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Author Topic:   Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy
BeagleBob
Member (Idle past 3756 days)
Posts: 81
Joined: 11-21-2007


Message 151 of 177 (470999)
06-13-2008 9:34 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by Wumpini
06-13-2008 7:47 PM


Re: Moving into the fossil record
Wumpini:

Can you please provide the source you're citing here? I'd like to look it over.

EDIT: Whoops, I meant to reply to message # 149

Edited by BeagleBob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Wumpini, posted 06-13-2008 7:47 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by RAZD, posted 06-13-2008 10:28 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 19758
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.8


Message 152 of 177 (471003)
06-13-2008 10:28 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by BeagleBob
06-13-2008 9:34 PM


Darwin on line
Can you please provide the source you're citing here? I'd like to look it over.

He's probably quoting from a site that quotes (hopefully in context) Darwin etc.

(Darwin, 1859, p. 66).

We can of course go directly to the source:

http://darwin-online.org.uk/

quote:
This site contains Darwin's complete publications, 20,000 private papers, the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue and [Click to enlarge] hundreds of supplementary works: specimens, biographies, obituaries, reviews, reference works and much more.

Almost all is online only here: 1st editions of Voyage of the Beagle, Zoology, Descent of Man, all editions of Origin of Species (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th); manuscripts & papers: Beagle Diary & notebooks, Journal, transmutation notebooks and Autobiography.


The reference is to

Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray. 1st edition, 1st issue.

You can read either text version or the original page scanned in -- see page 66:

quote:
[page] 66 HIGH RATE OF INCREASE. III.

conditions, a whole district, let it be ever so large. The condor lays a couple of eggs and the ostrich a score, and yet in the same country the condor may be the more numerous of the two: the Fulmar petrel lays but one egg, yet it is believed to be the most numerous bird in the world. One fly deposits hundreds of eggs, and another, like the hippobosca, a single one; but this difference does not determine how many individuals of the two species can be supported in a district. A large number of eggs is of some importance to those species, which depend on a rapidly fluctuating amount of food, for it allows them rapidly to increase in number. But the real importance of a large number of eggs or seeds is to make up for much destruction at some period of life; and this period in the great majority of cases is an early one. If an animal can in any way protect its own eggs or young, a small number may be produced, and yet the average stock be fully kept up; but if many eggs or young are destroyed, many must be produced, or the species will become extinct. It would suffice to keep up the full number of a tree, which lived on an average for a thousand years, if a single seed were produced once in a thousand years, supposing that this seed were never destroyed, and could be ensured to germinate in a fitting place. So that in all cases, the average number of any animal or plant depends only indirectly on the number of its eggs or seeds.

In looking at Nature, it is most necessary to keep the foregoing considerations always in mind—never to forget that every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers; that each lives by a struggle at some period of its life; that heavy destruction inevitably falls either on the young or old, during each generation or at recurrent intervals. Lighten any check, mitigate the

[page] 67 CHAP. III. CHECKS TO INCREASE.


It's a great resource, and you aren't limited to just the quoted text (you can even read the whole book)

Curiously when I search it for the quoted paragraph I find it here:

quote:

[page] 3 INTRODUCTION.

let this opportunity pass without expressing my deep obligations to Dr. Hooker, who for the last fifteen years has aided me in every possible way by his large stores of knowledge and his excellent judgment.

In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which most justly excites our admiration. Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, &c., as the only possible cause of variation. In one very limited sense, as we shall hereafter see, this may be true; but it is preposterous to attribute to mere external conditions, the structure, for instance, of the woodpecker, with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees. In the case of the misseltoe, which draws its nourishment from certain trees, which has seeds that must be transported by certain birds, and which has flowers with separate sexes absolutely requiring the agency of certain insects to bring pollen from one flower to the other, it is equally preposterous to account for the structure of this parasite, with its relations to several distinct organic beings, by the effects of external conditions, or of habit, or of the volition of the plant itself.

The author of the 'Vestiges of Creation' would, I presume, say that, after a certain unknown number of

[page] 4 INTRODUCTION.


Oops?

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : not page 66? not even out on route 66?


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by BeagleBob, posted 06-13-2008 9:34 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded

Ichneumon
Junior Member (Idle past 3490 days)
Posts: 16
Joined: 06-09-2008


Message 153 of 177 (471059)
06-14-2008 4:59 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Wumpini
06-12-2008 8:22 PM


Re: New and Improved List - Maybe
They generally do not teach the science of meteorology in a high school biology class, or include that area of science in biology textbooks.

I didn't say that they did. My point was that the science of meteorology remains valid no matter how the atmosphere may have gotten here in the first place, just as evolutionary biology remains valid no matter how living things got here originally. If an abiotic natural origin of life is disproved tomorrow and it is instead proven that space aliens designed the first cells and seeded them here, its impact on the science of evolutionary biology would be pretty much zero. Everything we knew yesterday about evolutionary biology would remain valid tomorrow after the "aliens started it" discovery. Likewise, our understanding of meteorology remains unchanged if we discover tomorrow that the Earth's atmosphere was formed originally by [pick any possibility].

I have examined literally hundreds of "probability" arguments from anti-evolutionists. Not one stands up to even a brief examination. They fail for many different reasons, but the failure inherent in every origin-of-life calculation is that their models (upon which their attempts at math are built) are ludicrously simplistic, and at most calculate the odds of something happening in the *one* simple way the anti-evolutionist has managed to conceive of, instead of examining the myriad ways something could conceivably happen.

And I think you would agree that all of those ways would be highly improbable.

If you mean that I agree that it's improbable that life arose in any of the cartoonishly simplistic ways that the anti-evolutionists envision when they carry out their childishly naive probability calculations, yes, I do agree.

If you mean that you think I would agree that every conceivable abiogenesis scenario is highly improbable, no, I do not agree.

Also, by saying "any specific amino acid sequence", this item makes clear that it's making another common mistake of anti-evolution probability calculations -- the (grossly false) assumption that only ONE specific amino acid sequence would do, and that all other sequences would be a "failure".

See msg 95.

I don't see anything in your msg 95 which contradicts what I've written here.

Under what conditions, pray tell? Yet again, the anti-evolutionists presume to be able to model the totality of every conceivable (and inconceivable) scenario. Good luck with that one!

What conditions do you propose were in existence at this time when you believe these amino acid chains were formed?

I'm not really sure. My point, however, is that the anti-evolutionists make their own presumptions about conditions when they simplistically try to rule out (or calculate wild improbabilities for) abiogenesis. For example, my reply here was to a claim of "the high probability of breakdown by hydrolysis of amino acid chains". Under some conditions amino acid claims are stable, and some they aren't. What conditions is this source presuming? Why are they presuming those particular conditions? Why not conditions known to be more favorable to the stability of amino acid chains?

One thing creationists continually overlook when they're trying to think about these things is that the early Earth, just like the Earth today, had a *vast* number of *different* conditions available in varying locations. It wasn't just a giant uniform homogenous blob. One creationist source (Hugh Ross, IIRC) likes to sarcastically claim that, "In order for all of them [RNA biochemicals] to synthesize at once requires the primordial soup to freeze and boil at the same time". I spent a good amount of time researching the citations given for this claim, and found that the claims in the quote are wildly overstated compared to what the citations actually said. Nonetheless, even if it was true that some biochemicals spontaneously synthesize only near freezing conditions while others spontaneously synthesize only at near boiling temperatures, this still wouldn't be a major hurdle. The snide quote expects readers to think that it's impossible for a "primordial soup" to "freeze and boil at the same time", because those are contradictory conditions. But this makes the fatal assumption I describe above -- assuming that the primordial Earth was homogenous. Of course it wasn't. It would have hot spots *and* cold spots, just as today. They could even be found close to each other, as in the case of a volcano or geothermal vent on the ocean floor under a glacier or polar ice cap. Production of heat-needing biochemicals could take place near the heat source, production of cold-needing biochemicals could take place near the ice, and both kinds of products would diffuse to mix in between, or wash away and be available elsewhere if even more special conditions were necessary for them to further react together.

Again, before an anti-creationist can rule out the probability of something occurring, they're going to have to make a case for why the particular scenario they're modeling is necessarily the right one, and why no other scenarios or combination of scenarios could possibly have existed. Scientists are wise enough to know that they're a long way away from being able to calculate reliable probabilities for what might or might not have been likely in the earliest stages of life on Earth. The creationists, however, are arrogant enough to think that *they* can, to the point of being able to rule out abiogenesis entirely with mathematical certainty. In this they are dead wrong.

I believe that many of you are being turned away by the word weakness. Think of it like a criminal case. You can have a strong case or a weak case depending upon unanswered questions and the interpretation of evidence. The more unanswered questions that you have with a case, then the weaker your case would be.

Yes, but the creationists endlessly harp on the "unanswered questions" (and the "gaps", etc.) while refusing to acknowledge the strengths of the "case" (all the evidence we *do* have in hand, all the questions we *do* have answers for). They're like the sleazy defense lawyer who keeps hammering on the unanswered question of where the missing murder weapon is, in a dishonest attempt to distract the jury's attention from the eyewitness testimony, the physical evidence tying his client to the crime, the death threats his client left on the victim's answering machine, the videotape of his client entering the scene of the crime, and his confession after he was arrested.

In the above scenario, the lawyer is harping on what is at most a side issue to the question of whether his client committed the murder. When there is overwhelming evidence indicating that he *did* commit the murder, why make a lot of noise over an unanswered question about a detail of *how* he did it or attempted to cover his tracks afterwards? Just as a diversion, obviously. "Pay no attention to that other evidence, spend all your time thinking about this unanswered question, to maybe make you have doubts about the case." This is the game that creationists play when they try to focus attention on unanswered questions in science or transitional fossil "gaps", etc. They want people to forget about all the evidence and answers that *have* been acquired, and the picture that they overwhelmingly paint. "Just look away from the data, look at blank spots, maybe you'll forget about the data if we keep harping on the few holes that remain."

"We don't know" is an acceptable statement.

I think we agree. That is what needs to be taught to students in high school biology textbooks. How did life originate on earth? We don’t know, but scientists are examining different possibilities. If they want to examine those possibilities then that is fine. But, examine them with intellectual skeptism.

That *is* pretty much what is taught to students in high school biology textbooks. All the ones I've seen, anyway, and I've see a lot.

But the creationists aren't happy with even that. What they really want taught -- what they've asserted themselves hundreds of times over when discussing these subjects -- is that science doesn't know *anything* with regards to the origins of life. And that's as flat wrong as claiming that it knows everything. One thing that keeps popping up again and again in discussions with creationists on these topics is their belief that if science can't prove something true with the kind of certainty seen in mathematical proofs, then the topic is still totally wide open, science can't lay a claim to any kind of knowledge whatsoever, and therefore anyone's opinion is as valid as anyone else's on the topic. It boils down to a position of, "if you can't absolutely prove you're right, then I'm justified in keeping on believing whatever I want to believe" (never mind that it might be blatantly fly in the face of a mountain of evidence).

But this is a child's epistemology. A personal whim is not as good as a very strong case based on decades of solid evidence and rigorous testing and repeated validation.

The field of abiogenesis is nowhere near as solid as evolutionary biology or a lot of other fields, but it's not just a bunch of wild ideas either. To say in regards to it that "we don't know", as in not knowing anything, would be a gross disservice to students as well.

I think we are in agreement then. If there are unanswered questions then give the students the entire picture. I guess that some think this is not happening. I do not know myself. It has been a long time since I was in a high school biology class. Most science teachers in the area of the country that I am from still do not teach any evolutionary theory, much less abiogenesis.

It's not that "some think this is not happening. Quite honestly, the reason for all the fuss is that too many religiously-motivated people (not all, or even most, certainly, but a large number of very motivated people) are incensed by the fact that it *is* happening. They don't *want* students being presented with "the entire picture" when the entire picture presents students with a picture that these people feel could undermine the students' willingness to consider these people's religious tenets.

Several times in this thread you have expressed skepticism that this is what it's really about -- you want to give the "teach the weaknesses" movement the benefit of the doubt. But ask anyone who has spent many years watching this issue, and they've arrived at the same conclusion that I and many of the folks on this thread have -- it's all about religion. Most of the time they're not even trying to hide their motivations. Read for example transcripts of the school board meetings or state/federal congressional debates where people are attempting to get a "teach the weakenesses" agenda into the schools. Sooner or later they come right out and say, frankly and proudly, that they're trying to get God back in the schools, and undermine those rascally atheist/humanist/materialist eggheads who think they're so darned smart or whatever. Nor do you ever hear them say how solid they think the science of evolutionary biology is, but they sure wish it would be taught more effectively -- instead you'll hear them rant against the "false atheistic religion of Darwinism", etc.

It's not about their deep and abiding desire for a first-rate science education.

It's about trying to get equal time for their God in the public schools, or at the very least sabotaging the teaching of the kinds of science that they feel clashes with their religion. Look at the particulars of any specific "teach the weakenesses/controvery" attempt, and you'll see what I mean. In the Dover/Kitzmiller case, for example, the schoolboard members publicly swore they were just trying to "balance" the teaching of evolution for educational reasons, but they sang a different tune when they were appealing in their local churches for monetary donations to buy anti-evolution textbooks to hand out in order to bring God back into the Dover classrooms...

It seems to me that there is a lot of dispute in the scientific world as to actually what the atmosphere consisted of at the time that life was proposed to have originated. This opinion seems to have changed significantly in the past, and is continuing to change.

As to exactly its composition, and to exactly how/when it changed over time, sure. There's a lot less dispute over the early lack of significant amounts of oxygen, until plants began to produce it in abundance.

We know that there was significant oxygen on the earth at that time bound up in the water and the rocks.

Of course. But that's not in the atmosphere.

There is also significant speculation that the atmosphere was actually oxidizing rather than reducing.

There's always speculation, on almost everything. That doesn't amount to serious dispute.
Could you provide a few examples?

There seems to be a lot of resistance to teaching this as an unknown.

Because it's not an unknown. We know quite a lot about it. Again, it's as much a mistake to falsely say "we don't know [anything]" as it is to say "we do know [everything]".

But since early life began in anaerobic conditions, this is no problem at all, much less one that requires! an! exclamation! point!

Is that an unanswered question or a scientific fact?

Neither. Again with the false dichotomy? There is a vast range of knowledge between "unanswered" and "known fact". The creationists are wrong in their popular notion that "if you can't be 100% certain, then you don't know nothin'!"

I have given you the answer that is supported by a very large amount of multiple reliable independent lines of evidence, and possibly contradicted by a few tentative observations that could be argued either way. That's neither "unanswered" nor "fact", but it's somewhere in the realm of having a confidence rating of 98+%. It'll do unless/until something better comes along.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Wumpini, posted 06-12-2008 8:22 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2978 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 154 of 177 (471115)
06-14-2008 4:02 PM
Reply to: Message 149 by Wumpini
06-13-2008 5:59 PM


great post
Great post and graphics......gonna take some time to read again and think on it. The data doesn't match gradualism in the fossil record, nor modified gradualism, PE.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Wumpini, posted 06-13-2008 5:59 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 155 by Adminnemooseus, posted 06-14-2008 5:51 PM randman has responded

Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 155 of 177 (471131)
06-14-2008 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 154 by randman
06-14-2008 4:02 PM


Re: great post
Great post and graphics...

I also thought the message was quite good, but I also thought others were capable of submitting a Post of the Month nomination.

How about you doing it?

Adminnemooseus


This message is a reply to:
 Message 154 by randman, posted 06-14-2008 4:02 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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BeagleBob
Member (Idle past 3756 days)
Posts: 81
Joined: 11-21-2007


Message 156 of 177 (471140)
06-15-2008 4:34 AM
Reply to: Message 149 by Wumpini
06-13-2008 5:59 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
Wumpini:

Hmmm. I do wish I could've seen the original source you're citing. Your message is a bit long, so I'm going to focus on the general, central points you seem to be making from the data you're presenting.
.
.
"We should include more about the Cambrian Explosion in our textbooks. Kids NEED to learn about this event and we shouldn't gloss over it."

I agree absolutely. Without a doubt, I think it's fair to say that the Cambrian Explosion is a landmark event in the history of the earth and it's appalling that so many textbooks give it short shrift. There needs to be more focus on this event and the reasons behind what occured, as I detail in the next section.
.
.
"Evolution is hard-pressed to explain the Cambrian Explosion. It is far too rapid/huge an event for natural selection to account for."

There are a couple of things people usually don't take into account when they talk about the Cambrian Explosion. The first is ecological in nature, the second is biological, the third paleontological. But before I get to that, I have to say that it's very important to remember that depending on the conditions, evolution can occur at very very different rates. Sometimes it can be fast, sometimes it can be slow, and this depends the ecology and the nature of environmental stress.

Ecological Factor: Now, I was a child of the '90s and it was a real boistrous, amazing time for technology. The internet had just been getting off the ground and this new medium had opened up for people to expand and explore businesswise.

If you lived during this time, you might remember EVERYONE was trying to create an internet business. There were businesses online that would ship groceries, businesses that would ship pet products. There were businesses for pastry enthusiasts, gardeners, just about everything. People were wildly optimistic about the Dot Com Boom, and for several years it was a period of HUGE economic growth. However, because we didn't know about the realistic limitations of the new technology, we didn't know which business models would best survive and which ones wouldn't. This resulted in the dot com crash in 2001-2003, where a large amount of businesses failed horribly. Here's a graph of the Nasdaq ratings:

We see this happening all the time. Once a new industrial model opens up people go buck wild, invest a great deal into hundreds of branches in that model, and eventually the economy collapses when the businesses that are poorly fit for the industry go bankrupt. Another example would be Holland and the tulip debacle... a favorite of mine ever since I read about it as a kid.

This is the exact same thing that happened with the Cambrian Explosion. Because life was first starting out on earth there were many ecological niches that were unfilled. Life bloomed very rapidly, branched out at an amazing rate as nature experimented with countless forms, and eventually the animal forms that are most fit out-compete the less-fit ones and a huge extinction event is the result. Perfectly consistent with our observations of the Cambrian Explosion.

Biological Factor: It's also important to remember that most animals in the early Cambrian were soft, squishy critters that aren't very durable. When skeletal structures do develop, there's definitely going to be a massive surve in evolutionary rates. Predators have to evolve harder, stronger teeth to get through armor, and armor has to thicken to protect the animal from harm. This arms race would produce two effects: first, an escalation of evolutionary rates as each species has to out-compete others. The second reason leads us to the third factor:

Paleontological Factor: As I've mentioned, primitive critters (especially early cambrian ones that were often spongey or jelly-like) just don't fossilize well.

The low number of fossils before the Cambrian explosion isn't a sign that there were no animals back then and that all these forms appeared ex nihilo as Creationists seem to think. Instead, this was just a period when reliable fossilization had only just started, in a time when evolutionary rates were very high due to vast environmental opportunity and novel biological competition. This leads us to the third point in your post:
.
.
"The fossil record does not fit the traditional model of phyletic gradualism, or the model of punctuated equilibrium."

Well of course the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion doesn't fit evolutionary models. That's because the fossil record had only become relatively reliable when animals first developed hard structures that can fossilize easily at this time.

This criticism is like saying "These computer records that date back from the 1970s are an incomplete record of the company." Well of course they are... computers had only come into wider use in the 80s, and of course the records are going to be spotty back then.

The fossil record isn't the be-all and end-all of life on earth... if there are holes in the evidence it's the fault of how nature works, not the fault of the theory or of the science of evolution.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Wumpini, posted 06-13-2008 5:59 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3708
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 157 of 177 (471142)
06-15-2008 4:53 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by BeagleBob
06-15-2008 4:34 AM


Links added by edit back in message 149
I do wish I could've seen the original source you're citing.

He added by edit some links back in message 149.

Links now there included:

Biology's 'Big Bang' Took A Mere Blink of the Eye

Contrasting the Origin of Species With the Origin of Phyla

More detailed discussion can be reached via here. It's set up that you can't link directly to specific pages without going through this link (apparently it's some sort of JAVA thing).

There may also be more links of interest back at 149.

Moose

Edited by Minnemooseus, : Added "JAVA thing" comment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by BeagleBob, posted 06-15-2008 4:34 AM BeagleBob has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 158 of 177 (471162)
06-15-2008 7:13 AM
Reply to: Message 145 by Wumpini
06-13-2008 10:15 AM


Re: Should we move on to the fossil record?
You and others on this website are helping the case for these “weaknesses” people by proclaiming that science has answers where they do not ...

... I think that we are in agreement that the field of abiogenesis is an area of science where there are many unanswered questions.

Make up your mind.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 145 by Wumpini, posted 06-13-2008 10:15 AM Wumpini has not yet responded

Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 159 of 177 (471165)
06-15-2008 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 149 by Wumpini
06-13-2008 5:59 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
Phyla is a grouping of animals based on a general body plan. Once again the statement made by the “weaknesses” people is correct. During this period, basically all of the different body structures that are in existence today quickly came into the fossil record.

Utterly wrong.

The Cambrian, for example, contains no fish, no amphibians, no reptiles, no mammals, no birds ... are those not "different body structures that are in existence today"?

However, the phylum Chordata is represented by, for example, Pikia gracilens. Which looked something like this:

The fact of the matter is that the fossil record does not support either the theory of “phyletic gradualism” or the theory of “punctuated equilibrium” during the period of the Cambrian explosion.

But my dear Wumpini, it is consistent with both. They both show the deepest taxonomic divisions occurring in the earliest times, and since the record for those times is so sparse, it could scarcely distinguish between them.

An estimated 50 to 100 phyla appear explosively at the base of the Cambrian. Fossil evidence suggesting their common ancestry is not found in Precambrian rocks.

Your information is sixty years out of date and counting.

It is not difficult to find out about Precambrian fauna, I suggest that you do so.

---

You are familiar with neither the terms you are using, nor with the subject matter under discussion. I am not surprised that creationists find it easy to bamboozle you with this stuff. But this is no reason why science teachers, who should know better, should be required to bamboozle children.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 149 by Wumpini, posted 06-13-2008 5:59 PM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by Wumpini, posted 06-15-2008 7:57 PM Dr Adequate has responded

randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2978 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 160 of 177 (471182)
06-15-2008 11:39 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Adminnemooseus
06-14-2008 5:51 PM


Re: great post
Good idea....I'll need to relearn how to link a message but will look into it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Adminnemooseus, posted 06-14-2008 5:51 PM Adminnemooseus has not yet responded

Wumpini
Member (Idle past 3843 days)
Posts: 229
From: Ghana West Africa
Joined: 04-23-2008


Message 161 of 177 (471257)
06-15-2008 6:57 PM
Reply to: Message 156 by BeagleBob
06-15-2008 4:34 AM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
BeagleBob msg 151 writes:

Can you please provide the source you're citing here? I'd like to look it over.

I tried to go back and add any missing links. Please let me know if there is another source that you need.

Hmmm. I do wish I could've seen the original source you're citing.

I wonder if the source you are looking for is the original quote that is being discussed.

quote:
The Cambrian explosion quickly produced all of the basically different body structures, and some of these have since become extinct. This is very different from the evolutionary tree of life, which suggests a slow and gradual increase in body structures.

Since the link was originally posted in message 78 and this quote is the basis for the current discussion, I did not repeat the link in message 149.

Here is a link to the message and to the quote.

Message 78

http://strengthsandweaknesses.org/Weaknesses/essential_weaknesses.htm

BeagleBob writes:

I agree absolutely. Without a doubt, I think it's fair to say that the Cambrian Explosion is a landmark event in the history of the earth and it's appalling that so many textbooks give it short shrift. There needs to be more focus on this event and the reasons behind what occured, as I detail in the next section.


I agree completely! That is the purpose of this entire discussion. We want to insure that biology textbooks accurately teach what the fossil record reveals.

Below, I deal briefly with the numerous theories that you have supplied to attempt to explain why the fossil record for the Cambrian explosion does not fit into the traditional “theory of evolution.”

Wumpini writes:

The fossil record does not fit the traditional model of phyletic gradualism, or the model of punctuated equilibrium."

Well of course the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion doesn't fit evolutionary models.

This is exactly what the "strengths and weaknesses" folks are trying to say.

The fossil record of the Cambrian explosion is very different from the traditional evolutionary “tree of life.”

That's because the fossil record had only become relatively reliable when animals first developed hard structures that can fossilize easily at this time.

If you look at the diagrams that I have supplied in Message 149, you will see that is exactly what they show. The evidence is not reliable until after the Cambrian explosion. However, that also means that the evidence is not available to support the various theories that you have presented to explain this explosion. I have come to understand that theories explain the facts or the evidence. Theories are not intended to supply the evidence when that evidence does not exist, or is not reliable.

The fossil record isn't the be-all and end-all of life on earth... if there are holes in the evidence it's the fault of how nature works, not the fault of the theory or of the science of evolution.

I completely agree. There are definitely holes in the fossil record.

As you have stated above, “the fossil record of the Cambrian explosion does not fit evolutionary models.” The models of "phyletic gradualism" and "punctuated equilibrium" do not adequately explain the fossil record.

That is the point that the “strengths and weaknesses” people are attempting to make in the quote above. I wish all scientists could see this as clearly as you do.

Edited by Wumpini, : missing word


"There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be." - Charles Sanders Pierce
This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by BeagleBob, posted 06-15-2008 4:34 AM BeagleBob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by BeagleBob, posted 06-15-2008 7:19 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

  
BeagleBob
Member (Idle past 3756 days)
Posts: 81
Joined: 11-21-2007


Message 162 of 177 (471262)
06-15-2008 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 161 by Wumpini
06-15-2008 6:57 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
Wumpini,

Sorry I didn't see those links earlier. I had typed up the message during that huge length of time the forums were down and posted it before seeing if you'd corrected the post.

There are two things that need to be distinguished here: the evidence and the theory.

Without a doubt there are holes in the evidence. If every living creature had become fossilized postmortem and they became deposited with a bunch of substrates that can be used for reliable radiometric dating, we wouldn't be having this discussion. But then again, I might as well wish for flying cars, moon bases, and a 2-year extension to my research contract while I'm at it along with a hot undergraduate assistant (don't worry, I'm 24 it's totally not creepy).

However, there are no holes in the theory of evolution itself. The theory is wonderfully and amazingly complete after nearly 150 years, and it can certainly explain our observations of the Cambrian Explosion. You just need to pull together ecological knowledge and biological data from other fields to supplement those holes in the evidence and come back with a complete picture. Science is a mosaic structure. Heck, this is why evolution is categorized under the Integrative Biology department back in Berkeley.

I believe that the Cambrian Explosion should be taught in a comprehensive manner that gives students an understanding of the bigger picture of science, and that requires a lesson on how other evidence is used to supplement the fossil record. A lesson on just the "weaknesses" and "holes" would serve our students poorly... it'd be like teaching an aspiring cook that it's impossible to bake cookies without butter when you have a perfectly good stick of margarine on the counter.

Edited by BeagleBob, : Bolded some words.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by Wumpini, posted 06-15-2008 6:57 PM Wumpini has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 163 by randman, posted 06-15-2008 7:22 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2978 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 163 of 177 (471263)
06-15-2008 7:22 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by BeagleBob
06-15-2008 7:19 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
If every living creature had become fossilized postmortem and they became deposited with a bunch of substrates that can be used for reliable radiometric dating, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Why do you say that?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by BeagleBob, posted 06-15-2008 7:19 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded

BeagleBob
Member (Idle past 3756 days)
Posts: 81
Joined: 11-21-2007


Message 164 of 177 (471264)
06-15-2008 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by BeagleBob
06-15-2008 7:19 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
Wumpini,

I'm personally a big fan of detective shows, like Monk and Law & Order SVU. While admittedly it's more a love of raunchy plotlines the investigative part is also really nifty.

When investigating anything, be it science or forensics, there is rarely a single clear line of evidence that points to a conclusion (or suspect). You have to use multiple bits of smaller pieces of evidence to tie together an explanation of what occurred. With enough evidence, even if each individual element is incomplete, the resulting quilt is a pretty clear picture of what happened.

I should add that this is why I feel that the approach of Wells, Dembski, and others who want to "teach the controversy" is rather disingenuous. Just because there are some holes in one particular line of evidence doesn't mean that they can't be patched with lines of evidence from other sources. This is how science as a whole is done, and picking on evolution specifically is more a sign of an agenda than one of honest inquiry.

EDIT:

quote:
quote:
If every living creature had become fossilized postmortem and they became deposited with a bunch of substrates that can be used for reliable radiometric dating, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Why do you say that?


I'd think it's pretty obvious that if the fossil record was entirely complete with plenty of substrates for radiometric dating, people wouldn't be speculating about the supposed "weaknesses" of evolution in the first place

Edited by BeagleBob, : Responding to randman


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by BeagleBob, posted 06-15-2008 7:19 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 165 by Coyote, posted 06-15-2008 7:39 PM BeagleBob has not yet responded

Coyote
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 165 of 177 (471265)
06-15-2008 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 164 by BeagleBob
06-15-2008 7:29 PM


Re: The Cambrian Explosion
I should add that this is why I feel that the approach of Wells, Dembski, and others who want to "teach the controversy" is rather disingenuous. Just because there are some holes in one particular line of evidence doesn't mean that they can't be patched with lines of evidence from other sources. This is how science as a whole is done, and picking on evolution specifically is more a sign of an agenda than one of honest inquiry.

"This is how science as a whole is done..." That would be the case if the goal of various of these individuals was to do science. I believe that this is not the case.

Because they are TRVE BELIEVERS they know the TRVTH without having to rely on science. All they have to do is figure out how to disable or dismantle science sufficiently so that they can convince others as well. The results of science disagree with their beliefs, so science must be wrong somewhere there anyway, eh? Don't have to study and figure out where, the results are wrong and that's all there is to it!

That is where the "teach the controversy" and "it's just a theory" and the new "strengths and weaknesses" come from -- not a sincere effort to teach science but a dishonest effort to destroy those parts of science that disagree with particular religious beliefs.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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