The Sponge — Evidence of Intelligent Design

The Discovery Institute just keeps on piling up evidence for their “theory” of Intelligent Design. The latest example at their creationist blog is Even Sponges Are Complex Enough to Inspire Architects. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Sponges are outliers in biology’s big bang, the Cambrian explosion. Their embryos appear in Precambrian strata, leading some to consider them primitive. That’s an illusion. New studies of how they construct their skeletons with silica “spicules” have revealed design principles remarkable enough to inspire biomimicry.

The Cambrian explosion is now biology’s big bang? Okay. But sponges existed before then, so it would seem that the Discoveroids’ magical designer — blessed be he! — was active earlier. They refer to an article in Cell Press and say:

The punch line first — here’s how a news item from Cell Press concludes:

[Discoveroids’ quote:] “This work not only sheds new light on skeleton formation of animals, but also might inspire interdisciplinary studies in fields such as theoretical biology, bioengineering, robotics, and architectural engineering, utilizing mechanisms of self-constructing architectures that self-adjust to their environments, including remote environments such as the deep sea or space,” the researchers write.

Oooooooooooh — bioengineering, architectural engineering, mechanisms — surely you see where this is going. They refer to a video and tell us to

see the steps diagrammed in well-organized stages: (1) spicules are manufactured in specialized cells, then transported to the construction site; (2) the silica spicules pierce the epithelial tissue; (3) they are then raised up into position; (4) the bases are cemented by collagen provided by basal epithelial cells.

Oooooooooooh — it’s enough to make a creationist drool uncontrollably! Let’s read on:

This simple animal knows, in short, how to build a house with pole-and-beam architecture in a way that self-adjusts to its environment. That’s pretty impressive.

The sponge knows! That’s amazing! The Discoveroids quote from the researchers and then declare:

[D]esign and coordination is evident in the division of labor, the specialization of cells, and the end result that is good enough to inspire architects.


Design is also evident in the self-organizational principles encoded in sponge DNA that make these results successful. Human intelligent designers would like to benefit from this knowledge.

Design is evident. It’s evident! Here’s more:

We all know that some beautiful things can self-organize without programming (snowflakes are a prime example). What we see here, though, are systems working from genetic programs for a purpose. In the case of sponges, its specialized cells cooperate in a plan to build a skeleton that adapts to the environment. …. Such things do not arise by unguided natural forces.

They mention a project of five European countries which has so far taken years of effort:

… the “Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments” (SHEE) project, [which] has a goal of programming elements for “autonomous construction” of housing for astronauts on Mars or other hostile locales. It’s requiring years of work in design, prototyping, construction, and optimization to get these buildings to “self-deploy” with no humans in the loop. has an article about it: Future Mars Explorers Could Live in Habitats That Build Themselves. Then the Discoveroids tell us:

So when a sponge can do it, we should see intelligent design behind the scenes — not the sponge’s intelligence, which admittedly is miniscule, but intelligence as a cause for the genetic information that allows the sponge to run a program that leads to a functional result.

Yes, we “should” see intelligent design — but somehow, only the Discoveroids have the vision to see it. And now we come to the end:

Those of us who appreciate the spectacular genetic programs that built the Cambrian animals should take note of the level of complex specified information in the lowly sponge. We can also notice that the sponge’s mode of construction bears no evolutionary ancestry with the diverse, complex body plans that exploded into existence in the Cambrian strata. Sponges did well. They’re still with us.

Oooooooooooh — complex specified information! Well, that settles it. Only a fool would would deny that the sponge is the handiwork of the intelligent designer.

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

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16 responses to “The Sponge — Evidence of Intelligent Design

  1. I am still waiting for the Discoveroids to tell me that while all of the land-dwelling dinosaurs were drowning during the Great Flood, why all of the sea going dinos (of which there were myriad), drowned, too. Shouldn’t our oceans still be teeming with aquatic dinosaurs that swam through the Flood? After all, it was only 6000 years ago.

  2. These creationists are forever scouring scientific journals to find articles they can distort to supposedly show intelligent design, or as they say, “Such things do not arise by unguided natural forces.”

    Kind of like the bee hive with hexagonal cells, must have been the blessed designer that taught them bees geometry, not natural forces of intercelullar pressure that forms these hexagonal shapes.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    I’ve seen this a few times recently, is this new DI-speak: “body plans”? Seems like one level up from AIG’s “kinds”.

  4. Doesn’t water have CSI?

  5. Discoveroids remind me of sponges. They “know things” yet don’t have a single neuron in their entire body.

  6. Isn’t this just another example of how something which the cleverest designers could not design but nature could produce? In other words, “evolution is cleverer than you are” (Orgel’s Second Law).

    Advocates of “Intelligent Design” continue to produce examples which show that design is different from nature and tell us that they are demonstrations of the similarity of nature to design. That may not be evidence against design – it being too vague to be subject to test – it is surely odd that the advocates would choose to provide examples of disanalogy to argue their case.

    “What is green, hangs on the wall, and whistles?”
    “A herring.”

  7. If the sponge was designed it must be an original, why should it then be designed to evolve? If everything is created then evolution is redundant so what’s the point of an evolutionary sponge that’s been created? I’m afraid there’s more questions than answers.

  8. “biology’s big bang, the Cambrian explosion”
    I just love it when IDiots undermine their own views by adding more false analogies.
    Big Bang in physics lasted a split second.
    The Cambrian explosion lasted at least 30 million years.

    “What we see here, though, are systems working from genetic programs for a purpose.”
    Assume a purpose and you’ll see a purpose. Ol’ Hambo might be right after all – it all depends on the lens through which you look at evidence. But didn’t the IDiots claim they used the scientific lens? Then no assumption of any purpose, sirree.

    “Sponges did well. They’re still with us.”
    And what IDiocy explains the many forms of life that didn’t? What’s the purpose?

  9. 1) Necessity is the mother of invention.

    For example, bacteria had flagella designed in them because there was something lacking in the original bacteria. Were the pre-flagellum bacteria designed?

    2) Design is the result of the limitations of nature. An agency which is superior to nature does not need to resort to design.

    3) If we can detect design, such as the design of the eye of the predator, and the eye of the prey, we can detect the conflict in those designs.

    4) If the human body is designed to be most similar to the bodies of other primates (among all of the uncounted actual and infinite possibilities available for supernatural agency) then that is because
    a) It is just a coincidence, and no explanation is necessary
    b) It is a consequence of a regularity of nature (such as common descent), a constraint on the designer(s)
    c) The designer(s) had a common purpose intended (we should tell our kids that to follow the intent of our design, we should “act like monkeys”)
    d) All of the above
    e) None of the above

    5) Design is not enough. These are some examples of design
    a) The Superconducting Supercollider
    b) The shmoo
    c) The Penrose triangle
    e) A Rube Goldberg machine
    f) A perpetual motion machine

  10. Matthew Harrison Brady: If the Lord wants a sponge to think, it thinks!
    (Inherit the Wind)

    Unspecified writer: It the designer wishes a sponge to be complex, it is complex!
    (Discovery Institute)

  11. Galileo: Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.

  12. More creationist twaddle to fool their benefactors to think they are somehow participating in legitimate scientific discourse. The sad fact is that they are merely trolling to keep the drooling donors happy. The Discoveroids can be counted on to produce this sort of drivel from time to time as their stock in trade. Cargo cult “science” at its most blatant in operation here.

  13. @michaelfugate – “Doesn’t water have CSI?”

    Of course! In the same way it has a homeopathic memory. A little drop of CSI back in the Design Era was sufficient to maintain the Designer’s aquatic plans through the dilution of somewhere between six and three and a half million millenia.

  14. Speaking of their drooling donors, how does this play out over the long haul?

    Are they making little drooling donors as fast as the old drooling donors are dying off? The actuary tables do not seem to favor the ID/creationists.

  15. “Matthew Harrison Brady: If the Lord wants a sponge to think, it thinks!
    (Inherit the Wind)”

    Aw, shucks. I was hoping to use that quote myself!

  16. And the sponge builds itself a house.
    Brilliant design. Let’s use it again.
    I think not. But is it such a brilliant design.
    I got it right for once and do not intend to try again.

    I can imagine that conversation.