Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Guess Work

According to an article on Yahoo! News, British scientists now claim that the duck-billed Hypacrosaurus grew quickly to avoid being eaten by Tyrannosaurus Rex.
A duck-billed dinosaur which was a favourite prey of the Tyrannosaurus Rex grew "like crazy" from egg to adult-size to avoid being eaten by the king of the dino world, a study revealed Wednesday. The Hypacrosaurus grew three to five times faster than any of its predators including the T-Rex — and also had babies at a much younger age, expanding its numbers to give it an evolutionary edge. So it gave itself an better evolutionary chance by growing fantastically quickly — from infancy to adulthood in 10-12 years, compared to up 20-30 years for the T-Rex. ... The Hypacrosaurus also reproduced earlier, reaching sexual maturity at only two or three years of age. "That's another added bonus when facing predators — if you can keep reproducing, you're set, it's the stuff of evolution," said Cooper.
Oh really? Was this a conscious decision on the part of the dino? Did he grunt with mental anguish until he had a growth spurt? Ridiculous! With that kind of reasoning, you would expect that people who are victimized by criminals would eventually grow taller and bigger.
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

Matthew 6:27
Would it not make more sense to say that the Hypacrosaurus was designed this way by his Creator? The problem is that most scientists refuse to see the evidence of the Creator's genius all around them. And so, they are left to speculate how such intricate creatures evolved by chance.

Honestly, the idea that an animal could consciously change his growth rate, species, or any other function is beyond comprehension unless, of course, you subscribe to the evolutionary hypothesis. Without God, nothing really makes sense.


Yonah said...

I think you're a little off on this one, Andy.

Think of this article as describing an analogue to the case of the peppered moth, a well-documented instance of microevolution that happened during the British Industrial Revolution.

The pressure of soot from factories or hungry tyrannosauruses is constant and entirely unlike the need to elude criminals. So those hypacrosaurus that developed faster were more likely to survive and favored to have their genes (included those for faster development) define future generations.

There's nothing "conscious" that the animal need do, just live and reproduce. One can easily argue that that wiggle room, that space allowed to adapt and change as evidence by either the aforementioned moth or duck-billed dinosaur as evidence of a creator, too. That a moth has DNA that allows is to respond to its environment is pretty genius too.

Andy Rupert said...

I see your point, but...

"These terms, which focus on “small” vs. “large” changes, distract from the key issue of information. That is, particles-to-people evolution requires changes that increase genetic information, but all we observe is sorting and loss of information. We have yet to see even a “micro” increase in information, although such changes should be frequent if evolution were true. Conversely, we do observe quite “macro” changes that involve no new information, e.g., when a control gene is switched on or off." —AiG

Yonah said...

I think the AiG-provided answer also misses the point.

We are lucky in that there's an excellent example of microevolution that does involve an "increase of information" for review. In the 1970s, it was discovered that a strain of flavobacterium had actually evolved to be able to digest nylon (which was invented in 1935).

Their answer is... well... content-less.

But it's sort of beside the point. As is whether or not one believes in a young earth or an old one or the coexistence of dinosaurs and our forebears.

Many who survived the Black Death in Europe had slight genetic differences making them less likely to be infected. Rare before, these differences became much more common after because these people were much more likely to survive and determine the genetic stock of their descendants. Think of this as being no different as some people more susceptible for cavities or cancers or sunburns. But because it affected survival, it spread because it offered an advantage.

This is no different than the case of the hypacrosaurus. If you were to take a random sampling of 10 of these dinosaurs, they'd all reach sexual maturity at different ages. (Likewise for humans.) But because there was an advantage for those that reached it young, this trait became defining of their species.

While I concede that the Yahoo article isn't written in a way sympathetic to belief in a young earth, it's not necessarily an affront to them and presents a case that is among the least controversial and the least disputable in genetics.

Andy Rupert said...

Yonah, I understand your point.

After looking back at the original article and my initial response, I see that I was venting without properly supporting my reasons for being disgusted. My disdain for the commonly accepted evolutionary hypothesis clouded my reasoning and writing. For that I apologize.

I do believe that God created humans, animals, and other creatures with a limited ability to adapt to certain environmental changes. But I think it is a stretch to conclude that the "Hypacrosaurus grew three to five times faster than any of its predators ... to give it an evolutionary edge." Would it not be just as easy to say that God designed this creature with its difficult future in mind?

Is there verifiable evidence that any creature has matured ten years earlier than normal because of difficult circumstances? Somehow i doubt it. But I do see evidence that the Great Creator God made each creature intricately and wisely for specific reasons.