Experiments with pigeons show that their intelligence matches or exceeds that of chimpanzees. If evolutionists can infer that chimpanzees are our closest living relatives based on intelligence, why wouldn’t it be just as logical to infer that humans evolved from birds? As some recent articles show, such a whimsical story does not exceed in silliness what some evolutionists actually do claim.
Bird superbrain: In Science this week (23 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6063 p. 1664, doi:10.1126/science.1213357), Damian Scarf, Harlene Hayne, and Michael Colombo demonstrated “Pigeons on Par with Primates in Numerical Competence.” The abstract is short and to the point:
Although many animals are able to discriminate stimuli differing in numerosity, only primates are thought to share our ability to employ abstract numerical rules. Here, we show that this ability is present in pigeons and that their performance is indistinguishable from that displayed by monkeys.
How does an evolutionist explain this? Joseph Castro on Live Science gave a demonstration of the storytelling flexibility available to Darwinists: “Finding the same level of numerical competence as the pigeons (and rhesus monkeys) in other species would help scientists understand if the ability evolved across species separately, or if a common ancestor shared the ability.” A common ancestor of pigeons and primates might be some kind of early dinosaur. Conveniently, those are not available for experimentation, although Tom Weller speculated they were pretty bright (see Science Made Stupid).
Moon monolith: Someone at The Guardian never quite got over 2001: A Space Odyssey. According to PhysOrg, “Professor Paul Davis and research technician Robert Wagner … published a paper … that suggests we humans begin taking a little closer look at our own moon to see if any alien life forms might have left behind some evidence of their visit.” The reporter did not reveal whether Davis and Wagner were wearing tin-foil pyramid hats or pasta strainers (7/14/2011), but tried to pre-empt laughter anyway: “Though some might see it as farfetched, or heaven forbid, lunacy, Davis and Wagner are convinced that it’s worth the small amount of investment such a search would entail.” Their technique would be to borrow some design-detection techniques from Intelligent Design (although they would probably never admit it): “looking for anything that appears of unnatural origin,” e.g., “incontrovertible signatures of non-human technology.” Maybe it would look like a large, black, rectangular block.
Beautiful downtown Sedna: If intelligent design is not found on the moon, that doesn’t falsify the hope of some. PhysOrg also reported alien artifacts could be out in the Kuiper Belt. It wouldn’t even require an expensive trip to those small, frozen outposts on the solar system’s frontier to find out. Yes; believe it or not, “We could see the light from their cities.”
Horta culture: Not to be outdone by Davis and Wagner in speculation, Max Bernstein was awarded good press on NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine for this story: “Why Silicon Aliens Would Rather Eat Our Cities Than Us.” (News flash: no life based on silicon has ever been found except on Star Trek.) There’s more science fiction than science in this short article, including a picture of a horta from an original Star Trek episode – a silicon-based creature that Spock had to mind-meld with to learn that its intentions, despite appearances, were really noble. Here’s a taste of the scientific rigor in the interview (your tax dollars at work):
If it could evolve past the protist [microorganism] stage, then I think it could evolve intelligence. I have no idea how likely it is for intelligence to evolve, but I can believe in silicon crystals passing information from layer to layer or in silicon artificial intelligence, but I don’t expect to see silicon apes playing their equivalent of “Angry Birds” on their silicon-phones.
Getting a head in evolution: MSNBC News reported with a straight face that “Strange heads evolved before unusual bodies, scientists find.” Yes, scientists actually found that, according to Jennifer Viegas. Isn’t it obvious walking through San Francisco or New York? Her method of investigation involved a coin toss:
Evolution can be a heads or tails question, with scientists debating which parts of animals diversified first. It turns out that heads win, according to new research, with species evolving in their heads before other bodily changes become evident.
The findings suggest that food availability has been a primary driver of animal evolution, starting with the head and then on down.
It would seem a prediction of this hypothesis that food goes to one’s head. Whether this is a law of nature seems unlikely (think snakes and worms). It seems that evolutionists (and reporters) play heads I win, tails you lose:
One popular theory, the “early burst model,” holds that there’s a flurry of divergence followed by a long period of relative stability. Another argues that habitat-driven changes in body type precede diversification of head types.
Take your pick; Darwin always wins. Meanwhile, the disciples have job security: “More evidence is needed to see if humans also fit into the head-first model of evolution.” Perhaps the trendy phrase for 2012 will be “survival of the fat-heads.”
Hairy story: Two researchers at the University of Sheffield came up with a rather sexist theory evolution: according to PhysOrg, Isabelle Dean and Michael Siva-Jothy think “early humans retained fine hair to ward off parasites.” Experiments on volunteers with shaved arms showed that bedbugs went for the shaved spots. Fully aware that this puts males at an advantage, they had to have a backup plan. “Not surprisingly, men were better at detecting bed bugs on the unshaved arm, due to having thicker and longer hair than women,” the article ended. “As to why men are generally hairier looking than women, the researchers suggest it might be due to something as simple as women preferring men with fewer parasites on them, which would imply more hair.” That might be a hard choice for madame cavewoman to make while scratching incessantly; sir caveman, meanwhile, might find her scratching disgusting. If this theory were a law of nature, you wouldn’t have to put flea powder on your dog or cat, would you?
Macho bachelors: Three Aussie researchers actually tried to do a legitimate experimental test of Darwinian theory, but it didn’t work out as expected. They decided to see if women are attracted to macho guys with deep voices. According to Darwin, the basses in the choir should get the girls and the kids. That deep voice signals strength, size, virility, and all the other things women presumably want. What they found was, well, we’ll let them say it:
Women find masculinity in men’s faces, bodies, and voices attractive, and women’s preferences for men’s masculine features are thought to be biological adaptations for finding a high quality mate. Fertility is an important aspect of mate quality. Here we test the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis, which proposes that male secondary sexual characters are positively related to semen quality, allowing females to obtain direct benefits from mate choice. Specifically, we examined women’s preferences for men’s voice pitch, and its relationship with men’s semen quality. Consistent with previous voice research, women judged lower pitched voices as more masculine and more attractive. However men with lower pitched voices did not have better semen quality. On the contrary, men whose voices were rated as more attractive tended to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate. These data are more consistent with a trade off between sperm production and male investment in competing for and attracting females, than with the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis.
Their work was published in PLoS ONE (6(12): e29271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029271). Readers are cautioned about reading (or imagining) the “Materials and methods” section. What this implies is that the Darwinians always have a backup plan when the data don’t support the theory: the macho guys are working so hard to apply for the bass section, they don’t have the energy to devote to quality seed. But then, wouldn’t the tenors win out, and the falsettos do the best? What about yodelers? Is there a happy medium in the baritone range?
After millions of years at this sexual selection game, one might expect an optimal peak, with no basses or tenors left in the gene pool, yet both extremes still seem to get married. There are still some short wimps with deep voices, too. No problem; Darwinian theory has infinite flexibility. The males are choosing the females, too. The women are attracted to the more sterile basses, but the tenors might have evolved quicker ability to club the females and drag them off to the cave. So many variables, so little time. Maybe this could be viewed as the Chaos Theory of mate choice: sensitivity to initial conditions leads to unpredictable outcomes.
However convenient such a theory rescue device might seem, it would leave evolutionary theory untestable. Indeed, they admitted theirs was not the only experimental test of evolution that bombed out. “More generally, studies that have looked for relationships between general health and attractiveness in face or body traits have yielded mixed results.” Facing the threat of falsification, there is always another rescue device available to Darwin: future research. “In conclusion, our data support the view that women perceive men with low pitched voices as masculine and attractive. However, we find no support for the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis,” they ended. “On the contrary, our data suggest a potential trade-off between men’s attractiveness and sperm production that warrants consideration in future research.”
This trip through Darwin Fantasyland is another reminder that Darwinism is a welfare program that has taken over the government of common sense. It’s job security for storytellers, riding on the backs of the few scientists with integrity who have had to sacrifice to fund the Darwin Party’s endless quest for a good story (12/22/2003 commentary).
The media give the Darwin emperors free access to vaunt their shame in public. Can you imagine what would happen if a creationist were to publish papers or articles like these, speculating with reckless abandon, making his point with Star Trek? First of all, it would never happen, because creationists have virtually no access to the popular science media or secular journals. Second, creationists have more common sense than to vaunt their shame in public or do their science in Fantasyland. But if it could happen, you know the outcry would be over the top. The Darwin Party would demand the heads of the publishers on a stick, an official apology, and a promise that never again would they ever put anything on their website or publication without the official Darwin Party imprimatur. It’s analogous to the double standard in the so-called “mainstream media” over reporting about liberals and conservatives (plenty of examples at Media Research Center).
So we are left with getting the truth out through private channels, like CEH and other creation-friendly or Darwin-skeptic organizations (see article on Evolution News & Views). ENV is optimistic (article), but history is not. Taking the lead of Darwin’s X-Men conspirators, the Darwin Party has maintained its grip on the media for a century, and has refined spin doctoring into an art form. Nevertheless, history shows that scientific revolutions can be rapid. More often, though, the old guard has to die off. Success, therefore, in overcoming the Darwin Party Welfare State will require reaching a new generation of common-sense scientists who refuse the initiation rites of the Darwin Temple (“I vow to tell stories to glorify Darwin forever, to never speak evil of a fellow Darwinian, and to hate creationism with all my soul and might”). Independent thinkers who don’t care to be insiders are the hope of a free science. These will remain liberated to follow the evidence where it leads, without speculating endlessly on how it must fit a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile, it wouldn’t hurt to laugh out loud at silly stories like this. The Darwin Party operatives hate being laughed at, but there’s not much they can do about it. If you are not in danger of losing your job, your tenure, or your reputation, have at it with the best hee-haws you can give. Laughter is contagious. Remember, one little boy shouting “The emperor is naked!” was all it took.