The Co-evolutionary Paradox
One of the main arguments used against irreducible complexity -- the main scientific concept of ID -- is "exaptation," the idea that parts of an irreducibly complex system had other functions before becoming part of the system, e.g., jawbones supposedly evolved into middle-ear bones. However, "exaptation" does not change the fact that all the parts of the system must simultaneously come together in their final forms to create the irreducible system, and that is unlikely. Also, parts that previously had essential functions would not be available to help create the irreducible system unless duplicates or modified duplicates could be created. Nonetheless, despite these problems, opponents of ID claim that ID has been completely refuted by the principle of exaptation and for other reasons. However, the following arguments against natural co-evolution may be harder to counter than ID.
Co-evolution is defined as the mutual evolutionary influence of two kinds of organisms -- e.g., bees and flowering plants -- that become dependent on each other. The big problem with co-evolution is that often there is nothing to adapt to because the corresponding feature is likely to be initially absent in the other organism. In contrast, the fixed physical features of the environment — e.g., water, land, air, and climate -- are always there to offer an immediate advantage to individual organisms that adapt to them.Suppose that a bee and a flowering plant just by some great coincidence happen to have mutations creating corresponding features that would give a mutual advantage in co-evolution. But if the bee and the flowering plant are separated by many miles and/or many years in time, as is likely, the mutations would do neither of them any good because the bee and the flower would never meet, and the mutations might actually be detrimental to the bee and/or the flower. Actually, what would be necessary is that large numbers of the bees and flowers possessing the corresponding beneficial mutations would miraculously have to simultaneously appear in the same place, because a single bee visits many flowers, and each flower is visited by many bees.
One kind of pollination by insects is so specialized that the resonant vibration of the insect's wingbeating shakes loose the pollen -- this is called "sonication pollination" or "buzz pollination." See -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_pollination
Some other examples of extremely specialized mutual dependence (this mutual dependence is called "mutualism") are in http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/0305/0305_feature.html
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Labels: Non-ID criticisms of evolution