The Branching Bush of Horse Evolution

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At Laelaps, Brian Switek, a soon-to-be-graduating student at Rutgers University who is studying ecology and evolution describes the oft misunderstood evolution of the horse

The story of the evolution of the horse shows how science incorporated new data to update what was originally a overly simplified view of horse evolution and reveals an exciting example of evolution in action.

The author ends with an important lesson namely that simplification, an oft used tool in education, can also provide creationists with opportunities to spread “doubts”. What surprises me is that one seldomly hears creationists complain about how our science classes ‘linearize’ “laws” when in fact, everyone knows that much of the world around us is quite non-linear.

Still, our current understanding is incomplete, and further fossil finds will continue to rustle the branches of the evolutionary bush. In fact, I would not be surprised if more early forms came to light, and I would be especially interested to see if the “Oligocene Bottleneck” is real or merely a factor of fossil collecting bias. There should be no mistake about the amazing entanglement of branches horses represent, however, and it is somewhat surprising that the public does not often hear about the true form of horse phylogeny. While I did not do an in-depth study of how horse evolution was portrayed in the popular media, from what I have seen it seems that past scientists and authors have often opted for simplicity, getting the public to accept evolution has occurred being more important than giving them an accurate depiction of how evolution works. This is a harsh lesson that we are still learning, as inaccuracies in books, museum displays, and other outlets can leave the door open for creationists to spread distrust of science.

72 Comments

Considering the punctuated equilibrium proposed by Gould (sudden appearance and then stasis). And our knowledge of limited variability within kinds. And absolutely no hard evidence of radical transmutation in the fossil record…Do you feel this scripture lines up with the (bottleneck) fossil record that is found?

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Bornagain007, how old do you think the earth is?

“Bond”:

Thats NOT what punctuated equilibrium is. Gould was challenging conventional gradualism with the observation that paleontological evidence suggests that evolution occurs at relatively rapid paces for some periods (adaptation to environmental and ecological changes) leading to APPARENT sudden appearance, interspaced with stable periods. What are you trying to do with this “sudden appearance” stuff? Turn Gould into a creationist? As for “no hard evidence”…did you even read the linked essay? How do the fossils described in it count as “no hard evidence”? Explain in detail rather then just discounting it just because someone said that God said otherwise.

Bond, James Bond:

Considering the punctuated equilibrium proposed by Gould (sudden appearance and then stasis). And our knowledge of limited variability within kinds. And absolutely no hard evidence of radical transmutation in the fossil record…Do you feel this scripture lines up with the (bottleneck) fossil record that is found?

You are wrong about most anything here. Does that not worry you? On what do you base your ignorance?

Bond is right,

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so”

All we need to know about biology is in the Bible. People, please, stop all this research, stop wasting your time . Who needs “Science” when all the answers are already there in the Good Book.

SunSpiker,

Fine with me. You can ignore all of science if you want to. You can even stop doing any research if you want. All the answers are in the Bible after all. Of course, I hope you don’t need any anitbiotics or surgery or any type of modern medicine any time soon. I hope you don’t need to eat anything produced by modern agriculture any time soon.

Oh wait, that was parody wasn’t it? Never mind.

Exactly! Who needs medical science when you have Leviticus 13:1-3?

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a bright spot on his skin that may become an infectious skin disease, he must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest. The priest is to examine the sore on his skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is an infectious skin disease. When the priest examines him, he shall pronounce him ceremonially unclean.”

I found it strange as I tried to email some people on the feedback page of TalkOrigins website, that my spam filter blocked them. Apparently I had blocked them for sending me spam. Are you aware that some of your contributors, some of whom are professors, are sending spam emails to people who visit your site?

I am entertaining a notion to forward a complaint to the proper authorities to have this properly investigated.

Dawn Wessel:

I found it strange as I tried to email some people on the feedback page of TalkOrigins website, that my spam filter blocked them. Apparently I had blocked them for sending me spam. Are you aware that some of your contributors, some of whom are professors, are sending spam emails to people who visit your site?

I am entertaining a notion to forward a complaint to the proper authorities to have this properly investigated.

The page below is where you leave feedback, and explains why a spam-blocker would block talk.origins:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…]konboard.cgi Click on Feedback under Talk.origins, read the message that says welcome.

CJO, I think the earth is very old,,,For a reconciliation of Genesis and the evidence found in science, I find the work of Gerald Schroeder PhD. and Hugh Ross PhD. to be very insightful.. They are old earth creationists, and put forth some very compelling arguments in favor of Theism. It is interesting that the deeper I probe the entire range of science with Theism the more compelling Theism becomes. Though I can assure you that all my issues are yet to resolved with the Theistic philosophy. Whereas the deeper I probe the entire range of science with Materialism, and especially the evolutionary part of materialism, the more ludicrous Materialism becomes…Indeed I find that materialism as a whole is patently absurd as a overriding philosophy and find it quite remarkable that it continues to be the main hypothesis guiding scientists!

Indeed I find that materialism as a whole is patently absurd as a overriding philosophy and find it quite remarkable that it continues to be the main hypothesis guiding scientists!

confusing methodological and philosophical naturalism again? Why this continued display of dishonesty? Is this a christian virtue you believe

Mr. Bond wrote:

“Whereas the deeper I probe the entire range of science with Materialism, and especially the evolutionary part of materialism, the more ludicrous Materialism becomes…Indeed I find that materialism as a whole is patently absurd as a overriding philosophy and find it quite remarkable that it continues to be the main hypothesis guiding scientists!”

Great, then you can just discard philosophical naturalism and still do science using methodological naturalism. Se there, you have no excuse whatsoever. I’m sure you realize that a method is not a philosophy. Or do you really think that scientists must adhere to a particular philosophy in order to do good science? If so, then why is it that statemensts of falth are only required at religious institutions?

By the way, how are you “probing”? We know how the real Bond did his. Are you reading creationist web sites and taking their word for everything? Or are you taking college level course work in biology and seriously studying the biological world around us?

So, we can trust scientists to tell us how old the earth is, materialists or not, but when they tell us the best explanation for the biological diversity that’s been living on the earth for all those ages, materialists or not, we should not trust them?

Please explain why, in your view, the methods of evolutionary biologists are any more “materialistic” than those of geologists or meteorologists, or astronomers, or geophysicists, et cetera. Please note my emphasis.

And why is it only science that must not be “materialistic”? Do you realize that your HVAC serviceman ALWAYS looks for a material cause of your problem, and never a spiritual one? Would you actually go to a brake service shop that looked for supernatural causes of that spongy feel in the brake pedal? Are those the kinds of things we can look forward to if the Wedge succeeds and “materialism” is defeated?

Indeed I find that materialism as a whole is patently absurd as a overriding philosophy and find it quite remarkable that it continues to be the main hypothesis guiding scientists!

Yeah, he benefits from all the fruits of materialistic science, including computers, GPS, Internet communication, criminology and CSI, freedom of speech in a secular society, and, presumably, decent medicine; but he can’t understand why anyone would take “materialism” seriously.

What a neat and welcome summation of creationist blindness and stupidity. And coming from someone trying to pretend to be a ficticious and utterly unreal super-agent, no less.

Sorry for this is a long post, but penetrating questions demand a penetrating response.

Theistic Philosophy Compared to the Materialistic Philosophy of Science

There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical or methodological naturalism. Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the nt hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on an material basis which has always existed. Whereas, Theism asserts everything that exists arose from the purposeful will of the spirit of Almighty God who has always existed in a timeless eternity. A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed miserably. It will be my goal in this paper to briefly show where Materialism has led scientists down blind alleys in the past and then it will be my goal to show where Materialism may currently be tying science up in an unnecessary problem. First, lets take a look at a few of the predictions where Materialism has missed the mark and Theism has been accurate.

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity. 4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, which allows life as we know it to be possible. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning, unchanging, clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism. 5 Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life. 6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code. 7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA. 8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity for the “simplest” life on earth. 9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Yet we find evidence for “complex” photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Minik T. Rosing and Robert Frei, “U-Rich Archaean Sea-Floor Sediments from Greenland—Indications of >3700 Ma Oxygenic Photosynthesis”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003): 1-8) Theism would have naturally expected this sudden appearance of life on earth. 10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have naturally expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and overall stability as long as they stay in the fossil record. There is not one clear example of unambiguous transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have naturally expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with stability afterwards as well as no evidence of transmutation into radically new forms.

12. Materialism predicts animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Yet man himself is the last scientifically accepted fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record. Theism would have predicted that man himself was the last fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

I could probably go a lot further for the evidence is extensive and crushing against the Materialistic philosophy. As stated before, an overriding hypothesis in science, such as Materialism currently is, is suppose to give correct guidance to scientists. Materialism has failed miserably in its predictive power for science. The hypothesis with the strongest predictive power in science is “suppose” to be the prevailing philosophy of science. That philosophy should be Theism. Why this shift in science has not yet occurred is a mystery that needs to be remedied to enable new, and potentially wonderful, breakthroughs in science. Thus, the major goal of this paper is to indicate where Materialism may currently be leading scientists down a false path and potentially hampering future breakthroughs in science. Materialism is committed to explaining everything that exists in this universe to chance acting on a material basis that has always existed. Surprisingly, this requires explaining invisible things such as consciousness and the force of gravity (space/time curvature) to a material basis. Scientists and mathematicians have had to invent “missing dark matter” to account for an “excessive” amount of gravity in the universe to keep the equations of gravity from becoming ineffective. Theism is not committed into inventing such hypothetical matter and is free to expect the “invisible” force of gravity to arise independent of the matter from a “primary higher dimension” in order to enable life to exist in this universe. Scientists estimate that 90 to 99 percent of the total mass of the universe is missing matter. Bruce H. Margon, chairman of the astronomy department at the University of Washington, told the New York Times, “It’s a fairly embarrassing situation to admit that we can’t find 90 percent of the universe”

The philosophy of Materialism has a huge problem, to put it mildly, if it can’t find 95% of the material of this universe it insists is suppose to exist. What’s more the problem may be intractable for materialism, because the “missing matter” had to be “invented” to keep the equations of gravity, that explain gravity (space/time curvature) to a material basis, from becoming ineffective. Yet, there very well may be a way around this problem with the general relativity equations. If scientists and mathematicians were to treat the force of gravity as a primary constituent of the universe and were to treat matter as subordinate to gravity (as Theism postulates), then the equations that explain gravity may very well be able to be reconfigured, or reinterpreted, to reflect this proposed truth found from the Theistic perspective. The Theistic postulation would state that space is curved from a higher dimension to enable matter to exist, and to have an existence that is conducive for life to exist in this universe. In fact, gravity is already found to be conducive (finely-tuned) for life at the level of star formation. That is to say, gravity is found in the anthropic principle (which is actually a Theistic postulation) to be exactly what it needs to be in order to allow the right type of stars to form, for the right duration of time, to allow life to be possible in this universe. Thus, the Theistic postulation for gravity has already found preliminary validation in empirical evidence. The question that truly needs to be asked, to solve this missing matter mystery, is not the vain materialistic question of “Where is the missing matter in this universe?” but is the Theistic question of “Why is it necessary for this precise amount of gravity to emanate from a higher dimension in order for life to exist in this universe?” It seems a preliminary answer to this question is already found in the anthropic principle once again. If gravity were not at it’s “just right” value in the big bang, a universe conducive to life would not exist. That is to say, gravity is found to act as the counterbalance of the big bang. If gravity were weaker, the big bang would have been “too e” and matter would have been too thinly spread out to allow the formation of galaxies, stars and planets. Thus, life in this universe would not have been possible. If gravity were a bit stronger at the big bang, matter would have collapsed in on itself shortly after the big bang. Again life, as we know it, would not have been possible. Thus in the anthropic principle, we already find a preliminary reason for the huge amount of “missing matter’ to exist, whereas the materialistic philosophy can postulate no reason why the matter is missing and is left vainly searching for non-existent matter in this universe to account for the “excessive” gravity that is found in this universe. I believe the amount of “missing matter” can be further refined to the anthropic principle. For instance, the missing matter may be further refined to reflect the fact that the huge amount of missing matter actually allows us the truly fortunate privilege of scanning the universe unimpeded with our telescopes ( “The Privileged Planet” by Guillermo Gonzalez Ph.D.). That is to say, if the huge amount of missing matter actually did exist, the universe would be a lot less “see through” than what it currently is. Our knowledge of the history of the universe would suffer dramatically as a result of this reduced visibility. As well, it is very likely that an answer for why the galaxies rotate at the much greater “unpredicted” value that they do will be found in the anthropic principle instead of the materialistic philosophy. As pointed out earlier, the Theistic postulations in science have already provided many correct predictions with stunning empirical validations. Predictions that materialism not only did not predict but was blatantly incorrect on. Thus, it is only natural to look to the Theistic postulations to answer the many remaining questions we have about the universe. To give further evidence of this “missing matter” problem, all matter is reducible to energy as illustrated by Einstein’s famous equation of e=mc2. Thus it may be plainly said that all material in the universe has been created out of energy. Yet energy in and of itself does not produce the force of gravity (space-time curvature). In fact, energy has exactly the opposite effect of gravity. Energy is thought, and somewhat verified, to actually make space “expand”, by “exactly the right amount” to allow life to be possible. Put simply, matter is not justified by the overall empirical evidence in science to have a totally equal status with gravity in gravity equations. Theism is free to expect gravity to arise independently of material objects from a higher dimension without ever having to “invent” matter that will, by all current indications of empirical evidence, never be found in the “physical” dimension of this universe but will only be found when taking into consideration the “primary higher dimension” of the Theistic philosophy. The following is a released statement from science experts that gives further illustration to this “missing material” problem of the universe.

The abstract of the September 1006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force (which, “was established by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee [AAAC] and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel [HEPAP] as a joint sub-committee to advise the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation on future dark energy research”) says: “Dark energy appears to be the nt component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.” The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. As well light has been proven to be timeless by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Therefore energy most likely, from honest appraisal of empirical evidence, arose from some other “higher timeless” dimension prior to the big bang. As such, since the fundamental force of gravity does not arise from energy and also travels at the “timeless” speed of light, it falls to reason gravity must also arise from this other “primary higher timeless” dimension. Many people who do not believe in God say “Just show me God and I will believe!” Yet the foundation of this “material” universe that is found in relativity and quantum mechanics blatantly displays actions that defy our concepts of time and space. Defying time and space is generally regarded by most people to be a miraculous occurrence. It is considered to be a miraculous occurrence because it blatantly defies all materialistic presumptions that have been put forth! Indeed, the foundation of this universe has the fingerprints of God all over it. Many times materialist object to theist by saying “God did it that way is not a scientific answer.” Well I have news for the materialists “God DID do it that way and the scientific answer is to try and figure out how God did it that way! As demonstrated repeatedly by the failed predictions of materialism, the materialistic philosophy is a blatant deception that only impedes further true scientific progress. To remedy the Gravity problem it is necessary to define, as best as we can, this “primary higher dimension” that our universe came from and to shed the last vestiges of materialism that are blinding us to what is right in front of us! Having a proper mathematical foundation for gravity in science may very well enable even more wonderful breakthroughs in science. This problem of missing matter is a blatant gap in man’s knowledge and my assertion is simply that the mathematical remedy for the problems in gravity equations will not be solved until the proper Theistic approach is used in solving them.

Colossians 1:17 He was before all else began and it is His power that Holds everything together.

The following is a interesting quote from a article confirming the Theistic postulation for gravity: Co-existing with normal matter is an unseen sort called dark matter. Astronomers don’t know what it is, but they know it makes up about 23 percent of the universe. It is thought to have played a crucial role in the development of the first galaxies.

The rest of the cosmic mass-energy budget, some 73 percent, involves an even more exotic thing called dark energy, which appears to work across large distances and in the opposite manner to gravity. This anti-gravity force, as it is sometimes referred to, seems responsible for the accelerating pace of the universe’s ongoing expansion.

Shadow of dark matter

Today’s announcement directly concerns only normal matter. But astronomers have realized in recent years that this baryonic variety acts as a sort of shadow for the totally undetectable dark matter.

“We believe baryons are drawn to the gravity of the dark matter, so they trace the location of dark matter through space,” Mathur said. “One provides a map to the other.”

http://www.space.com/scienceastrono[…]_030212.html

Oh holy cow, this is a long post. I’m going to address some of it, because, while I’ve lurked for a long time, I’ve finally gotten around to actually posting (all quotes are from Bond).

There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism.

False dichotomy, anyone?

Materialism is sometimes called philosophical or methodological naturalism.

Nooo… You see, there are TWO different things here – you can’t just blithely imply they are the same thing.

Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the nt hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on an material basis which has always existed.

Sheesh. You should actually research your terms, as you are defining them like no one else. Materialism does *not* claim that chance is the only powering “force”.

A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed miserably. It will be my goal in this paper to briefly show where Materialism has led scientists down blind alleys in the past

Please, by all means, show us where “materialism” has failed. Specific hypothesis have failed, but you’ll notice that they were always corrected by superceding “materialist” explanations.

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

You are confusing two different meanings of the word “predict” here. In one sense, a prediction is an expected observational result of an experiment or test (Mats please note that this can be an historical test). In another, a prediction is a more general expectation that something will be found – in this case, a methodological naturalist could predict that *some* explanation of the origins of the universe would be found. It’s silly to expect that anyone could predict what theory would actually explain those origins (for now). And, so what if Theism says the universe was created? In that sense of “prediction”, naturalists (either kind) have always said the same thing as well – the universe was either created or it was permanent. So far, the Big Bang theory is a better, more empirically tested theory than anything theists have come up with – indeed, theistic “theories” about origins aren’t even testable under science. So what?

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

Again, same fallacy as above – just because “materialism” failed to predict what *specific* theory would be correct, you’re blaming the methodology? Tell me, what testable, usable theories have “theists” come up with for explanation? What’s useful there? Quantum theory has been massively useful. If you don’t believe otherwise, please put down the internet before you hurt yourself.

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

You moron. Sorry, hate to get insulting, but this is getting ridiculous. In the span of two sentences, you’ve convinced me that you are nothing but a dishonest troll. Again – “materialism” may not have predicted a specific theory, but there *is* a methodologically naturalistic theory for explaining things – which you just pointed out. It is an inherently materialistic (in the methodological sense) theory, as all of science is. How exactly is that a failure of materialism?

I’m not going to bother with the rest of the drivel, as I’m already exhausted.

Essentially, you have failed to show how methodological naturalism has failed in any way. Every thing you have mentioned has a natural explanation, and science has given us unparalleled advances in the past few centuries. What has theism done for us?

Bond you do realize that if your assumption that science uses materialism as a principle is correct your assertions 1-3 must be incorrect because scientific thinking has generated all of those ideas. Further more you clearly did not understand the difference between some kind of artificially limited definition for materialism. A definition that magically suits the purpose of claiming that is has made bad predictions. In rhetoric that is called a strawman. In reality a practicing scientist realizes quite easily that based on his Lutheran catechism class we cannot properly predict what or why God would do anything because our intellect is puny and insignificant (yes that was a bit of hyperbole). No the practicing scientist understands that by logical definition all powerful omniscient beings are not constrained to act in anyway at all. So to argue to make scientific predictions about their behavior is impossible. God did it is always a correct answer. So we reject those explanation scientifically, but not necessarily philosophically. Now as a biochemist I’d love to take a gander at God’s DNA, but that’s not really going to happen, so I can do proper experimentation is it?

Born Again Wrote:

There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical or methodological naturalism.

Wrong. While IDers like Johnson have made it an art to conflate the two, they are actually very different. Denis Lamoureux demolished most of Johnson’s claims although it seems that the confusion persists among creationists.

Since many Christians can and do accept methodological naturalism and yet oppose materialism, the stated position is flawed.

Now that you have been informed of your flawed arguments, can we expect that you will not repeat them in the future? St Augustine all but demands such an honesty from us Christians.

Anyone else have a deva vu experience reading that list of “materialism did not”s? I’m sure I’ve seen it on the web elsewhere. Might even have been here. I’m sure others will/did do a point-by-point refutaion, but I would like to point out that methological naturalism is used in science as a PRACTICAL measure. Science limits itself by seeking natural observations because those are the only observations that can be made and varified. Paranormal and supernatural observations are always disputed, and are usually only testimonials. If you open the door in science to accept “theism”, you by default accept all possible “theisms”, not just the fundamentalist chrisitian ones most creos have in mind, but all theisms from all cultures. Not just cultural theisms, but any idea about how the universe runs, no matter how half-baked, is equally under consideration in science. And, because science is no longer defined by natural observations, there is no way to prove or disprove ANY of them.

Science limits itself to methological naturalism because natural explanations can be falsified by natural observations, and natural observations are repeatable and without bias. They are not testimonials. There is nothing, logically, that says that supernatural forces are not at work. It’s just that such explanations are beyond the reach of science. Depending on what poll you read, between 50 and 60 percent of scientists discribe themselves as religious. They have no problem using naturalism in their work. They have theistic philosophies. But any such philosophy must take the discoveries of science into consideration.

Life evolved. Humans decended from apes. Deal with it. There is nothing in MET that says that supernatural forces could not have used evolution as a mechanism. There is also nothing that says that they could. So science is not naturally atheistic; it is NEUTRAL to religion. Science is a “bottom up” way of observing the world. Because of the scrutany that natural explanations go through, it is given some reliabily.

The difference between PN and MN has already been pointed out to the mythical Bond. He bloody well knows the difference. He is just lying. I say, ignore him and he will go away. Unless of course he actually wants to address some of the issues in horse evolution. You know, the point of this thread. Or maybe that is too “materialistic” for him.

I thought this may be of interest

“Intelligent designers propose frameworks in which Intelligence is the origin of intelligence, Consciousness is the origin of consciousness, Love as the origin of Love, Beauty as the origin of aesthetic values, Good as the origin of moral values, and Freedom is the origin of free will. Such frameworks give meaning to life, they are consistent with the scientific method (minus the oxymoronic “methodological materialism”), and they make better sense of the empirical data and the actually known laws of nature.” Of course this doesn’t represent the view of all ID advocates, but certainly of many, including myself.

JBJ:

Materialism is sometimes called philosophical or methodological naturalism.

[Braxton] Nooo You see, there are TWO different things here-you can’t just blithely imply they are the same thing.

My eyes crossed very quickly so I didn’t get very far. Methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism are not the same thing at all. Conflating or confusing the two is a common and highly dishonest creationist trick.

When some long, incomprehensible essay starts out with faulty premises, it will get worse rather than better. JBJ, you would be better off going back to study the 8 commandments. There used to be 10 and you have violated one of the missing ones.

Yea sure, and ignorance is born of ignorance. What does that have to do with horse evolution?

Sorry to the moderator for disturbing the horse evolution thread and will cease from interfering any more Yet I was put on the spot as to my beliefs in my first post and answered them as best as I could. I hope something comes along this line of a topic in the future so we may debate this more fully…Until then Enjoy

Bond, James Bond agent Bornagain007:

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

Bornagain, what on ea^rth is this? I mean really, what does this mean? Are you really honestly convinced by this appalling wordplay? How the heck does ‘time stops at the speed of light’ and ‘a supernatural being exists in a timeless eternity’ even compare, short of both of them sounding a little similar? What are you, six?

[snip rest of barely literate, repeatedly refuted crap that Bornagain will spout for the rest of his life while the world moves on]

Bond, James Bond Wrote:

I thought this may be of interest

Are you incapable of including attributions for what you copy? It’s called “plagiarism”, you know…

Bond, James Bond:

I thought this may be of interest

“Intelligent designers propose frameworks in which Intelligence is the origin of intelligence, Consciousness is the origin of consciousness, Love as the origin of Love, Beauty as the origin of aesthetic values, Good as the origin of moral values, and Freedom is the origin of free will. Such frameworks give meaning to life, they are consistent with the scientific method (minus the oxymoronic “methodological materialism”), and they make better sense of the empirical data and the actually known laws of nature.” Of course this doesn’t represent the view of all ID advocates, but certainly of many, including myself.

But it is through methodological naturalism that we have so succesfully studied intelligence, consciousness, and emtions such as love etc. ID however provides NO framework to study these since they rely on our ignorance. And it’s this ignorance which Born Again has sadly taken as his philosophy even though it is a scientific dead end and worse a theologically risky position.

Can Bornagain (Bond) tell us in his own words what the ID ‘thesis’ is ? We can then quickly continue to show how ID is without scientific content.

Are you up for the challenge my Christian friend? Surely you have nothing to fear but knowledge.

There was a Daedulus column in Nature about 10 years ago that should really shed some light on “Thiestic” science. Arguing from the laws of thermodynamics and the clear implication that the relics of the church were touched by god and had a ‘connection to the spiritual realm’ (paraphrase not quote) we could easily test the ones which were truly holy by measuring their temperatures. The otherwordly connection meant that the relic had to be in thermodynamic equilibrium with the spirit world. There was a step in there that I have forgotten about how the average temperature of the spirit world was 4K. The wrap-up was that a truly holy relic has to be noticeably colder than it’s surroundings. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the Pope never called in to say that the Vatican had run these experiments to confirm for non-believers why they were correct. Might I suggest we get our Bibles out and start making ‘scientific’ predictions according to a literal interpretation of the holy Scripture? I suspect for example that on the day God stopped the sun in the sky for Joshua that the force exerted must have created measureable faults and deformations in all of the hard bodies of the solar system? We can also apply those tools of population genetics and coalescence to pin down fairly reasonable limits on Noahs genome. By similar reasoning we can figure out some very interesting things about God by studying our own genome. Having been created in his image our genome must be a subset of the divine genome. However we have to factor in the death and sin component. This maybe complicated and non-straight forward, but should yield good results. Now since now other creatures are said to have been created in his image, we must subtract out anything found to be in common as this is just spurious correlation. Anybody got any other ideas?

Bond, James Bond:

Sorry to the moderator for disturbing the horse evolution thread and will cease from interfering any more.

Yes fake Bond, please go away and don’t ever disturb us again with your bogus propaganda. You and Mats are both playing with a deck with a lot of missing cards.

I understand why science has to limit itself to materialistic explanations, because that’s all that we can actually study objectively.However, I got a sense that many scientists think that just because materialistic explanations is all that is accessible, that there are no others as a result. Personally,I think that theory of evolution has many unexplained areas/problems. Perhaps they will be resolved in the future. Perhaps they already have been resolved and I just don’t know about it, but basically the small list of some problems that I see are as follows: change in the chromosome #, meiosis, a complex process that I guess had to evolve from mitosis, and yet hard to see how it could’ve possibly been subjected to selective pressures while still on its transitional way, how males and females had to co-evolve to remain sexually compatible, while simultaneously other changes were taking place, how egg acquires “exclusivity”, as other concommittant changes result in speciation, etc.

I am curious, can geneticists today manipulate the genetic sequence in such a way as to, let’s say mutate chimp DNA so that its more like human’s, change the regulatory pathways,even though that may not involve a mutation, so the chimp protein ptoduction more closely resembles human, and see what happens? If that’s unethical, than perhaps some other,less fun species?

The process of meiosis arises from the fact that the gametocyte that results from Meiosis 1 does not go on to replicate more DNA when it undergoes division in Meiosis 2. It’s believed that the process of Meiosis arose from the alternation of haploid and diploid generations. Animal egg cells exclude other sperm through both the generation of an electrical pulse through polarization, as well as the creation of a thick barrier as the now-fertilized egg takes up more water. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_sex

Also, do realize that people have been splicing all sorts of genes from a variety of different sources, everything from bacterial genes to human genes, into a tremendous panoply of targets, from bacteria to tomatoes to mice. Chimpanzees are not used in genetic experiments like you’re suggesting because the buying and housing chimpanzees are tremendously expensive, for either zoos or labs, and the cost of trying to raise a chimeric chimpanzee from an implanted egg would be well beyond the budget of any commercial lab (hundreds of thousands of dollars at least). The closest anyone has come to the “allegedly unethical” transgenic experiments you suggest was when scientists implanted genes for luciferin and luciferase from a jellyfish into a macaque, so that the monkey’s cells would luminesce under a microscope.

Anna said:

but basically the small list of some problems that I see are as follows: change in the chromosome #, meiosis, a complex process that I guess had to evolve from mitosis, and yet hard to see how it could’ve possibly been subjected to selective pressures while still on its transitional way, how males and females had to co-evolve to remain sexually compatible, while simultaneously other changes were taking place, how egg acquires “exclusivity”, as other concommittant changes result in speciation, etc.

mutate chimp DNA so that its more like human’s, change the regulatory pathways,even though that may not involve a mutation, so the chimp protein ptoduction more closely resembles human, and see what happens?

This is too many fuzzy questions at once. Briefly: chromosome # Not a problem. Chromosomes are pretty plastic through time and not even all people have the exact same karyotype. In mice, different populations can vary widely and rapidly in chromosome number.

Meiosis is ancient. It precedes multicellular organisms. Unicellular organisms such as yeast do it. In fact, sexual recombination is ubiquiotous down to bacteria which don’t even have a nucleus.

Males females. Populations evolve, not individuals. Evolution mostly changes slightly on the time scales of individuals. Besides which even animals such as horses and donkeys separated by millions of years can still interbreed although their progeny are sterile. No one is going to evolve so fast that they can’t find a mate. Were talking tens to hundreds of thousands of years here.

Reproductive isolation is a bit murky and not always an all or nothing phenomena. Some is behaviorial, some ecological. Wolves and dogs can interbreed and some place them in the same species. But really how often does it happen and how important is it in the life of these two species (or populations)?

The other point, can we change one species into another? The technology exists but our understanding of genomes probably isn’t quite there yet. Right now it would be an expensive and time consuming project to gain what? In theory yes we could change a mouse into a rat but there are better places right now to put the resources.

transgenic experiments

Ah yes, stupid of me! Of course sequence similarity and easy expression et cetera is also informative, of evolutionary lineages, and possibly of horisontal transfer mechanisms.

Anna,

Others have provided excellent answers to your questions. Please allow me to add a little bit more.

The evolution of sex is indeed a very active area of research. The important thing to remember is that the cell cycle and the processes of mitosis and meiosis are under genetic control. As we begin to understnad the geneitc mechanisms involved, we will get a much better idea of what pathways were followed and what selection pressures have affected the evolution of these systems.

As for the differences between humans and chimps, detailed chromosome mapping has revealed many similarities and some differences between the two genomes. Right now the emphasis seems to be on identifying the 1.5% sequence differences between the species. Progress is also being made in the examination of tissue-specific patterns aof gene expression and genetic regulation of developmental pathways.

Notice that all of these studies are limited to natural systems. There is plenty to learn, even if the supernatural cannot be investigated.

Anna Wrote:

but basically the small list of some problems that I see are as follows: change in the chromosome #, meiosis, a complex process that I guess had to evolve from mitosis, and yet hard to see how it could’ve possibly been subjected to selective pressures while still on its transitional way, how males and females had to co-evolve to remain sexually compatible, while simultaneously other changes were taking place, how egg acquires “exclusivity”, as other concommittant changes result in speciation, etc.

Good questions. And science has some fascinating answers here, although of course, many questions remain.

First of all, recombination seems to be quite ancient, secondly did you know that bacteria have their own form of ‘sex’? It’s called conjugation.

Basically there are two types the F+ and F- bacteria, where the F+ forms a “pilus” used to join with an F- bacterium allowing an exchange of materials.

Then there are other variants including HFR bacteria

So, it seems that some form of “sex” or genomic shuffling goes back to ancient days. So now there are a few steps that need to be explained, one of them would be the step from single to multicellular, the other, the benefit of ‘sex’. The step from single to multicellular likely had an intermediate step of colonization, followed by different cells taking on specific roles. Booras’s accidental experiment showed how under predation such multicellularity can indeed arise. What about sex? Well, one thing is that sex can be beneficial although it is also said to be ‘costly’. A good example is snails which can reproduce sexually and asexually. When they are in the presence of parasites, the snails ‘prefer’ sexual reproduction because this gives them an edge in the evolutionary ‘race’, while when parasites are lacking, the snails prefer a more ‘boring’ asexual mode of reproduction. So it seems that pathways from asexual to sexual are not that hard to ‘imagine’. Of course, science does not stop with imagination, but provides compelling insights into plausible pathways and provides hypotheses to test them

Some relevant papers

Niles Lehman, A Case for the Extreme Antiquity of Recombination, Journal of Molecular Evolution, Volume 56, Number 6 / June, 2003 Cavelier Smith, Origins of the machinery of recombination and sex, Heredity, February 2002, Volume 88, Number 2, Pages 125-141

Anna– More knowledgeable people than I am have responded already, but on the question of why the two sexes don’t diverge more, remember, males leave some of their genes to their daughters, and females to their sons, so the two sexes must automatically evolve in tandem.

As far as methodological naturalism leading to philosophical naturalism, yes, for some scientists it does. But the more relevant question is whether a scientist must necessarily be a philosophical naturalist. And the evidence is that scientists who are devout Christians, Jews, etc., function just fine in the lab or the field, as long as they are guided by their research results, and don’t let their philosophical position determine what results they’re willing to accept.

To everyone who took the time to answer my questions: Thank you. Some of what you said went a bit over my head (I’ll read it again later), while some other info failed to convince that the “problems” I mentioned have indeed been resolved,and of course I have many more quastions (but I won’t torture anyone with them this very second).

Re why I am fascinated with transgenic experiments? How could anyone not be? If done carefully and ethically,we may learn how to aquire traits from other species that would benefit us.

Also, human chimp differences have been fascinating me ever since I learned how small a genetic difference and how huge the actual difference is. Aren’t you ladies/gentlemen curious about that too?

Anna, as far as I know, the only reason why there are no transgenic or chimeric chimpanzees is because they’re too expensive to creative.

Also, human chimp differences have been fascinating me ever since I learned how small a genetic difference and how huge the actual difference is. Aren’t you ladies/gentlemen curious about that too?

You call the chimp-human difference huge? Try comparing the amount of difference between chimp and human to that between any primate and any rodent, or primate to kangaroo, or primate to lizard or bird. Compared to those, chimps and humans aren’t all that different anatomically or biochemically.

Henry

Anna wrote:

“…while some other info failed to convince that the “problems” I mentioned have indeed been resolved,and of course I have many more quastions…”

You are correct. Many of the issues you raised have not been resolved. Many may never be fully resolved. Science does not have all the answers, it may never have all the answers. The important thing to remember is that you must first learn what is known and what has already been learned before you can reasonably expect to increase the sum total of our knowledge.

OK PPL are you all scientist or something…im in 7th grade and Im just trying to find recordings of horse fossil findings..not to mention I own 5 horses but anyway…you guys talk alot!!

I have tertiary syphilis.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 2, 2007 12:20 PM.

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