Observation. There is perhaps no more valuable tool in the world of science. Ask Darwin. He did all right for himself observing finches, didn't he? Or ask Marcel Proust. The writer everyone pretends to read said: "The true voyage of discovery lies not is seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
What I've recently observed with my very own "new eyes" is an expeditious evolution defying all previous postulations on how quickly a species can mutate, adapt, and evolve. In terms of daily habits, it's obvious from even the most tertiary scrutiny that Homo sapiens have undergone a fair amount of evolution, since 1945 or so. Thus, it is in the spirit of open-minded observers-from Galileo to Stephen Colbert-that I some elementary observations:
•Humans, thanks to rapid-fire evolution, are no longer vulnerable to toxins. The mere act of perusing a typical American drink tap water (heavy metals and microbes), light up a cigarette (tar and nicotine), chat on a cell phone (electromagnetic radiation), chow down on a candy bar (sugar and chemicals) and an un-organic piece of fruit (pesticides and GMOs), wash it down with a glass of milk (animal protein, BGH, sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics, and more pesticides), wipe her or his face with a napkin (chlorine and dyes), and then head off in a car (exhaust emissions) to the dentist for X-rays and a filling (radiation and mercury), is evidence enough for me. After all, would an entire nation so readily embrace such comportment as normal if it might hurt us?
•With the recent surge in cell phones, beepers, palm pilots, Blackberries, and the like, isn't it safe to assume that human beings have evolved to become far more important now than they were 20 years ago?
•Speaking of TVs, if you combine the omnipresence of the television set with the ever-growing popularity of the Internet and the widespread utilization of iPod-style stereos, is it not logical to postulate that the early twenty-first century model human needs far less face-to-face social contact than its primitive, more chatty predecessors?
•One more TV-related observation: Are televisions, automobiles, escalators, and elevators proof that the necessity for exercise and physical activity has gone the way of the dinosaur?
•Can you explain why human beings behave in such a manner as to increase global warming and the greenhouse effect, promote the destruction of the ozone layer and the rain forests, and allow pollution to overtake many urban areas? To me, it's easy. Our superior bodies now require higher temperatures and less oxygen.
Now, if only some sectors of our species could simply evolve past the need for poverty, we'd really be in business.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.