Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby SkepticalOne » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:53 am

Apologies for the name mixup. I suspected I'd gotten it wrong at a time too far removed from the posting for the realization to be helpful.

IF SkepticalOne is saying he does not wish to argue for a creationist position, which I gather might be what he is saying when using the word 'metaphysical', then I personally think it is rather poor debating for three of you to suggest that he is not telling the truth in his comments (though I would agree that the phrase 'dirty secret' is fairly emotive).


Thank you for pointing that out. I agree that "dirty secret" is provocative. It was meant to be; I hoped it would spur a rapid defense. I did add the question mark in hopes that it would be regarded as a question rather than a statement.

Not exactly. Tiktaalik is not being used to represent any particular ancestor. It places itself into the known phylogeny (or, rather, people using its anatomical characters find that it fits in that position). Tiktaalik likely has its own specialties. Indeed, its "bendable elbow" is likely convergent with that of later tetrapods, as it is not present in the earliest known tetrapod, Acanthostega.

What Tiktaalik shows us is the ordering of character change. For example, without Tiktaalik we would not know that the operculum was lost before digits were obtained. The same as, without the example of modern monotremes, we would not know that lactation was developed before breasts had nipples.


So Tiktaalik is not being used as a proxy for a common ancestor between its lineage and ancestral tetrapods. Its morphology causes us to identify it as a transitional stage between fish and tetrapods. Paleontologists do not have to make the assumption that Tiktaalik is a good stand in for this common ancestor because no one is making that claim. Rather Tiktaalik's mosaic morphology supports the idea that tetrapods evolved from fish and illuminates some details of how the transition occurred. Is this an accurate summary?
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby psiloiordinary » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:07 am

Skeptical One,

Did you mean to imply that accepting the science means you need to adopt a metaphysical position?

Secondly, trying to step back a moment; the fossil record is consistent with what we expect if life evolved. It does not "prove" it did. Science doesn't work by proving things. It works by trying to disprove them and if it fails to do so a lot, we think we have strong science.

So the whole issue of if any one knows or can prove this fossil is ancestral to another fossil or living species or not misses the point.

Looking at the fossil record combined with the morphology of living species fits into a pattern of nested hierarchies and does not fit in with a model were a creator can just create what they want.

Why are there no mammals with insect wings? Why don't any snakes have fir? Etc etc. just one such example that broke the nested hierarchy pattern would give evolution a major problem. Instead we see mosaic evolution with characters from the next hierarchy "up". Just like evolution would lead us to expect.

So if you want to argue that a creator did not create evolution then you have to explain why the patterns in the fossils and in life were created to look consistent with evolution.

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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Brian Jordan » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:56 am

SkepticalOne wrote:I agree that "dirty secret" is provocative. It was meant to be; I hoped it would spur a rapid defense.
So it was an attack, then?
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby cathy » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:24 am

So Tiktaalik is not being used as a proxy for a common ancestor between its lineage and ancestral tetrapods. Its morphology causes us to identify it as a transitional stage between fish and tetrapods. Paleontologists do not have to make the assumption that Tiktaalik is a good stand in for this common ancestor because no one is making that claim. Rather Tiktaalik's mosaic morphology supports the idea that tetrapods evolved from fish and illuminates some details of how the transition occurred. Is this an accurate summary?


Skeptical one - can I just ask what other explanations can you forward for tiktaalik exactly. It does precisely fit the predictions made by evolution and it is very difficult to formulate any different hypothesis based on its morphology. In fact , if you put it into context with all the other evidences being found on a daily basis, I'd say its impossible to formulate any different explanation?
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Peter Henderson » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:04 pm

When you Google "evolution's dirty little secret" all you get is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjprkQbOouQ
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Brian Jordan » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:07 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:When you Google "evolution's dirty little secret" all you get is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjprkQbOouQ
The uploader PPSImmons seems to fancy himself as something of a televangelist, with his 900 uploaded videos. Of the video itself, it fails in its proselytising by refusing to let you skim past the first bit to where its message is - it just cuts itself down to ~2 mins instead of 7. It also drops the visible text around that point, so you have to either listen to every word or forget it. I chose to forget it, especially in view of the crocoduck analogues it shows. Oh, and it seems to conflate evolution with minerals to washing machines abiomechanogenesis.
Ichthus films claims to be very jealous of its copyright which is odd, It seems to emanate from a proselytising church that would surely do better giving the stuff away - which they are doing anyway! Only the faithful are likely to buy their dvds, so no sales lost. WARNING: put on dark glasses before following this link! http://www.hickoryhammockbaptist.org/dvd-1.html
OK? Have your eyes recovered? Then back to the real world. Who is PPSimmons?
PPSIMMONS is an amorphous mass of stupid whose most prominent representative is Pastor Carl Gallups, and which operates a website devoted to young earth creationism and Biblical literalism. They make many videos attacking the theory of evolution and promoting intelligent design. Additionally, they believe in Satan and the evil influence of witches in the world. And just to round out the idiocy, they are also a birther, often call Obama the anti-Christ (they're just asking questions!), and believe that anthropogenic global warming is a "profit-driven scam."[
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/PPSIMMONS
I trust SkepticalOne has just pinched his thread title from them, and isn't one of their followers.
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Roger Stanyard » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:47 pm

SkepticalOne wrote:Let me preface this by saying that I am not trying to argue for a creationist interpretation of the data, regardless of my beliefs.


Bullshit. You are.
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:54 am

Roger Stanyard wrote:
SkepticalOne wrote:Let me preface this by saying that I am not trying to argue for a creationist interpretation of the data, regardless of my beliefs.


Bullshit. You are.


I look forward to SkepticalOne's reply. It is possible to be sceptical about aspects of evolution without being a card-carrying creationist. The enquiry could well be genuine (or not). I am open-minded.
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Christine Janis » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:36 pm

Rather Tiktaalik's mosaic morphology supports the idea that tetrapods evolved from fish and illuminates some details of how the transition occurred. Is this an accurate summary?


Pretty much. Nobody would claim that there was *an ancestor* who looked just like Tiktaalik. However, this isn't to say that we can't use it as a provisional proxy. We may find an animal that is more derived ----- i.e., one that has more of the autopod (wrist/hand) present but which still retains fin rays and lacks a complete set of digits.

Indeed, such an animal should be predicted. Whether or not you would call it a "fish" or a "tetrapod" is a rather moot point. Technically fin rays = fish, digits = tetrapod, but what should we do if we find an animal that had both? Note that if we only had the skull of Tiktaalik it would have most likely been classified as a tetrapod, based on the loss of the operculum (as well as other derived features).

Creationists (whether Skep1 is one or not) have this notion of the "missing link" ---- but what the fossil record is showing us, both here and in other cases (dinosaur-bird, cynodont-mammal) is a transition of intermediate forms ---- not entirely "smooth" because of course these animals are not evolving with the explicit "purpose" of attaining some "next stage", so you have an adaptive radiation out of which one form might be ancestral to something more like the more derived condition.

An analogy here would be if all of the Bovidae (cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, etc.) went extinct, except for the domestic cow. Would you call other members of the tribe Bovini, such as bison and buffalo, "intermediate forms", and/or try and force them into a position of direct ancestry, or would they just be perceived as closely related forms that could throw light on the cow's lineage of descent from within the larger context of the family Bovidae?
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:44 pm

I look forward to SkepticalOne's reply. It is possible to be sceptical about aspects of evolution without being a card-carrying creationist. The enquiry could well be genuine (or not). I am open-minded.[/quote]

Maybe but it is standard practice for creationists to come into pro-science groups with a seemingly innocent question about science. And then totally ignore any replies or questions put to them. They also all sooner or later feel it really, really important to tell every one that they are religious. I have already asked him about his "interpretation" and, of course, have been totally ignored.
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby SkepticalOne » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:52 pm

Calm down, Roger. I gather that many of you have been at this for a number of years and so I understand that some of you are perhaps somewhat overly sensitive to perceived attacks on evolutionary theory. But you have reached a conclusion about me and my motivations based on what you feel to be true rather than any of the data you have gathered from my posts. Is not an a priori conclusion which is maintained despite the available evidence precisely what enrages you about creationism? I have made no metaphysical claims nor even questioned the validity of evolutionary theory. I have merely posed a question regarding some specific details of the theory with which even some regulars of this forum are unfamiliar. And the result has been that I and others here have benefited from Christine's informative and levelheaded response. Contrast this with your responses and you should feel at least a prickle of shame for the bellicosity you're displaying here. I'm ignoring your demands that I provide my creationist (you assume) interpretation because, as I have explicitly stated, this question is not metaphysically-motivated, hence why I originally posted my question on the Science Only board. You should consider responding reasonably like Christine and Haworthroberts to the things I actually say rather than the things you imagine I am secretly saying.

I appreciate the rational and informative nature of your responses, Christine. So Tiktaalik's morphology illuminates the sequence tetrapod evolution took. Knowing this gives paleontologists an idea of what our actual ancestor must have looked like because it would presumably have acquired traits in the same order. Thus Tiktaalik can provisionally be used as a proxy for the direct tetrapod ancestor. Is this accurate?

Also, you mentioned earlier that the Polish tetrapod tracks are not universally regarded as such. Have these doubts been published, or are they more informally expressed objections? If the latter, what sort of objections have you encountered?
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Peter Henderson » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:42 pm

An unusual prehistoric fish with fins near its butt has helped to solve the mystery over why most animals, including humans, have paired limbs.

The fish, Euphanerops, is possibly the first creature on the planet to have evolved paired appendages, which in this case were fins. The 370-million-year-old species is described in the latest issue of Biology Letters.

"Fins are the world's first limb-like appendages," lead author Robert Sansom told Discovery News. "Paired limbs would subsequently develop from paired fins in the transition from sea to land, but the first evolution of paired appendages was a big, important step in the evolution and development of vertebrates," which are animals with a backbone or spinal column


http://news.discovery.com/human/evoluti ... 130409.htm
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:37 pm

Poor fish, if they'd just had fins on one side. Talk about vanishing up their own fundament! :)
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Roger Stanyard » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:43 pm

SkepticalOne wrote:Calm down, Roger. I gather that many of you have been at this for a number of years and so I understand that some of you are perhaps somewhat overly sensitive to perceived attacks on evolutionary theory. But you have reached a conclusion about me and my motivations based on what you feel to be true rather than any of the data you have gathered from my posts. Is not an a priori conclusion which is maintained despite the available evidence precisely what enrages you about creationism? I have made no metaphysical claims nor even questioned the validity of evolutionary theory. I have merely posed a question regarding some specific details of the theory with which even some regulars of this forum are unfamiliar. And the result has been that I and others here have benefited from Christine's informative and levelheaded response. Contrast this with your responses and you should feel at least a prickle of shame for the bellicosity you're displaying here. I'm ignoring your demands that I provide my creationist (you assume) interpretation because, as I have explicitly stated, this question is not metaphysically-motivated, hence why I originally posted my question on the Science Only board. You should consider responding reasonably like Christine and Haworthroberts to the things I actually say rather than the things you imagine I am secretly saying.


We've heard all the same from creationists time and time again. Tiktalik, the Polish tracks or whatever. They are bog standard and tired and tedious creationist boilerplate. We've also heard time and time again creationists claiming that they are only talking about science. In your case I don't believe you. Any fool can find holes in science, which is exactly what you set out to do - "I quote "Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?"
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Re: Dirty secret of Evolutionary theory?

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:58 pm

Cynics might also wonder why, if you are sufficiently well versed in evolutionary paleontology to find small areas to question, you've come to an anti-creationist forum rather than a more specialised biological one. If it really is answers you're hoping for, rather than pratfalls, that is.
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