Drooling Creationists?

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 23:36:12 -0700 (PDT)


"Michael E. Smith" <mesmith@home.net> On Thu, 2 Jul 1998 Wrote:


>they see the "Cambrian Explosion", the rapid appearance of most
>forms of life known today in a geologically short span of time, as
>evidence that something other than random mutation was at work.)

This sort of crap shouldn't amaze me anymore but I confess it does, it still seems to me that if you're going to spend your life opposing something, as creationists do, it might be worthwhile to spend 5 minutes studying what you're opposing. I first ran into this phenomena when I heard a fundamentalist biology "expert" say he had ironclad proof Darwin was wrong, Jews he said had practiced circumcision for thousands of years yet the foreskin on newly born Jewish babies was just as long as on non Jews. The poor boob didn't know as every freshman biology student does, that it was Darwin himself who put the last nail in the coffin for Lamarckism, the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and he did it back in 1859.

As for your example of random mutation, yes there is no way it could have produced the enormous complexity and variety we see in life, but of course nobody said it did. Random mutation is only half of Darwin's Evolution, the other half is natural selection and that's not random. Please understand, I'm not talking of some subtle point of evolutionary theory, of which there are many, I'm talking Evolution 101, first lecture, first paragraph, probably first sentence. This is why I don't think I'm being rude when I write about creationists, I think I give them all the respect they deserve.

>There is still much that is not understood about how the
>excruciatingly slow process of random mutations could have produced
>some of the very complex structures in the cell when said structures
>would not seem to have made up an evolutionary advantage until they
>were fully formed

Their favorite example is the eye of higher animals which is indeed a very complex and wonderful structure. Everything must be just right with the eye or it won't work they say, 5% of an eye is useless so it couldn't have evolved in small steps they say. They say a lot.

Many simple animals have spots on their bodies that contain pigments that are sensitive to light, they have zero resolution but they can tell day from night and that's an advantage over a creature that can't. If the spot is in a shallow depression in the animal's body it will have more sensitivity in one direction that another, it will have a little bit of resolution, and that's another advantage over a creature without that ability. The deeper the depression the better the resolution, eventually you have a pin hole camera with excellent resolution but with terrible sensitivity, you need a lens. A drop of water can act like a lens and many animals have small glands that excrete moisture on the outside of their skin. If there were certain proteins in the water it could turn it into a colorless jelly and give it some strength, now the eye can become larger.

Of course nature sometimes fucks up. The eye of all vertebrate animals is backwards. The connective tissue of the retina is on the wrong side so light must pass through it before it hits the light sensitive cells. There's no doubt this degrades vision and we'd be better off if the retina was reversed as it is in squids whose eye evolved independently. It's too late for that to happen now because the intermediate forms would not be viable.

>We're not talking about drooling idots here.

Hey I'm not a barbarian, I'd never be so insensitive as to say that about a fellow human being. I never said they drooled.

                                              John K Clark    johnkc@well.com

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