Home » Intelligent Design » Tiny T Rex from China – and other animals

Tiny T Rex from China – and other animals

We are often told that bunnies in the pre-Cambrian would be evidence against evolution, but that is just posturing. But what of real known anomalies? The Chinese fossil layers are throwing up all sorts of out of place evidence. It would be nice if we were told more about such fossils. But slowly word is getting out. We find now for instance a Tiny T Rex Raptorex kriegsteini in the early Cretaceous of China (or is that the late Jurassic?).

Tiny ancestor is T. rex blueprint – BBC  

Although the Jehol Group of China is now thought to be of Early Cretaceous age, many taxa are from the ‘Late Jurassic, or older.’ It is suggested that perhaps East Asia was a ‘refugium for some of these more typically ‘Jurassic’ taxa in the Lower Cretaceous.’

To account for such anomalies there is the hypothesis that eastern Asia was ‘isolated from the rest of Laurasia during Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous times.’ There is also a relict tritylodontid synapsid ‘a group thought to have become extinct at the end of the Middle Jurassic’ now found in the Early Cretaceous of Japan.

‘The palaeobiogeographical history of this region was complex…’ it sure does complicate the text-book picture… ‘and the composition of the Jehol Biota is only partly explained by the refugium hypothesis.’

In addition to relics and an isolated refugium in the east Asian Lower Cretaceous there are also Upper Cretaceous biomes including tyrannosauroids etc. ‘…suggesting that this region could also be regarded as a centre of diversification for some of these taxa.’

So a refugium and a centre for diversification, wow,  or perhaps the text-book view that the geological column gives evidence for evolution is deeply flawed. Where is the evidence for evolution if animals were still around long after they were supposed to have vanished? And animals that were supposed to have evolved later were already making their stage debut?

Source: Z. Zhou, P. M. Barrett & J. Hilton, An exceptionally preserved Lower
Cretaceous ecosystem, NATURE, VOL 421, 20 FEBRUARY 2003 pp. 807-814

Chinese-fossil-layers-and-the-uniformitarian-re-dating-of-the-jehol-group

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53 Responses to Tiny T Rex from China – and other animals

  1. “The team made casts of the bones and reconstructed the animal as they believe it would have appeared. They think it would have been 1m high and that it would have had similar feathers to an ostrich.” The animal that carried that skull seems unlikely to have had feathers to me. Just a hunch.

  2. I would have to think that the early appearance of an organism is more difficult to the explanatory power of Darwinism than is a longer than is the supposed survival of an organism. Also, evolving a reproductive advantage wouldn’t require the extinction of the ancestor organism, it would require speciation from the ancestor organism.

  3. absolutist,

    The animal that carried that skull seems unlikely to have had feathers to me. Just a hunch. No doubt. Claiming the mini T-Rex had feathers is simply wishful thinking stemming from the desire to discover transitional dinosaur-to-bird evidence. But it makes no sense.

  4. The age of any dinosaur or dinosaur group is not decided by their apparent stage of evolution. Ages are determined solely from the age of the oldest beds in which geologists find their fossils first appearing and the age of the beds in which their fossils last appear. New finds thus constantly add to our knowledge of the time and geographic range of fossil animals. Although the really big tyrannosaurids such as Tarbosaurus and the infamous T. rex lived in the Late Cretaceous, early tyrannosauroid dinosaurs are found in Late Jurassic and early Cretaceous rocks of Asia and North America. Finding a pint-size tyrannosaur in early Cretaceous (or Late Jurassic?) beds in China is hardly “out of place” or “anomalous”. Hence the find is something that delights rather than dismays evolutionists.

  5. Leenibus said: “Ages are determined solely from the age of the oldest beds in which geologists find their fossils first appearing and the age of the beds in which their fossils last appear.” Anyone care to spot the circular argument.

  6. Hello Andrew,

    A note for your readers – the fossils in layers of sediments are only a general guide to their relative age. Some beds containing dinosaur fossils, such as the Jehol Group of China, contain layers of lava or volcanic ash from volcanoes erupting at the time the sediments were deposited. The ages of the volcanic rock layers can be determined by measuring concentrations of isotpoes of elements such as argon and uranium/lead in minerals in the solidified lava or ash.

    However, Andrew, I have read your 2007 article in the Jurnal of Creation on the fossils and dating of the Jehol Beds:
    http://creation.com/chinese-fo.....ehol-group

    I am aware that you summarily dismiss any and all isotope dates, including the dates ranging from 110 million to 147 million years ago for the volcanic layers in the Jehol Beds. In your article you conclude that features of the Jehol Beds are consistent with being deposited in the flood of Noah. That leaves little common ground for further discussion.

  7. Leenibus,

    So the discussion ends because your assumption >= to Andrew’s assumption?

    PS, potassium->argon dating didn’t work so well with Mount St Helens.

    Andrew,

    You don’t like ages being determined from ages? ;)

  8. Andrew,

    Can you tell us when the Noahic Flood occurred, which you argue buried these fossils? In view of the fact that your article criticizes evolutionist scientists for revising their dates, I presume you have reasonably high confidence in your own estimate of the timing of the Flood.

  9. Mr Lim:

    Can you tell us when the Noahic Flood occurred,

    Either exactly or just after “God” commanded it to happen.

  10. Joseph,

    Mr Lim:

    Can you tell us when the Noahic Flood occurred,

    Either exactly or just after “God” commanded it to happen.

    Thanks for your input. How many years ago would that have been?

  11. Mr Lim:

    How many years ago would that have been?

    I will have to ask.

    However just because I ask doesn’t mean I will get an answer.

  12. Joseph,

    Mr Lim:

    How many years ago would that have been?

    I will have to ask.

    However just because I ask doesn’t mean I will get an answer.

    Thanks. Ideally Mr. Sibley himself will supply an answer.

  13. Mr. Lim,

    When you ask “how many years ago would that have been”, can Joseph and Andrew also have the luxury of a 37 million year degree of error that Leenibus has given above for the “volcanic layers in the Jehol Beds”? Do you expect given ages for geological events to be in years or tens of thousands of years or millions of years…?

  14. drawingtheline,

    Mr. Lim,

    When you ask “how many years ago would that have been”, can Joseph and Andrew also have the luxury of a 37 million year degree of error that Leenibus has given above for the “volcanic layers in the Jehol Beds”? Do you expect given ages for geological events to be in years or tens of thousands of years or millions of years…?

    Let me answer your questions in reverse order: Mr. Sibley can give his answer in whatever units of time he wishes, as long as they can be converted to some standard unit, such as years.

    Regarding the allowed margin of error, that would depend on the evidence. Given that Mr. Sibley is a YEC, I think 37 million years is a bit generous.

  15. Mr Lim – As you know ID has no interest in timeframes, and I reckon your attempt to focus on this is to be dismissive of the evidence presented for out of place fossils.

    But as for my personal belief, it is of the order of 4,500 to 5,000 years ago. That ties in quite well with population growth figures using a compound growth equation of 1/2 % growth over 4,400 years.
    2 x (1.005^4400) = 6.8 billion

    Many of the earliest documents such the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’, ‘Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta’, and the ‘Sumerian King List’ (SKL) mention events, places and names that are known to us from the Bible. This includes mention of Noah as Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the story Gilgamesh makes a journey to see Utnapistim, an ancient hero who survived a global flood and is given eternal life for his act of righteousness.

    ‘O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu,
    Demolish the house, and build a boat!
    Abandon wealth, and seek survival!
    Spurn property, save life!
    Take on board the boat all living things’ seed!’

    ‘The olden times have turned to clay, …these people…like fish, they fill the ocean.’

    ‘For six days and…nights, there blew the wind, the downpour, the gale, the Deluge, it flattened the land.’

    ‘On the Mountain of Nimush the boat ran aground…’ [1] Andrew George (Ed.)

    The Epic of Gilgamesh, Penguin Classics, 1999, Tablet XI 25, 120, 125, 145

  16. Mr Lim,

    Considering Andrew is a YEC, the timing of the flood has to be within ten thousand years and maybe within half that number of years. The reason I found your comment strange is that this 10000 or 5000 year time frame is already more specific than you could expect of most dates given for these types of past events is it not?

    So, where do you ask for that type of accuracy outside the flood?

  17. Andrew,

    Mr Lim – As you know ID has no interest in timeframes, and I reckon your attempt to focus on this is to be dismissive of the evidence presented for out of place fossils.

    I do agree that ID in general doesn’t make claims about timeframes, but your post brings up issues of dating, so I don’t think it’s unfair for me ask you similar questions. To be quite frank, lots of things are going to appear out of place from a YEC perspective.

    But as for my personal belief, it is of the order of 4,500 to 5,000 years ago. That ties in quite well with population growth figures using a compound growth equation of 1/2 % growth over 4,400 years.
    2 x (1.005^4400) = 6.8 billion

    I’m not sure how that provides any support to your position. You can always fit an exponential curve to two data points like that. Furthermore, your model predicts a population of about 4.12 billion 100 years ago, when the population was actually around 1.7 billion, according to wikipedia. It doesn’t appear that this model is very accurate over that range, anyway.

  18. drawingtheline,

    Mr Lim,

    Considering Andrew is a YEC, the timing of the flood has to be within ten thousand years and maybe within half that number of years. The reason I found your comment strange is that this 10000 or 5000 year time frame is already more specific than you could expect of most dates given for these types of past events is it not?

    So, where do you ask for that type of accuracy outside the flood?

    In absolute terms, yes, but not necessarily in relative terms. If he had said “the flood happened 5 to 10 thousand years ago”, then his margin of error could potentially be 100% of the actual value.

    Anyway, Mr. Sibley has, to his credit, given a very straightforward answer of 4,500 to 5,000 years for the interval since the flood, so I can’t complain that he isn’t being specific enough. In fact, based on the existence of the bristlecone pine known as Methuselah, I think he could safely narrow this range to 4840–5000 years.

  19. Sorry, sorry, sorry . . . I am so confused. I thought Uncommon Descent was about the best scientific evidence for Intelligent Design, Specified Information and Irreducible Complexity. Are we bringing in to question dating methods as well? I don’t mind I just want to be clear on what the issues are here.

    I don’t want to offend or anger anyone . . . what IS the base assumption of Uncommon Descent about the evolution time frame and the dating techniques? I am just trying to make sure I am clear about what everyone is saying! I admit to being a bit slow on the uptake but I’m not ashamed to ask!! :-)

  20. Andrew,

    One quick addendum to #17, regarding your exponential population model. According to your equation, the world population in the year 1 A.D. would have been just over 300 thousand. Does that seem remotely plausible to you? Wikipedia’s estimate is ~200 million, including just under 60 million in the Roman Empire alone.

  21. Mr Lim

    The equation for compound growth is the model, the figures I have put in are assumptions (based on figures less than known growth rates) that would explain the current human population in 4400 years. You can put in other figures, within known values for human population growth, to get different values.

    There is some irony that ID supporters are the ones accused of being the simple literalists, but then get question by people who don’t seem able to use mathematical models with varying assumptions.

    As for questioning dating, it was the secular scientific community that decided that their existing figures were wrong. I was simply highlighting a paper in Nature.

  22. Andrew,

    Thanks for the response.

    Mr Lim

    The equation for compound growth is the model, the figures I have put in are assumptions (based on figures less than known growth rates) that would explain the current human population in 4400 years. You can put in other figures, within known values for human population growth, to get different values.

    There is some irony that ID supporters are the ones accused of being the simple literalists, but then get question by people who don’t seem able to use mathematical models with varying assumptions.

    I’m a bit confused: what do you mean by “varying assumptions”?

    And perhaps you could clarify what your objective was in introducing the exponential model. I thought you intended to show that a post-flood timeframe of 4400 years is reasonable, because the model’s predictions for human population agree with known values and/or estimates. Your model certainly works well at the endpoints, but seems to be off by factors of several hundred in the middle of the interval.

    I’m not trying to be difficult, I would just like to understand your thought process here. :)

  23. Andrew,

    Another addendum to #22: If your intent was just to argue that getting from 2 humans to 6.8 billion in 4400 years is plausible, then I do agree with you. :)

    As for questioning dating, it was the secular scientific community that decided that their existing figures were wrong. I was simply highlighting a paper in Nature.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I had in mind this part of your post:

    We are often told that bunnies in the pre-Cambrian would be evidence against evolution, but that is just posturing. But what of real known anomalies?

    Haven’t an enormous number of metaphorical “pre-Cambrian rabbits” been discovered which should overturn young-earth beliefs? I’m thinking of things like varves and ice cores specifically which go back for many tens of thousands of years.

    Not to mention this graph, which I think would convince most people of the validity a wide range of methods which can be used to date objects up to 50,000 years old.

    What is your opinion on these things?

  24. Andrew:

    Mr Lim – As you know ID has no interest in timeframes

    I can guess about this, but perhaps you could explain why a scientific discipline that attempts to explain the origin of life isn’t interested in timeframes?

    I’m also of the understanding that ID proponents normally agree with the generally accepted age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years. Has something changed? Should we equate ID with Creationism now?

  25. mikev6

    I believe it’s more appropriate to say that ID does not depend on a timeframe more than to say it’s advocates are not interested in the timeframe.

    With natural processes, time is very important since blind chance has to play a role. With intelligence, this is not necessarily the case.

  26. drawingtheline:

    With natural processes, time is very important since blind chance has to play a role. With intelligence, this is not necessarily the case.

    In theory, I’d agree with this. However, when investigating the nature and identity of the designer and the exact process by which the designer (or designers) intervened in natural processes, I would argue that time could be very important.

  27. 27

    Mikev6,

    “…I would argue that time could be very important.”

    How so? We could argue that an intelligent designer is not constrained by time. Evolution is most definitely constrained by time – vast amounts of it.

    Therefore, it is really irrelevant what those time frames are. We simply go by the natural evidence, but it doesn’t add or detract from ID as a theory. If the earth is only 6,000 years old and there’s good evidence, ID is still true. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old or older and there’s good evidence, ID is still true.

    Evolution, OTH, depends on vast amounts of time.

    I think the only real interest an ID theorist would have with the time element besides curiosity, would be its comparative relation to ToE.

  28. CannuckianYankee:

    How so? We could argue that an intelligent designer is not constrained by time.

    We could speculate, but do we have any evidence about how the designer worked? Was it instantaneous? Did it depend on the current Earth environment at that point in time? These and other questions could be time-related – do we have evidence to say otherwise?

    Therefore, it is really irrelevant what those time frames are. We simply go by the natural evidence, but it doesn’t add or detract from ID as a theory. If the earth is only 6,000 years old and there’s good evidence, ID is still true. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old or older and there’s good evidence, ID is still true.

    But these are not necessarily the same thing. One could posit a time-travelling civilization for a span of 6,000 years. 4.5 billion? Possible, but that length of time puts more restrictions on the possible choices, IMO. Again, I don’t think one can rule out time as a factor in this.

    Evolution, OTH, depends on vast amounts of time.

    No argument there, of course.

    I think the only real interest an ID theorist would have with the time element besides curiosity…

    I think that curiosity would suggest that it is premature to discount time as an element. It may be a different factor than the ToE, but to say that time is of no account is, IMO, to make large assumptions about the nature of the designer.

  29. 29

    mikev6,

    “We could speculate, but do we have any evidence about how the designer worked?”

    I’m sorry, I mispoke in context to your argument. I should have said that we could argue a designer is not necessarily constrained by time.

    Therefore, to say that the designer is not necessarily constrained by time is not a speculation. It is rather allowing for whatever could be (when there’s no evidence either way), rather than forcing the designer into a particular time format that might not be so. We don’t know how much time was involved in processing DNA information into life as we know it, or into life as it was at the beginning. It could have taken some considerable time, or it could have been instantaneous.

    “I don’t think one can rule out time as a factor in this.”

    I don’t think anyone is ruling out time as a factor. It’s just that with what we know right now, time is not a factor for ID as it is for evolution. It may become a factor with new information, but as it stands now, it is not. It is currently irrelevant.

    Let me expand on my last paragraph. There are some time speculations with ToE, and there are some arguments for the age of the earth that are more rigorous. ID is more likely to go with the more rigorous arguments for the age of the earth than with the speculations that make ToE more credible than it would be without them.

  30. 30

    mikev6

    I think it’s also important to point out the differences between Darwinian evolution as a theory and ID as a theory.

    Evolution is concerned with giving us an all-encompasing picture of how life evolved from simple structures (along with some limited speculations on how evolution and life first started). In that, theorists often attempt to answer questions that really have no answer by the theory – a lot of it is mere speculation based on the assumption that the theory is true.

    ID on the other hand is very limited compared to Darwinian ToE. ID simply attempts to detect the features of organisms, which show design rather than random processes. This is why ID is still compatible with much of the ToE, minus the Darwinian aspects of random mutation and natural selection in the process of speciation. This is also why some ID advocates accept ‘macroevolution,’ and why some do not.

    If ID is compatible with the basic arguments for evolution as change over time; while at the same time, is also compatible with a young earth scenario, one can see more clearly why time as it stands with what we know presently would not be a factor for ID as it is for Darwinian ToE.

  31. 23 Mr. Lim

    Carbon dating is the creationist’s “best friend”.

    I think I am right in saying C14 has been found in all carbon containing deposits on the planet including coal and diamonds and fossils. There should be no C14 detectable in anything older than ~100000 years.

    If you have evidence to the contrary please let me know.

  32. “It’s just that with what we know right now, time is not a factor for ID as it is for evolution. It may become a factor with new information, but as it stands now, it is not. It is currently irrelevant.”

    Um . . . . I get that an intelligent designer that we know nothing about may not be constrained by time but . . . . is a young earth scenario (which sounds highly incompatible with the fossil record and dating techniques) intelligent designer compatible with an old earth designer? I mean, was are talking about different kinds of interventions . . . yeah? Different things being designed? Certainly at different times. Is it really even the same hypothesis?

  33. mad doc,

    Carbon dating is the creationist’s “best friend”.

    Without even getting into a discussion of these creationists’ claims, C14 is no friend to anyone who believes in an earth on the order of 10,000 years.

    And according to talkorigins,

    With extreme care and isotopic enrichment techniques, anthracite coal has been measured with an apparent age of more than 75,000 years (<0.01 pMC), below the detection limit of the procedure [27]. Thus coal exists that shows no evidence of intrinsic radiocarbon.

  34. 34

    ellazimm,

    “…is a young earth scenario (which sounds highly incompatible with the fossil record and dating techniques) intelligent designer compatible with an old earth designer?”

    In short, no. A young earth scenario is not compatible with an old earth designer. I happen to agree with an old earth scenario. However, there really is no scientific information that would make an old earth designer vs. a young earth designer a conundrum for ID. We are not at a stage where we know enough about how the designer designed to determine this point. For the most part we ID supporters view YEC vs. OEC as a theological matter as it should be, and not as a scientific one.

    Acceptance of the scientific evidence for the age of the earth notwithstanding, ID does not part from explanatory power under a 6,000 year old earth vs. a 4.5 billion year old earth with the current focus on ID being evidence for design, not how long it took to design. As I stated earlier, that may change with new information.

    It’s interesting though, that those in the ID camp who hold to a YEC view, along with those who don’t have determined to set aside their theological differences for the sake of the larger question. It may seem that very rarely is this kind of compromise ever acheived elsewhere in theological circles, but that would not be the case.

  35. CannuckianYankee,

    “…there really is no scientific information that would make an old earth designer vs. a young earth designer a conundrum for ID.”

    Anytime, anywhere, anyhow! How useful (and convenient)!

    “We are not at a stage where we know enough about how the designer…”

    So what then *do* you actually know re the designer?

    “…ID supporters view YEC vs. OEC as a theological matter…not as a scientific one.”

    What’s a few billion years between friends, eh?

    “…ID does not part from explanatory power under a 6,000 year old earth vs. a 4.5 billion year old earth with the current focus on ID being evidence for design, not how long it took to design…”

    So the evidence that my boarder cat designed the universe yesterday is compatible with ID theory?

    “It may seem that very rarely is this kind of compromise ever acheived elsewhere…”

    Nothing to with any court rulings then?

  36. MeganC,

    “Anytime, anywhere, anyhow! How useful (and convenient)!”

    When, where, and how did the first cell form?

    “So what then *do* you actually know re the designer?”

    Since we’ve never observed a cell form by a natural process (and also don’t know how), what then *do* you actually know re the natural process?

    “So the evidence that my boarder cat designed the universe yesterday is compatible with ID theory?”

    Wow, now you just proved that *nothing* formed the universe 14 billion years ago! Thanks. Since our choice is only between nothing and your cat, you’ve really simplified this question of origins!

    “Nothing to with any court rulings then?”

    Of course courts are the natural place to make decision regarding science! There is a long and proud history there. What are we all thinking!

    You would sound less silly if you actually understood assumptions are part of EITHER theory and that includes the age of the earth and universe. Did you know it hasn’t always been dated 4.5 billion years old?

  37. drawingtheline,

    “When, where, and how did the first cell form?”

    Google “evolution of the cell”.

    “Since we’ve never observed a cell form by a natural process (and also don’t know how), what then *do* you actually know re the natural process?”

    We can’t directly observe events that are understood to have occurred billions of years ago. There are plausible theories with varying degrees of evidence for how the first cell came to be via natural processes.

    “Wow, now you just proved that *nothing* formed the universe 14 billion years ago!”

    I did?

    “Thanks.”

    No, thank you.

    “Since our choice is only between nothing and your cat, you’ve really simplified this question of origins!”

    Glad to hear that I’ve contributed to ID theory in such a meaningful way.

    “Of course courts are the natural place to make decision regarding science!”

    Which is why the DI goes up & down the country trying to make politicians enact new laws to exclude/demote evolution in favour of ID/Creationism?

    And would you rather such matters be decided by opinion poll? I guess you would.

    “There is a long and proud history there. What are we all thinking!”

    You’re thinking that you might win someday?

    “You would sound less silly if you actually understood assumptions are part of EITHER theory and that includes the age of the earth and universe.”

    You assume that donkeys talk & I don’t? Hmmmnnn…now I wonder how that might affect our thinking processes?

    “Did you know it hasn’t always been dated 4.5 billion years old?”

    It has always been the same age. Earlier estimates of the age of the earth where often based on single factors and generally regarded as tentative and as minimum ages. As more evidence accumulated the age was extended and became as secure as it is today.

  38. CannuckianYankee:

    I agree with you on the time issue – my comments were triggered more (IMO) by Andrew’s certainty that time is of no issue; a certainty that isn’t warranted by the little evidence we have on how a designer would have carried out any operations on biological systems.

    ID on the other hand is very limited compared to Darwinian ToE. ID simply attempts to detect the features of organisms, which show design rather than random processes. This is why ID is still compatible with much of the ToE, minus the Darwinian aspects of random mutation and natural selection…

    From an ID perspective, I think this is valid and probably accepted by many ID proponents.

    From an non-ID perspective, I don’t think it captures the level of concern about what ID represents.

    If ID was to suddenly be proven correct by some chain of events, science would have to examine not just evolution, but basically every scientific theory we currently hold. If we have incontrovertible proof that some supernatural entity is manipulating our environment, we would be forced to consider that a confounding factor in all analyses. Why just biology? What about Geology? Physics? Engineering? Statistics? and so on.

    The stakes are high here, which is why the demands for solid proof are so strong.

  39. MeganC,

    “Google “evolution of the cell”.
    Hiding behind Google won’t help you here. Cell evolution is an assumed just-so story. If you can show how a step-by-step blind process created the first cell, please let all of us know!

    “And would you rather such matters be decided by opinion poll? I guess you would.”

    Once again you latch on to assumptions. ID should stand or fall on its own merits just like evolution. It should not be a matter of opinion polls or court cases.

    “You’re thinking that you might win someday?”

    What will I win? What am I trying to win? You didn’t make a another baseless assumption did you?

    “You assume that donkeys talk & I don’t?”

    Thanks for letting me know what I assume. Your empty comments have been amusing.

  40. Mikev6,

    “Why just biology? What about Geology? Physics? Engineering? Statistics? and so on.

    The stakes are high here, which is why the demands for solid proof are so strong.”

    This is really a silly argument. If we found out later that there is a supernatural source to our universe, how could that possibly impact physics, engineering and statistics?

    Think about it. If you found out, for example, a timeless God does exist, then you would only now becoming aware of an eternal God who has existed

  41. Mikev6,

    I sent that last post by accident! Sorry.

    Finishing my sentence:

    all this time and obviously these areas of study have not been affected.

  42. drawingtheline,

    “Hiding behind Google won’t help you here. Cell evolution is an assumed just-so story.”

    Calling the evidence/speculation for/about the evolution of cells a just-so story is really just accusing the relevant scientists of outright deception. Although we expect much of the speculation and theorizing to ultimately prove to be incorrect/inconclusive; research will continue and theories and will be refined and new ideas will be generated in the wake of preceding work. Which is much more than can be said for an unspecified, undetectable designer who leaves no trace of when, where or how anything was designed.

    “If you can show how a step-by-step blind process created the first cell, please let all of us know!”

    I can’t, but the scientific work on the origins of the cell continues regardless. You (and the entire ID movement) will continue to contribute absolutely nothing, but will always insist that nothing other than a HD, 7.1 channel reviewing of events than took place billions ago will satisfy you. Nobody of significance will care.

    “Once again you latch on to assumptions. ID should stand or fall on its own merits just like evolution. It should not be a matter of opinion polls or court cases.”

    Science by opinion poll has actually be promoted quite frequently on this site, so I guess you probably haven’t been here that long.

    “What will I win?”

    A bottle of single-malt scotch :)

    “What am I trying to win?”

    A court case.

    “You didn’t make a another baseless assumption did you?”

    A assumed you didn’t like losing court cases.

    “Thanks for letting me know what I assume. Your empty comments have been amusing.”

    Don’t sell your GameCube.

  43. MeganC,

    Not all evolutionary scientists claim they can explain the origins of the first cell. Not all evolutionary scientists believe the first cell evolved either. Regardless, having a belief system in itself is not deceptive. Claiming it is “factual” is. If I said I knew empirically God made the first cell, I would be being deceptive. The same goes for natural causes. It’s a lame argument to say I can’t prove it now but I know I’m going to be able to do it in the future.

    “You (and the entire ID movement) will continue to contribute absolutely nothing, but will always insist that nothing other than a HD, 7.1 channel reviewing of events than took place billions ago will satisfy you. Nobody of significance will care.”

    That is a flattering view of the ID movement of which I am not a formal member. However, if you are under the impression that a belief in unguided evolution is responsible for all scientific progress, you are seriously deluded.

    As for the cute 7.1 channel reviewing comment, nobody has or expects that. But if that were a requirement, the ID movement wouldn’t exist either!

    A couple comments:

    1) The court case you keep referring to is not something I had any stake in. I do believe, however, courts are not a good place for these kinds of disputes.

    2) I won’t sell my gamecube! In fact, I still like it. :)

  44. drawingtheline:

    This is really a silly argument. If we found out later that there is a supernatural source to our universe, how could that possibly impact physics, engineering and statistics?

    ID does not propose a supernatural source that started things and then backed away. It posits a designer who is actively involved in influencing the course of events on Earth in some yet-to-be-determined way.

    Think about it. If you found out, for example, a timeless God does exist, then you would only now becoming aware of an eternal God who has existed all this time and obviously these areas of study have not been affected.

    Let me suggest an example. There have been discussions on this thread about dating techniques. We know that C-14 dating works because it can be calibrated against events of known age and it follows physical properties that are predictable. Therefore, we can use it to date objects where we don’t know the date.

    However, what if we now know that there is a supernatural being that impacts events on Earth? How do we know that that “designer” hasn’t interfered with the results of the C-14 dating for some particular reasons we don’t understand? How can we trust any C-14 readings made in the past or future?

    The same problem works for other areas. If we measure the path of an object in space and it doesn’t follow the orbit we expect (which is how we found Pluto, for example), how do we know that there’s a physical cause and it’s not some designer screwing with things? If we search for a cause and don’t find anything, do we just stop and say “ahh well, must be design”, or do we keep looking for an answer?

    The only way you can say “obviously these areas of study have not been affected” is because you’ve assumed (like science) that such a supernatural entity doesn’t arbitrarily interfere.

  45. Mikev6,

    Last comment on this thread for me!

    “The only way you can say “obviously these areas of study have not been affected” is because you’ve assumed (like science) that such a supernatural entity doesn’t arbitrarily interfere.”

    This is true. But you’ve taken your scope too far.

    For example, we don’t need uniformitarianism for pracitical sciences like engineering where we can observe our process from start to finish. With (some) dating techniques including Carbon 14 we are forced to make an assumption about the process since we couldn’t know if the rate of those processes had changed in the past.

    I should also point out that we can’t also rule out the possibility of an unknown natural cause for this type of change. We can measure forces like gravity but, at least to my knowledge, the reasons for these forces are not well understood.

  46. Mikeb6, you are under a misconception. God is not ‘manipulating’ anything. He sustains all. He pervaved all. All is contained within Him.

    -At the edge of science is theology. Between them is the connective tissue of philosophy with its language of mathematics.

    If ID was to suddenly be proven correct by some chain of events, science would have to examine not just evolution, but basically every scientific theory we currently hold. If we have incontrovertible proof that some supernatural entity is manipulating our environment, we would be forced to consider that a confounding factor in all analyses. Why just biology? What about Geology? Physics? Engineering? Statistics? and so on.

  47. drawingtheline:

    For example, we don’t need uniformitarianism for pracitical sciences like engineering where we can observe our process from start to finish.

    We assume that concrete has the same properties as it had in the last bridge we built, or that the chance of a packet being lost as you read this website is a result of various random traffic effects rather than a designer deciding to drop your packets specifically.

    I should also point out that we can’t also rule out the possibility of an unknown natural cause for this type of change.

    Sure – but we can assume that such natural causes don’t play favorites. Many of these factors are discovered and compensated for in calibration. We assume, however, that they don’t change on odd-numbered Wednesdays because a designer wishes it.

  48. Oramus:

    Mikeb6, you are under a misconception. God is not ‘manipulating’ anything. He sustains all. He pervaved all. All is contained within Him.

    I’m not sure how this impacts my previous comments. If we have solid proof that God intervenes in natural processes, how can we not question everything we’ve learned about those processes?

  49. MeganC:

    We can’t directly observe events that are understood to have occurred billions of years ago.

    So the theory of evolution is history rather than science.

    Got it.

    Which is why the DI goes up & down the country trying to make politicians enact new laws to exclude/demote evolution in favour of ID/Creationism?

    No one is doing that.

    Also ID and Creation are not the same.

    The only people who conflate them are the people on an agenda who don’t have a clue about either.

  50. 50

    Mikev6, re:38

    “From an ID perspective, I think this is valid and probably accepted by many ID proponents.

    From an non-ID perspective, I don’t think it captures the level of concern about what ID represents.”

    And that’s exactly what we are dealing with: perspectives.

    You have to ask yourself: “is the Darwinian evolution perspective solely based on evidence, or is it based on a metaphysical assumption of methodological naturalism as the driving force behind science?” If the former, then there’s really no problem (except for the false predictions ToE has already made). However, if methodological naturalism can have even a potential of being incomplete, then one can question the whole Darwinian perspective.

    In addition to the ID literature, the posters here at UD have done a phenomenal job at showing that the Darwinian perspective based on methodological naturalism is not only potentially incomplete, it is incomplete.

    Consider these issues:

    The mind and where it comes from.

    DNA and biological information – where does it come from?

    Irreducible complexity in cellular structures, and how they formed.

    The fine tuning of the universe.

    There are quite a number of other issues, which a simple concept of ID explains better than the monstrosity of Darwinian assumptions based on methodological naturalism. Parsimoniously, ID is more on track than the whole Darwinian solution. True, it is incomplete, but it presents the basis for a theory that offers far more explanatory potential than blind natural forces can ever offer.

    ID offers immense potential for science – in medicine for example, we can see that human biological structures have a particular purpose. As such, we can then determine the optimal benefits behind these structures, leading to potentially new therapies and cures. Scientists would do well to abandon their metaphysical assumptions and pay attention, as many already have.

    You mention concern about ID. Well there should be concern if one is committed to a philosophy of ‘scientism’ that doesn’t really work, and offers no insight into how our bodies work, and why they work as they do.

    “If ID was to suddenly be proven correct by some chain of events,”

    ID and ToE are both historical scientific theories. As such, neither of them are going to (nor can) offer us rigorous proof. As Dr. Stephen Meyer stated (paraphrase), we have to judge historical theories based on inference to the best explanation.

    If you are looking for some magical proof of ID, you will be disappointed. You have to weigh the arguments between ToE, which loses it’s explanatory power the more detailed and complex the evidence shows, and ID, which grows more credible the more detailed and complex the evidence. We are headed towards more detailed and complex evidence. Guess which theory will win out.

    In # 48 you state: “If we have solid proof that God intervenes in natural processes, how can we not question everything we’ve learned about those processes?”

    I think you would benefit from an understanding of the history of Western science. Most, if not all of the Western scientists prior to Darwin were theists. Theism presented the basis for Western scientific assumptions before Darwin. Why? Because it was seen that God is logical and systematic. As such, the cosmos, and everything in it should reflect that characteristic of the designer.

    I’m not saying that without theism we wouldn’t have science, but without theism, Western society would not have developed the perspective that the cosmos reflects logic and systematic processes. We would not have figured out the laws that govern scientific principles. We would still perceive the workings of the universe as mystical.

    So when you posit that a god acting in nature forces us to re-examine everything we have learned, you are ignoring the history of Western science.

    The reason we know that miracles are miracles, is because they defy the logical laws that define the limits of our reality. Only a god (or one appointed by a god) can thus perform them, because he is the author of such laws. Miracles as we understand them from a theistic perspective are not the norm. Natural processes are the norm, but that does not detract from the sustaining power and interaction in nature of a designer.

  51. 51

    mikev6, Oramus

    You both stated that if proof for a designer immerges, then we would have to re-examine pretty much all of science.

    This is ridiculous, since the existence of a designer would first of all explain the existence of all else. Furthermore, such a designer would have a logical mind, which would form the basis for the science you suppose we should need to re-examine. Also, maybe our scientific understanding is incomplete due to naturalistic assumptions, but such a designer also designed our intellect, which is looking at the evidence he created. It still stands, therefore, that we can have a perspective about nature without belief in a designer. As such, we don’t really need to re-examine everything that we currently know – only those assumptions about reality for which we were mistaken. The true benefit in this is that we will gain insight into life and the cosmos, which our metaphysical assumptions prevented us from gaining.

    So the only thing that changes is our perspective, not the science behind existence, which already existed with the designer’s hand.

    Your assumption is based on methodological naturalism. Prove that natural forces are all that exist, and you have an argument. Otherwise, you are hopelessly mistaken.

  52. 52

    Let me offer some more perspective on this.

    A person designs a computer, and leaves it in a field. A primitive person discovers the computer (and just so happens to have access to electricity – that’s the cheat). This person plugs in and turns on the computer, and learns over the course of several months that it calculates, and does many wonderful things for him. He is at a wonder that nature should create such a miraculous device.

    He is curious as to how such a device works, so he takes it apart, and learns through intuitive processes and logic, all the workings of the computer. Now he is even more amazed that blind natural processes could create such a divice, but he comes up with a theory, that it was assembled over time through gradual selective processes, and it just happened to be at it’s current complexity when he came across it in the field.

    OK, he’s mistaken about how the computer came to be, but he is not limited in what he can learn about the computer and it’s workings based on that mistake. His science about the workings of the computer does not necessarily change when he discovers that the computer was designed by a person not unlike himself – with a reasonable mind, intuition, and a propensity for logical thinking. All that changes are his assumptions about how the computer came to be.

  53. CannuckianYankee:

    First, I appreciate the lengthy response and the thought behind it.

    Some specific points that particularly interested me:

    ID offers immense potential for science – in medicine for example, we can see that human biological structures have a particular purpose. As such, we can then determine the optimal benefits behind these structures, leading to potentially new therapies and cures. Scientists would do well to abandon their metaphysical assumptions and pay attention, as many already have.

    What is stopping this from happening? If ID could produce a set of superior disease cures the general scientific world would have a fairly rapid attitude change. Are those scientists who have abandoned their metaphysical assumptions having better results in solving practical problems in their labs? If not, how do you expect the others to follow?

    You mention concern about ID. Well there should be concern if one is committed to a philosophy of ’scientism’ that doesn’t really work, and offers no insight into how our bodies work, and why they work as they do.

    Science never claims to have all the answers, but to say it “doesn’t work” seems a little strong. On the other hand, how many past attempts to combine the supernatural with the natural have produced measurable results? Doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, of course, but one tends to be healthily skeptical.

    ID and ToE are both historical scientific theories. As such, neither of them are going to (nor can) offer us rigorous proof.

    Why? The ToE is necessarily historical because it depends on long periods of time to operate. It was stated several times in this thread that ID is independent of timeframes – it could support a YEC view for example. Why not last month? I haven’t seen any detailed description of how a designer creates species, so how do we know the designer is not needed continuously?

    I think you would benefit from an understanding of the history of Western science. Most, if not all of the Western scientists prior to Darwin were theists. Theism presented the basis for Western scientific assumptions before Darwin. Why? Because it was seen that God is logical and systematic. As such, the cosmos, and everything in it should reflect that characteristic of the designer.

    I’m not sure how this illuminates the current discussion. God being logical and systematic is belief – firstly in the existence of God and secondly in assumptions about God’s nature. Many people happily believe that the universe is logical and systematic without God. Many others believe that God is highly offended by what happens in your bedroom and intervenes in your life daily. AFAIK, ID has not come off the fence on who the designer is – do we have proof that the designer is logical?

    This is ridiculous, since the existence of a designer would first of all explain the existence of all else.

    Why? How do we know the designer isn’t just some entity that likes to play with living systems? It seems you have determined already the identify and nature of the designer.

    Take my previous example of C14 dating – your view is that the designer, being a logical and systematic entity, wouldn’t arbitrarily interfere with the dating process. Yet ID proposes that this entity does intervene in biology. Why is C14 dating immune? You mentioned the fine tuning of the universe. Why stop there? Any entity that can select fundamental physical constants certainly has the ability to pick and choose which C14 tests are accurate and which aren’t.

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