Butterfly Metamorphosis Challenges Neo-Darwinism

UPDATE! Click to order Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies

Last summer, I had the privilege of attending lectures by one of the scientists featured in the upcoming Illustra Media documentary, Metamorphosis. Dr. Paul Nelson explained the science behind this unique argument for intelligent design theory, and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the film’s resease ever since!

The intelligent design argument presented by the film (which I understand isn’t discussed until the third part) is the enormous problem that insect metamorphosis poses for the theoretical neo-Darwinian descent pathways. In plain language, neo-Darwinism claims that random genetic mutations coupled with natural selection acting over greats spans of time are responsible for a caterpillar’s physical ability to transform into a butterfly. There’s an insurmountable obstacle for this alleged process, however.

When it enters the pupa phase, in which it forms a hard chrysalis around itself, the caterpillar’s body breaks down, which many of the structures being dissolved. Subsequently, an entirely new body plan is constructed from this chemical soup, and what emerges from the chrysalis is absolutely nothing like what went in. Now, according to neo-Darwinism, mutations that equip an organism for such a spectacular metamorphosis are cumulative. The mutations that dictate chrysalis formation would come first. Next would come mutations that cause body-liquefication. Next would come—uh-oh—do you see the problem here? If a caterpillar goes into a pupa stage without the necessary genetic information to build the new body structure and GET OUT OF the pupa stage (an “escape plan,” if you will), it would simply die inside the chrysalis, never to emerge. Thus, there is NO ADVANTAGE for natural selection to act upon, and the process of metamorphosis could never evolve. What would be needed here is for the caterpillar to acquire ALL the mutations necessary for the pupa phase and ALL the mutations necessary for the architecture of a survivable adult body plan AT THE SAME TIME. Based on what evolutionary biology teaches about how mutations accumulate, this simply isn’t going to happen. This is a case of all-or-nothing that argues strongly for intentional, intelligent design.

Now, of course evolutionary theorists have conjured up several different just-so stories on how they think this problem could have been circumvented, but suffice it to say, none of them are more than implausible thought experiments that fall short scientifically.

So! Be on the lookout for the June 15th release of Metamorphosis, and the Blu-Ray release on July 6th. Check out the trailer here:

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