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Darwinism and pop culture: Infant grasping reflex

A correspondent posed me this interesting question about the infant grasping reflex:

Incidentally, what do the ID and the Evolution-is-limited-in-scope (Behe, et all) do with data like this:

 Basically, it makes zero sense that infants have grasping capability since their mothers don’t have, and never had, fur.

Hmm.

I replied, as follows:

Interesting question, xxxx.

When my first child was very young, she had a habit of grasping my hair while feeding. My hair was long at that time.

It seemed to please and comfort her.

Unfortunately, it also led to multi strands of long hair twisted over and over inside her little fingers. So I got my hair cut, and have kept it short ever since. [after which she grasped my collar or ID tab chain or whatever]

It is true that most human babies, who are born comparatively helpless, and remain so for a long time, do not have the strength to cling in the way other primates do.

However, grasping has many uses for a human infant – it is the principle way the infant contacts reality (unfortunately by attempting to put things in its mouth), that being the only sense that is even moderately well developed. However, I suppose the infant begins where it is.

Thus, I am hardly surprised that a grasping reflex would continue to the present day – even though the rather fat and uncoordinated human infant could not literally use it to hang on to mother.

However, I also suspect that it has been a long time since any such skill as hanging on to mother was needed. The idea of wrapping the infant in a skin or some such thing, to carry it around handsfree, is not very difficult to conceive.

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14 Responses to Darwinism and pop culture: Infant grasping reflex

  1. Ha! That question is obviously the result of the reproductive disadvantage that saddles Darwinists. Have these people never had a baby? Or even held a baby? Grasping reflex? What is wrong with these pinheads?

    Listen morons, and listen closely. Babies do not have a vestigial grasping reflex that would allow them to hang on to a mother’s fur. Babies grab things as a result of the development of their motor skills. If these Darwinists could ever get laid maybe they could appreciate the whole process of child development.

    If we are lucky this thread won’t fill up more Darwinist mythologies about human babies born with monkey tails or fetuses with gill slits.

  2. Jehu: ROTFL! That was a good one!

    Darwinian fundamentalists have a glaring lack of logical faculties (a ‘bug’ not a ‘feature’ – noted by Sir F. Hoyle who called them ‘mentally ill’).

    Everything HAS to be an evolutionary adaptation and then later a vestige!

    It’s so bad that they cannot even imagine anything else! No other possibilities ever seem to be able to infiltrate their highly indoctrinated and gullible minds.

    They are in serious need of deprogramming – the kind used with religious cult victims. Indeed, modern Darwinism has become much more like a cult than anything else.

  3. Jehu,

    Listen morons, and listen closely.

    Yes,

    Babies do not have a vestigial grasping reflex that would allow them to hang on to a mother’s fur. Babies grab things as a result of the development of their motor skills.

    From the site in question:

    A very plausible suggestion is that the behavior is a remnant of the grasping reflex seen in other infant primates

    They are making a suggestion that it is plausible but offer no direct evidence (i.e its just an idea at the moment). You have made an assertion, a claim of fact, but you have not backed it up with evidence. Instead you just start insulting people. Fortunately you are an ID supporter so you won’t get ‘moderated’ for calling people morons.
    BTW I have kids, so do lots of scientists, some scientists study development as well you know.

  4. Care to comment on the plantar grasp reflex? Seems you’ve conveniently omitted that one.

    I await your just-so story (supported by personal anecdote, no less), Denyse.

  5. BillB:

    From the site in question:

    A very plausible suggestion is that the behavior is a remnant of the grasping reflex seen in other infant primates>

    They are making a suggestion that it is plausible but offer no direct evidence (i.e its just an idea at the moment).

    If it is just a suggestion then why are they using it in a polemic in support of Darwinism? Hmm? Riddle me that, non-moron with children.

    BTW I have kids, so do lots of scientists, some scientists study development as well you know.

    Yes many scientists have children. Behe for example has eight. A good Catholic scientist I know has eleven. However, I did not comment on the reproductive disadvantage of scientists, I commented on the reproductive disadvantage of Darwinists. It is a well known fact that the reproductive rate of Darwinists is below the replacement level.

  6. Tajimas D:

    Care to comment on the plantar grasp reflex? Seems you’ve conveniently omitted that one.

    I await your just-so story (supported by personal anecdote, no less), Denyse.

    Yes, the plantar reflex is the result of motor development, specifically the development of the myelin sheath around the descending corticospinal tracts. It is not a vestigial trait left over from monkeys swinging through the trees with their feet.

  7. BillB:

    They are making a suggestion that it is plausible but offer no direct evidence (i.e its just an idea at the moment).

    Yes they are making a suggestion but this is all we every see. So called “plausible, could have, may have, let us assume” type arguments are ubiquitous in the NDE literature.

    It also appears that the “just an idea at the moment” assertions of Darwinists are everywhere to be found and curiously the “moment” usually never ends.

    Calling people morons wont get moderated because Jehu is an IDist? Well gee lets apply that to the demeaning, insulting, debasing, foul and vehement language used by leading Darwinists on all the popular ND blogs. A short scan of PZ’s blog or Morans or Dawkins or … take your pick is a tour de force in hot, foul smelling toxic air production.

    And just why should anyone need to provide evidence for the obvious reasons for why infants grasp?

    Where does the inane “other infant primate” link obligatorily come in? Only when one assumes, by default, that NDE is a fact.
    But that’s begging the question and affirming the consequent.

    This kind of wissenschaftler blähungen (along with “lets tickle the monkeys” and 100s of other Darwinian wastes of time and tax $) belongs in the utterly useless and superbly unscientific category of evolutionary psychology where arbitrary stories pass for science among the most devout.

    The fact that Coyne is so religiously devoted to absolute materialism is itself evidence of the underlying metaphysics of such stupid statements.

    The kind that riddle his pathetically argued book written to bolster the discouraged hearts of the faithful of the Materialist Evangelical Congregation of St. Darwin.

    Coyne’s arguments, like Dawkins, get more feckless and saliently vacuous as he grows older and more devout.

  8. If it is just a suggestion then why are they using it in a polemic in support of Darwinism? Hmm? Riddle me that, non-moron with children.

    Because its a polemic, not an hypothesis or a piece of research?

    And just why should anyone need to provide evidence…

    Perfect, that just sums it up so nicely, I’m beginning to realize that I should have pursued a career in ID, it is so much easier than real science. I shall write that down!
    ;)

  9. BillB,

    So ID is not real science because casual posters on this blog don’t feel the need to post peer review articles to counter you transparently false brain fart , which you even admit is not even a hypothesis an more of a “suggestion”?

    I take it back where I called you a non-moron.

  10. 10
    Interstelar Bill

    I always hate the deliberate confusion between ‘evolution’ as the actual history of all our ancestors, vs. the nihilistic, selfish-gene ‘blind’ mechanisms of Darwinisticism.

    I believe that the long destiny-led sequence of variations that led to humanity were intelligently directed, but they nevertheless at each stage had to help make more children, in whatever specific environment our ancestors lived. Darwin was right about that much. That is why I adhere to the ‘Aquatic Ape’(qv) theory of early human emergence, about which I could post at length because it explains so much, but to cut to the chase:
    Infants are born knowing how to swim underwater, and they are the only primate babies with considerable body fat, obviously ‘designed’ for flotation and insulation. Babies’ clenching fists are simply grabbing mama’s long hair (another aquatic adaptation) for a tow while she’s foraging.

    During this aquatic phase (7 to 4 Myr ago) breasts were baby pillows and infants didn’t spend the first year of their life in total helplessness, undoubtedly a major contributor today to all human problems. So put your infants in swimmable water (even a full bathtub) as long as they want, every day, and see if they’re later easier to raise (which should count as a scientific test).

    Only aquatic animals have voluntary breathing, without which talking is impossible. Only aquatic animals cry salt tears, and use what started out as aquatic osmosis-glands for sweating on land, which is proof we didn’t start on the savannah (since we’d be baboons), but only got there later.

    Finally, the indispensible but not permanent aquatic phase is proof of God ultimately directing our evolution, since it required the sinking of the Milocene Danakil Alps in Eritrea to form a large Red-Sea jungle island hosting already bipedal tree-apes. The island conveniently became a desert in the Pliocene, which drove our ancestors into the lee shallows and salt-swamps for the abundant food therein.

    The requisite adaptations were our upright posture, lack of hair, and the voluntary breathing required for speech, among others (anatomy always clinches the argument). Later the Home Island conveniently rose and our ancestors left its beloved swamps before they became irreversibly aquatic, like seals. Then the Pleistocene changed us into savannah runners, giving us our present rapid speech.

    Only God could have ‘conspired’ to have those successive geophysical events so perfectly timed to stimulate the humanization of our ancestors, steady over a 7 million year course. Now that’s divine Patience in action.
    As for Signs, here we are at the end of the Final Interglacial (bet you didn’t hear that the Next Ice Age will never end), with the Moon exactly covering the sun and its mass finely adjusted so that its gravitational nodes are configured for spacecraft-convenience. He might as well have had a galaxy cluster forming the letters G O D.

  11. Interstellar Bil – 10

    There are a number of ancient myths involving fish-men. The story of the Dogons in Africa is interesting because of their astronomical knowledge, which they say they received from the Nommos, amphibious beings sent to Earth from Sirius for the benefit of mankind. Among other things, they knew that Sirius had a sister star that orbited it every fifty years.
    http://www.geocities.com/jilaens/dogons.html

  12. Davem
    I think there has been quite a lot of doubt cast on the astronomical knowledge of the Dogon, there is some evidence that they picked it up from the french archaeologist Marcel Griaule and some later visits seemed to confirm this alongside some internal inconsistencies and disagreements within the Dogon about their own myths.

    This from Current Anthropology via wikipedia:

    “Though they do speak about sigu tolo [which is what Griaule claimed the Dogon called Sirius] they disagree completely with each other as to which star is meant; for some it is an invisible star that should rise to announce the sigu [festival], for another it is Venus that, through a different position, appears as sigu tolo. All agree, however, that they learned about the star from Griaule”

  13. Interstelar – maybe you should take a look at

    http://www.aquaticape.org/

    It might be noted that Elaine Morgan herself still calls it the “Aquatic Ape Hypothesis”.

  14. 14

    Tajimas D (#4) asked Denyse: “Care to comment on the plantar grasp reflex?

    Better yet, care to comment on the plantaris muscle in the human lower leg? Monkeys have the same muscle, which is used to grip with all toes simultaneously. Humans still have the “plantar grasp reflex” as well as the muscle – but humans have no use for it, because their feet have changed.

    Tha plantaris muscle, the human appendix, wisdom teeth, the human spine…all show unintelligent if not downright malicious design. But they make complete sense if we evolved from an earlier life-form.

    So what does intelligent design have to say about the human plantaris muscle?

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