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One of the arguments for "intelligent design" takes as an example a simple banana, and explains how it's just the right size for eating, the right color to easily spot it, easy to peel with human hands, etc. — and that it all can't be just a coincidence. Someone could point out that we evolved the eyes and hands for the banana, and not the other way around. But that would be a mistake. I will instead point out that the modern banana was indeed designed by humans. Behold the wild one (a banana for scale).

A surprising number of fruits and vegetables are actually man-made. Strawberries as we know them have a couple hundred years. Carrots didn't use to be orange. Speaking of oranges, they were bred from much smaller citruses back in the ancient times. We have been meddling with the evolution of plants for a long time, before we even suspected how that works.

@deshipu same with a lot of plants really, I don't know the specifics but there's a whole science of selecting/hybridizing for maximum crop yield at the expense of genetic variety.

which is also why modern bananas are at risk of extinction, because the variety that's cultivated everywhere now (cavendish) is completely defenceless against a specific fungus (which is currently spreading everywhere, and no one knows how to stop it). it already happened once in the 50s.

@emptyfortress Actually bananas are a bit of a special case, because they are seedless, so the only way we can breed them is effectively cloning. Some of the recent Monsanto grains have the same thing, because they want the farmers to have to buy the seeds from them every year. But most domesticated plants are still reasonably diverse, despite the modifications.

@deshipu wait until they learn about corn. Or broccoli/kale/brussels sprouts

@deshipu I had a hard time believing anyone would make such a preposterous argument for Intelligent Design, but lo, there's the video at rationalwiki.org/wiki/Banana_a

@deshipu
If you go to tropical and subtropical countries, you would find a dozen varieties of 🍌. Both small and large. They are also cultivated and sold. They tend to have thinner skins, so they are not usually exported.

@ashwinvis Yes, of course, but they all have been "designed" by selective breeding by humans, which is the point.

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