We have much to thank Darwin for. What a wonderful source of stories ... good ones, bad ones, true ones, false ones, naughty ones and some very funny ones. I hope you enjoy reading them all!
" We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." - Dissent from Darwin
Natural selection [is used] carelessly as a mantra, as in the evidence-free “just-so stories” concocted out of thin air by mentally lazy adaptationists. (Stephen Jay Gould)
In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. (Isaac newton)
Friday, February 16, 2007
How Giraffe Got his long Neck
Darwin was the first to propose that long necks evolved in giraffes because they enabled the animals to eat foliage beyond the reach of shorter browsers. That seemingly sensible explanation has held up for over a century, but it is probably wrong, says Robert Simmons. Simmons, a behavioral ecologist at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Windhoek, Namibia, believes giraffes developed long necks not to compete for food but to win mates. Simmons was studying eagles in Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa when he happened to come upon a pair of male giraffes locked in combat. Male giraffes battle for mates by swinging their powerful necks--which can be over six feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds. The momentum generated allows them to slam their heads into their opponents with vertebrae-shattering--and occasionally lethal--force. In these contests, males with the longest, thickest necks usually prevail. As Simmons watched the fight, he became convinced that this competition for mates, not stretching for treetop food, was what drove the evolution of the neck. If competition for food had spurred the elongation, says Simmons, then you would expect giraffes to graze mainly from tall acacia trees beyond the reach of other savanna inhabitants. But giraffes feed mostly with their necks bent, along low bushes. Moreover, their short, stubby horns probably evolved to better concentrate the force of their head blows.
Dear Visitor , my blog is neither for nor against any particular theory of evolution. It is rather a light-hearted look at how scientists try to fit the puzzles of nature into the prevailing neo-darwinism paradigm.
Read all the stories and make up your own mind!
P.S. Oh, and if you really must know which story I believe, read the last word :)
A "just-so story" is known as the "ad hoc fallacy." The Latin means "for this," and it applies to any "pourquoi" explanation of things, given for the express purpose of supporting an otherwise unprovable hypothesis.
Just So - David Warren
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. C. S. Lewis
Athiest Bus Campaign
Of course, I may be wrong...
Haeckel's fib - His drawings (1st line) vs actual photographs (2nd line)
The Balony Detector
How To Avoid Propaganda
Nature's Story Retreat
“Phylogeny based on similarity of form is fundamentally unsound because of the adaptation and convergent evolution witnessed in nature.” Nature, 1 May 2008
"Proof" of Darwin's Evolution
Phylogeny based on similarity of form!
"It is amazing how a process of Darwinian evolution by tinkering and improvement has generated, from a collection of sensory proteins in yeast, the complex synapse of mammals associated with learning and cognition." Dr Richard Emes, a lecturer in bioinformatics at Keele University
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning. C. S. Lewis
“Information is information, neither energy nor matter. Any materialism that fails to take account of this will not survive one day.” Norbert Weiner, MIT Mathematician and Founder of Cybernetics
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. C. S. Lewis
How SCIENCE woke up
"The Homo sapiens who are best able to lie have an edge over their counterparts in a relentless struggle for the reproductive success that drives the engine of evolution" Scientific American (David Livingstone Smith)
How do we select stories?
We try to only feature interesting stories where the scientist has had to use his considerable imagination to "fill in the gaps" (e.g. See how the Whale learnt to swim by Charles Darwin). Our position is not that the scientist is wrong (although he certainly may be), but that his story is just one of many "just so" stories that attempt to explain the universe. When one looks at all the stories on this site together, one has the uneasy feeling that in most cases, scientists are following the dominating scientific paradigm of the day with which to explain nature's mysteries. In most cases, these stories fall far short of being satisfying explanations to "all things bright and beautiful".
And if you really must know what I believe. Check the last word!
The Other "Darwin Awards"
We are on a quest to find the most entertaining Darwinian just so story of the year. Please send your just-so story nominations, submissions and votes to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Life began
“….all these problems are worrisome, but they do not completely rule out the possibility that RNA was initially synthesized and replicated by relatively uncomplicated processes."
Leslie E. Orgel, Research professor at the Salk Institute
It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in these stories*, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).
Can watch parts be placed in a box, shaken vigorously, and result in a fully assembled watch? The Paley Watch Company in Eugene, Oregon says yes! They are applying natural selection in a controlled environment to assemble their watches thereby reducing required personnel. The savings are passed to the customer.
Cows have tails - A poem
Cows have tails
to chase away the flies
peacocks have them
to attract the peahens eyes
monkeys too, to swing from tree to tree
But dogs have tails
just for making known
Click on "Older Posts" above for MORE incredible stories
(including how BACTERIUM got her Flagellum)
The Biggest collection of JUST SO STORIES on the internet
The earth took shape and ruptured, heaved
While sun-filled energies burst and roared
Something created, formed, achieved
Broke from high heavens palace and soared
Through all space and time, through eternity
Pure love for life and all mankind
Expressed by someone who expressed the plea
That man should love with soul an’ mind
His creator, master, Lord of life
Who set out the beasts and flock of air
And made man keeper when fullness was rife
To be the Protector of natures lair
But man has all this goodness spent
And from natures bosom all life is rent