Evolution goes on

Darwin did not conclude, he merely pointed the way. The science of evolution is progressing nicely and genes and epigenes, memes and other factors are weighing in.

So what are the ordinary language we can use to explain it all, how can we make ordinary people understand the action.

We now see a development of our thinking, the evolution of what is knowledge. Scepticism is the start, then we have forward thinking, development of ideas and building of knowledge. We need critical thinking as part of our culture so that the world can move forward.

The book The selfish gene was published in 1976 and still stands. Organisms are the recipients of memes that control the development of organisms, that may modify the the DNA, the genes. Some genes are used, others are not, and genes are subtle. We need more of this kind of writing. Sadly scientists are no longer popularisers?

The central dogma is that genes, the DNA, are the main driver of development. We are servants of controlling mechanisms known as the genes.

The rise of epigenetics have made this picture more complete. Development is about the meeting of hereditary factors and environmental factors, and what happens when these meet.

Genes will respond to what happens, what we do, think, eat, learning and so on. They are activated in a process called methylation.

The term epigenetics is used to describe what happens when cells differentiate from their initial state in embryo. Epigenetics is about factors other than DNA that influence how an organism develops. This has led to a debate about what factors really matter in the development of man. Genes seem to be turned on and off, we are in a new field of thought.

We do not know what happens all the time, you may be surprised. Genes are somewhat flexible, they adapt to the environment.

Now we need to know better what this is all about.

The concept of the meme was introduced as a cultural parallell to the genes, it is widely criticized and not fully accepted. The idea is that a meme is a cultural concept that spreads to many people and may influence their genes and consequently their development. The memes may become replicas and are standardized. This is thought to happen to many things we say, do, think, eat. So do these memes, like religion, become part of our genes or decide what genes are activated. We may therefore be a product of our genes as well as the memes that are found in the environment. The memes become hardwired like our genes. Roll out the new fables, please! Let nobody stop you!

The debate is sometimes very funny as people insist they can see these developments taking place – evolution right under your nose? Instant evolution? The people coming after us will see the truth – our present thinking will surely be renewed and improved upon.

See, we are not there yet, but knowledge increases, we know more all the time. Darvin was not right, but he pointed us in the right direction. So we move ahead, and new thinking is coming up. Make sure we facilitate that.

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