American Bison is Proof Of Creationism

Over at Pharyngula on July 11th.doc Full version with links.


Over at Pharyngula on July 11th, a post brought something to my attention. It was a post about incomplete mediastinum in Bison. Mediastinum is a separation device for the lungs of an animal, simply. It allows each lung a separate cavity, but in the case of the American Bison there is no such device. What this does is allow both lungs to collapse in the event the chest cavity has been compromised.

Creationist have picked up the thread with their own interpretation; “One of the neatest evidences I see of God in Creation is the bison...with an incompletely divided mediastinum. As far as I know, it is the ONLY mammal like this and enabled native Americans to feed their families with one arrow anyplace in the chest...collapsing BOTH lungs. This obviously has NO selective advantage and should have been eliminated by natural selection. God created them special to feed a people.”

I wrote an Email to the author of this article, not meaning to be nasty or call him names; he has a PhD which I typically respect until I have reason not to.
Here is what I emailed.

I read your article about Bison and the American Indians and I must admit that while I like the layout of your pages, I find the content lacking in critical thought. By what possible reasoning can you make the claim that a incompletely divided mediastinum is somehow an evolutionary faux-paw which in anyway disproves evolution?
It appears that your zeal to disprove a well documented scientific theorem has perhaps colored your thoughts.
I recommend that you set your religious bias aside and study evolutionary biology.
I came from a religious background myself, so I don't like thinking that simply because I do not agree with someone that that automatically makes the wrong, but in the case of evolution, I had to reconsider, you might too.
Have a great weekend.

Russ.

The response I received is thus:

Greetings Russ,

I apologize for be so slow responding to your recent email. Thank you for both your consideration and the response. It seem lots of evolutionists have recently discovered my Creation website and I am getting tons of email from folks I don't know...most seem shallow and bitter, but yours and a few others seem well thought out and sincere. Let me attempt to respond in context. Again, I sincerely appreciate your time in writing and look forward to hearing from you again.

I read your article about Bison and the American Indians and I must admit that while I like the layout of your pages, I find the content lacking in critical thought. By what possible reasoning can you make the claim that a incompletely divided mediastinum is somehow an evolutionary faux-paw which in anyway disproves evolution?

My reasoning is two fold. First, and most importantly, the incompletely divided mediastinum and resulting collapse of BOTH lungs with a single puncture wound to the chest seems highly mal-adapted. I can see no selective advantage, but a host of disadvantages. If evolution were true, it would have been expunged from the gene pool long, long ago. Since it still exists I see only two rational reasons. It did NOT evolve, but was created with purpose...the feeding of a people. Or, if evolution is true, then it must have some advantage we do not understand and was selected for over time.

The second reason is perhaps a bit more anecdotal. It seems this is the ONLY mammal with this trait. Again, if there were some selective advantage we would expect to find it in other mammals. I took a course in the natural history of vertebrates at Baylor and the professor, an evolutionist and non-Christian thought it most unusual. He had no rational explanation for such an anomaly. Again, to me the reason is obvious and had to do with the needs of the Native American tribes that lived on the vast plains of north America for thousands of years. Certainly this is NOT a proof, but it does seem a better fit to the observation.

It appears that your zeal to disprove a well documented scientific theorem has perhaps colored your thoughts. I recommend that you set your religious bias aside and study evolutionary biology.

Here I can only say we ALL have worldviews and those views color our thinking and conclusions...even in science. People, including scientists, are NOT totally objective. Let me illustrate.

My best friend for over 30 years is Stan Robertson. We taught together at two universities and for the past 15 years he taught at the local university here in Weatherford, OK. We have published a few technical papers together dealing with heat and blood flow in alligators during heating and cooling. He has long understood the problems I have had for rejecting Saint Darwin and the prejudice that abounds in biology against anyone failing to accept evolution. Somewhat smugly, he felt physics was more objective because of its mathematical dependence. All that has changed. For the past 12 years he has been writing several papers proving black holes were not as they were thought to be. It seems disagreeing with Einstein is as unwelcome in the scientific community as is disagreeing with Darwin. For this earth-shaking research he has received lots of harassment and even threats on his life. Please check out this essay that he wrote that is posted on my website: http://godofcreation.com/essays/display.asp?ind=81 Yes, it is replete with technical paper citations should you want to go deeper. Yet, some still think and teach that science is objective! It is NOT!

I came from a religious background myself, so I don't like thinking that simply because I do not agree with someone that that automatically makes the wrong, but in the case of evolution, I had to reconsider, you might too.

I have been involved in the Creation/evolution controversy since high school and have spent most of my life studying this issue. Let me give one small example. After graduating from Baylor with my MS in Biology, I was accepted to work on my doctorate in zoology at UCLA. My office and major professor were in the UCLA med school. There were about 100 incoming doctoral students and we had an intense oral qualifying exam. Over 80 percent of the questions dealt with evolution related topics. I was the ONLY incoming doctoral student that fall passing without the need for remedial course work. I honestly believe looking at BOTH sides of an issue deepens our understanding. Of course, in graduate school ALL my zoology courses were deeply steeped in evolution dogma. Still, since my early university days I have been amazed at the near lack of actual evidence supporting evolution. I honestly believe it takes much more faith to cling to evolution than it does to accept the God of Creation.

Due mostly to recent research in molecular biology, the very foundation is cracking and literally thousands of highly trained published scientists with terminal degrees are abandoning evolution like a sinking ship...over 5,000 to date. (Got this number from Jerry Bergman the fellow who has prepare the Darwin skeptic list.) I certainly understand from personal experience there are MANY more, but will not go public for fear of losing their job...and their career as did I. That is why I became a truck driver. Please check out this excellent website: 3000 Darwin Skeptics More are added each week. Evolution offers no explanation or mechanism for the origin of life or the extreme complexity found in ALL living things. Indeed, it is a failed theory and I and lots of others expect complete rejection in the next decade. It is a good time to be alive!

Let me attach my own tenure denial account so you will better understand this important issue. I have included similar stories from other scientists. The recent release of Expelled, no intelligence allowed has highlighted the lack of objectivity in science and has brought it to public awareness.

Again, thanks for your email and may this dance continue. Also please check out my book website, just below my name.

Respectfully,

E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
www.NorbertSmith.com
www.GodofCreation.com
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Rev 4:11, NIV)

I thought I’d post this exchange here and see what you all have to say.

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Comment by Eli on July 21, 2008 at 11:25am
I don't understand how these highly educated individuals don't understand that it takes another well supported theory to overturn an existing one, until evidence for creation (not just little "observations" that "feel" like "god did it") is displayed it will never compete as a theory. I fully believe evolution via natural selection could (as in it's not an absolute impossibility) be overturned, but I do not think a Spacial Creation theory would be the one to overturn in.
Comment by DaVinci on July 21, 2008 at 11:02am
My (softball) response.

Dear Dr Smith.

While the phrase, “seems highly mal-adapted” might be grounds for a hypothesis, I would need to see more research into the facts of this case. Many things in nature seem strange until understood properly. I would not be so hasty to make a sweeping generalization about incompletely divided mediastinum, especially one that takes me to what I consider a non sequitur conclusion.

You may very well be able to make a case, however experience shows that those predisposed to creationism have not invested in scientific research to the degree where they can make such claims. It is my conjecture that if they did, they would come to very different conclusions.

In order to believe that the lack of a completely divided mediastinum in any way points to divine engineering, (which you yourself admit, seems to be a flawed design attributable to God), you need more research, subjected to peer review.

Also, I would not be so hasty as to call this design flawed, stating that “I can see no selective advantage,” does not mean there is no advantage, and it simply means that you do not see the advantage.

Respectfully
Russell

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