Evolution as Bad Science – 9) Harry Hill

Harry Hill has noted that the type of people who tend to be vegetarians, are the same bunch of people who tend to go on about saving the environment. “Well”, says Harry, “perhaps there would be a bit more of the environment if you lot weren’t going around eating all the plants.” – I mean, how many burgers can you get out of the average cow? And how many beans do you have to kill to make a bean burger! – – All of which serves to introduce an important point – the interdependence of plants and animals. A little bit of basic biology will teach you that people and animals take oxygen from the atmosphere and produce carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, tend to take the carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Which all works out really well. But on the timescales favoured by evolutionary biology it presents a problem. Have either side around for too long on their own and eventually they’ll use up the gas they need, and die. So you need both plants and animals and you need them to evolve at reasonably similar times – what a stroke of luck that they’re both here at the same time! And it isn’t just oxygen. Interdependence is a widely acknowledged feature of individuals and ecological systems. Evolution depends on bits being added randomly over millions of years, but if you depend on something, you can’t just wait millions of years for it to happen. Interdependence is seen across the planet, in your own body, and even inside your cells. And it isn’t just humans, but pretty much any function of any creature. A giraffe doesn’t just slowly develop a long neck – it needs a system to regulate the blood pressure in its head and cope with the differences from when nosing through the tree-tops to bending down and sniffing the grass. No system, no giraffe. The Bombardier Beetle needs to manufacture two chemicals in the right quantities to mix and explode and to only bring them together at the right moment, and in a way which doesn’t prejudice the Beetle itself, and so it carries around a heavy chamber to help it do all this. A beetle with a chamber and no chemicals is a slow soon-to-be-dead beetle. A beetle with all the right chemicals and no chamber is technically known as an explosion – and they don’t have descendents. Evolution cannot produce the inter-dependence seen in nature. Want some more? – then Exercise your Wonder

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