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Friday
Jan162015

How Long Do Butterflies Really Fly?

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever." 

 

Butterflies are one of the most widespread and largely recognizable insect orders in the world. The late astrophysicist Carl Sagan's observation was about how long people believe their lifetimes last contrary to actual scientific findings on the Lepidoptera. Available empirical evidence finds an average butterfly species has an adult life span of 2 weeks or less which supports Sagan's dire prediction of their timely demise in spite of the highly optimistic thinking to the contrary.

Humans in the United States according to the estimates of the 2015 Society of Actuaries report show the average 65-year-old woman is expected to live to 88.8 years and man to live to 86.6 years. With a more hopeful expectation for a longer life span than a butterfly, it still does not offer much comfort in the fact that an eternity in the hereafter is a lot longer time. Any way you cut it though, you won't beat the clock; it beats you by just running the time out to the end--Game over!

Carl Sagan (1934–1996) was an American astronomer who did much to popularize science, especially astronomy, during his illustrious career. He co-wrote and presented Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a television series.By the way, Carl Sagan really did say “Billions and Billions” with great frequency over the course of the 13 original episodes of his 1980-1981 series Cosmos too. In that case, though, he was referring to how much time has passed since the creation of the universe generated the masses of materials which have morphed over the ages providing the building blocks to the biological evolution that developed before humans arrived upon the scene.

So one should add a preface before Sagan's quote saying, "Although butterflies took eons to evolve..." So then, the reality of billion and billions of years proceeding mankind will be acknowledged which only makes this gift of our life more precious, more amazing to behold since there is such a short time for appreciation that any human being can't even within a lifetime grasp the awe before it is gone. 

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