Questions about butterflies
kerichers at wasco.k12.ca.us
Wed May 3 13:15:32 EDT 2000
John's answer would appear to be much closer to a scientific evaluation of the situation. One really gets into a nebulous area when asking "why" because the answers are going to be based on the human experience, which does not allow for empirical data over the time frame of butterfly evolution. There are many "why" answers after the condition is established, and there is no way to validate which was present to cause the condition under the circumstances it developed.
>>> John Grehan <jrg13 at psu.edu> 05/02/00 05:30PM >>>
> > 13. Why do butterflies have two sets of wings?
>FOR THE SAME REASON CARS HAVE TWO SETS OF WHEELS AND AIRPLANES HAVE TAILS
>AND AILERONS. THIS ALLOWS THEM TO STEER. ALSO IT ALLOWS THEM TO NOT HAVE
>BIG WINGS WHEN THEY WANT TO HIDE, SINCE THEY CAN'T FOLD THEIR WINGS.
Both question and answer are problematic as the context for "why" is not
obvious. The ability to steer is not limited to insects with two wings, but
that ability also does not explain "why" they have two wings unless the
ability to steer is considered the reason or purpose that the wings exist
in the first place.
> > 15. Why are butterflies part of nature?
>THEY POLLINATE FLOWERS TO HELP THE FLOWERS MAKE MORE FLOWERS. THEY ALSO
>HELP CONTROL THE PLANTS THEY EAT SO THE PLANTS DON'T TAKE OVER, BECAUSE
>IN NATURE HAS TO BE CONTROLLED TO STAY HEALTHY AND MAKE IT STRONG.
This is similarly problematic in that the question invokes a specific
purpose for butterflies which is beyond empirical experience to provide.
The fact that they pollinate flowers and eat plants does not address "why"
butterflies are part of nature any more than it might explain any other
It seems to me that there is a mixing of "why" questions that deal with why
the universe is the way it is, and the consequences thereof. Thus, the
question might be rephrased to ask what are the functional or
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