Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Seedy Side of Design...

They're cunning and manipulative, and will do anything to get what they want.
No, it's not Dembski and Co., nor even Dawkins and Co. It's from a recent Nature episode describing the many ways that flora reproduce. The blurb continues,
We're speaking of the ubiquitous plant life that covers our planet, relentlessly evolving elaborate schemes to disperse its seeds and ensure the continuation of its almost limitless species.
What I found particularly interesting in this episode were the analogies that were used to describe the diverse ways in which flora reproduce. Consider the following (all emphasis added):
Fruit-producing plants rely on the appeal of their fruits for dispersal of the seeds, and have evolved their own unique "marketing strategies" and their own select clientele -- animals as well as humans -- to help the process along. Each time we yield to the temptation to pluck a ripe juicy apple from its branch, we too become pawns in one of nature's carefully devised game plans. ...coconuts, have engineered seeds that can survive thousand-mile voyages at sea. But the plants' master plan for world conquest is no longer a secret. But it didn't take a gardener's green thumb to design this global garden. Such strategies don't surprise botanists. Says one: "If you can think of a way to get a seed to sprout, you can be sure some plant is already doing it."
My favorite, though, is:
At first glance, some seeds' designs make plants seem downright intelligent.
Well, yes, I'll agree that there's an intelligence out there. Wasn't it Dawkins who said that biologists have to keep constantly reminding themselves that even though nature looks designed... it really isn't. Meanwhile, the best analogies we can come up with all point not to a mindless process, but to the process of a mind. My daughter loves to watch the program Nature. Given the trash that's on so much of the tube, it is refreshing to see her take an interest in something educational. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to show her the intricately designed wonders of God's green earth.

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