Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's all there for those who care to look

 This was posted two years ago. I liked it then, and I still do.

It's  late June.

Light life and more light and more life. Little makes sense, but in June the abundance pushes aside the questions.

I have tooth marks in my thumb from a fluke. A snake no longer than a ruler tried to strike me a few hours later. A lone bat heralded dusk.

School winds down in June.

Next year I plan to start with Darwin's idea of descent with modification. He did not invent evolution. He did, however, figure out that the raw beauty of life's symphony here can be explained without appealing to some central plan that places humans above all else.

It's all there for those who care to look.

If you are going to acknowledge something is unknowable or incomprehensible or too powerful to comprehend, hey, I'm right there with you. Many things will remain unknowable in any scientific sense.

When you try to explain the inexplicable, when you presume to know the "meaning" of existence, though, keep it outside my classroom door. I teach biology, not metaphysics.

I'll be glad to discuss the "unknowable" with you,
ideally by a lake at dusk,
watching bluegill sucking down lightning bugs
enamored by their own reflection.

Just not in class.

Photos taken a few moments ago--grapes, honeysuckle, and sage.


Fantastic Forrest said...

God, I love this post. I wish I could fly out to NJ just to wander in the swamp and talk about nature with you and the others you teach.

I taught a social justice and film course a year or so ago for mature learners (55+ aged persons) and we discussed Inherit the Wind. It would have been fun to skype you into the classroom.

Maybe I'll offer a course on Musings on Evolution and make your blog required reading. :-D

doyle said...

Dear Fantastic Forrest,

Thank you for the flattering words.

I would jump on the chance to teach a course like that! The more you push descent with modification, the more interesting it gets.

I guess that's true with just about anything in the natural world.

John T. Spencer said...