AIG: The Mystery of Penguins

Creationists are forever telling us that evolution is false because there is no evidence of transitional species. Not only do they claim that there are no transitionals in the fossil record, they also say there no living transitionals. Each of the created “kinds” is and always has been unique and unchangeable.

Those claims are easy to debunk. Regarding fossils, we always link to Wikipedia’s List of transitional fossils. And there’s no shortage of living transitionals either, such as walking catfish, gliding mammals like flying squirrels, flying mammals like bats, semi-aquatic mammals like seals and sea lions, and aquatic birds like penguins.

Oblivious to the irony involved, there’s a whole article on penguins at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Their headline is Penguins — Perplexing and Proficient! It was written by Laura Allnutt, about whom we know nothing. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day. [What?] The penguin is a common favorite among both children and adults, bird lovers, and cartoonists. Here are some fun facts about a fun bird on Penguin Awareness Day:

Here comes “fun fact” number one:

1. They’re an Evolutionary “Mystery” [Hee hee!] Penguins are one of the most mysterious bird species to evolutionary biologists. What other bird was built specifically for — not flying — but deep-sea swimming? Unlike other birds, penguin wings are designed for flying through water, not air, as it escapes predators and hunts for krill and other seafood. Evolutionists have a hard time explaining such a creature, especially since there is no agreed-upon ancestor. … They ponder whether penguins descended from flying birds or if their ancestors were already non-flyers — and why would a flying bird lose the ability to fly only to gain the ability to swim?

To a creationist, everything is a mystery — until they consult the bible which explains that everything is a miracle. However, despite AIG’s befuddlement, penguins aren’t much of a mystery. According to the Wikipedia article on Penguins, quite a lot is known about their evolution.

Most of Laura’s other “fun facts” aren’t that much fun — until we come to number six:

6. Evidence of God’s Creativity and Pleasure: There’s no more mystery to our modern-day penguins than there is to any other bird we see. God created penguins on Day 5 of creation week when he created birds of the air and fish of the sea. Penguins show God’s creativity and diversity in design. He created them with a large gene pool to diversify and the ability to adapt to new environments following the flood.

That explains so much! Laura finishes her post with this:

God delights in his creation and called all of it “good” in the beginning. We can still delight in his handiwork today and enjoy his fun, flightless penguins!

So there you are, dear reader. Now you know all there is to know about penguins.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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27 responses to “AIG: The Mystery of Penguins

  1. Then there’s the ostrich and emu.

  2. Derek Freyberg

    Allnutt: ‘“Due to the incomplete fossil records, the precise evolution of penguins is not yet understood,” said evolutionist Fusae Kudo.’
    She’s referring to a 2003 17-page paper by a Japanese student at the University of Canterbury, one who didn’t even complete a master’s degree until 2009, and a paper which misstates the age of a key fossil by a hundred years, twice, in the first couple of sentences.
    Such is AiG’s evidence.

  3. Penguins are not mentioned in the Bible. (Why is that?) So any explanation that a creationist has to offer is noting more than speculaton.
    Caterpillars are beasts of the land, so were created on day 6. Buttlerfies are flying creatures, so they were created on day 5.
    Tadpoles are fully aquatic, so they were created on day 5. Toads are beasts of the land, so they were created on day 6.
    There are those turtles which begin life as eggs laid on the land, and when they hatch, the crawl across the land as beasts of the land, until the reach the water, where they will live exclusively until they come back to land to lay their eggs. What guidance does the Bible give? Maybe the Bible doesn’t realy care about such things?
    And then there are internatl parasites, which exist neither in the water, or in the air, or on the land. They aren’t mentioned in the Bible. So when were they created? Maybe after the Fall, as a consequence of Sin. Were they a consequence of natural micro-evolution from a benign kind of creatures which was created on days 3, 5 or 6?

    Seriously, did any Bible-reading naturalists ever raise such questions when they discovered about the variety of life? Say, back in the 18th century or so?
    Sort of like the problems that the Europeans had when they came across humans in the New World?

  4. Standing around on top of an egg in the dark with nothing to eat for six months, fun?

  5. “they also say there no living transitionals”
    Ah, one of my favourites. It allows me to bring up Canis Lupus Familiaris, a species we can observe on a daily basis. The reactions of the creacrappers are invariably hilarious.

  6. Strange, there’s no mention of the gay penguin couple Magic and Sphen from Sydney who were all the rage in the news when they raised an adopted chick.

    He created them with a large gene pool to diversify and the ability to adapt to new environments following the flood.

    I guess god created these gay penguins too, Who knew? Certainly Hamob didn’t.

  7. @ DavidK … and the kiwi. I try to imagine the pair waddling down from the Middle East to New Zealand after the Flood.

  8. “To a creationist, everything is a mystery — until they consult the bible which explains that everything is a miracle”.
    I disagree – nothing is a mystery to a creationist, even before they seek reassurance in the Bible. Everything is clear and simple. It is the ‘evolutionist’ who is puzzled and mystified, and goes in circles.

  9. “He created them with a large gene pool to diversify and the ability to adapt to new environments following the flood.” If one sticks to known genetic mechanisms, the flood reduced the gene pool to whatever was on the ark. If only two penguins (or any other species, kind), that’s what is called a “bottleneck”, at most four variants of a gene. Population geneticists find no evidence of such recent bottlenecks in natural populations, including humans. Of course, if you believe in the flood, you’ll conjure a mechanism not only for this, but also for biogeography and anything else inconsistent with reality. Such fertile imaginations, these creationists.

  10. @Scientist
    According to the Bible, the “clean” animals, and all the birds, were taken on the Ark by sevens, which might be interpreted as there being 14 of the “penguin kind”, or a possible 28 variants of any gene. Still a small bottleneck, yes.
    “If yu believe in the flood, you’ll conjure a mechanism for this …”
    Yes, the YECs ssem to be driven to conjure up mechanisms, but only for some things. But they don’t seem to accept some mechanisms – for some reason, they don’t want to accept the Big Bang as a mechanism for “there was light”.

  11. @TomS, are penguins clean? Leviticus doesn’t tell me

  12. Karl Goldsmith

    “What other bird was built specifically for — not flying — but deep-sea swimming?”

    What in creationism makes it a bird? Feathers, but then feathered dinosaurs would also be birds. It can’t be nests of eggs or a bill because surely that also points to dinosaurs.

  13. A “flying fish” can soar much farther than any penguin and it can swim in the water of course.

  14. Although, plotopterids only have been found in Eocene and later localities in the northeastern Pacific states and province, they sure had body forms similar to penguins.

  15. @Paul Braterman
    I don’t know what a bird is, according to the Pentateuch. Is an ostrich a bird?
    According to one account of the Flood, each”bird kind” was taken by sevens, with no distinction as to “cleanness”. If the “penguin kind” is not a bird, then is it a fish? If so, then the “penguin kind” need not be taken on the Ark, and there is no problem with a bottleneck. (Obviously, it is not a “clean” kind of fish, no scales, but the the question is moot.) Is it a beast of the field? Then obviously it is not “clean”, and only the pair was taken.

  16. @TomS, I do seem to remember that a bat is a bird, if that helps any

  17. All-Nutt certainly lives up to her name. Although it’s obvious from her bird-brained article, she knows neither s nor Shinola about science. As a former English professor at a Christian college (oh, what a surprise!), according to her Linkedin entry she specializes in editing, composition and research. You know, just the facts, m’am.

    Alas, our little nutty professor failed to do the barest “research” possible, that is consulting Dr. Google and Dr. Wikipedia or she would have found this gem:

    The evolutionary history of penguins is well-researched and represents a showcase of evolutionary biogeography. Although penguin bones of any one species vary much in size and few good specimens are known, the alpha taxonomy of many prehistoric forms still leaves much to be desired. Some seminal articles about penguin prehistory have been published since 2005; the evolution of the living genera can be considered resolved by now.

    So, actually, in fact, penguins are not so much a mystery of biology, but a mastery of it. Personally, I hope she sticks with fiction. She seems to have a modicum of talent.

  18. @Paul Braterman
    That is what makes it difficult (for me, anyway).

  19. Totally off-topic, but how do we know Trump is holding the Dreamers hostage for The Wall?

    Because he’s demanding the $5.7 billion be in unmarked bills.

  20. I feel a song coming on:

    “Ah! Sweet mystery of penguins
    At last I’ve found thee
    Ah! I know at last the secret of it all…”

  21. Good news: Dio and Blackmore helped me (and the rest of the country)through this dangerous night just fine.

    Though I must admit that I woke up a bit early and felt uneasy. At the other hand that might have been my full bladder.

  22. Dave Luckett

    Ken Ham can’t wonder why the forward impulse that pushes a penguin through the water derives from a variation of the primary adaptation of all flying birds – wings – while that which powers aquatic mammals is a variation on quadrupedal running – flexing the spine in a vertical plane, different from all fish, which flex in a horizontal one, except for flatfish, which lie on their sides. Of course it could never occur to him that while evolution provides an explanation for these observations, he can only shrug and dismiss them with some form of “God just did it that way”.

    Ah, the advantages of having a totally closed, bolted, riveted, welded shut mind!

  23. “The Mystery of Penguins”…

    My goodness, they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel, aren’t they?

  24. Eddie Janssen

    Isn’t every species a transitional species? Unless of course it goes extinct too soon.

  25. Yes. Creacrappers hence prefer “missing link”. They use the term in such a way that the more fossils are found the more links are missing. The abuse the term to maintain that species are strictly separated.
    This is why I like Canis Lupus Familiaris so much: some members still can produce fertile offspring with Canis Lupus, while others can’t. Of course they could answer with “variation within a kind”, but not only does that run into other funny problems, they also are not smart enough to think of this. That’s because consistency and coherence are not really their strongest points.

  26. Inconistency and incoherence are their strongest point.
    If one points to the many examples of the fuzzy boundry between species witin a genus, they can point to the concept of “kind” as described in the Bible, supposedly “someting like a Linnean family”. Of course, there is no descrition of “kind” in the Bible. The Biblical Hebrew word, “min” , is not used any way to support that it is a noun referring to a category of life, or that iit represents an impenetrable barrier. Moreover, our own family, Hominidae are the “great apes”, but lets take the subfamily, Homininae, the African apes, including the genera of gorillas, chimps and humans. Obviously, there has to be an exception for “someting like a family” when it comes to us and our nearest relatives.
    But there is soemthing else going on. Thre is nothing in the Bible that ever applies to word “min/kind” to humans. There is no “Biblical mankind”. For example, in the first chpater of Gnesis, when we read about various living things being created “after their kind” (whatever that means), the pattern is broken when it come to the appearance of humans – no use of the word “min/kind”. “Man” was not “created according to his kind”.
    Meanwhile, on the paleontology side, there are the various fossils assigned to the genus Homo, and that gradually becomes the genus Australophicus. There is no “missing link” between Homo sapiens and species which are uncomfortably “ape-like”.
    The only refuge for the creatioists is inconsistency and incoherence. And you can’t argue against that.

  27. Hammer, nail, head.