Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Minutes Of Immortality

This is a British 10 Pound Note. An unusual example of a scientist rather than a ruler being represented on currency.  But it would be impossible to overstate his importance to modern science.  Modern biology, anthropology, paleontology, medicine, and countless other sciences are rooted in the theory of evolution, without which they could not even exist as we know them today.  Kings and Presidents and even nations come and go, but Darwin will likely be remembered and honored at a time when few people other than archaeologists even remember where the planet Earth was located.  Very few men in the course of intellectual history were able to change the debate, introduce radical new concepts that jump started and advanced our understanding of the universe we live in like he did. You could say that as far as visionary inspiration, perhaps Isaac Newton did the same for Physics, for even the greatest minds of our time, perhaps, Tesla and Einstein would be floundering in the dark with out the singular genius of Newtonian vision.
Earlier this week, on the 12th, we celebrated Darwin Day 2013. 
Marco, your 5 minutes of immortality in
 America are up, babe....because
this is all you will ever get....
The basic idea that simpler life forms have gradually developed into more complex ones over time dates back at least to the Romans. Darwin's theoretical contribution was to propose the mechanism by which this process happens. Any population of organisms contains some variation among its members, and some of these variations will be more conducive to survival and reproduction than others. As a result, the individuals which carry those variations will usually produce more offspring, and if those favorable variants are inherited traits (an important qualification), they will become more common in the population, so that over time the nature of the population changes.
It seems like a tiny effect, but operating over long enough spans of time, it can change a population of simple self-replicating molecules into a population of highly complex organisms such as you and me.
(Note that while the mutations that produce the basic variations are random, natural selection is not random. When you hear someone attack evolution as a "random" process, this is a sure sign that he lacks even rudimentary knowledge about it.)
Nor did Darwin stop at just proposing the idea. By his exhaustive study of animals he was able to assemble a great mass of supporting evidence -- the real meat and muscle of science. It's not enough to propose an idea that "rings true" or seems intuitively convincing. The real test is always the evidence supporting the idea, and how well that evidence stands up to challenges.
Darwin did not set out to attack religion, but inevitably his theory was one of the mightiest blows against religion ever delivered. However much of religion's specific dogma had been exposed as nonsense down through the centuries, the complexity, sophistication, and apparent purposeful design of living organisms had always been an unanswerable argument for the existence of some kind of guiding intelligence at work in the universe. By providing a real explanation for those phenomena, Darwin swept away this last seeming rational basis for belief in a supernatural creator.
The theory of evolution as we have it today is far more elaborate and sophisticated than what Darwin originally proposed, because we have learned far more in the meantime (genes and DNA were not discovered until long after Darwin's death, for example). This is how science works. It's only worthless belief systems such as religions that operate on the model of a one-time Revelation from the Master, immutably set in stone, to be "interpreted" but never improved or changed by the lesser men of later generations. Science is always seeking new data and testing its theories against those data to arrive at a more accurate understanding of reality. But the present-day theory of evolution is still rooted in the concept of gradual population change via natural selection which Darwin originated. And so massive is the amount of supporting evidence discovered since Darwin's time, that evolution now ranks among the most solidly-established facts in all of human knowledge -- for more on this, I recommend Richard Dawkins's numerous books on the subject. 

The day after Darwin Day was celebrated, we were graced by the media proclaimed Savior of the Republican Party, Marco Rubio who has made so many back sliding comments about science, evolution, creationism that I won't even begin to give you links, but on February 13, Rubio, while having his butt massaged on FOX while still basking the glory of his in his spa watered State Of The Union Rebuttal quest for power, The Republican Party’s newest champion took the time to shoot down the realities of climate change and the kinds of regulations that he himself once supported as the speaker of the house in Florida.
During his speech on Tuesday, President Obama called for a market-based approach towards solving the climate crisis, stressing the economic as well as environmental benefits that derive from investments in clean energy. In response, Rubio attacked cap and trade legislation as an economic menace that would cripple the recovery, and he repeated the claim again this morning:
RUBIO: The government can’t change the weather. I said that in the speech. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather. Because, for example, there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point, China, India, all these countries that are still growing. They’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing. America is a country, it’s not a planet. So we can pass a bunch of laws or executive orders that will do nothing to change the climate or the weather but will devastate our economy.
In fact, Rubio is wrong that “there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point.” There is only one — China — and it is still a long way away from reaching America’s level of cumulative carbon pollution, and it is the total pollution emitted to date that drives climate change. That’s why it is so important America lead the way on climate action.
Rubio’s anti-science rhetoric is no surprise since he has also
expressed skepticism towards the nearly universal consensus among scientists that humans have played a detrimental role in climate change.
While Rubio is right that America is not a planet, he is wrong to suggest that cap and trade — which has in the past enjoyed bipartisan support — would hinder economic growth. In fact, just last week a consortium of 9 northeastern states and the privately owned energy companies that power them announced they would be
expanding a regional cap and trade system that has been in place since 2008, citing the positive economic and environmental benefits reaped over the last five years.
Rubio himself sought to turn Florida into “the Silicon Valley” of the green energy industry, lauding the state’s push for a version of cap and trade legislation as a potential moneymaker for Floridian businesses during a
2008 floor speech. There is also ample evidence to suggest that investments in renewable energy would help create millions of jobs and quicken the economic recovery, not hamper it as Rubio claims.
As President Obama noted in his address, other countries — China included — have raced ahead of the United States in the development of clean, alternative energy. And in Europe, countries like Germany have taken far greater strides than the U.S in solar energy, producing as much as
80 times more electricity relative to energy consumption through photovoltaic panels as compared to the United States.
Of course this only inspired me,  Rubio is the Republican Savior Flavor of the week! Hell, if he's making bucks off of becoming the next loser in chief of the Republican Party by trying to outdo Mitt Romney in pandering backsliding denials of every postion he ever supported in the past, then why can't I pick up a few Rubio put your orders in here, I am now downloading every speech and immortal"idea" Marco Rubio ever publicly uttered and having them printed up on this special archival paper, ready to be framed,traditionally hand set special edition printing which can be yours, and you know who you are, the discerning art owner at only 500 Dollars a roll!
Available in extra extra soft, absorbent and quilted for
 your comfort for only a few dollars more....

1 comment:

Ol'Buzzard said...

the Tea Party wants to replace all the presidents on US bills with a picture of Jesus...Carrying an assault weapon.