Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Letter to NG From a Concerned Reader

The whole point of the true evolutionary perspective is that evolution has no goal or object. There is no "intended" outcome. It is merely a series of random mutations that very occasionally produce advantageous results. Over millions of years complexity may result, but only if complexity presents clear survival advantages over being less complex.

In the first two pages of his article Zimmer once refers to nature as "thrifty" and then to evolution as "tinkering" with genes. A scientist quoted in the artricle refers to evolution as an "improviser." It may be a literary technique to endow non-human ideas with human characteristics, but it is not good evolutionary science. Only something intelligent has the capacity to be thrifty or the know-how to tinker or improvise.

In an effort to convince people that evolution is "so elegant, so beautiful, so simple," authors, and occasionally scientists alike, assign creator-like attributes to an idea. Maybe it is a deficiency in our language that causes this. Maybe it is an attempt to demystify science by robbing it of its precise language. Or maybe, just maybe, there is something deeper in us that cannot be explained by genetic markers and neurotransmitters. Maybe this essence of what it means to be human, this soul, is hungering for the simplest explanation of all. That there is indeed incredible Intelligence somewhere in this vast universe that did have a goal in mind.

Maybe it is this faith that will always warm and humanize us when science cannot.

1 comment:

on.the.run said...

I loved this! I am in A&P right now, it is funny to me that any one could not see the hand of God in the creation of man. We are so complex and intricate, the very idea that we randomly happened seems ridiculous.