Stump your Darwinist friends by asking them to explain, in evolutionarily adaptive terms, biological features like the precise pattern of the maple leaf or of an angiosperm flower. “That’s a fantastically serious challenge to Darwinism,” says Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton in this brief but delightful video conversation — a “nightmarish scenario.” Why? Because Darwinism by definition must justify such features, including the taxa-defining novelties, as having been seized upon by natural selection because they were adaptive. I mean, that pattern specifically and not some other.
It’s the specificity that’s the problem. This is a deep point by Denton. For classic evolutionary theory, the curse of non-adaptive order resides in the fact that non-adaptive patterns — beautiful and complex ones — absolutely pervade life. An aesthetic choice might explain the act of selection. But blind, dumb natural selection, focused like a laser beam on fitness, carefully designing these thing to be just as they are and no other way? Sorry, that doesn’t fly.
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