Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Nub & The Hub©

At the bookstore tonight, I drank Starbucks coffee as though the end of the world was scheduled for sometime before noon tomorrow. And I browsed books.
I happened upon this new one by J.M. Coetzee, Diary of a Bad Year.
It’s written in an unconventionally daring fashion. It seems to be three books in one, like a diary, but interspersed with little essays of all kinds. Quite fascinating.
I flipped through it, and really enjoyed Essay 17.
Here it is below, in its totality:

I have no desire to associate myself with the people behind the Intelligent Design movement. Nevertheless, I continue to find evolution by random mutation and natural selection not just unconvincing but preposterous as an account of how complex organisms came into being. As long as there is not one of us who has the faintest idea of how to go about constructing a housefly from scratch, how can we disparage as intellectually naïve the conclusion that the housefly
must have been put together by an intelligence of a higher order than our own? If anyone in the picture is naïve, it is the person who elevates the operating rules of Western science into epistemological axioms, arguing that what cannot be demonstrated scientifically to be true (or, to use the more timid word preferred by science, valid) cannot be true (valid), not just by the standard of truth (validity) used by practitioners of science but by any standard that counts.

The essay reminded me of my own greatest personal conundrum, concerning evolutionary theory. In a nutshell, it deals with the intermediate stages of reproduction, as a species evolves.
I’m talking here about The Nub and The Hub© .

It is something that completely boggles me, and maybe there is an answer to it somewhere.
Now, don’t get me wrong, dear readers, I am a believer in evolution, and as Darwinian as the next guy.

It is just that this one aspect of it seems to be a problem.

It is the one thing I would most like to ask my hero, Mr. Richard Dawkins, because surely ...surely he has to have considered this problem [which for me is by far the hugest problem facing evolutionary theory] and he probably has a damn good answer to it. Basically, my question is this, Umm… in the far back primordial ages past, when say for instance something that would BECOME us climbed out of the ocean and looked like a frigging blob of something....... HOW DID THIS THING REPRODUCE ITSELF?

And as whatever would become homo sapiens was way back in its unformed and blobby beginning stages, [and by that I mean prior to being either male or female].... when neither of the blobs of them had a penis nor vagina proper, and they felt that to rub themselves together might feel nice [this is what I mean by the "intermediate" stages]...... well...... how did they then reproduce themselves, so that their NEXT stage would be more advanced?
I mean, the way I understand it, evolutionary theory asks us to believe that after 650 million years of rubbing against each other, one of the blobs formed a penis, and the other a vagina...... [which still would not explain the intricate unseen internal organs that also need to be in existence]..... yes, they accidentally copulated and formed new life, which would in turn evolve into a higher-and-higher and more advanced and progressed form...... yes, but WHAT OF THE INTERIM?

In those 650 million frigging years of rubbing..... what was reproducing those half-formed penis-less and
vagina-less things!

This is why I think Coetzee's little essay is quite relevant. I believe there is, at the very heart of evolutionary theory, a mystery that science will not ever get to. I really believe that. Regarding the real origins..... and reasons, science will never really get there.
Perhaps one of my readers here can explain to me how the two genitalia-less blobs rubbing against each other reproduced themselves.
The nub and the hub.
Ay! There’s the rub!



Beth said...

I'm so sorry I can't help you with your "nub, hub and rub" question, but you've got me wondering - and laughing!

kingmonkey said...

I'm thinkin' that in the earliest stages, we were probably a simple enough life form that your basic mitosis would probably be sufficient to keep the population going. After that, my answer becomes: the cloaca. I may have spelled that wrong, but it's basically a hermaphroditic gentila. Some frogs still have 'em, if I recall correctly.

So in the end, I'm sayin' we evolved from auto-erotic slime and hermaphrodites.

Shark said...

I suppose that would involve some form of asexual reproduction slowly being refined over millions of years until the eventual advent of "nubs & hubs"...

Shark said...

"Asexual reproduction is relatively rare among multicellular organisms, for reasons that are not completely understood. Current hypotheses suggest that, while asexual reproduction may have short term benefits when rapid population growth is important or in stable environments, sexual reproduction offers a net advantage by allowing more rapid generation of genetic diversity, allowing adaptation to changing environments."

patricia said...

I'm sorta with shark on this answer. But really, to be honest, I can't really wrap my nub around it.