The Human Machine

Has it ever occurred to you how much like machines we are?  In fact there is lot indicating that we are in fact biological machines with a built-in mechanism for shutting down.  We need fuel to keep going, need repairing when parts of us fail and even go rusty (well in the joints anyway).  Unfortunately we can’t be kept running forever and once you shut down there is no way of starting you back up again, even if you got a full restoration.

There are probably some really good Sci Fi stories out there about this and those of you with a Creationist belief will point to the creator of these ‘human’ machines (or animal machines as all creatures great and small share at least a large part of the same design; I’ll conveniently forget here about those that seem to exist for a very long time, micro-organisms like the corals etc. – there’s a good long list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_long-living_organisms – or Bruce Forsyth, Cliff Richard et al).

I believe in evolution and the wonderous process that has resulted in such marvelous biological designs but what if we were designed and built with a good self-replication mechanism?  Is there anything you think could have been designed better and why?  I know my wife didn’t suffer as much as some women do with pregnancy and child-bearing but is it really the best way to reproduce?  And what about the male reproductive tackle – does it have to be in such a sensitive and unprotected place?

We as humans naturally presume we are the pinnacle of evolution or God’s creation but what creatures have a better design do you think?

I’ll go for cats who as we all know actually own us (especially my cat Oliver who has me so very well-trained as I’ve discussed here before).  You could argue that they are still prone to cruelty from we ‘superior humans’ but even so if you’re ‘owned’ by a good human life can be pretty near perfect (pun intended).

I think the insect world could arguably be as good or superior to humanity especially ants etc. who live in well organised societies.  Yes they can still be wiped out by us humans but I think we only inflict damage not total destruction.  And given the number of people on this little blue planet it could also be argued that we are a ‘swarm’, similar to the locusts that sweep across landscapes the world over.  There is certainly a lot of evidence that we’ve changed the planet, sometimes to the detriment of other life forms far more than any other creature.

Right now I need to go tackle some ants in my garden.  There is a war going on and I think they may just be winning  but as long as I can stop them getting in the jam I’ll be happy (I don’t mind the pips but I draw a line at crunchy ant parts – I am a vegetarian after all).

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Human Machine

  1. As always your posts put a smile on my face. I’ve heard that cockroaches would survive a nuclear blast. I kind of get the feeling that statement may be true. The roaches here in New York seem to multiply and are immune to all types of sprays, roach motels plus other methods of extermination. Also rats. Our subways are filthy and the rats are doing the Electric Slide, Cha, Cha, Cha, and the Twist all along the tracks. I always wondered why they don’t get zapped by the third rail. At night when you’re walking down some streets in Manhattan or Brooklyn the rats have no fear and are completely uninhibited. They feel they have rights to the sidewalks. I do believe cockroaches, rats and mice mutate and/or evolve in their quest for domination of our planet. They must have some 6th sense that they will win. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Toxic Avenger arise from Subways. Who knows what’s really down there?

    • katyasozaeva

      Rats are super cool creatures, and incredibly smart. I think they can sense the electricity from the third rail, or they have just learned it is dangerous and passed that knowledge on. Rats also have a way to keep their population from going out of control, did you know that? If there are too many rats, the does start having smaller litters with more males, so that the males will move on to new parts and thus keep the population at a certain level. I think humans could learn a lot from rats.

      • The rats in New York bite people, especially babies and young children. Ask anyone who lives in the projects. Since rats carry disease I want them exterminated. Permanently. They’ve been known to come up on the platforms in search of food and even adults have been bitten. New York rats are just little furry thugs spreading disease, not cute like in the movie Ben. I’ve seen rats here bigger than my cats. As far as I’m concerned they’ll always be vermin.

      • katyasozaeva

        Actually, rats don’t carry disease themselves. Due to their extremely high metabolism, usually if they catch anything they die quickly. There are very few zoonotic (I think that’s the word) diseases that humans and rats share; humans can give rats strep throat, but I don’t know of any disease that rats can directly give humans. They do carry fleas, and those fleas can carry things like the plague, of course, but the rats are just as much a victim of that as humans are. Also, the only reason rats would bite a human is if they (the human) smelled like food; say they’d been eating peanut butter or something that the rat would find irresistible. A lot of those stories are just that: urban legends, passed from someone who heard about someone’s cousin’s neighbor. Rats will try to stay away from humans; we smell bad to them. *shrug* I’ve done a lot of research on rats, and had them as pets. If we were to exterminate rats, it could potentially cause a really serious problem; they serve a purpose. The best way to reduce the population of rats in an area is to remove the things that attract them, like piles of garbage, and cluttered spaces in which they can hide. That would, of course, be up to the town’s department to keep the refuse down.

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