Reviewer John J. Ross writes in the Sept. 10 issue of the Wall Street Journal:
“The long necks of giraffes enable them to feast on high vegetation, but also create hydraulic headaches. When giraffes stoop to drink, blood may pool in their heads from the effects of gravity. Evolution has developed a twofold solution. Giraffes have sprouted a network of arteries in their necks that can expand to accommodate more blood when they bend over. As well, their jugular veins have acquired a muscular layer to squeeze blood back to their hearts, and an intricate series of valves to prevent backward flow.”
Let’s see, when exactly did evolution cause that network of arteries to “sprout” in the neck of the giraffe? Was it when the first adult giraffe decided to bend down to get a drink? Wouldn’t he have had a stroke before anything sprouted? Alright then. Did the arterial network sprout long before the giraffe’s long neck evolved? Sadly evolution can’t look ahead to provide things that will be useful in the future, so no go. But was there some point along the incremental growth of the giraffe’s neck from generation to generation when high blood pressure started bothering the poor giraffe? But why would a random mutation of the giraffe genome happen to pop up at this optimal time just when needed? And, by the way, could we please add to our order those muscular jugular veins and the intricate valves? Are we being too demanding? Should we be satisfied with a four foot neck and give overworked evolution a rest?
My point here is, it’s terribly easy to invoke evolution as the solution to any problem but far more difficult to detail how the solution happened in small incremental steps. As Neil Thomas points out in Taking Leave of Darwin (2021), such difficulties date back to 1859 when contemporary critics exposed the very same failings of the Darwinian program.
Nothing has changed. The worn out “just so” stories continue unabated as a kind of recitation of the evolution rosary.
Indeed. Though, to be fair, the actual Rosary is a contemplation exercise; it is not championed as a source of information about the history of life. 😉