WND Offers Supremely Dumb Creationist Argument

Even if we grant the premise that a lot of phyla appear in the Atdabanian (solely because there are no soft-bodied faunas older than Chengjiang in the earliest Cambrian), Meyer claims the 5-6 million years of the Atdabanian are too fast for evolution to produce all the phyla of animals. Wrong again! Lieberman (2003) showed that rates of evolution during the “Cambrian explosion” are typical of any adaptive radiation in life’s history, whether you look at the Paleocene diversification of the mammals after the non-avian dinosaurs vanished, or even the diversification of humans from their common ancestor with apes 6 m.y. ago. As distinguished Harvard paleontologist Andrew Knoll put it in his 2003 book, Life on a Young Planet:

Was there really a Cambrian Explosion? Some have treated the issue as semantic–anything that plays out over tens of millions of years cannot be “explosive,” and if the Cambrian animals didn’t “explode,” perhaps they did nothing at all out of the ordinary. Cambrian evolution was certainly not cartoonishly fast … Do we need to posit some unique but poorly understood evolutionary process to explain the emergence of modern animals? I don’t think so. The Cambrian Period contains plenty of time to accomplish what the Proterozoic didn’t without invoking processes unknown to population geneticists–20 million years is a long time for organisms that produce a new generation every year or two. (Knoll, 2003, p. 193)

In other words, it’s the same old dishonest creationist drivel. How entirely unsurprising.

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38 comments on this post.
  1. Marcus Ranum:

    Did he just admit he has no brain? I think he did! And to think, god made him that stupid.

  2. Trebuchet:

    There’s a typo in the post title:

    “WND Offers Supremely Dumb Creatinist Argument”

    Possibly it’s a missing “o” but I’d prefer to think it’s an extra “a”.

  3. John Pieret:

    From the end of Newcombe’s article:

    Meyer adds, “It’s just like in computer science. If you want to have a new function on your computer, you’ve got to have lots of code, lots of instruction. If you want to build these complex animal forms, we now know, you need information, you need instructions. And that’s the crucial question that is really creating an impasse in evolutionary theory. Where does that information come from?”

    Oh, I get it – “In the beginning was the Word …”

    But, of course, ID is all about science, not religion!

  4. unbound:

    I misread the author to be Stephanie Meyer, then figured out who it really was later…but it didn’t really alter my opinion of the likely quality put into the book…

  5. Abby Normal:

    At least Newcombe and Meyer admit the existence of Cambrian Period. That puts them well ahead of Comfort’s position: 70 million years is an impossibly abrupt explosion. But, 8,000 years is plenty of time for each kind of animal to diversify and spread from Mt. Ararat to every corner of the world.

  6. Draken:

    This is not some minor book by an “obscurantist backwoods fundamentalist.”

    Well… yes, it is.

  7. robb:

    i was wondering what stephen meyer’s Phd is. his website shows it is philosophy of science. at least “science” is in his PhD–and he is not a dentist. oh! and he works at the discovery institute.

  8. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant):

    I dropped alphabetti spaghetti and it spelled DHGLRRGHN perfectly! Explain that, evilutionists!

  9. Skip White:

    I like how his argument basically starts out with “I don’t know how to use my computer so evolution is false.”

  10. Doug Little:

    Just another fucking idiot.

  11. Chiroptera:

    Every time I log into a computer and have to enter my password, I’m reminded of how impossible evolution is.

    One little mistake on the keypad and I can’t log in. There’s even a website where I seem to be in permanent “log-in purgatory.” I can’t log in ever. Granted, it’s operator error. But still …

    And cell phones! No matter where I’m at, it knows where to ring me! How does it do that?

  12. Doug Little:

    Also why is it so hard to understand that evolution doesn’t necessarily need to proceed at a constant rate, matter of fact if it did it would be a good argument against it, and also that it is fucking hard to make a fossil. It’s like they expect every animal that ever lived to be fossilized.

    Deep time and big numbers mean absolutely nothing to these morons.

  13. Skip White:

    @ Chiroptera #11:

    The phone rings and it’s not even plugged into the wall! You can’t explain that!

  14. otrame:

    it’s hard to top Ray Comfort’s banana for sheer stupidity

    Actually, Ray topped himself……..

    Ack!!!!!!11!!!! No, bad brain, BAD BRAIN. DO. Not. GO. There.


    Ray topped himself


    I mean topped his own stupidity with his “So, a male dog evolved, what are the chances that a female dog will evolve at the same time and be nearby?”

    *wanders off to find the brain bleach

  15. oranje:

    You know, I have a PhD and work as a writer. I can tell a story. Would you all forgive me if I went off and crafted a master Poe, just to fleece these idiots and donate all the money to places like the ACLU and Americans United? Because I’m convinced I could duplicate the output of the Discovery Institute just in my spare time.

  16. Synfandel:

    WND Offers Supremely Dumb Creatinist Argument

    There’s a typo in the title, Ed. That’s spelled “cretinous”.

  17. Reginald Selkirk:

    Because I’m convinced I could duplicate the output of the Discovery Institute just in my spare time.

    Why expend all that effort yourself, when a room full of monkeys could do it?

  18. John Pieret:

    otrame @ 14:

    Yeah, it has been over 4 years since PZ tried to educate him. It didn’t stick then.


    He does say one true thing* in that article:

    I’m just one incompetent idiot


    * Since creationists like quote mining so much …

  19. kantalope:

    Harper Collins website says his degree is in Philosophy of Science….well, there you go.

    Science without all that facts and reality gettin in the way.

  20. Augustus Carp:

    @Kantaloupe. Yes… that’s it…Science with the science taken out.. sort of like alcohol-free beer, odourless garlic-capsules and decaffeinated coffee

  21. busterggi:

    To paraphrase another cretin, “passwords go in, porn comes out – you can’t explain that.”

  22. zenlike:

    How does this tie to evolution? Because if evolution were true, then we are to believe a whole series of complex sequences managed to get everything right – repeatedly.

    Sigh. It’s the old ‘look, the puddle fits the hole perfectly, therefore the hole must be designed’-nonsense. don’t they ever come up with something new?

  23. Rip Steakface:

    Stephen Meyer’s book may as well be written by Stephanie Meyer for how useful it is.

  24. b. - Order of Lagomorpha:

    It’s amazing, really. If you have a PhD and are on the pro-science side, you know nothing according to the creationists; you’re even mistaken about your own specialty. If you’re on the pro-creationist side, though, you’re suddenly an expert in everything from information theory to physics, geology to paleontology and, gosh! computer science now. It must be that there Word of Knowledge thingie they’re frequently on about. *sprains eyes rolling them a tad too far*

    “The key word is “abrupt.”” That’s the key word all right–the key to knowing that Meyer hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about. “The car turned abruptly in front of me, your honor, and by “abruptly” I mean that it took from 70 to 80 million years. I didn’t have time to get out of the way!”

  25. Modusoperandi:

    If evolution is true, then why did sparkly vampires simply appear in the bookstore, hmmm?

  26. d.c.wilson:

    Are there any creationist arguments that aren’t supremely dumb?

    According to Wikipedia, Meyer’s PhD is in history and philosophy of science. Obviously, that makes him an expert on evolution.


  27. Taz:

    Password goes in, rejection comes out. Always a miscommunication.

    You can’t explain that.

  28. Stacy:

    @otrame #14

    I mean topped his own stupidity with his “So, a male dog evolved, what are the chances that a female dog will evolve at the same time and be nearby?

    Plus which, for evilution to be really truly true, said female dog would have to mate with the male dog and give birth to kittens. Checkmate, atheists.

    @oranje #15

    You know, I have a PhD and work as a writer. I can tell a story. Would you all forgive me if I went off and crafted a master Poe, just to fleece these idiots and donate all the money to places like the ACLU and Americans United? Because I’m convinced I could duplicate the output of the Discovery Institute just in my spare time.

    I think that would be awesome. Sokal hoax the DI–go for it!

  29. vmanis1:

    Apparently Meyer isn’t aware of the field of genetic algorithms, which have achieved considerable success over the years. The basic idea is that you make random changes to the code, until it starts performing the task it has been set more effectively. This has achieved considerable success in optimization problems, and now there is a great deal of literature and active research in the area. IEEE hosts an annual conference on evolutionary computing, for example.

    It appears that Meyer knows about as much about computer science as he does about evolutionary biology.

  30. Steve Morrison:

    Actually, I believe in the existence of creatine.

  31. Matt G:

    “Philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” -Richard Feynman

  32. Aliasalpha:

    So his password is input on a keypad, that means numbers only which probably means his birthday or a 4 digit PIN

    Oh and computers are the product of evolution (albeit unnatural), descent with modification over the generations to the point where the tablet I’m writing this on bears almost no resemblance to Babbage & Lovelace’s difference engine even though its a direct descendant.

  33. dingojack:

    To use a clichéd example: It would be like a monkey typing at random and coming out with the complete works of Shakespeare without any errors“.

    There are believed to be about 228 copies of the ‘First Folio (1623) still in existence (40 are considered ‘complete’). Each can be traced because of the slight differences in each of the printings. So which of the 228 copies is the one ‘without errors’?

    PS: So the argument is ‘evolution is false because what used to be called the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ occurred (geologically) ‘abruptly’ (actually, over 70 million years). So clearly the bible must be true ’cause god ‘poofed’ the whole universe, complete and perfect, into existence in just six days!
    How terribly, terribly compelling! @@

  34. jws1:

    @ Dingo #33: Don’t use the “six days” bit; it’s an open invitation to the Christianist to reply “6 days could mean tens of millions of years to God”. From personal experience, the conversation does not improve from there.

  35. dingojack:

    If god meant ‘millions of years’ why did he write ‘days’? ‘Cause it’s all literally true, right?

  36. kantalope:

    You have to admit that after 21900000000 days god declared that the next 365000000 would be days of rest kinda screws up the flow of the story. Not to mention…the plebes would be takin the day off still.

  37. unemployedphilosopher:

    Philosophy of Science is actually pretty interesting these days. The questions are mostly about how we can have a coherent picture of the universe through the vastly diversified fields of scientific inquiry. (The answer is usually: not well.) Just a few names off the top of my head that would be good reading: Nancy Cartwright, Paul Teller, Ron Giere, Jim Woodward, Tom Nagel, and Bas van Fraassen. They mostly work on physics, which is kinda my thing, but I’m told that Dave Buller has a fairly awesome critique of evolutionary psychology. I’ve read it, but don’t really know enough about the field to say for sure.

  38. gertzedek:

    I’m surprised that one even needs to invoke science for this, since the argument fails on much more basic grounds.

    First, let’s assume (for the sake of argument) that the Cambrian Explosion were inexplicable by the current theory of evolution. Would that prove Creation? No, of course not; it would just mean “huh, something weird happened in the Cambrian…we might want to look into that”.

    Second, let’s assume that we could prove that these Cambrian species (or any species, for that matter) could spontaneously generate. Would that prove goddidit? No; there would be no more proof that G-d made the creature appear than there’s proof of anything else G-d is supposed to do. It would just mean that the current understanding about spontaneous generation is wrong and provide scientists a new phenomenon to study.

    Finally, let’s assume that we could somehow prove that these Cambrian creatures were Divinely created. The Creationists have finally won, right? Not at all — the average Creationist isn’t especially interested in the creation of the trilobite; the implication behind all their arguments is that humans were divinely created and have a special place in the universe. If you somehow proved a Cambrian Creation, you still have some 540 million years of evolution to account for. So you’re not related to a banana, you’re just related to a lobe-finned fish. Much better, theologically.

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