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Nature`s IQ


The book "Nature's I.Q. - Extraordinary animal behaviors that defy evolution" by Balázs Hornyánszky and István Tasi (2009, Torchlight Publishing, USA) deals with ethology (the field of biology that attempts to explain the origins of animal behavioral patterns) from an Intelligent Design point of view. The authors rightly note that, for many key anatomical features found in nature, a necessary correlated behavioral process must be present if a desired function is to be fulfilled. The behaviors shown by animals that must match certain parts of their anatomy are of several kinds: predation, defense, partnerships, language, flight, migration, navigation, courting, reproduction, etc. We could use the computer analogy to express simply the main thesis of this book: software (behavioral processes) must perfectly well match hardware (anatomy) to achieve the desired result of survival.
Konrad Lorenz and many evolutionary ethologists made inanely their case in favor of the link between Darwinian gradualism and animal behavior, to explain these countless examples of matching between anatomy and behavior. In Nature's IQ, Hornyansky and Tasi defy such an evolutionist gradualistic inference and interpret the evidence in favor of the Intelligent Design alternative.

An example chosen among many: the prominent bioluminescent bulb of the deep-sea anglerfish must exhibit a slow waving motion if it is to lure prey. Any intermediate behavior would be inappropriate for catching fry. We can say that anglerfish is endowed with an "IQ" that must have appeared in parallel with its predatory anatomy to provide any utility.

Another example: the American four-eyed frog has white and black nodes on its back that appear as imitations of much larger animal eyes. These frogs exhibit the IQ ability to lift their hind legs and turn their back to wherever danger is lurking, making their fake eyes look face-like and therefore less enticing for the predator. This strange action doesn't match with an evolutionary explanation. As the authors write: "the simultaneous appearance, via chance mutations, of the pseudo-eyes and the knowledge of just what to do at precisely the right moment is, to put it mildly, highly improbable" (p.30).

Some species look like certain parts of the environment, a leaf or a twig for example, to attempt escaping from predators. But they have also to reduce their movements to minimum for the trick works. One might argue that the same designer shaped the model and the species mimicking it, as well as their behavior.

Parasitic and partnership species are equipped with special sense organs to find their host/partner animals and exploit modes of coexistence. In all cases these correlated species are suitably adjusted and tuned in their behaviors as well in their anatomies. Darwinian blind chance doesn't explain these phenomena.

The design explanation is that both the anatomical features and the accompanying behaviors of many animals must have arisen all at once if the related biological functions had to work. For this explanation the authors rightly use the Behe's concept of irreducible complexity, i.e. a complexity inaccessible to Darwinian evolution (progressive accumulations of random mutations).

The authors' case in favor of Intelligent Design is made all the more compelling through the many examples provided in their book as well as the rich illustrations coupled with these examples. In all, Nature's IQ provides a solid foundation in support of Intelligent Design in the field of ethology.