Hitchens: The Blind Salamander

• Views: 1,540

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
Nightmare at PDX In all, Cristina was held for 48 hours with the jail population, though she had committed no crime. She was treated poorly, and denied medical treatment when she requested it. She had no money in her jail phone account ...
Thanos
2 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 567 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
First-Ever Sex Discrimination Legal Network Is Ready to Defend Women in Trump’s America Shortly after the election, the attorneys and advocates who work at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) started having a conversation. It seemed that the incoming Trump administration was likely to move backward on enforcing civil rights, loosening regulations, ...
Birth Control Works
3 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 579 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Meet Rhiannon Giddens, Newly Minted MacArthur ‘Genius’ As a solo artist — and, before that, as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops — singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens has made a career out of revitalizing and invigorating decades' worth of music reflecting the African-American experience. That's meant ...
Thanos
6 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 937 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Lies About Black America Are ‘Central’ to Gun Ownership: A Reporter on What We Get Wrong About Gun Violence Lies that the GOP and Donald Trump promote all day long. “If you look at the neighborhoods where [gun violence] is most clustered,” Beckett said, it’s located in areas with high levels of poverty, low levels of education, and ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 week ago
Views: 1,439 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 63 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 2
Comments: 0
: 2
St. Vincent Performs ‘Los Ageless’ One of Stephen's very favorite singer-songwriters collaborates with three pairs of boots to perform a song off her new album "Masseduction". Subscribe To "The Late Show" Channel HERE: bit.lyFor more content from "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert", click ...
Thanos
1 week ago
Views: 1,150 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official) Watch the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and see it in theaters December 15. Get your tickets now: fandango.com Visit Star Wars at starwars.comSubscribe to Star Wars on YouTube at youtube.comLike Star Wars on Facebook at ...
Thanos
1 week ago
Views: 1,151 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Brazil Branches of US-Based Church Target of Numerous Probes Church Based human trafficking and forced labor -- it's just religious freedom in action.../// When workers made a mistake, such as cutting a frame too short, she says they were screamed at and sometimes even hit to expunge the ...
Thanos
1 week ago
Views: 1,046 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 9 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Missouri Woman Claims Religious Rights Violated by Abortion Law Those religious freedom laws conservatives are pressing through where ever they can might give fundamentalist xtians more grief than they bargained for. The law compels women to wait 72 hours between their initial visit and the procedure, view an ...
Thanos
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 1,353 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Lawmakers Call for ‘Stealthing’ to Be Classified as Rape U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) announced on Wednesday that they would push lawmakers to have "stealthing," or nonconsensual condom removal, classified as rape. In a letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee, Maloney and Khanna ...
Birth Control Works
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 1,020 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Should Animal Abusers Be Registered Like Sex Offenders? It is important to remember that those who abuse animals also tend to abuse children. One of the objectives of the criminal justice system is to protect the innocent and discourage would-be perpetrators from harming them. Whether it does ...
Birth Control Works
1 week, 2 days ago
Views: 4,487 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 1
: 1