5 Easy Questions Every Creationist Must Answer
1. How did the kangaroos make it to Australia? – Creationists like to think that Noah’s flood did happen, and that Noah herded animals onto his floating zoo, and they landed at Mount Ararat. Fine, but how did the kangaroo make it all the way to Australia? In the light of evolution, we can explain that the earliest marsupials came from North America. Over 40 million years they made their way to South America, and later to Australia. As to how they crossed the ocean, they didn’t. The continents were connected; I present to you, the supercontinent Gondwana.
Look at the above map of Gondwana. This means that the marsupials must have crossed Antarctica to get to Australia. Surely enough, evolution made a prediction, and scientists went over there and looked, and yes, they found marsupial fossils in Antarctica.
2. Why can’t a kiwi bird fly? – Kiwis are native New Zealand birds, and they are endangered, because they cannot fly away from their predators. It’s a similar story with the Australian emu. I have actually asked a few creationists this question, and here is one of the answers I received: “God is making the birds easier for their predators to catch and eat.” I, being a fan of science, can’t say that I am deeply impresed with this answer. In the light of evolution, we can easily answer this question (and remember that we have supporting evidence – we’re not just making uneducated guesses as we go along). The kiwi bird’s tiny wing is a vestigial organ. It evolved for a reason but it no longer serves that particular purpose (this doesn’t mean that the wings are useless now – if you look at an ostrich, you will find that the wings effectively help her outrun her predators).
Since the evolutionary history of the kiwi bird is rather cloudy, I should like to take examples from the Galapagos islands instead. When the early birds arrived at Galapagos, they could fly (otherwise, how could they have gotten there?). They adapted to the new environments, and as there weren’t as many predators on the Galapagos, they no longer needed to fly. Natural selection thereby favoured an inability to fly (it is more energy-efficient not to fly), and on the Galapagos we now see the flightless cormorants. New Zealand was a sanctuary before the predators were introduced by people (people themselves are predators – they ate up all the moas). It means that they never needed their wings. Now, it seems that, having lost their wings, they should have kept it. But natural selection isn’t an intelligent designer. It doesn’t plan ahead, and kiwis are, sadly, now endangered.
The creationists like to argue that “vestigial organs aren’t actually useless”, and they give the example of the appendix, being capable of filtering bacteria, but this misses the point entirely. Vestigial organs simply do not serve the purpose for which it is evolved. They may have evolved a new purpose, and that is a different story altogether.
3. Why does the recurrent laryngeal nerve take a circuitous route? – The laryngeal nerve originates in the brainstem and supplies motor function and sensation to our voice box, also helping us speak and swallow. It takes a circuitous route into the thorax before rising back up to the neck, while it could just as easily go straight from A to B. This circuit comes at a price – it is why when we are punched in the chest, we may have difficulty speaking or swallowing. One can see why the laryngeal nerve is a much bigger problem for the giraffe – being 15 feet longer than it needs to be! In the light of evolution, we can explain why the laryngeal nerve takes such a strange route. Our ancestors took an evolutionary pathway which produced the laryngeal nerve in such a way. Natural selection acted upon that, and there is no undo button. As the giraffe’s neck got longer, the nerves had to grow longer, too. It couldn’t reconnect itself or fix the bad ‘design’.
4. Why do fetuses (and some premature babies) grow hair, and then lose it? – We are pretty much hairless apes, but not our fetuses. This hair is called lanugo, and it grows on fetuses during gestation, but it is later shed. Why is that so? In the light of evolution, we have a great answer. Some traits are not completely removed by natural selection, but are simply inactivated. Lanugo is one example. There are genes in our body which still code for hair, since our ancestors were hairy apes, but this code is inactivated after birth. It is as simple as that.
5. Why are some humans born with tails? – No clarification is needed here on my part. Why, creationists, why?
PS: If you have the answers, let’s hear them.