Discovery Institute: The Joy of Ignorance

This one at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is weird — far more weird than usual. The title is Jellyfish Sense Their Environment for Controlled Migration. It has no byline, so they’re all responsible. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Jellyfish are not exactly the quarterbacks (or leatherbacks) of the animal kingdom, but they have surprised researchers with their ability to swim against the tide, just like baby leatherback turtles do. Scientists even think they may be able to sense the earth’s magnetic field, as do turtles, salmon, birds, and other long-distance migrators. The BBC News comments on new findings from Australia:

[Discoveroid quote from the BBC:] The scientists think the animals might sense the current across the surface of their bodies. They also speculate that the jellyfish might use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate — an ability seen in some other migrating marine species, including sea turtles.

Why does this interest the Discoveroids? Stay with us, the weirdness begins soon:

We noted in 2013 that jellyfish, which appear suddenly in the fossil record along with all the other animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion, are much more complex than the simple drifters they appear to be.

Ooooooooooh — the Cambrian explosion! That’s when the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — appeared on our uniquely created world and magically designed all the phyla. Isn’t this exciting? Let’s read on:

The new findings were published in Current Biology this month. [Here’s the paper: Current-Oriented Swimming by Jellyfish and Its Role in Bloom Maintenance.] For the first time, researchers put data loggers on jellyfish to track their movements.

[…]

To the scientists’ surprise, the jellyfish swam against the current — proving that they use active sensing to detect the ocean current and swim across it, when necessary, to get where they want to go.

That’s nice, but why do a pack of creationists like the Discoveroids care? Be patient. They continue:

“It remains unclear just how the jellyfish sense changes in water, the paper in Current Biology journal says” (BBC News). It must work really well, because jellyfish get together in big convocations called blooms. “These blooms may comprise between hundreds and millions of jellyfish, and can persist in a given area for months.”

[…]

There are mysteries here that will require further research to understand. The authors speculate about what environmental cues these soft-bodied living submarines might employ for navigation:

We’ll skip the speculations to get to the good stuff. It’s coming soon:

Meanwhile researchers continue to observe design in the living world, then believe that their job is to find out how it fits a Darwinian scheme. “It’s there; it’s adaptive; it must have evolved!” is the mentality. But a strategy implies direction and purpose. We know that in every case where we observe the origin of a strategy, intelligence — not blind nature — was the cause.

Huh? We know that? Egad, then why didn’t your Curmudgeon know it? The Discoveroids are so much more advanced than we are. Here’s more:

So a “simple” animal performs a complex function that humans cannot do without instruments. Is it the scientist’s job to “understand the evolution” of such a function?

Isn’t it? No! Pay attention:

A design approach, that observes an animal solving a problem and tries to understand how it does so, is much more satisfying than saying, “It evolved.”

Oh yes — a design approach is so much more satisfying! Moving along:

It may even lead engineers to mimic the animal’s design to solve human problems.

Right. We can’t mimic a feature of an animal unless we’re creationists. And now we come to the stunning end:

Intelligent design also keeps the fascination and wonder in science. It leads to a view of nature as a world of intricate designs that are a delight to contemplate and try to figure out.

Ooooooooooh! Only creationism “keeps the fascination and wonder in science.” It’s so thrilling to look at everything and say: “Goddidit!” And the Discoveroids are leading the way!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

17 responses to “Discovery Institute: The Joy of Ignorance

  1. Christine Janis

    Er —- sponges, cnidarians (i.e., jellyfish), and bilaterians such as Kimberella (now defined as a primitive mollusc) all known from the PreCambrian. But what does the fossil record matter, unless it supports the creationists’ case?

  2. Meanwhile researchers continue to observe design in the living world, then believe that their job is to find out how it fits a Darwinian scheme. “It’s there; it’s adaptive; it must have evolved!” is the mentality. But a strategy implies direction and purpose. We know that in every case where we observe the origin of a strategy, intelligence—not blind nature—was the cause.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

    Sorry; that just burst out. But seriously, these people know better, or should know better, than to suppose thatthe jellyfish themselves, as individuals, use a strategy for developing anything—or that evolutionists think they do, or ever have. Their interpretation of evolution goes back to Lamarck, or even earlier. They just white out the whole concept of natural selection—the cornerstone of Darwinian evolutionary theory—and pretend that the resulting cartoon of evolution is what mainstream biologists are trying to defend because of their wicked refusal to see the divine Hand in the workings of nature. That indicates either stupendous ignorance and/or stupidity or outright fraud.

    This would be funny, if only these people didn’t have sympathizers with real clout—sitting members of Congress, even some Republican presidential contenders of recent times.

  3. michaelfugate

    Intelligent design also keeps the fascination and wonder in science.

    It certainly keeps the fascination and wonder in how grown men can be that stupid.

  4. Intelligent design also keeps the fascination and wonder in science.

    OMG, that’s almost David Rives’ tagline! Do you think … naw.

  5. I never found creation science or intelligent design to be fascinating and wonderful. You had to pay such close attention to making sure that you weren’t accidentally falling into the trap of believing in deep time, or change from phylum to phylum or anything that I just didn’t have the ability to be fascinated.

  6. Aargh, that should “making.”

    [*Voice from above*] And so it is.

  7. Well, here’s the discotute’s big chance! They could get their alleged scientists busy figuring our the mechanism by which jellyfish sense direction, and scoop the real scientists. I suggest no one hold their breath waiting for them to make an actual contribution to knowledge.

  8. A design approach, that observes an animal solving a problem and tries to understand how it does so, is much more satisfying than saying, “It evolved.”

    Well, there it is kiddies, no need to ask questions in our supernatural science class. We’ll just make up stories about design all day long.

    Discoveroid: Why did the jellyfish cross the current?
    Student: It was designed to do that.
    Discoveroid: You get an A+ for that answer.

    BTW, here’s a little clip on jellyfish eyespots from wikipedia:

    Ocelli or eye spots[edit]
    “Ocellus” redirects here. For other uses, see Ocellus (disambiguation).
    “Ocellation” redirects here. It is not to be confused with Oscillation.
    Some jellyfish, sea stars, and flatworms bear the simplest eyes, pigment spot ocelli, which have pigment distributed randomly and which have no additional structures such as a cornea and lens. The apparent eye color in these animals is therefore red or black.[3] However, other cnidaria have more complex eyes, including those of Cubomedusae which have distinct retina, lens, and cornea.[4]

  9. @DavidK
    Why do the hands on a watch go around in the direction we call “clockwise”? Because they are intelligently designed.
    Why is the hour hand shorter than the minute hand? Because it is intelligently designed?
    Why was that watch manufactured? Because it was intelligently designed.
    Why was that watch lying on the heath? Because it was intelligently designed.
    And let us not forget the conclusion of the argument:
    Why is that heather plant growing on the heath? Because it was intelligently designed.

  10. A design approach, that observes an animal solving a problem and tries to understand how it does so, is much more satisfying than saying, “It evolved.”

    As if scientists do not try to understand how an animal might solve a problem? If they believe it evolved, they do not investigate further? Really?

    Every fact about jellyfish in this article (and any other paper on the subject) was discovered by scientists, and I’ll wager that every one of those scientists accept evolution. They clearly weren’t satisfied by simply saying “it evolved”.

    The DI’s propaganda machine is cranking away. How do these guys live with themselves.

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    @DavidK, Ed, Toms … tear that quote down even further…

    A design approach, that observes an animal solving a problem (the species solves the problem, not the animal) and tries to understand how it does so (ID does NOT do try to understand), is much more satisfying than saying, “It evolved.” (like that is where scientists stop)

    So essentially they are implying that design is the curious science and conventional science is ‘just so stories’. Black is white, Good is evil, etc and so on.

  12. In the last paragraph of The Origin of Species, Darwin says, “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” It is hard not to see the fascination and wonder, not to mention pure poetry, in Darwin’s words. How do they miss this?

  13. This is a slight variation on the dreadful line you see creationists take everywhere: “You see the sky, you see the trees, you feel the wind, you read a poem (probably “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer), you look up with wonder at the stars. How can you not believe in God? It’s obvious!”

    Simple answer: Even if I knew nothing whatsoever about how these things came to be, ignorance is not a reason to believe in anything.

  14. Christine Janis

    “Black is white, Good is evil, etc and so on.”

    Ignorance is strength. The keystone of the DI.

  15. Diogenes Lamp

    We noted in 2013 that jellyfish, which appear suddenly in the fossil record along with all the other animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion

    More lying about the Cambrian, as Christine has pointed out. About half of all phyla do not appear in the fossil record. At least three, possibly as many as seven, phyla appear before the Cambrian explosion (hard to tell precisely from trace fossils, but certainly bilaterians, cnidarians, sponges, and chordates appear before the Cambrian explosion.) Some animal phyla first appear after the Cambrian, notably bryozoans. And why does the DI speak only of animal phyla, not plant phyla? Because vascular plants first appear long after the Cambrian explosion, and because plant “phyla” demonstrate that the designation of the taxon “phyla” as “body plans” is not an objective categorization, but a convention, somewhat arbitrary, and therefore it is an artifact of human design, not an observation. In that sense, the Cambrian explosion is at least partially intelligently designed: humans invented the taxa called phyla.

  16. I just shook my head at the wonder that such low intelligence humans are still able to write whole sentences.

  17. If an extraordinary number of animal phyla first appeared in the Cambrian, what does that mean?
    Is there something about “Intelligent Design” that would account for that?
    Is there something about evolution that would make it difficult for that to happen?
    If we were given a guess about when animal phyla would supposed to appear, distinguishing between material and spiritual causes, how would we choose between the Cambrian, the Precambrian, the Postcambrian, or some mixture? (E.g. “spirits are likely to make phyla all at the same time because such-and-so”.)
    Given the choice between evolution and theory of your choice (or even just, “anything but evolution”), which is more compatible with there being things like phyla (you are free to use your own definition of “phylum”)?