Monday, May 9, 2011

Those wacky creationists!

They ought to have a sitcom.  Rocky Ramsey argues:

If people die when hearts, kidneys and livers fail, then how did anyone live while those organs “evolved?” The obvious answer is that they didn’t. Man began as he is today.
This is quite possibly the most hilarious argument I've heard in years.  When you look at the phylogenetic tree just for vertebrates, you can see the slow development of the heart.  We have a lovely four chambered heart that helps keep oxygenated blood from deoxygenated blood, but amphibians with their wacky three-chambered heart like to mix them up a bit.  Then further back in time you have the fishies with their single circulation model compared to the double-circulation model the rest of us have.  You can see how each step up the ladder the heart gets more and more complex, but if you keep going back far enough, you end up with things like phylum porifora (the sponges), members of kingdom animalia in only the strictest sense, which seem to get by just fine without hearts.

If you look at kidneys and livers, you see a similar transgression as you go up the tree.  Far enough back and you have unicellular organisms that seem to live just fine without these tissues because, well, they're unicellular.  These organs are beautiful examples of how colonial life leads to enhanced survival and is favored by natural selection.  By working together, our cells can deliver vital nutrients to trillions of cells and greatly enhance the survival of the whole.  Some end up dying off, but as they're all clones of one another (hopefully), their genetic material passes on to the next generation and the genes themselves continue to survive.

The truth is the ID proponents don't really have a leg to stand on.  They argue for "microevolution" but not "macroevolution" as if the mechanisms of one do not bleed into the other.  There is no distinction between these two kinds of evolutions.  To illustrate, I found a nifty little image that I'd like to share with you.  I wish I could quote the source, but my friend who found it didn't have a direct source for it either:

Their views are often hilarious and the efforts of the misinformed, citing sources such as "Irreducable Complexity" which hardly even need to be disproved, they're so silly, or arguing about the gaps in the evolutionary record, demanding an impossible amount of data for a very simple inference (Futurama does a great job of exploring it in an episode.  Sadly I cannot find a link to the scene in question, so instead here's a general review of the episode).  Most of these ideas have been disproved or discounted, and many arguments stem from an inaccurate understanding of evolution (Crocoduck, anyone?).

These misunderstandings are hilarious, but also create a problem when those same people choose to attack evolution.  Since they don't know what evolution is, what they are attacking is not evolution, and so cannot be argued with from a logical stance regarding evolution.  Since they don't understand it, they try to make laws and regulations based on an inaccurate understanding and further their belief that they are in the right.   As I said last week, our minds aren't wired to seek out truth but to win arguments, so trying to rationally show the evidence for evolution or even explain what evolution means will fall on deaf ears.

It would be laughable if it weren't so frightening.

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