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MC's picture

I Read a Book

I don't know how I have the free time, it's truly astounding.

Anyway, I read a book the other day and it was quite ridiculous so I won't go into it much, except to say that there was a plot point involving genetically engineered werewolves (I read a surprising number of books where this is a plot point. I should perhaps look into other hobbies?). Now, all of the pseudo-science in this book was absolutely laughable, but for whatever reason the genetic modification of individuals really got to me. Not because I'm morally opposed to it, but because for whatever reason people seem to think that going in and switching around genes to achieve certain results is easy. Admittedly, we can make flies grow eyes on the ends of their antennae and other similar things, which are quite specific, but when we do this we don't use a fully grown fly. We change the fly's DNA when it's an egg so that it develops into an eye-antennae'd fly, as that's the only time when anything's actually developing, and therefor, y'know, changing. Or we make changes to an adult and breed it, and watch the changes over generations. What am I trying to say? We don't have a fly without eye-antennae one moment and then have one the next. It doesn't work like that. We have to change nucleotide sequences to do this-- and contrary to popular belief, there is not a magical telepathic link between every single DNA strand in your body that allows them all to change based on the changes made to a single strand. So I mean, theoretically we could shuffle around human DNA and mix it with wolf DNA. But only in a single cell. And then it would probably die. And unless that cell was incredibly important, then that death would probably be totally unnoticed in the greater scheme of things.

Analysis applied to everything ever: 1. If you change one individual sometimes you'll change the whole (and get a freaky eye-antennae) but more often than not nothing will happen and life will continue on as normal. 2. Adults are harder to change than children/infants/fetuses/blastula/unfertilized eggs. 3. Changes are typically more evident over generations. 4. Radical change often results in death.

I had other things to say. Probably about how individuals change based on cultural change based on biological change based on geological change based on cosmological change. And what's cosmological change based on I wonder?

Oh! I hate the term "personal" or "individual" evolution. It promotes the use of the term evolution in what I feel are misprepresentative ways. Personal or individual change is fine, but not evolution.

Individuals are just cultures (and languages, which are like cultures, which are like languages) on a teeny tiny scale. They are the combination of tidbits from every which way fitted into different shapes. The greatest difference is that it usually takes slightly less time to notice the change in an individual than in a culture. But only usually. That statement/idea/what have you possibly has something to do with genes. Not possibly, in fact, but definitely.

Interpret as you will.

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