|The divine comedy|
“”[Mumbles under breath]: Oh my God... What a numbnut.
|—Brian Sapient, watching Kirk Cameron unveil the Crocoduck|
Crocoduck inventors Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort argue that the (intentionally bizarre?) Crocoduck is representative of what evolutionary theory actually teaches.
The idea behind mocking up this hilarious mongrel was to make nonbelievers look stupid — a plan which backfired completely. Unsurprisingly, the mere conception of anything as half-baked as a 'Crocoduck' successfully communicated the polar opposite message — with the Crocoduck fast becoming a running gag in the reality-based community.
Honorable mentions include PZ Myers owning a Crocoduck-patterned tie (which he hilariously wore at the Creation Museum), and Atheist YouTuber "King Crocoduck" honoring this timeless Creationist own goal as his nom de plume. Every October 28th, Potholer54 also hands out a Golden Crocoduck Award to one lucky Creationist;
A meme is born
The Crocoduck's non-existence was first brought to light by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, during a 2007 debate on the existence of God (held at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan) — parts of which aired on ABC Nightline — wherein the duo explained their brilliant scheme:
We imagined would-be genuine species-to-species transitional forms. We called one a 'Crocoduck' and another was called a 'Birddog.' This was to show exactly what evolutionists believe, but can't back up through the fossil record."
Consider their admission that the point of the Crocoduck was to "show exactly what evolutionists believe". No wonder the Crocoduck has become widely symbolic of the fact that evolution deniers tend not to understand even the basic principles of evolutionary theory.
While simply presenting the audience with their homebrew Crocoduck alone would clearly have been
stupid enough to make their point, Kirk and Ray actually figured it was reasonable to present two additional creations of theirs — the "Sheep-dog" and "Bull-frog", respectively.
The lack of creative talent available to this dynamic duo becomes all the more obvious when considering that both "bullfrog" and "sheepdog" already name animals which even Ray and Kirk must reasonably know exist.
Why it's bullshit
It goes without saying that the Creationist expectation of a transitional form being akin to "an individual chimaera of two random species" is not even wrong, and stems from their willful ignorance of how evolution even works. As such, the Crocoduck is a perfect example of the straw man fallacy of over-simplifying the opponent's argument — in this case, the scientific view on the nature of the fossil record.
Crocodiles and ducks have not had a common ancestor for 245 million years; their closest fossil common ancestor, Archosaurus, was far more like a crocodile than a duck, but both crocs and ducks have a mix of primitive and advanced features from their common ancestor, the basal ruling reptile.
Just for the sake of argument, a purported Crocoduck (or similar chimaera) would be a most astonishing find indeed. Creationists purport that Crocoduck-type chimaeras are what evolutionary theory rests on. But if such a fossilized chimaera was ever uncovered, it would in fact serve as evidence against evolution as understood by modern biologists.
Hence, the Crocoduck argument demonstrates that Creationists fail to understand the most basic claims made by the theory of evolution, and as such, literally don't even realize that they don't know what they're talking about.
“”Take pity on the lonely Crocoduck
Whom none do love not bird nor reptile
Across the fields he runs amok
Proving evolution all the while
Various fossil species can be argued to be "Crocoducks", due to convergent evolution:
- Dromaeosaurs like Velociraptor and Deinonychus had feathers, which would kind of make them Crocoducks by any reasonable definition of the term. As dromaeosaurs were close cousins to birds and were distantly related to crocodiles by virtue of both being archosaurs ancestrally... yeah, but, you know, whatever, it's not like Creationists know how taxonomy actually works.
- In 2009, fossils of duck-billed alligators were found. The genus has been named Anatosuchus (literally, "duck crocodile"). Although it would be more accurately be called a "duckodile" as the positions of duck and crocodile are reversed between this and the original theory; we are anxiously waiting to see what chimaera Creationists will howl about next.
- False-toothed birds (Pelagornithidae) were a family of seabirds with a superficially crocodile-like beak and teeth.
- Spinosaurus was an aquatic-adapted dinosaur with a long jaw, described by one paleontologist as "a chimera — half duck, half crocodile."
- Obdurodon was a monotreme related to modern platypuses. Like them (as, as it turns out, unlike many extinct monotremes, which had no evidence of beaks), it has a beak, albeit full of teeth. It foraged pelagically, making it more akin to a crocodile or an otter than the mostly bottom-feeding modern platypus.
- Potholer54, host of the Golden Crocoduck Awards.
- Not even wrong
- Peanut butter argument
- Banana fallacy
- Fractal wrongness
- Non sequitur
- Willful ignorance
- Wronger than wrong
Want to read this in another language?
- "God must exist... because the crocoduck doesn't!", YouTube (4:18)
- You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think: Answers to Questions from Angry Skeptics, p. 30.
- As seen on WikiMedia.
- "The largest predatory dinosaur ever was 'half-duck, half-crocodile'", The Verge