We Humans are insignificant players; ‘Universe’ exists only for those who think and acclimatize! Otherwise it is virtual
‘Pure souls, didn’t I tell you not to be seduced by this colourful world for I am the Ultimate Painter.’ Rumi
We humans give ourselves too much credit, like we are causing the next mass extinction – the sixth in the history of life on Earth – this is nothing but fiction. We are not the centrestage, never were, never shall be. Nature has its own path to create balance and ensure survival of the fittest. The only reason Universe exists is because we as sentient beings see it and decipher it; without consciousness there is no space-time bubble to worry about. I have never seen a very smart chimp with 100 words vocabulary or a very smart Dolphin worrying about quantum mechanics and general relativity. Our desire and recent ability to decipher the universe makes it to happen. A few billion less neural connections and synapses and we would be like chimps, least worried about Hubble, James Watt or frustratingly trying to glimpse through the opacity of our first 300 million years from where we come and where we will be in 100 trillion years. We started with singularity, after the furies of birth; the mature cosmos now evolves more slowly, as our Sun becomes a white dwarf in a few billion years, stars will continue to form for as long as another 100 trillion years (about 10,000 times the present age of the universe), every atom in our body is going be a part of this expansion over 100 trillion years and the eventual collapse to nothingness. Maybe a new beginning from the ‘nothingness’ of the black hole awaits us beyond that time. A new Big bang?
Some 99.9 percent of all species that ever lived on earth are now extinct. A study by researchers at Stanford University estimated that the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000, before numbers began to expand again in early Stone Age. Nature has its own cruel way of ensure evolution – we were reduced to a mere 2000 individuals as recently as 70,000 years BC as a result of climatic changes; the same picky and cruel nature has now ensured 6.6 billion people to live on this earth without droughts and major famines. I like what Carl Sagan said, “I don’t want to believe, I want to know.”
Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution through natural selection. My simple thesis is that life would not flourish to this high level of diversity and richness of mind if we were in disagreement with nature; natural selection would eliminate it. Cyanobacteria, about two and one-half billion years ago, nearly destroyed all life. Nature does what it has to do. The very reason we are 6.6 billion is a great sign of our agreement with nature; nature is rewarding our intelligence and cooperation. Nature is the sum total of all physical forces and these physical forces should be in sync for life to flourish. Natural selection has become a strong argument for rebuking the clergy on the insanity of 6,000 years old universe but is put on a back-burner when it comes to the issues of growth and population. It is Natural Selection that continues to ensure our survival. It seems God was quite busy with extinction between 200 million to 65 million years ago; these were the years of massive change as life forms evolved one after the other and gave way to better life forms as a part of natural selection of genes. God was not unhappy with the reptiles living then nor was deity punishing a Tyrannosaurus Rex for ripping the neck of a Diplodocus Carnegiei.
In its 4.6 billion year history, Earth has undergone massive geologic and climatic changes and provided habitat to an ever-changing cast of life forms. In recent years, the origin and early evolution of life has seen an unprecedented development. The Earth provides the requisite conditions of liquid water, an environment where complex organic molecules can assemble. (1) In this 4.6 billion year history, we are relatively new entrants on the life scene, and inspite of it, have survived against massive odds. According to a report published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the new study looks at the mitochondrial DNA of the Khoi and San people in South Africa which appear to have diverged from other people between 90,000 and 150,000 years ago.
The researchers, led by Doron Behar of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel and Saharon Rosset of IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Tel Aviv University, concluded that humans separated into small populations prior to Stone Age, when they came back together and began to increase in numbers and spread to other areas.
Human beings’ brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, after an extensive genetic study, reduced the human population to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought. It only reinforces one opinion that extinctions and eliminations, death and rebirth, construction and destruction are integral part of evolutionary processes of nature. (Mass extinctions are ecological disasters (1)) Yet they also create evolutionary opportunities by removing once-dominant groups. Some biologists conclude that humans owe our present dominance to mass extinction — the K/T event that saw the end of dinosaurs and cleared the way for mammals to diversify into all the many ecological roles they now occupy.
A collision in the asteroid belt sent debris tumbling into the inner solar system, hitting the earth, the moon and possibly Mars and Venus. This is the source of the K/T extinction event which is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs. If the meteor had missed and the dinosaurs were still around now, would we? “Was humanity inevitable? Or is humanity just something that happened to arise because of this sequence of events that took place. Also, it should be kept in mind that mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of only five percent of extinct species, the remainder having disappeared through the constant winnowing of natural selection and other continuous processes.
One can perhaps argue that conditions must be really ideal today for us to see population and growth happening. If we were exploiting nature the way Mr. Gore presents, nature would destroy us; our longevity and our better standards are one indication of improving life on this big blue planet of ours. It’s a question of a glass half full or half empty; it is about how one looks at things. Naysayers can complain, but the world is consistently getting better off. Human population was 210m in around 100 AD and until 1000 AD increased to 270m, from 1000 AD to 1800 AD the population increased to 900 m, but after that in 200 years we are nearly 7 billion and much better off.
To evaluate if the life on earth is getting better or worse, the only sign of that improvement or decline would be how good or bad our average longevity is faring? (Life expectancy is one of the factors in measuring the Human Development Index (HDI) of each nation, along with adult literacy, education, and standard of living). By the looks of it, we as humans with all these sham hypochondriac permutations of disasters have done exceptionally well. Imagine improving averages with exponential growth of the population because of the higher life expectancy and lower infantile deaths. If things were wrong and global weather and environmental conditions were declining this indicator should have logically been the first victim. When environment was not conducive to dinosaurs they disappeared, we are multiplying; something is right about our surroundings. We have millions of years of conscious life ahead of us even by most pessimist projections. Since post renaissance free minds have achieved so much there is no reason to believe that free minds will not exponentially continue to explore new ideas with equal new enthusiasm and challenge.
Genetics is proving that we and our environs are extremely robust and whatever we have achieved so far is sustainable. Eastern Africa experienced a series of severe droughts between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago and researchers said this climatological shift may have contributed to population changes, dividing into small, isolated groups which developed independently. Today our world has conquered famine, has conquered lethal disease leading to a longer life expectancy and have led humans to think far and beyond. We are no longer gazing into the skies like aimless chimps. We are at the verge of defining our origin, our moment of birth, the Big Bang; we will see it happening from the eyes of the next generation of the Hubble Telescope (2). In the next few years, global warming and global climatic changes will happen but we play a very little part in that. We need to redefine our role in nature as very peripheral. We don´t damage anything; our span of life on this planet is indicative of our agreement with nature to live in peace – a ‘human-nature contract’ that has not been violated.
Palaeontologist Meave Leakey, a Genographic adviser, commented: “Who would have thought that as recently as 70,000 years ago, extremes of climate had reduced our population to such small numbers that we were on the very edge of extinction.” And here we are, 70,000 years later, growing in numbers, thriving, flourishing and prospering testament to man intrinsic constructive nature. The biggest challenge for us now is to transfer this continuing growth and prosperity to the lowest strata of society. In the name of ‘environment preservation’ let’s not deplete and waste Mother Earth’s precious resources in producing bio fuels and deprive the poor of nature’s wealth. Nature does what it does, and will do it again. If we have to go into extinction, it will be because of forces beyond our control; we will see the Katrinas and the tsunamis and will deal with whatever lies in our destiny. Such is the nature of things.
Let’s not play God. Interestingly this DNA-based Genetic study put a spanner in the work of ‘answersingenesis.org’ as it inadvertently concludes that there was no global flood hence the ‘Noah Ark, was it big enough for dinosaurs is a question that I will now have to struggle to answer.’
The religions need someone to insert elements of Moore’s Law and economies of scale to change their naive approach. It is not a ‘manufacturing defect’ but rather the antiquated viruses of software that have totally corrupted the ‘hardware.’ The hardware created by the ‘ software dogma’ based on the Holy Scriptures is unable to operate in modern times. The demands of Modern age have moved on, we cannot run a K computer at 8.16 peta FLOPS, the fastest in the world on “the 4000 family chip.”
We humans of today are like K computer ‘absorption of knowledge like sponge’ is our new wiring structure of brains. A modern day man has knowledge far superior than the man of the last decade, it is like a current model quad-core Xeon workstation running at 2.66 GHz will outperform a multimillion dollar Cray C90 supercomputer used in the early 1990s; most workloads requiring such a supercomputer in the 1990s can be done on workstations costing less than 4,000 US dollars as of 2010.
Our processors should be ever shifting and ever responding to the changing trends of time like those of super computers, processor configuration of today’s top supercomputers rely on ASCI Red 9,472 Intel Pentium II, ASCI Blue Pacific 5,856 IBM PowerPC 604E ASCI White 8,192 IBM Power3-II NEC Earth Simulator 5,104 NEC vector processors. Religious dogma and creed will be eradicated; learn from Intel.
From nothing to nothing! As we expand, the galaxies will become undetectable, and all the energy all information will be lost from the cosmos. The universe will revert to nothingness, we started with nothingness of a black hole we will end right there in 100 trillion years or so. Man is fresh out of caves. 10,000 years of known civilization, starting from Jericho, is only a fraction of time of our one billion year plausible and likely stay here until the sun implodes and busts us. The Prophets and Gods we have created in this cave age era of ours will all be forgotten as small footnote of our pagan humble beginnings.
One thing will continue i.e. the ideas perpetrated by the likes of Carl Sagan: ”For small creatures such as us the vastness is bearable only through love.” Future recorder of events will treat us a ‘the knowledgeable creatures of this age of information’ as ‘upper cave age’ limited mortals due to our predominant addiction and mental enslavement on set of beliefs originated from hearsay, scriptural myths and legends. 4 billion of practicing faithful are oblivious to the fact that mankind is at the cusp of a new era of information that shall last million of millenniums.