The Penguins March Again
|July 23, 2006||Posted by O'Leary under Intelligent Design|
In yesterday’s post on March of the Penguins, I quoted British Darwinist Steve Jones, noting
A group of penguins standing upright looks like co-operation, but in fact the ones on the outside are struggling to get in and those on the inside are trying to stand their ground: itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a classic Darwinian struggle. The idea that the life of a penguin is any more beautiful than that of a malaria virus is absurd.
I then noted,
Actually, the book narrative and the film do not depict a classic Darwinian struggle. The book states that the male penguins, left alone with the eggs in a harsh climate while the females return to the ocean to feed, spiral in and out of their Ã¢â‚¬Å“turtleÃ¢â‚¬Â formation, in a slow and orderly way, taking their fair turn in the warm center of the huddle:
“The males can be aggressive the rest of the year. But they are docile and cooperative now, united to protect the eggs and survive the cold. Each takes turns getting warm by spending time near the center of the turtle. The huddled mass coils around itself in an undulating spiral. The penguins on the outside move in toward the center, the ones on the inside go outward. And this rotation happens very gently in order to safeguard the eggs. (p. 75)”
quoting the text of the book.
“Strangelove” writes to say,
I am puzzled. Why is cooperation amongst animals only evidence for ID? Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the TOE account for cooperation amongst members of the same species? Your comments seem to imply that the TOE requires constant and harsh competition.
But I did not say (a) that cooperation among animals was evidence for ID or that (2) the TOE cannot account for cooperation amongst members of the same species.
It was British Darwinist Steve Jones who saw Darwinian competition where most observers, including myself, saw cooperation among the penguins.
Cooperation may favor “a” theory of evolution, but it does not favor current Darwinism.
Modern neo-Darwinism depends heavily on “”selfish gene” theory, and dismisses group selection. (If you can accept group selection, you can incorporate cooperation into your scheme; otherwise, you will expect to see only the appearance of cooperation in a situation that is actually driven by competition.) On that point, see David Stove ‘s careful delineation of the issues in Darwinian Fairytales.
There is a question that is relevant to ID (and this, I think, is what started people asking questions): The penguin mates use a complex coperative system of long treks for nurturing their one egg per couple. It is unclear to me, as it is to many, that the system could evolve from a simpler system, as Darwinism requires. Nor could the penguins devise their system by an act of intelligence.
Put another way, there seems to be intelligence in the system, but it is too much intelligence to ascribe to the birds themselves.