…Or Maybe He Was Just Late (two DpSU’s)

It’s later than usual, but it is here. Brian Thomas is arguing that nature could not produce the spiders’ diving bell (see also) or the Hornets’ “well-developed heat pump system” (which is part of a system that turn ultra-violet light into something that it can use for energy). This is because that “is something that’s not easy [for us] to do.” which means that, according to him, “If it’s not easy for a person with foresight to do, then it is surely impossible for nature, which has no foresight.”

The problem here is that the argument that it is harder for “nature” (evolution/Natural Selection) to solve a problem than it is for humans is fallacious. That is not (necessarily) the case. As an example, in 1996 Adrian Thompson conducted an experiment with evolving electronics (see here, slides 21-26, for an overview, here for more detail). The idea was to evolve a circuit that could differentiate between inputs of 1 and 10 kHz (well, actually “1.042 kHz and
10.416 kHz”) to output 0 and 5V for the different frequencies (it doesn’t matter which voltage corresponds to which frequency. It actually flipped during the experiment, between generations 2550 and 2800). The circuit had to do this without the aid of any kind of timing device (unless, of course, it evolved its own). Continue reading