After a long time I have restarted reading some scientific novels. When I did a brief retrospection into the kinds of books I have ever read, I realized how less scientifically inclined my interests were. I am as ignorant as one who completed with some success his expensive basic studies should never be. This reality had struck me in the past too and relief measures were taken at that time also, but the amplitude of vibrations were too short lived, multiple reasons contributing to this dampening. This time, I start anew, with a strong decision not to allow the negativism to eat my will to work away.
The recent book I am reading is the controversial book from the controversial author. I am reading “The Blind Watchmaker” by Richard Dawkins. He is crazy, I have to admit it or even stress it. He is writing the very same thing most of the biologist knew (whether they accept it or not is up to them), but were never given a second or even a third taught. I have just completed the first chapter of the book. This book takes about the Darwinism, about the very existence of the most complex form of life o this planet or any other planet. This book addresses questions like why we are here and who put us here or put it in another way did someone put us here or that we just happened to be here. Questions go like these, and the answers given in the book are narrative and insightful. He has done a good job of taking pain to explain the things.
In “Explaining the improbable”, the very first chapter of the book, he mainly deals with the complexity of biological things. Biological things are very complex. Sure you will see some complex things in the world that are not biological. Airplanes, cars and computers are some of the examples. These are not biological. No. But they are complex. What makes biological things different is the complexity in design. Biology is the study of complicated things that gives the appearance that they are built for a purpose. But this is true for airplanes and cars too. But the fact is that these machines are products of living things, which derive their complexities and design from living things.
An engineer can comprehend the function and purpose of airplane without comprehending the complexities involved in its working. To some extend we can also comprehend the basic question of why are we here without comprehending the underlying complexities. There may be thousands of parts in an airplane but it is designed first in a drawing board. Did someone design us on a drawing board, definitely not. Nobody assembled our numerous parts. The author says that the only reason for our own existence is the Natural Selection, the blind, unconscious and automatic process which Darwin discovered. Natural Selection is like a watchmaker, who connects the parts of a watch. But there are obvious differences between a watchmaker and Natural Selection, the author points out. Watchmaker has a clear foresight as to what he is making and what its purposes are. But Natural Selection, if it were to be a watchmaker, it is blind, has no foresight and has no sight at all.
He concludes by characterizing the complex systems as “statistically improbable in a direction that is not specified with hindsight”. What does that mean? Well, if you take the example of a complex thing like airplane, the engineers who designed it must have had some foresight as to why are they making that airplane. If you try to assemble a plane by just throwing its constituent parts-thousands or even million parts , there are only negligible chances that you end up getting a thing that can fly. But you can throw the constituent parts-billions and trillions of cells in a living thing for billions of years and end up getting a thing that is nowhere near the living thing. The chances of getting a living thing thus, is immeasurable negligible and there are more chances of getting a dead thing that a living thing.
I do not know whether anyone understands this. But I can explain no more. I am not Richard Dawkins!! Overall this book looks interesting to me. He has explained everything in detail as to make the reader believe what he says is true. For better understanding these things I suggest you start reading the book.