Teaching Creation Thursday ~ an interview with Lou Hamby called Evidence Speaks


This is an interview with Lou Hamby, called Evidence Speaks.

A few years ago the Discovery Institute made arrangements to show the premier of a movie entitled The Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian Institution.  It made no references to God, the Bible, or supernatural events. It merely documented the incredible number of things that had to be just right, within very narrow parameters, in order for life to exist on earth. Yet, angry scientists all over the U.S. sent emails, letters, and made other contacts, demanding that the film not be shown at the Smithsonian. The reason for all the outrage was because it seemed to infer that the earth was the result of careful planning and design.

 Indeed, that was exactly what the facts seemed to show. The negative reaction of so many scientists goes to illustrate how strongly they hold to the belief of naturalism.

When scientists are looking for explanations about how or why things operate in nature as they do, it is perfectly logical to expect explanations based on natural processes and properties of matter and energy.  When scientists try to reconstruct the past and discover the origin of everything, this is no longer a logical demand.  Only allowing naturalistic explanations automatically throws out all possibilities of a supernatural design and creation. This kind of logic also tends to accept weird, unlikely explanations over the possibility that something is the result of a supernatural Designer, even when that object or organism shows evidence of having been designed.

 Desert lizards are an example of animals that have every indication of being perfectly designed to live in harsh desert environments. I have asked Lou Hamby to share his expertise about these interesting animals, how they manage to thrive in such hot dry conditions, and how they influence his view of Darwinian evolution.

Question 1:  Lizards are found in almost every kind of environment. What area are you most familiar with?

Lou:  My area of expertise is desert lizards and mostly lizards of the US.

Question 2:  How are desert lizards able to live in the harsh desert conditions?

Lou:  Some desert lizards find shelter from the sun in either burrows or rock outcrops. Some live on sand dunes and have fringe toes and a shovel head that enable them to run at high rates of speed and dive into the sand and dig below the heat range. I would say many of these lizards are living on sand dunes with heat indexes of 130 to 150 degrees. Some lizards either very seldom or never actually drink water.    They get their moisture from their food sources.

Desert chuckwallas, as an example, live on granite outcroppings in Southern California deserts.  They are almost always found in conjunction with rocky outcrops utilizing the cracks and crags for shelter. As a defensive mechanism, they have the ability to blow themselves up so they cannot be extracted from these cracks by predators. I believe the characteristics of the lizards were designed to fit their environments.   

Question 3:  Do different kinds of lizards tend to remain in the same kind of environments over long periods of time?

Lou:  Absolutely. For instance, desert iguanas and fringe-toed sand lizards are found abundantly in sandy deserts over an extensive area.  However, one does not see these same lizards living on the rocky outcrops in these same deserts. On the other hand, rocky outcrops may harbor many other kinds of lizards, such as the desert collared lizard, the Baja collared lizard, the chuckwalla, the banded rock lizard, and others.  They tend to remain in rocky outcrops in specific eco-niches  and don’t move to live in sandy environments because of their design.

Many years ago, the Mediterranean Gecko came to the southern US by ship as immigrants came to America through the Galveston ports. They quickly spread through Texas and to other states and are well suited to some of the environmental conditions in these states. So, while I believe they are designed for specific habitats, they also can thrive in areas outside their original habitats given the right circumstances that are supportive to their design.  

Question 4:  Have you observed differences in the body plans of fossil lizards compared to the same species that are living today? 

Lou: What I have personally observed in the fossil record, is no change (stasis) in body plans. For instance, fossils of horned lizards, collared lizard, and other species of lizards have been found. Some of these fossilized lizards were found in the LaBrea tar pits and were well-preserved. All of them, if they have living counterparts, seem not to have changed body plans.

Whenever one digs up a fossil or examines an amber encased lizard with a living cohort of the same species, it invariably has not changed.  Its bones, and even in the case of the Gila monster where skin fossil impressions have been preserved, comparisons of the living species and the fossil species all seem to be the same.  Fossil horned lizard head skeletons are no different from modern lizards of that specie.  Jaw bone analysis for fossils of alligator lizards, leopard lizards and collared lizards are a carbon copy of the same lizards that exist today. Fossil anoles discovered in amber are thought to date to ancient times. These lizards are clearly identifiable and show no changes in design at all.   

Question 5:  From your study of lizards, how well do you think desert lizards fit with the ideas of Darwinian evolution?

Lou:  For every specific distribution zone, each lizard is uniquely designed for its specific niche. If one looks at a chameleon, or a horned lizard, or a fringe-toed sand lizard, one can easily see how well designed these lizards are for their specific environment. This purely infers “design” to me.   

Even though variation and changes in coloration are found in desert lizards, the body plans of specific species tend to remain unchanged over long periods of time, and they remain perfectly suited by design to their environmental niches. Certainly across large portions of distribution zones, one might find some variation in color, but this is not evolution, and in fact, is not even micro evolution. Many factors can affect variation in the colors of lizards. Even certain plants and food can affect their color as well as sunlight, the breeding season, and other factors.  

Darwinian evolution assumes that amphibians evolved into reptiles over millions of years, but these ideas are assumed on theoretical grounds and are not inferred from evidence.

The evidences that I observe regarding body plans, eco-niche, DNA, and variation in genes, all point to or infer design. The evidences do not line-up with a non-guided mechanism as being responsible for these factors. The information (like software in a computer) contained in DNA clearly infers design. Since nature did not produce this information, new discoveries in the field of DNA research continues to challenge Darwinian models, which fall short when naturalism is applied as the theoretical base.  The evidences of design are all around us and specifically lizards are an excellent example. 

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Comment by Pat Dennis on January 24, 2016 at 11:10am

Lou a logical inference from your claim that since lizards are specifically suited for their environment and that they did not evolve to be that way is that environment such as the desert are unwavering and have always been that way. This is demonstrably false since we know, for example, from fossils of Creaceous  aquatic invertebrates that much of central TX was once underwater. 

Where do lizards that are specifically adapted for their econiche come from if their economic niches haven't always ben in existence?

Comment by Lou Hamby on December 19, 2013 at 12:06am

Interesting Jim, I answered your question concisely, I am not using this as a forum. Some of your ideas I do not believe have answers that anyone can give a clear answer. Since I mostly deal with what is observe in nature, I have already stated quite clearly in my article as to what I believe is observable..... My article is not about the geologic history of the fossil record.   

Comment by James (Jim) Brenneman on December 18, 2013 at 11:56pm

Relative to what you said:

  • We know that the environment was much different than it is today

  • distributions of certain species may have well been all over the map

  • these lizards are a product of design/designer and existed before the flood.

So, as you say, we know it WAS different than it is today -- What was different and where was it different? Was it different in Arizona, and in the Arctic? Was it different in the area that is now the Grand Canyon - when it was different? Was it different in Hawaii? Was it different all over the earth? Is this what the fossils show?

  • So, again, to recap: "What was different and where was it different?

Then too, you said, further that we know that "distributions of certain species may have well been all over the map." When was this the case. Is there a dividing line in earth's geologic history to which we can point and say that THEN is when the distributions were different? What is the line of demarcation between this before and after of which you speak -THEN species may have been in different locations.

  • So to recap on this second question, When was it different? What is the line of demarcation and (in connection with the previous question), was it different all over the planet? What do the fossils show?

Finally, you mention that "these lizards . . . existed before the Flood" so I am wondering since you have affirmed that the world was once quite different than it is now - what happens when a new form of an environment comes into existence due to say a volcano, or global warming? What about a new Island rising out of the sea? How does this new eco-niche become inhabited by animals that are suited to that vastly different environment?

  • Since as you have said, environments have changed, My recap of this question is how is that animals manage to come into new environments and successfully begin to thrive in that altered eco-system?

Just wondering. . .

Comment by Lou Hamby on December 18, 2013 at 1:12pm

I think the best way I can answer that as I do in the article, is mostly I deal what I know to be observable.  As a creationists because of the diversity that was originally designed and created we know it was huge, much bigger than to is today, we also surmise  by observation and comparing the fossil record that our diversity is going in the other direction, many species in our life times have or are going extinct.  Many in past history have already went extinct.  We know that the environment was much different than it is today and distributions of certain species may have well been all over the map.  With respect to the lizards of the south west and other "living fossils", one can employ what he or she observes.  Many of the fossils of living animals such as the ones I have studied and worked with, are often found on the same distribution zones they exist today, like tortoise shells in Arizona or Texas horned lizards in its zone, also gila monsters (Arizona), alligator lizards, desert collared lizards, and others - it is very possible their distributions zones may have been larger, but I also weigh that with  the idea of their body plan and design for certain eco-niches. I cannot find any lizard species design that doesn't directly correspond to there natural history and ecologic requirements. My assumption is that these lizards are a product of design/designer and existed before the flood. 

So I would say as God put boundaries on the sea and lakes and other things he created, like wise it is no accident that we have distribution zones in which animals are specific to. There are also some nuance areas that are not as well understood but are plainly observable... The White Sands of New Mexico employ 3 lizards that live n these dunes and are very light colored to match these dunes.  What one can observe is these lizards are found throughout the whole sand dune area, and live specifically in this zone only.  So distribution zones are very observable, and well known; but some of the nuance explanations are still forth coming.  My hope is other creationists will take up the gauntlet and peruse some of these observations and build a more fully robust explanation. Design is clear evidences of Gods work that is in most cases observable. 

Comment by James (Jim) Brenneman on December 17, 2013 at 12:45am

Good stuff. I would like to ask Lou what differences there are between the distribution zones of animals in the present compared to where they might have lived in the world that perished?

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