Thursday, 23 June 2011

Creationism being eroded - yes, again.

Yep, it's true. Another of creationism's so-called unanswerable questions has been dealt with.

This one pertains to the gap between unicellular and multicelluar life. Why, they ask, are there no multicelluar organisms with very few cells? The smallest multicellular life we know of starts at about ~100 cells. You obviously can't skip straight from one cell to one hundred. If evolution was true, why this gap? How did life cross this bridge?

Of course, just because there are no organisms with two or ten or whatever cells today doesn't mean there weren't in the past - the opposite is quite obviously true. But now we've got some compelling evidence to show it.

Voila. By applying pressure that selects for multicellular life - in this case centrifugal force - the single celled yeast began clumping together and forming tiny multi-celled organisms.

Objections? Of course there are.

Some will claim that nowhere in nature is centrifugal force going to be a selection factor. This is likely true. But nothing here indicates that the weight of the organism need be the only selection factor that would select for multicelluar arrangements. Even if it were, centrifugal force need not be the only way in which weight can be a selection factor - how about buoyancy, for starters?

There are those who claim that since yeast USED to be a multicellular organism, it's simply retained the traits for being multicellular. Possibly a factor; this may help explain why the trend towards being multicellular occurred as quickly as it did. But it really doesn't matter. What this shows is that life can and does exist in small (>1 <100) groupings. It's viable. You can see that it happens. So why assume that it couldn't have happened in our deep past?

Finally, why do no such organisms exist in nature today? I've never seen a scientist's answer to this question, but I have what I think is a valid hypothesis; there may be some powerful advantage once an organism reaches the ~100 cell marker that allows it to out-compete the smaller multicellular organisms, and therefore drive them to extinction. Perhaps once 100 cells or so are reached, it allows the organism to specialize it's individual cells in certain ways that give it massive advantage, or some such thing. No small multicellular organisms exist in the wild, therefore, because there's no niche for them. They came, existed, and were eliminated by more suitable organisms.

It's like I love to say - unknown does not mean unknowable. As science advances, it leaves creationism - and religion as a whole - less and less of a leg to stand on. And I do so love to watch it advance.

1 comment:

  1. LOL at your label "Overuse of the word 'multicellular.'"