ICR: Cuttlefish Prove Creationism

The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — post only a few articles a month at their website, and many of them are variations on what they’ve posted before.

The last time they posted one of these “X Proves Creationism” things was a month ago: Blue Tarantulas Prove Creationism. Want to see a few more? How about Bubonic Plague Proves Creationism, and Your Bowels Prove Creationism, and Map of the Local Universe Proves Creationism, and Chameleon’s Tongue Proves Creationism.

There are many other examples. They all illustrate what we call the Creationist Scientific Method:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

But perhaps the ultimate in ICR’s endless series of “X Proves Creationism” posts was Unanswered Questions Prove Creationism. That one illustrates another foundational principle of creation science:

Ignorance of X is evidence of Y.

In other words, if something isn’t yet fully understood, then the answer must be … Oogity Boogity!

Today, dear reader, ICR has yet another of those articles. It’s Smart and Stealthy Cuttlefish, by Frank Sherwin, M.A. (We’re wary of anyone who touts a Master’s degree.). At the end of the article he’s described as “Research Associate, Senior Lecturer, and Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” Here’s his writeup at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. ICR has a bio page on the guy: Frank Sherwin. They say his MA degree is in zoology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Here are some excerpts from Sherwin’s latest, with bold font added by us:

Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) belong to an order of cephalopods called Sepioidea. They appear suddenly in the fossil record as cephalopods. “Ancestral cephalopods” are unknown.

Wikipedia has an article on them: Cuttlefish. Regarding their “unknown” origin, Wikipedia also has an article on the Evolution of cephalopods. Anyway, let’s get back to Sherwin to see why he thinks cuttlefish are so important to creationism:

Many zoologists consider cuttlefish to be the most intelligent invertebrate species, which is quite a problem from an evolutionary perspective.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — we have a problem! [*End Drool Mode*] Let’s read on:

Evolutionists view intelligence evolving through social interactions and long life spans. But cuttlefish are cephalopods. They don’t have a complex social structure and live only about a year — the lifespan of a butterfly. How did cuttlefish become so bright?

Gasp — this is indeed a puzzlement! Sherwin continues:

In addition, these animals have a kind of visual “superpower,” in that they can “see” information in light waves we humans cannot. Sometimes electric fields, of which light is composed, can become preferentially aligned in a certain direction, a phenomenon called polarization. Cuttlefish have been designed to sense when the direction of polarized light changes. Other animals have polarized vision, but the cuttlefish’s appears to be the best: It’s in high definition.

Astounding! But wait — there’s more:

Cuttlefish have the unfortunate quality of being delicious to oceanic predators such as sharks. This is why these “chameleons of the sea” are also designed with camouflage — and a recently discovered electrical stealth technology. They emit a weak electrical field (a tiny artifact really, about 75,000 times fainter than a AAA battery) from four parts of its body. A shark can detect these microvolt emissions using its array of sensitive detectors studding its snout.

If they’re so delicious, and sharks can detect them, why is this such a great design? Sherwin explains::

What’s a cuttlefish to do? Upon sensing a shark it immediately freezes and covers its body openings (its mouth and the siphon it uses for hydropropulsion) with its arms while clamping down on its mantle (the large fold of soft tissue on its back). This results in a drop in the current the cuttlefish emits. Reducing the cuttlefish’s tell-tale electrical signal lowers the chances of being discovered… and eaten.

Verily, it’s an amazing design! This is the rest of the article:

The appealing cuttlefish therefore has two ways to evade being consumed: visual camouflage operating in less than a second, and the recently discovered electrical stealth. Both stealth camo and technology requires a stealthy designer.

Yes — a stealthy designer! It’s so obvious, even a creationist can understand it. So why don’t you, dear reader?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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21 responses to “ICR: Cuttlefish Prove Creationism

  1. Sherwin wrote: “In addition, these animals have a kind of visual “superpower,” in that they can “see” information in light waves we humans cannot.

    The DI might look into employing some cuttlefish as design detectors!

    The cephalopods can see the magical invisible information everywhere!

  2. Derek Freyberg

    “Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom”
    Wait, SC, I thought that Answers in Genesis (Hambo) was the fountainhead of YEC wisdom.
    So which is it, or are there competing fountainheads, splashing each other into irrelevancy?
    Granted, Hambo doesn’t talk cuttlefish, he’s more into non-floating arks; but he’s got a whole museum devoted to YECism, which is more than ICR has (though on their website they’re begging for money to build one).

  3. So did this paper’s analysis result from some original investigations that the ICR folks did, or are they just reading cuttlefish literature and selectively cutting and pasting together their literature/quote mining materials and crediting themselves with something that proves their designer likes cuttlefish?

  4. At some time, one of the kids is going to ask about one of those examples of predator-prey design – what is so wonderous about designing an X to attack a Y and a Y to escape from an X.
    Think of the design of the sea turtle to lay enormous numbers of eggs, so that when nearly all of them eaten, there are a few which will survive.

  5. michaelfugate

    What were cuttlefish like before “The Fall” when there were no predators?

  6. Derek Freyberg asks: “I thought that Answers in Genesis (Hambo) was the fountainhead of YEC wisdom. So which is it, or are there competing fountainheads, splashing each other into irrelevancy?”

    Hambo worked at ICR when he came to the US. That’s where he learned a lot of his tricks. Being ambitious, he set up his own shop. But ICR was first, so I refer to them as the fountainhead (apologies to Ayn Rand).

  7. So (1) the shark is brilliantly designed by the Designer with electrical sensors for catching cuttlefish, and (2) the cuttlefish is brilliantly designed with the ability to suppress its own electrical field. Does the Designer want sharks eating cuttlefish or doesn’t He? Why design such an elaborate countermeasure to his own design?

  8. Mysterious ways, PaulD, mysteriouis ways. He/She/It wants both and neither at the same time.

  9. Im with you, Curmudge, but if cephalopods have such short life-spans and such dreary social lives, why ARE they so smart? I think thats a fair question. You could at least direct us to some answers.

  10. After Eve and Adam violated his dietary restrictions, God in his anger changed a number of his peaceful creatures into carnivores to wreak havoc on his other creatures – presumably to make the young couple feel guilty or something. God had a great deal of trouble controlling his temper throughout Genesis, and there is no record that he ever sought counseling for anger management. At any rate, as he was rewiring the shark’s brain to be a predator of, well, everything, he remembered his cute little cuddlyfishes. At the last moment, he granted them a marginal defense system.

    Later, he increased their intelligence.

    Perhaps even now, he is contemplating an increase in size – a very great increase in size.

  11. Derek Freyberg

    @Eric Collier:
    I don’t have an answer for you in the form you ask; but consider that spiders, with much smaller brains and shorter lifespans than cuttlefish, still manage to spin elegant webs; and chameleons, also smaller brains but I think longer lifespans, can change color (though not as elegantly as some cuttlefish). Monarch butterflies can migrate thousands of miles over several generations. Cephalopods do seem to display considerable intelligence, but some species has to be the most intelligent invertebrate species (that’s a matter of definition), why not cuttlefish?

  12. Sandra Cahill

    Did you see this news? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/11/startling-new-discovery-600-million-years-ago-a-single-biological-mistake-changed-everything/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_evening

    I’m sure those creationists are saying it was ID and not a biological mistake, because God doesn’t make mistakes, right?

    Your long lost biological cousin, Sandra

    Sent from my iPhone


  13. Both Tom S and Paul D. brought this up, but creationists need to answer why their Almighty Designer, God, should favor the predator over the prey, or vice versa. Or, as Paul D. points out, favor both at the same time!

    Hard to explain from a Creationist worldview, but it makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint. It’s simply an arms race brought on by natural selection. Darwin beats out Genesis on this count.

  14. Surely, this proves that there are at least two competing designers, one for cuttlefish, another for sharks, each designing features to outperform the other’s creation? Could it be that there is just one designer (God) – each!

  15. Any design is a competition.
    A design takes account of what is possible, given the properties of the materials and the laws of nature, given the way things are before the design is implemented, and the objective of the design.
    Design is resorted to in competition with nature.

  16. Don’t forget they are the source of the cuttlebone your budgie uses to sharpen his beak… must have been designed as well.

  17. Eric, they most certainly don’t have dreary social lives. From most research we’ve been able to do, cuttlefish specifically spend a good amount of time on social interaction, although typically of the, “mate with me or I eat you,” or, “don’t try to mate with anyone or I eat you,” variety. I can’t link to anything not behind a paywall for that, though.

    Also, I’d think that they’re, well, kind of complicated. Unlike a lot of sea creatures that have one possible reaction to their predator, a lot of cephalopods have multiple defenses and need extra brainpower to figure out which one works best for the given situation.

    Additionally, they really do have astonishing sensory capabilities, developed mostly to avoid predation, and the ability to process that input requires considerable intelligence.

  18. Pope Retiredsciguy points out that the ‘arms race’ betwixt predators and prey is difficult

    to explain from a Creationist worldview, but it makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint

    Well, difficult only from a monotheistic Creationist worldview.

    Just think of the squabbles amongst the Olympians as some supported the Achaeans in their seige of Illium while others backed the Trojans. That war dragged on for 10 years!

  19. dweller42 characterises a popular form of cuttlefish social interaction:

    “mate with me or I eat you”

    Thanks for that! At long last, I finally understand–on those rare occasions when she is brave enough to recall those past traumas– why dear Olivia refers to our Curmudgeon as “that unspeakably vile cephalopod!”

  20. Charles Deetz ;)

    Talk about ignoring the facts, why doesn’t the ICR explain the big question of why Cuttlefish are actually molluscs … but with their shell (called a cuttlebone) inside themselves. How/why did the designer take a shelled animal and build it inside out?

  21. Sherwin was more enlightening than I thought he would be, and certainly more than he expected. He invokes a “…stealth designer”. That, at least, is consistent with the overwhelming lack of evidence for any of the thousands of designers that people have invented in their own images throughout history.