The Dodo Disproves Evolution

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from The Dodo’s Posthumous Message to Mankind, which appears in The Trumpet, a publication of the Philadelphia Church of God, which has some relationship with Herbert W. Armstrong. The bold font was added by us:

In 1681, the last dodo bird on the planet breathed its last breath. But that was not the final chapter of the bird’s story. Some 300 years later, botanists on Mauritius — the island where the dodo had lived — noticed that a certain species of tree was rapidly dying off. Tambalacoque trees had historically grown in abundance on Mauritius, but by the 1970s only 13 remained. And all of those remaining were thought to be around 300 years old. Even though they were producing fruit containing seeds each year, none of the seeds were sprouting into saplings. This meant that no new Tambalacoque trees had sprouted since the late 1600s.

Aha, a mystery! When the dodo went extinct, the Tambalacoque trees stopped reproducing. Why? We’re told:

An American ecologist named Stanley Temple wondered if the dodo’s extinction 300 years earlier was connected to the Tambalacoque’s inability to reproduce, which had also set in about 300 years earlier. Temple traveled to Mauritius to study the Tambalacoque, and made a fascinating discovery: When the dodos were still alive, they would eat the Tambalacoque’s fruit, and only after the seeds had journeyed through their digestive tract could they successfully germinate.


After making this discovery, Temple found a solution to the Tambalacoque’s decline. He brought some American turkeys to Mauritius, and found that their digestive process was similar enough to that of the dodos to be able to activate the Tambalacoque seeds. Thanks to Temple and the turkeys, the Tambalacoque lives on to this day!

Very nice! It’s an interesting example of Symbiosis. The dodo fed on the seeds, and that enabled the seeds to sprout. But what does this have to do with creationism? Be patient, it’s coming:

The dodo went extinct back in 1681, but 300 years later, it delivered a posthumous message to mankind: The Tambalacoque and the dodo bird likely would had to have come into existence at the same time in order for the Tambalacoque to survive.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

This message presents some potential problems for the evolutionary theory. Evolutionists say large trees evolved some 360 million years ago, while the ancestors of today’s birds “arrived comparatively late” — about 65 million years ago. That would likely have left the Tambalacoque tree with no way to germinate its seeds for some 300 million years.

Uh huh. But not every tree evolved 360 million years ago, and we’re not sure when the Tambalacoque first appeared, or how long it was dependent on the dodo. The Trumpet adds this parenthetical information:

(There is some evidence that other animals such as turtles also ate and activated the seeds, but it didn’t seem to be sufficient to offset the decline of the tree that set in after the dodo’s extinction.)

Ignoring the implications of that, the article continues:

A look at Earth’s ecosystems reveals several other instances in which one species is dependent on another for its survival, or in which the two are mutually dependent: [Examples.] In each of these cases, the brilliance of the Creator is on display. The intricacy of His physical creation is clear. And the account of how He created Earth’s sophisticated ecosystems is confirmed.

Yes, confirmed. Here’s more:

It should come as no surprise that evolutionists have different explanations for these biological relationships. There’s no shortage of dissertations explaining how such dependencies could have gradually happened over eons as the organisms evolved. … These explanations and rebuttals fit a predictable pattern of evolutionists attempting to counter any findings that contradict their theory. In many cases, their logic is remarkable, but the premise from which they start is flawed.

Ah, the evolutionists have a flawed premise. What might that be? The Trumpet discusses early conflicts between the Church and science, such as the battle over geocentrism. Then they say:

Some scientists challenged God’s very existence as a way to discredit the foundation of religion. Such reasoning spawned the evolutionary theory. Its proponents sometimes undertake studies with that conclusion already firmly in mind. Whatever they can contort into supporting the arguments for evolution, they keep. All else they often reject or downplay.

Yes, that explains it. The scientists are a bunch of closed-minded atheists! That’s their false premise. At the end, The Trumpet offers a free booklet — Does God Exist?, written by Herbert W. Armstrong himself. You may want to order that.

So, class, what did we learn today? We’ll let you tell us.

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

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21 responses to “The Dodo Disproves Evolution

  1. So, class, what did we learn today?

    A species of tree whose seeds do a better job germinating and growing after they pass through the digestive tract of a bird may eventually be unable to germinate without the bird.

    Also that someone that set into creationism is incapable of imagining anything else. Plus they are Dodos.

  2. Mary L. Mand

    The equivalent of reading the chapter headings in a science text and then claiming to know everything in the book.

  3. When I was a graduate student in biology, one of us got H. W. Armstrong’s The Plain Truth magazine (it was free) and we all had a good laugh at the nonsense about evolution (such as this DoDo story) in each issue.

  4. It should come as no surprise that evolutionists have different explanations for these biological relationships.

    The Trumpet never spoke a truer word.

    Like abeastwood, when I was a lad me and all my pals picked up our free copy of The Plain Truth for laffs — give it a few Don Martin cartoons and it’d’ve been the funniest mag in town. What may be unreassuring to the Armstrong crowd is that many of the pals concerned were Christians or Jews: the ridicule wasn’t confined to the less godly.

    I think this may be something to Creationists fail to realize even today. Lots of the people who think they’re ignorant goofballs are practicing Xtians and, often, priests/ministers.

  5. the Philadelphia Church of God, which has some relationship with Herbert W. Armstrong

    It’s been years now but in broad terms, Armstrong was not unlike Ken Ham but far smoother. He had a weekly TV show pushing creationism and other fundie ideas. When he died, a group of the officers of the church, after taking control, unexpectedly turned the church into a more-or-less mainstream Protestant sect, dropping the creationism and other cult-like teachings. The Philadelphia Church of God is a rump off-shoot that still adheres to Armstrong’s original crazy.

  6. I’m actually reading The Song of the Dodo right now. It’s a book on island biogeography published in 1996, has a chapter on the dodo and specifically this legend — which was started by a scientist who didn’t really study the problem closely and never realized that Mauritius is also inhabited by parrots.

    Really BIG parrots, with really big beaks that can easily do the sort of damage the seed of the tree needs to germinate. It was rare and dying out in the part of the island where the scientist looked — but not in others. There is no “mystery of evolution” here at all.

  7. What I want to know is:

    How did the flightless dodo and the even less mobileTambalacoque tree get to Mauritius from Mt. Ararat in the first place? Did Noah drop them off along the way?

  8. Christine Janis

    “How did the flightless dodo and the even less mobileTambalacoque tree get to Mauritius from Mt. Ararat in the first place? ”

    Aren’t birds all a single kind? Probably one pair of chickens gave rise to most of the birds here today (except of course doves and ravens, which are named in the bible), so some chickens flew to Madagascar and within a thousand years or so became dodos. The tree is easy —- the seeds were floating on those vegetation mats, and one landed on Madagascar after the waters retreated.

    Problems like this are so much easier if you just learn to think like a creationist.

  9. Dave Luckett

    I should start collecting stories about how sects like Armstrong’s schism.

    That surname is alone enough to ring alarm bells. Sure it was the name of the first man who walked on the moon, but it descends from one of the foremost of the English-Scots border “riding clans”. These are the people who invented the words “blackmail” and “gang” (meaning a group of criminals) and spent centuries enthusiastically practicing the arts of demanding the former and applying the latter.

    Troublemakers supreme, some of them were transplanted, with difficulty, to North America, often via a stint in Northern Ireland as official headkickers, where they added anti-popery to their cultural values. Their peculiar mixture of downright belligerance, virulent Calvinism, alcoholism, clannishness and contempt for learning flavours American right-wing politics and evangelical religion to this day.

    Their saving grace is that they’re no better at tolerating one another than they are at tolerating anyone else. Possibly less so. The practical result is that their gangs, including their sects, invariably schism, sometimes into less versus more crazy, sometimes into crazy versus other crazy, depending usually on rivalries that break out around the deathbed of the old chieftain. That’s what happened to Herbert Armstrong’s gang, it seems.

    But the “contempt for learning” characteristic still applies, and we see it in full grotesque flower here.

  10. Jennifer Burdoo says:

    There is no “mystery of evolution” here at all.

    I don’t know that region or its species. I assumed the article was typical of “creation science” in that it began with some facts, and then wildly misinterpreted them. If it’s true that even the underlying facts were wrong … well, even that wouldn’t be unusual for creationists.

  11. @SC
    It just reminded me of the 19th century Princeton Theology (named not after Princeton University, but a totally different Princeton Theological Seminary). It had the idea of a scientific theology, calling on the old “scientific method”: begin with facts and proceed with induction. Wikipedia has an article. It was influential in conservative Christianity.

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    This argument works for human specific parasites and viruses too.

    Just sayin’.

    @Jennifer Thanks for that info. 🙂

  13. I assumed the article was typical of “creation science” in that it began with some facts, and then wildly misinterpreted them.

    Actually, I believe you said this before but Creationists start all thought with a single conclusion, i.e. the bible is the literal truth as taught to them as children, and then filter all facts and observations to fit that conclusion. It is as if they opened their eyes for a few minutes, decided they have seen all there is to see and then voluntarily go blind for the rest of their lives. I am beginning to believe that religiosity is a discernible mental illness that will be cured with meds in the future.

  14. Robert Covey

    Trees and plants have long harnessed animals for locomotion for the dispersal of their seeds. That those seeds are selected to endure and eventually require a digestive tract is hardly a contortion of the evidence for evolution.

  15. @Erik John Bertel
    See also “presuppositional apologetics” in Wikipedia.

  16. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik says: “This argument works for human specific parasites and viruses too.”

    It also works for dogs. They probably wouldn’t survive long without us. Don’t tell the creationists, but dogs are descended from wolves, who get along just fine when we’re not around.

  17. Charles Deetz ;)

    A little creationist critique aside:

  18. The whole truth

    Scroll down a bit to the article about Tambalacoque trees:

  19. So it’s an old rejected hypothesis…As Homer Simpson would say d’oh! d’oh!

  20. But if dogs are descended from wolves, how come there are still wolves?

  21. Our dear SC shows mercy: “Don’t tell the creationists, but dogs are descended from wolves, who get along just fine when we’re not around.”
    Don’t tell them either then that dogs are a fine example of an intermediate species.