ICR Discusses the Octopus Genome

Last year, the octopus genome was sequenced for the first time. Nature published the news: The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties, and Scientific American reported, in Octopus Genome Reveals Secrets to Complex Intelligence:

With the largest-known genome in the invertebrate world — similar in size to that of a house cat (2.7 billion base pairs) and with more genes (33,000) than humans (20,000 to 25,000) — the octopus sequence has long been known to be large and confusing.

This — to the creationist mind — should raise a disturbing question: If we are the ultimate creation of Yahweh (a/k/a the intelligent designer), and if our DNA is divinely constructed, then why does anything else have a genome even remotely as large as ours? The Discovery Institute has been in the forefront of the divine DNA issue, as we’ve discussed several times before — see, for example: Hey Casey! Our Genome Is 93% Junk.

We’ve also mentioned that the genome of some organisms is far larger than ours, e.g., the amoeba (with a genome having 100 times more base pairs than ours), the onion (five times larger than ours), and A Japanese Plant Has the World’s Biggest Genome — 50 times larger than ours.

Why haven’t creationists been talking about the octopus? The alleged absence of junk DNA has been a pet project of the Discoveroids, but it was mostly Casey’s issue. He’s gone — we don’t know where or why — so who’s left to carry on? Well, dear reader, one creationist outfit has finally stepped up to the issue. It’s the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Their latest article is Octopus Genome as Large as Human Genome.

It was written by Frank Sherwin, M.A. (Note that he touts his 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 for emphasis:

The amazing octopus continues to astonish scientists and the public. Every facet of this invertebrate has surprised researchers, from its extremely rapid ability to change color and disappear into the background, to its amazing intelligence.

That’s nice, but what about the size of the octopus genome? He’ll get to it. Let’s read on:

Where did these eight-armed creatures come from? Evolutionists don’t know. … [W]hen a rare octopus fossil is found, it’s always 100% octopus as predicted by creation scientists. Octopi have always been octopi.

The octopus has no skeleton, so it’s understandable that we haven’t found much fossil history. But the absence of such evidence is certainly not evidence for special creation. Well, it was for the authors of Genesis, 3,000 years ago at the time of the Babylonian Empire, but (except for creationists) our thinking has progressed since then. ICR continues:

For the first time, biologists recently sequenced the octopus genome, meaning [we know what that means]. They discovered the octopus has an enormous genome — the complete set of genes — comparable in size to the human genome.

Okay — the dim light of awareness has been turned on. How does ICR respond to this news? Their reaction is strangely muted. After discussing a few of the unique features of the octopus, Sherwin ends his brief article with this:

To conclude — the octopus genome reveals unexpected complexity and innate brain function for an invertebrate. This creature can change its color to match its surroundings in an instant, problem solve, and even taste with its suckers. They have incredible sophistication inside and out as God created them thousands of years ago.

That’s it? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It would appear that ICR is incapable of doing any more than reciting their belief in Genesis. Well, that makes sense. To a creationist, everything is the result of divine creation, and there’s no need to do any further thinking.

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7 responses to “ICR Discusses the Octopus Genome

  1. For values of “discuss” that are limited to wide-eyed description of selected factoids. Or should we just be grateful that the factoids are at least reality based?

  2. Ah, the catch all response that will forever keep creationists (and ID’ers, their progeny in tuxes and push-up bras) fumb as duck ignorant: “Gawd dunnit.”

  3. Sherwin’s erudition seemingly doesn’t extend to knowing the plural of octopus: it’s either octopodes (from Greek) or.octopuses (anglicised). OctopI is neither fish nor fowl.

  4. michaelfugate

    On my calculator “octopi” equals 25.13274123…..

  5. Frank Sherwin, M.A., R.A., S.L., S.W. at ICR:
    “Where did these eight-armed creatures come from? Evolutionists don’t know.”

    Do your research, Research Associate (R.A.) Frankie Boy. We certainly know the lineage of the octopus, all the way back to cephalopods in the Cambrian.

  6. Whenever a creationist says that the scientists don’t know the answer to such-and-such, it is appropriate to ask whether the creationists have an answer. The Bible does not mention the octopus.

  7. Cyano de Bacteregerac

    @Arcy
    The plurals of furrin words are hard. I’ve heard tell of a professor of Roman history and culture wrestling with those who claim the Romans never existed and that the Romance languages (Eye-talian, Batrachokaigastropodophagic etc.) are unrelated and all emerged suddenly and recently. He fought tirelessly against such ignoramuses, whom, as a teacher of Latin, he knew better than to call ignorami.