May 9, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Silly Darwin Stories Do No Good

Darwinists cannot confirm anything in their stories, and even if they could, so what?

Silly Darwin stories routinely get published in the world’s most prestigious journals, only because Big Science has sworn off any consideration of actual design in nature. What are they left with? Chance! Stuff happens. That is hardly a claim for “understanding” the natural world. When one starts from a bad premise, no amount of jargon is going to make up for it. Consider:

Lizards, toepads, and the ghost of hurricanes past (PNAS). In this commentary, Peter R. Grant (the man who wasted his life using genetic divination to look for Darwin’s image in the Galapagos finches, only to discover that they are still finches) and colleague Raymond B. Huey are now trying to use divination on the toes of Caribbean lizards. They praise the work of Donihue et al. who are measuring toe size of lizards, looking for “the ghost of hurricanes past.” Believe it or not. If Darwinian selection has been acting on the lizards, they figure, the lizards should be able to grip trees better during hurricanes. So how did they test this by experiment? They blew on the lizards with a leaf blower!

By returning to the islands 13 mo later and measuring lizards in exactly the same manner as before, Donihue et al. discovered that the next generation of lizards had enlarged toepads, just like the hurricane survivors. Despite the lack of genetic data, this is strong evidence of an abrupt evolutionary change caused by selection.

Let us think this over. How many millions of Darwin Years have lizards been on Caribbean islands, do these cultists believe? Shouldn’t all the survivors have ginormous toes by now, able to wrap clear around the trunks of trees? This would undoubtedly help them survive while they flap like flags in 150-mph winds for hours on end. You can see it now: Mr Lizard clinging for dear life to the tree, while the rest of his body bangs around this way and that. He can’t breathe, but he’s fitter than the next lizard because he has bigger toes that make him SuperLizard. This is absurd. If natural selection is so all-powerful as to turn bacteria into brains, why can’t it teach the lizards to burrow underground or find some other shelter from the wind? Furthermore, if ‘selection pressure’ is responsible for big toes, why doesn’t every animal on the island have big toes for clinging to trees during hurricanes? Wouldn’t that really help the delicate butterflies survive? Make up any story you want, because it is all guesswork.

The pattern seems clear, but the mechanism is not. The anoles on Water Cay and Pine Cay perch mainly on small branches in the lower 3 m of vegetation. Donihue et al. propose that larger toepads enhance clinging ability and that this is adaptive in a wind storm because individuals that lose their grip might become injured or killed when landing, or even blown out to sea. Fritillary butterflies on isolated, windy islands in the Baltic have evolved enhanced grip, perhaps for similar reasons. Anoles do hang on tightly when challenged by the unidirectional draft of a commercial leaf blower (Fig. 1), but whether they do so in wet and windy conditions—or in turbulent gusts—is unknown.

We question whether lizards cling to perches during storms, as “behavioral avoidance, not physiological adaptations, is an organism’s primary response to an environmental challenge”. Other lizard species are hard to find in storms, probably because they leave exposed perches and head for protected retreats well before a storm intensifies. Our expectation can be tested by anyone bold enough to watch lizards during a tropical storm or able to follow their movements via electronic tracking.

Nevertheless, trying to hang on could be adaptive if retreats on the ground are unavailable or are subject to storm surge from the adjacent sea. Also, Caribbean anoles sleep on exposed perches. Perhaps the ability to hold tight is adaptive if a storm arrives at night, when searching for a protected retreat might be difficult and dangerous. Alternatively, perhaps large toepads enhance locomotion through twisted debris of posthurricane vegetation, which might persist for years.

At least they ask some pointed questions about the “ghost of hurricanes past” divination theory. Grant and Huey waffle this way and that on what has been learned, but final answers are blowin’ in the wind. Long-time CEH readers know how the story will conclude: (1) More research is needed, and (2) Send money.

However, as Donihue et al. note, such unresolved issues can stimulate future studies that might help elucidate the generality and functional significance of hurricane-associated shifts in toepad and leg morphology….

Hurricane and extreme events—natural or anthropogenic—perturb communities but can foster insights and surprises into ecological and evolutionary dynamics

To our knowledge, no federal granting agency allocates funding for anticipatory planning for extreme events. However, in a world with increasing frequencies of storms, habitat destruction, pollution, and epidemics, an understanding of the impacts of such extreme events on freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments and organisms will be enhanced if skilled teams are already in position to take advantage of impending events. The study by Donihue et al. brings this critical issue into sharp focus.

Test your scientific acumen right now, and measure how much actual understanding of nature was gained by measuring lizard toes and blowing the poor creatures with leaf blowers. Ascertain how certain any of these people are that Darwinian evolution had anything to do with the observations. Finally, count how many new species of lizard emerged from a Darwinian process of mutation and selection. But don’t neglect to send them the money, so that they can “understand” nature.

Broken Record

This is not the only article illustrating the uselessness of Darwin storytelling. There’s a steady stream of them in the Darwin News Network, where intelligent design is the “deplorable word” that must not be uttered.

Prehistoric sea creatures evolved pebble-shaped teeth to crush shellfish (Phys.org). Certain ichthyosaurs have rounded teeth good for crushing shellfish. That can only mean one thing. They must have evolved that way! But do scientists know how or why?

We don’t know exactly the ancestry of ichthyosaurs. They’re reptiles, and they’re probably archosaurs—that is to say, they’re more closely related to crocodiles and dinosaurs and birds than they are to lizards and snakes—but even that isn’t 100%,” says Olivier Rieppel, a paleontologist and Rowe Family Curator of Evolutionary Biology at Chicago’s Field Museum, who co-authored a new paper on the findings in Scientific Reports. “By studying this early ichthyosaur’s unusual rounded teeth, we get a better understanding of how these animals evolved and what their lifestyles were like.”

Let’s get this straight. Ichthyosaurs appear in the fossil record abruptly, fully formed, already equipped with the teeth and characteristics they need to survive. Enter Darwin’s disciples to explain this to us: “ichthyosaurs ‘probably‘ evolved from something else, even though the fossil evidence isn’t there. But you can trust us, because we have ‘understanding‘ of the world, ‘evolutionarily speaking’ with our inner light and fluency in Jargonwocky.”

Postscript: Does the paper in Scientific Reports offer any ancestry for ichthyosaurs? No. Go look. It’s open-access. Instead, the authors smear Darwin Flubber on the fossils to account for convergent evolution: “Repeated evolution of durophagy during ichthyosaur radiation after mass extinction indicated by hidden dentition.”

Molariform dentition evolved three to five times independently within Ichthyosauriformes in the Early and Middle Triassic. Convergent exploitation of hard-shelled invertebrates by different subclades of ichthyosauriforms likely fueled the rapid taxonomic diversification of the group….

Be brave. Doubt the experts. Ask yourself how “likely” this is.

Water pressure: Ancient aquatic crocs evolved, enlarged to avoid freezing (Phys.org). By now, our readers get the strategy. It is no longer necessary to prove anything in evolutionary ‘science’. It is sufficient to simply state that it ‘evolved’ – no matter how complex, now matter how intricate, no matter how many beneficial mutations would have been required. You find an animal just the right size for the environmental demands of its habitat? It evolved.

Getting bigger was especially appealing because the volume of body tissue, which generates heat, increases faster than the surface area of the skin that surrenders it. But the unforgiving consequences of heat loss still limited the pool of ancestors from which aquatic crocodyliforms could evolve.

“They actually needed to start at a larger size,” Gearty said. “So it’s not like a marine crocodile could have just evolved from anywhere. It had to be evolving from some non-marine crocodile that was already a little larger than normal.”

See “How Darwinism Produces Job Security,” 25 June 2014.

Darwinians use the media to try to convince an unwary public that they are ‘getting warmer’ to understanding nature. What understanding, pray tell, is provided by a long string of escape words like probably, likely, maybe, perhaps, and conceivably? What good does this kind of ‘science’ do for anybody? Would you keep paying money to a charlatan who offers you ‘Helpful Financial Advice’ if, upon payment, he said something like this? “Well, if you don’t mind taking chances, you might do well to invest in some real estate, but not at this time, unless you like industry or oil stocks, but maybe foreign investments might help, but then again, perhaps some lottery futures look good, but I’m not sure what percentage I would trust in any of those, but if you pay me another million dollars, I can pursue further research into them.” Don’t be a sucker. Darwinism is the Nigeria Scam of the sciences.

Time for a revolt. Time to kick the storytellers out of the castle. Taxpayers have funded their lazy, cushy jobs long enough.  Science needs a clean house with a welcome mat for critics of the comfortable consensus.

 

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