38A Vane Attempt

"Don't Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way the Wind Blows" 

A Series of Innocuous Blogs for Vainglorious Edification.

Un-Natural Selection
August 14, 2008

In the mid-1800s, Charles Darwin and the English biologist Alfred Russell Wallace independently conceived of a natural, observable, way for life to change: a process Darwin called natural selection.  In the simplest of terms they observed the evolution of life by “survival of the fittest.”  That meant a process by which the genotypes in a population that are best adapted to the environment increase in frequency relative to less well-adapted genotypes over a number of generations.   A great part of that adaptation has come about due to competition intrinsic to and between the multitude of species.  In the order of the jungle we are accustomed to watching one species of animal dominate another by strength, size, speed or agility.  For each species there is a predator or predatory element that lives by consuming the lesser species.  But above each dominate species is a far more powerful element that renders it moot.  Even the king of the beasts must survive flood, fire and drought. 

We see this phenomenon mirrored on a cosmological basis in the universe.  Stars and galaxies cross, collide are consumed and reproduce on an enormous eternal stage.  A spiral galaxy circling a powerful black hole will gravitationally suck in billions of smaller stars, adding to its energy and gravitational attraction.  As that galaxy moves across time and space it may collide with a lesser galaxy that adds to its total galactic mass while destroying billions of individual stars in the process.  The larger galaxy survives, the smaller one is usually destroyed.

In both terrestrial and cosmological application of natural selection we observe an elegant balance within the Creation.  On Earth we are not overrun by billions of beetles because they succumb to environmental conditions limiting their ability to reproduce endlessly.  In the cosmos stellar nurseries accumulate raw gasses essential to life and belch out billions of new stars while the old ones die off.  There is a constant, adaptable balance between competing systems that holds the entire Creation in material and spiritual homeostasis. 

But then, along comes intelligent life which selects the ability not only to comprehend itself and the universe around it - but to develop the ability to alter itself.  This is relatively new to human understanding.  We must now acknowledge a species of life able to alter its own physiology and environment by accelerating or circumventing natural selection.  Technology is playing that role in the lives of  human beings every day.  Through the use of technology we are able to artificially expand life beyond what a non-technological society could do.  We are able to alter our environment both destructively (pollution) and constructively (renewable forests).  The imminent danger that lies ahead is confronting the problem of imbalance, especially in population growth.  When technology suddenly allows far more life than countermanding die off - we have essentially voided natural selection. 

And when one system or species is allowed to monopolize all other systems or species, the natural order is lost.  The presumption is the intelligence which allows the imbalance in the first place is capable of restoring the balance in some other way.  But this assumes that intelligence and technology are a fitting match for billions of years of terrestrial and cosmological evolution.  Within that evolution, or as E.O. Wilson calls it, “The Creation” is an unknown, inherent intelligence that far exceeds the technology of a single species of beings.  That intelligence, call it super-empirical intelligence, Godlike intelligence, Great Spirit intelligence or Divine Knowledge - engages no single aspect of life at the expense of another aspect of life.  There are no monopolies or exclusive fiefdoms in the divine order; there is only a continuous and perfect love for the diversity of The Creation. 

What Darwin encountered on his journeys into nature was the microcosmic expression of the enormity of life.  Nature tells us that even though there are kingdoms and hierarchies and orders of ascendancy - there is always a counterbalance to a dominate system.  And that technological selection, while beneficial in the short term, is simply another blip on the radar of The Creation.  In the end we would like to think that there is never just one way to evolve; there are many ways to evolve,  and each one is capable of delivering us to our home.