5.21.2008

Scatologically Speaking, Simmons Doesn't Seem to Know Crap


Geoffrey Simmons is at it again, detailing his sublime ignorance of evolution in only a few paragraphs. Visiting the Discovery Institute's website is like going to the carnival and commenting on Simmons' work is like shooting fish in the barrel at said carnival. His latest homage to witlessness concerns, among other things, the wombat (a marsupial).
The wombat has an upside-down pouch. Scientists presume, and it makes sense, that position prevents dirt from entering the pouch when the wombat is digging in the ground. Could there have been transitional species with pouches situated sideways, or did the first wombats have to scoop dirt out of their pouches every day?
Rather than go off on the inanity, let me try a different tack. First, it is true that the wombat (or wombie) does indeed have a rearward facing pouch. This is also true of the bandicoot and the Tasmanian devil, who are also burrowers like the wombat. These pouches protect the young from dirt while burrowing and also protect them when the mother is racing along the ground away from prey. So, it seems these are good reasons for the pouch to either evolve or be designed to face rearward. However, the Koala bear also has a rearward facing pouch, and as we all know, these animals are arboreal - they live in trees. Huh. Sounds like somebody gave the Koalas the wrong design.

But Simmons stops way too short in his post in presenting evidence for intelligent design. If he was scatologically minded, he would have also noted that wombat poop is square. It's true...they have square scat - roughly cube shaped. That has to be some intelligently designed anus and it brings new meaning to pinching a brick. But there's are also a good reason why this might be an evolved feature.

And yet there is more! Simmons is a man easily amazed, so I wonder how he could have possibly missed this:
All marsupials share reproductive traits that distinguish them from other mammals. For example, the uterus, the organ in which the female carries her young, is divided into left and right compartments. The female has two vaginas, or openings, one leading to each compartment. The male penis usually is two-pronged, which enables the male to place one prong in each of the female’s vaginas during mating. (ref)
So I have to wonder, in the Marsupial community, does size really matter or is symmetry more important? Top-down or bottom-up, that's one helluva design!

One more thing before I leave. My last post on Simmons concerned his incredulity over the common egg. So, if the egg was such a nifty design, don't you think the designer might have given it to the wombat?
One of the more significant reproductive traits is the lack of a true placenta in pregnant marsupials. The placenta is an organ that develops in most other mammals, called placentals, to provide nutrients and remove wastes from the developing embryo. Instead of a fully developed placenta, the pregnant marsupial forms a type of yolk sac in her uterus. The embryo absorbs nutrients from this yolk sac for four to five weeks, after which it emerges from the birth canal in an extremely undeveloped state.

3 comments:

Kim Roberts said...

Hello Woo, I've just jumped onto your site so I haven't read much of your content. I appreciate your ability to expose faulty logic and express alternatives but I'm not sure of your motive. You seem convinced of your evolutinary position and enjoy tearing down the "opposition". Why bother? Neither position can be proved scientifically or through rational fencing. So what is driving you Woo? Surely you don't just want to be in the right. No one gets right that way. Or do you jump between taking the rational high ground and entertaining yourself, alternating as each approach fails to quell your inner unrest?
I'm not trying to be clever, and might be barking up the wrong tree.
Just wondering

The skepTick said...

If you kept running into people who said the world was flat, wouldn't you want to address it in some form or another?

the chiggler said...

Kim, which part of the theory of descent with modification, beneficial mutations being preserved by a process of natural selection cannot be demonstrated scientifically? Try very hard to be clever.