Question on Evolution

Does evolution have the cart before the horse?

Vibration is a reaction to an action, while sound is a relationship between a vibration and an eardrum. If a tree falls in the woods and there is nothing around with ears, it does not make a sound.

How then, prior to the relationship would ears evolve, when nothing in the primordial soup could comprehend vibration as sound, without already having ears?

Sight is the same problem. How could vision evolve without first being able to comprehend light? I have a friend that was born completely blind. Asking her what it’s like to just see darkness all the time, she has no idea what that means—no comprehension of dark or light at all—can’t even imagine it.

Maybe these questions have been already solved, but I am curious if someone smarter than me about evolution can answer this. It appears that the theory of evolution has the cart before the horse…why I sometimes depend on the reasoning prowess of others.

There is a Zen poem that says, “If you ask where the flowers come from, even the god of spring doesn’t know”. They also teach that these things arise mutually on their own, like backs and fronts, lefts and rights, and bees with flowers (you cant have one without the other) According to that philosophy, polarity is omnipotence—it is not knowing how it is done, but simply doing what is done, like growing your own hair—how do you do that?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

65 thoughts on “Question on Evolution”

  1. Quote: “There is no duality. All these things arise mutually.” … but didn’t you just write, and I quote, “There are no lefts without rights, goods without evils, pleasures without pains, for each thing is impossible to exist or comprehend without the other.” Isn’t that what duality is all about? In any case, whatever we call our “reality” changes nothing. If everything is infinitely cyclical then those of us who know themselves to be eternal beings are truly doomed!

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    1. Maybe that is a part of the price of your experience? There must be a reason for it.
      Duality is the common idea (illusion) that matter and spirit are separate things. Liberation (or awakening) is seeing its all one event, and nothing is really a noun, but adjectives. That the past does not power the present or the future, because such demarkations are simply constructs of human convenience and comprehension. Where would one event begin or another end? It’s completely arbitrary.
      If you persist in that reasoning you find everything is one thing, without beginning or without end. How could it? Everything is infinitely cyclical. Some are longer than others, but there are a couple if ways to end this cycle earlier than later, but it will end. Anything that can only happen once can never happen at all. Its the way of everything. The reason it matters? Nobody wants a shitty vacation.

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    1. If you can reason it out all the way beyond the comfort zones, there was never nothing. Anything that can only happen once, can never happen at all. It is the principle of polarity.

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      1. “There was never nothing” … isn’t that a quote/perception of JZ?

        I’m not inclined to get into an in-depth discussion, but every time I see a statement like this, I tend to say to myself … and how do you know? From my perspective, most of our beliefs and assumptions are based on what we choose to believe based on the direct relationship to the standards of evidence that seem reasonable and rational to us.

        But do any of us really know?

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        1. Go ahead and show me how anything that can only happen once, can happen at all? The idea that something came into being, whether spontaneously by creation, is at odds with every bit of reason and evidence. There are no lefts without rights, goods without evils, pleasures without pains, for each thing is impossible to exist or comprehend without the other. But we do know that life and matter are cyclical, that everything is vibrations and frequencies of differing modulations and undulations. Life and death, you cant have one without the other. How would you know without polarity?

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          1. I don’t feel the need to “show” you anything, Jim. My whole point is there is no “proof” of anything. Our ideas of existence are entirely based on what we choose to believe, based on what we’ve read/dreamed/studied/heard/experienced/etc. AND … what we feel comfortable with. 🙂

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            1. All I can do is illustrate a non contradictory ultimatum. There is only one thing and you are not separate from that. Some cycles are longer than others, but its all cycles, unless by faith one might claim otherwise.

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            2. HA! Do you realize how this statement could be used (and abused) by the religious crowd … ?There is only one thing and you are not separate from that.

              Your blog topics seem to be going deeper and deeper into esoteric discussions of life/existence. Always fascinating to read all the individual perspectives. IMO, it all boils down to what feels comfortable to each person since, as I indicated, there is no proof of anything. 🙂

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            3. Sure I know the repercussions, good and bad. The good though, would outweigh the bad by a long shot when one sees this is his/her doing, that you can only hurt yourself. That there is no one to blame for any if it.
              I didn’t consider this esoteric though. Logical, yes.

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            4. I am. Its funny the way we are raised actually is counter to full circled reason and logic. Are we doing this, or is it doing us? We’re not pawns being played, but this is our doing. Not meaningless like a car lot, but the many million masks of god.
              ”But now a great thing in the street
              Seems any human nod,
              Where shift in strange democracy
              The million masks of God”
              —GK Chesterton

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            5. I agree. The one ‘thing’ though would be what I call the ‘All That Is’ and therefore nothing can be separate from that. However I think it’s meaningless to engage that. ‘That guy only sells cars and all the vehicles on his lot are cars. None of his vehicles are separate from that.’ To which one would say, Yeah, so your point being? But that doesn’t explain anything, certainly not duality or the existence of gods or God.

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            6. Quote: “Go to, your faith has made you whole.” OK, but “faith” isn’t the same thing as “body”. Proper interpretation would say that “your faith” means the healee trusted Yahweh through Jesus to accomplish this miracle (I’m going along with the assumption that these stories are true). But instead of “arguing” about this, give me a couple of examples in your own life (since you’ve cracked to healing code?) when you miraculously healed someone (no cheating now!) based on faith in whomever/whatever, including yourself, your brain or some part of your body, yeah, even the sun or the universe. I don’t care how you did it, just that you did it. That would put a case closed on your claim that we can all do these things. Then you can explain why people like myself who really, I mean REALLY expected to have this power never had it. I was “miraculously” healed myself, but not by myself but by people I could see and I could interact with. I don’t know where this is going, do you?

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        1. There is nothing that is not god. Not in the hebrew sense of monarchial boss—a deity, but it is you and me, all if it. It’s all one thing. Could it not be?

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          1. That’s an interesting viewpoint. I definitely don’t view myself as a god. I can’t create life. I don’t have the power to heal myself or others. I don’t fully understand our universe and how it all works. I can’t even access the full power of my own brain. In what sense then are we all god?

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            1. Think of you like a neuron on a whole organism. Of course from your viewpoint and limited capacitors you only see and comprehend a small portion.
              Why is it do you think, that it is all so hard to identify consciousness or even the composition of matter, for that matter? Trying to examine yourself, with yourself is always the impossible task. God could never know its god unless it has something to rub against—something to compare to. You compare yourself to other neurons—other sensory outposts. This is the illusion and it’s your doing.

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            2. To further this thought, do you think jesus was aware of how he made the blind man see, or what processes were in play to heal the lepers? Were you not commanded to do greater things than these? Creation is not knowing how it is done, just doing. Like growing your hair, how do you do that?

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            3. I do believe Jesus was fully aware of how he made the blind man see and how he healed the lepers. According to the scriptures, Jesus was very involved in creating humans, plants, animals, etc. (Colossians 1:15,16). He, along with his Father Jehovah, understand all of these processes because they created them. We only know a small portion of these creations as we’re discovering new things everyday. How could I be commanded to do greater things than these when I don’t have the power to heal myself now? And who would command me to do such things? Creation is taking elements from one source and using them to create something different. How can you say creation is not knowing how something is done? The growing of my hair is the result of a process that’s already been created working as designed. I know I can’t recreate this process on another human being. If I could I would be a billionaire for helping bald men grow their hair back. There’s a huge difference between creating something novel and utilizing aspects of something already designed.

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            4. Yes the gospels make it abundantly clear Jesus knew how he accomplished his miracles-by the power of God through the Holy Spirit, also known as the Paraclete. His followers would do miracles through that same force which would be sent to them. Isn’t that what we read?

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            5. Not what I read. He gave people the confidence to heal themselves. Go to, your faith has made you whole. You’re body is already equipped to do that every day. I doubt fully that jesus knew the physiology behind the healing process.
              Wiki Pat Rummersfield, the fully functioning quadriplegic.

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  2. Ah, no. (How could vision evolve without first being able to comprehend light?) Before we can evolve an ability we have to comprehend its mechanism? Mostly these things grew by being plugged into already in place mental abilities because there would be no benefit from the evolution of a proto eye if we couldn’t process the signals coming from the danged thing.

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    1. Steve, unless this is an anomaly, I’d have to disagree with you. It must arise mutually. There is no thing that precedes the other. No subjective without the objective, no hearer without hearing, no seeing without a seer. No?

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    1. Such a pleasure to be a burden to one’s self. Eyeglasses, reading glasses, check. Hearing aids, suspenders, wallet, hat, keys, belt, lunch, extra batteries?

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      1. I don’t own suspenders. These are not reading glasses. I’m lost without them. Hearing aids I have, but they’re not all that helpful. ’tis good though, to be alive, a privilege denied many.

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  3. Evolution: genetic change over time. (layman’s definition)

    What part of this scientific theory (i.e.. the best explanation of the natural world based on observations that can be tested) is faulty?

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    1. Ron, there is nothing wrong with it at all. Its a perfect system with no flaws and is to be held with complete trust.
      Our brains and bodies are doing so many things we are not aware of…what else are we doing or overlooking that we are not aware of? I know this one thing—what is true (accepted by society) will one day be laughed about in future generations.

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  4. Simple organisms are capable of all kinds of stuff. You might want to check out this video about slime molds. Colonies form with individual cell organisms, but they can band together to accomplish some amazing things like finding food and habituating to an environment.

    Even in this relatively simple form of life (compared to a plant or an animal, for example), scientists aren’t able to track all of what’s going on right now. But these life forms are capable of adaptations that might not seem intuitive. And that fills in a few of the many blanks regarding life involving into more complex forms.

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  5. It seems others have already pointed out anything I might have to contribute. Even a tiny bit of light sensitivity or vibration sensitivity conveys a selective advantage for an organism. So those traits tend to persist in a population and later mutations may impart additional benefit (or make things worse and die out). All eyes are not the same or of equal acuity. They’ve evolved numerous times in numerous ways. Plants don’t have eyes per se, but are acutely light sensitive anyway.

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  6. The Non-Scientific Life Reply
    In no particular pattern of how things develop, but in agreement with some of Ubi’s theories:
    1) Sight is a predatory need, and sound is a defensive response. Sight increases an organisms ability to find food. (Reproduction might also be a factor, once the meiosis method became available, by helping see a potential partner, and seeing what to do to consummate this event, but that part is pure speculation.)
    Jim, you said, “Since almost everything has an eye,” I must loudly protest. How much of life on earth belongs to the Animal Kingdom, and how much to the other kingdoms. I cannot find an answer but it seems to me only the Animal Kingdom has an actual sight organ. Ubi says the euglena is a single-celled animal, so that speaks to my speculation. I don’t know if this is true of sound organs, but I know that plants at least react to vibrations. If plants sense certain vibrations, they go into defensive posture, while others go into more available positions when they sense the vibrations of bees wings, or other friendly visitors.
    I have to leave this here for now, but I do have a lot more to say on this topic.
    Think about what I have said so far, and let me know if you want to hear more. Funny, I do have a lot to say, but until I read this post I never ever thought about your question. Why do I want to say so much?

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  7. As far as sight goes, there are primitive single-celled animals, such as the euglena, that can only tell the difference between light and dark with a simple “eyespot”. They don’t need to have any comprehension such as we would call “sight”, but being able to tell light from dark, and move toward light, gives them an evolutionary advantage. I expect that some distant ancestor of the euglena didn’t even have a spot, it just happened to have a chemical in the cell that reacted to light, and even that much gave that animal an advantage over those without it. With each improvement in light detection, and improvement in being able to react to what they detect, the creature who has that capability benefits from it. I’m not sure there is some sudden break point at which you would call this combination “sight”, just a slow gradual improvement in the ability to gather images, and also to understand them.

    I think it would be likewise with sound: being able to distinguish a vibration in the air is an advantage. Being able to do it a little better is more of an advantage.

    There are animals that have evolved senses that we lack. We lack the ability to echolocate that bats have, the infrared heat-detection ability of snakes, the magnetic field sensor that homing pigeons use, or the electric field reception of sharks. We can’t comprehend what those senses are like for them. But they’ve developed all the same, because they were useful.

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    1. Thats a pretty good answer. being able to distinguish a vibration in the air is an advantage. That says a lot right there. I wonder what that advantage is when the grandkids come over…
      So the cart can come before the horse through the varieties of natural selection? Would there have to be some luck in there, or is it a tendency for things to do this? Since almost everything has an eye, it seems so easy, but we don’t really know how many failures didn’t make it. The dead tell no tales nor reproduce very long. Its a difficult process to put to imagery.

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      1. I would think some luck, but just having a lot of variability among your offspring means that there is a lot of opportunity for one of them to have a random variation that’s slightly useful. Lucky for that one creature, I guess. But looking at the big picture, it’s predictable that some variation will prove useful, and be developed and improved upon over time, even if it’s not predictable which variation that might be.

        You might find this article relevantL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

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        1. The eye has been used by apologists in debate, but I suppose eyes really aren’t that special since everything has one (or two) Although your answers are well thought, there seems to be a lot of “maybe” in there. Is there proof or examples of this happening? I followed feral children over the years, and out of necessity they have developed acute, hearing, vision, smell, and even body hair. Maybe the changes aren’t as slow as we assume, when put into a natural setting?

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  8. awesome post and question! why i love Zen, so wickedly simple and elusively profound.
    a sound implies there is a hearer and an understander. both require that elusive substance called “knowingness”. sound gives the illusion of distance and location and of ‘beingness’, which create the bondage of a ‘me’ in space and time. there is no such separate entity.

    when attention retreats prior to the hearer, the ‘hearer’ dissolves. where are ‘you’ then?

    knowingness is everywhere. the whole thing basically ‘does itself’. (i know that sounds rather erotic, but the universe truly is always in a state of pure bliss 😆

    ponder on this: how can you hear the voice in your head? there is no ear in your head

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    1. our senses aren’t exclusive to the organs we are accustomed to. it’s possible to see with ears and hear with eyes. with practice, the yogi can breathe through skin alone.

      have you heard of the blind painter who does perspective drawings?

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    2. That last part is a great question, and I have a pretty decent answer to that. As you noted, the zen philosophy is a treat to read, but as you can see from Ubi’s answer you might have to up your game a bit.
      Hypnagogic hallucinations are often auditory or have an auditory component. Like the visuals, hypnagogic sounds vary in intensity from faint impressions to loud noises, like knocking and crash and bangs (exploding head syndrome). People may imagine their own name called, crumpling bags, white noise, or a doorbell ringing. Snatches of imagined speech are common. While typically nonsensical and fragmented, these speech events can occasionally strike the individual as apt comments on—or summations of—their thoughts at the time. They often contain word play, neologisms and made-up names. Hypnagogic speech may manifest as the subject’s own “inner voice”, or as the voices of others: familiar people or strangers. More rarely, poetry or music is heard

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      1. well, Ubi described correctly the evolution of sight. regarding hearing, the human ear evolved from the breathing apparatus of ancient fish gills.

        in science books, sound is defined as a vibration in a medium. it doesn’t necessarily need a ‘hearer’.

        now, from an esoteric perspective. in buddhism the senses are 1 of the ‘aggregates’ together with form, sensation, perception, and mental activity, which together create the illusion of individuality.

        how the senses arose in the first place, you’d have to look at creation stories of Eastern philosophies which place the senses as ‘primary substances’ of the cosmos. this is not ear, nose, mouth. but rather the consciousness that underpins them, more like hearing-ness, seeing-ness, etc.
        so from this point of view, all the evolutionary happenings that led to eyes, ears, nose, etc were inevitable. they are the gross emanations from the source subtle principles. like a hand in the glove analogy.

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        1. You ask interesting questions, Jim. I can’t say I’ve ever wondered how I grew my own hair, or how I heard things, or saw things. For me some things just are. If they are good for me then I’m thankful to whomever/whatever invented the concept. If they aren’t then I question its smarts or motives! Our physical senses are handy gadgets if not always reliable to tell the true story.

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          1. If we didn’t have those senses, how would we know? The subconscious should be called the supra-conscious. Imagine if you had to manually start all your systems each morning? We’d never get out of bed. As it turns out, the tiny part which we define ourselves is a very tiny band width of focused attention. The brain does the rest without us even knowing how.

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            1. Quote: “The brain does the rest without us even knowing how.” …Well, yeah, so? We got “here” because of “that.” Are you saying that the conscious “we” is subservient to the mechanics (the exoskeleton) that allows the mind to express in, and upon, a physical environment? What if I had to assemble my car every morning before I commute to work? Since the car “does all that” does that make me subservient to my car? I don’t think I quite follow this line of reasoning, nor where it is supposed to lead to.

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            2. It doesn’t mean anything nor lead anywhere. All there is is right now, and its amazing. But! We are doing so many things we are not aware of…what else are we doing that we are not aware of? Do you find it strange at all that we continue living, with or without our ego? The concept of self is only a concept that can be turned on and off—regulated manually like breathing.

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            3. On the ego aspect, I have a quite different awareness of ego than the standard so that doesn’t really mean much to me. Ego in “my” world is equivalent to an interface board that links a mother board (the mind) to a computerized machine (the brain) and when the body dies (the machine is junked) ego ceases to exert influence, i.e., ceases to exist. As to self, well that’s everything. I am a “self” distinct from any other self. You can have a million cars travelling a freeway and although they are linked on many ways (road, fuel, materials used) each car is independent of every other. Look out if they try to join one-another, that’s called chain reaction accidents! We are “us” but I am not you and you are not me. Life would be meaningless if we were all stuck to one-another like a blob… like the Borg? Perish the thought! The point is we are individuals and can only function as such, can only give meaning to our beingness as independent beings. When we cease to be independent (self-aware) we cease to exist, period. The other point that can never be true but is widely disseminated in the current times, probably because they are so chaotic socially and environmentally, is the idea that all is in the now. That idea has given rise to several generations of dummied-down irresponsible people who denigrate their past(s) and have less drive to create a decent and sustainable future for themselves and their world. The now is for the Lotus Eaters, Jim. When we consciously flow through the various aspects of life we come to realize that time is a controlling mechanisms we do not need; an imposition that confuses and creates fear. We don’t need time to be aware of past, present, and future and we should be intelligent enough to realize that. No time does not mean eternal present. Awareness takes us into the past and into whatever possible future we care to imagine, or trace. Could say much more but this is supposed to be a comment, not a treatise!

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            4. I didn’t say spirit, I said ego. Spirit is what religious people think of as their god. Spirit “is” simply put. Life which emanates from spirit is also eternal but it is in constant flux. Then there’s the individual, also eternal but certainly not omnipresent. Depending on the dimension/reality, the individual is composed of certain “disposable” aspects, as we here on earth. We are not these disposables, we are individuals using our disposable aspects. I think that fits in with how you see yourself?

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          1. absolutely!
            and it’s not necessarily that new senses will evolve, but present senses will operate on a higher octave, as we get closer to ‘source’, so to say. for example, angels are often portrayed (in ancient iconography) as having eyes all around the body. and this doesn’t mean there are literally eyes all over. but as consciousness becomes more subtle (less body-consciousness) the ability to have vision without ‘seeing’ develops. this is called a ‘siddhi’- or power, in the yogic practices.

            i know, reality is much crazier than we imagine!

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      2. my question “how do you hear the sound in your head” refers to the voice when you talk to yourself. we all have such a voice. no need to bring any hallucinations into this.

        if we had a ear in our head, we might also hear our organs. but we don’t. yet, we hear that voice in the mind/head.

        investigate, don’t rush to answer. it’s a zen koan. do you know what koans do?

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