Field of Science

Engineering evolving by natural selection

The marvelous Richard Dawkins gives a short account of contraptions made by a German engineer that gradually 'evolved' from crude starting materials. Include a wind harnessing system of propellors inspired by the principles of bird flight, and an 'intelligently designed' (!) foil that is engineered by 'natural selection' to minimize air drag. This presentation should put to rest one of the many misconceptions about evolution- that it is so 'random' and hinges upon such a fortuitous happenstance, that it simply could not have taken place naturally in such a 'short' time. An illuminating presentation lasting only a few minutes

These days, I have strongly started to think that it is relatively easy to harbour doubts about evolution if one has not read into it in some detail. For example, questions about the improbability of complex life arising 'randomly' by mutations from simple chemical precursors in a short period of time, is what can be only called the "argument from incredulity"- we find it hard to believe simply because we cannot readily imagine it. No wonder the 'intelligent designees' can hoodwink people in a hardbeat. A more incredulous stance would actually be the belief that simply because something is incomprehensible to us human beings means that it cannot have taken place in nature. Talk about smug and self-centered satisfaction!

A little glance into some of the details of evolution should be enough to convince us of the utter beauty, logic and very much probable simplicity of the process. In retrospect, evolution should look infinitely more simple and beautiful than the transcendental and much more complex process of some inconceivable super-designer designing such a complex world.

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