Hitchens: The Blind Salamander

• Views: 1,493

Christopher Hitchens (yes, everyone knows he’s an unabashed atheist) makes an excellent point about a certain species of cave-dwelling salamander, related to a topic that keeps showing up in The LGF Creationism Cage Match—the evolution of the eye: How blind salamanders make nonsense of creationists’ claims.

Or in this case, the devolution of the eye, to adapt to an environment where vision is unnecessary for—even detrimental to—survival.

It is extremely seldom that one has the opportunity to think a new thought about a familiar subject, let alone an original thought on a contested subject, so when I had a moment of eureka a few nights ago, my very first instinct was to distrust my very first instinct. To phrase it briefly, I was watching the astonishing TV series Planet Earth (which, by the way, contains photography of the natural world of a sort that redefines the art) and had come to the segment that deals with life underground. The subterranean caverns and rivers of our world are one of the last unexplored frontiers, and the sheer extent of the discoveries, in Mexico and Indonesia particularly, is quite enough to stagger the mind. Various creatures were found doing their thing far away from the light, and as they were caught by the camera, I noticed—in particular of the salamanders—that they had typical faces. In other words, they had mouths and muzzles and eyes arranged in the same way as most animals. Except that the eyes were denoted only by little concavities or indentations. Even as I was grasping the implications of this, the fine voice of Sir David Attenborough was telling me how many millions of years it had taken for these denizens of the underworld to lose the eyes they had once possessed.

If you follow the continuing argument between the advocates of Darwin’s natural selection theory and the partisans of creationism or “intelligent design,” you will instantly see what I am driving at. The creationists (to give them their proper name and to deny them their annoying annexation of the word intelligent) invariably speak of the eye in hushed tones. How, they demand to know, can such a sophisticated organ have gone through clumsy evolutionary stages in order to reach its current magnificence and versatility?

Read the whole thing.

By the way, I also recommend the BBC Planet Earth documentary. I have the Blu-ray version and it’s one of the best films of its type ever made.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
A Post Millennial Progressive Playlist-Spotify Post millennial progressive? This is a shot at showcasing some current music that (IMHO) evokes that Prog Rock sound or feeling. After soliciting some suggestions yesterday-We wound up with 19 songs, 1hr, 43 minutes of music. I have it ...
Unshaken Defiance
3 hours, 8 minutes ago
Views: 162 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Jupiter: Juno Perijove 06 NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran Original video: Free 125 megapixel Jupiter Print Portrait: flic.kr Follow my Twitter for updates: @_TheSeaning More Jupiter here: flic.kr More stuff here: flickr.com Music by Ligeti Soundtrack: amazon.com ...
Tarkloon
3 hours, 52 minutes ago
Views: 112 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Violent Footage Shows White Cop Kneeing and Punching Asian Man Seconds After Pulling Him Over In graphic police dashcam video of a July 2016 traffic stop in Worthington, MN, obtained and released by the ACLU of Minnesota on Thursday, a white officer can be seen kneeing and punching Anthony Promvongsa, a Laotian-American man, moments ...
Unshaken Defiance
13 hours, 31 minutes ago
Views: 185 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Fallen OakThis was the tree that fell in yesterday's storms. It is blocking a street that is wide and is used by public transit. I hope by tomorrow it is gone.
PhillyPretzel
1 day, 6 hours ago
Views: 206 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Russians Targeted 21 Election Systems, U.S. Official Says Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. state election systems in the 2016 presidential race and a small number were breached but there was no evidence any votes were manipulated, a Homeland Security Department official told Congress on Wednesday. Jeanette Manfra, ...
Tarkloon
2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 326 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Tax Divide — Chicago Tribune Chicago has long been a city divided by race and class, a metropolis with starkly different crime rates, economic realities and educational opportunities depending on where you live. But there’s another division in Chicago and Cook County, one that ...
Birth Control Works
3 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 357 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Phoenix Flights Cancelled Because It’s Too Hot for Planes As temperatures climb in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights have been cancelled - because it is too hot for the planes to fly. The weather forecast for the US city suggests temperatures could reach 120F (49C) on Tuesday. ...
Tarkloon
3 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 542 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 33 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Presenting the Jay Sekulow Band Here's their cover of "Long Time" by Boston The band—featuring Sekulow on drums and guitar—includes John Schlitt, best known as the lead singer for the pioneering Christian rock band Petra, and John Elefante, the mustachioed former lead singer of ...
thecommodore
4 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 443 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
In Lynwood, Advanced Placement Classes Are No Longer Only for the Elite The school district’s hope is that the challenging AP courses inspire students to go straight from high school to college and help them do better when they get there. Research suggests that students who take more difficult high school ...
Birth Control Works
4 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 430 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
the Capital Region Yearns for More Ethnic Delis!blog.timesunion.com For pictures and videos, please click on the link above. Thanks.We’ve been living in the Capital Region of New York State for almost 24 years., and I really don’t have a lot of complaints. Oh sure, the Route 7 ...
rhoffman
4 days, 20 hours ago
Views: 382 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0