March 4, 2015 8:32 pm

Logic and Evolution


Photo of Leonard Nimoy as Spock from Star Trek The Original Series. Credit: © 2015 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: © 2015 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As everybody knows by now, Spock died last week.

I know, I know, Spock didn’t die, it was the actor who played him, Leonard Nimoy. (Everyone knows that Spock died in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.)

But to me, not to take anything away from the life of the man, he was Spock.

Spock was my mom’s favorite character, and as she and I sat together on the couch watching Star Trek (in repeats by then, but just barely), I could understand why.

Spock was the Science Officer on a Federation starship, and not just any starship, but the USS Enterprise!

Think about that. They had a “Science Officer.”

And he was smart.

He could compute things the way a computer did. Certainly faster than the computers my Dad used at work, which needed to be fed punch cards before they could do anything at all.

But more important than how smart Spock was, I remember how impressed I was by the idea of logic.

To a little kid, the idea that there was a tool that you could use to help you decide between what your brain told you was true and what your heart wanted to be true was intoxicating.

And empowering.

It is purely coincidental that Leonard Nimoy died last Friday just as we were getting ready to post Part 1 of StarTalk Live! Evolution with Richard Dawkins.

But as I listened to the episode that very day, to write up my preview post, as I listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins talking about evolution, I couldn’t help but think about Spock.

About how he would have looked at the people who doubt the science that supports evolution, who discount genetics and the fossil record and even the evolution of mosquitoes in the London Underground that we are seeing unfold within our lifetimes, who in essence are rejecting science in favor of superstition, and I can hear what I know in my heart Spock would have said to them:

“I find your lack of logic disturbing.”

Live long and prosper.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up.
–Jeffrey Simons

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