Why Are There Still Horseshoe Crabs?

It’s difficult to classify creationist argumsnts according to their degree of stupidity — because they’re all stupid. But among the dumbest is one that comes up all the time around here: If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …? There are numerous variations, all equally silly. For example, see Casey: Why Are There Still Walking Lungfish?, and also Klinghoffer: Why Are There Still Insects?, and also ICR: Ancient Algae Disproves Evolution.

Our answer to those creationist questions is always the same: If America was founded by England, why are there still Englishmen? If dogs evolved from wolves, why are there still wolves? If everything evolved from early one-celled organisms, then why are there still bacteria? If the emergence of a new species demands the disappearance of its ancestral stock, then why is there anything on Earth other than humans?

With that introduction, you’re ready for this at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute: Bechly: Why the Phenomenon of Living Fossils Is Under “Massive Attack”. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections [that look like this]:

If you ever encounter a horseshoe crab on the beach, you are a looking at a creature that would not have appeared out of place hundreds of millions of years ago. Arthropods breathtakingly similar to this, says paleontologist Günter Bechly, go back “almost a half billion years without significant morphological change. And you really have to let this number sink in.”

Ooooooooooooh! Why are there still horseshoe crabs? Then Klinghoffer says:

On a new ID the Future episode, host Sarah Chaffee talks with Dr. Bechly [Hee hee!] about the challenge posed to Darwinian gradualism by animals that manifestly don’t change – aka, “living fossils,” a phenomenon that Darwin himself grappled with. Listen to the podcast or download it here. [Link omitted.]

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! See ICR: “Living Fossils” Prove Creationism. Klinghoffer tells us:

Says Bechly, living fossils stand as “empirical refutations” of traditional evolutionary theory. That is one reason their very existence is coming under a “massive attack” by Darwinian evolutionists … . Some are in denial, while other equivocate. The latter try to explain that “these living fossils do evolve but they evolve toward keeping their particular form, which is optimized.” In other words, they evolve toward not evolving.

[*Groan*] He continues:

It’s another case, according to Bechly, where evolution acts as a “magic wand,” wondrously encompassing all evidence however plainly contradictory of its expectation. Under the theory, things evolve when they evolve and do not evolve when they do not evolve. Can you beat that? No, you can’t beat it. An idea like that that can never be falsified.

Isn’t this grand? For years, we’ve seen the Discoveroids claim that everything, no matter what, is the purposeful handiwork of their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — which makes their “theory” impervious to disproof. Evolution, on the other hand, could be disproved, but at this point, with all the evidence that’s been piled up, it would be difficult. If one wants to seriously challenge evolution, he should take a look at Advice for Creationists, and also Where’s the Proof — Evolution’s “Smoking Gun”?

Here’s the end of Klinghoffer’s post:

On the other hand, groups of creatures that slip into existence and remain in stasis for long periods fits well with the theory of intelligent design. ID predicts discontinuities in the fossil record in keeping with deliberate infusions of information. [Hee hee!] Species might go extinct, as trilobites, for one, did. What they don’t do, not through random, unguided processes, is gradually transform into totally different species.

What did he say? Stasis proves intelligent design. So does extinction. So does everything. With a “theory” like that, the Discoveroids are on the fast track to … to what? You decide, dear reader.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Why Are There Still Horseshoe Crabs?

  1. Michael Fugate

    No, we aren’t creationists, no really, we only believe infusions of new information by a god are absolutely needed to create new species – but its not creationism, no really…

  2. Christine Janis

    ” Species might go extinct, as trilobites, for one, did. ”

    Oh dear oh dear. Creationists showing that, yet again, simple taxonomic terminology eludes them.

  3. RationalWiki has a good survey of “How come there are still monkeys?”


  4. Just goes to show ya that ID creationists are like dust no matter how much you clean it. It will always come back.

  5. Michael Fugate

    Here’s the AiG link on “living fossils” – Bechly must be busy reading all the important literature. If ICR and AiG are both attacking, then the attack must be “massive”!

  6. I did my PhD thesis on Limulus polyphemus, the Atlantic horseshoe crab, so it grieves me to see them maligned by Klingie. My research was on the structure and function of some of their leg muscles. I would bet that, if DNA could be extracted from ancient horseshoe crab fossils, it would have substantial differences in many base pairs, but the ones controlling the overall development and morphology would not be dramatically changed. I would guess that would be true of most “living fossils” since that term is mostly based on similar appearance of modern representatives to ancient ones. Limulus is superbly well adapted to their environment, although with the changes we’re making in the ocean and North Atlantic beaches, they may well go extinct in the future.

  7. Christine Janis

    @ abeastwood.

    Creationists always conflate phenotypic change with evolution. Of course there has been considerable genetic change in Limulus since the first horseshoe crabs, if there had not been they would show up seriously weirdly on a molecular phylogeny.

    Another thing that never occurs to creationists: since random drift alone will produce plenty of phenetic change over long time periods, if organisms appear to not be undergoing much phenetic change then they must be subject to large amounts of stabilising selection. They’re not just creatures ‘forgotten by evolution’.

  8. “If the emergence of a new species demands the disappearance of its ancestral stock, then why is there anything on Earth other than humans?”

    Are humans the pinnacle of evolution?

  9. Maybe the Plants are the latest Kingdom to evolve, and the Angiosperms are the latest of plant evolution, and among them, the Eudicots? I’m going to vote for dandelions as the pinnacle of evolution.

    But the most succesful living species is Pelagibacter ubique.

  10. Pete Moulton

    @ Ara: “Are humans the pinnacle of evolution?” According to theists we are. Of course, the part they ignore is that every living organism is in fact the pinnacle of its lineage’s evolution. They just can’t stand not being special.