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Icons of Evolution revisted


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#1 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 03:33 PM

Wells book "Icons of Evolution" is still widely used by Creationists.

Evolutionists point to how it was totally refuted by Grant and others.

Is it at all defensible today in any of its 10 points? If so, please give reasons.

#2 tkster

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 07:50 AM

As an evolutionist, I thought some of Well's critiques were rather well written. I think there is some geniune concerns about what is being taught in textbooks, I sure didn't learn good information about evolution when I was in high school and the textbooks sure didn't help.

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#3 chance

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 02:08 PM

Wells book "Icons of Evolution" is still widely used by Creationists.

Evolutionists point to how it was totally refuted by Grant and others.

Is it at all defensible today in any of its 10 points? If so, please give reasons.

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I suspect that in the eyes of science it is discredited, but not from the creationist point of view. The real question is who will be the judge of what constitutes a valid critique?

IMO unless the author gets into a public point by point dissection of his work there will be no resolution possible, the Author will just sit back and collect the royalties.

#4 Method

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 03:42 PM

Just as a suggestion, perhaps George could suggest the strongest argument from Wells' work and we could go from there?

#5 The Debatinator

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 04:44 PM

Wells book "Icons of Evolution" is still widely used by Creationists.

Evolutionists point to how it was totally refuted by Grant and others.

Is it at all defensible today in any of its 10 points? If so, please give reasons.

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Hey, you're on the Infidel guy forums! Right? The guy who said Fred and I weren't as dumb as dirt.

#6 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 05:54 PM

Debatinator ... you are off topic.

But... one shot at this.. maybe you are correct..

What is the infidel forum? Is that the big delphi forum on atheism and evolution??? ... if so... I was there a couple of years ago and sure didnt state anything negative about Fred or you.

If I catch your drift correctly I think I thanked some atheist for giving me the link to Fred's site. They helped publicize it to me at least. But ... They wanted to run it down so I just laughed at their lack of humor.

Most posters were too quarrelsome on that site for me there .. and had too many troll-bots running around posting massive silly lists of links.

Say, can they still be in business? They aren't extinct? That would be proof right there that natural selection is faulty.

#7 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 06:20 PM

To post the strongest argument in Jonathan Wells list?

I dont know. Let me choose one anyway. I think the one about common use of Haeckel's diagram is a strong point, and the rebuttals of Wells are self-defeating.

I would express Wells thesis this way:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Haeckels embryo diagrams were used in textbooks as convincing "proofs" long after biologists knew that

- Haeckel faked the diagrams.
- the diagrams selectively misrepresent early stages of development.
- the much-touted vestigial gill slits are an artistic depiction and a "just so" interpretation of a body fold with no gill-like breathing apparatus

This is propaganda not science. Its commmon use in text books is for its mind-influencing value (what it seems to imply forcefully as a picture), not for the force of its scientific facts or logic behind that false impression.

NOTE: Wells point was not that Haeckel was accepted today, but that his diagrams were presented without relevant challenges to the common interpretation of them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The common rebuttal of Wells point that I find self-defeating follows:

http://www.nmsr.org/text.htm#embryo

The evidence for common descent lies in the unity of form and process. We do not use Haeckel’s outmoded, invalid mechanism to argue for evolution, we look at the marvelous convergence of disparate organisms on common principles: all animals use the same genes to define regions of their bodies, all vertebrates build their faces by unlikely rearrangements of odd pharyngeal protrusions, and even tailless mammals like us have to start with tailed embryos. The best explanation for these phenomena is that they are a consequence of a common heritage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


No cigar. Wells did not argue that Haeckel's mechanism was the issue - it was discredited long ago and not mentioned in the text books. Wells clearly argued that the fake diagrams were systematically misleading and should not be used as textbook "Icons of Evolution".

As far as Haeckel being discarded as a prop long ago, his diagrams were reprinted in the classic book Mayr's "What Evolution Is" (2001, Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York: Basic Books). I nearly fell to the floor when I saw that egregious blunder.

That leaves the separate argument over how strong the embryonic evidence is as proof of common design plan versus as a proof of common evolutionary descent. Only an idiot would denyfacts ... that mammal embryos more closely resemble other mammals than they do reptile embryos.

Facts are facts. The interpretation of those facts should be based on a line of logic, not based on (morphing) extrapolation or from throwing out the casual words "marvellous convergence ... the best explanation is".

... especially when it is the only explanation considered or allowed.

#8 Method

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 09:29 AM

No cigar. Wells did not argue that Haeckel's mechanism was the issue - it was discredited long ago and not mentioned in the text books. Wells clearly argued that the fake diagrams were systematically misleading and should not be used as textbook "Icons of Evolution".


I agree, Haeckel's drawings should not be used in text books. What many miss in this discussion, however, is that while "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" may not be true, some species are actually classified in regards to embryonic development. Also, common ancestory can be inferred through embryonic development, such as leg buds forming on cetaceans and snakes during development. Haeckel's theory that embryonic development DIRECTLY follows phylogeny is incorrect, but it is correct to say that embryonic development REFELCTS phylogeny.

That leaves the separate argument over how strong the embryonic evidence is as proof of common design plan versus as a proof of common evolutionary descent. Only an idiot would denyfacts ...  that mammal embryos more closely resemble other mammals than they do reptile embryos. 

Facts are facts.  The interpretation of those facts should be based on a line of logic, not based on (morphing) extrapolation or from throwing out the casual words "marvellous convergence ... the best explanation is".

... especially when it is the only explanation considered or allowed.

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Well, if you have an explanation that explains the data better, go for it. "God Did It" or "The Designer Did It" really don't explain anything, so we stick with evolution which makes accurate predictions on future finds as well as accurately explain current data.

#9 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 02:57 PM

OK

We are down to what explanations are allowed.

Here is where I think we could ask about your hand moving on the keyboard.

Would you accept this critique:

We will just have to accept "mindless motion" as the best explanation.

What is the drive behind it? Is it a mind? That is non-material. I reject that explanation like "You did it" or a "Will did it". That gets us nowhere and is not an explanation. It describes no physical mechanism nor natural process.

#10 Guest_gnojek_*

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:44 PM

OK

We are down to what explanations are allowed.

Here is where I think we could ask about your hand moving on the keyboard.

Would you accept this critique:

We will just have to accept "mindless motion" as the best explanation.

What is the drive behind it?  Is it a mind?  That is non-material. I reject that explanation like "You did it" or a "Will did it". That gets us nowhere and is not an explanation.  It describes no physical mechanism nor natural process.

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You're right. To explain it in the terms you require would also require that we have a full and complete understanding of human neurology, physiology and such. To be able to take the hand-moving mechanism from thought (neurotransmitters crossing synapses, etc) to motion (electrochemical signals that cause muscle contraction). Since we are only at the beginning of understanding the human brain, this is pretty impossible. Explanations like "you willed it" are pretty feeble, just as feeble as throwing one's hands up and saying "well, I can't figure it out, let's just say 'God did it.""

But, a lack of understanding does not impede the relentless pursuit of understanding called science.

Oh, and says who that a mind is not material?

#11 ret

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 08:23 PM

I haven't read Wells' book, but I know a bit about his arguments. Have they "discredited" his arguments about the Miller experiment? I would be interested reading any articles about that.

#12 Guest_Admin3_*

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:04 PM

You can go here and read about it: http://www.yecheadqu....0.html5.2.html

It's about halfway down the page.

#13 ret

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:13 PM

Thanks, Admin3. If that was their attempt to discredit the argument, I can see more ways to revive it than were listed there.

#14 Guest_Admin3_*

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 09:20 PM

You can have at it. But keep it where it does not sound to provoking, as far as a debate turing into an arguement. And you'd have to start another thread.

#15 Guest_Yehren_*

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 04:59 AM

The Miller-Urrey experiment was not to prove life came about on Earth that way. A grad student put together conditions thought to have occured on early Earth, to see what would happen. Some complex organic molecules appeared.

Long after, the Murchison meteorite was found to contain naturally-occuring amino acids, much like those in the Miller-Urey experiment, except that there was some excess of L-forms.

Which confirms that amino acids can form abiotically. Doesn't prove life can occur by natural means, it just removes one more objection to the idea.

#16 Geezer

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 07:21 AM

Did not the molecules have to be "trapped" in the Miller-Urey experiment?

From the panspermia guys:
"Cronin and Pizarello make no mention whatsoever of the possibility that the left-handed amino acids could be byproducts of biological processes in the meteorite's parent body. Nor does Bada mention this possibility in his comments. Perhaps one should forgive this omission because the tested amino acids are not among those used in life on Earth today. But the relationship between these amino acids and Earthly life is exactly why we're all interested. That relationship could be the reverse of what Bada and the two researchers consider. Life could have produced the asymmetry Cronin and Pizarello observed. This possibility undermines their conclusion, "the results are indicative of an asymmetric influence on organic chemical evolution before the origin of life."

The results increase the weight of the previous argument for panspermia based on biological amino acids from Murchison. The results are entirely consistent with Cosmic Ancestry. The failure by Science to even mention this obvious interpretation is puzzling. A comment by John Horgan in the May, 1997, issue of Scientific American also doesn't mention it (8). But Horgan admits, "The research raises at least as many questions as it answers about life's murky beginnings."

http://www.panspermia.org/chiral.htm

Views do vary greatly, eh?

#17 Guest_Yehren_*

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 07:56 AM

Did not the molecules have to be "trapped" in the Miller-Urey experiment?


Apparently not. Since we now know the same thing happens naturally (Murchison meteorite) we know it can happen with no apparatus at all.

From the panspermia guys:
"Cronin and Pizarello make no mention whatsoever of the possibility that the left-handed amino acids could be byproducts of biological processes in the meteorite's parent body.


No kidding. The point is that they did form abiotically.

Life could have produced the asymmetry Cronin and Pizarello observed.


Could be. But life didn't make the ones in the meteorite. Turns out there's a way that polarized light can produce an excess. I don't know much about it, but I could find it if you like.

This possibility undermines their conclusion, "the results are indicative of an asymmetric influence on organic chemical evolution before the origin of life."


We know it happens. So the question is whether or not it is responsible for the preferentual use of L-forms on Earth.

The results increase the weight of the previous argument for panspermia based on biological amino acids from Murchison. The results are entirely consistent with Cosmic Ancestry. The failure by Science to even mention this obvious interpretation is puzzling. A comment by John Horgan in the May, 1997, issue of Scientific American also doesn't mention it (8). But Horgan admits, "The research raises at least as many questions as it answers about life's murky beginnings."


It's not outside the realm of possibility that amino acids formed outside of the Earth and ended up here. We know that happens. The question is how likely is it that they are responsible for the origin of life. Since we know that amino acids can form naturally in conditions thought to exist on the early Earth, there's some reason to think not.

Views do vary greatly, eh?


Unlike evolution, we still don't know how life started. So there's just evidence and people are trying to put the pieces together.




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