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Author Topic:   Creationist inconsistency when inferring relatedness
Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


(1)
Message 1 of 78 (711231)
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


This is my first post and hopefully it is not redundant; I didn't see other threads explicitly dealing with this issue but I may well have missed such a thread. Anyway, my point is this: Creationists are inconsistent in their use of morphology to assess and infer relatedness.
Evolutionary biologists look at the morphology of organisms to infer relatedness. This is a robust method that is pre-ToE and that produces results that are almost always consistent with more recent molecular evidence of relatedness. Creationists are inconsistent in their application of this method because, while they accept it as a valid way of inferring relatedness among "kinds", they arbitrarily decide that it is invalid for assessing relatedness more broadly. If morphology can be used to reliably infer relatedness in the Cat "kind" for example, why can the same method not be used to infer that cats are more closely related to canids than artiodactyls?
I have posed this question to creationists in several other venues and have received no substantive answer. The bar seems to be set a little higher here so I'm hoping to get a satisfactory response.

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by CosmicChimp, posted 11-16-2013 9:38 AM Atheos canadensis has replied
 Message 4 by ringo, posted 11-16-2013 11:42 AM Atheos canadensis has replied
 Message 5 by herebedragons, posted 11-16-2013 12:17 PM Atheos canadensis has replied
 Message 11 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-17-2013 5:41 AM Atheos canadensis has replied
 Message 15 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-20-2013 3:32 PM Atheos canadensis has replied
 Message 18 by AZPaul3, posted 11-21-2013 8:34 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

  
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Message 2 of 78 (711233)
11-16-2013 7:18 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Creationist inconsistency when inferring relatedness thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
CosmicChimp
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Posts: 311
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Message 3 of 78 (711241)
11-16-2013 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Atheos canadensis
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


Greetings Atheos canadensis and welcome to the forum.
May I ask you questions for clarification? Must morphology be a clear assessor of relatedness? Must it be? If so, under what parameters would morphology be used to support ToE as opposed to other parameters where it would support poof into being theory (i.e. YE creationism)?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-15-2013 9:32 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

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ringo
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 20940
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005


(1)
Message 4 of 78 (711250)
11-16-2013 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Atheos canadensis
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


Atheos canadensis writes:
If morphology can be used to reliably infer relatedness in the Cat "kind" for example, why can the same method not be used to infer that cats are more closely related to canids than artiodactyls?
I think it's a forced (deliberate) inconsistency. If you ask a creationist, "Which is more closely related, a cat and a dog or a goldfish and a dandelion?" he'll probably answer instinctively, "a dog and a cat."
If you point out that dogs and cats aren't supposed to be related at all....
It's human nature to see patterns whether they're real or not. We see relatedness where there may not be any. Creationists have to work hard at unseeing it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-15-2013 9:32 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

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herebedragons
Member (Idle past 936 days)
Posts: 1517
From: Michigan
Joined: 11-22-2009


Message 5 of 78 (711254)
11-16-2013 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Atheos canadensis
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


If morphology can be used to reliably infer relatedness in the Cat "kind" for example, why can the same method not be used to infer that cats are more closely related to canids than artiodactyls?
The simple answer is that they start with a different set of assumptions. For example, that there is a "human kind" and a "chimp kind" is a basic starting assumption, therefore any similarity in morphology is purely coincidental. Whereas the rest of us start with the assumption that a creature's morphological features were inherited from their ancestors. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is which assumption is more reliable, can be applied objectively and has the most explanatory power. (Hint: the "kind" concept ... not so much)
Now regarding inconsistency, what gets me is how they reject "macroevolutionary" changes as being an impossibility, but propose the idea that a "created kind" could rapidly adapt to become 1000's of modern species in just a few thousand years. All of that without anything more than arbitrary (meaning not objective) boundaries between these "kinds", ie. flies are still flies, bacteria is still bacteria, etc ...
I would also suggest that morphology may not be all that reliable. Many times it is all that data we have, but it can be misleading. Structures that appear homologous can actually arise from unrelated genes or closely related genes can produce significantly different morphological structures. The rearrangements in the plant kingdom in recent years are a good example of this. However, we are learning more about how genes affect morphology and are getting better at interpreting morphological data.
HBD

Whoever calls me ignorant shares my own opinion. Sorrowfully and tacitly I recognize my ignorance, when I consider how much I lack of what my mind in its craving for knowledge is sighing for. But until the end of the present exile has come and terminated this our imperfection by which "we know in part," I console myself with the consideration that this belongs to our common nature. - Francesco Petrarca
"Nothing is easier than to persuade people who want to be persuaded and already believe." - another Petrarca gem.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-15-2013 9:32 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by NoNukes, posted 11-16-2013 12:27 PM herebedragons has replied
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NoNukes
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 6 of 78 (711257)
11-16-2013 12:27 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by herebedragons
11-16-2013 12:17 PM


I think you are attributing a rationality to creationist thinking that is not actually present. Humans are different kinds from other animals because the Bible says they were created separately.
After that the Bible says very little about created kinds or kinds of animals loaded on the ark. But if in fact there were a mention in the Bible of separate creation of lions and cheetahs, then those similarities would be meaningless by fiat.
Now regarding inconsistency, what gets me is how they reject "macroevolutionary" changes as being an impossibility, but propose the idea that a "created kind" could rapidly adapt to become 1000's of modern species in just a few thousand years.
This inconsistency is the rule not the exception.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by herebedragons, posted 11-16-2013 12:17 PM herebedragons has replied

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herebedragons
Member (Idle past 936 days)
Posts: 1517
From: Michigan
Joined: 11-22-2009


Message 7 of 78 (711259)
11-16-2013 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by NoNukes
11-16-2013 12:27 PM


I think you are attributing a rationality to creationist thinking that is not actually present.
I didn't mean to.
After that the Bible says very little about created kinds or kinds of animals loaded on the ark. But if in fact there were a mention in the Bible of separate creation of lions and cheetahs, then those similarities would be meaningless by fiat.
There has been some work (and I use that term loosely - more like imaginings) on identifying the Ark Kinds.
Some good quotes from the article:
quote:
"In this analysis, only twice was the level of the kind assigned to a rank below family. It was placed at the subfamily level for hedgehogs (Erinaceinae) and gymnures (Galericinae) because they could be fairly easily distinguished based on whether or not they had spines, at least in the photos that were available."
"In biology it is relatively easy to observe, measure, and identify similarities and differences. It is often much less straightforward to interpret the similarities and differences."
"In this serious attempt to quantify the kinds represented on the Ark, the numbers which resulted are lower than many had anticipated. Previous work had estimated the genus as the level of the kind, knowing this would significantly overestimate the number, in order to emphasize that the Ark had sufficient room for its intended purpose. In discussing the results of this study with other creationists, many are surprised at how incredibly spacious the accommodations on the Ark would have been."
But anyway, they start with this assumption that there are original created kinds (or ark kinds) which the Bible does suggest there is (at least in their minds), and try to make observations fit that assumption.
This inconsistency is the rule not the exception.
Touche'
HBD

Whoever calls me ignorant shares my own opinion. Sorrowfully and tacitly I recognize my ignorance, when I consider how much I lack of what my mind in its craving for knowledge is sighing for. But until the end of the present exile has come and terminated this our imperfection by which "we know in part," I console myself with the consideration that this belongs to our common nature. - Francesco Petrarca
"Nothing is easier than to persuade people who want to be persuaded and already believe." - another Petrarca gem.

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 Message 6 by NoNukes, posted 11-16-2013 12:27 PM NoNukes has not replied

  
Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


Message 8 of 78 (711279)
11-16-2013 7:56 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by CosmicChimp
11-16-2013 9:38 AM


I'm not sure I understand your first question, but I'll take a crack at it. I suppose there's no intrinsic reason that morphology must necessarily be a indicator of relatedness unless one already accepts that at least some organisms are related. Because both creationists and normies accept this, it seems like a non-issue in the context of this thread. But there is good reason to infer relatedness from morphological similarity, a familiar example being the resemblance seen in families. In this case you know unequivocally that you are related to your mother and father and an examination of your facial features, proportions etc. would yield the same story.
As to the second question, I'm assuming that by "under what parameters" you mean what results of a morphological analysis would support ToE and what results would support YEC. The results we get from such analyses are what you would expect if ToE were true i.e. a nested hierarchy. If YEC were true and there was only limited relatedness rather than universal common ancestry, we should not expect morphology to allow us to group things into statistically-supported nested hierarchies the way we can.
I hope that answered your questions sufficiently.

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 Message 3 by CosmicChimp, posted 11-16-2013 9:38 AM CosmicChimp has not replied

  
Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


Message 9 of 78 (711281)
11-16-2013 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by herebedragons
11-16-2013 12:17 PM


Now regarding inconsistency, what gets me is how they reject "macroevolutionary" changes as being an impossibility, but propose the idea that a "created kind" could rapidly adapt to become 1000's of modern species in just a few thousand years.
I too am perplexed by the contradictory notions that large-scale change absolutely doesn't happen but that fairly massive evolutionary change would be required to produce the current biodiversity from a few kinds.
I'm aware that creationists don't accept the validity of inferring relatedness morphologically on a broad scale because of the starting premise that certain things simply can't be related. I'm hoping we can get some creationists in here to defend the limitations they impose on what they otherwise consider to be a reliable method.
I would also suggest that morphology may not be all that reliable...The rearrangements in the plant kingdom in recent years are a good example of this.
I admit that my knowledge base is focused primarily on vertebrate paleontology; plant taxonomy and morphology are not my strong suits, so I can say very much about the utility of using morphology to classify plants. It's true that there have been taxonomic shifts in light of new findings, but I think with plants and certainly with vertebrates the groupings that were produced by studying morphology alone have been much more in accordance than not with more recent studies. I wouldn't go so far as to say that morphology is a 100% reliable way to infer relatedness, but it has nonetheless so far been shown to be a robust method.

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Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


Message 10 of 78 (711283)
11-16-2013 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ringo
11-16-2013 11:42 AM


I think it's a forced (deliberate) inconsistency.
I very much agree, but in this thread I'm hoping to get a creationist to attempt to specifically articulate a justification of the logic. Based one previous experience I admit to being doubtful that this will come to pass.

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Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 363 days)
Posts: 16113
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 11 of 78 (711299)
11-17-2013 5:41 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Atheos canadensis
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


I asked this of Aaron.
Dr A writes:
So would you like to explain how you draw the line in any particular case?
Is there a reason why you would say: "Yes, using their methods the evolutionists are right to unite this beetle species with that species, and using their methods they are right to unite this beetle genus with this beetle genus with that beetle genus, but, dammit, when they use the exact same methods to unite this beetle family with that beetle family they've gone too damn far"?
I didn't get an answer though.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-15-2013 9:32 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

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Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


Message 12 of 78 (711312)
11-17-2013 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dr Adequate
11-17-2013 5:41 AM


I didn't get an answer though.
This has been my experience. This is almost certainly because there is no logical answer, but I'm hoping someone will take a shot at it. Too bad Aaron didn't; his posts on whale ativisms were pretty good. It seems like he would have been the most likely source of a cogent answer if there were one to give.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-17-2013 5:41 AM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
Atheos canadensis
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 141
Joined: 11-12-2013


Message 13 of 78 (711457)
11-19-2013 8:55 AM


Disappointing
Well I guess I was overly-optimistic in hoping a creationist would rise to the challenge here. I guess it is easier to ignore one's logical inconsistency than defend it. Oh well.

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by RAZD, posted 11-20-2013 2:52 PM Atheos canadensis has replied

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 1484 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 14 of 78 (711582)
11-20-2013 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Atheos canadensis
11-19-2013 8:55 AM


Re: Disappointing
I guess it is easier to ignore one's logical inconsistency than defend it.
(1) they don't feel they need to defend it ... it's <.insert>authority of choice<./insert>'s word, and
(2) the first level of cognitive dissonance reduction is to ignore and deny contrary evidence.
Cognitive dissonance - (Wikipedia, 2010)
Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing them.[2] It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
A powerful cause of dissonance is an idea in conflict with a fundamental element of the self-concept, such as "I am a good person" or "I made the right decision". The anxiety that comes with the possibility of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one's choices. A person who just spent too much money on a new car might decide that the new vehicle is much less likely to break down than his or her old car. This belief may or may not be true, but it would reduce dissonance and make the person feel better. Dissonance can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of disconfirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms.
If you want to see an example, you can look at mindspawn's posts on Great debate: radiocarbon dating, Mindspawn and Coyote/RAZD
Enjoy

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This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-19-2013 8:55 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 78 (711589)
11-20-2013 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Atheos canadensis
11-15-2013 9:32 AM


Creationists are inconsistent in their application of this method because, while they accept it as a valid way of inferring relatedness among "kinds", they arbitrarily decide that it is invalid for assessing relatedness more broadly. If morphology can be used to reliably infer relatedness in the Cat "kind" for example, why can the same method not be used to infer that cats are more closely related to canids than artiodactyls?
Because Bible.
It says otherwise.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Atheos canadensis, posted 11-15-2013 9:32 AM Atheos canadensis has replied

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