Tuesday, March 19, 2013

 

From A to B(ananas)!


Ray ("Banana Man") Comfort (along with his doppelgänger, Kirk Cameron) may be the stupidest creationist on Earth. He suffers, to the nth degree, from the greatest weakness of all creationists who "contemplate" evolutionary theory: linear thinking.

He simply cannot grasp the idea that species do not evolve from individuals, in some sort of creation-like event, but that it is populations that evolve. Thus, he propagates stupidity as in:
I ask questions about where the female came from for each species. Every male dog, cat, horse, elephant, giraffe, fish and bird had to have coincidentally evolved with a female alongside it (over billions of years) with fully evolved compatible reproductive parts and a desire to mate, otherwise the species couldn't keep going. Evolution has no explanation for the female for every species in creation," he said.
But David Klinghoffer is not far behind. Quoting [cough] Nina Jablonski, Penn State anthropologist and author of Skin: A Natural History, Klinghoffer purports to find "a bit of a puzzle."

Ya see, Jablonski hypothesizes that humans are the "naked ape" because:
... the reason we started to lose body hair is related to the need for controlling body heat.

It turns out that primates lose most of their heat through radiation from the surface of the body into the environment, and by evaporation of sweat. The hotter it is outside, the more important sweat becomes, especially if the animal is exercising vigorously and generating a lot of internal body heat. Internal body heat is good to a point, but you have to be able to liberate excess heat, otherwise your brain, organs and muscles get too hot.

Primates as a lineage almost exclusively use sweating for this purpose (versus other mechanisms such as panting). There have been a lot of hypotheses made about why we lost most of our body hair. And I definitely, and many colleagues of mine definitely are of the opinion -- based on the environmental, anatomical and genetic evidence at hand -- that we lost most of our body hair because of the needs of heat regulation.
This is a perfectly reasonable hypothesis. Many lines of evidence indicate that the major differences driving the divergence of chimps from humans, after our split from our common ancestor, was that chimps remained in shaded and relatively abundant forests, while humans were forced, for environmental reasons, into savannas where they were required, in order to survive, to expend much more energy foraging and hunting out in the sun. Jablonski is saying that, given our ancestors' need to sweat, heavy fur, which traps perspiration and slows cooling by evaporation, would be a selected-against trait.

But, aha! ... as Klinghoffer trumpets: "chimps beneath their fur have light-colored skin"!!! That, supposedly, requires "anticipation," a "hallmark of intelligent design":
Take away the fur and you've a light-colored animal that, in the hot African sun, would be extremely vulnerable to the damaging rays of the sun. So you need dark skin. But what would the evolutionary advantage of that be before the transition to going furless? None that's apparent. So which came first?
Umm ... David ... why, besides your inability to think rationally about evolutionary theory, would you think that one has come "first"? If a creature was forced out into the sun more than its ancestors, the ones with finer, sparser, fur would be better able to shed heat while exercising and would have differential reproductive success over their hairier compatriots. The ones with sparser fur who also had darker skin would have differential reproductive success over their equally less-furry compatriots who had lighter skin. What, exactly, beyond your religious beliefs, makes you think both traits couldn't evolve together?

The Discoveryless Institute tries so hard to distinguish themselves from people like Comfort (without offending them and driving them out of the "Big Tent") but, when it comes down to linear thinking, Klinghoffer has nothing but a banana in his hand.

Comments:
Populations and variability seem to be beyond the cognitive reach of most creationists.
 
Piously, I will resist the temptation to list everything beyond the cognitive reach of most creationists ... even if I had the time left ...
 
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