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Monday, February 26, 2024

Climate Change? No Problem - Genetics, Enhanced Evolution, And Man's Infinite Ability To Adapt

'Whew, it's hot', said Elmer Suggins to his buddy Ralph during work break laying tar on a Macon County road. 

'Climate change', replied Ralph somberly.  'Democrats were right'; but Suggins was unmoved and unconvinced. ‘They’ve never laid tar in a Georgia summer', and so the two of them talked climate to pass the time, although they got well distracted when Janey Fitz drove by in her old Skylark convertible.

 'Hot enough for you?', she said as she went past, blonde hair floating like golden silk in the wind, reminding the two men of life's business not this jabbering nonsense from Washington. 


Elmer Suggins was a coon hunter, kept three blue dog hounds, a drying and curing shed for the pelts, and a meat locker for the rest.  Years of coon hunting had given him historical perspective.  The raccoon was one of nature's most adaptable animals, and come a nuclear Armageddon, it would be the most likely to survive.  

Coons were not particular about what they ate - leavings were just fine, and they had moved from forest to back alleys thanks to garbage cans, dumpsters, and trash bins.  They were agile, strong, and intelligent, thrived in their new environment, and lived in backyard trees, attics, and basement stairwells. Heat and cold were incidental.  

"Take the cockroach", Suggins said, settling into a groove. "The cockroach hasn't changed in 235 million years, perfectly adapted to every environment, no need for improvement. The roaches on your toothbrush and down your drain are the same that roamed with the dinosaurs."


Human beings had indeed been around for a geologically short time, but atop the food chain from the very first.  Not only that, they suddenly developed a brain a million times more powerful than anything needed to hunt wildebeest on the savannah.  Some missing link, some powerful but unseen environmental influence must have been at work; and soon enough, all that computing power would come in handy. If there ever were an adaptable creature, it was man. 

Climate change? A matter of adaptability, not hysteria. New York will become the new Venice, Miami a luxurious city with waterways, swamps, and glades above which thousands will live in high-rise luxury. Agriculture will move north, the geopolitical map will change, but life will go on as productively as before.


Climate activists are appalled at what they see as these facile assumptions.  There can be no adaptation to a climate warming at disastrous rates.  Unless such climate change is arrested, the earth will die, burned to cinders in a fiery, universal environmental Armageddon.  No amount of survivalist idealism will change that.

The arguments of people like Elmer Suggins have been lost in the is-it-or-isn't-it debate about climate change. True believing activists have neither a geological, evolutionary perspective nor a futuristic one, for anyone paying attention to the advances in genetic engineering can see that within a few generations at most, human beings will for the first time not resemble their ancestors.  

Recombinant DNA engineering can modify human adaptability in both short- and long-term.  Digestive, nerve, musculo-skeletal, cognitive, and physiological systems will all be in play.  Lungs will be adapted to high levels of carbon dioxide, thinner oxygen, and thicker methane.  Hearts and arterial systems reconfigured to take on newly-moderated blood flow.  Brain power will be augmented to parse the slightest fissure in knowledge and make sense out of it. 

As importantly the interface between the human brain and the computer will soon be seamless. Virtual reality is but the embryonic phase of perceptual evolution.  When the electro-chemical network of the brain is finally understood and the nature of thought deciphered, working at home will take on a whole new dimension.  Computer-mediated minds will have all of the world's information available at a mental click and will have the computing power of a million mainframes. 

A hot, unpleasant 'real' world will become insignificant.  Food will be processed and easily assimilable, health diagnostics will all be done online, and treatment, thanks to genetic modification will be increasingly unnecessary.  Intimate relationships - love affairs of limitless possibility - will thrive in this new, completely cybernetic world. 

'Frightful', said most who heard this theory of adaptability, for it was not just a sci-fi dream of a Georgia cracker, but a profoundly sane evolutionary one. Even the most cursory glance at genetics offers powerful insights into the revolutionary changes to come.  

Who ever said that human beings would not evolve? Of course they will, perhaps not in the environmentally incremental way that Darwin envisioned, but in quantum leaps.  Whoever said that the cockroach and the racoon, and all other species that have navigated their way through millennia of  changing environments should not be the model for human evolution? 

And yet the climate change juggernaut keeps rolling, and with each new ground covered those who are pushing it become more more insistent, less open, and more rabidly passionate.  Even if climate change is happening and is a result of human activity, no one is likely likely to stop it.  Most importantly, man, even more adaptable than ever and part of a dramatic, revolutionary biological alteration, will survive easily and well. 

Man is not the environmental destroyer that climate activists insist.  He is an integral part of the environment as much acted upon as acting.  The world is not as easily divided into villains and victims as many would like to think. Better see it as Hindus do - one universal place of permanent, never ending cyclic change - the world of Siva the Destroyer and Brahma the Creator. 

 'Whew, it's hot', said Elmer Suggins once again, wiping his brow, waiting for quittin' time. Such equations were not that difficult, he reasoned.  Common sense.  Why, the Sugginses had been around for five generations and when you took into consideration the bits and pieces scrambled and reassembled over time to produce Uncle Henry, an old fool but at 100 a man still to be reckoned with, a man millions of years in the making whose own bits and pieces would go into the genetic soup to continue the line for a million more, you just could not get your dander up over yet one more climate doomsday tale. 

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