Dembski and Common Descent

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Finally we hear the full story about Dembski’s position on Common Descent

For the record: I personally don’t believe in common descent though I think there are lines of evidence that suggest considerable evolutionary change. At the same time, there are lines of evidence that suggest considerable discontinuity among organisms. Check out chapter 5 of my forthcoming book with Jonathan Wells titled THE DESIGN OF LIFE (publication date keeps being delayed, but I think it’ll be out in November).

Wells and Dembski together… Marvelous… I am sure the book will be a hit amongst creationists and will, once again, remain totally irrelevant to science and likely to be detrimental to religious faith. But at least now we know that Dembski does reject much of the evidence supporting common descent. I wonder if he is familiar with St Augustine?

As to “Design of Life”, isn’t this the follow-up to Pandas and People, found to be unconstitutional by the Dover court?

As a side note, does the following statement strike anyone as showing a compassion one would hope to associate with a Christian?

I can’t say I feel sorry for these atheistic scientists in agreeing to interview for EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED. When the BBC interviewed me for their Horizon documentary on ID (Horizon = the UK version of PBS Nova), they gave the ID side no warning that the program would be titled A WAR ON SCIENCE (I wouldn’t have agreed to be interviewed had I known that was going to be its title). What goes around comes around.

Of course, in this case, the scientists were told about a title which later was changed. Nevertheless, I thank Bill for his frank statements.

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The debate about labels is one of the most interesting aspects of the creation-evolution controversy to me, and at the same time one of the most frustrating. Since my primary training is in Biblical languages, and by my own efforts in linguistics, the... Read More

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Even the faithful at UcD seem to be disappointed by Dembski

Perhaps both you and those atheistic scientists were naive to assume the best intentions of popular media makers. I can understand why you may resent the BBC misrepresenting their project to you. But I can’t say I agree with your implication that the mistreatment you received is somehow balanced by another instance of mistreatment, regardless of who is on the receiving end. Schadenfreude is not a pretty thing to behold.

Others realize how ‘Expelled’ exposes the true nature of ID

From the movie trailer: - “There are people out there who want to keep Science in a little box where it can’t possibly touch God” - “Scientists are not allowed to even think thoughts of an intelligent Creator”.

If ID doesn’t publically indorse GOD as the designer, then the Expelled marketing target team thought it was necessary to do so.

If ID doesn’t publically indorse GOD as the designer, then the Expelled marketing target team thought it was necessary to do so.

Actually, you will find God under his different aliases (“God”, “the lord”, “Jesus”, “holy spirit”) nearly twice as often as the term “designer” when you search UD via google.

“Pandas and People, found to be unconstitutional by the Dover court”

Now, that’s some news! I wonder what it means for a book to be … unconstitutional ;-)

Para, It means that the ideas in such a book affect a given religious worldview, meaninly, naturalism and affiliates.

Darwinist PvM said:

Wells and Dembski together… Marvelous… I am sure the book will be a hit amongst creationists and will, once again, remain totally irrelevant to science and likely to be detrimental to religious faith.

It depends on which religious faith you have in mind. If you are talking about the religious faith called “Darwinism”, then, yes, any book that shows the scientific problems of the magical creative powers of natural selection is bound to be “detrimental to religious faith” (Darwinian religious faith).

As to “Design of Life”, isn’t this the follow-up to Pandas and People, found to be unconstitutional by the Dover court?

Yes, the only way to suppress contrary scientific views is not by showing that such a view has no evidence, but to use the Law to stifle it. Way to go, Darwinists!

Evolution must be the only “scientific” theory that needs the courts to be defended.

But at least now we know that Dembski does reject much of the evidence supporting common descent.

As any rational mind should do, since there is no evidence for such.

I wonder if he is familiar with St Augustine?

I am sure he has. Remember that in your citation of his words I bolded the word “uninformed”. Remember that. St Augustine is not saying that we should not use good arguments against nonsensical theories or mindsets. He is saying that we should not use wrong evidence against anything, or that will affect the way the unbeliever sees the faith. If Augustine were alive today, he would endorse the ID view,and be contrary to the notion that living forms are the result of an impersonal natural force. By the way, PvM, since you are a “Christian” (so you say), do you think that living forms are the result of a Mind or the result of the impersonal forces of nature?

You can’t serve two masters at the same time.

I’m impressed that Dembski “can’t say I feel sorry for these atheistic scientists” when the producers of EXPELLED lied to them about the name of the program, the purpose of the interview, and their credentials…because he didn’t know the name of the Horizon program. Did the Horizon team *lie* to Dembski? Did they misrepresent his views? Did he complain to the BBC about it? And even if the Horizon team was wrong, why does that excuse an even greater abuse of trust by another group of journalists?

Yes, the only way to suppress contrary scientific views is not by showing that such a view has no evidence, but to use the Law to stifle it. Way to go, Darwinists!

Reality check, the legal issue at hand in Dover was (in part) the scientific status of your “contrary view.” The decision was that the “contrary view” isn’t science at all but is instead a shameless attempt to shoehorn religious teaching into public schools. You might not like the decision, but I don’t see it being appealed, and I don’t see any other school districts promulgating the same policies in order to get a better result from a different judge. Why is that? Does the Darwinian Conspiracy extend to control of all the hundreds of right-wing christian judges appointed by Bush in the last seven years? Or maybe your “contrary view” just hasn’t done any of the work that would be necessary to rightfully call itself science, and most anyone who knows the law and the science involved accepts that that’s the case.

Evolution must be the only “scientific” theory that needs the courts to be defended.

I’m sure once your intellectual bedfellows the HIV denialists start trying to replace public school science teaching on that subject with christian apologetics thinly disguised as science, immunology will also need the courts to defend it.

Has anyone else noticed that Mats never addresses any of the responses to his comments, and never actually makes any arguments of his own, but just comes in and makes the exact same unsupported assertions (“no evidence for _____”) day after day after day?

Mats, what is the scientific theory of intelligent design? Why do ID proponents constantly refer to it, but can never refer us to it?

“Mats, what is the scientific theory of intelligent design? Why do ID proponents constantly refer to it, but can never refer us to it?”

Yes, what exactly is the scientific theory of Intelligent Design, Mats?

(sound of crickets chirping)

Mats?

Hello?

Here we go again …

Mats Wrote:

Para, It means that the ideas in such a book affect a given religious worldview, meaninly, naturalism and affiliates.

Mats, we’ve already examined this question in detail. You obviously didn’t read my comment in reply to the last time you called evolutionary theory a religion. Or, if you did, you have chosen not to address my response. Is this, perhaps, because you have no answer to the points I raised?

Repeating yourself does not make what you say any closer to the truth than it was the last time you said it.

That said, here’s where you’re wrong: (1) The new Dembski / Wells book will have no impact on real science. (2) Naturalism is not a religious position.

Mats, you call PvM a “Darwinist”, so I’m obviously in good company. However, I still have absolutely no idea what you mean by the term. I ask you for the second time: please define what you mean by “Darwinist”.

Mats Wrote:

It depends on which religious faith you have in mind. If you are talking about the religious faith called “Darwinism”, then, yes, any book that shows the scientific problems of the magical creative powers of natural selection is bound to be “detrimental to religious faith” (Darwinian religious faith).

ROFL. You are priceless. I wish I could be that funny, but I only ever remember really bad jokes.

Right, NS has “scientific problems” with its “magical creative process”. Except that, like, everyone who has studied evolution has no problem with the capability of NS to generate new species.

Hey, when are you going to examine the “scientific problems” with the “magical creative process” expounded by creationists? Cos, y’know, it’s only fair to give both “sides” the same treatment, right?

Yes, the only way to suppress contrary scientific views is not by showing that such a view has no evidence, but to use the Law to stifle it. Way to go, Darwinists!

Yay, a deliberate misrepresentation! I knew there’d be one in your post somewhere!

Of course, you know that PvM was referring to the teaching of ID in science class. ID is religion-based because it ignores all the principles of good science. MET is good science, because it is based on a huge body of evidence and logical deductions made from that evidence. Therefore, teaching ID as if it were science is just plain lying. It is unconstitutional because it favours one religious viewpoint above all others. OTOH, MET is independet of religion because it is based on evidence.

Evolution must be the only “scientific” theory that needs the courts to be defended.

It doesn’t. Biological research is not the least bit threatened by ID or any other form of creationism. What is threatened is the education of thousands of youngsters across the US. If they are presented with lies (i.e. ID) in science class instead of being taught the fundamentals of biology (which includes MET), they will leave high-school with an ignorant and confused view of biological science.

You are a prime example of what happens when someone has been taught nonsense instead of science. You wallow in ignorance but cannot acknowledge it. You cannot accept criticism of the position you have adopted. You flounder around trying to support the position you have adopted without understanding why your arguments are so laughably weak. You block out anything that could contradict the model of the world you have built in your head.

Prove me wrong, Mats. Go and learn some actual biology. But from scientists, not from creationist liars.

When PvM points out that Dembski rejects the evidence for common descent:

Mats Wrote:

As any rational mind should do, since there is no evidence for such.

There is bucket-loads of evidence. Go and read Dr. Theobald’s essay summarising it. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Then, if you can make some reasoned and cogent arguments against that evidence, I will listen to you. But inform yourself what the evidence actually is before you form an opinion about it.

Millions of scientists accept MET based on its firm foundation of evidence. Maybe the evidence is convincing, huh?

Mats Wrote:

I am sure he has. Remember that in your citation of his words I bolded the word “uninformed”. Remember that. St Augustine is not saying that we should not use good arguments against nonsensical theories or mindsets. He is saying that we should not use wrong evidence against anything, or that will affect the way the unbeliever sees the faith.

Yes, and in rejecting the evidence for common descent, Dembski is opening his faith to ridicule.

If Augustine were alive today, he would endorse the ID view,and be contrary to the notion that living forms are the result of an impersonal natural force.

No, he would not.

If Augustine were to remain true to his professed belief, he would withhold judgement until he was able to review the evidence. I am sure that he would find the evidence as convincing as I do. He would probably end up adopting a position rather akin to some of the theistic evolutionists, i.e. that evolution happened through natural selection etc., but that NS was a part of God’s plan from day 1.

If God invented electromagnetism and gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces, why couldn’t he also invent natural selection?

By the way, PvM, since you are a “Christian” (so you say),

What, you question his faith because you disagree over the science? If anything, I would say that PvM’s faith is stronger than that of someone who needs to shore it up with fake evidence and illogical arguments like Dembski.

do you think that living forms are the result of a Mind or the result of the impersonal forces of nature?

In what way is this question relevant to anything? What makes you think the forces of nature (such as NS) are impersonal?

You can’t serve two masters at the same time.

What does this have to do with anything? Serving masters has nothing to do with accepting or rejecting a body of evidence.

PvM:

Don’t forget that Dembski chooses his words very carefully. If he appears to contradict himself he is very aware of it and prepared to spin his way out of it if necessary. Recall that Dembski said that Carl Woese rejected common descent, despite being fully aware that Woese only rejects a single ancestor for all prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Recently Dembski added that he didn’t think that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. That does not rule out the “biological continuity, but not evolutionary mechanism” that is Behe’s apparent position. If Dembski truly thought that Behe was wrong, he’d have nothing to lose by challenging him directly. OTOH, if he thought Wells, Nelson, etc. (those who seem to think that humans and other ape lineages are indeed products of separate abiogenesis events) were wrong, he’d probably not challenge them, as that could risk the political support of rank and file Biblical literalists.

Can I be pedantic and point out that WD is wrong in characterising Horizon as the British version of Nova?

The truth is actually the reverse - Nova (launched 1974) is the US version of Horizon (launched 1964). Nova episodes are often Horizon episodes revoiced in US English.

Mats wrongly opined:

Evolution must be the only “scientific” theory that needs the courts to be defended.

As ben said, evolutionary theory hasn’t gone to the courts to defend itself as science. What has happened is that parents have had to take school boards to court to defend their right to have their children taught good science without religious extremists bollocksing up their education. Meanwhile, a group of Christian schools are suing the University of California to have Bob Jones University’s Young Earth creationist textbook accepted as a worthy text for biology intakes. So, actually Mats, you have it completely the wrong way around. It’s the creationists who try to force their way into scientific institutions by means of legal challenges.

Also, evolution is far from the only scientific theory that has been challenged in court. In Australia we have had a man sentenced today to 9 years jail for knowingly infecting women with HIV. The defence tried to argue the standard HIV denial line, and naturally this meant that virologists and infectious disease specialists had to present their case in court. There have been many other challenges to mainstream science in law courts, from fingerprinting technology to DNA evidence to the “twinkie” defence.

If life on earth has originated more than once, then common descent for all species would not be true.

So Dembski sees evidence against common descent, so what? That doesn’t mean he believes a god person came here and sculpted each species out of mud.

Why isn’t is possible that life on earth originated more than once? According to my own scientific philosophy (neo-vitalism), life would be expected to originate many times.

Have you really examined the evidence for and against common descent?

Yes, obviously there are great similarities between many species and many seem to have evolved from each other. But Dembski is not saying there are no common ancestors or denying that some species appear to have evolved from others.

Do you have conclusive evidence that life on earth originated only once? Or is it just that you are so sure the origin of life must be extremely improbable, and therefore could not happen more than once? It is only according to materialist philosophy that the origin of life is extremely improbable. A living universe would be expected to produce life.

(There is my theory and one of my main predictions, for anyone who says I have none. Although I have said it many times already.)

realpc:

The ID scammers like to bait-and-switch between a caricature of CD whereby every organism is descended from a single cell (presumably excluding horizontal transfer), and the scientific definition, which does not rule out several independent abiogenesis events in the Precambrian (e.g. Woese’s position, and one that Darwin himself made sure not to rule out). No serious scientists, and judging by their routine use of weasel words like “common design,” not even ID activists, specifically deny that humans and other apes at the very least share a line of common ancestors, whether or not they honestly think that evolution (usually caricaturized as “Darwinism” or “naturalistic evolution”) is the proximate cause of species change. They can’t, because they know that there is no evidence whatsoever to support independent abiogenesis for such similar lineages. But with a few exceptions like Behe, they refuse to commit to accepting CD per the scientific definition for fear of alienating their Biblical literalist audience.

Ironically, if they had such evidence, they would have a much less legally risky alternative to teach in public schools. They could teach what happened, when, and how, and show all the research they do to support it. There would be no need to mention design or misrepresent evolution with a phony “critical analysis.” But they don’t have the evidence and they know it.

realpc– As you must know, abiogenesis is not well understood. There is nothing in our current knowledge which would indicate that life did not begin on earth many times.

HOWEVER, the genetic code appears to be universal. Since no one has found any particular reason why the genetic code should be the way it is– why any particular triplet of DNA bases should code for the particular amino acid it does (why, for instance, three adenine bases in a row should code for lysine instead of any other amino acid)– the conclusion scientists have drawn is that all known organisms inherited their genetic code from a common ancestor.

If you can come up with a plausible, TESTABLE hypothesis why the genetic code is the way it is, you will be showered with opportunities to explain it– probably including a gala event in Stockholm. In the mean time, the best hypothesis science has is that the genetic code was put together through a random process by some long-ago ancestor and then passed down to the ancestor’s heirs– who now include all of us.

If you don’t like that conclusion, that’s your perogative. But until somebody comes up with a TESTABLE alternative, it’s the best explanation we’ve got.

Mats:

If Augustine were alive today, he would endorse the ID view,and be contrary to the notion that living forms are the result of an impersonal natural force. By the way, PvM, since you are a “Christian” (so you say), do you think that living forms are the result of a Mind or the result of the impersonal forces of nature?

You can’t serve two masters at the same time.

We do have a decent idea what that would be. First of all the context of Pim’s quote is in a work where Augustine argues against a literal interpretation of Genesis. Second, we have the example of B.B. Warfield. Warfield is acknowledged as the father of the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy. In my Inerrancy FAQ for soc.religion.christian in 1989 I noted that Warfield’s doctrine is merely a restatement of Augustine on Scripture. Even so, Warfield found theistic evolution as compatible with an inerrant Bible. So does Billy Graham. With respect to Dr. Graham, the Creationist Museum in Kentucky lies about him and portrays him as a YEC when he clearly is not.

In closing, I find it ironic that Dembski sides with Moonie Wells over Catholic Behe and Evangelical Collins. Who is serving two masters here?

Mats really is a terrible troll. He comes in, makes a driveby posting containing the most obvious cliched creationist canards, his complaints get torn to shreds, but he never follows anything up.

Personally I wonder if Mats is not a creationist at all, but just someone who knows what buttons to push to provoke the regulars.

Realpc -

But Dembski is not saying there are no common ancestors or denying that some species appear to have evolved from others.

But actually Dembski is quoted above as saying…

For the record: I personally don’t believe in common descent though I think there are lines of evidence that suggest considerable evolutionary change.

I left the weasel words in. However, he clearly says that he does NOT believe in common descent. For whatever that’s worth.

According to my own scientific philosophy (neo-vitalism)

The only appropriate response to this is “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA”! However, if you remove the word “scientific” the statement becomes quite reasonable.

Do you have conclusive evidence that life on earth originated only once?

Of course not, but the reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available about all living things to date is that the life that is now on earth shares common ancestry.

Or is it just that you are so sure the origin of life must be extremely improbable, and therefore could not happen more than once?

This statement (which is actually, in fairness, a strawman put into the mouths of otheres) is logically and mathematically incorrect on a number of levels.

Improbable things can happen more than once. You meant to make reference to the expected frequency of an improbable or infrequent event. There is a world of difference between “cannot” and “would not be expected to”.

The conditional probability that life originated on earth at least once, given what we can observe today, is “1”, or “100%” if you prefer percent notation.

The a priori probability that life would emerge, as viewed from some hypothetical non-deterministic branching point before the origin of life, is completely unknown. It is a meaningless thing to talk about.

It is only according to materialist philosophy that the origin of life is extremely improbable.

It is only your meaningless strawman that refers to “materialist philosophy” and makes mathematically and logically meaningless statements about “the probability of life”.

A living universe would be expected to produce life.

By common English usage, part of the universe (the biomass on earth) can be seen to be living, much of it can be seen not to be living (the rest of the earth, for example, or the sun or the moon), and we don’t know whether there is life elsewhere in the universe or not.

It would seem that your “philosophy” consists of using common English words in an eccentric manner.

“As you must know, abiogenesis is not well understood. There is nothing in our current knowledge which would indicate that life did not begin on earth many times.

HOWEVER, the genetic code appears to be universal. Since no one has found any particular reason why the genetic code should be the way it is– why any particular triplet of DNA bases should code for the particular amino acid it does (why, for instance, three adenine bases in a row should code for lysine instead of any other amino acid)– the conclusion scientists have drawn is that all known organisms inherited their genetic code from a common ancestor.”

How is this any different from the ID claim of ‘we can’t explain this, therefore God did it’?

Mats and realpc are perfect examples of how the IDers’ level of “debate” has declined since the Dover ruling, all the way down to the grade-school level. All of their “scientific” arguments have been discredited, the mainstream media are onto them, they were never able to disguise the narrow, ignorant religion that underlay their motives, and now they’re reduced to randomly sniping with stale old talking-points and running away. These losers are probably congratulating themselves just for getting our attention and allowing them to pretend they’re arguing with real scientists.

The fact that only this sort of overgrown child shows up here to “defend” ID only proves how cowardly and self-isolated the IDers really are.

“Venus Mousetrap”

How is this any different from the ID claim of ‘we can’t explain this, therefore God did it’?

WHAT????????

This is a bizarre nonsequitor even by creationist standards.

To reiterate and paraphrase what was actually said -

1) We don’t know exactly how life began. There are a lot of other things we don’t know.

2) We do have strong evidence that the life that now exists on earth (that has ever been studied) shares common ancestry at some level - the genetic code, yes, but much more than that.

Can you please explain how you came to the odd conclusion that these two statements are somehow equivalent to what you said?

Lucky for me that I’m not a creationist, then. :) My question was genuine (although, apparently incredibly stupid). What I meant is that both positions look like arguments from ignorance. What makes concluding common ancestry based upon an inability to explain the universalness of DNA, different from concluding god did it based on an ability to explain, well, anything?

First, I have asked Mats many times to present some hypotheses, some predictions and some evidence and he has not done so. I suggest that we just keep asking him the same questions and not respond to anything else he cares to write until he does so.

Second, I asked realpc to make some predictions that were different from those made by MET. His response here is that “neo-vitalism” predicts that life is likely to arise, presumably this means that life was likely to arise more than once on earth. Sorry, that is in no way different from what is predicted by MET. MET would certainly allow for life to arise more than once on earth and in many other environments as well. As another poster pointed out, in order to make predictions you need to determine the probabilities associated with the two theories and then examine the evidence to see which is closer to reality. In the case of earth, all extant life forms are demonstrably derived from a single common ancestor. There is plenty of evidence for this in the details of cell structure, DNA replication machinery, transcription machinery, the genetic code, translation machinery, metabolic pathways and many other features that are known in great detail. It is not the mere superficial similarities between these features that allow us to reach this conclusion, but the vast number of minute details that can only be explained reasonably by historical contingency. However, this evidence cannot be interpreted as indicating a single origin of life, only a single common ancestor for all surviving life forms. So once again, MET can account for all of the observations adequately and realpc cannot distinguish between the two possibilities. As for life elsewhere in the universe, if realpc has some evidence that would be nice. However, once again, MET can easily account for the origin of life just about anywhere. At this time all of the avaliable evidence indicates that life is rare, in fact so rare that we have not detected any anywhere else. So get out there realpc, join SETI and find some evidence. It still won’t prove MET wrong, but at least you’ll finally have some evidence for the “living universe”.

Third, Dembski is a weasel. When he tries to talk out of both sides of his mouth we need to pin him dowwn precisely. What common descent exactly does he believe in? How much change does he believe in? Are humans descended from other primates or not? Are cetaceans descended from artiodactyls or not? What is the evidence on which you base these conclusions? Remember, he has admitted that the plagarized error argument is persuasive. All we need to do is to get him in front of a heterogenoous audience where he can’t just pick the one answer he knows everyone present wants to hear.

I meant ‘inability’, by the way. Curse those tiny prefixes.

Venus,

There is vast difference between the argument from ignorance and the conclusion that all extant life forms on earth are descended from a single common ancestor. The first argument is based on lack of knowldege, the second is based on the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of years of study in many different disciplines.

Basically the argument goes like this: are there arbitrary features shared in common between life forms? If so, then the organisms that possess them most likely shared a common ancestor. The conclusion is based on the fact that many other features are theoretically possible and the one that is observed is only arbitrary. But, once that feature has evolved, it might be extremely difficult to make changes that would be viable, hence all descendants would share the feature and it would be extremely unlikely to arise multiple times by chance.

For example, the genetice code, developmental pathways such as those regulated by hox genes, metabolic pathways such as glycolysis, details of DNA sequence, replication, transcription and translation, etc. Each of these process has been studied in exquisite detail. In each case, there are arbitrary features that are best explained as the result of historical contingency and common ancestry. These features have played a critical role in reconstructng the tree of life. Taken together, what they reveal is that all extant life forms were derived from a single common ancestor. There are no major discontinuities in the tree of life. It could have been otherwise, but it just wasn’t.

I have taken your question seriously and have taken the time to respond to it in detail because I believe that you are sincere in your questioning. If that is the case, I hope that I have been of some help. Others are of course free to add to my comments. If that is not the case, then perhaps others may learn something anyway.

Mats and realpc are perfect examples of how the IDers’ level of “debate” has declined since the Dover ruling, all the way down to the grade-school level.

Yes, too true. The creos need better trolls. These ones are boring.

They both just repeat the same muddled, wrong fallacies over and over. Evolution is a religion. Huh, a religion that puts the supernatural out of bounds right off the bat but instead only considers objective evidence. Really this is the exact oposite of religion, proof versus faith.

After a few repetitions, I just skip over them most of the time. Their points were answered, answered again, and after a while it isn’t worth the time anymore. They clearly have absolutely no interest in learning how to think or learning some biology.

Just chopping at science with the same rusty, blunt, old axe.

Mats really is a terrible troll. He comes in, makes a driveby posting containing the most obvious cliched creationist canards, his complaints get torn to shreds, but he never follows anything up.

Personally I wonder if Mats is not a creationist at all, but just someone who knows what buttons to push to provoke the regulars.

Sadly no, he is an absolutely typical creationist in every way.

What I meant is that both positions look like arguments from ignorance.

There is a big difference between Arguments from Ignorance and Admitting Ignorance.

Science doesn’t know everything. Duh!!! This is good. If science knew everything we would all be out of jobs and going to law school or something.

We understand evolution quite well, abiogenesis not very well. It is inherently hard to study something that happened once 3.6 billion years ago whereas evolution is ongoing around us everyday.

So we have a few theories and some data. The history of science is that eventually it figures out what it looks at. We might know more about abiogenesis in a few decades. Or a few centuries when we sample primordial soup around some other planet.

Rather than having a few 4,000 year old bronze age myths to explain everything, we have an ever receding frontier. This is why we no longer live in caves, watch half our children die before 5, and keep hoping Apollo doesn’t get tired of dragging the sun across the sky in a chariot every day. Deal with it.

If you want ID taken seriously as science, go do science. Don’t come here and whine that your theories aren’t accepted…

What theories? There are no theories. Just ask Mats what the theory of ID is–he won’t answer the question. Whatever ID does consist of, it does not contain anything that even approaches a properly-stated scientific theory. There’s a reason for this.

Judge Jones never said that scientists in the lab cannot test hypotheses based on intelligent design. He never said they can’t write ID-inspired papers and submit them to scholarly journals.

But you see, it’s the Evil Darwinian Conspiracy. See, not only does the Evolutionist Orthodoxy prohibit ID from publishing any papers, it prohibits them from even submitting any. It prohibits them from doing any research upon which a peer-reviewed paper could be based. In fact, the Conspiracy is so pervasive that it somehow prevents the IDiots of the world from ever discussing, anywhere, even in the most hypothetical terms, what research they might possibly do if they were allowed to. That’s why their most substantial output to date has been a poorly-executed Flash animation superimposing squeaky voices and farting noises over distorted pictures of Judge Jones.

If the “Evolutionist Orthodoxy” prohibits the IDers “from doing any research upon which a peer-reviewed paper could be based,” then surely the IDers have drawers full of grant proposals which they tried and tried and TRIED to get funded (ironically, while the YERers could raise $27 million for a Creation Museum.)

So all the IDers need to do to prove they’re really interested in science is to publish those rejected grant proposals, right?

Funny how they haven’t thought to do that, isn’t it?

ben Wrote:

What theories? There are no theories.

If in a reply I need to use the word “ID theory” I make sure to use quotes. It wasn’t always like that. Early on I did occasionally get trapped into using their language. But since being convinced that ID is specifically crafted to bait critics into arguing “on their turf,” I have made sure to avoid the semantic traps. Similarly, I never argue against the existence of a designer, or whether biological systems are designed. But I ask the IDers to state what the designer did, when and how. Most of them just ignore the questions and look for others to bait. Compared to me, most of the “EDC” gives the ID activists just what they want.

hoary puccoon Wrote:

If the “Evolutionist Orthodoxy” prohibits the IDers “from doing any research upon which a peer-reviewed paper could be based,” then surely the IDers have drawers full of grant proposals which they tried and tried and TRIED to get funded (ironically, while the YERers could raise $27 million for a Creation Museum.)

If so, I should have recieved some replies to this request. Unsurprisingly, there was nothing but silence. Not even a peep from an “evolutionist” who could have alerted me to an old proposal that the IDer submitter might no longer support.

Hoary,

Good point. If the money was there, why did they choose to build the museum first without doing any research? Why not do the research, publish it in their own journals, then build the museum? Maybe they really do think that “evolutionists” decided on the answer and built the museums first without any evidence. If so, then their ignorance of science is equaled only by thier ignorance of history and they should really visit those museums. The cry of discrimination wears pretty thin when tactics such as these are employed.

David,

I can understand, if not condone, YEC groups’ not submitting proposals or doing R&D, because they occasionally admit that the Bible supersedes any evidence. It’s the IDers who show their true colors by refusing to do research. And refuse to even state what the designer did, when, and how - or if they do state it, refuse to debate their internal differences. YEC leaders’ commitment to the Bible might comparmentalize them into actually believing some alternate biological history, so they see no need for any more evidence. In the case of “don’t ask, don’t tell” IDers the simplest explanation is that they privately know that we’re right.

Frank J,

Agreed. I don’t blame them in the least for that. I have even been quite discouraged with granting agencies from time to time.

However, if that is indeed the case, then they all absolutely know, (or at least have no excuse for not knowing), that creationism and ID are religion and not science. They should be happy to have the freedom to present their views in their tax-free churches. They should not lie to everyone trying to get the government to endorse their religious views in public schools. They should realize that if they are successful, that muslims will soon be doing the exact same thing, and then buddists, hindus, etc.

The point is that, if the money is there already and controlled by those sympathetic to their cause, they are the ones who are choosing not to do science. If they can’t even be bothered to come up with a testable hypothesis, why try to claim otherwise? This is not discrimination, this is their choice. Who can they blame for their own behavior? Maybe they can blame the same people who made them lie in Dover.

They already have religious freedom. They are already free to beleive anything they want. They are already free to try to convince others that they are right. They are already free to believe anything in the absence of evidence. I guess not enough people are going to church for some reason.

Others have addressed this post, but I should also like to wade in with my twopenn’orth:

Mats Wrote:

Clearly, you are not being factual. The Design hypothesis, defended by IDers and YECers was rejected not because it had no evidence, but because it was deemed a priori as “religious” and “unscientific”.

You are conflating ID as a concept being pushed into science class with ID as a hypothesis being assessed by the scinetific community.

ID was prohibited from being taught in science class because it is (a) religious and (b) not science.

ID is rejected by the scientific community because it makes no positive testable claims; ID “theory” comprises nothing more than ill-informed attacks on science, arguments from ignorance and arguments from personal incredulity; and pro-ID arguments are negative eliminative ones that consider only two possible hypotheses (i.e. they are structured thus: “this structure we observe is not explained by evolutionary theory because of x or y or z, therefore design”).

As it happens, there is no evidence that supports ID in favour of MET. On the contrary, there is a great deal of evidence that supports the opposite: ID is not intelligent design, but Incompetent Design.

Additionally, the arguments made in favour of ID actually work better if one considers the “mutliple-designers” hypothesis of ID (MDID). This is still no competitor for MET, but it actually fits more logically with the arguments made in favour of ID. However, we note that none of the main proponents of ID espouses MDID. The only credible explanation for this is that, whatever they claim to the contrary, they have a specific, individual designer in mind.

Notice the difference in there.

But I also notice that you did not claim that there is evidence for ID. What is your personal opinion here? Do you consider that there is evidence that supports ID? Or do you consider it merely a useful philosophical or political tool?

Evolution is the “official” origins theory,

What the hell is that supposed to mean??

What “official” origins theory? This is wrong for several reasons, of which the two main ones are:

(1) MET is changing; it is always adjusted to explain new discoveries and to account for new data. All scientific theories do this. A part of science is that every explanation is provisional, and could need to be modified at any time in the light of new evidence. This is a core part of how science works. Admittedly, the more tests a theory withstands, the less likely it is to change, and the smaller the changes become, but there can be no fixed, “official” version of MET.

(2) Who has authority to decide what is “official” in science? The ACS? The NIH? The US president (oh, but doesn’t he support ID actually?). The Royal Society? No. None of the above. There is no body, either within the USA or anywhere else in the world, that has the authority or the power to decide what is or is not “official” science. What is or is not science is decided by the scientists themselves, through the process of peer review.

Clearly, such a proposal is nonsensical.

You have outdone yourself on this one, Mats.

not because it has the evidence on its side, but because the alternative was considered as religious.

Well, actually, for these reasons and others. Let’s see: (1) MET is supported by the preponderance of evidence; (2) No credible competing theory exists; (3) ID is vacuous, since it makes no testable claims, has no explanatory power, and comprises merely eliminative arguments; (4) ID is creationism in a new suit, and therefore fundamentalist religion; (5) MET explains and unifies many disparate observations in biology, and meshes well with other fields of science, such as geology; (6) All of the arguments made in favour of ID are flawed (strawmen, non-sequiturs, arguments from ignorance, arguments from personal incredulity).

If both hypothesis were fairly considered, the Design hypothesis would win hands down.

No it wouldn’t. It has no content. It has been fairly considered. It has been shredded by scientific review, which is exactly what it deserves. None of the arguments made in favour of ID withstand even casual logical scrutiny or comparison with reality.

However naturalists, knowing that, exclude it from the table due to their philosophical beliefs.

Wrong again. Sometimes, Mats, it amazes me how much wrong you manage to fit into one sentence. ID is excluded from the table because it is nonsense. Perhaps if you took the trouble to inform yourself about the reality of the natural world, you would start to see this.

Here’s a repeat of what some others have challenged you to do: formulate a theory of ID, in detail. What is the evidence that supports this view over others? What predictions does it make that can be tested? What possible falsification does it predict for itself? How satisfying are its explanations about, say, how we find so much similar yet subtly different physiology and anatomy across classes and even phyla? Why is it that all vertebrates seem to have related genes for globins? Why do we look like chimps or gorillas with less hair? Why are ants and wasps so similar? And yet, why do we see so many different behaviours between ants and wasps? Why are there so many species of beetle? And what about the duck-billed platypus?

Mats Wrote:

So the forces of nature couldn’t have done it by themselves?

I think what PvM meant, Mats, was that the forces of nature, being the result of the creator’s Mind, will do whatever He intended them to do, all by themselves (after all, what’s the point of being omniscient if you have to keep going back and tinkering with what you’ve made?).

PvM Wrote:

So can you help me understand why you rely on denial of science to create gaps in which your ‘Mind’ can be hidden?

I don’t deny science.

Actually, you deny there is any evidence to support MET, which is a major theory of modern science. Yet you have proposed no alternative, and you repeatedly deny what appears so obvious to the millions of biological scientists in the world.

But, all that aside, you did not answer PvM’s question. Why does your version of the Mind require gaps in which to hide?

I guess we’re mostly playing with the trolls now, so here goes:

Clearly, you are not being factual. The Design hypothesis, defended by IDers and YECers was rejected not because it had no evidence, but because it was deemed a priori as “religious” and “unscientific”.

Clearly nothing ever prevents you from lying, Mats. I guess you’ve not bothered in the least to read the Kitzmiller decision, Panda’s Thumb, Pharyngula, Talkorigins, the Wedge Document, you know, everywhere that ID has been painstakingly shown to be religion and not science.

Notice the difference in there.

We’ve noticed, which is why this blog exists, along with the others mentioned above. You apparently are far too retarded to understand any intelligent response that is ever made.

Evolution is the “official” origins theory, not because it has the evidence on its side

Gee, I wonder why it’s the evolutionists who produce practically all of the evidence? And why the IDists only know how to criticize science?

but because the alternative was considered as religious.

The “alternative” (by the way, cretin, there are many alternatives in the sense that ID is considered to be “alternative”, to anyone with a modicum of sense) is deemed to be religious for many reasons, but probably most crucially because it has no evidence. As you indicate with every one of your posts.

If both hypothesis were fairly considered, the Design hypothesis would win hands down.

Complete lie, and of course it has been considered, both in the past and in the present. Even you know that, I think, retard.

However naturalists, knowing that, exclude it from the table due to their philosophical beliefs.

Tell me the history, please, Mats. I’d like to know how this occurred, for apparently it has escaped all of the histories of science that I have ever studied (you know, I’ve actually learned, unlike anything you’ve ever done, Mats).

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

In the tradition of the internet sport of troll-feeding, I decided to tackle “Bond”. It’s split up into several posts:

Well, “Bond” is a tiresome ineducable idiot, but he channels the usual IDist nonsense, so can stand in for IDiocy as a whole:

WOW I wish I had as much faith in the Lord God as you guys got in dirt turning into incredibly complex lifeforms…

Yes, using standard science takes a great deal of faith, I mean, if you’re dumb as a fencepost like “Bond” is. Actually, the scientific method arose partly in order to get around the inconvenience of contrasting beliefs, but the believers in the One True Religion don’t have such problems, nor any knowledge of science.

Shoot,,the fossil record itself has made me lose faith in the almighty god of natural selection and random mutation (SHHHH, please don’t tell the high priest of materialism (Dawkins)

Yeah, right, like you ever accepted science. Tell your lies elsewhere.

Not that you don’t have faith in science. I’m sure that you must, for it is essentially impossible to have a proper understanding of science and its results, technology, while denying biological science. Hence your acceptance of science is nothing other than a faith that takes over where your other faith ends. We just have a consistent epistemology, something you’d never understand.

of my doubts or he could have me excommunicated from the church)

Since you guys are unconstrained by the evidence in any of the areas discussed on these forums, why can’t you at least come up with something new, rather than chanting the refrains fed to you by the head idiots?

Most people presume the evidence in the fossil record overwhelmingly confirms gradual evolution from a single common ancestor.

Most don’t (you’re too dumb even to know that your stupidity is in the majority, apparently), though people who know it recognize this to be the case.

Yet this is not the case at all. The fossil record itself is one of the most crushing things for naturalists.

Oh yeah, that’s why paleontologists went off to the predicted strata and found Tiktaalik. Crushing defeat, that was. Do you people even read the twaddle coming from your favorite dolts?

What is termed the “Cambrian explosion” is a total departure from the naturalistic theory of evolution.

My God, yes. We wouldn’t want for all of the phyla coming into the light at that time being related like evolutionary theory predicts, now would we? I mean, an honest ID theory would predict that animal phyla would simply be fitted for their environments, not slavishly utilizing the same developmental pathways in order to evolve differing morphologies, while evolution predicts the latter. Voila, the Cambrian reveals the results predicted by evolution, and we’re just crushed.

IOW, why do you take the name of an intelligent character as your pseudonym, when you couldn’t think your way out of a pup tent?

It is in the Cambrian explosion, some 540 million years ago, that we find the sudden appearance of the many diverse and complex forms of life.

Which both genetics and morphology tells us are all related. To deny their evolution would be like denying your relatedness to your father and mother, because some completely unevidenced omnipotent deity could have “designed you” to appear related to your parents.

These complex life-forms appear with no evidence of transition from the bacteria and few other “simple” life-forms that immediately preceded them in the fossil record.

And they’re all related to each other. Gee, I wonder how that could be?

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Continuing my post:

This following quote clearly illustrates this point.

“Yet, here is the real puzzle of the Cambrian Explosion for the theory of evolution. All the known phyla (large categories of biological classification), except one, first appear in the Cambrian period. There are no ancestors. There are no intermediates. Fossil experts used to think that the Cambrian lasted 75 million years¦. Eventually the Cambrian was shortened to only 30 million years. If that wasn’t bad enough, the time frame of the real work of bringing all these different creatures into existence was shortened to the first five to ten million years of the Cambrian. This is extraordinarily fast! Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould stated, “Fast is now a lot faster than we thought, and that is extraordinarily interesting.” What an understatement! “Extraordinarily impossible” might be a better phrase!. The differences between the creatures that suddenly appear in the Cambrian are enormous. In fact these differences are so large many of these animals are one of a kind. Nothing like them existed before and nothing like them has ever appeared again.” Evolution’s Big Bang; Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin, University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology).

Yeah, and guess what, trilobites evolved more rapidly during the Cambrian. Gee, it looks as though there really was some difference then, almost as if the trilobites had come out of a period of relatively large genetic plasticity. I wonder why those evidences sort of go together? It’s almost as if evolution really happened, by Jove!

And for the idiot who quoted the above but missed what the guy (albeit apparently another idiot) actually wrote, here’s an excerpt:

This is extraordinarily fast!

I wonder why it’s extraordinarily fast? Do you just suppose that the Cambrian is, indeed, an unusual period which yielded evolutionary developments unlike the far more gradual changes which happened both before and since? It’s amazing how stupid creos and IDists are, because they love to trot out the exceptional speed of evolution during the Cambrian, when one can only determine that the Cambrian “explosion” was ‘fast’ because the rest of evolutionary change is so much slower than then.

The “real work” of the beginning of the Cambrian explosion may in actuality be as short as a two to three million year time frame (Ross: Creation as Science 2006).

Lovely, a creationist used as if he were a reasonable source (by the way, Bohlin’s also clearly overdramatizing the Cambrian issue, issue though it is).

If this blatant, out of nowhere, appearance of all the different phyla was not bad enough for naturalists, the fossil record shows that there was actually more variety of phyla at the end of the Cambrian explosion than there is today due to extinction.

Dear pinhead, perhaps you should learn a little about evolution, and not from people who are as dishonest as yourself. The variety in life today is much greater than at the end of the Cambrian. The “variety of phyla” is less, due to extinction, but phyla are a fairly arbitrary category. Furthermore, larger changes in developmental pathways, as are thought to have been important in the Cambrian “explosion”, become difficult to effect evolutionarily once these have become well developed.

IOW, new phyla appear very slowly now, if at all. Big deal! Likely the Kingdoms, and possibly even Domains, were less in the Cambrian than during the Precambrian. It is to be expected, due to well-known evolutionary constraints, that the higher order evolutionary changes will become rare to non-existent over time. So once again the expectations of MET are found, and the IDiots claim that this is evidence against MET.

A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during the Cambrian explosion (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. (Actually the number 50 was first quoted as over 100 for a while, but then the consensus became 50-plus.) That means there are more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils, than exist now. Also, the animal explosion caught people’s attention when the Chinese confirmed they found a genus now called Yunnanzoon that was present in the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion. This genus is considered a chordate, and the phylum Chordata includes fish, mammals and man. An evolutionist would say the ancestor of humans was present then.

That the ancestor of humans was present at Cambrian times is a prediction of evolution, Bond, dolt Bond. That fact would be completely unnecessary and thus unpredicted by any kind of “design” theory.

“Looked at more objectively, you could say the most complex animal group, the chordates, were represented at the very beginning, and they did not go through a slow gradual evolution to become a chordate.” Dr. Paul Chien PhD., chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Chien also possesses the largest collection of Chinese Cambrian fossils in North America.

Really? Is that what genetics shows? Remember, real science, unlike ID, considers evidence together, and in fact it was the relatedness of all life known today that was part of the convincing evidence presented by Darwin. Taxonomy implied, but genetics demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt, that chordates developed gradually, at least “gradually” by comparison with any reasonable “design” scenario.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

The evolutionary theory would have us believe we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes.

Of course it wouldn’t “have us believe” that. Highly successful phyla might very well cut down on the numbers of phyla. Haven’t you idiots even heard about “survival of the fittest,” or do we have to explain everything as if you were very young children?

The hard facts of science betray the naturalists once again.

No, actually the hard facts of science betrays your complete ignorance of science, for the 10,000th time this year.

The naturalist stamps his feet and says the evidence for the fossils transmutation into radically new forms is out there somewhere; we just have not found it yet.

First of all, much more is being done with genetics today than with fossils, because there is more evidence about proximal causes to be ferreted out from genes than from fossils. Of course you IDiots don’t consider all of the evidence together, both because you don’t understand the science and because your whole view of the world is disjointed by your beliefs in arbitrary creation.

Secondly, quite radical transmutations are not found only by genetics, but also in the fossil record. Archaeopteryx is a superb example of non-designed flight having evolved from tetrapods. Perhaps you need some study, or even to learn how to read the responses you’ve been given but obviously are unable to comprehend.

To justify this belief, naturalists will often say that soft bodied fossils were not preserved in the Cambrian fossil record,

What’s your point, that you accept MET below the level of the phyla? Is that it? Then you’re going to have to explain what no IDist or creationist has ever explained, which is why all taxonomic designations above the species level are considered to be arbitrary (one reason why cladistics is so heavily used in evolutionary studies today). That is to say, there is nothing at all that indicates that anything but normal, known evolutionary processes operating at any level, with the species level being special only because of the importance of splitting. That is to say, the evidence shows that the phyla split off from each other during speciation events (though perhaps with rather greater developmental differences than occur in today’s speciation events), and ID is unable to come up with anything to suggest otherwise.

so [Oreambrian to Cambrian] transitional fossils were just not recorded in the fossil record in the first place.

Sorry, the soft-body explanation is important, but I know of no informed scientist who claims that nothing evolutionarily unusual happened near the beginning of the Cambrian.

Yet, the Chinese Cambrian fossil record is excellent in its preservation of delicate - ied fossils that clearly show much of the detail of the body structures of these first creatures.

Yes, and when was that found? Only recently, dolt. We’re well-aware of the problems of the paleontological record, which make a blow-by-blow record unattainable, probably for all time. Much more may be found, we don’t know, but we do know that everything about the Cambrian explosion suggests that Cambrian creatures did evolve, apparently at rates that have rarely, if ever, occurred since then.

By the way, why do we see so many extinct phyla, and the sorts of ancestors predicted by MET, in the Cambrian, buffoon? You’re not telling us why Cambrian phyla were “designed” only to be expended by the “designer” as superfluous. More importantly, you’re actually pointing to the Cambrian ancestors of vertebrates and of humanity existing at that time, paying so much attention to the genuine (and the fake) problems existing before these transitionals arose, that you forget that these are exactly the sorts of transitionals that evolution predicts for vertebrates, for humans. Yes, the record before the Cambrian is problematic, but essentially we have all of the transitional fossils expected from very primitive chordates up to humans (and all other modern chordates) that are predicted by evolutionary theory (considering preservation rates).

So the problem for naturalists has not been alleviated.

You bring up just the kinds of chordates predicted by evolutionary theory existing in the Cambrian, and you claim that the problem is not alleviated. Well, granting that the Cambrian is still an issue, the only ones who have dealt with it intelligently are the “naturalists,” and we have in fact found reasons why the Cambrian might exhibit unusually great changes. The environmental reason is that oxygen levels are thought to have jumped dramatically at that time (so that genetic potentials for evolution into much greater users of oxygen could develop then), and as I noted previously, plasticity in developmental genes appears to have been greater then (more or less expected in MET as well).

In fact the problem has become much worse. As Dr. Ray Bohlin stated, some of these recently discovered fossils are extremely unique and defy any sort of transitional scenario to any other fossils found during the Cambrian explosion.

They are not so unique as to appear to be unrelated to the rest of life, including Cambrian life. The Cambrian has not been fully explained as yet, but everything in the Cambrian appears to have evolved to what today are considered to be “primitive forms” of the phyla potentials. You’re looking at what evolution mostly predicts, relatively primitive forms of life at the start of phyla, and you’re caviling because there are indeed problems with the details. Meanwhile, you have absolutely no explanation for Cambrian life and its relatedness to each other and to all other life.

In spite of this crushing evidence found in the Cambrian explosion, our naturalistic friend continues to imagine that all life on earth descended from a common ancestor

Gee, you mean that all of life shares the same codes, and archaea, bacteria, and eukarya all have related metabolic pathways, yet we “imagine” that all life descended from a common ancestor? What a leap, what an inferior concept compared with the idea that life all just magically appears to be related!

and continues to imagine missing links with every new fossil discovery that makes newspaper headlines.

You stupidly pointed to exactly the kinds of “missing links” expected in evolution with your quotes, and are too dumb even to realize this fact.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Continuing my post:

Yet, the true story of life since the Cambrian explosion, that is actually told by the fossil record itself, tells a very different story than the imaginative tales found in naturalistic newspaper accounts. Where the story of life, since the Cambrian explosion, is extremely clear to read is in the sea creatures who fossilize quickly in ocean sediments. We find fossils in the fossil record that appear suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, fully-formed.

Every last one is easily related to candidate ancestors. What is more, quite gradual changes in marine organisms are seen in many lineages, such as in mussels and in ammonites.

They have no apparent immediate evolutionary predecessor.

And they all have apparent evolutionary ancestors, either immediate or more distant.

They, just, appear suddenly in the fossil record unique and fully-formed.

Many do. No doubt transitionals could often be found, and would be if evolutionary theory were in the least doubt (creos used to point to the lack of transitional fossils for whales, until someone went out and looked for them. But neither ID nor creationism is falsifiable, so they just move on to whatever gaps remain, while mindlessly chanting that the transitionals found aren’t really transitional (a few IDists admit the transitionals, but these IDiots seem to be few, and to have no clue that evolutionary constraints are what make transitionals identifiable, hence they ought not to be identifiable if ID were true)). But in many cases they would never be found, because of the incompleteness of the fossil record, plus the fact that speciation may take place in relatively small areas in most cases.

This is exactly what one would expect from an infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator continually introducing new life-forms on earth.

How so? Do you know the mind of this Creator, that somehow it is addicted to making things look as though they were related, and evolved?

Even more problematic for the naturalists is the fact once a fossil suddenly appears in the fossil record it remains surprisingly stable in its basic structure for as long as it is found in the fossil record.

It isn’t all that surprising, though some have thought that it was. Large stable populations seem not to evolve much, and once a mode of locomotion or feeding has evolved to near-optimum, why would it evolve further, other than to produce relatively minor variations?

The fossil record can offer not even one clear example of transition from one fossil form to another fossil form out of millions of collected fossils.

There you go, whenever you have nothing to say, make it a big lie. Maybe someone will believe you.

Some sea creatures, such as certain sharks which are still alive today, have unchanging fossil records going back hundreds of millions of years to when they first suddenly appeared in the fossil record without a predecessor.

Sharks have changed a large amount over time, with many species appearing and disappearing over time. Then again, there isn’t much excuse to bring up sharks, because only their teeth fossilize at all well. Fossil shark teeth are common and cheap, while there are few other shark fossils at all.

“Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma (1988), Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

More creationist crap. Gee, why don’t you bring in Dembski while you’re at it? They’re all so credible.

“The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time; so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated.” Evolutionist David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

Even if it were true that we have fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time, that would still leave a good number.

What is more, that is an out-of-context quote mine. Raup wasn’t addressing large transitions, but the smaller species transitions which supposedly are “Darwin’s problem” (one may dispute whether that is an accurate characterization of Darwin’s work). Raup was not denying the growing numbers of larger scale transitionals which have been found between, say, the vertebrate classes, but was addressing the speciation “problem”.

That this would be more mendacity from Bond, dishonest Bond, is not surprising.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

“Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

That was 1953, you fool. And apparently you missed the crucial part, because Simpson admits that not all of the taxa above the level of family appear suddenly, and these are precisely the levels that creos and IDiots most strenuously deny.

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long.”

And no wonder that taxonomists did not.

“It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” - Niles Eldredge , “Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate,” 1996, p.95

Eldredge is one who, along with Gould, unhesitatingly points to the transitionals which are well known for rather large-scale changes among the higher vertebrate taxa. Like Simpson, he has been rather less impressed with the paleontological evidence for smaller scale changes, what many IDists and creationists errantly call “microevolution”, the evolution of species, genera, and families.

More dishonesty from Bond, idiot Bond.

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University and the leading spokesman for evolutionary theory in America prior to his recent .

You know, “Bond”, your lies have been pointed out to you before. Is that you are too dishonest, or just too stupid, to start quoting honestly?

As you can see, the fossil record is overwhelmingly characterized by suddenness and stability. For creatures who have lived in the ocean this fact is extremely clear, because their bones are fossilized in the ocean sediments very quickly.

Oh please, the marine creatures with relatively good fossil records are not those with bones, but the invertebrates. Try learning a tiny bit about biology, how about?

Unfortunately for land creatures, the fossil record is much harder to properly discern due to the rapid disintegration of animals who die on land. The large variety of hominid (man or ape-like) fossils that we do have piece-meal records of are characterized by overlapping histories of “distinctively different and stable” hominid species during the entire time, and the entire geography, each hominid species is found in the fossil record. There is never a transition between ANY of the different hominid species no matter where, or in what era, the hominid fossils are found.

That is disputed. While the complete transition between H. erectus and H. sapiens is not known in the fossil record, earlier forms definitely appear to be more primitive, with later forms closer to H. sapiens’ morphology.

The bigger point, however, is that of course we have many hominin species, primarily because the effort to find them has been made (unlike with most organisms), and instead of you dolts paying attention to the fulfilled predictions of evolutionary theory (the hominin “bush”), you complain that there are two gaps every time one gap is filled. It’s pathetic rhetoric.

“If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy, since 1470 was as old and probably older. If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving.” Richard Leakey, world’s foremost paleo-anthropologist, in a PBS documentary, 1990.

Again, cretin, you’re quote-mining. I don’t know this absolutely for certain, but almost certainly what Leakey calls “man” is the Homo genus, and he is only discussing the problem of precursors to H. habilis (which I believe he thought was ancestral to H. erectus, though Mary Leakey now disputes this) and H. erectus. He always portrayed H. erectus as a transitional species to H. sapiens in everything I’ve read by him.

More importantly, Leakey understood the hominin radiation as only reasonably understood in the light of known evolutionary processes. None of you IDiots has ever explained the “design purpose” behind designing the many hominin species, apparently so that all but one would go extinct.

Glen Davidson http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Continuing my post:

As Richard Leakey, the leading hominid fossil expert in the world admits, if he were pressed, he would have to admit the hard evidence suggests the abrupt arrival of man in the fossil record.

No, he would not, retard. The hard genetic evidence is that humans evolved gradually, and Leakey was not speaking to that evidence, or to the taxonomic evidence, in your quote. Indeed, he looked for transitionals because he believed that the hard evidence pointed to their existence. Can’t you people even begin to think in any manner except, “poof, there was man”?

And, like I noted previously, it appears that he was talking about transitionals to Homo, not about transitional species within Homo.

Yet if you were to ask an average person if we have evolved from apes he will tell you of course we have and wonder why you would ask such a stupid question, since “everyone knows” this is proven in the fossil record.

No, about half of Americans are as stupid as you are, “Bond”.

One hard fact in the fossil record that is not disputed by most naturalists is the fact that man is the youngest distinct species of all species to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

Another complete lie, on both counts. We do not appear suddenly, and H. floresiensis is the most recent species as best we can date using independent methods (it would not surprise if H. floresiensis goes back further, but we can’t say so until we have evidence for it).

I find the fact that man has the scientifically accepted youngest history of any fossil in the fossil record to be extremely interesting and compelling to the position held by the anthropic hypothesis. Though a naturalist may try to inconclusively argue fruit flies or some other small types of animals have evolved into distinct new species since that time, he cannot produce evidence for a genetically and morphologically unique animal with a fossil record younger than mans.

Other than that this isn’t true, I don’t know what your point is. We do have evidence of cichlids evolving more recently, certainly.

This one point of evidence is crucial for both sides and is an extremely important point of contention, for this fact is the primary proposal of the whole anthropic hypothesis in the first place; God created the universe with man in mind as His final goal.

Mere question-begging.

Man being the last distinct and separate species to suddenly appear in the fossil record is totally expected by the anthropic hypothesis and is completely contrary to what the naturalistic evolutionary hypothesis would expect.

Too bad that other lines of evidence don’t indicate it, leaving aside from your basic ignorance of the fossil record itself.

And yes, it probably is expected from the anthropic principle, just as it is expected from all forms of anthropocentric prejudice.

Naturalists do not seem to notice that their theory of evolution expects and even demands there should be clear evidence for a genetically and morphologically unique species on earth somewhere since man first suddenly appeared on earth.

Not even slightly true. But since that was pulled out of your captain’s quarters, not surprising.

Indeed there should be many such unambiguous examples that they could produce.

Well, there’s H. flores (if you’re going by presently-known paleontology), cichlids, and the pupfish found in Death Valley. I guess we win, however dubious the “criterion” you try to force into the discussion.

“Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some 2 to 10 million species on earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between 3 and 5 million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations (new species) every decade.” Keith Stewart Thomson, Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University (Nov. -Dec. American Scientist, 1997 pg. 516)

Not a bad point. One trouble, of course, is that identifying a “species” is fairly ambiguous itself at the point where it “happens” (mainly because there isn’t ‘a point’ where it happens, except in fairly rare cases, such as hybrid species). Longitudinal studies need to be made, not because there is any doubt about past speciation events, but because there is doubt about the details of how past speciation events occurred.

Of course it also is possible that speciation is not as common now as, say, it was shortly after the last Ice Age.

Naturalists try to assert that evolution of species is happening all the time, all over the place, with a lot of suggestive evidence that is far from being scientifically conclusive. Once again the hard “conclusive” evidence of extensive and exhaustive experimentation betrays the naturalists in his attempts to validate his evolutionary scenario.

It’s interesting what you say about “hard conclusive evidence,” considering that you typically don’t produce any, or when you do so on occasion, it’s so distorted in your “interpretation” as to be useless.

“Whatever we may try to do within a given species, we soon reach limits which we cannot break through. A wall exists on every side of each species. That wall is the DNA coding, which permits wide variety within it (within the gene pool, or the genotype of a species) but no exit through that wall. Darwin’s gradualism is bounded by internal constraints, beyond which selection is useless.” R. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990)

How odd that none of you can ever point to this purported “wall”, though you can chant about it often enough.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

[snipped last paragraph of what “Bond” wrote]

Glen,

Thank you for you efforts. I learn from your complete and successful refutation of the nutty BJB postings.

rog

I am pleased to see the Vatican Observatory has organized an international conference on the formation and evolution of galaxy disks.

Location: the Vatican Observatory in Rome at the Centro Convegni Matteo Ricci on 1-5 October 2007.

http://kino.as.arizona.edu/~disks/index.html

I found an intriguing quote from the scientific rationale:

“Secular evolution is a subject that is making rapid progress in the observational and theoretical aspects.”

This refers to the evolution of galaxies. Never-the-less, I find it refreshing and descriptive of the status of Modern Biological Evolutionary Theory (MBET).

Here the Vatican has arranged a relevant scientific conference.

I challenge Dembski to organize a scientific conference on Common Descent.

rog

Excellent posting Glen.

Bond, you have just been pwned!

Glen,

That’s a lovely sequence of posts. I guess it must have taken a while. Your scorn for BJB’s ignorance (and his lack of concern about his ignorance) really shines through. I admire that.

Thanks, guys. It did take a while, so it’s good to hear that it wasn’t wasted merely on the apparently ineducable “Bond”.

As far as contempt goes, well, it does seem that those whose ideas about “science” are dominated by emotion have to be countered with emotion.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Thank you Glen for you efforts.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 27, 2007 10:45 PM.

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