The Tardigrades are interesting creatures, but they’re not much discussed by creationists. Wikipedia says:
Tardigrades (also known as water bears, space bears, or moss piglets) are water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animals. They were first discovered by the German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. The name Tardigrada (meaning “slow stepper”) was given three years later by the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani. They have been found everywhere: from mountaintops to the deep sea and mud volcanoes; from tropical rain forests to the Antarctic
Tardigrades are one of the most resilient animals known. Individual species of tardigrades can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms, including complete global mass extinction events due to astrophysical events, such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, large asteroid impacts, or passing-by stars. Some tardigrades can withstand temperatures down to 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero) while others can withstand 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C) for several minutes, pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 30 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.
Today we have an article on tardigrades from the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Wacky Conclusion from Tardigrade Research, written by Brian Thomas. He’s described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Oxford physicists David Sloan and Rafael Batista joined Harvard astronomer Abraham Loeb to publish in the online journal Scientific Reports. They used the tiny, hardy tardigrades as the top candidate for life that might survive harsh conditions on other planets like Mars.
This is the paper he’s talking about: The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events. You can read it on-line without a subscription. Brian tells us:
Physicist Sloan [one of the paper’s authors] told Oxford News & Events,
[Brian quotes Sloan:] To our surprise we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely.
What can a creationist do with that? Bear with us, it’s coming. And remember, Brian’s title describes the paper as “wacky.” He points out the big weakness:
Once it gets going? Well, how does that happen? The Oxford news merely noted, “Once life emerges, it is surprisingly resilient and difficult to destroy.” The three scientists admitted in their technical report, “We do not fully understand the mechanisms by which life started.”
Gasp! They admitted it! Brian smugly says:
Indeed, scientists don’t even fully understand the mechanisms by which life lives. But we know enough to understand that it could never happen on its own.
Yes, that’s something all creationists know. He continues:
No scientist has seen life emerge from nonlife. None have witnessed a simpler form morph into a survival master like a tardigrade. Whenever complicated machines do “emerge,” clever machinists, not natural processes, make it happen.
Jeepers, he’s right! Let’s read on:
The level of clever design within life in general, and tardigrades in particular, demands special creation. But these researchers leapfrog this clear connection with a mere assumption. They wrote in Scientific Reports, “We make the further assumption that life will evolve to adapt to the extreme environments of exoplanets as it has to those on Earth. Again, we justify this by the ubiquity of life across environmental conditions.”
Brian summarizes the shoddy thinking of the scientists:
In other words, since tardigrades exist, they must have evolved. But isn’t that just circular reasoning — assuming a conclusion at the outset?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationists never engage in circular reasoning. They just start with the assumption that the bible is true, and then everything is perfectly logical.
This is how Brian ends his brilliant article:
They [those foolish scientists] conclude that life just happened to become excellent at surviving and that we should expect to find hyper-hardy life beneath the surface of Mars. But this kind of thinking, wherever it exists, blatantly ignores the clear evidence of divine design in tiny tardigrades.
Yes, the evidence is clear. But one question occurs to us: Why are tardigrades so hardy and we’re so fragile? The divine designer has some explaining to do.
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