Caribbean Reef Squid: A Conundrum for Neo-Darwinian Evolution?

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Photo: Dan Hershman

Melissa Travis has an interesting blog post at her new “Science, Reason & Faith” website, “Caribbean Reef Squid: A Conundrum for Neo-Darwinian Evolution?”:

My all-time favorite form of recreation is coral reef snorkeling. For me, there is NOTHING that compares to the thrill and wonder of floating above a spectacular reef, observing all of the colorful sea life that dwell in and around it. I recently visited reefs in the Virgin Islands, where I encountered beautiful creatures such as parrot fish, butterfly fish, needle fish, and a rainbow variety of corals. I was once again struck by the magnificence of God’s underwater creation. How could any intelligent person believe such wondrous living beauty and symbiosis came about without conscious foresight and design? But many (though not all) working in the field of evolutionary biology believe exactly that. They place their faith in the assumed capabilities of the engine of natural selection.

In this post, I would like to profile just one marine animal capability that, I believe, demonstrates  a serious explanatory handicap for Neo-Darwinian evolution.

Click here to read the full article.

15 Replies to “Caribbean Reef Squid: A Conundrum for Neo-Darwinian Evolution?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Notes of semi-related interest:

    Living Together – A guide to symbiosis on coral reefs – video

    Symbiosis & Anemonefish – Reef Life of the Andaman – video

    Pistol Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Archer Fish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Invisible Octopus – video

    “Please Be My Toothpick You Scrumptious Old Wrasse!” – August 4, 2009 – article

    Nature’s IQ – video

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world – video

    Description: Some 80 to 90 percent of undersea creatures make light — and we know very little about how or why. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder explores this glowing, sparkling, luminous world, sharing glorious images and insight into the unseen depths (and brights) of the ocean.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    I would have expected more interest in these reefer squid, but they seem to have only attracted the attention of BA77. 😉

  4. 4
    JGuy says:

    Here’s an ample contribution to the comments:

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Stephen Meyer’s new book, on the sheer inability of Darwinian mechanisms to explain the (explosive) origin of new body plans, is due out in June:

    Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design;psc=1

    Here is a sneak peek at his forthcoming book:

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Why Are We Still Debating Darwin? pt. 2 – podcast

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Mimic Octopus – video


    In a Tadpole’s Eye: Another Case of Darwinism’s Plasticity Problem – David Klinghoffer – March 1, 2013
    Excerpt: Organisms of all sorts are capable of intelligent, goal-directed, adaptive behavior that cannot possibly be accounted for on the basis of the theory of natural selection.
    *Never in the evolutionary history of human beings was there selection for “seeing” with the tongue.
    *Never in the evolutionary history of fruit flies was there selection for adaptation to an inverted visual field.
    *Never in the evolutionary history of ferrets was there selection for the brain reorganization necessary to see with the auditory cortex.
    *And never in the evolutionary history of the slime mold was there selection for solving mazes.
    Of course, the Darwinist will say that there is no need to posit past selection for plasticity. Instead, we will be invited to view plasticity as a “spandrel” — an accidental side effect of other abilities that were selected for.
    But that would be entirely ad hoc. There is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim.

  7. 7
    Box says:

    @Bornagain77 (6) – Tadpole’s Eye

    The organism as a whole controls the parts that are available. How else can we understand ‘plasticity’? Plasticity confirms that organism cannot be explained bottom-up. We have to come with a concept of top-down causation – which is a huge challenge.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Box, that’s right. Although, I think people already have a intuitive, unavoidable, grasp of ‘top down’ causation,,,,

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.

    and apparently this seeing purpose in nature is ‘wired’ into us:

    Young Children Think Like Scientists – 27 September 2012

    Children are born believers in God, academic claims – 24 Nov 2008
    “Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.”

    Out of the mouths of babes – Do children believe (in God) because they’re told to by adults? The evidence suggests otherwise – Justin Barrett – 2008
    Excerpt: • Children tend to see natural objects as designed or purposeful in ways that go beyond what their parents teach, as Deborah Kelemen has demonstrated. Rivers exist so that we can go fishing on them, and birds are here to look pretty.
    • Children doubt that impersonal processes can create order or purpose. Studies with children show that they expect that someone not something is behind natural order. No wonder that Margaret Evans found that children younger than 10 favoured creationist accounts of the origins of animals over evolutionary accounts even when their parents and teachers endorsed evolution. Authorities’ testimony didn’t carry enough weight to over-ride a natural tendency.
    • Children know humans are not behind the order so the idea of a creating god (or gods) makes sense to them. Children just need adults to specify which one.
    • Experimental evidence, including cross-cultural studies, suggests that three-year-olds attribute super, god-like qualities to lots of different beings. Super-power, super-knowledge and super-perception seem to be default assumptions. Children then have to learn that mother is fallible, and dad is not all powerful, and that people will die. So children may be particularly receptive to the idea of a super creator-god. It fits their predilections.
    • Recent research by Paul Bloom, Jesse Bering, and Emma Cohen suggests that children may also be predisposed to believe in a soul that persists beyond death.

    Thus, perhaps the ‘huge’ challenge will only be to ‘wake up’ that which is already there.

  9. 9
    vjtorley says:

    Hi News,

    This is a wonderful piece, which provides an especially striking instance of Intelligent Design. Animal signaling systems in Nature can be very sophisticated, and this is about the best case I’ve read of yet. Thanks again.

  10. 10
    Box says:


    For clarity I would like to state that in case of plasticity we have to explain instant design activity – instant reorganization. For me, the most likely candidate is the organism as a whole.
    This is what I mean by ‘top-down causation’ – from the whole towards its parts.
    The notion that at a certain point in history organisms were designed (by God) is certainly related, but is something else.

  11. 11
    JGuy says:

    Hi News,

    This is a wonderful piece, which provides an especially striking instance of Intelligent Design. Animal signaling systems in Nature can be very sophisticated, and this is about the best case I’ve read of yet. Thanks again.

    Not to take away from the amazing signalling scheme seen with these creatures… but if human communication isn’t enough to convince a Darwinist, then they will probably find it easy for themselves to brush these examples under the carpet too.

  12. 12
    sterusjon says:


    Thank you so much for introducing me to Melissa’s “Science, Reason & Faith” site and the onward from a tab found there to “Hard-Core Christianty.” She seems to be a thoughtful and prolific ID supporter. I have just begun to look around but I see myself spending a lot of time soaking in her thoughts.


  13. 13
    Phinehas says:


    Good thing she’s a “hard-core Christian,” eh? Otherwise, one might have to actually engage the evidence she presents. Now, we can all just dismiss her with sneering contempt.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    And no degree in macroevolution.

  15. 15
    sterusjon says:


    From what I’ve read so far, it’s just her way. Graciously forwarning and thusly preventing any of the close-minded from an accidental exposure to a bout of cognitive dissonance. 🙂


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