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Richard Dawkins on Natural Selection in the Animal Kingdom

11 August 2008 One Comment

In a recent Channel 4 documentary on evolution, presented by Richard Dawkins, he makes the following statement:

"The total amount of suffering in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to say these words, thousands of animals are running for their lives whimpering with fear, feeling teeth sink into their throats. Thousands are dying from starvation or disease or feeling a parasite rasping away from within. There is no central authority, no safety net. For most animals the reality of life is struggling, suffering and death. "

He’s absolutely correct and what a great quote. This really puts things in perspective and perhaps is not a typical thought that’d occur to you when gazing out on the world.

An animals’ entire life is devoted to surviving (yet life is a terminal disease). Little wonder then that they evolve. What choice do they have?

As of 2006 only 40% of the US population actually believe the theory of Evolution is true [LINK].

40% believe it’s "absolutely false" and the rest aren’t sure. The US trails the rest of the world in this regard with the exception of Turkey (where they also believe red-heads are imaginary, like unicorns).

I think this is mostly a failing in the school system. Most folks I talk to have a piss-poor understanding of what evolution even is. The common mis-conception is that we descended from monkeys. And yet the evidence is there if you look.

For example, Richard Lenski recently published his findings from a 20 year experiment involving e.coli whereby over 44,000 generations they evolved the ability to metabolize citrate [LINK]. Another example is the ever expanding fossil record, including countless transitional fossils (fossils of animals changing from one state to another) [LINK]. Many of these fossils were actually predicted through a scientific understanding of the species’ lineage.

You can take the evolution survey yourself here [http://www.evolutionsurvey.com]

One Comment »

  • Dave said:

    I don’t really see what this article proves?

    You mention a quote from Dawkins and some stats? What is your point?

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