Springer writes me again about the creationist paper they published; perhaps the firm’s response in the works

Of course I haven’t given up trying to get a formal response from Springer about why they published a creationist paper in the International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology. As Glenn Close said in that movie where she killed the bunny, “I will not be ignored!” After I got a perfunctory and unsatisfactory boilerplate response from some Springer functionary, I wrote to several other email addresses I found, including the fellow below. I asked that the relevant people, including the board of directors and scientific executives, be notified about this paper. Here’s the email I got this morning.

Dear Dr. Coyne,

Thank you for your email.

Please be informed that I have forwarded this concern to our Journal Contact. Rest assured that I will contact you once we receive a response from them.

If you have questions, please let me know.

Kind regards,

Carl Johann B. Samson

Journals Editorial Office (JEO)

Okay, I will rest assured—for the time being.

In the meantime, one creationist reader, mistakenly thinking I’ve called for the censorship of the creationist paper, sent this attempted comment:


As a Creationist, I would like to thank Dr Coyne for his letter to Springer. His criticisms of Dr Uner’s [sic; it’s “Umer”] spelling, capitalization, and grammar are irrefutable.

But in his unswerving focus on faulty proofreading, Dr Coyne didn’t get to Dr. Umer’s criticism…….that evolutionists have been making sweeping claims based on dubious inferences from scant data, or her question…..that if mankind is really millions of years old, why did it take 99 percent of man’s history to give rise to a civilization?

Instead, Dr Coyne called for retraction, AKA censorship. Of course that has become SOP for academics when they face questions and criticisms from Creationists that they are unable to answer in fields such as evolution, origin of life, physics consciousness, and especially cosmology. And this inability to face such issues is why Creationism is back in the catbird seat nowadays.

Ms. Haynes, of course, is ignorant of the copious (not “scant”!) data supporting evolution (yes, I cited some), and makes the risible claim that “Creationism is back in the catbird seat.” Creationism, of course, is on the wane—not just because American is becoming more secular, and Creationism requires feeding from the faithful, but also because they keep losing in court when trying to force creationism into the public schools.

Intelligent Design, a gussied-up form of creationism, also failed in court (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). And this year is the twentieth anniversary of the Intelligent-Design manifesto, the infamous “Wedge Document”, that proclaimed a victory of their anti-materialist and disguised religiosity within two decades. Here are their goals for this year:

Twenty Year Goals

  • To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
  • To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
  • To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

None of this has occurred, of course, despite the books of people like Philip Johnson, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, and Stephen Meyer, as well as the gaseous emissions of Discovery Institute flacks like Michael Egnor and David Klinghoffer. In the absence of any evidence for Intelligent Design—which, we were assured, was “right around the corner”—they’re now entirely devoted to slinging mud at evolutionary biology and its practitioners.


  1. GBJames
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink


  2. qp83
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    “that if mankind is really millions of years old, why did it take 99 percent of man’s history to give rise to a civilization?”

    Why did it take billions, trillions, a gazillion years before God sparked the idea of creating humans? And why did he let the native americans wait for the message about jesus for thousands of years?

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Clearly it was a mistake coming down from the trees if it gave rise to the ruddy creationists! [I mistyped that ‘cretinists’…]

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Well, “cretin” does come from the French for “Christian”.

        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          late 18th century: from French crétin, from Swiss French crestin ‘Christian’ (from Latin Christianus), here used to mean ‘human being’, apparently as a reminder that, though deformed, cretins were human and not beasts. [NOAD]


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Trees, schmees.
        Leaving the oceans was a bad idea.

  3. Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Yeah, but Tammie thinks, “the accounts of witnesses is direct empirical evidence”, so what does she know?!


  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The puzzle to me with creationist is how gullible they are for religion, to the point of almost going mad on the subject of evolution. Nothing can be more stupid than the shut mind. I should also include more dangerous.

  5. Colin
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Miss Haynes asks: “…that if mankind is really millions of years old, why did it take 99 percent of man’s history to give rise to a civilization?”

    This is tantamount to saying: “My ignorance on human history means that god is real!”

  6. Posted December 20, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Back when I was a schoolteacher (in a faith school) I was handed this (https://creationsciencestudy.wordpress.com/tag/satanism/ scroll down to where the tree is) by a concerned parent.
    At the time I wasn’t especially interested in evolutionary theory because I was studying humans and I had read all my Stephen Jay Gould and he had assured me that humans had stopped evolving 50k years ago, move along now, nothing to see here (I know better now)
    But the key point that became obvious to me was that the objection to evolution was moral, not factual.
    I’ve come to believe that the key objection to a lot of things that make humans look like cranks is moral,not factual.
    Are anti-vaccers really convinced by Andrew Wakefield, or do they distrust doctors? Are climate change deniers really convinced by argument, or do they hate hippies (as they see them)? Its far too obvious to point out what really motivates holocaust deniers. Here’s a clue: Its not the analysis of David Irving.
    Is this a general rule? I’m really not sure, but I am convinced that the moral angle can’t be safely left to either religious types or humanities types to fully address. They dont do a good job (although poets, artists and great writers can do a great job here–its mainly the critics who are rubbish)
    For one thing, there needs to be an account of how humans can be moral given evolution by natural selection (there is one, but I dont think its what people expect). In other words a naturalistic account of morality. I don’t think a reductive one will do the trick (its that precise thing that people fear). But a non reductive one (virtue based? consequentialist?) might do it.
    Here’s the thing. The greatest military historians tell us that there are three levels on which battles are won: Tactical (getting power to a point etc) Strategic (where to hit, where to retreat) and Moral (your troops have to think that they are the good guys, unless they are slaves or psychopaths are these dont make good or numerous fighters).
    Without the moral level, your army won’t fight and it doesnt matter how many tactical or strategic victories you get an enemy who believes in themselves as being moral will just keep taking the pain until you get sick of dishing it out (see Vietnam for details).
    Has the naturalistic model won the moral level? I think it has, for the record and people like Pinker are good at disseminating this. But others are needed.
    Anyway, thats my twopennyworth.
    Happy xams

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I think you’re right — we are predisposed to give more weight to our hopes and fears than to the evidence. That alone is enough to explain why we have only had what we flatter ourselves to call “civilization” for the last 1% of the human story.

      Yes, we are a mess of cognitive biases, but we stumbled on a reliable way to overcome them: the scientific method. The results speak for themselves, unequivocally. The very fact that Tammi Haynes even has a platform to complain is a testament to the brilliant success of science. Richard Carrier has been doing some good writing about that:

      Our evolved faculties are in fact very poor; so poor, that they were indeed wholly incapable of discovering things like that evolution is true. But they were not so poor as to be totally unreliable, and in fact were good enough to make it possible that, given enough time to explore and experiment, we could invent “software patches” that would fix the things wrong with them, and produce an algorithm (a new way of using them) that was and is capable of discovering things like that naturalism is true. For example, we invented science, logic, and mathematics (and yes, we invented them). It took us hundreds of thousands of years to do that. So we were clearly not evolved to do that. It was just an inevitable byproduct of randomly wandering around possibility space trying things out until we stumbled across things that actually worked. Which fact is so easy to verify, that we could verify it even with the poor faculties we evolved to have.[source]

      As far as how humans can be “moral” (well, some of us, some of the time) I think that’s an easy one: in a social species, cooperative behavior is trait that confers reproductive advantage.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Interesting points there. It can and should be argued that ‘the other side’ (and it could be any opponent) fights and resists b/c they think they are the moral ones. Anti-vaccers, wall builders, climate change deniers, alt-righters, and so on really do think they are the ‘good guys’.
      That is perhaps why reasoning and evidence usually does not pursuade the core believers in those causes. Who would want to be pursuaded to switch to the immoral side?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Yep. If you can’t appeal to facts, appeal to ‘morals’.

        It’s also why I’m extremely suspicious of people arguing ‘on principle’. If they’ve got no real rational argument in some particular case they resort to ‘the principle of the thing’. It’s a classic application of the slippery-slope fallacy. Usually.


      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        When I was young, people trusted scientists and academics much more than they do today. I think of it as a loss of innocence. Now people have been taught that everyone lies, one’s own “truth” is on an equal footing with anyone else’s truth. These people you talk about may well think they are in the right but really have nothing to back it up and, what’s worse, don’t think they need to.

    • Mark
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Many thanks for that link – I actually thought it was satire … It will make great fodder for my students to practise critical analysis. I couldn’t have invented a better exercise ROTFLMAO

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Oh Gods yes. That link is a classic. (I think it probably includes most of Answers In Genesis’ ‘Arguments to Avoid’.) And they manage to spectacularly miss the point of most arguments – “Darwinists reject God, yet they believe in a magic spaghetti monster …”
        “Neil deGrasse Tyson, agent of Satan: Neil deGrasse Tyson tried to destroy Pluto. Everyone knows that only God can make or destroy planets”
        These people have the reading comprehension of a five-year-old.

        The following article is a classic too – ‘Labyrinth’ is for Satanists. (Yep the Alice in Wonderland-like movie with David Bowie). And to think I showed it to my granddaughter last year. Fortunately we somehow missed the “Horrifying scene of the girl committing beastiality with these weird creatures only Darwin and other evolutionists would have dreamed of to support evolution.” But we did get the “Nonliving objects [rocks] talking as if they were demonically possessed!”

        And a bit further down the page is ” ‘Safe’ Sex and Sodomy” (NSFW!) which leads with a picture of a couple of lesbians getting it on, captioned “did this photograph give you an erection? That erection came straight from Satan.”

        These people are seriously deranged. Obsessed and deranged. And loony.

        I’ve bookmarked it for my amusement when I have more time to appreciate its spectacular looniness.

        Here it is again


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          It’s just occurred to me the site might be a Poe (I do hope it isn’t).

          Nobody seems to be sure. This page
          thinks it’s a Poe, on the grounds that it endorses Landover Baptist Church. But one of the commenters there points out that ‘Martin Baker’ who writes creationsciencestudy is a real person who ran for Congress (Wikipedia confirms that), and who quite possibly thinks Landover Baptist is a real Xtian site.

          Unless the ‘Martin Baker’ of creationsciencestudy just borrowed the real Martin Baker’s name, of course.

          How can one possibly be sure?


          • Posted December 21, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Its not a Poe. They came to my school and talked. My students made mincemeat out of them (politely, of course). It was a proud moment. And the tree goes back well before that )I havent been a schoolteacher for some years).
            My key takeaway is that we need to address WHY people want to oppose these ideas. Scientists are used to changing their opinions when facts dont fit. Most people find this incredibly hard work and profoundly unnatural (it is)

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        That tree has been around a long time. Your source is 2014, but I have seen it attributed in a 2009 article to Pigliucci 2002 “Denying evolution”. I will be reading that book shortly,to see where he got it from or whether it was his own satirical work in which case your 2014 and similar cases are examples of what one might call inverse-Poe

  7. Roo
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Don’t boil a bunny Jerry!!

    I will say, I am not convinced that evolution is the primary factor in ‘creating’ organisms, so much as a process that works alongside other factors. I’m not so sure there isn’t some truth to the junkyard tornado argument, especially when you consider that organisms had to be selecting for *precursor elements to systems that would later be shaped over eons into more advanced systems. It is possible that every single precursor was functional in its own right, but if that is the case, I understand how people’s intuitions would bias them towards thinking this is not the case, as this is not observable in most any other kind of complex system us humans build. When we build a computer, for example, it doesn’t work until every last piece is in place, and one small bug can crash the whole system. We don’t put together a couple of circuits that do something functional, then add a couple more that do something even more functional, and so on. So I’m sympathetic to the idea that evolution is, if nothing else, difficult for human intuitions to absorb. Mathematical models may show that given enough time this style of building is indeed likely, but my understanding is that such models don’t exist yet. (My intuitions lean toward something like ‘inevitable design’ – there is a Noam Chomsky quote to this effect somewhere that verbalizes this intuition more clearly.)

    That said, Creationism that is biased on assuming religious beliefs a priori and trying to shuffle around every fact to fit into that paradigm shouldn’t be in scientific journals. Churches, fine, but journals, no.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I would assume you have noticed the evolution of the computer since the earliest models many years ago. Compare those to the computer in your smart phone today. Compare the Wright Brothers first airplanes to an F-22 today. I guess the creationist would say, how can that be that thing over there. They both fly…

      • Roo
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but these were not created by random mutations that showed up in tiny, statistically rare increments and all just so happened to build a foundation for future models. They were designed from the top down by engineers who made the necessary adjustments across the board to update the technology.

        I’m not saying it’s impossible, if someone definitively proves it with a mathematical model so be it, but I’m saying I can see why it’s counter intuitive to people, as nothing we witness at a human time-scale works this way.

        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          But evolution DOES work at human timescales at least some of the time. There’s even a book largely devoted to documenting one case: “The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time” by Jonathan Weiner. It even takes place in the Galapagos Islands of Darwin fame.

          • Roo
            Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            I mean that in a common sense way, it’s not something one observes. If you took all the component parts of a computer and put them into proximity to each other, then waved a magic wand and made a copy of this compilation of random parts, adding a random variation to said pile of scrap parts ever so rarely, then attempting to reproduce that variation as well, making an attempt to introduce a slight change to it ever so rarely, and on and on, what are your intuitions about how long it would take to build a functional working computer that way? Mine are essentially “never, you could never build a computer that way, and you would end up with an infinite number of piles of scrap parts.”

            I’m not saying that’s correct, but I am saying I can totally sympathize with people who, in good faith, find such a process incomprehensible and totally counter to the way we expect things to work.

            • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

              Yes, you can’t evolve a computer that way simply because it is a designed artifact. Things we design usually have no margin for error. If one part is broken or missing, nothing else works. This is how we design things. We haven’t yet learned how to engineer things with the kind of robustness that life has. Of course, this robustness also evolved along with everything else. Unlike with engineered objects, there never was a repairman. If a creature couldn’t survive with what it had long enough to reproduce, its DNA was never used again.

              Perhaps this hits at the heart of the matter. Even though people can understand what happens in one evolution iteration (ie, a parent giving birth to a child that is not an exact copy) but are still thinking of the parent as a designed creature.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Speculation is fine, but it’s not science until you find some evidence to make it worth investigating. So until you find evidence of some other force guiding evolution, it’s not worth discussing, much less publishing.

      The tornado argument is flawed because it omits natural selection as a shaping force. As for humans having difficulty conceiving natural evolution, that’s because it’s difficult to picture the huge numbers involved, of time and of population sizes. But we have observed the process in real time, and seen how it works. It’s the best explanation we have.

      • Roo
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Inevitable (or at least quite finite in potential outcomes) not guided.

        • Diane G
          Posted December 23, 2018 at 2:47 am | Permalink

          With all due respect, Roo, I think you need to re-read the book this website is named after…or read it for the first time, as the case may be.

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      No, the organisms didn’t have to be selecting for precursor elements. At least not in any teleological sense.

      Natural selection drove the evolution of feathers among presumably warm-blooded archosaurs who likely benefited from the insulation they provided, without any foreknowledge that they would enable flight in some future generations (birds) – or that they’d be lost altogether in others (tyrannosaurids; at least among adults).

      And not every change has to be adaptive. As long as it’s not maladaptive, it can persist among populations.


      • Roo
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        They do have to in the scenario I described, wherein more complex systems are built from simpler ones. There are harmless mutations but the development of human organs relied mostly of many, many, many mutations that all happened to build constructively upon one another, with seemingly few dead ends (there are almost an infinite number of ways such a process could go wrong, after all, and a very select few wherein it could right – yet we don’t seem to see evolution ‘going wrong’ in an almost infinity-to-one ratio, it clearly went ‘right’ a staggering amount of the time, given the diversity of complex life on this planet.)

        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          “wherein more complex systems are built from simpler ones”

          But that’s exactly the situation with feathers!

          (Emily Willoughby)

          Necessarily, we see only the successful pathways.

          So, no.


          • Roo
            Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            I think this article speaks more to what I’m trying to say – haven’t had time to read it in depth (was Googling for something that might explain my thoughts more clearly than I can,), but if nothing else, scan the numbers involved. Again, we’re talking almost infinity-to-one ratios, in practical terms.


            Take, for example, the discovery within the field of evolutionary developmental biology that the different body plans of many complex organisms, including us, arise not from different genes but from different networks of gene interaction and expression in the same basic circuit, called the Hox gene circuit. To get from a snake to a human, you don’t need a bunch of completely different genes, but just a different pattern of wiring in essentially the same kind of Hox gene circuit. For these two vertebrates there are around 40 genes in the circuit. If you take account of the different ways that these genes might regulate one another (for example, by activation or suppression), you find that the number of possible circuits is more than 10700. That’s a lot, lot more than the number of fundamental particles in the observable universe. What, then, are the chances of evolution finding its way blindly to the viable “snake” or “human” traits (or phenotypes) for the Hox gene circuit? How on earth did evolution manage to rewire the Hox network of a Cambrian fish to create us?

            • Roo
              Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

              That number should be 10 to the 700th power, not 10,700, couldn’t get the small font to work.

            • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

              You’re being teleological, again.

              Evolution didn’t rewire it to create us. We’re just happen to be the outcome of countless evolutionarily successful switches in the wiring.


              • Roo
                Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                My comment was about statistics, not creation.

                Regarding statistical unlikelihood – it is notoriously difficult to convey using numbers that our minds are not designed to grok at any kind of a practical level. But I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that random mutation as the sole driving force of evolution is, at least possibly, statistically unlikely. But so what? If there’s more to know about it there’s more to know about it, and I think it’s likely there’s more to know about it. Such is science.

                At any rate, I guess at this point what I’ve said either makes sense to people or isn’t doesn’t, so I’ll stop posting now as I’m way past 10% of the comments – I try to keep that rule in mind but also don’t want to look like I’m ignoring responses, so, if I don’t respond to various replies, apologies, that’s why.

              • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

                But that’s the language you used — and if that’s the point of view that’s in your head, it leads to the wrong intuition about statistical likelihood.

                In any case, however unlikely it is, here we are. If it hadn’t turned out thus, we wouldn’t be arguing about it.

                Be well!


              • Roo
                Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

                Argh, apologies for one more post, but I feel like I’m plagiarizing if I don’t – that was a quote from the article (I think they meant ‘create’ as a turn of phrase, as in ‘rain creates floods’ – I mean yes, but not in an agent-like way.) The italics were meant to imply that but I should have stated it directly. The author was Philip Ball.

              • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

                The point stands: The language choice influences how you think about the issue.


        • Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Evolution of, say, a human organ does not follow a trajectory like the one you describe. There are a large number of “dead ends” but they aren’t as dead as you might think. They are just small changes that don’t result in better fitness for the environment. It also must be recognized that while an organ is evolving, everything else is changing too: the creature that owns the organ, the external environment, its competitors, etc. The bottom line is that each step doesn’t have to be perfect. If a scientist were to compare parent to child, looking at its DNA or the structure and biological function of a specific organ, it would most likely be impossible to note the improvement.

          • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            In addition to “small changes that don’t result in better fitness for the environment”, there have been numerous
            developments that seemingly were advantageous in one environment, but that were not when transported to another environment. We may think we understand these processes without fully absorbing the magnitude and time dimension of the processes or the outcome we see at present.

            • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

              Yes. There is also an element of luck, at least from our own perspective. A species may survive an environmental change due to a mutation that, up until the change, was disadvantageous or neutral. There are also unexpressed potentials in a genome that may be suddenly become advantageous again. If humans were forced back into the trees, perhaps our tails would get longer. Presumably, this adaptation would be easier the second or third time around.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          “yet we don’t seem to see evolution ‘going wrong’ in an almost infinity-to-one ratio, it clearly went ‘right’ a staggering amount of the time, given the diversity of complex life on this planet.”

          But evolution (or rather, mutations) did and does ‘go wrong’ in an almost infinite number of ways – that is to say that most variations were/are either neutral or slightly disadvantageous. NOT usually enough to kill the animal instantly, just enough to make it slightly less successful in producing offspring than the ‘advantageous’ variations. And from a range of variations in the population, Natural Selection ‘chose’ those animals with the most favourable variations.

          The one thing needed to understand how all this could happen is an appreciation of time – millions of years (which is something humans are not good at instinctively comprehending).

          I must admit to occasionally thinking of the complexity of my own body – I’ve got this thyroid gland, how the hell did this particular chemical factory get set up? – and so on and so on. I expect some biologist/physiologist can explain how it arose from simpler features.

          It’s a bit like (to follow your analogy) trying to understand how your computer works. You click on a button and things appear on the screen. We’d say it was magic if we didn’t know it had been made by humans. The processes behind it are almost unfathomable (I doubt any human knows every single step of every twiddling bit behind it, or is capable of knowing it – thousands of programmers each know their own small section of the logic and that’s enough).


          • Posted December 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            As a computer guy, I just couldn’t let that pass. I think it is possible for a programmer to know about all the processes that go on in a computer. We don’t memorize it all, of course, but I like to think I pretty much know all about it. Or, if asked any reasonable question, I could look it up. It certainly is not the case that I only know code I wrote myself. In fact, I would have to look at code I wrote in the past and re-understand it. I also could look at someone else’s code and figure out how it worked. That understanding just goes faster with code that I wrote myself.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 21, 2018 at 1:11 am | Permalink

              Yes, I’ve written computer programs too.

              I do have to do some re-understanding of code I wrote before I can modify it. I’ve also had this laptop apart to install a new screen backlight.

              I guess I could potentially understand all the hardware and software steps between me hitting the next key and the letter appearing on the screen. But, as for understanding all the steps simultaneously, I think it’s just way too complex to keep it all in mind at once.

              Now generalise that to the whole computer…

              But this was just a ‘for instance’ and I don’t want to argue the point too extensively. 🙂


          • Posted December 20, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            The precursor of thyroid gland can be observed in protochordates (lancelets and tunicates) and lamprey larvae. It is called endostyle and is a groove at the ventral midline of the pharynx. It secretes mucus to trap eatable particles and so facilitate catching them. The secretion contains iodine extracted from seawater, but I don’t know at what point this iodine became component of hormones.

      • Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Roo, only very obliquely related, but I’m sure you would like to read the Sensuous Curmudgeon’s case against craterism. Great fun!

      More seriously, for the elementary building blocks and functionality, I think that Nick Lane’s “Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life” or “The Vital Question, Why is life the way it is?” may give you some partial answers. They are fascinating books at any rate.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Been meaning to get to the Power Sex Suicide book. The Vital Question (and Life Ascending) are terrific reads, imo. I don’t know of any better argument for the origin of life than what is summarized in TVQ.

  8. W.T. Effingham
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Evidently, Tammy Lee Hayne’s intelligence is not evolved, but bestowed upon her from the great beyond. That idiotic catch-phrase about “sweeping inferences from dubious claims based on scant data (my paraphrasing here)”is worse than wrong. Of course, any diatribe starting with “As a creationist…” does not deserve much attention, My response to her is, ” As an evolutionist, I suggest you remove your blinders and consider the mountains of evidence,specifically and heavily peer reviewed conclusions from decades of stringently reviewed studies.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. Might as well preface their argument as ‘As a blinkered adherent to a long-disproven point of view that hasn’t a scrap of evidence…’

      • Diane G
        Posted December 23, 2018 at 2:52 am | Permalink


  9. Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    This was the response I received after writing them:

    “Thank you for your feedback. We are investigating the manuscript following the standard procedure and hopefully we will be able to publish update once there is result.”

    • Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Well, that’s a different response from the one I got. Who sent it?

  10. Posted December 20, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Can you imagine a world in which these Intelligent Designists achieve their 20-year goals? It would be great if some filmmaker would tackle it, perhaps as some sort of mockumentary. If the film turned out to be as hilarious as I imagine, it would go a long way in countering these ridiculous ideas.

  11. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I note that in attacking evolutionary theory, Tammy too is dragging in abiogenesis and cosmogenesis. Why are creationists always doing that?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Evolution, abiogenesis, cosmogenesis, atheism, satanism, paganism, cannibalism – what’s the difference? They’re all immoral Godless heresies.



  12. Posted December 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Of the Discovery Institute, “they’re now entirely devoted to slinging mud at evolutionary biology and its practitioners.”

    Not entirely. They are also taking sideswipes at climate science (bits and pieces in Evolution News), and become increasingly shameless in promoting religion:https://evolutionnews.org/2018/12/israel-tour-with-stephen-meyer-will-feature-amazing-archaeological-discoveries/

  13. Posted December 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    No one can take this journal seriously with a paper written like a school-child. It wasn’t even copy-edited properly! Also, I’m sure no one outside of religious circles still refers to humans as “Man” and “he”; it’s anachronistic and vaguely insulting to the other half of the species.

    • Diane G
      Posted December 23, 2018 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      You’d be surprised at how many people from all walks of life, including scientists, still think that usage is perfectly fine. It’s most depressing.

  14. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Are not both Francis Collins and Ken Miller ‘Wallacian’ evolutionists of the human exceptionalism kind?
    Collins says that with as many words in his book “The Language of God”, while we assume the same for Ken Miller, since that is the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church.
    That being said, it would be totally unconscionable to fire Francis Collins. He is, after all and as said, considered a good scientist and administrator. Kudos to Jerry and Ken.

  15. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 21, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    the catbird seat

    Is this a creationist neologism along the lines of a crocoduck, or is it an Americanism I’ve not encountered before and can’t work out what it is meant to mean.
    I mean we do have birddogs, but they’re definitely d*gs with birds temporarily in their mouths.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 22, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      19th Century Southern US origin.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 22, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        “sitting in the catbird seat” meant “‘sitting pretty,’ like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him.”

        Yeah, uh, what was that Churchillism about being divided by a common language?
        Whoever came up with the idea of a “catbird”? The same guy as the alligatorterrier and the VisigothRoman?

        • GBJames
          Posted December 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Because its call sounds like a cat. Not very strange, IMO.

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