Nature

Who do you think we are?

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“Our mastery over the forces of nature has led to a rapid growth of population, and a vast accumulation of wealth; but these have brought with them such an amount of poverty and crime, and have fostered the growth of so much sordid feeling and so many fierce passions, that it may well be questioned, whether the mental and moral status of our population has not on the average been lowered, and whether the evil has not overbalanced the good.”

Alfred Russel Wallace


That was more than 150 years ago. Alfred Russel Wallace was born 194 years ago and became a leading scientist, who independently proposed a theory of natural selection, which prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own theory.

I wonder what instilled his negative view on the evolution of human society. It is also remarkable to read his historic assessment of our proliferation and its effect on our ethics. What would he think if he were around today? Did his voice go unheard?

On another note, it is also Elvis Presley’s birthday today.

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Note to self

A divided land

Like many Americans, I have not been involved in politics. Just 120 million voters participated in this years presidential election. And they more or less split their votes evenly between 2 candidates from the 2 major parties in the country.

There are at least 100 million eligible voters in the country, who decided not to register or decided not to vote. This is a first divide. You got to wonder, why is it that almost half of the population does not participate on the political process? But that’s a whole different story.

Now we have a president-elect that claims climate change is a hoax and a vice president-elect, who believes in creationism. That again is a fair representation of our country. About 40% of Americans believe that human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals. The same amount of folks believe we were created the way we are.

The same can be said about climate change. Just 33% think that climate scientists understand “very well” whether global climate change is happening. 27% say climate scientists don’t understand this “too well” or don’t understand it at all. We are even split with regard to the news media’s coverage of climate change. About half of the country believes the media do a “good job” covering global climate change, while the other half says they do a “bad job.”

I believe the list goes on.

We are a divided country.

An event like this election is a great opportunity to learn. To educate ourselves, to make informed decisions, to participate (register and vote), to make democracy work.

There have been historic events in our not so distant past as a human society, where we have missed such opportunities – with grave consequences.

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Quote

Remembering Charles Darwin

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”

Charles Darwin

CharlesToday we celebrate Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday. He certainly was one of the most influential scientists walking the Earth, whether you believe in his hallmark observations and conclusions on evolution or not.

He was also a remarkable human.

This is what he wrote to his future wife Emma Wedgwood, his first cousin:

“I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there is greater happiness, than building theories, and accumulating facts in silence and solitude”.

Amen.

By the way, Charles did not consider himself an atheist, in the sense of denying the existence of God…

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