Burt Humburg posted Entry 1863 on December 30, 2005 11:32 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1858
The idea that evolution is best exemplified in silly or stupid adaptations is an idea with a rich history. Quoting from the late, great Stephen Jay Gould in the essay that provides this site’s namesake (PDF link):
Thus, the paradox, and the common theme of this trilogy of essays: Our textbooks like to illustrate evolution with examples of optimal design - nearly perfect mimicry of a dead leaf by a butterfly or of a poisonous species by a palatable relative. But ideal design is a lousy argument for evolution, for it mimics the postulated action of an omnipotent creator. Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution - paths that a sensible God would never treat but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce.
Following in this tradition, professor emeritus of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Don Wise has written a little ditty (WMV video link) on “Incompetent Design.”
He’s interviewed in Seed Magazine, in an article called The Other ID.
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