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As I See It: Humans and nature

I guess it’s human nature to wonder so much about nature — no pun intended.

We certainly have a curious relationship with the world around us — and by that I mean everything that exists besides us. While intellectually speaking we are larger than nature as a whole, in the practical sense we are not much better than ants. It might actually be that ants have something over us in that I doubt they believe they can control nature.

While in some respects we can influence what happens in the world, to believe we are the cause of near-cataclysmic events is beyond not just hubris but total reality.

A recent exchange of opinions and letters in the Brainerd Dispatch included the admonishment from one professor that we should just leave these sorts of things to the experts. How often have we heard similar things from our political leaders?

One definition of “expert” that I read a long time ago is — a person who knows more and more about less and less. In most cases I have not run into any situations that would cause me to change one word of that.

I have worked with and for some totally brilliant people in my career. While one or two did have issues in the sartorial department, they all had two additional qualities. The first was common sense. The second was an ability to explain the most complex subjects using terms and methods that most laypersons could comprehend.

They were always open to questions, even the ones we might call stupid, and they never took the pointed questions as an attack on their character or credibility.

Whenever someone says firmly, “Just trust me,” that is my first clue they can’t fully support what they are shoveling our way.

We built the city of New Orleans below sea level. We constructed a system of levees to protect sections of the city, but don’t spend enough maintaining them. Then when a strong hurricane decides to release its deluge of rain in and around the area, even though similar storms have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico (look up Galveston, Texas, in 1900), we pay total homage to the pundits who pontificate about how mankind caused this event.

There may not be any stupid questions, but there certainly appear to be plenty of stupid answers.

The medical profession has made many positive strives in finding cures and treatments for diseases and conditions and has alleviated the suffering of countless people. But that profession has also stepped into areas that leave one to wonder why they want to interfere with nature.

Plastic surgery to correct deformities has done wonders. Plastic surgery to give someone bigger anything or fewer wrinkles appears to be a monumental misappropriation or misapplication of resources that could be spent far more wisely.

Is it that we don’t want to understand that nature doesn’t make mistakes? The mistake occurs when we feel we should be able to draw as many cards as we want when nature’s dealing the poker hands.

Shouldn’t “first, do no harm,” apply to abortion? I guess it depends on whether who is being harmed can vote. That must be how contraception (interrupting or stopping the results of a natural act) became part of health care that must be covered under insurance.

I read of a case a few weeks ago where a person who was conceived via artificial methods had developed a significant, inherited problem later in life and then attempted to sue the sperm donor who did not disclose that condition. I’m not certain, but I think we might screen blood donors far more than sperm donors. And I’m sure there are other sperm sources that can provide some from men of certain IQs, blood type and hair color.

Sometimes I feel the writers from the “Twilight Zone,” “1984,” “Animal Farm” and a few other authors from the science fiction genre all got together and wrote the screenplay for life in the United States in 2014. And the whole thing was edited by Joseph Heller of “Catch-22” fame who probably mercifully passed away in 1999!

I guess that’s enough about humanity alone. To add to the human aspect, I don’t really know enough to understand and analyze genetically altered foods. I don’t think we know enough to declare them totally safe or harmful.

I do have a gut feel that we aren’t necessarily on the right track in this area. Thinking of all the testing done prior to pharmaceuticals coming to market and how often negative effects eventually appear, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As I implied above, if we continue to breed vegetables, animals or people with certain “desirable” characteristics — whatever they really are — are we not on a path that will corrupt and pollute every aspect of the human reproductive chain and process?

I know I risk having the dreaded “denier” label attached to me concerning climate change. It is now being applied to many with the same fervor as to the Holocaust deniers. There are just too many respected scientists who have offered solid evidence to the contrary.

Too bad Chicken Little is alive in so many experts — scientists, politicians and the worst are those brokers who stand to make millions trading carbon credits and other non-existent commodities.

Another “… tale of sound and fury signifying nothing”!

Well, that’s the way I see it.