Eric Hovind is continuing his father’s tradition of utterly inane arguments against evolution. In this case, it’s a video of Hovind and two of his bland buddies sitting around talking about…cephalopods. Oh, it is painful to witness.
They show excerpts of some perfectly lovely videos of cuttlefish swimming about, exercising their camouflage, and they talk about its specialized defenses and sophisticated behavior. In classic creationist form, they watch all this beauty and throw up their hands in surrender, and exclaim that they don’t see how this could have evolved, and ask, “How does evolution explain that?”
I would turn that question around: “How does creationism explain that?” And I’m sorry, “God did it” is not an explanation. It says nothing about the processes used to create the cuttlefish’s capabilities, and it does nothing to explain limitations — why can’t the cuttlefish fly? Why doesn’t it have three eyes? Why does it use similar genes to our own? You can’t just posit an omnipotent creator who can create anything without also having an explanation for the constraints on his creations.
At one point, they are talking about the mechanisms the animals use to camouflage themselves, and they express dumbfounded ignorance about how they do that (and babble incorrectly about some of the details — they do not see everything in shades of green). Did Eric Hovind’s two researchers ever think to look up the science? Roger Hanlon has been doing some marvelous work on cephalopod behavior and camouflage; I have no idea what Hanlon’s religious beliefs are, and it doesn’t matter, but he clearly sees these as natural phenomena generated by natural processes.
We do have explanations of cephalopod evolution. I don’t expect Hovind and cronies are at all aware of them. In fact, in this interview Hovind reveals a common and significant misconception about how evolution works. He speculates that an evolutionary explanation would be that “…one of them decided while he was sittin’ there getting munched on, hey, I need to evolve a defense mechanism to overcome this…”.
I hear this all the time. The only way they can imagine evolution working is by an act of will, that every adaptation must be a product of an individual organism doing something special and directed towards acquiring that ability. They miss the key insight Darwin had.
No, one of them getting munched on did not decide anything, and the action was done: it was being eaten. It would not reproduce. The properties of that specific individual would have a diminished influence on the next generation. It was the other cephalopods that were not being eaten who would propagate, and it would be their genes that would continue on.
The idea is right there in their very own scenario, and they lack the intelligence to grasp it. They keep talking about features of the animals that help them survive better, and they are blind to the fact that survival is the key. It’s depressing to see such hopeless ignorance in these three, each reinforcing the other, when the answers to the questions they ask are in books anyone can get.