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I wonder what Creationists will make of this?

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on September 14, 2009


Get this: a Chinese woman was recently scared halfway to death upon discovering a strange creature hanging from its talons to the wall of her bedroom, in the middle of the night. What was it; a bat? Some lizard?

Close – a snake. With a leg.

Snake with a leg growing out of its body

Sure, this is neat in itself – who’s ever heard of a snake growing a leg? The most common mutation observed in snakes is a second head (twice the creepiness for most, I’m sure). But what this is, is also clear evidence for evolution. Snakes evolved from previously legged species; occasionally, random genetic mutations can activate genetic markers (indicators for where to grow legs, teeth, skin or feathers, tails, etc. – just about anything) that had been switched off along the species’s evolutionary course. That is the case with this particular individual.


11 Responses

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  1. redrabbitslife said, on September 14, 2009 at 3:25 PM


  2. Forensicgirl said, on September 15, 2009 at 7:54 AM


  3. mcoville said, on September 15, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    That is cool. But what I would have to ask is this… Will this mutation allow the snake to reproduce more and eliminate other species of snakes so it become the dominate species? Of course not. This is not evolution, it is mutation. This snake will die alone in the world and never spawn off spring that can spawn more mutated off spring that will one day walk on land and learn to read and write.

    Stop grasping at straws or one legged snakes. Mutation show a response to a corrupt environment.

    • Skepdude said, on September 15, 2009 at 11:22 AM

      There is no evolution without mutation! It is a necessary conditon, but not a sufficient one. Unless there is an advantage to the animal, it won’t stick around. This snake was killed so obviously it won’t go on to have other legged snakes. But that is not the point. The point is that this sort of thing fits in perfectly with the theory of evolution and doesn’t fit at all with the theory of creation. Mutations are exected by the theory of evolution so this is another piece of evidence that increases its reliability. How does this fit with the “every species was created exactly in its current condition” creationism?

      • mcoville said, on September 15, 2009 at 12:00 PM

        Who says “every species was created exactly in its current condition”?

        Can you show a mutation that led to an evolutionary advancement?

        Just to cover some obvious misconceptions of evolutionary advancements, a bacteria becoming immune to a antibiotic does not represent an evolutionary advancement, that is an adaptation.

        Mutations are predicted by the theory of creation, Genesis 3:17“.. “Cursed is the ground for your sake;”…” God told us He was going to curse all of creation because of sin. Mutations are reminders of the curse.

        • Skepdude said, on September 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

          Sure, look up the evolution of whales, you’ll see many many mutations (which does not mean freakish things, just new stuff or different stuff) which lead to whales, such as the migration of the blow hole etc etc. You have to deny the whole fossil record if you state that no mutations ever lead to evolutionary advancement (whatever you mean by it).

          Oh so having one leg instead of none, thus expanding your range of movement is a curse? Huh, would have never thought of it that way…and of course all species must have been created as they are. Since you are so fond of quoting the Bible, what does it tell you about the creation of all fishes and animals in the days preceeding the creation of man?

        • redrabbitslife said, on September 17, 2009 at 9:54 PM

          Teh wows. I smell something burning.

          Adaptation is part of evolution. In other words, the reason for so-called directionality to evolution is due to an advantage. No advantage means no change, or slow change with no direction. Drift, so for example, why white people have so many funky eye colours.

          Here’s how evolution in bacteria to produce drug resistance comes about, and we’ll start with penicillin, though there are multiple other mechanisms.

          Bacteria exist. Lots of them in a population. This population is a colony which started out as a clone. A clone means, it came from a single cell, which then divided and divided to make a population. So, that means all of these cells started out with the same DNA.

          Now, occasionally when DNA is copied, mistakes are made. These mistakes can build up pretty quick in bacteria because each generation, instead of being say 25 years (like people), is more like 25 minutes. Mistakes come in lots of forms. Deletions happen, and if they are of useful genes, these bacteria die. If they are genes that are only used sometimes and are not needed now, this can be an advantage. Point mutations change proteins, which can be a problem or not, but sometimes has no effect. Insertions are what you call it when something gets copied twice, like a record skipping/like a record skipping. So sometimes you get extra copies of a gene. Often, this is not a problem, and is what you call a neutral mutation.

          Sometimes this can happen to molecular pump genes as well as any other genes.

          So, you have this population of bacteria which all started out the same, but many of which, after 100 generations, have various types of mutations that have to now not really changed the bacterium’s fitness.

          And along comes penicillin. New thing entirely, these bacteria have never encountered it. But it’s a toxin, it works by slipping into the cell and cutting a bacterial protein. The molecular pump can take it out, but only a little at a time, and these bacteria still get killed by it.

          Some bacteria have a protein which isn’t exactly like the original one, and penicillin can’t cut it as easily. These bacteria survive a little longer and reproduce more to have more baby bacteria with the altered protein.

          Some bacteria have two copies of that molecular pump. They can pump out penicillin twice as fast. Really lucky ones got three copies. They live longer to have more baby bacteria who have extra pumps.

          So, the bacteria who had the original protein and only one copy of the pump died. These with the pre-existing mutations that made it easier to live in the new environment, they ‘adapted’ or evolved, and lived to mutate another way.

          Actually, there are other mechanisms to penicillin resistance, but we’ll leave it there.

          • Skepdude said, on September 18, 2009 at 9:59 AM

            You know how it goes with creationists; they want to see a fish turning into a mouse magically in one fell swoop; they require a fish to actually give birth to a completely different species, which is of course not how evolution works. Even if that could happne, of course they’d call it a miracle of God anyway!

            A snake with legs for goodnes’ sake, what more do they want! They want to see these changes that take millions and millions of years, within their own lifetime, otherwise evolution is wrong. But then they turn around and without a problem accept that a virgin gave birth, or that a dead man resurrected! Ha!

    • gonovelgo said, on September 18, 2009 at 3:31 PM

      You’re completely missing the point. Snakes, which have no legs, still posses the genetic material necessary to make them. Why is that?

      • Skepdude said, on September 21, 2009 at 9:23 AM

        Why God of course!

  4. Skepdude said, on September 18, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    The latest I’ve heard on the intertubes was that this may have been a case of the snake eating a lizard whose leg punctured through the snake’s tummy. Don’t know how much water that holds. It definitely contradicts that ladys claim that the snake was climibing up the wall with the leg, but then we know how reliable these testimonies are anyway, so there full disclosure of everything I’ve heard so far! We’ll see if there are further developments.

    PS: I personally don’t buy that yet, since the foot coloring seems to match that of the snake which would suggest it is its real foot.

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