Cambrian explosion Culture Darwinism News

Actually, said one Darwin follower, a rabbit in the Cambrian would be no problem

Spread the love

Because nothing is a problem for a theory like Darwin’s. (Or Freud’s, for that matter.)

Further to Berlinski’s Question Remains Unanswered, embryologist Jonathan Wells writes to say,

Regarding the first line in the comments (by eigenstate):

Haldane’s “rabbit in the Cambrian” suffices as a simple example of a devastating find for evolutionary theory’s basic model.

In 2009, Steve Meyer and I spoke at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. The day before, the museum’s curator of invertebrate paleontology, Dr. Stephen Westrop, made a pre-emptive strike by giving his own talk about why the Cambrian explosion poses no challenge to Darwinian theory. He concluded by taking exception to J.B.S. Haldane’s claim that finding a fossil rabbit in the pre-Cambrian would prove Darwin’s theory wrong. If such a fossil were found, Westrop said, paleontologists would simply revise their reconstruction of the history of life. During the Q&A, one student asked him whether any fossil
find could falsify Darwin’s theory, and Professor Westrop said “No,” since Darwin’s theory is really about natural selection, which operates on a much shorter time scale than the fossil record.

He suggests reading the following 2009 post recounting an effort to get a thoughtful discussion going at Oklahoma University. Do read the whole thing because it captures Darwin’s elite doing what they do best, for example:

Abbie Smith was there, but she spent the entire time blogging on her laptop. Her entries included the following:

7.10 — Meyer is clueless on origin of life and Darwin.

7.27 — ‘Origin of information in DNA’. HAHAHA I made all the mathematicians facepalm [place their hands over their eyes and shake their heads].

7.40 — Bored. Now watching porn.

Despite her earlier threats to expose publicly how “stupid” Steve is, Smith left abruptly after the lecture and did not stay for the Q&A.

and, he recounts,

After Westrop’s lecture I toured the museum exhibit on evolution and the Cambrian explosion. It seemed factually accurate for the most part, emphasizing (among other things) that many of the Cambrian explosion fossils were soft-bodied–which puts the lie to the common explanation that their precursors are absent from the fossil record because they lacked hard parts. The exhibit also made it clear that the Ediacaran fossils went extinct at the end of the pre-Cambrian, so (with a few possible exceptions) they could not have been ancestral to the Cambrian phyla.

One particular panel in the exhibit caught my attention. It showed over a dozen of the Cambrian phyla at the top of a branching tree with a single trunk, but none of the branch points corresponded to a real living thing. Instead, the branch points were artificial technical categories such as “Ecdysozoa,” “Lophotrochozoa,” “Deuterostomia,” and “Bilateria.” The artificiality of the branch-points emphasized that the branching-tree pattern imposed on the fossil evidence was itself an artificial construct.

By all means, American readers, go into debt for an education for yourself or someone you love at an institution of the type accurately portrayed here.

The rest of the world needs you guys to be more foul-mouthed and dimwitted, less imaginative and competitive. Watch more porn. Get yourselves bong pipes and high grade weed.

And be proud to pay taxes for Darwin’s followers to  teach your kids and grandkids long into the future. After all, if you dispute the rubbish, they will just get packed court judgements against you anyway.

Note: In general, the Darwin comments at Berlinski’s Question Remains Unanswered must be seen to be believed; fix yourself a tea, pull up a chair, and search on “fossil rabbits” here.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPGThe “fossil rabbits” thing was always a bit of a joke because the Cambrian was an underwater world. Some of us would sure rethink a lot of theories if we came across tiny scuba tanks, goggles, and skin diving suits with furry bunnytail- and long ear- protectors dating from the Cambrian … Or anything similar.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Search Uncommon Descent for similar topics, under the Donate button.

28 Replies to “Actually, said one Darwin follower, a rabbit in the Cambrian would be no problem

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    There’s always the possibility of time-traveling rabbits or trans-dimensional rabbits or a rabbit that hopped across from another universe. They make as much sense as an immaterial non-local creator who created everything out of nothing.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Say, maybe the creator was an immaterial rabbit who pulled a universe out of its hat.

  3. 3
    goodusername says:

    The “fossil rabbits” thing was always a bit of a joke because the Cambrian was an underwater world.

    There was about as much land then as there is now.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Say, Seversky, maybe materialists will pull some evidence and testable entailments for their position from somewhere. And maybe your position will someday find an explanation for rabbits.

  5. 5
    Querius says:

    If a Pre-Cambrian fossil of a burrowing benthic bunny (bbb) were ever found, Darwinists would simply conjure an overthrust fault and that would be that.

    It would be as simple as Seversky’s conjuring the universe—space-time, mass-energy, gravity and other stuff including quantum fluctuations ex nihilo without an external cause that itself didn’t have a cause.

    Apparently blurring the difference between science and magic is completely acceptable as long as it doesn’t involve God.

    -Q

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    If semiosis in the Cambrian is no problem then a rabbit isn’t likely to cause alarm.

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    The great rabbithole of error in all this IS that biological conclusions are being made on geological paradigms.
    Finding a rabbit is not finding a rabbit. Its confirming a geology tale whether the rabbit is found or not.
    Don’t you guys see it??
    Biological facts are being determined by the geology facts for the biology data’s deposition.
    If the geology was wrong then the biology conclusion is wrong.
    So it must . logically, be that fossils are never biological evidence for biological origins and processes. EVEN IF THEY ACCURATELY REPRESENTED REAL EVOLUTION AND ORIGIN.
    Rabbit fossils are not bio evidence for or against evolution.
    Not sci bio.
    Thats the big error in all this.
    Its primitive data collection and hunches about connections.
    Even if someone is right.

  8. 8
    Popperian says:

    The question is comes down to what one considers a good explanation for phenomena. So, it’s a case of epistemology and philosophy of science.

    First, the “rabbit” could have been misidentified as a fossil. As could the particular strata it was found in, as being from the Cambrian period. Or it could be a hoax. IOW, other better explanations would first need to be ruled out. But, even then, should none of those explanations pan out, what would have been refuted would not be neo-Darwinism, but our current theory of the history of life and geology on the earth.

    For example, there could have been an isolated prehistoric continent on which evolution occurred many times faster than though to have occurred anywhere else. And, by convergent evolution, a rabbit-like creature evolved there during the Cambrian period. Later, this continent was connected by a catastrophic event that obviated nearly all of the life there and submerged their fossils in the process. The rabbit like creature just happened to have survived the event, but when extinct shortly after.

    Based on the evidence we do have, this explanation is far better than, say, creationism or Lamarckism. Why? Because neither give an explanation for the origin of the knowledge found in the rabbit. Nor does the current crop of ID, which just pushes the problem up a level without improving it, and can be easily varied without effect its ability to solve the problem it claims to solve. In each case, the knowledge “just was” at the outset, without being explained.

    Again, knowledge, as i’m using the term, is information that plays a causal role in causing to remain when embedded in a storage medium. This includes brains, books and genomes. Neo-Darwinism isn’t specific to biology. It’s about replicators, which play a casual role in being copied.

    So what would refute neo-Dariwnism? It comes down to the contrast is between ID, creationism and Lamarckism vs Darwinism. In the case of the former, the knowledge was already present at the outset, appeared spontaneously or would be explanatory in nature, which would have greater reach. However, in the case of the latter, the knowledge was created via an error correcting process and is non-explanatory, which has significantly less reach. It genuinely did not exist before. As such, to refute Darwinism, we would need evidence that suggests the knowledge in organisms came about in a fundamentally different way.

    For example, if organisms underwent mostly favorable mutations, this would support Lamarckism. If organisms were born with new, complex adaptations for anything, for which there were no precursors from their parent, then Darwin’s theory of gradual change would be refuted, along with his mechanism of knowledge creation (which latter became Popper’s). Also, if an organism was born with a complex adaptation that provides survival value today, but was not favorited by selection pressure in its ancestors, such as a bear like creature with the ability to detect and use internet weather forecast to determine when to hibernate, then Darwinism would also be refuted. In the light of these cases, a fundamentally new explanation would be needed.

    However, the logical possibility that “some designer wanted it that way” doesn’t add to the explanation. As such, it fails at an explanation. That is, unless you think the designer somehow justifies the knowledge, which is a specific epistemological view that does not survive criticism.

  9. 9
    Popperian says:

    Robert,

    You seem to suggest that science is somehow held hostage by any and all rival interpretations.

    However, we never speak of the existence of dinosaurs, millions of years ago, as an interoperation of our best theories of fossils. Rather, we say that dinosaurs are the explanation for fossils. Nor is the theory primarily about fossils, but about dinosaurs, in that they are assumed to actually exist as part of the explanation.

    And we do so despite the fact that there are an infinite number of rival interpretations of the same data that make all the same predictions, yet say the dinosaurs were not there, millions of years ago, in reality.

    For example, there is the rival interpretation that fossils only come into existence when they are consciously observed. Therefore, fossils are no older than human beings. As such, they are not evidence of dinosaurs, but evidence of acts of those particular observations.

    Another interpretation would be that dinosaurs are such weird animals that conventional logic simply doesn’t apply to them. (As implied in claims that consciousness could never be explained because it represents a boundary where reason and criticism cannot pass)

    One could suggests It’s meaningless to ask if dinosaurs were real or just a useful fiction to explain fossils. (Which is an example of instrumentalism as found in the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.)

    Not to mention the rival interpretation that designer chose to create the world we observe last Thursday. Therefore, dinosaurs couldn’t be the explanation for fossils, because those fossils did not even exist before last Thursday.

    None of these other interpretations are empirically distinguishable from the rational theory of dinosaurs, in that their existence explains fossils. But we discard them because they all represent a general purpose means to deny absolutely anything.

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    Popperian- Evolutionism cannot account for fossils. It can’t explain rabbits, which is why the challenge is bogus.

  11. 11
    Popperian says:

    Of course it cannot, Joe. After all neo-Darwinism isn’t an authorative source. And you hold the view that knowledge in specific spheres comes from authorative sources. As such, you think it cannot be an explanation for anything in those spheres.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Popperian and Zachriel must be closely related.

  13. 13
    Popperian says:

    Was that a “Yes”, in that you do think knowledge in specific spheres comes from authorative sources? Or do I have it wrong? Or something in between?

    I’m asking because, your response did not seem to address the actual substance of my comment.

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    Substance? You oversell yourself.

  15. 15

    Denyse O’Leary, Are you supposing that the YEC Flood geology view is true?

    Instead of flood geology shouldn’t one begin by acknowledging where the preponderance of fossils are found relative to one another? The vast preponderance is not out of place but in relative order to one another with certain fossils only appearing above and/or below other fossils (even when there are no sedimentary layers between them the relative order remains intact). While concerning the small number of out of place fossils, they do not constitute the preponderance of the evidence. Here is what needs to be explained by YECs and Flood Geologists: http://etb-flood-geology.blogs.....ommon.html

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    Westrop concluded by taking exception to J.B.S. Haldane’s claim that finding a fossil rabbit in the pre-Cambrian would prove Darwin’s theory wrong. If such a fossil were found, Westrop said, paleontologists would simply revise their reconstruction of the history of life.

    There’s no plausible reordering based on what we already know. The current history is so strongly supported that we can be confident that rabbits did not exist in the Cambrian.

  17. 17
    Querius says:

    Zachriel,

    The current history is so strongly supported

    By its proponents . . . certainly not the evidence!

    that we can be confident that rabbits did not exist in the Cambrian.

    So no one bothers looking. This is called “ideological contamination” among other things.

    You never answered why do you insist on referring to yourself in the plural.

    -Q

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    There’s no plausible reordering based on what we already know.

    Fish-> tetrapods-> fishapods, not quite what was expected. 😉

  19. 19
    Querius says:

    Exactly, Joe.

    Darwinism explains anything and everything, but successfully predicts nothing. That’s why Darwinists are always quoted as being surprised when something is discovered.

    -Q

  20. 20
    Zachriel says:

    Querius: By its proponents . . . certainly not the evidence!

    No, by the evidence. Let’s start with simple facts. There used to be mega-dinosaurs roaming the Earth. Now there is not. Agree or disagree?

    Querius: So no one bothers looking.

    Help yourself.

  21. 21
    Popperian says:

    Again, should I take that as a yes or a no? Two comments later and we’re still no closer.

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    Yes knowledge comes from authoritative sources. For most of us, it begins with our parents.

  23. 23
    Querius says:

    Zachriel @20 taunted

    There used to be mega-dinosaurs roaming the Earth. Now there is not. Agree or disagree?

    What we call dinosaurs once roamed the earth, and the larger species went extinct along with more than 90% of all organisms. What we have left from them might actually be birds.

    Then Mary Schweitzer and others found soft tissue in many of their remains, an impossibility considering the action of background radiation over the supposed 65 million years. No one reported this before because it was, after all, impossible.

    Then someone sent bone samples to labs for carbon dating, and what do you suppose they found?

    -Q

  24. 24
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: What we call dinosaurs once roamed the earth, and the larger species went extinct along with more than 90% of all organisms.

    Okay good. So we agree on one point of the history of life, something with which Querius expressed difficulty.

    Mung: Then Mary Schweitzer and others found soft tissue in many of their remains, an impossibility considering the action of background radiation over the supposed 65 million years.

    How it was preserved over deep time: See Schweitzer et al., A role for iron and oxygen chemistry in preserving soft tissues, cells and molecules from deep time, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2007.

    Relationship to birds: See Asara et al., Protein Sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus Rex Revealed by Mass Spectrometry, Science 2007.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    heh

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    Do you want to tell him, Mung, or shall I? 😉

    -Q

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    Update on percolating rabbits.

    T. Ryan Gregory quotes Larry Moran:

    But I think that looking for a single Popperian falsification (seriously? Popper?), especially one that deals primarily with path rather than fact, is misguided.

    Apparently, I am not alone in this. Larry Moran wrote this on Facebook in response to the Dawkins quote mentioned above:

    The statement is untrue. If we discover that a given species is older than we thought then we will just revise our view of the history of life on Earth. It will not disprove the fact of evolution and it will have no effect on evolutionary theory. It is a mistake to link the truth of evolution to our current inderstanding of the history of life. That history can be easily changed without threatening evolution.

    http://www.genomicron.evolverz.....-and-path/

  28. 28
    REC says:

    Mung @27:

    Careful on quoting quotes without context.

    Moran is going after what he feels was a misstatement by Dawkins: that ANY fossil out of order would disprove evolution. He in fact says on facebook: “While it’s true that discovery of a fossil rabbit in the Precambrian would be a difficult challenge, that’s not what the quote says.”

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/20.....ution.html

Leave a Reply