Australian Toads: Evidence of Creationism?

Cane toad

Let us consider the Cane toad, or Bufo marinus. This handsome creature is equipped with glands that secrete poison, known to kill animals unfortunate enough to bite one.

These intelligently designed, sprightly little fellows, averaging 4 to 6 inches in length, although much larger specimens have been observed, are invading Australia. The BBC has an article about their unwanted presence Down Under: Cane toads are evolving into super-invaders. They say, with bold font added by us:

Scientists have demonstrated a “runaway evolutionary effect” that is speeding up Australia’s cane toad invasion.

This explains why the invasive toads have increased their rate of spread so dramatically, the researchers say. They found that toads living at the very edge of their range were “super-invaders” – able to move beyond the boundaries of this existing habitat. And when toads at the frontiers bred, their offspring inherited this ability to move quickly into new territory.

Aha! A neat little example of evolution in action. Let’s read on:

This phenomenon, which scientists have termed the Olympic Village Effect, has been proposed before, since these same scientists observed that the toads at the edge of the range had bigger front legs and stronger back legs – all the better to jump and to invade new areas.

This is hopping-good stuff! We continue:

To confirm that this increased strength and speed had a genetic basis and could be inherited, Dr Phillips [Dr Ben Phillips from James Cook University in Queensland] studied a generation further.

He allowed toads from the same population to breed. Then he set up another radio-tagged toad race, this time between these captive-bred offspring. Toads that had parents from the edge of the range won the dispersal race, revealing that they inherited their speed and strength from their parents.

Nicely done. But as you’ve probably guessed, creationists aren’t exactly, ah … jumping with joy to see this sort of thing. In fact, they seem to be hopping mad.

Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationism, springs forward and leaps upon this subject. You’ll have to hop down to the third item in AIG’s News to Note, October 23, 2010 (“A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint”). AIG’s toad tale is titled: “Is the cane toad invading Australia the latest example of “evolution” in action?”

AIG mentions the BBC story, and they describe Dr. Phillips’ toad race which tested his hypothesis. Then they say this:

The research is an interesting demonstration of the workings of genetics and heredity, but does it show that “evolution” is at work?

Huh? Here’s more:

The fast-moving toads have larger and stronger legs, enabling them to jump farther and faster, and hence invade the continent more quickly. But they remain cane toads; even if, at some point, these fast-moving cane toads are unable to breed with the slow-moving toads and they become separate species, the toads are not evolving into a “higher” species with increased genetic information.

Hey, that’s right! They’re not morphing into kangaroos. They’re still toad-kind. Darwin is proven wrong again! Moving along:

Rather, each population would have lost genetic information (e.g., the genes for big, strong legs in the slow-moving population and for disease and parasite resistance, as postulated in the article, for the fast-moving toads).

That bit about loss of disease resistance is only speculation described in the BBC news item. Here’s the end of the AIG article:

Far from a case of evolution in action, the great toad race shows how selective forces run the opposite direction from the speculations of molecules-to-man evolution.

So there you are, dear reader. AIG has explained how the lowly Cane toad is proof of creationism.

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

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6 responses to “Australian Toads: Evidence of Creationism?

  1. So the evolution of one trait – bigger legs, for example – must be offset be a reduction in some other trait? (never mind that the immune system doesn’t work that way) Per that logic, the Giraffe must have some serious genetic deficiencies offsetting that long neck. Maybe this is a testable prediction of ID? ID “scientists” can look for animals with extraordinary evolved characteristics, and then identify those parts of the genome which have regressed to compensate, as compared to their ancestors.

  2. It’s, uh, evolutionary, not creationist in pace and scale of change.

    Therefore, creationism is true. As always.

  3. Glen Davidson says:

    It’s, uh, evolutionary, not creationist in pace and scale of change.

    It doesn’t matter. I’ll leap at any excuse to post about toads.

  4. I thought they said microevolution was okay. This is an obvious example of microevolution and still they need to attack it. If they can admit this is true and yet feel the need to attack any evidence of it, could they be refusing to admit speciation, the age of the earth, and the tree of life, as well? One wonders. It seems clear they attack evolution out of their fundamentalist religious beliefs. But we must spare some pity for them, like abused children who insist that their parent wasn’t brutal to them, but they deserved it and still believed they would come back and love them. It’s a very dark world when your choices are “understand evolution or I’ll send you to Hell.” I should know, I was there. So if we lost a pediatrician, you can at least count me as one who learned the truth (the hard way.)

  5. It’s Boss Nass. obvious proof.

  6. techreseller

    I took Symbolic Logic in college. I cannot get AIG’s thinking to fit into any logical progression of thought whatsoever.

    Oh, right!!!