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Author Topic:   Evolution vs. Creation Interpretations (Jazzns, nemesis_juggernaut) (NOW OPEN TO ALL)
Inactive Member

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:
 Message 36 by Jazzns, posted 11-28-2006 10:46 PM Jazzns has replied

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Inactive Member

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 replied

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Inactive Member

Message 49 of 77 (376958)
01-14-2007 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by arachnophilia
01-13-2007 3:40 AM

Re: theropods, birds, and pterosaurs
the path to birds is so incredibly complex and detailed in the fossil record that it's hard to say what exactly happened.

The subjectivity of the cladograms is always suspect especially with the inclusion of reversed traits. Meaning, they tend to allow for transitions that don't actually exist, but make it so that they give a false impression of this. The horse series evolution cladogram but even more pronounced, the whale series cladogram, shows evidence of bias and subjective interpretation. But more simply, you can't hang it all up on by looking at the feet of theropods because their feet are similar. By that premise, we could conclude that we are directly descended for octopi.

Consequently, the most outspoken critic of such faulty inference comes from a strict naturalist, not a proponent of ID or creationism.

"Personally, I continue to find it problematic that the most birdlike maniraptoran theropods are found 25 to 75 million years after the origin of birds... Ghost lineages are frankly a contrived solution, a deus ex machina required by the cladistic method. Of course, it is admitted that late Cretaceous maniraptorans are not the actual ancestors of birds, only “sister taxa”. Are we being asked to believe that a group of highly derived, rapidly evolving maniraptorans in the Jurassic gave rise to birds, as manifested by Archaeopteryx, and then this highly progressive lineage then went into a state of evolutionary stasis and persisted unchanged in essential characters for millions of years? Or are actual ancestors far more basal in morphology and harder to classify? If the latter, then why insist that the problem is now solved?" -Peter Dodson

Dodson isn't alone in the criticism. Alan Feduccia, a leading ornithologist, routinely asserts that there are many problems in the theory, but most notably, that the cladograms are based on a superficial resemblance rather than actual ties.

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.

Well, lets go over this because there are quite a few discontinuities. You say they are ground dwelling, which obviously means they are runners. If so, then what selective advantage feathers would have for running underneath the canopy of trees? Feathers create an awful lot of drag on the ground. So, we can deduce that couldn't have developed to help it run down prey. What then was it developed for? You say for insulation. But mammalian hair is far less costly and easier to facilitate heat than feathers-- which Feduccia says is uniquely optimal for flight.

If that's the case, then what pressures existed for such an evolution to occur in the first place, but more importantly, what granted its success in biological terms? What made it so successful that the creature learned to co-opt it for flight?

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.

That's not the problem. The problem is that Crocodiles are placed before birds on the chain. If that's the case, then when did they diverge, since the bones of avian are hollow? Where exactly do beaks, which is cartilaginous, btw, come in? When did the vascular system completely alter? When did the pulmonary system completely alter? For every superficial similarity that exists between theropods and avian, there are vast differences in the far more important inner-contrivances of each specie.

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.

The weakness of such an argument, focusing on the fact that both theropod's and avian have tridactyl forelimbs, is not nearly enough to suggest ancestry. Why? Because not only is that completely subjective, but its cherry picking superficial similarities when it ignores much larger and neccessary ones in order to support the theory. But, if we were to focus on such a similarity, we should also note the difference in the number of digits between birds and dinosaurs. Where did this disparity come from if they are in fact so similar?

"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

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Inactive Member

Message 60 of 77 (379236)
01-23-2007 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Jazzns
01-15-2007 1:46 AM

Re: What have we learned about these so called alternative interpretations?
Through many posts with a lot of argument, not one time did you ever support your original claim that prompted me to challenge you to this Great Debate.

The initial claim is that evo's and creo's are looking at the same evidence, only interpreting it differently. Which is right in their assessment and which is wrong is the part to debate. So, how could I possibly not have supported that? We've had a lot of discussion on Archy, right? Both evo's and creo's can clearly see the fossil and make their determination based on the anatomical structures. Its the same fossil! Its the same piece of evidence. How both groups come to their conclusions is where they differ. How then was I not able to make this distinction?

There is a large assumption hidden in such a bold claim. That assumption is that the facts between evos and creos are agreed upon and it is merely the interpretations that differ. You then proceed to argue for 50 posts worth against those very facts. I didn't win this debate, you lost it the moment you blatantly contradicted yourself.

You did win the debate, whether by sheer volume, your tenacity, or my sparse participation. However, I see at the bottom that you made a laundry list of objections against me that include my alleged contradictions. I'll save my commentary until I reach each objection individually.

These hierarchies are completely subjective as it draws parallels that only superficialliy seem to match.

YET in a previous post you made it perfectly clear that you understand these hierarchies to NOT be completely subjective:

Exactly Jazzns, read what I wrote. Homologous anatomy IS subjective-- i.e. fossils. Case in point: if I draw certain shapes and leave them for you to find, you could make the argument that the one's most similar to one another are obviously related. However, that wasn't the case at all since I have created them all individually. You simply assumed that they were related, therefore, its subjective. What I said, in defense of macroevolution, is that sharing features does not have primacy here. What could take primacy is showing shared mistakes in specific loci, like retroviral insertions. And I said that THIS argument is the best in defense of macroevolution, not nested heirarchies. You seemed to be taken back by this admission of mine and even admired my candor for it. But now you are attacking a straw man. Read what I said again.

Homologous features, especially down to the genetic level, would be a very impressive case in defense of common ancestry. Assuming that genes with similar sequences would be unlikely to originate independently via random mutations or whatever, your retroviral insertion would indicate ancestry. All subsequent phylogenetic features that appear similar could be considered cladistic evidence. There's only one problem I can see currently. The fact that homeotic sequences are universal asks a simple question. If the hypothesis of common ancestry could be falsified by the discovery of the same retrovirus at the same locus in two species that do not share a common ancestry, then the entire argument is incorrect. And that would place this argument onto a lengthy list of alleged markers. Since I don't know of any studies that have found such homogenous sequences at specific loci or transposons, I can't testify to it. I will say that this is the best argument in defense of macroevolution by far.

In other words, your bastion of hope is going to be on the genetic level, not the anatomical level. Why? Because the anatomy is subjective. And even of this, on the genetic level it still can show subjectivity. What wouldn't is shared mistakes only by two or a few species. That would be the best evidence for macroevolution. And if I were an avowed evolutionist, this is where I would look to make my case in its defense.

You cannot at one point use a fact as a basis for argument and then in another circumstance deny that same fact!

I didn't. Read a third and a fourth time if need be. The focus is on "mistakes," whether perceived or not, they make the best evidence because the level of improbability is so great. Whereas, just looking at the anatomy is subjective. Its like saying, "all things with atoms are obviously related because why else do they share atoms?" That obviously doesn't work because all material is composed of atoms.

We were discussing fossil intermediates and you bring up atavisms. These are two very different things yet you either are deliberately changing the subject to avoid having to address my points or you cannot tell the difference between a fossil and an atavism.

Don't they use atavisms to point to ancestry! Isn't that how they attempt to tie one specie to another!? Evolutionists look at similar structures and say, "Hey, this has a furcula, and this has a furcula. Eureka, they're related!" The same with the Dolphin's "alleged" atavistic legs. "Aha, this proves that dolphins descended from land-dwelling animals that took to the sea millions and millions of years ago." Where in that am I incorrect?

1. You changed the subject away from the claim that there are evolutionary influences in geology to a discussion of fossil intermediates. (Re: Interpretations of Evidence vs Attacks upon Evidence (Message 10))

If ever I go off an a tangent it is not deliberate. Just say, "Hey, that's all fine and good, but I'd like to focus on the strata, not what lays beneath the strata."

2. You brought up the issue of dogmatism in a discussion where you were challenged to defend your view about interpretations (also in Re: Interpretations of Evidence vs Attacks upon Evidence (Message 10)

Same rule applies.

3. When talking about what is expected to observe evolution you brought up the false claim that the Lucy transitional is a fraud. This is presumably because I talked about a Lucy to Human transition as an example of the degree of macro evolutionary change. Nonetheless it was a blatant moving of goalposts. (Re: Interpretations of Evidence vs Attacks upon Evidence (Message 14)

Lucy is an incomplete skeleton found over a large surface area, which seriously discredits the entire integrity of the study, does it not? So, if I mentioned it, its because this kind of sleight of hand has been used in the past. I was just giving you an example.

4. When discussing how geography influences evolution to allow both the evolved and ancestral population to co-exist you used that as an opportunity to simply announce your denial of human evolution and change the subject to doubt how scientists can known anything about an animal from its fossil. (Re: Good discussion but still no interpretations (Message 19))

Again, if I go off on a tangent, just specify. I have no aversion to it. As I write, examples pop into my head and I use them as illustrations to solidify my point why something alleged by evo's is inherently incorrect or shown to have been demonstrably false in the past.

5. When discussing observing macroevolution I brought up the point that we have only really been paying attention for a few centuries. You said:

150 years of anthropology, archeology, and biology should yield some proof, no? Those are seconds in evolutionary time but aeons of time to dig up some legitimate, tangible proof of evolution.

Which is a very different question than the one of observed macroevolution! (Re: Good discussion but still no interpretations (Message 21))

And I'm telling you that 150 years is a long time to still be wondering about evolution. All the evidence in favor of evolution is purely circumstantial, and conveniently subject to amendment the second something threatens to refute it. In other words, the ToE is just as inept to prove itself today as it was 150 years ago. In fact, Darwin would probably be very disillusioned to know that the progress is slow and arduous.

6. When again talking about geography and ecological niches you challenged the sufficiency of known selection pressures to cause what you seem to consider "drastic" evolutionary change. (also in Re: Good discussion but still no interpretations (Message 21))
7. I even caught you in a goalpost shift here:

Jazzns writes:

NJ writes:

Jazzns writes:

The evidence can tell us that the environments that an evolved and ancestor species occupied was different or not. For living organism we can visually inspect when they diverge that the environments are different. We can also examine that a particular species does or does not have traits that are advantageous in the environment. Why you think we cannot know these things is beyond incredulous.

You know, more could be stated about what's missing from the hominid record.

Right there! You are shifting the goalposts! I was refuting your claim that we somehow cannot know what environment a creature was better adapted for by its fossil. Please NJ don't do this!

So, you wanted to talk about the environment rather than the suitability? Well, excuse me all over the place. Lets discuss it now. Ask me a specific question and I'll give you a specific answer.

8. Instead of engaging my point about creationist ad-hoc reasoning, you attack my example regarding the Coconino sandstone by talking about seashells on top of mountains. Later on you bring up cave formations and supposed evidence of fast petrifaction with no support. (Part I (Message 25))

Can I ask why you get to control the dialogue? Why must I only answer your questions without introducing some questions of my own? Again, if I go off on a tangent, its because something you've said has triggered a memory about other arguments that logically follow the premise-- in this case, about geological formations or occurances. Just say, "Hey, you didn;t really answer my question. I'd like to focus on that first, then we can address your points."

9. When trying to discuss the how traits arise, using birds as an example, you completely changed the topic again to intermediates. (Part II (Message 32))

Because in order to get to one, you have to have the other first!!! Its completely applicable and its what is expected. Evolutionists ALWAYS talk about how traits arise, but they never suck it up and offer any proof. Its all theoretical and relies purely on circumstantial evidence. The blatantly obvious answer is that we should see a mountain of tangible evidence, which even Darwin himself conceded to, and yet we don't. I doubt you cannot say that this lack of intermediaries is the single most condemning argument against evolution.

But since you'll charge with me being OT, again, tell me how traits arise and explain to me what evidence exists of such.

Even though I very much enjoyed engaging you in each and every point you brought up, I believe it is important for both you and the audience to always remember both the tactic and the number of items you left on the table by changing the subject.

Its not a tactic or a conscious effort to change the subject. I see it as applicable by actually offering some examples instead of endlessly talking about the theoretical aspects.

Debating specific points

And once again, this is so voluminous that I'm going to have to break it up in to sections. Then again, we're unleashing this creature out into the wild, right? So where are we going to move it, and where are we going to pick up from? And who is going to move it? Because I'm engaged in this conversation, I really shouldn't put on my Admin hat for the sake of impartiality.

"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 53 by Jazzns, posted 01-15-2007 1:46 AM Jazzns has replied

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Inactive Member

Message 66 of 77 (380694)
01-28-2007 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Jazzns
01-15-2007 1:46 AM

Re: What have we learned about these so called alternative interpretations?
As I mentioned before, this debate changed from a discussion about interpretation to a discussion of the validity of the evidence. Once that happened, you implicitly conceded your position that creationists merely interpret the evidence differently. In reality, creationists have their own "evidence" that they very much would like everyone else to accept. They also primarily attack sources of evidence that mainstream science uses it to come to conclusions. They are also well known for ignoring evidence as your readily demonstrated in the content of your debate.

Jazzns, I've said from the beginning of this thread that some evolutionists and some creationists are suspect to catering in their own dogmatic interests, rather than following the evidence wherever it leads. I'm not sure why you feel the need to protect every single evolutionist and demonize every single creationist, rather than proceeding case-by-case.

The plain fact is that the evo-creo debate has gotten out of hand, where an "Us vs Them" mentality has taken shape. Its to the point where I've grown so disenchanted with the whole debate, (not you and I, but in general), that I'm losing interest in the whole thing. Its to the point where I'm so disillusioned that exposing truth from falsehoods, bias from unbias, is exceedingly difficult to uncover.

But having said that, there should be no ambiguity that evo's and creo's are in fact looking at the same evidence, only interpreting it differently-- and indeed, perhaps skewing it to their advantage. If both groups are looking at the same supernova, but interpret their significance differently, they are looking at the same evidence, but are coming to different conclusions. If both groups are looking at Archaeopteryx, one group concludes that its evidence of therapod-avian evolution, while the other says that its nothing more than an extinct avian. They both are looking at the same evidence, but they are interpreting it differently.

Presumably, you are saying that creo's will ignore one piece of evidence in order to make their claims more appealing. But a creationist could say the same thing about an evo. Indeed, this little cat and mouse game is always going on. And I for one am disillusioned by both parties. Maybe I'll get back into again, but as of now, its rehashing over the same stale points only to have no resolution.

I will go though the examples here but it is worthwhile to point out that in the end reality wins. You comment about the half life of fact in science is testament to your profound and fundamental misunderstanding of what it means for something to be a fact versus a theory. A fact is something that is not up for debate. A fact may be incomplete. A fact may lead to an invalid theory if it is sufficiently complex but in the end, the facts don't change.

Science is tentative, including scientific "fact." It was a fact that the earth was flat and it was also a fact that the earth is round. Obviously, only one or none could be right. It was once a fact that caffeine was neutral. Then it was a fact that caffeine is terrible for you. Now its a fact that it has legitimate medicinal purposes. Do you understand what I'm saying? And, yes, its great that science can keep evolving in order to uncover the truth, whatever it may be, but this "truth" or "fact" may be supplanted the following year, which makes people leery of committing to anything.

"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 53 by Jazzns, posted 01-15-2007 1:46 AM Jazzns has replied

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