Discussion by: Catfish
Personally find it difficult to find a spot in my mind for Evolution. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly believe in evolution but it is the randomness (ie. we would not be here if a dinosaur had not sneezed) of it that I find hard to model in my mind. I know I find this hard because I belong to a species that has survived with a large brain that loves to find patterns and purposes in the world but knowing that does not help me mentally store evolution as meaningless, purposeless entity. So I am keen on analogies or thoughts that help me capture the essence of evolution in a way I can mentally file it.
None of them really hit the mark. Many of them will imply some sense of direction or even purpose which is not there. I quite like Mark Twain's “Blink giant who rolls a snowball down a hill” (see below) but not perfectly happy because a snowball implies some continuous growth (ie. gets bigger as it rolls) which is not accurate.
Richard Dawkins quotes “Things exists..” quote (see below) is perfect for the result but does not do much on the process.
Am looking for the Grand Unifying Analogy/Quote of Evolution.
Maybe is not possible and has to be like one of those “Zen Thoughts” books with a collection of separate thoughts to cover different aspects (ie. randomness, sexual selection, kin selection, random mutation, extinction, etc)
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Richard Dawkins – The Blind Watchmaker
“Things exist either because they have recently come into existence or because they have qualities that made them unlikely to be destroyed in the past
Mark Twain – "The Secret History of Eddypus"
Evolution is a blind giant who rolls a snowball down a hill. The ball is made of flakes—circumstances. They contribute to the mass without knowing it. They adhere without intention, and without foreseeing what is to result. When they see the result they marvel at the monster ball and wonder how the contriving of it came to be originally thought out and planned. Whereas there was no such planning, there was only a law: the ball once started, all the circumstances that happened to lie in its path would help to build it, in spite of themselves.