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MAKER    6'?m2f Evolution: the blind watch maker analogy

LIZ -- (enters with dark circles around eyes, clothes 
disheveled, shaking a shoe box containing a few small steel 
nuts and bolts, changes hands, shakes box, feels back ache)

AMY -- (shouts from offstage) Professor Johnson?

LIZ -- (shouts without looking up) In here.

AMY -- (enters) Oh, there you are. 

LIZ -- Thankyou for coming.

AMY -- Would you mind telling me why you got me out of bed at 
seven o'clock on a Sunday morning AGAIN?

LIZ -- I don't have much time left. I need your help.

AMY -- You've got to stop doing this. I'm surprised the campus 
police even let you into the Biology building at this hour.

LIZ -- Please, I'm begging you!

AMY -- You made another wager with Professor Tizdale, didn't 
you?

LIZ -- Yes. He has been a thorn in my side since he joined the 
faculty. He gave me an opportunity to remove him from the faculty 
and I took him up on it.

AMY -- Alright, what is it this time?

LIZ -- He said if I could come up with some solid evidence for 
evolution by Sunday morning at 8 o'clock, he would submit his 
resignation.

AMY -- I will remind you that you made this wager before.

LIZ -- I know. But this is different. 

AMY -- That's what you said last time and you ended up losing 
the wager and going to church with Professor Tizdale.

LIZ -- I can prove evolution. I know I can! You've got to help 
me. You've got to!

AMY -- Alright. What do you want me to do?

LIZ -- Here. Shake it. (hands box to Amy)

AMY -- What's in the box and why am I shaking it up and down 
like this?

LIZ -- Gently! My grandmother's antique alarm clock is in there!

AMY -- (puts ear nearer to box) It sounds like your 
grandmother's alarm clock is in pieces.

LIZ -- (rubbing the soreness from shoulders) It IS in pieces. I 
took it apart on Thursday.

AMY -- (stops shaking) Don't tell me. You're testing the analogy 
of the blind watch maker.

LIZ -- Yes. Keep shaking. How did you know I was doing the blind 
watch maker experiment?

AMY -- It was a lucky guess. I wish you would have talked to me 
about this on Thursday. I could have saved you a lot of time and 
trouble.

LIZ -- (takes box) If you're not going to shake it, I'll do it. 
(shakes, rubs own shoulder and neck)

AMY -- Save your strength. It's a waste of effort.

LIZ -- No, it's not. If it takes sore muscles to get Professor 
Tizdale to turn in his resignation, it's worth the effort.

AMY -- Except there's no way it will work.

LIZ -- Sure it will. It's abiogenesis. A living cell from 
non-living chemicals. It's just like the blind watch maker. If I 
have the pieces of a clock in a box and shake the box gently 
enough times, the watch will assemble itself by random 
processes.

AMY -- That's the theory. But it's full of holes.

LIZ -- Please don't say that! I've been shaking this box day and 
night for three days. Ooo. (holds shoulder) My shoulder is 
killing me. What's wrong with the blind watch maker theory?

AMY -- (holds box) Stop.

LIZ -- I can't stop. The deadline is in one hour. If I can't 
prove the theory of evolution by then, I have to go to church 
with Professor Tizdale AGAIN. Why are you stopping me?

AMY -- How do you know that your last shake didn't fully 
assemble the clock? (releases box) How do you know that the next 
shake of the box won't cause the newly assembled clock to fly to 
pieces?

LIZ -- Oh! You're right! I should look after every shake! 
(reaches for cover)

AMY -- (holds box closed) Wait.

LIZ -- What are you doing? I have to see if the last shake 
assembled the parts into a clock.

AMY -- The theory is called the BLIND watch maker, remember?

LIZ -- But I've got to look. Otherwise, my next shake... (gasps) 
The BLIND watch maker!

AMY -- Exactly.

LIZ -- But if I don't look, how am I going to know if I should 
stop shaking?

AMY -- You tell me.

LIZ -- Maybe if I just lift the lid and FEEL... (closes eyes, 
lifts lid) 

AMY -- Wait.

LIZ -- (opens eyes, irritated) What is it now! I've only got an 
hour before the deadline!

AMY -- This experiment of yours is supposed to be a model of 
what the chemicals in the primordial goo would do to form a 
living cell.

LIZ -- Yes. So?

AMY -- So, how does the cell know when the chemicals are 
assembled correctly? How does it know when to stop the assembly 
process?

LIZ -- Silly goose! A cell is stupid. It doesn't KNOW anything... 
(gasps) Oh no! You've got to help me! You've got to make this 
work!

AMY -- I keep telling you, I'm the wrong person to ask about 
evolution. I'm a cosmologist: you know, astronomy, physics, 
mathematics.

LIZ -- But it sounded so plausible on paper. It's got to work!

AMY -- Actually, it gets worse.

LIZ -- Oh, no, please don't say that. I don't want to hear that.

AMY -- I'm sorry. But in nature, if a cell is to be formed from 
the primordial goo, there's no box to contain the parts.

LIZ -- What about the cell membrane? The cell membrane holds all 
the parts together.

AMY -- The cell membrane hasn't assembled itself yet. In fact 
the cell membrane is one of the many parts of the cell that has 
to assemble itself.

LIZ -- Oh no. That means that there's nothing to keep the clock 
parts from wandering away from one another.

AMY -- It's even worse than that.

LIZ -- Oh, no, please don't say that. I don't want to hear that.

AMY -- I'm sorry, but in the primordial goo, there's also 
impurities present, chemicals that are useless to a living cell, 
or even toxic chemicals, even lethal chemicals.

LIZ -- Oh, that's right. So, if this experiment is to be 
authentic, along with clock parts, I should have... things like 
tar and sand in the box.

AMY -- I'm sorry.

LIZ -- Speaking of sand, what is this sand in the box? 
(withdraws hand from box, inspects fingers) Oh, no!

AMY -- What's the matter?

LIZ -- (opens box, looks in) Oh no! (closes box, turns) I might 
as well go get dressed and ready for church.

AMY -- Why? What's the matter?

LIZ -- (turns, opens box, shows Amy) My grandmother's antique 
clock parts have been shaken and jostled so much that the cogs 
on the gears have crumbled.

AMY -- Oh, I'm sorry. 

LIZ -- Oh, well. It's only fitting.

AMY -- What do you mean?

LIZ -- That's the way it would happen in nature too. Even if the 
right chemicals were present in the primordial goo, they would 
probably decompose before everything else is assembled. There is 
no way a living cell can be produced by primordial goo. There's 
just too many things working against it. (turns)

AMY -- (follows) You know what that means, don't you?

LIZ -- That means there's only one other explanation for life 
arising from non-living chemicals.

AMY -- And what explanation is that?

LIZ -- I don't want to talk about it.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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