Editor’s note: We are delighted to direct readers to a new paper by geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “A Brief Note on the Multiple Independent Origins of the Long Necks in Sauropod Dinosaurs: Neo-Darwinism or Intelligent Design?” What follows is the paper’s Abstract:
Convergence is a deeply intriguing mystery, given how complex some of the structures are. Some scientists are skeptical that an undirected process like natural selection and mutation would have stumbled upon the same complex structure many different times.Meyer, Minnich, Moneymaker, Nelson, Seelke1
Now it is precisely the phenomenon of convergence that poses further major problems for neo-Darwinism. For if the one-time emergence of completely “adapted” organs or characteristics through selection of random mutations can hardly be explained, the multiple formation of similar organs elutes the neo-Darwinian interpretation even further.Henning Kahle2
The phenomenon of complex convergences by selection of random mutations is “a deeply intriguing mystery” and “poses further major problems for neo-Darwinism,” because “if it is highly improbable for a complex solution to evolve once, ‘convergent evolution’ only exacerbates the improbability.” In contrast, “what we do know […] is that intelligence can take a solution to a problem and apply it in different circumstances over and over again” (see references in the text). I have chosen 20 examples (of at least 36 according to D’Emic 2023) of such long-necked sauropod dinosaurs and shown and discussed them in the article below.
Now, the origin of the ingeniously intricate long necks (and their correspondingly fine-tuned body anatomy) in sauropod dinosaurs has been postulated to have arisen more than 35 times independently of each other by selection of random mutations. The improbability that such transformations having happened by natural selection of random or accidental or haphazard DNA mutations is again being multiplied almost unimaginably. The improbability of neo-Darwinian evolution thus becomes virtually immeasurable. How do our Darwinian friends react to such objections?
Well, they presuppose their evolutionary worldview as sacrosanct, unassailable, and irrefutable. They then argue that the origin of such sophisticated features must be so very easy, so utterly simple, that they can evolve even many dozens of times independently of each other almost everywhere in the realm of living beings.3 I met that “explanation” first in an article by Mayr and Salvini-Plawen. My comment: Hats off for such naïvety.
Comparing ID with Neo-Darwinism
Applying Dembski’s Explanatory Filter to this question, we get the following answers:
- Law: There is no law that produces long necks inevitably under any defined ecological conditions.
- Vast improbability: Fulfilled — chance to be excluded.
- Specification: Fulfilled.
In comparing neo-Darwinism with the theory of intelligent design, we find the latter to be definitely the superior explanation.
- Stephen C. Meyer, Paul A. Nelson, Jonathan Moneymaker, Scott Minnich, Ralph Seelke (2007, p. 48; Second Edition 2013): Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism. Hill House Publishers. Ossining, New York.
- Henning Kahle (1999, p 99): Evolution: Irrweg moderner Naturwissenschaft? (4. Auflage) E. Mindt, Bielefeld, Germany.
- See the long list of examples in the Supplement.