Home » Intelligent Design » He said it: Nick Matzke’s complaint against design thinkers and bloggists failing to do homework before “declaring my entire field bogus”

He said it: Nick Matzke’s complaint against design thinkers and bloggists failing to do homework before “declaring my entire field bogus”

In the ongoing thread on Dr Tour’s declaration of concern regarding macroevolution, Mr Matzke (late of NCSE) has popped up, declaring at 118 (in reply to Groovamos at 109):

Here’s the issue. Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions. Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc. Add in continents moving around on the globe, ice sheets advancing and retreating, and tens of thousands of other species of vertebrates plus hundreds of thousands of plant species and millions of insect species.

Then imagine what this process would look like if all you had was a very incomplete sample with lots of biases, in the form of fossils, most of which are fragmentary.

Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe, and developed the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.

Now you’re getting some vague sense of what macroevolutionary studies are really about, why it requires actual training and work to be able to avoid talking nonsense about the topic, and why you can’t just read a popular book or two and blithely assume you know what you are talking about.

I work in a biology department where we do this stuff every day, on a campus where there are hundreds of people who work on these questions. We have several research museums supporting this work, with millions of fossil and nonfossil specimens. Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area, for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?

Before going on, it is worth noting that the same Groovamos has offered to sponsor a plane ticket and weekend in a hotel in Houston, in support of a  Luncheon meeting between Matzke and Tour, to have a discussion of the warrant for Macroevolution (provided he can sit in), at 66:

I make the offer: I will buy a ticket for Nick to Houston and will buy a night at a hotel on a weekend. I live in Houston and would like to attend the meeting, and assume Nick will record the meeting.

That gives needed context, i.e. Groovamos is only anonymous on the web, as is often wise.

I responded, at 132, as follows:

____________

>>NM, re 118 above:

This merits to be answered point by point, as it is inter alia, a declaration of confidence in a school of thought and a dismissal of those who dare question its conclusions.:

>>Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions.>>

1 –> We can simply observe such, and in so doing we see limited population variations, tending to be rooted in loss of genetic information or very limited potential for increase of functional info per generation; with a serious question-mark over claims that mere incremental accumulations of step by step variations can amount to body plan transformations adequate to account for the Darwinian type tree of life or to reconcile the various divergent molecular trees.

2 –> What needs to be pictured first, instead, is a warm little pond with a reasonable chemical matrix (or a volcano vent or the like) on a newly formed terrestrial planet, with a reasonable atmosphere and processes. Justify such on astrophysical and geophysical grounds. (Notice, physical and chemical sciences have now come to centre stage in terms of relevance to what needs to be explained.)

3 –> Next, justify, relative to known chemistry (including inorganic, organic and physical) the formation of credible concentrations of precursors to life, in the context of relevant thermodynamics and reaction kinetics. (The work by Thaxton et al, c. 1984, TMLO, from which modern Design Theory has largely come, starts here. If you are to genuinely understand rather than angrily scorn and dismiss the questions and objections we have, you need to understand where we are coming from. And, unsurprisingly, this is also where prof Tour is coming from. How would you feel, if we were to angrily deride and denounce you in similar terms to those you use as lazily failing to address or being incompetent to address such fields at technical level, and use that to trash your name? [Where, BTW, [ON FAIR COMMEN T] we are very aware of the tactics that NCSE — your former organisation — pursued over the years in support of polarisation, well-poisoning and unjustified career-busting.])

4 –> Thence, with reference to empirical work that supports the claimed major steps, account for origin of cell based life on the blind watchmaker thesis, especially the code based information systems pivoting on DNA and RNA.

5 –> As a preliminary to this, in light of information theory and related issues, account for the origin of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, by blind watchmaker processes with reference to currently observed cases. (This is required to justify claims that blind chance and mechanical necessity are known to be capable of creating such FSCO/I without intelligent direction. It is blatant that intelligence is so capable.)

>>Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc. Add in continents moving around on the globe, ice sheets advancing and retreating, and tens of thousands of other species of vertebrates plus hundreds of thousands of plant species and millions of insect species.>>

6 –> And, you need to extend such a projection back to the claimed unicellular life forms, accounting for claimed capacity to generate a tree of life pattern on empirical evidence of known — observed — causal processes compatible with the blind watchmaker thesis.

7 –> Otherwise, the mere extension of time is incapable of plausibly accounting for origin of body plans. Certainly, without intelligent direction or control by front-loading or otherwise, to provide the required FSCO/I.

8 –> Where, to implicitly exclude a known capable mechanism, in favour of one that is not shown capable, and in support of the sort of a priori agendas asserted by say Lewontin, is to substitute ideology for science. To wit:

. . . 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 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 . . . [["Billions and billions of demons," NYRB, Jan 1997. if you think this is a bit of quote mining or is idiosyncratic to Lewontin, kindly cf here and onwards.]

9 –> In short, we are back to Tour’s point: complex organic synthesis is known to be hard, very hard indeed. What, then, are the grounds on which it can be confidently suggested — a priori ideology excluded — that blind watchmaker incrementalism is sufficient to account for the major body plans of the world of life?

10 –> Let prof Tour now speak for himself:

I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

From what I can see, microevolution is a fact; we see it all around us regarding small changes within a species, and biologists demonstrate this procedure in their labs on a daily basis. Hence, there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. Here is what some supporters of Darwinism have written regarding this point in respected journals, and it is apparent that they struggle with the same difficulty.

Stern, David L. “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation,” Evolution 2000, 54, 1079-1091. A contribution from the University of Cambridge. “One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved; Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”

Simons, Andrew M. “The Continuity of Microevolution and Macroevolution,” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2002, 15, 688-701. A contribution from Carleton University.”A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution.”

So the debate between the validity of extending microevolutionary trends to macroevolutionary projections is indeed persistent in evolutionary biology.

11 –> What troubles me about what we so commonly see, is the repeated glossing over of this serious issue; multiplied by the all to common resort to a priori materialism, typically presented as a mere “reasonable” methodological constraint, especially by contrast with — thumbscrews and racks! — possible supernatural intervention.

>>Then imagine what this process would look like if all you had was a very incomplete sample with lots of biases, in the form of fossils, most of which are fragmentary.>>

12 –> This is little more than Darwin’s plea that the data are poor; more or less inescapably so. (Which BTW, should serve to make conclusions drawn therefrom rather tentative and to be presented on a “contribution to a forum of views” basis, instead of being presented in terms that declare “fact” to the level of favourable comparison with the roundness of our planet known through fairly direct observation and calculation since Aristotle’s remark on the shadow Earth casts on the moon in a lunar eclipse, and with a value known to reasonable accuracy since Eratosthenes’ shadow calculations c. 300 BC, or the like.)

13 –> However: there are now over 1/4 million fossil species from the various categories of life across the globe, with millions of specimens. Where, there is a strongly stamped pattern aptly described by Gould in some of his most famous comments:

“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 [--> notice Tour's word] 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.]

“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps [[ . . . . ] He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.[[Cf. Origin, Ch 10, "Summary of the preceding and present Chapters," also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9.]

Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'Evolution's erratic pace'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. (Kindly note, that while Gould does put forward claimed cases of transitions elsewhere, that cannot erase the facts that he published in the peer reviewed literature in 1977 and was still underscoring in 2002 in his last book, 25 years later, as well as what the theory he helped co-found -- Punctuated Equilibria, set out to do. Sadly, this needs to be explicitly noted, as some would use such remarks to cover over the points just highlighted. Also, note that this is in addition to the problem of divergent molecular trees and the top-down nature of the Cambrian explosion.)]

14 –> Sometimes, an apparent pattern is strongly stamped from the beginning and persistent across decades and centuries of study for the excellent reason that it reflects reality. Namely, it reflects a law of nature.

15 –> So, we need to ask ourselves seriously whether sudden appearance and stasis followed by extinction or survival, are reflecting fundamental reality worthy of being recognised in newly identified laws and theories that directly address and cogently explain them rather than marginalising them as problems for advanced study.

>>Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe, and developed the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.>>

16 –> Of course, this pivots on, what is science.

17 –> And to that, “applied a priori ideological materialism” is definitely not a good answer. A better, more balanced one can be found in good dictionaries from before the current highly polarised debates:

science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990]

scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]

18 –> And yet, we see the following from the US National Science Teachers Association Board as an official policy declaration (one backed up by similar stances taken by say the US National Academy of Sciences, which is known to be dominated by people of atheistical disposition . . . see how issues over motives on a matter like this cut two ways, so why don’t we simply focus on the merits instead?):

NSTA: The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

NAS: In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be testable — there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing. [[Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, p. 10 Emphases added.]

19 –> These statements beg a raft of questions and reflect ideological a prioris that will bias conclusions, indeed will decide them before facts are allowed to speak. For instance, what constitutes “nature” and as a result “naturalistic concepts and explanations,” or the like?

20 –> In particular, we have since Plato at least [in The Laws, Bk X], the understanding that natural can be envisioned as that which proceeds on the basis of chance and mechanical necessity, and we can contrast this to the ART-ificial, which is driven by intelligent action. And surely, it is a reasonable and empirically investigatable question, as to whether here are such things as observable signs of ART vs chance and/or necessity?

21 –> Where, also the whole focus of Design Theory as a school of thought in science today, is that here is that possibility, and that there are some at least preliminary results in hand regarding certain forms of complexity, specified — especially functionally specific — complexity and function dependent on irreducible complexity of clusters of core parts.

22 –> Where also, to investigate signs of art in our world, is not properly — let us lay well-poisoning and atmosphere poisoning rhetorical games to one side — the same as to assume an arbitrary and chaotic supernatural intervention that turns an orderly world into a chaos.

(This is a notorious strawman caricature of theism and science resorted to in the above from NAS and NSTA, but the early scientists of modern times saw themselves as exploring the work of the architect and builder of the world who operates on rational principles, and is the God of Order not chaos. Indeed,t hey saw themselves as thinking God’s creative and sustaining thoughts after him. Indeed, that is the context in which they thought in terms of LAWS of nature, i.e as given by the lawgiver and designer of nature Nor is this solely their view, indeed it traces in some respects to Plato in the same context just referenced, where he makes a cosmological design inference on observing an orderly cosmos.)

>> Now you’re getting some vague sense of what macroevolutionary studies are really about, why it requires actual training and work to be able to avoid talking nonsense about the topic, and why you can’t just read a popular book or two and blithely assume you know what you are talking about.>>

22 –> This is a disgraceful strawman caricature, set up and pummelled.

>>I work in a biology department where we do this stuff every day, on a campus where there are hundreds of people who work on these questions.>>

23 –> Yes, we are aware of the existence of a major school of thought, the issue is not that, it is whether there is a problem of inadequate mechanisms, and associated, of the sort of subtle a priorism just noted on.

>>We have several research museums supporting this work, with millions of fossil and nonfossil specimens.>>

24 –> Yes, and what does Gould have to say on the overall results of such collection? Let us cite his The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002), a technical work published just two months before his death; as a “constructive critique” of contemporary Darwinian thought:

. . . 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.]

24 –> We would love to learn, just what has emerged in the past decade and has somehow managed not to be trumpeted in the headlines that overturns these persistent patterns? It seems, from your own remarks above, that the pattern persists.

25 –> Which immediately grounds the sort of concerns we have raised, and others have raised, especially over the past 25 years; some of it — despite open opposition and exposed behind the scenes machinations (some of it, as you well know, coming from the NCSE) — published in the peer reviewed literature.

>> Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area,>>

26 –> The assertion of claimed knowledge is a strong claim, one that demands strong warrant. Which is exactly the issue and concern we have raised, the degree of warrant that is actually provided as opposed to the confident assertions of fact and knowledge that we see.

27 –> Where we are also quite aware that across the centuries, many times, schools of thought in science have been mistaken, despite the confident claims of advocates.

>> for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?>>

28 –> Notice, the further strawman caricatures and polarisation.

29 –> FYI NM, “bogus” is a claim of fraud. Fraud is well beyond error or lack of warrant or explanatory failure. i do not think you can ground the claim that design thought as a school holds that the dominant school of thought is as a whole guilty of fraud; as opposed to particular incidents or individuals who may have gone the one step too far across time. That is patently a false, ungrounded — and careless, unnecessarily polarising — accusation on your part.

30 –> I THINK INSTEAD: IT IS FAIR COMMENT TO SAY THAT, AS A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, DESIGN THEORY HAS HELD THAT THERE IS A QUESTION OF DEGREE OF WARRANT AND EMPIRICAL GROUNDING, THAT MAY HAVE LED TO ERRORS IN ESTIMATING THE DEGREE OF WARRANT FOR CERTAIN SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ON ORIGINS. Which is fair and raises important points of concern that can be addressed in a reasonable and civil manner. (Where also, given the polarisation and targetting of those who have questioned the dominant evolutionary materialist school of thought, much less have advocated design, and the long and distinguished history of anonymous contributions in science and serious thought generally, the mere issue of anonymity is not sufficient to warrant besmirching or dismissing people.)

31 –> So, kindly retract this false accusation and correct your thinking. Then, we can proceed to a reasonable discussion on the actual merits in light of what prof Tour has put on the table.>>

________________

I think the issues for that luncheon meeting are on the table, for discussion.

What do you think? END

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123 Responses to He said it: Nick Matzke’s complaint against design thinkers and bloggists failing to do homework before “declaring my entire field bogus”

  1. 1
    englishmaninistanbul

    Houston eh? Just a tad off the beaten track for me :(

  2. Just a tad off the beaten track for me

    And then there’s all the language training, EII!

  3. Folks: Why not let’s kick it up a notch? Anyone able to sponsor a proper lunch seminar with video taping? Maybe with live webcast and questions coming in online? (Or would Dr Tour or NM prefer to keep it at a non media event level?) In any case, at least an audio tape would be great and it could be put up as a podcast, if participants are willing. KF

  4. PS: This thread, though is really on the issues NM has raised.

  5. I would like to add the following question too.

    Is there any evidence that non-intelligence has the creative power to cause intelligence?

  6. Wow look, traditional creationist quote-mines Gould accompanied by a complete failure to understand what he was saying about punctuated equilibria, instead of actual understanding of the issues of transitional forms and smallness of species-to-species transitions.

    “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

  7. Transitional form = “it looks like a transitional form to me”

  8. Hi Nick,

    “Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

    Could you better explain this to me, in layman’s terms please?

    Thanks.

  9. Transitional form = “it looks like a transitional form to me”

    Wow what a stunning rebuttal. C’mon man, suck it up and tell me why each of these fossils, each of which can be measured and shown to have measurements between those of earlier and later specimens (e.g. brain size), is not intermediate.

    Follow the evidence wherever it leads. Be brave. Don’t stick your head in the sand out of fear of where the evidence might take you.

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ini-1.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....inids.html

  10. 8
    PeterJFebruary 20, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Hi Nick,

    “Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

    Could you better explain this to me, in layman’s terms please?

    Thanks.

    That question is too vague. I can’t write a whole textbook into a blog post. What don’t you understand about it? I’m happy to try explaining, if you are willing to put the work in.

    Also, would you agree that people who don’t understand what Gould is saying shouldn’t quote Gould and then draw dramatic conclusions about how the fossil record doesn’t support evolution?

  11. Nick Matzke:

    C’mon man, suck it up and tell me why each of these fossils, each of which can be measured and shown to have measurements between those of earlier and later specimens (e.g. brain size), is not intermediate.

    YOU need to tell us how we can objectively, ie scientifically, say that it is a transitional, as opposed to just looking like one.

    How many mutations did it take to get to each different form? What genes were involved? IOW tell us how to test your claim, Nick.

  12. Nick @10:

    So we can assume that you can’t explain Gould’s quote in a couple of simple sentences? C’mon, humor us, since you understand this stuff so completely. Or perhaps you don’t really understand what he meant? Or perhaps what he meant doesn’t make sense? :)

  13. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for reply but I had hoped you might afford me brief explanation of what Gould is meaning in that sentence.

    Can you please take a little time, in a few sentences of your own to help me understand it.

    Thanks.

  14. It’s questionable if Nick is willing to seriously address Professor Tour’s concerns. I wouldn’t get my hopes up considering what Nick said in post 95:

    Nick Matzke: Now, if what [Professor Tour] meant wasn’t “macroevolution”, but specifically the evolution of developmental systems, i.e. evo-devo (…) then the request for “chemical details” would make a tiny bit more sense, but it’s still bizarre. (…) Pretending that it’s just “chemistry” that is important, and chemistry only, is just weird. It’s some old-fashioned tidbit of reductionism adopted by someone who apparently can’t be bothered to learn the basics about a field before proclaiming it fallacious.

    Somehow Nick seems to have little patience with someone who wants to understand the chemical details behind macroevolution. According to Nick Professor Tour’s concerns are just bizarre, pretended, old-fashioned and uninformed. I cannot imagine anything constructive coming from Nick’s attitude. Something to consider for Groovamos, who offered to sponsor a plane ticket and weekend in a hotel in Houston.

  15. F/N: Folks, here is Flannery’s review in NYRB, of Gould’s remarks on the matter — noting as well that (i) species or roughly that level is the claimed gateway to all else so if there is a gap there, there is a gap beyond, and (ii) Gould actually states something much stronger:

    “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.]

    That of course decisively undermines NM’s damage control attempt, especially in a context where the first set of big gaps is the Cambrian revolution, in which the gaps are at physlum and sub phylum levels.

    But, we have to cite the NYRB review, which brings out just how widespread and persistent the sudden appearance, stasis and disappearance issue is for species:

    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.]

    Yes, indeed, the focus in Punc Eq is about species, but that is in the context that species are the gateway to everything beyond — insofar as species is a useful concept.

    And, there is a much wider array of points at stake in the OP that NM needs to attend to, starting with OOl and then moving on to the empirically grounded, observationally warranted dynamics — including chemical dynamics — for macro evo accounting fore novel body plans.

    Not to mention Groovamos’ offer.

    KF

  16. 16

    It seems to me that Dr. Matzke is only arguing that there is evidence that macroevolution occurs (biologically and at the molecular level), and is really not addressing whether or not necessity + chance are sufficient causal factors.

    It appears that he thinks it is hypocritical in some sense to ask for a chemical-level justification for macroevolution and not ask for one of the Grand Canyon. Nobody (as far as I can tell) is arguing that the chemical interactions and observed processes/mechanisms are incapable of producing macroevolutionary effects, but rather are questioning if necessity & chance working through chemical interactions and observed processes is a sufficient explanation for those effects.

    They ask this of macroevolutionary features and not of features of erosion in the grand canyon because they don’t find the features of grand canyon to be questionable in terms of the proposed sufficient cause. If we were to find certain features in the rock wall of the Grand Canyon, we might accept that they were caused by water erosion, but that the water erosion was more likely intelligently orchestrated due to the nature of the feature than generated by necessity & chance.

  17. Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area, for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?

    I hate to tell you this Nick – but this argument sounds exactly like what a cult member would say if he was trying to be deprogrammed.

    1. Appeal to personal experience in cult as validation of cult.
    2. Appeal to ignorance of outsider’s knowledge of inner workings of cult as justification to reject outsider’s argument.
    3. Appeal to the largeness of the cult as reason to continue irrespective of truthfulness of it.
    _____
    JDH, you are right, those are actually quite typical strategies of cultists resisting breakout from the controlled thought loops indoctrinated into them. What NM needs to do instead is to provide actual warrant on empirical observational evidence and shown adequate causal mechanism — let us note, the 6,000 word invited essay challenge to Darwinist objectors is approaching five months now. Blind chance and mechanical necessity can explain the features of a canyon in general, but such are not adequate to explain Mt Rushmore, reflecting the credible implications of FSCO/I. KF

  18. Andre,

    An excellent question:

    Is there any evidence that non-intelligence has the creative power to cause intelligence?

    That is, what is the empirical basis for warranting the claim or assumption that conscious, knowing, reasoning mind has come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity through blind watchmaker mechanisms.

    We can say, on fair comment:

    So long as [Neo-]Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory lacks an empirically credible, tested and well-supported explanation of the origin and validity of human intelligence, language and associated reasoning powers, the very need to use these same human faculties to propose, discuss and analyse a theory that should but cannot account for them, turns every presentation of (or argument for) the theory into an unintended but eloquent illustration of the major and un-answered weaknesses of the theory.

    This one is of course self referential, and opens the door to an issue of self-referential incoherence, as aptly put by Haldane:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. ]

    So this too is on the table, and it is on the table as a roadblock to even opening up one’s mouth to try to justify the blind watchmaker thesis account of origins.

    KF

  19. 12
    Eric AndersonFebruary 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Nick @10:

    So we can assume that you can’t explain Gould’s quote in a couple of simple sentences? C’mon, humor us, since you understand this stuff so completely. Or perhaps you don’t really understand what he meant? Or perhaps what he meant doesn’t make sense? :)

    I think you guys are just yanking my chain, but:

    Gould is saying that

    1. gradual transitions between two very-closely-related sister species (which is what “punctuated equilibria” is about, and not anything else) are rarely preserved. This is disputed and argued about within the field, and appears to be truer in some groups with good fossil records (e.g. clams) than others with good fossil records (e.g. mammals, where we have things like the hominin fossils).

    2. However, transitional fossils between larger groups — genera, families, classes, etc. — where one fossil species or a chain of fossil species exists with morphology intermediate between the two living groups, and not easily placed in either one, are common. He is talking about synapsids (formerly known as mammal-like reptiles), Archeopteryx, the horses with their various numbers of toes, similar fossils for rhinos (which can be traced back to a species very similar to the horse ancestor Hyracotherium), fishapods, etc. These were all well-known back in the early 1980s. Since then we have added more feathered dinosaurs, whales with legs, more fishapods, etc.

    This should have been totally freakin’ obvious to anyone deigning to comment on fossils and Gould, let alone offer up confident negative opinions about macroevolution. Why wasn’t it???

  20. 17
    JDHFebruary 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area, for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?

    I hate to tell you this Nick – but this argument sounds exactly like what a cult member would say if he was trying to be deprogrammed.

    1. Appeal to personal experience in cult as validation of cult.
    2. Appeal to ignorance of outsider’s knowledge of inner workings of cult as justification to reject outsider’s argument.
    3. Appeal to the largeness of the cult as reason to continue irrespective of truthfulness of it.

    Oh yes, cults are well-known for producing peer-reviewed publications. Here’s the recent list for just one of the several institutions on my campus:

    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/s.....ations.php

    2012

    Martins, L., C. Souto, and C. Menegola. 2012. A new genus and new species of Sclerodactylidae (Holothuroidea: Dendrochirotida) from the south-western Atlantic coast. Zootaxa (Online). 3506:54-62. Read it

    Martins, L., C. Souto, and C. Menegola. 2012. First record of Holothuria (Theelothuria) princeps and Thyone pawsoni [Echinodermata: Holothuroidea] in the South Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biodiversity Records. 5:e98. Read it

    Andrews, T. M., R. M. Price, L. S. Mead, T. L. McElhinny, A. Thanukos, K. E. Perez, C. F. Herreid, D. R. Terry, and P. P. Lemmons. 2012. Biology undergraduates’ misconceptions about genetic drift. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 11: 248-259. Read it

    Anthony D. Barnosky, Elizabeth A. Hadly, Jordi Bascompte, Eric L. Berlow, James H. Brown, Mikael Fortelius, Wayne M. Getz, John Harte, Alan Hastings, Pablo A. Marquet, Neo D. Martinez, Arne Mooers, Peter Roopnarine, Geerat Vermeij, John W. Williams, Rosemary Gillespie, Justin Kitzes, Charles Marshall, Nicholas Matzke, David P. Mindell, Eloy Revilla, Adam B. Smith. 2012. Approaching a state-shift in the biosphere. Nature 486:52-56.

    Campos, E. O., D. Vihena, and R. L. Caldwell. 2012. Pleopod Rowing is used to Achieve High Forward Swimming Speeds during the Escape Response of Odontodactylus havanensis (Stomatopoda). J. Crustacean Biol. 32: 171-179.

    Chiou, Tsyr-Huei, A. R. Place, R. L. Caldwell, J. Marshall and T. W. Cronin. 2012. A novel function for a carotenoid: astaxanthin used as a polarizer for visual signalling in a mantis shrimp. J. Exp. Biol 215:584-589.

    deVries, M.S., E.A.K. Murphy, and S.N. Patek. 2012. Ambushing prey with a long spear: morphology and kinematics of “spearing” mantis shrimp. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:4374-4384.

    E. Boatman, R. Gronsky, M. Goodwin. 2012. Microscopy and analytical X-ray characterization of preserved hierarchical structure in dinosaur bone. Microscopy and Microanalysis Vol. 18, Suppl 2:45.

    Encinas, A. K.L. Finger, L.A. Buatois, and D.E. Peterson. 2012. Major forearc subsidence and deep-marine Miocene sedimentation in the present Coastal Cordillera and Longitudinal Depression of south-central Chile (38°30?S-41°45?S). Geological Society of America Bulletin 124:1262-1277. doi:10.1130/B30567.1

    Finnegan, S., Heim N.A., Peters S.E., and Fischer W.W. 2012. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(18): 6829-6834

    Fowler, D. W., J. B. Scannella, M. B. Goodwin, and J. R. Horner. 2012. How to eat a Triceratops: Large samples of toothmarks provides new insight into the feeding behavior of Tyrannosaurus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Program and Abstracts 72nd Annual Meeting, Raleigh, North Carolina, p. 96.

    Goodwin, M. 2012. The University as a Portal to Collection-based Research, Outreach, and Education. Proceedings of APRU Research Symposium on University Museums: Forming a University Museum Collection Network as the Core of Frontier Research. Kyoto, Japan. Sept. 11-14, 2012. pp. 27-30.

    Hickman, C.S. 2012. A new genus and two new species of deep-sea gastropods (Gastropoda: Vetigastropoda: Gazidae). The Nautilus. 126(2):57-67.

    Hickman, C.S. 2012. Grades are as important as clades for understanding hyperdiversity of skeneiform microgastropods. Program and Abstracts, American Malacological Society 78th Annual Meeting, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. p. 33.

    Hickman, C.S. 2012. Malacological contributions of Howard A. Bern (1020-2012). Program and Abstracts, American Malacological Society 78th Annual Meeting, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. p. 33.

    Parham, J.F., P.C.J. Donoghue, C.J. Bell, T.D. Calway, J.J. Head, P.A. Holroyd, J.G. Inoue, R.B. Irmis, W.G. Joyce, D.T. Ksepka, J.S.L. Patané, N.D. Smith, J.E. Tarver, M. Van Tuinen, Z. Yang, K.D. Angielczyk, J. Greenwood, C.A. Hipsley, L. Jacobs, P.J. Makovicky, J. Müller, K.T. Smith, J.M. Theodor, R.C.M. Warnock, and M.J. Benton. 2012. Best practices for justifying fossil calibrations. Systematic Biology 61(2):346-359. Read it

    Renne, P.R. and M.B. Goodwin. 2012. Direct U-Pb dating of Cretaceous and Paleocene dinosaur bones, San Juan Basin, New Mexico: COMMENT. Geology 2012;40;e259. doi: 10.1130/G32521C.1 Read it

    Scannella, J. B., D. W. Fowler, M. B. Goodwin, and J. R. Horner. 2012. Transitional Triceratops: Details of an ontogenetic sequence from the upper middle unit of the Hell Creek Formation, Montana. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Program and Abstracts 72nd Annual Meeting, Raleigh, North Carolina, p. 166.

    Stegner, M.A., Holmes, M. 2012. Using palaeontological data to assess mammalian community structure: Potential aid in conservation planning, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.04.019 Read it

    Thanukos, A. and J. Scotchmoor. 2012. Making connections: evolution and the nature and process of science. Pp. 410-427 in K.S. Rosengren, S.K. Brem, E.M. Evans, and G.M. Sinatra (eds.), Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution. Oxford University Press, New York.

    Werning. S. 2012. The ontogenetic osteohistology of Tenontosaurus tilletti. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33539. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033539 Read it

    Williams, B.L., M. Stark and R.L. Caldwell. 2012. Microdistribution of tetrodotoxin in two species of Blue-ringed Octopuses (Hapalochlaena lunulata and Hapalochlaena fasciata) detected by fluorescent immunolabeling. Toxicon, 60: 1307 – 1313.

    2011

    2011. Tomiya, S., Swartz, B.A., Batavia, M. Educational values of the University of California Museum of Paleontology. University Museums and Collections Journal 3/2010: 61-66.

    Atterholt, J. 2011. Phylogenetic mapping of the avian altricial-precocial spectrum and its implications for inferring early avialan life history. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):64-65A. Read it

    Barnosky, A. D., M. A. Carrasco, and R. W. Graham. 2011. Collateral mammal diversity loss associated with late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions and implications for the future. In, McGowan, A. & Smith, A. B. (eds) Comparing the Geological and Fossil Records: Implications for Biodiversity Studies. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 358, 179-189.

    Barnosky, A. D., M. A. Carrasco, and R. W. Graham. 2011. Collateral mammal diversity loss associated with late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions and implications for the future. In, McGowan, A. & Smith, A. B. (eds) Comparing the Geological and Fossil Records: Implications for Biodiversity Studies. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 358, 179-189.

    Barnosky, A. D., Nicholas Matzke, Susumu Tomiya, Guin Wogan, Brian Swartz, Tiago Quental, Charles Marshall, Jenny L. McGuire, Emily L. Lindsey, Kaitlin C. Maguire, Ben Mersey, Elizabeth A. Ferrer. 2011. Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived? Nature 471:51-57 Read it

    Begovic, E. and D. R. Lindberg. Genetic population structure of Tectura paleacea: implications for the mechanisms regulating population structure in patchy coastal habitats. PLoS ONE 6(4):e18408, 1-10. Read it

    Boatman, E., S. Fakra, M. Matthew, M. Schweitzer, M. Goodwin. 2011. Composition of Tyrannosaurus and Brachylophosaurus soft tissues at high spatial resolution: New insights into protein diagenesis. Program and Abstracts 71st Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, p. 73.

    Brook B. W. and A. D. Barnosky. 2012. Quaternary extinctions and their link to climate change. Pp. 179-198, in Saving a Million Species: Extinction Risk from Climate Change, ed. L. Hannah, Island Press, Washington, D. C.

    Burge, D.O., D.M. Erwin, M.B. Islam, J. Kellermann, S.W. Kembel, D.H. Wilken, P.S. Manos. 2011. Diversification of Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae) in the California Floristic Province. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 172:1137-1164. Read it

    Carrasco, M. 2011. Comparing extant mammalian species diversity to paleospecies richness: Problems and solutions. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):85A. Read it

    Chiou, T.-H., N.J. Marshall, R.L. Caldwell, and T.W. Cronin. 2011. Changes in light reflecting properties of signalling appendages alter mate choice behaviour in a stomatopod crustacean Haptosquilla trispinosa. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 44(1):1-11. doi: 10.1080/10236244.2010.546064

    Clemens, W.A. 2011. Eoconodon (“Triisodontidae,” Mammalia) from the Early Paleocene (Puercan) of northeastern Montana, USA Read it

    Clemens, W.A., New morganucodontans from an Early Jurassic fissure filling in Wales (United Kingdom). Palaeontology, 54:1139-1156.

    Davis, E.B., K.A. Brakora, and A.H. Lee. 2011. Evolution of ruminant headgear: a review. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 278(1720):2857-2865. Read it

    Finger, K.L. 2011. Recent New Zealand Deep-water Benthic Foraminifera: Taxonomy, Ecologic Distribution, Biogeography, and Use in Paleoenvironmental Assessment, by B.W. Hayward, H.R. Grenfell, A.T. Sabaa, H.L. Neil, and M.A. Buzas. 2010. GNS Science Monographs 26 (New Zealand Geological Survey Paleontological Bulletin 77), 363 pp. Journal of Foraminiferal Research. 41(2):199. Read it

    Finnegan, S., C.R. McClain, M.A. Kosnik, and J.L. Payne. 2011. Escargots through time: comparative energetics of marine gastropod assemblages before and after the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. Paleobiology 37(2): 252-269

    Finnegan, S., K. Bergmann, J.M. Eiler, D.S. Jones, D.A. Fike, I. Eisenman, N.C. Hughes, A.K. Tripati and W.W. Fischer. 2011. The magnitude and duration of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian glaciation. Science 331(6019):903-906

    Finnegan, S., Peters, S., and Fischer, W.W. 2011. Late Ordovician-Early Silurian selective extinction patterns in Laurentia and their relationship to climate change, In: J.C. Gutiérrez-Marco, I. Rábano, D. García-Bellido (editors), Ordovician of the World, Cuadernos del Museo Geominero, 14, Instituto Geologico y Minero de España, Madrid, 155-159

    Goodwin, M., K. Stanton, J. Horner, S. Carlson. 2011. Oxygen isotopic variability and preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex, modern ratites and crocodylians: Revisiting the thermophysiology of T. rex using ?18O. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):117-118A. Read it

    Hall, L. and M. Goodwin. 2011. A diverse dinosaur tooth assemblage from the Upper Jurassic of Ethiopia: Implications for Gondwanan dinosaur biogeography. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Program and Abstracts 71st Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, p. 121.

    Hallinan, N. and D. R. Lindberg. 2011. Comparative analysis of chromosome counts infers three paleopolyploidies in the Mollusca. Genome Biology and Evolution. 3:1150-1163. Read it

    Hartman, J.H., R.D.Butler, W.A. Clemens, and M. Burton-Kelly. 2011. What’s in a name? Barnum Brown’s Hell Creek Location and Hell Creek Formation Observations. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs. 43(5):601-602.

    Horner, J. R., M. B. Goodwin, N. Myhrvold. 2011. Dinosaur census reveals abundant Tyrannosaurus and rare ontogenetic stages in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation (Maastrichtian), Montana, USA. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016574 Read it

    Jones, D.S., D.A. Fike, S. Finnegan, W.W. Fischer, D.P. Schrag and D. McCay. 2011. Terminal Ordovician carbon isotope stratigraphy and glacioeustatic sea-level change across Anticosti Island (Québec, Canada). Geological Society of America Bulletin 123(7-8): 1645-1664

    Lesen, A., and Lipps, Jere H. What Have Natural and Human Changes Wrought on the Foraminifera of San Francisco Bay Late Quaternary Estuaries? Quaternary Research. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2011.06.005.

    Lipps, Jere H. Reef restoration: the good and the bad. A paleontological perspective. Paleontological Society Special Papers 17: 139-150.

    Lipps, Jere H., and Susan Goldstein. Dispersal and life histories in foraminifera. Geol. Soc America, Abstracts with Program.

    Lipps, Jere H., K.L. Finger, and S.E. Walker. 2011 What should we call the Foraminifera? Journal of Foraminiferal Research. 41(4):309-313. Read it

    Matzke, N., and K. Maguire. 2011. Inclusion of fossil species range data in dispersal-extinction-cladogenesis (DEC) analyses aorrects low estimates of extinction rate and improves estimates of historical biogeography. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):154A. Read it

    Nagalingum, N.S., C.R. Marshall, T.B. Quental, H.S. Rai, D.P. Little and S. Mathews. 2011. Recent Synchronous Radiation of a Living Fossil. Science 334: 796-799.

    Padian, K. 2011. Phylogenetic distribution of ecological traits in the origin of bats. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):170A. Read it

    Padian, K. and J.R. Horner. 2011. The evolution of “bizarre structures” in dinosaurs: function, sexual selection, social selection, or species recognition? Journal of Zoology 283: 3-17.

    Padian, K., and J.R. Horner. 2011. The definition of sexual selection and its implications for dinosaurian biology. Journal of Zoology 283: 23-27. Read it

    Payne, J.L., C.R. McClain, A.G. Boyer, J.H. Brown, S. Finnegan, M. Kowalewski, R.A. Krause Jr., S.K. Lyons, D.W. McShea, P.M. Novack-Gottshall, F.A. Smith, P. Spaeth, J.A. Stempien and S.C. Wang. 2011. The evolutionary consequences of oxygenic photosynthesis: a body size perspective. Photosynthesis Research 107(1):37-57

    Peterson, D.E., K.L. Finger, S. Iepure, S. Mariani, A. Montanari, and T. Namiotko. 2011. Reconnaissance of ostracode assemblages in the Frasassi caves, the adjacent sulfidic spring, and the Sentino River in the northeastern Apennines (Marche region, Italy). Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 43(5): Abstract No.191713.

    Pyenson, N. D. and D. R. Lindberg. 2011. What happened to gray whales during the Pleistocene? The ecological impact of sea-level change on benthic feeding areas in the North Pacific Ocean. PLoS ONE 6(7):e21295, 1-14. Read it

    Quental, T.B. and C.R. Marshall. 2011. The molecular phylogenetic signature of clades in decline. PLoS ONE 6(10): e25780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025780.

    Schott RK, Evans DC, Goodwin MB, Horner JR, Brown CM, et al. (2011) Cranial Ontogeny in Stegoceras validum (Dinosauria: Pachycephalosauria): A Quantitative Model of Pachycephalosaur Dome Growth and Variation. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21092. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021092 Read it

    Souto, C.A., C.L.C. Manso, and L.R. Martins. 2011. Rediscovery and redescription of Cassidulus infidus (Echinoidea: Cassidulidae) from Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa (Online). 3095:39-48. Read it

    Stanley, George D., Jr., and Lipps, Jere H. Photosymbiosis: a driving force for reef success and failure. Paleontological Society Special Papers 17: 33-60.

    Stegner, A., and M. Holmes. 2011. Using paleontological databases to assess spatial and temporal conservation of mammalian community structure as an aid to conservation planning. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(3, suppl.):199A. Read it

    Susumu Tomiya, Jenny L. Mcguire, Russell W. Dedon, Seth D. Lerner, Rika Setsuda, Ashley N. Lipps, Jeannie F. Bailey, Kelly R. Hale, Alan B. Shabel, and Anthony D. Barnosky. 2011. A report on late Quaternary vertebrate fossil assemblages from the eastern San Francisco Bay region, California. PaleoBios 30(2):50-71.

    Tomiya, S. 2011. A new basal Caniform (Mammalia: Carnivora) from the middle Eocene of North America and remarks on the phylogeny of early carnivorans. PLoS ONE. 6(9):e24146. Read it

    Tomiya, S., J.L. McGuire, R.W. Dedon, S.D. Lerner, R. Setsuda, A.N. Lipps, J.F. Bailey, K.R. Hale, A.B. Shabel, and A.D. Barnosky. 2011. A report on late Quaternary vertebrate fossil assemblages from the eastern San Francisco Bay region, California. PaleoBios. 30:50-71.

    Vila, R., C.D. Bell, R. Macniven, B. Goldman-Huertas, R.H. Ree, C.R. Marshall, S. Balint, K. Johnson, D. Benyamini, and N. Pierce. 2011. Phylogeny and palaeoecology of Polyommatus blue butterflies show Beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the New World. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 278 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2213.

    Wheatley, P.V., Hofman, A.E., Holroyd, P.A., Goodwin, M.B., and Brown, S.T. 2011. Calcium isotope fractionations in vertebrates from modern and fossil ecosystems. Geological Society of America, Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN Read it

    White, L.D. and Burrell, S., 2011. The METALS Partnership, NABBG Annual Technology Conference, September 2011. NABGG Conference Abstracts.

    Wägele, H., A. Klussmann-Kolb, M. Kuhlmann, G. Haszprunar, D. R. Lindberg, A. Koch, and W. Wägele. The taxonomist – an endangered race. A practical proposal for its survival. Frontiers in Zoology 8:(25) 1-7. Read it

  21. NM:

    Pardon, but that is in fact he exact opposite of what Gould has actually said [as again cited], which references the spectrum of the fossil record across groups, and it cuts clean across the actual known challenge since Darwin’s day of the Cambrian fossil revolution.

    In addition, you are here trying to narrow down to a point that you hope to dismiss, instead of accounting for the pivotal matter, which starts from OOL and moves to OO body plans, requiring provision of an adequate, empirically warranted blind watchmaker mechanism.

    Including, addressing the issue of the known astonishing difficulty of chemical synthesis of the sort of complex functionally specific molecules that are required and the coding and organisation of the information-based systems that we observe in life forms.

    And that is not to overlook the offer of a luncheon discussion, ticket and hotel stay. Dr Tour is an eminent Chemist who has concerns and is open to discuss, is that willingness reciprocated, or are we to infer that the apparently irritable dismissiveness on your part as captioned above is real?

    KF

  22. NM:

    We have on the table before us, evidence of a problem of a priori ideological imposition right up to the level of the US NAS and the like.

    As has been shown, cf the OP.

    That raises reasonable concerns on bias.

    We further know that methods of science have inherent limitations on warrant, especially where we deal with unobservables, including the remote past of origins. (We here deal at best with traces from that past, we cannot directly compare our ideas against that actual past.)

    We also have a problem where we have been asking you to back up a claim to KNOW-legde — you have asserted a claim of knowledge — by providing reasonable warrant.

    In that context, a citation dump (as you just made) does not do a lot.

    Please, if the matter is so simple that it can be presented adequately to High School students and so certain that it is a fact comparable to the roundness of the earth etc, so that it is often held to be out of order to suggest that students should learn of limitations, strengths and weaknesses, there must be something that can be outlined and grounded in a fairly simple manner.

    Humour us and give us in outline if nothing else.

    KF

  23. NM@20 – Since when has a large amount of books and papers ( validated by cult members and almost exclusively purchased by cult members ) ever been justification for the truthfulness of the cult.

  24. You forgot the word ‘INTELLIGENT’ after “SCHOOL OF THOUGHT”:

    “A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, DESIGN THEORY HAS HELD THAT THERE IS A QUESTION OF DEGREE OF WARRANT AND EMPIRICAL GROUNDING, THAT MAY HAVE LED TO ERRORS IN ESTIMATING THE DEGREE OF WARRANT FOR CERTAIN SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ON ORIGINS.”

    That’s a mouthful of capitals, KF. ;) You could just have said: “People who are religious [like the author of the thread] reject materialistic theories of origins.” That would basically say the same thing.

    “the whole focus of Design Theory as a school of thought in science today”

    First, there are many, many theories of design, not a single ‘Design Theory.’ And almost all ‘design theories’ are found not in natural sciences, like what KF is suggesting, but in non-natural scientific fields.

    Second, of course, one might ask: why did KF intentionally chose to capitalise ‘Design’ and ‘Theory,’ if not only to try to make it look more important? Was there a technical reason for doing this? But likely that was just a slip on the ‘Shift’ key by KF with no different meaning intended than if he’d just instead written ‘design theory.’ ;)

    And I’m not sure IDT even qualifies as a legitimate ‘school of thought,’ rather than simply as a cultural-political-educational-religious-linguistic movement of neo-creationists. Mung would agree with the latter.

    p.s. “humour us and give us in outline if nothing else” – does this mean, ‘teach us a course, provide us a syllabus and give us office hours?’ ;)

  25. “Since when has a large amount of books and papers ( validated by cult members and almost exclusively purchased by cult members ) ever been justification for the truthfulness of the cult.” – JDH

    WoW, is that ironic for an IDist to say!! :P

  26. 23
    JDHFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

    NM@20 – Since when has a large amount of books and papers ( validated by cult members and almost exclusively purchased by cult members ) ever been justification for the truthfulness of the cult.

    Wow. Listen to yourself. Back when this UD discussion started, Professor Tour was being lauded for having produced 400+ papers in chemistry, and for being highly cited by tons of other papers — and now suddenly publication in peer-reviewed papers is just cult behavior.

    If you wonder why the scientific community finds places like UD so silly, look no further than this comment.

  27. ‘How many mutations did it take to get to each different form? What genes were involved? IOW tell us how to test your claim, Nick.’

    Silence, came the stern reply, Joe…!!! He’s a card, for sure.

  28. Please, if the matter is so simple that it can be presented adequately to High School students and so certain that it is a fact comparable to the roundness of the earth etc, so that it is often held to be out of order to suggest that students should learn of limitations, strengths and weaknesses, there must be something that can be outlined and grounded in a fairly simple manner.

    Humour us and give us in outline if nothing else.

    KF

    I never said it was simple. Instead, I have been claiming throughout that understanding what macroevolution is — understanding it enough to discuss it without making basic silly errors — requires hard work and study, and *cannot* be had with just a bit of high school biology, or a few popular books.

    But, you can get the starting point here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

  29. If you were asking “Why should this be taught in high school”, the answer is — students should be introduced to basic fundamental concepts in science introductory classes. They should learn chemistry, even though they won’t learn enough in high school to be able to meaningfully debate chemistry professors.

  30. When one is arguing with a cult member, one has to use weapons that are meaningful to them. If you told an apostle he looked like a tramp, he’d be tickled to death. If you said that to a rich, egregious worldling, he’d be, at best, offended.

    The point you need to take in board is the fact that his academic qualifications and status in is field make yours look rather, shall we say, ‘banal’?

  31. Nick Matzke:

    But, you can get the starting point here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Right, all circumstantial evidence which is very open to interpretation and can be used to support alternative scenarios.

  32. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level…

    IOW, where the theory claims they should be found, they are generally lacking.

  33. 33

    Why does Dr. Matzke keep referring to a document about evidence for common descent (even if it has the word “macroevolution” in the title), when as far as I can tell nobody here is arguing against common descent?

  34. We have a good theory of canyon making. But MACRO canyon making, that’s canyon making at the GRAND scale. It’s a mistake to think that the GRAND canyon came about by MACRO canyon making just because of it’s name, it came about by MICRO canyon making, like all other canyons.

    MACRO canyon theory is canyon making at the planetary level and above. Ever notice how you never find one canyon inside another? That’s the sort of thing the theory of MACRO canyon making attempts to explain.

    You people are juts ignorant.

  35. “nobody here is arguing against common descent”

    Right, sure, o.k. And that’s why the blog is called ‘Uncommon Descent’? Does that make sense?

  36. Nicky’s claims about good hominin fossil records (post 19) are completely wrong. Earlier he wrote:

    Nick (101):
    (..) over in the real-life science of hominid origins, we have hundreds of dated fossils skulls, showing the very gradual, step-by-tiny step acquisition of the features that make up the modern human head, (..)

    Nick is on par with Ronald Wetherington’s testimony before the Texas State Board of Education in 2009:

    R.W.: “Human evolution has arguably the most complete sequence of fossil succession of any mammal in the world. No gaps. No lack of transitional fossils… So when people talk about the lack of transitional fossils or gaps in the fossil record, it absolutely is not true. And it is not true specifically for our own species.”

    >>> But what does the scientific literature tell us?

    “When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.” (Richard Lewontin, Human Diversity, p. 163 (Scientific American Library, 1995).)

    “About half the time span in the last three million years remains undocumented by any human fossils.” (Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar, From Lucy to Language (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 22-23.)

    “No gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species, and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.” (John Hawks, Keith Hunley, Sang-Hee Lee, and Milford Wolpoff, “Population Bottlenecks and Pleistocene Human Evolution,” Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17 (2000): 2-22.)

    “The anatomy of the earliest H. sapiens sample indicates significant modifications of the ancestral genome and is not simply an extension of evolutionary trends in an earlier australopithecine lineage throughout the Pliocene. In fact, its combination of features never appears earlier.” (Ibid.)

    more ..

  37. Gregory:

    First, there are many, many theories of design, not a single ‘Design Theory.’ And almost all ‘design theories’ are found not in natural sciences, like what KF is suggesting, but in non-natural scientific fields.

    Non-Natural Science.

  38. Well done VJT! I am interested to hear the results of this meeting between almost-Dr. Matzke and Dr. Tour.

    One point of contention from Tour’s email: “It [the meeting] shall not be recorded or extend beyond the three of us as this is not for show but for my edification.”

    Dr. Tour’s challenge is clearly ‘for show,’ since he made it public. One wouldn’t want Dr. Tour to turn into a kind of Kent Hovind-type or Ken Ham-type, denying other peoples’ enlightenment because he wants only to feed his own edification. One might think Dr. Tour is worried that his lack of knowledge of the relevant fields will show that he has over-spoken in making his challenge. Recording Dr. Tour’s responses (in voice or text) should be part of the deal.

    If this meeting takes place, what transparent record of it will do justice to Nick Matzke’s willingness to travel to Houston to educate Dr. Tour about ‘macroevolution’?

    Gregory

  39. Nick Matzke: Now, if what [Professor Tour] meant wasn’t “macroevolution”, but specifically the evolution of developmental systems, i.e. evo-devo (…) then the request for “chemical details” would make a tiny bit more sense, but it’s still bizarre.

    Maybe he’s thinking of single-celled organisms.

    Or is macro-evolution not applicable to single celled organisms?

    Maybe he’s talking about all those systems within the cell that actual do involve organic molecules and that must have come about by “it just happened, that’s all” that you and so many others of your ilk just take for granted because you just can’t be bothered with the actual science.

    Why isn’t that macro-evolution? And it it’s not macroevolution, and it’s not evo-devo, and it’s not just changes in gene frequencies in a population (microevoltion) what is it and what’s it’s place in your “modern synthesis”?

  40. Since when is “hand-waving” a field?

    But I have to agree with Nick, calling hand-waving bogus is a bit over the top. Proper hand-waving takes a great deal of time and effort to master.

  41. Hi Nick,
    Thank you for your reply.

    1. I understand what you mean by ‘lack of transitional fossils at the species level’, which you say is largely due to what is called ‘punctuated equilibrium’. This would indeed explain, at least to some degree, why the fossil record is severely wanting in this area with major gaps that cannot be accounted for without this assumed process.

    2. However, “transitional fossils between larger groups — genera, families, classes, etc. — where one fossil species or a chain of fossil species exists with morphology intermediate between the two living groups, and not easily placed in either one, are common.” is actually where I struggle most.

    You site various fossils (which you say are common) like ‘Synapsids – mammal like reptiles’,‘Horses, with various toes’, ‘archeopterix’, ‘Fishapods’ , ‘Rhino’s (which you suggest can be traced back to a species similar to the horse ancestor Hyracotherium). All of these fossils I am well aware of, and this will no doubt annoy you, but I fail to see how any of them can be used as evidence for evolution, the kind we are discussing here.

    If Archaeopterix, for instance, is a transitional fossil can you show me what you think it is a direct ancestor to, or didn’t its evolutionary line survive? Also Synapsids, can you pinpoint one that is a direct ancestor to a later form of life? Do toed horses count as transitionals of horses? And what about your ‘whale with legs’, would this creature lie somewhere between Ambulocetus and the modern day whale (as the story goes)?

    Before you call me out on my ignorance, or laziness in searching out the finer details for myself, please believe me when I say that I have looked very hard at the evidence for evolution and don’t find it all convincing. After all it is this particular group that you claim has the most evidence going for it, but is perhaps even more lacking than 1.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

    Ps. Hope you are looking forward to your trip :)

  42. If you expand your range wide enough no doubt you can find similarities between three distinct objects.

    Call one a transitional. Call anyone who disagrees a Creationist.

  43. If Archaeopterix [sic], for instance, is a transitional fossil can you show me what you think it is a direct ancestor to, or didn’t its evolutionary line survive? Also Synapsids, can you pinpoint one that is a direct ancestor to a later form of life? Do toed horses count as transitionals of horses? And what about your ‘whale with legs’, would this creature lie somewhere between Ambulocetus and the modern day whale (as the story goes)?

    Why do things have to be exact direct ancestors, and not closely-related side branches? The typical phylogenetic methods in use today do not allow us to distinguish these two possibilities, yet we can statistically test for phylogenetic structure nonetheless, and such tests typically yield massive statistically significant support for phylogenetic structure.

    You should have read the FAQ about the statistics involve, which I have highlighted several times:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....onvergence

    And, anyway, there are some cases where we have so many fossils, such that we think we have most of the related species in a region and time zone, and we have enough fossils to do population-level descriptions of each, where we can say with good confidence that species A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.

  44. So many falsehoods so little time,, this one for instance:

    “we can say with good confidence that species A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009 – Creation Safaris:
    Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period….”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: “Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.” By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.”
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20090527a

  45. Douglas Theobald’s Test Of Common Ancestry Ignores Common Design – November 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41071.html

    Eugene Koonin: The Pot Calls the Kettle Black – November 2010
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....black.html

    But Isn’t There a Consilience of Data That Corroborates Common Descent? – Casey Luskin – December 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41111.html

    Regardless, of how much confidence Mr. Matzke may have in Theobald’s ‘test’ for common ancestry (more like force fitting the evidence into a preconcieved conclusion), the fact is that he simply does not have any compelling evidence:

    Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis – 2006
    Excerpt: Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/7/2043.abstract

    A Primer on the Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – 2009
    Excerpt: The truth is that common ancestry is merely an assumption that governs interpretation of the data, not an undeniable conclusion, and whenever data contradicts expectations of common descent, evolutionists resort to a variety of different ad hoc rationalizations to save common descent from being falsified.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/10651

    An Enzyme’s Phylogeny Reveals a Striking Case of Convergent Evolution – Jonathan M. – February 11, 2013
    Excerpt: The authors attempt to account for the incongruity by positing that “the STC gene has been laterally transferred among phylogenetically diverged eukaryotes through an unknown mechanism.” They thus attribute the shared genes to horizontal gene transfer (with no offered mechanism), a proposition that has become a catch-all to explain away severe conflicts between evolutionary phylogenies.,,,
    “phylogenetic conflict is common, and frequently the norm rather than the exception”
    (Dávalos et al., 2012).
    Is it possible that the real reason for such striking and widespread phylogenetic discordance is that evolutionary biologists are looking at biology through the wrong lens? Could the reason that there is so much difficulty in correlating organisms to a tree be that no such tree exists?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68911.html

    Common Ancestry: Wikipedia vs. the Data – Casey Luskin – October 5, 2012
    Excerpt: In fact, the largest category of genes here is eukaryotic (cells with a nucleus) genes that have no homolog among prokaryotes (cells without a nucleus) — they don’t even have any possible candidate ancestors to explain where these genes came from, much less a consistent pattern of similarity pointing to one particular ancestor. All this is the opposite of “a direct correlation with common descent.”,,,
    ,,, if two phylogenetic trees aren’t congruent, the problem isn’t that common descent is wrong, but rather the conflict is simply evidence of HGT.,,, Syvanen, (in “Evolutionary Implications of Horizontal Gene Transfer,” Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 46:339-356 (2012), invokes widespread HGT (Horizontal Gene Transfer), but he’s uncommonly honest about the data and its implications, offering the radical suggestion that “life might indeed have multiple origins.”,,,
    let’s now look within eukaryotes.,,,
    The biochemical organization of the innate immune systems of plants and animals is strikingly similar — but this is a direct non-correlation with common descent. Thus, evolutionary scientists are forced to call them “unexpectedly similar,” postulating that the similarities were “independently derived.” This data is not explained by Darwinian evolution and common descent. It is explained by common design.
    Somehow, something tells me not to expect any corrections over at Wikipedia.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65001.html

    A New Model for Evolution: A Rhizome – Didier Raoult – May 2010
    Excerpt: Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....izome.html

    Didier Raoult, who authored the preceding paper, has been referred to as ‘Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France’. Here is what he had to say about Darwinism:

    The “Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France” Is a Furious Darwin Doubter – March 2012
    Excerpt: Controversial and outspoken, Raoult last year published a popular science book that flat-out declares that Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57081.html

  46. If all that was not bad enough to show that Mr. Matzke places way too much unwarranted enthusiam on Theobald’s ‘test’ for common ancestry, the fact is that Darwinists cannot even account for the fixation of two (hypothetical) coordinated beneficial mutations within a single lineage within a reasonable amount of time, much less can they account for the countless billions upon billions coordinated mutations they imagine must have become fixated in the history of all life to produce the unfathomed levels of highly integrated functional information that we find in the genomes of life:

    notes:

    The Real Barrier to Unguided Human Evolution – Ann Gauger – April 25, 2012
    Excerpt: Their results? They calculated it would take six million years for a single base change to match the target and spread throughout the population, and 216 million years to get both base changes necessary to complete the eight base binding site. Note that the entire time span for our evolution from the last common ancestor with chimps is estimated to be about six million years. Time enough for one mutation to occur and be fixed, by their account.
    To be sure, they did say that since there are some 20,000 genes that could be evolving simultaneously, the problem is not impossible. But they overlooked this point. Mutations occur at random and most of the time independently, but their effects are not independent. Mutations that benefit one trait inhibit another (Negative Epistasis).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....58951.html

    Response from Ralph Seelke to David Hillis Regarding Testimony on Bacterial Evolution Before Texas State Board of Education, January 21, 2009
    Excerpt: He has done excellent work showing the capabilities of evolution when it can take one step at a time. I have used a different approach to show the difficulties that evolution encounters when it must take two steps at a time. So while similar, our work has important differences, and Dr. Bull’s research has not contradicted or refuted my own.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9951

    Epistasis between Beneficial Mutations – July 2011
    Excerpt: We found that epistatic interactions between beneficial mutations were all antagonistic—the effects of the double mutations were less than the sums of the effects of their component single mutations. We found a number of cases of decompensatory interactions, an extreme form of antagonistic epistasis in which the second mutation is actually deleterious in the presence of the first. In the vast majority of cases, recombination uniting two beneficial mutations into the same genome would not be favored by selection, as the recombinant could not outcompete its constituent single mutations.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ach-other/

    Mutations : when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations, which is approx. equivalent to 1 million years of supposed human evolution))
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    The preceding experiment was interesting, for they found, after 50,000 generations of e-coli which is equivalent to about 1,000,000 years of ‘supposed’ human evolution, only 5 ‘beneficial’ mutations. Moreover, these 5 ‘beneficial’ mutations were found to interfere with each other when they were combined in the ancestral population. Needless to say, this is far, far short of the functional complexity we find in life that neo-Darwinism is required to explain the origination of. Even more problematic for neo-Darwinism is when we realize that Michael Behe showed that the ‘beneficial’ mutations were actually loss or modification of function mutations. i.e. The individual ‘beneficial’ mutations were never shown to be in the process of building functional complexity at the molecular level in the first place!

    More from Ann Gauger on why humans didn’t happen the way Darwin said – July 2012
    Excerpt: Each of these new features probably required multiple mutations. Getting a feature that requires six neutral mutations is the limit of what bacteria can produce. For primates (e.g., monkeys, apes and humans) the limit is much more severe. Because of much smaller effective population sizes (an estimated ten thousand for humans instead of a billion for bacteria) and longer generation times (fifteen to twenty years per generation for humans vs. a thousand generations per year for bacteria), it would take a very long time for even a single beneficial mutation to appear and become fixed in a human population.
    You don’t have to take my word for it. In 2007, Durrett and Schmidt estimated in the journal Genetics that for a single mutation to occur in a nucleotide-binding site and be fixed in a primate lineage would require a waiting time of six million years. The same authors later estimated it would take 216 million years for the binding site to acquire two mutations, if the first mutation was neutral in its effect.
    Facing Facts
    But six million years is the entire time allotted for the transition from our last common ancestor with chimps to us according to the standard evolutionary timescale. Two hundred and sixteen million years takes us back to the Triassic, when the very first mammals appeared. One or two mutations simply aren’t sufficient to produce the necessary changes— sixteen anatomical features—in the time available. At most, a new binding site might affect the regulation of one or two genes.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rwin-said/

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ruit_flies

    Believe it or not, it just gets worse for Darwinists the further you look into it!

  47. Nick

    You said “A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    Do you consider this a fact? If so please clarify considering the following;

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....aintenance

    http://smithsonianscience.org/.....o-erectus/

    http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemme.....ectus.html

    This is interesting and I quote from Rice University’s article; “A more authoritative site, which explicitly does not consider Erectus to be a direct human ancestor, is part of the Smithsonian site mentioned above”

    http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/evol.html#chart

    Why does everybody have their very own story and only on a superficial level do they seem to agree….. Do you know something that others don’t? If so please share your knowledge with us so we might understand!

  48. Nick wrote: “…we can statistically test for phylogenetic structure nonetheless, and such tests typically yield massive statistically significant support for phylogenetic structure.”

    I am struck by the fact that those phylogenetic tree reconstructions only compare organisms that researchers already feel are closely related. I think within your community, there are those aware of the potential for circularity that exists here. If you only make trees of species that already share general similarities, how can you be sure you haven’t cherry-picked the data before the analysis has begun? (And thus toasted each other prematurely on how statistically significant your results are?)

    Another question: In which camp are you, the one that says “just let the character data speak for itself, with all characters weighted equally”, or the one that says “you have to subjectively weight characters because only experience is a good guide as to which characters will best reveal ancestry”? Or perhaps a third camp that I’m not aware of.

  49. From the following

    “Despite its long survival and continually increasing brain size — and cultural advances that included geographic dispersion throughout southern Asia, the domestication of fire, refinement to Acheulean tools, and long-term cave habitation — erectus is apparently a specialization of ergaster that is not a precursor to modern human populations.”

    http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/homofs.html

  50. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....093132.htm

    “Human evolution over the last two million years is often portrayed as a linear succession of three species: Homo habilis to Homo erectus to ourselves, Homo sapiens. Of these, Homo erectus is commonly seen as the first human ancestor which is like us in many respects, but with a smaller brain. The new fossils are significant because both their relative geological ages and their physical attributes directly challenge these views about our human ancestry”

  51. http://global.britannica.com/E.....mo-sapiens

    “A few researchers have generally opposed the view that H. erectus was the direct ancestor of later species, including Homo sapiens. Louis Leakey argued energetically that H. erectus populations, particularly in Africa, overlap in time with more advanced Homo sapiens and therefore cannot be ancestral to the latter. Some support for Leakey’s point of view has come from analysis of anatomic characteristics exhibited by the fossils.”

  52. http://www.stanford.edu/~harry...../chp22.htm

    “The problem of defining Homo erectus is that it is viewed at present as a grade of human evolution intermediate between the small-brained early Pleistocene hominids and the large brained Homo sapiens. The term grade is used to encompass a population that has reached the same adaptive stage. It does not require that the organisms belong to the same group (species). Peter Andrew stated just because the erectus specimens are all the same size or similar size brains is not evidence that they belong to the same species. When the primitive characters are removed from the list of traditional Homo erectus, only a small number of derived characters remains. Significantly, these characters are found exclusively within Asian fossils leaving African fossils outside the group and they don’t form a link with Homo sapiens. In other words, the Asian Homo erectus population appears to be evolutionarily separated from those hominids of a similar grade in Africa, and eventually became extinct. The African populations would have other species names applied to them such as Homo ergaster and Homo leakeyi. One African species of the Homo erectus grade might have been ancestral first to European archaic sapiens and later to anatomically modern humans.”

    I want to draw people’s attention to something… Whenever you hear someone say “thought to be” or “might have” you can take comfort that none of what is being said is based on any facts. I am an evolutionary sceptic precisely because I don’t care what others might think about something, until facts are displayed beyond contestation my position won’t change.

    Nick if you do have these facts please spill it we are waiting!

  53. 47
    AndreFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Nick

    You said “A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    Do you consider this a fact? If so please clarify considering the following;

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com…..aintenance

    This article confirms my point of view, but you have to understand some details of taxonomy. Some people think that Asian “Homo erectus” and African “Homo erectus were different enough to be separate species. If this is true, then it is the Asian “Homo erectus” that get to keep the name, because the first erectus (the type specimen) was discovered in Asia. Proponents of this view then rename the African erectus as Homo ergaster, and then it is ergaster that is considered the ancestor of more modern Homo species like sapiens. Either way, ergaster and erectus are very close, such that you would have to be an expert to tell them apart, and many experts consider them one species anyway.

    The problem with defining erectus exactly is precisely that there are so many fossils, and they grade into each other so completely, that there is no place where you can confidently draw a line and not find exceptions and ambiguities. But when you look at the earliest vs. the latest erectus, they look a lot different, especially in brain size, which gets much bigger. Essentially all of the “controversies” about erectus that creationists love to ignorantly and carelessly quote-mine in shodden fashion are actually about this detailed issue of putting discrete names on a large range of continuous morphological variation, rather than disputing the big picture which is that you have a group of fossils that quite gradually get more and more like modern humans over a million years.

    http://smithsonianscience.org/…..o-erectus/

    All this says is that “Scientists show that modern humans never co-existed with Homo erectus” — the article says this about a site in Indonesia. There, they say, Homo erectus went extinct over 100,000 years ago, and modern humans showed up only 40,000 years ago. There are reasons this is debatable, but it has nothing to do with the origin of Homo sapiens, which was in Africa 200,000-500,000 years ago, depending on where you want to subjectively draw the line between H. sapiens and H. erectus/ergaster.

    http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemme…..ectus.html

    This is interesting and I quote from Rice University’s article; “A more authoritative site, which explicitly does not consider Erectus to be a direct human ancestor, is part of the Smithsonian site mentioned above”

    This is a page by a linguist inexactly and inexpertly summarizing other popular presentations. It is somewhat confused by the ergaster/erectus issue.

    http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/evol.html#chart

    This page is:

    Another timeline, this one made by the American artist Bruce MacEvoy, who dabbles in paleoanthropology (among many other things) is this: MacEvoy’s Handprint site “Chart of Human Evolution”.

    So, it’s another inexpert source. Any cladistic or other quantitative analysis I’ve ever seen puts ergaster/erectus specimens closer to H. sapiens than H. habilis etc. is to H. sapiens. There are all kinds of similarities that sapiens and erectus share that habilis doesn’t, e.g., body size (from the neck down, erectus is almost indistinguishable from sapiens), fully erectus posture, bigger brains, use of fire, more sophisticated tools, etc. Heck, this is precisely why both most YECs and people like Casey Luskin from the Discovery Institute long ago gave up trying to split sapiens from erectus and instead endorse the (ridiculous!) view that they are all just part of the variability of H. sapiens. I’m sure we’ll see this tactic endorsed here in a few posts, once people realize just how amazingly good the fossil evidence is connecting the two species.

    Why does everybody have their very own story and only on a superficial level do they seem to agree….. Do you know something that others don’t? If so please share your knowledge with us so we might understand!

    It only seems that way because you are focusing on quote-mining random inexpert sources that are using slightly different taxonomies, rather than focusing on the morphological data which is the only actually important thing.

  54. From the following

    “Despite its long survival and continually increasing brain size — and cultural advances that included geographic dispersion throughout southern Asia, the domestication of fire, refinement to Acheulean tools, and long-term cave habitation — erectus is apparently a specialization of ergaster that is not a precursor to modern human populations.”

    http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/homofs.html

    Answered this above.

  55. 51
    AndreFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    http://global.britannica.com/E…..mo-sapiens

    “A few researchers have generally opposed the view that H. erectus was the direct ancestor of later species, including Homo sapiens. Louis Leakey argued energetically that H. erectus populations, particularly in Africa, overlap in time with more advanced Homo sapiens and therefore cannot be ancestral to the latter. Some support for Leakey’s point of view has come from analysis of anatomic characteristics exhibited by the fossils.”

    Another secondary source, but, even so — First of all, it’s “a few researchers”, not what most of the field says, and second, the logic would only apply to the latest Homo erectus, which are much different from the earliest ones. It’s perfectly possible that the lineage leading to H. sapiens split off from the H. erectus population somewhere in the middle of the history of H. erectus. In fact, virtually everyone would agree with this, for the latest H. erectus, since on anyone’s account we have modern H. sapiens living in Africa at 200,000 years ago, and H. erectus in Indonesia persisting to at least to 150,000 years ago.

  56. Nick

    One last thing if I may; You have made several appeals that we should follow the evidence wherever it may lead, can I perhaps suggest you start following your own advice? Try it you will be pleasantly surprised how the world of science opens up to you if you do that!

  57. Nick you say;

    “Some people think that Asian “Homo erectus” and African “Homo erectus were different enough to be separate species.”

    Think it is, is not facts…. Again I don’t care what people may think about something unless they have the facts available!

  58. Nick you say

    “It only seems that way because you are focusing on quote-mining random inexpert sources that are using slightly different taxonomies, rather than focusing on the morphological data which is the only actually important thing.”

    Accusing me of quote mining is not answering the questions…. What facts do you have that Homo Erectus is our direct Ancestor? The question is simple.

  59. Nick you say;

    “It’s perfectly possible that the lineage leading to H. sapiens split off from the H. erectus population somewhere in the middle of the history of H. erectus. In fact, virtually everyone would agree with this”

    Please can you provide the evidence and the facts for this possibility? It is also possible that the multiverse exist, it is possible that God exist, it is possible that the pink unicorn exist, please provide your evidence for this possibility, that is all I’m asking for, you see the current theories are not satisfactory if they are good enough to convince you I say well done, Speaking for myself however I require absolute proof to backup any of these claims and until such time I will reserve my judgement on its “possibility”, “may have been” or “thought to have”.

  60. 52
    AndreFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    http://www.stanford.edu/~harry…../chp22.htm

    “The problem of defining Homo erectus is that it is viewed at present as a grade of human evolution intermediate between the small-brained early Pleistocene hominids and the large brained Homo sapiens. The term grade is used to encompass a population that has reached the same adaptive stage. It does not require that the organisms belong to the same group (species). Peter Andrew stated just because the erectus specimens are all the same size or similar size brains is not evidence that they belong to the same species. When the primitive characters are removed from the list of traditional Homo erectus, only a small number of derived characters remains. Significantly, these characters are found exclusively within Asian fossils leaving African fossils outside the group and they don’t form a link with Homo sapiens. In other words, the Asian Homo erectus population appears to be evolutionarily separated from those hominids of a similar grade in Africa, and eventually became extinct. The African populations would have other species names applied to them such as Homo ergaster and Homo leakeyi. One African species of the Homo erectus grade might have been ancestral first to European archaic sapiens and later to anatomically modern humans.”

    This is just the debate about the Asia/Africa question I discussed earlier. No matter how you apply the names, the African ones are ancestral, and gradually approach the H. sapiens condition, even in the sources you cite. The fact that you have a grade not a clade is EXACTLY WHY it is highly likely that the African H. erectus are direct ancestors of H. sapiens — if they were a clade that didn’t include H. sapiens, they would, by definition, be a side branch rather than a direct ancestor! Grades cause problems for naming, precisely because they are not distinct groups, but grade into later groups gradually.

    I want to draw people’s attention to something… Whenever you hear someone say “thought to be” or “might have” you can take comfort that none of what is being said is based on any facts.

    This, sir, is total bunkum. There can be uncertainty about fine details while the overall big picture remains very clear. There is uncertainty about how many moons go around Jupiter, but we know for dang sure how many big moons above a certain size there are. You are like someone who argues that uncertainty about the exact count means there are no moons going around Jupiter.

    The simplemindedness you are exhibiting on this point is just staggering, and wouldn’t be taken seriously by any scientist talking about the uncertainties in their field.

    I am an evolutionary sceptic precisely because I don’t care what others might think about something, until facts are displayed beyond contestation my position won’t change.

    You have shown no interest in even learning the basic wikipedia-level facts necessary for discussing the question of human origins. Your boasting about independence is just anti-intellectual, too-proud-to-do-the-work-to-really-understand-the-topic puffery.

    Nick if you do have these facts please spill it we are waiting!

    I’ve already showed you the fossils. I’ll do it again. Follow the evidence wherever it leads. Here it is:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....inids.html

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ini-1.html

    Please explain why there are NO valid transitionals ANYWHERE in these hundreds of fossils with clearly intermediate morphology. You are taking a ludicrous position in sheer defiance of the data which I have provided again and again.

  61. Nick you say;

    “rather than focusing on the morphological data which is the only actually important thing.”

    Really because they look similar they are indeed similar? Is that your scientific method? Because the look the same they are the same! You call that science? Anybody can be a scientist if you use that definition!

  62. Please can you provide the evidence and the facts for this possibility? It is also possible that the multiverse exist, it is possible that God exist, it is possible that the pink unicorn exist, please provide your evidence for this possibility, that is all I’m asking for,

    It’s very simple. H. sapiens fossils range from ~0.5 million years ago to present. H. erectus fossils range from something like 1.5 million years ago to 150,000 years ago at least. Therefore, H. sapiens split off in the middle of H. erectus, they did not evolve out of the very last H. erectus known in the fossil record.

    Speaking for myself however I require absolute proof to backup any of these claims and until such time I will reserve my judgement on its “possibility”, “may have been” or “thought to have”.

    No science, anywhere, is about “absolute proof”. It’s about picking the most probable hypothesis based on the available evidence, and not accepting hypotheses that are flatly contradicted by the evidence. We’ve got hundreds of fossils that oh-so-gradually come to resemble modern humans. Anyone who is familiar with this evidence and who has a sense of fairness and objectivity would admit this basic fact straight up. Any other option is sticking your head in the sand, probably to protect some particular literalist interpretation of the Bible.

  63. Really because they look similar they are indeed similar?

    That’s what similarity means.

  64. Nick

    Since my sources are discounted as secondary sources are Talk Origins and Panda’s Thumb primary ones?

    Nick you say;

    “You have shown no interest in even learning the basic wikipedia-level facts necessary for discussing the question of human origins. Your boasting about independence is just anti-intellectual, too-proud-to-do-the-work-to-really-understand-the-topic puffery.”

    Really, Wikipedia? a place where you can say anything you like do you believe Wikipedia as an undisputed source?

    And then you accuse me of a slew of things without knowing the first thing about what I do, what my pursuits are and what effort I have put into this in my life!

    And again with all of this you have been evading my question, facts and proof where are they Nick?

  65. Nick you say;

    “That’s what similarity means.”

    But are they Nick? The scientific enterprise is in deep trouble if it only affirms similarities but ignores the differences….

  66. Really, Wikipedia? a place where you can say anything you like do you believe Wikipedia as an undisputed source?

    No, of course not. Wikipedia is just the place where you could start to get a very basic introductory understanding of the issues. This would have save you the embarassment over the ergaster/erectus taxonomy issue, for instance.

  67. Nick

    I retract the Wikipedia reference, if I recall correctly you disputed your very own article by claiming its false, so Wikipedia is indeed not credible and is not a requisite to gain knowledge.

  68. Since my sources are discounted as secondary sources are Talk Origins and Panda’s Thumb primary ones?

    Nope they are secondary sources too, but unlike yours, they contain exact and detailed citations. More importantly, the articles I have linked to contain raw data right there for you to look at and try to explain — pictures of the skulls and measurements of their dates and cranial capacities. I’ve presented the data several times, why haven’t you even tried to engage with i?

    Follow the evidence wherever it leads…if you’re brave enough.

  69. contain exact and detailed citations –> contain exact and detailed citations to the primary literature, which can be easily checked if you doubt that it is being described correctly.

  70. 48
    EDTAFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Nick wrote: “…we can statistically test for phylogenetic structure nonetheless, and such tests typically yield massive statistically significant support for phylogenetic structure.”

    I am struck by the fact that those phylogenetic tree reconstructions only compare organisms that researchers already feel are closely related. I think within your community, there are those aware of the potential for circularity that exists here. If you only make trees of species that already share general similarities, how can you be sure you haven’t cherry-picked the data before the analysis has begun? (And thus toasted each other prematurely on how statistically significant your results are?)

    This isn’t true at all. Some phylogenies are of just species within a genus, but other phylogenies have organisms from across the tree of life. The fact that the methods work and the testable, statistically significant signal can be found at all levels is amazing unless evolution is true.

    Another question: In which camp are you, the one that says “just let the character data speak for itself, with all characters weighted equally”, or the one that says “you have to subjectively weight characters because only experience is a good guide as to which characters will best reveal ancestry”? Or perhaps a third camp that I’m not aware of.

    This is a question that applies only to parsimony methods. Most people use equal weights in parsimony. In some ways this makes the fewest assumptions, although equal weighting is itself an assumption.

    In actual fact, usually you will get basically similar results regardless of the weighting scheme. It’s easy enough to run the analysis both ways and see if you get a difference.

    I have actually invented a method that tries different weight schemes and picks the one that results in the best match with another dataset (stratigraphy) — I need to get on publishing that sometime.

    But really, these days, the most sophisticated methods are likelihood and Bayesian methods. Here, weights aren’t used, because the rates of change are explicitly estimated. Roughly speaking, higher rate = lower “weight” in the estimation of phylogeny.

  71. Nick you say;

    “Nope they are secondary sources too, but unlike yours, they contain exact and detailed citations.”

    Like how to debate Duane Gish and creationists? My sources don’t do that…. you win!

  72. Nick

    I would like to give you some background that will hopefully persuade you to not throw accusations my way that are not true, I grew up idolizing Raymond Dart, he was my biggest hero of all time, I was also fortunate to spend time with some of his students, many if not most have passed on since then but I was privileged enough to have access to information that most people could only dream of. I’ve read it all, I have collected it all and I have studied it all,

    Here is a truth statement, and I am speaking for myself but fully understand other sceptics on this;

    The evidence is not compelling enough to convince me. I reserve judgement even with the information I’ve been privy to, until the facts are indisputable my position on this remains sceptical.

  73. Nick you say

    “This would have save you the embarrassment over the ergaster/erectus taxonomy issue, for instance.”

    What embarrassment? Please elaborate on this!

  74. Hi Nick,

    Again thank you for your reply @43.

    “Why do things have to be exact direct ancestors, and not closely-related side branches? The typical phylogenetic methods in use today do not allow us to distinguish these two possibilities, yet we can statistically test for phylogenetic structure nonetheless, and such tests typically yield massive statistically significant support for phylogenetic structure.”

    I think the obvious problem for me with the first part of this statement is that similarity, no matter how close, doesn’t really prove anything. This does not mean however that regardless of how similar A is to B I will discount it, as I would be quite open to A giving rise to B, if it was in fact proven.

    You suggest also that there is statistical evidence that A is very likely to have become B, but surely this too is an extremely vague spectrum.

    For instance would you agree that the creature in the article below, was chosen largely due to statistics, and not because of any fossil evidence linking it to creature B.

    http://www.newser.com/story/16.....mmals.html

    “And, anyway, there are some cases where we have so many fossils, such that we think we have most of the related species in a region and time zone, and we have enough fossils to do population-level descriptions of each, where we can say with good confidence that species A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    Do you think that all evolutionary scientists agree with the above statement? Do they all agree that Homo Erectus is ancestral to Homo Sapiens, do they all agree with Talk Origins on this matter, if not why not?

    And lastly, can you show me another example where it has been agreed from the fossil evidence that A is ancestral to B.

    Sorry to be a pest ;)

  75. PeterJ

    you say; “Do you think that all evolutionary scientists agree with the above statement? Do they all agree that Homo Erectus is ancestral to Homo Sapiens, do they all agree with Talk Origins on this matter, if not why not?”

    This is my point exactly, not all agree and until they do I remain sceptical of the claims “thought to have”…..

  76. Nick

    I would like to pint out that the Talk Origins FAQ on Huma

  77. Nick

    I would like to pint out that the Talk Origins FAQ on Human evolution is factually incorrect, let me help step by step…

    1. Australopithecus-africanus

    http://australianmuseum.net.au.....africanus/

    2. Homo Habilis

    http://australianmuseum.net.au/Homo-habilis/

    3. Homo Erectus (Asia)

    http://australianmuseum.net.au/Homo-erectus

    4. Homo Ergaster (Africa)

    http://australianmuseum.net.au/Homo-ergaster

    The fist two examples of your clear cut evolutionary tree has gone belly up so there is no need to even do the rest because your foundation has been found wanting. I have included the apparent Erectus/Ergaster embarrassment you accused me of just to draw your attention that there is not consensus about your claims! Again until disagreements are ironed out this stuff remains in doubt as fact.

  78. Australopithecus africanus was once considered to be a direct ancestor of modern humans but new finds have challenged this position. Many scientists now believe this species represents a side branch in our evolutionary family tree but there is disagreement about its exact relationship to other species.

    Many of the fossils found at South African sites in the 1930s and 1940s were given separate names, such as Australopithecus transvaalensis, Plesianthropus transvaalensis and Australopithecus prometheus. These are all now recognised as belonging to the same species, Australopithecus africanus.

    Fossils discovered in Malapa, South Africa, in 2008 were announced as a new species Australopithecus sediba in 2010, but many other palaeontologists consider the fossils to be a chronospecies of A. africanus – meaning that the slight anatomical differences between the new fossils and A. africanus are due to changes over time within a species rather than them being from different species. This would extend the time range for A. africanus by almost half a million years.

  79. Homo Habilis

    This species was initially considered to be a direct ancestor of modern humans but fossil discoveries in the mid-1980s showed that Homo habilis had rather ape-like limb proportions. This evidence led to a reassessment of Homo habilis and its relationship to modern humans. Many scientists no-longer regard this species as one of our direct ancestors and instead have moved it onto a side branch of our family tree.

    The debate about Homo habilis continues following the discovery of some skulls at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. Two of the skulls are very similar to Homo ergaster but one appears to have features intermediate between Homo habilis and Homo ergaster and may represent a link between these two species. If so, Homo habilis may be a direct ancestor of modern humans or that they both evolved from a yet-undiscovered species. Homo habilis arose at a time when there is a relative gap in the fossil record (between 2 and 3 million years ago). This makes it difficult to determine where it came from or how it is related to the earlier australopithecines. More fossil evidence is needed to resolve this issue.

  80. Nick

    Again I ask if the consensus has changed about your 29 proofs maybe its time to update Talk Origins page perhaps?

  81. My last comment until you respond….

    If many scientists now agree about these changes, Nick are you now in the minority that view it otherwise, or is your many as much as their many?

  82. Mr. Matzke, this is main problem I have with the grand Darwinian claims that people like you make.
    Richard Dawkins claimed that the FOXP2 gene was among ‘the most compelling evidences’ for establishing that humans evolved from monkeys, yet, as with all the other evidences offered from Darwinists, once the FOXP2 gene was critically analyzed it fell completely apart as proof for human evolution:

    Here is the sequence comparison of FOXP2:

    Dawkins Best Evidence (FOXP2) Refuted – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfFZ8lCn5uU

    In the following paper, even Darwinist admit that the FOXP2 gene evidence is ‘tenuous’,,

    Human brain evolution: From gene discovery to phenotype discovery – Todd M. Preuss – February 2012
    Excerpt: It is now clear that the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are far more extensive than previously thought; their genomes are not 98% or 99% identical.,,,
    our understanding of the relationship between genetic changes and phenotypic changes is tenuous. This is true even for the most intensively studied gene, FOXP2,,
    In part, the difficulty of connecting genes to phenotypes reflects our generally poor knowledge of human phenotypic specializations, as well as the difficulty of interpreting the consequences of genetic changes in species that are not amenable to invasive research.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/10.....9.full.pdf

  83. 73
    AndreFebruary 21, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Nick you say

    “This would have save you the embarrassment over the ergaster/erectus taxonomy issue, for instance.”

    What embarrassment? Please elaborate on this!

    You boldly claimed you had evidence against H. erectus being ancestral, but in fact this turned out to just be ignorance about the fine taxonomic issue of whether or not African and Asian erectus should be split into two very similar species.

    In any actual course in paleoanthropology, you’d get 0 points on the question for this kind of mistake.

  84. Andre,

    Pointing out that a species may now be considered a side branch and that therefore, the “evolutionary tree has gone belly up” is a common creationist misunderstanding. Just because something may be a side-branch doesn’t disqualify it as a transitional form.

  85. The debate about Homo habilis continues following the discovery of some skulls at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. Two of the skulls are very similar to Homo ergaster but one appears to have features intermediate between Homo habilis and Homo ergaster and may represent a link between these two species. If so, Homo habilis may be a direct ancestor of modern humans or that they both evolved from a yet-undiscovered species.

    Either way, we’ve got fossils with transitional morphology, which is what many folks here doubt, because they are afraid to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    And by switching over to Homo habilis, you’ve abandoned your defense of the claiming the falsity of the idea that H. erectus, broadly defined, was ancestral to H. sapiens.

  86. NM@26 – Nick again you miss the point. Volumes of literature with a self-consistency to them do not necessarily build a strong case for truthfulness. I was just using the example of a religious cult to prove that point. Cults produce volumes, upon volumes of self-consistent literature – all built upon what you and I both believe are false premises. What Dr. Tour has merely pointed out is that your macro subject ( macro-evolution ) does not have a rigorous connection to first ( micro )principles.

    In counter-distinction, consider the connection between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. When statistical mechanics began to be investigated, most of the breakthroughs fell right in line with expectations for thermodynamics. The macro subject was confirmed time and time again by the micro.

    Dr. Tour is rightly criticizing your macro field for not having obvious connections to the known micro field of chemical reactions. Breakthroughs in understanding cellular processes at the chemical level do not seem to make clear pathways to macro-evolution. The connections may be there eventually, but even he, a man well versed in the micro field, does not understand them or seem to have a clear picture of how they could work.

    What was interesting to me was that when this was called out, your justifications were not to argue for the existence of those connections, but to argue on the basis of personal experience and number of manuscripts. Both of which seemed to be more religious arguments than scientific ones.

  87. Who Was Homo habilis—And Was It Really Homo? – Ann Gibbons – June 2011
    Abstract: In the past decade, Homo habilis’s status as the first member of our genus has been undermined. Newer analytical methods suggested that H. habilis matured and moved less like a human and more like an australopithecine, such as the famous partial skeleton of Lucy. Now, a report in press in the Journal of Human Evolution finds that H. habilis’s dietary range was also more like Lucy’s than that of H. erectus, which many consider the first fully human species to walk the earth. That suggests the handyman had yet to make the key adaptations associated with our genus, such as the ability to exploit a variety of foods in many environments, the authors say.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....70.summary

    New findings raise questions about who evolved from whom
    Excerpt: The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years,,, The two species lived near each other, but probably didn’t interact with each other, each having their own “ecological niche,” Spoor said. Homo habilis was likely more vegetarian and Homo erectus ate some meat, he said. Like chimps and apes, “they’d just avoid each other, they don’t feel comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20178936/

  88. Or related interest:

    Human/Ape Common Ancestry: Following the Evidence – Casey Luskin – June 2011
    Excerpt: So the researchers constructed an evolutionary tree based on 129 skull and tooth measurements for living hominoids, including gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and humans, and did the same with 62 measurements recorded on Old World monkeys, including baboons, mangabeys and macaques. They also drew upon published molecular phylogenies. At the outset, Wood and Collard assumed the molecular evidence was correct. “There were so many different lines of genetic evidence pointing in one direction,” Collard explains. But no matter how the computer analysis was run, the molecular and morphological trees could not be made to match15 (see figure, below). Collard says this casts grave doubt on the reliability of using morphological evidence to determine the fine details of evolutionary trees for higher primates. “It is saying it is positively misleading,” he says. The abstract of the pair’s paper stated provocatively that “existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable”.[10]
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-9266481

  89. Moreover,,

    Human Origins, and the Real Reasons for Evolutionary Skepticism – Jonathan M. – December 9, 2012
    Excerpt: “Cladistic analysis of cranial and dental evidence has been widely used to generate phylogenetic hypotheses about humans and their fossil relatives. However, the reliability of these hypotheses has never been subjected to external validation. To rectify this, we applied internal methods to equivalent evidence from two groups of extant higher primates for whom reliable molecular phylogenies are available, the hominoids and paionins. We found that the phylogenetic hypotheses based on the craniodental data were incompatible with the molecular phylogenies for the groups. Given the robustness of the molecular phylogenies, these results indicate that little confidence can be placed in phylogenies generated solely from higher primate craniodental evidence. The corollary of this is that existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67181.html

  90. Nick

    The literature is rich with evidence that Ergaster and Erectus should be split from each other, I agree with that view, It is in no way embarrassing to disagree with assumptions previously made. What is embarrassing is dogmatic beliefs like yours despite the evidence.

  91. Homo erectus: A Highly Intelligent Seafaring Boatbuilder? – Casey Luskin – August 21, 2012
    Excerpt: The point of all this is that other members of our genus Homo don’t represent unintelligent, non-human, ape-like forms. They looked a lot like us, and there’s increasingly good evidence that they thought a lot like us too. As I recently discussed, some scientists even suggest that Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens were really just the same species. When our genus Homo appears in the fossil record, it does so abruptly, very different from previous forms, and without evolutionary precursors.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63351.html

  92. This is an interesting find:

    Complex Tool Discovery Argues for Early Human Smarts By Stephanie Pappas – Wed, Nov 7, 2012
    Excerpt: One potential sign of complex thought would be an elaborately produced artifact that would have required capabilities such as language to pass along the technique to future generations.,,,
    Continuity of history
    “Eleven thousand years of continuity is, in reality, an almost unimaginable time span for people to consistently make tools the same way,” Marean said. “This is certainly not a flickering pattern.” Moreover, heat treatment of stone was seen at Pinnacle Point about 160,000 years ago, suggesting people there mastered this complex technique for nearly 100,000 years.
    http://news.yahoo.com/complex-.....13070.html

  93. Mr. Matzke, since so much of your case is coming down to Homo erectus,,, with an unexplained gap,,,

    How do Theistic Evolutionists Explain the Fossil Record and Human Origins? – Casey Luskin – September 14, 2012
    Excerpt: In six recent articles (see the links at right), I have argued that the fossil record does not support the evolution of ape-like species into human-like species. Rather, hominin fossils generally fall into two distinct groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them.,,, Third, not all paleontologists agree with Kidder that the lack of transitional fossils is simply the result of the unsophisticated (and all-too-easy) excuse the fossil record is poor. Consider what paleontologist Niles Eldredge and paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersal (who are both committed evolutionists) co-wrote in a book on human origins:
    “The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life’s history — not the artifact of a poor fossil record.”
    (Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution, p. 59 (NY: Columbia University Press, 1982).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64301.html

    ,,I guess it is prudent to ask just who was this Homo erectus,,,

    Hominids, Homonyms, and Homo sapiens – 05/27/2009 – Creation Safaris:
    Excerpt: Homo erectus is particularly controversial, because it is such a broad classification. Tattersall and Schwartz find no clear connection between the Asian, European and African specimens lumped into this class. “In his 1950 review, Ernst Mayr placed all of these forms firmly within the species Homo erectus,” they explained. “Subsequently, Homo erectus became the standard-issue ‘hominid in the middle,’ expanding to include not only the fossils just mentioned, but others of the same general period….”. They discussed the arbitrariness of this classification: “Put together, all these fossils (which span almost 2 myr) make a very heterogeneous assortment indeed; and placing them all together in the same species only makes any conceivable sense in the context of the ecumenical view of Homo erectus as the middle stage of the single hypervariable hominid lineage envisioned by Mayr (on the basis of a much slenderer record). Viewed from the morphological angle, however, the practice of cramming all of this material into a single Old World-wide species is highly questionable. Indeed, the stuffing process has only been rendered possible by a sort of ratchet effect, in which fossils allocated to Homo erectus almost regardless of their morphology have subsequently been cited as proof of just how variable the species can be.” By “ratchet effect,” they appear to mean something like a self-fulfilling prophecy: i.e., “Let’s put everything from this 2-million-year period into one class that we will call Homo erectus.” Someone complains, “But this fossil from Singapore is very different from the others.” The first responds, “That just shows how variable the species Homo erectus can be.”
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20090527a

    Mr. Matzke, that is certainly not the way to build a solid case for human evolution! Just which fossils belong in and which don’t? Needless to say, this ‘rachet practice’ is certainly ripe for abuse by Darwinists!

    Yet, here, in this article, we find that Homo Erectus is “very similar to modern humans.” ,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63151.html

    So which is it Nick? Is Homo erectus an ape or is it ‘very similar to modern humans’? This whole piece of evidence is, since you have lost Homo Habilis and Australopithecus-africanus to bridge the gap, certainly a lot of weight you have placed on just this one species to do all you heavy lifting to bridge the gap between humans and apes!

    Also we find that,,,

    Homo Erectus Crosses The Open Ocean
    http://www.environmentalgraffi.....cean/10658

    Wow, just wow! Me smells something very rotten in this whole ‘hyper-variable’ Homo erectus species that you have placed all your faith in Mr. Matzke! ,,, And this severe doubt in your ‘bedtime stroy (Henry Gee) is even before we visit the fact you have NO demonstrated mechanism for neo-Darwinism! Go figure!

  94. Andre thanks for your links highlighting the highly contentious nature of the Homo Erectus group at 49, 50, 51, & 52

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-447512

  95. Mr. Matzke, I noticed you tried to distance Darwinian thinking, you know survival of the fittest and all, from the horror of the NAZI holocaust. It seems your efforts are falling on deaf ears,,,

    From Yale University Press, a New Book Demonstrates Haeckel’s Social Darwinism as Hitler’s “Favored Resource” – Feb. 21, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69401.html

  96. Also up at ENV:

    Another Difficulty with Darwinian Accounts of How Human Bipedalism Developed – David Klinghoffer – February 21, 2013
    Excerpt: A Darwinian evolutionary bedtime story tells of how proto-man achieved his upright walking status when the forests of his native East Africa turned to savannas. That was 4 to 6 million years ago, and the theory was that our ancestors stood up in order to be able to look around themselves over the sea of grasslands, which would have been irrelevant in the forests of old.
    A team of researchers led by USC’s Sarah J. Feakins, writing in the journal Geology, detonate that tidy explanation with their finding that the savannas, going back 12 million years, had already been there more than 6 million years when the wonderful transition to bipedalism took place (“Northeast African vegetation change over 12 m.y.”).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69411.html

  97. Here is a fairly good video, going through the supposed sequence of human evolution, step by step, exposing just how flimsy the fossil evidence actually is for ape becoming man:

    Origins – The Fossil Man with Dr. Brad Harrub – 2011 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=292s

  98. A few more videos:

    Human Evolution? – What Do The Bones Really Say? – Don Patton – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEw8fk6NvbI

    Bones Of Contention – Dr. Marc Surtees – video
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/video/20

    Is there a Monkey in your Family Tree? – Thomas Kindell – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWu96RQe6Mo

    Hugh Ross : Who was Adam? part 1 of 11 – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo8T1_PArJY

    The following video is of a professor of paleoanthropology openly admitting that genuine problems exist in the Darwinian story of human origins.,, All I can say is that he must be tenured! (Of note: after watching the video, Dr. Fazale Rana commented that it seemed as if Dr. Wood had taken a page out of his, and Dr. Ross’s, ‘Who was Adam?’ book;

    Pikaia interviews Bernard Wood – pt. 1/2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mbHt_gHKOI

    Pikaia interviews Bernard Wood – pt. 2/2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXLG7MbsGIk

    The differences between apes and humans, that Dr. Wood alluded to, are indeed much more profound than neo-Darwinists would like many to believe:

    “Museum of Comparative Anthropogeny” Human Uniqueness Compared to “Great Apes” (Hundreds of differences listed between humans and ‘great apes’ with references for each difference listed)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dx8I5qpsDlsIxTTPgeZc559pIHe_mnYtKehgDqE-_fo/edit

  99. I would still like my questions answered from #74.

    Nick stated:

    “And, anyway, there are some cases where we have so many fossils, such that we think we have most of the related species in a region and time zone, and we have enough fossils to do population-level descriptions of each, where we can say with good confidence that species A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    I asked:

    Do you think that all evolutionary scientists agree with the above statement? Do they all agree that Homo Erectus is ancestral to Homo Sapiens, do they all agree with Talk Origins on this matter, if not why not?

    And lastly, can you show me another example where it has been agreed from the fossil evidence that A is ancestral to B.

    Thanks.

  100. Nick Matzke:

    Either way, we’ve got fossils with transitional morphology,

    And phenotypic plasticity explains that rather nicely.

  101. 101

    99
    PeterJFebruary 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I would still like my questions answered from #74.

    Nick stated:

    “And, anyway, there are some cases where we have so many fossils, such that we think we have most of the related species in a region and time zone, and we have enough fossils to do population-level descriptions of each, where we can say with good confidence that species A is a direct ancestor of species B. One such case is Homo erectus being ancestral to Homo sapiens.”

    I asked:

    Do you think that all evolutionary scientists agree with the above statement? Do they all agree that Homo Erectus is ancestral to Homo Sapiens, do they all agree with Talk Origins on this matter, if not why not?

    Pretty much. I don’t know of any exceptions. There are subtle taxonomic issues (e.g. ergaster vs. erectus) and there are some more extreme cladistics types who refuse to identify ancestors, ever, no matter how obvious, because they only believe in putting specimens on the tips of a tree. But it’s hard to imagine how the evidence could get any better.

    And lastly, can you show me another example where it has been agreed from the fossil evidence that A is ancestral to B.

    Thanks.

    I’m not going to do any more of your research for you until we’ve established whether you accept reasonable scientific criteria for evaluating fossil evidence. Do you accept that it is reasonable to conclude that H. sapiens descends from H. erectus (broadly defined), that H. erectus is a direct ancestor, and that (a) therefore direct ancestors can, on occasion, be detected in the fossil record, and (b) that this is important confirming evidence for evolutionary theory and common ancestry?

  102. What was interesting to me was that when this was called out, your justifications were not to argue for the existence of those connections, but to argue on the basis of personal experience and number of manuscripts. Both of which seemed to be more religious arguments than scientific ones.

    But we can trace the evolution of those manuscripts! Doesn’t that prove that evolution is true?

  103. Nick:

    Either way, we’ve got fossils with transitional morphology, which is what many folks here doubt, because they are afraid to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    lol

  104. Nick Matzke:

    I’m not going to do any more of your research for you until we’ve established whether you accept reasonable scientific criteria for evaluating fossil evidence.

    Our knowledge of dogs alone is enough to throw a wrench into that capability, Nick. Then there are epigenetic changes which would also cause problems with evaluating fossil evidence.

  105. Tattersall thinks H. erectus was an evolutionary dead end. Uconn says he was our immediate ancestor. There are several other differences which we won’t take the time to point out.

    A recent issue of Science 13 presents the six different explanations of hominid evolution at the right, which they refer to as “Figure 1.” Their caption says:

    Figure 1. Cladograms favored in recent early hominin parsimony analyses. (A) Most parsimonious cladogram recovered by Chamberlain and Wood (19) using Chamberlain’s (18) operational taxonomic units. Homo sp. = H. rudolfensis. (B) Most parsimonious cladogram obtained in Chamberlain (18). African H. erectus = H. ergaster. (C) Cladogram favored in Wood (9). Homo sp. nov. = H. rudolfensis and H. aff. erectus = H. ergaster. (D) Most parsimonious cladogram recovered by Wood (2). A. boisei includes A. aethiopicus. (E) Most parsimonious cladogram obtained by Lieberman et al. (20). 1470 group = H. rudolfensis; 1813 group = H. habilis. (F) Cladogram favored by Strait et al. (17).
    http://scienceagainstevolution.org/v4i4f.htm

  106. “But it’s hard to imagine how the evidence could get any better.”

    Perhaps the evidence would ‘get better’ if 1. the genetic evidence was not coming sharply down from the original 99% similarity that Darwinists claimed, and 2. if you had any evidence from the laboratory that functional information could be generated by purely material processes. ,,, Or is asking for proof of your basic claim not within science as you have it defined?

  107. Mr. Matzke, the hypothetical fossil record for human evolution is certainly not as conducive to evolutionary thought as you would like others to believe:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-447457

    But I would like to point out another interesting fact, besides the fact you are relying on historical evidence to try to establish your neo-Darwinian worldview. I have, as a Theist, far more direct observational evidence for the existence of the soul than you have for neo-Darwinian evolution!

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or the origin of life), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    “A recent analysis of several hundred cases showed that 48% of near-death experiencers reported seeing their physical bodies from a different visual perspective. Many of them also reported witnessing events going on in the vicinity of their body, such as the attempts of medical personnel to resuscitate them (Kelly et al., 2007).”
    Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., & Kelly, E. F. (2007). Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena. In E. F. Kelly, E. W. Kelly, A. Crabtree, A. Gauld, M. Grosso, & B. Greyson, Irreducible mind (pp. 367-421). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    notes:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://www.newdualism.org/nde-.....-147-1.pdf

    A neurosurgeon confronts the non-material nature of consciousness – December 2011
    Excerpted quote: To me one thing that has emerged from my (Near Death) experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact. And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ciousness/

    Dr. Jeffery Long: Just how strong is the evidence for a afterlife? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mptGAc3XWPs

    Besides direct eye witness accounts for the existence of the soul, I also have direct physical evidence:

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

  108. Whereas you, Mr. Matzke, have no unambiguous physical evidence:

    Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds: Doug Axe:
    Excerpt: The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 10^64 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.

    Correcting Four Misconceptions about my 2004 Article in JMB — May 4th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....le-in-jmb/

    “The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the position of some people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”
    Roger Lewin – Historic Chicago ‘Macroevolution’ conference of 1980

    At one of her many public talks, she [Lynn Margulis] asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet.
    Michael Behe – Darwin’s Black Box – Page 26

  109. Nick you said;

    “We who have spent our careers designing complex systems are not throwing up our hands and saying “Oh, it is too complicated for us to understand — God must have done it.” We infer a designer because we do understand how complex systems are designed and we recognize the evidence of design in biology.”

    And my entire argument yesterday was about this very issue, there is no consensus therefore it is not factual. You must have missed that in the entire dialogue, its not about ergaster or erect us, or habilis. It is about the conflicting views… who to believe? Who is right? Until people are unanimous, this remains “just so stories”. Word of caution however, calling people lazy, stupid or ignorant will not advance your argument even if you are proven correct in time.

  110. Apologies Nick incorrect quote.

  111. Here is the correct qoute

    “I’m not going to do any more of your research for you until we’ve established whether you accept reasonable scientific criteria for evaluating fossil evidence. Do you accept that it is reasonable to conclude that H. sapiens descends from H. erectus (broadly defined), that H. erectus is a direct ancestor, and that (a) therefore direct ancestors can, on occasion, be detected in the fossil record, and (b) that this is important confirming evidence for evolutionary theory and common ancestry?”

  112. This following article from Dr. Jonathan Wells is interesting:,,,

    As well as answering why things go in a general ‘evolutionary’ order of simpler life forms to more complex life forms, this following article gets pretty close to answering my question as to when God forms a soul.

    Why Does the History of Life Give the Appearance of Evolution? – Jonathan Wells – February 21, 2013
    Excerpt: Fossil evidence suggests that life on earth originated about three and a half billion years ago, starting with prokaryotes (single-celled organisms without nuclei, such as bacteria). Much later came eukaryotes (cells with nuclei), which included algae and single-celled animals (protozoa). Multicellular marine animals appeared long after that. Then came land plants, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, and finally humans. Not only did living things appear in a certain order, but in some cases they also had features intermediate between organisms that preceded them and those that followed them. Kenneth R. Miller challenges critics of Darwinism to explain why we find “one organism after another in places and in sequences… that clearly give the appearance of evolution.”
    The answer is found in various religious traditions, especially Christianity. “Far from denying life’s progression, tradition provides a reason for it,” wrote Huston Smith in 1976. “Earth mirrors heaven. But mirrors, as we have noted, invert. The consequence here is that that which is first in the ontological order appears last in the temporal order.” Smith explained: “In the celestial realm the species are never absent; their essential forms or archetypes reside there from an endless beginning. As earth ripens to receive them, each in its turn drops to the terrestrial plane.” But “first a viable habitat must be devised, hence the inorganic universe is matured to a point where life can be sustained. And when living beings do arrive, they do so in a vaguely ascending order that passes from relatively undifferentiated organisms… to ones that are more complex.” Thus “man, who is first in the order of worth on the terrestrial plane, will be last in the order of his appearance.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69451.html

    Of note:

    The reason why I had/have a hard time figuring out specifically when God creates each soul is because sequential, temporal, time, as we understand it here on earth, loses any point of reference in the higher, eternal, dimensions:

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    Excerpt: “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

  113. Hi Nick,

    “I’m not going to do any more of your research for you until we’ve established whether you accept reasonable scientific criteria for evaluating fossil evidence.”

    Yes I do.

    “Do you accept that it is reasonable to conclude that H. sapiens descends from H. erectus (broadly defined), that H. erectus is a direct ancestor, and that (a) therefore direct ancestors can, on occasion, be detected in the fossil record, and (b) that this is important confirming evidence for evolutionary theory and common ancestry?”

    I would be quite willing to accept the above, however I do not believe that it can be confirmed, as such. BA has posted many conflicting studies by various different scientists and therefore I do not see how you can possibly refer to it as having been ‘confirmed’.

    What other examples do you have where there is fossil evidence of an obvious/agreed link between to different groups of animals?

    Thanks.

  114. So, it looks like Homo Erectus is the best fossil Nick could come up with to demonstrate macro-evolution: ie. there has been macro-evolution to get from Homo Erectus to living humans.

    I honestly thought Nick, as one who has studied evolution more than almost all evolutionists, would be able to come up with a much better, clearer example. Considering evolution is supposed to be supported by “overwhelming evidence” and an even more overwhelming consensus, there is so much serious dispute in the field of human ancestry, over such fragmented, dodgy evidence.

    Nonetheless, Nick may be onto something. So, my question is this: if we were given our pick of the entire human race, and we were able to apply artificial selection, and possibly some environmental controls, would we be able to create a human who, at some time in his/her life, would have a skeleton that was a morphological match for Homo Erectus?

    If not, why not? What did Homo Erectus have that has been forever lost/improved, as a result of macro-evolution into 21st century humans?

  115. OT: Hey Mr. Matzke,

    This Awesome Urn Will Turn You into a Tree After You Die
    http://bigthink.com/design-for.....er-you-die

    Not to say that there is anything wrong with all that, but having your physical remains turn into a tree after you die reminded me of this skit from Dane Cook:

    Dane Cook – The Sneezing Atheist – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtVzj9y-bo
    Quote from video:
    He sneezed. Debris. Movement.
    Okay, now at this point I’m digusted. And I’m grossed out. Okay. I’m grossed out by it.
    And at first I think, I’m going to go off on this guy. And then I decided, Wait a second Dane, don’t do that. Take the high road. Try to be polite.
    So I turn to him and this is what I said. I looked at him and I went, uhh God Bless You. Yeah, I said it like that. God Bless You. Which is God Bless You but it kinda sounds like, cover you’re fuckin mouth.
    Yeah. Incognito. I turned to the guy. I say God Bless You by the way when someone sneezed. I don’t say Bless You. I don’t say that becauseeee, I’m not the Lord. I can’t do that.
    I’m just a messenger for big guns upstairs. You know what I’m sayin’? Haahaha.
    And I never go with Gesundheit. I don’t know you even says that. If I say Gesundheit I feel like I’m honoring Hilter. Like I should be like Gesundheit! I end up on the history channel because the guy sneezed.
    God Bless You. This is what the guy comes back with, okay. Here’s where it starts to get out of control. The guy looks at me and very condescending. He goes, uhhh.. yeahh… I’m an Atheist.
    Yeah what a jerk right? I’m trying to be polite and I don’t know you’re and Atheist. And even if I did what and I supposed to say when an Atheist sneezes? Uhhhh… when you die nothing happens.
    Find More lyrics at http://www.sweetslyrics.com
    So now. Oh Man. Now I start getting into like, a religious debate with this guy. And it is awful. Okay. He’s questioning my beliefs. Well, what about you? What, what did you grow up?
    Well, I was raised Catholic, I waaas raised Catholic. And.. Peace be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts. Dinga Dinga Dinga Ding. Haaha.
    As I’m telling him about my religious background, he is laughing at me. He is Laughing at me. He’s giggling. He’s like, if you believe this.. hahah.. ohhh…. ahhh. Now for his own entertainment he says this. Let me ask you this. What do you believe happens to you after um, after you die?
    And I said uhh… okay.. well, hopefully I live a good life and my soul goes to heaven and when I get there all my ancestors will be waiting for me like it’s an airport.
    HEYYY! Whatsupp? Guess who’s dead sucker.. Hahahaaa. Come here. Float over here. Check this out.
    I’m telling him this. He’s laughing even more. He is so condescending. He’s so snarky with his fuckin’ attitude. Yeah. Snarky it’s a word. Google that shit. It exsists. I’m not kidding. Snarky. Great word. Google magic my friends.
    And just incase you’re wondering. I do keep my keyboard right at my lips. You see this happening and you’re like Dane, that’s awfully close to you’re face. Oh. I know. Cause for the spacebar.. I kiss. Mwahh. That saves time. To whom it may concern.. Mwahhh. And I kiss.
    Unless it’s an aggressive letter. And then I head butt. I head butt the space bar. I have a pad on there. How dare you. How dare all of you.
    So he’s laughing at my beliefs. And finally, I just snap it.
    OKay! What about, What about you? Alright. You’re an Atheist. What does that mean? What happens to you after you die? Now he gets really serious like he’s about to school me. Okay. Oh I can tell you young man. I can tell you. I KNOW what’s going to happen to me after I die.
    After I pass on, my body will become one with this earth. From there, I will become a fertilizer for this planet. And with that. I will return as a huge, beautiful tree. That’s what this guy believes. He laughing at me. He’s going to come back as a fuckin ficus. Yeah..
    Johnny weeping willow over here..
    I wanted to slam this guy so bad for this right. But then I stopped. I stopped you guys please hear me out. I let it sink in and I want you guys to as well.
    I hope when he dies he does become a tree. I hope he’s in the middle of the wilderness and he’s doing his tree thing. Whatever it is trees do. I know they do alot of work with breezes. And wouldn’t it be fantastic if while he was out there just enjoying his treeness. Through the woods a huge, sweaty guy with an axe comes along. Sees him. Chops him down. Smash. Put a chain around him. Drags him through the mud and the muck. Put him into a sawmill. Grind him up. Then you pound him down into paper. And once he’s paper. You print the Bible on him.

  116. OT: For ID people who cut their teeth years ago on Phillip Johnson’s 1991 book “Darwin On Trial”, this audio lecture delivered in April of 2012 at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary may be enjoyable to listen to:

    Darwin on Trial: The Science Issues – Phillip E. Johnson – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK5sqd1SKXo

    Darwin on Trial: The Philosophical Issues – Phillip E. Johnson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJDlBvbPSMA

    Darwin on Trial: The Cultural Issues – Phillip E. Johnson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OizQdFVSQT0

  117. Chris Doyle said:

    So, my question is this: if we were given our pick of the entire human race, and we were able to apply artificial selection, and possibly some environmental controls, would we be able to create a human who, at some time in his/her life, would have a skeleton that was a morphological match for Homo Erectus?

    THAT is an awesome question. I am also curious to know the answer to this question. For me, much of what I hold true about the evolution of life would be determined by an honest and evidence-based answer to this question.

  118. Onlookers,

    It doesn’t look as if Nick Matzke is going to answer my question, therefor would anyone else like to do it for him.

    My question is as follows:

    What other examples (other than the supposed Homo eructus/homo sapien transition) do you have where there is fossil evidence of an obvious/agreed link between to different animals?

    Thanks.

  119. Hi Phinehas, I quite like it too, thanks for saying so! VJ Torley reckons the answer is yes (in theory). Still no word from any evolutionists though…

    I’ve gotta say, from everything I know about Homo erectus, I think VJ Torley is correct: we could re-create a Homo erectus skeleton from the extant human gene pool. That being the case, we would need an actual candidate for macro-evolution because Homo erectus would no longer be one. That needs someone to answer PeterJ’s question.

  120. Just a note on the morphological appearance of fossils…

    Podarcis Sicula lizards are able to significantly alter their skull, dentition, and intestine morphology (developing cecal valves in the gut) in a matter of weeks due to phenotypic plasticity (one genotype’s epigenetic ability to express multiple phenotypes based on environmental stress)
    Anatomical and Physiological Changes Associated with a Recent Dietary Shift in the Lizard Podarcis sicula

    It seems such variations could produce the illusion of Darwinian-style transitional forms in the fossil record.

  121. I asked Nick,

    “What other examples (other than the supposed Homo eructus/homo sapien transition) do you have where there is fossil evidence of an obvious/agreed link between two different animals?”

    With all the fossils available to look at, is this question answerable?

    If it is, and can be quite easily, why has no one bothered to do so?

    Any one care to at least try.

  122. PeterJ, I found this comment by Phillip Johnson the other day which you may be interested in:

    What I saw about the fossil record again,, was that Gould and Eldridge were experts in the area where the animal fossil record is most complete. That is marine invertebrates.,, And the reason for this is that when,, a bird, or a human, or an ape, or a wolf, or whatever, dies,, normally it does not get fossilized. It decays in the open, or is eaten by scavengers. Things get fossilized when they get covered over quickly with sediments so that they are protected from this natural destructive process. So if you want to be a fossil, the way to go about it is to live in the shallow seas, where you get covered over by sediments when you die,,. Most of the animal fossils are of that kind and it is in that area where the fossil record is most complete. That there is a consistent pattern.,, I mean there is evolution in the since of variation, just like the peppered moth example. Things do vary, but they vary within the type. The new types appear suddenly, fully formed, without an evolutionary history and then they stay fundamentally stable with (cyclical) variation after their sudden appearance, and stasis (according) to the empirial observations made by Gould and Eldridge. Well now you see, I was aware of a number of examples of where evolutionary intermediates were cited. This was brought up as soon as people began to make the connection and question the (Darwinian) profession about their theory in light of the controversy. But the examples of claimed evolutionary transitionals, oddly enough, come from the area of the fossil record where fossilization is rarest. Where it is least likely to happen. Archaeopteryx would be the prime example. Its a bird so we expect it to rarely be fossilized. Yet it has been exhibit number one in the Darwinian case. There’s nothing else around it. Unlike those marine invertebrates. So you can tell a story of progressive evolution that might not work out at all if you saw through the whole body of things around it. Likewise with the ape-men. That is another area where fossilization is very rare. And where the bones of humans and apes are rather similar anyway. So (someone) can find a variant ape bone, its pretty east to give it a story about how it is turning into a human being. If you tell the story well enough, and sucessfully, you get your picture on the cover of National Geographic and you become rich and famous. This could effect your judgement. One of the things that amused me is that there are so many fossil candidates for human ancestry, and so very, very, few that are candidates for ancestors of the great apes. There should be just as many (if not more) but why not? Well any economist can give you the answer to that. Human ancestors have a great American value so they are produced at a much greater rate. Now these were also grounds to be suspicious with what was going on. That there was obviously so much subjectivity. ,, The Standard explanation for why the fossil record is not more supportive of Darwinian expectations than it is, if you find that out at all (that the fossil record does not fit Darwinian expections), is that there are so few fossils, (thus) most things aren’t fossilized. That is why (we are told by Darwinists) that the fossil record has so many gaps. Not that the theory has many gaps but that the fossil record has so many gaps. Yet that is odd if the problem is the greatest where the fossil record is most complete and if the confirming examples are found where fossils are rarest. that doesn’t sound like it could be the explanation.
    - Phillip Johnson – April 2012 – video/audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=903s

  123. @ Nick 60

    There can be uncertainty about fine details while the overall big picture remains very clear. There is uncertainty about how many moons go around Jupiter, but we know for dang sure how many big moons above a certain size there are. You are like someone who argues that uncertainty about the exact count means there are no moons going around Jupiter.

    You mean like the fine details about how our moon was formed? Knowing how many moons a planet may have is one thing. That involves simple observation. But knowing how they were formed is a whole different ballgame!

    There was a recent article on Space.com entitled “Mystery of Moon’s Magnetic Field Deepens.” It shows that we still have no idea how our own moon formed.

    Here is a brief summary of the article found on creation evolution headlines.

    “New research sets back date of moon’s dynamo 160 million years,” reported PhysOrg based on a paper in PNAS. A team of geophysicists was surprised to find evidence from magnetic signals in moon rocks that the moon must have had a magnetosphere-generating dynamo that lasted much longer than they thought possible. Current theory must be inadequate, because “The lifetime of the ancient lunar core dynamo has implications for its power source and the mechanism of field generation,” the scientists wrote. They were driven to postulate unlikely mechanisms to keep the hypothetical dynamo going:

    These data extend the known lifetime of the lunar dynamo by ?160 My and indicate that the field was likely continuously active until well after the final large basin-forming impact. This likely excludes impact-driven changes in rotation rate as the source of the dynamo at this time in lunar history. Rather, our results require a persistent power source like precession of the lunar mantle or a compositional convection dynamo.

    And here is a second article that deals with the origin of water on the earth and the moon:

    When a Mars-sized object hit the Earth to form the moon (according to a popular theory), it should have obliterated all volatile compounds, like water, requiring Earth’s oceans to form later from impacts from wet comets or asteroids. That theory has been impacted itself by studies of water-bearing minerals in moon rocks, prompting Science Daily to report, “Moon and Earth Have Common Water Source.” Another Science Daily article suggests the new theory, “Water on Moon, Earth Came from Same Primitive Meteorites.” A new analysis of Apollo moon rocks dispels ideas that comets brought the water. It must have come from carbonaceous chondrites, the study concludes .

    This article brings into question the long taught irrational idea that comets brought the water we find on earth. However, this new theory requires extremely precise conditions to have occurred.

    Who really has the faith to believe this “just so story”?

    So how did the Earth “donate” some water to the moon? This calls for a delicate scenario: the hypothetical impactor that hit Earth had to loft just enough material off our primordial planet to form a large moon without destroying all Earth’s primordial water. Then, some of that water lofted into orbit had to migrate to the moon:

    It no longer looks likely that all the water in the material that formed the moon evaporated instantly in the giant initial impact. Instead, it now seems more probable that water migrated over a period of centuries out of the cloud of debris that coalesced into the moon.

    Apparently, “likeliness” has evolved in the modeler’s minds. The new findings forced a reassessment of what scientists thought was “probable.”

    But the explanation begs a new question: where did the Earth get its water to donate? Current theory does not allow a body at Earth’s location to garner water from a spinning debris disk. Adding a little more ad hoc can get the job done:

    [Alberto] Saal [of Brown University] thinks that Earth may have formed near where the asteroid belt is now, which is far enough from the sun for water to condense. The planet would then have migrated inward. It’ll be a tough theory to prove, because Earth’s geologic activity has been recycling rocks, and thus erasing the evidence, for billions of years.

    The new model would claim that the early Earth was not habitable, but through a series of lucky breaks, migrated into the habitable zone, where everything worked out just right for microbes to emerge and become planetary scientists who figured it all out.

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    These reports should anger anyone who watches science shows and reads textbooks that make the formation of the Earth and its large Moon look so easy. No theory can account for the observations. Instead, secular moyboys (believers in “millions of years, billions of years”) concoct fantastical models to preserve their fantasies from the evidence.

    Did you catch the howler in the quote above? Earth has been “erasing the evidence, for billions of years.” Quick! What does that imply? This is a fact-free story – even the part about erasing the evidence for billions of years.

    Before, the priests of the planetary evolution cult needed just a delicate impact from a Mars-size object (itself a highly improbable event) to form the moon, followed by some hand-waving and chants, to bring in a series of unknown wet impactors to form Earth’s oceans. That was unlikely enough. Now, they need Earth to form out in the asteroid belt, where water can conceivably condense, followed by a lucky pitch from Jupiter or Saturn to careen our dead planet right into the batter’s box of the habitable zone. That all had to happen before the Mars-size impactor came in, this time even more delicately, to loft water into Earth orbit without losing it, so that it could transfer the water to a new moon (which happens to be just right to support life on Earth).

    Nobody would believe this series of ad hoc events unless it were absolutely necessary to preserve secular materialism and long ages for Darwin. We won’t even go into the much more highly fantastical tales needed to get life, multicellularity, consciousness and intelligence to “emerge” from hot wet muck.

    Scientists speak of new data as “constraints” for their models. That’s why raw data from planetary missions is so valuable. The more constraints on storytellers, the better. As of now, they appear to have just one hand free to wave from the straitjacket the data have put them in. Maybe the next data will constrain the remaining hand-waving arm, and gag the mouth, too.

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