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Thread: Pseudoscience of Creationism

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    hassam said:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewt...r=asc&start=45

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What "natural explanations" are you claiming I disbelieve.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I could agree with you if evolution was, indeed, absolute and completely accepted. Not even all scientists accept evolution as a full explanation of biodiversity, something insecure evolutionists cannot deal with. Evolution, to this date, is an incomplete story. Even evolutionists continue to argue amongst themselves and have put forth a number of different concepts attempting to cover the entire panoply of biodiversity which has existed on earth. Evolutionists, however, look to known speciation and are content to conclude that speciation somehow validates the entirety of evolution theory, no matter what form of the theory is being promoted. People who wish to hide behind this theory in an effort to attempt to show there is no need for God seem to not realize that what we know about evolution is vastly outweighed by that which we do not know.
    It appears you don't accept the theory of evolution. I am sure someone more qualified than I can better inform you of the massive amount of evidence behind the theory along with the numerous fields of science providing the theory with corroborating evidence.

    The argument evolution scientists have amongst each other is the process by which evolution happened. Not all accept natural selection as the only process by which evolution works. But they do NOT argue over whether or not evolution happened. Evolution is a fact, it happened, how it happened can be debated.
    Just as there are numerous people far more qualified than me to present the aspects of evolution which cause their skepticism. I think I have noted in many previous post that this is an area where I, personally, find the information from learned skeptics persuasive enough that I agree that much of the evolutionary story remains to be explained. And until those things are explained, I will likely remain skeptical that evolution provides a complete picture of biodiversity.

    However, I hardly think this constitutes a complete rejection of science which is the picture inow and finger want to paint. Hmmm, I'm sure a little more thought on my part would provide a better pun.


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    I would be interested to know who these "learned skeptics" are so I might be able to check them out myself. If their argument is truly that convincing then I want to hear what they have to say.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Haasum
    I would be interested to know who these "learned skeptics" are so I might be able to check them out myself. If their argument is truly that convincing then I want to hear what they have to say.
    Odds are very good that they're either well-refuted shills for the "Discovery" Institute or Dayton won't reveal them. I'd be surprised at anything else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by Haasum
    I would be interested to know who these "learned skeptics" are so I might be able to check them out myself. If their argument is truly that convincing then I want to hear what they have to say.
    Odds are very good that they're either well-refuted shills for the "Discovery" Institute or Dayton won't reveal them. I'd be surprised at anything else.
    As would I but I am curious as is. If he produces people that are reputable, haven't been thoroughly debunked and are qualified. I sure as hell want to know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What "natural explanations" are you claiming I disbelieve.
    Haasum pointed out that you disbelieve the theory of evolution, giving preferential treatment to an unscientific, pseudo-hypothesis. But what I was referring to there was your belief that the miracles described in the Bible have a supernatural cause. You listed a few natural explanations, but you still choose to believe the God claim. I'm asking why.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It would seem that we agree that aliens and faeries and leprechauns are out of both our equations.
    Of course we agree, but I asked "why" not "whether." I've already explained why I don't consider them valid and it's for the same reasons that I don't consider the God claims valid. Why do you dismiss them? By what criteria do you allow yourself to accept a God claim, but reject an alien claim or a faerie claim?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In addition to narrowing my view to exclude accident as the cause of the Universe, I have narrowed my choices to exclude aliens, faeries, leprechauns, Zoroaster, Vishi, Isis, Budda and Norbert Finch. I also have eliminated the possibility that you created the Universe.
    Again, why? Why have you excluded all of these things and have chosen to adopt the God claim? I certainly hope it isn't the argument from authority you make below.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But to compare belief in faeries and leprechauns, which only the insane have, to belief in God, which reasonable men all over the world (incouding many scientists) have, merely shows the extent you must go in grasping for the silliness straws to denigrate and lampoon that which you neither comprehend nor understand.
    This is both an argument from authority and special pleading. There was a time when "reasonable men" believed that lighting was the work of Zeuse physically hurling bolts of lightning from the heavens while those who suggested otherwise were regarded as "insane." I've said this in other threads, but it bears repeating: What you believe isn't as important as why you believe it. So again, explain why the logical process that led you to believe in God is any more "sane" than the ones that lead some people to believe in leprechauns, faeries, or aliens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Just nitpicking, they are both possible, it's just one is logically more likely than the other. You can't verify the origin of the universe, because you can't observe it. You can, however, observe an action that mimics the supposed origin of the universe , which will give credence to the concept. But actually proving the method through which the universe came into being is impossible.
    You can also make predictions about what the early universe was like based on that model, then observe a section of the sky approximately the right distance away, giving credibility to the model. That's still a far cry away from assuming an untestable explanation in the absence of evidence and often even against the evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Just as there are numerous people far more qualified than me to present the aspects of evolution which cause their skepticism.
    Who? Because as far as I can tell, it is impossible for any qualified person to argue against evolution in favor of creationism and remain honest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Are Christian fundamentalist proposing a death penalty for sacrilege? I missed that. Who wants to do that?
    The question was, why are Muslim fundamentalists a bigger threat to our way of life than Christian fundamentalists. If you really think that living in an Islamic theocratic republic is no worse than living in a Western democracy (without gay marriage law), then that is the kind of state you will probably end up living in. And no, the Islamic republic you will be living in isn't going to have a gay marriage law either.
    This is a bit of an old post, but Christian fundamentalist in Uganda did attempt to have the death penalty put in place for repeat offenders of homosexual acts, or those who commit statutory rape with an individual of the same-sex.

    Those behind the bill were also linked to education seminars about homosexuality conducted by American evangelical groups.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_...sexuality_Bill

    So, I would venture those people can be as big a danger as any muslim fundamentalist.
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    skinwalker said:

    Odds are very good that they're either well-refuted shills
    hassam said:

    If he produces people that are reputable, haven't been thoroughly debunked and are qualified
    Wow! These don't sound much like open minded positions. Sounds like your minds are already made up. I have not read anything new by any new entrants into the discussion in recent months. You folks can find the arguments that bring into question some of the data and conclusions just as I can. You have, no doubt ready the arguments questioning macro-evolution as well as the complexity argument. I can only say that I do not find the responses to those question to be effective in actually debunking them. I do find that the fact of and theory of evolution is fraught with conflicting answers which tend to negate each other.

    This is really a matter of who has debunked whom and how effective has that debunking been. Any claims of victory by one side or the other at this point is vastly premature and certainly forged on the steps of completely ignoring the fact that there remains a sizable cadre of information on the other side of the line.

    I leave it up to you to resort to the tactic of belittling others because they refused to be cowed by your complete reliance on an incomplete record.

    Meanwhile, finger keeps asking:

    Why do you believe in God but not other concepts such as faeries and aliens?

    This is a rabbit trail, but I shall humor you for the moment. Faeries and aliens are physical things for which no one has ever produced any physical evidence. God is not a physical being. I would hesitate to send you to the store for fruit if you were unable to distinguish between oranges and hamburger or if you insisted on defining apples by the qualities of a shopping cart.

    As long as you continue to attempt to define that which is not physical by physical criteria, you will fail in that definition. Do you entertain the possibility of parallel universes and other dimensions and, if so, why?

    Even so, may the real message of Christmas ring true in your hearts and bring to a close your war with God.
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    So who, precisely, are these "learned skeptics" who have persuaded you that "much of the evolution story still needs to be explained?"

    And my full quote above should have been
    Odds are very good that they're either well-refuted shills for the "Discovery" Institute or Dayton won't reveal them. I'd be surprised at anything else.
    You left off a bit.
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    OK, maybe it might include a bibliography list which you could find at Discovery Institute or whatever that place is. You probably know the names of leading critics of evolution better than I do. It is not like that if you looked around you would find only one isolated writer expressing skepticism.

    I refuse to do your research for you and I refuse to get involved in your insipidity.

    It is ridiculous for us to discuss the merits of these arguments. It is sufficient for me to conclude that you give more weight to the arguments which support your position while I give more weight to the opposing arguments. I doubt that either of us holds a degree in any school of education related to life sciences, so we are only accepting and rejecting the work of others. I accept stuff you reject; you accept stuff I reject.

    I think you are wrong, you think I am wrong. We may or may not ever know who is correct. What we do know is which side of the issue we stand on which is a lot better than being ignorant and apathetic of the issues.

    If you really want to discuss or investigate the technical aspects of these arguments, I suggest you attend some symposium designed for that purpose.

    Buttttttt -- back to the Ark ride in a public park where the issue is whether tax money should be expended to help build it. There are a lot of things government does with MY money that I don't like. For example, my local city government collects money under the guise of sewer fees and allocates that money to develop bicycle lanes, often turning uncongested four-lane streets into now congested two-lane streets while no one is using the bike lanes. If they are going to waste tax money like that, I don't see what the big whoop is about using it to build a harmless park ride that has a loose connection to a Bible story. I suspect there would be more people using the park ride that than are using these bike lanes, plus they will probably charge for the park ride, but bicyclists do not pay for the privilege of using the bike lanes.

    (edited after pressing submit button rather than preview button.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    OK, maybe it might include a bibliography list which you could find at Discovery Institute or whatever that place is.
    To my knowledge, there are only a few qualified biological scientists in the Discovery institute (the rest hold theology, philosophy, and other non-biological science degrees) and they all have a history of dishonesty in their criticisms of evolution and promotion of creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I refuse to do your research for you and I refuse to get involved in your insipidity.
    We asked you why you disbelieve evolution in favor of creationism, you say it's because of "learned skeptics." All we've done is ask that you back up that claim with examples. So it's not our research, it's your research! Especially since you claim to have already done the research.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is ridiculous for us to discuss the merits of these arguments.
    Since the subject of this thread is creationism, yes it is. The reason creationism should not be taught with government money is because it is both religiously motivated and blatantly wrong at every turn. Explaining to you how wrong it is and how well-supported evolution is, is certainly part of that discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think you are wrong, you think I am wrong. We may or may not ever know who is correct. What we do know is which side of the issue we stand on which is a lot better than being ignorant and apathetic of the issues.

    If you really want to discuss or investigate the technical aspects of these arguments, I suggest you attend some symposium designed for that purpose.
    Or.. we could discuss them on this, a discussion board.

    Just speaking from experience, dayton, but when someone starts in with the special pleading and the "let's just agree to disagree" attitude because he's been backed into a corner by a simple request for evidence, it usually means their side is wrong. So if you're going to keep trying to argue from the side of "open-mindedness," it would help to be a little bit more honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    back to the Ark ride in a public park where the issue is whether tax money should be expended to help build it. There are a lot of things government does with MY money that I don't like. For example, my local city government collects money under the guise of sewer fees and allocates that money to develop bicycle lanes, often turning uncongested four-lane streets into now congested two-lane streets while no one is using the bike lanes. If they are going to waste tax money like that, I don't see what the big whoop is about using it to build a harmless park ride that has a loose connection to a Bible story. I suspect there would be more people using the park ride that than are using these bike lanes, plus they will probably charge for the park ride, but bicyclists do not pay for the privilege of using the bike lanes.
    The controversy isn't about what's useful, it's about what's legal. Using public funds to maintain and modify public streets is legal. Using public funds to finance religiously-motivated propaganda is illegal whether it comes in the form of school curriculum, a newsletter, or a theme park.
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    Ken Miller is biology professor at Brown University, he is clearly qualified and reputable. He is also catholic and one of his favorite things to do, is take the claims that your "learned scholars" make, and disprove them. Like Behe's claim of irreducible complexity.

    You say that we give more weight to our side and you give more weight to your side. Well I don't see how you can say you're being scientific about this, when there is clear evidence for our side, and nothing but logical fallacies on yours.

    But you don't seem to care that your views on this are unscientific because it allows you be more comfortable with your dogma.

    So be it. I will not waste any more of my time on someone so blinded by religion.

    Edited typo.
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    I just spent the better part of the last hour doing my own research and was unable to find a single "learned skeptic" that questions the validity of evolution. Not a single one. I found several creationists who claim to be qualified, but their qualifications were mired in superstitious bias and where their arguments were refuted they refuse to accept data that contradicted their preconceived conclusions.

    I'm ready to revise my conclusions regarding the fact of evolution and the superstitious and irrational nature of Religion, particularly that of the Christian sects, but I'm going to need some data that are supportive of the arguments against science and for the supernatural. To date, none of the data are conclusive and the bits that are supportive are in serious question by actual learned skeptics. Still, I'm ready to revise my conclusions.

    That's the epitome of being open-minded: my conclusions aren't preconceived nor do I seek only those data which are supportive. Unlike those that adhere to "theology" (a word which should only be written whilst surrounded by inverted commas).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haasum
    Ken Miller is biology professor at Brown University, he is clearly qualified and reputable. He is also catholic and one of his favorite things to do, is take the claims that your "learned scholars" make, and disprove them. Like Behe's claim of irreducible complexity.
    To elaborate on Behe for a moment and to illustrate my earlier claim that it is not possible to defend creationism honestly...

    While on the stand at the Dover trial, Behe asserted that there were no evolutionary explanations for the immune system. After the prosecuting lawyer presented dozens of books and peer reviewed papers on the evolution of the immune system, Behe simply dismissed them all as "not good enough" even though he had just earlier admitted that he hadn't read them. That is what is called lying.
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    Without replying individually, I do think finger's depiction of Michael Behe's frustration is a graphic representation of the same frustration all evolution skeptics have in dealing with the adament advocates of evolution.

    The criticisms of Behe's irreducible complexity is typical of the incomplete stories which evolution accepts as "proof" of something or other. The problem with most evolutionists is that they do not understand that the importance of information is not only in what it shows but also in what it does not show.

    I often try to teach people that in bridge bidding, a bid is signifant not only in what it says about the bidder's hand, but also in what it denies about the bidder's hand.

    In looking at Behe's mousetrap explanation, many detractors attempt to show that a simplistic mousetrap can work with only one piece -- the spring. Somehow, evolutionist hop on this as though it is the holy grail of proving that irriducable complexity is invalid.

    But this the sping-only mousetrap is not the whole story. First of all the spring-only moustrap must be specially designed in order to be effective. You could not just dig into your box of household springs and pull out any old spring and expect it to be an effective mouse trap. It must be specially designed and shaped to execute that function.

    The next thing is that this criticism supposes that the inventor of the mousetrap in question started with a spring and then began improving it in the same way that Darwin's Theory of Evolution supposes that biodiversity started with the simplest of lifeforms and began improving on them as time went along. I leave it up to you to determine how the inventor of the mouse trap went about conceptualizing and constructing his mousetrap

    The next thing is that Behe's point was not that the mousetrap would not work unless it was configured with its six parts. His point was that someone had to plan and develop even a simple device such as the six-part mouse trap. The inventor did not come home one day and discover the mousetrap had assembled itself from a box of random parts sitting on his work bench. But even more condemnatory is the fact, as mentioned above, that even the most simplistic one piece spring trap requires someone to conceptualize and form the spring to make it successful as a mouse trap.

    So while most evolutionists look to this mousetrap "debunking" as a victory over the concept of irreducible complexity, it did not "debunk" Behe's main contention which is that things of a complex nature are not the result of random accidents of nature. Behe's point was never that the systems he discussed could not work in a simpler form, and as long as you think that was his point, it shows a complete lack of understanding of what Behe was trying to show.

    And Behe is right; when you spend your time attempting to debunk that which is not being explained, it is not enough to debunk that which IS being explained. By the same token, when you spend your efforts attempting to defend that which is not being objected to, it is not enough to defend that which IS being objected to.

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    Nobody mentioned the mouse trap. That's only one rather small argument that Miller debunks. Here are some more.

    But I don't think you understand the point of Miller's mousetrap tie clip. It wasn't a "proof" of anything, it was joke meant to highlight the error on Behe's thinking. In comparing biological structures like the immune system and the bacterial flagellum to a mouse trap, Behe was suggesting (as you said) that all those structures, like the mouse trap, had an end result in mind as they developed. Miller's point was that evolution works by building upon and modifying existing structures, often changing the original function into something new such that it might seem irreducibly complex if only looking at the end result, but actually isn't. The video above explains how this also applies to the bacterial flagellum and the immune system (skip to 2:40.) No mousetraps or intellectual dishonesty required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Without replying individually, I do think finger's depiction of Michael Behe's frustration is a graphic representation of the same frustration all evolution skeptics have in dealing with the adament advocates of evolution.
    Genuine skeptics of evolution simply do not exist. There are, however, pseudo-skeptics. Genuine skeptics do not rely on faith. Instead, they look for ways in which claims can be verified or falsified. A skeptic of evolution wouldn't remain skeptical of it for long once the veracity of evolution claims were examined. Creationism, on the other hand, leaves itself wide open for skepticism since it makes many, many claims that are completely questionable.

    If evolution (which is a verifiable fact) isn't accepted by someone, that leaves only creationism. And creationism can only exist as a proposition on faith. There are no facts that support it. None. Zero. Zilch.

    So the pseudo-skeptics of evolution rely on faith (unlike genuine skeptics) and would like to be thought of as simply "skeptical" of unverified claims. But the reality is that these skeptics are ignorant, superstitious or both. Steeped in their preconceived conclusions to which they only accept data that are supportive. This is a very non-skeptical way of thinking.
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    I don't see why people who believe in the unverifiable are against any rational skepticism. I mean, skepticism should be totally expected for claims requiring proof but lacking any. I hope that belief isn't something people are obstinate about just because they don't want to be embarrassed in the face of reason. When reason triumphs, somebody is going to look stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by Finger
    I think it's also important to note that we haven't actually seen this infamous textbook. I would suggest that Harold post the publisher and edition so we can all look it up and see just how much important information about the Civil War it omits, but I agree that this line of discussion is already a bit too far off topic. Perhaps we could split it off into the History section?
    My kids are out of school, so I don't have the book any more. If someone here has kids in school, may they can take a look and tell us what the history books say nowadays. I will almost guarantee they will feature Harriet Tubman very prominently in American history.
    I have a copy of the book "America: A Narrative History" by Tindall and Shi.
    It has been four years since I read it, but I hardly remember any mention let alone focus on Harriet Tubman.
    If you want further information I can dig up the book and summarize the section on the civil war more fully.

    Perhaps it is also relevant to note that I live and went to school in Texas.
    As I am young my experiences are relatively recent, so perhaps my summaries are relevant (although the sample size is obviously bad-these are mere anecdotes):
    In my middle school extremely few believed in evolution. In my "pre-AP biology" class I sat in the back with my two best friends at the time, while the rest of the class yelled back and forth and laughed at the absurd idea of evolution, shouting such trash as "if evolution were true, then why aren't monkies still turning into people? Ha ha ha". Only three people in a class that was probably twenty to thirty kids believing in evolution is pathetically low. The teacher argued for intelligent design.
    After middle school I transferred to a high school in Austin (Westwood), that drew from a different pool of students than my middle school. There the belief in evolution was much higher, and the teachers were quite good. As this high school was ranked in the top hundred in the country, I think it is likely that the beliefs of the middle school may better reflect the norm in the state (although I expect the high school students would be more mature).

    While I knew more about evolution than my teacher and all my peers in my senior year simply from having read "The Ancestor's Tale" (amazing book in my opinion-definitely one of my favorites), it was a prominent subject in the class, and it was definitely discussed as though it is the basic fact that it is in each of the biology classes that featured it: accelerated science 1, IB SL/AP biology, and IB HL biology.

    The fact I found the depth somewhat basic is probably a non-issue; I'm sure had I read a lengthy book on any subject covered by only a few chapters in a textbook I'd have found the textbook's version relatively basic.

    Some places in even Texas have quality schools and teachers!

    This is embarrassing though:
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    • Almost half (49 percent) of U.S. adults don't know how long it takes the Earth to circle the sun.
    The f...? Do they not know why it is cold in some parts of year?

    Personally, I would advocate a system that fails kids for not showing an understanding of evolution. If they don't understand it, but believe in it, I couldn't care less-they should fail too. I heard of a dad at petsmart telling his son that snails evolved from rocks.
    This would go for other areas of science as well.
    If they know enough to have a real understanding of evolution, they can then make a decision for themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of really smart people I have known lacked even a basic understanding of it, yet they knew enough to get through the required biology classes with very good grades.

    I am concerned with the future of this nation and the education.
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    skinwalker said:
    If evolution (which is a verifiable fact) isn't accepted by someone, that leaves only creationism. And creationism can only exist as a proposition on faith. There are no facts that support it. None. Zero. Zilch.
    Which aspect of evolution is a verifiable fact? The part about infinitesimal changes over thousands of years which would require life to have been on Earth longer than the Universe has been around, or the part about punctuated equilibrium in which millions of species evolved in spurts over a very short periods of time?

    The part you state that I do find as true is that if evolution is even partially inaccurate, some alternative explanation would be required. And the only known alternative is absolutely frightful to you because of all its implications. There just do not seem to be many explanations being espoused today other than the ideas that 1. It's all a big accident of which we are the unintended result or that 2. It is not an accident and we have meaning and purpose as planned by a creative agent. It is no wonder that the atheist would be deeply invested in the explanations featuring Godless evolution, spontaneous generation of life and a magical appearance of the Universe by a first there was nothing and then, presto!, there was everything process.

    But this leads to another irony in that the scientificos who believe in that abra-cadabra pulling of a rabbit out of non-hat, call the Biblical explanation that God created the world that is visible to us from things that were not visible to us as belief in a magical creation. Whether these (invisible) things are things which exist in the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums (which we can now see) or things which are in the realm of dark matter and dark energy or the energy strands of string theory, I cannot with knowledge speculate upon.

    What our explanation is, is that some intelligent agent purposefully altered things that already existed so as to form what we know as the Universe. The other explanation is that nobody did anything to nothing and ended up with everything. And you accuse us of having faith based beliefs.

    On the other hand, those of us who believe in both God and science are not deeply invested in proving evolution as being inaccurate. Even if you were to show that some current or even a new concept of evolution were completely accurate, we can still say, "Ohhhh, that's how God did it."

    So, you see, I don't really give a big RA about the method of biodiversity so long as credit is given to the proper cause. You folks say it is the result a series of little accidents; we say it is with purpose and aforethought. Your position, in my opinion, requires far more faith than ours.

    Incidentally, I also agree with inow that Miller's debunking of Behe's mousetrap explanation was a big joke which is what we often call a failed attempt at something -- a big joke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Which aspect of evolution is a verifiable fact? The part about infinitesimal changes over thousands of years which would require life to have been on Earth longer than the Universe has been around, or the part about punctuated equilibrium in which millions of species evolved in spurts over a very short periods of time?
    A lot of it?
    I'm interested in bears, so I've done a good deal of reading on them, and evidently bears were pretty good at leaving fossils behind, because we have a really good fossil record for the evolution of the European cave bear-good enough so that it is difficult to draw the line between the cave bear and the species that preceded it.
    Records of polar bear evolution are pretty strong to.
    Most amazing coincidence I've ever heard of though is how much the fossil record agrees with genetics and DNA.
    Perhaps even more extraordinary (again, using bears as an example) the mating and dispersal patterns of the Ursinae lineage of bears is reflected in the observed ratio of mutations on the Y chromosome compared to other chromosomes.
    Normally "male biased evolution" is a feature of lineages (due to the fact that sperm are replicated far more than eggs, causing more mutations to take place in males) but a study found an absence of evidence in the Ursinae lineage, where females remain in/near birth territories (reducing movement, and thus leading to preservation, of female genetic material) while males leave and roam widely, and the low effective population sizes (very few make genetic contributions to the following generations, leading to much genetic loss). High rate of genetic losses in males leads to counteraction of the higher mutation rate, and this was reflected through comparison of the DNA between the different species within the lineage (through knowing they had a common ancestor they can see how many mutations occurred on different chromosomes between a given two species).

    As a creationist would put it "amazing but entirely unremarkable coincidence".
    The fact is this was a very specific example of evidence ("compare number of mutations on different chromosomes between different bear species"); such lines of evidence appear everywhere. And the contradictions creationists would probably literally be willing to die for? "Curiously" missing.

    If creationism is true, God put a lot of effort into putting even functionally completely irrelevant details pointing towards evolution everywhere. I guess he really wants to test the faith of anyone who actually studies his "creations".
    And I guess he God likes making animals suffer for no reason:
    1) He through the idea of the polar bear together as an after thought; just quickly made modifications to the brown bear design (or did he come up with them as entirely new ideas? or only sometimes), but was really lazy (not to lazy to put genetic and fossil evidence for evolution everywhere-what weird standards, but I guess that is why the religious say you shouldn't try to understand God) and thus didn't put the effort into adapting the skull's sinus structures after remodeling it, resulting in polar bears (for the same mass of bone) having much weaker skulls than brown bears. Or, of course, polar bears just evolved from brown bears extremely recently, with their skulls evolving at an extremely fast rate to adapt to the different uses, and thus not having time to re-evolve a complicated sinus system for dissipating the forces resulting from bites. I guess the God doesn't care about polar bears is just a more romantic thought for the religious?
    2) Ailments afflicting modern bears living on hard (concrete) surfaces, such as fusion of the spine, also apparently afflicted the cave bear. I have however not seen any studies on prevalence of this disease over time (to see if it was reducing), or comparison between prevalence in cave bear fossils and modern bears kept in poor conditions. Either way, odd the problem wouldn't be fixed, or that he'd put them in such an environment. Evolutionary failure to adapt for whatever reason makes sense, but it obviously wasn't that prevalent for the species to have survived for as long as it did (they outlived Neanderthals).
    3) Why make animals on smaller land masses (such as isolated continents, like Australia and once South America) so much more generally primitive? Just because there would be less mutations if evolution were true, and overall less species competing in less diverse environments, is no reason to damn these animals to being out competed by introduced species. Watching devastation wrought by introduced species might give him kicks, hence not using the same baseline competitiveness in each area?
    4) Humans also have lots of back problems associated with our upright stance, but I guess those made in his own image-his favorite creations-suffering from "design" inefficiencies is only to test our faith, right?

    This is just stuff I'm thinking of without actually doing any research on it. Some youtube videos are loaded with a lot more evidence.
    Considering how much of the US is desperately looking everywhere trying to find something, anything, to disprove evolution or suggest against it, and how little they can actually find is inadvertently some excellent evidence-considering the far and beyond most rigorous testing the theory of evolution is under, I think it is the theory we should easily be most confident about.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The part you state that I do find as true is that if evolution is even partially inaccurate, some alternative explanation would be required. And the only known alternative is absolutely frightful to you because of all its implications. There just do not seem to be many explanations being espoused today other than the ideas that 1. It's all a big accident of which we are the unintended result or that 2. It is not an accident and we have meaning and purpose as planned by a creative agent. It is no wonder that the atheist would be deeply invested in the explanations featuring Godless evolution, spontaneous generation of life and a magical appearance of the Universe by a first there was nothing and then, presto!, there was everything process.
    Big accident isn't giving all the beauty anywhere near enough credit. Understanding the processes of the origins of the modern species, how everything fits together.
    The struggles of early, primitive, hominids, as we, against all odds, survived, and then even ultimately became the most dominant life forms on the planet-this struggle and adversity, and qualities that allowed for the selection of traits (such as intelligence) that ultimately led us to become the unique and dominant, technological, creatures we are today are all also awesome things to consider.
    Most beautiful though I find is really understanding the history of the various life forms.

    Painting pictures is fairly easy-I could say I'm glad to know that things are largely as they should be, from rigorous trial and successes of various lifeforms throughout history. The species that arose deserved to, and that aren't largely careless thoughts by a creator thrown together to be our tools and food.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But this leads to another irony in that the scientificos who believe in that abra-cadabra pulling of a rabbit out of non-hat, call the Biblical explanation that God created the world that is visible to us from things that were not visible to us as belief in a magical creation. Whether these (invisible) things are things which exist in the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums (which we can now see) or things which are in the realm of dark matter and dark energy or the energy strands of string theory, I cannot with knowledge speculate upon.

    What our explanation is, is that some intelligent agent purposefully altered things that already existed so as to form what we know as the Universe. The other explanation is that nobody did anything to nothing and ended up with everything. And you accuse us of having faith based beliefs.
    Well, evolutionary explanations are explanations that build up from less complexity (a "primordial soup") up to our current complexity and situation.
    God explanations are inherently the opposite-God is an all powerful, infinite being, which would thus have unimaginable complexity-many religious arguing far beyond the capabilities of human understanding and reason even!
    Explanations involving God are thus, to borrow from Dawkins, rather than ladders or cranes that go from less complexity to explain to the greater, higher, current complexity and diversity, hooks coming down out of the sky explaining how we got from immense incomprehensible complexity (the sky) to our current explanation. To explain how things got from the ground (nothing) up all the way to the sky is much harder than explaining how we got to wherever the evolution explanation started working its way up from to our present situation.

    To rephrase it, when it comes to understanding the base of our origins, we get a lot of progress from theories like evolution where we are left with less explaining to do, rather than left with much more (often argued to actually be completely unexplainable) than we actually had to start with!

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    On the other hand, those of us who believe in both God and science are not deeply invested in proving evolution as being inaccurate. Even if you were to show that some current or even a new concept of evolution were completely accurate, we can still say, "Ohhhh, that's how God did it."
    If you want to say, evolution and the big bang is how God brought us here and created it, then I'd say fine. As I explained above, I don't personally don't really buy it, but this is still a pro-science view, and the thought of learning how God did things is one that seems inherently pro-science and pro-learning/increasing our understanding.
    I just don't like creationism (which I view as anti-science).
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Which aspect of evolution is a verifiable fact? The part about infinitesimal changes over thousands of years which would require life to have been on Earth longer than the Universe has been around, or the part about punctuated equilibrium in which millions of species evolved in spurts over a very short periods of time?
    Evolution is a fact in that it happens. You're talking about how it happens, which isn't quite the same thing. Much the same way it is a fact that gravity works, but exactly how it works has been hotly disputed for some time now.

    Here's a fantastic two-part video that elaborates on this.
    part 1
    part 2

    I suggest that you also watch the entire series, you might learn something.

    [EDITED and deleted double-post. My bad. ]
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    Welcome to the discussion C.Elrod.

    I have no argument with the data you presented about bears, although it may lack at least one important bit of information such as there are only eight species of ursinae in existence today on Earth.

    I was not exactly clear as to how you think the bear information relates to the overall picture of evolution. That is, the study of bears only covers bears and while the speciation process is replicated in numerous species and far more dramatically among birds. The only fossil relatives of bears we have found have been other bears. What is left out is information which would conclusively show us common ancestors of bears vis a vis animals we find which are genetically similar.

    C.Elrod said:
    I'm glad to know that things are largely as they should be
    I was somewhat amused by this because it is true with or without the presence of God. If what we have today is the result of His efforts, then it is the best that He can do with what He has to work with. If what we have today is a result of random quirks of fate, then what we have is the best random quirks of fate can produce.

    What evolution has difficulty showing is not that adaptation and survival of the fittest produces new species within the different genre. What is difficult is to show that bears were ever anything other than bears no matter than there are only eight species remaining out of the many which have existed. And the further up the taxonomy chart you go, the more difficult these kinds of relationships are to establish.

    Evolution's answer to this problem is that the taxonomy charts are invalid. Well, yes, they are invalid when it comes to supporting evolution.

    When we are deeply invested in a science such as evolution or, say, global warming, in which there are also emotional and political implication, it seems we tend to ignore the significance of certain scientific axioms of the past or we do our best of squelch the voices of those who disagree.

    When it comes to discussing evolution, it is not the hard facts and data which come under scrutiny. Evolutionists would like to make that the issue. Skeptics are more concerned with what that data means, what it shows, what it supports and what it does not support.

    OK, so we currently have eight existing species of ursinae and we can see how they are related and in what way they are related. Sooooo? What does that prove other than we can figure out the family tree of the genus bears? What does that have to do with the overall kingdom of animals? How does this help us understand the relationships between different orders? Why do some other genre have so many more species within them, while some others have fewer?

    What we have is a lot of collected data and facts from which different people have drawn different conclusions. One group thinks their conclusions are definitive explanations of those data and facts while the other group does not see those conclusions as definitive.
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    If what we have today is a result of random quirks of fate, then what we have is the best random quirks of fate can produce.
    We actually dont know that. If polar bears worked out a way to construct their own
    icebergs and direct them then that would be a significant improvement. Evolution just keeps getting better.


    OK, so we currently have eight existing species of ursinae and we can see how they are related and in what way they are related. Sooooo? What does that prove other than we can figure out the family tree of the genus bears? What does that have to do with the overall kingdom of animals? How does this help us understand the relationships between different orders? Why do some other genre have so many more species within them, while some others have fewer?
    I believe this is just an example of a species that has undegone evolution. By connecting the different species of bears together we can predict that they shared a common ancestor and branched of from the initial 'Bear'.
    just wondering
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What evolution has difficulty showing is not that adaptation and survival of the fittest produces new species within the different genre. What is difficult is to show that bears were ever anything other than bears no matter than there are only eight species remaining out of the many which have existed.
    Actually, not quite that difficult. All you have to do is trace their lineage backward through the fossil record and evolution becomes undeniably apparent. In the case of bears, a "non bear" precursor to bears has already been discovered, Cynodictis. But the interesting thing about it is that it is also a precursor to dogs. When you trace back the lineages of any two organisms, you will eventually reach the same organism. That is a prediction of evolution and it is confirmed constantly. Here are another two videos that trace the lineages of Canines and Felines (passing by Cynodictis along the way.)

    Caniform Carnivore Cladogram Construction
    Foundations of Feliforme Families



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    OK, so we currently have eight existing species of ursinae and we can see how they are related and in what way they are related. Sooooo? What does that prove other than we can figure out the family tree of the genus bears? What does that have to do with the overall kingdom of animals? How does this help us understand the relationships between different orders? Why do some other genre have so many more species within them, while some others have fewer?
    The irony here is that, while evolution provides answers to questions like that, assuming each group was created by magic doesn't provide any answers whatsoever.
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    zendra said:
    We actually dont know that. If polar bears worked out a way to construct their own
    icebergs and direct them then that would be a significant improvement. Evolution just keeps getting better.
    Well, I hardly think the "what if" game is applicable here. We have what we have and that is what we have. But if you really wanna play that game, what ants had evolved such that they were smarter than humans? I think that would be a significant improvement for ants and we would not be involved in this conversation

    Secondarily, I see no reason why, in the face of changing climate or other circumstances, a partricular animal could not devolve into what it had once been, which we may eventually observe if global warming does more to harm the habitat of polar bears, a la peppered moths.

    zendra added:
    I believe this is just an example of a species that has undegone evolution. By connecting the different species of bears together we can predict that they shared a common ancestor and branched of from the initial 'Bear'.
    To me a prediction is trying to tell something that will happen in the future. It seems to me the idea that all bears decended from a single original bear species is more a matter of a deductive and inductive reasoning processes looking back and trying to explain what as already happened. Now then, if you said bears will one day become burfits along with predictions as to what a burfit will look like, that would be a prediction.

    You seem to buy into the evolutionist lie that skeptics do not agree that speciation is an evolutionary process. But when bears evolve into a new kind of bear it is very similar to when the standard transmission evolved into an automatice transmission to produce a new kind of automobile. The bears are still bears and the automobiles are still automobiles.

    And, inow, for the life of me, I could not understand how those vids had anything to do with what you said.

    inow did say:
    The irony here is that, while evolution provides answers to questions like that, assuming each group was created by magic doesn't provide any answers whatsoever.
    Well, to me, the idea that these things came about via natures slight of hand unexpected changes seems more representative of legerdemain magic than does the idea that an intelligent causative agent brought about the changes with meaning and purpose. Even magic does not occur without a magician.
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    Well, I hardly think the "what if" game is applicable here. We have what we have and that is what we have. But if you really wanna play that game, what ants had evolved such that they were smarter than humans? I think that would be a significant improvement for ants and we would not be involved in this conversation
    I wasnt trying to play the what if game. You said
    If what we have today is a result of random quirks of fate, then what we have is the best random quirks of fate can produce.
    . My argument was that what we have now is not necessarily the best possible.


    Secondarily, I see no reason why, in the face of changing climate or other circumstances, a partricular animal could not devolve into what it had once been, which we may eventually observe if global warming does more to harm the habitat of polar bears, a la peppered moths.
    I don't think its actually possible to devolve. The selection factors may become similar to what they were longer ago but the species is still evolving.
    just wondering
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    Secondarily, I see no reason why, in the face of changing climate or other circumstances, a partricular animal could not devolve into what it had once been, which we may eventually observe if global warming does more to harm the habitat of polar bears, a la peppered moths.
    "Devolve" is not the proper term. Everything is simply evolution and evolution to simpler forms happen all the time. Evolution is not always towards increasing complexity, but rather towards greater survivability in a particular environment. If being a simpler form helps in this aspect, then there is no reason for it not to evolve in that direction.

    But when bears evolve into a new kind of bear it is very similar to when the standard transmission evolved into an automatice transmission to produce a new kind of automobile. The bears are still bears and the automobiles are still automobiles.
    I still cannot imagine why you are unable to make the simple connection that a lot of small changes over time adds to a big overall change. What could possibly stop it from progressing past a certain point? Is it a failure of imagination? It seems to me that you simply still, after all this time, don't understand evolution. You seem unable to see the whole picture.

    Well, to me, the idea that these things came about via natures slight of hand unexpected changes seems more representative of legerdemain magic than does the idea that an intelligent causative agent brought about the changes with meaning and purpose. Even magic does not occur without a magician.
    It was Finger who said that. Did you read the rest of his post? What do you have to say about that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    To me a prediction is trying to tell something that will happen in the future. It seems to me the idea that all bears decended from a single original bear species is more a matter of a deductive and inductive reasoning processes looking back and trying to explain what as already happened. Now then, if you said bears will one day become burfits along with predictions as to what a burfit will look like, that would be a prediction.
    Well, to science, a prediction is used to test a hypothesis. They go something like, "If [blank] were true, then [blank] would happen under [blank] conditions." In pharmacology, you can use a prediction like this to test the effectiveness of a drug on mice, then later humans. In paleontology, you predict the presence of evidence that would validate/invalidate a given hypothesis. For example, if the Vikings did travel to and colonize specific parts of North America at a specific point in history, we should expect to find Norse artifacts in those specific parts of North America and they should date to the same age the hypothesis suggests. The existence of common ancestors and evolutionary precursors are predictions of evolutionary theory. Ones that have been and continue to be validated as more and more fossils are discovered. But while we're on the subject, what do the so-called "skeptics" of evolution predict about the fossil record? And what paleontological discoveries have validated these predictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You seem to buy into the evolutionist lie that skeptics do not agree that speciation is an evolutionary process. But when bears evolve into a new kind of bear it is very similar to when the standard transmission evolved into an automatice transmission to produce a new kind of automobile. The bears are still bears and the automobiles are still automobiles.
    But what happened when the Volkswagen Beetle "evolved" back in 1994? It went from a very simple, economical design that had remained relatively consistent for decades to a design that was fundamentally different in almost every way except the basic dome shape. It was a beetle in name only. And what about the flying car? Is it still a car or is it a half-car? And what if someone built a modification that removed its car function entirely? Sudden, fundamental changes like this are indicadive of intelligent design, but not of biological evolution. Evolution works by building on existing traits and does not permit, sudden, complex, fundamental changes like we see in manufacturing. That's why whales don't have gills.

    Furthermore, you seem to think that a new species must be dramatically and fundamentally different from their parent species in order to count as evolution. The videos I linked you explained why that's wrong and this one explains it more thoroughly. Evolution (and likewise, cladistic classification) does not permit a lineage to break off and become something different from its parent lineage. Only intelligent design permits that (as I've just explained.) Anything the bear lineage could ever produce will always be a subset of "bear." Even if we called it a "burfit," and refused to call it a bear in name, in substence it would still be part of that group and would be classified accordingly. Suppose these burfits descended from the polar bear lineage (Ursus Maritimus.) The classification of this new species would go something like: "Ursus Maritimus Burfitus." Further down, a descendant species of Burfit would be classified "Ursus Maritimus Burfitus [Hypotheticus]" and so on and so on as speciation continues. No matter how much diversification and extinction occurs, Ursus always encompass all descendants of its clade for as long as the lineage continues. So in short, it is impossible, according to evolution, for a bear to produce a non-bear.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And, inow, for the life of me, I could not understand how those vids had anything to do with what you said.
    I'm Finger, by the way. But anyway...

    You had asserted that there weren't any "non-bear" ancestors to modern bears and I pointed out that that was wrong. I expanded on this point by showing that the non-bear ancestor to bears was also a non-dog ancestor to dogs. Then I provided a video that expands on this even further by finding an animal that is a non-bear, a non-dog, a non-cat, a non-fox, a non-wolf, a non-panther, a non-hyena, and a non-ferret, but is still an ancestor to all of those animal groups. The video closes asking, "If you were there to see the first appearance of these two kits, representing the primary division between feliforms and caniforms, would you even have recognized it as a macroevolutionary event?" Well, would you? As I explained earlier, different species of bear-- no... Two individual bears from the same species could just as easily produce an equally diverse bunch of descendants.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, to me, the idea that these things came about via natures slight of hand unexpected changes seems more representative of legerdemain magic than does the idea that an intelligent causative agent brought about the changes with meaning and purpose. Even magic does not occur without a magician.
    Your comparison is not valid. You are differentiating between two intelligent agents while I am differentiating between an intelligent agent and a natural process. Evolution isn't trying to trick anyone (thought it sometimes tricks people by accident) while your intelligent designer apparently is trying to trick people because he designed everything to look like it had evolved in an aimless and unintelligent way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    You seem to buy into the evolutionist lie that skeptics do not agree that speciation is an evolutionary process. But when bears evolve into a new kind of bear it is very similar to when the standard transmission evolved into an automatice transmission to produce a new kind of automobile. The bears are still bears and the automobiles are still automobiles.
    There are not a lot of theories in science that have no skeptics at all anywhere in the scientific community. I mean, aside from basic stuff like the constancy of the speed of light, or the charge of an electron. Positing a contrary view is a good way to get attention, and getting attention is a good way to make a career.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Buttttttt -- back to the Ark ride in a public park where the issue is whether tax money should be expended to help build it. There are a lot of things government does with MY money that I don't like. For example, my local city government collects money under the guise of sewer fees and allocates that money to develop bicycle lanes, often turning uncongested four-lane streets into now congested two-lane streets while no one is using the bike lanes. If they are going to waste tax money like that, I don't see what the big whoop is about using it to build a harmless park ride that has a loose connection to a Bible story. I suspect there would be more people using the park ride that than are using these bike lanes, plus they will probably charge for the park ride, but bicyclists do not pay for the privilege of using the bike lanes.

    (edited after pressing submit button rather than preview button.)
    I call that an "argument to equal favoritism".

    Essentially you are saying "other things I don't agree with have gotten favoritism, so it would be discrimination if my religion doesn't get favoritism too." It's one of the most common arguments that gets made in discussions about the separation of church and state. And, it's a very dangerous type of argument because you can use it to subvert almost any moral or legal ideal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Elrod
    Perhaps it is also relevant to note that I live and went to school in Texas.
    As I am young my experiences are relatively recent, so perhaps my summaries are relevant (although the sample size is obviously bad-these are mere anecdotes):

    <...>

    In my middle school extremely few believed in evolution. In my "pre-AP biology" class I sat in the back with my two best friends at the time, while the rest of the class yelled back and forth and laughed at the absurd idea of evolution, shouting such trash as "if evolution were true, then why aren't monkies still turning into people? Ha ha ha". Only three people in a class that was probably twenty to thirty kids believing in evolution is pathetically low. The teacher argued for intelligent design.

    After middle school I transferred to a high school in Austin (Westwood), that drew from a different pool of students than my middle school. There the belief in evolution was much higher, and the teachers were quite good. As this high school was ranked in the top hundred in the country, I think it is likely that the beliefs of the middle school may better reflect the norm in the state.
    I think you are quite right. Further amplifying your point is the fact that Austin is an outlier in terms of education and ideology in the state. It's sort of an oasis with several universities, lots of business, and quite smart people in the capitol... and even a short 20 minute drive outside of Austin in practically any direction will lead you to set of schools where it's the minority who accepts the validity of evolution, and the majority who have been taught to mock that which they don't understand, and that which contradicts their ideological beliefs. It gets especially bad when you get into more rural areas.

    I'm glad you had some good teachers. That's something from which more young people would definitely benefit. You're one of the lucky ones.







    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Without replying individually, I do think finger's depiction of Michael Behe's frustration is a graphic representation of the same frustration all evolution skeptics have in dealing with the adament advocates of evolution.
    Those "adamant advocates of evolution" are called people who choose to exist in reality... people who care about the validity and merit of that which we teach our children and that which we accept as real versus believed.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And, inow, for the life of me, I could not understand how those vids had anything to do with what you said.

    inow did say:
    The irony here is that, while evolution provides answers to questions like that, assuming each group was created by magic doesn't provide any answers whatsoever.
    Actually, Finger said that, not me... and the fact that you cannot "for the life of you" connect the videos to the current discussion is both rather telling and rather disheartening.
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    Irrelevant to the conversation, but it made me both laugh and sigh at the same time, especially in regards to thinking about this thread and it's participants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbfFA...eature=related
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finger
    Actually, not quite that difficult. All you have to do is trace their lineage backward through the fossil record and evolution becomes undeniably apparent. In the case of bears, a "non bear" precursor to bears has already been discovered, Cynodictis. But the interesting thing about it is that it is also a precursor to dogs. When you trace back the lineages of any two organisms, you will eventually reach the same organism. That is a prediction of evolution and it is confirmed constantly. Here are another two videos that trace the lineages of Canines and Felines (passing by Cynodictis along the way.)

    Caniform Carnivore Cladogram Construction
    Foundations of Feliforme Families

    That would be the most recent common ancestor between dogs and the group of animals that includes bears, procyonids, mustilades, sea lions, and seals.
    Here is a chart (taken from "Locomotor behavior in Carnivora Evidence from the Elbow Joint", the name roughly paraphrased):

    As they weren't included, pinipeds split off from the bear family relatively recently, and pinipeds are the closest living relatives of the bears.
    -If readers are curious, the PC2 value was degree of supinating ability of the elbow joints. Lower values mean greater supinating ability, and higher values mean that the joint is more hinge-like (less flexible), providing greater cursorial efficiency.

    Cynodictis was one of the earliest Amphicyonids, an extinct family of ambush predators (and likely the family containing the largest extinct terrestrial hypercarnivore from the Order Carnivora, Amphicyon igens), is not the earliest canid according to wikipedia. I never looked into this much myself though, so I'm not sure (wiki has been wrong before).

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Welcome to the discussion C.Elrod.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I have no argument with the data you presented about bears, although it may lack at least one important bit of information such as there are only eight species of ursinae in existence today on Earth.
    Six species of Ursinae. Eight species of Ursidae.
    Ursidae is the bear family, why ursinae refers to the "true bears".

    Ursidae demonstrated male driven evolution:
    Across the entire bear family, the ratio of Y/X = 1.933 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.262–2.605) (the equation: V(Y) = Y(1 − Y)/[L(1 − 4Y/3)2], V(X) = X(1 − X)/[L(1 − 4X/3)]2, V(Y/X) = V(Y)/E(X)2 + E(Y)2V(X)/E(X)4, and Y/X− = Y/X − 1.96s and Y/X+ = Y/X + 1.96s in accordance with Sandstedt and Tucker [2005]) and α = 3.624 (95% CI: 1.451–13.176)
    The "a=" is supposed to be "alpha=".

    The true bears, however, do not (a= again means alpha=):
    within Ursinae whereby Y/X = 1.313 (95% CI: 0.680–1.945) and α = 1.556 (95% CI: 0.587–3.687). Thus, possible male-driven evolution is highly supported in the deeper nodes of the phylogeny but not in the more recent Ursinae.

    The article is available for free on the internet here.

    As to why this is significant?
    How the mutation rates are calculated. For a rate, where time is part of the equation, a comparison must be made at two different times. This is done, when not in possession of DNA of long dead animals (as one almost never is, as DNA degrades over time), this can be done by comparing mutations over time as one traces from one species, through the most recent common ancestor with another species to that other species. If the most recent common ancestor was 5 million years ago, this would mean you covered a time of 10 million years (5 forward, and another 5 backwards).
    This is the strategy used.

    Thus, for anything learned from this to have any relevance at all, or to actually provide any information at all, the animals compared would have had to have had a common ancestor-speciation would have had to have occurred.

    The reason I found it interesting was because of what the data showed; it reflected modern Ursinae bear behavior.
    An example of a true bear is the American black bear. An article called "Determinants of Male Reproductive Success in American Black Bears" (paraphrased) found the following results:


    The prime reproductive age for males was 8-13, and while the number who managed to reproduce was under represented, the amount that actually get to contribute to the future sexually mature adult population is overrepresented, given the high mortality rate of cubs, yearlings, and sub adult bears before they manage to reach maturity (when this rate decreases dramatically).

    As explained by the article on mutation rates in bears:
    We propose that social behavior may be a significant factor in the discordant patterns of genome evolution in bears. The Ursinae, like most large mammals, exhibit male-biased dispersal and female philopatry (Matsuhashi et al. 1999; Nowak 1999; McLellan and Hovey 2001; Kojola et al. 2003; Onorato et al. 2004; Stoen et al. 2005, 2006). Migration caused by male-biased dispersal allows gene flow and is a potent force in homogenizing genetic divergence among subpopulations. In addition, the reproductive system of bears is polygynandrous by which a female may mate with 2 or more males, who themselves may pair with several different females (Nowak 1991). Therefore, if the social structure of female philopatry, male-biased dispersal, and polygynandry was present in ancestral populations of Ursinae, relatively low number of male breeders and high male migration rates would result in low effective population size and reduction of genetic diversity for the Y chromosome among breeding groups (Chesser and Baker 1996). Furthermore, female philopatry has been shown to increase the effective population size of mtDNA by one-half relative to autosomes and almost 6 times relative to the Y chromosome (Chesser and Baker 1996). Thus, genetic diversity of the Y chromosome among ancestral populations would be lost at a faster rate than mtDNA and autosomes. These results were also supported in Laporte and Charlesworth (2002) showing that under predominantly male migration, high genetic differentiation was obtained in mtDNA, followed by Y chromosome, X chromosome, and autosomes. In addition, Hoelzer (1997) and Hoelzer et al. (1998) showed that nodes within mitochondrial gene trees were deeper than those in nuclear gene trees if the female migration rate was low. Lastly, the effect of behavioral traits on the effective population size of autosomes may not be associated with differences in dispersal between sexes but rather male polygyny (Chesser and Baker 1996). Therefore, we suggest low divergence of Y-linked genes observed here compared with high divergence of mtDNA for the subfamily Ursinae (Yu et al. 2007) may be due, in part, to male migration, female philopatry, and polygynandry during ursine bear speciation.

    Other animal groups have much higher alpha values. Abstract from "Male-driven evolution":
    The strength of male-driven evolution - that is, the magnitude of the sex ratio of mutation rate - has been a controversial issue, particularly in primates. While earlier studies estimated the male-to-female ratio (alpha) of mutation rate to be about 4-6 in higher primates, two recent studies claimed that alpha is only about 2 in humans. However, a more recent comparison of mutation rates between a noncoding fragment on Y and a homologous region on chromosome 3 gave an estimate of alpha = 5.3, reinstating strong male-driven evolution in hominoids. Several studies investigated variation in mutation rates among genomic regions that may not be related to sex differences and found strong evidence for such variation. The causes for regional variation in mutation rate are not clear but GC content and recombination are two possible causes. Thus, while the strong male-driven evolution in higher primates suggests that errors during DNA replication in the germ cells are the major source of mutation, the contribution of some replication-independent factors such as recombination may also be important.

    From "Patterns of Y and X Chromosome DNA Sequence Divergence During the Felidae Radiation":
    Substitution differences within the final introns of Zfy and Zfx across 34 felid species offer new insights on sex chromosome evolution. Results of phylogenetic methods reveal considerable precision and accuracy to the pattern of nucleotide changes within these introns. Furthermore, evolutionary differences between Zfy and Zfx introns in Felidae support both the hypothesis of male-driven evolution (HALDANE 1947 Down) and, to a lesser extent, the predicted gradual loss of function for genes located outside the pseudoautosomal region of the Y chromosome (CHARLESWORTH 1978 Down, CHARLESWORTH 1991 Down; GRAVES 1995 Down; RICE 1996 Down).

    In Felidae, Y chromosome evolution appears to be less conserved than that of the X chromosome. Zfy and Zfx intron sequences yield a substitution rate ratio between chromosomes as = 2.06 (95% C.I. = 1.96–2.16) and provide a robust estimate of the male:female mutation rate ratio per generation ({alpha}m = 4.38 with the 95% C.I. = 3.76–5.14). Considered together with previous research based on coding and noncoding homologous regions between sex chromosomes (CHANG et al. 1993; SHIMMIN et al. 1994 Down; CHANG and LI 1995 Down; HUANG et al. 1997 Down), these results clearly support greater mutation rates for the Y chromosome relative to the X chromosome.


    The cat family had an alpha of 4.38 with, humans of 5.3, and 4-6 among higher primates.

    The fact that social behavior is reflected in relative number of functionally irrelevant differences on different genes in all these animal groups is just one example of many numerous interesting coincidences.

    Without evolution, biology does not make sense, and much of it collapses into a pile of random facts-many of them irrelevant.
    The explanatory power of evolution to put sense into something as seemingly random as number of functionally irrelevant differences on different genes between different species as a reflection of different social behavior inherited from the common ancestor of those animals (common ancestor of the Ursinae), not present in earlier common ancestors (common ancestor of Tremarctine bears and the Ursinae, or common ancestor of the bear family).

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I was not exactly clear as to how you think the bear information relates to the overall picture of evolution.
    I hope I did a better job explaining above then I did in my previous post.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    That is, the study of bears only covers bears and while the speciation process is replicated in numerous species and far more dramatically among birds. The only fossil relatives of bears we have found have been other bears.
    Wikipedia's summary of bear evolution appears quite good.
    While the summary starts at the first animal considered a bear, note that this first bear was much more like a badger or a raccoon than a bear. Back those millions of years ago, if we were to classify the animals, this early bear would definitely not have been placed in a separate family as the other caniforms-they were all extremely similar then (and far more closely related, as they would have been that many millions of years closer to their most recent common ancestor).

    Note how un-bear-like the earlist animal classified as a bear sounds (taken from wiki):
    Parictis is the earliest genus of bear known. It was a very small and graceful ursid with a skull only 7 cm long.

    Easy enough to imagine, isn't it?
    Here is an image of the earliest animal classified as a pinniped (the seals and sea lions):

    Very similar to the earlier much more badger like bears. Much more so in appearance than it is to a walrus.
    I am not at all a visual thinker, but I can easily tell by appearances what these animals look the most like.

    Please do not that the above animal, a Puijila, isn't the most recent common ancestor between bears and pinnipeds, but the oldest animal classified as a pinniped. Their most recent common ancestor would've been less otter-like (less adapted to swimming), but probalby not have come all that long before the Puijila.

    Therefore, I think this is sufficiently answered:
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What is left out is information which would conclusively show us common ancestors of bears vis a vis animals we find which are genetically similar.
    We have fossils of early bears that are very un-bear like by today's standards.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    C.Elrod said:
    I'm glad to know that things are largely as they should be
    I was somewhat amused by this because it is true with or without the presence of God. If what we have today is the result of His efforts, then it is the best that He can do with what He has to work with. If what we have today is a result of random quirks of fate, then what we have is the best random quirks of fate can produce.
    I added the line to be somewhat a stab at the insistence that it is random. I guess I should have done a better job.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What evolution has difficulty showing is not that adaptation and survival of the fittest produces new species within the different genre. What is difficult is to show that bears were ever anything other than bears no matter than there are only eight species remaining out of the many which have existed. And the further up the taxonomy chart you go, the more difficult these kinds of relationships are to establish.
    It gets harder the further up you go because the higher up you go, the more "pieces" would have been lost through extinction.
    As I explained above, the fossil record does a good job showing that the earliest animals called bears would definitely not have been called anything so distinct as bears are from other animals today, just like coatis and kinkajous aren't very different today. Given 40 million years, if both still have living ancestors (very unlikely) they would by then be different enough to deserve family status.

    The fossils leading from Ursus minimus to Ursus spelaeus blend into one another to the point where it is hard to assign them to the proper transition/terminal species. That there were so many different species of bears all living in Europe sounds most improbable-especially considering that the age of the fossils conforms with the idea that over time Ursus minimus transformed into Ursus spelaeus (passing through the labels Ursus estruscus, Ursus savini, and Ursus deningeri along the way).

    Here is a good summary of cave bear evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Evolution's answer to this problem is that the taxonomy charts are invalid. Well, yes, they are invalid when it comes to supporting evolution.
    They are invalid when it comes to supporting evolution, not matching either the fossil record or genetics. Therefore I think they really should be abandoned.
    I often see references to clades, etc-a family tree system would be much better, and show evolutionary relationships much more effectively.
    The fact pinnepids have their own suborder hardly shows that bears are closer to them than any other group-including any other animal within the bear's own distinct suborder-is quite frankly misleading.

    Having many groups at the same level, rather than just two, also is relatively poor at distinguishing relationships. Are procyonids and mustilades equally closely related to bears, or are one of them more closely related to bears than the other?
    The order->sub-order->family system simply does not show this.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    When we are deeply invested in a science such as evolution or, say, global warming, in which there are also emotional and political implication, it seems we tend to ignore the significance of certain scientific axioms of the past or we do our best of squelch the voices of those who disagree.
    Taxonomy simply existed for naming and classifying. We have learned a lot more since those times about how other animals are related to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    When it comes to discussing evolution, it is not the hard facts and data which come under scrutiny. Evolutionists would like to make that the issue. Skeptics are more concerned with what that data means, what it shows, what it supports and what it does not support.

    OK, so we currently have eight existing species of ursinae and we can see how they are related and in what way they are related. Sooooo? What does that prove other than we can figure out the family tree of the genus bears? What does that have to do with the overall kingdom of animals? How does this help us understand the relationships between different orders?
    If you can track the bears and pinnipeds back until they were animals much more similar to raccoons/badgers (raccoons and badgers are very different; I assume there was a small diversity of species at those times), and the mustilade family (to which the badger belongs) and procyonid family (to which the raccoon belongs) were all also far more similar to the common ancestor, these animals would be at least as similar as the eight bears are today. Therefore, from that point, it would be easy to tract all these diverse animals back a similarly long way (if there were enough fossils). Etc.

    Clearly demonstrating evolution over a 20-30 million year period, tracing the animals back to a completely different form, should make things clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Why do some other genre have so many more species within them, while some others have fewer?
    Some were better at speciating relatively recently, and thus a lot of animal species were produced from a relatively very recent common ancestor. Due to the recent nature of this common ancestor, they are labeled as members of the same genus to show their relatedness.

    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    I think you are quite right. Further amplifying your point is the fact that Austin is an outlier in terms of education and ideology in the state. It's sort of an oasis with several universities, lots of business, and quite smart people in the capital... and even a short 20 minute drive outside of Austin in practically any direction will lead you to set of schools where it's the minority who accepts the validity of evolution, and the majority who have been taught to mock that which they don't understand, and that which contradicts their ideological beliefs.

    I'm glad you had some good teachers. That's something from which more young people would definitely benefit. You're one of the lucky ones.
    I agree. The much higher standards are easy to see if you look at some statistics:
    61% of students enrolled in "advanced placement" classes, and it had an 85% ap test pass rate. IB enrollment was 11% with a 96% exam pass rate.
    I can't be bothered to spend more time looking up results for the other schools, but I am quite certain pass rates for AP exams were closer to 33% for the other schools, with AP enrollment also being much lower.

    The teachers can make a huge difference. The school gets the results largely because it tries to get all the best teachers from the other schools. One of the teachers the school got from a neighboring school resulted in the old school's AP English pass rate crashing from 89% to a percentage somewhere in the 30s.
    Putting money into education, particularly in getting quality teachers who try to educate their students, would be a huge step.
    Working towards this would be working towards keeping (or restoring?) US dominance in scientific and technological developments.
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    Time prohibits me from attempting to replay to everything that has been said in response to my previous post, futile tho the effort will be. At least C.Elrod's last post frees me from having to apologize for the the length here.

    (And apologies to both finger and inow in quoting the wrong person. It will be up to you two, however, to decide who was the more maligned!)

    But Kalster said something that does sort of provide a point for response.
    I still cannot imagine why you are unable to make the simple connection that a lot of small changes over time adds to a big overall change
    I have already rejected a couple of smart ass responses. but there are two things here. 1. It is not really a "simple" connection; it is a very complex involved connection. 2. I fully understand the concept of many small changes over time, but I also understand some of the math.

    Your question does not discuss the degree of minuteness of the incremental changes nor the amount of time involved for such tiny changes to make a significant difference.

    Let’s use C.Elrod's example of ursinae using two of the eight species of bears as the main basis for discussion focusing mostly on polar bears. (And I agree bears make an interesting and fascinating subject for study.)

    First some assumptions and data.

    I assume evolution does not believe bears evolved in a completely linear progression but probably more in partially linear and partial branching mode.

    In North America, we have three species of bear – black bears, brown (or grizzly) bears and polar bears. Grizzlies and black bears are thought to be closely related sort of like brothers, while polar bears are most likely descended directly from brown bears.

    The scientific research that has been conducted including DNA indicates that this is the family of bears [brown bears] that the Polar Bear deviated from. This is based on information that they took from remains of Polar Bears that are approximately 100,000 years old. Those are the oldest remains for testing that have so far been uncovered.
    -- http://polarbear-world.com/polar-bear-evolution.html

    So, what else do we know about polar bears. Sows have an average two cubs and breed every other year although they may nurture their cubs for three seasons rather than two. Sometimes there are three cubs and sometimes there is only one. But for the sake of simplicity, let us assume that the average is two every two years. Females take three to five years to reach breeding maturity or, shall we say, an average of four years. They live an average of 15-18 years in the wild, meaning an average sow might breed six or eight times and give birth to 10-16 cubs in her lifetime. As near as I can compute, the generation time for polar bears is four years meaning each sow can produce the equivalent of four generations of polar bears.

    Now then, as stated above, we know that polar bears have been on earth for at least 100,000 years, but we do not know for sure how long before that. But we also know that they have been essentially the same animal for those 100,000 years, with minor improvements brought on by higher success ratios for those who swim better and those of lighter coat.

    We can conclude that since polar bears are descended from brown bears, that brown bears have been around much longer. We do not know at what point in the line of brown bears the first deviation toward polar bears arose, nor how long it took from that first minor deviation for polar bears to develop into the full fledged modern polar bear species. By the law of small changes over a long time, we know that we did not have a bunch of brown bears all of a suddent casting off numerous copies of a modern polar bears. We just don’t know how many generations of bears must be born before a population of a minor trait is numerous enough to faithfully reproduce that trait.

    But let’s take a side trip into the world of studies of fruit flies where science has observed more than a million generations of fruit flies. This is because fruit flies have a life span of just 14 days and produce a multitude of progeny in very short periods of time. We have studied these little pests for more than 100 years. While that is not a lot of time, it has been a lot of generations. But science has not observed any natural changes in fruit flies in all those generations. What’s more, science has attempted in numerous ways at numerous times to induce some change in the fruit fly. While they have been able to produce changes, when left to their own devices or when introduced back into a “normal” fruit fly environment, the new flies eventually go extinct or revert back to the flies they have always been with the normal range of variable characteristics.

    This confirms the normal evolution prediction that noticeable alterations come very slowly, over long periods of time through thousands of generations. With fruit flies, having a small chromosomal makeup means even a minor alteration would potentially produce a significant change. In contrast, with a much larger chromosome makeup such as found in mammals, it would take many minor alterations to produce even a noticeable change.

    Mammals have been on earth for about 200,000,000 years. I have no information in which science suggests when, as mammals were evolving, the first bear species appeared but something I read someplace led me to believe that it could have been around 100,000,000 years ago, about halfway through the history of mammals. But if we can assume, as with polar bears, it is at least 100,000 years without any significant changes among a specific species of bears, it is difficult to find sufficient time build a time line toward just the eight species we now have. This does not even attempt to establish a time line from the pre-genre changes that would have had to take place in the 100,000,000 million years prior to that to get mammals back to their emergence as mammals on the taxonomy charts.

    The problem arises that when we estimate the number of generations of a specific large animal with low reproductive cycles and the number of minor changes which had to have occurred to effect a significant changed, and compare it to the amount of time that has transpired, it just does not compute.

    This is why pure Darwinism has come into disfavor even among evolution scholars. Small-changes-over-long-periods-of-time runs afoul of time constraints. Even neo-Darwinism continues to focus on the slow process of natural selection as its main change mechanism.

    This problem gave rise to the idea of punctuated equilibrium – the idea that nature has provided periods of rapid changes in which many new life forms sprang up in short order. The problem with this idea is that fossil records support only one such period, the Cambrian explosion, which still cannot account for the entirety of diversity known to have existed. Nor does the time since the Cambrian explosion provide the time for pure Darwinism to have developed the life forms we know have existed since then.

    And, yes, I have read rebuttals of these particular views of the hard data available. But to me, current explanation do not really ever adequately address the problem that life has not been on earth long enough to have produced the results we see by means of the processes which have been proposed.

    I have never been skeptical of evolution because I think God individually created each specific species of life forms we have today or have ever had on earth. I just think the current partial data and known facts lack the information required to form anything more than equally partial conclusions. Some of evolution accurately explains some things, but does not shine enough light on some other things to decide for sure what has happened in the total picture of the history of life on earth.

    What most evolutionists do not realize is that evolution is more than a study in biology, it is also a study in history, a melding of the sciences and the humanities. Neither makes complete sense without the other.

    I think that is what Einstein meant in the quote found in my signature – neither science nor religion make complete sense without the other.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This is why pure Darwinism has come into disfavor even among evolution scholars.
    Citation Needed.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Small-changes-over-long-periods-of-time runs afoul of time constraints. Even neo-Darwinism continues to focus on the slow process of natural selection as its main change mechanism.
    This is all a misrepresentation and a misunderstanding. Please check your premises before forming further conclusions.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Some of evolution accurately explains some things, but does not shine enough light on some other things to decide for sure what has happened in the total picture of the history of life on earth.
    Please provide examples of at least TWO other things on which the theory of evolution (not your version of it, but the actual theory) "does not shine enough light on." I also encourage you not to immediately pivot to abiogenesis or cosmological inflation, as those are completely unrelated subject areas, and would be akin to you attacking the theory of gravity for not explaining the transmission of HIV.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think that is what Einstein meant in the quote found in my signature – neither science nor religion make complete sense without the other.
    Not that I accept the way you like to use Einstein repeatedly as some sort of appeal to authority here, but do you know what else Einstein said?

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
    ~ From a letter Einstein wrote in English, dated 24 March 1954. It is included in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, ed. Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman (Princeton University Press, 1981).
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    But Kalster said something that does sort of provide a point for response.
    I still cannot imagine why you are unable to make the simple connection that a lot of small changes over time adds to a big overall change
    I have already rejected a couple of smart ass responses. but there are two things here. 1. It is not really a "simple" connection; it is a very complex involved connection. 2. I fully understand the concept of many small changes over time, but I also understand some of the math.
    I think what you're ignoring here, daytonturner, is that different environmental situations have different selective strengths. If an organism stays in the same environment for a very very long time, its rate of change is going to slow, and it won't change much. It will just evolve until it reaches the ideal form for its environment, and then stay put, making only minor, meaningless changes.

    However, if that animal (or a small colony of them) moves into a new, radically different environment, then selection is going to be so strong that the species radically changes (or maybe becomes a whole new species.) Only the group that moved, changes, of course. The ones who stayed behind have no reason to change.





    Your question does not discuss the degree of minuteness of the incremental changes nor the amount of time involved for such tiny changes to make a significant difference.

    That's the key. The time varies. Sometimes the time frame can be very short.


    We can conclude that since polar bears are descended from brown bears, that brown bears have been around much longer. We do not know at what point in the line of brown bears the first deviation toward polar bears arose, nor how long it took from that first minor deviation for polar bears to develop into the full fledged modern polar bear species. By the law of small changes over a long time, we know that we did not have a bunch of brown bears all of a suddent casting off numerous copies of a modern polar bears. We just don’t know how many generations of bears must be born before a population of a minor trait is numerous enough to faithfully reproduce that trait.
    It could have been pretty rapid. If a white coated bear is way way more successful than a brown coated one, then the ratio between white bears and brown coated bears in a population could grow very fast. Think about it. What if the survival ratio is 5 to 1? Just use the principles of compounded interest.

    Or, more plausibly: what if it's just that the stay rate is 5 to 1? Maybe the population is getting a constant infusion of immigrants, very few of whom find the new environment to be hospitable, but those who do never go back. (Why go back?)

    Imagine that a small first world country decides to open its borders to any woman who has a combination of a natural DD breast size and a 32" waist. All she has to do is show up at the embassy and have her measurements taken, and they'll issue her a visa. How long do you think it would be before that particular set of genetic traits began to dominate their population?


    But let’s take a side trip into the world of studies of fruit flies where science has observed more than a million generations of fruit flies. This is because fruit flies have a life span of just 14 days and produce a multitude of progeny in very short periods of time. We have studied these little pests for more than 100 years. While that is not a lot of time, it has been a lot of generations. But science has not observed any natural changes in fruit flies in all those generations. What’s more, science has attempted in numerous ways at numerous times to induce some change in the fruit fly. While they have been able to produce changes, when left to their own devices or when introduced back into a “normal” fruit fly environment, the new flies eventually go extinct or revert back to the flies they have always been with the normal range of variable characteristics.
    If they don't change the environment, then the species probably wouldn't change no matter how many generations. If they do change the environment, then the change would not be deemed "natural". It's a catch 22.

    The deliberately manipulated experiments are, oddly enough, more like nature. They mimic exactly what nature did. You take an animal that is meant for one environment, and you put it in an alien environment and then watch the chaos. Just like a brown bear who decides to go North and suddenly finds that a lot of his traits that were so useful down South just aren't working for him anymore.

    The problem arises that when we estimate the number of generations of a specific large animal with low reproductive cycles and the number of minor changes which had to have occurred to effect a significant changed, and compare it to the amount of time that has transpired, it just does not compute.
    It's best to imagine the steering flaps on an airplane. Even if the wind speed over the flap is kept the same, turning the flap more steeply still turns the plane more. I use that example because it's an example of a purely resistive steering mechanism.

    Same goes for evolution. If you think of the reproduction/random mutation rate as being like the wind, and the environment's tendency to kill mal-adapted organisms as being like the steering flap, then the steering flap is clearly the more important part of that equation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This is why pure Darwinism has come into disfavor even among evolution scholars.
    Citation Needed.
    This is one of those anti-science strawmen that creationists like to posit. The argument works like this: bump the ball over the net in such a way that it's returned for a perfect spike.

    DT's "spike" will undoubtedly be the fact that science is constantly in revision and his response will hinge on the word "pure."

    The whole argument is a deception since he's created a position that doesn't really exist. There is no expectation of "pure Darwinism" in biology anymore than there is an expectation of "pure Lyellism" in geology. Darwinian evolution and its principles of natural selection, however, is still the best explanation in spite of the fact that subsequent research has provided us with a better information. Lyellism and its principle of uniformitarianism is still a best explanation in spite of the fact that some of Lyells hypotheses have been disproved (i.e. certain aspects of glacial geology and flood morphology).

    DT's "spike" is an example of intellectual dishonesty.
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    I had a strong sense of intellectual dishonesty, but was not aware of the pending spike. Thanks SW. Maybe dayton needs to review the below as a gentle reminder about proper debate flow:


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    At least kojax honestly addressed the issues presented while inow and skinwalker resort to name calling of the person who expressed these concerns. Too bad there are not more kojaxes on your side.

    Even finger has been respectful and discussive rather than like those who are mostly just trying to see how offensive they can be toward people with different understandings and interpretations.

    The problem I am pointing out, again, is that to accomplish the biodiversity we have observed in the here and now and in the past (extinct plants and animals) would have required 100s of millions of incremental, infinitesimal changes each of which takes, perhaps, as much as 100's of thousands of years to accomplish. Multiplying that out, it becomes highly improbable that such changes could have taken place in the 3.8 billion years life has existed.

    Even if it took only one million changes (though I think it far more than that) to get from one celled animals to humanity and it took an average of 100,000 years to effect a useful change, that is 100 billion years, more years than even the Universe has existed. Even cutting the average time of a useful change to a very reasonable 10,000 years we are at 10 billion years, more years that the Earth is old.

    Other than the Cambrian layer, there is no evidence of the rapid alterations necessary to move from single celled life forms to today's complex life forms in 3.8 billion years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    skinwalker resort to name calling of the person who expressed these concerns.
    What name did I call who?


    Too bad there are not more kojaxes on your side.
    What side is that, precisely? Science? Would that make your side anti-science or creationism?

    Even finger has been respectful and discussive rather than like those who are mostly just trying to see how offensive they can be toward people with different understandings and interpretations.
    Or, the possibility is that you're mischaracterizing those who call you on your bs the most. I never called you a name. I did, however, point out your intellectual dishonesty and backed it up with a detailed description.
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    Dayton takes a step which is common among theists who have their claims challenged, and asks for special pleading and unearned deference. When neither are volunteered, they interpret this as attack.

    He's clearly not familiar with the concept of peer-review.



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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The problem I am pointing out, again, is that to accomplish the biodiversity we have observed in the here and now and in the past (extinct plants and animals) would have required 100s of millions of incremental, infinitesimal changes each of which takes, perhaps, as much as 100's of thousands of years to accomplish. Multiplying that out, it becomes highly improbable that such changes could have taken place in the 3.8 billion years life has existed.
    Please do the math for us. Show us how you arrive at the rates you did for the number of "incremental changes" you have.

    Even if it took only one million changes (though I think it far more than that) to get from one celled animals to humanity and it took an average of 100,000 years to effect a useful change, that is 100 billion years, more years than even the Universe has existed. Even cutting the average time of a useful change to a very reasonable 10,000 years we are at 10 billion years, more years that the Earth is old.
    If evolution worked in the pedantic manner you seem to think it does, perhaps. But evolution works on populations of organisms. Not individuals. Your assessment doesn't fit when this is considered. Nor do the time frames you seem to think must exist. The fact of the matter is, we have a very good body of data (eg. genetics) which show rates of evolution to adhere to predicted rates which match the fossil record.

    Other than the Cambrian layer, there is no evidence of the rapid alterations necessary to move from single celled life forms to today's complex life forms in 3.8 billion years.
    None are apparently needed. These "rapid alterations" seem necessary in your mind rather than reality.
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    skinwalker asked:

    Please do the math for us. Show us how you arrive at the rates you did for the number of "incremental changes" you have.
    These are guesses. You are certainly welcome to rebut them with you own guesses or if you have information which refutes them, I am certainly willing to look at them.

    However, most of the changes we see are selective adaptations which are derived from the genetic makeup of the animal as it exists. The slow change from brown bears to white bears did not come about by some super genetic restructuring. The genes to produce a lighter colored bear were always present in the brown bear. The genetic makeups of the brown bear and polar bear are such that they could breed together today. The genes to make the brown bear into a white ermine are not there. Nor could a brown bear breed with a white ermine.

    Almost all of selective adaptation, which is the building block of most evolution structures, does not come from genetic changes. Animals adapt by making use of already existing potential genetic combinations. These available genetic combinations make it possible for different qualities to come to the fore when some environmental changes makes survival dependent on the use of that previously latent quality.

    The fact that a strain of finches develops longer bills to adapt to a particular food source does not give that strain of finches the ability to turn into parrots. They do not have the genetic capacity to lay an egg which will hatch out as anything other than a finchn. The longer billed finch still retains the genetic ability to grow a shorter bill. It has not developed a gene to produce the trait, but merely made use of genes which were already genetically available to him.

    For any animal, say, to be altered into a new type of animal, the changes must be inserted into the original animal's genetic pool. But even then, in most complex animals (humans are actually far from being the most complex) many genes may control just one feature. Thus, in order for a wing to change into a leg or a leg into a wing, many, many genes must be altered. You could not effect that change by a mutation or radical changes in one gene. It must occur in many genes.

    But back to the question, I don't know how many genetic changes must occur to change a reptile into a bird. But I do think if you begin to add up all the genetic differences that had to have occurred in each different gene, my estimate of millions to get us from one-celled animals to the most complex animals of today may be very conservative.

    skinwalker said:

    If evolution worked in the pedantic manner you seem to think it does, perhaps. But evolution works on populations of organisms. Not individuals. Your assessment doesn't fit when this is considered. Nor do the time frames you seem to think must exist. The fact of the matter is, we have a very good body of data (eg. genetics) which show rates of evolution to adhere to predicted rates which match the fossil record.
    I find it somewhat amusing that you accuse me of expressing a pedantic manner of evolution and then follow up by describing your own very rigid adherence to a body of data that follows strict and predicted rates of change. Incidentally, the fossil record, which includes the Cambrian layer, would refute your claim and, certainly Stephen Jay Gould's punctuated equilibrium explanation is diametrically opposed to what you are claiming. Off the top of my head, I think he suggests six periods of rapid evolution, but only one such period (the Cambrian explosion) is confirmed by the fossil records

    And the fact that you cannot see this time issue as a major problem in evolution suggests to me that your understanding is far more pedantic than reasoned.

    (edited to change mentions of sparrows to mention of finches)
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Just as there are numerous people far more qualified than me to present the aspects of evolution which cause their skepticism. I think I have noted in many previous post that this is an area where I, personally, find the information from learned skeptics persuasive enough that I agree that much of the evolutionary story remains to be explained. And until those things are explained, I will likely remain skeptical that evolution provides a complete picture of biodiversity.

    However, I hardly think this constitutes a complete rejection of science which is the picture inow and finger want to paint. Hmmm, I'm sure a little more thought on my part would provide a better pun.
    There seems to be quite a bit of dogma in this thread on both sides. But ultimately the creationists, have abandoned science, rational thinking and even reasonable theology.

    OF COURSE, evolution is somewhat incomplete. Biology is incomplete. So is physics. All science is incomplete, and that is what makes research exciting.

    Biology is less settled than either physics or chemistry, and that should be no surprise, as it is dependent on both and neither are complete. Moreover, biology deals with systems that are complex and harder to study than are the controlled and isolated phenomena studies by physicists.

    Until relatively recently biology was largely phenomenological, with little in the way of quantifiable principles with predictive power. But that is rapidly changing as molecular biologists integrate chemistry, physics and mathematics into their field.

    Evolution is certainly incomplete in the sense that it does not include models with the power of detailed quantitative prediction. But it has a firm foundation in genetics and the associated chemistry. I cannot think of any serious scientist who would deny evolution, at least in principle, as an expression of the logical consequence of genetic principles and Darwin's concept of natural selection. Whether or not these principles are the work of God is not a scientific question, any more than is the same question when posed in the context of the laws of physics. It is a question for theologians and philosophers, but is not a question for scientists.

    An analogy with physics might lie in the forces that hold the nucleus together. It is uniformly believed that the strong interaction among quarks, the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), is responsible for the force (the so-called residual strong force) among protons and neutrons. But no one has been able to derive the residual strong force from the basic principles of QCD. It should be not surprising then that scientists can accept the basic principle of natural selection as an explanation for the origin of species, even without the completeness that would be afforded by a predictive model.

    Science cannot answer the question of the existence of God. But science is predicated on the empirical evidence that nature is orderly and ultimately understandable and predictable. All data indicates this to be true, and equally shows that God does not intervene to suspend the fundamental principles of physics, and hence not of processes derived from them -- which includes evolution.
    So whether God exists or not, and whether He could have created species directly and individually or not, there is zero evidence that He chose to do so and abundant fossil evidence combined with the science of genetics that He did not.

    The creationist argument has NO scientific validity, and by limiting God's choices, denying the option of having established the basic rules governing natural phenomena and allowing them to operate without intervention is even dubious theologically. Bohr once admonished Einstein, in reply to Einstein's "God does not play dice", "Einstein, don't tell God what to do." That admonishment applies at least as strongly to creationists.
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    Tell me, dayton, which two of the following three animals are more genetically similar to each other than to the third?


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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Time prohibits me from attempting to replay to everything that has been said in response to my previous post, futile tho the effort will be.
    Failure to respond kind of renders the effort I committed to the discussion futile.
    Nonetheless I will again answer some of your questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    At least C.Elrod's last post frees me from having to apologize for the the length here.
    Old habit.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I have already rejected a couple of smart ass responses. but there are two things here. 1. It is not really a "simple" connection; it is a very complex involved connection. 2. I fully understand the concept of many small changes over time, but I also understand some of the math.

    Your question does not discuss the degree of minuteness of the incremental changes nor the amount of time involved for such tiny changes to make a significant difference.
    Changes in niche can result in very rapid changes, for example, when a small population of brown bears became isolated and were forced to switch from a niche of omnivory to one of predating on seals.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    First some assumptions and data.

    I assume evolution does not believe bears evolved in a completely linear progression but probably more in partially linear and partial branching mode.
    Completely branching?
    Although, I have seen suggestions that brown bears are a paraphyletic group.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In North America, we have three species of bear – black bears, brown (or grizzly) bears and polar bears. Grizzlies and black bears are thought to be closely related sort of like brothers, while polar bears are most likely descended directly from brown bears.
    If you're interested, a chart showing a more extensive relatedness within the Order Carnivora (this time listing body masses and brain masses, both in grams, rather than supinationg ability along the species names):


    From (paraphrased): "Evidence for Correlation Between Brain Size and Sociality in Three Orders of Mammals". As a note, the findings of this article has since been debunked by another article; the data remains valid however.
    The names from the article are exceptionally out of date for some reason:
    Thalarctos maritamus = Ursus maritamus = polar bear
    Ursus horribillis = Ursus arctos horribillis = grizzly (brown) bear
    Ursus arctos = Ursus arctos ? = a European brown bear or a coastal brown bear
    Ursus torquatos = Ursus thibetanus = Asiatic black bear
    The remaining names of the bear family are more modern (and the spectacled bear was not included).

    I don't think I would exactly call brown and black bears exceptionally closely related. I do not know of any instances of interbreeding, despite large amounts of range overlap.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    So, what else do we know about polar bears. Sows have an average two cubs and breed every other year although they may nurture their cubs for three seasons rather than two.
    This would be extremely optimal. Brown bears for example, while only staying with cubs for two and a half years, commonly spend several years regaining weight lost while raising the cubs:

    Depending on region, the mean birth interval ranged from 2.6 to 4.6 years.
    I imagine similar may be the case for polar bears.
    I have however not seen data, but I believe this is reasonable speculation.
    As a note, you can see mean litter size, and age at first litter, also vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Now then, as stated above, we know that polar bears have been on earth for at least 100,000 years, but we do not know for sure how long before that. But we also know that they have been essentially the same animal for those 100,000 years, with minor improvements brought on by higher success ratios for those who swim better and those of lighter coat.
    10,000 years ago a high frequency of polar bears had "brown bear-type" molars, as in, molars adapted for grinding and crushing vegetation. Modern polar bears have distinct molars adapted much better to their function of consuming blubber.
    So no, evolution has certainly not been idle in that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    We can conclude that since polar bears are descended from brown bears, that brown bears have been around much longer. We do not know at what point in the line of brown bears the first deviation toward polar bears arose
    Extremely recently!
    Probably not more than 250,000 years!
    In fact, did you know brown bears and polar bears can produce hybrids? [Yes, as you mentioned it.]
    And have done so in the wild? [I assume this is the article you saw]

    IQALUIT, Nunavut — Northern hunters, scientists and people with vivid imaginations have discussed the possibility for years.

    But Roger Kuptana, a guide from Canada’s Sachs Harbor was the first to suspect it had actually happened when he proposed that a strange-looking bear shot last month by an American sports hunter might be half polar bear, half grizzly.

    Officials seized the creature after noticing its white fur was scattered with brown patches and that it had the long claws and humped back of a grizzly. Now a DNA test has confirmed that it is indeed a hybrid — possibly the first documented in the wild.

    "We've known it's possible, but actually most of us never thought it would happen," said Ian Stirling, a polar bear biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Edmonton.

    Polar bears and grizzlies have been successfully paired in zoos before — Stirling could not speculate why — and their offspring are fertile.

    Breeding seasons for the two species overlap, though polar bear gets started slightly earlier.

    Polar bear and grizzly territory also overlap in the Western Arctic around the Beaufort Sea, where the occasional grizzly is known to head onto the sea ice looking for food after emerging from hibernation.

    Grizzlies hunting seals?
    Some grizzly bears make it over the ice all the way to Banks Island and Victoria Island, where they have been spotted and shot before. These bears will scavenge seals left over by polar bears.

    "And some hunters have told me that they think sometimes the grizzly bears actually hunt seals, which I'm quite sure they could do," Stirling said.

    That might explain how a grizzly got to the region, but few can explain how it managed to get along with a polar bear mate long enough to produce offspring.

    Colin Adjun, a wildlife officer in Nunavut, said he's heard stories before about an oddly colored bear cavorting with polar bears. "It was a light chocolate color along with a couple of polar bears," Adjun said.

    And though people have talked about the possibility of a mix, "it hasn't happened in our area," he said.

    While the latest find is a surprise, it is not necessarily another sign of climate change, said John England, a geologist who was with the team that spotted the earlier grizzly.

    "If we want evidence for climate change, we don't have to go to an isolated occurrence of a grizzly bear somewhere," said England, who holds a northern research chair on environmental change in the Arctic.

    "The satellite imagery showing sea ice reduction over the last 30 years is proof positive of very dramatic changes in the northern hemisphere."


    And that the hybrids are fertile?
    And that the hybrids have bred, producing offspring, in the wild?


    Biologists in the Northwest Territories have confirmed that an unusual-looking bear shot earlier this month near Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., was a rare hybrid grizzly-polar bear.

    The unusual-looking bear caught the attention of biologists after David Kuptana, an Inuvialuit hunter, shot and killed it on April 8 on the sea ice just west of the Arctic community, formerly known as Holman.

    The bear had thick white fur like a polar bear, but it also had a wide head, brown legs and brown paws like a grizzly.

    Kuptana said he shot the bear from a distance after it scavenged through five unoccupied cabins near Ulukhaktok, then tried running toward the community.

    Wildlife DNA analysis shows the bear was a second-generation hybrid, officials with the N.W.T. Environment and Natural Resources Department said in a news release Friday.

    The bear was the result of a female grizzly-polar hybrid mating with a male grizzly bear, according to the department.

    "This confirms the existence of at least one female polar-grizzly hybrid near Banks Island," the release said.

    "This may be the first recorded second-generation polar-grizzly bear hybrid found in the wild."

    Kuptana told CBC News he is currently selling the bear pelt to the highest bidder and has received calls from across Canada for the unique pelt.

    "Right now, we're already at $15,000, and we're going to see how far we can go," Kuptana said Friday. "If we can do better, we'll be happy."
    Species interbreeding due to climate change: U.S. scientist

    The N.W.T.'s first confirmed "grolar bear" was shot by a U.S. hunter in Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., located on Banks Island, in April 2006. More DNA tests are planned to determine whether the bear shot this month was related to the one from 2006.

    Hybrid bears will likely become more common in the North, as the direct consequence of climate change, predicts Brendan Kelly, a marine biologist with the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    In the absence of summer Arctic sea ice, polar bears are stranded on land and come into more contact with grizzly bears, he said.

    "We're taking this continent-sized barrier to animal movement, and in a few generations, it's going to disappear, at least in summer months," Kelly said.

    "That's going to give a lot of organisms — a lot of marine mammals in particular — who've been separated for at least 10,000 years the opportunity to interbreed again, and we're predicting we're going to see a lot more of that."

    Kelly said he has seen reports of harp seals and hooded seals interbreeding, as well as beluga whales and narwhal. Interbreeding helps species adapt to major shifts in their environments, he said.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    nor how long it took from that first minor deviation for polar bears to develop into the full fledged modern polar bear species. By the law of small changes over a long time, we know that we did not have a bunch of brown bears all of a suddent casting off numerous copies of a modern polar bears. We just don’t know how many generations of bears must be born before a population of a minor trait is numerous enough to faithfully reproduce that trait.
    Just like in domestic dog breeding, with rapid changes in natural selection (or artificial selection in the case of domestic breeding) morphological changes can be extremely rapid, while they are still genetically practically the same animal due to how little time has passed. Hence brown and polar bears can interbreed to produce not only fertile, but very healthy and competitive offspring (that could successfully raise cubs).
    The fact that the second generation hybrid was forced to scavenge through cabins though shows it clearly wasn't as successful as real polar bears when it came to finding food and surviving in the harsh arctic climate.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But let’s take a side trip into the world of studies of fruit flies where science has observed more than a million generations of fruit flies. This is because fruit flies have a life span of just 14 days and produce a multitude of progeny in very short periods of time. We have studied these little pests for more than 100 years. While that is not a lot of time, it has been a lot of generations. But science has not observed any natural changes in fruit flies in all those generations. What’s more, science has attempted in numerous ways at numerous times to induce some change in the fruit fly. While they have been able to produce changes, when left to their own devices or when introduced back into a “normal” fruit fly environment, the new flies eventually go extinct or revert back to the flies they have always been with the normal range of variable characteristics.
    Cool-feral dogs and carp always revert to a similar set of characteristics, quite different from their domestic counterparts.
    Also, awesome how they seemingly in a lab replicated what is happening with brown and polar bears right now.
    The polar bear Ursus maritimus is unique among living ursids as the only member of the family with an exclusively carnivorous diet. As a result of this specialized diet, the the polar bear has evolved a series of craniodental adaptations that allow it to efficiently process a diet of seal flesh and blubber. For example, polar bears exhibit reduced surface area of the grinding molar teeth, a feature normally pronounced in more omnivorous ursids, and a low, slender skull [1], [2]. Despite possessing such distinctive phenotypic features, molecular and paleontological data unequivocally indicate that the carnivorous polar bear evolved relatively recently, approximately 150–700ka (Fig. 1), from coastal populations of the more generalized and omnivorous brown bear Ursus arctos [3]–[6]. In this study, we take a combined evolutionary and biomechanical approach to examine the evolution of adaptations to carnivory in the polar bear cranium. We first use multivariate evolutionary contrasts [7] to test whether the unique cranial morphology of the polar bear resulted from increased rates of cranial shape evolution in the polar bear lineage, relative to other branches of ursid phylogeny. We expect this to be the case if adaptation to the harsh arctic environment and a hypercarnivorous diet posed novel evolutionary challenges for a large ursid. We then use 3D finite element analysis (FEA) to examine the impact of craniodental adaptations to hypercarnivory on various aspects of cranial performance, such as bite force and skull strength, during feeding. FEA is an engineering method used to examine patterns of stress and strain in man-made objects when placed under load and, in recent years, has been adapted to study the evolution of biological form and function [8]–[14]. In FEA, the structure of interest, here the skull, is represented as a finite number of elements, joined at their vertices by nodes. The elements are assigned material properties that specify how they respond when placed under load. Recent developments in FE modeling of biological structures have resulted in methods for more realistic modeling of jaw muscles [15] and appropriate protocols for assessing comparative performance across species [16]. Here, we use FEA to compare feeding performance in the carnivorous polar bear to that of its phylogenetically and geographically closest relative, the omnivorous brown bear.

    Surface area to volume ratios for the finite element models of polar and brown bear skulls were similar, indicating that similar amounts of bone are used in the skulls of both species (SA/V: polar bear = 0.61, brown bear = 0.59). This finding suggests that differences in stress magnitudes between the polar bear and scaled brown bear skull models can be interpreted in light of differences in external shapes of the skulls. Bite forces measured from the two scaled finite element models were also comparable for all simulated bites, although the polar bear's bite was slightly stronger in each case (Table 2, Fig. 2a). These results suggest that the potential leverage of the jaw muscle systems is also similar for the two species.




    Stress distributions and magnitudes differed between the two models for all bites. For each biting scenario, the polar bear skull exhibited more widely varying stresses (Fig. 3) and higher peak stresses (Table 3) than for the brown bear. Differences between the two species were most marked for bites made with the molars, where peak stresses in the polar bear were up to 408% those of the brown bear (Table 3). Similarly strain energy values were higher in the polar bear cranium than for the brown bear for all bites (Table 2; Fig. 2b), indicating that the polar bear skull undergoes more deformation in producing similar bite forces. Again, differences between the polar and brown bear crania were most pronounced for bites made with the post-canine dentition, the main site for processing of ingested food. Our model results are unvalidated by in vivo data and should be treated as estimates only. However, based on our findings, it appears that although the two species are similar in cranial size and have similar muscle leverage potential, the polar bear's skull is a weaker, less work-efficient structure, and does not appear well suited to dealing with large masticatory loads.




    The transition to an arctic environment and hypercarnivorous diet resulted in extremely rapid morphological evolution in the polar bear lineage. Our results indicate that the rate of cranial shape evolution in the polar bear lineage was at least twice as fast as in other branches of ursid phylogeny. Our estimate is probably conservative; while the phylogeny that we used for rate estimates dates the polar bear/brown bear split at ~700 kya [3], recent analysis of sub-fossil polar bear remains suggests that polar bears diverged from brown bears as recently as 150 kya, and that the modern polar bear morphology was present by 130 kya [17]. Compared with other ursids, polar bears possess low flat skulls with elevated orbits [2], consistent with both semi-aquatic [18] and faunivorous [2] adaptations. This morphology might also increase hunting efficiency by allowing bears to thrust their heads into breathing holes or pupping dens. Polar bear evolution was facilitated by the expansion of polar ice sheets and floes in the late Pleistocene [19]. If polar bears evolved from coastal populations of brown bears [6], as molecular evidence now suggests [3]–[5], [17], then rapid evolution of adaptations for semi-aquatic life and hypercarnivory could have occurred to facilitate foraging over wider areas. Polar bears have denser fore- and hindlimb bones, a common adaptation of aquatic mammals, than closely related brown bears, further supporting this interpretation [20].

    Although polar bears possess mechanically efficient skulls, as indicated by larger bite forces for a given muscle effort (Fig. 2A), we found that they also possess energetically inefficient and structurally weaker skulls (Fig. 2b; Fig. 3). This initially seems somewhat counterintuitive; among other carnivoran families, more carnivorous taxa tend to have stronger skulls [11], [13], [14]. However, polar bears feed almost exclusively on young ringed (Pusa hispida) and bearded (Erignatus barbatus) seals, which, at 68–250kg, are small prey in comparison to a ~500 kg adult polar bear [21], [22]. As a result, cranial reinforcement may not be necessary as in hypercarnivores such as lions or wolves that regularly take prey larger than themselves [11], [13], [14]. The performance of the polar bear skull is particularly poor during bites with the post-canine dentition. (Fig 2b; Fig 3b–d; f–h). Polar bears exhibit reduced premolars and molars in comparison with most other ursids [1] but also lack the well-developed shearing blade-like teeth of hypercarnivores [1], [23]. In this respect they parallel insectivorous carnivorans, such as aardwolf (Proteles cristata), bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) and sloth bear (Ursus ursinus) [1], [2]. Although convergence between a carnivore and insectivores also appears surprising, consideration of food material properties sheds light on this finding. Polar bears feed as almost exclusively on blubber and flesh that, unlike bone, require little or no processing prior to swallowing. If there is no selective advantage to maintaining large molars, they can be rapidly lost through the action of a few small mutations [24] or simple developmental mechanisms [25], [26]. Brown bears, in contrast, are generalized omnivores with unreduced dentitions [1], [2]. Although they consume animal protein when available, brown bears seasonally consume large amounts of plant material, including grasses, which require extensive mechanical breakdown and repeated skull loading prior to swallowing [27]. This is reflected in their larger molar grinding area, similar to other omnivorous ursids [1]. The lower peak stresses and higher work efficiency of the the brown bear cranium may result in part from the species' deep, vaulted and pneumatized forehead (see Fig. 3), a morphology that is characteristic of all herbivorous and omnivorous ursids [2]. Although pneumatized spaces are associated with reduced structural strength of the cranium [28], their presence is also associated with dissipation of regular, large peak masticatory loads in bone-cracking hyaenas and fossil canids [29]–[32]. The low, flat head of the polar bear, while advantageous for its semi-aquatic lifestyle and hunting behavior, reduces the ability of the cranium to withstand repeated large loads generated by bites made with the post-canine dentition.


    From Biomechanical Consequences of Rapid Evolution in the Polar Bear Lineage, by Graham J. Slater, Borja Figueirido, Leeann Louis, Paul Yang, and Blaire Van Valkenburgh.

    Brown bears have more efficient skull structures, and:
    This video as well as an old (no longer available) article from adn that quoted a researcher saying brown bears "ruled the roost" in regards to conflicts over carcasses, along with the fact that all the recorded first generation hybrids thus far have been male grizzlies managing to mate with female polar bears (and remember the data on what a low percentage of male bears actually manage to produce offspring?) all suggest brown bears have a very apparent edge in dominance contests.

    If polar bears were thrown back into brown bear habitat, it seems more than obvious that the end result would be brown bears, especially given that brown bears are adapted to omnivory (and still have the brown bear-type molars useful for consuming vegetation).

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This confirms the normal evolution prediction that noticeable alterations come very slowly, over long periods of time through thousands of generations. With fruit flies, having a small chromosomal makeup means even a minor alteration would potentially produce a significant change. In contrast, with a much larger chromosome makeup such as found in mammals, it would take many minor alterations to produce even a noticeable change.
    Then care to explain how we can breed very noticeable changes into mammals so quickly?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Mammals have been on earth for about 200,000,000 years. I have no information in which science suggests when, as mammals were evolving, the first bear species appeared but something I read someplace led me to believe that it could have been around 100,000,000 years ago, about halfway through the history of mammals.
    The first animal placed into the bear family occurred 38 million years ago.
    The common ancestor of the remaining members of the bear family occurred about 20 million years ago.
    The common ancestor of the Ursinae bears was as recent as 5 million years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But if we can assume, as with polar bears, it is at least 100,000 years without any significant changes among a specific species of bears
    With polar bears you did see a significant change in that time.
    But regardless, there were no changes in niche in that time. Therefore little reason for major morphological changes.

    Note that the 5 million years ago when the Ursinae bears began diversifying was associated with major environmental changes-changes that resulted in changes in niche, and thus forcing adaptation on the ancient bears, and thus resulted in different species emerging.
    If you read the article on cave bear evolution I linked to in my last post you can see though that this species did seem to experience for quite some time a fairly steady change until they reached the "final form", the cave bear-likely an animal a bear as large as the niche could support, at that point halting the trends towards increasing size.
    For convenience I will post the summary here:
    We are now in the Pliocene epoch of earth history, starting some 5 or 6 million years ago. Our stage moves to Roussillon and Perpignan in the south of France (and a contemporary site in Hungary), where we find the first member of the genus Ursus. He bears the name Ursus minimus, and he is indeed the smallest known member of his genus and the most primitive too. He probably reached about the size of the living sun bear or Malay bear, which is the smallest of the living bears.

    Except for size, the resemblance between Ursus minimus and the Malay bear is not very close. For example, if you look closely at a Malay bear, you may note its remarkably stout eyeteeth. In contrast, the Pliocene Ursus minimus has slender, gracile canines. It also has a complete set of premolars, retaining their sharp, slicing character, although they are much less prominent than in the ancient ursavi.

    The grinders, on the other hand, have become more enlarged. So we can see how the trends initiated so many millions of years earlier are still going on, very slowly and gradually, towards the condition of the true bears.

    At the time of Ursus minimus, the world was already on the threshold of the Ice Age. The climate was cooler than in the Miocene epoch and, as centuries and millennia passed, there was a slow swing between cooler and warmer conditions. In the high mountains and in the far north, ice caps waxed and waned with this secular climatic rhythm.

    The forests where the first Ursus lived were quite different from the subtropical world of the Miocene ursavi. They were of the temperate type, containing deciduous trees and conifers. Palms were now unknown north of the Pyrenees and Alps, and crocodilians were gone from the streams. With the Pliocene epoch, the long Tertiary period finally came to an end. And far to the south, in Africa, small bands of a remarkable, new sort of biped were already moving about on the ground, using stones and sticks to hunt small game. But the first encounter between man and bear was still in the distant future.

    As the Ice Age drew nearer, it was as if the tempo of world events were accelerating. About 4 million years ago, large oxlike animals made their first appearance on the scene: they later gave rise to bison, buffalo, and wild oxen. Somewhat later, a new breed of trunk-bearing animals migrated from Africa into Eurasia-the elephants and mammoths. A new chapter of earth history was indeed being written. We call it the Villafranchian age, the prelude to the Ice Age.

    In the early Villafranchian age we still see Ursus minimus around, although he has changed a bit. He is somewhat larger than in the old times, and there have also been small, all but imperceptible, changes in his teeth. Bears of this kind were widely distributed in the Old World, and recent finds in North America show that this species, or a very closely related one, was present there too. The two living species of black bear, the American (Ursus americanus) and the Himalayan (Ursus thibetanus) are probably descended from Ursus minimus.

    During the early Villafranchian age, about 3 million years ago, one-toed horses spread from America into the Old World, and rapidly penetrated Eurasia and Africa. The old hipparions lingered for some time but were gradually ousted, and eventually they vanished.

    By mid-Villafranchian times, some 2.5 million years ago, changes had proceeded far enough for Ursus minimus to give rise to a new species: the Etruscan bear, Ursus etruscus, the typical bear of the later Villafranchian. This species, whose characters are known through numerous remains in Spain, France, and Italy, was also present in China. In the flesh it probably resembled living black bears, though of course its color is unknown to us. Through the Villafranchian age this trend towards large size continued in the Etruscan bear; late Villafranchian forms are larger than mid-Villafranchian ones.


    Skull of the Etruscan bear, Ursus etruscus, from the Val d'Arno in northern Italy. Closely related to the living brown bears, it had a somewhat more primitive dentition. Original in the Natural History Museum, Basle.
    Photo: Bjorn Kurten, 1976, 'The Cave Bear Story'


    The world of the Etruscan bear was already one in which continental icefields developed from time to time, only to melt again as the climate ameliorated. The Ice Age was nigh, and the pendulum swung between fully glacial conditions on one hand and interglacial conditions on the other, when the climate was as warm as now, or warmer. And it is in one of the early interglacials, about 1.5 million years ago, that we meet the last of the Etruscan bears.

    This interglacial is called the Tiglian, after the old Roman name for Tegelen, a site in the Netherlands where rich deposits from this age have been found. The Etruscan bear is now as big as the living European brown bear, but it still carries the full complement of premolars (albeit very small ones) as an inheritance from the ancient ursavi and their doglike predecessors.

    With the Tiglian interglacial, the Villafranchian age may be said to have come to an end: the prelude is over, and we are in the true Ice Age, the Pleistocene epoch of earth history.

    The Tiglian comes to a close. In the Alps mountain glaciers grow larger, coalesce, and send icy tongues down along the valleys. They grow ever greater and finally engulf the mountain range, with only a few bare peaks protruding out of the frozen waste. Glaciation is upon the world again, and this glaciation is called the Donau (Danube).

    Many thousands of years pass with great tracts of the earth's surface as if immobilized in icy stillness. Then, once more, comes the swing. Glaciers melt and retreat, and areas recently under ice emerge to be conquered by plants and animals.

    Among those animals who return to the lands of their Tiglian ancestors we find the descendant of the Etruscan bear. Again, evolution has taken a step forward, for he has changed. The anterior premolars, already very small in the Etruscan bear, are now almost gone; in some individuals all are lacking, but many retain one or more of these vestigial structures.

    Accompanying this change there is a tendency to a doming of the forehead, foreshadowing the cave bear condition. This new species of bear is called Savin's bear, Ursus savini, and it lived about I million years ago in the interglacial termed the Waalian. Its remains have been found in various sites, for example Bacton in East Anglia, England, and the Hundsheim fissure in Austria. Although large and impressive enough, these early cave bears were still much smaller, on average, than the true cave bear.


    Photo: Bjorn Kurten, 1976, 'The Cave Bear Story'

    The pendulum swings again: cold conditions are back. The Gunz glaciation reached its culmination some 800,000 to 900,000 years before the present. There is some evidence that in one of the cold phases that make up the Gunz, longer-limbed bears, perhaps from the East, pressed into Europe to supplant temporarily the stocky-legged Savin's bear, but the problem of whether this intruder was a distinct species or just a steppe race of the early cave bear has not been settled. The latter alternative appears perhaps the most likely one.

    The ice melts and the world is green once more as the wind of the Cromerian interglacial blows over the European scene. And man meets bear.

    That encounter is only one of the remarkable things that happened in the Cromerian interglacial, which takes its name from the Cromer Forest Bed in East Anglia. It is a layer very rich in organic remains, including tree trunks, fossil beaver dams, and a copious number of bones.

    From a chronological point of view, perhaps the most interesting event of the Cromerian interglacial is the reversal of the earth's magnetic field. Such reversals have happened at many times in the history of the earth, with intervals between lasting about a million years. Evidence of these reversals is found in the magnetic properties of the rocks that formed during a given interval. For instance, all of the rocks that form now carry the imprint of the "normal" polarity, while rocks formed in other times may have "reversed" polarity - north is south and south is north. The latest such reversal is known to have occurred 700,000 years ago in the age of the Cromerian.

    There is evidence of Cromerian man in Europe at Mauer near Heidelberg, Germany, where a rich interglacial fauna quite similar to that of the Cromer Forest Bed has been discovered. During the 1960s, in a cave by Petralona in Greece, the same association of human fossils and Cromerian mammals was found. At both sites, bear remains are very common indeed. Mauer and Petralona contain the earliest finds of human fossils together with bear remains.

    The bones of Cromerian man reveal a type of human still very primitive in many respects, yet closely related to us and probably our direct ancestor. He resembles the contemporary and better-known men of east and southeast Asia called Homo erectus (formerly Pithecanthropus), but also bears a certain resemblance to the late Pleistocene Neandertal men of Europe, to whom he presumably was ancestral. Of what happened between man and bear in the Cromerian we have no evidence.

    The bear of the Cromerian may well be regarded as a full-fledged cave bear. True, it is still a little smaller, although clearly larger and longer jawed than its ancestor the Savin's bear. Also, the vaulting of its forehead is less prominent and its grinders are not quite as expanded as in the late Pleistocene animal. And so it has been given a species name of its own, and is known as Deninger's bear, Ursus deningeri. But there is much to say for just regarding it as an early, primitive race of Ursus spelaeus. We may compromise by calling it Deninger's cave bear.

    But there is no rest for the pendulum of climate. Again there is a swing to cold conditions - the Elster glaciation - and then back to warm - the Holsteinian interglacial. We are now roughly 300,000 years before the present, and the bear in existence is Ursus spelaeus without any doubt. His remains have been found in caves in Germany and France, and especially interesting is the find of a good skull in the river gravels at Swanscombe outside London, England, which have also yielded a skull of early man.

    The recounting of the long evolutionary history of the cave bear line may seem tedious, but it should give some understanding of how complete the evidence of its evolution really is. From the early Ursus minimus of 5 million years ago to the late Pleistocene cave bear, which became extinct only a few thousand years ago, there is a perfectly complete evolutionary sequence without any real gaps. The transition is slow and gradual throughout, and it is quite difficult to say where one species ends and the next begins. Where should we draw the boundary between Ursus minimus and Ursus etruscus, or between Ursus savini and Ursus spelaeus? The history of the cave bear becomes a demonstration of evolution, not as a hypothesis or theory but as a simple fact of record.


    As you seemingly didn't read the summary due to the inconvenience of opening my link, I regrettably figured it would be best to simply post the (lengthy) summary.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This problem gave rise to the idea of punctuated equilibrium – the idea that nature has provided periods of rapid changes in which many new life forms sprang up in short order. The problem with this idea is that fossil records support only one such period, the Cambrian explosion, which still cannot account for the entirety of diversity known to have existed. Nor does the time since the Cambrian explosion provide the time for pure Darwinism to have developed the life forms we know have existed since then.
    Then what is the rapid period of evolution as the isolated brown bears were under extremely heavy pressure to evolve into polar bears?
    I am not sure what all the baggage is that is associated with the term "punctuated equilibrium", as I have only heard it from people opposing evolution, but that would be a definite example of a period of "rapid evolution". Rapid only in the sense of the morphological changes-obviously not rapid as they are still genetically mostly identical with brown bears.

    Also, from what I have read, the Cambrian explosion is largely a myth-an exaggeration. Evolution wasn't faster or crazy at that time, and while animals now classified in different phylums first appeared at that time, a researcher at those times certainly would not have placed the species in different phylums.

    Perhaps I was approaching answering these questions in the wrong way.
    Simply looking up ring species would perhaps be a much more effective way of showing a smooth transition from one species to another, with all links still living animals!
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  47. #46  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    skinwalker asked:

    Please do the math for us. Show us how you arrive at the rates you did for the number of "incremental changes" you have.
    These are guesses. You are certainly welcome to rebut them with you own guesses or if you have information which refutes them, I am certainly willing to look at them.

    However, most of the changes we see are selective adaptations which are derived from the genetic makeup of the animal as it exists. The slow change from brown bears to white bears did not come about by some super genetic restructuring. The genes to produce a lighter colored bear were always present in the brown bear. The genetic makeups of the brown bear and polar bear are such that they could breed together today. The genes to make the brown bear into a white ermine are not there. Nor could a brown bear breed with a white ermine.
    Probably the reason they can mate is because they haven't been cut off long enough, or completely enough, from each other to the point where they ever stopped mating entirely.

    The very small amount of Brown Bear blood flowing through a polar bear's veins may not be left over from millions of years ago. Maybe it's only from some chance encounter a couple hundred years ago, where some odd pair found themselves in heat and couldn't get to their own kind in time to mate.

    Almost all of selective adaptation, which is the building block of most evolution structures, does not come from genetic changes. Animals adapt by making use of already existing potential genetic combinations. These available genetic combinations make it possible for different qualities to come to the fore when some environmental changes makes survival dependent on the use of that previously latent quality.
    That's kind of like if a farmer has a silo full of grain, which he adds to every crop season, and also eats out of. It's difficult to say on any given day whether he is eating the grain he produces or the grain he has stored.

    Similarly small amounts of genetic diversity are always emerging in every species every day. When a new selection criteria emerges in the environment that starts favoring one and/or discouraging another, then some of the genetic diversity has to be lost in order to make the transition.

    The fact that a strain of finches develops longer bills to adapt to a particular food source does not give that strain of finches the ability to turn into parrots. They do not have the genetic capacity to lay an egg which will hatch out as anything other than a finchn. The longer billed finch still retains the genetic ability to grow a shorter bill. It has not developed a gene to produce the trait, but merely made use of genes which were already genetically available to him.
    If the selection lasted long enough and were universal and persistent enough, then eventually the genetic ability to grow a shorter bill would be lost. Instead, the variation would start to focus only on different kinds of long bills.

    A menu of different long bills would start to emerge, and if one of them turned out to be particularly useful in a new environment, then the ones with that mutation would migrate there, and very likely stop mating with their previous peers (because of the geographic distances involved). And, if they only mate with each other, then the old bill shape would be forgotten very quickly. (IE. Rapid diversification.)
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  48. #47  
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    Thank you, C.Elrod, for taking so much time and making such a monumental effort rather than taking the chicken way out that moderators have taken by rendering your information as pseudo science because I dared ask the questions which are among the more difficult for evolution to answer.

    I did go through the information which you offered, but I was unable to conclude that you actually answered the two questions (of many possible questions) which I posed. All that data needs to be reduced to layman terminology before I can figure out what you think it shows. Does it address the time line question? Does it address the necessary genetic changes required to create a new life form?

    But a few specific responses to your post:

    C.Elrod said:

    Changes in niche can result in very rapid changes, for example, when a small population of brown bears became isolated and were forced to switch from a niche of omnivory to one of predating on seals.
    But these are not genetic changes nor are they new animals. They are survival necessary adaptations using existing genes which, if they were not already present, would doom the animal to death. My sense is that the now carnivorous polar bear would (will?) quickly return to omnivore status if they, like Yogi Bear, could not garner picnic baskets. I am looking for genetic alterations, not different uses of the same genes.

    C.Elrod said:
    This would be extremely optimal.
    Truly! I chose this optimal number because I thought it was optimally beneficial to the evolution side of the argument in that the more generations, the more possibility for changes. Of course, it also works to the detriment of evolution in that no genetic changes are indicated in their 100,000 years of existence.

    C.Elrod said:
    Just like in domestic dog breeding,
    I find it difficult to compare man-directed changes through selective breeding is representative of breeding in nature where cross breeding of this type is very rare. Wolves and coyotes rarely, if ever, crossbreed. By the same token, if Pekingese and poodles existed in the wild, i doubt we would see many pekapoos.

    C.Elrod asked:
    Then care to explain how we can breed very noticeable changes into mammals so quickly?
    Pretty much the same as above. Selective breeding directed by man is in no way comparable to random mating in the wild. And, again, we are not changing the genetic make up; we are merely breeding to accentuate certain characteristics. We are, in effect, accelerating the process of natural selection through adaptation, most of which would be highly unlikely did these animals exist in the wild. One could even go so far as to consider that if nature was going to produce these changes, it would have done so.

    Again, we need to understand that making use of existing genes is different from completely altering or creating new genes.

    C.Elrod said:
    Then what is the rapid period of evolution as the isolated brown bears were under extremely heavy pressure to evolve into polar bears?
    Again, I stick to the point that the changes required to adapt the grizzly into the polar bear are not the same kinds of changes that would have had to take place to change the forefathers of both bears and dogs into bears and dogs. I suppose what we are discussing here is micro-evolution and macro-evolution. I am more than prepared to agree with just about any micro-evolution example you can present. What I am not prepared to do is agree that the non-genetic change process of micro-evolution is the same as the required genetic changes required for macro-evolution.

    C.Elrod also said:

    I am not sure what all the baggage is that is associated with the term "punctuated equilibrium",
    and

    Also, from what I have read, the Cambrian explosion is largely a myth-an exaggeration.
    I am surprised that someone who seems as knowledgeable about evolution as you seem to be is not familiar with Stephen Jay Gould, a noted evolutionary biologist, science historian and paleontologist, who coined and developed the idea of punctuated equilibrium. Or that you would reject the fossil evidence of the Cambrian explosion.

    Both these topics are easily researched in Wikipedia or by doing a Google of Stephen Jay Gould and a Google of Cambrian explosion.

    Just an overall general response:

    I made what I considered very conservative guesses as to how many changes may have been necessary to change a one-celled animal into one of today's complex animals and then also similarly very conservatively guessed as to how long it would take for significant changes to become predominant. I then multiplied the number of changes by the average time to make them to suggest that the time constraints of time of life on earth are exceeded by the time necessary to complete this process.

    In spite of what skinwalker claims about the "perfect spike," I was merely using the neo-Darwinist paradigm to make those guesses.

    What the fossil record does show is a reasonable record of the time-lapses between the appearances of different animals. Lacking examples of all the transitional animals, what the fossil record does not show us is what and how many genetic changes were required to transition from one animal to another nor the average time it took for such changes to occur. The evolution argument thus becomes: Well it happened and that's the proof even if we cannot produce the math to make the current explanations plausible.

    kojax attempted to answer the second question:
    Probably the reason they can mate is because they haven't been cut off long enough, of completely enough, from each other to the point where they ever stopped mating entirely.
    The very small amount of Brown Bear blood flowing through a polar bear's veins may not be left over from millions of years ago. Maybe it's only from some chance encounter a couple hundred years ago, where some odd pair found themselves in heat and couldn't get to their own kind in time to mate.
    The only thing one needs to show, and it should be rather easy with modern technology, is this: What genes does the polar bear have in its gene pool that are not present in the brown bear, or vice versa. What genes were added or deleted. So long as we have two animals with exactly the same gene pool with each taking advantage of different genetic possibilities from the other due to its environment, we still have the same animal, just as blue eyed humans and brown eyed humans are still humans. Without a DNA comparison, you cannot answer this question any more than someone could answer finger's dog picture problem. I know a couple who have a dark-haired, brown eyed daughter and a blue-eye blonde daughter who you would never suspect were sisters. Not much can be told from appearance. Yet, it was the similar appearance of fossils which triggered Darwin's conclusions. If we cannot tell how and which dog is related to which dog by looking at them, why do we think we can tell which and how different fossils are related just by looking at them. Give me a DNA readout and I might be able to figure it out.

    (The main reasons brown bears, polar bears and black bears do not cross breed in nature are social, not incapacity.)

    Every gene pool has a large number genes directing the development of each possibility of many different characteristics, but the gene pool for each characteristic has its limitations -- the number of hairs on a fruit fly, for example. I do not recall the exact numbers, but there is a minimum number of hairs and a maximum number of hairs that the fruit fly's genetic possibilities will allow. A fruit fly cannot have fewer than the minimum nor more than the maximum. Exceeding those limits becomes a lethal genetic combination. The ones with the most hairs are not genetically different from the ones with the fewest hairs. It is a matter of how the hair-number gene is influenced by supporting activator genes.

    In order to have two different animals, you have to have two different gene pools. That seems elementary. If two animals have the exact same gene pool, they are going to be the same animal. They could have different characteristics, such as color or size or hairs or bills or whatever, but they would still be examples of the exact same animal.

    Even in the bird bill discussion kojax makes, there is something of an over simplification. It is not just one gene that determines the size and shape of the bill. I don't know how many genes are involved. The bill growing gene is directed by other controller genes as to what it is suppose to do when. Likewise with the bill shaping gene. So if we have other genes that tell the bill growing gene when to grow and another one which tells it when to stop growing, those genes must be available in all such birds and it is now more a matter that these genes have changed the signals they send to the bill growing gene. They are not lost and they still retain the capacity to change signals. The very same genes can produce a long bill or a short bill and still remain the same genes. Without these complimentary controlling genes, the bird cannot produce a bill of any size or shape. Whether the finch carries the genetic possibility to grow a woodpecker bill, I don't know. I suspect that if they retain the potential to cross breed, they would each carry the genes and mechanisms which could produce the bill of the other bird.

    If we have a finch that can no longer grow a bill because of some genetic alteration in the bill growing gene or its controllers, we no longer have a finch. Assuming it can find a way to survive without a bill, it would have to be considered a new kind of animal. (Otherwise, it is merely an unsuccessful change.) But this (lack of a bill) would signify an actual change in the gene pool. And this is what is required to have a new life form. A polar bear is not a change in basic life form from a grizzly bear.

    Tracing these genetic changes via DNA will do a lot more to explain biodiversity than all the fossils we have. And it should be child's play with modern technology.

    It is not my expectation to convince anyone here that evolution is a crock of s--t, but only to point out some of the questions that skeptics have and why they give weight to them. I would not expect to win an argument here with the rabid anti-religious, pro-evolution people any more than they could expect to come to my church and win an evolution argument there.

    I do find it amusing that the skeptic arguments are so feared by some evolution advocates that their must resort to their ultimate tactic -- to attempt to squelch the criticism. This is far more a frustrated political approach than it is a scientific approach.

    skinwalker was invited to offer different (realistic) guesses or actual data to refute my estimates, but rather than doing so, he chose to relegate this discussion to pseudo science which is what pseudo scientists often do when they cannot answer legitimate questions -- Ohhh, well that is not science.

    Science demands that changes took place. Why is it pseudo science to ask how many potential changes would have been required and how much average time would have been required to effect each change? This question is systematically sidestepped with the excuse that such computations cannot be made or that they are irrelevant. Yet, we are to assume that these things took place within a certain time frame with no substantiating data or observations -- the mainstays of scientific method. The major problem is that if you start with a realistic number of changes, the time between changes becomes an unrealistic number. If you start with a realistic time for changes to take place, you come up with an unrealistic number of changes.
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    One thing about evolution that is so often missed is that it operates as a massively parallel process, rather than as a serial process. This is quite a subtle point to grasp, and often under-appreciated. Also, the mechanisms of evolution that really drive change (as in new genes and new function) are processes such as gene duplication (including entire genome duplication) and subsequent divergence. There's a whole bunch of fascinating - and surprising - mechanisms that can lead to such duplication and divergence events, but that's another story best kept for a rainy day. Thinking about little-bitty mutations accumulating one after the other over billions of years, blindly searching for function in individual organisms will likely lead you to a dark place that you may not find you're way out of.

    For example, a recent study[1) compared the genomes of Drosophila melanogaster and D. willistoni, finding that since their divergence some 35 million years ago, 566 new genes have arisen in the D. melanogaster genome. Of these, some 30% are necessary for survival. These are not merely variants of the ancestral genes, but new, highly divergent genes coding for proteins that carry out new function and/or are involved in different regulatory pathways.

    As such comparative genome studies continue at pace it is becoming clear(ish) that such duplication events have been important in the vertebrate lineage and appear to be implicated in major leaps of complexity and body plan design. Major adaptive radiations, including the Cambrian Explosion (real or not) are likely to be partly the result of entire genome duplication events and other large scale duplications.

    I don't think time is the enemy of evolution - quite the opposite in fact.



    (1)Chen, S., E. Zhang, and M. Long. 2010.
    New genes in Drosophila quickly become essential
    Science 330:1682-1685.
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    zwirko said:
    One thing about evolution that is so often missed is that it operates as a massively parallel process, rather than as a serial [linear?] process.
    This is true if we are looking at the entire panoply of biodiversity. However, if you pick out a single life form, it does have a linear path back to the one celled life form where it began.

    Although, in one paradigm, there was one first fish from which all other fish evolved; there was one first reptile from which all other reptiles evolved, one first bird and one first mammal and one first amphibian.

    I am more likely to agree that if evolution is valid, there were more likely several different first fish, seveal different first reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians and that these different firsts may have appeared in slightly different time frames.

    As a result, I would not think in an evolution paradigm it is necessary for all mammals to be related to all other mammals at the mammal level. It may well be that some mammals are related only at a pre mammal level. If evolution is the process of biodiversity, I could even agree that two mammals may be related only at the one cell level, as several one celled animals could have followed parallel paths to their present optimum state of evolution.

    But, as I said, each animal would still have a direct serial path back to its original one cell life form. And each animal would have to have taken a similar steps along the path and that path would have involved millions of evolutionary changes. We are not going to see a one cell life form immediately jump to the mammal form without going through the similar intermediary evolutionary steps as other resultant mammals. (Also keep in mind that there are more complex animals than mammals.)

    Even in this potential parallel paradigm, however, the process still runs into a timing problem because it still retains many linear progressions. I do not see how running several paralles evolution lines would solve the timing problem

    Personally, I think a one-million step process from one cell life form to modern complex life forms is a very conservative estimate, that it is more likely measured in multiples of millions. But using the conservative minimum number of 1,000,000 changes spread across 3.8 billion years from the first life form, that gives us an average of 3,800 years for each change. This seems somewhat fast and if the changes are actually more in number, it leaves less time for changes. We do not see nature's timing being, over all, that rapid.
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  51. #50  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am more likely to agree that if evolution is valid, there were more likely several different first fish, seveal different first reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians and that these different firsts may have appeared in slightly different time frames.
    Interestingly, that's exactly what the work does.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But, as I said, each animal would still have a direct serial path back to its original one cell life form. And each animal would have to have taken a similar steps along the path and that path would have involved millions of evolutionary changes.
    I think this "linear" mental model you have is part of the block. It's more like a series of streams which ebb and flow, separate and rejoin, etc. Something closer to this (where the water definitely flows faster in some parts, and slower in others):





    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...sing_links.php

    Many people have this false notion that our evolution was a matter of a panmictic gemisch of people rolling fatefully down the smooth channel of history, everyone mingling, all of them tracing a common lineage back and back to a discrete ancestor. It wasn't.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not see how running several paralles evolution lines would solve the timing problem.
    But, fortunately for the rest of us, your incredulity (inability to personally wrap your head around the issue) is not a valid argument against the process itself. You concede your own lack of detailed understanding on these issues and yet simultaneously feel compelled to argue against them. Would not a more reasonable approach be to study them further before attacking them based on remedial understanding and assumptions alone?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am more likely to agree that if evolution is valid, there were more likely several different first fish, seveal different first reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians and that these different firsts may have appeared in slightly different time frames.
    Which "first" is this descended from? Mammal or reptile?


    And what about these? Dinosaurs or birds?


    And is this a fish or a tetrapod?


    The problem with the presumption of "firsts" is that it isn't supported by the evidence. There are ample examples of transitional forms indicating that mammals didn't appear suddenly or arised independently, but that they evidently branched off from earlier reptiles. And the same can be said about birds from dinosaurs and dinosaurs from reptiles. It's not just that these fossil forms exist, it's that they exist in specific locations and date to specific ages which make them consistent with a pattern of evolution. If you follow the fossils back through time from the first true mammals in the late Triassic period, you'll find a pattern of decreasingly mammal-like reptiles the further you go. Then, eventually, they'll meld together with synapsids, which themselves meld together with reptiles in the late Carboniferous period. Not a sudden appearance by any means and and not somehow removed from the overall tree of life.
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    inow said:
    I think this "linear" mental model you have is part of the block. It's more like a series of streams which ebb and flow,
    Giving you the benefit of the fact that an analogy never perfectly duplicates the reality, but:

    Even in the most complex family tree, each individual in the tree has a specific line that traces back to the original parents, no matter how that path may intersect with other paths in different ways.

    If evolution is accurate, each end product will have a direct line back to its originating single cell forefather. It is not like we have several different lines of mammals which became rabbits. We may have a single family of mammals, some of whom became rabbits and some of whom became some other rodent. But rabbits are going to be directly related only to that one precursor animal which became rabbits. If you were to diagram what it seems you are suggesting, you would have a narrowing family tree rather than an expanding family tree. I have never seen such a diagram depiction of evolution. Perhaps you have an example of this upside down family tree where there are more parents than decendants.

    inow also said:
    But, fortunately for the rest of us, your incredulity (inability to personally wrap your head around the issue) is not a valid argument against the process itself. You concede your own lack of detailed understanding on these issues and yet simultaneously feel compelled to argue against them. Would not a more reasonable approach be to study them further before attacking them based on remedial understanding and assumptions alone?
    This is really a rediculous statement unless you happen to hold degrees in several braches of biology, anthopology, archeology or other schools of study which bear on evolution. Unless you hold degree(s) in one of those fields with field work in evolution specific areas, you have no better qualifications to discuss these things than I. If you think my argument against the "small incremental changes over long periods of time" process is invalid, please feel free to offer a different explanation with reasonable numbers of genetic alterations required to move from one cell life forms to become today complex life forms. Estimate a reasonable average time for genetic alterations to occur to produce a significant viable new life form. Multiply them out and see if you can squeeze them into 3.8 billion years.

    If you suggest that as few as 1,000,000 gene pool changes were required, you have only 3,800 years for each such change. There are relatively few examples of changes being accomplish in nature in such a short (geological) period of time. There are many more examples of animals which changed not over 10s of thousands of years.

    Oh, and I do understand the possibility that within a family of animals, animal A could experience five change and in the same amount of time animal B could experience four changes and then A and B breed to produce animal C which incorporates all 9 changes. I am not so sure A and B could (or would) breed if the changes altered their gene pools.

    You have joined skinwalker in this tactic of debating the arguer rather than the argument. In fact, no one on your side of this mathmatical question has offerered one iota of information to refute my estimates of changes require and time to make them or to challenge the accuracy of my math. But, as is usual, when you cannot argue the issue, you must attack the presenter of the issue or the methodology.

    My sense is that we are both relying, not on our own hands-on study of any of this, but rather relying on the work of others which has been relayed to us.

    Your presumtion is that your understanding of the information they have exparted is superior to mine. I don't agree.

    I do not presume to know more than others, I could hardly know as much as other people know. But I do presume to have a basic understanding of the areas in which I choose to enter discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If evolution is accurate...
    It is.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This is really a rediculous statement unless you happen to hold degrees in several braches of biology, anthopology, archeology or other schools of study which bear on evolution.
    First, it's spelled "ridiculous."
    Second, it's spelled "bare".
    Third, how exactly is it that you are so certain I do not hold such degrees?
    Fourth, how are the holding of such degrees even vaguely relevant?
    Fifth, the validity of my previous point remains. You have conceded you don't understand these processes. You have had the processes described to you by those who understand them better, and by those who have spent more time than you on learning more about them. Yet instead of accepting the validity of their points... instead of studying it further so you can rebut them from a position of understanding, you choose instead to remain here now attacking evolution from a remedial and uninformed position.

    It seems blindingly obvious to everyone but you that your challenges are not rooted in merit or valid concerns, but instead in ideology and misunderstanding.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Unless you hold degree(s) in one of those fields with field work in evolution specific areas, you have no better qualifications to discuss these things than I.
    If it makes you feel any better, I'm not arguing from a position of authority, as that would be a logical fallacy. I'm arguing from a position of merit and validity. There are of course areas which remain to be understood in evolution, however, you have not even topically touched on those areas. You choose instead to attack the heart of the process itself, and the validity of that heart was established more than a century ago without even so much as a shadow of a doubt.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You have joined skinwalker in this tactic of debating the arguer rather than the argument.
    Not really, no. I've just grown rather frustrated that the arguments which refute yours are always ignored by you, and hence you appear as academically dishonest and far too ideological to warrant further time in position rebuttals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If evolution is accurate, each end product will have a direct line back to its originating single cell forefather.
    It does. The lines are more complete in some places and less complete in others, but the fossil record remains consistent with the nested hierarchy laid out by common ancestry. What's more is that this branching pattern is cross-confirmed genetically. When multiple, independent observational sciences point to the same theory, that theory's validity is all the more evident.

    I am curious as to why you seem to be avoiding responding to my posts. If I am correct in assessing your argument, you are arguing that each "group" of animal (birds, mammals, reptiles, ect.) arose somehow independently of and unrelated to each other and at different times (which is how you explain the appearance of new animal groups.) To refute this, I have pointed out the existence of transitional fossils which suggest that each of these groups are, in fact, related to one another and stem from the same tree as all vertebrates. Do you plan on responding to this point at all (or to others made against your arguments?) Or are you going to prove inow right by ignoring it and pretending the point was never made?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Even in the most complex family tree, each individual in the tree has a specific line that traces back to the original parents, no matter how that path may intersect with other paths in different ways
    Could you expand on this a bit? Your thinking behind this statement has me confused. What you describe is what is seen if you follow the inheritance of something like a surname.

    There is no "line" nor "original parents". For example, if I trace my own family tree back six generations I find that I have 64 great great great great great grandparents, all of whom I'm equally related to (ignoring any inbreeding). There is no one specific line. Going back even further, you should note there were not two individuals that gave rise to humans. Neither was there a single, ancestral cell in the literal sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    There is no "line" nor "original parents". For example, if I trace my own family tree back six generations I find that I have 64 great great great great great grandparents, all of whom I'm equally related to (ignoring any inbreeding). There is no one specific line. Going back even further, you should note there were not two individuals that gave rise to humans. Neither was there a single, ancestral cell in the literal sense.
    So is this what you meant by, "massively parallel process"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    (ignoring any inbreeding)
    :|
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    inow said:

    I've just grown rather frustrated that the arguments which refute yours are always ignored by you,
    I share your frustration in that you and others continue to sidestep my presentations by answering completely different issues and concluding that you have provided a rebuttal to what was posted.

    So let us try to briefly review, and you can come back and point out where you think I am inaccurate.

    1. Evolution suggests that life on Earth began with one celled life form(s) approximately 3.8 million years ago.

    2. Evolution suggests that through processes of genetic changes, these first one celled life forms eventually became more complex life forms resulting in the life forms which now exist as well and many other life forms which have come and then gone extinct.

    3. Evolution considers that the genetic changes are the results of both unexpected mutations and the processes natural selection and adaptation. (By this I mean a measurable change in the life form's gene pool vis a vis an adaptation using different characteristics available within an existing gene pool.)

    4. The most often advanced paradigms of evolution emphasize a process of change by many small increments over long periods of time.

    A. Evolution science does not suggest a minimum/maximum number of small incremental genetic changes which may have been required to change life forms from simple one celled life forms to the most complex life forms.

    B. Evolution science does not offer a suggested average minimum/maximum time frame in which one could expect small incremental changes to change one life form into a completely new life form.

    The contention is that based on the idea that what we actually do know about genetic changes and time frames for such changes, the process of "small incremental changes (we have observed) spread over long periods of time (that we have verified)" cannot be squeezed into 3.8 million years.

    In an effort to put legs on the totally indefinite, virtually meaningless terms "many changes" and "long periods of time," I suggested what I think is a vastly conservative estimate of one million genetic alterations required to change a one celled life form into the complex life forms of today.

    I then used a simple math formula to determine that with one million changes spread over 3.8 billion years gives us an average of 3,800 years for each change to take place. I then concluded that this change average is not supported by evolution science.

    This does not and is not intended to show that genetic changes do not or have not taken place. This does not, in any way, subvert these process of having played a significant role in the development of bio-diversity.

    What it does contend and, I think, shows, is that the paradigms based on "small incremental changes over long periods of time" does not provide us an adequate explanation of the basic evolution contention which is No. 1 above.

    In order to actually refute this, it is incumbent upon you to show either:

    1. my assumptions (1, 2, 3, and 4 above0 are inaccurate;

    2. or my factual statements (A and B above) are incorrect;

    3. or my estimate of necessary changes from one cell life forms to complex life forms is unreasonable;

    4. or that my math (3,800,000,000/1,000,000) is incorrect; or

    5. or the resulting quotient of 3,800 years is a a reasonable expectation as an the average time for a change in a life form's genetic pool.

    As long as you continue down these rabbit trail side trips into trying to show transitional life forms, or attacking my knowledge in this area, you have not addressed the contention I have posed.

    Please discuss the issues, not the presenter of the issues.

    The foray into the world of bears does bare on the discussion. (I do intellectually know the difference between bear and bare, my touch typing does not.)
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    [quote="daytonturner"]

    kojax attempted to answer the second question:
    Probably the reason they can mate is because they haven't been cut off long enough, of completely enough, from each other to the point where they ever stopped mating entirely.
    The very small amount of Brown Bear blood flowing through a polar bear's veins may not be left over from millions of years ago. Maybe it's only from some chance encounter a couple hundred years ago, where some odd pair found themselves in heat and couldn't get to their own kind in time to mate.
    My point is that, until they stop mating entirely, it is totally impossible for them to diverge. Every time you start getting some serious differentiation going, one member of your population goes next door and has mutt child with the group you're trying to depart from, then that mutt goes back up north and starts breeding its genes back into the main gene pool.

    I think you need solid, and un-traverse-able geographic boundary to make full on speciation happen. I could be wrong, though.


    Even in the bird bill discussion kojax makes, there is something of an over simplification. It is not just one gene that determines the size and shape of the bill. I don't know how many genes are involved. The bill growing gene is directed by other controller genes as to what it is suppose to do when. Likewise with the bill shaping gene. So if we have other genes that tell the bill growing gene when to grow and another one which tells it when to stop growing, those genes must be available in all such birds and it is now more a matter that these genes have changed the signals they send to the bill growing gene. They are not lost and they still retain the capacity to change signals. The very same genes can produce a long bill or a short bill and still remain the same genes. Without these complimentary controlling genes, the bird cannot produce a bill of any size or shape. Whether the finch carries the genetic possibility to grow a woodpecker bill, I don't know. I suspect that if they retain the potential to cross breed, they would each carry the genes and mechanisms which could produce the bill of the other bird.
    I think you're not seeing that a change can happen physically first, and genetically second. I know that kind of seems to defy common sense, but think about it a bit: genetic stability is also a selection criteria. Suppose there are two genes which each give you an exactly identical eye, but one is more elegant and stable, while the other is kind of shoddy and unreliable. Same eye, but one group is having birth defects less often than the other.

    A dolphin could evolve a fin that uses basically the same DNA as its predecessor's leg used, and then after the fin is already present, and already performing its role, the gene that creates it might undergo 5, 6, or 7 steps of change in order to ensure that it isn't accidentally getting activated as a leg now and again, or otherwise to improve upon the fin's design.

    If we have a finch that can no longer grow a bill because of some genetic alteration in the bill growing gene or its controllers, we no longer have a finch. Assuming it can find a way to survive without a bill, it would have to be considered a new kind of animal. (Otherwise, it is merely an unsuccessful change.) But this (lack of a bill) would signify an actual change in the gene pool. And this is what is required to have a new life form. A polar bear is not a change in basic life form from a grizzly bear.
    Part of that could also be because, on those occasions where the gene fails to create the new trait, and accidentally creates the old instead, that doesn't guarantee the offspring will die. If we were talking about a fin on a dolphin accidentally getting replaced by a leg, then it pretty much does guarantee they'll die.

    If the selection for the new trait is strong enough, then we should expect them to totally lose the ability to go back, and very fast too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    So let us try to briefly review, and you can come back and point out where you think I am inaccurate.

    1. Evolution suggests that life on Earth began with one celled life form(s) approximately 3.8 million years ago.
    Your time scale is largely accurate, but I will quibble with your contention that "evolution" suggests this. That life began approximately 3.8 billion years ago is not really related to the study of evolution, but instead to the study of rocks, isometric dating, and geochronology. Also, it's not evolution that suggests single celled life forms were what began, but evidence from these previous fields. However, your number is pretty accurate, so I'll leave it at that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    2. Evolution suggests that through processes of genetic changes, these first one celled life forms eventually became more complex life forms resulting in the life forms which now exist as well and many other life forms which have come and then gone extinct.
    Not just genetic changes, but changes in environment and living conditions. Also, it was not always a drive from simple to complex life. That's just not what happened. Evolution does not have a direction, and simple life forms are sometimes selected for. To suggest that evolution brings life from simple to complex is a misunderstanding. However, I'll grant you that the more complex life forms with which we're familiar today did, in fact, generally come from simpler life forms long in the past. That point is largely accurate, despite the fact that evolution does not have a direction.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    3. Evolution considers that the genetic changes are the results of both unexpected mutations and the processes natural selection and adaptation. (By this I mean a measurable change in the life form's gene pool vis a vis an adaptation using different characteristics available within an existing gene pool.)
    So far, so good, except I wouldn't call them "unexpected," I would also encourage you to include the mixing of genes and creations of new combinations which came from sexual mixing between organisms with different genetic make-ups. By example, your dad had one set of genes and your mom another. Your genes are a mix of those, and this mixing process is enormously powerful and can lead to rather profound changes overall.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    4. The most often advanced paradigms of evolution emphasize a process of change by many small increments over long periods of time.
    Here's where your accuracy begins to diminish more significantly. Yes, incremental change plays a role over long periods of time, but you omit huge quick changes and things like genetic drift. For example, the asteroid impact 65 million years ago which killed off the dinosaurs was hardly a "small incremental change over a long period of time." It happened pretty quickly, and there are countless other examples showing that change can, in fact, happen quite rapidly. It's also rather well known that some organisms will thrive and "explode" in situations and niches where they happen to fit rather well... and an example of that is something like nylon eating bacteria.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-e...nd_creationism


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    A. Evolution science does not suggest a minimum/maximum number of small incremental genetic changes which may have been required to change life forms from simple one celled life forms to the most complex life forms.
    That's because neither a minimum nor a maximum number exists. There are too many other variables to consider to suggest a min or max. This is irrelevant. The nature of the genes being mixed, the nature of the environment, and countless other issues must be included, and it does not make sense to suggest there is a minimum or maximum number of changes required to change from simpler to complex (well, except 1... We know at least one incremental change is required, but that's about as far you'll get, and this is not a fault in evolution, but instead a fault in your request).


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    B. Evolution science does not offer a suggested average minimum/maximum time frame in which one could expect small incremental changes to change one life form into a completely new life form.
    And this is (in addition to the numerous variables comment I made to you immediately above) partly due to the fact that there is no clear dividing boundary between one life form and another. You act as if life has clear borders and boundaries separating different types, but that's not the case. Even the concept of a species is almost meaningless, and serves as a mere label we've invented to help provide rough sketches of different life groups. The lines between types of life are quite fuzzy and dynamic, but this is again not a problem with evolution, but instead a problem with your arbitrary requirement that we have such clear boundaries between different life forms. The similarities and overlaps across life are much smoother than you seem to realize or acknowledge.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The contention is that based on the idea that what we actually do know about genetic changes and time frames for such changes, the process of "small incremental changes (we have observed) spread over long periods of time (that we have verified)" cannot be squeezed into 3.8 million years.
    And the part I have bolded is precisely where your assertion is inaccurate. It's at the core of your misunderstanding, and the timeline is quite well understood. Here's a quick review. If you don't like wiki, then be sure to explore the huge number of references below each:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evoluti...istory_of_life
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_evolution


    I know it's hard to wrap your head around, but 3.8 billion years is MORE than enough time to explain the biodiversity we have if you simply avoid locking yourself into a rigid view of what is and is not possible... a view which you concede yourself is based on incredibly limited understanding and study on your part.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In an effort to put legs on the totally indefinite, virtually meaningless terms "many changes" and "long periods of time," I suggested what I think is a vastly conservative estimate of one million genetic alterations required to change a one celled life form into the complex life forms of today.
    But this is just a guess from you, and one which is not based on anything of merit, so is basically useless, and renders your other "formulas" and calculations moot.

    To paraphrase you, "I've arbitrarily decided that 1 million genetic changes are required to change life forms from single celled to more complex, and based on that WAG on my part, I've concluded that the numbers don't work."

    Sorry, mate. That's not a very compelling case. You've been shown the different data. You can ignore if you want, but it's there.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB100.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB940_1.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901_1.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB150.html



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What it does contend and, I think, shows, is that the paradigms based on "small incremental changes over long periods of time" does not provide us an adequate explanation of the basic evolution contention which is No. 1 above.
    And as I already described above (as have many others in their discussions about evolution with you), you are using a very limited and rather inaccurate description of evolution, as well as completely arbitrary assumptions which you've formulated out of whole cloth. It's about more than small incremental changes, and this has been known for decades, and your numbers are not supported by what we actually see.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In order to actually refute this, it is incumbent upon you to show either:

    1. my assumptions (1, 2, 3, and 4 above0 are inaccurate;

    2. or my factual statements (A and B above) are incorrect;

    3. or my estimate of necessary changes from one cell life forms to complex life forms is unreasonable;
    Done. Done. Done.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Please discuss the issues, not the presenter of the issues.
    And, done again.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The foray into the world of bears does bare on the discussion. (I do intellectually know the difference between bear and bare, my touch typing does not.)
    Understood. That was a cheap shot by me, as I was suggesting your arguments were roughly as solid as your spelling (in other words, not very). I concede that this was cheap and lazy on my part, but I will say yet again that my central point remains. You seem to misunderstand many of the basics, and you are relying on several assumptions as the crux of your position. Many of your assumptions are plainly false, and hence so too are many of your conclusions drawn from them.

    I also still fail to understand why your own inability to understand certain aspects of evolution (like the way so many changes happened over so long a period of time) causes you to reject it. Do you also reject that computers work because you don't understand quantum mechanics, and do you also reject gravity because you don't understand how to model it? Evolution has withstood every single challenge thrown at it, and yet you still reject it.

    Tell us... Is there any amount of confirmation or data which can change your mind and cause you to accept evolution as valid? If not, then you have no business debating about it in the first place because you have conceded up front that there is nothing which could be shared which would alter your position.
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    Of the links you posted, inow, I felt only CB940:1 provided information that I considered somewhat controverting of anything I posted. The first several seem to confirm my time line for life on earth.

    A couple of them seem to attempt to take pot shots at creationism or creationists which has absolutely nothing to do with the accuracy of the information. Information is true or false based on the information, not the source of the information. The idea in this vein is that because an idea is advanced or supported by creationism or a creationist, it is automatically false and should be disregarded or ignored not because of its content, but because of its source.

    The four links to talkorigins seemed to supply more specific information although I thought only CB940:1 actually had the effect if sort of contradicting an aspect of my argument. But it does so by going to someone else's argument which is far more specific and detailed than my more broadly brushed approach. I do not disagree with the criticism of the Morris model as defined. I am not familiar with the Morris model and do not know if the restatement in the response accurately reflects Morris' view of consecutive mutations. It would seem logical the Morris' conclusion of "impossible" is not the end of his model. Logically, he would offer an alternative explanation. What little I can glean from what is said here is that both Morris and talkorigins agree that such a paradigm is, to quote Morris, "impossible." The small excerpt has no explanation of what either Morris or talkorigins considers possible.

    Your conclusion is:
    Is there any amount of confirmation or data which can change your mind and cause you to accept evolution as valid?
    I am not sure than anything I have said categorically claims evolution is invalid.

    Allow me to quote myself:

    This does not and is not intended to show that genetic changes do not or have not taken place. This does not, in any way, subvert these process[es] of having played a significant role in the development of bio-diversity.
    What it does contend and, I think, shows, is that the paradigms based on "small incremental changes over long periods of time" does not provide us an adequate explanation of the basic evolution contention which is No. 1 above.
    I'm not sure a hypothetical question such as you pose has anything other than a hypothetical response. I suppose if God appeared on earth and said, "That is exactly how I done it." I can say I have not seen anything, so far, that would convince me that Darwinism or neo-Darwinism, as taught today, is a complete and accurate picture of biodiversity.

    There are two problems with your question. First, it assumes I have ruled evolution completely invalid which I have not. Second, it asks me to pass judgment on information which I do not have at my disposal,which I can't do.

    Is there any scientific information which would convince you that evolution is the process which God used to direct life toward present biodiversity? It's pretty much the same question, isn't it?
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    Is there any scientific information which would convince you that evolution is the process which God used to direct life toward present biodiversity? It's pretty much the same question, isn't it?
    Which God? The God of the Bible? I can't think of anything specifically. It is possible that an advanced alien race had a hand in things and they might have signed their name somewhere (this isn't as far fetched as you might think. Look what we can do today already). This still leaves the question of where they came from though. Can you think of evidence that we might find compelling?

    I don't think it is the same question though. God in the Biblical sense is a supernatural being, a concept that does not have any meaning anyone can shed any light on in the first place. So, we have no idea what evidence for something like that could possibly look like. Just because we are not exactly sure of the 'how' of evolution does not change the fact that it happened though and I know this is something you can't get your head around.

    Animals are very clearly interrelated and in such a way that they seem to have diversified from common ancestors along the way. Evolution in this sense is an observational fact. The 'how' is an area of active and exciting research and we don't have all the answers yet. The micro- macro-evolution thing is complete bogus though, as small changes would simply accumulate into big ones over time. How much time it takes for these changes is known to an extent, as we can see it in the fossil record. We are simply not sure how yet and this is where you seem to be seeing a gap for God to be pushed into. The problem is, especially with the great advances thus far, that there is no good reason to invoke a God for this. Evolution research is not finished. We know that (especially after extinction events) the availability of new niches can accelerate evolution significantly and that evolution certainly does not progress at a uniform pace. But I see no reason to inject a God into the mix, anywhere.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Is there any scientific information which would convince you that evolution is the process which God used to direct life toward present biodiversity?
    Yes, but I would of course ask for a falsifiable definition of god, and evidence that this being exists as anything beyond mere belief. Once that was in place, I would explore the possibility of this being having an impact on anything at all in this existence. So, no. It's not the same question, because it's no different than you asking if there is any information which would convince you that leprechauns and unicorns directed life toward the present biodiversity. It rests on EXACTLY the same evidentiary footing.


    Now, I can't help but notice that you continue to ignore questions from Finger and others. Interesting...






    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...ple_things.php

    Have you noticed how religion is always telling you how simple the answers are, yet at the same time claims that the universe is too complex for science to explain?

    Look at religion's explanations. How was the universe created? A big man in the sky just poofed it into existence. Where did humans come from? Same big man created two people — just like a mommy and daddy — and everyone arose from them. What about our history? One chosen people, a remarkable population bottleneck (humanity was reduced to 8 people, all from the same tribe, four of whom were closely related!), all languages traceable to one Middle Eastern source and dispersal.

    These are cartoon explanations. They're the kind of thing a five-year-old might come up with…and not a very bright five-year-old at that. All of them are clearly drawn from simplistic assumptions about how the world works. They're pathetic.

    Inventing a cosmic superbeing who has infinite conjuring powers isn't an explanation, it's an excuse. It explains nothing, and creates a new complication, this deity, that demands further explanation. And any god that a religion invents is complex: if it's capable of personal interest in humanity, if it can carry out specific, directed actions, if it's intelligent, it has to be complex; and if it is simply a diffuse force of nature, a property of the cosmos, then all the anthropomorphisms and goals and desires of their imaginary deity are false. Attempts to rationalize away complexity by claiming "god is love" or other such vacuities are nothing but cop-outs that reflect my thesis: religion is about reducing explanations to childish simplicity.
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    The main reason I have not replied to finger's question is that could not quite figure out what the question was.

    I did understand this question:
    Have you noticed how religion is always telling you how simple the answers are,
    No.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The main reason I have not replied to finger's question is that could not quite figure out what the question was.
    Ah. Well, that's certainly understandable. Thanks for the reply.


    Here's one. Seems pretty clear to me:

    Quote Originally Posted by Finger
    I am curious as to why you seem to be avoiding responding to my posts. If I am correct in assessing your argument, you are arguing that each "group" of animal (birds, mammals, reptiles, ect.) arose somehow independently of and unrelated to each other and at different times (which is how you explain the appearance of new animal groups.) To refute this, I have pointed out the existence of transitional fossils which suggest that each of these groups are, in fact, related to one another and stem from the same tree as all vertebrates. Do you plan on responding to this point at all (or to others made against your arguments?) Or are you going to prove inow right by ignoring it and pretending the point was never made?

    Here's another (actually, here's another three):

    Quote Originally Posted by Finger
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am more likely to agree that if evolution is valid, there were more likely several different first fish, seveal different first reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians and that these different firsts may have appeared in slightly different time frames.
    Which "first" is this descended from? Mammal or reptile?


    And what about these? Dinosaurs or birds?


    And is this a fish or a tetrapod?

    Can you kindly please respond now that I've clarified?
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    OK finger, you ask:

    I am curious as to why you seem to be avoiding responding to my posts. If I am correct in assessing your argument, you are arguing that each "group" of animal (birds, mammals, reptiles, ect.) arose somehow independently of and unrelated to each other and at different times (which is how you explain the appearance of new animal groups.) To refute this, I have pointed out the existence of transitional fossils which suggest that each of these groups are, in fact, related to one another and stem from the same tree as all vertebrates. Do you plan on responding to this point at all (or to others made against your arguments?) Or are you going to prove inow right by ignoring it and pretending the point was never made?
    You are incorrect. To best of my knowledge, I did not say or imply that. If you think I wrote anything of that sort, you were putting your own spin on something I said. I don't think this actually even addresses what I was discussing which is why I did not respond to it.

    As to the pictures, I have no idea. Go ask a biologist. My feeling is that you probably could not identify them merely by looking at photos either. Can you tell from the photos which are males and which are females or if they are bi-sexual?
    And does it make any difference? How do these photos remotely relate to the discussion? They are just another attempt to sidestep the real issue.

    Now, then, if you can show how many genetic alterations occurred over what period of time for the ancestors of any of these creatures to become them, it would actually address the problem I posed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow

    http://atheismresource.com/wp-conten...Flow-Chart.jpg

    Now, I can't help but notice that you continue to ignore questions from Finger and others. Interesting...
    That chart was an awesome post inow. I totally loved it.


    However.... it is important to remember that Finger is outnumbered about 6 to 1 in this discussion. It could be that he simply doesn't have time/energy to answer everyone's questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Is there any scientific information which would convince you that evolution is the process which God used to direct life toward present biodiversity? It's pretty much the same question, isn't it?
    Which God? The God of the Bible? I can't think of anything specifically. It is possible that an advanced alien race had a hand in things and they might have signed their name somewhere (this isn't as far fetched as you might think. Look what we can do today already). This still leaves the question of where they came from though. Can you think of evidence that we might find compelling?
    Interesting point. Are creationists willing to allow creation stories to be taught in school that involve Krishna, Ra, or Jupiter as the creators of the world?
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    kojax said:

    However.... it is important to remember that Finger is outnumbered about 6 to 1 in this discussion. It could be that he simply doesn't have time/energy to answer everyone's questions.

    Uhhh, I do believe you meant me rather than finger and it is an accurate assessment of my limitations, especially on days when there are four bowl games and another day on which there are numerous pro football games with playoff implications.

    You might add to your list of limiting factors that I do have many other interests beyond these discussions.

    Thank you for understanding. You seem like one of the reasonable people here.
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    inow said:

    Yes, but I would of course ask for a falsifiable definition of god, and evidence that this being exists as anything beyond mere belief. Once that was in place, I would explore the possibility of this being having an impact on anything at all in this existence. So, no. It's not the same question, because it's no different than you asking if there is any information which would convince you that leprechauns and unicorns directed life toward the present biodiversity. It rests on EXACTLY the same evidentiary footing.
    OK, I will go off on this little side trip with you.

    This paragraph represents one of the problems we believers have in dealing with non believers. You set up a false dichotomy and then think you have used that to prove a point.

    There is a vast difference between unicorns and leprechauns and (at least) the Christian concept of God. On no scale are unicorns and leprechauns advanced as spiritual essences. If they existed, they would be physical creatures for which there should be some physical evidence. (Strangely, it seems to me that you folks are far more likely to believe in a physical thing for which there is no physical evidence.)

    In no way do we believe, think or consider that God is a physical essence for whom there is some physical evidence other than through the lives of those who believe in his existence.

    It is not even like believing in UFOs. UFOs, again, are physical things for which, if they exist, there should be some physical evidence. Well, I suppose there are some things that some people consider physical evidence of UFOs.

    If you cannot see that difference, any discussion seems inane. A physical world and a spiritual world are two vastly different things. And even if there is no spiritual world, it does not change the fact that if it did exist, it would still not be the physical world.

    Secondarily, there is not, to the best of my awareness, any group of sane, rational people out there pushing, recommending or advocating that people believe in unicorns or leprechauns. No rational sane people are suggesting that unicorns or leprechauns had anything to do with biodiversity. So such a comparison is just a falsity. It is not even falsifiable. It is patently false on its face.

    Now then, there are a bunch of us who say we have experience an awakening, an activation of or by some inexplicable process whereby we became aware of a spiritual aspect of our being. You have, obviously, not shared anything remotely resembling that experience. Your position, it would seem to me, is that since you have not had such and experience and have no awareness of a spiritual aspect within your being and can find no physical evidence of a non physical essense, it cannot possibly exist.

    Most human beings have thought process and decision making processes that involve both intellectual and emotional inputs. But even among those of us who do employ both inputs, there can be an imbalance of one of the other. Quite often, those who overemphasize one to the detriment of the other have problems somewhere along their path of life.

    There are, moreover, people among us who, because of some encephalitic quirk, do not experience emotion. Star Trek shows almost all had some character on them that did not experience or understand emotions -- Spock, Data, and the best Star Trek character of all, Seven of Nine, are examples.

    You and I can look at such people (often they are sociopaths), and see that something is missing from their life experience because they are operating only on one cylinder, so to speak. But they neither comprehend nor understand either our emotions nor their lack of them. They are just plain missing an important aspect of the human experience. You would know that, and I would know that. And we would both recognize it. Whether we would envy them or pity them is another issue.

    In much the same way, those of us whose spirits have been awakened or activated or whatever, have found an added and enhancing aspect of the human experience.

    But unlike the emotionless quirk of brain wiring who has no capacity or ability, and never will have the ability or capacity to experience emotion no matter how willing he might be intellectually. Those who are not aware of their spiritual aspect have the capacity and ability to experience it. It is not a matter of capacity or ability, it is a a matter of willingness.

    From the Christian perspective, it is our understanding that God has invited us to participate in His awakening of an individuals' spiritual aspect by telling others about it. Since he has not told us who is going to recognize and be willing to respond to this aspect of their being nor when, we feel compelled to tell everyone as often as we can.

    If you find someone out there preaching the gospel of unicorns and leprechauns, I will join you in repudiating their teaching.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There is a vast difference between unicorns and leprechauns and (at least) the Christian concept of God.
    Agreed. At least leprechauns and unicorns have a fairly consistent and clear definition regarding what they are. God? Nope. Ask 20 people what god is and you will get 20 different answers full of hand waving and gibberish and very little consistency.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    On no scale are unicorns and leprechauns advanced as spiritual essences.
    You'll have to define that one, too, please. What is a "spiritual essence," and how is it measured?
    I have a feeling that you can neither define it nor measure it. Am I correct with that? If so, that's rather convenient, wouldn't you say?


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In no way do we believe, think or consider that God is a physical essence for whom there is some physical evidence other than through the lives of those who believe in his existence.
    It's nice to again find agreement with you.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is not even like believing in UFOs. UFOs, again, are physical things for which, if they exist, there should be some physical evidence. Well, I suppose there are some things that some people consider physical evidence of UFOs.

    If you cannot see that difference, any discussion seems inane. A physical world and a spiritual world are two vastly different things. And even if there is no spiritual world, it does not change the fact that if it did exist, it would still not be the physical world.
    Fair enough. Since I was referring to evidence, and clearly asserted that your god and unicorns rested on exactly the same evidentiary footing, I thought it was obvious that the lack of evidence in favor of either was the key binding consideration. (Note - I may have made up the term "evidentiary." In retrospect, it's probably best to say "empirical.")

    However, given your strong belief that "one is a physical delusion" and the other is a "spiritual delusion," and that this is somehow important... I'll suggest that your god rests on exactly the same empirical footing as Thor, Zeus, Baal, Poseidon, Apollo, and all of the other countless deities laying dead in the graveyard of human mythology.

    My point remains... There is no evidence, so you may as well be asking me whether or not there is anything which would convince me that Zeus had an impact on directing the current biodiversity... or whether or not there is anything which would convince me that Poseidon had an impact on directing the current biodiversity...

    Again, this physical/spiritual distinction you are trying to draw is completely irrelevant, and has zero impact on the issue being presented. You may as well be asking me if there is any information which would convince me that a unicorn had any impact on directing the current biodiversity. Once you establish the existence of your god as anything more than a belief inside the heads of people, then I will consider possible impacts of that being on the direction of biodiversity, but not until.

    This is, sir, a completely reasonable and logical approach on my part, and I'm sorry if that offends you. You're asking me to consider how a "non-physical" entity would have a physical impact on the physical world, but you need to first prove to me that this entity (your god) even exists. Until then, you can make any damned thing up about this being you desire, and that's not how it works.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There are, moreover, people among us who, because of some encephalitic quirk, do not experience emotion. Star Trek shows almost all had some character on them that did not experience or understand emotions -- Spock, Data, and the best Star Trek character of all, Seven of Nine, are examples.
    Uhmm... Relevance?


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In much the same way, those of us whose spirits have been awakened or activated or whatever, have found an added and enhancing aspect of the human experience.
    And I'm happy for you. When it comes to having an experience like this with anything other than religion, people are generally sent to the loony bin and/or put on meds. The fact that your personal delusion is widely accepted is not at issue here.

    What is at issue here is that you continue to assert that this "non-physical being" or "spiritual essence" or whatever is having an impact the physical world around us... In this discussion, that impact is being applied by you to biodiversity. You then asked me what it would take to convince me that this "non-physical entity" is having a physical impact on the world around us.

    I replied that you would have to start by demonstrating the existence of said entity, and only once that happens can we explore the impact this entity has on the world around us. You have still failed to do this, as have other believers who have been trying for millenia. Until that existence is shown, everything else is a non-starter.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If you find someone out there preaching the gospel of unicorns and leprechauns, I will join you in repudiating their teaching.
    That's great. Now maybe we can get back on topic, though?
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    OK finger, you ask:

    I am curious as to why you seem to be avoiding responding to my posts. If I am correct in assessing your argument, you are arguing that each "group" of animal (birds, mammals, reptiles, ect.) arose somehow independently of and unrelated to each other and at different times (which is how you explain the appearance of new animal groups.) To refute this, I have pointed out the existence of transitional fossils which suggest that each of these groups are, in fact, related to one another and stem from the same tree as all vertebrates. Do you plan on responding to this point at all (or to others made against your arguments?) Or are you going to prove inow right by ignoring it and pretending the point was never made?
    You are incorrect. To best of my knowledge, I did not say or imply that. If you think I wrote anything of that sort, you were putting your own spin on something I said. I don't think this actually even addresses what I was discussing which is why I did not respond to it.
    Ok. Thank you. I wasn't sure if I had misunderstood your position or not, which is why I included "If I am correct..." I apologize for the mistake.
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    I would not want you to misunderstand. Were I arguing a creationist alternative, that might be a potential proposal. But I try hard to focus on pointing to potential flaws in evolution without advancing creationist alternatives. I don't think creationism can challenge evolution as effectively as evolution can challenge evolution. Still, it is more the evolution enthusiast who disagrees with creationism than it is the creationist who disagrees with evolution.

    But, actually, finger, I am sort of hoping you will explain the pictures you posted. Obviously, they must be artist renditions.

    I am assuming these are considered some transitional life forms, and the evolutionist answer to your questions would be -- both.

    What were the source materials forf the renditions? Were there some actual fossil remains or are these renditions drawn from what someone speculates a particular transition animal may have looked like? Are they drawn from the complete fossil remains of the depicted life form? Or were they drawn from fossil fragments of a life form and, if so, how much of the life form was recovered in fossil form?

    I have seen on TV and the web, artist renderings of potential life forms drawn from a very small fossil such as a partial jaw bone from which they seem to be able to use to determine the size and shape and virtually everything about it as though they had the life form in front of them on a dissection table.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Still, it is more the evolution enthusiast who disagrees with creationism than it is the creationist who disagrees with evolution.
    This depends on what brand of creationism.

    Young-earth creationists most certainly disagree with evolutionary theory as well as every other scientific discovery that contradicts their creation myths.

    Old-earth creationists accept the age of the earth, and even the age of the universe, but they still believe that each animal "kind" was created independently and at different times (what I mistook you for.)

    Then there are the Intelligent Design creationists like Michael Behe who accept the model of common ancestry, but still reject evolution as a natural process responsible for that model arguing that it cannot produce life as we know it now without some unnatural intervention (intelligent design.)

    The only brand of "creationist" that accepts the theory of evolution for what it is, a natural explanation for biodiversity are folks like Ken Miller. They are "evolutionists" who believe in a creator god, but view the process of evolution the same way they view any other natural process (like physics or chemistry,) as a part of that creator's design. In other words, evolution was designed to work on its own without the constant intervention by God towards some desired end the way ID creationists think is required.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But, actually, finger, I am sort of hoping you will explain the pictures you posted. Obviously, they must be artist renditions.

    I am assuming these are considered some transitional life forms, and the evolutionist answer to your questions would be -- both.

    What were the source materials forf the renditions? Were there some actual fossil remains or are these renditions drawn from what someone speculates a particular transition animal may have looked like? Are they drawn from the complete fossil remains of the depicted life form? Or were they drawn from fossil fragments of a life form and, if so, how much of the life form was recovered in fossil form?
    Wait.. Are you now arguing against the common ancestry of those groups? Didn't you just tell me that this was not your position?

    Anyway, the first image is a CGI cynodont from the BBC special "Walking with Monsters." Cynodonts were a type of therapsid, often called "mammal-like reptiles," that were the precursors to the earliest mammals. The reason is because they have a basic reptile-like template, but have obtained distinct mammal-like traits making them a transitional form between the two. Traits like canine teeth and hip joints that direct the leggs downward (instead of sprawling like a lizard) are both visible in that rendering. There are lots of different drawings of Cynodonts, but I chose this one because it isn't covered with fur. Lots of artists draw cynodonts with fur, but to my knowledge, it isn't actually known whether these therapsids had fur or not (it doesn't fossilize well.) It's certainly possible, even pretty probable that they did, but there's no real reason to say that they did for certain.

    The second set of images were the famous velociraptor on the left and microraptor on the right. It is highly likely that velociraptor had, not only downy feathers covering most of its body, but also long feathers on its arms which were connected to bone, like the flight feathers of modern birds.


    Fossils of microraptor reveal, not only downy fur and flight feathers (on both its arms and legs) but also partially fused fingers, representing significant avian characterists, but still retaining saurian characteristics like teeth and claws (though there are still modern birds that retain claws on their wings.)


    The final image was tekktaalic. A relatively recent discovery seen here:

    Both its appearance and location suggest it as a transition between earlier flat-headed, jawed "fish" and later tetrapods. It's limbs were boney, but not quite bony enough to make it a tetrapod as seen here:


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I have seen on TV and the web, artist renderings of potential life forms drawn from a very small fossil such as a partial jaw bone from which they seem to be able to use to determine the size and shape and virtually everything about it as though they had the life form in front of them on a dissection table.
    Of course it depends on the artist. Creative liberties are regularly taken with stuff like skin/scale/feather/hair color. But as I've explained above, I chose renderings that accurately portrayed qualities that are actually known about the animals.
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    Thanks, finger, for the explanations. This stuff IS interesting.

    I agree that you will find Christians who have a lot of different understandings which seem related to whether they see God as a micro-manager of the Universe or whether they are at the other extreme in which they think God created the Universe and then went off to have a cup of coffee and hasn't come back to check on His work yet.

    You are probably not all that interested but I do not see God as a micro-manager nor as a God who has left us bereft of His willingness to intervene into the physical world when it is necessary and beneficial, especially to correct the messes that mankind makes. In this particular area, I am equally comfortable with both the idea that evolution is God's plan and the idea that God has intervened into the process at times, but I probably lean more toward this second option. And I hope my comments on this topic here as well as many other threads over the years have been consistent with that view.

    I do not question the evolution time line because I insist God intervened in the process; I question the evolution time line because I do not believe current information supports it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not question the evolution time line because I insist God intervened in the process; I question the evolution time line because I do not believe current information supports it.
    Then tell me, exactly what information doesn't support it? You've already had multiple people explain to you why the genetic timeline is consistent with the one laid out in the fossil record.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Thanks, finger, for the explanations. This stuff IS interesting.
    You're welcome.

    And if you're interested in learning more, I suggest (along with the before mentioned BBC special, Walking with Monsters) NOVA's episode on microraptor, The Four-Winged Dinosaur.
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    finger asks:
    Then tell me, exactly what information doesn't support it? You've already had multiple people explain to you why the genetic timeline is consistent with the one laid out in the fossil record.
    Well, we have sort of been through this quite a bit before.

    I guess it is sort of a matter of just as you go with the minority position on the existence of God, I side with what may be the minority position on the time line that has been discussed.

    I don't suppose these issues will be completely settled in my lifetime, probably not in my kids' lifetimes and probably not even in my grand kids' lifetimes. Buuuuuut, you never know, some weird discovery tomorrow may resolve all the issues. Or, maybe the Lord will return. Or maybe God will send us His own evolution chart showing proving us both wrong or maybe some quirk of nature will destroy all of life on Earth, rendering the discussion moot.

    I think the topic has pretty well been exhausted for now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, we have sort of been through this quite a bit before.

    I guess it is sort of a matter of just as you go with the minority position on the existence of God, I side with what may be the minority position on the time line that has been discussed.

    I don't suppose these issues will be completely settled in my lifetime, probably not in my kids' lifetimes and probably not even in my grand kids' lifetimes. Buuuuuut, you never know, some weird discovery tomorrow may resolve all the issues. Or, maybe the Lord will return. Or maybe God will send us His own evolution chart showing proving us both wrong or maybe some quirk of nature will destroy all of life on Earth, rendering the discussion moot.

    I think the topic has pretty well been exhausted for now.
    Funny, you make it sound like your best arguments weren't completely dismantled and destroyed by inow and others. You make it sound like you didn't change the subject once these points were made against you. You make it sound like your uneducated guesswork is enough to challenge a well-established, multifaceted theory that has been challenged, validated, and subsequently refined by some of the best minds in the world for the past 150 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    kojax said:

    However.... it is important to remember that Finger is outnumbered about 6 to 1 in this discussion. It could be that he simply doesn't have time/energy to answer everyone's questions.

    Uhhh, I do believe you meant me rather than finger and it is an accurate assessment of my limitations, especially on days when there are four bowl games and another day on which there are numerous pro football games with playoff implications.

    You might add to your list of limiting factors that I do have many other interests beyond these discussions.

    Thank you for understanding. You seem like one of the reasonable people here.
    Oh. Yeah. I did mean you. Sorry about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    \

    It is not even like believing in UFOs. UFOs, again, are physical things for which, if they exist, there should be some physical evidence. Well, I suppose there are some things that some people consider physical evidence of UFOs.

    If you cannot see that difference, any discussion seems inane. A physical world and a spiritual world are two vastly different things. And even if there is no spiritual world, it does not change the fact that if it did exist, it would still not be the physical world.
    ....
    If you find someone out there preaching the gospel of unicorns and leprechauns, I will join you in repudiating their teaching.
    A town near where I live holds an annual "UFO days" celebration, because one of the better sightings happened there.

    If someone actually claimed to have communicated with the aliens, and learned of their philosophy, and proclaimed that the aliens have a plan for us, and intend to bring us all back from the dead someday, a religion might easily emerge that has at least the credibility of Mormonism.




    Secondarily, there is not, to the best of my awareness, any group of sane, rational people out there pushing, recommending or advocating that people believe in unicorns or leprechauns. No rational sane people are suggesting that unicorns or leprechauns had anything to do with biodiversity. So such a comparison is just a falsity. It is not even falsifiable. It is patently false on its face.

    Now then, there are a bunch of us who say we have experience an awakening, an activation of or by some inexplicable process whereby we became aware of a spiritual aspect of our being. You have, obviously, not shared anything remotely resembling that experience. Your position, it would seem to me, is that since you have not had such and experience and have no awareness of a spiritual aspect within your being and can find no physical evidence of a non physical essense, it cannot possibly exist.
    The problem is that can quickly become an argument to democratic determination. You're saying that the number of adherents should be a factor in deciding whether an idea gets taught in school.

    If the government starts favoring more popular religions over less popular ones, then the establishment clause becomes a moot point entirely.
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    finger said:

    Funny, you make it sound like your best arguments weren't completely dismantled and destroyed by inow and others. You make it sound like you didn't change the subject once these points were made against you. You make it sound like your uneducated guesswork is enough to challenge a well-established, multifaceted theory that has been challenged, validated, and subsequently refined by some of the best minds in the world for the past 150 years.

    And kojax said:


    The problem is that can quickly become an argument to democratic determination. You're saying that the number of adherents should be a factor in deciding whether an idea gets taught in school.
    If the government starts favoring more popular religions over less popular ones, then the establishment clause becomes a moot point entirely
    .

    I find these statements to be somewhat related.

    I think finger’s claim to victory is somewhat premature if not as exaggerated as was Mark Twin’s premature death notice.

    I’m sure that finger is fully convinced of his position and so much so that he does not even concede the possibility that his position is vulnerable to legitimate challenge. There is, of course, no way to make inroads to the thinking of people who are so deeply polarized in their position.

    There are a number of issues under discussion in society today which an “argument of democratic determination” is advanced, almost unanimously by the majority advocates.

    I do not know what the democratic determination is when it comes to evolution. No matter what polls you look at, you can always find flaws if it does not conform to your position on the matter whether it be evolution or some other controversy. But, so long as there is a substantial number of people who question an issue, it is difficult for anyone to say the issued is settled and all the arguments of the non-prevailing side in that specific discussion have been defeated. You could no more “win” an argument about evolution in an anti-evolution environment than I can expect to “win” such an argument here.

    The time-line objection is not one I went into a closet and single-handedly formulated on my own which seems to be how finger characterizes it when he calls it “your uneducated guesswork.” Such “uneducated guesswork” has been seriously taken into account and deemed potentially valid enough by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould and many proponents of evolution such that they have developed new paradigms which attempt to address this challenge.

    I don’t think the number of adherents should be “The” factor in determining what is taught in school in any area of study. However, I do not think teaching about imperialism or divine succession in monarchies is the same as insisting that the instruction should direct students toward or away from these practices.

    I’m not sure we can always say even the second half of the kojax quote is always true. If you have a religious practice that is socially unacceptable, such as whatever group that is which removes the female clitoris or religions which practice “honor killings” or other such things that are abhorrent to most of society, I think government has an obligation to disfavor such a religion so long as it insists it should be allowed to retain the practices.

    The U.S Constitution prohibits government from establishing a state religion. That is not the same as prohibiting government from allowing others to publicly practicing their religion so long as it is not socially dangerous or socially offensive. I do not see that nativity scenes or prayers taking place on publicly owned property (that is the same as government property) is tantamount to trying to establish a state religion.

    There was a letter recently in our local newspaper on an entirely different matter in which the writer points out that “bad arguments and bad information eventually expose and discredit the one making them; if you don’t even want people to hear the other side’s bad arguments, there must be something in it that you are afraid of.”

    Somehow, that idea seems applicable in the evolution discussion. Evolutionist are at least afraid enough of the arguments of evolution skeptics, that they do not want them presented in the same forum that the pro-evolution arguments are advanced. That is because when the pros and cons are stacked up side-by-side, the flaws of evolution are exposed.
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    You could no more “win” an argument about evolution in an anti-evolution environment than I can expect to “win” such an argument here.
    Not so, the overwhelming consensus of scientists both affirm and rely on the veracity of evolution because we can demonstrate them to be true. If the facts did not support evolution then scientists would, at least to as much an overwhelming majority as they accept it today, cease to accept and rely on it.

    In order to refuse to grant that fact you must have to imply that the totality of practising scientists including the most prestigious and successful in relevent field in a blind incompetent.

    The only reason people deny evolution inversely is due to ignorance of the data and or a deep-seated religious or philosophical predisposal. So although you have as much chance of convincing scientists of creationism as I do convincing a creationist of the theory of evolution, it is for polar opposite reasons.

    The time-line objection is not one I went into a closet and single-handedly formulated on my own which seems to be how finger characterizes it when he calls it “your uneducated guesswork.” Such “uneducated guesswork” has been seriously taken into account and deemed potentially valid enough by the likes of Stephen Jay Gould and many proponents of evolution such that they have developed new paradigms which attempt to address this challenge.
    Stephen Jay Gould did no such thing. You are mischaracterising his views.

    If you have a religious practice that is socially unacceptable, such as whatever group that is which removes the female clitoris or religions which practice “honor killings” or other such things that are abhorrent to most of society, I think government has an obligation to disfavor such a religion so long as it insists it should be allowed to retain the practices.
    The Government by this definition would only be disfavouring the religion to the extent which it breaks the law so the point is moot.

    The U.S Constitution prohibits government from establishing a state religion. That is not the same as prohibiting government from allowing others to publicly practicing their religion so long as it is not socially dangerous or socially offensive. I do not see that nativity scenes or prayers taking place on publicly owned property (that is the same as government property) is tantamount to trying to establish a state religion.
    No but refer back to your previous sentence in which you mention "Socially Offensive".

    Besides, things like public prayer is perfectly legal in the United States as long as it is not endorsed by the state. There can even be a National Day of Prayer but if the Government endorses it then it fails the Lemon Test.

    There was a letter recently in our local newspaper on an entirely different matter in which the writer points out that “bad arguments and bad information eventually expose and discredit the one making them; if you don’t even want people to hear the other side’s bad arguments, there must be something in it that you are afraid of.”
    This is an entirely untrue statement though. If a bad argument has been thoroughly rebutted numerous times

    Somehow, that idea seems applicable in the evolution discussion. Evolutionist are at least afraid enough of the arguments of evolution skeptics, that they do not want them presented in the same forum that the pro-evolution arguments are advanced
    .

    This is also wrong. It is creationists who refuse to present their work to peer-review which is the forum which "proevolution" (basically treatise on biological science) is advanced.

    In fact even honest Young Earth creationists have stated clearly and unambiguously that evolution is not a theory in crisis and is in fact supported by "gobs and gobs" of evidence. He admits that he only rejects it because of faith and acknowledges the evidence doesn't support this position

    http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/0...evolution.html

    Despite centuries of trying not one legitimate refutation to the core principles of the theory of evolution have been successful.

    That is because when the pros and cons are stacked up side-by-side, the flaws of evolution are exposed.
    Wrong, when the data is put together the picture of evolution occuring is laid out clearly. Whenever any imagined alternatives are analysed under the same light they are seen to have the classic status of "Not Even Wrong".
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    The problem here is what you consider support for or skepticism of evolution.

    If your basic creationist agrees that the processes used by evolutionists have, indeed, played a role in bio-diversity, where do you count that person? Is he anti-evolution or pro-evolution?

    There are polarized positions on either side of this issue in which the advocates take an all-or-none approach.

    Most of the people who post here are among all-or-noners who think evolution is so well settled that it is beyond question. Yet, I can think of no branch of human study which has produced more attempts to support itself by fraudulent assertions such as totally phony, non-existent fossils.

    What most of you don't quite realize is that your position is equally based on faith -- faith that conclusions based on your interpretations of the available information are beyond question. The result is that you are so blinded by your own faith in evolutionary science (which is, indeed, sometimes wrong) that you can no more see the validity of criticism of those conclusions than the polarized religious people can see the validity of evolutionary explanations.

    All either of the polarized sides can accomplish is to alienate the other side.
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    Here is my take on the whole Creationism vs. Evolution debate. Even though I'm a Creationist, there can be no doubt, none whatsoever, that there was an evolutionary chain that progressed toward Homo sapien. The evidence is just too plentiful to deny it. But I don't think the genetic similarities between Homo sapiens & chimps is compelling enough to be convinced that the evolutionary chain completed and there is a missing link somewhere whose remains have not been found. Some people who believe Bigfoot exists, believe it is the missing link. I however, believe it is the last link in the evolutionary chain
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Here is my take on the whole Creationism vs. Evolution debate. Even though I'm a Creationist, there can be no doubt, none whatsoever, that there was an evolutionary chain that progressed toward Homo sapien. The evidence is just too plentiful to deny it. But I don't think the genetic similarities between Homo sapiens & chimps is compelling enough to be convinced that the evolutionary chain completed and there is a missing link somewhere whose remains have not been found. Some people who believe Bigfoot exists, believe it is the missing link. I however, believe it is the last link in the evolutionary chain
    I'd like to see the evidence you base that assumption of a "missing link" (ostensibly bigfoot). Where and why in hominid evolution do the morphological data of fossil hominids not "fit" the model?
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    he problem here is what you consider support for or skepticism of evolution
    .

    Skepticism is defined as a provisional withholding of acceptence of a proposition based on reasonable doubt ergo insufficient evidence. Evolution is overwhelmingly supported by evidence and is not the subject of reasonable doubt. One can exhibit unreasonable doubt (or denialism) but it is too robust a theory for the term skepticism to apply.

    If your basic creationist agrees that the processes used by evolutionists have, indeed, played a role in bio-diversity, where do you count that person? Is he anti-evolution or pro-evolution?
    Anti-evolution. If somebody denies the evidence that supports universal common descent and that Natural processes were the mechanisms for the development throughout history then they are antievolution (by and large they are anti various fields of study from geology to genetics)

    Most of the people who post here are among all-or-noners who think evolution is so well settled that it is beyond question.
    It is. There is no doubt that evolution (defined as a natural development of life from Universal common ancestry of at least the Eukaryotes) occurs among those who study it and are honest. Denial of evolution can stem from a political, religious or iconoclastic predisposition but is not supported by evidence or rational inquiry.

    Yet, I can think of no branch of human study which has produced more attempts to support itself by fraudulent assertions such as totally phony, non-existent fossils.
    Not a single phony fossil has ever been produced with the motive of confirming evolution:

    Piltdown Man: At best the motive and the culprit of the hoax was unknown. Considering the hoax was EXPOSED by "evolutionists" (Weiner, Le Gros Clark et al) and creationists never protested the find (though are all too happy to take credit for it now) its of little argumental assistance to creationist absurdity. Besides the method by which Piltdown Man was exposed was by comparing it to real transitional fossils (Particularly those found in Africa) and by using absolute dating techniques.

    Nebraska Man: Nesbraska Man was not a hoax. A tooth was found in Nebraska and shown to a paleontologist (Henry Fairfield Osbourne, a critic of Piltdown Man). The tooth resembled that of apes and Osbourne entertained the possibility that *that* is
    what it might belong to but was cautious about his claim. Much to Osbourne's dismay though the media scooped the story that the tooth might belong to an ape and jazzed up the story by suggested the ape was a human ancestor (Which would not be the case in America at that epoch anyway). As part of the article the magazine commissioned an artist to draw what he (the artist) might imagine this ancestor to look like (something Osbourne said was an endeavour of no scientific value), the artist based the drawing off of a real transitional fossil (Pithecanthropus, later renamed Homo Erectus)

    Archaeoraptor: Archaeoraptor was the composite piece of a bird like dinosaur (legitimate transitional fossil Microraptor) and a primitive bird (Yanornis). The composite was not for the sake of buttressing evolution but because fossil the assembly was made by a Chinese Farmer who was merely guessing and eager to have a complete specimen as scientists pay more more complete specimens than they do fragmented ones. All scientists who evaluated it pointed out straight away it was a composite piece in peer reviewed literature) only the National Geographic claimed it was a significant fossil find and only because they foolishly scooped the story before the fossil was examined

    though many have been made to support creationism

    -Carl Baugh has collected a vast number of phony artifacts (Such as dinosaur and human footprints carved together in the same rock desposits)

    -Ron Wyatt has made a career out of forging archaeological finds supportive of biblical fables

    -Hundreds of south American phony artifacts have been made depicting dinosaurs and humans together in an Atlantis-like civilisation.


    What most of you don't quite realize is that your position is equally based on faith -- faith that conclusions based on your interpretations of the available information are beyond question. The result is that you are so blinded by your own faith in evolutionary science (which is, indeed, sometimes wrong) that you can no more see the validity of criticism of those conclusions than the polarized religious people can see the validity of evolutionary explanations.
    This is nothing more than pot kettle. You are using outdated and erroneous creationist arguments and disguising them as skepticism. It is also ironic that creatonists, who once deemed faith as the highest virtue to have and rebuked the scientists for not having it are trying to accuse the scientists of this now that we have proved so conclusively how much of a vice it is.

    "All either of the polarized sides can accomplish is to alienate the other side."

    All that creationism can contribute is falsehoods, hubris and dishonesty so they are better off alienated from the custodians, practisers and supporters fo real science
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Here is my take on the whole Creationism vs. Evolution debate. Even though I'm a Creationist, there can be no doubt, none whatsoever, that there was an evolutionary chain that progressed toward Homo sapien. The evidence is just too plentiful to deny it. But I don't think the genetic similarities between Homo sapiens & chimps is compelling enough to be convinced that the evolutionary chain completed and there is a missing link somewhere whose remains have not been found. Some people who believe Bigfoot exists, believe it is the missing link. I however, believe it is the last link in the evolutionary chain
    I'd like to see the evidence you base that assumption of a "missing link" (ostensibly bigfoot). Where and why in hominid evolution do the morphological data of fossil hominids not "fit" the model?
    So which one are you saying is the link prior to Homo sapiens? Cro-Magnon? I thought the latest scientific data indicated they co-existed with Neanderthals for quite a long period of time. Much longer than any two other links co-existed with one another
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    Nevermind. I found it. But I didn't know they had actually declared this the missing link. I thought they just considered it very important
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...l-missing-link
    But I don't get how something that old could be the "missing link" I thought it was suppose to be something on this end of the evolutionary chain
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    The problem is the "missing link" is simply a game, that pretends evolution is a series of completely discrete species, which isn't true in the least, so one can keep asking so what's between this-one and that-one, until you're down to the equivalent of denying your grandfather ever existed because you can't find your father.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    So which one are you saying is the link prior to Homo sapiens? Cro-Magnon? I thought the latest scientific data indicated they co-existed with Neanderthals for quite a long period of time. Much longer than any two other links co-existed with one another
    Cro-magnon is H. sapiens.

    I'm more interested in where you think hominid evolution isn't adequately represented such that there is a "missing link" and why. In addition, where in the hominid chain do you suggest this "link" must reside?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    So which one are you saying is the link prior to Homo sapiens? Cro-Magnon? I thought the latest scientific data indicated they co-existed with Neanderthals for quite a long period of time. Much longer than any two other links co-existed with one another
    Cro-magnon is H. sapiens.

    I'm more interested in where you think hominid evolution isn't adequately represented such that there is a "missing link" and why. In addition, where in the hominid chain do you suggest this "link" must reside?
    In my opinion it should be something looking a little less human & a little more ape-like. Most people who report seeing a Bigfoot at a distance, say it's more ape-like while those who get a fairly close look at it, describe a very human-like face
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    So which one are you saying is the link prior to Homo sapiens? Cro-Magnon? I thought the latest scientific data indicated they co-existed with Neanderthals for quite a long period of time. Much longer than any two other links co-existed with one another
    Cro-magnon is H. sapiens.

    I'm more interested in where you think hominid evolution isn't adequately represented such that there is a "missing link" and why. In addition, where in the hominid chain do you suggest this "link" must reside?
    In my opinion it should be something looking a little less human & a little more ape-like. Most people who report seeing a Bigfoot at a distance, say it's more ape-like while those who get a fairly close look at it, describe a very human-like face
    Ignore "bigfoot" for the moment. If it existed, then it wouldn't be a step in the evolutionary hominid chain, rather a ending link like other extant primates. In fact, you might do well to put away the chain metaphor altogether since a single, linear chain isn't a good one.

    Where in the ancestral tree of hominids do you see a gap wide enough that there needs an explanation and why? Take into consideration both cranial and post-cranial morphology and the likely locomotor and cognitive abilities as well as the probable habitats of the species. Feel free to go back as far as proconsul if you'd like.

    I'm genuinely curious about why you arrive at the conclusions you do and the only way to demonstrate this is to show your perspective and understanding of the hominid evolutionary record.
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    It is difficult to know what concept of "missing link" WVBIG is advancing. In some ways it sounds like he is trying to set up a chain of hominid succession which is directly descended from chimpanzees.

    In that case, I could agree with evolutionists that there is no missing link, because that is not the way evolution links apes and humans.

    However, I am not sure what WVBIG thinks a missing link refers to. That is, what does WVBIG consider a missing link?

    Lynx_Fox characterized his (her?) understanding of the non-evolutionist view of missing link as "denying your grandfather ever existed because you can't find your father."

    I think it is more a matter of someone suggesting that your great (to the Nth power) grandfather was so and so and another member of your family is that guy over there -- without ever identifying or producing the family tree of so and so.

    I understand the concept in family trees that sometimes people are related in different ways. For example, we might trace the tree from after A. Jones and B. Smith were married and had children. We might find cousins in that family who are related from both the Jones line and the Smith line though they are not direct descendants of A. Jones and B. Smith.

    I also understand that evolutionists do not like this idea of trying to trace our relationships to other primates in this manner because those lines, if they exist, have been blurred beyond recognition by lack of information. But it does seem if hominids, great apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, etc., are all related to some so and so somewhere in our distant past, we would be able to figure out who that so and so was (is), how many generations he is removed from us and our cousins, and some of the other ancestors between so and so and his current descendants.
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    "It is difficult to know what concept of "missing link" WVBIG is advancing. In some ways it sounds like he is trying to set up a chain of hominid succession which is directly descended from chimpanzees."

    In which case either WVBIG misunderstands the concept himself

    Or you have misinterpreted WVBIG.

    Which is more likely?

    Does it matter?

    "In that case, I could agree with evolutionists that there is no missing link, because that is not the way evolution links apes and humans."

    In the way evolution DOES link apes and humans we have found the links however.

    "However, I am not sure what WVBIG thinks a missing link refers to. That is, what does WVBIG consider a missing link?"

    A missing link is a transitional fossil that hasn't been found. But it is also a stupid name given in the popular media to transitional fossils that *have* been found.

    Either way, transitional fossils have been found in a more than satisfactory number to detail a smooth gradient from modern humans to more basal and decisively nonhuman ancestors.

    "I think it is more a matter of someone suggesting that your great (to the Nth power) grandfather was so and so and another member of your family is that guy over there -- without ever identifying or producing the family tree of so and so."

    You are suggesting that human ancestors are suggested without justification. That is not the case.

    "I also understand that evolutionists do not like this idea of trying to trace our relationships to other primates in this manner because those lines, if they exist, have been blurred beyond recognition by lack of information."

    The information is more than sufficient to establish our link to the other apes even if we pretended there was no fossil evidence (genetics alone make the case conclusively).

    "But it does seem if hominids, great apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, etc."

    Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, humans and their extinct relatives.

    "are all related to some so and so somewhere in our distant past, we would be able to figure out who that so and so was (is), how many generations he is removed from us and our cousins, and some of the other ancestors between so and so and his current descendants."

    Indeed, just as we can identify how a person selected randomly on the street is related to us, how many generations he is removed, what the name of our common ancestor was and the name of every generation in both lines leading up to either of us...hmmm
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    ProcInc said:
    Indeed, just as we can identify how a person selected randomly on the street is related to us, how many generations he is removed, what the name of our common ancestor was and the name of every generation in both lines leading up to either of us...hmmm

    Well, not necessarily. It is possible that we will not be able to establish our relationship to such a person and there could be several potential reasons for this inablility.

    It is always possible that there is absolutely no relationship. If the two people are of different ethnic origins, it is highly probable that they are not related. It may also be that one person was born in a time or place where birth statistics are not fastidiously kept. It could also be that such records, while having been taken, were destroyed or lost for some reason.

    Evolution sees only one possible answer to its problem -- the records are lost.

    ProcInc said:

    In the way evolution DOES link apes and humans we have found the links however.
    Oh, yeah? Then why are evolutionists the only people who recognize them. None of the rest of us have seen them. Evolution assumes their existence because, as with the "lost records," it is the only possible answer that fits into their preconceived picture based on their belief that evolution is the one and only possible explanation for biodiversity. The result is that if something does not support whatever evolution paradigm they support, it is obviously to be rejected on its face.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Then why are evolutionists the only people who recognize them.
    What, you mean why do people who have a career in studying evolution recognise the occurrence of evolution?

    Isn't that like asking why a lot of accountants are good with money?
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    daytonturner said: "Oh, yeah? Then why are evolutionists the only people who recognize them. None of the rest of us have seen them. Evolution assumes their existence because, as with the "lost records," it is the only possible answer that fits into their preconceived picture based on their belief that evolution is the one and only possible explanation for biodiversity. The result is that if something does not support whatever evolution paradigm they support, it is obviously to be rejected on its face.
    "
    Exactly! Those of us involved in Cryptozoology often get accused of looking for evidence to support a preconceived notion/theory instead of letting the evidence speak for itself. How many of you know that Darwin was a former Christian who turned his back on God because in his opinion, God let his daughter die? It was after this that Darwin came up with his theory of evolution as an alternative to creationism because as he saw it, if there was a God, he wouldn't have let Darwin's daughter die
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    The question is actually why are there still purple who *deny* the fossil evidence. Remember th that no legitimate scientist denies the fossil evidence, only anti science iconoclasts and religious bigots do. To say only "evolutionists" do accept the evidence is merely pointing out only they acknowledge the evidence.

    When creationists deny the transitional status of the most well known fossils they can't even decide among each other or even themselves whether it instead is "just an ape" or "just a human".

    Secondly Darwin drew up his species theory more than 10 years before his daughter died and even after he published the theory 20 years later it was not intended to challenge religious beliefs.
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    "Secondly Darwin drew up his species theory more than 10 years before his daughter died and even after he published the theory 20 years later it was not intended to challenge religious beliefs."
    That's not the way I heard it. My nephew read a book on Darwin and he said according to it, Darwin also said if his theory of Evolution could not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt within 100 years, it should be dropped because it was obviously flawed
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    That's not the way I heard it. My nephew read a book on Darwin and he said according to it, Darwin also said if his theory of Evolution could not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt within 100 years, it should be dropped because it was obviously flawed
    Even if that were true, what does it matter? Evolution is not as strong a theory as it is because Darwin told us it is, it is strong because of the overwhelming evidence for it. He could have completely denounced his own theory a month after his book was published and it would not have made the slightest difference. If you had any idea how science works, you would understand this.

    By the way, evolution is a fact, so no problem there anyway.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    That's not the way I heard it. My nephew read a book on Darwin and he said according to it, Darwin also said if his theory of Evolution could not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt within 100 years, it should be dropped because it was obviously flawed
    Even if that were true, what does it matter? Evolution is not as strong a theory as it is because Darwin told us it is, it is strong because of the overwhelming evidence for it. He could have completely denounced his own theory a month after his book was published and it would not have made the slightest difference. If you had any idea how science works, you would understand this.

    By the way, evolution is a fact, so no problem there anyway.
    I'm not disputing that evolution occured. Only that it progressed all the way up to Homo sapien. The Bible makes no mention of Dinosaurs either, but there is no doubt whatsoever that they existed. I heard an evangelist say that the Bible begins in a certain age & that there were many ages predating the age of the bible. I believe evolution ended in a prior age. Just like the Dinosaurs. Discovery of a living Dinosaur such as the rumored Mokele Embembe of The Congo would make me doubt creationism as quickly as any primate fossil
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    "Secondly Darwin drew up his species theory more than 10 years before his daughter died and even after he published the theory 20 years later it was not intended to challenge religious beliefs."
    That's not the way I heard it. My nephew read a book on Darwin and he said according to it, Darwin also said if his theory of Evolution could not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt within 100 years, it should be dropped because it was obviously flawed
    Why are you paraphrasing someone else's paraphrasing of an unnamed book you haven't read yourself?
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