Can Evolution Explain The Indonesian Mimicry Octopus?

In an online exchange, I asked a God-denier to provide evidence that evolution could explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. This exchange happened after after the person with the Twitter profile name, @AmputeeAtheist, called a Christian brother “stupid” for showing in an article how evolutionists have bad assumptions rather than evidence for their theory

In the link that @AmputeeAtheist provided which supposedly provided proof that evolution can explain the origins of any octopus…let alone the Indonesian Mimic Octopus, we are given several options to choose from to verify his claims.

Unbeknownst to @AmputeeAtheist, since he failed to read his own link, the second article in his list was written by Dr. Brian Thomas, who works for The Institute For Creation Research. How embarrassing for him

Embarrassing Link for God-Deniers

If you haven’t had a chance, stop now and watch the video in @Rational_faith_ ‘s article about the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. God’s design is indeed wondrous!

As I have done in my series of articles exposing evolution’s inability to explain anything, I’ll take a couple of the “scientific” articles in @AmputeeAtheist ‘s link and expose how there’s no actual evidence in them, but they are littered with assumptions and ambiguity:

Here’s the first article in the list – https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/60/11/962/329655?login=true

Most of the article is behind a paywall, but the article reveals how little these highly-trained lab coats know about the evolution of octopi.

“remarkable”
“astonishing”
“unusual”
“There is also conflicting research about whether its defense mechanisms are learned or inherited”
“The researchers had predicted…Instead, they discovered…”
“evolved”

“the traits evolved”

You’ll notice the deafening lack of details and the monumental surprise of the researchers that an octopus could have evolved

The second article in @AmputeeAtheist’s link, as was pointed out earlier, was written by a Christian, who trusts God’s revelation in scripture that animals were created rather than evolved, so there’s no need to expose the evolutionary deceit there. But you can read this magnificent article here. So, we’ll move on to the next article

This article is FULL of assumptions and ambiguity but is however lacking evidence that evolution can explain the origins of the Indonesian Mimic Octopus (IMO). Let’s review what it would take to show evidence

  • DNA of direct ancestor species of IMO without mimic traits
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (X) that creates the information that builds phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Repeatable evolutionary mechanism (Y) that creates the information that controls (software) the phenotypic traits for the IMO to mimic more than 15 disparate species
  • Both mechanisms (X) and (Y) must be unguided and shown to be mechanism that transform DNA base pairs in single, successive, slight modifications

Let’s see if this article contains any evidence like that or if it’s filled with assumptions

Before you shriek “Quote-mining!!!!”, you can read the whole article here and if you can show that instead of assumptions and ambiguity, there is actual evidence, be my guest. But on to the analysis. NOTES: Quotes from the article are in italics, and my comments of each quote are directly below:

flatfish swimming appears to have evolved concurrently with extremely long arms

Notice that the details are missing. And asserting (completely without evidence) that anything evolved concurrently is incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

the subsequent diversification of their descendents into lineages with successful conspicuous defence behaviours, remains a puzzling topic in evolutionary biology

Puzzling? Clearly!

have evolved

Details missing!

Maybe we’ll find the answer in the section titled: TOWARDS AN EVOLUTIONARY UNDERSTANDING OF A CONSPICUOUS PRIMARY DEFENCE IN T. MIMICUS

explore possible scenarios for the evolution

Possible scenarios? You mean there’s no ACTUAL evidence, just possible scenarios? That’s what I’ve been saying all along

Central to this investigation is the well-documented fact that many behaviours, including visual defences and their associated body colour patterns (e.g. Brodie III, 1989), are heritable traits

The link supposedly pointing to Brodie’s article is broken and subsequent search for the CENTRAL PILLAR TO THIS INVESTIGATION was fruitless. An article written by Brodie, on which their whole research relies, is missing in action

we assume

Obviously!

possible social mimicry…may also influence

More assumptions

evolve at the same time

Details missing!

Exaptations, by contrast, are traits that ‘are fit for their current role … but were not designed for it’

There is by definition NO DESIGN in evolution.

evolved originally either as adaptations for other uses

Details missing!

is likely to have evolved early in this lineage

Details missing! Assumptions abound!

we estimated genealogical relationships

Estimated? Estimated? I thought this was supposed to be about evidence

In the event of discrepancies between our observations and published accounts we followed our own observations

There was a fine chart (Figure 2) that presumed to show evolutionary relationships. However, they brought their own argument into question that hey relied on evidence rather than subjective opinion in their admission above

appears most closely related

Ambiguity persists in that quote

may have evolved

Lots of assumptions and the details missing!

it appears that

Ambiguity persists

behavioural and morphological traits emerge concurrently

Incompatible with evolutionary assumptions that the process of evolution proceeds with numerous, successive, slight modifications

may have yielded

More ambiguity

may have evolved

Details missing!

may enable

More ambiguity

may evolve imperfect mimicry of an intermediate form

More ambiguity and where’s this intermediate form? ANOTHER missing link?

Although the lack of a conclusive flatfish model has generally been identified as a weakness in the cephalopod mimicry literature (Hanlon et al., 2008), we feel it reflects imperfect mimicry of multiple models in regions of high biodiversity

Feelings and weaknesses saturate this article

We do not know how know how potential unpalatability…may further contribute to predator confusion, learning, and/or future avoidance

They DO NOT KNOW…no doubt

The pattern is emerging that evolution, while presented as a theory with oVerWheLmiNg evidence, is instead supported by massive assumptions behind a venire of white lab coats

The Altruism Exchange – Part 4

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Tall Friendly Atheist Dad (TFAD) didn’t care much for my questioning of the ‘one true religion of Darwinism’. Last year, I wrote a post asking the question “Can Evolution Explain Altruism?” and after exposing the claims of those, who answered affirmatively, as impotent – TFAD put quite a bit of time and effort into a 4 part rebuttal. I answered his first 2 submissions in Part 1 and Part 2 of my replies, and for the most part TFAD wasted his “shots” on nit picking and majoring on the minors. In his third objection, TFAD did address the substance of my arguments, but my rebuttal of his objections showed that my original contention is escaped his objections without damage. Let’s see if his final objection can make him a champion for Darwin by slaying anyone, who would dare question the narrative or if his best quality is his friendliness.

Right from the start TFAD attacks the argument messenger

TFAD: “…you’re trying to counter scientific ignorance writ-large in the form of Fundamental Evangelicalism combined with Presuppositional Apologetics…After much consternation, I’ve decided to release the 4th and final part, but with most of the links removed. Not that Creationists care much for them”

So, TFAD postures his stance in his final response with the assertion that his opponent is “scientifically ignorant” and never checks sources. TFAD quickly forgets that checking sources is what started this discussion. Way back in the original post TFAD posted the link that would birth this discussion shown in the picture below (TFAD comments in red)

He’s not off to a good start, since while some creationists or presuppositionalists that he’s encountered in the past might have ignored a link or been ignorant of the teachings of evolution, The ApoloJedi guild is not so easily dismissed. TFAD now moves to object to the use of presuppositional apologetics and defines it as special pleading

TFAD: “they need this out BECAUSE the evidence from philosophy, morality and especially the natural sciences all defeat the case for God’s existence and his superior qualities when considered strictly on their merits”

This is tone deaf bluster as each of these categories is the “home field” of the Christian. In matters of philosophy, only Christianity can justify logic, reasoning, and knowledge. In fact, I recently asked the question of the naturalist “Can Evolution Explain Reason?” and similarly showed naturalism to be devoid of explanatory power. His bluster gets insanely absurd when he claims that evidence for morality defeats the case for God’s existence. The most famous of God-deniers, Richard Dawkins, proclaims of atheism

RD: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

Any morality that a God-denier might propose is subjective, self-defeating, and irrational as shown

His final claim that the evidence from the natural sciences is one that we can debate only because Christianity is true as was shown earlier in the link regarding logic, reasoning, and knowledge. Should an atheist want to discuss evidence, they would need to demonstrate that their worldview can consistently and sufficiently provide a foundation for the very things on which evidence relies (logic, induction, truth, and morality), and because of their epistemic assumptions, none can possibly be forthcoming.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi has only used a social definition of altruism, ‘good done for no thought of reward’, not an academic one. If ApoloJedi is trying to convince like-minded believers of his position, mission accomplished, but has he done enough to convince rational skeptics like me? No.”

OK. Can we observe behaviors in creatures today that one would define as the social definition of altruism? YES! Those observations are seen without question. I asked the question whether evolution can explain those behaviors, and it cannot. TFAD wanting to protect his strongly held faith commitment to the religion of survival of the fittest would rather redefine altruism to mean something that involves a reward, so that the dogma of ‘natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle to produce the most fit offspring’ might have a minute chance of partial explanation. But it’s just like when the staunch evolutionists vainly and incorrectly claimed to have defeated Behe’s mousetrap analogy by saying “But HERE’S a different mousetrap that doesn’t look like your analogy”, TFAD says “But HERE’S a different kind of rewarding altruism (not true altruism) that isn’t defeated by your scandalous questions.”

In a response to my quote that reads “it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters”, TFAD has this to say with incredulity

TFAD: “In all matters, especially scientific? But why? Why would anyone hold as a scientific authority a person who – despite being the one who created the universe (Colossians 1:16) – didn’t know or care to teach about bacteria or atoms or DNA? What was Jesus’ knowledge about electricity or vaccines or neurochemistry?”

Yes. All matters. Hold on for some scriptural support of my original claim and then some comments

  • 2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
  • Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me
  • Eph 1:20-21 when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come

From Abraham Kuyper “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” So, Yes TFAD, Jesus is authoritative over scientific matters, electricity, vaccines and neurochemistry. And while Jesus has an eternal dominion over these fields of science, the things you currently believe about science will be mocked as archaic by natural philosophers a few hundred years into the future. Your own epistemology of provisionalism gives you no certainty that your temporal faith commitments are anything other than your opinion.

In critiquing this line in my post: “and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality” TFAD had this to say:

TFAD: “This is a common line from Pre-Suppositionalists that I believe actually betrays why they’re reluctant to apply the same standard to God as what they happily do every day to everybody and everything else. It’s funny – Pre-Suppositionalists, and even most Protestant Evangelicals, will happily sit in judgement over other people’s behaviour, over the morality other religions, the existence of their associated deities, and over the morality and judgement of certain presidential candidates and their families – yet when it comes to their deity, suddenly being in the judge’s seat is wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Either judge nothing on its merits, or judge everything on its merits”

Unknowingly TFAD has stepped beyond the perceived safety of the modern academic paradigm, and has jumped into the presupp-infested waters of metaphysics. STANDARDS. Oh yes, God has his standard of righteousness on which everyone will be judged. Those, who are in a right relationship with Jesus by grace through faith will not be punished for their wickedness, but those who are dead in their trespasses will face righteous judgment from the Eternal Judge. Regarding his lament that God sits in the judgment seat but denies that seat to the God-denier as special pleading – it’s only special pleading if God is not the eternal Judge. In the same way that it’s not special pleading for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to sit in his judges chair and pass judgments (along with the other SCOTUS judges) and deny Neil Young a place at the judge’s seat. Because Neil Young is a has-been musician not a judge. It’s idolatry for the creation (mankind) to think of itself as the Creator or in any way worthy to be sitting in the holy judgment seat. If you want to “judge everything on its merits”, what is your merit (standard)? When the standard is God’s Holy Word, the God-denier will quickly withdraw his desire to be judged on that merit

TFAD: “Now, let’s ask the question: from the Bible’s perspective, how accurate does God perceive reality? Badly is the answer. For example, Genesis 1:6 describes a firmament, a crystalline dome that divides the sky from outer space and has windows to let the rain in (Genesis 7:11) and covers the earth. And let’s be clear: the Hebrew word for firmament, “raqiya”, means a solid dome, not simply the atmosphere”

While I could remind TFAD that his own epistemology is provisional, and he himself does not and cannot truly perceive reality with perfect accuracy, we’ll analyze his misunderstanding of the biblical text that he notes. He claims that God believes that the firmament or expanse from Genesis 1 is a crystalline solid dome. Not unsurprisingly TFAD did not quote Genesis 1:20 that says the birds fly in the expanse, so it could not be solid.

TFAD: “Genesis also describes the moon as a “lesser light” in contrast to the sun being the “greater light”. The problem? The moon has no capacity to generate light”

Looks like TFAD has revived his classic picking-at-nits argument. God clearly defined his purpose for the moon and as a reflector, it functions quite well. But if the moon were a fusion reactor like Solar, the earth would be completely sterile from a star so close. What else might happen is a tiny star were so close to Earth? When the fusion materials were depleted, it would go supernova, and that would end poorly for the biological creatures God had designed for his glory. TFAD although wanting to be the Judge and the Creator didn’t think that one through very well.

TFAD: “But let’s continue to evaluate God’s perception of the reality he supposedly created. Isaiah 11:12 refers to the four quarters of the earth, which is a reflection of a classic belief that the earth was a circular disk, not a globe. Job 38:19 asks “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?”. Light doesn’t live anywhere – light is an electromagnetic wave in certain bands of wavelengths, and darkness is not a thing, it’s merely the absence of light.”

This is a common tactic from God-deniers – force wooden literalism onto poetic passages. We’ll chalk this up as continued nit-picking as these lazy objections have been addressed even before Al Gore invented the internet

TFAD: “And the Bible is without any description of our local solar system. God, not once, mentions any other planets”

That’s like saying, “My toothbrush, although it can float, cannot launch F-18 Hornets into the sky therefore the inventor of toothbrushes is an idiot!” God’s purpose in the Bible is to teach us how to be in a right relationship with Him. He left many things for people to discover for His glory, so it is absurd to declare that God does not have a correct perception of reality because He didn’t catalogue all knowledge.

To my valid claim that “God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty” TFAD responded:

TFAD: “Only if we are willing to cede our intellect (as well as our humanity) to a book written by men who wondered where the sun went at night.”

It’s likely that many of you have heard this little jab that the authors of the Bible (kings, doctors, philosophers, warriors, judges, lawyers) were dimwits. Secondly, as has been pointed out many times, “intellect” is only possible because Christianity is true. Were humans simply the accidental aggregation of stardust, intellect would not be possible, knowable, or trustworthy

TFAD: “Does God command altrusim (sp) ? Only when he’s not commanding genocide (1 Samuel 15), endorsing slavery (Exodus 21), literally de-valuing women (Leviticus 27), having his people kidnap little girls after their parents and brothers have been murdered (Numbers 31), and much, much more.”

God-deniers seem not to comprehend the difference between judgment and genocide as they irrationally judge God without warrant. To the God-denier, what’s wrong with disintegrating aggregations of particles in an amoral cosmos? They have no consistent/justified moral foundation on which to stand. Slavery? Again, to the God-denier, why is slavery wrong? On what basis do you declare ANYTHING that God commands as immoral? The best they can say is that they don’t personally like it at this time since they have no absolute standard by which to judge others. Would it be too much to duplicate the meme of the boyfriend looker from above to highlight the inherent problems of those, who outwardly deny God, recognize the need for moral absolutes? Why not – as it’s my new favorite meme

Now we get into the part of TFAD’s objection where he exposes his ignorance of the concept of an “internal critique”. An internal critique is taking on the perspective of your interlocutor and showing how (within his own viewpoint) his perspective leads to a contraction, an absurdity, and/or inconsistency. An external critique, which is far less persuasive in terms of argumentation, is showing an interlocutor why they are wrong according to one’s own view.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi isn’t saying the theory of evolution is unscientific because he has conferred with those with professional qualifications and done a comparative study of numerous genomes to come up with a competing data set that has withstood scientific scrutiny to the point that it attracts academic attention. No. He is saying evolution is false because it is discordant with his theology”

He said this in response to my brief explanation that evolution is incorrect according to the truth that God revealed in both the Bible and in nature from the Christian perspective (external critique). But I immediately continued with the summation of the blog post which showed from the internal critique (analyzing the teachings/writings of evolutionists in their failed attempt to explain altruism via evolution) that the theory of evolution is impotent in accounting for anything altruism. This was a very brief recognition that evolution is not just wrong from my own perspective, but also from theirs

TFAD: “The article didn’t enter the worldview of the God-denier, for the simple reason that ApoloJedi’s article was a theological hatchet job, and evolution is a science issue – not a theological one. Christians such as Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky and Pope Francis see no threat to their faith when looking at the theory of evolution, so why does ApoloJedi?”

If I had not been doing an internal critique, I would have filled my blog post with links to ICR.org, Creation.com, and AnswersInGenesis.org (because they are awesome websites). But that would have been an external critique of evolutionism. But I didn’t. I asked evolutionists to account for their claims, and they could not. Regarding Francis and Francis: I do not share the same faith (also named the same and share some elements) as Francis Collins and Pope Francis, so the critique was warranted

At the end of his blog, TFAD falls right back into the very same thinking that my original post exposed as impotent. I showed that the only way that “altruism” can possibly be explained by evolution is by redefining altruism to mean something that it does not mean

TFAD: “cooperative tendencies…natural selection and social selection have worked and do work against individuals who do not help and share with others…reciprocal altruism, ‘strong reciprocity’…Kin‐based altruism benefits biological relatives”

As though he had not read the original post that showed these terms clearly as redefining the word – altruism, TFAD tries to throw “strong reciprocity” at the evolutionary paradox again thinking maybe no one would notice this time.

Hopefully, this discussion will help those, who feel like they must bow obediently to whatever those in white lab coats tell you to believe without any critical thinking. Because, with some skeptical analysis, we can see that bias drives a lot of research and just because evolution is popular doesn’t mean it’s true.