Quite a party

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I went to the Keith Thomson lecture and Darwin’s 200th celebration at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife event last night. The lecture was great, the wine was strong, the company was nerdy but fantastic, and the music was thumpin. However, I’m not sure Darwin ever imagined there would be a dance party in front of a Darwin’s finches display:

2009-02-12_Cal_Acad_Darwin_Day_photo.jpg

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That’s great Keith Thomsen spoke. On what, should I ask? His work on coelecanths, evo-devo, or something else?

Talk was entitled “Who was Charles Darwin?”, partially about his book The Young Charles Darwin.

Galapagos: Showcase for Creation This year evolutionists are celebrating Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book The Origin of Species. In preparation for this celebration, last December ICR sent Dr. Steve Austin to the Santa Cruz River Valley in southern Argentina to follow up on Darwin’s trip on the Beagle. On board, Darwin read Charles Lyell’s new book on uniformitarianism, advocating that today’s “uniform” processes had dramatically sculptured the earth over long ages, accomplishing much geologic work. The Santa Cruz River was the Beagle’s fi rst major stop, and thus Darwin’s fi rst chance to apply Lyell’s ideas. Dr. Austin discovered Darwin had made numerous errors in Argentina as he attempted to interpret the river valley according to uniformity, and mistook major Ice Age fl ooding for great ages of minor processes. Darwin’s voyage continued, sailing around to the west of South America where the ship encountered the Galapagos Islands, straddling the equator. Here Darwin applied uniformitarianism to living systems, and eventually proposed slow-acting evolution as the source of life’s diversity. ICR was certain he was equally as wrong on Galapagos as he was in Argentina, and desired to demonstrate it. This became a reality when Doug Phillips and Vision Forum asked me to accompany them to the Galapagos during the week of March 9-15. They were shooting a Christian family fi lm about a Christian father teaching his son about creation and the dangers of evolution. The fi lm featured interviews with several experts, including me. The project’s leading question was: Is Galapagos a living laboratory for evolution or a showcase for creation? As has been pointed out in these pages, the one thing that Darwin didn’t mention in his book The Origin of Species was the origin of species. He discussed at length variety within a species (i.e., pigeons or fi nches), and merely assumed that these minor, observed changes (microevolution) add up to large changes (macroevolution). This is the unsupported “faith” of the evolutionist. ICR’s previous investigations on the Galapagos Islands had convinced us that no evolution is going on there. The islands abound with unusual life. Going there was a wonderful “animal experience” for all of us, for the animals show little fear of humans. The rather barren volcanic islands afford unencumbered visibility of giant Galapagos turtles, sea lions, land and marine iguanas, Darwin’s fi nches, “booby” birds, fl ightless cormorants, fl amingos, frigate birds, etc., along with sea creatures accessible by snorkeling. Evolutionists make much of the adaptation of land-based iguanas to ocean life. But is this evolution? No! The two rather different “species” freely interbreed in the wild. Evolution is about the origin of new species from existing species, but here we see the amalgamation of species, the opposite of evolution. Evolutionists trumpet the several Galapagos fi nch “species” as arising by adaptation from one species. Creationists agree, but this did not happen through evolution. Normally the fi nch types segregate by lifestyle according to their beak shape, but in times of stress they interbreed and combine. No evolution here. The fl ightless cormorants are recognizably related to other species of cormorant on other continents, but these have lost the use of their wings. Since when is the loss of a useful structure an evolutionary development? The real question is how animals acquire wings in the fi rst place, not how they lose them. No, there is no evolution happening on the Galapagos Islands. They really are a showcase for creation. On display is God’s wise creative design in preparing robust gene pools in each created “kind” that enable all of God’s creatures to adapt and survive varying conditions. Darwin got it wrong at the Galapagos Islands. The Genesis account stands. Species John D. Morris, Ph.D. PRESIDENT

So…

Animals are found in separate populations which are “rather different”, but among which some individuals still interbreed, but they can’t be speciating. No, no, of course not. The reverse must be happening. Yeah, that’s it. We know this to be true, because.

Vestigial wings demonstrate that, um, the Creator decided to afflict a bunch of cormorants out on some islands (where, by sheer coincidence, there are no effective terrestrial predators) just on account of that’s the way He did it, and we’re not allowed to enquire why. Yeah, sure, that’ll work. Oh, and they walked there from Mount Ararat. Cormorants walk real good. Uh-huh.

Idiots.

Dave Luckett said:

So…

Animals are found in separate populations which are “rather different”, but among which some individuals still interbreed, but they can’t be speciating. No, no, of course not. The reverse must be happening. Yeah, that’s it. We know this to be true, because.

Vestigial wings demonstrate that, um, the Creator decided to afflict a bunch of cormorants out on some islands (where, by sheer coincidence, there are no effective terrestrial predators) just on account of that’s the way He did it, and we’re not allowed to enquire why. Yeah, sure, that’ll work. Oh, and they walked there from Mount Ararat. Cormorants walk real good. Uh-huh.

Idiots.

“No evolution here. The fl ightless cormorants are recognizably related to other species of cormorant on other continents, but these have lost the use of their wings. “

Nice try.

The flightless cormorants of the Galapagos have not “lost the use of their wings”. They have vestigial wings, much reduced structures that work fine as balancing and directional aids when diving, and for display, but they can’t fly with them. The reason is that they don’t need to fly. Their fishing grounds are right by the rocks where they live, and there are no terrestrial predators that can reach them. Flight is therefore unnecessary, but it’s expensive. So it is not selected for, and the cormorants’ wings become vestigial.

Islands isolated from effective terrestrial predators, especially rats, weasels, cats, etc, always develop a population of flightless birds - keas and kiwis in New Zealand, dodos in Mauritius, flightless rails in Hawaii, many other examples. The problem for the creationist is to explain why this is so. Evolution has an answer. The creationist answer is “because God did it that way”.

Unsatisfactory.

Dave Luckett writes…

So it is not selected for, and the cormorants’ wings become vestigial.

Perhaps it’s quibbling, but the wings of cormorants and penguins are not vestigial at all.

They are, in fact, very well selected for their primary “flying” environment.

Since water is so much denser than air, structures used for hydrodynamic maneuvering can be very much smaller than their aerodynamic counterparts, even given the lower speeds involved.

Long, aerodynamic wings would, in fact, be a distinct disadvantage under water. They would have high drag, and the long delicate structures would be easily damaged in the rough surf.

Now, ostrich wings, on the other hand.…

I am using ‘vestigial’ to mean ‘much reduced, and not used for a former function’, not ‘functionless’ or ‘entirely vanished’. Otherwise, quibble accepted and applied.

Steve Austin? Didn’t we spend six million dollars on that guy?

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on February 13, 2009 2:44 PM.

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