe. Everything in the Universe is alive and therefore growing and thus evolving -even planet Earth -its the fundamental nature of the cosmos we live in. And as to mankind’s evolution, all we have to do is to look back, even just a hundred years, which is not even a grain of sand on the beach in the whole scheme of things, to see see how we have changed (evolved) for the better: biologically, intellectually, spiritually etc. We’ve enriched the gene pool through cross breeding and are now taller, heavier, live longer etc. etc. We understand more about the physical world -quantum physics, string theory etc.etc.and we’ve evolved our morals and ethics, such as the creation of the UN to recognize Human Rights, Animal Rights, and Ecuador has even passed legislation to recognize the Rights of the Land.

    And as we become more educated and ask questions and seek answers, the closer mankind gets to being all that it can be. We are only human after all, and can only observe the world through the senses that we have been given. What makes us think that we have the capacity to understand EVERYTHING – Why can’t we just say “I don’t know” and leave it at that. “I don’t know what happens to my spirit. if I have one, after death or where was it before I was born.” In the old days, this unknowing was the basis for the creation of “religious beliefs” and out of that was cobbled together the various dogmas. Can you imagine how ignorant (uneducated) people were, two and three thousand years ago -they didn’t know about their own body – digestive, circulatory systems, germs, blood platelets etc etc., and how oppressed they were, given the nature of the society they lived in at that time – they truly would have been like sheep, following their leaders and believing in any cock and bull story they were told, including the one about the old man going up the mountain and returning with ten stones from God.

    It blows my mind to think that today, 2013, people still belief all of this stuff. Why cannot they see that the only reason they believe it is because they were brainwashed to believe it as a child -its just a legacy from their parents. To those who are adamant that their religion is the true faith, I ask them this question, “If through a quirk of fate, you had been born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, or Haifa, Israel or Mumbai, India, do you think you would be a Christian today.” How can you possibly say Yes? No, you would be a muslim or a jew or a Hindu. Its as simple as that.

    And the greatest stumbling block to the evolution of mankind into being the best that it can be is the presence of religious ideologies in the world, for they are all competing for their survival and dominance over one another; and even amongst themselves -how primitive is this? Christianity – Protestants and Catholics; Muslim – Sunni and Shiities; Jews- old Vs new etc. etc.

    But the good news is that with education comes independent thought and free will. And as the poor of the world -where religion is the strongest – become better educated -enlightened, through such advances as long distance learning through the internet etc, they will reject their old thinking (religion) in favor of a healthier and more holistic view of their existence.

    I know of no-one who goes to church on a Sunday though if you took a poll, a large % of them would say they are Christians!!! What does this tell you about the spiritual evolution that has been going on for the last fifty years, not only in Canada but in all of the so called developed countries of the world. There are so many churches in my city that are for up for sale, and that is most reassuring to me because it means that people are awakening and beginning to think for themselves instead of merely parroting what they have been told.

    I say all of this based on personal experience, for I was brought up to be a devout Catholic.

    • merlinfraser Says:

      Hi Alistair, and thanks for stopping by and leaving me your thoughts and comments. Many of my Blogs are written to stimulate thought and discussion and I’m glad you chose to join in. I find much truth in what you say but at the same time there are a number of points where our views and conclusions differ.

      For instance you say in the last 100 odd years “we have changed (evolved) for the better: biologically, intellectually, spiritually etc. We’ve enriched the gene pool through cross breeding and are now taller, heavier, live longer etc. etc” and you offer this as a good thing.

      I would say go back a little further, say 200- 250 years to the Industrial Revolution and come forward. We as a species have certainly progressed faster during that time period however I am not entirely sure we have involved as a species. True we have may massive leaps in technology and medicine taking the population from 1 to 7 Billion in the same period by removing what many would say was the world’s natural balance.

      Mankind’s denial that we are just another animal species on this planet is ultimately going to doom us all, to me that is arrogance not evolution.

      Taking up your religious thoughts, I note that when you speak of decline through learning you seem to speak largely from a Christian perspective, I see no such decline in the Islamic faith which to all intents and purposes appears to be growing at an alarming rate. In Europe through a decline in birth rates of the indigenous populations and peaceful immigration large Muslim groups are slowly taking over major cities and will soon out number all other groups. This could lead to them taking control over local governments merely by out voting the original populations. I am not wholly convinced this is a good thing since the main aim of most Muslim religious leaders seems to be against every right and freedom we have strived so long to obtain.

      It is for this reason I asked the question ” As a Species Are We Really Still Evolving ?”

      Merlin


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