The New Scientist carries an article, “Metamorphosis: Evolution’s Freak Factory,” by a fellow named Frank Ryan, the same gentleman who recently wrote a popular book titled The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story. The theory he advances in the article and the book is Donald Williamson’s notion that metamorphosis is the result of hybridization between animals of separate phyla. The theory is not mainstream, and has been ridiculed even by hardcore Darwinists. The publication is a measure of how desperate and beggarly orthodox evolutionary theory is on this topic in particular. When Williamson got his idea published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by way of Lynn Margulis’s recommendation, there was such an outcry that PNAS changed its own rules about how articles are approved.
In the book Ryan also writes about the story of how insect hormones, and their influence on development, were discovered, and he discusses the most widely accepted evolutionary theory seeking to explain metamorphosis, which relies on shifts in the timing of hormone expression (Truman and Riddiford, Nature 1999).
Both the book and Williamson’s theory predate Illustra’s documentary Metamorphosis, so we doubt this article was written in response to it.
If you want some really substantive discussion of these issues, especially in relation to the movie Metamorphosis, we encourage you to download the FREE companion e-book to the film. Paul Nelson and Ann Gauger have an article in the book that discusses the subject in considerable and illuminating detail.
It’s worth the trouble to sign in to New Scientist, by the way, just to view the movie clip about sea urchin metamorphosis and the before-and-after pictures of metamorphic animals. In their way, they make the case for design quite well. But note the article is only free for the next few days.