What is it with creationists and fruit? I hope you’ve had your coffee already, because this is an unpleasant way to wake up. The clip below is from a public hearing in Orlando, Florida, in which citizens had a chance to stand up and state their opinions of evolution. Are you braced to handle a little smug and stupid this morning?
I’m sure this guy thought he was rhetorically brilliant, with a knock-’em dead argument against evolution. Why, nobody with any common sense could possibly believe that people (or their pets) could be related to an orange! Just pointing out the obvious to everyone, that round orange fruits don’t look anything like furry mobile animals, will reveal the absurdity of evolution.
Unfortunately for Mr Dallas Ellis, we really don’t have any problem seeing the similarities between oranges and kitty cats — scientists look a little deeper than he does. Slice an orange and put it under a microscope, and what do you see? Cells. Slice a cat and look at it under a microscope, and what do you see? Cells. We find similar organelles: cytoplasm, nuclei, mitochondria, etc. The contents use similar metabolic processes, and we find the same chemicals. The nuclei contain DNA, and we can compare the sequences — and we find similarities there (they are related) but many differences as well (they are distantly related — one estimate for the last common ancestor of plants and animals says they diverged roughly 1.6 billion years ago). Mr Ellis is relying on his profound ignorance of the basic building blocks of biology to make a superficial case.
Let’s not even get into his closing remarks, trying to compare evolution to trucks full of poultry and garbage colliding, and spontaneously fusing maggots and turkeys to produce the school board. It’s simply more evidence that he’s a clueless old git.
I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea that I’m a distant relative of every creeping, crawling, blooming, squirming organism on the planet, but I do have to admit to some discomfort at being related to Mr Ellis. An orange has evolved no neurons and at least has an excuse for being unthinking, and hasn’t evolved speech and so spares us its mindless gibbering.