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Nature’s take on orb-weaving spiders’ “tangled evolution”

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Further to: Orb weaver spiders do not share common origins, contrary to assumptions, here’s Nature’s take:

The new studies overturn decades-old dogma, by showing that spiders that weave orb-shaped webs are not all close kin, with some species more related to species that catch prey differently.

“They are awesome, spider webs — they’re just not the pinnacle of spider evolution that we thought,” says Jason Bond, an evolutionary biologist at Auburn University in Alabama, whose team determined the evolutionary relationship of spiders by analysing more than 300 genes in 33 families. The paper and a similar study from an independent team are both published this week in Current Biology.

The inevitable question:

But why would a spider give up orb-weaving? “Evolution is unpredictable,” responds Matja Kuntner, an evolutionary biologist at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana. “A symmetric orb is pretty, but it may only be the ideal architecture in a subset of environments and for a subset of prey the spiders are after.”

Fair enough, but there is something else to note here. It is much easier to shed a complex behaviour like orb-weaving for a simpler behaviour (like lying in wait or stalking) than it would be to invent a new similarly complex behaviour.

There are numerous instances of life forms shedding complex behaviour. Michael Denton has pointed to the many flightless birds of Australia and New Zealand. Of course, some such species then became extinct on the arrival of predators. It might be best to see the complex behaviour as the best package of options for the life form. But how the package was assembled is an open question.

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4 Replies to “Nature’s take on orb-weaving spiders’ “tangled evolution”

  1. 1
    TSErik says:

    “Evolution is unpredictable,”

    But I thought the winning point of Darwinian theory was it’s predictability.

  2. 2
    Acartia_bogart says:

    TSErik, you are confusing evolution with the theory. Evolution itself is unpredictable, other than at the very high level (i.e., there will be change over time). But evolutionary theory allows us to make numerous predictions.

  3. 3
    Andre says:

    Honourable Mr Bogart

    The definition of science: Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge” is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

    Thus evolution can not be classed as science because its unpredictable. Unless of course you predict it is unpredictable, and thus showing crazy coot Darwin was right. I must admit you guys are good entertainment if nothing else….

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    AB you claim that:

    “evolutionary theory allows us to make numerous predictions.”

    And yet, because of the many failed predictions from evolutionary theory, and the propensity of Darwinists to make up ‘just so’ stories to cover up their embarrassing failures in predictions, according to Lakatos, neo-Darwinism is in reality a ‘degenerating science programme’, i.e. a pseudoscience, (comparable to geocentricism, but that would be an insult to geocentricism to compare them too closely)!

    Science and Pseudoscience (transcript) –
    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture
    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/philosop.....cript.aspx

    Here’s That Algae Study That Decouples Phylogeny and Competition – June 17, 2014
    Excerpt: “With each new absurdity another new complicated just-so story is woven into evolutionary theory. As Lakatos explained, some theories simply are not falsifiable. But as a result they sacrifice realism and parsimony.”
    – Cornelius Hunter
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....uples.html

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter
    http://www.thepoachedegg.net/t.....-news.html

    Evolution Falsified Yet Again: They Are So Complicated “That it’s Stunning” – Cornelius Hunter – April 2012
    Excerpt: These similarities between the Euglenids and Dinoflagellates, of very odd and peculiar traits, disproves evolution yet again. It’s just another example of how the evidence explains evolution rather than evolution explaining the evidence. Evolution is a tautology. It is contorted to fit whatever we find in nature, no matter how absurd the theory must become.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....y-are.html

    Darwin’s Predictions With Cornelius Hunter – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_23-08_00

    Darwin’s (Failed) Predictions: An Interview with Cornelius Hunter, Part I and II
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....21311.html
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....21321.html

    A Primer on the Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – 2009
    Excerpt: The truth is that common ancestry is merely an assumption that governs interpretation of the data, not an undeniable conclusion, and whenever data contradicts expectations of common descent, evolutionists resort to a variety of different ad hoc rationalizations to save common descent from being falsified.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/10651

    Seeing Ghosts in the Bushes (Part 2): How Is Common Descent Tested? – Paul Nelson – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Fig. 6. Multiple possible ad hoc or auxiliary hypotheses are available to explain lack of congruence between the fossil record and cladistic predictions. These may be employed singly or in combination. Common descent (CD) is thus protected from observational challenge.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....31061.html

    etc.. etc..

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