Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blind Guides

Biology textbook authors George Johnson and Jonathan Losos are leaders in the life sciences. They are accomplished researchers and professors from leading universities. But their writings mislead students. In their otherwise well written and highly produced textbook The Living World ((Fifth Edition, McGraw Hill, 2008), Johnson and Losos misrepresent science and make fallacious arguments when they present evolution to the student. It is yet another example of smart people spreading the usual evolutionary message.

Consider the chapter on evolution and natural selection. After misrepresenting what we know about the relationship between microevolution and macroevolution and biological variation, and making a non scientific, metaphysical, truth claim that just happens to mandate the truth of evolution, one would think it couldn’t get any worse.

One would be wrong.

Regarding a fossil sequence of hoofed mammals, Johnson and Losos write:

It is important not to miss the key point of the result you see illustrated in figure 17.3: evolution is an observation, not a conclusion. Because the dating of the samples is independent of what the samples are like, successive change through time is a data statement. While the statement that evolution is the result of natural selection is a theory advanced by Darwin, the statement that macroevolution has occurred is a factual observation.

A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a more misleading statement than this. And it is not as though this was an unintended mistake that just happened to elude the 100+ reviewers. Johnson and Losos went out of their way to make and elaborate this message, and the army of evolutionist reviewers all nodded their heads.

Johnson and Losos are not some computer hackers throwing mud around an Internet chat room. They are full professors at top schools (Washington University and Harvard University). McGraw Hill is not a second rate publisher and The Living World is not hastily prepared volume. These are the best authors, working with a top publisher, under the review of hundreds of evolutionists, to create a beautiful textbook used ats campuses across the country.

And so there is no excuse for misinformation in the guise of science.

146 comments:

  1. And so there is no excuse for lying in the guise of science. But lie they do.

    To “lie” is to knowingly state a falsehood. So, Dr Hunter believes that Johnson and Lobos know that their claims are false, but are promulgating them anyway. He’s not saying that they are mistaken, but that they are deliberately bearing false witness, which is a heinous sin.

    I wonder how Dr Hunter can know this. What power has enabled him to see into the souls of Drs Johnson and Lobos and discern their cognitions and motivations?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The correct names of the authors of The Living World (Fifth Edition, McGraw Hill, 2008) are:

    George Johnson & Jonathan Losos.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Macroevolution" means something much different to creationists than what it means in real life science, the distinction in usage goes back to at least the 1970s in the creation science literature. For creos it means "evolution between created kinds, which is impossible" or "whatever parts of evolution we don't believe in/which the Bible precludes."

    Given that, the OP makes a little more sense, although not much more. In Hunter's world, apparently everything is an optional guess unless it's been directly observed by human eyes. Thus he disbelieves that the rhino-related species above are connected by common ancestry. If he were consistent in his logic, he should disbelieve the idea that the diversity of modern dogs evolved from a common ancestor. No one has observed and documented every single reproductive event of this process either, and the degree of morphological change is similar to the above case.

    On Hunter's previous ridiculous post on this textbook:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/07/if-and-only-if.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cornelius: "A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this."

    Once again, your implication of deceit on the part of the authors is dependent upon your use of different definitions from those of the scientists. Macroevolution, like microevolution, involves both pattern and processes that produce the pattern. A sequence of fossils is a series of fragments of a macroevolutionary pattern. If you take "macroevolution" to be the whole of the evolutionary processes that led to these fossils as a result, then yes, the statement would be incorrect. By context, the authors clearly mean that this is again a portion of the pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Johnson & Loso: It is important not to miss the key point of the result you see illustrated in figure 17.3: evolution is an observation, not a conclusion. Because the dating of the samples is independent of what the samples are like, successive change through time is a data statement. While the statement that evolution is the result of natural selection is a theory advanced by Darwin, the statement that macroevolution has occurred is a factual observation.

    Cornelius Hunter: A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this.

    If we have pictures of someone at age 1, 2, 5, 12 and 20, it's reasonable to say we have observational evidence of their growth. Do you not think they represent a lineage?

    What is the lie again?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sadly, Dr. Hunter has given up all pretense of rational thought or arguments and now just posts these shrill, angry, fact-free rants these days. Maybe the cognitive dissonance of being shown more and more positive evidence for ToE is driving him to such irrational fits of anger.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "If we have pictures of someone at age 1, 2, 5, 12 and 20, it's reasonable to say we have observational evidence of their growth. Do you not think they represent a lineage?"

    No, pictures of one person at different ages is not a lineage... a lineage represents direct descendants down through the generations.

    Second, since fossils do not come with birth certificates, just saying that they are descendants of each other is an evolutionists interpretation. It does not mean they are. They say they are because evolution is a so-called fact. Why is it a fact? Because they say the fossils show common descent. It's a tautology.

    Previously someone mentioned evolutionary changes being like the Grand Canyon. The water slowly eroded away rock and kept doing its thing and the result is the Grand Canyon.

    So why can't evolution be just like the Colorado river that and keeps incrementally changing life without limits?

    Again, it is not an apples to apples comparison, but it illustrates the fallacy of evolutionary thinking. The changes that common descent claims goes far beyond a simple process like water erosion that just keeps working incrementally.

    Living systems are more than simple chemical processes, but integrated systems generated and regulated by complex information encoded within its cells.

    Water can create a rock that looks something like an Indian head (Wisconsin Dells), but what are the chances of water creating Mount Rushmore ? Furthermore, what are the chances of water creating something like Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and then another similar one in Wyoming, but instead of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan's head is substituted (Convergence!)? Even a child would say, no way... unless many in authority would keep indoctrinating the child and telling him that the best minds in the world believe that the simple action of water can do it. Many children would continue to remain skeptical of their claims.

    We understand what the limitations of water erosion are because it is something we observe all the time. I think that for someone to say that biological evolution is like the building of the Grand Canyon illustrates a fundamental rejection or ignorance of the complexity of the living cell and the natural ability of life to develop new organs.

    Could water create a Mount Rushmore? Yes, but it is so highly improbable that we would not consider it as a possibility. Those kinds of odds are what evolutionists are up against regarding common descent and the development of new organs, yet they not only think their against all odds position is reasonable but the only explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Second, since fossils do not come with birth certificates, just saying that they are descendants of each other is an evolutionists interpretation. It does not mean they are. They say they are because evolution is a so-called fact. Why is it a fact? Because they say the fossils show common descent. It's a tautology.There is the other little matter of DNA evidence. Seems to fit in with the pesky nested hierarchy thing, too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So Tedford, what are the magic barriers that keep micro evolutionary changes from accumulating into macro ones? Why can't the small incremental changes over many generations morph a leg into a fin for example?

    You make empty claim after empty claim but we never get any explanation. Just your ignorance based personal disbelief. That's not very scientific, ya know?

    Actually, you probably don't.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Alan Fox said...

    There is the other little matter of DNA evidence. Seems to fit in with the pesky nested hierarchy thing, too.


    Creationists like Tedford seem to be physically unable to consider anything more than one piece of evidence at a time in their teeny Fundy brains. They can't grasp the significance of consilient evidence - multiple independent lines of evidence that all point to the same conclusion.

    As long as they can hand wave away a single piece at a time, they're as happy as pigs in slop.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Neal Tedford: Do you not think they represent a lineage?

    Thought about adding a qualifier after posting, but figured most anyone could determine the meaning. "Lineage" refers to figure 17.3.

    Neal Tedford: Second, since fossils do not come with birth certificates, just saying that they are descendants of each other is an evolutionists interpretation.

    Well, not if we can determine a direct line of fossils.

    Neal Tedford: Because they say the fossils show common descent.

    It's hard to take your current position seriously, as instead of following the argument through, you seem to have abandoned the discussion of the nested hierarchy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Neal Tedford: No, pictures of one person at different ages is not a lineage... a lineage represents direct descendants down through the generations.

    The morphologies (size and shape parameters) of an individual as he or she are growing up form an ontogenetic or developmental lineage (a growth series through time). Lineage here means essentially a line through time. It's not exactly the same thing as an evolutionary lineage, but the analogy is a good one.

    The series of snapshots is fragmentary, but it provides useful information about the growth trajectory of the person. The same is true for the fragmentary fossil record.

    ReplyDelete
  13. John said...

    The series of snapshots is fragmentary, but it provides useful information about the growth trajectory of the person. The same is true for the fragmentary fossil record.


    Yep. Tedford apparently doesn't realize that you can reconstruct an analog signal (which in effect is what the evolutionary progression over time is) with reasonable fidelity by digitally sampling (i.e. finding representative fossils) of values along the path. You don't have to see every last generation to recognize the overall trend.

    ReplyDelete
  14. But it at best is circumstantial evidence, not proof.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "what are the magic barriers that keep micro evolutionary changes from accumulating into macro ones? "

    Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the evolutionist to show that the extrapolation is legitimate? They always fall down at this point.

    Variation of dogs and their domestication over time and throughout history is not the same thing as extrapolating that new organs can evolve. You may have a point if we were to see dogs develop sonar or some new organ. But your examples of so-called micro-evolution is just variation and adaption within a gene pool. Beneficial mutations are out of the ordinary and rare and you have ZERO (a big ZERO) as far as evidence that mutations can lead to brand new organs developing within a lineage. Show us this otherwise you don't have a leg to stand on. It is up to the evolutionists to show positive evidence that new organs can be developed, and not up to the skeptic to show it can't. It's your theory, support it properly.

    ReplyDelete
  16. John,

    It's not like we are just missing a few fossils here and there. We're missing most of it if things had evolved like Darwin said. An honest look at the fossil record shows animals with new features appearing abruptly in the record followed by stasis and some variation.

    Thorton, if each multiple line of evidence is insufficient in themselves, piling them all together doesn't make the quality of evidence better... you just have a bigger pile of hogwash.

    ReplyDelete
  17. John, yes, you can string together digital samples... but who determines their order? You are presuming that they were part of a lineage... so you are back to a tautology.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Re: evolution is an observation

    What did Johnson and Losos mean by that phrase?

    The only thing that can be observed is the sequence of fossils that is illustrated in figure 17.3, if, indeed, it is an actual sequence.

    What cannot be observed is the process that resulted in the morphological changes that are observed in the referenced figure.

    Re: Because the dating of the samples is independent of what the samples are like, successive change through time is a data statement.

    But are they data that can serve as a basis for a scientific conclusion?

    I don't see how they can. The conclusion is based on the assumption that there is a hereditary relationship between the fossils shown in the figure. And without DNA evidence, how can you be sure that there is indeed a hereditary relationship?

    Surely, the assumed hereditary relationship is not derived from the apparent morphological sequence that the observers have imposed on the pattern of fossils. That looks like circular reasoning to me.

    Even if it could be demonstrated with reasonable plausibility that there is a hereditary relationship, that alone will not tell us anything about the mechanism that brought about the changes.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the evolutionist to show that the extrapolation is legitimate? They always fall down at this point.


    Your correct response at this point is to produce direct evidence of a designer. Rather than argue about who's role it is to show something, come up with the better case.

    ReplyDelete
  20. A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this.

    Holy hyperbole! I think it's rather easy to imagine any number of lies greater than that. How about this for example: God magically created a series of fossils to make it look like they were an evolutionary sequence.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nat: "But it at best is circumstantial evidence, not proof."

    Neal: "...if each multiple line of evidence is insufficient in themselves, piling them all together doesn't make the quality of evidence better... you just have a bigger pile of hogwash."

    Neal, Nat, imagine for a moment you are jurors in a trial where John Smith has been accused of robbing a convenience store and murdering the cashier. There were no eyewitnesses. The prosecution presents several pieces of evidence against Mr. Smith:

    1. There is gunpowder residue on Smith's hand.
    2. There is security footage of someone of Smith's exact build committing the crime.
    3. The cashier was shot with a 9mm handgun, Smith owns a 9mm handgun. (the slug was unrecovered)
    4. A window of the store was broken during the crime; broken glass was found in Smith's car.
    5. An email is found on Smith's computer outlining his plan to rob the convenience store.
    6. $330.75 was taken from the cash register; Smith was found with 335.75 in his wallet.
    7. Smith's monogrammed lighter was found at the store.
    8. The crime took place from 8:00 to 8:15 p.m; Smith clocked out of work at 7:45 and clocked back in at 8:30.

    Nat as you might say, "at best it is circumstantial evidence, not proof."
    Every single piece of evidence is circumstantial, if taken by itself; every single one could have a plausible explanation. For example:

    1. This could have many explanations: Smith had been to the shooting range recently is one of many. This, by itself, proves noting.
    2. Smith is only slightly above average in height and weight; millions of men have a similar build. This, by itself, proves noting.
    3. Millions of people own 9mm handguns. This, by itself, proves noting.
    4. The glass could have come from practically anywhere. This, by itself, proves noting.
    5. People often make threats or plans that they carry through on. If I were to threaten to cause an earthquake tomorrow, and it happened, it certainly doesn't mean I caused it. This, by itself, proves noting.
    6. Practically everyone carries some amount of cash in their wallet; the amount could be entirely coincidental. This, by itself, proves noting.
    7. Smith could have dropped the lighter during an earlier visit, it certainly doesn't mean he committed the crime. This, by itself, proves noting.
    8. Smith could have gone anywhere; perhaps to the shooting range. This, by itself, proves noting.

    If each piece of evidence were the only piece of evidence, they would be insufficient to make a reasonable conclusion. But taken together, the lines of evidence are consilient; they all point in the same general direction. If one of your fellow jurors stood up during deliberation and claimed: "...if each of multiple lines of evidence is insufficient in themselves, piling them all together doesn't make the quality of evidence better... you just have a bigger pile of hogwash." You would be forgiven for thinking that he was either:

    A: Incredibly stupid,

    or

    B: Had some other motive for rejecting the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Neal Tedford quoting Thornton:

    "what are the magic barriers that keep micro evolutionary changes from accumulating into macro ones? "

    Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the evolutionist to show that the extrapolation is legitimate?


    When you have a hypothesis that fits the data better than any alternative AND has testable entailments, you’re where you should be, as long as entailed tests are met. This is normal science, and it fits the current evolutionary synthesis. Of course, normal science awaits future developments that can negate a hypothesis, such as the identification of barriers that might have blocked macroevolution.

    So what are those magic barriers?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Neal Tedford:

    It's not like we are just missing a few fossils here and there. We're missing most of it if things had evolved like Darwin said.


    We are indeed missing the vast majority of the fossil record. But the fossil record is not uniformly bad. Different groups of animals have different preservation potential based on the nature of the skeleton (mineralization, robustness) and the environments where they live and die (how likely are they to be buried). Helping these titanotheres (aka brontotheres)to occasionally fossilize is their phosphatic skeleton (bones) and robustness (especially in later forms). That does not mean we have a complete sample of this clade (titanotheres as a group are not just a single species line, but a branching bush due to lineage splitting). Hurting their fossil record is their antiquity; they're younger than dinosaurs but old enough that we find sedimentary rocks of the right age only on a small fraction of the surface of the Earth.

    We certainly do not have a complete sampling of populations throughout the world throughout the Eocene. But morphological evolution has been conservative enough,and mammalian anatomy complex enough, that we have no major problems recognizing all of the genera depicted here as titanotheres, a unique branch of Perissodactyla (Perissodactyla includes living horses, rhinos, and tapirs - as divergent as these look today, their fossil records all go back to the early Eocene to animals similar to the genus depicted on the far left).

    ReplyDelete
  24. Neal Tedford said...

    T: "what are the magic barriers that keep micro evolutionary changes from accumulating into macro ones? "

    Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the evolutionist to show that the extrapolation is legitimate? They always fall down at this point.


    That burden has been met to the satisfaction of the scientific community, and to well over 99.9% of all professional scientists involved in the biological sciences. We've shown you a small sampling of the massive amounts of evidence, but you're ignored it. There's tons more out there.

    You're the uneducated lout that claims scientists are all wrong and have drawn incorrect conclusions. If you want to be taken seriously you have to demonstrate with evidence, not just assert, where all of modern science got it wrong and just where this magic barrier to macroevolution is.

    I noticed you didn't answer my question about plate techtonics. Do you accept the theory of plate tectonics? Why or why not?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Neal Tedford: An honest look at the fossil record shows animals with new features appearing abruptly in the record followed by stasis and some variation.

    An honest look would require understanding that the fossil record is vastly but variably incomplete and biased. Stasis ala Gould and Eldredge does not mean no change through time whatsoever; it means RELATIVE stability compared to times of more rapid change with some of the change in individual traits being fluctuational. In populations that have the fossil records closest to complete (lake bivalves and snails, microfossils in the deep sea) we see transitional forms between longer lived morphologically-based species.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Neal said: "It's not like we are just missing a few fossils here and there. We're missing most of it if things had evolved like Darwin said. An honest look at the fossil record shows animals with new features appearing abruptly in the record followed by stasis and some variation." (emphasis mine)

    "the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form."

    -Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species

    Strange then that our incomplete fossil record is perfectly consistent with what Darwin said.

    ReplyDelete
  27. And as for the fossil record, we probably are 'missing most of it', no matter which way you cut it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. John said: "but old enough that we find sedimentary rocks of the right age only on a small fraction of the surface of the Earth"

    Can you please explain what do you mean by that?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Doublee: The conclusion is based on the assumption that there is a hereditary relationship between the fossils shown in the figure. And without DNA evidence, how can you be sure that there is indeed a hereditary relationship?

    Imagine you were walking in the woods and found four skeletons: a raccoon, a dog, a bobcat, and an opossum. Would you need a DNA test to identify them? You might (no offense, it's just far outside your career training and possibly your interest), but I wouldn't and without doubt neither would the experts who have assembled our knowledge of titanotheres.

    Surely, the assumed hereditary relationship is not derived from the apparent morphological sequence that the observers have imposed on the pattern of fossils. That looks like circular reasoning to me.

    Your fears can be allayed, their relationships are established by cladistic analysis of all available morphological traits; this can be compared with the stratigraphic order in which the fossil occur. The researchers didn't impose pattern - the figure just shows forms in stratigraphic order. We don't see the large forms with large nasal horns until late in the Eocene; the smaller less imposing forms are all we see early in the Eocene. They're recognizable as titanotheres due to unique combinations of skeletal traits, just like those of modern raccoons, opossums, etc. This is the evidence of the nested hierarchy that Zachriel was trying to teach to Neal.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Blas: John said: "but old enough that we find sedimentary rocks of the right age only on a small fraction of the surface of the Earth"

    Can you please explain what do you mean by that?
    Thanks.


    In different parts of the world, we find sediments and rocks of different ages exposed to the surface at outcrops. Earth history is vast, and there are many processes like mountain building and erosion that destroy rocks and fossils. The older a fossil group is, the more opportunity there is for it to be lost to destructive forces and thus not be available to us for study today.

    A second problem is called superposition. The fossils we collect are taken only from rocks we can reach from the surface. Older rocks may have been buried under younger rocks and sediments. That may have protected them from too much erosion that could destroy the rock unit entirely, but too deep a burial and not enough recent erosion means they are hidden beneath our feet.

    So, if Titanotheres lived in the Eocene, we have to go to one of the places where Eocene sediments were deposited, buried, not destroyed, and are now exposed near the surface. That's a small fraction of the total land surface.

    Very young sediments (from the last 2 million years, the Quaternary period) are more promising. In many parts of the world sediments associated with the ice age and with stream processes and high sea level stands have left a fossil record that's less disturbed and close to the surface of the Earth where we can get to it.

    Hope this helped.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Alan Fox,
    There is the other little matter of DNA evidence. Seems to fit in with the pesky nested hierarchy thing, too.

    Like the textbook authors, you're confusing observations with conclusions. Patterns of DNA similarity are observed (or close to it... there are a number of research decisions involved there too but let's leave them aside for now). These patterns are interpreted as supporting a nested hierarchy pattern. This is a matter of interpretation because in many cases, patterns of DNA run counter to the nested hierarchy pattern; these are explained as coevolution. It's a nested hierarchy, except when it ain't.

    Morphological evidence in living animals (another class of observation) also is interpreted to support a hierarchical pattern -- often similar to the hierarchy suggested by molecular evidence -- but sometimes the branches cross and the Tree of Life ends up as the Directed Acyclic Graph of Life.

    In any case, asserting that DNA and morphological evidence (observations) support the same conclusion as the animals pictured in Fig. 17.3 does nothing to defend Johnson and Losos' misstatement that "evolution is an observation". Instead, you are supporting Hunter's point that evolution is a conclusion (supported, you believe, by observations).

    "... successive change through time is a data statement." (Johnson and Losos)

    No, successive change through time is an interpretation based on identifying which animals are descended from which. The specific identification is frequently controversial even among evolutionists. Visit any clade on wikipedia and you will find an ancestor clade whose place in the TOL is currently under debate or has recently been changed.

    Take for example chordates, the ancestor clade (putatively) of Tiktaalik, Archeopteryx, and Basilosaurus. As recently as 2005, scientists were debating the evolutionary place of Chordata in the hierarchy.[1] How can observations be up for debate and revision?

    "Evolution is an observation" may not be the biggest lie ever, but it certainly is a bare-faced and bold one. It's hard to imagine all those reviewers reading it and not getting nervous about it being exposed. My guess is that they must have been pretty desperate to defend evolution, to let such obviously illogical propaganda pass review. Maybe the reviewers who objected got shut down. It would be interesting to know the history there. Then we would be able to trade in interpretations and conclusions about the reviewers' actions for observation.

    [1] Ruppert, E. (2005). "Key characters uniting hemichordates and chordates: homologies or homoplasies?". Canadian Journal of Zoology 83: 8–23.

    ReplyDelete
  32. John: Imagine you were walking in the woods and found four skeletons: a raccoon, a dog, a bobcat, and an opossum. Would you need a DNA test to identify them?

    That's a different scenario. It's not a question of identifying them; it's a question of establishing an ancestral relationship.

    Imagine you are detective and found what appeared to be a grave in someone's back yard. You start digging and find three human skeletons. Would you need DNA evidence to determine if they share an ancestral relationship?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Doublee said...

    John: Imagine you were walking in the woods and found four skeletons: a raccoon, a dog, a bobcat, and an opossum. Would you need a DNA test to identify them?

    That's a different scenario. It's not a question of identifying them; it's a question of establishing an ancestral relationship.

    Imagine you are detective and found what appeared to be a grave in someone's back yard. You start digging and find three human skeletons. Would you need DNA evidence to determine if they share an ancestral


    Doublee, the topic being discussed is identifying ancestral relationships between species, not the ancestral relationships of individual members of the same species.

    So John's example is perfectly valid.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "My guess is that they must have been pretty desperate to defend evolution, to let such obviously illogical propaganda pass review. Maybe the reviewers who objected got shut down. It would be interesting to know the history there. Then we would be able to trade in interpretations and conclusions about the reviewers' actions for observation."

    Another explanation is that evolutionists are so concerned with supporting their conclusion that the scientific method is not important. Sloppiness and hype and fabrication are acceptable because the end justifies the means... or the means doesn't matter. Kind of like the UN Global Warming committee.

    ReplyDelete
  35. CH: A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this. And it is not as though this was an unintended mistake that just happened to elude the 100+ reviewers.

    CH - can you elucidate and explain to us exactly what the mistake is and why it is a "lie". If this is a "lie" than what would the "truth" look like? I'm at a complete loss to understand your point. As Thornton has stated it really does come across as little more than a baseless rant.

    If this is not a sequence showing modification over time - then what is it instead??????

    ReplyDelete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Doublee said: "Imagine you are detective and found what appeared to be a grave in someone's back yard. You start digging and find three human skeletons. Would you need DNA evidence to determine if they share an ancestral relationship?"

    No, you would not need a DNA test to conclude that they were related in some way.

    Unless you were that niche brand of Creationist that believes the different lineages of humans were created separately.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Neal Tedford said...

    Another explanation is that evolutionists are so concerned with supporting their conclusion that the scientific method is not important. Sloppiness and hype and fabrication are acceptable because the end justifies the means... or the means doesn't matter.


    You mean sloppiness and hype and fabrication like that laughably stupid lie you told about having genetic evidence we all are descended from Noah and his family?

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Pastor Tedford:

    "Thorton, if each multiple line of evidence is insufficient in themselves, piling them all together doesn't make the quality of evidence better... you just have a bigger pile of hogwash."

    It doesn't get much more stupid than this. The very basis of data analysis, statistics and inference - dismissed out of hand just like that. Thus forever annihilating any minuscule lingering doubts about the pastor's scientific competence.

    Derick gave a great example that demolishes your claim. Here's another: I'm trying to "estimate" your full name. Piece of evidence #1: first name Neal. Piece #2: last name Tedford. Each on its own leaves a lot of uncertainty, but together... Well, it might miss that your middle name is Idiot.

    To end on a positive note: check out this story by Sean Carroll on pre-Cambrian fossils.

    ReplyDelete
  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Doublee: That's a different scenario. It's not a question of identifying them; it's a question of establishing an ancestral relationship.

    Taxonomic identification is an assessment of ancestral relationship. I know the individual represented by the raccoon skull shared a more recent ancestry with the live raccoon I see nearby than it did with myself. We're not talking about DIRECT ancestral relationship necessarily, but recency of common ancestry. I can point to the skulls and show you how we know that the dog, raccoon, and bobcat all share a more recent common ancestor together than any of them do with the opossum. DNA sequences can then be used for verification in this case, but really are overkill.

    Imagine you are detective and found what appeared to be a grave in someone's back yard. You start digging and find three human skeletons. Would you need DNA evidence to determine if they share an ancestral relationship?

    No, I don't need DNA to know that they share common ancestry. All humans share common ancestry. I'm not talking necessarily about one individual being the mother of one of the others. We're talking about recency of shared ancestry here. What we could determine from the morphological record is that the last two species of titanotheres in the figure share, say, a more recent common ancestor with one another than they do with the first one on the left.

    And yes, Thorton's point is also important. The greater genetically-determined morphological differences between species make this task much easier than when applied to human skulls where there is far less genetically-based variation. Even here, however, forensic scientists can sometimes determine broad ethnicity ("race") from characteristic traits of skulls.

    ReplyDelete
  44. We are not dismissing out of hand, we are begging for details on how new organs are "observed" evolving. You guys keep giving petty examples of observed change that aren't controversial with your main points being founded on a tautology.

    It's like you are saying since water can incrementally create the Grand Canyon, water can also carve a Mount Rushmore without a problem. You have not proved that you can extrapolate legitimately.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Neal, I appreciate your tenacity in defending what you think is right.

    But please forgive my bluntness: In using such monumentally absurd arguments, all you're really doing is perpetrating the stereotype that Christians are scientifically illiterate simpletons who wouldn't know logic or reason if it punched them in the face.

    That I don't appreciate.

    ReplyDelete
  46. David:

    ===
    And so there is no excuse for lying in the guise of science. But lie they do.

    To “lie” is to knowingly state a falsehood. So, Dr Hunter believes that Johnson and Losos know that their claims are false, but are promulgating them anyway. He’s not saying that they are mistaken, but that they are deliberately bearing false witness, which is a heinous sin.

    I wonder how Dr Hunter can know this. What power has enabled him to see into the souls of Drs Johnson and Losos and discern their cognitions and motivations?
    ===

    Good point, maybe they're just insane.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Dr Hunter, quoting me:

    "I wonder how Dr Hunter can know this. What power has enabled him to see into the souls of Drs Johnson and Losos and discern their cognitions and motivations?

    Good point, maybe they're just insane.


    That is a clownish thing to say, trivializing your claim that Johnson and Losos are liars and emasculating your entire argument.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Neal Tedford:

    We are not dismissing out of hand, we are begging for details on how new organs are "observed" evolving.

    Are you unaware that one does not have to observe a process to make a reasonable inference to its occurrence? For example, have you observed the Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon? Certainly not. Do you have any doubt about the occurrence?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Derick, what is absurd is that your fellow evolutionist was the one that brought up the Grand Canyon illustration.

    What evidence do you really have that small changes can keep accumulating to develop whole new organs within a lineage? You have nothing but a tautology to support your claim.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Neal Tedford, are you unaware of this evidence?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_mammalian_auditory_ossicles

    ReplyDelete
  51. David, my reasonable inference is that the information in the living cell is best explained by Design, not betting on some improbable freak of nature. If a cell looks designed, why not accept it as designed, especially given that purely natural processes do not originate complex encoded information.

    Your Julius Caesar illustration is a fallacy, because apparently SOMEONE observed and recorded the event. No one was present to record the supposed development of new organs. Evolutionists are simply interpreting the data to suit their fantasies.

    ReplyDelete
  52. David, according to your wikipedia post... "In fact ear drums apparently evolved independently three to six times"

    Now that's convenient. The power of natural selection never stops giving.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Tedford, try this also:

    A Fin is a Limb is a Wing

    How Evolution Fashioned its Masterworks


    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/11/evolution/zimmer-text

    ReplyDelete
  54. Pastor Tedford:

    "David, my reasonable inference is that the information in the living cell is best explained by Design, not betting on some improbable freak of nature. If a cell looks designed, why not accept it as designed, especially given that purely natural processes do not originate complex encoded information."

    (1) What are your criteria to determine whether something "looks designed"?

    (2) What is complex encoded information?

    If your inference is reasonable, as you claim, it should be easy to answer these question.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Neal,
    "Your Julius Caesar illustration is a fallacy, because apparently SOMEONE observed and recorded the event. "

    and people never lie, or make up events? why is recorded evidence better than physical evidence? is Caesar crossing the Rubicon a fact? If so, why?

    "Now that's convenient. The power of natural selection never stops giving. "

    stay focused. Is this evidence of a new organ evolving through natural processes or not?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Neal:

    No one was present to record the supposed development of new organs.

    Yet you feel quite confident that these were designed. How did it happen?

    ReplyDelete
  57. It's not a fallacy, it's an analogy. True, we have testimony to the crossing of the Rubicon, from Caesar himself, no less. But testimony is a variety of evidence.

    If you require eye witness testimony to the occurrence of macroevolution, and reject all other evidence, you are setting an arbitrary boundary to suit your personal prejudices.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Tedford:

    David, according to your wikipedia post... "In fact ear drums apparently evolved independently three to six times"

    Now that's convenient. The power of natural selection never stops giving.


    Creationist snark never stops being lame.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hey Cornelius,

    What's the point of your preposterous rants? Do you think that you can undermine the credibility of Johnson and Losos? That students will stop buying their textbooks simply because some bitter hack at a bible school pronounces them liars? There must be some logic behind this, but I can't quite see it. Care to explain?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Neal Tedford said...

    We are not dismissing out of hand, we are begging for details on how new organs are "observed" evolving. You guys keep giving petty examples of observed change that aren't controversial with your main points being founded on a tautology.


    Here Tedford, I'll throw you a bone. Here's a nice layman's summary on the evidence for the evolution of the vertebrate digestive system.

    Evolution of the vertebrate digestive system

    I realize there's almost a zero chance you'll read it, and even less chance you'll understand it if you do. But maybe it will shut you up for a moment from your ignorant bawling about how there's no evidence.

    And speaking of your idiotic view that long term processes have to be eyewitnessed to be true, I'll ask again:

    Do you accept the theory of plate tectonics? Why or why not?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Oleg:

    Preposterous? How so?


    You mean besides the fact your inane rants are filled with nothing but truly awful scientific misunderstandings, deliberate misrepresentations of actual research, scurrilous unsubstantiated attacks bordering on libel of the integrity of professional scientists, and childish rhetorical game-playing based on your own made up definitions of words?

    Other than that?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Cornelius,

    Just look at this from an outside perspective. On the one hand, we have a hack from a bible school where teaching about common ancestry of man and animals officially forbidden. The hack is agnostic on the age of the Earth.

    On the other hand, we have two professors of biology from Harvard and Wash. U, authors of an established textbook (currently in its sixth edition).

    For one thing, the hack already has a credibility problem, so it's hard to imagine that anyone will take his claims seriously (apart from the choir). But let's take a look at his claim.

    The hack complains that the four fossils shown in Figure 17.3 do not represent an observation of macroevolution. He writes:

    A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this.

    The hack could complain about the scarcity of the data: Figure 17.3 only shows 4 fossils, hardly a continuous succession*. Instead, he chose to ratchet up the rhetoric and accused the authors of perpetrating a lie.

    A lie, Cornelius, is a deliberate misrepresentation. You are in effect saying that Johnson and Losos do not themselves believe that these fossils are related but they still tell that to their readers. That's preposterous.

    *We could argue about that and compare the situation to other branches of science, but there is no point in doing so because the hack is not prepared for that level of conversation. He is waging an all-out war against "evolutionists" and he is not interested in discussing science. Whenever a knowledgeable scientist shows up on this board, Cornelius ducks.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Dr. Hunter has presented no evidence whatsoever that Drs. Johnson and Losos have deliberately perpetrated what they knew to be a falsehood. He also has not asserted that their conclusions about the fossil record are the result of different assumptions about the interpretation of such evidence or metaphysical assumptions about the applicability of indirect empirical evidence. No, he has clearly and unambiguously asserted that they are lying.

    From this, what can one conclude? That Dr. Hunter is the one who is lying, both about Johnson and Losos' interpretations of the fossil record and their motivations for such interpretations. Indeed, Dr. Hunter's statements in this case (for which he has presented no evidence whatsoever and about which he has asserted complete confidence) verge very close to the legal definition of libel.

    Par for the course, though, for the cadré of intellectual charlatans who fancy themselves to be "Christians"...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Dr. Hunter, I don't think the authors are intentionally lying, or that they are insane, but as the title of your post "Blind Guides" says, I believe they may be truly blind to even a small glimpse of "The Greatness of Our God",,,

    The Greatness of Our God - Hillsong Live
    http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=02bf2dc3145ca1d885bd

    The Greatness of Our God - Lyrics
    Give me eyes to see
    More of who You are
    May what I behold
    Still my anxious heart

    Take what I have known
    And break it all apart
    You my God are greater still

    No sky contains
    No doubt restrains
    All You are
    The greatness of our God

    I spend my life to know
    And I'm far from home
    To all You are
    The greatness of our God

    Give me grace to see
    Beyond this moment here
    To believe that there

    Is nothing left to fear
    That You alone are high above it all
    You my God are greater still

    And there is nothing
    That can ever separate us
    There is nothing that can ever

    Separate if from Your love
    No life no death of this I am convinced
    You my God are greater still
    http://www.songlyrics.com/hillsong/the-greatness-of-our-god-lyrics/

    ReplyDelete
  65. Neal, A few things:

    I've already covered the problems with your argument that: "...if each multiple line of evidence is insufficient in themselves, piling them all together doesn't make the quality of evidence better..." in a previous post so I won't go over it again here. (but that one is quite a blunder)

    About analogies: All have a breaking point at which they cease to apply. (If they were perfectly interchangeable with the situation being described, they wouldn't be analogies.) But finding the breaking point of an analogy does not mean you have refuted the argument. And if someone is consistently taking an analogy past it's natural breaking point, it's a good indicator that they didn't understand it to begin with.

    Let's take the Grand Canyon example. It is often argued that microevolutionary changes can't accumulate over time into macroevolutionary changes, for whatever reason. The analogy of the Grand Canyon posits that many small topological changes caused by erosion, over time, can become very large topological changes caused by erosion. Note that within the analogy, the type of change remains consistent: changes that erosion can make. Let's say you're discussing the pointillist painting "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat with a friend who is incredulous that the entire painting could have been made one dot of paint at a time. "Perhaps you could cover a small postcard using that technique, but surely not an entire canvas this large," He says. You point out that if a postcard could be painted using this technique, then it is reasonable to extrapolate that an entire canvas could be as well, and you use the Grand Canyon analogy to illustrate your point. Now, if your friend were to say "How ridiculous! Blind forces like wind and water couldn't have created a painting with all these distinct forms and vidid colors! What nonsense are you trying to pull here, Tedford?" - You would know that your friend hadn't grasped the analogy. In that same way, I'm afraid you've misunderstood the analogy when applied to natural selection. No one is claiming that a little bit of erosion can form a miniature Mt. Rushmore; so of course the charge: "what are the chances of water creating Mount Rushmore?" is just ridiculously silly.

    continued...

    ReplyDelete
  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  67. ...continued from above:
    We know that heritable variation + natural selection can produce small anatomical changes over a short time, (Pugs and Pekingese) moderate anatomical changes over a longer time, (greyhounds and bulldogs) large anatomical changes over an even longer time, (chiuauas and jackals) and we have no reason to doubt that the longer the time, the more dramatic the change, and plenty of reasons to think that that is the case.

    You also said: "So why can't evolution be just like the Colorado river that and keeps incrementally changing life without limits?" Well, erosion caused by the Colorado river does have limits, Neal. It is constrained by physical laws: It can't flow uphill, and generally can't add back to the sedimentary rock that has been eroded, among many other constraints. Where erosion isn't constrained, you usually see the same features pop up over and over and over again: buttes, mesas, gulleys, rivulets, etc. In that same way, Natural selection is constrained; but where it isn't we see the same features pop up over and over again: wings, eyes, ears, etc. (And of course natural selection acting on heritable variation is a much more complex process than erosion; it is no surprise that the results are more complex as well.)

    You actually spend an entire post going through the places where the analogy breaks down, but you must realize, that's all you're doing.

    Neal: "Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the evolutionist to show that the extrapolation is legitimate? They always fall down at this point."

    And how might one show that the extrapolation is legitimate? Perhaps we could show the transition in a series of forms that show a feature developing over time? (Provided we don't hide them away in 'books' or 'museums') Perhaps we could demonstrate that the genetic techniques that we use to veryify that all modern dogs have a common ancestor are the exact same techniques that we use to demonstrate the genetic relationships between all other animals? Perhaps we could do what paleontologists, biologists, and geneticists have been doing for decades?

    And Neal, you're the one claiming that there is some sort of 'barrier' preventing all of these small morphological changes from accumulating into large morphological changes. What is that barrier?

    ReplyDelete
  68. bornagain77,

    Good argument, very persuasive. You've really shown me the error of my ways. Who knew it would only take a song to overturn a century and a half of scientific research.

    Well done.

    Don't worry, I'm sure your atheistic opponents here don't think you're nuts for posting a song instead of evidence or reasoning. Really.

    ReplyDelete
  69. David,

    "If you require eye witness testimony to the occurrence of macroevolution, and reject all other evidence, you are setting an arbitrary boundary to suit your personal prejudices."

    I was pointing out the fallacy of the Caesar comparison.

    I would actually be interested in some genuine evidence for macroevolution besides the assumption that evolution is a fact because life forms share similarities.

    The mammal and reptile ear drum is perhaps a start but there are some problems with that. Interestingly, in the linked article it said that the ear drum has evolved independently several times. Just a side question, if stuff is frequently evolving independently how can you be sure that similar features in so called nested species share a direct lineage? How does one know for sure that all new features didn't evolve independently? Is it just because evolutionists assume common descent and then similar features in different lineages are the only stuff that gets categorized as having independently evolved? It's a house of cards.

    Regarding the digestion link from Thorton, it is saturated in evolutionary assumptions, but nothing substantial at all as to the detailed pathways to how the new digestive organs developed. Just more of the same. I'm beginning to think that as long as a link with information can be posted that says something "scientific" about evolutionary assumptions this meets the standard of evidence for evolution. Assumptions and speculations based on a tautology is still a house of cards.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Oleg

    ===
    Just look at this from an outside perspective. On the one hand, we have a hack from a bible school where teaching about common ancestry of man and animals officially forbidden. The hack is agnostic on the age of the Earth.
    ===

    Ad hominem.


    ===
    On the other hand, we have two professors of biology from Harvard and Wash. U, authors of an established textbook (currently in its sixth edition).
    ===

    Argument from authority.

    ===
    For one thing, the hack already has a credibility problem, so it's hard to imagine that anyone will take his claims seriously (apart from the choir).
    ===

    Ad hominem.


    ===
    But let's take a look at his claim.
    ===

    Oh good, for a moment I thought this was a preposterous rant.


    ===
    The hack complains that the four fossils shown in Figure 17.3 do not represent an observation of macroevolution. He writes:
    ===

    Strawman.

    ===
    A sequence of fossils is an observation of macroevolution? It would be difficult to imagine a greater lie than this.
    ===

    True statement. Oh, that was a quote.


    ===
    The hack could complain about the scarcity of the data: Figure 17.3 only shows 4 fossils, hardly a continuous succession*. Instead, he chose to ratchet up the rhetoric and accused the authors of perpetrating a lie.
    ===

    Irrelevant.


    ===
    A lie, Cornelius, is a deliberate misrepresentation. You are in effect saying that Johnson and Losos do not themselves believe that these fossils are related but they still tell that to their readers. That's preposterous.
    ===

    Strawman.I, of course, said no such thing. What Johnson and Losos believe about the origins of the fossils is irrelevant. The statement that the fossils is an observation of macroevolution is false, and it was a point that the authors went out of their way to make. It was not a stray remark.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Allen MacNeill:

    ===
    Dr. Hunter has presented no evidence whatsoever that Drs. Johnson and Losos have deliberately perpetrated what they knew to be a falsehood.
    ===

    The authors state that such a fossil sequence is not merely evidence for evolution, but rather that such a fossil sequence is a "factual observation" of evolution. Do you agree that this statement is false?

    ReplyDelete
  72. NickM:

    ===
    "Macroevolution" means something much different to creationists than what it means in real life science
    ===

    What does it mean in real life science?

    ===
    Thus he disbelieves that the rhino-related species above are connected by common ancestry.
    ===

    Where did I say that?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Derick,

    =============
    "we have no reason to doubt that the longer the time, the more dramatic the change, and plenty of reasons to think that that is the case."

    ==============
    We certainly do have lots of reasons to doubt it.

    ==============
    "In that same way, Natural selection is constrained; but where it isn't we see the same features pop up over and over again: wings, eyes, ears, etc."
    ================

    You are assuming that they pop up over and over again because of evolution simply because they exist. That's a Tautology.

    ===============

    "And Neal, you're the one claiming that there is some sort of 'barrier' preventing all of these small morphological changes from accumulating into large morphological changes. What is that barrier?"
    ==============

    When you say large morphological changes, do you mean new organs or just bigger sized animals, or both? There is a difference. How exactly does an eye evolve? For example, the human eye has at least 32 components. Can you explain the sequence in which the components are added? How does the eye remain functional as each component is added? Do the components incrementally grow at the same time and then work as an integrated system once they are all in place?

    ReplyDelete
  74. John:

    ===
    Once again, your implication of deceit on the part of the authors is dependent upon your use of different definitions from those of the scientists.
    ===

    So macroevolution doesn't mean evolution above the species level?


    ===
    Macroevolution, like microevolution, involves both pattern and processes that produce the pattern.
    ===

    OK.

    ===
    A sequence of fossils is a series of fragments of a macroevolutionary pattern.
    ===

    OK.

    ===
    If you take "macroevolution" to be the whole of the evolutionary processes that led to these fossils as a result, then yes, the statement would be incorrect. By context, the authors clearly mean that this is again a portion of the pattern.
    ===

    Strange, that is not what they said. What they actually said, regarding such fossil sequences, is that "evolution is an observation, not a conclusion" and that "While the statement that evolution is the result of natural selection is a theory advanced by Darwin, the statement that macroevolution has occurred is a factual observation." That is unequivocally false.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Zachriel:

    ===
    If we have pictures of someone at age 1, 2, 5, 12 and 20, it's reasonable to say we have observational evidence of their growth. Do you not think they represent a lineage?

    What is the lie again?
    ===

    The authors did not explain the fossil sequence as "observational evidence" for evolution. They went out of their way to explain that one does not *conclude* evolution based on this evidence, but rather that this evidence is a factual observation of evolution. If you look at the fossils, then you make the "factual observation" that macroevolution has occurred. That is a false statement.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Janfeld:

    ===
    If this is not a sequence showing modification over time - then what is it instead??????
    ===

    What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    ReplyDelete
  77. David:

    ===
    Good point, maybe they're just insane.

    That is a clownish thing to say, trivializing your claim that Johnson and Losos are liars and emasculating your entire argument.
    ===

    No, it is the only other explanation for the claim which is so obviously false.

    ReplyDelete
  78. The authors of “The Living World” are either 1) liars (as proposed by Cornelius), stupid (in the same way Forest Gump identifies stupid people: “stupid is as stupid does” or 3) deceived. I don’t *know* if they are liars. It’s possible, but Cornelius may have over-reached regarding that conclusion. However, I wonder if they would rather be considered liars as opposed to stupid and/or deceived. I know I would. I could simply decide not to lie while it’s much more difficult to overcome stupidity and/or deception. If they are stupid, it’s because they don’t recognize the role interpretation plays in regards to the fossil evidence. Irrespective of whether you are a true believer in macro-evolution or not, you have to be willing to admit that the fossil record is relatively sparse. If macro-evolution is indeed *the* explanation for all the incredibly diverse, complex, interdependent life forms we see in nature, there are a massive number of progressions and leaps in complexity that simply aren’t documented. You can choose to see that as irrelevant or a temporary condition that will be resolved over time or whatever -- but you can’t refute it. You can also decide “it’s good enough for you” --but to act as though only the stupid, evil, or ignorant could fail to agree with you is ridiculous. No reasonable, objective person can claim the fossil evidence renders macro-evolution as simply an observation. The authors of “The Living World” did just that. Liars? Stupid? Deceived? I can’t say for sure. My personal opinion is that they have been snookered. They see macro-evolution as a Truth with a capital “T” and have lost all ability to temper their “belief” in that Truth. The ability to exercise *any* skepticism about something as unlikely as macro-evolution has rendered them no better than any other fundamentalist. They have lost the ability to distinguish faith from knowledge. Their faith in macro-evolution is complete. It is True no matter the obstacles. Personally, I’m not offended by the possibility that chance mutations and natural selection alone can accomplish macro-evolution. I have no problem with objective research into how and whether accumulations of micro-evolutions can actually achieve *anything* interesting. I’m also not offended by those that choose to research the science, math, and reasoning necessary to reliably identify design in nature. I am, however, offended that so many act as though their way *must* be true. That’s just fundamentalism in different clothing. I say stop with the over-reaching regarding what you know versus what you think you know, develop a little healthy skepticism, and then be willing to go *wherever* the evidence (as it accumulates or doesn’t, as the case may be) leads. Try it. It will be uncomfortable at first but you may not look so stupid later.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Neal Tedford said...

    Regarding the digestion link from Thorton, it is saturated in evolutionary assumptions, but nothing substantial at all as to the detailed pathways to how the new digestive organs developed. Just more of the same. I'm beginning to think that as long as a link with information can be posted that says something "scientific" about evolutionary assumptions this meets the standard of evidence for evolution. Assumptions and speculations based on a tautology is still a house of cards.


    Hey idiot - the reason we keep posting summaries is because you're too ignorant and incompetent to deal with the primary data. I could start posting links to and discussing the actual primary research, but for most of the papers you're going to need a subscription. Besides, you don't even understand the little bits you've been spoon fed here.

    For example, last month in Nature, there was a cool article on the conserved spinal cord origin of motor innervation in tetrapod limbs and fish pectoral fins. You want to discuss the details? Or do you want to just keep waving those hands and shooting your big mouth off?

    Why won't you tell us if you accept the theory of plate tectonics? Afraid of looking like a big hypocrite?

    ReplyDelete

  80. "And Neal, you're the one claiming that there is some sort of 'barrier' preventing all of these small morphological changes from accumulating into large morphological changes. What is that barrier?"

    When you say large morphological changes, do you mean new organs or just bigger sized animals, or both? There is a difference. How exactly does an eye evolve? For example, the human eye has at least 32 components. Can you explain the sequence in which the components are added? How does the eye remain functional as each component is added? Do the components incrementally grow at the same time and then work as an integrated system once they are all in place?


    Tedford, you cowardly avoided answering the question. Again.

    What is that barrier?

    What is the barrier that would prevent a terrestrial leg from evolving into a fin?

    ReplyDelete
  81. Mike said...

    The authors of “The Living World” are either 1) liars (as proposed by Cornelius), stupid (in the same way Forest Gump identifies stupid people: “stupid is as stupid does” or 3) deceived.


    Or 4), the biggest possibility: they could be entirely correct, and CH is doing his normal clown-dance equivocation over the observed fact of evolution and the theory of evolution that explains the observations.

    As the late Stephen J. Gould pointed out, " In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." In that regard, the statement that macroevolution has occurred is indeed a scientifically factual observation.

    To CH who likes to make up his own peculiar definitions, "fact" means "anything that doesn't contradict my narrow Biblical Fundamentalist views".

    It makes him feel better and gives his IDiot groupies something to cheer about, but ultimately it's just meaningless blustering rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
  82. ===
    "Macroevolution" means something much different to creationists than what it means in real life science
    ===

    What does it mean in real life science?


    As I co-wrote in 2007:

    Other ID arguments, such as the claim that there are no transitional fossils in the fossil record or that “microevolution” is proven but “macroevolution” is dubious, are indistinguishable from those in the creation science literature (37).

    The microevolution/macroevolution distinction is particularly revealing. In evolutionary biology, microevolution refers to evolutionary processes operating within a species. Although scientists sometimes colloquially refer to macroevolution as “evolution above the species level,” this definition does not do justice to the complexity of topics included within the concept. Macroevolution refers to patterns that emerge as species and lineages branch through time, including the rate and pace of evolutionary change, adaptive radiation, morphological trends in lineages, extinction or branching of a lineage, concepts such as species sorting, and the emergence of major new morphological features (such as segmentation, or shells, or the fusion or loss of bones). Decades ago, creationists began to use microevolution and macroevolution idiosyncratically. Creationists' use of “microevolution” is not dissimilar to that of evolutionary biologists, although they apply it not just to species but to evolution within the limits of a specially created “kind” of organism. When ID supporters and other creationists claim to accept some evolution, they generally mean it in this limited sense of evolution “within the kind.” A larger distinction occurs in the creationist definition of macroevolution, which to them refers to (unacceptable) common ancestry of different created kinds. It also refers to the acquisition of major morphological features or body plan changes, also considered impossible without the direct involvement of God. Both creation science and ID approach the micro/macro divide similarly: microevolution is accepted, and macroevolution (their definition) is rejected.




    Hunter, mid-thread:

    ===
    Thus he disbelieves that the rhino-related species above are connected by common ancestry.
    ===

    Where did I say that?


    Hunter, mid/late-thread:

    What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    Oops! Looks like I described your view correctly after all!

    Over here in reality-land, the idea that those rhinolike guys share common ancestry is no more a "hypothesis" than the idea that the diversity of modern dogs share a common ancestor.

    ReplyDelete
  83. ===
    "Macroevolution" means something much different to creationists than what it means in real life science
    ===

    What does it mean in real life science?


    As I co-wrote in 2007:

    Other ID arguments, such as the claim that there are no transitional fossils in the fossil record or that “microevolution” is proven but “macroevolution” is dubious, are indistinguishable from those in the creation science literature (37).

    The microevolution/macroevolution distinction is particularly revealing. In evolutionary biology, microevolution refers to evolutionary processes operating within a species. Although scientists sometimes colloquially refer to macroevolution as “evolution above the species level,” this definition does not do justice to the complexity of topics included within the concept. Macroevolution refers to patterns that emerge as species and lineages branch through time, including the rate and pace of evolutionary change, adaptive radiation, morphological trends in lineages, extinction or branching of a lineage, concepts such as species sorting, and the emergence of major new morphological features (such as segmentation, or shells, or the fusion or loss of bones). Decades ago, creationists began to use microevolution and macroevolution idiosyncratically. Creationists' use of “microevolution” is not dissimilar to that of evolutionary biologists, although they apply it not just to species but to evolution within the limits of a specially created “kind” of organism. When ID supporters and other creationists claim to accept some evolution, they generally mean it in this limited sense of evolution “within the kind.” A larger distinction occurs in the creationist definition of macroevolution, which to them refers to (unacceptable) common ancestry of different created kinds. It also refers to the acquisition of major morphological features or body plan changes, also considered impossible without the direct involvement of God. Both creation science and ID approach the micro/macro divide similarly: microevolution is accepted, and macroevolution (their definition) is rejected.




    Hunter, mid-thread:

    ===
    Thus he disbelieves that the rhino-related species above are connected by common ancestry.
    ===

    Where did I say that?


    Hunter, mid/late-thread:

    What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    Oops! Looks like I described your view correctly after all!

    Over here in reality-land, the idea that those rhinolike guys share common ancestry is no more a "hypothesis" than the idea that the diversity of modern dogs share a common ancestor.

    ReplyDelete
  84. NickM:

    ===
    Although scientists sometimes colloquially refer to macroevolution as “evolution above the species level,” this definition does not do justice to the complexity of topics included within the concept. Macroevolution refers to patterns that emerge as species and lineages branch through time, including the rate and pace of evolutionary change, adaptive radiation, morphological trends in lineages, extinction or branching of a lineage, concepts such as species sorting, and the emergence of major new morphological features (such as segmentation, or shells, or the fusion or loss of bones).
    ===

    Of course, so what?

    ===
    Decades ago, creationists began to use microevolution and macroevolution idiosyncratically.
    ===

    This is irrelevant.


    ===
    A larger distinction occurs in the creationist definition of macroevolution, which to them refers to (unacceptable) common ancestry of different created kinds.
    ===

    Also irrelevant.


    ===
    It also refers to the acquisition of major morphological features or body plan changes, also considered impossible without the direct involvement of God. Both creation science and ID approach the micro/macro divide similarly: microevolution is accepted, and macroevolution (their definition) is rejected.
    ===

    Also irrelevant. You obviously want to bring creationism into the discussion, but there’s no nail for your hammer in the textbook. You claimed there is some crucial nuance to the term “macroevolution” which exonerates the textbook, but when asked you don’t supply it. Of course “evolution above the species level” does not, itself, do justice to the concept of macroevolution. Of course the term macroevolution entails the large-scale changes, such as in body plan and the patterns that emerge.

    That doesn’t change the fact that the text makes a blatantly false statement about it. What is astonishing is how evolutionists have continued to propagate this lie.


    ################################
    Hunter, mid-thread:

    ===
    Thus he disbelieves that the rhino-related species above are connected by common ancestry.
    ===

    Where did I say that?

    Hunter, mid/late-thread:

    What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    Oops! Looks like I described your view correctly after all!
    ################################

    Nick, please tell me, what is it about evolutionists? Go back and reread what you wrote here—it makes no sense. You say I disbelieve that said fossils are related via common descent (something I never said), and you then find confirmation for your contrived attack in my explanation that the fossils are not a factual observation of macroevolution / common descent. You are making no sense.





    ################################
    Over here in reality-land, the idea that those rhinolike guys share common ancestry is no more a "hypothesis" than the idea that the diversity of modern dogs share a common ancestor.
    ################################

    Of course, in your “reality” common ancestry is an undeniable fact. So you are now begging the question.

    Scotty, won’t you please beam me up …?

    ReplyDelete
  85. Well, let's hear what you actually think, then, Dr. Hunter.

    1. Do you think the rhinolike critters in the figure in your post share common ancestry?

    (a) yes
    (b) no


    2. Whether or not you personally believe in their common ancestry, would you consider the statement "Those creatures share common ancestry"

    (a) a reasonable scientific statement
    (b) an unreasonable scientific statement


    3. Regardless of your answers to #1 and #2, do you think this progression of similar fossil forms:

    (a) supports the idea that they share common ancestry

    (b) doesn't support the idea that they share common ancestry

    I'm being specific, because you are accusing people and introductory textbooks of outrageous lies and fraud. If you actually do accept the common ancestry of these fossils, or think that the idea is reasonable, then your objections boil down to the splitting of very fine hairs, at most. Which is a very long ways from lies and fraud. And even if you abandon the "lies" claim, how much value is there in hair-splitting the language of an introductory textbook that is probably mandated to be written at a 9th-grade reading level.

    If you don't accept these things, which you've given every impression you don't, then my reading of you is basically accurate.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Cornelius Hunter:

    "Nick, please tell me, what is it about evolutionists? Go back and reread what you wrote here—it makes no sense. You say I disbelieve that said fossils are related via common descent (something I never said), and you then find confirmation for your contrived attack in my explanation that the fossils are not a factual observation of macroevolution/common descent. You are making no sense."

    =============================================

    Hi C.H.

    Well , unfortunately you already know the answer to your question. It's always about making no sense. Keeping the discussion muddled and fuzzy. Creating a world in which there are no absolutes. Using the same tired ol'Pontius Pilate argument, "What is truth?"

    I found your observation to be extremely simple enough for a child to understand. I believe that these simple common sense explanation are what actually infuriate them the most. In their worldview, all and any data must be complicated and explained /deciphered only by approved intellectuals. You apparently in their eyes don't measure up to the task. You do not possess the Evolutionist metaphysical ability to use divination to channel the dead spirits of these creatures to tell you the true fabled story of their mythological past.

    To simply lay out and insist that change and variety within the same KIND of creature/organism (Rhino KIND)(Diatom KIND) ETC is factual proof of macroevolution is absolutely dishonest. Evolution needs to be looked at from a layman public point of view. (At least the view they have shoved down their throats) The average Joe/Jane Q public never enters these debates of fuzzy magical definitions. They have an understanding that evolution is mud to man explanation for life. Macro is the term for one KIND of creature jumping into another KIND of creature. Not some grey area fuzzy variation within the same KIND.

    Now if these two gentleman scientists mentioned above in the OP being discussed gave a factual above in the OP being discussed gave a factual explanation and illustration based on facts of how a kit fox jumped into the ocean and turned into a great Blue Whale, then we're talking true unadulterated macroevolutionary Darwinianism. This is one atheist virgin birth story that has yet to be honestly explained and proven beyond it's modern day cartoon animation flicks.

    Dr Hunter has time an again explained that hijacking of the nanomachine mechanisms within and surrounding DNA for which we know operate with purpose and intent with a goal in mind and attaching evolutionary lables/terms on them, do honestly NOT explain the blind pointless indifferent undirectedness insisted upon by evolutionists for these changes. He acknowledges that all these changes within the framework of a type or KIND are indeed posible and to be expected, much like the wholphin creature which is nothing more than a modernday example.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Eocene, addressing Dr Hunter:

    You do not possess the Evolutionist metaphysical ability to use divination to channel the dead spirits of these creatures to tell you the true fabled story of their mythological past.

    But he possesses the supernatural ability to read the minds of Johnson and Losos!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Neal Tedford quoting me:

    "If you require eye witness testimony to the occurrence of macroevolution, and reject all other evidence, you are setting an arbitrary boundary to suit your personal prejudices."

    Commented:

    I was pointing out the fallacy of the Caesar comparison.

    I would actually be interested in some genuine evidence for macroevolution besides the assumption that evolution is a fact because life forms share similarities.


    Actually interested? You have been spoon-fed generous helpings of evidence. Will there ever be any that will satisfy you? What specific evidence do you require?

    Answer a question, for once.

    ReplyDelete
  89. If a newspaper posts a picture of a car crash with the caption 'this shows that the car crash happened' they are lying? Because they should have said instead: 'this shows why we conclude that the car crash happened'?

    My, my, my...what tangled webs we weave...

    ReplyDelete
  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  91. The figure legend in Dr Hunter’s original post is a quote mine. I suspect that the figure illustrates points made more extensively in the accompanying text. But let’s take the quote on its own merits. Dr Hunter mined the quote further by bolding and commenting extensively on two clauses within it:

    …evolution is an observation

    and

    …the statement that macroevolution has occurred is a factual observation.

    But there is a pivotal sentence between those nuggets that provides the warrant for them:

    Because the dating of the samples is independent of what the samples are like, successive change through time is a data statement.

    Does Dr Hunter challenge the truth of that claim?

    If not, then Johnson and Losos are neither liars nor insane.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Neal Tedford: I would actually be interested in some genuine evidence for macroevolution besides the assumption that evolution is a fact because life forms share similarities.

    Nested hierarchy, Neal Tedford, nested hierarchy.

    We can place fossils in relative temporal order. This gives us snapshots. We have one form being replaced by a very close form; just like successive snapshots of Little Johnny, a bit taller in each picture.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Still waiting for nested hierarchy responses from Tedford and Hunter...

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/07/evolution-is-scientific-fact-day-74.html?showComment=1280159337346#c8723392425315951792

    ReplyDelete
  94. Cornelius Hunter:So macroevolution doesn't mean evolution above the species level?

    It does, but macroevolution, like evolution, is a big kettle of fish that, again, includes pattern as well as process.

    Strange, that is not what they said. What they actually said, regarding such fossil sequences, is that "evolution is an observation, not a conclusion" and that "While the statement that evolution is the result of natural selection is a theory advanced by Darwin, the statement that macroevolution has occurred is a factual observation." That is unequivocally false.

    Microevolution is an observed fact, including anagenesis and branching structure yielding demes and subspecies. The speciation process is also an observable, whether it's Culex in the tube, fruit flies in the lab, or Ensatina eschscholtzii/klauberi in southern California. At the southern end of their range, the two species overlap but do not interbreed, and their genetics show no evidence of having recently interbred. Yet these species do interbreed with other populations in chains that meet farther north and interbreed to form the ring. Subsequent to speciation, of course, these two species continue to evolve through mutation, drift, and natural selection. That doesn't get us back to LUCA, but that is macroevolution. "Macroevolution is a fact" is a statement that is neither unequivocally false nor ridiculous.

    Again, the fossil sequence they show is an observable macroevolutionary pattern. Pedagogically I would agree with you, that it would be better to describe evolution as observation, inference, and explanatory theory. And the graphic is pretty void of information; the heads should be stuck on a cladogram with more genera represented to reduce the morphological gaps (these intermediate genera do exist).

    When biologists say macroevolution is not simply microevolution through time, they are including speciation, extinction, events of mass extinction, the contingencies of history including plate tectonic activity, occasional endosymbiosis, occasional polyploidy, and when we get to prokaryotes, substantial HGT. They would argue that a species for example, has emergent properties (such as range, population density, stenotopy vs. eurytopy) that do not immediately arise from properties of individuals that yield reproductive fitness. It doesn't Chucky D to the curb entirely and is certainly consistent with common descent.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Eocene said...

    To simply lay out and insist that change and variety within the same KIND of creature/organism (Rhino KIND)(Diatom KIND) ETC is factual proof of macroevolution is absolutely dishonest. Evolution needs to be looked at from a layman public point of view. (At least the view they have shoved down their throats) The average Joe/Jane Q public never enters these debates of fuzzy magical definitions. They have an understanding that evolution is mud to man explanation for life. Macro is the term for one KIND of creature jumping into another KIND of creature. Not some grey area fuzzy variation within the same KIND.


    LOL! Of course you're prepared to give us the scientific definition of KIND, and describe how to identify the different KINDs that exist in the world, right?

    While you're at it, why don't you tell us how much a KIND would have to change to not be that original KIND anymore. Explain the magic barrier that stops such a change from happening.

    Science has only been asking those questions to Creationists for, oh, about a century or so, and had never gotten any straight answers.

    Maybe you could be the first. So will you please define KIND for us? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Eocene said: "... gave a factual explanation and illustration based on facts of how a kit fox jumped into the ocean and turned into a great Blue Whale, then we're talking true unadulterated macroevolutionary Darwinianism."

    Wow. Just...wow. Eocene, is it painful to be that misinformed about a subject yet still yammer on about it?

    I'm no doctor, but If i were you I'd schedule a CAT scan to make sure everything in your noggin is still in the right place.

    ReplyDelete
  97. THORTON

    "Maybe you could be the first. So will you please define KIND for us? Thanks!"

    Curious here. Do you ever wonder why Cornelius Hunter never responds to your demands to reply to him (with the exception of warning you about vulgarities and language of course) ???

    I never wonder why.

    Tell you what. I'll give you a hint. It's not because of superior intellect or evidence. *wink*

    ReplyDelete
  98. Derick

    That's great Derick. Then perhaps you could explain to us how your god did it then through undirected processes or was it directed ??? *wink*

    ReplyDelete
  99. Eocene said...

    THORTON

    "Maybe you could be the first. So will you please define KIND for us? Thanks!"

    Curious here. Do you ever wonder why Cornelius Hunter never responds to your demands to reply to him (with the exception of warning you about vulgarities and language of course) ???


    No, I don't wonder at all. It's the same reason he avoids all technical discussions with anyone, and the same reason you avoided the simple questions above. You have no answers.

    You guys belch and bluster and crow, but ask you to provide technical information or evidence that supports your claims and you run away so fast you leave skid marks.

    Here's the question again, in case you wish to put me in my place and prove me wrong

    "Will you please define KIND for us? Thanks!"

    ReplyDelete
  100. Actually the closest to an actual definition of KIND I've seen is "a grouping of animals that makes sense to the average 5 year old", i.e.

    the horsie KIND
    the kitty cat KIND
    the birdie KIND
    the fishie KIND

    Did I get that right Eocene?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Neal,

    =============
    DC: "we have no reason to doubt that the longer the time, the more dramatic the change, and plenty of reasons to think that that is the case."

    NT: We certainly do have lots of reasons to doubt it.
    ==============

    Interesting. What are those reasons?

    ==============
    DC: "In that same way, Natural selection is constrained; but where it isn't we see the same features pop up over and over again: wings, eyes, ears, etc."

    NT: "You are assuming that they pop up over and over again because of evolution simply because they exist. That's a Tautology.
    ================

    No Neal, you made an assertion that somehow convergence is evidence against evolution. With that part of the analogy I was trying to illustrate that in any system where the appearance of certain features is not constrained, those features can arise repeatedly; symmetry is often found in snowflakes and crystals, mountains are found all over the globe as a result of plate tectonics, canyons are found all over the globe as a result of erosion. We are not assuming that they are produced by evolution because they exist, we are concluding they are produced by evolution because of the many, many lines of consilient evidence that indicate that this is the case. Is it a tautology to assume that canyons pop up over and over again because of erosion simply because they exist? It would be, if you don't have any other reason to believe canyons are formed by erosion. But the multiple instances of eyes certainly aren't 'evidence' against evolution anymore than the multiple instances of canyons are evidence against erosion. I feel almost silly having to point that out.

    ===============
    DC: "And Neal, you're the one claiming that there is some sort of 'barrier' preventing all of these small morphological changes from accumulating into large morphological changes. What is that barrier?"

    NT: "When you say large morphological changes, do you mean new organs or just bigger sized animals, or both? There is a difference. How exactly does an eye evolve? For example, the human eye has at least 32 components. Can you explain the sequence in which the components are added? How does the eye remain functional as each component is added? Do the components incrementally grow at the same time and then work as an integrated system once they are all in place?"
    ==============

    Neal, to those just tuning in it may look as if you're actually and evolutionist throwing me a softball question to answer. If there is a complex organ where the sequence of development is a complete mystery, it most certainly isn't the eye! The evolution of the eye is well understood. In the previously linked diagram, notice that the intermediate stages aren't hypothetical anymore; they're examples from known species. Again, it's funny that you picked the example of the eye - It's like you're not even trying. Darwin even spent a good chunk in the Origin of Species describing how the evolution of the eye could have proceeded with every single intermediate step still being useful. And that was 150 years ago! Catch up. There is a good introductory video about it here

    Again, Neal, I admire your tenacity in defending what you think is right. Keep doing it. All I'm asking is that you take the effort to make yourself more informed on the subject. You are continuously bringing a spatula to a gunfight.

    ReplyDelete
  102. It is estimated that there are from 2 to 10 million species that exist now. There have been from 20 million to 1 billion species that have existed since life first showed up. If each one is the product of evolution, then that means that a lot of evolution has been happening. I, for one, would expect to see a lot more evidence. I know that negative evidence is always a tricky thing. But still, IMHO, the evidence is spotty, and mostly circumstantial, and I think that that is telling.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Nat:

    "I, for one, would expect to see a lot more evidence."

    Why would you expect that? If you want to convince someone, you need to support your claim. Can you do a rough order-of-magnitude calculation to demonstrate how many fossils you expect?

    ReplyDelete
  104. Natschuster,

    What exactly do you do to try to observe evolution? Reading websites such as UD whose sole purpose is to obfuscate evolution is no way to go about it. Do you have a college degree; is it in biology or a related field? Do you have an advanced degree in a field related to evolution? Have you studied genetics, comparative zoology, embryology, or paleontology at a serious academic or professional level? Do you go into the field and sample population genetics? Have you raised bacteria in a lab and reported findings in the primary literature? Do you regularly go to a university library and read relevant primary literature? Some papers are viewable free online, but that's not enough to get a full picture. Even then, I would doubt that many people could really teach themselves evolution without some kind of helpful instruction.

    ReplyDelete
  105. If 1% of species left their evolution in the fossil record then we would see from 200,000 to 10,000,000 case of evolution in the fossil record. That's a lot more than the 3 dozen or so listed on talkorigins. If .1% percent left a record then I we should find 20,000 to 1,000,000 that's more than three dozen. And I don't like the "fossils are rare" answer because fossils aren't rare. It is estimated that there are 100,000,000 fossils being studied in museum collection. I have three fossil collection I use in my kindergarten class, that I didn't spend much on.

    ReplyDelete
  106. John:

    My background is in education. I do try to keep up with all the latest developments in science. Most of the evidence I see is circumstantial, or evidence of intraspecies species change or variation. I don't know if it is possible to extrapolate from a bacteria learning to disgest a new food to bacteria turning into a blue whale in less than a billion years.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Derick,

    I suspected your eye link would take me to Richard Dawkins' box-eye movie and I was correct. I would invite everyone reading this post to check out the Dawkins link from Derick. It is a great illustration of why evolutionary theory misses the mark.

    I find it a very humorous link. I'm not being sarcastic, I really do find it entertaining. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the old classic version). Does anyone remember the scene where the computer guy is asking the computer where the golden ticket is? Richard Dawkins accent and tone sounds just like him and about as believable, although I'm leaning more towards Willy Wonka. Back to the point...

    The eye has at least 32 components and is much more complex than Dawkins over-the-top simplification. In the movie, Dawkins brings out a box with a couple parts and begins to weave his LIE into the minds of his students (or more accurately, his victims).

    I've discussed the shortcomings of the movie with evolutionists before and for some odd reason they all seem to feel like that it confirms eye evolution beyond doubt.

    My response is that a box eye illustration with a couple parts showing how the eye could have evolved falls far short of what a real eye is. My challenge is for someone to not use a couple parts and a box but get a real prop of an eye from an optometry college and show how the 32 parts evolve. The response to my challenge is that Dawkins showed how it could have happened in a basic why and details aren't necessary. I beg to differ.

    I would be very interested in Dr Hunter's evaluation of the Dawkins box eye illustration.

    Dawkins is right in line with the Living World textbook propaganda. While the movie is absolutely a hoot, it is sad that students are actually taught this hogwash. A class in weather forcasting based on reading rabbit droppings would be on par with this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Neal Tedford said...

    My challenge is for someone to not use a couple parts and a box but get a real prop of an eye from an optometry college and show how the 32 parts evolve. The response to my challenge is that Dawkins showed how it could have happened in a basic why and details aren't necessary. I beg to differ.


    Why should anyone bother Tedford? We can show you research and detailed evidence of eye evolution like this all day:

    Evolution of the vertebrate eye: opsins, photoreceptors, retina and eye cup
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8, 960-976 (December 2007)

    "Summary: * From comparison of the eyes of lampreys and jawed vertebrates, it is clear that a 'vertebrate-style' camera eye was already present in the last common ancestor of these taxa, around 500 million years ago (Mya).
    * Numerous features of hagfish eyes are far simpler than those of vertebrate eyes, and Lamb and colleagues' interpretation is that the eyes of extant hagfish are likely to be similar to the eyes possessed by our own ancestors, some 530 Mya. The authors suggest that this 'eye' did not exhibit image-forming capabilities, and that its function was instead non-visual (possibly circadian).
    * Comparison of photoreceptor ultrastructure across extant taxa that diverged from our own line at progessively more distant times in the past demonstrates what appears to be a series of fine gradations in cellular characteristics. This finding is consistent with a gradual evolution of improvements in photoreceptor function between 550 and 500 Mya.
    * Dendrograms of opsin genes indicate that three major classes of opsin (rhabdomeric, 'photoisomerase' and ciliary) were present in the bilateral ancestors of protostomes and deuterostomes, around 600 Mya. They also illuminate the major features of the subsequent evolution of visual and non-visual opsins.
    * The development of gross eye morphology and retinal microcircuitry provide clues to the evolution of the vertebrate retina. The results are consistent with the notion that a primitive retina (similar to that of hagfish) contained ciliary photoreceptors connected directly to projection neurons, and that subsequently retinal bipolar cells evolved and became inserted between the photoreceptors and the projection neurons.
    * By integrating these findings, Lamb and colleagues propose a scenario for a long sequence of small evolutionary steps that led (some 500 Mya) to the emergence of the vertebrate camera-style eye. The authors think that this sequence satisfies Darwin's prescription for overcoming "the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection", and they suggest a number of explicit tests of such a scenario."

    ...and you'll just wave your hands and ignore the evidence with the standard Creto excuses "bad assumptions, no one was there to eyewitness it, no one has evolved an eye in the lab blah blah blah" like you always do.

    You're the worse kind of idiot Tedford, the willfully ignorant kind.

    ReplyDelete
  109. natschuster said...

    It is estimated that there are from 2 to 10 million species that exist now. There have been from 20 million to 1 billion species that have existed since life first showed up. If each one is the product of evolution, then that means that a lot of evolution has been happening. I, for one, would expect to see a lot more evidence.


    What's wrong with the evidence we do have? The large amount of phylogenetic data from genetic studies that matches the morpholgical phylogenetic data to an amazing degree? The hundreds of examples of transitional fossil sequences that are known?

    Why does that evidence suddenly become invalid just because you think we haven't found enough of it?

    ReplyDelete
  110. There will never be enough evidence, or the right kind of evidence, to satisfy the committed skeptic. As The Court said in Kitzmiller vs Dover:

    The immune system is the third system to which Professor Behe has applied the definition of irreducible complexity. Although in Darwin's Black Box, Professor Behe wrote that not only were there no natural explanations for the immune system at the time, but that natural explanations were impossible regarding its origin. (P-647 at 139; 2:26-27 (Miller)). However, Dr. Miller presented peer-reviewed studies refuting Professor Behe's claim that the immune system was irreducibly complex. Between 1996 and 2002, various studies confirmed each element of the evolutionary hypothesis explaining the origin of the immune system. (2:31 (Miller)). In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not "good enough."

    ReplyDelete
  111. I understand that many of the transition fossils are transitions between groups. Evolution means species to species change. And some of the cases like the foraminifors and diatoms may just represent trivial intraspecies change. And some of the transitions are problematic. They may represent the ancestral condition in one, but the details of their morphology show that they can't be the actual ancestor. That is still missing. Or, like with the Tiktaalik, the dates are off. If organisms change from one species to another a billion times, I would expect to see a lot of it. The evidence is still valid as evidence, but if I don't see what I expect, I find that problematic.

    And if DNA is the blueprint for morphology, then I would expect DNA of organisms that are similar to have similar DNA.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Nat: If 1% of species left their evolution in the fossil record then we would see from 200,000 to 10,000,000 case of evolution in the fossil record. That's a lot more than the 3 dozen or so listed on talkorigins. If .1% percent left a record then I we should find 20,000 to 1,000,000 that's more than three dozen. And I don't like the "fossils are rare" answer because fossils aren't rare. It is estimated that there are 100,000,000 fossils being studied in museum collection. I have three fossil collection I use in my kindergarten class, that I didn't spend much on.

    Fossilization is extremely rare, and yet we have tons of fossils. That's not a contradiction; it's a tiny fraction (certainly far less than 0.1%) of a vastly huge number of organisms to grace the planet over time, so we still have fossils we can show the kids.

    The fossil record is not just incomplete, but strongly biased. We only have even decent, fragmentary records for those animals who produce a hard, mineralized skeleton and who live and die in environments that are conducive to rapid burial. We have lots of microfossils, lots of bivalves, lots of snails, brachiopods, corals, bryozoans. Even here, we are befuddled by the incompleteness of the rock record. To connect, say living gastropods and bivalves together, we have to go back to the latest pre-Cambrian and earliest Cambrian. The farther back in time we go, the worse the fossil record generally becomes. More problems here include limited people power. A lot of those fossils in museums are sitting in boxes waiting to be studied, but money and manpower are limited. It's easier to get grants to find new material then curate the old, and paleontology is a small discipline. The workers that are in it are furthermore not working specifically to prove evolution. That point is long settled; they're looking at unraveling details of the pattern and process.

    With the vertebrates, we have lots of researcher and public interest. Many groups have a bony skeleton, but it's composed of many pieces that are readily scattered, fractured, and crushed. The vertebrates with the most robust skeleton are terrestrial; the environments most conducive to fossilization are aquatic.

    What you seem to want is a fossil sequence that shows abundant macroevolution (maybe 10 million years worth) with continuous sedimentation and fossil deposition. It doesn't happen that way; environments shift and animals migrate; it's impossible to sample the entire range of an ancient species the way we would like to. That's why the best evidence for speciation is really in the living world, where we have better sampling and genetic support. More on this later.

    ReplyDelete
  113. natschuster: And I don't like the "fossils are rare" answer because fossils aren't rare.

    Fossils are common. But many fossil organisms are very rare. The probability of fossilization depends on many factors; the type of organism, the geological period, the local geology, the manner of death, the manner of fossilization, the geographic distribution of the organism, whether the particular stratum is exposed, whether someone is looking in that stratum before the fossil is destroyed by erosion, etc. That's why scientists mount complex expeditions to out-of-the-way locations. They have to look in exposed strata of the appropriate age and geographic location appropriate for their exploration.

    Let's consider a simple case. There used to be hundreds-of-millions of passenger pigeons. We know they existed. They used to fill the sky during their migration. The last wild bird was killed in the spring of 1900 by a 14-year-old boy in Ohio. How many fossils of the passenger pigeon can you find?

    ReplyDelete
  114. Nat:

    "If 1% of species left their evolution in the fossil record then we would see from 200,000 to 10,000,000 case of evolution in the fossil record. That's a lot more than the 3 dozen or so listed on talkorigins."

    OK then, suppose that of all species that ever lived, 1% left some fossil remains. Then the average number of non-fossilized species in a lineage between two fossilized species is 100. That means 100 speciation events between two fossilization events in the same lineage. Hardly a high-res picture of evolution. When you look at it this way, do you still expect to see many more examples of within-lineage evolution from the fossil record?

    ReplyDelete
  115. Nat, a while back I gave you a book report to complete on ring species. You failed; no wonder Johnny can't read.

    The salamanders in the Ensatina eschscholtzii species complex are the best studied example of a ring species. No competent researcher has studied these plethodontids has concluded that they are a single, variable species without issue. While there is some hybridization among geographically strew populations, generally given subspecies status, at the recently closed southern end of the ring E. e. klauberi and E. e. eschscholtzii overlap but do not freely interbreed. They would qualify as two good species, but we can arguably keep them in one because they are linked by intermediate populations that converge toward the north.

    Wake. 1997. http://www.pnas.org/content/94/15/7761.full
    "A survey of protein variation in 19 populations throughout the complex disclosed great differentiation and showed that gene flow cannot be holding this far-flung complex together (11, 12). The analysis revealed values of F st > 0.7, thus refuting the hypothesis of continuous gene flow. While these data do not affect the biogeographic hypothesis (7), they raise the possibility of a group of closely related species whose borders remain to be identified."

    "While klauberi and eschscholtzii hybridize, they do so less frequently and in even narrower hybrid zones (10, 13). At the southernmost area of contact, the two forms are sympatric with no evidence of past or present hybridization (13, 14). "

    Kuchta et al. 2009. http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/wake/351_Kuchta_etal_JBiog_09_cov.pdf
    "However, in the mountainsof southern California, the unblotched subspecies eschscholtzii
    and the blotched subspecies klauberi are locally sympatric with either limited or no hybridization, indicating they have reached the species level of divergence (Fig. 1a; Stebbins,1949, 1957; Brown, 1974; Wake et al., 1986)."

    Throughout the ring, species are emerging because although there is hybridization, hybrids are selected against (have reduced fitness). But at the southern end of the ring, E. eschscholtzii and E. klauberi cannot be considered the same species, yet they are linked by intermediate populations that indeed interbreeding.

    Alexandrino et al. 2005. http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/wake/2005_Evolution_Ensatina.pdf


    Other reasearchers argue that the group should be split into multiple species. (Highton, 1998 http://www.jstor.org/pss/3893431) but no competent researcher concludes this is "trivial variation" within a species. Your use of the word "trivial" is an unsubstantiated armwave from someone with no relevant knowledge of the subject. The uncertainty in taxonomy that surrounds this species complex is exactly the kind of problem we should be having if evolution is the correct explanation for diversification and change over time.

    ReplyDelete
  116. I thought I completed my assignment on ring species with the herring gulls that interbreed with the lesser black back gulls.

    What I meant by trivial is part of the the normal intraspecies variation. Everyone agrees that there is variation between individuals in a species. The question is whether this can lead to a new species.

    And the newts can hybridize. And they are sometimes found in each others territories. And it seems from the stuff you posted that it isn't at all clear if they are separate species.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Janfeld: If this is not a sequence showing modification over time - then what is it instead??????

    CH: What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    Yes, that's right, a hypothesis! And in fact it's a really, really good one! One that has thousands of data points, one that has been tested along multiple lines - DNA, fossil record, geological strate, homology, biogeography. One that seems to be holding up over time.

    And right now - it's the BEST hypothesis out there. In fact it's about the ONLY hypothesis out there that really has any chance of explaining the data.

    Of course, CH, you are more than willing to offer an ALTERNATIVE hypothesis. But you've already said you won't do that. You just prefer to accuse peole of lying it seems, without any actual basis. Even usually mild-mannered people like Allenn MacNeill don't have many good things to say about you right now because of it.

    You have said in the past that you believe a supernatural agent was "involved" in evolution - is that your hyptothesis then? That God (or whoever) somehow "fiddled" with the evolution of species? Since you won't tell us, it's about the closest we can determine what you think an "alternative" hypothesis is.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Natschuster: And some of the transitions are problematic. They may represent the ancestral condition in one, but the details of their morphology show that they can't be the actual ancestor. That is still missing.

    The Devonian, when Tiktaalik lived, is sometimes called the age of fishes. There's a great scarcity of fossil preservation, but sea level was high and we would have reason to think that there were many thousands of fish species alive at any one time. In any small slice of the 10 million year period before the late Devonian extinctions, we have at most dozens of species preserved, and most of these are from wholly extinct groups (placoderms, ostracoderm lineages, acanthodians, conodonts).

    How many ancestral species were alive immediately prior to Late Devonian extinctions and survived to give rise to all the vertebrates we see today?

    Eight:
    1 lamprey ancestor
    1 holocephalian ancestor (ratfish)
    1 neoselachian ancestor (sharks and rays)
    1 bichir ancestor
    1 chondrost & neopterygian ancestor (all surviving ray-fins other than the bichir)
    1 lungfish ancestor
    1 coelacanth ancestor
    1 tetrapod ancestor

    If you want the direct ancestors, you are asking to be a lottery winner. You're asking that the tiny fraction of ancestors and the tiny fraction of collected species to be the same tiny fractions.

    Even if we had the direct ancestor in hand, it would be impossible to confirm that it was directly ancestral rather than a close relative. And we would certainly want to have the whole skeleton, which is almost never the case.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Nat: The question is whether this can lead to a new species.

    This question is only unanswered in your mind; in science this is unquestioned because it has yielded new species under modern observation.

    And the newts can hybridize. And they are sometimes found in each others territories. And it seems from the stuff you posted that it isn't at all clear if they are separate species.

    At the southern end of the ring they do not hybridize. They are valid species at that point. Elsewhere, it is unclear; that's the whole point. There is no magical boundary as to where to draw lines between species. We sometimes see boundaries clearly due to extinctions of intermediates. In our case, not only have we outlasted dozens of fossil hominin species, we have also nearly killed off the chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Janfeld: If this is not a sequence showing modification over time - then what is it instead??????

    CH: What is it instead? It is a set of fossil species. The idea that they are genetically related via common descent with modification is a hypothesis, not a factual observation from the sequence. [Am I dreaming all this ?]

    Complaints about indirect observations can be made against any branch of science. Particle physicists have never directly observed quarks: thanks to color confinement, a lonely quark cannot exist in isolation, only when it is paired with an antiquark (that's a meson) or forms a triple with two more quarks (a baryon). But if I open the 8th Edition of Serway and Jewett's Physics for Scientists and Engineers I'll find this on page 8:

    "Protons, neutrons, and a host of other exotic particles are now known to be composed of six different varieties of particles called quarks, which have been given the names of up, down, strange, charmed, bottom, and top. The up, charmed, and top quarks have electric charges of +2/3 of that of the proton, whereas the down, strange, and bottom quarks have charges of −1/3 that of the proton. The proton consists of two up quarks and one down quark as shown at the bottom of Figure 1.2..."

    Not even a word on the lack of direct observation of quarks. For some reason, that does not scandalize anyone. The reason, I suppose, is that it would take a lot of space to explain how particle physicists are able to deduce the presence of quarks—by indirect methods only!—and their physical characteristics including charge and spin. But with the textbook containing nearly 1200 pages, it's just impossible to cram even more material in it.

    The bottom line is the students have to trust the authors. The fact of the existence of quarks is well established and so is the common descent of the fossils that appear at the top of this page. Cornelius can shake his fists at the authors and the publisher, but his rage is impotent. He lacks credibility with mainstream biologists, so his rants are not going to convince any mainstream professor of biology to skip this textbook. And conservative Christian colleges like Biola do not even consider this text for adoption, so again, I see no point in his rant. He can and does get sympathy from his fan base, but if that is the intent of this post then I am not sure it was worth the effort.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Nat: And if DNA is the blueprint for morphology, then I would expect DNA of organisms that are similar to have similar DNA.

    DNA is not a blueprint; you can't guess the animal or body part by looking at segments of DNA. Most DNA appears to be filler in eukaryotes. The parts that are not filler are a recipe for chemical stew that might produce a new organism, but only in the proper chemical environment (for humans, bake at 98 F for nine months, and lay off the alcohol, Mom).

    Species that were known to be closely related based on morphology, embryology, and fossils have been shown to indeed be closely related genetically. Species that are somewhat distant but have similar functional needs can produce superficially similar structures or appearance due to natural selection. But prior to confirming genetics, we knew bats weren't birds.

    ReplyDelete
  122. John said, "The parts that are not filler are a recipe for chemical stew that might produce a new organism, but only in the proper chemical environment"

    Chemical stew? It's the typical evolutionist dumbing down of the complexity of life. The evolutionist is biased to see junk, filler, accidents, and inefficiencies where they do not exist and are often blinded to the wonder of life. Your 19th century view of the cell needs to be updated and perhaps you will no longer be an evolutionist if you do.

    ReplyDelete
  123. oleg, if physicists taught like Darwinists they would tell everyone that string theory is a fact that is settled and anyone that doesn't accept it believes the earth is flat.

    If climatologies taught like Darwinists they would tell everyone that global warming caused by humans was a fact that is settled and anyone that doesn't accept it believes the earth is flat... O wait an minute, they did.

    Perhaps biology needs its own DarwinGate to shake up things up.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Neal: Stew implies a level of entropy that is indeed inappropriate. Granted. But the assembly is a Rube Goldberg of cascades of signalling molecules and layer upon layer of regulatory genes. If you were to construct a body intelligently, indeed DNA would be more like a blueprint.

    The accidents and inefficiencies are real, Neal. The sperm whale catches its food about 1 km below sea level, but has to resurface every hour to breathe. Why did our creator choose to give gills to the whale shark, but not to the whale? Science has a good answer for that. I'm guessing you don't, or that it involves God's chosen species being able to harpoon them for lamp oil.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Neal,

    Be honest for a change. Tell us what your education in science amounts to. Be specific.

    You claim some posters here have the 19th century view of cells, even though you must know this is false. Again, you expose yourself as a liar. Nevertheless, you feel qualified to lecture people (e.g. your flock in church) on ethics. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  126. According to this:

    http://www.santarosa.edu/lifesciences2/ensatina2.htm

    the newts do interbreed, they just aren't very good at it.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Neal,

    Sorry, but the parallel between theory of evolution and string theory is not justified. The former has lots of experimental support, the latter has none.

    ReplyDelete
  128. This also says that the newts do hybridize:


    http://www.pnas.org/content/94/15/7761.full

    ReplyDelete
  129. Nat:

    You have failed at reading comprehension once again. The southern populations of the two species are sympatric (meaning they geographically overlap) but they do not interbreed. For two populations to be considered the same species, they must freely interbreed where they overlap.

    From http://www.pnas.org/content/94/15/7761.full :

    While klauberi and eschscholtzii hybridize, they do so less frequently and in even narrower hybrid zones (10, 13). At the southernmost area of contact, the two forms are sympatric with no evidence of past or present hybridization (13, 14).

    From the Santa Rosa site:

    What is most interesting about this species of salamander, is that the two southern most subspecies, eschscholtzi and klauberi, meet in several locations. Near Mount Palomar, these two subspecies meet in a very narrow zone and hybridize infrequently. (Brown, 1974) To the south near Cuyamaca State Park, klauberi and eschscholtzi meet and apparently fail to interbreed under natural conditions even though they are narrowly sympatric. In fact, by analyzing electrophoretic separations of selected enzymes and studying DNA patterns, the two subspecies klauberi and eschscholtzi are different species by every definition.

    The speciation is fully complete in the south, and essentially complete in the north, where there is rare interbreeding. Unless interbreeding is common, populations will genetically drift away from one another.

    ReplyDelete
  130. LOL

    This is why such threads should have a shortened temporary lifespan, because they take on a sort of pseudo life of their own. Does anyone remember what the OP was about at the beginning ??? Oh that's right, slamming Dr hunter.

    Thus far we've concluded that finches are still finches, salamanders are still salamanders , etc , etc, etc. How about that Macro , eh ???

    ReplyDelete
  131. Or maybe since they do interbreed across part of their range, they are one species.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Eocene said...

    Thus far we've concluded that finches are still finches, salamanders are still salamanders , etc , etc, etc. How about that Macro , eh ???


    How about that scientific definition of KIND you keep forgetting to provide?

    ReplyDelete
  133. natschuster said...

    Or maybe since they do interbreed across part of their range, they are one species.


    They are *borderline* one species that has split into seven distinct subspecies and are well on their way to full speciation

    STRONG SELECTION AGAINST HYBRIDS AT A HYBRID ZONE IN THE ENSATINA RING SPECIES COMPLEX AND ITS EVOLUTINARY IMPLICATIONS

    "Abstract: The analysis of interactions between lineages at varying levels of genetic divergence can provide into the process of speiation through the accumulation of incompatiable mutations. Ring species, and especially the Ensatina eschscholtzii system exemplify this approach. The plethodontid salamanders E. eschscholtzii xanthoptica and E. eschscholtzii platensis hybridize in the central Sierran foothills of California. We compared the genetic structure across two transects (southern and northern Calaveras Co.), one of which was resampled over 20 years, and examined diagnostic molecular markers (eight allozyme loci and mitochondrial DNA) and a diagnostic quantitative trait (color pattern). Key results across all studies were: (1) cline centers for all markers were coincident and the zones were narrow, with width estimates of 730 m to 2000 m; (2) cline centers at the northern Calveras transect were coincident between 1981 and 2001, demonstrating repeatability over five generations; (3) there were very few if any putative F1S, but a relatively high number of backcrossed individuals in the central portion of transects; and (4) we found substantial linkage disequilibrium in all three studies and strong heterozygote deficit both in northern Calaveras, in 2001, and southern Calaveras. Both linkage disequilibrium and heterozygote deficit showed maximum values near the center of the zones. Using estimates of cline width and dispersal, we infer strong selection against hybrids. This is sufficient to promote accumulation of differences at loci that are neutral or under divergent selection, but would still allow for introgression of adaptive alleles. The evidence for strong but incomplete isolation across this centrally located contact is consistent with theory suggesting a gradual increase in postzygotic incompatibility between allopatric populations subject to divergent selection and reinforces the value of Ensatina as a system for the study of divergence and speciation at multiple stages."

    Seriously Nat, we've been over this Ensatina speciation evidence with you before. Are you playing clueless for a reason?

    ReplyDelete
  134. Nat: Or maybe since they do interbreed across part of their range, they are one species.

    To be considered one species, they have to interbreed wherever they meet up, at a minimum. You don't get to make your own definitions (you can, but they only apply in natschusterspace). If they don't interbreed at all in part of their range, they're two species, by all definitions, as noted in the teaching site you quoted. The limited interbreeding to the north is not sufficient gene flow to stop further divergence. Speciation is an inevitable consequence of population genetics and migration.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Or maybe they won't evolve any further. Maybe this partial hybridization is as far as they can diverge.

    And who gets to make up the definition of species, anyway. Maybe as long as there is some interbreeding, it is enough.

    And the paper cited seems to be mostly speculation.

    And if this is the best evidence for evolution, I must say I am a little disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Neal, seriously, what is it with you and illustrations? My four year old niece understands simile and metaphor better.

    ===========================
    "I suspected your eye link would take me to Richard Dawkins' box-eye movie and I was correct. I would invite everyone reading this post to check out the Dawkins link from Derick. It is a great illustration of why evolutionary theory misses the mark."
    ===========================

    I picked that specific video because Dawkins is illustrating the evolution of the eye in such a way that children can understand it. I wanted to err on the side of not going over anyone's head, but apparently I failed. Would you care to explain why it misses the mark?
    (I would also recommend everyone following along to watch it.)

    ===========================
    "I find it a very humorous link. I'm not being sarcastic, I really do find it entertaining. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the old classic version). Does anyone remember the scene where the computer guy is asking the computer where the golden ticket is? Richard Dawkins accent and tone sounds just like him and about as believable, although I'm leaning more towards Willy Wonka. Back to the point..."
    ===========================

    Neal, I don't know where to start. That you think Dawkins 'has a funny voice' and sounds like someone from a movie you watched doesn't really have any bearing on the subject at hand. You say you found it humorous, but you don't say why. (other than "Englush people tawk funny")

    ===========================
    "The eye has at least 32 components and is much more complex than Dawkins over-the-top simplification. In the movie, Dawkins brings out a box with a couple parts and begins to weave his LIE into the minds of his students (or more accurately, his victims). "
    ===========================

    Neal, I'm gonna go slow so you can follow along: Evolution is a process that moves from simple to complex. The first 'eye' wasn't as complex as a modern vertebrate eye - it didn't have the same number of parts, let alone the same configuration of them. I'm really not so sure why this is so hard to grasp: No one is saying an eye with 32 modern components popped into existence.

    ===========================
    "I've discussed the shortcomings of the movie with evolutionists before and for some odd reason they all seem to feel like that it confirms eye evolution beyond doubt."
    ===========================

    No they didn't. (Unless they're also so dense they don't know the difference between evidence and an illustration) Illustrations and analogies don't prove evolution. They aren't evidence for evolution. They don't confirm evolution. They illustrate evolution. I don't know how to say that more simply.

    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  137. ...continued from above:


    ===========================
    "My response is that a box eye illustration with a couple parts showing how the eye could have evolved falls far short of what a real eye is. My challenge is for someone to not use a couple parts and a box but get a real prop of an eye from an optometry college and show how the 32 parts evolve. The response to my challenge is that Dawkins showed how it could have happened in a basic why and details aren't necessary. I beg to differ. "
    ===========================

    Look. The objection I was answering, the main objection Dawkins was probably answering, the objection that creationists have been making for 150 years is this: "How could a complex organ like the eye possible evolve from simpler precursors, with each iteration conveying a selective advantage?" Stated in the negative it goes something like this: "The eye couldn't have evolved from simpler precursors, because what good is 'part of an eye'?"

    That is what is being answered in the video. It is not confirming evolution. It is not proving evolution. It is answering the objection: "How could an eye could evolve one step at a time with each slight modification being more advantageous than the last?"
    With the answer: "This is how an eye could evolve one step at a time with each slight modification being more advantageous than the last."

    It's like coming home to find your living room couch torn to shreds, and your only dog sitting on a pile of the stuffing. "Look what the dog did!" your wife exclaims. You reply: "No, the dog couldn't have done that; he's much too small, and the fabric too tough." As you are watching, the dog goes and rips a piece of fabric and stuffing from the couch, and chews it relentlessly. Your wife quips: "See? He could too have done it!" You think for a minute and reply: "That's just one little piece! It's not the same as a whole couch!, And even if he could have done it, that doesn't mean he did!"

    The fact that you challenge someone to get a real prop of a modern vertebrate eye and show how its parts could arise simultaneously to form a modern working organ demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have absolutely, positively, totally, utterly, unconditionally, categorically, unquestionably, NO EARTHLY IDEA WHAT EVOLUTIONARY THEORY SAYS.

    Before you can even attempt to have a meaningful conversation with your opponent, you have to know what your opponent's position IS. You don't.

    The number of strawman arguments used to defend your position alone should give someone pause about holding that position. (That goes with anything, not just creation/evolution.)

    ===========================
    Dawkins is right in line with the Living World textbook propaganda. While the movie is absolutely a hoot, it is sad that students are actually taught this hogwash. A class in weather forcasting based on reading rabbit droppings would be on par with this stuff.
    ===========================

    So to sum up your argument:
    1. Dawkins accent sounds funny to you.
    2. The video is simplistic. (the video where he is talking to an audience full of children)
    3. It doesn't 'prove' evolution.
    4. No one can demonstrate an eye evolving in a way in which evolution doesn't say it would form; therefore evolution is false.

    Did I miss anything?

    ReplyDelete
  138. Nat: Or maybe they won't evolve any further. Maybe this partial hybridization is as far as they can diverge.

    That would require mutations to cease occurring. They're with us, and have been, for 3.8 billion years.

    And who gets to make up the definition of species, anyway. Maybe as long as there is some interbreeding, it is enough.

    Expert scientists who produce the data get to make the definitions, not kindergarten teachers. Sorry if that seems unfair to you. The reason they define it this way is from the study of so many other species. The two salamanders are genetically divergent at similar levels to what we find in separate species that never interbreed, rather than what we find for populations that do interbreed. The road shared by these two forms until now is forking. Hybrids are selected against, and preferences for their own kind are rewarded with more viable offspring.

    And the paper cited seems to be mostly speculation.

    This study is based on years of genetic study of the salamanders. The hubris of people who have never contributed to the scientific endeavor never ceases to amaze.

    And if this is the best evidence for evolution, I must say I am a little disappointed.

    No one piece of evidence is key. Here, one story, but we also have species where there are distinct-looking populations that freely interbreed and others where they look similar but do not interbreed. A continuum exists.

    And of course, there are so many other lines of evidence. As others have noted, what can be frustrating, is that all of the creation sympathizers have very small amounts of relevant information in their head at any one time. So they look at each example, and then say "oh, well is that the best you can do?"

    The totality of numerous lines of evidence is why among those who have gone to the trouble of getting a Ph. D. in a relevant field, acceptors of the evidence outnumber evolution deniers by a 1000 to 1 ratio.

    ReplyDelete
  139. But scientists themselves don't have a clear definition of a species.

    And I understand that the amount of genetic variance within species varies widely between species. So I'm not sure how significant that is.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Nat: But scientists themselves don't have a clear definition of a species.

    And I understand that the amount of genetic variance within species varies widely between species. So I'm not sure how significant that is.


    Everything you just said points to the fluidity of species, rather than them being fixed entities.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Eocene

    This is an observation that you can make on a lot of blogs. Take for example any blog post in favour of AGW. At the latest the fifth reply of a skeptic either contains the words „hockeystick“ or „climategate“ even if the original post was completely unrelated to these topics. It is telling that certain people very deliberately don't stay on topic.

    ReplyDelete
  142. When are you clowns going to wake up and realize that evolution is finished and has been for quite some time?

    Now delete this you cowardly blowhards.

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  143. second opinion said:

    "Eocene

    This is an observation that you can make on a lot of blogs. Take for example any blog post in favour of AGW. At the latest the fifth reply of a skeptic either contains the words „hockeystick“ or „climategate“ even if the original post was completely unrelated to these topics. It is telling that certain people very deliberately don't stay on topic. "

    =============================================

    Trust me I understand completely. The hometown news paper that I read daily online from the USA has regular articles abour simple local weather events for which right-wing religiously motic´vation shills continually bring up the subject of Global Warming, Al Gore, etc, etc, etc.

    Seems any subject can become a religious fogmatic debate.

    ReplyDelete
  144. The issue over fixation of human chromosome 2 is addressed in a series of essays over at the Panda’s Thumb, collectively called “The Rise of Human Chromosome 2”:


    The Dicentric Problem

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/02/the-rise-of-hum.html

    The Fertility Problem

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/02/the-rise-of-hum-1.html

    Fixation within a Deme

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/05/the-rise-of-hum-2.html

    Beyond the Deme :
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/09/the-rise-of-hum-3.html


    Dave Wisker

    ReplyDelete