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Author Topic:   Transitional fossils and quote mining
PaulK
Member
Posts: 10753
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 151 of 210 (527686)
10-02-2009 7:52 AM
Reply to: Message 150 by Arphy
10-02-2009 6:50 AM


quote:

As for feduccia, I see it like this: It does throw cold water on its status as a transitiona fossil, because if birds didn't evolve from feathered dinosaurs but some other reptile as Feduccia says. Then the only other prominent evolutionary theory is Feduccia's theory which really doesn't have much backing in evidence at all. So, yes, I learnt a bit more about his quotes through this debate and maybe I didn't quite use it as appropriatly as i should havunderstand them as well as I first thought, however when i look through the articles it seems if there was a fault it was more with me than the articles.

So the reasoning here seems to be that we should throw out the conclusion that archaeopteryx is descended from dinosaurs because Feduccia says so and we should trust Feduccia's opinion.

We should throw out Feduccia's alternative view because Feduccia's opinion isn't good enough.

Having rejected both proposals (for contradictory reasons) we should not consider any other possibilities because nobody is proposing them. (Never mind that the main reason nobody is proposing any other possibilities is that the evidence for dinosaurian ancestry is so strong).

And from that you reach the conclusion that archaeopteryx is not a transitional fossil (and Feduccia's opinion doesn't count for anything at all).

But there is a big problem there. Archaeopteryx is classified as a transitional based on it's anatomy - the "reptilian" features it retains. That is why even Feduccia agrees that Archaeopteryx is a transitional. And you simply haven't addressed that issue.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Arphy, posted 10-02-2009 6:50 AM Arphy has not yet responded

    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 274 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 152 of 210 (527736)
10-02-2009 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by Arphy
10-02-2009 6:50 AM


If you take the attitude that natural explanations are the most parsimonious, and are constantly hoping for that elusive naturalistic explanation for abiogenesis, then i don't think this is exactly a good example of occam's razor.

A naturalistic explanation is, by definition, the most parsimonious. It assumes the least number of external agents, namely zero. What you can quibble about is whether the most parsimonious answer is a sufficient answer. Most scientists, and most of your opponents here, have come to the conclusion that, while we are not aware of the full explanation yet, what we're finding is that it is probably sufficient. We're also applying inductive reasoning, which we know to be not quite logical, however, we do it every day with amazing success. Everytime we've had a question for which one group wanted to apply a supernatural answer, we've found a natural one. Based on that track record, it seems reasonable to keep riding the champion until the upstart actually beats it in one race. Is it possible we'll find a question where the supernatural is the only answer? Sure, but it's irrational to assume that point is here until we've exhausted all other avenues.

Well that's just great. You do realise from where these presuppositions historically come from? That's right, from scientists who had a biblical worldview.

Yep, I agree here, too. But, those scientists followed these axioms and developed naturalistic explanations for things once attributed to the gods. WHat that shows is the power of these axioms to override biases and presuppositions. Why would we turn our back on a method with such a great track record?

So yes there are some presuppositions that you have left out. Unfortunatly, you don't seem to want to talk about those.

I'm more than willing to talk about them, as I said in my post, bring them here if you can think of any and we'll debate them or add them to the list. Again, what I have on the list so far:

Perdition writes:


1) What we see in the world is, in fact, an accurate reflection of reality.

2) Logic is a valid method for deriving conclusions.

3) The scientific method is a valid method for deriving conclusions where pure logic does not work. (The scientific method itself rests largely on premise 2, but that's sort of beside the point.)

4) Occam's Razor is a valid method for determining which, of competing explanations, is most worthy of looking into. (Again, this rests largely on 2, but there it is.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Arphy, posted 10-02-2009 6:50 AM Arphy has not yet responded

    
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2284
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(2)
Message 153 of 210 (527855)
10-02-2009 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by Arphy
10-02-2009 6:50 AM


Nice to see you back Arphy,

These classifications do have value for practical purposes, however similar characteristics doesn't immediatly translate to being related.

And yet, morphological classifications agree very closely with genetic similarities. Genetic similarities do suggest relatedness. Or should we abandon genetically based paternity tests?

Combine this with the observations of evolution in action today and a fossil record that shows a clear progression from simple life to successively more diverse forms and are left with only the Theory of Evolution. No other explanation explains all the evidence so effectively.

If Rank-based classification (linnaeus' classification system) then this makes no evolutionary claims.

And yet the nested hierarchies of similarity which Linnaen taxonomy reveals are in perfect accord with the ToE. Linnaeus was able to see the effects of evolution and common ancestry by morphology alone. Centuries on, his observations have been largely confirmed by genetic evidence and by the fossil record.

As for apes you are arguing from a cladistics viewpoint

As I have made clear, it doesn't matter what your viewpoint is. Humans are more similar to other apes than we are to anything else alive. The only reason not to group us with the apes is because you don't like the idea for religious reasons. The only people who group humans outside the apes are creationists.

Also maybe a better way of saying it is that syngameon-ity is a qualifier for classifying which animals belong to a kind. Probably the best qualifier to be used on living species.

The problem I see with this is that syngameon refers to those species that interbreed in nature in all of the examples I've found. What you're taling about is somewhat different. Check out htis definition for example;

Syngameons are clusters that comprise several morphospecies, i.e., "the sum total of species or semispecies linked by frequent or occasional hybridization in nature".

Source

I think that you will find that in nature, most animal syngameons are going to include a single species. Most animals do not hybridise.

"Genus" does not equal "kind"

Actually, I think you're right there. I think that the comparison to syngameon makes a kind much smaller than a genus in most cases.

All I will say on the ark is this. It says that "every creeping thing" died. That is a very clear reference to invertebrates.

hmm...You said that they didn't propose any mechanisms. They did, they even included breif descriptions of some of them. If you want to go into how these mechanisms work then sure we can do that too if you want.

They name a few buzzwords. they don't explain any of them. If you want to talk about hydrological sorting or any of that kind of thing, I think a new thread would be best. I've heard these ideas before and they are desperately poor. Transitional fossils between humans and apes are an interesting area. There has just been a new one announced; see here.

Sure, but i still think that the basic story follows findings of animals that have an unusual set of attributes that are not commonly found together. These can't be predicted

You have a very short memory. The Tiktaalik fossil was predicted to be in strata around 375 my old, in a freshwater deposit. The palaeontologists looked in 375 my old freshwater deposits and found a fossil which combined the exact kind of progression they predicted. How is that in any way not a successful prediction?

Fish like Panderichthys lived 380 mya. Early tetrapods like Acanthostega lived about 365 mya. The ToE very clearly predicts that we should find a fossil in between those two that has both fish and tetrapod features. This fossil has been found and it is called Tiktaalik. How is that anything other than a successful prediction?

and that these animals exist speak as much to a creator working in modules as to a common descent evolutionary model.

If these forms were created by God, he seems to have gone to an awful lot of trouble to make them look as if they had evolved...

The researchers didn't just search in one place. They located fish fossil graveyards (why they exist is another question that you might want to ask yourself).

You miss the point. They looked in a single geological formation. They looked in strata of around 375 my of age. They looked in the exact place that the ToE predicts fishapods should be found. And lo! They found their fishapod.

With some more unusually features to be sure but not anything worthy of saying that it was an ancestor of tetrapods (fins which are not connected to the body which allows very little weight being put on them and some other unusual features somewhat reminescent of lungfish).

I'm sorry, but that is just flat-out wrong. If you like, we could continue this at Evolution of Air-breathing Tetrapods.

kiwis: Ahhh, I'm a super-evolutionist!
Your surprise at things like this to me show that maybe you can still learn a few things from me about the creation model.

I'm not surprised, it's just rhetoric. This is the old creationist quagmire on kinds. Too narrow and you can't fit them all on the big boat. Too broad and not only do you end up with super-evolution (which seems to mysteriously no longer occur) but you are lumbered with humans and apes being in the same kind. I don't envy you.

As for feduccia, I see it like this: It does throw cold water on its status as a transitiona fossil, because if birds didn't evolve from feathered dinosaurs but some other reptile as Feduccia says. Then the only other prominent evolutionary theory is Feduccia's theory which really doesn't have much backing in evidence at all.

So we should listen to Fedducia's opinion because he has no evidence? That's... an eccentric argument.

Even if Archaeopteryx is not descended from theropods, it is a clear transitional form between birds and reptiles. However you slice your "kind" problem, that is damning evidence against you. Feduccia agrees. He thinks that it is a transitional form. What more is there to say?

forams: Even if it is at the superorder level, so what? The argument still exists that they are still forams and distinictively so.

Because this level of evolution goes beyond genus or family. It forces your definition of "kind" way up. Now you have no excuse for not placing humans and chimps in the same kind. Hell, that places monkeys in the same kind as us.

Anyway, all you asked for was a complete fossil record. You have been presented with one. You never specified how much change you wanted to see.

Mutate and Survive


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod
This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Arphy, posted 10-02-2009 6:50 AM Arphy has not yet responded

    
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 5 days)
Posts: 2615
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 154 of 210 (527880)
10-03-2009 2:29 AM
Reply to: Message 150 by Arphy
10-02-2009 6:50 AM


Hi, Arphy.

Don't sweat the time you're taking: you're doing a good job engaging all your opponents and filtering the arguments down to the most important parts. I'd take one of your high-quality posts a week over a dozen typical creationist posts an hour, for sure.

Arphy writes:

Also an apology to bluejay, maybe I was a bit hasty with my assumptions (as my brother likes to say “when you assume you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”), these assumptions can be made with many evangelical christians, also to be fair I am not an expert on mormonism.

Meh. Worse things have been said of me by people infinitely more insufferable than you.

-----

Arphy writes:

I still maintain that I find evangelical christian evolution compromises very illogical and unreasonable but that might be another debate

I also maintain that you find it illogical.

But, the illogic comes entirely from the religious side of things. It is not logical to base all of your views and opinions about the world on the words written in a book: the only really logical position to take is to base your views and opinions about the world on the clues you see in the world.

If there are conflicts between the book and the physical evidence, it is logical to think that the physical evidence takes precedence. If this is the case, why not just start with the physical evidence, anyway, then give the book credit only insofar as it conforms to that evidence?

You're right: this should go into a different thread.

-----

Arphy writes:

In message 137 bluejay you attack me again on saying that common descent is not hard-core yet there is no mention of my comment that long ages are also hard-core. So what happens when you lose both?

Then my worldview changes. Specifically, I would have to change my views on the rate at which mutations occur. But, it has already been established that mutations occur, and that differential fitness occurs as a result of these mutations, so no evidence against the age of the Earth nor common descent changes this.

That's why the mechanisms described in ToE are the "hard-core."

-----

Arphy writes:

...similar characteristics doesn't immediatly translate to being related.

Granted. However, it isn’t just similarities that we see: it’s similarities that fit a pattern that is identical to a pattern seen in a genealogy chart.

We can see patterns in trait distribution across multiple generations of a single family. So, when we see identical patterns emerging between populations, species and larger clades, it is indeed the most parsimonious answer to attribute it to the same process (i.e. heredity). Any other hypothesis requires us to make an assumption that we really can’t support (e.g. that there is a limit to the amount of change that can occur).

Arphy writes:

As for feduccia, I see it like this: It does throw cold water on its status as a transitiona fossil, because if birds didn't evolve from feathered dinosaurs but some other reptile as Feduccia says. Then the only other prominent evolutionary theory is Feduccia's theory which really doesn't have much backing in evidence at all.

This amounts to: “The way I see it, if you’re wrong, then you don’t have another good explanation.”

The problem is that, if we ever replace the theropod theory of bird origins, it will be because the strength of the evidence for some other theory will surpass the strength of the evidence for the theropod theory. Until something better comes along, the theropod theory will remain. So, if Feduccia’s argument ever replaces ours, it will be because its evidentiary basis is stronger.

-----

Arphy writes:

The researchers didn't just search in one place.

You’re right. But, they didn’t just go digging through fish graveyards. They refined their search according to two criteria:

  1. Strata dated to between the ages of Panderichthys and Acanthostega.
  2. Similarity in geography and environment to the locations where Panderichthys and Acanthostega were found.

Then, they searched the places that met these two criteria, and that’s where they found Tiktaalik. They used evolution to direct their search, and they found what evolution indicated they would find.

Edited by Bluejay, : Three minor changes: typo corrections and one additional clarification

Edited by Bluejay, : I guess I tried to start another sentence with "You can't..." However, I can't remember what it was supposed to be, so I deleted it.

Edited by Bluejay, : No reason given.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Arphy, posted 10-02-2009 6:50 AM Arphy has not yet responded

  
Arphy
Member (Idle past 836 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009


(1)
Message 155 of 210 (530356)
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


Hi everyone

I now have the complete transcript and audio of Collin Patterson's lecture from which i quoted from. Not sure what to do with it seeing i can't really stick the whole thing up here. I can go through it and try to summarize what it says, unfortunatly you will have to trust that I am giving a balanced interpretation. Or you could check out the quotes that I used and I'll put them into a wider context.

In this post i am going to try to refocus things back to the main topics.

Transitional fossils: Now reading through the transcript Colin Patterson's speech, I think I begin to understand what is happening. As many of you have pointed in some cases there seem to be morphological features in some animals which when placed next to other animals with similar morphological features you could possibly create a line of animals where these features are arranged into progressive steps. However which features do you pick? The ones that fit the best story? One basic example might be that the common theory says that birds evolved from reptiles, but this is because certain features are picked. If we picked as a major feature warm-bloodedness as a feature the evolutionary tree would look quite different with birds evolving from mammals. So what happens the most parsimonious answer is taken and for the remaining features that don't fit into the picture convergent evolution is invoked. Also teeth was an important feature of Archaeopteryx but firstly they were not reptilian teeth, and also some fossil birds had teeth some didn't, some reptiles have teeth, some don't, some mammals have teeth, some don't. And then we have another bird fossil Confuciusornis sanctus initially dated at the same age as Archaeopteryx, yet it is clearly a bird and has beak as most birds have today. So what do we do? Do we shift Archaeopteryx foward,or sanctus back? But now we are just playing round with the facts to suit our purposes. These are the types of problems that exist with most transitional forms, namely that while they have some features that are "supposed" to be there, they also have features that are not supposed to be there. Also, have we found any intermediate features? by that i mean, most of these transitional features seem to be fully formed and functional and not half way (i.e. halfway between reptile skin and feathers, halfway between teeth and no teeth, etc.)

Also another thought on feduccia on birds, while i recognise that feduccia thinks that Archaeopteryx has some morphological features so that it can be placed into a reptile-bird lineage (note again depending on which features are highlighted different evolutionary paths are theorised), it is such that it is clearly a bird and in classification should not be placed under reptiles.

And now we come to Patterson's problem with cladistics. While he believes that there are quite clear lineages when using morphological characters: From "Can you tell me anything about evolution" Transcript of Colin Patterson's November 1981 presentation at the American Museum of Natural History, New york City.

"well, back in 1978, Gary Nelson suggested - I'm quoting him - "The concept of evolution is an extrapolation, or interpretation, of the orderliness of ontogeny."

So far as i know, at the morphological level, that's still true. And as Gary said, it's von Baer's law that ontogeny moves from the general to the particular, that is behind the transformations we invoke in morphology, and behind systematic hierarchy built on those morphological characters.

Now, of course, all the characters - the transformations - we invoke are not directly observed in ontogeny, but i think you'll find that every transformation that is inferred is congruent with von baer's law, with characters tied to von baer's law. So at the morphological level we have a sound concept of homology and we have ontogeny to help us in ordering homologies. Morphology or, in the most general terms, the phenotype, is the highest level of investigation in systematics."

Now having laid this ground work Patterson goes the next level down of paralogy which is the molecular version of serial homology in morphology. He then goes through many examples of comparing DNA data with morphological data stressing the point that the cladistical outcome is very different depending on what approach you take. And this is where we come to the problem. Because:

"Now if the general theory of evolution is testable , it must have some consequence that can be confronted with reality. In other words, it must make some prediction. And as far as i know only one sensible prediction has been offered.

Niles Eldridge put it like this in a letter to Science:

If evolution is descent with modification, a hierachical array of organisms defined by nested sets of evolutionary novelties must result. This is evolution's grand prediction.

And then Niles went on to say that whatever organism you look at, whatever aspects of it you study, you find the same hierachy. And I've heard this same point repeatedly at meetings, that there really is a hierarchy, and there can be no hierarchy without history, and therefore the prediction of evolution is met.

Well the first thing that strikes me about this is that it seems to imply that evolution is a deductive inference from the systematic hierarchy, that people like Linnaeus and Cuvier and Agassiz and Johannes Muller and Hooker and a thousand other pre-Darwinians were merely poor thinkers, that they failed to see the necessary consequence of their observations. Now that seems improbable.

The second thing concerns the prediction that whatever aspect of organisms you look at, you find the same hierarchy. Well, not everyone seems to agree with that. Here's Ernst Mayr again in Science last week:

Different types of characters - morphological characters, chromosomal differences, enzyme genes, regulatory genes, and DNA matching - may lead to rather different grouping. Different stages in life cycles may also result in different groupings.

So maybe what evolved into what is not so clear cut. If the details are not clear cut why should the big picture (everything evolved from a common ancestor) be so obvious?

It doesn't get any better throughout his talk. Shall i go on?

Here we go:

So what about this molecular level or the level of protein and DNA Sequences? How do we recognize the hierarchy there? First of all, the concept of homology is much vaguer at those levels, and we don't have ontogeny and von Baer's law to guide us.

Now i suggested in commenting on the DNA data that the hierarchy is recognized by massaging the data with evolutionary theory. You put it through a program that's based on evolutionary theory, and naturally you get a hierarchy out. I wonder if the data is hierachial without massage of that sort? I don't know. But at the protein sequence level where i have played a lot, my impression is that it is strongly hierarchical when you have a few sequences, or when you've selected them, so that you are just doing five or six taxon problems. But when you take a big set of data, like all the myoglobins that are now avaliable, my experience is that the hierarchy simply melts away unless you force it by massaging it with evolutionary theory.

Don't know if i need to add much more to that.

Now to the latest replies:

PaulK: I hope the main points have been addressed in a round about way above.

Perdition: I haven't seen any definitions that say that parsimonious means invoking the least number of external agents. Most of them say things like the least complex, or "economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor" from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parsimony.

Sure, but it's irrational to assume that point is here until we've exhausted all other avenues.

And when will these be exhausted?

Why would we turn our back on a method with such a great track record?

Yip, why would we? But it seems that you think modern creationists have.

bring them here if you can think of any and we'll debate them or add them to the list.

ok how about:

-The assumption that stratigraphic order is because organisms started of simple and then evolved into complex forms.

-The assumption that layers of rocks are layed down progressively over vast periods time and the landscape is shaped predominantly by slow gradual processes.

-The assumption that radiometric clocks and the assumptions made in reading them are constant.

-The assumption that "transitional" features in organisms are because of common ancestry.

-The assumption that degenerative processes such as mutations have been the cause for producing increasingly complex organisms over vast periods of time.

That should do for now, but now we are also getting off topic (although some of the assumptions are on topic).

Magda:

And yet, morphological classifications agree very closely with genetic similarities. Genetic similarities do suggest relatedness. Or should we abandon genetically based paternity tests?

See above quotes from Patterson.

And yet the nested hierarchies of similarity which Linnaen taxonomy reveals are in perfect accord with the ToE.

They are also generally in accord with the Creation model. As I said this type of classification makes no claim about evolutionary paths. It groups organisms into morphological similarities.

Syngameon: Yeah, that definition is also good. species like a zebra and a horse won't interbreed usually, but it does sometimes happen if the circumstances are right. Is this not natural? hmmm.... experiments don't count only observed events of syngameonity in the organisms natural environment count?

I'd say genus is generally the minimum. I think that whatever species you take there will be another species with which it can form a hybrid.

It says that "every creeping thing" died. That is a very clear reference to invertebrates.

umm... no. A lot of insects fly, also insects aren't the only things that "creep". I think you are thinking in terms of "insects are creepy crawly" imagary. Anyway, insects don't "breath" as other animals breath i.e. through nostrils.

Do you want to add Ardi to the discussion? Btw, it is not "new". The bones were found in 1994, they just did a re-analysis which has got everyone hyped up again.

Tiktaalik: To say that lobe-finned fish have the beginings of tetrapod legs seems ridiculous, because in living lobe-finned fish these features are highly adapted to a deft swimming action. That they found a fish amongst other fish even if in the "time gap" in which "transitional" forms should be according to the theory, doesn't mean much until you can show that it is "transitional". So please explain why the features of tiktaalik are transitional. Also came across this in an article which which i think is an interesting point made in relation to the Tiktaalik prediction.

Much has been made of the fossil’s being just what palaeontologists would have expected to find – even just what they did expect to find. The scientists who discovered Tiktaalik went to Ellesmere Island purposely looking for intermediates between Panderichthys and the first tetrapods, and they were not disappointed. However, we have seen that in many respects the fossil was surprising.

As it happens, a very explicit prediction was made in the pages of Nature four months earlier (22 December 2005), when Catherine Boisvert was discussing the pelvic fin and girdle of Panderichthys:

The pelvic girdle is even less tetrapod-like than that of … Eusthenopteron, but the pelvic fin … shares derived characteristics with basal tetrapods despite being more primitive than the pectoral fin of Panderichthys. The evolution of tetrapod locomotion appears to have passed through a stage of body-flexion propulsion, in which the pelvic fins played a relatively minor anchoring part, before the emergence of hindlimb-powered propulsion in the interval between Panderichthys and Acanthostega.

What Boisvert is saying here is that Panderichthys had ‘front-wheel drive’: its front fins were bigger and more powerful than its rear fins. However, the early tetrapods were ‘rear-wheel drive’. Consequently, evolution theory predicted that the emergence of hindlimb-powered propulsion would be seen in the interval between Panderichthys and Acanthostega. Tiktaalik fails that prediction. Indeed, it was more of a ‘front-wheel drive’ animal than Panderichthys was.

http://www.earthhistory.org.uk/technical.../tiktaalik-roseae

super-evolution (which seems to mysteriously no longer occur)

umm... I'm sure I gave some examples of rapid speciation. Have a look at some previous posts.

Because this level of evolution goes beyond genus or family. It forces your definition of "kind" way up. Now you have no excuse for not placing humans and chimps in the same kind. Hell, that places monkeys in the same kind as us.

The point is that a kind can not be pinned down to any man-made classification. A kind does not = family or order or genus. A kind may be at any of those levels depending on the organism and the way it was classified.

Finally Bluejay:

Specifically, I would have to change my views on the rate at which mutations occur.

This really is streching things. So even if theoretically you started believeing in an earth that is 6000 years old you would just that the whole process from bacteria to man was just a lot faster than you thought? What would the geologists have to say about this? The speed of evolution and evolution in general has an effect on other disciplines outside of biology.

We can see patterns in trait distribution across multiple generations of a single family.

I think this is answered in the the patterson quotes. Yes, we do see patterns in closely related organisms , however this becomes less discernable in what are seen as more distantly related organisms.

Sorry, this was a long time coming, when i've been on here i've tended to spend more time reading (the topics in which calypsis has posted have been quite interesting and entertaining) than writing. Ah well, hopefully the above makes for interesting reading anyway.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added more blank lines. My "philosophy" is never hit "enter" once, always hit it twice. I think there might be some foul-ups in a couple of quote boxes, but I'm not going to mess with those.


Replies to this message:
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Peepul
Member (Idle past 1421 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009


(1)
Message 156 of 210 (530396)
10-13-2009 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


quote:
Transitional fossils: Now reading through the transcript Colin Patterson's speech, I think I begin to understand what is happening. As many of you have pointed in some cases there seem to be morphological features in some animals which when placed next to other animals with similar morphological features you could possibly create a line of animals where these features are arranged into progressive steps. However which features do you pick? The ones that fit the best story? One basic example might be that the common theory says that birds evolved from reptiles, but this is because certain features are picked. If we picked as a major feature warm-bloodedness as a feature the evolutionary tree would look quite different with birds evolving from mammals.

Arphy,

One of the things that proves common descent is real is that similar trees result when different sets of features are used - and by the way, sets of features are always used rather than single ones to avoid the kind of problems you describe above.

Note that the trees are not EXACTLY THE SAME when derived by different methods - however, statistical analysis can now show how significant the similarity is. And for evolutionary trees it's very significant (pace Mayr).

Statistically it is also now possible to detect objectively how strongly a 'tree' supports 'common descent'. Trees based on features of organisms show strong evidence of this, languages do also.

Edited by Peepul, : Add reference to Mayr


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has not yet responded

    
Peepul
Member (Idle past 1421 days)
Posts: 206
Joined: 03-13-2009


(2)
Message 157 of 210 (530404)
10-13-2009 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


quote:
They are also generally in accord with the Creation model. As I said this type of classification makes no claim about evolutionary paths. It groups organisms into morphological similarities.

Or genetic similarities, or both - but that's a side issue.

The main point is that the trees are not 'generally in accord with the creation model'. The evidence we have massively constrains the kind of creation that is permitted - to one that looks exactly like common descent.

What we explicitly do NOT see is a modular approach, where the same components are used across a wide variety of organisms in widely spread branches of the tree. Everything looks like it is derived from characters that belong to creatures further up the tree.

Why would a designer be constrained in this way? Why would a designer create something that looks exactly like common descent? Why would a good and moral designer create something that leads people who care about evidence to the wrong conclusions about the history of life?

The answer is they wouldn't, of course. Because there was no designer


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12655
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 158 of 210 (530412)
10-13-2009 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


Golly, what a mess.

I thought this thread was meant to be about quote-mining, not just a wastepaper basket for every mistake creationists can make about everything.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 159 by AdminNosy, posted 10-13-2009 11:49 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4742
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


(1)
Message 159 of 210 (530415)
10-13-2009 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 158 by Dr Adequate
10-13-2009 11:40 AM


Not an answer...
This is no answer to Arphy's post. It isn't even an honest attempt it is just a waste of a post.

Please try harder or remain silent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-13-2009 11:40 AM Dr Adequate has responded

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caffeine
Member (Idle past 84 days)
Posts: 872
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


(2)
Message 160 of 210 (530594)
10-14-2009 6:37 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


The timing of transitionals
Hello Arphy - there's a lot in this post to respond to, not all of which I feel qualified to do, but I did just want to address one quick point:

And then we have another bird fossil Confuciusornis sanctus initially dated at the same age as Archaeopteryx, yet it is clearly a bird and has beak as most birds have today. So what do we do? Do we shift Archaeopteryx foward,or sanctus back? But now we are just playing round with the facts to suit our purposes.

We don't need to move the fossils around in time, as this sort of thing is only a problem if we assume that all the fossils we discover must lie directly on the branch of some modern animal as it's direct ancestors, like so:

These fossils are supposed to represent clear transitionals. Fossil 1 shares traits with the modern animal, but not traits A, B or C. Fossil 2 shares the same traits, plus trait A, while Fossil 3 shares the same basic traits, plus both A and B.

The above picture would be in serious trouble if we discovered that Fossil 3 is actually quite a bit older than Fossil 2. This is only a problem, however, if we insist on drawing our family tree as a straight line. In the real world, it's spectacularly unlikely that the specific fossils we uncover will be the direct ancestors of today's animals - the vast majority of branches of the evolutionary tree end in dead ends. A more accurate picture might look like this (with time advancing from left to right):

Even though Fossil 3 is older than Fossil 2, it shares more traits with the living animal because their ancestry diverged more recently. Remember as well that there are scores more branches coming off this tree - I've just only included those which led to one of the fossils.

Transitional forms should rarely be expected to provide a clear line of descent from one to the other for the simple reason that most organisms leave no fossil trace. What they do show us is that intermediate forms sharing aspects of two groups did exist. While the line that led to Confuciusornis and modern birds lost their teeth, there was no requirement for other lines which left no descendants to also lose their teeth at the same time, and one of these led to Archaeopteryx.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12655
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 161 of 210 (530601)
10-14-2009 7:51 AM
Reply to: Message 159 by AdminNosy
10-13-2009 11:49 AM


Re: Not an answer...
This is no answer to Arphy's post. It isn't even an honest attempt it is just a waste of a post.

Please try harder or remain silent.

It is an honest answer if we stick to the moderators' requirements that we stay on topic.

If it is now the moderators' wish that we should reply to a Gish Gallop, instead of pointing it out that this is a load of off-topic nonsense selected from all the nonsense that every creationist has ever written about everything, then I guess I could slap Arphy down point by point by pointing out the well-known answers to his "PRATTs".

The topic of this thread is dishonest creationist quote-mining. If Arphy wishes to change the subject by inundating us with every mistake that every creationist has made, whether or not it involves quote-mining, then you may feel inclined to tolerate that. I do not. If he's lost that debate, he should start a new one.


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 Message 162 by Percy, posted 10-14-2009 8:56 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 13105
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 162 of 210 (530612)
10-14-2009 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by Dr Adequate
10-14-2009 7:51 AM


Re: Not an answer...
I thought Arphy's post was arguing that his original Patterson quote was not a distortion of Patterson's actual position, and therefore not a quote mine. Patterson does actually seem to be questioning whether sufficient evidence for placing fossils and extant life into a nested hierarchy really exists.

My own opinion is that Patterson's talk spoke more to his own ignorance of the detailed evidence rather than any actual lack of evidence.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-14-2009 7:51 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 163 by Dr Adequate, posted 10-14-2009 9:53 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12655
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 163 of 210 (530620)
10-14-2009 9:53 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by Percy
10-14-2009 8:56 AM


Re: Not an answer...
I thought Arphy's post was arguing that his original Patterson quote was not a distortion of Patterson's actual position, and therefore not a quote mine. Patterson does actually seem to be questioning whether sufficient evidence for placing fossils and extant life into a nested hierarchy really exists.

My own opinion is that Patterson's talk spoke more to his own ignorance of the detailed evidence rather than any actual lack of evidence.

I agree with you about what you thought that Arphy thought about Patterson, and what you thought about Patterson. And since the topic of this thread is dishonest creationist quote-mines, let's talk about that.

But in fact what we are being subjected to here are random creationist errors. Each of them deserving their own thread.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by Percy, posted 10-14-2009 8:56 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
greyseal
Member (Idle past 265 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


(1)
Message 164 of 210 (530821)
10-15-2009 5:20 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM


hi again arphy!
Rehi, nice to see you back (and with a vengeance - that's quite a long post!).

I now have the complete transcript and audio of Collin Patterson's lecture from which i quoted from.

Was that the one I provided a link to, that's been used IMO as a quote mine regarding his views? It was to the systematics group?

If so, I read it, and yes, I do think that the use it's being put to by creationists qualifies as "quote mine". When I read the document, it was very clearly not about evolution itself and his other letters are specifically saying that his views are sorely misrepresented by creationists.

What you talk about in the next paragraph in your post sounds very apt (it was what his talk was about), but you're confusing the issue - maybe intentionally, maybe not. For example you talk about teeth - "some fossil birds had teeth" you say...but yes, the fossil record says that birds evolved from reptiles, and we all know those reptiles had teeth. It makes sense that fossil birds (being "transitional" in some cases and features) could have teeth.

You're taking it as if it's a jumble that can be untangled any which way you choose (for example to "prove" that birds evolved from mammals because both are warm-blooded) - but it can't. You need to look at external facts like dating methods and geology to place the fossils into the right geologic timeframe, and here the morphology of the fossils gives you clear families that are - and are not - directly related. Of course, if you want to claim that because there's no DNA that we cannot know anything for certain because we weren't there, then that's just last thursday-ism and is unassailable and undefendable and pointless to debate.

Also another thought on feduccia on birds, while i recognise that feduccia thinks that Archaeopteryx has some morphological features so that it can be placed into a reptile-bird lineage (note again depending on which features are highlighted different evolutionary paths are theorised), it is such that it is clearly a bird and in classification should not be placed under reptiles.

with my greater understanding not only of Feduccia, but the ToE and Archaeopteryx, I fail to see why this paragraph is for or against the ToE. That is, essentially, what Feduccia is arguing - that whilst it is clearly transitional (claws, long bony tail, teeth are NOT bird-like), it should not be classed as "dinosaur" but as "bird".

That still, honestly, does NOT make it not transitional, and it definitely does not disprove evolution.

that's why your quotes were "quote mines" - because they sorely misrepresented Feduccia's opinion and position (as did your Patterson quotes).

Arphy, quoting Patterson writes:

So maybe what evolved into what is not so clear cut. If the details are not clear cut why should the big picture (everything evolved from a common ancestor) be so obvious?

Because, if you'd properly understood what they were talking about, there are choices how the data is arranged - but it doesn't falsify the data and it doesn't change the overall big picture.

It doesn't get any better throughout his talk. Shall i go on?

his talk, as I have said before, was not about the truth or reality of evolution, but specifically about systematics, and specifically WHY there is confusion. Would you expect him to say there is no confusion when the fact that there IS is exactly what his talk is about?

But confusion does not equal falsification - the confusion is details and disagreements between equal amounts of truths that all still do not have anything to do with disproving evolution.

Perdition: I haven't seen any definitions that say that parsimonious means invoking the least number of external agents. Most of them say things like the least complex, or "economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor" from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parsimony.

...you do understand that "least parsimonious", "least complex" and "economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor" and so on are functionally equivalent, right? And that invoking the least amount of external agents fits right in with that?

Your assumptions you talk about are issues that each demand their own thread, suffice to say here that I think it obvious that radiometric dating, geology, morphology, paleontology and evolution all reinforce each other spectacularly, and ignorance (especially deliberate) of the facts behind each of these distinct fields is not an excuse and even less of a reason for doubt.

Your last assumption is your own and remains without merit and void. sorry to be so blunt

Magda's genetics quote and Patterson's quote are not related. Honestly. I'm pretty sure you won't believe me, so I'll not argue it further in this thread (it needs its own).

Linnaus' taxonomy, special creation and evolution are not at odds unless you wish to ignore the evidence. Abiogenesis and special creation are, but neither so far have proof. Different thread. Your willingness to believe that "kinds" are a well-developed system of classification is proven (even with a cursory glance through this one, single webpage) false. So far every single person to talk about "kinds" and syngameons, baramins and whatever else fanciful words you want to use cannot agree where the limits and divisions are to even the smallest degree.

And excuse me?

The point is that a kind can not be pinned down to any man-made classification.

I...uh...what? kind IS a man-made classification. If you can't use it because it "can't be pinned down", STOP USING IT.

When talking about fossil ancestors to tetrapods (fishapods! love that word) and living "lobe finned fish" that resemble them...I don't get why you don't understand that they aren't necessarily identical (infact, most likely they are NOT) - it makes sense that if this branch of the family didn't move onto land, that they'd be better swimmers than those that did...

Lastly, when Bluejay said that he'd have to adjust his thinking on the speed of mutations, it's because of the wealth of proof positive that mutations have and do occur


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 165 by Percy, posted 10-15-2009 5:54 AM greyseal has responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 13105
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 165 of 210 (530824)
10-15-2009 5:54 AM
Reply to: Message 164 by greyseal
10-15-2009 5:20 AM


Re: hi again arphy!
Hi Greyseal,

I'm still not convinced that Patterson wasn't in reality arguing that there is insufficient evidence to conclude a nested hierarchy. Here's the link to his speech again:

http://biology.swau.edu/faculty/nclasses/cl.../patterson.pdf

I'm not going to read it all the way through and do a dissection, but the first page contains this famous nugget:

Patterson writes:

Question is: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, "I do know one thing - it ought not to be taught in high school."

...

We know it ought not to be taught in high school and that's all we know about it.

Patterson is spouting anti-evolutionary nonsense, and judging by Arphy's excerpts, he goes on and on in pretty much the same vein while becoming more and more detailed. If Patterson does not actually question the sufficiency of the evidence regarding our evolutionary conclusions then I'd like to understand how.

Quote mines are bad for two reasons: they're the fallacy of the argument from authority, and they give a false impression of what was actually meant. I'm focused on understanding how Arphy committed the latter regarding Patterson.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 164 by greyseal, posted 10-15-2009 5:20 AM greyseal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by greyseal, posted 10-15-2009 12:58 PM Percy has responded

    
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