Spiritual Lessons From Evolution III
It is difficult for us, with a life span measured in decades, to understand the timescales of evolution. I think it's one of the reasons people get hung up on the complexity issue; how could something as complex as the eye evolve through something as simple as evolution?

What happens is more than an accumulation of small changes. It's enough time for all kinds of things to happen. More time than you can imagine; I heard an illustration of how big a billion was yesterday.

How many seconds is a million seconds?11 1/2 days
How many seconds is a billion seconds?31 1/2 years

Our current estimates are that life emerged about 1.5 billion years ago. The Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years. That is a lot of time for things to happen. A lot of false starts and novel approaches, as well as the aforementioned accumulation of small changes.

Evolution takes a long time.

The overwhelming results from "quick" diets is that people gain the weight back. We want everything now, no deferred gratification for us, but change, real change takes persistence and time. Twenty years later you wake up and realize you've gotten places you never would have believed possible, but it took the twenty years to do it.

A lot of spiritual critics decry our instant everything material society. I'm not one of them; frankly I like it. Being able to drive to the hardware store and get the right replacement part for a faucet, instead of ordering it mail order and enduring the drips until it comes, is all right by me.

Where it all goes wrong is when I apply that same thinking to everything. Changing myself, changing groups of people (the feuds in Ireland and the Middle East and elsewhere have been going on so long that instant change is likely to exacerbate the problem), growing things.

Change takes time.

Not all changes take as long as the development of the eye, but maybe we can remember that they do take time and not pound on our high chair when they don't happen immediately.