Your Curmudgeon has never read Darwin’s Doubt (Amazon listing), the book by Discoveroid Stephen Meyer, which is being wildly promoted by the Discovery Institute — see “Darwin’s Doubt” Is Setting New Records.
In order not to misrepresent the book’s argument, we went to the best source we could find — the Discoveroids. This is their very first post about the book, from back in March of 2013: Coming in June, a Game-Changing New Book: Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen Meyer. In their own words, they say:
Meyer begins with what Darwin himself regarded as a troubling enigma, a subject of doubt and even some scientific distress. It is a mystery from which subsequent generations of Darwinists have sought to distract the public’s attention. Some 530 million years ago, in the event called the Cambrian explosion, there sprang suddenly into existence the majority of animal body plans (phyla) that have existed on Earth. The shallow seas of the Cambrian period abruptly teemed with diverse, exotic animals.
The Cambrian event, fundamentally, represents an information explosion, the first but not the last in the history of life. As no book has done before, Darwin’s Doubt spells out the implications of this fact. … The book will be a game-changer, for science and culture alike.
Bold claims indeed! Is Meyer correct? We found something today at PhysOrg that may cause you to doubt his claims in Darwin’s Doubt. Their article is Complex skeletons evolved earlier than realized, fossils suggest. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The first animals to have complex skeletons existed about 550 million years ago, fossils of a tiny marine creature unearthed in Namibia suggest. The find is the first to suggest the earliest complex animals on Earth – which may be related to many of today’s animal species – lived millions of years earlier than was previously known.
Animals with skeletons existed 550 million years ago? Egad, the so-called Cambrian explosion started later — around 542 million years ago, and the Discoveroids say it was only 530 million years ago. Something’s terribly wrong here! Let’s read on:
Until now, the oldest evidence of complex animals – which succeeded more primitive creatures that often resembled sponges or coral – came from the Cambrian Period, which began around 541 million years ago. Scientists had long suspected that complex animals had existed before then but, until now, they had no proof.
Things don’t look good for the Discoveroids. The PhysOrg article continues:
The study suggests that complex animals existed long before a period in the planet’s history – known as the Cambrian explosion – during which most major animal groups evolved.
For the Discoveroids, this is troubling news indeed. Here’s more:
The team studied fossils of an extinct marine animal – known as Namacalathus hermanastes – which was widespread during the Ediacaran Period. [Note: the Ediacaran preceded the Cambrian.] The fossils are remarkably well preserved and reveal that the species possessed a rigid skeleton made of calcium carbonate – a hard material from which the shells of marine animals are made. The complex skeletal structures are similar to those of living creatures that dwell at the bottom of the sea, the team says.
Here’s a link to the research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Ediacaran skeletal metazoan interpreted as a lophophorate. You can read it online without a subscription. One final excerpt from PhysOrg:
Professor Rachel Wood, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “… We have suspected that these complex animals were present in the Ediacaran, but this study provides the first proof.”
Well! What will the Discoveroids do? We suggest that they attribute this to some early tinkering done by the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — during a scouting trip to Earth. When he returned to see the results, he was sufficiently encouraged to get seriously busy during the Cambrian. Whatever they decide to do, they’d better figure it out fast. Otherwise, people may begin to doubt the value of Darwin’s Doubt.
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