Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Sperm whale as an example of why Darwinian gradualism fails

There was a documentary on channel 4 last Monday about the dissection of a sperm whale washed up dead on the Kent coast. An amazing Darwin-busting demonstration of irreducibly complex structures that could not possibly have evolved, although that’s not how it was presented. So I thought I’d present a brief alternative commentary.

With the help of live film of the dissection, expert testimony, experiments and animations, we saw how features like the specialised myoglobin rich muscle together with many other physiological and anatomical features working in concert allowed very deep diving to catch giant squid. This prey only ever lives at extreme depth, so its hard to see how the whale evolved its ability to dive deep, stay down for an hour, echolocate and catch giant squid by ‘numerous gradual changes’. You either go the whole way or its nothing at all; there are no giant squid at 100, 200 or 300 metres etc.

I suppose a convinced Darwinian will confabulate a story about supposed giant squid ancestors which lived in shallow seas and gradually moved deeper over aeons while they co-evolved with the sperm whale. That’s the wonder of Darwinism, starting with the old fraud himself, it has always been possible to imagine anything and then fill in the evidential gaps with supposition backed up by appeal to the consensus of the mutually appointed experts.

6 or 8 times evolution was referred to, but no evidence was offered, not even the ‘Pakicetus’ skull fragments or the so called vestigial legs which are simply pelvic structures to which essential muscles are attached. No need to offer evidence, just wheel on Dawkins and some shots of the Darwin Temple (used to be the Natural History Museum) and keep repeating bold assertions.

The nasal structures in the whale’s huge head were particularly challenging for Darwinian gradualist explanations. The nostrils are divided into two asymmetrical halves. One was for breathing, and was serviced by an astounding conical array of long tendons from truncal muscles which snapped the nostril valve open and at the same time pulled the long nostril passage open to let air in and out of the highly specialised lobleless lung, which the whale scientist described as being unique and highly efficient. This whole arrangement allowed fantastically fast gas exchange for a quick turnaround and another deep dive for food.

The other half of the nostril came round at a different angle from the main airway and passed though a specialised organ called the ‘monkey lips’. A puff of air through this made a vibration, a bit like a fart I suppose. The air connected with the other nostril, all the time the valve remaining tight shut, and re-circulated. This would obviously be essential at depth, although evolution wouldn’t know that when it started playing around with the land based whale ancestor’s nostrils before they became a blow hole, and couldn’t plan ahead if it did. Looked designed to me. The noise passed back through the spermaceti filled head (the spermaceti as we were shown in a diving experiment is perfectly constituted to make an adjustable buoyancy/diving aid) hit a part of the skull described as being like a radar dish, and bounced forward though the lower part of the head and out at a blunt point to project forward. Like a lot of the organs in the whale, it had multi functions, both for communicating with other whales of the family group and to echo locate prey. Biggest noise in the animal world with a range of 60 km.
For brevity I will omit other whale features such as the hinged rib cage, prehensile penis, blubber, flukes, tail first birth, ability to suckle young underwater etc. which all look as if they were designed, did not have any counterparts in terrestrial quadruped mammals the whale is aleged to have evolved from, and would not have been viable let alone advantageous during supposed intermediate stages.

The really big problems this whale posed for evolutionists are

(A)   How do random mutations create the new DNA information to code for all this highly complex stuff that looks designed? Why should they?
(B)   How did this animal’s ancestors move from being land based mammals to fully seagoing mammals via ‘numerous gradual changes’ since it appears from the examination of the whale that every part of it has to be exactly as it is for the whole organism to function at all?
(C)   How did all the ‘adaptations’ to allow sperm whales to catch giant squid at 1 kilometre depth come together at the same time? The question matters because any one of them is useless without all of the others present and working together in unison. Darwin was pretty keen in the idea that any adaptation that conferred no selective benefit would be ‘ruthlessly exterminated’. Surely that would apply to intermediate non-functioning organs and behaviours, like diving to 300 metres and not finding any squid.

Quite a set of problems for the Darwinians. On the other hand, they could just deny, confabulate, imagine, bluster and bombast as usual. The alternative, to accept that God is creator, would involve accepting that God is also Lawgiver and Judge. If the second and third of these propositions are unacceptable due to our sinful rebellion, the first had better not be true. That’s where evolutionism is coming from; it has nothing at all to do with following the evidence where it leads, its about massaging evidence to support a conclusion that has already been reached.

Dawkins read out a passage from the book of Job about a great sea monster Leviathan (whether it is a whale or dinosaur that is being described in this passage is disputed). It’s a shame he didn’t read the whole passage where God answers job out of the whirlwind. He asks him ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I created the heavens and the earth?’ and other such questions.

Where indeed.

PS re comments.

I can budget about 2 hours a week on average out of my complicated life for Darwin criticism. That's not enough time to respond to comments, especially since no evolutionist i have ever crossed swords with has every been satisfied with any response.  I have a responsibility to manage my time wisely and that doesn't involve endless disputation. I am not posting for hardened Dawkinists although I hope even they may think again. I am posting for reasonable people who may be in the position I was before I heard the evidence against evolution for the first time, browbeaten and bamboozled by the 'mountains of overwhelming evidence...there is (must be) no debate...donlt question this orthodoxy...only an ignorant cretinist IDiot could doubt evolution!' brigade.

I post what I post, and I allow free and unmoderated comment, but I don't respond to it. Don't, not can't. Any readers can make of that what they will. Sorry if anyone has a problem with that. I have a problem with loads of things I cant do quack about, that's life.


  1. LOL! Why don't you just post "I don't understand the science, so it must be impossible!!" and save time?

    The answers to your silly questions are

    (A) Random mutations by themselves didn't create new 'information'. The iterative feedback process of random mutations filtered by selection did.
    (B) Parts only have to be exactly as they are now for the whale to function exactly as it does now. But ancestral whales didn't have to function exactly as whales do now. They gradually developed their present capabilities over hundreds of thousands of generations.
    (C) Current adaptions that allow for feeding at 1km depth didn't have to happen all at once. Adaptions for deep diving accumulated slowly over generations, allowing for a greater and greater feeding depth over time.

    On the outside chance you wish to alleviate your ignorance, here is a link to the home page of Dr. Edward Babinski, one of the world's foremost experts on cetacean evolution.

    The Evolution of Whales

    I have no problems with you proselytizing and making grandiose proclamations about scientific topics on which you have no clue, or making excuses as to why you can't (not won't) respond to criticisms. I'll support to the end your right to make a fool of yourself on your own blog. The only reason I came here was because this site was touted at UncommonlyDense, another hotbed of brainless Creationists trying to attack science. I happen to find such blustering displays of truly pathetic willful ignorance hugely entertaining. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the Blog Elwin. Very topical and incisive.

    There was a similar appeal to mutation on "Bang Goes the Theory" last night- www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013spj0

    Dr. Yan 'demonstrated' 'evolution by copying-error mutation'. He got dozens of people to trace a line which began perfectly straight- and after a couple of hundred 'generations' it had evolved into, wait for it… a squiggly line! Amazing! Now if the line had evolved, by tiny variations, into a perfect circle, that would have been impressive.


  3. David Scott said...

    There was a similar appeal to mutation on "Bang Goes the Theory" last night- www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013spj0

    Dr. Yan 'demonstrated' 'evolution by copying-error mutation'. He got dozens of people to trace a line which began perfectly straight- and after a couple of hundred 'generations' it had evolved into, wait for it… a squiggly line! Amazing! Now if the line had evolved, by tiny variations, into a perfect circle, that would have been impressive.

    Sorry, but that goofy cartoon version does not demonstrate the process of evolution. Evolution involves iterative feedback filtered by differential selection, with the survivors passing on their heritable traits. Where is the selection and feedback in your example?


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