Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Evolution’s Design

with 9 comments

Note: I don’t believe in Intelligent Design. I’m reasoning this purely from Evolutionary point of view.

 evolution-poster (credit:some German website)

If you think human evolved from apes and that’s all it is, then you are clearly wrong. The image above depicts comprehensively the origin of evolution on earth (click to enlarge) and clearly, evolution is a big mess of chain-transformation. In a nutshell, the deepest root of human ancestors are not monkey and apes, rather – microorganisms. I will not touch on the microorganisms topic, as i want to talk about something more interesting , which is …

From Evolutionary point of view, is human a well designed entity or a badly designed one?

Let’s start off by thinking the superficial first. There was a time during my college days when i was sitting few meters away from two cute ladies. And so, instinctively, i tried to eavesdrop their conversation. Well, every guy does that i supposed …. (excuses!!). But the two ladies were speaking so softly, that i could barely hear them. This is when i pondered, why is my hearing capabilities so limited? And my imagination went rampant. Why couldn’t my eyesight zoom in and out just like a camera? Why couldn’t i shout so loud the other side of the world hear me?

And the thought stretched even further. Not only our five senses are limited, but our entirely body is badly designed too.

  • Human’s body are vulnerable to diseases and virus (falling sick)
  • Human’s mind and brainpower will erode as we age
  • Human’s bone and joints will wear out as we age too. Plus, it is not difficult to disable our limbs (by breaking the bones or joints)
  • Human gets tired and fatigue and we have poor resistance against extreme cold and heat
  • Human internal organs are prone to failure
  • And the list goes on and on…

 

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that human is a poorly designed entity. Basically, grade A for concept and D for execution. The imperfectness hindered the potential of human being of becoming a super-robust being, thus achieving further greatness.

But let me tell you what i believe. To conjure up an elegant answer, you gotta think deep. You gotta think beyond the obvious. Because thinking superficially is … well, superficial. Now, let me tell you why our body is, in fact, very well designed.

An interesting idea i learned after reading the book Survival of the Sickest is that every bad genetic diseases, such as cholesterol, diabetes, and hemochromatosis which resides in modern human today, have helped our ancestors survived the harsh environment at some point in their evolutionary history. For instance, European ancestors and plants residing at northern Europe have high-level of sugar in order to help them to survive the coldness. However, as these high-level-sugar-human migrate away from cold places, suddenly there is a paradigm shift between their body and environment. Their body is full of sugar, but there is no coldness to balance things out. Hence, these human have diabetes.

Therefore, back to the topic – When you question the value of a design, you have to have in mind what the design is FOR. Yes, it is true, our human body isn’t perfect. But our purpose according to Evolution is not to become a Superman or Terminator by having robust and supernatural abilities. Rather, the Evolutionary design is for Survival Purposes, just like how sugar helped people survive in cold area. With this logic, what we have within our body is sufficient enough to keep human surviving.

Allow me to draw up an analogy. Look at a car. You can easily point out many imperfectness of a car. Why can’t a car fly? Why can’t a car travel across ocean? Why can’t a car transform like Bumblebee? The matter of fact is, a car isn’t designed for such activities. A car is designed to transport human to a reasonable distance on the road. When you understand the purpose of the car, you will understand why such imperfections are reasonable.

PS: This article is inspired by an intellectual discourse in Facebook Group titled: Is The Human Body A Good Design?

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Written by elan85

January 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Evolution

9 Responses

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  1. Very interesting! Didn’t you think about the possibility that even in evolution could be found an intelligent design? Infact, as you noticed, there are ‘purpose’ and ‘complexity’. It is looking at this apparent purpose and this visible complexity that our reason say: “Wow! Seems like someone designed this beautifull machine that is Life-on-arth with some intent: step by step all forms of life evolve one from each other to reach some sort of goal in th end!”. And if I look at human complexity, at human brain, at human intellectual abilities and language…here it is! Here is the goal!…And may be the process is not concluded yet!…Who wanted this? And Why? Where is the creation (if everything is created) headed? Towards what or…Whom?
    ;^) bye

    Andrea

    February 4, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  2. Hi Andrea,

    Yes, indeed there are possibilities where human beings were created with intended purposes. But at the same time,i think this is actually up to our own personal subjective interpretation.

    Let’s take an example – eyes. If you notice, human, birds, ants, spiders and fish do not share the same kind of eyes. Rather, we have a wide range variety of eyes on different creatures, depending on the surrounding and environment they live in. Why do the ‘Designer’ not create one type of eye and fit it to all these creatures? Something like one size fit all?

    Now, is this a variation designed by the ‘Designer’ to allow adaptability or is this an example of how creatures evolved to their surrounding? It is up to our personal judgment, really. Because no matter which side you support, there is no 100% definite answer at the moment.

    Hope you enjoy my blog. 🙂

    Ronn Yeo

    February 5, 2008 at 7:08 pm

  3. Thank you Ronn, I agree with you. Reading again what i wrote i can see now that my point of view was quite philosophical. I started from the consideration that where you find much order and complexity there you can trace the footprints of reason, of intellect. This made me wonder about the question of ‘WHY’ is there so much complexity in nature and about the possibility that these evolving complexity and adaptability of beings have a significance that goes beyond the adaptability itself.
    Anyway I agree with you also when you say that there’s no definite answer and probably never will be…But I believe it is important for humans never stopping the search…”Ask well, and will find answers”. Don’t you think?

    Thank you again! You built a very interesting blog!

    ;^) Bye

    Andrea

    February 7, 2008 at 12:34 am

  4. You are crazy if you don’t believe in ID and only in evolution. Evolution best explains and elaborates long-term processes. It is really a tool for understanding and framing experimentation. It does not determine the “judgment” of a human being(s) poorly designed – you are doing that. Even with your poster – and it is a beauty you and I and every other scientist – human being out there has just scratched the surface of possibilities. It is only recently in human history that we have even gained technologies that will assist us in unpacking “forces” of nature further. The LHC at CERN is a perfect example of not only how far we have to go to penetrate in order to understand but also an example – a template if you will of “intelligent design”. I am sure you have to admit that LHCs do not actually evolve as much as they improve and certainly, it takes intelligence to do that as well as to interpret the terabytes of data.

    Clay

    February 12, 2008 at 4:22 am

  5. Hie Clay,

    I’m gonna make a little assumption on your side, so please do correct me if i’m wrong. I suppose you do not believe in Evolution because there is no 100% concrete evidence to show that intelligence was evolved spontaneously from nature. Plus, it is pretty unthinkable for the nature to have such capacity to create something called as Life from nothing. (in fact, according to some hypothesis, life is a result of chemical reaction, but i will not touch on that for now) Now, it is only logical that all these things must be designed by a designer, right?

    Now, using the same logic, i will want to know what is the hard evidence ID has to substantiate the claim that it has a designer. I suppose if you believe the ID designer is the God from religions, then all you can rely on is only Faith. There’s no real evidence at all since we can’t even observe God. To me, it is pretty unthinkable to say someone called as God designed everything since we can’t even verify the existence of God in the first place.

    Hence, this is my point. If at the current moment, there are no hard evidences for both evolution and ID, what makes you so sure that ID is the right answer over evolution?

    Therefore, as what i have said in my reply on Andrea’s comment, this world is subject to our own interpretation. There’s no absolute right and absolute wrong in any answers. You think i’m wrong. But that’s just your personal opinion which is not an ‘absolute’ fact of the universe. Now who is right and who is wrong? The answer is nobody. Both of us are trying to make a point, albeit contradicting. I still respect your point although i don’t believe i will ever agree with it.

    You mentioned about LHC, which is a particle accelerator. I can’t see how it could relate to Evolution vs ID since this stuffs talk about Quantum Mechanics instead. Ok, maybe there’s a connection since Quantum Mechanics is tied with the question on the origin of universe among physicists right now.

    Now, you said it takes intelligence to interpret the data. Then i would want to make another argument – take a look at the tree. From a seed, it evolves to a young tree. And it grows bigger, bigger and bigger. As the tree grows, it develops leaves, fruits and stronger roots. Hundred or thousand of years later it collapse. All these processes happen naturally without any external help. You can argue this is part of ID, but from how i see it, this is a beauty of nature at work. Again, who is right and who is wrong?

    Ronn Yeo

    February 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

  6. Hi! have a look to the following sites. I found a lot of material that made me thinking, very very interesting and well done documentaries on evolution, ID and AI on a scientific point of view!
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/
    http://best.online.docus.googlepages.com/
    http://www.becominghuman.org/
    bye! :^)

    Andrea

    March 7, 2008 at 5:56 pm

  7. A question arose in my mind: what is actually that we call ‘human’? I do believe that in the next decades we will be struggled by the answer to this question, and maybe new knowledges and consciousness of our nature are behind the next door to be opened.
    Hope I intrigued you!
    Thanks to all for discussing about these interesting arguments!
    :^D Bye!

    Andrea

    March 7, 2008 at 6:06 pm

  8. Thanks for the interesting links Andrea.

    You can also check out http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php

    IMO, the link above is the best for Evolution stuffs.

    Ronn Yeo

    March 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

  9. Regarding to your question, i believe the day when we are able to understand how genetics and neuroscience work, that’s the day we will start to abandon the tag unique and special associated with human being.

    Unfortunately, scientists are only beginning to scratch the surface of these areas. So, let’s see what we will get in the future days.

    Ronn Yeo

    March 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm


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