Family Friends and The Theory of Evolution

The Theory of Evolution has been debated for years, and that’s fine. I am not sure though if all of the facts are being considered though. Let’s assume that Evolution is the umbrella phrase used to describe the process of a species changing over the years. Consider this. If you could isolate a particular animal and keep it completely confined without changing its environment, would it evolve?

The alligator has been around for millions of years in its present form because for the most part it is not on the food chain of any animal’s diet except for man. As more humans try the meat of the alligator and the demand possibly increases, the alligator will change its lifestyle and evolve into a reptile that tastes like chicken. Seems easier to just eat chicken. My point is that left alone with no outside stimulus there would be very little evolution.

Humans on the other hand are constantly evolving. Two hundred years ago the size of an average human man was five foot six or seven. A six-foot man was rare. Our life span was forty years if we were lucky and were able to make it through the various wars we created. Is Evolution a process of change or a process of aging?

Evolution is responding to an outside stimulus so as to survive and keep the species alive. Businesses evolve too. Twenty years ago I met Rocco Rosano a very savvy pizzeria operator in Rockland County, New York. Over the years Rocco’s business grew to be the sit down pizzeria and restaurant in New City. His son now works in the business and the evolution of business has taken a southward turn as his brother Frank has opened several very successful restaurants in South Florida. This year Rocco is celebrating his twenty-sixth anniversary. The milestone is really a celebration of change rather than of maintaining the status quo. The business had to evolve, given the outside conditions that exerted pressures on it. These conditions had to be dealt with to remain vibrant.

Looking at old pictures, old alligators or old people, just makes you think. With our food supply being genetically altered and additives such as high fructose corn syrup in almost everything, will we be able to survive or evolve? Will our children and grandchildren survive obesity, caused by these unseen additives, or will we evolve into a newer and larger version of humans who look back at us in amazement because we wore size 36 pants or a size 12 dress.

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Comment by Laurie MacKnight on January 28, 2008 at 6:14am
I just finished a book called Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. It deals with the your same subject. I found the book facinating. She managed to intertwine evolution with a great story interconnecting lives that towards the end all come together. The sort of book you are sad to finish and sadly that only happens a couple of times a year.

Back to the food chain. If we are putting
Seven on the tomatoes in order to have a great crop the bugs and the birds who eat them are getting killed off as by productl thus destroying the food chain. Aligator to me taste awful (by the way)...It must taste that way for a reason. If it had tasted like chicken we would have battery farms for aligators. I'll have a dozen aligator eggs over easy. They're small, are they not? Taking this a step further...If I cooked everything from scratch rather than buying prepared or semi prepared food, would I start to lose weight? OR....would I lose naturally via how long it takes to prepare things from scratch. I made chicken soup yesterday as an aside and it took the better part of three hours. First the skimming and then all the vegetables chopped and such. Loved doing it but....between the Kosher chicken $12.00 and all the organic vegeys it turned into an expensive project. Never mind the electricity.

Have a great day.
Comment by Matt Urdan on January 23, 2008 at 7:31am
Hey Howard, just as a point of record:

You write:
Humans on the other hand are constantly evolving. Two hundred years ago the size of an average human man was five foot six or seven. A six-foot man was rare. Our life span was forty years if we were lucky and were able to make it through the various wars we created. Is Evolution a process of change or a process of aging?

This really isn't an example of evolution at work, but rather the much greater food supply and nutritional gains we have made over the last 200 years. Back in Valley Forge, George Washington and his men were dying of starvation in the cold of winter. Today, our armed service personnel are well-fed on the battlefield. That's the difference that accounts for our increased average height--we've had better access to proper nutrition during our formative years. Our lifespan is also a function of better nutrition with a huge assist from modern medicine. It's not necessarily an evolutionary issue. What is a function of evolution, however, is anti-biotic resistant bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Not our evolution, but rather that of the organisms that cause our illnesses. They are evoloving and mutating like no tomorrow.

But what I find incredibly interesting by your post is how the changes to the food we eat and our food supply in general through bio-engineering, cloning, etc might affect the way our bodies utilize the food we consume, and what evolutionary changes that might cause. That's an incredible perspective showing great insight, and is the basis for a very long-term and thought-provoking discussion across the food and agriculture industry.

In the movie Jurassic Park, Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), expert on Chaos theory tries to reason that no one ever thinks about SHOULD we do bioengineer dinosaurs. Just because we have the technology doesn't mean we should use it. No thought is given to consequences, but people use the technology they develop simply because they can.

And I'm just wondering, with all the bio-engineering of plant and animal food sources to enhance supply, appearance, taste, uniformity--seemingly for the right reasons to supply more, better tasting food, if any real thought has been given to the negatives and possible consequences, such as making the food supply more vulnerable to diseasse, clilmate change, or any other factor that is really hard to predict or anticipate.

Thanks for your post, you've given me a lot to think about and discuss with friends and coworkers today!

Cheers!

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