Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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A "Nightmarish Scenario" for Darwinism -- the Curse of Non-Adaptive Order

Stump your Darwinist friends by asking them to explain, in evolutionarily adaptive terms, biological features like the precise pattern of the maple leaf or of an angiosperm flower. "That's a fantastically serious challenge to Darwinism," says Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton in this brief but delightful video conversation -- a "nightmarish scenario." Why? Because Darwinism by definition must justify such features, including the taxa-defining novelties, as having been seized upon by natural selection because they were adaptive. I mean, that pattern specifically and not some other.

It's the specificity that's the problem. This is a deep point by Denton. For classic evolutionary theory, the curse of non-adaptive order resides in the fact that non-adaptive patterns -- beautiful and complex ones -- absolutely pervade life. An aesthetic choice might explain the act of selection. But blind, dumb natural selection, focused like a laser beam on fitness, carefully designing these thing to be just as they are and no other way? Sorry, that doesn't fly.

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