Klinghoffer and Rafting Monkeys

We thought the Discovery Institute had exhausted this subject when we recently posted What Is Klinghoffer Saying?, but we were mistaken. They imagine that they’ve stumbled onto a major new theme for attacking evolution — rafting monkeys.

In that earlier post, the Discoveroids were ranting about the alleged impossibility of monkeys traveling by water from South America to North America, a distance of 100 miles or more, before the isthmus of Panama was formed. They never proposed any alternative explanation, yet they claimed that the appearance of monkey fossils in North America was an unsolvable mystery that was “one of the toughest challenges for evolutionary theory.”

They must have been very pleased with that post, because this just appeared at their creationist blog: Rafting Monkeys “Fill a Gap” in Evolutionary Theory? It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Of all the creatures you could call evolutionary icons — peppered moth, Darwin’s finches, Haeckel’s embryos — arguably the most risible is the rafting monkey.

[*Groan*] We could write all day about that introductory sentence, but we’ll ignore it so we can get to the new stuff. Klinghoffer mentions some research in Science: Oligocene primates from China reveal divergence between African and Asian primate evolution. One of the authors was Christopher Beard, who was interviewed by a newspaper.

Klinghoffer quotes only from that newspaper interview in the Washington Post, These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle, apparently conducted by a skeptical reporter. That newspaper article says:

Early anthropoid (humanlike) monkeys were flourishing in Asia at that time. But they also, somehow, found a way to migrate across the watery barrier to Africa. And since monkeys don’t really swim, scientists’ best theory about their migration is — I kid you not — that they sailed across on rafts made of trees.

“You’re laughing,” Beard said, “but it’s now known that this happened repeatedly. Because of the greenhouse conditions, a lot of monsoons were hitting Asia at the time. When that happens, rivers would flood, riverbanks erode. A half an acre of land with a bunch of trees growing out of it falls into a river and floats out to sea.”

“And if there are a bunch of monkeys hanging out in the trees when that happens,” he continued, “suddenly those monkeys become sailors.”

Like everything else in the evolutionary history of life on Earth, Klinghoffer finds this to be unbelievable. He has no alternative to offer, but he declares:

From Asia to Africa by sea was a considerable distance, and monkeys are supposed to have accomplished this feat while clinging for dear life to bits of earth and tree debris? On Lake Washington near our home, I beg my wife and kids not to row out even close to shore on a store-bought inflatable raft!

That’s a persuasive rebuttal! This is how he concludes his post:

But the value of “filling a gap” lies in reducing the distance you have to leap in order to believe something seemingly far-fetched. More about rafting animals surely makes the challenge for evolution tougher, not easier. I would have said reducing, not increasing, the number of such unlikely sailors would “fill a gap.”

We are left with the vague notion that somehow, the Discoveroids have the true answer explaining how monkeys traveled between Africa and Asia, but we are never told what what might be. We must therefore imagine that their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — distributed the species wherever we find their fossils.

We don’t know what Klinghoffer is trying to say with these posts. If you can figure it out, please explain it to us.

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

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22 responses to “Klinghoffer and Rafting Monkeys

  1. michaelfugate

    From Asia to Africa by sea was a considerable distance, and monkeys are supposed to have accomplished this feat while clinging for dear life to bits of earth and tree debris? On Lake Washington near our home, I beg my wife and kids not to row out even close to shore on a store-bought inflatable raft!

    Klinghoffer is admitting that monkeys could not have gotten across the ocean via intelligent design?

  2. You’d think Klinghoffer would be celebrating the obvious intelligent design required by these “Noah’s Rafts”.

    Is there any statistical studies available that would offer estimates of how many of a given species would have to be washed out to sea in order for a sufficient number to survive? Or on what size of a lunch they might need to pack for such a journey?

  3. Our Curmudgeon admits defeat:

    We don’t know what Klinghoffer is trying to say with these posts. If you can figure it out, please explain it to us.

    Best I can make out is: Klinghoffer believes the poor sailing skills of his family are akin to those of monkeys.

  4. Dean asks

    Is there any statistical studies available that would offer estimates of how many of a given species would have to be washed out to sea in order for a sufficient number to survive?

    Dunno about that–but Darwin himself famously conducted experiments to test the ability of seeds to germinate after prolonged drifting in seawater.

  5. “If you can figure it out, please explain it to us.”
    Bah, this is very simple. Klinkleclapper focuses on one of the three IDiot tenets: “evolution is wrong”.

  6. @Megalonyx: I thought Klingy was claiming his close relatives do not have sailing skills that are as well developed as those of his distant relatives.

  7. What does Klinghoffer make of voyages such as this: Japan tsunami dog rescued after three weeks at sea?

  8. Megalonyx talks of a dog at sea… Noah’s Bark?

  9. docbill1351

    The full article in Science reads like this:

    Lower molars differ from those of Wailekia and Kyitchaungia in having lingually open trigonids with protoconid and metaconid more closely approximated and talonids bearing more trenchant cristids.

    No mention of pirate monkeys.

    The Eocene looked like this (approx): Eocene Map.

  10. Perhaps Kling can suggest a more plausible scenario? As far as I can tell, the only alternative Kling has ever suggested to any explanation proposed by scientists is that an invisible omnipotent designer poofed something into existence. In Kling’s fevered imagination, the supernatural explanation is always more likely than the natural explanation.

  11. Ed says: “Perhaps Kling can suggest a more plausible scenario?”

    Perhaps, but it’s more likely that monkeys could raft from Africa to Asia than that the Discoveroids can ever propose something that will supersede evolution.

  12. If you have nothing to say, you just throw rocks. Or in Klinkledinkles case,,,,poo!!!!!!

  13. michaelfugate

    Klinghoffer believes it is more likely his God booked passage for the monkeys on a trans-Atlantic cruise ship.

  14. docbill1351

    And just this week a new fossil dog has upset the ID timeline.

    Expect Klinkleklanker to report on this soon.

  15. What is the ID timeline?

  16. “On Lake Washington near our home, I beg my wife and kids not to row out even close to shore on a store-bought inflatable raft!”

    LoL, I know how you feel, Klingy: At our home, I beg my wife and kids not to create new world monkeys ex nihilo with a store-bought kids’ chemistry set!

    Sorry for the sarcasm, Klingy, I get that rafting is dangerous. But these rafting animals didn’t choose to do this. And, for every natural raft that successfully crossed a body of water, there were hundreds or thousands (hundreds of thousands?) that didn’t make it. All it takes is one. I believe that it is in de Quieroz’s book where I read that examples of these natural rafts have been seen in modern times.

  17. Oh, Great amd and Forgiving Hand, I beg of thee to fix my comment ex nihilo extemplo. This is why I don’t like using them fancy foreign words.

    [*Voice from above*] All is well, my son.

  18. On pages 13-14 of Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”, he tells a story about a ditch separating one’s yard from a neighbor’s, and how the neighbor attempts to explain how he jumps across it. When the gap is canyon 100 yards wide, the explanation becomes strained beyond credibility. This being a metaphor for evolutionary explanation.
    To follow up on the metaphor, the ID “explanation” would go something like this: “Otherwise unspecified intelligent designer(s) designed the neighbor across the canyon.” And 20 years later, ID hasn’t come up with anything more.

  19. Eric Lipps

    Apparently it’s more persuasive to Klinghoffer that after Noah’s flood animals raced all over the globe, leaping wide oceans at a single bound to repopulate it, than that some animals managed to be carried by natural rafts across the much narrower gap between, say, present-day Ethiopia and present-day Yemen, from which they and their descendants could spread eastward by land.

  20. The idea of rafting monkeys is ridiculous. Clearly Moses parted the sea to allow them to cross.

  21. More evidence for rafts. Tortoise this time. http://bwvet.com.br/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/The_first_substantiated_case_of_trans_oceanic_tortoise.pdf

    Filling in those “gaps” just as fast as we can.