Giant Squid Theory

I have commonly linked to this page as it has changed locations over the years. But recently, it vanished off the web, and I thought I would have to remove the link when I found an old copy in a backup that had some old cache files in it. I forgot who wrote it, but it wasn't me. I wish is was, but there you are.

For some years, some biologists have argued that there was a 7th day of creation, during which God thought about his prototypes and finally made the crowning glory of his creation here on Earth: the giant squid.

The basic problem with the idea that we humans are the peak of His creation was pointed out by none other than Charles Darwin. The problem is explaining the evolution of the vertebrate eye. He gave this as a very serious problem, because this organ doesn't fossilize at all, and it is difficult to explain how all the intermediate forms could have been sufficiently functional for Natural Selection to have selected them.

In recent years, Creationists have vociferously challenged the entire evolutionary paradigm, and some biologists have given serious thought to their criticisms, as well as Darwin's issue of the eye. Some have suggested the thought experiment: Suppose that the Creationists are right, and the world was built by some sort of Cosmic Engineer (which we may call "God" for short). What can we learn by studying the artifacts of the creation process?

One thing that we learn when we study the vertebrate eye is that it has a rather strange structure. The blood vessels and the nerves pass through the surface in a bundle (the "blind spot"), and spread out on the inside of the retina. This is a very bizarre way to lay out the "wiring". Why would any sensible engineer do it this way, rather than the much more sensible way of running the wiring along the back surface?

We might hypothesize that there is some obscure benefit to doing it this way, and we just aren't clever enough to figure it out. But this is shot down by a simple fact. The "camera" type of eye seems to have evolved (or been created, if you prefer) more than once. The cephalopods (a family of animals that include octopi, squid, and nautilus) have eyes that are superficially similar, but on close examination, we find that all the details are different. In particular, they have the "wiring" on the back of the retina, as you'd expect.

So, if there is a Creator, He seems to have done the job twice, once poorly (with vertebrates), and once well (with the cephalopods).

This is very suspicious. It is especially suspicious when you consider that, while we humans claim that the planet was built for us, it is roughly 3/4 salt water. If you measure the areas that we humans actually inhabit in any significant numbers, we are talking about maybe 5% of the globe, whereas the giant squid is at the top of the food chain over roughly 70%. When you consider the actual volume of the inhabited space, the giant squid has a home range many thousands of times greater than ours.

So the evidence appears to be that humans were one of the experiments, good enough to let live but not good enough to be given a large range (or to rework things like the eyes so that they worked better).

If this isn't convincing enough, consider also that humans have quite a good record of wiping out all the large predators, on both land and at sea. We have devastated the cetacea and are busy wiping out the large sharks, tunas, and other major marine predators. There is one exception: Humans show little interest in interacting with the giant squid. Sure, we catch the little ones and eat them, but as for the biggest species, we almost totally ignore it, although it is a major predator in all the oceans. And if you are like most humans, you are probably thinking that this is silly. Who cares about a bunch of big squid?

This is very, very suspicious. We have a glaring blind spot here. Most large preditors drive us crazy. We are terrified of wolves, bears, and sharks. Although very few humans have ever been injured by any of them, we hunt them down and kill them on sight, because they terrify us. But a several-ton squid that eats large sharks? That is a creature that we can't see, and we don't take it seriously. Other large sea creatures get tangled in our nets and die; by some mysterious process, those nets don't catch giant squid. Nothing we do seems to affect this one major preditor.

Very suspicious. Invoking Occams's razor together with our Creation hypothesis leaves us with only one reasonable explanation. The world was created as a habitat for the giant squid. Humans were put here to control the large predators that would otherwise bother the giant squid. We are programmed to ignore the giant squid, and to not take actions that would harm them.

... and on the eighth day, God rested ...

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