Transmutation, Creationism, & Hammerhead Sharks

THIS one comes from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Look what we found at their website: Shark Study Hammers More Nails in Evolution’s Coffin. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

In the late 1800s, a Darwinian concept called “transmutation of species” revolutionized historical biology. Instead of viewing animal species as the products of special creation, Darwinists believed that they resulted from a long, repetitive transformation through various “natural” or environmental pressures. But recent studies show that the real changes happening in animals fly in the face of these old concepts.

“Transmutation of species”? Has any sane scientist been using that expression? We did some checking around, and the term “transmutation” is usually found in association with Alchemy, the ancient magical “science” of changing base metals into gold. The word sometimes finds modern usage in nuclear physics, as the process by which radioactive elements can decay into more stable elements. But it’s not commonly used in biology — except by the creationists at ICR.

Wait — the expression Transmutation of species was once used by Jean Baptiste Lamarck for his pre-Darwinian theory that described the change of one species into another. But Lamarckism is no longer regarded as science (if it ever was).

Anyway, the creation scientists at ICR think the theory of evolution is all about the “transmutation of species” — which puts them at least 200 years behind the times. Let’s read on to learn what they say about hammerhead sharks:

Recently, a hammerhead shark study published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution analyzed eight species from around the world, comparing certain differences in their DNA sequences. In context, the researchers noted a range in widths among hammerhead shark cephalofoils, from that of a winghead shark, which has a cephalofoil half the length of its entire body, to the bonnethead shark, which has eyes perched on little more than knobs on either side of its head.

We can’t find the abstract, but here’s a press release from the University of Colorado about that research: New Hammerhead Study Shows Cascade of Evolution Affected Size, Head Shape. We continue:

The study’s senior author, Andrew Martin of the University of Colorado, said in a press release, “Hammerheads are special fish, and there is nothing that remotely resembles them anywhere on the planet.”

That seems undeniable. What does ICR make of it? You know what’s coming:

That statement would make perfect sense if hammerheads were created on the fifth day of the creation week. Then they certainly would be “special fish” that “appeared abruptly.”

Yes! Now it makes sense. We’ll skip some other hammerhead details and get right to the end:

The fully fitted features of an adult hammerhead shark are so well-constructed that they draw attention to the genius of their Creator. Also, the well-orchestrated capacity to express variations in body and “hammer” length — but in very few other hammerhead traits — draws even more attention to the One “who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein.” [Footnote to Revelation 10:6.]

Once again, dear reader, we see that all the evidence, even the very latest scientific research on hammerhead sharks, continues to prove creationism.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Transmutation, Creationism, & Hammerhead Sharks

  1. Why is it that all creationist headlines, especially those of AIG and it’s evil stepsister organization the Discovery Institute, always read like bad 5th grade science fair topics?

    Is the Hammerhead Shark REALLY a Hammer?

  2. Citation: Douglas D. Lim, Philip Motta, Kyle Mara, Andrew P. Martin. 2010. Phylogeny of hammerhead sharks (Family Sphyrnidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55, 572-579.

    Abstract: “Hammerhead sharks (Family Sphyrnidae) get their name from their laterally expanded, dorsal–ventrally compressed head, a structure referred to as the cephalofoil. Species within the family vary for head size and shape and for body size in ways that are functionally significant. Here we infer the phylogeny for all
    species within the family based on analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear genes amounting to 6292 base pairs. Mixed model Bayesian analysis of the concatenated data and Bayesian estimation of the species tree (BEST) converged on the same topology of the relationships. Shimodaira–Hasegawa tests revealed that all previously proposed hypotheses could be refuted by the data. The new hypothesis for the group suggests that the ancestor of all extant sharks was large (>200 cms) and that small body size probably evolved twice at different times and places. Moreover, the results suggest that once the cephalofoil evolved, it underwent divergent evolution in different lineages presumably in response to unique selective
    regimes.”

    Seems like another exercise in quote-mining, but that’s nothing new, is it?

  3. Actually, I take that back. It seems the author is incapable of even quote-mining. After actually reading the article, I see that he just made up a bunch of stuff after taking one quote from a press release and made the standard goddidit article. If he had actually quoted from the primary literature, it would have rained on his parade.

  4. eryops says: “It seems the author is incapable of even quote-mining.”

    ICR jumped on Martin’s use of the word “special” and they ran with it.

  5. In the Creationist Logic Games there seems to be an event roughly equivalent to the common broad jump. The author you so carefully quoted seems to be quite the logic ‘athlete’, perhaps one of the world’s best. Even if not, this was definitely worthy of at least a silver ribbon.