Blog Seven – Evolved Behavior and Natural Equilibrium

The theme of evolution was the major facet pervading the continuum of this class, with the focus on biological evolution. In evaluating biological evolution in humans currently, it is quite difficult to coherently analyze any significant change, as the time scale natural selection requires in homo sapiens is not observable in a human lifetime. A trait that could potentially be selected for is observable, such as when a human has a rare resistance to a virus that most other humans lack. We can see the result of such a selection with sickle-cell anemia in malaria zones; but with the advent of modern medicine, the survival rates of diseases have increased to a degree that may slow or stop selection in this regard. Thus, the ingenuity of mankind has trumped biological evolution with the evolution of knowledge, which has the distinct advantage of being able to be passed to every member of a species without any considerable regard to time.

This evolution of ideas is manifested most visibly in culture and behavior. Barbaric practices, many of which were efficient and effective in achieving their end goals, have fallen out of favor due to morality and ethics. In the guise of natural selection, the ending of many of these practices makes no logical sense. This creates an interesting question: can the ideas of man overcome the nature that created him? Will our culturally evolved behaviors, that we deem imperative, actually cause regress rather than continued progress? Our damage to the climate continues, and the projection of future climatic effects is dim. This damage is the result of extremely complex interactions between old and new evolved behaviors, mixed with technological advancement. As the climate is altered, mankind continues to reproduce exponentially (a biologically evolved trait driven by unconscious genetic continuation imperatives), creating a massive food bubble that many scientists predict, because underground aquifers used for agriculture are emptied faster than they can refill, will burst and cause famine of the likes which the world has never seen. Humans are killing off and displacing the other organisms that provided an equilibrium to our system at an alarming rate. Any scientist knows that a system strives toward equilibrium, and humans pretend our overpopulation will not incur a naturally-inevitable rebalancing.

However, if mankind chooses to apply both the knowledge of his own nature, and the abstract ideas that allow civilizational and technological advancement, a new thought pattern and value system could evolve that creates a behavior system that is congruent to the realities of our habitat. Ignoring the realities of the drives and roots of human physical and mental processes is a great misstep in achieving true progress in evolving the behavior of the species in a manner that provides cultural and temporal stability. Those who attempt to socially engineer mankind with no regard to his nature walk just as dangerous of a path as those who choose to use science with no regard to its effects on our environment and ourselves. Both act as gods, but they are only human.

One thought on “Blog Seven – Evolved Behavior and Natural Equilibrium

  1. I found it rather interesting that you brought in the topic of sickle cell anemia. There are so many aspects of life that humans have evolved and adapted to. I also talked about how our technology is one of these aspects and is vital to our existence. It allows us to become more resourceful and deal with problems we otherwise wouldn’t be able to deal with. I didn’t even think about the fact that we are in a food bubble and soon we wont be able to support the population with food. This is rather important as it allows us to further illustrate how technology will yet again help us find a way to adapt and evolve to the environment. I really loved how you brought this point up as well as your view on the problem as a whole.

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