Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Food Webs and Evolution

an illustration of a food web

One thing which I have never seen evolutionists address is the evolutionary development of food webs.

Every plant and animal species, no matter how big or small, depends to some extent on another plant or animal species for its survival. It could be bees taking pollen from a flower, deer eating shrub leaves or lions eating the deer.

Photosynthesis is the beginning of the food chain. There are many types of animals that will eat the products of the photosynthesis process. Examples are rabbits eating carrots or worms eating grass. When these animals eat these plant products, food energy and organic compounds are transferred from the plants to the animals.

This would mean seemingly that first the plants evolved, since they need only carbon dioxide, water and minerals. Then herbivores evolved which eat the the plants and finally carnivores evolved which eat the herbivores.

One problem with this theory however is that there is no sign from the fossil evidence that this is so. Entire new ecosystems seem to pop into existence in each geological era. We don't see first grass, then deer and then lions appearing.

Another problem is that even plants are not merely producers in the food web, but they are also consumers. They need animals to produce carbon dioxide which is used for photosynthesis. Animal manure is also a component of topsoil which plants require. Furthermore if herbivores have no predators to reduce their populations they would destroy all plant life. It would seem that an ecosystem coming into existence one piece at time would be an impossibility. This would seem to be a valid example of irreducible complexity.


Ducky's here said...

Yeah, you've got Polaroids of Moses riding a dinosaur.
The tribal text of a bunch of goat herders trumps modern science.

jewish philosopher said...

So I assume you have nothing to say beyond the appeal to ridicule, a logical fallacy.


Anonymous said...

JP is back in fine form! Taking on the entire scientific establishment! Go for it bro!

I don’t really understand scientific debates at the level you’ve gone to here – that’s my only criticism of a post of this type. Even if you’ve struck gold – I would never know.


Ironmistress said...

More these, please. I like those of your articles where you muse and ponder things and dislike rants and diatribes.

Dave said...

JP, this is simplified, linear thinking.

You are saying that evolution claims that animals must have evolved from plants. That is, of course, false, and a straw man argument.

Plants and "animals", roughly speaking, co-evolved from the same common ancestors , earlier one cell forms of life, from which also fungi, algae and bacteria evolved.

So even well before grass, lions and deer existed, there were primitive plants, bacteria, fungi and other one-cell organisms. There is copious evidence for this in the fossil record.

As they evolved together they coexisted and sustained each other, and developed more complex mechanisms.

Problem solved.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not sure you are solving the problem or creating new problems.

In this post, I compare evolution to the creation of books by an illiterate author used random typographical errors and customer selection.


Clearly, such a process would be astronomically improbable and clearly refutes evolution.

However now we are adding a new level of improbability.

This is equivalent to one book being useless and unsellable without the prior existence of some other books.

Let's say for example it would be impossible to sell algebra textbooks until arithmetic textbooks evolved. You can't do algebra if you don't know arithmetic.

Therefore first the arithmetic book came about, with mind boggling improbability, through typographical errors and customer selection and then the algebra book evolved. This is like saying first the grass evolved, then the deer.

You however you are going a step further and saying that in fact both books, arithmetic and algebra, somehow evolved gradually at the same time so that whatever was in the algebra book at a certain point was comprehensible to customers based on whatever at that point was in the arithmetic book.

And all this is happening not with the aid of any intelligent designer but instead it is being produced by an illiterate printer based on blind typographical errors directed by customer selection.

I can't fathom how impossible that would be and how many universes would have to be born and die before such an occurrence is likely to happen.

laugh out loud said...


What is missing from the fossil record is one species actually evolving into another. If that is what happened then why doesn't it show up in the fossils? The best explanation for the appearance of the fossil record is a series of separate creations and destructions. Why not take the fossil record at face value, and avoid all the apologetics like punctuated equilibrium.

ksil said...

"torah" ??


funny, i never read any of this stuff in the torah, or in any philosphy books


jewish philosopher said...

That's why you need me. I've got the complete package.

Anonymous said...

"I compare evolution to the creation of books by an illiterate author used random typographical errors and customer selection."

Evolution cannot be an "author" and "books" cannot be the the all-and-only of evolution. So nothing, not one thing, about the comparison works.

jewish philosopher said...

The illiterate author is analogous to evolution. The books are analogous to the genetic code.

Dave said...

An analogy is a weak form of argument.
It can be used to help describe something to a non expert, but the parallels end there, and it certainly cannot used as a proof of anything.

jewish philosopher said...

Analogues are often used in theoretical and applied sciences in the form of models or simulations.


Dave said...

No model or simulation I know of involves simplifying a complex scientific discipline down to monkeys typing on a keyboard.

Models in science indeed are used to help explain or predict phenomena. If an observation contradicts that which is predicted by the model, then the model needs revision.

But nobody uses an analogy to a priori prove or disprove a theory.

In the case at hand, one has to work out the complex mathematics, not resort to an intuitive and oversimplified comparison to disprove something.

jewish philosopher said...

There is no way to do the math at this time

"At the moment, since we have no idea how probable life is, it's virtually impossible to assign any meaningful probabilities to any of the steps to life" according to Ian Musgrave who is a senior lecturer for medical research at the University of Adelaide.