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Carnivorous plants: Darwinist Nick Matzke is latest to put Darwin’s theory “outside science”

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Evolutionary biologist Nick Matzke is latest to put Darwin’s theory “outside science”

In response to “Geneticist W.-E. Loennig replies to Darwinist Nick Matzke: Which is more important: Darwin or facts?”, Nick Matzke pretty much removed any doubt, replying,

Continued silliness. The generalization that carnivorous plants tend to live in nutrient-poor environments applies to Utricularia as well. There might be some exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions to the general rule.

We need look no farther than Wikipedia:

Distribution and habitat

Utricularia can survive almost anywhere where there is fresh water for at least part of the year; only Antarctica and some oceanic islands have no native species. The greatest species diversity for the genus is seen in South America, with Australia coming a close second.[1] In common with most carnivorous plants, they grow in moist soils which are poor in dissolved minerals, where their carnivorous nature gives them a competitive advantage; terrestrial varieties of Utricularia can frequently be found alongside representatives of the carnivorous genera–Sarracenia, Drosera and others–in very wet areas where continuously moving water removes most soluble minerals from the soil.

Although, if you like, I could start quoting experts which even Loennig would agree are experts (since he cites their work at various points in his monograph). I have all of the major works on CPs [carnivorous plants].

Now, I am happy to debate carnivorous plant evolution with folks, but there is really no point if you guys (and Loennig) can’t accept basic facts of the case without obfuscation and insult. This question must be answered before any further discussion on the evolution of carnivorous plants can take place: is the above statement basically correct, or not?

He adds here,

The standard theory is that carnivory in plants is an adaptation to increase nutrient uptake in environments where (chemically available) nutrients are scarce. Low nutrients = the primary selective pressure that gave an advantage to variations that allowed the improved trapping of insects.

Now, if the above were accepted, we could move on to have a discussion of whether or not it is reasonable to thing that the necessary variations to produce plant carnivory could occur — and from there, we could then move to a discussion of whether or not the processes that could produce sticky-leaf-traps and pitcher-plant traps could also eventually produce Utricularia-type bladder traps.

But, Loennig and his fans have launched a series of UD posts claiming that the evolutionary explanation of plant carnivory is bogus idiocy from the get-go, because they apparently think that it’s not true that CPs typically live in nutrient poor habitats, thus there is no reason for natural selection to favor such adaptations. They have been raising hell about it in a half-dozen posts, but without any attempt to review the massive and well-known (and available) literature on this topic. Loennig undoubtedly knows better, deep down, but he’s letting his fans get away with very silly statements.

So, like I said, there’s no point in continuing unless this kind of basic observational fact is accepted on all sides.

Everything seems to depend on whether the standard theory (Darwin’s natural selection) is a correct statement of the behaviour of carnivorous plants. Because that theory is under evidence-based dispute, it cannot be cited to judge the case. (Surely Dr. Loennig did not refer to Dr. Matzke’s comments as “bogus idiocy” … )

In any event, Dr. Loennig replied re Dr. Matzke’s comments, as follows:

Well, Matzke is strongly beating about the bush. Instead of answering in detail
key questions like

Why does Nick not answer Nachtwey’s questions on the evolution of Utricularia’s trap? Suction in half a millisecond: How did the trap become watertight and functional as a suction trap with all its synorganized anatomical and physiological details by a series of random ‘micromutations’ with slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype (Mayr)?

he simply presupposes his mutation-selection theory as being entirely correct. And the infinite invention of non-testable evolutionary scenarios of how something could have evolved puts the synthetic theory outside science. See the details and discussions on such scenarios here.

Also, the question of how many of the aquatic Utricularia species can and do live in meso- to eutrophic (instead of oligotrophic) environments is, of course, not answered by quoting a general statement from the Wikipedia. For a scientifically correct answer the question has to be further investigated whether most (or exactly how many) of these species really occur in oligotrophic environments only and how or to what extent the 7 exceptions I mentioned so far (really all that I have precisely checked until now) disturb or even disprove the adaptionist viewpoint. And what about the almost 100 Pinguicula species that I have mentioned earlier? And many more cases are known. (Of course, I do not deny that many carnivores like Dionaea muscipula and most Drosera species and others really live – together with many non-carnivorous plants – “in nutrient impoverished substrate” – Fleischmann 2010, p. 843).

Above all: Even in (the wrong) case or scenario that all Utricularia species were living in oligotrophic environments – this would, of course, not explain the origin of their suction traps by mutations and selection (without ID) anymore than the adaptation of automobiles (wheels, motors, brackets, lights etc.) to roads and a thousand different tasks would explain their origin without intelligent design.

As to the details on Kingsley see p. 8 ff.: I did not simply copy Taylor’s mistake but commented on it in detail in the paper just referred and linked to above already several years ago; it would really consume a lot of time to correct all the doubtful or false presuppositions and statements of Nick Matzke, who obviously did not carefully study my papers.

It really comes down to whether Darwin rules or evidence. Readers must decide.

UD News staff don’t understand why an adaptation for poor soils, like carnivory, should necessarily put a plant at a disadvantage in better soils.

See also: Remember that Darwin-eating plant? Now threatening to eat Nick Matzke …

Carnivorous plants: After eating Darwin, they couldn’t resist further culinary adventures

The plants that eat vertebrate animals

Carnivorous plants: The 200-year headache.

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30 Replies to “Carnivorous plants: Darwinist Nick Matzke is latest to put Darwin’s theory “outside science”

  1. 1
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    (Of course, I do not deny that many carnivores like Dionaea muscipula and most Drosera species and others really live – together with many non-carnivorous plants – “in nutrient impoverished substrate” – Fleischmann 2010, p. 843).

    Well, this admission by itself pretty much ends this part of the debate, since there are a lot of Utricularia and Pinguicula whose typical habitat is sympatric with these other CPs.

  2. 2
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Re: Kingsley, Loennig’s quote from the newly-cited Polypomphyolyx.pdf doesn’t help Loennig much, since there, Loennig clearly endorses Taylor’s (mistaken) view that Kingsley thought Utricularia was a problem for natural selection. The “original type” bit is just the way people talked back then — Darwin used this language a lot also — it’s not an endorsement of special creation.

    ***Here is Charles Kingsley’s comment on the origin of Utricularia after mentioning some of his observations on the bladderworts of Trinidad and other parts of South America:

    “In the face of such strange facts, is it very absurd to guess that these Utricularias, so like each other in their singular and highly specialised flowers, so unlike each other in the habit of the rest of the plant, have started from some one original type perhaps long since extinct; and that, carried by birds into quite new situations, they have adapted themselves, by natural selection, to new circumstances, changing the parts which required change—the leaves and stalks; but keeping comparatively unchanged those which needed no change—the flowers?”
    On the other hand, Kingsley seems to have accepted natural selection in the sense of Darwin’s friend, the botanist Asa Gray. On Calycophyllum (a tree), Kingsley writes (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/10669/10669.txt):
    “But it is not the flowers themselves which make the glory of the tree. As the flower opens, one calyx-lobe, by a rich vagary of nature, grows into a leaf three inches long, of a splendid scarlet; and the whole end of each branch, for two feet or more in length, blazes among the green foliage till you can see it and wonder at it a quarter of a mile away. This is ‘the resplendent Calycophyllum,’ elaborated, most probably, by long physical processes of variation and natural selection into a form equally monstrous and beautiful. There are those who will smile at my superstition, if I state my belief that He who makes all things make themselves may have used those very processes of variation and natural selection for a final cause; and that the final cause was, that He might delight Himself in the beauty of one more strange and new creation. Be it so. I can only assume that their minds are, for the present at least, differently constituted from mine.”
    He also defends natural selection against some theological objections elsewhere. Besides, in his book there is a quotation of Elias Fries (1794-1878, one of the fathers of mycology), which seems to be of topical interest for the current ecological situation in many parts of the world (considering the time it was written, I like to add it here in the appendix, although it may only be indirectly related to our topic):

    […]

    The fact that Loennig notes that Kingsley’s (apparent) Utricularia seems at odds with Kinglsey’s position on natural selection elsewhere is to his credit, but, nevertheless, it was a mistake. Peter Taylor made the mistake too, it’s a confusing passage.

  3. 3
    PaV says:

    Nick:

    How does this explain anything? You’re simply assuming that which Loenning is asking to be demonstrated.

    Your argument seems to simply be this: Utricularia lives next to other non-carnivorous species. Therefore, when the soil became low in nutrients, voila, Utricularia comes about.

    Loenning earlier wrote this:

    Why does Nick not answer Nachtwey’s questions on the evolution of Utricularia’s trap? Suction in half a millisecond: How did the trap become watertight and functional as a suction trap with all its synorganized anatomical and physiological details by a series of random ‘micromutations’ with slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype (Mayr)?

    Can you come up with a credible, step-by-step mechanism demonstrating how known genetic effects can, within a reasonable amount of time, arrive at such changes? If you could do that, there would be no Darwinian skeptics.

  4. 4
    PaV says:

    Nick:

    I pointed out in the other post that the mistake was Taylor’s, not Loenning. And the point that Taylor makes stands regardless of his misunderstanding of the quote.

  5. 5
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    That’s fine, but Loennig is casting aspersions on my scholarly ability, even though I caught this mistake and Loennig didn’t, and even though Loennig doubled-down on the mistake by citing Loennig’s previous work which also makes the mistake.

  6. 6
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Your argument seems to simply be this: Utricularia lives next to other non-carnivorous species. Therefore, when the soil became low in nutrients, voila, Utricularia comes about.

    Well, that’s ridiculous. As I explained quite clearly before, the nutrients issue is just one point that needs to be agreed upon before the rest of the discussion can begin:

    The standard theory is that carnivory in plants is an adaptation to increase nutrient uptake in environments where (chemically available) nutrients are scarce. Low nutrients = the primary selective pressure that gave an advantage to variations that allowed the improved trapping of insects.

    Now, if the above were accepted, we could move on to have a discussion of whether or not it is reasonable to thing that the necessary variations to produce plant carnivory could occur — and from there, we could then move to a discussion of whether or not the processes that could produce sticky-leaf-traps and pitcher-plant traps could also eventually produce Utricularia-type bladder traps.

    But, Loennig and his fans have launched a series of UD posts claiming that the evolutionary explanation of plant carnivory is bogus idiocy from the get-go, because they apparently think that it’s not true that CPs typically live in nutrient poor habitats, thus there is no reason for natural selection to favor such adaptations. They have been raising hell about it in a half-dozen posts, but without any attempt to review the massive and well-known (and available) literature on this topic. Loennig undoubtedly knows better, deep down, but he’s letting his fans get away with very silly statements.

    So, like I said, there’s no point in continuing unless this kind of basic observational fact is accepted on all sides.

    If you want a summary of my actual explanation of the Utricularia trap, see here:

    http://www.bacps.org/2005Spring.html

    This has been cited from the beginning of these posts, and yet no one has taken it on yet, except for the distracting line of argument along the lines of “CPs don’t live in nutrient-poor environments so the whole Darwinian story is bankrupt from the start”.

  7. 7
    PaV says:

    Nick:

    You write:

    Now, if the above were accepted, we could move on to have a discussion of whether or not it is reasonable to thing that the necessary variations to produce plant carnivory could occur — and from there, we could then move to a discussion of whether or not the processes that could produce sticky-leaf-traps and pitcher-plant traps could also eventually produce Utricularia-type bladder traps.

    This is open-minded enough. But why move onto the whats and the hows of what is supposed to happen, when the entire driving force for this change is under question?

    That is, you also wrote:

    The standard theory is that carnivory in plants is an adaptation to increase nutrient uptake in environments where (chemically available) nutrients are scarce. Low nutrients = the primary selective pressure that gave an advantage to variations that allowed the improved trapping of insects.

    This may be “standard theory”, but it strikes many of us as “standard presupposition”. IOW, you identify what you consider to be an advantage (this can easily be conceded), and then you simply say that this is the reason for the plant to develop all of this intricate structural architecture. And, one would suppose, this would all be happening while its roots are grounded in “low nutrient” soil! Why didn’t they just all die in the first place?!

    This is what is problematic. You have no way, or demonstrate no way, of getting out of the circularity involved here: Why did the Utricularia develop its carnivory? Because of low nutrient soils. How do we know this is the reason why Utricularia developed its carnivory? Because it’s found predominantly in low-nutrient soils. This is in no way persuasive.

    And, of course, moving onto the whats and the hows is only more problematic. My grandfather used to say: “How do you build a house? Answer: You build four walls and a roof.” Simple explanation; but a whole lot of work, expense and details are involved. You can wave around Darwinian orthodoxy all day, but how many questions of the sort that Loennig asks does it really answer?

  8. 8
    ScottAndrews says:

    From the cited paper:

    If we accept the idea that Nepenthes pitchers evolved from an adhesive leaf that was also the ancestor of plants like Drosophyllum, and we accept the idea that the Sarraceniaceae pitchers evolved from an adhesive leaf that was also the ancestor of Roridula, then it is reasonably to hypothesize that a Pinguicula-like leaf could evolve into a pitcher trap.

    How can anything in this paper provide evidence for the inventive power of variation and selection when it admittedly only makes sense if we have already accepted the premise?

    The lineage leading to Utricularia developed the trap door initially for the same function, as an enhancement of the lobster-pot mechanism.

    The paper continues to provide such narratives without explaining how variation and selection are responsible. Again, we are expected to bring that assumption with us.

    Initially, this may appear to be a speculative and complicated model. However, at every stage the model is supported by analogies to living traps and/or direct phylogenetic evidence, and no unusual evolutionary processes seem to be required even for the most extraordinary trap of Utricularia.

    Again, all reasoning depends on the operation of ‘usual evolutionary processes.’ And, unintentionally perhaps, it leaves the door open for “unusual evolutionary processes” if usual ones are insufficient.

    It’s like science fiction without characters – a plausible story if we agree to accept certain premises.

  9. 9
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    This is open-minded enough. But why move onto the whats and the hows of what is supposed to happen, when the entire driving force for this change is under question?

    But it’s not under question, except by IDists/creationists apparently. Thus we can’t really continue the discussion about evolution until we work this basic fact question out.

    This isn’t a question about why/how carnivory evolved, not yet. The question is, what is the current function of plant carnivory in current carnivorous plants? I say it is basically to increase nutrient uptake in situations where nutrients are scarce. You guys say — well, you don’t have a coherent alternative or a coherent objection. All you do is point to a few supposed exceptions, which (a) even if true, would be exceptions to the general rule, and (b) might not be true, since even environments that have plenty of nutrients under some set of measurements, might not have the nutrients in the right form for the plants to get at them.

    Even under an ID hypothesis, plant carnivory ought to have some function, right? It’s not exactly revolutionary to suggest that the function of *carnivory*, i.e. *eating things*, is probably to *get nutrients*. Gimme a freakin’ break here!

    The only reason you guys are objecting to these basic points is that you just hate Darwin and somehow have got it in your head that the association between carnivorous plants and low-nutrient situations is some kind of evolutionary/Darwinist conspiracy. But that just ain’t so.

  10. 10
    Joseph says:

    Under the ID hypothesis plant carnivory has two functions in one- to help keep insect population growth in check and to increase nutrients in nutrient poor conditions.

  11. 11
    Joseph says:

    Nick,

    It seems that you think imagination is an OK substitute for scientific evidence. That alone casts aspersions on your scholarly ability if said ability just/only means the ability to conjure up an untestable story.

  12. 12
    ScottAndrews says:

    Even under an ID hypothesis, plant carnivory ought to have some function, right?

    Does everything that has ever been designed have a function?
    If a thing was designed for a function, is that function always instantly apparent? If you found a pencil eraser but had never seen a pencil, would you start looking for the pencil eraser plant?
    Is not knowing the function of something a solid basis for determining whether it was designed, or could it be an argument from ignorance?

    The answer to your question is in there somewhere.

  13. 13
    PaV says:

    Nick:

    As Scott Andrews perceptively notes, the authors are “presuming” (If we accept the idea that Nepenthes pitchers evolved from an adhesive leaf that was also the ancestor of plants like Drosophyllum, . . . etc.) what you assert has happened: viz, one form “evolved” into another. This is ID problem with Darwinism: its circularity.

    You seem to be making a big deal about the ‘advantage’ of the Utricularia; but I wrote this above:

    IOW, you identify what you consider to be an advantage (this can easily be conceded), . . .

    Yes, we concede that there is an advantage. Does this prove Darwinism? Exactly how?

    Certain races in Africa are very tall. Did this come about because they had an advantage for picking fruit higher up on trees? Where’s the logical connection? We’ll probably never know why they are taller. And, secondarily, even if you ‘identify’ the ‘advantage’ they possess, are you going to say that such black races are separate species? These are the problems one sees in Darwinism once one stops “believing” in the putative theory.

    If a hundred million years from now, someone discovers a fossilized chihuahua and a fossilized St. Bernard dog in separate strata, separated by a million years, will that person conclude that the St. Bernard dog evolved from the chihuahua?

  14. 14
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Under the ID hypothesis plant carnivory has two functions in one- to help keep insect population growth in check and to increase nutrients in nutrient poor conditions.

    This second function is very likely wishful thinking. Carnivorous plants are in general very rare on the landscape, generally restricted to bogs and the like. Many of them are endangered species, they are so rare.

  15. 15
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Does everything that has ever been designed have a function?
    If a thing was designed for a function, is that function always instantly apparent? If you found a pencil eraser but had never seen a pencil, would you start looking for the pencil eraser plant?
    Is not knowing the function of something a solid basis for determining whether it was designed, or could it be an argument from ignorance?

    The answer to your question is in there somewhere.

    Dude, you need to read your ID proponents better.

    Dembski:

    Biological specification always refers to function. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional subsystems. In virtue of their function, these systems embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the same sense required by the complexity-specification criterion (see sections 1.3 and 2.5). The specification of organisms can be crashed out in any number of ways. Arno Wouters cashes it out globally in terms of the viability of whole organisms. Michael Behe cashes it out in terms of minimal function of biochemical systems.- Wm. Dembski page 148 of NFL

    Behe:

    We can, from our inductive understanding of whenever we see something that has a large number of parts, which interacts to fulfill some function, when we see a purposeful arrangement of parts, we have always found that to be design.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....12am2.html

  16. 16
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Wow, I love it when people, rather than admitting their hero made a mistake, switch over to insults in order to distract from this fact.

    And, regarding imagination: I’m not the one invoking miracles or other unspecified mysterious processes as the explanation.

  17. 17
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    If we accept the idea that Nepenthes pitchers evolved from an adhesive leaf that was also the ancestor of plants like Drosophyllum, and we accept the idea that the Sarraceniaceae pitchers evolved from an adhesive leaf that was also the ancestor of Roridula, then it is reasonably to hypothesize that a Pinguicula-like leaf could evolve into a pitcher trap.

    How can anything in this paper provide evidence for the inventive power of variation and selection when it admittedly only makes sense if we have already accepted the premise?

    Well, let’s discuss whether the premise that sticky-leaf trap can and did evolve into pitcher-leaf traps is plausible. What part of the evidence for this proposition do you disagree with?

  18. 18
    PaV says:

    Nick:

    This is bait-and-switch tactics.

    The discussion shouldn’t be about whether it “evolved” into this, that, or the other forms. We have these forms. The fossil record gives us a way of documenting these changes in time. The question—and the discussion—is whether or not the changes we see can be reasonably arrived at invoking only Darwinian mechanisms.

    As to the “evidence of this proposition”, you have none. You have only evidence of a change; not of the mechanisms involved. So, let’s not play games with what is actually before us—as differentiated from what a Darwinist might “believe” is before us.

  19. 19
    ScottAndrews says:

    Nick,
    ID requires function. Design does not.
    And you dodged my other points. Is it not obvious that a thing could have a function, but that the reason for that function could be unknown?
    The plants have components specialized for catching bugs and the like. That is a function which may be attributed to design. Now you want to add a new, arbitrary requirement. ‘Why where they designed to catch bugs? Until I know that, they can’t be designed.’

    That is an argument from ignorance. We frequently encounter things that appear to be designed, but for which we don’t know the purpose. If we don’t know why it was designed, we try to figure it out.

    What if we discovered Stonehenge and said, “We don’t know why anyone would do this, so it must be a natural formation. Let’s abandon the search for its purpose and try to figure out how it formed.”

    Such backwards reasoning would stand in the way of learning anything new, result in preposterous stories that would be necessarily devoid of specifics, and demonstrate that we place prior assumptions before rational thought.

    That sounds familiar, dude.

  20. 20
    Joseph says:

    NickMatzke_UD- from YOUR article:

    The intricate bladder trap of Utricularia has been compared to a human-designed mechanical mousetrap, and its origin is a long-standing mystery. The difficulty has been in imagining a viable series of transitional trap forms leading up to the bladder trap. (bold added)

    IOW Nick YOU are the one who brought up imagination and YOU are the one using it as scientific evidence.

    And BTW Loenning is not my hero and you ARE invoking miracles or other unspecified mysterious processes- heck Nick all you have is IMAGINATION as a process!

  21. 21
    Joseph says:

    NickMatzke_UD:

    This second function is very likely wishful thinking.

    Sed the guy who thinks imagination is evidence and whose whole position is nothing but wishful thinking.

    Carnivorous plants are in general very rare on the landscape, generally restricted to bogs and the like.

    That’s NOW, Nick. And if we go by what we observe NOW then your position is a monumental failure.

    Many of them are endangered species, they are so rare.

    Now they are, Nick. That doesn’t mean they were always rare.

  22. 22
    William J Murray says:

    We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    – Prof. Richard Lewontin

  23. 23
    Petrushka says:

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

  24. 24
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    As to the “evidence of this proposition”, you have none. You have only evidence of a change; not of the mechanisms involved. So, let’s not play games with what is actually before us—as differentiated from what a Darwinist might “believe” is before us.

    I bet you can’t even name the pieces of evidence that I or other biologists would cite in favor of the proposition that sticky leaf traps could and did evolve, via standard mutation/selection processes, into pitcher traps. It’s been written up many times in various places.

    But, you’re convinced that no evidence exists, at all, and you make this assertion without making the slightest effort to investigate the matter or review the literature! Why should I or other scientists waste time discussing it with someone who has closed their mind off to the basic information necessary to even have a discussion?

    Also: it appears that you are saying “duh, common ancestry is true” (someone tell the Discovery Institute and most of UD, most of those folks hate common ancestry) and then just asserting that we know nothing of the mechanisms of change. But, actually, we know a huge amount about the processes of Mendelian inheritance, mutation, and selection. There is a huge amount of evidence that each of these processes is in effect in biology right now. Why should we just wantonly abandon this knowledge in favor of whatever your extremely vague, extremely undocumented alternative theory of heredity and mutation is?

  25. 25
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    ID requires function. Design does not.

    So, Intelligent Design != Design, I guess. I think I win when the other side starts asserting blatant self-contradictions…

    The plants have components specialized for catching bugs and the like. That is a function which may be attributed to design. Now you want to add a new, arbitrary requirement. ‘Why where they designed to catch bugs? Until I know that, they can’t be designed.’

    I’m just trying to point out the absurdity of what many were arguing — many were claiming that plant carnivory isn’t an adaptation for acquiring nutrients. I pointed out there is a lot of evidence that plant carnivory has exactly that function, and asked that people propose better ideas if they had any. The only other suggestion was “controlling insect populations”, which is, basically, incredible, given the rarity of carnivorous plants.

    I think the real problem here is the “hold every position at all costs, facts be damned” attitude of those in the ID movement. ID folks are afraid that if they concede even simple, basic facts to “Darwinists”, then they will lose the argument. But, they look even sillier when they do this than they would if they said “OK, sure, it looks like the function of plant carnivory is to increase nutrient uptake in situations where nutrients are scarce. So we can see why there would be a selective advantage to carnivory. Now, how in the world could a leaf turn into a trap, even if there was a selective advantage?”

    That would be an interesting discussion — but, too bad, apparently no one actually wants to have it.

  26. 26
    Joseph says:

    NickMatzke:

    I bet you can’t even name the pieces of evidence that I or other biologists would cite in favor of the proposition that sticky leaf traps could and did evolve, via standard mutation/selection processes, into pitcher traps.

    That evidence doesn’t exist Nick. All you have are vague references to (gross) anatomy. You do not have any genetic evidence for the chagnes required.

    BTW Mendel was a Creationist.

  27. 27
    Joseph says:

    Nick:

    I’m just trying to point out the absurdity of what many were arguing — many were claiming that plant carnivory isn’t an adaptation for acquiring nutrients.

    Who is doing that? Reference please.

    As for controlling insect populations- well that is true- they can. Just because the plants are rare NOW does not mean they always were- nice of you to keep ignoring things that contradict what you post.

    But that is moot as you don’t have any genetic evidence that supports your position.

  28. 28
    Joseph says:

    And anyone who could believe this is all an accident will believe anything….

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Petrushka, if you think this part JUSTIFIES the censorship imposed in the first part, I have a beachfront Caribbean coast property in Montana to sell to you.

    Have a look here at the wider cite and context as noted on.

    The “that’s quote mining because Beck justifies the action” talking point out in the fever swamps simply reveals the depth of ignorance of history, science and philosophy involved.

    Start with Newton, Maxwell, etc as Bible based Creationist thinkers, to see just how much off base Beck is.

    GEM of TKI

  30. 30
    ScottAndrews says:

    Nick,

    Now you’re just repeating yourself regarding the various components of the plants.

    You have no problem doing that rather than sending us ‘back to the literature.’ But when it gets to the hard part, actually demonstrating that the proposed mechanisms can effect such changes, suddenly you’re wasting your time and we should go read about ourselves. Hmmm.

    Since you have so much time to tell us how we’re wasting your time, why not address the real question?

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