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Author Topic:   Evolution vs. Creation Interpretations (Jazzns, nemesis_juggernaut) (NOW OPEN TO ALL)
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 31 of 77 (365234)
11-21-2006 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Jazzns
11-21-2006 7:04 PM


Re: Request intent to continue
That is great NJ. I don't mean for this to be any kind of commitment nor to take away from any other discussions you would rather have. I think it is perfectly reasonable to temporarily table this discussion when other interesting threads come up.

The information needed on this thread, because the topic is broad, makes replying well more tedious than other threads, but I'm still interested.

Perhaps as a rule of thumb, we should simply acknowledge when we are going to be unable to reply right away just so we don't leave the other person hanging. I am sure that I will need to do this at some point too.

Yeah, that will work. I'd like to keep this thread going indefinitely. I expect some hiatus, however, I think informing the other person will work just fine.

Good contributions to the UCLA thread by the way. I was nice to have someone with your expertise involved in the discussion.

Thanks for the compliment but my 'expertise' is very nominal. I'm not even in the field any more, and even when I was, it was very boring most of the time. I only have a handful of really interesting stories as far as LE is concerned. Thank you, nonetheless.


Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust, vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot fully understand what He's doing, but you know that you know Him." -Oswald Chambers
This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Jazzns, posted 11-21-2006 7:04 PM Jazzns has not yet responded

    
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 32 of 77 (365375)
11-22-2006 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Jazzns
11-09-2006 9:01 PM


Part II
1. What selective pressures cause these changes? This question demonstrates a vast misunderstanding of how evolution works. Selective pressures do not CAUSE changes. The changes happen and the selective pressures "select" the ones that are more useful for reproduction.

Whatever, you know what I'm talking about. I want to know what prompted all of these wonderful contrivances far in advance of them having any conceivable relevance to its survival. What kind of mutation is necessary to begin to form wings that is so effective in the wild, that nature actually selects it?

2. A proto-avian sprouting stump-like appendages that would form a proto-wing?!?!?!? All I can say is WoW! You do notice that birds don't have arms like other bipedal animals right? The bird wing did not evolve from some bump on their back that eventually turned into a wing. Something like that WOULD be evidence for ID.

This answers nothing. I didn't say or even imply that their wings came out of nowhere. I realize that if it evolved, it evolved from the forelimbs of some distant ancestor. I want to know what kind of mutations cause this. I also want to know why it happened. I also want to know how developing the wing over hundreds of years didn't impede the creature, unless of course you think that one day, wings inexplicably appeared fully formed. Do you understand what I'm getting at? In order for a dinosaur to develop into a bird, the shape of the wing and the feathers and all the little, intricate things about birds surely must have developed slowly over time. That means, while we have a prototype avian, he was not fully formed. How can you possibly explain that this creature was so successful while going through these bizarre morphisms, that it actually aided him as opposed to hindering him?

What I wonder is what understanding you gained by your investigation of this issue would cause you to think that birds "sprouted stump-like appendages". You do reject evolution on a basis of understanding rather than ignorance of it don't you? One can only assume that before you claim that an idea is invalid that you would be bothered to completely understand what that idea is. Without that, what reason could there be to reject an idea that you don't understand.

Jazzns, in order for a saurian and and avian to share lineage there had to have been numerous, successive, slight gradations over time. 1. We should expect to see these gradations somewhere in the fossil record. They are nowhere to be found. Everything we have is in full formation. But surely you would agree that unless these changes occurred over time, there should be some evidence of it, unless you you ascribe to a Hopeful Monster. 2. If you believe these morphological changes occurred very quickly, not leaving many signs of gradation, then you must believe in punctuated equilibrium. But either way, you are going to have, at some point, an animal in what Darwin referred to as, 'confusion,' while these gradations were occurring. Now, what possibly could have enhanced its survival "while" the saurian was developing into the avian? There must have been numerous generations that did not have fully formed wings or forelimbs. What an awkward morphology. How did it survive, much less, be superior?

If you think that evolution means that wings "sprout" then let me be the first to say I don't believe in evolution either. I also do not believe in fairy godmothers turning pumpkins into stagecoaches.

My "sprouting" is just hyperbole for effect. Of course I don't believe that if evolution works in this way. But I have to ask if certain evolutionists do. Where are the intermediates? Why do we have no intermediaries? Why do we have dinosaurs, then archaeopteryx, then birds? Surely you could recognize that hundreds of intermediary species must have existed during this time... Where are they?

But this is really a side issue. You do realize that avian are endothermic and saurian are exothermic, right? You realize that the cardiovascular, pulmonary, integumentary, etcetera, systems are completely different right? So, imagine all of these morphologies taking place. That's insurmountable for you or anyone else to casually brush off as inconsequential. These are the finer aspects that evolutionists neglect. But the devil is in the details, Jazzns. And from where I'm standing, its condemnable.

3. Forming proto-feathers long in advance of conceivable relevance to its survival? Feathers perform a NUMBER of functions for modern birds. In addition to flying, feathers provide a mechanism of thermal control. They also play a role in sexual selection and response to predation. Hence you have a situation where most male birds are more intricately colored to both attract a mate and to attract predators away from their offspring. That is why only the male cardinal is red for instance.

The intricacies of ornithology do nothing to explain why systematic gaps are missing in between dinosaurs and birds. Speculation is the bread and butter of modern evolutionary theory. I don't want to know why it sounds reasonable for brightly colored feathers are used in attracting mates, I want to know why you think that avian and saurian share a lineage. In doing so, I want to know what kinds of changes happened along the way. I also want to know how you know that.

4. What exactly prompted the changes? Different selection pressures cause different traits to either be maintained, degrade, or become advantageous. For a ground dwelling feathered dinosaur, an asymmetric feather has no use. Therefore if a baby dino is born with slightly asymmetric feathers there is no survival benefit and therefore no reason for natural selection to change the feathers of the population over time. This is not true for tree dwelling feathered dinosaurs who have learned to co-opt their feathers for gliding. A slightly asymmetric feather will make you a better glider and that is an advantage that will help you find food, escape predators, and because of that have a better chance of producing more offspring.

An eminent ornithologist who specializes in therapod evolution states,

"When we see actual feathers preserved on specimens, we need to carefully determine if we are looking at secondarily flightless birds that have retained feathers and only superficially resemble dinosaurs, or if the specimens are in fact related to dinosaurs. That’s a difficult issue to deal with right now, given the existence of fake fossils... It is biophysically impossible to evolve flight from such large bipeds with foreshortened limbs and heavy, balancing tails. In my opinion, the theropod origin of birds will be the greatest embarrassment of paleontology in the 20th century." - Alan Feduccia

Why would it 'awkwardly' change? This view is the hopeful monster straw man of evolution. We already know that they took to the trees. In an arboreal existence, gliding is a potential advantage especially if you already have structures that you can co-opt to help you glide better.

How do you 'know' this?

are you saying that if we find a fossil of something with fins that we cannot assume that it lived in water? What if I find some fish bones in a depositional environment that indicates a coastal formation? Then is my conclusion that it lived in shallow as opposed to deep water some fanciful scenario that will invade the textbooks and warp some impressionable minds?

This is what I'm saying. When imagination meets speculation, fiction becomes fact rather quickly. Could I assume that flying fish shared ancestry from a bird. Perhaps the flying fish is the progenitor of a bird, or perhaps some bird that took to the ocean is the progenitor of the flying fish. Or is it most reasonable that flying fish simply learned to beat its fins for short bursts of flight and that it happens to aide them in evasion of predators?

Edited by nemesis_juggernaut, : fixed typos and a url link


Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust, vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot fully understand what He's doing, but you know that you know Him." -Oswald Chambers
This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Jazzns, posted 11-09-2006 9:01 PM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Jazzns, posted 11-22-2006 2:38 PM Hyroglyphx has responded
 Message 36 by Jazzns, posted 11-28-2006 10:46 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

    
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 33 of 77 (365426)
11-22-2006 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Hyroglyphx
11-22-2006 12:34 PM


Re: Part II
Excellent job NJ.

I am going to take some time on a response to condense things a bit.

I just have one question. IS there going to be a part III addressing the remainder of that post? If so, could you please let me know at what point you stopped in your response?

If I get some time I will work on the periodically over the holiday weekend. I figure there is still some catchup needed anyway since I already replied to your part I. I also want to see about sorting out the distinct points rather than doing the whole quote->reply->quote->reply thing.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-22-2006 12:34 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-22-2006 5:13 PM Jazzns has responded

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 34 of 77 (365471)
11-22-2006 5:13 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Jazzns
11-22-2006 2:38 PM


Re: Part II
IS there going to be a part III addressing the remainder of that post? If so, could you please let me know at what point you stopped in your response?

Uhhhh, I can't remember off-hand what post it was. Yes, there is going to be a part III and maybe even a part IV. As to where I stopped, I simply tackled the avian/saurian connection in part II. I think Coelacanth is next. I'm not sure though.

If I get some time I will work on the periodically over the holiday weekend. I figure there is still some catchup needed anyway since I already replied to your part I. I also want to see about sorting out the distinct points rather than doing the whole quote->reply->quote->reply thing.

Yeah, this is starting to go all over the place. I mean, all of it has to do with evolution/creation/ID, but the topics are very broad and the replies are very long. If you want to come up with a format or rules of debate, I have no objection to that. I'll probably write part III either tonight or tomorrow.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Jazzns, posted 11-22-2006 2:38 PM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Jazzns, posted 11-26-2006 9:37 AM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded
 Message 37 by Jazzns, posted 11-29-2006 4:38 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

    
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 35 of 77 (366038)
11-26-2006 9:37 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Hyroglyphx
11-22-2006 5:13 PM


Re: Part II
The holiday weekend was a bit busier than I thought. I have an outline for a reply and I just need to fill in some details. I want to have it done this week.

Happy Thanksgiving by the way!

Edited by Jazzns, : No reason given.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-22-2006 5:13 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 36 of 77 (366681)
11-28-2006 10:46 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Hyroglyphx
11-22-2006 12:34 PM


Understanding Birds and Evolution

How traits arise

Before I get into this in depth, I wanted to point out the following:

My "sprouting" is just hyperbole for effect. Of course I don't believe that if evolution works in this way.

First of all, my amazement at your previous statement was not due to you saying that something "sprouted". I was amazed that you mentioned "stump-like appendages". That is not hyperbole not matter how much you claim otherwise. If you really did know that wings came from arms then why did you say that they came from "stump-like appendages"? I can see only a few options, either you really didn't know or you did know and yet choose to deliberately mischaracterize the situation hoping that I wouldn't notice or that I would stumble. Either situation is very bad for you. Perhaps there is an alternative I am not considering? Moving on.

This section is the about the point in our previous discussion about how things evolve. You presented the following:

I want to know what prompted all of these wonderful contrivances far in advance of them having any conceivable relevance to its survival. What kind of mutation is necessary to begin to form wings that is so effective in the wild, that nature actually selects it?
...
I didn't say or even imply that their wings came out of nowhere. I realize that if it evolved, it evolved from the forelimbs of some distant ancestor. I want to know what kind of mutations cause this. I also want to know why it happened. I also want to know how developing the wing over hundreds of years didn't impede the creature, unless of course you think that one day, wings inexplicably appeared fully formed.

I will continue to use bird evolution as our example. The first thing you have to understand is that the ancestors of birds did not start evolving wings at some point. Evolution does not have intent at all. The second thing to note is that flying as a 'relevance to its survival' was not present at the time the structures that ended up as wings were beginning to form. Both of these points underlie what has obviously become a profound misunderstanding of how evolution is proposed to work. I hope you can see that or if you don't you take note of these words to at least be open to the possibility that you have some fatal misunderstanding of how evolution works.

You completely disregarded my explanation of how it is possible that these features evolved in birds in my previous post. Instead you changed the conversation to a discussion about intermediates. For reference, your reply to my explanation about the origins of feathers and flight was:

The intricacies of ornithology do nothing to explain why systematic gaps are missing in between dinosaurs and birds.

What was under discussion was not intermediates but rather the topic YOU brought up which is "what prompted all of these wonderful contrivances...". What is going to be hard to do in this discussion is to try to not shift the particular topic especially when it is a topic that you initiated. What I want to talk about in this section is the specific EXAMPLE of the evolution of bird wings as how certain traits can arise. This is in CONTRAST to a discussion about whether the fossil record adequately shows bird evolution. I am interested in discussing that too, but not inline with this discussion about the origin of traits. Please help me try to focus this conversation.

Now, we know that if evolution is true that the end result of this particular trait is the bird wing used for flying. What I would like to do is go over a proposed evolutionary path for the wing.

First therapod dinosaurs evolve feathers. This is evidenced by the many non-avian therapod dinosaurs that have been found with feathers. The feathers range from down like to more structured feathers of today’s birds. The reason for feathers is what was listed in my previous post. We can speculate that feathers performed for dinosaurs similar functions that they perform for birds today. In modern birds, when feathers are not used for flying they are also used for warmth, sexual and predatory displays, and balance. Feathers on therapods also gives weight to the theory that dinosaurs were endothermic which I will also discuss later.

As therapods evolved they obtained longer and longer arms for grasping prey. The feathers on their arms and legs also became more birdlike in a number of species. One particular species called microraptor even had fully developed flight feathers although it probably could only glide. Most of these feathered therapods were small, quick, and agile. They were also probably very good jumpers since their talons were suited for killing prey. A long feathered arm would be a powerful advantage for both balance and speed.

Once you get to archy the rest is just perfection of the rudimentary flight mechanisms. Most creationists consider archy a bird anyway so this should not be surprising. As wing-arms became primarily used for flight instead of grasping, claws became vestigial as is evidenced by birds with these vestigial features today. Some modern birds still use a claw such as the hoatzin which only has a claw in its youth to grab onto trees.

The important thing to digest about that is simply that a wing was never the GOAL. When the first therapod started out the changes it underwent made it more efficient at what it does in its environment. Wings were therefore an indirect result of these creatures expanding into a different habitat where some of their previous features could be co-opted for other uses which in this case was gliding and then flying.

If you want to see more details about bird evolution then I would suggest checking out these two sites in detail.

http://www.dinosaur-world.com/feathered_dinosaurs/0-feathered_dinosaurs.htm
http://www.geologyrocks.co.uk/tut.php?id=13

Good site but some of the links are unfortunatly broken:
http://hometown.aol.com/darwinpage/dinobirds.htm

So to address your questions:

Relevance to survival - This relevance changes with every new adaptation and environmental change. If you started with therapods and made flying relevant to its survival then they would all die. The relevance you speak of is comparable to the change in selection pressures over time. As the pressures change, the relevance changes and evolution proceeds in a different direction that it had been going in before. That is what creates diversity. That is why the therapods range from archy to t-rex. The difference in relevance and the change in relevance resulted in the diversity of that group of creatures.

Mutations Necessary For Wings - The mutations necessary for wings are the accumulation of the mutations necessary for all the various precursors of wings. Feathers (for a different purpose), longer arms, aerodynamics for running and/or gliding, and finally flight. Neither of these steps is outside the realm of "microevolution" at each transition. It is only when we step back and look at the sequence that we can see how drastic the change is from beginning to end. Let me ask you this, at which step do you deny that it is impossible for mutation to cause such a change. Do you deny that mutations can cause arms to grow longer? Do you deny that mutations can alter the symmetry of a feather?

How did developing wings over the years not impede the creature? - The very existence of this question is at the heart of your profound misunderstanding of how evolution works. The steps toward a wing did not impede the creature because wings were not the goal. Wings are simply where the course of evolution proceeded. It is not as if anything less than a wing was a detriment to these animals. In order for evolution to work, each step in the chain must be an improvement to the survivability of the animal AT THAT MOMENT; not at some future unknown need. For example, therapods didn't start evolving longer arms so that one day they could become a wing, they did so because it had an immediate benefit for catching prey. It just so happens that longer arms have a secondary benefit of stability control when you are running and jumping especially in an arboreal environment. This is even more true when you happen to have feathers with a primary purpose of warmth and sexual displays.

Let me ask you a few questions to try to direct this discussion. Do you believe that archy is a bird or a therapod? Why do you believe this? What makes you think that it is NOT also the other?



The fossil record as evidence for evolution

Jazzns, in order for a saurian and and avian to share lineage there had to have been numerous, successive, slight gradations over time. 1. We should expect to see these gradations somewhere in the fossil record. They are nowhere to be found.
...
My "sprouting" is just hyperbole for effect. Of course I don't believe that if evolution works in this way. But I have to ask if certain evolutionists do. Where are the intermediates? Why do we have no intermediaries? Why do we have dinosaurs, then archaeopteryx, then birds? Surely you could recognize that hundreds of intermediary species must have existed during this time... Where are they?

In short, you are INSISTING that for evolution to be true we must find a host of intermediate forms in the fossil record. By pointing out that the fossil record does not meet YOUR STANDARD for the number of required intermediates that therefore evolution is false. There is a number of problems with this.

1. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Quite simply, we know AND WE EXPECT the fossil record to be vastly incomplete at the level of species to species intermediates. This is especially true for land vertebrates that only fossilize in very specific conditions. As I have said before, the evidence for evolution does not rely upon the fossil record. The prediction is that the fossil record should match the primary evidence for evolution which is nested hierarchies. Missing transitionals do not remove the fact that forms like archy DO fit into those hierarchies.

2. Evolution is not required to meet your standard of evidence to be considered true. You may have a standard that for you to believe in evolution you have to see every single individual along an evolutionary chain. The validity of the theory does not stand or fall based upon your needs. If you are not convinced given the evidence we do have, then it is up to you to explain why the standard should be higher. Simply stating that there, "should be more intermediates" without any reasoning why the existing ones are insufficient is not enough. This should also be tempered considering that is seems you don't know what all the evidence is to begin with. This leads into my last point on this sub-topic.

3. How much have you actually looked into fossil intermediates? Have you seen the avian intermediates other than archy? Have you seen the transition sequence that gave rise to the mammalian inner ear? I find that many times when creationists come in here claiming that the lack of intermediates is a problem have never bothered to actually go look for them. This is not to say that you haven't but when you make comments like, "dinosaurs, then archaeopteryx, then birds" it comes across as thought you believe that that’s all there is.



Well formed intermediates

Do you understand what I'm getting at? In order for a dinosaur to develop into a bird, the shape of the wing and the feathers and all the little, intricate things about birds surely must have developed slowly over time. That means, while we have a prototype avian, he was not fully formed. How can you possibly explain that this creature was so successful while going through these bizarre morphisms, that it actually aided him as opposed to hindering him?
...
They are nowhere to be found. Everything we have is in full formation. But surely you would agree that unless these changes occurred over time, there should be some evidence of it, unless you you ascribe to a Hopeful Monster. 2. If you believe these morphological changes occurred very quickly, not leaving many signs of gradation, then you must believe in punctuated equilibrium. But either way, you are going to have, at some point, an animal in what Darwin referred to as, 'confusion,' while these gradations were occurring. Now, what possibly could have enhanced its survival "while" the saurian was developing into the avian? There must have been numerous generations that did not have fully formed wings or forelimbs. What an awkward morphology. How did it survive, much less, be superior?

I would first of all like to point out that Darwin is not the authority on evolution. It has been over 100 years since Origins and we have a MUCH better picture of evolution including the mechanism which was absent from Darwin's time. What Darwin thought there "should be" has been supplanted by what "is".

Some of this was addressed in the first section but I want to go into more depth now. The thing to notice is that if evolution did require these "freak" forms then it would be invalidated by internal contradiction. There is no way that natural selection is going to select for a creature "in confusion". I bolded a statement in section one that I want to re-emphasize. Each step in an evolutionary sequence MUST be an improvement to the survivability of the creature as it pertains to reproduction. Notice that this DOES NOT mean that the creature has to get "better" in some subjective fashion. In fact, there are many cases where some changes might be considered "worse" in terms of survivability but are actually "better" when it comes to reproduction. The peacock is a good example of this. One might consider an eagle "better" at surviving than a peacock but the peacock species survived because the emphasis was on attracting mates rather than being a better predator.

While the above is a flaw in your argument, it is not the main flaw. The primary problem is that simply you are viewing evolution with only the beginning and end in mind. In the case of bird evolution you see a therapod and a bird and imagine some kind of freak half-winged chimera that would have to be in-between the two. What you fail to see is that "freak half-winged chimera" is archy! Archy is not as well adapted as non-avian therapods to using its forelimbs for grasping. It is not as well adapted as modern birds are to flying. It very literally has half a wing. The problem you have is that you believe a half a wing to be useless. For archy, it worked perfectly well for gliding and potentially weak powered flight. Was archy "in confusion"? Obviously no but that does not change its status as a transitional. The small feathered therapods that came before archy where equally not "in confusion". They were simply exploiting a different niche than some of the other larger therapods. T-Rex was not objectively "better" than micro-raptor. They simply were a few variations apart to exploit different environments.

Thus I would like to highlight one of your last statement one more time:

There must have been numerous generations that did not have fully formed wings or forelimbs.

This is false. Not only are you not the arbiter of what "must have been", such a statement does not even make any sense. Each generation from raptors to birds MUST have had fully formed forelimbs. If you don't recognize by this statement that you are persisting with an INCREDIBLY IGNORANT view of how evolution actually works then I have no idea how else to point it out to you. A half a wing is not a busted wing from some creationist imagination. A half a wing is simply a forelimb that while still being used for its original purpose of grasping has other properties that allow the creature to generate lift. Essentially, archy's wings.



Arguing About Evolution

In order for this conversation to PROGRESS rather than just CONTINUE (like I hope it will) there is one thing that has to be made clear. In order for you to dispute the theory of evolution you must be prepared to demonstrate that you actually understand the concepts you are trying to refute. Your previous characterization of what we "should expect" transitional forms to look like is the latest blunder of a number that have been pointed out so far that inhibits your ability to provide REAL criticisms. No one and no theory suggests the things you are proclaiming so what you are doing is actually attacking an idea that no one believes in. My first task HAS TO BE to convince you of this or else we are going to debate back and forth in circles where I talk about evolution and you talk about the distorted nemesis_juggernaut version of evolution that you got somewhere. It will be apples vs oranges and this conversation will eventually end like all the other tired EvC ping pong matches.

The theory of evolution is what it is. I am not going to try to spell it out in any more depth than what I get to in each of our sub-topics. I consider it your responsibility to come to this discussion prepared. If you think the theory of evolution SHOULD actually describe broken transitional forms, should be primarily based on the fossil record, or should use some other mechanisms than morphology and genetics to create nested hierarchies, then it is your job to show me that this version of the theory of evolution is what we need to be debating. Until then I am going to debate THE theory of evolution, the one that is the most parsimonious explanation for the nested hierarchies and the objective criteria in which they are built, the fossil record as it is given the fossils we HAVE found, and the concepts of mutation and natural selection that define how and what transitionals should look like.



Identifying environments based on fossil morphology and depositional environment

Jazzns previously writes:

Why would it 'awkwardly' change? This view is the hopeful monster straw man of evolution. We already know that they took to the trees. In an arboreal existence, gliding is a potential advantage especially if you already have structures that you can co-opt to help you glide better.

How do you 'know' this?

Jazzns previously writes:

are you saying that if we find a fossil of something with fins that we cannot assume that it lived in water? What if I find some fish bones in a depositional environment that indicates a coastal formation? Then is my conclusion that it lived in shallow as opposed to deep water some fanciful scenario that will invade the textbooks and warp some impressionable minds?

This is what I'm saying. When imagination meets speculation, fiction becomes fact rather quickly. Could I assume that flying fish shared ancestry from a bird. Perhaps the flying fish is the progenitor of a bird, or perhaps some bird that took to the ocean is the progenitor of the flying fish. Or is it most reasonable that flying fish simply learned to beat its fins for short bursts of flight and that it happens to aide them in evasion of predators?

I feel that you didn't properly reply to my question about the fish fossils. This latest comment of yours actually lets me reply in a way that is the most on topic to this point.

Of course this is just a silly example that you proposed but it makes a very good point. The reason why your idea of birds evolving from flying fish is not considered is that it contradicts the evidence. This is an example of what I mean when I said that creationists ignore evidence which mainstream science does not. Quite simply, the flying fish origin of birds is NOT the best explanation given ALL the evidence. That is why the therapod origin of birds is not just imaginative speculation. It is the best explanation for the evidence we currently have. That is all that science can claim.

That aside, you didn't actually answer my question about how we can tell the environment a creature lived in based on its fossil. Forget about flying fish for a moment. What happens if I find a fish fossil in a limestone deposit that is indicative of an ancient coral reef? Is it wild imagination to assume that that species of fish lived in shallow marine waters or is it simply the best explanation of the evidence?

I meant that original example to be an obvious rebuke of your claim that we cannot determine the environment a creature lived in based on morphology and deposition. In the simple fish example, the fact that it is a fish puts us in water and the fact of the depositional environment puts us in shallow water. IN the case of archy, first and foremost its morphology suggests that it was better adapted to tree life than land life. IIRC it has perching feet rather than running feet. Also, the rock that the fossils are found in suggests an environment of an anoxic lake such as a swamp.

Parts of animal morphology also eliminate some environments. Obviously archy would not be well adapted to a desert or a plain. The best explanation of ALL THE EVIDENCE surrounding the archy fossils is that it was a tree dwelling, gliding, therapod.



Side Issues

But this is really a side issue. You do realize that avian are endothermic and saurian are exothermic, right? You realize that the cardiovascular, pulmonary, integumentary, etcetera, systems are completely different right? So, imagine all of these morphologies taking place. That's insurmountable for you or anyone else to casually brush off as inconsequential. These are the finer aspects that evolutionists neglect. But the devil is in the details, Jazzns. And from where I'm standing, its condemnable.

No one is brushing off these specifics as inconsequential. The problem is that even if there was some very unique morphological difference between the two any theory of their origins would STILL have to explain the similarities! That is what I mean AGAIN when I say that the best explanation is the one that takes into account all of the evidence. There is nothing about bird morphology that I know of or have ever heard of that is so drastic that it does not correlate to some aspect of therapod morphology. Examining some of these can be challenging since soft parts such as the circulatory and respiratory systems don't fossilize. We have to infer based on skeletal morphology how these systems worked in therapods. Is there some particularly devilish detail you would like to discuss?

In particular, I wanted to talk a little bit more about the endothermic and exothermic issue. There is a number of physical traits that suggest that dinosaurs in general and especially therapods were endothermic. The one trait that stands out the most is the fact that many therapods had feathers. Insulation is a primary trait of endotherms and the proto feathers seen in the earliest specimens are akin to the down covering in juvenile birds today which are solely used for warmth. Other evidences among many others for endothermy in therapods include speed and the size of the chest cavity. Where creatures need to have sustained speed in locomotion they are almost always endotherms. Endotherms also require vastly robust circulatory and respirator systems which in general requires a larger proportion of the body dedicated to the chest cavity. Both of these traits are true for therapods among others.

Reference:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A590294

The other thing of note is that endothermy is not some magical barrier that is difficult for an evolving animal to cross. Mammals did it, even some insects and marine animals are endothermic. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that crocs used to be endothermic and re-evolved to be exothermic!

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/153728/generating_heat_the_evolution_of_endothermy/

Overall, it is by no means a fact or even undisputed that therapods were endothermic, but the current best explanation of ALL the evidence is that they were endothermic along with all other dinosaurs.

An eminent ornithologist who specializes in therapod evolution states,

"When we see actual feathers preserved on specimens, we need to carefully determine if we are looking at secondarily flightless birds that have retained feathers and only superficially resemble dinosaurs, or if the specimens are in fact related to dinosaurs. That's a difficult issue to deal with right now, given the existence of fake fossils... It is biophysically impossible to evolve flight from such large bipeds with foreshortened limbs and heavy, balancing tails. In my opinion, the therapod origin of birds will be the greatest embarrassment of paleontology in the 20th century." - Alan Feduccia

This quote deserved some attention. I would first like to point out that this is an argument from authority and thus is a logical fallacy. Just because someone has a 'D' and 'R' in front of their name does not make them automatically right.

Second, Alan Feduccia is a proponent of alternate hypothesis concerning the evolution of birds but HE STILL BELIEVES THAT BIRDS EVOLVED! In particular, he still believes that birds evolved from raptor like dinosaurs, just not the same ones that the mainstream community does. This is called the Thecodontia theory of bird origins.

From http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Thecodont :

The principal difficulty with "Thecodontia" is that it is diagnosed by the same characters which define Archosauria (non sensu Gauthier) and is thus a redundant term, as noted by Gauthier (1986). Consequently, a "thecodont origin" of birds is simply to say that birds are derived from somewhere within Archosauria.

His primary objection seems to be that the three digits on a bird and therapod claw are not analogous. Looking at an ostrich embryo develop you can watch it gain all 5 digits and then loose digits 1 and 5. One might ask why a three fingered animal needs to grow 5 digits as an embryo just to reabsorb 2 of them before it is born (silly design) but that is a separate topic. Therapods though supposedly have digits 1, 2, and 3 instead making it unlikely that they gained digit 4 just to loose digit 1 before they became birds. This idea has been rejected because the proposed digits that are conserved in therapods are developmentally unlikely to have occurred due to the evidence we have for digit formation of all other vertebrates. In all other cases, your thumb and pinkie (digits 1 & 5) are the last to form and are the ones that are dropped in all other circumstances. In fact, digit 1 (thumb) is the last and digit 4 (ring) is the primary digit. It is highly unlikely that any evolutionary development would favor the loss of digit 4 to digit 1 and in fact that is exactly what we see in extant species that loose digits. It is likely then that the therapod digits were misidentified which seems to be the case. A good treatment of this issue is given here.

http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/digit_numbering_and_limb_development/

Third, Alan Feduccia is in the vast minority of people who believe in alternatives to the therapod origin of birds. This is not to say that automatically makes him wrong, just that you are quoting from someone who has had their ideas rejected by the scientific community.



Housekeeping

There is a lot of info here and it sounds like we are both men with busy lives. I would just ask that you poke in periodically while you are working on a reply to let me know that we are still going. If it is not too annoying for you, I'll go ahead and bump this thread occasionally if I haven't heard from you in a week or so. I am certainly more pleased with my post that I took a week to write than I am of any that I write on the spot. In the spirit of "less is more" I just fear that this very interesting and very lively conversation might get lost in the hustle and bustle that is EvC.

Edited by Jazzns, : No reason given.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-22-2006 12:34 PM Hyroglyphx has responded

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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 37 of 77 (366904)
11-29-2006 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Hyroglyphx
11-22-2006 5:13 PM


Bump for NJ
Just wanted to check and see if you saw my latest reply.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-22-2006 5:13 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 38 of 77 (367295)
12-01-2006 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Jazzns
11-28-2006 10:46 PM


Re: Understanding Birds and Evolution
First of all, my amazement at your previous statement was not due to you saying that something "sprouted". I was amazed that you mentioned "stump-like appendages". That is not hyperbole not matter how much you claim otherwise.

Then you must think that a reptile birthed Archaeopteryx or another proto avian fully formed with wings and all. That's a Hopeful Monster. There is only two naturalistic options to choose from. You either have to believe that a series of successive changes slowly evolved, and thus, each successive generation had more and more bird-like features and less and less reptilian features. So, in between that time, and we must be talking about millions of years here, surely there was a creature or a number of creatures in a state of morphological confusion. Your second option is that a reptile inexplicably birthed an avian.

If that's the case, then explain to me why you object to "stump-like appendages?" Surely, at some point while they were traveling from A (reptile) to B (avian) there had to have been a long epoch of awkwardness. And yet, we find no confusion in the fossil record-- just fully formed species.

If you really did know that wings came from arms then why did you say that they came from "stump-like appendages"?

I know they think they came from the arms/forelimbs of a distant reptile. I'm not objecting to that. I understand the concept well. However, that still doesn't explain how you can get from A to B without this middle stage of awkwardness as reptilian forelimbs were slowly evolving into what was to become a wing in a distant relative.

I can see only a few options, either you really didn't know or you did know and yet choose to deliberately mischaracterize the situation hoping that I wouldn't notice or that I would stumble.

No, I think you just misunderstood me, which seems inconceivable given the jousting over several posts. You must have thought that I thought that the wings just sort of grew out of their back. I was pretty clear, especially when using the word "appendage."

I will continue to use bird evolution as our example. The first thing you have to understand is that the ancestors of birds did not start evolving wings at some point. Evolution does not have intent at all.

But natural selection does. Not in the same way of cognizant intent, but rather, is a non-random process. If its non-random then nature selects the strong over the weak. What exactly made the progenitor of Archaeopteryx so successful 'while' they were going through these changes? Seriously, this is elementary. There had to have been a middle stage where you don't quite have forelimbs, but you don't quite have a wing either. So, theoretically, what made it so successful while in its initial stages? You can say, "Wings are extremely beneficial." Yeah, no kidding. But surely you understand that it must not always have been a fully functional wing for the first few thousand or million years.

The second thing to note is that flying as a 'relevance to its survival' was not present at the time the structures that ended up as wings were beginning to form.

Yes, I understand that, hence, what made it so beneficial to begin with. I've been very clear on the matter thus far.

Both of these points underlie what has obviously become a profound misunderstanding of how evolution is proposed to work. I hope you can see that or if you don't you take note of these words to at least be open to the possibility that you have some fatal misunderstanding of how evolution works.

Jazzns, I doubt you can say that with even a nominal amount of veracity. I think its you that is mischaracterizing my arguments rather a lack of understanding about the theoretics of evolution.

You completely disregarded my explanation of how it is possible that these features evolved in birds in my previous post. Instead you changed the conversation to a discussion about intermediates.

What do you mean? Why shouldn't we talk about intermediaries? You are offering me an ad hoc, completely theoretical explanation for why you personally believe that saurians and avians share a lineage based on morphological similarities. That's fine. Theorize all you want. But if you do, the he next, and obvious question should be, okay, but where is the evidence of this?

What was under discussion was not intermediates but rather the topic YOU brought up which is "what prompted all of these wonderful contrivances...".

And I listened to your answer but it was left wanting. You told me that evolution doesn't intend a thing. So you could only logically surmise that it was an accident, a happenstance, somewhere in a point mutation, or whatever, some time in the distant past. Since we can't map the genome of an Archeopteryx, we're going to have to look for other actual evidence, like intermediates.

What I want to talk about in this section is the specific EXAMPLE of the evolution of bird wings as how certain traits can arise. This is in CONTRAST to a discussion about whether the fossil record adequately shows bird evolution. I am interested in discussing that too, but not inline with this discussion about the origin of traits. Please help me try to focus this conversation.

Fair enough. Lets discuss that. Can I ask where you think Pterosaurs fit into all of this, being that they were featherless?

First therapod dinosaurs evolve feathers. This is evidenced by the many non-avian therapod dinosaurs that have been found with feathers. The feathers range from down like to more structured feathers of today’s birds.

There has already been conclusive evidence in a number of specimens that so-called 'proto-feathers- were actually just decomposition flesh. And Feduccia gives a long explanation of how fiction became fact here.

Relevance to survival - This relevance changes with every new adaptation and environmental change. If you started with therapods and made flying relevant to its survival then they would all die. The relevance you speak of is comparable to the change in selection pressures over time. As the pressures change, the relevance changes and evolution proceeds in a different direction that it had been going in before. That is what creates diversity. That is why the therapods range from archy to t-rex. The difference in relevance and the change in relevance resulted in the diversity of that group of creatures.

But this is all speculative-- its all theoretical based on morpholgical similarities. And to reiterate, this doesn't account for the vast dissimilarities between reptiles and avian as far as their organs are concerned. The thermal physiological dissimilarities is difficult to overcome. We could surmise, in theory, that the proto-feathers were first developed as an insulator and later co-opted as aerofoils, as you suggest, but the fact that one is endothermic and the other is difficult to reconcile. The minor details, such as the similarity of the furcula, known to be a good stabilizer for flight, is also present in theropod dinosaurs. This point is noted, but its full cogency is still up in the air. But perhaps my repertoire is not good enough, in which case, I must defer to referencial analysis of cladograms.

"At the very heart of the cladistic method is the principle of parsimony, the concept that the phylogeny requiring the fewest steps of character transformation is the preferred explanation. Rieppel (2000) is refreshingly candid in admitting that parsimony is not a testable hypothesis, not something that is correct or incorrect, but it is a first principle, which must be either accepted or rejected a priori. It is my thesis that parsimony, at least the naïve form practiced and defended by cladists, should enjoy no special status.

As a first principle, I reject it. Parsimony makes sense only if there is some reason to believe that nature is parsimonious. Is there any reason to believe that a phylogeny requiring 200 steps is more likely to reflect the actual course of evolutionary history than one with 201 steps...

Indeed, the idea that nature is parsimonious is a rather peculiar one, indeed an austere, possibly Calvinistic one. It flies in the face of a lengthy tradition in Western thought that speaks of the plenitude of nature, the fullness of creation, or to use Darwin's term, the prodigality of nature...

Cladistic analysis is based on the primacy of morphology as data. It systematically excludes or suppresses other kinds of data, such as may derive from stratigraphy, biogeography, ecology, physiology, or DNA hybridization.

The justification appears to be that to admit data from fields other than morphology is to multiply ad hoc hypotheses. Rieppel, for example, notes that evaluation of the fossil record requires theory, for example, the principle of superposition. This seems to imply that morphology requires no theory, which is patent nonsense." (Emphasis added)

"To the extent that a well sampled fossil record documents the temporal course of evolution through successive strata, stratigraphy should be a relevant consideration. Clyde and Fisher (1997)Go concluded from an analysis of 29 fossil data sets that a relaxation of morphological parsimony by 4% resulted in a 49% decrease in stratigraphic parsimony debt. Why should the unencumbered creation of ghost lineages." -Peter Dodson

Let me ask you this, at which step do you deny that it is impossible for mutation to cause such a change. Do you deny that mutations can cause arms to grow longer? Do you deny that mutations can alter the symmetry of a feather?

No, I have no denial of this. What I am in denial about, as Dobson eloquently put it, is the emphasis of parsimony when its anything but parsimonious. You do realize that the vast preponderance of mutations that would cause such an exaggerated feature are injurious, right? You also should know that in order to create a fully functional wing from an original forelimb must have required numerous, successive mutations. Again, the entire theory of avian evolution is purely theoretical. The sheer fact that there must have been numerous gradations, and yet we have no evidentiary models to model after, is enough to keep it strictly in the realm of wild vagaries and imagination, not in the annals of science.

How did developing wings over the years not impede the creature? - The very existence of this question is at the heart of your profound misunderstanding of how evolution works. The steps toward a wing did not impede the creature because wings were not the goal.

Yes, I understand that, but, surely you understand that there must have been a number of generations that was in a state of morphological confusion, right? On some level, even a small one, that has to sink in for you.

Let me ask you a few questions to try to direct this discussion. Do you believe that archy is a bird or a therapod? Why do you believe this? What makes you think that it is NOT also the other?

I think the overwhelming consensus between paleontologists is that Archaeopteryx was a bird. For a long time, most seemed to think that he was earthbound, but there is growing support that he was a fully functional, true-blue, bird. Why I don't think he was a theropod is because there is no reason to think that he was. Among the skeleatal remains, Archy had an air-filled cavities within the vertebrae and pelvic region. This indicates the presence of both a cervical and abdominal air sac, which is common among avian. Among some of the more ubiquitouss and unique avian traits, is their pulmonary design. Reptiles have no such features. And to think that all of these advances took place, in what appears to be, one felled swoop, seems highly implausible to say the least.

Alright, this is where I'm gonna have to stop for the day. Your posts are really long, (not a bad thing), and I want to thoroughly answer the questions. In a way to not make sparse or spurious statements, I should break it up into sections.


Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust, vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot fully understand what He's doing, but you know that you know Him." -Oswald Chambers
This message is a reply to:
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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 39 of 77 (367309)
12-01-2006 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Hyroglyphx
12-01-2006 2:46 PM


Re: Understanding Birds and Evolution
Rather than reply to this by itself, I want to wait until you have commented on the section in my last post about fully formed intermediates and the fossil record. Your primary concerns about avian evolution seem to hinge around this concept that intermedates should be "in confusion" and that we MUST see gradation in the fossil record. I dealt with both of these issues already in the remainder of that post so I would like to see what you think about those rather than simply reiterating what I said there.

Given your current understand of evolution, I would say that your skepticism is valid. The reason that your argument is flawed though is because your current understanding of evolution is flawed. I hope that the remainder of my previous posts helps remedy this condition.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-01-2006 2:46 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 40 of 77 (371407)
12-21-2006 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Hyroglyphx
12-01-2006 2:46 PM


Bump for NJ
Please look at my second to last message. I feel that my best rebut to your last post is contained in the parts of my most recent substantial reply you have yet to respond to.

Are you still interested in continuing?


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-01-2006 2:46 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

  
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 41 of 77 (375729)
01-09-2007 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Hyroglyphx
12-01-2006 2:46 PM


NJ or anyone else want to continue?
I spent too much time invested in this thread to see it go to waste. If NJ does not respond to this, is there anyone else who wants to take over?

I would ask that admins not reprimand anyone who wants to post here expressing interest in continuing.

If no one responds then perhaps we can simply open it up to the rest of the forum?


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-01-2006 2:46 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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RickJB
Member (Idle past 2342 days)
Posts: 917
From: London, UK
Joined: 04-14-2006


Message 42 of 77 (375733)
01-09-2007 4:30 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Jazzns
01-09-2007 4:21 PM


Re: NJ or anyone else want to continue?
Just a post to say that I've enjoyed reading this. Hopefully NJ will continue.

Obviously I'm on the wrong side of the argument to take over, but I would like to make one comment about the thread so far.

You have made the assertion that NJ's understanding of the ToE is flawed. With this in mind I think it would be prudent to clearly illustrate the willful misrepesentation by certain creationists of finds like Lucy's knee. This subject has arisen but could be more fully explored.

Edited by RickJB, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Jazzns, posted 01-09-2007 4:21 PM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1263 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 43 of 77 (375748)
01-09-2007 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by RickJB
01-09-2007 4:30 PM


Re: NJ or anyone else want to continue?
I did actually mention the Lucy knee situation here:

Message 14

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hopefully someone will feel ambitious enough to take up the slack. I really thought this thread was going in a neat direction.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by RickJB, posted 01-09-2007 4:30 PM RickJB has not yet responded

  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 44 of 77 (376652)
01-13-2007 1:23 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Jazzns
11-28-2006 10:46 PM


Re: Understanding Birds and Evolution
I apologize for yet another late entry. To be perfectly honest, I'm really burned out on the science arguments. Before I came to EvC that's pretty much what I was mostly interested in. I seem to go in waves between theology and science.

I saw that you mentioned that you've invested too much time in to this debate to simply let it die. Let me say that I'm sorry for neglecting it the way I did. Yes, you certainly did invest a lot of time with this and your posts are far too eloquent and well put together for me to overlook them.

My suggestion is to cut this debate loose into a new forum where you can debate your heart out. I only say this because I don't want to tell you that I'm going to be more active on this forum when I may not be. If you need a moderator to move the thread, just let me know and I'll move it to Biological Evolution or a thread of your choice. Let me know what you think.

Again, I apologize for disrespecting your efforts.

In short, you are INSISTING that for evolution to be true we must find a host of intermediate forms in the fossil record. By pointing out that the fossil record does not meet YOUR STANDARD for the number of required intermediates that therefore evolution is false.

Its not about MY standard, its about what is sensible. When we see various breeds of canine, we see an evidentiary series of events in a clear and concise stepwise fashion. It makes sense. Why then are these gaping holes present in between every well-defined specie? There is nothing tying one into another. See, what they do is find some kind of anatomical similarity. For instance, in reptile/bird evolution, they note that the furcula (wishbone) is only present in therapod dinosaurs and avian. While that's true, and its certainly something to make note of, lets not get carried away. Why? Because the rest of the anatomy doesn't match up at all. Its a false cladogram, IMO.

How did this come about? Probably because no other suitable candidates for avian progenitors exist. Nothing else makes any remote sense. And we must remember that once Darwin came along and the seeds of possibility flourished, those in the fields of science were utterly enraptured by such a theory and let their imaginations and vagaries run wild. As a result, misinterpretations of anatomy allowed for an over-simplification about convergent evolution.

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Quite simply, we know AND WE EXPECT the fossil record to be vastly incomplete at the level of species to species intermediates.

That's a convenient scapegoat. I too would expect some missing pieces of the puzzle. I fully recognize that the process of fossilization is not an easy one. However, with the sheer volume of extant creatures, coupled with the those extinct, yields a rough estimate of over 2 billion species and sub-species. Now, how many of those species have lived at one point for each specie? The determining factor would be the rate of reproduction, how many offspring per specie, the average survival rate, etc. But lets give a generous figure of 10 billion extant species alive on earth at one time. (It should be unquestionable that far more than 10 billion have existed. I'm just being generous with the figure). Now multiply that number. What we have is millions of organisms captured in the fossil record. Of all of those potentials, there are no clear signs of gradation. All we see is subspecies and nothing more.

This is especially true for land vertebrates that only fossilize in very specific conditions. As I have said before, the evidence for evolution does not rely upon the fossil record. The prediction is that the fossil record should match the primary evidence for evolution which is nested hierarchies. Missing transitionals do not remove the fact that forms like archy DO fit into those hierarchies.

These hierarchies are completely subjective as it draws parallels that only superficialliy seem to match. For instance, lets say that we have series of shapes. Of those shapes, we have a scalene triangle, an Isosceles triangle, a square, a diamond, a circle, an oval, and an equilateral triangle. All these shapes were drawn by one man. Other people ambling along see these shapes and determine their origin by categorizing their similarities. Naturally, the three kinds of triangles match most closely. The evolutionist says, "Aha! See? I told you. We predicted that we'd find similarities and therefore, we have proven evolution." But what really happened? What really happened is to picked the most similar ones and claimed that they must somehow be related. Sorry, but that's circular logic and circumstantial evidence at best.

The validity of the theory does not stand or fall based upon your needs. If you are not convinced given the evidence we do have, then it is up to you to explain why the standard should be higher.

If evolution were introduced into criminal court, the prosecuting attorneys would rip it to shreds for relying far too much on circumstantial evidence.

How much have you actually looked into fossil intermediates?

I keep up with the latest arguments added by TalkOrigins and Ed Babinski and whatnot for this very reason. What's the latest one? Oh, right, the Dolphin with legs. Lets tackle this one real quick. The claim is that the dolphin is just genetically expressing an atavistic trait. If you look at the proto fin, its exactly what it is... A fin. How many people are born with one or two superfluous nipples? Many? Is that some sort of atavism where our simian ancestors had two sets of breasts? No. Its just a mutation. Aside from which, if the Dolphin is related to a four legged land dwelling ancestor, where does that leave these two extra fins? The dorsal fins would the forelimbs of a land dwelling ancestor and the flipper is supposed to have consolidated the hind limbs. So where do these two extra limbs come from? Was there a creature with 3 sets of limbs in the distant past? Probably not. So what is this really about? Its about people drawing conclusions that don't exist because they believe what they want to believe.

Well formed intermediates

I would first of all like to point out that Darwin is not the authority on evolution.

That's because science is tentative. The half life of "fact" in science lasts about 5 years on average.

Each step in an evolutionary sequence MUST be an improvement to the survivability of the creature as it pertains to reproduction. Notice that this DOES NOT mean that the creature has to get "better" in some subjective fashion. In fact, there are many cases where some changes might be considered "worse" in terms of survivability but are actually "better" when it comes to reproduction. The peacock is a good example of this. One might consider an eagle "better" at surviving than a peacock but the peacock species survived because the emphasis was on attracting mates rather than being a better predator.

If evolution is true, then there is invariably a process of refining. If that's the case, there is an emphasis on a general direction from less complex to more complex. Life seems to be continually improving, getting better and better, more adaptable, more intelligent, etc, etc. Why is there an objection to "better?" I think its because there is a perceived social taboo. We all know that the early evo's paved the way for eugenics programs and racial domination. Since evolution, if true, shows that creatures grow less autonomy to more autonomy, less intelligence to more intelligence, etc, then if one race was the progenitor of another, there is an implication that one is better than the other.

Another reason, I believe, that contemporary evo's have abandoned this antiquated rationale is that it also has implications for morals could have developed. In the early days, the emphasis was on "survival of the fittest." The most aggressive dominates the competition. There is no love lost when it comes to survival. But then they had to piece together how empathic emotions came about and quickly abandoned such a hard-nosed philosophy about biology.

While the above is a flaw in your argument, it is not the main flaw. The primary problem is that simply you are viewing evolution with only the beginning and end in mind. In the case of bird evolution you see a therapod and a bird and imagine some kind of freak half-winged chimera that would have to be in-between the two.

No, that's what you think I think. I'm saying you must come to grips with that notion if there is no intermediary between Archy and birds, since Archy was far more bird than he was reptile. Its not just the wings that presents the problem. We have a completely different pulmonary, integumentary, cardiovascular, etc, system that makes a mountain out of your mole hill. If Archy is indeed an intermediate, he surely must have been an intermediate in between a series of intermediates. There is no way that one day a reptile just popped out Archy, and, voila, the first avian. A belief such as that implies that the evolution occurred in one felled swoop-- which would inevitably make you believe in hopeful monsters.

So, again, its not that I believe you actually think that, its that I feel you would be inextricably woven into that belief if you assert that Archy is the exact intermediate between theropods and avian.

What you fail to see is that "freak half-winged chimera" is archy!

I stand corrected with my previous statement... You do believe in hopeful monsters.

Archy is not as well adapted as non-avian therapods to using its forelimbs for grasping. It is not as well adapted as modern birds are to flying. It very literally has half a wing. The problem you have is that you believe a half a wing to be useless. For archy, it worked perfectly well for gliding and potentially weak powered flight.

I'm curious to know where to place pterosaurs in the evolution of theropods and avian. Especially when considering that the majority of theropods stood well over 10 feet tall, while Archy is about the size of a chicken. Kind of strange that a megalithic-sized creature could, by happenstance, produce such diminutive progeny. I realize that some classified theropods are of small stature, but we see those earlier in geologic record. It seems that the main candidate was a small theropod in the late Jurassic, such as, Coelurosauria. But where does it leave Pterosaurs which are said to have existed in the late Triassic period? It seems that flight has come about much longer than avian have been around, according to evolution. I'm curious to gather your input.

Each generation from raptors to birds MUST have had fully formed forelimbs. If you don't recognize by this statement that you are persisting with an INCREDIBLY IGNORANT view of how evolution actually works then I have no idea how else to point it out to you. A half a wing is not a busted wing from some creationist imagination. A half a wing is simply a forelimb that while still being used for its original purpose of grasping has other properties that allow the creature to generate lift. Essentially, archy's wings.

Jazzns, really.... Come on. Its very simple. For a forelimb in a distant relative to become a fully functional wing in a preceding generation, there surely would have to have been innumerable gradations in between. Likewise, for forelimbs to have become a fin, or vice versa, there must have been stages in between that were absolutely sub-optimal and possibly awkward-- so much so that its any wonder what could have possibly enhanced its survivability, rather than inhibit it.

You can't paint this smooth transition when, 1. you don't have any transitions to base your belief off of, and 2. You can't overlook the fact that though it may look nice and neat on paper, in morphological terms, without all of the necessary components in place simultaneously, the wing or the fin, or whatever else makes no sense.


"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." -C.S. Lewis
This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Jazzns, posted 11-28-2006 10:46 PM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by arachnophilia, posted 01-13-2007 3:40 AM Hyroglyphx has responded
 Message 47 by RickJB, posted 01-13-2007 4:36 AM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded
 Message 53 by Jazzns, posted 01-15-2007 1:46 AM Hyroglyphx has responded

    
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 85 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 45 of 77 (376685)
01-13-2007 3:40 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by Hyroglyphx
01-13-2007 1:23 AM


theropods, birds, and pterosaurs
note to admins: jazzns invited other people to participate. i'm not sure if i'd like pick up much of this thread, but points have been raised about theropod/avian evolution, which is an interest of mine. i'd like to clear up a misunderstanding or two here.

For instance, in reptile/bird evolution, they note that the furcula (wishbone) is only present in therapod dinosaurs and avian. While that's true, and its certainly something to make note of, lets not get carried away. Why? Because the rest of the anatomy doesn't match up at all. Its a false cladogram, IMO.

in your opinion. shall i list off all the other features known only in birds and theropod dinosaurs? the morphology is strongly homologous.

How did this come about? Probably because no other suitable candidates for avian progenitors exist. Nothing else makes any remote sense.

and this particular idea makes so much sense that even a child can recognize the similarities. take a kid to the museum, show him a t-rex. ask him what the feet look like.

if you actually spend enough time looking at theropod dinosaur skeletons and fossil bird skeletons, and modern bird skeletons, you really begin to lose sight of what's what. i can't even tell you what's a dinosaur-but-not-a-bird, and what's a dinosaur-and-a-bird anymore. because when i see a bird on the hand rail of the stairs on the way to class i think "velociraptor." and when i see a velociraptor i think "bird."

As a result, misinterpretations of anatomy allowed for an over-simplification about convergent evolution.

i'll admit, there is a lot of oversimplification going on here. the path to birds is so incredibly complex and detailed in the fossil record that it's hard to say what exactly happened. and the definitions of "dinosaur" and "bird" are seeming more and more arbitrary to me by the day. for instance, did you know that it's now thought that archaeopteryx was a basal deinonychosaur? it has the hyper-extendible second toe, and every other hallmark of deinonychosaurs. that would mean that dinosaurs like velociraptor evolved from birds like archaeopteryx. and this actually makes a lot of sense, if you look at the skeletons.

and it just gets really complicated when you get into "opposite birds" in the cretaceous. there seems to be a lot of "evo-devo" and convergance going on in the fossil record.

I'm saying you must come to grips with that notion if there is no intermediary between Archy and birds, since Archy was far more bird than he was reptile.

archaeopteryx was a dinosaur. that chicken you had for dinner a few nights ago was also a dinosaur. archaeopteryx isn't really that much more distant from reptiles as any other dinosaur. the first dinosaurs were bipedal, laterally flattened, agile little theropods. the fact that the were bipedal means that they did not require the ground for warmth -- so they were likely warm blooded. since they were warm blooded and small, they likely had a form of insulation: feathers. these are all actually natural and logical steps for ground-dwelling animals. nothing hopeful or monstrous here -- each addition benefits.

what makes archaeopteryx less reptile than say, eoraptor? or coelophysis? the essential differences that make him a bird are really far, far more subtle. in every major way, he is a relatively average dinosaur. and after archaeopteryx, we have a whole slew of intermediates that become more and more bird like. we have enough even that it seems that "birds" as generally accepted in the fossil record, might by polyphyletic (even if today's aren't).

Its not just the wings that presents the problem. We have a completely different pulmonary, integumentary, cardiovascular, etc, system that makes a mountain out of your mole hill. If Archy is indeed an intermediate, he surely must have been an intermediate in between a series of intermediates. There is no way that one day a reptile just popped out Archy, and, voila, the first avian.

that problem is well before archaeopteryx. go raise this objection with the lagosuchids and the earliest theropods. because crocodilian respiration simply does not work with bipedal running (heck, it barely works with crocodilian running). and we know from dinosaurs with pneumatized bones that avian respiration was alive and well on the ground.

no reptile just popped out archie. a dinosaur popped him out. a dinosaur with pneumatic bones, avian repsiration, warm blood, and feathers.

I'm curious to know where to place pterosaurs in the evolution of theropods and avian.

  • archosaurs
    • crocodiles
    • pterosaurs
    • dinosaur
      • theropods
        • birds

in other words, "nowhere." if you look at birds wings, vs pterosaur wings, they are completely different. theropods (including birds) have three digits, pterosaurs have the standard five. in birds, the wing is formed by a fusing of those three digits into a carpometacarpus, and the wing is made from feathers. in pterosaurs, the leading edge of the entire flying surface is a single elongated digit.

see, theropods and birds:

pterosaurs:

Especially when considering that the majority of theropods stood well over 10 feet tall, while Archy is about the size of a chicken.

entirely not true. the vast majority of theropods found have been rather small, light, and fast ones. from the earliest days of the dinosaurs, that has been the theropod model. coelphysis, and compsagnathus, and eoraptor. deinonychus and velociraptor and troodon. and archaeopteryx. you're just more familiar with the big guys because they sell more museum and movie tickets -- t. rex (which was a truly unusual dinosaur), allosaurus, megalosaurus, etc. the smaller ones are the ones we see all the advancements in, too. the first feathers, etc. even in various lineages, it seems they all started with smaller ancestors. tyrannosaurids even started small.

Kind of strange that a megalithic-sized creature could, by happenstance, produce such diminutive progeny. I realize that some classified theropods are of small stature, but we see those earlier in geologic record.

no, we have them all the way through the cretaceous. we just tend to call the cretaceous ones (and everything after) "birds."

But where does it leave Pterosaurs which are said to have existed in the late Triassic period? It seems that flight has come about much longer than avian have been around, according to evolution. I'm curious to gather your input.

winged insects were around in the pennsylvanian, some 40 million years before either of them. it easy to mistake pterosaurs for birds, i guess, because they're both archosaurian sauropsids. but really, to anyone who knows what they're talking about, your argument makes about as much sense as "where do insects fit in?"

For a forelimb in a distant relative to become a fully functional wing in a preceding generation, there surely would have to have been innumerable gradations in between.

you are aware of the fact that, according to bone structure, birds only developed bony wings quite recently? most of the cretaceous and tertiary birds have fully-formed hands. the essential difference is that in a wing -- a carpometacarpus -- the digits are fused. in hands, they are free. some birds today are even still born with free digits.

the wing, in terms of flight surface, is made of feathers. where would you like to see the transition? theropod arm-length shows the trend adequately enough.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Hyroglyphx, posted 01-13-2007 1:23 AM Hyroglyphx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Hyroglyphx, posted 01-14-2007 2:54 PM arachnophilia has responded

  
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