Odd Thoughts: Texters testing evolution theory

We may be experiencing a full-out test of Darwinian biology – depending on whether or not there is a genetic component to some people’s compulsion to be in constant contact with someone – anyone – every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

A combination of ramped-up communications technology plus transportation modes that already kill a disproportionate number of human beings offer Darwin’s theory of evolution of species an interesting – albeit gruesome – proving ground.

The experimental procedure is set by politicians and social leaders who prefer expediency and mindless intuition to establishing safety standards based on actual scientific data.

Cow’s milk has already proven that evolution is effective in adding mutations with positive side-effects to the gene pool. And the process can act with haste.

A northern European mutation increasing tolerance to cow’s milk, and allowing people to drink that highly nutritious substance without suffering serious problems (lactose intolerance) was so advantageous that it virtually flooded the gene pool, becoming almost ubiquitous in just 5,000 years.

Evolution doesn’t normally work that fast – this was like flying a jet plane across Canada instead of riding a bicycle – but the milk scenario proves that Mother Nature is not afraid to rush with a really good idea.

Cellphones and automobiles may be providing us with a test of how quickly she can weed out a really bad idea.

Although it’s against the law here and in most places where rational laws predominate, you’ll still see lots of people charging down the road, steering wheel in one hand and cellphone in the other, driven by some dark force to put themselves and others at risk.

Likewise texting – although even a certified idiot incapable of actually reading the studies should be able to intuit how incredibly dangerous that has to be.

Worse still, it’s actually legal for countless others to babble away on hands-free devices while driving, because the people who make the laws refuse to pay attention to studies that show that there is no difference in the risk level between using handheld and hands-free phones while driving – about the same risk as that of having a crash as driving while drunk.

And the risk of your crash involving a fatality – yours or someone else’s – is also about the same as that of a drinking driver.

And now studies are appearing that show hands-free texting is exactly as dangerous as propping your phone on the top of your steering wheel and going at it with both thumbs flying.

It has become clear that it’s an attention disorder that is at work, and that disorder is creating our Darwinian proving ground on two levels.

First, the attention disorder is creating that compulsion to inconsiderately gab or text under the most unsafe of conditions.

And then, once your fatal attraction has taken hold of you, it takes your attention off the road, off your vehicle, and off the vehicles of your unsuspecting prospective victims surrounding you.

The only plus side is that, if you die in a crash while talking or texting on a cellphone, your genes have a greater chance of settling down and out of the way into the muck at the bottom of the gene pool.

And now an accelerating wrinkle is added to the mix. A woman caught speeding while wearing Google Glass was acquitted of a charge of distracted driving.

Heck, those people can’t even walk, let alone drive safely. I guess that’s why they’re called “glass-holes.”

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