Jonah Lehrer, watching Planet Earth, writes:
And then I looked at myself, lazing on a couch and complaining about the lack of air-conditioning as I sipped my cold beer. I have absolutely no understanding of the struggle for existence, or just how cruel the selection of the fittest really is. Most Americans live similar lives of luxury. As a result, we don't realize that staying alive (let alone reproducing) is damn hard work. And this leads us to dramatically underestimate the creative powers of natural selection. Most of us think it's absurd that a simple algorithmic process could create an orchid, or a human brain, or hundreds of thousands of beetle species, in "just" a few hundred million years. Thus, we invoke God. But perhaps the ingenuity of evolution appears less absurd from the perspective of the male emperor penguin, who is shivering in a -90 degree blizzard right now.
(Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty.)