Discoveroids: Evolution’s Biggest Problem

The Discovery Institute is descending deeper into the bottomless pit of creationism. Their latest blog post (by Klinghoffer, of course) is Marcos Eberlin: Chicken-and-Egg Questions Suffuse Life, Pointing to Intelligent Design. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Here’s another good question to ask the next Darwinist you meet: Explain the causal circularity that suffuses life.

Circularity? What’s he talking about? He explains:

Distinguished chemist Marcos Eberlin is the author of the new book Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose [Amazon listing], which carries an impressive three endorsements from Nobel Prize-winning scientists. He explains in a great article up now at The Stream [a Discoveroid-friendly website], “The Chicken-and-Egg Problem Is Everywhere in Biology.”

Lordy, lordy. That’s one of the oldest creationist clunkers, and it’s not surprising. Eberlin is a Discoveroid fellow-traveler — see Discoveroids Triumph Over Adversity. Wikipedia has an article on Chicken or the egg. They say:

The question represents an ancient folk paradox addressing the problem of origins and first cause. … By the end of the 16th century, the well-known question seemed to have been regarded as settled in the Christian world, based on the origin story of the Bible. In describing the creation of animals, it allows for a first chicken that did not come from an egg. However, later enlightenment philosophers began to question this solution.

Although the question is typically used metaphorically, evolutionary biology provides literal answers, made possible by the Darwinian principle that species evolve over time, and thus that chickens had ancestors that were not chickens, similar to a view expressed by the Greek philosopher Anaximander when addressing the paradox. If the question refers to eggs in general, the egg came first. The first amniote egg — that is, a hard-shelled egg that could be laid on land, rather than remaining in water like the eggs of fish or amphibians — appeared around 312 million years ago.

Let’s get back to Klinghoffer. He thinks the Chicken-and-Egg problem is a big one for biology. He tells us:

The chicken reference is not just a metaphor. The problem of a baby chicken and its egg is the “archetypal example” of a conundrum that unguided evolution is powerless to solve. [Gasp!]

If your Darwinist brain is unable to understand what Klinghoffer is saying, he puts it in simple terms for you:

It takes the form: “To get A we need B, but to get B we first need A. We can’t have one without the other. To get both together, we need foresight — an engineer capable of planning for the future.” In biology, there are many A’s, and many B’s.

Are you beginning to grasp the enormity of the problem? Good! Klinghoffer continues:

Other examples he describes: the structure of cell membranes, and the relationship between DNA and RNA and proteins. Both are at the foundation of life. The phenomenon of causal circularity is a “circle that points” to intelligent design. Read the rest over at The Stream.

Please, dear reader, when you comment on this, let’s not have any jokes based on a crude meaning of “stream.” And now we come to the end:

You could pose the question to one of our Darwinist critics and see if you can get a meaningful reply. As Dr. Eberlin advises, don’t be satisfied with handwaving or question-begging explanations. Nor, I would add, with the usual snarky put-downs that pass for responses.

Klinghoffer has given us is a crude version of the “first cause” argument — one of the five proofs of Thomas Aquinas. Go ahead, dear reader — read them all. They will lead you to Yahweh a/k/a the Intelligent Designer — blessed be he!

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24 responses to “Discoveroids: Evolution’s Biggest Problem

  1. Michael Fugate

    Another ID catchphrase – “causal circularity” – for the apologetics dictionary. A lexicon chock full of items to encourage belief and discourage thought.

    Look at this blurb from the book:
    Despite the immense increase of knowledge during the past few centuries, there still exist important aspects of nature for which our scientific understanding reaches its limits [who knew?!]. Eberlin describes in a concise manner a large number of phenomena [of which I had no prior knowledge], ranging from life to astrophysics. Whenever in the past such a limit was reached, faith came into play. Eberlin calls this principle ‘foresight’ [everyone else calls it ‘God of the Gaps’]. Regardless of whether one shares Eberlin’s approach, it is definitely becoming clear that nature is still full of secrets which are beyond our rational understanding and force us to humility [except for arrogant believers like Eberlin and me who know the Truth].
    Gerhard Ertl Chemist
    [not a biologist]
    [ ] my comments

  2. Laurettte McGovern

    I wish, just for once, that somebody who actually knew something about evolution would discuss “Evolution’s Biggest Problem.” I suspect it is not the hoary “Chicken and Egg” baloney

  3. The biggest problem with Intelligent Design.
    1. There is no descripton of Inteligent Design.
    AKA the 5 W’s
    Other big problems with Intelligent Design:
    2. Inteligent Design is not enough to account for the existence of the object which is intelligently desiged.
    There are Wikipedia articles about them, but they do not exist: Space elevator; Impossible object; Unfnsihed creative work
    3. Although everyone recognizes that these were intelligently designed, the fact that they were inteligently designed does not explain them: The smile on the MOna Lsa; the Indus Valley writings; the Voynich manuscript.

  4. Michael Fugate

    The logic behind these guys – almost always males.
    1. I believe in God.
    2. I believe I am really intelligent – I have a PhD, I have published lots of papers, I have won all manner of grants and awards, I might even have a Nobel Prize, I have a hard walking through doors; my head is so enormous!
    3. I plan and make unique things for a purpose.
    Then all hell breaks loose along with a gigantic leap of faith.
    4. Nature has unique things that share properties with human-made machines.
    5. God planned and made these unique things for a purpose.

  5. Steve Gerrard

    “The problem of a baby chicken and its egg is the “archetypal example” of a conundrum that unguided evolution is powerless to solve.”

    True, except for the part where evolution is exactly the right way to explain how you get a chicken egg from not-quite-a-chicken parents.

    Carl Zimmer has a nice article in Skeptical inquirer on heredity, related to his next book. My favorite of his seven misconceptions: “You Are Connected to All Your Ancestors by DNA.” Because of meiosis, not all your DNA goes to every offspring. The chances are about 50-50 that you got any DNA from a given ancestor 10 generations back. You can be related, and not share any genes at all!

  6. @Michael Fugate
    Consider this possibility, that the starting point is the revulsion at the idea of being related to the rest of the world of nature. Most of all, against relation to that part of nature which is most obviously our relation – chimps and other apes.
    After all, belief in being a creature of God does not tell us anything about our ancestry.
    And it is difficult to relate creation from nothing by omnipotent supernatural agency with “Intelligent Design”, whatever that is.

    “… We now come to a numerous tribe, that seem to make approaches even to humanity; that bear an awkward resemblance to the human form, and discover the same faint efforts at intellectual sagacity.
    *Animals of the MONKEY class are furnished with hands instead of paws; their ears, eyes, eye-lids, lips, and breasts, are like those of mankind; their internal conformation also bears some distant likeness; and the whole offers a picture that may mortify the pride of such as make their persons the principal objects of their admiration.”
    “>John Wesley ”A Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation; Or A Compendium of Natural Philosophy” New York: Bangs and T. Mason, 1823, Part the Second, Chapter I, volume 1, pages 147-148

  7. “let’s not have any jokes based on a crude meaning of “stream.””
    Given my lack of good manners this is an invitation I can’t decline.
    Any stream of consciousness makes more sense that Klunkledunker’s and Eberlin’s stream of creacrap.

    “As Dr. Eberlin advises, don’t be satisfied with handwaving or question-begging explanations.”
    The big problem for the IDiot is to pick the category, not whether it falls in one of them. That’s a given at beforehand.

    Allow me to repeat that we have learned about another important Creacrap Law: Causal Circularity (ao) forms an Evolutionary Wall!

  8. @SteveG illustrates my comment nicely:

    “evolution is exactly the right way to explain how you get a chicken egg from not-quite-a-chicken parents.”
    According to IDiot logic this
    1) is wrong at beforehand;
    2) is hand-waving;
    3) is question-begging;
    4) runs into the Wall of Evolution.

    Checkmate, naturalist Darwinist athiest evilutionist commienazi! The wrath of the Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) will hit you hard!

  9. Michael Fugate

    If I examine a current automobile with all of its complexity, should I conclude an engineer designed and built it from scratch without reference to any other automobile or any other machines past or present? No borrowing of parts from other systems, no prototypes, no testing through trial and error? Since a modern auto needs a computerized braking system to function, then autos have always had brakes and brakes have always been run by computers? Intelligence doesn’t do what intelligent design proponents claim – it doesn’t make complex things all at once without reference to other things.

    I would suggest François Jacob’s 1977 Science article “Evolution and Tinkering” and his 1982 book “The Possible and the Actual”. Nature repurposes. Nature is plastic – not fixed.

  10. “Evolution’s biggest problem”: critics who have no understanding of the theory.

  11. I remember when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old or so, and one of my family elders posed the question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg.” Innocently, I gave what seemed to me the obvious answer, that the first chicken came from a chicken egg laid by an evolutionary precursor to chickens. So, the egg came first.
    I was confused by the reaction from my elder. Rather than getting praise for this obvious answer, or an explanation as to why that was wrong, there was some confused emotional reaction. Only some years later, did I realize that there were people who didn’t accept evolution.

    What is the creationist answer? I suppose that the the chicken, and other birds, was created on the fifth day, and then they laid the first bird eggs? But how about this one: What came first, the caterpillar or the butterfly? The caterpillar was created on the sixth day, along with other creeping animals, while the butterfly was created o the fifth day? Or how about the tadpole and the frog?

  12. NYU Biology Lecture Series. Todays Topic; “Genetic Diversity and DNA Analysis”…..Discoveroid Lecture Series. Todays Topic “The chicken and the egg”.
    Any questions ?

  13. Karl Goldsmith

    Yet again another vanity published book.

  14. Theodore Lawry

    My sarcastic response to the origin of life question is “Oh, you’ve given up on claiming humans aren’t descended from apes?”

  15. But the snarky answer von Klingenhoffer can come up with is “god did it!”
    Doesn’t tell us much, does it.

  16. “…a conundrum that unguided evolution is powerless to solve.”

    Since chickens are the product of thousands of years of domestication, unguided evolution doesn’t really enter into it. If Klutzberger doubts that the ancestors of chickens can be dated back as far as the mid-Jurassic or so, then somebody like Xu Xing or Phil Currie can cram some fossils of Anchiornas or Sinosauropteryx, or dozens of others, down his rancid throat. “Here you go, rabbi: choke on this.”

    Snarky enough for ya’?

  17. @ChrisS: “unguided evolution doesn’t really enter into it”
    It strikes me that we can apply Paley’s Fasle Watchmaker Analogy here.

    Chickens, dogs, cats etc. are the product of guided evolution.
    Evolution needs guidance.
    No guidance without a guide.
    If no humans guided naturalistic evolution a Guide did.
    I call that Guide God.

    Of course it’s too much asked from IDiots to apply their own principles consistently. Still it could be funny to hold this against them.

  18. The Wikipedia article “Chicken or egg” seems to cover the question quite well.

  19. Also keep in mind that, at no point in evolutionary history, there was a young bird you could tell: “Son, you are a CHICKEN! But your mom and your dad ain’t.”

  20. @FrankB
    1) Does Guide God need a guide dog?

    2) If regular God is dyslexic, does He lay awake at night wondering if there’s a Dog or not?

    3) ChrisS to pagans: “Who let the gods out?”

  21. Michael Fugate

    Eberlin’s pet name for God is “The Foresighter” – cute, no?

  22. The jewish/islamic god is more a Foreskinner, given his propensity for having them cut off.

  23. docbill1351

    I had eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner. Case closed.

  24. Eric Lipps

    Nothing could better illustrate the divide between Darwinism and creationism than the chicken-and-egg problem. Supporters of evolution believe the egg came first: the first chicken hatched out of an egg laid by something that was not quite a chicken. Creationists believe the chicken came first, on the fifth day of Creation. There’s no reconciling those two views.