A new criticism of evolution

Well here’s one I hadn’t heard before—if it’s not a joke. And believe me, the criticisms of evolution are often so ludicrous that they seem to be jokes (the classic is “if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?).

And why are criticisms of evolution so frequently misspelled?

h/t: Barry

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75 Comments

  1. Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    “And why are criticisms of evolution so frequently misspelled?”

    Obvious rhetorical question. :p

    • Wunold
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      Stating the obvious. 🙂

  2. Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  3. BobTerrace
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    sooner4life must be joking. We all know monkeys evolved into fish

    • Dan
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Hence Sea-Monkeys!

  4. Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    If you know the mindset of grassroots creationists (whether YEC or ID) their lack of a functioning Map of Time in their heads can easily lead to the sort of thinking Sooner displayed. If monkeys evolved (in a snap) from fish, shouldn’t they still have gills to breath underwater? Such a confusion is easy to make if there is no line of tetrapods and therapsids betwixt the fish ancestors and the primates knocking about 300+ million years later.

    I tried probing Sooner for his sources (so far unsuccessfully) (I’m @RJDownard on Twitter) Sooner did post a typical creationist trope pic (asking where are the “millions” of human evo fossils when there are “millions” of chimps). That pic, which does derive from fringe YEC lore, does help identify Sooner’s copying venue, but from a methods approach it would be nice to pin down what (if any) antievo works he’d relied on.

  5. ploubere
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Duh! The monkey fish:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_arowana

  6. GBJames
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    It is a joke.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Looking at Sooner4life’s Twitter feed [‏@RickeyLarry] s/he isn’t joking – it contains all the usual tropes found among the cookie-cutter Trump-supporting end of the illiterate, American, anti-intellectual, white, redneck, conservative, evangelical Christian, Bible-literalist mob

      The fake Hillary quotes
      The fake double picture of ISIS gangster matched with refugee with identical face [PhotoShop identical]
      Global warming denial
      Atheists are evil

      and so on

      • Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Sooner’s varied views are indeed not at all unusual. With very few exceptions, antievolutionists are Kulturkampf conservative religious believers, meaning religious faith is only a subset of a broader cultural frame that tropes many odd beliefs because they are simply applying the same bad credulity that they use both for their faith and their science convictions.

      • GBJames
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Oh lordy.

      • Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        “cookie-cutter Trump-supporting end of the illiterate, American, anti-intellectual, white, redneck, conservative, evangelical Christian, Bible-literalist mob”

        Sooner is both a nickname for people from Oklahoma and the mascot for the University of Oklahoma’s sports teams. So, the name Sooner4life implies that @Rickeylarry is either a resident of the State of Oklahoma, or at least has some connection to the University of Oklahoma although not likely anything beyond being a fan of their football team.
        The reason that this is relevant is that Oklahoma is a part of America where everything you described above can be found in abundance, lending further credibility to the notion that this person isn’t joking, is likely a devout Christian and is almost certainly the product of a culture in which public education is not taken seriously, if not outright vilified.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          or at least has some connection to the University of Oklahoma although not likely anything beyond being a fan of their football team.

          Course in theology?

  7. Merilee
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Lol

  8. Kevin
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    It is difficult to engage or debate the religiously guided; you never know what they will say next. But like Hitchens also said, never just be a spectator to their stupidity. Read WEIT.

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the transitional form was the famous aquatic ape.
    Obviously.

    • Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      It might have made infinitesimally more sense to ask “How did the fish evolve into the monkey when fish can’t climb trees?”

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Ssshhh!! Don’t tell them there are mudkippers.

        • Posted December 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          Well I’ll be damned.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            According to many of the “Sooners” etc, damned is precisely what you will be. Or are already.

        • Chris Taylor
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:08 am | Permalink

          and the mudkippers obviously evolved in a smoky environment.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        … and then there’s the famous Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

        If an octopus can do it…

        cr

        • Wunold
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:40 am | Permalink

          And there I was, feeling safe in my second-floor flat. Not anymore. *shiver*

  10. loren russell
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    eh… anyone else here old enough to remember the “sea monkey” ads in the back of Superman comics?

    • ploubere
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I thought of that too.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Oh I am. Also, I just finished watching this YouTube video explaining all you ever needed to know about them, Today I Found Out

      Recommended.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:08 am | Permalink

        Thanks Johnnie – fifty years of wondering ended. And they are apparently still being sold.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      Beat me to it!

    • Wunold
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      Guilty as charged. In Germany, they were sold with the children’s magazine Yps.

  11. Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Monkey sea, monkey do.

  12. Herb Hunter
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    The question as to why there are no amphibious monkeys reminded me of a post from a creationist (the last two sentences in the first paragraph are the relevant ones):

    “I think the data demonstrates that the level of interbreeding is on a much lower level than inter-Phylum, but to be honest, I didn’t want to say that before in such a direct way, because I figured that you would dismiss me outright. I am much more inclined toward the idea that the pre and post-zygotic limits are more restrictive than I have discussed previously, as you pointed out, Bears and Dogs in the same phylum cannot interbreed, and it is a good example. I actually think the evidence suggest that the “common ancestry” within phyla are much more limited as well. Dogs/Wolves have pretty much always been Dog/Wolflike, with minor variations. We don’t see wolves with gills or flippers, or wolves with leaves and roots.

    Why not?

    Which way does the “tree of life” grow? Can animals “evolve” into plants? If not, why not?”

    • Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      The creationist’s attitude there is again fully consistent with how they view the world: familiar kinds (that in practice are comparable to families, except for humans when they drop to species), uncluttered by a familiarity with the kind-busting fossil record.

      Plants being on multi-endosymbiotic systems (possessing cyanobacterial-derived chloroplasts along with mitochondria) there are too many contingent derived elements to the plant line to think any metazoan vertebrate could develop in any way that would be deeply plant-like. It’s a lot easier to keep the players straight when a lot of them are in one’s Map of Time, but antievolutionists don’t configure one of those in their own head, so end up offering views like the one quoted.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Familiar kinds (that in practice are comparable to families, except for humans when they drop to species),

        They call the turgid cesspool of “thought” by the pompous-sounding term “baraminology”.

        • Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          The baraminology gang are a fascinating bunch, and their output a gold mine to reveal the underlying methodology of the higher level creationist, the ones striving for scientific accuracy. Kurt Wise (who has a paleontology decree, studying for a time under Steve Gould at Harvard btw) has been the major nomenclature guide for the technique, which is to identify “holobaramins” (the preserved or living members of created kinds), including “monobaramins” (naturally evolved subsets of a holobaramin, one example being of all things the horse evolution sequence!).

          They are honestly dedicated to pinning down the created kinds, but in practice reveal only their ability to parse datasets to keep the baramins from being too troubling. Which is hard to do, as one recent study plopped some of the australopithecines and all of Homo genus (including H. habilis and erectus) in the human holobaramin (something that would have been heresy back in Gish era of creationism). Fortunately most grassroots creationists (including Ken Ham) don’t appear to actually read any of the baraminology work, so its a lot of rarified wheelspinning few on YEC notice or cite.

          I’ve been following and dissecting the baraminology literature for some time, latest being a 2014 stab by one fellow, an M. Aaron, to parse one minor family in the reptile-mammal transition, which I tumbled onto in the course of writing a new book on the RMT (now done) and how antievolutionists avoid it. Aaron left out big chunks of the taxa and their character states (cribbed from several technical papers, as baraminologists don’t assemble their own cladistic datasets, but filch from the works of others). Weird creationist John Woodmorappe did likewise with a trio of technical papers on the RMT, which I also explored at length in the new book (Phillip Johnson and David Berlinski both clumsily lauded Woodmorappe’s piece, which warrants a dentary jaw drop just for that).

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Ahhh, Woodmorappe and Wise – two blasts unfortunately not from the past. Yes, baraminology has always had even more of an air of despair about it than the average bit of creationism, but it uses too many polysyllables for most creationists to get their lips around.
            “RMT” ??

            • Posted December 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

              RMT = Reptile-Mammal Transition (sorry, got into the habit of acronyming it in new book, to avoid spelling it out repeatedly). The baraminology polysyllables are Kurt Wise’s doing. Since he is familiar with standard taxonomy and cladistics, he retermed things to fit the new paradign. So “holotype” (the initial exemplar of a taxon) became “holobaramin” (the physically preserved samples of a baramin). “Monobaramin” is the one I love, though, since that’s an evolutionary subset of a baramin, and every one they find only reinforces the evolutionary chain they do not want to be true (for example, Jean Lightner’s functional acceptance of 1200 species of finch as within a finch bird kind, meaning the Galapagos paternity suit with the mainland grassquits accepted by proxy). Lightner studiously avoided including any fossil data in her parsing, though.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                Got an ISBN for that book (I note JAC’s Roolz ban on self promotion – which is why I’m asking you.)

              • Posted December 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

                okeey dookey. The amazon paperback and Kindle version just went up yesterday (separate ISBN number for that version compared to the specifically ebook format that went up first at lulu and Nook for their formats), so “Evolution Slam Dunk: Why the Reptile-Mammal Transition Proves Macroevolution and How Antievolutionists Ignore It” is now available for all ebooks and in print. It’s been a busy 9 months for me writing it.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 12, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

                (Never brought anything for my Kindle – still got thousands of unread books on it, and I get through them at one or two a year.)
                I think the necessary details for the Kindle version are “ASIN: B01N6FV206”
                For the ink-on-paper version … I can’t find a link for that, either on Amazon-Tax-Dodgers-Inc or LULU. Oh, try Amazon’s American site … there it is “ISBN-10: 1540736296 ISBN-13: 978-1540736291” Got it, and picking up a few other things from the reprehensible ones while I’m there.

    • nicky
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      If -big if- he really wants to know or at least get an idea, he might read something that goes into the history of life, e.g. ‘The Ancestors Tale’ by Dawkins.
      [Note, Gish’s sarcastic and ludicrous “cow-mermaid” is approximated by the sirenians 😊]

  13. grasshopper
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    If we evolved from primordial slime, why is there still Donald Trump?

    • nicky
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      😁😁😁

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        😭😭😭

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:11 am | Permalink

      😀 😀 😀

  14. Alpha Neil
    Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like Mr. Garrison

  15. Posted December 6, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    ‘Blacks are poor swimmers and hate the water because blacks evolved from monkeys.’

    That used to be a fairly common “explanation,” many years ago.

  16. Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    What about those Sea Monkeys they always advertised in comic books?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Brine shrimp don’t look anything like that. Other than possibly the colour.

      cr

      • Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Weird anecdote about that:

        I helped a friend replace a patio door a few months ago. When we removed the old doors, we left them propped up against the side wall of his house. It rained heavily for the next two days. When we went to dispose of the old doors, we noticed what looked like the carcasses of brine shrimp, or something very similar, in the interior the old doors. He lives very near the ocean and the best explanation we could come up with is that gulls often perch on his roof and the shrimp must have come from their droppings which was then washed off the roof during the rain storm, eventually settling inside the doors. I don’t know if that even makes any sense, but it’s the least crazy explanation we could come up with.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        In the fine print of that ad, a disclosure that probably meant nothing to the eager kids sending in their savings.

        “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia salina”

        See my reply to comment 10 for an informative link.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia salina”

          That about says it all, doesn’t it?

          cr

  17. Shell wnnrt
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Wasnt there a famous Ted Talk on aquatic apes ??

  18. kelskye
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    “And why are criticisms of evolution so frequently misspelled?”
    If people understood it, they be far less likely to reject it.

  19. colnago80
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I believe that I have an answer for Mr. TakethatDarwin. As I understand it, the genes for making gills are present in humans and other land animals but are broken. In fact, at least in science fiction, it has been claimed that they could be repaired and an animal who could live on land and in water could be created.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      That monkey stuff is from Sooner4life’s Twitter feed [address @RickeyLarry], @TakeThatDarwin is an ‘evolutionist’ who enjoys re-tweeting the creationist drivel.

      An example of what you’re talking about is the function of the Sonic Hedgehog gene [I’m not making that up] in human limb development – it dictates the identity of each finger in humans & some other things, but it’s associated with the development of the branchial rays in skate embryos. Branchial rays are part of the gill complex for skates. It goes all the way back to the jawed vertebrates…

      Long article here: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/sonic-hedgehog-gene-provides-evidence-that-our-limbs-may-have-evolved-from-sharks-gills

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Obviously G*d was in the habit of raiding the parts bin every time He created a new model. 😉

        cr

        • JohnnieCanuck
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          Not exactly. That’s what you might expect a designer to do. If the best eye turns out to be one you put in an octopus, then you can retrofit it into an ape whose lineage split with the octopus before that eye had been optimised.

          Evolution can only work with what it has at the present time in a given population. Tweak this here and twist that there to do something new and useful. Gill arches got reworked into many interesting things. What didn’t happen is whales and turtles reacquiring the gills their ancestors once had.

          Neil Shubin tells it well in his book Your Inner Fish.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t mean to imply that auto designers always chose the *best* existing design. More often what was in stock, available or cheap. 😦

            cr

            • Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

              Indeed, a specific example of fly-by-seat-of-pants contingency is the shape of the 1959 Cadillac back end. The 1958 recession slumped sales on all makes, who were scrambling to jumbo-size their fleets to compete with the larger Forward Look Chrysler products. The need to quickly redesign the 1959 model year at GM forced some ad hoc cost cutting. Buick’s swept back model was already in the works, and the top brass decreed Cadillac had to use the doors already engineered for the Buick. They had to incorporate that dropping curve into their designs, resulting in a very low taillight ring topped by about the same height of fin as the 1958 model, but which looked way taller because it sprouted from a lower back line.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      No one remembers Kevin Costner in movie Waterworld? Gills and webbed feet.

  20. Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    This fall I made a career change. I returned to teaching, this time as a middle school science teacher. It’s a great job that I truly love doing, but one of the few frustrating things about this job is that crafty 6th & 8th grade (11-14 yo) students think they can just deny that evolution is real, invoke their religious beliefs and be excused from learning the material. This may be cynical, but I’m inclined to believe that they’re more interested in avoiding their studies than they are interested in defending their religious convictions. It’s a moot point anyway as the end result is a child whom does not receive proper instruction regarding evolution, which is particularly problematic (sorry!) for my 8th graders as in two years they will be studying biology in high school. How can a student pass biology without understanding the fundamental concept upon which biology is built?
    I’m also troubled by the fact that when I instruct my students to do research on evolution, they often bring me things from Answers in Genesis, which is, unfortunately, most often the first hit from a google search related to evolution.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Maybe this is a teachable moment of another kind: information/source literacy. I wonder how kids these days would react to a “no Internet sources” ban. Of course that would wall off Panda’s Thumb and the Talk Origins archive, etc. too …

      • Posted December 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I thought about that, but the principal nixed the idea as our school charter focuses on “information technology based learning” so I require the kids to use at least three different sources.
        In a related story, charter schools are an educational disaster.

        • BobTerrace
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          I agree that charter schools are an educational disaster. They rarely perform any better than the local public schools and siphon off money and hurt public schools while being able to exempt rules and regulations. I also find them elitist, even if they choose by lottery. All students should be able to equally benefit from any program, not a selected few.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          I require the kids to use at least three different sources.

          Sources which I hope do not share spelling mistakes. (This reduces the chance of getting three sources from the same hive mind.)

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      However, AIG’s page on ‘Arguments to Avoid’ could be a handy way to shut down some of the more absurd arguments (e.g. Darwin’s Deathbed Conversion and ‘Why are there still Apes?’)

      cr

      • Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        AiG & ICR have dumped on wackaloon Kent Hovind for years as an unreliable disgrace to Christian creationism, but that hasn’t slowed Hovind’s popularity in the slightest, so don’t hold your breath that even invoking in-house sources like that would do any better when dealing with parents, teachers or students who do not think about things they do not think about.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          True.

          I have a certain degree of sympathy for AiG as a quixotic lost cause. They believe in the literal accuracy of the Bible, but they also believe that scientific inquiry will therefore inevitably confirm the ‘truth’. (I think they’re doomed to disappointment, but at least they are trying). Notably, they do not approve of ‘lying for Jesus’, which is to their credit.

          cr

          • Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            Absolutely, but in fact most antievolutionists do not believe in “lying for Jesus.” The vast majority at all levels (ID, OEC or YEC) firmly believe everything they believe to be actually true.

            The way they can accomplish that (from a Ken Ham to a Michael Denton over in ID Land) is that (1) they rely heavily on secondary sources they do not fact check (daisy-chain authority quoting is a pathology among antievolutionists), (2) their core fact claimants (a tiny group of only 3 dozen people currently, 2/3 of them YECers) bump into at best 10 percent of the relevant dataset, which (3) none of them ever bother to relate to a “Map of Time” conception (this happened, then this happened, then this happened), abetted by (4) a genuine inability to conceptualize what evidence they’d ever accept to change their minds (there are no counterexamples in thousands of antievolution works I am aware of, covering decades, where an antievolutionist explains what a transitional form would need to look like, in detail, such that they would accept it as evidence for evolution).

            Those 4 properties pretty much insulate committed antievolutionists from cognitive dissonance, such that actively lying need never be in their behavioral repertoire.

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations for the new job!
      I have had a few students denying evolution (1st year medical students, not middle school kids!), and I have told them that they must read and when asked, tell what we are teaching them about evolution, and after explaining the theory they are free to add that they disagree with it because of their religious convictions.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      crafty 6th & 8th grade (11-14 yo) students think they can just deny that evolution is real, invoke their religious beliefs and be excused from learning the material.

      Have they discovered the concept of failing the exam yet, or is that delight awaiting them in their future.

  21. Darren Garrison
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The internet has disappointed me by not providing a photograph of a monkey wearing a snorkel (at least, not one that I could google up.) Plenty of drawings, though.

    (Not even a monkey having sex with a snorkel. Whatever happened to Rule 34?)

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Some things are so improbable that they defeat even Rule 34.

      😉

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Try to Photoshop one.

  22. Posted December 7, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Nice trilobite avatar!


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