Secondary Addiction, part 3: Ann Coulter on Evolution

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Here is part 3 of James Downard’s autopsy of Ann Coulter’s book. As before, I am only posting this guest contribution by Jim Downard as a courtesy to him, without having myself contributed to it. Further installments from Jim are expected.

The last four chapters of Ann Coulter’s latest bestseller, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (thus a third of her book) are devoted to roasting “Darwiniac cultists” for their evolutionary delusions. As explored in the first two parts, Coulter’s ebullient confidence is inversely proportional to her knowledge. In the third part of an ongoing investigation of how Coulter could come to believe the things she does, James Downard looks into the background for one of her baldest assertions: the supposed bankruptcy of Archaeopteryx as a bird-reptile intermediate.

Continue reading Secondary Addiction, part 3, on Talk Reason

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You may find this article intersting:

Harris MP, Hasso SM, Ferguson MW, Fallon JF. The development of archosaurian first-generation teeth in a chicken mutant. Curr Biol. 2006 Feb 21;16(4):371-7.

So, rather than gathering information from recognized, noted scientists in their fields, Coulter selected Behe, Berlinski and Dembski. Does she dismiss all others??? What makes these three opinions more valuable or factual than the real leaders in these fields???

This speaks to her motives and agenda. Again, like a poorly written ID or Creationist paper (lol), Coulter has revealed that she is seeking not to learn but, to validate her own beliefs.

After all, why talk someone who doesn’t say what you want to hear?

Nothing changes. Suppose that archaeopteryx is an unfortunate “sad birdlike animal,” wouldn’t that argue against the superb designer?

I at least like the “birdlike” adjective, showing that despite themselves the creationists recognize that it’s no house sparrow, or some other unequivocal modern bird. Did the old line, “it’s just a bird” finally die out among the pseudoscientists?

Wells and Coulter try to spin what is a none-too excellent bird specimen by today’s standards into a liability for evolution, rather than a crushing defeat for the hypothesis of a god-like (has to be godlike, since only gods have completely unknown purposes) designer. The tables are turned, so that “poor design” (compared to modern birds) tells for the designer, while reptilian birds cannot be transitional organisms.

Same old, I know.

What I thought worth mentioning is that technically Coulter is nonetheless right that archaeopteryx is no “transitional” in the strict sense. It may be two or three branches off of the line leading to modern birds, according to the cladists. I know, of course, that the creationists are badly misusing the near-inevitability that we will not find the “true transitional” in any ancient evolutionary sequence.

However, I expect it would be better to try to dispel the misperceptions fostered by IDists etc. than to set the stage for further technically correct statements that archaeopteryx is not transitional to modern birds. Archaeopteryx is part of the adaptive radiation that eventually led to modern birds, and as such is quite informative re the closely related “true transitional”.

Will there ever be a forum in which we could press for a credible IDist explanation for archaeopteryx, rather than simply responding to their ignorant attacks upon the evidence? Downard’s response is necessary and useful, however the IDists once again manage to raise the questions, however badly, while they are do not, and cannot be compelled or cajoled into, telling us what sort of explanation they might have for an unfortunate “sad birdlike animal.”

Does archaeopteryx evince the marks of rational design (which surely would be the best indication of design possible–if perhaps even that is not conclusive by itself (animals produce what appear to be “rational design”))? No? Does it include the marks of derivation, as any evolutionary explanation would require? Certainly.

To be sure, they haven’t been writing for anyone but those religiously committed to antievolution for a long time, thus they never have to give an explanation for an unfortunate “sad birdlike animal.” None of them want actual explanations for phenomena, rather they insist on “design” to be the template for all allowable explanations.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Thanks again Mark and James.

Near the top of Section 6 there is a minor typographic error;

Like Coulter (2006, 235), Wells (2000, 213-126) trumpeted the Archaeoraptor hoax (where a Chinese fossil merchant had sold a spliced together dino-bird that ended up highlighted by National Geographic). See .…

This is (2000, 123-126)

And it should be noted that this information on Microraptor predates Coulter’s current book by three years. So why didn’t it come up in her reference to Archaeoraptor? That’s a no-brainer: Coulter is a “no-brainer” – and a lazy one at that.

Not entirely, her “tutors” and she are no-brainers and lazy.

Excellent! Science vs “Sciency”… Thanks for doing all this work.

If a Designer created all species we see (extant) and potentially all extinct species. Why did the Designer made so many “dead ends” such as Archaeopteryx? Is the Designer a joker or a complete inept to produce that kind of “sad bird-like” creature. Which brings us to the following, if Archaeopteryx did not give way to modern birds, why do IDiots recognize “bird” in the critter? Their failures in logic are only surpassed by their innate stupidity.

Perhaps Coulter’s ebullience is inversely proportional to the CUBE ROOT of her knowledge…?

Thanks Jim for another superbly referenced essay. It’s great to have so many references on the subject collected and organized. I’d like to mention a couple things though. In recent analyses Archaeoteryx tends to come out on the dinosaur side rather than on the bird side, although it is rather hairsplitting. And you have lost count of all the specimens. The tenth was announced last December and discussed at the DML. It pushes Archy further in the feathered dino direction. (Technically birds are dinosaurs and I am an ape, but you know what I mean).

For the layman who can’t see how birds could be related to reptiles as you know them, let me just say that theropod dinosaurs were quite unlike today’s reptiles (other than the flying ones).

Tyrannosaurus wrote:

Why did the Designer made so many “dead ends” such as Archaeopteryx? Is the Designer a joker or a complete inept to produce that kind of “sad bird-like” creature.

Why do people keep asking variants of this question? The answer is trivial—and I’m not even a bio-ID proponent.

There is nothing about the bio-ID argument that states the designer has to (a) himself have been designed (a point Dawkins can’t seem to grasp) or (b) be a perfect, benevolent designer. The essence of the claim is that the diversity of life as we see it could not have resulted from purely natural processes. Regardless of the merits of that claim, why do people insist on arguing that alleged incompetence of the designer is an argument against ID? It isn’t. The designer could be less than perfect, and he could be down-right sadistic.

Design incompetence, if it has merit, is an argument against God as the designer, but it is not an argument against ID per se.

J-dog Wrote:

Excellent! Science vs “Sciency”… Thanks for doing all this work.

I like that term. It’s like Truth and Truthiness. Here we have people who prefer science, the ID movement has people that like things that are “Sciency.” Sometimes, we get to see the worst of it - Sciency Truthiness.

I’ve seen over at UD that most people are ignoring James’ work by noting he’s being insulting and snarky. They’re ignoring the fact he has information to back him up.

Glen: What if archaeopteryx was a “happy birdlike animal?” That would blow Coulter’s entire thesis to Hell, wouldn’t it?

Heddle wrote:

The designer could be less than perfect, and he could be down-right sadistic.

And, um, how many ID proponents, or donors to ID-related causes, would agree with that statement as an “explanation” of anything?

Design incompetence, if it has merit, is an argument against God as the designer, but it is not an argument against ID per se.

Isn’t that more than half the battle, given that a first estimate of the proportion of ID supporters who believe that God is the designer is “all of ‘em”?

As much as they pretend to be keeping their mouths shut, they’re not. They can’t shut up about Jesus, Genesis, and the atheist conspiracy, and that’s why they look stupid in court, and lose, every time.

“ID per se” does not exist apart from fundamentalist apologetics sufficiently to delineate the two arguments.

heddle asked:

Tyrannosaurus wrote:

Why did the Designer made so many “dead ends” such as Archaeopteryx? Is the Designer a joker or a complete inept to produce that kind of “sad bird-like” creature.

Why do people keep asking variants of this question? The answer is trivial—and I’m not even a bio-ID proponent.

There is nothing about the bio-ID argument that states the designer has to (a) himself have been designed (a point Dawkins can’t seem to grasp) or (b) be a perfect, benevolent designer. The essence of the claim is that the diversity of life as we see it could not have resulted from purely natural processes.

Your problem is that you do have to say something about the designer in order to have a scientific theory – without that all you have is an argument from ignorance.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about you don’t have a science.

So, what is intelligence? Do you know what you’re talking about?

There are several reasons for saying you need to know the designer better, first and foremost, however, is just the unscientific knowledge gained from your past posts that you’re being dishonest and that you actually do think you know some attributes of the designer. You simply refuse to put your beliefs about the designer on the chopping block of critical investigation.

What mental attributes do you think this designer had?

Did it have foresight? Did it have emotion? Did it have a goal? Why does it design life forms? Could the intelligence exist within the germ cells of every evolving organisms? Maybe it’s an almost blind Turing machine in each cell, made of a DNA tape and ribosome computer, that only senses its environment through molecules and snips and pastes sections of DNA based on minimal knowledge?

Perhaps Heddle is trying to leave open the possibility that the Designer was in fact Shiva, and that he is pissed off.

There is nothing about the bio-ID argument that states the designer has to (a) himself have been designed (a point Dawkins can’t seem to grasp) or

Then what, did the Designer evolve? Or more to the point, why don’t you give us a designer from which predictions are possible? Dawkins is just filling in the blanks that are left deliberately by people like you who don’t want scientific explanations.

(b) be a perfect, benevolent designer.

We know who the designer is claimed to be, by the way. You guys aren’t very clever in that respect (or any other that I’ve seen).

The essence of the claim is that the diversity of life as we see it could not have resulted from purely natural processes.

Then it can’t have resulted from known intelligence, since known intelligences exist and act according to purely natural processes (using the common scientific sense of “natural”).

And no, the essence of the ID claim is that intelligence designed life. That’s a positive claim, for which positive evidence is needed.

Regardless of the merits of that claim, why do people insist on arguing that alleged incompetence of the designer is an argument against ID?

Because we’re able to think. You’ve got an idiot savant “designer”, who apparently is capable of designing excruciatingly complex organisms, well beyond our capabilities, who can’t manage to design a decent modern bird in the first shot. The designer is intelligent enough to design feathers and flagella, but gives the archaeopteryx teeth (heavy) and a bony (heavy again) tail.

If supposed exquisite “design” is said to point to an “intelligent designer”, then surely poorly designed organisms are counter-evidence. In reality, all of the evidence for “good designs” and for “bad designs” indicates evolutionary processes, and not design at all.

We constantly hear from IDists that this or that structure is too complex for humans to make. Design improvements on archaeopteryx are not very hard for humans to mentally produce at all.

So which is it, is the “designer” amazingly intelligent in making his creatures, or is he really poor at designing? We’re not willing to accept your standard, which is that so-called good (or more properly, truly excellent in some cases) “design” points to intelligence, while poor design points to what we do not know.

It isn’t. The designer could be less than perfect, and he could be down-right sadistic.

Did anyone mention sadistic designs? Did anyone say that archaeopteryx exhibits nothing that could be called “good design” if it actually were designed?

No, archaeopteryx is “well-designed” in many of its parts, while it is “poorly designed” compared to modern birds in recently adapted theropod dinosaur parts. Like evolution would predict, while at best not being a prediction of ID at all (more likely, we’d expect excellence in “design” across the board from an actual designer, or poor design across the board. Your designer of uneven prowess and/or output is unconvincing).

Design incompetence, if it has merit, is an argument against God as the designer, but it is not an argument against ID per se.

No one said it was incompetence across the board. And we know that God is the designer, no matter how often you protest.

And of course the real problem with “design incompetence” is that “poor designs” are not simply poorly thought out and/or executed parts of organisms, rather “poor design” has all of the marks of parts being adapted from precursors which are not very well-suited to the new use.

Btw, any intelligent designer would be expected to produce rational designs, at least sometimes. Why is there no good evidence for rational design at all, while instead we only see evolutionary adaptations?

We have an explanation for “poor design”. You have no explanation for anything. Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

So which is it, is the “designer” amazingly intelligent in making his creatures, or is he really poor at designing? We’re not willing to accept your standard, which is that so-called good (or more properly, truly excellent in some cases) “design” points to intelligence, while poor design points to what we do not know.

But this is vintage Heddle. You may wish to remember that Heddle routinely takes things that make no sense in his cosmology and puts them in the category of ‘miracle’. He is convinced that this is not a rhetorical trick, nor that such facts contradict his theory, nor do they lessen the ‘science’ he is trying to peddle. They’re just miracles, that’s all, and they fall outside the scope of science. But that doesn’t mean his scheme explains things poorly, certainly not…

(So maybe the bad features of archaeopteryx were a consequence of the ‘Fall’?)

heddle wrote

There is nothing about the bio-ID argument that states the designer has to (a) himself have been designed (a point Dawkins can’t seem to grasp) or (b) be a perfect, benevolent designer.

I agree (!) with heddle on point 2 (as did Darwin), but not on point 1. Try running a putative designer with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the designing (and manufacturing) through any of Dembski’s design detection apparatus (EF, CSI, SC) to learn why.

RBH

Glen Davidson wrote:

Then what, did the Designer evolve? Or more to the point, why don’t you give us a designer from which predictions are possible? Dawkins is just filling in the blanks that are left deliberately by people like you who don’t want scientific explanations.

The designer could have evolved. Nothing precludes it. You are making a lot of (false, as it turns out) claims about “people like me.” Dawkins has made the “then who designed the designer argument.” It’s a dumb argument when anyone makes it, including someone as smart as Dawkins. And I don’t claim ID is science, so I am under no obligation to use it to make predictions.

Then it can’t have resulted from known intelligence, since known intelligences exist and act according to purely natural processes (using the common scientific sense of “natural”).

I suppose, if nit-picking is your form of argument. Any reasonable person would understand that I meant this: ID does not rule out that a less-than-perfect evolved intelligent creature imperfectly “built” some subset of components of life on earth. Yes, in that view it was all “natural” but what I clearly meant was that life on earth (in this view) required intelligent intervention, and did not arise solely by evolutionary processes.

Because we’re able to think. You’ve got an idiot savant “designer”, who apparently is capable of designing excruciatingly complex organisms, well beyond our capabilities, who can’t manage to design a decent modern bird in the first shot. The designer is intelligent enough to design feathers and flagella, but gives the archaeopteryx teeth (heavy) and a bony (heavy again) tail.

Again, the motivations and perceived shortcomings of the designer are not relevant. It is only a question of whether it could have happened without intelligent, though not necessarily omniscient or benevolent, intervention.

No one said it was incompetence across the board. And we know that God is the designer, no matter how often you protest.

How often I protest—hmm, that would be zero, since I am on record as claiming my belief that the designer is God. Do you grasp the difference between arguing in the most general of terms what ID is claiming and what I specifically believe?

Btw, any intelligent designer would be expected to produce rational designs, at least sometimes. Why is there no good evidence for rational design at all

I’m not sure what that means—do you consider all terrestrial life to be irrational in its form and function?

Superbly informative. The parts about the temporal context of Archaeopteryx, the origins of feathers, and the genetic leftovers of teeth in birds were particularly interesting; these are topics I’ve not seen discussed very clearly elsewhere.

And the last two paragraphs were as good a summary of the evolution/creationism “debate” as I’ve ever seen…

Also: Nav links. Hooray! :)

Currently trying to wrap my head around the sources regarding chickens having “the genetic mechanisms for making teeth”. I’d never even heard about this…

Development of teeth in chick embryos after mouse neural crest transplantations

Teeth were lost in birds 70—80 million years ago. Current thinking holds that it is the avian cranial neural crest-derived mesenchyme that has lost odontogenic capacity, whereas the oral epithelium retains the signaling properties required to induce odontogenesis. To investigate the odontogenic capacity of ectomesenchyme, we have used neural tube transplantations from mice to chick embryos to replace the chick neural crest cell populations with mouse neural crest cells. The mouse/chick chimeras obtained show evidence of tooth formation showing that avian oral epithelium is able to induce a nonavian developmental program in mouse neural crest-derived mesenchymal cells.

Wow.

(I really don’t know very much about embryonic chimera research. Are there any resources, books etc that anyone would recommend if I were interested in learning more about this subject?)

Then what, did the Designer evolve? Or more to the point, why don’t you give us a designer from which predictions are possible? Dawkins is just filling in the blanks that are left deliberately by people like you who don’t want scientific explanations.

The designer could have evolved. Nothing precludes it. You are making a lot of (false, as it turns out) claims about “people like me.” Dawkins has made the “then who designed the designer argument.” It’s a dumb argument when anyone makes it, including someone as smart as Dawkins. And I don’t claim ID is science, so I am under no obligation to use it to make predictions.

I didn’t say you claim ID is science, I noted that people like you don’t want any scientific explanations.

But we know how you “argue” anyhow, denying something in one way, arguing for it in another way. If you’re arguing about an ID that doesn’t claim to be science, then there is nothing to discuss. If it makes claims, then it needs to have reasons for making them, something you don’t deal with.

I’m not making false claims about you, you’re making false claims about ID as it really exists.

And no, “who designed the designer” is not stupid in a context where it is said that life is too complex to appear naturally. We have good reason to believe that any entity that could design life would have to be more complex than ourselves (if we ever design eukaryotic life de novo we will necessarily be more complex intelligences collectively than we are now). If we couldn’t appear naturally, how could “the designer”?

I asked, then what, did the designer evolve? And you didn’t answer, just saying what “could” happen, without any more analysis than you produced in the first place.

Then it can’t have resulted from known intelligence, since known intelligences exist and act according to purely natural processes (using the common scientific sense of “natural”).

I suppose, if nit-picking is your form of argument. Any reasonable person would understand that I meant this: ID does not rule out that a less-than-perfect evolved intelligent creature imperfectly “built” some subset of components of life on earth. Yes, in that view it was all “natural” but what I clearly meant was that life on earth (in this view) required intelligent intervention, and did not arise solely by evolutionary processes.

You’ve just shown how important the definition of “natural” is in this context, and why Dawkins’ question (not original with him, I’ll wager) is appropriate. Intelligence is just another natural proces, and does not intervene without some explanation being needed. How can you have intelligent intervention without explaining how intelligence “naturally” arose? I know, poof, and you don’t care about holding ID to scientific standards because you supposedly don’t think it’s science. That may be true, but many IDists say that it is, so deal with it scientifically instead of with obfuscation and the run-around.

Because we’re able to think. You’ve got an idiot savant “designer”, who apparently is capable of designing excruciatingly complex organisms, well beyond our capabilities, who can’t manage to design a decent modern bird in the first shot. The designer is intelligent enough to design feathers and flagella, but gives the archaeopteryx teeth (heavy) and a bony (heavy again) tail.

Again, the motivations and perceived shortcomings of the designer are not relevant. It is only a question of whether it could have happened without intelligent, though not necessarily omniscient or benevolent, intervention.

Causes are relevant, Heddle. You say otherwise, because you don’t want to be held to account for causation. You want to claim by default that life was designed, without dealing with the causes that you claim are responsible.

Of course you failed to address why some parts of archy are well designed, some poorly, the real answer being simply that they evolved and were not designed. But why should you deal with causation, since you just implied that your claims don’t depend upon actual evidentiary issues? Double standard, or more like you don’t want to be held to any standards.

No one said it was incompetence across the board. And we know that God is the designer, no matter how often you protest.

How often I protest—hmm, that would be zero, since I am on record as claiming my belief that the designer is God. Do you grasp the difference between arguing in the most general of terms what ID is claiming and what I specifically believe?

Do you know why science deals with specific claims, and not vague general statements?

Btw, any intelligent designer would be expected to produce rational designs, at least sometimes. Why is there no good evidence for rational design at all

I’m not sure what that means—do you consider all terrestrial life to be irrational in its form and function?

Try reading it slowly? I brought up rational design, and even wrote “at least sometimes”, and you ask that vague question. Do you know why science deals with specifics, and not impossibly open-ended questions like that one?

Where’s the rational design in organisms? Why do we see evolutionary changes, but not the sort of rational designs that cut through the difficulties of adapting a leg into a wing? Quit trying to turn it to some question of whether terrestrial life is “irrational”, when it in fact is “non-rational” in its adaptations and derivations (though it ends up with “rational answers” at times, much as other “natural processes” do).

You must know what “rational design” means, so try answering the question, rather than trying to obscure the matter.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

If modern birds never evolved, what would be the status of archaeopteryx? Would it still be sad? Would it be refered to as bird-like? Would we be looking for transitional fossils between dinoaurs and archaeopteryx? Would Anne Coulter have evolved into Rush Limbaugh?

I saved a few links about a third of the way down on the linked page that show that the truth’s more complicated than you guys are making it.

But, Ghosty, Downard has provided us with a reasonably-detailed account of the dissenting opinions of Feduccia et al. from the “mainstream” point of view on feathers, dinosaur-bird cladistics, digit development, and so forth–even if he doesn’t always follow every such thread to the very latest publication.

The point is that anyone with an iota of intelligence and a dash of curiosity can easily work forward in time from Downard’s citations into the meat of the current literature–and into whatever mini-debates may may yet be going on within Evo-Devo, ornithology, and paleontology about the bird-dinosaur transition.

Coulter, Wells, Johnson, Dembski, and suchlike utterly fail to honestly present the range of opinion, much less actually investigate or pursue the available lines of evidence.

Heck, with a little genuine intellectual effort, any of those dastardly folk could’ve done what you’ve just done here. But, of course, “intellectual effort” is beside the point of what they’re actually trying to do.

For that matter, they would’ve come across you. While your arguments are ultimately inconsistent and self-defeating, they’re still more interesting attempts at rationalizing the evidence than the PoohBahs of ID ever seem to manage. Maybe you should start, uh, ghostwriting this stuff for them.

It couldn’t be any less inane than what they currently extrude…

Mike Ross Wrote:

If modern birds never evolved, what would be the status of archaeopteryx? Would it still be sad? Would it be refered to as bird-like? Would we be looking for transitional fossils between dinoaurs and archaeopteryx?

That’s a thought I’ve always found fascinating. If archy’s descendents hadn’t taken off (pun intended), Archy would just be a dinosaur. There would be no debate about whether he belonged to the same class as Compsognathus or not, it would be patently obvious that he did. Just a dinosaur with a few specialized traits. Every other dinosaur can largely be viewed the same way.

Archy stands out solely because he has some early versions of traits that later turned important. None of those traits is especially hard to derive evolutionarily from existing dinosaur traits.

It’s the same way all through the fossil record. Diarthognathus is important because it shows some early mamalian traits, but if mammals hadn’t exploded across the world, it would just be a therapsid with a funny jaw. Therapsids with even funnier jaws existed, but they didn’t turn into us, so nobody makes an arbitrary assignment of them to a new class.

Flip through the fossils and just imagine. If Longisquamous had been the ancestor of a major group, he would certainly be considered a new class. But then, find a fossil for which this claim couldn’t be made! Why restrict ourselves to fossils. Look at modern life. Take any living genera, look at it’s specialized trait as opposed to other genera and think, “This could be the start of something huge”. Of course, so could the next genera. It’s all about who wins. Pangolins are strange mammals now, but in 10 million years, they could be ancestors of Class Pangolidae, major new player in the biome! Of course, so could any field mouse.

I may be boring everyone else, but I find this staggering to think about.

Mike Ross Wrote:

Would Anne Coulter have evolved into Rush Limbaugh?

Being as they both reject evolution, they have no interest in experiencing it. They will remain, locked in their baramin, unable to truly appreciate the grandeur of life’s pagent. Pity them. Just don’t go easy on them.

Glen Davidson said, “What I thought worth mentioning is that technically Coulter is nonetheless right that archaeopteryx is no “transitional” in the strict sense. It may be two or three branches off of the line leading to modern birds, according to the cladists. I know, of course, that the creationists are badly misusing the near-inevitability that we will not find the “true transitional” in any ancient evolutionary sequence.”

What does it mean to be a “true transitional”?

Actually, I’d disagree. Archaeopteryx *is* tranisitional, whether it lies on the direct-ancestry line of modern birds or not. It represents the existence of creatures not distinctly dinosaur, nor distinctly bird.

One of the misconceptions I try to expunge from my students’ minds is the expection that a transitional form is “on the way” to being something else. All that’s required to make a species transitional is that it be difficult to clearly classify as one thing or another–and Archaeopteryx most certainly qualifies.

A species doesn’t have to be extinct to be transitional, either. There are creatures alive now which are remnants of transitional groups–eg, monotremes–or represent adaptational intermediates which could easily be considered transitional–eg, seals, which represent an intermediate point along a transition from terrestrial to aquatic tetrapod.

Lynn

Mostly right, Lynn. I used the wrong term when I said it wasn’t “transitional”. What I was meaning to say was that Coulter is largely correct when she writes something like this:

It’s just a dead end. It transitioned to nothing.

Downard disagreed with that, and I think that Coulter is largely right technically (well, actually archy almost certainly transitioned to something (that went extinct), just not to modern birds). He does agree that archy isn’t necessarily a direct ancestor, however I think he makes a small mis-step in disagreeing with Coulter’s statement, which is literally accurate (mostly).

I don’t like the term “transitional” for organisms which aren’t actually transiting from one form to another one (implied in this is usually that it is transiting to a modern form, eventually). Etymologically it seems the wrong term, but it is used in that way anyhow. I think that it sets up confusion, yet words only mean what they mean, so I agree with your statement most of the way.

I don’t think it’s true that present-day monotremes can rightly be called “transitionals” (unqualified) though. Perhaps I am wrong about this, but I think that at most they should be called “intermediate,” and only partially intermediate at that, due to the specializations of today’s monotremes.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

If archy’s descendents hadn’t taken off (pun intended), Archy would just be a dinosaur.

If theropod dinosaurs were still around, especially the Maniraptora, birds would be just dinosaurs, just as bats are mammals.

diarthognathus”? “two-jointed jaw”?

Great now I’m off to investigate early mammalian jaws.

I love you guys.

Design incompetence, if it has merit, is an argument against God as the designer, but it is not an argument against ID per se.

Thanks for the theology lesson, Heddle.

Why, again, should anyone pay any more attention to your particular religious opinions than anyone else’s?

“diarthognathus”? “two-jointed jaw”?

Great now I’m off to investigate early mammalian jaws.

I love you guys.

Check out:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/therapsd.htm

“She thinks Bill Clinton is at least a little bit gay. Her evidence? Well, all those sexual relations he’s had with women, of course.”

So the most heterosexual of persons have few or no relations with the opposite sex. I’m sure all altar boys are relieved to hear that.

Then by this reasoning, total homosexuals are the most heterosexual people of all. Gotcha.

How about a round of applause for Ann?

My favourite one on the list:

Darwinianism is Deadism!

What’s next? “Go to hell, all you Darwinianismistics”?

Maybe he’s a PhD in Microcalifragilistics?

Dr John - We DID look at the evidence. It was found wanting in ways that are legion and have been discussed in many venues, including this one. It was consigned to where it belongs - the scrap heap.

Sorry to veer away from the many worlds of Drs. Quincy & Griffin, but to comment on some of the prior posts, thanks to Gary Hurd for spotting my finger dyslexia in the Wells footnote. I’ve corrected my master text accordingly.

Pete Dunkelberg, thanks for the new Archaeopteryx data. I’d missed that bit (thought it related to the 8th specimen and filed it away for future ref).

The nomenclature matter: whatever was the earliest desribed taxon gets priority, so when specimens are found that allow identification with another, it can require name changes. Hence Apatosaurus today instead of Brontoaurus.

Anyway, one thing that comes through is how contact with genuine science rubs off, and learning often results. For contrast, there is that thought vacuum of ID, where one only gets retreads of last decade’s apologetics, dressed up as the impending design revolution.

It is gratifying always to spark an exploration into the sources we bump into in our various venues.

i’m seeing theorum pronounced “tay-OR-oom” for some reason. gives it a good old latin/catholic feel, you know? don’t forget to roll the R a little bit.

Presumably the gen. pl. of theus :-) (Unfortunately it doesn’t exist, but that shoudn’t bother a good ID “scientist”.)

There is no John Griffin listed on the Virginia Tech website

I’m sure he meant VTEC instead of VTECH. He works on the assembly line in a Honda engine plant.

She thinks Bill Clinton is at least a little bit gay. Her evidence? Well, all those sexual relations he’s had with women, of course.

So the most heterosexual of persons have few or no relations with the opposite sex. I’m sure all altar boys are relieved to hear that.

Then by this reasoning, total homosexuals are the most heterosexual people of all. Gotcha.

The insane accusation that Don Juan behavior is evidence for homosexuality was not invented by Ann Coulter, by the way. James Atlas, in his biography of Saul Bellow, made the exact same accusation against Bellow. That kind of extreme stupidity was all I needed to put Atlas on my never read list.

Coulter, of course, was already on that list of mine. And I’m sure Atlas did not invent this particular strain of brainlessness.

The idea that repressed homosexuals will make a big show of their heterosexuality isn’t a new one and goes back at least to the fifties. They idea being they fear discovery, so act to make their heterosexuality rampantly plain. It’s called “Overcompensation”, and it’s not restricted to repressed homosexuals. (For instance, someone who is Muslim in an area that legally enforces Christianity might act hyper-Christian in public to avoid people investigating his private life.)

I have no clue if this actually happens and don’t claim to be a psychiatrist or anything, but it was a commonly accepted truism back in my high school days (Florida).

This, of course, means Clinton doesn’t qualify, since he didn’t act PUBLICLY hetereosexual, he was caught having a secret affair. This isn’t remotely an example of overcompensation. If it was overcompensation, he would have trumpeted it to the rafters. But never let it be said that Coulter let a few facts stand in the way of casting aspersions on people she doesn’t like.

This, of course, means Clinton doesn’t qualify, since he didn’t act PUBLICLY hetereosexual, he was caught having a secret affair. This isn’t remotely an example of overcompensation. If it was overcompensation, he would have trumpeted it to the rafters. But never let it be said that Coulter let a few facts stand in the way of casting aspersions on people she doesn’t like.

I would have thought Tom Cruise would have been a bigger threat to them.

I don’t remember the exact words, but Letterman had something like this to say about Clinton’s original response to Coulter:

“He told her he was gay so she wouldn’t hit on him with her bony ass”

Is this another application of reverse psychology?

1) Some men pretend they’re gay to get close to women. 2) Supposedly having many relations with women means you’re gay. 3) Therefore, you have as many relations with women as possible to make it seem as if you are gay in order to get close to more women!

Letterman re Coulter: Clinton told her he was gay to explain why he didn’t hit on her bony ass. Tag line: “Clinton: only gay when it comes to crazy, evil bitches.” I just about wet my pants.

This may be a bit late, but even the Flying Spaghetti Monster wasn’t safe from the trolling of “Dr” Casey Powell. :(

http://www.venganza.org/hatemail.php

I watched Anne Coulter on C-Span’s BookTV rattle on about her new book to a roomful of girls at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in D.C. from my “Godless” apartment in Paris. The girls, mostly blonde except for one hispanic Harvard grad with 12 children, read their questions from cards that largely served as grapefruits for the pundit to swat. Seemed like a girls bathroom in a serority house in the 1950s, with plenty of guffaws about lipstick bits on front teeth. I was especially amazed when one girl (from Yale or Harvard or GWU) said that Coulter refuted “evolution” and “Darwinism” with pure science and then bashed her critics (this board). I was staring at my computer and asking in amazement: “You hold a degree from Yale?”

The poster who talked about rhetorical compression is exactly right. Any argument floated out into the telesphere or blogosphere gets equal time with any other argument. How often during that hour and change did I say out loud: “Where’s your proof?” And the girls were clapping and giggling in agreement. They applaud Coulter’s arguements about abortion “murder” and the war on terrorism but never see the murder involved in the War in Iraq, never see the details involved iin torture (or even if it’s effective strategy for gaining information) and of course never see that various parts of a mouse trap are useful in and of themselves and not, as Coulter’s “ID” argument goes, only something special when all the parts come together. She leaves out the time and context of evolution and for her purposes wins points with the powder blue and pink sweater crowd. It’s all curious this business.

There is a disconnect in the US between those who say they know things and others who really do know things. Problem resides in who has the better bumper sticker.

I watched Anne Coulter on C-Span’s BookTV rattle on about her new book to a roomful of girls at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in D.C. from my “Godless” apartment in Paris. The girls, mostly blonde except for one hispanic Harvard grad with 12 children, read their questions from cards that largely served as grapefruits for the pundit to swat. Seemed like a girls bathroom in a serority house in the 1950s, with plenty of guffaws about lipstick bits on front teeth. I was especially amazed when one girl (from Yale or Harvard or GWU) said that Coulter refuted “evolution” and “Darwinism” with pure science and then bashed her critics (this board). I was staring at my computer and asking in amazement: “You hold a degree from Yale?”

The poster who talked about rhetorical compression is exactly right. Any argument floated out into the telesphere or blogosphere gets equal time with any other argument. How often during that hour and change did I say out loud: “Where’s your proof?” And the girls were clapping and giggling in agreement. They applaud Coulter’s arguements about abortion “murder” and the war on terrorism but never see the murder involved in the War in Iraq, never see the details involved iin torture (or even if it’s effective strategy for gaining information) and of course never see that various parts of a mouse trap are useful in and of themselves and not, as Coulter’s “ID” argument goes, only something special when all the parts come together. She leaves out the time and context of evolution and for her purposes wins points with the powder blue and pink sweater crowd. It’s all curious this business.

There is a disconnect in the US between those who say they know things and others who really do know things. Problem resides in who has the better bumper sticker.

I watched Anne Coulter on C-Span’s BookTV rattle on about her new book to a roomful of girls at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute in D.C. from my “Godless” apartment in Paris. The girls, mostly blonde except for one hispanic Harvard grad with 12 children, read their questions from cards that largely served as grapefruits for the pundit to swat. Seemed like a girls bathroom in a serority house in the 1950s, with plenty of guffaws about lipstick bits on front teeth. I was especially amazed when one girl (from Yale or Harvard or GWU) said that Coulter refuted “evolution” and “Darwinism” with pure science and then bashed her critics (this board). I was staring at my computer and asking in amazement: “You hold a degree from Yale?”

The poster who talked about rhetorical compression is exactly right. Any argument floated out into the telesphere or blogosphere gets equal time with any other argument. How often during that hour and change did I say out loud: “Where’s your proof?” And the girls were clapping and giggling in agreement. They applaud Coulter’s arguements about abortion “murder” and the war on terrorism but never see the murder involved in the War in Iraq, never see the details involved iin torture (or even if it’s effective strategy for gaining information) and of course never see that various parts of a mouse trap are useful in and of themselves and not, as Coulter’s “ID” argument goes, only something special when all the parts come together. She leaves out the time and context of evolution and for her purposes wins points with the powder blue and pink sweater crowd. It’s all curious this business.

There is a disconnect in the US between those who say they know things and others who really do know things. Problem resides in who has the better bumper sticker.

I watched about 5 minutes and found myself swearing at the TV. I had to turn it off; I caught 5 min worth of lies about science-not a single shred of truth in the whole interval. Outrageous.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mark Perakh published on July 25, 2006 9:52 AM.

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