Let's study ID: Darwinism cannot explain metamorphosis (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 13, 2021, 00:46 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

Especially with Monarch butterfly migration thrown in:


" Charles Darwin reasoned that, nature can develop desirable traits by a process ,which he called "natural selection" acting on random variation. The key point is that each step needs to provide some increased survival benefit for the individual, or there is no reason to retain it for future generations.


"The first part of the lifecycle of butterflies is similar to that of crickets and grasshoppers in that they begin as eggs. Then, unlike crickets and grasshoppers, they develop into caterpillars, which go through a series of molts (usually about five), shedding their skin as they grow in size by two or three orders of magnitude (effectively doubling in mass every couple of days over a period of a few weeks). During this stage, their external shape stays basically the same through each instar.

"The next stage for butterflies [is] the caterpillar attaches itself to a twig. Under the skin that it sheds, there is a different type of skin that hardens to form the chrysalis. Inside this chrysalis (or pupa), the caterpillar completes its transformation into an adult butterfly. This stage involves the simultaneous development of a whole variety of new body parts and shapes—all of which are necessary for a successful butterfly.

"The first thing that happens inside the chrysalis is that the caterpillar's body digests itself from the inside out, using some of the same digestive juices it used to digest the leaves it previously ate. It then proceeds to assemble a new body with new structures—amazingly, while it is still alive. The new structures include:

"A thinner, lighter, multi-segmented body: Three segments of thorax develop, each of which has a pair of legs attached to it, while the second and third segments each have a pair of wings attached as well.
Six long, thin, segmented legs, instead of sixteen stumpy ones: the two front legs are held close to the body most of the time, but are used to taste-test milkweed before the butterfly lays its eggs.
Four wings: Two forewings and two hindwings are attached to the second and third body segments respectively, each with its necessary muscles and a system to inflate them. Recently it has been shown that each of the larger veins in a butterfly wing contains a central tracheal tube and one or two hemolymph channels; these control temperature and give the two-dimensional wings structure, strength, and support.
Two-part hollow tongue: The straw-like proboscis is the butterfly's tongue, through which it sucks in nectar and water (instead of chewing leaves) for nourishment. The tongue is formed in two halves and must be assembled after the butterfly leaves the chrysalis. Since the proboscis is very long (sometimes up to 1.5 times the length of the body), it would be in the way and might be damaged when not in use, so it conveniently is able to be curled up.
A much smaller digestive system, modified for digesting nectar instead of leaves.

"An improved sense of smell and taste: the butterfly's antennae, palpi (a pair of protrusions on the front of the head), legs, and feet have abundant sensory receptors with which it can locate flowers that have nectar, potential mates (producing pheromones), and milkweed plants where it can lay its eggs.
An improved sense of sight: A butterfly's compound eyes are made up of thousands of ommatidia, each of which senses light and images, instead of six pairs of simple eyes that barely detect light versus dark.


"You may recognize this problem as one of irreducible complexity, a term coined by Lehigh University biochemist Dr. Michael Behe in his book Darwin's Black Box (Simon and Schuster, 1996). As Behe explains, if a system needs all its component parts to be in place simultaneously in order to function, there is no pathway for this to occur through a gradual Darwinian process.


"The characteristic that marks all these systems as irreducibly complex is that every single component in the system must be present at the same time in order for it to function, just as multiple, simultaneous changes must occur within the chrysalis for the emerging butterfly to survive and function. The combined probability of these necessary components coming into existence virtually at once is astoundingly low. Even billions of years is not enough time to give all this a reasonable chance of happening by a random process.


" Shun Yao and others describe the developmental changes in genetic expression in another species of butterfly, the swallowtail butterfly.3 They found 1,723 differences in genetic expression between the caterpillar and chrysalis stages, and 1,162 such differences between the chrysalis and adult butterfly stages. They identified these differences as being related to the changes that occur in the digestion, cuticularization (skin formation in the caterpillar stage), chemoreception (for the sense of smell), wing formation, and other systems. Since mutations are relatively rare (and most would negatively affect the ability of the insect to live), the chance of all of these needed mutations occurring simultaneously, and correctly, is far beyond an astronomical number."

Comment: The key is the concept of irreducible complexity. If its presence is recognized in any animal process as in metamorphosis, Darwinism is dead.

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