Cambrian explosion Intelligent Design

Well, of course, animal behavior IS an argument against Darwinian gradualism

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Remember Gunter Bechly, the paleontologist who got erased from Wikipedia *? At ENST, he says,

Based on the Darwinian narrative, we should expect not only that morphological complexity increases gradually in the fossil record, but we should also expect the same for complex animal behavior. This is because according to Darwinists, “Evolution not only is a gradual process as a matter of fact, but…it has to be gradual if it is to do any explanatory work” (Dawkins 2009). Charles Darwin himself strictly insisted on gradualism and famously quoted the Latin phrase “natura non facit saltus” (“nature does not make jumps”) no fewer than six times in his Origin of Species. He realized that any kind of significant saltational change would imply a miracle-like intelligent intervention.

Therefore, it is a problem for Darwinism if we find evidence that complex behavior, instead of arising gradually, was already present in the oldest animals we know. And indeed, this is exactly what we do find.

Earlier this month the discovery of extended parental care was described for the 520-million-year-old arthropod Fuxianhuia protensa from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang locality in China (Fu et al. 2018). This new discovery made worldwide headlines (Davis 2018, Fox-Skelly 2018, Hugo 2018). It also paralleled two earlier discoveries from a few years ago (Fang 2015, Geggel 2015, Lacerda 2015), which documented brood care in the 508-million-year-old arthropod Waptia from the famous Burgess Shale in Canada (Caron & Vannier 2016), and the discovery of brood care in the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang arthropod Kunmingella douvillei (Duan et al. 2014).More.

Sure. It sounds like a downloaded program. And, these days, Wikipedia is the resource for the “I’m With Stupid” discount on the tee shirt.

See also: Earlier than thought: Worm burrows at rock layers over 600 million years ago

and

Cambrian fossil shows parent caring for young

13 Replies to “Well, of course, animal behavior IS an argument against Darwinian gradualism

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    Therefore, it is a problem for Darwinism if we find evidence that complex behavior, instead of arising gradually, was already present in the oldest animals we know.

    Now, boys & girls, can you explain what is wrong with the logic of this sentence, and tell us what the Latin name is for this fallacy?

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    It’s not just earlier than thought, it’s wider than thought. Every new removal of theorigenic blinders leads to a broader spread of “high-level” behaviors and structures. The end point is clear. All behaviors and structures were available at the exact start in all living things.

    You Catholic ID’ers are on the Dawkins side of the broad/narrow argument with your stubborn insistence that humans are peculiar. I don’t understand why this is necessary; it’s certainly not scientific.

  3. 3
    LocalMinimum says:

    Bob O’H:

    If carefully stacking the fossil record wasn’t Darwin’s final opportunity for employment I could offer argumentum ad ignorantiam.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    The issue is behavior trumps any random mutations that you have to wait for to happen. One can change its behavior rather easily. There was a PBS documentary about albino animals and how they are not as fit as the others in the population because they stand out. There was an albino croc in it and it could not hunt like the others. That is because it white hide gave it away as it swam close to the prey. The croc changed its approach and starting attacking from the deep instead of from the surface. And it even found a mate.

    Behavior easily trumps natural selection.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Bob:

    Now, boys & girls, can you explain what is wrong with the logic of this sentence, and tell us what the Latin name is for this fallacy?

    Make your case, Bob. I bet it will fall apart quicker than you can say that Latin name

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    How do we know it didn’t arise gradually leading up to these recently-discovered instances?

  7. 7
    Latemarch says:

    Will someone explain to me how genes cause behavior?
    Honest question. I can’t see the connection.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    OK, tight jeans can cause different behaviors both in the wearer of the genes and anyone who observes them. It is context dependent. And loose jeans can hang around your knees and that type of behavior is all too common. 😎

    No it’s a chemical thing. Maybe you are getting too much or not enough because of your genes. Or a defective gene is coding for a rogue protein.

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Latemarch:

    “Will someone explain to me how genes cause behavior?”

    Good question indeed. I don’t think anyone knows.

    But the point is, some animal behaviours are “instinctive”, in the sense that they manifest in quite similar ways in a whole species (see ants, bees, as an extreme example).

    So, it seems reasonable to assume that they are genetically transmitted, somehow.

    But I doubt that anyone has any ideas about how that happens.

  10. 10
    Latemarch says:

    Information is non-material.

    There is information in the gene.
    That information makes proteins…no behavior there.
    That information controls the making of proteins…no behavior there either.
    Epigenetic information effects genes and controls…no behavior there.
    Cytoplasmic information probably controls organization and possibly body plans….no behavior there either.
    Might there be information we haven’t accounted for yet that controls behavior?

    Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?

  11. 11
    OldAndrew says:

    Pick several behaviors at random:

    Spiders weaving webs
    Birds building nests
    Snakes defending themselves by striking and injecting venom

    Now imagine each of those creatures without that behavior. Speculate as to what the very first step toward each of those behaviors might be.

    It has to be
    1) Small enough that it can result from just a few mutations.
    2) Big enough that it results in differential reproduction, which likely means outweighing other beneficial mutations which must be happening at the same time in order for significant evolution to happen within less than a billion years.
    3) Supported by the animal’s physiology at that time.
    4) Without purpose, having only the retrospective appearance of purpose (and yet still significantly beneficial.)

    Don’t demonstrate such a first step. That’s a bit much to ask. Just speculate. Imagine it. Write it down and put it into words. It must match all of the above criteria, so one must explain why it would have been selected.

    Done? Now the next step. And the next. Times thousands of such mutations per species. It evolves “convergently” in other species.

    There’s no hypothesis. I’ve never even seen a decent attempt at hand-waving speculation for even one of such steps. No one should take it seriously.

  12. 12

    OldAndrew @ 11: There is no hypothesis offered because a/mats have no idea how such things occurred. They have no idea what the first step was, nor the second, etc. They just assume that such things happened gradually by unguided natural processes. In other words, they have faith.

  13. 13

    Latemarch @ 7 and 10: Great questions.

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