Animal minds Darwinism

More tales from Darwinworld: Why hive workers kill their queens

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From ScienceDaily:

Among social insects, why does it pay for workers to help the queen in some situations but then also pay to kill her in others? What explains why some queens get killed and not others, and why kill her at all? One expert explored these questions, and found that by eliminating the queen, a matricidal worker frees the way for workers to lay male eggs.

“Workers are assessing the situation in their colony and deciding to revolt against the queen only when the genetic makeup of the colony makes it favorable to do so,” Loope said. “The main advantage is to allow your sister workers to lay male eggs, rather than the queen, who typically stops worker reproduction by egg eating, attacking reproducing workers, and by laying many of her own eggs. By eliminating the queen, a matricidal worker allows other workers and herself to lay male eggs.”

Workers do all the tasks of raising the brood. They forage for food, feed the offspring and the queen, build the nest and defend it. Only occasionally do they attempt to reproduce. Males are produced at the end of the year and mate with the new queens. Then the males die. Workers never mate but can still lay male eggs due to a quirk in their genetic system. This allows them to compete with the queen for the production of males.

“Hence the matricide,” Loope said. “Workers are not mindless automatons working for the queen no matter what. They only altruistically give up reproduction when the context is right, but revolt when it benefits them to do so.” More.

So the researchers are saying that insects have minds, “assessing” and in consequence, acting. In plain English, they have a strategy. And that is supposed to be an explanation in science?

Now, it may be that insects have minds and strategize. But it isn’t science until we have answered Mike Behe’s question, step by step: How exactly?

Darwin’s followers will of course offer  Darwinism (natural selection, acting on random mutation, generates huge levels of information, not noise) as an explanation.

But Darwinism is an explanation only if we assume that Darwinism itself is a mind behind life forms, a mind that somehow strategizes.

And how do we infer this supermind ? We observe that hive workers sometimes kill their queens. Then, in the absence of anyone else to do it, they lay eggs.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

Wait a minute. If half grown bear cubs kill their mother, they must hunt and forage by themselves. Those who learn fast survive. Does that make their actions a strategy? Does the continued existence of bears demonstrate that it is?

Which leaves us with a broader question: What constitutes a satisfactory explanation?

That question is one reason that claims for Darwinian evolution are in trouble with everybody from philosophers (What Darwin Got Wrong, Mind & Cosmos) and mathematicians right across the spectrum to the growing numbers of non-Darwinian biologists.

In Darwin’s world today, a satisfactory account is “an account that conforms to Darwinism”. The biologist’s job is to look for evidence to sustain such an account, not to look at the whole picture.

That’s all fine to the extent that Darwinism is the state religion. It doesn’t go down so well among the increasing numbers who doubt the state religion.

A similar Darwinian fairy tale may be found at: Do horses really think this way?

Note: There is a book called Darwinian Fairy-tales by Australian philosopher David Stokes. Well worth your time.

Follow UD News at Twitter! And stay tuned.

12 Replies to “More tales from Darwinworld: Why hive workers kill their queens

  1. 1
    Roy says:

    But it isn’t science until we have answered Mike Behe’s question, step by step: How exactly?

    Apply this standard to ID.

  2. 2
    Virgil Cain says:

    Roy, you are clueless, as usual. Evolutionism claims to have a step-by-step process for producing the diversity of life. ID does not make such a claim.

    ID claims to have a step-by-step process for determining the existence of design. Not that I expect you to understand the difference.

  3. 3
    Virgil Cain says:

    1- Evolutionism makes a claim- there is a step-by-step physicochemical process for producing the diversity of life starting from some primitive replicators capable of imperfect replication.

    2- Evolutionists are asked for the evidence to support that claim

    3- Evolutionists stomp their feet and try to turn the tables without realizing that their opponents’ positions do not make such a claim

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Roy at 1: ID starts by insisting on a step-by-step explanation for how the information to kill the queen is embodied, mediated, and activated in the system.

    Reciting a Darwin mantra about the selfish gene (which the article implies) is not a step-by-step explanation, just another episode in the long fraud of Darwinism.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    And another failed prediction from old Chuckie himself:

    New research demands rethink on Darwin’s theory of ‘fecundity selection’

  6. 6
    Learned Hand says:

    Roy at 1: ID starts by insisting on a step-by-step explanation for how the information to kill the queen is embodied, mediated, and activated in the system.

    Oh? So what is the ID explanation for this? I don’t think there is one–ID demands nothing whatsoever of itself, because it is not a coherent theory. It’s merely the big tent draped over various ideologies that are hostile to the theory of evolution.

    You’re making Roy’s point for him: ID demands infinitely detailed explanations of evolutionary biology, and when challenged to provide better explanations, it only falls back on more rhetorical attacks on evolution.

    Reciting a Darwin mantra about the selfish gene (which the article implies) is not a step-by-step explanation, just another episode in the long fraud of Darwinism.

    Case in point. Where is the ID “step by step explanation”? And how could one exist, when the big tent unravels as soon as someone starts talking about God? (See PaV’s mysteriously absent thread about miracles, for example.) We don’t get one here–just your “mantra” about selfish genes and such.

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    To this YEC its evidence of a cursed and dying world. Creatures are in desperation to fight decay and death and so reproduction is the most important thing. Sexual selection is evidence of this.
    The anys are not robits for the queen. They are determined to reproduce and beat decay and death. So it suits them to help or harm the queen etc
    There is a great motivation that God allows to be in their memory. they in responce can figure things out on whats the best moves.

  8. 8
    Virgil Cain says:

    Learned Hand, Your ignorance is neither and argument nor a refutation.

    So what is the ID explanation for this?

    See my comments in 2 & 3 above.

    ID demands nothing whatsoever of itself

    Nice projection- also there is all evidence to the contrary.

    ID demands infinitely detailed explanations of evolutionary biology,

    You are obviously totally clueless. See comments 2 & 3 above. Talk about willful ignorance.

    Evos are a sad and pathetic lot.

  9. 9
    Zachriel says:

    Workers are assessing the situation in their colony and deciding to revolt against the queen only when the genetic makeup of the colony makes it favorable to do so

    A testable hypothesis based on evolutionary theory, tested and confirmed.

    Social wasps emit and detect pheromones, which provide information about kinship.

  10. 10
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    A testable hypothesis based on evolutionary theory,

    It has nothing to do with the alleged and missing evolutionary theory.

  11. 11
    Learned Hand says:

    ID does not make such a claim.

    True! You make a fair point – IDists, like homeopaths, declare fundamental questions off-limits in order to defend the credibility of an incredible ideology.

    ID claims to have a step-by-step process for determining the existence of design.

    And like homeopaths, the ideology far outstrips the evidence. How does this step-by-step process work? Putting aside the endless, endless, endless rhetorical insistence that it works just fine, thank you, there are exactly zero cases I can find of someone using ID tools in the real world to detect design in an externally-verifiable way. No one uses IDFIASCO to detect design. No one uses the Explanatory Filter (not even Dembski, depending on the mood in which you catch him).

    “Darwinists” keep cranking out research by the bucketful. Will ID’s pocket journal even publish a single issue this year? Time’s running out. And I’ll lay money that if they do, it won’t include a single example of ID tools being used to actually detect design in any way that can be verified outside the mind of a true believer.

  12. 12
    Virgil Cain says:

    Learned Hand is incapable of learning. Look you cannot lead by example- meaning you can’t answer any questions pertaining to natural selection and drift. Your position has nothing but a bunch of belligerent supporters.

    ID’s step-by-step process works the same as archaeology’s, forensic science, SETI- all design-centric venues. First we eliminate necessity and chance and if a specification exists we infer design.

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