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Creationist Bait

Good morning Creationists! Are you hungry for some breakfast? I just so happen to have a nice juicy worm over here on this hook. Mmmm! Look at it wriggle! Don’t you want to come over here for a bite?

There actually is a kind of earthworm that serves as a nice kind of Creationist bait, to get them caught on the hook of their own past protests against the evidence for biological evolution through natural selection. It’s an evolved earthworm.

Well, of course, all earthworms have evolved – just like everything other living on Earth. The earthworms that I want to talk about, however, have evolved into their current form very recently – since the operation of some mines in Great Britain.

Those mines brought deadly heavy metals, such as lead and arsenic, to the surface, into the soil. That’s a problem for ordinary earthworms, who would be killed by eating soil containing the heavy metals. Some very non-ordinary earthworms, however, have been found at different mining sites in Wales and England. These newly found earthworms have the ability to eat soil with heavy metals in it. The worms secrete special proteins that cling to heavy metals in their guts, isolating the heavy metals and preventing the metals from otherwise interacting with their bodies and causing harm to the worms.

Here’s where the Creationist bait comes in: DNA analysis shows that the newly discovered worms are descended from a previously known species of earthworms that lives nearby – but not at the mining sites where the ground has been polluted. That means that the heavy metal worms evolved from the worms that are incapable of eating heavy metals – and did so very recently, since the pollution from the mines.

Furthermore, different kinds of heavy metal earthworms are found at different mines far away from each other. Those earthworms have different mechanisms for dealing with the heavy metals. This means that different strains of earthworms evolved the ability separately. That suggests that evolution is going on all around us all the time, although usually in ways that cannot be seen by the naked eye. You can’t see how earthworms are dealing with arsenic and lead in their food. You have to use the methods of science.

There was no Intelligent Design necessary to get these worms to evolve the capability of eating soil that contains high levels of heavy metals. Natural selection did the trick.

Here’s the hook: Creationists are always saying that evolution has never been observed, but the study of the earthworms living around mining sites in the UK has brought us just the kind of observation of evolution they’ve been looking for. Of course, scientists had to work pretty hard and think with great concentration to find ways to observe the evolution. They had to develop technologies to expand their perception of the reality of the earthworms. They couldn’t just pray on it. But, observe evolution they did.

And so yet another desperate excuse for believing in Creationism has been dismantled. Silly creationists will continue to say that the science supporting the theory of evolution isn’t strong, although studies like this one keep on coming out, year after year.

Well, Creationists are entitled to their beliefs. What they’re not entitled to is to use public school science classes to teach those religious beliefs to other people’s children.

9 comments to Creationist Bait

  • Well, first thing a creationist would say is that it’s just adaption. It’s still the same “type” as they call it. A worm is still a worm. It didn’t turn into a bird or something.

  • Alex

    Question:
    How do you know that the gene for handling heavy metals was not present in a small percentage of the original worms?

  • Horatio

    You look for that gene in the DNA extracted from the tissue of a sample of those worms – after you identify the gene. However, that isn’t the only question – there isn’t just one gene for anything. There are genes to turn on genes and turn off genes at certain times of development, and genes that work in combination with other genes. Sounds like a good scientific followup project.

    Adaptation IS evolution, BB, and the shift of genes from one use to another through mutations and natural selection is evolution too.

    We are ALL kinds of worms, if you look at our evolutionary history. Birds are vertebrate worms with feathers and wings. We are vertebrate worms with computers and cars.

  • kevin

    You are very silly. The FSM is messing with your measurements so that it APPEARS that heavy metals are present. just to confuse you. In reality there are no metals in the soil and NO adaptations by the worms, its all just a joke by the FSM.

    Ramen.

  • Fruktata

    FSM = Satan! The Devil is deceiving us!

  • Horatio, I was just mentioning that from what I’ve read creationist “argue” before, they would say that it’s not evolution. As interesting as this find is, it fit’s in just fine with their thinking which is that the worms adapted, they didn’t evolve. Again, I don’t agree with it, but it’s what they would argue.

  • HareTrinity

    Billy’s right, most evolution skeptic don’t view micro evolution as the same thing as macro evolution. The case of colour-changing moths, as well as dog breeds and so on, show “micro” evolution.

    Don’t ask me how they think billions of years of micro evolution wouldn’t lead to more than a slight change, but in terms of scientific evidence the skeptics want proof that a SPECIES can change into another, not just that changes within a species occur.

  • AT

    Some creationists even believe that all non-human animals did evolve but humans were created seperately. My parents are of this sort. My dad says “I believe in evolution, but you can’t tell me that WE came from monkeys.” They don’t need to be consistent in their own thinking, which is helped by the fact that they don’t have a great knowledge of science in general. Creationsists engage in what is called “a willing suspension of disbelief.” That’s what allows you to watch a movie and not focus on the fact that the people you are watching are actually actors. You ALLOW yourself to believe what you are supposed to believe, what you want to believe.

  • Darebrit

    The difference between Creationism and science, is simple.

    Creationism demands blind faith to support its theories.

    Science requires only supportable evidence as proof.

    The problem with blind faith, is that it comes with threats. ‘believe my version of what happens or you will die and go to hell and burn forever.

    Science offers, wisdom, scholarship and enlightenment.

    In answer to comment #8, one only has to examine simians to accept that there must be an evolutionary connection, no matter how distasteful it appears.

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