What a difference a day makes.

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The Discovery Institute, over at their Media Complaints Division Blog, has posted yet another article castigating Judge Jones for ruling that Intelligent Design is unscientific.

This one, by a second-year law student, takes more or less the same tone as the others:

In this detailed analysis, I will take a close look at Judge Jones reasoning, and evaluate the potential legal basis for determining the scientific status of ID. Ultimately, I find that the Kitzmiller opinion has no legal basis to determine the scientific status of intelligent design, and as such, is merely the opinion of one man, not the law as proclaimed by a federal district court judge.

Ed Brayton, over at Dispatches, has already fisked the substance of that post. I’d like to take a second to look at something else: the Discovery Institute’s pre-decision view of how the judge should rule.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority):

60 Comments

Check out what this doofus known as Michael Francisco has to say on “honesty” -

“Christians are called not to lie or slander…

Being intentionally deceitful, or untruthful is never acceptable.

Um, Mikey, what do you call your Disco article? Fair and balanced? What do you call what the Discovery Institute indulges in on a daily basis? And on the subject of attack ads, Mikey has this philosophy -

“With a proper ethical framework Christians in fact should support and appreciate certain political attacks and attack ads…

Christians should not only expect negative attacks in politics, they should recognize the important role they have in the political debate of examining political issues and the character of candidates.

With this in mind, is their/his assualt on Judge Jones surprising anyone?

Read his whole twisted philosophy here

Oh and I am not saying he is wrong because he is twisted, I am saying he is twisted. Period.

Blah blah blah.

DI shot its load. They lost. Get used to it.

I’ve no sympathy for their crybaby whining. (shrug)

Had the judge ruled instead that ID is legitimately scientific, do you think we would be hearing about his lack of authority to do so?

In political terms, what we’re seeing is a rather corrosive refusal to agree to disagree. For any polity to work effectively, a meta-agreement (the agreement to agree or disagree) is imperative. And so we strive to have a “loyal opposition”, a group that agrees with those currently in power over important things and equally patriotic, but disagrees over methods and emphases.

Nowhere does the agreement to disagree become clearer than in court cases. For a court system to work at all, both plaintiff and defendant must agree to abide by the decision that the legal procedures produce. The loser in any case will most surely dispute the decision, but cannot dispute the process by which the decision was reached. Otherwise, politics as we know them can’t work.

What we’re seeing with creationists is the rejection of the meta-agreement. They aren’t saying Jones reached the wrong decision; they’re saying that the *legal process* is inappropriate to make such decisions, and is useful ONLY to the extent that it makes decisions they like.

When procedures are abandoned in favor of results, we have what the founders referred to as a nation of men and not of law. Which is to say, a nation where the rules themselves wave in the whim of the powerful. A nation where those in power use civil authority the way DembScot runs his blog, but on a much larger scale.

What’s scary is, most of the creationists aren’t fighting to accomplish this for reasons of sheer personal power, but because they place their faith above any other loyalty, and their faith is profoundly self-serving and irrational. In other words, they aren’t wolves, we can understand and deal with wolves. Instead, they are demented sheep. MUCH harder to deal with.

Judge Jones insured that his opinion was based on evidence subjected to rigorous cross-examination in his court, not on evidence hyped and shielded in a staged debate. Anyone who still believes that ID emerged from the crucible of science needs to study this trial. It is a terrific educational experience in civics, science, and the law.

Meanwhile, the Wizards of ID remain sleepless in Seattle, kvetching and churning out reams of Scholastic sophistry from the bowels of the Discovery Institute. But unless they start demonstrating that their “theory” enables them to make substantial contributions to our scientific knowledge, none of it deserves the appellation of science.

But, if you read the article over at the DISCO page you can download a cool PDF bumper sticker!

Is anyone else begining to wonder when someone with an ounce of uncommon sense will start writing for the Media Complaints division ? But then again, I guess that’s not something to complain about.

Here’s Michael Francisco on The Matrix.

Michael, it’s only a movie. It’s fiction.

Oh, sorry, you’re writing for the Disco Institute. Nevermind.

(I assume, Michael - second year law student - , that you will specialize in the Insanity Defence. Word to the wise: intellectual property is where it’s at.)

The article says,

“There is no legal requirement that schools must teach only true science. The law does prohibit wrongly establishing a religion, but that means nothing about defining the bounds of science.”

I agree with the article. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation between the state and pseudoscience, unproven science, and disproven science. What if, say, a school board wanted astrology to be taught alongside astronomy for the purpose of historical comparison because astrological observation was a precursor of astronomical observation ? Could a judge ban astrology from a science class ?

Astrology a precursor to astronomy?

That’s not true. Astrology and astromony were practiced in parallel. Astrology depends on astronomical observations, not the other way around.

And to the question of what’s to prevent astrology being taught in science class (or voodoo, magic healing crystals, ufoism, etc), the answer is science teachers.

Teachers trained to teach science. Recall in Dover who stood up to the school board and refused to even read the ID statement, much less discuss it in class: the science teachers.

Doc Bill wrote: Astrology a precursor to astronomy?

That’s not true. Astrology and astromony were practiced in parallel. Astrology depends on astronomical observations, not the other way around.

Whatever. One of the definitions for “astrology” in my dictionary is “primitive astronomy.” If you don’t like the astrology example, then there are other examples, like alchemy.

And to the question of what’s to prevent astrology being taught in science class (or voodoo, magic healing crystals, ufoism, etc), the answer is science teachers. Recall in Dover who stood up to the school board and refused to even read the ID statement, much less discuss it in class: the science teachers

So what was the judge needed for ?

So what was the judge needed for ?

Excellent question! The school board, through the superintendent, crossed the line when the ID statement was read in the classroom. Not only did the board mandate the teaching of ID (by the reading of the statement) but they carried it out.

Furthermore, it’s clear, as demonstrated in court, that the motivations and purpose of teaching ID, and ID itself for that matter, were religious. It was a clear constitutional violation.

Teaching alchemy, which, by the way, is not a precursor to modern chemistry would present a whole different set of issues. Who would want to and why? What would be the purpose of teaching students that with the Philosopher’s Stone they could turn lead into gold? Alchemy is more witchcraft than anything else.

The issue here is not to teach bad science, or teach science badly. The issue is to attack evolution because that theory goes right to the heart of whether Man is a divine product or the product of time and chance.

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Flint writes: “What we’re seeing with creationists is the rejection of the meta-agreement. They aren’t saying Jones reached the wrong decision; they’re saying that the *legal process* is inappropriate to make such decisions, and is useful ONLY to the extent that it makes decisions they like. When procedures are abandoned in favor of results, we have what the founders referred to as a nation of men and not of law. Which is to say, a nation where the rules themselves wave in the whim of the powerful.”

That really *is* scary. And (unfortunately) it makes a lot of sense of the available evidence. For example, I’ve always wondered why Bush has never vetoed a bill. With the recent issues of McCain’s anti-torture bill and Alito’s hearings, I learned about the presidential “signing statement”. As here, the legal or political process doesn’t matter. If Bush doesn’t like a law, he doesn’t bother vetoing it. He simply ignores it. The “whim of the powerful” as Flint puts it. It all ties together.

Ouch!

Doc Bill wrote: The issue here is not to teach bad science, or teach science badly. The issue is to attack evolution because that theory goes right to the heart of whether Man is a divine product or the product of time and chance.

So if creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether. Is that what you are saying ?

So if creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether. Is that what you are saying ?

That’s pretty much the way it is, yes.

In the entire history of the United States of America, there have not been any attempts whatsoever to mandate any “doubts about evolution theory” that were not religiously motivated. None. Not a one.

Creationism is considered an alternative to evolution only by creationists.

There is no theory of creationism, just as there is no theory of intelligent design. Both are straightforward statements of conjecture and opinion.

Evolutionary theory is supported by chemistry, geology, physics and hosts of sub-disciplines. It’s way more than biology, although the biological aspect of it is immense.

No proposition has been developed that explains the diversity of life except descent with modification as formulated originally by Darwin.

One final point. All the court stuff deals with what can be taught as science in a public school. That’s it; teaching high school science.

If the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wants to start a Creation Science laboratory and do research on intelligent design, I wish they’d get on with it. There’s nothing on God’s green earth stopping them. Same for any university, really. Knock yourselves out. Research away.

Perhaps the Discovery Institute’s “Media Complaints Division” blog should be renamed to the “Court Decision Complaints Blog”, in light of its recent focus.

So if creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether. Is that what you are saying ?

Sure, that would follow. But of course the only people who consider creationism to be “the only alternative to evolution theory” are the creationists. It’s perfectly possible for someone to introduce some other alternative–to plug general Lamarckianism, or the “a new species spontaneously appears every time the Earth completes ten revolutions” theory, or the “David Bowie is a time-traveling telekinetic who personally created life on Earth and shaped its development” theory. And it wouldn’t be outright unconstitutional to teach such claims in public school; it’d just be a bad idea.

It’s just that, as Lenny says, the only large-scale organized movements attacking evolutionary theory are based in religion and promote religious alternatives; that’s an observed fact.

Bill Farrell wrote: Creationism is considered an alternative to evolution only by creationists.

OK, I will delete the part about creationism being a possible alternative to evolution. My new statement, in the form of a question, is –

Are you assuming that anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether ?

Anton Mates wrote: It’s perfectly possible for someone to introduce some other alternative—to plug general Lamarckianism, or the “a new species spontaneously appears every time the Earth completes ten revolutions” theory, or the “David Bowie is a time-traveling telekinetic who personally created life on Earth and shaped its development” theory. And it wouldn’t be outright unconstitutional to teach such claims in public school; it’d just be a bad idea.

Your “a new species spontaneously appears every time the Earth completes ten revolutions” theory is a form of creationism. And your statement about David Bowie identifies him as the designer. Both statements are religious in nature.

Anton Mates wrote: It’s just that, as Lenny says, the only large-scale organized movements attacking evolutionary theory are based in religion and promote religious alternatives; that’s an observed fact.

Irreducible complexity is not a religious concept – it does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. And irreducible complexity is just a criticism of evolution theory and is not a scientific explanation for the origin of species.

And the rest of that statement should read

“and Irreducible complexity seems to be found nowhere in nature except creationist books which have been shown to be purely religious B.S.”

Comment #76191

Posted by John B. on January 28, 2006 09:47 PM (e)

So if creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether. Is that what you are saying ?

You’re making a fallacious argument. There is no scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. All other alternatives are religious. Should at some time, a scientific theory arise with better predictive power than evolution, it will be adopted to consensus after a “fight” as it sinks or floats on its scientific merits.

Here, these excerpts from Wikipedia on Scientific consensus may help illustrate my point:

Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of scientists in a particular field of science at a particular time. The scientific consensus is determined by assessing the significant majority agreement of those scientists. Scientific consensus is not, by itself, a scientific argument, and is not part of the scientific method; however, the content of the consensus may itself be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.

Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the process of publication, and peer review. These lead to a situation where those within the discipline can often recognize such a consensus where it exists, but communicating that to outsiders can be difficult. On occasion, scientific institutes issue position statements intended to communicate a summary of the science from the “inside” to the “outside”. In cases where there is little controversy regarding the subject under study, establishing what the consensus is can be quite straightforward. Scientific consensus may be invoked in popular or political debate on subjects that are controversial within the public sphere but which are not controversial within the scientific community, such as evolution and climate change.

and

Scientific consensus and the scientific minority

In a standard application of the psychological principle of confirmation bias, scientific research which supports the existing scientific consensus is usually more favorably received than research which contradicts the existing consensus. In some cases, those who question the current paradigm are at times heavily criticized for their assessments. Research which questions a well supported scientific theory is usually more closely scrutinized in order to assess whether it is well researched and carefully documented. This caution and careful scrutiny is used to ensure that science is protected from a premature divergence away from ideas supported by extensive research and toward new ideas which have yet to stand the testing by extensive research. However, this often results in conflict between the supporters of new ideas and supporters of more dominant ideas, both in cases where the new idea is later accepted and in cases where it is later abandoned. Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions discussed this problem in detail.

Several examples of this are present in the relatively recent history of science. For example:

* the theory of continental drift proposed by Alfred Wegener and supported by Alexander Du Toit and Arthur Holmes but soundly rejected by most geologists until indisputable evidence and an acceptable mechanism was presented after 50 years of rejection. * the theory of symbiogenesis presented by Lynn Margulis and initially rejected by biologists but now generally accepted. * the theory of punctuated equilibria proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge which is still debated but becoming more accepted in evolutionary theory. * the theory of prions -proteinaceous infectious particles causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases- proposed by Stanley B. Prusiner and at first rejected because pathogenicity was believed to depend on nucleic acids now widely accepted due to accumulating evidence.

Until ID makes itself falsifiable and does the research, it has as much standing as a Kindergartner in College. And since the “ID is science” people are NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED in science and research, but politics and God-talk, it will never move forward.

Comment #76200

Posted by John B. on January 29, 2006 06:34 AM (e)

OK, I will delete the part about creationism being a possible alternative to evolution. My new statement, in the form of a question, is —

Are you assuming that anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether?

Once again, nothing has come up through the scientific world (and we mean scientists not playing politics and pandering to religious groups, but actually doing REAL science to prove their theories) to challenge evolution. And, as we can see through-out the history of science the best idea wins.

Your “a new species spontaneously appears every time the Earth completes ten revolutions” theory is a form of creationism. And your statement about David Bowie identifies him as the designer. Both statements are religious in nature.

No more (or less) so than ID and it’s arguments. However, anyone who proposed those theories would be required to do the research and prove the point. Not just gob royalties from poorly written, fallacious religious tracts pretending to be science in order to bilk the faithful.

Irreducible complexity is not a religious concept — it does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. And irreducible complexity is just a criticism of evolution theory and is not a scientific explanation for the origin of species.

One of our cats has a girl name, despite his being a boy. There was no “gender confusion” in the issue because, unlike many people, I can sex young animals with no problem or error. The cat has a girl name due to my giving up during an argument with my “ever-so-certain” 3-year-old who wanted to name the cat after one of her friends and despite my showing her the cat’s testes, rebutted me with the unwavering insistence that: “He is a girl!”

Your insistence that IC is not a religious concept is in that same class of wishful thinking contrary to the facts. At best, you’re ignorant of what IC is and implies. At worst, you’re just like the rest of the disingenuous liars that come here to engage in their holy war instead of being on a quest for knowledge.

IC says “God Did It” because without God it falls to Occam’s Razor and the internal contradiction of the argument of “how did the non-Deity “designer” come about?” If God doesn’t get in there, then the designer had to evolve. If the designer evolved, then Occam’s Razor removes the unnecessary extra layer. And, of course, the internal contradiction also causes IC to fall apart because IC says many complex systems couldn’t possibly have evolved; thus no evolved “non-supernatural originating” designer.

Are you assuming that anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether ?

That is not an assumption. It is an observed fact.

Irreducible complexity is not a religious concept — it does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. And irreducible complexity is just a criticism of evolution theory and is not a scientific explanation for the origin of species.

Well, if it’s not a scientific explanation for the origin of species then it’s not an “alternatvie to evolution” is it.

And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?

Not to mention the fact that, as a “criticism of evolution”, IC is simply wrong.

Oh, and perhaps you’d be so kind as to give me a (non-religious) reason why you are only singling out “evolution” for “critical examination”, and not, say, the germ theory of disease or quantum theory?

John B. Wrote:

Irreducible complexity is not a religious concept — it does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. And irreducible complexity is just a criticism of evolution theory and is not a scientific explanation for the origin of species.

And it was a mildly interesting criticism, while it lasted. But science did its thing and showed numerous examples of how allegedly IC biological systems could and did evolve naturally. If you don’t realize that, it’s because you don’t want to, and you don’t want to for religious reasons–it’s as simple as that. Your reference to an “…explanation for the origin of species” reveals either your ignorance or your intent to deceive; the former can be remedied if you’re not too lazy, stupid or prejudiced, and the latter serves only to confirm the tendency towards specious prevarication evident in all ID promoters.

Comment #76206 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 29, 2006 10:24 AM

John B. wrote: “Are you assuming that anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether ?”

That is not an assumption. It is an observed fact.

I thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact.

And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?

After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.

Not to mention the fact that, as a “criticism of evolution”, IC is simply wrong.

Your open-mindedness is admirable.

Oh, and perhaps you’d be so kind as to give me a (non-religious) reason why you are only singling out “evolution” for “critical examination”, and not, say, the germ theory of disease or quantum theory?

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time ? And where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is introduced at the same time ? Where do people get these crazy notions ?

And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?

After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.

In your own words, “Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time?” If you’re positing that IC is a scientific concept, whether or not evolutionary theory can presently give you a blow-by-blow account of the evolution of middle ear bones has nothing whatsoever to do with whether there is evidence that there is such a thing as irreducible complexity.

The fact is, evolutionary theory does give an explanation for how jawbones evolved into middle ear bones; whether or not you think the evidence supports that aspect of the theory is what is open for debate. So the question stands: If IC is not an inherently religious conecpt, where is your 1) scientific evidence of IC and 2) scientific theory of IC–not argumentation against evolution but evidence supporting the assertion that 1) such a thing as “IC” exists AND 2) a theory of how it came to exist? Again, evolutionary theory provides both of these things, and for all the blather, I don’t see IC providing either–particularly in the absence of a claimed supernatural being.

John B. wrote: “Are you assuming that anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public-school science classes, if not banned from public schools altogether ?”

That is not an assumption. It is an observed fact.

I thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact.

Not terribly bright, are you …

(1) the assumption referred to above is “anything that raises doubts about evolution theory promotes creationism and hence religion and hence should be banned from public school science classes”. As I noted, that is not an “assumption” — it is a fact.

(2) Evolution — organisms change over time — is a fact. Evolution — organisms change through natural selection – is a theory. But you do’t know what a scientific “theory” means, do you.

And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?

After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.

Nice evasion.

So you can’t explain, in any non-religious way, how IC systems appear. Got it. That’s what I thought.

As for how middle-ear bones appeared, see my very next post.

Not to mention the fact that, as a “criticism of evolution”, IC is simply wrong.

Your open-mindedness is admirable.

Wrong is wrong. (shrug) Are you “open-minded” about the earth being flat? How about the sun revolving around the earth?

Oh, and perhaps you’d be so kind as to give me a (non-religious) reason why you are only singling out “evolution” for “critical examination”, and not, say, the germ theory of disease or quantum theory?

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time ? And where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is introduced at the same time ? Where do people get these crazy notions ?

It’s written in several Federal court decisions. Sorry if you don’t like that.

Now answer my question. Why are you only singling out “evolution” for “critical examination” and not, say, the germ theory of disease or quantum theory?

After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.

From my website:

Although Archaeopteryx is by far the best-known of the transitional fossils, it is not the only one, or even the best. The fossil transition from reptile to mammal is one of the most extensive and well-studied of all the transitions, and detailed series of fossils demonstrate how this transition was accomplished. It is not, therefore, surprising that the creationists do not talk much about the reptile-mammal series, and when they do, most of what they say is demonstrably untrue.

The mammals are believed to have evolved from a class of Permian and Triassic reptiles known as therapsids. Taxonomically, mammals are distinguished by a number of features, the most obvious of which are hair (even such aquatic mammals as whales and dolphins still retain bristly hairs in their skin), and the presence of mammary glands which secrete milk, used to nourish the young. Neither of these structures is preserved in the fossil record, but fortunately, mammals can also be distinguished by a number of skeletal characteristics (particularly in the skull and teeth). In particular, mammals are distinguished from reptiles by a number of skeletal traits. Reptiles have a much larger number of individual bones in their skulls than do mammals. In reptiles, the teeth are all of the same shape, and although they vary slightly in size, they all have the same simple cone-shaped form. Mammals, however, possess a number of different types of teeth in their jaws, from the flat, multi-cusped molar teeth to the sharp cone-shaped canines. In reptiles, the lower jaw is made up of a number of different bones, and the jaw joint is formed between the quadrate bone in the skull and the angular bone in the jaw. In mammals, by contrast, the lower jaw is made up of a single bone, the dentary, which articulates with the squamosal bone in the skull to form the jaw joint. Reptiles also have a single bone in the middle ear, the stapes. In mammals, there are three bones in the middle ear, the malleus, incus and stapes (also known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup). At the top of the skull, reptiles have a small hole through which the pineal body, or “third eye”, extends–this is absent in mammals. Finally, the reptilian skull is attached to the spine by a single point of contact, the occipital condyle. In mammals, the occipital condyle is double-faced.

Paleontologists point out that the therapsids possessed many of the characteristics of both reptiles and mammals:

“In advanced forms, the skull was intermediate in type between that of a primitive reptile and a mammal; many of the bones absent in mammals were on their way toward reduction or were already lost. A small third eye was still generally present in the top of the skull, but its opening was a tiny one.” (Romer, 1967, p. 226)

“The differentiation of the teeth progressed in the therapsids to high levels of development, with the advanced genera showing sharply contrasted incisors, canines, and cheek teeth, which in some of these reptiles were of complex form, often with accessory cusps or broad crowns. In many therapsids, the occipital condyle became double, as in the mammals.” (Colbert and Morales, 1991, p. 118)

“In many respect, the tritylodont skull was very mammalian in its features. Certainly, because of the advanced nature of the zygomatic arches, the secondary palate and the specialized teeth, these animals had feeding habits that were close to those of some mammals . … Yet, in spite of these advances, the tritylodonts still retained the reptilian joint between the quadrate bone of the skull and the articular bone of the lower jaw. It is true that these bones were very much reduced, so that the squamosal bone of the skull and the dentary bone of the lower jaw (the two bones involved in the mammalian jaw articulation) were on the point of touching each other.” (Colbert and Morales, 1991, p. 127)

The reptiles, as we have noted, have one bone in the middle ear and several bones in the lower jaw, and mammals have three bones in the middle ear and only one bone in the lower jaw. On the other hand, the jaw joints in the reptile are formed from different bones than they are in the mammalian skull. Thus, it is apparent that, during the evolutionary transition from reptile to mammal, the jaw joints must have shifted from one bone to another, freeing up the rest of these bones to form the auditory ossicles in the mammalian middle ear. (In fact, in most modern reptiles, the jawbones in question actually function in transmitting sound waves to the inner ear, so the transformation postulated above is not a functional change, merely an improvement in a fnction that these bones already had). As Arthur N. Strahler puts it, “A transitional form must have had two joints in operation simultaneously (as in the modern rattlesnake), and this phase was followed by a fusion of the lower joint.” (Strahler 1987, p. 414) The creationists find this process to be impossible to conceive, and claim there is no fossil evidence for it:

“The two most distinguishable osteological differences between reptiles and mammals, however, have never been bridged by a transitional series. All mammals, living or fossil, have a single bone, the dentary, on each side of the lower jaw, and all mammals, living or fossil, have three auditory ossicles or ear bones, the malleus, incus and stapes. In some fossil reptiles the number and size of the lower jaw bones are reduced compared to living reptiles. Every reptile, living or fossil, however, has at least four bones in the lower jaw and only one auditory ossicle, the stapes… There are no transitional fossil forms showing, for instance, three or two jawbones, or two ear bones. No one has explained yet, for that matter, how the transitional form would have managed to chew while his jaw was being unhinged and rearticulated, or how he would hear while dragging two of his jaw bones up into his ear.” (Gish, 1978, p. 80)

“Mammals also have three bones in their ears, while reptiles have only one. Where did the two ‘extras’ come from? Evolutionary theory attempts to explain it as follows: Reptiles have at least four bones in the lower jaw, whereas mammals have only one; so, when reptiles became mammals, there was supposedly a reshuffling of bones; some from the reptile’s lower jaw moved to the mammal’s middle ear to make the three bones there and, in the process, left only one for the mammal’s lower jaw. However, the problem with this line of reasoning is that there is no fossil evidence whatsoever to support it. It is merely wishful conjecture.” (Watchtower and Bible Tract Society, 1985, p. 81)

Not only is this explanation not “merely wishful conjecture”, but it can be clearly seen in a remarkable series of fossils from the Triassic therapsids. The earliest therapsids show the typical reptilian type of jaw joint, with the articular bone in the jaw firmly attached to the quadrate bone in the skull. In later fossils from the same group, however, the quadrate-articular bones have become smaller, and the dentary and squamosal bones have become larger and moved closer together. This trend reaches its apex in a group of therapsids known as cynodonts, of which the genus Probainognathus is a representative. Probainognathus possessed characteristics of both reptile and mammal, and this transitional aspect was shown most clearly by the fact that it had two jaw joints–one reptilian, one mammalian:

“Probainognathus, a small cynodont reptile from the Triassic sediments of Argentina, shows characters in the skull and jaws far advanced toward the mammalian condition. Thus it had teeth differentiated into incisors, a canine and postcanines, a double occipital condyle and a well-developed secondary palate, all features typical of the mammals, but most significantly the articulation between the skull and the lower jaw was on the very threshhold between the reptilian and mammalian condition. The two bones forming the articulation between skull and mandible in the reptiles, the quadrate and articular respectively, were still present but were very small, and loosely joined to the bones that constituted the mammalian joint … Therefore in Probainognathus there was a double articulation between skull and jaw, and of particular interest, the quadrate bone, so small and so loosely joined to the squamosal, was intimately articulated with the stapes bone of the middle ear. It quite obviously was well on its way towards being the incus bone of the three-bone complex that characterizes the mammalian middle ear.” (Colbert and Morales, 1991, pp. 228-229)

In a slightly later group, known as the ictidosaurians, the mammalian part of the double jaw joint seen in Probainognathus was strengthened, while the old reptilian part was beginning to become reduced in size. In describing a member of this group known as Diarthrognathus, paleontologists Colbert and Morales point out: “The most interesting and fascinating point in the morphology of the ictidosaurians (at least, as seen in Diarthrognathus) was the double jaw articulation. In this animal, not only was the ancient reptilian joint between a reduced quadrate and articular still present, but also the new mammalian joint between the squamosal and dentary bones had come into functional being. Thus, Diarthrognathus was truly at the dividing line between reptile and mammal in so far as this important diagnostic feature is concerned.” (Colbert and Morales, 1991, p. 128)

The therapsid-mammal transition was completed with the appearence of the morganucodonts in the late Triassic: “The axes of the two jaw hinges, dentary-squamosal and articular-quadrate, coincide along a lateral-medial line, and therefore the double jaw articulation of the most advanced cynodonts is still present … The secondary dentary-squamosal jaw hinge had enlarged (in the morganucodonts) and took a greater proportion if not all of the stresses at the jaw articulation. The articular-quadrate hinge was free to function solely in sound conduction.” (Strahler, 1987, p. 419)

Thus, the fossil record demonstrates, during the transition from therapsid reptile to mammal, various bones in the skull slowly migrated together to form a second functional jaw joint, and the now-superfluous original jaw bones were reduced in size until they formed the three bones in the mammalian middle ear. The reptilian quadrate bone became the mammalian incus, while the articular bone became the malleus. The entire process had taken nearly the whole length of the Triassic period to complete, a time span of approximately 40 million years. Since the determining characteristic of a mammal in the fossil record is the structure of the jaw bone and joint, all of the therapsids up to the morganucodonts are classified as reptiles, and all those after that are considered to be mammals. As Romer puts it, “We arbitrarily group the therapsids as reptiles (we have to draw a line somewhere) but were they alive, a typical therapsid probably would seem to us an odd cross between a lizard and a dog, a transitional type between the two great groups of backboned animals.” (Romer, 1967, p. 227)

The creationists, of course, cannot admit that such a transition exists, hence they are forced to assert that no such transformation is possible (without acknowledging the detailed fossil evidence which demonstrates that it occurred in precisely this manner). Because the fossil evidence of the transition from therapsid to mammal is extensive, detailed and well-studied, it is not surprising that most creationists make no mention of it. Those criticisms which have been directed at this transitional series (such as Gish’s light-hearted comment about the poor mammal who couldn’t hear or chew because his jawbones were being dragged around) are vacuous and do not stand up to analysis. The entire series of therapsid transitionals are each fully functional, completely capable of chewing their food and detecting airborne sounds (just as modern snakes eat with a double jaw joint and detect sounds through bones connected to their skull and jawbones).

Gish’s only attempt to answer the fossil evidence of the therapsid-mammal transition is to point out that “There is no doubt whatsoever therefore, that Morganucodon had a powerful standard reptilian jaw joint.” (Gish, ICR Impact, “The Mammal-like Reptiles”, December 1981) No kidding. Not only did Morganucondon have a typical reptilian jaw joint, so too did Probainognathus and Diarthrognathus (Gish mentions neither of these species). The point, of course, is that they also had a mammalian jaw joint. Gish’s only response to this is to belittle it as “extremely fragmentary” (Gish, ICR Impact, “The Mammal-Like Reptiles, December 1981). The therapsids are, in fact, quite well-known in the fossil record.

Gish then attempts to disqualify the double jaw joint by declaring, “The anatomy required for such a jaw joint, including the arrangement and mode of attachment for musculature, must be quite different from that required for a mammalian jaw-joint. How then could a powerful, fully functional reptilian jaw joint be accomodated along with a mammalian jaw-joint?” (Gish, ICR Impact, “The Mammal-Like Reptiles, December 1981) Apparently, Gish is implying that an animal with two functional jaw joints is simply not possible, and that the therapsids therefore must have had only one (reptilian) jaw joint. Apparently Gish is unaware that every one of the 2,000 species of snakes living today does quite well with a double jaw joint, using an elongated quadrate bone with a joint at each end. (This enables the snakes to swallow large prey animals whole.) Whether Gish likes it or not, double-jointed jaws are not an impossibility; they are found in modern reptiles, and they are clearly demonstrated in the fossil therapsids.

Gish makes one final effort to discredit the therapsid-mammal links: “Many of the diagnostic features of mammals, of course, reside in their soft anatomy or physiology. These include their mode of reproduction, warm-bloodedness, mode of breathing due to possession of a diaphragm, suckling of the young, and possession of hair.” (Gish, 1978, p. 79) The therapsids, Gish implies, probably had none of these characteristics and were thus merely odd reptiles, not mammalian at all.

Unfortunately for Gish, however, many of these mammalian characteristics do indeed leave indications in the fossil record. Cross sections of therapsid bones reveal a series of small holes called Haversian canals, which are typical of fast-growing, warm-blooded animals (and which are absent in cold-blooded reptiles), indicating that the therapsids developed a progressively more mammalian warm-blooded metabolism as time went on. And as the skull and jaws were becoming progressively more and more mammalian, the rest of the body structure was following suit:

“As for the post-cranial skeleton, other cynodonts closely related to Probainognathus show various features prophetic of the mammalian skeleton. In the genera Thrinaxodon and Cynognathus, for example, the vertebral column was distinctly differentiated into cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, thus delineating the three regions of the backbone in front of the pelvis so characteristic of the mammals. Although the cervical ribs were still defined in such cynodonts, they were very short and might well have been antecedant to the mammalian condition, in which the cervical ribs have become fused to become integral parts of the vertebrae. The lumbar ribs, too, were very short; indeed in Thrinaxodon they were in the form of small flat plates, instead of being elongated ribs. Such a distinct lumbar region in these mammal-like reptiles suggests that there was a diaphragm, a diagnostic mammalian feature that would seem possibly to have become established before the mammalian condition was reached.” (Colbert and Morales, 1991, p. 229)

Thus, several of the mammalian conditions which Gish implies the therapsids lacked were, indeed, probably present, including a diaphragm and warm-bloodedness. We do not know whether the therapsids laid eggs or bore live young, but this in itself is not a diagnostic feature between reptiles and mammals, since some snakes and lizards give live birth (indeed, the African Chameleons and the American Garter Snakes both possess primitive placental structures similar to those in mammals), and some mammals, such as the Spiny Anteater and the Platypus, lay eggs. We also do not know when the therapsids developed mammalian fur, although it has been established that other Mesozoic reptiles, including the pterodactyls, were in fact covered with a coat of hair. In nearly every feature, then, the therapsids demonstrated a reptile-like condition at the beginning of the Triassic, grow progressively more and more mammal-like, and finally ended up as primitive mammals in the late Triassic.

Now it’s your turn. Explain to me, in a non-religious way, how YOU think middle-ear bones appeared.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought.

Comment #76268

Posted by John B. on January 30, 2006 04:56 AM (e)

I thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact.

Ah yes, can always tell when someone doesn’t have the slightest clue to what a scientific theory is and what it means in the way that it is used in science, rather than the way it is abused by laymen. theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology. The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.

In layman’s terms, if something is said to be “just a theory,” it usually means that it is a mere guess, or is unproved. It might even lack credibility. But in scientific terms, a theory implies that something has been proven and is generally accepted as being true.

In science, a consensus theory is as good as it gets.

After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.

That’s a creationist argument. And it has been shown multiple times. And, as more fossiles have been found the process has become clearer over time.

Now, in order to save yourself any further embarrassment, I suggest you read ALL of the links on this Index of Creationist Claims:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

That is, if you’re open-minded… :)

Your open-mindedness is admirable.

Who is the one coming from a closed mind? Who refuses to understand? Admit the obvious religious agenda of ID and it’s tools? Plays word games? Spews out LONG-DEMOLISHED creationist crap from ignorance?

Please.

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time ? And where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is introduced at the same time ? Where do people get these crazy notions ?

We’re not stupid enough to fall for your strawmen arguments and bogus assertion. All theories are subject to challenge within science. And has been noted many times on this board, many them took DECADES of work to over-turn the prior theory.

Even if ID was a scientific theory, the proponents are acting like children and want their reward before doing their work. Science works by doing the work first, not going on a book-signing tour, or politicking, for a piece of crap “theory” that doesn’t really exist. There is no other way to be recognized in ADULT scientific world.

Ah, John B, how disappointing but predictable.

We started out with your interesting question, discussed the points one by one and then when all your arguments were exhausted and the picture was clear, you launched a flock of creationist canards and the old “where is it written” whine. Well, sorry, John Boy, but I’m not interested in duck hunting today even though all your creationist canards are sitting.

I’m surprised you didn’t bring up the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It proves we can’t exist, in case you didn’t know.

I hope you enjoyed Lenny’s ear bone discussion. I had to sit through the better part of a semester in Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy to get that information. Nice summary.

For more information, please go to talkorigins.org and read through as many of the creationist claims as you have time, and stop wasting ours. Thank you for your attention.

I thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact.

This makes me want to strangle someone.

As was already stated, a scientific theory is something that has been repeatedly supported by evidence and is accepted as a viable explanation. However, let’s take this a step deeper. All theories in science are based on observation, and therefore subject to Hume’s problem of induction. If you want to deny them on the basis that we do not know everything, and at some point they may be falsified, this is plausible.

However, this means one of two things:

1) You need to accept it as the correct answer until it is falsified. Which would mean teaching evolution in schools until a better scientifically supported alternative comes along - as of yet, there are none. If you think ID is, please reference me any studies with lab methodology, data sets, and procedures clearly documented. Failing that, statistical analyses and real-world observation are fine, so long as they also have clearly documented procedures, data sets, and methodology. No opinion articles.

2) You need to reject all “theories” subject to this flaw and strenuously advocate not teaching them as well. To reference a few examples, that would include the “theory” of internal combustion (which means you would have to immediately advocate we stop making cars), the “theory” of gravity (which means you would have to advocate we immediately begin bolting everything to the earth and strap humans down at all times), and the “theory” of air pressure (which means you are going to explode momentarily). If you seriously want to reject everything that suffers from the problem of induction, don’t be disingenous and target only one. I’d respect your opinion, at least (though disagree) if you went after ALL of them.

But as it stands, you suggest a highly non-scientific alternative to a tested, accepted scientific theory. This is foolish.

Also, before you accuse me of being close-minded, let it be known I’ve probably read over 20,000 pages regarding this subject, spoken personally with or attended serious presentations by several notables in each field (including both Behe and Stephen J. Gould), and done quite a bit of research before coming to my conclusion. It is not close minded to reasonably evaluate the facts, understand the issue, and then come to a judgment of right or wrong.

That is, in fact, the essence of being open-minded. I’m quite willing to listen to you, if you are willing to provide me with legitimate scientific studies supporting ID. Until then, I have already judged you have nothing based on the evidence, so you’ll need something new.

John was all…

Irreducible complexity is not a religious concept — it does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. And irreducible complexity is just a criticism of evolution theory and is not a scientific explanation for the origin of species.

Since Dembski and Behe claim the designer behind IC could be a time traveler or space alien I’d agree with you that it by itself is not religion. IC is obviously science fiction in the same vein as 2001 Space Odyssey.

Also worth noting not a single peer reviewed IC article in a legitimate science journal has been published in the 10 plus years this science fiction IC theory has been popularized. Calling it a legitimate science theory is also fiction at this point. Not to mention it is a dumb idea with zero evidence.

In order to conclude an intelligent designer is behind the so called “theory” of IC we have to first prove such a designer exists, it does not work the other way around. Sorry to be the one to tell you the bad news.

But we all know full well why religionist cling to IC, don’t we? It’s all about fundamentalist evangelicals desire to replace natural science with “theistic understandings” ;-)

So spare us the IC = science nonsense, we know better. You’ll get more support chanting this nonsense to the uneducated and poorly informed.

Comment #76288 posted by AD on January 30, 2006 10:44 AM

“I thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact.”

This makes me want to strangle someone.

Then strangle Judge Ed Carnes, who is on the 11th circuit panel hearing the appeal of the Cobb County evolution-disclaimer textbook sticker case –

“I don’t think y’all can contest any of the sentences,” Carnes said to an attorney for parents who sued challenging the stickers during a hearing on the case. “It is a theory, not a fact; the book supports that.”

John B.-

That’s awfully lame. If you’re going to go the argument-from-authority route, you should at least pick a real authority. Or do you think that what federal judges say is Gospel?

I agree with John B on this one. Judges are smart and they know all sorts of stuff.

Take Judge Jones, for example, the subject of this thread. I’m sure John B would agree that as a judicial authority Judge Jones was, of course, correct in his decision.

John B., you were asked: “And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?”

And you replied: “After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.”

And the Rev. Dr. provided an evolutionary explanation of the middle ear bones.

By my count, it is your turn. Will you explain how IC systems appear?

John B. Wrote:

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time ?

That line sounds remarkably like the way our friend Mr. Fafarman writes. As a matter of fact, a search of PT will show that the phrase (clause? something else?) “Where is it written” appears 4 times in the archives, all written by Larry and 3 of the 4 times in this exact context.

I think we’ve met our uber-troll.

Comment #76272 Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 30, 2006 07:44 AM

“After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.”

From my website:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now it’s your turn. Explain to me, in a non-religious way, how YOU think middle-ear bones appeared.

Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.

So according to you, jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones by this long unlikely series of odd, fanciful, and fortuitous steps. And it was all accomplished just by random mutation and natural selection. Every little step along the way just happened to have some advantage that was chosen through natural selection. No stage in the process was too large to be bridged by evolution. And evolution of jawbones into middle-ear bones was somehow accomplished in different lines of evolutionary descent ( i.e., by means of “convergent” evolution ). And convoluted evolutionary processes such as this account for all the tremendous amount of complexity and diversity that we see in organisms and biological systems today.

By the way, did Prof. Padian go through this long explanation when he told Judge Jones during the Dover trial that jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones? Or did Judge Jones just take his word for it?

So according to you, jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones by this long unlikely series of odd, fanciful, and fortuitous steps.

What makes you say that these steps are odd, fanciful and fortuitous?

You ARE saying that you know this. But how do you know this? Because the evidence is right there…it’s akin to forensic anthropology, used in crime labs every day. What makes you doubt the evidence?

John B., you were asked: “And if you think IC is not a religious concept, then please feel free to explain how IC systems appear … ?”

And you replied: “After you feel free to explain how a jawbone can evolve into middle-ear bones. And that is a relatively small evolutionary change as evolutionary changes go.”

And the Rev. Dr. provided an evolutionary explanation of the middle ear bones.

By my count, it is your turn. Will you explain how IC systems appear?

A non-religious explanation, if you please.

John B. whines …

Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.

We don’t have to admit it. We do know how it happened.

So according to you, jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones by this long unlikely series of odd, fanciful, and fortuitous steps.

Probability of it happening in the first place = slim. Probability that it did happen = 100%. Mammals as we know them or mammal-like animals at all were never pre-ordained to arise. It just happened. It could have gone in other directions, but didn’t. This is one of those big points that really stick in creationist craws!

And it was all accomplished just by random mutation and natural selection. Every little step along the way just happened to have some advantage that was chosen through natural selection.

You seem to be laboring under the assumption that the jaw joint is the only trait that determines an individuals fitness. That is simply too naive for words. Organisms have many different traits, all of which are under some level of selective pressure (from 0 to 100% lethal). The jaw adaptions were not necessarily the primary determiners of fitness. They may have simply hitched a ride on other traits. Maybe homeothermy.

No stage in the process was too large to be bridged by evolution. And evolution of jawbones into middle-ear bones was somehow accomplished in different lines of evolutionary descent ( i.e., by means of “convergent” evolution ).

This statement simply indicates that you don’t have a clue about the topic. All mammal lines did not converge upon the middle-ear bone setup. They inherited it from their common ancestor (who was most likely a species of cynodont). We may not have the exact species in the records, but we probably have a close cousin.

And convoluted evolutionary processes such as this account for all the tremendous amount of complexity and diversity that we see in organisms and biological systems today.

The only correct statement you have made in this thread! It is because of the complexity of life, that the subject requires years of dedicated study. To master even a tiny portion of the complexity requires 10 years or so of post-secondary study. You aren’t going to get any understanding by attending a weekend workshop on Evolution vs. ID! But I’m sure the workshop sponsors will be willing to sell you a couple of things while you’re there!

Vandalhooch (A biology teacher who has seen enough of this troll.)

Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.

OK, so ID doesn’t have any “alternative to evolution” after all, and when Iders like you claim they do, they are just lying to us.

Thanks for making that so clear.

Alas for you, though, I don’t have to admit anything. We DO know. We have the fossils. You can go see them for yourself. (shrug)

So according to you, jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones by this long unlikely series of odd, fanciful, and fortuitous steps.

Unlikely compared to what? Something has to happen. Someone always wins them lotteries y’know. Just ain’t me. ‘Odd’ steps? Again, odd, to whom? Compared to… rabbit ears? Flying snakes? Fanciful? Compared to… peacock tails? The duck-billed platypus? Fortuitous? Only if you’re invested in being a mammalian descendent of a therapsid. ‘Fortuitous’ is all hindsight.

In short, your little quoted passage here is as perfect an illustration of the concept of ‘the argument from personal incredulity’ as I have ever seen. Congratulations, I guess. You are one incredulous dude.

Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.

By the way, this is patently untrue. Given your comments, you say this, yet you make judgements about “odd” jumps and their improbability without any grounding in reality at all.

Yeah, they COULD be odd or improbable…but how do you KNOW? Unless you don’t have that honesty you claim you have…

And it was all accomplished just by random mutation and natural selection.

What do you propose be added?

Lenny Wrote:

What do you propose be added?

At least one big resounding POOF!! please.

Comment #76337

Posted by John B. on January 30, 2006 06:11 PM (e)

Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.

Though you present your opinion as “honest,” it is not. Rather it is the deliberate dishonesty of the creationist who, when presented with facts that have taken dozens of dedicated, honest scientists decades to uncover, analyze and prepare in a manner that a person with an 8th grade eduction could understand it, pretend it is just so much “gobbledy-gook” by a bunch of “evil, conspiratorial, atheists.”

And, in great irony, these are the same people who will factually assert their religious opinions, almost universally without a basic understanding of the origins and underpinnings of their religion. And I’m not talking their touted histories in which they’re usually pretty weak. But the history before their history – the one they don’t teach and, in their origins, did their best to destroy.

At this point, I’m going to stick my head up. I’m a frequent visitor but very infrequent commenter here at PT for about six months now. In all that time I’ve seen many, many episodes more or less identical with what we’ve seen with John B.: creationist makes negative assertions, the assertions are refuted, the creationist is asked in turn put forward some kind of positive hypothesis, testable proposition, etc AND THEY NEVER DO. Not ever.

I’m not a scientist and a lot of the biological detail gets beyond me, but it’s painfully obvious who here is actually doing the hard yards in the lab or the field, and who is not.

Creationists - you got nothin’.

I agree with Michael. Seeing this thing happen so many times sort of makes me sick with Deja Vu.

These self named righteous people, coming here and proving their dishonesty, just like the board members in the Dover case. No thanks, I would rather they don’t preach their junk in ANY school.

It’s so funny. Lenny being accused of dishonesty after he explained the ear bones to the troll. False accusation, there is another thing for John B’s account.

John B. wrote:

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless other scientific theories are criticized at the same time ?

That line sounds remarkably like the way our friend Mr. Fafarman writes. As a matter of fact, a search of PT will show that the phrase (clause? something else?) “Where is it written” appears 4 times in the archives, all written by Larry and 3 of the 4 times in this exact context.

I think we’ve met our uber-troll.

I think Fafafooey is also posting as “Andy H.” over at the “Discovery Institute Says It” thread. What do you think?

John B., after reading the Rev Dr’s evolutionary explanation of the middle ear bones (offered in hope that you would then respond with your explanation of how IC systems come to be), you wrote: “Unlike you, I at least have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know.”

I interpret this to mean: a) You don’t know how IC systems come to be. b) You don’t accept the Rev Dr’s explanation.

As far as (a) is concerned, I hope your interest in the subject will lead you to do further investigation and that you will return to let us know what you found out.

Regarding (b), it is not clear to me whether you are: 1) denying the changes over time in the jaw/ear bones that the fossil record shows, or 2) denying that RM/NS can explain those changes

Can you clarify your position?

I think Fafafooey is also posting as “Andy H.” over at the “Discovery Institute Says It” thread. What do you think?

Indeed. Didn’t Larry disappear after that note from the admin saying that “Thordaddy,” “Larry Fafarman,” and “the pro from dover” had all posted from the same IP?

Hey Larry, weren’t you ranting about people using pseudonyms? Why do you find it necessary to do so yourself?

Ok, so we can basically sum this whole conversation up as follows:

cdesign proponentsists: Goddit, Evilution is wrong, Darwin sucks. scientists: Here, let me show you how this works, it’s really cool. (Followed by a detailed description with evidence of a truly wondrous progression about evolution.) cdesign proponentsists: Nuh-uh. scientists: “Nuh-uh” isn’t really a valid scientific argument. cdesign proponentsists: Yuh-huh.

We’ll know for sure the moment “John B” and “Andy H” start publicly patting “themselves” on the back: “My arguments are really well-researched and persuasive, don’t you think? I do.”

Maybe we should ask them what their thoughts are on the real story behind meteor showers, or the paleontological accuracy of Jurassic Park…

Larry Fafarman: Where is it written than an existing scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is presented at the same time? Comment #65243 on Activist Judge or Just Poor Reading Skills thread

“John B” Above: …where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is introduced at the same time?

Those quotes show pretty strong evidence of comment descent. Which in turn is pretty strong evidence that Fafafooey is violating item 6 of the Comment Integrity Policy.

Larry, masquerading as John B. in direct violation of Rule 6 (as he threatened he would), in Comment 76337 Wrote:

By the way, did Prof. Padian go through this long explanation when he told Judge Jones during the Dover trial that jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones? Or did Judge Jones just take his word for it?

Well, why don’t we go look at the trial transcripts? Since you’ve already demonstrated you’re too lazy to look it up (or too dishonest to admit that you did and found your insinuation unsupported), I took the liberty of pasting the relevant portion.

Dover Court Reporter, Day , PM session, Part 1 Wrote:

Q. Let’s talk about mammals. One of the examples that’s referenced in Pandas is the mammalian ear, inner ear. Could you talk to us about how Pandas discusses the mammalian ear and what science shows about that? And you’ve prepared a demonstrative for this?

A. I put a couple of slides together about the transition in the evolution of the mammal ear, which is unusual compared to all the other vertebrates. The next slide I think shows a bit about this. This is going to get a little complex anatomically, but I hope it will only hurt for a minute. The bones of the middle ear, mammals have three of them. You might have heard of them as the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup.

The stirrup is a bone that’s always in the ear, but the mammals have this anvil and hammer thing which are just outside that stirrup bone. These anvil and hammer bones actually correspond to bones that previously made up the upper and lower jaw joint in all the other animals, not just reptiles or anything like them, but everybody pretty much. So the Pandas authors claim that to make this correspondence is really stretching it, because they said there’s no fossil record of this amazing process.

Consider, that to make this change one of these bones had to cross the hinge from the lower jaw into the middle ear region of the skull. Again this is from Pandas page 121. So they’re saying there’s no record of this process and it would be an amazing thing to have to change. The next slide shows that there are actually many sources going back several decades that differ, and there are just a few of them there.

The first one was actually an article by Romer, who was the dean of American vertebrate paleontology for half the century about a sinodaun that has an incipient mammalian jaw articulation, and I’ll show you what that is in a minute. That comes from the journal Science in 1969. Here’s a somewhat later paper by Edgar Allen of Madison, and now it’s Chicago, on the evolution of the mammalian middle ear, and then a third one I put there is very recent piece, a little piece in Science by Thomas Marin from Germany and Gigi Lowe, who’s curator at the Carnegie museum here in Pittsburgh just a few hours away, one of the great museums in the country, and they are talking about the evolution of these bones in the middle ear something that is uncontroversial as a principle in comparative anatomy of vertebrates in paleontology.

Q. Now, I note that first article I believe was from 1969.

A. Was.

Q. So this isn’t a new development?

A. Oh, no. Oh, no. It’s been known for decades.

Q. So what you’re going to show us is something that was known 25 years before Pandas was published?

A. Yes, and they discuss it. Sure. The next slide I think gives some detail of what’s going on here. Trying to make this as painless as possible, there are essentially two sets of bones that are involved in one animal or another in the hinge between the upper and the lower jaw, and outlined in different colors in the skull on top I think you can see an orange bone and maybe a purplish type bone, and in the lower jaw you can see a red one and a blue one.

Now, this is an animal that is not a mammal. It’s an ancient relative of mammals, and the jaw joint in this animal is formed by two bones, that blue one marked by a “Q” in the top jaw and the red one, which is called the articulator, in the lower jaw. So the quadrate and the articular are the two bones that in all other animals except mammals make up the jaw.

The next image is of a critter called probanigmasis, which again is not a mammal. It’s a little bit closer to mammals than the first guy is, and in this animal you will see that now not only do we have the articulation between the Q bone and the art bone, which is the quadrate and the articular in the upper and lower jaws, but also there is an articulation between the bone in the lower jaw marked with a “D” called the dentary and the squamosal in the skull, and this can be seen perhaps if I can rouse it, sort of in this area here where the dentary and the squamosal would meet right next to the quadrate and the articular.

So these animals actually have what we call a dual jaw joint of two pairs of bones that are actually articulating next to each other on the upper and lower sides of the skull. The next slide is of morogenucidaun, which is another animal, again slightly closer to mammals, that also shares this dual jaw joint of the two bones, and the top of the two bones with the bottom I won’t bother with the details, and finally the fourth slide is of a typical garden variety, garbage pail variety possum, which has now changed this articulation so that only the dentary and the squamosal bones are connected.

The quadrate and the articular are no longer part of the jaw joint. So we have gone from a quadrate articular joint in which the dentary and squamosal don’t participate to two animals, the second and third I showed, there are others like diarthrodnatus I could have shown, in which you have two pairs of bones sitting next to each other and articulating, making that jaw joint, to a situation in mammals, the possum is an example, but many, many mammals in the fossil record would do as well as all the mammals today in which just the new articulation the dentary squamosal is made.

So you might ask what happened to the quadrate and the articular bones, and the next slide shows that actually in the course of time you can see that, again just to summarize this, this transition, the next indication is of the original condition of the quadrate articular joint only to the next condition of having both the quadrate articular and the dentary squamosal joints which is present in these two animals to only the dentary squamosal joint, and this is the way that scientists understand this transition to have taken place.

The next slide gives you a sense of what this anatomy is on the inside of the ear. Now what you’re looking at in the top is a depiction of the ear bones in some of early mammals. Now, if you can see where the pointer is pointing here on this upper right diagram, this long structure here with a big hole in the middle is called the stapes, and this is an ear bone that connects up to the eardrum in the inner ear, this little funny snail shaped thing, this bone, the stapes, has been in animals ever since they came out on land.

In fact, even the watery ancestors of land animals have this in one form or another. Next to this you’ll see a little “Q” and a little “A” which are the quadrate and the articular. These are the two parts that usually that before just made up the jaw joint, but now they are making up part of the ear bone. They are connecting up to it. On the bottom when you look at this, here is this stirrup shaped bone here which we would call the stirrup next to a bone marked by an “I”, which is the anvil, and the bone next to it marked by an “M”, which is the malleus, or hammer.

So malleus and the incus, or the hammer and the anvil, are actually the quadrate and the articular that used to be in the jaw joint, and now they are hooked up to the stapes here of the ear. They always were connected to the stapes, but now they are moved so that the hammer, or the articular, is now moved into the skull rather than being part of the lower jaw.

Now, Pandas says this is a very difficult transition to make, and yet we see it embryologically and we see this in the fossil record in the transition of the jaw joints. I think the next indication on the slide will give you a picture if I may, the next I think indication is the Pandas version of this, which identifies these bones as the incus and the states. The stapes as I have already shown is the stirrup. That’s always been in the ear.

I’m not really sure why they call this a relocation as the incus and the stapes when it’s been there when actually what is relocated is really the articular bone which used to be in the lower jaw and now is in part of the ear. So the anatomy here is a little bit confused, and I’m sure they didn’t mean to do this purposely, but again if they get this wrong, how much else is wrong that we don’t know about or that is not being shown to students or has not been obviously corrected in the second edition or in any subsequent work as far as I know?

I think the next slide shows where the stapes is in both things. That’s just so you can see where the stapes is the comparable structures. They may look different. One is much more stirrup shaped than the other, which is more rod shaped, but they’re the same bone. They hook up to the same structures.

Q. So again here the point that Pandas makes is that there cannot be and have not been natural processes that account for this evolution?

A. And this is just an example of the kind of argumentation that’s made to try to say that these transitions are difficult to make and we have no evidence for them, but as I have shown and as you have seen there has been fossil evidence going back decades that show us animals with dual pairs of bones in the jaw joints which is perfect intermediate form. It’s kind of like if you had a cup in this hand and you want to transfer it to this hand, well, you could go like that, just toss it from one to the other. But if you take it in both hands and then move it this way, but for a while you’ve got it in both hands. That’s sort of what the mammal jaw was doing.

Q. Now, you’ve pointed out that what you have just testified about was well known 25 years before Pandas was written. I mean, that those articles were from the late 1960’s. Are you familiar with qualifications or backgrounds of the authors of Pandas?

Kevin Padian, direct by Mr. Walczak

Kevin also spoke at length about the evolution of fish, feathers, wings, common behaviors of birds and dinosaurs, and whales, plus a comparison of canines vs. Tasmanian wolf. And he backed it up with tons of evidence.

Comment #76603 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 31, 2006 10:21 PM

“ By the way, did Prof. Padian go through this long explanation when he told Judge Jones during the Dover trial that jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones? Or did Judge Jones just take his word for it? “

Well, why don’t we go look at the trial transcripts? Since you’ve already demonstrated you’re too lazy to look it up (or too dishonest to admit that you did and found your insinuation unsupported), I took the liberty of pasting the relevant portion.

So is this what evolutionary biologists do, spend their time making up tall stories like this one ? LOL When I was in college, this kind of lecture was called “arm waving.” Judge Jones must have been completely bamboozled but was ashamed to admit it.

So is this what evolutionary biologists do, spend their time making up tall stories like this one ? LOL When I was in college, this kind of lecture was called “arm waving.”

Get your money back. You obviously got nothing for your education, since what was pointed is obviously to anyone with a room temperature IQ.

LOL.

By the way…I see you dealt with NONE of the substantive points that were brought up by previous comments. And I quite sincerely doubt that you even read the excerpts of the decision or transcipts that have been posted in this thread, let alone any portion of them, let alone their entirety.

Posted by John B. on February 1, 2006 12:59 PM (e) … So is this what evolutionary biologists do, spend their time making up tall stories like this one ? LOL When I was in college, this kind of lecture was called “arm waving.” Judge Jones must have been completely bamboozled but was ashamed to admit it.

Why do you do this Larry? I cannot see what is to be gained in making stupid statements, having them disputed, then refusing to listen to anything.

What was you doing in college? Had you gotten lost on the way to the library?

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW THATSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSssSS CRAZYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on January 27, 2006 3:50 PM.

Judge Jones and the Scientific Status of ID was the previous entry in this blog.

The “Ostrich Dinosaur Body Plan” has Evolved … Twice! is the next entry in this blog.

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