Another creationist list of lies


It’s always amusing to see creationists try to explain why Charles Darwin was wrong, especially when they make up lists of reasons “Darwin’s theory of evolution does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.” These are always people who wouldn’t know what scientific scrutiny was if it knocked them immobile with a carefully measured dose of Conus snail toxin, strapped them to an operating table, and pumped high-intensity Science directly into their brains with a laser. As I often wish I could do.

Anyway, some ignorant jebus-lover hacked together a list of 10 “mistakes” that Darwin made. Strangely, they completely miss his actual errors (probably because they’ve never read anything by Darwin and don’t have enough knowledge of biology to recognize where he has been superceded) and babble on about what are actually creationist errors.

1. “Warm little pond” theory: There is no solid evidence of life arising spontaneously from a chemical soup.

Actually, there is. We know that organic chemicals arise spontaneously all the time in nature — they’re even detectable floating about in space. We also know that biology is chemistry, and that every process driving biological phenomena is ultimately physical and chemical. We also know that life arose in a geologically brief period early in the history of the earth. It’s certainly a better explanation than that some invisible guy said some magic words and poof, life appeared spontaneously with all the complexity of extant forms.

By the way, the “warm little pond” wasn’t part of Darwin’s theory. It was a brief speculation made in an 1871 letter to Hooker.

“It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, – light, heat, electricity &c. present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter wd be instantly devoured, or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.”

That’s actually still an entirely reasonable hypothesis, and not a mistake at all, especially when you recognize that he was suitably cautious in his publications. Here’s what he said in The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, for instance.

“As the first origin of life on this earth, as well as the continued life of each individual, is at present quite beyond the scope of science, I do not wish to lay much stress on the greater simplicity of the view of a few forms, or of only one form, having been originally created, instead of innumerable miraculous creations having been necessary at innumerable periods; though this more simple view accords well with Maupertuis’s philosophical axiom ‘of least action.'”

2. Simplicity of the cell theory: Scientists have discovered that cells are tremendously complex, not simple.

Total fiction, but an oft-repeated lie by creationists. Scientists in Darwin’s day had access to light microscopes with resolution as good as ours today; they were actively studying the structure of the cells, identifying and naming organelles, teasing apart the choreography of cell division. They were entirely aware of the mysteries and complexities of the cell’s contents.

And again, there was nothing in any of Darwin’s writings that presupposed that cells had to be simple.

3. Theory about the cell’s simple information: It turns out cells have a digital code more complex and lengthy than any computer language made by man.

Wait, isn’t this the same as #2? I’m seeing some padding going on already.

But no, the genome is not a computer program written in a complex computer language. The words “digital code” are not magic, nor do they imply any supernatural origin.

4. Theory of intermediate fossils: Where are the supposed billions of missing links in the evolutionary chain?

Oh, really? This is the most absurd creationist claim: we keep digging up transitional fossils and waving them in front of their noses, and they just close their eyes and chant “lalalalala”.

5. Theory of the variation of species: Genetic adaptation and mutation have proven to have fixed limits.

They do? Where is this “proof”? When I can see from the molecular evidence that a fruit fly, a squid, and a human all share a common core of related genes, I have to say that if there are such limits, they are very wide — wide enough to encompass the entirety of life on earth.

If he means that there are limits such that a mouse will not give birth to an orangutan or a cabbage, I’d agree…but no biologist proposes any such ridiculously saltational view of evolutionary change. It’s always the creationists who demand that a cat give birth to a monkey before they’ll believe in evolution.

6. Theory of the Cambrian Explosion: This sudden appearance of most major complex animal groups at the same low level of the fossil record is still an embarrassment to evolutionists.

They are so embarrassed about it that they keep writing about it and studying it!

Remember, though, “sudden appearance” means over tens of millions of years…and it’s a creationist who believes the whole of the earth’s history is about a thousandth of the length of just this one geological period who is claiming that 20 million years is untenably sudden. It’s also not true that that animals abruptly appeared: we have evidence of precursors, and even within the Cambrian we see patterns of change from beginning to end.

7. Theory of homology: Similarity of structures does not mean the evolution of structures.

This is the one case where this creationist has dimly caught a glimpse of a real argument within biology. We’ve been wrestling with the concept of homology for a long, long time — with problems of definition and implementation. These arguments, however, do not cast doubt on the evidence for evolution, so I’m not about to get into them here (this is where a philosopher of science would be much more useful!)

8. Theory of ape evolution : Chimpanzees have not evolved into anything else. Neither has man.

But a proto-chimp/human — our last common ancestor — evolved into both humans and chimps.

This is a very silly argument. It’s like claiming that because none of my children have yet reproduced, it is impossible that my wife and I produced them.

9. Theory of the tree of life: Rather than all life branching from a single organism, evidence has revealed a forest of life from the very beginning.

Goddamn you, New Scientist! Ever since they ran their stupid, misbegotten cover, the creationists have been crowing about Darwin being proven wrong. The tree model is still largely accurate for multicellular life, but we have to add a component of horizontal gene transfer, and we recognize that at the root of the tree of life, in all those single-celled organisms, the profligate exchange of genes across species is much, much more common.

But this is still evolution! It’s also an entirely natural mechanism; there aren’t angels or gods mediating bacterial conjugation or viral transduction.

10. Rejection of an intelligent designer: This opened the door for many to reject God, the Bible and Christianity.

That’s no mistake. You should reject gods, holy books, and various cults, because they’re all bullshit.

That was a pathetic effort, so typical of creationists. I’ve seen many such lists of Darwin’s errors, and there’s a lot of overlap…but there’s one thing I’ve never seen appear on any of them. Why don’t they ever mention Darwin’s biggest mistake, his theory of blending inheritance, pangenesis? It was completely wrong, it was even incompatible with natural selection, yet the creationists never seem to latch onto it as a tool for defaming Darwin. Is it because then they’d also have to understand that another natural mechanism, one that is intrinsically about chance and statistics, so thoroughly replaced Darwin’s mechanism? Is it because they neither understand the theories Darwin proposed, nor Mendelian genetics?

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. says

    1. “Warm little pond” theory: There is no solid evidence of life arising spontaneously from a chemical soup.

    Why do they keep conflating evolution with abiogenesis?

    It’s like saying that we don’t know how a car engine works because we don’t know where the gasoline came from.

  2. Brownian says

    Theory of ape evolution : Chimpanzees have not evolved into anything else. Neither has man.

    “Because I’m not at some future destination, I can’t possibly have gotten to my present location from somewhere else in the past.”

  3. stuartluppescu says

    I get all apoplectic when I read creationists’ arguments that there is no scientific evidence to support ideas like “life arising spontaneously from a chemical soup.” This is coming from people whose suppositions have absolutely NO empirical evidence whatsoever. There was a relevant posting on Religion Poisons Everything on Facebook recently:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=368779883159225
    It’s a real good one.

  4. says

    It turns out cells have a digital code more complex and lengthy than any computer language made by man.

    And it mutates far more tolerantly of change, too! Proof of design, or, uh, what was that thing, evolution?

    I suppose it’s just a coincidence that DNA evolves far better than to actually designed codes–just another mystery of God’s creation, no doubt.

    Similarity of structures does not mean the evolution of structures.

    Of course not. Similarity in the patterns seen means the evolution of those patterns–which you acknowledge every time you accept the evidence of “microevolution” (whatever meaning that word has at the place and time).

    Theory of ape evolution : Chimpanzees have not evolved into anything else. Neither has man.

    You mean that the species existing today are the species existing today? That life actually has forms today?

    Have you ever really looked at your foot? I mean, really looked at it? And look at the sky. It’s so blue, I mean, really blue!

    Glen Davidson

  5. Anisopteran says

    Scientists in Darwin’s day had access to light microscopes with resolution as good as ours today

    Not quite true – we now have super-resolution (fluorescence) microscopes – STED, SIM, PALM, STORM etc. We get 15-20 nm resolution with our ‘scope, at least 10 times better than a normal light microscope. Sorry to quibble with the cephalomeister… and be completely off-topic.

  6. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    Where are the supposed billions of missing links in the evolutionary chain?

    There’s no evidence of when, where, or to whom my grandfather was born–no birth certificate, no newspaper announcement, no known family (he ran away when he was a teenager).

    So I guess that means he was gawd’s special creation….

  7. Brownian says

    Why do they keep conflating evolution with abiogenesis?

    Because they fit both into the bag of “explanations for life that scientists use that don’t involve God”.

    They really just don’t know the difference. And is it really that big a sticking point? There are two ways in which we use evolution: there’s evolution the actual history of life on Earth and evolution: the theory, and abiogenesis could reasonably be considered a part of the former.

  8. says

    Theory about the cell’s simple information: It turns out cells have a digital code more complex and lengthy than any computer language made by man.

    This is some kind of combination of an Argument from Analogy and an Argument from Incredulity.

    It’s like a Logical Fallacy Voltron.

    The first part is saying “It’s like code, therefore it is code”, and the second part is saying “Holy crap this is sooooo complicated I don’t know how it could have just happened on its own!

  9. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    And look at the sky. It’s so blue, I mean, really blue!

    It was on sale at Home Depot.

  10. says

    That wikiarticle you linked suggests that Darwin wasn’t too happy with the idea
    “Darwin himself also had strong doubts of the blending inheritance hypothesis, despite incorporating a limited form of it into his own explanation of inheritance published in 1868, called pangenesis.”
    Why do you call it ‘Darwin’s biggest mistake’ didn’t he get anything more wrong than that?!?

  11. raven says

    Theory of ape evolution : Chimpanzees have not evolved into anything else. Neither has man.

    This is pretty stupid even by creationist’s standards.

    Morphological evolution and speciation usually takes place on time scales of hundreds of thousands to millions of years.

    The average species lasts from 1 to 10 million years.

    We’ve only been watching closely for a few hundred years. If a process takes 200,000 years, the age of modern humans, then we wouldn’t expect to see anything.

    In point of fact, we have seen speciation events in recent times as they happen, just not in chimpanzees and humans. And of course, in recent times past, there were other types of humans, Neanderthals, Denisovians, H. floriensis and so on. They just happen to be recently extinct.

  12. says

    And is it really that big a sticking point?

    Yes, actually. Abiogenesis is still very unknown, and evolution is very known.

    They’ll use the fact that abiogensis isn’t understood/proven yet to dismiss evolution (read the list again for an example), even though it has zero relevancy to whether we can investigate and understand how evolution works.

    I’d think that point would be very damn important.

  13. says

    Where are the supposed billions of missing links in the evolutionary chain?

    I like this, though, because they often used to say, ‘show me just one transitional fossil.’ Which we did, far over the required one.

    Now it’s, well, there should be a lot more.

    Even were that so (they don’t even attempt to back up their drivel, of course), try to explain the ones we have via design, dolts. Why are they so marginally “designed,” in fact, so hampered by a legacy of parts that haven’t fully changed over to an excellently working model? Archaeopteryx being the most obvious example of a “poorly designed” bird, not “arbitrarily poorly-designed,” rather lacking precisely in its partial adaptation of a terrestrial dinosaur form to a avian locomotion.

    Glen Davidson

  14. says

    Raven

    We’ve only been watching closely for a few hundred years. If a process takes 200,000 years, the age of modern humans, then we wouldn’t expect to see anything.

    I’d say that it’s arguable that we were on our way. After we spread around the world and were geographically isolated on different continents, we started to evolve in different directions (Causation, Africans, Native Americans, etc).

    It wasn’t until we built flying metal tubes and started mass inter-breeding that we’re starting to average out again, before we finished becoming different species.

  15. Brownian says

    Yes, actually. Abiogenesis is still very unknown, and evolution is very known.

    They’ll use the fact that abiogensis isn’t understood/proven yet to dismiss evolution (read the list again for an example), even though it has zero relevancy to whether we can investigate and understand how evolution works.

    I’d think that point would be very damn important.

    I was coming from the angle that they don’t actually know the difference rather than the conflation being a strategy of theirs, but I think you’ve made a good case here, and I see your point for insisting that both be treated separately. Thanks.

    Of course, like the transitional fossils business, whether or not we actually understand a process doesn’t seem to have any bearing on whether or not they’ll claim we don’t.

  16. says

    It frustrates me to no end that creationists want empirical proof for every tiny part of evolution–let alone this jackasses point #4. Yet–at the same time they have zero proof for anything they believe. Do bullshit artists like this guy even realize the hypocrisy they are living? What nonsense…

    The other point I think you nailed was the idea that this person is criticizing Darwin but is clearly not educated on Darwin’s work, evolution, biology and a whole host of other things we can bet. That is the equivalent of me (non-scientist) criticizing a physicist—I would have to be insane to think I had the credibility to do so…

    Insane…yeah that seems to fit creationists.

  17. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    I have a dream that, someday, a creationist or IDiot will actually come up with a new ‘evolution is wrong’ idea. I’ve been following this closely for about fifteen years or so. During that time, our understanding of evolution has continued to evolve. The creationist arguments, however, seem to be caught in stasis. Even when they latch onto a cherry-picked quote from a paper, it is, inevitably, one of about a dozen arguments, all of which have been shot down again and again and again. Can’t they evolve?

  18. Brownian says

    I’d say that it’s arguable that we were on our way. After we spread around the world and were geographically isolated on different continents, we started to evolve in different directions (Causation, Africans, Native Americans, etc).

    It wasn’t until we built flying metal tubes and started mass inter-breeding that we’re starting to average out again, before we finished becoming different species.

    Woah, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Realistically, other than tiny subpopulations in specifically hard to access locations, there’s always been gene flow between Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    It was ocean-going sea travel that removed the barriers between the populations in the Americas, Africasiaeurope, and Australia.

  19. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    During that time, our understanding of evolution has continued to evolve…. Can’t they evolve?

    Well, there you have it. Evolution can only happen if you believe in evolution. Therefore, evolution requires faith. Therefore, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

  20. says

    Why don’t they ever mention Darwin’s biggest mistake, his theory of blending inheritance, pangenesis?

    Two things–1. they don’t want to acknowledge that where Darwin was wrong, we have no problem throwing him out. That’s not how it’s supposed to be in a religion, and “Darwinism” is supposed to be a religion. And 2. They don’t want to honestly address actual evidence instead of their strawman attacks.

    Start discussing anything related to evolutionary science fairly, and God knows what might happen. Even true believers defend against what they can’t acknowledge to themselves, the fact that you can’t give into proper reasoning about the evidence at all.

    Glen Davidson

  21. raven says

    Plosone:
    Rapid Chromosome Evolution in Recently Formed Polyploids in Tragopogon (Asteraceae)

    Background Polyploidy, frequently termed “whole genome duplication”, is a major force in the evolution of many eukaryotes. Indeed, most angiosperm species have undergone at least one round of polyploidy in their evolutionary history. Despite enormous progress in our understanding of many aspects of polyploidy, we essentially have no information about the role of chromosome divergence in the establishment of young polyploid populations.

    Here we investigate synthetic lines and natural populations of two recently and recurrently formed allotetraploids Tragopogon mirus and T. miscellus (formed within the past 80 years)

    to assess the role of aberrant meiosis in generating chromosomal/genomic diversity. That diversity is likely important in the formation, establishment and survival of polyploid populations and species.

    K. Yoong Lim1, Douglas E. Soltis2, Pamela S. Soltis3, Jennifer Tate4, Roman Matyasek5, Hana Srubarova5, Ales Kovarik5, J. Chris Pires6, Zhiyong Xiong6, Andrew R. Leitch1*

    While speciation is generally slow, it isn’t always. In the western USA, two species in the sunflower family have arisen in the last 80 years. We can watch these speciation events in almost real time and even recreate them.

  22. Brownian says

    It was ocean-going sea travel that removed the barriers between the populations in the Americas, Africasiaeurope, and Australia.

    And there’s evidence, unsurprisingly, that Polynesians were travelling to the Americas before Europeans did.

    Really, it’s only the Australians, who’d colonised and isolated themselves at least 40,000 years ago, who had any chance at speciation.

  23. raven says

    During that time, our understanding of evolution has continued to evolve…. Can’t they evolve?

    Religions evolve and quite rapidly.

    Without any grounding in reality, their beliefs change and mutate quite rapidly. Speciation events are common as churches split into more and more sects. A few new sects are formed every year in the USA.

  24. sqlrob says

    DNA is not digital then. I mean if it is then a nut and bolt are digital information units right?

    Each base pair is 2 bits. Each triplet is ~4.4 bits.

    Granted, that’s a simplifying assumption (methylation, configuration, bound proteins, any other regulatory mechanisms).

  25. Brownian says

    Religions evolve and quite rapidly.

    Without any grounding in reality, their beliefs change and mutate quite rapidly. Speciation events are common as churches split into more and more sects. A few new sects are formed every year in the USA.

    Ooh, analogy burn! Nice one, raven.

  26. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    Religions evolve and quite rapidly.

    Good point. The church down the street just speciated — an independent bible church has just become two independent bible churches. Something to do with the minister, some gin, and someone else’s wife.

    I was referring more to the creationist and IDiot arguments, not so much the ones making the arguments.

  27. raven says

    Really, it’s only the Australians, who’d colonised and isolated themselves at least 40,000 years ago, who had any chance at speciation.

    Them and the African Bushmen who I guess are called Khoisan these days.

    By DNA sequencing they are the oldest and most isolated population of H. sapiens. Some consider them on the way to speciation until modern civilization intervened.

  28. 'Tis Himself says

    10. Rejection of an intelligent designer: This opened the door for many to reject God, the Bible and Christianity.

    The evolutionists are going with evidence and logic, not a 2,500 year old myth stolen from the Babylonians. That’s not fair.

  29. says

    Religions evolve and quite rapidly.

    But, as they don’t arise spontaneously from jars of peanut butter, that’s not really evolution.
    And where are the transitional religions?

  30. raven says

    I was referring more to the creationist and IDiot arguments, not so much the ones making the arguments.

    LOL. No the individual creationists don’t evolve just like individual members of a species don’t evolve but rather populations.

    But the creationists will follow the Flat Earthers into extinction some day. It’s just a slow process like watching two tectonic plates collide to form a mountain range. Nothing visible happens on a day to day basis but one day, there is a Sierra Nevada or Himalayan mountain range.

  31. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Theory about the cell’s simple information: It turns out cells have a digital code more complex and lengthy than any computer language made by man.

    Actually this shows not only deep ignorance of biology but also of computer languages, both in their different synthaxes as well as basic usage, relating to complexity.

    If DNA coding can be compared to a programming language, I would choose assembly or microcode.

    Few instructions (~ 64 codons, that is, lower than most RISC architectures), extremely and deceptively simple, very low-level machine-dependent stuff. Almost impossible to interpret by a human if the code is not commented.

  32. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    LOL. No the individual creationists don’t evolve just like individual members of a species don’t evolve but rather populations.

    Sorry. I phrased that really, really, really badlier. I meant that the arguments presented by the creationists and IDiots do not seem to evolve.

  33. raven says

    And where are the transitional religions?

    In many cases, they are called “Catholics”.

    The phylogeny goes:

    Canaanite religion – Ancient Judaism – Sadducces, Pharisees, Essenes, (ice age equivalent) splitting into Rabbinic Judaism and ProtoXianity, then Catholicism giving rise to Protestantism.

  34. Brownian says

    By DNA sequencing they are the oldest and most isolated population of H. sapiens.

    I know they show some of the earliest divergence from shared ancestral populations, but how are they possibly the most isolated?

    Some consider them on the way to speciation until modern civilization intervened.

    I’d like to see some sources for this, considering the long history of interaction between them and southern Bantu populations.

  35. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    DNA is not digital then. I mean if it is then a nut and bolt are digital information units right?

    “Digital” just means discrete, as opposed to continuous and/or analogic.

    Simple writing for instance is a digital code.

    The reason to adopt a digital code is that errors are easier to correct.

  36. KG says

    Really, it’s only the Australians, who’d colonised and isolated themselves at least 40,000 years ago, who had any chance at speciation. – Brownian

    No, not even them. The dingo is clear evidence of contacts across the Wallace line: there’s no sign of it until around 5,000 years ago, and it never reached Tasmania (cut off from the mainland by sea level rise about 12,000 years ago). Since people must have originally arrived in Australia in some sort of boat 50-60,000 years ago, there’s no reason to suppose, AFAIK, that there were not other incomers between the first arrivals and that of the dingo.

  37. Brownian says

    The dingo is clear evidence of contacts across the Wallace line: there’s no sign of it until around 5,000 years ago, and it never reached Tasmania (cut off from the mainland by sea level rise about 12,000 years ago). Since people must have originally arrived in Australia in some sort of boat 50-60,000 years ago, there’s no reason to suppose, AFAIK, that there were not other incomers between the first arrivals and that of the dingo.

    There you go. Thanks, KG.

  38. Amphiox says

    I had always thought that it had already been determined that the Tasmanians were the most isolated of all ancient populations, with gene flow across to and from Australia severely restricted due to specific geographical and environmental conditions. But even here there was enough gene flow to prevent speciation within the time frame of the existence of our species.

  39. 'Tis Himself says

    And where are the transitional religions?

    They actually exist. Shortly after the death of Marin Luther, the Lutherans split into Flavians, Phillipians, Crypto-Calvinists and several other flavors. These were all supposedly united in 1577 by the “Formula of Concord” giving the true, unadulterated Lutheran dogma. That form of Lutheranism lasted less than 20 years, when the Flavians (the strictest, most evangelical Lutherans) re-emerged as the Pietists and the Phillipians became the Syncretists.

  40. Brownian says

    But even here there was enough gene flow to prevent speciation within the time frame of the existence of our species.

    Really, this is the salient aspect of my objection to JT (Generic)’s comment #15.

  41. truthspeaker says

    Brownian says:
    27 April 2012 at 11:19 am

    And there’s evidence, unsurprisingly, that Polynesians were travelling to the Americas before Europeans did.

    Have a link for that? I would find that very interesting, if true. I’ve always thought it was possible, but I didn’t know of any evidence that it had actually happened.

  42. Amphiox says

    Human culture probable also retards the speciation potential of our species. After the initial genetic isolation event, divergent populations will speculate faster if they experience divergent selection pressures. But human cultures will reduce these selection pressures and slow down generic divergence, because we change our cultures to adapt to our environments faster than evolutionary changes alter our genetics in response to these selection pressures, most of the time.

  43. raven says

    @40

    wikipedia Bushmen:

    Genetic studiesVarious Y-chromosome studies[33][34][35] demonstrated that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree.

    Similar to findings from Y-Chromosome studies, mitochondrial DNA studies also showed evidence that the San people carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d, have been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African San groups.

    The most divergent and oldest DNA sequences, here referencing the diagnostic Y and mitochondrial DNA sequences, but also found in whole genomic sequencing, are found in the Bushmen.

    In ancient times there doesn’t seem to have been much gene flow into the Bushman gene pool.

    The incipient speciation line was just something I read in one of the papers based on them having a divergent DNA sequence, being isolated, and showing unique morphological and physiological features.

  44. says

    Given the evidence of Neandertal and Denisovan genes in humans, it’s not even clear that those were true species.

    Humans would probably speciate fairly slowly, given their fairly low genetic diversity (apparent bottleneck 70,000 years ago, or so). Not that speciation is necessarily tied to such diversity, but it typically helps.

    Glen Davidson

  45. says

    @raven
    “Canaanite religion – Ancient Judaism – Sadducces, Pharisees, Essenes, (ice age equivalent) splitting into Rabbinic Judaism and ProtoXianity, then Catholicism giving rise to Protestantism.”

    Ohh yeah? If Protestants evolved from Catholics, then WHY ARE THERE STILL CATHOLICS?

  46. chigau (Twoic) says

    It’s always the creationists who demand that a cat give birth to a monkey before they’ll believe in evolution.

    If a cat gave birth to a monkey, I’d look on it as a miracle and maybe consider believing in a god.
    (unless it was part of a eebil experiment by Maaaad Scientists™)

  47. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    If Protestants evolved from Catholics, then WHY ARE THERE STILL CATHOLICS?

    There are still Catlikkers because those cats won’t lick themselves.

  48. says

    The Dingo was most likely introduced by seafarers from SE Asia who landed in Australia within the last 5000 years, afaik. After people from Indonesia landed here 50-60.000 yrs ago, it took a long time for anyone else to show up, or for the surrounding islands like New Zealand to be colonised.

  49. sc_656ce72a3e5fae3e50fe07b63420351d says

    6. Theory of the Cambrian Explosion: This sudden appearance of most major complex animal groups at the same low level of the fossil record is still an embarrassment to evolutionists.

    I’m surprised no one mentioned this! No paleo geeks?
    We have great evidence and several working theories as to how this happened over such a relatively (by paleo standards XD) short period of time. The prevailing theory is that a change in oceanic chemistry made it much easier for oceanic organisms to maintain calcitic hard parts, and for these hard parts to be preserved. There’s good evidence, as PZ said, that most of the clades present during the Cambrian were present in the Ediacaran (like kimberella! Those guys were cute), and yeah, the diversification was very sudden, but it was due to some heavy selective pressures in the environment :)

  50. Brownian says

    Thanks, raven. I was looking at the Wiki article too, and saw:

    “Bantu people, with advanced agriculture and metalworking technology developed in West Africa from at least 2000 BC, outcompeted and intermarried with the Khoisan in the years after contact and became the dominant population of Southeastern Africa before the arrival of the Dutch in 1652.”

    so I was curious about the idea of isolation.

    The incipient speciation line was just something I read in one of the papers based on them having a divergent DNA sequence, being isolated, and showing unique morphological and physiological features.

    These are pretty much the same reasons for my understanding of Australian divergence as incipient speciation. My anthro background included a component of forensic and physical anthropology. I got to be so-so at ‘racing’ and sexing skulls, and you had to be good to tell a Khoisan skull from other African ones, but Australian skulls practically ‘pop’, they’re so morphologically distinct.

  51. raven says

    Ed Jong Not Exactly Rocket Science Discover Magazine:

    Most surprising of all, many of their unique SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) are actually fairly recent developments. The Bushmen are one of the oldest human groups on the planet and you might expect their genes to reflect humanity’s most ancestral state.

    But not the SNPs – Schuster found that only 6% of !Gubi’s newfound SNPs matched the equivalent sequences in the chimpanzee genome; by comparison, the same positions in the human reference genome are an 87% match for the chimp one. They can’t be ancestral sequences.

    They must have turned up after the Bushmen dynasty diverged from other human populations, and they provide hints about the history of this most ancient of human lineages.

    More for @40.

    The most ancient human lineage seems to be the Bushmen. But ancient doesn’t mean primitive. They have been steadily evolving just like the rest of us, just in a different direction.

  52. Brownian says

    *Sigh* These threads always remind me of my youth, when I wanted to run off and join the San.

    Instead, I’m stuck here in this bullshit civilisation, all fat and arthritic, surrounded by cubicle walls and reduced to yelling at morons online to stave off depression for another few hours.

  53. Brownian says

    More for @40.

    Fuck it: I’m ordering this, unless anybody has a better suggestion. My copy is still the first edition.

  54. Amphiox says

    I have no doubt that incipient speciations are frequently stopped/slowed by restoration/continuation of gene flow from the parent population due to changes/cessations of the initial generic isolation event, in multiple lineages in nature all the time. The human experience is by no means unique.

    And certainly there is o reason to think that humans won’t speciate in the future. Any sufficiently severe environmental catastrophe that causes a major population die-off into separate isolated pockets, with the bad conditions persisting to prevent respread out of those pockets for sufficiently long periods of time will do it. Interstellar colonization will also do it.

    (But, in my opinion, deliberate genetic engineering, which many have suggested could result in future human speciation, probably won’t. The reason being that the same generic engineering will likely also be used to overcome any engineered barriers to gene flow, at the whim of the participating individuals.)

  55. baal says

    Simplicity of the cell theory: Scientists have discovered that cells are tremendously complex, not simple.

    Cells are complex therefore god? I don’t understand the objection.

    Cells do have complexity and their various structures are related to and carry out their various functions. Even better, many parts of the cell can self assemble due to the physical (chemical) properties of the parts. This stuff isn’t hard to understand for anyone who’s had a few toys like lego’s or erector sets to play with (or hell, even those fun sets of magnetic balls, you can make trippy complex designs with them).

  56. saguhh00 says

    All cells are made of molecules and all molecules are controlled by chemistry. Everything that happens in the cell is the result of chemistry. All the molecules that compose a cell are synthesized from DNA. When DNA changes, the molecules synthesized from it change and this changes the structure of the cell.
    In short, cells can reproduce and mutate, therefore they can evolve.
    The complexity of the cell has nothing to do with its ability to evolve. It also does not imply design. Design =/= complexity.

    This is like a Lysenkoist claiming that genetics is bollocks because Mendel didn’t know about deoxyribonucleic acid.

    Also, the simple fact that archeology, geology, paleontology and anthropology and genetics exist already disproves creationism.
    Y’know, if humanity started from a single couple, genetics would have already noticed this.

    Plus, we would all be inbred hillbillies.

  57. garnetstar says

    There is solid evidence that life could have arisen from, literally, warm little ponds.

    Amino acids spontaneously polymerize into proteins under conditions that simulate tidal pools–i.e, hot dilute solutions of the acids, some salts, and a catalyst that is known to be formed under primitive Earth conditions. These proteins have also been found in nature in the lava and cinders of Hawaiin volcanic vents.

    The amino acids polymerize in specific, not random, order, determined by the thermodynamic and kinetic favorability of the addition of one specific amino acid to another.

    The proteins form microspheres that exhibit some cell-like properties, including budding, binary fission, and catalysis of some of the reactions that occur in modern cells.

    See the Wikipedia entry on Sidney Fox, and Fox’s article in Science and Creationism (ed. Ashley Montagu, Oxford University Press, 1984).

    And again, my refrain to creationists? “Learn some chemistry, dammit!”

  58. Brownian says

    Have a go at it and let’s see if they actually want discussion.

    Aww, your naïveté is adorable!

  59. A. R says

    Why won’t they just give up on “Then why are there still monkeys!?!!?!elebenty!!!” already?

  60. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    Why won’t they just give up on “Then why are there still monkeys!?!!?!elebenty!!!” already?

    Religions work through revealed knowledge. Knowledge is revealed once, and it is revealed with absolute truth that first time. To give up on a revealed absolute truth (Then why are there still monkeys?) and explore different arguments would call into question other revealed truths. And that way lies, well, us?

  61. ritchieannand says

    How about putting together a ‘documentary’ video where a cat does give birth to a dog?

    What would they do then? :)

  62. Margaret says

    @ritchieannand

    What would they do then? :)

    Point to it as evidence of a miracle.

  63. yubal says

    4. Theory of intermediate fossils: Where are the supposed billions of missing links in the evolutionary chain?

    Erhm. All of them are transitional. Including you.

    Feeling better now?

    6. Theory of the Cambrian Explosion: This sudden appearance of most major complex animal groups at the same low level of the fossil record is still an embarrassment to evolutionists.

    embarrassment to evolutionists??

    That was the “golden age” of evolution! The so called “Cambrian Explosion” is the secret pride of many biologist. The initial conquest of all the niches, development of all the body plans, the rise of all the kingdoms, the hunger of life for dominance in a chemical environment if you will.

    Ever heard of something called “snowball earth”? Can you imagine what millions of years worth of stored up silent mutations can do in a population ??

    8. Theory of ape evolution : Chimpanzees have not evolved into anything else. Neither has man.

    See #4.

    9. Theory of the tree of life: Rather than all life branching from a single organism, evidence has revealed a forest of life from the very beginning.

    Viruses. Bacteria. Hosts. Infections and Symbiosis. Horizontal gene transfer.

    Done. Lateral Gene transfer made easy, and we didn’t even had to mention genetic drift.

    There is still the hypothesis, that life could have evolved several times independently on earth. Hard to prove, but pretty to think about. Would that be a problem for evolutionary biology? Nope. If evidence for such a possibility pops up, we can integrate it in the current working model. The “single common ancestor” is not required, a pool of “common ancestry” is. And yes, you can have as much lateral gene transfer in that pool as you wish. That was hundreds of Millions of years before the evolution of sex and the subsequent rise of vertical transfer as dominating flow of genetic information.

    Evolution is the unified theory of biology. If it is wrong, it is really damn good wrong.

  64. says

    Creationists not understanding evolution and dismissing it based on not understanding it? What a surprise…

    When creationists are honest enough to base their evolutionary understand from evolutionary biologists, then we might get somewhere.

  65. says

    Cells are complex therefore god? I don’t understand the objection.

    All the objections are just various restatements of the design argument.

  66. TychaBrahe says

    The transitional fossil argument has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of. It’s suggestive that these people believe that fossilization happens to every corpse. You die, a lizard dies, a chicken dies, a chimpanzee dies, and if no one carts you off to the morgue, you become a fossil.

    Fossilization is a process requiring specific environmental factors that don’t exist everywhere. Not everything that dies will be fossilized. We know very little about the evolution of gorillas, for example, because gorillas live in places where fossilization almost never occurs.

  67. Amphiox says

    Creationists not understanding evolution and dismissing it based on not understanding it? What a surprise…

    If creationists understood evolution, they wouldn’t be creationists anymore. Because understanding evolution requires realizing that evolution is, in the broad picture, indisputably true.

    (The finer details of course remain open for scientific debate).

  68. peterh says

    The “missing link” concept is a deist, not a biological ploy. It refers to the supposed Great Chain of Being (q.v.) as proposed by theists to attack their godofthegaps view of the fossil record. If they’re trying to use their own refutation to refute the refutation they first promulgated, it would set the stage for some macabre drama. Oh. Wait . . . . .

  69. says

    The transitional fossil argument drives me absolutely nuts. It’s a blatant admission of having not even fucking tried. Donald Prothero’s book about fossil transitions is the best one I have seen and starts from the earliest life right through to people. It’s a big freakin’ billions of years long sequence of transitional fossils and these willfully ignorant wankers keep wheeling out the same lying bullshit.

    I understand why there’s this sea of stupidity now. They run around in circles telling lies to themselves and each-other and never even once expose themselves to anything resembling challenging material. Then they lie even further by saying they are seekers after truth. I would welcome PZ’s science injection machine, because they will never willingly do anything that keeps them from fellating their beloved Jebus.

  70. DLC says

    #10 is the real point. The other 9 are nothing important, mere window dressing. If people accept the theory of evolution by natural selection, then they have to discount the Genesis creation story. If they discount the Genesis creation story, they might discount the rest of the bible. If they discount the rest of the bible, they might discount god. If they discount god, god dies.

  71. says

    The transitional fossil argument drives me absolutely nuts. It’s a blatant admission of having not even fucking tried.

    I remember once getting into an argument with a Pastor who pulled out the transitional fossil argument, complete with quotes from Gould, Eldredge and other palaeontologists. I pointed out two things: first that he was quote-mining, complete with references to show how the quotes were out of context; and second that the palaeontologists he was quoting support evolutionary theory so clearly these experts don’t think the fossil record shows what the pastor does. I ended up getting him to agree to read Evolution: What The Fossils Say And Why It Matters as well as Your Inner Fish to see what modern palaeontologists have to say about the current state of the fossil record, though I don’t know if he ever followed up on that.

  72. WhiteHatLurker says

    I think there might be a point in number 9 – lateral gene transfer was unknown to Darwin. That it can be classed a mistake is a bit of a jump.

    I view DNA more as data than program, but there is a reason why humans try to make programs simpler – there’s less chance things will bugger up. It’s a more intelligent way to proceed.

    The “if evolution is true, why is X still here?” argument is interesting. Does it imply that if they are created, their creator has disappeared?
    “If god created you, why do you think your god is still here?”

    @DLC – discount gods? Buy ‘em here, buy ‘em cheap!

  73. David Marjanović says

    The average species lasts from 1 to 10 million years.

    That depends strongly on how you define “species”.

    Why don’t they ever mention Darwin’s biggest mistake, his theory of blending inheritance, pangenesis?

    Two things–1. they don’t want to acknowledge that where Darwin was wrong, we have no problem throwing him out. That’s not how it’s supposed to be in a religion, and “Darwinism” is supposed to be a religion. And 2. They don’t want to honestly address actual evidence instead of their strawman attacks.

    3. They have no fucking idea of pangenesis. Almost nobody on the fucking planet has a fucking idea of pangenesis. Fucking I didn’t till a few years ago!

    Pangenesis was so thoroughly abandoned so early that it’s hard to find any trace of it.

    Never assume malice when the Dunning/Kruger effect will suffice.

    Them and the African Bushmen who I guess are called Khoisan these days.

    By DNA sequencing they are the oldest and most isolated population of H. sapiens. Some consider them on the way to speciation until modern civilization intervened.

    I’d really like a reference for that. A Y-chromosome haplogroup having “its highest frequency” in those people isn’t enough… under most if not all species concepts.

    Given the evidence of Neandertal and Denisovan genes in humans, it’s not even clear that those were true species.

    Again depending on the definition you choose!

    Humans would probably speciate fairly slowly, given their fairly low genetic diversity (apparent bottleneck 70,000 years ago, or so). Not that speciation is necessarily tied to such diversity, but it typically helps.

    Good point.

    The Dingo was most likely introduced by seafarers from SE Asia who landed in Australia within the last 5000 years, afaik. After people from Indonesia landed here 50-60.000 yrs ago, it took a long time for anyone else to show up,

    That’s more absence of evidence than evidence of absence.

    or for the surrounding islands like New Zealand to be colonised.

    Come on, New Zealand doesn’t fall under “surrounding islands”! It’s two thousand kilometers across the open ocean from Australia!

    Most surprising of all, many of their unique SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) are actually fairly recent developments. The Bushmen are one of the oldest human groups on the planet and you might expect their genes to reflect humanity’s most ancestral state.

    What??? No, I’d expect them to have the same mutation rate as everyone else!

    “One of the oldest human groups on the planet” is a really bad way to phrase it. They’re exactly as old as their sister-group, which is composed of all other extant humans together.

    (…if you gloss over details like the introgression from Neandertal, Denisova, and those additional humans that we share a common ancestor with some 700,000 years ago and that have left traces in some Africans.)

    See the Wikipedia entry on Sidney Fox

    That would be this one, which leads to this, which unfortunately doesn’t cite a reference for the highly exciting claim that fox found proteinoids in nature.

  74. johnmarley says

    ritchieannand

    27 April 2012 at 2:24 pm
    How about putting together a ‘documentary’ video where a cat does give birth to a dog?

    What would they do then? :)

    No. Leave the fraud to the creationists.

  75. wearsbellsonlegs says

    truthseeker @ 51
    Evidence for Polynesian contact with South America.
    One mere pounamu (a short bladed Maori club) seen in a museum in Chile (personal observation, 1995).
    The label read something like ‘found on/near the beach/coast. My Spanish was barely up to translating that much, so I didn’t ask for more info. The museum was probably the Chilean National Museum. The mere pounamu would have been a high-status chief’s weapon.
    Apologies for the uncertainties, but it was 18 years ago. No uncertainties about that mere. Love to have some anthropologist follow it up.