Dia Michels: the evolutionist who’d rather be a platypus

Science writer says a ‘primitive’ Australian monotreme is ‘superior’ to humans when it comes to birth and breastfeeding

Published: 10 November 2016 (GMT+10)

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platypus
Dia Michels, author and publisher of science books for children such as If My Mom Were a Platypus: Animal Babies and Their Mothers, is well aware that substantial numbers of would-be buyers of her books baulk at the evolutionary framework undergirding her writing.

Dia Michels is a noted author and publisher of science books for children, under the ‘Platypus Media’ label, Washington, USA. She certainly isn’t shy about declaring her belief in evolution. Here’s what she said in a 2006 interview with renowned Australian science broadcaster and anti-creationist Robyn Williams concerning her book 101 Things that Everyone Should Know About Science:1

Dia Michels: [W]e’re really excited about it, because I’m not sure how it is in Australia but science literacy has taken a huge nose dive in this country [USA], propelled not only by fear and disinterest but by standardised testing. Because standardised testing in this country only covers reading and math and all the resources have gone into reading and math and they don’t even teach science.

Robyn Williams: Yes, were you brave enough to have evolution in this little book?

Dia Michels: You know the word is in that book and Charles Darwin’s name is in that book.

Robyn Williams: You’re very brave.

Dia Michels: Well, it was a discussion point.

Robyn Williams: Really?

Dia Michels: Yeah, because you don’t want to alienate people who could benefit from it. On the other hand, you don’t want to bow to the pressures of intelligent design, so we weighed very carefully how to make sure that it was in the book.

Robyn Williams: Excellent, and congratulations.

Notice in passing how this deceptive approach of trying to smuggle evolution into the book, ‘flying under the radar’, is applied by Michels and applauded by Williams.

A more recent interview (February 2016) with Williams concerning her latest book Nurtured and Nuzzled shows she’s still fervently pro-evolution:2

Robyn Williams: Any references to platypus or koalas or your favourite Australian animals?

Dia Michels: Not in that book I'm afraid, but people do call us up and ask if there’s dinosaurs in it.

Robyn Williams: You’re kidding?

Dia Michels: No, I am not kidding! They call us up and they ask what our opinion is on evolution, all sorts of questions.

Robyn Williams: Do you think they are trying to worry you about Darwin?

Dia Michels: I think they are worried about Darwin. I’m okay with Darwin. We are actually good buddies.

Robyn Williams: As we speak, today’s date is what?

Dia Michels: February 12th.

Robyn Williams: What is February 12th? Darwin’s birthday, it’s Darwin’s birthday.

Dia Michels: Is it?

Robyn Williams: Yes, two days before Valentine’s Day is Darwin's birthday. So, it’s appropriate.

Dia Michels: Happy birthday Darwin. That’s very exciting, thank you for sharing that with me.

However, despite her pro-evolution stance, her own words expose glaring inconsistencies and contradictions in the textbook evolutionary worldview. What’s more, one might say that Michels is captive to some very strange ideas that would seem to be against the implicit Darwinian teaching that man is at the pinnacle of evolution.3 The online transcript of the aforementioned 2006 interview is introduced as follows: “Dia Michels wants to be a platypus. She explains why to Robyn Williams.” Much of the interview focuses on her children’s book If My Mom Were a Platypus.

Robyn Williams: Why are you writing about platypuses?

Dia Michels: I’m basically obsessed with them and the reason is because I always wanted kids and so when I got to the point where I was going to have kids I found out that I hated the pregnancy, I hated childbirth, it was horrible, it was horrible, horrible. I lost 22 lbs in my first pregnancy before things turned, I was miserable. So I went on this journey to find out if I could be any other mammal what would I be? And it turns out that this platypus, which is considered a primitive mammal by people who think they’re smart, is the superior creature when it comes to birth and breastfeeding. And so this has become part of my persona and every time I get pregnant I think about being a platypus, and so I'm very close to these animals.

Robyn Williams: Do you mean you’d rather lay eggs?

Dia Michels: I'd rather lay eggs, I'd rather breastfeed without carrying around big breasts that get engorged and leak and have to be hauled about. I'd rather take care of my young simply.

Whether or not she intended it to be quite so barbed, that’s quite a jibe at her fellow evolutionists: “platypus … considered a primitive mammal by people who think they’re smart”. What’s more, she went on to further pursue the inconsistency over the platypus’s evolutionary hierarchical status by juxtaposing it against a ‘highly advanced’ mammal that similarly does not breastfeed as humans do:

Robyn Williams: Now you talked about lactating without having breasts; it’s got small glands out of which the milk leaks.

Dia Michels: Well, it’s got mammary glands under the chest wall and the milk oozes out just the way that sweat oozes out from our skin and the baby laps it up. But here’s another interesting thing. In order to breastfeed you have to create a vacuum seal around the nipple, the baby has to have lips to create this vacuum seal. Well, the platypus has a beak, it cannot make a vacuum seal, so even if the mother had breasts and nipples the baby couldn’t breastfeed.

Now this one, as I said, is considered a primitive mammal, but there’s another mammal that has no lips, and without lips cannot breastfeed—and that’s the whales, both the toothed and the baleen whales. So you’ve got this highly advanced mammal as the mammalogists consider it, and this primitive mammal that have the same condition of having no lips and therefore not being able to breastfeed.

And thus Dia Michels has drawn attention to inconsistencies and credulity-stretching tenets of the evolutionary narrative concerning the origin of mammals.

Huh? Say, what?

Whale ‘nursing’, i.e. the supplying of milk from whale mothers to their offspring, is very complex (evolutionists like to say ‘advanced’), and beautifully suited to an aquatic environment. But guess what: the platypus, which evolutionists view as being ‘primitive’, uses the same ‘advanced’ mechanism!

But wait, there’s further difficulty for the evolutionary storyline. Evolutionary ‘trees’ connect the so-called ‘primitive’ land mammals (e.g. monotremes—the platypus and echidna) to whales via some reputed cow-like transitional form. In common with most terrestrial mammals today, this cow-like creature had somehow already evolved a milk delivery system complete with teats/nipples. As Michels pointed out, teats/nipples require a vacuum seal to work, otherwise junior will go hungry. So of course the offspring must have had lips arise somehow through evolution concurrent with evolution of the mother’s milk supply system, otherwise there could be no forming of a vacuum seal around the teat/nipple.

So from ‘primitive’ mammals, subsequent land mammals had to evolve teats/nipples and lips (and everything else that distinguishes them), then, while supposedly moving to an ocean environment, they had to immediately ‘re-evolve’ non-teats, non-lips. Surely they’re joking?

It’s the Bible’s history that explains why things are

If Dia Michels was willing to pursue questioning of the evolutionary narrative further, she would find there are many more contradictions and ‘blind alleys’ of understanding that arise for those captive to evolutionary philosophy. Truly, evolution is an ‘argument divided against itself’ many times over.

In contrast, if Michels were truly open to considering the evidence in light of the Bible’s historical account, she would see a ‘big picture’ that makes sense. The platypus is not ‘primitive’ but has been designed with the appropriate features for living in its own environment—as have cows, and whales. And right in line with the Bible’s “after their kind” (Genesis 1), all of these creature kinds give rise to their own kind—not some entity on the way to evolving into some other kind of creature. The platypus mother has platypus offspring—if Dia Michels’s mother were a platypus then Dia would certainly be a platypus! But instead she’s a member of humankind, created by God in His image to “have dominion over” the other creatures (Genesis 1:28)—note that it’s Michels who is writing about the platypus, not the other way around.

What’s more, her lament about childbirth and rearing actually is quite astute, for human mothers do seem to have a harder time of it than other mammal mothers generally. This is right in line with what God indicated would be one of the consequences of a dreadful rebellion against Him at the beginning of Creation:

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16a)

The good news however is that, for those eager to receive the right to become children of God (John 1:12), a time is coming when this and the other consequences of man’s rebellion (pain, suffering, death) will have ended (Revelation 21:4)—there will be “no more curse” (Revelation 22:3). In the meantime:

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. (1 Timothy 4:7a)

And:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

References and notes

  1. If my mom were a platypus—Robyn Williams interviews Dia Michels of Platypus Media, ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), The Science Show broadcast Saturday 4 March 2006; transcript at www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/if-my-mom-were-a-platypus/3300626. Return to text.
  2. New science book for young children—Robyn Williams interviews Dia Michels of Platypus Media, ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), The Science Show broadcast Saturday 20 February 2016; transcript at www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/new-science-book-for-young-children/7184648. Return to text.
  3. However, many prominent evolutionists have argued against this notion, saying that humans are just the most intelligent animal, not the pinnacle of anything. (Cf. Genesis 1:26–27 dominion mandate—humankind created in the image of God; the animals were not.) Return to text.

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