Thanks for your clarification – and affirmation that I’m not totally bonkers. Indeed you stated my intent better than I had managed to with this observation:
…which captures exactly where I was trying to go (or to try restating again for myself): Perhaps there is a long-term evolutionary benefit to all the stuff being carried even when it has no immediate benefit to the individual organism that carries it.
Indeed. The first article you linked brought more of that quandary into focus for me.
It seems to offend our engineering sensibilities (for some Christians anyway) that a designer should be so profligately wasteful. They want 100% or 0%; but it also seems to me that we (Christians) ignore what I think I’ve heard referred to as a “principle of plenitude” which probably is a time-honored concept from well before modern science. God regularly delights in overabundance (in some things, and in some places, for some people – with all due respect to those who rightly may wonder where all this abundance is in wealth or food resources). But acknowledging such hardship, I’m still focusing more on the scientific observations we make: that 99.9…% of our sunlight shines off “uselessly” into the cold of space. Or that 99.? % of water shuffles about in the water cycle without directly servicing a thirsty organism in any given season. I don’t doubt these examples could be and have been multiplied.
It seems that when engineers among us get our creationist (or anti-creationist) dander up about “efficiency”, God just laughs. Our solar system could have been “exquisitely designed” with some mechanism to contain all our sun’s energy and release only a tight laser beam of it to illumine the earth (and perhaps a few more tight beams so that the other planets would be lit up to grace our night skies – it is “all about us”, after all, right?) And in fictitious “beam universe” the engineer swells up with pride and pleasure at the vastly increased efficiency of our star’s energy use. And yet we now see all the potential problems too. Should the earth’s orbit vary by just a bit, we might drift away from that carefully tracking laser, always needing to stay on that knife edge path – iceball death threatening from every side. But lo and behold, our fictitious “problem” gets its lethal blow from the reality of our sun casting its plentiful energy in all directions. Our poverty-enforced efficiencies that oblige human engineers to minimize waste (in the context of economies and systems we have set up for ourselves) do not exist for God. I indulge myself in the speculative possibility that DNA may also follow a similar principle in a wider context of evolutionary time scales. How unfortunate that so many of us Christians have shut down the consideration that would open up this possible dimension of God’s activity to our full appreciation. At least that’s my religiously-motivated take on it.
But I will cease from this digression on an otherwise scientific thread. Carry on that we all may learn more!