Now and then I run into a nature fact so mind-boggling…I tell you, it shakes my faith in the theory of evolution, which isn’t all that strong to start with. Sure, finches develop different beaks over time in response to their environment, sure animals change color or size or whatever. But Charles Darwin said if a thing could be shown to have irreducible complexity, his theory was shite.
In other words, if a thing was so complex that each little change did not contribute to the survival of the animal, then it would never get to the level of complexity we observe. For example, if a rodent grew webs in his armpits and that didn’t help him stay alive to reproduce, then bats could not have evolved.
I just ignore all those implications, which will make you crazy, and agree that animals change over time in response to their environment. On the question of whether they change into something completely different, I am somewhat skeptical.
Chameleons change color; that’s a cool adaptation and fun to watch. We thought maybe they just released pigments in some fashion, maybe they have little pigment cells or something. But no! They have tiny crystals in their skin, which they tilt toward the light like a prism, filtering white light into the color they “want” to be visible. A gazillion tiny prisms in their skin and a prism-tilting mechanism, all working in coordination to make him appear to change color.
Now, how cool is THAT?
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed[,] which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive[,] slight modifications[,] my theory would absolutely break down. (This passage, in Darwin’s hand, comes from chapter 6 (p. 189) of On the Origin of Species (1859, Murray: London),