/ Gentle Reformation

Blind Evolution



I recently watched a video about a man born blind trying to understand color.  Naturally, he couldn’t grasp the concept.  It’s completely foreign to him.  At one point he humorously puzzled over how water, ice, and the sky could all be blue.  “Same color!” He exclaimed. “But they mean completely different things!  That’s weird to me,” he added with a chuckle.

I suppose it would be very weird.

After watching the video, I was struck with a thought.  Try as the blind man might, he couldn’t even imagine color.  Nothing.  The world is colorless to him.  Sight is unimaginable.

This got me to thinking about naturalistic evolution.  I mean, really, isn’t that the obvious segue?

That’s a joke.

Anyway, it led me to think about the naturalist’s view of the earth during its early days of life.  Imagine the first critters squiggling around.  They have no eyes.  In fact, there isn’t anything with eyes.  It is a sightless world.  As such, color unknown.  Sight is unimaginably distant.  The world is dark from the vantage point of the living.

At this point in the story, the naturalist will show us the next slide on his PowerPoint.  It features a critter with crude sensory detectors.  “Ah yes,” explains the confident voice, “eyes emerge!”

And so it goes.

But think about that.  A man born blind- an intelligent, rational, thinking man who tries to understand color- cannot even begin to imagine color.  He can’t even slightly imagine what the world looks like.  It’s beyond his conception.

And yet, we are to believe that the blind process of evolution- the unthinking, irrational, impersonal forces of nature- was able, as it were, to imagine color.  It somehow “knew” there was something to be seen, that the external world could be apprehended through the focusing of light.

But how could that be?  How could an unthinking process steer biology towards something unimaginable?

Chance?  Just pure chance?

But ponder that.  The biology, even in its simplest form, just happened to keep building towards the unimaginable?  It would seem as if it had to know somehow, to know that there was in fact an external world that could be viewed.

Now I know that there are plenty of biologists who would be quick to challenge my simplistic point, even laugh at it, knowing full well where I’m headed.  And I am also ready to concede that I would be quickly overwhelmed with information I couldn’t process.  One need only venture out a short distance into the deep waters of the debate over macro-evolution to realize how complicated the discussion can quickly become.  Nevertheless, the notion that life just happened to steer towards sight seems to me to be utterly absurd.  Even if we remove from the equation the genius required for such biological engineering, it would seem that a certain kind of genius is required to even conceive where the biology should go.  It’s a dilemma of double proportions in my mind.

At the end of day, there are going to be those who believe that pure chance can “create” and “imagine” such wonders.  But as for myself, I cannot help but think that when evolution is described as being blind, it’s an apt metaphor.