I was talking to somebody last night who showed me quite a bit of ignorance when it came to evolution. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ignorance in most cases, including this one. It doesn’t imply a lack of intelligence or anything like that. All it means is that she hasn’t spend hours upon hours of her life slogging through Wikipedia and YouTube videos, and reading occasional Dawkins books as I have. The problem is when people deny the evidence before them. In this conversation nobody was guilty of that so I don’t need to discuss it.
The interesting part of the conversation was her perspective. Not only was it a creative one, but it was her own and one from angles largely untouched by those obsessed with facts and truth, such as myself. I can debunk ideas as impossible… to an extent – I’m not even a fraction of an expert – but in a way it makes me think ‘why bother?’. Sometimes, facts are not sufficient, knowledge is not suitable.
One of her ideas was that although evolution is believable, human evolution is different and harder to accept – there is too much missing between the ape and the human. I gather this is referring to ‘sentience’. And yes, this is a massive hurdle nobody has yet to cross. There are thousands of books dedicated to Consciousness, all of which conclude with ‘I dunno’.
But, like most frontiers in science, they are eventually broken through and become the norm. Evolution is one example. At one point this idea was taboo and those who supported it were heathen or plain crazy. But over time people just have to accept it when the evidence is shown to be so overwhelming.
Germans and Americans are currently mapping the entire network system of the brain. American’s are mapping it out in all its intricate detail, and Germans are making a detailed model. This I believe will lead to a giant leap in the understandings of consciousness, some years down the line, but who knows.
Myth: we only use 10% of our brains. What would happen if we could unlock the other 90%?.
Nothing. We use all of our brain, it’s just that we don’t use all of it simultaneously. Some parts are used for shopping, other parts are used for figuring out a maths problem, and others are used for deciding whether or not you’re a raging homosexual.
Another idea of hers was that humans did not even come from earth but were simply deposited here from a previous race of humans, or perhaps a far superior civilisation.
This one I think is great. Not only because it’s quite magical in its creativity, but that there may even be truth to it.
The chances are somewhat high that we are in fact martians. It is not uncommon when big space rocks hit planets, and the impact forces planetary rocks into space. Those rocks will go on an indefinite course until they hit something else, such as Earth. We already have rocks proven to be from Mars. Scientists are also certain that water used to run free on Mars. If, at some point before Earth was life sustainable, microbes from mars were blown into space, and landed on Earth, it could have seeded the planet in order to evolve into us.
There are already many examples of microbial life that can survive the harsh, air-less conditions of space for extended periods, so perhaps we are in fact travelers from the red planet.
This doesn’t defy evolution, however, and in fact, Dawkins is practically certain that the way evolution occurred on Earth is probably consistent throughout the Universe (at least, our universe). Of course this leads to an infinite number of combinations to create an explosion of different creatures, but by and large, life will consist of the same basic ingredients.
This belief is for a few reasons. One that Neil DeGrasse Tyson points out is that the most abundant elements in the Universe are: Helium, Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and various others. Hydrogen and Helium make up the majority of that.
Humans are made from: Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon and various others.
Not only that, but water is the most abundant compound in the Universe (Hydrogen and Oxygen combined), and our entire ecosystem happens to rely entirely on… water.
If we find life, it is very, very likely it will be carbon-based, and water reliant. Carbon is by far the most flexible element in the universe, allowing humans as well as diamonds to form.
So who knows, perhaps we are from Mars, perhaps we came here on a passing comet originating light years away, having picked up tiny specks of life on the way.
Myth: Humans descend from chimps/monkeys.
No, Humans descend from a chimp/monkey-like creature that existed long before chimps/monkeys and humans did, and has since died out. If you picture this chimp/monkey as the trunk of a tree, humans, chimps and monkeys are three separate branches higher up. at no point did we come from one another.
Gravity is a fact, Mars is a fact, Evolution is a fact. I’m grateful for science popularisers such as NDTyson, Dawkins, Kaku, Krauss, Nye and so on, and I think at some point the world will follow the inevitable trend of enlightenment thanks to these people, but for now, we still have to deal with people burning Nepalese women alive for witchcraft, something that will kickstart my next post – http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Nepal-Woman-Accused-of-Witchcraft-Burned-Alive.html