Nature Blog Network

Saturday, October 27, 2007

LOLspider: Creationist WTF for the Week

I'm getting tired of overly-anthropomorphic creationists severely abusing the science of Invertebrate Zoology. I take extreme offense to this, especially some of the bogus claims I've recently discovered from the Yahya Cult. I don't think the work is new, the bottom of the page says copyright 2004. I'm not sure if it is the copyright of the online article or the last time the webpage was updated (in line with my stance on creationism, I prefer not to be "linked" to their sites, but a simple search for "evidences of creation" will get you there). I found about the abuses of the backboneless when I did a search on a keyword statcounter told me someone used to find my blog ("spider ant chacteristics"). To my utter shock, this blog came in below the EoC website! Uhn-buh-leev-uh-bull.

Its not that I think I am an authoritative subject on everything invertebrate, but I do have a background in the field and try to break down studies I personally think are interesting. I am assuming that the person was looking for quality information on jumping spiders that mimic ants. I will also assume that the unwary user clicked the first link, being rated the closest match by Google. What is absolutely mind-blowing is the amount of misinformation, outright lies and misconstrued creationist lead-ins spread in an article titled "The Miracle in the Spider". There's another fab article titled "The Miracle in the Ant" that I won't discuss here but all these points are relevant to that article as well.

I don't even know where to start. Right from the get-go they have no idea what they are talking about.

"The spider can use this amazing technique thanks to the power of hydraulic pressure in its eight legs."
Um... really? They are compressing fluid in their 8 legs to build up momemtum to make their jump? Well, all arthropods have fluid filled legs since they have an open or semi-open circulatory system, but they also have a little tissue type called muscle. Without muscle they would not move. period. But they do have a hydraulic component that is driven by muscles, probably from contraction of the prosoma (Schultz 1991).
"The ability of the jumping spider's eyes to see independently of the others enables bodies to be perceived more quickly. This capacity, proof of God's great knowledge, makes the jumping spider a master hunter."
Granted jumping spiders do have awesome eyes, but why wasn't God's great knowledge wasn't bestowed such ability on his most special of creations! I would love to see different things out all 8 of my eyes. Hmm... maybe its because of evolutionary constraints? My ancestor has 2 forward-facing stereovision eyes, sigh, we can't all be the lucky ones I suppose.

With regards to jumping spiders that mimic ants:
"These are a few of the characteristics which the spider needs to survive. Should one of them be lacking, the jumping spider would soon die. In this case it is impossible to say that the spider came by its characteristics by coincidence. The spider came into possession of all of them at the same time. God has created every living thing in a perfect form, together with every characteristic it will need."
Sure, every organism has a set of characteristics they need to survive, not a news flash there. For completeness sake, the necessary characteristics they highlight were having false eyespots to mimic ants eyes, carrying its front 2 legs high to mimic antennae, and copying the ant's walk and body position. They forget to mention a whole slew of other characteristics that are probably more important (if your thought process was evolutionary), but I'll work within these constraints. In fact, we see that because all ant-mimic spiders (the Myrmarachne genus) don't exactly look like one another or even share the exact same characteristics to survive, it did not come into all the necessary characteristics to survive simultaneously. If God created every living thing in perfect form, then why didn't God just make the spider an ant? In fact this spider evolved to mimic an ant through several millions of years by differential reproductive success of individuals most able to pass off as ants.
"In the case of Myrmarachne, an intermediate phenotype occurs during their development. Being transformational mimics, Myrmarachne can resemble a different ant species at each instar, but in some cases certain instars do not particularly resemble any ant species" - Ceccarelli & Crozier 2007
So even instars of the same species, hell same individuals, are polymorphic (more than one form) for the type of ant they mimic (or not). Ceccarelli & Crozier 2007 also studied whether the spider and ant co-evolved. An interesting result they found was there were was multiple host switching, even model switching evident in their phylogenies.

Figure 3 from Ceccarelli & Crozier 2007, ant species are on the left while the spider ant-mimic Myrmarachne is on the right.

There is some fluffy, bunny-hugging crap about spider's maternal instincts at the end. The article equates this with love and bitches in blind obedience to stupidity that equates the garbled mesh of ganglia which make up the arachnid brain to mammalian
Of course it is not possible to explain the concepts of love, compassion and the desire to protect in terms of any "blind" system. Because it is God who inspires all behaviour in animals, which lack consciousness and intelligence. It is not possible for any animal, of its own accord, to demonstrate sacrifice, to prepare plans, or indeed to do anything else. It is God who controls everything.
Blah blah blah yakkity yakkity yak.So does God control me to not believe in him and [some of] his followers to be dumbasses and violent, manipulative egoistic jerkoffs??
Ceccarelli, F. S., Crozier, R. H. (2007) Dynamics of the evolution of Batesian mimicry: molecular phylogenetic analysis of ant-mimicking Myrmarachne (Araneae: Salticidae) species and their ant models. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20, 286-295.

Shultz, J. W. (1991) Evolution of locomotion in arachnida: The hydraulic pressure pump of the giant whipscorpion, Mastigoproctus Giganteus (Uropygi). Journal of Morphology, 210, 13-31.


  1. What's the point in making so many good arguments? Do you believe people who believe in imaginary friends will be persuaded by rational arguments?

  2. Muslims say that Allah has hardened the hearts of the infidels so that we won't believe in his Perfection.

    When I read about creationist stupidity, I wonder if perhaps they didn't evolve with hardened heads.

    hmmmm... I just got an idea for a post.

  3. Cow, i guess its more for me then them. Makes me feel good about myself to vent a little.

    mike, Why would God design atheists??


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