Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leaps

First there was asexual reproduction and evolution chugged along really really really slowly. Then Natural Selection seldom had candidates to select from and push forward beyond the other individuals of the species.


Then sexes separated and evolution leapt forward. The Natural Selection's offices were then overwhelmed with applicants. The ones with superior genes lived longer and passed on their good genes to their children. But in most cases, Natural Selection weeded out the inferior ones by ensuring that they were killed - in many cases by the superior ones, in other cases by the hazards of the environments or diseases.


To ensure that the superior genes replaced the inferior ones, all the individual with the inferior genes had to be killed and the population which remained would then be the descendants of that one individual which acquired the superior gene first.


In olden times, the population size was limited, so it was easier for Mother Nather to cause death of the non superior individuals.


In modern times, the process of Natural Selection is becoming less relevant. The human population has increased to such a level that say if a single individual had a superior gene, then ofcourse it will take like forever wait till his descendants completely spread and replace the existing population. Only something drastic could do that, like for example a disease which wipes out everyone except a few unique individuals.


On a day to day case, it does not matter if you have some inferior set of genes, because technology and medical advances allow you to over come them artificially - so if you have Type 1 Diabetes, you don't have to worry about dying soon, unless we have an apocalypse and we run out of and start fighting over insulin supply. 


Genetic engineering has been progressing an alarming rate. Soon we would be able to add/replace superior genes into bodies of grown adults. We would be able to take control of evolution over from Mother Nature. 


There are lots of moral implications of this. It was okay for mother nature to cause mutation to randomly bless some with superior genes and curse others with inferior genes, but when man acquires power to try and do this to himself, he is accused of "playing God". Of course we are playing God. God wanted us to. Mother Nature selected unique individuals over the ages to bring us to this level of technological advancement. If God did not mean for us to discover/invent various aspects of Genetic Engineering, then s/he wouldn't have allowed us to progress to this level. (God also wanted us to build huge buildings of reinforced concrete, but that's a discussion for another day)


So now instead of leaving to chance, the process of natural selection/evolution, we can now identify individuals with good genes and introduce them into the rest of the population and enhance everyone. No part of the population needs to die out. Of course we cant grow a new 6th finger, but if we have the gene introduced within us, then we can pass it on to our children who will then have 6 fingers. 


Obviously, while carrying out this process, we will make mistakes. Many patients who "volunteered" for this experiment would die. But we have to think and decide for ourselves - When mother nature did this, it was ok, but when this happens through our hands, it is immoral and a murder! But are we not instruments of God?


We owe it to ourselves and to the power that created us to move forward without fear. The moral rules which tie us back bind us from taking leaps. Maybe our children who will rewrite their own moral rules will be able to accept this fully and progress unhindered to the next level.


One thing if it happens before we reach that level would be good - abolition of poverty. For that we would need clean and abundant source of energy and interstellar travel and knowledge. Instead of amassing wealth, we would need to focus our attention elsewhere - This is the star trek philosophy. This will ensure that everyone has access to improve themselves through genetic engineering - something which only the rich and the wealthy would be able to afford otherwise. 
If that does not happen, the difference between the rich and the poor will widen so immensely that, the suffering which will ensue would really be heart rending. Of course the rich will then have an option to acquire a gene which would let them turn off empathy within them.


In the end we will become what we are to become. This might sound fatalist, but it seems Mother Nature had deliberately planned to hand over her tricks of trade to us - it is her calculated move, A leap in Evolution.



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