Biology Evolution Intelligent Design

What Have Butterflies Got to Do with Darwin? Part II

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d'Abrera's latest bookBernard d’Abrera is a world-class lepidopterist who writes books that are largely about butterflies but also provide him a springboard for critiquing the sham that is Darwinism and also for promoting intelligent design. Below is a post that appeared here at UncommonDescent in 2005 on the first book that he was kind enough to send me (please read the review of that book linked to my designinference website). Just recently I received his latest, Butterflies of the Afrotropical Regions, Part III. As with all his books, the typesetting and photography (all his own) are superb. The really fun part for me, however, is the introductory material, where he goes after Darwin, Dawkins, the Smithsonian, and other assorted villains.

This newest book by d’Abrera is available here for purchase. It’s not cheap, so if you can’t afford it, see if you can get your local or university library to buy it.

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What Have Butterflies Got to Do with Darwin? Part I
(originally posted at UD on November 22, 2005)

Check out the following review of Bernard D’Abrera’s wonderful book on butterflies: designinference.com/…dAbrera_review. Below is my favorite picture in the book (p. 60; note the caption; emphasis in the original):

Kallima limborgi
The so-called leaf butterfly, Kallima limborgi not
pretending to be a leaf! Malaysai, 1992.

19 Replies to “What Have Butterflies Got to Do with Darwin? Part II

  1. 1
    scordova says:

    Bernard’s books, the one ISCID recommended, seem to be out of print. I hope they’ll reprint his books.

    Salvador

  2. 2
    PaV says:

    It’s interesting that D’Abrera comes to his conclusions about the Darwinian hegemony via study of lepidoptera. It was, in fact, lepidoptera that Richard Goldschmidt studied extensively, and upon which he based his criticisms of “macro-evolution” back in the 1930’s. He was unfortunate, though, to be an embryologist/taxonomist at the same time as one Theodosius Dobhzanski. They fought it out; and we know who won. Goldschmidt is, of course, connected with the ridiculed notion of “hopeful monster”, which term is wholly undeserving of such ridicule if properly understood. A “hopeful monster” was, basically, a ‘permutation’, if you will, of the ‘order’ of coding sections in nuclear DNA (a kind of recombinant event) that managed to survive. Monster, here, is used in the same sense that breeders used the term in Darwin’s day, i.e., something completely unexpected and discontinous with its parental stock.

    I guess you can’t study butterflies without giving up Darwinism. Maybe it’s because caterpillars become beautiful flying insects. Natural Selection sure is something.

  3. 3
    Brian says:

    Wow, those are some amazing quotes. He doesn’t pull any punches.

  4. 4
    antg says:

    The Natural History Museum in London is currently hosting the Wildlife Photogapher of the Year exhibition. One of the photographs that struck me was a close up of an Emperor Moth showing the mimicry pattern on its wings where it models the face of a galago (bushbaby) to ward off predators. Now what the photo emphasises and is commented on in the accompanying text is the detail to which the image on the moths wings resembles its model – right down to 3D effects showing light reflecting off the eyes.

    Try for yourself – look for examples of these in google images and compare.

    Now I understand the selection advantages of good mimicry WHEN YOU HAVE IT, but the question I have is when it comes to mapping the image of a 3D object onto a 2D pixelated surface of the moth’s wings in the first place, and with such fidelity are we SURE that undirected RM&NS gradualism explains this? Maybe its just a bit of personal incredulity on my part but as far as I am concerned the emergence of these features has not been satisfactorily explained by Darwinian evolution.

  5. 5
    mentok says:

    Butterflys as well as numerous other species which are seemingly designed because of the artistic symmetry, color coordination, artistic beauty, etc, offer living proog that random mutation plays no part in diversification of species. Look at tropical fish, tropical birds, flowers, or if you think about it pretty much any creature or plant on earth. Why is their beauty and artistic perfection the rule rather then the exception? If the diversity of life is the product of blind froces of nature then what is the chance of the extreme artistic beauty found in the natural world to occur as often and to the degree it is?

    Why is the natural world beautiful and artistic as the rule? I’ve asked evolutionists this question previously and they replied that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I told them that is my point. How can a blind nature consistently produce magnificent works of art as opposed to utilitarian functionality? While beauty and art may be subjective, artistic prescision, color coordination, and artistic symmetry are not.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The butterfly is very interesting as to the dramatic transformation that is, and will be, wrought, in us lowly humans, by God through Christ.

    Francis Chan – shut up
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITioPFM5GlY

    These Three Remain:
    Excerpt: Inside the cocoon, the changes taking place are far more profound than I had imagined. The grub, wrapped in its silk shroud and hidden from view, is not slowly growing wings. The worm is not gradually developing the characteristics of a butterfly, adding new parts on and altering the old to take on a new look. Inside the cocoon, something far more profound is taking place.

    The worm as we know it has died. There is no gradual development of new limbs and new features….the worm itself is gone! In its place is a black sludge, the sort of goo we associate with complete and utter decomposition. Floating in the goo somewhere are a few vital organs that have not completely broken down, but there is nothing recognizable as a caterpillar left. The cells are alive, but liquefied. It is from this black liquid, this complete and utter destruction of the original worm, that the butterfly is pieced together. It is truly a new creature! God has taken the cells, broken them beyond recognition, caused the old creature to exist no more, and built something completely new from the pieces.

    And the missing parts? Oh, Christian! The missing parts speak so strongly to my heart. For God to make the whole and beautiful new creature He had planned, He needed all of the worm. The worm had to die, it had to become dead black sludge for God’s plan to work perfectly. When we fail to submit All of our heart to God’s will…even when God’s will is that the old must die! When we fail to give it all to him and truly die to self we find that we are incomplete. We emerge with broken wings and incomplete hearts, we limp along when we could be flying high. When we give it all to God, He works every part of it, yes every ugly detail…to His good. He takes the loathsome worm, and from dead black sludge he brings forth a jeweled and graceful butterfly! He asks for nothing less than total submission to His will…nothing less than the death of the old self. But we can trust completely that His plans for us are beautiful! We can trust that He will change us completely, make us a new creature, and give us wings to fly!
    http://anerissara.blogspot.com.....erfly.html

  7. 7
    Upright BiPed says:

    I love this quote:

    “Some may ask why I have included my arguments against the several theories of evolution of species in a popular work such as this. I answer that I do so because … those who support any or all of such theories do so relentlessly and unopposed in every literary, visual and spoken vehicle that exists – be it base, popular or exalted highbrow. They are totally in control of every scientific journal or book in print and have no intention of having their hegemony threatened….” (53)

    It is refeshing to note they still have time to come here to bemoan and lament the moderation policy at this one little spot on the internet.

  8. 8
    Upright BiPed says:

    “No field worker who studies insects, may now freely gaze upon his discoveries of insect morphology, biology or behaviour, without the taint of speculative Darwinism compelling him to colour his conclusions. No more is such a worker allowed to make direct, uncomplicated observations about objective facts about butterflies or moths…. Instead he is now compelled through the pressure of insidious programming by the overlords of the scientific establishment, to subject everything he has objectively observed to the tyranny of subjectivist and useless speculation about butterflies and their hypothetical origins. He must do so for no other reason than being able to collect his grant and acquire his PhD or some other doubtful honour of mutual respectability amongst his peers. The really dangerous part of this global pseudo-scientific cultism is that our worker has unconsciously been made to pass from the intellectual liberty provided within the legitimate realms of distinterested hypothesis, into the cul-de-sac of totalitarian absolutism of unprovable dogma…. Evolutionists thus become roped into the bondage of their own theory. They postulate it as holy writ and then labour ceaselessly to find the ‘evidence’ to fit it. Such tendentious labours only bestow the opprobrium of ‘contrivance’ upon the evidence so gleaned.” (64)

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  9. 9
    GilDodgen says:

    It really is quite mystifying and illuminating to observe that a transparently absurd proposition — that random errors, with the bad errors being thrown out and the good errors being preserved* — has become unassailable orthodoxy among the intellectual elite as an explanation for everything from the functionally integrated information-processing machinery of the cell (with error detection and repair, comparable to cyclic redundancy checks used in digital data transfer) to the human mind.

    How can so many intelligent, well-educated people be so stupid, or at least so unobservant and ill-informed?

    *This is my preferred formulation of the “random mutation and natural selection” hypothesis. We are told that it’s not all “mutations,” meaning nucleotide point mutations. But all the other proposed genetic alterations, whatever the variety, are purported to be random in nature. In addition, we are told that natural selection is not random, and this is supposed to convince people that NS represents a highly creative process that can do anything. Of course, “natural selection” only throws stuff out, non-randomly, and by definition creates nothing new.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Looks like a leaf to me. (but then, I am color-blind, short-sighted and largely detect butterflies by means of smell).

    How much anthropomorphism is in evolutionary theory, I wonder. By that I mean, we look at something and assume it must look the same to all other creatures as it does to us, and threfore…)

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    For example:

    One of the photographs that struck me was a close up of an Emperor Moth showing the mimicry pattern on its wings where it models the face of a galago (bushbaby) to ward off predators.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    This newest book by d’Abrera is available here for purchase.

    Also available:
    Freshwater Snails of Africa and Their Medical Importance

    Now why on earth would snails turn out to be of medical importance?

  13. 13
    Granville Sewell says:

    Thanks for this great post, Bill. I remember as a youngster watching “Wild Kingdom” on TV. Each episode focused on some magnificient creature of the wild kingdom and its behavior, but always ended with some comment to the effect that everything we had just seen was the result of the struggle for survival in the wild. Even at my age, I always thought “you’ve got to be kidding me.” I’m glad there are some naturalists, like d’Abrera (and W.E.Loennig … the list is growing) capable of thinking outside the box.

    “No field worker who studies insects, may now freely gaze upon his discoveries of insect morphology, biology or behaviour, without the taint of speculative Darwinism compelling him to colour his conclusions. No more is such a worker allowed to make direct, uncomplicated observations about objective facts about butterflies or moths…. Instead he is now compelled through the pressure of insidious programming by the overlords of the scientific establishment, to subject everything he has objectively observed to the tyranny of subjectivist and useless speculation about butterflies and their hypothetical origins”

  14. 14
    allanius says:

    Darwinism illustrates that Kant was right. The study of origins should be considered out of bounds for science because origins cannot be seen.

  15. 15
    Heinrich says:

    I guess you can’t study butterflies without giving up Darwinism.

    Tell that to Jim Mallet!

    There is a lot of evolutionary biology being done with and on butterflies – I just wish I could keep up with it!

  16. 16
    DATCG says:

    Cute, variations = macro evolution?

    Don’t think so. There is nothing Mallet is doing that is not fully accepted by IDist or Creationist as variations of micro evolution.

    The disagreement is in interpretations and extrapolations of the data observed into an overall theory that states all diversity we see is thru unguided processes.

    The failure of Darwin’s defenders to recognize this is an old problem, that essentially points to strawman arguments.

    Koonin, Baptist, et al., however have pointed out issues with origins, gradualism, and the single TOL. Not IDist supporters.

    The problems are many and few resolved. In fact, with all the mechanisms listed by Allen, the real problem(s) are exposed.

    There are no unguided mechamism(s) to create the mechanisms he list. Only stories and fairy tales.

  17. 17
    Heinrich says:

    Don’t think so. There is nothing Mallet is doing that is not fully accepted by IDist or Creationist as variations of micro evolution.

    Are you saying that Jim Mallet is a creationist?

  18. 18
    VMartin says:

    Some butterflies species mimic even dry leaves and dangle in the breeze. However most interesting fact is that they “mimic” those leaves only on their hind wings and on some part of front wings. On the front wings the pattern is only visible at the top of them. The butterfly must put its wing together in special position in order to show up mimetic pattern. This interesting phenomenon is called Oudemans effect – the rest of front wings are colored often as their bottom side, nonmimeticaly. It also means that both pairs are somehow interconnected during ontogeny, because both pairs of wings originate from different germ tissues. It is hard to believe that the process was anyhow directed by “natural selection”. It seems more likely that the pattern are somehow painted on the butterfly’s bodies as the whole, despite different origin of affected organs and tissues.

    One of the interesting book I read about the issue was written by Andreas Suchantke “Metamorphosen im Insektenreich” (1999). Needles to say that Suchantke dismissed darwinism on the first page.

    Pav in his post #2 mentioned Richard Goldschmidt. I wrote an entry on my blog regarding Goldschmidt’s criticism of darwinian explanation of mimicry. In 1945 he wrote ““Mimetic Polymorphism, a Controversial Chapter of Darwinism”.

    It really needs a hard-core darwinist to believe in “natural selection” as the source of polymorphic mimicry. You have often male and two or three polymorphic females, but only one of them is “mimic”. Why natural selection haven’t eradicate remaining two non-mimetic forms is a puzzle no one darwinist has dared to explain yet.

    http://cadra.wordpress.com/

  19. 19
    E P Hale says:

    Bornagain77, thanks for quoting my butterfly post, what a nice surprise!

    Butterflies are what made me realize that Darwin’s evolution is all wrong! Long before I started to research the issue and even before I’d accepted Christ.

    Here was my thought…Monarch butterflies are apparently toxic to birds. Viceroy butterflies mimic the coloring of Monarchs and therefore birds avoid them, too. If evolution is true, then why don’t ALL butterflies look like Monarchs by now?

    I couldn’t make that work in my head, no matter how I tried. By now, with “billions and billions of years” behind us, things should look much different than they do. From that point on I started looking hard at what I’d been taught. I found first through a scientific lens that evolution doesn’t make sense, and when I came to know Christ the rest of the pieces fell into place. It was butterflies (and also a statistics class and tachyons, but that’s another story) that got me thinking about the way science is presented and how easily we can be led astray by scientific “fact”.

    I’m interested to read more about butterflies! Exciting to find this site.

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