Evolution Intelligent Design stasis

You wouldn’t think crocs had a complex history but they do

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Alligator in Myakka River State Park, Florida/© Michele Hogan

From ScienceDaily:

Previous research has pointed to crocodiles and alligators starting with a land-based ancestor some 200 million years ago and then moving to fresh water, becoming the semi-aquatic ambush predators they are today.

But a new analysis, published online today in the journal Scientific Reports, offers a different story. Modern crocodiles and alligators came from a variety of surroundings beginning in the early Jurassic Period, and various species occupied a host of ecosystems over time, including land, estuarine, freshwater and marine.

As University of Iowa researcher and study co-author Christopher Brochu says, “Crocodiles are not living fossils. Transitions between land, sea, and freshwater were more frequent than we thought, and the transitions were not always land-to-freshwater or freshwater-to-marine.” Paper. (open access) – Eric W. Wilberg, Alan H. Turner, Christopher A. Brochu. Evolutionary structure and timing of major habitat shifts in Crocodylomorpha. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-36795-1

Actually, Dr. Brochu is mistaken. Crocodiles are still “living fossils” because they are largely unchanged over many environments. We think the term “durable species” is a better descriptor for all such species because it evokes the same characteristic—they are largely unchanged over a very long period—but the term is not itself an apparent contradiction in terms.

Essentially, crocodilians are highly adaptable.

See also: Convergent Evolution Of Crocodile And Dolphin Skull Shapes

Crocodile’s eyes fine-tuned for lurking

Someone noticed the alligator’s second jaw joint


Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

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10 Replies to “You wouldn’t think crocs had a complex history but they do

  1. 1
    Pearlman says:

    Nice, Per the RCCF framework for the strongest science we find 25M to 200M +/- aligns with the 1656 anno mundi ‘Mabul’ mass extinction impacts year event, that was the catalyst for the onset of The ice ages that lasted 1656 to 1996 anno mundi, (3783 to 4123 YA not 10k to 25M YA) so aligns w/ scriptural narrative and YeC timeline.
    reference: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B077Q4KB9V

  2. 2
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    Pearlman @ 1,
    Thanks for the post. I had not heard of the RCCF and read about it and its originator here: http://torahdiscovery.org/rccf.
    I myself find the YEC models and approach more convincing than the older-earth scenarios, some of which are favored by ID luminaries. I respect them and their views, but as a design and systems engineer, a student of the Word, and an observer of human nature, I conclude that the best fit of the data is with the young earth. Of course, there are always data points that don’t fit with our current understanding from a YEC framework, but that is true with any and all frameworks. I do find the most energy and open-mindedness with the ID group, and also with the YEC scientists.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Another croc for Young Earth Creationists?

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Dean from Ohio/ Pearlman- Serious question- How “young” is the young in YEC?

    for 99 cents I can give the script a read- RCCF? I paid more for “Starlight and Time”…

    And why doesn’t the BBC headline read – “alligators taking back what the white, over-privileged, stole from them”

  5. 5
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    ET @ 4,
    I’m not sure how young, but as little as thousands of years. Bishop Ussher used a deductive (top-down) approach, starting with the Bible and working downwards to a chronology (https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/6000-1-bc/usshers-date-for-worlds-beginning-11629547.html).

    While an inductive (bottom-up) approach may be mandated by, say, teaching at an institution dominated and enforced by the secular spirit of the age, I’m under no such constraints. Starting from scripture that I have personally tested and validated in my life and in my reading and investigations, including a trip to Israel to see these places for myself, is the most reasonable, logical and wisest approach that exists. After all, Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7).

    When I’ve investigated young-earth explanations for phenomena such as the Grand Canyon, I find them much more compelling than old-earth explanations. Is there a risk of confirmation bias? Sure. But there is a risk of confirmation bias the other way too, and there is an additional bias built into the God-free inductive approach: the guilty conscience. It’s too easy to pick a naturalistic framework for interpretation, including Darwinism and the old earth view that enables it, when the result is that I’m not morally accountable to any God, or I’m accountable in name only to God, because I’ve defanged his word by ignoring the literal account of special creation. Even if I live on the moral capital of others, the moral slide of naturalism has begun, and my kids and grandkids will end up at the bottom of the moral moraine.

    I’ve put every one of my chips on King Solomon and the wisdom he showed in his early years, and on the God who gave him both that wisdom and surpassing knowledge about the natural world besides.



  6. 6
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    ET @ 4,
    More on Bishop Ussher from someone who takes him seriously: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/the-world-born-in-4004-bc/

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Thanks Dean- I never saw the Bible- OT- as a clear and concise genealogy. So I don’t adhere to Bishop Ussher’s timeline.

  8. 8
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    ET @ 8,
    Thanks for your reply. My null hypothesis is the young earth, since I start from scripture.

    By way of review for readers, I tell my undergrad statistics students that there are two ditches on Statistics Street: rejecting the null hypothesis “too soon” (Type 1 error) or rejecting it “too late” (Type II error). The temporal approach of too soon/too late is not a perfect analogy of these errors, of course, and I tell them that, but it helps them to grasp an unfamiliar concept. I also use a mousetrap as an illustration these errors. The null hypothesis is “no mouse.” If there’s no mouse and it shuts, it commits a Type I error of rejecting a still-valid null hypothesis. If the mouse eats the cheese, burps and ambles away, a Type II error has been committed, of not rejecting a null hypothesis that is in fact false.

    If someone instead assumes that the scripture is not the starting point, then the null hypothesis is likely to be one of naturalism, Darwinism and the old earth that makes it possible.

    So to me it comes down to which null hypothesis makes the most sense and is likely to be closest to reality. I can tell for sure that I am not the product of chance or necessity, and I am a person, so there must be a personal creator. The description of the creator most likely to be true is the Judeo-Christian account, for many, many reasons. Its foundation is special creation phrased in terms of days described as “morning and evening.” The most significant human personality in all of the Jewish-Christian account is Jesus, who treated the Old Testament accounts, including the special creation of Adam and Eve, as simply understood historical events. That, plus my personal confirmation of the scripture, part objective and part subjective, is why my null hypothesis is special creation with a young earth. Furthermore, Bishop Ussher’s chronology serves well as an initial null hypothesis because of the study he put into it and his freedom from biases of modernity and post-modernity.

    Has enough evidence been accumulated to reject this null hypothesis? I don’t think so, but evidence gathering and evaluation still continues. As I tell my students about any hypothesis test where evidence is insufficient, the correct answer is not “no,” but rather “not yet.”

    So what probability am I willing to accept for rejecting this young earth hypothesis as false when it actually is true? Admittedly, pretty small. Less than 0.01. Way less. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. We deal with very small probabilities in statistical tests every day. For example, the allowable probability of Type II error in presenting electronic guidance to a commercial airline pilot (i.e., the chance of presenting hazardously misleading information to the pilot that might lead to a crash) is 2 x 10^-9 per landing approach to a runway (think zero visibility conditions, being guided solely by electronic navigation systems).

    This case is not the same as the young earth test I describe above, but as I tell my students, setting the probabilities allowed for Type I and Type II error depends on the consequences of making these errors. For me, rejecting the authority and infallibility of scripture and straying froma literal, historical, grammatical and contextual interpretative principle (i.e., hermeneutic) carries enormous potential consequences, even up to the loss of one’s own soul. Still, the Bible is only as good as it is true, and it must be allowed to defend itself, without a net. Truth is so important that it must be allowed to do four somersaults from one trapeze to another, above a hard floor far below.

    Reversing the hypothesis test to the naturalist’s point of view, what probability are they willing to accept for not rejecting an old-earth hypothesis if it actually is false, and instead embracing special creation and with it, a young earth? I assert it is far smaller than the probability I allow for my incorrectly rejecting a young earth hypothesis if it is actually true.

    This is because the bias caused by immorality is far stronger than the bias caused by morality. In other words, “he who commits sin is the slave of sin,“ as Jesus said, but “if therefore the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

    And we are back to this: “The fear of the Lord is he beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

    Each person must choose for himself, and let God be the judge. As the Apostle Paul states, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Yes, “and it was evening and it was morning”- without a Sun: Judaism and the age of the earth

    As regards the past, Rabbi Abahu states at the beginning of Bereishet Rabbah that the words “and it was evening, and it was morning” (in the apparent absence of the sun) indicate that “there was a series of epochs before then; the Holy One created worlds and destroyed them, approving some and not others.”

    The Kabbalists expanded upon this statement and revealed that this process is repeated seven times, each Shemita achieving greater perfection than the last…They also tell us that we are now in the midst of the fourth of these great cycles of perfection…[Editor’s note: Interestingly, many paleontologists also consider there to have been four eras: the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.]

    Then there are the civilizations of the Indus valley and Sumer- both existed 6,000 years ago. The aboriginals of Australia have an oral history going back tens of thousands of years.

    God is true, but men wrote the Bible and men have translated and interpreted it, most often to suit their own needs, wants and desires

  10. 10
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    ET @ 9,
    Thanks for your reply. People of good faith, including many Christians, hold to an old earth timeline My uncle is one of them, as far as I know, as are you. But as for the Bible, it is the word of God.

    From the Apostle Paul: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (first letter to the church at Thessalonica)

    A person doesn’t just read the Bible. It reads him.

    Cheers, Dean

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