Friday, January 21, 2011

Worms and Defence Mechanisms

A news item on Radio 4's Today programme was interestingly reported just now. To summarise, a parasite which feeds on caterpillars has the effect of turning the host red. This appears, research shows, to deter predators from eating the caterpillar. Birds are suspicious of food that is the wrong colour. Aren't we all?

The thing I found interesting in the piece is that the reporter said something to the effect that this is the first time a parasite has been found to protect itself in such a way.

And that language is to endow a minuscule, parasitic worm with the power of self-defence as if it meant it, consciously. The rest of the report was full of similar language.

More likely is that evolution will have ensured that only those parasitic nematodes which caused the unexpected side-effect survived. The rest got eaten by birds.

How we anthropomorphise.

1 comment:

Revsimmy said...

It never ceases to astound me how often atheist/agnostic evolutionists use the language of intentionality to describe evolutionary processes, in spite of wanting to insist that there is no "grand design" or "watchmaker." David Attenborough is a prime example of this.

Anthropomorphism rules.