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Questions For Creationists - Atavisms And Genetic Leftovers

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#21 JayShel

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:59 PM

Hi everyone, sorry I can’t reply too quickly but I am quite busy these days. There are some good points you guys made! I will try to address…

“Above in bold is the current understanding/paradigm of evolutionists, but this evolutionary tree is not set in stone. Let me explain. If you DID find an bird with mammary glands, or a whale with feathers in the fossil record, then your understanding of HOW "evolution happened" would change, and so would the diagram. This pursuit of a fossil outside of current paradigms would not falsify evolution, so it is a dead end for creationists, and so you are just dangling a carrot.”

I agree to a point, but there are two important points to make here. The first is that yes, the theory of evolution, like all sciences, can change as new observations are made. This is why I am more inclined to trust it than religious creation accounts - evolution can correct itself it it finds itself to be wrong, and consequently get closer and closer to the truth. Creationism, like any faith based belief, cannot, because once written, the scriptures are forbidden to be changed. If it is wrong at the start it will remain exactly that wrong, forever. Even you cannot escape the conclusion that the vast majority of faith based beliefs are wrong, for you do not believe the creation accounts of the Egyptians, the Norse, the Mayans, the Aboriginal Australians, the Hopi, the Mbombo, the Ngai etc. the list could go on for some time! Seeing as these accounts are all mutually exclusive, you must admit that at the very least most faith based accounts are wrong. And since they must be taken on faith and already have what they believe to be the whole story they do not look for more evidence. I have heard some people argue that science is always changing but the Bible is forever therefore they do not trust science. However while they see the mutability of science as its weakness, I see it as a great strength. Simply put, if you are wrong in science, you can change your mind so that you are right. This is why science and reason gradually get closer and closer to the truth with each new discovery while faith stays exactly the same distance from the truth as it always was, unless of course it happened to be right all along. This is why I distrust faith - not faithful people but the principal of faith itself. I hope I haven't offended Christians here, because I have nothing against people who honestly believe that Christianity is the way because they have weighed up the evidence and really think that it's the best fit. Hey if that's the case I want to hear from them because I might be wrong and in that case I should change my mind! What I don't agree with is the principal of picking a predetermined position and then defending it against any and all evidence to the contrary, and this is as far as I can see, exactly what Creationism is and does. If you think I am wrong here and that Creationism is science, then can you give me an example of how Creationism could change or has changed in the light of a new discovery?


Both creationists and evolutionists make attempts to unlock the truths of an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. We do this by examining forensic evidence, and creationists also use historical testimony (as would a court of law in similar circumstances). When there is a discrepancy between the data presented, there is obviously a flaw somewhere, and we differ on where the flaws exist;

Christians believe that the Bible was revealed by God the Author of truth, through human beings, and so it has no flaws. We believe that flaws must exist in human interpretation of the Bible in applying it to scientific truth, and the scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data.

We are justified in believing that the Bible is accurate historical testimony (based on secular historical writings, archaeology, and anthropology). It has also revealed scientific truths thousands of years ago that were not known or even testable until recently. Other holy books cannot withstand such scrutiny.

You reject a supernatural God from the start (which is actually disproved scientifically by the discovery that our universe is finite, therefore requires a cause. Also DNA is a code that stores data, is read, and translated, and codes this complex are always indicative of an intelligent being creating them). Under your presupposition, the Bible is not a revelation, but just a book. You therefore believe that there must be flaws in the Bible, in addition to interpretation of the Bible and scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data. I am not offended by your choice. God saw it fit to give you free will. I just think that you are throwing out the wrong data based on a personal preference to be in charge of your life, instead of a God who knows what is best for you.

Your premise that Creationism needs to change in order to be scientific is false. In order to be scientific, it must be scientifically testable, and it is; many scientific hypotheses are drawn from the testimony of the Bible. Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified. Some are based on what some people may think the Bible is implying, and given less certainty. These would just require modification of our understanding/interpretation of the Bible, which has been done before. Many flood models have been posed but they continue to be revised when new data arises. So creationism gives rise to scientifically testable hypotheses, so your claim that “creationism isn’t science” is false.

The second point is that while evolution is changeable, there are some changes that would force so drastic a revision that I don’t think we would even call it the same theory anymore!


I think we are just mincing words here. No, drastic revisions have been made in the past; Darwinian evolution, Lamarckian evolution, neo-Darwinian evolution. There has been gradual evolution, and punctuated equillibrium, yet all have borne the name evolution. The day people stop using the term evolution is the day Jesus Christ returns to earth. I don't see the relevance of this particular discussion point to the overall discussion anymore. I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

“You have essentially prematurely halted investigation (or curiosity) into possible biological functions of these traits in-utero, and stated "these features have no biological purpose" so you can claim victory for evolution. As I pointed out in post #7 this is an argument from ignorance, which is a logical fallacy:”

I called them leftovers yes, but that’s because they look very much like what I would expect a genetic leftover to look. While I fully agree that an argument from ignorance is not a good argument, I disagree that what I said constitutes one.


Your choice to disagree with my statement does not make me wrong, so I wish you had given proof instead of changing the subject (red herring):

Take a hypothetical situation here - suppose every single tenet of evolution was proved wrong tomorrow - mutations were found to be impossible, natural selection was proved not to exist, the earth proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be 6000 years old and Angels descended from heaven to hand out fresh copies of genesis to everyone in the world (note I am not saying Creationists believe all these things, but it would certainly wreck evolution, which is all I’m trying to suggest here). Now suppose I were to say “Look, I still believe that everything evolved.” You challenge me to justify my claim, and I reply with “We don’t know how it evolved, but if you say it didn’t, that’s just an argument from ignorance!” and while I might technically be right, no-one would take me seriously.


Squirrel?! This hypothetical situation doesn't prove that I used the term wrong. Please point out where in the definition of an argument from ignorance (that I posted last time) that my usage does not fit.

The claim of “argument from ignorance” has its limits. I maintain the burden of proof rests on those making the positive claim, and I would therefore challenge you to come up with a use for the ear muscles in whales which in most mammals are used to move external ears.


Somehow you keep trying to twist this back around on me. Rather than admitting that you are wrong, you posed a new situation, and a new question to change the subject (red herring x 2). If you are asking for a plausible reason that whales have muscles in their head that would normally be found in animals that have ears, in order control those ears, then I would admit I don’t currently know:

Some deep-diving whales, like orcas, can change their internal ear pressure to match the pressure around them, which helps them hear much better.
LINK


My ear muscles can change pressure on my ears, causing them to pop, so perhaps ( I really have no expertise, but am asked to pose a guess) the ear muscles have something to do with this changing of internal ear pressure. Do I win the prize?

If I were a biologist researching whales, it would be a good subject to investigate. The burden of proof is on you to prove your positive truth claim that “there is no biological use for these muscles; therefore they are genetic leftovers of evolution”.

“Similarities between different animals and grouping and classifying them is being presented as evidence of evolution. But we could find similarities between all kinds of things on earth and classify them into some kind of tree, despite the fact that they were designed.”

Not in the same way. This is one of the main reasons I don’t think life was designed – if you make a phylogenetic tree out of designed objects it does not look like the tree of life at all. For example, you might start making a tree of cars from the invention of the first car through the early designs of various manufacturers, however I guarantee you they would not fit a hierarchy of derived traits. You might start off with a base form which has an engine, transmission to 2 rear wheels and drum brakes. This could “evolve”, if you like, into a number of early cars which used this setup, each on their own branch of the tree. They continue to evolve as different manufacturers play with their designs. Then, one of the manufacturers invents disk brakes. They’re fitted to one car on one branch of the car tree of life. They are, however, much better than drums and soon every manufacturer is using them in their new models even though their old models didn’t have them. A similar thing happens when air conditioning is invented – it rapidly spreads to all the branches. Real life evolution cannot allow this. It would be like if the first birds evolved feathers and the mammals decided “hey, that’s really good insulation, we should get those too!”. Bats especially would find them useful, however they do not have them. Designers can and do use this method in real life, however evolution could neither produce nor permit it. This is why I don’t think the phylogenetic tree of life looks designed – when we apply the same principals to objects we know have been designed (by humans) it does not work. Phylogeny is one of the ideas I find most convincing about evolution, and for this reason. It looks exactly like a family tree, and not like the artificial trees we can construct from items which were designed.


Poor analogy, but that is not why your assertion doesn't hold up. Your analogy is poor because it is an example of multiple intelligent designers, which is not the Creationist view, we believe in a single designer. Even within a single car company there are multiple designers.

Your assertion doesn't hold up because an intelligent designer could either choose to make completely different creations, or choose to make creations with similarities. Similarities actually allow them to interface/interact/influence each other on many levels (ecological, genetic, molecular) so it makes sense to choose to make creatures with similarities.

#22 JayShel

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:58 PM

Hey all! First time poster here. Sorry to join the party late but this has developed into a pretty interesting discussion!

Some pretty solid points made on both ends but I feel that there may be some misunderstanding as well.


While birds do have bird-like tails and dinosaurs have dinosaur-like tails, I think the point being made here is that
genetic information is retained and passed on for many generations, so while certain traits are expressed phenotypically in
certain organisms (i.e birds), their genotype also reflects their ancestry (i.e dinosaurs). In terms of many animals
having teeth - they certainly do (and many different types for that matter), but I think the main point being made here is that
Baleen Whales do not have teeth yet they carry the genetic coding to produce them. Intelligent Design states that all living things on the planet should in theory, inhabit a niche they were designed for, being equipped with the tools needed to cope with their environment. This leads me to wonder why a designer would
include this type of unnecessary and extreme baggage, unless a mistake was made in design? From an evolutionary perspective, it makes
sense to see the presense of these unused genes in whales (and many other organisms for that mater), as geneticists and zoologists have theorized that whales share a common ancestor with land dwelling mammals that would have used teeth, ear muscles, etc. Hard evidence of this can be found in the fossil record which can be further backed up genetically, through the molecular clock, which demonstrates the genetic relationship between whales and land mammals.


It doesn't make sense that a feature with no biological function would not get corrupted by mutation, since there is no consequence of its removal from the organism through mutation. Also, many "vestigial" structures have been disproved. Somehow reading the words "hard evidence" don't have the impact that you might imagine. Can you give more details, perhaps a link?

My idea is that the Creator created beings with a sizeable variety of traits in their DNA in order to allow them to adapt to new environments knowing that The Fall would happen, the Flood would happen etc. They have since specialized; mutations and adaptation to specific environments have removed some of that variety.

As Jayshel mentioned earlier, there are often instances when the expression of certain traits may not serve an obvious roll. A good example can be found in the appearance of feathers in the fossil record, which are considered an exaptation in modern birds today: the first feathers were found in flightless dinoasaurs, probably for thermoregulation or S@xual selection. Smaller dinosaurs that retained this trait after the mass extinction may have used them to aid in locomotion over short distances or perhaps to assist in hunting down flying insects (again by gliding over short distances. See Archaeopteryx). In any case, we see feathers in birds today because they have inherited them from an ancestor.

Nice try sliding in that “macro-evolutionary” evidence in there. Do we know that birds evolved from dinosaurs? Well lets see, the first evidence (Archaeoraptor) was a huge embarrassment to National Geographic because it was a hoax, so they had to recant. It was a dinosaur tail and a bird body. http://www.answersin...cheoraptor-hoax You cite the Archaeopteryx as the next new hopeful of transitional forms between dino and bird. Let’s take a look:

… the reptile-like features are not really as reptile-like as you might suppose. The familiar ostrich, for example, has claws on its wings that are even more “reptile-like” than those of Archaeopteryx. Several birds, such as the hoatzin, don’t have much of a keel. The penguin has unfused backbones and a bony tail. No living birds have socketed teeth, but some fossil birds do. Besides, some reptiles have teeth and some don’t, so the presence or absence of teeth is not particularly important in distinguishing the two groups.
More importantly, take a look at the individual features of Archaeopteryx. Is there any clue as to how legs evolved into wings? No, none at all. When we find wings as fossils, we find completely developed, fully functional wings. That’s true of Archaeopteryx, and it’s also true of the flying insects, flying reptiles (pterodactyls), and the flying mammals (bats).
Is there any clue in Archaeopteryx as to how reptilian scales evolved into feathers? No, none at all. When we find feathers as fossils, we find fully developed and functional feathers. Feathers are quite complex structures, with little hooks and eyelets for zippering and unzippering them. Archaeopteryx not only had complete and complex feathers, but feathers of several different types! As a matter of fact, it had the asymmetric feather characteristic of strong fliers.
http://www.answersin...cfl/vertebrates

So this is unequivocally a bird fossil. Sorry.

If we saw them in distant flying relatives such as bats or winged insects, there would be a problem seeing as they do not descend from dinosaurs.

Actually my assertion was that if you saw feathers in bats, you would say that they branched off close to birds, and rodents would have branched off from them too, or a number of other suppositions such as the high probability of DNA based organisms to evolve similar traits, such as eyes, wings, legs, etc. Your tree diagram would change, maybe your explanation of how evolution happened, but you would still have faith in evolution.

As for the whale example, there really doesn't appear to be an apparent use for the vestigial ear muscles. Your idea of the teeth being used in the development of the jaw I admit is unfamiliar to me, especially because most mammals see their milk teeth erupt well after they are born and the jaw/mandible is fully fused, but if you have some type of literature that supports this I'm interested.

It was just a random guess to support the idea that such a trait may have a function after all. We have seen this play out in history, past predictions of “vestigial structures” posed by evolutionists such as the appendix, the tail bone, the pituitary gland, the tear glands, the tear ducts, the spleen, the pancreas, we have learned that these ALL have important functions, so he needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the traits mentioned have no biological function before he can make that claim. Besides, given evolutionary predictions, traits that serve no purpose would disappear anyway, because they have no consequence if the genes mutated and the trait was no longer present.

#23 gilbo12345

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:57 PM

I was told in first year by my evolutionist lecturer that archeopteryx was a transitional fossil... It was funny since the last Biology lecture was with a scientist that studies birds specifically and he stated the new evidence has put archeopteryx is in fact a dead-end form of a bird.

It seems that even some scientists (not just lay people), are a bit slow to grasp new evidence and their meanings. (Text books are even slower- will probably take 20 or so years)

#24 JayShel

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:16 PM

Just thought we could use some pictures in this thread:
Archaeopteryx (bird)

Posted Image

Posted Image

  • Classical elliptical wings like modern woodland birds.1
  • Fully-formed flying feathers (including asymmetric vanes and ventral, reinforcing furrows as in modern flying birds).1
  • A large wishbone for attachment of strong muscles responsible for the downstroke of the wings.
  • The same unique avian lung design with air sacs and one-directional airflow,3 totally different from the bellows-like lungs of a reptile.4
  • A brain like a modern bird’s, three times the size of that of a dinosaur of equivalent size. The brain even had large optic lobes to process the visual input needed for flying.5
  • An inner ear with a cochlear length and semicircular canal proportions in the range of a modern flying bird’s. This implies that Archaeopteryx could hear in a similar way, and also had the sense of balance required for coordinating flight.5
http://creation.com/...m-the-beginning



Pakicetus, whale ancestor? (bones found in blue)

Posted ImagePosted Image
no actually it looked more like this:

Posted Image

Ambulocetus, whale ancestor? (bones found in yellow, found after whales had evolved, crucial parts missing)
Posted Image

read more here:
http://creation.com/...ormations#whale


As noted earlier about the National Geographic article, a handful of traits supposedly showing a trend in cetacean-ear evolution had been selectively highlighted.26 Not mentioned are the large bodies of contrary evidence, consisting of numerous anatomical details that show no consistent trend towards ‘whaleness’. There is a whole suite of features, found in archaeocete whales, which are believed to have become (conveniently) ‘secondarily lost’ (or ‘reversed’) in the Odontocetes and Mysticetes.52 Keeping in mind the extremely conservative nature of all of the above estimates, it is plain to see that any connotation of ‘cetacean lineage’ (e.g., Figure 2) is totally artificial. The supposedly progressive character of cetacean evolution (aural as well as non-aural) is completely unwarranted.
(bold added)
http://creation.com/...s-do-they-exist


Whale ear evolution, and whale evolution in general, no actually all fossil evidence for evolution has been cherry-picked, suppressing contradicting evidence also found within the fossil record. Embarrassing hoaxes are often swept under the rug or even kept in school textbooks.


Posted Image
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#25 JayShel

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 03:12 PM

Not to mention that just because a organism has a feature that they no longer use does not mean that they evolved from a completely different organism (land to sea), it just means that something in their DNA is less useful to them now than it was in the past. If the structure becomes so unnecessary that it disappears, this would be devolution not evolution. An example of this is the human appendix. People argue that it may not be as necessary given higher population density, therefore they call it vestigial (see wikipedia), but this means that it became "vestigial" recently, long after they assume we "evolved" from apes.

#26 gilbo12345

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:02 PM

Not to mention that just because a organism has a feature that they no longer use does not mean that they evolved from a completely different organism (land to sea), it just means that something in their DNA is less useful to them now than it was in the past. If the structure becomes so unnecessary that it disappears, this would be devolution not evolution. An example of this is the human appendix. People argue that it may not be as necessary given higher population density, therefore they call it vestigial (see wikipedia), but this means that it became "vestigial" recently, long after they assume we "evolved" from apes.


Actually it isn't vestigial as far as university physiology is concerned. It plays an important role providing a reservoir of the good bacteria that we require in our intestines (for digestion), so that in the case of diarrhea or over use of antibiotics the good bacteria can re-populate the gut.... A great design of foresight if you ask me. However its function is non-critical meaning that whilst it is useful, if you have it taken out then you aren't going to die.

http://www.abc.net.a...ix-organ/693946

However pertaining to evolutionary wants and despite the evidence people still claim them as vestigial... (another good example that wikipedia is to be taken with a grain of salt)
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#27 jason

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:25 PM

and you know it when its about to rupture. yes it does have a function.i dont get evos. i was taught, nature is all about waste not want not.

#28 Darwin's Goldfish

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:47 AM

Hi everyone, I can see there have been a lot of good posts! Thanks for your points, I will address as best I can…

- “weak analogy on cars as ns has no purpose the car designer has a purpose. building a car and one that will sell.”


Natural selection doesn’t have a “will” like the car designer, who wants to make a car that will sell. It is however, a fact of nature that is inevitable as long as organisms compete for their share of a finite number of resources. Some will be better at surviving than others.

jason - “not really, at beast only to american cars but each car also has slight variations to deal with power and stopping.

honda automatics arent automatics at all but solenoid controlled manual with a eprom that does the shifting for you. this design last longer. it also has a torque converter. there are myraids of designs that are used in ac compressor.

hardly a tree if we did it that way.” [emphasis added]


That’s the whole point. Whenever you have complex objects such as cars which we know were designed, they can’t be arranged into a tree with a hierarchy of derived traits. If you made your tree based on say what type of brakes a car had you could make one tree, but if you used a different feature like what type of radio it had or how many cylinders, the trees would be all totally different. In nature, we can use just one gene to make a phylogenetic tree of several organisms, and then we can take a completely different gene and get the same tree. Better than that, we can use something other than a gene, morphology for example or derived features such as feathers etc. as mentioned earlier, and you get the same tree again!

  • “Baleen whales have attachments for their balleen. Theses attachment points develop first and are mistakingly called teeth.
  • Whales, like elephants, have huge ear bones that allow them to hear ultra low frquencies from miles away.
  • Hair is a mammalian trait and is not unexpected that whales would have hair.
  • The reproductive bones of whales could not be a vestigal pelvis unless the spinal chord seperated in two and fused back together at a later time.
  • In short, not a single one of these traits is unexpected, vestigal, or atavistic.
Enjoy.”


Can you give references please? Also, I was talking about the muscles used to move ears, not ear bones. Furthermore, the “reproductive bones” do seem very much to be a vestigial pelvis, as evidenced by the discover of one with entire leg bones attached to them! If these bones aren’t from a pelvis then why were they growing legs? See http://daphne.paloma.../whale_legs.htm

- “This is a complete missundertanding on your part. You are assuming the development of cars follows the evolutionary model. It should be conspicuously obvious, since I am a creationist, that it is the creationist model that I base my argument on!

Obviously, I could design a broad range of products that I develop and market simultaneously, not over a range of years with different designers competing against each other!

For example, let's say I develop different kinds of pots, differnt kinds of pans, various knives, forks, spoons, other objects related to cutlery and kitchen utensils all at the same time (the creationist model).

How hard would it be to arrange these things in some kind of logical structure and claim that the existence of changing trends in design over time is evidence that these objects developed?

By cleverly arranging these object in the way I want ot arrange them I can form the kind of trees that support my theory.

Kitchen utensils is an incredible simplification and the "branches" would therefore seem a little forced. But having millions of different organisms to play around with it would obviously make the task much easier.”


I don’t mean to offend but I think you actually misunderstood my point. I was saying that when objects are designed, they don’t fit a phylogenetic tree. It doesn’t matter if they were designed all at once or years apart – we see them in the world all at the same time, today. It is the same with life, we base phylogenetic trees on organisms we see alive today. The point is that designed objects today don’t fit hierarchies of derived traits, but living things do.

- “that is why ones world's view and the evidence is taken in a bias to the naturalist or creationist. both are by faith. one has more logical truth and constinancy to it,whereby, the other in general operates under "deep time" and has such a strong paradign that it cant be dismissed despite the evidence.

i tried to make the case with my brother who is an ocer.”


I try not to have presuppositions, or if I do for them not to get in the way but if I do I’m always thankful to have them pointed out so that I might correct them. However I disagree that the concept of deep time “can’t be dismissed despite the evidence”. What evidence is there? All of it I’ve seen so far points to deep time being a very real thing. We have light from sources millions or even billions of light years away, implying millions or billions of years for light travel time and therefore a millions or billions of years age for the universe. We have radiometric dating (including isochron dating which was specifically designed to avoid the starting assumptions and to detect if the sample has been contaminated), there are vast amounts of varves and sedimentary rocks which to the best of our knowledge take huge amounts of time to form, polar ice cores recording hundreds of thousands of years into the past, a calculated age of the sun of 4.5 billion years (based on the amount of heavy elements it has fused and its rate of fusion), the rates of continental drift and seafloor spreading which line up with the models of the earth’s magnetic field and its reversals in the past and with radiometric dates, etc. the list goes on. I’m not aware of any evidence that contradicts this “deep time” and as I have just mentioned, there is a lot that supports it. Perhaps I have been miseducated. If so please tell me how, but if not please don’t say that I have a paradigm that “can’t be dismissed despite the evidence” if there isn’t any evidence I could use to dismiss it.

- “The assumption you make here seems to lean toward the conclusion that the Bible is wrong to start with.”


I made no such assumption, we should avoid assuming it is right or wrong at all. If we are interested in the truth we should pursue it using reason, which is the best and only way we have of finding it.

Otherwise you wouldnt settle on something else that you obviously know is almost guaranteed to be wrong, even though you believe that is is "improving".

Yes, science is imperfect. The difference between science and faith is that science can improve if it is wrong.

Later on in your post you name other religions as if that alone was evidence that the Bible is not a trustworthy document.


I agree it’s not evidence of any such thing, I was just illustrating that at the very least most faith based accounts are wrong, and they have no way of improving. This is why I do not accept things on faith alone – there must be a reason.

Shouldn't every document stand on its own merits? In this regard the Bible is completely unique in the claims it makes and the way in which it validates its claims. If you know of any other documents, secular or religious, that competes with the predictions and fulfillments made by the Bible then please present them.

Also there is an incredible flaw in your reasoning that is
very difficult to detect.

Even though it might seem to be a watertight case to claim that since science "corrects its mistakes" inevitably it brings you "closer to the truth". Actually, there is NO guarantee that this is so.

Any number of "truths" can lead anyone in the wrong direction.

It depends on the number of "truths" you possess in relation to the number of truths that you are not aware of.

It also requires that your interpretation of these truths is also correct.

But it doesn't even stop there, because there is actually nothing preventing you from incorrectly interpreting millions and millions of isolated "truths" upon one assumption that happens to be false.”



Science works. I know it doesn’t have all the facts and it never will, it just has a lot of them. That’s why the scientific cure for leprosy works, for example, but the cure found in the bible (a strange combination of rituals, ceremonies and animal sacrifice – found in Lev. 14) does not. When we put them against each other, science has caused untold advances in knowledge and the quality of life, but faith has done no such thing. I’m not claiming that faith is bad – I know it can help a lot of people and if people take it to heart they can be inspired to do great things. However it is not – and cannot be – the way to gain knowledge. It might be true right from the start, but if it isn’t, it never will be. If you've got a better way of finding the truth I'd certainly like to hear about it!

“It has also revealed scientific truths thousands of years ago that were not known or even testable until recently”


Such as?

“You reject a supernatural God from the start (which is actually disproved scientifically by the discovery that our universe is finite, therefore requires a cause. Also DNA is a code that stores data, is read, and translated, and codes this complex are always indicative of an intelligent being creating them). Under your presupposition, the Bible is not a revelation, but just a book. You therefore believe that there must be flaws in the Bible, in addition to interpretation of the Bible and scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data. I am not offended by your choice. God saw it fit to give you free will. I just think that you are throwing out the wrong data based on a personal preference to be in charge of your life, instead of a God who knows what is best for you.”


I appreciate your concern, and let me assure you I don’t discount God a priori. There might even be a good reason to infer that there is a God (first cause argument, fine tuning argument etc), and this is something I have been reading a lot about recently because I think it’s a very important topic. I do think, however, that even if we could make a very good case for a God, it would still be the job of theists of whatever creed to demonstrate that it was in fact their God and not any of the others. I happen to think that all these gods are manmade. This is why I don’t accept any particular religion in the world today. Even as a Christian, you would probably have to accept that humans have a strong tendency to invent gods, and that religions arise naturally out of human psychology. Peoples throughout history have believed in Zeus, Thor, Isis, Quetzacoatl, Vishnu, Ra, etc. however you do not believe that these gods exist. They must therefore have been manmade. So many different religions have developed in so many cultures that I think you have to accept that even if yours isn’t manmade, all the others are, because yours specifically declares itself to be the only true one. Humans have been inventing gods and religions all over the world for thousands of years. If there is a true one I should certainly like to know because I would of course join it, so perhaps you can answer the question that would help identify the one true religion. What makes yours so different?

- “Your premise that Creationism needs to change in order to be scientific is false. In order to be scientific, it must be scientifically testable, and it is; many scientific hypotheses are drawn from the testimony of the Bible. Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified. Some are based on what some people may think the Bible is implying, and given less certainty. These would just require modification of our understanding/interpretation of the Bible, which has been done before. Many flood models have been posed but they continue to be revised when new data arises. So creationism gives rise to scientifically testable hypotheses, so your claim that “creationism isn’t science” is false.”


This is a good point, however I would argue that the only places creationism can change are where scripture doesn’t give details or where there is room for interpreting it differently, for example Genesis doesn’t say whether the tectonic plates subducted during the flood or if there was a change in decay rates and a series of rapid magnetic reversals or anything like that. I wouldn’t expect it to – these things weren’t known of at the time. Where it isn’t scientific, however is where it does give firm details. For example the flood had to be global, or those on the ark were the only survivors etc. You mentioned that “Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified”, could you give me an example?

- “The burden of proof is on you to prove your positive truth claim that “there is no biological use for these muscles”


That’s a negative claim. In order to prove it, I would have to think of every conceivable use a muscle might have, and then show that these muscles don’t have any of them. It’s an impossible task. In order to prove it wrong, you just have to come up with one use, and show that these muscles fulfil it.

- “Actually my assertion was that if you saw feathers in bats, you would say that they branched off close to birds, and rodents would have branched off from them too, or a number of other suppositions such as the high probability of DNA based organisms to evolve similar traits, such as eyes, wings, legs, etc. Your tree diagram would change, maybe your explanation of how evolution happened, but you would still have faith in evolution.”


Actually this would be very hard to explain, I’m not sure the tree could be made to fit at all. This is because if we classified bats with birds, we would have to explain how they developed mammary glands and placentas without inheriting them from the mammals which are on a different branch. If we kept the bats in with the mammals, we would have to explain how feathers evolved twice. Either way it wouldn’t work – that’s the whole point. There are so many ways the phylogenetic tree could be falsified but it never has been, to my knowledge. That’s why I think that it’s such a good piece of evidence.

In fact, it gives us a fantastic way to potentially falsify common descent. If creation of separate kinds really happened, there must be many organisms which aren’t evidently related to others. I’ve heard common descent referred to as the tree of life while creationist models (allowing for some post flood diversification) look more like an orchard, with many separate trees, each consisting of a “kind” and all species descended from it. In that case, is there any test we could do to identify these individual trees, and break apart the huge evolutionary tree into smaller ones? For example, can you tell me if my housecat is related to (shares a common ancestor with) a bobcat? And if it does, are both of them related to the Chinese mountain cat? And are all of them related to leopard cats? And are all of them related to the cougar? How about the caracal? Or the cheetah? If all of them are related, are they also related to the true big cats, lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards? Are all of them related to the extinct sabre-toothed cats? Are all of them related to all feliforme carnivores such as hyenas or viverrids? Are all of them related to all the carnivora order, including dogs, bears, seals etc? Can you tell me where you draw the line, and more importantly, why?

#29 jason

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:06 AM

simple an deep time is also like dogma

1) the docs that found the cure for ulcers tested empirically their hypothesis and it worked and they were rejected
http://creation.com/challenging-dogmas

#30 ikester7579

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:21 AM

Here are some sources on the whale features I mentioned:
Baleen whales with embryonic teeth:
http://www.seaworld....acteristics.htm
(see point no.7 on baleen whales)
http://creationwiki.org/Baleen_whale
(in the introductory paragraph)


And what exactly does this prove?

Whales with embryonic hair
http://marinelife.ab.../whaleshair.htm


And there are fish that can grow plants and look like plants, does that means they evolved from plant life? You see your conclusions, just like every other evolutionist that comes here is that evolution is a absolute true proven fact that is also a biological law so all evidence conforms to it. Logic dictates that word and assumption plus conformism does not equal new truth and realities.

Whales (specifically dolphins, which are classed as a type of whale) showing embryonic hind limb buds
http://www.edwardtba...hind_limb_buds/
(scroll down about halfway)
http://whitelab.biol...0and%20Hall.pdf
(page 449)


There are "people" that grow horns on their heads. Does that mean there common anscestor was Satan?

Whales with muscles for moving their nonexistant external ears:
http://books.google....epage&q&f=false
(see page 83)


If you are underwater can you hear? Again this is an assumption based on evolution being a proven true fact and a biological law. Well, is it?

Then please do so. Can you tell me why these animals have these features?


Easy. It was already written in their DNA from the Creator.

Since you think new information is as easy as pie to where evolution just explains everything. Please show us the observable process in which new information not only gets written, but some how gets written correctly so that what ever is forming forms correctly and works correctly?

So how many steps would that be? Can you list the process then show us? I did not think so. Which proves everything you posted is based on the "assumption" that evolution is true, Can you define truth scientifically? I laugh just thinking about you squirming to answer that last question.

#31 ikester7579

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:32 AM

Good responses everyone, correct me if I am wrong but essentially you are saying that these features might have functions of their own (in which case it would make sense that a designer included them) or that they are leftovers from some kind of de-volution (perhaps like the eyes in cave salamanders)?

I will have a go at answering some of UppsalaDragby’s questions:

"I also think that the idea that a land animal would turn into a sea dweller is incredibly far-fetched. What did it do? Go wading into the ocean untill its legs fell off? What could possibly make the sea so attractive to a land animal that instead of continuing to evolve on land like the rest of us, suddenly changed its mind and went back to swimming around in the sea long enough to sprout finns and so on?
It could hardly have been due to diet, because it would be much, much, much, much more likely that a land-dweller, that obviously already could sustain itself with the food on land, would continue to find food on land sooner than it would turn into a whale."

Evolution is driven mainly by the environment that an organism finds itself in. Environmental pressures such as a shortage of food on the land, an abundance of food in the water, a new predator arriving on land etc. could drive other animals into the water. It would necessarily have been fairly gradual, our hypothetical land-whale certainly wouldn’t have been fully terrestrial one minute and then taken up a fully aquatic lifestyle the next, only to have to wait a few million years while its fins and tail flukes developed. If whales did indeed evolve from land mammals it would have had to have been in stages - after the fully terrestrial stage it would have been a partially aquatic stage (otters live this kind of life today), and then something more aquatic still, with a lifestyle more like crocodiles or sea lions, and then an even more aquatic like true seals (which are very awkward on land) and eventually severing all ties with the land and becoming fully aquatic.

"Animals have a variety of evolutionary survival alternatives - they could run faster, change diet, climb up trees, climb down trees, produce toxics that make them unidible, camoflage themselves and so on..."

That’s true, and indeed most animals tend to do these sorts of things rather than return to the water. Even according to evolution the number of animals that have returned to the water is quite small (whales, seals and their relatives, manatees, turtles, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and to an extent marine iguanas are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head) while the number of animals that just adapted better to the land would be almost countless. Still, the existence of partially aquatic animals today makes me think it is certainly possible, and I think these leftovers support that.

"But all of these alternatives demand a great number of steps in one particular direction to achieve. What makes them go in that direction, and that direction alone, long enough to evolve specific traits?

At what point in the evolution of whales did the direction change from sea-to-land to go back in the other direction."


Well to be specific, the fossil evidence points to whales taking to the seas around 50 million years ago. For comparison, evolutionists believe that the first vertebrates that took to the land would have been primitive amphibians around 360 million years ago, so the ancestors of whales would have been living on the land for a long time before they returned to sea.

"Why then and not earlier?"

Very difficult to say, as evolution depends largely on environmental factors, it might have simply taken that long for a suitable situation to arise, probably one in which food shortages on land drive animals to forage in the water.

"At what point in human development did evolution drive us to climb up trees, only to do a 180 degree turn and get us to climb down again? It seems that evolutionary development can change direction at any time at all. What determines the direction?"

Unfortunately, although evolution is very good at making “retro-dictions” - things like "I bet if we dig here, in rocks of this age, we can find a fossil of an animal with these features" - it isn’t very good at making predictions of which direction an animal’s evolution will take. For example if a population of mammals were isolated in a cold environment, we could predict that they would become better adapted to the cold but not how it would happen. They might grow longer fur, they might get larger in size (thereby reducing their surface area relative to volume), they might alter their behaviour by huddling together for warmth, etc, but we wouldn’t know which of these directions, if any, they would take. It might depend on what mutations happen more often (is long hair more likely to arise than larger body size) etc. So to answer your question, the direction is largely determined by the environment.

Now, the reason I think these features are better explained by evolution is that they only appear in the kind of pattern that evolution predicts. According to evolution it is perfectly OK for a baleen whale to have the genes for making teeth because they evolved from an ancestor who had teeth, and the same goes for hind limbs, body hair, external ears etc. What we should NOT find are the genes for making feathers for example, or arthropod-style exoskeletons, because whales did not evolve from an ancestor who had either of these features. Have a look at this simplified phylogenetic tree:

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/rsrm2

Now, if would be perfectly OK if birds had the genes for making teeth and long, dinosaur-like tails, because they evolved from dinosaurs which had teeth and long tails. What we should NOT find are birds with the genes for making mammary glands or placentas or anything like that, because birds did not evolve from animals with these features. These features are on a completely separate branch of the evolutionary tree. Evolution says that its fine to inherit features from further down the trunk of the tree, but you can’t inherit features directly across from other branches. It’s not so much the raw similarities and differences in animals as it is the pattern they fall into, which is a perfect nested hierarchy. We could even derive some more rules just by looking at this tree, for example: no arthropod can have feathers, or mammary glands, or a placenta. We know this because those features appear directly across from arthropods, not below them on the trunk. A feature right at the base of the tree could be something like a brain, which all the animals on this tree will have because the animal at the very base of the tree had a brain. Not all animals have them of course, jellyfish and sponges for example do not, because they branch off even earlier than arthropods, before brains evolved. This nested hierarchy is a very powerful tool for explaining evolution and is one of the reasons I think these genetic leftovers speak more strongly in favour of evolution than design.


Loss of information is not real evolution. This is because evolution is about progression not regression. We evolve to get better, not worse, right?

So when fish lose their sight in a cave it's because the organ and the nerves being used are not being used so therefore they quit working. If you put your arm in a sling and quit using it and it becomes no longer functional, is that evolution? If a nerve to your legs get pinched and you are no longer able tp use them. Is that evolution? What needs to be proven is if the DNA information is being removed or turned off.

Evolution would require the DNA information for the eyes in the fish that live in the cave to be totally gone to where the eyes could never ever work again future generation. otherwise it only proves that DNA for the eyes is either on or off. No new information removed or added.

You see that's the thing. Evolutionist not only depend on implying and believing evolution is an absolute true proven fact, but also to use visuals to convince themselves and others that it's true. While all along never really going after the evidence that would really backup prove their theory which is DNA. We know the fish had eyes, so is the DNA for eyes still there? We do not know that the Dolphins had legs. DNA for legs would prove that they did. You guys always fall short of really proving anything.

#32 gilbo12345

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:38 AM

Not only is new information in the DNA required also mechanisms of understanding that information.

This is mostly applicable to the creation of DNA, however it is a good revelation that makes the DNA question much harder to answer.


If I said something to you in English that contains information
Yet if I said something in German, it wouldn't (lets assume you don't know German lol)
Hence what I said in German may contain information, yet it doesn't contain information for you since you do not recognise it nor do you understand it.

Therefore in terms of DNA not only does information need to be explained but also the mechanisms by which that information is interpreted, read and translated also needs an explanation. Thus adding more burden of proof on the evolutionist.

#33 JayShel

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:34 PM

“It has also revealed scientific truths thousands of years ago that were not known or even testable until recently”

Such as?


Glad you asked:

An Expanding Universe:
The prophet Isaiah who lived almost 3,000 years ago stated
"It is He that . . . stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in." [40:22]
Scientists are beginning to understand that the universe is expanding, or stretching out. Scripture clearly tells us At least seven times that God stretches out the heavens like a curtain.

Space is Empty:
In ancient times it was variously believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant or even that a mythical Atlas supported the pillars that held heaven and earth apart, and/or carried the earth around on his shoulders (Where he stood while doing so presents an interesting conundrum). However in what is probably the oldest book of the Bible, Job, living in an ancient culture that knew nothing about space or planets, asserted that God hung the earth on nothing (1500 B.C.) or, in other words, the earth free floats in space.
"He stretches out the north over empty space; he hangs the earth on nothing [Job 26:7]
A fascinating tidbit from scientific history makes the first part of this verse even more telling. Until very recently scientists believed space consisted of a hypothetical substance called Ether. Note the following from Eric Weisstein's World of Science [All Emphasis Added]
Ether, or luminiferous Ether, was the hypothetical substance through which electromagnetic waves travel. It was proposed by the greek philosopher Aristotle and used by several optical theories as a way to allow propagation of light, which was believed to be impossible in "empty" space.
It was supposed that the ether filled the whole universe and was a stationary frame of reference, which was rigid to electromagnetic waves but completely permeable to matter. Hooke endorsed the idea of the existence of the ether in his work Micrographia (1665), and other several philosophers of the 17th century, including Huygens, did the same. At the time of Maxwell's mathematical studies of electromagnetism (in the 1860’s), ether was still assumed to be the propagation medium and was imbued with physics properties such as permeability and permittivity.
In 1887, a crucial experiment was performed by Michelson and Edward Morley in an attempt to detect the existence of the ether. The experiment, named the Michelson-Morley experiment in honor of its authors, shocked the scientific community by yielding results which implied the non-existence of ether. This result was later on used by Einstein to refute the existence of the ether and allowed him to develop special relativity without this artificial (and non-existent) constraint. [3]

... And There are Quite a Few of Them:
The first star catalogue was compiled by the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century ad. Called the Almagest, it listed the names and locations of 1,028 stars. However, because of telescopes such as the Hubble, we now know that...
Stars are not spread uniformly across the universe, but are normally grouped into galaxies along with interstellar gas and dust. A typical galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars, and there are more than 100 billion (1011) galaxies in the observable universe. While it is often believed that stars only exist within galaxies, intergalactic stars have been discovered. Astronomers estimate that there are at least 70 sextillion (7×1022) stars in the observable universe. [Wikipedia].
But didn’t God already say that?? [All Emphasis Added]
God said to Abraham 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.'(Genesis 15:5)".
'As the host of heaven (stars) cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant (Jeremiah 33:22).
"Therefore from one man, ...were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude-- innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (Hebrews 11:12)"
“The Bible asserts that the stars are innumerable (Genesis 15:5, Genesis 17:7, Hebrews 11:12). This does not necessarily mean that we are incapable of mathematically expressing their number. It means that no human has the ability to count them individually so as to achieve their sum. It is claimed that there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone. If stars were counted around the clock at one star per second, then it would take over 3000 years just to count these. Add to this the fact that there are as many as 100 billion galaxies. However, there were many scholars prior to Galileo who believed that the stars could be counted, and several attempts were made to do so. Many of these counts arrived at around 1000 stars.” [1]

etc etc etc: http://www.inplainsi...ible.html#SFB05


JayShel said:

“You reject a supernatural God from the start (which is actually disproved scientifically by the discovery that our universe is finite, therefore requires a cause. Also DNA is a code that stores data, is read, and translated, and codes this complex are always indicative of an intelligent being creating them). Under your presupposition, the Bible is not a revelation, but just a book. You therefore believe that there must be flaws in the Bible, in addition to interpretation of the Bible and scientific collection methods, and interpretation of scientific data. I am not offended by your choice. God saw it fit to give you free will. I just think that you are throwing out the wrong data based on a personal preference to be in charge of your life, instead of a God who knows what is best for you.”

I appreciate your concern, and let me assure you I don’t discount God a priori. There might even be a good reason to infer that there is a God (first cause argument, fine tuning argument etc), and this is something I have been reading a lot about recently because I think it’s a very important topic. I do think, however, that even if we could make a very good case for a God, it would still be the job of theists of whatever creed to demonstrate that it was in fact their God and not any of the others. I happen to think that all these gods are manmade. This is why I don’t accept any particular religion in the world today. Even as a Christian, you would probably have to accept that humans have a strong tendency to invent gods, and that religions arise naturally out of human psychology. Peoples throughout history have believed in Zeus, Thor, Isis, Quetzacoatl, Vishnu, Ra, etc. however you do not believe that these gods exist. They must therefore have been manmade. So many different religions have developed in so many cultures that I think you have to accept that even if yours isn’t manmade, all the others are, because yours specifically declares itself to be the only true one. Humans have been inventing gods and religions all over the world for thousands of years. If there is a true one I should certainly like to know because I would of course join it, so perhaps you can answer the question that would help identify the one true religion. What makes yours so different?


So you fancy yourself more of an agnostic? To explain why I feel it is not man made like other religions, I must give my testimony.

I didn't really start out trusting that religion was anything more than a guess. I was really looking for the meaning of life, which I ultimately determined was to seek happiness, since no other purpose made sense. When I was living as hedonistic apathetic agnostic (pleasure seeker who didn't know or care if there was a god/gods), I felt like there was something that everyone else knew, but wouldn't tell me because I couldn't find a good basis for morality, or a reason to even be moral, yet I admired those people who seemed to have a firm grasp of morality. Being amoral, I was quite confused because my pursuit of happiness kept giving me fleeting moments of joy with long periods of depression, confusion, alienation.

I became a "buddhist" believing that the key to life was balance and moderation, but I realized that no matter how much fun I had with certain things, they were empty pursuits. A little bit resulted in wanting more, and even then it didn't last; alcohol just wore off, drugs just wore off, the happiness from video game binges wore off, and destabilized my mood. All I wanted was persistent happiness, but I couldn't find it, nothing was fulfilling.

When a friend started sharing the Gospel with me, I had so many questions...no, not questions, objections. I had mocked Christians in High School because it was funny when I saw it on TV, after all I thought the Bible was just some old stories. I just kept asking her questions to try and stump her. Slowly my mocking questions turned into curious questions because Christianity was making more and more sense of the world around me. She was telling me things I had never heard, I had never really heard the meat of Christianity. Then I decided to trust God, and so I prayed for answers to my questions. I haven't stopped asking questions, but I am still a Christian.

My search has led to investigating other religions, and I have yet to see one that holds up historically, scientifically (so far so good), archaeologically, and although it was written by 40+ people, the foreshadowing of Jesus is echoed all throughout the Old Testament. It is written as if it has only one author, which I believe is God (dictated to man of course). There is a myth circulating that there was a council to revise the Bible, but before that happened early Church leaders quoted from the Bible so much, that they preserved the entire Bible in their quotes alone, so we know for sure that the Bible was well preserved, before it could be corrupted by revisionists. I stopped pursuing happiness when I started feeling this deep fulfilling joy and peace from knowing that God loved me personally. This joy lasts even through days that are physically and emotionally exhausting, and I never felt anything like it before I knew and accepted God.

I couldn't believe in a religion that required me to throw away my brain, my curiosity or my life experience. I didn't have to look too hard to see that the world was broken, and people were suffering and dying all around me. The God that had created me, had seen us fall into sin and had come to earth in the flesh, as Jesus Christ, to do something about this sin because it infects everything it touches. There is pain and suffering all over as a result, and I saw that. He came to pay for the penalty that we deserve for violating His laws (we reject our ruler which is high treason) and forgive those that chose to repent and accept His sacrifice, and use them as a way to share God's love and grace in this fallen world. I did not believe any one person telling me which religion is true, I lived it out, and the truths of the Bible have withstood every test.

There is no knock down argument, but God gives us enough evidence to have free will to believe or not, but enough certainty through the same evidence that we have no excuse on judgement day.

JayShel said:

- “Your premise that Creationism needs to change in order to be scientific is false. In order to be scientific, it must be scientifically testable, and it is; many scientific hypotheses are drawn from the testimony of the Bible. Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified. Some are based on what some people may think the Bible is implying, and given less certainty. These would just require modification of our understanding/interpretation of the Bible, which has been done before. Many flood models have been posed but they continue to be revised when new data arises. So creationism gives rise to scientifically testable hypotheses, so your claim that “creationism isn’t science” is false.”

This is a good point, however I would argue that the only places creationism can change are where scripture doesn’t give details or where there is room for interpreting it differently, for example Genesis doesn’t say whether the tectonic plates subducted during the flood or if there was a change in decay rates and a series of rapid magnetic reversals or anything like that. I wouldn’t expect it to – these things weren’t known of at the time. Where it isn’t scientific, however is where it does give firm details. For example the flood had to be global, or those on the ark were the only survivors etc. You mentioned that “Some hypotheses are explicitly stated in the Bible, and would invalidate the claims of the Bible if falsified”, could you give me an example?


The Bible isn't a science book, it is a history book about God and his relationship with his people, so it has scientific truths, but it's purpose is not to unlock all scientific truths for us. It is a historical account which might leave behind forensic evidence, which is testable, for example, there was a global flood. This is a firm teaching of the Bible. Well we can find evidence of that. It is not just creationists or Christians who see evidence for a worldwide flood, but a lot of the time people who see evidence for the flood change their worldview.

JayShel said:

- “The burden of proof is on you to prove your positive truth claim that “there is no biological use for these muscles”

That’s a negative claim. In order to prove it, I would have to think of every conceivable use a muscle might have, and then show that these muscles don’t have any of them. It’s an impossible task. In order to prove it wrong, you just have to come up with one use, and show that these muscles fulfil it.


You are right about the negative claim, my mistake. My whole point all along is that science has not proven it to be left over from evolution, so it is not scientific to claim that it is. Why make such an indefensible, unscientific claim? It is a hypothesis at best, but you were trying to pass it off as truth, which is a worse case scenario.

JayShel said:

- “Actually my assertion was that if you saw feathers in bats, you would say that they branched off close to birds, and rodents would have branched off from them too, or a number of other suppositions such as the high probability of DNA based organisms to evolve similar traits, such as eyes, wings, legs, etc. Your tree diagram would change, maybe your explanation of how evolution happened, but you would still have faith in evolution.”

Actually this would be very hard to explain, I’m not sure the tree could be made to fit at all. This is because if we classified bats with birds, we would have to explain how they developed mammary glands and placentas without inheriting them from the mammals which are on a different branch. If we kept the bats in with the mammals, we would have to explain how feathers evolved twice. Either way it wouldn’t work – that’s the whole point. There are so many ways the phylogenetic tree could be falsified but it never has been, to my knowledge. That’s why I think that it’s such a good piece of evidence.

In fact, it gives us a fantastic way to potentially falsify common descent. If creation of separate kinds really happened, there must be many organisms which aren’t evidently related to others. I’ve heard common descent referred to as the tree of life while creationist models (allowing for some post flood diversification) look more like an orchard, with many separate trees, each consisting of a “kind” and all species descended from it. In that case, is there any test we could do to identify these individual trees, and break apart the huge evolutionary tree into smaller ones? For example, can you tell me if my housecat is related to (shares a common ancestor with) a bobcat? And if it does, are both of them related to the Chinese mountain cat? And are all of them related to leopard cats? And are all of them related to the cougar? How about the caracal? Or the cheetah? If all of them are related, are they also related to the true big cats, lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards? Are all of them related to the extinct sabre-toothed cats? Are all of them related to all feliforme carnivores such as hyenas or viverrids? Are all of them related to all the carnivora order, including dogs, bears, seals etc? Can you tell me where you draw the line, and more importantly, why?


I have two hypotheses on this. First, God may have created the creatures with variety, so that they could diversify into such a wide range of cats, and all cats may share a common ancestor, OR God may have created such varieties from the start, different types of cats (still with a variety of DNA necessary to adapt to changing environments after The Fall). I don't claim certainty on this, but my hypotheses are possibilities derived from the account of the Bible, and forensic evidence (fossil record) and current observations of animals.

#34 JayN319

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 06:36 PM

Yikes, looks like I missed quite a bit! I'll try to catch up and be as concise as possible.

When I mentioned hard evidence I meant physical, observable evidence such as the fossil record, comparative morphology, and
genetic similarity. As requested, I've posted a few sources from reputable journals. Some of them may require special
access or ask for payment after the abstract. If this is the case, please PM me. I'm happy to download them and email them
to you (or anyone for that matter) in pdf format! While we're on the topic of citation though, I would ask that we use
legitimate peer reviewed literature. Not to knock "answers", they do make use of solid scientific articles here and there,
but then there are some not so reliable sources. I could essentially go to a site like "talkorigins" and we could post
pre-written arguments back and forth but it would be boring for all of us and I'm sure some of their sources are equally questionable.

Sources:
Origins of early cetacean swimming found in Eocene, Pakistan: http://deepblue.lib....e/2027.42/62571
Divergence of Cetartiodactyla via molecular clock (about half of it is on
whales):http://jpaleontol.geoscienceworld.org/content/78/1/39.abstract

I guess I should've known I was opening a can of worms in bringing up Archaeopteryx in a creation v evolution debate forum
but what can I say, temptation got the best of me. I was unaware that the scientific community denounced Archaeopteryx as a
transitional fossil upon mentioning it, so when I heard it from you guys (Jayshel and Gilbo, namely) I was sure to research
it. From what I found, she still remains a prime example of a transitional form, but that said, allow me to address the
points that both of you made... Jayshel, your quote from "answers" addressed a few points on Archaeo being more similar to
a bird than a dinosaur. I think this is undoubtedly true and you wouldn't find too many paleontologists that would argue
it, considering its very name means "first bird". Many of those points seem to be pretty weak though. For instance, it
argues that the hoatzin doesn't have "much" of a keel which is a big difference than a complete lack of a keel (Archaeo's
wing muscles appear to have attached directly to the chest via cartillage which truly is not found in any modern bird). The
quote goes on to mention penguin tails. I'm glad you posted the picture of Archaeo as reference actually, because if I
ever see a penguin with a tail like that...I don't know, I've got nothing. I guess I'd want it as a pet? But in all
seriousness, there is no bird alive that has an elongated bony tail like that, but there are plenty
of reptiles and were plenty of dinosaurs that did. It goes on to say that "no living birds have socketed teeth, but some
fossils birds do". Well, yeah, that kind of hurts the argument! I mean Archaeopteryx is a fossil bird after all (dino teeth), and we're
comparing it to moderns (no dino teeth). I took a look at some ostrich wing claws and this is just personal observation, but compared to
the picture you posted, I don't see how that argument makes any sense (unless they're comparing it by some non-visible
parameter but no mention is made in the quote so I can only assume) - I enocurage you to compare them though. The quote goes on to
discuss the evolution of feathers. As mentioned earlier in the thread, feathers had evolved millions of years prior to
Archaeo, so this isn't a new phenomenon. Their origins are believed to have stemmed from hairs, not scales. There are a
lot of other dinosaur-like traits Archaeopteryx possesses that the quote didn't mention. The only one I'd like to bring up to keep this relatively short is
that the neck enters the skull posterially, from behind in Archaeo and dinosaurs, whereas it enters beneath the skull in modern birds and other bipeds such as our own species.

Sources:
Discusses flight in Archaeopteryx and the keel mentioned in your quote: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2409477
Posterio vs anterior neck/skull: http://onlinelibrary...6.tb00244.x/pdf Ostrom 1976.
Archaeo's claws: http://www.sciencema.../5096/790.short
Archaeo's tail: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2410761


Gilbo, the ornithologist you mentioned may very well be right in saying that Archaeo is an evolutionary dead end. That
makes absolutely no difference to the fact that it was a transitional form though: There were likely many species of early
reptilian birds similar to Archaeo, maybe even throughout the world seeing as they could fly. Perhaps most of them died out
or maybe they didn't, but it would only take one species to survive and give rise to modern birds millions of years later.
Another example of a transitional form that led to an evolutionary dead end (and I know I'm REALLY opening a can of worms
now) would be Australopithecus Africanus. It likely didn't give rise to Homo, though it shared a common ancestor with them/us.
Based on facial robusticity and prognathism, it's probably more closely related to the extinct paranthropines, or
"nutcracker men"...You mentioned that the appendix isn't a vestigial organ which I guess is technically true, but an organ can still function if only partially, and still be considered vestigial. That said, the appendix used to serve as a caecum to aid in the digestion of a high cellulose diet. We see it in lots of mammals today like koalas and colobus monkeys that obtain most of their energy via leaves.You also make mention of the fact that there is evidence for the appendix having some use today as a bacteria reservoir which I've also heard. If this is the case though, while it's still useful, it's no longer being used for the purpose it was designed for, from a creationist perspective.

Sources:
Archaeo as a dead end: http://paleobiol.geo...0/2/169.extract
Australopithecus/ Paranthropus phylogeny: http://books.google....thropus&f=false

One last comment on the whale conversation we were having, Jayshel! To quote you:

My idea is that the Creator created beings with a sizeable variety of traits in their DNA in order to allow them to adapt to new environments knowing that The
Fall would happen, the Flood would happen etc. They have since specialized; mutations and adaptation to specific
environments have removed some of that variety.

I think this is a really cool and interesting idea but isn't it
essentially saying that a creator simply designed the mechanisms to allow for evolution to take place? That's not a trap, I'm just curious what you meant by it.

Hoping to log back on in a day or two (and hopefully not type so much, let's try to address one topic at a time guys :P! ).

Cheers!
- Jay (there is an unbelievable amount of Jays/Jasons on this site!)

#35 JayShel

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:50 PM

Yikes, looks like I missed quite a bit! I'll try to catch up and be as concise as possible.

When I mentioned hard evidence I meant physical, observable evidence such as the fossil record, comparative morphology, and
genetic similarity.


I know but saying “hard evidence” just didn’t convince me. Anyone can say “there are mountains of evidence” which I hear often, but that doesn’t mean they can back up the claim.

While we're on the topic of citation though, I would ask that we use
legitimate peer reviewed literature. Not to knock "answers", they do make use of solid scientific articles here and there,
but then there are some not so reliable sources. I could essentially go to a site like "talkorigins" and we could post
pre-written arguments back and forth but it would be boring for all of us and I'm sure some of their sources are equally questionable.


I’m sure you are aware that the prevailing evolutionary bias among such exalted “peer review” journals. This is exactly why you will see very few Creationist articles being published in such a way. This seems to be a subtle ad hominem. The source of the data presented at these sites is often taken from the same resources that you use, among others, so they are looking at the same data that you are. The article you posted from 1994 is from a peer-reviewed science magazine, and they have cited that same article in rejection of its conclusions, providing details as to why it is not evidence for evolution.

Peer review does not guarantee quality, correctness or prevent fraud. Peer review does not equate to more objectivity, and can lead to stronger bias and censorship. I will continue to use the sources that I use. If an argument is flawed then you should be able to provide evidence as to why, so no worries right?

Sources:
Origins of early cetacean swimming found in Eocene, Pakistan: http://deepblue.lib....e/2027.42/62571
Divergence of Cetartiodactyla via molecular clock (about half of it is on
whales):http://jpaleontol.geoscienceworld.org/content/78/1/39.abstract


When discussing whale evolution and comparing anatomy, creation.com suggests that there is no nested hierarchy as evolutionists predict. The evidence is cherry-picked to show that there is a steady progression from one form to the next. Comparing ALL more traits reveals no such progression. In fact, there are multiple traits that must now be explained by “convergent evolution” or trait reversal:
Posted Image

Or if we flip flop the tree (since the evidence can't help us figure this out, being contradictory between different features and all):

Posted Image

Earlier claims of ‘transitional fossil whales’ had been found wanting.22 A recent National Geographic article23 calls the reader’s attention to a number of supposed trends24 in cetacean evolution. These are towards: 1) Greater aquatic specialization,25 2) Underwater hearing,26 3) Reductions in size of the hindlimbs,27 and 4) Migration of the nares (nostrils) towards the posterior of the skull’s dorsal (upper) surface.28 The alleged trend towards underwater hearing merits some attention, and is discussed in some detail below.
The remaining three trends fail immediately because they are superficial in nature, and are not corroborated by detailed anatomical analyses, as elaborated below. Moroever, a close look at the relative positions of the nares in the skulls of just the five protocetid genera29 while showing a slight trend towards more posterior placement with supposed time, also reveals the fact that this meager trend is completely overshadowed by the considerable differences in cranial geometry between the five genera. On this basis, any ‘trend’ towards increasingly posterior placement of the nares within protocetids, let alone within the entire Order Cetacea, is all but meaningless. It is literally like comparing apples and oranges, and making something out of the fact that one can arrange these fruits into a sequence showing progressively larger pores.
[…]
The pakicetids are an interesting set of chimeric creatures, consisting of an artiodactyl-like ankle and a somewhat true-cetacean-like inner ear residing in a body that is otherwise hardly distinguishable from that of a typical extinct land-dwelling artiodactyl!:
‘The newly found fossils include several skulls and postcranial bones from two early pakicetid species—which it seems, had the head of a primitive cetacean (as indicated by the ear region) and the body of an artiodactyl. All of the postcranial bones indicate that pakicetids were land mammals, and it is likely that they would have been thought of as some primitive terrestrial artiodactyls if they had been found without their skulls.’9
The evolutionary ‘successor’ to Pakicetus is hardly better in this regard:
Ambulocetus is recognized as a whale because of characters of its teeth and skull that it shares with other whales, and demonstrates that derived cetacean cranial characteristics were present in an organism with legs resembling those of modern terrestrial mammals.’55

[…]
Let us evaluate, in some detail, the much-discussed evolution of the cetacean ear. It turns out that there is only one (one!) unambiguous bullar synapomorphy linking Pakicetus to the cetaceans, and simultaneously absent in all noncetacean animals.49 What about the numerous other auditory features supposedly involved in cetacean evolution? A detailed analysis of 64 aural and other basicranial traits,50 spanning the entire scope of cetacean evolution (and thus consisting of pre-cetaceans, Archaeocetes, Odontocetes, and Mysticetes), has been performed. In this particular study, only 17% of the 1472 possible data points are missing. Almost half (44%) of the traits are nonprogressive! The situation gets even worse, from the ‘evolutionary progression’ point of view, if we focus our attention primarily on modern whales and their immediate (extinct) relatives. Using one archaeocete cetacean as the outgroup, and omitting one of the 28 traits which has more than half its data missing, one can examine the ‘intermediate stages’ involved. It is sobering to realize that two-thirds (17 of 27) of the traits reverse themselves.51
As noted earlier about the National Geographic article, a handful of traits supposedly showing a trend in cetacean-ear evolution had been selectively highlighted.26 Not mentioned are the large bodies of contrary evidence, consisting of numerous anatomical details that show no consistent trend towards ‘whaleness’. There is a whole suite of features, found in archaeocete whales, which are believed to have become (conveniently) ‘secondarily lost’ (or ‘reversed’) in the Odontocetes and Mysticetes.52 Keeping in mind the extremely conservative nature of all of the above estimates, it is plain to see that any connotation of ‘cetacean lineage’ (e.g., Figure 2) is totally artificial. The supposedly progressive character of cetacean evolution (aural as well as non-aural) is completely unwarranted. Furthermore, rather than being the crown group of cetacean evolution (Figure 2), the extant mysticete and odontocete whales stand out as chimeras consisting of mostly derived but also many primitive features.


So instead of a steady progression, we see a tangled mess of “primitive” and “evolved” whale-like traits and non-whale like traits in these ancestors. So if you compare one trait, you will get one progression, while comparing another trait will cause you to shuffle the apparent “evolutionary tree” in favor of another progression. Examination of the tree overall requires “convergent evolution” (isolated evolution of the same trait in two different “species”) or reversal of a trait (mutations which return one trait back to an original trait seen previously in an “evolutionary” progression). That is quite a hurdle to overcome, especially as many times as we see happen in these fossils.

I guess I should've known I was opening a can of worms in bringing up Archaeopteryx in a creation v evolution debate forum
but what can I say, temptation got the best of me. I was unaware that the scientific community denounced Archaeopteryx as a
transitional fossil upon mentioning it, so when I heard it from you guys (Jayshel and Gilbo, namely) I was sure to research
it. From what I found, she still remains a prime example of a transitional form, but that said, allow me to address the
points that both of you made... Jayshel, your quote from "answers" addressed a few points on Archaeo being more similar to
a bird than a dinosaur. I think this is undoubtedly true and you wouldn't find too many paleontologists that would argue
it, considering its very name means "first bird". Many of those points seem to be pretty weak though. For instance, it
argues that the hoatzin doesn't have "much" of a keel which is a big difference than a complete lack of a keel (Archaeo's
wing muscles appear to have attached directly to the chest via cartillage which truly is not found in any modern bird). The
quote goes on to mention penguin tails. I'm glad you posted the picture of Archaeo as reference actually, because if I
ever see a penguin with a tail like that...I don't know, I've got nothing. I guess I'd want it as a pet? But in all
seriousness, there is no bird alive that has an elongated bony tail like that, but there are plenty
of reptiles and were plenty of dinosaurs that did. It goes on to say that "no living birds have socketed teeth, but some
fossils birds do". Well, yeah, that kind of hurts the argument! I mean Archaeopteryx is a fossil bird after all (dino teeth), and we're
comparing it to moderns (no dino teeth). I took a look at some ostrich wing claws and this is just personal observation, but compared to
the picture you posted, I don't see how that argument makes any sense (unless they're comparing it by some non-visible
parameter but no mention is made in the quote so I can only assume) - I enocurage you to compare them though. The quote goes on to
discuss the evolution of feathers. As mentioned earlier in the thread, feathers had evolved millions of years prior to
Archaeo, so this isn't a new phenomenon. Their origins are believed to have stemmed from hairs, not scales. There are a
lot of other dinosaur-like traits Archaeopteryx possesses that the quote didn't mention. The only one I'd like to bring up to keep this relatively short is
that the neck enters the skull posterially, from behind in Archaeo and dinosaurs, whereas it enters beneath the skull in modern birds and other bipeds such as our own species.

Sources:
Discusses flight in Archaeopteryx and the keel mentioned in your quote: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2409477
Posterio vs anterior neck/skull: http://onlinelibrary...6.tb00244.x/pdf Ostrom 1976.
Archaeo's claws: http://www.sciencema.../5096/790.short
Archaeo's tail: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2410761


Similar explanation for Archaeopteryx:

Throughout the theropod-bird sequence (Table 1), there does appear to be an almost monotonic progressive emergence of avian traits throughout the sequence. There is, however, an apparent reversal in the Avian index in the theropods immediately preceding the first known commonly acknowledged bird, Archaeopteryx. Moreover, a closer look at the data indicates that the apparent smoothness of the overall progression is misleading. To begin with, as always, the normalization process itself favors the evolutionist.18 Furthermore, the inclusion of reversed traits tends to smooth over the overall sequence.19 A striking 140 of all of the 195 traits reverse at least once, and this large total rises to 145 if the four outgroup theropod groups are included. Furthermore, of the 140 within-sequence reversing traits, 64 of them do so at least twice. Consequently, the majority of key avian traits do not progress towards the avian condition! Instead, what we have is a highly variegated collection of avian-reptilian mosaics.
Now consider only the progressive traits. This sequence is characterized by sharp jumps in the presumed acquisition of avian traits. Note, for instance, the almost doubling of the Avian Index with the respective emergence of the Eumaniraptora and ‘C’ clades. There is also a hefty discontinuity between Dromaeosauridae and Troodontidae. The two clades that immediately precede Archaeopteryx are, ironically, more birdlike in skeletal morphology (with reference to modern birds) than Archaeopteryx itself!

[...]

Owing to the fact that the Creator was under no obligation to use a nested hierarchy of created living things, at least in every case, it is not difficult to understand why evolutionists have such problems in their attempts to force ‘nonavian’ and ‘avian’ traits into any sort of evolutionary lineage.
http://creation.com/...s-and-reversals


And I have not yet seen a progression of hair, to primitive feathers, to flight-ready feathers with a complex interlocking structure. I am not claiming that it doesn’t exist, just call me a skeptic…

You also make mention of the fact that there is evidence for the appendix having some use today as a bacteria reservoir which I've also heard. If this is the case though, while it's still useful, it's no longer being used for the purpose it was designed for, from a creationist perspective.


Does an organ need to fulfill an intended role forever in order to have been created? No. We cannot even be certain that the Creation did not design such organs for multiple roles, based on foreknowledge of such necessity.

One last comment on the whale conversation we were having, Jayshel! To quote you:
I think this is a really cool and interesting idea but isn't it
essentially saying that a creator simply designed the mechanisms to allow for evolution to take place? That's not a trap, I'm just curious what you meant by it.


Only if you describe evolution as “any change in an organism's DNA over time”. A high range of DNA present in the original creation would allow a creation to adapt to changing environments. This is actually devolution/genetic entropy as variation is lost over time through specialization/adaptation to a specific environment that would allow obsolete traits to disappear through mutation. Evolution as you argue it, requires adding information to allow for new biochemical pathways, and new biomechanisms that would lead to the formation of completely new traits and features, such as developing and modifying a musculo-skeletal system, or neurological system, creating new organs, or eyes, etc.

#36 aelyn

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:36 AM

So basically the argument goes from "there are no transitional fossils !" to "the transitional fossils don't follow a single smooth and regular progression !" ? We wouldn't expect them to; evolution doesn't work with a goal. In fact portrayals of evolutionary histories as unbroken lines leading from ancestor to descendants (the archetypal example is with horses) are more and more being discouraged in favor of a more accurate view of them as branching bushes.

Convergence happens. Loss of traits happens. These weren't concepts invented by phylogeneticists, they can be seen in modern organisms, for examples members of very different groups having similar functional features (like marsupial rats vs placental rats), or in members of a group not having a trait that pretty much every other member of the group has (like snakes and whales lacking limbs). They don't happen arbitrarily - the more complex and the less functional a trait is, the less likely it is to evolve twice independently. Similarly, trait loss is usually linked to functionality or the lack thereof.

Sometimes convergent traits and trait losses in certain groups will make it difficult to know the exact nitpicky details of a phylogeny. Usually getting more information will dispel those difficulties. This is what seems to have happened with whales and mesonychids; you're presenting those four trees as if they're equivalent possibilities that were around at the same time, but actually Mesonychids were considered direct ancestors of the Cetaceans only until Cetacean ancestors were found that had the double-pulleyed astragalus. That discovery changed the consensus, because while the similarities between Mesonychids were on the teeth and some aspects of morphology (i.e. some of the most plastic and function-oriented traits you can come up with), the double-pulleyed astragalus is a very complex and specific trait, the kind you wouldn't expect to see evolve convergently. So the phylogenetic trees that had Mesonychids as whale ancestors were rejected with the discovery of new evidence.

I read a paper once about the evolution of bat flight which had an overview of a very similar debate on the bat family tree; the question was whether all bats were their own group, or whether fruit bats were more closely related to primates. I thought the paper explained pretty well what evidence each side had for their point of view, why they found those pieces of evidence compelling, and which new evidence eventually clinched the debate and why. If you're interested I could send it to you. (the rest of the paper is also a nice illustration of how paleontologists come up with evolutionary hypotheses... of course here they're only hypotheses because there are no proto-bat fossils to settle the question of how bat flight evolved) (and it's about bats. Who doesn't like bats ?)

Anyway I can't help but notice that's a whole lot of noise over three nodes in the phylogenetic tree of one little group. Is that the best evidence for "there is no nested hierarchy" they can come up with ? Why isn't there any debate about whether sharks should be put there instead of Mesonychids ? Or Carnivora, a group that contains dogs and seals, or Afrotheria, a group that contains elephants and manatees ? Where are the whale-elephant transitional fossils ? Or the whale-shark transitional fossils ? If whales had many deep structural similarities with sharks or tunafish (as opposed to the superficial similarities they are known to have), that would mess up the phylogenies.

#37 Darwin's Goldfish

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:47 AM

Hi everyone, this discussion seems to be growing to cover a lot of topics! Not that that's a bad thing, as they are all interesting...

And what exactly does this prove?

It doesn’t prove anything in itself, I just thought that it was something that evolution explained perfectly and I wanted to see if Creationists had an explanation too.


There are "people" that grow horns on their heads. Does that mean there common anscestor was Satan?

I had to laugh when I read this! I don’t think Satan exists, but more importantly I don’t even think he would exist even if the Bible was 100% true and I took it all literally. Satan is not a name but a title - it means "adversary". In the Bible, the word is used in a number of different situations to refer to several different entities, sometimes as "the adversary", sometimes as "an adversary". These adversaries aren't necessarily evil either - in Numbers 22 "the adversary" is an angel sent to do God's will. Other times the title is used to refer to contemporary figures - even the Israelite king David is called "an adversary" to the Philistines. The snake in the garden of Eden isn't referred to as Satan either, in fact it's referred to as an animal that God had made. And as you probably know, the Bible never describes Satan as living in or ruling over Hell, or having a pitchfork or any of that stuff. I don’t even know if it refers to him having horns either (especially relevant here). These things come largely from popular culture, Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno. Even the name “Beel-zebub” (lord of the flies) is probably an intentional corruption of the name “Baal-zebul” (lord on high) which was the title that a rival civilization had given to their god. The Israelites clearly weren’t very fond of other gods and probably did this as a way of mocking their god. Similarly, early depictions of Satan don’t have the goat legs and horns – these were added during the revival of paganism, probably to demonize the pagan god Pan who has these features. So even if the Bible is literally true, I don’t think there would be a Satan, at least certainly not the one pop culture knows.

A more serious point to be made here, however, is that the “horns” grown by people are structurally nothing like the horns exhibited by horned animals even if they do resemble them superficially. The point is that they are extremely rare deformities, meaning that humans don’t have the DNA of some ancestral goat (or Satan for that matter) lurking beneath their skin waiting for an atavism to display it. Whales do, however certainly appear to have the DNA of land animals hidden inside them and we catch glimpse of it during embryonic development or the occasional atavism.

If you are underwater can you hear? Again this is an assumption based on evolution being a proven true fact and a biological law. Well, is it?

Yes, I can hear underwater though almost certainly not as well as whales can. And I don’t see how what I said was based on any assumptions, I simply stated that they have these muscles, and they certainly don't have the external ear structures like we (and most other mammals) do.

Easy. It was already written in their DNA from the Creator.

So was your creator trying to deceive people into believing evolution happened? Because that is the conclusion that the vast majority of people who study this (i.e. biologists) reach. If not, why didn't he just design animals in such as way that evolution couldn't explain? If organisms didn't fit this nested heirarchy we wouldn't have a theory of common descent.

Since you think new information is as easy as pie to where evolution just explains everything. Please show us the observable process in which new information not only gets written, but some how gets written correctly so that what ever is forming forms correctly and works correctly?

This is a pretty interesting topic, before we can continue I need to know what you mean by information so I have 2 questions for you. First, can you give me a definition of information? That is to say an empirical definition, something we could test for?

Secondly, say I had a gene sequence for making a protein and it ended with the code for some amino acid, say AGT (I’m not even sure if that is one, but just hypothetically). Now suppose a mutation came along and knocked off the last letter of the sequence so it was just AG on the end. This would mean the last amino acid wouldn’t form correctly. My question for you is, and this one is really important, would you say this mutation had caused a loss of information from the genome?

So how many steps would that be? Can you list the process then show us? I did not think so. Which proves everything you posted is based on the "assumption" that evolution is true, Can you define truth scientifically? I laugh just thinking about you squirming to answer that last question.

How many steps would what be, exactly? If you gave me an example of an evolutionary scenario I might be able to break it down into logically plausible steps and processes. And I suppose I would define truth as accurate information, can you tell me what relevance this has? I’m pretty sure we are both interested in the truth here…

Loss of information is not real evolution. This is because evolution is about progression not regression. We evolve to get better, not worse, right?


Yes we evolve to get better, but “better” depends on the environment. In the water, fish are better than us. On the land, they’re not. If a land animal adapted to the water, as I was proposing whales did, they might not need some things, in which case “better” might mean losing them.

We know the fish had eyes, so is the DNA for eyes still there? We do not know that the Dolphins had legs. DNA for legs would prove that they did.

So what do you make of the leg bones I posted about earlier? (http://daphne.paloma.../whale_legs.htm)
Granted this was from a humpback whale not a dolphin, but do these “prove they had legs” as you just said?

If I said something to you in English that contains information
Yet if I said something in German, it wouldn't (lets assume you don't know German lol)
Hence what I said in German may contain information, yet it doesn't contain information for you since you do not recognise it nor do you understand it.


Some interesting points here, if you could also answer the questions I asked ikester that I think we would be off to a good start: First, can you give me a definition of information? That is to say an empirical definition, something we could test for.
Secondly, say I had a gene sequence for making a protein and it ended with the code for some amino acid, say AGT (I’m not even sure if that is one, but just hypothetically). Now suppose a mutation came along and knocked off the last letter of the sequence so it was just AG on the end. This would mean the last amino acid wouldn’t form correctly. My question for you is, would you say this mutation had had a loss of information from the genome?

JayShel, the points about Scripture revealing scientific knowledge(expanding universe, space is empty, etc) are intriguing but I don’t find them convincing. Here’s why:
  • The discoveries are always made first, then the reference back to scripture found afterwards. Not once to my knowledge has someone read through the Bible and then used a Bible passage to make a discovery. People didn’t read Isaiah 40:22 and then look for redshifted galaxies – astronomers discovered redshifted galaxies, inferred the universe was expanding, and then the Christians heard that knowledge and though “aha! That’s what Isaiah 40:22 was referring to all along!” I would be interested to hear if there were any discoveries that went the other way around – has anyone discovered something because they were given a hint in the right direction by a Bible verse?
  • I think they misuse some biblical texts which were clearly intended poetically. Of course, the text is always subject to interpretation. If I read of the “pillars of the earth” (Job 9:6 etc.) or “ends of the earth” (Deut. 33:17 etc.) I would not assume the earth had pillars or ends because I think it’s poetic or allegorical (and I think you would be the first to point out my error if I decided they were literal and therefore the Bible was wrong), yet somehow when Isaiah talks about stretching out the heavens like a tent, that’s literal? Can you tell me if there’s a good way to decide what’s allegorical and what’s literal aside from “this is right, therefore it’s literal. Oh, but that other one must be allegorical because if we take it literally then it’s false…”
I have to say I thought your post about your faith journey was heartfelt and well thought out. I’m not here to try to de-convert anybody, and I’m glad you’ve found closure. I may have mis-labelled myself as an atheist, I said that because as yet I haven't been convinced that any God exists, I don't know if it's more accurate to call myself an agnostic in that case. Of course, these are big questions and it’s something I will have to look into some more. For now I will leave the discussion at that.

The Bible isn't a science book, it is a history book about God and his relationship with his people, so it has scientific truths, but it's purpose is not to unlock all scientific truths for us. It is a historical account which might leave behind forensic evidence, which is testable, for example, there was a global flood. This is a firm teaching of the Bible. Well we can find evidence of that. It is not just creationists or Christians who see evidence for a worldwide flood, but a lot of the time people who see evidence for the flood change their worldview.


I very much disagree that the evidence speaks of a global flood. The reasons I don’t believe a global flood as described in Genesis are:
  • The extreme uniformity of the fossil record. I understand that creationist models have a number of factors to explain the uniformity, such as sorting hydrologically (by what animals float / sink the fastest, sorting by ecological zonation (bottom feeding fish would be buried first, then other fish, then shore living animals, then higher altitude things like birds), sorting by ability escape (a sponge can’t really move out of the way, a fish would have a better chance, humans are very resourceful and would escape to be near the top of the fossil record) and of course most Creationist models would use a combination of these factors. I don’t think any of them work, however because these things would only produce a general trend, not an absolute rule. If the flood really happened, don’t you think pterosaurs should have been as good at escaping as birds? Yet we never find them together. Why don’t we find dinosaurs in the same layers with elephants, cows or any other modern animal? You would at least one velociraptor to have made it to high ground with the humans! Really, you would expect pterosaurs and fast dinosaurs to be buried higher than, say, hippos, which live at low altitudes and aren’t fast, yet we never find even one pterosaur or dinosaur above a hippo. Not one, ever. Marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs live in the same habitat as modern whales and probably had similar lifestyles, so we might expect them to be in the same layers, but we never find a plesiosaur above a whale, ever. We would expect things like this to be fairly common if the flood happened, yet there has never been anything like this discovered.
  • Where are the remains of pre-deluvian civilisations? Genesis 4:17 mentions one, Genesis 6:1 tells us that humans were multiplying. We know that these civilisations would have been buried by the flood, yet we never find traces of human civilization until the absolute topmost layers of the geologic column. A building certainly can’t run away from rushing floodwaters, and yet there has never been a single brick discovered in Jurassic rocks or any strata even remotely near that. It’s always right near the top.
  • Most species would be crippled by the effects of inbreeding if reduced to a single breeding pair (or even 7 if they were clean). Scientists estimate that cheetahs, for example, went through a “genetic bottleneck” around 10,000 years ago, and as a result cheetahs have such little genetic diversity that you can take skin from any cheetah in the world and graft it onto another cheetah and it will not reject it. They are all so closely related it’s almost like accepting a skin graft from yourself. You cannot do this with most other animals. If the flood were true, genetic diversity in all animals today should be similarly low, unless of course you allow for some miraculous post flood diversification whereby God created new diversity in the populations, but that would have to be a completely ad-hoc assumption, simply invented to fix a problem, but with no evidentiary basis.
  • What would the animals eat? I understand you could take a reasonable amount of food for herbivores on the ark (depending on how many species you want to fit into one “kind” there might have been some spare room on the ark), but what would carnivores eat? And more importantly, what would they eat after the ark had landed and the environment was still recovering, populations of prey animals only just getting started again, etc.?
  • It would require super-evolution after the flood. By this I mean that most Creationists are willing to accept that lions and tigers (and probably the other true big cats, jaguars and leopards) have a common ancestor, and that this beast must have been on the ark. However practically straight after the flood (within a few hundred years) we have depictions of lions and tigers as distinct separate animals from ancient Egypt, Greece, India etc. Evolutionists say it was about 5 million years since lions and tigers diverged, yet even to get them in 500 years, Creationists would need evolution to work at 10,000 times this rate! And that’s only if you assume a big cat kind and a small cat kind, if all cats are in fact a kind (i.e. if say mountain lions and true lions share a common ancestor), then we would evolution to speed up so much more again to make all of these!
  • The geographical distribution of animals and plants over the world speaks way more strongly of evolution than post-flood migration. For example, there are no placental mammals native to Australia (dingos were introduced). According to evolution, this is because Australia split off from the other continents before placentas evolved, so it had only monotremes and marsupials. So why did not a single placental mammal migrate all the way to Australia? More importantly than that, why is half the simiiforme phylogenetic tree is in South America (the new world monkeys) and the other half is in Africa (the apes and old world monkeys)? Remember that these phylogenetic trees were made based on morphology and genetics, not geographic distribution, yet it just happens to turn out that all the monkeys living in south America appear to be related, and so do all the monkeys and apes in Africa. If they were migrating from the ark, why couldn’t just one species of new world monkey have found its way to Africa? Or one ape found its way to the Americas? Bear in mind that is one example among many! And did penguins really waddle / swim all the way to the south pole from Ararat? Or did another kind of bird fly to the pole and then evolve into a penguin, via some form of creation-friendly micro-evolution that didn’t need any new genetic information? It seems that if the animals really did spread out from the mountains of Ararat to colonize the world, they were deliberately grouping themselves to look as if they had evolved in their places… incidentally, the geographic distribution of species is another of the arguments I think most strongly supports evolution, along with the phylogenetic tree and associated rules of phylogeny.
Thanks JayShel, this is all I have time for now, I will have a look at your last post soon.

#38 JayShel

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:35 PM

So basically the argument goes from "there are no transitional fossils !" to "the transitional fossils don't follow a single smooth and regular progression !" ? We wouldn't expect them to; evolution doesn't work with a goal. In fact portrayals of evolutionary histories as unbroken lines leading from ancestor to descendants (the archetypal example is with horses) are more and more being discouraged in favor of a more accurate view of them as branching bushes.

Convergence happens. Loss of traits happens. These weren't concepts invented by phylogeneticists, they can be seen in modern organisms, for examples members of very different groups having similar functional features (like marsupial rats vs placental rats), or in members of a group not having a trait that pretty much every other member of the group has (like snakes and whales lacking limbs). They don't happen arbitrarily - the more complex and the less functional a trait is, the less likely it is to evolve twice independently. Similarly, trait loss is usually linked to functionality or the lack thereof.

Sometimes convergent traits and trait losses in certain groups will make it difficult to know the exact nitpicky details of a phylogeny. Usually getting more information will dispel those difficulties. This is what seems to have happened with whales and mesonychids; you're presenting those four trees as if they're equivalent possibilities that were around at the same time, but actually Mesonychids were considered direct ancestors of the Cetaceans only until Cetacean ancestors were found that had the double-pulleyed astragalus. That discovery changed the consensus, because while the similarities between Mesonychids were on the teeth and some aspects of morphology (i.e. some of the most plastic and function-oriented traits you can come up with), the double-pulleyed astragalus is a very complex and specific trait, the kind you wouldn't expect to see evolve convergently. So the phylogenetic trees that had Mesonychids as whale ancestors were rejected with the discovery of new evidence.

I read a paper once about the evolution of bat flight which had an overview of a very similar debate on the bat family tree; the question was whether all bats were their own group, or whether fruit bats were more closely related to primates. I thought the paper explained pretty well what evidence each side had for their point of view, why they found those pieces of evidence compelling, and which new evidence eventually clinched the debate and why. If you're interested I could send it to you. (the rest of the paper is also a nice illustration of how paleontologists come up with evolutionary hypotheses... of course here they're only hypotheses because there are no proto-bat fossils to settle the question of how bat flight evolved) (and it's about bats. Who doesn't like bats ?)

Anyway I can't help but notice that's a whole lot of noise over three nodes in the phylogenetic tree of one little group. Is that the best evidence for "there is no nested hierarchy" they can come up with ? Why isn't there any debate about whether sharks should be put there instead of Mesonychids ? Or Carnivora, a group that contains dogs and seals, or Afrotheria, a group that contains elephants and manatees ? Where are the whale-elephant transitional fossils ? Or the whale-shark transitional fossils ? If whales had many deep structural similarities with sharks or tunafish (as opposed to the superficial similarities they are known to have), that would mess up the phylogenies.


Actually the argument went from "there are no transitions" to "those fossils that you consider transition fossils don't prove the proposed transition". "Convergent evolution" is an admission by the community of evolutionists that "two fossils have a trait to two in common do not prove common ancestry". That is what I pointed out, and that is what I am saying is true for these "transitional forms" that you are offering. I am not saying that I have disproved evolution, but I am saying that you still did not prove that it can happen.

As far as "why isn't there any...", first I point out that there has been none found so far, either because no one has discovered such situations (because they don't exist or because they have yet to be found) , or because someone has found them and suppressed them. We don't know which of these statements is true. Also, just because you ask a question that might make sense based on my worldview does not mean that it is required in order for my worldview to be true. I think this last paragraph is a big can of worms. We must rely on the scientific data that we have to rule out one or the other, or to prove plausibility. It would be just like me arguing "where are all the other hundreds of transitional fossils that you expect to see as an evolutionist", the lack of such forms does not directly disprove evolution, the lack of forms you are asking for does not directly disprove creation.

#39 JayShel

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:52 PM

JayShel, the points about Scripture revealing scientific knowledge(expanding universe, space is empty, etc) are intriguing but I don’t find them convincing. Here’s why:

  • The discoveries are always made first, then the reference back to scripture found afterwards. Not once to my knowledge has someone read through the Bible and then used a Bible passage to make a discovery. People didn’t read Isaiah 40:22 and then look for redshifted galaxies – astronomers discovered redshifted galaxies, inferred the universe was expanding, and then the Christians heard that knowledge and though “aha! That’s what Isaiah 40:22 was referring to all along!” I would be interested to hear if there were any discoveries that went the other way around – has anyone discovered something because they were given a hint in the right direction by a Bible verse?


It's ironic that you would ask that because the beginning of modern scientific inquiry is attributed to Christian men who wanted to explore God's creation because they believed there were unchanging truths in the world that could be observed, because of the unchanging character of God; Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Michael Faraday, Sir Isaac Newton. You know what we Christians do, we read the Bible, and its pretty hard to completely eject the Biblical knowlege from your head when you're out exploring God's creation. Louie Pasteur was a Christian who discovered the process of "pasteurization" and then used it to disprove spontaneous generation, the idea that life could arise from non-living matter. Of course now you just say that it takes a really long time (abiogenesis). Matthew Maury read Psalm 8, read about the "pathways of the sea" and discovered ocean currents. You can read more here:
http://www.godandsci...iencefaith.html

There were far more scientific truths in the Bible at that website that I linked that you seem to have ignored, or maybe you will get to them later?

2. I think they misuse some biblical texts which were clearly intended poetically. Of course, the text is always subject to interpretation. If I read of the “pillars of the earth” (Job 9:6 etc.) or “ends of the earth” (Deut. 33:17 etc.) I would not assume the earth had pillars or ends because I think it’s poetic or allegorical (and I think you would be the first to point out my error if I decided they were literal and therefore the Bible was wrong), yet somehow when Isaiah talks about stretching out the heavens like a tent, that’s literal? Can you tell me if there’s a good way to decide what’s allegorical and what’s literal aside from “this is right, therefore it’s literal. Oh, but that other one must be allegorical because if we take it literally then it’s false…”


Context tells us if a passage is historic or poetic. Scientific truth is revealed through both poetic parts "pathways of the sea", "treasures of the snow", "singing of the stars", etc. and historic parts (the flood). Pillars of the earth and ends of the earth have always been used colloquially. Any other examples you can give of this confusion?

I have to say I thought your post about your faith journey was heartfelt and well thought out. I’m not here to try to de-convert anybody, and I’m glad you’ve found closure. I may have mis-labelled myself as an atheist, I said that because as yet I haven't been convinced that any God exists, I don't know if it's more accurate to call myself an agnostic in that case. Of course, these are big questions and it’s something I will have to look into some more. For now I will leave the discussion at that.


Seems like you are an atheistic agnostic (an agnostic that leans toward a belief in no God).

I very much disagree that the evidence speaks of a global flood. The reasons I don’t believe a global flood as described in Genesis are:

  • The extreme uniformity of the fossil record. I understand that creationist models have a number of factors to explain the uniformity, such as sorting hydrologically (by what animals float / sink the fastest, sorting by ecological zonation (bottom feeding fish would be buried first, then other fish, then shore living animals, then higher altitude things like birds), sorting by ability escape (a sponge can’t really move out of the way, a fish would have a better chance, humans are very resourceful and would escape to be near the top of the fossil record) and of course most Creationist models would use a combination of these factors. I don’t think any of them work, however because these things would only produce a general trend, not an absolute rule. If the flood really happened, don’t you think pterosaurs should have been as good at escaping as birds? Yet we never find them together. Why don’t we find dinosaurs in the same layers with elephants, cows or any other modern animal? You would at least one velociraptor to have made it to high ground with the humans! Really, you would expect pterosaurs and fast dinosaurs to be buried higher than, say, hippos, which live at low altitudes and aren’t fast, yet we never find even one pterosaur or dinosaur above a hippo. Not one, ever. Marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs live in the same habitat as modern whales and probably had similar lifestyles, so we might expect them to be in the same layers, but we never find a plesiosaur above a whale, ever. We would expect things like this to be fairly common if the flood happened, yet there has never been anything like this discovered.
  • Where are the remains of pre-deluvian civilisations? Genesis 4:17 mentions one, Genesis 6:1 tells us that humans were multiplying. We know that these civilisations would have been buried by the flood, yet we never find traces of human civilization until the absolute topmost layers of the geologic column. A building certainly can’t run away from rushing floodwaters, and yet there has never been a single brick discovered in Jurassic rocks or any strata even remotely near that. It’s always right near the top.
  • Most species would be crippled by the effects of inbreeding if reduced to a single breeding pair (or even 7 if they were clean). Scientists estimate that cheetahs, for example, went through a “genetic bottleneck” around 10,000 years ago, and as a result cheetahs have such little genetic diversity that you can take skin from any cheetah in the world and graft it onto another cheetah and it will not reject it. They are all so closely related it’s almost like accepting a skin graft from yourself. You cannot do this with most other animals. If the flood were true, genetic diversity in all animals today should be similarly low, unless of course you allow for some miraculous post flood diversification whereby God created new diversity in the populations, but that would have to be a completely ad-hoc assumption, simply invented to fix a problem, but with no evidentiary basis.
  • What would the animals eat? I understand you could take a reasonable amount of food for herbivores on the ark (depending on how many species you want to fit into one “kind” there might have been some spare room on the ark), but what would carnivores eat? And more importantly, what would they eat after the ark had landed and the environment was still recovering, populations of prey animals only just getting started again, etc.?
  • It would require super-evolution after the flood. By this I mean that most Creationists are willing to accept that lions and tigers (and probably the other true big cats, jaguars and leopards) have a common ancestor, and that this beast must have been on the ark. However practically straight after the flood (within a few hundred years) we have depictions of lions and tigers as distinct separate animals from ancient Egypt, Greece, India etc. Evolutionists say it was about 5 million years since lions and tigers diverged, yet even to get them in 500 years, Creationists would need evolution to work at 10,000 times this rate! And that’s only if you assume a big cat kind and a small cat kind, if all cats are in fact a kind (i.e. if say mountain lions and true lions share a common ancestor), then we would evolution to speed up so much more again to make all of these!
  • The geographical distribution of animals and plants over the world speaks way more strongly of evolution than post-flood migration. For example, there are no placental mammals native to Australia (dingos were introduced). According to evolution, this is because Australia split off from the other continents before placentas evolved, so it had only monotremes and marsupials. So why did not a single placental mammal migrate all the way to Australia? More importantly than that, why is half the simiiforme phylogenetic tree is in South America (the new world monkeys) and the other half is in Africa (the apes and old world monkeys)? Remember that these phylogenetic trees were made based on morphology and genetics, not geographic distribution, yet it just happens to turn out that all the monkeys living in south America appear to be related, and so do all the monkeys and apes in Africa. If they were migrating from the ark, why couldn’t just one species of new world monkey have found its way to Africa? Or one ape found its way to the Americas? Bear in mind that is one example among many! And did penguins really waddle / swim all the way to the south pole from Ararat? Or did another kind of bird fly to the pole and then evolve into a penguin, via some form of creation-friendly micro-evolution that didn’t need any new genetic information? It seems that if the animals really did spread out from the mountains of Ararat to colonize the world, they were deliberately grouping themselves to look as if they had evolved in their places… incidentally, the geographic distribution of species is another of the arguments I think most strongly supports evolution, along with the phylogenetic tree and associated rules of phylogeny.

There is a topic on this, so feel free to post rebuttals to comments or questions there, but please read because most of your questions have been adressed there. I am trying to answer a few questions while not getting too far off topic.

Thanks JayShel, this is all I have time for now, I will have a look at your last post soon.


You're welcome. Take your time. I am not going to think less of you if you don't respond within a certain number of hours of me posting.

#40 aelyn

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 06:50 PM

Actually the argument went from "there are no transitions" to "those fossils that you consider transition fossils don't prove the proposed transition". "Convergent evolution" is an admission by the community of evolutionists that "two fossils have a trait to two in common do not prove common ancestry". That is what I pointed out, and that is what I am saying is true for these "transitional forms" that you are offering. I am not saying that I have disproved evolution, but I am saying that you still did not prove that it can happen.

Right, and I wasn't trying to prove it had happened (mostly :P), I was trying to correct some apparent misconceptions. For example, that "convergent evolution" was some kind of ad-hoc concept that was invented by paleontologists to account for common traits that couldn't come from common ancestry. That is not the case; "convergent evolution" is something biologists observed in living organisms, that had superficial functional similarities to other organisms in a similar niche but were otherwise completely different, and typical examples of their (different) groups. And there are certain a priori criteria that determine how likely a given trait is to be convergent or not (namely, if it's very functional it's more likely to be convergent, if it's very complex it's less likely), so it isn't a completely arbitrary label either.

As for transitional fossils demonstrating the relatedness between groups, it doesn't depend on what exact branch of the family tree the transitional fossil fits on. If certain groups evolved from certain other groups, we'd expect to find fossils that were intermediate between those groups - and NOT to find fossils that were intermediate between groups that are known not to be closely related. Whether those fossils are direct ancestors, or cousins of said ancestors, and where exactly on the family tree those cousins fit on isn't as relevant as those intermediate forms *existing*. And intermediate forms we wouldn't expect (such as whale-shark transitionals), not.

As far as "why isn't there any...", first I point out that there has been none found so far, either because no one has discovered such situations (because they don't exist or because they have yet to be found) , or because someone has found them and suppressed them.

You know that discovery that neutrinos might go faster then light ? I've seen it mentioned on this forum. That discovery would completely overturn a huge amount of what was thought to be settled questions of physics. It hasn't been confirmed yet; it is such a HUGE thing, that goes against all previous evidence, that they need to rule out a whole lot of alternate explanations before it's accepted that indeed neutrinos go faster than light, and that all of physics needs to be overhauled.
Have you noticed how much NOISE that discovery made ?
Those people who made it are now famous. I mean, you probably don't know their names (I don't), but we both know about their discovery, we heard about it in the non-scientific newspapers, and you can bet all the people who actually work in the field now do know their names. And if their discovery is confirmed they'll be even more famous; their names will probably be next to Michelson's and Morley's in scientific textbooks. If not Einstein's.
Overturning currently accepted science is actually a decent path to fame and fortune, especially in today's world where headlines are so important.
All this to say, while supposing a given fossil hasn't yet been found is reasonable enough, thinking a fossil that would overturn everything we know about evolution and paleontology would be suppressed is much less so.

We don't know which of these statements is true. Also, just because you ask a question that might make sense based on my worldview does not mean that it is required in order for my worldview to be true. I think this last paragraph is a big can of worms. We must rely on the scientific data that we have to rule out one or the other, or to prove plausibility. It would be just like me arguing "where are all the other hundreds of transitional fossils that you expect to see as an evolutionist", the lack of such forms does not directly disprove evolution, the lack of forms you are asking for does not directly disprove creation.

That is a decent point... except that evolutionists wouldn't expect to see arbitrarily large amount of transitional fossils, given how haphazard a process fossilization is. Mind you this depends on the organisms, time period and environment. For example evolutionists would probably be baffled at finding "only" hundreds of transitional fossil seashells - what with living in fossilizable shorelines and having hard shells, those things leave thousands upon thousands of fossils. On the other hand, paleontologists would give their eyeteeth for even two fossil chimpanzees (which live in jungles, which aren't conducive to fossilization). (I say "two" because they found a few teeth a month or two ago, it was literally the first chimpanzee fossil ever found)

But even accounting for the haphazardness of fossilization, given the amount of fossils that have been found to date, if transitional species occurred between random, or functionally similar species, or otherwise pairs of species we totally wouldn't expect to see a transitional fossil between given morphology and molecular data... a few of those fossils should have turned up by now.
Of course that's a judgement call based on the amount of existing fossils and the amount of potential transitionals if you simply count up the number of pairs of species, or pairs of functionally-similar species, or pairs of species that all evidence says aren't closely related. You don't need to agree.





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