Darwinism Design inference Intelligent Design

Squid continue to astonish: the lighting systems

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The social squid lighting system is so much more like design than Darwinism that it is hard for researchers to maintain Darwinian bafflegab and still make sense:

More interesting than “the evolution of” the squid is the nature of the light-producing organs themselves. They look positively designed:

“Numerous small subcutaneous (s.c.) photophores (bioluminescent organs) embedded throughout the muscle tissue make the entire body glow, thereby backlighting the pigmentation patterns. Equipped with a mechanism by which complex information can be rapidly relayed through a visual pathway under low-light conditions, our data suggest that the visual signals displayed by D. gigas could share design features with advanced forms of animal communication.”

A single squid may have hundreds of these organs. The photophores are oriented not to shine outward but to illuminate pigment patterns on the skin, making the whole creature cast its pattern to the others. Compare this to how bats communicate in the dark with sound clicks, each distinct enough to avoid collisions. Nature comments on the light show, saying that the squid flash each other when approaching their own kind.

“But when squids pursued prey, they dimmed themselves. Then, just before striking, they suddenly flashed a splotchy pattern by lighting up organs beneath intermittently pigmented parts of their body.”

It’s the last freaky thing the prey would ever see under the sea. Evolution News, “Squid’s Got Talent — Super-Powers Astonish Scientists” at Evolution News and Science Today

Stanford news release. Paper. (paywall)

Abstract: Visually cued animals that inhabit the deep sea must signal to one another in order to facilitate group behaviors, yet the capacity and mechanisms for information transfer in such a dimly lit habitat are largely uninvestigated. By examining in situ behavioral footage of the Humboldt squid, Dosidicus gigas, we demonstrate the potential for a deep-living social animal to visually convey and receive large quantities of information by combining complex pigmentation patterning with whole-body luminescence. Our findings reveal a capability for information sharing comparable to advanced forms of animal communication known from well-lit habitats. This may have important implications for ecosystem processes, as information sharing between abundant predators is involved in energy and nutrient transfer throughout the world’s oceans.

Still not amazed? Did you know that some consider the squid a “second genesis of intelligence?”

Some think that a clue might lie in an oddity of the octopus’s genes. The octopus has a very large genome and can edit their own genomes, altering their RNA. They “ do not always follow their genetic instructions to the letter:”

“In humans, tweaking is rare – restricted to a handful of brain gene recipes. In the squid, the majority of brain recipes received this treatment. Many of them were related to proteins found at the synapses, the microprocessors for memory and learning.

Could this extemporising with brain protein recipes be important for soft intelligence? It’s a tantalising idea. “Coleoids show it. Nautilus – the stupid cousin – does not, it’s like any other mollusc,” says Eisenberg. – Elizabeth Finkel, “How the octopus got its smarts” at Cosmos

Some think that this editing ability might have slowed down the octopus’s evolution (thought to have started about 100 million years ago) by random processes. That calls into question how much evolution is due to random processes anyway. – Mind Matters News

And scientists clash over why octopuses are smart?

For many years, we’ve been trying to understand why the octopus is uniquely smart among cephalopods. Research answers some questions only to raise others, as a recent controversy shows.

YouTube offers a number of illustrations of octopus intelligence: solving puzzles, using tools, and escaping a closed jar, to point to a few.

A 2018 study (open access) sought to discover why octopuses are unusually intelligent—and this year another study disputed the findings. The issue is thorny because octopuses obey none of the rules for animal intelligence. Intelligent animals are supposed to be social animals that live a long time. That makes sense; managing relationships requires some intelligence and brains take a long time to mature. As Ed Yong notes in The Atlantic, apes, elephants, whales, and dolphins, crows and other corvids, and parrots (all vertebrates) share these traits. But the intelligent octopus shares the physical traits of the “dim-witted dynasty” of snails, slugs, clams, oysters, and mussels that are its own relatives. And it breaks the behavior rules for other smart life – Mind Matters News

Smart like people? No. But too smart for nonsense about natural selection acting on purely random mutation (Darwinism) to make sense. Nature is full of intelligence that is evidence of design.

2 Replies to “Squid continue to astonish: the lighting systems

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Two of those patterns are especially interesting.

    Countershading implies a ‘theory of mind’. The squid has to know that disorienting the prey visually will confuse them. Gravity doesn’t matter much underwater, so orientation is visual and magnetic. (Does the squid also emit a magnetic field? Have we looked?)

    The splotch just before the pounce is the visual equivalent of the shout often heard in martial arts, or the squeal heard in tennis, or the grunt that old folks like me emit when rising from a chair. An extra outlet for a burst of emotional energy.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm,

    “Numerous small subcutaneous (s.c.) photophores (bioluminescent organs) embedded throughout the muscle tissue make the entire body glow, thereby backlighting the pigmentation patterns.,,,
    A single squid may have hundreds of these organs. The photophores are oriented not to shine outward but to illuminate pigment patterns on the skin, making the whole creature cast its pattern to the others.,,,
    when squids pursued prey, they dimmed themselves. Then, just before striking, they suddenly flashed a splotchy pattern by lighting up organs beneath intermittently pigmented parts of their body.”

    It is very hard for me to see how anyone, after reading of such sophistication, can honestly say to themselves, and to others, ‘Yeah, Darwinian evolution did that’.

    It takes an extraordinary amount of intellectual dishonesty, both with yourself and with others, to be a Darwinist.

    Darwinists can’t even explain the origin of a single protein. Much less can Darwinists explain how trillions upon trillions of protein molecules somehow magically arrange themselves in order to achieve such a sophisticated organism as the ‘back-lighting’ squid.

    “Since the 1980s, developmental and cell biologists such as Brian Goodwin, Wallace Arthur, Stuart Newman, Fred Nijhout, and Harold Franklin have discovered or analyzed many sources of epigenetic information.
    Even molecular biologists such as Sidney Brenner, who pioneered the idea that genetic programs direct animal development, now insist that the information needed to code for complex biological systems vastly outstrips the information in DNA.
    DNA helps direct protein synthesis. Parts of the DNA molecule also help to regulate the timing and expression of genetic information and the synthesis of various proteins within cells. Yet once proteins are synthesized, they must be arranged into higher-level systems of proteins and structures. Genes and proteins are made from simple building blocks—nucleotide bases and amino acids, respectively—arranged in specific ways. Similarly, distinctive cell types are made of, among other things, systems of specialized proteins. Organs are made of specialized arrangements of cell types and tissues. And body plans comprise specific arrangements of specialized organs. Yet the properties of individual proteins do not fully determine the organization of these higher-level structures and patterns. Other sources of information must help arrange individual proteins into systems of proteins, systems of proteins into distinctive cell types, cell types into tissues, and different tissues into organs. And different organs and tissues must be arranged to form body plans.”
    [S.Meyer, ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, Ch.14]

    Functional Proteins and Information for Body Plans – Dr. Stephen Meyer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs4y4XLGQ-Y

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

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