Anatomical suboptimality

Anatomical suboptimality - Anatomical suboptimality...

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Anatomical suboptimality Evolutionary opportunism also results in suboptimal functions and structures. As stated before, in gradually evolving a new function, organisms must make do with what they already have. Thus, functions are likely to be performed by structures that would have been arranged differently (e.g. more efficiently) if the final function were known from the outset. "Suboptimality" does not mean that a structure functions poorly. It simply means that a structure with a more efficient design (usually with less superfluous complexity), could perform the same final function equally well. Suboptimal structures and functions should have a gradualistic, historical evolutionary explanation, based on the opportunistic recruitment of ancestral structures, if this history is known from other evidence (e.g. if this history is phylogenetically determined by closely related organisms or fossil history). Suboptimality and Irreducible Complexity The appearance of suboptimal function is intimately related to the inference of Intelligent Design. Obviously, there are many inefficient ways to perform any given function; however, some functions are performed very efficiently. Those structures that perform extremely efficient functions are often intelligently designed. Similarly, we often think of the best designer as the one who designs a structure to perform a function the most elegantly, the most efficiently, and with the least needless complexity. In the terms of the Intelligent Design advocate Michael Behe, one measure of efficiency of design (whether real or apparent) is irreducible complexity. Here are Behe’s own words – "By irreducibly complex (IC) I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning." (Behe 1996 , p. 39, emphasis in the original, my
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course BIO BSC1010 taught by Professor Gwenhauner during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Anatomical suboptimality - Anatomical suboptimality...

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