Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Perfect Design

Animals seem to be amazingly designed in order to fit their needs. Jerry Coyne on page 118-119 explains the elaborate design of the woodpecker. The woodpecker hammers its head into trees creating holes at “a speed that can crumble your car”. With such a force the bird should be hurting itself, but because its skull is “specially shaped with extra bone” and how it’s “beak rests on a cushion of cartilage” it is able to collect food unfazed. What are other examples of animals with complex design? How do their adaptations help them survive in their environment? Explain how early naturalists used complex design to support their argument. How do evolutionists refute their claim?


  1. There are many other animals with complex design. First, is the Asian giant hornet which is an animal with a complex design made to kill. It has a quarter inch stinger that gives lethal injections to its victims. Then is he three inch wingspan so that it can fly twenty five miles per hour. Its larvae are insatiable and the only way the hornets are able to feed their demands is to murder entire nests of bees and wasps. The hornets enter the nests and decapitate the bees and wasps mercilessly. This is their complex design in order to survive in their environment by getting the food necessary to feed their young. The bees also have their own complex design in order to defend themselves against the hornets attack. They attack the hornets by surrounding them in balls of bees and vibrating their abdomens, part of their complex design. This raises the temperature to about 117 degrees fahrenheit, a temperature that the hornets cannot survive but the honeybees can.

    Another example of complex design is when animals camouflage themselves by looking like plants. The katydids are insects that have complex design that allows them to look exactly like leaves. They have leaflike patterns and "rotten spots" that resemble the holes in the leaves. This helps the katydids survive in their environment because they cannot be spotted by their predators.

    Early naturalists used complex design the support their argument that the world was made by celestial design. The complex design of the animals that allowed them to adapt and survive in their environment the naturalists saw as proof that Gd must have designed the animals in those specific ways in order to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible.

    Evolutionists refute this claim the same way since Darwin started refuting it in his book "The Origin" with his famous idea of natural selection. Natural selection gives the reasoning behind why the animals have the complex designs that they do in order to do their jobs. Natural selections explains that the genes that allowed animals to survive and reproduce in the most efficient ways were the ones that continued to be passed on and so over a long period of time the animals had compiled those favorable genes into the complex designs they have today in order to do their jobs in the best way possible. Natural selection is an ongoing process that began rivaling the idea of celestial design the second Darwin came out with it.

    Campbell textbook and "The Evolution is True"

  2. Many unicellular organisms have complex design in the form of flagella. The flagellum allows for mobility. It has "a paddle, a rotor, and a motor" that allows for movement (Veritas-uscb). For a long time, Intelligent Design supporters insisted that a flagellum needs all three components to work, and that "because these [organs] look like machines...they must be designed" (bnet).
    ID and Creationists used complex design to support their arguments because it seemed to them that a very complex organ would not be useful if it were missing one of its part. In Coyne's book, he rhetorically asks about the use of half a wing.
    Evolutionists can refute ID and Creationists by showing how organs like wings and eyes can definitely be useful in reduced forms. For example, extremely primitive eyes can sense light, and this can help regulate internal clocks. Half wings, such as on flying squirrels, can facilitate gliding.

    Mark Perakh wrote an article, not proving how flagella would be useful in reduced forms, but insisting that ID proponents often showed over-idealized flagella, and not flagella in their natural forms, therefore not basing their arguments on evidence. In any case, the flagellum remains somewhat of a puzzle, but it will be cracked since all other 'reduced' organs can be proved useful because evolution is true.



  3. Lots of other animals have evolved complicated systems in order to help them survive their environment. For example, the inside of the alligator snapping turtle possesses a vermiform (worm-shaped) appendage on the tip of its tongue used to lure fish, a form of Peckhamian mimicry. The turtle then lays still deep in the depths of the waters with its camouflaged mouth open and wiggles its vermiform. This vermiform tongue imitates the movements of a worm, luring prey to the turtle's mouth. The turtle, with the second strongest bite force(second only to the crocodile) then snaps its mouth shut to complete the kill. (Wiki) This incorporation of Peckhamian mimicry helps the alligator snapping turtle capture prey more easily which ensures the animal will not starve to death. Also, the force of its bite is also an adaptation that helps the animal easily kill its prey. If the turtle could not shut its jaw as fast, then the animal may have the chance to escape from the trap before the turtle gets to feed. The force of its bite is clearly no coincidence.

    Early naturalists most easily latch onto such examples as the "perfectness" of their design must be evident of a higher being. Because the design was so considerate and highly fitted to each animal's environment, these animals became proof of a higher being's work. It was also assumed that these animals are already fully adapted to their environment and have all their needs fulfilled, since they are "perfect".

    Evolutionists, however, refute this claim by linking the highly evolved species of today to the more primitive species of yesterday. By linking the ancestors, evolutionists may prove that there was once when the animals were not fully adaptive to their environment. Natural selection then helped weed out the weak and defenseless and spurred for stronger and more adaptive animals.

    Wiki Alligator Snapping Turtle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alligator_Snapping_Turtle
    Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne
    Bio textbook

  4. Another example is the flagella found in bacteria. Many bacteria have an extremely complex flagellum that is claimed by creationist to be irreducibly complex. Flagellum allow bacteria to be motile. This allows them to escape hazardous environment, move to more favorable environments, or simply undergo kenesis in hopes of encountering food. Creationist use the "irreducibly complex" argument as an argument against evolution. They claimed that because there is no definite traces that can be linked to the proteins it can not have evolved. The argument claims that since none of these proteins have any use alone they could not have formed evolutionarily, but must instead have been formed by the hands of a creator (an all or nothing argument: either you have all the proteins or you have none as there is no use for intermediates). Evolutionists refute this claim in three main ways. They state firstly that there are evolutionary traces for this mechanism; there is the possibility that some of the proteins found in the flagellum mechanism could have been used to transport proteins by earlier bacteria. Additionally evolutionists point out that the proteins vary between most species of bacteria. This means that each bacterium evolved its own flagellum. This was a case of parallel evolution where similar environmental stresses in different environment produced similar results. Had a creator design the flagellum it would instead be uniform between species. Lastly Evolutionist point out that simply because a theory is not 100% proved does not imply that it is false. Many of todays theoretical physics are excepted as facts despite the lack of 100% proof. One not fully explained instance does not disprove the theory as a whole.


  5. Animals evolve over time to fit the needs of their environment. For example, emperor penguins have adapted beautifully to their environment. Emperor penguins are endotherms that survive through the darkest harshest winters, so it its vital that they have an efficient process for thermoregulation. Because emperor penguins need to survive through harsh winters, they are the largest penguins because rounder bodies retain their heat for a long time as compared to small slender bodies. In order to stay warm in and out of the water, they have a layer of feathers which trap air against their skin. In addition, they have layer of blubber under their skin which acts as insulation. They also have feathers that overlap to create a barrier against the water to prevent it from touching their skin when then hunt for fish in the water. An oil covers their body making them impermeable to water also adds to this barrier. Finally, penguins have a counter-current blood exchange system in their feet. This works to keep them warm by using the blood from their heart to warm up the blood that was just cooled by being near the surface. This system also cools penguins down because when their blood is near the surface they release heat.

    Emperor penguins have multiple adaptions to make them better swimmers so that they can be stronger hunters and escape predators. One adaption is their bone mass. Most birds have hollow bones to make it easier for them to fly. Penguins don’t fly, they swim. This is why it is more beneficial for emperor penguins to have solid bones that give them more weight so that they can dive deeper for food.

    Early naturalists used complex design to support their view that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” They believe that an animal is perfectly fitted for its environment because God created it that way. Evolutionists refute this claim by stating that complex design IS due to natural selection. They support the idea that these animals evolved through random mutations which “meet the current adaptive needs of the organism,” allowing it to survive int its habitat (118). Therefore, the organisms with these advantageous mutations would survive and the ones without it would not. Overtime, the only organisms that are living would be the ones with that gene.