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Part I: A Critique of River Out of Eden: On Winning by Cheating

Robert W. Campbell


Dawkins attacks the idea that evidence against the Darwinian paradigm implies that unusual features in nature must be perfect from the outset in order for them to work. The example that a specific wasp is attracted to an orchid the shape and smell of a female wasp can be explained by gradual steps, since appearance can vary with distance and angle and so couldĀ  converge to the size and shape of a female wasp over time. However a wasp cannot mate from a distance so there could be no selection pressure and the orchid would somehow have to strike upon just the right smell from an unlimited variety of odors in a single mutation together with mutations in concert to achieve the right shape and size. Similar arguments about honey bees and the evolutions of eyes would require multiple mutations in concert to produce selection pressure. All of this argues strongly against rare random mutations and natural selection as the sole evolutionary mechanism.

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