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Q & A: BIG questions

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
WHO ARE WE? WHAT IS LIFE? WHAT IS EVOLUTION? WHAT ARE THOUGHTS? WHY IS EVERYTHING SO?* *=(OPTIONAL QUESTION)
- Anonymous
A:
Those are mostly way beyond us, so I'll treat them all as optional. I'll pick the one which is within reach but not familiar to all our readers.

Evolution is pretty easy to describe. Living organisms can have descendants who inherit many properties, although with little changes due to mutations and to combining (e.g. by sex) with other slightly different organisms. Some of the traits make organisms more likely to have descendants, and others have the opposite effect. Therefore the next generation will be, on average, different. Those changes can get really big after many generations- say after the passage of 4 billion years. The changes will head off in all different directions, partly because of accidents in the random mutations, but also because the traits best for making descendants vary a lot depending on the environment.

There’s very strong evidence that this process led to all current forms of life on our planet.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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