Darwinism Evolution Evolutionary biology

Martin Cadra’s Non-Dawinian Views on Evolution Blog

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Martin Cadra has a wonderful blog focusing on non-Darwinian views on evolution. He recently highlighted some rare publications by field biologists who provide empirical evidence that challenges the idea that Darwinian evolution is the source of butterfly mimicry. Here is an excerpt:

Since Darwin’s time mimicry is presented as one of the best example of the efficiency of natural selection. Several species should have been shaped by natural selection to resemble or mimic dangerous or poisonous species. It is supposed that protected by their shape and coloration they deceive their predators. Thus mimicry confers them a survival advantage. In many cases mimicry is believed to be found among butterflies where palatable species mimic unpalatable ones (so called Batesian mimicry). In some cases two or more unpalatable species look alike. In this case they should be protected more effectively because their predators learn to avoid them only once. This is called Müllerian mimicry. And in some cases there is a whole bunch of Batesian and Müllerian mimics that look alike. This is called the mimicry ring.

You can read the rest of the article at his blog:


17 Replies to “Martin Cadra’s Non-Dawinian Views on Evolution Blog

  1. 1
    mcadra says:

    Thank you for adverising it Sal. The whole issue becomes more evident as one compares pictures in Seitz’s atlases of butterflies. An atlas is an indispensable tool when discussing butterfly mimicry. Heikertinger often gives pages where to look. Only having a broader picture of all species one can see how purpose-built are the pictures of mimicry in Darwinian textbooks. Some years ago those voluminous German atlases were not available – maybe in libraries. Nowadays it has changed thanks to internet sites that fully reproduce them. The same is valid for so called leaf-mimicry where butterflies are believed to “mimic” leaves. One should look into Eimer’s Orthogenesis and Seitz’s atlases to get broader picture of the whole phenomenon and whether natural selection can be involved in it.

    The another issue are predators. Notice that also in peer-reviewed journals this issue is somehow not discussed. It is believed that birds eat butterflies massively. The whole “predation” is more based on wishfull thinking than on real field observation.
    And last but not at least – the Ithomiinae mentioned in my post are believed to be protected by their unpalatability. Heikertineg quoted Müller himself who didn’t believe it. What a curious situation where a Müllerian mimicry ring was based on species selectionists were not sure whether they were unpalatable or not.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    The Darwinian theory is that mimicry evolves because it confers survival advantage. Your post demonstrates cases where the Darwinian claim is extremely dubious.

    Mimicry is a small picture of a larger problem, one of convergence of characters, or similarities that aren’t the result of natural selection.

    This is especially true at the molecular level where we know (via Kimura and the neutralists) there are limits to how many molecules in the genome can be simultaneously under selection. Thus if there is convergence at the molecular level, most of it cannot be due to selection, hence the similarity has no Darwinian explanation.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    In “Why Is a Fly Not a Horse?”- Dr Sermonti says there is an example of an insect that mimics some leaf some millions of years BEFORE the leaf existed.

  4. 4
    Jon Garvey says:

    Dr Sermonti says there is an example of an insect that mimics some leaf some millions of years BEFORE the leaf existed.

    What an amusing thought – leaves mimic insects so the herbivores will say, “Not worth the bother – it’ll only fly away”

    You know it makes sense!

  5. 5

    I’ve never been too impressed with the mimicry-via-natural-selection explanation in general. The whole thing just seems a bit contrived and stretched too thin once you start digging into the details.


    Jon Garvey @4:

    Excellent! LOL!

  6. 6
    wd400 says:

    the leaf insect thing would be a nice story — but it’s wrong. The oldest known fossil of the leaf-mimicing insect Sermonti talks about is ~50 million years old. Angiosperms are more like 140 million years old.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    The oldest fossils of of protophasmids go back 250 million years, to the Paleozoic. And that is well before the leaves and sticks they were supposed to be imitating.

    Even Richard Lewontin discussed this. He said:

    It is as though railroad lines and stations, and their roofs and signal boxes, were discovered a thousand years before the train was invented.

    Why would he say that?

  8. 8
    mcadra says:

    Franz Heikertinger also has an Ortophtera, “leaf mimic” from Jurassic period, e.g. from the time there were no leaves. Its name is Cyrtophyllites rogeri . Obviously that there is no connection between Angiosperms and Orthoptera is no problem for Darwinists to see a mimicry here.


  9. 9
    wd400 says:

    Ha, there were plenty of leaves in the Jurassic – what do you think herbevarious dinosaurs ate? Sermonti’s litle trick was to claim phyliids speciaise in mimcing angiosperm leaves, but there were other leafy plants around for millions of years before their arrival.

    Joe, I have no idea what Lewinton is on about, but protophasmids (a) weren’t phasmids and (b) weren’t leaf-mimics so it doesn’t seem all that relevant.

    I am interested thouhg, as to why and ID proponent would think mimics arose before their tagets? I can get derranged strucuralists thinking leaf-like forms just happen, but why would IDists believe them?

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    Phasmids arose from protophasmids- gradual evolution and all.

    I am interested thouhg, as to why and ID proponent would think mimics arose before their tagets?


  11. 11
    wd400 says:

    Phasmids probably didn’t arise from protophasmids, but even if they did, so what? Modern Organisms Have Ancestors isn’t much of headline, is it?

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    So phasmids just poofed into existence then? Right when the leaves existed they were mimicing?

  13. 13
    wd400 says:

    No, phasmids, like all species on earth, have ancestors. Just the group regrettably called protophasmids probably aren’t them. In any case, the protophasmids weren’t leaf-mimics so Sermonti doens’t have an argument

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 “No, phasmids, like all species on earth, have ancestors.”

    Which reminds me wd400, did you order you copy of ‘Darwin’s Doubt’ yet?

    Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design


    Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen C. Meyer, available June 18

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Uh Oh wd400, another renowned Chemist who doesn’t understand how life arose:

    Dr. David Humphreys – The Origin of Life – video

    Dr. David A. Humphreys is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario. The recipient of numerous awards, a text book author, and leader in science education, he is noted for making science accessible to the public.,, Dr. Humphreys has won national and international awards in both science and education. He has been visiting professor in Beijing, China; Gotoborg, Sweden; Durham, England; and the HERDSA Fellow in Australia and New Zealand.

    What do you think wd400, do you think God created the first life on earth like Darwin posited in his book ‘Origin’?

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Sermonti’s argument is basd on what Lewontin and Fritz Kahn said (Kahn is his book Great Book of Nature).

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    And wd400,

    Your position cannot account for insects, leaves nor sticks. So that would be a problem for you…

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