Anon, probably somewhere in Scotland asked:
Hello. I was watching a programme on television the other day about bees and how they do a wee dance to tell the other bees where the flowers are. I was talking about this with my friend the other night and about evolution. Neither of us could think of a way that the bee dance could have evolved small steps, if you know what I mean. Could you shed any light on that for us please?
We put this first to Andy Barron, Lecturer in the Department of Brain Behaviour and Evolution at Macquarie University.
We also asked Jurgen Tautz head of the Bee Group at the University of Wurzburg in Germany.
The problem is that the bees that dance are the worker bees. They are infertile, so how does the dance evolve? The queen does not dance, and neither do the drones. The queen mates soon after hatching on one mating flight with 5-10 drones, all of which leave their sex organs behind in the mating process, fall from the sky, and die. The queen then returns to the hive, and never mates again. Bonnie, Tue, 29th Sep 2009
Bonnie, it does not matter if queens or drones dance or not, the point is that their genes pass on information about how to do so. The better the workers perform with this information (that includes the waggle dance), the better these genes will propagate. arnau, Sun, 31st Jan 2010
Why do unexplained complexities always get met with 'that's a great question' or 'that's very interesting, but no one knows'. I beg to differ, and scientifically: Maybe someone programmed the genome? I know all the secular humanists start to get ruffled at such 'religious' suggestions, but I am using no lesser reasoning or faith than Lamarckism, Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism. We never see any brand new information added to any genomes, only scrambling of existing information (mutations), which are almost always negative in their effect and represent a loss not a gaining. I would have to say that there was a transcendent informationer giver to the bees genome, as despite Neo-Darwinist remonstrations, purely naturalistic causes starting from infinite or finite causeless causes(with no intelligence allowed)simply cannot produce information or complexity. My conclusion would be a transcendent intelligent designer gave all bees the information in their genome and the ability to adapt within the limits of their kind. Terrell, Mon, 2nd Aug 2010
You are labouring under a common misunderstanding (wilfully or not) about the evolutionary process. The generation of mutations is random, most are harmful, but some are not. The selective regimes through which genomes are put through ensure that mutations are accumulated and propagated in the population NON randomly (on large population-wide scales). Just because we currently do not have a full scientiic understanding of every aspect of evolutionary processes, is in no way an opening for 'intelligent design'. Saying, 'a designer did it' cannot even begin to compete with an empirically demonstrated body of knowledge. Absence of knowledge is not failure, it is work in progress. Postulating some deity as an apparent solution to all scientific blanks is entirely unfounded and entirely incommensurable with scientific concepts. Keep it to the spiritual and religious symbolism, don't attempt to explain anything in tangible reality. Nat, Mon, 21st May 2012