Posted by: Ron DuBour | April 25, 2019

“Spiderwebs and Evolution”~by Michael Graves



“Spiderwebs and Evolution”

Image may contain: plant, tree and outdoor

Why do spiders all
make their webs exactly
the same way?

I mean, there is no
red-brick spider-school they go to
where they sit in rows and attend
design classes.

No instruction manual issued:
Some ancient, dusty tome passed
down through generations
on how to structure a web.

No seminar, workshop, website (sorry)
nor blog.

God? Whispering
secrets to each
individual spider?
I would think
that he/she/it has
better things to do.
I don’t think so.

How is it that they
all know how to build webs?
So that they ripple
in the breeze, just so;
like glistening, silken
banners of some alien civilization?
Or hold firm, like
cracks in a shattered
pane of air?

How is it that they know
how to cross the
staggering distances
to the opposite anchoring
point? How to string them above the
How to link together
strand, so that they
serve their appointed structural task?
So that they don’t tangle
collapse, and wind up
a snarled, silken heap?


Instinct – I think – is the simple
stock answer for people
too stupid or too
cursory to admit that they have
no idea.

Who/what programmed it?
Sounds a lot like “instinct.”

Why do spiders
all make their webs
the same way?

Well, ALL spiders probably
don’t make their webs
exactly the same way.

But a lot of them
a WHOLE lot of them

I wonder why this is?

And evolution…

Life evolves.
But why?

Evolution posits
Life forms changing
(due to survival advantages) over
millions of generations so that
they can survive better.

It sounds reasonable.

the math doesn’t
seem to work.

A change happens in one gecko.

A flash of mutation. And maybe
that gecko survives better.
And maybe he (or she)
doesn’t get eaten by a bird
stepped on by an elephant
swallowed by a fox or smashed
by a falling branch.

One gecko.

And even if he does survive
it’s only

one gecko

out of millions
(of the old-model gecko).

The gene pool it seems, would – by
mass of sheer inertia –
favor the old-model gecko.

It’s like a crapshoot.
And eventually all crapshoots
crap out. By dint of numbers.
The house wins.
The “usual” prevails.

I’m not so much a “creationist”

but it seems like Darwin missed a variable
or two
in the equation.

And it seems like
(since he’d already “done the math”) that
“people” (as many people do) went along with it.
Because it sounded good, and they
didn’t want to do the math.

So what is the answer?

I think the real answer is:
“Re-check the math.”

Spiderwebs and evolution.

Tip of the iceberg.

–Graves 6/6/15

Note: In case you were wondering: Geckos have the ability to run up walls, but it’s not because their feet are sticky. Geckos have two billion, spatula-tipped filaments per square centimeter on their toe pads. Each of these filaments is only a hundred nanometers thick. This makes them so small that they interact at the molecular level with the surface on which the gecko walks, tapping into the low-level van der Waals forces generated by the fleeting positive and negative charges of molecules in the surface that the gecko is climbing. And their feet are constructed so that this gripping ability works in just one direction.

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