Archive | Evolution RSS feed for this section

Russia is Our Natural Ally: Time to “get over” our fear of the “Soviet Union.”

30 Jun

By Mike McGee, June 30, 2017. No way is Russia a serious threat to the United States. It’s absolutely astonishing how economically feeble Russia has become over the last twenty years. They need us a LOT more than we need them. Our continuing sanctions are our way of bullying a smaller kid on the playground. They need to stop. We need to start some positive conversations about Russia.

GDP is a measure of the economic strength of a nation. In 2016, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Russia was about 1.28 trillion U.S. dollars. That’s just a slightly greater GDP than that of Mexico. The population count for each is about the same.

Most Americans, and maybe most journalists also, still tend to think of Russia as the Soviet Union, a towering monolith that can swallow up the US. Time Magazine gave in to this “fear of the Beast” thinking this May in the cover picture shown above. They want us to fear and feel horror about the Russian Beast, even now in 2017. Should we feel the same about Mexico? No, mostly we pity Mexico and its government. Continue reading

Global Warming: Darwinian Evolution in Humans?

12 May

By Mike McGee

Most scientists have a difficult time looking at the possibility of the Darwinian evolution of the physical form and structure of human beings in responses to challenges from the environment. We can easily see how a plant or a lower animal can alter its structure and very being, or become extinct either locally or widespread, under evolutionary pressures exerted over only a very few years.

Global warming is almost certainly a product of the increase in the population of the earth from 2 billion to 7.5 billion souls in the span of less than a century. It is mathematically definite that the increase in body heat and cooking fires and auto engine heat alone will raise the natural planetary temperature to some degree. Add on factories and HVAC and land denuded for agriculture or meat, and other things needed to sustain a larger population, and there is even more natural and inevitable pressure increasing the planetary temperature. Continue reading

Obamacare’s Strange Twist

22 Nov

obamacare-what-is-obamacare_LI

By Mike McGee

The current major glitch in Obamacare, the new and comprehensive health insurance program which is expected to cover everyone with basic health insurance protections, is a great tragedy.

After the end of the government shutdown, President Obama was confronted with the basic flaw in the universal health care program. Millions of citizens were having their health insurance policies cancelled because those policies did not comply with the new law. Replacement policies would cost more or were unavailable.

Ever since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, Obama has repeatedly told people that, if they liked their health plans, they could keep them. Obama made such assurances as recently as this spring. Continue reading

Bush 43’s Biggest Mistake

18 Nov

Historical_Mariginal_Tax_Rates

By Mike McGee

The biggest mistake made by President George W. Bush was that he did not insist that the US congress impose a temporary war tax or surtax as a way of financing the incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan and the international War on Terror (including Homeland Security) after September 11, 2001.

A cursory review of history shows that at least from the time of the US Civil War in 1861, a temporary war tax or surtax was imposed by the president or by congress to pay for each American war. This includes the relatively insignificant Spanish-American War, when tariffs and other taxes were raised substantially, and temporarily, to pay for that little conflict. Continue reading

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part Three

21 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Part One of this series we followed the life-cycle of a simple insect, the Luna Moth, through one complete cycle, paying attention to the details of the process. We demonstrated the role of DNA and the genome in the replication of each stage in the life of the moth. In Part Two we demonstrated scientifically that death is not present in Luna Moths who complete their life-cycle and generate another life-cycle. Unending life is the gift of nature to this moth and all the other crawling creatures.

The complexity of the organization of each life-cycle of a moth or any other creature, including man, is staggering, and is managed almost exclusively by the living DNA which is passed forward to the next generation.  This concluding Part Three will make a lot more sense if you take the time to read Parts One and Two before going further.

We quoted from accepted science at the beginning of this series: “Life is specified by genomes. Every organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

I have been leading you to an acceptable scientific conclusion which is difficult to comprehend. Unending life is not only a demonstrated characteristic of insects; it is also a scientifically demonstrated characteristic of human beings, including you and me. The life-cycle of a human being is really not very different from that of the moth. Sexual reproduction through the transfer of living DNA from one generation to another is the same. Unending life is the gift of nature to man as well as to moth.

The life-force passed on from one human being to another through sexual reproduction thus is scientifically demonstrated to come down to a single point. One microscopic strand of living DNA in a single sperm cell meets with another single microscopic strand of living DNA residing in the nucleus of one human egg cell.

“Whenever the state of a biological system is not determined solely by present conditions but depends on its past history, we can say that the system has memory.” Casadesús, J. and D’Ari, R. (2002). Bioessays, 24: 512–518.

It’s clear that the information inside these microscopic strands of DNA is from the past, since the actual “being” does not exist at the time of conception except as a single cell penetrating another single cell. The past memory stored in each microscopic strand represents a memory capacity billions of times greater than the human brain. This memory may include things other than building instructions, such as somatic and unconscious memories from the long unbroken line of the vital life-force from which your life and my life has emerged.

Each of these single microscopic strands of DNA, when joined, has in its memory all that is necessary to produce and maintain, without further direction, a complete and complex zygote, fetus and child; and an adult human being composed of about 50 trillion individual cells. Each of these cells is structurally and geometrically ordered in exactly the right manner for the human being to function much the same way as each other of the seven billion people on the planet.

With regard to the enormity of this task of memory and management, I can only give a comical example. Give an aeronautical engineer all the instruction books necessary to produce a Boeing 747 Dreamliner. Let him read them, take them away, and then put him in an empty aircraft construction building. Ask him to build from memory an entire working Boeing 747 aircraft, there inside the building, with no help from the outside, except he can ask for rough unprocessed raw materials to be brought in.

Let’s exaggerate and say there are ten million mechanical parts in a 747. Well, there are about 50 trillion cells in an adult human body, and they all have to coordinate together every microsecond of every day. This is the memory capacity of one microscopic strand of DNA.

I find it useful to describe this process of the unending continuation of life as “immortality,” even though it does have a theoretical beginning and end, which is contrary to the meaning of the word. We don’t know when or where this life-force began, and we can’t possibly know when or where the life-force will end. All we have is observation of the present behavior of the life-force and historical examples from the recent few thousand years.

The place where the unending continuation of life occurs in humans is in the passage of living sperm across an open space during reproduction, to join together with the living egg. The traverse across the open space is the singular similarity applicable to insects and humans and all creatures who reproduce sexually.

During sexual intercourse human sperm is left out in the open at the end of the vagina, at the head of the cervix of the female. The sperm must then find their way, unaided and alone, over a lengthy and dark open area, through the narrow cervix of the female and far into her uterus. Each of these individual sperm is a living being, containing all the DNA which defines a human being. Each has also been provided with DNA memory to know which direction to travel after being unceremoniously deposited in an unknown squishy dark place in a splat. How incredible is that?

Each sperm, independently of all the other 200 million or more sperm released each time, has a mind of its own sufficient to sort out the completely dark and unfamiliar space (the interior of the vagina); and on the spot develops a geometry which gets it going along the right path to where it needs to be. In addition each sperm has an active means of locomotion, a tail, which is entirely up to the task of moving the sperm in the exact direction it knows to go. Do we need any further scientific proof of life in this transfer across an open space?

The Luna Moth sperm doesn’t have to be so versatile. It’s deposited in one spot and sits there until the eggs come in contact with it. All it has to do is recognize the eggs and jump onto them. But then the human being has always been much more complex than an insect: even though the insect itself is staggeringly complex.

Don’t forget that science has shown that each of the trillions of cells of the human body has exactly the same strand of DNA in its nucleus. When I say exactly the same, I mean that each strand of DNA in every cell of an individual human body is identical in every way. Each strand carries the same memories as each other, and has its parts arranged identically. So for our purposes, there is only one configuration of DNA which can be carried by these sperm. The genome in each of these lively and eager travelers is the same. And it is full of life.

The goal of each sperm is to swim across the open space inside the female body until it reaches the egg. There is no question that the egg is a living part of the female at the time one sperm penetrates and causes that egg to begin to divide and become another human being. This is the meaning of the statement that the human being remains alive for generation after generation without the interruption of death.

This is also the meaning of the statement that those seeking life after death have been looking for life in all the wrong places. Life continues and persists in a human being at the life-cycle stage of reproduction, not at the stage of death.

People die before producing offspring and of old age. All but one of the millions of sperm dies without becoming a part of the life-cycle. All of this death is irrelevant in the human life-cycle. Life is in the genome, and the living genome carries on, generation after generation. This is scientific fact.

DNA is living human tissue. Each strand of DNA by definition has within itself all the elements of human life. When sexual reproduction occurs, a single strand of living human tissue joins with a single strand of living human tissue from another human being. There is never a time during human sexual reproduction when the living tissues of the parent contributions to the new human being cease to be living tissue. There is no new life, only a continuation of the existing living tissue in a slightly different format.

These living attributes may include either dominant or recessive traits, and when the attributes are stitched together at conception there is a new and different living strand of DNA. Yet this new strand can contain only what is present in one of the two halves, with dominant and recessive traits jockeying for position. Through the process of recombination, progeny derive a combination of these two specific sets of genes, which is yet really not so different from the parental genes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

The new combination is without question a continuation of the living tissue of the two donors. Certain traits within the genome may have a half-life, or be entirely eliminated during the joining of the two halves of the genome. Yet the living human tissue of the strand of DNA remains alive and fully functioning throughout all these changes. If the DNA strand was not alive, it could not retain the memory of how to build the new person.

This scientifically self-evident continuation of life is passed from one human generation to the next through the narrow portal of sexual reproduction. The next question is: what is the nature of the life which is forwarded on through hundreds of such portals for several thousand years?

DNA carries the past history of each human organism in its lineage and brings that history through the portal into the present activity of every person. Thus the current “state,” or circumstance of being, of each and every human is determined by its past history, carried by DNA, along with a few recombination changes. Thus the “system” known as a human being has a “memory” which is encoded in the DNA of each cell of the body. It may be said that everything we are is a memory.

For the DNA, which carries the memories of the life of the past physical being into the present, it may be said that the human urge toward reproduction is not voluntary. Nor is the human urge to nurture their young until old enough to reproduce. These urges are prescribed by the DNA in much the same way as the passage of the sperm across the open space is prescribed by the DNA.

In the end there is no death for those who successfully navigate the entirety of the human life-cycle. The DNA, which contains all that you are, perpetuates life unending for millennia. You are likely three thousand years old or more, and are definitely a lot more complicated than a Luna Moth.

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part Two

18 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

In Part One of this series we followed the life-cycle of a simple insect, the Luna Moth, through one complete cycle, paying attention to the details of the process. We demonstrated the role of DNA and the genome in the replication of each stage in the life of the moth. This Part Two will make a lot more sense if you take the time to read Part One before going further.

Where in the life-cycle of the Luna Moth is death? It’s going to be hard to wrap your head around the answer to this question. The common answer is that the adult moth dies. The scientific explanation defies the normal logic of life and death, beginning and end. Here we’re going to analyze the meaning of the simple story of the moth; then move on to more complex matters you need to know about.

Each cell of the moth contains DNA in its nucleus. For each moth the DNA, the genome, is identical in each cell of that particular moth. This genome contains a full set of chromosomes, which are all the building instructions and inheritable traits of an organism. This genome is alive and a part of the tissue of the moth. Indeed, it carries in its living tissue the very definition of the moth, and the full living memory of how to conduct each of the stages in the life-cycle of the moth. (Reference: My earlier blog “DNA and Memory.”)

If the double helix DNA strand ceases to live for even a moment it will fall silent, and will not retain the memory of how to build any part of the moth’s structure. So when you squeeze a caterpillar until the green goop splatters, or squash moth eggs under your foot, the DNA in the structure is actually dead, and cannot any longer participate in the life-cycle.

Yet the life-cycle of the Luna Moth goes on, creature after creature and year after year. Most of us look at life and death as the beginning and the end. The egg hatches, and after several stages produces an adult moth, which dies. Yet when we scientifically examine in detail the various stages of the moth’s life, we can come to only one conclusion. There is a part of the moth that does not ever die: its living genome.

When philosophers look at life after death they tend to exclusively look at the death of the adult organism, and opine whether there is any physical or spiritual continuity after the death of the adult. They’ve been looking for life in all the wrong places.

A scientist must consider visible and provable facts as the standard for determining the correctness of observations of any physical process. Up to now scientists have been in denial about the continuity of life, ignoring what is right under their noses. The stages in the life of the Luna Moth are factual, clear, and observable, and no scientist can disagree that these stages are exactly as I have described them. Even better, these stages are simple in the moth, and therefore easy to analyze if you are looking at them without any preconceived notions.

The earlier posed question was: where in the life-cycle of the Luna Moth is death? The proper scientific answer is: nowhere. The life-cycle of this moth is continuous, and life never ends as we go from generation to generation. Death is only a by-product; irrelevant, one might say, from the point of view of the genome. The genome never dies.

Of course some moths do not mate before they die, and caterpillars and eggs and pupae are squashed and otherwise die. For all these who do not complete the life-cycle, death is the end and they have no further existence. There are thus many who die without continuity; yet many more do complete the life-cycle and carry on the unending cycle of life for generations to come.

So we see the eggs, the larvae, the pupae, and finally the adult moth. So the adult moth engages in “adult behavior” of a sexual nature. During mating the living DNA in the sperm from the male is ejected from its phallus across an open space into the body of the female, where it enters her genital chamber. For the moth the open space may be only a millimeter or so, yet the sperm, laden with living DNA, is definitely outside the physical structure of either moth.

Thus the only time in the life cycle of the moth when the living DNA crosses an open space outside the body is during mating. The sperm then sits in this open space, inside the female genital chamber, until the eggs, containing the living DNA of the female, are laid by the female.

“The eggs do not become fertile at the time of copulation. The eggs get fertilized as they pass through a mix of male sperm, seminal fluids and ‘glue’, stored in the female’s body. This immersion/fertilization takes place as the female expels/deposits the eggs.” http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/Actiaslunarearing.htm .  (This site contains a wealth of detailed information about the Luna Moth.)

Each sperm is a single cell, yet it is alive in every scientific sense of the word. The DNA genome it carries contains memory or information identical to that of every other genome in the body of the male moth. Each egg is a single cell which is equally alive. It contains within itself memory or information identical to that of every other genome in the body of the female moth.

Thus it is clear that the life of a Luna Moth is unending (unless interrupted by outside factors such as a dear reader squeezing a caterpillar until green goop flies everywhere). The place where the unending continuation of life occurs is in the passage of living sperm across an open space during reproduction, to join together with the living eggs.

It may even be said that the death of the adult moth following mating is irrelevant to the carrying on of the unending (not quite eternal yet close) life of the insect species known as the Luna Moth, actias luna. The cycle of life is complete and ongoing, without the intrusion of death, when one examines the reproductive act rather than focusing on the fate of the adult moth.

This showy yet commonplace six-legged insect has been gifted by nature with unending life. One could almost call it immortality, yet such an appellation would be an exaggeration. It is most likely that the life which is present in each phase of every Luna Moth is hundreds or thousands of years old, and will continue unabated through another hundreds or thousands of years into the future. It’s rather remarkable that Nature would give such an unlikely creature such a long unending life-span. Yet there you have it.

There is no death for these insects, the ones who make it through their entire life-cycle. The living DNA which is passed on during reproduction contains all the memories and instructions to guide the insect through its next rather identical series of changes from egg to adult moth. The cycle of life for these creatures is continuous and unending, according to accurate scientific observation.

There are hundreds of thousands of different insects and other crawling and buzzing creatures whose life-cycle is marked by sexual reproduction and unending life. The defining moment for each is the movement of a living DNA genome across an open space to meet with another living DNA genome. There is always an open space to be traversed. Life persists and continues unabated across the open spaces.

There is no death for any of these lowly creatures, except when they get stepped on or lose their habitat or are unable to breed.

In the next essay we will take you to places you probably didn’t think you could go. Stay tuned!

DNA and the Cycle of Life, Part One

15 May

From www.mcgeepost.com .Copyright © 2013 Michael H. McGee. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share or re-post all or part non-commercially, hopefully with attribution.

“Life is specified by genomes. Every organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/About/primer/genetics_genome.html (2004).

I intend to demonstrate, using only scientifically valid information, that we remain continuously alive over many generations, even hundreds or thousands of years. Mystics and theologians have throughout history claimed to know the truth about Man as a being who lives beyond the boundaries of our lifetimes.  They argue based on philosophy and faith, and make no claims of scientific validity.

Give me a chance to show you the science. You’ll be surprised and convinced as this accepted mainstream scientific analysis unfolds. The answer is not what you think.

Since this is a complicated subject, let me start off with a little birds-and-the-bees story. It will seem long because there are a lot of pictures, yet there’s not too much reading to do. If you need a better understanding of DNA, please look at my older blog entries entitled “DNA and Memory.” If you want the complex science of DNA, look at the link highlighted above.

When I was young, among other things I collected insects, especially butterflies and moths. My favorite insect was the Luna Moth. The story of the Luna Moth will demonstrate how DNA is the active player in the passage of generations. It has been well established by science that the instructions for the development of each stage of life for each organic being are encoded in the memory of DNA. The double-helix strand of living tissue is contained inside each cell of the Luna Moth and every other being, including humans. We need to start with a clearly explainable insect model before moving on to the human experience, which is more complex.

I’m going to describe the complete life-cycle of the Luna Moth, starting with the showiest part of the process. The adult Luna Moth is large and strikingly beautiful, with lime-green yellow-trimmed wings spanning up to four and a half inches (11.4 cm) across, with long trailing green hindwings. Here’s a picture of the beautiful adult moth. You can see why I liked them and still like them.

WP1.luna-moth

So we see the adult moth. Now let’s go through to the next stage in the life-cycle of this elegant creature. Stay with me. Each of these wonderful, yet common, Luna Moths is around only for a very short time. The adults cannot eat, since they have no mouths or other digestive structures. They emerge as adults solely to mate. For this purpose they have only about one week. They tend to hide in the day and move about at night. There is something eerie and ghostlike about their movements. They flit from the gloom into the light, and back into the gloom once more; not unlike humans in their travails.

The male shown above has feathery antennae which sniff out pheromones from female moths. The two come together and mate, as is shown in the X-rated picture below. During mating the living DNA in the sperm from the male is ejected from its phallus into the body of the female.

WP2.Luna Moth Mating

As we shall see, the only time in the life cycle of the moth – or a human being for that matter – when the living DNA crosses an open space outside the body is during mating. For the moth the open space may be only a millimeter or so, yet the sperm in its journey is definitely outside the physical structure of either moth. The sperm quickly enters the genital chamber of the female moth and embeds its living DNA in the living egg sac of the female, which contains her own contribution of DNA for the next generation.

Once they mate, the male moth has no further raison d’etre. He flies off like a leaf falling from a tree in autumn and is never heard from again. The female moth flies around until she finds the right spot and lays her eggs. Then she shrivels within a few days like a tulip in a vase. Due to the lack of a mouth to eat, it may be said with scientific certainty that the beautiful creature that flies through the air is only a transitional stage, no matter how we may love it.

Thus all that remains after the transition of the living DNA across the open space between the two moths are the extremely small eggs shown below. Each is self-contained and a little larger than the head of a pin. Each of these self-contained living eggs contains the entire living DNA from the two mating adult moths. No further instructions are needed to continue the life-cycle of the Luna Moth. Life continues, full and complete, uninterrupted.

WP3.Luna Moth Eggs

The eggs hatch without further ado in about ten days. A wormy little caterpillar crawls out of the egg case and leaves the shell behind:

WP4.HatchingEgg

Its goal is to find food. Unlike the adult moth, the caterpillar has a voracious appetite. Since the eggs are laid by the female only on the leaves of suitable food plants, the little caterpillar can go right to work on the edge of the nearest leaf. The only instructions it needs in order to do its job are completely and unerringly remembered by its DNA. Over a period of about 25 days it eats and grows and sheds its skin five times (not four times or six times), until it becomes a rather majestic mature caterpillar:

WP5.Caterpillar

At some point, the mature caterpillar finds itself overcome by a desire to leave its body and become an entirely different being. Internal changes are already underway to facilitate this transformation. The instructions in the memory of its DNA are very precise as to both the timing and the behavior, and always generate the same outcome.

The caterpillar begins to spin a web of silk to enclose itself. The outward appearance of the caterpillar is sloughed off as if it never existed. What is left is a hard brown pupa, which once again contains all the DNA memory of the caterpillar, albeit in an altered physical form:

WP6.Luna Moth Pupa

After about two weeks a summer pupa, following its own inner instructions from its DNA, breaks open and an adult Luna Moth emerges, full and whole and without blemish, ready to spread its wings and fly away. The brown case of the pupa is discarded. The life-cycle for this one individual insect is now complete:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s easy to see this transition as a commonplace event, since it’s an everyday activity of moths, and there’s no drama in the ordinary. Yet the very precision of both the timing and the physical structures involved in the changes are nothing short of extraordinary.

And these precise changes in the cycle of life are repeated perhaps millions of times over each year by individual moths. And for hundreds or thousands of years these precise and exact changes have been repeated, perhaps modified slightly over time by Darwinian evolution.

Here’s the question: Where in this cycle is death? Is there ever a time when there is absolutely no life present? The living DNA is passed from generation to generation with sufficient vitality to produce exactly the same life-stages in each cycle of the existence of the Luna Moth.

In the next essay we will explore these far from commonplace questions.