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Fish Fingers
Bad news for creationutters, via University of Chicago paleontologist/anatomy prof Neil Shubin. In "Creationist's Nightmare: An Evolutionary Anatomy Lesson," Lizzie Ratner writes in the NY Observer:

When the renowned paleontologist Neil Shubin announced in 2006 that he’d discovered an ancient fossil with an uncanny resemblance to a “missing link” between fish and land-dwellers, creationists responded with all the fury of pissed off-apes. Jumping, hooting and thumping their chests, they denounced the discovery as secular “propaganda” and trashed Dr. Shubin’s creature, named Tiktaalik, as nothing more than a desperate, pro-evolution publicity stunt.

“With the continued invalidation of the corrupt theory of neo-Darwinism in the eyes of many, and school boards nationwide taking a favorable look at intelligent design, it is not surprising that evolutionists are scrambling to enact damage control,” wrote Frank Sherwin, a “creation scientist,” in a news post for the Institute for Creation Research shortly after the story of Tiktaalik landed on the front page of The New York Times. “Enter an alleged ‘missing link’ that some are saying reveals one of the greatest changes in the field of zoology.”

Now, nearly two years later, Dr. Shubin has come out with his riposte, a book titled Your Inner Fish that is bound to send his anti-evolutionist foes into fits of pre-primate rage. This isn’t because Your Inner Fish is a particularly strident or polemical work. Written in a clear, patient voice, it keeps its God-delusion comments to a minimum while somehow managing to go 200 pages without ever mentioning the E-word. (Instead of “evolution,” Dr. Shubin uses Darwin’s more delicate term, “descent with modification.”)

But for those readers still raging over the idea that humans might be descended from “lower order animals” (like, say, monkeys), Dr. Shubin’s book suggests an even more terrifying possibility: It offers a rigorously empirical exploration of how humans evolved from microbes into men and women, with some vital contributions from jellyfish, sharks, flies and, of course, Tiktaalik-like hybrids along the way.

Indeed, if there’s one message of Your Inner Fish, it’s the “exceptional similarities” between creatures as distant and disparate-seeming as Homo sapiens and, say, Paracoccus denitrificans, a humble bacteria bearing a remarkable resemblance to the mitochondria buried in all human cells.

As Dr. Shubin writes, “All animals are the same but different. … We may not look much like sea anemones and jellyfish, but the recipe that builds us is a more intricate version of the one that builds them.”

Or, in practical terms: Don’t expect to see Mike Huckabee curling up with this book.

Posted by aalkon at January 21, 2008 9:10 AM

Comments

I took an online course in bio-informatics last fall. With just a few tools available in pubmed, you can trace a protein or gene from bacteria th humans. Cancer research can only work as well as it dose because yeast have the same basic gene-regulating proteins as we do.

Posted by: Ruth at January 21, 2008 6:21 AM

The Theory of Evolution is clearly, and I mean clearly, the best explanation for the speciation of life and the mechanism for speciation. Do questions still remain? Sure. (That's uncontroversial.) Has speciation ever been directly observed? No, but neither have 'forces' in physics. (That's going to be controversial here.) Could answers to open questions overturn the theory? Yes, but it's highly unlikely. (Might be controversial here.)

Opposition to evolution seems rooted in the most irrational of all literary theories: fundamentalism.

On the other hand, many schools now require graduating biology majors to swear an oath of belief in evolution. that's a bad direction for science. Let's not go the way of the fundamentalists.

Posted by: Jeff at January 21, 2008 9:58 AM

I'd rank evolution as perhaps the third most offensive word in America, behind only nigger and cunt.

Seriously, on a couple of occasions I have used it once in a conversation and had people immediately warn me that if I talked about it, they would get mad. In both cases they were people who, on the whole, I respected. One was a friend of several years.

"On the other hand, many schools now require graduating biology majors to swear an oath of belief in evolution. that's a bad direction for science."

Agreed. If they can pass the finals and not understand evolution, they need more rigorous finals. If they can understand evolution without believing it, well, I don't think that's possible.

Posted by: Shawn at January 21, 2008 10:32 AM

see, I have friends that are very strict constructionist in terms of when and how the earth was created... and whenever they get all wrapped around the axle about evolution, I ask them how weak their faith has to be to see discovery as a threat. Don't they trust their own God? How can they limit His power by requiring it to be something they will understand? Why do they demand that He fit within their box? By then if they are sort of taken aback, I mention that "Faith does not require science, and science doesn't require faith. If your faith needs to be proven to you, then it's not faith. Get out of the boat and start walking...

That said, I also have scientist friends who can't imagine at all why I would believe in what I can't see or test... I say the same thing to them. ORLY? and you think you can know everything? You say that humans made up God, and I say that humans also made up dark matter, and more than 3 dimensions plus time. "well, that can be proven mathmatically." Can you prove your own existance mathmatically? Before anyone goes out there and overthinks that, the point I make in general is that children have a basic understanding of things, that matures as they age. You don't magically everything at adulthood. The difference is, you THINK you do...

Fish? No, I descended from my mother, and that, I don't actually remember. Beyond that are many intriguing possibilities, but I don't need them to validate my being here. That seems to be the issue in from what I can see... Everybody is afraid that if they can't prove it, it won't be true, and they'll disappear in a puff of logic or a vacuum of faith. There are far more things that are worth worrying over. So, if this journey of curiosity takes us someplace unexpected, then, how wonderful for us? If it turns out we are related to primordial soup? So what? I am also related to a molecule of oxygen, by virtue of the fact my body has a lot of water, which is, interestingly, one part oxygen. Why should I care? What I care about is why when the female of my species bites her lip a certain way, I will do almost anything she wants. I defy you to come up with a reason for THAT, mathmatically...

Posted by: SwissArmyD at January 21, 2008 10:50 AM

There are a lot of things I don't know, but when I don't know them, I don't make up explanations for them. I only believe in what there's evidence for, and if there's no evidence for it, I'm not going to worry my little red head about it -- unless you or somebody tries to legislate my behavior based on what they've been told and wish to believe sans the intervention of critical thought.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at January 21, 2008 11:00 AM

I love evolution. It's one of the explanations why I have an easy time attracting men (young fertile female) but a hard time finding a suitable partner (females look for providers).
I learned this from Amy's advice because it's based on evolutionary principles. All being said it's a very frustrating situation that I find myself in. But I dont fool myself as to reasons...

Posted by: PurplePen at January 21, 2008 12:29 PM

I agree that micro-evolution, or evolution within a particular species, is a fact. I can see it. I can look at the finches of the Galapagos and see that they have evolved different beaks for different jobs. Yet, they remain finches.

What I don't believe in (yet) is macro-evolution, or evolution that shows a species having evolved into a totally different species. There is no "missing link" anywhere to be found. This includes apes to humans. I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm just saying no one has established that macro-evolution has taken place ever. The only way to do that is to produce the missing link. We're still waiting.

Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 12:35 PM

Tsbaker says, "I'm just saying no one has established that macro-evolution has taken place ever. The only way to do that is to produce the missing link."

This position reminds me of a person looking at a partially solved jigsaw puzzle and claiming, "No one can establish whether this is a picture of the Grand Canyon or the New York skyline till every last piece is in place."

Posted by: Axman at January 21, 2008 1:07 PM

Axman - Actually, my comments are more like a person looking at a partially solved jigsaw puzzle and claiming "this evolved from a crossword puzzle." Without offering any intermediary as proof.

Axman - I challenge you to offer me one. JUST ONE - example of macro-evolution. Is your belief in evolution based on "faith" or evidence?


Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 1:16 PM

Sorry - the first sentence of the above post should read "Actually, YOUR comments..."

Axman, if you are unable to provide me with just a single example of macro-evolution, please explain how your belief in same is any different than a Creationist believing the Earth to be only 6k old?

Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 1:51 PM

On the other hand, many schools now require graduating biology majors to swear an oath of belief in evolution.

Really? Google didn't show any anything about these oaths.

What I don't believe in (yet) is macro-evolution, or evolution that shows a species having evolved into a totally different species.

Anybody want to give odds that Tsbaker is an ID proponent?

Go ahead and don't believe. Whatever. Until we have good records on species over great big time scales, we can't observe macro-evolution.

Posted by: justin case at January 21, 2008 1:52 PM

There's a whole lot of faith involved. I have to believe that the fossils I've seen in museums were actually formed from the bones of animals and from the relevant parts of plants. I have to believe they were actually taken from the strata claimed, and I have to believe that the geologists who described those strata did so accurately and that they correctly inferred their age. And so on.

If my faith in those things that I have seen, read, and heard is not misplaced, then they form a body of evidence. And looking at that evidence holistically with a rational viewpoint leads to the conclusion that microevolution went on long enough in enough different directions to develop into macroevolution and cause speciation. In other words, the evidence supports "descent with modification."

The evidence does not *prove* descent with modification. There is still a possibility that God created all those things with the intention of deceiving creatures endowed by Him with a rational mind, and causing them to doubt His word, which he encoded in a collection of folklore that he entrusted to a tribe of beleagured herdsmen in the Middle East. There is also a possibility that same God will send me to hell for following my reason instead of your faith. I'll take that chance.

Posted by: Axman at January 21, 2008 1:52 PM

Axman is onto something. Here's one thing that people (especially on the Creationist side) get hung up on with these discussions. They don't understand theory at all. A theory is a useful way of describing the data we have and making predictions going forward. For evolution to be a useful scientific theory, it doesn't have to be 100% perfectly right (a standard which no theory reaches) - it just has to provide a framework, help us to know where we might find new data, etc. No theory is ever "proved" (some just haven't been falsified), and we don't have to have evidence for every aspect of a theory in order for it to be the best available. If that were the case, we'd reject all sorts useful theories. We still don't know the details of how gravity works. But maybe God just wants us to stick to the earth.

Posted by: justin case at January 21, 2008 2:04 PM

Axman and sychophants - so, I guess you don't have any examples of macro evolution. An uniformed mob is no diffent than an uniformed individual...except they can be more dangerous...

I note how you attack me as being religous or a proponent of ID. Incorrect on both counts. Your smears are very similar to how religious fanatics deal with criticism of their respective "belief systems." You don't answer my very simple question. You attack me, not my argument.

What you fail to understand is your belief in macro-evolution is no different than a proponent of ID arguing for an intelligent Creator. Its based on no scientific evidence. Before you go into another long winded, non-sequitir, ad hominen personal attack - PROVIDE ME WITH THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTING MACRO-EVOLUTION.

Why don't you just admit that there is no evidence that macro-evolution has ever taken place? Why is that so hard? It doesn't mean it hasn't. It just means we haven't found any evidence of it so far.

Good luck in the Church of Darwin.

Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 2:23 PM

By the way, what does the Church of Darwin have in the way of an explanation for the millions of fully formed species that suddenly appear in the fossil record with no fossilized evidence, not a single specimen, of an intermediary?

Lastly, doesn't the appearance of millions of fully formed species over millions of years disprove macro-evolution?

The Creationists say God made them. While I'm not buying that, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than what the Church of Darwin is selling.

I know I'm attacking your religion, Darwinists. Let's keep it civil......

Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 2:44 PM

Posted by: justin case at January 21, 2008 2:56 PM

justin case -

You providing that link is analagous to an Evangelical showing someone the Bible after they question him about the lack of scientific evidence for a God. Well played.


Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 3:09 PM

I thought it was funny.

Posted by: justin case at January 21, 2008 3:15 PM

"PROVIDE ME WITH THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTING MACRO-EVOLUTION." Let me make sure I understand the question. You want one of us Church of Darwin heathens to show you evidence of Macro evolution on a time scale that you can appreciate? That would be the same tired argument I hear from the sons of our local preacher. "If evolution is real then how come monkeys don't turn into people and leave the zoo?" Now just to point out that what you are asking is fundamentally a paradox. Even if what you were asking for existed you would simply claim that it was a metamorphic process (Catapillar to butterfly) as opposed to evolution. So you are asking for evidence that were you to find it you would dismiss it outright.

The spontaneous appearance of species is a mis nomer. First the vast majority of dead organisms do not fossilize they get eaten. So 10s of thousands of years can pass without a fossil record. I'd hardly call 10s of millennium spontaneous.

"The Creationists say God made them. While I'm not buying that, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than what the Church of Darwin is selling." So then you are or are not a creationist? If creationism makes more sense then evolution then wouldn't that make you a creationist. Do you have your own theories as to how all of these species came to be?

Posted by: vlad at January 21, 2008 3:28 PM

BTW just how different would the current animal and it's predicesor(sp) have to be and over what time period would the process have to occur?

Posted by: vlad at January 21, 2008 3:38 PM

Vlad,

Obviously, you can't answer my questions. Accordingly, you are trying to re-frame the argument. Create a straw man that you can then push down. That ploy is step two in liberalism 101 - right after the time tested personal attack. Glad to see that we are moving right along.

I'm not asking for "time frame" I'm asking for one, single, solitary piece of tangible evidence that supports macro-evolution. That's it. Nothing more and nothing less. Then you assert that even if that evidence existed and you providd it to me, I would dismiss it entirely. Just because you refuse to acknowledge that a lack of evidence tends to disprove a theory doesn't mean that others will refuse to acknowledge evidence that supports that theory.

As to my personal beliefs...I don't know. I'm asking questions and looking for answers. Initally, I was a firm believer in evolution. That's before I started asking questions about it and received unsatisfying answers from other proponents.

The fact that the fossil record shows millions of species popping up without intermediaries is devastating to the Darwin's Theory - at least as far as macro evolution is concerned.

However, it makes sense if you believe in a Creator. I find it difficult to accept religion. The media, academia, etc., is so secular. It is pounded in you from birth that there is no God. This is it. Everything can be explained with a test tube and a slide ruler. I'm having a tough time overcoming my bias against religion.

The Biblical account of creation is fantasy. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a Creator. The existence of Creator is consistent with The Big Bang and with the lack of evidence supporting macro evolution.

I don't know anything for sure as to the Big Question...except that no one else does either....

Posted by: Tsbaker at January 21, 2008 3:50 PM

justin case - it was kind of funny.

Posted by: tsbaker at January 21, 2008 3:51 PM

Tsbaker, here's some evidence:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Posted by: T. Bruce McNeely at January 21, 2008 4:32 PM

Tsbaker-

Before anyone wastes any more time on this, can you be specific about what you want? You ask for "one, single, solitary piece of tangible evidence that supports macro-evolution" - but on this forum all you can get is screen images and references to other screen images.

Evolutionary theory explains a huge amount of observational data. You could do worse than read Darwin to get an idea of this, even though modern biology has gone much further. It's quite readable.

If you were being scientific, you would not ask for evidence that supports evolution, but seek some prediction of the theory that can be contradicted by an observation. Such as, mammal fossils dated to 100 MY ago. (Instead, evolution predicts discoveries like the Tiktaalik.) You might also like to give an example of a prediction of ID theory that could be contradicted by an observation.

The ID discussion ostensibly of the Tiktaalik at http://www.idthefuture.com/2006/04/tiktaalik_as_missing_link_a_ne.html doesn't say anything about it at all. Instead it burbles on about Archaeopteryx and how the Tiktaalik ("this new and much ballyhooed fossil") will be debunked at some future date. True, it might. But that's not much of an argument at this date.

Posted by: Norman at January 21, 2008 5:05 PM

tsbaker -

If you would like some obvious evidence for "macro" evolution, you need look no further than whales. Not ancient fossilized structures, but living breathing whales. They have a wrist and digits, inside their flippers. That alone says little, but they also have rear legs in their skeletal structure, in spite of the fact that it is buried inside their blubber, without any expression on the outside.

And if we need to delve back in time, we can actually observe the fossil record of mesonychid, long thought to be the predecessor of whales. While mesonychid's relation to whales has been called into question (at least as a direct predecessor), there still exists a fossil record that shows those mesonychid's who resided close to the water, growing wider feet and shorter legs, eventually developing into effective flippers.

The evidence is out there and it is overwhelming in support of "macro" evolution. It doesn't take faith, but a preponderance of the evidence to accept that life on earth, all life on earth, evolved from simple organisms.

Posted by: DuWayne Author Profile Page at January 21, 2008 6:50 PM

Folks, before you spout off about what we have or have not found, you need to go look first. Look at darwiniana.org.

That will show you the fallacious nature of trying to seperate "micro"- from "macro"- evolution (terms invented by Bible apologists), among other things.

Generally speaking, I find the faithful to be woefully ignorant about the state of the investigative arts. That isn't, by itself, a slur. However, continued ignorance, with so many means of learning available, makes ignorance anomalous at best among a population so inclined to comment.

I have more links, but it will take a fast reader with a fast connection weeks to cover darwiniana thoughtfully, so I'll spare you now.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 21, 2008 7:19 PM

When one goes on about "Macroevolution", the first thing that a real evolutionary biologist is going to ask you is "What the hell do you mean ?" If you are talking about the Creationist strawman where suddenly, "poof", a new species exists, they would simply agree with you that such things don't seem to happen and wonder how you got such a confused idea into your head. Your high school science class was a mishmash of Darwin and Creationism perhaps ?

If you were to actually seek education (say an Evolutionary Bio class at your local junior college), they will reassure you that no magic is needed and the process works just fine with the change of a few base pairs at a time. I will leave it to you however, to decide at what amount of differing genetic materials constitutes a new species. That's a bit more difficult question than the validity of evolution and maybe a less scientific one. From my limited perspective, the answer seems to be that it is a new species when we want to invoke the endangered species act and keep the developers at bay.

Posted by: greenartifex at January 21, 2008 7:25 PM

Why is it that when scientists are confronted with new evidence supporting a particular theory, they are pleased -- yet when creationists are confronted with that very same evidence, they are horrified?

Posted by: Norm Author Profile Page at January 21, 2008 9:12 PM

That will show you the fallacious nature of trying to seperate "micro"- from "macro"- evolution (terms invented by Bible apologists) (Radwaste)

As advocates for science, we should never adopt the evasive rhetoric of creationism. Axeman's distinction is absolutely not fallacious! If this creationist argument is not addressed, evolution is in fact wrong.

Chimpanzees have an extra chromosome. If evolution cannot explain how we humans lost one, it fails as a theory. Period. There's no fallacy there. It does no good to adopt the spurious rhetorical methods of the creationists.

We are not on a religious crusade to win the argument at any cost --- and scientific integrity is far to high a price to pay to win any argument. We need only address them directly with known scientific facts.

Axeman, here is how macro evolution occurs. We have near perfect bio-chemical evidence for it.

Posted by: Jeff at January 22, 2008 12:25 AM

"Has speciation ever been directly observed? No, but neither have 'forces' in physics." - Jeff

Actually, there have been documented cases of speciation. You inadvertently repeated a bit of creationist propaganda. Fundamentalists have spread so much misinformation that even well-educated people who accept evolution buy into some of it.

Posted by: GodlessRose at January 22, 2008 12:54 AM

Micro- vs. macro- is nearly always an argument about generational lifespan. That's when it's fallacious. You'll also find quite a bit of debate, given the "common ancestor" vs. "descendant" nature of the chimp-human relationship, as to whether that chromosome actually has relevence to us.

Jumping ahead a bit, the process isn't "random chance" - a term used by people who understand neither the element of probability nor survival mechanisms, and it doesn't result in "optimized" organisms, either.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 22, 2008 2:13 AM

Cancer cells have the appearance of being well-designed for their own survival. They emit hormones that cause blood vessels to grow and give them nutrients. They split and spread around the body. It all looks quite purposeful.

How does this apparent design come about? It can't be by evolution during the lifetime of the host - it's not long enough. And cancer cells don't survive the host, so they can't evolve outside of that time either.

I came to the conclusion that we must be producing cancer cells all the time, but our immune system, and defences like automatic cell death, clear up almost all of them. The ones which survive are mostly benign. It's only the few malignant ones that come to our attention, and they are by definition the ones that exhibit apparent design.

Nasty little buggers.

Posted by: Norman at January 22, 2008 2:46 AM

@tsbaker: "Has speciation ever been directly observed?" How about truth, love, morality, faith, or god? Or numbers, or energy, or gravity?

How do we know any of these things exist? We infer them by using our intelligence to reason about the evidence we can appreciate with our senses. They don't all exist in the same way, however.

Posted by: Norman at January 22, 2008 6:52 AM

"Obviously, you can't answer my questions. Accordingly, you are trying to re-frame the argument. Create a straw man that you can then push down.That ploy is step two in liberalism 101" Ok now who's name calling. I did not set up a straw man argument what I did was to point out that anything available would point towards metamorphisms. Thus you would dismiss it and I'm attacking your argument as flawed. You set it up in such a way that it could not be countered. You also fail to give what you would need as physical evidence of evolution. I'm making an educated guess that you are trying the same old Bible bunny arguments (not that you are a bible bunny but those are the people who I see using them) so I'm asking the standard question. Your asking for us to find one example of an organism that evolves withing a span of time that we can observe, right? Fossil records are not enough for you as you have pointed out so you would need a living organism to evolve right in front of your eyes. That would disprove evolution since it does not happen spontaneously. Your guilty of the falsies(sp) your accusing non-ID of.

There are also degrees of faith. Evil darwinists do take some things on faith. That there is no conspiracies to hide god. The church is not the savior of us all. Fundies are ALL faith, god is omnipotent thus he controls all things, thus all things happen because of god. Circular argument.

BTW I maybe many things but a liberal? Oh, that's cute. Just cause I hate fundies doesn't make me a liberal. This depends on your definition of a liberal though.

Posted by: vlad at January 22, 2008 8:03 AM

You inadvertently repeated a bit of creationist propaganda. Fundamentalists have spread so much misinformation that even well-educated people who accept evolution buy into some of it (GodlessRose).

No I didn't. The creationists use a different definition of speciation, and I used theirs. In fact, you are equivocating here. Consider this quote from the link you cited.

There are a variety of different species concept currently in use by biologists. These include folk, biological, morphological, genetic, paleontological, evolutionary, phylogenetic and biosystematic definitions. In the interest of brevity, I'll only discuss four of these -- folk, biological, morphological and phylogenetic

When creationist uses the word 'species' they usually mean 'species as genetics.' They are concerned in particular with morphology chromosomes in the genome. They will sometimes call this "macro-evolution."

Your source specifically ignores the definition used by creationists, the genetic definition of speciation. Deploying a different definition against a creationist argument is to commit the fallacy of equivocation.

As I've written before, we gain nothing by sly, dishonest rhetoric in the service of science. We don't need to mislead by equivocation to make our case. See my post at 12:25am for a direct, scientific reply to the speciation question --- without equivocation.

Posted by: Jeff at January 22, 2008 8:41 AM

How about truth, love, morality, faith, or god? Or numbers, or energy, or gravity?

Arghg. I always get myself in this awkward position of advocating for evolution but against the rhetoric of evolutionists.

Empirical science is not concerned, love, morality, faith, or god, or even numbers. It concerns itself with energy and gravity only as a necessary means to model observations. Science is concerned with truth in the way Quine describes the "web of belief".

Because scientific truth requires coherence, no fact is ever tested in isolation. Every experiment is a test of a whole theory. Because scientific truth requires correspondence to observation, the inability to explain an observation can call a theory into question.

It is no error to question whether an observation can be explained by a theory. That's what Axeman and tsbaker do. They commit no error.

Love, god, etc. do not admit of regularity and so are not capable of being apprehended by science. Science isn't' even concerned with the concept of number, but only with models of numbers. Besides, truth is a very limited thing, and science cannot answer the most important questions. Which is not to say that science isn't important. But let's not make it less important by bad rhetoric.

Posted by: Jeff at January 22, 2008 8:55 AM

I grew up in a home where fundamentalist creationism was pushed, a LOT. My father is a very well-known creation scientist. He has been working with this kind of stuff for literally decades now. I have seen most of the tactics they use to push Creationism and try to discredit Evolution.

One of the major tactics that Creationists use is to try to disprove little bits of specific scientific research and if they have a good argument against one small aspect of evolution they can thereby throw the entire theory of Evolution out the window. One such tactic is asking to show an example of "Macro-Evolution" in the fossil record. Another is attacking natural selection in dark and light moths, attempting to discredit any and all fossils found of "ape-men", trying to disprove "millions" of years in general, and trying to show genetic "mutations" as generally harmful.

In any case, here is an excellent dialog about macro evolution, with literally hundreds of cited references:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html

In general, Creationists go out of their way to attack evolution and evolutionists, while doing very little to prove their own case. About the only thing I've seen Creationists try to actually prove is that the Great Flood and Noah's Ark happened, a tale that actually isn't unique to Christianity and therefore doesn't prove it any more than it proves any of these other tales. http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/titania.htm This page has a listing of most of the tales of the Great Flood.

Posted by: Bad Kitty at January 22, 2008 12:25 PM

@Jeff: I understand what you are saying. I was aiming to reply to tsbaker in his own terms, hoping to be more intelligible to him/her. I never said that empirical science was interested in these things. I said that even though they cannot be seen, handled, or weighed, we still accept that they are real in some sense, because otherwise we cannot make sense of what we do see, handle, and weigh. To that extent we treat them just like force, energy, etc. There are other sciences besides physics.

Posted by: Norman at January 22, 2008 3:16 PM

Bad Kitty, the "Flood" is a far easier target than "Creation". I can show anyone processes that continued unabated for any period of time claimed by "Flood" fans, as well as the astonishingly simple physics which prohibits any such thing in the claimed time period. Dendrochronology: no mass tree extinction --> no "Flood". Search for the Ice Core Data Gateway; no seawater intrusion - indeed, no massive intrusion of any kind - again, no "Flood". Then, it takes a little over 900 BTU to vaporize one pound of water. Pick any reasonable depth you want, and the energy requirement to move it fries everything; there is also mass conservation to observe. No "Flood".

There are two amazing things which surface when I show these things in assorted fora. One is that the faithful comehow think that the lessons of Jesus depend on this myth. The other is the lengths to which the faithful will go to "make it true". Lying is especially conspicuous, profoundly disappointing, and unfortunately popular.

Posted by: Radwaste at January 22, 2008 3:53 PM

Radwaste -

I don't think it is all that often lying. Rather, it is perpetual ignorance due to insular, world view oriented propaganda. This is why the very same fallacies are repeated by person after person. I was listening to the local religious station that plays an Irish minister I like, when on a whim, I listened to James Kennedy. It was an eyeopener, as I found the fount from which so much of this evilelution bullshit flows. I also took a few tums and listened to Dobson on FotF. There was the anti-gay rights clucking away, almost word for word arguments that some of my friends like to use.

Now I can imagine that for some, possibly many, it is a very willful ignorance. But for the most part, I suspect that rather than being all that willful, the ignorance is based in (what they see as) reasonable, coherent explanations for why evilelution is so wrong. This is also keeping in mind that to many of them, the idea that Satan would be attempting to deceive us, by planting all this supposed evidence for evolution, is perfectly coherent and reasonable.

My pastor has, on more than one occasion, invoked Satanic deception as the answer for my assertions. There is really not a lot to be said at that point. There is nowhere to go from there. These are people who have effectively shut down all discussion. If it's good (i.e. it fits their world view) it's from God. If it's bad (i.e. it does not fit within the narrow confines of their world view) it is the result of Satan.

But the one thing you can count on from most everyone in that category, is that they will speak nothing that they do not perceive as truth. They are also people who have nothing but contempt for the ID movement. They may be absolutely absurd in their ignorance, but they quite often have remarkable integrity to what they believe to be true.

Posted by: DuWayne Author Profile Page at January 22, 2008 6:16 PM

DuWayne, I remember a conversation I had with a Pentacostal minister about faith healing, (the laying on of hands healing, if you will). I was about 15 years old. He said that if you are sick and get prayed over, you are supposed to accept your healing by faith. That meant that even if you could you were not healed, you were supposed to believe you were. (Here's me: Wha ???????) How could you possibly believe you were well when you are sick, isn't that deluding yourself? He said that once you really believed that you were healed, that you would actually be healed. 'Faith is the evidence of things not seen.' Then I said, Then why do you pray for someone over and over because you should only have to pray for anybody just one time. Because if they don't have faith they won't ever be healed and if they did, the would be healed the first time? Uh-oh, I injected logic into a conversation about faith. He got kinda agitated. Then I said, believing in things not seen and ignoring your own eyes is the basis for every con game ever invented in history. I'm not sure that's a good thing to do. Now his face was turning red. He was really getting angry. I was officially declared unfaithful and I agreed, even I could see that.

Posted by: Bikerken at January 22, 2008 7:02 PM

Jeff: I wasn't replying to "the creationists". I was replying to you. "Has speciation ever been directly observed?" and "Has genetic speciation ever been observed?" are not equivalent statements. The distinction is meaningful, and you were not clear.

Posted by: GodlessRose at January 22, 2008 10:44 PM

Tsbaker: 'I'm not asking for "time frame" I'm asking for one, single, solitary piece of tangible evidence that supports macro-evolution.'

Archaeopteryx. If that's not good enough for you, nothing ever will be.

Posted by: Patrick Brown at January 27, 2008 4:22 PM

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