Last week I posted about issues with the production of variation that Darwinists often overlook. So then, the question becomes, what is the mechanism for variation production? In a recent book, called Eight-Legged Marvels: Beauty and Design in the World of Spiders, Chad Arment invites us to examine that very question. In the introduction, Arment says:
…spiders are a choice introduction to biology as we explore diversity in form, function, and behavior within the natural world … [people with varying outlooks] see the same colors, patterns, structures, and behaviors in spiders, yet often interpret these details differently…
And so, Arment asks us to consider the possible causes for the generation of variation:
Dr. Francisco Ayala asserts that design in living organisms is simply the result of natural selection creating and preserving novel genetic adaptations out of chance variations. Some critics suggest this is out-of-order — that design precedes selection…There are also arguments that an undirected evolutionary process has limited capabilities for creating novel genetic adaptations, and that biological systems showing irreducible or specified complexity evidence actual, rather than apparent design. [emphasis mine]
The book gives many wonderful details and beautiful pictures of spiders (my whole family has loved the book – the kids love the pictures, and my wife and I enjoy reading the details about all the many variations of spiders). It also gives a great case study in the variations seen in nature. If the variations are not produced through chance, then what, exactly, is doing the producing? Does God create each one individually? Are there mechanisms within the genome which produce these variabilities? If so, what triggers them? Could the variabilities be encoded outside the genome? Perhaps based on interactions with symbionts? If so, which holds the information for them – the symbiont or the host? Perhaps variations are based on an uber-being from which others devolved?
When you progress beyond simply “chance + selection did it” you find that there are a variety of wonderful questions to explore, and secrets of nature to uncover.
So, I’m interested in your thoughts – when you look at the vast variability in Spiders, what causes their variations? To begin with, I’ll give you a list of things which, based on my reading of the book, seem to be variable within spiders:
- Color (including the ability to change color spontaneously
- Respiratory anatomy
- Spinnerette anatomy
- Eye anatomy
- Exterior (skin/hair)
So by what means do you think these variations are produced?