Butterfly evolution?

Hi everyone, How can i explain that the butterfly is not proof of evolution?

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Hello, Juan! Very interesting question, but I’m curious to get a little background on it. Namely, who claims that the butterfly is proof of evolution and on what premises do they rest his/her/their argument?

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Hi Juan!

In this YouTube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoJbri9Yem0)(between the beginning and 1:15 minutes) the first speaker presents an argument for evolution regarding butterflies in Hawaii, which eat bananas.

Is this the argument you are referring to?

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a great question; and in addition, can we define what we mean in this discussion by the word ‘evolution’?

  1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature.
  2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.
  3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor.
  4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.
  5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor.
  6. “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms.

My basic understanding is that Darwin observed micro-evolution (adaptation) short beaked finches etc, and then scaled his theory up to macro-evolution?

in the video shared by @joncarp (youtube transcript)

the creative power of the mutation selection mechanism has to produce all this genetic information; indeed what is the most powerful demonstration, in your opinion, that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection has this great creative power?

well I would give you you ask me for the most powerful one and I will give you two

the first one that I will give you are the repeated observations of a random mutation and natural selection, as you like to call them, in your own terms producing new species, and I can give you several examples of new species that have emerged within human observation

the best example that I can give you his a butterfly genus of butterfly known as Hedy lipton. Hedy Lifta is a genus of butterfly that feeds on various plants. It’s endemic to the Hawaiian Islands which means it’s only found there and there turn out to be two species of Hettie Lifta, with mouth parts that only allow them only allow them to feed on bananas. now why is that significant it is significant because bananas are not native to the Hawaiian Islands.

they were introduced about a thousand years ago by the Polynesians. We know this from the written records of the Hawaiian kingdom and what that means is that by mutation and natural selection these two species have emerged on the hawaiian islands within the last thousand years and i think that’s a very good case in point and I’ll give you another one if you would indulge me but I figure you only asked for one one another sure go ahead okay (continues)

It seems that the basic argument is

  • the Polynesians brought bananas with them (based on their historical records)
  • the butterflies were already there on the islands before they arrived (based on what?; the speaker notes these two butterfly species are endemic (today); but I wonder what historical scientific records there are as to the butterfly count, and what type were there when the Polynesians arrived 1000 years ago)
  • therefore the butterflies evolved to eat bananas?

seems plausible, as we are talking about micro-evolution; adaptation of existing butterflies to deal with a new environment. but in this example, we’re not explaining how moths turn into butterflies; or what moths evolved from (the only reference I could find for moth evolution was on wikipedia; does anyone know what Darwinian theory states that moths evolved from?)

in relation to the video’s question; " the creative power of the mutation selection mechanism has to produce all this genetic information; indeed what is the most powerful demonstration, in your opinion, that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection has this great creative power?"; you might find this video interesting that @Joshua_Hansen posted recently;

as a young earth creationist; I currently hold to God creating plants on day 4, and butterflies on day 5;
speciation (changes in environment can cause changes within a species, but not a rise of new species as new DNA information needs to come from somewhere; and the organism needs to be complete to survive and reproduce to the next generation: irreducible complexity). Genetic changes are a result of loss of information; but it’s not possible for new information to arise by blind chance without an author (God as Creator).
(there are a lot of articles on creation.com about butterflies if you hold to a literal 6 day creation;)

hoping someone can post some more scientific resources relating to this discussion? :slight_smile:


Hi some atheists at work claim this

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No not really I have some atheists coworkers that since the Caterpillar turns in a butterfly that’s evolution right there.

@Juan_Garcia Hi!

Ok, well regardless of the argument they are making, I think one of the main arguments against the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, which says that the process of evolution is an unguided random process, is that life is directed by information such as DNA. The logic is that whenever we see information, like in a computer program, the production of that information can be traced back to a mind, not a material process.
Here is a YouTube video from the Discovery Science YouTube page that discusses this topic.

Also, the Discovery Science YouTube page(https://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoveryScienceNews) has a lot of information and videos on the topic of Intelligent Design.

I hope this helps!

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Thanks :raising_hand_man:t2:

Hi Juan, thanks for clarifying.
I studied the natural history of caterpillars during my undergraduate studies. Here are some of my thoughts. There seems to be some confusion on the terminology… Actually when the caterpillar undegoes the transformation to butterfly, that is NOT an example of evolution, but of metamorphosis, which is a process of transformation of body type/form during maturation of a member of a given butterfly species (and this does not constitue one species changing into another, if that is what they are trying to suggest).
For example, a catterpillar from a Monarch butterfly is the young member of that species (think baby Monarch) and is also called “larvae” of the Monarch species, and will undergo the metamorphosis stages to become a chrysallis/cocoon (think ‘teenage’ Monarch) and then a butterfly, which is the adult stage of the same Monarch species.
I have used the life cycle of the Monarch species as that is a very well studied butterfly, that is the species that migrates between USA and Mexico. The complete life cycle is nicely explained here:

Metamorphosis is an integral part of the life cycle of butterflies and many other insects, just to give some examples of how complex the biology of certain species can be.

Now back to what your colleague seems to be arguing, it is not clear what exactly is he or she using as evidence “proving” evolution. Respectfully, based on what was said, I am not sure that they fully understand butterfly biology or even the concept of evolution (in Darwinian sense as I don’t want to over complicate things) :slight_smile: we would need to hear more to better understand their argument.

On the other hand, to provide some ‘food for thought’, I think that the fascinating complexity of a butterfly’s life cycle actually makes me (and I am sure others) question evolution’s validity as a plausible scientific theory to explain biological phenomenon (there is a very good resource about the recent prominent scientist that decided to formally abandon evolution theories as they are currently understood/ presented - does someone have the link for it?).
This process of metamorphosis is very well controlled by the cells of these animals. Several genes are required to be turned ‘on’ and ‘off’ (a process called gene expression regulation) at the right place and right time, otherwise it is mayhem and the animal is not viable or show defects… if one or two genes were involved in making the transformation from catterpillar to chrysallis/cocoon to then butterfly, maybe it could be plausible. But there are hundreds of genes that regulate each of these stage changes!!! It is like rolling a dice that instead of having 6 sides, it has hundreds of sides, and that you have to roll it multiple times AND the outcomes have to be on a specific sequence exactly, not much room for variation there, or else this process simply does not work (no butterfly at the end). How likely does that sound? I don’t know a lot of probability statistics or numbers, but just enough to realize that seems a fairly large number of events that needs to happen at the same time to make this work.

Moreover, if it takes intelligent beings to study and understand this process, how likely is that the process exists simply due to chance (and not as result of an intelligent designer)?
How can evolution actually explain the emergence of such complexity?

Just some thoughts… praying for blessings over your conversations with your coworkers.


Matt Western raised a good point. When someone says “evolution” you have to get that person to define what they mean. Matt mentioned 6 possible meanings. Years ago my daughter challenged her science teacher on evolution and the teacher said evolution simply means change! With that definition only a fool would deny evolution. Phillip Johnson author of “Darwin on Trial” said that once you get a person to accept change (change in species over time) then they extrapolate it to say that any and all changes are possible over vast amounts of time. This is the trick they use.

Just because some change is possible does not mean that any change is possible. An automated bicycle factory will produce slightly different bicycles over time but this does not mean that a motorcycle can be produced in this factory. You need intelligence to redesign the factory to do that. Similarly just because species change over time does not mean that a simple cell will give rise to a 80 foot length diplodocus. I think what natural selection clearly cannot do is to make new organs among other things. I have asked evolutionists to give me one example of how ANY organ developed - among millions of unique organs in living things - by a stepwise mechanism and I am yet to get an answer.


Thanks everyone that shared.