This is another extremely weird one from the Discovery Institute. It’s Researchers Say Geckos, an Icon of Intelligent Design, Prove Evolution Over ID, written by Klinghoffer.
You didn’t know that the gecko is an icon of intelligent design, did you? But it is, because their sticky feet do such a great job of letting the little critters climb that, well, they’ve just got to be designed by the Discoveroids’ intelligent designer — blessed be he! But there’s trouble in paradise, because recent research has discovered some earlier evolutionary steps that lead up to the gecko’s feet. PhysOrg has an article about it: Gecko study offers evidence that small morphological changes can lead to large changes in function. It says:
How do key innovations in the animal kingdom arise? To explore this question, gecko expert Timothy Higham, an associate professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, led a team of evolutionary biologists to study Gonatodes, a genus of dwarf geckos. In the process, the researchers found a gecko, Gonatodes humeralis, that they posit offers a “snapshot” into the evolution of adhesion in geckos.
“The gecko adhesive apparatus, one of the most spectacular innovations displayed by vertebrates, has been intensively studied for the last 16 years and is of considerable interest to nanotechnologists and biomimeticists,” Higham said. “But almost nothing is known about the origin of this adhesive capability. G. humeralis, found in South America, shows how the adhesive capabilities of geckos may have come about. Our integrative analysis of this gecko shows that unexpectedly it has microscopic hairs, called setae, underneath its toes, which allow it to do something dramatically different than all other geckos in the Gonatodes genus: cling to smooth surfaces such as leaves. It does this without all of the complex structure of the toes that typify the geckos that we are more familiar with. In the lab, this gecko can climb smooth vertical surfaces using its incipient adhesive system.”
Okay, enough of that. As you can imagine, Klinghoffer and the Discoveroids are upset. One of their icons with a magical feature turns out to be just another product of evolution. They’ve been through this before with lots of their allegedly irreducibly complex features — the flagellum, blood clotting, etc. Once they even posted about The Intelligently Designed Eye. They’ve been embarrassed too often, and they’re not gonna take it any more. They’ve decided to fight back! Here are some excerpts from Klinghoffer’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Three scientists writing in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society think they’ve come up with a proof against intelligent design. They report a form of adhesion used by the dwarf gecko species Gonatodes humeralis that is relatively simple …
Klinghoffer describes the research and then says:
Hmmm. Well, have they finally walloped ID — and a design icon at that like the gecko — by showing that a simpler form of an amazing natural biotechnology exists?
The obvious answer is “Yes.” But Klinghoffer is a Discoveroid, he’s paid to fight the wicked Darwinists. He has no data, so what does he do? He presents an analogy:
Consider an analogy from human technology. Yesterday my oldest son and daughter and I worked on a backyard construction project involving considerable driving of screws into two-by-fours. We had on hand a power drill and an ordinary screwdriver. I’m not especially handy around the house but even I recognize that there are times when a power tool is right, while at other times a simple manual version is sufficient or preferable.
We’ll spare you most of Klinghoffer’s discussion of tool using. Eventually he says:
It would never occur to anybody to say, on that basis, that either tool isn’t designed for its purpose. Obviously, they both are, with different considerations in mind, notably price, power, and durability. … Each has a role and an advantage.
Dreary stuff, isn’t it? Suddenly he announces:
Guess what? It turns out exactly the same is true of the simpler mechanism of adhesion found in G. humeralis: [big quote from somewhere]. Is it possible that one mechanism arose first, followed by the other? Sure. Why not? It would be surprising if that were not the case. Life has a long and complex history. To imagine it all snapped into existence at one blow is not an idea associated with intelligent design.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! His conclusion ties it all together:
According to Wikipedia, screwdrivers were invented in Europe in the 15th century, while an electric drill like ours goes back about a century. When Black & Decker came up with that innovation, manufacturers didn’t stop making hand screwdrivers. Both are wonderfully useful designs, each with its purpose. In the context of nature, to imagine that history disproves design is as absurd as it is in human tool making.
You are privileged to see the emergence of a new Discoveroid doctrine. Just as the eye is the result of innumerable small developments over a long stretch of time, so too are other biological features, like the gecko’s feet. But that’s still not evolution! It’s the intelligent designer’s magical creation of one useful tool after another.
What this means is that even if those devilish Darwinists somehow find a series of intermediate steps for every creationist icon, they’re still wrong! And you, dear reader, were present to see the Discoveroids’ theory achieve its triumph.
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