Is the Cambrian Explosion Endangered?

Everybody knows that the Cambrian explosion, starting around 542 million years ago, is a cornerstone of the Discovery Institute’s intelligent design “theory.”

Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer, Vice President and Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute (and a central figure in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy) claims that the Cambrian explosion is proof of intelligent design. That’s when their designer — blessed be he! — is said to have visited this privileged planet to tinker with the primitive biosphere in order to create the basic forms of life we now see.

Meyer’s book has made no impression on the scientific community. We’ve posted about it a number of times. In this one he tried to defend himself against an obvious objection: Stephen Meyer: “I Don’t Use God of the Gaps”.

And now, once again the scientific world is dealing a cruel blow to the Discoveroids. At the PhysOrg website we read Tiny sponge fossil upsets evolutionary model. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Researchers have unearthed a fossil of a sponge, no bigger than a grain of sand, that existed 60 million years earlier than many expected. This is the first time paleontologists have found a convincing fossil sponge specimen that predates the Cambrian explosion — a 20-million-year phenomenon, beginning about 542 million years ago, when most major types of animal life appear.

Before the Cambrian explosion? Egad — how embarrassing! Then we’re told:

New tools could allow scientists to discover other fossils that significantly predate the start of the Cambrian explosion, according to David Bottjer, professor of earth sciences, biological sciences and environmental studies and co-author of a study announcing the finding of the sponge in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is the paper they’re talking about: Sponge grade body fossil with cellular resolution dating 60 Myr before the Cambrian. You can read it online without a subscription, but we’ll stay with PhysOrg:

“It’s easier to look at large fossils that don’t require high-tech instruments,” Bottjer said. “We’re analyzing very tiny things that require sophisticated microscopy, and we’re really just starting to look at this kind of evidence.”

Oh, dear — they’re just starting to look. Who knows what else might be found that evolved before the designer’s arrival? Let’s read on:

Though some evidence, including molecular clocks, has already pointed to sponges evolving earlier, this fossil shows that the Cambrian explosion might not be a period when a large number of new traits emerged, but a period when a large number of fossils could be preserved, as animals during the Cambrian grew larger and gained skeletons.

This doesn’t look good for the Discoveroids. Like all creationists, they fear the progress of science the way a vampire fears the arrival of sunrise. We continue:

“Fundamental traits in sponges were not suddenly appearing in the Cambrian Period, which is when many think these traits were evolving, but many million years earlier,” Bottjer said. “To reveal these types of findings, you have to use pretty high-tech approaches and work with the best people around the world.”

Here’s one more excerpt, then we’ll let you read the rest for yourself:

Future study lies in the relatively new field of paleogenomics, which analyzes the evolutionary history of genes to determine when individual genes first appeared. Bottjer said many of the genes operating in sponges 600 million years ago are the same genes that other animals have, including humans.

We’re confident that the Discoveroids will have a swift response to this (besides saying I ain’t no kin to no sponge!), because without Meyer’s book about the Cambrian explosion, they don’t have much to talk about. Wait — what are we thinking? They’ll insist that Meyer’s book is a classic, and those wicked Darwinists haven’t made a dent in its brilliant arguments. Yeah. No problem.

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20 responses to “Is the Cambrian Explosion Endangered?

  1. “To reveal these types of findings, you have to use pretty high-tech approaches and work with the best people around the world.”

    Best people in the world? Guess we can count out the Discoveroids!

  2. The IDiots can throw a rock into the works of evilution very easily…go out start digging and find a fossilized rabbit among the Cambrian fossils. Simple!!

  3. The Discoveroids will claim that there are no links between these microscopic creatures and the specially created all-new and amazing creatures of the Cambrian.

    Perhaps the theory will be that the designer didn’t know what he wanted until the Cambrian, and was simply experimenting at a microscopic level for two or three billion years.

  4. Bottjer said, “We’re analyzing very tiny things that require sophisticated microscopy, and we’re really just starting to look at this kind of evidence.”

    So, this shouldn’t pose much of a problem for the Discoverrhoids — after all, they accept micro-evolution, right? 🙂

  5. Perhaps Meyer and Sternberg ought to work on another discredited peer reviewed paper and present the Dishonesty Institutes’ findings, perhaps relying on Dembski’s analysis and Behe’s flagellum work. Meyer continues to cite his infamous paper as credible even though it’s been withdrawn from publication by the publisher as having no science to it.

  6. Meyer will surely be considered a wicked heretic by young-earth creationists, whose six-thousand-year timeline has no room for a Cambrian, explosion or not, 542 million years ago. And why would the Creator have to “tinker with the primitive biosphere” when He supposedly created the entire biosphere in six days, no “tinkering” required (except, arguably, for the creation of Man, and later Woman)?

  7. @Eric Lipps
    Why does the Creator have to resort to design?
    Why favor irreducible, or any sort of, complexiy?
    Why, for that matter, eschew evolution, or nature?

  8. Prior to the Ediocaran fauna, the designer visited the site of his future
    laboratory, earth, and left a few cleaning supplies laying around when he left. One of these of course, was the sponge mentioned in the research tied above. Soon, buckets and mops will also be found.
    There, problem solved and Meyer’s “theory” remains intact.

  9. Diogenes' Lamp

    Surprisingly, we have actual video of the primitive sponge:

  10. Diogenes' Lamp

    Yes, Ken Ham.did complain about the above video once. It’s clearly evolutionary indoctrination.

  11. I approve of Diogenes’ Lamp’s post.

  12. Pete Moulton

    Ed, it’s amazing to me how much experimenting and tinkering the designer (Blessed Be He!) had to do to get things right. Surely, he/she/it/the cartel would know exactly how to achieve the Pinnacle of Creation (that’s us, you know) without trying a lot of missteps, blind alleys, and dead ends along the way, being omniscient and omnipotent, and all.

    Why, it’s all so confused and meandering that you might think no designer was involved at all!

  13. @Pete Moulton
    Why did the omniscient and omnipotent creator of nature and nature’s laws have to obey the laws of nature in designing creatures?
    Any design at all is an admission of the power of the laws over what the creator can do.
    Design is a signature of limited power (not omnipotence).

  14. @TomS: this argument becomes even funnier when compared to a common theodicy: the Canaanite genocide was not an evil deed because the Creator can do with his creation as He sees fit.
    So we have an omni-everything creator bound to the laws of nature He/She/It created Him/Her/Itself, but not bound to the moral laws H/She/It …..
    So much for making sense.

  15. Diogenes' Lamp

    I have seen the Christian argument– this is real, not a parody– “God’s commands to commit genocide in the Bible are not immoral, because an Infinite Mind can justify anything.”

    Where’d they learn that, law school? Perhaps from a used car salesman. I thought rational minds were constrained by logic.

  16. @Diogenes’ Lamp
    I think you mean an insane mind can justify anything

  17. @<mnbo &Diogenes’ Lamp
    If the all-everything is not bound by the moral laws that apply to humans. If it is OK to kill humans, destroy their property, etc. etc., then it is surely OK to let humans to be misled about the facts of nature. If people get the impression from the Bble that the world is less than 10,000 years old, how is that not permitted for God. It’s not a lie if God says it.

  18. SC predicts that the Discoveroids will assert, “I ain’t no kin to no sponge!”

    That claim will be hard to justify, considering how they sponge off their donors.

  19. Hey Retired Prof !!
    re; Discoverhoids justify sponging off their donors.
    Sounds suspiciously spiculitic to me as well.