ICR: Behold the Blind Cavefish

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — announces still more evidence for creationism. Their latest article is Blind Cavefish Illuminate Divine Engineering .

What a title! It was written by Jeffrey P. Tomkins. At the end they say Jeffrey is: “Director of Life Sciences at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University.”

But first, some background. Wikipedia has an article on Cavefish. It says:

Cavefish or cave fish is a generic term for fresh and brackish water fish adapted to life in caves and other underground habitats. … Many adaptions seen in cavefish are aimed at surviving in a habitat with little food. Living in darkness, pigmentation and eyes are useless, or an actual disadvantage because of their energy requirements, and therefore typically reduced in cavefish. … Without sight, other senses are used and these may be enhanced. Examples include the lateral line for sensing vibrations, mouth suction to sense nearby obstacles (comparable to echolocation), and chemoreception (via smell and taste buds).

You’ve got to be wondering what it is about blind cavefish that reveals divine engineering. Prepare to be amazed. Here are some excerpts from Jeffrey’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

How do fish with normal eyes in well-lit surface-water environments transform into blind cavefish, and should this loss of structures and functionality really be labeled evolution? The sophisticated mechanism involved in this transformation has dismayed biologists who hoped this would somehow showcase evolution. New results deflate such hopes, and point to a more accurate and creation-friendly model of radical blind cavefish changes.

Well, is it evidence of evolution or creationism? Jeffrey says:

As it turns out, the repression of eye development in cavefish is simply part of an overall strategy to conserve energy in dark and nutrient-deficient caves. In blind cavefish, eye development gets repressed and chemical, pressure, and touch sense organs get enhanced. Manufacturing and maintaining eyes and the visual centers of the brain requires and consumes large amounts of resources and energy. This drain on metabolic resources in a cave environment is alleviated when the eyes are inhibited from developing in young fish embryos.

We know that. Where’s the creationism? Jeffrey tells us:

In textbook evolution, random mutations in DNA are thought to occasionally provide some adaptive benefit to the organism. Based on this mindset, it was originally believed that harmful mutations in cavefish eye genes knocked out their function and caused a lack of development for eyes in fish embryos. However, when scientists determined the DNA sequence of different eye development genes in cavefish and compared them to the DNA of normal surface dwelling fish, no mutations were found. This inconvenient fact, combined with additional data showing sophisticated physiological and epigenetic mechanisms are involved in eye loss for successful cave life, sinks the evolutionary explanation for this once-classic example of “evolution in action.”

Jeffrey has a footnote that mentions (but doesn’t link to) this paper: An epigenetic mechanism for cavefish eye degeneration. All you can see is the abstract — which doesn’t even hint at creationism. It says:

Our results show that changes in DNA methylation-based gene repression can serve as an important molecular mechanism generating phenotypic diversity during development and evolution.

Jeffrey, however, thinks he’s really got something here. He announces:

Organisms do not adapt because they evolve, but because they were designed with innovative and clever innate systems to track and respond to environmental conditions.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] They were designed!

Then he leaps to his conclusion:

The process of adaptation in organisms is being unveiled by both secular scientists and creation scientists. Creationists maintain this is driven by a collection of ingenious mechanisms with all the hallmarks of divinely engineered systems designed by an omnipotent and all-wise Creator rather than random evolutionary processes.

So there you are, dear reader. The blind cavefish was “divinely engineered” and “designed by an omnipotent and all-wise Creator.” When this is added to the already towering stack of ICR articles showing how science proves the bible, how can you continue being a Darwinist?

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “ICR: Behold the Blind Cavefish

  1. Michael Fugate

    I think creationists are using this strategy to conserve energy, but rather than turning it on in winter – it is on all the time.

  2. So if we were to take some fertilized cave fish eggs and hatch them in well-lit environment, the folks at ICR seem to suggest that the fry would have normal vision, normal lateral line sensitivity, etc.? Methinks the fry would be blind — just like their parents. It would be an easy experiment to conduct.

  3. The puzzle for all creationists and other deniers of evolution is what does design mean to God? God does not resort to contrivances to do anything g. What would it be for God to ponder over his drawing board, calculating the effects of alternative changes, how much easier would such-and-such would be to make?
    Engineering and design are arts of the possible. But anything is possible for God.

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    Jeffrey P. Tomkins thinks he has discovered that:

    “Creationists maintain this [process of adaptation] is driven by a collection of ingenious mechanisms with all the hallmarks of divinely engineered systems designed by an omnipotent and all-wise Creator rather than random evolutionary processes.”

    No, Jeffrey. You didn’t discover the work of an all-wise Creator. The very same mechanism which provides for divergent paths in evolution is no different than the way your own religion works. You just reach down into a fertile pile of contradictory scriptures, select out a few proof-texts to astonish the true believers, and then go out and proclaim it is all the result of your God’s holy work.

  5. I wonder how they explain that the cave fish in separated cave systems are variants on the fish that inhabit nearby waters, but are not like other cave fish in other cave systems?

  6. How do they attempt to explain any thing?
    Explaining ought to involve how things fit rules. But their attack on evolution depends on their belief that something happened beyond rules.
    The core of their attack depends on the non-existence of explanation.
    How ever their argument proceeds, it involves them in contradictions of their own making.
    The best they can do is to avoid talking about what does happen in the world of life.

  7. Hideo Gump, creationists don’t perform experiments. What’s the point? They already know all the answers.

  8. j a higginbotham

    i get a preview pdf button on the right side which links to the as yet non-peer-reviewed paper. May or may not be because we have access others don’t.

  9. “The process of adaptation in organisms is being unveiled by both secular scientists and creation scientists.”
    Ah, that’s why Jeff doesn’t quote any of the latter category.

  10. WAIT!! Just a few posts back some dimwitted IDer stated evilution always was a loss of some trait.! So losing sight is a loss of a trait so shouldn’t that be done by evilution??

  11. Why methylation vs base change is regarded as creation vs evolution is beyond my poor brain. But try this; related tribes of blind cavefish have progeny that can see: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080108-cave-fish.html

  12. Obviously this twit doesn’t understand epigenetic alterations in gene expression, which involve changes to DNA every bit as much as do conventional mutations.

  13. Skeptical Servant

    ICR is now promoting intelligence design?

    Well whatever they don’t understand biology to begin with and making stuff up to match their beliefs is not science.

  14. Michael Fugate

    It is funny how they agree with all of evolution, but only as long as it is not called evolution.

    If randomness is always bad, then how do people win at cards?

  15. “ICR is now promoting intelligence design?”
    Of course. IDiocy is just one variation of creacrap. What ICR adds is the claim that our universe is about 6000 years old and that the Bible counts as evidence.

  16. Ross Cameron

    ‘ Creationists maintain this is driven by a collection of ingenious mechanisms with all the hallmarks of divinely engineered systems designed by an omnipotent and all-wise Creator rather than random evolutionary processes.’ (trotting out my hobbyhorse once again) Where are the ‘ingenious mechanisms’ ‘divinely-engineered’ ‘designs’ in the human race to combat the 33,000 diseases the benevolent, all-wise dictator foisted on us.?

  17. If we wanted the all-wise Creator to help us against diseases, we shouldn’t have let Eve eat the apple. We have only ourselves to blame!

  18. Surely you know the answer! Imposed by overriding considerations of justice as the result of unauthorised fruit-eating, but fully reversible in eternity if you let Jesus pay the penalty for you