We Are All Fish

64

Like it or not, your genes run all the way back to a fishy critter called Tiktaalik that led the way to land 375 million years ago. A new documentary shows why the ancient animal deserves an honored spot in your family tree.

Anti-evolutionists have at least one thing in common with climate-change deniers and anti-vaccine nuts: they keep repeating nonsense long after it’s been debunked, and if you debunk it one more time, they pretend they can’t hear you and just keep going. Lather, rinse, repeat—it just never ends.

One of the evolution-haters’ favorites, for example, is this: if evolution really happened, with one species giving rise to another, why aren’t there any transitional fossils? Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Professor Darwin.

It would be a devastating critique if true, but it’s hogwash. Our relatively recent ancestor Lucy had both apelike and human characteristics, and paleontologists have found many more examples going back hundreds of millions of years. One of the most dramatic was announced in 2006: an ancient fishlike creature dubbed Tiktaalik. Dating back some 375 million years, it had gills, scales and a mostly fishy body. But its fins concealed bones and joints of a type never before seen in a fish, which let it crawl around on land. It was either our great-great-great (repeat many times) grandfish. Or at least, it was related.

Neil Shubin, the University of Chicago scientist who led the team that dug up Tiktaalik, went on to write a best-selling book about it, titled Your Inner Fish. That led to a three-part PBS series, and now that series is available on DVD. It’s well worth watching.

Part of the reason Your Inner Fish deserves your now fully human attention is that Shubin is such an engaging guide to what could otherwise be a dry and dusty topic, but which, thanks to his genial enthusiasm and clarity, is anything but. The search for Tiktaalik was a scientific detective story, and that’s just how he lays it out. Fish, he reminds us, were the first animals with backbones, skulls and overall bony skeletons. They swam the world’s oceans 400 million years ago—and then, 40 million years later, the first amphibians were up on land.

Something must have happened in that 40-million year gap to make the transition to land possible, and armed with the knowledge of the timeframe and the places in the world where sedimentary rock of the right age was accessible, Shubin and his team ended up on Ellesmere Island, in spectacularly remote and austere landscape not far from the northern tip of Greenland. It took years of painstaking searching, requiring return visits during the brief Arctic summer year after year for a full decade until, in the second week of July, 2004, they found what they were looking for.

Written By: Michael D. Lemonick
continue to source article at time.com

64 COMMENTS

  1. I saw this series a few weeks ago when it was on PBS. It was a “must-not-miss” event for my wife and me on Wednesday nights. I plan to purchase the DVD series, which I think should be required viewing in (at least) high school biology classes.

    Steve

    • In reply to #2 by Agrajag:

      I saw this series a few weeks ago when it was on PBS. It was a “must-not-miss” event for my wife and me on Wednesday nights. I plan to purchase the DVD series, which I think should be required viewing in (at least) high school biology classes.

      Steve

      I saw it too and positively loved it. I also learned that Neil is Canadian (born and raised in Nova Scotia). Yaaayy!!

    • In reply to #5 by A.Porto:

      Darwim it was predicted that there should be countless transitional fossils
      and also said that his theory would be confirmed by these
      countless fossils.
      Or he talked nonsense.

      Not all animals leave fossils it is a very rare event, in fact the odds are against getting one fossil per species. Even so there are numerous examples of what you might call transitional fossils – species with obvious characteristics of both their ancestor species and the species they are evolving towards. You can see it for whales, cats, monkeys, apes, horses, elephants, birds,reptiles, amphibians, fish, early mammals etc. There are over a thousand examples like this so far. So I guess by your statement you must accept evolution to be true?

    • In reply to #5 by A.Porto:

      Darwim it was predicted that there should be countless transitional fossils
      and also said that his theory would be confirmed by these
      countless fossils.
      Or he talked nonsense.

      What are you talking about? You obviously haven’t read (or if you have, understood|) Darwin. But in any case, there’s been the best part of 150 years’ knowledge since then.

    • In reply to #5 by A.Porto:

      Darwim it was predicted that there should be countless transitional fossils
      and also said that his theory would be confirmed by these
      countless fossils.
      Or he talked nonsense.

      I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to say. Perhaps your intentions are not quite clear because English is not your first language?

  2. @ Steve – have you met N S?

    @ Nitya – check out other comment; I love the smell of riddles in the morning.

    @ Sagan the Cat – I dig what you’re saying, but have to agree with the author. To the “average” layperson, imo, this subject would be viewed as such. Neil Shubin is a wonderful speaker – therefore, serendipitous that it is he who waxes enthusiastic about Tiktaalik.

    Tongue in cheek 5 minute video, ‘Tiktaalik’, might be another way to spark interest in evolution for some. Plant the seed, so to speak.

    • In reply to #12 by bluebird:

      @ Steve – have you met N S?

      Sadly, no. He’s at U ‘of‘ C, and I’m at U’I‘C. Same town, though. :-)
      He is regularly on “Chicago Tonight” (a local PBS show) as a science consultant. He really is an excellent explainer of scientific issues, up there with Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in my opinion.

      Steve

  3. If I may add a couple of possibly anticipated links. The first is a creationist response to Shubin’s work specifically, and the second is in response to Stafford’s comment #11.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2014/04/12/review-inner-fish-1
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/can-creationists-be-real-scientists

    (Yes, I know everyone hates Ham and Lisle on this site but you’d be disappointed if I didn’t chip in on this topic and their explanations are fuller than mine could be. . . .!)

    Just one other thought that occurs to me: although I haven’t had time to search this site for references, I do recall there being comments about evolutionary explanations for humans being able to see patterns. An example I recall is the assertion that the layout of the stars in space do not actually form patterns, yet we can see patterns in them and have given names to the constellations as a result.

    Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils – and sees patterns of development where there are none. By putting fossils of creatures in order of, say, limb length, one could see a pattern of limbs shortening in proportion to body size in order to become fins (as in the supposed evolution of whales). However, who is to say that those creatures were actually transitional? Presumably, it is those who see the pattern. Yet we cannot be sure that such a perception is reliable. A creature with medium-length limbs might just have medium-length limbs: it need not necessarily slot between those with short and long limbs respectively.

    As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview.

    It would be interesting (if it hasn’t already been done) to put a number of random shapes in a psychometric test and tell the candidate to put them in order. If anyone knows of such an exercise, I’d be interested to read about it.

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      you’d be disappointed

      Not me.

      Why oh why, does AiG always have to rear its ugly head.

      S G was correct – why do you think we fight so damn hard to get C / ID out of classrooms?!

      • In reply to #15 by bluebird:

        Why oh why, does AiG always have to rear its ugly head.

        “AiG” is subject to “interpretation in a scientific world-view”. “Accept our ignorance Greatfully”! – and give us money! -

        So much simpler and much less effort, than studying to gain a scientific understanding of material reality!

        Theistic blinkers do not prevent the use of the multitude of benefits from work by generations of scientists, – they merely re-attribute the credit for those benefits to their magic fairies!

        • In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #15 by bluebird:

          “AiG” is subject to “interpretation in a scientific world-view”. “Accept our ignorance Greatfully”! – and give us money! -

          So much simpler and much less effort, than studying to gain a scientific understanding…

          Hi, Alan

          Thanks for the links in your earlier post (and also for the one on the Assassin Flies discussion a few weeks ago). It’s been a busy family weekend so I haven’t yet had the chance to view the latest links – but I will. I remember first seeing Mudskippers on David Attenborough’s Life on Earth BBC TV series decades ago. Fascinating creatures.

          I know my comments often provoke lots of responses and there are inevitably too many for me to respond to in detail. Coupled with the fact that you know very well that my detailed knowledge is nowhere near as great as that of other regulars on these discussions. I seek to make no pretence about that. However, whatever explanations of our origins etc, it does all seem to start with – dare I say it – a foregone conclusion that origins must always have naturalistic explanations. A supernatural cause is not considered even as a possibility, no matter how remote.

          As I’m not persuaded by naturalistic explanations for man’s capacity for the spiritual, it remains glaringly obvious to me that the position of dismissing the supernatural from all explanations is not as reasonable as it might seem.

          I’m not here to promote AiG but on your point about their science, have you looked at their Research Journals? I wouldn’t expect you to agree with their conclusions regarding the Creator, but I would be interested to know where their science is flawed.

          Regards,

          Lonevoice

          • In reply to #32 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

            I’m not here to promote AiG but on your point about their science, have you looked at their Research Journals? I wouldn’t expect you to agree with their conclusions regarding the Creator, but I would be interested to know where their science is flawed.

            Yes I have looked at articles from their so called research journals – which are “reviewed” not by independent scientists, but by fellow YECs to check they comply with Young Earth beliefs.
            They have nothing to do with scientific methodology or reputable scientific investigations. They have a consistent theme:- They “believe the Earth is Young”, therefore all science proving otherwise must be asserted to be wrong, regardless of evidence.

            Basically Genesis is literally TRrrrroooooo – just as the bronze-age scribes told it, so none of the modern scientific measuring techniques can possibly work or produce accurate results! A position viewed by scientists who regularly carefully check the accuracy and use scientific measuring techniques, as truly comical assertions from incompetents.
            “All your science (which has been cross checked thousands of times), is wrong because the village idiots say so!!” is hardly credible science.

            The term ” Research Journals” in regard to AiG is pure comedy! They only produce their fake (pseudo)science “journals” because their so called scientific research is so comically flawed, that no reputable scientific journal will publish their papers.
            In terms of their reputation among competent scientists, they are on a par with the Flat-Earth-Society papers “refuting global planet geography”!

            The only “research” they do is to see what Young-Earth stories they can make up to denigrate reputable science, or to mislead the uneducated with pseudo-scientific bunkum!

            Other more educated Christian organisations like the RCC and the CofE at least accept competent scientific studies and the scientific conclusions on cosmology and evolution – (The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. ), even though this involves compartmentalisation of their views to include “God-did-it-by-these-processes”!

            AiG have some people on their staff who did some real science once-upon-a-time and gained some scientific credentials, but their writings for AiG have nothing to do with real science – and are regarded as disreputable or grossly incompetent by reputable scientists.

          • In reply to #32 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

            As I’m not persuaded by naturalistic explanations for man’s capacity for the spiritual, it remains glaringly obvious to me that the position of dismissing the supernatural from all explanations is not as reasonable as it might seem.

            That is a discussion on neuroscience and psychology. Reasoning depends on starting with evidence, or it is just hypothetical “castles in the air”!

            Asserting some argument wears a badge of “reasonableness” is meaningless without a demonstration of reasoning starting with evidence. There is considerable (though not yet conclusive) evidence that “spiritual” emotional feelings are features of the circuitry and biochemistry of the brain.

            There is no evidence of supernatural magic apart from imaginary notions based on gap-ology. The argument is about a lack of supporting evidence for clinging to magical explanations, rather than if some remote vague possibility can be dismissed.

            It would seem very unlikely that a “supernatural cause” would have a fish evolve to become amphibious, or for an amphibian to evolve into a reptile, mammal etc,! The biological explanations and observations are perfectly clear and well supported by fossil and genetic evidence.
            .

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      If I may add a couple of possibly anticipated links. The first is a creationist response to Shubin’s work specifically, and the second is in response to Stafford’s comment #11.

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2014/04/12/review-inner-fish-1
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/can-

      Sorry to be blunt and no doubt the moderators will castigate me in due course but is there any chance you could just fuck off back to wherever the batshit crazy hang out together?

      • In reply to #16 by Arkrid Sandwich:

        Sorry to be blunt and no doubt the moderators will castigate me in due course but [Edited by moderator to remove quote of post in breach of Terms of Use.]

        Since when did RDF.net members prefer an echo chamber over a place where all views can be shared? I rarely frequent this site any more so I don’t know if Lonevoice has a record of throwing in a few creationist links and refusing to answer rebuttals to his comments (which happened a lot in the past and might explain your behaviour). However, if this is not the case I think you’re exactly as close minded as most creationists.

        Lonevoice,

        I refuse to listen to the likes of Ham and Lisle because, as the article states as well, their explanations have been debunked over and over again and it’s getting tedious. I would like to respond quickly to your own argument though.

        Basically what you are doing is attacking a strawman. From your perspective it may seem a simplistic game of ‘fill the gaps’, but evolutionary biology has come a long way since folks started classifying species by just a first and second glance. Although it is true that the theory of evolution by natural selection started out from a simple observation of species in a similar environment exhibiting similar traits compared to those from a different one, it now is supported by evidence from many scientific disciplines and not just the human eye/mind.

        Take for example the archaeological evidence. No matter how biased an ‘evolutionist’ might be, he can’t change where a fossil is found. And throughout time, fossils have always been found in the ground layer where evolution theory predicted it would be. All exceptions could be explained by taking into account factors such as major earthquakes, tectonics, floods, etc. which occurred between the creation and the discovery of the stratos and it’s fossils.

        Then there’s the genetic evidence. Do you really think it is coincidence that there is an almost 1 to 1 correlation between the genetic resemblance and the degree in which species are related according to the trees of life we know so well from evolution and classic taxonomy? Not only that, but because we know the average mutation rate of most genes over long spans of time we can calculate how much two species will genetically differ (or differ in specific genes) if they separated a certain amount of years ago. And guess what? They usually differ as much as their place in the evolutionary tree of life and their mutation rates predicted! Wow, right?

        I’ve barely scratched the surface here and I’m not well-trained enough to explain in more detail or more clearly genetics, chemistry, etc. support the placement of new fossils in our lines of ancestry, but I hope this spurs you to either look into the matter yourself, or ask fellow members here for more explanation.

        Cheers

        • In reply to #19 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

          Since when did RDF.net members prefer an echo chamber over a place where all views can be shared? I rarely frequent this site any more so I don’t know if Lonevoice has a record of throwing in a few creationist links and refusing to answer rebuttals to his comments (which happened a lot in the past and might explain your behaviour). However, if this is not the case I think you’re exactly as close minded as most creationists.

          Perhaps it was a bad day but my tolerance for the sheer bloody mindedness of the batshit crazy had reached its limit. I watched this wonderful tv series and found it completely awe inspiring and then you get the drivel in places like AnswersfromGenesis trying to refute it based on lies and disinformation because they’ve got a few lines in a bronze age book written by clueless goat herders and they think that trumps the billions of man hours of scientific research by people trying to explain our world properly and better the lives of all who live on it. I’m sick of their arrogance and the harm they do. The climate change deniers, the evolution deniers, the deniers of anything scientific that contradicts their absurd dogma. The people who over the centuries have tortured and killed anyone who dared to point out the glaring errors in everything religious. The sadistic fundamentalists in Nigeria who are kidnapping girls and threatening to sell them into slavery or execute them. The insane in Sudan who have just sentenced a woman to death for apostasy. I hate the fucking lot of them. I don’t want to debate them anymore. It’s a waste of time and effort. I just want them gone.

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils – and sees patterns of development where there are none.

      you mean because humans have evolved to spot patterns then humans haven’t evolved?

      paradox aside, yes it is possible. which is why the evidence for evolution is for the most part, not driven in any way by the fossil record. A scientific theory must produce testable predictions. The fossil record supports the theroy.

      As for spotting patterns of development where there are none, this is not the same as seeing pictures in stars. With vertibrates for example, bones do not suddenly apear or disapear. Changes in size, position etc, are measured and compared, not accepted as somone’s idea of right or wrong. remember, in the unenlightened days on antiquity all it took for consensus was an apeal to authority, much like you unenlightened types of modernity. If the wise man says it’s bear with a long tail, who can argue? unlike the work of paleontologists who are expected to do actual science that can be falsified, or verified under the peer review system.

      Evolutionary theory makes predictions about the past. Fossils have been shown to support this by ensuring accurate measurements and comparisons are made before conclusions are rigourously examined before publication.

      Similarities between fossil remains are actually measurable, unlike other examples of pattern recognition such as seeing jesus in toast. to date there has been no published data to determine exactly how much a bit of burnt toast looks like jesus. Evolved pattern recognition is a strategy that promotes a best overall outcome for the genes of an animal required to make quick decisions with limited information. Science requires slow decisions made with maximum information, and these decisions themselves will be tested repeatedly.

      Finally, I should point out that your question of seeing paterns where there are none to reach a conclusion is an example of the “going nuclear” fallacy. For it to destroy the evolutionary argument, it must destroy all arguments. The bible was written by superstitious people with evolved pattern recognition skills, capable of seeing patterns where there are none, such as the amazing similarity between what people said about Jesus generations after he died and what people said about prophesies centuries before that.

      As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview.

      have you? well sounds like you’ve been wrong many times before and are striving to remain wrong as long as you possibly can

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      (Yes, I know everyone hates Ham and Lisle on this site but you’d be disappointed if I didn’t chip in on this topic and their explanations are fuller than mine could be. . . .!)

      Ham is just a comical rather sad ignoramus who makes up an assortment of drivel to con the uneducated, based on his confused preconceptions and a profound ignorance of biology, and physics. The accuracy and reliability of scientific information, is based on objective well tested evidence, and is totally unrelated to whether Ham wants to disbelieve it or not.

      Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils – and sees patterns of development where there are none.

      Transitions in gene pools are not merely a feature of fossils. They are a feature of living species, as those who study biological diversity, are well aware.

      By putting fossils of creatures in order of, say, limb length, one could see a pattern of limbs shortening in proportion to body size in order to become fins (as in the supposed evolution of whales). However, who is to say that those creatures were actually transitional?

      Anyone who has tracked the genetics of related species and watched the present-day transitions in action, or looked at the relics of ancestry in living creatures or their embryology.

      Presumably, it is those who see the pattern. Yet we cannot be sure that such a perception is reliable.

      Objective observation by numerous critical individuals is clearly much more reliable than circular preconceptions of those ignorant of biology but determined to try to justify their mythology.

      A creature with medium-length limbs might just have medium-length limbs: it need not necessarily slot between those with short and long limbs respectively.

      The concept of walking fish is not difficult to understand. Thousands of marine creatures walk on the sea-bed and on the shore. There is a full gradation even today from fully marine fish to amphibious fish. (Eels, Air breathing Walking Catfish, Mudskippers etc)

      If you want to see fish walking down a street, watch this video!

      This phenomena is known and the mechanism turns fish into an amphibian and later into reptile in few millions of years. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84rqMzH4Nvw

      As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview.

      But only for those with fixed pre-conceptions which are not open to revision by evidence.

      For a fish walking up a beach, watch this one!

      Excerpt from David Attenborough’s BBC Life series episode 04 Fish – Mudskipper – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KurTiX4FDuQ

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      If I may add a couple of possibly anticipated links. The first is a creationist response to Shubin’s work specifically, and the second is in response to Stafford’s comment #11.

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2014/04/12/review-inner-fish-1
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/can-

      ” As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview. “

      That is why scientists strive to have a view from nowhere. AgNO3 + NaCl –> AgCl(s) + NaNO3. This evidence, that which manifests itself in the world, is no more subject to ” worldview ” than the myriad lines of converging evidence supporting transitional fossils.

      When you have many eyes on a scientific topic like this the individuals world view is normalized.

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview.

      The thing about people who say this is that they are hypocrites. When you have to go somewhere do you go to the church and pray to God to send you to your destination? When your car stops working do you take it to the local Shaman and have him say a prayer to get it going? No? Why not? All the interpretations are just based on the person’s worldview so why not use your worldview to make cars run and planes fly? Why use the mechanic or the pilot whose worldview’s are based on science rather than some equally good (and less costly) alternative worldview? Because ultimately your “world view” is vacuous because it’s not based on evidence. It’s all a bunch of words that have no direct relation to how the world actually works. Back when humans had no clue how the world actually works pretty much anything that sounded like a good story was as good as another story. There is a lot of value out of just thinking you have an answer, e.g., the placebo effect. But we can do better now. It’s time we started applying the same standards for questions about morality and value as we do to getting our cars started.

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      It would be interesting (if it hasn’t already been done) to put a number of random shapes in a psychometric test and tell the candidate to put them in order. If anyone knows of such an exercise, I’d be interested to read about it.

      Its the kind of thing jobbing psychologists and statisticians do all the time.

      But why don’t you do it? Write an app to draw animal shapes with different parameters, say leg length, body length, and head size. Draw a series of 5 where all are independent, and a series of 5 where two or more are correlate, and ask your friends to place them in order. Depending on how many people you recruit and how many experiments you do, you will get an appreciation of how easily humans can detect faint, but real patterns, and how often they generate patterns from noise.

    • In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

      Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils

      Apart from the first, (self-replicating) and the last, (extinction) every individual is Transitional; fossil or not.

      Conceptually the notion of ‘species’ is only useful within narrow chronological limits. Those limits are made wider by broader taxonomic categories, genus, family subclass, class, etc…

    • ” I know everyone hates Ham and Lisle “

      no, you do not hate idiots, you pity them. However again you show the complete lack of grasping all the evidence for evolution, of which paleontology is just one part.
      If it were just paleontology – you might have a point. But there is the evidence of biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, genetics that point clearly of a relationship and common ancestry of all life on this planet.
      To deny this shows intellectual dishonesty and a lack of education

  4. Hey Lonevoice,
    The patterns are CHRONOLOGICAL. It is NOT simply that there are patterns.

    Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils – and sees patterns of development where there are none. By putting fossils of creatures in order of, say, limb length, one could see a pattern of limbs shortening in proportion to body size in order to become fins (as in the supposed evolution of whales). However, who is to say that those creatures were actually transitional? Presumably, it is those who see the pattern. Yet we cannot be sure that such a perception is reliable. A creature with medium-length limbs might just have medium-length limbs: it need not necessarily slot between those with short and long limbs respectively.

    As I have said many times before, the interpretation of the ‘evidence’ is driven by the individual’s worldview.

    THERE ARE NO TRANSITIONAL ANYTHING’S.

    So, anyway, it it the super-imposing of thousands and thousands of extant patterns over top of a CHRONOLOGICAL sequence that allows us to have confidence in this idea and elevate it to “theory status”.

    From number of heart chambers, to cleavage patterns in embryological development, to protostome vs. deuterostome, to limb, eye, immune system development, blood types, chromosomal studies, mitochondrial eve studies, ancestry, anthropologic research, fossils, protein analysis, whales with legs, snakes with leg bones, homologies, vestigial organs, vertebrate evolution, turtle shell development, ocean to land transitions, seed development, cuticle development, root development, endosymbiotic events (which continue today), convergence, divergence, analogous structures, and I could extend this list for pages……

    Every one of these (and many more) line up chronologically.

    Now, even with all that,

    Is it possible, just possible, that there are in fact no transitional fossils but, rather, it is the evolutionist’s mindset that governs how he looks at those fossils – and sees patterns of development where there are none. By putting fossils of creatures in order of, say, limb length, one could see a pattern of limbs shortening in proportion to body size in order to become fins (as in the supposed evolution of whales). However, who is to say that those creatures were actually transitional? Presumably, it is those who see the pattern. Yet we cannot be sure that such a perception is reliable. A creature with medium-length limbs might just have medium-length limbs: it need not necessarily slot between those with short and long limbs respectively.

    YES, YES, YES!!!!!!WE STILL DOUBT AND CHECK. We wonder and research. We publish and read. We seek out cognitive bias and TRY to eliminate it. We go out into the world and test. We leave open questions and do NOT fill the answer blank in with nonsense when no real answer is yet found. We gain understanding, albeit, slowly and tentatively, but, we amass knowledge that demonstrably WORKS.

    Your god? Your belief? Your biases? Your body of proof? Your products and/or technologies based on your bedrock of research?

  5. Oh, and, more importantly Neil Shubin is friggin’ awesome. An oldie but goodie is to see his testimony in the Dover case featured in a Nova special called “Intelligent Design on trial”. It is slam dunk kinda stuff. And, the judge, a George Bush appointed Christian creationist writes a scathing unequivocal opinion. He calls bullshit:

    On December 20, 2005, Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision ruling that the Dover mandate requiring the statement to be read in class was unconstitutional. The ruling concluded that intelligent design is not science, and permanently barred the board from “maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”[8]

    For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child. (page 24)
    A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. (page 26)
    The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. (page 31)
    The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)
    Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not ‘teaching’ ID but instead is merely ‘making students aware of it.’ In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members’ testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. …. an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. …. Defendants’ argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just ‘teaching’ religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion. (footnote 7 on page 46)
    After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. …It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64) [for "contrived dualism", see false dilemma.]
    [T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case. (pages 86–87)
    ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (page 89)
    Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause. (page 132)

    The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents. [...]
    The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy. With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

    Way to go NEIL!!!

  6. In reply to #14 by Lonevoice:

    If I may add a couple of possibly anticipated links. The first is a creationist response to Shubin’s work specifically, and the second is in response to Stafford’s comment #11.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2014/04/12/review-inner-fish-1
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/can-

    Apropos of Kenneth Ham et al, for my part, I always endeavour to avoid letting my personal opinion of someone colour my judgement of their grasp of the subject under discussion; in other words I always try to avoid the argumentum ad hominem.

    However, that does nothing to allay my annoyance when others in the exchange employ the argumentum ad ignorantiam; the argument from ignorance.

    I think it’s discourteous to embark on a debate about anything scientific without first having taken the trouble to gain some understanding of the basics.

    In the sciences, personal mind sets are nothing short of taboo; science is a team activity.

    There are no personal beliefs in anything, just the knowledge that if something is shown to be wrong it’s out of the window, and anyone who tries to cling on to it for personal reasons goes out of the window with it.

    With regard to evolution by means of natural selection over hundreds of millions of years, it is a fact.

    So, the task of anyone, anyone, who thinks it isn’t true, is simple, albeit not easy, and that is to present counter evidence for scrutiny by the rigorous, tried and tested processes of science.

    Which are, first, a test or trial in which information which may influence the behaviour of the tester or subject is witheld, commonly known as double blind testing, followed by peer review and publication.

    There is no alternative.

    Have a nice day.

  7. Lone Voice,

    If you want to see a real, live, transitional animal, look in the mirror. You are the transitional animal between your parents and your children. You will show inherited similarities to your parents, and you will also have differences. These your children will have inherited and so too will they have differences.

    Go back to your thousand year old ancestor, and you will see greater differences. The most obvious will likely be the ability to withstand the different disease parasites that share your environment, and that shared his. These are hereditary traits and like all such, define those most likely to survive and reproduce.

    Go back a thousand thousand years, and the differences will be even more marked. Your ancestor will not even look like you, nor will his brain be as large, although his dawning imagination may be coming up with the best explanations he can for the sun, the moon, rain, and rainbows. These are things about which the smaller brained and even less like you creatures from whom he is descended likely never thought at all.

    We know now that the earth is not flat, like we once thought and as it superficially appears, that the sun does not go round it, like we once thought, and as it superficially appears, and if you will permit your brain to do its job, you too will realize that the old creation myths, that once had a function of explaining the unexplainable, can be relegated to the admittedly interesting dustbin of the progression of human knowledge.

    • In reply to #30 by Sheepdog:

      If you want to see a real, live, transitional animal, look in the mirror. You are the transitional animal between your parents and your children. You will show inherited similarities to your parents, and you will also have differences. These your children will have inherited and so too will they have differences.

      Go back to your thousand year old ancestor, and you will see greater differences. The most obvious will likely be the ability to withstand the different disease parasites that share your environment, and that shared his. These are hereditary traits and like all such, define those most likely to survive and reproduce.

      Go back a thousand thousand years, and the differences will be even more marked. Your ancestor will not even look like you, nor will his brain be as large, although his dawning imagination may be coming up with the best explanations he can for the sun, the moon, rain, and rainbows. These are things about which the smaller brained and even less like you creatures from whom he is descended likely never thought at all.

      Richard explained this:-

      http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/dawkins01.htm

      In truth, not only are we apes, we are African apes. The category ‘African apes’, if you don’t arbitrarily exclude humans, is a natural one.

      Alt-Text -(Right click and select “view image”)

      We are great apes. All the great apes that have ever lived including ourselves, are linked to one another by an unbroken chain of parent-child bonds. The same is true of all animals and plants that have ever lived, but there the distances involved are much greater. Molecular evidence suggests that our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived, in Africa, between five and seven million years ago, say half a million generations ago. This is not long by evolutionary standards.

      You stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your mother. In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your grandmother. Your grandmother holds her mother’s hand, and so on. The chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and westwards on towards the Kenya border.

      How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the chimpanzees? It is a surprisingly short way. Allowing one yard per person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under 300 miles. We have hardly started to cross the continent; we are still not half way to the Great Rift Valley. The ancestor is standing well to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali beach.

      The daughter that she is holding in her right hand is the one from whom we are descended. Now the arch-ancestress turns eastward to face the coast, and with her left hand grasps her other daughter, the one from whom the chimpanzees are descended (or son, of course, but let’s stick to females for convenience). The two sisters are facing one another, and each holding their mother by the hand. Now the second daughter, the chimpanzee ancestress, holds her daughter’s hand, and a new chain is formed, proceeding back towards the coast. First cousin faces first cousin, second cousin faces second cousin, and so on. By the time the folded-back chain has reached the coast again, it consists of modern chimpanzees. You are face to face with your chimpanzee cousin, and you are joined to her by an unbroken chain of mothers holding hands with daughters. If you walked up the line like an inspecting general -past Homo erectus, Homo habilis, perhaps Australopithecus afarensis -and down again the other side (the intermediates on the chimpanzee side are unnamed because, as it happens, no fossils have been found), you would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity. Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do. Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always And this hand-in-hand continuum, joining us seamlessly to chimpanzees, is so short that it barely makes it past the hinterland of Africa, the mother continent.

      Of course the chain continues back through “deep time”, to ancestral mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and chordates.

  8. I would be interested to know where their science is flawed.

    It is flawed from the start because they do not take a neutral stance. They presuppose answers and then go looking for “nuggets” that bolster their desired outcomes.

    This is from the very most recent issue of their “research” (Radioisotope Dating of Meteorites: I. The Allende CV3 Carbonaceous Chrondrite
    by Dr. Andrew Snelling on April 16, 2014)

    However, if accelerated radioisotope decay did occur on the earth, then it could be argued every atom in the universe would be similarly affected at the same time. Furthermore, meteorites are regarded as primordial material left over from the formation of the solar system, which is compatible with the Hebrew text of Genesis that suggests God made primordial material on Day One of the Creation Week, from which He made the non-earth portion of the solar system on Day Four. Thus today’s measured radioisotope composition of Allende may reflect a geochemical signature of that primordial material, which included atoms of all elemental isotopes. So if some of the daughter isotopes were already in the Allende meteorite when it was formed, and if the parent isotopes in the meteorite were also subject to subsequent accelerated radioisotope decay at the same time it occurred in earth rocks, then the 4.56718 ± 0.0002 Ga Pb-Pb isochron “age” for the Allende cannot be its true real-time age, which according to the biblical paradigm is only about 6000 real-time years. The results of further studies of more radioisiotope ages data for many more meteorites will confirm or adjust these tentative interim suggestions based on these Allende radioisotope ages data.

    Please understand that this man has done sciency stuff and used science machines. There is some skill involved. BTW, he (Snelling) is also the EDITOR of the journal. So, any conflict of interests here??? He is paid by the site and religiously motivated. Any chance he is full of shit??? Well, I’ll let you decide (continue reading).

    Please also understand, that the research on dating meteorites is “vintage” science and long been settled. As a matter of fact, it is the bedrock of tons of other current research.

    Now, even if the science is sound, look at his wiggling at the end:

    the Allende meteorite when it was formed, and if the parent isotopes in the meteorite were also subject to subsequent accelerated radioisotope decay at the same time it occurred in earth rocks, then the 4.56718 ± 0.0002 Ga Pb-Pb isochron “age” for the Allende cannot be its true real-time age, which according to the biblical paradigm is only about 6000 real-time years.

    Do you see it???? He did the science. Got an answer, then declared himself WRONG because his proven answer conflicts with “the biblical paradigm”.

    One question. THIS IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?

    In reply to #32 by Lonevoice:

    In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #15 by bluebird:

    “AiG” is subject to “interpretation in a scientific world-view”. “Accept our ignorance Greatfully”! – and give us money! -

    So much simpler and much less effort, than studying to gain a scientific understanding…

    Hi, Alan

    Thank…

    • In reply to #37 by crookedshoes:

      Lone voice,
      You asked for a critique of the “science” on the AiG Research. I wrote a bit up. I hope you visit and read and comment.

      Hi, Crookedshoes, I hope you are well.

      Yes, I did see your post on Monday but didn’t have an opportunity to go online and reply sooner.

      Firstly, I want to thank you for taking the time to look at the AiG site and offering your comments. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to do this. It’s rather difficult for me to explain my response because I know you’re unlikely to agree, but ultimately, it comes down to the question of authority. In what I’m about to say, please don’t think I’m being dismissive of your position. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come across that way.

      We often use the word ‘authority’ to describe a person with extensive knowledge on a subject. We say; “he’s something of an authority on. . such and such a subject. . ” This is a perfectly reasonable use of the word in the context in which it is usually used (say, an expert witness in a court case), but the primary meaning of Authority is more legal or relational. E.g. a Police Officer has the authority to tell me what I am or am not permitted to do in a given situation, simply by virtue of his position as a Police Officer. Similarly, a parent has authority over his or her children and can tell them what they may or may not do.

      Now, my child can choose to abide by or go against my authority. In the same way, I can adhere to or ignore the direction of the Police Officer. But neither of these responses would actually remove the authority that exists by virtue of the legal or relational position. Putting it the other way around, a person is under authority irrespective of whether they obey. So how does this relate to the matter in hand, or the Answers Research Journal that you reviewed?

      Well, as far as I can see – and from other things that AiG stands for – it is Andrew Snelling’s position that he is prepared to submit his thinking/understanding etc to God. You may disagree, but this is his position and which is why he is prepared to do the research and still submit his thinking to God. For a person who believes that the Bible is God’s message to mankind, this is a reasonable position to take. In fact, for such a person, it’s the only logically consistent position to take.

      For the person who does not believe that the Bible is God’s message to mankind, or that God does not even exist, then this position will appear crazy and they are left with the only remaining option; namely, that what man says becomes the authority*. So you might look at some research, see the data and draw conclusions based on that data. It’s obvious that this is reasonable and is how science works, which is why I understand why atheists believe that Bible-believers are flying in the face of the evidence. I understand that. But for a person who believes that God has spoken, there is always the possibility that man’s conclusions are incorrect where this conflicts with what He has said, because God is the authority (in the legal/relational sense); not man.

      *To add a little comment: when man’s word becomes the authority, it does so in the sense that through extensive knowledge, the conclusion seems trustworthy (as per my paragraph above about how we often use the word ‘Authority’). However, when this happens, it necessarily assumes the legal/relational meaning, so we end up with the situation that what man says is taken to override what God has said. For the Bible-believer, that is an untenable position. To the unbeliever (for want of a better expression), God is seen to be wrong or non-existent.

      So, those who see the universe solely in terms of the material, it is impossible for them to see a belief in God is remotely reasonable. Indeed, the Bible says this; The carnal mind is enmity against God and does not submit to His Law – neither can it do so.

      Having said all of this, do I think that every person who does not believe the Bible is out to disprove it? No I don’t. However, there is a quality about the supernatural realm (the existence of which is often denied by materialists) that means it is apparent to some people and not others. And I think it’s too easy for materialists to dismiss people’s supernatural experience as delusion, although I can understand why they see it that way. I don’t know enough about Shubin to offer an opinion about whether or not he seeks to disprove the Bible: I accept that many people will just see the world the way they see it because that’s how the see it – and they will interpret the evidence in the light of that position. This is what both Shubin and Snelling are doing.

      A belief in evolution makes little, if any, difference to the day to day working of people in the various scientific disciplines – unless of course, the objective of a given field is to identify origins. So, for example, a doctor can have all the biology training there is (which standard education will include evolution), yet evolution makes no difference to how he treats his patients’ medical conditions. Therefore, it is quite reasonable for a doctor to be a young earth creationist and still be a good doctor. That’s why I think it’s not reasonable to dismiss people with scientific credentials simply because they do not hold an evolutionist position about origins.

      Regards,

      • Thanks for your time. I read your post. I certinly do disagree with a bunch of it, but, perhaps for a reason that you haven’t considered.

        Here goes. THEN WHY BOTHER TO DO SCIENCE AND PRETEND TO BE ENGAGING IN SOMETHING WORTHWHILE?

        It is like when vegetarians feel the need to shape their veggies into hamburgers. Why bother?

        Worship. Pray. Believe. Knock your socks off. But, why engage in this complete waste of everyone’s (including Snelling’s) time???

        THIS IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?

        In reply to #39 by Lonevoice:

        In reply to #37 by crookedshoes:

        Lone voice,
        You asked for a critique of the “science” on the AiG Research. I wrote a bit up. I hope you visit and read and comment.

        Hi, Crookedshoes, I hope you are well.

        Yes, I did see your post on Monday but didn’t have an opportunity to go online and reply so…

  9. I was incomplete earlier. What I’d like to know is:

    Exactly what validation is this seeking when the “researchers” answer is already determined and the research is moot?

    Why the need for research in a science field???

    • In reply to #41 by crookedshoes:

      I was incomplete earlier. What I’d like to know is:

      Exactly what validation is this seeking when the “researchers” answer is already determined and the research is moot?

      Why the need for research in a science field???

      You’d have to ask them the exact nature of the validation that is required. Sorry to not answer your question directly.

      What I would say, however, is that Natural Philosophy (as it was once called) grew out of a belief in an orderly Creator making a universe that is orderly, investigable, testable and predictable. This is surely why experiments have to be repeatable, falsifiable and all that. . .

      To investigate how things work is perfectly legitimate for both naturalist and supernaturalist. An orderly universe allows the researcher to feel safe in making conclusions about how the world actually works. The laws that govern physics can be relied on to be the same on Monday as they were on Friday. (I won’t hang out of this tenth-storey window because I know I’ll die if I fall. Even though I haven’t seen it happen to me, I’m confident that this prediction would prove true if tested because I know the law of gravity would apply.) An orderly universe is consistent with (I would say evidence of) an orderly Creator. It is not, however, consistent with a belief that the universe was once non-existent, then disorderly, then proceeded to order itself. What’s to stop it falling into disorder again?

      As I tried to imply in my post #39, a belief in either evolution or creation makes not a shred of difference to the day-to-day work of scientists who are doing the vital work of, say, developing new technologies in drugs, travel and innumerable other areas. Indeed, even where science is taking ideas from structures in nature as inspiration for new technologies – say, copying aerodynamic features in birds to build aeroplanes with body shapes that will aid fuel-efficiency – it is irrelevant whether those researchers personally believe in creation or evolution; they are still using observable biological features in their designs. It matters not a jot how individuals believe those biological features got there.

      Sure, it’s interesting to consider whether birds might have evolved from dinosaurs, but the plane isn’t going to evolve through natural biological processes, so they don’t have to take avian origins into consideration for the work they’re doing when designing the planes. I would never say; “I’m not flying in THAT plane because it was designed by an evolutionist.” Or can you imagine anyone saying; “I refuse to have an MRI scan, because the MRI scanner was invented by a biblical creationist”? That would be absurd.

      It’s different when the purpose of the research is to draw conclusions about origins, on the basis that no matter how technologically advanced we are, no-one is alive today who was actually there to confirm that our measurements accurately show what really did happen. Drawing conclusions about how something got to where it is now takes different skills, different thought processes from basic observations of its current state.

      As an example, I was recently in a restaurant with a friend. Towards the end of the evening at our table there were two people (me and him), no plates or cutlery and three empty glasses. Now, suppose a stranger walks in; what might he conclude from seeing two people and three glasses? How did that third glass get there?

      Well, he might conclude that one of us had two drinks. Or it could be that both of us had two drinks but one of us used the same glass twice – or that a glass got broken and thrown away earlier and now there are ONLY three glasses instead of four. Perhaps there had been a third person who has since left. Any one of these conclusions (and a whole lot of others) would be reasonable; but how would he know which one was correct when he wasn’t there to observe it?

      What would he think if we told him that the third glass was not ours but had been left dirty on the table before we arrived? He probably wouldn’t believe that explanation because he knows from other experience that restaurants don’t do that. If we tell him how the glass got there, he has the choice of believing our explanation or not.

      Whatever conclusion this stranger reaches about that third glass, he is using different thought processes from simply seeing that the glass is there before his very eyes. The connection between the observation and drawing the conclusion can be so close that we don’t even realise we’re doing separate things – especially if we are confident in our other knowledge that we bring to bear when reaching a conclusion: we don’t even think about it. This is the difference between observational science and historical science (a distinction highlighted by a current well-known Australia-born YEC but one which is often denied by evolutionists) and why it’s perfectly reasonable for a naturalist and a supernaturalist to reach different conclusions, based on their worldview, about origins from the evidence they see before them.

      For these reasons, I think the original term ‘Natural Philosophy’ better describes what we now call Natural History, because it reveals the philosophical basis for the conclusions drawn. The term Natural History conceals this revelation from the general public and allows opinions to be presented as indisputable fact.

      Regards,

      Lonevoice

      • In reply to #42 by Lonevoice:

        What I would say, however, is that Natural Philosophy (as it was once called) grew out of a belief in an orderly Creator making a universe that is orderly, investigable, testable and predictable. This is surely why experiments have to be repeatable, falsifiable and all that. . .

        What I would say is that it appears you are artificially inserting your personal beliefs in the laws of physics. Presupposing a creator has done nothing directly to discover laws of physics. Such presuppositions are useless additional baggage to the laws of physics.

        The laws that govern physics can be relied on to be the same on Monday as they were on Friday.

        and

        It’s different when the purpose of the research is to draw conclusions about origins, on the basis that no matter how technologically advanced we are, no-one is alive today who was actually there to confirm that our measurements accurately show what really did happen.

        These two ideas that you espouse are in conflict.

        As I tried to imply in my post #39, a belief in either evolution or creation makes not a shred of difference to the day-to-day work of scientists who are doing the vital work of, say, developing new technologies in drugs, travel and innumerable other areas.

        It sounds like you are conflating science and technology. Finding or extending fundamental principles about how the universe works or doing basic research in biology both require a deep understanding of founding principles (General Relativity in one case, Evolution in the other). Working with some delusion about how the universe is 6000 years old will halt all progress in basic research. It is this research which the is engine of understanding. Without vibrant basic research in science the space of technological development is limited and lame.

        On the example of Raymond Damadian, the YEC who was a pioneer in the development of the MRI: This is an example of someone who uses principles of physics to develop an idea for the MRI (a technology) but denies the very same principles that say the sun has been fusing hydrogen into helium for 5 billion years or that zircon crystals from a cave in Australia are 4.4 billions years old. It is a good thing that Rutherford, Geiger, Marsden, Yukawa, etc., were not so closed minded. Else Damadian would not have had a good model of nuclear physics to think of the MRI in the first place.

      • I think I “get ” your stance. And, it is reasonable to direct me to ask the actual researcher about their drive for validation.

        But when you say:

        As I tried to imply in my post #39, a belief in either evolution or creation makes not a shred of difference to the day-to-day work of scientists who are doing the vital work of, say, developing new technologies in drugs, travel and innumerable other areas.

        You are not realizing that it does make all the difference. In fact it is usually the difference between the scientist who oversees and supervises the research and the “scientist” who works at the bench combining chemicals.

        It is for this exact reason that so so so many known and visible scientists and Nobel level folks are represented by the 97+% of the scientists that accept evolution.

        I was touring a pharma company about 12 years ago and grilled the lead scientist who’s charge was the development of the companies hand sanitizer. I smoked him about evolution. After, he came over and asked “OK, WHO are you?” “You can’t be a high school teacher…”

        They then offered me a job.

        BTW, now look at the progress of hand sanitizer and it’s efficacy and popularity. We caused evolution on our hands!!!!

        In reply to #42 by Lonevoice:

        In reply to #41 by crookedshoes:

        I was incomplete earlier. What I’d like to know is:

        Exactly what validation is this seeking when the “researchers” answer is already determined and the research is moot?

        Why the need for research in a science field???

        You’d have to ask them the exact nature of t…

        • In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

          You are not realizing that it does make all the difference. In fact it is usually the difference between the scientist who oversees and supervises the research and the “scientist” who works at the bench combining chemicals.

          What you have said about supervisers may well be true, but what difference does a belief that life evolved from non-life by natural processes over millions of years make to Hand Sanitizer? The development of this amazing product is based on work done in the present, with chemicals and bacteria as they are in the present rather than the past. We know that organisms develop a resistence to germicides etc, and studies of developing resistence drives further product development.

          The development in organisms that I have just referred to, by the way, is change and is observable in the present, however it is often presented as evidence that organisms evolved from one thing in another over millions of years. These observable changes appear to have remained within certain parameters and do not show that we are all fish (to refer back to the title of the original post).

          Regards,

          Lonevoice

          • A couple points.

            Firstly, Is your stance really “let them BELIEVE what they want to believe and if it holds them back from being superstars, so be it”?
            You are coming off badly, here. We’d have NO SUPERVISORS, NO BREAKTHROUGHS, NO CUTTING EDGE if everyone aspired to the mediocrity that you espouse.

            Secondly, the mere fact that we KNOW we need hand sanitizer is due to the scientific method. A method that cannot be employed at your convenience to prove what you want to be true and then abandoned when it’s answers prove uncomfortable for you. BTW, I do NOT use hand sanitizers and urge you to think about why. I am meticulous about clean hands and habitually wash and even use some alcohol to clean up my hands, but chemical sanitizers that kill 99.9%??? No way. Dangerouso!!

            Third,
            Yes, the change you describe in organisms in the present is incontrovertible. And, yes it is offered as evidence that this process has been going on for millennia. If it was the ONLY evidence out there you’d be correct to scrutinize it and perhaps reach the conclusion that evolution is a good hypothesis that fails as a theory.
            However, it is not the only evidence. The overwhelming evidence (all attained using the scientific method) points towards evolution being an absolute sound theory.

            You hinge your opinion on repeatedly referring to what is here in the present and I’d challenge you to reread your own post and ask yourself this.
            Are the products evolving to counter the evolving of the bacteria?
            Where does the knowledge of what chemicals to use come from? (The past)
            Why are so many of those chemicals plant derivatives?

            I am glad you are here on the site to talk to, but I gotta tell you, your attitudes towards truth and integrity and being the best you can be are frightening to me. Would you tell your child to “go out there and do pretty good”? “Son, don’t allow yourself to rise to your true potential if it means having to doubt the stuff (contradictory stuff at that) in THIS particular book.” “Daughter, do not go forth into life and try to succeed, just serve men like it says in THIS book”….

            Scary nonsense.

            In reply to #46 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #44 by crookedshoes:

            You are not realizing that it does make all the difference. In fact it is usually the difference between the scientist who oversees and supervises the research and the “scientist” who works at the bench combining chemicals.

            What you have said about supervisers may…

          • In reply to #47 by crookedshoes:

            A couple points.

            Firstly, Is your stance really “let them BELIEVE what they want to believe and if it holds them back from being superstars, so be it”?
            You are coming off badly, here. We’d have NO SUPERVISORS, NO BREAKTHROUGHS, NO CUTTING EDGE if everyone aspired to the mediocrity that you espouse…

            What you have inferred about people’s potential from what I have written: I didn’t say any of that.

            Regards,

            L

          • Oh, but you HAVE. I will hazard to say that a very high percentage of folks would reach the same inference as I when confronted with your statements on his thread.

            What you have said about supervisers may well be true, but what difference does a belief that life evolved from non-life by natural processes over millions of years make to Hand Sanitizer?

            and

            Well, as far as I can see – and from other things that AiG stands for – it is Andrew Snelling’s position that he is prepared to submit his thinking/understanding etc to God. You may disagree, but this is his position and which is why he is prepared to do the research and still submit his thinking to God. For a person who believes that the Bible is God’s message to mankind, this is a reasonable position to take. In fact, for such a person, it’s the only logically consistent position to take.

            and

            But for a person who believes that God has spoken, there is always the possibility that man’s conclusions are incorrect where this conflicts with what He has said, because God is the authority (in the legal/relational sense); not man.

            Now, this may not have been on your own radar, but 1+1+1=3. I could read through and mine more fodder, but this is sufficient.

            I also beseech others on the site to reread our exchange and tell me if I am off base, because, I check myself and am full of doubt even with my own conclusions.

            However, judging from the short, curt response you gave, I’d bet that I struck a chord. Even if you were not consciously aware that your system of belief is, in fact, an achilles heel (like you said, a doctor can still practice medicine “adequately” without understanding evolution) but my counter to that is that a person with the intellectual tenacity to be a doctor has the potential to change the world if they actually understand the world.

            Anyway, perhaps a little self examination your part could lead to a big self awakening.

            Only YOU can set YOU free.

            In reply to #48 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #47 by crookedshoes:

            A couple points.

            Firstly, Is your stance really “let them BELIEVE what they want to believe and if it holds them back from being superstars, so be it”?
            You are coming off badly, here. We’d have NO SUPERVISORS, NO BREAKTHROUGHS, NO CUTTING EDGE if everyone aspired…

          • In reply to #50 by crookedshoes:

            judging from the short, curt response you gave, I’d bet that I struck a chord.

            Thanks for your comment and your concern. If the brevity of my previous response appeared curt then I apologise. You have supposed that this was due to your comments striking a chord. Sorry, this was not the case. My brevity was more of disappointment: disappointment that you have read something into my comments that was not intended, nor was it even there, as far as I can see. I also note you have besought other readers to see if you are off base. Whether they do or don’t makes no difference to what I intended or what I think. You were inaccurate in your interpretation of what I wrote.

            It’s true you and I have built up a number of good exchanges over the last few weeks – even exchanging some humour. My respect for you is undiminished, but the way in which you interpreted my comments to suggest that I want my children to be less than their best shows that we really are talking different languages. The scope for misunderstanding is therefore wide. I’m certain that if you and I were chatting over coffee, rather than blogging over the internet thousands of miles apart, we would each question and clarify much quicker, thereby reducing the opportunity for either of us to reach inaccurate conclusions about what the other meant by what they said. As this present medium is necessarily slower than face to face conversation, it’s possible for both of us to convince ourselves that our interpretation of the other’s comments is correct before we’ve had a chance to clarify.

            With regard to speaking different languages, you see the Christian faith as a negative, inhibiting thing that would hold a person back. Therefore, to you, when I say a person is willing to submit his thinking to God, you see this as a negative thing, but I mean it as a positive thing. You might see faith as a cop out for understanding how the world works, whereas I see faith in God as an active thing that should lead me to submit myself to him (I often don’t get this right, by the way). It is not ‘blind faith’ as is often the accusation; it is confidence in Someone, exercised through seeking to understanding what he has revealed to mankind about himself, rather than an excuse for the lack of an inquiring mind.

            This mis-interpretation is also demonstrated by your re-wording of one of my previous comments. I said:

            “So, for example, a doctor can have all the biology training there is (which standard education will include evolution), yet evolution makes no difference to how he treats his patients’ medical conditions. Therefore, it is quite reasonable for a doctor to be a young earth creationist and still be a good doctor. That’s why I think it’s not reasonable to dismiss people with scientific credentials simply because they do not hold an evolutionist position about origins.”

            You have rephrased this as;

            “ . . . like you said, a doctor can still practice medicine “adequately” without understanding evolution. . .”

            I did not use the words ‘adequate’ or ‘without understanding’. These are your re-interpretations of what I said, based on how you see the world. You have super-imposed your worldview on what I said. But surely, what I said should be understood in the context of my worldview, shouldn’t it? After all, it was I who wrote it and therefore knew what I intended to convey. Yes, I know basic communication skills should take account of the audience, but we’ve blogged enough for me to have expected you to understand me a bit better by now. The point I was making was that belief in millions of years makes no difference to day-to-day medical practice, but you have interpreted this as saying that doctors who accept evolution are better doctors than those who do not, because those who do not must necessarily lack understanding.

            Let me illustrate the extent of our different languages. Let me know what you make of this:

            ;41:2 snaihtniroC 2. denrecsid yllautirips era yeht esuaceb ,meht wonk eh nac ron ;mih ot ssenhsiloof era yeht rof ,doG fo tiripS eht fo sgniht eht eviecer ton seod nam larutan ehT.

            This is why creationists tend to be able to see why evolutionists see the world the way they do; while atheists (not all, I grant) have a tendency to dismiss faith in our Creator as tantamount to a belief in the flying spaghetti monster – and yet do not see the absurdity of such a ludicrous comparison.

            I am firmly of the view that the very fact that we can speak (well, blog) about our thoughts on spiritual matters (i.e. whether or not God exists) is evidence that we were actually created by a Creator who is a spiritual being. If there were no supernatural Creator, then there would be no supernatural realm. And therefore, no-one would have any concept of such a realm: we would just go about our business of survival, like the animals do (notice my implied distinction between humans and animals). We would not even have or need a term to define atheism.

            Now, I work with people daily who appear to give no thought to the spiritual/supernatural realm; it doesn’t seem to figure in their thinking at all. So why do other people hate God so much (this is a rhetorical question so onlookers are not invited to vent their spleen here)?

            But why do you take the time to argue against God? If you really (I mean really, deep, deep down inside) genuinely believed there is no God, it would not matter to you what other people believe. But it does matter to you – and I would wager that it’s more deeply personal to you than simply being a teacher who cares about what information is communicated. In other words, you have a vested interest in there being no God. Has there ever been a time, perhaps in the distant past, when you sensed maybe God trying to get your attention somehow, and you refused or rejected it? Maybe you discount this as your imagination. I’m not trying out amateur psychology here: it’s just been my experience that when people encounter God, he always has a lasting effect on them – one way or the other, depending on their reaction. It’s a matter of the heart for each one of us.

            The brevity of my previous comment is more than made up for by this one. My apologies. That is, if you’re still awake!

            Many regards,

            Lonevoice

          • Again, I enjoy speaking with you and thank you for the time you are investing into this exchange.

            We, in fact, do “speak different languages”. But, in addition, you are very differnent than I in specific ways. One of those ways, is that you are actually blaming the interpreter of your words instead of examining your words. It reminds me that you mean what you mean no matter what you say. It is something I’ve seen coming from a few sets of people.

            See, you cannot control what I ascertain from your words. You seem to need to control tons of stuff, but my interpretation is MINE. It reminds me of the attitude that bullies in schools have (no, I am NOT calling you a bully.) They decide that their actions towards a child are funny and a joke and “we are joking around”. The victim sees it as terrifying and humiliating. Guess what???? It is the victim whose experience is the one that matters.

            ;41:2 snaihtniroC 2. denrecsid yllautirips era yeht esuaceb ,meht wonk eh nac ron ;mih ot ssenhsiloof era yeht rof ,doG fo tiripS eht fo sgniht eht eviecer ton seod nam larutan ehT.

            I am extremely surprised that you included this or even that you thought to do it. First and foremost, if you do a simple google search of Corinthians 2:14, you first ten hits will all have the passage slightly differently. The difference in many is the inclusion or omission of the word “natural”. The word “unspiritual” is the replacement word in a couple cases. So, it is interpretable and YOU are interpreting it. A luxury you deny me with your own words.

            So, let me see if i have this right. YOU can interpret the holiest of holy words handed down from GOD and use them for your own sermons and disseminate them with the confidence that you are doing it right.

            I can NOT interpret your words. And when I do and include a statement of self doubt and asking others to help check, YOU are doing the correct thing. Not me. You.

            I also am baffled by your including it backwards. I think many many of your christian contemporaries would be looking to chastise you. Especially if you google “backwards and the Bible” and see that every hit has to do with negativity and sin and smiting and the like…

            I also wonder if you are making a Freudian slip there. Putting it backwards because the whole damn thing is backwards and in fact is holding us back.

            Lastly, you say that I misinterpreted you when I said “adequate” doctors…. your exact words were:

            Therefore, it is quite reasonable for a doctor to be a young earth creationist and still be a good doctor.

            See, “good” and “adequate” are synonyms. You do not get to control my brain’s workings.

            And, the only one your words are lost on is YOU. I don’t want my daughter to be a “good” doctor. I want her to be he greatest doctor. I want her to change the world. You — according to your own actual words, do not. I am not sure what you are worried about, in your paradigm, the world can’t change anyway. So, just sit back and let the rest of us prove you wrong by changing the changing the world right in front of your eyes (whether they are open to see the change will remain to be seen).

            Regards,
            crooks

            In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #50 by crookedshoes:

            judging from the short, curt response you gave, I’d bet that I struck a chord.

            Thanks for your comment and your concern. If the brevity of my previous response appeared curt then I apologise. You have supposed that this was due to your comments striking a chord….

          • In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            But why do you take the time to argue against God? If you really (I mean really, deep, deep down inside) genuinely believed there is no God, it would not matter to you what other people believe. But it does matter to you – and I would wager that it’s more deeply personal to you than simply being a teacher who cares about what information is communicated. In other words, you have a vested interest in there being no God.

            Why would you argue against the assertion we were all brought here from the planet Zeb by the alien Replitwank? I hope the answer is such a baseless assertion is at best a complete waste of time and at worst detrimental to society in general and many people in society individually. I think you would become particularly worried were they were to replace you know who on the currency with “In Replitwank we trust.” Especially since it is widely accepted that those who do not follow Replitwank are of dubious moral character. Where could you possibly get your morals if not from the teachings of Replitwank?

            So to summarize: If you don’t argue against the idea of Replitwank, Replitwank must exist and my reading of his teachings are correct. If you do argue against the idea of Replitwank, then Replitwank must exist and my reading of his teachings are correct. Great logic.

            Edit: By the way: Do you believe the universe is 6000 years old?

          • In reply to #55 by Northampton:

            In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

          • In reply to #56 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #55 by Northampton:

            In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

            You seem like a genuinely nice fellow, Lonevoice ; possibly the most well-meaning member of RDFRS but that doesn’t make you right.

          • So far as we know, complex life does not exist anywhere else in our solar system. We don’t know exactly how life began, but we do know how species evolved to survive and adapt to the environments made possible by the evolution of earth’s atmosphere.

            The majority of these species have become extinct because they were not able to sufficiently adapt to a changing environment or were simply wiped out by natural disasters. One such disaster is credited with wiping out most of the dinosaurs (birds survive) and paving the way for the rise of the many mammal species including us humans.

            Of course we humans didn’t have it easy. We had to compete with other animals (and other humans) and survive other natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, ice ages, floods, droughts, disease). In fact, we are the only surviving species of the human genus (homo).

            If we didn’t know otherwise, we might think there was some super human in charge of all this who frequently gets pissed off with us and instigates these disasters as some sort of punishment or lesson. Unsurprisingly, all sorts of creation myths and Gods have been created to try to explain our predicament. Nowadays they seem absurd. Some of the newer myths, like Northampton’s, even involve aliens. The older ones can be even more absurd, but they evolved over thousands of years before we had the benefit of the explosion of knowledge resulting from the introduction of the modern scientific method. And the older myths will take time to disappear because of the huge momentum they have built up.

            If you were born in India, the Hindu creation myth may not seem absurd at all. To many people born in western countries, Christian beliefs do not seem absurd either, though to us atheists they can seem, well, unbelievable. I expect Northampton made up Replitwank as a vehicle to explain this to you. Here is another attempt called Kissing Hank’s Ass.

            In reply to #56 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #55 by Northampton:

            In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

          • In reply to #56 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #55 by Northampton:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

            The following is what makes you look stupid Lonevoice.

            From #52: But why do you take the time to argue against God? If you really (I mean really, deep, deep down inside) genuinely believed there is no God, it would not matter to you what other people believe. But it does matter to you . . .

            Have you ever noticed the way some children have their genitals mutilated, some homosexuals are are treated as second class citizens, in the worst cases sentenced to death, how women are continually being treated as second class, the continuing abuse of children by clergy?

            I suspect from some of your comments you may be a presupper, the really deep, deep down . . . are the sort of comments they would make, in which case logical debate is impossible. However, I have no doubts there is not a god and until someone can produce decent evidence I will not change my mind. Unfortunately while gods may not exist, the by product of the belief in them does, it is called religion and it is through this man made thing called religion, based only on myth and superstition, that all of the above things I questioned you about happen.

            So, yes it does matter what people believe, because while they believe certain things, children are in danger, people are being discriminated against purely becuase of their sex or sexuality. When religion is no longer used as an excuse to do vile and inexcusable things I will stop bothering about it. Until then I will and my bothering has nothing to do with a belief in gods of any sort.

          • In reply to #56 by Lonevoice:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

            No, it is to point out that your logic is off.

            It would be easier to categorize people if the religious were simply “stupid” but many clearly are not. It seems those religious pour their intellect into justifying their unfounded beliefs rather than reflecting on those beliefs critically. They create a bramble of logic to navigate–for themselves as much as others maybe. But in the end they are still pretending to know things they don’t know.

          • Nicely done, Northampton. Very succinct. You hit the nail on the head.

            In reply to #60 by Northampton:

            In reply to #56 by Lonevoice:

            You absurdity is supposed to make me look stupid, is it?

            No, it is to point out that your logic is off.

            It would be easier to categorize people if the religious were simply “stupid” but many clearly are not. It seems those religious pour their intellect into justify…

  10. In reply to #43 by Northampton:

    In reply to #42 by Lonevoice:

    Thanks for your reply – and thank you for taking the time to read my previous post.

    Regarding the laws of physics, I did say that an orderly universe is “consistent” with belief in an orderly Creator. If you see such belief as baggage, that’s fine, but an orderly universe is not inconsistent with a belief in an orderly Creator: is it?

    On the matter of conflating science and technology: what is the difference? What are the teams who put rockets into orbit? Are they scientists or are they technicians? And is one higher in status than the other? My reading of your distinction between the two suggests to me that you see scientists as being higher than technicians, but I may be mistaken in this inference. What would we do with the phrase “It’s not rocket science” if these teams are found to be merely technicians?

    Several years ago, the company, Zanussi, used the advertising slogan; “The Appliance of Science”. Very clever rhyming, I know, but what they claimed was not inaccurate, as far as I’m aware. I’m not basing my philosophy on an advertising slogan by the way:) The research and development that goes into making products more energy-efficient and effective – is that science or technology? After all, in my previous post I referred to people using structures that appear in nature to base made-made designs on. There’s a recent example of people using birds’ ability to see ultra-violet light to produce coatings for glass to stop birds flying into glazed buildings. I use the word ‘people’, because I’m not sure if they’re scientists or technicians. You have said I’m artificially conflating them. Perhaps the distiction between them is artificial? Where would you drawn the line?

    Science simply means knowledge, it does not mean a necesary belief that life evolved from non-life by natural processes over millions of years. Similarly, the word Evolution can simply mean ‘change’, although it is commonly used to refer to a belief that life evolved from non-life by natural processes over millions of years.

    Regarding Raymond Damadian and your comment about solar fusion, I don’t know Damadian to ask what he personally believes about different aspects of anything that may come up for discussion. However, which part of what you said does he deny? Is it the solar fusion (which is observable in the present) or the 5 billion years (which is a conclusion drawn about the past)? And, going back to my previous post, what difference would it make to the operation of the MRI scanner?

    Many regards,

    Lonevoice

    • In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:*

      If you see such belief as baggage, that’s fine, but an orderly universe is not inconsistent with a belief in an orderly Creator: is it?

      The universe is not inconsistent with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Odin, Zeus, Chronos, Manwe, Galactus, and the Powerpuff Girls. It is not inconsistent with the creator triad of all powerful puce-pink bunnies. Indeed it is not inconsistent with an infinite selection of nonsense I could make up. Like I said, useless baggage for understanding the universe (I know you probably look to Galactus for other reasons but his positive influence on our understanding of cosmology is dubious at best).

      On the matter of conflating science and technology: what is the difference? What are the teams who put rockets into orbit? Are they scientists or are they technicians?

      They are engineers. Their contribution to society can be immense. Their indirect contribution to physics or any of the sciences can be profound–designing an apparatus that can be used for advancement of our understanding of nature. Engineers rarely make contributions to physics directly however as it is not their job. The point I was going for is that one can build an amazing device and still hold absurd and unfounded beliefs about how the world works. It is far less likely that one can discover how the world works while holding absurd and unfounded beliefs about how the world works.

      That said, I do believe you may be on to something as the previous line of argument may be on the wrong tack, or at least not the most productive one. Instead let us consider this:

      Similarly, the word Evolution can simply mean ‘change’, although it is commonly used to refer to a belief that life evolved from non-life by natural processes over millions of years.

      …commonly used among whom? Evolution explains the diversity of life, not the origin of life. Science is uncertain how life began. I am not up on the latest ideas about origins of life but for the sake of argument let us say there is a great deal of uncertainty about the origin of life. What is the solution to not knowing something? Stop researching it and presume the answer based on your favorite mythology? I don’t think that is useful. For me the obvious thing to do is look for evidence and develop ideas that fit the evidence. Related to this (eventually) I have a question:

      Do you think the universe is 6000 years old?

  11. I come a bit late in this discussion, but I notice that crookedshoes mentioned the name of the geologist Snelling who works for AiG. It would seem the man is a real Jekyll and Hide character, on the one hand a respectable geologist, and on the other, an apologist for YECism.

    Lonevoice implies that science is based on a naturalist view of the world. Quite right ! Science doesn’t need the supernatural introduced as some sort of alternative explanation of reality. Indeed science has nothing to say about the supernatural at all ! The supernatural “explanation” provided by the likes of Ham and Snelling, explains nothing, and indeed raises further questions about how the “supernaturual” came into existence itself.

    “Who made God?”.

    “God always existed”

    “DOH ?” The Idiot’s Guide to Circular Reasoning.

    Lonevoice questions whether the sun is really 5 billion years old. Apparently we weren’t there to time its appearance ! I can only describe such unwillingness to become familiar with the science (which works), about nuclear processes and gravity, to be, well, pretty dam lazy.

    I’m afraid the “You weren’t there” argument used by Ham, applies equally to the claims made by the Christians and the other religions.

  12. @ lonevoice
    AiG has gotten their hands on an Allosaurus skeleton (from very shady donors who themselves are hate mongers — but that’s not the point). They have decided that their “research” proves that it is 4500 years old.

    Aside from the “research’ being writing “4500 years old” on a sticker and sticking it to one of the bones, they have refused to allow any other research facility or museum (or interested 10 year old) to investigate. They are correct and the hell with all that “science noise”.

    But, what is most telling is the following:

    Phelps also points out that the Creation Museum will be incapable of doing scientific research on the specimen. All employees of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum are obligated to sign an oath of Biblical literalism before employment. This oath (found here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/about/faith)
    includes statements that make scientific research on the specimen impossible since all conclusions are known before any possible research is undertaken. The Creation Museum’s Statement of Faith even includes this dogmatic statement:
    “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.”

    Getting back to a question you’ve seemed to evade on numerous occasions:

    THIS IS OK WITH YOU?

    Last time I asked you rambled on about nonsense. YES OR NO. This is ok?

    (My answer is NO.) let’s see how you do on this one. BTW, I want a one word answer.

Leave a Reply