Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

There are certain things that I know intellectually are true and which can easily be explained scientifically but which just don’t seem possible. You will probably think I am barmy but look at a few from my list:

Jumbo Jet
Jumbo Jets flying in the air. A loaded Jumbo Jet weighs nearly four hundred tons. It is kept in the air by jet engines and ridiculously small wings. It just is not possible. Watching a live cricket match on television in New Zealand. Brilliant sharp colour picture with sound. There are no wires between my TV set and the other side of the world. What's more, using my smartphone or computer, I can speak to someone in New Zealand and we can see one another as we speak. A couple of decades ago that was the stuff of science fiction. It gets worse (or maybe that should be better) I can do it without any call charges.

Probably the most difficult for me is The process of Natural Selection.
It causes Bill great amusement that whilst I know it is right and the alternative theory of creationism is even more difficult for me to get my head round, I still struggle with the details.

As I understand it an individual is born (plant, insect, fish or animal) with a trait or characteristic that is different to the parents. If that trait makes survival more likely, that individual is more likely to breed and pass on the trait. I know this happens over millions of years but I still struggle.

Stick insect
Look at this picture of a stick insect which must have common ancestors with all insects but over millions of years it has turned into something very closely resembling the plants on which it lives. I simply cannot grasp the number of minor changes that failed or succeeded and brought us to this.

A bird’s bones are mostly hollow, with no marrow. Struts strengthen the bones so that they do not break in flight. In some bones, the hollow cavities contain extensions of theair sacs f
rom the lungs. These air sacs enable the bird to get the oxgen it needs to fly quickly and easily, how's that for natural selection?.

I can accept that it is possible for the scales of a primitive animal, over eons, to become feathers and allow the creature to fly but again, look at the complexity of a flight feather - a piece of scientific brilliance. The strength and design of the quill, the structure which holds the individual strands together and gives the feather its power.

As we said in an earlier blog. Fifty million or so years ago, our ancestor was a rat like creature scurrying about the forest floor. From rat to Einstein - even in fifty million years. To paraphrase Victor Meldrew in ‘One Foot in the Grave’, “I struggle to believe it!”

Having published this on our website, I expect another stern lecture from Bill

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