The latest post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is Oh, Deer: Mammals Use Magnetic Navigation, Too, which has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
You’re in a herd of deer when a mountain lion is seen approaching. What’s your safest retreat? Is it to run directly away? Is it to scatter in all directions? Or is it to run according to a predetermined orientation? Scientists in Europe were intrigued that roe deer seem to orient in a north-south direction when grazing and when startled, so they decided to investigate. What they uncovered was a novel case of magnetic navigation in the animal kingdom.
They’re talking about a news item in the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology: Deer make collision-free escapes thanks to inbuilt “compasses”. The published paper is Compass-controlled escape behavior in roe deer, which you can read online without a subscription.
The Discoveroids quote a bit from the news item:
Why do deer in a group, when startled, suddenly bolt away together and never collide with each other? It’s because these deer have an inner compass that allows them to follow a certain direction in order to make their escape. Their getaway is almost always along a north-south axis, thanks to their ability to sense the magnetic field, says Petr Obleser of the Czech University of Life Sciences in the Czech Republic.
You may be thinking that’s not much to suggest that the Discoveroids’ transcendent designer of the universe was involved, but you’re about to be shown how foolish you are. The Discoveroids say:
This is a first for large mammals. … Suggestions of magnetosensing had been reported for bats and mole rats, but large mammals like deer — who would have thought they use an inner compass for everyday safety?
No, it’s not a first. A couple of years ago we wrote Dogs Align Themselves North-South To Poop. Nevertheless, the Discoveroids are amazed. They tell us:
Is there a reason for this behavior? The north-south escape strategy was especially pronounced when the deer were congregated in groups. The authors feel the strategy helps the deer avoid collisions that would be more likely to occur if each animal took off in a random direction. Other possible functions include keeping group cohesion, guiding the deer get back to the previous grazing spot after the danger has subsided, and helping a mother find its fawn it left hiding in the grass.
Okay, but where does the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — fit into this? Let’s read on:
In the new open-access paper, the authors make no use of evolutionary theory to explain the coordinated escape strategy of roe deer with its requirements for magnetosensing equipment. There’s no mention of natural selection, fitness or phylogeny. Why would that be, if nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution?
A profound point indeed! The Discoveroids continue:
As design theorists, we can identify prerequisites for magnetically-based escape strategy in roe deer and other mammals:
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The “design theorists” then give us a list of eight items, a few of which are:
3. Brain receptors that can process the neural inputs and interpret them.
4. Mental maps to place the interpretations in a regional context.
5. Brain regions that can coordinate the magnetic data with other sensory data.
6. Stored instincts to activate body systems to respond appropriately.
7. Genes to encode the construction of all the above.
That’s about the same list an organism needs for the proper functioning of ears, eyes, or any other sensory system. The Discoveroids are nevertheless impressed. They declare:
That’s a bigger parts list than in the classic mousetrap model of irreducible complexity. In fact, each item on the list could itself be called irreducibly complex.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Irreducible complexity. But wait — their brilliant design analysis has only just begun:
Needless to say, magnetosensation presupposes a planet with a strong magnetic field. Of the rocky planets in our solar system, the Earth is unique in that regard; Mercury’s magnetic field is too weak, Venus has none, and Mars has only patches of magnetism.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The Earth was obviously designed for the deer! Only a fool would think that the deer evolved to live on the Earth. Moving along:
Many regard a strong magnetic field as a requirement for habitability, to act as a shield from stellar and cosmic radiation. It’s one of at least twenty improbable factors listed in The Privileged Planet that point to fine-tuning for habitability.
Yes, the undeniable fact that we live on The Privileged Planet is proof — proof! — of intelligent design. This is the Discoveriods’ final paragraph, which only a demented, hell-bound Darwinist would deny:
Intelligence is the only cause we know that is capable of arranging multiple independent factors for a function. The design inference strengthens with the improbability or specified complexity of each factor. With Darwinian evolution apparently of no use in explaining why roe deer know how to escape along a north-south axis, an inference to intelligent design beckons.
Are you convinced yet, dear reader? If not, then you’re a hopeless Darwinist wretch.
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