Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Evidence for evolution

with 32 comments

Although Creationists stubbornly resist acknowledging evolution, this is going to be hard to explain:

… When [Darwin] suggested, in The Descent of Man (1871), that humans and apes shared a common ancestor, it was a revolutionary idea, and it remains one today. Yet nothing provides more convincing evidence for the “theory” of evolution than the viruses contained within our DNA. Until recently, the earliest available information about the history and the course of human diseases, like smallpox and typhus, came from mummies no more than four thousand years old. Evolution cannot be measured in a time span that short. Endogenous retroviruses provide a trail of molecular bread crumbs leading millions of years into the past.

Darwin’s theory makes sense, though, only if humans share most of those viral fragments with relatives like chimpanzees and monkeys. And we do, in thousands of places throughout our genome. If that were a coincidence, humans and chimpanzees would have had to endure an incalculable number of identical viral infections in the course of millions of years, and then, somehow, those infections would have had to end up in exactly the same place within each genome. The rungs of the ladder of human DNA consist of three billion pairs of nucleotides spread across forty-six chromosomes. The sequences of those nucleotides determine how each person differs from another, and from all other living things. The only way that humans, in thousands of seemingly random locations, could possess the exact retroviral DNA found in another species is by inheriting it from a common ancestor.

Molecular biology has made precise knowledge about the nature of that inheritance possible. With extensive databases of genetic sequences, reconstructing ancestral genomes has become common, and retroviruses have been found in the genome of every vertebrate species that has been studied. Anthropologists and biologists have used them to investigate not only the lineage of primates but the relationships among animals—dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes, for example—and also to test whether similar organisms may in fact be unrelated.

The entire article is worth reading, but given this smoking-gun quality of evidence for the fact of evolution, how will Creationists respond? (Beyond stubborn, pig-headed, blind denial, I mean.)

Written by Leisureguy

28 November 2007 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Religion, Science

Tagged with ,

32 Responses

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  1. Mike… I LOVE this post. I don’t imagine they put any of that information into the exhibits at the new Creation Museum in Kentucky.

    Like

    Pat

    28 November 2007 at 2:33 pm

  2. Wouldn’t it be fun to create an official (and somewhat dry looking) little museum placard in the same font and style as used in the Creation Museum and attach it to the wall? Or splice an exposition of these findings into some of the video?

    What’s particularly delicious is that the basic argument (that either you must accept a jillion unlikely coincidences, or this idea is correct) is exactly the argument style used by Creationists. Remember the peanut butter argument? That if life arose from an organic soup, then surely in opening millions and billions of jars of peanut butter, someone would have found life. And yet not one has (except, of course, for those who have—mold and the like), so life cannot arise from organic matter.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    28 November 2007 at 2:36 pm

  3. Oh, the irony isn’t lost on me either… unfortunately concepts like peanut butter are much simpler and more familiar than organic soups or integrated viral DNA, which is why the argument in that context is more appealing to um… simpler minds, shall we say 😉

    Like

    Pat

    28 November 2007 at 2:57 pm

  4. Stubborn, Pig-headed, Blind. Sounds to me like YOUR mind is made up in a sort of stubborn, pig-headed and blind to any other opinion than YOURS.

    LOTS of viruses are interchangeable between humans and LOTS of other animals (bird flu, mad cow, etc. etc.).

    Ever looked at the assumptions inherent in the post you cite as FACT? The assumption of millions of years old viral fragments? How can THAT be proven? Are there records of scientists millions of years ago recording these viral fragments? Of course not.

    You’ll have to do a lot better than this trifle. You’re an idiot.

    Like

    Creationist

    28 November 2007 at 3:50 pm

  5. Well, I believe that I made up my mind based on evidence, not on faith in the literal accuracy of an ancient religious text.

    Perhaps if you read the entire article, and learned a little more about genetics, you would not be so quick to dismiss these findings. And maybe you wouldn’t use rhetorical devices like “are there are records of scientists millions of years ago recording these viral fragments?”. As you answer that question—as anyone would answer—“of course not.” So are you just a teeny bit curious as to how they came to that conclusion?

    BTW, I’m not an idiot, so you’re wrong there, too. 🙂

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    28 November 2007 at 3:58 pm

  6. Mad Cow isn’t a virus 🙂

    Like

    Pat

    28 November 2007 at 4:12 pm

  7. In discussions and debates relative to the origin of life, there is one most significant aspect that is most often overlooked and that is that Creation had an eye witness, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator Himself! Moses, credited with writing the Book of Genesis, did not invent the account, it was communicated to him by the Lord to be recorded for all times.
    In addition, the Noahic flood, which accounts for and corroborates the dramatic changes in the environment, the formation of fossils and major geological phenomena also had the same eye witness, Jesus Christ who caused it to happen.
    No evolutionist can claim eye witness accounts of the “Big Bang”, anything changing from something to something else, life being generated from non life, a plant or animal in the process of transition or any other evolutionary process. All of the evidence that should be available as proof of evolution is buried by the concept of minute mutations over unimaginably long periods of time. This provides the needed excuse for changes being undetectable because they require inconceivable, incomprehensible periods of time which cannot be observed.
    The irony is that where there is the Lord providing the accounts, evolutionists opt to believe in the accounts perceived, invented, hypothesized and perpetuated by humans with limited knowledge, scant evidence but a large measure of speculation and supposition.
    But why believe God when you have such learned scientists as Darwin, Dawkins, Hutchens, Gould and other prominent scientists proclaiming their gospels of mythology. Besides, what does God know, He didn’t even have a college degree!

    Like

    Ronald Cote

    28 November 2007 at 5:13 pm

  8. my head just exploded.

    Like

    the wife

    28 November 2007 at 6:01 pm

  9. “The entire article is worth reading, but given this smoking-gun quality of evidence for the fact of evolution, how will Creationists respond? (Beyond stubborn, pig-headed, blind denial, I mean.)”

    Looks like “stubborn, pig-headed, blind denial” is all that can be expected from the flat-earthers who deny evolution.

    “The only way that humans, in thousands of seemingly random locations, could possess the exact retroviral DNA found in another species is by inheriting it from a common ancestor.”

    This is definitely smoking-gun proof humans are cousins of the other ape species. How can anyone deny how powerful this evidence is? Could it be that creationists are just plain stupid? Yeah, that’s got to be the problem. Creationists are dumber than dogs.

    Yesterday I was watching 11 videos about creationists and I highly recommend them. On youtube.com search for “Why do people laugh at creationists?”.

    Like

    bobcu

    28 November 2007 at 6:23 pm

  10. To the wife whose head just exploded- this is a very common occurence for evolutionists when an intelligent thought enters the head for the very first time. The only cure is to get rid of all intelligent thought. That’s why it is rare among evolutionists.
    Bobcu, you need not fear a head explosion. Your name calling is weak and tired and needs originality.To answer your question, mockery is a tool used by ignorant people when they have nothing of intelligence to offer. It is cathartic for the mocker and allays an inferiority complex that is caused by truly being inferior. The only antidote is more millions of years of evoluting.

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    Ronald Cote

    29 November 2007 at 5:13 pm

  11. No need to be insulting, Mr. Cote. My take on the scientists who have worked on evolution is that they’re a very intelligent crowd indeed. Your account of how the world evolved is so wrong on so many counts that there’s no point in going into it, but perhaps if you would educate yourself in actual science, including scientific method and logical argument, you would be astonished at what you might learn.

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    LeisureGuy

    29 November 2007 at 5:53 pm

  12. hahahahhahahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahahaha you call THAT evidence oh yea you call EVERYTHING evidence but you have NO PROOF!

    Like

    laugh

    1 December 2007 at 10:17 am

  13. “Proof” in the world of science is based on evidence, so evidence is right to the point. “Proof” is used differently in different disciplines. Mathematical proof is not the same as scientific “proof.” And, since science bases its conclusions on evidence, it’s always possible that new evidence will require modifications to existing understandings.

    “Proof” in the context of religion is also different. For example, a “proof” that Jesus is God (or at least one of the various “persons” of a single God) is not to be had. It’s a matter of faith.

    My predecessor as director of admissions occasionally would quote,”the loud laugh that bespeaks the empty mind.” I don’t know why that occurred to me just now.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    1 December 2007 at 10:26 am

  14. LeisureGuy, I agree with your last statement, especially the quote. I tire of the name calling, insults and empty headed responses that offer nothing to the debate. So reciprocating is tempting.There are as many brilliant scientists who believe in Creation and without proofs of either theory, the needed component is faith, moreso to believe in evolution than creation. You state that my account of how the world evolved is so wrong. I didn’t say it evolved because it was created! I would admonish you also not to be insulting. I am an accomplished biologist having worked for NASA and NIH so do know the scientific method. So you may want to heed your own advice and be astonished. Don’t cop out by saying there’s no point in going in to my account. Share your wisdom with all of us and give your extensive apprehension of the myth of evolution.

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    Ronald Cote

    1 December 2007 at 1:22 pm

  15. For me, interestingly, it takes less faith to believe in natural selection and evolution than to believe the creationist account (taking the story in Genesis as literally true). For one thing, the account of the development of life and species with the theory of evolution makes sense: it hangs together as an account, plus one can see the evidence for it. For example, how would the Genesis account square with the corresponding viral fragments in the DNA in closely related species? That is evidence, and for me strong evidence, of the account provided by the modern theory of evolution.

    As you probably know, there are many brilliant scientists who do not accept the creationist account of the way the earth came to be. I doubt that the answer can be decided by voting, but I would say that the number of brilliant scientists who do not accept creationism is greater than the number who do. Is that your impression as well?

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    1 December 2007 at 1:46 pm

  16. BTW, I’m surprised that you, as a scientist, talk about “proof” of the theory of evolution. But perhaps you mean something else by “proof” — Newton’s theory of gravity works well on small scales, but that doesn’t “prove” the theory. More evidence showed that the theory needed refinement. Einstein provided the refinement in his General Theory of Relativity, which agrees extremely well with large-scale observations and with experimental results—but that is not “proof”. It just means that the theory is in accordance with evidence and experiment. New evidence could show more work is needed, and the fact that we haven’t found a way to combine quantum theory and general relativity shows that both theories, despite agreeing with evidence, experiment, and observation, need refinement in the sense of getting a theory that will cover both sets of phenomena.

    I realize that, as a scientist, you understand all this, but when you talked about there being no “proof” of the theory of evolution, I was concerned that readers who don’t know scientist would think something was wrong—that a “proof” was lacking. Science (as you know) doesn’t work that way.

    Nor does religion. Indeed, in religion one can believe things for which there is no evidence whatsoever (other than statements from various religious authorities), and no one objects. Religion is from faith, and the believer who has faith has no interest in evidence—thus the surprising number of different religions with incompatible beliefs but with many believers (each).

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    1 December 2007 at 2:07 pm

  17. Guys, let me jump into this thicket, with a “theory”.

    My theory is that religion is, a bottom, a form of politics — a politicis of belief, if you will — and because of the nature of belief, like politics, the proportions of so-called believers change like fashions, eg, patterns of dress, patterns of political change, you name it, and thus change what degrees of religiosity are in the ascendant.

    Take the bushie era, where at the beginning — in a nation supposed to have clean separation of church and state — journalists started discussing bush’s religious rhetoric and vocabulary. If i remember correctly, this use of religious vocabulary by bush peaked in about 2002 or 2003, and among certain crowds, touting your degree of religiosity was common. Then, although the evangelical crowd helped him win in 2004, by 2006, november, another type of thought — drive by a lower commitment to belief — was in the ascendant. Yes, I agree, the decline in support for bush, ca. november, 2006, was driven in part by the dismal results of the iraq “war”.

    (Think about this: while Christianity enjoyed a brief ascendancy in the bush era, and a surprising number — said to be over 50% — of Americans claim a belief in God and attend church somewhat regularly, our brethren in Europe of the opposite proportions, ie, claims about a belief in God and church attendance in Europe are roughly the mirror opposite of America. Can this be explained any other way than as a form of politics of belief?)

    (Now, today, with some of the leading Dems beginning to articulate a religious inclination, maybe something is happening there that is outside my “theory” or maybe someone with a quicker mind than mine can explain what’s happening. Are these Dems just being opportunistic?)

    Whatever, it simply boils down to the numbers of believers vs the numbers of non-believers that sets the tone for a population/society about its degree of “belief”.

    As somebody noted in a comment above, I think, religion is validated only by personal belief/commitment. If a majority of believers live in a society, religious politics prevail; or, if the proportion of believers/nonbelievers shifts, another type of religious politics prevails.

    However, at no time am i going to claim that with these shifts, morality changes. Humanists, regardless of what the religious crowd claims, are guided by a moral code too, It’s just that the moral code derives from a different tradition.

    OK, this so-called “theory” of mine is a simplification, for sure, definitely in need of expansion and polish, but it has merit, I know, from discussions with friends.

    Like

    Raymond McInnis

    1 December 2007 at 5:18 pm

  18. LeisureGuy, I would hope that the corresponding viral factors in the DNA issue isn’t the overriding factor for your belief. That would be pretty myopic to put all eggs in that basket.My impression is not that there are more brilliant scientists who believe in one over the other. what makes it seem so is that most proponents of evolution are from academia where it’s a bread and butter issue and where being vocal is rewarded, and being opposed affors one a chance at a new career. While working with hundreds of scientists from all disciplines, belief in evolution never was a consideration because it has no bearing whatsoever in applied science. When hired by NASA and NIH there was no requirement to believe in evolution because it is not the foundation of science and has nothing to do with the production of any useful device. When a pharmaceutical company recruits scientists do they only employ evolutionists? Is there any product on the face of this earth that has required this belief? The answer is NO. With NASA, I worked on the “backpack” worn by astronauts on the moon. If being a Creationist would have jeopardized the integrity of that product, I and many others would never have been hired. Apart from academia, the real world could care less about evolution because it isn’t part of any R&D program.

    Like

    Ronald Cote

    1 December 2007 at 5:19 pm

  19. No, the corresponding viral factors in the DNA is not the overriding factor in my belief. It’s simply the subject of the post, and the question that I asked out (which, you’ll note, you did not answer). Let me repeat the question:

    For example, how would the Genesis account square with the corresponding viral fragments in the DNA in closely related species?

    Since the viral fragments issue is what the post is about, it would be good to comment on that.

    I don’t know what an “evolutionist” is, exactly. Presumably someone who accepts the theory of evolution as part of the overall scientific picture of the world/universe in which we live. But so many different scientists and laypeople accept evolution that the term really is not very precise—in fact, I would venture that it’s not even so precise as “creationist”, since that pretty clearly means someone who accepts Genesis as a literal and accurate account of the way the world came to be. “Evolutionist” would seem more akin to “religious”—that is, “religious” meaning accepting the existence of one or more Gods. Many people are religious but may have little else in common.

    Actually, once you look into it, the theory of evolution has many applications—for example, using genetic analysis to trace the path of evolution and determine the degree to which different species are related and when the species diverged, and so on. Lots of applications in the biological sciences, though I’ll agree not so many in engineering—except perhaps in software engineering, where evolutionary algorithms have proved to be a powerful approach.

    You’ll also find that in the real worlds of medicine and agriculture, which certainly impact us in daily life, there’s considerable interest in evolution, in particular the rate at which microbes evolve to be resistant to our various antibiotics and insects to our various insecticides.

    In fact, as you look around, you’ll see science being applied in all sorts of places—which, of course, is its power.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    1 December 2007 at 7:50 pm

  20. Leisure Guy, I appreciate your inteelctual approach. It is quite a contrast to the usual name calling and insults, that I expect and am almost accustomed to. I agree that your mention of “evolutionist” being akin to “religious” My take is that, rather than accepting the existence of one or more gods, it is most likely the realm of one who denies the existence of any god, an atheist. It is convenient and comforting for an atheist to have a theory, however flawed, to give credence to his disbelief.

    Like

    Ronald Cote

    2 December 2007 at 9:43 am

  21. Somehow, I was cut off, but wish to contnue. The two are antitheses and only one is true. I think also that there is a great deal of misunderstanding of what is considered the product of evolution versus the innate created ability of organisms to adapt and vary due to the tremendous ability for some to change according to the diversity of their gene pools. Much is attributed to evolution that is actually the degree of variation that each organism possesses. To say that microbes evolve to become resistant could also be explained by their ability to adapt to environmental changes that ensure survival.

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    Ronald Cote

    2 December 2007 at 10:03 am

  22. To say that someone who believes in evolution is probably an atheist is an enormous leap. Do you have any evidence to back up that statement? It seems like saying that a physicist must be an atheist because he is comforted by a theory, however flawed… etc.

    And what exactly are the “flaws” in the theory of evolution? And why are you not answering the question I asked? It seems perfectly legitimate.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    2 December 2007 at 10:04 am

  23. Oops. Overlapping posts. Yes, I agree that microbes adapt—they do it by evolving or, as you say, to change according to the diversity of their gene pools. In fact, it’s not just microbes that do that—you can see it in action with finches, with possums, and with other animals. Given the ability to evolve, your position (I take it) that this is a created ability—that is, things that evolve (life) was created to evolve. Well, I suppose so. But it seems more or less a vacuous statement, much akin to the statement that things fall because they were created to fall. “Why does phenomenon X happen?” “It was created to happen that way.” Not very satisfactory to most of us, though highly efficient in terms of generating (unhelpful) “explanations.”

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    LeisureGuy

    2 December 2007 at 10:09 am

  24. You can debate endlessly about how many angels can fit on the head of pin. Regardless, this doesn’t change an enduring truth: some of us are believers, while some of us are non-believers.

    For me, this is the ONLY question. Why the this true: some believe, some don’t?

    Because of an alleged perpetual life after death? I hardly think so.

    Instead, I think it has more to do with whether a person is inclined toward conservative politics, i.e., what Adorno called the “authoritarian personality” vs the much maligned “liberal personality”

    Like

    Raymond McInnis

    2 December 2007 at 10:53 am

  25. A Scientific Prediction From Genesis

    Besides myself, all others that try to tell us what Genesis says do not understand the text, and are speaking from ignorance. I’m sorry to have to take this position, but there are too many false teachers and unqualified people talking about “creation\evolution debates” (when no such contest exists), and proclaiming false doctrines about Genesis, such as Creation Science, theistic evolution, progressive creation, and “gap” theories. There is even the fad of “Intelligent Design”, which is a big waste of time, and has almost nothing of value to offer.

    There are no “creation accounts” in Genesis. The opposing view of evolution is what I call “the Observations of Moses”, which were visions of six days from the past, given to Moses by God, on Mt. Sinai in 1598 BC. Each day was taken from a different day of the week, each week being the first week from a different geologic age of mankind.

    Having said that, I am now making this declaration, so that mankind may know that the words and events written in Genesis are true, and the humanist theories of our origins are false. I predict that secular science shall soon find, if they have not already, solid evidence of prehistoric mankind, which is earlier than 30 million years in age. The book “Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!”, states from Genesis that mankind has been in his present likeness for over 60 million years. Moses wrote about extinction and restoration.

    Herman Cummings
    PO Box 1745
    Fortson GA, 31808
    Ephraim7@aol.com

    Like

    Herman Cummings

    3 December 2007 at 3:36 pm

  26. Hi. As a zoologist (master’s from an accredited university) I must agree with this secular quote:
    “Domain shuffling aside, it remains a mystery how the undirected process of mutation, combined with natural selection, has resulted in the creation of thousands of new proteins with extraordinarily diverse and well-optimized functions. This problem is particularly acute for tightly integrated molecular systems that consist of many interacting parts, such as ligands, receptors, and the downstream regulatory factors with which they interact. In these systems it is not clear how a new function for any protein might be selected for unless the other members of the complex are already present, creating a molecular version of the ancient evolutionary riddle of the chicken and the egg.” – Thornton and DeSalle, ‘Genomics meets phylogenetics’, Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 2000, p. 64.

    Indeed, Peter Forey of the Natural History Museum in London said in regard to molecular evolution [sic], that it was “fraught with difficulties of interpretation” (J. of Paleontology 77(1), p. 199)

    Even creation-basher James Trefil said in 1996, “I am skeptical of arguments, like those of the molecular biologists, based on long strings of theoretical assumptions” (Mariner Books, p. 269).

    The billions of fossils also don’t help validate macroevolution (which is the issue – not minor variation). After a study of Jeff Levinton’s 2nd ed (have you read it?) of ‘Macroevolution’ I was not surprised to find he never listed any evidence for : macroevolution. None. Peter Forey (above) agrees, saying, “Do not expect answers” on p. 200 of his review of Levinton’s [“Levington’s”] book.

    I have to agree – don’t expect answers – but if you’re a secularist macroevolution (with all of its unscientific philosophical baggage) is the only show in town.

    Like

    shaving primate Brian

    6 December 2007 at 7:22 am

  27. Sorry, just one more thought regarding the unscientific nature of “descent with modification” (macroevolution). The late creation-basher Steve Gould said Phylum Arthropoda was the largest phylum in the animal world. Three Darwinists admitted in American Scientist (v 85),
    “As Darwin noted in the O. of Species, the abrupt emergence of arthropods in the fossil record during the Cambrian presents a problem for evolutionary biology. There are no obvious simpler or intermediate forms – either livingor in the fossil record – that show convincingly how modern arthropods evolved from worm-like ancestors. Consequently there has been a wealth of speculation and contention about relationships between the arthropod lineages” (p. 244).
    Arthropods have always been arthropods as the creation model states.

    Human evolution is an oxymoron (like jumbo shrimp & rap music). We have said Good Bye to Australopithecus (Lucy), Homo hablis & H. erectus (Newsweek 3/19/07 pg 56) as so-called missing links. For example,
    Science News (4/14/07 p. 230) says, “Lucy’s kind occupied only a side branch of human evolution.”
    Rex Dalton said in Nature (v 440) “Deciding whether our ancestors evolved as a single lineage may depend more on philosophy than fossils.”
    Is it any wonder James Trefil (4mer post) said years before, “Human paleontology is a field that has always been – and most likely always will be – starved for data.” p. 276
    Man stands in splendid isolation as the creation model predicts.

    Here’s my suggestion. Let’s take these quotes by evolutionists regarding “human evolution” and place them at the beginning of the section on “Human Evolution” in America’s taxpayer-paid public school biology text books. As you can see, the quotes are full of references to the Bible and ID.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all.

    Like

    shaving primate Brian (Saving Private . . .")

    6 December 2007 at 1:44 pm

  28. Well, arguments that something must be so because “I can’t imagine how it would otherwise be” are always pretty weak. So let me be the first to say that there is much in the universe at large, and in the evolution of life in particular, that we don’t understand. Oh, wait… I guess I’m not the first to say that. But you’ll notice that supernatural (or divine) explanations for phenomena tend to fall away as we gradually learn more about the phenomena. For example, it was once considered that lightning was cast by God(s) because no one could imagine any other cause. Or that plagues were sent by God(s) because no one could imagine any other cause. So saying that we don’t quite understand all the details of evolution so it must be direct intervention of God(s)…. well, it’s not very persuasive. To most, I mean.

    At any rate, regarding the fossil record: Let me quote from Bill Bryson’s excellent A Short History of Nearly Everything (which I recommend):

    Only about one bone in a billion, it is thought, ever becomes fossilized. If that is so, it means that the complete fossil legacy of all the Americans alive today—that’s 270 million people with 206 bones each—will only be about fifty bones, one quarter of a complete skeleton. That’s not to say of course that any of these bones will actually be found. Bearing in mind that they can be buried anywhere with an area of slightly over 3.6 million square miles, little of which will ever be turned over, much less examined, it would be something of a miracle if they were. Fossils are every sense vanishingly rare. Most of what has lived on Earth has left behind no record at all. It has been estimated that less than one species in ten thousand has made it into the fossil record. That in itself is a stunningly infinitesimal proportion. However, if you accept the common estimate that the Earth has produced 30 billion species of creatures in its time and Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin’s statement (in The Sixth Extinction)that there are 240,000 species of creatures in the fossil record, that reduces the proportion to just one in 120,000. Either way, what we possess is the merest sampling of all the life that Earth has spawned.

    Moreover, the record we do have is hopelessly skewed. Most land animals, of course, don’t die in sediments. They drop in the open and are eaten or left to rot or weather down to nothing. The fossil record consequently is almost absurdly biased in favor of marine creatures. About 95 percent of all the fossils we now possess are of animals that once lived under water, mostly in shallow seas.

    So I would say it is extremely premature (and totally speculative and against everything that we understand now of life’s evolution) to say that “anthropods have always been anthropods.” We now know the origin of birds, and in time we may know the origin of anthropods—if we’re lucky enough to stumble across the appropriate fossils.

    Happy holidays.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    6 December 2007 at 3:39 pm

  29. Leisure Guy, I accept that only a small percentage of fossils have been unearthed but to minimize their significance is merely an excuse. 240,000 species is not insignificant and some museums have so many that they are trying to find homes for them. So your take is that we still haven’t found enough of them to validate the “fossil record” as a record of fossils. Why call it a record if it doesn’t record anything other than we found some bones of dead things? I think this typifies the evolutionary mind set that we know it’s true but we still need to find more. When is enough, enough.
    I contend that, although the percentage may be small the number of fossils found is in the millions. There are over 3,000 listed for sale on eBay. Shouldn’t what has been found to date start to put some of the evolutionary puzzle of transitional species together, even if only a partial answer? But it doesn’t.
    As to atheism, my experience is that most that I have encountered are. Are you? It goes hand in glove that evolution, no matter how well understood, gives validity and comfort to those who choose to reject theism.
    What is also bothersome is the total rejection of catastrophism as having any possibility for its role in fossil formation, even when there is a mass of evidence for it. I also can’t fathom why with evolution as an ongoing process, there isn’t the actual observation in nature that something is at the stage of turning into something else. Even when cotrolled experiments with thousands if not millions of generations of fruit flies have been undertaken, they remain fruit flies. Seemingly as a desparate move, instances of variation and adaptation are fallaciously used as “proof” of evolution. Beak size variations among finches is poor reason, they are still finches. Fluctuations in those with big versus small beaks can occur, they are still finches. Of all the variations in dogs, they are still and ever will be, dogs.
    On viral fragments, I am not qualified to answer. Were I, is the issue of such significance that by itself would convince the world of the validity of the theory? It seems that in so many desperate anf futile efforts to be convincing there is so much minutia and trivia used along with speculation and wishful thinking and censorship of evidence.
    As a scientist, the weight of evidence that disproves an hypothesis is a most valid principle for finding truth. But evolutionists will not hear of it. The theory of evolution is coming unravelled, the reason for desparate measures. Merry CHRISTmas to all.

    Like

    Ronald Cote

    6 December 2007 at 5:58 pm

  30. 240,000 species is an insignificant fraction of all the species that ever lived. It’s called a fossil record because it’s all the record we have of fossils. (Is that really important? What name do you suggest?)

    It’s always good to add to knowledge, typical of the evolutionist/scientist mindset, I’ll agree. When we find a heretofore unknown ancient species in the fossil record (or whatever you wish that we call it), it fleshes out the picture—as in the first fossil found of a dinosaur with feather impressions, which makes stronger the finding that modern birds descended from the dinosaurs. And in the case of the fish with the developed legs that marked a transition from a sea-dwelling animal to a land-dwelling animal.

    And we do observe in nature the process of something turning into something else, because it’s always going on. It’s just difficult to see the evidence of a million-year process in a hundred-year interval. But even Creationists talk about how the two rhinoceroses on Noah’s ark gave rise to 200 species in a few hundred years, don’t they?

    I hate to repeat myself, but scientific theory doesn’t have a “proof” in the sense that you’re using it. All we can do is look for counter-examples, and the harder we look without finding any, the more weight the theory has. As a scientist, surely you must be familiar with this. The lack of speciation from fruit-fly breeding is not an indication of much of anything: no niches were offered, so far as I know, for which there would be adaptive pressure. And even if there were, and the speciation were rapid, do we really want to run a—say, 50,000-year experiment?

    I’m surprised that you’ve not read of the DNA analysis that indicates the degree of relationship among the various species and more or less maps out the sequence of speciation. Dogs may indeed be dogs, and wolves, wolves; but we can now trace the descent of the species.

    The viral fragments are in fact quite strong evidence of the common ancestry of different species—the other explanation being a totally unbelievable string of coincidences. Read the passage again. Try to figure out some alternative explanation.

    I don’t quite see where the theory of evolution is coming unraveled. Do you have an example? a link?

    Happy holidays.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    6 December 2007 at 6:26 pm

  31. Show me on my posts where I said the following, “I can’t imagine how it would otherwise be.” But yes, imagination is used regularly by darwinists – “In tracking the emergence of the eukaryotic cell, one enters a kind of wonderland where scientific pursuit leads almost to fantasy. Cell & molecular biologists must construct cellular worlds in their own imaginations.”
    – Dyer & Obar, 1994, p. 2.
    What would the macroevolutionists say if a creation website said such an unscientific thing?

    I believe what I did provide were in-context quotes from darwinists. Quotes from hostile witnesses from secular sources are the best.

    “We now know the origin of birds” ? Do tell. Scientific references please.

    It’s hardly “extremely premature” to say what 3 darwinists have admitted in American Scientist in ’97. Please describe the ‘link’ between wormlike ancestors & arthropods with reference(s). In the meantime secular science has not – and creation science predicts it will never find those alleged links. Yes, according to secular science “arthropods have always been arthropods” – I stand by that secular quote in a peer-reviewed journal and will be using it in an upcoming public debate.

    You quoted Bryson as saying, “Either way, what we possess is the merest sampling of all the life that Earth has spawned” in regard to fossils – yet darwinists insist the fossil record supports macroevolution! So, in that ‘merest sampling’ should be millions/billions of transitional forms. There are none. The largest collection of fossils are in the British Museum of Natural History. No transitions. Ditto for the Field Museum of NH in Chicago.

    “Creationists talk about how the two rhinoceroses on Noah’s ark gave rise to 200 species in a few hundred years, don’t they?”
    No they don’t. References please. I know of no creationists who said that. And, while you’re at it, please clearly define a species.

    There should be good evidence of “f/fly evolution” because evolutionists have been mutating them via X-rays (speeding up evolution) since 1909 (Morgan, Columbia U ‘fly room’). A century of mutations and they’re still f/f (see the book ‘Fly’ by creation-basher M. Brookes). Mutated f/f released back into the wild snap back to their wild type or die. Tell me why I should subscribe to macroevolution if I spent my life studying f/flies or darwin’s finches (a 1 mm increase in beak length is not macroevolution). BTW – I’m really glad you admitted they don’t even undergo speciation!

    I have already listed the serious limitations of “molecular evolution” (DNA & proteins) in my first post. Please list references where real macroevolution is documented by protein or DNA.

    I don’t recall reading that you stated that you were aware of Gould’s SET or Levinton’s 2nd edition of Macroevolution.

    I enjoy reading Bryson as much as anyone (like him, I lived in England in the ’60s) – but he’s no scientist. If I were trying to make a scientific case for macroevolution – I sure wouldn’t quote him! But I would take a long look at Colbert’s Evolution of the Vertebrates (5th ed) to see that he takes up where Barb Stahl (Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution – a classic if only because macroevolutionists hate it so much) left off. Example, on p. 81 Colbert says with a wave of the hand that fish are our ancestors – but provides no solid evidence.

    I do not wish you a happy holiday – but a most MERRY CHRISTMAS (you know, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus? The same Person who rose from the dead?)

    Like

    shaving primate Brian

    7 December 2007 at 2:46 pm

  32. Well, I don’t know when I’ll get around to all the assignments you’ve handed out, but I appreciate the references.

    Birds, I’m told, descended from dinosaurs (the group that had bird-like anatomical structures), and recently a dinosaur fossil was found with feather impressions as part of the fossils. It’s hard to call that a “transitional form,” since it lived in its own right as an animal, descended from some, ancestors to others. Same with the early sea/land-animal I blogged about here: it’s not exactly “transitional,” except insofar as all previous species were transitional until they became extinct: the process never stops.

    I can’t recall where I read about the rapid speciation of the rhinoceros (taken as an example), but it’s easy to figure out: At least some Creationists allow only a few thousand years for the age of the Earth (because it says so in some ancient religious text, at least as we have received it through the various compilations, edits, transcription errors, and so forth), and only two rhinoceroses went into Noah’s ark. So the 200 or so species since must have arisen from those two in not very many years, right? (That is, according to your lights.)

    I’m not sure species is so clearly and definitively specified. Sometimes two groups animals are said to be different species if they cannot interbreed, but of course the horse and mule are different species and can interbreed. Since you know a lot about this, why not offer a definition yourself?

    Who is this “we” you speak of in celebrating the birth of Jesus? I don’t believe that Jews celebrate that birth. Nor Buddhists. Nor Muslims. Nor Scientologists. Just Christians, so far as I know. But we all celebrate a holiday at or around the Winter Solstice, so “Happy Holidays” is intended to be inclusive, not exclusive. You Christians seem not to be a very tolerant folk, sometime.

    Actually, I knew that Bryson is not a scientist. He is, however, talking to scientists and writing a popular book about science, and that happens to be what I’m reading now.

    So far as fish being our ancestors, perhaps… But in any event, it would be a sea-dwelling creature, wouldn’t it?, since for a long time that was the only game on Earth. So our ancestors definitely came from the sea. And we are vertebrates, so presumably we descend from sea-dwelling vertebrates, with bones.

    At any rate, Happy Holidays, since all of us have holidays around the Winter Solstice. Let’s celebrate them with love and acceptance.

    Like

    LeisureGuy

    7 December 2007 at 3:04 pm


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