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Author Topic:   Transitional fossils and quote mining
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 7 of 210 (523910)
09-13-2009 9:17 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Arphy
09-13-2009 7:14 AM

Hello again Arphy,

The reason why I used that quote was because evolutionists like to use the authority game. I personally don't much like throwing round quotes from expert scientists simply for the reason that they are expert scientists (it doesn't mean they are right).

If you regard the "authority game" as dishonest or irrelevant, then you shouldn't engage in it yourself. Nonetheless, you have been happy to cite lists of creationist scientists yourself.

However, as a creationist my arguments are often waved away with a "you're not an expert on that, therefore you don't have a clue as to what you're talking about".

It's not so much that. It's more that you seem to be happy to hand wave away the opinions of genuine experts who do know what they are talking about.

Therefore, we do use quotes by evolutionists who disagree with other evolutionists just to show that we are not alone on a particular issue such as Archaeopteryx and to turn an argument often used by evolutionists back at them.

The problem is that you are alone though, or at least, Feduccia is not one of your allies. Let me illustrate what I mean.

As I said in my post about Feduccia, the opinion that Archaeopteryx is a bird was also the consensus opinion at the International Archaeopteryx Conference. So I don't think that it is a minority view.

"Arcaeopteryx is a bird" seems like a reasonable statement to me. I doubt that many scientists would completely disagree with it. However the statement "archaeopteryx is a dinosaur" is equally correct.

The problem arises when this kind of statement is brought up by creationists who are trying to imply that "archaeopteryx is just a bird". Now that is something that almost no scientist would agree with and Feduccia certainly does not agree with it.

Trying to use Feduccia's comments to imply that he does not regard archaeopteryx as a transitional fossil is what most of us on the evolution side of the debate regard as dishonest. Unfortunately, using comments like these out of context, to give a misleading impression that a particular scientist sympathises with creationist views (when in fact they do not) is an all too common creationist tactic.

(I would like to note that I do not believe that the majority of creationists using these quotes are being deliberately dishonest. I think that once a quote has been cherry-picked, it subsequently gets picked up on by many other creationists, who are unaware of the original context or the quoted person's real opinions. They are using the quote in good faith.)

Just to be clear, let's look at another example of a quote mine.

Kent Hovind writes:

Even Charles Darwin said in his book right here on page 217, Charlie said, “To suppose that the eye could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd.” Charlie very much was confused about the human eyeball because it is so complex. He said, “How could this thing have evolved by chance?” Good question Charlie! How can blind chance make a seeing eye? Explain that to me please!

Darwin did indeed say that, but let's take a look at the original context;

Charles Darwin writes:

To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.

I don't think that quote means what Hovind wants you to think it means.

It is this kind of misleading use of quotes that people are concerned about. Sadly, I think your use of Feduccia is an example of this.

‘Conferees did agree unanimously to the declaration that organic evolution is a fundamental process of biology and we recognize the importance of the Archaeopteryx contribution to that problem.’ So you can see they were acutely aware that their deliberations might lead some to wonder whether, in fact, Archaeopteryx had anything to say about evolution, so they all did sign this.

Or perhaps they too were aware of the quote mining habits of certain creationists and didn't want their comments to be taken out of context and abused.

If, of course, it’s a true bird, it is not the half-way, half-reptile, half-bird like we've often heard.

Interestingly, not a single scientist at the conference said this, including Feduccia. You even have a quote from Feduccia making it clear that he considers archaeopteryx to combine bird and reptile features. you are taking these comments and running with them in a direction they were never intended for.

Even so, why should this mean that birds evolved from dinosaurs? You first assume evolution and then see if you can make it fit.

Huh? Nobody made this fit. The Origin was published in 1859. A. lithographica was discovered in 1861. Nobody had to force archaeopteryx to fit the theory. It was simply discovered and it fitted with the general theory of evolution. On that basis, when a fossil was discovered that combined bird and dinosaur elements so clearly, what else were they supposed to think? Moreover, when we now have a wide range of dinosaur/bird fossils, all with combinations of bird-like and dino-like traits, all arranged in a neat chronological progression and with no fossils that falsify this progression, what are we supposed to think?

Sure just because archaeopteryx may not be a transitional fossil it doesn't logically follow that therefore we should throw out evolution. However, if this sort of thing continues to happen with transitional fossils (which it has) then yes i think it is time that evolution went under review.

But you have not demonstrated that archaeopteryx's status as a transitional fossil is at risk. Nor have you demonstrated that any other transitional is at risk of losing its status. There's a reason for this; you are wrong.

I do think that at first glance evolution does sound at least somewhat logical (animals change over generations, therefore this changes could grow quite large), however to say that therefore all animals orginated from a single celled organism is a very large imaginative jump.

Well good, because it is in fact not necessary to believe in a single origin of life to accept the general principles of evolution. The evidence is very much behind a single origin, but if you want to believe that some groups of organisms were created separately,
there is nothing in that belief that would stop them from being subject to random mutation and natural selection.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Arphy, posted 09-13-2009 7:14 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Arphy, posted 09-14-2009 6:41 AM Granny Magda has responded
 Message 16 by greyseal, posted 09-14-2009 3:22 PM Granny Magda has acknowledged this reply

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 12 of 210 (524132)
09-14-2009 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Arphy
09-14-2009 6:41 AM

Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
just because you happen to be an expert it means that you have more knowledge of the field that you are studying not necessarily that you are correct in what you espouse.

Do you not think that the wider store of knowledge increases the possibility of an expert being right? Do you think that experts have more or less chance of being correct about their own field of study than laymen? Do you think that expertise has absolutely no value in forming conclusions? If you were ill, would you get the opinion of a trained doctor? Or a florist or plumber? And if 99 doctors all told you the same thing, but one plumber told you something else, would you be tempted to believe the plumber?

Yes, opinions I am quite happy to wave away if i feel that these are not adequate,

If a weather forecaster told you that it was probably going to rain tomorrow, would you demand evidence? Or would you simply assume that he probably knew what he was talking about? Do you demand evidence for everything you are told? Or only the things which contradict the Bible?

but evidence (the actual observations made by scientists) I don't wave away.

That's nice to know. Let me know if you're planning to bring any evidence up.

That's right he is an evolutionist. But this doesn't mean we have to disagree about everything.

Arphy, you haven't demonstrated that he agrees with you about anything except that archaeopteryx was a bird. This is non-controversial. This is trivially true. It is a bird. It is also a dinosaur. Birds are a clade of dinosaurs.

What you have not demonstrated is that Feduccia believes archaeopteryx to be anything other than an important transitional fossil. His opinions are of no aid to creationist arguments unless taken out of context.

hmmm...note that at the Archy conference only a very small minority voted for Archy being a small, lightly built coelurosaurian dinosaur.

Perhaps this is because it is also a bird. Did any of them say that archaeopteryx is not a transitional form? Because then you might have something...

Yes it may have reptile features however this doesn't prove evolution. It just means that it is an unusual bird. A platypus has features from mammals, reptiles, and birds!

No it doesn't. The platypus contains no derived features of avians. I presume you are referring to the "bill"? The snout of a platypus is only superficially similar to a bird's beak. It is a sensory organ. It is not homologous to a bird's beak. The two are very different.

Now, a little more of the expertise you are so eager to shun would have prevented you from saying something so silly.

For the record, if the discovery of a fossil, from exactly the right time period, which combines bird and dinosaur features isn't evidence for evolution, what is it evidence for exactly?

As your example of quote mining you had to use Kent Hovind.

I didn't have to use Hovind. The quote mine is extremely common. There are examples of it here, here, here and here. I just mention Hovind since, as a convicted fraudster, his dishonesty is less ambiguous.

I don't really know too much about him and don't think I've read any of his articles. It seems from a quick search, that Kent doesn't necessarily have the same views on a number of topics as groups like CMI or ICR.

You mean this CMI?

Tom wagner, at Creation.com writes:

Charles Darwin himself realized that it seemed incredible that evolutionary processes had to explain human vision. He said:

‘To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.’

Yet, later on in the same chapter of his book, he explained how he believed it evolved anyway and that the ‘absurdity’ was illusory. Had Darwin had the knowledge about the eye and its associated systems that man has today (which is a great deal more than what it was in his time), he may have given up his naturalistic theory on the origin of living things.

Now he does acknowledge that Darwin still believed the eye evolved, but presenting the clipped quote in this context is clearly designed to send a single message; Darwin said eye evolution was absurd. Darwin did not explain his belief that the eye did indeed evolve "later on in the same chapter of his book", he explained immediately, in the very next line! This subtle difference is a clear attempt to disguise the rhetorical nature of the initial quote.(The same text can be found at AiG)

You also mention ICR. Did you mean this ICR Arphy?

Gary parker, at icr.org writes:

No wonder Darwin wrote: "To suppose that the eye, … could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

There is absolutely no attempt to place this into context. (Source)

The clear implication of all these quote mines is that Darwin thought that the evolution of the eye was absurd. He didn't.

This kind of behaviour is dishonest. It is a form of lying. It is, in fact, the bearing of false witness.

Probably the most used evolutionist quotes against transitional fossils are from Colin Patterson...


Lionel Theunissen writes:

Patterson goes on to acknowledge that there are gaps in the fossil record, but points out that this is possibly due to the limitations of what fossils can tell us. He finishes the paragraph with:

". . .Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else."

It is actually this statement which is the key to interpreting the Sunderland quote correctly; it is not possible to say for certain whether a fossil is in the direct ancestral line of a species group. Archaeopteryx, for example, is not necessarily directly ancestral to birds. It may have been a species on a side-branch. However, that in no way disqualifies it as a transitional form, or as evidence for evolution. Evolution predicts that such fossils will exist, and if there was no link between reptiles and birds then Archaeopteryx would not exist, whether it is directly ancestral or not. What Patterson was saying to Sunderland was that, of the transitional forms that are known, he could not make a watertight argument for any being directly ancestral to living species groups.

Colin Patterson writes:

Dear Mr Theunissen,

Sorry to have taken so long to answer your letter of July 9th. I was away for a while, and then infernally busy. I seem fated continually to make a fool of myself with creationists. The specific quote you mention, from a letter to Sunderland dated 10th April 1979, is accurate as far as it goes. The passage quoted continues "... a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test."

I think the continuation of the passage shows clearly that your interpretation (at the end of your letter) is correct, and the creationists' is false.

That brush with Sunderland (I had never heard of him before) was my first experience of creationists. The famous "keynote address" at the American Museum of Natural History in 1981 was nothing of the sort. It was a talk to the "Systematics Discussion Group" in the Museum, an (extremely) informal group. I had been asked to talk to them on "Evolutionism and creationism"; fired up by a paper by Ernst Mayr published in Science just the week before. I gave a fairly rumbustious talk, arguing that the theory of evolution had done more harm than good to biological systematics (classification). Unknown to me, there was a creationist in the audience with a hidden tape recorder. So much the worse for me. But my talk was addressed to professional systematists, and concerned systematics, nothing else.

I hope that by now I have learned to be more circumspect in dealing with creationists, cryptic or overt. But I still maintain that scepticism is the scientist's duty, however much the stance may expose us to ridicule.

Yours Sincerely,

Colin Patterson


So basically, your link is an attempt to explain that when Colin Patterson says that the creationists are wrong, he means that he's saying they are right. How dishonest can you get?

Hmm... really? So you are giving me the option of believeing that some organisms were created in what you believe to be a progression that has no need for a divine creation to intervene. Thanks, how accommodating.

It's nothing to do with me. There is nothing about the ToE that demands common ancestry for all life on Earth. That is simply a strawman.

as you hopeful know by now, at least from this forum, creationists fully accept mutations and natural selection.

Not all creationists.

However that these mechanisms can cause an increase in information (from simple to complex life forms) is the real issue.

Well, if that's the real issue, you'd better get over to this thread (Evolving New Information) and start making your case.

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Arphy, posted 09-14-2009 6:41 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by greyseal, posted 09-14-2009 3:40 PM Granny Magda has responded
 Message 33 by Arphy, posted 09-16-2009 7:32 AM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 19 of 210 (524149)
09-14-2009 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by greyseal
09-14-2009 3:40 PM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Hi greyseal and thanks for the kind words.

If I may digress for a moment as well, you'll probably enjoy this;

Click to enlarge

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by greyseal, posted 09-14-2009 3:40 PM greyseal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by greyseal, posted 09-14-2009 4:08 PM Granny Magda has acknowledged this reply

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 35 of 210 (524376)
09-16-2009 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Arphy
09-16-2009 7:32 AM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Hi Arphy. I see you chose to ignore most of my direct questions to you.

A doctor has tested evidence that his methods of helping solve an illness will work. That's why i would believe the doctor.

How do you know? Do you demand to see that evidence every time you are ill? Or do you just accept that the doctor's expertise is sufficient?

When a biologist tells me that natural selection works and then shows me a study where it shows that this mechanism is occuring, I will believe the biologist.

There are countless studies showing natural selection in action. Here is a page on one teams work on natural selection in Galapagos finches.

There is plenty of this kind of evidence, yet you still won't believe it. You seem to feel that you are qualified enough to dismiss it without even having examined it.

However when that biologists makes up imaginative stories about how this process can over millions of years completly change the descendents of the creature studied into something that no longer even remotely looks like the original creature. say somethng that disagrees with my narrow interpretation of the Bible. Then no there is no need for me to accept his speculations.

Fixed that for you.

Half the time they are wrong, at least the ones on NZ TV, but anyway. This is because they make speculations. Sure they have kept records (human records) and can see via satellite the movement of clouds (information from the present) and can also measure atmospheric pressure (information from the present)and know of various mechanisms that scientists have studied in the present. This allows them to make an informed speculation. However according to evolutionists there are no eye witnesses to most of earth history who can verify our speculations of the past. Therefore they remain speculations.

So you believe the forecasters (to whatever extent) because they show sucuess in making predictions? that's good, because the ToE is superb at making predictions.

Perhaps the best example is the discovery of Tiktaalik, the famous transitional fish/tetrapod. Scientists knew what they were looking for. They knew roughly when the ToE said that it should have lived. They knew what environment the ToE said it should have lived in. They knew what rocks, of what age and what origin where the most likely candidates. So they went to those rocks, in Greenland, and looked.

They found exactly what the ToE predicted; an animal with both fish and tetrapod traits. Its anatomy matched their predictions. The predictive power of the ToE was confirmed yet again.

That is just one example of the evidence that you deny exists. There are many more.

Before I move on, I would just like to try again to get you to answer a few direct questions.

Do you not think that the wider store of knowledge increases the possibility of an expert being right? Yes or no?

Do you think that experts have more or less chance of being correct about their own field of study than laymen? More or less?

Do you think that expertise has absolutely no value in forming conclusions? Yes or no?

Then why did he say the things he did? He knew that creationists would pounce on them

a) You misunderstod what he said; I have already demonstrated this. The contradiction exists only in your head.
b) Perhaps he felt as though he should be able to speak his mind at a professional conference without dishonest slimeballs hijacking his words.
c) What you are saying here is equivalent to "Hey, why do these shopkeepers leave stuff lying around on shelves anyway? Don't they know I'm just going to steal it?" Dishonest quote mining is not justified by the victim's failure to protect himself from it.

His two quotes just don't make sense when put next to each other. first he says "Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it's not. It is a bird, a perching bird." and then he says "Archaeopteryx is half reptile and half bird any way you cut the deck". What the...??

There is no contradiction. Birds are a subset of reptiles. If it's contradictions you're looking for, I recommend the Bible.

Note that however much you think there is a contradiction, Feduccia makes clear that he thinks your view is ridiculous. That makes any attempt on your part to use his views as ammunition inherently dishonest. He doesn't agree with you Arphy. How many times do you have to be told this before you stop trying to use him as an authority to back up your views?

To cap it all off, he says "These creationists are confusing an argument about minor details of evolution with the indisputable fact of evolution: Animals and plants have been changing." Great, so evolution from goo-to-you-via-the-zoo is proven because "animals and plants have been changing". This is just a ridiculous defense.

It's also not what he said... "Plants and animals are changing" is a conclusion, delivered in sound-bite form. It is not the evidence for the conclusion, nor was Feduccia claiming it was evidence, nor would anyone. You are now deliberately taking his words out of context yourself, instead of simply repeating what you were told on creation.com. You have moved from repeating lies to making up new ones. Classy.

Bird-like features

Arphy, please, stop humiliating yourself, it's just too painful to watch.

There are no derived traits of birds present in platypuses. There are basal traits, shared by marsupials, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Birds may also display these basal traits, since they are also descended from reptiles, amphibians and fish.

What you will not find is a derived bird trait in a platypus. You understand what that means right?

vitellogenin egg-yolk protein (also found in fish)

It's also found in fish. How does that make it bird-like? It sounds more fish-like to me, which is what we'd expect, since fish are distantly anscestral to marsupials.

two ZPAX genes (also found in amphibians and fish)

Amphibians and fish are both ancestral to birds and marsupials. These are basal traits.

X chromosome similar to avian sex chromosome Z, but another chromosome is similar to the mouse X, and still another is similar to the human X

Hey, you were the one who was so keen on evidence; how about you provide some? Do you have a source for this? Is it creation.com?

some bird-like microRNAs

Back that up please. How about you show me a credible source demonstrating that platypuses have derived avian traits...

You have demonstrated here that you don't understand what you're talking about. The shared traits you describe are basal features. They are evidence in favour of common ancestry and evolution, not evidence against. That fact that you are unable to tell the difference underlines just how poorly placed you are to criticise the experts you overrule out of hand. It is all very well to insist that you have evidence, but it won't do you any good if you don't understand the evidence.

The point was to show that while it seems very incredibly Darwin still thought that naturalistic processes could still explain it. in other words, he had a belief that he would stick with dispite the initial absurdity this belief brings.

Arphy, that is not a flaw. That is a positive quality, namely, the determination to look beyond superficiality. Superficial appearances are not reality. Superficially, the sun looks as though it is going round the Earth, but it's not. Let's just compare the messages of the two sources;

Darwin - "Superficially, evolution looks absurd, but it's not."

CMI - "Superficially, evolution looks ridiculous and it is!"

These two views are diametrically opposed. There is no way of parsing Darwin's statement into anything other than a rebuttal of the CMI position. CMI are still quite happy to use it though. I guess dishonesty and superficiality are fine with them.

Please take the use of the quote in context! The author was saying that the eye is incredible, which even darwin agreed with.

That's bloody rich, considering that there is no attempt in the ICR article to place the quote into its proper context. They could very easily have included the full quote, but they chose to clip it, leaving a distorted version.

Also, Darwin did not believe that the eye was incredible! You are falling hook. line and sinker for this lie, when the evidence against it is right in front of your eyes! It's like losing at three-card-monte with the cards face up!

Charles Darwin writes:

the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.

Okay? Do you get that? He didn't think the difficulties were real. He didn't think that the evolution of the eye was in any way incredible. Please stop lying about it. The truth is right in front of your eyes in black and white (well, blue and white...). You are fooling no-one except yourself.

You do the same with Patterson. Let me remind you what he said;

Colin Patterson writes:

the creationists' {interpretation} is false

How much more simple do I need to make this for you? He said your guys got it wrong. They misunderstood. None of what they are saying represents Patterson's true opinion, so their appeal to his authority, fallacious from the start, is false. He disagrees with you Arphy. How exactly do you manage to transform this, in your mind, from "the creationists are wrong" into "the creationists are right"?

So what, when we find out that evolutionists see faults in the evolution as well, we should pretend that we haven't heard, and not use this to support our position on the weakness of evolution as an explanatory philosophy? Tough luck. we will use the ammo created by evolutionists against them, and I think this is legitimate.

No, when you discover that you were so wrong about the interpretation of a comment (which you do not have the expertise to understand in the first place) that the author needs to specifically go on record to state that you are wrong, you should admit that you are wrong, rather than insist that you know what he meant to say better than he did himself.

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Arphy, posted 09-16-2009 7:32 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by Arphy, posted 09-17-2009 6:11 AM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 58 of 210 (524578)
09-17-2009 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Arphy
09-17-2009 6:11 AM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Talk about quote mining! Throughout the replies to my post my words were taken out of context!!!!!

I'm sorry if you think your comments have taken out of context, but I really can't see it. I slightly misunderstood one of your statements, which I'll deal with below. I must insist though, that I did not quote mine. If you think I did, please cite the example.

Because hopefully he has a nice certificate on the wall and I trust that no hospital/medical clinic would just hire someone off the street.

Funnily enough, biologists have nice certificates too and biology departments tend not* to hire off the street.

(*Edited to correct error.)

I trust the doctors expertise because there are many eye-witnesses to his capabilities of healing people using medicine.

Eye witnesses? that's your idea of evidence? Eye witness reports are notoriously unreliable. I can cite any number of eye witnesses to support complete rubbish such as homoeopathy.

These capabilities were learnt by the doctor because there is observable and repeatable evidence that these can help heal people.

Just as there is for evolution. How odd that you should reject one (that disagrees with your religious dogmas) and accept another (which does not, or at least does so less obviously).

What the..??? My statement clearly implies that i believe in natural selection, it is a VITAL part in creationist thought.

Okay, fine, you don't reject NS. I misunderstood your meaning, largely because you wrote "When a biologist tells me that natural selection works... ...I will believe the biologist.", as though this were yet too occur. Too be fair, you had previously mentioned that you accept NS. I would like to remind you though that not all creationists do accept NS.

Of course, since you accept NS, random mutation and (I'm assuming) genetic drift, that leaves me puzzled as to what exactly you disagree with, since you seem to accept pretty much all of evolutionary theory.

Back that {Tiktaalik} up please.

My pleasure. The story can be found here, at the homepage of Neil Shubin, who led the expedition.

One note; I said Greenland. That's wrong. I should have said Ellesmere Island, Canada. Otherwise, you'll find that Tiktaalik was discovered pretty much as I said it was; thanks to the predictive power of the theory of evolution.

To your 3 questions:

You answer;

Do you not think that the wider store of knowledge increases the possibility of an expert being right? Yes.

Do you think that experts have more or less chance of being correct about their own field of study than laymen? More.

Do you think that expertise has absolutely no value in forming conclusions? Yes.

Thanks for answering those. I'm confused though. You say that knowledge increases the likelihood of correctness, but you also say that you think expertise has absolutely no value in forming conclusions. Is that really what you meant?

I'm going to hang fire on addressing this until you provide clarification.

Did you (and Caffeine) even read this:

Yes. I read it. What concerns me though is that Feduccia is being misrepresented in such a way as to make it look like he is suggesting that Archaeopteryx is not a transitional fossil, which is incorrect. His ideas about its specific lineage don't seem relevant to me. Whether Feduccia regards Archaeopteryx as being descended from Reptile A or Reptile B doesn't really matter; he regards Archaeopteryx as being a transitional form between birds and reptiles, not as "just a bird", which is the general impression that creationists are trying to create with their quote mining.

"Plants and animals changing": But in essence this is the cornerstone of evolution, isn't it?

It is what we observe, or rather a small part of it. The phrase is just a sound bite though. You said "evolution from goo-to-you-via-the-zoo is proven because "animals and plants have been changing".", which is a statement that Feduccia did not make, nor would I make any such statement. That's just something you made up. Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding, but whatever the cause, it's not an accurate representation of what Feduccia said.

Granny writes:

What you will not find is a derived bird trait in a platypus.

Arphy writes:

Tell me something new. you won't find a derived trait from reptiles either.

Yes you will. Platypuses lay watertight eggs. this is a derived trait of reptiles, passed on to their monotreme descendants, such as the platypus. These traits were derived in the reptilian ancestor, derived with regards to all amniotes, a category which includes the platypus.

Also yes I did get it from an article at creation.com, thank you. Here is original source "Genome consortium, Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution, Nature 453:175-183, 2008."

That is not a link to the original source. This is the original source.


The full text contains comments such as this;

for the unique 5X chromosomes of platypus we reveal considerable sequence alignment similarity to chicken Z and no orthologous gene alignments to human X, implying that the platypus X chromosome evolved directly from a bird-like ancestral reptilian system

They are saying that the chromosomes are similar. They are not saying that they are the same. Similarity is not a problem for the ToE. These are not avian features, they merely show similarities, just as we would expect in two lineages that both evolved from reptiles, which is exactly what it says in the paper. There is no challenge to the ToE here. Perhaps you would like to explain why you think there is...

some bird-like microRNAs

The miRNA shared between chickens and platypus again presents no problem for the ToE. This is miRNA that would have been present in the most recent common ancestor of monotremes and birds, but has since been lost in placental mammals. I don't see the problem. Again, perhaps you would like to spell it out for me.

Here is another quote from the paper;

The egg-laying platypus is a remarkable species with many biological features unique among mammals. Our sequencing of the platypus genome now enables us to compare its sequence characteristics and organization with those of birds and therian mammals in order to address the questions of platypus biology and to date the emergence of mammalian traits. We report here that sequence characteristics of the platypus genome show features of reptiles as well as mammals.

If this paper is supposed to deal a death blow to the ToE, it seems to have slipped past its authors. Who do you think is better able to interpret this paper Arphy? Creation.com? Or the scores of professional biologists who actually wrote it?

So you think that any of these quotes:
{many quotes}
from his lecture will say the complete opposite when heard in full context. Good luck with that.

I have no idea do I? The full context isn't available to me. The creationist contingent has not chosen to make the full audio or transcript available (Gee, I wonder why..). I expect that he was addressing the problem of being unable to absolutely define descent from fossils and the associated problems for systematists, just as he says in his letter to Theunissen.

I do know that he agreed with Theunissen's analysis of his comments, namely that "What Patterson was saying to Sunderland was that, of the transitional forms that are known, he could not make a watertight argument for any being directly ancestral to living species groups." which is a perfectly reasonable statement and no challenge to the ToE.

I do know that in his book entitled "Evolution" (bit of an odd title for someone who doesn't believe in evolution isn't it?) Patterson said "[The] "misprints" shared between species ... are (to me) incontrovertible evidence of common descent."

I do know that Patterson said "I think the continuation of the passage shows clearly that your interpretation (at the end of your letter) is correct, and the creationists' is false.".

What part of "the creationists are wrong" are you having trouble understanding?

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by Arphy, posted 09-17-2009 6:11 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Augray, posted 09-17-2009 6:13 PM Granny Magda has not yet responded
 Message 63 by Arphy, posted 09-18-2009 9:38 PM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 66 of 210 (524821)
09-19-2009 8:10 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Arphy
09-18-2009 9:38 PM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Okay, first you're picking on a typo;

Granny writes:

biology departments tend to hire off the street.

As in a lay person who has no understanding of biology?

I think it's pretty clear that I omitted the word "not" there. It should read "biology departments tend not to hire off the street".

Remember, it was you who said that you believe doctors because of their "nice certificates" and because they were not hired at random. The same is true of biologists, as we both know perfectly well. So why the double standard?

Sure they can be, but a reliable eye witness is far better than "forensic evidence"

Let's not get side tracked. I'm just a little surprised that you cite eye witnesses as proof of the success of medical science, rather than, oh... I don't know... the reams of carefully compiled statistics on the improving health and life expectancy in countries with developed health care. Even when you agree with the science in question, your approach doesn't seem very scientific.

This impression is given by the fact that the definition for evolution used on this forum is very broadand does not include pointing out that evolutionists believe that every living thing shares a commen ancestor.

No, this impression is given by the fact that you have agreed with all the mechanisms of evolution. Let me be clear, if you accept random mutation, natural selection and genetic drift, you have accepted the theory of evolution. The only thing you reject are the theory’s implications, such as common ancestry between humans and apes, which is no more important to the ToE than common ancestry between gastropods and cephalopods; it just irks creationists that little bit more for some reason.

Discussions on this forum would often move along far better if evolutionists would focus on the part of evolution that differentiates it from the creationist model.

I would love to discuss that. Perhaps you will surprise us and be the first creationist to provide the mechanism that prevents the change accrued by random mutation, natural selection and genetic drift from accumulating beyond the arbitrary barrier you seem to imagine exists between species.

If you accept the mechanisms of evolution, what prevents those mechanisms from causing speciation?

This "predictive power" is not limited to an evolutionist worldview. It was found in a freshwater fish "graveyard" which again works well with the creationist model.

Now you are just making things up.

Tiktaalik is no mere freshwater fish. It combines fish and tetrapod traits exactly as predicted by the ToE. It was not discovered by creationists (since creationists have discovered sweet FA in decades). It was predicted, discovered and confirmed by evolutionary scientists.

So where is this “predictive power” of creationism? How did creationist “predict” Tiktaalik? When? Where? Show me the documentary evidence that creationists predicted this discovery. Because I tell you what, I can show you endless creo sources saying that transitional fossils would never be found.

Unbelievably, you seem to have mistaken Post Hoc reasoning for prediction. It’s no use fitting Tiktaalik into your word view after the fact and calling that a “prediction”. That is simply bullshit, and transparent bullshit at that. Try using flood theory to predict where fossils will be found, I dare you...

Re: your answers to my questions;
You say that expertise is valuable in forming opinions, that expertise improves the chances of being right and that experts are more likely to be right than laymen. Given this, I find it astonishing that you, a self-confessed layman, feel able to dismiss the consensus opinion of the vast majority of experts. Your answers imply that you are most likely wrong. You must have some truly compelling evidence to overcome this hurdle. Are you planning to share it with us at all?

Feduccia: His quotes which were against the ground dweller dino bird to bird theory is just "another feather in the cap" in what creationists are saying. Namely that there is great difficulty as to how Reptiles could evolve into birds.

Jesus Arphy, how dense can you be? It has already been made clear to you that Feduccia has never said that birds did not evolve from reptiles. He has said that birds did evolve from reptiles. This is only a feather in your cap if you regard blatant lies as being decorative.

You (and others) seem so sure that the scientific community supports them in the dino to bird model

That’s because the scientific community does support the “dino to bird model”, save for a few exceptions.

and yet here is a nice open letter which shows that the layman's view of scientist's opinions is often very different from the actual experts

Yeah sure. If the layman in question happened to be so amazingly stupid and ignorant as to imagine that science depends on a 100% consensus amongst all practising scientists worldwide, he would have a different opinion. But since no-one here is quite that dumb, your letter is irrelevant.

Olsen is entitled to his opinion. Most experts differ. To describe his minority opinion as the view of “the actual experts”, as though it represented mainstream scientific opinion, is another pathetic falsehood. It is the opinion of one expert. He is in a very small minority.

and don't come back saying "It doesn't say they don't believe in evolution", I know, as I have said before,the underlying dogma is never challenged

What, I shouldn’t point out the fact that the source who you are using in an attempt to discredit the theory of evolution believes in the theory of evolution? Why not? I can’t help but consider the fact that your source disagrees with you as evidence that your source disagrees with you. I’m funny like that. If you want to suggest that Olsen would like to challenge the “underlying dogma” of evolution, but is somehow held back from doing so please provide specific evidence to that effect. If not, man up and admit that you are citing people who disagree with your position.

I was speaking from a creationist point of view.
It's your theory, all i said was that there were avian features, whether derived or not, I didn't specify. And it does have avian features whether the evolutionary story puts these features as having evolved in reptiles who were the descendents of both the birds and platypuses or not does not really worry me. There are still enough problems for the evolutionary story with just looking at the mammal and reptile features

Please explain then how creationists define “bird features”. Is it “Well it looks a bit like a bird...”? Again, man up and admit that you were mistaken. Platypus do not exhibit bird traits, they only superficially resemble birds.

BTW, reptiles are not descendants of birds or reptiles. I think you have that backwards. If you believe that there are specific problems with the evolution of mammals, start a thread and bring them up. We are not just going to take your word for it.

No, It is in line with how evolutionists think, i.e. making up highly imaginative explanations to try to fit an animal into the ToE.

Please specify which bit of the platypus paper you consider to be imaginary and why.

ok, so you would have to buy it, but it is avaliable.

Fat chance. If the creationist contingent truly cared about spreading reliable information, they could make the file available for free as an MP3, at no cost. They seem more interested in further lining their pockets.

What part of, He is desperatly backpeddaling to save his standing in the scientific community, don't you understand?

Oh, so he’s lying when he said you guys were wrong? Yeah, bring on the conspiracy theories. Just be sure to wear your tinfoil hat shiny side out.

The man has said you are wrong. Man up Arphy and admit that you were wrong. It will save you all this embarrassing and desperate flapping about.

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Arphy, posted 09-18-2009 9:38 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Arphy, posted 09-19-2009 11:20 PM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 71 of 210 (524943)
09-20-2009 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Arphy
09-19-2009 11:20 PM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Hi Arphy,

I believe Bluejay has dealt admirably with your first two points. I suggest that you listen to him. He is after all, a practising biologist, which by your own admission, makes him more likely to know what he's talking about than either you or I.

I'll go straight to this;

Great, because your next two sentences show a lack of understanding of the Creation model.

I love the way you say "the Creation model" as though there were a single coherent model out there which enjoyed consensus amongst creationists. There isn't, as can be deduced from Archangels little Neanderthals are apes/Neanderthals are humans problem in the "Evo Frauds" thread.

Multiple creos have multiple explanations. How am I supposed to know which flavour of error you prefer?

Your links; The first suggests that natural selection is incapable of acting upon mutations. That (apart from being nonsense and based upon a terrible misunderstanding of how mutations work) contradicts your position. So is your link right, or are you right? Does natural selection work or not?

See what I mean about multiple creationists having multiple versions of "the Creation Model"?

Your second link waffles on about "kinds". Needless to say, this is not a term scientists recognise. What does it mean exactly?

Perhaps you will surprise us and be the first creationist actually provide a working definition of "kind". But I doubt it.

They don't prevent speciation, if by speciation you mean that descendents of of an organism differ greatly enough so that for practical purposes they are given different names.

That's an workable working definition, if a little loose.

The thing is, that if you don't refute natural selection, random mutation, genetic drift and speciation, you really have accepted pretty much all the basics of the ToE. Why does CMI accept these phenomena? Because CMI know full well that they have been proved to so high a degree that refuting them is a waster of time. They are left to flail around with nonsensical quibbles like "kinds".

ok, creationists don't predict a certain type of animal

No they din't. This is the point I am trying to make.

Evolutionary theory can help us predict where fossils will be found. Those predictions can be checked against reality and found to be reliable.

Creationism has never predicted any fossil. It has never demonstrated any kind of predictive power at all.

This should be a hint to you. If evolution is false, how come it is able to make accurate predictions that creationism can't?

but where it was found fits in with flood theory.

Hmm... Do you believe in a local flood Arphy? Or do you believe in a worldwide flood? Because it seems to me that the location that "fits with flood theory" on a worldwide flood basis would be... anywhere in the world.

Wow. hooray for the wondrous predictive power of creationism! It predicts that the evidence of a worldwide flood will be found... somewhere in the world! Amazing stuff there!

And again, I don't think that it is a transitional animal.

And those experts who have actually studied the fossil think that it is. As you have already admitted, they are more likely to know what they are talking about than you, especially since it seems like the first you knew about Tiktaalik was when I mentioned it the other day. Face facts, you know next to nothing about this fossil, yet, on the basis of this absolutely-no-significant-knowledge whatsoever, you feel able to dismiss it.

Evolutionists have already embarassed themselves with the coelacanth first saying that its lobed fins were used for walking until a live coelacanth was found that showed that these fins were definatly used for swimming.

Is this this best you can do? Point to an error made over fifty years ago? An error corrected, not by creationists, but by the scientists themselves? Science continually corrects its errors. Creationism does not.

Again, just because I may disagree with a lot of what evolutionists say doesn't mean we can never agree on anything. Both Olsen (at least when the letter was written) and me both agree that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs, so what is wrong with me using his comments as support for this particular purpose.

The problem is that you're not using it for that purpose. you are using it as a general argument against the ToE. Establishing that scientists disagree on one small aspect of natural history does not mean that the ToE is suddenly in question.

Ahh.. but not all experts, and that is the point. I believe the creationist experts are right as their arguments are far more logical and fit the facts better.

But you have already admitted that you know far fewer facts than the appropriate experts. Did you not consider the idea that you understand those facts incompletely or incorrectly? how would you know if you had?

I agree, however he did say that Archaeopteryx is not evidence for ground to tree evolution of birds (I think I am right in saying this, yes).

No you are not! That was never said, by Feduccia or anyone else. Feduccia was saying that Archaepoteryx was not ground dwelling. He was categorically not saying that archaeopteryx did not evolve from ground-dwelling reptiles. You just can't seem to stop misrepresenting him. I don't think you are necessarily doing it deliberately. I just think tat you don't understand what he's saying. I'm at a loss to explain it to you any clearer.

Feduccia believes that archaeopteryx was a flying, tree-dwelling animal, not an earthbound animal. Is that clear enough?

Maybe, maybe not, where is your evidence for this. Are these exceptions, experts in that area?

Just take a look at the attendees at the notorious archaeopteryx conference. The majority were quite clear that birds evolved from dinosaurs. It's the majority opinion. A quick look at Wikipedia is enough to confirm this;

Most paleontologists regard birds as the only clade of dinosaurs that survived the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event approximately 65.5 Ma.

Moreover, phylogenetic analysis places birds within the theropoda. Source

Whatever, its your theory. again there are enough problems even if you take out the bird feature component.

So even if your point is wrong, you're still right? How does that work?

You were just wrong Okay? Platypus do not have bird traits. They do however combine reptile and bird traits in a way that exactly agrees with the ancestry suggested by the ToE.

The tree diagrams especially are imaginative.

That's not an objection, that's just mud-slinging. If you have a specific criticism to make of the paper, please explain exactly what you think they have got wrong. Be specific. Why is it wrong?

Actually had another look and they actually only ask for a donation, maninly to cover the cost of shipping. So your assertion is wrong.

No, they are charging money for something that could easily be made available for nothing. Either they are on the take or they are astonishingly inept at the dissemination of information.

Colin Patterson: Again how can you take his comments which i quoted in message 39 any other way than their obvious meaning?

Which is? Do you take him to mean that his support of evolution before and after he made the comments was a lie? You are very quick to believe any of Patterson's comment that superficially appear to support your position. Why are you so keen to disbelieve him when he said this:

Colin Patterson writes:

the creationists' {interpretation} is false

Exactly why is that so hard for you to believe?

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Arphy, posted 09-19-2009 11:20 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by RAZD, posted 09-20-2009 2:14 PM Granny Magda has responded
 Message 76 by Arphy, posted 09-21-2009 7:34 AM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 73 of 210 (524953)
09-20-2009 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by RAZD
09-20-2009 2:14 PM

Re: Coelacanths and tetrapod ancestry
Thanks for the clarification there RAZD. I should have spotted that.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by RAZD, posted 09-20-2009 2:14 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 85 of 210 (525110)
09-21-2009 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Arphy
09-21-2009 7:34 AM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
OK, maybe YECs is would have been a better word. As for a single coherent model philosophical naturalists aren't any better.

a) Even amongst YECs (perhaps especially amongst YECs) there is still widespread failure to reach any kind of consensus.
b) Your scepticism on this issue is to be applauded, but you are mistaken. There is broad consensus on the major points of the ToE.

I don't want to get bogged down debating the bare links you provided, since they are not relevant here. This I have to answer though;

As for kinds: A syngameon is probably the closest term that we have.
Definition: Syngameons are clusters that comprise several morphospecies, i.e., "the sum total of species or semispecies linked by frequent or occasional hybridization in nature".

I would love to see some practical real-world examples of the syngameons. What syngameon is a horse in for instance? What else is in the same syngameon? Do you understand the terminology you are using? Because I notice that you lifted your definition from the web.

I hope you also realise that there is absolutely no way that you could fit all of those critters on his big boat. There must be millions of discrete inter-fertile groups in existence! Most large mammal species for example do not interbreed with other species.

This is nonsense. These mechanisms are an important part of the YEC model, so yes why would we refute them.

Because if you accept natural selection, random mutation and genetic drift, evolution (whether macro- or micro-) is inevitable.

I know you have been told otherwise Arphy, but, with respect, you are being deceived.

So while we can't predict which modules have been used in which combinations, animals like Archaeopteryx and Tiktaalik are no surprise to us.

So you admit that creationism cannot predict what combinations of features. Good.

You problem is that evolution can and does. All the creatures we find with a mix of traits from different groups are combined in such a way as to be consistent with gradual change over time. Under creationism, there is no reason why the fossil record should present us with this smooth gradual change in species. Evolution explains this.

We never find a ancient Cambrian creature with the traits of a more modern Pleistocene creature. In your system, there is no reason why we wouldn't. Evolution explains this.

We ever find a mammal with bird features. Under creationism, there is no reason why we wouldn't. Evolution explains this.

Why is your own home country so full of species that exist nowhere else? There is no reason why a created world should be this way. Evolution on the other hand can explain it completely.

You can't just hand-wave this kind of stuff away for ever. Evolution has vast explanatory and predictive powers. Creationism is relegated to sniping at real scientists from the sidelines.

As in its comparative "depth" not the surface location.

You are making this up as you go along aren't you? How deep was Tiktaalik? Do you even know? Don't just go and look it up - ask yourself honestly if you know;

a) how deep the fossil was found,
b) what kind of rock it was in,
c) exactly how "flood theory" explains the position of Tiktaalik.

If you don't already have the answers to those questions, you need to admit to yourself that you are just fitting it into your "flood theory" without knowing what you're talking about.

Granny writes:

you are using it as a general argument against the ToE

Arphy writes:

No I'm not. as explained in response to bluejay.

Funny, but you were the one who brought up that quote, in this message Message 73 and I don't see anything specific about you favouring one version of bird evolution over another. You are simply attempting to use it as one of a number of attacks on the general concept of transitional forms.

As Bluejay has so eloquently said, Feduccia is arguing for one version of natural history over another. You are arguing against the whole ToE (even though you agree with all of its components).

That is the difference, He is making one argument, you are making another.

If the researchers of tiktaalik are holding back information which would completly discredit what YEC scientists on whom i rely, are saying, then this is just dishonest.

Hah! They are not holding it back. It is already in the public domain. And it does destroy creationism, it's just that no-one bothered to tell you.

Just because the creo websites refuse to accept reality does not mean that they haven't been refuted.

Why do the experts have such opposite opinions and yet you guys take the evolution of birds as basically fact when the debate still rages as to how and from where.

It's a good question.

Firstly, despite some experts holding differing views, there is a wide consensus that birds evolved from dinosaurs. I am happy to tentatively accept that consensus as accurate (pending more information).

I consider it a fact that birds evolved. I consider that almost beyond dispute. I mean, they must have evolved from something, whether it was a dinosaur or some other reptile. The general evidence for evolution is simply too compelling to dismiss.

Regarding the narrower issue of whether birds evolved from therapod dinosaurs, I am more tentative. I have seen enough compelling evidence to be very convinced of it, but I am open to other explanations. I have seen good evidence in favour. i have seen no evidence that falsifies the claim. For now, my (tentative) opinion is that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

You must understand that for those of us who value the scientific method, holding an opinion tentatively, with the possibility of later finding new information that would force a change of opinion, is seen as a good thing. My beliefs are not dogmatic (at least I strive to avoid such thinking). They are subject to constant comparison to evidence and possible re-evaluation. Until I see compelling evidence to the contrary, I am happy to accept the evidence I have seen and the consensus of the majority of experts.

I have read your cited article before. It makes a number of very bad arguments. It simply peddles the same misconceptions that Feduccia has explicitely rebuked.

Just had another read of this. From an evolutionary viewpoint, I was not saying that platypus' evolved from birds. In a way they do have bird features, if the above is correct, they are just not derived features as you would say.

No, it would be accurate to say that birds and mammals share reptilian traits. Your claim that platypus have bird traits is still as wrong as it ever was. Honestly, you should drop this one. it's a poor argument.

the trees are a visual representation of philosophical naturalism which as a YEC, I disagree with.

I don't think that phrase means what you think it means...

I hope this Wiki quote will make clear the differences between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism.

There are at least two basic types of philosophical stances characterizing naturalism. One is concerned with existence: what does exist and what does not exist? The second is concerned with knowledge: what are methods for gaining trustworthy knowledge of the natural world?

Naturalism is the metaphysical position that "nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature."[1] All things and powers commonly regarded as supernatural, for example, God, souls and witchcraft, are asserted to be nonexistent. This position is commonly referred to as metaphysical naturalism, or sometimes as ontological naturalism.

Methodological naturalism, sometimes called scientific naturalism, is an epistemological view that is specifically concerned with practical methods for acquiring knowledge, irrespective of one's metaphysical or religious views. It requires that hypotheses be explained and tested only by reference to natural causes and events.[2] Explanations of observable effects are considered to be practical and useful only when they hypothesize natural causes (i.e., specific mechanisms, not indeterminate miracles). Methodological naturalism is the principle underlying all of modern science.

There is nothing in the platypus paper which asserts that Gods are non-existent.

The paper does utilise methodological naturalism, but then so does every other scientific paper ever written. Methodological naturalism is one of the cornerstones of scientific practise.

I think this second part {of the Patterson quote - GM} is just as damning as the first part. even theunissen's interpretation

I think it would really help clear up some misunderstandings if you were to explain exactly why you see this as damning. Damning to what exactly? Why?

{Patterson's statement - GM} is not very helpful in validating philisophical naturalism.

It has nothing to do with philosophical naturalism. I can't emphasise enough how much you need to read what Bluejay has said on this; he ain't lying.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : Finished dinner, finished off post.

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Arphy, posted 09-21-2009 7:34 AM Arphy has not yet responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 87 of 210 (525136)
09-21-2009 9:57 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Arphy
09-21-2009 9:28 PM

Re: The Term Evolutionist
And the winner is.....(drumroll)....

Yay!! I won! Oh wait, that wasn't a compliment... Oh well.

(I just love this part "I mean, they must have evolved from something")

Yeah, I thought you might like that. I notice though, that you chose to omit the reason why I believe that, namely "The general evidence for evolution is simply too compelling to dismiss.".

What do you expect me to believe? That all life forms evolved, except for birds which were created separately by the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Presuppositions don't come into it. The evidence is too compelling too ignore. The ToE is supported by numerous, mutually supportive, observations. Evolution is, whether you like it or not, the story of life. If you want to convince me otherwise, I'm going to need to see some seriously compelling evidence.

you may classify them this way, but that doesn't make it true.

Actually, it was Linnaeus who first categorised humans, apes and monkey together as primates. He was not an evolutionist, but a believer in divine creation.

It is not pleasing to me that I must place humans among the primates, but man learns to know himself. Let's not quibble over words. It will be the same to me whatever name is applied. But I desperately seek from you and from the whole world a general difference between men and simians from the principles of Natural History. I certainly know of none. If only someone might tell me one! If I called man a simian or vice versa I would bring together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to, in accordance with the law of Natural History.


' Deus creavit, Linnaeus disposuit, ' (God created, Linaeus organised)


That aside, what I really want to address is the term "evolutionist".

In the context of debate sites such as EvC, we need a way to refer to the opposing sides. In this context, the term "evolutionist" seems fine to me. I have no objection to being so described.

It has to be said though, that in the wider world, the term is meaningless. It was once popular but. as acceptance of evolution has become the scientific norm, the term has largely fallen out of use. Only when creationists enter the picture does the term become meaningful again.

That's all I wanted to say. feel free to reply to this post or not Arphy. I can see you're pretty snowed under. Such is the eternal fate of the creationist who chooses to brave the slavering evolutionist hordes...

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Arphy, posted 09-21-2009 9:28 PM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Arphy, posted 09-22-2009 6:40 AM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 115 of 210 (525323)
09-22-2009 10:53 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by Arphy
09-22-2009 6:40 AM

Worldviews vs The World
Hi Arphy,

While i may not be able to change your worldview, what i hope i can do is to firstly challenge many of the misconceptions about the YEC creation model, that seem to abound.

My worldview is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. My worldview is that the scientific method, as embodied in methodological naturalism, is the only way to assess and best describe objective truths about our universe. It is all very well to have a worldview. What matters is comparing that to the actual world and making sure that the two are in agreement.

I'm not carrying a flag for evolution because I think it's desirable or the best possible system. If I were a deity creating life, I wouldn't chose to do it by evolution; it seems a little harsh and uncaring to me.

The point is that in my journey through the evidence for evolution, I have seen a great deal of compelling evidence, all of it pointing to evolution. I can't tell you where your journey through that evidence should take you. All I can do is encourage you to keep looking, with an open mind, although I would warn you against relying on sites like creation.com, which are full of misinformation and refuted claims.

2nd, i hope to be able to show you that you can not dismiss a YEC, simply for being a YEC, but if you do dismiss me then it is because you think that YEC arguments are easily refuted.

No, I know that they are easily refuted. I've seen them refuted time and again.

Let me be clear, I've been active on this site for a while now and I have seen a fair number of creationists make a large number of claims. I've never seen one that was any more than superficially convincing. The kind of claims that you have been dredging up from CMI are claims I have seen many times before. Not a single one is new to me. Not one. Most are what I would call PRATTS (Points Refuted A Thousand Times). They are full of sound and fury, but signify nothing.

I have a feeling that understand YEC perfectly well. In fact, I suspect that I understand it rather better than you do. No offence.

Linnaeus: ok, even if linnaeus catagorizes humans like this, it still doesn't necessarily make it true.

What's not true? The label itself? Or the underlying reality that some organisms are more similar others?

Like it or not, the classification of humans alongside other apes was carried out by exactly the same method that also classifies us as primates, as placental mammals, as tetrapods, as vertebrates, as chordates and as animals. It was done by comparing and cataloguing physical similarities.

This would be impressive enough, but this system is also bolstered by the fact that it agrees with genetic comparisons. Genetic models overlap incredibly closely with morphological models. We have more genes in common with other apes than we do with non-ape primates. We more more genes in common with with other mammals than we do with non-mammal tetrapods, and so on. This can be confirmed yet further by a comparison of ape and human chromosomes, which show high degrees of similarity.

The model works and it is extremely useful to science. Living here in Europe, I see animals and plants every day which still bear the names Linnaeus gave them over two-hundred years ago. Strange that creationists only seek to undermine this system when it rubs their religious ideas up the wrong way. You guys often object to being described as apes, but you never seem to object to us being classified as vertebrates.

Granny writes:

Even amongst YECs (perhaps especially amongst YECs) there is still widespread failure to reach any kind of consensus.

Arphy writes:


Just take a look at the Answers in Genesis “Arguments We Don’t Use" page. I assure you, for each of those bad arguments, there will be another creationist group which regards it as true, or even as an important tenet of faith.

For example, AiG list “There have been no new species” as an argument one should not use.

Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research however, believes the opposite;

Henry Morris writes:

Not only could Darwin not cite a single example of a new species originating, but neither has anyone else, in all the subsequent century of evolutionary study.

You may or may not have heard of Morris. He is a very influential creationist as these things go. This is par for the course with YECs. Biologists on the other hand are in near unanimous agreement about the truth of evolution and many of its corollaries. The kind of disagreement exemplified by the Feduccia example is over a detail of natural history and does not represent a genuine division on the general question of evolution.

hmm...I guess it depends on what these major points are, but theories like gradualism, punctuated equalibrium, Evo Devo, all have their proponents which claim that their idea is the major force of how evolution works.

Evo Devo is not a theory. It is a methodology, short for evolutionary developmental biology.

Bringing up punk eek is also irrelevant. PE is not a mainstream view, but nonetheless, it has absolutely no quarrel with the cornerstones of evolution, like random mutation and natural selection.

What is wrong with using a definition from the web?

Well, nothing. But it does nothing to demonstrate that you actually understand what is being said.

zebras, horses, and donkeys are all part of the "equine" syngameon

So your definition of kind is at about the Genus level. Interesting. With about 1200 genera of living mammals, that makes (if we assume that only say, 30% of the animals are “clean”) That gives us, by my estimation, about 8400 animals. All in one boat. That is completely absurd and we’re only on the mammals. There are about 1600 genera of birds to go and reptiles, and amphibians and the rest... This is before we even consider invertebrates.

Forgive me if I don’t convert to biblical literalism just yet.

The number of kinds needed to take on the Ark is estimated to be about 8000.

Another insane number. Even if only 10% were considered clean, that would add up to a staggering 104,000 animals. These kinds of numbers have no connection to reality whatsoever.

Haven't you read my previous posts? these mechanisms cause "devolution" not evolution.

So you say, but you haven’t provide any evidence for this beyond directing me to a creation.com page.

For the record, I am not going to respond to any more blank links, from creation.com or anywhere else. I do not debate bare links. It is against the site rules. It is also not a fair tactic. It is very easy for you to cite a link to a webpage, but it takes much more effort for me to go through them all debunking them one by one. You mean well I’m sure, but you’re starting to run me a Gish Gallop and I’m not playing.

If you want to insist on using hoary old PRATTS like “devolving DNA” (AKA “The Fall”), please present them here in your own words. As I said before, that at least shows that you understand them.

The "smooth gradual change" is only found in textbooks not in reality.

Perhaps you missed this recent post (Message 167) from RAZD, where he presented just such an example. A virtually complete fossil record for foraminifera, exactly what you claim does not exist.

Drs. Tony Arnold (Ph.D., Harvard) and Bill Parker (Ph.D., Chicago) are the developers of what reportedly is the largest, most complete set of data ever compiled on the evolutionary history of an organism. The two scientists have painstakingly pieced together a virtually unbroken fossil record that shows in stunning detail how a single-celled marine organism has evolved during the past 66 million years. Apparently, it's the only fossil record known to science that has no obvious gaps -- no "missing links."
"It's all here -- a complete record," says Arnold. "There are other good examples, but this is by far the best. We're seeing the whole picture of how this organism has changed throughout most of its existence on Earth."

The sources and more text can be found in the original post.

I'm guessing your talking about fossil succession. Here is a snipet from an article by John Woodmorappe

It hasn’t escaped my notice that Woodmorappe’s article doesn’t actually contain any mechanisms. It just throws out a few buzz-words and waffles on a bit. It’s long on bullshit, short on actual evidence. In fact, it doesn’t even propose a mechanism to provide evidence for. Lame.

hmm.. you mean a mammal with feathers. Sure none have been found. Doesn't mean they didn't exist, And even if they never did exist how is this proof against creation?

It’s not proof against creation. It is evidence for evolution. Evolution explains why we don’t see mammals with bird traits. If creation were true, there would be no reason why God could not have created whatever combinations took his fancy. Instead we see nesting hierarchies of interelatedness, with no species displaying traits that defy an evolutionary model. That is a powerful observation, which evolution explains and creationism cannot.

Firstly, it was a predator (more or less) free country. Secondly the animals that we see work well with flood theory, i.e. mainly birds, as they eventually flew there after the flood.

What, even the kiwis? Did flocks of kakapo fly over there? If you are going to tell me that they lost their flight in a mere few thousand years, you are proposing evolution on a scale undreamt of by biologists.

NZ is an island (OK, two islands). Evolution explains why islands all over the world show certain patterns in their flora and fauna. Islands which have been geographically isolated for a very long time have a wealth of unique species. Evolution explains this; they have been reproductively isolated and have diversified from their original ancestor populations.

These "predictions" in no way prove the YEC model wrong.

It’s not about that. I am providing you with positive evidence in favour of evolution. You might like to try the same and provide me with some positive evidence for creation, instead of taking ineffectual pot-shots at the ToE.

As I've said before Tiktaalik does not seem to be a transitional fossil

And as I’ve said before, i refuse to debate bare links. If you want to deny that Tiktaalik (a fossil about which you seem to know next to nothing) is a transitional fossil, bring on your evidence in your own words. I’m not going to do all the work here and it would be nice to know that you understand the arguments you are citing.

ehh...??? the only thing about birds in that post is

Arphy writes:

Archaeopteryx: There is a quote in the article by Dr Alan Feduccia, an expert saying “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.” This was also the conclusion reached at the International Archaeopteryx Conference in 1984

which in no way says anything against evolutionism or transitional forms in general.

That’s exactly my point! You weren’t talking about bird evolution. You weren’t talking about whether birds evolved from theropods or directly from archosaurs. You weren’t addressing the actual topic of the quote. You just threw it out there as one of a number of disconnected snipes at the ToE. Nowhere in the original citation do you address the real topic of the quote.

Until I see compelling evidence to the contrary, I am happy to accept the evidence I have seen and the consensus of the majority of..." YEC experts.

Dream on. YECS are not in the majority. They represent less than a percent of practising biologists. If you want to claim to agree with a majority of a <1% minority, you go ahead, but it ain’t much to shout about.

If you can "not make a watertight argument for any (transitional forms) being directly ancestral to living species groups" then where is the clear progressive tree? If you can not say that "this evolved into that, which evolved into that..." then where is this "clear" progression of what evolved into what?

I thought that was what you were getting at. Okay.

What Patterson is getting at is that we can never absolutely classify one fossil as being the direct ancestor of another. All we can do is infer ancestry by morphological comparison. Take a look at this image;

Now look at Tiktaalik and Acanthostega. No-one can say that Acanthostega is absolutely definitely the direct descendant of Tiktaalik. Indeed, no-one is saying that. What is clear, both from their shared morphologies and the time and place they existed is that they bear some degree of common ancestry. Could Tiktaalik be the direct ancestor of Acanthostega? Sure. The ancestry could be so direct that the individual type fossil for Tiktaalik is the direct ancestor of the individual type fossil for Acanthostega (although it would seem unlikely). At this remove we can’t say for sure. All we can say is that they share common ancestry, just as modern animals display diverging ancestry and gradual change. This is made abundantly clear from the fact that we can use this theorised ancestry to predict exactly where and when new transitional fossils will be found – just as in the case of Tiktaalik.

Patterson was merely cautioning his fellows against being too dogmatic in assuming a particular evolutionary heritage as gospel. He is guarding against making lazy assumptions and stressing the importance of making classifications based on solid evidence – evidence like the fossil record and the amazing series of fossil transitions it contains.

What he was not saying was that evolution was false, that his entire career was a lie and that the systematists should all just pack up and go home.

I hope this makes it clearer for you.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Arphy, posted 09-22-2009 6:40 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 130 by Arphy, posted 09-24-2009 8:20 AM Granny Magda has responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 140 of 210 (525816)
09-24-2009 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 130 by Arphy
09-24-2009 8:20 AM

Re: Worldviews vs The World
Hey Arphy,

Your first part i have addressed in my reply to bluejay.

Yeah, I saw. You got him so riled that he you to stop being a prick. Wow. Bluejay is a real nice guy and not the type to go slinging that kind of language around casually. You might like to ratchet down the condescension a little bit. You actually made a Mormon swear.

Just because you have been debating it longer doesn't mean i have nothing to bring, you saying that I should just give up?

No. It's just that you keep telling me that don't understand creationism. I think I do. I think I understand it only too well.

Also there are many creation scientists who have been in the debate longer than you, do you claim to have a better understanding of evolution than them as well?

Frankly, yes. A kid with a standard high school biology textbook understands evolution better than most of those bozos.

Linnaeus: Just because you classify an animal based on its characteristics does not mean that they are related.

No it doesn't. When viewed in the light of the genetic relationships which confirm an evolutionary model, the fossil record, biogeography and all the rest of the mountains of pro-evolution evidence however, it can only be viewed as another nail in creationism's coffin.

The more important point here though is that by undermining something as essential as taxonomy, you are actually attacking the essential tools of science. Taxonomy is important. you seem to want to throw it out where it contradicts your religious dogmas. That's unacceptable.

You guys often object to being described as apes, but you never seem to object to us being classified as vertebrates.
This is because this is used as an attempt to further propagate the idea that we are related to actual apes.

Gah! We are actual apes!

We are also actual vertebrates. That doesn't contradict the Bible though, so that's OK. Tat is no way to organise a system of taxonomy. It is not science.

I also have to reiterate that Linnaen taxonomy is not some conspiracy to persuade people of evolution. It pre-dates the ToE by a wide margin. Linnaeus never knew of the ToE, so how could his system represent an effort to bolster the ToE? The truth is that his observations, made completely independently of evolutionary theory, have matched the expectations of the ToE, not because they were rigged that way, but because both systems are describing the same reality.

Firstly i said YEC not just creationist, and I don't think there are too many groups like that.

Both AiG and ICR are young Earthers. Both are major players. They disagree on a major matter, just as I said.

And for the record, one such group is too many for my liking.

Henry morris: In the article just below your quote there is a quote from colin Patterson. Did patterson really believe that no new "species" have been produced by natural selection?

I have no idea. I don't have the original context.

While i agree it is confusing, i think that the word species was used in a "fundamentally different species" sense.

If Morris is using the word "species" in any sense other than that which might be reasonably expected to be understood by his readers, without making any gesture toward explaining that he is effectively using separate terminology, then he is lying. It's no surprise. He's a big, fat, stinky liar as liars go.

Here on the same website they explain this.

So you've demonstrated that ICR's website contradicts itself? Nice one. Good work. Another triumph for creation science.

Syngameon: While the word "kind" is the preferable. I used the word syngameon as the closest description to kind, and possibly what you might accept as "scientific".

Using sciencey-sounding terminology doesn't mean you are doing science.

This word has been used in YEC literature, however while syngameons are the general case for defining a kind, i (and YEC groups) think it is possible that some creatures have "devloved" far enough that they can no longer even form a hybrid.

Or to put it another way, to make this theory work, you need to imagine a miraculous get-out-clause. Creationists have no evidence for this, they just made it up and throw it out there. Hey, maybe it will persuade someone right? Even if it does, it blows your comparison to syngameons out of the water. The definition of "syngameon" is not "animals-that-we-think-might-possibly-have-been-able-to-breed-at-some-unspecified-point-in-the-past".

Woodmorappe puts the figure of clean animals at around <1%. This leaves the figure at around 16000 animals on the ark.

No it doesn't. Using 1% clean animals as our base, that still leaves us with 6040 mammals. That's just the mammals! Do you have any idea how much looking after they would take? I'm sorry, but this just sounds like crazy talk to me. this is no less absurd than the classic kid's image of a little boat with a smiling giraffe poking out of it.

Everything outside the ark was supposedly killed. Have you given any thought to where that leaves the countless genera of invertebrates?

Our genome is degenerating and this is a physical process. While there are many mechanisms that slow down this process the overall effect is degenerative.

Feel free to back this claim up in a dedicated thread. I think you ought to, since you rely on it quite heavily.

You are wrong though. That's why you are unable to demonstrate it. Nothing in that excerpt is evidence. It's all just exaggerated claims, with no back up.

Okay, onto forams.

Just take a look at what the experts are telling you Arphy,

Drs. Tony Arnold (Ph.D., Harvard) and Bill Parker (Ph.D., Chicago) are the developers of what reportedly is the largest, most complete set of data ever compiled on the evolutionary history of an organism. The two scientists have painstakingly pieced together a virtually unbroken fossil record that shows in stunning detail how a single-celled marine organism has evolved during the past 66 million years. Apparently, it's the only fossil record known to science that has no obvious gaps -- no "missing links."

"It's all here -- a complete record," says Arnold. "There are other good examples, but this is by far the best. We're seeing the whole picture of how this organism has changed throughout most of its existence on Earth."

"There's a nifty passage in Darwin in which he describes the fossil record as a library. The library has only a few books, and each book has only a few chapters. The chapters have only a few words, and the words are missing letters.

"Well, in this case, we've got a relatively complete library. The 'books' are in excellent shape. You can see every page, every word."

"The forams may not be representative of all organisms, but at least in this group we can actually see evolution happening. We can see transitions from one species to another," Parker said.


Take a lok at this image;

Click to enlarge

From Pearson et al., 1997, p. 297: "Planktonic foraminifera from ODP site 871, Limalok Guyot, illustrating the Globigerinoides-Orbulina transition. 1. Globigerinoides trilobus, spiral side, showing supplementary aperature. . . 2. G. trilobus, umbilical side. The primary aperature is hidden in the central umbilical depression. . . 3. G. bisphericus, showing enlarged final chamber. . . 4, 5. Praeorbulina sicana (two views of same specimen). Four small aperatures are present in the suture around the base of the final chamber. . . 6. Another specimen of Praeorbulina sicana . . . 7. Praeorbulina curva. Note spherical morphology and multiple slit-like aperatures. . . 8. Praeorbulina globerosa, showing bispherical morphology . . . 9, 10. Praeorbulina glomerosa- circularis transitional specimens. . . 11-14. Praeorbulina circularis, showing variation in the proportion of the test occupied by the final chamber. . . 15. The end-form of the lineage, Orbulina universa, with entire sphere . . . scale bars are 100 µm."

Now that looks a lot like a smooth series of transitions to me. I don't know what it looks like to you.

You claimed that there were no complete records showing transitions. You were wrong. The foram record does exactly that.

Granny writes:

In fact, it doesn’t even propose a mechanism to provide evidence for. Lame.

Excuse me???

What I said. They provide only sound-bites. They offer no substance. They throw out terms like "the sorting of organisms during the Flood" without ever expaining how that is supposed to work.

The fact is that records of microfossils like forams, radiolarians and such show every sign of being layed down in exactly the same way they are today; gradually, by seabed deposition. They were not put there by some improbable "hydrological sorting". Such terms are vacuous, having no evidence, no model, not even a hint of what might constitute evidence. All they are is a post hoc attempt to explain away the fossil record.

The evolutionary model is woven around the animals and fossils we see.

If this is the case, then why do the plants and animals discovered in the fossil record exactly concur with the ToE?

Would evolution have had the same model before transitional fossils were found?

Early evolutionists suggested that man was related to the great apes before transitional fossils were found, so yes.

Just to back that up;

The first debates about the nature of human evolution arose between Thomas Huxley and Richard Owen. Huxley argued for human evolution from apes by illustrating many of the similarities and differences between humans and apes and did so particularly in his 1863 book Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature. However, many of Darwin's early supporters (such as Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Lyell) did not agree that the origin of the mental capacities and the moral sensibilities of humans could be explained by natural selection. Darwin applied the theory of evolution and sexual selection to humans when he published The Descent of Man in 1871.

A major problem was the lack of fossil intermediaries. It was only in the 1920s that such fossils were discovered in Africa. In 1925, Raymond Dart described Australopithecus africanus. The type specimen was the Taung Child, an Australopithecine infant discovered in a cave. The child's remains were a remarkably well-preserved tiny skull and an endocranial cast of the individual's brain. Although the brain was small (410 cm³), its shape was rounded, unlike that of chimpanzees and gorillas, and more like a modern human brain. Also, the specimen showed short canine teeth, and the position of the foramen magnum was evidence of bipedal locomotion. All of these traits convinced Dart that the Taung baby was a bipedal human ancestor, a transitional form between apes and humans.


was the dino to bird link announced before finding "transitional forms" or after?

In the case of birds, I believe that archaeopteryx was the catalyst that started the theory. However, many more bird-like dinosaurs have been found since. No fossil has been found that supports any lineage for birds other than from reptiles.

The basic evolutionary story was woven after the "transitional fossils" were found.

You seem to be upset that scientists, as well as making predictions, also like to wait to see where the evidence leads them. This is not a failing, it is an asset. Scientists don't just make things up as they go along. they make predictions only to test them against the emerging evidence. they may also reserve their opinions pending relevant evidence. This is how science works and a good thing too.

So much for predictive power. Yes, some new finds are often forced into the already accepted story, however this doesn't prove evolution's predictive power.


Please explain to me in detail how Tiktaalik was "forced" to fit the theory.

NZ: Yes even kiwis.

Wow. You DO believe in evolution! In fact, you believe in unbeleivably rapid evolution! For the kiwi to have diversified so much as to have entirely lost its flight in a mere few thousand yeasr is way beyond what any regular evolution proponent would suggest.

You are not an evolutionist Arphy, you are a super-evolutionist!

Care to provide some evidence for this case of super-duper-evolution?

WHAT????? My comments about Archaeopteryx were a direct response to greyseal. When someone brings up an argument FOR Evolution (i.e. if anything, it seemed more like throw a few transitional fossils at a creationist and that will disprove creationism) then shouldn't i reply to this?

You should reply, but you should reply with relevant material. the Feduccia quote is not relevant to the question of whether transitional fossils exist. it is not even relevant to the question of whether archaeopteryx was a transitional or not, as I have explained numerous times.

Here is the exchange, starting with Message 68;

greyseal writes:

archaeopteryx:... tiktaalik:...
...two "transitional fossils".

Greyseal is saying that Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil.

Arphy writes:

it isn't a transitional form. But then again Archaeoptreyx "missing link" claims are a bit old school, yip its in the textbooks but most scientists studying bird evolution have moved on.

You are saying that it's not.

greyseal writes:

Archaeopteryx is NOT a bird - it has teeth, three fingers with a claw and a long bony tail. It's also not quite a classic dinosaur (it has feathers and other changes that are "bird-like").

Greyseal is saying that it is too a transitional fossil.

Arphy writes:

Archaeopteryx: There is a quote in the article by Dr Alan Feduccia, an expert saying “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’ is going to change that.” This was also the conclusion reached at the International Archaeopteryx Conference in 1984.

You come back with the Feduccia quote.

You are clearly a) using the quote to suggest that Archaeopteryx was "just a bird" and b) using the quote to throw cold water on the idea that Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil.

That is not what Feduccia was saying and it is not what Feduccia thinks.

Nowhere in any of those messages do you address the real topic of Feduccia's quote. Instead, you use it to bolster an opinion that is the opposite of Feduccia's. I'm not saying that you were doing this knowingly, but you were not using the quote in its correct context. you were using it as a blunt instrument against evolution.

If you want a Feduccia quote that is specifically related to the topic of whether Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil or not, you have this;

...The creature thus memorialized was Archaeopteryx lithographica, and, though indisputably birdlike, it could with equal truth be called reptilian.... The Archaeopteryx fossil is, in fact, the most superb example of a specimen perfectly intermediate between two higher groups of living organisms--what has come to be called a "missing link," a Rosetta stone of evolution....

Will deal with tetrapod evolution tomorrow.

When you do, please explain in detail how Tiktaalik is anything other than a combination of fish and tetrapod features. You might also like to explain in detail exactly how (if the ToE is false) it came to be found in exactly the place that the ToE predicted it would be found.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Admin, : Reduce image width.

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 130 by Arphy, posted 09-24-2009 8:20 AM Arphy has not yet responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 149 of 210 (526034)
09-25-2009 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 141 by Arphy
09-25-2009 4:31 AM

Hi Arphy,

I would be disappointed if you were to walk at this point. There's still so much left to discuss. I hope you're not put off by the rambling length of my posts. Feel free to reply only to what you consider important. Certainly there are another of side discussions going on that are not relevant to the topic.

No wonder people like Archangel come and leave so quickly and it looks like I might not remain much longer either.

I think there is a big difference between your approach to this site and Archangel's. When I communicate with you, I feel like I'm involved in a dialogue. With Archangel I don't get that feeling. I either get ignored, insulted or shouted at.

I may not agree with your claims or the evidence you present, but at least you make the effort to engage in an adult conversation about it. It would be a shame to see you go, not least because I think that this board has a lot to gain with you here. Without reasonable creationists who are willing to engage honest debate, this site would just be called "E".

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

This message is a reply to:
 Message 141 by Arphy, posted 09-25-2009 4:31 AM Arphy has not yet responded

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

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

Nice to see you back Arphy,

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

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

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

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

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

As for apes you are arguing from a cladistics viewpoint

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

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

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

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


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

"Genus" does not equal "kind"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mutate and Survive

"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod

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

Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 175 of 210 (531339)
10-17-2009 5:59 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by Arphy
10-13-2009 6:13 AM

Hi Arphy. Sorry for the delay in reply, I've been busy. Before I get down to business, I would like to echo the praise that has been heaped on this post. Well done. Your material stands in stark contrast to the tactics of certain other creationist members recent contributions.

Patterson; Okay, I have to give you this one. Clearly Patterson made some extreme anti-evolution statements. If he thinks he is being unfairly misrepresented, he is deluding himself.

Of course, I have to add that I think Patterson has lost the plot here. I can't agree with his statements. He seems to be talking... out of an unconventional orifice shall we say. His comments are completely contradictory. All I can say is that one man's opinion isn't going to be considered a show stopper; the consensus of biologists is still behind evolution.

One basic example might be that the common theory says that birds evolved from reptiles, but this is because certain features are picked. If we picked as a major feature warm-bloodedness as a feature the evolutionary tree would look quite different with birds evolving from mammals.

Huh? That is a total non-sequitur. No-one would think any such thing. The whole point about attempts to determine ancestry is that they use all available data. There is no reason to concentrate only on one aspect.

Also teeth was an important feature of Archaeopteryx but firstly they were not reptilian teeth

Huh? (again). I don't suppose you'd care to back that up would you? It sounds like nonsense to me.

And then we have another bird fossil Confuciusornis sanctus initially dated at the same age as Archaeopteryx, yet it is clearly a bird and has beak as most birds have today. So what do we do? Do we shift Archaeopteryx foward,or sanctus back?

God no! There's no need. Please pay attention to what Caffiene said about transitionals. Just because there are other, more derived birds around at the same time as Archy, doesn't mean that it is not a transitional. It combines bird and reptile features. That alone makes it a transitional fossil.

Also, have we found any intermediate features? by that i mean, most of these transitional features seem to be fully formed and functional and not half way (i.e. halfway between reptile skin and feathers, halfway between teeth and no teeth, etc.)

That isn't how it works. All forms are "fully functional". There are fossils though, which display features halfway between two forms, such as Tiktaalik. Nonetheless, it is still fully functional.

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

From an evolutionary point of view this is a non-point. Call it a reptile if you like. Call it a bird if you prefer. It does not change the fact that Archy is a clear combination of bird and reptile features.

Granny writes:

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

Arphy writes:

See above quotes from Patterson.

As has been noted above, there is nothing in the Patterson material that addresses my point about genetics. There is broad agreement between morphological and genetic hierarchies. Patterson's claim about myoglobins is one I have not heard before and can't really comment on, beyond the fact that I doubt it is true. Perhaps you might like to look into it further.

They {nested hierarchies} are also generally in accord with the Creation model.

Only because the "creation model" doesn't exist beyond a few vague and non-committal musings. Anything would be compatible.

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

If you accept that definition, you are screwed. Most animals do not interbreed. You are left with a syngameon that is most often going to contain only one species. That leaves the ark a little bit over full.

As for invertebrates, OK. Have it your way; there were no invertebrates on the ark. Congratulations. You have just proved the ark story to be false.

There are countless of species of invertebrate. None of them could have survived a global flood. The usual creationist nonsense about vegetation mats is pure fantasy. There is no way that all the world's invertebrates could have survived in this way for a year. Either way the invertebrates destroy any ark theory. If on board, they would overwhelm the ship. If not, they would all die off.

To say that lobe-finned fish have the beginings of tetrapod legs seems ridiculous, because in living lobe-finned fish these features are highly adapted to a deft swimming action.

It isn't just about that. Tiktaalik was very much a free swimming animal, but that isn't the point. The point is that its fins show morphological similarities with vertebrate limbs, with recognisable bones moved into a more vertebrate-like position. Also its head is unmistakably vertebrate. If you want to insist that the fins are fish-like and no more, fine. But it still leaves you to explain what a fish is doing with a tetrapod's skull.

There is a great article on tetrapod evolution here, I urge you to take a look.

To continue this discussion, perhaps you might like to head over to Evolution of Air-breathing Tetrapods, where it will be on topic.

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

I don't recall that. You are not going to find any examples. I don't think you appreciate how extreme the evolution you are proposing really is. An entire ecosystem as unique as NZ's? In just four thousand years? That is science fiction.

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

I'm sorry, but that is simply rubbish. If "kind" is a meaningful term, it must be defined clearly. If it real and objective, there is no reason why you could not define it. If you can't define it, it has no value as a descriptive term.

Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by Arphy, posted 10-13-2009 6:13 AM Arphy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 176 by Arphy, posted 10-24-2009 2:51 AM Granny Magda has responded

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