Answers in Genesis: Micro-Macro Again

Remember those Florida lizards that, within only 15 years, evolved a new version of their feet to enable them to better climb trees? We wrote about it and the Discoveroids’ reaction here: Casey Does the Micro-Macro Mambo.

Those lizards must be troubling the creationists, because now we have a reaction from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the online ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). This one was written by Elizabeth Mitchell, a creationist gynecologist. The title of her essay is Is Rapid Lizard Adaptation a Template for Deep-Time Evolution?

After several paragraphs describing what was observed, she then launches into a denial which is very much like the one from Casey, about which we wrote earlier. There’s not much new here, except for some young-Earth stuff which Casey carefully avoided. But that’s how it is with creationists — with minor variations, they all say the same thing. We’ll skip to the second half of the gynecologist’s article, because that’s where the drool begins. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

This study provides a marvelous demonstration of the speed with which selective pressure can prompt a kind of animal — in this case the anole lizard — to diversify and adapt. Animals diversify and vary within their created kinds, and it should be no surprise that they can do it quickly. Those offspring expressing the traits that best equip them to survive and reproduce in a stressed environment do so, and the population soon takes on their traits.

It’s amazing that creationists can acknowledge the mechanism that results in evolution, but then continue to be creationists. As we said in Common Creationist Claims Confuted, the error is enormous, because first it involves accepting, at the scale of a few visible generations, both the fact of and the mechanism for evolution (variation and natural selection), and then rejecting the inevitable consequences of what has been accepted. Yet that’s what they do. Watch as it’s done right before your eyes:

But nothing about this study can be extrapolated in support of amoeba-to-Adam evolution. The green lizards didn’t grow wings and fly to safety. No new kind of animal evolved. No new anatomical structure evolved.

No “new kind of animal evolved”? Well, darn, what does she expect? It was only 15 years! But let’s give the creationist gynecologist some credit — she devised a new slogan: “amoeba-to-Adam evolution.” That’s a worthy companion to ol’ Hambo’s usual “molecules to man.” Let’s read on:

God in the beginning tells us that He created all kinds of living things to reproduce after their kinds, and He did so with a few normal-length days about 6,000 years ago.

Yes, we’ve heard about that. She continues:

Based on the great diversity that can be observed to develop or is already present in each kind of living thing, we infer that God designed a great deal of potential variation in each kind of organism. After the global Flood, it would have been the variations available in the genomes of the animals that repopulated the earth that led to the biodiversity we see today.

Right. After the Flood, which killed almost everything in the world, the few thousand “kinds” that were providentially preserved aboard the Ark swiftly became the millions of species we now see on Earth. It was — what shall we call it? — hyper micro-evolution. Here’s more:

But we do not observe animals evolving into new, more complex kinds of animals, for there is no way for animals to acquire the genetic information needed to evolve into a new, more complex kind of animal. Natural selection among the variations and even mutations seen in each kind of animal is not able to produce the new information that would be needed.

Oooooooh — information! AIG is borrowing some of the Discoveroids’ technical vocabulary. She says that natural selection doesn’t produce new information. Duh! Of course it doesn’t; it preserves favorable mutations. But wait — she says that “even mutations” don’t produce new information! Wow — who knew?

And now we’ve arrived at the end. Here’s the last of it:

There is no reason to assume that biodiversity takes millions of years or that variation provoked by competition within a lizard genus is a pattern for the evolution of complexity.

No reason at all. Those lizards don’t mean a thing to creationists. Nothing does — except Oogity Boogity!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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27 responses to “Answers in Genesis: Micro-Macro Again

  1. But nothing about this study can be extrapolated in support of amoeba-to-Adam evolution. The green lizards didn’t grow wings and fly to safety. No new kind of animal evolved. No new anatomical structure evolved.

    And of course if anything like that had somehow occurred, “Dr.” Mitchell and other creationists would have rushed to assert that it had nothing to do with the sort of gradual change posited by Darwin–and for once they’d have been right. So basically their conclusions are guaranteed regardless of the evidence. The fix is in. And they have the nerve to pretend they’re doing real science instead of just dressing up as scientists for Halloween.

  2. Jim Thomerson

    If this is the example I am thinking of, the lizards evolved new gut structures. The statement ‘no new anatomical structures” would be incorrect.Whether macroevolution, speciation, has occured or is on the way, I leave to the determination of my lizard taxonomist colleagues. I think the two major factors in macroevolution are speciation and extinction. I think major phyletic changes are the result of numerous speciation and extinction events.

  3. I’ve never seen an original creationist paper based on new research in a mainstream peer-reviewed journal from anyone who slithers about at AiG. That’s one reason that their writings can be easily dismissed as the ranting of ideological lunatics. Kooks with keyboards, as it were.

    Frankly, the garbage churned out by the gynecologist creationist is really some of the poorest and most laughable that creationists have to offer.

  4. Natural selection among the variations and even mutations seen in each kind of animal is not able to produce the new information that would be needed.

    Dr. Mitchell evidently does not believe mutations produce “new information”, or at least not the “new information” that would be needed to produce a new “kind” of animal.

    Even creationists probably understand that mutations produce a different DNA molecule than the one that existed before the mutation. Assuming, as creationists do, that the molecule’s sequence of atoms constitutes genetic “information”, the post-mutation molecule will have different genetic “information”. Maybe it’s just creationist semantics, but it seems to me that if molecule A begats a different molecule B, at least some new “information” has just been created.

    Rinse and repeat over a sufficient amount of time, and the two molecules begin to differ by significant percentages. At what point along that chain of mutations do creationists draw the line and state that the organism has become a new “kind”. An interesting experiment would be to have a group of creationists classify organisms based on the degree of their genetic similarity without knowing what the organisms were, and see what sort of “kinds” result. If creationists adopted a standard of less than 2% difference, in order to place humans in a separate kind from other great apes, the result would most likely be an impossibly large number of “kinds”, even including only present-day animals.

    I dream. No modern creationist actually studies these things, at least none that I am aware of. For all his avowed knowledge of the Ark, Ham has never produced an actual list of the “kinds” of animals it transported. He claims dinosaurs, but doesn’t list them. None of the ancient large amphibians, no mammal-like reptiles, no pterosaurs.

    I believe anytime a creationist claims that evolution cannot produce a new “kind” of organism, they should be drilled on what “kind” of organism they are talking about, and why they draw the lines where they do, and what about the animals that are just outside those lines, etc. etc.

  5. These DIMs say that the macro evilution aint real cuz they can’t see it happen, and at the exact same breath say that gawd did it and have NEVER seen it happen. Ouch! the wall banging hurts!

  6. One (of many) problems with creationists is that they offer no definite or rigorous description if what a “kind” is, nor do they ever tell us how many of these animal “kinds” were on the ark. Being slippery and vague makes ’em hard to pin down, and makes it easier for them to move their goalposts.

  7. New information can’t because it just can’t. Got it?

    I keep asking them for a method of measuring the information so we can really determine if new information is created by mutation or not, but they haven’t gotten back to me about it yet.

    I think the first time I asked was in 2003 or 2004.
    I’m still waiting.

  8. Tundra Boy, you’re back! I thought we had lost you in another glacial crevasse. Or maybe it was mad walrus disease.

  9. Naw, just got caught in the Twitterverse.
    I’m all better now.

  10. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    @Jim Thomerson

    You’re thinking of the Italian wall lizard. Not only did they develop cecal valves, the structures you refer to, the higher percentage of plant diet caused an overall increase in skull size better adapting them to tearing and shredding plant material. It also lessened the need for predatory hunting behavior and by extension the need to defend larger territories resulting in a greater population density. So not only were there shifts in anatomy with feeding behavior but social behavior as well which is probably nothing too novel or a surprise to most here, but pretty damn cool nonetheless.

    Curmy’s post is referring to a new study involving the Carolina anole and the results of the pressures caused by the Cuban anole which invaded the US in the 1950’s.

  11. Twitter? Ya gotta keep these things under control. One cyber obsession at a time.

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    P.S – It’s easy to see why you thought of the Italian wall lizard though. As in any mission driven by propaganda, one is beholden to insert as many talking points as possible. In this case, it’s the “no new novel traits/structures” or “didn’t give birth to a cat” or “still an eColi” routine. Which, again in this case, is about as useful as responding to a report concerning a small earthquake occurring in the middle of the Sahara desert and steadfastly pointing out that no skyscapers fell over as a result. Therefore Teh Designer.

  13. Charles Deetz ;)

    Just finished reading a recent AIG Answers article on the number of animals on the ark, which I can summarizes thusly: ‘The SWAG we are working with is 950 kinds’.

    Actually, they are kinda cornered in coming up with an answer because that will be the #1 question they get at the Encounter when it opens. And whatever answer they give will still be a SWAG.

  14. I’m a recovering Twitteraholic. I think I’ll spend more time where things make sense.

  15. I would have thought with all the research they do, the creationist biologists at AIG and other creationist organizations would have discovered, by now, the elusive genetic barrier that prevents “microevolution” from ever becoming “macroevolution”.

  16. @Stephen Kennedy: Good point well-put.

  17. One wonders if the gynecologist accepts the idea of “zygote to man”.

  18. It’s amazing that creationists can acknowledge the mechanism that results in evolution, but then continue to … blame the acknowledgement of that mechanism (in particular as it applies to “man”kind, micro-evolution) for the evils of those political-social movements of the early 20th century.

  19. SC: “Oooooooh — information! AIG is borrowing some of the Discoveroids’ technical vocabulary.”

    They’d have no need for that if they truly believed their young-earth nonsense.

  20. God in the beginning tells us that He created all kinds of living things to reproduce after their kinds …

    We have no reason to believe that God is telling us this. If one believes the old tradition, OK, then Moses is telling us this.

    Whatever, there is nothing in the Bible about the majority of living things – most notably, the microbes – including, in particular, how and when they began. Whether they were created, formed according to design, generated (whether spontaneously, equivocally or univocally), or that they existed from eternity.

    If one had reason to believe that these people were willing and able to read the Bible … what would one think?

  21. @TomS:

    You know much more about the Bible than I do, but from what few excerpts I have read (English translation), and considering that most people didn’t even reach their 30th birthday back then, it was obviously written as a moral guide for children and teens. Any “origins” claims were added to the best of the authors’ knowledge, and only to shut up those young whippersnappers who say “since when?” or “who made you king.”

  22. “no new kind of animal evolved”
    That’s what the word “kind” serves for and that’s why creaclowns carefully avoid to define the word. A Dutch one preferred “bandwith”, relying on an analogy with radio broadcasting, but of course meant exactly the same.

    EricL gets it: “their conclusions are guaranteed regardless of the evidence.”
    That’s the whole trick of creationisme. The few times some creaclown actually made a testable prediction it was debunked within no time. Even creaclowns learn from their mistakes. Now and then, because:

    JimT immediately confirms this: “The statement ‘no new anatomical structures” would be incorrect.”

    Ed: “does not believe mutations produce “new information””
    Even this new trick is just old wine in new bags.

  23. mnb0: “Even creaclowns learn from their mistakes.”

    The reason I avoid words like “creaclowns,” and even “creationists,” is because different “kinds” learn in radically different ways:

    1. Some retreat to Omphalism, admitting that they have no evidence of “kinds” originating independently, and if they do attempt to define it, or when they originated, admit that they believe what they believe “on faith” or because a book says so.

    2, Some just give up and concede evolution. This group is much bigger than most people think – or would be if we assumed less and asked more.

    3. Some join one of he scams, usually YEC or ID. OEC is still most popular among rank-and-file evolution deniers, but among activists OECs have been mostly replaced by IDers. Whichever scam they join, they learn the tactical advantage of being vague about “kinds” and “when” questions, and to keep it all about “weaknesses” of “Darwinism.” Unfortunately far too many of their critics let them.

    Using the same catch-all term, derogatory or not, for this diverse bunch is unfair to them, and even more unfair to us “Darwinists.”

  24. That’s a bit worrisome: amoeba-to-Adam is actually a much smarter slogan than molecules-to-man, by virtue of describing something that would be evolution rather than biogenesis.

  25. @winewithcats
    Except that amoebas are no more in our ancestry than are chimps. If one, however, means from single cell to adult, then it is difficult to comprehend how a gynecologist would not be aware of that transformation.
    Molecules to man is something that no one can deny happens whenever we eat, drink and breathe.
    And if they believe the literal Bible, they believe in dust-to-Adam, and rib-to-Eve, and have little business in ridiculing amoebas to humans.

  26. @Frank J: “different “kinds” learn in radically different ways”
    I deliberately did not specificy what they learned. Starting hypothesis: nothing good or useful.

  27. @Frank J: “Some just give up and concede evolution”
    Those people by definition are not creaclowns.