January 26, 2015 Clams evolved 500 million years ago and have survived two global mass extinctions. Life had existed on Earth for 3 billion years before clams evolved, that’s three thousand million years of evolution from single cell organisms to clams. At one point in Earth history clams were the absolute crown of creation - the top of the food chain, rulers of the primordial sea and like most royalty, didn’t move much.
What was happening during the first one billion years? organic molecules ganged up to form RNA. RNA had an incredible feature, the capacity to replicate - the sea was soon swimming with RNA.”Soon” being one or two hundred million years. Why not stop there? Happy RNA forever? Too easily damaged thus added second coil to make DNA - now not so easily attacked by free-floating enzymes. Where and why enzymes? Why would an enzyme have any interest in fouling an RNA molecule? Law of life - all things fuck with one another - it’s deeper than genes - it’s in the molecules - keep things shook up - it’s healthy - it’s a drive toward diversity - a drive to take advantage of opportunity.
Life evolves in order to erase the gradient between heat of the sun and cold of empty space. There is inevitable, powerful, relentless drive toward greater complexity to create more gradient-resolving entities - organisms. As new niches occur on Earth, new life evolves to take advantage. there is urgency to remove the gradient ASAP. Living things help to restore entropy - nothingness - cold, dark emptiness - the desired condition of an adjacent warring cosmos that is happier without stars, planets, people. We exist in order to speed our own demise.
This universe was created against the will of a mind greater than that of our cosmos. Gods at war. One god wants a new universe and another wants things as they were - dark, cold, empty. Maybe the child of the original adjacent universe set off a firecracker that was Our “Big Bang” and God-1, the one we do not know, is trying to undo the damage of this explosion with entropy restoration devices - living things-us. So what is our purpose in life? Restore darkness.
Could this dark drive be at the root of mental illness? Our continuing loss of 27 year old rock stars? our Goth teen population? Thrash-metal music? Our species-wide aversion to bliss? Religion counteracts this deep, dark illogic of nature - this drive to restore emptiness. Thus we have the reciprocating engines of the social order. Whether Christian, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Muslim the battle is the same: Light vs dark - each religion fuels an engine of creation - get on board or you will be sucked into nothingness. Every non-religious person, every atheist has their special engine to counteract the darkness. Religion tries to identify the dark and the light - to create a path through the conundrum. Let there be light.
In chemical and genetic terms, there is not two cents of difference between a clam and a human, maybe three cents worth between a pine tree and a person. A lot happens in these few cents. What kind of natural selection generated organelles? Free-floating mitochndria, membrane-wrapped DNA?, Prokaryotic organisms,a rchaea? On what terms were these battles for survival fought? were they battles at all or simply agreements to cooperate as proposed by Lynn Margulis? What was the definition of fittest?
Evolution from clams to humans and a million other species is the easy part - Darwin explained this phase in principle and it is not significant in terms of elapsed time of life on Earth - clam to man not a big difference both use the standard model of genetic reproduction - nucleotides, codons, amino acids, proteins, metabolic regulation, developmental timing, etc.
Genes mutate at a great rate but most of these changes close out of town - get wdited out, removed as trash by cell policing proteins. Any important change in a specific generation of human happens prior to age 18 - prime reproductive year. From age 20 onward not much of real significnce happens. this explains the volatility of adolescence and the drive for individuation. Last chance to get a word in. All learning, especially fear-based is epigenetically registered in gamete base pairs at fertilization are heritable forever after.