Saturday, October 24, 2009

Will Humans Evolve "Further"?

Evolutionary studies and papers over the past few months and years, as well as the Tenets of Ecocosmology, would give new meaning to the word "further" contained in the question presented in the title of this post.

One article asks "Are Humans Still Evolving?", another answers "Humans Will Not Evolve Further", one asks "Natural Selection Not The Only Process That Drives Evolution?", while yet another exclaims "Natural Selection May Not Produce The Best Organisms", and finally as one says "Darwin Had It Right".

Notice some of the obviously conflicting statements in these articles:

"Survival of the fittest" is the catch phrase of evolution by natural selection. While natural selection favors the most fit organisms around, evolutionary biologists have long wondered whether this leads to the best possible organisms in the long run. [article 1]


As part of a working group sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC, the team of researchers decided to find out if natural selection — a major driving force of evolution — is still at work in humans today. The result? Human evolution hasn't ground to a halt. [article 2]


The results lead to the provocative hypothesis that, rather than being the result of Darwinian selection for new adaptations, many of the genetic changes leading to human-specific characters may be the result of the fixation of harmful mutations. This contrasts the traditional Darwinistic view that they are the result of natural selection in favour of adaptive mutations. [article 3]

(ibid). Debate is even developing around the issues resolved or not resolved by Darwinius and Afradapis, two finds this summer. It seems clear to me, then, that the teaching criteria for determining what is "the better" is what is drifting, evolving, or at least changing.

You may want to read some other concepts of other top scientists about where human evolution is heading; will we evolve into robots or into super human beings?

There is no set formula to determine, to use Darwin's approved language, "the fittest", if these fundamental questions are still perplexing to scientists.

One thing is sure, the criteria are biological considerations based upon this planet alone. The criteria, therefore, tend to be geocentric like they were when the earth was thought to be the center of the universe.

There are greater determinants, which seal the fate of species on planets orbiting central stars, than the singular and quite limited notion of biological evolution.

According to the Tenets of Ecocosmology, biological evolution on habitable planets is by no means the greatest factor in passing "The Test".

That test must be passed via memetic evolution in order for sentient species to avoid extinction in this cosmos, even after having avoided extinction on a habitable planet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ecocosmology & Cosmic Surprises

The universe is not so stable that it is free of surprises.

So when we consider the ramifications of the tenets of the science of Ecocosmology, in the sense of vast amounts of time, we should remember that the uncertainty principle instructs us not to become complacent just because there is a seemingly vast amount of time within which we may pass "The Test".

The planet Jupiter took a surprise hit on 7/20/09, and thanks to an amateur astronomer who discovered the impact, professionals monitored it closely.

It was a bit odd that it was exactly 15 years from the last observed impact by a comet, and a bit odd that only an amateur first noticed it.

The earth has also taken hits over the eons like Jupiter did that have wiped out much of the life then in existence on earth.

Today official government programs watch for near earth objects which could cause catastrophe on the earth, and have some rudimentary theoretical proposals to try to stop an asteroid or comet impact on the earth should the need arise.

Tenet 3(e) of Ecocosmology says that the universe requires life forms to develop space travel in order to find new home worlds as their sun or star dies out, and that they must keep doing so until their "final morph" takes place.

Thus, even if The SETI Institute was successful and found a species of intelligent life that wanted to communicate with us, that would not do away with our requirement of passing "The Test" ourselves, nor would it remove their requirement of passing "The Test" themselves.

The movie "Knowing" depicted in a science fiction manner, what one species who had evolved to the point of developing sophisticated space travel would think about some of our human endeavours and behaviours, and what they might do if they knew our sun was going to surprise us soon with our utter destruction.

The lesson of that movie was that they only saved the innocent who would not be a danger to them some day.

Then they continued on with their own evolution because even they had not yet passed "The Test" by evolving into a species that no longer relied on stars that would eventually die out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Compromise And Settle On A Moon

The earth is a beautiful home world which we know we must learn to care for much, much, much more successfully.

That is if we are to survive the childhood of human development, and move on to the cosmos which will only be inhabited by cosmic adults.

The Tenets of Ecocosmology point out that we humans are a species that rely, for our very existence, on habitable planets near central stars.

Central stars that eventually destroy those habitable planets near them, just before the star wears out and diminishes into obscurity.

Which means that humanity will eventually need to discover other planets near stars, travel to them, and then colonize them, if humanity is to continue to exist.

In that regard the NASA Kepler mission is on the case looking for habitable planets.

But a new and hopeful development is being talked about, and that is the prospect of habitable moons in addition to habitable planets:

Since the launch of the NASA Kepler Mission earlier this year, astronomers have been keenly awaiting the first detection of an Earth-like planet around another star. Now, in an echo of science fiction movies a team of scientists led by Dr David Kipping of University College London thinks that they may even find habitable ‘exomoons,’ too.

(Science Daily). That of course increases the chances of finding a new home world; a necessity because our star will eventually become a threat to our species.

Scientists tell us that we began as nomadic hunter gatherers, and so it seems that we shall stay that way through the more distant reaches of time.

Or, as the Tenet 3(f) of Ecocosmology points out, until we evolve or morph into beings who do not need to rely on habitable orbs near central stars.

Thus, we live in a cosmos where religion or mysticism and science both have prospective contributions to our future well being.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturn - Home of the Hexagon Mystery

The Cassini mission to the planet Saturn has been a wonderful success story but it is not over yet.

To the left is a black and white photo of the mysterious hexagon.

Located at Saturn's north pole, it is only one example of the uncanny world we call Saturn which has more mysteries about it than we could have imagined.

The winds in the hexagon area are in the 300 m.p.h. range, the atmosphere is thick, so one wonders how a non-rounded shape can exist for even a minute.

But it has been there since the first photos were taken of it in 1980, by early missions to Saturn.
Greenish Aurora Over Hexagon

As if that was not enough to boggle the mind, there is a mysterious and unexpected aurora hovering over the hexagon as well, shown by the color photo of Saturn's north pole.

And just for fun, add the other factor that the center of the hexagon has a fully unexpected "hot spot" that also should not be there but in fact is.

Dredd Blog did a post on this issue that links to some NASA discussion on this matter, but thought we would include it in today's posts concerning peculiarities in the solar system around us.

Human efforts to survive in the long run, which we place in "The Test" folder, are far from being an easy task for our species, since, among other things, there is very much we do not yet know.

Recent polar photo by Cassini (2013)
Another recent photo (May 2014)