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Author Topic:   Transitional Forms
Everykneeshallbow
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 35 (38)
01-08-2001 7:07 PM


If science deals with emperical evidence, then why do scientists put FAITH in transitional forms when no such forms exist whether alive or in fossil form? These gaps in the evolutionary process have to be assumed which is not scientific.
------------------
Chris B.

gene90
Member (Idle past 3318 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 2 of 35 (40)
01-08-2001 9:46 PM


quote:
Originally posted by Everykneeshallbow:
If science deals with emperical evidence, then why do scientists put FAITH in transitional forms when no such forms exist whether alive or in fossil form? These gaps in the evolutionary process have to be assumed which is not scientific.

The reason for gaps is well known: fossilization is an anomaly, not the norm. Evolution explains the nested hierarchy and speciation, which is sufficient.
Also, we have a strange defintion of 'scientific'. It is probable (based upon the evidence that is available) that evolution has occured, and we have reason to assume that not all transitionals will ever be available for study.
Basically you are saying that because we do not know every detail we know nothing. I hope this brief summary helps you see the error in this logic.
Finally, something is not based upon faith if there is physical evidence that a process has occured. We have the fossil hierarchy, morphology, transitionals, observed speciation events, biogeography, etc. All in all, not a bad body of evidence, but am open to debate on any or all of the above. Admittedly, I have not treated them in detail.

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 35 (41)
01-09-2001 8:06 AM


Everykneeshallbow,
I agree with your problem. I never can understand how based on a lack of subjective evidence can anyone say that they have scientific evidence of something.
The fossil record simply is not falsifiable.
Example: I find a fossil of a bird like creature before two legged dinosaurs supposedly evolve. However, birds who also walk on two legs, according to evolution, evolved from two legged dinosaurs. This should be a contradiction to the theory. But I can always rest my faith in the lack of evidence.
I can say. You know what. Fossils are rarely ever made. The reason we have a bird fossil before any two legged dinosaurs. Is because we are wrong about when two legged dinosaurs emerged. They actually emerged before this bird fossil and no specimens fossilized. It is not a contradiction. If the remains would have fossilized, we would have the evidence. But we know that this is correct, because descent with modification(evolution) did occur. The fossil record is our evidence.
How can a theory claim to be falsifiable if you alway have the ability to rely on the conjectur of absence data to corraborate the data.
I have made this next example in this forum before Let's see if you can see how this is the same sort of faith.
One could argue that creationism is falsifiabe because the corrobarating evidence, i.e. the creator could decide to show up and say "creationism is wrong, Darwin was basically right. Yes, I created the first cell, but by descent with modification the myriad diversity of life evolved." Thus, Creationism is falsifiable.
The point is both faith systems rely on a beliefs in something for which there is no current evidence available for.
Darwinism, Neo Darwinism, Modern Synthesis is not a true scientific theory it actually an origin narrative that does not predict the evidence. It actually serves as an origin narrative that can be adjusted to conform almost any finding to its canon. Its stength actually comes from the fact that it provides naturalist, materialist, and humanist the best self-fufilling natural, material, human explanation for something for which their is an extreme lack of corrobarating evidence.
The saddest part is most of them will not simply come to terms with the fact that this faith system does not actually fall into the framework provided by the scientific method.

gene90
Member (Idle past 3318 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 4 of 35 (42)
01-09-2001 11:31 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
Example: I find a fossil of a bird like creature before two legged dinosaurs supposedly evolve. However, birds who also walk on two legs, according to evolution, evolved from two legged dinosaurs. This should be a contradiction to the theory. But I can always rest my faith in the lack of evidence.
This is a straw-man argument.
For one, evolution does not rest on the proposed dinosaur-bird link, and the subject is even being debated amongst paleontologists.
The problem is that you think finding a two-legged bird before two-legged dinosaurs would destroy evolution. It wouldn't because evolution does not rest upon it, it would destroy the hypothesis that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Then we would be looking for reptile-bird transitionals.
However, evolution combined with dino-bird hypothesis predicts that two-legged dinosaurs should precede birds.
However, evolution indefinately predicts that fish preceded amphibians and amniotes. If you were to find a higher animal back in the Cambrian, evolution would be falsified because there is no way that a hypothesis could be altered to accomodate the observation, as it could in the dino-bird example you gave.
Why don't we avoid strawmen from now on?
[This message has been edited by gene90 (edited 01-09-2001).]

nibelung778
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 35 (43)
01-09-2001 3:59 PM


This is a reply to post 3
T-Thus, Creationism is falsifiable.
And you argue that fossil evidence is not falsifiable?
By your same argument alone, the creator could also come down and announce that evolution or the fossil record is wrong thereby providing equally valid falsification according to your logic. Since the likelihood of the creator coming down and doing either appears to be remote, the validity of this argument to provide evidence of falsibiablity of anything is highly questionable to say the least. I am sure you were just trying to be amusing by making that argument.
T- this faith system does not actually fall into the framework provided by the scientific method.
It is always odd how nonscientists act as if they are better qualified to determine what is scientific than scientists. Creationists think that one small flaw in evolutionary theory will cause the whole system to crumble to dust, and this feeling is reflected in your example. No single out of place fossil find is going to invalidate the entire theory. As gene says, your example is a strawman. No good scientist is going to rationalize this way and if he or she did it would be hailed by the scientific community as the BS that it really is.
T-How can a theory claim to be falsifiable if you alway have the ability to rely on the conjectur of absence data to corraborate the data.
Two different things. Conjecture from an absence of data is idle speculation, but idle speculation has no basis for falsification and doesn't get papers published.
According to you, evolutionary theory does: not predict the evidence, (is) an origin narrative, (and is a) faith system...
That's really several different topics to try to debate. You make many claims (acting almost as if making a claim makes it valid) but provide no substantiation. Perhaps you should try to stick to one point at a time.
What kind of evidence would falsify the theory of evolution? That is a good thought question (but another topic). My opinion is that it would almost take God coming down here and settling all this once and for all (heaven forbid!) to actually falsify evolution, since there is so much evidence across so many different scientific fields of study which support this theory. Falsifying the theory would presumably create havoc in general biology, biochemistry, paleontology, geology, archeology, molecular biology, and physics. Perhaps you think those are nonscientific disciplines? I think you trivialize the scientific process to think that your example would provide adequate falsification. The scientific method provides the framework and freedom in which theories can objectively be falsified based on evidence. The history of scientific progress provides numerous examples of how the process of falsification works and works well in science.
How does all this relate to the topic, transitional forms? If I understand it all correctly, the concern seems to be that scientists fill gaps in transitional forms with faith and that because their thinking is based on faith, it is not falsibiable. The only 'faith' that is used is the faith in logical, predicable, and orderly processes that obey natural physical laws. If Mr X was seen at 4th and Main at 7pm on 1/6/01 when my car was stolen and my car was found in Mr. X's driveway with his fingerprints on the inside, I don't need spiritual faith to conclude that Mr. X took my car. I don't need to fill in the gaps (seeing Mr. X get into my car and drive off). I have a chain of evidence, as science does for evolution with a sequence of transitional fossil forms. My theory that Mr.X took my car is perfectly falsibiable if I find more evidence that contradicts my theory. It is the same with scientific theories.
[This message has been edited by nibelung778 (edited 01-09-2001).]

Everykneeshallbow
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 35 (45)
01-09-2001 5:20 PM


You seem to be saying that evolution has occurred therefore these transitional forms must exist, and that there is a hierarchy in the evolution process as evidenced by transitional forms' existence. A dizzying intellect for sure.
------------------
Chris B.

nibelung778
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 35 (46)
01-09-2001 5:48 PM


reply to message 6
Chris B-You seem to be saying that....
Oh, come on Chris, you can do better than that. Are you going to make a strawman argument (a silly one, too), suggest that I said it, and then easily refute it because it is silly?
[Reading the subsequent reply of gene90 (post 9), it sounds like your comment was not intended as a reply to my post. If this is so, please disregard].
[This message has been edited by nibelung778 (edited 01-10-2001).]
[This message has been edited by nibelung778 (edited 01-10-2001).]

lbhandli
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 35 (47)
01-09-2001 6:02 PM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Thmsberry:
[b]Everykneeshallbow,
I agree with your problem. I never can understand how based on a lack of subjective evidence can anyone say that they have scientific evidence of something.
The fossil record simply is not falsifiable. [/QUOTE]
[/b]
If you take it at that level of abstraction sure, you'd have a problem.
However:
1) you aren't dealing with the other lines of evidence
2) you aren't dealing with the many examples of transitions that have been found that demonstrate a fine changes in the fossil record
The Transitional Fossil Challenge again:
/getdoc.xp?AN=658808870http://x52.deja.com/[ST_rn=ps]/getdoc.xp?AN=658808870[/URL]
Could the above example or hundreds of others be wrong? Yes. But it doesn't necessarily follow that they are wrong. Either you have evidence to falsify the above or you are making empty claims.
A complete lack of transitionals is what the originsal author contended and that simply isn't true. We do see finely graded transitional series in the fossil record matched both by relative and absolute dating methods. There is no doubt that the series occurred, the only doubt could be whether evolution as we now understand it could produce such results or some other process produced them--such as God snapping his fingers. Given we observe the necessary processes in mutations, natural selection, etc., why would we conclude anything except for evolution? This doesn't deny God, it simply takes the most parsimoniuos explanation given the evidence.
[QUOTE][b]
How can a theory claim to be falsifiable if you alway have the ability to rely on the conjectur of absence data to corraborate the data. [/QUOTE]
[/b]
The above rests on data. Either you have data to contradict it or you don't. If you don't why isn't it a strong finding? Could it be wrong? Sure, but that isn't the same as demonstrating it is wrong. An abscence of falsifying data generally means the theory is confirmed. That might change later if new data is found.
[QUOTE][b]
I have made this next example in this forum before Let's see if you can see how this is the same sort of faith.
One could argue that creationism is falsifiabe because the corrobarating evidence, i.e. the creator could decide to show up and say "creationism is wrong, Darwin was basically right. Yes, I created the first cell, but by descent with modification the myriad diversity of life evolved." Thus, Creationism is falsifiable. [/QUOTE]
[/b]
The above is a remarkably silly example. There is no physical evidence supporting the creation. Or do you know of some? We do have physical evidence supporting evolution and we have specific ways in which it could be falsified. Invoking the miracle of God appearing isn't a scientific potential falsification. Science deals with the observable world and the above seems to invoke a being appearing that we are not able to detect so far.
[QUOTE][b]
The point is both faith systems rely on a beliefs in something for which there is no current evidence available for. [/QUOTE]
[/b]
See:
/getdoc.xp?AN=639870526http://x76.deja.com/[ST_rn=ap]/getdoc.xp?AN=639870526[/URL]
That isn't faith--it is scientific evidence. You seem to want to claim there is no reason for us to infer evolution, but it appears that everything we know about biology makes it possible, and we observe very clear phenomena that provide evidence for it. What else would you infer from the above?
[QUOTE][b]
Darwinism, Neo Darwinism, Modern Synthesis is not a true scientific theory it actually an origin narrative that does not predict the evidence. It actually serves as an origin narrative that can be adjusted to conform almost any finding to its canon. Its stength actually comes from the fact that it provides naturalist, materialist, and humanist the best self-fufilling natural, material, human explanation for something for which their is an extreme lack of corrobarating evidence. [/QUOTE]
[/b]
The only challenge you make above is that the theory changes to fit new findings. While this is true in a rather minor way, why is this bad? No one is arguing the same thing Darwin did in the 19th Century and this is clear from any modern source.
In the minor way that it is modified to fit new evidence, this simply accomodates new knowledge of observed processes. You mentioned differing mechanisms for creating genetic diversity in another posting, but this doesn't contradict the essential holding of modern theory that minor genetic changes lead to long term major changes in populations.
quote:

The saddest part is most of them will not simply come to terms with the fact that this faith system does not actually fall into the framework provided by the scientific method.

How does it not--you have:
A testable theory
confirming evidence
potential falsifications
What else do you want?
Cheers,
Larry Handlin

gene90
Member (Idle past 3318 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 9 of 35 (48)
01-09-2001 6:18 PM


quote:
Originally posted by Everykneeshallbow:
You seem to be saying that evolution has occurred therefore these transitional forms must exist, and that there is a hierarchy in the evolution process as evidenced by transitional forms' existence. A dizzying intellect for sure.

That isn't what I have said. The fossil hierarchy stands by itself without transitionals. (The hierarchy is the sequence in which species appear.) But transitionals are also evidence of evolution. I find it strange that large mammal-like reptiles would have ever roamed the Earth otherwise. It certainly doesn't fit Creationism because those creatures, like most of the organisms that ever lived, are extinct.

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 35 (50)
01-10-2001 9:55 AM


Gene,
I am glad you at least admit there is a debat on the dinobird hypothesis. There are many who will claim that it is a fact and not debated.
But also,
You wrote:
"However, evolution indefinately predicts that fish preceded amphibians and amniotes. If you were to find a higher animal back in the Cambrian, evolution would be falsified because there is no way that a hypothesis could be altered to accomodate the observation, as it could in the dino-bird example you gave."
This is simply not true. If a higher animal was found in the Cambrian, the headline would read new fossil causes sciencist to reevaluate mammals evolved. They would say this lucky fossil would have survived, but all the other early amphibians, fish, and etc. did not happen to fossilize. With the fossil record, you can alway claim the cooberating (sp?) evidence is missing.
Descent with modification is not falsifiable by a fossil.

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 35 (51)
01-10-2001 10:10 AM


quote:
Originally posted by nibelung778:
This is a reply to post 3
T-Thus, Creationism is falsifiable.
And you argue that fossil evidence is not falsifiable?
By your same argument alone, the creator could also come down and announce that evolution or the fossil record is wrong thereby providing equally valid falsification according to your logic. Since the likelihood of the creator coming down and doing either appears to be remote, the validity of this argument to provide evidence of falsibiablity of anything is highly questionable to say the least. I am sure you were just trying to be amusing by making that argument.
T- this faith system does not actually fall into the framework provided by the scientific method.
It is always odd how nonscientists act as if they are better qualified to determine what is scientific than scientists. Creationists think that one small flaw in evolutionary theory will cause the whole system to crumble to dust, and this feeling is reflected in your example. No single out of place fossil find is going to invalidate the entire theory. As gene says, your example is a strawman. No good scientist is going to rationalize this way and if he or she did it would be hailed by the scientific community as the BS that it really is.
T-How can a theory claim to be falsifiable if you alway have the ability to rely on the conjectur of absence data to corraborate the data.
Two different things. Conjecture from an absence of data is idle speculation, but idle speculation has no basis for falsification and doesn't get papers published.
According to you, evolutionary theory does: not predict the evidence, (is) an origin narrative, (and is a) faith system...
That's really several different topics to try to debate. You make many claims (acting almost as if making a claim makes it valid) but provide no substantiation. Perhaps you should try to stick to one point at a time.
What kind of evidence would falsify the theory of evolution? That is a good thought question (but another topic). My opinion is that it would almost take God coming down here and settling all this once and for all (heaven forbid!) to actually falsify evolution, since there is so much evidence across so many different scientific fields of study which support this theory. Falsifying the theory would presumably create havoc in general biology, biochemistry, paleontology, geology, archeology, molecular biology, and physics. Perhaps you think those are nonscientific disciplines? I think you trivialize the scientific process to think that your example would provide adequate falsification. The scientific method provides the framework and freedom in which theories can objectively be falsified based on evidence. The history of scientific progress provides numerous examples of how the process of falsification works and works well in science.
How does all this relate to the topic, transitional forms? If I understand it all correctly, the concern seems to be that scientists fill gaps in transitional forms with faith and that because their thinking is based on faith, it is not falsibiable. The only 'faith' that is used is the faith in logical, predicable, and orderly processes that obey natural physical laws. If Mr X was seen at 4th and Main at 7pm on 1/6/01 when my car was stolen and my car was found in Mr. X's driveway with his fingerprints on the inside, I don't need spiritual faith to conclude that Mr. X took my car. I don't need to fill in the gaps (seeing Mr. X get into my car and drive off). I have a chain of evidence, as science does for evolution with a sequence of transitional fossil forms. My theory that Mr.X took my car is perfectly falsibiable if I find more evidence that contradicts my theory. It is the same with scientific theories.
[This message has been edited by nibelung778 (edited 01-09-2001).]

Nibelung,
You seemed to avoid completely my falsify point. Can you explain how you can falsify your claim that the fossil record supports evolution? You are claiming it is scientific evidence. Please provide the means to falsify it.
You also argue that the claim that God could falsify christian creationism is improbable. Interesting. You can't argue that. There is now way to argue what God will and will not do and then to set a probability to it. You can not even argue whether or not god exists let alone what God would do? The chance of God falsifying christian creationism is probably the same as all the missing transitional forms needed for the phylums that emerged during the 5-10 million years of the cambrian explosion of life.

Thmsberry
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 35 (52)
01-10-2001 10:28 AM


Larry,
You keep talking about evidence.
What evidence?
Every explanation that I have ever heard for the Cambrian explosion has been pure speculation.
If it was not for the Cambrian explosion, you would have a stronger argument.
But most of the variety of life that we see today evolved in such a ridiculous short period of time.
The problem people always miss is the fact that during Cambrian we had an ozone layer so nothing would increase the rate of mutation.
There is no speculate explanation of this element of the fossil record that actually works genetically.
The evidence does not match the genetics.
Are you trying to transform the evidence to your image to your likeness.
And let's not even begin to talk about the fact that the fossil record suggest that Prokaryote precede Eurokaryotes and yet if you were actually to use random natural processes Eukaryote cells are more probable than Prokaryotes. The existence of Introns and Junk DNA better fit a naturalistic model of descent with modification than an entire kingdom of creatures without Introns and junk DNA evolving into creatures with unnecessary information. In terms of Natural selection Prokaryotes are better suited for their environment than unicellular eukaryotes. They can replicate faster and even mutate faster and more efficiently.
Note: I am not talking about Archae (Phyla/Kingdom there is a debate on there classification).

nibelung778
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 35 (53)
01-10-2001 11:49 AM


reply to Thmsberry-
T-You seemed to avoid completely my falsify point.
not at all. As I said, "Mr.X took my car is perfectly falsifiable if I find more evidence that contradicts my theory. It is the same
with scientific theories." Simply by finding a proponderance of new evidence that contradicts evolutionary theory. That is the way science has always worked in discarding worn out theories. Why is that a difficult concept for you?
T-Can you explain how you can falsify your claim that the fossil record supports evolution?
see above. What is the communication problem here?
T-You are claiming it is scientific evidence. Please provide the means to falsify it.
Please present your argument that I haven't.
T-You also argue that the claim that God could falsify christian creationism is improbable.
As improbable as the idea that He will falsify evolutionary theory.
T-Interesting. You can't argue that.
I can argue anything I please, thank you.
T- There is now way to argue what God will and will not do and then to set a probability to it.
Very good! If there is no way to say what God will or will not do, then how can that be any argument for falsification? If we don't know, then we can not know if it is falsifiable. Therefore, it is not a valid argument. Let's try to remain in reality as we know it.
T- The chance of God falsifying christian creationism is probably the same as all the missing transitional forms...
Now who is trying to assign probabilities? There are lots of transitional forms. Why are you always focusing on the gaps? That is like having a jig saw puzzle partially put together and claiming that the puzzle is meaningless just because there are some missing pieces. What about all the pieces that are there? How do you explain them?

Percy
Member
Posts: 21347
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 14 of 35 (54)
01-10-2001 12:19 PM


quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
I am glad you at least admit there is a debate on the dinobird hypothesis. There are many who will claim that it is a fact and not debated.
Compare this debate (and many others within evolution) to two forensic specialists tangling in court. Neither questions that a murder occurred, but they reach different conclusions. If further evidence comes to light one or both might change their minds. But none of this changes the fact of the murder. No reasonable person would conclude from the court squabble that no murder had actually occurred.
In a similar way, none of the scientists involved in the bird/dinosaur debate doubt that evolution happened. They're only debating what conclusions should be drawn from the available evidence. Reasonable people should not conclude that this difference of opinion means evolution has not taken place.
quote:
Originally posted by Thmsberry:
This is simply not true. If a higher animal was found in the Cambrian, the headline would read new fossil causes sciencist to reevaluate mammals evolved. They would say this lucky fossil would have survived, but all the other early amphibians, fish, and etc. did not happen to fossilize. With the fossil record, you can alway claim the corroborating evidence is missing.
Descent with modification is not falsifiable by a fossil.

I agree. Given the volume of fossil evidence, it would take much more than a single anomalous fossil. Such a fossil would receive almost no attention, since scientists would assume a geologic incursion or lab mistake or incompetence, etc.
But what if data begun to accumulate for higher lifeforms in the Cambrian, forcing scientists to take it seriously. This is the point that Gene is actually making. Evolution is scientific because it is possible for evidence to come to light that would falsify it.
You are absolutely correct that most scientists would persist in interpreting the new data in an evolutionary framework, trying to modify rather than discard the theory, but that's simply human nature to not be persuaded overnight.
--Percy

Everykneeshallbow
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 35 (55)
01-10-2001 5:14 PM


Gene90
How can the THEORY of hierarchy in evolution stand on its own? Without transitional forms, cannot other THEORIES explain the similarity between species and groups of species? To admit there are gaps in the fossil record is one thing, but to claim the right to fill in those gaps with "transitional forms" is not scientific. The evoulutionary THEORY assumes these transitional forms, and must assume them. Gradual adaptation of a certain species is not evidence for the occurence of evolution.
In the evolutionary THEORY the cart is before the horse. There is no evidence for transitional forms evolving between species, let alone genus, family, order. . . Yet, because the evolutionary THEORY is assumed to be the only plausibly correct "scientific" THEORY, the transitional forms must have existed, even though the lack of evidence is a testamony against them. This is not a strawman argument. No amount of wishing will ever make a transitional form appear.
------------------
Chris B.
[This message has been edited by Everykneeshallbow (edited 01-10-2001).]

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