Jaw Drop #1 – What made us.

As a Biologist I can not miss the chance to talk about Evolution. I’m not going to lose any words to remind everyone that evolution is a fact and that exists like gravity exists. Maybe I will talk about why evolution and natural selection are such strong facts and why they account for every being on the planet Earth.
I went to the Body Revealed showcase this Easter and I realize (not that I didn’t realize it before) and thought about how complex we are, and how difficult it would be if we wanted to create ourself.

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What I want to talk about is something subtle. Remind we are on the Jaw Drop series, so we need to think here.
Let’s define natural selection as the process that select the fittest, between many variants of a determined characteristic in a set of individuals. Now let’s think something simple: I have a such big nose that I can smell an apple tree in a radius of 3km from where I stand. On the other hand my friend here has such big legs that can run as fast as a scooter for short times. Which one is the fittest? That doesn’t make sense, in fact me and my friend could be the fittest for two separate environment but the less fittest for another environment. Actually probabilities are quite high that we are not fit for any but one environment. That’s also why it doesn’t make sense asking who is more “evolved” or advanced. Because evolution doesn’t work with a goal, it only select from the existing variants arisen randomly. We can only speak about who is the more complex if we want.

Now think about this. If natural selection discriminates from the existing characteristics that arose randomly, it means that it should reward my big nose and kill my friend (more like let him die) with big legs if there are only apple trees in a plane pretty big, because it’s not very useful run for an apple tree if you don’t know where to run. At the same time evolution should reward my friend and kill me (more like let me die) if we have to catch preys or escape from predators.
Now we came where we are now thanks to many ancestors, and they must have had or have developed pretty much every characteristics we have. Do you know what that means?
That every single part of your body, as any single organism on Earth, was born randomly And selected afterward because fitter than others!! We came along because of fortuity bit by bit. We aren’t blessed from a God, we are blessed in another way. Randomness is the king of this universe and only because every condition was perfect, we arose. Like life arose and everything else did. You can see these events like a mere accident or as an intrinsic tendency of the universe to self organization. Considering the level of functionality, organization and specialization both ways are pretty awesome.

But that’s not all. Think about how complex we are: we have a brain capable of understanding the universe but it is so complex that it can’t comprehend itself! We have such a circulatory system that every organ, every tissue and every cell is granted with nutrients transported by your blood. We have such a immune system that we always live covered In bacteria but still we pass most of our time healthy. We have eyes that can see, receptors that can perceive the touch on our skin, receptors that can smell and taste. We have a membrane that catch the sound vibration and transmit them to 3 earbones!

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But don’t stop there, do you have any idea how complex a cell is?? I don’t know if a non Biologist person can comprehend the accuracy, the insurance systems, the timing, the capacity, the communication system and the adaptability that a cell have developed. It’s so brilliant, coordinate and bug free that in comparison our factories, our industries would seem designed by a baby! Physicists say that string theory is complex. Hell no! Our body is complex! (I can’t catch the complexity of our body as much I can’t grasp the complexity of string theory so I think the comparison can be made). And to think that all this perfection was made by random variation in a random set of characteristics is mind blowing. And think every other organism! unicellular, multicellular, vegetal or animal in the universe. It has been needed many many years to achieve such level of functionality but it is due to random selection. We should look to what nature has made more often and to realize that she probably has already solved many problem we are struggling on, because she has simply tried literally all of the possibilities from every set of conditions you may find!
Realize that every cell like any other living things is a triumph of natural selection! And stay with the Jaw Dropped for a sec while you let that sink in.
Whenever you stop thinking on how easily you can move your hands, on how easily you can breathe, on how easily you can walk, run or jump, don’t think only how you do that but think about how that mechanism arose and how all this complexity could arose in random processes.

I realize that probably this article is not enough to convince you on how powerful this concept is but with time, or with some other posts of mine, you’ll arrive at your own realization (at least I hope so).
Open your mind to the complexity of our world, let me tell you a story.

N. B. In this post I referred to natural selection and evolution as the same process although they are different.

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