The Discovery Institute, still lacking anything even remotely resembling a scientific theory or evidence contradicting the theory of evolution, has embarked on yet another new propaganda theme: “Fake Science.” It’s ironic that a creationist outfit would accuse anyone else of engaging in such an activity, but that’s part of the fun.
They started yesterday with yet another “no kin to monkeys” post. Fake Science: “About 99 Percent of Our DNA Is Identical to That of Chimpanzees”. The author was Klinghoffer, and his main feature was offering links to “a four-part interview” by Sarah Chaffee “with Discovery Institute biologist Ann Gauger on the 99 percent myth.” We couldn’t think of any reason to listen to Savvy Sarah and Annie Green Screen, so we skipped the whole thing.
Today, Klinghoffer continues the new Discoveroid theme with: Fake Science: Whales as the “Sweetest Series of Transitional Fossils” an Evolutionist Could Ask For. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Over the New Year’s Day holiday my family and I took in the new IMAX feature Voyage of Time from Terrence Malick. … It’s spectacular visually, and a compelling, unsettling presentation of the director’s vision of life, its history and future.
That’s nice. Now we know how the Klinghoffers spent the holiday weekend. Then he says:
My wife thought the narration by Brad Pitt was a bit “cheesy.” That was not because of any shortcoming of Mr. Pitt’s but because Malick’s script consistently elides the question of how animals transition from one form to another.
Your Curmudgeon, always a gentleman, won’t comment on Mrs. Klinghoffer’s opinions. After that digression he informs us:
As he tells the story, major new forms of life are continually “arising” as if out of nowhere. “Arose” seemed to be pretty much Mr. Malick’s favorite word in the whole film, pronounced with a stately majesty by Brad Pitt.
Egad — it sounds like the Genesis account! Klinghoffer continues:
I don’t fault Malick for this at all, though. In fact, I wonder if the folks at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, where we saw the film, noticed that it makes not one reference to Darwinian explanations. Admitting that things like whales (and much else) appear in the fossil record without plausible ancestors is the beginning of wisdom when it comes to evolution.
Was the film really as incompetently done as Klinghoffer suggests? Let’s read on:
Whales nevertheless remain a notable evolutionary icon. They’re not Malick’s focus, of course, but no account of evolution is complete without confronting the problem they present.
We weren’t aware that whales present a problem for evolution. It’s not much of a mystery according to Wikipedia. We regard whales as a great example of a living transitional species. Other examples are flying squirrels, bats, penguins, walking catfish, etc. It’s surprising that a Discoveroid would call our attention to them. Oh, wait — he says:
Back in the day, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould found in whales “the sweetest series of transitional fossils an evolutionist could ever hope to find.” No doubt it honestly looked that way to him, but no longer.
It no longer looks that way to Gould? Well, of course not. The man died in 2002. Another excerpt:
Not that that keeps popular and science media from invoking whales on behalf of Darwinism. In truth, the “picture-perfect intermediacy,” which Gould commended as a weapon to be deployed against “creationists,” looks increasingly like a patchwork.
A “patchwork”? Isn’t that what a creationist would expect from a transitional species? What’s Klinghoffer’s point? Here’s more
The situation was made worse by the recent documenting of a 49-million-year-old Antarctic whale jawbone fossil that narrowed the window available for the evolution from a fully terrestrial ancestor to an unbearably rushed 1 million years.
He’s referring to this old news article: Ancient Whale Jawbone Found in Antarctica that Casey wrote about a few years ago. A few other creationist websites jumped on it, but the discovery doesn’t seem to bother anyone else. The Wikipedia article we linked to earlier says:
The aquatic lifestyle of cetaceans first began in the Indian subcontinent from even-toed ungulates 50 million years ago, over a period of at least 15 million years, however a jawbone discovered in Antarctica may reduce this to 5 million years.
Klinghoffer imagines that he has disproved the theory of evolution. He makes that clear in his final paragraph:
Whales as a poster child for Darwin are looking like another case of evolutionary fake science, right up there with the myth of a 99 percent equation between chimp and human DNA.
How much longer will the Discoveroids — champions of Oogity Boogity! — continue with this “fake science” theme? There’s no way to know. In the immortal words of Bert Lance: “It’s like being called ugly by a frog.”
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