Bombardier beetles.

Last night, after Larry Moran‘s interesting and informative talk, a student (not one who had taken my evolution course, I should say) brought up irreducible complexity. Not flagella, as I was expecting, but the bombardier beetle. How could this evolve when you need all the chemicals and they explode when you combine them? You know the story. Larry responded graciously (note: that is not a typo) and explained about shifts in function and used an example from his own area of study, biochemistry.

For those who think that the bombardier beetle is a problem to explain, here are some resources you may find helpful.

Bombardier beetles and the argument from design (Talk.Origins)

9 thoughts on “Bombardier beetles.

  1. There is a general misconception about this argument. The claim is made that the two chemicals that are combined in the beetle are explosive. In fact, these chemicals do not explode when combined, as was demonstrated by a young Richard Dawkins in a video available on Youtube. A catalyst is required for the reaction to occur, the two chemicals by themselves are natural byproducts of cellular metabolism.

    The wikipedia link explains the issue, and I’m sure it can be found on somewhere.

  2. I couldn’t find the video in which he mixes the two, except for a parody where it does explode… Do you know a link?

  3. Great link. In a similar scenario, I’m sure I read somewhere that snake venom is thought to have evolved from components of spermatic fluid.

  4. I’m sorry dears, but this is one of the best just so stories I have heard in a very long time! I will simply have to include it on my site :

    It doesnt even begin to sound like a plausible explanation. This is grasping at straws. Come on scientists, come up with a better one!

    Love Dolly

  5. I believe you may have missed the point, Dolly. The claim is that no plausible scenario could be proposed to explain the gradual emergence of this characteristic. The author of the video says very clearly that this is a hypothesis, and that the ability to propose it refutes the claim. The ideas proposed can be tested — which is how science proceeds (versus “it’s impossible, and that’s it”). If you don’t like the hypothesis, then by all means provide data to falsify it — that’s what scientists would do.

Comments are closed.