Klinghoffer Explains Why There Are Insects

It probably never occurred to you to wonder why insects exist. That’s because your mind is limited, and you don’t have the ability to see the Big Picture like the neo-Luddite, neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Discoveroids’ latest post is Why There Have to Be “Pesky” Bugs. It’s by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist.

Klinghoffer begins his great intellectual journey by asking the following question, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

[W]hy nature’s design — whether or not you think of God as the source of that design — includes some arthropods like spiders that many of us find less than cuddly, and what purpose there could be behind a variety of insects that are equally if not more bothersome. My own kids have asked questions along these lines — “Why do there have to be mosquitoes?” Whether in scientific or religious terms, I’ve lacked a compelling response. Until now, thanks to the National Science Foundation.

Then he discusses an NSF study indicating:

… that evening primroses grown in insecticide-treated plots quickly lost, through evolution, defensive traits that helped protect them from plant-eating moths. The protective traits lost included the production of insect-deterring chemicals and later blooms that gave evening primroses temporal distance from plant-eating larvae that peak early in the growing season.

These results indicate that once the plants no longer needed their anti-insect defenses, they lost those defenses. What’s more, they did so quickly — in only three or four generations.


In the absence of insects, the evening primroses apparently stopped investing energy in their anti-insect defenses, and so these defenses disappeared through natural selection.

Getting bored? So were we, but stay with us. Klinghoffer then applies his fine Discoveroid mind to this news and gives us his own understanding about the grand purpose of insects:

So the “evolution” for which there is now “hard evidence” amounts merely to the loss of a function. Take away the insects, and evening primroses lose their ability to deter insects. This is something we also knew already: evolution observed experimentally may include the degrading of function. It does not include the building up of complex new functionality. The latter appears to require direction from a source of intelligent design.

Klinghoffer uses this one study — it may be the only one he’s ever seen — as justification to repeat the old creationist canard that evolution doesn’t have the ability to add new functions. Only the magic designer — blessed be he! — can do that. Then he says:

Much more interesting is the observation that many of the properties we enjoy in plants — as food, in pharmaceuticals and herbal remedies — are qualities that plants have in the first place because they serve as defenses against insects: [alleged quote from the NSF omitted].

Where is Klinghoffer going with this? Hang on, it’s coming:

There’s a Darwinian explanation for this: Insects and plants’ anti-insect defenses evolved together, with all those wonderful properties that plants offer us being no more than the extremely lucky product of happenstance.

How untidy! Darwinism has no grand plan! Klinghoffer continues:

But ID’s explanation is more satisfying because it doesn’t rely on luck. In a view of nature informed by the theory of intelligent design, it seems reasonable to think that plants taste good and are useful in medical remedies because that is part of a vision of how things should be, a vision proceeding from a purposeful plan.

Oooooooooh! There’s no luck involved — it’s all part of a purposeful plan! Yes, that does seem reasonable — and it’s all so obvious! Here’s his conclusion:

Plants evidently need many those same properties as part of their strategy of self-defense against insects. This was true long before there were human being around to enjoy plants. So you see how insects, including some rather uncharismatic ones, play their indispensable role. This, I think, is how I would answer my kids. It makes sense to me, an adult, as well.

Now you know all there is to know about bugs. They were intelligently designed from the beginning for a purpose. If only the NSF had the good sense to listen to Klinghoffer!

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Klinghoffer Explains Why There Are Insects

  1. The whole truth

    “Whether in scientific or religious terms, I’ve lacked a compelling response. ”

    That sums up klinghuffer’s entire life.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Aha! Then the divine purpose for crotch crabs must be to dissuade people from sinful behavior that would land them in the Eternal Lake of Fire.

  3. Jim Thomerson

    I saw a recent report where crop eating insects now have a dominant gene which protects them from the bacteria toxin generated by a GM crop. You can fry up and eat just about any animal without worrying about it making you sick. Only a very few really dangerous ones. On the other hand if you go around eating plants at random, you will soon be dead.

  4. Yummmm, yum! I love me some cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower! Oh, and brussels sprouts, pan fried in butter with chestnuts and a dash of lemon.

    So grateful for the Intelligent Designer, blessed be he!, for designing such wonderful and tasty plants.

    Oh, wait a sec, cabbage, sprouts, kale, kohirabi, broccoli and collard greens are all cultivated derivatives of the wild cabbage. Seems that Adam didn’t have to complain about Eve’s broccoli-cheese casserole because there wasn’t any, well, broccoli, certainly and I’d guess cheddar cheese, too.

    Also, it seems that the Intelligent Designer, blessed be he!, was a bit of a jokester creating 99.9% of the plants on this planet inedible to us. Hardy har har! That Intelligent Designer, blessed be he!, what a Foolhoffer!

    What is very interesting, though, is how the creationist brain which I assume is intact and functioning at birth, gradually but steadily degrades and loses function over time until one becomes a drooling Foolhoffer, in the image of our Intelligent Designer, blessed be he, etc, etc.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    I had to read this over four times to make sure I’m not missing the intent of this statement by Kipplepooper:

    “This was true long before there were human being around to enjoy plants.”

    Long before there were human beings??? Wasn’t it just one or two days apart? Did he slip up and let his inner evolutionist show?

  6. @ Charles Deetz 😉: excellent observation!

    Someone needs to call Klinghoffer on that one — for the benefit of the other occupants of the Big Cretard Tent

  7. That would require comments at ENV. =)

  8. Charles Deetz: “Long before there were human beings??? Wasn’t it just one or two days apart? Did he slip up and let his inner evolutionist show??”

    Only if you haven’t been paying attention to Discoveroid writing over the past 2 decades. The majority, if not unanimous, opinion that Discoveroids plainly admit is the same ~4-billion year chronology of life that mainstream science concludes. That they admit so much even in the presence of Biblical literalists that they’re trying to impress, only reinforces how absurd they must consider the YEC and old-earth-young-life stories. Discoveroids don’t even explicitly deny common descent, and sometimes admit it outright. I often wonder how much more they’d admit if literalists weren’t listening.

    It’s sad that I have to keep saying this, but that is not a defense of Discoveroid tactics in any way.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Frank Thanks for the clarification. I forget the different perspectives of these guys. And that they really are under different tents to use Meglonyx’s metaphor.

    That said, it is a rather casual statement thrown in the middle of a paragraph that may scare creationists.

  10. And apparently his boy is already too far gone for “yes, but why are there mosquitos?”

  11. So you see how insects, including some rather uncharismatic ones, play their indispensable role.

    No, I don’t see. If there was any intelligence designing plants, why didn’t that intelligence design them to “taste good” and be “useful in medical remedies” in such a way that they did not require the additional design and creation of millions of various insect species to keep them that way. Come to think of it, why not design them originally in modern cultivated forms, which are even “tastier” and easier to use – as Ray Comfort repeatedly points out with respect to bananas.

    A world full of weird and completely unnecessary design only makes sense to the Klingadopper.

  12. Charles Deetz: “That said, it is a rather casual statement thrown in the middle of a paragraph that may scare creationists.”

    I would like to have been a fly on the wall in the 70s and 80s (before the famous “cdesign proponentsists” typo), where the savvier anti-evolution activists were debating how much to admit, and how much to evade. Remember that “scientific” YEC itself was a fabrication to stop the increasing admission of billions of years of life even among self-described Biblical literalists (e.g. Bryan). A crisis of “not only no evidence, but no hope for agreement even with extreme cherry-picking” must have had many of them insisting “let just concede evolution, say that God is the ultimate cause and be done with it.” Others said “no way, all that evidence gives us almost endless opportunity to cherry pick; we just have to be as vague as possible about the alternative.”

    What these people started realizing then is that one segment of their target audience, the committed rank and file Biblicals, be they YEC, OEC, geocentrist, etc., were very good at tuning out what they didn’t like and disagreed with, as long as the speaker or writer reassured them that “Darwinism” was dead, dying, falsified or unfalsifiable – and the root of all evil. I was amazed, and probably so was Behe, with how many Biblical literalists raved about his book, even though it makes perfectly clear that we are related to last night’s dinner. At first Behe and Dembski were targeting a different audience, non Biblical literalists with postmodern leanings, while Johnson and Wells took care of the rest of the “tent.” But it soon became clear that, as long as they bad-mouth “Darwinism” and “Darwinist(s)” (note how they go out of their way to use those terms instead of “evolutionary biology” and “mainstream biologists) they have a lot of leeway. Nevertheless they try to be politically correct at least most of the time, with an implied, but obvious “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when, where or how.”