Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

When in doubt, doubt


I hope I am not interrupting a heated exchange over pepperology* but I thought I’d share this:

A reader of the Post-Darwinist wrote me to ask, how it could  a plant evolve by Darwinian means to look like a wasp – as we are meant to believe.

I replied:

Well, the Darwinian theory is that the wasp and the orchid evolved by slow steps toward this resemblance, purely by natural selection.

That is, the plants and insects that looked most like each other were naturally selected for.

Somewhat like an accidental version of Swan Lake.

I have the same reaction as you. I don’t think it likely happened that way.

The amount of entirely blind, unreasoning coordination that is actually required is stupefyingly improbable, as compared with both life forms just going extinct. UNLESS some underlying law or design is invoked.

Still, I admit I don’t know. Perhaps for one dyad of life forms in an entire universe it could happen.

But similar feats claimed for hundreds? Thousands? That’s ridiculous.

But do keep in mind that I am neither a Darwinist nor a materialist. I do not need to believe that stuff just because my assent will help rescue Darwinism or materialism from the rather capacious attic of failed Big Ideas.

I know of no reason why the universe could not show evidence of either intelligent design or underlying laws that govern the evolution of living forms. Or another principle of which I have not yet heard.

Therefore, when I am asked to believe entirely improbable feats of natural selection, I remind myself, “When in doubt, doubt, and if it sounds unbelievable, don’t believe it.”

So it is okay with me to just not believe it.

I do NOT need to know exactly how it happened in order to doubt a Darwinist/materialist explanation. Any more than I need to know who Jack the Ripper was in order to doubt the claim that it “would have been” Queen Victoria in disguise, according to the latest theory of evolutionary psychology. (No, I haven’t heard that one yet, but go here for a theory worthy of the same sort of attention.)

Also, Today at the Mindful Hack

Still more surprising information from neurosurgeon Mike Egnor’s caseload about how people can manage with greatly reduced brains.

*pepperology – In Canada, we got into nukes sixty years ago or so. You’ve no idea the trouble that saves, and you don’t need hot weather. You can generate your own hot weather. So I recommend that you dudes go nuclear. Why worry about the Scoville Scale when you could, like, do Armageddon?

One thing that is especially interesting about at least one of these wasp-orchid relationships is that the female wasps emerge a week later than the male wasps so that the orchid does not have to compete with real female wasps in attracting horny male wasps. Another interesting thing is that these relationships confer no benefit on the wasp except free porn. One reference says,
The reward offered is not always food. There is a tropical orchid with flowers that look and smell like females of a certain species of wasp. Males of this species emerge a week before the females. A male who smells a flower of this orchid, think it’s a female wasp, gets closer and the flower looks like a female, lands on it and it feels like a female, tries to copulate, gives up in frustration, and goes on to the next thing that smells like a female, and ends up transferring pollen.
-- from http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio303/coevolution.htm I wonder how the Darwinists can explain that one. The above wasp-orchid relationship is supposedly an example of co-evolution, where two different kinds of organisms exert "mutual evolutionary pressure" on each other. My blog discusses co-evolution at -- http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/09/co-evolution-redux.html -- and -- http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/04/co-evolutionary-paradox.html Larry Fafarman
I'm scratching my head and trying to decide how natural selection happened to know that a million years of effort applied toward transforming some plant into what we know of today as a wasp orchid wouldn't be a colossal waste of time because, say, wasps disappeared or evolved into something that no longer looked ... waspy. Can the Universe really be so lucky? Disclaimer: Many times I find myself lacking the basic thinkpower required to wrap my head around how Darwinism is supposed to "work" for a given biological lineage, if you will. I usually get hung up on questions that, I think, boil down to irreducible complexity. cmpilato
So I recommend that you dudes go nuclear. Why worry about the Scoville Scale when you could, like, do Armageddon?
Denyse, you totally crack me up. On the subject of Swan Lake, ID, and the arts: http://www.arn.org/_idarts/wordpress/?p=126 GilDodgen

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