2015-07-30 – I was watching an episode of the Daily Show the other day and a Verizon commercial came on. I don’t usually pay much attention to the commercials, but this one grabbed my attention because of the dog in it. It was my dog Lefty!
Not really, of course. But it looked like Lefty. Not only that, the dog is wearing an Elizabethan collar. Lefty has been wearing one for the last week and will probably be wearing it for another week. How could this be? The dog in the commercial is a dead ringer for Lefty! No joke.
How is it that my dog is sleeping on a warm patch on the kitchen floor while this identical dog is making commercials? And not only does he do it in English, he also does it in Spanish! A bilingual perro. (Google translate tells me that Spanish for Lefty is Zurdo.)
The truth is, Lefty can do everything that Zurdo does. Everything. They even walk the same and nose into trash the same. So why did Zurdo get the job and Lefty didn’t? Intelligent design?
Last week I read an article called “Skeptical About Evolution—And Not Because of Religion.” As you can tell from the title, the author doesn’t believe in evolution, but not because of religion. He doesn’t buy the concept of speciation because “a fruit fly has never been coaxed into becoming a housefly.”
It appears that you don’t have to have religious objections to evolution in order to miss the point.
The theory of evolution never said that a chimp turned into a human being. That’s the Pokemon concept of evolution, not the Darwinian concept. No organism of one species ever turns into another species. But this is not proof against evolution.
The changes occur between generations. Many of them. Many tiny changes over many generations.
And, when it all gets started, the differences may be as small as the differences between Lefty and Zurdo. You can’t see the difference, but Zurdo gets work and Lefty is sleeping on the floor.
In humans today we see differences that could, in a million years lead to separation into different species. Lactose digestion is one. Some humans can digest the lactose in milk and some can’t. If we had an environment in which our lives depended on drinking milk, those of us who can digest it would live and reproduce. Those who are lactose intolerant wouldn’t.
Another difference is the way in which we see color. Most humans see color because of three types of receptors in their eyes (cones) that are sensitive to different wavelengths (trichromacy). A few of us have four types of cones (tetrachromacy) that give us greater sensitivity to color differences. If this sensitivity every had a life or death value or made us more attractive so that tetrachromats would have more children, we would take over the world.
So, why am I focusing on these minute differences? That’s what evolution is. Goofballs who reject it because they never saw a human being turn into a werewolf in the light of the full moon . . . well, that’s not evolution. That’s fiction.
I can’t even get Lefty to turn into Zurdo.
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Changing the topic: Like billions of you, I installed Windows 10 today. The new logo is a dreary blue window in a wall of black. They say that Windows 10 is location sensitive. Am I getting this image because my desk is in the basement. If I move up to the second floor, will I see trees through my Windows 10 window?
This is how software evolves.