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Author Topic:   Does Chen's work pose a problem for ToE?
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 61 of 84 (290395)
02-25-2006 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by randman
02-25-2006 1:36 PM


Re: 50 million years
That still doesn't explain it, modulous. Maybe you can elaborate. What they say is they were looking for more primitive organisms and instead found more advanced, and finding more advanced earlier, in their view, refutes current evo mechanisms.
I don't see that. I see the problem being the time scale. The earlier work compressed it, the later expanded it (effectively shifting it to an earlier date).
So why wouldn't finding even more advanced organisms even earlier just make their point all the more stronger?
Because it means that the diversity had longer than 3 million years to happen within.
Also, did you catch they are making the same point I have been making onthe fossil record. They are saying that the current evo claims of fossil rarity are wrong; that the fossil record is a lot more complete and does show soft body creatures than what previous evo models claimed, and armed with such awareness of what the fossil record shows, they made the bold statements they make. Basically, they are saying the fossil record contradicts current evo models, and so "no evolutionary theory can explain this...."
I caught some of their opinions on the matter. I don't see anything about the same kind of fossil rarity that you have been claiming. It seems that if you look hard enough you actually find the Cambrian explosion wasn't an explosion, but an exploitation by already existing organisms.
Now, I am open to any suggestion that later finds have changed their stance, or should have changed their stance....I just have not seen it yet in what you guys have posted....in fact, it seems pretty clear to me that these guys are evolutionists themselves, and are very open to accepting evolutionist mechanisms if that is reasonable. They have just come to the conclusion that evo mechanisms are not reasonable, at least not the ones put forth so far.
As I said earlier in this thread...their statements are very old, and they are only referenced in only one source, a newspaper article. I asked you if you had any more up to date statements made by them, it would be helpful to get more context and depth to what they are actually saying.
All I know right now is that Dr Chen is proposing another mechanism on top of what we already have, something referred to as 'harmony'. I don't know if he still holds to that view, and I don't know if there has been any work on the hypothesis since. Do you have anything?

I've found some more recent information (2004)
BBC writes:
Professor Chen, from Nanjing University, and his team write in Science: "The organisation of these fossils, taken together with their provenance, indicates that the genetic toolkit and pattern formation mechanisms required for bilaterian development had already evolved by Doushantuo times, long before the Cambrian."
However some scientists are sceptical of the claims, suspecting that what have been characterised as fossils may in fact be natural mineral formations.
Stefan Bengtson, from the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, said: "These may well have started out as fossils, but we can't say much about their morphology."
He told Science magazine the presumed tissue layers may be just thin, banded mineral crusts.
Traces of simple bacteria-like organisms in the fossil record date back more than three billion years.
and
New Scientist writes:
Guy Narbonne of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, is impressed by the fossils.
"What I find most intriguing is how closely it matches the most recent predictions of molecular and developmental biology," he told New Scientist. "And what a far cry from the predictions of biology even a few years ago," which did not envisage the first bilateral animals being microscopic, soft-bodied sea-floor dwellers.
However, some remain sceptical. Stefan Bengston of the Swedish Museum of Natural History believes the internal structures are in fact minerals deposited after death inside simpler microfossils.
This message has been edited by Modulous, Sat, 25-February-2006 07:50 PM

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 Message 59 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 1:36 PM randman has replied

Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9006
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 62 of 84 (290396)
02-25-2006 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Modulous
02-25-2006 2:39 PM


some confusion about "advanced"
I don't see that. I see the problem being the time scale.
I think you are missing the confusion, Mod. rand seems to think that the bilaterians found much earlier than the Cambrian are actually more advanced than those found later in the Cambrian.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 2:39 PM Modulous has not replied

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 63 of 84 (290402)
02-25-2006 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Modulous
02-25-2006 2:39 PM


Re: 50 million years
Modulous, what you are missing is that they show that soft body creatures fossilized quite well, and the further back they go, instead of finding precursors to the phyla, they find the same stuff. That's why finding phyla from 543 million years ago is a compression of the Cambrian explosion not an extension of it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 2:39 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 4:17 PM randman has replied

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 64 of 84 (290407)
02-25-2006 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by randman
02-25-2006 3:59 PM


compression
Modulous, what you are missing is that they show that soft body creatures fossilized quite well, and the further back they go, instead of finding precursors to the phyla, they find the same stuff. That's why finding phyla from 543 million years ago is a compression of the Cambrian explosion not an extension of it.
I'm not missing that at all. These complex organisms have been found in layers 600 million years old, so the time scale isn't compressed. Interestingly the molecular evidence predicted this. Allow me to quote from jar's article:
One huge problem with fi nding such
animals is that they did not have hard
skeletons that would mineralize and become
fossils. So we must rely on uncovering
the rare deposit that, because of
the type of rock and the chemical processes
involved, preserves intricate details
of the remains. These deposits are
called lagersttten, a German word that
means “lode places” or “mother lode.”
A lagersttte that preserves soft tissue is
a spectacular rarity; we know of only
several dozen scattered over the earth.
So, it goes like this,
We have things such as Vernanimalcula showing up 600 million years ago, 555 million years ago we get Kimberella and then 542 million years ago we find Anomalocaris.
biological complexity of the
kind seen in Vernanimalcula implies a
period of evolution that transpired long
before the 580-million- to 600-millionyear-
old world in which the tiny animal
lived. After all, it could not have gained
that degree of symmetry and complexity
all at once. We now need to fi nd older
lagersttten that might hold clues to
its ancestors.
...
We have a good deal left to learn,
but the work so far has given substance
to our earlier suspicion that complex
animals have a much deeper root in time,
suggesting that the Cambrian was less of
an explosion and more of a fl owering of
animal life.
This message has been edited by Modulous, Sat, 25-February-2006 09:28 PM

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 Message 66 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 4:48 PM Modulous has replied

  
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1476 days)
Posts: 1161
From: Hayward, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 65 of 84 (290412)
02-25-2006 4:46 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Modulous
02-25-2006 4:17 PM


Re: compression
Just to say... I really enjoyed that article. Thanks jar for linking that. Very readable, not long at all, great graphics. And of course, very interesting information.
I think you're doing it justice here, Mod. Just wanted to throw a(nother) comment out there plugging the quality of the source article itself.
Ben

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 66 of 84 (290413)
02-25-2006 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Modulous
02-25-2006 4:17 PM


Re: compression
600 million? That makes it even worse for the evo argument.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 4:17 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 4:53 PM randman has replied

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 67 of 84 (290416)
02-25-2006 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by randman
02-25-2006 4:48 PM


Re: compression
600 million? That makes it even worse for the evo argument.
Not at all. It means that there is 60 million years of evolution between early bilaterian life and the Cambrian period. We do not have a good fossil record of life before this (due to the rarity of the rock type required), so we do not know how much evolution happened between the start of life and the start of bilaterian life. We still have three billion years of evolution unaccounted for.
If you'd like to explain why it is worse for the evo argument, might I suggest presenting your argument.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 4:48 PM randman has replied

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 Message 68 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 6:28 PM Modulous has replied

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 68 of 84 (290439)
02-25-2006 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Modulous
02-25-2006 4:53 PM


a small recap
“The 580-million-year-old phosphorous rock has good potential to preserve animals, if they exist,” Chen reported to the conferees. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology, because we didn’t find hard evidence to show that this large number of Cambrian phyla was existing earlier. For me, natural selection is not enough to explain the number of evolution novelties.” More recent evidence for a possible bilaterian animal near the Cambrian/Pre-Cambrian boundary doesn’t solve the problem. Li was also direct: “Evolution should be built on gradual change: mutation plus mutation creating the species, and then the genera and then the family”so how can these animals appear suddenly?”
Western scientists would have none of it. “It doesn’t matter if you find it or not!” declared German biologist Dieter Walossek, rallying his Western colleagues around him. “It’s there! It’s by law! All of the major taxa should have been there in the Precambrian, whether proved or not!”
Valuing theory over data is giving Western science a bad name in the East. During the same week that Westerners read reports in Science and Nature that stressed the Darwinian lessons to be learned from Chen’s discovery of the earliest chordate, the Communist Party’s Guang Ming Daily gave the Chinese people a different story. “Evolution is facing an extremely harsh challenge,” wrote Chinese reporters in an article, “Darwinism ” Science or Religion?” Using adjectives such as “dogmatic” and “authoritative” to describe America’s neo-Darwinism, the paper suggested that the theory had taken a wrong turn somewhere in the West. : “In the beginning, evolution was advanced as a scientific hypothesis; one that should be under serious scrutiny from all angles.” The article concluded that, because of the need to contend with creationists, scientists became hypersensitive to any dissent from their “immature science,” and “evolution eventually changed into a religion.”
Today, as a result of Chinese paleontology, biologists must choose between classic Darwinism and “saltation,” the idea of evolution in quick jumps, says biologist Holland. Chinese gossil discoveries have wrought havoc upon his once-tidy tree of life: “You just hardly know what order to put the material in now. I mean, you might as well just present the phyla alphabetically. It’s come to that.”
In China, the Cambrian mystery has recently inspired the building of large new government-sponsored research centers devoted to its investigation. At the heart of their research lies a declaration anathema in the West: a proclamation of the mystery of animal origins on Earth. Rather than “survival of the fittest,” Chen believes scientists should focus on why life kept evolving beyond the fittest. Microbacteria are the most successful forms of life, Chen noted, since they make up most of the Earth’s bio-mass and have survived while all other forms have a way of going extinct. Complex life is less capable of making adaptations. If all we have to depend upon is chance and competition, the conventional forces of evolution, Chen said, “then complex, highly evolved life, such as the human, has no reason to appear.”
At the conference, Chinese scientists encouraged the investigation of a variety of new hypotheses to explain the Cambrian explosion: hydrothermal eruptions, sudden seafloor changes, even intelligent design. This last was too much for one American paleontologist, who stood up and shouted, “This is not a scientific conference!”
Fred Heeren, Washington Times
I agree upon further reading that finding older bilaterals is helpful to mainstream evolutionist theories here but still hardly definitive. Once again, we reallly should be seeing massive numbers and we don't. We do see however that the claims that tiny, soft-bodied creatures don't fossilize well are wrong.
I think from the quotes above it is clear that the Asians are more open-minded and believe that different mechanisms must be invoked, and they are willing to consider ID as well, as a potential scientific possibility.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 4:53 PM Modulous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Modulous, posted 02-25-2006 6:41 PM randman has not replied
 Message 70 by PaulK, posted 02-25-2006 6:42 PM randman has replied
 Message 79 by Modulous, posted 02-27-2006 9:45 AM randman has replied

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 69 of 84 (290446)
02-25-2006 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by randman
02-25-2006 6:28 PM


Re: a small recap
I agree upon further reading that finding older bilaterals is helpful to mainstream evolutionist theories here but still hardly definitive.
Nothing is definitive, that applies double at the area we are looking at.
Once again, we reallly should be seeing massive numbers and we don't.
Why should we see massive numbers? The rock type we need to look in is very rare...only a few dozen exist, and I found only two that cover the area we are discussing.
I think from the quotes above it is clear that the Asians are more open-minded and believe that different mechanisms must be invoked, and they are willing to consider ID as well, as a potential scientific possibility.
Asia is a massive continent. The people we are discussing are Chinese. I'm not sure we can say easily that the Chinese are more open minded or not. I've said before, I'm entirely open to their being other mechanisms involved in evolution.

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PaulK
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Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 70 of 84 (290448)
02-25-2006 6:42 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by randman
02-25-2006 6:28 PM


Re: a small recap
Why should we expect to see large numbers ? As I pointed out in an earlier post these very early bilaterians are so small that they can only be preserved by phosphatisation. This is why they do not show up elsewhere in the fossil record - the more common processes of fossilisation are unable to preserve them.

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 Message 68 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 6:28 PM randman has replied

Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 71 of 84 (290466)
02-25-2006 7:27 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by randman
02-25-2006 2:27 PM


Re: wrong, soft bodies preserved too
quote:
Somehow I think the message in the OP and the links are not getting through.
Somehow I think you are getting fustrated that the implications that can be drawn from the scientific research are not the implications you would like to draw.
-
quote:
Chen's work shows that soft-bodied creatures are extremely well-preserved in the fossil record, thus refuting the common evo explanation you offered.
What evo explanation did I offer that was refuted by Chen? From your quote:
What they had actually proved was that phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times.
Is this what you are referring to? This isn't new -- hell, Stephen Jay Gould wrote an essay over ten years ago discussing this method of preservation and explaining the insights that these fossil discoveries have offered concerning the pre-Cambrian history of metazooan evolution.
-
...Chen instead found a chordate that already displayed many vertebrate characteristics 15 million years earlier.
So? The origin of vertebrates is at least 15 million years earlier than originally thought. That is an interesting discovery, to be sure, but not anything that is going to overturn the theory of evolution.
-
Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: "No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena."
Which is incorrect. Natural selection on randomly occurring variations is adequate. I don't see anything in these people's research, at least nothing that you have posted, that denies that these species were produced by natural selection acting on random variations.
At most, the papers are discussing timing issues which, as interesting as they are, are nothing that contradicts the theory of evolution.
-
quote:
What I would like to see is some evo here take the time to grasp Chen's and his associates' claims....
It doesn't take much time to grasp their claims. Chen has (or had) some hair-brained alternate idea of evolution that he favored, and decided to read into the data a problem that doesn't exist in order to promote his own idiosyncratic theory.
--
quote:
To date, it doesn't appear anyone even "gets" what the Asian scientists are saying.
Until someone presents some sort of citation for these scientists' alternate theory of evolution, including a mechanism that would make their ideas work, and a discussion of actual (as opposed to imaginary) problems that this theory explains better than the standard theory of evolution, then these scientists aren't saying much.

"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

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 Message 60 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 2:27 PM randman has replied

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 Message 72 by randman, posted 02-25-2006 7:33 PM Chiroptera has replied

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 72 of 84 (290468)
02-25-2006 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Chiroptera
02-25-2006 7:27 PM


Re: wrong, soft bodies preserved too
You stated:
and only marks the appearance of hard body parts that fossilize (more) easily compared to the soft-bodied precursors.
I showed where soft-bodied creatures are found in abundance in phosphates.
What don't you get about that?

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4976 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 73 of 84 (290469)
02-25-2006 7:36 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by PaulK
02-25-2006 6:42 PM


Re: a small recap
But we have found thousands of fossils due to phosphatisation. We should see the precursors well-represented.
But not to belabor the point....for me, the issue that soft-bodied creatures are well-preserved in fossils is major one that I think can be useful on other threads. Arguing numbers that should appear is probably not going to be fruitful here, but it is something to consider with an open mind, and I think the statements of Chen and others indicate more openness to let theory follow the data rather than the other way around.

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 Message 70 by PaulK, posted 02-25-2006 6:42 PM PaulK has replied

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jar
Member
Posts: 34047
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 74 of 84 (290475)
02-25-2006 8:26 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by randman
02-25-2006 7:36 PM


still can't get it right.
But not to belabor the point....for me, the issue that soft-bodied creatures are well-preserved in fossils is major one that I think can be useful on other threads.
That is not what ANY of the papers referenced so far have said. What was said is that under some very unusual conditions soft bodied creatures may be well preserved.
Guess what, that's been known for a long time, at least a decade or more. But the particular environment where this happens is also pretty rare and we haven't found all that many of the resulting shale deposits.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 1421 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 75 of 84 (290497)
02-25-2006 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by randman
02-25-2006 7:33 PM


Re: wrong, soft bodies preserved too
I showed where soft-bodied creatures are found in abundance in phosphates.
What don't you get about that?
personally, i don't get the part where you don't understand that hard parts decompose slower than soft parts, and are thus more easily and frequently fossilized.
i also don't get how the presence of a few of the rarer soft-tissue fossils appearing precambrian, in the logical steps before hard bones, proves that the cambrian explosion was somehow magical. if it was, shouldn't we expect to never, ever find a single fossil without bones precambrian?
don't get me wrong. i really don't understand the point you're trying to make here, using the very evidence that proves you wrong. i can't make any logical sense out of how the presence of counterexamples proves the rule.


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