Posted by Nick Matzke on April 26, 2005 01:30 AM
PZ Myers notes that toads are exploding for reasons unknown in Hamburg, Germany. This story is apparently not made up, although I am not yet convinced that we are getting the straight story from the media — after all, the widely reported three-headed British frog of 2004 was, after vigorous discussion, decided to most likely merely be multiple amplexus, inexpertly observed, on one Evolution/Creationism forum (see also “Three-headed frog — not!” for the apparently definitive analysis).
Let’s assume that frogs really are exploding. Unexplained phenomena like this are a great chance to test William Dembski’s Explanatory Filter to see if it detects intelligent design. Let see: Is the phenomenon specified? You bet. In fact, it is specifiable in advance. Humans have been blowing up animals for some time now — for example, in 1970, the Highway Department of my beloved home state of Oregon decided to dispose of a stinky eight-ton whale carcass with 20 cases of dynamite. See the Exploding Whale Website for the video. Can known natural laws account for the explosion of live frogs? Apparently not. The known natural laws say that frogs, particularly live ones in a cool climate, shouldn’t be exploding (dead ones in the hot sun might be another matter — see the story about the natural exploding of a 60-ton sperm whale in Singapore in 2004). Can chance explain exploding frogs? Nope. Chance might explain some dead toads, but I estimate the chance of 1,000 dead toads, exploding rather than just dying, and all in Hamburg, to be less than 1 in 10^1,000 (and this is very generous probability estimate). Furthermore, we know that intelligent designers can and do blow animals up intentionally. So, we can safely conclude intelligent design is the best explanation for Hamburg’s exploding toads. QED. Somebody alert the authorities.