How Should Nature Look...

How Should Nature Look if Darwin's Theory of Evolution is True?

Darwin’s outlook is apparent from this quote from The Origin of Species.

“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

He admits the beautiful and wonderful forms but not the beautiful, wonderful context. He was more interested in the struggle for existence and the extinction of the less favoured. On this evolutionary deathbed and the sifting of the less favoured among species he found the raw materials for future improvements and adaptations. Diversity was necessary, but in survival mode he perhaps saw beauty and wonder as a byproduct of the process rather than its starting point. Darwinism never predicted what is apparent at every level. The most astounding observation in nature is its almost wanton variety and diversity. It just overflows in every area of creation: ceaseless invention and innumerable incredible novelties far beyond any kind of natural expectation. Ecosystems only work because of this diversity, and the seemingly endless exquisite novelties, including ingenuity unknown among man made products, clever though these are. Countless examples could be given of the super abundance of nature. It is admittedly sometimes horrible, cruel, seemingly wasteful, and sacrifices are made when required, but the animal kingdom as a whole soars above this vision of struggle. Animals are seen in many guises: protective, relaxed, courageous, resourceful and often killers; but they are also beautiful, playful, entrancing and diverse beyond any human imaginings. The graceful relaxed condor rides on thermal vortices, the playful dolphins show off their acrobatic flair, bower birds concern themselves about the aesthetic appearance of their flamboyantly decorated nests. So much is demonstrated for which there should be no requirement if the imperative was only survival and reproduction. Why does not brute dominance and speed in gaining a required objective universally apply as the default mechanism?  Surely the usually stronger male should do what brute humans normally do in hard survival circumstances, go to war, terrorise, rape and pillage or kill a competitor or a reluctant female, rather than what most often happens in nature. Even in the most male dominated arenas of nature the females are not approached until they are themselves on heat, moodily ready and waiting to be approached. What happens outside the predatory animals is often a gentle, amazing, touching and filled with unexpected surprises. The male of a species far from wham bang thank you mam, has to endure many knock backs, rejections and humiliating lack of success. Compelled by nature to engage in time consuming, seemingly energy wasting attempts to attract a mate. Prolonged courtship routines often cut off by the indifference of its intended bride. Like junior courtiers at a queen’s palace, waiting, pleading, hoping, trying desperately to entice and attract the difficult, choosy, preoccupied female who seems to have all the power. Darwinism, if it had no preview of nature never would have predicted anything so counter intuitive.

Why if the dominant need is survival would evolution produce creatures seemingly so ill equipped for survival as a sloth or a male peacock. The former hangs around like meat on a butcher’s hook and a peacock can hardly fly, advertises its presence with loud insistent calls, and has a display designed you would think to attract an audience of potential predators.

Variety and beauty are what we observe, with new forms being added to the scene year on year by new discoveries. Here science has served humanity wonderfully well. The superabundance of choice and diversity in nature continues even out of sight, and until very recently unknown to human observers. Bizarre deep-sea creatures living at great ocean depths. If you were to give them a collective noun it could be an absurdity or a brilliance. There are so many kinds of creatures, all shapes, sizes, colours and types, each one characterised by something particular: power or fragility, beauty, ingenuity, ugliness, or quaintness, many verging on eccentricity with some manifesting extremes of weirdness far surpassing the basic needs of survival. Just a single example out of countless thousands: the uses made of bioluminescence. These creatures seem to occur in endless variety. One seen on Attenborough’s Blue Planet series was a deep ocean fish using its light as a kind of depth charge. Under threat it is expelled to explode in the sea, causing a sudden flare of blinding light which confuses would be predators.

Creatures like these have no natural place in a functional, utilitarian process such as Darwinism. But seen as part of God’s curriculum vitae they make perfect sense. Because if predictions should be a requirement of a science such as Darwinism then why should not the God hypothesis be asked the same questions. What would you predict from the much-derided worldview described in the first chapter of Genesis? Taking into account the Fall, which passed on its effects throughout nature, you might expect exactly what is seen and admired right across the spectrum of observers. These include experts: even national treasures, non-believers, atheists and agnostics like Attenborough and Packham. They revel in the marvels but credit the blind, directionless, purposeless process devised by Darwin. You might as well credit Beethoven’s famous fifth symphony to a great ape, or to more accurately pinpoint the differential; to a bacteria, and even that falls far short.