Cavefish; Kimberlite Pipes; and the Joke’s on Frank Sherwin

Here’s the three (technically four) DpSU’s that I didn’t cover prior to the last one I did. Surprisingly, there has only been the one since the Peruvian Mummy, but I’ll get to that later.

Map of world geologic provinces

The very first of these was called Surgeon Says Human Body Did Not Evolve – considering that there’s nothing there that’s different from the one we saw the other day in ATP Synthase and Joseph Kuhn it doesn’t even deserve a place in the title. Moving right along…

The next one is Evolution Made Cavefish Go Blind? Mr Thomas’ argument (if it can be called such) is summed up in his introductory paragraph:

Evolution maintains that as more time passes, living things evolve to acquire better and more useful traits. As such, shouldn’t the loss of a useful trait, such as eyesight, be regarded as the opposite of evolution? Not so, say recent news reports on blind fish.

This is more-or-less equivalent to saying:

  • Cars are supposed to be able to turn right
  • This is an example of a car turning left
  • Therefore, cars do not exist

Additionally, the following is pulled out of thin air:

But obtaining the fish sight system required an input of a massive quantity and quality of information. And making the fish blind merely required the loss of some of that information. How could attributing these opposite processes to “evolution” be scientifically accurate?

Does Mr Thomas know that the blindness was caused by a loss of information? The eyes have skin over them – while it is not unlikely that they are decayed in some way, this would have happened after the skin moved over them. Did that require more or less ‘information’? If B.T. actually knows the answer, he isn’t giving his sources.

While we’re here, these eyes are ‘vestigial organs’, things that we have already learned that the ICR denies the existence of. Admittedly, that video only deals with humans, but there is no reason for only other animals to have such organs.

Next up was New Study Explains Fast-Moving Magma, about a paper in Nature called Kimberlite ascent by assimilation-fuelled buoyancy. You can listen to a reasonably lengthy explanation of this paper here, but for our purposes here are three paragraphs from a ScienceNews article:

Diamond mines tap volcanic rocks called kimberlites, which contain many kinds of crystals that must have formed at high pressures 150 kilometers or more deep, in the planetary layer known as the mantle. How those mantle crystals make it to the surface has been a puzzle, since magma gets denser the more crystals it picks up. Most geologists have assumed that the magma must bubble gases to keep it moving up, but no one has been able to explain exactly how.

Russell and his colleagues realized that gas could do the trick if the magma starts out relatively poor in silicon dioxide, a major component of the Earth’s crust also known as silica. As magma rises through cracks it begins to dissolve the surrounding rock — especially that containing lots of orthopyroxene, a mineral rich in magnesium, iron and silica. The orthopyroxene releases its silica into the magma, and as the silica content rises the magma’s ability to hold dissolved carbon dioxide drops. The gas bubbles out and by the time the kimberlite gets to the surface, it erupts at supersonic speeds.

The research could explain why the gem-laden kimberlites appear only in ancient parts of continents, known as cratons, like those in northwestern Canada and southern Africa. Cratons contain lots of orthopyroxene, allowing the magma to gobble it and ascend. “We’ve always wondered, how do the kimberlites find the craton?” Russell says. “They don’t. Their passage through the craton converts them.”

Now, what did Mr Thomas do with this?

The Deccan Traps in India, and especially the Siberian Traps, have vast quantities of lava rock near the earth’s surface. Many geologists have assumed that this formed over millions of years. However, recent studies testing that assumption have shown just the opposite—the magma moved rapidly from great depths.

Err…no. This study is about kimberlites, which the both Deccan and Siberian Traps are not. Having established that, as usual, Mr Thomas has no idea what he’s talking about I think we can just leave him to his blathering.

The final one of the three was by Frank Sherwin, and not Thomas, and was called Animal Laughter Study Doesn’t Help Evolution. It’s a strange, and unjustified title. It’s not supposed to ‘help’ evolution, any more than medical research is supposed to ‘help’ germ theory.

Sherwin begins:

Scientists recently studied laughter in different animals, such as rats and primates, by tickling them. One study compared the sounds made by humans and great apes:

[The researchers] found many acoustic similarities, which has led them to believe that laughter in great apes shared the same evolutionary origin as laughter in humans, suggesting a common ancestor that giggled when tickled.

They concluded that “laughter is at least 30 million to 60 million years old.” With a range of 30 million years, though, it’s safe to assume that evolutionists have no idea when laughter evolved.

Er, no – they have narrowed it down to a specific 30 million year range. Or, in other words, they have probably just found a clade, which had a common ancestor around that time.

Also, does anyone remember Humphreys – the creationist physicist who ‘predicted’ the magnetic fields of Neptune and Uranus. His prediction, which creationists tend to hail as a triumph, had error bars of an order of magnitude either side of the predicted value. Here, the upper limit is merely twice that of the lower one. So what?Hominidae family tree

The BBC reported that tickling a gorilla “sounds a lot like human laughter.” However, evolutionists maintain that people evolved from chimpanzees—not gorillas.

He doesn’t get it, does he? To the right is a family tree of Humans and related geni. For one, nobody’s saying that we evolved from chimps, any more than we’re saying chimps evolved from us. Second, if you can establish, say, that a given trait is found in both Gorillas and Humans that pushes it further back than if you only found it in chimps (Pan).

Also, macaws, parrots, and other birds can mimic human laughter even more closely than any primate can, but evolutionists don’t suggest that people evolved from parrots.

That’s mimicry, Frank, which doesn’t count.

And recent reports found that pigeons have numerical abilities like those of primates. Researchers observed pigeons employing “abstract numerical rules” that are “indistinguishable from that displayed by monkeys.” Does this mean that primates share the same evolutionary origin as pigeons?

No, it means that “abstract numerical rules” aren’t all that hard to develop.

The case for laughter could be compared to shivering. When mammals, as well as some large insects and birds, get cold by an external stimulus, they react by shivering. This is the rapid contraction of large muscle groups generating heat, otherwise known as involuntary thermogenesis. An ability to shiver doesn’t suggest that the creatures that do it come from a common ancestor. The same goes for laughing (the reaction) when tickled (the external stimulus).

Shivering is apparently a ‘warm blooded’ thing, which is a trait shared by only a few large groups of organisms. It suggests that the creature is part of one of these groups, though not that the groups themselves are related.

So, it would make sense that rats would react, albeit subjectively, to the tickling. A variety of animals do, but does this reveal anything about how human laughter evolved? The answer is “no.”

Really? Nothing? That has has to qualify the rat’s reaction already tells us something.

But that’s all for today.

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6 thoughts on “Cavefish; Kimberlite Pipes; and the Joke’s on Frank Sherwin

  1. Shivering is apparently a ‘warm blooded’ thing, which is a trait shared by only a few large groups of organisms. It suggests that the creature is part of one of these groups, though not that the groups themselves are related.

    But we are. Just a very, very long time ago. Don’t take this as gospel but, as far as I’m aware, warm blooded (there are technical issues here, but disregard. We’re not arguing with the Wizard of Oz) is shared by mammals and birds and we’re not entirely sure where that split occurred. A once only trick? A twice trick? A many times but only two survivors? Go back the genetic line and I’ll bet there was a common ancestor of mammals and birds that had a, possibly entirely unnoticed, mutation that enabled warm blood.

    • Perhaps that should have said “not necessarily that the groups themselves are related.”

      If it evolved only once, wouldn’t that mean some groups have lost it?

  2. YECs love (lying about topics to do with) diamonds.

    How long do diamonds take to form in the first place (including those formed from subducted organic/carbon containing material)?

    http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/08/09/spiritual-truths-from-genesis-one-and-thoughts-about-the-age-of-the-earth-and-dr-brown-interviews-young-earth-creationist-scholar-jonathan-sarfati/ http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2011/09/sarfatis_yec_nonsense.php (I commented below both of these articles/blogs)

    Have forwarded this blog to the ICR for info. Hope that’s OK (you aren’t copied in as I don’t know your name or email address).

    (I once studied at Lancaster Uni – though not science.)

  3. My comment on a new ICR blog:

    http://www.icr.org/article/6682/
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982211013765
    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/13/science/la-sci-galapagos-tortoise-20120114

    It’s the young Earth creationists who are ‘frustrated’ by the evidence and have to distort its most likely meaning.

    “They thought that unique algae-eating marine iguanas had evolved into a separate species that could no longer interbreed with its cousins, but again, no evolution had occurred”. Being able to interbreed does not disprove the theory of evolution! Note that marine and land iguana species belong to DIFFERENT genera. Drivel.

    Why would God create from scratch separate species – marine and land iguanas – that can interbreed? More likely, SPECIATION has occurred but the iguanas are still sufficiently genetically related that breeding and hybridisation is possible.

    You also refer – this is the ‘trigger’ for your misleading article – to the Galapagos giant tortoise. Note that – although your piece of propaganda IGNORES this – ALL the giant tortoises CONFIRMED as still extant are subspecies belonging to the SAME species (different to the ‘rediscovered’ Galapagos tortoise, which is part of the same genus). Tortoises are longer-lived than iguanas, so this might explain the rather limited speciation.

    “The discovery of DNA from a type of tortoise thought to be extinct only shows that the different tortoise “species” that have variously inhabited these island niches are really just varieties of the tortoise kind”. Non sequitur. WHAT difference does a particular giant tortoise species apparently not being extinct after all make to anything?

    Taken in context, the word ‘kind’ in the Bible has NO scientific meaning and appears to refer to varieties eg of birds within the separate – broad (and non exhaustive) – forms of life that are actually mentioned in Genesis. Most YECs claim to be unable to rigorously define what THEY (not the Bible) mean by ‘kind’.

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