Tuesday, August 07, 2007

FAQs Post: Oct 2005 to Feb 2006

This FAQs Post is the first of its kind. It is intended to give you a general idea of what I usually write here. These kind of posts are for those people who are new to my blog. They can read these posts are then go ahead to read newer posts. It will help them understand things better.

This FAQs relates to posts posted between Oct 2005 & Jan 2006

Q1. What is the meaning of survival?

Survival means staying alive. It also refers to the acts of staying alive and keeping ourselves unhurt, and free from danger (threat to life).

Q2. What is the idea of survival about?

Basically it is about staying alive. It is probably a phenomenon which has kept us alive and kicking of centuries, even before human beings came to appear on the face of earth.

Q3. What is the significance of this idea?

Think about this idea of survival as a vital program - software for life. Now without this program living creatures would know how to escape from danger or protect themselves from it. This could result in their extinction. There could have been many species that lived and died on earth not knowing what danger is; some of them we might not even know. But luckily we (human beings) are alive, and so are other plants and animals too. This means this idea has had effect.

Q4. But why did survival become the rule of life?

Life was not equated to the idea of survival. The idea of survival was not something taken for granted. It means it is ridiculous to assume that life was this way in the beginning. By default life could have been anything (or any number of things). Over time some things die while other live/survive on to the next generation. This is exactly the principle of natural selection. Survival is a phenomenon that exists because of natural selection.

Q5. What is natural selection?

It was an idea propounded by Charles Darwin. He used it to explain why certain traits were popular in species and others were not. There could be variation in a specie based on characteristics of its geographical location.

For e.g. cactuses. They are found in the deserts as well as on some coastal regions (geographically different areas). The desert cactuses have longer thorns to help them protect themselves from herbivores that would otherwise feed on them. Plus they are comparatively thin with respect to their cousin. This feature allows for low surface area so that water loss due transpiration is minimized. If you look at their cousin down at the beach, they are small, plump, and have small thorns. The small thorns could be the result of not having to face enemies that their desert cousins would normally encounter.

Q6. What is fear?

In extreme life-threatening cases fear is a reaction which would urge us to escape to safety. (Commonly referred to as 'flight' in evolutionary terms). It is again a program that helped us survive all along. Without it all of us would have been extinct or, we would have never existed at all!

Q7. What is feminism?

Normally this is a political term that refers to support to women's right, freedom, welfare, etc. In biology or with reference to evolution and the idea of survival, it is actually about members of the a specie becoming more concerned of rearing the offspring to adulthood.

Most male species exhibited polygamy. They mated with other females to increase their likeness in the community. Another reason for polygamy can also be to create a large army to protect the whole herd. The birth apparatus in most mammalian female species are generally not capable of giving birth as frequently as males copulate. Gestation or pregnancy is so critical that any abnormality or stress could result in the female dying. If the females die the chance of the species to produce the next generation also decreases, which could ultimately lead to extinction.

Feminism is also responsible for the males taking an active part in child rearing and overall child development.