Darwinian Debating Devices

Darwinian Debating Device #5: The False Quote Mining Charge

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One of the Darwinists’ favorite tactics is the “False Quote Mining Charge.” For those who do not know what “quote mining” is:

Quote mining is the deceitful tactic of taking quotes out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with the quote miner’s viewpoint or to make the comments of an opponent seem more extreme or hold positions they don’t in order to make their positions easier to refute or demonize. It’s a way of lying.

In summary, to accuse someone of quote mining is to accuse them of lying. It is a serious charge. Let us examine a recent example of the charge to illustrate.

In Origin of Species Darwin wrote this about the lack of transitional fossils in the fossil record:

But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.

In a prior thread I asked Alan Fox the following question:

Are you suggesting that the fossil record now reveals the “finely graduated organic chain” that in Origin Charles Darwin predicted would be ultimately revealed as the fossil record was explored further?

He replied:

As far as it reveals anything, yes. The current record is certainly not incompatible with gradual evolution over vast periods of time.

I replied:

Again, leading Darwinists disagree:

Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46.

In response, in three separate comments, Mr. Fox charged me with quote mining:

Nice selection from the Bumper Book of Quote-mines, Barry

The quote-mine lifted (and I bet not by Barry) from a book implies that Eldredge has a problem with evolutionary theory.

Returning to the thread topic and Barry’s quote mine of Eldredge:

Let us summarize:

1.  I quoted Darwin for the proposition that the fossil record should show a “finely graduated organic chain” and the fact that is does not show any such chain is the strongest objection to his theory.

2.  I asked Alan Fox whether he believed the fossil record does show such a chain, and he said yes and that the record was not incompatible with gradual evolution.

3.  I quoted Eldredge for the proposition that “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.” VERY IMPORTANT:  When I quoted Eldredge I called him a “leading Darwinist.”

4.  Alan begins screaming “Quote mine”!

Now let’s go back to the beginning.  To accuse someone of quote mining is to accuse them of quoting a source out of context to make it appear as though they agree with you when they don’t.  It is a form of lying.

The proposition that I was advancing was that the fossil record has not turned out as Darwin expected.  Alan disagreed.  I quoted Eldredge to support my claim.  Alan accused me of quoting Eldredge out of context to support my claim.  This means Alan was accusing me of taking Eldredge’s words out of context to support my claim when in context they do not.  He then said that I implied Eldredge has a problem with evolutionary theory.  Bottom line:  He accused me of lying and gross deceit.

But the truth is that I did not quote Eldredge out of context.  Eldredge wrote that change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record, and that is exactly what he meant.  Nothing in the context of the quotation changes that.  He has never changed his views.

I never implied that Eldredge had a problem with evolutionary theory.  Indeed, the whole point of quoting him is that his is an admission against interest.  I called him a “leading Darwinist.”  Alan’s charge is not only false it is imbecilic.  He said I implied that a leading proponent of a theory has a problem with the theory, and that is absurd on its face.

In summary, Alan Fox should be ashamed of himself.  He came onto these pages and falsely accused me of lies and deceit.

134 Replies to “Darwinian Debating Device #5: The False Quote Mining Charge

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    I believe Alan’s deeply immersed at the moment in the study of nothing, the fecundity of nothing, with his fellow-naturalists.

  2. 2
    DiEb says:

    Just some quick questions: Which texts or books of Niles Eldredge have you read? Have you read “The Myths of Human Evolution” (or at least some chapters) and spotted the quote – or did you get the quotation from a secondary source?

  3. 3
    bevets says:

    Evolutionists have often protested ‘unfair’ to quoting an evolutionist as if he were against evolution itself. So let it be said from the outset that the vast majority of authorities quoted are themselves ardent believers in evolution. But that is precisely the point… The foundations of the evolutionary edifice are hardly likely to be shaken by a collection of quotes from the many scientists who are biblical creationists. In a court of law, an admission from a hostile witness is the most valuable. Quoting the evolutionary palaeontologist who admits the absence of in-between forms, or the evolutionary biologist who admits the hopelessness of the mutation/selection mechanism, is perfectly legitimate if the admission is accurately represented in its own right, regardless of whether the rest of the article is full of hymns of praise to all the other aspects of evolution. ~ Andrew Snelling

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    DiEb in 2.

    I am the one who has been falsely accused of misrepresenting a quotation from Eldredge. I am the one who has been falsely called a liar. Your “attack the victim” comment is utterly shameless. There really does appear to be no bounds to the Darwinists’ perfidy.

  5. 5
    DiEb says:

    Sorry, but you came up with this quote of Eldredge in your article. I don’t think that it is especially perfidious to ask how this quotation came to your attention.

  6. 6
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    This series of threads is a god-awful mess. You guys are confusing several things:

    1. The issue of whether or not tiny transitions between very-closely-related species are common. This is the issue that the “punctuated equilibria” literature deals with. This is the source of most of the Gould & Eldredge quotes which you creationists ignorantly, incomprehendingly quote-mine. Whether or not smooth transitions covering these tiny transitions — they are basically “within-kind” transitions in creationist-speak — are common doesn’t prove anything one way or the other about what creationists care about, which is whether or not transitions exist between highly different groups.

    2. As I said, a separate question is whether or not there are plenty of fossils demonstrating transitions between major groups. There are. Gould agrees. Eldredge agrees.

    Quoting these guys talking about #1, to try and deny #2, is either incompetent or dishonest. Take your pick.

    Heck, even young-earth creationist Kurt Wise agrees:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ation.html
    ================
    [p. 218]

    In various macroevolutionary models, stratomorphic intermediates might be expected to be any one or more of several different forms: –

    (a) inter-specific stratomorphic intermediates;

    (b) stratomorphic intermediate species;

    (c} higher-taxon stratomorphic intermediates; and

    (d) stratomorphic [intermediate] series.

    As an example (and to provide informal definitions), if predictions from Darwin’s theory were re-stated in these terms, one would expect to find: –

    (a) numerous stratomorphic intermediates between any ancestor-descendent species pair (numerous interspecific stratomorphic intermediates);

    (b) species which were stratomorphic intermediates between larger groups (stratomorphic intermediate species);

    (c} taxonomic groups above the level of species which were stratomorphic intermediates between other pairs of groups (higher-taxon stratomorphic intermediates); and

    (d) a sequence of species or higher taxa in a sequence where each taxon is a stratomorphic intermediate between the taxa stratigraphically below and above it (stratomorphic series).

    With this vocabulary as a beginning, the traditional transitional forms issue can be gradually transformed into a non-traditional form, more suitable to the creationist researcher.

    It is a Very Good Evolutionary Argument

    Of Darwinism’s four stratomorphic intermediate expectations, that of the commonness of inter-specific stratomorphic intermediates has been the most disappointing for classical Darwinists. The current lack of any certain inter-specific stratomorphic intermediates has, of course, led to the development and increased acceptance of punctuated equilibrium theory. Evidences for Darwin’s second expectation – of stratomorphic intermediate species – include such species as Baragwanathia27 (between rhyniophytes and lycopods), Pikaia28 (between echinoderms and chordates), Purgatorius29 (between the tree shrews and the primates), and Proconsul30 (between the non-hominoid primates and the hominoids). Darwin’s third expectation – of higher-taxon stratomorphic intermediates – has been confirmed by such examples as the mammal-like reptile groups31 between the reptiles and the mammals, and the phenacdontids32 between the horses and their presumed ancestors. Darwin’s fourth expectation – of stratomorphic series – has been confirmed by such examples as the early bird series,33 the tetrapod series,34,35 the whale series,36 the various mammal series of the Cenozoic37 (for example, the horse series, the camel series, the elephant series, the pig series, the titanothere series, etc.), the Cantius and

    [p. 219]

    Plesiadapus primate series,38 and the hominid series.39 Evidence for not just one but for all three of the species level and above types of stratomorphic intermediates expected by macroevolutionary theory is surely strong evidence for macroevolutionary theory. Creationists therefore need to accept this fact. It certainly CANNOT said that traditional creation theory expected (predicted) any of these fossil finds.

    [p. 221]

    REFERENCES

    5. Wise, K. P., 1994. Australopithecus ramidus and the fossil record. CEN Tech. J., 8(2):160-165.

    […]

    27. Stewart, W. N. and Rothwell, G. W., 1993. Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants, Second Edition, Cambridge Universily Press, Cambridge, England, pp. 114-115.

    28. Gould, S. J., 1989. Wonderful Ufe: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, Norton, New York, pp. 321-323.

    29. Carroll, R. L., 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, Freeman, New York, p. 467.

    30. Carroll, Ref. 29, p. 473.

    31. Hopson, J. A,, 1994. Synapsid evolution and the radiation of noneutherian mammals. In: Major Features of Vertebrate Evolution [Short Courses in Paleontology Number 71, D. R. Porthero [sic] and R. M. Schoch (eds), Paleontological Society, Knoxville, Tennasee, pp. 190-219.

    32. Carroll, Ref. 29, pp. 527-530.

    33. Ostrom, 1. H., 1994. On the origin of birds and of avian flight. In: Major Features of Vertebrate Evolution [Short Courses in Paleonlology Number 71, D. R. Prothero and R. M. Schoch (eds), Paleontological Society. Knoxville, Tennessee, pp. 160-177.

    34. Thomson, K. S., 1994. The origin of the tetrapods. In: Major Features of Vertebrate Evolution [Short Courses in Paleontology Number 71, D. R. Prothero and R. M. Schoch (eds), Paleontological Society, Knoxville, Tennessee, pp. 85-107.

    35. Ahlberg, P. E. and Milner, A. R., 1994. Theorigin and early diversification of tetrapods. Nature, 368: 507-514.

    36. Gingerich, Ref. 1; Could, Ref. 2; Zimmer. Ref. 3.

    37. Carroll, Ref. 29, pp. 527-549.

    38. Gingerich, P. D., 1983. Evidence for evolution from the vertebrate fossil record. Journal of Geological Education, 31:140-144.

    39. For example, as listed in Wise, Ref. 5.

    [source: pp. 218-219 of: Kurt P. Wise (1995). “Towards a Creationist Understanding of ‘Transitional Forms.’” Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 9(2), 216-222. (caps original)

    [Note: The full article is online here under the “Ape-men…” circle:

    http://www.bryancore.org/anniversary/building.html

    In fairness, Wise goes on to claim that this evidence is “explainable” under the creation model, postulating as an alternative the scientific model that “God created organisms according to His nature” (p. 219), which apparently leads to the expectation of “high homoplasy” – because God, I assume, likes homoplasy. — NJM]
    ================

    3. Yet another separate question from all of this is what Darwin actually thought about what evolution did. The punk-eek people liked to portray themselves as revolutionary, and thus represented Darwin as an ultra-smooth-constant-rate proponent, but this seems unlikely based on a careful reading of Darwin.

    4. The question of what Darwin thought evolution did is different from the question of how Darwin thought evolution would look in the fossil record. He pointed out, basically accurately, how gappy the fossil record is. He is still right about that, and although we have lots of transitional fossils between major groups, we will never have a complete record, and never will. The Punk Eek peoples’ real contribution, rhetoric aside, was to point out that there are small sections of rock, typically covering only a few million years, with very good fossil near-continuous records, and often (how much is still debated), in this situation, you will see one species suddenly replaced by a very closely-related, very similar, sister species. I didn’t realize, until I read the literature, that the differences between these species are much smaller than you creationists think. Usually it takes an expert to tell them apart. The decades of creationist/ID abuse of Punk Eek quotes, through basically willful misunderstanding, is an intellectual travesty.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    NickMatkze_UD wrote:

    I didn’t realize, until I read the literature, that the differences between these species are much smaller than you creationists think. Usually it takes an expert to tell them apart.

    Yes, indeed! In fact, I’ve heard that in a number of cases the differences between these species is not actually visible, but their classification depends entirely on the strata in which they’re found!

    The presumption is that of necessity there must be some subtle differences between them due to the millions of years time difference, once again both relying on and proving the fact of evolution.

    Besides, Gould and Eldridge say some of the darnedest things that, if not taken in the context of all the most current literature, could easily be misinterpreted by people who don’t have the benefit of doctorates in evolutionary theory.

    So really, the best thing is just to trust the experts, because it can get complicated and confusing, especially when new discoveries haven’t yet been integrated to the consensus.

    For example, it’s definitely too early to draw any conclusions from the recent discovery of the Bunnysaurus lagomorphi found in what was originally thought to be the Cambrian . . . 😉

    -Q

  8. 8
    Box says:

    NickMatzke_UD: As I said, a separate question is whether or not there are plenty of fossils demonstrating transitions between major groups. There are. Gould agrees.

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”
    Stephen Jay Gould

  9. 9
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Box writes,

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”
    Stephen Jay Gould

    This is a quote about punctuated equilibria, about tiny transitions between sister species. Re-read my post. Gould was infuriated at creationist quote-mining, and so wrote:

    “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

    –Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory, Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994, p. 260

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Gould apparently grumbles:

    Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.

    Hilarious!

    So, we can find transitional forms between chihuahuas and bears, but not between whales and other whales or dolphins or porpoises?

    So, every species (ok, genus) is a shot-in-the-dark punctuated miracle?

    Polar bear -> *POOF* -> blue whale
    Raccoon -> *POOF* -> porpoise

    Yeah, right.

    -Q

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD, contrary to what you imagine to be conclusive proof for ‘bottom up’ Darwinian evolution from the fossil record, the fact of the matter is that the fossil record reveals a ‘top down’, disparity precedes diversity, pattern for the history of life instead of a bottom up Darwinian picture.

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine – video
    http://www.arn.org/arnproducts.....m.php?id=7

    Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
    “In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution.” Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology
    http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm

    In Explaining the Cambrian Explosion, Has the TalkOrigins Archive Resolved Darwin’s Dilemma? – JonathanM – May 2012
    Excerpt: it is the pattern of morphological disparity preceding diversity that is fundamentally at odds with the neo-Darwinian scenario of gradualism. All of the major differences (i.e. the higher taxonomic categories such as phyla) appear first in the fossil record and then the lesser taxonomic categories such as classes, orders, families, genera and species appear later. On the Darwinian view, one would expect to see all of the major differences in body plan appear only after numerous small-scale speciation events. But this is not what we observe.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59171.html

    As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science,
    “Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect.”

    Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that,
    “The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”
    Indeed, the existence of numerous small and soft-bodied animals in the Precambrian strata undermines one of the most popular responses that these missing transitions can be accounted for by them being too small and too-soft bodied to be preserved.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67021.html

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Besides that highly embarrassing fact for you Nick, the main point I would like to point out to you NickMatzke_UD, as I did this morning,,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-482405

    ,,,is the fact that you do not even have a viable mechanism in neo-Darwinism (Random Variation and Natural Selection) to explain the origination of fundamentally new body plans even if the fossil record had revealed the bottom up progression that you imagine it to do. For instance,,

    Darwin or Design? – Paul Nelson at Saddleback Church – Nov. 2012 – ontogenetic depth (excellent update) – video
    Text from one of the Saddleback slides:
    1. Animal body plans are built in each generation by a stepwise process, from the fertilized egg to the many cells of the adult. The earliest stages in this process determine what follows.
    2. Thus, to change — that is, to evolve — any body plan, mutations expressed early in development must occur, be viable, and be stably transmitted to offspring.
    3. But such early-acting mutations of global effect are those least likely to be tolerated by the embryo.
    Losses of structures are the only exception to this otherwise universal generalization about animal development and evolution. Many species will tolerate phenotypic losses if their local (environmental) circumstances are favorable. Hence island or cave fauna often lose (for instance) wings or eyes.
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/7ece8/

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover Nick, body plan information is not even reducible to a ‘bottom up’ materialistic scenario in the first place as is envisioned by Darwinists:

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’ –
    Stephen Meyer – (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate – 2009) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    “Live memory” of the cell, the other hereditary memory of living systems – 2005
    Excerpt: To understand this notion of “live memory”, its role and interactions with DNA must be resituated; indeed, operational information belongs as much to the cell body and to its cytoplasmic regulatory protein components and other endogenous or exogenous ligands as it does to the DNA database. We will see in Section 2, using examples from recent experiments in biology, the principal roles of “live memory” in relation to the four aspects of cellular identity, memory of form, hereditary transmission and also working memory.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15888340

    What Do Organisms Mean? Stephen L. Talbott – Winter 2011
    Excerpt: Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once described how you can excise the developing limb bud from an amphibian embryo, shake the cells loose from each other, allow them to reaggregate into a random lump, and then replace the lump in the embryo. A normal leg develops. Somehow the form of the limb as a whole is the ruling factor, redefining the parts according to the larger pattern. Lewontin went on to remark: “Unlike a machine whose totality is created by the juxtaposition of bits and pieces with different functions and properties, the bits and pieces of a developing organism seem to come into existence as a consequence of their spatial position at critical moments in the embryo’s development. Such an object is less like a machine than it is like a language whose elements… take unique meaning from their context.[3]”,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nisms-mean

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi1Qn306IUU
    time-lapse video reveals never-before-seen patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features will appear in an embryonic tadpole.,,, “When a frog embryo is just developing, before it gets a face, a pattern for that face lights up on the surface of the embryo,”,,, “We believe this is the first time such patterning has been reported for an entire structure, not just for a single organ. I would never have predicted anything like it. It’s a jaw dropper.”,,,

    To reiterate Nick in case you missed it:

    “It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.”
    Talbott

    Verse and Music:

    Psalm 139:15
    My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

    O Holy night by Celtic Woman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5MpQsLJvOw

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    A Listener’s Guide to the Meyer-Marshall Debate: Focus on the Origin of Information Question
    Casey Luskin – December 4, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is always an observable consequence if a dGRN (developmental gene regulatory network) subcircuit is interrupted. Since these consequences are always catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected, the whole network partakes of the quality that there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species develop in only one way.” –
    Eric Davidson
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79811.html

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    “Quote mining is the deceitful tactic of taking quotes out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with the quote miner’s viewpoint . . .”

    Eldredge wrote: “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Barry Arrington quoted Eldredge to support the proposition that change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Nick Matzke accuses Barry Arrington of “ignorantly, uncomprehendingly quote-mining” Eldredge.

    But in order for Matzke’s accusation to be valid, the Eldredge quote would have had to mean, in context, something other than “change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Yet, in context, the Eldredge quotation means exactly: “change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Therefore, by definition, Barry Arrington did not quote mine Eldredge.

    Which means that Nick Matzke’s quote mining accusation is “either incompetent or dishonest. Take your pick.”

  15. 15
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Barry,

    I pointed out 4 distinct issues. You are mixing them all together through misinterpretation of Eldredge’s quote. You are interpreting Eldredge as talking about all aspects of the fossil record, whereas he was just talking about continuous, smooth transitions between sister species over very short evolutionary distances. Deal with this, or you don’t have an argument.

  16. 16
    bevets says:

    In summary, to accuse someone of quote mining is to accuse them of lying. It is a serious charge.

    It should be noted that it is far easier to cast aspersions and have your opponent defend his integrity rather than attempt the yeomans task of explaining away the substance of the point he made. (Too much explaining and onlookers may get the impression my position is weaker than I let on)

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick Matzke

    I pointed out 4 distinct issues.

    Good for you. I pointed out one distinct issue: “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    You accused me of quote mining, which, as I showed beyond the slightest doubt in [14] is “either incompetent or dishonest. Take your pick.”

    Deal with this, i.e., your incompetence or your dishonesty.

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    Barry Arrington:

    Deal with this, i.e., your incompetence or your dishonesty.

    Hilarious. Oh, how they wish they could shut you up the way they shut everybody up in the schools by force of law. You just got to love the internet and what it does for freedom of speech.

  19. 19
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I am making a simple argument, you guys are not addressing it. This kind of thing is why creationists/IDists are not taken seriously.

  20. 20
    Mapou says:

    I am making a simple argument, you guys are not addressing it.

    Funny. Now you know how it feels.

    This kind of thing is why creationists/IDists are not taken seriously.

    Taken seriously by whom? By the crackpots who have hijacked education?

  21. 21
    Buzulak says:

    Bravo bornagain77.

  22. 22
    Querius says:

    NickMatzke_UD complained:

    I am making a simple argument, you guys are not addressing it.

    Sorry, but it’s a target-rich environment of speculation, where the only evidences are speculations by more eminent natural philosophers. Darwin’s hypothesis made sense at the time, and explained genetic drift. But neither the math, the genetics, nor the fossil record support Darwin’s extrapolation.

    1. The issue of whether or not tiny transitions between very-closely-related species are common. This is the issue that the “punctuated equilibria” literature deals with.

    PE is attractive, but is missing a driving mechanism, thus reducing it to wishful thinking. Maybe DNA transfer with bacteria and viruses as agents/vectors might be the answer, but the evidence so far is sparse (bacteria recently being found to be able to incorporate DNA from dead organisms).

    2. As I said, a separate question is whether or not there are plenty of fossils demonstrating transitions between major groups.

    Without smaller transitions, linking only major groups is logically ridiculous. You’d have to show that a bear evolved into a whale in one generation. Since whales and bears have not been observed mating, this transition would have had to occur spontaneously thousands of times. This is really no less miraculous than claiming God did it.

    3. Yet another separate question from all of this is what Darwin actually thought about what evolution did. The punk-eek people liked to portray themselves as revolutionary, and thus represented Darwin as an ultra-smooth-constant-rate proponent, but this seems unlikely based on a careful reading of Darwin.

    The reading would have had to be totally in the blank areas between the lines because Darwin was solidly uniformitarian.

    4. The question of what Darwin thought evolution did is different from the question of how Darwin thought evolution would look in the fossil record. He pointed out, basically accurately, how gappy the fossil record is.

    At the time, Darwin had faith that the fossil record, as more work was done, would validate his hypothesis. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I’d speculate that Darwin, if he were alive today, would say something like

    “In my best judgement based on my observations, I had supposed Nature to slowly and almost imperceptibly breed the good into the better. While She most certainly does breed out the weak and defective races, the fossil record, genetic studies, and the mathematics of mutation have convinced me that Nature must avail herself of some other natural mechanism to draw out new alleles. I have set myself to discover such mechanisms, for surely there are several.”

    And that’s the difference between a great scientist and the also-rans.

    -Q

  23. 23
    goodusername says:

    The reading would have had to be totally in the blank areas between the lines because Darwin was solidly uniformitarian.

    In Origin Darwin writes:
    “Many species once formed never undergo any further change … and the periods, during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured by years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.”

    I don’t think much reading between the lines is necessary to see that Darwin didn’t believe that the rate of change was constant.

    And so I think Eldredge was wrong in saying that Darwin expected a constant change affecting all lineages through time, and didn’t anticipate anatomical conservatism.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    So Darwin’s theory can accommodate gradualness, stasis, and abruptness in the fossil record with no threat to the theory. Man that is some kind of theory you guys got there. A theory that can explain one set of facts as well as it can explain an opposite set of facts just can’t be beat. (although some might hold that it just can’t be science for it to do as such)

    “Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures…
    To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods, I can give no satisfactory answer…
    The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.”
    —Chapter IX, “On the Imperfection of the Geological Record,” On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin – fifth edition (1869), pp. 378-381.

    yet we find ‘conservatively’ that the fossil record at the Cambrian looks like this:

    Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in 24 hour day) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQKxkUb_AAg

    Darwin also stated this:

    “IF it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.”
    C. Darwin – Difficulties of the Theory

    Yet today, due to the advance of science, we can find many such cases,,,

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way.”
    Doug Axe PhD. – Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5347797/

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    These New Protein Findings Are a Problem Even According to the Evolutionist’s Own Numbers – Cornelius Hunter – March 2012
    Excerpt: And the numbers are even smaller for de novo genes found in humans. The time allowed goes down to about 5 million years and the effective population size goes down by at least two orders of magnitude, to about 10^5. So in this case the upper and lower limits become 10^14 and 10^10, respectively. And while these estimates are optimistic, they fall short by more than 50 orders of magnitude. The numbers don’t add up. The evolution of de novo genes can only count on from 10^10 to 10^18 attempts (and that’s optimistic). But the number of attempts that are required is estimated to be 10^63 and 10^77. This isn’t even close. These numbers show astronomical problems, yet evolutionists are certain their idea is a fact.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....oblem.html

    “Darwin writes that he studied math as a young man but also remembers that “it was repugnant to me”.”

    “John Von Neumann, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century, just laughed at Darwinian theory, he hooted at it!”
    Dr. David Berlinski

    Moreover, the number of completely new genes and proteins to be ‘explained away’ by Darwinists has recently exploded per each new species that has been sequenced:

    Genes from nowhere: Orphans with a surprising story – 16 January 2013 – Helen Pilcher
    Excerpt: When biologists began sequencing genomes they discovered up to a third of genes in each species seemed to have no parents or family of any kind. Nevertheless, some of these “orphan genes” are high achievers (are just as essential as ‘old’ genes),,,
    But where do they come from? With no obvious ancestry, it was as if these genes appeared out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be true. Everyone assumed that as we learned more, we would discover what had happened to their families. But we haven’t-quite the opposite, in fact.,,,
    The upshot is that the chances of random mutations turning a bit of junk DNA into a new gene seem infinitesmally small. As the French biologist Francois Jacob wrote 35 years ago, “the probability that a functional protein would appear de novo by random association of amino acids is practically zero”.,,,
    Orphan genes have since been found in every genome sequenced to date, from mosquito to man, roundworm to rat, and their numbers are still growing.
    http://ccsb.dfci.harvard.edu/w.....n_2013.pdf

    Orphan Genes (And the peer reviewed ‘non-answer’ from Darwinists) – lifepsy video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz6vio_LhY

    Proteins and Genes, Singletons and Species – Branko Kozuli? PhD. Biochemistry
    Excerpt: Horizontal gene transfer is common in prokaryotes but rare in eukaryotes [89-94], so HGT cannot account for (ORFan) singletons in eukaryotic genomes, including the human genome and the genomes of other mammals.,,,
    The trend towards higher numbers of (ORFan) singletons per genome seems to coincide with a higher proportion of the eukaryotic genomes sequenced. In other words, eukaryotes generally contain a larger number of singletons than eubacteria and archaea.,,,
    That hypothesis – that evolution strives to preserve a protein domain once it stumbles upon it contradicts the power law distribution of domains. The distribution graphs clearly show that unique domains are the most abundant of all domain groups [21, 66, 67, 70, 72, 79, 82, 86, 94, 95], contrary to their expected rarity.,,,
    Evolutionary biologists of earlier generations have not anticipated [164, 165] the challenge that (ORFan) singletons pose to contemporary biologists. By discovering millions of unique genes biologists have run into brick walls similar to those hit by physicists with the discovery of quantum phenomena. The predominant viewpoint in biology has become untenable: we are witnessing a scientific revolution of unprecedented proportions.
    http://vixra.org/pdf/1105.0025v1.pdf

    Here is another quote of interest from Darwin:

    The Strongest Single Class of Facts – 2011
    Excerpt: “Embryology is to me is by far the strongest single class of facts in favor” of my theory of evolution, was the claim of Charles Darwin. The nineteenth century embryological evidence was pivotal for the development of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    Just two months before the release of the first edition of The Origin of Species in September 1859, Darwin wrote to Charles Lyell, “Embryology in Chapter VIII is one of my strongest points I think.”
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....-of-facts/

    “The embryos of the most distinct species belonging to the same class are closely similar, but become, when fully developed, widely dissimilar.” This is,,, “by far the strongest single class of facts in favor of my theory.”
    Charles Darwin – Origin of Species (1859), Letter to Asa Gray (1860)

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Yet this “strongest single class of facts in favor of my theory” is in fact found to have been a strongly fraudulent class of facts:

    Haeckel’s Embryos – original fraudulent drawing
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....ped-II.jpg

    Darwin Lobbyists Defend Using Fraudulent Embryo Drawings in the Classroom – Casey Luskin – October 11, 2012
    Excerpt: embryologist Michael Richardson, who called them “one of the most famous fakes in biology,” or Stephen Jay Gould who said “Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities by idealizations and omissions,” and that “in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent,” Haeckel “simply copied the same figure over and over again.” Likewise, in a 1997 article titled “Haeckel’s Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,” the journal Science recognized that “[g]enerations of biology students may have been misled by a famous set of drawings of embryos published 123 years ago by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel.” ,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65151.html

    Actual Embryos – photos (Early compared to Intermediate and Late stages);
    http://www.ichthus.info/Evolut.....mbryos.jpg

    In fact developmental pathways, much contrary to what Darwin would have presupposed, are now found to be vastly different even between closely related species

    The mouse is not enough – February 2011
    Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.”
    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....plicing%2F

    Yet changes to developmental pathways early in embryonic development (precisely the changes needed by Darwinism to explain new body plans; Paul Nelson) are, by far, the most likely have a catastrophic effect on the organism:

    A Listener’s Guide to the Meyer-Marshall Debate: Focus on the Origin of Information Question
    Casey Luskin – December 4, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is always an observable consequence if a dGRN (developmental gene regulatory network) subcircuit is interrupted. Since these consequences are always catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected, the whole network partakes of the quality that there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species develop in only one way.” –
    Eric Davidson
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79811.html

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick @19:

    I am making a simple argument, you guys are not addressing it

    And I am also making a simple argument, to wit that you falsely accused me of deceit through quote mining. And you are not dealing with it. (BTW, the way to deal with it would be to apologize for your boorish behavior.)

  27. 27
    DiEb says:

    @Barry Arrington

    But in order for Matzke’s accusation to be valid, the Eldredge quote would have had to mean, in context, something other than “change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Close, but no cigar. N. Matzke is telling you that you are using the quotation out of its scope, or, as he says:

    You are interpreting Eldredge as talking about all aspects of the fossil record, whereas he was just talking about continuous, smooth transitions between sister species over very short evolutionary distances.

    This would be indeed quote-mining even in one of the points of the definition you have been giving (…”to make the comments of an opponent seem more extreme or hold positions they don’t …). But I’d rather like you to answer my questions above:

    Which texts or books of Niles Eldredge have you read? Have you read “The Myths of Human Evolution” (or at least some chapters) and spotted the quote – or did you get the quotation from a secondary source?

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    DiEb @ 27:

    Close, but no cigar. N. Matzke is telling you that you are using the quotation out of its scope . . .

    This is idiotic. You really are shameless.

    Now you owe me an apology for joining those who suggest I have engaged in deceitful quote mining, and you are now in mod until you apologize.

    Again, the proposition for which I was quoting Eldredge is extremely narrow: “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.” Call this proposition “X.” Eldredge, in context, meant exactly proposition “X.”

    Now, Matzke comes along and says Barry is quote mining Eldredge because while Eldredge did in fact intend to advance proposition “X” he didn’t mean to advance proposition “Y.”

    If, as you say, Matzke is telling me I am using the quotation out of its scope, then he is simply wrong. I am using the proposition to advance proposition “X” and not proposition “Y.” Eldredge and I mean exactly the same thing — and nothing more.

  29. 29
    DiEb says:

    [snip]

    UD Editors: This was not an apology for falsely accusing Barry Arrington of quote mining DiEb. Which part of “you will remain in mod until you apologize for your false accusation” do you not understand?

  30. 30
    Box says:

    Nick Matzke #15: You are interpreting Eldredge as talking about all aspects of the fossil record, whereas he was just talking about continuous, smooth transitions between sister species over very short evolutionary distances.

    Barry did not indicate that he interpreted Eldridge as talking about the general condition of the fossil record. However he would (also) be right if he did – Nick Matzke is wrong about Eldridge.
    The next quote shows that Eldridge refers to the general condition of the fossil record. Niles Eldridge and I. Tattersall, The Myths Of Human Evolution, 1982:

    Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin Darwin himself … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search … One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way…
    Darwins prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

  31. 31
    TSErik says:

    I am making a simple argument, you guys are not addressing it. This kind of thing is why creationists/IDists are not taken seriously.

    You’re a joke. When you are caught in pseudo-intellectual nonsense you begin the equivocation game, hoping that we will simply see your wall of absurd text and cower away.

    Strawmen, bold assertions followed by “you fools don’t understand” are all that is in your proverbial tool chest.

    Sorry, Captain Literature Bluff, your nonsense is transparent.

  32. 32
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Barry did not indicate that he interpreted Eldridge as talking about the general condition of the fossil record. However he would (also) be right if he did – Nick Matzke is wrong about Eldridge.
    The next quote shows that Eldridge refers to the general condition of the fossil record. Niles Eldridge and I. Tattersall, The Myths Of Human Evolution, 1982:

    Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin Darwin himself … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search … One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way…
    Darwins prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    This is a discussion of how species change. Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists. It says nothing about changes in higher groups, e.g. hominids, whales, mammals, tetrapods. Eldredge, like Gould, thinks transitional fossils are common across those larger evolutionary distances, just not across the tiniest transition between one species and its closest sister species.

    These words mean specific things to actual scientists in the field. You can’t just blend it all into a mash and assume they mean whatever you want it to mean. Kurt Wise gets it. He lays out 4 different versions of transitional fossils, and notes which one involves the punctuated equilibria pattern that Gould & Eldredge were talking about. Why can’t you guys do as well as Kurt Wise?

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists.

    Species are the only unit of analysis. Organisms exist and inner breed and then constitute a population. They are then called a species. (understanding that the term “species” is a little mushy.) There is no other real classification because the higher levels do not really represent any real unit. They are all just species.

    All are mental concept to associate different species with each other under the assumption that at one time there might have been a common ancestor. But it is an assumption, not a fact. Maybe a good assumption but still an assumption

    So the higher classification are all artificial constructs. So when one says that there are transitions that are common across those larger evolutionary distances, it just means there is an awful lot of missing transitions with an occasional species showing up that is similar to a previous one. There is still a lot of missing transitions.

    Is this wrong?

  34. 34
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick Matzke,

    Do you agree with the following statement?

    “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46

    If the answer is “yes,’ then you agree with the very narrow proposition I was advancing, and it follows that your charge of quote mining (i.e., lying) was boorish and false. If you deny it, please cite whatever evidence you have that change in the manner Darwin expected is found in the fossil record.

    Prediction: Nick will evade.

  35. 35
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    jerryDecember 5, 2013 at 8:44 am
    Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists.

    Species are the only unit of analysis. Organisms exist and inner breed and then constitute a population. They are then called a species. (understanding that the term “species” is a little mushy.) There is no other real classification because the higher levels do not really represent any real unit. They are all just species.

    All are mental concept to associate different species with each other under the assumption that at one time there might have been a common ancestor. But it is an assumption, not a fact. Maybe a good assumption but still an assumption

    So the higher classification are all artificial constructs. So when one says that there are transitions that are common across those larger evolutionary distances, it just means there is an awful lot of missing transitions with an occasional species showing up that is similar to a previous one. There is still a lot of missing transitions.

    Is this wrong?

    If you don’t like the higher groups, that’s fine, we can just talk about morphological distance. What the Punk Eek people were saying is that across tiny morphological distances — those between sister species, often species so close it takes an expert to tell them apart — there are few smooth, absolutely continuous transitions. Instead, you often get one species, then another closely-related species, often “suddenly”, geologically speaking. Just how often this is found is still debated — there are cases in mammals and other things with extremely good fossil records where you

    But this amount of morphological distance is really quite small. It is clearly change that creationists would all dismiss as “within the kind” evolution. So making some big stew out of quotes talking about transitions missing at this ultra-fine scale doesn’t help creationists at all, they’ve already accepted that this kind of evolution is trivial and happens all the time! (And the young-earthers would say it happened in just a thousand years!) It’s difference-in-dog-breeds-type evolution.

    Across larger morphological distances — the morphological distances between whales and hippos, mammals and reptiles, between the euarthropod phylum and the onychophoran phylum — fossils with intermediate fossils are well-known and reasonably common. They are of course, only expected near the time and place when the groups are evolving, not “everywhere” or any random time/place someone chooses to look. There are no hominids in the Cambrian, and no proto-arthropods in the Pleistocene.

    Kurt Wise, and Gould, point out that transitionals at this scale are common. But the people posting here just play ostrich and stick their heads in the sand to avoid admitting the point.

    There is still a lot of missing transitions.

    Is this wrong?

    The grammar is wrong. 🙂 But, yes, there are still a lot of missing transitions. Everyone admits the fossil record isn’t perfect. But, there are a lot of found transitions as well. Some of the major ones in the past 30 years include dinosaurs-to-birds, origin of whales, origin of tetrapods, and origin of arthropods. Kurt Wise lists more in that quote.

  36. 36
    Barry Arrington says:

    My prediction in 34 is confirmed.

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    The grammar is wrong.

    I was high 99th percentile in math but in the mid 70’s in verbal. So I live with the fact that I do not write well, getting tense, case, number, quantifiers and person frequently wrong.

    There is still a lot of missing transitions.

    So this is true. What we have are species and nothing else, and that is all that ever exists. Species appear at different geological times that have similar morphological characteristics and are assumed related because of this. The assumption is that those that appeared at a later time descended from the prior species by some form of naturalistic process that created this different species. Sometimes these species are associated with each other with terms such as genera, family, etc. But they are still just mental constructs.

    Sometimes the morphological distinctions are quite small but sometimes they are quite large and this latter case would often require substantial changes in the genome to account for the large morphological differences. (I understand that sometimes small changes in the genome can lead to large morphological differences) And transitions between these large morphological differences requiring substantial changes in the genome are generally not available even though the fossil record during the intermediate time frame provides examples of large numbers of other unrelated species. These other fossils are just not thought related to the transition in question.

    That means there was opportunity for the missing transitions to be fossilized but for whatever reasons it just rarely if ever happens. (I am well aware of most of the arguments for the rarity of fossilization)

    Is this essentially correct except for grammar?

  38. 38
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jerry @ 37: “Is this essentially correct except for grammar?”

    Yes, that’s pretty much it. Which is why honest Darwinists admit that the fossil record does not, overall, support the theory.

    Some paleontologists maintain that animals have evolved gradually, through an infinity of intermediate stages from one form to another. Others point out that the fossil record offers no firm evidence for such gradual change. What really happened, they suggest, is that any one animal species in the past survived more or less unchanged for a time, and then either died out or evolved rapidly into a new descendant form (or forms). Thus, instead of gradual change, they posit the idea of ‘punctuated equilibrium.” The argument is about the actual historical pattern of evolution; but outsiders, seeing a controversy unfolding, have imagined that it is about the truth of evolution – whether evolution occurred at all. This is a terrible mistake; and it springs, I believe, from the false idea that the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place. In fact, evolution is proven by a totally separate set of arguments – and the present debate within paleontology does not impinge at all on the evidence that supports evolution . . . In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.

    Mark Ridley, “Who Doubts Evolution?” New Scientist 90 (June 25, 1981): 830-1, 830-32 (emphasis mine).

    Under Ridley’s reasoning, I suppose he would have to exclude Nick from the “real evolutionist” category since he uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution.

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    Yes, that’s pretty much it

    I assume that no anti-ID person (for the lack of a better term) disputes this assessment. And if they do not dispute this, then they must understand why the pro-ID person takes many of the positions that they do. So the term “IDiots” is misplaced especially since the ID people have apparently analyzed the implications of the fossil record accurately. (and they are not the only one to have analyzed the fossil record and have come to the same conclusions.)

    This analysis of the fossil record is reinforced by an analysis of the necessary steps that would be required in the genome to produce such morphological changes. And that these genomic changes also have no record of arising by naturalistic means. It does not assume they didn’t but that there is no evidence that they did arise naturalistically or even could.

    ID maintains that it is extremely unlikely that these genomic changes could take place in any reasonable time through naturalistic processes. That should be the next area of discussion to follow up on for why there is a lack of transitions in the fossil record. Everything ID supports is internally consistent while those who oppose ID have to rely on unknown events or wishful thinking to justify their position.

    I assume that this is mainly correct except for grammar.

  40. 40
    Box says:

    @Nick Matzke

    Eldridge: Darwins prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. (…)

    Nick Matzke #32: This is a discussion of how species change. Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists. It says nothing about changes in higher groups, e.g. hominids, whales, mammals, tetrapods. Eldredge, like Gould, thinks transitional fossils are common across those larger evolutionary distances, just not across the tiniest transition between one species and its closest sister species.

    So, embarrassing as the fossil record may be with regard to species, it does offer transitional forms between higher taxonomic ranks. G.G.Simpson and others strongly disagree with you:

    “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution… This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”G.G.Simpson.

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.” Derek V. Ager – Paleontologist, (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

    more …

  41. 41
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    So, embarrassing as the fossil record may be with regard to species, it does offer transitional forms between higher taxonomic ranks. G.G.Simpson and others strongly disagree with you:

    “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution… This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”G.G.Simpson.

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.” Derek V. Ager – Paleontologist, (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

    These are 60-year old quotes!! Dinobirds, whales with legs, many new transitional-proto-tetrapods, transitional-proto-arthropods, etc. were all discovered since the 1980s! Act like a scholar if you want to be treated like one.

  42. 42
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Barry writes,

    34
    Barry ArringtonDecember 5, 2013 at 8:58 am
    Nick Matzke,

    Do you agree with the following statement?

    “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46

    If the answer is “yes,’ then you agree with the very narrow proposition I was advancing, and it follows that your charge of quote mining (i.e., lying) was boorish and false. If you deny it, please cite whatever evidence you have that change in the manner Darwin expected is found in the fossil record.

    Prediction: Nick will evade.

    I didn’t see this before my previous post.

    You are dodging the question of context. You can’t abstract quotes out of their relevant context, not if you are doing scholarship. Avoiding the relevant context is quote-mining. It is the practice of “proof-texting” Biblical fundamentalists, perhaps, but not serious scholarship.

    If you want a direct answer, you need to specify, when Eldredge says “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record”, whether you think Eldredge is talking about transitions between very similar species, or transitions at all timescales across all degrees of morphological difference. My prediction: you will avoid the question of relevant context, as you have been avoiding it throughout the thread.

  43. 43
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    38
    Barry ArringtonDecember 5, 2013 at 10:02 am
    Jerry @ 37: “Is this essentially correct except for grammar?”

    Yes, that’s pretty much it. Which is why honest Darwinists admit that the fossil record does not, overall, support the theory.

    Some paleontologists maintain that animals have evolved gradually, through an infinity of intermediate stages from one form to another. Others point out that the fossil record offers no firm evidence for such gradual change. What really happened, they suggest, is that any one animal species in the past survived more or less unchanged for a time, and then either died out or evolved rapidly into a new descendant form (or forms). Thus, instead of gradual change, they posit the idea of ‘punctuated equilibrium.” The argument is about the actual historical pattern of evolution; but outsiders, seeing a controversy unfolding, have imagined that it is about the truth of evolution – whether evolution occurred at all. This is a terrible mistake; and it springs, I believe, from the false idea that the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place. In fact, evolution is proven by a totally separate set of arguments – and the present debate within paleontology does not impinge at all on the evidence that supports evolution . . . In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation.

    Mark Ridley, “Who Doubts Evolution?” New Scientist 90 (June 25, 1981): 830-1, 830-32 (emphasis mine).

    Under Ridley’s reasoning, I suppose he would have to exclude Nick from the “real evolutionist” category since he uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution.

    This doesn’t look like it’s out of context. It looks like Ridley is just wrong. It is wrong enough that I wouldn’t be surprised that there were letters published in New Scientist saying so back in 1981. Probably Ridley, a journalist, was confused by some of the rhetoric tossed about when cladistic methods was being introduced back then. He wasn’t the only one.

    Have you guys ever thought about the reasons your quotes are so often ancient?

  44. 44
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Ah, my bad, the quote is by british zoologist Mark Ridley, not british journalist Matt Ridley. It still looks like something confused by the early cladistics debates.

  45. 45
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick @ 42:

    If you want a direct answer, you need to specify, when Eldredge says “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record”, whether you think Eldredge is talking about transitions between very similar species, or transitions at all timescales across all degrees of morphological difference.

    A double dodge. But I’ll continue to play along.

    “whether you think Eldredge is talking about. . .”

    For you to answer my question it is simply not relevant what I think Eldredge is talking about. I did not ask you whether you agree with me. I asked you whether you agreed with Eldredge.

    I will ask you again. Eldredge says that change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record. Do you agree with Eldredge?

  46. 46
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick, you are not fooling anyone you know. The fact of the matter is that Eldredge is right. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record. What’s more, you know he is right, but you refuse to admit it.

    Why do you refuse to admit something that is so glaringly obvious? I can only speculate, but I suppose it is because your cognitive dissonance coping strategies won’t let you admit that St. Charles was ever wrong about anything, even when you know he was.

  47. 47
    Mapou says:

    Arrington:

    Why do you refuse to admit something that is so glaringly obvious?

    Barry, he will never admit it because he’s being watched by his Darwinist cheerleaders on other forums. Those lonely souls are pathologically obsessed with what goes on here, especially when you’re involved in the discussion. It’s a personal thing to them. And it’s hilarious.

  48. 48
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mapou: “especially when you’re involved in the discussion”

    Really? I had no idea. Why do you say this?

  49. 49
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    What other forums? If I had fans, I’d take a look, but I don’t know where they are!

  50. 50
    Mapou says:

    Take a look at this link: Antievolution.org.

    It’s a riot.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    M: For some reason, I took a moment. I see a certain OA imagines that it is fun to try to paint targets around people. Speaks volumes to the nihilism we are dealing with. Isn’t there a law out there on stalking online? Or, do such think that hiding behind or enabling anonymity or false names allows them to imagine they have a right — might makes right — to do what they think they can get away with? I guess folks like this are known by the company they keep and the behaviour they enable or carry out. Nihilists, exactly as charged. KF

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD at 41 states:

    These are 60-year old quotes!! Dinobirds, whales with legs, many new transitional-proto-tetrapods, transitional-proto-arthropods, etc. were all discovered since the 1980s! Act like a scholar if you want to be treated like one.

    Well, Well, Well, those are some pretty strong statements Nick. With exclamation points no less! Must be some pretty strong evidence to back up your claims! You don’t mind if we take a look under the hood of what trying to sell to see if it lives up to your billing do you?

    As to your first sentence:

    These are 60-year old quotes!!

    which you stated in regard to these quotes that were given to you:

    Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
    G.G.Simpson.

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly”
    G.G.Simpson. – circa mid 1950’s

    Well has the situation changed much for Darwinists since then? Not according to these following quotes and studies:

    As Roger Lewin (1988) explains in Science,
    “Several possible patterns exist for the establishment of higher taxa, the two most obvious of which are the bottom-up and the top-down approaches. In the first, evolutionary novelties emerge, bit by bit. The Cambrian explosion appears to conform to the second pattern, the top-down effect.”

    Erwin et al. (1987), in their study of marine invertebrates, similarly conclude that,
    “The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families. The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”

    “If we were to expect to find ancestors to or intermediates between higher taxa, it would be the rocks of the late Precambrian to Ordivician times, when the bulk of the world’s higher animal taxa evolved. Yet traditional alliances are unknown or unconfirmed for any of the phyla or classes appearing then.”
    (Valentine, Development As An Evolutionary Process, p.84, 1987)

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine – video – I believe the video was made sometime in the early to the mid 2000’s (He appears in ‘Darwin’s Dilemma to)
    http://www.arn.org/arnproducts.....m.php?id=7

    The unscientific hegemony of uniformitarianism – David Tyler – May 2011
    Excerpt: The pervasive pattern of natural history: disparity precedes diversity,,,, The summary of results for phyla is as follows. The pattern reinforces earlier research that concluded the Explosion is not an artifact of sampling. Much the same finding applies to the appearance of classes. These data are presented in Figures 1 and 2 in the paper.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....niformitar

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head.
    What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    Well that doesn’t seem to support Nick’s contention that things have changed drastically over the last 60 years in regards to the fossil record since G.G. Simpson made his quotes! Well lets see what Nick’s next sentence was:

    Dinobirds, whales with legs, many new transitional-proto-tetrapods, transitional-proto-arthropods, etc. were all discovered since the 1980s!

    As to Dinobirds:

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video and notes
    http://vimeo.com/30926629

    “The first and most complete fossil of archaeopteryx, found in 1855, was misidentified as a flying pterodacylus for 115 years. The newest finding, though, demonstrates that our understanding of even well-studied fossils like archaeopteryx — scrutinized, measured, modeled for 150 years — can still be upended.”
    Bye Bye Birdie: Famed Fossil Loses Avian Perch – Oct. 2009

    “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence”
    Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

    Dinosaur feather folly – video
    Even renowned (evolutionary) ornithologist Dr Alan Feduccia agrees that dinosaur to bird evolution is ‘full of holes’.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag5WYzrjnhQ

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Well, that doesn’t seem to help Nick either. Let’s check his next example:

    whales with legs,

    This is actually a funny example for Nick to cite:

    An Email Exchange Regarding “Vestigial Legs” Pelvic Bones in Whales by Jim Pamplin
    Excerpt: The pelvic bones (supposed Vestigial Legs) of whales serve as attachments for the musculature associated with the penis in males and its homologue, the clitoris, in females. The muscle involved is known as the ischiocavernosus and is quite a powerful muscle in males. It serves as a retractor muscle for the penis in copulation and probably provides the base for lateral movements of the penis. The mechanisms of penile motion are not well understood in whales. The penis seems to be capable of a lot of independent motion, much like the trunk of an elephant. How much of this is mediated by the ischiocavernosus is not known.
    In females the anatomical parts are smaller and more diffuse. I would imagine that there is something homologous to the perineal muscles in man and tetrapods, which affect the entire pelvic area – the clitoris, vagina and anus.
    The pelvic rudiments also serve as origins for the ischiocaudalis muscle, which is a ventral muscle that inserts on the tips of the chevron bones of the spinal column and acts to flex the tail in normal locomotion.
    James G. Mead, Ph.D. – Curator of Marine Mammals – National Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian Institution
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-454624

    As to the supposed whale fossil sequence, the following video has one of the leading experts on supposed ‘whale evolution’ admitting that the fossil series that is popularly portrayed in museums, textbooks, and on the web, is misleading:

    Whale Evolution vs. The Actual Evidence – video – fraudulent fossils revealed
    http://vimeo.com/30921402

    The following video also shows how fraudulent Darwinists can be with this fossil evidence:

    Whale Evolution? – Exposing The Deception – Dr. Terry Mortenson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4032568

    In the following video, Dr. Richard Sternberg shows, using population genetics, that the Darwinian origin of whales is mathematically impossible:

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Dr. Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    Well, that certainly did not help Nick established his preferred Darwinian position in the least (and actually seems to have hurt his claim of being an esteemed ‘scholar’). ,,, Suffice it for now (unless he presses the matter further) to say that Nick’s claims for proto-tetrapods, and proto-arthropods are equally as imaginary as the preceding examples were as to providing any real support for his a-priorily preferred Darwinian position.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: There is a false assertion that I have tried to post a comment to TSZ over the past several months. I don’t know if that is identity theft enabled by the earlier misbehaviour, but that does not speak well of both TSZ and AE. We are dealing with nihilists.

  54. 54
    Mapou says:

    bornagain77 @52,

    Be gentle on poor Nick, will you?

  55. 55
    Mapou says:

    kairosfocus @53,

    Don’t let those guys get under your skin. They’re like whining little demons, the Beavises and Buttheads of Darwinism and materialism.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    M: Thanks for allowing me to find out the continued cyber stalking and target- on- the- back painting being carried out by these nihilist lowlifes. They, and those who enable them need to realise what they are doing and what it marks them as. We all need to face some not so pleasant facts about what we are dealing with when we see this sort of behaviour. KF

  57. 57
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    As to your first sentence:

    These are 60-year old quotes!!

    which you stated in regard to these quotes that were given to you:

    Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
    G.G.Simpson.

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly”
    G.G.Simpson. – circa mid 1950?s

    Well has the situation changed much for Darwinists since then? Not according to these following quotes and studies:

    Hehe! Abandon previous quote mines and lay out new quote mines! Having abandoned the Punk-Eek quote mines, you switched to 60-year old Simpson quotes. Having abandoned those, you switch to quote-mining pre-cladistic Cambrian Explosion literature from the 1980s, ignoring even the discussion on UD over the past few days showing that transitional fossils exist even between Cambrian phyla. Most of these were discovered after the 1980s, and they weren’t comprehensively analyzed until David Legg’s paper in 2013, which is what we were discussing.

    To that, you add some kooky quotes from young-earth creationists like David Tyler. You expect this to impress anyone who knows anything about scholarship? The only thing you forgot is the gospel music link!

    I don’t know what you’re smoking that makes endless, random pasting of off-topic quote mines, plus music (!), a reasonable activity, but whatever it is, I want some!

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD, those quotes you are griping about are snipped from your very own post at 41.

    OOOPS! Guess I should ask you if I’m allowed to talk about what you yourself are talking about in your own posts before I comment on it? I don’t seem to recall you being given that power on this blog,, my fuehrer!

    Moreover, regardless of what you imagine that cladistic analysis has done for ‘explaining away’ the Cambrian explosion, the fact of the matter is that you were also recently shown to be severely disingenuous towards the evidence in that line of thought as well:

    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013
    Excerpt: Matzke acknowledges the point without grasping its meaning. “… [P]hylogenetic methods as they exist now,” he writes, “can only rigorously detect sister-group relationships, not direct ancestry, and, crucially, … this is neither a significant flaw, nor any sort of challenge to common ancestry, nor any sort of evidence against evolution.” But there can be no sisters without parents, and if cladistic analysis cannot detect their now mythical ancestors, it is hard to see what is obtained by calling them sisters. No challenge to common ancestry? Fine. But no support for common ancestry either. Questions of ancestry go beyond every cladistic system of classification, no matter the character states. It follows that questions with respect to the ancestry of various Cambrian phyla cannot be resolved by any cladistic system of classification, however its characters are defined. We are now traveling in all the old familiar circles. The claim made by Darwin’s Doubt is that with respect to the ancestors of those Cambrian phyla, there is nothing there.

    The relationship between cladistics and Darwin’s theory of evolution is thus one of independent origin but convergent confusion. “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.

    Tight fit, major fail.7

    (7) A point made vividly by Matzke’s own source, which he cites in solemn incomprehension: Whatever the character matrix, Brysse observes, “… there is only enough reliable information available to construct cladograms, not trees.” Brysse, Keynyn (2008). “From weird wonders to stem lineages: the second reclassification of the Burgess Shale fauna.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 39(3), 298-313.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74601.html

    Moreover those ‘kooky quotes’ from David Tyler, are actually a summary comment on a 2011 Douglas H. Erwin paper

    Evolutionary uniformitarianism
    Douglas H. Erwin
    Developmental Biology, Volume 357, Issue 1, 1 September 2011, Pages 27?34.

    Nick, I guess you were too busy trying to get your ad hominem out about Dr. Tyler to actually read the paper? So much for intellectual honesty on your part!

    So thus to sum up, your beloved cladistic analysis is shown to be completely useless ass to meaningfully explaining anything about the Cambrian explosion save to deceive yourself and others that you have actually explained anything meaningful about the Cambrian explosion, which come to think of it, given your long history of literature bluffing, I firmly believe you find to be an appealing quality of cladistic analysis. Throw on top of that your ad hominem attack of Dr. Tyler and me and I guess that pretty much sums up the negative contribution you have made to the furtherance of knowledge on this thread.,,, Oh wait, didn’t you requested some gospel music?:

    John Tesh • We Three Kings • Christmas in Positano, Italy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJbfLcD9O9s

    Psalm 108:3
    I will give thanks to you, LORD, among all the peoples; I will make music to you among the nations,

    I guess your post wasn’t completely useless after all! 🙂

  59. 59
    Mapou says:

    bornagain77:

    “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.

    😀

  60. 60
    Querius says:

    NickMatzke @ 32 claims

    This is a discussion of how species change. Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists.

    What about subspecies? Actually species are not really “units” at all, and their classification is often controversial (lumpers and splitters). It was once hoped that analysis of similarity in proteins would settle some of the classification issues, but the results made no sense, so the anticipated method was simply abandoned.

    It says nothing about changes in higher groups, e.g. hominids, whales, mammals, tetrapods. Eldredge, like Gould, thinks transitional fossils are common across those larger evolutionary distances, just not across the tiniest transition between one species and its closest sister species.

    So what’s the transitional species between bears and whales? Or do whales come from wolves? Or from pakicetus based on similarity of the inner ear (but no similarity of teeth or baleen)? Again, we are treated to a 19th century fantasy that substitutes “Millions of years ago” for “Once upon a time.”

    Darwinism artificially lines up similarities in selected features of animals in a some non-unique sequence, and claims ancestry.

    It’s as if you took all electronic devices and arranged them in a “Tree of Life” based purely on physical appearance rather than their electronics . . . and then concluded that cell phones “evolved” from pocket calculators.

    Get it?

    -Q

  61. 61
    conceptualinertia says:

    Mister Matzke,

    I don’t know whether or not you are right that transitional fossils have been found such that Darwin’s prediction has been satisfied. it would take me quite a while to go through the source material.

    However there is something odd about what you are claiming in these comments. You argued that the Mr. Arrington’s quotations of Gould and Eldridge were misleading because the “sudden” appearances they were referring to were very subtle, such that they would be classified as “microevolution” by creationists.

    When faced with quotations describing gaps in the fossil record beyond subtle species change you wrote:

    you switch to quote-mining pre-cladistic Cambrian Explosion literature from the 1980s, ignoring even the discussion on UD over the past few days showing that transitional fossils exist even between Cambrian phyla. Most of these were discovered after the 1980s, and they weren’t comprehensively analyzed until David Legg’s paper in 2013, which is what we were discussing.

    Here is what I don’t understand. Gould and Eldridge first presented their idea in 1971 and published in 1972. You are claiming that they were referring to very subtle gaps but are admitting that there were still many large gaps into the 1980s. If it is true that much of the transitional work is of relatively recent vintage, why would Gould and Eldridge be only discussing the very subtle?

  62. 62
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Here is what I don’t understand. Gould and Eldridge first presented their idea in 1971 and published in 1972. You are claiming that they were referring to very subtle gaps but are admitting that there were still many large gaps into the 1980s. If it is true that much of the transitional work is of relatively recent vintage, why would Gould and Eldridge be only discussing the very subtle?

    You seem to think that all of these quotes are about the same topic. They aren’t.

    There are a large number of interesting questions in science. They get divided up quite finely.

    When we look just at the field of evolutionary biology, there is a long list of topics that scientists find interesting. Some of them are things that creationists care about, and some of them aren’t, and some of them are things that creationists think are important, but only because they don’t understand what they are reading.

    So “evolution” isn’t just one thing. All sorts of things evolve. Some of the major topics are:

    population genetics — how allele frequencies change in gene pools (populations)

    speciation research — how and why gene pools / populations split to form new species

    macroevolution — the dynamics of species originations and extinctions through time; e.g. why do species numbers go up and down, why are some clades more diverse than others, why are there more species in the tropics than in the temperate zone, etc.

    Each of these subfields has a set of techniques, study systems, etc. And these are just three among hundreds of topics.

    The punctuated equilibrium literature which started in the 1970s is basically about speciation, and specifically about how speciation appears in the fossil record. It is not particularly relevant to the origin of the many animal groups in the Cambrian, which is its own major topic. Statements about “transitional fossils” in one context don’t tell you much at all about the existence of transitional fossils in the other context. And, both topics have themselves changed significantly since the 1970s and 1980s, so people can’t just wantonly quote mine the old literature and pretend that it represents the modern data.

  63. 63
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    What about subspecies?

    Typically paleontologists say that what we identify as subspecies in species living today would be indistinguishable if all we had was fossils. This is a generalization, there are always exceptions, but this is a pretty good generalization.

    Actually species are not really “units” at all,

    Everything in science is an approximation, but — sure they are units. They get described, named, and counted, and there is a huge body of work studying how they originate, persist, and die.

    and their classification is often controversial (lumpers and splitters).

    This part is definitely true, although it depends on the group and the number and completeness of the fossils. Of course, if evolution is true and species aren’t fixed but instead evolve into each other, then we would expect ambiguities, especially when we aren’t looking at species in a single time and place, but instead look across millions of years and across the globe.

    It was once hoped that analysis of similarity in proteins would settle some of the classification issues, but the results made no sense, so the anticipated method was simply abandoned.

    This part is bizarre and indicates you don’t know what you’re talking about. Allozyme research was very important in the early days of molecular systematics, although these days it has mostly been replaced by DNA sequencing. Protein sequences, though, are routinely used in phylogenetics. I have published several such papers myself.

  64. 64
    jerry says:

    speciation research — how and why gene pools / populations split to form new species

    and

    macroevolution — the dynamics of species originations and extinctions through time;

    are essentially the same thing. The second just adds extinction but not origins and why some species may beget more species than others. Am I wrong?

    Also isn’t there another dimension to the term “macro-evolution” that many will add. This is the investigation of the origin of complex functional novelties (my term and it may not be the best description but most know what it being referred to.)

    I doubt most who are pro-ID are interested in the way you have delineated the terms “speciation” and “macro-evolution” and would not debate too much over these processes. But they would be very interested in the formation of anything really novel in a new species. Is there a better term than macro-evolution to describe this more complex process?

    And as far as the fossil record is concerned are there examples of these transitions taking place that is clearly illustrating the process of these novelties developing or unfolding?

  65. 65
    jerry says:

    I meant to say.

    The second just adds extinction to origins and why some species may beget more species than others.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD, master of Darwinian obfuscation, is asked to clarify a point??? This ought to be entertaining 🙂

    Here is a brief history of Nick Matzke’s work on ‘clarifying’ issues. (aka literature bluffing)

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-482236

    Here are a few site that call into question Matke’s scholarship and integrity:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-482194

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    as to Matzke’s claim here:

    Statements about “transitional fossils” in one context don’t tell you much at all about the existence of transitional fossils in the other context. And, both topics have themselves changed significantly since the 1970s and 1980s, so people can’t just wantonly quote mine the old literature and pretend that it represents the modern data.

    yet

    Darwin’s Legacy – Donald R. Prothero – February 2012
    Excerpt: “For the first decade after the paper [Punctuated Equilibrium] was published, it was the most controversial and hotly argued idea in all of paleontology. Soon the great debate among paleontologists boiled down to just a few central points, which Gould and Eldredge (1977) nicely summarized on the fifth anniversary of the paper’s release. The first major discovery was that stasis was much more prevalent in the fossil record than had been previously supposed. Many paleontologists came forward and pointed out that the geological literature was one vast monument to stasis, with relatively few cases where anyone had observed gradual evolution. If species didn’t appear suddenly in the fossil record and remain relatively unchanged, then biostratigraphy would never work—and yet almost two centuries of successful biostratigraphic correlations was evidence of just this kind of pattern. As Gould put it, it was the ‘dirty little secret’ hidden in the paleontological closet. Most paleontologists were trained to focus on gradual evolution as the only pattern of interest, and ignored stasis as ‘not evolutionary change’ and therefore uninteresting, to be overlooked or minimized. Once Eldredge and Gould had pointed out that stasis was equally important (‘stasis is data’ in Gould’s words), paleontologists all over the world saw that stasis was the general pattern, and that gradualism was rare—and that is still the consensus 40 years later. …

    In my dissertation on the incredibly abundant and well preserved fossil mammals of the Big Badlands of the High Plains, I had over 160 well-dated, well-sampled lineages of mammals, so I could evaluate the relative frequency of gradualism versus stasis in an entire regional fauna. …

    it was clear that nearly every lineage showed stasis, with one minor example of gradual size reduction in the little oreodont Miniochoerus. I could point to this data set and make the case for the prevalence of stasis without any criticism of bias in my sampling. More importantly, the fossil mammals showed no sign of responding to the biggest climate change of the past 50 million years (the Eocene-Oligocene transition, when glaciers appeared in Antarctica after 200 million years). In North America, dense forests gave way to open scrublands, crocodiles and pond turtles were replaced by land tortoises, and the snails changed from those typical of Nicaragua to those of Baja California. Yet out of all the 160 lineages of mammals in this time interval, there was virtually no response.”,,,

    In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates. No matter how many presentations I give where I show these data, no one (including myself) has a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate.

    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-02-15/#feature

    Not quite the ringing endorsement Matzke needs to sell his bunk is it?

  68. 68
    Barry Arrington says:

    Nick Matzke: Still waiting for answer! Your silence is speaking volumes.

  69. 69
    TSErik says:

    Barry said:

    Nick Matzke: Still waiting for answer! Your silence is speaking volumes.

    I certainly hope he hasn’t dashed away (like usual) yet. Watching his implosion has been entertaining.

  70. 70
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Barry said:
    Nick Matzke: Still waiting for answer! Your silence is speaking volumes.
    I certainly hope he hasn’t dashed away (like usual) yet. Watching his implosion has been entertaining.

    Heh, you guys are ridiculous. I explained the context issue very carefully, you are still avoiding addressing the context issue, because to do so would be to admit that the Eldredge quote is being misused when taken out of context.

  71. 71
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    are essentially the same thing. The second just adds extinction but not origins and why some species may beget more species than others. Am I wrong?

    Yes. It’s similar to the difference between studying the process of birth in humans, and studying human population demographics, why different countries have different population densities, etc.

  72. 72
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Also isn’t there another dimension to the term “macro-evolution” that many will add. This is the investigation of the origin of complex functional novelties (my term and it may not be the best description but most know what it being referred to.)

    Another common usage of “macroevolution” is looking at traits across a phylogeny — i.e. across multiple species. Basically, “microevolution” is stuff within species, “macroevolution” is stuff across species. But this isn’t really about “bigness of difference”, even though creationists universally misinterpret it that way. You could look at the macroevolution of feather color across a phylogeny, just as you could look at the macroevolution of live birth or some other “major adaptation”.

    So, studies of the origin of “complex functional novelties” should probably be referred to as “study of complex functional novelties”. Sometimes these studies are macroevolutionary (when they occur across a phylogeny), but they sometimes could be microevolutionary (when they occur inside a population). E.g., live birth is a polymorphism *within* some species, i.e. some members of the species lay eggs, and other members of the same species have live young. In this case, you have a “major difference” but it is a microevolutionary study.

    I doubt most who are pro-ID are interested in the way you have delineated the terms “speciation” and “macro-evolution” and would not debate too much over these processes.

    Well, that’s one of my main points around these parts. Creationists/IDists basically make up their own definitions of words, don’t realize that these are technical scientific terms that scientists are using in a very specific way, and then because of this difference the creationists/IDists read quotes and misinterpret what they mean, because they don’t understand what is actually going on in the professional field. Then they make lists of the quotes, endlessly repeat them, convince naive audiences in church basements that they know what they are talking about etc. It’s all pretty silly once you do know the ins and outs of what the professionals are talking about.

  73. 73
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Hey bornagain,

    Do you think Prothero thinks there are lots of transitional fossils, and that transitional fossils support evolution? Check his 2007 book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters.

  74. 74
    Barry Arrington says:

    Matzke: “I explained the context issue very carefully . . .”

    And I explained very carefully that I am asking you whether you agreed with Eldredge, not with me. I am pretty sure you are not too stupid to understand that that means I am asking you whether you agree with Eldredge’s statement as Eldredge meant it to be understood in the context in which he made it.

    So, once again, do you agree with Eldredge’s statement as Eldredge meant it to be understood in the context in which he made it?

    Prediction: Further bobbing, weaving and evasions from Matzke.

  75. 75
    Box says:

    Nick Matzke,

    “Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”G.G.Simpson.
    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” G G Simpson

    Nick Matzke #41: “These are 60-year old quotes!! Dinobirds, whales with legs, many new transitional-proto-tetrapods, transitional-proto-arthropods, etc. were all discovered since the 1980s! Act like a scholar if you want to be treated like one.”

    Are you saying that discoveries since the 1980s dramatically changed the general perspective on the incomplete state of the fossil record; above the rank of species? So, are you saying in effect that before the 1980s Simpson’s observations were supported by the evidence at that time?

  76. 76
    Barry Arrington says:

    By the way Nick, you probably noticed I have not put you in mod for refusing to answer. The reason? Because your refusal to answer a simple question makes you look like the fool that you are, and that is, in some ways, better than having you answer the question, because it serves further to discredit all the nonsense you spew on these pages. Thanks!

  77. 77
    Mapou says:

    NickMatzke_UD @73:

    Hey bornagain,

    Do you think Prothero thinks there are lots of transitional fossils, and that transitional fossils support evolution? Check his 2007 book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters.

    Well, since you love to play the date game, anybody else can play it too. bornagain77 posted a quote @67 by Prothero dated February 2012 that supersedes your 2007 date (strange that you don’t provide a quote) by five years. So which one should we accept as Prothero’s current view on the matter, eh?

    By the way, transitional fossils do support evolution but which one, Darwinian evolution or Design evolution? I choose the latter. What does not support Darwinian evolution is the lack of a fine graduation in the fossil record between major taxa. This finding is actually very strong evidence for design evolution.

  78. 78
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    And I explained very carefully that I am asking you whether you agreed with Eldredge, not with me. I am pretty sure you are not too stupid to understand that that means I am asking you whether you agree with Eldredge’s statement as Eldredge meant it to be understood in the context in which he made it.

    This is the first time that you’ve specified “in the context which which [Eldredge] made it”. In that context, Eldredge’s statement was only partially true, then and now. The evidence for the punctuated equilibrium pattern in the fossil record of those small species-to-species transitions is mixed. Some groups show it, some groups don’t, and in some groups (like hominids), for parts of their record we don’t have enough fossil specimens to really do the relevant statistical tests properly.

    In Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, there are several cases of traits (like brain size and tooth size) where you have hundreds of dated fossils within species through time, and you can see the change in those traits happening quite gradually, i.e. not in a punctuated pattern. For earlier parts of the hominid record, we probably don’t have a continuous-enough fossil record to tell the difference.

    The case is often similar with other mammals. Terrestrial vertebrates in general have spottier fossil records than marine invertebrates. People like Prothero are advocates of punk-eek patterns in mammal fossils, but other fossil mammologists like Gingerich are not. The pattern seems to be more common in marine invertebrates, but here too there are exceptions.

    In any case, the question of whether or not there are smooth transitions between closely related, extremely similar fossil species is distinct from the question of whether or not there are transitional fossils writ large, between major extant groups. There are lots of such fossils, and they are strong evidence for evolution. Prothero would say so (he wrote a book specifically saying this, specifically to creationists!), Eldredge would say so, Gould would say so, even Kurt Wise says so!

    So: would you agree it would be a mis-use of the Eldredge quote to imply that there are no transitional fossils?

  79. 79
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    By the way, transitional fossils do support evolution but which one, Darwinian evolution or Design evolution? I choose the latter. What does not support Darwinian evolution is the lack of a fine graduation in the fossil record between major taxa. This finding is actually very strong evidence for design evolution.

    “Design evolution” is a term you invented just now. I’ve never seen it before. Please tell us what you think happened in evolutionary history, under “design evolution”.

  80. 80
    Querius says:

    NickMatzke_UD claimed

    This part is bizarre and indicates you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Apparently then, neither did the (evolutionary) Biology professor with whom I discussed this with. No, it was made clear to me that unless you cherry pick the data, proteins are not a good way to resolve taxonomic issues. I’m surprised that you seem to think so.

    Allozyme research was very important in the early days of molecular systematics, although these days it has mostly been replaced by DNA sequencing. Protein sequences, though, are routinely used in phylogenetics. I have published several such papers myself.

    Routinely used in phylogenetics? Really? Please provide the links?

    Early efforts by Ostrom, Collins and others focused on individual proteins that are abundant in bone remains, such as collagen. “We call it the barcode of death,” says Collins, who uses collagen sequencing to quickly and cheaply identify species found at archaeological sites, such as the animals used to make parchment or the horns on Viking helmets. Collagen is also remarkably stable: it has been sequenced from a 3.5-million-year-old fossil of a giant camel from the Arctic2.

    But collagen differs very little between closely related animal species, making it useless as a marker for evolutionary change. “You cannot tell an ibex from a domestic goat; you cannot tell a human from a Neanderthal,” Collins says.

    -From an article in Nature titled “Proteins help solve taxonomy riddle” from November 2013.

    Sorry, looks like you’re busted.

    -Q

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    NickMatzke_UD you ask:

    Do you think Prothero thinks there are lots of transitional fossils, and that transitional fossils support evolution?

    I have no doubt that Prothero thinks, i.e. believes/imagines, there are lots of transitional fossils, and I have no doubt that he would be a true Darwinist (i.e. an atheist) no matter what the evidence said to the contrary. But the fact of the matter is that his very own research has left him, and every one he has given his presentation to, without, quote/unquote, “a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate.” For me this is rock solid proof that Darwinism is first and foremost, as Dr Hunter would say, metaphysically-driven and is not driven by what the evidence actually says as should rightly be done in science. Moreover, I remember Prothero got fairly well embarrassed in his debate with Stephen Meyer in 2009, in which, among other things, the fossil record around the Cambrian era was touched upon:

    D. Prothero & M. Shermer vs S. Meyer & R. Sternberg – debate
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WN5wcbCtjg

    I would also like to point out the extreme stasis observed for bacteria going back as far as we can in the fossil record:

    Geobiologist Noffke Reports Signs of Life that Are 3.48 Billion Years Old – 11/11/13
    Excerpt: the mats woven of tiny microbes we see today covering tidal flats were also present as life was beginning on Earth. The mats, which are colonies of cyanobacteria, can cause unusual textures and formations in the sand beneath them. Noffke has identified 17 main groups of such textures caused by present-day microbial mats, and has found corresponding structures in geological formations dating back through the ages.
    http://www.odu.edu/about/odu-p...../topstory1

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial counterparts. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” (250 Million Year Old) Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    The same was in the beginning with God.
    All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.
    In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    O Come, Emmanuel – (Piano/Cello) – ThePianoGuys
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc

    Supplemental note as to the complete lack of empirical evidence for neo-Darwinian claims:

    Richard Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information – September 2011
    Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51051.html

    here is a short note as to the informational complexity Darwinism is trying to explain with the unguided ‘random’ process that Dr. Behe highlighted:

    Learning from Bacteria about Social Networking (Information Processing) – video
    Excerpt: I will show illuminating movies of swarming intelligence of live bacteria in which they solve optimization problems for collective decision making that are beyond what we, human beings, can solve with our most powerful computers.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJpi8SnFXHs

    How we could create life: The key to existence will be found not in primordial sludge, but in the nanotechnology of the living cell – Paul Davies – 2002
    Excerpt: Instead, the living cell is best thought of as a supercomputer – an information processing and replicating system of astonishing complexity. DNA is not a special life-giving molecule, but a genetic databank that transmits its information using a mathematical code. Most of the workings of the cell are best described, not in terms of material stuff – hardware – but as information, or software. Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.
    – Paul Davies
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/educ.....ucation.uk

  82. 82
    Mapou says:

    NickMatzke_UD @79:

    “Design evolution” is a term you invented just now. I’ve never seen it before. Please tell us what you think happened in evolutionary history, under “design evolution”.

    It’s a term I’ve been using for over two decades. It’s a common term among human designers, especially in fashion design, interior design, architectural design, automobile design, software and video game design, smart phone design, etc.

    What we observe among designers is that, over time, designs evolve and can be classified hierarchically, as in a tree. The difference between the Darwinian tree of life and the Intelligent Design tree of life is that the former is purely nested by the necessity imposed by common descent whereas the latter is non-nested. This is means that ID predicts that (distant lifeforms very high in the tree of life) will be found to have horizontal gene sharing. We already knew this by observing distantly related species but this is what the genetic records of various species are also beginning to reveal.

    The future looks very bleak for Darwinism. Y’all got it coming, though.

  83. 83
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    80
    QueriusDecember 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm
    NickMatzke_UD claimed

    This part is bizarre and indicates you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Apparently then, neither did the (evolutionary) Biology professor with whom I discussed this with. No, it was made clear to me that unless you cherry pick the data, proteins are not a good way to resolve taxonomic issues. I’m surprised that you seem to think so.

    You were misunderstanding him. Are you trying to say that proteins are not a good way to tell apart closely related species? If so, you should say that, it’s sort of correct, although not completely. “Taxonomic issues” involves everything from species distinctions to large-scale phylogeny. Proteins are particularly useful for the latter.

    Allozyme research was very important in the early days of molecular systematics, although these days it has mostly been replaced by DNA sequencing. Protein sequences, though, are routinely used in phylogenetics. I have published several such papers myself.

    Routinely used in phylogenetics? Really? Please provide the links?

    Here’s one I just did:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....3110.short

    It’s not hard to check that protein phylogenetics is a thing:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=%22protein+phylogenetics%22

    Heck, even allozyme data:

    https://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=%22protein+phylogenetics%22#pws=0&q=allozyme+phylogeny

    Early efforts by Ostrom, Collins and others focused on individual proteins that are abundant in bone remains, such as collagen. “We call it the barcode of death,” says Collins, who uses collagen sequencing to quickly and cheaply identify species found at archaeological sites, such as the animals used to make parchment or the horns on Viking helmets. Collagen is also remarkably stable: it has been sequenced from a 3.5-million-year-old fossil of a giant camel from the Arctic2.

    But collagen differs very little between closely related animal species, making it useless as a marker for evolutionary change. “You cannot tell an ibex from a domestic goat; you cannot tell a human from a Neanderthal,” Collins says.

    -From an article in Nature titled “Proteins help solve taxonomy riddle” from November 2013.

    Sorry, looks like you’re busted.

    -Q

    Really? You’re using an article entitled “Proteins help solve taxonomy riddle” to argue that proteins aren’t used on taxonomy issues?

    All the article is saying is that collagen isn’t good for closely related species. Collagen is just one protein. There are thousands of different proteins. Some evolve slowly, some evolve quickly. You use the quicker ones for more recent divergences and the slower ones for more ancient divergences. If you are studying both at once, you include some of both in the analysis.

    Like I said, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Why do creationists feel they can make confident pronouncements about evolution when they get absolutely basic, introductory, obvious-if-you-bothered-to-think-about-it-for-even-a-second things wrong?

  84. 84
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    It’s a term I’ve been using for over two decades. It’s a common term among human designers, especially in fashion design, interior design, architectural design, automobile design, software and video game design, smart phone design, etc.

    Funny the entire ID movement never decided to use it, then.

    What we observe among designers is that, over time, designs evolve and can be classified hierarchically, as in a tree. The difference between the Darwinian tree of life and the Intelligent Design tree of life is that the former is purely nested by the necessity imposed by common descent whereas the latter is non-nested.

    If it’s non-nested, it’s not a hierarchy or a tree. But you said it was both hierarchical and a tree. Methinks you need to work on your description a bit.

  85. 85
    Box says:

    Nick Matzke,

    “Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”G.G.Simpson.
    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” G G Simpson

    Nick Matzke #41: “These are 60-year old quotes!! Dinobirds, whales with legs, many new transitional-proto-tetrapods, transitional-proto-arthropods, etc. were all discovered since the 1980s!”

    Nick, are you saying that discoveries since the 1980s dramatically changed the general perspective on the incomplete state of the fossil record; above the rank of species? So, are you saying in effect that before the 1980s Simpson’s observations were supported by the evidence at that time?

  86. 86
    Mapou says:

    NickMatzke_UD:

    Funny the entire ID movement never decided to use it, then.

    A monumental mistake on the part of the ID movement, in my opinion. But I understand why they chose to distance themselves from this. It’s because the fundamentalist undercurrent within the ID movement has blinded them. I am a Christian but certainly not a fundamentalist.

    If it’s non-nested, it’s not a hierarchy or a tree. But you said it was both hierarchical and a tree. Methinks you need to work on your description a bit.

    You don’t understand hierarchies then. Multiple class inheritance is used in object-oriented software design all the time. Why is it not hierarchical? In a non-nested tree, a design still inherits functionality from parent designs. Besides, why even claim, as Darwinists do, that the Darwinian tree of life is purely nested if the converse is not possible?

    You’re losing it, Matzke. These truths are more than you can bear. 😀

  87. 87
    Box says:

    Follow up on #85

    It is important to this discussion about ‘quote mining’ whether the evidence supports Simpson’s observations. Because if this is indeed the case, it doesn’t really matter what the context was when Eldridge wrote “change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    My point is that Eldridge wrote this before the discovery of Matzke’s game changing transitional fossils. So Eldridge would also be right if the context was not confined to ‘transitions between very similar species’, as Matzke claims, but included higher groups – it would be on par with the consensus view at that time.

    This renders the allegation of quote mining invalid or inappropriate at best.

  88. 88
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    In a non-nested tree, a design still inherits functionality from parent designs. Besides, why even claim, as Darwinists do, that the Darwinian tree of life is purely nested if the converse is not possible?

    The converse is theoretically possible, but it wouldn’t be a tree, it would be a network or web or some such. Hierarchies have groups within groups. Simple inheritance doesn’t necessarily mean you have hierarchy/trees, e.g. inheritance within sexual populations isn’t treelike, since everyone has two parents. You could make a tree of just the father relationships, or a tree of just the mother relationships, but when you stick them together you’d have a network. (Which, BTW, shows that a non-tree pattern does not particularly indicate intelligence was involved.)

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    Nick to Q’s statement here:

    No, it was made clear to me that unless you cherry pick the data, proteins are not a good way to resolve taxonomic issues.

    States in reply:

    You use (i.e. choose) the quicker ones for more recent divergences and the slower ones for more ancient divergences. If you are studying both at once, you include some of both in the analysis.

    That sure sounds like you are saying that you are allowed to cherry pick whatever sequences you need to make your tree work to me! Isn’t that special! Reminds me of this recent yeast study:

    Here Are Those Incongruent Trees From the Yeast Genome – Case Study – Cornelius Hunter – June 2013
    Excerpt: We recently reported on a study of 1,070 genes and how they contradicted each other in a couple dozen yeast species. Specifically, evolutionists computed the evolutionary tree, using all 1,070 genes, showing how the different yeast species are related. This tree that uses all 1,070 genes is called the concatenation tree. They then repeated the computation 1,070 times, for each gene taken individually. Not only did none of the 1,070 trees match the concatenation tree, they also failed to show even a single match between themselves. In other words, out of the 1,071 trees, there were zero matches.,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....-from.html

    That Yeast Study is a Good Example of How Evolutionary Theory Works – Cornelius Hunter – June 2013
    Excerpt:,,, The evolutionists tried to fix the problem with all kinds of strategies. They removed parts of genes from the analysis, they removed a few genes that might have been outliers, they removed a few of the yeast species, they restricted the analysis to certain genes that agreed on parts of the evolutionary tree, they restricted the analysis to only those genes thought to be slowly evolving, and they tried restricting the gene comparisons to only certain parts of the gene.
    These various strategies each have their own rationale. That rationale may be dubious, but at least there is some underlying reasoning. Yet none of these strategies worked. In fact they sometimes exacerbated the incongruence problem. What the evolutionists finally had to do, simply put, was to select the subset of the genes or of the problem that gave the right evolutionary answer. They described those genes as having “strong phylogenetic signal.”
    And how do we know that these genes have strong phylogenetic signal. Because they give the right answer.
    This is an example of a classic tendency in science known as confirmation bias.,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....f-how.html

    Well all I can say is,,,

    Must have hurt
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnifY5WiASQ

    But is there any real empirical evidence demonstrating that proteins can evolve (quick or slow), as Nick presupposes, so as to allow Darwinists such unfettered latitude in the reconstruction of their hypothetical trees? None that I am aware of!

    Science & Human Origins: Interview With Dr. Douglas Axe (podcast on the strict limits found for changing proteins to other very similar proteins) – July 2012
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_53-07_00

    Thou Shalt Not Put Evolutionary Theory to a Test – Douglas Axe – July 18, 2012
    Excerpt: “For example, McBride criticizes me for not mentioning genetic drift in my discussion of human origins, apparently without realizing that the result of Durrett and Schmidt rules drift out. Each and every specific genetic change needed to produce humans from apes would have to have conferred a significant selective advantage in order for humans to have appeared in the available time (i.e. the mutations cannot be ‘neutral’). Any aspect of the transition that requires two or more mutations to act in combination in order to increase fitness would take way too long (>100 million years).
    My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they’re in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be.” Doug Axe PhD.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62351.html

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....nt-collide

    Where

    Here is a note on the severe dissimilarities that are being found. Dissimilarities that Nick will most likely never ever admit to, and will most likely deny to his dying day until he meets the Lord:

    Logged Out – Scientists Can’t Find Darwin’s “Tree of Life” Anywhere in Nature by Casey Luskin – Winter 2013
    Excerpt: the record shows that major groups of animals appeared abruptly, without direct evolutionary precursors.
    Because biogeography and fossils have failed to bolster common descent, many evolutionary scientists have turned to molecules—the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of genes and proteins—to establish a phylogenetic tree of life showing the evolutionary relationships between all living organisms.,,,
    Many papers have noted the prevalence of contradictory molecule-based phylogenetic trees. For instance:
    • A 1998 paper in Genome Research observed that “different proteins generate different phylogenetic tree[s].”6
    • A 2009 paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution acknowledged that “evolutionary trees from different genes often have conflicting branching patterns.”7
    • A 2013 paper in Trends in Genetics reported that “the more we learn about genomes the less tree-like we find their evolutionary history to be.”8
    Perhaps the most candid discussion of the problem came in a 2009 review article in New Scientist titled “Why Darwin Was Wrong about the Tree of Life.”9 The author quoted researcher Eric Bapteste explaining that “the holy grail was to build a tree of life,” but “today that project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence.” According to the article, “many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded.”,,,
    Syvanen succinctly summarized the problem: “We’ve just annihilated the tree of life. It’s not a tree any more, it’s a different topology entirely. What would Darwin have made of that?” ,,,
    “battles between molecules and morphology are being fought across the entire tree of life,” leaving readers with a stark assessment: “Evolutionary trees constructed by studying biological molecules often don’t resemble those drawn up from morphology.”10,,,
    A 2012 paper noted that “phylogenetic conflict is common, and [is] frequently the norm rather than the exception,” since “incongruence between phylogenies derived from morphological versus molecular analyses, and between trees based on different subsets of molecular sequences has become pervasive as datasets have expanded rapidly in both characters and species.”12,,,
    http://www.salvomag.com/new/ar.....ed-out.php

    Verse and Music:

    Revelation 22:14
    Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

    Kari Jobe – Revelation Song – Passion 2013
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dZMBrGGmeE

  90. 90
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note:

    A New Model for Evolution: A Rhizome – Didier Raoult – May 2010
    Excerpt: Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....izome.html

    Didier Raoult, who authored the preceding paper, has been referred to as ‘Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France’. Here is what he had to say about Darwinism:

    The “Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France” Is a Furious Darwin Doubter – March 2012
    Excerpt: Controversial and outspoken, Raoult last year published a popular science book that flat-out declares that Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57081.html

  91. 91
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Nick, are you saying that discoveries since the 1980s dramatically changed the general perspective on the incomplete state of the fossil record; above the rank of species? So, are you saying in effect that before the 1980s Simpson’s observations were supported by the evidence at that time?

    I would say that we have been accumulating transitional fossils since the mid-1800s. Archaeopteryx was discovered in the 1860s, the transitional fossil horses and rhinos in the late 1800s, the “mammal-like reptiles” and some proto-tetrapods in the first half of the 1900s, and various hominids were available by 1950. So there were various transitional fossils known to Simpson, and he discusses them quite well, if you bother to go read his work. E.g. he points out that the earliest rhinos and the earliest horses are almost indistinguishable from each other, i.e. no different than two closely-related species in the same genus.

    But, major fossil discoveries kept coming, and at an increasing pace. Olduvai gorge and Homo habilis, african Homo erectus, etc. were described in the 1960s, and hundreds of more specimens have followed. The whale stuff started in a big way in the 1980s. The feathered dinosaurs were mostly the 1990s. The Chengjiang arthropods were discovered in the 1990s but are only just now getting thoroughly described and analyzed. And all of the other cases I mentioned (tetrapods, mammals, etc.) have gotten much more filled in in recent decades.

    So, quoting ancient quotes on the fossil record is just bad practice, since we have much more data now. But, even in the 1950s, there were a number of significant transitional fossils and series, which Simpson knew about, acknowledged, and described, although you don’t get that when you quote-mine him like this. Even mined quotes posted here don’t say there are no transitional fossils, if you read carefully. There were some known transitional fossils back then, there are more now.

    There are still some big gaps left. Bats are one where we have almost nothing in the way of transitional forms. But birds, mammals, hominids, whales, Cambrian arthropods, tetrapods, angiosperms, dugongs, giraffes, horses, canids, turtles, have all been conquered, with a series of fossils available for each. Back in the 1950s the coverage was much more spotty, or there would just be one spectacular fossil for a particular transition, like Archaeopteryx.

    Really, this whole thread would just melt away if people just got up off their tushes and went and read Prothero’s book Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters.

    If you want to know why the youth are melting away from fundamentalism/conservative evangelicalism, it’s shenanigans like the ones people are pulling here. Transparently crude quote-mining is only convincing to people who don’t bother to google these topics.

  92. 92
    bornagain77 says:

    Archaeopteryx was discovered in the 1860s,

    “The first and most complete fossil of archaeopteryx, found in 1855, was misidentified as a flying pterodacylus for 115 years. The newest finding, though, demonstrates that our understanding of even well-studied fossils like archaeopteryx — scrutinized, measured, modeled for 150 years — can still be upended.”
    Bye Bye Birdie: Famed Fossil Loses Avian Perch – Oct. 2009

    Richard Dawkins Dumps the Fossil Record – May 18th, 2013
    Excerpt: The dumping of the Archaeopteryx as a missing link between birds and reptiles by palaeontologists during the late twentieth century, however, was gaining solid support. According to Larry Martin, an American vertebrate paleontologist and curator of the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center at the University of Kansas, the
    “Archaeopteryx is not ancestral of any group of modern birds.”
    Missing link status of the Archaeopteryx is only an illusion; a “once upon a time” story according to Henry Gee a British paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and senior editor of the prestigious journal Nature.
    Abandoning the Archaeopteryx as a transitional link was actually only a tip-of-the-iceberg of the larger fossil record problem for evolution. Geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of the Max-Planck Institute in Germany in the book entitled The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe, like Dawkins, candidly points to the fact that a “gradual series of intermediates in Darwin’s sense has never existed and hence will never exist.”,,
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....il-record/

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Seems someone needs to update their notes!

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    micro-RNAs and Non-Falsifiable Phylogenetic Trees – (Excellent Research) video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-i4pY6_MU

    Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution – Tiny molecules called microRNAs are tearing apart traditional ideas about the animal family tree. – Elie Dolgin – 27 June 2012
    Excerpt: “I’ve looked at thousands of microRNA genes, and I can’t find a single example that would support the traditional tree,” he says. “…they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.” (Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution, Nature 486,460–462, 28 June 2012) (molecular palaeobiologist – Kevin Peterson)
    Mark Springer, (a molecular phylogeneticist working in DNA states),,, “There have to be other explanations,” he says.
    Peterson and his team are now going back to mammalian genomes to investigate why DNA and microRNAs give such different evolutionary trajectories. “What we know at this stage is that we do have a very serious incongruence,” says Davide Pisani, a phylogeneticist at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, who is collaborating on the project. “It looks like either the mammal microRNAs evolved in a totally different way or the traditional topology is wrong.
    http://www.nature.com/news/phy.....on-1.10885
    pdf:
    http://www.nature.com/polopoly.....86460a.pdf

    Nature Article Finds MicroRNAs are “Tearing Apart Traditional Ideas about the Animal Family Tree” – Casey Luskin June 29, 2012
    Excerpt: When Peterson started his work on the placental [mammal] phylogeny, he had originally intended to validate the traditional mammal tree, not chop it down. As he was experimenting with his growing microRNA library, he applied it to mammals because their tree was so well established that they seemed an ideal test. Alas, the data didn’t cooperate. If the traditional tree was correct, then an unprecedented number of microRNA genes would have to have been lost, and Peterson considers that highly unlikely. “The microRNAs are totally unambiguous,” he says, “but they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.”,,, Maybe the reason that different genes yield different evolutionary trees is because there isn’t a single unified tree of life to be found. In other words, perhaps universal common ancestry is simply wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61471.html

  94. 94
    Querius says:

    NickMatzke_UD retaliated with

    You were misunderstanding him. Are you trying to say that proteins are not a good way to tell apart closely related species? If so, you should say that, it’s sort of correct, although not completely.

    No, I wasn’t misunderstanding him. Our discussion was specifically about the taxonomy of some kangaroo rats that he collected and released—if I had meant phylogenetics, I would have said so.

    Really? You’re using an article entitled “Proteins help solve taxonomy riddle” to argue that proteins aren’t used on taxonomy issues?

    Yes. The authors thought this was unusual.

    All the article is saying is that collagen isn’t good for closely related species. Collagen is just one protein. There are thousands of different proteins.

    And some are sensitive to heat, such as mentioned in your paper. But of course you know that collagen is not “just” another protein.

    Some evolve slowly, some evolve quickly. You use the quicker ones for more recent divergences and the slower ones for more ancient divergences. If you are studying both at once, you include some of both in the analysis.

    The cool thing is that Darwinists get to arrange them in any convenient order, discarding the results as needed. So where are the intermediate stages between any two proteins? How do they change in small increments? What came before collagen?

    One of your search links stated:

    Salamanders (Aneides)
    The relationships of species in the plethodontid salamander genus Aneides (and the outgroup Plethodon neomexicanus) are supported by parsimony analysis of morphological data and by Fitch-Margoliash analysis of albumin immunological data (Larson et al.,1981). The only disagreement between these two data sets concerns the relationships among the species A. ferreus, A. flavipunctatus, and A. lugubris (Fig. 1A). There are two well-supported clades among the six species for testing the performance of methods on the allozyme data of Larson et al.(1981). None of the parsimony methods recover the two well-supported clades. The majority, missing, and unordered parsimony methods all give unresolved consensus trees for Aneides relationships. The frequency, polymorphic, and scaled parsimony methods all resolve the same, incorrect tree (P. neomexicanus, lugubris (hardii (ferreus (aeneus+flavipunctatus)))). This tree is not only rejected by the morphological and immunological data, but also makes little sense biogeographically (i.e. ferreus, lugubris,and flavipunctatus all occur in the extreme western U.S., whereas aeneus occurs in the Appalachians). UPGMA (both distances) recovers the two well-supported clades correctly, whereas CONTML, neighbor-joining, and FM group the West Coast species (ferreus, lugubris, flavipunctatus) together but incorrectly place A. aeneus as the sister taxon to this clade rather than A. hardii.

    Emphasis added. This is not going where the evidence leads. It’s cherry picking. You get to line up the things that support your theory, and reject the data that doesn’t agree. This is pathetic.

    As I said, Darwinism artificially lines up similarities in selected features of animals in a some non-unique sequence, and claims ancestry.

    Not only is this technique non-scientific, it prevents you from making some really cool discoveries as to how and why certain proteins have come to differ.

    -Q

  95. 95
    Barry Arrington says:

    NickMatzke @ 78:

    In my essay I advance a proposition, to wit, that change in the manner Darwin expected – whatever that is – is just not found in the fossil record.

    I quote world-renowned Darwinists Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall to support my thesis. They wrote: “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”

    Quote mining is the deceitful tactic of taking quotes out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with the quote miner’s viewpoint. It is a form of lying.

    You accuse me of lying through quote mining for using the Eldredge/Tattersall quotation.

    In order for your accusation to be true, it must be true that I took the Eldredge/Tattersall quotation out of context to make it seem like they supported the proposition I was advancing – i.e., that change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record – when they did not.

    But the fact of the matter is that Eldredge and Tattersall meant exactly that. I did not quote them out of context. I did not make it seem as though they agreed with my viewpoint when they did not.

    I asked you of you agreed with what they said. After evading the question for a couple of days, you finally admitted you believe the statement: “was only partially true, then and now.

    So, it turns out that your problem with Eldredge and Tattersall. You just don’t think they are right. Your “quote mine” attack was not based on the fact that I misrepresented Eldredge and Tatersall. It was based entirely on your personal opinion that the view that they (and I) was advancing is wrong.

    It follows that your accusation that I engaged in lying by quote mining is false.

    Now it is time for you to do the right thing and admit you were wrong and apologize.

  96. 96
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    You need to admit that transitions between closely-related species and transitions between major groups are different things, and that Eldredge was talking about the former.

  97. 97
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Emphasis added. This is not going where the evidence leads. It’s cherry picking. You get to line up the things that support your theory, and reject the data that doesn’t agree. This is pathetic.

    Oh noes! Minor differences in results between two analyses! Therefore common ancestry is wrong! These are all closely-related salamanders on any analysis. They are all on the same little branch of the tree of life, and there is no particular guarantee that one random old-fashioned dataset (allozymes) and old-fashioned techniques (UPGMA and distance methods) will perfectly resolve every last detail. You might as well be arguing that the Earth is flat because maps from the 1800s aren’t quite perfect. Call me when some analyses put some salamanders inside frogs and other salamanders inside mammals. That would be a really significant disagreement.

  98. 98
    Box says:

    Matzke #91: But, even in the 1950s, there were a number of significant transitional fossils and series, which Simpson knew about, acknowledged, and described, although you don’t get that when you quote-mine him like this. Even mined quotes posted here don’t say there are no transitional fossils, if you read carefully. There were some known transitional fossils back then, there are more now.

    Matzke, you erect a strawman because no one here has claimed that there are no transitional fossils at all. What is being said is that there are far too little transitional fossils to meet Darwinian expectations. ‘Some known transitional fossils’ is not enough by a longshot within this context.
    The quotes below by G.G.Simpson are addressing this problem and I don’t understand how presenting them qualifies as quote mining.

    “Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”G.G.Simpson. “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” G.G.Simpson.

    I believe that the Elderidge quote, “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record”, is to be understood in that very same context: indeed there are some known transitional fossils, but there are far too little to meet Darwinian expectations.
    And, like I argued in posts #85 and #87, even if Eldridge’s context was confined to the rank of species, it would not matter, because in ‘the era before the game changing discoveries’ his statements would also be accurate with regard to higher groups.

  99. 99
    Barry Arrington says:

    Matzke @ 96:

    You need to admit that transitions between closely-related species and transitions between major groups are different things, and that Eldredge was talking about the former.

    No, you need to admit that your accusation that I engaged in deceitful quote mining was boorish and morally inexcusable. Nick, I know you are a moral relativist, but even relatively speaking wouldn’t you admit that accusing someone of lying when they did not is wrong? Again, the only right thing for you to do is to man up, admit you were wrong and apologize. I won’t be holding my breath.

    Your statement above would have some force if I had ever argued that transitions between closely-related species and transitions between major groups are different things. I did not. I argued only that change in the manner Darwin expected did not occur, and that is what Eldredge said.

    Again, your refusal to admit the obvious is helpful. When you burn your credibility on obvious things – as you are doing here – it ramifies when you discuss more subtle things. The thousands of people who read these pages each day are right now watching you bob, weave, evade and dissemble, and they know that is exactly what you are doing. Your cred it toast. Do you think your cred will magically rematerialize next time you engage on a more substantive matter? As the Brits say, “not bloody likely.”

  100. 100
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    As long as you keep refusing to admit the context of the Eldredge quote, you will be guilty of quote-mining when you use it to argue that the fossil record doesn’t support evolution. It wasn’t deliberately deceptive when you first did it, since presumably you were just unaware of the context and the different aspects of the fossil record (transitional fossils covering tiny transitions between sister species versus transitional fossils covering major transitions between major groups). But, the more you refuse to acknowledge this distinction, after you’ve been informed of it, the more you look like you are deliberately ignoring relevant information and context, just to avoid admitting having made an error. It’s not lying, I don’t think, just an emotional reaction to being shown up.

    Side note: we’ve already been over what Darwin said he expected from the fossil record, and Eldredge got that bit wrong. Eldredge’s “admission” wasn’t really “an admission against interest.” Eldredge’s interest was in promoting the punctuated equilibria idea. Very often, scientists will set up their new idea as being a correction to some previous authority. The more famous the better, because the more famous the authority is, the more famous your proposed correction is. Sometimes scientists get a little carried away and a little less than careful when they do think, particularly with Darwin, when they think they know what he said on a particular topic, but didn’t research it carefully.

  101. 101
    jerry says:

    Mr. Matzke,

    I have a question for you that if answered should help settle a lot of misunderstandings. The answer may not be currently available but it is certainly within current technology to answer. You said that horses and rhinos were essentially the same species at one time in the past.

    he points out that the earliest rhinos and the earliest horses are almost indistinguishable from each other, i.e. no different than two closely-related species in the same genus.

    I would think this would make a fantastic dissertation, examining the genomes of these two species. How long ago did they part? What changes to the genome took place between the two? What proteins/control processes differ between the two species?

    One could even speculate on an unicorn which if a rhino is close to a horse, has the tusk or horn sticking out of the middle of the head. Why couldn’t a horse develop the same trait?

    I am not being facetious but it seems to me that this would be an extremely useful analysis to bolster one sides point of view versus the other. As I said there must be the origin of new proteins in each and then one could speculate on how these proteins arose and if there are any intermediaries in other species.

    I am a big supporter of ID but am far from one who believes each species was created and that natural processes are probably at work to modify species. But the question is just how much can these natural processes do? So I am fascinated by how much is known.

    I would think the rhino/horse ancestry would be a good place to start as well as some others that may have live examples of each. Rhinos and horses do not come together in the classification scheme till the class level which is pretty high up the ladder. Some of the others you mentioned have long since disappeared. I would think the various carnivore would also be a good place to look or just how variation exist within ungulate which is also pretty high on the classification scheme. There must have been a sequence in the history of life to lead to all these distinctions. They must be written in the genome.

  102. 102
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Matzke, you erect a strawman because no one here has claimed that there are no transitional fossils at all. What is being said is that there are far too little transitional fossils to meet Darwinian expectations. ‘Some known transitional fossils’ is not enough by a longshot within this context.

    You mean “too few transitional fossils.”

    The quotes below by G.G.Simpson are addressing this problem and I don’t understand how presenting them qualifies as quote mining.

    They are quote-mining because Simpson was writing in the 1950s, and the record of transitional fossils has improved dramatically since then. Most of the transitional fossils for the origin of most of these:

    birds, mammals, hominids, whales, Cambrian arthropods, tetrapods, angiosperms, dugongs, giraffes, horses, canids, turtles,

    …were discovered after the 1950s. (Of this group, the only good ones back then were really mammals and horses, I believe.)

    Anyway, unless you develop some fair statistical argument about how many transitional fossils are expected, and how many we have, the claim about having “too few” is just a dodge to avoid admitting the fact that we have lots of transitional fossils covering lots of major transitions.

  103. 103
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I would think this would make a fantastic dissertation, examining the genomes of these two species. How long ago did they part? What changes to the genome took place between the two? What proteins/control processes differ between the two species?

    That’s not one dissertation, but several! You could do divergence times with just a few genes, in fact I bet this has been done. I don’t think they’ve done whole-genome sequences for either yet. Even having the whole genome sequence wouldn’t answer all your questions yet, since just having the genome doesn’t tell you the details of how it works to produce development. Minimally, you’d want transcriptomes throughout development as well. It’s imaginable but it’s a large project!

    One could even speculate on an unicorn which if a rhino is close to a horse, has the tusk or horn sticking out of the middle of the head. Why couldn’t a horse develop the same trait?

    What? Unicorn horns are supposed to come out of the forehead and be super long and skinny. I believe they are actually derived from narwhal whales, and in narwhals those are actually teeth/tusks, not horns. In Cambridge they actually have a narwhal with two tusks, one from each side of the jaw. Rhino horns come out of the nose and are basically made of keratin I think.

    I am not being facetious but it seems to me that this would be an extremely useful analysis to bolster one sides point of view versus the other. As I said there must be the origin of new proteins in each and then one could speculate on how these proteins arose and if there are any intermediaries in other species.

    I am a big supporter of ID but am far from one who believes each species was created and that natural processes are probably at work to modify species. But the question is just how much can these natural processes do? So I am fascinated by how much is known.

    I would think the rhino/horse ancestry would be a good place to start as well as some others that may have live examples of each. Rhinos and horses do not come together in the classification scheme till the class level which is pretty high up the ladder.

    Actually, horses and rhinos are both in the order perissodactyls, within class mammals, on the Linnaean system. I think the earliest rhino relative is Hyrachyus, and the earliest horse is Hyracotherium, so googling those would provide an entry to the literature.

  104. 104
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Here’s Prothero on rhino/horse evolution:

    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  105. 105
    bornagain77 says:

    Contrary to the misinformation Matzke would (once again) like to disseminate, the fact is that the popular evolutionary myth of ‘Horse evolution’ is also severely misleading:

    “The construction of the whole Cenozoic family tree of the horse is therefore a very artificial one, since it is put together from non-equivalent parts, and cannot therefore be a continuous transformation series”.
    Dr. Heribert Nilsson – Evolutionist – Former Director of the Swedish Botanical Institute.

    Darwin vs. the Fossils
    Excerpt: “A team of 22 international researchers led by Ludovic Orlando of the University of Lyon in France did one of the first-ever comprehensive comparisons of ancient DNA (aDNA) from fossil equids (including horses, donkeys and zebras). These specimens came from 4 continents. The results were so shocking, they call for an almost complete overhaul of the horse series. For one thing, they concluded that many specimens relegated to separate species are actually variations on the same species. For another, they found that for evolution to be true there had to be sudden bursts of diversification – Cambrian-like explosions within the horse family – contrary to Darwin’s prohibition of great and sudden leaps.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20091211a

    “The results, published June 20 in the journal Science Express, come from a study of 19 groups of mammals that either are extinct or, in the case of horses, elephants, rhinos and others, are in decline from a past peak in diversity. All are richly represented in the fossil record and had their origins sometime in the last 66 million years, during the Cenozoic Era.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....xtinction/

    The evolution of the horse?
    http://creation.com/horse-evolution

    The non-evolution of the horse
    http://creation.com/the-non-evolution-of-the-horse

    “Whales, bats, horses, primates, elephants, hares, squirrels, etc., all are as distinct at their first appearance as they are now. There is not a trace of a common ancestor, much less a link with any reptile, the supposed progenitor.”
    Harold Coffin – Zoologist – “A View Of Life”

    As well, the favorite evolutionary myth of the Giraffe’s neck slowly getting longer appears to be quite a ‘stretch’ of the truth from what the fossil record actually says:

    “No data from giraffes then (in Darwin’s time) existed to support one theory of causes over another, and none exists now.”… ancestral species are relatively short necked, and spotty evidence gives no insight into how the long-necked species arose.””The standard story, in fact, is both fatuous and unsupported.” – Stephen Jay Gould
    http://www.weloennig.de/Giraffe.pdf

    The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis L.) – What do we really know? – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig
    http://www.weloennig.de/Giraff.....nglish.pdf

    Pt. 1: Another Evolutionary Icon: The Long-Necked Giraffe – Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_09-07_00

    Here is another article by Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig:

    Geneticist W.-E. Loennig replies to Darwinist Nick Matzke: – September 2011
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-heats-up/

    Psalm 50:10-11
    For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.

  106. 106
    Box says:

    Nick Matzke,

    Box: The quotes below by G.G.Simpson are addressing this problem and I don’t understand how presenting them qualifies as quote mining.

    Matzke: They are quote-mining because Simpson was writing in the 1950s, and the record of transitional fossils has improved dramatically since then.

    I take it that you agree with me that it does not constitute quote-mining in the sense that the quotes are taken out of context. Given your claim that the fossil record has been dramatically improved since the 1950s (and especially since the 1980s), it is safe to assume that the quotes are indeed an accurate reflection of G.G.Simpson position back in the 1950s. Your definition of quote-mining seems to me rather flexible at best.

    Again, I believe that the Elderidge quote, “Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record”, is to be understood in the context of the era in which he expressed his observation. An era with the knowledge of some transitional fossils, but far too few to meet Darwinian expectations.
    You claim that, since the time that Eldridge wrote his sentence, there has been a dramatic improvement of the fossil record. However you cannot have it both ways: if there has been a dramatic improvement of the fossil record since the 80s then Eldridge observed many gaps in the fossil record at the moment of his writing. Given the dramatic improvement of the fossil record Eldridge – back in the early 80s – could not have been in agreement with the proposition that there are “plenty of fossils demonstrating transitions between major groups”, as you claim in post #6.

  107. 107
    Mapou says:

    Matzke @88:

    In a non-nested tree, a design still inherits functionality from parent designs. Besides, why even claim, as Darwinists do, that the Darwinian tree of life is purely nested if the converse is not possible?

    The converse is theoretically possible, but it wouldn’t be a tree, it would be a network or web or some such. Hierarchies have groups within groups. Simple inheritance doesn’t necessarily mean you have hierarchy/trees, e.g. inheritance within sexual populations isn’t treelike, since everyone has two parents. You could make a tree of just the father relationships, or a tree of just the mother relationships, but when you stick them together you’d have a network.

    This is pathetic, man. You call yourself a scientist? You are acting like an uneducated moron. Computer programmers have been creating class hierarchies with multiple inheritance for decades. You don’t know what a network is if you comparing class hierarchies to networks. Multiple inheritance is comparable to a graft from one branch of the tree to another. But then again, this semantic argument is just a subterfuge on your part since this is not the point of my argument.

    (Which, BTW, shows that a non-tree pattern does not particularly indicate intelligence was involved.)

    Wow. This is truly infuriating. You are not only ignorant of class hierarchies, you are willing to lie on top of it. Do you get paid for this or are you just doing this for brownie points? How do you figure that it does not take intelligence to use multiple inheritance? How is Darwinian evolution going to use multiple inheritance since it is constrained by common descent? You know, there was a time when this kind of academic shenanigans was punished by prison sentences.

    PS. Matzke, you are a lying sack of feces, from my perspective. You are beneath the dignity of the human race. This is my last response to you.

  108. 108
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Wow. This is truly infuriating. You are not only ignorant of class hierarchies, you are willing to lie on top of it. Do you get paid for this or are you just doing this for brownie points? How do you figure that it does not take intelligence to use multiple inheritance? How is Darwinian evolution going to use multiple inheritance since it is constrained by common descent? You know, there was a time when this kind of academic shenanigans was punished by prison sentences.

    PS. Matzke, you are a lying sack of feces, from my perspective. You are beneath the dignity of the human race. This is my last response to you.

    Whoo! That’s a pretty strong reaction to an academic point about trees versus networks.

  109. 109
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I take it that you agree with me that it does not constitute quote-mining in the sense that the quotes are taken out of context.

    They are taken out of context, if they are used to assert what the fossil record looks like today, which is how they are always used by creationists, and how they were originally used here on UD.

    Also: Eldredge not Eldridge, and you are confusing Simpson’s statements about transitional fossils between major groups from the 1950s, with Eldredge’s statements about transitional fossils between extremely similar similar species in the 1980s. Simpson’s broad statements from the 1950s are the ones that are severely out of date because of the discovery of new transitional fossils between major groups. But finding more transitional fossils between major groups doesn’t particularly effect Eldredge’s punctuated equilibria debate about transitionals between extremely similar sister species. As I mentioned before, Eldredge looks to be wrong about what Darwin thought, and the evidence was, and is, mixed about the commonality of the punctuated equilibria pattern between extremely similar sister species.

  110. 110
    Mapou says:

    Everyone on UD should stop responding to Matzke, in my opinion. His purpose here is to inflate his ego and be a general nuisance to ID advocates. He’s lucky this is not my forum. I would have booted him out a long time ago and as unceremoniously as possible.

  111. 111
    StephenB says:

    Nick Matzke

    As long as you keep refusing to admit the context of the Eldredge quote, you will be guilty of quote-mining when you use it to argue that the fossil record doesn’t support evolution.

    Nick, a “quote mine” is a passage that leads the reader to believe that an author’s meaning is different from what the one he actually intended. The quote Barry selected faithfully represents the author’s intended meaning. It has nothing to do with the meaning that you intend; it’s all about the authors intentions.

    They are quote-mining because Simpson was writing in the 1950s, and the record of transitional fossils has improved dramatically since then.

    Quotes from past luminaries are not “mined” simply because they do not reflect reality as you perceive it now; they are mined if they do not reflect reality as the author perceived it then. It is up to the reader, not you, to decide if those quotes are obsolete.

    To save face, just say this: “Barry, I am persuaded that the men you quote have oversimplified a complex problem and I can make a good case for it, but although I believe my convictions are well-founded, I should not have accused you of quote mining. It isn’t true and I am sorry.”

  112. 112
    Box says:

    Matzke: [Y]ou are confusing Simpson’s statements about transitional fossils between major groups from the 1950s, with Eldredge’s statements about transitional fossils between extremely similar similar species in the 1980s.

    Let’s look at the context together, Niles Eldredge and I. Tattersall, The Myths Of Human Evolution, 1982:

    NE: Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record.

    So far Eldredge is speaking about the fossil record in general, right?

    NE: That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin Darwin himself … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search …

    Still general remarks about the fossil record. There is no indication that he restricts his remarks to the level of species – nor did Darwin.

    NE: One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    Still no hint that we should confine Eldredge remarks to the ranks of species.

    NE: The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way…
    [my emphasis]

    Ok, here it is: ‘species’. But on what grounds are we to conclude that the preceding general talk about the fossil record was in fact confined to the rank of species? How does the remark that species are conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time abrogate the preceding general remarks about the fossil record?

    NE: Darwins prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Eldredge rounds up, speaking again in general terms about the fossil record as a whole. If he is only talking about “transitional fossils between extremely similar species” and is unaware of other problems in the fossil record, as you claim he is, then Eldredge is the worst writer ever.

  113. 113
    Querius says:

    NickMatzke_UD,

    Previously, I quoted the following:

    The frequency, polymorphic, and scaled parsimony methods all resolve the same, incorrect tree (P. neomexicanus, lugubris (hardii (ferreus (aeneus+flavipunctatus)))). This tree is not only rejected by the morphological and immunological data, but also makes little sense biogeographically (i.e. ferreus, lugubris,and flavipunctatus all occur in the extreme western U.S., whereas aeneus occurs in the Appalachians).

    To which you responded:

    Oh noes! Minor differences in results between two analyses!

    Oh noes? 😉 It’s funny how “minor differences” in Science can lead to big discoveries. And you went on to say

    Therefore common ancestry is wrong! (suggesting that I’m throwing away $100 for a nickel’s worth of data -Q) These are all closely-related salamanders on any analysis. They are all on the same little branch of the tree of life . . .

    I understand what your trying to say, and I don’t disagree with you in principle! But, you go on to say

    and there is no particular guarantee that one random old-fashioned dataset (allozymes) and old-fashioned techniques (UPGMA and distance methods) will perfectly resolve every last detail.

    Now you’re throwing legitimate data under the bus, and marginalizing the work of previous scientists. This is exactly the cherry picking that I object to. I’m sure there’s some mechanism to be discovered here! Maybe it’s minor, or maybe it will prove to be major.

    You might as well be arguing that the Earth is flat because maps from the 1800s aren’t quite perfect. Call me when some analyses put some salamanders inside frogs and other salamanders inside mammals. That would be a really significant disagreement.

    Now you’re just flailing. Please don’t squirm. I’m actually trying to help you. I’m not trying to turn you into a creationist. I’m just trying to pry Darwin’s cold, dead hands from your throat.

    -Q

  114. 114
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I’m sure there’s some mechanism to be discovered here! Maybe it’s minor, or maybe it will prove to be major.

    I doubt it. The study you quote is Wiens 2000, it just deals with trying a flurry of phylogenetic methods, many of them very old and rarely used, on allozyme data. Many of these methods were not really designed for allozyme data, which is fairly crude in comparison to sequence data.

    You are just tossing around random statements and quotes in order to defend your original, indefensible and quite silly statement:

    It was once hoped that analysis of similarity in proteins would settle some of the classification issues, but the results made no sense, so the anticipated method was simply abandoned.

    …which you followed up with a statement that choosing slow or fast proteins was “cherry-picking”. It’s no more cherry picking than it is cherry-picking to use Carbon-14 to date archeological material, and using Uranium-Lead dating to date Cambrian material. Or using telescopes to look at planets and microscopes to look at tiny things.

    And anyway, like I said, if one is super-concerned about picking slow versus fast proteins, just put them both in the analysis. It’s easy, although it’s a bit of a waste of time and computer resources to people who know what they are doing.

  115. 115
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Let’s look at the context together, Niles Eldredge and I. Tattersall, The Myths Of Human Evolution, 1982:

    NE: Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record.

    So far Eldredge is speaking about the fossil record in general, right?

    No, he’s talking about tracing single species through the fossil record. Most species only last for a few million years or less, so most “punctuated equilibria” studies look at the history of species in single formations, where you can literally walk up a hill and sample different layers over a few hundred thousand or a few million years, and compare the same species in these different layers.

    NE: That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin Darwin himself … prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search …

    Still general remarks about the fossil record. There is no indication that he restricts his remarks to the level of species – nor did Darwin.

    Nope — he says “individual kinds of fossils”, this is just another way of referring to individual species, in a semi-popular work. Unless you think it is plausible that he is referring to the creationist definition of “kinds”?

    NE: One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin’s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserly fossil record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

    Still no hint that we should confine Eldredge remarks to the ranks of species.

    We’ve already had such hints. Plus, if you know the field at all, you know that punctuated equilibria is one of Eldredge’s major career interests.

    NE: The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor’s new clothes everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin’s predicted pattern, simply looked the other way…
    [my emphasis]

    Ok, here it is: ‘species’.

    Like I said…

    But on what grounds are we to conclude that the preceding general talk about the fossil record was in fact confined to the rank of species?

    First, there were other hints just in the quotes you gave, secondly, Eldredge’s interests are well-known, and third, it is false and obviously false that anything other than species remained “recognizably the same” through their fossil record. Mammal-like reptiles, horses, etc., had long series of fossils that were well-known in the 1980s and well-before, and the early members are not the same as the later ones.

    Fourth, there would be some indication that Eldredge was switching topics, if he switched to talking about species transitions from larger sorts of transitions.

    How does the remark that species are conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time abrogate the preceding general remarks about the fossil record?

    NE: Darwins prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Eldredge rounds up, speaking again in general terms about the fossil record as a whole. If he is only talking about “transitional fossils between extremely similar species” and is unaware of other problems in the fossil record, as you claim he is, then Eldredge is the worst writer ever.

    “All lineages” means “every single species”. He is indeed making a general statement, but it is a general statement about how species-to-species transitions look in the fossil record, not a general statement about any transition of any sort looks in the fossil record.

    Just in case it’s still not clear, check out what Eldredge says about “gaps” in Niles Eldredge (2001), The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of Creationism.

  116. 116
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I’ve posted a long review of the quote-mining issue to Barry’s new thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-with-me/

    It’s in moderation because of the links. I will continue the discussion over there.

  117. 117
    Box says:

    Eldredge: Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record.

    Box: So far Eldredge is speaking about the fossil record in general, right?

    Nick Matzke: No, he’s talking about tracing single species through the fossil record.

    This confinement is simply not in text.
    BTW the distinction you make between the species level and higher orders suddenly seems utterly ridiculous to me. You say (#32):

    Nick Matzke: This is a discussion of how species change. Species are the smallest units of analysis for paleontologists. It says nothing about changes in higher groups, e.g. hominids, whales, mammals, tetrapods. Eldredge, like Gould, thinks transitional fossils are common across those larger evolutionary distances, just not across the tiniest transition between one species and its closest sister species.

    The fossil record shows us that the expected gradual change of species is lacking, but what certainly is lacking is an abundant and gradual array of intermediate fossils between, let’s say, hippos and whales. So what is your point exactly?
    Querius got it right early on in the discussion:

    Querius #10: Hilarious!
    So, we can find transitional forms between chihuahuas and bears, but not between whales and other whales or dolphins or porpoises?

  118. 118
    bornagain77 says:

    Beautiful quote from Q,,,

    I wonder if Matzke could trouble us with a precise falsification criteria for sequence comparisons:

    The Mystery of Extreme Non-Coding Conservation – No Plausible Speculations – Cornelius Hunter – Nov. 2013
    Excerpt: Consider this new paper from the Royal Society on “The mystery of extreme non-coding conservation” that has been found across many genomes. Years ago an evolution professor told me, in defending the claim that evolution is falsifiable, that if functionally unconstrained yet highly similar DNA sequences were found in different species, then evolution would be false. A few years later that is exactly what was discovered. In fact, the DNA sequences were extremely similar and even identical in different species,,, Did the professor agree that evolution was false? Not at all. For the fact of evolution goes far deeper than scientific findings and failed predictions.,,,
    Here is how the paper summarizes these findings of extreme sequence conservation:
    “… despite 10 years of research, there has been virtually no progress towards answering the question of the origin of these patterns of extreme conservation. A number of hypotheses have been proposed, but most rely on modes of DNA : protein interactions that have never been observed and seem dubious at best. As a consequence, not only do we still lack a plausible mechanism for the conservation of CNEs—we lack even plausible speculations.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....oding.html

  119. 119
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I’m not going to play any more, folks. There is no point trying to explain things if Barry won’t allow the explanations to be posted. Cheers, Nick

  120. 120
    TSErik says:

    @Nick

    I’m not going to play any more, folks. There is no point trying to explain things if Barry won’t allow the explanations to be posted. Cheers, Nick

    Typical. Do you tire of being a stereotype of pseudo-intellectuals? Why should Barry indulge your obvious continued pettifogging and reluctance to address the ACTUAL point without meaningless equivocation?

    You’ve made an absolute FOOL of yourself, and one better believe I am copying all of your remarks to send out to anyone who will read them. I suppose, to this end, I should thank you.

  121. 121
    Barry Arrington says:

    TSErick @ 120. Just so.

  122. 122

    If Nick had an ounce of humility or honor, he would simply admit that he had mistakenly assumed Mr. Arrington meant something other than what he said, apologize, and then perhaps make a point about what he thinks those who use these quotes are mistaken about in their conceptualization of the fossil record.

    Like so many Darwinists, Nick insists that he knows what his adversaries mean whether they admit it or not, and makes cases against what is in his mind, not against their actual argument. Which is why he didn’t have to read Darwin’s Doubt carefully to write a critical review of it; in Nick’s mind, he knew what Meyer was thinking before Meyer even wrote the book.

  123. 123
    Charles says:

    Barry Arrington

    Perhaps the forum would benefit from another sidebar menu, with entries indexed, linkable and ordered by poster name, in which concise summaries of their record of intellectual dishonesty (with links to original posts) would be documented and available for browsing and citation.

    There are numerous examples of multi-thread train wrecks in which intellectually dishonest people expose themselves, but the casual lurker might never find them, nor appreciate the sweeping scale of the habitual deceit and incompetence – unless it is organized and indexed, similar to FAQs.

    The entries could be written by anyone as a post appended to any thread, with the post designated as a candidate for the intellectual dishonesty archive, and then forum moderators could promote the post to the archive if they felt a compelling demonstration, worthy of exposure to the public, had been made.

    I doubt it would reduce the level or frequency of intellectual dishonesty, but it would certainly make exposing its’ perpetrators less time consuming and repetitive.

    It could be called ‘Heads on Pikes”, or some such.

  124. 124
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM @ 122. Indeed. Why does he do it?
    Of course, we cannot know for sure. But it seems to me that he brings a quasi-religious zeal to the table. Like many a deluded religious zealot before him, perhaps he thinks evil is not evil if it is in the service of a “greater good.” His god is Neo-Darwinism. Perhaps he believes that deceit, diversion and dissembling are acceptable tactics in the service of his god. Or maybe he’s just a scumbag. Who can tell?

  125. 125
    Barry Arrington says:

    Charles, interesting idea. I certainly think we need to add “quote mining” to the FAQ. The dishonest use of that pejorative seems almost automatic to the Darwinists, and the lurkers need to know what they are up to.

  126. 126
    Charles says:

    Barry Arrington @ 124

    Indeed. Why does he do it?

    They are like small children who, when caught with cookie-crumbed lips by their mothers, insist the family dog ate the cookies. Childrens’ lies and intellects are undeveloped, having only been vetted by their playmates and having themselves been stymied by their playmates commensurately undeveloped lies, they quite literally fail to grasp and anticipate how transparent they are to their mothers.

    They are like flat-earthers who insist the flat road ahead of them remains unrefuted by an image of our “blue marble” from space. Their argument is more an emotional bulwark against embarassment, perceived enemies and dragons, than a calm anlytical appraisal of the differences in the two kinds of information.

    When most of the intellectual challenge you receive is kowtowing from your students (who depend on your good graces to extract some return on their investment in “higher” education) or indifferent “peer reviewers” (who depend on editors’ good graces to get published themselves), when all you’ve done for most of your “academic” life is engage with other academics who think like you, you cease to think critically. When you cease to think critically, you loose the ability to think outside the box in which you’ve put yourself.

    There is also the possibility of (a point I made on the Ubermensch thread) they have been so ‘succesfully maladaptive’ at avoiding truth for so long that they’ve cognitively imapired their brains/minds: they quite literally may have lost some cognitive ability to comprehend “politically incorrect” facts. They seemingly can’t with intellectual honesty, discuss concepts they don’t agree with.

    Dishonesty reduces applied intelligence: re-wires the brain

    Clever Sillies – Why the high IQ lack common sense

    We all know numerous bandwidth-sucking examples of such personalities, whose minds when trapped in intellectual cul-de-sac’s of their own making, instead of admitting “I understand your point”, pour smoke out their cybernetic ears and freezeup in a BSOD….. well, until they pop up on the next UD thread for another round of “whack a mole”.

  127. 127
    Mapou says:

    Or maybe he’s just a scumbag.

    That’s it! Just ban the psychopath. That will hit him where it hurts. UD don’t need people like Matzke and should not indulge them. They waste our time because they have nothing to teach us. Ban them at the slightest hint of pathology.

  128. 128
    jerry says:

    I believe UD should publish everything that Matzke has said. There has been some very useful admissions here by him and interesting questions that flow from what he said. This is actually longer than I had originally intended

    First, there are no close transitions. My guess is that they would say that we would not know one because it would look like the original. However, this is a cop out as there must be a point where there should be transitions that could be distinguished from an ancestor. Each substantial new feature/characteristics should have some sort of ancestor that is different from the supposed descendant on this trait. A whole bunch of new stuff should not just appear but individual traits should show up as the change.

    Second, we were then told there were transitions but only from those that are far apart on any type of morphological scale. Are these really transitions? Or just a different species that appeared in the fossil record. There has to be some way of assessing just how much or how little these transitions vary from predecessors and ancestors. How many new traits are involved in these supposed transitions? Until that is done it may be specious to classify something as a transition. I know very little about paleontology so I assume they have some way of doing this and that they report it in their studies.

    Third, there is not taxonomic hierarchy that is real. There are just species and any tree of life or hierarchical system is a mental construct. This does not mean that two different organisms are not descendant from a common ancestral population, it just means that when we evaluate transitions there is in reality just one species, a transition, between two other species, an ancestor and a descendant.

    So when Matzke said that there were transitions between upper parts of the taxonomic hierarchy it really means that there were innumerable number of transitions missing that should be there. One can argue over the differences between the relevant species as to just how many transitions are missing.

    A key bit of information is whether the intervening geological strata produced fossils or not. If a large number of fossils were recovered from the intervening geological layers then that would say that more transitions should have been found. If new organisms just suddenly appeared it would seem to indicate that there is no naturalistic process that produced them. Science does not know a process that produces new species quickly. (it can be argued it does not have a slow process either) It is always possible that the fossilization did not occur but the presence of lots of other fossils would undermine that possibility.

    Matzke also pointed to an entire issue of a journal on transitions. My guess that would be definitive on just what is known. I haven’t the time to read this nor would i probably understand a lot of it but it may answer a lot of the questions posed.

    Let me suggest what should be in the fossil record to validate the naturalistic process. There should be one species at some time in the past. Then there should be fossils of this species along with fossils of this species slightly different. There then should be examples of each variation either remaining the same or one slowly diverging from the original along side the species that does not change. (as one population gets separated from the other) Why because stasis is the norm according to the paleontologists but there is change possible when populations get separated. So we should have numerous example of stasis along with divergence proceeding in the same strata.

    Are horses and rhino such examples? What other ones are there? Why isn’t there stasis as well as change throughout the fossil record? Horses and rhnio are very different or are they? Just how different are they and does either species have a capacity that is truly new or different that one day could lead to say they would produce a new phylum?

    So I think the process was fruitful and more should be encouraged. There is nothing to be afraid of.

  129. 129
    Querius says:

    I’m probably more generous regarding Professor Matzke than I should be . . . but he reminds me of several professors that I had in college.

    There are several problems that cause communication disconnects:

    1. Darwinism makes sense. It’s a reasonable and compelling explanation for speciation and a “tree of life.”

    2. As more data was collected over the decades, it became obvious that there were limits to evolution in velocity (Haldane’s dilemma), complexity (compare protoplasm and coacervates to ribosomes), and the “magical” generation of chemical cycles and body plans.

    3. Darwinism was indiscriminately applied to social sciences and morality. People chose sides and fought bitterly for their ideology (of course, battles also occur within scientific disciplines).

    4. Evolution has become a paradigm, and all new discoveries and publications must corroborate tiny parts of the theory. New discoveries typically are found to be “surprising” (such as Mary Schweitzer’s work), but need to be carefully rationalized, melded into the massive body of published work, disputed, or ignored.

    5. Professor Matzke is an expert in his field, and it’s easy for him, or anyone else with a field of expertise, to project their own self–confidence into other fields.

    6. Professor Matzke interacts with people who do not have expertise in his field, and assumes that they are bumpkins. This is also easy for anyone to fall into, myself included.

    7. The conversation can easily become adversarial because people won’t admit to losing an argument (as in Monty Python’s Dead Parrot skit), people don’t argue “fair,” and people misunderstand (or twist) what the other person is writing, which might be unclear or overly long–winded. No one’s immune.

    8. There are a lot dumb arguments, weak theories, speculation, and outright fakery around.

    Personally, I don’t mind being challenged, because in a civil conversation, sloppy thinking is exposed, and everyone can learn new things—as long as the dialogue is kept civil and honest.

    And I can naively try to pry Darwin’s cold dead hands from Professor Matzke’s throat—after all a strong theory can and should be challenged with new data. 😉

    -Q

  130. 130
    lifepsy says:

    Yes I’ve seen this schtick a million times.

    You quote an evolutionist (a hostile witness) that supports your argument. (e.g. lack of darwinian gradualism in the fossil record)

    Your opponent then accuses you of claiming that the quoted evolutionist doubted evolution.

    It’s a false quote-mine accusation + strawman combo.

    They have to kick up dust like this to distract from the task of dealing with those awkward moments when prominent evolutionists spoke honestly.

    Probably some self-defense denial mechanism. Maybe in their hearts they just can’t believe Gould et al. uttered those blasphemies?

  131. 131
    tintinnid says:

    “Probably some self-defense denial mechanism. Maybe in their hearts they just can’t believe Gould et al. uttered those blasphemies?”

    That will never happen at UD. Blasphemers are banned.

  132. 132
    CalvinsBulldog says:

    I will admit that I was sympathetic to Nick up until about halfway through the thread, which I read over the course of two days. Mind you, I was not “with him” in the sense of agreeing with him, but I did feel he was making reasonably decent arguments and being a good sport.

    When he started to dance around certain statements he had made previously and admit under fire that they were half-true or absolute assertions were actually contextually determined, my tolerance began to waver.

    And when he finally made this comment:

    “They are quote-mining because Simpson was writing in the 1950s, and the record of transitional fossils has improved dramatically since then.”

    I lost patience.

    “Quote mining” apparently means to cite anyone who damages Nick’s argument. If Nick can argue the quote away, and prove that it actually means the opposite of what it says, then it is a form of “quote-mining”.

    The underlying assumption is that all scientists are equally in concord about all facets of evolution, so anyone who breaks ranks is only seeming to do so, or is really only breaking ranks on some very abstruse point which appears nowhere in their writing.

    As a history major, I do not think Nick really understands what “context” means either. At least, it does not mean what Nick seems to think it means.

    He has used the term interchangeably in at least two different senses (literary context and historical context) which are not alike. If a person is going to be so textually imprecise then literally anything can be viewed as “out of context”. Context then becomes merely a pretext for serving steaming helpings of Red Herring.

  133. 133
    lifepsy says:

    Matzke #102

    They are quote-mining because Simpson was writing in the 1950s, and the record of transitional fossils has improved dramatically since then.

    LOL

    I think this is worthy of its own post.

  134. 134
    mrchristo says:

    The term “quote mine” is so sophomoric. A professional like Nick does himself a disservice by using such a stupid term. The term is just a propaganda term to deflect quotes that the Darwinist/evolution advocate cannot deal with.

    If a quote is out of context then the person should say “that’s out of context” and show why the quote is out of context. Even though if you look up the meaning and that the term means “out of context” it is very rarely used like that and is just thrown around casually and is just used to say that you have commited a crime for quoting an Evolutionist who said something that your debate opponent is not pleased with and cannot deny that it was said.

    If your debate opponent says “out of context” then they have to show it and prove their point. Just using the term quote mine is much easier because it is a negative term that dismisses what is posted and infers that there is something wrong with a quote without specifying what is wrong.

    This term can mean whatever the Evolutionist wants, but it really is a moronic term for a professional to use as a debating tactic.

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