Ida “The missing link” Primate fossil ‘not an ancestor’

Good news for creation narrative and ID proponents and I’m sorry to say yet more bad news for Evolution, now that “Finally discovered missing link” is discovered not to be the missing link after all. Should we go back to the fact that we don’t have the missing link now? Good to see the retraction except now we have no big advertisement no big media coverage press conference with David Attenborough or National geographic. Will they own up now and say we still have the problem of missing link? I doubt it but at least they don’t persist with the lie, and that can only be good.

Quote Taken from BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8318643.stm

Primate fossil ‘not an ancestor’

Afradapis (Nature)

The exceptionally well-preserved fossil primate known as “Ida” is not a missing link as some have claimed, according to an analysis in the journal Nature.

The research is the first independent assessment of the claims made in a scientific paper and a television documentary earlier this year.

Dr Erik Seiffert says that Ida belonged to a group more closely linked to lemurs than to monkeys, apes or us.

His team’s conclusions come from an analysis of another fossil primate.

The newly described animal – known as Afradapis longicristatus – lived some 37 million years ago in northern Egypt, during the Eocene epoch. And the researchers say it was closely related to Ida.

This study would effectively remove Ida from our ancestry.
Erik Seiffert, Stony Brook University

Ida lived some 47 million years ago and was given the scientific name Darwinius masillae.

Dr Seiffert and his colleagues say that both Afradapis and Darwinius were in a sister group to the so-called “higher primates”, which includes humans.

This extinct sister group, they say, was more closely related to lemurs and lorises.

For more information on this document go to BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8318643.stm

I have also included my old post that refers to the original claim that we have found the missing link.

Ida the Missing Link: The Link to What?

May 22, 2009 by defendtheword | Edit

Question: Is “Ida” a “missing link”we have all been waiting for? Good to hear Mr Attenborough make statements like “we are no longer missing the “missing link” finally there is open and frank admission only noted when supposed link was discovered. Makes you wander what made them come to their conclusions they had previously without this evidence, was it strong physical evidence or their faith in abstract pre supposition?

ANSWER:

Taken from: Answers in Genesis at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/05/19/ida-missing-link

For all the headlines and proclamations, this “missing link” story includes an amazing amount of hot air.

A story we first previewed on May 16 has since rocketed to the heights of media hype as a team of scientists reveals “Ida,” the latest and greatest supposed missing link. But does Ida actually support “the evolution of early primates, and, ultimately, modern human beings,” as one news outlet reported?1

Another reporter raved, “The search for a direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has taken 200 years—but it was presented to the world today at a special news conference in New York.”2

Formally identified as Darwinius masillae (in honor of Charles Darwin), the fossil originated in Germany and is purportedly 47 million years old. One scientist gave the find the nickname Ida (after his daughter).

Darwinius masillae fossil

Atlantic Productions / revealingthelink.com

Despite the hype, Ida looks nothing like a transitional “apeman,” instead looking quite like a modern lemur.

As for a more level-headed explanation of the evolutionary excitement, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Anthropologists have long believed that humans evolved from ancient ape-like ancestors. Some 50 million years ago, two ape-like groups walked the Earth. One is known as the tarsidae, a precursor of the tarsier, a tiny, large-eyed creature that lives in Asia. Another group is known as the adapidae, a precursor of today’s lemurs in Madagascar.

Based on previously limited fossil evidence, one big debate had been whether the tarsidae or adapidae group gave rise to monkeys, apes, and humans. The latest discovery bolsters the less common position that our ancient ape-like ancestor was an adapid, the believed precursor of lemurs.

Thus, rather than an apeman-like missing link that some media sources have irresponsibly implied, the real story is quite underwhelming and should in no way faze creationists. Let’s first review the facts:

  • The well-preserved fossil (95 percent complete, including fossilized fur and more) is about the size of a raccoon and includes a long tail. It resembles the skeleton of a lemur (a small, tailed, tree-climbing primate). The fossil does not resemble a human skeleton.
  • The fossil was found in two parts by amateur fossil hunters in 1983. It eventually made its way through fossil dealers to the research team.
  • Ida has opposable thumbs, which the ABC News article states are “similar to humans’ and unlike those found on other modern mammals” (i.e., implying that opposable thumbs are evidence of evolution). Yet lemurs today have opposable thumbs (like all primates). Likewise, Ida has nails, as do other primates. And the talus bone is described as “the same shape as in humans,” despite the fact that there are other differences in the ankle structure.3
  • Unlike today’s lemurs (as far as scientists know), Ida lacks the “grooming claw” and a “toothcomb” (a fused row of teeth) In fact, its teeth are more similar to a monkey’s. These are minor differences easily explained by variation within a kind.

Haven’t heard the real story of this supposed scientific breakthrough? Read the criticisms other evolutionists have made of the “missing link” claims and the science behind them.

Given these facts, it may seem incredible that anyone would hail this find as a “missing link.” Yet British naturalist David Attenborough claims:

“Now people can say, ‘Okay, you say we’re primates . . . show us the link.’ The link, they would have said until now, is missing. Well, it is no longer missing.”

Unbelievably, Attenborough claims his interpretation is “not a question of imagination.”

From http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/05/21/ida-real-story

So-called “missing link” Ida hit the media in a major way on Tuesday of this week, with even search engine Google falling prey to the hype and modifying its search page banner to show Ida. We quickly responded with a full article, Ida: the Missing Link at Last?

Yet within a few hours of the unveiling of the fossil—coordinated to coincide with the publication of the scientific paper on Ida—some better media outlets began to report some worrying things about the research. It seems as though the scientific process had been rushed and the claims exaggerated in a bid to promote a new documentary and book on the fossil. Sadly, media pressures sometimes trump full research integrity (something we’ve seen before), and careless media sources reprint explosive (and unjustified) quotations without consulting as many scientists as they should. Thankfully, though, many in the scientific community are questioning the research and beginning to become more vocal about their concerns regarding how good science and media aren’t the best mix.

But don’t just take our word for it—read these amazing excerpts that reveal the Ida hype for what it truly is.


Jørn Hurum, at the University of Oslo, the scientist who assembled the international team of researchers to study Ida is relaxed about using the phrase [“missing link” to describe Ida]. “Why not? I think we could use that phrase for this kind of specimen,” he said. “[People] have a feeling that if something is important it is a missing link.”

[I]n the paper published in PLoS ONE from the Public Library of Science on the fossil [the author] is more circumspect. “Darwinius masillae is important in being exceptionally well-preserved and providing a much more complete understanding of the paleobiology of an Eocene primate than was available in the past,” the authors wrote.

“[The species] could represent a stem group from which later anthropoid primates evolved [the line leading to humans], but we are not advocating this here.”

The paper’s scientific reviewers asked that they tone down their original claims that the fossil was on the human evolutionary line.

One of those reviewers, Professor John Fleagle at Stony Brook University in New York state said that would be a judgment for the scientific community. “That will be sorted out or at least debated extensively in the coming years once the paper is published,” he said.

“Is Fossil Ida a Missing Link in Evolution?”
James Randerson, The Guardian, May 19, 2009


[D]espite a television teaser campaign with the slogan “This changes everything” and comparisons to the moon landing and the Kennedy assassination, the significance of this discovery may not be known for years. An article to be published on Tuesday in PLoS ONE, a scientific journal, will report more prosaically that the scientists involved said the fossil could be a “stem group” that was a precursor to higher primates, with the caveat, “but we are not advocating this.”

All of this seems a departure from the normal turn of events, where researchers study their subject and publish their findings, and let the media chips fall where they may.

“Seeking a Missing Link, and a Mass Audience”
Tim Arango, The New York Times, May 19, 2009


University of New England paleoanthropologist Peter Brown remains skeptical. He pointed to a story in the Weekend Australian in which one of [coauthor Jørn] Hurum’s coauthors, University of Michigan paleontologist Philip Gingerich, said the team would have preferred to publish in a more rigorous journal such as Science or Nature.

Dr. Gingerich told the Wall Street Journal: “There was a TV company involved and time pressure. We’ve been pushed to finish the study. It’s not how I like to do science.”

“That rings all sorts of warning bells,” Professor Brown cautioned. He said that however it was prepared, the paper did not provide sufficient proof that Ida was the ancestral anthropoid.

“It’s nice it has fingernails, something we have, as do most primates . . . but they’ve cherry-picked particular character[istics] and they’ve been criticized (by other scientists) for doing that.”

“Scientists Divided on Ida as the Missing Link”
Leigh Dayton, The Australian, May 21, 2009


“On the whole I think the evidence is less than convincing,” said Chris Gilbert, a paleoanthropologist at Yale University. “They make an intriguing argument but I would definitely say that the consensus is not in favor of the hypothesis they’re proposing.” . . .

“The PR campaign on this fossil is I think more of a story than the fossil itself,” said anthropologist Matt Cartmill of Duke University in North Carolina. “It’s a very beautiful fossil, but I didn’t see anything in this paper that told me anything decisive that was new.”

Most experts agree that the find is significant, if only for its impressive degree of completeness, but some were put off by the bells and whistles that went along with the publicity campaign around Ida. . . .

“It’s not a missing link, it’s not even a terribly close relative to monkeys, apes and humans, which is the point they’re trying to make,” [Carnegie Museum of Natural History curator of vertebrate paleontology Chris] Beard said.

“Amid Media Circus, Scientists Doubt ‘Ida’ Is Your Ancestor
Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience, May 20, 2009


Many paleontologists are unconvinced. They point out that Hurum and Gingerich’s analysis compared 30 traits in the new fossil with primitive and higher primates when standard practice is to analyze 200 to 400 traits and to include anthropoids from Egypt and the newer fossils of Eosimias from Asia, both of which were missing from the analysis in the paper. “There is no phylogenetic analysis to support the claims, and the data is cherry-picked,” says paleontologist Richard Kay . . . of Duke University. Callum Ross, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois agrees: “Their claim that this specimen should be classified as haplorhine is unsupportable in light of modern methods of classification.”

Other researchers grumble that by describing the history of anthropoids as “somewhat speculatively identified lineages of isolated teeth,” the PLoS paper dismisses years of new fossils. “It’s like going back to 1994,” says paleontologist K. Christopher Beard of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has published jaw, teeth, and limb bones of Eosimias. “They’ve ignored 15 years of literature.”

“‘Revolutionary’ Fossil Fails to Dazzle Paleontologists”
Ann Gibbons, ScienceNOW, May 19, 2009


Science is supposed to be methodical, and usually it is, sometimes to the point of being dull. But there are times when a little hoopla is called for. Major discoveries that rewrite the textbooks deserve big headlines and ubiquitous media coverage and lots of scientific slaps on the back and all that.

The discovery of the “Ida” fossil, announced this week as though the 47-million-year-old lemur-like female were a rock star, seemed at first like one to celebrate.

Today we know better. . . . [T]here are doubts about whether [humans are] really descended from Ida. Problem is, most of the coverage is done, and the public could be left with the impression that Ida is a rock-solid missing link in the human evolutionary chain. . . .

“It’s not a missing link, it’s not even a terribly close relative to monkeys, apes and humans, which is the point they’re trying to make,” said Chris Beard, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. . . .

The debacle started to unfold when the finding, cloaked in secrecy while a media engine was being primed, leaked out in The Wall Street Journal, and then in London’s Daily Mail. Then The New York Times wrote about the media circus that was to ensue. All this was published before anyone but the research team (and its tightly controlled media team) knew the details of the finding. . . .

Ida’s unveiling was highly scripted (with some “Barnum and Bailey aspects,” said paleontologist Richard Kay of Duke University). More important, it can now be said the findings may well have been significantly overstated. We won’t know for sure until further research is done. But if this event causes the public to distrust science and media, that distrust is well placed.

“Ida Fossil Hype Went Too Far”
Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience, May 20, 2009


Dr Chris Beard, curator of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and author of The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey, said he was “awestruck” by the publicity machine surrounding the new fossil. . . .

But he added: “I would be absolutely dumbfounded if it turns out to be a potential ancestor to humans.”

“Scientists Hail Stunning Fossil”
Christine McGourty, BBC News, May 19, 2009

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30 Responses to Ida “The missing link” Primate fossil ‘not an ancestor’

  1. tildeb says:

    Consider:

    2, 5, _, 11,14.

    What is the missing link? Well, following the pattern we choose variables to see if it ‘fits’. The number 8 does quite nicely.

    Now we have 2, 5, 8, 11, 14. A nice pattern, but we’re still missing transitional numbers between each of the given numbers.

    Consider:

    2, _, 5, _, 8, _, 11, _ 14. What is the missing link? Well, there’s still a general pattern. But the question isn’t quite right because we’re missing 4 new transitional numbers. If the general pattern is a difference of 3, then the transitional numbers – the missing links – must be exactly half of that. And that is exactly what we find.

    Now we have 2, 3.5, 5, 6.5, 8, 9.5, 11, 12.5, and 14. Whew! This is getting harder. We have now found five missing links, so to speak. The first was the number 8, the second was 3.5, 6.5, 9.5, and 12.5. But we’re still missing transitional numbers.

    Consider: 2, _, 3.5, _, 5, _, 6.5, _, 8, _, 9.5, _, 11, _, 12.5, _, 14. What is the missing link? Again, the question isn’t really the right one because we’re missing more than a singular link; we’re missing 8 new transitional numbers! If the general pattern holds based on a difference of 3, and the second more particular pattern works wonderfully based on a transitional difference of 1.5, then can we predict the next particular pattern? If you guessed .75, then you’re right. You will need 8 new transitional numbers – the missing links – that all fit the general, as well as the particular, patterns. And what will be your new missing link? 16 numbers. Then 32, then 64, then 128, then 256, and so on. Each missing link will be different in number but associated by a stable and predictable pattern.

    Why all the math?

    Because in evolutionary biology, a ‘missing link’ follows the same patterning structure. Every time a link – usually fossilized – is established that fits the general patterning, two new ones are created on either side on the transitional scale. This is both a good thing and a bad.

    It is bad in that after establishing let’s say 30 transitional fossils that fit the general pattern and 28 transitional fossils that fit the particular pattern between each of the original 30, we still have 106 missing links with no sign of that number ever getting smaller! And that number will continue to grow so that to the uneducated, it may seem our gaps in knowledge are also growing, whereas in fact our gaps although increasing in specificity actually fill in beautifully the predicted pattern. Our knowledge has increased even though our gaps have grown larger in number.

    The good news is that once a pattern has been established, we can predict what kind of fossil to look for, where we might be able find that fossil, in what age and type of sedimentary rock to search, what size and shape, and so on. We can do this because our patterning can be tested in the field. And we have thousands of such examples. The evidence in the fossil record is remarkable considering how unlikely it is for something to be fossilized in the first place and then discovered in the second. A find like Ida is spectacular.

    This testing is what has happened here. We have found what to paleontologists might be another particular transitional fossil but in which pattern: human or chimp? Ida was related to primates because the fossil was missing the lemur’s grooming claw on her second toe and a fused set of teeth called a tooth comb. Hence all the excitement.

    This is where so much media makes a fatal mistake and jumps to conclusions. As soon as you see “Missing Link” in the title of any piece, you know you’re dealing with journalists who are misinformed or writers that don’t grasp the subject of transitional fossils.

    Although without a doubt Ida is a missing link in the sense of it being a transitional fossil between this species and that, the heading makes it seem as if there should or ought to be a single fossil find like Ida should directly link humans to primates. That’s like linking a new find at 2.75 in my math example directly with 12.5. It makes no sense. Looking for a single missing link for humans and primates makes no sense. What we do have is several in a patterned chain and any new find has to be consistent with the general pattern first and the particular pattern second specifically for the human chain. Ida has been found to belong more properly with chimps. That’s not a blow to evolution at all. That’s why science is a discipline: it requires background understanding how causation is determined using best practices upheld by repeatable and falsifiable experimentation. Placing Ida properly in the chimp line is terrific news. The science works.

    I hope you have better understanding of what transitional fossils mean.

  2. tildeb says:

    Here is what Richard Dawkins wrote about the find when all the hubbub occurred:

    Is it a monkey? Is it a lemur? It’s Superlink!

    Darwinius masillae has been classified as an Adapid primate, and it certainly lies somewhere close to the ancestry of anthropoids, but to say that this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is ridiculous.

    Darwin’s theory was confirmed long ago, and in any case applies to all living creatures, not just our own close relatives.

    This fossil has been described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world,’ but the real wonder is the tightly orchestrated and bizarrely exaggerated hype that attended its discovery: “the most important find for 47 million years”; a ‘global event’ that ‘changes everything’; the ‘first ever link to human beings’; the impact of its publication will be ‘just like an asteroid hitting the Earth.’

    Preposterous nonsense, but it is a beautiful fossil which will certainly shed some light on our ancestry.

  3. [“Preposterous nonsense, but it is a beautiful fossil which will certainly shed some light on our ancestry.”]

    Again you want to have your cake and eat it. And that is not possible either they are wrong or they are correct?

  4. [“Although without a doubt Ida is a missing link in the sense of it being a transitional fossil between this species and that, the heading makes it seem as if there should or ought to be a single fossil find like Ida should directly link humans to primates. That’s like linking a new find at 2.75 in my math example directly with 12.5. It makes no sense. Looking for a single missing link for humans and primates makes no sense. What we do have is several in a patterned chain and any new find has to be consistent with the general pattern first and the particular pattern second specifically for the human chain. Ida has been found to belong more properly with chimps. That’s not a blow to evolution at all. That’s why science is a discipline: it requires background understanding how causation is determined using best practices upheld by repeatable and falsifiable experimentation. Placing Ida properly in the chimp line is terrific news. The science works.”]

    Thanks for your example and by the way I like that you use maths, it is mathematicians who were first to raised objection to the possibility of evolution working the way evolutionary biologists suggested. Dr David Berlinsky is one of them. Secondly your argument and example shows only common designer if you talk to Christian who may have big reservations about the Process of Evolution. Also your predictions had to be amended on many occasions, as scientists don’t find what they were expecting hence we have punctuated equilibrium today. This is not criticism, on the contrary this helps ID tremendously and it does show that today we can not be ignorant of the data we read from the fossils. But I say this with great reservation as none of them say made in China in 2,300.000 years ago. They have to be examined, then attempt to date them is made, they are catalogued and then placed in imaginary time order that is imposed on our thinking, which you will have to admit is also not full proof. And then we have to place them where we think they should be biologically. This is not criticism it is only a reminder that we do not have as much understanding as some times we make out to be the case.

    [“I hope you have better understanding of what transitional fossils mean.”]

    Thanks for your explanation, it was very good, but the question is, is it correct? It is only correct if you hold all previous presuppositions that Evolution is correct. I am very grateful for your hard work and appreciate your ongoing contribution here.

  5. tildeb says:

    Please explain the cake analogy and why whatever ‘that’ might be as an either/or.

  6. harry says:

    I love how you open this Defend

    ‘Good news for creation narrative and ID proponents and I’m sorry to say yet more bad news for Evolution, now that “Finally discovered missing link” is discovered not to be the missing link after all’

    Actually its not good news for creationists, its doesnt effect their position at all, as its not evidence for creationism, (like any will ever be found)

    And even if this fossil did mean nothing for evolution, it still wouldnt be bad news for evolution. Even if this animal isnt on our branch of the family tree, evolution is exactly where it was before its discovery, it isnt a blow against evolution.

    Your statement is amusing, its almost as if your commentating on a boxing match.

    Also, your comment about mathamaticians raising objection to evolution. Dawkins the greatest show on earth, which another of your posts criticise, has an excellent chapter on why those mathamatical calcualtions to say evolution is impossible are not applicable.

    I really do suggest you read it:)

    Perhaps you should post all your specific questions and objections to evolution on Dawkin’s forum, they are very helpful there.

  7. harry says:

    ….It actually comes back to what I told you last time. If this wasnt in jest, and you seriously believe that becasue this fossil may not be directly related to us is evidence for creationism, then once again you need to get a solid grasp of basic scientific defintions and process’ before you make these claims.

    Also, consdering this fossil was only just found/analysed, why is it such a big deal that in the process of working on the fossil they have come to various conclusions about it.

    What this is asserting is that, every time a fossil is dug up, if its not related to a human, the evidence for evolution is weakened! Its a proposterous argument.

  8. You completely miss the point here, what I’m saying is that yet again those who make claims and in this case one particular claim that this is a missing link between humans and monkeys can be spectacularly wrong. This is not too hard to understand, on many issues raised on the subject of evolution and claims made by the evolutionary scientists, it becomes clear that these are simply ideas that when looking at the artefacts get interpreted in one particular way because they are preconditioned to think in one particular way. What I find preposterous is the fact that claims are made way before enough work was done in order to understand this fossil. So please stop making excuses it is clear that there is agenda that they are pushing and nobody should pretend otherwise. Your diversion to the issue of other information that supports the evolution is noticeable and your assertion is incorrect, because many such claims have been challenged in the past and found to be rightly questioned by the sceptics.

  9. harry says:

    tildeb answered you well enough in that regard Defend. The media was the one guilty of blowing that discovery all out of proportion. Scientists were excited, some may have said it was one of the missing links.

    However, if it isnt related to us, the fact is, evolutions are having the discussion. They are admitting they might have been wrong on their first assumptions, they are analysing their results again and again. Do you EVER see a creationist doing that?

    You are criticising evolutionists for going through the standard scientific process of questioning evidence.

    No one said it was one of the links between us and apes. IT was a like between apes we descended from and earlier creatures.

  10. Let me just list few things that you should know.

    First of all, whenever I find another case that proves rushed judgement on the part of evolutionary proponents I think it right to post such claims in black and white so rest of the observers could judge it for themselves.

    Second of all I was simply commenting, just like the boxing match, stating what was happening. I like to point out to the fact that these fossils that prove evolution are often simple just fossils that require human interpretation, we have no historical evidence, there is no way to test this in laboratory. (In any case all laboratory examples point to deformities not progress in evolution) and Finally, rather than urge me to check Dr Dawkins blog which I regularly do and number of other atheistic blogs as I consider it important to understand the arguments. Should you not look at the evidence that is presented to you by the opponents with the same kind of eyes? You have obviously made up your mind on who is right, does your arguments are always going to be driven by your predisposition to certain world view. When it comes to the paradigm shift we all agree that like with the Boxing concept you need to serve the knock out punch as you will never win on the points. This is simply because even when new sparing partner may be much better then the correct champion, the champion just has too much respect of the judges.

  11. It means “You can’t have it both ways”

  12. My criticism was in them not waiting for the full research to fully complete and nothing else. Coming out with claims that are speculative is yet again proof that we speculate and build on wishful thinking not real science.

  13. [“Ahem. Your knowledge of evolution is sadly lacking, defendtheword. Or maybe you are unaware that the theory of evolution requires not a single fossil to still be considered a fact?”]

    Yet again I have been misquoted despite the answers to other objectors, you should read them before you go anywhere with this.

    [“Creationsim/ID is not something that provides us with any explanatory power. It is an excuse, a substitute, for the phrase “I do not know but I want to pretend that I do.” It also goes by the name ‘godidit.’ It explains nothing. It certainly doesn’t offer us an alternative framework to explain why the fossils we do find are the way they are, other than a shrug and the utterance of the non answer: godidit.”]

    Thank is your personal opinion, which I consider to be incorrect and is very revealing that you take that position in order to justify your “more sophisticated” theory.

    [“Creationists go after fossils because they can’t fault the ‘interpretation’ of all the other corroborating disciplines. No creationist can explain, for example, why Noah decided to drop all the marsupials off in Australia and New Zealand rather than a few here and there in the Americas and Europe and Asia. Oh…. and god planted all the fossilized bones of marsupials also in Noah’s drop-off zone. Funny, that. How to explain it? Godidit. In just the right rocks with exactly the right half-lives to give exactly the right appearance of evolution, but creationists can’t be fooled by such appearance of evolution by divine plan; they know evolution must be false so they accuse evolutionists of being unwilling to consider the evidence with an open mind and conspiring to interpret everything as if evolution were true! I doubt any have considered that that is exactly the conclusion the evidence – even the evidence planted by god! – leads the rational mind: does this evidence fit with evolution? When the answer is always yes, without any nos, then the creationists say ah-ha! evidence of a conspiracy. Scientists say, Hey, here’s a theoretical framework that always works. Now let’s get busy with the evidence and try to find out where this piece of the puzzle leads us.”]

    You really need to check first what ID proponents are saying before you make such blatantly incorrect statement. You have heard about continental shift that can be used to explain both sides of this argument. So your preferential treatment to evolution project is truly unjustifiable.

    [“Your criticism, defendtheword, is not about waiting for the ‘full’ research. That’s a lie. I already addressed this with the Dawkins quote, which you summarily dismissed as irrelevant because it comes from someone with an atheist agenda. You are so twisted in your own interpretation to force everything to match with your prior beliefs that you can’t see evidence before your very eyes for evolution in action: your daughter.”]

    I can make exactly the same claim about your approach but would it be correct? I have plenty of people criticising my views I wonder how far would you go when put under same kind of attack?

    [“Was she or was she not created by her parents? For once, tell the truth. Maybe then we can work from there.”]

    No she was not created by me, in the same way that anything coming from me is only self referential in any philosophical understanding of the origin argument. I have parents and they have parents and the line goes on, either to the point of monkey or to the God creator there are no more options available. Your argument is so badly put together that I can’t see where you want to go with this. Strictly speaking creating out of the existing material is called constructing not creating, but creating out of nothing is truly worthy of the title of creation.

  14. harry says:

    ” I have parents and they have parents and the line goes on, either to the point of monkey or to the God creator there are no more options available.”

    Actually this is a discussion I had with a very philosophical 6000 year earth creationist.

    He asked me

    ‘What if evolution was suddenly disproven? would you start believing creation? Or would you keep believing evolution?’

    He was obviously opening up a line of attack focused on him thinking evolution was a religion.

    I said…and I have never met a creationist unable to waffle, but I amazingly stopped him in his tracks….it was the first, and so far last time.

    ‘Creationism, has already been disproven…it is not a case of evolution versus creationism, evolution has replaced creationism. If evolution is disproven, we will simply have no idea how life developed’

    It also gets back to my points about fundamental science….

    If you disprove evolution, you do not prove creationism. If in the highly unlikely scenario evolution falls apart, creationism will be in the exact same place it was before. Unprovable religion.

    So…..
    ”there are no more options available”

    There may very well be more options available.

    I can imagine a philosopher 500 years ago saying

    ‘the earth is either flat or its a square…there are no other options available!’

  15. tildeb says:

    You write I have parents and they have parents and the line goes on, either to the point of monkey or to the God creator there are no more options available.

    In a nutshell, this explains why you do not understand the theory of evolution. Man never came from monkeys. That’s creationist disinformation and you’ve bought it lock, stock, and barrel. Such a statement makes you look extremely foolish and ignorant of that which you try to criticize. It means you do not understand what it is you are trying to criticize.

    Evolution has five subsections: population change over time, gradual population change over a great deal of time, speciation, common ancestry, and natural selection.

    Let’s say you understand science and the scientific method. You will take this explanatory proposal, this set of hypotheses and test it. What should you find if each of these areas are true?

    Seriously. Think about it. Determine what kind of evidence you will need to lend support to each hypothesis. Go on. Do it.

    Then determine what kind of evidence you will need to falsify each. Go on. Do it.

    You’re not doing it, are you? It’s hard. At least try.

  16. You write I have parents and they have parents and the line goes on, either to the point of monkey or to the God creator there are no more options available.
    [“In a nutshell, this explains why you do not understand the theory of evolution. Man never came from monkeys. That’s creationist disinformation and you’ve bought it lock, stock, and barrel. Such a statement makes you look extremely foolish and ignorant of that which you try to criticize. It means you do not understand what it is you are trying to criticize.”]

    Can I return the favour and say that you obviously do not understand the implication of evolution you talk about nuances of the process but the fact is that evolution claims that monkeys and humans have common ancestry now that does that tell you or do I need tell you the obvious?

    [“Evolution has five subsections: population change over time, gradual population change over a great deal of time, speciation, common ancestry, and natural selection.”]
    You get 10 out of 10 for telling us the obvious but what you fail to say is that the process you describe had to g through many modifications and refinement often because it was challenged by creationists. On top of that unless you have available time machine and observable method you will always be left with bones and need to interpret the data. Please don’t pretend that it is different to the stated process otherwise you are being very unscientific. Don’t forget that we had punctuated equilibrium incorporated in order to explain sudden explosion of new species and please don’t ignore the fact that there are still many disagreements amongst evolutionary biologist themselves. So I find it amazing that you have such faith in scientists of one persuasion and choose to ignore many who are just as qualified but may hold opposite view.

    [“Let’s say you understand science and the scientific method. You will take this explanatory proposal, this set of hypotheses and test it. What should you find if each of these areas are true? Seriously. Think about it. Determine what kind of evidence you will need to lend support to each hypothesis. Go on. Do it.”]

    I love how you like to portray yourself as fully enlightened but what you should understand that in the same way evolutions will accuse Christians of “knowing all” ignoramuses we can just as much turn the table and point to great inconsistencies and logical fallacies, but we choose to do this in order to help rather than condemn and ridicule.

    [“Then determine what kind of evidence you will need to falsify each. Go on. Do it. You’re not doing it, are you? It’s hard. At least try.”]

    Have you not heard about the observation and documentation of the design in nature by many creationists? Michael Behe and his hypothesis of irreducible complexity is a good place to start. Simply dismissing his suggestions on your part would be equivalent of you claiming I’m not accepting Richard Dawkins world view. However just for your information I have read and continue to read many of his articles and have as a result gained better understanding of what evolution teaches. I may not agree with is but I do understand it well.

  17. I’m just going to say, your argument has no quality of proof and neither does your argument give any credence to the notion that one does not exclude or support the opposite theory when one is found to be incorrect. What you do is being willingly blind to the fact that possibility still exists and this is why evolutionist are pushing so hard this theory. Your argument of 500 years old saying proves the point that you seek deliberate examples that distort the factual truth of modern science and their objections to this theory. You should consider them before so readily condemning them simply because you hate their strategic goals.

  18. tildeb says:

    But that’s the problem, DTW; you think you understand it but you don’t.

    No modern critter’s ancestor is another modern critter. Neither chimps nor monkeys are the ancestor of humans. You say either the chimp is the ancestor or god must be, as if that and nothing else were the choice. That’s a really stupid choice. Nor are humans the ancestors of chimps. Both notions are absurd. The common ancestor must be something else, neither human nor chimp but a critter to whom both lineages can be traced. You think that that critter must be god going Poof! and both chimps and humans suddenly appear. The evidence does not back this up. How we determine what is evidence is by a variety of mutually supportive means, the nuts and bolts of evolutionary biology. Suffice to say, that pursuit is not open to debate because the evidence is completely one-sided and supportive. But the evidence didn’t have to be this way and it was not aligned by scientists to be this way. It just is this way because it is true. Sure, there are many who disagree, but they have no evidence, nothing… NOTHING… to back up their claims.

    Behe is an excellent example: his idea of irreducible complexity was a serious scientific claim, which was taken seriously and thoroughly discredited over time by his peers. He had no evidence. That’s what the Dover trial was all about. Intelligent Design (that relies on irreducible complexity as the cornerstone for its ‘science’) was shown to be without scientific merit. So if you’re reading Behe to support your criticisms against evolutionary theory, you’re going to a source already discredited because it has no evidence to back it up. It has belief, pure and simple. It has supposition, it has assumption and assertion, but it has no evidence.

    And let us recall that evolution to be true does not require the fossil record. The fossil record is just one of the many lines of inquiry that directly supports evolutionary theory as a framework of understanding from where life as we know it today came from. It works, it works consistently well, it is explanatory, it is predictive, it is falsifiable. Irreducible complexity offers us none of these elements.

    You keep referring to a sudden explosion of life, as if this indicated a divine intervention. The phrase ‘sudden explosion’ is misleading because its meaning is in geologic time and the Earth is very old. To compete in time scales, for example, we would need 4,000 complete units of time similar to the building of the pyramids to today to equal the very lowest of estimates over which the length of the ‘explosion’ occurred. That’s a very slow explosion to thee and me. In human generations, that’s about 25,000 full and rich lifetimes one after another to cover the bare minimum ‘explosion’. A lot can happen over that length of ‘sudden’ time. There is a growing body of evidence that the ‘explosion’ actually occurred over a much longer time, somewhere around 100,000 – 200,000 human generations, one following another. ‘Sudden explosion’ is a very relative term and in no way, shape, or fashion, lends any kind of credence to some instantaneous Poof! creation of anything.

    As for punctuated equilibrium, so what? Remember the time scales we are using here. There is no make or break problem between phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. One will probably be the better model for certain kinds of speciations than others.

    There is no evidence-based uncertainty whatsoever in the scientific community that evolution is true. I know that’s really hard for you to get your head around but that’s your challenge. Granted, there are those who disagree with aspects of the current consensus within the framework, and that’s a good thing, but very few who will categorically deny evolution as a framework that always works. And those that do deny it have no meaningful and credible evidence for their stance. Again, all it would take is a rabbit fossil from the pre-cambrian to provide meaningful evidence to the contrary. Again, I know you don’t like it, you don’t want it to be so, but evolution is a fact. Now how are going to cope?

  19. tildeb says:

    harry is absolutely correct to remind you that disproving evolution in no way supports creationism.

    Failing to prove adequately that cabbages are the source of human morality in no way supports those who believe that carrots are the source of human morality. What is the possibility that either cabbages or carrots is the source? Equally improbable. Without any evidence for either? Highly improbable approaching zero.

    How about cabbages or god? Highly improbable approaching zero for both.

    Cabbages versus humanity itself? Lots of evidence for humanity, still nothing for cabbages or god, highly improbable for cabbages and god, a much higher probability for humanity. Throw in evidence from a dozen different avenues of inquiry that all lead back to humanity as the source for human morality (I know! What were the chances?), then the probability approaches 1. Case closed, defendtheword, unless and until equally valid and supportive evidence for either cabbages or god is brought forth, or unless one is so personally invested not in knowing what’s probably true, correct, or accurate, but maintaining one’s belief in the power of cabbages or god that all other considerations and evidence is equally meaningless.

    That seems to be the case here.

  20. [“harry is absolutely correct to remind you that disproving evolution in no way supports creationism.”]

    Actually your assertion is just too blinkered, whilst it may not, there is still scope that when compared to the model of designer theory it may prove a valid help in understanding our progress of understanding the subject.

    [“Failing to prove adequately that cabbages are the source of human morality in no way supports those who believe that carrots are the source of human morality. What is the possibility that either cabbages or carrots is the source? Equally improbable. Without any evidence for either? Highly improbable approaching zero. How about cabbages or god? Highly improbable approaching zero for both.”]

    I am not going to bother with this part as I believe that I have adequately answered this straw man argument on many previous occasions when dealing with your one dimensional understanding of evidence, which is very lacking as you keep on accusing me of the same problem. You should read my answers slowly and take note.

    [“Cabbages versus humanity itself? Lots of evidence for humanity, still nothing for cabbages or god, highly improbable for cabbages and god, a much higher probability for humanity. Throw in evidence from a dozen different avenues of inquiry that all lead back to humanity as the source for human morality (I know! What were the chances?), then the probability approaches 1. Case closed, defendtheword, unless and until equally valid and supportive evidence for either cabbages or god is brought forth, or unless one is so personally invested not in knowing what’s probably true, correct, or accurate, but maintaining one’s belief in the power of cabbages or god that all other considerations and evidence is equally meaningless.”]

    This is very childish and I don’t wont to go any further with this kind of argument, please be warned unless you change your approach I do not feel compelled to repeat same argumentation with you. Once is enough especially if I continue to show you respect, despite your continuous ignorant attitude. There is so much good staff here but you choose to ignore it. I believe I have given you plenty to think about but you choose to dismiss it simply because your group of favourite scientist don’t like the argument put forward by those who oppose their world view.

    [“That seems to be the case here.”]

    Let me just say if you look closely at what I said you should find plenty to challenge you, your choice to find flimsy explanation and then accuse me of not giving decent answer is typical of those who berry their heads in the sand. I maintain that none of your answers have been satisfactory as you keep on changing your story according to the needs you find when confronted with challenging questions.

  21. [“But that’s the problem, DTW; you think you understand it but you don’t.”]

    That is not an argument I can say same about you but I choose to be nicer to you.

    [“No modern critter’s ancestor is another modern critter. Neither chimps nor monkeys are the ancestor of humans. You say either the chimp is the ancestor or god must be, as if that and nothing else were the choice. That’s a really stupid choice. Nor are humans the ancestors of chimps. Both notions are absurd. The common ancestor must be something else, neither human nor chimp but a critter to whom both lineages can be traced. You think that that critter must be god going Poof! and both chimps and humans suddenly appear. The evidence does not back this up. How we determine what is evidence is by a variety of mutually supportive means, the nuts and bolts of evolutionary biology. Suffice to say, that pursuit is not open to debate because the evidence is completely one-sided and supportive. But the evidence didn’t have to be this way and it was not aligned by scientists to be this way. It just is this way because it is true. Sure, there are many who disagree, but they have no evidence, nothing… NOTHING… to back up their claims.”]

    If you share common ancestry with different species at some point in the past you have the same species or did you not know that? Also according to evolutionary process some species have reached their fool potential and therefore stopped evolving good example of this would be sharks or did you not know that? So based on what I just said how can your claim above make much sense? Atheists often accuse Christians using God of the gaps theory, but when Christians point out that same is true of the Evolution of the Gaps they claim that we must use different criteria when we judge one but not the other, why is that? This kind of reasoning sounds very inconsistent to me and very intellectually dishonest.

    [“Behe is an excellent example: his idea of irreducible complexity was a serious scientific claim, which was taken seriously and thoroughly discredited over time by his peers. He had no evidence. That’s what the Dover trial was all about. Intelligent Design (that relies on irreducible complexity as the cornerstone for its ’science’) was shown to be without scientific merit. So if you’re reading Behe to support your criticisms against evolutionary theory, you’re going to a source already discredited because it has no evidence to back it up. It has belief, pure and simple. It has supposition, it has assumption and assertion, but it has no evidence.”]

    What you are saying is just as Reminiscing of evolution in my opinion. Just because one court case dismissed evidence given does not make things correct or incorrect, this again shows twisted logic on your part. Have you heard of a miscarriage of justice? This primarily is the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime he or she did not commit. The term can also apply to errors in the other direction—”errors of impunity”, and to civil case. Most criminal justice systems have some means to overturn, or “quash”, a wrongful conviction, but this is often difficult to achieve. Yes I still think that his argument is stronger not weaker as result of this debate in my opinion it shows wilful blindness to the evidence presented. Fact that some other bacteria functions at the lower complexity is not an issue. What is interesting is that when you have mutation for flagellum it does not do what is supposed to do. And fact that timing is crucial in that process is also overlooked which is mind boggling for someone who claims to be scientifically minded. Lastly this is Behe’s area of expertise and as so often atheists tend to tell me you should use people who have expertise in that area, yet when this is provided they attack one single side of the argument. I strongly believe that if Dr Behe was better at his rhetoric’s than his opponents at that particular case he would have won the argument.

    [“And let us recall that evolution to be true does not require the fossil record.”]

    Oh really so now anything you say will be acceptable, right?

    [“The fossil record is just one of the many lines of inquiry that directly supports evolutionary theory as a framework of understanding from where life as we know it today came from. It works, it works consistently well, it is explanatory, it is predictive, it is falsifiable. Irreducible complexity offers us none of these elements.”]

    Complexity of life and likelihood of design is just as falsifiable but you refuse to except that why do you think this is?

    [“You keep referring to a sudden explosion of life, as if this indicated a divine intervention. The phrase ’sudden explosion’ is misleading because its meaning is in geologic time and the Earth is very old. To compete in time scales, for example, we would need 4,000 complete units of time similar to the building of the pyramids to today to equal the very lowest of estimates over which the length of the ‘explosion’ occurred. That’s a very slow explosion to thee and me. In human generations, that’s about 25,000 full and rich lifetimes one after another to cover the bare minimum ‘explosion’. A lot can happen over that length of ’sudden’ time. There is a growing body of evidence that the ‘explosion’ actually occurred over a much longer time, somewhere around 100,000 – 200,000 human generations, one following another. ‘Sudden explosion’ is a very relative term and in no way, shape, or fashion, lends any kind of credence to some instantaneous Poof! creation of anything.”]

    This is not my saying my friend this is what you find to be bone of contention amongst many scientist, you should know better than that. You are comparing bananas to apples and are expecting me to agree with you. I am saying that according to Theory of evolution this proved to be a serious problem, people who believe in it are still puzzled by it. And rather than tree of life what we see is something different more in the shape of comb laying flat many offshoots starting at the same time. Seal with it, yes there are some time differences between some of them but such multiple burst of life can not be explained away with your argument you still need time. Fact that we lack much of data does not disprove this theory it only strengthens it as what we have points in the direction of new life arising very quickly in the history of earth.

    [“As for punctuated equilibrium, so what? Remember the time scales we are using here. There is no make or break problem between phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. One will probably be the better model for certain kinds of speciations than others.”]

    Right, you pick one over the other whenever you get stuck, well done.

    [“There is no evidence-based uncertainty whatsoever in the scientific community that evolution is true. I know that’s really hard for you to get your head around but that’s your challenge. Granted, there are those who disagree with aspects of the current consensus within the framework, and that’s a good thing, but very few who will categorically deny evolution as a framework that always works. And those that do deny it have no meaningful and credible evidence for their stance. Again, all it would take is a rabbit fossil from the pre-cambrian to provide meaningful evidence to the contrary. Again, I know you don’t like it, you don’t want it to be so, but evolution is a fact. Now how are going to cope?”]

    All I will say at this is that you need to understand human psychology, if you value your intellect and hate to be ridiculed will you put your neck on the line by saying you have reservation about evolution. Just look at some of the web sights I have included here by recognised scientists and you will see how much ridicule they have to put up with. Don’t be deceived, your statement about evolution being fact is as much of a fact as me being King of England. Look at the complexity of DNA why are we still debating such density of data in such small place and, why we are constantly having to say, (even amongst evolutionist) it looks designed but it is not. I am sorry for disagreeing with you, but to agree with you would be to lie to both of us. Evidence is just not that strong and data that is “explained” is always used by the minds that are governed by different world views. Until you understand these basic principles of workings of human mind we will always be disagreeing on this issue.

  22. tildeb says:

    I find nothing you have suggested to challenge me because you have not offered up evidence that can withstand justified criticism. I have attempted to show you by explanation and analogy why attempting to discredit evolution in no way justifies creationism. Rather than grasp the point because it is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT, you assume that because I use the words ‘cabbages’ and ‘carrots’ in that analogy that my point is somehow childish. It’s not. It’s central to revealing the inherent weakness in creationist belief: there is no evidence to back it up other than with revelation, assumption, and assertion. That kind of evidence is not testable. It is not falsifiable. Like I pointed out with the carrots and cabbages analogy, saying that something is true does not make it so. Saying creationism is true does not make it so any more than asserting that carrots are the source of morality does not make it so. The quality of the claim remains equally stupid. Something more is needed. In evolution, the ‘more’ is a compilation of evidence overwhelming in its support for the explanatory power of the theory. Believe it or not, such evidence matters in that it supports with evidence that the proposition is probably true, probably accurate, probably correct. That counts for far more than simply asserting that evolution is true. Assertion is not evidence.

    Likewise, attempting to knock down evolution as so many creationists make a very nice living trying to do – even if they were eventually successful – does not support creationism. That is not an illogical point, defendtheword. It is not a childish point. It is not an irrelevant point. It is a CENTRAL point you continue to fail to address with anything other than more assertions. But we know that assertion alone does make something true. To spell it out one last time for you, the essential criticism in this thread that you keep missing over and over again is that belief in creationism is not bolstered by pretending that evolution is somehow lacking.

    Actually, to be honest, it cannot be a question of you somehow missing this point repeatedly because both I and Harry have brought it to your attention several times in different ways hoping (in my case) to break through your obtuseness. To remain that dense must be an act, an intentional avoidance tactic you are using while claiming that I and others who fail to believe in evidence-free assertions ‘berry’ (sic) our collective heads in the sand.

    Now here’s a post you’ve made about a particular fossil being recategorized in the record. Woo hoo. You have used this report as if it somehow disproves or draws into question the theory of evolution itself which it clearly doesn’t and is in fact evidence that somehow weakens the case for humanity evolving from an earlier species which it doesn’t and brings into disrepute the notion of interpreting common ancestry by so-called ‘experts’ which it doesn’t, and you do all this to supposedly bolster the proposition that therefore we should consider a belief in creationism to be at least as true, as credible, as our ‘belief’ in evolution. That’s complete nonesense, of course, because your argument is based on a very poor understanding of what the post actually reveals: the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry. That’s actually a great strength of the scientific method of inquiry, Defendtheword.

    So here’s my challenge to you once again: prove that if evolution were ever to be found utterly misguided and completely false, then how would this supposed failure of evolution support the assertion that creationism is true?

    And if your response is some kind of empty headed godidit or godsaiditwasso assertion, then I shall with great relief bid you adieu.

  23. tildeb says:

    That second paragraph should not read But we know that assertion alone does make something true. It should read But we know that assertion alone does NOT make something true.

  24. [“I find nothing you have suggested to challenge me because you have not offered up evidence that can withstand justified criticism.”]

    This goes vice versa so you will not see any tears on my part here.

    [“I have attempted to show you by explanation and analogy why attempting to discredit evolution in no way justifies creationism. Rather than grasp the point because it is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT, you assume that because I use the words ‘cabbages’ and ‘carrots’ in that analogy that my point is somehow childish. It’s not.”]

    Without meaning to be rude about it can I just say that you should try harder next time your arguments are not new and have been disputed successfully many times and I believe that many of the examples you will find on this blog offer good answer to your comebacks.

    [“It’s central to revealing the inherent weakness in creationist belief: there is no evidence to back it up other than with revelation, assumption, and assertion. That kind of evidence is not testable. It is not falsifiable. Like I pointed out with the carrots and cabbages analogy, saying that something is true does not make it so.”]

    What do you call complexity of our eco system when you mess with one part and then this affects all the other bits in it, what do you call careful positioning of the earth in its distance to the sun? Gravitational influences of both sun and moon that govern our tidal changes and magnetic field that protects us from overexposure to radiation and these are just some of the very obvious. You can dismiss this by saying it is all chance but what gives you that right then to question me when I say that it is carefully planed blueprint we can observe? Why is your assertion better than my? This is in my opinion pure ignorance combined with arrogance and deliberate refusal to consider the data. As I keep on saying it is like Homer Simpson shouting from top of his voice and closing his eyes and shutting his ears and saying “If I don’t see and I don’t hear it then it is not true. Why is it OK to have theory that is full of gaping wholes but when Christians give you plentiful information with some minor information missing you accuse them of using God of the gaps theory but same rule is not applied with Evolution and Atheism?

    [“Saying creationism is true does not make it so any more than asserting that carrots are the source of morality does not make it so.”]

    Thank you very much for making this point so clear I often use this argument myself, I am not sure if you got this from reading my other comments but note this: as a Christians I have duty to others and myself to look at all the information and in my humble opinion information is just that much more persuasive that God was involved in making sure that environment was hospitable enough for life to take roots on this planet we call home.

    [“The quality of the claim remains equally stupid. Something more is needed. In evolution, the ‘more’ is a compilation of evidence overwhelming in its support for the explanatory power of the theory. Believe it or not, such evidence matters in that it supports with evidence that the proposition is probably true, probably accurate, probably correct. That counts for far more than simply asserting that evolution is true. Assertion is not evidence.”]

    Look I don’t know what gives you right to make such claims that is down right wrong. You refuse to look at the information that Christians give you again and again, as I said this to you earlier, this is Homer Simpson syndrome in my view.

    [“Likewise, attempting to knock down evolution as so many creationists make a very nice living trying to do – even if they were eventually successful – does not support creationism.”]

    I have never received one single penny for any of my work so please don’t blame me for that, secondly what about people like Richard Dawkins they have become multi milliners, not to talk about many books that are clearly not encouraging people to think for themselves i.e. they belittle people as soon as they don’t agree with them. Talk about intellectual bullying. One would have to be incredibly stupid not to notice obvious tactics used by people that have nothing better to do then use insult in order to make themselves feel better about their miserable lives. Often this is caused by bitterness that they carry from their passed as they themselves used to be bullied as children.

    [“That is not an illogical point, defendtheword. It is not a childish point. It is not an irrelevant point. It is a CENTRAL point you continue to fail to address with anything other than more assertions. But we know that assertion alone does make something true. To spell it out one last time for you, the essential criticism in this thread that you keep missing over and over again is that belief in creationism is not bolstered by pretending that evolution is somehow lacking.”]

    Actually may I say that your logic is lacking here, if Evolution is incorrect in some of their presupposition which you so skilfully avoid to acknowledge (That they are presuppositions not provable other than same as ID collect evidence and give interpretation on the material collected) then guess what? likelihood that ID is possibly correct is increased or does your knowledge of probability and statistics does not stretch that far?

    [“Actually, to be honest, it cannot be a question of you somehow missing this point repeatedly because both I and Harry have brought it to your attention several times in different ways hoping (in my case) to break through your obtuseness. To remain that dense must be an act, an intentional avoidance tactic you are using while claiming that I and others who fail to believe in evidence-free assertions ‘berry’ (sic) our collective heads in the sand.”]

    What are you doing, can’t you see that I keep on putting up with your insults, you accuse me of being stupid, but you fail to notice that all you said is actually condemning precisely everything that you said??? To simply make statements like you do is to ignore information that is readily available either here or other places that are directly linked to this blog. And then you call me willingly blind and deceitful???

    [“Now here’s a post you’ve made about a particular fossil being recategorized in the record. Woo hoo. You have used this report as if it somehow disproves or draws into question the theory of evolution itself which it clearly doesn’t and is in fact evidence that somehow weakens the case for humanity evolving from an earlier species which it doesn’t and brings into disrepute the notion of interpreting common ancestry by so-called ‘experts’ which it doesn’t, and you do all this to supposedly bolster the proposition that therefore we should consider a belief in creationism to be at least as true, as credible, as our ‘belief’ in evolution.”]

    And you accuse me of misunderstanding or hiding facts, I just wish that you paid more attention to what I say when I respond to you and others. My comment is related to overblown claims, and giving one clear example was to reinforce that which I stated. And if you have one such claim what is to stop me believing that evolutionist go on making things up, deliberately masking things out by using technical lounging and omitting to say that there are constantly serious disagreements even amongst themselves. Talk about dishonest approach to scientific work. I am ashamed to say too many times people simple accept “facts” that are made up, just think about South Korean scientist who claimed that he was successfully cloning animals, sound familiar or do you not pay attention to such things? scientist have pride to contend with same as you and me.

    [“That’s complete nonesense, of course, because your argument is based on a very poor understanding of what the post actually reveals: the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry. That’s actually a great strength of the scientific method of inquiry, Defendtheword.”]

    Utter nonsense, this is only done because there were many ID proponents claiming precisely what was confirmed by others. Even a child could see that when you could not hide your crime it is better to come out clean.

    [“So here’s my challenge to you once again: prove that if evolution were ever to be found utterly misguided and completely false, then how would this supposed failure of evolution support the assertion that creationism is true?”]

    Here is my counter question to you, how could you dismiss ID if statistically this pushes their chances up by diminishing possibility of evolution. And not to mention that God could have used process of evolution but as I keep on saying for this to happen it would have to had significant help from God otherwise things would just not line up correctly. We are dealing with historical data and analysis of bones we superimpose our ideology upon the information and then we give ourselves big clap on the back saying clever me stupid creationist. This is simply not how science should work, if we continue to see complexity and if evolutionists continue to say it looks designed but it is not. Then the question needs to be asked what is driving them to come to such conclusion. We have already touched on Punctuated equilibrium and I am aware of your position but does it answer my question, no! it does not! in fact it only serves to support my view that people shut their eyes and skip over the facts they don’t like.

    [“And if your response is some kind of empty headed godidit or godsaiditwasso assertion, then I shall with great relief bid you adieu.”]

    Again you claim that you are man of science and intelligent person who is seeking, which I don’t doubt you have proven your capability to look for information that supports your world view. Question is if you are genuine about what you claim to be your view on seeking the truth. We have been through this, I have pointed out to you issues of complexity and reluctance of some atheists to accept Big Bang theory precisely because this opens the door to that question that all was created from nothing (Virtually nothing) and that all this observable matter was once possibly part of 10 dimensional world, part of which did disappeared very soon after big bang. (Now we have only 4 dimension including time) Now that we have this staggering data and now that this is generally accepted amongst modern scientists yet you are happy to dismiss that there is a possibility of creator? In the world where Big bang is possible and multi universe is speculated about and when there is no possibility of crossover with the information could we not say that we truly could need higher being which we could rightly call God? I am staggered how frequently people claim to be scientifically minded yet they miss the obvious negligence on their part to look at the data scientifically. Sorry but like you said we seam to have exhausted our arguments simply because we have shut the door to full influence of the science upon our lives and by that I mean that we really don’t know everything, that we should be humble enough to admit that despite the perceived enormity of anyone’s knowledge we still have so much more to learn. But somehow this escapes people who believe that we already have all the answers we need. I find that completely dishonest and deliberately misleading and very, very bad for anyone’s personal development.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

  25. tildeb says:

    “What do you call complexity of our eco system when you mess with one part and then this affects all the other bits in it, what do you call careful positioning of the earth in its distance to the sun? Gravitational influences of both sun and moon that govern our tidal changes and magnetic field that protects us from overexposure to radiation and these are just some of the very obvious. You can dismiss this by saying it is all chance but what gives you that right then to question me when I say that it is carefully planed blueprint we can observe? Why is your assertion better than my? This is in my opinion pure ignorance combined with arrogance and deliberate refusal to consider the data.”

    Oh look: a butterfly. It looks designed so there must a designer. Therefore god. Therefore Jesus. Therefore Christianity. That butterfly is ‘evidence.’

    I can’t imagine why this line of thinking might be criticized. That’s a real puzzler.

    Oh look: a lottery ticket with the winning number! One chance in 67,000,000. Almost zero probability. Can’t be random that it is the winning ticket – the odds are just too unlikely – so therefore we now have ‘evidence’ of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent supernatural being.

    I can’t imagine why this line of thinking might be criticized. That’s a real puzzler.

  26. Two things you should note, one your attitude is stopping you from understanding and seeing the whole picture. Secondly your example of lottery ticket is only valid when you have one single accidental line-up of information. When this is done hundreds of times in nature I think you are justified to think that there is a designer involved in this process or did this slip your mind? More and more your arguments sound like excuses to me rather than real counterarguments that would serve searcher in illuminating new information that may change my view. Your random billion upon billion possibilities is further reduced when you understand that universe is obeying same set of rules therefore reducing the amount of options available to you in order to create multiple choice of options from which nature could choose. We know that Universe is not that hospitable to life and needs great deal of help, e.g. precise location of planet, to its parent star, magnetic force of the planet, etc. etc. when this inner core was corrupted on Mars we know that this probably reduced possibility of life existing now on the Mars quite drastically. You could go on making fun out of these facts but you will not answer this satisfactorily by ridicule you need more robust and insightful approach to this question. Can I say that we need to upgrade this discussion or otherwise we are going to continue going in circle and continue with insults.

  27. harry says:

    Defend, do you not see that pointing to earth being in the exact correct place for life is a lottery in on itself. WE have now found 300+ exo planets, so in our corner of the universe we already have 300 tickets. And this planet is only suitable for life as we know it. There could be a planet much closer to its sun with life adapted for extremely hot environments. You must see that is exactly what tildeb is talking about. a lottery.

  28. Well I am not surprised that you two agree, however when I attempt to point out and say “you have time, plus chance and random matter equals evolution you say no, no”. But more importantly I am absolutely astounded that we can talk about this issue so flippantly and expect people just to nod their heads in agreement with you. You like to use chance and that is fine, I’m guessing we can all believe in love at first sight also, but for marriage to work you need patience and plan on things that you will agree upon. Can you not see that your theory is not any better than what I had for my theory? I am aware of many who theorise how life may have evolved in a very hot environment and we see life near hot vents at the bottom of the sea. But what they fail to explain that this observed life is complex and has remarkable similarity to other forms of life living elsewhere. So we are again going towards adoptability rather than deriving life from hostile environment. I myself just like you have been following with great deal of interest discoveries of many new planets. However you and I need to accept that many of these are indirect observations and that there are many who are basing their views on significant gestimates. We have to be careful not to overstate anything either way in our argumentation and fact that there may or may not be life elsewhere does not prove or disprove God. On the contrary you only move the question from Earth to the new location. So such preposterous claims only serve to muddy the water, what one needs to do is cut to the chase and ask the same old question, what, when, where, how, why did it all start like it did and without using his/her predefined philosophical ideology look objectively, and that goes for both sides of this arguments and examine evidence presented in way that does not gloss but critically examine both sides of the argument.

    This idea of life starting is just small part of the question, life continuing to exist is completely different and not to mention life “evolving” to the complexity we see it today. One has to be extremely ignorant of all the obstacles we encounter not to notice that we are indeed lucky to be here to ask the question. If the life on earth proves to be the only intelligent life in this universe, then I have to say this would only serve to show how precise conditions have to be preset / pre-programmed for life to start moving upwards from simple to more complex. Let’s stop pretending, let’s look at the information without simply dismissing others simply because their information does not fit with our theory. Rather consider what is influencing you, are there any potential unwelcome ideas that are infiltrating your world view that you are simply not taking account of? You should consider that, this is after all what Atheists are constantly saying Christians should do, should they not taste some of their own medicine? So in conclusion let’s stop being pretenders pay attention to all parts of the argument, don’t simply dismiss the opposition because you don’t like where this information may lead you.

    After all if you are to be open to science in the way you venerate it, should your thinking not be open to their full reach philosophically i.e. which demands that everything is possibly until eliminated through testing and observation but even then we need to question mechanism of our experimentation and the constant search continues until we have multiple verification of what we are presupposing from differing aspects of our search program. Again and again I am surprised how confidently people come out with claims that have no basis in science, but they will give me information that is completely unrelated to the subject. Bit like a student who does not know the answer to the required questions, but never the less he submits irrelevant information on to his exam paper in hope that the professor may be impressed with his knowledge of some other topic. This is how we continue to move away from the main problem and to pastures new and so “proving” that we know best. Before we move on to the new topic we need to answer first question otherwise we build on hot air and ignore the issue by hiding our heads under the sand of avoidance.

  29. tildeb says:

    DTW, please read this entire entry before jumping to conclusions mid way through the post and responding to each point as if they existed in isolation. It’s important.

    “when I attempt to point out and say “you have time, plus chance and random matter equals evolution you say no, no”.”

    Then let me explain with an example closer to home.

    You have a daughter. She was created from nothing. Well, not quite nothing; there was a biological process involved. A single sperm fertilized an egg. That fertilizing sperm was one of many millions ejaculated into a time and place that was just right, that contained all the necessary pre-conditions for fertilization to take place and then occurred to allow fertilization to take place. The ‘chances’ of that single sperm to be the fertilizing agent was perhaps one in 50 million. Highly unlikely. Almost impossible. Yet it happened. Is this a miracle? Well, from a probability standpoint, each and every fertilization and implantation and development step leading to a successful childbirth seems so unlikely that it is often confused with being evidence for the miraculous. As parents, we often feel this sense that human life itself is both fragile and miraculous, which is perfectly understandable… especially when we understand mathematically how unlikely the entire fertilization to birth process is to yield a healthy newborn. But is it a supernatural event? Does human progeny give us evidence for a supernatural design agent? I don’t think so because we have a perfectly reasonable biological understanding of all the processes involved and our understanding requires no supernatural agent. Although fertilization seems so unlikely, it does not mean fertilization is a random process. It occurs every minute of every day all over the globe, so much so that this highly unlikely event is actually common place because of the numbers of occurrences involved.

    From a single simple egg fertilized by a simple single sperm comes a being today of some 150 trillion cells working in tandem to create something that looks designed, namely, your daughter. You see a single entity but biologically each of us is a swarm of related and mutually supportive cells, almost all of which live and die repeatedly throughout our lives. These cells are quite different – a liver cell is not a brain cell – yet all come from one cell! How is this possible? Well, stem cells are special little critters, eh?

    The code for how cells live and die and interact rely on genes. The genes in your daughter are a direct descendant of a shuffling of your genes and your wife’s. Notice how I intentionally use the word ‘descendent’ rather than ‘replica.’ So why isn’t your daughter made up of exact replicas of you in part and your wife in part? Why do her ears look more like yours (let’s say) than your wife’s but without the hair? Perhaps her ears look nothing like either of her parents but a spitting image of a grandparent’s? Why not a replica? The answer is a key element of evolution. Although your daughter’s genes are roughly 99.999% equivalent to a mixture of her parent’s genes at fertilization, she has some mutations. We call these mutations ‘random’ but they occur within a very ‘designed’ framework, namely, the collection of genes from you AND your wife. So although we can call the mutations random, they occur within very strict guidelines. That does not mean one of her genetic mutations is an elephant and another a kangaroo; it means there are differences in her DNA code than let’s say a brother’s code.

    Random changes occur.

    More importantly, your daughter has developed since fertilization and this development has been influenced by her environment pre-and post birth. Her development has been similar but different from yours and similar but different from her mom’s. Believe it or not, your daughter is a living example of evolution in action. She is from you and your wife but neither you nor your wife nor some pure replica of a mixture of both. Over the next 20,000 years, her progeny and let’s say a brother’s progeny will be remarkably different from each other after such a great deal of time has passed as each of these tiny alterations are passed on generation after generation even though both daughter and son come from the identical ancestry.

    This is where so many creationists stop understanding evolutionary effects. They say, “Well I understand that small changes can be passed on through generations but that doesn’t explain why you (scientists) think humans come from monkeys! Humans come from humans.”

    It is the understanding of common ancestry that throws off a good many people. Few of us can truly grasp what a million or a 200 million years of evolution can yield and this is where other evidence is so powerful.

    If we can determine that direct progeny usually yields a transference of nearly but not quite 100 % of genetic material shuffled from both parents, then what should we expect to find over, let’s say, 10 generations? Well, it’s reasonable to expect to find the average genetic difference between one generation and the next and multiply that by ten. Guess what? That’s what we find. But ten generations is next to nothing in evolutionary time frames for people. Your daughter is not expected to grow some physiological feature from a different species. So how many years are we talking about for 10 generations? 600 years? Do you have any idea where a scientist could find your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother and establish how much genetic drift has occurred? Probably not. I don’t. So working strictly with human physical ancestry regarding evolution is full of very real problems.

    Welcome to the world of fruit flies. Each generation is about 24 hours and they make excellent subjects. Following the genome of fruit flies over hundreds and thousands of generations reveals evolutionary trends. Different wing coverings. Different colourations. Different sizes and number of offspring. But still fruit flies. Fish have been shown to evolve in fewer than 10 generations due to predation and stream bottom types. So too do viruses evolve. Granted none give live birth to cats or alligators, but they do show genetic change when strains are split from each other and exist in different conditions. In the lab we can show evolutionary change in viruses and some critters. No supernatural creator is necessary to explain this biological process. By extension, the working hypothesis for the evolution of humans is that over a very great deal of time our species was separated from our brothers and sisters by geography and need and developed differently.

    How can I make such a claim?

    This is where genetics is such a powerful investigative tool. You have no doubt heard that monkeys and humans are genetically different by about >3%. That >3% requires about 4 million years of genetic drift from a common species separated at about that time. That creature’s full genetic code (100%) should make up about the same 97% of our code that is shared by monkey’s. That would be our common ancestor. What might it look like? Well, it should have the same physical features common to both monkeys and humans. We are getting closer. We have found several intermediate human-like critters for both humans and monkeys that share 98% of their genetic codes, 99% of their genetic codes, so imagine the excitement if a critter was found that looked like it may be the common ancestor? Turns out, it wasn’t. It’s another intermediate, but closer still. This kind of work is what evolutionary biology looks like in action, arriving late on the scene (today) but trying to work backwards to explain all the evidence (finding that common ancestry for all critters of the world).

    There are many criticisms of particular aspects of evolution. These are tests for the theoretical framework and, so far, each has been satisfactorily accounted for. There are no theory breakers, such as the oft cited rabbit found in the pre-cambrian. There are ideas like Intelligent Design that sound more plausible than evolution to many, but unless and until evidence that establishes its explanatory superiority is offered and accepted by peer reviews, the working framework remains evolution. Its power lies in its ability to explain, predict, test, and yield consistent results. ID fails on all these accounts save for explanation. That’s why it is considered junk science. It remains assertion. The flagellum example introduced by Behe has been shown to be wrong. Complex systems DO combine from other bits.

    But before I go off on this tangent and allow myself to drawn into dealing with a thousand and one quibbles about evolutionary specifics, let’s return to your daughter.

    You will notice that she is significantly different in biological complexity than when she was a zygote, an infant, a toddler. Is this not evidence for a supernatural agent ‘causing’ her increasing complexity? No, it is not. She is undergoing an increase in complexity that can be explained in strictly biological terms. We do not need a supernatural agent and allowing for one answers nothing.

    But imagine a large and well funded group of people who step forward and insist that your daughter HAD to be created by supernatural means, that her development was testament to the benevolence of a supernatural creator, that in fact unless you discard the conspiracy of biologists to fool you into thinking she is a natural product of biology and environment, you cannot be moral. You must be unethical, an intolerant, strident, militant god-denier if you allow human physiology rather than belief in a creator to be the prime agent of human reproduction.

    Now take a leap: if you were a professional doctor of human physiology, having studied complex human biological processes to the point of being able to use all the tools and advanced specialized knowledge to help women with physiological impediments to become pregnant through the use of modern science, and had to argue with these faith heads that what you understand has a basis in explanatory knowledge of human physiology and well established with real world cause and effect that can be successfully predicted and tested and falsified and established as fact in a consistently meaningful way everywhere and at all times, then I suspect you would not be quite so ready to call the doctors’ insistence on what offers every hallmark of what’s true, accurate and correct to be called ‘ignorant’. Just the opposite, I would hope. They’ve earned their knowledge and know what they are talking about. The faith heads have not. They have assumed their explanation without informing it with what’s testable, falsifiable, and predictive and do not know what they are talking about regarding physiology.

    In addition, the faith heads have not earned the right to actively interfere with the subject practiced by these doctors. Nor would you be willing to stand by and allow the faith heads to insert creator theories of human reproduction into physiology courses, as if there existed a ‘controversy’ between the ‘believers’ of human physiology and the believers in human creationism by a supernatural agent. And when you came across well-intentioned people assuming that the subject was actually open to debate, you would feel obligated to point out the vacuous basis on which the creator belief was established compared to the knowledge base offered by understanding human physiology and reproductive biology. There is no room for both to be correct, no middle ground to tolerate the creationist belief along side understanding human physiology.

    That is exactly what is happening with the ‘debate’ about evolution. There is not debate. Evolution has proven itself to be a comprehensive theory that explains how life evolves. It works. It works in every aspect of understanding change over time.

    Evolution is not concerned with abiogenesis, the beginning of life. We can assume that it must start with protein chains and that it involves a catalyst of enzymes. RNA looks very promising but until we can create life in the lab under conditions similar to the known geology of 4.2 billion years ago, then scientists don’t know. Faith heads know, because their knowledge is simply belief and that’s good enough for them, but science is a little more discriminating, a little more insistent that for us to know something requires more than stating something must be so.

    Nor is evolution concerned with the creation of the cosmos. Evolution explains how life evolves and the evidence is overwhelming. Even faith evolves.

    Hopefully, your daughter will evolve and continue to change throughout a long and meaningful life. The more she passes on her knowledge to the next generation, the better able they will be to continue to evolve. Our world needs more of this kind of informed change than the entrenched ignorance that faith provides to meet the challenges of the evolving world.

  30. I have posted my reply into a brand new Post as this is becoming rather large entry. You will find my reply under:

    https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/creation-evolution-debate-between-friends/.

    Title of it is “Creation Evolution debate between friends”.

    Hope you don’t mind the title, I.e. I consider our disagreements to have been friendly exchanges of differing opinions. Hope this tells you something about my attitude and our ongoing exchanges. In fact anyone who is so persistently and patiently prepared to continue with my strong disagreements will be always more than welcomed into my circle of friends. I do understand though for the friendship to exist you need both side to want it, but at least I’m happy to offer hand of friendship, this is only fare after all of your kind effort.

    Kind regards

    Defend the word

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