August 12, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Imagination Cures Falsifications of Darwinism

How many show-stoppers does it take to stop a show?  With Darwinism, the show goes on despite multiple falsifications.  The trick is to imagine solutions that don’t require evidence.

Top-Down Head Inversion

Notice this admission in an article on PhysOrg titled, “Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head” —

Our understanding of how animals on the planet evolved may be wrong, according to scientists at the University.

In a new paper, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, evolutionary biologists from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.

Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.

The paper, attempting to explain the Cambrian explosion, was analyzed on Evolution News & Views.  Normally, an admission of this magnitude would be sufficient to say, “Game over.  We were wrong about Darwinism.”  Suffice it to say that the Cambrian explosion (which was known to Darwin) has never been answered – yet Darwinism marches on in triumph as if nothing happened.  Later in the PhysOrg article, though, the imaginary scenario appeared to save the day.  A co-author of the paper said,

“Our results hint that this may hinge upon the evolution of new ‘key innovations’ that enable groups to exploit new resources or habitats, for example dinosaurs growing feathers and evolving wings or fish evolving legs and moving onto land to claim new territory.”

Quick, Make Like a Fish

In the evolutionary story, the Devonian period is often called the Age of Fish.  It ended, though (the story goes) by a series of mass extinctions, wiping out all but a couple of genera.  Why do we have so many ray-finned fish today, then, “from tuna to trout, catfish to cod, swordfish to sunfish, perch to piranha, goldfish to goby”?  PhysOrg imagines that evolution was fast to fill in the vacancies:

“These early, post-Devonian ray-finned fish provide the first glimpse of what is to come: an evolutionary profusion of body forms, fin shapes, and extraordinary jaws and teeth. The ray-finned fish really do exemplify Darwin’s comment about ‘endless forms most beautiful and wonderful,'” Coates said.

Rapid “evolutionary profusion” is called “diversification” or “radiation” in evolutionary terms (the PNAS paper used the word rapid three times).  If there’s a vacancy, customers must want to show up: “in the immediate aftermath of the end-Devonian extinction, ray-finned fish had already acquired a diversity of forms that gave them an evolutionary edge, enabling them to fill the ecological vacuum left by the demise of most major fish groups.”  The evolutionist imagines that if a vacancy “enables” a fish to fill a vacuum, it will – endlessly and most beautifully.  It’s only a matter of evolutionary time to get catfish, lionfish and zebrafish.

Meteoritic Selection

In the evolutionary story, dinosaurs and many other animals went extinct when the asteroid dubbed Chicxulub hit the ocean near Mexico 60 million years ago.  The fiery cataclysm was followed by a kind of “nuclear winter” – a one-two punch. Problem: many species survived just fine.  For instance, half of marine species went extinct, but only about 10% in freshwater ecosystems, including delicate ones like turtles and amphibians.  Doesn’t this cast doubt on the story?

Science Now wielded imagination to keep the evolutionary saga going.  In “Why Some Species Thrived While Dinos Died,” the reporter deferred to a University of Colorado expert who imagined that the survivors either learned to scavenge or hibernate, surviving on groundwater or under the ice until conditions got better.  It makes a good story to tell impressionable students:

The team’s analysis “basically tells the story I’ve been telling my students for years,” Holtz says: While many species in the marine realm starved when the base of the food chain collapsed, he notes, the bottom-feeders there—as well as many species in freshwater ecosystems—were taking advantage of stored sources of nutrients such as nutrient-rich runoff from the land and previously accumulated organic material. In a sense, he says, they were “eating from the pantry,” so they suffered less severely.

Seems strange that not a single dinosaur (and many were small) never thought of those survival tricks.

Once Upon a Time

That’s exactly how a PhysOrg article begins on “the evolution of multicellularity.”  It would seem a major hurdle to get cells to organize into cooperative and differentiated systems (to say nothing of body plans, with tissues and organs).  But with evolutionary imagination, nothing is impossible if you try:

Once upon a time all cells were solitary, going about the everyday business of life on their own.

Then, perhaps as many as 25 times in the history of life, some cells tried something different: banding together into groups. A few of these attempts gave rise to groups of cells that worked together rather like bees in a beehive, eventually resulting in the trillions-strong communities of cells that make up complex multicellular organisms like us.

Roberta Fisher continued to employ her imagination in the interview.  Perhaps microbes tried organizing for defense.  Perhaps they wanted to try new sex positions.  Perhaps they got political.  Perhaps they wanted better ways to disperse.  Perhaps they did it out of unselfish love… on and on she goes, never citing an observational peg to hang these ideas on.  The fact that multicellular organisms enjoy some of the benefits does not imply that microbes wanted to “try” them.  Obviously, one-celled organisms vastly outnumber multicellular organisms even today.

Fisher’s paper in Current Biology, “Group Formation, Relatedness, and the Evolution of Multicellularity,” continues much of the same line, only translated into jargonese with more chutzpah.  She and her co-authors did admit up front, though, that “The major challenge raised by each of these transitions is to explain why individuals should join together and become mutually dependent in a way that leads to a more complex individual.”  Why is that a major challenge?  Didn’t Darwin explain that?

These papers and articles sample the literature on Darwinism.  No challenge or falsifying evidence is too strong to overpower the imaginations of evolutionists.  This was shown starkly in Ray Comfort’s new film, “Evolution vs. God” (available online).  When he challenged Gail E. Kennedy for evidence for evolution, she responded, “The problem with those who are unable to see evolution is I think they don’t have imaginations.”

Our commentary from 1/17/07 will suffice here.  See also Brett Miller’s cartoon for the Bandwagon fallacy set to the song, “Imagine.”

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Evolutionism, old-Earthism, Biblical-fallibility-ism, Naturalism, Materialism, and Uniformitarianism are all mere fabrications based on arbitrary assumptions. On the other hand, God speaks to everyone who reads the Bible. It is His Logos, His Utterance. They may fail to acknowledge Him, but no one goes without the experience. Faith comes by hearing His Logos. The ungodly dogmatism over arbitrary assumptions is what is baffling.

  • blackhawk says:

    Sometime science can be foolishness with the author believing in Easter bunnies and Santa Claus.
    The problem they often claim is; Can something be created with absolute NOTHING ?
    If it was always there; HOW ???. Scientists make fools of themselves with theories rather than facts.

  • KABLOOM says:

    Imagination now equals empirical evidence? This is what science students are paying major universities $20k/year to learn? Sounds more like pre-K to me.
    “Alright kids, think hard enough and try to imagine everything coming from nothing…”
    “Now try to imagine everything self-organizing after a reeeally big explosion. Great job, kids!”

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