//I added the following metatags
Posted (crates) in Evolution, nature on May-1-2008

Once again I was enjoying my walk.  Just a few minutes earlier, alerted by a peculiar call from a crow, I looked around and saw the crow begin chasing an immature eagle which then landed on the beach, picked up something in its beak and then took off chased by a second immature eagle.  The first eagle then transfered whatever it had in its beak to its claws and then was pursued for quite a while, flying in big circles over the sound.

I had just started back up to the top of the bluff when I saw a crow in the road ahead.  It was in that area of the road where I had seen the large mass of black feathers a while ago.  By the way, I had also seen this morning that the noisy raven which I talked about in a prior posting had a partner, so it apparently wasn’t its mate that had met its end here.  The crow was picking among the remaining feathers along the road.  I didn’t pay much attention to it and was meandering along, when I raised my arm to check my wrist watch.  As I raised my arm I felt a warm splash on my wrist right over my watch.  I looked up to see the crow flying off.  He had just presented me with a present!

The timing was perfect.  If I had not raised my arm the “present” would have just missed me.  I raised my arm just at the right microsecond to intercept the package as it hurtled down towards me.  In fact I probably made the decision to check the time after the package was on its way.

After wiping the mess off with some handy leaves (and muttering some choice expletives), I continued on my way thinking about the incident.  I have often heard people exclaim that the probability of certain events was so unlikely that they could not have occurred by chance.  For example, I have heard people argue against the fact of evolution by claiming that the chances of some complex organ…such as the eye, evolving were so incredibly unlikely that there must have been some guiding force directing the events.

I thought about the series of unlikely events that led to what had just happened.  I thought about my birth many miles and years away.   The crow probably had just hatched a few short years before.  I thought about the series of events that led to me walking along this path at this particular time when this crow was also here at this time and place as a result of a chain of events in his  life, and the unlikelyhood of him delivering his package just as I walked below, and then I, deciding to check the time, raised my arm just in time to catch the hurtling semi-liquid mass of excrement at just the right second to catch it on my watch!

This really points out that every single event is the end result of a cumulative series of events.  When one looks at the end result of this cumulative chain of causality, the result seem unlikely.  But when one considers that each event is simply the result of a cumulative series of perfectly ordinary happenings, then one can see that even such apparently unlikely events as the evolution of eyes and the human brain is likely and unlikely at the same time…it is just one extremely unlikely outcome in an almost infinite number of possible outcomes.   Unlikely, rare events are the norm here.