Competition or Cooperation

A serious obstacle to evolutionary theory Is the Interdependent relationships between living things, called symbiosis, In which completely different forms of life depend on each other to «¡1.

Darwin's theory of biological change was based on competition, or survival of the fittest, among the Individuals making up a species. He admitted: "If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, It would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection" (The Origin of Species, 1859, Masterpieces of Science edition, 1958, p. 164).

Symbiotic relationships pose such a challenge to Darwin's theory, since they have animals and plants of different species cooperating for the benefit of both. Evolutionists call this coadaptatlon, but they have yet to come up with a plausible explanation of how such relationships could have evolved In stages.

How can plants that need certain animals to survive have existed before those animals appeared In the first place? And how do animals that need other animals to survive arrive without their partners arriving at the exact same moment?

Symbiosis among lower forms of life

One example of beneficial symbiosis (called mutualism) Is that found between algae and the fungus of lichens. While fungi provide vital protection and moisture to algae, the algae nourish the fungi with photosynthetic nutrients that keep them alive. As a biology textbook puts It: "Neither population could exist without the other, and hence the size of each Is determined by that of the other" (Mary Clark, Contemporary Biology, 1973, p. 519).

So which came first, the alga or the fungus? Since neither could exist without the other, according to evolution for both to survive they had to evolve independently of each other, yet appear at exactly thé same time and with precisely the right functions.

How could two completely different species evolve separately from distinct ancestors, yet depend on each other to exist? Frankly, the idea that this relationship evolved is utterly beyond reason.

Symbiosis between plants and animals

Consider next the relationship between bees and plants.

While collecting the precious nectar that provides their hives with food, bees pollinate dozens of species of flowers and agricultural crops. Without this vital pollination, orchards could produce little If any fruit, and fruit trees would not survive for long. How can these plants exist without first being pollinated by bees? On the other hand, how could bees exist without first being provided with the necessary nectar as food?

In addition, the bee has to carry out pollination In a precisely specific way for the process to work. If the bee visited other species of flowers at random, pollination could not occur, since the pollen of one species of flower does not fertilize another species. Somehow the bee knows to visit only one plant species at a time and at the right season.

One of the most amazing examples of symbiosis Is that between the yucca plant and the yucca moth. The yucca plant is Incapable of pollinating Itself to grow more seeds and perpetuate. The yucca moth (Tegeticula, formerly Pronuba) pollinates the yucca plant while laying Its eggs inside the plant.

After hatching, the moth larvae feed on the seeds of the yucca. Remarkably, the moth carefully calibrates the number of Its larvae growing Inside each flower so the larvae will not consume all the seeds of the yucca— because If they ate all the seeds the yucca plants would stop reproducing, thus eventually dooming the yucca moths as well!

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