Koestler, Arthur - Janus - The impossibility of chance in evolution
Type of Spiritual Experience
In this extract Koestler is arguing against those who believe that evolution is simply chance genetic mutation as opposed to design. But he himself pointed out that the existence of design does not prove one Designer. There could be any number of Designers – spiritual Intelligences each producing designs of the various species, but reusing parts where needed.
A description of the experience
Arthur Koestler - Janus
The giant panda has on its front limbs an added, sixth finger. This could be a typical case of a deformation caused by deleterious chance mutation; it happens to be useful to the panda in manipulating bamboo shoots, but it would be a useless hindrance if it were not equipped with the requisite muscles, nerves and blood supply. The chances that among all possible genetic mutations just those which produced the added bones, nerves, muscles and arteries occurred simultaneously and independently from each other are infinitesimally small. And yet in this case we have only four main factors – four roulette wheels – at work.
When it comes to such composite marvels as the vertebrate eye – with its retina, rods and cones, lens, iris, pupil etc, the odds against the harmonious evolution of its components by independent random mutations - that is by 'blind chance' - become absurd. Darwin himself clearly realised this when in 1860 he wrote to Asa Gray 'I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over'.
The source of the experienceKoestler, Arthur
Concepts, symbols and science items
ConceptsGreat Work, the
Increments of evolution
Objectives of the Great Work
Strategy of the Great Work