Consider, if you will, the platypus.
An animal concocted of many parts: bird, turtle, otter, kangaroo, and who knows how many others.
Or take the common ant, available in so many varieties and colors. Or the banana slug, or jellyfish.
Each in their own right is a thing of beauty, a thing wrought of nature. A thing that should be the very essence of beauty in the eyes of their queen, or mother, or lover.
For us, they can be an abomination. How can anyone, or thing, love a spider?
To be a true scientist, especially in biology or behavior, one must accept that all things natural are, in fact, beautiful as well.*
Here’s a fun but seemingly unrelated fact: My company manufactures natural soap.
So what! you say. What? is this some kind of subliminal advert? you protest. Your eyes are already getting ready to close this window. But wait!**
What I’ve learned in making our soap is that the chemical reactions are vastly more complex than we understand. In fact, what passes for soap in today’s society is a chemical detergent. Highly engineered chemicals that are extremely efficient at removing oils and water from your skin.
Because they are so efficient, people also buy lotion to try and re-oil and re-moisturize that very skin.
In natural soap, anyone’s natural soap, lotion and lots of other re-moisturizers are already there. It turns out that Mother Nature makes tens, if not hundreds, of different compounds during the soap making process.
Here’s my point. When you put together a species, or when you combine natural compounds and make soap, the outcome is not clean and neat. It’s messy. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Then how does Mother Nature check her own work? Is there some way that she tests her products for “doneness” in order to make sure her improvements are greater than her mistakes?
Some people don’t think Mother Nature ever tests for improvements, but I think she does. That’s why life may have started out as one celled plants, but has ultimately peaked with mankind. If you’re not a fan of man, then maybe you’ll agree the peak was dinosaurs. No matter. Overall, Mother Nature makes things better.
How she does this, and what it means for you and me, I’ll discuss tomorrow. For now, I suggest you go and get some natural soap. It’s good for you.
*We’re going to skip a definition of beauty for now. If you want an essay on the essence of beauty, and a definition that can cross cultures, clades, and countless centuries, feel free to ask!
**I’m only bringing up the soap bit to make a point. This is not an advert! If you want validation of this statement, however, I will provide a hint. Search for “Uncle Earl’s Soap.”