Discoveroids Continue Their “Magic” Theme

Yesterday we posted Discoveroids Cause Global Irony Meter Crash, in which the Discovery Institute introduced a bold new idea — that the theory of evolution, which they called the “chance hypothesis,” is based on “magical explanations,” while their bizarre concept of a transcendental intelligent designer is really great science.

Apparently, that wasn’t merely some wild, off-beat article. It looks like the start of a whole new Discoveroid theme. Today they’ve posted Warm-Bloodedness in an Ocean Fish Stuns Evolutionists.

But before we look at the Discoveroid post, let’s find out what they’re talking about. This is at the PhysOrg website: New research reveals first warm-blooded fish. A few excerpts should be sufficient.

New research by NOAA Fisheries has revealed the opah, or moonfish, as the first fully warm-blooded fish that circulates heated blood throughout its body much like mammals and birds, giving it a competitive advantage in the cold ocean depths.

“NOAA Fisheries” refers to the National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Let’s read a bit more about the opah:

The silvery fish, roughly the size of a large automobile tire, is known from oceans around the world and dwells hundreds of feet beneath the surface in chilly, dimly lit waters. It swims by rapidly flapping its large, red pectoral fins like wings through the water. Fish that typically inhabit such cold depths tend to be slow and sluggish, conserving energy by ambushing prey instead of chasing it. But the opah’s constant flapping of its fins heats its body, speeding its metabolism, movement and reaction times, scientists report in the journal Science.

Here’s that article: Whole-body endothermy in a mesopelagic fish, the opah, Lampris guttatus. Without a subscription, all you can see is the abstract, so let’s get back to PhysOrg:

Wegner [Nicholas Wegner of NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., lead author of the new paper] realized the opah was unusual when a coauthor of the study, biologist Owyn Snodgrass, collected a sample of its gill tissue. Wegner recognized an unusual design [Egad, he said “design”!]: Blood vessels that carry warm blood into the fish’s gills wind around those carrying cold blood back to the body core after absorbing oxygen from water.

One more excerpt:

The design [Egad, “design”!] is known in engineering as “counter-current heat exchange.” In opah it means that warm blood leaving the body core helps heat up cold blood returning from the respiratory surface of the gills where it absorbs oxygen. Resembling a car radiator, it’s a natural adaptation that conserves heat. The unique location of the heat exchange within the gills allows nearly the fish’s entire body to maintain an elevated temperature, known as endothermy, even in the chilly depths. “There has never been anything like this seen in a fish’s gills before,” Wegner said. “This is a cool innovation by these animals that gives them a competitive edge. The concept of counter-current heat exchange was invented in fish long before we thought of it.”

Okay, let’s find out what the Discoveroids say. We added a bit of bold font for emphasis:

It’s a big, round fish called the opah, found in deep waters around the earth and looking a bit like someone’s goldfish that seriously outgrew its bowl. Some fish, like tuna and sharks, can control temperature in parts of the body. This one can keep its whole body warm, giving it improved performance in the coldness of the depths. It’s the first example of whole-body endothermy in a fish, raising new questions about the evolution of a complex trait.

Oooooooooh — it raises new questions! Darwinism is dead. Let’s read on:

[Opra’s heating mechanism] is achieved by a “wonderful net” of blood vessels (rete mirabile, literally “miraculous web” in Latin) that provides an ingenious method to regulate core body temperature.

The published paper must have used that Latin phrase, because it certainly doesn’t sound like the Discoveroids. After quoting a lot from the published paper, the Discoveroids continue:

What do the authors say about how these adaptations evolved? Not much.

Oooooooooooh — Darwinism is doomed! They quote more from the published paper and then say:

The explanation? Convergent evolution to the rescue! This fish’s evolutionary history is tied to the depths. Give us more funding, and we can “further explore this key evolutionary innovation.”

Somewhat distorted, but never mind. Here’s the conclusion reached by the Discoveroids:

If that leaves you feeling unsatisfied, consider intelligence as a cause. Intelligence can take a solution that works in one environment and apply it in different animals in different environments.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ah yes, that’s a well-established biological mechanism. Now here’s where they once again accuse scientists of invoking magic:

A rete mirabile is a complex system that cannot arise in a gradual, stepwise manner, because all the parts have to function together before any part has survival value. “Convergence” and “innovation” are magic words that provide no understanding.

Magic words! And now we come to the end:

But since we know of a cause — intelligence — that can adapt a similar solution in multiple ways, that is a cause that a rational scientist should pursue.

The message is clear: Foolish scientists! Abandon your magic and your alchemy and your evolution. Embrace the Discoveroids’ time-tested scientific doctrine of intelligent design.

How long can the Discoveroids keep this new theme going? Who knows? As long as their generous patrons keep the cash flowing, they’ll persevere. They know they won’t impress us, and they’ve probably given up winning in court, but that doesn’t matter. They’ll stay with it as long as they can.

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

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18 responses to “Discoveroids Continue Their “Magic” Theme

  1. Doctor Stochastic

    Warm-blooded fish would have to eat more than cold-blooded ones. Energy used for heat production cannot be used for swimming. There are cold-blooded fish with cold-blooded ancestors going back even unto the nth generation; it’s not too much of a disadvantage. If being warm-blooded is so valuable, why are there still fish?

  2. But why would the intelligent designer make only one (that we know of) warm-blooded fish?

  3. I use a counter-flow chiller in brewing to cool wort from boiling temp to about 68 degrees before pitching yeast. Works great. Since humans designed it, clearly a designer came up with the fish version which heats instead of cools.

    According to the DI

    But since we know of a cause — intelligence

    Knowing the answer before beginning the research is always a help.

    — that can adapt a similar solution in multiple ways,

    Except this solution seems entirely different that the solution used in other warmblooded animals.

    that is a cause that a rational scientist should pursue.

    In other words, something that a non-Discoveroid should look into. The DI, of course, provides no suggestion as to how a rational scientist or anyone else could pursue this.

  4. “This is a cool innovation by these animals that gives them a competitive edge.”

    So why would the intelligent designer, presumably the designer of ALL living things, play favorites by giving just this this one species a competitive edge? That just doesn’t make sense.

    Natural selection, on the other hand, makes perfect, logical sense. It’s all about EVERY species gaining survival and reproductive advantage for itself.

  5. …that is a cause that a rational scientist should pursue.
    Well obviously the DI can’t research this, they don’t any rational scientists.

  6. If that leaves you feeling unsatisfied, consider intelligence as a cause. Intelligence can take a solution that works in one environment and apply it in different animals in different environments.

    As noted above, this solution is quite different from that used in birds and mammals. And of course this is not unusual: consider the independent, and quite different, evolution of wings in insects, prehistoric flying dinosaurs, birds and bats.

  7. “Intelligence can take a solution that works in one environment and apply it in different animals in different environments.”
    Ah yes, intelligence can do that or prefer not to. So IDiocy is always OK.

    “that is a cause that a rational scientist should pursue.”
    But my dear IDiot, that’s what your think tank called DI is for: to pursue how that intelligence did it, which means He/She/It used and of course why. Nobody stops you. You have the money. Go for it!

  8. rete mirabile
    That expression is used in the paper. Wikipedia has an article.

    Which is intelligently designed, the problem or the solution? The cold water or the rete mirabile? The bacterium or the immune system?

  9. Discovery Institute MO: Read papers by real scientists. When finding something interesting, write an article restating the cool facts, with the ultimate conclusion…design. Make fun of scientists who want funds for more research while soliciting funds for Discovery Institute to keep publishing articles about scientists who do research.

  10. ID:
    Surprise is the signature of an atheist.
    For a true believer, whatever happens could be intelligently designed. So we should expect anything. If we admit that we are surprised by anything happening, we are admitting that we don’t have true faith.

  11. And what’s even worse about this is that the Designer (blessed be he) DIDN’T just use the same thing he used in mammals. Yes, it’s warm-blooded, but in a novel manner. If it were actually designed, this would be like someone seeing that a waffle iron is a great way to make waffles, and so banging one together from a couple of used tennis rackets and an electrocouple. It might do the same thing as a waffle iron, but what sensible designer completely reinvents when they already have a working model?

  12. It couldn’t possibly be that the ancient ancestors of the opah originally dwelt in warmer surface waters but gradually, as this mechanism began to evolve, were able to graually venture into deeper, cooler waters and found there a viable niche?

    Naw. They had to have always been there, and been magically designed for that purpose! Behold the beauty of teleological analysis!

  13. One of the finest examples of design argument calls attention to the peculiar behavior of water at the freezing point. Zero degree ice is less dense than zero degree liquid water. This means that water expands when it freezes, and ice floats on water. If ice were more dense than water, then bodies of water would freeze solid down to the bottom, and fish would freeze.
    Is this not a demonstration of design?

  14. Diogenes' Lamp

    Here we see the bankruptcy of Irreduci Complexity:

    A rete mirabile is a complex system that cannot arise in a gradual, stepwise manner, because all the parts have to function together before any part has survival value.

    Really? So when the irreducibly complex fish is growing from a single egg, it does not grow “in a gradual, stepwise manner” from an egg?

    No, that cannot happen, because IDcreationists tell us that an IC system cannot be arrived at through intermediate stages, as any intermediate stage ismissing an “essential” part, and thus would KILL the fish. Therefore the fish egg never grew into an adult fish, since all larval or baby fish stages would KILL the fish.

    Thus the Discoveroids have proven that the fish appears magically in its adult form. This is a discovery of great economic importance to our fisheries, and should bring down the price of sushi.

  15. Some sharks have warm-blooded characteristics. I just happened to hear about the salmon shark the other night on PBS.

  16. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Diogenes nails it again. I’ve been stewing about the transformation of life from a zygote, and its continuity until death … and lack of firm absolute change, except for birth. And even birth is just a quick transition of several systems at the same time. How can a fetus with it’s lungs full of liquid suddenly become an air breather? He is right that this is more than a metaphor about evolutionary transition, but observable science of how living things transition.

  17. @Diogenes & Charles Deetz 😉 –
    You should be interested that your argument has a noble history to it. Take a look at the Wikipedia article on “Irreducible complexity” under “Up to the 18th century”. The preformationists in the 18th century argued that an individual cannot be formed, but each individual living thing had to be created in its complexity.

  18. Diogenes' Lamp

    Yes Tom, I stole the argument from you 😉