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Creationism and the Argument From Thorns

You’ve heard Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s brilliant argumentum ad banana. And perhaps even Chuck Missler’s equally brilliant argument ad peanut butterum. Now I give you Institute for Creation Research president John Morris’ argument from thorns.

In an Institute for Creation Research radio bulletin, Dr. John Morris claimed that thorns on plants are proof that evolution is nothing but a myth. He told co-host Chris O’Brien that Genesis 3 includes a curse on plants as “thorns and thistles are a direct result of Adam’s sin.”

He claims on a certain ryegrass, a certain fungus sometimes “grows unchecked” and “chokes out the plant” because “a particular gene in the fungus was turned off through mutation.”

“Mutations are thought to be the main mechanism by which evolution occurs but every mutation we see is harmful, not helpful as evolution requires,” Morris argued. “Face it Chris, evolution just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit the facts and it certainly doesn’t agree with the ‘back to Genesis’ truth of creation.”

Yes, every mutation is harmful. Except all the ones that have been exhaustively documented that are beneficial, like Richard Lenski’s amazing experiments with E. coli, where they can pinpoint the exact mutations that allow the bacteria to metabolize citrate.

Comments

  1. says

    He claims on a certain ryegrass, a certain fungus sometimes “grows unchecked” and “chokes out the plant” because “a particular gene in the fungus was turned off through mutation.”
    “Mutations are thought to be the main mechanism by which evolution occurs but every mutation we see is harmful, not helpful as evolution requires,” Morris argued.

    But it was helpful for the fungus.*

    * Oh, won’t someone stick up for the fungus?! Let the spores in to your heart! Praise the fungus! The fungus is among us! The fungus is among us! /me runs off to form mushroom-centric religion

  2. Trebuchet says

    He claims on a certain ryegrass, a certain fungus sometimes “grows unchecked” and “chokes out the plant” because “a particular gene in the fungus was turned off through mutation.”

    Sounds like a useful adaptation — to the fungus.

  3. busterggi says

    “Dr. John Morris claimed that thorns on plants are proof that evolution is nothing but a myth. He told co-host Chris O’Brien that Genesis 3 includes a curse on plants as “thorns and thistles are a direct result of Adam’s sin.”

    Where you there Dr. Morris?

  4. magistramarla says

    I’m just a Latin teacher, not a scientist, Jim, but if I remember anything from those long-ago science classes, I think that thorns and thistles are a beneficial adaptation. Animals are much less likely to munch on those plants again if they get a painful thorn or thistle in their mouths from trying it the first time. In this way , more of the plants manage to avoid being eaten, grow to maturity and pass on their seeds.
    As I learned it long ago, this is what survival of the species is all about.
    If I can remember this from a class that I had over 40 years ago, these guys must be pretty ignorant.

    I’m prepared to be beaten across the shoulders by the real science people here if I remembered this wrong!

  5. eric says

    He told co-host Chris O’Brien that Genesis 3 includes a curse on plants as “thorns and thistles are a direct result of Adam’s sin.”

    So John, did God intend the curse to be a collective punishment, or was He incapable of stopping it from affecting innocent plants?

  6. Randomfactor says

    His misunderstanding of evolution is itself simple to understand. It’s the same mistake that drives his religion: he thinks the whole of the universe is there for HIS benefit.

  7. Larry says

    Plant has no thorns or thistles. Plant get munched upon by animals.

    A mutation occurs whereby plant develops thorns. Plant gets munched on less than plants without thorns. Thus, thorny plant is able to put out more seeds than non-thorny plant making for more non-munchable thorny plants.

    Hence, thorns are there because of Adam’s sin. Check!

  8. Chiroptera says

    Hey, don’t dis Missler! He proved beyond any doubt that life on earth could not have originated in a sealed jar of peanut butter! I’m convinced.

  9. Doug Little says

    Face it Chris, evolution just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit the facts

    If there was ever capital punishment for lying this would fit the bill nicely. What a grade A fucking moron.

  10. Ben P says

    So John, did God intend the curse to be a collective punishment, or was He incapable of stopping it from affecting innocent plants?

    Re-reading it, Thorns are apparently a collective punishment upon all mankind. (ooh, foreshadowing!)

    Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
    Cursed is the ground because of you;
    In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
    “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;
    By the sweat of your face You will eat bread,
    Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken;
    For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

    So apparently in Eden, no plants had thorns, and Adam could freely eat from naturally growing fruit or whatever. Then, because he pissed god off, plants have thorns now.

    I’m a little unclear as to the connections between thorns and a fungus on ryegrass though.

  11. says

    This reminds me of a picture a saw on the web, apparently of a display at a creation museum (perhaps ICR’s?). I have no good copy of the pic, but here is the text:

    According to God’s Word, thorns came after Adam’s sin, about six thousand years ago, not millions of years ago. Since we have discovered thorns in the fossil record, along with dinosaurs and other plants and animals, they all must have lived at the same time as humans, after Adam’s sin.

    The picture’s caption was “Logic: you’re doing it wrong”

  12. Steve Morrison says

    I’m just a Latin teacher, not a scientist

    I thought you were about to correct “argumentum ad banana” to “argumentum ad bananam”!

  13. suttkus says

    So, there were no thorns before Adam’s Sin. Some animals have adaptations specifically for eating thorny plants. But there is no evolution. God made the animals able to eat thorns that didn’t exist yet! This is in keeping with Henry “John’s Dad” Morris’ claim that lions and tigers ate fruit before the fall. What could be more obvious than that a lion’s powerful legs, claws, and teeth are intelligently designed to aid the beast in chasing down and subduing wild bananas. Meanwhile, pre-cursed turtles have thick shells to protect them from… falling rocks or something, I don’t know! Don’t ask me questions, I’m a creationist! I do blind belief, not questions!

    Oh, wait, I’m not a creationist, I’m a skeptic with a warped sense of humor. Whew, lucky break there.

    Remember, there was no death before the fall, so none of the bacteria in Adam’s blood stream could have died in the hundreds of years we’re told Adam and Eve were in the garden. Since bacteria keep reproducing and never die, I can only assume Adam and Eve were bloated like carnival balloons by the time they got out. Meanwhile, all the leaves they ate were still alive and…

  14. Amphiox says

    Too bad the Almighty didn’t have the foresight to put some thorns on that there Tree of Knowledge.

    Would have saved everyone a whole lot of trouble….

  15. says

    suttkus “Remember, there was no death before the fall, so none of the bacteria in Adam’s blood stream could have died in the hundreds of years we’re told Adam and Eve were in the garden. Since bacteria keep reproducing and never die, I can only assume Adam and Eve were bloated like carnival balloons by the time they got out.”
    “And Adam did think of the first joke ever,
    And he did go to Eve,
    And there he did command her to pull his finger…”

  16. Nepenthe says

    The JWs stopped visiting me when–after they told me that all creatures were made by God and that all disease came from sin and Satan–I pulled out my parasitology textbook and pointed out some choice creatures of God’s.

    Presumably Plasmodium falciparum had such complicated thorn-analogs to amuse itself in the Garden of Eden.

  17. eric says

    Too bad the Almighty didn’t have the foresight to put some thorns on that there Tree of Knowledge.

    Or make it 50′ taller, with the fruit at the top.

    Or have its fruit not cause a fall. God designed that thing. What kind of maniac puts a “destroys the entire universe if eaten” retaliation system into a fruit tree? If I were a plant geneticist and had designed a tree that dispensed knowledge of good and evil with a bite, and I wanted to punish people who ate it without my permission, I would’ve stuck with “thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely get the runs.” Or perhaps “thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely lose thy lunch before thou dost gain the knowledge.”

  18. freehand says

    magistramarla: If I can remember this from a class that I had over 40 years ago, these guys must be pretty ignorant.

    They work hard for that ignorance. More horrifyingly, they are proud of it.

  19. had3 says

    If there were no death in the garden, then why is there a tree of life that must be jealously protected and requires the expulsion of Adam and Eve? If only they ate from that tree first (Lilith?).

  20. Francisco Bacopa says

    I have to remind everyone that if you read Genesis you will see that The Serpent did not deceive Eve. Everything The Serpent told Eve happened when Eve at the fruit. God had to exile Adam and Eve and guard the Tre of Life because he knew that humans who had both knowledge and the fruit of life would become his rivals.

    Genesis is a story about how to defeat God. We have gained knowledge and gone into exile. But we still built the Tower of Babel and challenged God even in our weakness. God confused and divided us to remove the threat. But we have built a new Tower of Babel, The Internet. The net destroys faith faster than it spreads it, it advances knowledge. Soon, the tree of life will be within the grasp of all humanity. It is already within the grasp of all humanity if those in power could be pushed aside.

    Am I saying we can have eternal life? No, and I am not sure it would be a good thing if we could. But humanity has acquired the power to remove much of the suffering of the exile. And we can at least geve people at least some hope against the uncertainties of life. This seems to be enough of the tree of life to be able to defeat God.

    Consider this: Every nation that has universal health care and a fairly narrow income gap is majority atheist . Among the industrialized nations, only the US and Turkey have high rates of belief. These are the two nations with inadequate health care and high inequality.

    The tree of life and the defeat of the world’s faiths is within reach, the good Earth can provide if we treat it right.

  21. corporal klinger says

    I look at the thorny hedge around my house, now full of red, blue, purple and orange berries, teaming with all sorts of birds and little mammals, the deep autumn sun shining through in this very special autumn light “and I think to myself, what a wonderful world” . So, thank you Adam!!

  22. dingojack says

    MO – Is that the fungus worshipping religion where you get to eat [blue vein] cheese sandwiches while drinking beer*?

    And speaking of fungi let’s not forget the humble Penicillium. (Before Florey there was only death….)

    Dingo
    ——–
    * or Saki or Pu Erh tea or ….

  23. Hatchetfish says

    Larry, @10: But, but, then why don’t all plants have thorns? Huh, huh? Checkmate atheists!

    Sheesh.

    —————

    On pre-curse turtles: So klingons have something to blame on Adam too…

  24. dingojack says

    What about cacti? No thorns there. Checkmate theists!
    :D Dingo
    ———-
    PS Also echidnas, hedgehogs, the larval forms certain species of insects, certain reptiles (such as the Horned lizard) and etc. For a vegetarian, Adam sure had a weird diet.

  25. dingojack says

    Not to mention the spiny Stoneish (family Synanceiidae,), one of the most toxic fish in the world
    The FoAW nots:
    “Though Synanceia are venomous and dangerous to human beings, they are actually consumed as food in some parts of Asia including south Japan, south Fujian and Guangdong in China and Hong Kong. Their venom is harmless after heating. In the Hokkien speaking area, they are considered delicacies and good for health. The meat of Synanceia is white, dense and sweet, and the skin is also edible. They are usually cooked with ginger into a clear soup, and sometimes served raw as sushi or sashimi”
    Dingo
    ——–
    PS thorn-bearing Roses
    (FoAW)
    “Rose hips are occasionally made into jam, jelly, and marmalade, or are brewed for tea, primarily for their high vitamin C content. They are also pressed and filtered to make rose hip syrup. Rose hips are also used to produce Rose hip seed oil, which is used in skin products and some makeup products.[citation needed]

    Rosa canina hipsRose petals or flower buds are sometimes used to flavour ordinary tea, or combined with other herbs to make tisanes.

    In France there is much use of rose syrup, most commonly made from an extract of rose petals. In the United States, this French rose syrup is used to make rose scones and marshmallows.[citation needed]

    Rose flowers are used as food, also usually as flavouring or to add their scent to food.[8] Other minor uses include candied rose petals.[9]

    Rose creams (rose flavoured fondant covered in chocolate, often topped with a crystallised rose petal) are a traditional English confectionery widely available from numerous producers in the UK.”

    Well, well, well a creationist who knows nothing about his god’s creations, what a surprise!

  26. coryat says

    I don’t know why Ed is citing Lenski and his dumb bacteria here. They just changed within their kind; they didn’t evolve into something else entirely, such as an aubergine, or a croco-duck. Ergo(t), not real evolution.

  27. says

    I remember a hypothesis that ergot poisoning is what triggered the Salem witch trials: The vicitms had nightmarish experiences from the ergot and witches were blamed. Given human nature and religion, I’d say it seems like a plausible contributing factor but not a necessary one.

  28. raven says

    Too bad the Almighty didn’t have the foresight to put some thorns on that there Tree of Knowledge.

    Or put it on Jupiter, Titan, or Kpax IV.

    You don’t have to be omniscient to know enough not to leave dangerous objects lying around for the kids to find.

    Besides, we all know Adam and Eve were set up to fail.

  29. caseloweraz says

    Magistramarla: I’m just a Latin teacher, not a scientist, Jim, but if I remember anything from those long-ago science classes, I think that thorns and thistles are a beneficial adaptation.

    You are correct — as made abundantly clear by the great many creatures mentioned above, both animals and plants, that possess thorns. To which list I add catfish; IIRC they have some spikey protuberances around the gills.

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