Anti-evolutionary thought

We were in some nature preserves on our vacation.  In each place, on every informational placard, at least half of the material presented was about the fact that this plant or that animal is going extinct.  Other species are moving in and destroying the whatever it is.  We must stop it!

It all makes for very depressing reading and its typical of any natural history place I’ve been anywhere in the world.  I’ve also noticed that I’m not the only one who has learned to bypass these signs because of their relentless proselytizing.  I miss out on a lot of good information, but at least I’m not consistently banged over the head by the fact that something is losing the battle to something else.

It occurred to me on this last trip, though, that there is something anti-evolutionary about this whole “freeze this species in time” approach to things.  The whole concept of evolution is about change.  It holds that nothing is static, but that the natural world is constantly facing challenges and either adapting or dying.  Some challenges ought not to occur, and do represent the worst type of human intervention.  For example, the hunting to extinction of the gentle Dodo bird was a dreadful thing to happen.  I also have a very hard time finding any excuse whatsoever for the animals in Africa that are being hunted to extinction to satisfy the insatiable desire for aphrodisiacs in some parts of Asia.

Other challenges to a species’ survival — at least in its original form — are man made, but I doubt that many would claim they ought to be undone.  If anyone needs reminding, dogs, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and horses were not originally domesticated.  They became domesticated because humans deliberately interfered with their development, winnowing out the “bad” ones that did not suit human needs so that the only ones left were the useful, helpful and very comforting animals that are an integral part of most human life on earth — and have been for thousands of years.

And then there are those natural challenges:  climate change, which has been occurring for millenia, not just since the industrial revolution; volcanoes, whether creative or destructive; natural disasters, such as floods or tornadoes or earthquakes; etc.  I won’t enumerate them all.  It’s sufficient to note that nature changes without any input from us, the humans on this earth.

My sense is that, at all these national parks, and zoos, and natural history museums, the curators make no distinction whatsoever between the different engines of change that can affect the wildlife (plant or animal) under their care.  In their view all change is bad.  But that can’t be right.  Without change, we’d all still be single cell creatures living in a vast shadowing ocean.  There has to be change, and the parks, zoos and other places would do better, and make themselves more interesting, if they would acknowledge that fact.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    So true, Book. I often notice that city people walk into a forest with a sense that what they see is a museum frozen in time, rather than a dynamic force of change and evolution. For example, you can’t “preserve” old growth forests such as you have in Northern California because nature will force change upon such a forest through wind, fire, rot and disease. Old growth forests must die to be reborn and provide sustenance to new life.

  • greag

    Indeed, Bookworm, partitioning change by its drivers is an awfully good idea. Unfortunately for your apologetics and knee-jerk impulse to scorn, anthropogenic ally-driven change remains the defining characteristic of this epoch. Still, such change remains open to modulation, management and reversal. The plastic nature (as opposed to determinant nature) of anthropogenic change is what confers responsibility onto the individual, a personal responsiblity that conservatives cheer in other arenas.

  • http://Bookwormroom.wordpress.com Bookworm

    If you didn’t write that with a thesaurus at your side, greag, I’m impressed. Still, there is some virtue to using simple words, even to impart complex ideas.

  • zhombre

    Yes, and some vice in using pretentious words to impart no ideas at all.

  • greag

    Hush Z-Ray, your jealousy shows when you pout.

  • zhombre

    One thing baffles me: why do people who have nothing I would envy accuse me of envy? As far as the Seven Deadly Sins are concerned, I’m so infatuated with Lust I have no time for the other six.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    That’s funny, Z.

  • greag

    Because your insecurity as a writer, Z-Ray, drives you to ridicule others for the faults you wish you lacked? I’ve advised you before to put a cap on it and get down to the hard work of your own writing. Try it. And thank me a year from now.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Indeed, Bookworm, partitioning change by its drivers is an awfully good idea.

    Unfortunately for your apologetics and knee-jerk impulse to scorn, anthropogenic ally-driven change remains the defining characteristic of this epoch.

    Still, such change remains open to modulation, management and reversal.

    The plastic nature (as opposed to determinant nature) of anthropogenic change is what confers responsibility onto the individual, a personal responsiblity that conservatives cheer in other arenas.

    Allow me to do a translation service. Since I often use some of the same methods to save time, when more elaboration may be called for.

    1. Siding with those that want evil changes is a good (sarcastic) idea as opposed to siding with those that want changes for the good.

    2. Unfortunately for you, Book, your attempts at apologizing for the forces of darkness and your petty desire to libel the Forces of the Light is still no match against the reality of human centered meddling in the stream of time.

    3. However, just because such forces of change come from humanity does not mean the Left cannot have a say in the destiny of lower lifeforms. For no lifeform can escape its ultimate fate under me.

    4. The easily manipulated nature of lower lifeforms is vulnerable to human interference, thus providing responsibility to the discerning human and would be godling. A discernment that conservatives doth not conserve.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    There, if you read my translations 1 through 4, you’ll get the gist of what G means.

    G, like all malignant narcissists, often want to create this fantasy world. You, Book and Z, are just actors on the stage with a play directed by G. You two are of no special important to G, really.


    Respect – you know, that something he never had for anyone he wasn’t scared of.


    In fact, humanity’s so-called intellectuals are arguably the worst. Recent studies in the UK show that their minds tend to remain permanently in the “immature” state, “educable mode,” which results in congnitive flexibility, blindly believing whatever some authority figure says, and a wide open mind that will let anything in without first running a logic check on it.


    They have a deeply ingrained mental habit of filtering out everything but the kind of information they want – their own reflected grandiose image – in their interactions with people. This goes further than ‘selective memory.” This is “selective consciousness.”


    Remember that you are bug in his esteem, unworthy of more attention than a fly on the wall. To give you any would pain him as a terrible comedown.

    Again, for example. Take one muddy kid and set him loose on an unsupervised playground with clean kids. He will run around, smearing himself off on every clean spot on other kids – till they are all muddy and crying and he looks good by comparison.

    That is just a bad day at the playground.

    But when he grows up, what if he keeps doing the same thing? What if he projects his faults and flaws off onto others by character assassination? People lose their jobs. Families break up. Businesses fail. Good leaders bite the dust and bad leaders get elected. No minor matter.- Kathy

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Plastic natures are no minor matter.

    G is a nice target. He is simply a computer pretending to act like a human. The Turing Test is being bypassed by the large vocabulary tricks.

  • pacificus

    Well, reaching past greag’s idiotic attempt to appear intelligent, and Book’s gentle (but devastating) rebuke of said attempt, to Book’s original comments–bravo!

    I have been struck by the same contradiction for some time, and especially this whacko idea that nothing in the physical environment can ever change; that the shape of things during our lifetimes–an eyeblink or less in geologic time–is THE form that the earth must take; and that human agency is anything like the major driver of such change. Childish, naive, utopian; certainly of a piece with the rest of what the left has on offer.

  • zhombre

    I’ll give G. credit for one thing, on a personal level. I should put on the thinking cap, forsake blogs, and focus on writing. But, Greg, I don’t feel insecure as a writer. Only underpaid.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    What happened to G. Did he crawl back into the troll cave under the Bridge Between Hell and Earth?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    G reminds me of the Hamas boyos. Launch a few attacks, declare a cease fire, and then go into the shadows to re-arm their fragile psyches for another explosion of hate.