Blog # 141 CHARLES DARWIN’S EGG

Those who have acceptably incorporated Darwinian evolution into the permanent infrastructure of their belief system might be somewhat surprised at the number of folks (previously referred to by us, as “flat- earth people”) who would prefer adherence to the Disney-like fantasia of “creationism.” It may be observed that such people would, without question, be among those referred to by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation, “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” (See previous writing).

As universally known, evolution has been empirically, scientifically and forensically authenticated; blood sample comparisons (serological proof), archeological (fossils), geological evidence (strata), and biological (DNA, etc.) proofs  and  confirmation of the theory are clear, logical, consistent and unassailable. Recently, a” believer,” reprovingly, stated to us: “Well, it is only a theory.” To which we immediately responded, “So are gravity and electricity, theories.”

Inarguably, evolution’s greatest and most useful “gift” to mankind was his evolved brain and its capacity for reason. If we may be permitted an anatomical analogy to the human heart and to muscles in general, we would venture that it, too, if not adequately exercised, it could neurologically atrophy.  The thematic intention of this writing is to communicate our desperately felt fear, that the currently observed reluctance to enhance and use man’s magnificent gift may in the near future, result in its permanent atrophy and loss of utility. This makes him useless as an individual or contributing citizen, and renders him vulnerable to demagogues, “snake oil salesmen” and potential dictators.

We have consistently observed that there is a proximate relation  between reading  good literature, and the acquisition of understanding, perspective, and eventually, wisdom; that reading the great authors, awakens one to the recurrent vagaries of the human condition and to man’s  eternal problems  though the millennia of his recorded existence.  It does so in a manner catalytically enlarging the reader’s insight to himself and to his society, and does so enjoyably and aesthetically.

Sadly, fewer people are reading much these days; and those that do read seem to prefer “shorter,” simpler novels with formulaic love stories and barely literate books about violence, crime or “super heroes.” Some read “books” which are fully illustrated by cartoons, with a bare minimum of written words; many do not read at all. This retrogressive tendency and these “books” do nothing at all to increasing self- awareness or understanding; their exclusive reading is most predictive of an unsatisfactory, insular and disappointing life. From the standpoint of society, such readers do not make good and useful citizens or useful participants in a representative democracy.

The development of potential for improved empirical reason is invaluable, but it can be wasted if not employed. We honor and respect those members of society, who through reading and other self-enhancement have successfully developed into citizens capable of exercising mature and capable reason; yet we most especially honor and respect those people, who actually “use” such developed reason. Please consider, for illustration, the following, true, episode:

When only an inexperienced, high school sophomore, we were confronted by an older, upper grade school-mate, who very confidently issued to us the following  challenge :“I will bet you two “chunky bars” (in those modest days, those candies [containing chocolate, nuts and raisins] were our equivalent of Victorian- age gold ingots) that you can’t answer a question that I am now thinking about.” Being young and knowing that the upper classmate was not “the sharpest knife in the drawer” we took the challenge. “O.K.” he said gleefully, presumably, in a supremely confident anticipation of our predictable inability to answer his question, and of his anticipated winnings, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” To his great surprise, we immediately answered, “The egg.” Puzzled that we offered any answer at all, he demanded, “Oh yeah, then, where did the egg come from?” We immediately responded as follows: “From the animal or bird which was the immediate predecessor of the chicken in evolution; the egg, when it hatched was the first chicken.”{ I can still taste those delicious chunky bars, to this day.}*

This is an apt (and true) illustration of the importance of not only developing reason, the natural function and purpose of the brain, but of reason’s actual use. It still surprises us that the “proverbial chicken egg question” is still used by many educated people to describe a supposedly unanswerable problem of cause and effect, despite the fact that we all believe in evolution and that there is such an overwhelming consensus  that all chickens, uniformly, come from eggs.

-p,

  • Also recounted in an earlier pliny writing.

Published by

plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s