So, with the recent uproar over bee colony collapses around the world, I happened to be thinking the other day about the relationship between bees, pollination, crops & the like – and something occurred to me:
How can the pollination of plants by honeybees and birds and such fit into the evolutionary narrative?
It Makes Absolutely No Logical Sense
We are taught from an early age in our current public school system that evolution is a fact and that it is simply the best explanation of a natural phenomenon where only the “fittest” animals, insects, plants, etc. survive and reproduce. Small adaptations are constantly occurring and, over the course of millions and billions of years, these small adaptations result in evolutionary transitions such as that from reptiles to birds.
But, if evolution is all about survival of the fittest (improving the species, so to speak), then I have a very important question to ask those who are “in the know” regarding this “fact” of science.
If plants are part of this evolutionary process which is constantly improving upon the plant, trying to create a species which is most able to survive extinction, then why does the pollination process exist at all?
Since a bird or a bee or any other similar flying animal or insect is clearly a far more complex organism than a plant would be, it only makes sense that their evolutionary introduction would have come long after early plants. So, how did these early plants reproduce without these “agents of pollination”? Obviously, the only logical answer is that they must have reproduced without the aid of these more complex organisms.
So, if plants at some point in the evolutionary past were able to reproduce without the aid of these “pollination agents”, why would the natural selection process cause plants to “evolve” in such a way that the reproduction process is made MORE complex and relies on pure chance? After all, the reproduction process is already working, otherwise the plants would already have died out. Why complicate it?
Anytime you complicate a process you create more “links in the chain” that can be broken and cause the process to fail. If reproduction is the means by which an organism continues to exist, complicating the process doesn’t make sense.
Wind vs Living Organisms as Pollinators
Some might say that the precursor to bees and birds as pollinators was simply the wind. This pollination process that involves other more complex organisms was already in place and functioning without them. The introduction of birds and bees to the process was only an accident of nature that helped make the process even more effective, since now there were multiple agents of pollination, instead of just wind transference.
So, What Came Before That?
Surely there was a “pre-pollination” evolutionary stage in which plants did not reproduce in this way. After all, how did reproduction carry on before the evolution of the Anther and the Stigma? And, why should an Anther evolve into the physiology of a plant without a Stigma or vice versa? What if one evolves before the other? What use is it and why should it have evolved?
But, lets ignore that for a moment. Let’s assume that they DID evolve at the same time, along with all of the other critical pieces of that puzzle (which are many – just read up on pollination). Let’s assume they all evolve in just the right order and at just the right time.
Clearly, plants must have already been reproducing without the need of pollination. It doesn’t even really matter HOW they were doing it. The point is they were (or must have been, if we would believe the evolutionary origins narrative). So, if they could already reproduce without the need of pollination, which is such a “luck of the draw” method of egg fertilization, what sense would it make for a plant to “evolve” in such a way as to make the process LESS efficient and MORE based on luck than anything else?
How does this make sense? The simple answer is, it doesn’t. This process of increasing the complexity of the reproduction process cannot possibly be considered a logical step in the evolutionary chain, if evolution is defined as the process that organisms go through as a result of “survival of the fittest”. Clearly the “fittest” to survive would be those plants that could reproduce WITHOUT the need for pollination, reducing the complexity of the process and INCREASING it’s chances of success.
So, why do plants reproduce through pollination today?
The answer is simple. God designed this intricate system in the very beginning because, in the process, he was not only providing for the reproductive means of plants, but also for the sustenance of bees and other organisms which benefit also from the process, and of humans who benefit from the process as we eat the honey produced by the bees and eat of the seed containing fruits and vegetables produced by the plants and enjoy the beauty of the flowering plants.
It’s all one super-intricate system designed to work together in harmony – not an accident of nature that makes no sense, but the Maker’s design that makes infinite sense. An intentional, interdependent, mutually beneficial relationship between plant, insect, animal and humans that is miraculously beautiful – NOT accidental.