Darwinian Evolution

 

 

Many people donít believe in Darwinian Evolution.  Perhaps itís because they donít understand it.  Here goes my attempt to explain the basic idea of Darwinian Evolution.

A lock-maker invents a new lock; the army of lock-pickers eventually picks it; the lock-maker responds with another new lock design; again the army of lock-pickers breaks thru the lock design.  And on and on.  So that at any point of time, most locks have this latest design.  There is NO perfect lock, what there is is the best lock for now, until the lock-pickers start the cycle again.

We invent mosquito spray that repels mosquitoes; mosquitoes starve from lack of human blood; but some mosquitoes are not affected by the spray, they eat and drink and get fat.  The starving mosquitoes die from malnourishment, they donít reproduce; but the fat mosquitoes do reproduce.  In many if not most cases, the new generations of new mosquitoes inherit this immunity to the repellant.  The mosquitoes are back in business.  Until we invent a NEW repellant or insecticide.  There is no perfect solution to our hatred of mosquitoes.  What there is is a repellant-resistant species of mosquito.

Colorful moths flew around London in pre-industrial days.  Birds loved them.  Some of these moths were the color of the local fauna, they were invisible to the birds, they survived to reproduce.  The Industrial Age began, pumping dark gasses into the air, the sky over London becomes dark.  Now dark gray moths are invisible to their predators; so all of a sudden dark gray moths supplant the fauna-colored moths as the dominant species of moth.  Is this the same species with a different color, or a different species?

Itís not much harder than that.  No individual member of a species is really "better adapted" than any other.  Just those individuals that survive into adulthood reproduce, the ones who didnít make it that far donít reproduce.  Sometimes circumstances intervene that reshape a species, like the filthy London air selecting ugly dark gray moths for successful reproduction.  Was their gray color a real "benefit" to them? Only insofar as their natural predators couldnít see them, or eat them.

Darwin did not until the end say that we humans were descendants of apes.  He know that his theory pointed in that direction, but he also knew heíd get drawn and quartered if he spoke it publicly.  But letís see how threatening this idea really is.

If you believe in a literal Biblical account that the Earth and its life forms are only six thousand years old, what I have said and will say will fall on deaf ears.  If you believe that all the other animals may have been here for millions of years but humans arrived, out of nowhere or from outer space, only six thousand years ago, what I have to say will still not be heard.  All of you curious and open-minded folks stay with me; we're near the end of this argument.

Your father was not killed in the Vietnamese War before your mother conceived.  Your fatherís fathers were not killed in World War II, World War I, or the Civil War before your mother conceived your ancestor.  Your mother was not killed in the Triangle Shirt Waist factory fire before giving birth to a grandparent, and she was not burned at the stake as a witch before giving birth to an ancestor of yours.  There is nothing special about these folk except they didnít die before giving birth to your ancestor(s).

You look different from your Mom and Dad.  Youíre probably taller.  Folks will see similarities, sure, but you do look different from them.  They looked different from their parents.  And so on and so on.  What defines a new species?  Only that a member of one can not reproduce with a member of another.  Can you not imagine a great-great-great-(etc.)-grand-father who is only four feet tall , hairy, with a scrunched up nose?

Evolution really doesnít say too much that defies common sense once you think about it.  Thatís its charm, it is some ways so obvious, and innocent.  Science can't prove that Man is not a "special creation"; but science has fossil-evidence that human-like animals have existed for a few million years, and that these fossils seem to be heading in the direction of modern man.  Evolution doesnít necessarily kick God out of the equation; it just insists (not a small thing) that humans are Earthly animals, cousins to primates, dolphins, big cats, bears, salmon and even mosquitoes, not Godís only angels on earth.

 

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