Archive for February 3rd, 2011

Evolution and Wordism

The Cambrian Extinction is considered the worst that ever happened. Actually the Oxygen Extinction was more extensive, but no one wants to count that. When green plants evolved and oxygen permeated the atmosphere, all the rest of life had been anaerobic, and ALL of it either died or was driven from the surface.

The Cambrian Extinction took out the highest percentage of existing life forms after that. It completely destroyed the trilobites. The trilobites were on the order of two feel long, and, as the name indicates, their bodies were separated into three parts.

But, just as dinosaurs live today as birds, the trilobites are still among us.

We call their descendants ants. Just as the original whale was an earth animal like a dog with hooves, there could not be a greater difference between the trilobites and their present progeny.

Trilobites evolved, as did the dinosaurs and the hoofed dogs. But what is of interest to us is that the trilobites evolved into an institution. The anthill could not be more different from its trilobitic ancestors.

Trilobites lived only in the sea. In fact, present information is that there was no life on land when the Cambrian Extinction occurred. Trilobites were distinct creatures. The ant hill is the most extreme kind of collectivism, where class distinctions are absolute.

We have no idea whether any trilobites had any communal life at all.

But when I say institutions evolve, I am stating a universal truth. We don’t know whether the hoofed carnivore ancestor of the whale was a communal animal at all. We do know that a blue whale compares to that animal in size much the way an ant compares to a trilobite, only the other way around.

Does this mean that the trilobite “wanted” to be an ant and the dinosaurs spent a hundred million years wishing they were birds? There’s no sign of it.

But Wordism tends to make men into an entirely different kind of animal. We seem to be as aware of that as a dinosaur was of evolution.