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Author Topic:   No Witnesses
Posts: 5982
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Message 201 of 215 (660865)
04-30-2012 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 188 by Chuck77
04-29-2012 6:07 AM

So Scientists are using pictures to determine that they evolved from land dwelling creatures to become sea dwelling creatures? I thought there was more to it.
. . .
So the fossils come with name tags?
. . .
Well, I have a completley different argument now. Mainly using pictures as evidence, and unlabled fossils.
For the past decades and centuries even, the hard work's been done. And it's all been published and it's all there for you to read. All you need to is to read it. OK, so you need to learn something about the science of paleontology too; there is no royal road to learning.
I have told this story before, but perhaps you had missed it. From circa 1987 to circa 1994, I was active on CompuServe until they "improved" their service to the point of making it unusable; many of the essays I've posted on my website ( I had originally written and uploaded to CompuServe's library.
On CompuServe, there was a remarkable creationist, Merle Hertzler. He was the most honest creationist I have ever encountered and his arguments in support of creationism were the best reasoned I have ever encountered. A year later, he had had to abandon creationism as untenable and had gone to the other side -- this is part of the basis for my recently posted assessment of the fate of honest creationists in Message 409 of The Three Kinds of Creationists.
On Merle's website, his Did We Evolve? page recounts part of the story of his transition from creationism to evolution. I now post a greatly abbreviated quoting from that page; you have the link, which I recommend you use to read the entire page:
Years ago I was fighting the good fight of creation on the Internet. I argued that evolution was impossible, for it required that the genetic code had to be changed to make new kinds of animals. It did not seem feasible to me that evolution could do this. I argued in the CompuServe debate forum, basing my arguments on Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crises. My favorite illustration was the difference between mammals and reptiles. The differences between living mammals and reptiles are substantial. Mammals all have hair, mammary glands, a four-chambered heart, and the distinct mammalian ear, with three little bones inside. These features are found in no living reptiles. I argued that this is because there is no viable intermediate between the two, that an animal could have either the reptile genetic code or the mammal code but could not be in the middle.
An evolutionist disagreed with me. He told me that in the past there had been many intermediates. He said that there were animals that, for instance, had jaw and ear bones that were intermediate between reptiles and mammals. How did he know this? He gave a reference to an essay in Stephen Gould's Ten Little Piggies . I wrote back that since the local library had a large collection of children's book, I should be able to find that book. (I thought I was so funny). I borrowed the book, and found an interesting account of how bones in the reptile jaw evolved and changed through millions of years to become the mammals' ear. That sounded like such a clever tale. How could Gould believe it? Perhaps he made it up. But there was one little footnote, a footnote that would change my life. It said simply, "Allin, E. F. 1975. Evolution of the Mammalian Middle Ear. Journal of Morphology 147:403-38." That's it. That's all it said. But it was soon to have a huge impact on me. You see, I had developed this habit of looking things up, and had been making regular trips to the University of Pennsylvania library. I was getting involved in some serious discussions on the Internet, and was finding the scientific journals to be a reliable source of information. Well, I couldn't believe that a real scientific journal would take such a tale seriously, but, before I would declare victory, I needed to check it out.
On my next trip to the university, I found my way to the biomedical library and located the journal archives. I retrieved the specified journal, and started to read. I could not believe my eyes. There were detailed descriptions of many intermediate fossils. The article described in detail how the bones evolved from reptiles to mammals through a long series of mammal-like reptiles. I paged through the volume in my hand. There were hundreds of pages, all loaded with information. I looked at other journals. I found page after page describing transitional fossils. More significantly, there were all of those troublesome dates. If one arranged the fossils according to date, he could see how the bones changed with time. Each fossil species was dated at a specific time range. It all fit together. I didn't know what to think. Could all of these fossil drawings be fakes? Could all of these dates be pulled out of a hat? Did these articles consist of thousands of lies? All seemed to indicate that life evolved over many millions of years. Were all of these thousands of "facts" actually guesses? I looked around me. The room was filled with many bookshelves; each was filled with hundreds of bound journals. Were all of these journals drenched with lies? Several medical students were doing research there. Perhaps some day they would need to operate on my heart or fight some disease. Was I to believe that these medical students were in this room filled with misinformation, and that they were diligently sorting out the evolutionist lies while learning medical knowledge? How could so much error have entered this room? It made no sense.
. . . {two long paragraphs describing what he had found}
The impact of that day in the library was truly stunning. I didn't know what to say. I could not argue against the overwhelming evidence for mammal evolution. But neither could I imagine believing it. Something had happened to me. My mind had begun to think. And it was not about to be stopped. Oh no. There is no stopping the mind set free. I went to the library and borrowed a few books on evolution and creation--diligently studying both sides of the argument. I started to read the evolutionist books with amazement. I had thought that evolutionists taught that floating cows had somehow turned into whales; that hopeful monsters had suddenly evolved without transitions; that one must have blind faith since transitional fossils did not exist; that one must simply guess at the dates for the fossils; and that one must ignore all of the evidence for young-earth creation. I was surprised to learn what these scientist actually knew about the Creationist teachings of flood geology, of the proposed young-earth proofs, and of the reported problems of evolution. And I was surprised at the answers that they had for these Creationist arguments. And I was surprised to see all the clear, logical arguments for evolution. I read with enthusiasm. I learned about isochrons, intermediate fossils, the geologic column, and much more.
I would never see the world in the same light. Several weeks later I found myself staring at the fossil of a large dinosaur in a museum. I stared with amazement. I looked at the details of every bone in the back. And I wondered if a design so marvelous could really have evolved. But I knew that someone could show me another animal that had lived earlier and was a likely predecessor of this dinosaur that I was observing. And I knew that one could trace bones back through the fossil record to illustrate the path through which this creature had evolved. I stared and I pondered. And then I pondered some more.
Within days, I had lost interest in fighting evolution. I began to read more and speak less. When I did debate, I confined my arguments to the origin of life issue. But I could no longer ignore what I had learned. Several months later I first sent out an email with probing questions to a Creationist who had arrived on the scene. He never responded. I have not stopped questioning.
Your mischaracterization of paleontology has been noted. Your contribution to our eyes rolling at the sight of yet another creationist howler has been noted. Your contribution to the impossibility of ever taking any creationist's utterance seriously has been noted. Now, was that really your intent?
You are arguing yet again from ignorance. You have in the recent past expressed your intent of learning, of working this all out. How is that endeavor progressing? No, I do realize that what you had proposed will take years to accomplish, but in the meantime should you really be indulging in the same tired old creationist nonsense arguments? Instead, you need to continue to learn. No, it is not simple, but it is necessary.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 188 by Chuck77, posted 04-29-2012 6:07 AM Chuck77 has not replied

Posts: 5982
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.2

Message 202 of 215 (660868)
04-30-2012 2:40 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by foreveryoung
04-29-2012 12:20 PM

Are you saying that seals and walruses used to be otters and beavers? Are you saying that otters and beavers will one day be seals and walruses?
No one who knows anything about evolutionary theory would honestly say such things. Only creationists, who know nothing about evolution, would say such things.
Do you remember the discussion of the problem faced by creationists when they "triumphantly" confront "evolutionists" with their PRATTs? They get laughed out of there rightfully for uttering such nonsense. Of course, the problem is that they, being ignorant and misled, had no idea that what they had been taught was such nonsense. And yet what they say is nonsense and they must be informed of that fact.
One example of such nonsense is creationists stating that for evolution to be true we would need to see a dog give birth to a cat. Which is what you are claiming here to be what evolution says. That is completely and utterly untrue and complete and utter nonsense. And as long as you utter complete and utter nonsense, then you should not be surprised at the reaction you receive.
Examine how life works! That is the key to reasoning all this out. Parents produce offspring. In doing so, the parents' genetic information, recombined with some mutations mixed in, is passed on to the offspring. As a result, parents' offspring are very similar to their parents, yet slightly different. In order to pass their genes on to further generations, those offspring need to live and survive within their environment, at least up to the point of being able to reproduce and even at times to do other things that will further ensure the survival of their genes. Those offspring who are better able to do that will be better represented in the progenitors of the next generation; those unable to survive or be selected for reproduction will be less well represented. The genes of those who are better represented among the progenitors of the next generation will contribute more to that next generation's collective genome. And so one, for generation after generation.
My personal opinion, which I have not seen expressed elsewhere, is that evolution is not an actual force or process, but rather it is the natural cumulative effects of life doing what life does. Think in terms of what life does and evolution will make much more sense. Of course, that does not keep us from describing what life naturally does in terms of "evolutionary processes".
Stop thinking in terms of one modern species "evolving" into another unrelated modern species ... or even into another related species. That is nonsense. As long as you continue to utter such nonsense, you will be treated appropriately regardless of what kind of shit-fit tantrum you decide to throw.
A dog will give birth to a dog, a dog different from the parents, albeit very similar. Over successive generations, those differences can accumulate, eventually (should the environment's selective pressures so determine) over many generations result in an animal that bears little resemblance to that original dog. Similarly, a cat will give birth to a cat, different from the parent, and over generations, depending on the environment's selective pressures, could result in an animal that bears little resemblance to the original cat. But at no point could a dog ever become a cat, nor could a cat ever become a dog. Even if the new dog were to appear for all purposes to be a cat, its genes would reveal it to be a dog -- genetics does not lie.
IOW, try to think in terms of Darwin's branching tree. Lamarck (remember the pre-Darwinian use/disuse acquired traits misconception of evolution? The immediate and obvious disproof of which is to cut off multiple generations of lab mice's tails and observe that their offspring continue to have tails with complete and utter disregard of our Lamarckian efforts.) thought in terms of a "Ladder of Life", in which all life worked its way up a Scale of Being with Man at its Penacle. That Lamarckian model has been shown to be wrong.
Rather, what we see and would expect to see is an infinitely branching tree. Please review my message Message 186 in How do "novel" features evolve? where I discussed diachronic views vs synchronic views. As we view the evolution of a particular species over time, we would be viewing that species diachronically, meaning "over time". But in viewing the "Tree of Life" at any instant in time, we would be viewing it synchronically, meaning what the "snapshot of life" is at that time.
At a given point in time, we would see the vast array of species that exist. From that point, each species would propagate, each "reproducing after its own kind." Let's follow one particular amphibian species, which I admittedly cannot readily identify (I am, after all, a professional software engineer). Around 318 million years ago, some amphibians responded to the increasingly dry environment to become stem reptiles (Captorhinidae), the earliest and most basal reptile types. From that base species (or group of species), we see the serpents, crocodiles, turtles, lizards, therapsids (progenitors of the mammals), dinosauria (progenitors of the dinosaurs and of birds).
Now for a bit of fun. Walter Brown is one of the icons of "creation science". Retired from the US Air Force circa 1979, he appears to have been the primary source of that classic bogus creationist claim about the radical rate at which the earth's rotation rate is slowing down. But, please, let's leave that particular fiasco until later.
Walter Brown's story is that it was his son who did this. Here's the story as I posted in my essay since 1990 (THE BULLFROG AFFAIR: or The Enchanted Prince Croaks):
Frank Arduini encountered a similar protein claim by Walter T. Brown Jr of the Chicago area; his Center for Scientific Creation used to be ICR Midwest Center. Arduini had had many dealings with Brown, whose response to Arduini's many requests for documentation was that he didn't need to supply evidence supporting his claims, rather it was responsibility of the evolutionists to disprove them.
One of Brown's claims that Arduini was especially interested in was that the rattlesnake's closest biochemical relative is humans. However, Brown demanded $70 from Arduini to provide that documentation.
Robert Kenney of Chicago fared somewhat better. In February 1984, he and his wife visited the ICR in El Cajon, Calif. When he asked Gish directly for documentation supporting his claims concerning fetal horse hemoglobin, Gish became noticeably disturbed (that Kenney had Awbrey & Thwaites' article in front of him throughout the conversation probably did not help Gish's
disposition much). Finally, Gish said that he had no documentation, but rather that Kenney should see Gary Parker. Kenney's attempts to catch Parker during his scheduled offices hours on two separate days failed. Before Kenney left, Dr. Cummings promised to get the documentation for him. After nine months, it still had not arrived.
Then in the Summer of 1984, Kenney wrote to Walter Brown about the fetal horse hemoglobin. Brown responded with a telephone call. Kenney tried to get Brown to confirm or deny the ICR's claims, or at least to pressure the ICR to produce some kind of documentation. Brown refused, but instead offered another
claim: rattlesnake proteins.
Brown claimed that on the basis of data from a 1978 study by Margaret Dayhoff, comparisons of cytochrome c show that the rattlesnake is more closely related to humans that to any other organism. When Kenney asked Brown to provide the name of the scientific journal and the page number in which Dayhoff had reached this conclusion, Brown stated that he couldn't. Dayhoff had never reached such a conclusion, but rather Brown's son had used Dayhoff's data to reach that conclusion for a science fair project. It was Brown's son who had concluded that rattlesnakes are more closely related to humans by cytochrome c than to any other organism. For fifteen dollars, Brown sent Kenney photocopies of his son's project (apparently, Brown's price depends on who you are). Kenney wrote:
"In the project I quickly found that the rattlesnake and humans differed by only fourteen amino acids. Humans and rhesus monkeys differed by one amino acid. Later, Brown called me again and then explained that of the forty-seven organisms in the study, the one closest to the RATTLESNAKE was the human, not that the one closest to the human was the rattlesnake. You see, among the forty-seven there were no other snakes." (CEN Vol.4 No.5 Sep/Oct 84, pg 16)
Most of the other organisms in the study were as distantly related to the rattlesnake as were humans; it is coincidence that human cytochrome c was just barely less different than the others. Obviously, this is just semantic sleight-of-hand which can serve no other purpose than to mislead and it is so blatant that Brown had to know what he was doing.
Later after a debate, Kenney found Brown telling a small group about rattlesnakes being more closely related to humans than to any other organism. When Kenney started explaining to the group how misleading that was, Brown quickly changed the subject.
Did you understand that? From the "stem reptile", several separate branches radiated out, each one evolving separately and independently. Please review Message 201. In his book, Michael Denton, an Australian MD, posited a hierarchy that "disproved evolution", whereas in reality his entire argument actually supported the evolutionary view.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by foreveryoung, posted 04-29-2012 12:20 PM foreveryoung has not replied

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