A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

EVOLUTION



I don’t know how the heck they can possibly know for sure...

But clever scientific types (who have studied at proper universities rather than Mickey Mouse ones doling out useless degrees in ‘Media Studies’) tell us that the earth has been around for about 4,500 million years. I’ve done my own calculations, and reckon it’s more likely to be 4,495 million years... but what’s the odd 5 million years between friends?

Anyway, these same clever scientific types tell us that the first life on earth emerged around 3,500 million years ago, when some random chemical reactions in some new stuff we now know as water, created the first basic organisms.

And... and... well everything else just sort of developed from there - like magic!

Well it wasn’t really like magic, but before the mid 19th century, nobody had been able to explain any of it at all... and the widely held belief was in the Divine Creation, God created the world and everything in it in 6 days, and on the seventh he rested.

But then along came a bloke called Charles Darwin...

Darwin had set sail for the pacific Coast of South America on HMS Beagle on 31st December 1831 on a 5 year expedition to find and then study the species which were unique to the area.

He must have had to do a fair amount of thinking about what he found there, but when he eventually published his findings in 1859 in his groundbreaking work “On The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection”, it was to change the world and the way it was viewed forever.

You see, Darwin’s theory suggested that all species had developed from the very first signs of life 3,500 million years ago. Fish, animals, primates and humans had all developed as a result of an ongoing and unending evolutionary process.

The theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest was put forward as having governed the development of all species over the previous 3,500 million years.

So here’s how it works - just in case you weren’t listening when they covered it in O’ Level Biology...

1. Members of a species vary from each other slightly.

2. These differences are passed on to the next generation.

3. All living things have to compete for important resources such as food.

4. Young born with the most useful differences will get a disproportionate share of the scarce resources, and therefore are more likely to live long enough to reproduce.

5. As a result, species evolve because the most useful differences are perpetuated. The species as a whole becomes better adapted to its way of life.

Now you may have noticed I keep calling this a theory, because scientists being the pedantic sods they usually are, maintain that you can never prove a theory... you can only disprove it. But we’re not scientists... (or at least I’m not)... so let’s not bugger about any longer.

Darwin was right. That’s pretty much how it happened...

It explains the whole thing... including how the human species emerged from the mute semi-erect savage which characterised it 3 million years ago (and now only seen at football grounds on a Saturday afternoon), to the intelligent and highly developed species it has become today. And it all happened through the process which Darwin described...

The members of the species with the most useful differences in terms of helping to secure a disproportionate share of scarce resources, thriving and living to reproduce and pass on these useful differences to their offspring...

It’s a never ending, ongoing process of natural selection and gradual evolutionary improvement... or is it?

Because very recent changes to the way the human species live in the developed world, suggest that for the first time in maybe 3,500 million years, the evolutionary process may actually have been sent into reverse.

Allow me to explain my “Theory of Unnatural Selection, and the 
Survival Of the Neediest”

Scarce resources no longer end up exclusively in the hands of those with the most useful differences (and in human terms in the modern world that means the most intelligent and hard working) because modern caring society demands that if an individual is too stupid or lazy to purloin these scarce resources for themselves, those who would have previously survived because they were the fittest, now have to hand over those resources to the ‘unfit’...

Don’t you just love the tax and welfare state system?

So it seems the human species is never likely to evolve any further in a 'civilised society’ because the ‘unfit’ are now protected and allowed to flourish. They are free to reproduce in exactly the same way as the ‘fittest’, but that’s far from the end of the story...

Because the ‘unfit’ actually put a great deal more effort into reproducing than the ‘fittest’ do! They’ve usually got more time on their hands for one thing. And while the ‘fittest’ are often cautious, knowing that they will have to accept full financial responsibility for any offspring, the ‘unfit’ can afford to be more adventurous... knowing that no matter how many times they reproduce, there will be no financial penalty. Quite the reverse in fact, because the state will and does pay...

Which is just a polite way of saying that the ‘fit’ will pay for the ‘unfit’s’ offspring.

And when you have a situation where the ‘unfit’ are now reproducing at a ‘faster’ pace than the ‘fit’, the evolutionary process which has formed the bedrock of development since life began - is sent spinning into reverse. And television shows with presenters like Jeremy Kyle and Jerry Springer regularly stand testament to this.

So what’s to be done?

Well the obvious answer is to simply let the ‘unfit’ starve - and then they won’t be able to reproduce... and then their less than useful differences won’t be perpetuated. However, I can’t help thinking that this perfectly sensible plan will come up against a certain amount of opposition among Guardian Newspaper Group reader types.

So I think we need to do something else to help restore the
natural order of things...

It seems a shame to allow 4,500 million years of ongoing natural evolution to be halted by some unnatural human intervention. I think the only realistic solution... other than my starvation plan... is to be a little social ‘tinkering’ in the opposite direction.

I toyed with the idea of a mass sterilisation programmes in key areas... perhaps carried out by specially adapted crop spraying planes. But I think you’d have an inevitable spill over into unintended areas, and you’d probably upset a few people.

Having said that, evolution is far from perfect when taking place naturally, (it’s a numbers game in which more of the fit than the unfit manage to reproduce, rather than all of one and none of the other) so I think the overall result would be a positive one.

I can think of a number of towns (including the one I’m sitting in) where a mass sterilisation programme like this would have an overall beneficial effect on the evolutionary process. But no... I’m not going for that because I’ve got a much better plan...

The two most important fitness criteria in modern society are those of intelligence and industry. Several generations ago, the criteria would have been more physical, but now they’re more cerebral... the ability to learn to do something useful, and the willingness to do it.

So in my brave new world, you don’t get the opportunity to
reproduce by right. You have to earn it.

So, the first ‘testing’ point will come at age 16. (Too late for many I know, but we can iron out the details later). If you emerge from 11 years of formal education with less than 5 decent GCSEs then you’ve got to be severely lacking in one of the important natural selection criteria... you’re either lazy, stupid or both.

Either way, you wouldn’t get your breeding licence.

The more astute among you will have realised that this would result in a complete reversal of what currently happens. Because it’s precisely the people who fail in the education system... the ‘unfit’... who often see reproduction as a sound ‘career move’.

You see, getting pregnant (along with getting a sun tan) is one
of the few things you can do while laying on your back
without any real thought or effort.

Now I don’t want you to think this is an unjust regime I’ll be running here. Just because someone doesn’t get their breeding licence at 16, doesn’t mean they can’t earn it later. Nor does it mean that just because you did get your breeding licence at 16, you can’t lose it later.

Because the next ‘testing’ stage would be an economic one...

You see, in order to get (or keep) your breeding licence, you have to prove yourself willing and capable of financially supporting yourself and any offspring you might wish to have. I haven’t sorted out the details on this yet, but hope you can appreciate the principle...

If an individual has proved that they are able to fully support themselves and others financially, then they have demonstrated that they possess one or more of the characteristics necessary to take the modern evolutionary process forward... namely intelligence and industry.

I hardly need say this, but if you don’t have any means of financial support, you don’t get a licence. Simply put - Don’t work, and you won’t
be shopping for a pram.

So in essence... the only people reproducing will either be qualified, earning a living... or preferably both. Simple.

Look, I know my plan is full of holes... people could cheat, put on an act to get their licence... but it doesn’t really matter. Because natural selection was never a perfect science in the first place. All my plan will do is shift the numbers back in the direction they would have been if we’d not stopped letting people starve to death. It will restore the balance a little...

And what right thinking person could argue with that?

I’m not sure if there’s any tangible benefit for you in this issue... other than to give you the fuel to liken me unfavourably to Adolf Hitler... but I promise to write about something perhaps a little more entertaining in the next entry.

Just to make up for it... 

And if there’s any doubt about someone’s eligibility for a breeding licence, I will be delighted to act as final arbiter on your behalf.

Working from photographic evidence alone, I will take full account of the presence or otherwise of inappropriate facial piercings, tattoos, and beer gut stretched replica football shirts, before reaching a decision. Not perfect, I know, but a good enough start maybe.



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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