Sunday Morning Musings: October 23, 2011

While I enjoy the Manchester derby this beautiful autumn morning, I’m reflecting on some of the events, both near and far, from the week:

Which Star Trek Character Are You? I’m now officially called the Vulcan in my house. Because I try to approach issues with an emotional detachment and look at the root causes logically, I’m Spock. I think I enjoy that label; I always admired Spock’s extreme calm under pressure and thoughtful problem solving. Incidentally, my wife if Kirk. A natural leader, she puts herself out there but where’s her emotions on her sleeve. She’s definitely the Tabasco sauce to my bland soup!

Facebook arguments? I managed to go the week without arguing on facebook with any of my friends. I have taken the approach, depending on the friend, of just choosing to not reply. Much like when Richard Dawkins says he doesn’t debate Creationists on science, I think I’ve arrived at a similar conclusion. If my friends choose to argue via slothful induction, then I’m not going to waste time pointing out the evidence they are ignoring. Similarly, it’s not my place I believe to tear them from their religious foundations as an end game; so if they arrive at any conclusions on their own, after having discussed something with me, then that’s on them.

Big Ideas:  As the North American holiday season approaches, I’ve been thinking about the reality of death.  Sounds rather macabre doesn’t it?  Well, inevitably the news stories about depression and suicide will start to spike as we near Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Loss is painful and during the holiday season, memories of good times gone by are often accompanied by an overwhelming nostalgia that leads in many cases to downright depression.  I’ve also been brushing up on my evolutionary biology and after a visit to Zoo Atlanta this week, something sort of dawned on me.  I’ve never really thought about just how important death is to species survival until this week.  That sentence almost doesn’t make sense does it?  How can death be important for survival right?  Well, more specifically, I’m thinking about the idea that death is necessary for natural selection to work; in fact, it’s fundamental to the whole thing!  With each death, you also have survivors, and without survivors, you don’t have natural selection, without natural selection, you don’t have adaptation, and without adaptation, you don’t have procreation, and without procreation, you don’t have a species.  It’s seems so obvious, yet I’ve been aware of evolution by natural section since my 6th grade science class, but I’ve never really connected up the importance of death to the success of the process until now, 33 years later.  I contribute my epiphany to a lack of good soccer on tv this week!


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