PDA

View Full Version : Things Creationists Hate



informant
2002-Mar-13, 02:07 PM
I hope this isn't considered too "ad hominem". I'm posting it for fun.
There's a reference to the BA in it too.

Things Creationists Hate (http://riceinfo.rice.edu/armadillo/Sciacademy/riggins/things.htm)

<font size=-1>[ Fixed link.]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: informant on 2002-03-13 10:08 ]</font>

lpetrich
2002-Mar-13, 03:36 PM
I was unable to view that link. What was in it?

Now for my favorite creationist stumpers:

*Biogeography. Why do many animals and plants live in only part of their possible ranges?

A few examples:

Cactus plants grow in North and South American deserts; why not the Sahara or the Australian outback?

Rattlesnakes live in the Americas; why not elsewhere on our planet? Especially since poisonous snakes are also found elsewhere.

Australia has some distinctive fauna, such as kangaroos, wombats, and koalas; why don't they live elsewhere?

Sheep, cows, water buffalo, camels, rabbits, ostriches, etc. had not originally lived in Australia, but they've been very successful when brought there -- sometimes too successful.

This is especially serious for oceanic islands, which often have their own distinctive species -- species which are much like species living on nearby islands or mainland.

Furthermore, the species on such islands are the sort of species that can naturally get there, or have ancestors that can do so, such as flightless birds. Among other land animals, those that get there are cold-blooded ones that can slow down for a random-drift journey; there are giant turtles on some islands, but never any giant rats.

* Vestigial features.

There are legions of them; here are just a few of them:

* Fused bones. Why do some bones start off as multiple bones?

* Human toes.

* Side toes that horses occasionally have; present-day ones all have one toe on each foot, but their ancestors had had more.

* Tiny tails of bears and human tailbones.

* Gill bars and pouches in amniote embryos; yolk sacs in mammalian embryos, and similar embyronic features.

* The wings of flightless birds.

* Whale hipbones and some snakes' hind legs.

* One lung of many snakes is very shrunken, but it's still there.

* Insect mouthparts and antennae can be induced to develop like legs by certain mutations, which is a throwback to some centipede-ish ancestor with lookalike limbs.

* Plants do alternation of generations, between a sexual haploid phase and an asexual diploid phase; however, in seed plants, the haploid-phase plants very small, often only a few cells, and they live inside of the reproductive parts of the diploid phases.

* Eukaryotic cells contain the remnants of bacteria that had been "eaten" by their ancestors; mitochondria are from purple bacteria, a group that E. coli and similar bacteria belongs to, while chloroplasts are from cyanobacteria (blue-green "algae"). Sometimes, this "eating" process happens more than once; some (eukaryotic) algae have vestigial algae living inside of them, with only membranes, chloroplasts, and vestigial nuclei remaining.

* Cells often have pseudogenes, nonfunctional copies of genes.

* Oxygen use and oxygen release are add-ons to oxygenless metabolic processes; oxygen release is the first stage of photosynthesis and the last stage of respiration.

* Various cofactors have bits of stray RNA in them; this suggests that there was once an "RNA world", where RNA was both information molecule and catalyst; since then, DNA emerged as the master-copy molecule and proteins as catalysts.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lpetrich on 2002-03-13 11:05 ]</font>

Dunash
2002-Mar-13, 07:40 PM
The Vestigial Organ Theory has long been discredited! eg that the human tonsils, adenoids, appendix, thymus, pituitary,
recurrent laryngeal, knee menisci, third molar etc. were the vestiges of some "prehistoric" existence! "He would be a
rash man indeed who would now assert that any part of the body is vestigial" (Professor Goodrich, Oxford).
No true evolution - not Darwinian, not Neo
Darwinian, not Lamarckian, not Macro, not Micro, not Gradualist, not Punctualist, not Convergent etc - has ever been observed!

ToSeek
2002-Mar-13, 07:59 PM
On 2002-03-13 14:40, Dunash wrote:

No true evolution - not Darwinian, not Neo
Darwinian, not Lamarckian, not Macro, not Micro, not Gradualist, not Punctualist, not Convergent etc - has ever been observed!


Untrue (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html)

The most notable example might be the (continuing) evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Chip
2002-Mar-13, 08:02 PM
Dunash wrote:
"No true evolution - not Darwinian, not Neo
Darwinian, not Lamarckian, not Macro, not Micro, not Gradualist, not Punctualist, not Convergent etc - has ever been observed!"


The dairy cow is an example of artificial selection. This animal has been redefined over a few human generations exclusively for milk production. Some kind of evolution is at work if not Darwinian. There must be a God since He/She/They arranged for Darwin to visit the Galapagos and observe, and draw interesting insights. (-;

Donnie B.
2002-Mar-13, 09:26 PM
This is an interesting topic, but pretty far from Astronomy (good or bad).

Why not bring it over to the Skeptic Friends Forum (www.skepticfriends.org), where there's a whole "Creation vs. Evolution" topic?

James
2002-Mar-13, 10:46 PM
On 2002-03-13 16:26, Donnie B. wrote:
This is an interesting topic, but pretty far from Astronomy (good or bad).

Why not bring it over to the Skeptic Friends Forum (www.skepticfriends.org), where there's a whole "Creation vs. Evolution" topic?



Yeah, why not? I think it's gathered enough dust this round.

Dunash
2002-Mar-14, 10:16 AM
The DNA molecule has the highest information density known: 10^24 bits of information contained within a volume of 10^-20 cc. To believe that that happened by accident requires more than belief - it requires a leap of faith far exceeding that of any Creationist. Carl Sagan was the High Priest of that Faith.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-14, 01:01 PM
On 2002-03-14 05:16, Dunash wrote:
The DNA molecule has the highest information density known: 10^24 bits of information contained within a volume of 10^-20 cc. To believe that that happened by accident requires more than belief - it requires a leap of faith far exceeding that of any Creationist. Carl Sagan was the High Priest of that Faith.


Evolution != accident

Prince
2002-Mar-14, 01:30 PM
There is no such thing as "speciation"!
The appearance of disease-resistant strains in microorganisms is exactly the same phenomenon as 'industrial melanism' in moths.
The strain that flourishes and eventually becomes the dominant strain is
that 'best fitted' to survive in its environment as Darwin predicted. But
that strain already exists from the outset, and is nothing more than a subspecific variety of the species in question.
Nothing new is coming into being: what is happening is that the varieties
less well adapted are dying off.

There is no objection to Darwinists calling this process 'natural selection' or 'survival of the fittest', which is a tautology. But there is no way that
this process can be pressed into service as the mechanism of evolution.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-14, 02:22 PM
On 2002-03-14 08:30, Prince wrote:
There is no such thing as "speciation"!
The appearance of disease-resistant strains in microorganisms is exactly the same phenomenon as 'industrial melanism' in moths.
The strain that flourishes and eventually becomes the dominant strain is
that 'best fitted' to survive in its environment as Darwin predicted. But
that strain already exists from the outset, and is nothing more than a subspecific variety of the species in question.
Nothing new is coming into being: what is happening is that the varieties
less well adapted are dying off.

There is no objection to Darwinists calling this process 'natural selection' or 'survival of the fittest', which is a tautology. But there is no way that
this process can be pressed into service as the mechanism of evolution.


*sigh* So how do you explain experiments in which a population of bacteria, cloned from a single bacterium that has been verified as not resistant to antibiotics, develops resistance? (See 'Antibiotic resistance: road of no return', Science, Oct 24, 1997. ) The only possible explanation is a mutation.

If what you are saying is true, then antibiotics would be of no use in the first place.

P.S. I would also like to point out that this post is copied, word-for-word, from this web page (http://www.alternativescience.com/speciation.htm) without credit or attribution.

(edited to add P.S.)
_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-03-14 09:28 ]</font>

ToSeek
2002-Mar-14, 02:38 PM
I don't intend to post on these topics any more. This is not an appropriate discussion for this board, and I'm surprised the BA hasn't shut it down already. (And, before you comment, I know it was started from the "evolutionist" side, though not by me.)

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Mar-14, 03:42 PM
I will give these threads a chance to get on topic. Creationism is a definitely on-topic for astronomy, as long as astronomy is the topic. I won't mind too much if the threads stray a bit, but I won't let them get into a full-blown debate on evolution. There are other boards for that.

lpetrich
2002-Mar-14, 06:31 PM
I'll pass on the biology part; simply go to places like http://www.talkorigins.org and the forum at http://www.infidels.org

But creationist astronomy is rather amusing. One "explanation" they have for distant objects is that the speed of light in a vacuum (c) has dramatically slowed; one of them has even quoted various historical measurements that indicate a decline. However, those historical measurements were carefully selected, and only included the too-big ones. When one includes the too-small ones, the values cluster around a line that indicates no change in c.

One problem with that hypothesis is that it would seriously alter a large number of physical phenomena, such as spectral lines, opacities, and nuclear-reaction rates, thus producing a radically different-looking Universe. Which is simply not observed.

There is also an abundance of evidence for stellar evolution, as one can find from studying star clusters. Most clusters have only average amounts of interstellar dust and gas, meaning that they had formed relatively quickly. This means that stars in clusters have approximately the same age, and one can compare the surface temperatures and luminosities of stars with those that are expected for stars with various masses after various amounts of time. One usually obtains a reasonably good fit, indicating that our theories of stellar evolution are reasonably sound, and that the stars have ages that can be as much as 10 billion years -- which is directly contrary to young-earth creationism.

There is also evidence of galactic evolution as well. In our own Galaxy, there are two main populations of stars, Pop I (disk stars) and Pop II (halo stars). The disk stars are relatively young and relatively enriched in heavy elements ("metals"; anything heavier than helium), as compared to the halo stars. This means that massive stars have gradually enriched the interstellar medium with heavy elements as they emit stellar winds and explode; the older stars would have less of these stellar byproducts than the younger ones would.

Galactic evolution is also evident in the statistics of quasars; these had been abundant at a redshift of 3 (something like 10 billion years ago), but have become much rarer; the implication is the the large majority of quasars have burned out over that time.

I'm not sure how creationists tackle these conundrums, but some creationists maintain that the light from distant stars and galaxies had been created in flight, something supposedly required by Gauss's Law.

This is, of course, Philip Gosse's Omphalos hypothesis of created appearance, which has often been viewed as a hypothesis of divine fraudulence.

ToSeek
2002-Mar-14, 06:56 PM
On 2002-03-14 13:31, lpetrich wrote:

But creationist astronomy is rather amusing. One "explanation" they have for distant objects is that the speed of light in a vacuum (c) has dramatically slowed; one of them has even quoted various historical measurements that indicate a decline. However, those historical measurements were carefully selected, and only included the too-big ones. When one includes the too-small ones, the values cluster around a line that indicates no change in c.


It's also very convenient that as soon as we became capable of detecting changes in the speed of light, the speed of light stopped changing.

Silas
2002-Mar-14, 07:00 PM
The difficulty is that the same word, evolution, can mean "change" -- as in galactic evolution -- or the kind of directed change that we see under differential survival and descent with modification -- i.e. Darwinian evolution.

Stars and galaxies don't evolve in the Darwinian sense: there isn't any competition for resources nor clear genealogy.

(Actually, the word "evolution" for Darwinian change was probably a bad choice...)

The conditions on earth that make Darwinian change possible (and, indeed, inevitable!) are: a superabundance of energy, and self-replicating molecules. I'll warrant that nearly any environment that has these conditions will soon (what's a billion years between friends?) develop life.

Stars and galaxies aren't self-replicating...but there is some lovely speculation that cosmoses hhhhhhhhh cosmoi hhhhhh universes *are* self-replicating, perhaps even with minor modifications in their physical laws. If that's true, then the comparisons to Darwinian change could be valid. (e.g., universes that have laws of physics which prevent them from spawning more universes are obviously doomed to "extinction.")

A final thought (more or less literally): in the far, far, FAR future, when black holes are the dominant feature of the cosmos, there might be a sort of "black hole ecology," balanced nicely between evaporating black holes and other black holes that absorb the emitted radiation/particles. Alas, probably not: in time, all the black holes would merge into one big monster, and, well, that's the end of the end.

Silas

lpetrich
2002-Mar-14, 07:28 PM
Here's a nice criticism of some creationist astronomy (http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/www_of_creationism_craters.htm). Click "Home" on that page to get to an excellent site on creationism, "No Answers in Genesis".

The eminent creationist Henry Morris has claimed:

* That the light from distant stars was created in flight.

* That the craters of many Solar-System objects are the result of a big war between God's angels and the Devil's angels.(to many Fundamentalists, the Devil is a sort of Evil God)

* That UFO's are really wicked devils.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lpetrich on 2002-03-14 14:32 ]</font>

David Hall
2002-Mar-15, 03:36 AM
On 2002-03-14 14:00, Silas wrote:
A final thought (more or less literally): in the far, far, FAR future, when black holes are the dominant feature of the cosmos, there might be a sort of "black hole ecology," balanced nicely between evaporating black holes and other black holes that absorb the emitted radiation/particles. Alas, probably not: in time, all the black holes would merge into one big monster, and, well, that's the end of the end.



I've been thinking about this. Given the current thinking that the universe is open ended and expanding ever more rapidly, I think in the far future that there'll be islands of black holes widely seperated from each other by wide gulfs. IOW, I can see where all the matter in a gravitationally bound area, say a galactic supercluster, could merge into some honking big black holes, but the expansion would keep these islands from merging with each other.

Of course, in the end I think even these BH's will evaporate and there'll be nothing left but clouds of Hawking radiation spreading out thinner and thinner in an ever-expanding void. Eventually every particle of matter will be seperated far enough from it's neighbors that gravity could not overcome the expansion. This I see as the true end of the universe.

Sorry, kind of a sobering thought there.

2002-Mar-15, 11:38 AM
The most notable example might be the (continuing) evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.


Thats not evolution, it's eugenics. Spray chemical 'x' on bacteria, all bacteria not resistant die. You are now left with a resistant strain of bacteria...yay!
Ok so Im kinda wrong but what the hell. Agree with what you're saying though...

ChallegedChimp
2002-Mar-15, 01:05 PM
Sheesh... since only Christians stand up for their views politcally in my country (the USA)Creationism gets attacked. No scientific attacks on the Koran (you better not, less thinking monkeys might kill yah, or thought police monkeys might ostracize yah) or the Torah(go ahead, say someting against it, and you might as well say Seig Heil.) Heck, where were the challengers against the militant (and I stress militant) extremist views of Islam? Nowhere. Speaking up against the controlling point o view gets you dead.
I guess since science cannot completely explain people, it will try to completely and summarily dismiss them and their beliefs. (Or in this case, make fun of them)

Not a darn one of us, or even those who we learnt from, was around during Earth's evolution and humankind's evolution, we are simply the end product of it. Who the heck are we to guess how God designed the world, or more importantly asked: is learning to figure out how God did it be one of our "meanings of life"?
Leave creationists alone, if that is how they choose to believe the world came about, then LET them. If you believe more of the "facts" (which can constantly be "revised") I guess everything before Newton was revised to fit him, and then Einstein, and then Hawking, and then whoever comes next about how and why our planet and our species came about then you can DO that. Creationists just want to inject their viewpoint with no bigotry. (Sheesh, an anti creationism guy speaking up for them...who woulda thunk?) Prime sentence: "We ain't going to know till after we're dead". Cripes, we got guys flying aircraft into buildings on one side and guys ready to use babies as stem cell factories on the other.
Like a lot of things in life, there ain't no winner.

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe." [Carl Sagan]

On of the more idiotic statements ever made by a really smart monkey. Friggin BELIEF is what got science rolling along its course to where it is today. Believeing in why something happens means exploring why it did. And exploring why it did (and mayhap will continue to do) IS science. Dumb qutoe if taken out of context. Explain gravity. What keeps us glued to the planet, what keeps up and down, EXPLAIN it. Show me the numbers that says gravity is so (obviously gravity does work, but after so many smart monkeys standing on the shoulders of other smart monkeys, not a daggone one of em have showed me and the general populace why it is there) and show me why it does what is does. (If gravity is explainable then we should be able to turn it off and on like we have electricty right? We gawked at lighting bolts, but figured them out. Why not gravity? Obviously gravity affects every bit of the universe we know of, but noone really knows what the heck it is or, more importantly, what causes it. EXPLAIN it for a stupid monkey like me please! If Science is so almighty powerful then build a machine that creates gravity or looses it at will so we all can float around rather than walking. it is only gravity, an easily explainable force of the universe after all right? DO IT. Until then, I guess I'll just have to take what scientists say at "faith".
When someone does, then I'll "believe" that maybe science has ALL the answers in that. Until then, a lot of smart talk is not backing up the truth. Sheesh... the big wide universe has mysteries untold for us monkeys to understand, but yet still some take cheap shots at other monkeys for their beliefs. in the end "a+b+c=noone knows anything friggin 100% sure")

Cripes, evolution versus creationism. WE don't know. Evolution, with the full backing of science, is still but a Theory. Creationism, with the full backing of billions of people's belief, is still not proven (and obviously, made fun of by those of "higher" intellect).
It is a "moot" point and should not be discussed so widely, as it comes down to each individual to choose what they "believe" is true.

Attack creationism as you will, use one book as your exhibit A, but back your own belief on the defense. Believing in
God, believing in a moral compass for the world, believing in good and evilm all the same: PROVE it. And to date, other than trusting science to thouroughly explain why "I" standing on a planet, moving at least 1000 miles an hour as it spins around its axis, going untold thousands (millions?) an hour around the sun...and I feel nothing. Gravity is there right? Otherwise centrifugal force would have spun my arse out to Jupiter by now. Prove it in numbers rather than to common snese approach my butt insitting in a chair typing this.

I am a stupid monkey. But some things seem to easy for me: You cannot prove faith wrong. Nor can you prove it right. And for a large part of scientific study, the same holds true.

In the end, when we are dead, we are DEAD.

We'll all get our "I told you so's" in Heaven or Hell. Or whatever form you view the opposites in. Cuz, for the atheists out there, if their is not a heaven or hell, good or evil, be lucky that someone hasn't found you, killed you, taken anything from that might be of value, and continued on their merry way in life without a shimmer of guilt. (BA, feel free to delete last paragraph as it states nothing but my own hatred for those who cannot commit)

Stupid monkey signing off.

(for personal attacks of my dumb monkey booty please don't clog this newsboard, just use me email addy of siramal@hotmail.com)





<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ChallegedChimp on 2002-03-15 08:23 ]</font>

James
2002-Mar-15, 01:31 PM
On 2002-03-15 06:38, widosm wrote:


The most notable example might be the (continuing) evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.


Thats not evolution, it's eugenics. Spray chemical 'x' on bacteria, all bacteria not resistant die. You are now left with a resistant strain of bacteria...yay!
Ok so Im kinda wrong but what the hell. Agree with what you're saying though...


It is evolution. Eugenics is some weak-arse program thought up in San Francisco schools. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

informant
2002-Mar-15, 01:38 PM
Now I really regret having made this post in the first place...
It wasn't meant to make fun of anyone's beliefs.
I think the reason why Christians get the hard blow sometimes is simply that the critics live in countries where Christians are the majority, and so Christianism is the religion they know more about.
Simple as that...
No offense meant, not from me anyway.

Omega
2002-Mar-15, 03:15 PM
In Western societies itís only Creationists who yell and scream, and claim the entire Universe is only a few thousand years old.
I donít really know what ChallengedChimps point is. That it is so sad that Creationists get verbally attacked for their nonsense? God didnít design the World, there is no God, so what is the point? If Creationists left the schools alone, I wouldnít even give them a second thought. But since they insist that kids should be taught false stuff, Iím not going to be silent about the matter.
We do know that life evolved. The exact details are not know with 100 % certainty, but that does not mean evolution should really be debated. Once the galaxy was thought to be 100.000 lightyears across, then the astronomers found it to be 80.000 lightyears across. That does not mean there is no galaxy or no Big Bang, see?
Belief is not what got science rolling. Questions and curiosity about the world around us got science rolling. I hardly think a scientist who has a new theory about how, say, super-massive black holes form creates an alter with his notes.
You want to know how gravity works?
Mail me, Iíll be delighted to explain classical gravity to you. You canít turn gravity on and off like electromagnetism in your lightbulb, because you canít turn the Earth off and on at your leisure. The Earth is electromagnetically neutral.
The reason its so hard to build gravity machines is this: First of all gravity is an extremely weak force, compared to the three other forces of nature (EM, the weak and the strong nuclear forces). The second reason is that we still donít understand gravity at very small scales. We donít have a satisfying theory for quantum-gravity yet.
Itís easy to believe in a religion. Just listen and read one book. To understand the true beauty of a scientific field you have to study for many years. Learn the language of the Universe, so to speak.
Evolution is not a theory. The exact details are up for discussion. That a billion people believe something doesnít make it right. Once a billion people believed the Earth was flat. Does that make the Earth flat? Millions of people believe that alien spacecrafts visit the planet. Are we then being visited by Martians?
There is nothing wrong with faith a priori. I have faith in my friends and family. There is nothing wrong with morals either, or a sense of right or wrong. But you canít prove the truths of a religion, simply by saying ďHey, you canít prove itís wrong.Ē Nothing has been proven, by saying an opponent canít prove that it is wrong.
There is no Heaven and no Hell. You donít have to be religious to have morals, you know? I donít believe in any gods whatsoever, that doesnít mean I go on robbing- or killing-sprees.
Why on Earth should I? Belief in a God hasnít kept Christians from committing horrible crimes either.

mflagga@villains.de

lpetrich
2002-Mar-16, 01:36 AM
ChallegedChimp's posting is very incoherent; I'll try to make sense out of it.



Sheesh... since only Christians stand up for their views politcally in my country (the USA) Creationism gets attacked. No scientific attacks on the Koran ...


Grow up, CC. That's because it's Christian fundamentalists who are the most immediate threat. If Muslim fundamentalists were demanding recognition of the supposed scientific prescience of the Koran, they'd get a lot of opposition also.

Yes, some Muslims claim that a lot of important discoveries were first revealed in the Koran, discoveries like the Big Bang.



Not a darn one of us, or even those who we learnt from, was around during Earth's evolution and humankind's evolution, we are simply the end product of it.


What difference does that make? Seriously.



... Creationists just want to inject their viewpoint with no bigotry. (Sheesh, an anti creationism guy speaking up for them...who woulda thunk?)...


What do you mean? Be specific.

(A lot of other such moaning and groaning deleted; I've lost patience.)

Bob
2002-Mar-19, 09:47 PM
[quote]
On 2002-03-14 05:16, Dunash wrote:
The DNA molecule has the highest information density known: 10^24 bits of information contained within a volume of 10^-20 cc. To believe that that happened by accident requires more than belief - it requires a leap of faith far exceeding that of any Creationist. Carl Sagan was the High Priest of that Faith.

Your "scientific" arguments would be more convincing if they weren't so wildly inaccurate. The human genome contains about 3 gigabytes of information, about the same as many home computers and far less than the 10^24 bits you claim. The volume of 10^-20 cc is the volume of a few hundred atoms, only a few dozen base pairs in a DNA molecule.

Dunash
2002-Mar-19, 11:12 PM
What's a few powers of 10 between theistic friends?!

According to Professor Werner Gitt, Head of Data Processing at the Federal Institue of Physics at Braunscweig: "the DNA molecle is 2nm in diameter and has a 3.4nm helix pitch. This results in a volume of 1.068x10^-20 c.c. per spiral. Each spiral contains 10 chemical letters (nucleotides), resulting in an information density of 9.4x10^20 letters per c.c. Since the information content of each of the 4 different nucleotides of which DNA is composed is 2 bits, the statistical information density of DNA is 1.88x10^21 per c.c." ("Information: The 3rd Fundamental Quantity", 1991).

Have these figures been updated since then?

Bob
2002-Mar-20, 02:52 PM
http://www.ornl.gov/hgmis/faq/faqs1.html

http://hypertextbook.com/facts/MichaelPhillip.shtml

Prince
2002-Apr-07, 11:39 PM
Is a reptilian nyctalopian eye capable of seeing a star ie an object at infinite distance?

WRT Karl (and Lenny Flank's) supreme confidence in the evidence for Therapsid evolution, reading between the lines, those evolutionists really in the know are somewhat less confident:

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference,however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

"The geological record is extremely Imperfect and this fact will to
a large extent explain why we do no! find interminable varieties,
connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the
finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory."

Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its
cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never "seen" in the rocks.
Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of
life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study."

(Stephen jay Gould, Harvard, "Evolution's erratic pace', Natural History vol 86 p14)

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Apr-08, 12:40 AM
This thread too (like the sister thread about evolution) has strayed from astronomy. Locked.

Karl
2002-Apr-08, 01:16 AM
On 2002-04-07 20:40, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
This thread too (like the sister thread about evolution) has strayed from astronomy. Locked.


Doesn't look locked to me.

Karl
2002-Apr-08, 03:43 AM
A more complete quote of Gould's 1977 article on Punctuated Equilibrium.

http://www.digisys.net/users/hoppnrmt/transitionfossils.htm


Gould, S J, Natural History Vol. 86, No. 5, 1977, p. 14:

"In short, Darwin argued that the geological record was exceedingly imperfect--a book with few remaining pages, few lines on each page, and few words on each line. We do not see slow evolutionary change in the fossil record because we study only one step in thousands. Change seems to be abrupt because the intermediate steps are missing.
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils...

[Three paragraphs about Darwin's argument of gradualism]

...For several years, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and I have been advocating a resolution of this uncomfortable paradox. We believe that Huxley was right in his warning. The modern theory of evolution--little more than a contemporary restatement of basic Darwinism--does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record.
The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:
1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless.
2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'.
Evolution proceeds in two major modes. In the first, phyletic transformation, an entire population changes from one state to another. If all evolutionary change occurred in this mode, life would not persist long. Phyletic evolution yields no increase in diversity, only a transformation of one thing into another. Since extinction (by extirpation, not by evolution into something else) is so common, a biota with no mechanism for increasing diversity would soon be wiped out. The second mode, speciation, replenishes the earth. New species branch off from the persisting parental stock."

Edit (twice) to fix tags.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Karl on 2002-04-07 23:44 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Karl on 2002-04-07 23:50 ]</font>