February 26, 2007

IT'S EASY TO AVOID SELECTION, IMPOSSIBLE TO AVOID TELEOLOGY (via Brian Boys):

Ants 'Hate Each Other' But Work Together (Abigail W. Leonard, 2/22/07, LiveScience)

Different ant species can coexist because, as the saying goes, where one is weak another is strong.

In what researchers describe as "un-peaceful coexistence," multiple ant species stake out the same territory and compete for the same food, but no single species wins out since some are better at finding resources and others better at guarding them. [...]

The take-away message is not that utopian co-existence is possible, since after all, said Adler, "these species hate each other." It is more about understanding the natural limits of organisms: No single species wins every time, because it is impossible to be well adapted to do everything. From an evolutionary perspective, he explained, "there are limits to how well you can design something."

Humans, he added, are the only species that seem to be able to break these constraints--owing to our intelligence, not physical capabilities.


This one has everything: anthropomorphizing; acknowledgment that survival pressures are ineffectual; avowal of Man's unique immunity to evolution; and, as Friend Boys points out, that priceless bit of confusion between Darwinism and Design.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2007 12:08 PM
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