by Robert David Singer
[Note: If you are not up-to-date with the debate over Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design, you will want to read the Preface Notes first, identified by a [p] at the beginning of the sentence. Preface Notes will separate fact from fiction and rumor from humor in my prima facie case for Intelligent Design.]
[p1] Professor Richard Dawkins, one of the greatest living “experts” on blind Watchmakers and selfish gene-centric Evolution got out his Ouija Board to channel the spirit of Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of Species and the father of Naturalism and Atheism.
Contacting Darwin was considered of a dangerous and controversial nature because if his current residence is Hell then a whole lot of evolutionary biologists will be out of work.
[p2] Dawkins and company agreed it was worth the risk because there aren’t enough Evolutionists to rip out the pages of one million copies of Ray Comforts new book linking Darwin and Natural Selection to Hitler.
Richard Dawkins (RD) was the designated medium and Niles Eldredge took the following notes.
Everyone placed their fingers on the planchette and Mr. Dawkins asked the Ouija board the burning question, “Charles, are you in Hell?”
Spirit Response: “The subscriber you are trying to reach out of range, planchette will now channel hypothetically.”
What follows is pure Unadulterated Unverified Nonsense and reflects my belief that the scientific arguments and rational thinking of Intelligent Design is a thirst-quenching alternative from the obdurate (obstinate) Evolutionists whose only motivation is to eliminate God.
Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Since Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins or Niles Eldredge never attended a channeling session, neither of them could endorse these views, which may or may not prove to be correct.
RD: Mr. Darwin, everyone wants to know if there are any Evolutionists in Foxholes?
RD: [p3] Creationists are telling everyone you repented because you were reading the book of Hebrews to Lady Hope on a beautiful autumn afternoon a few days before you died.
Darwin: Ah yes, that autumn afternoon, I can still smell her perfume.
RD: So you were with her and reading the Bible before you died?
Darwin: Well, if you mean six months before I died and “with her” in a biblical sense, the answer is yes.
RD: You read a story from the Bible to get her in bed?
Darwin: She was an evangelical, what story should I have read? Richard, do you know the difference between girls aged: 8, 18, women 28, 38, 48 and ladies 58 and 68?
Darwin: At 8 – You put her to bed and tell her a story. At 18 – You tell her a story and take her to bed. At 28 – You don’t need to tell her a story to take her to bed. At 38 – She tells you a story and takes you to bed. At 48 – You tell her a story to avoid going to bed. At 58 – You stay in bed to avoid her story.
I was 73; taking Lady Hope to bed was a BIG story!!
RD: So you never regretted coming up with the Theory of Evolution?
Darwin: Of course not, my daughter told everyone as much and getting “life from non-life” is a hypothesis not a theory and I stole that from Anaximander. [f1]
RD: But you added a plausible mechanism, “Natural Selection.”
Darwin: Notice the word “plausible”. Just because some birds (i.e. finches) had long curved beaks so they could get fat eating tiny bugs on the Galapagos Islands doesn’t prove that life began in a “primordial soup”. [f2]
RD: That was only variety, what about similarity? If you look at an x-ray of the upper limb of a crocodile, a bird and a human, they all have five digits for “fingers” and two bones in the forearm. Similarities are evidence that we have all descended from some common ancestor.
Darwin: Sure, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it was a good design…worthy of being duplicated.
Look Richard, after 150 years I expected you guys to come up with something better than if a bird was born with the wrong beak he uses it to fight because a short stout beak is useless to get insects out of crevasses in the rocks.
RD: [p4] Well we might have if Michael Behe hadn’t written Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution based on your definition of “irreducibly complex.”
Darwin: So what? Only the religious dummies go to Christian bookstores. Bush Jr., Quayle and the Creationists prove Professor Lynn’s research that less than 7% of university academics believe in God. [f3]
RD: Normally, that would be so, but Behe makes a credible, sophisticated case for Creationism without using the Bible so his book is at Borders, Barnes & Noble. Thank “god” for Judge John E. Jones III, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, who ruled Intelligent Design is not science but essentially religious in nature and cited Behe’s testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. [f4]
But I got to tell you it’s hard to attack a reputable scientist from a reputable institution with a sophisticated argument even with a court case from a biased judge. And wait till you see his photo.
Darwin: So what’s the problem?
RD: Michael Behe represented himself as a scientist persuaded by the evidence, not a Creationist with an evangelical agenda like John Sanford with a toothy smile bragging about being saved: [f5]
Darwin: What’s Behe saying?
RW: He maintains that biological systems are irreducibly complex and possess incredibly complicated structures that can be reduced to very basic states.
Darwin: Didn’t I say that?
RD: Yes but he proved that if an everyday non-biological irreducible complex mousetrap could not have developed in stages then a species which originally possessed no eyes will never come to possess perfect ones due to a small chance development because it affords an advantage due to natural selection. Behe says, “such a system without an Engine of Change could not have evolved slowly, piece by piece.” Behe and his buddies found out modern genetics, not random radioactive mutation is the engine of change. [f6]
Darwin: Well, random mutations are random. Haven’t we proven a mutated gene can cause cancer, organ failure and death? New species result from trillions of trillions of random tiny “beneficial” random mutations. Did I mention they are random and life probably came about through… you guessed it, a series of … random mutations?
This is another favorite deductive method of the evolutionary theorist. The “improbability drive”, in which they decide upon a conclusion without any evidence whatsoever to support it, and then continually speculate a series of wildly improbable events and unbelievable co-incidences to support it, shrugging off the implausibility of each event with the vague assertion that sometimes the impossible happens (just about all the time in their world). There is a principle called “Occam’s Razor” which suggests that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation, Intelligent Design, is most likely to be correct. Evolutionists hate Occam’s Razor.
RD: Yes, Charles we get it. But Michael Denton wrote Evolution a Theory in Crisis and points out “The the tiniest bacterial cells are irreducibly complex, and are actually a microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery made up of a hundred thousand million atoms far more complicated than any machine made by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.”
A new generation of bacteria typically grows in 20 minutes to a few hours and although there is much variation in bacteria and many mutations they never turn into anything new. They always remain bacteria.
Forget human vision being formed by Natural Selection, molecular biologists have demonstrated that the cell could not have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications. [f7]
Darwin: Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you when “I freely confessed that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, WAS absurd in the highest degree.”
RD: But you said, “the absurdity was illusory and that the difficulty of believing a perfect and complex eye could be formed by Natural Selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real”… Of course, no one knows what the Hell you are talking about… “illusory, insuperable, can be considered real” but it was all we had.
Darwin: Yes, I wrote a confusing sentence, what did you want me to do? Admit I wanted to find an alternative to God because I could not persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.” Richard, have you persuaded yourself there could be a beneficent God that would allow suffering?
RD: No, but I’m not omnipotent and why does there have to be a benefit in beneficent? On the other hand, a “perfect and complex eye” is a benefit for human vision.
Darwin: The “ayes” were a problem even before modern ophthalmology.
RD: Damn those eye scientists. They found three, almost imperceptibly tiny eye movements ‘tremors, drifts and saccades’ caused by minute contractions in the six muscles attached to the outside of each of your eyes. Every fraction of a second, they very slightly shift the position of your eyeball, automatically, without conscious effort on your part, making human vision possible.
Tremors — the tiniest and probably the most inexplicable of these movements, continuously and rapidly wobble your eyeball about its center in a circular fashion. They cause the cornea and retina (front and back) of your eyes to move in circles with incredibly minute diameters of approximately 1/1000 (.001) of a millimeter, or .00004 inch. [f8]
This size is about 70 times smaller than the thickness of a piece of paper.
Darwin: You can’t be serious, are you saying that 70 circles of the same diameter (OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) all touching can be placed in a row straight across the thickness of the paper?
RD: Yep. There are other problems too; people are questioning the benefit of symmetrical mutations in aiding survival. How would you explain two symmetrical, arms, ears, nostrils and eyes?
Heck, I’m thinking an eye in the back of my head would be handy but on the other hand two arms are necessary to pop open a can of Beer.
Darwin: Well, an eye in the back of your head would be useful if your only concern was a predator sneaking up behind you when you were drunk, but you need to think Survival of the Symmetrists and Lady Hope. There would have been no story about taking her to bed if I looked like The Elephant Man.
By the way, did you go to inaugural Gordon Conference in Neuroethology in the UK?
RD: [p5] No, but Bora Zivkovic did and made the mistake of exposing Carl Zimmer for leaving out the Ampulex compressa (Emerald Cockroach Wasp) and its prey/host the American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana) out of his research.
Darwin: [p6] We have an explanation for the wasp: They represent an evolutionary transition.
In the beginning, wasps were bigger and strong enough to drag a paralyzed cockroach to their burrow where they laid an egg on the belly of the roach.
The egg hatches and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach and begins devouring the organs one by one for about eight days. However, the offspring of the fit wasps were stupid and ate the organs in the wrong order and the roach died before they could hatch. This gave an evolutionary advantage to the smart larva, one that saved the nervous system organs for dessert.
However, the larvae that survived weren’t strong enough to drag a big roach into its burrow so they had to learn how to retool the roach’s neural network that only affects the specific circuits that are involved in walking. The wasps took classes in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry so they could learn about the nervous systems, metabolism and the specific factors that regulate dendritic branching patterns of neurons; molecular, cellular and behavioral effects of neurotoxins in cockroaches.
Then the smaller smarter wasps can inject it’s venom very precisely into the subesophageal ganglion in the head of the roach so they can grab the roach by its antennae and walk it around like a dog on a leash back to its nest.
RD: And don’t forget the witty comment from “Kafka” on Zimmer’s blog:
“I had a dream that I was a cockroach, and that wasp Ann Coulter stuck me with her stinger, zombified my brain, led me by pulling my antenna into her nest at Fox News, and laid her Neocon eggs on me. Soon a fresh baby college Republican hatched out, burrowed into my body, and devoured me from the inside. Ann Coulter’s designs may be intelligent, but she’s one cruel god.”
Darwin: I must freely confess this example of evolutionary transition is absurd. By the way what are you doing to stop Ray Comfort from giving away his special edition of My Origin of Species making me responsible for Hitler’s “final solution”?
RD: We are using a favorite Creationist tactic: Unilateral resistance, book burnings and I’m telling the students to rip out the Introduction of the book.
Darwin: Is that working?
RWD: No, but it doesn’t matter because someone is now arguing the existence of God with Intelligent Design based on the perceived evidence of order, purpose, and design in nature. They got it from Plato and Aristotle.
Teleology: study of causes says the existence of God is intuitive and makes a prima facie case for an intelligent designer. Though modern science rejects creationism, which holds that the human race can be traced to a talking snake and a spare human rib, Kent Hovind stresses it requires even more faith to believe in evolution. [f9]
Buzzzt –Negative energy detected…Charles Darwin wanted to find an alternative to God; Richard Dawkins wants to prove he is smarter than God.
Please wait…. take a few deep breaths while we fill Richard Dawkins with an entirely different personality. Tuning RD to an Intelligent Designed spirit.
Creationists try and prove the existence of God, which is true with false and absurd statements from the Bible:
“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1 Actually the Bible doesn’t need to prove God. It simply declares His existence as a settled fact, and then tries to win the debate with a free pass to heaven for all that believe that he is, and a promise of Hell for those who those fools that hath said in his heart, there is no God”. Psalm 53:1. They know the bible is true because it couldn’t have been authored by men-it foretells the future with 100% accuracy every time.
Evolutionists try and prove that Macroevolution, which is false with Microevolution, which is true.
Microevolution can explain the types of bird beaks, the colors of moths and the length of the giraffe’s neck because they are variations in the gene pool of each species. Selective breeding cannot create a new species and when it goes too far the species doesn’t evolve into something different it dies out.
It’s been 150 years and no one has found a natural process that can show how things to fall together into organized complexity (macroevolution).
According to the brilliant English astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, the chances of higher life forms ever evolving is the same as a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard, assembling a Boeing 747 from the materials therein or about 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power.
To illustrate just how impossible it is, imagine this: On the ground are all the materials needed to build a house (nails, boards, shingles, windows, etc.). We tie a hammer to the wagging tail of a dog and let him wander about the work site for as long as you please, even millions of years. The swinging hammer on the dog is as likely to build a house as mutation-natural selection is to make a single new working part in an animal, let alone a new creature.
You can cross a cocker spaniel with poodle and get a cockapoo but if it looks like a dog, barks like a dog, a cockapoo is still a dog. If you want to prove The Theory of Evolution, then let’s see a frogapoo.
Darwin: I know not what course others may take, but as for me if it’s a choice between Evolution, Creation and Deism I’ll stay dead.
Believe it or not, the best essay about the debate over Evolution was written by Jim Pappas and published in the Indianapolis Christian Issues Examiner on September 11, 2009.
Of course, Jim is a Creationist who wants to show “how to mine the riches of God’s Word and ferret out the truth of history and science in the Bible”, but we won’t hold that against him.
[Beginning of “Emperor of evolution has no clothes”, by Jim Pappas]
“…we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.” Dr. Richard Lewontin – 1997
You can see by many of the comments to this series on Dr. Lewontin’s quote that evolution’s adherents claim science is counter-intuitive, and often against common sense.
There is a plainly stated reason for this, “we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes”.
Evolutionists are “forced” by their “a priori adherence to material causes” to believe evolution is the only possible answer.
Because their pre-existing belief that there is no God, and there is nothing beyond the observed natural realm.
Evolutionists purposely limit their views to fit their presupposition, and anything that disagrees with them they decry is “unscientific” or “religious”.
The truth does not matter to the evolutionist; the only thing that matters is their absolute faith in material causes.
It does not matter to them that their explanations are counter-intuitive.
They just claim “science” is counter-intuitive.
But is science really counter-intuitive?
When the apple fell on Newton, was it counter-intuitive to think there is some force causing the apple to fall down, instead of falling up? Is it counter-intuitive to observe that mammals drown if they breathe under water because they need oxygen in the form of gas?
Is in counter-intuitive to understand that the heart is what pumps the blood through the body and not the liver? Science is NOT counterintuitive.
So what else are evolutionists left with?
Creating “an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations…no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.”
In the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary (online), “mystify” means “to intentionally perplex the mind of”, “impose upon the credulity of” and “make obscure or difficult to understand”, or “to embellish (as fact) or fancifully”.
Why in the world would evolutionists want their concepts to “intentionally perplex the mind of” people, or make them “obscure or difficult to understand”?
It is so they will seem so intelligent and beyond question that people will follow lock step into their belief system because of their perceived brilliance without noticing that the Emperor of Evolution has no clothes.
Just who are these “uninitiated”?
The “uninitiated” are all people, and particularly all people who do not readily buy into the hoax of evolution. The “uninitiated” are anybody without advanced degrees who dare to question the so-called science used by evolutionists. What about the people with advanced degrees who disagree with evolution? Just ask an evolutionist, who will describe the highly qualified and educated scientists who disagree with them as “stupid”, “insane”, “out of their minds”, and “not really scientists”.
When you think about it, evolution is more of a fanatical religion whose adherents absolutely despise anyone who would defile their system of beliefs, than honest science. Do not dare expose their way of thinking, or their faith; unless their wrath means little to you.
[End of “Emperor of evolution has no clothes”, by Jim Pappas]
Preface and Footnotes
[p1] Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British biological theorist with a background in ethology and who came to prominence in 1976 book with his book The Selfish Gene, which popularized the gene-centered view of evolution. Dawkins was a co-founder of the Out Campaign, as a means of advancing atheism and free thought and is one of world’s most widely publicized atheists. He is a prominent critic of religion, creationism and pseudoscience
19th Century: Watchmaker analogy William Paley said that if you were walking through the woods and saw a smooth stone on the ground, no big deal, just a river stone formed by the forces of nature. But if you saw a watch on the ground, you would immediately know that this was made by a watchmaker because of its complexity. Since a living organism is more complex than that watch, it too must be designed.
Dawkins in 1986 said living systems “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” But then wrote “The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design” to prove the “appearance of design” was only an illusion which could be explained by evolution and natural selection.
In the book he argued against the watchmaker analogy, and described a dysteleological perspective on the process of evolution by natural selection as “blind”, without a design or a goal.
In his 2006 million-selling book The God Delusion, he contended that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist, writing that beliefs, based on faith rather than on evidence are a delusion.
[p2] “We have a clip on livingwaters.com of Richard Dawkins speaking about ‘Survival of the fittest.’ In responding to the statement ‘So the way we have created our human society where we look after the weaker people is counter evolutionary,’ he said, ‘profoundly counter Darwinian, and thank goodness for that.'”
Ray Comfort is the Founder/President/CEO of Living Waters Publications. After relocating from New Zealand to Southern California in the late 1980s, Ray introduced a long line of pastors and churches to a biblical teaching which he called Hell’s Best Kept Secret.
If the special edition of Ray Comfort’s special edition of The Origin of Species that presents the case for Intelligent Design is as weak as atheists maintain, why would Dawkins telling his followers to rip it out? Answer: Because it would strengthen the case for evolution? But it does the opposite, and that’s why they are so threatened,” Comfort says. “Among other things, they don’t want students to discover how Hitler used evolution as the catalyst for his ‘final solution.'” Los Angeles, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-US Newswire/
[p3] Darwin’s theory of evolution according to an “Urban Legend” bothered Darwin later in life because he was worried it would lead to atheism. He, himself, admitted that something as infinitely complex as the human eye could not come about through blind random chance. Shortly after his death, Lady Hope addressed a gathering of young men and women at the educational establishment founded by the evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody at Northfield, Massachusetts. She had, she maintained, visited Darwin on his deathbed on a beautiful autumn afternoon. He had been reading the Epistle to the Hebrews, had asked for the local Sunday school to sing in a summerhouse on the grounds, and had confessed: “How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done.” He went on, she said, to say that he would like her to gather a congregation since he “would like to speak to them of Christ Jesus and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savoring the heavenly anticipation of bliss.”
However a letter written by Darwin’s daughter on February 23, 1922 to The Christian, a religious journal refute any such savoring of heavenly bliss, her comments:
“I was present at his [Darwin’s—BT] deathbed. Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought and belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. We think that story of his conversion was fabricated in the USA. In most of these versions, hymn singing comes in and a summerhouse where the servants and villagers sang hymns to him. There is no such summerhouse and no servants or villagers ever sang hymns to him. The whole story has no foundation whatsoever (see Hawton, 1958, p. 4).”
Also to be considered is this: many of the “facts” of the Lady Hope story are, quite simply, wrong. For example, Darwin died April 19, 1882. But the story of Lady Hope specifically states that she visited him on a beautiful autumn afternoon. That would have left six months between her visit, and his demise. Yet evidence available to us proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Darwin was neither bedridden nor “on his deathbed” during that six-month period
[p4] Michael Behe is a biophysics professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and his book, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution released last summer, has been causing a firestorm of activity in academic circles ever since. Creationist books are rarely sold in secular bookstores or reviewed in secular publications and are usually released by Christian or small secular publishers willing to take a chance. Darwin’s Black Box has gained the attention of evolutionists not normally accustomed to responding to anti-evolutionary ideas in the academic arena. People like Niles Eldredge from the American Museum of Natural History, Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University and author of The Blind Watchmaker, Jerry Robison of Harvard University, and David Hull from the University of Chicago have all been forced to respond to Behe either in print or in person. In summary, the reason for all this attention is that they readily admit that Behe is a reputable scientist from a reputable institution and his argument is therefore more sophisticated than they are accustomed to hearing from creationists. Creationists and intelligent design theorists are usually dismissed Ad Hominem, but not Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box.
Behe’s simple claim is that when Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, the cell was a mysterious black box. We could see the outside of it, but we had no idea of how it worked. In Origin, Darwin stated,
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.”
Behe found the case in the Black Box and your everyday non-biological irreducible complex mousetrap. It is composed of five basic parts: a catch (to hold the bait), a powerful spring, a thin rod called “the hammer,” a holding bar to secure the hammer in place, and a platform to mount the trap. If any one of these parts is missing, the mechanism will not work because each individual part is integral and therefore must be…irreducibly complex. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe/review.html, Darwin’s Black Box Irreducible Complexity or Irreproducible Irreducibility? by Keith Robison
[p5] Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp, Bora Zivkovic, February 04, 2006
I am quite surprised that Carl Zimmer, in research for his book Parasite Rex, did not encounter the fascinating case of the Ampulex compressa (Emerald Cockroach Wasp) and its prey/host the American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana, see also comments on Aetiology and Ocellated).
In 1999, I (Bora Zivkovic) went to Oxford, UK, to the inaugural Gordon Conference in Neuroethology and one of the many exciting speakers I was looking forward to seeing was Fred Libersat.
The talk was half-hot half-cold. To be precise, the first half was hot and the second half was not.
In the first half, he not just introduced the whole behavior, he also showed us a longish movie, showing in high magnification and high resolution all steps of this complex behavior (you can see a cool picture of the wasp’s head here).
First, the wasp gives the roach a quick hit-and-run stab with its stinger into the body (thorax) and flies away. After a while, the roach starts grooming itself furiously for some time, followed by complete stillness. Once the roach becomes still, the wasp comes back, positions itself quite carefully on top of the roach and injects its venom very precisely into the subesophageal ganglion in the head of the roach. The venom is a cocktail of dopamine and protein toxins so the effect is behavioral modification instead of paralysis.
Apparently, (apparently is a word evolutionary psychologists often use when trying to describe events that took place centuries ago. In the absence of hard evidence speculation reigns supreme) the wasp’s stinger has receptors that guide it to its precise target:
“To investigate what guides the sting, Ram Gal and Frederic Libersat of Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel, first introduced the wasp to roaches whose brains had been removed. Normally, it takes about a minute for the wasp to find its target, sting, and fly off. But in the brainless roaches, the wasps searched the empty head cavity for an average of 10 minutes. A radioactive tracer injected into the wasps revealed that when they finally did sting, they used about 1/6 the usual amount of venom. The wasps knew something was amiss.”
The wasp then saws off the tips of the roach’s antennae and drinks the hemolymph from them. It builds a nest – just a little funnel made of soil and pebbles and leads the roach, by pulling at its antenna as if it was a dog-leash, into the funnel. It then lays an egg onto the leg of the roach, closes off the entrance to the funnel with a rock and leaves. The roach remains alive, but completely still in the nest for quite some time (around five weeks). The venom, apart from eliminating all defensive behaviors of the roach, also slows the metabolism of the cockroach, allowing it to live longer without food and water. After a while, the wasp egg hatches, eats its way into the body of the roach, eats the internal organs of the roach, then pupates and hatches. What comes out of the (now dead) cockroach is not a larva (as usually happens with insect parasitoids) but an adult wasp, ready to mate and deposit eggs on new cockroaches.
Why was the second half of the talk a disappointment?
I know for a fact I was not the only one there who expected a deeper look into evolutionary aspects of this highly complex set of behaviors. However, the talk went into a different direction – interesting in itself, for sure, but not as much as an evolutionary story would have been. Libersat described in nitty-gritty detail experiments that uncovered, one by one, secrets of the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry of the cockroach escape behavior – the one suppressed by toxin – as well as the chemistry of the toxin cocktail. Ganglion after ganglion, neuron after neuron, neurotransmitter after neurotransmitter, the whole behavior was charted for us on the screen. It’s an impressive feat, but disappointing when we were all salivating at a prospect of a cool evolutionary story. http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2006/02/revenge-of-zombifying-wasp.html
[p6] Transitional Fossils
“The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graded organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.” Charles Darwin
Transitional Fossils, 150 years later: have they found them yet? No.
Do you notice any fish today growing little stumps, legs, so they can crawl up on land?
Are there any reptiles developing feathers today?
We should be able to see this sort of evidence if evolution is occurring today. Why don’t we see half formed organs instead of complete ones?
Stephen Jay Gould knew about the absence of transitional fossils and invented the idea of “punctuated equilibrium” to explain this absence. The basic idea is that there were periods of extreme biological changes that occurred over short periods of time which precluded the build-up of a fossil record due to lack of time.
What is his primary evidence for his theory?
Answer: The lack of evidence!
What do we actually find in the record?
We find a sudden appearance of a vast number of highly complex organisms (known as the Cambrian explosion) then stasis.
How can this support a transitional theory?
Non-viability of transitional forms
Two lizards had some little babies. They noticed their scales were a bit fuzzier than normal. Then these fuzzy scaled lizards passed on these traits to their offspring and the scales continued to mutate to more feather like things.
You see, these are the pre-cursor to wings. But the feathers are getting so long now, they are getting in the way and even though they can’t yet fly, they can’t run very well either. They are having trouble escaping predators and getting food.
This is the problem with transitional forms for complex features. Until some primitive if not complete functionality is there, there is no advantage. This is known as the non-viability of transitional forms.
[f1] Many people misunderstand what Darwin’s theory is about. Perhaps the most common error is that it is a theory of the origin of life (“abiogenesis”), that is not the case – Darwin’s theory does not deal with that matter, but rather is only about how successive generations of organisms change over time (“evolution”). Another common point of confusion about Darwin’s work is that he was the first person to propose the idea of evolution – this is far from the case – evolutionary ideas date back to at least the 6th century BCE (e.g. the Greek philosopher Anaximander). Instead Darwin’s great “insight” was “natural selection”, which is an explanation of how evolution works to produce new species and to create organisms suited to their environments.
[f2] Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882 was trained to be a Clergyman of the Church of England. After graduating from Cambridge at the age of 22, he gave up the Christian ministry to become a naturalist.
Charles Darwin is today known for his theory of evolution by natural selection. He developed this theory over a number of years after returning from a 5 year (1831 to 1836) round the world voyage on HMS Beagle. He observed the varieties of plants, animals and fossils in different regions of the world and noticed certain similarities in some species and came to the conclusion that simpler life forms evolved into more complex life forms. The outline of the theory was first presented in a paper read to the Linnean Society by Charles Darwin’s friends, Sir Charles Lyell and John Dalton Hooker (Darwin himself was unable to attend this presentation of his work because of the recent death of his infant son from scarlet fever) on July 1st 1857. Darwin then presented his ideas to a wider public, and at considerably greater length, in his classic 1859 book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, which today is usually referred to simply as “On the Origin of Species.”
[f3] In a forthcoming paper for the journal Intelligence, Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, argues that there is a strong correlation between high IQ and lack of religious belief and that average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 countries. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God.” A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God – at a time when 68.5 per cent of the general UK population described themselves as believers. A separate poll in the 90s found only seven per cent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God. Times Higher Education magazine.
[f4] The decision of the court in the Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al. case: Judge John E. Jones III, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, made a very strong ruling that intelligent design is creationism not science and that members of Dover’s school board lied under oath to hide their religious motivations. Archive includes transcripts of the trial, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover_decision.html
[f5] Curriculum vitas of:
Dr. John Baumgardner John is a highly respected geophysicist in both Christian and secular circles, and is the leading creationist figure in developing the model of Catastrophic Plate Tectonics.
Dr. Rob Carter Rob is CMI–USA’s head scientist and speaker in Atlanta, Georgia. A marine biologist and expert in genetics (doctorate from the University of Miami) he is also a co-researcher with the Institute for Creation Research on their GENE Project.
John Sanford, a former Cornell University professor, is well known in genetic engineering circles as inventor of the gene gun. A scientific convert to six-day creation, his groundbreaking new book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome demonstrates why human DNA is inexorably deteriorating at an alarming rate and therefore cannot be millions of years old.
[f6] Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Michael Behe http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/darwinbx.html
[f7] Michael Behe and Darwin’s Black Box, Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. http://www.uwgb.edu/DutchS/PSEUDOSC/Behe.HTM
[f8] The Saccades Of The Oculomotor System In Vision Processes In Biological Vision, http://www.neuronresearch.net/vision/reading/saccades.htm, Creation ex nihilo 16(4):10–13 September 1994, by Tom Wagner
[f9] From Florida’s “Florida Today” Jan 24, 3:51 PM Seminar debates evolution theory by Breuse Hickman, Florida Today
However, the first ID scientists were actually motivated by the inability of modern biology to explain the origin of the digital information encoded in the DNA molecule well prior to the 1987 ruling. And many physicists during the 60’s and 70’s, including Fred Hoyle who coined the famous “Big Bang” quote, had increasingly been persuaded by the evidence of a finely tuned universe ideally suited to support the existence of life.
There is however an interesting tension between the ID movement in science and Christians who believe the Genesis account of creation literally. The ID people do not advocate any particular designer or even refer to God at all. That is not their interest. This tension is not to say that ID is not a friend to Christians who believe the Bible Creation story. Their scientific arguments and rational thinking are a refreshing respite from the bulldog like evolutionists whose primary motivation appears to be to eliminate God.