New Beginnings

Of poets, scientists, and stars.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Flabbergasting Flagella and Evolution

Have you given much thought to flagella?  Amazing little things they are, transporting little bacteria where they need to go.  I saw a video about the suspected motor that drives them.  Amazing!  And we think humans are evolved!  Actually bacteria spank us when it comes to evolution.  They can evolve on a dime when it takes us. . . . well, a gazillion years. 

And what have humans come up with?  Brains that allow us to create technology that can extinguish life on this planet in more than a couple of ways.  And yet, we can’t seem to get any permanent foothold over the teensy little no-brained bacteria with their funky flagella.  We can wipe them out for a while with ever stronger antibiotics, but then those little goobers outsmart us and evolve to resist our attempts to slaughter them.  And when we do attempt a bacteria massacre, we end up killing our friendly bacteria as well as the ones that make us sick.  We aren’t very efficient in our bactericide.

Those little germies are something!  They are models of efficiency.  When a bit of them no longer works, they lose it. Here we are still trying still trying to figure out what to do with tonsils and appendixes besides getting them infected and then removed. 

Humans didn’t get flagella.  We got legs.  But we don’t like to use them.  So with the big brains we also got we invented vehicles to transport us that run on fossil fuel, which by definition will run out.  And those vehicles get us around, but they poison all life as well.

We think, so we think we’re pretty special. It seems quite likely that if we were really smart, we’d evolve our big ol’ brains away and lose our technology and live more like . . . well the animals we keep destroying.

But I can’t say I really believe in flat out straight Darwin evolution.  It just doesn’t seem very realistic to me.  I think the Universe has some plan, a Grand Intelligent Design.  Something truly smart.  Something able to see the big picture that humans work so hard at covering with clutter. 

The Divine Universe that knows better than I, and better than you, why we didn’t evolve with flagella and smaller brains.  And my Pantheist soul trusts in that.

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