If evolution always makes things more complicated, then how did the T-Rex turn into a chicken?
Checkmate, Creationists (and company).
Mostly kidding, but a perspective taken up by a lot of people – educated or not, “intelligent” or not – is that complexity is a virtue. Many who believe in the natural superiority of man over the animals (and nature in general) believe our complexity makes it so. Naturally.
What the hell is so complex about a human being anyway? How the hell do we even define “complex?” Here’s what a quick search on Dictionary.com comes up with:
1. composed of many interconnected parts; compound; composite: a complex highway system.
2. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc.: complex machinery.
3. so complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with: a complex problem.
Firstly, definitions are not set in the static pages of a dictionary. Words evolve by the way they are actually used.
Secondly, given the above, these three dictionary definitions of “complex” (as an adjective) do not point to any intrinsic superiority of humankind.
Firstly-prime, what is so special about having many interconnected parts? Funnily enough, the example given above is a “complex highway.” Needless to say, complex highways are not sophisticated. They often look like they were designed and constructed by a bunch of spazzes. Why isn’t elegance upheld as a standard for superiority? Perhaps because human beings – psychologically or physiologically – are not very elegant. And maybe complexity, like elegance, is merely a subjective value and not any empirical indication of where we or anything else lies in the evolutionary plane.
Have you seen what a jellyfish looks like? Do you know what they are capable of? They are complex in their elegance. I mean, Christ, there is a species of jellyfish that is virtually immortal. Personally speaking, that’s hands down cooler than anything a human being can do. And yet they are no better or worse than us – or absolutely anything else.
All in all, evolution does not work toward complexity. It does not work toward anything in particular. Whatever works, works. Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t. The T-Rex was viable for a very long time, but then conditions changed and the T-Rex no longer fit into the schema. But we now have the chicken [and all other far less intimidating descendants of the dinosaurs]. What came first – the chicken or the egg? A goddamn T-Rex, that’s what. And who the hell knows what will come next.