So I’m up visiting my family for the 4th and my dad almost walked into a spider web. It’d been constructed right on the sliding door that goes outside. He didn’t walk through it however. He brought the little kids, nieces and nephews to see the giant web in the doorway. It was really neat, actually. Then he cleared it from the door with his hand.
This morning I walked into a web on the same door. I came out brushing my face of the web and said “That spider didn’t learn its lesson!”
My dad laughed, and then he said something that started an interesting conversation. He said, “Did you look at that web yesterday? It’s a feat of engineering! How do you explain how a spider can do that?”
I’ve always hailed my father for being a pioneer of logic, excluding his dedication to the bible. Indirectly or not I know he was suggesting that the only answer to how a spider can construct a web so structurally impressive is because God made it that way. Of course I was more than ready to explain something to my dad that I had always assumed he believed in despite the bible. I said, “Dad, it’s a talent that’s been developed over hundreds and thousands of years. It probably started with many unsuccessful attempts at web constructing that left those spiders to starve to death, and not pass down their talents to their kids.”
My dad answered back, “You think the spider showed its babies how to make a web, or gave them instructions verbally somehow?”
“No.” I said. “It’s no different than how I walk like you do, or how we have so many of the same behaviors. You didn’t one day show me how you walk and I learned it from you that way. I inherited your traits and behave similarly to you because I’m your son.”
It really did shock me to hear him arguing against evolution. I almost feel like he’s regressed in what was once a purely logical train of thought. One that I’ve always attributed mine to. Then he said to me, “How come a spider in Russia makes the same kind of web there as one does here?”
I said, “Because the same web that works best for catching spider food there works best at catching spider food here as well. It went through the same evolution there because that’s what works best!” I went on to explain, “It probably began as a spider using the web substance to catch its prey, then realizing that it could do an even better job by using it different ways. And I’m sure many of them failed and created things with their web material that did not work, thus leaving them to starve and die. The failures die while the better web makers succeed!”
“They all die.” He retorted. And I said, “Yes, but the failures die without reproducing and making more failures.”
Later, as I thought about it more, I added, “And those spiders are still evolving. That one who keeps making its web in the doorway even after its been torn down isn’t going to do as well as the spider who loses its web and then changes its next location to somewhere different. That other spider is more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass down that single trait to its young. That’s evolution!”
I don’t necessarily enjoy “correcting” my dad, but I could tell by his silence that he was at the very least, impressed that I had answers. Both of my parents have told me that despite how much they hate what I’m doing, they’re impressed with my thinking. They are very pleased to see that I’m putting much thought into what I’m doing, that I’m a thinker.
Like 20 minutes later, after that conversation had passed and nothing more was said about it, I told my dad how fascinated I am with science and the science of evolution. I told him how I had seen this demonstration in a video on the internet by a scientist who explained his theory on how the eye evolved. How something as complicated as a human eye evolved over millions of years. I explained how the scientist showed a flat surface in his first model and how this was the very first eye. A heat sensitive surface that could detect light reflection off of an object but see little more than a blur (shadow and light).
Dad asked me why there’s no animal with this flat eye. I replied, with a partial guess, that I thought tapeworms had this sort of eye. I’ll have to look that up and see if I guessed right. But he bought it.
I went on to explain that the scientist’s next model showed how the slightest con-cave in the flat surface allowed for light to strike its surface in different areas creating a more three dimensional view of an object. And the more that the surface con-caved, like a spoon, the better it reflected the light and shadows of an object in front of it. So whichever animals had the more concave eye saw better and continued the trend of con-caving the eye.
Then I went on to explain how the next model showed how as this eye evolved it went from a spoon-like shape to something more spherical, with a round hole in it. This allowed for the eye to get a clear focal point. The scientist showed at each step what each particular eye could see, this one being a blurry shape, but one that could be seen as a 3D blurry shape.
I explained, how evolution continued in some closing up the hole, rendering it blind, unable to survive or reproduce. BUT then in other eyes, shown in the next model, the hole formed a pocket of water, one which bulbed, making this eye able to actually focus on an object. The model was a hollow sphere with a circular hole in the front and a clear pocket which the scientist injected water. And the more he did this the more in focus the object in front of it got. It was truly amazing to see it build and work right before your very eyes. My dad listened to me explain it without saying anything. Just sort of looking like he agreed but couldn’t say it out loud. I was just hoping that he could see that I cared and had answers. I was also hoping to appeal to his logic.
It was a unique moment in time for me, telling my dad how things are. It was also a prime example of logic lost. That’s how I see it. Lost logic. Because our minds (his mind) understand the logic when it’s heard. The logic is there, it’s just lost. Helping my father find that logic was both rewarding and unsettling. Seeing that lost logic in someone I hold so high for his logic is the real wake-up.