On this episode of ID The Future, host Casey Luskin welcomes back to the show Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig to discuss the phenomenon of plant galls and what they mean for the validity of the selection/mutation mechanism. Dr. Lonnig is a retired geneticist who studied mutations for 25 years as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Köln, Germany. Call him old-school, but Dr. Lonnig believes evidence matters when it comes to questions of biological origins. He has offered up a number of examples from the plant world that defy gradualist explanations. Most recently, he points to plant galls, growths of various colors, shapes, and sizes that can occur on plants. These atypical, highly specialized structures are induced by the activity of an insect or other parasite. Galls appear to exclusively benefit the intruding organism and confer no advantage to the plants. Most galls are tolerated by the plant species, though some can prove lethal to it.
Charles Darwin was profoundly interested in plant galls, and Darwin himself proposed the challenge these and other forms may pose to his ideas: “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” In his conversation with Luskin, Dr. Lonnig explains why plant galls challenge Darwin’s theory. For further study. read Dr. Lonnig’s papers linked below.