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.
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