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Quoting, Misquoting, Quote-Mining

UD Editors: There is nothing new under the sun says the teacher. With all the furor over false quote mining charges recently, it seems appropriate to revisit this piece Dr. Dembski first published on April 26,2005 (making it among the first of the now 11,000+ UD posts).

Unlike the serious sciences (e.g., quantum electrodynamics, which is accurate up to 14 decimal places), evolution has become an exercise in filling holes by digging others. Fortunately, the cognitive dissonance associated with this exercise can’t be suppressed indefinitely, so occasionally evolutionists fess-up that some gaping hole really is there and can’t be filled simply by digging another hole. Such admissions, of course, provide ready material for evolution critics like me. Indeed, it’s one of the few pleasures in this business sticking it to the evolutionists when they make some particularly egregious admission. Consider the following admission by Peter Ward (Ward is a well-known expert on ammonite fossils and does not favor a ID-based view):

“The seemingly sudden appearance of skeletonized life has been one of the most perplexing puzzles of the fossil record. How is it that animals as complex as trilobites and brachiopods could spring forth so suddenly, completely formed, without a trace of their ancestors in the underlying strata? If ever there was evidence suggesting Divine Creation, surely the Precambrian and Cambrian transition, known from numerous localities across the face of the earth, is it.
– Peter Douglas Ward, On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1992), 29.

Pretty convincing indicator that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory, wouldn’t you say? Note that this is not a misquote: I indicate clearly that Ward does not support ID and there’s sufficient unedited material here to make clear that he really is saying that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory.

You’d think, therefore, that the evolutionary community might be grateful to evolution critics for drawing their attention to this problem, treating it as an incentive to get the lead out and figure out just what happened during the Cambrian. But that’s not what happens. Rather, evolution critics are charged with “quote mining,” misrepresenting the true state of evolutionary theory by focusing on a few scattered problems rather than toeing the party line and admitting that evolution is overwhelmingly confirmed.

This happened when I quoted from the above passage by Ward in a popular piece titled “Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge” (go here). In due course I received the following email:

Dear Dr. Dembski,

I would appreciate the citation for your recent quote from Peter Ward, “The Cambrian Explosion so flies in the face of evolution that paleontologist Peter Ward wrote, “If ever there was evidence suggesting Divine Creation, surely the Precambrian and Cambrian transition, known from numerous localities across the face of the earth, is it.”

Thank you,

Gary Hurd, Ph.D.

Innocent enough request. The piece in which the quote appeared was popular, so I hadn’t given the reference. I wrote back giving the full citation. Next thing I read on the web is a piece (co-authored by Hurd) twice as long as my original piece focused on the sin of quote-mining (go here). And, as is now standard operating procedure, the original author of the quote is contacted for comment on being “quote-mined.” Predictably, the author (in this case Ward) is shocked and dismayed at being quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution. Evolutionists may not know much about what actually happened in the course of natural history, but they have this script down:

We [i.e., Gary Hurd et al.] emailed and then telephoned Peter Ward to ask him for a citation to this quote. He actually couldn’t recall where he had written this. Ultimately we had to ask William Dembski for the citation, which he promptly provided. We would like to thank him publicly for this courtesy. Professor Ward was not at all pleased, and wished us to convey to Dr. Dembski his displeasure at his writing being manipulated in this fashion. We consider this as done herein.

Word of advice: if you are an evolutionist and don’t want to be quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution, resist the urge — don’t criticize it. If tempted, even if the reality of evolution’s gaping holes is staring you in the face, close your eyes and repeat the phrase “overwhelming evidence” or “nothing in biology makes sense apart from evolution.”

Through long experience, this has been found to be the most effective way to rejoin your fellow sleepwalkers.

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132 Responses to Quoting, Misquoting, Quote-Mining

  1. 1

    “nothing in biology makes sense apart form evolution”

    Is it fair to say that macroevoution has become the “anti-theory of the gaps” to replace what Darwinist’s refer to as the “god of the gaps” mentality

  2. Down in the Quotemine

    Bill Dembski is intellectually dishonest. I don’t level claims like that lightly, and as something of an intellectual, that’s one of the harsher insults in my quiver. At his blog, he discusses, and exemplifies creationist problems in Quoting, Misquot…

    [In fact, "intellectual dishonesty" is one of the milder criticisms by your side. Let me suggest you read some more Dawkins. --WmAD]

  3. Coyne complains the book is ‘heavily larded’ with quotations from evolutionists. This leads into his being upset with being quoted himself, as discussed above. That aside, however. I don’t know what to make of this statement. What is a book concerning evolution supposed to contain if not quotes from evolutionists? Quotes from accountants? ~ Michael Behe

    When a valid criticism of Darwinism is first proposed, it is dismissed without an adequate response, either on some technicality or with some irrelevancy or by simply being ignored. As time passes, people forget that Darwinists never adequately met the criticism. But Darwinism is still ruling the roost. Since the criticism failed to dislodge Darwinism, the criticism itself must have been discredited or refuted somewhere. Thereafter the criticism becomes known as “that discredited criticism that was refuted a long time ago.” And, after that, even to raise the criticism betrays an outdated conception of evolutionary theory. In this way, the criticism, though entirely valid, simply vanishes into oblivion. ~ William Dembski

    Evolutionists have often protested ‘unfair’ to quoting an evolutionist as if he were against evolution itself. So let it be said from the outset that the vast majority of authorities quoted are themselves ardent believers in evolution. But that is precisely the point… The foundations of the evolutionary edifice are hardly likely to be shaken by a collection of quotes from the many scientists who are biblical creationists. In a court of law, an admission from a hostile witness is the most valuable. Quoting the evolutionary palaeontologist who admits the absence of in-between forms, or the evolutionary biologist who admits the hopelessness of the mutation/selection mechanism, is perfectly legitimate if the admission is accurately represented in its own right, regardless of whether the rest of the article is full of hymns of praise to all the other aspects of evolution. ~ Andrew Snelling

  4. Some links

    The weblog Proverbs Daily is coming to an end. He realized something important about his time spent working on his weblog:: I tried all 3 methods with varying degrees of success but the end result was always the same…something…

  5. ThoughtsfromKansas claims WmAD is dishonest for 3 reasons:

    1) Ward states that Pre-Cambrian metazoa have been found
    2) Ward states that the Cambrian explosion really just documents the origin of skeletonized hard parts
    3) Dembski left these facts out.

    Here’s why Dembski was justified in leaving out these facts:

    1) The statutus of Pre-Cambrian metazoa (such as the Vendian and Ediacaran fauna) are of highly questionable relevance to Cambrian fauna. Consider these authorities have stated as such:

    “Although the stratigraphic distribution of Ediacaran fossils is clear enough, their biological interpretation remains controversial, providing what amounts to a paleontological Rorschach test. Several distinct body plans are represented. Most radially symmetric fossils plausibly represent polypoid organisms or the inflated holdfasts of colonial, diploblastic animals-mostly unrepresented in the modern fauna. More complex fossils include a range of forms built of repeated, tube-like units. In a stimulating, if controversial proposal, Seilacher grouped such fossils into a clade that he christened the Vendobionta and viewed as an extinct experiment in multicellular organization. Others have questioned this interpretation, assigning various forms to colonial diploblasts or to stem members of several bilaterian clades. It is genuinely difficult to map the characters of Ediacaran fossils onto the body plans of living invertebrates. Long viewed as the principal problem of interpreting Ediacaran assemblages, this difficulty increasingly appears to be their central point. Much opinion supports the broad view that both extinct diploblastic-grade animals and bilaterian stem groups [for example, the mollusk-like Kimberella ] are represented. Trace fossils record a modest diversity of (mostly) simple bilaterians. Crown group protostomes or deuterostomes may also lurk in Ediacaran-aged rocks but at present, evidence of such animals remains equivocal.” (Knoll & Carroll, Science 284:212902136, 1999)

    “The beginning of the Cambrian period, some 545 million years ago, saw the
    sudden appearance in the fossil record of almost all the main types of
    animals (phyla) that still dominate the biota today. To be sure, there are
    fossils in older strata, but they are either very small (such as bacteria
    and algae), or their relationships to the living fauna are highly
    contentious, as is the case with the famous soft-bodied fossils from the
    late Precambrian Pound Quartzite, Ediacara, South Australia.” (The Cambrian Explosion Exploded?, by Richard Fortey, Science, 293, 20 Jul 2001, pp. 438-439).

    2) Many soft-bodied fossils are common throughout the Pre-Cambrian record (including, in fact, the Vendian and Ediacaran fauna), and thus if there was soft-bodied diversification of the phyla leading up to the Cambrian explosion (where hard parts supposedly suddenly evolved all at once in many different phyla), then where is that soft-bodied documentation? Fortey addresses this point:

    “So just how explosive was the Cambrian evolutionary “explosion”?

    Support for a phylogenetic fuse is provided by the discovery of a true crustacean in early Cambrian strata from Shropshire, England, reported by Siveter et al. on page 479 of this issue (3). This fossil phosphatocopid “ostracod” is preserved extraordinarily well, with all its delicate limbs cast in calcium phosphate, allowing it to be assigned to the crustaceans with confidence. Very few fossils of this great antiquity reveal so much detail or can be interpreted with such certainty.

    Crustacea are one of the great groups of living arthropods, embracing crabs, shrimps, lobsters, and slaters (4). Hitherto, the oldest undoubted crustaceans came from the late Cambrian “orsten” of southern Sweden (5) (the alleged crustacean Canadaspis, from the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale, British Columbia, has proved controversial). This allowed some 40 million years from the base of the Cambrian to generate an ancestral crustacean from some primitive arthropod–time enough, indeed. But if crustaceans were already present in the early Cambrian, this pushes back in time the necessary steps in the evolutionary tree of arthropods that led to the crustacean design. It then becomes perfectly plausible that this early radiation happened in the late Precambrian.

    This squares with previous critiques, which noted that in the early Cambrian, some arthropods–especially the ubiquitous trilobites–had already differentiated into different kinds with separate geographical distributions. This differential evolution and dispersal, too, must have required a previous history of the group for which there is no fossil record (6). Furthermore, cladistic analyses of arthropod phylogeny revealed that trilobites, like eucrustaceans, are fairly advanced “twigs” on the arthropod tree (see the figure). Trilobite-like trace fossils extend to the base of the Cambrian in Newfoundland, and it would be easy to conclude that appropriate trace makers must have appeared still earlier, in the late Precambrian. But fossils of these alleged ancestral arthropods are lacking.” (Fortey, 2001)

    Of course Fortey is an evolutionist who believes that some invisible arthropod radiation actually took place. We should have hard parts going back much further than the Cambrian but we don’t. And we also have soft-bodied fossils going way far back, so why is it that most of the major living phyla all appear at the same time? This is a question worth asking, and one that Darwinists dodge through their usual tactic of unjustifed intellectual namecalling. Dembski wasn’t wrong for leaving out Ward’s comments–Dembski was perfectly clear that Ward is an evolutionist, and if Ward is making other arguments that don’t withstand scrutiny, why bother listing them?

    The Cambrian explosion is not just an artifact of hard-part fossilization, nor do the Vendian/Ediacaran fauna do anything to solve the problem.

    |-Art-|

  6. disingenuity by design

    Deleting comments without good reason (and without explanation) is pernicious, and is exactly why I will now refer to Mr. Dembski as “intellectually dishonest.” He cannot waffle or weave, so he gags his opponents.

  7. 7

    @decorabilia

    My comments and IP address were censored at Panda’s Thumb without good reason (and without explanation). If the “premier” pro-neo-Darwinism site is unwilling to allow dissenting viewpoints, why should this site either?

  8. A New Low For William Dembski?

    Neo-Creationist William Dembski seems to have sunk to a new low. After being taken to task for quoting Peter Ward out of context Dembski puts the blame for his intellectual dishonesty on…Peter Ward. Word of advice: if you are an evolutionist and don’…

  9. My comments were arbitrarily deleted and disemvoweled at Panda’s Thumb. Trying to escape that treatment I resorted to using randomly selected names. I was then banned for using multiple names. Professor Emeritus of Biology John Davison, University of Vermont, has suffered the same treatment at Panda’s Thumb except they still allow him to post comments on “The Bathroom Wall” like he’s not qualified to comment elsewhere. Professor Davison has been a practicing doctor in biology for nearly 50 years. Their treatment of him is outrageous. They call him every derogatory name you can think of and accuse him of senility. I correspond with him a lot. He’s got more wits about him now at 76 years of age than any of those cretins ever had at any time in their miserable lives.

    I’ve also been a subscriber and dedicated reader of Scientific American for almost 40 years. I found that the editor, John Rennie, has a blog at http://sciam-editor.typepad.com Rennie is a flaming blind believer in the Darwinian narrative. I began posting my thoughts on evolution on his blog some weeks ago and he also summarily deleted all my comments and banned me. Some way to treat a subscriber of many decades. I’m a retired computer scientist and accomplished inventor in the field. I know a design when I see one and can easily point out some of the myriad things about the machinery of life, in common personal computer parlance, that make it as obviously intelligently designed as the computer y’all are using to read this. I guess they can’t take that.

    I’m not any kind of a conspiracy theorist, nor am I religious (I follow the evidence, wherever it leads) but it sure looks to me like there’s a concerted effort by the mainstream science establishment to censor criticism of the Darwinian narrative. The only thing holding up the monumental atheist fraud is the judicial system and the tortured latter 20th century interpretation of the establishment clause. It’s really turns my stomach to see what these Darwin worshippers are doing to science. This is doing great damage to science in the eyes of the public. The Darwinian narrative is going to fall. It’s just a matter of time. The longer and more doggedly the atheist scientific establishment dishonestly clings to their fantasy the worse they look when the cookie finally crumbles.

    Man, I’m sure glad I call myself an engineer instead of a scientist. Science is spelled “reverse-engineering” in our world. We resort to it when necessary instead of making a career out of it.

    Sorry to rant.

  10. Quote miner, quote miner, pants on fire …

    I was quite relieved that Jason Rosenhouse wrote his piece on William Dembski’s recent bloviations about quote-mining.  Specifically, Dembski was challenging a portion of something written by Dave Mullenix and myself about a year ago publish…

  11. Panda’s Thumb Comment Integrity Policy:

    “6. Posting under multiple identities or falsely posting as someone else may lead to removal of affected comments and blocking of the IP address from which those comments were posted, at the discretion of the management.

    Simply put, don’t make a jerk out of yourself.”

    “Evolving Apeman” writes:

    “My comments and IP address were censored at Panda’s Thumb without good reason (and without explanation). If the “premier” pro-neo-Darwinism site is unwilling to allow dissenting viewpoints, why should this site either?”

    This is incorrect. There are two comments that explain why “Evolving Apeman” was banned. In between posting as “Andrew Rule, MD” and “Evolving Apeman”, “Evolving Apeman” had a go at posting as “Great White Wonder”, which is an alias used by another PT commenter. I can’t speak to the prevalence of deletions of comments, since each contributor at PT manages their own threads, but I can say that “Evolving Apeman” was quite prolific for someone who claims to have been censored, and quite a lot of his material remains online there.

    “DaveScot” wrote:

    “Trying to escape that treatment I resorted to using randomly selected names. I was then banned for using multiple names.”

    This is incorrect. “DaveScot” was not banned for simply using multiple names; he was banned for making threats against PT and also posting under another person’s name. “Scott Page” is not a pseudonym, but rather an actual person who posts at PT from time to time. Was “Scott Page” “randomly selected” as a posting alias? Apply your EF/DI, Bill, and use a local probability bound. Here’s the data showing that “DaveScot” was well aware of the use of the name “Scott Page”: 1, 2, 3, and 4. The “DaveScot” corpus of material posted at PT is available for review.

    PT doesn’t ask much of commenters, not even that they agree with us, given some (very) small modicum of decorum. But there are some behaviors that shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere, and both “Evolving Apeman” and “DaveScot” violated a clearly stated rule at PT.

  12. [...] 2005 02:26 am
    Censorship at PT? I Don’t Think So.

    Over on Bill Dembski’s weblog, a couple of people banned for bad behavior from the Panda’s Thumb weblog were [...]

  13. Notice that the specious and deceptive Wesley Elsberry does not refute that I did nothing wrong until I was subjected to arbitrary deletion and disemvowelment of my comments at Panda’s Thumb. I figured if the management at Panda’s Thumb is not following their own comment integrity rules why on earth should I follow them?

    And there is no poster on PT that goes by Scott Page. There’s one that goes by “slpage” that posts there very rarely. THAT Page, whose first name happens to be Scott, is a flaming Darwin apologist of quite some repute that has been banned over and over again on other forums where he’s changed his name and snuck back in. What goes around comes around.

    On the other hand there’s a computer engineer in Austin employed by a major computer manufacuter named Scott Page (conincidently I’m a computer engineer in Austin formerly employed by a major computer manufacturer) that can be found here http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users.....page.shtml That Scott Page is D. Scott Page. Does it take a rocket scientist to make the connection between DaveScot and D.Scott Page? Probably not. I’m not saying I’m THAT person but did Elsberry even bother to check if there any other possibilities? Nope. But what do you expect from the Church of Darwin. They’re all congentially blind to other possibilities. He had a mission to ban me and after censoring me through disemvowelment and deletion and eventually he found his reason. You’re a hypocrite, Elsberry.

    So there.

  14. Thanks for reposting this. Exquisitely hilarious. That’s the way to do it. Keep rubbing their collective Darwinian nose in their own feces. :-)

  15. Kansas @ 2 (this is awesome):

    I don’t level claims like that lightly, and as something of an intellectual, that’s one of the harsher insults in my quiver.

    Either he is the person that Sheldon Cooper was modeled after or he’s a writer for the show.

  16. On the subject of quote mining, I’d like to quote from a relevant exchange between H. S. Shelton and Douglas Dewar, who debated the topic of evolution in the book, Is Evolution Proved? (edited by Arnold Lunn; Hollis and Carter, 1947). On page 167, Shelton complained:

    You also say 1 ‘admit’ that all phyla were in existence in the Ordovician. Why admit ? I believe I asserted it. That is good evolutionary evidence. Phyla do not come into existence in an erratic and unaccountable way, as might well happen if they were specially created. Why should the vertebrates succeed in ‘throwing off new classes ?’ Surely it is obvious that the change from life in the sea to the full conquest of the land implies fundamental morphological changes. Classes are not ‘thrown off’; they take hundreds of millions of years to evolve. You mention again the surface incredibility of the process, but I need not add anything to what I said in the first chapter on that aspect. (Emphasis mine – VJT.)

    On page 170, Dewar replied:

    I had very good reasons for saying that you ‘admit’ that all the phyla were in existence in the Ordovician. We are arguing a case and your statement or assertion to the above effect, being very damaging to your case, is in legal parlance an admission. There is another reason; you asked my authority for saying the vertebrates existed in the Cambrian, implying that you did not admit this. In consequence, instead of basing my argument against evolution on the existence of all the phyla in the Cambrian, which you might have been inclined to contest, I used your admission by basing my argument on the existence of all the phyla in the Ordovician. Clearly some of my statements are too subtle for you.

    Many thanks for your statement that Classes take ‘hundreds
    of millions of years to evolve.’ If the evolution of a Class involves hundreds of millions of years, that of a phylum involves as many thousands of millions. Now, according to Holmes (whose figures we are accepting as a basis in our discussion), ‘all the evidence is in harmony with the conclusion that the earth is between 1,600 and 2,000 million years old.’ [Remember, this was 1947 - VJT.] But certainly all the phyla (except possibly the vertebrates) were in existence in the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago, i.e., from 1,100 to 1,500 million years after the beginning of the earth ; but during a considerable portion of this period the earth was not fit to sustain life. Hence the millions of years required for the evolution of the phyla are not available. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

    I came across this book in 1981, while I was completing my Bachelor of Science degree at the Australian National University. I must say that the exchange of views between Shelton and Dewar was much more polite and less polemical than is generally the case today.

  17. F/N: It is probably helpful to clip here the new weak argument corrective no 40 in the collection of such correctives:

    _______________

    >> 40] Why are you Intelligent Design Creationists always so busy quote-mining what scientists have to say about Evolution?

    The first problem here, is a problem of mischaracterization: as the Creationists themselves acknowledge (and as no. 5 above explains) Design thought and Creationism are quite distinct. [--> notice, in 2005 this was happening and it continues to today, this therefore speaks to character . . . ] Unfortunately, that same problem of mischaracterization also extends to too much of what is meant when the accusatory phrase “quote mining” is used against design thinkers and even Creationists.

    The issue is, that there is a very significant difference between:

    case a: a damaging but accurately reported admission against interest made by a party to a dispute – one of the most powerful (and most likely to be true) forms of verbal evidence, and

    case b: a misleading, distorted quotation (or even misquotation) that has been taken out of context and used to create a caricatured argument that may either

    (i) set up a strawman target to be knocked over, or else

    (ii) create a false sense of an authority legitimizing an argument s/he disagrees with.

    Spotting a strawman caricature set up to be knocked over – case b (i) – is relatively easy. The real problem is that case a is too often portrayed by those wishing to brush aside a damaging, legitimately cited admission against interest as if it were case b (ii), misuse of the words of an authority.

    The Legal Dictionary section of thefreedictionary.com helps us to clarify the point:

    admission against interest n. an admission of the truth of a fact by any person, but especially by the parties to a lawsuit, when a statement obviously would do that person harm, be embarrassing, or be against his/her personal or business interests. A third party can quote in court an admission against interest even though it is only hearsay. (See: hearsay, admission) [Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. ]

    Obviously, such an admission, if available, will be very powerful. So on one hand there is a temptation to create such where it does not exist. On the other, the temptation is to try to dismiss such an admission as though it were illegitimate. When the latter happens, someone legitimately making use of an admission against interest may then be unfairly brushed aside as either willfully deceptive or an ignoramus who does not understand what s/he is reading. This obviously also deeply poisons the tone of the discussion and can be used as a red herring distractor that hijacks the issue and triggers a quarrel if the falsely accused party tries to defend himself. Not good.

    But, the objector will retort: we know for a fact that quote mining by Intelligent Design activists and Creationists happens all the time.

    It may indeed occasionally happen, but an incident highlighted by UD President Barry Arrington shows what in our experience here at UD is the far more usual situation:

    ARRINGTON: To review, in a previous post I argued that the fossil record did not turn out the way Darwin expected it would. Of course, I will be the first to admit that I am no expert on Darwin’s views, and there is no reason for anyone to care particularly what I say about that topic. So I quoted Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall:

    Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46.

    Note that I am not arguing here that Darwinian evolution did not occur (though I have views on that). Nor am I arguing that there are no fossils demonstrating transitions between major groups as opposed to sister species (though I have views on that as well). I am asserting a VERY narrow point: The fossil record did not turn out the way Darwin expected it would. And I am quoting Eldredge to support that point.

    Matzke came onto these pages and accused me of “quote mining,” which is the deceptive use of an out-of-context quote to make it appear that the author agrees with the proposition one is advancing when they really did not. It is a form of lying and is morally reprehensible.

    So, a fairly acrimonious exchange unfortunately developed. The upshot? UD’s President sums up:

    . . . in order for Matzke’s charge to be true, Eldredge and Tattersall would have had to, in context, mean something other than the proposition for which I quoted them, i.e., that the fossil record did not turn out as Darwin expected. But that is exactly what they meant. Therefore, the quote mining charge is false.

    I pointed this out to Matzke and asked him to retract/apologize. He has steadfastly refused . . . . He writes:

    [MATZKE:] As long as you keep refusing to admit the context of the Eldredge quote, you will be guilty of quote-mining when you use it to argue that the fossil record doesn’t support evolution.

    (emphasis mine)

    If I had argued that the fossil record does not support evolution this statement might have some force. I made no such argument (As I said above, I have views on that matter, but that is beside the point.) I argued something completely different. I argued that the fossil record did not turn out the way Darwin expected it to.

    And, finally, Arrington observes:

    . . . it turns out that Nick thinks Eldredge was wrong:

    [MATZKE:] we’ve already been over what Darwin said he expected from the fossil record, and Eldredge got that bit wrong.

    Now we get to the bottom of it. It is not that I misquoted Eldredge. My quote was perfectly accurate. Nick just disagrees with Eldredge on the point for which I quoted him, and under his personal definition of the term that makes me guilty of quote mining.

    Of course, this brings out another complexity: the phrase “quote mining” is informal, usually polemical and as a rule does not appear in standard dictionaries and works on logic.

    It does seem to have a generally intended meaning as at case b (i) and/or case b (ii) above, but one has to be quite careful with such informal terms. And in any case even if Eldredge was in fact wrong (and Eldredge is indeed a leading expert), Arrington’s citation was plainly accurate to what Eldredge meant to say. So, it was plainly inappropriate to characterize it as “quote mining.”

    In summary, Eldredge (and other leading Paleontologists) have admitted that that Darwin’s hopes about the fossil record – after a quarter million fossil species, millions of collected specimens and billions more seen in the ground all around the world – simply have not been realized. That is, the circumstances of 1859 no longer obtain, but the strong pattern of gaps and so-called missing links still does. Which, is exactly how UD’s President cited Eldredge.

    This case plainly shows how easily the toxic accusation “quote mining” can be abused. >>
    ________________

    So, the more things change the more they remain the same, sadly. More than eight years later.

    It is high time that the sort of tactics we have had to correct over these eight years were put on the ash-heap, and were apologised for as inappropriate to a context — science — where presumably the intent is to seek the empirically grounded truth about our world.

    And so long as such tactics are major features of darwisnist tactics, they underscore that Darwinism has become an ideology clung to in the teeth of the truth and the right, for ideological and/or power advantage reasons.

    Eight years late to the party . . .

    KF

  18. Atheists have created such a climate of fear in biology that no biologist can criticize the failings of Darwinian evolution with impunity, no matter how valid the criticism turns out to be. The cross-pollination of ideas are forbidden and biologists are forced to work with the same memes over and over. Evolutionary biology is thus an incestuous science, one that is guaranteed to spawn one monstrosity after another.

    Note that intellectual incest is not a problem that is unique to biology. I have seen the same thing happen in the physics community. The monstrous ideas coming out of the physics community would be funny if they weren’t so hideous.

  19. [...] normal constraints of logic or evidence. For example, as the recent discussions around claims of quote mining show (see here also), one can quote  exact swords with the exact meaning deceitfully if the net [...]

  20. Just out of curiosity, where is DaveScot these days?

  21. Interesting — reviving an 8-year old, particularly cocky post by William Dembski, from right around the time when he skipped out on his scheduled sworn deposition in the Kitzmiller case. Haven’t seen much material like this from him lately, have we?

    And, the Peter Ward quote turns out to be an excellent case of a quote mine. For the original context, where Peter Ward talks about how subsequent earlier fossil discoveries have confirmed that the Cambrian phyla didn’t evolve all-at-once, see the post originally linked from comment #2:

    http://jgrr.blogspot.com/2005/.....emine.html

  22. And, as a corrective to kairosfocus’s innocent faith in Barry Arrington’s version of events concerning the recent quote-mining of Eldredge, here is my long post explaining Barry Arrington’s quote-mining and subsequent failures to deal with criticisms of it:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ment-35015

    Barry banned this post from UD. Looks like the ID movement hasn’t advanced in scholarly behavior much in the last 8 years.

  23. NM: It seems that when the shoe is on the other foot, you shift to strawman tactics. We have a good many examples of case (a). You and your ilk are bound and determined to portray them as case b(ii) especially. That suffices to show what is going on. KF

    PS: And, Oh yes NM, I have read Darwin in Ch 10 of Origin and Ch 6 of Descent of Man. He patently HOPED events would bear him out, but was busily explaining why the record was only poorly investigated and only regionally investigated. In Ch 6, he went on to the point of coolly predicting extinctions of lesser races without halting to address the major moral hazard in his theory — so hasty was he to try to fend off the obvious problem of gaps in the fossils. Likewise, the glee with which Archaeopteryx in was it 1861 and various proposed missing links have been triumphantly headlined in Darwin’s lifetime and since inadvertently shows the true underlying issue. Do I need to talk of the circumstances of Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man and more, much more? The predicted whales in sketches of the 1990′s that were ever so far off? The famous warning on how fossil reconstructions can be highly misleading as anything from a Chimp’s features to a philosopher’s face can be moulded — then in clay, now digitally? Nat Geog’s dino bird blunders of the late 90′s? And so forth? The pattern of desperately sought links that should dominate the record but are still missing, has been a long running saga that has been acknowledged time and again in candid moments, but dare not any questioner or doubter of the evo mat mythos and magisterium suggest such or quote . . . he is a low down creationist quote miner! Ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked! But in fact, the fossils are the only actual record of life and from the Cambrian revolution on, the bottom-up branching tree pattern of incremental transitions as expected and/or hoped for dominant feature of the fossil record simply has not been so. And after over 150 years of scouring fossil beds, over 1/4 million listed fossil species, millions of collected specimens and billions more fossils seen in the ground, the gaps at all levels of classification are still there. Not least, the biggest gap of all: origin of life, for that is the very root.

  24. Jerry, I last noticed him active at Watts up With That. KF

  25. Nice changing the topic + Gish gallop, kairosfocus!

  26. NickMatzke_UD @20:

    And, the Peter Ward quote turns out to be an excellent case of a quote mine. For the original context, where Peter Ward talks about how subsequent earlier fossil discoveries have confirmed that the Cambrian phyla didn’t evolve all-at-once, see the post originally linked from comment #2:

    http://jgrr.blogspot.com/2005/…..emine.html

    The way I see it, Peter Ward did in fact acknowledge that it was a problem for Darwinian evolution that required a solution. Why mention it otherwise? He went on to explain why, in his view, it was not really a problem for Darwin. Here’s a quote from the link you provided quoting a section of the same chapter in Peter Ward’s book. This was given as evidence that Bill Dembski was quote-mining (emphasis mine):

    The long accepted theory of the sudden appearance of skeletal metazoans at the base of the Cambrian was incorrect: the basal Cambrian boundary marked only the first appearance of relatively large skeleton-bearing forms, such as the trilobites and brachiopods, rather than the first appearance of skeletonized metazoans. Darwin would have been satisfied. The fossil record bore out his conviction that the trilobites and brachiopods appeared only after a long period of evolution of ancestral forms. (pp. 36-37)

    First off, I don’t see why this proves that Dembski was quote-mining. Second, this does not satisfy Darwin’s requirement of a gradual evolution, in my opinion. How much bigger and complex were the trilobites and brachiopods compared to the much simpler and smallish skeletal metazoans of the pre-Cambrian? One would expect a long gradual succession of skeletal fossils similar in size and complexity to those trilobites and brachiopods, right? My understanding is that they are nowhere to be found. The big trilobites appeared suddenly, no? Am I wrong?

  27. Nick Matzke links to http://jgrr.blogspot.com/2005/.....emine.html. On this page the following quote which supposedly discredits Dembski:

    Until almost 1950 the absence of metazoan fossils older than Cambrian age continued to puzzle evolutionists and earth historians alike. Other than the remains of single-celled creatures and the mat like stromatolites, it did indeed look as if larger creatures had arisen with a swiftness that made a mockery of Darwin’s theory of evolution. This notion was finally put to rest, however, by the discovery of the Ediacarian and Vendian fossil faunas of the latest Precambrian age. – ‘On Methuselah’s Trail’, Ward, p. 35.

    Presenting the Ediacaran or Vendian fauna as the solution of the Cambrian enigma, as Ward apparently does, is simply wrong. The notion that these fossils bridge the gap to trilobites and such is even rejected by Nick Matzke.
    It follows that the following text quoted by Dembski remains very relevant:

    The seemingly sudden appearance of skeletonized life has been one of the most perplexing puzzles of the fossil record. How is it that animals as complex as trilobites and brachiopods could spring forth so suddenly, completely formed, without a trace of their ancestors in the underlying strata? If ever there was evidence suggesting Divine Creation, surely the Precambrian and Cambrian transition, known from numerous localities across the face of the earth, is it. – p.29

  28. Very interesting! Meyer quotes Peter Ward:

    Although many paleontologists initially showed interest in the possibility that the Cambrian animal forms might have evolved from the Ediacaran organisms, paleontologist Peter Ward explains that “later study cast doubt on the affinity between these ancient remains preserved in sandstones [the Australian Ediacaran] and living creatures of today” (that is, animals representing phyla that first arose in the Cambrian).
    Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt, 181

    So, contrary to the allegedly damning quote for Dembski, Ward here states that affinity is now in doubt. And what’s interesting is that this quote is from the same book: Ward, On Methuselah’s Trail, p.36.
    So page 36(!), that is one page after the page containing the quote that allegedly discredits Dembski.
    Unfortunately I don’t have Ward’s book. I’m curious to find out what Ward is trying to say here. From here it seems like a bunch of mixed messages.

  29. Matzke endorses goodusername’s post and goes on to say “so I think Eldredge was wrong in saying that Darwin expected a constant change affecting all lineages through time, and didn’t anticipate anatomical conservatism.”

    On this doctrine of the extermination of an infinitude of connecting links, between the living and extinct inhabitants of the world, and at each successive period between the extinct and still older species, why is not every geological formation charged with such links? Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life? Although geological research has undoubtedly revealed the former existence of many links, bringing numerous forms of life much closer together, it does not yield the infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species required on the theory; and this is the most obvious of the many objections which may be urged against it. Why, again, do whole groups of allied species appear, though this appearance is often false, to have come in suddenly on the successive geological stages? Although we now know that organic beings appeared on this globe, at a period incalculably remote, long before the lowest bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, why do we not find beneath this system great piles of strata stored with the remains of the progenitors of the Cambrian fossils? For on the theory, such strata must somewhere have been deposited at these ancient and utterly unknown epochs of the world’s history.
    I can answer these questions and objections only on the supposition that the geological record is far more imperfect than most geologists believe.

    - Darwin, Origin Of Species,1879, p.407/408
    [my emphasis]

  30. A few points.

    The term “quote mining” is often a red herring. I cannot imagine anyone critical of the Darwinian paradigm, not paying homage to the naturalistic evolution of species. They will not embrace ID or anything close to it. So caveats are to be expected.

    Thus, when one finds a criticism of Darwinian processes, there will always be the dutiful comment that they believe in some naturalistic process. But the fact that they criticize the main process is open season for use of their writings. They are just not going to embrace ID or anything close to it.

    In the journal that Mr. Matzke pointed to on transitions in a previous post, Eldredge wrote the opening essay and in it he seems to try to make the point that Darwin did not believe in a gradualist approach but that his early beliefs were consistent with punctuated equilibrium. Search for

    A Question of Individuality: Charles Darwin, George Gaylord Simpson and Transitional Fossils

    and you should be able to find the pdf file. Just what is Eldredge saying. Hard to tell some times.

    And we have a statement by Nick that he is not an atheist from his post at the skeptical zone.

  31. NM:

    “Gish gallop” is both an accusation of lying and a gratuitous insult to a man not present to defend himself. Taken together, they tell us all we need to know about your want of basic good manners.

    On the basic issue, FYI, I am staying on the precise line of what I posted earlier, by highlighting that in fact the understanding of Darwin that is evident from BA’s citation of Eldreedge is consistent with a reasonable understanding of Darwin’s writings and 150 years of searching for and headlining then often having to withdraw so-called missing links. All in a context where had the Darwinist mechanisms dominated the origin of life forms, such transitionals would dominate the fossil record.

    Your resort to false accusation of lying on my part and insult to a man not present to defend himself, speaks volumes and none of it to your advantage.

    If you wish to have a discussion — which on track record and present behaviour I must doubt, kindly refrain from such false accusations in future.

    Finally, I do insist that OOL is the root of the first of all icons of evolution [it is the only diagram in original edition, Origin], and stands as the biggest single gap in the whole evolutionary materialist picture of origins.

    It also happens to be decisive on the reason why design is a serious alternative on origins, as of right not sufferance and scorn.

    KF

  32. “Gish gallop” is both an accusation of lying and a gratuitous insult to a man not present to defend himself. Taken together, they tell us all we need to know about your want of basic good manners.

    No, it’s an accusation of throwing out a whole bunch of claims on disparate topics in rapid-fire succession, each of which would take paragraphs to discuss sensibly, therefore avoiding whatever the actual topic was supposed to be.

  33. More on the specific topic of what Peter Ward meant, versus how Dembski abused his quote:

    http://www.csicop.org/speciala....._so_angry/

    27

    BoxDecember 23, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Very interesting! Meyer quotes Peter Ward:

    Although many paleontologists initially showed interest in the possibility that the Cambrian animal forms might have evolved from the Ediacaran organisms, paleontologist Peter Ward explains that “later study cast doubt on the affinity between these ancient remains preserved in sandstones [the Australian Ediacaran] and living creatures of today” (that is, animals representing phyla that first arose in the Cambrian).
    – Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt, 181

    So, contrary to the allegedly damning quote for Dembski, Ward here states that affinity is now in doubt. And what’s interesting is that this quote is from the same book: Ward, On Methuselah’s Trail, p.36.
    So page 36(!), that is one page after the page containing the quote that allegedly discredits Dembski.
    Unfortunately I don’t have Ward’s book. I’m curious to find out what Ward is trying to say here. From here it seems like a bunch of mixed messages.

    It only seems mixed because you are probably failing to distinguish several details that are scientifically important. To wit:

    1. What did the the Precambrian-to-Cambrian fossil record look like before 1950?

    2. What did the the Precambrian-to-Cambrian fossil record look like after discoveries in recent decades?

    3. What is the relationship of the NON-skeletonized Ediacaran-type fossils that occur before the classic Cambrian representatives of the phyla, like trilobites?

    4. What is the relationship of the SKELETONIZED fossils that occur before the classic Cambrian representatives of the phyla, like trilobites?

  34. The answers are:

    1. Not much — back then, it was roughly “poof, trilobites”.

    2. Since the 1950s we have found 100+ million years of various fossils preceding the first trilobites

    3. The relationship of the Ediacarans to the classic Cambrian phyla is still debated, but at the very least they show that multicellularity had evolved and they are thus probably stem-groups to metazoans or basal metazoan clades.

    4. The “small shellies” gradually increase in complexity over ~20 million years from tiny simple tubes right up to the very point where the classic phyla body fossils are found — in fact, several of the class Cambrian phyla have been tied to various small shellies, so their origin from the small shellies is undisputed. Everyone except Stephen Meyer and his fans, and authors from decades ago before most people knew about the small shellies, think this is incredibly important and relevant evidence.

    The different Peter Ward quotes are, I think, stating these different points (I don’t have the book handy). Selecting a quote out of context, not understanding the detail of which of the points above it is addressing, and then pretending it is some kind of authoritative statement on the fact of the matter on the fossil evidence as it exists at present, is precisely what scientists are annoyed about when they level the quote-mining complaint at creationists/IDists.

  35. class Cambrian phyla –> classic Cambrian phyla

  36. Nick Matzke,

    As I wrote earlier, Ward did indeed say that the sudden appearance of large and complex skeletal metazoans was a problem for Darwinian evolution. Then he tries very hard to explain why he (Ward) does think it is a problem. But nobody has to accept Ward’s pronouncements as truth. Who in the hell is he? It is still a big problem and many are not convinced by Ward’s cockamamie explanations.

    Ward posits that the smallish and simple skeletal metazoans of the pre-Cambrian were the Darwinian precursors of the much bigger and much more complex trilobites and brachiopods that suddenly appeared in the Cambrian. But we all know that it is a bunch of dishonest hogwash. It’s just an attempt to cover up the problem by quickly sweeping it under the rug, hoping nobody is looking. The fact is that the gradual succession of ever more complex and bigger fossils from the Precambrian fossils to the large and complex trilobites are nowhere to be found. The truth cannot be denied. Darwin would not be satisfied.

  37. Correction: Then he tries very hard to explain why he (Ward) does not think it is a problem.

  38. Matzke #33: (…) in fact, several of the class Cambrian phyla have been tied to various small shellies, so their origin from the small shellies is undisputed. Everyone except Stephen Meyer and his fans, and authors from decades ago before most people knew about the small shellies, think this is incredibly important and relevant evidence.

    On evolutionnews there are two recent (October 23) articles on small shelly fossils; one by Luskin and one by Meyer himself. The content strongly differs with Matzke’s and, unlike Matzke, both Luskin and Meyer substantiate their position.

    Luskin: Other authorities agree that these small shelly fossils [SSFs] are of unclear evolutionary significance and affinity. In his book On the Origin of Phyla, James Valentine argues that the SSFs “are very difficult indeed to interpret.” Valentine’s 2013 book, The Cambrian Explosion, co-written with Douglas Erwin, notes that “many SSFs are still poorly understood.” Simon Conway Morris found them so unimportant that he does not mention them in either of his authoritative books on the Cambrian explosion (Crucible of Creation or Life’s Solution).

    Meyer: (…) Marshall himself, like many other Cambrian experts, does not regard the small shelly fossils as obviously ancestral to most of the animals that arise in the main explosive period of the Cambrian radiation. In one 2006 paper he depicts them as (apparently) disconnected from the later more significant pulses of morphological innovation. In fact, Marshall notes repeatedly that the small shelly fossils are “largely problematic” and “hard to diagnose even at the phylum level.” Moreover, in a technical article published in 2010, Marshall specifically excludes the small shelly fossils from the ten million year “geologically abrupt appearance of fossils representing quite disparate body plans” that he and co-author James Valentine designate “as the Cambrian explosion.”
    In any case, treating the first appearance of the small shelly fossils as the beginning of the Cambrian explosion does little to explain the main pulse of the morphological innovation that occurs later during the 10-million-year window that paleontologists commonly designate as “the explosion.”

  39. Meyer and Luskin are delusional. Saying “we don’t understand the exact relationships of many small shellies” is far different from saying “these small shellies are totally irrelevant and can be safely ignored.” Meyer and Luskin do the latter.

    Over in reality, here is the conclusion of a 43-page review article largely on the small shellies, Maloof et al. (2010):

    CONCLUSIONS

    In his chapter on the imperfection of the geological record, Darwin alludes in passing to a different explanation for the supposed sudden appearance of animals in the lowest fossiliferous strata. He writes “[w]e should not forget that only a small portion of the world is known with accuracy” (Darwin, 1859, p. 307). It is this explanation — the incompleteness of our knowledge — that has turned out to be closer to the truth. The problem of missing fossil ancestors was solved by the discovery of the Precambrian fossil record, the problem that nearly all the animal phyla appear in the Lower Cambrian with no evidence of intermediate taxa was solved by the recognition that most Lower Cambrian fossils represent stem-groups of living phyla, and the problem of the explosive diversification of animals at the start of the Tommotian was solved by improved correlation and radiometric dating of Lower Cambrian sequences — to which we contribute here — showing that this diversification was drawn out over more than 20 m.y.

    p. 1752 of: Adam C. Maloof, Susannah M. Porter, John L. Moore, Frank Oe. Dudas, Samuel A. Bowring, John A. Higgins, David A. Fike, and Michael P. Eddy (2010). “The earliest Cambrian record of animals and ocean geochemical change.” GSA Bulletin, 122(11/12), pp. 1731-1774. doi: 10.1130/B30346.1

  40. Matzke, I’ve noticed that you have stated this,,

    ‘Over (here) in reality’

    ,, quite a few times. I find that to be a very peculiar thing for a Darwinist to say since advances in quantum mechanics have now shown that ‘reality’ is Theistic in its basis and ‘reality’ is not materialistic in its basis as is presupposed by atheistic neo-Darwinists. ,,,

    Notes:

    Quantum Physics – (material reality does not exist until we look at it) – Dr. Quantum video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ezNvpFcJU

    If you have trouble accepting the implications of the preceding video, don’t feel alone, Nobel prize winner Anthony Leggett, who developed Leggett’s inequality to try to prove that an objective material reality exists when we are not looking at it, still does not believe the results of the experiment that he himself was integral in devising, even though the inequality was violated by a stunning 80 orders of magnitude. He seems to have done this simply because the results contradicted the ‘realism’ he believes in (realism is the notion that an objective material reality exists apart from our conscious observation of it).

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.
    Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics, but when I asked him whether he now believes in the theory, he answered only “no” before demurring, “I’m in a small minority with that point of view and I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” For Leggett there are still enough loopholes to disbelieve. I asked him what could finally change his mind about quantum mechanics. Without hesitation, he said sending humans into space as detectors to test the theory.,,,

    (to which Anton Zeilinger responded)

    When I mentioned this to Prof. Zeilinger he said, “That will happen someday. There is no doubt in my mind. It is just a question of technology.” Alessandro Fedrizzi had already shown me a prototype of a realism experiment he is hoping to send up in a satellite. It’s a heavy, metallic slab the size of a dinner plate.
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    In fact there are several other intersecting lines of evidence from quantum besides Leggett’s Inequality that give clear evidence that mind precedes matter. Evidence that allows the argument for God from consciousness to be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    supplemental note:

    Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel (Atheist)
    Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.
    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/pro.....9919758.do

    “I have argued patiently against the prevailing form of naturalism, a reductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through its neo-Darwinian extension.” “…, I find this view antecedently unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense”.
    Thomas Nagel – “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” – pg.128

  41. Matzke #38: Meyer and Luskin are delusional. Saying “we don’t understand the exact relationships of many small shellies” is far different from …

    Nobody says this; that is not a quote. By saying “we don’t understand the exact relationships ..)” you are suggesting that we understand quite a lot and we are only quibbling about details. To suggest this is very cunning indeed, however this is not the case.

    What is being said about small shellies is that they “are very difficult indeed to interpret.” (Valentine) , “many SSFs are still poorly understood.” (Valentine) , “largely problematic” and “hard to diagnose even at the phylum level” (Marshall).

    … saying “these small shellies are totally irrelevant and can be safely ignored.” Meyer and Luskin do the latter.

    Meyer and Luskin base their position on the findings of the likes of Valentine and Marshall. If Meyer and Luskin are delusional then so are James Valentine and Charles Marshall. Is that what you are saying?

  42. Where are the many gradual fossils between the small shellies of the Precambrian and the trilobites of the Cambrian, Matzke? Show them to us that we may come worship at your feet. You are the delusional one, dude.

  43. Pop quiz — what does Charles Marshall say an intermediate between two crown phyla would look like. Would it be assignable to either phylum?

  44. The missing fossils, Matzke, the missing intermediate fossils. Show them to us.

  45. Pop quiz #2. How many phyla have likely identified representatives in the small shelly fauna, thus actually occurring millions of years before “the Cambrian Explosion” as defined by Stephen Meyer?

  46. The missing fossils, Matzke, the missing intermediate fossils. Show them to us.

    I did this long ago. See point #2 of:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....edved.html

    …and the Legg et al. (2013) paper point #2 relies upon.

  47. Matzke @45,

    That page is just making assertions, as far as I’m concerned. You should know by now that we don’t believe anything coming out of the mouth of a Darwinist unless we can check the data for ourselves. Can you list the specific lineage between a small shellie in the Precambrian and a Trilobite? Size and feature (number of legs, tails, etc.) comparisons would be nice, too. I want to see the gradations from small shellie to trilobite. If you don’t have that, you’re just urinating against the wind, IMO.

    After all, you guys are famous for showing pictures of supposed evolutionary transitions from ancient apes to humans. I want to see the same thing done for trilobites including the approximate time of their appearance.

  48. 46
    MapouDecember 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm
    Matzke @45,

    That page is just making assertions, as far as I’m concerned. You should know by now that we don’t believe anything coming out of the mouth of a Darwinist unless we can check the data for ourselves. Can you list the specific lineage between a small shellie in the Precambrian and a Trilobite? Size and feature (number of legs, tails, etc.) comparisons would be nice, too. I want to see the gradations from small shellie to trilobite. If you don’t have that, you’re just urinating against the wind, IMO.

    After all, you guys are famous for showing pictures of supposed evolutionary transitions from ancient apes to humans. I want to see the same thing done for trilobites including the approximate time of their appearance.

    Translation: “I’m a lazy creationist who can’t be bothered to even read the referenced paper, let alone look up the fossils named in the phylogenies, let alone look at the morphology dataset even though it was made freely available online by Legg et al., all while not understanding that a paper on the phylogeny of whole-body fossils from lagerstatten will not contain small shelly fossils which are typically fragments of exoskeletons.”

    Here’s a hint: start with the trilobite species in Legg et al.’s Figure 4 and then trace backwards down the tree til you get to the common ancestor of the two extant phyla, arthropods and onychophorans. Look at all the fossils on the stems of these two groups, google them, and look at their character in the matrix and how those characters are distributed on the tree.

  49. Nickey:

    all while not understanding that a paper on the phylogeny of whole-body fossils from lagerstatten will not contain small shelly fossils which are typically fragments of exoskeletons.

    I see. It just goes to tell you. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. In other words, you got diddly squat. If there really were a gradation from small Precambrian shellies to big complex Arthropods (as predicted by Darwinian evolution), we would see many ancestral skeletal fossils in the Precambrian that are at least similar in size and complexity to a trilobite and the Darwinists would waste no time in announcing this fine gradation on the rooftops as a major victory for their cause. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere to be found. LOL.

    The other problem with all of this Darwinian evolutionary nonsense is that the Cambrian explosion did not happen in just one spot on the planet. It appeared suddenly everywhere, as if somebody decided to seed the entire ocean with a bunch of new species at the same time. I think that, if the Darwinian hypothesis were correct, we would expect to see a spreading of the species from one area to another over a certain period, no?

    Personally, I have no problem with transitional fossils as this is what I think we should expect from intelligent design over time. However, we should not expect intelligent design to result in the fine gradation predicted by Darwin with the exception of normal adaptive transformations within a species. I expect to see jumps, small ones and big ones. We should also expect to see long periods of stasis after a major design explosion. Why? Only because the designers would probably want to study what kind of effect the introduction of new lifeforms is having on the ecology. This is what the fossil record shows, IMO.

    You can now assume the fetal position. :-D

  50. The other problem with all of this Darwinian evolutionary nonsense is that the Cambrian explosion did not happen in just one spot on the planet. It appeared suddenly everywhere, as if somebody decided to seed the entire ocean with a bunch of new species at the same time.

    This is just wrong — it is some kind of half-baked deduction from uncritical acceptance of ID/creationist assertions and quote-mining. See Maloof et al. (2010), which I previously cited. Or, Budd (2003):

    CONCLUSIONS

    The combination of important refinements in the treatment of the systematics of Cambrian fossils, and in our understanding of Cambrian stratigraphy is leading to a more precise view of the Cambrian explosion. Phyla do not appear in a sudden jumble, implying an appearance in the fossil record induced by some external influence (e.g., a rise in atmospheric oxygen levels) that allowed a standing diversity already present to be manifested in the record. Rather, the impression rather is of a rapid, but nevertheless resolvable and orderly appearance, starting with the earliest skeletal forms such as Cloudina that are reasonably assignable to a diploblast grade (i.e., stem- or crown-group cnidarians or basal stem-group bilaterians). These are followed by taxa that lie in basal positions within bilaterian clades, and (in general) considerably later by representatives of the crown-groups of phyla. Revisions to the Cambrian time-scale allow a moderately long period of time, some tens of millions of years, between the first likely bilaterian trace fossils, and the general appearance of crown-group members of the phyla.

    Graham E. Budd (2003). “The Cambrian Fossil Record and the Origin of the Phyla.” Integr. Comp. Biol. (2003) 43 (1): 157-165.
    doi: 10.1093/icb/43.1.157

    I see. It just goes to tell you. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. In other words, you got diddly squat. If there really were a gradation from small Precambrian shellies to big complex Arthropods (as predicted by Darwinian evolution), we would see many ancestral skeletal fossils in the Precambrian that are at least similar in size and complexity to a trilobite and the Darwinists would waste no time in announcing this fine gradation on the rooftops as a major victory for their cause. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere to be found. LOL.

    Heh. You just basically said, “If there really were a gradation from small Precambrian shellies to big complex Arthropods then instead of Precambrian small shellies we would see many ancestral skeletal fossils in the Precambrian that are at least similar in size and complexity to a trilobite.” Um, no, if there is a gradation starting with Precambrian small shellies, then it starts with Precambrian small shellies! You’re just throwing words around without even understanding what they mean or if one sentence is consistent with the next.

  51. Mr Matzke:

    I am sorry to have to say this but in trying to spin what your false accusation of myself and smear of Mr Gish as a man not here to defend himself into something that it is not, you are speaking with disregard to the patent truth you know or should know, in hopes that the distortion will be perceived as truth.

    And, this is again demonstrably — notice, the link that addresses the slander involved in your accusation above is from a year ago — a case of informal smear-terms used to accuse design thinkers, then when you have been challenged on your tactics you have slipped and slided away into double-talk definitions that do not accord with the common use of the term by those on your side.

    I cite here an easily found definition from Rational Wiki (as was quoted in the just linked), which you either do know at minimum from pattern of usage, or should full well know before tossing verbal hand grenades:

    The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Sam Harris describes the technique as “starting 10 fires in 10 minutes.”

    To be accused of this is first an accusation of lying by outright false assertions, by half truths and by misrepresentations that are presumably deliberate. It is also plainly the case that Mr Gish is being accused in his absence [which I believe is now permanent], as in this is a smear of the name of a man.

    I hope you would understand if I were to now define the Matzke gallop on what you have done — played the 1984 doubletalk card, it would be inappropriate. So, I will not.

    But I am confident that just pointing out the option you have opened up by your misbehaviour lets you know how outrageous it is to FALSELY attribute such — in your case I would have cause and you are right here! — to a man not present to defend himself.

    Why am I confident that the underlying accusation against Mr Gish is false on the whole?

    Simple.

    If the substance of the accusation were in fact the case, it would suffice to show that a few or several of the points listed are false or materially distorted. The credibility of the argument depending on such would collapse. That is, the very fact that the resort is made to label, smear and dismiss accusations, instead, is evidence that the accusation is substantially ill founded. (And in the case of Mr Gish, he did not win the vast majority of 300 – 400 public debates by focussing precisely on major and systemic gaps in the fossil record (further publishing entire books on his main arguments while doing so) by not having a substantial case. The attempt to smear and dismiss is patently a case of trying to lock off discussion of a major embarrassment for modern evolutionary theory by misrepresentation of the true balance on the merits. [Onlookers, kindly see my linked and the onward linked for details.])

    So, you now have a very clear track record of slip-sliding definitions, with both “quote mining” and “Gish gallop.”

    And sir, FYI, for excellent reason, false accusation of lying is a mortal insult.

    If you have any decency as a civilised person, any broughtupcy, you will immediately apologise and withdraw your false and unjustified accusation, sir.

    Failing which, the appropriate conclusions will be drawn, for cause.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  52. F/N: Jonathan Wells speaks on the Cambrian life revolution and the tree of life icon:

    __________

    >> . . . Of all the Icons of Evolution, the Tree of Life is the most pervasive, because descent from a common ancestor is the foundation of Darwin’s theory. Neo-Darwinist Ernst Mayr boldly proclaimed in 1991 that “there is probably no biologist left today who would question that all organisms now found on the earth have descended from a single origin of life.” Yet Darwin knew — and scientists have recently confirmed — that the early fossil record turns the evolutionary tree of life upside down. Ten years ago [[-->i.e. in the 1990's] it was hoped that molecular evidence might save the tree, but recent discoveries [[--> of sharply divergent molecular "trees"] have dashed that hope. Although you would not learn it from reading biology textbooks, Darwin’s Tree of Life has been uprooted . . . .

    Darwin believed that if we could have been there to observe the process, we would have seen the ancestral species [[--> e.g. of humans and fruit flies] split into several species only slightly different from each other. These species would then have evolved in different directions under the influence of natural selection. More and more distinct species would have appeared; and eventually at least one of them would have become so different from the others that it could be considered a different genus . . . differences would have continued to accumulate, eventually giving rise to separate families . . . .

    Thus the large differences separating orders and classes would emerge only after a very long history of small differences: “As natural selection acts only by accumulating slight, successive, favourable variations, it can produce no great or sudden modifications; it can act only by short and slow steps.” These “short and slow steps” give Darwin’s illustration its characteristic branching-tree pattern . . . .

    But in Darwin’s theory, there is no way Phylum-level differences could have appeared right at the start. Yet that is what [[--> understood on the conventional timeline] the fossil record shows. [[Icons of Evolution, 2000, pp. 29 - 35.] >>
    __________

    That is what Meyer is speaking to in Darwin’s Doubt, and the slip-sliding away from the upside down emergence is a huge sign that he has the better of the case.

    And when it comes to the root of the tree, OOL, the matter is even more decisive. For there is there no way to appeal to the processes of differences in reproductive success as the origin of reproduction on genes or the equivalent is exactly what is a major thing to be explained as here is how — on observational evidence — it happened.

    Also, we have the major problem that the TOL faces the result that Wells hints at: the molecular trees as constructed . . . never mind the circularities used, assuming degree of similarity implies degree of evolutionary relationship and then using same as evidence for said relationships . . . turn out to notoriously stand in mutual serious disparity.

    I will only mention mosaics such as the platypus, noting how this mosaic effect is presented as if it substantiated TOL branching pattern evolution instead of blatantly highlighting an evident case of a library of parts reused and adapted to particular cases — a sign of design. Here is a clip:

    Genomic analysis published today in the journal Nature, shows platypus’ 18,527 protein-encoding genes contain alive-and-well representatives from mammals, birds and reptiles.

    And if that was not enough to point to a library of parts, let us note on the kangaroo-human genome parallels . . . after a branching apart said to be what 150 MYA, which should have given us time aplenty for the onward differentiation that is used in the above case:

    The tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), was the model kangaroo used for the genome mapping.

    Like the o’possum, there are about 20,000 genes in the kangaroo’s genome, Graves says.

    That makes it about the same size as the human genome, but the genes are arranged in a smaller number of larger chromosomes.

    “Essentially it’s the same houses on a street being rearranged somewhat,” Graves says.

    “In fact there are great chunks of the [[human] genome sitting right there in the kangaroo genome.”

    The tree of life icon is rotten from the root up to the main trunks and branches.

    Period.

    Rotten on exactly the things it MUST get right if it is to be viable.

    And, recall, the fossil record is the only direct record of the world’s past of origins, however we may want to interpret it.

    KF

  53. F/N 2: Let me speak now of Mr Gould’s well-known remarks, in The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002) — his last book published just before he died:

    _____________

    >> . . . long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists. [[p. 752.]

    . . . . The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section [[first occurrence] without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants.” [[p. 753.]

    . . . . proclamations for the supposed ‘truth’ of gradualism – asserted against every working paleontologist’s knowledge of its rarity – emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most ‘textbook classics’ upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the ‘case study’ method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record. [[p. 773.] >>
    _____________

    But these are not his only remarks on the subject, they live in a context such as:

    “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [[Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?' Paleobiology, vol.6(1), January 1980,p. 127.]

    All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    What are “major groups” and “major transitions in organic design” to a world class paleontologist?

    Obvious, he is not speaking of just species — the usual cop-out in attempts to portray these comments as quote-mined — but the top level classifications at levels where major body plan features and functions are manifest, including phyla, subphyla, class and order. That is, he is saying that he fossil record does not show what it should reasonably be expected to in aggregate, a dominant pattern of gradual emergence of major body plan innovations. And he is thus highlighting the very same gap-driven pattern of sudden appearances, stasis and disappearance and/or continuity into the modern era that his more well known remarks state.

    As a clincher, here is Australian paleontologist Flannery in his NYRB review of Gould’s last book:

    Niles Eldredge and Gould first coined the term “punctuated equilibrium” in 1971 and published it the following year. The theory seeks to explain a persistent pattern in the fossil record whereby a species suddenly appears, then persists unchanged for a very long time before going extinct. This pattern is seen in a wide variety of contexts, from marine creatures such as shellfish and sea urchins to mammals and birds. Punctuated equilibrium posits that these species come into existence relatively rapidly (over tens of thousands of years), though just how (and indeed if) this happens is hotly debated. An opposing explanation is that these species have evolved much more slowly somewhere else, and their “sudden” appearance is the result of migration. While, as Galton’s polyhedron suggests, the concept of punctuated equilibrium was not entirely new to paleontology, Eldredge and Gould’s formulation of it was timely and coherent. Even among its supporters, however, argument has raged over its significance, with many questioning whether it really challenges Darwin’s concept of gradualism. (After all, tens of thousands of years is sufficient time for species to evolve “gradually.”) Most researchers, though, recognize that the concept has been invaluable in encouraging paleontologists to examine the fossil record with a rigor and attention to detail that previously was largely lacking.

    Punctuated equilibrium has forced paleontologists to focus not only on the origin of species, but also on their often long, unchanged persistence in the fossil record . . . [["A New Darwinism?," The New York Review of Books, 49 (May 23, 2002): pp. 52–54.]

    Flannery of course highlights speciation, but the context of Gould’s remarks across his career plainly shows that the pattern of suddenness, stasis, and gaps pervades the whole fossil record, and includes the challenge of explaining body plan origin on actual observed evidence, i.e. the gaps include top level taxonomical categories, not just species.

    And no amount of verbal gymnastics, turnabout accusations, accusations of quote mining and rhetorical gallops and slippery definitions will make that go away.

    In short, on fair comment: the TOL icon, and the fossils as presented in that context, seem to be habitually presented to the public and to students in a fundamentally misleading way.

    A smoking gun.

    KF

  54. F/N 3: Where of course it is exactly this level of emergence of novel body plans, where design theory would suggest we would find wide gaps between islands of function unbridgeable by incremental processes.

    A good illustration of this would be the gaps between protein domains and the abundance of domains with one or very few members in various species across the domains of life. One hardly needs to underscore that new proteins are used to build cells and cells, tissues thence organs and systems, so the protein issue is fundamental and it is directly connected to the need to write new genetic code to instruct ribosomes to assemble the amino acid strings required for the new proteins.

    A simple calculation shows that we would need at reasonable minimum 5 – 10 million bases to move from a hypothetical single cell ancestor to a major body plan, and a survey of observed body plans points to 100+ millions as an empirically anchored threshold.

    The implied configuration space at 2 bits per base pair to get those, is well beyond the 500 – 1,000 bits that would fruitlessly exhaust the blind chance and necessity search capacity of the solar system or the observed cosmos. Per, needle in a cosmic scale haystack, where the scope of search on the solar system scale of 10^57 atoms, 10^17 s and one search per atom per 10^-14 s [as fast as ionic chem rxns] is as one straw to a cubical haystack as thick as our galaxy at its central bulge.

    Patently not feasible.

    The evidence in hand strongly points to design as best explanation of the origin of body plans.

    KF

  55. Nikey @49,

    I wrote:

    The other problem with all of this Darwinian evolutionary nonsense is that the Cambrian explosion did not happen in just one spot on the planet. It appeared suddenly everywhere, as if somebody decided to seed the entire ocean with a bunch of new species at the same time.

    Nickey replied:

    This is just wrong — it is some kind of half-baked deduction from uncritical acceptance of ID/creationist assertions and quote-mining.

    Wow. Where did this cr*p come from? Did not the trilobites appear everywhere on earth in the exact same layers? And what quote mining, pray tell? I just thought of the idea while writing my reply.

    Heh. You just basically said, “If there really were a gradation from small Precambrian shellies to big complex Arthropods then instead of Precambrian small shellies we would see many ancestral skeletal fossils in the Precambrian that are at least similar in size and complexity to a trilobite.” Um, no, if there is a gradation starting with Precambrian small shellies, then it starts with Precambrian small shellies! You’re just throwing words around without even understanding what they mean or if one sentence is consistent with the next.

    This is just weakly faked bluster on your part to cover up the fact that there is no gradation to speak of. Like every other Darwinist cult monger, you are an accomplished weaver of lies and deception.

    You bore me, Matzke.

  56. Darwinism/materialism is not much more than the bluff that chance and necessity can produce what appears to be clearly designed, and the blocking out of any evidence/argument otherwise.

  57. After several threads it isn’t clear to me what it is that Matzke is arguing for. Does he claim that some credible transitional fossils have been unearthed or is he talking about a vast array of intermediate fossils?
    If Matzke cannot accommodate Mapou’s request for a presentation of all the gradations from small shellies to trilobites, what exactly are we talking about?
    “Some possible intermediate fossils” is still in perfect accord with the need for punk eek, Darwin’s dissapointment and Gould’s and Eldridge’s negative accounts about the fossil record. The last two are strongly contested by Matzke – all quotes are somehow quote-mined. I wonder why that is, if Matzke is not arguing for the presence of infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species.

  58. Box:

    If Matzke cannot accommodate Mapou’s request for a presentation of all the gradations from small shellies to trilobites, what exactly are we talking about?
    “Some possible intermediate fossils” is still in perfect accord with the need for punk eek, Darwin’s dissapointment and Gould’s and Eldridge’s negative accounts about the fossil record. The last two are strongly contested by Matzke – all quotes are somehow quote-mined. I wonder why that is, if Matzke is not arguing for the presence of infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species.

    It’s all bluster. They’re grasping at straws while falling into the inevitable abyss of failure. Neither Matzke nor the rest of the prevaricating bunch got diddly squat in the way of solving Darwin’s problem with the Cambrian explosion.

    Count this as one more example of the falsification of the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. A few decades from today, Darwinism will be just a footnote in the annals of scientific aberrations.

  59. Meh. If you guys aren’t even going to try to understand what scientists are saying and the distinctions they are making, and are determined to just blend it all into quote-mine salad where a scientist saying “up” means they are saying “down”, there’s not any more point in me contributing. I’ve hit all these points before — the Stephen Jay Gould quote mines and his actual views on transitional fossils, the difference between species-to-very-similar species transitions and transitions across larger differences, etc.

    No one even has the memory/sense of fairness/guts to point out to kairosfocus and his fans Gould’s actual views on transitional fossils?

    “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

    –Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory, Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994, p. 260

    Understanding takes effort, people. You aren’t putting in any, just repeating the same old creationist tropes, as usual uncomprehending of what the actual detailed issues the scientists were commenting on. This is perhaps the worst feature of ID/creationism: laziness.

  60. A few decades from today, Darwinism will be just a footnote in the annals of scientific aberrations.

    Are you even trying????

    The Imminent Demise of Evolution: The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/demise.html

  61. I’m afraid I have to agree with Matzke. Since Darwinism is not even a rigid science in any meaningful sense of the word in the first place, so as to allow for its falsification, then Darwinism will continue to linger on and on for years and years (provided society continues as it is), defended to the death by those who refuse to submit to God. It is not, nor has Darwinism ever been, primarily about the science!

    Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality,,, Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.
    Darwinian atheist Michael Ruse – Prominent Atheistic Philosopher

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Even the name of Matzke’s home turf, Panda’s Thumb, reflects the theological, not scientific, basis of Darwinism:

    From Discovering Intelligent Design: Two Thumbs Up – May 27, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that “odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution — paths that a sensible God would never tread.” Likewise Miller claims that an intelligent designer would have “been capable of remodeling a complete digit, like the thumb of a primate, to hold the panda’s food.”
    It turns out that the panda’s thumb is not a clumsy design. A study published in Nature used MRI and computer tomography to analyze the thumb and concluded that the bones “form a double pincer-like apparatus” thus “enabling the panda to manipulate objects with great dexterity.”
    The critics’ objection is backed by little more than their subjective opinion about what a “sensible God” should have made.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72531.html

    Here, at about the 55:00 minute mark in the following video, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth in such a prestigious venue to support such a, supposedly, well supported scientific theory:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek

  62. Matzke,

    You’re pathetic, man. Nobody gives a hoot about the opinion of some forgettable Darwinist or other with regard to the fossil evidence. We can make up our own minds, thank you very much.

    We’re still waiting for the evidence for the fine Darwinian gradation between small Precambrian shellies and trilobites, darn it. What’s holding you up? Surely all those diligent evolutionary paleontologists out there must have compiled this stuff during those many decades of digging and collecting.

    Personally, I’m not holding my breath. I know you got diddly squat. :-D

  63. bornagain77:

    Darwinism will continue to linger on and on for years and years (provided society continues as it is)

    Remember I told you this. Things are about to get very interesting, very quick, in the not too distant future. The old Kuhnian term “paradigm shift” won’t come close to doing it justice. Rather, a paradigm apocalypse is what’s on the horizon, with all the weeping and gnashing of teeth that it entails. LOL.

  64. NM: Yes, we are aware of the usual anti-Creationist disclaimers given after the fact. We are also very aware that Gould in particular laid out how what Darwin plainly expected or hoped for has not come out — as has been cited above, and which you have nothing in reply to but a generic disclaimer. And, frankly given the headlines given over 150 years to eye of faith cases that have repeatedly had to be walked back, we know what would be happening if you actually had the goods on what should be the dominant feature of the fossil record — transitions at all levels. The silence and the making the most of what you have multiplied by especially the reactions to the Cambrian and OOL cases tell us what we need to know. Remember, we also know the general no-concession policy and your particular track record, especially here at UD and at Dover. You have a lot to live down, which somebody needs to tell you. Anyway, enjoy the season. KF

  65. Mr. Matzke,

    just repeating the same old creationist tropes,

    Not everyone here or advocates of ID in general are creationists in the young earth or old earth sense. Depends on what is meant by the term.

    You say you are not an atheist so that could mean a whole host of different things from a deist to belief is some form of god(s). But most people who believe in some type of creator believe in some type of creation. Thus, that makes you most likely a creationist under some form of meaning of the word.

    As an aside, just what process led to the appearance of new species, especially the one with functional complex novelties. You must have some theory on how this happened.

    Merry Christmas.

  66. Casey Luskin:

    Before proceeding, it’s important to address one rhetorical issue. During debate, Darwinists are known for framing arguments and ruling out contradictory evidence such that it is logically impossible for their side to ever be challenged in any meaningful way. For this reason, many Darwinists live by the self-serving rule that if someone quotes a neo-Darwinian evolutionist while critiquing neo-Darwinian evolution, then that person is guilty of “quote-mining.” Darwinists’ common treatment of those accused of “quote-mining” would make one think the accused had violated the Geneva Convention. But Darwinists’ self-serving allegations of “quote-mining” are often misplaced.

    In a court of law, citing an admission from one’s opponent about a weakness in their own case is not considered to be a weak argument, but strong and highly reliable evidence. I should thus state upfront that unless stated otherwise, all of the scientists I have quoted in this second opening statement support neo-Darwinian evolution and oppose ID. This does not diminish the force of their admissions. If anything, it makes their admissions all-the-more weighty.

    Despite the fact that numerous statements could be provided from evolutionary paleontologists admitting the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, sometimes Darwinists try to engage in politically-motivated damage control to disavow their statements that the fossil record lacks plausible transitional intermediates. For example, Stephen Jay Gould complained about being quoted on the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, saying “it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists–whether through design or stupidity, I do not know–as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.” Yet this statement was written during the heat of political battles over teaching creationism in the early 1980s, and it directly contradicts one of Gould’s earlier statements where he clearly admitted that “transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.”
    In his earlier quote, Gould plainly admitted that “transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt” but then later, during the heat of political battles with creationists in the early 1980s, he alleged that transitional forms are “abundant between larger groups.”

    Which Gould are we to believe? The answer is clear: Gould’s scientific partner in promoting the punctuated equilibrium model, Niles Eldredge, concurs with the former Gould that “[m]ost families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors.” Elsewhere, Eldredge again validates the former Gould, stating that “the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be.” It seems very clear which Gould we should believe–and it is not the one who made his statements in the heat of political battles with young earth creationists.

  67. just what process led to the appearance of new species, especially the one with functional complex novelties.

    I meant to add the following to my previous comment since Mr Matzke is a graduate student at Berkeley (or has he received his degree).

    A few years ago I went through three different semesters of the same biology course given at Berkeley on evolution. They are online. Each was by a different instructor. I was interested in how they presented the material and what evidence they used to justify their conclusions.

    There was nothing in any of the lectures from the three different professors that contradicted any ID position. Which I thought was curious. They certainly did not support anything like ID but nor was there anything that would undermine it.

  68. Where is Matzke, that Darwinist weaver of lies and deception?

    We’re still waiting for the evidence for the fine Darwinian gradation between small Precambrian shellies and trilobites, darn it.

  69. Let me speak now of Mr Gould’s well-known remarks, in The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002) — his last book published just before he died:
    [quotes deleted]
    What are “major groups” and “major transitions in organic design” to a world class paleontologist?

    Gould gave an example of a major transition on the same page. Why don’t you quote that?

    Roy

  70. Then he tries very hard to explain why he (Ward) does not think it is a problem.

    If the later text shows that Ward did not think the Cambrian explosion was a problem, then Dembski’s use of Ward’s text as a “Pretty convincing indicator that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory” is dubious – right?

    But nobody has to accept Ward’s pronouncements as truth. Who in the hell is he?

    No idea – I never heard of him before. But it doesn’t matter, since the topic of this thread is not the Cambrian explosion, but quote-miners – and you’ve just confirmed Dembski as one. Well done.

    Roy

  71. Where is Matzke, that Darwinist weaver of lies and deception?

    Probably with his family, given that today is Xmas. You might not change your routine at Xmas, but others do.

    Roy

  72. God darn it.

    I want to see the evidence for the fine Darwinian gradation between small Precambrian shellies and trilobites.

    Where are those Darwinists hiding? Are they all celebrating Christmas? LOL.

  73. Peter Ward has debated Stephen Meyer in the past:

    Intelligent Design vs. Evolution – Stephen Meyer vs. Peter Ward (rematch) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sakmq5L3IiE

    This following quote from Ward, though not related to the fossil record, is interesting none-the-less:

    “If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our ‘Garden of Eden’, that power would face a formidable task. With the best of intentions but limited by natural laws and materials it is unlikely that Earth could ever be truly replicated. Too many processes in its formation involve sheer luck. Earth-like planets could certainly be made, but each would differ in critical ways. This is well illustrated by the fantastic variety of planets and satellites (moons) that formed in our solar system. They all started with similar building materials, but the final products are vastly different from each other . . . . The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances.”
    Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000)
    Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe – Dr. Walter L. Bradley
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9403/evidence.html

  74. Box, 65:

    Thank you for watching my 6:00.

    Your citation from Luskin is well taken.

    KF

    PS: I trust you continue to enjoy the season.

  75. NOTICE ON FALSE ACCUSATIONS:

    On December 22nd, at 24 above, at 8:30 pm on the UD time stamp, Nick Matzke accused me of making a “Gish Gallop.”

    I protested the next morning at 10:37 am in 30 following, given that its easily documented meaning is both a smear on a man not present to defend himself and falsely implies that I have lied in one or more of several ways. In 31 immediately following, Mr Matzke provided a self serving redefinition, at 1:08 pm. At 50, 2:12 am Dec 24, in 50, I pointed out just what Rational Wiki gives as the generally understood meaning of that accusation and again called on Mr Matzke to correct his false accusation and defamation of a man not present to defend himself, continuing down to 53 by documenting my point.

    By 12:02 pm Mr Matzke re-appeared in 58, and — by direct implication of my citation of Gould,and adds the false accusation of quote mining.

    Where — notice Roy, when a world class paleontologist speaks of a scarcity of transitional forms among “THE major groups” [all caps emphasis added], the direct, normal import of his meaning is quite plain and obvious [and where Eldredge supplies just the expected groups] . . . i.e. the upper levels above family, and in that context general scarcity of transitionals at species level actually arguably implies much the same as the upper levels are based on grouping species. Remember, there is no good reason to believe that fossilisation/failure to be fossilised should be correlated with whether or no a specimen would count as a transitional and that unlike in Darwin’s day the now “almost unmanageably rich” fossil record holds upwards of 1/4 million species from all levels around the world, with millions and millions of specimens in museums etc and billions more seen in the ground. It is in that context that the pattern of sudden appearance, stasis, disappearance and/or continuity in the modern era is the dominant pattern in our observations. Not, what on the implied dominance of transitional forms in the history of life implied by incremental evolutionary change and branching, should be the reasonable expectation.

    Thanks to Box (HT, Luskin), we may note further from Eldredge, Gould’s partner in the founding of punc eek, a now somewhat faded alternative theory put forth precisely to account for the pattern of gaps in the record:

    “[m]ost families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors.”12

    “the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be.”13
    ___________

    [12.] Niles Eldredge Macroevolutionary Dynamics: Species, Niches, and Adaptive Peaks, pg. 22 (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1989).

    [13.] Niles Eldredge, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, pg. 65-66 (New York: Washington Square Press, 1982).

    In short, the evidence is that on “an almost unmanageably rich” fossil record in our time, what should be the dominant feature of the history of life on branching tree incrementalism, is not so. And to cite world class paleontological experts to that effect is an appropriate citation of damaging admissions against obvious and well known interest, not misquoting or distortion by citation out of context. To point out that this has been a persistent problem for 150 years by citing examples from archaeopteryx on is an appropriate allusion to a pattern in the history of ideas, not a dishonest pattern of half truths, lies and strawman caricatures. And more.

    Mr Matzke has since been absent; perhaps he is enjoying his Christmas.

    However, he now has a duty of care to accuracy, truth and fairness to set the record straight, to take back and apologise for misrepresentations of any number of people supportive of design thought and even Creationism [e.g. the estate of Mr Gish], including the president of UD and the undersigned.

    I hope Mr Matzke will now take the time and effort to do the civil thing, promptly.

    Failing which, appropriate conclusions will be drawn.

    GEM of TKI

  76. Hey @kairosfocus Ive been getting sick if not having answers for the transitional fossils. Ive looked every where asked tons of questions and im not getting the answers I’m looking for!
    Before the break in my highschool biology class we where shown this website http://reptileevolution.com and on that website we looked at transitional fossils. If you go to the left and click on mammal evolution to me it looks like a perfect transition from jaw bone to jaw bone in theraspids and many other animals. Its also got many other animals that show a smooth convincing transition from one to the next! To me it looks like a clean transition from one animal to the next I cant get over it and its been bothering me for sometime now I tried to not ask you guys because I know you guys are sick of me but it would make my christmas day if you could respond. I hate doing this but I’m getting not very many answers from this! Again im sorry I hate to bother. Heres dome of the transitions that I think look convincing. http://reptileevolution.com/megazostrodon2.htm
    http://reptileevolution.com/megazostrodon.htm and http://reptileevolution.com/evolutionofman.htm

  77. F/N: I cite Luskin further from the article Box so kindly gave us:

    _________

    >> . . . the history of life shows a pattern of explosions where new fossil forms come into existence without any clear evolutionary precursors, concurring with design theory that predicts that species might appear abruptly.

    In Origin of Species, Charles Darwin stated that his theory of evolution predicted that “[t]he number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous.” However, Darwin recognized that the fossil record did not contain fossils of these “intermediate” forms of life: “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”6

    Today, 150 years after Darwin’s work, very little has changed; out of thousands of species known from the fossil record, only a small fraction are claimed to be candidates for intermediate forms. In a famous admission, the leading evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould stated that “[t]he absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”7 This problem led to various failed attempts to save Darwin’s theory from the lack of confirming fossil evidence.

    Darwin tried to save his theory by claiming that the geological record is “imperfect,” and that transitional organisms just happened to avoid becoming fossilized. Even Gould acknowledged that the “imperfection” argument is weak, stating that it “persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution directly.”8 Biologists were eventually forced to accept that the jumps between species in the fossil record were real events and not artifacts of an imperfect fossil record . . . .

    Some paleontologists (including Gould and Eldredge) attempted to explain the lack of transitional forms by speculating that evolutionary transitions occurred in small populations, too rapidly or too remotely for evolutionary change to be recorded in the fossil record. This theory of “punctuated equilibrium” was problematic not only because it required too much evolutionary change in too little time, but because it predicted that the direct fossil evidence confirming an evolutionary transition should not be expected to be discoverable.14

    Rather than documenting the evolution of new species, the fossil record consistently shows a pattern where new fossil forms come into existence “abruptly,” without clear evolutionary precursors. Scientists have dubbed many of these events “explosions” of new life forms.

    A striking example is the Cambrian explosion, where nearly all of the major living animal groups (called “phyla”) appear in the fossil record in a geological instant about 530 million years ago. As one college-level textbook acknowledges, “Most of the animal phyla that are represented in the fossil record first appear, ‘fully formed,’ in the Cambrian … The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla.”15

    Intelligent agents tend to produce machines that are fully functional when they are introduced for usage. As noted, four pro-ID scientists wrote when discussing the Cambrian explosion that “a blueprint or plan for the whole precedes and guides the assembly of parts in accord with that plan.”16 The finding of such “fully formed” features is precisely what we would expect if an intelligent agent rapidly infused large amounts of CSI into the biosphere.

    Indeed, the Cambrian explosion is not the only such “explosion” in the fossil record. Paleontologists have observed explosions of fish species, a plant explosion, a bird explosion, and even a mammal explosion. Abrupt explosions of mass biological diversity seem to be the rule, not the exception, for the fossil record. Transitions plausibly documented by fossils seem to be the rare exception. As leading evolutionary biologist, the late Ernst Mayr, wrote in 2001, “When we look at the living biota, whether at the level of the higher taxa or even at that of the species, discontinuities are overwhelmingly frequent. . . . The discontinuities are even more striking in the fossil record. New species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates.”17 This phenomenon exists not only at the species level but also at the level of higher taxa, as one zoology textbook admits: “Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group.”18

    Throughout the history of life we see large amounts of biological information appearing very rapidly, often without any clear evolutionary precursors. The fossil record shows wholesale blueprints introduced fully formed with integrated parts already functioning within the body plan . . . . The abrupt appearance of large amounts of biological information in the history of life, as evidenced by the numerous “explosions” of life detailed in the fossil record, is uniquely explained by the ability of intelligent agents to rapidly introduce large amounts of information into the biosphere. The fossil record provides powerful evidence for intelligent design.
    _______________

    [4.] Stephen C. Meyer. Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson, Paul Chien, “The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang,” in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education, pg. 386, John A. Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer eds. (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2003).

    [6.] Ibid.

    [7.] Stephen Jay Gould “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?,” Paleobiology, Vol. 6(1): 119-130 (1980).

    [8.] Stephen Jay Gould “Evolution’s erratic pace,” Natural History, Vol. 86(5): 12-16, (May, 1977) (emphasis added).

    [14.] As Gould Wrote: Under punctuated equilibrium “Speciation … is so rapid in geological translation (thousands of years at most compared with millions for the duration of most fossil species) that its results should generally lie on a bedding plane, not through the thick sedimentary sequence of a long hillslope.” Stephen Jay Gould “Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?” Paleobiology, Vol 6(1):119-130 (1980).

    [15.] R.S.K. Barnes, P. Calow & P.J.W. Olive, The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis, pgs 9-10 (3rd ed., Blackwell Sci. Publications, 2001).

    [16.] Stephen C. Meyer. Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson, Paul Chien, “The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang,” in Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 386, John A. Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer eds. (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2003).

    [17.] Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, pg. 189 (Basic Books, 2001).

    [18.] C.P. Hickman, L.S. Roberts, and F.M. Hickman, Integrated Principles of Zoology, pg. 866 (Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, 1988, 8th ed). >>
    _________

    In short, we are actually not just defending ourselves from false accusations but are pointing onward to the differential predictions or retrodictions of design and blind chance and necessity-driven Darwinist macroevolution. Then, we are in a position to underscore that the actual observed pattern after 150 years and “an almost unmanageably rich” fossil record, is not in favour of the gradualistic, branching tree Darwinist account but comports well with well known characteristics of designers in action.

    Where also, above, cases have been identified that point strongly to re-use and adaptation of a library of common informational parts, a major and well known characteristic of designers especially when writing software. (As in, why re-invent the wheel instead of re-apply and/or adapt it?)

    Thus, it seems quite evident that many of the debate tactics being used by Darwinists above and in the wider context are an instance of the trifecta combination fallacy: red herring distractors led away to strawman caricatures of design thinkers and thought laced with ad hominem attacks (here, outright false accusations), and set alight to confuse, cloud, poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion.

    Mr Matzke needs to admit to resort to this irresponsible pattern of rhetoric, retract it, apologise for resort to such, and promise to refrain from such in future. Which promise, he is duty bound to keep.

    Failing which, for good reasons and in simple self-defense, appropriate conclusions will be drawn.

    KF

  78. kairosfocus, Box and bornagain77,

    Thank you all for your very informative and refreshing comments on this thread. This is very exciting stuff. The more I read about the fossil record, the more convinced I am that the Darwinist era was just one big stupid hoax, a complete deceptive farce. I don’t understand how those jackasses have been able to pull it off. It is not a nice thing to deceive entire generations.

  79. As I said in my comment #75 from diagrams and phylogenetic trees on transitional fossils it looks like a smooth transition from one species to another. Trust me im not a darwinist but its just looks transitional to me. Look at these diagrams here
    http://reptileevolution.com/megazostrodon2.htm

    http://reptileevolution.com/megazostrodon.htm

    http://reptileevolution.com/evolutionofman.htm

    Im sorry but maybe I just dont understand please help!!!!

  80. J1:

    Pardon, but with all due respect, you have cut across into a discussion in progress addressing a significant ethically charged matter with tangential remarks.

    I would first suggest to you that the existence of some transitionals [especially at levels up to taxonomic family] are consistent with the point we are making: transitionals — were the Darwinist narrative an accurate representation of the truth about the past of origins — should be THE dominant feature of the fossil record. But, as the very term “missing link” testifies, they are not. And after over 100 years of searching and not finding, major paleontologists such as Gould and Eldredge set out to construct an alternative theory to explain the largely missing transitional fossils. In the course of laying out that theory, they put on record some telling accounts and summary statements.

    In addition, now that genome studies and studies of protein fold domains etc are increasingly common, we now know that there are multiple, contradictory molecular homology based trees, that also cut across the classic Darwinist tree of life. This is multiplied by mosaic animals like the platypus and by shocking parallels such as the discovery of considerable overlaps between the human and kangaroo genomes [which should be very diverse, the implied branch is ~ 150 MYA], and between whales and micro-bats in their echolocation systems. These join classic cases like the claimed multiple origins of sight/eyes and flight/wings . . . both of which are classic irreducibly complex engineering challenges. (You have to have several well matched components just right, or the system will not work.)

    So, I would suggest to you that you take time out to get and read a copy of Wells’ Icons of Evolution, to understand the difference between what is headlined or presented as textbook “facts” and artistic diagrams, and what is actually a non-question-begging, inconvenient qualification suppressive presentation designed to induce consent in those who do not easily have access to the rest of the story.

    Having noted this, please understand that design theory is not equal to young or even old earth creationism.

    It is perfectly consistent with there having been considerable degrees of common descent across the history of life from its origins up, even with universal common descent. indeed,t eh no 2 ID theorist int eh world, Behe, believes in universal common descent as do many contributors and commenters here at UD. Just, similar to what the co-founder of the modern theory of evolution — Alfred Russel Wallace — held, the evolutionary process is viewed as being intelligently directed in possibly several ways. (You would be well advised to read Wallace’s The World of Life, which can be found online as well as in print again thanks to Forgotten Books. You should also scroll up to the top of the page and click on the resources tab then work your way through the definition of ID and the weak argument correctives. If you want to debate fossil trees in the particular cases, go to where such are debated, this is not a site that is about such debates but he overall issue of scientifically investigating unobserved origins through well warranted inductions from observation of presently active causal forces and factors, and patterns that on serious scientific investigation point to design. Where small scale adaptation is an obviously built in design feature of life forms, starting with the immune system and the ways growth adapts to circumstances up to the way that varieties of animals form in response to natural and artificial selective pressures, e.g. the breeds of dogs and the varieties of cichlids. But also, there is no reason why major body form transformations should not be seen as examples of technological evolution, which is an easily observed feature of designers in action as can be seen all around us. For just one instance, consider what the use of retroviri to inject targetted modifications of genomes could manifest.)

    I make that remark to set this in context.

    The fundamental argument of design theory is that in addressing scientifically matters where we cannot make direct observations for whatever reason — we were not there over the past 13.7 or so BY to see the cosmos’ origins, or that of our galaxy and solar system, nor over the past 3.8 or so BY to see origin of life and of major body plans thereafter so claimed knowledge is necessarily inferential, never mind the pretty pictures and animations — we must make inferences to explanations that are demonstrated based on forces we observe in action in the present. This is actually a commonplace since Newton, and is the sub-title of Lyell’s major book on Principles of Geology. (Contrast Job 38:1 – 7, a bit of a Creationist motto; and one not without cogency to the matter in hand. Knowledge claims about the remote past of origins must properly be seen as provisional and subject to change in light of further evidence. Unfortunately, there is a strong tendency to project them to the public as practically certain facts, but an inferred explanatory model is not to be equated to a fact. Likewise, too often major issues are begged through the imposition of materialist assumptions — a worldview level begging of questions. Lewontin’s notorious and highly revealing remarks on a priori materialism and “science” as “the only begetter of truth” motivated by the view that “we” cannot allow an unwelcome “Divine Foot” in the door, are well worth studying carefully in this regard.)

    In that context, design theorists, over the past 25+ years, have identified certain key features that often mark designed systems and — per reliable, tested empirical signs — distinguish them from those that are credibly produced by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    For instance, irreducibly complex objects are a commonplace: functional entities that require a cluster of core parts that are each necessary and jointly sufficient to carry out a specific core function. We routinely see this produced by design and ONLY see it produced by design, where the need for well matched, properly organised, correctly coupled and mutually coherent parts, easily accounts for this. Implying that degree of happy coincidence again and again, over and over again across the history of life strains credulity and is indistinguishable from an appeal to materialist poof-magic miracles of good luck.

    Similarly, in the biological world, many functional entities exhibit specific, complex organisation and associated information. Such functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I, is commonly seen being created in our modern world . . . indeed the text of posts in this thread is a case in point . . . and uniformly, reliably and for good needle in haystack blind search challenge reasons, is a characteristic sign of design as cause.

    Indeed, we can see that something that has 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I is not credibly produced by any conceivable causal process based on blind chance and/or mechanical necessity across the lifespan of the solar system or at the upper end the observed cosmos. Notice, while many specific chance and necessity processes may act, they cannot exceed the capacity of viewing the 10^57 atoms of our solar system as observers, making independent observations of configurations every 10^-14 seconds, the speed of ionic chemical reactions. At that speed, for 10^17 s [a reasonable lifespan for the observed solar system], we could at most sample of the set of configurations for 500 bits . . . think 500 fair coins in a row on a table as a concrete illustration . . . as much as a one straw sized sample to a cubical haystack 1,000 light years thick, as thick as our barred spiral galaxy at its central bulge. Where a light year is the distance light travels in a year.

    In short, no conceivable chance and/or necessity based based process on the gamut of our solar system can sample enough of the config space of 500 bits, to make it credible that such would stumble upon isolated islands of function. Where also, such islands of function emerge from the requisites of putting together many well matched components in a properly coupled pattern, for the items of interest to work. (And focussing on function specifically dependent on configuration and coupling of components allows us to go tot he chase scene and deal with the real issue at stake instead of getting lost in a thicket of tangential debates and obfuscatory talking points over technical definitions and mathematics of the broader concept complex specified information.)

    So, you will see that I have not directly responded to your demanded list of questions.

    That is not just because it is tangential to and interrupting of a significant discussion on an important issue, nor even that I have no way of knowing that you are not just another Darwinist troll using distractive tactics to spread a cloud of rhetorical squid ink behind which a major darwinist public advocate can escape responsibility for some outrageous tactics above.

    Nope, it is a test.

    You need to show us that you are willing to address design theory on its own merits, and to come to the table understanding what is the main issue at stake. Otherwise, to try to chase after ever more red herrings and strawman distortions will be fruitless and in the main a waste of time as this has happened over and over already.

    So, the ball is now in your court. Show us that you are worth the time and effort to invest in a serious discussion on points that seem to be on your agenda.

    Where, already, I have invested a significant effort on providing background you should have brought to the table.

    KF

  81. Pardon non- “inconvenient qualification suppressive” . . . I need to go back to sleep.

  82. Sorry kairisfocus thanks for responding I apologize for the interruption its just that I could not find anwsers sorry and thanks again.

  83. Sorry I misspelled your name my keyboard on my phone is a little laggy.

  84. J1:

    I will take for a moment, as one slice of the cake with all the ingredients in it, the case illustrated here, an argument from broad-brush homology and reconstruction, which portrays first an ape’s hand compared to a man’s hand, and secondly a compressed sequence of a series of mammals (possibly led off by a reptile with feathers and/or hair) culminating in an ape then an ape-man then possibly a neanderthal then a modern man of caucasoid race.

    This is an example of a misleading icon of evolution presented as documented, unquestionable fact.

    On stepwise points of thought:

    1 –> It is circular to define homology as resemblance due to evolutionary descent — as has often been done, e.g. Wiki: ” homology is the existence of shared ancestry between a pair of structures, or genes, in different species.[1] A common example of homologous structures in evolutionary biology are the wings of bats and the arms of primates” — then present homology as if it were factual proof of evolution.

    2 –> This first fails to highlight that there are ever so many structures that are held to be independently and separately derived, as with the examples of multiple origins of flight, eyes, and echolocation in bats and whales. In short close resemblance is due to ancestry, except where it isn’t. Circularity and special pleading, presented while dressed up in the lab coat.

    3 –> Similarly, a major duck-dodge is being done on accounting for the origin of required FSCO/I and particularly genetic info to account for the difference. Just 500 – 1,000 bits worth . . . i.e. 250 – 1500 genetic base pairs taxes the entire capability of blind chance and mechanical necessity across the solar system or the observed cosmos.

    4 –> For example it has been commonly said that we are 98% similar in genome to chimps. But 2% of 3 billion base pairs, is 6 * 10^7, or 12 mn bits. And, with reasonable pop sizes and generation times, as well as pop genetics factors, this would require hundreds of millions of years and up, not the six or so that are commonly held to be available. Assuming, that there is an incremental path.

    5 –> In fact, to transform an ape-like ancestor into a human requires a huge reconstructive job, starting with posture, hanging of the head on the spine, angles of bones, creating linguistic capacity and speech organs co-ordinated with such, and more.

    6 –> The number of intermediate steps required is huge, especially if we realise that on empirical genetic evidence, ~ 6 – 7 co-ordinated mutations at a time is an upper empirically plausible limit. So, transitionals from the implied ancestor to both the chimp and the modern man, should dominate the fossil forms and/or still be around. They simply are not — the screaming headlines of the past 150 years starting with Neanderthal, notwithstanding. Nor is the time that would be required. (Never mind convenient distractors on chromosome fusion events and whatnot, these are just red herrings compared to the real and unanswered challenge.)

    7 –> Where, just on linguistic and closely linked rational ability, until a Darwinist can explain to you how — on observed empirical evidence not just so stories full of hypotheticals — by chance speech, language, and credible reasoning ability arose and have succeeded in accounting for our minds and their capacities to know, understand, reason and so forth, as well as consciousness, s/he refutes himself every time s/he opens the mouth to speak or keys in words on a keyboard or draws a meaningful drawing, as I discuss in more details in this current thread. A rock has no dreams and GIGO limited computation critically dependent on functionally specific organisation is not equal to conscious rational thought, insight and knowledge.

    8 –> the broad-brush darwinist sequence of reptile to mammal to ape to ape-man to man then collapses for the same basic reasons. There is no credible, properly empirically grounded incrementalist account of how the required body plan transformation changes can happen by blind chance and mechanical necessity without intelligent direction, so it is a strawman caricature — an argument from resemblance that ducks the real challenge of explaining the origin of required functional information of requisite complexity on available material resources and time on the usual timelines. (Cf the more detailed 101 level discussion of OO body plans challenges here on.)

    9 –> Where, I again underscore that design theory does not deny common descent or even universal common descent, e.g. cf Behe who accepts UCD. What it highlights is that body plan origins is a case of origin of FSCO/I and often of many irreducibly complex — IC –systems [the two overlap but are not equivalent], and that even granting an ancestral branching tree pattern, this still requires design to account for the underlying information and structures. Until that origin of FSCO/I challenge is satisfactorily answered, the darwinist narrative is little more than, having a priori imposed evolutionary materialism by playing with definition games and caricatures, one then looks at the evidence and asks, what is the best evolutionary materialist account of our cosmos and the world of life, from hydrogen to humans.

    10 –> In case you doubt me, here is Harvard prof Richard Lewontin responding to Cornell prof Carl Sagan’s last book:

    [T]he problem is to get [people] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you have been led to imagine that this is "quote mined" kindly see the filler citation and notes here.]

    . . . and here is ID thinker Philip Johnson’s well merited rebuke to such tactics:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    11 –> Likewise, a major case in point is the Cambrian revolution, the subject of a current major ID book by Stephen Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt. Laying all the side tracks and distractors to one side, the basic facts are as Meyer laid them out in his 2004 PBSW paper, which passed proper peer review by “renowned scientists” and was then retracted under the impact of inexcusably abusive political pressure games that inter alia cost the editor of the journal his marriage:

    The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or “complex specified information” (CSI) of the biological world. For over three billions years, the biological realm included little more than bacteria and algae (Brocks et al. 1999). Then, beginning about 570-565 million years ago (mya), the first complex multicellular organisms appeared in the rock strata, including sponges, cnidarians, and the peculiar Ediacaran biota (Grotzinger et al. 1995). Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred (Bowring et al. 1993) . . . One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur . . .

    12 –> in short, once question-begging ideological materialist a prioris are laid aside, there is not a good non question-begging, empirically grounded case on the origin of the main branches of the animal kingdom of life. And this has been so ever since Darwin had to deal with this case and admitted that he had no solid empirical evidence based — as in chains of fossils showing clear transitions across what we now know to be dozens of phyla and subphyla — answer but hoped that future evidence would bear him out.

    13 –> Huffing and puffing and dismissals notwithstanding, the future evidence is abundantly in and after 150 years,the problem is worse than in Darwin’s day. if you doubt me, simply ask NM et al to provide the chains of observed credibly . . . non question-beggingly . . . dated fossils. Such advocates will not, as you can see above in this thread, as they cannot. (And, remember, this is across dozens of basic body plans, in a context where the transitionals should be there across hundreds of millions of years worth of rocks.)

    14 –> Do not let the Ediacaran fossils, which seem to be further extinct body plans, be used as a distractor: we need to see the chains of fossils, and the empirically grounded observed demonstration of he body-plan originating capacity of Darwinist mechanisms of chance variation and subtraction of less successful varieties to originate the scope of incremental descent with modification leading to body plan level macro-evo, required.

    15 –> Nor is this the biggest problem by any means. The real sunday punch is the origin of life, which Darwinists will typically tell you is not part of the theory of evolution. But, as you know it is commonly presented in textbooks with an air of assurance, and it is the root of the whole tree of life. (I speak here in a context where for a full year there was an unmet open challenge to answer to the tree of life here at UD. In the end I had to accept something that simply ducked the root issue and had no solid answer tot he sort of challenges laid out above. All the meanwhile the circle of objector and fever swamp sites carried on with business as usual and abuse as usual as though there were no problems.)

    16 –> The problem here is that you have to start with chemistry and physics in Darwin’s warm little pond or the like and get to an encapsulated, intelligently gated, metabolising automaton with a code-using self replicating facility, based on aqueous medium Carbon chemistry in a cosmos that is evidently fine tuned for the possibility of such life. Where also, the empirically grounded lower scale of the genome is going to be about 100 – 1,000 k bits. Well beyond the FSCO/I threshold of 500 – 1,0000 bits where empirical evidence and needle int eh haystack challenge grounds both say that such organised and functionally specific complexity is a reliable sign of design as cause.

    17 –> Even leaving off the fine tuning question — and that is actually the bigger half of the design theory, the key issue is that one cannot appeal to natural selection as there is no reproduction to begin with, that too has to be explained, and explained as to how it begins and is integrated with the sort of encapsulated, gated metabolising entity that has been summarised. Explained, on empirical, observational evidence.

    18 –> Which just is not there, leading to a situation where the major schools of thought stand in mutual ruin; each successfully pointing out the fatal flaws in the other. (Cf 101 level details here on.)

    19 –> So, from the root of the tree of life, there is good reason to infer to intelligent design, and this continues through the main branches up to the very tips, including human origins.

    20 –> That is, in an ideal world ID should sit at the table of biological origins science discussions and education policy discussion, not by sufferance but by right. it does not, because of ideological dominance of materialism, which is actually self refuting. So much so that if you harbour or come to harbour serious doubts about Darwin, I must counsel you to keep quiet about them, until you hold the sort of tenure or stature that Darwinist bullies cannot do you serious harm.

    __________

    I trust this will suffice to help you understand why the picture is not all so rosily one-sided as you may well have been led to believe in school or college.

    But don’t ever forget that it is dangerous to be right when the establishment is wrong.

    KF

  85. PS: Don’t let the common reference to the darwinist process as “natural selection” mislead you, the engine of variation held to account for novel biological information is successive small blind chance variations:

    inheritable chance variations [CV]

    - eliminated less successful varieties [ELSV]
    ____________________________

    –> incremental descent with modifications [IDWM]

    –> branching tree patterns of evolution [BTPE]

    –> Body plan level macroevo [BPLME}

    --> Darwinist Tree of life [DTOL]

    CV – ELSV –> IDWM –> BTPE –> BPLME –> DTOL

    The only positive source of novel information is chance variations, NOT the loss of less successful varieties, commonly called natural selection, and commonly presented as though it were not a chance driven process and as though it were capable of wonderful feats of design and creation.

    But it seems to me that if chance variations were plainly termed the only source of the claimed novel complex bio-info, the whole scheme would be much less persuasive. We are far more familiar with chance and its patent limitations as a tool of composition of complex functionally specific information and/or organisation.

    KF

  86. By 12:02 pm Mr Matzke re-appeared in 58, and — by direct implication of my citation of Gould,and adds the false accusation of quote mining.

    Is it really a false accusation?

    You are posting snippets you claim are from Gould’s work, but you didn’t actually get them from Gould at all, did you. You found them on one of the many dubious creationist quote lists. You have no way of knowing if they are even real, let alone whether they are in context; and if they happen to be in context it’s purely coincidental on your part, since you have no clue what Gould was talking about when – or if – he wrote those words. Nor do you seem to care. For all you know he was referring only to transitions between major groups of snails.

    If posting isolated extracts from secondary or worse sources without knowing or caring whether they’re in context isn’t quote-mining, then what is it?

    Where — notice Roy, when a world class paleontologist speaks of a scarcity of transitional forms among “THE major groups” [all caps emphasis added], the direct, normal import of his meaning is quite plain and obvious

    If Gould wrote those words, and if there is no surrounding context that clarifies his intent. Until and unless you confirm that those quotes are both accurate and reflective of Gould’s views, rather than being misquotes, misconstructions or misrepresentations, you have nothing, and the only necessary response is to ask for their provenance.

    So: where did you really get them? Why should anyone believe they’re legitimate?

    Roy

  87. If posting isolated extracts from secondary or worse sources without knowing or caring whether they’re in context isn’t quote-mining, then what is it?

    That’s not what quote-mining is. Quote mining is using quotes in order to make it appear the person being quoted meant something other than what they actually meant. Finding a quote from a secondary source and posting it wihtout referring to the original source is not, in and of itself, “quote-mining”.

  88. Roy,

    It’s not the person who is accused of quote-mining that bears the responsibility of proving his/her innocence; the burden of making a case falls on those making the charge of quote mining. They must show that what the quoter implies is the meaning of the quote is in fact not what the original author meant by the quote.

  89. Roy:

    So: where did you really get them? Why should anyone believe they’re legitimate?

    This just goes to show you that, with you people, if it’s not one thing, it’s always another. What will you say when kairosfocus spends his valuable time to prove the correct provenance of those quotes and show that you’re just blustering? Don’t tell me, I know. You’ll just find some other crap to focus on in order to hide the fact that you people are a bunch of insufferably pompous asses. You are not nearly as smart as you think you are.

    I’ll repeat my request to that other liar, Matzke. Someone has got to keep you liars on your toes.

    I want to see the evidence for the fine Darwinian gradation between small Precambrian shellies and trilobites.

    Put up or shut the hell up.

  90. Roy: I think you need to look at 17 above, on what “quote-mining” is or is not, and what is seriously wrong with ever so many cases where pro-Darwinist critics of design thought show up at places like UD, spewing this accusation. I think you need to be very careful about using terms that typically mean misquoting or out of context, distorting quoting, especially what is actually going on is citation of important instances of damaging admissions against interest. And BTW, you cannot just come along and insinuate that Gould did not write what I cited from reasonable source, that too is outrageous — the book is there, the review is there, the cites from the book and from Gould’s earlier papers, I have cause to understand, are accurate. and, the words mean just what they say and are backed up with abundant substance — if you doubt, simply provide us with a sufficient number of cases of observed, well dated lines of actual fossils leading up to the dozrns of phyla and subphyla in the Cambrian revolution and similar major transitions, as well as similar evidence on the origin of life. While you are at it, explain Flannery’s review of Gould’s final book in NYRB, which you may read here. False and/or unwarranted accusatory insinuations or slippery-slidy assertions that carry the normal implication of a damaging assertion but allow for squid ink rhetorical squirts that deny such and 4evade responsibility while all the time the damaging insinuation is out there unjustly damaging reputations through 1984 style doublespeak, is seriously uncivil behaviour. Go take a long, sobering look in the mirror, then do better. KF

  91. If posting isolated extracts from secondary or worse sources without knowing or caring whether they’re in context isn’t quote-mining, then what is it?

    That’s not what quote-mining is. Quote mining is using quotes in order to make it appear the person being quoted meant something other than what they actually meant. Finding a quote from a secondary source and posting it wihtout referring to the original source is not, in and of itself, “quote-mining”.

    Then what is it?

    Remember, KF is not working from original sources. He has no way of knowing what the author actually meant. Any claim he makes about that original meaning is a potential quote-mine, since he cannot compare his understanding against the original text – and he knows this. He may not be deliberately quote-mining, but he is certainly not taking any steps to avoid doing it accidentally.

    It’s not the person who is accused of quote-mining that bears the responsibility of proving his/her innocence; the burden of making a case falls on those making the charge of quote mining.

    Perhaps not, but it is the responsibility of some-one who uses a quote to ensure that the quote is accurate and does not misrepresent the author’s meaning. KF is shirking that responsibility – and it will come back to bite him.

    Roy

  92. Mapou,

    This just goes to show you that, with you people, if it’s not one thing, it’s always another. What will you say when kairosfocus spends his valuable time to prove the correct provenance of those quotes and show that you’re just blustering?1, I’m not blustering;
    2) valuable time is not required. It would take kairusfocus mere seconds to tell us where he got those quotes from. Certainly less time than it took to write his latest response. Why has he not done so?

    Roy

  93. Oops! Hit the post button too early. Attempt #2:
    ——-

    Mapou,

    This just goes to show you that, with you people, if it’s not one thing, it’s always another. What will you say when kairosfocus spends his valuable time to prove the correct provenance of those quotes and show that you’re just blustering?

    1) I’m not blustering;
    2) Valuable time is not required. It would take kairusfocus mere seconds to tell us where he got those quotes from. Certainly less time than it took to write his latest response. Why has he not done so?

    Roy

  94. F/N: Just for fun, let me fill in some of the surrounding text for the first cite I made above from Gould’s last book:

    ___________

    >> The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The longterm stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists, as the previous story of Hugh Falconer [c. 1862] testifies. This fact, as discussed on the next page, established a basis for bistratigraphic practice, the primary professional role for paleontology during most of its history.

    But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life’s history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution’s expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologists could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession — but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature’s ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution — with an evident implication that the fossil record’s dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty — paleontologists became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum . . . >>
    ______________

    “Quote mined” indeed — NOT.

    Remember, gaps and stasis at species level form the basis for the same at higher levels.

    KF

  95. I think you need to be very careful about using terms that typically mean misquoting or out of context, distorting quoting, especially what is actually going on is citation of important instances of damaging admissions against interest. And BTW, you cannot just come along and insinuate that Gould did not write what I cited from reasonable source, …

    What source? You haven’t cited any source other than Gould. And who says it’s reasonable? Are you denying that you got those quotes from an on-line collection?

    And FYI, I am being as careful as I can to make sure that everything I say is justifiable.

    Roy

  96. Roy:

    1) I’m not blustering;
    2) Valuable time is not required. It would take kairusfocus mere seconds to tell us where he got those quotes from. Certainly less time than it took to write his latest response. Why has he not done so?

    1) You’re doing worse than blustering. You’re acting like a jackass, in my opinion.

    2) Maybe kairosfocus is not your bitch, eh? You ever thought of that? And so what if kairosfocus copied them from a second source? What does that prove? Maybe the onus is on you to prove that the quotes are false, since you’re the one making the thinly veiled accusations.

    3) Since your partner in crime, Matzke, is not forthcoming (as I expected), maybe you can show us the evidence for the fine Darwinian gradation between small Precambrian shellies and trilobites. It should not be that hard. LOL.

  97. Roy:

    On evidence, you are a troll, spewing squid ink the better to provide distractive, toxic cover for an evasion of responsibility for some grievous false accusations by NM.

    Further to this, I took time to substantiate a sample from the book by Gould, and can assure you that the other cites which trace to journals are well known, in some cases famous.

    Further to all this, it is highly significant that instead of directly addressing the substance of the problem: a persistently dominant pattern of gaps at major body plan levels in the fossil record for 150+ years, with the Cambrian level phylum and subphylum level case being particularly prominent, you chose to make a personal attack.

    If you actually had the dominant pattern of transitionals in hand that you are trying to leave the impression of by shooting at the messenger, you would have simply linked chapter, verse and media rich web sites. That you have not done so, is itself a strong sign that the fossil record is just as I have cited major admissions on, and just as what allowed Gish et al to win so many public debates by highlighting.

    Namely, there is NOT an overwhelming pattern of transitional forms in the fossil record, which there SHOULD be on Darwinist gradualism. That is why for 150 years we have seen so many “missing links — found” headlines come and go.

    And, as I just demonstrated by specific example taken from Gould, I have not misquoted him, and I have not distorted him. He plainly does intend to say that from Darwin’s day to his, c. 2002, there has been a major gaps problem with the fossils. The actual fossils, not the icons that are presented to the public. So, to cite him to that effect is accurate.

    Here is what you are coming across as. Dawkins, notoriously is on record that objectors to his evolutionary materialism are ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked. Far too many new atheism- and Alinsky- influenced objectors to design theory come in that line. So, the first resort is to distract from the issues on the table, and to accuse and denigrate, besmich and smear those who support design thought, or worse, Creationism. In my case it has gone to cases of vandalising blog comment pages, trying to out uninvolved family including children and to try to paint targets on the backs of my family by attempting to reveal home addresses.

    That is the company you are keeping, and such are the thug-tactics you are enabling.

    Go look in a mirror, and I hope you have enough common decency left to be deeply ashamed of yourself. Especially on Boxing Day.

    For shame!

    KF

    PS: Observe above, where I gave the cites and you will see that I am giving the context of the very first cite from Gould’s last book of 2002 on the Structure of the Theory of Evo. If you want to accuse me sight unseen of misquoting or quoting out of context, I think on fair comment the ball is in your court to show that my citation is inaccurate. Failing that, you are obviously making unjustified accusations without grounds [and are gratuitously assuming and implying dishonesty on the part of interlocutors without good grounds . . . which is defamatory], and in fact since I know the cite to be accurate, you are making false insinuations.

  98. Roy,

    What quote mining is, has been explained several times in this thread, and twice to you. That you are immune to correcting your incorrect understanding is not our problem. It’s yours.

  99. Roy asks “Then what is it?” in the same post where he quotes where I tell him what it is.

    Typical.

  100. M & WJ, Looks like, rather than acknowledge wrongdoing,accept correction and turn from what has been done, we have a silent tip-toeing away. Speaks volumes, sad but revealing volumes. KF

  101. I think the ID movement should focus on the destruction of Stephen Jay Gould’s punctuated equilibrium nonsense, which is nothing more than an added epicycle on top of the piles of epicycles that comprise evolutionary theory. Gould tried to rescue the theory of evolution from impending falsification (the fossil record does not lie) by positing his Punk Eek crap.

    In my opinion, people like Gould and Eldredge are the ultimate cowards and arse kissers. Some may not like it but that’s the way I see it.

  102. What is the mechanism of speciation in Gould’s and Eldredge’s punctuated equilibrium theory? What I am asking is this: How can natural forces suddenly create new highly complex body plans without ancestral precursors?

    My point is that it does not suffice to say that evolution occurred via the sudden appearance of new body plans followed by stasis for millions of years. There has to be either a clear biological mechanism (not a just-so story) or a massive introduction of new species via genetic engineering. I think this is the reason that Darwin stuck to gradualism in spite of the damning fossil evidence, because he could not fathom how speciation could happen otherwise.

    So Gould and Eldredge come to the rescue by positing that the sudden appearance of new species in the fossil record is just evolution at work. Please. Who do these jackasses think they’re preaching to? What makes them think it’s OK to insult the intelligence of the public? How much more condescending can you get?

    I swear, I cannot stand the elitism of the scientific community. The insufferable pomposity of physicists has found its match in the Darwinist community. Sooner or later this crap must come to an end.

  103. M,

    I understand how you feel but sorta think you should slide the tone/language intensity down a bit.

    On the main point, if you will look at my more extended cite from Gould’s last book, you will see that he is hinting that there are some things that are unmentionable and subject to a sort of consensus of silence among the in-group and hoi polloi don’t even read this stuff so why tell them.

    Talk about an inner ring secrets game!

    I suspect Gould was a tad tongue in cheek when he wrote that, but it is revealing in his context.

    And I see after complaining where did you get that — from Gould’s last book, just as stated, R has gone poof. I guess, bluff called, and R has maybe read pp. 750 ff of Gould’s 2002 book that critically assesses the state of evo theory and realised that his toxic remarks make him look outright churlish in light of the fuller context.

    As for NM, nowhere to be seen, after falsely accusing me of being a liar and a distorter, then trying a 1984 slip-slide on definitions; his want of decency to take back those words and apologise like a gentleman, tell us all we need to know about him . . . yet again, sadly.

    BTW, this one is beginning to look alike the latest in darwinist fallacies of accusation against design thinkers, they must have just trotted it out at some of those fever swamps.

    Let’s give it an official name, just like viruses, trojans and worms get names form antivirus software people:

    The Darwinist 1984-style Orwellian doubletalk definition slip-slide trojan horse.

    I think that about captures it: it’s not what it seems like, and it’s what’s inside the wrapper that counts.

    KF

  104. PS: Then there’s:

    The Darwinist toxic rhetorical squid ink cloud to enable escape for oneself (maybe by handy sockpuppet . . . ) or for one’s partners in crime

    . . . as well as the longstanding:

    Darwinist trifecta red herrings trojan horse led away from the track of truth to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion

    . . . and of course the even more classic:

    fallacy of the closed, hostile, question-begging, self-referentially incoherent, absurdity-clinging a priori materialist mind.

    When all else fails we have:

    Your’e expelled you creationist mole in the high church of Darwin

    . . . and:

    We’re gonna out and threaten as well as stalk or harass you and your family and those you care for.

    Maybe it’s time we started to treat this stuff like antivirus companies with computer malware.

    KF

  105. […] is in this context that I responded to Jaceli123 as follows (in a thread where he subsequently […]

  106. M & WJ, Looks like, rather than acknowledge wrongdoing,accept correction and turn from what has been done, we have a silent tip-toeing away.

    Not tip-toeing away, merely having a Xmas break, dealing with storm damage to my property, and attempting to track down the full text and context of that last Gould quote. Unfortunately, my copy of The Panda’s Thumb is proving to be irritatingly absent, so I may have to find a well-stocked library or bookshop.

    Roy

  107. Kairosfocus (post #97):

    If you want to accuse me sight unseen of misquoting or quoting out of context, I think on fair comment the ball is in your court to show that my citation is inaccurate.

    I have still not been able to locate my copy of Gould’s The Panda’s Thumb, but I have found some-one else who owns one. I’ve also checked several reliable on-line sources, including one with a copy of the full text of the essay concerned.

    In Return of the Hopeful Monster, Gould wrote this:

    All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.

    But in post #53, you quoted Gould – italics yours, bolding mine – thus:

    All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.

    You misquoted Gould.

    It may only be a minor misquote, but it is unquestionably a misquote.

    Does that additional “the” matter? You lost any chance you ever had of arguing that it doesn’t matter in post #75 when you wrote this:

    Where — notice Roy, when a world class paleontologist speaks of a scarcity of transitional forms among “THE major groups” [all caps emphasis added], the direct, normal import of his meaning is quite plain and obvious

    Well, it might have been obvious if Gould had actually written that, but he didn’t.

    Putting emphasis on a word that isn’t even in the text is a novel way of preserving the meaning. Still, it’s just possible that by “major groups” Gould did indeed mean, as you wrote in post #53, “the top level classifications at levels where major body plan features and functions are manifest, including phyla, subphyla, class and order.” Luckily Gould included a couple of examples of the transitions, and hence major groups, that he was referring to:

    On the isolated island of Mauritius, former home of the dodo, two genera of boid snakes (a large group that includes pythons and boa constrictors) share a feature present in no other terrestrial vertebrate: the maxillary bone of the upperjaw is split into front and rear halves, connected by a movable joint.

    Many rodents have check pouches for storing food. These internal pouches connect to the pharynx and may have evolved gradually under selective pressure for holding more and more food in the mouth. But the Geomyidae (pocket gophers) and Heteromyidae (kangaroo rats and pocket mice) have invaginated their cheeks to form external fur-lined pouches with no connection to the mouth or pharynx.

    It takes just a couple of minutes to discover that the two snake genera – Casarea and Bolyeria – are in one of about a dozen families in the infraorder Alethinophidia, and the two families of rodents lie within the suborder Castorimorpha along with the family Castoridae (beavers). Thus the types of direct, fossil-less transition that Gould was referring to are those that lead to animals being classified as belonging to new families – not to new phyla, subphyla, classes or orders. By claiming Gould was referring to the latter, when the examples Gould provided suggest otherwise, you have taken Gould’s words out of context.

    And since Gould wasn’t referring to phyla, subphyla etc, by emphasising that non-existent “the” and claiming that Gould was referring to “THE major groups“, rather than any old major groups, you have distorted Gould’s meaning.

    You provided a handy checklist of what quote-mining typically means at post #90:

    misquoting or out of context, distorting quoting

    Misquoting: check.
    Out of context: check.
    Distorting: check.

    WJM also provided a definition:

    Quote mining is using quotes in order to make it appear the person being quoted meant something other than what they actually meant.

    Yous used a (mis)quote to make it appear that Gould meant the higher taxonomic orders, including phyla and subphyla, when both the examples in Gould’s essay and Gould’s own later clarification show that he actually meant lower taxonomic orders. By both WJM’s definition and your own, you are a quote-miner.

    You could try claim to be a victim of some-one’s error here – after all, it probably wasn’t you that inserted that additional “the”. But nobody forced you to copy the misquote from whatever dubious site you obtained it from. Nobody forced you to cite Gould directly rather than via a secondary source. Nobody forced you to continue to conceal your actual source, despite hints in posts #91 and #93 and being directly asked in posts #86 and #95. Then, after I say that “I am being as careful as I can to make sure that everything I say is justifiable“, you can’t even be bothered to wonder why I’m asking or how I knew you didn’t get that quote from a legitimate source, but instead accuse me of making unjustified and groundless accusations and false insinuations. You aren’t a victim, you’re culpably negligent.

    Nor are you innocent of the distortion. Your comments about quote-mining in post #53 indicate that you knew when you posted the quote from “Return of the Hopeful Monster” that it had been described as being out-of-context. Yet despite that knowledge, you made no attempt to confirm the context before posting. Culpable negligence again.

    That is the basis for my criticism. It is possible that Gould produced multiple versions of his essay, and that your misquote is actually genuine, but I really, really doubt it. It’s far more likely that you misquoted Gould out-of-context, distorted his intended meaning, and became a quote-miner.

    Despite the facts provided here and your exhortation for me to “acknowledge wrongdoing,accept correction and turn from what has been done” I suffer no illusion that you will do anything of the sort. Instead I expect you to either to twist and turn in false indignation and slander me, or to ignore this post completely. But if you do reply, remember that unless your response starts with either an acknowledgment that you misquoted Gould (or very strong evidence that he did produce two versions of his text) it will not be worth reading.

    Roy

  108. William J Murray:

    It’s not the person who is accused of quote-mining that bears the responsibility of proving his/her innocence; the burden of making a case falls on those making the charge of quote mining. They must show that what the quoter implies is the meaning of the quote is in fact not what the original author meant by the quote.

    Done. Kairosfocus distorted Gould’s meaning by emphasising a word that was not actually present in the original text.

    Do you accept this, or is your mob mentality stronger than your integrity?

    Roy

  109. Maybe the onus is on you to prove that the quotes are false, since you’re the one making the thinly veiled accusations.

    Mapou,
    I have now shown that kairosfocus’s quote was false, i.e. not what Gould actually wrote.

    In your posts here you have accused me of lying, blustering, slandering, wasting time, etc. Will you retract those accusations, or do I have to search elsewhere for an honest creationist?

    Roy

  110. Roy,

    I appreciate that you’ve made the effort to back up your claim of quote-mining. However, not having a copy of the book in question, I have no way of vetting what anyone says about the book – you or KF. I was just making the points that your original understanding of quote-mining was apparently wrong, and that it was your job to make your case for it.

    I give you credit for what appears to be you at least attempting to make your case.

  111. I appreciate that you’ve made the effort to back up your claim of quote-mining. However, not having a copy of the book in question, I have no way of vetting what anyone says about the book – you or KF.

    Exactly what is preventing you from doing what I did and seeking out a copy?

    Alternatively, you could have asked for the URL to the on-line version of the text I referred to.* As a third option, you could simply Google the two variations and see which one has the most hits. The ratio of nearly 100:1 is a strong indication as to which version is correct.

    Since the last two options require minimal effort, I can only conclude that either you didn’t think of them (no longer a barrier), or you are more interested in solidarity than truth. Only you know which.

    Roy

    *If you ever find your cojones look here. Although since you have at least returned, unlike Mapou and kairosfocus, I should probably concede that you are headed in the right direction.

  112. Roy:

    FYI, I have looked at the relevant text of the book and am satisfied that the cites in question are substantially sound and in context. Cf 94 above. At this point you are perilously close to insistently making willfully false accusations, and I suggest to you that it is time to think seriously again on what you are doing. KF

  113. PS: your insinuation of cowardice in the face of a much simpler explanation, the fading of a thread into inactivity, does not speak well of your attitude either. FYI, I only chanced to glance at recent comments and saw activity that looked like it should be followed up. As at now, I can stand on the record at 94 above that cites context to show that I am not misrepresenting Gould’s position. Which position is abundantly warranted by the simple fact of the commonplace lack of viable links despite the “missing links — found” headlines over the past 150 years since the first ultimately failed one archaeopteryx.

  114. F/N: Let me repeat what occurs at 94 again, from the first cite:

    >> The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The longterm stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists, as the previous story of Hugh Falconer [c. 1862] testifies. This fact, as discussed on the next page, established a basis for bistratigraphic practice, the primary professional role for paleontology during most of its history.

    But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life’s history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution’s expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologists could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession — but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature’s ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution — with an evident implication that the fossil record’s dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty — paleontologists became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum . . . >>

    In short the previous cites are clearly substantially correct as to both Darwin’s context (I think here of his argument esp. in Ch 6 of Descent of Man] and Gould’s. KF

  115. F/N 2: I also went up to 53, where I cited (from accessible sources) as follows:

    “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    Roy makes much and tries to hang a case on the claim that “the” before major groups is incorrect.

    Okay, to see a key point, let us now cite again omitting the:

    “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    Has a material difference been made to meaning in light of the immediate and wider context of Gould’s work? I suggest, no. So at most there is a minor error of citation such as does occur, for which if so I apologise. (That will happen occasionally, even when typing from a book.)

    But, the underlying point remains; the substantial message remains the case.

    In short Gould has plainly not been misrepresented, which is the essential implication of “quote mining” that has any merit. Beyond Gould, Darwin’s view has also not been misrepresented and the substantial issue remains that persistence of gap[s int eh record and absence as a rule of transitional forms between major groups/ the major groups, is a problem.

    In short, it seems here we have a side track leading away form a substantial issue that has not been seriously addressed and cogently addressed by blind watchmaker thesis evolutionary materialists in the discussion.

    So, what is really going on, on the material issue?

    KF

  116. Exactly what is preventing you from doing what I did and seeking out a copy?

    The only thing I addressed in this thread was (1) your original, apparent misconception about what “quote-mine” means, and (2) the fact that it is incumbent upon those who make the accusation to support them – it is not incumbent upon the accused to “prove their innocence”.

    My points were entirely about quote-mining accusations, not about Gould or anything he said. What Gould has to say doesn’t interest me.

  117. I wrote this:

    Despite the facts provided here and your exhortation for me to “acknowledge wrongdoing,accept correction and turn from what has been done” I suffer no illusion that you will do anything of the sort. Instead I expect you to either to twist and turn in false indignation and slander me, or to ignore this post completely. But if you do reply, remember that unless your response starts with either an acknowledgment that you misquoted Gould (or very strong evidence that he did produce two versions of his text) it will not be worth reading.

    I see kairosfocus has returned. Is what he has to say worth reading?

    FYI, I have looked at the relevant text of the book and am satisfied that the cites in question are substantially sound and in context. Cf 94 above. At this point you are perilously close to insistently making willfully false accusations, and I suggest to you that it is time to think seriously again on what you are doing. KF

    No, it isn’t worth reading. It’s a load of self-serving garbage.

    For a start, what false accusations? Kairosfocus has made that accusation twice now, but has yet to show that anything I have said is false. And he has the unmitigated effrontery to suggest that I think about what I’m doing. Then there’s this:

    I also went up to 53, where I cited (from accessible sources) as follows:

    “from accessible sources”? Kairosfocus hasn’t cited any accessible sources. In fact he’s repeatedly refused to say where he got that misquote from ‘The return of hopeful monsters’. Maybe he thinks “cited (from accessible sources)” means the same as ‘copied from an unreliable quote site’. Then later he says:

    So at most there is a minor error of citation such as does occur, for which if so I apologise. (That will happen occasionally, even when typing from a book.)

    It’s not an error of citation. The citation was accurate, or at least it would have been if kairosfocus had actually used Gould’s text. It’s a misquote. If he wants to apologise he can apologise for what he actually did. All of it. Otherwise his apologies are as worthless as his ‘quotes’.

    Next up:

    Has a material difference been made to meaning in light of the immediate and wider context of Gould’s work? I suggest, no.

    It’s suspiciously convenient that now kairosfocus has been told about the extra word he thinks it doesn’t make a material difference, when back in post #75 he was emphasising it in ALL CAPS. It’s also suspiciously convenient that he has omitted all mention of his previous emphasis.

    As for his talking about the “immediate context”, he still hasn’t given the slightest indication that he knows what the immediate context is, so any claims he makes about it are just discardable drivel. I’m not sure which possibility is worse – that he hasn’t checked the context but blathers about it anyway, or that he has checked the context, and is pretending not to know he misquoted Gould.

    As for the wider context, it’s also suspiciously convenient that kairosfocus has nothing to say about his more serious misrepresentation – that Gould’s examples all involve families yet kairosfocus claimed Gould was talking about phyla, subphyla, classes and orders. Gould plainly has been misrepresented, as is obvious to anyone who has actually read the essay being ‘quoted’ (which almost certainly doesn’t include kairosfocus). Gould’s later clarifying remarks confirm this, if such were needed. So if misrepresentation is the essential feature of quote-mining, kairosfocus is a quote-miner.

    In short, it seems here we have a side track leading away form a substantial issue… So, what is really going on, on the material issue?

    Actually, the central issue of this thread is misquoting and quote-mining, so kairosfocus’s attempt to divert from his shenanigans is the side track. It’s ironic that he has been caught misquoting and quote-mining in such an appropriately titled thread, but as I said before, he had plenty of opportunities to avoid it. He only has himself to blame.

    I’m done here. Kairosfocus has proved not just to be a quote-miner through totally unnecessary culpable negligence, but also too gutless to admit to his sins, preferring instead to ignore inconvenient facts, rewrite history and accuse others. I’ll not waste any more time on him.

    Roy

  118. The only thing I addressed in this thread was (1) your original, apparent misconception about what “quote-mine” means, and (2) the fact that it is incumbent upon those who make the accusation to support them – it is not incumbent upon the accused to “prove their innocence”.

    True, dat. Perhaps I should have taken more care not to let my contempt for kairosfocus cloud my opinion of you by unfair association.

    I would still be interested in how you would describe the practice of using isolated quotes from unreliable lists without either checking their veracity or citing the secondary source. If “quote-mining” is an inappropriate term, what would be an appropriate one?

    Roy

  119. Roy

    Pardon, but you just further proved to me that your rhetorical game is to distract, accuse and dismiss, not to seek truth or be fair.

    Much less, actually address the matter on its merits, where quite plainly you do not have a cogent answer to the suddenness, stasis and disappearances of the fossil records as a characteristic pattern across major groups. One much mo4re widely known than Gould’s cites, but for which those cites are a useful point of reference.

    I rest content on that conclusion, as if you had a reply on the material facts you would have given copious citation. That you instead are working yourself up into a lather over a minor error of citation that does not change meaning in any material way, speaks volumes, unintentional volumes.

    Just to clench over this nail, let me highlight the short clip in a different way:

    “transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.”

    Major taxonomic groups obviously would include those at the top of the hierarchy of classification, from Family on up. Abrupt is synonymous with suddenness. Stasis of the defining characteristics of the groups is notorious.

    But what is “characteristically,” if not this:

    characteristic (?kær?kt??r?st?k)
    n
    1. a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait
    2. (Mathematics) maths
    a. the integral part of a common logarithm, indicating the order of magnitude of the associated number: the characteristic of 2.4771 is 2. Compare mantissa
    b. another name for exponent, used esp in number representation in computing
    adj
    3. indicative of a distinctive quality, etc; typical
    ?character?istically adv

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    In short, Gould was describing a typical, distinguishing pattern of major groups in the fossil record, which the immediate context (as well as that of his career up to the final book published in 2002 as long since cited and studiously ignored by you in haste to score rhetorical points) makes plain is quite utterly dominant.

    I will explain.

    Let us look at a wider, annotated cite of the essay for the clip with the minor error; done in response to the accusations you made pivoting on whether or no “the” appears in a cited phrase [which it seems not]:

    ____________

    >> “The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change [[--> notice, NO support], and the principle of natural selection does not require it—selection can operate rapidly [[--> he intends to call for this to save the wider theory, but on fair comment, this is not successful] . . . .

    [[--> this opening remark tries to make virtue out of a grave weakness, the specific functional information content of "sudden leaps" of implied scope of
    complexity undermines the hope of accumulating small, incremental changes to overwhelm the cliff-like challenge of Dawkins' Mt Improbable]

    All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. [[--> notice, "All paleontologists know . . . "] Gradualists usually extract themselves from this dilemma by invoking
    the extreme imperfection of the fossil record—if only one step in a thousand survives as a fossil, geology will not record continuous change . . .

    [[--> statistically, with 250,000+ fossil species notoriously in hand, millions of specimens in museums and billions observed in the field (think here of Barbados, which is built on cubic miles of fossil
    corals etc. that can be seen just by walking along the roads or visiting construction sites), if gradual change were dominant, per the implications chance sampling, it should be dominant in the fossils, so that it is not is a striking concession]

    we have no direct evidence for smooth transitions, [--> notice his underscoring of the "characteristically abrupt" just above] can we invent a reasonable sequence of intermediate forms—that is, viable,
    functioning organisms—between ancestors and descendants in major structural transitions? Of what possible use are the imperfect incipient stages of useful structures? What good is half a jaw or half a wing? The concept of preadaptation provides the conventional answer by permitting us to argue that incipient stages performed different functions. The half jaw worked perfectly well as a series of gill-supporting bones; the half wing may have trapped prey or controlled body temperature. I regard preadaptation
    as an important, even an indispensable, concept. But a plausible story is not necessarily true. I do not doubt that preadaptation can save gradualism in some cases, but does it permit us to invent a tale of continuity in most or all cases? I submit, although it may only reflect my lack of imagination, that the answer is no

    [[--> Notice Gould's remark already cited, that "our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution" -- especially relevant when such "preadaptation" then faces the challenge of diverse parts being required to fit together, be coupled just right (often to tiny fractions of an inch), and have all parts present and correctly arranged at one go for irreducibly complex functional entities; e.g. to build Behe's famous bacterial flagellum which requires dozens of fairly unique proteins set up in a elf-assembling functional whole . . . where also the usual counter-example suggested rhetorically, the toxin injector of bacteria that prey on eukaryotes (which supposedly derived later from prokaryotes, that -- similar to bacteria -- don't have nuclei), is far more plausible as a similarly irreducibly complex derivative based on one of the substructures. Likewise, at gross body plan level, loss of function on the way to becoming a wing integrated with requisite control and powering systems to achieve flight, is a classic challenge]

    [[Stephen Jay Gould ‘The Return of Hopeful Monsters.’Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, pp. 22 – 30 & elsewhere. Emphases, highlights and parenthetical notes on points added. This cite has been expanded in reply to an
    accusation of “quote-mining,” and to correct a minor error in the original short highlighted clip, “transitions between the major groups are characteristically
    abrupt
    .>>
    ______________

    It is fair comment to hold that this constitutes a case of straining at a gnat, swallowing a camel on your part. It was already pointed out that from the wider corpus and particularly the last book by Gould, the general pattern cited is accurate to Gould’s sustained thought, and now the context of the clip with a minor error show that minor error notwithstanding — and I acknowledge my error — the cited clip does not, did not and plainly from additional words cannot change the fundamental meaning of what Gould had to say.

    I thank you, Roy, for the minor correction; but I need to point out that you are failing to see the substantial issue, not just what Gould — as an expert with decades of experience — had to say, but the underlying facts on the ground. Namely, it is quite plain that the fossil record on the whole does not document the textbook pattern of gradual emergence but instead suddenness, stasis and disappearance which may — think a certain famous fish that vanished only to be found alive swimming in our oceans from 1938 was it on — be consistent with continued existence.

    We then need to ask ourselves why there is such stout rhetorical resistance by any means necessary to the substance on the ground and to any public citation of experts that points to it.

    Not to mention, the all too habitual resort to the assumption, insinuation and even outright accusation that any and all who seriously question the evolutionary materialist narrative on origins, are incorrigibly ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    And BTW, Roy, it is a serious false accusation with a notorious context and track record leading to highly abusive behaviour up to and including unjustified career busting and distortion of education policy and court decisions, to conflate Intelligent Design with Creationism.

    If you would simply contrast the patterns of discussion of design thinkers and the way say Mr Ham argued in his recent debate with Mr Nye — notice, for just one instance, how he did not want to address fine tuning of the cosmos, one of the most powerful evidences of design as it cut across a typical YEC interpretation of Genesis which seems to control how Mr Ham argues — you would immediately see how different the two are.

    I suggest to you that you take time to look at the UD Weak Argument Correctives, accessible through the Resources tab, top of every page in this blog.

    Good day.

    KF

  120. F/N: Onlookers, remember that it is normal for citation to be fairly brief, as issues of permissions easily arise. I am in effect implicitly appealing to the doctrine of fair use in giving a much more extensive cite, but a publisher can challenge that a cite is excessive. And, in the days when cites were on paper, every word added materially to costs. KF

  121. Roy, Finally, your problem is not mere contempt, it is bigotry, laced with hostility verging on hate. KF

  122. F/N: Onlookers, meanwhile it is still the case that the only observed source of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I, is design; that blind watchmaker chance and/or necessity therefore cannot pass the vera causa [an actual, observed, true cause is required to explain phenomena which we did not directly observe . . . such as those of the remote natural history past of origins] test, and; such should not even be admitted as an attempted explanation of body plan origin requiring more than 500 – 1,000 bits worth of incremental explicit or implicit information.

    Where, it is readily seen that novel body plans for multicellular organisms credibly require 10 – 100+ mn bits of incremental bio-info, and that a first cell based life form would require something like 100,000 to 1 mn or so bits.

    That speaks to both the major branches of the tree of life and the root, and it highlights that the only vera causa plausible explanation of the FSCO/I in life is its only observed cause, design.

    Where also, the open challenge I have put up to submit an essay of about 6,0000 words outlining the evo mat account of these origins with empirical evidence that passes the vera causa test — which I would host here at UD — still stands open and unanswered after coming on a year and a half. (I did put together what amounts to a half-hearted composite response as in that form the best shot coming from TSZ etc, but it is patently grossly inadequate. If there were a real and cogent answer, it would be in every museum, every textbook, every magazine, all over the internet.)

    It seems to me that the sort of fever swamp hostility, bigotry, rhetorical tactics and agendas we all too routinely see here at UD come from this underlying explanatory failure, joined to ideological commitment to a radical secularist, evolutionary materialist worldview that ever so easily bleeds over into nihilist amorality.

    The sort of misbehaviour that recently tried to expose my residential address (and so by implication of such “outing” tactics, uninvolved wife and children) to such threats in a hostile context.

    If that is how such behave in cases of minor power, how would they behave with effectively unchecked power?

    Do we really want our civilisation to pass into the domination of such hands and hearts?

    Maybe, we need to again pay attention to Plato’s warning from 2350 years ago about where such predictably ends up.

    KF

    PS: Read the context of the just linked.

  123. I would still be interested in how you would describe the practice of using isolated quotes from unreliable lists without either checking their veracity or citing the secondary source. If “quote-mining” is an inappropriate term, what would be an appropriate one?

    It depends on what they’re being used for. If they’re being mistakenly used as factual references to support an argument the quotes do not actually support (because context would make that clear), I would call it a misunderstanding or ignorance about what the quote actually means.

    It wouldn’t be “quote-mining”, though. Quote-mining carries with it an element of deceit, and we’re supposed to be debating under the principle of charity. IOW, one should tell their adversary that they are mistaken about the meaning of the quote and attempt to correct them, but to insist they are “quote-mining” just because you doubt they actually read the contextual material is in bad form, IMO.

  124. WJM: My concern, of course is precisely the career-long context, which has been more than adequately documented and in fact was notorious. KF

  125. Roy: you have made several demonstrably overblown accusations, and expressed “contempt,” which seems to be a euphemism for unwarranted hostility (probably driven by fever swamp talking points). Since Sunday morning, I have made several specific responses, documenting in particular how an innocent error on a clip did not materially or willfully distort Gould’s meaning on the point made. And, earlier, a more extensive citation of the case highlighted by Matzke shows the same pattern of overblown accusation and failure to accept that Gould did indeed highlight — as an expert — that sudden appearance, stasis and disappearance are typical and indeed dominant patterns in the fossil record; in context this is a decades long sustained view and summary report on his part right up to two months before his passing away. It seems, some reasonable response on your part is in order. KF

  126. Roy: It is still the case that:

    you have made several demonstrably overblown accusations, and expressed “contempt,” which seems to be a euphemism for unwarranted hostility (probably driven by fever swamp talking points). Since Sunday morning, I have made several specific responses, documenting in particular how an innocent error on a clip did not materially or willfully distort Gould’s meaning on the point made. And, earlier, a more extensive citation of the case highlighted by Matzke shows the same pattern of overblown accusation and failure to accept that Gould did indeed highlight — as an expert — that sudden appearance, stasis and disappearance are typical and indeed dominant patterns in the fossil record; in context this is a decades long sustained view and summary report on his part right up to two months before his passing away. It seems, some reasonable response on your part is in order.

    KF

  127. It seems, some reasonable response on your part is in order.

    No response is in order unless you either retract your claim that I am “perilously close to insistently making willfully false accusations“, or demonstrate that anything I’ve said is actually false.

    You might also ponder whether you are in a position to request a “reasonable response” given that you have repeatedly failed to provide a reasonable response to the straightforward question concerning where you really got that quote purportedly from Gould’s essay ‘The return of hopeful monsters’.

    Roy

  128. William,

    It depends on what they’re being used for. If they’re being mistakenly used as factual references to support an argument the quotes do not actually support (because context would make that clear), I would call it a misunderstanding or ignorance about what the quote actually means.

    I agree that might sometimes be the case, but not in this instance. Kairosfocus made it clear when he introduced this Gould quote that he was aware that it was claimed to be both quote-mined and about lower taxonomic ranks (“species”). Yet he copied it from an unreliable, contextless source anyway. He was neither mistaken nor ignorant, but deliberately negligent.

    It wouldn’t be “quote-mining”, though. Quote-mining carries with it an element of deceit,…

    Well, there’s the deceit of citing the primary text rather than the actual source, but I doubt you mean that.

    … and we’re supposed to be debating under the principle of charity.

    Perhaps you should tell kairosfocus – he’s been showering accusations of bigotry, falseness, bluffing, toxicity, etc like confetti. You could explain the difference between a quotation and a citation as well, since he doesn’t seem to take any notice of me.

    IOW, one should tell their adversary that they are mistaken about the meaning of the quote and attempt to correct them, but to insist they are “quote-mining” just because you doubt they actually read the contextual material is in bad form, IMO.

    I tried. I directed kairosfocus to the context (post #69), and got an arrogant and snotty response that made it abundantly clear that kairosfocus wasn’t interested in any context. My subsequent suggestion that the text might be incorrect was met by a flat denial of any misquoting.

    I didn’t insist that kairosfocus was quote-mining because I doubted he had read the context, but because he was demonstrating not only ignorance of the context but also complete indifference to it. And because his actions met not just my criteria for quote-mining, but yours and his as well. Incidentally, I wasn’t just doubtful, but 100% certain he hadn’t read the context, partly because he carefully avoided referring to any of it, but mostly because of all the 500+ instances Google finds of his erroneous version, not one includes even a single word of the subsequent text.

    I don’t think he’ll learn anything from his accidental misquote and misrepresentation, and his latest attempt to justify his views, with the substitution of “major taxonomic groups” for the previously exposed “THE major groups” plus his continued references to Gould entire output – apart of course from the two occasions when Gould explicitly stated that he had been quoted out of context – suggest he has no interest at all in what Gould actually meant, only in how he (kairosfocus) can bend Gould’s words to support his (kairosfocus’s) own views.

    (I’m spending far too much time on this.)

    Roy

  129. F/N: Onlookers, remember that it is normal for citation to be fairly brief, as issues of permissions easily arise.

    It is also normal for a citation to refer to the actual source of whatever text is quoted, and for that text to match what the original author actually wrote.

    Roy

  130. Roy, at this stage it is clear that you have no decency or sincerity or appropriate responsiveness to abundant facts in evidence from detailed and lengthy citation beyond what would be normal. Where I made a sincere error of citation — a word I thought accurate but which is not, a word that did not change meaning, I acknowledged and corrected, drawing out the basis for my conclusions in detail. To this you show zero appropriate responsiveness, revealing only a well poisoning trollish agenda. Consider yourself exposed as a troll. Good night. KF

  131. Onlookers, I of course happened by to see more of Roy’s little dirty game in progress. Let us now refuse to feed the troll. KF

  132. F/N: Onlookers, kindly cf my response on Feb 16 [and details further up], at 119 to see why, for cause, I have responded now as sharply as I did. Roy has had two weeks to sort things out and come to a reasonable settlement, but chose instead to continue personal attacks. That speaks volumes and takes away any moral high ground he pretends to. KF

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