Sunday, November 22, 2009

Riddle Me This, Professor Dawkins

Far be it from me to critique the semantic choices of an eminent scientist and graceful writer like Richard Dawkins. Well, maybe not too far, because here goes. On page 241 of his recent bestseller, The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins writes:

As so often when we are faced with the riddle of how complex and improbable things can arise in evolution, it is a fallacy to assume that the final perfection that we see today is the way it always was.

He's talking here about enzyme molecules, not animals, but nevertheless it has been my understanding (from reading the work of Richard Dawkins, among others) that it is a fallacy to assume that anything that evolves ever reaches a point of "final perfection"--with the possible exception of Ben Affleck's crapitude.