Does evolution include any/every biological change or advancement?
For example, genes can be transferred directly (including horizontally) across evolutionary branches, bi-passing the standard, more well-known/popular method. We (human beings) are fundamentally composed of different organisms, many are species in themselves, and we probably contain less eukaryote than eukaryote. Does hybridisation count as evolution? Laboratory or artificial interference – does that count? If so, where is it on the tree? If not, why not?
Sometimes, something comes about – an invention or discovery, that transforms or exponentially speeds up events, and sometimes it is beyond our predictions or control. New, exciting possibilities came about with the advent of the wheel, mechanical transport, mechanical flight, telecommunications, video, computers and genetics.
All of these advancements occurred, ‘naturally’ (i.e. here is a lifeless planet within a relatively closed system, see what happens). Therefore, should we use the term, ‘artificial’, because everything is, what it is, ‘natural’? That we have evolved to be able to utilise physical, chemical and biological material to do advanced things, or even turn things inside out or radically change things, is still, fundamentally natural, isn’t it?
Is a venomous creature, ‘cheating’, because it transforms past norms with a new technique? Opposable primate thumbs or tool using; the ability to speak, create weapons of mass destruction (or mass medical healing devices)?
Human events and actions on the planet, from industry, expansion of habitation, destroying natural habitats, controlling vermin, increasing populations of pretty species (or pets), or selecting types of plants or preferring certain human traits or looks. All of this is natural evolution (unless one is suggesting it is un/supernatural or required outside/intelligent interference?). It is evolution, adapting, using what it has within the technology it knows. Why is a monkey that prefers one type of fruit, (and so forcing a potential change in species and in the environment) being any different than humans doing the same, using its ability, choices and technology?
If the phylogenetic tree turns out not to be a tree, or a very deformed one or more like a bush or coral reef or other simile, then who are we to argue? It doesn’t conform to our needs, we adapt to what it is. If, in the distant future, it turns in on itself as we genetically engineer it, then we must adapt the tree accordingly, we can’t just say that it doesn’t count or it is artificial or false.
If we were able to create an octopus/scorpion hybrid (or any other form by whatever means), then would this need to be shown on the tree, somehow?
Whether a ‘natural’, exceptional (or so called, ‘artificial’) event causes change, they are all technically, ‘natural’ aren’t they?
Exceptional events like the ice age, transporting between land masses, large, survivable genetic abnormalities and so forth, are all beyond the standard, but all have contributed to evolution, so shouldn’t it be reflected on the tree? Why is the human brain and what it is capable of producing, any more artificial or unacceptable, and not be a valid tree addition/benefit, any more than biological locomotion, the exoskeleton, photosynthesis, air breathing or endothermy?
In the attached BBC video short on trnshumanism, the issue is highlighted, as we see (yet again), another issue that c will be controversial. Many controversies have been and gone. Some dropped and some adapted naturally, or under strong opposition. Examples include, women exposing ankles in swimming costumes, men with long hair/skirts, women with short hair/trousers, contraception, abortion, artificial insemination/test tube babies, credit/swipe/chip and pin cards, pet implant chips etc. Punk rockers seem to have been and gone. ORLAN is a French example of an extreme artist, who subjects herself to things for art’s sake, including undergoing surgery, live, without anaesthetic and undergoing facial body extensions.
I remember when Boy George hit the pop scene in the 1980s, I spoke to people at the time, saying that he would be a pivotal figure in people’s sexuality becoming more acceptable, by the way he normalised it. Today, (likewise) members of the Royal family have been outspoken about mental health, which in turn has normalised it and ensured it not to be the stigma it once was. Hopefully, medical attention, priority and funding will reflect or equal this old elephant in the room. In many parts of the world, for many of these controversial issues, it will be a long, slow struggle.
Like many things in life, there is a struggle/cost – physical, personal, emotional, psychological, cultural, religious or societal, in enabling change. If any of the things in this attached BBC video seem odd or radical or unpalatable, they are well explained by the people being interviewed. Our perspective is current, moulded by our surroundings and perhaps should be considered by the benefits or the future.
Like a digger is to a spade, for digging holes, with the advent of Homo sapiens on the scene/tree, evolution will (and surely has) increase(d) exponentially, maybe putting the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals in the shade, by comparison in a new, ‘age of man’.
Please feel free to comment, here, on the Facebook group or in a Forum. I have no monopoly on knowledge, accuracy, opinion or the truth, and welcome anyone who disagrees or wants to correct or share a similar or different view. This is food for thought, nothing more.