March 3, 2011 | David F. Coppedge

Daffy Daffodil Darwinism

The daffodil flower has an extra part.  This can only mean it evolved.  That’s what science reporters are saying, leading some readers to wonder how they got there from here.
    Most flowers are made of petals, sepals, carpels and stamens, but the distinctive trumpet-shaped corona of the daffodil seems unrelated.  The BBC News began with a tame article that buried the E-word evolution in the text: “It’s the way novelties evolve in nature,” claimed Robert Scotland of the University of Oxford.  His team dissected bulbs looking for the developmental origins of the corona, and found that it develops later and independently of the four other flower parts.  “The evolution of novelty within such a highly conserved but diverse system is interesting,” Scotland continued.  “It’s part of understanding the natural world.  Whether that’s new species, new genera or just what the trumpet of a daffodil is.”  (Note: conserved means unevolved.)
    By next day, the BBC News Wales was ready for a Darwin Parade, with Robert Scotland acting as Grand Marshall.  A video clip called the daffodil “an example of evolution in action,” putting the evil-lution in the pronunciation that Brits are wont to do.  After celebrating the daffodil as the national flower of Wales and praising its chemical extracts that help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s Disease, the narrator called the daffodil “a symbol of evolution as well as a symbol of Wales.”

Did Robert tie the corona to a mutation?  No.  Did he identify a common ancestor?  No.  Did he explain how the corona produced better fitness?  No.  (No fair saying that it manipulated humans to plant more of them.)  Did he contribute to understanding the natural world?  You decide if this is understanding or evil-illusion.
    Happy St. David’s Day anyway.  “Brothers be ye constant.  The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil.” – David, patron saint of Wales, March 1, 588.  Yes, brethren, bear the yoke of defeating dumb Darwinism with constancy.  For relief, search on Google or Bing for images of daffodils and resolve to plant some bulbs next fall.

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