Did Sponges Invent Nerves?
Scientists didn’t expect to find working neurons in a sea sponge, among the simplest of multicellular organisms. Sponges lack internal organs and a nervous system. Yet there they were, according to Science Daily, with synapses and apparent means of communication across them.
“This pushes back the origins of these genetic components of the nervous system to at or before the first animals — much earlier than scientists had previously suspected,” said Todd Oakley of UC Santa Barbara. It represents a gap of 600 million years from the time sea sponges are assumed to have arrived and the arrival of the first animal with a rudimentary nervous system.
The article quotes Ken Kocik, also of UCSB, using this surprise finding to elucidate evolutionary theory: “We found this mysterious unknown structure in the sponge, and it is clear that evolution was able to take this entire structure, and, with small modifications, direct its use toward a new function. Evolution can take these ‘off the shelf’ components and put them together in new and interesting ways.”
Yet this is not the way classical Darwinism works. David Berlinski, a Darwin critic, in an earlier article, insisted that the law of natural selection must be strictly enforced to be Darwinian at all.
A mechanism that requires a discerning human agent cannot be Darwinian. The Darwinian mechanism neither anticipates nor remembers. It gives no direction and makes no choices. What is unacceptable in evolutionary theory, what is strictly forbidden, is the appearance of a force with the power to survey time, a force that conserves a force or a property because it will be useful. Such a force is no longer Darwinian. How would a blind force know such a thing? And by what means could future usefulness be transmitted to the present?
If life is, as evolutionary biologists so often say, a matter merely of blind thrusting and throbbing, any definition of natural selection must plainly meet what I have elsewhere called a rule against deferred success.
It is a rule that cannot be violated with impunity; if evolutionary theory is to retain its intellectual integrity, it cannot be violated at all. But the rule is widely violated, the violations so frequent as to amount to a formal fallacy.
We must force the Darwinists to use consistent language. Occasionally they engage in poetic license and personify evolution, thinking (in their minds) that since evolution is a “fact” of history, it appears in hindsight as if there were goals had been foreseen by bacteria and sponges, as if they saw through the years that their experiments would someday yield nerves, muscles and brains. If pressed, the Darwinist storytellers might argue that they don’t really mean the teleological language. They could probably recite the blind Darwinian mechanism more accurately if they had to.
All fine and good; so tell them they have to. We’re onto the semantic tricks they play. The teleological talk is outlawed within their world view. Force them to restate the claim in consistent Darwinian terms. That’s fair, isn’t it? Sure. Then just sit back and watch the whole story unravel as they hum and haw and try to say it correctly. Be ready with the ruler to slap their knuckles with each infraction.
“Evolution can take these components [SLAP] er, something happened that was able to put them together [SLAP] I mean, rather, that parts that had proved useful to sponges [SLAP] ouch! All right already! A mutation occurred….”
Evolutionists foul out whenever an umpire is present. Why? Because fouls are the only plays in their game book.