Fireflies: a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs



ヒメボタル  photo credit: © Tsuneaki Hiramatsu,

“….a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs….”*

As a child, I used to chase and marvel at the fireflies twinkling in the night. As an adult, I now look at the fireflies as a glowing refutation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution:

Bioluminescence, the process by which fireflies produce light without heat, is said to be a very efficient process. According to firefly expert Dr. Marc Branham, associate professor of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, almost all of the firefly’s energy involved in bioluminescence is given off as light. Compare that to a traditional incandescent bulb that uses a lot of energy to produce light, while wasting 90% of that energy as heat released to the atmosphere.  Bioluminescence thus would seem like a very desirable survival mechanism for the human being, a beneficial mutation waiting to happen and to be preserved, much like the appendages of man that the theory of evolution would have us believe were the spontaneous product of natural selection as life evolved from amphibian to terrestrial.

But bioluminescence did not happen with the primal ancestors of man. And it is not anywhere near to happening even with the present-day versions of man. Neither did man develop the resiliency of whales and penguins to cold. Nor did man grow wings like the eagle for his mobility. Instead, man proceeded to learn how to light his way in the dark with fire, and consume fossil fuels for his heating, lighting and transport needs. As we speak (or blog), man is even now pushing and dragging the world deep into the perilous frontiers of environmental pollution, nuclear proliferation, climate-changing depletions of nature — all self-defeating and self-destructive processes, the very antithesis of Darwin’s adaptive mechanism of natural selection — to further satiate the desires and other mysterious agitations stirring and bubbling from within his biological chemistry.

Darwin himself, as early as 1859, conceded:

“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree….” ¹

Darwin, of course, quickly stepped back from that concession, to twist through a flimsy dance tethered on his explanation of what was to his mind a seeming possibility for natural selection to still have produced the perfect eye assembly, sidestepping conveniently the law of entropy about spontaneous processes increasing the disorder of the universe.

So there: embrace the hugs, whether from ten thousand, or ten million, lightning bugs 🙂

¹Charles Darwin, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” 1872 edition, p. 143-144.

Note: Between creation and evolution, there is creative evolution as part of intelligent design — there is no clash 😉

— SSJ, 18 August 2018

Links of Interest: 


*Music video by Owl City performing Fireflies. (C) 2009 Universal Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.


Radim Schreiber’s video is best viewed in high resolution, and, in the words of Radim: “at night, with all the lights turned off, full screen with sound turned on”.  Visit his website @ for more of his awesome work.


Creative Evolution –  from There Is No Clash, with a caveat here


Fireflies on the Water, 2002. An art installation by Yayoi Kusama

About sandstarsblog

wild reader. writer in the wild. technologist at work. not necessarily in that order.
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2 Responses to Fireflies: a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs

  1. stbarbebaker says:

    Lovely story and images, Ive never seen a firefly so this was poetic

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