Parameters, statistics, limitations and predictions of evolution.
The coronavirus pandemic is a good example of the unpredictable things which can happen in evolution. Sometimes, a whole ecosystem or food source might change or be lost, and some life may readily adapt, whilst other life perishes. A slight temperature change might cause extinction for some and not for others. Sometimes something (even seemingly small) might affect all life (or significant parts of it) or something catastrophic might not bother things at all. The most resilient organism might not be able to cope or adapt to something entirely new, whilst some vulnerable (to change) things might not have a problem with something which it can adapt to. If we knew the limits and likelihood of environmental factors and conditions with accuracy, we could predict evolution a lot better. Like in, ‘war of the worlds’ or, ‘Day of the triffids’ or, ‘Achilees’ where a seemingly all powerful, destructive organism was caught out by the simplest of things.
Since the advent of computers, digital media and the internet, cloud storage and micro drives, humanity has largely burnt its bridges from the manual and paper system. It is so easy to lose data, as the existence of thousands of data recovery companies testify to. A 128Gb USB drive (there are 1+ Tb ones now) the size of the smallest pencil sharpener is so deceptively large by storage of data standards, (millions of books/files, thousands of videos, hundreds of thousands of photos). A library full. Imagine if a company, library, government office or hospital burnt down with all their files. Well if all that can fit in your trouser pocket and be lost amongst the loose change and simply fall out, it is very dangerous and deceptive and depending on what is on it, it could be harmful to individuals or even a nation.
I often used to lie in bed, thinking about possibilities. One, was that the universe might suddenly forget something (a law?) or someone might do something that catches the monist essence out, and everything breaks down, or a black hole suddenly engulfs the universe. One episode of the twilight zone (I of Newton) featured a demon speaking to a maths professor. He was describing all the power he had and granted him one request/task which he would answer/do. Very much like a genie. He said, ‘get lost’. The demon looked confused and scared as he disappeared, forever no doubt.
The current (March 2020) situation with coronavirus was unpredicted and no doubt something much worse could occur, be it something that is a virus that spreads easier, lasts longer or has more serious effects etc. But there are an infinite larger number of, equally unknown and unpredictable scenarios, like civil or international wars etc. that are related or unrelated. But even now, it is affecting the whole world in every sense. Business, society, companies, hospitals, shops, work, school, travel and… many will die.
That is why it is often futile to predict evolution, though there are many quite stable factors that are more likely than others. Using oxygen as a source of respiration is highly likely and whales and fish sticking it out in water for the foreseeable future (or becoming extinct if the need to leave happens quickly).
If all digital media and access was lost, I wonder what would happen? Like the Y2K fear, but much bigger (and actually real)? It is the indirect consequences that are the things of unknown consequence.
And what if mankind became extinct? What would happen over the next few years, decades and centuries and beyond? It might sort climate change out. Yes, it does exist.
The Indian government has recommended Homeopathy as a method of helping the coronavirus pandemic. That’s where we (in the UK – ironically, but genuinely) get our best doctors from.
It is also ironic that we think ourselves superior to all other life, which is perhaps a belief hiding behind weapons, walls and technology we have made to hide behind. In truth, we are a small, weak species who would struggle to survive alone. And personal strength is not the measure of advancement. If just a small number of species died out, we could be overrun. If insects died, we would die. If we died, the animal kingdom wouldn’t even blink and would carry on a thrive as a result.
But not just that. The ozone layer and global warming would return to safe levels. Far from being the greatest species since sliced bread, we are probably the worst, weakest and most evil and destructive. But it doesn’t need to be that way. It just depends how bad we want it.
Twilight Zone – I of Newton:
What would happen if humans suddenly died?