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Thread: How do you talk to someone like this?

  1. #101  
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    Daytonturner wrote:
    Are you aware of any other data or information which has come from a non-intelligent source?
    Layers of rock, location of north star, magnetic strength of north pole, direction of sunlight etc.
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  2. #102  
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    After fixing the link in the above post and going back and reading the article, I must say there are some things in it with which I would disagree. I would disagree with his statement that micro-evolution is only changes within a species while macro-evolution involves the development of a new species from and existing one. I would move that up a notch and agree that speciation is a proven and observed phenomenon. What we have not seen or found sufficient evidence of is the alteration of a species to a degree that it becomes a new genus.

    The author suggests there are three flaws and proceeds to enumerate only two of them, as near as I tell. I think the unnumbered third flaw is the absense of any evidence of any example in which information was added to existing DNA. I do agree with his statements of the flaws.

    For those who may have seen the link to a The Client List promo, I would only say the star of that show may be one of your best arguments for evolution!!! Ooooops.
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  3. #103  
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    prasit said:

    Daytonturner wrote:
    Are you aware of any other data or information which has come from a non-intelligent source?

    Layers of rock, location of north star, magnetic strength of north pole, direction of sunlight etc.
    I have looked and looked and I have not found any books or articles written by the authors named Layers of Rock, Location of North Star, Magnetic Strength of North Pole or Direction of Sunlight. Can you give me the Library of Congress number for any of their books or point me to a periodical or web-site which has published one of their studies or articles?
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  4. #104  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    prasit said:

    Daytonturner wrote:
    Are you aware of any other data or information which has come from a non-intelligent source?

    Layers of rock, location of north star, magnetic strength of north pole, direction of sunlight etc.
    I have looked and looked and I have not found any books or articles written by the authors named Layers of Rock, Location of North Star, Magnetic Strength of North Pole or Direction of Sunlight. Can you give me the Library of Congress number for any of their books or point me to a periodical or web-site which has published one of their studies or articles?
    If you wish to continue with snide, counterproductive remarks that fail to even match the logic of your own statements then I for one will be arguing for your banning from this forum.

    First to the logic: you asked for data from a non-intellgient source. Non-intelligent sources are not authors. You know this.

    Now tell me in what way the characteristics of rock layers do not provide data. Seriously, either ante up with a well reasoned justification for that piece of assinine, infantile rhetoric, or retract it.

    Offensive, personal, ad hominem making colourful comparisons with fecal matter was subjected to self censorship.
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  5. #105  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If the only changes we can document or come close to duplicating are changes at the species level, how do we account for the observed differences that we have used to define larger groups at the levels of genus, family and order. That is, how many changes at the species level may have been required to develop a new genus. And then, so on, back through the taxonomy chart.
    As I said previously, evolution creates species; taxonomists create genera. Genera are nothing but a group of species with a shared monophyly that somebody has drawn a line around. The ranks in a taxonomic tree have no real meaning. We can classify life into as few or as many groups as we like - all systems, as long as they are consistent, are valid - even ones that don't reflect evolutionary relationships. How could you ask your question under a system that had no genera, families or orders? Given he artificial nature of the classification system, your question can thus be fairly and accurately rephrased as simply: how can a process of species diversification taking place over billions of years result in so much diversity? You know the answer to this already: multiple and successive speciation events taking place typically over geological timescales.

    You ask me how many changes are required. This is not a particularly good question and certainly one that has no real value. It's a bit like asking: how long is a piece of string? The fossil record illustrates nicely the diversification of species, sometimes in exquisite detail. How can it be determined how many "changes" (presumably you mean at the molecular level?) took place?

    The link you provided defined macroevolution no different from the way I have. I must assume therefore that you agree that macroevolution occurs, only that you don't realise that you agree. You did agree that speciation occurs, right?
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    Dayton:

    I see you have nearly completely ignored my points in the first post on this page, apart from mistakenly responding to one thinking it came from prasit. You response was to point out that you were referring to comparative anatomy instead of genetics, though you patently have the same opinion about the genetics as well. If I am mistaken, please let me know, but I reiterate those points.

    As for your link:

    It contains some of the usual creationist stinkers: irreducible complexity and that no new information is added. Then a new one I haven't come across before, the ludicrous idea that because DNA is made up out of four nucleotides, that that creates some kind of barrier between micro and macro evolution. It seems that in the creationist mind it is perfectly OK to state points of confusion and ignorance as legitimate arguments against evolution. Do you really subscribe to this one too? Goodness me...
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  7. #107  
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    I think there is enough time on earth for evolution process to work from single-cell organism to variety of life forms as we see today. But I don't think I have enough time to help move Daytonturner up one notch at a time to the level of phylum. Still, this discussion can be a good example of how to talk to a guy with strong opposite belief. Best Wishes.
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  8. #108  
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    John Galt said:


    Now tell me in what way the characteristics of rock layers do not provide data. Seriously, either ante up with a well reasoned justification for that piece of assinine, infantile rhetoric, or retract it.
    I understand this attempt to avoid the issue. You are talking about the existence of stored decypherable information. I am talking about how that information was stored and transmitted in a form that it could be understood in the first place.

    If someone were to go out on the sidewalk and place a circle of stones on it, what would the stones tell you? Could they tell you how they were placed there? Who placed them there? Why they were placed there? Does their configuration mean anything? The rocks are incapable of communicating anything to you other than their presense. If there is information to be derived, it is up to you to figure it out or up to the someone, to explain it. Inanimate objects are not, in and of themselves, cabable of creating the information they may contain. You don't look at a book and say, "Wow, look at this great book which created all this information I can decypher." The rocks are not the source of the information, they are the recording medium. A pencil does not write a message on its own. What prasit did and what you seem to agree with is the idea that a piece of paper and a pencil can, all by themselves, generate information. The things prasit mentioned are not the sources of the information we can gleen from them by observing and studying them, but they did not write their own story. Nothing is the creator of it own source. Lincoln did not build the log cabin he was born in.

    You and prasit, as well as other contributors, know exactly what I am getting at. Information always has an intelligent source. I am equally offended by the less than candid approach attempting to deflect the question. prasit sillified the concept I was presenting and that is apparently perfectly OK, while my retaliating by using exaggeration to point out his sillification is frowned upon. Actually, I find this to be a common practice for some people here. Many people here are not interested in actually struggling with concepts that mitigate against the validity of evolution as a complete explanation for biodiversity. Is this reluctance due to actual invalid concepts or due to an unwillingness to want to ultimately deal with the potential alternatives.

    I think I am looking at a much bigger, broader picture here. To me, the story of biodiversity is a story of information exchange, not so much a story of nuts and bolts of rock formations. What evolution, as a study, does is look mostly at the nuts and bolts of the exhange of information between the various life components of peptides, amino acids, DNA, genes and chromosomes. What evolution, as a study, does not like to do is look at how all that information was encoded on the components in the first place.

    If I type out a string of DNA codes such as ACTG AGTC CTGA TGAC, it is gibberish. Placed, however, in the correct sequence on a DNA strand, it is life. If I type out a string of letters kdjaijuidvnkvnahyt, that too is gibberish, but letters placed in their proper sequence communicate something.

    The thing that interests me, is that you can understand that the typing of a series of letters required a number of intelligent inputs from the formation of, among many things, an alphabet, the developing of a meaning to combinations of the symbols in the alphabet, to a means of recording the symbols into a meaningful data set and a means of transmitting what was encoded. This has resulted in a highly intelligently created, amazing and really complex system of information encoding and transmission of information. But it is a miniscule system when compared to DNA and genes communicating. The lesser complex system you can easily see to be the result of intelligent input while the far more mind boggling complex system is thought to have invented itself.

    I think my question, on a people level, is how can people ignore the need for intelligent input into a communication system? Rocks are not, in and of themselves, a communication system. They are a component of a much larger communication system. As I said, nothing is the creator of its own source.

    As to Kalster's complaint of lack of response. There is one of me and about four or five of you commenting at any given time. I cannot respond to everything that everyone says. I must pick and choose those which I find most interesting or thought provoking or most eggregious mistatements. And by a few posts down the road, other things have gone to the bottom of the pile. I am not ignoring, intentionally slighting or disrespecting anyone's specific comments. What I regret mostly is the lack of time and space to fully expound. I read the entirety of most posts and also follow most of the links. (Thankfully, it appears no one followed the erroneous link I posted earlier. I'm sure there would have been comment had they.)

    Kalster said:

    It contains some of the usual creationist stinkers: irreducible complexity and that no new information is added. Then a new one I haven't come across before, the ludicrous idea that because DNA is made up out of four nucleotides, that that creates some kind of barrier between micro and macro evolution. It seems that in the creationist mind it is perfectly OK to state points of confusion and ignorance as legitimate arguments against evolution. Do you really subscribe to this one too? Goodness me...
    You summarily dismiss the two concepts of irreducible complexity and the no added DNA coding when, in truth, evolution responses on these objectioins have not been adequately developed. Objections, for example, to irreducible complexity used the process of deconstructing the mouse trap used by Michael Behe as a simplistic illustration and concluding that because we can deconstruct the mousetrap, we can leap to the conclusion that we can deconstruct all other biological systems, no matter how complex. I do not know if you are able to show an example of DNA encoding being added to. There are numerous examples of DNA and genes losing information or becoming inactive. I recently read an article concerning the fact that the Y chromosome in humans now uses only about half its genes.

    Then you dismiss the other concept by merely ignoring the fact that it has been shown that there are genetic limitations at their extremes. And we should be thankful that their genetics limits the size of ants. Given ants the size of lions, we would be in deep trouble. I am not aware of fossils which show that ants were ever appreciably larger than they are now. But if there had been larger ants, todays ants would not show added or subtracted DNA coding. It would only show a change in the timing operations of activator genes and shutdown genes which control the growth genes. This would be the result of greater survival rates for the smaller ants. You would still need the activator and shutdown genes and you would still have the exact same DNA coding on the respective genes, not an actual change coding. Ants would still have the ability to breed back to a larger size if that were helpful to survival.

    The attitude problem with evolutionists (these are different from students of evolution) is summed up in your statement that (all?) "creationist (I would say design) arguments state points of confusion and ignorance." The question becomes, who is really confused -- those who blindly and summarily accept anything and everything which vaguely could be supportive of their position while summarily rejecting anything that may be a challenge to that position? Or is it the people who point out the apparent conflicts and discrepancies exposing the areas of confusion and ignorance? Maybe you were already confused and we just pointed out the confusion. Evolutionists tend to exist in a state of, "We have already made up our mind; don't confuse us with controverting facts." I think there are suffienct examples of ignorance and confusion on both sides.

    That may be a little overstated in that summarily is rather extreme. However, I think evolution enthusiasts have a tendency to operate from a position of that since evolution is right, there is no need to deal with objections. Or someone else has already dealt with that and says it was wrong so it must be wrong. What many evolutionists fail to recognize and accept is that evolution concepts can "state points of confusion and ignorance as legitimate arguments [in favor of] evolution."

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  9. #109  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I do not know if you are able to show an example of DNA encoding being added to.
    The coding for drug resistance and other novel biochemistry in bacteria is often new to the organism - example: ScienceDirect.com - Virology - Electron microscopic analysis of bacteriophages P1, P1Cm, and P7: Determination of genome sizes, sequence homology, and location of antibiotic-resistance determinants .

    We also have instances of viral insertion of genetic material into genomes, variation in duplicated stretches of code, examples of symbiosis in which genetic exchange has occurred - again, with modifications and variations - and so forth and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Objections, for example, to irreducible complexity used the process of deconstructing the mouse trap used by Michael Behe as a simplistic illustration and concluding that because we can deconstruct the mousetrap, we can leap to the conclusion that we can deconstruct all other biological systems, no matter how complex.
    The central objection to hypothetical "irreducible complexity" is a theoretical one, that holds for all complex structure - systems are only irreducible in reference to some given purpose. Darwinian theory specifically and famously eliminates the necessity of purpose in the evolution of complex structures.
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  10. #110  
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    Iceaura:

    As a layman, I am not really certain what is revealed by the abstract you cite to, nor do I wish to buy a membership in order to read it. I am sure if you are an actual member, you could download the full study and send it to me. But I don't think it talks about a change arising in nature.

    On main thing that struck me in the abstract was this sentence:
    Heteroduplex analysis of hybrids formed in vitro between P1 and P1Cm DNA showed one region of nonhomology, an insertion of 2.2 kilobases (kb) which was presumed to be the Cmr determinant.
    This points out that they were dealing with hybrids which were the result of in vitro fertilization -- laboratory experiments. This would suggest to me that their study involved mosquitoes which were artificially developed since they would not likely crossbreed in nature to produce a hybrid.

    It also talked phage and prophage "size[s] of the antibiotic determinant which they carried." This would suggest to me that they were already carrying the properties which were under study.

    I cannot tell from the abstract whether they are really talking about some totally new strand(s) of DNA appearing, or the alteration of already existing strand(s), or the change of position of some strand(s) of DNA, or a greater emphasis being place on specific DNA strand(s) brought out by some external stimulus.

    My sense is that in the natural environment, there existed mosquitoes who were resistant to the particular insecticide which was introduced. Those survivors eventually made up a larger portion of the breeding population and passed on their resistence. Even so, many mosquitoes remained who are not immune. I don't feel the observations of the naturally existing mosquitos are much different from the pepper moth observations.
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  11. #111  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Iceaura:

    As a layman, I am not really certain what is revealed by the abstract you cite to, nor do I wish to buy a membership in order to read it.
    You don't need to read the full article. You said "I do not know if you are able to show an example of DNA encoding being added to." The abstract makes clear that this is an instance of "DNA encoding being added to". If you are unable to extract that meaning from the abstract you should question whether you have any entitlement to argue against what you are monumentally ill equipped to understand.
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  12. #112  
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    John, I don't think the abstract makes it clear at all.

    It is like reading the chapter headings in a book and then saying you know what the book says. Classic example of jumping to a conclusion based on insufficient information. I really don't think any actual biological scientist would look at this abstract and say, "Oh, yeah, I know exactly what happened here. I don't need to read the full study," as you seem to be suggesting.

    If you are so smart, why don't you explain to me (based on the abstract) what was added, how it was added, and whether this addition was something that could and would naturally occur. I am aware that there are many experiments in which DNA is spliced into existing DNA to enhance qualities, especially in agricultural biogenic engineering. The fact that we can experimentally show how something could have happened is no proof that it happened that way. When you take a lion and a tiger and breed them to produce a hybrid liger, you have not shown evolution.

    Evolution is based on what has actually happened in nature, not what we can cause to happen in a laboratory experiment.

    Prophage has something to do with a bit of viral DNA being inserted into a non-viral (phage?) chromosome. Did the lab add some DNA from a virus? Do the pesticides introduce mosquitoes to a viral infection? This actually sounds like observations from much larger project in genetic engineering to see if there is a way to artificially alter the immune system of the resistent mosquitoes. If you add something to something else, it should be larger. The whole is equal to the sum of the parts.

    Nonhomological alterations remain a highly controversial topic as it relates to biology. In a harder science, nonhomolgy (over simplified) would be something like mixing two elements and ending up with a third, and separate, element -- which is not possible. Whether a nonhomological alteration can be (or has been) accomplished in natural biological processes remains something that has been neither proven or disproven, although the term is often used to describe some types of (man-made?) alterations.

    If one cannot put scientific jargon into language which is understandable to non-scientists, how would you ever hope to communicate with those who are claimed to be unintelligent evangelical Christians?
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  13. #113  
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    You have admitted micro-evolution.
    Macro-evolution cannot be demonstrated in quite the same way, since it takes millions of years. However, it is totally logical that, if 100 years is enough for sufficient change in a cichlid to call it a separate species, then 100,000 would be enough to create a separate genus.

    Macro-evolution is shown best in the fossil record. We have enough fossils recorded to show major evolutionary change over a long period. Can you not accept macro-evolution from this source of evidence?
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    Dayton, I have lost hope in conversing with you, but I'll offer this:

    Do you know what information is? Because your definition is so rediculously warped that I don't know what to make of it. It really looks as if you are deliberately trying to obfuscate.

    Take two JPEG pictures for example. They can both be exactly the same size, yet contain two vastly different pictures and, by the way, be represented entirely by ones and zeros, i.e. TWO variables. Now, how can you say one does not have different information from the other? Can you not imagine that it is analogous to differences equating to new information? The organisms are not the same! Why is the information not new? Is it because you revert back to an artificial barrier before which information can not be considered new? Can you really not get this?
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  15. #115  
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    Dayton, if "macroevolution" does not exist how do you account for Nylon digesting bacteria and the entire ecosystem of the Berkeley Pit in Butte Montana?
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    And the debate continues...................
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  17. #117  
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    Obviously, no one here can explain the abstract that Iceaura cited to. Kalster seems to think genetics is like jpeg files. And no one else has offered even the slightest attempt to show what the study entailed, its methods, its objectives, its conclusions or anything else. You are the folks who claim dependence upon science. What did that study show and why is it significant to this discussion relating to naturally occurring genetic changes?

    A while back prasit said he thought there was enough time for evolution to have gone from a single living cell at some time in the past to the current biodiversity. I am sure most of the posters here would agree with that belief.

    As a person who is consistently challenged here for evidence for my beliefs, I can't help but wonder what is the basis of this belief other than a dis-belief in an intelligent creative element. If you eliminate a creative force, this has to be the way things happened; therefore, that is how they happened. I do not see much difference between the faith of believers and the jumps to conclusions by not believers.

    We do not know how many genetic changes would have been required to move from that simple one-celled life form to the most complex life form that has existed. We do not know how long (on average) it takes for nature to accomplish a significant change. Nor do we know quite how to determine what is a significant change in which there was an actual change in the DNA makeup on genes within chromosomes.

    Does someone have a mathmatical formula whereby we can take the number of changes multiply by the time to make such changes and compare that to the time life has been on earth?
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    Paleoichneum said:
    Dayton, if "macroevolution" does not exist how do you account for Nylon digesting bacteria and the entire ecosystem of the Berkeley Pit in Butte Montana?
    I'm not certain you understand the issue. We certainly have macro differences among life forms. The claim is that evolution does not provide an adequate explanation for them. You are starting from the assumption that evolution is responsible. It is not my job to prove evolution is not responsible. That is like me asking you to prove there is no God. You are suggesting that Nylon digesting bacteria and the entire ecosystem of the Berkeley Pit are the result of evoluion. Very well, show the starting life forms and show the genetic alterations which produced these results.

    It is not up to me to account for those things -- it is up to evolutionists to show more than their existence, but also how these things developed new, previously unexisting, features by natural genetic change processes. I should think a bacteria that can break down processed petroleum products would be a great addition to refuse disposal sites all over the world. Why have we not been introducing them there?
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    Let me point out again that the fossil record shows the progression of life.

    We have hydrocarbon deposits in Canada dated 3.8 billion years ago, with a carbon isotope ration suggesting they came from living things.

    We have stromatolite (primitive bacteria) fossils in Australia dated to 3.6 billion years. We have fossil imprints in fine mudstone dated back to between 500 and 1000 million years, including the Ediacaran period with its many organisms, with various impressions of soft bodied organisms. We have the Cambrian fossils of about 500 million years ago with a wide range of early complex life forms, like the trilobites.

    Since then we see a general progression of life forms developing, including the rise of the vertebrates and their development into the groups we see today. Finally, and very recently, we see the rise of the primates, and great apes, leading to man.

    The total amount of evidence of the development of life over that long period is massive.

    Do you simply wave your hands in the air, and dismiss it all like Gandalf performing magic?
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    It is not up to me to account for those things -- it is up to evolutionists to show more than their existence, but also how these things developed new, previously unexisting, features by natural genetic change processes.
    And that's what paleontologists and evolutionary biologists and geneticists work on. The existence of these things is irrefutable. The scientific investigations and analyses will continue forever. Just as physics and every other scientific discipline will.

    I should think a bacteria that can break down processed petroleum products would be a great addition to refuse disposal sites all over the world. Why have we not been introducing them there?
    I've seen reports that there are such things. But their natural habitat and range is a bit restricted. And like most such natural processes, they're hard put to cope with the vast quantities and accumulations of our rubbish. Let's face it, even now, such well understood processes as supplying clean water or breakdown of sewage still requires strong management and improving techniques and skills.
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  21. #121  
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    skeptic,

    No one that I know is disputing the effects which you so accurately recap. It just seems so difficult to convince you, and others, that the discussion is about causation. Evolution is not an effect, it is a suggested causation of biodiversity. The discussion, at least from our side, has always revolved around the questions of what do these observed effecta indicate about their cause and what do the missing effects indicate about observed effects.

    Paleontology has uncovered a considerable amount of information. What skeptics of evolution often object to are things like:

    1. The uncovering of a small fragment of bone or a tooth and using it to construct a depiction of the animal it came from. This is especially offensive in view of the fact that some such renditions have been proven to be far from the actual animal when subsequent fossils are found and in the one case where the "fossil" was discovered to be from a modern animal.

    2. Holding up fossil A and claiming it is a distant relative of fossil B (from some x number of years later) without showing a path from fossil A to fossil B, without being able to guess how many genetic alterations were required to make that change and no estimate of how many steps it took, with no firm evidence of any of the interim animals.

    3. The attempts to hold up specific animals as transitional animals when they are no such thing -- archaeopteryx, for example as a transition animal between reptiles and birds. This is a highly controversial potential transitional animal even among some evolutionists. A quote from an article I was reading:
    Dr. Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an evolutionist himself, said:“Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryxinto an earth-bound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of ‘paleobabble’is going to change that. 1
    The citation is to: 1. Feduccia, A.; cited in V. Morell, “Archaeopteryx: Early Bird Catches a Can of Worms,” Science259(5096):764–65, 5 February, 1993

    The difference here is that we skeptics do not claim that the fossils which we have found and animals they represent do not or did not exist. Evolutionist, however, often claim that animals for which there is no hard factual evidence of their existence did exist. Or, in an effort to produce some transitional life forms, they keep trying plug animals into places they don't really belong.

    I have never suggested that evolutions has problems because of the Bible, only that evolution has problems because of evolution.

    skeptic asked:
    Do you simply wave your hands in the air, and dismiss it all like Gandalf performing magic?
    No. That is what you folks do to fill in the missing information. You say abbra cadabbra over a fragment of bone and turn it into an previously undiscovered animal. You wave you magic wand over a large segement of time and insert a number of transition animals for which there is no evidence that they ever existed. You reach into a magic hat and pull out an animal which is obviously one kind of animal and make it part some other animal.
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    I have never suggested that evolutions has problems because of the Bible, only that evolution has problems because of evolution.
    But why should evolutionary biology be any different from other sciences? Nothing in science is proved. Every broad scientific theory is accepted on the balance of probabilities. Every minute scientific detail might, just might, be better explained by a better theory. All of it is up for grabs, all the time. Absolutely all of it.

    The important word above is better. Anyone can sit on the sidelines and point out individual facts or particular areas in science that look a bit odd. It's up to the experts to say whether that's because you don't understand some part of the relevant science or because it is, in fact, a bit mysterious or it's just something we haven't "got around to" yet. Maybe for lack of time or funds, maybe for want of more expeditions or other gathering of relevant evidence.

    But regardless of complexities and ambiguities and oddities, you have to stick with the best available scientific explanations until something better comes along. And when it does occasionally come along, you have no way of knowing in advance what kind of 'better' it will be.

    Will it be something like relativity - which is a much more encompassing, 'bigger' explanatory schema for physics, but does little to nothing to affect the way we understand the Newtonian physics and engineering underlying design of bridges or rockets or other physical objects.

    Will it be something like helicobactor pylori? No challenge at all to general biological theories about how bacteria and antibiotics work or anatomy generally - just a change to the understanding of human physiology and infection leading to huge changes in the way we now treat stomach ulcers. Destroyed a whole surgical specialty.

    Or it could be almost routine development - like plate tectonics. Everyone knew that the then explanations were inadequate. There were competing theories to explain observations. Plate tectonics came through with the best linkages between observed continental movements, seismology and vulcanology. Beautiful. Neat and comprehensive all at the same time.

    And for evolution? There are arcane details and disputes that only experts can grasp. The whole schema looks both comprehensive and inclusive as it stands. I fully expect there will be developments as time goes by, especially in working out the roles and relationships of gradual and punctuated processes, but I know of no current alternative or competing theories that have any real chance of changing any of the general or basic theory.
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    That sounds to me as if you are questioning an entire science because it is not 100% perfect. Nothing in this world is 100% perfect, especially if it comes from humans. There are, of course, paleontologists who claim too much from too little. Those claims are normally shot down by other, more critical, paleontologists. In the long run, such errors are revealed and removed. The overall picture revealed by the fossil record remains.

    On your point b.
    We do not need complete lineage pathways to show relationship. There are millions of people in the world today that we know descended from Genghis Khan. The genetic traits (on DNA) which show the relationship have been well studied. But the actual pathway all the way from Genghis to modern descendant will not be known. The relationship, though, is clear cut.

    Archaeopteryx is an interesting example. There have been about 6 fossil Archaeopteryx skeletons discovered. Half did not have feather imprints. Those ones were initially identified as an unknown dinosaur and given a different scientific name. They were formally classified as dinosaurs. Only later, did other experts point out that, apart from the lack of feather imprints, they were identical to Archaeopteryx. So, in fact, this beast is more dinosaur than bird.

    Today, we are aware of a range of other feathered dinosaurs. Most are not very bird like at all. But a few are clearly quite similar to birds in many ways. Like Microraptor. Microraptor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Later fossils are clearly birds, like Ichthyornis, Ichthyornis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ichthyornis had teeth, but otherwise was clearly a bird.

    So we have feathered dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx, and later on, birds with teeth. After Ichthyornis, of course, the teeth vanished and we have creatures that are basically modern birds.

    The exact lineages are always going to be subject to uncertainty, since we will never have enough fossils to give a detailed story. However, the sequence in time from unfeathered dinosaur, to feathered dinosaur, to feathered gliding dinosaur, to toothed bird, to non toothed bird is very clear.

    So, am I to believe that you do not dispute the overall evolutionary sequences, but are quibbling about details?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayton
    Kalster seems to think genetics is like jpeg files.
    That's all you've got? They are similar to genetics in the key aspect I highlighted. Your definition of new information is pure nonsense Dayton.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Paleoichneum said:
    Dayton, if "macroevolution" does not exist how do you account for Nylon digesting bacteria and the entire ecosystem of the Berkeley Pit in Butte Montana?
    I'm not certain you understand the issue. We certainly have macro differences among life forms. The claim is that evolution does not provide an adequate explanation for them. You are starting from the assumption that evolution is responsible. It is not my job to prove evolution is not responsible. That is like me asking you to prove there is no God. You are suggesting that Nylon digesting bacteria and the entire ecosystem of the Berkeley Pit are the result of evoluion. Very well, show the starting life forms and show the genetic alterations which produced these results.

    It is not up to me to account for those things -- it is up to evolutionists to show more than their existence, but also how these things developed new, previously unexisting, features by natural genetic change processes. I should think a bacteria that can break down processed petroleum products would be a great addition to refuse disposal sites all over the world. Why have we not been introducing them there?
    It is up to you at this point as you are the one asserting that the current theory on how theses organisms, that did not exist 50 years ago and do now, came to be.
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    Adelady said:
    But why should evolutionary biology be any different from other sciences? Nothing in science is proved. Every broad scientific theory is accepted on the balance of probabilities. Every minute scientific detail might, just might, be better explained by a better theory. All of it is up for grabs, all the time. Absolutely all of it.


    If only that were the approach taken in the study of evolution in high school biology classes. It IS treated differently, not because of criticism, but because criticism is not allowed in this study. You say, "Nothing in science is proved," yet evolution is taught as though it is absolutley unquestionable. That is not education -- it is indoctrination, propagandizing, dishonest.

    Kalster said:

    They [jpeg files] are similar to genetics in the key aspect I highlighted.
    Well except for one minor detail. The binary form of computer programing is intelligently designed by human beings while the far more complex genetic coding based on quadrinary(?) coding just dropped out of thin air and was designed by a random, undirected process. The only sense in which this analogy holds up is that by altering the coding, you alter the result. But when computer files are corrupted, it ruins the original. I can think of no instance where an accidental corruption of a computer file would create a better result than the uncorrupted file. But evolution claims that accidental corruption of DNA sequences is one way to produce a better product.

    Paleoichneum said:

    It is up to you at this point as you are the one asserting that the current theory on how theses organisms, that did not exist 50 years ago and do now, came to be.
    Do you understand how this works? I did not claim there are new organisms someploace which did not exist 50 years ago. In fact, I am unaware of such circumstances. You have not shown any new organisms. Why should the onus to be on me to show anything about organisms I have never heard of.

    Perhaps you could link me to a reputable article about this amazing feat of nature?
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  27. #127  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayton
    Well except for one minor detail. The binary form of computer programing is intelligently designed by human beings while the far more complex genetic coding based on quadrinary(?) coding just dropped out of thin air and was designed by a random, undirected process
    Great, so you accept that your idea of "new information" is nonsense? Because that was the sole object of the analogy. This other nonsense of artificial vs designed is another issue altogether.
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  28. #128  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You say abbra cadabbra over a fragment of bone and turn it into an previously undiscovered animal. You wave you magic wand over a large segement of time and insert a number of transition animals for which there is no evidence that they ever existed. You reach into a magic hat and pull out an animal which is obviously one kind of animal and make it part some other animal.
    Or we post links to careful technical description and are greeted with replies like this:
    As a layman, I am not really certain what is revealed by the abstract you cite to, nor do I wish to buy a membership in order to read it. I am sure if you are an actual member, you could download the full study and send it to me. But I don't think it talks about a change arising in nature.
    The evidence of evolutionary development of the living beings on this planet is overwhelming - even the most dogmatic of creationists accepts the standard, evolution-based cladistics and taxonomies, for example. If informed that South American rock hyraxes and African elephants are more similar in their genetics than either one is to North American marmots, we science types are not surprised, because the evolutionary relationship such similarity implies was already established by taxonomists on other grounds. But when creationists accept this kind of classification while denying its basis, we wonder why: on what grounds?

    There's a point of intellectual honor here: if you deny evolution, you should at least recognize when you are using the knowledge and assuming the relationships established in no other way.
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    If only that were the approach taken in the study of evolution in high school biology classes. It IS treated differently, not because of criticism, but because criticism is not allowed in this study. You say, "Nothing in science is proved," yet evolution is taught as though it is absolutley unquestionable. That is not education -- it is indoctrination, propagandizing, dishonest.
    Wrong, wrong and more wrong. High school students are in no position to question any scientific proposition they are taught.

    Which is exactly why they should be taught the standard theories of whatever might be taught, with perhaps a bit of history of science thrown in. I remember being taught about how detailed knowledge of combustion outgrew the limitations of phlogiston theory as well as little vignettes about various classical and 19th century scientists.

    High school students should be taught exactly and only the standard theories of biology, physics and chemistry. They will never be able to stand outside a science and make valid judgements and critiques of investigations or conclusions or processes unless they have a proper conceptual grasp of what scientists are doing and saying. And they don't have to believe it! They only have to learn it.

    50 years ago, a younger relative had scoffed and pooh-poohed my year 8 science homework when I'd said that we were learning how black surfaces got hotter than pale objects when heated from outside. A couple of years later, he's blithely bragging how he'd impressed the teacher by answering questions when this topic was introduced. When the parents suggested that he might now be convinced from 2 years earlier ...... Nah, he didn't believe a word of it. But he knew the answers the teacher wanted and that's what mattered.

    And I still say nothing in science is proved. Proof is for mathematics.

    Gravity is theory - and it's neither complete nor proven, but noone jumps off buildings without expecting to go earthwards.
    Plate tectonics is theory - the fact that it's not proven doesn't stop earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from happening just where we expect them to - and Australia is still moving north, haven't heard that it's changed direction at all.
    Radiative physics of gases is theory - but if a laser or a heat seeking missile mechanism doesn't work properly, noone complains about the underlying theory which described the properties of carbon dioxide, they just call the technicians.

    Science is never proved. Scientific theories are a collection of the best we've got for the time being, sitting well on top of a decorative display of clever, stupid, charming, silly, foolish, attractive, repulsive and downright dangerous scientific notions we've discarded.
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  30. #130  
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    Kalster said:

    Great, so you accept that your idea of "new information" is nonsense? Because that was the sole object of the analogy. This other nonsense of artificial vs designed is another issue altogether.

    Absolutely not. But I honestly don't know if you are being serious with this line of attack, you don't understand math or are just being foolish.

    Lets look at some oversimplified basics. The cells of living organisms have a nucleus which features chromosomes which contain genes. Genes are made up of combinations of DNA strands which are coded with the information required to build and maintain the organism.

    Surely, you can understand that the more complex multi-celled organisms have more chromosomes, genes and strands of DNA than do the first one-celled organisms. In order to get from the simpler coding of the one-celled organism to the far more complex coding of a multi-celled, there must be more information added to build the more complex organism.

    If there is a gene which is made up of, say, 140 strands of DNA and later is has 144 strands of DNA, that would be added information. If you have a gene with 140 strands of DNA numbered 1 to 140 and suddenly you find strands 91,92,93 and 94 out of place, you have an alteration to the information which may or may not affect the organism. (These numbers are intended only as an examples.)

    It is possible for DNA to be added to, subtracted from or corrupted. I think my original contention was that we have difficulty finding actual and traceable natural examples of DNA being added to. To move from the DNA of a one-celled organism to the DNA of a multi-celled organism would require the addition of millions (maybe hundreds of millions) of bits of information. And none of those bits of added information can work to the detriment of the organism.

    Perhaps you think the DNA coding of a fruit fly and the DNA coding of a human are just rearrangements of the same information? If so, you would be horribly wrong and could put this on the list of things you do not claim to be an expert in.
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  31. #131  
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    iceaura said:
    we post links to careful technical description . . .
    I'm sorry, but a one-paragraph precis of a multipage study is not a "careful technical description." The careful technical description would be contained in the multipage report.

    So far, no one here, other than me, has even speculated as to what the abstract may have indicated. My take was that some viral
    DNA was inserted into a fertilized hybrid egg of a mosquito. I do not think this would represent a natural process of adding information to DNA. It is an artificial way to change the DNA.

    If you have a different take on what can be gleaned from the information in the abstract, please expound upon it.
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  32. #132  
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    I notice, Dayton, that you have not answered my questions based on the fossil record. We now have fossils dating back to the 3.6 billion year old stromatolites in Western Australia. There is a very clear cut relationship. Old rocks contain simpler fossils. Young rocks - more complex. It has been suggested that all you would need to falsify evolution would be a fish skeleton as a fossil in pre-Cambrian strata. No such thing has ever been found.

    Instead, we have a beautiful and utterly logical progression of life. Before 1 billion years ago, only micro fossils exist. 650 to 1000 million year old strata contain only simple and soft bodied metazoa, like ediacarans. In rocks a little older than 500 million years, we get a wider range of hard bodies and more complex species, like trilobites. Vertebrates in the form of jawless fishes appear in the fossil record after the Cambrian, and 100 million years later we see the first cartilage based jawed fishes. Another 100 million years sees the first amphibians, and slightly younger rocks show the earliest reptile fossils. Mammals and birds follow later, and early primates. The first fossil humans appear in South African rocks dated to about 200,000 years old.

    Evolution is not a supposition. We can see the record of evolution written in the rocks.
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    daytonturner,


    A brief point about information and the requirement for intelligence.


    Take a gene - say gene "X1". Let's then suppose that this gene undergoes a duplication event to form gene "X2". Let us further suppose that gene "X2" then proceeds to diverges in sequence. Perhaps, for the sake of argument, its protein product gains the ability to bind some new substrate. Clearly new information is in the system that was not there before. We now have two different genes. Where did that new information come from? Where was the intelligence behind it?

    It might also surprise you to learn that the genomes of most animals are not that varied. They are, in some respects, using highly modified versions of the same basic tool kit (the real diversity lies outwith the animal kingdom). Gene duplication and divergence has been of central importance in vertebrate evolution. Evolution at the molecular level isn't purely about a requirement for new information. Regulating the patterns of gene expression in gene networks of such complexity as to be beyond comprehension is just as important.

    Really, the whole "no new DNA" argument is silly.
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  34. #134  
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    Really, the whole "no new DNA" argument is silly.
    Yes, I find it incomprehensible. I like to use the analogy of knitting yarn. You start out with a plain ball of wool. One way of dealing with it is for a learner to struggle along and finish a pretty uneven not very useful square with the occasional twisted stitches and holes where some were dropped. Another way is for an advanced knitter to produce perfectly even fabric indistinguishable from that made by machine. Add imagination to skill and you may get an extremely attractive Aran sweater with dozens of stitch combinations producing a huge variety of fabric textures and appearances. There are even extremely advanced techniques for producing fitted and shaped garments with virtually no seams. (I've read these instructions with slack-jawed admiration - I'd never dream of trying one.)

    Or a rug for a floor or a bed.

    Or gloves and socks.

    Or a fine, dainty shawl for a baby or for an elegant woman's evening wear.

    If you want variety, you only need to look at different thicknesses, different textures and different colours of yarn.

    And you can shift genre, using the same yarns for tapestry or embroidery or crochet.

    Exactly like DNA. Start with simple straightforward components and keep on applying simple processes, like knit or purl stitches, the basis of every single item ever knitted. Get a bit fancier - put some of them through the other side of the fabric, or change the order of which stitch when, pretty soon you've got more variety than you thought possible. And then you add in selection. The ghastly garish colour choices of a couple of my relatives used to produce items suitable only for lining dog kennels. Others produced items you'd be proud to enter in competitions.

    DNA does the same. Hideous cane toads. Delicious raspberries. Gaudy. rowdy parrots. Dangerous snakes. Clever apes and crows and people. Stunningly beautiful tropical fish. Stubborn wombats. Enormous trees. Vile komodo dragons. Slow snails. Minute bats doing the same job as insects twice their size. Speedy cheetahs. Smelly flowers. Graceful swans. All the result of mixing, developing and selecting from the same simple components. Using the same simple processes over and over again.
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  35. #135  
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    skeptic had asked:
    So, am I to believe that you do not dispute the overall evolutionary sequences, but are quibbling about details?
    I am assuming that is the question I glossed over that made you feel I had rejected you. Actually, I do not agree with the form of the question. I reject the phrase "overall evolutionary sequences" as you probably mean it. I do not dispute the sequences which are observed in the fossil record. But the details of these observations are hardly quibbles, except for those who do not wish to face all their potential meanings. My contention is that evolutionary theory does not adequately explain the changes which are exhibited in the fossil record.

    Zwirko said:

    Take a gene - say gene "X1". Let's then suppose that this gene undergoes a duplication event to form gene "X2". Let us further suppose that gene "X2" then proceeds to diverges in sequence. Perhaps, for the sake of argument, its protein product gains the ability to bind some new substrate. Clearly new information is in the system that was not there before. We now have two different genes. Where did that new information come from? Where was the intelligence behind it?
    This is a classic example of the kinds of suppositions and conjectures upon which evolutions tries to explain that which it cannot explain. First of all, do you have a documented example of this kind of event taking place in nature? Do you have a documented example of this being brought about through some laboratory experiment. What you suppose here would be a product of cell division.

    A gene is made up of many strands of DNA. DNA is made up of nucleotides which also have several parts. Bacteria have several million nucleoties of DNA. Humans have around three billion nucleotides. When cells divide, one of the major considerations is that the integrity of the genetic information should be copied and handed down uncorrupted. Mitosis (cell division) invests a great deal of its effort on making sure of that.

    I am not sure what kind of process you have envisioned. X1 would not "duplicate" to form an X2. A duplicate is a duplicate. The question is to what extent a gene can be altered in the process of cell division and what effect it would have. At what point between fertilization and death do you propose this might take place?

    I'm just playing with you. What you suggest is not possible in the simplistic way you have tried to explain it. What we do have are examples of DNA scrambling in test tube replications. However, I am unaware of any observation of the magnitude you describe in nature. And that's where it would have had to take place to accomplish anything that would have anything to do with evolutionary changes. We do see rare instances where the position of a part of a strand of DNA may be different on a gene. But it rarely has an effect on the finished product. An observable change from this mechanism potential change is a rarity of rarities.

    And then Adelady says:
    Exactly like DNA. Start with simple straightforward components and keep on applying simple processes, like knit or purl stitches, the basis of every single item ever knitted. Get a bit fancier - put some of them through the other side of the fabric, or change the order of which stitch when, pretty soon you've got more variety than you thought possible. And then you add in selection. The ghastly garish colour choices of a couple of my relatives used to produce items suitable only for lining dog kennels. Others produced items you'd be proud to enter in competitions.
    It is not at all exactly like DNA. The naivety of such a statement is overwhelming. First of all, I don't think you actually understand that the process of mitosis is not a "simple process." It is a very complex process, certainly more complex than knitting a potholder. Everything you describe as being made is made through inserting some intellectual design on a raw product to create a finished product. I know of no yarn that you can just throw a skein out on the floor and it will form something all by itself. In fact, even the yard did not make itself.

    Who or what is causing these "simple processes" when it comes to genetically engineering the human genome from fish cells?

    I can understand how people who do not realize just how vastly complex and difficult the process evolution would have to have been could believe it. What I find incomprehensible are people who actually understand the complexity of a living cell and the complexity of the process of mitosis and the complexity of the alleged process of evolution could believe these processes developed out of thin air.

    The process of starting with one fertilized egg cell and growing it into a human being is beyond wonder. One little cell, the size of a pinhead, that contains all the encoded information to become a human being. It develops many different kinds of structures and yet every cell has the very same encoded information. The DNA of muscle tissue is exactly the same as the DNA of the liver.

    For someone who is so thrilled by the process of making a potholder from a hank of yarn, I cannot imagine what level of excitement you would experience if you actually understood DNA and how it manages to direct the construction of a human being.
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  36. #136  
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    Who or what is causing these "simple processes" when it comes to genetically engineering the human genome from fish cells?
    Who said anything, let alone everything, has to have something or someone "cause" it? Except by the obvious mechanisms we know about. Presuming that you're using 'cause' here in the sense of 'purposeful action'. The only reason I use knitting (weaving, tatting, crochet, tatting) as an example is that a biology teacher I knew used this as an analogy for teaching her students. And I like it. Simple elements, simple processes, complex results, varied results.

    Stuff just happens in genetic processing and replication. That's what makes it life rather than lifeless. Most of it is never repeated or is merely ephemeral. A few such happenings are successful and manage to replicate - also a matter of happenstance whether the replications are accurate or just similar. The accurate and the vague resemblances also get their chances to continue along the same path. Some succeed, most fail. Those that succeed long enough. say a few million years or several hundred million years - get the chance to have lots and lots of not quite accurate replications succeed in other ways. When something comes along like a rise or fall in sea level or a huge climatic change or incremental continental movements eventually change ocean currents (Gulf Stream for example) or force mountain formations (Himalayas being the most recent), some of those remoter descendants may then succeed or fail (most of them) in their changed environments. And the variations allowed, virtually guaranteed, by sexual reproduction whether of plants or animals is what ensures that there will always be some survivors of such large changes. Without that variation leading to speciations there are several events in earth's history that would have permanently removed life from the surface of the planet and from its oceans. Planets don't need life - we're the only planet we've yet found with any life of any kind.

    And nobody, nothing at all, needs any purpose or goal or intention to guide or direct physical, chemical or biological processes. There are uncountable combinations of putting biological building blocks together in myriad ways. Let that happen again and again over hundreds of millions of years and dozens of climatic, tectonic or continental rearrangements and there are even more possibilities.

    If you like to think that someone or something set these processes in motion with a particular outcome in mind, you're welcome to. But I have some concerns about using such processes for any very specific single target. I know I will have descendants, maybe for many generations. But a couple of million years from now? A billion years from now? Assuming that there will still be clever primates, and that's a big assumption if we're talking billions of years, how much will they resemble us or differ from us? I suppose it's possible that we could be like sharks or crocodiles in evolutionary terms and settle into particular body structures and choices of habitat that remain constant for eons and allow continued precise replication indefinitely. But the odds are seriously against it.
    Last edited by adelady; April 21st, 2012 at 04:31 AM. Reason: typos
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    Dayton:

    What I am trying to explain to you is that your definition of information is wrong. And it is such a simple concept that I am finding it hard to explain how you fail to see it. My point is that even with the same number of genes you can get a vast range of possible sets of information and there is not such a clear linear relationship between number of genes and complexity as you seem to think. Humans, for example, merely have an average number of chromosomes and genes, with things like horses, some ferns etc having many more. It is not a linear relationship. We have 46 chromosomes, while a certain fern has more than 1000. Do you see your logical flaw here? The new information concern is bunk.

    What I find incomprehensible are people who actually understand the complexity of a living cell and the complexity of the process of mitosis and the complexity of the alleged process of evolution could believe these processes developed out of thin air.
    That is essentially your whole argument. An argument from incredulity. You are unable to fathom such a thing happening all on its own, so all who don't have that problem must be wrong. It doesn't help that your whole ideology precludes you from even seriously considering such a thing in the first place. What happens to your beliefs if you suddenly realise that everything might actually have happened by itself?
    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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    An argument from incredulity.
    My husband picked up another underlying thread here as well. As far as we know, we're unique among living things in knowing for certain that we will die. And that everything and everyone we know will die eventually. It's quite common for people to fear that, and to resent or resist the idea as much as they can for as long as they possibly can.

    Accepting the additional notion that, not only will the 'youngsters' in each successive generation be likely to offend the sensibilities of their elders and betters - eventually that there will be no youngsters recognisable to us as relatives at all is like another death. The disappearance or the death of our whole species. Even if it takes a few million years. To me that's just another sign of us being a small and transient part of the great cycles of life and death in our little corner of our galaxy. Perhaps it's too hard for some people to hold two apparently opposed ideas at once.

    What we do and how we live our lives is very, very important to the people around us - and has a larger relationship with people we will never know on the other side of oceans or continents or generations. And we are obliged to do our very best to make the most of it for our own and others' benefit. At the same time we can look at the stars that show us just how big and marvelous the universe is and that we and our families and neighbourhoods and national boundaries are a very, very small part of space and history. If you want to call that insignificant you can, but I wouldn't. Every little thing matters - including us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayton
    So far, no one here, other than me, has even speculated as to what the abstract may have indicated.
    We just read it, as an example of an investigation into some newly acquired (and information rich) DNA observed in an organism - the question being how it arrived.

    You had asserted that there were no examples of new information being acquired by an organism's genetic coding. Investigations into such newly acquired genetic information are routine, as the phenomenon is commonplace and several mechanisms have been documented - here's another example: Mutation Frequencies and Antibiotic Resistance.
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  40. #140  
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    This is absolutely terrific. A lovely simplified description of how evolution works over time.

    Darryl Cunningham Investigates: Evolution

    I'm digging and delving to find the chapters on homeopathy and a couple of other topics.
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  41. #141  
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    Kalster said:
    What I am trying to explain to you is that your definition of information is wrong. And it is such a simple concept that I am finding it hard to explain how you fail to see it. My point is that even with the same number of genes you can get a vast range of possible sets of information and there is not such a clear linear relationship between number of genes and complexity as you seem to think.
    My Webster's defines information as news or intelligence communicated by word or in writing; facts or data; knowledge derived from reading or instruction, or gathered in any way. This broad brush tends to make it easy for us to confuse the means of storing or transmitting information with the information itself.

    We are using a set of symbols we call the alphabet to attempt to communicate and exchange of information. There are several known sets of such symbols which can be used to exchange information. We can also exchange information verbally, through pictures or through signs. When we use any of these methods of communication, our purpose is to exchange information which may be for any of many purposes or at any one of many levels.

    The means of communication, is not, in an of itself, the information. If I wanted to communicate information about the weather, it would make no difference what encoding system I used so long as you were able to understand that encoding system. But the encoding system is not the information. The information would be that it is warm and sunny or cold and rainy.

    Getting a little more specific, our alphabet is a system of 26 symbols (letters) which can be arranged in various ways to transfer information from one person to another. A set of letters can form a specific meaningful word or gibberish. We can then arrange a set of words to build a sentence which conveys more information than the single word. We can then arrange a set of sentences to form a paragraph of closely related sentences to form a more complete thought. We can follow that by arranging paragraphs to expand upon that thought and compile paragraphs to form chapters and eventually an entire book. But every step of that process requires intelligent input. We cannot roll out a million random letters and expect them to take the form of a book.

    Through it all, the letters are not, in and of themselves, the information. An isolated word or sentence or paragraph is not all the information. Only the entire book becomes the complete information that is being communicated.

    Stephen Hawking's brain contains a lot of information. His brain is not, itself, the information. It is the repository of the infomation. The information are the ideas and concepts his brain contains which are useful only if they can be communicated and put into practical application.

    I would say that your comparison of the numbers of genes in a particular organism is similar, perhaps, to comparing the numbers of chapters in a book. The genes are repositories of the information which is found in the DNA strands located there.

    With all due respect, I think you join Adelady in a cavalier attempt to oversimplify this stuff. And well you should. It is the only way that what you believe can be made plausible.

    Adelady asked:

    Who said anything, let alone everything, has to have something or someone "cause" it?
    Apparently, you are unfamiliar with the concept of cause and effect. It is a priori that all effects have a cause. Can you name any other physical effect for which we would not find a cause? I mean other than the two most complex effects known to man -- the beginning of the Universe and life on Earth. We identify and define causes for everything else we observe except the two things that God claims to have caused.

    Your naevity on the idea of complexity is something else. Knitting is not complex. The space shuttle was complex. Relatavism is complex. And neither of those things even approaches the complexity of a living cell. I have no idea what the most complex process humans have ever devised, but I assure you it is simplistic when compared to the construction of human being starting with a single cell the size of the head of a pin. As I said before, I can understand how you could believe evolution if you think genetic changes are as simple as knitting a potholder.

    I have no idea what your last post of moral platitudes had to do with this discussion.
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  42. #142  
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    Your naevity on the idea of complexity is something else.
    Things are only complex to people who aren't familiar, or at least comfortable, with the details. As for practical skills like tennis and knitting and cooking - they may look simple to outsiders who've never tried to achieve anything using their bodies.

    Cooking is "just" chemistry and biology. Tennis is "just" one instance of biology and physics coming together in a particular way. If you choose to look into how these things do and don't work in some places and times you'll find incredibly complex concepts and processes the closer you look. Knitting (and other textile manufacture) is just another intersection of the physics of materials and human skill in making and managing something in a way that will hold it together rather than let it fall apart. But we don't think of them as complex because we're used to living with them at the practical level.

    Same thing goes for biology in the form of evolution. We expect human reproduction to produce babies rather than flowers or insects - it's not at all 'complicated' in any sense of the word. But as soon as we look inside our bodies for whatever reason - usually because a doctor has to explain something we're not too pleased to hear - we find out some of the mysteries of endocrinology or rheumatology or epidemiology or genetics or gastroenterology that is normally of no practical use to ordinary individuals. Fantastically complex that my funny shaped feet and weak ankles are actually a sign of an addition or deletion on a particular chromosome that's literally invisible. Not so long ago, such a description of these and similar phenomena would have been either very simple "Oh, just like grandma!" or elaborately complex social or theological constructions like "God's innocents" as Down's syndrome children were often described or the completely charming notion among some tribes that a healthy child was the result of frequent, "good" quality sexual activity during a pregnancy.

    The mere fact that it takes years of study and lots of fancy equipment to understand and to work with genetic materials and evolutionary concepts makes them as beyond the reach of non-expert mortals as designing kilometres long bridges or getting a forehand winner past Roger Federer is to the vast majority of people. But we can all tell when a bridge is well-made or a tennis match is well-played. The fact that the underlying physics of materials and motion is fantastically complicated doesn't impinge very much on our non-expert observation.

    And the same thing goes for evolution. We can see that it makes sense. We can see that there's heaps of evidence to back it up. The fact that we're not experienced as geologists or molecular biologists or any other of the dozen specialist disciplines contributing to the whole picture of the science makes no difference. Just throwing our hands up and saying it's all too complex doesn't cut the mustard. If it wasn't complicated it probably wouldn't be science at all.
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  43. #143  
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    I think your belief system is skating on very thin ice indeed.
    You say you accept the overall evolutionary sequence - the gradual changes with increased complexity over the past 3 plus billion years - but reject that the proposed mechanism accounts for the details.

    I think the reality is that your religious beliefs do not match up with good science and you reject the science, while rationalising the reasons you reject science.

    The proposed mechanism not only accounts very nicely for evolutionary change, but has been observed in action. The only 'drawback' to evolutionary science is that it takes so long to observe significant changes that humanity has not been recording those changes long enough.

    Homo sapiens
    has had scientists looking at evolution for little more than 100 years (Darwin died 1882). It takes tens of thousands of years for substantial evolutionary change. So because we have been looking for a short time, and have not yet seen any major change, this allows you to reject the whole science. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you are being absurd.
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  44. #144  
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    Pausing to reflect for a moment.

    Evolution is predicated on a series of undirected changes in the genetic structure of organisms which have occurred in nature.

    Iceaura keeps citing to laboratory experiments.

    When something happens in a laboratory where the environment is controlled and where the breeding stock is controlled, and involves in vitro fertilization or propagation, you are not dealing with evolution. In fact, if anything, these kinds of studies support intelligent design. Some intelligent being is manipulating the involved genetics. So you can cite to all the laboratory studies you want -- knowing all the time that you are actually building the case for design, not evolution.


    Adelady continues to think evolution is a simple thing that can be reduced to comic book presentation. One can only wonder if this kind of presentation is born in ignorance or dishonesty.

    skeptic continues to build his arguments on misquoting, adding to or just misrepresenting what someone else has said.

    He suggests:
    It takes tens of thousands of years for substantial evolutionary change.
    One must first consider what you may consider a substantial evolutionary change. Whatever it may be, if we accept your numbers in a way that is most favorable to you, let us say it takes on average 10,000 years to effect a substantial change even though you suggest more 10s of thousands of years. At an average of 10,000 years per substantial change, you have time for approximately 350,000 substantial changes between the first one-celled organisms and today's complex organisms. This seems to me, hardly adequate to represent the differences. This also leave you only 6,500 changes from rudimentary mammals which survived the Crustacius (KT) extinction to become today's mammals.

    skeptic also says:
    I think the reality is that your religious beliefs do not match up with good science and you reject the science, while rationalising the reasons you reject science.
    First of all I do not reject good science. I do not believe that evolution is good science. I reject the idea that current knowledge actually supports the concept that natural undirected processes are responsible for the biodiversity we observe for the many reasons I have expressed. My religious beliefs have nothing to do with the inadequate science which is used in an to attempt to explain Godless biodiversity.
    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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  45. #145  
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    Re substantial change.
    To suggest it takes 10,000 years for one substantial change is, of course, an oversimplification. And yes, it depends on what we define as substantial. In the last couple thousand years, we have seen significant genetic change in human populations. eg. Europeans gaining lactose tolerance. Tibetans gaining genetic changes to support tolerance to breathing very thin air. Yet humans have one of the longest generation times of all animals, and are thus one of the slowest to change.

    It is also worth noting that change is not constant. It accelerates when environmental changes force a genetic revision. We have seen sufficient change in one species of cichlid in Africa to call the new population a new species. This speed of change is rare, but indicates what might happen.

    If substantial change over 10,000 years, on average, means sufficient change to warrant calling the new population a new species, then that means the lineage from earliest mammals to humans includes 6,500 new species. More than enough. Way, way more than enough.
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    According to Wiki, a chimp and a tabacco plant both have 48 chromosomes while Humans have 46. If you are going to state that life was simplified to increased complexity, your argument will fail based on the number of chromosomes in every species. The vast differences in chromosome count creates a obstacle if you are going to give a ranking order of what you determined is more complex then another species.

    The idea that DNA increase in "information" therefore adding volume to its DNA count from simple to complex life is clearly proving to be wrong. A rattlesnake fern has 184 chromosomes, you wouldn't think it was more complex based on its anatomy compared to a human who only has 46 chromosomes.
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    Does creationism have any validity in science what so ever? It seems to be purely a non rational way to explain things science has yet to discover. In many cases it also seems to directly contradict what science has already proved.

    Creationism seems to be a lazy way to accept things, 'I don't understand how this came about, so i'll just say that a god designed and made it and leave it at that', without ever really trying to logically understand or figure things out.

    But I suppose if people are indoctrinated with these beliefs they will be virtualy impossible to shift no matter how irrational and illogical they may be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Does creationism have any validity in science what so ever? It seems to be purely a non rational way to explain things science has yet to discover. In many cases it also seems to directly contradict what science has already proved.

    Creationism seems to be a lazy way to accept things, 'I don't understand how this came about, so i'll just say that a god designed and made it and leave it at that', without ever really trying to logically understand or figure things out.

    But I suppose if people are indoctrinated with these beliefs they will be virtualy impossible to shift no matter how irrational and illogical they may be.
    A lazy way to accept things seems to also support their belief that God will come down and fix everything too.
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  49. #149  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Does creationism have any validity in science what so ever?
    This is the guts of those court cases that repeat interminably in the USA, - the so-called 'monkey trials', in which some creationist group tries to get creationism on some biology syllabus to be taught in High School.

    The thing is that creationism is religious - not scientific. It came out of a belief in the literal truth of the bible, or koran. It did not arise as a scientific hypothesis, and is not subject to scientific testing. So it is not scientific.

    Personally, I have no problem with it being taught as part of Religious Studies classes. It is, after all, a religious belief, and that is where it belongs. It has no science behind it, and should never, ever, be taught as part of a science class. It is a mockery of all that good science stands for.
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    I do not know if we have come to a reasonable agreement as to what constitutes a "substantial" change, nor am I sure there is a general difinition which would cover all the bases. What might be a substantial change in one organism might be insignificant in another.

    To me, a significant change would involve an irreversable genetic change in which there is an expression of a new function never previously exibited in that life form.

    As a result, I would think a higher percentage of lactose tolerance among Europeans would more accurately be characterized as an adaptation. Mostly, for the pre-lactose tolerant European, the gene which directed the production of lactase in the young turned off, so to speak, and halted the production of lactase. In lactose tolerant people this gene does not shut down although it does often slow down to varying degrees in different people. I would not find this to be a "significant" change. (I assume your mention of both Tibetans and lactose situation came from this article: The Evolutionary Case for Tibetans: Our Genetic Makeup | DRUGMO lives…

    It would have been considerate of you to included the link in your post rather than making me go hunting for what you were talking about. The comparison of Han living near sea level in China and the Tibetans in high altitudes is also an example of adaptation. Adaptation is an easily observable event throughout life forms.

    One thing you should note is that all the people in these observations started out as Homo sapiens and are still Homo sapiens. I am sure if you took the Tibetans and moved them down to sea level, within a few generations, the special genetic emphases which they currently display would begin to go away.

    There are three basic ways genes change -- mutation, migration and genetic drift. If you look these up, you will find that both migration and genetic drift have a greater capacity for chromosomes to lose information than for those processes to add information. In both those processes it is like cutting and pasting in a word document. Mutation provides the greatest possibility for added information in the overall genetic makeup of an organism.

    When I first mentioned natural addition of information to a gene, I had in mind Down's Syndrome, which I thought sure someone here would latch on to since it involves the addition, or actually duplicity, of a genetic information located on a specific chromosome that brings about this condition. There are (other) observed instances of natural additional information being procured by a chromosome but I am unaware of any such instances which have been shown to be beneficial to the organism. (But then, even I admit that I don't quite know everything.)

    The bottom line here is that the kinds of minute changes you and iceaura have been pointing to are just incapable of accounting for the massive genetic changes that would be required to change small rat-like insectivore mammals into human beings in 65 million years. You can say that you believe those changes happened but your belief is not substantially pursuasive.

    skeptic said:
    It accelerates when environmental changes force a genetic revision.
    I do not think that accurately represents what actually happens. What happens is a genetic re-emphasis. The observation of the peppered moth is a classic example. When industrial pollution caused the bark on the peppered moth's favorite tree to become stained darker, the peppered moth population became darker. This was because the lighter peppered moths were now more visible to their predator birds. When the industrial pollution was curtailed and the back of the tree returned to its natural light color, the lighter colored peppered moth population began to dominate. There was no genetic revision, merely, a re-emphasis of the existing genes. Plus they were always peppered moths and they continue to hatch in both light and dark versions although the light versions now have a higher survival rate.

    Barbi's contribution that many plants and animals have more chromosomes than humans does not really show anything. The number of chromosomes in an organism is no more indicative of its complexity than the number of words in a book would be indicative of its complexity. I think you would have to ask if one chromosome with 400 genes is more complex than 40 chromosomes 10 genes each.

    What I have been talking about is the addition of useful information to the genetic coding of an organism which both changes and benefits the organism. Actually, I should think it would be up to you to provide some evolutionary significance to what you are pointing out. The idea of complexity within the study of genetics is, in and of itself, very complex.

    I think there is a serious problem when you have evolution advocates such Adelady and Christgorlitz who have bought in to the oversimplified, thoughtless concepts of evolution which are being promoted in society today. There is nothing simple about genetics and there is nothing simple about evolution. Evolution works and makes sense only when reduced to a sublime simplicty.

    Chris said it best himself:

    But I suppose if people are indoctrinated with these beliefs they will be virtualy impossible to shift no matter how irrational and illogical they may be.
    The idea that one side is involved in indoctrination while the other side isn't shows an incredible degree of naivety, blind ignorance or just plain deliberate dishonesty. One of the main characteristics of diabolical indoctrination is the presentation of partisan principles couples with suppressing opposing views. When it comes to Christians, as I suspect Chris was alluding to, there is no chance that those brought up in a Christian environment cannot be exposed to opposing views. Meanwhile, the education system is very fastidious in its exclusion of material which would point to the scientific flaws and problems with evolution. That, Chris, is classic diabolical indoctrination.

    You seem to have bought into the idea that any indoctrination is bad. Or else, indoctrination with principles and views with which you do not agree is bad while indoctrination in those things with which you do agree is OK. We are met with indoctrination every day -- when we see ads on TV, when we hear politicians campaigning, when we read the newspaper and virtually anytime we intake information prepared by some other human.
    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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  51. #151  
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    Imagine someone has a small shed.
    That person then knocks off part of the shed and replaces it with something else - perhaps a small room.
    Then the shed is sold and the new owner removes a rusty corrugated iron roof and replaces it with modern factory coated long run roofing sheets.
    The shed is sold again, and the new owner knocks a wall down and replaces it with an extension to make the shed bigger.

    Now imagine that the shed is sold 6,500 times, and each new owner makes one significant change. What will the shed look like after 6,500 significant alterations? I can absolutely guarantee it will not look anything like the original, and it will be a great deal bigger, because one of the most common alterations is extensions and enlargements, and it will be enormously different.

    This is what happened to those rat-like small mammals before the KT event after 6,500 significant changes. It is absolutely reasonable to suggest they would evolve into everything from woolly mammoths to shrews. Including humans.

    Not only that, but we have a series of mammalian fossils to show what those changes were. The changes happened, and they were recorded in the fossil record.

    We can observe those changes happening on a small scale in the form of embryology.
    Perhaps, Dayton, you might like to tell me why a whale embryo grows a pair of hind legs, which it then resorbs into its body? In terms of evolution, we can give a clear cut answer. Without evolution, then tell me why.

    Or why do human embryos grow a tail, which is resorbed into the body? Without evolution, why should that happen?
    There are literally thousands of such conundrums in embryology - easily explained in evolutionary terms, but impossible to explain otherwise.
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    You all have been schooled.
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  53. #153  
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    Quote Originally Posted by agnostic1 View Post
    You all have been schooled.
    Oh good. Do we get a certificate?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  54. #154  
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    Fortunately, the great majority of people on this forum do not need 'schooling', or certificates. Most such people are already smart, educated, and well versed on such things as biological evolution. There are just a few people who cling to old and obsolete ideas, and refuse to look at the facts squarely. I am pleased to say, though, that most science forum people are rational.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Fortunately, the great majority of people on this forum do not need 'schooling', or certificates. Most such people are already smart, educated, and well versed on such things as biological evolution. There are just a few people who cling to old and obsolete ideas, and refuse to look at the facts squarely. I am pleased to say, though, that most science forum people are rational.
    You are just upset that he (daytonturner) had a logical answer to all questions and rebuttals. I see it differently on who is refusing the evidence.
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  56. #156 Ain't got no skoolin' 
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    I have always found it difficult to discuss with people who create their own unreasonable made-up world and then use some isolated forinstances to support it as fact.

    I am not sure how we can determine that there were 6,500 changes from the two life forms in question. Nor what those changes were. Nor is it possible to express a time line for those changes. It is irrational for skeptic pull a completely arbitrary number out of thin air and then think it proves anything.

    As to embryonic legs found in whales: what is this indicative of? Is the whale a former land animal that has reverted to the sea? Or is it sea animal which is in the process of becoming a land animal? The fossil record shows differences but is not proof of changes, only the differences. If I show you a motorcycle and then a more complex automobile, does that prove the motorcycle changed into an automobile or that these are two different machines which have some similarities?

    The complexity of DNA requires a far more complex explanation than 6,500 unknown and unexplained changes over 65 million years. If one has even a cursory knowledge of DNA coding, one would realize that 6,500 changes to a shed does not even come close to approximating 6,500 alterations to DNA.

    Removing a roof and replacing it, I would think would be similar to genetically removing an exoskeletin and replacing it with a soft skin exoderm. Hopefully, one can see that the one-day project of re-roofing a shed is far more simplistic than changing an exoskeleton with a soft skin exterior.

    This is the problem with the modern teaching of evolution. It teaches what skeptic did. Zip-zap, a change here and a change there and all of a sudden you have changed a small rat into an elephant. It has never worked that way. The genetic changes in the bill of a Galopagos finch is not even close to the genertic changes required to change a fish into a human.
    Last edited by daytonturner; October 30th, 2012 at 08:10 PM. Reason: adding sentence
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  57. #157  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    As to embryonic legs found in whales: what is this indicative of? Is the whale a former land animal that has reverted to the sea? Or is it sea animal which is in the process of becoming a land animal? The fossil record shows differences but is not proof of changes, only the differences. .
    There is, in fact, a good evolutionary time line for whales, based on fossils. The following chart is from Berkeley.

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  58. #158  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post

    I am not sure how we can determine that there were 6,500 changes from the two life forms in question. Nor what those changes were. Nor is it possible to express a time line for those changes. It is irrational for skeptic pull a completely arbitrary number out of thin air and then think it proves anything.
    That number, Dayton, came from you, in suggesting that one substantial change would not happen more than each 10,000 years, which means 6,500 substantial changes in the 65 million years since the dinosaur killer. I was pointing out to you that 6,500 changes are, in fact, very potent. It is quite sufficient for early mammals to evolve into the wide range of mammalian forms today.
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    There is nothing in these kinds of charts by which it can be determined that one is an evolutionary decendant or precedant to any of the others. The fossils show only that these animals have differences and similarities. You will find many animals with differences and similarities over long periods of times. The similarities are no more proof of evolutionary relationships than are the differences disproof of evolutionary relationships. They carry only the significance you wish to attach to them. There are animals of vastly different physical appearance which are more closely related genetically than some other animals which have very similar physical characteristics. You need the genetic comparisons of DNA coding to make these kinds of determinations and the more they study DNA coding, the less likely Darwinian evolution can be used to explain biodiversity.

    The DNA enigma which comes into view upon realizing just how much information is encoded on one strand of DNA, is where did that information come from?
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  60. #160  
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    Skeptic:

    I was unable to find the post in which you claim I suggested there was one change in 6,500 years (perhaps you could site the number of the post). Knowing how I think, I suspect what I suggested was that if it took 10,000 changes to go from a to b in 65 million years, that would indicate one change in 6,500 years. I am not sure, but I suspect that someone, someplace suggested 10,000 changes. I have not gone back and reviewed this thread. However, I know I would not use such a hypothetical to try to prove anything. That is what evolutionists do -- they put new roofs on sheds and think that is an example of and proof of evolution.
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  61. #161  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    One must first consider what you may consider a substantial evolutionary change. Whatever it may be, if we accept your numbers in a way that is most favorable to you, let us say it takes on average 10,000 years to effect a substantial change even though you suggest more 10s of thousands of years. At an average of 10,000 years per substantial change, you have time for approximately 350,000 substantial changes between the first one-celled organisms and today's complex organisms. This seems to me, hardly adequate to represent the differences. This also leave you only 6,500 changes from rudimentary mammals which survived the Crustacius (KT) extinction to become today's mammals..
    From post 144.
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    And, of course, Dayton, you will utterly reject human evolution, even though there is now a selection of pre-human types over the past 4.5 million years.



    Each of those skulls is a fossil found, named and dated.
    Even an anti-evolution guy like you should be able to see the similarities and the progression.

    You can even measure brain size from the cranial capacity.
    Australopithecus, about 3 million years ago, brain size 400 cc. cf chimp at 300.
    Homo habilis, about 2 million years ago, brain size 600 cc
    Homo erectus, about 1 million years ago, brain size 1000 cc
    Homo sapiens today, brain size about 1200 cc.
    Note : these are averages. There is a small degree of individual variation.

    If that is not progression over time, I do not know what is. Evolution, Dayton, is science. it is based on a myriad of sources of evidence. Anti-evolution is also anti-science.
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  63. #163  
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    The salient section of post 144 is as follows:

    skeptic continues to build his arguments on misquoting, adding to or just misrepresenting what someone else has said.

    He suggests:
    It takes tens of thousands of years for substantial evolutionary change.

    One must first consider what you may consider a substantial evolutionary change. Whatever it may be, if we accept your numbers in a way that is most favorable to you, let us say it takes on average 10,000 years to effect a substantial change even though you suggest more 10s of thousands of years. At an average of 10,000 years per substantial change, you have time for approximately 350,000 substantial changes between the first one-celled organisms and today's complex organisms. This seems to me, hardly adequate to represent the differences. This also leave you only 6,500 changes from rudimentary mammals which survived the Crustacius (KT) extinction to become today's mammals.
    It would appear that I was using your meaningless numbers and showing you what they actually suggested if you were to put some practical application to them.
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  64. #164  
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    When it comes to evolution, numbers are far from meaningless. Some are incredibly impressive.

    For example : life on planet Earth is 3 to 4 billion years old. In terms of numbers of generations, the number is very, very substantially greater than that, since most life forms' generation time is a tiny fraction of a year. Each generation is an opportunity for genetic change, which makes even 3 billion years ample time for very, very profound evolutionary changes.

    You can play with numbers all you like, but there is ample time for evolution.

    Note : no denials of the meaning of those pre-human fossils? Hard to do, since the message is very clear.
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  65. #165  
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    I am not sure what evolution you are advocating. If you are advocating Darwinism or even neo-Darwinism, you are not keeping up with the more recent studies into the human genome.

    You are, no doubt, one who believes that the 98 percent similarity of human DNA to chimp DNA establishes that humans and chimps had common ancestors. The chart you just posted would seem to indicate that relationship.

    However as indicated by Stephen C. Meyer, a professor of the history and philosphy of science:
    "Recent studies show that [percentage] dropping significantly. More important, it turns out that previous measures of human and chimp genetic similarity were based upon an analysis of only two to three percent of the genome, the small portion that codes for proteins. This limited comparison was justified based upon the assumption thaqt the rest of the genome was non-functional 'junk.' Since the publication of the results of the 'Encode Project,' however, it has become clear that the non-coding regions of the genome perform many important functions and that, overall, the non-coding regions of the genome function much like and operation system in a computer by regulating the timing and expression of the information stored in the 'data' files' or coding regions of the genome. Significantly, it has become increasingly clear that the non-coding regions, the crucial operating systems in effect, of the chimp and human genomes are species specific. That is, they are strikingly different in the two species. Yet, if genetic similarity suggests common ancestry, then, by the same logic, this new evidence of significant genetic disparity suggests independent separate origins."
    The problem is not the existence of evidence whether it be fossils or genomic information, the problems is determoining what these things and other proffered evidence show or indicate and what do they fail to show or indicate. Evolution detractors have long said the fossil record does not reveal anything about relationships but only about similarities and differences. Whatever relationships have been assigned, have been assigned based on physical similarities which far from being definitive.

    I highly encourage you to read about the Encode Project although the general descriptions are not all that directional as the practical applications of the information which has been gleaned. But overly simplified, what the Encode Project has been showing is that there are more differences among thot-to-be-related animals than there are similarities. And among the interesting findings are the functions of DNA which was previously thought to be superfluous.

    There are many skeptics of Darwinism and neo-Darwinism and not all of them are religious. There is a group called the Altenburg 16 that met in Austria in 2008. The group, which it might shock you to know included Richard Dawkins, has concluded that the current evolutionary theory begin taught are actually inadequate to explain our existence.

    If you aren't reading any of this kind of stuff, it is you who is clinging to old and inadequate ideas.
    Last edited by daytonturner; October 31st, 2012 at 01:32 AM. Reason: correcting some spelling
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  66. #166  
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    Stephen C
    . Meyer, a professor of the history and philosophy of science:
    , In other words someone who doesn't have a lick of credibility to discuss biology.

    We are infact very close to bonobo and chimps:



    The bonobo genome compared with the chimpanzee and human genomes : Nature : Nature Publishing Group


    -
    -

    The group, which it might shock you to know included Richard Dawkins, has concluded that the current evolutionary theory begin taught are actually inadequate to explain our existence.

    Honestly many scientist in most fields would say something like this...that's the very reason they are scientist!
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  67. #167  
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    Oh, I forgot to mention another source: Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against neo-Darwinism. I have not seen this book and do not know if it can be found in a library.

    One of the reviews on Amazon says:
    The book is not a Biology Text book, but it seems to be designed to supplement
    the study of Biology. The book emphasizes the basic premises of the Theory of
    Evolution, and brings to light its limitations. Here is an example: Fruit flies
    and wasps which are every similar in body form (phenotype). These two insects
    were theoretically assumed (by the theory) to share gene sequences and pathways
    (genotype) and explained their similarities in their body structures . If
    evolution is to be true any transformation of these insects could be explained
    by means of DNA (small) alteration (gene tinkering) to create new or altered
    body parts, that's assuming genotype and phenotype are correlated. This way of
    reasoning would be conceptually acceptable. But it has been found that their
    genotypes are not correlated in some cases. Although they have a strong
    semblance, their gene decoding schemes follow different pathways. These
    theoretical failure of the theory of evolution would be hard to find in the more
    general biology text books.
    Science is, more and more, concluding what we evolution skeptics have been saying for years -- the mechanisms employed by Darwinism or neo-Darwinism are not adequate to explain the biodiversity we observe.

    Our objections have never been based on the imagined conflict between Bible and science, but on the inadequacy of the science itself. In fact, it there is any religious aspect, it is from the atheist standpoint who find it necessary to ignore these inadequacies because the alternatives are impossible for them to face. Religion does not object to the search for naturalistic, materialistic answers.
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  68. #168  
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    I have said before that you cannot find any Ph.D. in biology, who is atheist or agnostic, who opposes evolution, and that remains true. The details of evolution are, of course, another matter, and are subject to interminable debate. None of those debaters, though, will deny evolution itself, unless they are religious.

    It is well known that some church groups sponsor young people to complete Ph.D. courses in biology, purely to put a semi-reputable face to those who oppose evolution. The young people involved, of course, are religious enthusiasts. But, because their beliefs come from religion rather than science, their testimony remains suspect.

    On chimps and their share of human genes. Whether it is 98% of 95% makes no difference. The chimp and the human line diverged about 6 million years ago, creating genetic differences. I have seen varying estimates of how much of the respective genomes are shared, and it does not alter the facts shown by the fossil record, of their 6 million year divergence.

    And yes. I understand why you disparage the fossil record. If you were to accept the fossil data, you would have to compromise your religion based beliefs against evolution. Similarly, if you accepted the facts shown in embryology. In the same way, you will guard yourself against acceptance of DNA similarities between closely related organisms, because that is evidence for evolution. You will find fault with studies that show evolution actually happening in the laboratory. You will criticise the observations of the African cichlid (fresh water fish) that has actually formed a new species in 100 years, while under observation by a series of naturalists. Ditto the Caribbean lizard that has formed a new species while being observed.

    Dayton, face it. You are not a scientist where evolution is concerned. You are a believer in religious dogma, and whatever evidence we offer you, you will find a spurious reason to reject. You are wrong.
    Last edited by skeptic; October 31st, 2012 at 04:09 AM.
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    Science is, more and more, concluding what we evolution skeptics have been saying for years -- the mechanisms employed by Darwinism or neo-Darwinism are not adequate to explain the biodiversity we observe.

    Do you realize how ridiculous this is. But you are mixing up the details which of course they didn't know. After all, they didn't have a fraction of the sample of life we have now, nor sufficient microscopes..nor barely an idea how DNA, RNA, photosynthesis, respiration works, etc works, nor a geological context. Some of their details were wrong, some where subsumed into broader hypothesis while others still hold up despite more than a century of observations.

    What they did get right is the conceptual framework from which everything else developed and which is not only consistent with that framework but both internally and externally consistent and linked to every other Earth science. It is an astounding achievement of human reason.

    --

    This debate is an interesting one as I attend a Catholic University with a vibrant and large biology department which in large part completely embraces the allegorical interpretations of sentiments similar to St. Augustine's 7th letter to Marcellinus--to ignore evidence and reason is to look like a fool. It's a fascinating mixture of tradition views, science and how to fuse them into coherent, if sometimes tortured philosophy.
    Most though seem to simply ignore the question when it comes to humans.
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    It is not a weakness of the scientific pursuits that we expose the flaws in long-held ideology over time. In fact, I consider it a virtue that science requires theories to be adapted and altered over time. Flaws are weeded out, gaps are filled in. As we progress in our capabilities, so does our understanding. Admitting and addressing error is far from a weakness, nor is it proof that an idea was wrong the whole time. It simply shows the resillience of the scientific mindset that it can adapt so readily.
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  71. #171  
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    Skeptic: It is equally obvious that you are not a scientist working in the area of biological evolution. You do not appear to be up on the more recent writings on that topic which you would be if this was your area of expertise. (Unless you are playing the usual evolutionist card of just ignoring anything that does not support your belief.) Even if you do not agree with a position, it is only basic scientific method to, at least, read what the different interpretations of information is. Oh, wait. You are an evolutionist who believes all critical or conroverting evidence should be excluded from the conversation and, certainly, not be allowed in an educational environment.

    You are correct that I am not an evolutionary scientist (whatever that is; I suspect to you it is anyone who is not critical of the current trend of the day). Neither am I an historian, but I do know a lot about history and how events have impacted society. Neither am I a practicing philosopher, but I am familiar with a lot of different philosophical positions. One need not be a professor of a particular school of studies to be knowledgeable and conversant.

    Lynx Fox: You seem unable to see the handwriting on the wall. Currently, the conceptual framework of evolution which you so gloriously champion is being dismantle piece by piece by "real" investigative science.

    Remember, even the most religious of scientist do not dispute micro-evolution -- the changes that are possible through the built-in diversity found in the coded data of DNA in separate species. What scientists in the field are finding, however, is that these codes are species specific. Darwinism is as dead as the man himself. Extensive upheaval and change is coming in evolutionary science as the deeper secrets of the genome are revealed.

    As a casual observer, I am excited about what science is uncovering in this area -- it is in no way a threat to my religious beliefs. I'm not sure the blind, misled evolution enthusiasts can say the same.
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  72. #172  
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    Remember, even the most religious of scientist do not dispute micro-evolution
    Nor will you find biologist that dispute macro-evolution, that is accumulated micro-evolution that eventually produces new species and higher. It's been observed many times. Nor are the "codes," as you put it specific, all life on this planet share some proportion of identical genes with a clear lineage to that proportion that matches the fossil record. And there's been major re-categorizations (e.g. getting away from Kingdoms, and getting rid of terms like blue-green algae) as we've learned more and more about the genetic composition of modern species--that is to be expected and is a good thing that only reinforces the idea of natural selection.

    it is in no way a threat to my religious beliefs
    If that were true, than why do you go out of your way, and use the term Darwism, an obsolete term used by creationist in condescension to equivocate modern biology (and other natural sciences) with a religion. The very use of the term belies your deep level of bias, distrust of science, and severe incredulity.
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  73. #173  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Skeptic: It is equally obvious that you are not a scientist working in the area of biological evolution. .
    True, but I do have a degree in biology, and I make an effort to stay 'up with the play' in my knowledge base.

    It appears to m, though, though you are extremely picky in which bits of scientific information you take on board. You obviously read material put out by those biologists I discussed before, who are religious enthusiasts, and oppose evolution from their religious stance, rather than from a scientific stance.

    However, biology is a lot more than that. To be credible, you have to be able to discuss the wider field. For example : I note you have not responded to my post about the pre-human fossils that are known, and the steady increase in brain size over more than 4 million years.

    Here is a story about lizard evolution that has been observed to happen in a short time.
    Lizards Rapidly Evolve After Introduction to Island
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  74. #174  
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    Skeptic: You still have lizards which are essentially the same lizards and if you put them back into their old environment, they would revert to what they were before.

    I mean duhhhhh. I just don't understand why you cannot see that changes within the parameters of existing genetic possibilities is not evolution such as the lizard population becoming birds which is, of course, exactly what evolution teaches.

    What you are doing, in essense, is trying to prove to me that you can jump 60 feet into the air unaided because you show me you can jump six inches into the air unaided. What the lizards have done is adapted to a change in environment through the same process that the finches in the Galopagos developed larger bills -- and in approximately the same amount of time. What you have shown is an example of micro-evolution but is no indication of any macro-evolution. If those lizards become geckos, I will buy my insurance from you.
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  75. #175  
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    The only difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution is time.

    If it takes 100 years for a species to change into a new species which is very similar to the old one, that is what evolution theory would predict. However, the world is 4.5 billion years old, and life is 3 to 4 billion years old.

    What we are looking at is micro-evolution times many millions, over that incredible length of time.

    Obviously, we cannot sit around for a million years and say : "See, it really does evolve!"
    However, we can look at the changes that have already happened via the fossil record. And guess what, we see evolution in action over that long period. Look at pre-human fossils.

    Ardipithecus ramidus 4.4 million years ago. Brain size 300 cc. (Same brain size as chimp)
    Australopithecus afarensis 3 million years ago. Brain size 400 cc.
    Homo habilis 2 million years ago. Brain size 600 cc.
    Homo erectus 1 million years ago. Brain size 1000 cc.
    Homo sapiens Today. Brain size 1200 cc.

    Is that not a beautiful example of evolution shown clearly in the fossil record?
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  76. #176  
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    Skeptic:

    You have taken one factor and drawn a broad (erroneious) conclusion from it.

    First of all, brain size is, generally related to the size of the animal. Larger animals have larger brains and smaller animals have smaller brains. Elephants and sperm whales are larger than humans and have larger brains.

    In the animals you listed above while the brains size of each successive hominid increases, for the first three -- Ardi, Lucy and Homo habilis -- the size of the animals is smaller in each instance. It is notuntil we geto to Homo erectus that we find a substantial increase in the size of the animal. Homo erectus is twice the size of home habilis although it has only a slightly larger brain.

    Secondly, brain size has nothing to do with intelligence. Bees, with a brain the size of a pinhead, have tremendous cognitive abilities when comparing brain size and cognitive abilities of small mammals such as cats and dogs.

    One might also note that Cro-magnon and Neandrathals both had larger brains than modern man.

    I have no idea why brain size would indicate relationship. All animals have brains. Does that mean lizards and stink bugs are close relatives? think it takes more than that to show a relationship. A full comparison of the genomes of these animals would show what relationship, if any, exists. Brain size is meaningless to anyone other than a Darwinist who can somehow find conclusive evidence of, hmmm, I dunno what.
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  77. #177  
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    It is notuntil we geto to Homo erectus that we find a substantial increase in the size of the animal.
    And how did that increase in size come about? Could it be evolution?
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  78. #178  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Skeptic: You still have lizards which are essentially the same lizards and if you put them back into their old environment, they would revert to what they were before.
    Evolution doesn't' work that way--it's a one way trip. They might evolve further to gain similar naturally selected for characteristics from their ancestors, but they would be even less genetically compatible with them than they are now.

    The only way they "could go back," as you put it is if the bahavioral and other traits they've developed arent' so pronounced as to in fact create a seperate species which can longer successfull bread with its ancestors.

    In other words, if put back in their original environment, unless they could breed with and merge with their original population they would continue to diverge from them even as the perhaps regained similar characteristics.

    Here's a picture of the new organs, not seen in any of the original populations or sub species throughout the med.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; October 31st, 2012 at 11:44 PM.
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  79. #179  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post

    You have taken one factor and drawn a broad (erroneious) conclusion from it.

    First of all, brain size is, generally related to the size of the animal. Larger animals have larger brains and smaller animals have smaller brains. Elephants and sperm whales are larger than humans and have larger brains.

    In the animals you listed above while the brains size of each successive hominid increases, for the first three -- Ardi, Lucy and Homo habilis -- the size of the animals is smaller in each instance.
    What you are talking of is encephalisation quotient - the ratio between body mass and brain mass. I looked them up. Ardipithecus was not listed, but the others are :

    Chimpanzee. 2.0
    Australopithecus 2.4
    Homo habilis 3.6
    Homo erectus 3.3
    Homo sapiens 5.8

    Not dramatic till Homo sapiens, but the progression is still there.
    Besides which, the increase in brain size is just one of a thousand changes in development.

    Your statement that brain size is not related to intelligence is, frankly, so much hogwash. The fact that a bee has complex behaviour does not indicate intelligence. A bee is essentially unable to vary its responses. A particular stimulus evokes a typical response. Higher animals with large brains exhibit a wide range of responses to particular stimuli. The ability to learn is the main characteristic showing intelligence. The largest brains, like orca, elephant, bottlenose dolphin, chimpanzee and human have the greatest capacity for learning, and therefore the greatest intelligence.

    Cro-magnon and neanderthal were both varieties of Homo sapiens, and their brain sizes fell within the normal range of variations for human brain size.

    An increase in brain size in the hominin line over the past 3 million years is simply one of the many lines of evolutionary trend I can use as examples. Clear cut evolutionary changes, demonstrated by fossils. Would you like me to pull out other examples? I can swamp you in them.
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  80. #180  
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    Oh, my! Where to start.

    Adelady:

    Well, the sizes of large poplations of various species are usually related to food. When food supplies increase or methods of obtaining food become more efficient, a population will generally begin to increase in size up to the limits of its genetic capabilities. That is, you would not be able to "grow" a mouse to the size of an elephant.

    Lynx Fox: you say,
    The only way they "could go back," as you put it is if the bahavioral and other traits they've developed arent' so pronounced as to in fact create a seperate species which can longer successfull bread with its ancestors.
    This shows a complete lack of understanding concerning what happened. The pairs of lizards did not interbreed with a native population of lizards on the island. Nor would they need to interbreed with their former cousins to revert to their former size.

    What they did was adapt to a new environment within the parameters of their genetic coding. Their current size and structure came about as larger lizards with larger heads were better able to capture and devour whatever prey was available in their new environment. Were they reintroduced to their original environment, it is likely that these qualities would be less desirable for successful feeding and foraging and they would within some generations return to a smaller size with smaller heads. Another possibility is that they would not be able to re-adapt quickly enough to survive. The reason most animals of a particular species withing in a defined environment are similarly sized and colored is because that particular configuration is the one which most benefits the survival of than particular species. Differences among that same population will be found in features that are not detrimental to survival.

    This adaptation and natural selection is one place where Darwinism is correct. What Darwin did not know, however, was how or why that took place. We can look back and say, "It's the genes, stupid."

    Can you provide me with a link to the article about the cecal valve adaptation?

    skeptic:

    I, too, looked at a few more articles about brain size and intelligence as well as encephalisation quotient. They were dotted with words like controversial, paradoxical and, in the case of the gorilla, results were not what was expected. This is an area of study which is far from conclusive. There are animals which have large brains that are relatively stupid while other animals with much smaller brains exhibit amazing cognitive abilities.

    Brain size is not, in and of itself, an ultimate determinant. More important are what parts of the brain are more fully developed.

    And you are wrong about bees: Bees brighter than we knew, study finds / They pass cognitive tests usually given apes, people They do have cognitive abilities.

    I am not schooled in this area at all, but it seem to me that I know more of the new and relevant material than you do, claiming to be educated in this area. My education (in journalism and law) taught me to investigate every aspect of a particular issue, evaluate the information, sythesize it into meaningful relationships of correlations and discrepancies and then to draw conclusions based on those things.

    Based on that process, it occurs to me that many aspects of the general theories of evolution have problematic discrepancies. Recently, I have been reading about genome studies. The information coming from these studies and how they relate to life and evolution I have found instructive and fascinating.

    Remember, we evolutionary skeptics to not deny all aspects of evolution but insist there are parameters of alterations beyond which species of animals cannot transcend. As I have mentioned many times before in these discussions, the fruit fly provides some interesting information as to the limits of genetic changes possible. This is because they have a very short life cycle and are easily bred for gene specific characteristics. Despite all these studies and forced breeding, subjecting fruit flies to all sorts of suspecting mutational stimuli, such studies have never produced anything other than other fruit flies. Scientists have bred fruit flies to the limits of every characteristic they possess -- color, hairs, wing length and many others. There is always a point beyond which the genetic combination produces non-viable flies. Too many hairs, the fruit fly dies; too few hairs the fruit fly dies if hatched at all.

    If you are really interested in the latest information on evolution and how the studies of genomes are changing the picture, I suggest you do some reading in that area.
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    On honey bees.
    Yes, I have encountered this before. Bees have a limited capacity for learning, and they can learn a simple abstract rule. In spite of the uncritical enthusiasm of those entomologists involved in this study, that is still far from what higher animals can achieve. For example, could a bee pass the mirror test? No, it could not.

    On brain size.
    Yes, there is more to intelligence than just brain size, and a lot more than encephalisation quotient. For example : certain parrots, and certain members of the crow family, are very smart. Yet they have brains half the size of my little finger. However, they are birds, and the rules for intelligence among birds are a little different to mammals. As a general rule, to be intelligent, an animal has to have a lot of axonic connections in its brain. Those that are concerned with controlling the body are not used in general intelligence, which is why a large brain in a large animal does not necessarily mean it is intelligent.

    However, there are some very large animals with large brains, but low encephalisation quotients, which are very intelligent. Among them is the elephant, the sperm whale, and the orca. My best guess is that their large bodies do not need a proportionally large part of the brain to control, leaving a bigger part of the brain to be used in intelligence. So quite a lot of brain tissue is devoted to intelligence and learning.

    Anyway, most of that is red herring and not related to discussing evolution.

    For anti-evolutionists like yourself, the main thing you keep falling back on is the limited degree of evolution we can observe. Certainly. After all, we have had little more than a century to study the subject since Darwin, and evolution takes a hell of a lot longer than that. That is why the fossil record is so important. it covers a much longer period of time, allowing us to see the evolutionary changes.

    For example, early amphibian evolution is shown clearly in the fossil record, with lobe finned fishes evolving into tetrapods (4 limbs), and then into true amphibians. Fish like Tiktaalik, become early amphibians like Ichthyostega. The later fossils are clearly related to the earlier fish fossils, but have more and more amphibian qualities as time passes.

    Basically, Dayton, there is no explanation for the myriad developmental series in the fossil record apart from evolution. There is no doubt in my mind that, if Darwin had not published his ideas on the subject, sooner or later, a fossil hunter would have. That is because evolution is so apparent in the fossil record.
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    This shows a complete lack of understanding concerning what happened. The pairs of lizards did not interbreed with a native population of lizards on the island. Nor would they need to interbreed with their former cousins to revert to their former size.

    With no disrespect you are about a century behind in your knowledge about how evolution works. Without breeding with their ancestral population, they just continue to diverge from them, even if in some ways they return to ancestral characteristics; they'll also adopt other adaptations that separate them even further--it might be physical, or in behavior, but its divergence in every case and rather simple to verify in modern times by genetic analysis; this is true even if they became virtually identical to a laymen's eye, they still wouldn't be able to breed with them and would remain a separate species. Its probably the single biggest reason for the diversity of life on Earth.
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    Lynx Fox:

    I believe you are wrong on this count. Even when species adapt, they retain the same genetic capacities they had before they adapted. A St. Bernard dog has within it, the genetic capacity to be bred into a Chihuahua without ever actually bringing a Chihuahua into the breeding chain. It is not likely that placing St. Bernards in Chihuahua native habitat (without Chihuahuas) would eventually lead to a new strain of Chihuahuas. In order to block that potential, some DNA must be subtracted or added. However, you could never take a population of St. Bernards and breed them into Lynxes.

    I honestly don't think you understand how genetics work and what must happen to actually alter the genome of a specific lifeform. Two members of a species may have vastly different appearances, but the entirety of their genome is exactly the same. Black and white people look different, but have the same genome. The difference is created not by a different genetic make up but by which genes are set into action at what time during embryonic development and subsequently turned off. The genome of a white person contains the exact same specific gene that causes black people to have darker skin. The difference is in the activator and arrestor DNA which tells that gene when and if to turn on and when to turn off. Granted, this is something of an oversimplification of the process, but it is basically what happens in embryonic development.

    The gene that creates, say one's nose, is turned on and the nose begins to develop. Then then that gene is told to turn off and the nose quits developing. There are obviously different combinations of turning on and turning off that gene. Turn it on early and turn it off late, and you end up with one huge honker. Turn it on late and turn it of early and you get a small nose. These activator and arrestor DNA strands which were originally thought to be meaningless junk DNA, as it turns out, are as important to the end product of the embryo as are the production genes.

    When animals adapt, their genome is not changed. What changes is which genes become emphasized and which genes are moved into the background. The peppered moth is a prime example of the ability of the genes to emphasize one characteristic while suppressing the other and then going back to suppressing one characterist and re-emphasizing the other.

    If you can understand this process, you should be able to understand that the lizards which adapted to their new environment still retained all the same genes and DNA strands they had when they were moved -- the same exact genome. I can't tell you exactly what would happen if they were reintroduced to their old habitat. It would probably be different if the old native lizards were still in that habitat or if there we no lizards in that habitat.

    If the new characteristics were not beneficial to survival in the old environment and there were none of the old lizards, it likely that they would try to readapt to the old enviroment and end up very similar to the original lizards or, perhaps, with the new characteristic not be able to survive. Obviously, the smaller lizards were better adapted to the original habitat -- otherwise they would have been larger with larger heads. But they always had the genetic capacity to be larger with larger heads, otherwise they would not have developed those characteristics in the new habitat. It is not like some zoologist came in and did a bunch of DNA splicing.
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    When animals adapt, their genome is not changed.
    You really want to talk about this when you know almost nothing about it? Just how do you think those genes, even if they did exist, get activated? By a changed genome is the answer.

    it likely that they would try to readapt to the old enviroment and end up very similar to the original lizards or,
    I agree. But you'd end up with different genotype reproductively incompatible with its ancestral population, hence a different species (macro evolution), regardless of phenotypes and behavioral similarities.
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    Just a reminder; Daytonturner already agrees that speciation is possible. He just does not believe separation on the genus level can be explained by evolution process.

    After fixing the link in the above post and going back and reading the article, I must say there are some things in it with which I would disagree. I would disagree with his statement that micro-evolution is only changes within a species while macro-evolution involves the development of a new species from and existing one. I would move that up a notch and agree that speciation is a proven and observed phenomenon. What we have not seen or found sufficient evidence of is the alteration of a species to a degree that it becomes a new genus.
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    Well, Lynx Fox, I obviously know a lot more about it that you seem to. I doubt there are many here who are experts in micro-biology, micro-chemistry, genetics and/or genomics, all of which are being put together to reveal fantastic things about the operation of cells. I am certianly not an expert, but I have done some reading. When you say, "By a changed genome," it shows you do not understand that the genome itself does not change in an adaptation. I don't know if I am adequate to provide a complex explanation in the limited space we usually use for these posts. But I will try to by use of the Galapagos finch bills.

    As you may recall, the food source for the finches changed due to a climatic condition. As a result the seed upon which the were to subsequently to feed were considerably larger than their normal fare. As a result, those with larger bills were better able to feed and therefore had a better survival rate and eventually all the existing finches had the larger bills.

    But what took place genomically to bring about this change?

    First of all we need to realize that there is a beak building gene. Actually there are probably several genes involved in the construction of the finch's beak. The only function these genes have is to select the proper proteins and put them together according to their in-coded plan of beak construction.

    In addition to the constructing genes, other strands (strings) of DNA operate as activators and arrestors of the genes. (I'm not sure those are the scientific names.) These DNA strands were originally thought to be superfluous junk DNA. The activator DNA tells the gene when to begin production and the arrestor DNA tells the gene when to stop production. It must be done this way, the embryo cannot begin beak construction too soon, nor wait too long. Contruction must stop at some point or the beak would be so large the bird could not hold it up.

    The activator and arrestor DNA strands vary from individual to individual which is why there are variations of characteristics within a given population of a species. Thus the time the beak gene(s) is in production may vary which is why one finch could have a slightly larger beak than another. It is not the beak gene(s) itself that is different. And the size of the beak among finches will continue to vary slightly, but with better survival rate of those with larger beaks, the ones who have the DNA strands which promote longer production time for the beak gene(s) will dominate. One cannot know for sure if the beak size has reached its optimum or the current beak size, being best for the food source prevents birds with even larger beaks from being peak survivors.

    If, their food source changed again, such that a smaller beak would be more beneficial to survival, the general population would slowly change back to smaller beaks as those with shorter beak production time would reassert their better survival rate.

    In the process of gaining larger beaks, the genome itself remained true to itself. It did not change, but retained its potential to produce smaller beaked birds. We have discovered that the differences are not found so much in the genes themselves as in the directors of the genes.

    There are other formerly thought to be junk DNA strands which perform essential functions within a cell. There are strands which function something like quality control engineers. Their job is to insure the integrity of cell reproduction. They seem to have the ability to ferret out improperly reproduced cells and eliminate them. This particular feature of cell integrity is one of the reasons that mutations are so few and far between.

    I don't think any of this in this form supports or undermines anybody's position on evolution. It just tells us more about the complexity of the operations within cells. I'm sure either side can find something in the emerging knowledge.

    Don't know what to recommend as reading. I recently read a 25-page article by Stephen C. Meyer, who you people would blow off because of his affiliation with the Discovery Institute, and it had five pages of bibliography. The stuff above was not from that article. In fact, I cannot tell you which reading I have done from which I formulated the above precis account. It barely touches the fringes of the edges of the information which is coming the various areas of study related to genomics and their implications. This stuff is going to have a tremendous impact on thinking concerning evolution.
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    Complexity is complexity. Details are details.

    But this is like discussing the virtues and vices of floor coverings or appliances or heating systems or insulation strategies or furnishings for housing. It doesn't matter whether you take the cheapest or dearest, the easiest or hardest to instal, the brightest or dullest colours or any other set of options.

    It's still a house.
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    Sorry Dayton, you are wrong.
    Don't know what to recommend as reading. I recently read a 25-page article by Stephen C. Meyer,
    He doesn't have training, or practical experience in biology nor published anything in biology--what he might have learned about the details decades ago in a biology course or two have been completely revised with the advent of DNA mapping ect. His conclusions are completely crap.


    I don't think any of this in this form supports or undermines anybody's position on evolution. It just tells us more about the complexity of the operations within cells. I'm sure either side can find something in the emerging knowledge.
    Not only has the observational evidence strongly supported one-way evolution, first proposed about 1890, we now are learning the details why this is at the protein level:
    An epistatic ratchet constrains the direction of glucocorticoid receptor evolution "Unless these ratchet-like epistatic substitutions are restored to their ancestral states, reversing the key function-switching mutations yields a non-functional protein. Reversing the restrictive substitutions first, however, does nothing to enhance the ancestral function. Our findings indicate that even if selection for the ancestral function were imposed, direct reversal would be extremely unlikely, suggesting an important role for historical contingency in protein evolution."http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture08249.html

    And this one, which find that reversals are extremely rare:
    Evolution, reversed - MIT News Office

    The story is they might reacquire old characteristics but only by adding addition genetic instructions that reactivate them--thus increasing the divergence from their ancestral populations.
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  89. #189  
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    Dayton still has not addressed the 'problem' (to him) of the fossil record. He can argue left, right and center, about what has been observed in a short period of time. As I said earlier, it is little over 100 years since the idea of biological evolution was formatted. In that short time, it is not possible to observe substantial evolution occurring.

    However, by studying the fossil record, we see the changes that happen over millions of years. And they are profound. It is not possible for anti-evolutionists who are led by the nose by religious types, to deny the changes over that longer time period.

    Another example is dinosaurs to birds.
    Archaeopteryx was a dinosaur with some bird features. We know that for excellent reason. Six fossils of this species have been discovered, and two of them had no feather impressions. Those two were classified as dinosaurs. Without the feather impressions, they are not birds - but dinosaurs. However, this was a gliding dinosaur with feathers, that is clearly on the line of evolution to birds.

    Below is a fossil impression. Note how there is no keel on the sternum bone. The keel is found in birds. There is a tail with vertebrae (a bird's tail is feathers only), and there are 'fingers' in the wings, which is a dinosaur characteristic. And of course, it had teeth.



    But when Confuciusornis appeared, there was a small keel, no teeth, no tail bones, and better developed flight feathers. It still retained the wing claws, though, revealing its dinosaur ancestry.

    Later birds lost even those wing claws. There are now many intermediate fossils between dinosaur and bird, showing a clear evolutionary development time line.
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    Skeptic:

    Discussing the fossil record in relation to evolution is commensorate with discussing the horse and buggy in relation to transportation. The buggy may be sufficient for the Amish but it does not play a big role in modern transportation.

    So many holes have been poked in the use of the fossil record in defense of evolution, it is probably not a ship one would want to sail into the waters of evolution discussion.

    I don't know which hole to point out first. One of the main one is the missing parts of the fossil record which evolutionists attempt to plug with conjecture, if not made up, interim life forms. It is a typical fossil presentation that we have animal A over here and then 500,000 years we have animal B which is an obvious (?!!) decendant of animal A. But there are no fossils of the linking interim life forms even though there are fossils of other life forms from that same period. Evolutionists can only guess as to how many life forms it took to fill that gap. Evolutionists are unwilling to even consider the possibility that the reason fossils of these gap animals have not been found is because the do not exist.

    Another interesting problem is that fossil evolution is built on the comparison of anatomical similarities found among supposedly related life forms with little regard paid to inexplicable differences. What we end up with is the counterpart to Richard Dawkins argument of the "appearance of design." We have the appearance of a close relationship. In some cases, "closely related" fossils have been found to be far more widely separated by their genetics.

    Studies in genetics are far more difinitive and revealing than the hitherto speculative information inferred and assumed from the fossil record.

    The fossil record shows whatever the evolutionist wants to think it shows. It has become a mad-hatter point of discussion in which the fossils say whatever the speaker says they mean. They have become virtually meaningless because many of the things evolutionists have tried to show through the fossil record have been found to be error though other means of investigation.

    Talk about fossils all you want, but it is little more than a distracting noise in the present enviroment.
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    So, Dayton, you fall back on the discredited "missing link" argument.

    Anti-evolutionists love that one, because it doubles with every discovery.
    If we have a fossil of animal A and dated a few million years later, the fossil of animal C, which is clearly related, then there is one missing link. But then we discover an intermediate form, called animal B.

    "Ah ha", cry the anti-evolutionists : "Now we have two missing links. One between animal A and animal B, and a second missing link between animal B and animal C."

    You cannot lose. the more missing links we discover, the more your ilk cry out are missing. This happened with bird evolution. Once there were three fossils - essentially Archaeopteryx, Ichthyornis and modern birds.

    Charles Darwin knew of Ichthyornis, which was an animal very like modern birds, but with teeth.

    Of course, the anti-evolutionists cried that this left two missing links. Since that time, at least a dozen other early fossils on the bird line have been discovered, plus a whole range of true dinosaurs with feathers, including that "Jurassic Park" favourite - the Velociraptor. (Which did not have feathers in the movies, since that trait had been known then.)

    Today, with a wealth of intermediate fossils between dinosaurs and modern birds, the anti-evolutionists simply cry out : "Look, there are now 20 missing links."

    Do you not understand, Dayton, how the missing link argument wears really, really thin? How disgusted I am at such lack of rationality?
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    Skeptic, this fossil argument is so, so yesterday. Current information from genetic studies is far more informative and revealing that fossils ever were or ever will be. Are you using an abacus to do your math with today? Or a slide rule to calculate logarithms? We have better and more useful, more inciteful and definitive methods available today.
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    The fossil story is never yesterday. The study of fossils is dynamic and knowledge is growing. More and more clear cut lines of evolution are revealed every year. No one who has studied this can doubt that evolution is occurring. The fossils show what living organisms cannot, due to the short time constraints. They show evolutionary change over millions of years.

    So many fossils have now been studied, that the 'missing links' are now numbered in the tens of thousands.
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    Most Clades that have existed on Earth are extinct--no genetic analysis is possible for them because there are no genes from species to analyze. For the ones that remain, genetic analysis is tremendously helpful at sorting out relationships but it doesn't help nearly as much as fossils at geographic dispersion, likely causes for the population isolation or environmental changes that precipitated the changes etc. They are both indispensable and by in large have proved completely consistent with each other.
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  95. #195  
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    So many holes have been poked in the use of the fossil record in defense of evolution, it is probably not a ship one would want to sail into the waters of evolution discussion.
    Elucidate, please.
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    Well Flick:

    If you are not aware of the many, many problems involved in the fossil record or with Darwinism, you have no business making comments. Do some studying on the topic including information from evolution skeptics, not just your own peoples' rebuttals which do not accurately portray the opposition.

    But let's look at your earlier post:

    It is not a weakness of the scientific pursuits that we expose the flaws in long-held ideology over time. In fact, I consider it a virtue that science requires theories to be adapted and altered over time. Flaws are weeded out, gaps are filled in. As we progress in our capabilities, so does our understanding. Admitting and addressing error is far from a weakness, nor is it proof that an idea was wrong the whole time. It simply shows the resillience of the scientific mindset that it can adapt so readily.
    Well, and good. Unfortunately, evolutionists (who are to be distinguished from students of evolution) are unable to recognize and admit there are any flaws in their long-held ideology and, therefore, see no reason to alter their view.

    It is only a weakness when gaps are filled in with imagination and flaws are deemed irrelevant. It is the evolution skeptics who have pointed out the flaws and gaps and their relevance to the overall big picture. Evolutionists tend to ignore the problems as insignificant. True students of evolution understand that flaws do exist. If you are unaware of them, you are an evolutionist, not a student of evolution.
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    Seems to me, Dayton, that the only thing you have been able to find that is "wrong" with the fossil record, is the massive number of missing links. Which double in number each time new pieces to the puzzle are found.
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    Well, here are three major problems:
    1. The first is that the fossil record shows species originating abruptly.
    This contradicts the predictions of Darwin's hypothesis. His hypothesis calls
    for very many intermediate forms gradually grading from one species to another.
    But instead the record shows the opposite - species arise abruptly.

    2. Secondly, the geologic record shows that species do not change
    significantly through time. For millions of years they remain constant - with
    only minor and random change. This also contradicts the predictions of the
    hypothesis of Darwin.
    3. The "Cambrian explosion" represents a period in which most of the current
    phyla [broad groups of life forms] all appeared in a very short geological span
    of time. This also seriously contradicts the hypothesis of Darwin.
    If you were to search "problems with fossil record," you would find hundreds of articles including the one I plagerized the above from. So why don't you go do your own research rather than lazily expecting me to do it for you.

    I think one of the interesting things in mammal evolution which I don't think fossil records help explain is why is there but one species of dogs, eight species of bears and 36 species of cats. Chart this up against the fact that dogs appear in the fossil record some 5 million years before cats and 15 million years before bears. One would think that if one species can diversify from one to 35 species in 30 million years, one that has been around for 35 million years would have more than one species. (Bears have been here for about 20 million years.)

    In addition to the massive problem created by the Cambrain Explosion of 530 million years ago in which all current 34 phyla suddenly appear (plus a 35th no longer present); there is also the problem of the Cretaceous Extinction only 65.5 million years ago in which 85 percent of the species on earth suddently disappear. While this is established by the fossil record, it does not even approximate what Darwinism expected to find in the fossil record. The fossil record dramatically exposes the impossibility of small changes over long periods of time being able to account for the changes the fossils reveal. Darwinism is not gobbled up by the Icthus Fish, but by itself.
    Last edited by daytonturner; November 5th, 2012 at 11:56 PM. Reason: cleaning up changed language
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  99. #199  
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    To Dayton.

    I do not need to 'do my research'. Your so-called three problems with the fossil record are not problems at all. I think part of your misunderstanding is believing that the principle of biological evolution has not changed since Darwin. Science has refined the idea substantially, and the new model of evolution is different in some important ways from how Darwin saw it. Science is unlike religion, in that it changes to adapt to changes in data.

    Anyway, let me reply to your three 'problems'.

    1. Species originating abruptly. This does not happen. Sometimes it appears to happen, but that is just because the dating process is insufficiently refined to nail times down exactly. So we may see a fossil of a species appearing in a certain stratigraphic layer, where it had not appeared in prior layers. Someone who fails to understand the error factors in dating may call that abrupt. But anyone with a little knowledge of geology knows that the dating is plus or minus a large amount - at least tens of thousands of years, and sometimes millions. So the abrupt appearance is pure illusion.

    Of course, the speed of evolution varies dramatically between species, and varies over time. This has been called 'punctuated equilibrium' and is part of the modern understanding of evolution. Some species will evolve into new forms at a greater speed than we normally see.

    2. Species that do not change. Certainly there are species that show little change over long periods. I could name a few, like Lingula and Latimeria. However, there is nothing in the modern model of biological evolution that requires them to change. Evolutionary change is usually in response to environmental change, and is what is needed to create survival 'fitness'. If a species is occupying a niche that does not change, and that species is well suited to that niche, then that species will not show measurable evolutionary change. That stability can happen over time periods of hundreds of millions of years. It is not an argument against evolution. It is just a feature of how evolution works.

    3. The Cambrian 'explosion.' There is a very good reason for this. Recent research has shown that the pre-Cambrian world was starved of oxygen. Even though photosynthesis had been happening for a long time, there was too much iron dissolved in the world's oceans. The iron consumes oxygen, forming iron oxides, which are laid down in the strata of the time. The iron oxide in those layers of ancient rock permits scientists to see how this process operated.

    Then around the time where all the iron was consumed, there was a massive consumption of CO2 and a massive cooling of the entire world, causing what is now called "Snowball Earth."

    The end of the frozen time appears to have come from volcanic action, causing CO2 levels to rise again. Suddenly (sudden compared to geological time), the world was both warm, and well endowed with oxygen. For the first time, aerobic respiration permitted large and energetic organisms to evolve. There was an evolutionary 'explosion' in response, and a range of new organisms developed. Nothing mysterious. Just changes in the physical nature of the world, permitting evolutionary radiation.

    I did not have to research any of this. These are simple evolution principles.
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    Suddenly (sudden compared to geological time), the world was both warm, and well endowed with oxygen.
    Don't want to pile on here, but it's worth pointing out. The Snowball Earth condition lasted many tens of millions of years. Once the CO2 necessary to warm the atmosphere began its release it took something between 5 million and 25 million years for a high enough concentration of CO2 to accumulate to overcome the 'initial' frozen condition.

    When you realise that we need to include most of our genealogical predecessors to claim more than a paltry one million years for our kind, you realise the massive numbers involved in counting evolutionary history.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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