January 17, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

Respect Your Plant: Don’t Say it Evolved

Consider two propositions: (1) Plants are highly complex, integrated systems that we don’t fully understand.  (2) They evolved to become highly complex, integrated systems.  That’s basically what two scientists claimed in the American Journal of Botany, according to Science Daily reported.  But do these two propositions comport with one another?

Mathematical models for the distribution of light within the canopy predict that the photosynthetic rate of the entire canopy is maximized when the specific leaf area is lowest for leaves at the top of the canopy.  This research provides new insight into the mechanism by which trees have evolved to obtain light and photosynthesize at the greatest rate.
    “Our research shows that plants are highly integrated organisms that respond to their environments in ways that are every bit as complex as even the most sophisticated animals,” [Karl] Niklas said.  “This research also shows that we still have plenty to learn about phenomena that we thought we understood very well.

The article did not explain how a blind, unguided process like evolution could produce a complex, highly integrated organism.  The E-word evolution was used only in a flippant, passing way: e.g., the title was, “New Insight on How Trees Have Evolved to Obtain Light and Photosynthesize at the Greatest Rate.”  Strictly speaking, it is improper in evolutionary theory to use the phrase “evolve to” as an action that an organism performs toward a goal.  Evolution is a passive result.  According to neo-Darwinism, the organisms that won the lottery and got the rare, lucky mutations to produce a complex, integrated system survived; the others all died.

If we held evolutionists’ feet to the fire and made them talk consistent with their own assumptions, their belief system would fall apart.  They cannot help themselves.  All humans have to talk in terms of teleology and design.  It’s in our DNA.  References to evolution are mere genuflections most of them perform to keep out of trouble with the academic thought police.  Dropping the E-word at least once per press release is usually sufficient to keep the informers from getting suspicious.

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