Re: Scientists get exploding beetle in their sights
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 23:56:46 EDT

In a message dated 8/23/99 8:45:58 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> Here is an article from the Electronic Telegraph....


> ...which reports that the Bombardier Beetle is even more well-designed
> previously thought....


Actually, this is old news; Steve can find research reports about these
features from the mid- to late Eighties. I wonder if Steve knew that the
spray also emits high-frequency white noise that can jam an insect predator's
sensory antennae?


> I would be interested to see an explanation from the scientific literature
> of how: 1) Darwinian mechanisms of random mutation and natural
> selection could build up the evident design of the Bombardier Beetle,
> and 2) the evidence that they actually did.

That is not unreasonable, and hopefully someone can oblige Steve; while I
know a great deal about the biochemistry and physiology of the defense
mechanism, I know very little about the evolutionary history of the beetle.

Meanwhile, I would like to pose a couple of questions to Steve. Implied
behind these questions is the critique that the beetle is too well designed
to have evolved by "random mutation and natural selection". For this to be a
proper scientific critique it must have a theoretical basis, and for it to be
valid that theoretical basis must itself be tested.

Therefore I would like to ask Steve, or any other ID theorist in the group,
these two questions:

1) What is the theoretical basis for the claim that the bombardier beetle is
too well designed to have evolved by "random mutation and natural selection"?

2) How would this theoretical basis be tested? And please, no vague,
hand-waving statements; please describe the experimental protocol that would
be used to test the theoretical basis.

Just as it is fair and reasonable of Steve to ask for evidence in support of
a Darwinian claim, so too is it fair and reasonable for me to ask Steve for
evidence in support of his critique of that claim.

Kevin L. O'Brien