MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
A few weeks ago, I was turned on to a new song that was performed by Gerald Casale of the band. DEVO. The song is called “I’m Gonna Pay U Back.” The song is part of an extended album of his side project or other band called Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers. The video was co-directed by Casale and Davy Force. The animation was inspired by the work of artist TOMO77 who also provided the artwork for the album and CD covers.
I also have been reading that DEVO is expected to begin their Fall tour soon –and I am hopeful that they come by Portland and that nothing gets in the way of their performance.
I have been a fan of DEVO for many years, and for others who are DEVO fans, we all know what they mean to all of us science fiction geeks that understood their message. I think there are a lot of people that weren’t in on the joke.
But now the joke has taken on a whole new meaning as we are watching the world around us deteriorate.
DEVO, in my opinion, was just another way of explaining how the world would end in entropy.
Thermodynamics is one of the most fundamental theories of physics, so evident in our everyday world that great minds like Albert Einstein, Boris Pavlovich, and Arthur Eddington saw it as a certainty and not merely a possibility.
At its simplest, thermodynamics is the study of the relationship of all forms of energy in the universe. It connects everything from the smallest swimming microbes to the largest structures known to man — those so big they exist somewhere out there amongst the black backdrop of dark space.
Its first law says that isolated systems have a finite, set amount of energy and energy within that system can never be created nor destroyed, it can only change format. In this case, the isolated system is our universe and energy within our universe can never appear or disappear of its own accord, instead it can only be transferred into different states.
However, it’s the second law of thermodynamics which describes the nature of entropy — the eventual unraveling of everything.
It’s often seen as chaos: the universe tends towards chaos.
It is the truth about de-evolution, so the answer has been that yes we are DEVO.
Many of us over the years have fallen for headlines and click-bait proclaiming foreknowledge of events. We do it for sports, the stock market and just about any other outcomes that cannot be foreseen. There are far more things to think about as we are constantly teetering on the edge of oblivion. I recently have been using the term doom scrolling to describe what happens on a daily basis as we watch the world deteriorate.
Doomsday scares have been happening for hundreds of years, but most are sparked by charismatic leaders issuing divine proclamations.
Not so for the Mayan apocalypse scare back 2012. It just seemed that because of one or two theories the Mayan apocalypse kind of took on a personality all its own. What made this doomsday theory different was that no one religion or cult was pushing it.
The ancient Mayan civilization that rose, flourished and then fell there owed its demise to environmental factors that some scientists say put them well on the road to de-evolution.
Specifically, the changes to the area’s water table that precipitated the decline of the Mayans should serve as a warning to us, say scientists who have found that freshwater sources and the salinity even far inland can fluctuate wildly as a result of ocean tides.
They discovered this by placing sensors in bodies of water throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.
This has taken on a new interest as we are seeing drought all over the United States and Europe –again, scaring us into thinking that we are all doomed at that we too are well on the road to entropy.
Doomsday predictions are almost always a top-down phenomenon – sometimes they pass without fanfare or they wind up becoming tragic.
Now we have settled science telling us that they earth does not have long because of climate change. We are also seeing religious scholars who are now thinking that people should be rapture ready – that there are signs that the earth is going to be shaken to its core and with the world spinning in a quantum maelstrom anything is possible in the apocalypse.
The narratives that have their focus on science and religion are sending mixed messages to the consensus. Mankind is hell bent on discovering our origins and reenacting the big bang in huge colliders. Their objectives are to find the natural key to open the doorway to the mind of God and understand what it is like to have the power of God in their hands.
Physicists have now discovered the subatomic particle predicted over a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.
The elusive particle, called a Higgs-Boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.
We are constantly being reminded that we are indeed living in the 21st century and in the culture at large, we may be on the brink of a major shift in perspective, with enormous implications for how most of us think about how life came to be the way it is.
The whole point of natural selection – the so-called “modern synthesis” of Darwin’s theories with subsequent discoveries about genes is simplistic.
Over time the simplicity has seeped into the culture, and we’ve come to understand natural selection, frequently referred to as the best idea in the history of science.
Yet epigenetics suggests this isn’t the whole story. If what happens to you during your lifetime – living in a stress-inducing world, or overeating can affect how your genes express themselves in future generations. Not only that we have now been able to cheat death with medicines and pharmaceuticals where the once weaker of the species can be helped to attain strength and immunity.
I know that in the past I have presented information about DNA and genetic experimentation. While many people really don’t stop to think about how they put their DNA everywhere, it is becoming a scary world out there for all of us that wonder just what the potential for DNA research and things like epigenetics is.
The fact that you leave genetic information behind on discarded tissues, used coffee cups, and smoked cigarettes everywhere you go is generally of little consequence.
Trouble arises, however, when third parties retrieve this scattered debris of everyday life for the genetic information you have left behind. These third parties may be the police, and the regulation over their ability to collect this evidence is unclear.
Junk science, like vulture pry into the secrets of Junk DNA, wondering just how far we are evolving or if we are going backwards in our evolution.
Beyond the benefits of these genetic projects, there was always the slippery slope of knowing that in the future a technocratic dictatorship or a scientific authority would somehow get a hold of your DNA and misuse it for experimentation and for uses in creating biological weapons, vaccines, cloning procedures and other experimental procedures that are not yet foreseen.
The ability to edit human genes and, consequently, actually engineer a human being from birth, is something we’ve always thought of as Gattaca-style science fiction.
Growing an edited embryo into a fully-fledged adult human wouldn’t just remove a health problem or, in the dystopian future model, create an augmented human. It would leave lasting changes that are passed on; something that many scientists say is desirable in the case of awful health problems, but much more questionable in the case of enhancements.
In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, society is rigidly split into five castes determined through embryonic modification. Much of the consternation surrounding the idea of “designer babies” is that germline editing could make Huxley’s dystopian vision of the future a reality.
At the moment, the prospect of a world populated by genetically modified humans is barely remaining only in the pages of science fiction.
The secrets of the creation process are revealing themselves and perhaps it is time that we realize that there may be that halfway point between the romanticism of the religious story of creation and the scientific method in which creation manifests and data confirms.
This opens the door to an even greater discussion as to what or even who is responsible for why we are here, where we are going, and how and why we exist.
It appears that as we try to control the evolution process with genotype endeavors, we could see a glitch in the progress creating a mutation and from there we could see generations affected by the process.
This is why so many people are worried about the creation of these new technological elixirs that promise us health and well-being by fine tuning our DNA or Telomeres.
We all know that evolution is a slow process that takes many generations of reproduction to become evident. Because humans take so long to reproduce, it takes hundreds to thousands of years for changes in humans to become evident. We simply don’t notice the evolution of humans from day to day because it is happening so slowly.
Some people think that humans’ development of technology has enabled us to short-circuit evolution, or step outside of evolution.
The weakest among us would have died at early ages if it weren’t for pharmaceutical breakthrough and vaccines.
Modern medicine has kept alive people with disease-causing genes who should have been weeded out by evolution. Evolution tells us that humans should be getting stronger as the weaker people die and fail to reproduce, but modern medicine is keeping the weaker people alive and has therefore bypassed evolution.
COVID-19 is now weakening us and it is being argued that perhaps this disease is an equalizer of sorts since there really is no cure. There is limited lethality to this virus and yet with all of the other maladies like heart disease and cancer – this particular virus gets a fast track at warp speed with a Manhattan Project approach.
Because a Manhattan Project meant to create a technology is being used all over again to create an anti-virus bomb that will throw us all into a post biological evolution.
Many have suggested that we are on the brink of moving from biological evolution to a new stage of ‘post-biological’, or technological, evolution. That is, our minds and abilities have reached a point where we can use our powers of observation, comprehension of feedback, and ability to build tools to accomplish goals, in order to enhance our functionality and ability to survive – in a faster, and more targeted way, than the ‘random mutations’ of biological evolution.
Picturing how our species might appear in the far future often invites wild speculation over stand-out features such as height, brain size, and skin complexion. Yet subtle shifts in our anatomy today demonstrate how unpredictable evolution can be.
Take something as mundane as an extra blood vessel in our arms, which going by current trends could be common place within just a few generations.
An artery that temporarily runs down the center of our forearms while we’re still in the womb isn’t vanishing as often as it used to, according to researchers from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide in Australia.
That means there are more adults than ever with what amounts to be an extra channel of vascular tissue flowing under their wrist.
Flinders University anatomist Teghan Lucas reported that:
“Since the 18th century, anatomists have been studying the prevalence of this artery in adults and our study shows it’s clearly increasing “The prevalence was around 10 percent in people born in the mid-1880s compared to 30 percent in those born in the late 20th century, so that’s a significant increase in a fairly short period of time, when it comes to evolution.”
The median artery forms fairly early in development in all humans, transporting blood down the center of our arms to feed our growing hands.
At around eight weeks, it usually regresses, leaving the task to two other vessels – the radial (which we can feel when we take a person’s pulse) and the ulnar arteries.
Anatomists have known for some time that this withering away of the median artery isn’t a guarantee. In some cases, it hangs around for another month or so.
Sometimes we’re born with it still pumping away, feeding either just the forearm, or in some cases the hand as well..
Noting down how often they found a chunky median artery capable of carrying a good supply of blood, the research team compared the figures with records dug out of a literature search, taking into account tallies that could over-represent the vessel’s appearance. Their results were published in 2020 in the Journal of Anatomy.
The fact the artery seems to be three times as common in adults today as it was more than a century ago is a startling find that suggests natural selection is favoring those who hold onto this extra bit of bloody supply.
We might imagine having a persistent median artery could give dexterous fingers or strong forearms a dependable boost of blood long after we’re born. Yet having one also puts us at a greater risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Nailing down the kinds of factors that play a major role in the processes selecting for a persistent median artery will require a lot more sleuthing. Whatever they might be, it’s likely we’ll continue to see more of these vessels in coming years.
If this trend continues, a majority of people will have median artery of the forearm by the year 2100.
We now have a responsibility to be ready for the philosophical challenges that face us in the not too distant future. There is no more room for hate or misunderstanding – it is time for us to open our minds and learn about uncomfortable things and try to cope with the abrupt changes that come with future shock.
Keep in mind that changes like these in the human genetics line were once science fiction and we have not realized what would happen if a mutant reproduced.
Altering the human germline; in effect, tinkering with the very make-up of our species is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.
There are some that believe that doing so would bring about our virtual extinction.
Perhaps we truly are DEVO and that entropy is being forced on us at a rapid rate.
So, the absolutely simple version of natural selection begins to look questionable.
Rather than genes simply “offering up” a random smorgasbord of traits in each new generation, which then either prove suited or unsuited to the environment, it seems that the environment plays a role in creating those traits in future generations, if only in a short-term and reversible way.
Darwin, writing before the discovery of DNA, knew very well that his work heralded the beginning of a journey to understand the origins and development of life. All we may be discovering now is that we remain closer to the beginning of that journey than we’ve come to think.
Now many people will tell you that this does nothing to silence the debate.
Evolution or De-evolution? That is the question. Are we not men? We are DEVO!
Inevitably, those of us who aren’t professional scientists have to take a lot of science on trust. Equally those of us who are not clergymen have to take a lot of religion on faith. Unfortunately, due to varying opinions of both many people make all sorts of leaps based on bias.
There are three things that guide our discernment processes, and they are belief, faith, and bias, everything else is just noise or due to a lack of knowledge is discounted as a fallacy.
Ignorance steers us into all sorts of myths and tall tales to feed into our bias.