Discoveroids: Another Miraculous ‘Explosion’

As you know, the Discovery Institute has long been obsessed with The Mystery of the Cambrian “Explosion”. The idea they promote is that back in the long-ago Cambrian period — which lasted at least 55 million years — their transcendental Designer — blessed be he! — visited Earth and performed his mysterious work to magically create a variety of “kinds” which couldn’t possibly have been the result of evolution.

Now they’ve found another period when the designer made a supernatural visitation — it’s the Carnian period, which lasted from 237 to 227 million years ago. Wikipedia says: “Its boundaries are not characterized by major extinctions or biotic turnovers, but a climatic event (known as the Carnian Pluvial Event) occurred during the Carnian and seems to be associated with important extinctions or biotic radiations.”

PhysOrg had a recent article about it — see Mass extinction crisis triggered expansion of dinosaurs. They say:

It is commonly understood that the dinosaurs disappeared with a bang – wiped out by a great meteorite impact on the Earth 66 million years ago. But their origins have been less understood. In a new study, scientists from MUSE—Museum of Science, Trento, Italy, Universities of Ferrara and Padova, Italy and the University of Bristol show that the key expansion of dinosaurs was also triggered by a crisis – a mass extinction that happened 232 million years ago. In the new paper, published today in Nature Communications, evidence is provided to match the two events – the mass extinction, called the Carnian Pluvial Episode, and the initial diversification of dinosaurs.

This is the paper they mentioned: Dinosaur diversification linked with the Carnian Pluvial Episode. You can read it online without a subscription.

Now let’s turn to the Discoveroids. This appeared a few days ago at their creationist blog: The Dinosaur “Explosion”, written by Cornelius Hunter — a Discoveroid “fellow” who teaches at a bible college. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In the famed [Hee hee!] Cambrian explosion most of today’s animal phyla appeared abruptly [Hee hee!] in the geological strata. How could a process driven by blind, random mutations produce such a plethora of new species? … Rolling a dice, no matter how creatively, is not going to design a spaceship.

Ooooooooooooh! How could it have happened? Cornelius says:

The Cambrian explosion is not the only example of the abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record, and the other examples are no less easy for evolution to explain. Nor has the old saw, that it’s the fossil record’s fault, fared well. There was once a time when evolutionists could appeal to gaps in the fossil record to explain why the species appear to arise abruptly, but no more. There has just been too much paleontology work, such as a new international study on dinosaurs published this week, confirming exactly what the strata have been showing all along: new forms really did arise abruptly.

Wowie — new forms arose “abruptly” — over a period of ten million years! Cornelius links to a pdf version of the same paper we mentioned earlier. After that astounding information, he links to this press release from the University of Bristol: Dinosaurs ended – and originated – with a bang!, and tells us:

As lead author Dr. Massimo Bernardi at the University of Bristol explains, “it’s amazing how clear cut the change from ‘no dinosaurs’ to ‘all dinosaurs’ was.”

Cornelius ends his post with this:

There just isn’t enough time, and it is another example of a failed prediction of the theory of evolution.

Strangely, that claim doesn’t appear in the published paper or in the univerity’s press release. But then, the Discoveroids have a far greater understanding of these things than any Darwinist could ever have.

So there you have it, dear reader. Another mysterious “explosion,” which can only be explained as yet another visitation by the intelligent designer.

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10 responses to “Discoveroids: Another Miraculous ‘Explosion’

  1. What appeared “abruptly” in the Cambrian were hard body parts (shells, exoskeletons), not new organisms. The various types of organisms had been around for millions of years, but without hard body parts they didn’t fossilize well in most environments.

    There’s been much speculation concerning why shells, etc. appeared in the Cambrian, but only the Discotuters are saying it was the work of the Grand Old Designer. (Most likely, it was a change in ocean chemistry, but I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure.)

  2. When I heard of the Carnian Pluvian Event I thought that the the YECists would point to it as Noah’s Flood.

    Haven’t the IDists heard of the Mesozoic–Cenozoic Radiation and the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event?

  3. Michael Fugate

    Paleontologist Andrew Knoll in his 2003 book Life on a Young Planet pg 193:

    The Cambrian Period contains plenty of time to accomplish what the Proterozoic didn’t without invoking processes unknown to population geneticists—20 million years is a long time for organisms that produce a new generation every year or two.

  4. Yeah, MichaelF, but as our dear SC correctly points out: what does Andrew Knoll know? Corny Cornelius understands these things far better and if he says that 20 million years is abrupt it’s not a long time. Checkmate!

  5. “but I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure”
    That is exactly the wrong track to take when talking to a creationist. You should say “I was there and saw that … happened and I also noticed that you were *not* there!

  6. Zetopan:
    Hey, I’m old, but not that old! I only wrote that because I wasn’t talking to a creationist. I thought the Curmudgeon’s readers would appreciate the little dig (and I couldn’t find the “tongue-in-cheek” emoji).

    I like your idea, though. I’ll keep it in mind if I ever find myself in an argument with Ken Ham or the like, which isn’t too likely. I try to avoid arguing with the willfully ignorant. I got enough bruises on my forehead from banging my head into a wall as a teacher.

  7. I see at the weekend they had a two hour Online Seminar by Paul Nelson on his pseudoscience of “Ontogenetic Depth”.

  8. Most creationists are still in the stage of “Evolution can’t be true because the gaps in the fossil record disprove it”, but Hunt has moved on to “Evolution can’t be true because there are no gaps in the fossil record”. Progress?

  9. docbill1351

    Anybody outside of high school who uses the word “plethora” immediately loses all credibility, not that Corny Hunter had any to begin with.

  10. The Cambrian explosion is not the only example of the abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record, and the other examples are no less easy for evolution to explain.

    No less easy?

    Apparently these folks need better proofreaders. As for the “abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record,” it all depends on the meaning of “abrupt,” especially when we’re missing most of that record. Scientists, who have to work out their ideas based on logic and physical evidence, have to fill in the gaps with tentative proposals–which puts them at a disadvantage in dealing with creationists, who start with their conclusions and interpret the evidence to fit–or just make things up. For them, it seems, it’s true even if it’s fake as long as it validates Genesis.