Evolution Intelligent Design

The Emerald Cockroach Wasp

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The Emerald Cockroach Wasp

The emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa, also known as the jewel wasp) is a parasitoid wasp of the family Ampulicidae. It is known for its reproductive behavior, which involves using a live cockroach (specificially a Periplaneta americana) as a host for its larva. A number of other venomous animals which use live food for their larvae paralyze their prey. Unlike them, Ampulex compressa initially leaves the cockroach mobile, but modifies its behaviour in a unique way.

As early as the 1940s it was published that wasps of this species sting a roach twice, which modifies the behavior of the prey. A recent study using radioactive labeling proved that the wasp stings precisely into specific ganglia. Ampulex compressa delivers an initial sting to a thoracic ganglion of a cockroach to mildly paralyze the front legs of the insect. This facilitates the second sting at a carefully chosen spot in the cockroach’s head ganglia (brain), in the section that controls the escape reflex. As a result of this sting, the cockroach will now fail to produce normal escape responses.

The wasp, which is too small to carry the cockroach, then drives the victim to the wasp’s den, by pulling one of the cockroach’s antennae in a manner similar to a leash. Once they reach the den, the wasp lays an egg on the cockroach’s abdomen and proceeds to fill in the den’s entrance with pebbles, more to keep other predators out than to keep the cockroach in.

The stung cockroach, its escape reflex disabled, will simply rest in the den as the wasp’s egg hatches. A hatched larva chews its way into the abdomen of the cockroach and proceeds to live as an endoparasitoid. Over a period of eight days, the wasp larva consumes the cockroach’s internal organs in an order which guarantees that the cockroach will stay alive, at least until the larva enters the pupal stage and forms a cocoon inside the cockroach’s body. After about four weeks, the fully-grown wasp will emerge from the cockroach’s body to begin its adult life.

The wasp is common in tropical regions (Africa, India and the Pacific islands), and has been introduced to Hawaii by F. X. Williams in 1941 as a method of biocontrol. This was unsuccessful because of the territorial tendencies of the wasp, and the small scale on which they hunt.

Imagine, if you will, how a wasp evolved the ability to perform brain surgery complete with a drug that turns a cockroach into a docile zombie it can lead around like a dog on a leash. I emphasize the word imagine because any story you come up with is a work of fiction. Such fiction is the basis of the Theory of Evolution.

141 Replies to “The Emerald Cockroach Wasp

  1. 1
    Joseph says:

    That’s our problem. We don’t have the ability to turn imagination into reality.

    Evolutionists, on the other hand, have the ability to do so pretty much at will. That is in their own little “reality”.

    They should go work for GE- “Imagination at Work” (I guess GE figured they couldn’t bring anything to life).

  2. 2
    DJGibbon says:

    I would have thought that saying “it was a giant invisible man in the sky who did it” was a far greater example of turning imagination into reality.

  3. 3
    trystero57 says:

    Yes, Dave: if anything is proof of a God, it’s this charming creature!

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    Those wasps would be in trouble if Sigourney Weaver was a cockroach.

  5. 5
    Fross says:

    I’d hate to meet the maniac designer that came up with this. *shiver*

  6. 6
    Arnhart says:

    Imagine, if you will, how a wasp was intelligently designed with the ability to perform brain surgery complete with a drug that turns a cockroach into a docile zombie it can lead around like a dog on a leash. I emphasize the word “imagine” because any story you come up with is a work of fiction. Such fiction is the basis of the Theory of Intelligent Design.

  7. 7
    tribune7 says:

    a wasp was intelligently designed with the ability to perform brain surgery complete with a drug that turns a cockroach into a docile zombie it can lead around like a dog on a leash.

    Your view is that that is happenstance?

    I emphasize the word “imagine” because any story you come up with is a work of fiction.

    Sounds like a John Lennon song 🙂

  8. 8
    BenK says:

    Arnhart; it is fairly well documented that intelligent agents can perform brain surgery. It’s also fairly well documented that intelligent agents can create sedatives. Finally, it’s well documented that intelligent agents can create automata.

    It doesn’t seem like such a leap to believe that an intelligent agent could design an automaton which could create sedatives and perform brain surgery.

  9. 9
    Scott says:

    Yes, that poor poor cockroach. What an insidious being this designer must be. 🙄

    “Imagine” for a moment that the wasp had the basic information encoded to “develop” such features if certain environmental variables were present. Does that take the edge off a tad, maybe?

    Just my crazy imagination maybe.

  10. 10
    Fross says:

    I believe this is what Jeffrey Dahmer did as well.
    I know he performed brain surgery on one kid and applied chemicals directly to his brain where he then tried to mate with him until he died and was later used as a meal. Unfortunately I saw this discussed during his trial and wish I could un-learn it.

  11. 11
    Scott says:

    It is frightening what humans can choose to do, due to the existance of free-will. But this is starting to sound philosophical and not scientific.

  12. 12
    DJGibbon says:

    Tribune7:
    > Your view is that that is happenstance?

    Absolutely not. The single most basic premise of the theory of natural selection is that the results are based on anything but chance.

  13. 13
    Joseph says:

    The wasp didn’t have to designed with that ability. It could have been learned.

  14. 14
    Arnhart says:

    BenK,

    Is it “fairly well documented” that divine intelligent agents can perform brain surgery?

  15. 15
    Patrick says:

    Heh, funny. Instead of providing an answer they start religion-based attacks. What is it with Darwinists and bringing religion up all the time, anyway?

  16. 16
    Columbo says:

    If I get these comments right, then:

    ID: The Emerald Cockroach Wasp exhibits features which can best be accounted for by inferring an intelligent designer. Evolutionists have nothing more than their imagination to resort to for a plausible expliination.

    Ev (ala Arnhart): Ha! our explanation is as good as yours, but requires no being outside nature, so ours is a SCIENTIFIC explanation! (Perhaps implying a superior “theory” by Occam’s Razor!?)

    Ev 2 (ala Scott & Fross): If we must draw the conclusion that this wasp was designed, then ‘reductio ad absurdum’ the “designer” is an evil being. Ergo, evolution is the better “theory.”

    Well, of course there is a reasonable rejoinder in Christian theology along the lines that the wise Creator designed useful contrivances in nature which were later corrupted by an evil will. The Creator (God) permitted certain corruptions only, such as would stand as useful illustrations for His highest (earthly) creation – mankind – so that they might learn from nature lessons they would not willingly receive from His explicit revelation – the Bible.

    If we would but apply a small fraction of that blessed gift – imagination – to the world of nature, we might be enlightened as to our awful, anesthetized condition, and seek Him who loves us and made us for His good pleasure.

    Columbo

  17. 17
    DaveScot says:

    Yes Patrick, when at a loss to explain it in evolutionary terms they resort to saying that any ID explanation is a fiction as well. What a stunning defense of evolution. I call it the Pee Wee Herman response “I know you are but what am I?”. 😆

  18. 18
    JasonTheGreek says:

    Weird.

    I don’t see the word “divine” in this post or any of the comments, outside of what Arnhart created out of thin air.

    By the way. Isn’t it obvious you’re not one bit interested in discussing an issue when you make snide and fairly arrogant comments like this:

    “I emphasize the word “imagine” because any story you come up with is a work of fiction. Such fiction is the basis of the Theory of Intelligent Design. “

    I sometimes wonder what it’s like to be so smart and full of so much wisdom.

    ANY story you come up with is bologna. On the other hand, any story of blind forces at work I come up with is fact. Why? Because I said so. That’s sufficient! Nah Nah Nah boo boo!

  19. 19
    gpuccio says:

    Joseph:

    “The wasp didn’t have to designed with that ability. It could have been learned.”

    I don’t understand. Learned how? By each single wasp during its own life? How efficient these occult neurosurgery schools for wasps must be! By some wasp in the past (maybe living near Harvard) and then genetically transmitted? Are we resurrecting Lamarck? I think that, anyway, humans could learn much from wasps, in that case.

    Arnhart:

    “Is it “fairly well documented” that divine intelligent agents can perform brain surgery?”

    Humans can perform brain surgery. In the opinion of many (including me), humans are indeed divine agents, because they have a basically divine nature in themselves, and they borrow their abilities from God, who has created and designed them. What is your problem? Is it difficult to understand that, if a divine being exists, and if He has created and designed human beings, their brains, animal bodies and brains, and many other things (bloggers included), perhaps He could be able to know how brain surgery could be performed on a cockroach, and how to implement that ability in another animal being?
    In other words, you (as most Darwinists often do) are mixing two different arguments:
    1) It is a fact, scientifically and logically evident, that an ability such as the one described has no chance to emerge by RM + NS (I think we could confidently call that “super-irreducible complexity). Besides, it is perfectly obvious that intelligent beings, such as humans, can very well, in principle, understand how such a task can be performed, and how to implement it in some instrument.
    2) The existence, nature, purposes and way of action of a possible Divine Designer are not, obviously, the object of a scientific debate (not at present, at least). So they are not part of the ID debate. They can, obviously, be debated at a cognitive, philosophical, religious, political, psychological or social level, and it is perfectly right to utilize, at those levels, the informations derived from scientific debate, including ID theory. The contrary (utilizing philosophical or religious arguments to condition the scientific debate) is not allowed and is not correct, either for IDists or for Darwinists.

  20. 20
    KMO says:

    I have actually seen this take place–amazing. However, in my case, it was this wasp and a much larger wolf spider. If I could have taped this it would have been a national geographic special. The wasp chased the spider around and around a chair leg on my patio. Then after the chase the spider raised its front legs up in defense. The wasp and the spider then locked up, almost like a wrestling match. The whole time the wasp continued to sting the spider in abdomen. Finally, the spider enter a paralyzed state. The wasp then continued to methodically chew off each of the spiders 8 legs (which amazingly occurred in less than 2 minutes). The wasp then carried the legless carcass away. I was lying on the ground just watching all this take place. The spider was obviously very afraid of the wasp and the wasp did not seem to pay me any attention. The whole thing probably lasted less than 5 minutes, but it was the one of the most fascinating 5 minutes of my life.

  21. 21
    Barrett1 says:

    I’ve been waiting for an topic like this to show up.

    Intelligent Design handsomely relies on intuition, prodding us to capitulate to our sense that nature is in fact designed. It is not an illusion, they tell us. Now, I hear some hedging about this occasionally, that we can be mistaken, but basically our intuition is correct that design is at work in the universe.

    Darwinists, on the other hand, deny the reality of design, and therefore admonish those of us who believe our intuitive sense that design is at work in the universe. Intelligent Design is an illusion, they say. And moreover, the march of science proves this. What we once thought was the work of an intelligent agent turns out to be nothing more than natural, mechanistic processes at work. An intelligent agent may have been involved to get the ball rolling, they say, but there doesn’t appear to be any piercing or manipulation of this closed system we call the universe.

    So, take the example posted above by DaveScot. My intuition is that an intelligent being would never consciously settle into his lab chair and design such a creature. For me, such a creature has no hallmarks of design. It has adapted and evolved and adapted and evolved over millions of years…Why do I think this? Because I can’t seem to make the connection between creatures like this and God. And it’s not because I have trouble with the morality of using another creature as a doomed vessel for hatching eggs. It’s just plain bizarre. And I have trouble with a bizarre God.

    But like Darwinists, intelligent design proponents want me to ignore my intuition that the wasp is a product of evolutionary processes. They say the seeming bizarreness of God has been addressed by tortured theologians for thousands of years or something to that effect and the fact that it is designed is the basic point.

    You see, for me, the appeal of intelligent design is that it squares with common sense. I can understand the intelligent design argument that the universe is bathed in a conscious God that was an continues to be involved in the universe. But this kind of example leads me to think otherwise.

    Now, I bring this up because it is very, very important. I have talked to a number of scientists, medical researchers, physicians, many of which are brilliant people. You know why they reject intelligent design? Because of intuition. They can’t draw the connection between this wasp (and thousands of other examples) and an intelligent designer. It just doesn’t make sense.

  22. 22
    Fross says:

    whoah, the other day I saw a wasp carrying around what looked like a legless spider body. Now I know what I was seeing!

    So do you guys discount all the evidence for ant/wasp common ancestry? Or do you accept that, but think along the way, a branch of wasps were given these special attributes?

  23. 23
    Scott says:

    Barret1: Theological arguments demand theological responses. In this case, Colombo does an excellent job of explaining creatures like this in comment #16.

    Well, of course there is a reasonable rejoinder in Christian theology along the lines that the wise Creator designed useful contrivances in nature which were later corrupted by an evil will. The Creator (God) permitted certain corruptions only, such as would stand as useful illustrations for His highest (earthly) creation – mankind – so that they might learn from nature lessons they would not willingly receive from His explicit revelation – the Bible.

    If we would but apply a small fraction of that blessed gift – imagination – to the world of nature, we might be enlightened as to our awful, anesthetized condition, and seek Him who loves us and made us for His good pleasure.

  24. 24
    Michaels7 says:

    Fross,

    /OT response:

    The ACLU supports NAMBLA which offers brochures on “How to” find, meet, and greet young victims.

    Jefferey Dahmer admitted that curiosity in soft pornography led to addictive sexual behavior and desensitization to normal sexual relations. As a result of desensitization, he delved deeper into darker material including pedophilia.

    So, what’s your point? That wasp watch pornography?

    Or that the ACLU supported Jeffrey Dahmer’s right to NAMBLA material and his right to be a pedophile?

    OT end/

    Design is at work both in the wasp and in Jeffrey Dahmer on different scales and in different forms. The difference is that one has a greater potential and choice in life. Both respond to environmental surroundings and input. But the latter has greater choice to overcome the fleshly desires and become a being of fantastic creations.

  25. 25
    Barrett1 says:

    Scott, Colombo’s response may be a reasonable rejoinder, but it doesn’t settle the troubled soul.

  26. 26
    Borne says:

    “The single most basic premise of the theory of natural selection is that the results are based on anything but chance.”

    “Surely you jest”!

    The random aspect of NDT has, since the beginning, been touted by Darwinists everywhere to avoid the obvious alternative -> guided.

    Only recently have Darwinists started to pretend that it is not random at all. Why?

    Simply because a probabilistic analysis demonstrates the incredibly improbability that anything like the mentioned wasp could ever “develop” these uncanny traits through rm + ns.

    Traits that clearly *require* external intelligence. Where did the wasp learn these techniques? Where did it learn it’s prey’s anatomy so intricately and where did it get the knowledge of what precise chemicals it needed?

    How did it just develop the exact necessary injection equipment?

    The wasp (or rm + ns) has to have known it’s preys anatomy, bio-chem structure, and habits. It must have an innate capacity to develop just the right chemicals for this specific cockroach’s brain – with a complex injection system. SIMULTANEOUSLY. All by RM + NS with no guidance whatsoever.

    Of course no one will ever pretend the wasp (and all it’s transitional ancestors) actually “learned” these things or planned them with a goal in mind!

    So how does such a clearly ingenious system develop?

    As always Darwinists *vastly over-simplify and ignore the many 1000’s of mutational steps – trial and error – required* to obtain just the injection system let alone it’s coupling with a chemical drug factory and let alone it’s necessity to correctly match the roach’s anatomy!

    So, being clearly outdone by simple probability, the Darwinists now pretend it is not random at all! Not very clever – another smoke & mirrors “lets pretend we never said it was random” technique, but still useless.

    Every where I go these days I hear Darwinists talking about random mutations, then denying randomness!

    If it is not random then what is it? Guided? Planned? Intended?

    Sorry but you can’t have it both ways.

    If you believe all this sort of natural “wonder” just sort of happens in by concurrent, coherent mutations + ns then I have a very beautiful golden bridge to sell you real cheap!

  27. 27
    SCheesman says:

    Barrett1: “But like Darwinists, intelligent design proponents want me to ignore my intuition that the wasp is a product of evolutionary processes. They say the seeming bizarreness of God has been addressed by tortured theologians for thousands of years or something to that effect and the fact that it is designed is the basic point. ”

    Originally, it was the “intuition” of scientists that the orderly nature of crystals, snowflakes etc. was evidence of design. Subsequent experimentation showed that these were merely the contingent working-out of natural laws that could be simply duplicated in laboratory conditions, a fact which seemed to deal a death-blow to the argument from design. For this reason, we now give less credence to intuition and rely on experimental results as the basis of our knowledge.

    Today things are stood on their head. We have complex proteins, intinctive behaviours that must somehow be encoded into DNA, which is itself a code, an abstraction, and NONE of this has ever been shown to be producable from non-directed chemical processes, and in many cases still stumps the best minds available, working in with the most advanced equipment. The best that NDE can come up with is nylonase, the formation of which is just as good an argument for a designed adaptation process.

    And yet all around us is the experimetal evidence of real intelligence producing real, novel materials in never-before seen combinations.

    Alchemists persisted in trying to create gold for a long time, with approximately the same success that NDE proponents have shown in demonstrating random-mutation-based creation of novel organisms, structures and biochemistry. The fact that they would eventually succeed must have been equally “intuitive”.

  28. 28
    bj says:

    Barrett1,
    Largely, I agree with you. It’s impossible for me to believe in a benevolent and worthy God given the reality we live within. And as you state, the theologians’ answers are tortured, especially when you lose faith in the trustworthiness of the ancient scriptures. Yet, the intuition of design is still strong. How can you integrate such core concepts into a ordered system of belief. I can’t. I remain a believer in some kind of design and an agnostic.

  29. 29
    Borne says:

    There is also another wasp that uses similar techniques – Hymenoepimecis, Ichneumonidae

    This one uses a specific spider – Plesiometa argyra.

    quote:
    The orb spider is stung while on its web and is temporarily paralyzed while the wasp lays her egg on it. The spider then recovers and goes about its life with the newly hatched wasp larva feeding on it by sucking its haemolymph.

    For about 7 to 14 days, the spider continues building its usual orb webs for prey capture. However, in the evening of the night when it is to be killed by its wasp parasite, the spider weaves a different web, designed specifically to suit the purposes of the wasp. The wasp larva then moults, kills and consumes the spider and pupates, suspending itself safely from its custom-built cocoon web.

    The cocoon web is consistently made to the same pattern. Deviations from that pattern would be disastrous for the wasp larva. The cocoon web is a simplified web and the sticky spirals and multi-stranded cable and radial lines of the orb web are omitted. This simplified cocoon web suspends the wasp pupa, safely protecting it. Vulnerability to heavy rains, for example, was observed in a related wasp species.

    The spider’s change in behavior is thought to be induced chemically rather than by physical interference. The effect of the stimulus is both rapid and long-lasting. Observations were made where the wasp was removed earlier in the evening of the spider’s final night and the spider did not spin the cocoon web. Then, the wasp was left on the spider and the spider was observed to proceed with the construction of the cocoon web. When the spider was allowed to survive the experiment, it continued to make the cocoon web the following night and some spiders reverted to making more normal webs on subsequent nights. – Eberhard, W. G. 2000. Spider manipulation by a wasp larva. Nature Vol. 406. : 255 – 256. – slightly edited for brevity.

    Darwinism has never been able to explain symbiotic relationships – let alone such uncanny behavioral abilities like these and the 1000’s of others that could been mentioned.

    The intrinsic (and intuitively discerned) design displayed is itself the reason why Dawkin’s felt he had to invent “designoids”.

    If there were no such obvious design there would never have been any such “need” for a designoid explain-it-away postulation!

    Man these wasps are smart! Thank God they are not our size!

    Btw, under NDT, why shouldn’t there be many such human-sized (or bigger) bugs? If NDT were true we should see huge insects just as much as huge mammals! It’s “easy” for evolution we are told! Their “fitness” for survival would likely be greater than ours.

  30. 30
    Barrett1 says:

    Borne, but you see, this is the kind of “boggle argument” that seems to be so appealing to intelligent designers. I don’t like it. You say that it is so incredibly mind boggling and improbable, that it must be designed. And then there’s a healthy reliance on intuition. It goes something like this: “When do we see something like this over here? Why, when it is designed by an intelligent agent. It can’t assemble itself without guidance. So it must have had a guiding hand.”

    But most scientists cringe at this reasoning for obvious reasons. They have faith (okay, I said it) that a materialist explanation will emerge with time. Why do they think this? Because it has happened so many times before. What was once so mysterious and apparently guided is now known to be the result of mechanistic, naturalistic processes. They are invested in naturalism because of its track record. No more, no less.

    The challenge for ID is to get its own track record. Prove the ghost in the machine. Identify the agency. Or if this is too much to ask, then we must show that an ID model yields results. Materialists employ a model that rejects the ghost in the machine and have been successful in applying this model to solve real problems with real people.

    I believe the ghost is there. We’d better do a better job of proving it. Throwing out these boggle arguments is clearly a stop gap measure only.

  31. 31
    Barrett1 says:

    SCheesman, thank you. That is the best explanation I’ve heard yet. Much appreciated.

  32. 32
    Scott says:

    bj & barrett1: For me, the Biblical doctrine of “The Fall” does a fantastic job of explaining why so many parasitic and cruel creatures exist. It makes sense to me that a benevolent creator designed things with the capacity for cruelty, but that they were not necessarily designed this way originally. I find it perfectly reasonable to believe that things now are not how they were originally. We see corruption and it’s deleterious effects, all around us.

    But again, these philosophical and theological issues are second-order discussions with regard to the design inference.

  33. 33
    tribune7 says:

    DJGibbon –The single most basic premise of the theory of natural selection

    Natural selection cannot explain this.

  34. 34
    bj says:

    Scott,
    I agree that these kinds of discussions are second-order with regard to the design inference. And really, I do see the logic of the biblical doctrine of “The Fall”. For various reasons, I am not able to have trust in those ancients documents. Unlike others, I do not seek seek to argue the point or have a need to convince anyone that the way I see things is reality. To each his own. I have stated before that I have great respect for those who do find such documents reliable, and am grateful that you and others have found a faith that works for you day to day. Regards, bj

  35. 35
    Joseph says:

    Fross:
    So do you guys discount all the evidence for ant/wasp common ancestry?

    Could you please tell us what data demonstrates that mutations culled by selection can produce the differences between insects and arachnids.

    IOW I have a feeling that “all the evidence” is speculation based on the assumption.

    And again- NO ONE said that the design had to be perfect or had to fit our conception of perfect. And even if the design started out perfect that alone does not mean it would stay that way.

    As a matter of fact I think is a good use for cockroaches. Now I am starting to understand their purpose.

  36. 36
    tribune7 says:

    They can’t draw the connection between this wasp (and thousands of other examples) and an intelligent designer. It just doesn’t make sense.

    I consider it a warning. If this is nature, nature is not something to revere.

    Yet, we know, beyond any doubt, in our souls, that good exist.

  37. 37
    Fross says:

    hey Borne,

    it’s really common for creationists/IDists to ask a question they feel is unanswerable and then say something to the effect of “they can’t explain this, therefore….this” In regards to your “why don’t insects grow to the size of humans” there’s such a simplistic well known answer that even my four year old knows it. I don’t mean this as a put down, it really is pretty common knowledge that I’ve seen covered multiple times on children’s programming. I’d suggest spending at least 5 minutes on google to see if a question you asked is truly unanswerable.

  38. 38
    Joseph says:

    I missed this:

    I would have thought that saying “it was a giant invisible man in the sky who did it” was a far greater example of turning imagination into reality.

    Huh? Check that guy for wasp stings.

  39. 39
    Barrett1 says:

    tribune7, you my friend, are a theologian at heart. But not a tortured one. I like that.

  40. 40
    Joseph says:

    To Fross,

    If something can’t be explained then there isn’t any reason to reject any possibility “just because”. And in reality IDists say that not only is that not explained but every time we see that and we know the cause it is via some intelligent agency.

    IOW the design inference is based on our knowledge of designing agencies coupled with our knowledge of what nature, operating freely, is capable of.

  41. 41
    tribune7 says:

    Thank you, Barret1 🙂

  42. 42
    Jehu says:

    bj and Barrett1,

    The idea that the original creation was corrupted is not “tortured theology”, it is practically the basis of the Bible. It is in the first book, Genesis, and is an important theme in the New Testament. The problem of evil in the natural world and a benevolent designer is the very first issue the Bible tackles and is one of the essential features that distinguishes Judism and Christianity from Eastern Religions.

    As Paul wrote,

    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay … We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8:20-22

  43. 43
    kvwells says:

    Now, since Darwinist always ask IDists to posit a comprehensive alternative theory to NDE:

    For those who reject ID based on confirmation bias regarding the ‘lack of Benevolence’ (and therefore the existence) of God, I would ask –

    Please detail how you would create a universe (please list and detail the initial dimensional structure and physics dynamics) that would produce the conditions necessary to develop complex life of some sort. Oh and we need a spacetime scale progression curve, with resulting changes in mass/energy distributions a well as resulting effects on large-scale physics, if you’re going to use a big-bang style universe.
    Now please detail how you would create the kind of interdependent physical system which will give rise to the necessary level of biodiversity which would provide a generally comfortable (if necessary, given the goal, see below) self-sustaining ecology for your hyper-complex and intelligent creatures to live in.

    But before you tackle this, Please detail the goals and objectives of the Creator in creating, sustaining and completing this universe and living things and mankind. Because you would have to know this before you determined how the universe should be designed, don’t you think?

    Why is it people accuse theists of not being sensible (while many of us became theists from logical conclusions drawn based on analysis of available data) when atheist continue to use these visceral emotional “arguments” which do not speak to the veracity of ID or Theism at all?

  44. 44
    Michaels7 says:

    Well, one reason for Darwin’s drift away from God…

    “I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design…. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [parasitic wasps] with the express intention of their [larva] feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”

    And they say that how someone teaches something does not lead to certain conclusions in life.

    The problem is from a Biblical POF, Darwin failed to remember Genesis, prior to sin no animal was slain, sin and the fall of the first Adam led to the first animals slain for mankind.

    However, appealing to what is described as cruelty in nature is not a cause for eschewing merits of Intelligen Design.

    In that case, weapons of war are not designed. A car that kills people in an accident is not designed. A plane that falls out of the sky is not designed. A sandal worn by a human which accidently steps on an ant is not designed.

    The only argument truly being made in the case against Dave’s post is in the form of an irrelevant religious question. Is the Designer benevolent, caring and loving if nature seems so cruel?

    But that is a strawman and leads away from what the real discussion should be.

    To offer an analogy of a similarly invalid question. What if an intelligent design engineer who graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering decided to design sandals? He loved life, nature, and donated all proceeds to environmental causes to save ants in the rainforest? Someone buys the Engineer’s designed sandals, walks on pavement and crushes some poor ants toodling along the sidewalk causeway of life who were dining on some lettuce dropped from a McDonald’s hamburger.

    Does that mean the Engineer and sandal designer hates ants? Or is cruel to ants? And finally, Does it therefore lead to evolutionary sandals and away from designed sandals?

    Of course not.

    The design in the wasp is obvious(not just apparent). Whether we like the consequences of its actions to another species is not a valid argument against Intelligent Design. Its an argument of emotions against cruelty in our world, but not against ID.

    And that is an entirely different argument of theological and philosophical discussions.

    It is an insect afterall, not a human. And while I may hesitate to step on an insect at times, I do not find them equal to me in value. Neither do I find nature itself sacred. Otherwise, I’d be woshipping a tree, a cow, or a bird and not the Creator. There is a difference in understanding the value of nature in our lives and worshipping it.

    It is not really part of this argument however and takes away from Dave’s original thoughts of the incredible features utilized in the insect to attack another insect.

    Can inanimate objects form over time to create the complexity put forth in Dave’s example? Can matter self-organize into such functional design?

    Another real question that comes to mind is why didn’t the roach evolve a defense mechanism to defeat the wasp? Without looking at the supposed evolutionary time scale of each, does not the roach have equal potential to evolve? Why does this roach still survive with such a predator? Why is it not extinct?

    Whether we like the function and purpose is not evidence against design.

  45. 45
    Barrett1 says:

    Okay, everybody listen up. I understand the Fall. I’ve been around.

    But we should all be concerned when our theory points to a bizarre God and then requires faith in a central tenant of Christianity to normalize Him. Surely we aren’t suggesting that ID only makes sense when coupled with a Christian point of view. Are we?

  46. 46
    jerry says:

    Barrett1,

    There is nothing in ID that points to Christianity, only some being with immense intelligence. Acceptance of Christianity comes from something besides science.

  47. 47
    chunkdz says:

    Anybody heard of the sacculina barnacle that performs a sex change operation on it’s host?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacculina

  48. 48
    SCheesman says:

    I often compare and contrast biology with geology, or more specifically mineralogy, and suspect that Darwinists must look with great envy at their geochemist colleagues.

    For here is world with a wonderous and beautiful variety of mineral forms, which intuition would have said hundreds of years ago could only have been the result of an intelligent mind. But today we trace out the origin of any given rock-forming mineral in elegant multi-phase diagrams; drawing upon the knowledge of phase-changes and chemical alterations gained from carefully designed, repeatable experiments. Most, if not all the intervening species are there to behold, still in nature, or can be reproduced, at elevated temperatures and pressures, in a lab. Today we see the evolution of minerals occurring before our eyes in natural laboratories at mid-ocean ridges, volcanoes etc. Their journey can be traced almost back to their origin by measuring the trace elements and gases in fluid inclusions, or the wandering of remanant magnetisation.

    Intuition has given way to discovery and knowledge, as the boundaries continue to be pushed back. Pity the poor evolutionary biochemist, as every new discovery at the cellular level seems to move the goal posts back another 10 or 20 yards. The mechanisms for the origin of biochemical complexity remain hypothetical at best, and all the test tubes in the world do not seem capable of producing much more that a few amino acids under conditions even partly like what is proposed for the early earth.

  49. 49
    scordova says:

    Gentleman (and ladies),

    The Fall is a theological idea, however that does not preclude us from asking scientific questions that would point to data consistent or inconsistent with a theological view. (Aftera all the science of ID is consistent with certain theological ideas).

    One scientific area of research to find consistency with the concept of the fall is if we find remnants of benevolent modes of operation or the original configuration of a now degraded function (like the eye of a placental mole, or certain fish), or human immortality which I discuss in the case of Geron Corporation. See: How IDers can win the war.

    That would actually be an exciting area of research, how to trigger benevolent modes of operation. That was discussed by Gordon Wilson at the Baraminology Study Group a few years back. That’s the sort of empirical research that would be totally cool, and maybe have money and fame to boot for those who succeed.

    Sal

  50. 50
    austinite says:

    The problem with using “the Fall” to explain “nasty nature” is that nobody cares to explain how, in detail, it was supposed to have become corrupted.

    Cockroach-eating wasp larvae don’t just happen, something has to have caused them to happen, either by some evolutionary process or designer intervention. You can’t just say that “God let it happen” since a wasp doesn’t have the intelligence or capacity to suddenly switch behaviors overnight. This is not some degenerate behavior caused by entropy or chaotic forces. If these wasps are an argument for design, then the designer must have deliberately designed this “feature” into them.

    So tell me, how did the Fall cause cockroach-eating wasp larvae? Did Satan reach up and twiddle with the design of that particular wasp species, or did God build that capacity into the wasp at the beginning and simply “flip a switch” marked pre-Fall/post-Fall?

    Saying the Fall was responsible is just a vague generality designed to avoid difficult theological questions. Seems like a cop out to me.

  51. 51
    Michaels7 says:

    Barret1,

    The theory does not state any such logic, only its critics.

    And many critics, instead of honest discussions of merit bring false analogies to a “cruel” Creator. Christian’s naturally respond with biblical apoligetics, but it has nothing at all to do with the theory of ID.

    The cruelty of design is a strawman, false logic and intended to get a knee-jerk reaction off course from the original subject.

  52. 52
    tribune7 says:

    Well said, SCheesman. Excellent point.

  53. 53
    Barrett1 says:

    SCheesman, you’ve got it going on (as my nephew often says). It’s quite a distance from an amino acid to a protein in the great Salt Lake. I suspect when we discover how that protein came to be, it will all be very strange indeed and perhaps only possible with supernatural guidance. Good luck all.

  54. 54
    SCheesman says:

    austinite: “The problem with using “the Fall” to explain “nasty nature” is that nobody cares to explain how, in detail, it was supposed to have become corrupted.”

    I must agree with you completely. I think the behaviours described by the original post are, indeed the “original mode” of operation, not some “fallen” state. But seriously, unless we completely anthropomorphise insects, there’s not a lot of cognition going on, and “arthropod on insect” violence (or whatever) is not really a good indication of a cruel and vidictive God. Is there really anything more cruel than eating an apple here, if an insect is no more than a sophisticated machine?

    The existance/non-existance of a soul (and/or the ability for contemplative thought) has been used for years as a discriminator when used in arguments of this nature.

    A much more interesting discussion would have to involve beings much more like ourselves, such as the higher mammals.

  55. 55
    austinite says:

    Michaels7, no matter how hard anyone argues that ID cannot consider the nature of the designer, it’s always going to happen. If you believe that cockroach-eating wasp larvae are a product of design then it’s almost impossible to look it and not ask “Why?” I know of no other field of study that involves a designer which does not ask that question. And given that the majority of people who support ID are motivated by religious reasons since it lends support to their worldview, it’s unreasonable to expect otherwise.

  56. 56
    Atom says:

    Austinite, please read Dr. Dembski’s essay on dysteleology and “The Fall”.

  57. 57
    austinite says:

    SCheeseman, I was going to make the point you made as well, but then I remembered that many believe that pre-Fall there was no death in the animal kingdom at all, i.e. no carnivores, no cockroach eating wasp larvae. I think this is the accepted belief of most Bible-believing Christians of the young-Earth creationist kind.

    And it’s not just insects who have such parasites. There is a species of crab that is turned into an automaton by a parasite that invades its brain, and I am sure there are other examples.

  58. 58
    austinite says:

    Atom, I don’t have the time to read Dembski’s 52 pages — I did skim it, but saw nothing that would explain how a cockroach-eating larva would arise as the result of the Fall. Lots of discussion of the consequences of sin, decay, the non-creative power of evil (I guess that would rule out Satan as the cause) but not a word about how it could cause such a radical shift in an animal’s behavior. What did I miss?

  59. 59
    DaveScot says:

    Barrett

    Let me get this straight. Because you can’t get inside the mind of a designer and understand the purpose of a design you’d prefer to believe that there is no design. And because you can’t find a believable reason “why” you set aside all credulity and adopt a belief in a ridiculous, impossible “how” that defies everything you know.

    Non sequitur. As long as we’re in the business of making up fictional accounts to explain these things why not just say there is more than one designer and one of them was what we would call evil. If logic, intuition, and lack of credible alternative tell us a designer is required then why just one designer? Lots of things in nature travel in opposing pairs. In fact it seems to be a rather common thing. Light/dark, matter/antimatter, left/right, yin/yang, good/evil. What you don’t find in nature is really complex machines driven by digitally coded instructions magically appearing without a machinist and a coder involved in the process at some point. It’s far more credible to say there is more than one designer than it is to say there is no designer at all.

  60. 60
    SCheesman says:

    Austinite: “SCheeseman, I was going to make the point you made as well, but then I remembered that many believe that pre-Fall there was no death in the animal kingdom at all, i.e. no carnivores, no cockroach eating wasp larvae. I think this is the accepted belief of most Bible-believing Christians of the young-Earth creationist kind.”

    I must admit I’d forgotten that. I’ve never quite been able to figure out that kind of view. I always thought the fall referred to the “second death”, and did not imply that no form of death occurred at all. I mean, the world would fill up eventually, if no human ever died, and what then, stop reproducing? Would humans have been able to survive a fall out of tree, or any other other sort of “accident”?

    Death, I think, is part of the design. The presence of an eternal soul and an eternal paradise tends to mitigate things, i think despite the present unpleasantness. And I agree with the point made WAY up, could the world have come out any other way? If death is just a transition, why then is it considered by many Christians (and I do consider myself one) bad? St. Paul didn’t seem to think so. The “second death”: now that’s another matter.

  61. 61
    Patrick says:

    austinite: I’m no expert on theology but I have studied various religions and I think your question–which I assume is directed primarily at Christians–in #50 could be answered in 2 words: The Curse. Supposedly that covered a multitude of things. So, yes, the source of designs for “nasty nature” would be God during the act of the curse. Some Christians might disagree, I don’t know.

  62. 62
    DaveScot says:

    The thing about this wasp/cockroach story is that if you can suspend disbelief long enough to accept as fact the fictional account that the incredibly complex digital code driven machinery in the simplest bacteria living in the guts of these insects could come about by undirected processes then you should have no trouble at all accepting any fictional account of how the insects’ relationship with each other came about by accident.

    I say to anyone who believes design in nature is an illusion that you need to get your believer fixed. It’s no illusion. Don’t be a chump. Someone or something designed me, you, the wasp, the cockroach, and the world we all live in. We might never be able to identify the designer(s) but that’s no reason to believe the absurdity that there is no designer at all.

  63. 63
    Patrick says:

    We might never be able to identify the designer(s) but that’s no reason to believe the absurdity that there is no designer at all.

    I’ve noticed that the biggest beef many people have with ID is that it’s Design Detection and not DesignER Detection. As if that somehow makes the Design Detection invalid…

  64. 64
    DaveScot says:

    Borne

    Not only do the unguided naturalists have to ignore the virtually impossible causal chain of events random evolution requires to form the complex strategy of the wasp, they also have to somehow believe that the poor cockroach was denied a defense mechanism by the same process. It seems to me it would be far easier for a random mutation in the cockroach to foil the intricate wasp strategy than it would be for a random changes to restore the wasp strategy. The law of entropy (2nd law of thermodynamics) causes complexity to tend toward disintegration into simplicity. Intelligence is the only known quantity that can work so well against the natural tendency towards increasing entropy as to bring about the existence (at all) of things as complex as wasps and cockroaches in the first place.

  65. 65
    Atom says:

    Austinite, you should read it. You did miss it…it explains how (within a perfectly orthodox theology of Christianity) one can hold that dysteleology (a cocrock-eating wasp scenario) can predate human-kind yet still be the effect of human action. The answer you’re looking for is there.

    You question deals with Christianity, not ID in general, and so I’m referring you to a Theological answer. It answers your question about a “switch” being thrown after the Fall.

    Atom

  66. 66
    Joseph says:

    As reality demonstrates the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer or the specific design processes involved, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

    And guess what?

    Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. — William A. Dembski

    And yes the design inference does force us to ask other questions. And no IDist is preventing anyone from looking into them. However that also demonstrates that ID is NOT a scientific dead-end plus gives us the impetus to drive the research.

  67. 67
    Barrett1 says:

    DaveScot, I don’t disagree it would be far more credible to believe in more than one designer than none at all. But that would require yet another model that I would have to ponder as I try and fall asleep at night. And frankly, I don’t have the energy. That’s not to say that I am not intrigued by your belief in panspermia. I am.

    However, as cheesman points out, there have been those in the past who have looked at things in the natural world and were cocksure that it was designed by an intelligent agent. They were wrong. It turned out they were not designed, but the result of natural processes. Now, you may be right that life is designed. As cheesman points out, the jury is still out and things aren’t looking up for the naturalists. But I’m not so cocksure. And the fact that we can never know the designer is awfully convenient. And suspicious.

  68. 68
    Joseph says:

    Barrett1:
    And the fact that we can never know the designer is awfully convenient. And suspicious.

    The only fact is we may never know. But that should not stop us from looking.

    The new “Grail”…

  69. 69
    DaveScot says:

    Barrett

    But we should all be concerned when our theory points to a bizarre God

    For those of us who follow the evidence wherever it leads this is no concern. We are interested in the truth, whatever it is, without letting our wishes for good and noble purpose in life and in the universe blind us to reality. The evidence leads me to believe that life as we know it today was designed and it obviously wasn’t designed to be sugar and spice and everything nice all the time.

  70. 70
    Columbo says:

    austinite , you wrote:

    The problem with using “the Fall” to explain “nasty nature” is that nobody cares to explain how, in detail, it was supposed to have become corrupted.

    So tell me, how did the Fall cause cockroach-eating wasp larvae? Did Satan reach up and twiddle with the design of that particular wasp species, or did God build that capacity into the wasp at the beginning and simply “flip a switch” marked pre-Fall/post-Fall?
    ————

    Columbo responds:

    Does “science” provide a satisfactory answer to the question: “How do human beings effect nature so as to design their contrivances (such as automobiles, computers, sticky-notes, etc.)?”

    If you trace the cause/effect train of events backward from any artifact, you eventually come to electrochemical activity in the crania of human beings. The materialists insist upon either biochemical determination or some fuzzy notion of emergence. If you insist that at least we have the material brain as a physical source, leaving the finer details to “unsolved mysteries of science,” and demand that immaterialists produce God’s brain in a laboratory for equivalence, well, I don’t believe you have really achieved a stunning blow against ID.

    The basic fact remains that intelligent beings choose among contingent options. The behavior of the Emerald Cockroach Wasp is apparently a contingent phenomenon. It is also apparently irreducibly complex. The idea that it is evil (at least in this string) comes from anti-ID’ers.

    I offered a theological explanation to that line of argumentation. In it, I said that – at least in Christian theology – God allows amoral nature to reflect truths that are instructive for us moral beings. This is entirely in line with posts 54 & 58; to whit that the things that happen in non-human nature have absolutely no moral component to them.

    The notion that the fall might account for such things as the ECW’s behavior accounts (at least to me) for other problems, such as the idea of a perfect nature, with purpose and goodness displayed throughout. If the purpose of the ECW’s behavior is to teach moral beings something about their own evil nature, then that would not have been part of a perfect creation.

    Could God have adapted His original creation Himself, say, by designing the ECW’s behavior subsequent to the fall? Perhaps, but there is a continuum of such apparently cruel designs, right on up to parasites that afflict humans. Here then, God would have designed a real cruelty to afflict moral beings – decidedly not a part of Christian theology.

    Science cannot breach the naturalistic (is/ought) fallacy. Physicalists (naturalists) do so by reducing humans to physical nature, thereby eliminating (in appearance) the “ought” component of the fallacy. (Of course, it gets slipped back in later, hopefully unnoticed when the subject of scientific integrity comes up.)

    Best Regards,
    Columbo

  71. 71
    Charlie says:

    Great post and comments.

    Borne, your thought on the non-randomness of evolution is exactly mine.

  72. 72
    jpark320 says:

    The notion that the fall might account for such things as the ECW’s behavior accounts (at least to me) for other problems, such as the idea of a perfect nature, with purpose and goodness displayed throughout. If the purpose of the ECW’s behavior is to teach moral beings something about their own evil nature, then that would not have been part of a perfect creation.

    Could God have adapted His original creation Himself, say, by designing the ECW’s behavior subsequent to the fall? Perhaps, but there is a continuum of such apparently cruel designs, right on up to parasites that afflict humans. Here then, God would have designed a real cruelty to afflict moral beings – decidedly not a part of Christian theology.

    I just wanted to say I totally agree and thanks for the insight!

    Back on topic, I just find it ridiculous that sheer amount of mutations that would have to be selected for to create this creature! From what we know, to hone in such a manner is not a simple manner of a base change!

  73. 73
    DaveScot says:

    SCheesman

    Darwinists must look with great envy at their geochemist colleagues

    You bet. We should label it with some suitably Freudian moniker. How about “Predictability Envy”? The “hard” sciences (pun intended) such as chemistry and physics and predict things with exquisite precision. Chemists don’t have to make up stories about how hydrogen and oxygen bonded in the remote past to form water. They can see it happen in a lab and can predict the process with precision. Others can repeat it. There’s a real theory. NeoDarwinian evolution isn’t a theory. It’s a narrative. A fiction. No more and no less. I’m not saying the ID explanation isn’t a fiction but at least it’s a fiction based on the actual observation of intelligence in the universe today. No suspension of credulity is required to believe that intelligence exists in the universe today as that’s a proven quantity. To believe that intelligence existed in the past requires only a small leap of faith, not the gigantic leap of faith required to believe that complex organic machinery driven by digital codes just popped into existence by accident. The latter belief is an absurd leap of faith.

  74. 74
    mike1962 says:

    Somebody should do an animation where Dembski is the wasp, and Dawkins is the cockroach. I think that would be funny.

  75. 75
    JGuy says:

    “Imagine, if you will, how a wasp was intelligently designed with the ability to perform brain surgery complete with a drug that turns a cockroach into a docile zombie it can lead around like a dog on a leash. I emphasize the word “imagine” because any story you come up with is a work of fiction. Such fiction is the basis of the Theory of Intelligent Design. “ – Arnhart.

    The logical error you are making is that ID doesn’t explain how the designer designed it. So, you will find no such stories in the ID community.

    However, the statement you were rying to rebut:
    “Imagine, if you will, how a wasp evolved the ability to perform brain surgery complete with a drug that turns a cockroach into a docile zombie it can lead around like a dog on a leash. I emphasize the word imagine because any story you come up with is a work of fiction. Such fiction is the basis of the Theory of Evolution. – DaveScot
    … His is the only one accurate statement. Becasue evolutionists do use their imagination to explain how such a features in life came about by changes.

  76. 76
    mike1962 says:

    Barrett1,

    And the fact that we can never know the designer is awfully convenient. And suspicious.

    Unless the designer shows up and takes credit.

    Wouldn’t that be something?

  77. 77
    Barrett1 says:

    DaveScot, thanks for letting me participate in this discussion. I think you guys do a great job. The people who comment here are good people and I feel blessed to be welcome. Back to lurking.

  78. 78
    DaveScot says:

    Barrett1

    there have been those in the past who have looked at things in the natural world and were cocksure that it was designed by an intelligent agent

    The naive presumptions of design have been weeded out. “Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth” -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    I say to you we’ve eliminated the impossible (Gods of Thunder, Fire, Sun, Volcanoes, and whatnot) and what remains (Intelligent Creator of Life), however improbable, is the truth.

  79. 79
    Patrick says:

    If Bill had a method for reliably detecting Designers I’d think he’d be running around in the streets announcing it…especially if it pointed to his favored Designer. In any case, the designed objects themselves may hold clues to the Designer(s) identity. It’s not like ID proponents are saying that it MUST be impossible to identify the Designer(s)…it’s just that ID as of now doesn’t contain the tools with the ability to do so.

  80. 80
    DaveScot says:

    I’m surprised no one has wondered how the cockroach sees all this. After the injection into his brain he grooms himself for about 30 minutes (you need to research beyond Wiki to learn this) then calmly submits to whatever the wasp wants. It would appear to me the roach is drugged into a state of bliss. If you ask me it sure beats a shot of RAID in his face or any of the poisons man has invented for roach control.

  81. 81
    kvwells says:

    50. austinite

    re ‘the fall’:

    The belief in a pre-fall ecological utopia is one interpretation of the genesis narrative. It is not explicitly stated in the text that all animal life was vegetatrian or scavengers, (or that no animals died) but this is a possibility, I guess. It seems to be more of a preference to me.

    Don’t want to start another mini thread in this post, but just wanted to make skeptics aware that there is more than one view on this.

  82. 82
    kvwells says:

    don’t blind generizations get on your nerves?
    Like when a jaded ex-spouse inserts “all men/women are jerks!” into the conversation at every opportunity.

    Sorry you got a lemon, but there are a few folks out there who are in a totally separate class.

    similar to the blind category mistake: Hey we found a materialistic explanation for the origin/effects of these physically simple processes, therefore the explanatory power of materialism must be an infinite gradient from the obviously simple to the incomprehensibly complex.

    The complexity of biological systems deserves a category of its own, totally separate from any collection of mere random physical processes, like geologists, asronomers, et al, study.

  83. 83
    Designed Jacob says:

    #5 Fross – “I’d hate to meet the maniac designer that came up with this. shiver”

    The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. And yes, it is scary, especially for a Christian like me who thinks I’m probably going to hell, which must be something far worse than existence as an unfortunate cockroach.

    13. Joseph – “The wasp didn’t have to designed with that ability. It could have been learned.”

    HYSTERICAL!

    To all who commented about how these designs – of wasps grotesquely consuming their prey – impact faith due to an inference of an evil designer, let this much be known: God, while not evil, is frightening in many ways. His will and sovereignty has been described as “awful” and “terrible” by many theologians.

    The turly scary thought is that the fate of wasp prey is the natural order of a planet not designed for torment, unlike Hell. And I’m scared I might be going there when I die.

  84. 84
    Designed Jacob says:

    DaveScott – I like your comment about accepting reality as you find it. We can learn much about the designer from what is designed. The lesson I take from it is that the designer disposes of life as is pleasing to him, without regard to any right in the designed object.

    To infer moral evil into the designer from this, however, is ridiculous. To do so is to personify the cockroach into a human. There is simply no immorality in killing a cockroach.

    Compare to the species of man, whom it is immoral to kill, and that fact that we have no natural predators.

  85. 85
    Joseph says:

    Joseph – “The wasp didn’t have to designed with that ability. It could have been learned.”

    Designed Jacob:
    HYSTERICAL!

    Whatever… (shrug)

  86. 86
    malnutritious says:

    Keep in mind that parasitic behavior is neither so unusual nor problematic for evolution to explain. The “victim” is just another part of the organism’s environment. And in this case the cockroach can be seen as a new source of food for wasp broods.

    One possible evolutionary pathway is the following.

    Given:

    The larval behavior preexisted from these wasps more venomous ancestors.
    The parasitic behavior existed in this wasp’s parent species.

    Every once in a while a wasp would attempt to paralyze a cockroach, however with no success. Because of the large size of the prey, the wasp was unable to relocate the victim.
    However a random mutation gave some wasps venom the peculiar ability to coax a cockroach. At first this population may have become isolated because there were no competitors for this oddly behaving wasp. And the venom may not have been quite as effective, for instance perhaps in some cases completely paralyzing the victim. But over time because of the territorial behavior of these wasps increased pressure forced the poorer performing wasps out of the gene pool. Also the original behavior of stinging multiple times became modified as the wasp no longer needed to sting its prey once it was affected. In fact those that stung it too much probably ended up unable to propagates as they could not drag the huge cockroach to its den. So over time natural selection favored those who did not sting too much, those who stung the correct targets more often, and those who’s toxin was not too strong. Once the method became established the wasp was also under less pressure to be large enough to carry its prey, and was free to be any size, in this case tending towards the smaller side.

    A test for this could start by first identifying the proteins involved in the wasp toxin. Afterwards one could analyze the DNA sequence for the genes involved in encoding these proteins and do some comparative analysis with related wasps. There should be some evidence of recent evolution which can be tied to the venom.

    Analysis of the venom itself can help us to understand how it works. http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/...../202/8/957
    By comparing this venom directly with those of other wasps we may be able to detect homologies. It would seem from the article above that the seemingly complex behaviors of grooming and suggestibility may be all related to a relatively simple chemical response.

  87. 87
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    As others have pointed out, that a cockroach dies in any particular way is not a tragedy, nor is it cruel.

    Viewing this as cruel is anthropomorphism to the max.

    This may be cruel in some pantheistic forms of religion, but certainly not for mainstream Christian traditions.

    Augustine basically says that since the material world is made from pieces, and if something is broken into its derivative pieces is not tragic, but is in accord with its nature.

    What is tragic is that people often say they fall away from Christianity because of silly arguments like, “Why would a benevolent God design this evil, nasty, wicked, horrible wasp.”

  88. 88
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    That an organism of our stature, intelligence, and power would develop such an incredibly sensitive moral conscience that we would even look with any sympathy at a lowly form like a roach is a decisive blow to atheism, not theism.

    If this sort of dysteleology argument is some type of powerful refutation against theism and Christianity, I would say, “Take heart theists, our enemies are pointing their rhetorical guns at their own heads.”

  89. 89
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    After getting all of the atheistic pathos against theism out of the way, I almost forgot to address how this wasp impinges on the science of ID:

    It doesn’t.

  90. 90

    1) Philosophical presuppositions may prevent one from thinking a good God would allow cockroaches to be used by parasite wasps. I don’t think there is a problem. Any more than eating animals is a problem.

    2) Even if Darwinists could give us a step-by-step account, it would involve a mechanism that transfers learned behavior to a genetic mechanism. I would hazard a guess that that type of mechanism would be irreducibly complex. Either that or we are left with front-loading.

    Lose-lose for Darwinists.

  91. 91
    IDist says:

    And they say ID is nothing but religion!
    Who involved God in this post? Why involve philosophy and theology in a science?

    I think those who involve religion are darwinists, the religion of atheism.

  92. 92
    WinglesS says:

    “The larval behavior preexisted from these wasps more venomous ancestors.
    The parasitic behavior existed in this wasp’s parent species.

    Every once in a while a wasp would attempt to paralyze a cockroach, however with no success. Because of the large size of the prey, the wasp was unable to relocate the victim.
    However a random mutation gave some wasps venom the peculiar ability to coax a cockroach. At first this population may have become isolated because there were no competitors for this oddly behaving wasp. And the venom may not have been quite as effective, for instance perhaps in some cases completely paralyzing the victim. But over time because of the territorial behavior of these wasps increased pressure forced the poorer performing wasps out of the gene pool. Also the original behavior of stinging multiple times became modified as the wasp no longer needed to sting its prey once it was affected. In fact those that stung it too much probably ended up unable to propagates as they could not drag the huge cockroach to its den. So over time natural selection favored those who did not sting too much, those who stung the correct targets more often, and those who’s toxin was not too strong. Once the method became established the wasp was also under less pressure to be large enough to carry its prey, and was free to be any size, in this case tending towards the smaller side.”

    The problem with evolution to me is that it doesn’t really get more detailed than this. I believe in something given evidence (subject to my preferance) Some details I need are:

    1. The pre existance thing. I think evolutionists have been rather escapist with regards to abiogenesis as well. However I’ll let it slide for now.

    2. Even if the 1st generation of wasps decided somehow that stinging cockroaches for no apparent reason and with no benefits to be naturally selected for whatsoever was a good thing, how this this urge get transmitted to its decendants?

    3. The wasp is certaining acting weird. But why didn’t it die out due to it’s inability to catch cockroaches initially? Did the main population tolerate this poorer performing variant?

    4. Nature has a certain amount of tolerance for faults, which makes the 3rd point slightly plausible. (environmental noise) However for natural selection to choose specifically for a wasp that decides to sting cockroaches twice and in certain locations probably requires the of elimination of this environmental noise which made the 3rd point plausible.

    5. Somehow one wasp got it right. (appeal to time and chance) And assuming that it did… it probably mates with another wasp which didn’t quite get it right. (which dilutes the precision of this instinct) I’m assuming that behaviors can be passed down somehow.

    I have nothing against evolution, it might all well be true, but I expect that this evolutionary pathway isn’t demonstratable or repeatable for some reason – as is most of evolution. It might be a story that you just made up in 15 min. Many people do actually believe made-up stories as long as it’s made by a scientist. However I don’t see any need to think that it is true.

  93. 93
    Designed Jacob says:

    Joseph, are you actually saying that every generation of this wasp, like clockwork, just happens to discover this behavior for itself? Or were you being extremely witty and funny, as I suspected?

    This is an insect reproduction script. Those are supposed to be instinctual.

  94. 94
    shaner74 says:

    IDist wrote:
    “I think those who involve religion are darwinists, the religion of atheism.”

    Oh great, I haven’t heard the Darwinists scream that atheism isn’t a religion for a while 🙂

  95. 95
    tribune7 says:

    Oh great, I haven’t heard the Darwinists scream that atheism isn’t a religion for a while

    I’ve been calling it a mythology. 🙂

  96. 96
    Michaels7 says:

    Austinite,

    I’m not saying we cannot ask certain theological “Why” questions about the Designer. But, I’ll state again that cruelty in nature does not rule out ID. Please see previous comment, #44 for false assumptions projected onto ID and an analogy.

    “Wolde you bothe eate your cake, and have your cake?”

    When Atom suggested a Christian theological “WHY” answer to your “Why” question, you reject it and respond with a “How” question. Some “Why” questions cannot be answered without knowing the Designer. Christ himself recognizes this issue for those who’ve never seen him and yet believe.

    If an EMERALD GREEN car is left at your house with a note saying, “the newly painted emerald green car is a gift to you.” Do you know “Why” it is painted green? Much less “why” the car is given to you?

    Scraping the paint and pondering “How” paint was applied to the car or “How” it reflects a green color does not answer “Why” its painted green. Asking “Why” the paint is not Candy Red is similarily non-productive in this instance. What is deduced is that an intelligent being painted it.

    As to Design considerations of the wasp. It has a set of genetic switches. Some are turned on/off. Genetic Code, is a functional Rules Based System that scientist are decoding and decompressing. They’re discovering different stimuli of positive or negative feedback loops within boundaries of life.

    Answering “How” may lead scientist to determine a certain hormone/odor attracts the wasp to the roach that is unique. It does not explain “Why” a Designer would select a particular odor.

    Inferring Design is the recognition of patterns, probability(or lack thereof) of complex interactions leading to animate life forms and understanding the difference(for me personally) between Random Sequence Complexity(RSC), Ordered Sequence Complexity, or Functional Sequence Order(FSC).

    It is very simple, yet straight forward recognition for boundaries of increasingly complex informational order. Please see Trevors and Abel’s, “Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

    A few of their words from the abstract, “Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).”

    —————————–

    Salvador,

    if you’re reading this. I tried using your original link on UD to Trevors and Abel’s other paper, but the link is “extinct.” And I could not find the paper in PubMed. Do you have a link?

    It was originally posted here; http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1749
    pointing to their paper which referenced Dembski’s No Free Lunch.

  97. 97
    Michaels7 says:

    Darn, font color in preview worked, but does not show in post.

    Green
    Red

  98. 98
    Michaels7 says:

    Oh well, guess this proves Design does not work.

    Or is it lack of information?

  99. 99
    idnet.com.au says:

    I wonder whether any of us has sprayed a spider or a wasp or a cockroach just for being in our house. What sort of creature would do that? I hope I never meet one!

    I agree with Barratt1 that there are many puzzling aspects of the biosphere we occupy that make it difficult to hold that a benevolent God has any direct interest.

    I find however that there are many puzzling aspects of the biosphere that make me reasonably sure that NDE is a small part of the history of life on earth.

    YEC people usually hold that death in all living systems is subsequent to the time space fall of Adam. This means that for them the wasp and most of the other bizzare aspects of nature are recent and not supposed to be that way.

    Bill Dembski has written an essay arguing that a benevolent God created the world that we deserve, given the choice He knew we would make.

    Design on this “whole organism” or even symbiotic organism level I think is way down the track. Posts like this one play into the hands of our co speculators. We speculate direct design they speculate NDE.

    In ID I think we need to keep to the basics. We need to stay with the molecules until someone finds out how the molecules code for such behaviour as this. Only then may we speculate on the origin of specific creature features or symbiotic relationships without being laughed out of the lab.

  100. 100
    Borne says:

    “…this is the kind of “boggle argument” that seems to be so appealing to intelligent designers. I don’t like it”

    It is no boggle argument at all – Darwinism is your “boggle argument”. It pretends what it can by no means explain. And ignores mathematical probabilities – rather avoids them like a plague.

    It uses just-so stories everywhere rather than hard facts. Vastly over-simplifies the realities nature with its postulations and that without any backing evidence. It presents no viable mutational pathway by which such symbiotic relationships can occur. The ones attempted are always woefully, pathetically inadequate.

    It has no evidence that any such rm + ns process could have built such systems as these wasps with not even a goal involved!

    It is a bankrupt theory, going down the tubes slowly as each new discovery “boggles” the mind and points to design. These wasps have design written all over them.

    What you Darwinists never understand or admit is that somewhere, you have to draw a line and say, “yes, based on probabilistic calculations, this is far too concurrently complex and demonstrates such uncanny foresight and knowledge of anatomy and chemistry that no known process of nature could have possibly co-ordinated such a construction”.

    You fail to do this, then pretend that those who see how lame your mere denial of the obvious response are offering “boggle” arguments.

    And by this very response demonstrate your inability to see how badly Darwinism fairs at explaining such engineering wonders.

    The argument I and the other IDists here present, is as always, shrugged off by comments like this. You still don’t see how probability fits in the scheme and act as though there is no probabilistic challenge at all. Sad.

    And ALL the arguments presented here as to the “insidious, bizzare…..” character of the designer are religious and metaphysical arguments (that methodological naturalists claims they don’t have!) – not scientific arguments.

    Amazing how Darwinian “reasoning” cripples the mind. It cripples the mind to critical, logical analysis to the point where even simple logical implications are missed.

    Same old story. Darwinists fail to see the religious, metaphysical and even moral foundations upon which their own views are based!

    So, in fact we have the atheist/darwinist using the innate moral sense given to us by an ultimate Moral Being (morality implies will), to criticize that Being! How brilliant!

    And yet under naturalism, morals are just inexplicable “illusions” pawned upon us by our genes to get us to live in harmony for survival! (Dawkins and cie.)

    Survival. That’s the only reason the atheistic Darwinist view can come up with for all life – exist – how utterly boring and empty!

  101. 101
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    idnet,

    Good point about sticking to the basics. ID-minded people, when speaking of ID, should keep to the “tried and true” science. This will make it even more glaringly obvious that what the Darwinists continue to stick to is the fomented pathos.

  102. 102
    Borne says:

    What about the designer?

    What does ID tell us about him? Nothing but that he is “irreducibly smart”! 😉

    What can reason tell us about him? A little.

    Using logic applied to the observable data of our universe we can deduce a bit about the designer.

    The designer has a sense of beauty – where does the sense of beauty come from?
    The designer is awesome – where does the sense of awe come from?
    The designer possesses exquisite intelligence or, in the words of one molecular biologist, “genius beyond genius”.
    The designer has apparently infinite power
    The designer isn’t very concerned with suffering in the world, or – as has been suggested – something went wrong and he is not interested in fixing it….yet…
    The designer thinks that “if this state of war in the universe [is] a price worth paying for free will…then we may take it it is worth paying.” CS Lewis
    The designer must therefore possess a perspective – “world-view” if you will – beyond space and time alone …

    Many other things could be added, and much speculation, extrapolation and conjecture are bound to occur, but the whole good vs evil thing requires a special kind of knowledge to even begin to understand – that knowledge we call – revelation. And that is where theology – not science – comes in.

  103. 103
    Joseph says:

    Designed Jacob:
    Joseph, are you actually saying that every generation of this wasp, like clockwork, just happens to discover this behavior for itself?

    No I was actually saying that wasps can learn things just as we can. Bears and the big cats learn to hunt for food from their parents (or other elders).

    Designed Jacob:
    This is an insect reproduction script.

    Can you point it out? Or are you just guessing?

    Designed Jacob:
    Those are supposed to be instinctual.

    “Instinctual” is just our way of saying we have no idea. However geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti touches on this in his book “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”

    Chapter VIII “I can only tell you what I already know”. Someone conducted an experiment with birds that are nocturnal migrators. These birds were raised in isolation from the time of their hatching. When they were shown the autumn night sky for the first time, they soon became agitated and then flew off SSW. If the stars became hidden the birds calmed down.

    They conducted the same experiment but this time used a planetarium. Same results SSW with the autumn night sky and NNE with the Spring night sky.

    IOW they learned what they already knew…

  104. 104
    Joseph says:

    geoffrobinson:
    Any more than eating animals is a problem.

    It is. And that is why I have been a vegetarian since 1979. And perhaps why, at 6′ 220 I don’t look a pound over 180. That plus the fact I’m a home-gym rat…

  105. 105
    TRoutMac says:

    This feigned concern about the identity of the designer is sooo easy to squash. For example:

    Some years ago crop circles started popping up in fields of wheat in England. Jumping ahead briefly, I understanding that some humans came forward and claimed responsibility for crop circles, but some folks remain unconvinced that these humans ARE responsible. There are folks who still believe that crop circles, at least SOME of them, are being left for us to discover by aliens. My point here is NOT to identify, as if I would know, who the designers of crop circles are or were, either by name or by species. I don’t care who, or what, is responsible for crop circles. The point is that you can look at virtually any crop circle and immediately AND EMPIRICALLY conclude that someTHING (whether human or alien) with intelligence created them. Nobody with any sanity is looking for natural, unintelligent causes or processes to explain crop circles. Everyone could tell immediately, empirically, that crop circles were the products of intelligence. Products of MIND. They considered human pranksters or aliens trying to send us some sort of message or simply “freak us out.”

    Crop circles were obviously created by SOME intelligent agent. That we may not know who does not interfere with our conclusion that intelligent agents are responsible. The identity, or lack thereof, of a designer is not pertinent to whether there IS a designer.

    Ultimately what it boils down to is this: Opponents of Intelligent Design reject Intelligent Design not because the theory has no basis, but rather because of who THEY THINK the designer might be. How it is they think they can pass such subjectivity off as “science” is beyond me.

    Also, I get a big laugh out of some responses critiquing the designer’s “morals” with regard to the wasp using the cockroach in such a way. Since when is it “immoral” to kill a roach? Or a wasp, for that matter. God knows I’ve killed a few wasps. Fortunately I don’t live where roaches are a problem, so I can’t think of ever having killed a roach. And why is the idea of a wasp killing a roach any more offensive than a mountain lion killing a deer?

    A Darwinist simply cannot use the perceived “immorality” of such arrangments as an argument against design because in doing so, they demand that this Intelligent Designer obey a moral standard which the Darwinist (and pure naturalist) believes is merely a human construct. You see, they’re admitting that morality is NOT a human construct. They just don’t realize it because they’re NOT THINKING.

  106. 106
    Joseph says:

    TroutMac,

    Please save what you just posted (coment 105), because I am sure you will need it again and again, that is if you continue a dialog with anti-IDists and ID critics.

    I saw a Discovery Channel/ History Channel/ A&E thing on crop circles. Someone actually caught one forming on video. And all that was present was a ball of light.

    But I also saw Criss Angel disappear and defy gravity and reason…

  107. 107
    littlejon says:

    I’m still a little confused as to what the answer is meant to actually be to, say an inquisitive child who asks about the point or intention of designing this “nasty” insect. We’re honestly meant to mention the fall? In a science lesson? Are you sure? Without being rude, that sounds a bit weird. We can’t brush it away with “we don’t know”, because there’s lots in science we don’t know, but we do have hypotheses. So what’s the hypothesis about this?

  108. 108
    DaveScot says:

    The hypothesis is the wasp is designed to be a predator of the roach just like an eagle is a predator to a rabbit. Without predators there would be too many prey. Everything must be balanced.

  109. 109
    Columbo says:

    In #107 littlejon wrote:

    I’m still a little confused as to what the answer is meant to actually be to, say an inquisitive child who asks about the point or intention of designing this “nasty” insect. We’re honestly meant to mention the fall?

    ___________________
    Columbo replys:

    Because we have compartmentalized knowledge into University departments, asking a question framed for use in one “department” (such as e.g. Philosophy or Religion) in anther department (e.g. Science) is – IMHO – what leads to your confusion. This hypothetical child asks for the “point or intention of designing” contrivances in nature, thus begging the question of a “designer.”

    Presently, due to the above mentioned compartmentalization, and the victory of materialism over a theisitc worldview, the answer to such a question is that it is the wrong question. There is no purpose, no meaning, no telic goal. There are only causes.

    I take the ID goal to be that a teacher would allow the students to freely discuss among themselves the possible answeres, from materialistic answers to theological ones, and any in between. Can you tell me what the harm is in allowing young people to explore the full range of implications involved in scientific discovery?

    Science is not the alpha and omega of all valid knowledge. It does at times trump other assumptions, and therefore it is a necessary discipline. That does not make it a sufficient one.

    Regards,
    Columbo

  110. 110
    TRoutMac says:

    Littlejon wrote:
    “…say an inquisitive child who asks about the point or intention of designing this “nasty” insect. We’re honestly meant to mention the fall?”

    I don’t see any reason why that can’t be offered as a possible explanation. Notice I said “POSSIBLE” there… I’m not suggesting we need to tell children that this IS the right answer, just that it is one possible answer.

    But what’s interesting about your question is that it reveals a belief, as someone else alluded to, that science is automatically truth and religion is automatically falsehood. As though we KNOW that there’s absolutely NO possibility that “the fall” really COULD be a valid explanation. Do you have such proof? Do you KNOW that there was no “fall” and that the Bible’s account of the fall is incorrect? Do you KNOW this empirically? No, you don’t.

    So why can’t we offer it as a possibility? I suspect the real reason some folks don’t want to offer “the fall” as a possible explanation is that deep down they’re afraid it might actually be true. There’s really no other valid reason not to.

  111. 111
    Joseph says:

    DaveScot:
    Without predators there would be too many prey.

    Excuse me but without predators there wouldn’t be any prey. (one follows the other)

  112. 112
    jerry says:

    Designing an ecology may be more difficult than designing an organism. Predators and prey are essential to an ecology.

  113. 113
    trystero57 says:

    So why can’t we offer it as a possibility? I suspect the real reason some folks don’t want to offer “the fall” as a possible explanation is that deep down they’re afraid it might actually be true. There’s really no other valid reason not to.

    This is clearly not ID, or science. If you want to postulate the fall as a scientific hypothesis, provide some evidence for it.

    Please stop providing fear as a reason for people’s not bothering to take a notion seriously. I don’t accept ID but at least its proponents base their philosophies on an interpretation of evidence.

  114. 114
    TRoutMac says:

    Jerry wrote:
    “Designing an ecology may be more difficult than designing an organism. Predators and prey are essential to an ecology.”

    Well said. As usual, we find that Darwinists aren’t thinking “big” enough to consider that it’s not just predators and prey that need to be designed. It’s the whole system… and examples like this wasp are far less puzzling when you consider that they fit into a larger system.

    Darwinists, it appears, simply hate thinking big. Interesting.

  115. 115
    malnutritious says:

    An ecology does not need to be designed. As peices are added or removed a new equilibrium is naturally reached. This process can vary from gentle integration to complete turmoil.

    For instance the introduction of cane toads in Australia continues to disrupt the Australian ecology. It may take many generations before it settles down!

    An example of a low impact introduction would be the indroduction of the Emerald Cockroach Wasp to the Hawaiian islands.

    A stable ecology is in essence an equilibrium among the various species and resources in a given area.

    It will occur naturally, for instance too many predators will lead to too few prey. In response there will be a reduction in predators. As a result prey numbers may return. Eventually an equilibrium is reached. The ecology of a specific environment is a result of countless relationships such as the one described.

  116. 116
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    I would like to make another scientific point for conversation about plants. Bose’s research, and subsequent validation, is important on this point:

    His experiments showed that plants grow faster in pleasant music and its growth retards in noise or harsh sound. This was experimentally verified later on. His major contribution in the field of biophysics was the demonstration of the electrical nature of the conduction of various stimuli (wounds, chemical agents) in plants, which were earlier thought to be of chemical in nature. These claims were experimentally proved by Wildon et al (Nature, 1992, 360, 62–65). He also studied for the first time action of microwaves in plant tissues and corresponding changes in the cell membrane potential, mechanism of effect of seasons in plants, effect of chemical inhibitor on plant stimuli, effect of temperature etc,. And all studies were pioneering. He claimed that plants can “feel pain, understand affection etc,” from the analysis of the nature of variation of the cell membrane potential of plants, under different circumstances. According to him a plant treated with care and affection gives out a different vibration compared to a plant subjected to torture. Source: Wikipedia article

    Now exactly how a plant “feels” is on the table for discussion, but what is important to note is that they respond to stimuli; they are therefore sensitive to what is happening to them and react at the tissue, organ, and organism level.

    A venus fly trap is an obvious example, and there are ferns that close shut their bi-symmetrical leaves as soon as they are physically touched.

    Someone advocating this disteleological approach like Fross should say:

    “What happens to many plants on the earth? These sensitive plants are mercilessly ripped limb from limb by animal teeth, their sensitive parts horribly crushed again and again between the teeth of these viscous predators, and then the plant is thoughtlessly swallowed and bathed in acid until nothing visually resembling a plant is left. Surely a world created by a benevolent God would not create such a tragic existence.”

    Now how we are to explain the ethics of eating plants, since plants have sensibility?

    Is the absurdity of this whole argument clear yet?

    Fross said:

    I’d hate to meet the maniac designer that came up with this. *shiver*

    I’d hate to meet the maniac human who thinks this is convincing to individuals who are engaging their intellects.

  117. 117
    idnet.com.au says:

    It seems that some believe that ID should include things like the fall to account for aesthetically distasteful apparently designed features of our biosphere.

    Science should seek to answer the “what?” questions and leave the “why?” to revelation, theology and philosophy.

    By addressing such “why?” questions in the context or ID we confirm in the minds of opponents that we have a specific religious agenda.

    Our agenda in ID is the generalised scientific recognition of the reality of design in the biosphere.

    We are not able from ID alone to lead a person to a personal knowledge of the One.

  118. 118
    EndoplasmicMessenger says:

    This reminds me of another wasp story: the interdependence between fig wasp and fig tree.

    The fig tree depends on the fig wasp for pollination.

    The fig wasp depends on the fig tree as the location where it lays its eggs and multiplies.

    But more than that, at exactly the right moment when a tiny opening is made in the fig fruit, the pollen-covered female fig wasp needs burrow into the hollow center of the fruit where the fig flowers await pollination. The females often loose their wings during this process, fertilizing the fig when they arrive at the center. Then the female fig wasps lay their own eggs and die. When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched males impregnate the newly hatched females. The eat a passage for the females to exit the fruit, and then the males die. When the females leave, the cycle begins again.

    These fig wasps live only a few days, but their short life cycle is crucial for the survival of the fig trees.

    This web site has a good summary of their interdependence:


    http://www.figweb.org/Interact...../index.htm

    Fig trees are unique in that the flowers are completely concealed within the fig, an enclosed inflorescence, with the hundreds of tiny florets lining the inside of a central cavity. … fig trees are completely dependant on tiny wasps, a couple of millimeters long, for their propagation and survival. These fig wasps are the sole pollinators of fig trees and in turn, fig wasps can breed nowhere else but inside figs, a relationship that is a classic example of an obligate mutualism (neither party can survive without the other) that has evolved over the last 90 or so million years.

    How then do these tiny wasps that only live for a few days manage to perform their amazing task of finding and pollinating flowers that are hidden inside the fig?

    … once the pollinator has located a receptive fig, she needs to … squeeze and labour her way between the tightly closed bracts. She is, however, remarkably adapted to do so. Her body, in particular her head and thorax, is extremely flattened and elongate. She also has rows upon rows of backward pointing teeth on her mandibular appendage, situated on the underside of her head, as well as a few strong teeth on her legs. These teeth assist her progress through the ostiole and also prevent her slipping backwards. Nevertheless, the process of gaining access to the fig cavity is so difficult that her wings and antennae usually break off in the ostiole, but this fortunately does not influence her pollinating or egg-laying ability.

    … Once the wasps have reached maturity they chew their way out from the galls and emerge into the fig cavity within a short period of each other. The wingless males mate with the females before chewing a hole through the fig wall to the exterior to allow the females to escape – the male’s only two functions in life, as he dies soon afterwards! The females either actively load up pollen from ripe anthers into special pollen pockets, or in some species passively become covered with pollen, before exiting the fig in search of young receptive figs to complete the cycle.

    There was also a documentary on PBS’s Nature with some remarkable photography of these millimeter-sized insects and a good explanation of their symbiotic relationship with fig trees:


    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature.....essay.html

  119. 119
    Michaels7 says:

    littlejon,

    You’re committing the same mistake as other critics. ID does not address perceived cruelty of nature any different than evolution. ID detects patterns of design.

    You’re confusing Creationist Science with ID. ID does not promote a scientific hypothesis based upon the Biblical Fall, nor on a benevolent Designer for all of nature.

    You’re simply projecting your thoughts onto ID of what you think it should do since many IDist are Christians.

    Again, is an F-22 Raptor not designed by intelligence simply because it can deliver “nasty” bombs?

    A science teacher can answer these simple questions about Creation Science, Evolution and ID . Its not really that tough, is it?

    I’d suggest if you sincerely want information about Creationist Science which does incorporate the Biblical fall into its science curriculum, you visit their sites and search them or email questions. Many of them routinely respond to inquiry and in fact are very open about their beliefs in how to answer such questions.

    Columbo makes a good point as well. This is a direct result of to much government regulations that stifle discussion.

    But to be clear on the point of contention. There is a difference between Creation Science(biblically based 6000yr, fall) and ID(which is design detection). This should be clear to ID critics by now. ID forms a much wider tent of acceptance in varying points of view from Christians and Agnostics. Creation Science is very narrow in scope and rightly so being Biblically based science.

    BTW, Did you bother to read the link by Trevors and Abel regarding information, self-organization, RSC, OSC and FSC?

    In looking to provide you a link. I found this info…

    “Researchers have long known that some plants, like cotton, corn and tobacco, when suffering insect attack, are able to send out chemical distress signals. These summon wasp species which are natural predators of that caterpillar type.

    The incredible sophistication of these signals has now come to light. For instance, the same plant will send out one signal if being attacked by corn ear worms, and another when attacked by tobacco bud worms.”
    CNN website 1999,
    hattip – http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/349/

    Putting on a Creation Scientist Hat. I’d speculate based upon observed data of plants signaling the wasp, I’d determine if similar chemical signals are produced by the emerald roach. There are fruit fry larvae that other tiny wasp utilize in fruit. I’d see if the fruit send out signals as well.

    Genetically I’d look to see if the emerald roach produces a similar signal and if it was a mutation, if the signal can be turned on/off. I’d research the wasp genetic makeup for different chemical signal detection systems. And see if maybe the wasp has a mutational change in comparison to others.

    It appears to me that Creationist can be just as valid researchers in new discovery.

    I certainly would not worry about a 4 billion year scenario.

    All of this research, comparitive genetics or not can be carried out with little regard for macro evolutionary processes.

    What would you speculate about how and why the wasp utilizes the roach?

    Understand this is a very quick, simple look.

  120. 120
    crandaddy says:

    idnet.com.au,

    Why? questions are relevant to ID. Don’t forget that we look at patterns in nature that can be attributed to propositional attitudes (Why?) and try to tell if they can be reduced to mechanistic material causes (How?‘s)

  121. 121
    idnet.com.au says:

    Thanks Crandaddy, I am attempting to limit ID and keep it where I think it belongs.

  122. 122
    avocationist says:

    I’m afraid I’m with Barrett on this one.

    Because I can’t seem to make the connection between creatures like this and God. And it’s not because I have trouble with the morality of using another creature as a doomed vessel for hatching eggs. It’s just plain bizarre. And I have trouble with a bizarre God.

    And I find answers like the following just beyond bizarre.

    The Creator (God) permitted certain corruptions only, such as would stand as useful illustrations for His highest (earthly) creation – mankind – so that they might learn from nature lessons they would not willingly receive from His explicit revelation – the Bible.

    Conversion for the resistant via insect watching?

    And the fact that we can never know the designer is awfully convenient.

    I don’t know if we can know the designer, but we can know God.

    It would appear to me the roach is drugged into a state of bliss.

    Yes, that is a hopeful possibility, and I believe I’ve read that pleasurable, herioin-like endorphines take over in many prey animals as they are being killed. I wonder, though, if the bliss chemicals remain in force as the internal organs are being eaten.

    The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.

    This doesn’t mean what you think it does.

    a planet designed for torment…And I’m scared I might be going there when I die.

    Probably not, but it worries me for you to feel that way. I think that sort of mindset makes you vulnerable to evil beings.
    There are instances of people going through near-death experiences, who felt themselves sinking into hell, but they called for help and were rescued.

  123. 123
  124. 124
    DaveScot says:

    malnutritious

    Perhaps the original poster should have said a viable, self-sufficient ecology instead of just an ecology. In any designed ecology the usual result is death for everything. Attempts at designing such an ecology by humans have all failed. Biosphere 2 is perhaps the most ambitious attempt. It didn’t last 3 years.

  125. 125
    jerry says:

    Dave,

    Malnutritious gave the obvious and trivial answer from first year biology courses. Once you upset the equilibrium of an ecology some new equilibrium will happen based on local resources and a new local ecology will form.

    What I meant was that the planet’s ecology or even most local ecologies are based on the interaction of tens of thousands or more species with the geography, geology and climate of the region and getting an ecology that is “viable and self sufficient” as you said would be an immense task.

    I understand the materialist will respond with “some ecology will evolve over time and that the one that we have now is just one of a zillion that could have evolved if things had happened a little bit different at various points in time.”

    But the ecology is amazingly fine tuned for a lot of things and Darwinian theory would seem to lead to a deteriorating ecology. As each species blindly heads for some form of superiority since it doesn’t care a wit for any other species, it would then eliminate competition. But yet we don’t witness species getting continually faster, stronger, smarter, living longer with better smell, sight, hearing etc as would be predicted by natural selection. So I maintain that the preservation of the ecology is part of the design.

    I was actually directing my comments to those who question the wasp example as cruel and bizarre and that maybe this example is just one of the many small things that help to sustain a viable and self-sufficient ecology. Certainly predator and prey do this but I obviously have no evidence that the wasp and cockroach contribute to anything, just speculation.

    Hey, maybe the designer left around a lot of nifty processes for us to discover and eventually use. Biologists seem to be discovering new ones each week. One of the premises of the Privileged Planet was that we were meant to discover things.

    Thanks for the Biosphere 2 example.

  126. 126
    Barrett1 says:

    Troutmac, I don’t think anybody was questioning the morality of the wasp/roach behavior. I posted that it was bizarre and had a hard time envisioning a God in his celestial studio designing such bizarre instinctive behavior. Others agreed, but felt it was instructive, a kind of message in a bottle to humanity. Tribune7 had an interesting insight in this regard.

    I find your crop circles argument wanting. Now, I’ve been reading this thread for a long time, so I understand completely your argument. But here’s my problem.

    The fact that we can not get inside the designer’s head with any accuracy is problematic for me, and I’m sure others. After all, if CS Lewis is right, our consciousness is a gift from God. We share this gift with Him. As such, God and His ways are quite understandable.

    You see, we know that people create crop circles and similar hoaxes for fun. Sure, there are other possibilities for crop circles besides the merry pranksters. Alien visitors? Probably not. First of all, there is no hard evidence for alien visitation. And second of all, it is nonsensical that an alien would spend his time in a corn field and not visit Times Square. I contend that the second argument (that it makes no sense for an alien to spend time in a crop circle) is equal to or more convincing than the lack of objective proof. For certain, the arguments together provide resounding proof that it is a prank.

    So, back to the wasp/roach shenanigans. ID puts forth logical reasoning that leads us to believe that a designer is at work in this behavior. We conclude this by using Dr. Dembski’s filter (the hard evidence). But then we get to the second question. Does it make sense that a designer would instill such bizarre behavior? Nope. Not to me anyway.

    I think this is extremely important. I have talked to many a scientist who understands the reasoning and science behind ID. Some find it faulty and some find it reasonable. But unanimously, they have a very difficult time concluding that a designer is really at work (at least an understandable designer) in the creation and evolution of life. Dr. Dembski has spent the time to write about the Fall. And I agree, if we put this wasp/roach example into the Christian paradigm, it makes sense (I guess). But what if you don’t accept the Fall? Now we have an ID theory that only makes sense for Christians. And that folks is unfortunate. And suspicious.

    DaveScot, perhaps this topic has been beaten to death. Just let me know and I won’t bother with it anymore.

  127. 127
    avocationist says:

    But yet we don’t witness species getting continually faster, stronger, smarter, living longer with better smell, sight, hearing etc as would be predicted by natural selection.

    That’s because we missed it! Presumably they all ramp up together, imperceptably slowly. What a treat it would be to time travel to a few million years ago, and witness a world in which protobirds are hopping comically with half developed wings, yet often evading their predators who themselves have not yet gotten big enough or fast enough, or whose noses barely work, so that they are equally ineffective chasers of birds as the birds are ineffective fliers. It wouldn’t matter that the octopus (jellyfish?) had no ink, because the fish who wants a meal has only 6% of an eye anyway. Yes, I would love to go back there. It would be so comical, and so very different than the world we see today, where the workings of all things are such a marvel.

    By the way, being concerned over the suffering of an animal is not an anthropomorphism, unless you believe that only humans can suffer. However, that is scientifically impossible, as a pain and fear response are necessary to any animal, and perhaps plants as well.
    Morally, I draw a firm line between inducing any gratuitous suffering versus a quick kill. That’s why I like to eat venison and think the way we treat livestock is a sin.

    But of course animals eat one another. The hard thing to envision is the fiendish mind of the designer coming up with such an elaborate and prolonged method.

  128. 128
    mike1962 says:

    barret1,

    Does it make sense that a designer would instill such bizarre behavior? Nope. Not to me anyway.

    I doubt cockroaches and wasps are conscious entities. It’s basically one machine overtaking another in a rather humorous way, IMO.

    Perhaps life on this planet had a whole team of very smart designers. And perhaps one (or all) of them had a sense of humor and thought it was kinda funny to make a wasp kill a cockroach in this manner. (I think it’s kinda funny, why wouldn’t they?) Or maybe they wanted to see what we would think about it when we noticed it. Maybe they are amused at our musings on the subject. Or maybe they are learning something from us by watching discuss it.

    Who the hell knows? It doesn’t take much imagination to come up with some scenarios here. Free your mind.

    Bottom line is, your emotional revulsion of it is not evidence one way or another.

  129. 129
    malnutritious says:

    Davescot:
    “But the ecology is amazingly fine tuned for a lot of things and Darwinian theory would seem to lead to a deteriorating ecology. As each species blindly heads for some form of superiority since it doesn’t care a wit for any other species, it would then eliminate competition. But yet we don’t witness species getting continually faster, stronger, smarter, living longer with better smell, sight, hearing etc as would be predicted by natural selection. So I maintain that the preservation of the ecology is part of the design.”

    Species depend on each other, leading to a natural system of checks and balances.
    A deteriorating ecology is the exact opposite to be expected by such a system. Equilibrium is to be expected.

    The game of life is like rock paper sissors, some “advantages” are disadvantages in different situations. I would argue that there is no ultimate “model” for living organisms. Predators are binded to their availability of prey, and so on down the food chain. Other limitations are environmental, including those of organic nature, such as trees for arboreal species, figs for symbiotic wasps, and roaches for parasitic wasp larvae. A resource is a resource be it inanimate or organic. If the resource preexists an organism can grow to depend on it. The difference with organic resources is that they too change over time. And so, it would be unreasonable to expect, that a distinct population(species) would develop in a manor which would completely outpace their competition. Even though this can occur, it cannot be expected to be the norm, this would not be supported by any ecological model.

    In addition there are limitations on the variation within a particular population on which natural selection can act upon. I would have to propose that it would be unreasonable to beleive that there are no limits to biological systems in terms of speed, intelligence, strength, etc. And that new organisms will not face pressure even if they have an “advantageous” mutation.

    Equilibrium I would argue is the natural tendancy not the spiraling arms race you have described and espoused.

    Natural selection would actually select against organisms which are so “successful” that it would destroy the resources on which the species depends. It is precicely this reasoning which has had biologists predicting decreases in the virulence of disease over time. And the prediction of shorter evolutionary life spans of top predators, especially those in limited environments.

    Speaking of limited environments, Biosphere 2 is an interesting example. It was not a failed ecology, it only failed to meet the expectations of being a self contained environment which can support 8 human beings. In it’s natural tendancy to equilibrium the biosphere ecology destroyed much of the larger more dependent lifeforms in favor of a more suitable balance. (Due to complicated factors the structure favors an atmostphere high in CO2.)

  130. 130
    crandaddy says:

    To my Aussie friend,

    I was just offering a minor clarification, that’s all. Carry on. 🙂

  131. 131
    malnutritious says:

    I apologize the original comment I responded to was made by jerry, not DaveScot.

  132. 132
    SCheesman says:

    Avocationist: “By the way, being concerned over the suffering of an animal is not an anthropomorphism, unless you believe that only humans can suffer. However, that is scientifically impossible, as a pain and fear response are necessary to any animal, and perhaps plants as well.
    Morally, I draw a firm line between inducing any gratuitous suffering versus a quick kill. That’s why I like to eat venison and think the way we treat livestock is a sin.

    But of course animals eat one another. The hard thing to envision is the fiendish mind of the designer coming up with such an elaborate and prolonged method. ”

    Suffering involves cognition. There is no evidence that insects are even capable of such. It is quite possible that any detected “damage” (e.g. that which would be inflicted by a predator) simply triggers a pre-programmed flight response, without any sensation of pain comparable to what a mammal feels. Ice responds to heat by melting. I would suggest that an insect’s response to being consumed by another is far more like ice melting than what we would feel in a cannibal’s pot. And if that is true, then there is nothing fiendish at all. Your argument might be more persuasive if it applied to some similar relationship between (say) a cat and a dog.

    My take on this is that the form of predator/prey relationships is calibrated to the level of cognition of the species involved, and actually minimizes the suffering involved. Kind of evidence of a benevolent designer, as opposed to a Hobbesian struggle.

  133. 133
    Barrett1 says:

    SCheesman, yes, but I was always wary of those kids who plucked wings off of flies. It had a flavor of sadism in my mind. Just a tad. But I was sensitive lad.

    Frankly, I am not concerned about the morality of insect behavior. But I still contend it is a strange design. Not immoral, mind you. But strange. And to think of a designer putting on his thinking cap…well, I guess it’s possible.

  134. 134
    StephenA says:

    You seem to havesaid, in effect “That is so bizzare. God would never have invented that.” Yet I have yet to see you show any qualms about the bizzarness of a God that would invent sex.

    Personally I think God does like to do things that seem a bit bizzare every so often. For example, I have no doubt that he was breastfed at one stage.

  135. 135
    apollo230 says:

    “Personally I think God does like to do things that seem a bit bizzare every so often. For example, I have no doubt that he was breastfed at one stage.”

    Interesting comment-well done!
    Best regards,
    apollo230

  136. 136
    tribune7 says:

    Personally I think God does like to do things that seem a bit bizzare every so often. For example, I have no doubt that he was breastfed at one stage.

    Nice one. 🙂

    Merry Little Christmas.

  137. 137
    idnet.com.au says:

    The volume of responses to this posts indicates that the particular nature of the programmed behaviour of this wasp is very hard to grasp if one holds a gradualistic approach.

    It also indicates that objections to ID are often philosophical and religious.

    On the other hand, the recognition of design is free from the luxury of excluding dystasteful candidates from the design inference.

    Thanks Dave for this provocative and a bit bizzare post.

  138. 138
    DaveScot says:

    malnutritious

    Biosphere 2 is an interesting example. It was not a failed ecology, it only failed to meet the expectations of being a self contained environment which can support 8 human beings

    Actually almost all vertebrates died and all pollinating insects died.

    I’m getting a little tired of correcting you. Either improve the quality of your comments or find a different blog.

  139. 139
    bj says:

    idnet.com.au wrote:

    “The volume of responses to this posts indicates that the particular nature of the programmed behaviour of this wasp is very hard to grasp if one holds a gradualistic approach.

    It also indicates that objections to ID are often philosophical and religious.”

    Beyond that, it indicates that the “problem of evil” is still very real to most of us.

  140. 140
    Atom says:

    And second of all, it is nonsensical that an alien would spend his time in a corn field and not visit Times Square.

    I am skeptical of crop circles, but let me play Devil’s advocate for a bit…

    I think you may be anthropomorphizing here. Corn fields are collections of living things. So is times square. To an alien organism, with presumably no knowledge of the human significance of NY city, why would one collection of living things hold more interest than another? Cause of the pretty lights and cars? Maybe they think that corn fields are centers of worship, where lonesome humans live among these great collections of corn creatures, serving them, grooming them and taking care of their needs.

    When trying to get inside the mind of an unkown being, we got to be careful about our assumptions. This is why IDist tend to shy away from pop-psycologizing any would-be designer(s).

  141. 141
    scordova says:

    [off topic]

    EndoplasmicMessenger,

    I tried contacting you via the e-mail address you registered at UD regarding your querry about IDEA. Did you get my e-mail?

    Salvador

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