"Darwin himself cannot understand how there could be a good purpose for the existence of the Ichneumonidae, yet the Encyclopaedia Britannica says: "the group [Ichneumonidae] as a whole is beneficial to man because it parasitizes many insect pests"6. It turns out that when the caterpillars eat corn seedlings, a hormone is released by the plant which attracts the wasps which destroys the caterpillar, ultimately saving the corn plant7. Thus while on the surface it appears that the wasps weren’t designed with the well-being of the caterpillars in mind (i.e. it appears to have sub-optimal design), from a higher order perspective we see that their purpose is not only beneficial to corn plants, but also to humans and the ecosystem as a whole! Without the wasps, the caterpillars might endlessly reproduce, thus destroying any chance for corn to grow, human to eat the crops, and in the end, for the caterpillars themselves to survive." http://acs.ucsd.edu/~idea/badtheolgooddesn.htm
This may be great hubris, especially since I dropped out of the College of Engineering at Penn State, but it seems to me that God (or whoever, since ID proponents claim repeatedly that the designer is not necessarily God. "Just someone with the basic skill set to create an entire working universe." - Jon Stewart, the Daily Show) could just have made caterpillars not eat corn. If the existance of the caterpillar is important for some reason (which I can't see, if, as ID seems to imply, humans are the whole point of the universe). But I'm just a not-Engineer, what do I know?
I think I see another problem. It's a "top down" vs. "bottom up" way of seeing things.
The above quote takes the "top down" or "after the fact" view. The wasp has a purpose. The corn has a purpose. And, by implication, the caterpillar probably has a purpose. Looking at what is already there seems to imply purpose. Purpose implies design.
Evolution is "bottom up." Wasps that were attracted to the hormone found more caterpillars to host their eggs. Corn that secreted the hormone survived to produce seeds. For a more cogent explanation, read Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene."
Here's a thought. What if ants are the whole reason for everything, and humans were created solely for the purpose of providing them a challenge to overcome?
Friday, September 16, 2005
John went insane today at 4:08 PM