We found this amazing news at PhysOrg, and it changes everything. The title of their article is Stone Age black bears didn’t just defecate in the woods — they did it in a cave too. In spite of their jocular title, the article is important — really important, because it has scientific and political consequences. But first, some background:
The “data” relied upon by all creationists is their claim that we don’t have enough evidence to support the theory of evolution. In the Wikipedia article on God of the gaps, they say: “God of the gaps is a theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence.”
Those gaps in our scientific knowledge are the entire data-set supporting the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. Gaps lie at the heart of the Cambrian “explosion” and all the other “missing links” in the fossil record that they take to be evidence of their designer’s clandestine handiwork. Despite Wikipedia’s ever-growing List of transitional fossils, they can’t be found rapidly enough to stifle creationists’ faith in divine creation.
Building on the “data” of missing links, creationists like the Discoveroids devise arguments for their “design inference,” about which they babble incessantly using undefinable terms like “specified complexity.” Additionally they have William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. But really, without gaps in the evolutionary data, they don’t have anything.
Okay, that’s enough background. Now, let’s see how that article in PhysOrg is going to totally demolish the creationists’ arguments. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Scientists have sequenced ancient DNA from soil for the first time and the advance will transform what is known about everything from evolution to climate change. The findings have been described as the ‘moon landings’ of genomics because researchers will no longer have to rely on finding and testing fossils to determine genetic ancestry, links and discoveries — and it is thanks to Stone Age black bears who defecated in a remote cave in Mexico 16,000 years ago.
That’s worth repeating: “… researchers will no longer have to rely on finding and testing fossils to determine genetic ancestry,” Here’s another quote:
A team of scientists from The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen, led by Professor Eske Willerslev, director of the foundation and a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, recreated the genomes of animals, plants and bacteria of microscopic fragments of DNA found in Chiquihuite Cave.
Got that? Without fossils, using mere fragments found in a cave, they recreated the genomes of animals, plants, and bacteria too. Imagine what this will do to the “gaps” in the fossil record, so beloved by creationists. Returning to the PhysOrg article, it says:
The results, which have been published today (April 19 2021) in Current Biology, are the first time environmental DNA has been sequenced from soil and sediment and includes the ancient DNA profile of a Stone Age American black bear taken from samples in the cave.
Here’s a link to the article: Environmental genomics of Late Pleistocene black bears and giant short-faced bears. If you click over there, you may find that it behaves strangely in your browser. That was our experience. Anyway, PhysOrg then tells us:
This ‘scientific first’ has wider significance as it increases scientists’ ability to study the evolution of animals, plants and microorganisms, which has been hailed as the dawn of an ‘entirely new era’ of population genetics. The work was possible as a result of advanced technology and understanding over the past five years. This is because working with highly fragmented DNA from soil samples means scientists no longer have to rely on DNA samples from bone or teeth for enough genetic material to recreate a profile of ancient DNA, which opens up the field to what can be tested and studied.
The article goes on for quite a bit, but we’ve given you enough to get you interested. If this means what we think it means, it won’t be very long before the creationists don’t have any — or at least not many — gaps left where they can claim that their designer (or other deity) performed his miraculous work. We’ll be watching to see if they start howling about this research.
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