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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