April 1, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Darwin Follies and Fallacies, Part Three

It’s hard to know where to stop with examples of Darwinian nonsense. For evolutionists, it’s like April Fool every day. These are just some of the recent examples.

Croc-a-dolphin crock: Remember how we said that ‘evolve to‘ is nonsense in Darwinism? That’s because natural selection is blind, unguided, and dumb. It cannot try ‘to’ do anything, because it is impersonal. This article on Science Daily claims, “Crocodiles and dolphins evolved similar skulls to catch the same prey.” One would imagine that crocodiles, since they invented their prey-catching skulls first, would sue the dolphins for copyright infringement. The wizards at Monash University position themselves as eyewitnesses of prehistoric engineering, saying, “despite their very different ancestors, dolphins and crocodiles evolved similarly-shaped skulls to feed on similar prey.”

Darwin’s schnotz: Charles Darwin was not fond of his large nose. He chided his friend Asa Gray, who still believed in theistic evolution, “Will you honestly tell me that the shape of my nose was ordained and guided by an intelligent cause?” (ENST). In that tradition, disciple Sara G. Miller writes for Live Science, “What Your Nose Knows About Human Evolution.” She even draws climate change into her tale. “They can be bulbous, pert or pointy, but why do noses look so different from one another?” she writes, gearing up for just-so story mode. “It could have something to do with how humans evolved to live in certain climates, a new study suggests.” Strangely, she calls “genetic drift” a “mechanism of evolution.” But then again, “for the evolution of some human traits, it’s likely that another mechanism, natural selection, also played a role.” Both ‘mechanisms’ are manifestations of the Stuff Happens Law, the veritable anti-mechanism.

Popeye sea stars: “Tiny lenses that could have allowed sea stars and brittle stars to respond to light may have evolved at least 57 million years earlier than previously thought,” Nature says in a news quip (see 8/23/01 about the amazing brittle star lenses). Fossil brittlestar eyes, just like those on living brittle stars, have been found 136 million Darwin Years old, tens of millions of Darwin Years older than the previous record (79 million Darwin Years). How, exactly, did these “sophisticated” and “incredible structures” evolve? “The microlenses evolved long after the brittle- and sea-star lineages diverged, so may have emerged independently in the two groups from shared structures,” the article answers, suggesting that Popeye had a twin.

Chemical warfare: Hydrogen cyanide is so toxic, it must be handled with extreme care. A paper in PNAS describes a chelicerate that is capable of storing HCN in a non-toxic state and releasing it quickly to deter predators, without harming itself. This entire capability had to exist complete from the beginning, or the animal would die. How could it evolve? Their answer: It just evolved— multiple times, independently!

Among animals, cyanogenesis is a defensive strategy that has seemed restricted to a few mandibulate arthropods (certain insects, millipedes, and centipedes), which evolved ways to store HCN in the form of stable and less volatile molecules. We found an instance of cyanogenesis in the phylogenetically distant group Chelicerata (“spider-like” arthropods), involving an aromatic ester for stable HCN storage and two degradation pathways that release HCN.

They admit this apparently irreducibly complex system represents an “evolutionary challenge,” but they maintain their undying faith in the power of evolution.

The rarity of cyanogenesis in mandibulate arthropods and its supposed absence in the other speciose arthropod subphylum, Chelicerata, may relate to the evolutionary challenge posed by using a universal toxin in defense: self-poisoning must be prevented by storing the highly volatile HCN as a safe carrier molecule or storage molecule. In case of threat or attack, the cyanogenic compounds are discharged and must be quickly degradable to release HCN.

Nevertheless, it “obviously evolved multiple times in arthropods.” Obviously. What’s your problem? Don’t you know that “Stuff Happens” is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent?

Parasitology Lesson: In discussion how microbes invaded different parts of the body, Science Daily commits the teleological fallacy multiple times.

  • Microbes evolved to colonize different parts of the human body.
  • As the human species evolved over the last six million years, our resident microbes did the same, adapting to vastly different conditions on our skin (etc.)
  • But figuring out how our bacteria — which by some accounts outnumber our own cells by ten to one — evolved to live with each other and with us has proven particularly challenging.
  • different microbes have evolved to adapt to environments like our skin and mouth

Evolution on standby. Microbes under the seafloor aren’t evolving. “Microorganisms in the subsurface seabed on evolutionary standby,” Science Daily states without a blush. Do scientists understand how this stuff happens? “It remains a mystery why these microorganisms have an inherent ability to grow under the extreme conditions that occur in the deep seabed.”

Stuff happens earlier than expected. Live Science writes matter-of-factly about fossil algae 1.6 billion Darwin Years old, even though this puts pressure on Darwin’s tinkerers at the beginning. Mindy Weisberger doesn’t blink an eye when she says, “The ancient specimens are 400 million years older than previous fossil algae discoveries, and hint that multicellular life evolved on Earth far earlier than was once thought.” Thought by whom?

Plant breath: Elizabeth Pennisi, writing for Science Magazine, offers a thanksgiving prayer to evolution.

Anyone awed by towering redwoods should offer thanks to stomata, the tiny pores on the leaves of all trees and other vascular plants. These microscopic mouths allow plants to grow tall and to regulate carbon dioxide intake and water loss. Stomata, in short, helped plants colonize the landscape and transform the planet. Now, molecuBM-wandclicklar studies are giving scientists glimpses of the early days of stomata and how they have changed since then. They suggest complex stomata evolved to help early plants control moisture in their spore capsules and that other plants later exploited these pores to breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale water vapor. And hundreds of millions of years later, more sophisticated stomata evolved in grasses, enabling them to tightly control water loss—a feature that helped them dominate dry landscapes around the world.

Like Popeye, Darwin’s Tinkerbell cartoon character gets instant results like popcorn. And Tinkerbell also knows the convergence trick, her lab being well stocked with Darwin Flubber.

But where did this evolutionary wonder come from?

BM-EmperorCharlie-smStomata are seen in 418-million-year-old plant fossils and are found even in ancient plant groups like mosses. “It’s as if they popped up fully formed, and surely that cannot be the case,” says Alistair Hetherington, a plant biologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom….  [she delves into alleged convergent emergences of stomata].

None of this work truly gets to the earliest events in stomata evolution, researchers note—even the versions on moss spore capsules must have taken a long time to arise. “Much like the big bang theory doesn’t tell us anything about events before the origin of the universe, we know almost nothing about the steps that led to the first stomata,” says Peter Franks at the University of Sydney. But although the cosmologists’ questions may be unanswerable, plant scientists hope to explore the story of stomata back to their beginnings.

Sequoia forest, by David Coppedge

Sequoia forest, by David Coppedge

Vocal excellence: Speaking of the “emergence of linguistic laws in human voice,” authors of a paper in Nature Scientific Reports marvel at what natural selection has accomplished (even though they only mention ‘natural selection’ once, and never speak of mutations). Chaos, they say, has produced perfection:

We will show clear evidence of robust Zipf, Heaps and brevity laws emerging in this context and speculate that this might be due to the fact that human voice seems to be operating close to a critical state, hence finding an example of a biological system that, driven by evolution, has linked complexity and criticality….

From an evolutionary viewpoint, under this latter perspective human voice, understood as a communication system which has been optimized under evolutionary pressures, would constitute an example where complexity (described in terms of robust linguistic laws) emerges when a system is driven close to criticality, something reminiscent of the celebrated edge of chaos hypothesis.

They must have evolved: Ichthyosaurs were highly successful marine reptiles. Trouble is, they have no known ancestors in the fossil record. And according to evolutionists, they must have evolved from land animals. Stephen Brusatte says in Nature, “They totally changed their bodies, biologies and behaviours in order to live in the water.” Their evolutionary journey mirrors that of the whales, which came from cows or dogs (according to Darwin followers). Like everything else in Darwin fantasyland, ichthyosaurs took the Stuff Happens Law into their own hands. “Many evolved huge eyes — larger than footballs, in one species — for peering through the dark depths,” Darwin Party propagandist Traci Watson writes. Any support for their evolution? “The ancestors of ichthyosaurs remain unknown,” an infographic states.

Art evolution: Stephen Pinker and other prominent evolutionists think that art is a product of evolution. When book reviewer Nurin Veis discusses “Four takes on the evolution of art” in Nature, she’s literally doing away with intelligent design in this pre-eminently creative human activity. Describing an exhibit in Australia that explores the origins of art from the perspective of four evolutionists, she says, “Each answers a tough question: does art have a biological basis, and has it contributed to human evolution?” Example: “Pinker focuses on Darwinism, asking whether the desire and ability to make art is a heritable trait that gives humans a reproductive advantage, or whether it is a by-product of survival adaptations” — clearly a false choice. Another evolutionist views art as “a strategy for attracting mates by signalling fitness, intelligence, skill, resourcefulness and dominance.” Who knows; maybe theorizing about Darwinian evolution ’emerged’ the same way (cue sound of short circuit).

We’ll pass up Phys.org‘s treatise on Beard Chromodynamics (cf. 3/31/06). Suffice it to say that evolutionary confabulation knows no limits. At Evolution News, David Klinghoffer comments, “When it comes to explaining major biological novelties, the evolutionary story is a matter of extrapolation and imagination.

In this extensive three-part series, we had to quit after documenting 32 recent (2017) examples of Darwinians breaking the rules of science. You’ve watched as they have assumed evolution by assertion, as they have ascribed magical powers to it, as they have misrepresented it by interjecting teleology into it contrary to Darwin’s  whole program, as they have told just-so stories with made-up words, and as they have displayed unshakeable faith in its powers with no need for evidence. The scope of their just-so stories ranges from microbes to humans. These documented cases are not from obscure corners, but from the leading journals (PNAS, Science, Nature) and from the leading science news services. They all commit almost every fallacy in the Baloney Detector.

Now, tell us about the “fact” of evolution.

Recommended Resource: Tom Bethell’s new book Darwin’s House of Cards agrees with our position that natural selection is a tautology, a classic case of circular reasoning. This veteran journalist interviewed Karl Popper and heard him maintain his position that Darwinism was not science because it is unfalsifiable. He also interviewed Richard Lewontin, Stephen Jay Gould and other leading Darwinian experts. Bethell looks at the house of cards from every angle and finds nothing of substance.

Now the fit will be survivors and survivors will be fit

And survivors will survive to prove the fitness of the fit

O, this natural selection, it’s so simple isn’t it?

‘Tis ruthless marching on.

— from our Darwin hymnbook

Comments

  • OldArmy94 says:

    The religion of evolution rests on top of a monstrous pile of dogma, beginning when Charles Darwin first put his philosophical musings on paper and called it science. Since then, the writings have accumulated to form a wordy, but rotten, edifice that continues to grow and grow.

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