Saturday, December 16, 2006

Floundering around

My daughter Mo gave me this poster print that was used for an exhibit of the Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay at the University of Rhode Island. The photo is from a collection of the Field Museum in Chicago. Four pics of the same flounder on different backgrounds.

With one appraising eye the flounder sizes up its environment, then adjusts its color and pattern to match. An astonishing talent for camouflage!

No matter how long one has lived, how many trips made to the zoo or aquarium, how many books of natural history read, how many science journal perused, nature still has the capacity to surprise.

Speckles, checkers, black or white. Intelligent design? Surely an intelligent designer smart enough to create a universe from scratch could have more precisely ruled those checkers . Which is not to say, of course, that we necessarily have the whole story of how nature contrives such marvels of adaptation. But this much is clear to anyone who takes the creation as the primary revelation: However the flounder made it to the top of Mount Improbable, it did it on its own.