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Venus Flytrap Takes a Bite Out of Darwinism

Photo credit: Beatriz Moisset, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

On a classic episode of ID the Future, Andrew McDiarmid reads from Marcos Eberlin’s fascinating book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose. In this excerpt, the distinguished Brazilian scientist highlights the challenge the Venus flytrap poses for evolutionary theory. Dr. Eberlin describes the problem: The Venus flytrap, like all carnivorous plants, has no use for its insect-trapping function unless it also has an insect-digesting function. And vice versa. But the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection selects for current function, not potential future function. Unlike a designing intelligence, natural selection can’t look into the future and plan in that way. So for natural selection to have selected these twin systems, they would somehow have had to evolve together. But could they really evolve together? How, when there would be no functional advantage along much of the evolutionary pathway to the sophisticated finished systems? Finally, how did this “evolutionary miracle” also happen in four other carnivorous plant genera, supposed cases of “convergent evolution”? Download the podcast or listen to it here. And see a video of the Venus flytrap in action below, as mentioned in the podcast: