One of the standard tactics of creationists is to demand repeatable evidence of something that can’t be repeated (or directly observed) and to claim that the failure to meet their demands is somehow “proof” that the theory of evolution has failed. (By implication, it’s also assumed to be “proof” that their supernatural tales are true by default.)
This grotesque style of argument — inventing a straw-man and then demolishing it — takes many forms. The most primitive is to demand that there be a biologically impossible combination such as a Crocoduck. Less primitive, but equally ridiculous, is to demand that biologists should somehow duplicate the evolution of the entire biosphere, from one-celled organisms to man — a development that required billions of years and which obviously can’t be repeated in the lab. The claim here is that “molecules to man” evolution has never been “observed” — except of course that it’s been demonstrated by a vast amount of evidence left behind over geologic ages — but creationists refuse to accept such evidence.
Further, although there are numerous Observed Instances of Speciation, including ring species, creationists ignore that and demand real-time visual evidence of very large-scale evolutionary progression — the kind that can occur only over millions of generations — and which are therefore evidenced only in the fossil record and in DNA.
We think we can include among the straw-man arguments the creationists’ false distinction between what they call “micro-evolution” — which can be observed — and “macro-evolution” — which occurs over huge and therefore unobservable time spans. We’ve discussed this (and numerous other creationist fallacies) in Common Creationist Claims Confuted.
The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — are like all other creationists in using the micro-macro fallacy when it suits them. For example, see Klinghoffer: “But They’re Still Fruit Flies!”
Today the Discoveroids are at it again, demonstrating that despite their foolish denials, they’re really closeted creationists. Their latest is Darwin Vindicated at Last: Pigeons Evolved from Pigeons. It’s by Tom Bethell, a name we haven’t seen before, but his thinking fits right in with the Discoveroids. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Under the headline “Pigeon DNA proves Darwin right,” Nature reports on a study led by University of Utah biologist Michael Shapiro, that offers “insight into the genetics of both ‘fancy’ domestic breeds and plain street pigeons and supports their common origin from the wild rock dove (Columba livia).”
This is what he’s talking about: Pigeon DNA proves Darwin right. You can read it without a subscription. It’s not all that remarkable, but the creationists think it gives them an opportunity because it’s only about pigeons. Here’s more from the Discoveroid article:
Someone should compile a list of articles in science magazines that contain the phrase “proves Darwin right.” It would be rather a long list and would repay study.
Someone else should compile a list of creationist articles claiming to disprove Darwin. Anyway, we’ll skip the author’s discussion of pigeon details and get to the crazy stuff:
So the claim here is that pigeons are descended from a pigeon. Darwin seems to have noticed that rock pigeons lack the ruffs and other fancy adornments of more carefully bred pigeons. He also saw that it was safe to say that a critter that LACKS a trait or a whole bunch of traits is ancestral to those that possess it (or them).
That’s not exactly what the claim is — not even close — but that distortion is essential to the Discoveroid’s next paragraph:
The most famous such claim (in which ancestors are identified) is that invertebrates are ancestral to vertebrates. We can also say that cats evolved from non-cats, dogs evolved from non-dogs, and so on. A million such claims can be made, and they are all equally vacuous. They are disguised assertions that evolution happened.
Yes, evolution is nothing but wild assertions. Not at all like the exquisitely detailed demonstrations that the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is responsible for such things.
The article is so junky that we’re going to skip right to the end where the author drops his mask and launches into a clumsy performance of the micro-macro mambo:
In the case of pigeon-to-pigeon micro-changes, however, it is indeed easy to believe that evolution really did happen, and within a few pigeon generations.
Right. This pigeon research “proves” that the only thing the “Darwinists” have is evidence of micro-evolution. Macro-evolution is a myth. The Discoveroids can be proud of their mainstream creationist article. It’s so crude that Ken Ham probably wishes he had published it first.
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