How Does Evolution Work?

In part one of evolution, we agreed that evolution is NOT a simplistic version of survival of the fittest, but rather a change in the gene pool over time. We said that we have no control over time and that our direct impact upon our own human gene pool is insignificant. The third word in the definition is change.

What causes this change?

No person knows exactly, and unless you can understand all the genes in all the species in the ecosystem and all the ways in which these species interact to allow the ecosystem to be alive, then there is no way for you to know precisely what causes evolution, beyond what we have already said. There is a change in the gene pool, that is, a change in the information content of the living ecosystem.

Now it gets complicated because the gene pool changes in response to the environment. That sounds like a cycle, doesn’t it, with the gene pool on one side and the environment on the other. The gene pool is necessary for the environment, and the environment is necessary for the gene pool. And this is true, except for time.

If the gene pool changes in response to the environment then the gene pool is changed, and it can not go back to what it was before. Therefore, in the next moment of time, or more likely the next generation of organisms, the relationship between the gene pool and the environment is different, because the gene pool is different. That will then make the environment somewhat different; and then the environment influences the gene pool again in the next following generation. So it’s not a cycle, like the carbon cycle, that happens over and over again in the same sort of way. It’s more like a spiral with infinite potential to continue — if it doesn’t destroy its own environment or its own gene pool.

So to this guy on Wall Street who is puffing out his chest and gloating that he is contributing to the survival of the fittest by causing the destruction of weaker companies, or because his company has grown 100%. That’s not the way it works. Furthermore, he doesn’t know how it works. And what that guy has done to us all is essentially to unbalance the ecosystem, which depends upon balance for its survival.

The ecosystem does not honor Ponzi schemes, nor does it honor growth. The ecosystem defines “fitness,” as the ability to maintain a viable balance among all the factors that it requires for its survival. Balance between the gene pool and the environment; balance in all the interactions among all the species in the gene pool of the ecosystem; balance among all the chemicals and nutrients that cycle around so that we may have life, and balance between input of energy from the sun and its use by organisms.

090906Bali_dsc3512S copyThat economist who is going around boasting that he has grown 100%, what has he done by growing 100%? He has taken out more resources than the earth ecosystem can sustainably replace, he has destroyed species that are required for balance of the ecosystem, and even changed the weather for goodness sakes, and he thinks he has done a good thing because he‘s a winner in human terms. That guy, who is richer and more important than any other person on wall street, if you measure him by natural law, is one of the most unfit persons on earth. He and his friends have caused more harm than any other single group of humans, probably in history, because he, like Hitler, chose to rally behind a silly slogan rather than find out how evolution really does work.

The ecosystem is not human; it does not bow to human power, and its requirements for survival are not dictated by human ethical beliefs. We can not change the physical laws of God, such as gravity, thermodynamics and evolution — or of the ecosystem. The only thing we can do to contribute to a viable balance in the ecosystem is change our own behaviors, and it’s way past time that we begin.

Evolution Doesn’t Work That Way

Many people today, from the military to the economist to the new age, are basing decisions about their behavior on evolution. Some of us don’t even know we are doing it, and most don’t really know what evolution is. If we are thinking that evolution is “survival of the fittest,” we are making a mistake. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t plan to change physical evolution anyhow, and we would be far better to base our social behaviors on human ethics so as to possibly impact social change, and our physical efforts on not unbalancing the ecosystem.

Physical evolution is the law of nature that involves the information content of life and is the process of change of the entire information content of the ecosystem over time. Or, a change of a part of the ecosystem over time.

We all understand that time does not go backward, nor does it stop. I don’t know why; physicists might know about that. I do know time stops for no living thing. We can’t change what has already happened, so it’s better not to make mistakes. If God created the ecosystem, then, that’s one of God’s laws.

So that takes care of time. We can not change what is already behind us. Furthermore, no matter what we are doing, evolution never stops. It does not happen in the future, or rather it will happen in the future, but it is what is happening in this very moment of time that affects what will happen in the next moment of time. The only thing that actually is changing is — now. So we should think about not making mistakes, and we should think about it now if we want to create a good future for our kind.

The information content of the ecosytem is usually thought of as the gene pool. You could quibble about this and say that there are other forms of information, but I’m talking about the primary source of information that exists at each moment in time in response to whatever conditions exist. That information is all the genes that exist in the gene pool at this moment in time.

So the ecosystem is the largest unit of life as we know it on earth. The information of life is the genes. The gene pool of life is all the genes in that life. The gene pool of a species is all the genes in all the organisms of that species. The gene pool of a population is all the genes in that population. You have only two genes of each kind, and so does everyone else, so your impact on the ecosystem is tinier than tiny. Even if you kill off all your enemies and even if you are more fit than superman, your impact on the gene pool is still tinier than tiny.

So forget the delusions of grandeur. Your individualistic self might make a huge impact in your community of choice, but whatever we believe we are doing won’t matter to the ecosystem if we throw it off balance. Like all living entities, the prime imperative of the ecosystem is to stay in balance so it can survive, and there is no point in any of our physical or spiritual “cures” for our problems if at the same time we continue to unbalance our living home.

“Survival of the fittest” is only an excuse for people like Hitler, and maybe Bernie Madoff. And other people who want to wish away their social and cultural responsibilities by discounting physical reality. Evolution doesn’t work that way.

It would be better to spend out time finding out how it really does work if we want to stop unbalancing our living home.

(Excerpt from “Outside the Circles,” in production)



Building a Better Mousetrap

090915IMG_0505LSs copy“If you hire three experts, what the hell, you don’t need anyone else, they all know the same thing. If you take two experts and two outside people they will build something better.” (A manager at Microsoft)

A quote from Outside the Circle in production

In absence of reality, genuine beauty
can not exist
because all is make-believe.
Lacking beauty, truth is unattainable
because beauty encompasses truth.
Without truth, honor is inconceivable.
To want honor, is to want pride.
Lacking pride, we destroy ourselves,
And others

Agung Rai


Full Moon Festival

090904Bali_dsc3320sToday we hiked up 250 steps to be blessed at a Balinese temple at the top of a holy mountain. At the end of the ceremony, we received rice. From the few grains of rice in our hand, we were to pick the three very best.

The first represents right thinking.
The second represents right talking.
The third represents right doing.

090904Bali_DSC3360sSo I thought about this all day, wondering how to know what is right, and I decided the answer is to think, say and do what is right for the community. That would change, depending on the time, the community and the problem.