Not the actual mechanism, but surely the fact that there was a mechanism was stating the obvious, even back then?
I'd have thought so, yes. But I'm willing to be corrected.
and a "designer" has no need of a mechanism by which to transfer traits that makes it look exactly as if organisms shared a common ancestry, and where the relationships are exactly as are evident elsewhere in nature (in anatomy, and in the fossil record), unless the "designer" in question wanted us to believe that evolutionary Theory were essentially true and that organisms shared a common ancestry. Which raises the question "why would such an entity do so, save to yank our collective chains?"
I've never understood why designer and common ancestry have to be mutually exclusive.
Logically, I don't think common ancestry and a Creator
have to be mutually exclusive. There's no obvious incompatibility between a Deistic "Creator" and common ancestry. And there are plenty of Deists out there who would adopt this position.
However, the more you move into specific sets of quite complex claims about said "Creator", the more baggage those notions carry and the greater the risk to their compatibility with the notion of common ancestry. The minute said "Creator" intervenes in the natural process and starts "designing" organisms, you're bypassing natural selection. What you have is either a kind of artificial selection (like we've done with wheat, dogs, cats, horses, cattle and sheep) or something akin to genetic modification (like we've done with an assortment of agricultural products). At that point you're no longer talking about evolution; and in the latter case, even the notion of common ancestry starts to look shaky.
This is why supposed "refutations" of evolutionary Theory, and common misconceptions about it, stem chiefly from certain brands of monotheism, where there are clear doctrinal views on the question of how the world and humanity emerged. Those brands of monotheism operate on the premise that if any part of their canon is wrong, then their God cannot be true, and the entire edifice of their belief-system comes crumbling down.
And it seems that they treat the bits of science they don't like in the same way. Despite numerous attempts to explain to such people that abiogenesis and evolutionary Theory are different things, that plate tectonics and geology are also not the same as evolutionary Theory, and that cosmology is as far from evolutionary Theory as one can possibly get and still be in a scientific discipline (pretty much the only ways to go from cosmology are maths and philosophy), these kinds of theists demand
that science - in the guise of its biggest bugbear for them, which is evolutionary Theory - provide some sort of overarching omni-explanatory narrative, that encompasses absolutely everything from the origin of the Universe, to the existence of carrots, handbags, cheese, toilets, Russians, planets, hamsters, weddings, poets, Stalin, Kuala Lumpur and Internet memes, to why it's a bad idea to act like a jerk and park across two bays in an shopping mall parking lot, to what the point is of anything and what meaning is there to life anyway.
In short, these people see scientific advancement as a threat to their "holy book", are looking for a kind of scientific "holy book" to compare with the one they've currently got. Some of them are genuinely seeking answers, though from a position of such overwhelming alienness that communication is often slow, frustrating, and very often heated. But they need those answers. They need that narrative, at least as compelling, at least as moving
as they one they have. And if science can't do that, well, science has failed. That's how the thinking goes.
The problem is that the human quest to find out how the natural world works doesn't easily provide such a nice, neat narrative. Reality isn't obliged to work that way. Sacred texts and doctrines work that way, pandering to human desires for explanations because essentially, they were constructed by humans, for humans. The Universe, on the other hand, wasn't
so obviously constructed with humans in mind, nor is it under any obligation to reveal its secrets to humans - so those secrets are harder to obtain, and not necessarily obtained in an order that gives us a nice neat story to tell.
Further, anyone coming to a forum like this with such a mountain of questions, combined with such a poor grasp of evolutionary Theory (often made worse by having been fed misrepresentations of the same by well-meaning peers) and often armed with a series of somewhat random and haphazard questions seeking explanations for everything from cosmology to sociology, inserted into discussions like random trap-doors that take one to an entirely new level of labyrinthine discourse, often try to bite off more than they can chew.
It's hard enough to resolve just one issue, such as irreducible complexity, unless there's a genuine willingness on the part of the person concerned to discard their own preconceptions, do some research and learn why the objection they've raised is silly (and frankly, it invariably is). It's made ten times worse when they fire off an entire volley of barely-related questions, many of the answers to which apparently fall on deaf ears. And it's even worse when none of the answers elicited really satisfy the understated or even unstated desire for an overarching narrative, for them to have something to plug into their matrix as a replacement for the bits of their own creed that they're not really comfortable with any longer, but are not confident enough to shed.