[Fwd: Re: Evolution: A few questions]

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 11:43:44 EDT

[I meant to post this response but initially sent it just to Jason]

Good questions and a great place to get thoughtful and measured
responses. Welcome!


>2) What happens during the intermediary stages when a feature is evolving,
>but before it's fully functional? For example, I imagine it took an
>EXTREMELY long time before the wings of an insect or animal (which evolved
>from whatever they evolved from) were perfected and enabled them to fly.
Aside from uncertain statements about how significant any one change
might be, we ARE talking about long times, particularly if one considers
them in terms of generations of critters, especially insect lifetimes
for example.

Another point that might be missed is that we are not talking about one
linear progression of a single insect laying an egg to produce a single
new insect, generation after generation.
Each generation consists of lots of individuals (seemingly orders of
magnitude more as size and complexity decrease). That has a huge effect
in creating many more opportunities in any single generation for
something interesting to happen. Make the population big enough and
something interesting is essentially guaranteed to happen ...yea even
several somethings.

How big does that population have to be for
something interesting to occur in each succeeding generation? I don't
even know if such a thing can be estimated with any confidence, but
mutations do happen instructively in populations like laboratory-size
colonies of fruit flies and such. For a real world case, one might think
about the total population of mosquitos, or of a particular strain of
bacteria. Clearly this greater-than-one population characteristic also
has an enormously consequent multiplicative effect as well on the
liklihood of something even more interesting happening as generation
follows generation in the presence of some selective process.

I think one of the marks of genius in Creation is that such population
sizes can and do exist to fuel the evolution process (while natural
selection is a forcing function that drives it). Indeed, the purpose of
the universe being as immense as it is may be to ensure that such events
and processes eventually happen somewhere(s)!

Another mark of creative genius is that something as seemingly robust as
life also possesses a certain small measure of intrinsic frailty that
continues to permit that life form to be altered a little(?) bit in
not-necessarily-predetermined(?) ways so new possibilities emerge from
time to time. If life was intended to be static in form, why should such
a curious property be present, ...and persist? Outrageously clever.

...or so it seemeth to me.

Regards - JimA
Received on Tue Jun 15 12:12:43 2004

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