Evolution: The Fossils Say Yes!

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By Dr. Donald R. Prothero

It was very interesting to see the Nova broadcast recounting the Dover “intelligent design” trial of two years ago. The furor over the Dover trial may have died down, but by no means is creationism dead in this country. Each time they are beaten in court, they find another way to disguise their religious motives and try to get around the separation of church and state. Legally, they can’t win, but they are still very powerful in the local communities, where school boards are easily swayed by their phony arguments and ability to mobilize lots of church-going folks to attend school board meetings and vote for their candidates.

Both the old-fashioned “young-earth” creationists, i.e. people who believe the earth is only 10,000 years old, and the newer ID creationists push their cases largely by making demonstrably false claims about evolution and the fossil record. Their lies about the fossil record are particularly irritating to geologists and paleontologists because creationists make these claims without any formal training in paleontology, and without any first-hand experience with fossils, or publications in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. They wave their PhDs on the covers of their books, but almost none of them have any relevant training in fossils. Some of the claims you might still find in their books and blogs:

  • The “Cambrian explosion” was an instantaneous creation event. Not true—in the past 40 years, paleontologists have documented a 3.5-billion-year history of life from single-celled organisms to multicellular soft-bodied fossils to animals with small shells and culminating with the trilobites and other fossils that mark the early Cambrian Period. Modern dating techniques show this transition took at least 20 million years, and probably longer—hardly an “explosion” in anyone’s sense of the word! Yet creationists of all stripes wave this red herring and ignore the past 40 years’ worth of research.
  • There are no transitional fossils. Not true—in my new book, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, I document dozens of transitional sequences of fossils, showing the evolution not only of individual lineages, but also of transitional forms that span the gaps between major groups—the “macroevolution” that creationists deny.
  • Humans did not evolve from ape-like ancestors. Not true—the past 50 years have yielded an amazing array of hominid fossils that provide more than enough “missing links.” Even if there were no fossils, your own genome is 98% identical with that of a chimpanzee. Every one of your cells is testimony to the fact that humans are a product of evolution!

As poll after poll shows, most Americans do not know much about evolution (or science in general), and at least 40% of Americans still believe in the creation myths of the Bible. This is in striking contrast to nearly every other country in the industrialized world, which long ago came to terms with evolution, and have much higher rate of science literacy than Americans do. Our poor science literacy is a national shame, especially in a country where science and technology are so essential and still world-class (at the moment). If these trends continue, however, will we soon be outsourcing many of our science and technology to other countries, as we do our white-collar and blue-collar jobs?

Dr. Donald R. Prothero is a Lecturer in Geobiology at Cal Tech and a Professor of Geology at Occidental College. His new book, published by Columbia University Press is Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.

90 Comments

Great post! I printed it out and will discuss it at dinner with the family tonight.

When I was in h.s. in 1982 and had biology my teacher skipped evolution because she said she did not believe in it, and that was that!

Fast forward to 2007 and my younger son’s freshman biology teacher told the class that evolution is a “theory” that “has never been proven and **cannot** be proven” because no one was there to see the changes! Luckily my son was homeschooled for 2 years because of illness and we spent a lot of time going over evolutionary theory on the macro and micro levels. These teachers should be switched to nonscience classes. It’s disgusting.

Nobody was around when Meteor Crater was formed either so clearly it’s just the work of gophers…

Our poor science literacy is a national shame, especially in a country where science and technology are so essential and still world-class (at the moment). If these trends continue, however, will we soon be outsourcing many of our science and technology to other countries, as we do our white-collar and blue-collar jobs?

And there is discouraging evidence that the trend is already well-entrenched in some universities.

I recently became aware of a case in which about 50 percent of a third semester calculus course consisted of activist “Millennium Generation” students who were so weak in algebra that they complained loudly to the math department chair that the instructor was teaching about “four dimensional vectors” and explaining things in “math”. These were engineering students who were also highly techno-phobic, even resentful of using their TI-89 graphing calculators or Maple (and I thought a techno-phobic engineering student would be an oxymoron).

These apparently are students who are exploiting budget crunches to demand that they be passed, and they are. Their parents are also getting into the act.

The program 60 Minutes also had a story on this. It extends into the job world as well. These kids want a workplace that is all recreation, a steady stream of perfect evaluations, and pay equal to the CEOs of the companies, or else they walk. Again, the parents are getting involved in job interviews and screaming if their kid doesn’t get what he or she expects.

Nobody was around when Meteor Crater was formed either so clearly it’s just the work of gophers.

Well, sure, think about how Meteor Crater is shaped. Though it has some rough edges, it’s undeniably shaped as a circle, which is the sort of thing that intelligence makes. Indeed, we have never seen intelligence make anything like a gopher or a human, but we have seen gophers and humans make circles, and circular depressions.

What, you materialists really think that circles fall randomly out of the sky? What a religion that would be!

Course, I know that it might not have been gophers, exactly, that made Meteor Crater, but I know that the kind of order we see there doesn’t just randomly appear. It had to be some kind of intelligent being (in this case, we’ll define gophers as intelligent beings, because they clearly make ordered circles). Any other idea would have to be considered to be religion masquerading as science.

After all, Dembski and Behe have already shown that life was designed, and that’s without even having to demonstrate any continuity between known design and what we see in life. So when we have something that clearly is analogous with our own designs, like a circle in the desert (how much complexity, using Dembski’s definition, must be in a circle?), how much more certain must we be that the circle was in fact designed?

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

…but they are still very powerful in the local communities, where school boards are easily swayed by their phony arguments and ability to mobilize lots of church-going folks to attend school board meetings and vote for their candidates

I think these are different things. I haven’t seen much evidence of school board members “swayed by phony arguments”, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence of voters *believing* the phony arguments and dedicated, even fanatical, about electing school board members who believe the same.

Even after the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt debacle, pro-science candidates for the state school board were painfully aware that they couldn’t campaign on a platform of being pro-science and anti-superstition; they’d get killed at the polls. They had to provide “plausible deniability” to the voters of a VERY red state, campaigning on issues like budgets and accountability. Voters needed to know the unwritten folklore to tell the pro-science candidates from the creationists.

The challenge is to provide a good education in an environment where entirely too many of the parents of your pupils are of the “tar and pitchfork” persuasion, descending like venomous locusts on the school administration if evolution is even *mentioned* in the classroom. Few local administrators are willing to fight what is sure to be an endless and exhausting battle against such tireless, committed, and vociferous opposition. Better to put the evolution chapter at the end of the biology text, and somehow run out of time before getting there.

What emerged from the Nova program is that beyond “knowing” that evolution was Satan’s lie, almost nobody had any clue what it WAS. Their education didn’t cover it. Creationist tactics have long been to preach fundamentalism wherever possible, and otherwise enforce silent ignorance. These battles tend to erupt only when the parents envision a threat to their kids getting into heaven, which teaching evolution surely presents.

This isn’t a scientific conflict at all. No amount of science education cures creationism. Studies have shown that even among college biology majors, nearly as high a percentage of creationists graduate, as were in the entering class as freshmen. Instead, they are better-armed to tell more persuasive lies, backed by credentials, couched in the appropriate jargon. Which they tell to the usual enthusiastically willing audience of new parents.

Creationists, as far as I can tell, tend to be permanently “fixed” by first grade. Some overcome it; most don’t. The battle for hearts and minds starts with good parenting - and the parents respond to knowledge with death threats! I don’t know the best way to break the cycle; nobody’s made a dent in it for many generations. But I think it’s good to recognize that this is a hard problem, and any solution is bound to be gradual and frustrating.

I haven’t seen much evidence of school board members “swayed by phony arguments”, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence of voters *believing* the phony arguments and dedicated, even fanatical, about electing school board members who believe the same.

Take the case of ex-board member Heather Geesey. Geesey really didn’t have a clue what ID was about; she hadn’t read the provided materials. But she realized that ID was a way of getting religion back into the classroom, and that was really important to her.

Flint: “Even after the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt debacle, pro-science candidates for the state school board were painfully aware that they couldn’t campaign on a platform of being pro-science and anti-superstition; they’d get killed at the polls. They had to provide “plausible deniability” to the voters of a VERY red state, campaigning on issues like budgets and accountability. Voters needed to know the unwritten folklore to tell the pro-science candidates from the creationists.”

Flint, do you have documentation for this? IIRC, the two newbies on the board (Sally Cauble and Jana Shaver) came out strongly pro-science and supported the teaching of evolution, in so many words. http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ne[…]1_8_2006.asp

Mike Elzinga:

(and I thought a techno-phobic engineering student would be an oxymoron).

Nope, just a moron.

Steve

This is exactly the point Darwin made in his 1844 draft; I must premise that, according to the view ordinarily received, the myriads of organisms, which have during past and present times peopled this world, have been created by so many distinct acts of creation. … That all the organisms of this world have been produced on a scheme is certain from their general affinities; and if this scheme can be shown to be the same with that which would result from allied organic beings descending from common stocks, it becomes highly improbable that they have been separately created by individual acts of the will of a Creator. For as well might it be said that, although the planets move in courses conformably to the law of gravity, yet we ought to attribute the course of each planet to the individual act of the will of the Creator.

Not much new to say.

How many times did the Intelligent Designer have to pop back and make something elseo ver the last 4 by?

Michael

mark Wrote:

Take the case of ex-board member Heather Geesey. Geesey really didn’t have a clue what ID was about; she hadn’t read the provided materials. But she realized that ID was a way of getting religion back into the classroom, and that was really important to her.

I think I can understand why the NOVA documantary didn’t put in an actor for Geesey and show that part of the testimony. It may have made the documentary look like it was stretching and being biased because anyone who hadn’t seen the trial or read the transcripts wouldn’t believe it really happened. It is an example of truth being stranger than fiction.

When pressed, several board members seemed to have no clue what ID was. I’m not sure they were being truthful, and I got the impression Judge Jones was suspicious of that testimony also.

Dr. Donald R. Prothero Wrote:

As poll after poll shows, most Americans do not know much about evolution (or science in general), and at least 40% of Americans still believe in the creation myths of the Bible.

Worse, most of that ~40% simply don’t know that theirs is only one of several mutually contradictory versions, each of which claims to be “the” literal one. Granted, most who learned that “inconvenient truth” would just tune it out, as they tune out Behe’s acceptance of common descent, but at least some would become suspicious of all of them, and especially of ID’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. I just don’t understand why defenders of science don’t take more advantage of that well-kept secret.

Piltdown man strikes again!

The kids in my Sunday School can make paper mache projects that put those “fossils” to shame. With the right publicist, any five year old can get his artwork branded as a “scientific discovery” and placed in the Smithsonian!

Try again!

Flint, do you have documentation for this?

Sorry, I don’t. I recall reading a fairly long article, perhaps in Newsweek, about the campaign for Kansas school board positions, and some extensive interviews with a couple of pro-science candidates and how carefully they needed to walk that tightrope. And as I also recall (but more hazily), the main interviewee was in fact defeated in his district, which was strongly creationist.

Certainly not all of Kansas is this same way, and I kinda remember that in the larger cities, being pro-science WAS something a candidate wanted front and center.

Cock-Sucker – oops, I mean Pole Greaser – I notice you don’t provide any citation, reference, or any other evidence to support your accusation of fraud. Can you provide any backup, or are the people whose poles you’re greasing not letting you see the proof?

Dozens of transitional fossils only? I was expecting millions.

PG wrote:

“With the right publicist, any five year old can get his artwork branded as a “scientific discovery” and placed in the Smithsonian!”

OK dipstick, impress us. What scientific discovery do you have in the Smithsonian? Or aren’t you smarter than a five year old?

Seriously, if you have any evidence of any errors in any museum specimens by all means, present it. If not, piss off. Crying over and over again that you simply won’t believe something is not evidence that it should not be believed.

ProFire:

Dozens of transitional fossils only? I was expecting millions.

Oh, another member of the Church of Moronism! Perhaps you should stop moving the goalposts and start asking your Creator why He made you an idiot!

Dozens of transitional fossils only? I was expecting millions.

Depending on how you define “transition”, there are thousands.

There are dozens of “classics”, though, archeoptrix, tiktalik, and of course, Lucy, and these tend to be shown over and over, frankly because they’re so damned good at illustrating the point.

But all you actually need is one. Don’t forget, If ID is true, there aren’t any.

Pole Greaser,

Did I miss your debate with Bornagain77 over common descent?

I admit I’ve never quite understood what’s meant by “transitional fossil.” In a sense, all organisms are transitional, since evolution never sleeps. In another sense, only those organisms which are in fact somewhere in a lineage other than the terminal leaf are transitional, but we can’t reliably identify which fossils ARE in such a lineage, and which are leaves. In yet another sense, transitionals are those which are “unusual”, and appear to have characteristics of two known groups each of which left lots of fossils. But we don’t know whether this situation represents just the accident of discovery, in terms of the ages of those sediments most easily accessible.

I should think “transition gaps” would be more a matter of the contingent distribution of fossils and ease of fossilization, and that the record of the tree of life would be getting more fleshed out all the time. So whether or not a given fossil is deemed “transitional” is rather arbitrary.

Mike Elzinga:

(and I thought a techno-phobic engineering student would be an oxymoron).

You are a little too kind, Sir.

a techno-phobic engineering student would be a moron

There! Corrected it for you.

Honestly, we should not even respond to self-confessed wankers such as “pole greaser”. It’s giving them what they want - attention. They know they are going to be barraged, and they are waiting at home for our responses, like the sad little people who await calls from telemarketers so they will have some contact with the outside world. This person is too pathetic to bother with. Responding is like giving an alcoholic panhandler on the street a dollar. The guy is a lonely prat who is obviously incapable of meaningful interaction with actual people in the real world so he gets a rise out of baiting us with this kind of pitiful nonsense.

I was excited by this original post - as a geologist, it is great to see someone with a geologist’s perspective posting and providing information, and it is dismaying when the desparate sniping of a poltroon derails the ‘real’ discussion which was just getting started. I appeal to the PT bloggers to stop letting these interrupters keep us from real discussion - that’s the second motive. Keep us busy with bullshit rather than really discussing something.

This little turd, pole-jerker, will be much more wounded mentally and emotionally by the complete absence of response to his inanities than all the insults we can hurl.

Thanks for this enlightening article. I’d like to see more like it.

Guys and gals, please ignore the trolls. Seriously. All they’re here for is to disrupt the topic, they obviously have no desire to engage in an honest discussion. Why help their cause?

Flint,

I agree with you analysis. It is important to define what we mean by transitional and what we expect to see in the fossil record. Transitional should be a term restricted to organisms in the direct line of descent leading from the ancestral to the derived species or group. Of course it is usually impossible to unambiguously distinguish such individuals, but they should at least have combinations of characteristics of the basal and the derived group. Hopefully a relatively continuous series of such forms can be found. However, intermediates can branch off at any point along the way. They would all have some combination of the same traits, but they would not all be in the direct line of descent leading to the derived group. The important thing to remember is that the persence of intermediates alone is sufficient to falsify most creationist scenarios and is completely consistent with the predictions of evolutionary theory. It is unnecessary to identify all intermediate forms in order to veriify the overall structure of the tree of life.

Steve Wrote:

Nope, just a moron.

and

Ravilyn Sanders Wrote:

You are a little too kind, Sir. a techno-phobic engineering student would be a moron There! Corrected it for you.

:-)

Ok, I stand corrected.

The fossils don’t say anything. They are dead things and they don’t communicate a thing. It’s the atheistic evolutionists that speak for them. Fossils don’t come labeled With “Creationist” or ‘Evolutionist’. Both look at the same bundle of bones and use conjecture, wishful thinking, guesswork and , in rare cases, sound scientific rationale, to make their points. In the case of evolutionists, they now use the “BB, LR” concept to full advantage. This new tactic, an acronym for Big Broom, Lumpy Rug is employed shamelessly to sweep as much datum away by labeling such as “religious” and what isn’t religious is pseudoscience, which, by the way is an oxymoron. But when desperate people see their sacred theory crumbling, desperate measures are necessary! So it’s no holds barred. As in some of these comments, all is fair game. Ridicule, name calling, and, of course, a liberal sprinkling of obscenity just to press the point. Please Dr. Prothero, don’t pull the 98% genome thing. First, the latest is 96% and on a basis of 3,000,000,000 base pairs, even a 2% difference = 60,000,000 base pair difference from a chimp. Not exactly a perfect match, is it? Figures don’t lie.… Our poor science literacy is a national shame and it’s those of your ilk that are mostly to blame. As a biologist, I was taught that science was the search for truth, “leaving no stone unturned” and letting the weight of the evidence be the determinant, but the “BB,LR” concept is now pervasive, where censorship reigns as long as it suits a specific predetermined agenda. Science is not the learning experience that it once was. It is not learning the scientific method and how to arrive at decisions and render conclusions, it is, certainly in the case of evolution, a matter of proselytizing a non theistic religion upon our youth. And we wonder why scientific literacy and students’ ability to think and decide goes wanting? To Dale, of the Church of the Lumpy Rug, I would rather be a created idiot than one that evolved! At least , you have an excuse! To Raging Bee, keep your idiocy confined to porn sites where you will find lots of company.

OK, does Ronald L. Cote really have anything useful, or even factual, to say? I guess not.

It’s pompous idiots like Mr Cote that prove that the vast majority of Creationists hate learning, and arrogantly mistaken stupidity for piety.

And yet, these idiots take umbrage when I point out Creationism is not science, and that Creationists have absolutely no interest in knowledge.

Hypocrites.

Dale, Clever retort. I would not have expected for you to have gleaned anything or understood anything from what was stated. Stick to your porn sites where you seem better suited. Stanton, your response is on a par with Dale. When there is nothing of intelligence to offer then revert to the old standby of name calling (pompous idiot, hypocrite) and adding another level of “BB, LR” with such vague generalities as Creationism is not science and that they have no interest in knowledge. I am a biologist, formerly employed by NASA and NIH on applied scientific space and artificial heart and kidney programs. Those required this Creationist to have interest and apply knowledge to benefit mankind. So what have you done to benefit mankind? What kind of evolved hypocrite are you? Seems that both of you are millions of years behind on your evolution.

he said he was a biologist and “…formerly employed by NASA and NIH on applied scientific space and artificial heart and kidney programs”

that means he studied and used the theory of evolution or that he is a liar.

hoary puccoon said

In case you missed it, there was a recent thread here on the evolution of corn from teosinte. It kind of got derailed with the troll, Pole Greaser’s, ‘disproof’ of evolution (“There are no rain forests on the moon.”) But I believe it laid out the latest research on the teosinte-to-corn lineage.

Thanks - I’d forgotten that. In fact, I’ve not really kept up on the crop evolution research in the past 10 years. I had a quick Google but it was obviously going to take me a while to do a more detailed description and the time was getting late!

BTW - Don’t confuse me with that Simmons guy! ;-)

Ronald L. Cote, you have asked for a thorough fisking.

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

The fossils don’t say anything.

While they do not actually express themselves in words, they are rich sources of data. These data can be anatomic, historic, behavioural (from trace fossils such as worm burrows and footprints, and from discoveries of multiple fully-articulated fossils in the same bed indicating that the organisms lived and died together) and geographical (why does South America have such different fossils from Europe?).

So your initial statement is just a lie.

This does not bode well for anything you have based upon your opening assertion.

They are dead things and they don’t communicate a thing.

This is utter drivel. There are so many easy-to-find sources of data derived from fossils that this has to be a knowingly-uttered falsehood. Again, IOW, a lie.

It’s the atheistic evolutionists that speak for them. Fossils don’t come labeled With “Creationist” or ‘Evolutionist’. Both look at the same bundle of bones and use conjecture, wishful thinking, guesswork and , in rare cases, sound scientific rationale, to make their points.

No, it is your above-quoted paragraph that is pure wishful thinking.

Creationists look at fossils and cover their eyes, hoping that if they cannot see it, it will go away.

Scientists (many of whom are emphatically NOT atheists), on the other hand, examine fossils in detail. They compare fossil anatomies with modern anatomies and with other fossil anatomies. Under fine, detailed and rigorous scrutiny, fossils yield a wealth of information about the relationships between different organisms, both extant and extinct.

In the case of evolutionists, they now use the “BB, LR” concept to full advantage. This new tactic, an acronym for Big Broom, Lumpy Rug is employed shamelessly to sweep as much datum away by labeling such as “religious” and what isn’t religious is pseudoscience, which, by the way is an oxymoron.

This blathering makes no sense at all.

Scientists do not “hide” data. They publish it.

No fossil contains any “religious” data. Creationists use religion to re-interpret the fossil record to suit their preconceptions, in much the same way as you are re-interpreting how science is done to suit your own preconceptions.

But when desperate people see their sacred theory crumbling, desperate measures are necessary! So it’s no holds barred. As in some of these comments, all is fair game.

Now you are desribing the tactics of the Discovery Institute.

Ridicule, name calling, and, of course, a liberal sprinkling of obscenity just to press the point.

And these are the tactics of Uncommon Descent, the weblog of Bill Dembski.

Please Dr. Prothero, don’t pull the 98% genome thing. First, the latest is 96% and on a basis of 3,000,000,000 base pairs, even a 2% difference = 60,000,000 base pair difference from a chimp. Not exactly a perfect match, is it?

Now you are demonstrating that you haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about.

Figures don’t lie….

But you seem quite capable of misunderstanding and misinterpreting them.

Our poor science literacy is a national shame and it’s those of your ilk that are mostly to blame.

On the contrary, it is creationists such as yourself who should be blamed for how comedic “American high-school science” is to the rest of the world.

As a biologist,

Are you really? Then how about you read up on those figures you quoted earlier, try to understand them, and only then post a comment about them.

Y’know, like an actual scientist.

I was taught that science was the search for truth, “leaving no stone unturned” and letting the weight of the evidence be the determinant,

It is. What’s the problem?

but the “BB,LR” concept is now pervasive,

I will believe it only once I have seen the preponderance of evidence indicate it is so. Thus far, you have not even attempted to back up your assertion.

That does not sound very scientific, does it?

where censorship reigns as long as it suits a specific predetermined agenda.

This sounds more like a case of sour grapes than an actual considered, rational opinion.

Science is not the learning experience that it once was.

Nonsense. If you wish to challenge the way science progresses, you have to come up with some evidence that (1) there is anything wrong with the way it proceeds now, and (2) you have a better alternative.

In your comments, all I have seen is ranting. There is not one whiff of actual evidence to support your claims.

It is not learning the scientific method and how to arrive at decisions and render conclusions, it is, certainly in the case of evolution, a matter of proselytizing a non theistic religion upon our youth.

Now you are parroting a creationist lie.

Do you think it doesn’t count as a transgression of Mosaic law becauise you are lying for Jesus?

And we wonder why scientific literacy and students’ ability to think and decide goes wanting? To Dale, of the Church of the Lumpy Rug, I would rather be a created idiot than one that evolved!

Ah, now we come to the crux of your argument: Mummy, I don’t like the nasty data - make them go away.

Sorry, mate, but reality is what it is. No amount of wishful thinking can change that. Deal with it, and join the real world.

Pursue a creationist agenda, and you will live in a fantasy world. Psychiatrists have a name for people like you, you know.

Seriously, your strongest argument is one of personal incredulity. This is a logical fallacy. Just because you cannot envisage how a creator could work through a natural process does not mean it couldn’t happen.

At least , you have an excuse! To Raging Bee, keep your idiocy confined to porn sites where you will find lots of company.

That’s just libellous.

Sir, if you believe half of what you have written, you will retract this or back it up with evidence.

If you do neither of these things, it will just illustrate that you are deliberately lying.

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

Dale, Clever retort. I would not have expected for you to have gleaned anything or understood anything from what was stated.

What, even despite the fact that your preceding post was utterly devoid of substantive content?

Stick to your porn sites where you seem better suited.

Ooh, more libel!

Like, you’re so grown up compared to us, aren’t you, Ron?

Stanton, your response is on a par with Dale. When there is nothing of intelligence to offer then revert to the old standby of name calling (pompous idiot, hypocrite)

Actually, Ron, you were the one who offered us nothing intelligent. You were being both pompous and hypocritical. Your comments were, quite demonstrably, idiotic in places.

Thus, the weight of evidence supports Stanton’s assertions. Where’s your evidence, Ron?

and adding another level of “BB, LR”

More unsupported assertions.

with such vague generalities as Creationism is not science and that they have no interest in knowledge.

This has been demonstrated to be true. Creationism denies reality.

I am a biologist, formerly employed by NASA and NIH on applied scientific space and artificial heart and kidney programs.

You know, from your comments I would never have guessed that you had actually done any real science. Do you know why? It’s because you have made several claims (particularly the big broom thing) without backing any of them up with evidence.

Those required this Creationist to have interest and apply knowledge to benefit mankind.

Really? And from whence came that knowledge?

So what have you done to benefit mankind?

If you refer to Stanton in particular, I cannot answer for him/her.

What kind of evolved hypocrite are you?

Actually, Ron, judging from comments posted here, you are the one being hypocritical and Stanton is being consistent.

Seems that both of you are millions of years behind on your evolution.

This is another creationist lie. In evolution, there is no such thing as “primitive” or “advanced”, as you seem to be implying here.

You may have had a biological edcation Ron, and you may have done some science, but there is precious little evidence in your comments of anything remotely resembling critical thinking. And by that I don’t just mean criticising that with which you disagree. You have obviously chosen your bed and are happy to lie in it, but do you realise that your understanding of evolutionary theory and genetics are both inadequate to make a convincing argument against modern evolutionary theory (that I abbreviate to MET)?

As for the rest of what you’ve posted: you’ve made some wild claims. Now show us the evidence.

Mr. Cote: you have posted nothing but rhetoric, not a shred of science in it. And you’re a biologist? I hope I never have to turn to you for anything. Prove me wrong with substance, not vacuous polemics.

Sean the ignorant creo-parrot Wrote:

Yo. We all have the same evidence and there are two massively different worldviews being displayed through creation vs. evolution.

Quite right. Creationism denies the evidence of common descent, while evolution is our best effort at explaining it.

Creation is life and evolution is death.

On the contrary. If creation is life, how come everything dies? Seems to me that “creation is death” would be closer to the truth. Evolution is life’s way of dealing with death and deriving some benefit from it.

Think with your heart as well as your head…

What?

Why should I want to think with a pump when I have a perfectly good information processor with which to think?

Maybe you should think a bit - the good Lord gave you a brain. Isn’t it blasphemy to not use it?

this is what Jesus does and did while He was on the earth.

How do you know?

Were you there?

He possesses wisdom, which is a big step beyond knowledge alone. Knowledge will tell you many disassociated things but wisdom will tell you how to interpret what you’re seeing. Ask the Lord for wisdom.

I did. He gave us evolution.

Another thing I want to see addressed concerning the “Creation is life, evolution is death” nonsense, in that, how exactly does “Creation” mean “life,” when, due to the sin of Adam and Eve, all life is cursed to die, and that God also once decided to attempt to eradicate “sin” by obliterating all terrestrial life that could not be stuffed into Noah’s ark, only to have “sin” reappear like magical kudzu?

Where is the logic in that?

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

Dear evols and “BB,LR’s”, Dale, you couldn’t recognize anything useful or factual if it were staring you in the face.

Again with the unsupported assertions.

My dear Ronnie, based purely on the evidence of your own posts, and the posts of other commenters, those whom you attempt to insult genuinely are your intellectual superiors.

Going back to some of your earlier comments, you claimed to have worked on artificial heart and kidney programmes. On reflection, this comes far more under the category of medical engineering than it does under “science”.

So, here’s an easy question for you: in what way does your work on artificial heart and kidney programmes constitute science?

Also, I’m not the one who inserted the obscenities, only commenting on its use by those who, having nothing to offer, have to revert to such lowbrow tactics.

Oh, yes. Mr. Libel commenting on other people using lowbrow tactics. Hypocrite (and I use that in a purely factual sense).

In your desperation to keep the myth alive, you and your kind are shameless contributing nothing.

More baseless assertions.

Hey, how about you back up some of this nonsense with some evidence?

If you are, as you claim to be, scientifically educated, that isn’t much to ask, is it?

0+0=0 richCares, I have studied evolution and anyone with any degree of scientific training, which I assume you lack in quantity, who believes for a minute that evolution is essential to the production of anything utilitarian to man, is as ignorant as you.

Wow. You managed to put quite a lot of “wrong” into one sentence there. I don’t think you’ll beat Mats’ record yet, though.

(1) The evidence (i.e. your posts) indicates that either you are lying about having studied evolution or that you had a go but did not understand it.

And when I say “evolution” I do not mean any of the various creationist strawmen.

(2) You demonstrate your ignorance by associating evolution with “utility to man”. Evolution has nothing to do with what is useful to us, except as exemplified in artificial selection.

(3) You totally fail to address any point raised by RichCares, instead unkindly accusing him of failing to understand evolution. Who was it that said “Love thy neighbour …”? Oh, but, hey, don’t pay any attention to him, because he wasn’t referring to supporters of science, was he?

(4) The preponderance of evidence does indeed support the theory of evolution by descent with modification from common ancestry. To deny this is to deny reality.

Stanton, talk to any patient on kidney dialysis or an astronaut on an EVA mission and ask them if I betray a gross ignorance of biology.

You don’t need to know much biology to design a machine, do you?

Your pride in your biological knowledge is doubly astonishing when the evidence of your own words betrays a woeful ignorance of that which you attempt to criticise.

And, you dimwit, bringing anti-Semitism into the conversation vividly demonstrates the frustration that comes from ignorance that is only surpassed by stupidity.

Actually, he was making PT readers aware of posts you had made on other blogs. Do you now regret those words?

Oh, and calling him a dimwit is hypocritical, because, based only on what you have posted in this thread, it is you who are dim-witted.

There seems no limit to the lengths you will take to scrape the bottom of the barrel while offering nothing to the debate.

Speaking of which, your own contribution has been entirely negative thus far, and seems to be composed of mere baseless assertions.

Oh, I get it. You are providing yet more evidence of your own hypocrisy.

Hoary, evolution is more fertile because it is composted by lots of organic detritus.

See what I mean?

You denigrate that which you do not understand. This, I could live with. However, you appear to be making no effort to understand MET, and this I find disgraceful.

So, whom do you seek to impress?

Ann Coulter has a book,” If Democrats had any brains, they would be Republicans”

Oh, look, here comes an argument from authority. Sadly, you could not have picked a worse authority. Ann Coulter is a known reality-denier.

I thought of doing likewise with,” If evolutionists had any brains, they would be Creationists”

Oh, the dramatic irony.

How about these: If creationists had brains, they would be evolutionists; If creationists had eyes they would be evolutionists; If creationists hadn’t been abused by their parents by being indoctrinated into a reality-denial worldview, they would be evolutionists.

And so on.

However, all of this playful banter proves nothing.

I have changed my mind because they would not comprehend it since so many of them are recent evolutes and are millions of years behind the rest of us.

Here you are contradicting your own position.

Did you notice that, or are you really so far up your own fundament that you cannot even understand what you are saying, never mind what anyone else has written?

I leave you with this old Indian saying, “ If evolutionists’ brains were dynamite, they couldn’t even blow their noses!’ Keep on evolutin’ and sweeping under the rug!

My word. I think you have now eclipsed Mats in posting the stupidest thing I have ever read on a weblog.

And that, my dear Ronnie, is definitely saying something.

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

richCares, I studied biology in a university classroom.

Well, let’s see: (1) No university I’ve ever seen has “classrooms”; (2) You quite obviously fail to mention which university, something that an actual scientist is unlikely to do if his/her credentials are challenged.

The only conclusion that seems consistent with all of the facts is that you are talking through your hat, sir.

I didn’t realize that the name “evolutionist” should be offensive.

It’s not. But it is inappropriate. This is something you would know if you had studied biology to university level.

In trying to bring civility to this nonsense,

Is that why you accused several commenters of visiting porn sites?

my temptation was to use the term “nutjob” but if Evolutionist is equally offensive, I’ll go with that.

Oh, dear, you still don’t get it, do you, Ronnie?

David with your expertise in genetics why don’t you give an expository using recombinant DNA technology as proof of your mythology and gain some converts.

He does not need to. The information is in the public domain.

Which you would know if you had actually studied biology at university level.

Besides, I don’t think that anyone believes you to be seriously interested in molecular biology all of a sudden. You are a fraud, sir. You came here professing expertise and authority in biology and you gave yourself away quite quickly.

I may be one!

No. You have obviously already made your choice. It is evident from your comments that you came to denigrate evolution, not to learn about it.

Richard, until reading your statement, I had neveer heard of corn or bread wheat. Please explain, I am intrigued!

Aha. Now you make a rather feeble attampt at sarcasm. How old are you - 12 perhaps?

Stanton Wrote:

Another thing I want to see addressed concerning the “Creation is life, evolution is death” nonsense, in that, how exactly does “Creation” mean “life,” when, due to the sin of Adam and Eve, all life is cursed to die, and that God also once decided to attempt to eradicate “sin” by obliterating all terrestrial life that could not be stuffed into Noah’s ark, only to have “sin” reappear like magical kudzu?

Where is the logic in that?

I’m afraid that logic and religion do not mix well.

Consider this: there’s this almighty being who created everything, he’s omniscient and omnipotent but he looks just like you or me. Except that we don’t look all that alike, in fact, because my genetic heritage is mostly north-European, while yours is more kinda African. He loves us unconditionally, but if we transgress the laws he gave us we’ll end up in a really horrible place. But not until after we die. And if we are good and kind and obey his laws, we’ll go to a very very special place called Heaven. But, again, not until after we die. What do you mean, “how do I know?”? It’s written in the Bible. How do I know it to be true? Because the Bible says it is the word of God, that’s how. What do you mean “what if it’s wrong?”?

And so on.

You should check out the new Ben Stein movie, Expelled. www.expelledthemovie.com

Richard Simons, thanks for the summary of wheat evolution. I enjoyed it.

Nigel - Thanks for your comment. I assumed that RLC was meaning he had not heard about wheat and corn having evolved. It did not cross my mind that he was being sarcastic (maybe I am naive). Notice how he has not acknowledged that it is an example of evolution that has benefitted people. BTW, I suspect the biblical significance of unleavened bread is that it is the old style, the high gluten wheat that can be used to make spongy bread being a relatively recent innovation at the time.

The cabbage group is another nice example of crop evolution.

Nigel, reading you fisk trolls sets my heart all a’flutter.

Stanton Wrote:

Nigel, reading you fisk trolls sets my heart all a’flutter.

Stanton, thank-you. I aim to please.

I also hope that the lurkers are learning something about the nature of those who oppose the teaching of evolution.

To all those of you still in the process of evolving, let me convey to you how much I enjoyed pulling your chains. I am flattered that you have paid me so much attention which is strong indication that my statements apparently unnerved many of you as evidenced by the vitriol, denial, personal attacks, name calling, accusations and other irresponsible, idiotic responses offered in defense of your bankrupt myth. These shop worn tools of the evolutionists vividly demonstrate ignorance and are in direct proportion to the level of frustration raised by any threat to your sacrosanct theory (Right, Nigel?) Lacking intelligent debate, personal attacks are the mainstay of your defence, making your stupidity all the more tranparent. Where you scream for providing “evidence” for my beliefs, there is not one shred of it offered in support of evolution in all the derogatory comments that you provide, proving once again the paucity of your hypothesis. Where you demand evidence of others, you provide nothing, bringing nothing of note to the table. To all of you lost souls, I wish you well and as you evolve further, hope that some day truth and reason will prevail as, and if, you take the blinders off. In the meantime keep your brooms handy and your rugs lumpy.

i’ve thoroughly enjoyed the thread. i also was highly amused at the expeditious manner in which cote was handed his hat. :)

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

To all those of you still in the process of evolving,

Again with the iggerance. Populations evolve; individuals cannot.

let me convey to you how much I enjoyed pulling your chains.

What, you enjoy showing off what an ignorant fool you are? How peculiar.

I am flattered that you have paid me so much attention

Purely for the benefit of innocent bystanders. I actually do recognise that you are sufficiently blinkered that my arguments are unlikely to change your mind. Try and guess how much I care about your mind.

which is strong indication that my statements apparently unnerved many of you

No. Not unnerved. Surprised, certainly. I had not previously realised how stupid some people are prepared to be in public. Thanks for opening my eyes.

as evidenced by the vitriol, denial, personal attacks, name calling, accusations

Actually, if you look back up the thread you’ll find it was mostly you doing this kind of stuff.

and other irresponsible, idiotic responses offered in defense of your bankrupt myth.

Oh, dear. You haven’t really understood any of the arguments against your position have you?

And you still haven’t offered any positive arguments to support your assertions at all. Or any actual evidence either.

These shop worn tools of the evolutionists vividly demonstrate ignorance

Hah! That is so rich, coming from you. You, who lied about your biological education to try and impress us, and failed miserably because your ignorance became painfully obvious all too early.

and are in direct proportion to the level of frustration raised by any threat to your sacrosanct theory (Right, Nigel?)

Believe me, your comments are not a threat to MET.

However, tactics such as the ones you have used in this thread actually do threaten the education of millions of high-school students across the US.

Lacking intelligent debate, personal attacks are the mainstay of your defence,

I made no personal attacks, you liar, I made factual comments (such as calling you a hypocrite, which is factually correct as evidenced in your own comments).

making your stupidity all the more tranparent.

Again with the projection. Why do you have trouble accepting that we will not believe what you say unless you back it up with evidence?

Where you scream for providing “evidence” for my beliefs,

Which you still refuse to provide.

there is not one shred of it offered in support of evolution in all the derogatory comments that you provide, proving once again the paucity of your hypothesis.

Where my comments are derogatory, you have thoroughly deserved it. You have lied, you have demonstrated your ignorance, you have been hypocritical, you have been libellous to other commenters. You deserve to be derided.

Oh, and evidence for MET?

It’s in the public domain. You are the one attempting to make the criticism of MET. The burden of proof is yours. It is up to you to find out if your criticisms hold water or if they are so much hot air.

It’s called intellectual honesty, so I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

Where you demand evidence of others, you provide nothing, bringing nothing of note to the table.

Look who’s talking.

Mr Empty Assertions.

To all of you lost souls, I wish you well and as you evolve further, hope that some day truth and reason will prevail

Yes, I hope that one day you will open your eyes to the evidence. Maybe you could start with a Google search (e.g. you could put in “evidence for evolution” and see what comes up).

as, and if, you take the blinders off. In the meantime keep your brooms handy and your rugs lumpy.

Yeah, y’know, you never did supply one iota of anything remotely resembling evidence for your big broom thing. So, seriously, and just between the two of us, what made you reach that conclusion?

I get the distinct feeling that not only did Ronald Cote lie about ever taking a university-level biology course, I also get the impression that he thinks being a Christian entitles him to ignore everything Christ taught, especially the song-and-dance numbers Our Lord and Savior did about “love thy neighbor,” not to mention ignoring the 10 Commandments, especially the ones concerning not bearing false witness or taking the Lord’s name in vain in order to promote one’s own stupidity.

Ronald L. Cote Wrote:

I am flattered that you have paid me so much attention

You know, Ronnie, another thought struck me after I finished composing my previous response:

If you are flattered by all the attention, how about actually paying attention to some of it? You have pretty much refused to supply any substance to support your assertions. Why is that?

Or, is it just another lie?

Here’s a little game for you to play. I call it “what if?”.

What if I’m wrong, and that all of the evidence that supports MET has been misinterpreted or is actually better explained by some other theory of evolution? Well, first off, I have seen no evidence to indicate that the conclusions that I accept about evolution are wrong. So, if I’m wrong, no evidence has yet come to light to demonstrate this (and, please, don’t quote Behe’s or Dembski’s garbage at me as if it proved anything. It doesn’t, because it is wrong in its own right). Second, if I’m wrong it is at least an honest error. I accept the scientific process, and if evidence were to turn up tomorrow to indicate that MET is wrong, I would have to accept it. Third, if I’m wrong I am not alone. There are far better scientists than me who accept the same set of conclusions about evolution as I do. Fourth, if I’m wrong, then scientists have been getting it wrong for a long, long time. Fifth, if I’m wrong, then the better theory has not even been thought of yet (sorry, mate, but ID as expounded by Behe, Dembski, Wells et al. is not a theory and is not science).

When I look at these points, I can form some kind of idea about how likely it is that MET is wrong. My conclusion is that it is very probably right.

Now, let’s have a look at your position. What if you’re wrong? First, if you are wrong, you have become a lying hypocrite for no good reason. Second, if you are wrong, then your claim about the big broom is merely hot air or sour grapes. Third, if you are wrong, then it means that all of the above comments challenging what you have said were actually right in doing so. Fourth, if you are wrong, then all of the experts whom you disparage and whose opinions you discard really did know what they were talking about after all. Fifth, if you are wrong, then the evidence does actually mean what 100% (rounding to no decimal places) of scientists actually think it means.

Let’s look back at these points for a moment. How likely might it be that you are actually wrong? From where I’m sitting, there isn’t actually any evidence to support anything you have claimed. From where I sit, your arguments lack logic. From where I sit, you are contradicting known facts about the ability of scientists to obtain data from fossils. From where I sit, you do not appear to have made any honest attempt to find out what MET actually is. Thus, I can conclude that you are very probably wrong.

So you see, Ronnie, unless you are prepared to recognise your own ignorance, unless you are prepared to accept the consensus opinion of experts, unless you are prepared to back up your claims with some actual evidence, then every visitor to this thread will see you for the ignorant, lying hypocrite that your comments prove you to be.

Quick Question: I’ve heard YEC say that we share almost the same percentage genome with dogs or any other mammal. Is this true? Just out of curiosity (and pardon my ignorance) but how much do we share with other animals?

I’ve heard YEC say that we share almost the same percentage genome with dogs or any other mammal. Is this true? Just out of curiosity (and pardon my ignorance) but how much do we share with other animals?

This isn’t as good as DNA, but since there have been any number of questions regarding the level of human-chimp DNA relatedness (close is certain, exactly how close is not), perhaps this will do (I don’t have the time to look further):

The numbers are the number of amino acids in Cytochrome C for each species that are identical to those found in humans.

Chimpanzee 104 Rhesus monkey 103 Rabbit 92 Kangaroo 92 Pig 91 Dog 91 Donkey 88 Horse 87 Duck 87 Chicken 86 Turtle 85 Rattlesnake 84 Tuna 73 Moth 68 Candida (yeast) 38

www.lloydianaspects.co.uk/evolve/chimp.html

As you can see from cytochrome C amino acids, indeed dogs are a good deal less related than are chimps and monkeys (and the various organisms usually map out close to earlier phylogenetic trees, based on morphology). I can say that while I don’t have the DNA figures, they tend to be fairly close to what cytochrome C tells us as well.

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

Just to add to Glen’s comment: human cytochrome C has 104 amino acids so the chimpanzee version is identical and the rhesus monkey’s differs at one amino acid.

Re “… human cytochrome C has 104 amino acids …”

In that case, maybe the difference counts might help, since they tend to go up as “distance” goes up (intead of inverting the direction):

Chimpanzee 0 Rhesus monkey 1 Rabbit 12 Kangaroo 12 Pig 13 Dog 13 Donkey 16 Horse 17 Duck 17 Chicken 18 Turtle 19 Rattlesnake 20 Tuna 31 Moth 36 Candida (yeast) 66

Hello, love this thread, hopefully this isn’t WAY to late for everybody. To Ronald L. Cote I ask you to look at the scientific study of Endogenous Retroviruses, there is your evidence for large scale evolution that cannot be explained by any creation ‘model’ without being utterly dishonest, though I have seen some deny it still, they do concede it on the whole as one of the best remnents of evolutionary change and decent there is. Balls in your court Cote.

Folks. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Macro-evolution is a theory. There is some fossil evidence to support it however issues like man’s development are suggested but NOT proven in the fossil record. Micro-evolution, on the other hand, has been supported many times.

In the final outcome: It’s my belief that God did it. We are trying to figure out how…

No, you aren’t trying to “figure out how”. You’re assuming your god did it and trying to subvert legitimate science because it fails to agree with your superstitions, while contributing nothing whatsoever to our understanding of biology or anything else. Your creationist “science” intends to destroy knowledge, not create it.

SCIGUY wrote:

“Macro-evolution is a theory. There is some fossil evidence to support it however issues like man’s development are suggested but NOT proven in the fossil record.”

You seem to be sadly misinformed. There is plenty of evidence, palentological, genetic and developmental for macroevolution. Why some is even mentioned in the post directly above yours. If you are trying to figure out how God did it, why do you ignore this evidence? Couldn’t God have done it this way? And if you don’t consider the eivdence in drawing your conclusions, how will you ever decide how God did it?

SCIGUY said:

Macro-evolution is a theory.

Please realize that you’re using the layman’s term for “theory,” which is a synonym for “guess.” In science, “theory” is an explanation of how and why a particular phenomenon in nature occurs. Trying to dismiss a scientific explanation as merely being “a theory” is extremely dishonest, as well as a sign of blatant academic laziness and or willful ignorance.

There is some fossil evidence to support it however issues like man’s development are suggested but NOT proven in the fossil record.

Bullshit. Then what are all those fossils of hominids and primates of? Failed attempts by God, or incompetent relatives of Noah?

Micro-evolution, on the other hand, has been supported many times.

As with macro-evolution, too, many times, as well.

In the final outcome: It’s my belief that God did it. We are trying to figure out how…

It’s my belief that God ultimately created life as we know it via the laws of chemistry and physics, and through evolution, but, it is morally and intellectually reprehensible for me to hijack science and scientific terms in order to illegitimately provide a veneer of fake legitimacy to my own pious ignorance like the way you’re trying to do.

Or, perhaps you could explain how and why people would be able to figure out “how God did it” by lying and dismissing evidence because it upsets cherished nonsensical beliefs?

Arguing with RM is like repeatedly ringing the doorbell when nobody’s home.

In the final outcome: It’s my belief that God did it. We are trying to figure out how…

Oddly, that’s exactly what Darwin, and Maxwell, and Bacon set out to do.

Thing is, unlike ID, they were successful, because they skipped ID step #2, which is “When you come across something that’s not explained in the Bible, simply pretend it doesn’t exist”

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This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on November 15, 2007 12:30 PM.

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