Birds Evolutionary biology

At Science Daily: Fossil overturns more than a century of knowledge about the origin of modern birds

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Fossilised fragments of a skeleton, hidden within a rock the size of a grapefruit, have helped upend one of the longest-standing assumptions about the origins of modern birds.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht found that one of the key skull features that characterises 99% of modern birds — a mobile beak — evolved before the mass extinction event that killed all large dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.

This finding also suggests that the skulls of ostriches, emus and their relatives evolved ‘backwards’, reverting to a more primitive condition after modern birds arose.

Using CT scanning techniques, the Cambridge team identified bones from the palate, or the roof of the mouth, of a new species of large ancient bird, which they named Janavis finalidens. It lived at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs and was one of the last toothed birds to ever live. The arrangement of its palate bones shows that this ‘dino-bird’ had a mobile, dexterous beak, almost indistinguishable from that of most modern birds.

For more than a century, it had been assumed that the mechanism enabling a mobile beak evolved after the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, the new discovery, reported in the journal Nature, suggests that our understanding of how the modern bird skull came to be needs to be re-evaluated.

Each of the roughly 11,000 species of birds on Earth today is classified into one of two over-arching groups, based on the arrangement of their palate bones. Ostriches, emus and their relatives are classified into the palaeognath, or ‘ancient jaw’ group, meaning that, like humans, their palate bones are fused together into a solid mass.

All other groups of birds are classified into the neognath, or ‘modern jaw’ group, meaning that their palate bones are connected by a mobile joint. This makes their beaks much more dexterous, helpful for nest-building, grooming, food-gathering, and defence.

“This assumption has been taken as a given ever since,” said Dr Daniel Field from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences, the paper’s senior author. “The main reason this assumption has lasted is that we haven’t had any well-preserved fossil bird palates from the period when modern birds originated.”

Two of the key characteristics we use to differentiate modern birds from their dinosaur ancestors are a toothless beak and a mobile upper jaw. While Janavis finalidens still had teeth, making it a pre-modern bird, its jaw structure is that of the modern, mobile kind.

“Evolution doesn’t happen in a straight line,” said Field. “This fossil shows that the mobile beak — a condition we had always thought post-dated the origin of modern birds, actually evolved before modern birds existed. We’ve been completely backwards in our assumptions of how the modern bird skull evolved for well over a century.”

The researchers say that while this discovery does not mean that the entire bird family tree needs to be redrawn, it does rewrite our understanding of a key evolutionary feature of modern birds.

Full article at Science Daily.

Assumptions seem to have played a large role in the evolutionary story of birds. When assumptions turn out to not match reality, then either the theory is wrong, or extrapolations made from the theory are unjustified.

97 Replies to “At Science Daily: Fossil overturns more than a century of knowledge about the origin of modern birds

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    That’s science for you, always changing as new data comes along. Keeps us on our toes.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    The latest research once again surprises Darwinists. As I’ve long maintained, Darwinism can rationalize anything but successfully predicts nothing.

    Who knows, someday even Darwinism itself will finally be overthrown for lack of scientific evidence:

    here’s a video posted yesterday by Rice Professor, James Tour, at the portion in which he addresses Darwinism and the Origin of Life Problem:
    https://youtu.be/8nRHvGdruIQ?t=1699

    He invites anyone to a free lunch paid for by him to anyone who can clearly explain macro evolution or the origin of life at the molecular level. He promises to only ask questions.

    -Q

  3. 3
    martin_r says:

    We’ve been completely backwards in our assumptions of how the modern bird skull evolved for well over a century.

    Wrong for over a century … what comes next ?

    From NewScientist:

    This new study is a remarkable example of how just a few key fossil remains – analysed with a keen eye – can overturn some longstanding and cherished notions.

    “just a few key fossil remains” ….. “a keen eye can overturn some longstanding and cherished notions.”

    Obviously, Darwinism is a house of cards …

    PS: if a Darwinist assumes something, you can be 100% sure, that the contrary is true.

  4. 4
    martin_r says:

    Seversky,

    i doubt that in the history of science, there was another field of science surprised with new findings every single day …

    This is a pseudoscience.

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    The real problem with dinosaur to bird scenario is where did the very unique oxygen delivery system in birds come from?

    This oxygen system is necessary for extended flight. There would be no reason for dinosaurs to have such an oxygen system. If they did, why?

    Also it takes over 30 million years to get a new bird species. So how did all the bird species form in so short of time?

  6. 6
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @4,

    Amazing, isn’t it? In Dr. Tour’s presentation linked above, he concludes that Darwinism exhibits the characteristics of a religion rather than science. Eventually, Darwinism will take it’s rightful place alongside phrenology, eugenics, and alchemy!

    -Q

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    That’s Evolution for you, always changing as new data comes along. Keeps us on our toes.

    Andrew

  8. 8
    martin_r says:

    Querius

    Darwinism will take it’s rightful place alongside phrenology, eugenics, and alchemy!

    I am pretty sure that one day it will. It seemed believable in 19th century, but today ?

    PS: Have you seen my post on spontaneous generation ? That MIT physicist England ?

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    a few related notes:

    More Vindication for Jonathan Wells – October 8, 2012
    Excerpt: Feduccia calls Berkeley dino-bird advocate Kevin Padian “the Elmer Gantry of the theropod crusade,” criticizing Padian both for his public advocacy of the dino-bird hypothesis (that’s the Elmer Gantry aspect) and for his scientific work. In that respect, Feduccia fully supports Jonathan Wells’s critique of the dino-bird theory. He concludes with this:
    “Small wonder the Creationists are thriving and thoroughly enjoying much of the junk science introduced into the current dino-bird debate. [p. 10]”
    per ENV

    Are Birds Living Dinosaurs? – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 16 February 2021
    A review of Alan Feduccia’s most recent book (2020): Romancing the Birds and Dinosaurs1
    Excerpt: Feduccia: “Most disturbingly, Smith et al. are quick to pull out the “creationist card,” comparing our arguments to methods of creationists. Yet, it is the current dinosaur-bird nexus of paleontology that has resulted in the creationists calling the field “The Disneyfication of Dinosaurs.” And, one well-known creationist following a meeting on birds origins in 1999, stated, “This is not science . . . this is comic relief [83, 8].”23
    So, since the birds-from-dinosaurs dogmatists “are quick to pull out the “creationist card”” to conceal their almost total absence of scientific facts and arguments, let’s say beforehand and to avoid any misunderstandings: Alan Feduccia is neither a creationist nor an intelligent design theorist but a stout evolutionary biologist interpreting the fossil material as well as the entire world of living organisms exclusively/entirely/completely in ideas and terms of his materialistic world view,,,
    http://www.weloennig.de/Feduccia2020.pdf

    Ten Reasons Why Birds Are Not Living Dinosaurs
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – April 14, 2021
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/04/ten-reasons-why-birds-are-not-living-dinosaurs/

    Fossilized bird lung tissue controversial; Big if true – December 26, 2018
    The new Archaeorhynchus fossil surprisingly contains many of the same structures, the team announced. That suggests that these important respiratory adaptations were present very early in the modern bird lineage.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/fossilized-bird-lung-tissue-controversial-big-if-true/

    From a Frog to a Prince: Biological Evidence of Creation – video – (avian lung) 2:16 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/TMoWfPn2pCI?t=136

    Blown away by design:
    Michael Denton and birds’ lungs
    Excerpt: A classic example, he says, is the lung of the bird, which is ‘unique in being a circulatory lung rather than a bellows lung [see box]. I think it doesn’t require a great deal of profound knowledge of biology to see that for an organ which is so central to the physiology of any higher organism, its drastic modification in that way by a series of small events is almost inconceivable. This is something we can’t throw under the carpet again because, basically, as Darwin said, if any organ can be shown to be incapable of being achieved gradually in little steps, his theory would be totally overthrown.,,,
    The amazing bird lung
    As a bird breathes, air moves into its rear air sacs (1). These then expel the air into the lung (2) and the air flows through the lung into the front air sacs (3). The air is expelled by the front air sacs as the bird breathes out. The lung does not expand and contract as does a reptile’s or mammal’s. The blood which picks up oxygen from the lung flows in the opposite direction to the air so that blood with the lowest oxygen (blue in the diagram always means lower oxygen, red means high oxygen) is exposed to air with the lowest oxygen. The blood with the highest oxygen is exposed to air with an even higher oxygen concentration. This ensures that, in every region of the circulation, the concentration of oxygen in the air is more than that of the blood with which it is in contact. This maximizes the efficiency of oxygen transfer from the air to the blood. This is known as counter-current exchange. Such very efficient lungs help birds to handle the energy demands of flight, especially at high altitudes.1
    https://creation.com/blown-away-by-design-michael-denton-and-birds-lungs

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual (fossil) Evidence – video (11:42 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/OZhtj06kmXY?t=704

    “Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”
    Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function

    “What we have shown is that there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that protofeathers existed in dinosaurs, period.”10,,,
    – Storrs Olson, – curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

    “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 – curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

    “The hype about feathered dinosaurs in the exhibit currently on display at the National Geographic Society is even worse, and makes the spurious claim that there is strong evidence that a wide variety of carnivorous dinosaurs had feathers. A model of the undisputed dinosaur Deinonychus and illustrations of baby tyrannosaurs are shown clad in feathers, all of which is simply imaginary and has no place outside of science fiction.”
    – Storrs Olson

    Scientists caught faking Dinosaur – bird fossil Archeopteryx (Stors Olson)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Iz7GResDtQ

    Verse:

    Genesis 1:20
    And God said,,, “and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens

    Of related, supplemental, note to Darwinists (vis ‘artistic reconstructions’) presenting the supposed fossil evidence for human evolution in a highly misleading manner in their museum exhibits,

    Ancestor bias – Museum depictions of ‘human ancestors’ challenged—by evolutionists
    by Philip Robinson – Nov. 2022
    https://creation.com/museum-apemen-challenged-by-evolutionists

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @8,

    PS: Have you seen my post on spontaneous generation ? That MIT physicist England ?

    No, I think I missed it. Could you provide a link?

    Thanks,
    -Q

  11. 11
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77 @9,

    Thank you for the links.

    I had no idea and was stunned to learn about the fossil hybrids fabricated in China from several other fossils to create chimeras that were supposedly missing links. And that museums knowingly ignored the evidence that they were fakes, so that they could tout some faked evidence once again “proving” evolution.

    That museums knowingly go along with such frauds is gross scientific malpractice. Science in pursuit of the truth is hard enough without such criminal fakery.

    This is deeply disappointing!

    -Q

    P.S. Yes, I’m very aware of crackpots and charlatans are engaged in such fakery outside the domain of science pandering to religious people for the sake of fame and money. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that this extends to papers, positions, and grants.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    relatd says:

    It is quite sad that this happens but creating fake fossils in China is motivated by money. Once someone with the skill to do it convincingly realizes how much can be made then any moral qualms go out the window.

    https://timevaultgallery.com/fake-chinese-fossils-fossil-forgery-from-china/

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @12,

    Yikes, this is Von Helmont’s experiment all over again, only with different ingredients and added equations for taste!

    However, I can make up science fantasy as well . . . or satirize it:

    The Entropic Origin of Information
    When the entropy of a system increases, it must dissipate the entalpic density (add equation here) by the expansion of spacetime. This drives the expansion of the universe. However, spacetime expansion is not limited by the speed of light, but it does have a finite limit due to the gravitational presence of dark matter. As a result, entropic pressure forces the compression of mass-energy into information which has no space-time volume. Thus, due to random perturbations in the entropic “soup” it becomes inevitable that information will at some time and some place spike, producing the complexity we observe as a result.

    There. You see?

    -Q

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Martin_r and Querius, as to, “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.”
    – Jeremy England – MIT physicist

    Brian Miller responds to Jeremy England’s, ahem, “untethered” claims here,

    (20:25),, “All natural processes go from high free energy to low free energy. But life requires nature to take a bunch of chemicals and go from low free energy to high free energy. That is a physical impossibility.,,,
    “There has been more sophisticated analysis by people like Jeremy England at MIT. And Jeremy England has talked about what are called fluctuation theorems. A really interesting story is that people have said Jeremy England came up with a new physics theory for life. That somehow physics can explain the origin of life.,,, Again, I never trust what you read in the press, I go back to the original literature. When you look at England’s equations it basically disproves all origin of life theories. Because, when you actually look at his math, what it shows you is (that), a system driven far from equilibrium, they tend towards greater entropy. The internal entropy increases. And they tend to give off heat. Well again, the origin of life requires the opposite. So, based on his equations, what happens is the probability of life forming away from equilibrium is just as small as near equilibrium. What that means is that,,, trying to argue that life originated through natural processes is like trying to create a perpetual motion machine, or to market alchemy. It is a scientific impossibility.”,,,
    – Brian Miller – Thermodynamics, the Origin of Life, and Intelligent Design – video – 24:17 mark
    https://youtu.be/YAXiHRPZz0s?t=1453

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Nov. 2022 – it is now experimentally proven, (via advances in quantum information theory, and the experimental realization of the Maxwell demon thought experiment), immaterial information has a ‘thermodynamic content’, and that an immaterial mind has the capacity to infuse ‘thermodynamically meaningful’ immaterial information into a system in order move a system toward lower entropy and higher energy i.e. toward life.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/from-evolution-news-prigogines-self-organization-vs-specified-biological-complexity/#comment-770929

  17. 17
    chuckdarwin says:

    Even today, CT technology is not completely accessible to researchers except at “elite” universities because of cost. It is a revolutionary tool in paleontology and without it, these fossils would not have been completely observable despite best efforts by paleontologists. As Seversky points out, this is the way science moves despite all the IDers huffing and puffing, gloating and bloviating about the demise of evolution.
    It’s also important to put this find into proper context:

    The researchers say that while this discovery does not mean that the entire bird family tree needs to be redrawn, it does rewrite our understanding of a key evolutionary feature of modern birds. (emphasis added)

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @17,

    . . . all the IDers huffing and puffing, gloating and bloviating about the demise of evolution.

    It stings, doesn’t it when scientific evidence goes against your beloved belief.

    Personally, I don’t care either way with three exceptions, two of which apply in this case:

    1. The historically explicit and currently implicit racism in Darwinism.

    2. The egregious anti-science bias that censors all challenges to Darwinism.

    3. The mountains of science fantasy being touted as “evidence” for Darwinism, which stops scientific progress.

    -Q

    P.S. I find drinking your tears is much more refreshing after carbonating them with my SodaStream ™ Sparkling Water Maker (https://sodastream.com/).

  19. 19
    martin_r says:

    CD

    The researchers say that while this discovery does not mean that the entire bird family tree needs to be redrawn, it does rewrite our understanding of a key evolutionary feature of modern birds. (emphasis added)

    I got that.

    However, let me repeat what I said earlier …

    I doubt that in the history of science, there was another field of science surprised with new findings every single day …

    Like the other day at ScienceDaily.com:

    525-million-year-old fossil defies textbook explanation for brain evolution

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221125132137.htm

    or this one, published DEC 2:

    Active DNA demethylation of developmental cis-regulatory regions predates vertebrate origins

    This work demonstrates that active 5mC removal from regulatory regions is a common feature of deuterostome embryogenesis suggestive of an unexpected deep conservation of a major gene-regulatory module.

    https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abn2258

    PS: Darwinists are definitely not to be trusted.

  20. 20
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @19,

    525-million-year-old fossil defies textbook explanation for brain evolution

    Ouch!

    Active DNA demethylation of developmental cis-regulatory regions predates vertebrate origins

    Ouch!

    PS: Darwinists are definitely not to be trusted.

    Two more recent examples where Darwinism FAILED to predict these new discoveries.

    This is exactly why even the term “Darwinist” or “Evolutionist” exposes a quasi-religious commitment to a theory that grows WEAKER with every significant discovery! This why Darwinism is no longer science.

    In science, researchers need to investigate nature from a NEUTRAL position, avoiding bias and advocacy. Researchers need to follow the data, not the ideology or the consensus.

    The solution, in my opinion, is to boot ideologues out of scientific research and academia. As was presented as an analogy in one of the recent video links, a jury shouldn’t find someone guilty of a crime merely because they’re so far the best suspect in a very weak case. If the case is too weak, the defendant shouldn’t even be charged. More detective work is needed.

    -Q

  21. 21
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius/18
    I’m sure if you work just a little bit harder, you can find “Darwinian racism” somewhere in the OP. You can then celebrate your trifecta with a round of fizzy water. Sounds like a real hoot………

  22. 22
    Alan Fox says:

    The solution, in my opinion, is to boot ideologues out of scientific research…

    Careful what you wish for. 😉

  23. 23
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @22,

    Very true! However, here are some notorious cases of scientific fraud:

    – Using a felt pen to claim success at tissue transplants
    (https://www.ogmagazine.org.au/14/2-14/research-fraud-painting-mice/)

    – Falsifying data in vaccine research
    (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2015.17660)

    – Announcing a fraudulent evolutionary breakthrough (thank you, Bornagain77)
    (https://youtu.be/OZhtj06kmXY?t=1149)

    Why wasn’t the third case prosecuted?

    -Q

  24. 24
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    – Announcing a fraudulent evolutionary breakthrough (thank you, Bornagain77)
    (https://youtu.be/OZhtj06kmXY?t=1149)

    Yes, i have read about this missing-bird-link fakery years ago.
    Very fascinating is the fact, that this fake fossil was glued together by a farmer!
    A Chinese farmer can fool smart Darwinian scientists…
    This is a grotesque …

    PS: Querius, go to RetractionWatch.com – there you will find the whole world of science fraud …

  25. 25
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    as to yesterday’s talk, i found another “surprise” … this one looks pretty serious …

    “New Discovery Shows Human Cells Can Write RNA Sequences Into DNA – Challenges Central Principle in Biology”

    In a discovery that challenges long-held dogma in biology, researchers show that mammalian cells can convert RNA sequences back into DNA, a feat more common in viruses than eukaryotic cells.

    https://scitechdaily.com/new-discovery-shows-human-cells-can-write-rna-sequences-into-dna-challenges-central-principle-in-biology/

    Happy reading.

  26. 26
    martin_r says:

    and something for Dawkins too …

    November 23 2022

    “Discovery of 119-Million-Year-Old “Selfish” Genes Casts Doubt on Established Evolution Beliefs”

    https://scitechdaily.com/discovery-of-119-million-year-old-selfish-genes-casts-doubt-on-established-evolution-beliefs/

  27. 27
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @24, 25,

    Thanks, I didn’t know about https://retractionwatch.com/. How interesting.

    Browsing the website, I wondering why papers are retracted for plagiarism when it obviously musta been the inevitable result of convergent cognition due to the evolutionary zeitgeist phenomenon. 😉

    What an interesting discovery regarding RNA! First, I noticed these sentences (emphasis added):

    Cells contain machinery that duplicates DNA into a new set that goes into a newly formed cell. That same class of machines, called polymerases, also build RNA messages, which are like notes copied from the central DNA repository of recipes, so they can be read more efficiently into proteins.

    So how did the team leader describe the significance of this discovery?

    “This work opens the door to many other studies that will help us understand the significance of having a mechanism for converting RNA messages into DNA in our own cells . . .”

    a. An ID-oriented researcher would ask, “I wonder what function this is designed to provide?

    b. A Darwinist researcher would conclude, “This is probably a useless junk function, an ancient vestige of evolution, once again proving life’s evolution from an RNA world.”

    (c. And a graduate in ______ studies would ask, “Would you like fries with that order?” )

    It seems that Dr. Pomerantz took approach “a.” resulting in a couple of testable hypotheses.

    -Q

  28. 28
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @26,

    “Discovery of 119-Million-Year-Old “Selfish” Genes Casts Doubt on Established Evolution Beliefs”

    What, already? It’s not even been one week since the article in the OP came out:

    Fossil Overturns More Than A Century Of Knowledge About The Origin Of Modern Birds

    Fortunately for Darwin, his faithful have Unshakable Faith in his theory of evolution. 😛

    -Q

  29. 29
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    i can go on and on and on ….

    ScienceDaily, December 2

    (obviously, another keen eye)

    Fossil discovery in storeroom cupboard shifts origin of modern lizard back 35 million years
    A specimen retrieved from a cupboard of the Natural History Museum in London has shown that modern lizards originated in the Late Triassic and not the Middle Jurassic as previously thought.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/12/221202142548.htm

  30. 30
    Seversky says:

    Yes, the theory is revised in the light of new evidence. That is a feature not a bug.

  31. 31
    martin_r says:

    Seversky …

    sure…it is a revision after a revision after a revision … every single day a new revision …
    Like i said, these people are not to be trusted … they are always wrong …

    PS: Seversky, no reply on my updated spontaneous-generation post ?

    https://uncommondescent.com/extraterrestrial-life/at-scitech-daily-sofia-finds-no-phosphine-a-potential-sign-of-life-on-venus/#comments

  32. 32
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @29,

    Wow! Yet another unpredicted discovery that rewrites the theory of evolution, which is now considered a fact. Unfortunately the facts seem to be changing all the time. LOL The “mountains of evidence” seem to have a moving into a sea of doubt.

    The paper goes on to say:

    As a modern-type lizard, the new fossil impacts all estimates of the origin of lizards and snakes, together called the Squamata, and affects assumptions about their rates of evolution, and even the key trigger for the origin of the group.

    A “modern-type lizard” from the Late Triassic? Oh wait, I know. The environment for these lizards MUSTA remained unchanged for 220 million years!

    Yabbut, there MUSTA been spectacular evolution occurring in the genotype and internal organs that are just not expressed in the phenotype. Right?

    At this point Lamarck must be rolling in his grave–with laughter. Looks like his theory is actually turning out to be stronger than Darwinism.

    But we’re all compelled to follow the science fantasy. Hey, maybe next week researchers will find that chimpanzees MUSTA evolved from humans. And why not? Darwinism would suggest that they’re far better adapted to their African environment than humans in the same African environment, right?

    -Q

  33. 33
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    this one is very interesting … another case for the waiting time problem ?

    November 1st

    Shocking 439-Million-Year-Old “Shark” Forces Scientists To Rethink the Timeline of Evolution

    The new discovery puts into question existing models of vertebrate evolution by significantly condensing the timeframe for the emergence of jawed fish from their closest jawless ancestors. This will have a profound impact on how we assess evolutionary rates in early vertebrates and the relationship between morphological and molecular change in these groups,

    https://scitechdaily.com/shocking-439-million-year-old-shark-forces-scientists-to-rethink-the-timeline-of-evolution/

  34. 34
    Querius says:

    Thank you, Martin_r.

    The next thing we’ll find out is that Fanjingshania is alive and well in the Andaman Sea, and scientists will announce its discovery as shocking but yet another triumph of Darwinism. They will attribute its rarity to the fact that than Andaman islanders have been eating them like popcorn for centuries.

    The article will conclude with a quote about the fact that this is a “living fossil” that managed to evade evolutionary change for millions of years but provides important insights into evolution, once again proving Darwinian’s theory. And then the whole thing will be forgotten.

    From the same fascinating and much-appreciated website, I’ve just learned that missing features also evolve! Imagine that!

    “Through this study, we have really been able to show that tooth loss in vertebrates is largely a story about frogs, with over 20 independent losses,” said lead study author Daniel Paluh, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Florida’s department of biology. “Only eight other groups of living vertebrates, including seahorses, turtles, birds and a few mammals, have also evolved toothlessness.”

    As a result of this article, I’m happy to announce here tonight that scientists have determined that I’ve evolved flightlessness along with the lack of webbed arms, and a complete lack of jet engines under my armpits! This lack of jet engines has purportedly evolved at least 20 times!

    -Q (jet engines would be so cool!)

  35. 35
    tjguy says:

    Yes, science IS ALWAYS CHANGING – at least the historical sciences are. True. It’s a good thing that it adjusts to new information, but the problem is, there is no guarantee that this new information is correct either. It really means that much of what we THINK we know may not really be true at all. We don’t know what we don’t know and yet we make decisions/interpretations based on the limited data that we have which means that much of what we think we know and have figured out might not really be true. So science is NOT the arbiter of truth. How dependable is our current “knowledge”? The reality is that no one really knows. When you can’t run experiments to check your hypothesis, you are dependent on your interpretation of what you think you currently know. Most interpretation is done through the evolutionary paradigm which itself is an interpretation of the data and still problematic. It just shows that unfortunately, when it comes to origins science, our so-called “knowledge” is not necessarily true. It calls into question a lot of what passes for science these days, including the global warming mumbo jumbo, where like in biology, dissenting voices are not permitted. Only views in line with the current concensus are welcomed.

  36. 36
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    this is something … look

    November 1st, Scientific American:

    Fossils Upend Conventional Wisdom about Evolution of Human Bipedalism

    For most of human evolution, multiple species with different ways of walking upright coexisted

    … the March of Progress, as this image and its variants are known, has decorated countless books, T-shirts, bumper stickers and coffee mugs.

    But paleoanthropological discoveries made over the past two decades are forcing scientists to redraw this traditional, linear imagery.

    We now know that various hominin species living in different environments throughout Africa, sometimes contemporaneously, evolved different ways to walk on two legs

    English is not my first language, but did i get this right ?

    Are Darwinists really suggesting, that at the same moment, various human ancestors, decided to walk on two legs independently from each other ?

    (I hope i have misunderstood something)

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossils-upend-conventional-wisdom-about-evolution-of-human-bipedalism/

  37. 37
    asauber says:

    “Only views in line with the current concensus are welcomed.”

    The Trolls that come here are fully aware they are running cover for certain narratives and are stupid enough to pretend we don’t notice.

    Andrew

  38. 38
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 30,

    The theory of unguided evolution has no supporting evidence. There is a growing body of evidence that shows Intelligent Design in living things. Things did not start with chaos and then order themselves. The evidence points to order coming from order.

  39. 39
    Querius says:

    TJguy @35,

    So science is NOT the arbiter of truth.

    Exactly. Science creates models based on data, some of which are useful, all of which are eventually either modified or discarded. Except for Darwinism, of course. Unique to science, Darwinism is supposedly a FACT now.

    How dependable is our current “knowledge”? The reality is that no one really knows.

    One can gauge the strength of a hypothesis or theory based on how well it predicts future findings. As Martin_r pointed out, as a result of monthly and even daily surprises, Darwinism continually demonstrates that it’s an extremely poor theory!

    When you can’t run experiments to check your hypothesis, you are dependent on your interpretation of what you think you currently know.

    Even with highly precise experimental data such as in quantum mechanics, the interpretations are wildly controversial, mostly due to ideological prejudices!

    Most interpretation is done through the evolutionary paradigm which itself is an interpretation of the data and still problematic.

    Exactly! And this paradigm has repeatedly been shown to lead to false conclusions, again as was amply demonstrated by the “shocking surprises” that Martin_r mentioned above.

    Some evidence and controversies are suppressed or groomed. A good example is the Leakey stranglehold on research in the Olduvai Gorge and the dating controversy. Apparently, one can’t just go there with a research team and start digging around!

    -Q

  40. 40
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @36,

    We now know that various hominin species living in different environments throughout Africa, sometimes contemporaneously, evolved different ways to walk on two legs.

    English is not my first language, but did i get this right? Are Darwinists really suggesting, that at the same moment, various human ancestors, decided to walk on two legs independently from each other?

    Yes, you read correctly, although I think the Sci-Am claims are hard to decode. My legs also seem to walk independently of each other. What I think they mean is that humans and some human ancestors evolved to become bipedal while the other great apes evolved to become quadrupedal.

    1. The putative common hominid ancestor was capable of locomotion, likely quadrupedal.

    2. The other great apes are primarily quadrupedal, but humans are bipedal. While great apes can walk on two legs for short distances, they don’t normally do this.

    On the other hand, they can grasp and eat an apple using a foot, while I’ve not been able to do so. Maybe one of the Darwinists here can explain the trick. (wink)

    3. However, there’s Lucy, an extinct Australopitecus afarensis that was supposedly bipedal.

    It should be noted that the bone fragments used to assemble its skeleton were scattered over a wide area (roughly 2-1/2 kilometers), came from different strata (about 70 meters), and did not include its feet or knee. Its wrist bones indicate quadrupedal “knuckle walking.”

    4. The bipedal controversy might have been addressed by subtle differences in its hips and femur, and in a fourth metatarsal bone discovered later.
    https://www.academia.edu/73355024/Complete_fourth_metatarsal_and_arches_in_the_foot_of_Australopithecus_afarensis

    Evidence for Lucy’s bipedal locomotion is also presented from the remarkably human-like Laetoli footprints. However, these footprints were discovered in Tanzania, roughly 1600 kilometers away.

    Maybe Lucy swung through the trees or rode a motorcycle to get to Ethiopia.

    -Q

  41. 41
    Querius says:

    Similarly, we’re told that life on earth MUSTA evolved from simple non-living chemicals. We’re told there’s mountains of evidence for the sudden emergence of life, hence it MUSTA been simple. And then chance operates on bubbles in the primordial soup, some of which MUSTA combined to cooperate in creating increasingly complex systems that MUSTA evolved from coacervates to koala bears.

    So, Jim Tour accepts the fantasy chemistry challenge! Just posted . . .

    Dave Farina’s “Experts” completely DEBUNKED. The Religion of Prebiotic Soup – Lee Cronin Part 01
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rwPi1miWu4

    -Q

  42. 42
    Seversky says:

    Martin_r/31

    sure…it is a revision after a revision after a revision … every single day a new revision …
    Like i said, these people are not to be trusted … they are always wrong …

    So, if science does revise its narrative in the light of new evidence it’s untrustworthy and always wrong, if it doesn’t it’s inflexible and dogmatic. So tell us, from an engineering perspective, what’s it supposed to do?

    PS: Seversky, no reply on my updated spontaneous-generation post ?

    No, “Darwinists” don’t believe in the 19th century version of spontaneous generation and, no, speculations about shining light on a clump of atoms is not equivalent to it.

  43. 43
    Marfin says:

    Sev- if you convince a generation that evolution and common ancestry is a fact based on a given fossil or number of fossils , and then after fifty years it turns out those fossils were never part of our ancestry or lineage to begin with , but these newly discovered ones most definitely are , well that`s until those too are proven not to be.
    You see there is no way to use empirical science to test any fossil to see if its ancestral to any other fossil, sure you can lay them out it what you believe is a line of ancestry but how do you test that line. Then in a few years new so called evidence will destroy what you were once so certain of , maybe it should be admitted that these things were never so certain to begin with.

  44. 44
    martin_r says:

    Seversky

    So, if science does revise its narrative in the light of new evidence it’s untrustworthy and always wrong, if it doesn’t it’s inflexible and dogmatic. So tell us, from an engineering perspective, what’s it supposed to do?

    it is easy: first of all, do not call it science. It is not. Second, do not mislead lay people that the theory of evolution is a fact, because it is not … new findings challenging the basics of the theory EVERT SINGLE DAY … this is not a science… it is a fiasco … Third, start accepting ID scientists – because they were always right and you guys are always wrong …

    Talking about basics of the theory:

    Look here, January 2022

    Why mutation is not as random as we thought

    Challenging the dogma of gene evolution

    A long-standing doctrine in evolution is that mutations can arise anywhere in a genome with equal probability. However, new research is challenging this idea of randomness, showing that mutations in the genome of the plant Arabidosis thaliana appear to happen less frequently in important regions of the genome.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00142-2

  45. 45
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    i am glad that my English is good enough to understand that various human ancestors started to walk on two legs independently of each other at about the same time … I thought i have misunderstood something …

    This theory is getting more and more absurd with every new discovery …

    PS: as to “missing features also evolve! Imagine that!”

    yeah… Get this:

    Key evolutionary innovation lost 1000 times!

    Despite the advantages associated with flight, such as the ability to disperse widely and forage, flight has been independently lost within nearly every pterygote order and an estimated thousands of times overall

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3735250/

  46. 46
    martin_r says:

    Querius @41

    I am still watching the newest Dr. Tour’s lecture on ‘professor’ Dave’s OoL-experts.

    The following part is very amuzing:

    In his videos, ‘professor’ Dave complained, that Dr. Tour just can’t understand the OoL issues, because he is ONLY a synthetic chemist (and that he also has to be a biologist, and all other sorts of ‘-logist’)

    The funny thing is, that those 3 experts ‘professor’ Dave invited to help him out (to debunk Dr. Tour), are ALSO synthetic chemists :)))))) all 3 of them :))))))))))))))

    This ‘professor’ Dave is such a clown ….

  47. 47
    martin_r says:

    Seversky

    about shining light on a clump of atoms is not equivalent to it.

    are you seriously saying, that shining light on a clump of atoms in order to create a plant out of it, is not spontaneous generation of life ?

    Then what is it ?

  48. 48
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @45,

    This theory is getting more and more absurd with every new discovery …

    Exactly. And that has the earmarks of a failed theory.

    Here’s an example from history.

    It was once believed that the heavens traveled around the earth with spherical motion. For one thing, the ancient Greeks observed that there are a lot of things on earth that are linear, but celestial objects were circular or spherical. The things on earth were imperfect but the things in the heavens were perfect.

    This was the science of the day. And Aristotle was a genius.

    When wandering stars were noticed, they were put on spheres as well, and the cosmos worked out well! Eclipses were accurately predicted and calendars were reliable. The size and shape of the earth were calculated as was its tilt and distance to the sun by Eratosthenes about 250 BCE!

    Circumference of the earth: 250,000 stadia = 24,950 miles or 40,419 km.
    Current equatorial circumference: 24,901 miles or 40,075 km.

    This was a good model. However, with further studies, there were surprises that had to be accommodated in the model. As a result, the model became more and more complex.

    Finally, the model was abandoned for a heliocentric one, which reduced the exceptions, complexities, and surprises.

    The same should be true for Darwinism, except that Darwinists have too much ideological commitment to be able to follow the data. So, we now have the evolution of missing features as well as “living fossils,” and many other miracles.

    -Q

  49. 49
    Alan Fox says:

    Finally, the model was abandoned for a heliocentric one, which reduced the exceptions, complexities, and surprises.

    All models are wrong but some are useful. The scientific approach is to be less wrong with more accurate and thus more useful models.

  50. 50
    Alan Fox says:

    The same should be true for Darwinism, except that Darwinists have too much ideological commitment to be able to follow the data.

    Nothing to stop ID proponents from proposing models that fit the data better. Why does that never happen?

  51. 51
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @46,

    In his videos, ‘professor’ Dave complained, that Dr. Tour just can’t understand the OoL issues, because he is ONLY a synthetic chemist (and that he also has to be a biologist, and all other sorts of ‘-logist’)

    I also noticed typical trollbot statements such as Dr. Tour being a “known liar.” But I guess “professor” Dave feels that anything he says is justified by his knowing deep down that he’s right, and this justifies all his hateful comments against Dr. Tour such as:

    “In conclusion, James is an embarrassment to the scientific community who never seems to learn his lesson.”

    The funny thing is, that those 3 experts ‘professor’ Dave invited to help him out (to debunk Dr. Tour), are ALSO synthetic chemists :)))))) all 3 of them :))))))))))))))

    You would think that “professor” Dave would have noticed the irony. But no, he feels safe as an apologist for the orthodox ideological narrative. I would note that blindly following scientific orthodoxy, results in stagnation, leading to absurd statements such as “The science is settled ™.

    I also noticed that Lee Cronin admits he has no background in organic chemistry.

    WHAT???

    He’s a PhD inorganic chemist studying the origin of life without knowledge of the actual (organic) chemistry of life?

    No wonder he seems desperate to defend is position without going into any actual organic chemistry!

    -Q

  52. 52
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @49,

    All models are wrong but some are useful.

    Yes, I love that quote from statistician George Box.

    The scientific approach is to be less wrong with more accurate and thus more useful models.

    We don’t know whether a “more useful model” is actually more accurate. We only know that it’s more useful.

    – A better theory tends to collapse complexity and is able to successfully predict the results of experiments and future discoveries.

    – A poor theory is confronted with frequent surprises, needs constant revision, and tends to ever greater complexity as a result.

    -Q

  53. 53
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @50,

    Nothing to stop ID proponents from proposing models that fit the data better.

    Yep. By approaching poorly understood biological features and structures with the perspective that they have been intelligently designed, it accelerates new discoveries and enhances scientific progress.

    The ID approach is much better than simply assuming poorly understood features as “junk” or useless vestiges of evolution.

    Why does that never happen?

    Basically, because you’ve chosen to remain ignorant. For example, have you ever read Evolution 2.0 by Perry Marshall? It’s one click away:
    https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-2-0-Breaking-Deadlock-Between/dp/1944648755/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1670363868&sr=8-5

    -Q

  54. 54
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox,

    In terms of the origin of life, as James Tour indicated, we’re simply clueless. And if first admit we’re clueless, we can then consider ALL the evidence without ideological prejudice.

    Anyone with medical, engineering, computer network, flying, or programming experience knows, if something weird is happening, You don’t go chasing speculations, especially in a complex system.
    Instead, you do the following:

    1. Ask whether there have been any known changes. What’s different? If the answer is no . . .

    2. Then, you drop all assumptions. To assume makes an ass out of u and me.

    3. And you take inventory of what you do know (or think you know).

    4. Then you test/challenge each item. Devise a set of experiments to verify each step or item. Look for unexpected behaviors or symptoms. Sometimes more than one thing is involved. Sometimes, it requires a paradigm shift.

    Unfortunately, Darwinism is stuck in speculation. A more fundamental reassessment is required to become unstuck. Here’s what the British Royal Society did in 2016:

    https://evo2.org/royal-society-evolution/

    -Q

  55. 55
    Alan Fox says:

    We don’t know whether a “more useful model” is actually more accurate. We only know that it’s more useful.

    Ah, but we can test a model. We can compare predictions against measurements.

  56. 56
    Alan Fox says:

    In terms of the origin of life, as James Tour indicated, we’re simply clueless.

    I’m unaware of anyone in mainstream science claiming that any particular explanation for the origin of life on Earth is supported by anything more than circumstantial evidence.

    There is no denying life exists on Earth but the precise details of how that came about will remain undecidable without further evidence.

    I haven’t noticed James Tour (or the I D movement in general) contributing anything original to the subject.

  57. 57
    martin_r says:

    Alan Fox

    I haven’t noticed James Tour (or the I D movement in general) contributing anything original to the subject.

    could you be more specific what exactly do you mean ?

    Are you expecting, that Dr. Tour will advocate for how life may have emerged by unguided natural process (AKA spontaneous generation) ? :))))))))

    Or what do you expect from Dr. Tour or other ID advocates/creationists ?

    How should they contribute ?

    Dr. Tour already made a pretty significant contribution already, he posted 10 hours of OoL-lectures. So anybody who believes in spontaneous generation should watch it. But most people won’t understand a single word. It is too technical… Because life is too technical … because, it is all about engineering.

    PS: I am not aware of any scientist who gave such a detailed lecture on OoL-issues. Please correct me if i am wrong …

  58. 58
    martin_r says:

    Alan Fox …

    I’m unaware of anyone in mainstream science claiming that any particular explanation for the origin of life on Earth is supported by anything more than circumstantial evidence.

    are you playing games again ?

    A quick google search:

    Scientists Solve an Origin of Life Mystery
    https://scitechdaily.com/scientists-solve-an-origin-of-life-mystery/

    Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum
    https://www.science.org/content/article/researchers-may-have-solved-origin-life-conundrum

    He may have found the key to the origins of life. So why have so few heard of him?
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/he-may-have-found-the-key-to-origins-of-life-tibor-ganti-chemoton

    The Origin of Life Solved
    https://www.researchgate.net/project/The-Origin-of-Life-Solved

    a book:
    Emergent Chemical Evolution: The Origin of Life Solved
    https://www.amazon.com/Emergent-Chemical-Evolution-Origin-Solved/dp/198539846X

  59. 59
    Marfin says:

    I have asked this question before , so now I ask it again , if you believe that life arose from non living materials , why do you believe it . Is your belief evidence based , if so present said evidence , if not accept you believe it because of your world view and accept its a blind faith you have , as you cannot produce evidence to support your beliefs.

  60. 60
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @55, 56,

    Ah, but we can test a model. We can compare predictions against measurements.

    Of course! But Darwinism despite its repeated failures is coddled and groomed more than any other theory in science. I believe this is due to ideological prejudice. CO2 as a “pollutant” comes in second place. CO2 is plant food. Without enough CO2 in the atmosphere life on earth will die. Experiments show that we’re currently at the low end of the range where plants thrive. You’re aware of this, right?

    I’m unaware of anyone in mainstream science claiming that any particular explanation for the origin of life on Earth is supported by anything more than circumstantial evidence.

    It’s worse than that. There’s simply NO evidence for the OOL outside the fact that there’s life here now.

    There is no denying life exists on Earth but the precise details of how that came about will remain undecidable without further evidence.

    Precise details? No, how about zero details and only speculation! Speculation isn’t bad, but needs to be tested by experimental results or observation. It hasn’t.

    I haven’t noticed James Tour (or the I D movement in general) contributing anything original to the subject.

    As Martin_r notes, Dr. Tour has made significant contributions to dismantling the science fantasy hucksterism currently prevalent in OOL research. This frees funds from grants to actual science rather than invested in bogus “ping pong ball” and soap bubble analogies that haven’t done anything useful since the Miller-Urey experiment!

    -Q

  61. 61
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @58,

    What an excellent list of hysterical headlines that have misled people for decades!

    Thank you!

    -Q

  62. 62
    martin_r says:

    Querius,

    i am searching for more “other than thought’-stuff (i will start a blog) …

    During my search, i found this funny thing, i had to share :))))

    it is an older article from 2010, but i like the headline of it:

    ScienceDaily: Evolution rewritten, again and again

    Palaeontologists are forever claiming that their latest fossil discovery will “rewrite evolutionary history.” Is this just boasting or does our “knowledge” of evolution radically change every time we find a new fossil?

    so funny …

    also, from the article

    The story of dinosaur evolution is a bit more complicated. New dinosaur fossils are being found in places around the world where they’ve never been looked for before, such as China, South America and Australia. These fossils are fundamentally challenging existing ideas about dinosaur evolution but this seems to tell us that there are still many new species of dinosaurs out there in the rocks.

    this mess is a natural outcome – when you have been wrong for 150 years …

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831190028.htm

  63. 63
    Querius says:

    Martin_r @62,

    Wow, Thank you for the fascinating link! I didn’t know that the University of Bristol and ScienceDaily are SCIENCE DENIERS! Lol

    Looks like the University of Oxford professor emeritus and Fellow of the Royal Society, Denis Noble, also thinks Darwinism needs to be replaced, not fixed!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_ad3Qrkyn8 (4:16 minutes)

    -Q

  64. 64
    Querius says:

    Oh, and by the way . . .

    From the annals of Precision in Paleontology ™, ScienceDaily reported this gem:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180416155605.htm

    Perhaps one reason that Darwinists get confused so easily is due to the fact that many organisms are actually very similar in appearance, especially when they evolved at the same time as evidenced by their location in the fossil record.

    My favorite quote:

    “There are many examples of temporarily misplaced taxa in paleontological history, including ferns that were once thought to be sponges and lungfish teeth thought to be fungi,” said the lead author, Allison Bronson, a comparative biology Ph.D.-degree student in the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School.

    Well, that explains it!

    -Q

  65. 65
    Querius says:

    Martin_r,

    ScienceDaily is absolutely a treasure trove! This one came out yesterday . . .

    Scientists have solved a decades-long mystery as to why ancient tetrapods — amphibian-like creatures that lived over 300 million years ago — preserved in one of Ireland’s most important fossil sites seemingly had their bones cooked after they died.

    Ancient amphibians had their bones cooked
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/12/221207100413.htm

    Whew! It MUSTA been lava in the coal seam. Either that or ancient Irish stew tasted a lot different then! Fortunately, evidence shows that the Irish have good “apatite.” 😉

    -Q

  66. 66
    Querius says:

    And even more from SciTechDaily–just out today!

    Ancient DNA, including samples from human remains that are around 45,000 years old, has helped researchers understand a previously unknown aspect of humanity’s evolution.

    . . . “It was widely believed the genetics of our human ancestors didn’t change due to environmental pressures as much as other animals, due to [i.e. MUSTA been due to] our enhanced communication skills and ability to make and use tools,” Dr. Souilmi said.

    “However, by comparing modern genomes with ancient DNA, we discovered . . .

    Challenging the Prevailing View – 45,000-Year-Old Ancient DNA Reveals Hidden Human History
    https://scitechdaily.com/challenging-the-prevailing-view-45000-year-old-ancient-dna-reveals-hidden-human-history/

    Be still my beating heart!

    -Q

  67. 67
    Alan Fox says:

    Dr. Tour already made a pretty significant contribution already, he posted 10 hours of OoL-lectures.

    I take it you are referring to his spat with Dave Farina. I watched the zeroth video and was underwhelmed. All life on Earth survives by exploiting an energy source to maintain itself out of thermodynamic equilibrium with the niche it occupies. When an organism no longer is able to resist being out of thermodynamic equilibrium, it dies. Tour talking of the trend of entropy of the universe being always to increase is correct but does not stop life flourishing for the moment.

  68. 68
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @67,

    I watched the zeroth video and was underwhelmed.

    Glad you took the time to watch it. All Dr. Tour was trying to say was that we’re absolutely clueless about how to get from non-organic molecules to organic life. Dr. Cronin agreed on this point–that we might not know “all the details”–but I’d say that’s a GROSS overstatement. We know NONE of the details.

    In his other videos, Dr. Tour stated that he’s not against honest research in OOL. In other words, it’s definitely in the domain of science and in the interest of scientists to explore OOL. But Dr. Tour makes the emphatic point that we first have to admit we’re clueless before honest research can proceed.

    Currently, most people think scientists have created life in a test tube, which is false. Researchers perform “series” reactions to produce racemic and contaminated results followed by scalemic and chemically pure concentrations at required temperatures, leaving the purification as an exercise for future generations. This is fundamentally dishonest. It’s analogous to medieval alchemists being ever so close to turning lead into gold.
    https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/turning-lead-into-gold

    But current OOL results are more like this amazing demonstration:

    Experiment | Turning Lead into Gold Lead| Exploratorium
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5POgg_Zvwc8

    Another problem Dr. Tour points out is that in organic synthesis, “nature doesn’t keep a lab notebook.” That means if an abiotic evolutionary step is a failure, nature doesn’t get to go back a step, but rather it must start over from scratch each time.

    As I’ve mentioned before, “thermodynamic equilibrium” doesn’t come for free. Systems tend to want to crash. My experiments in ecosystem simulation made this frustratingly clear to me. And people concerned about climate change often talk about an irreversible “tipping point” in which our biome crashes.

    Dr. Cronin also makes the wild speculation that it MUSTA been easy for life to begin on earth because (a) it came into existence quite early in earth’s history and (b) . . . Voilà, here we are after all!

    But this isn’t science. AFAIR, Dr. Tour didn’t talk about entropy, which as we all know increases in a closed system, but can temporarily reverse in open systems. He also didn’t talk about whether the information content in a system can increase. As far as physics is concerned, information is “conserved” and cannot be spontaneously created or destroyed. For example,
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/606674/how-is-information-conserved-over-time

    So, for the undisputed concentration of information in DNA, the information had to have come from somewhere else with a higher concentration of information. I think Dr. Cronin’s position was that the appearance of life on earth was due simply to “luck.”

    -Q

  69. 69
    Alan Fox says:

    All Dr. Tour was trying to say was that we’re absolutely clueless about how to get from non-organic molecules to organic life.

    But nobody is disputing that there is no testable hypothesis for explaining the origin of life on Earth (though there are plenty of ideas and speculations). If Dr. Tour is claiming that OoL is impossible -period- then that’s a reasonable philosophical opinion but not a scientific one. You can’t reject a hypothesis that doesn’t yet exist.

  70. 70
    Alan Fox says:

    Another problem Dr. Tour points out is that in organic synthesis, “nature doesn’t keep a lab notebook.” That means if an abiotic evolutionary step is a failure, nature doesn’t get to go back a step, but rather it must start over from scratch each time.

    The lab was the whole prebiotic Earth (or elsewhere if panspermia is evidenced by data from future or current space exploration) and maybe a billion years of trials.

  71. 71
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @69,

    If Dr. Tour is claiming that OoL is impossible -period- then that’s a reasonable philosophical opinion but not a scientific one. You can’t reject a hypothesis that doesn’t yet exist.

    If you actually watched Dr. Tour’s videos on the subject, you would know that’s NOT what he claims. He claims that we’re clueless about the OOL.

    Where does Dr. Tour claim that it’s “impossible”?

    -Q

  72. 72
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @70,

    Querius: Another problem Dr. Tour points out is that in organic synthesis, “nature doesn’t keep a lab notebook.” That means if an abiotic evolutionary step is a failure, nature doesn’t get to go back a step, but rather it must start over from scratch each time.

    Alan Fox: The lab was the whole prebiotic Earth (or elsewhere if panspermia is evidenced by data from future or current space exploration) and maybe a billion years of trials.

    Here’s the problem according to another one of Dr. Tour’s videos:

    In a prebiotic chemical environment, time is not your friend–it’s your enemy. Large organic molecules rapidly fall apart depending on temperature and tend to combine with other molecules to form polymeric “junk” that poisons the products of the reactions. Plus, your “lab” is very dirty with contaminants and temperatures are not cooperative.

    So, where does this leave OOL researchers?

    It leaves them the following possibilities:

    1. Life was emerged fully formed in a single incredibly improbable event. It was all luck. The problem is that this luck is so improbable that we need to hypothesize an infinite number of multiverses over an infinite amount of time to make it probable to happen somewhere. Another problem is that the existence of multiverses is not testable (thus not scientific).

    2. Life originated somewhere else under completely different conditions. This still leaves open the issue of the origin of information, which hasn’t been solved–we can’t even define information, Shannon notwithstanding. This “somewhere else” can even be gases in space, since protein synthesis cannot occur in water.

    3. Life originated from intelligent abiotic sources. Life on earth might have been a classroom project or maybe the result of a single abiotic intelligent agent.

    4. We live in an ancestor or other type of computer simulation like the movie, “The Matrix” but without the brain hookups. This simulation is limited in processing speed by the speed of light. Its voxels (3D pixels) are the Planck lengths in size. It’s computations are similar to those in a spreadsheet (explaining the mystery of entanglement in quantum mechanics), and probability waves (aka psi) can flow through the data, being manifested (aka wavefunction collapse) as particles.

    Take your pick.

    -Q

  73. 73
    Alan Fox says:

    Take your pick.

    That’s not an exhaustive list. But, I’ll play along. We know for sure that water-based life cannot exist without liquid water. The very early Earth’s surface was initially molten rock and therefore sterile. We know it cooled enough for there for water to condense, and we know life got started not much later.

    So my choices are:

    1, Life’s origin on Earth happened on Earth due to extremely rare and fortuitous events.

    2, Life’s origin on Earth happened inevitably because the emergence of life is a common occurence throughout this universe.

    3, Life on Earth was imported from elsewhere.

    4, God (the Christian one, for argument’s sake) created the universe, the Earth, and us for reasons and using supernatural power.

    5, A god created the universe in such a way that life emerged on Earth without violation of the natural laws.

    6, We don’t know.

    I go with number 6, we don’t know.

  74. 74
    Alan Fox says:

    In a prebiotic chemical environment, time is not your friend–it’s your enemy. Large organic molecules rapidly fall apart depending on temperature and tend to combine with other molecules to form polymeric “junk” that poisons the products of the reactions. Plus, your “lab” is very dirty with contaminants and temperatures are not cooperative.

    You (and Tour, if this is his view) are not seeing this is a feature, not a bug. Nothing is a contaminant, all are ingredients. Temperature is crucial but gradients occur. Water emerges from thermal vents at temperatures up to around 400°C, yet the surrounding water can be near freezing. Junk is opportunity.

  75. 75
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @73,

    I go with number 6, we don’t know.

    And that’s exactly Dr. Tour’s position. He never says we can’t know. He asserts that current OOL hypotheses are far off the mark. Not even close.

    From his scientist’s point of view, we need to think outside the box.

    -Q

  76. 76
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @74,

    You (and Tour, if this is his view) are not seeing this is a feature, not a bug.

    No, not a feature, but a serious obstacle to overcome!

    That “time is not your friend” is precisely the view of Dr. Tour, an organic synthetic chemist whose expertise is in assembling molecules.

    Nothing is a contaminant, all are ingredients.

    Not if you want to get life. It’s like asserting “everything in cooking is an ingredient” (poisons and dog poop immediately come to mind).

    I would dare say that if OOL chemistry was within our scientific grasp, Dr. Tour would be among the first to find out how. One of his more significant recent discoveries was how to convert waste plastic into graphene. Graphene has amazing applications (the strongest material known, the best heat conductor, can be used instead of lithium in batteries, etc.) but currently costs over $1,000 per Kg.
    See https://www.graphene-info.com/graphene-applications

    Temperature is crucial but gradients occur.

    Again, one has to bring components together with different temperature requirements within a limited amount of time before they fall apart.

    Try going to Restaurant Random ™ where random ingredients are combined randomly from a chemistry lab and the back alley at different gradients of temperatures for different amounts of time. How long would you need to wait for a perfectly cooked dinner of your choosing, let’s say beef bourguignon?

    Dr.Tour’s point is that one has to start from scratch at each failure! You can’t present and “evolve” from the previous step. Or to put it more bluntly, once there’s dog poop in your beef bourguignon, you have to throw it out. Well, I would, anyway (into our compost heap, actually).

    -Q

  77. 77
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox,

    Querius: You can’t present and “evolve” from the previous step.

    To clarify what I mean by “present,” I mean “go back to an earlier version.”

    Also pertinent to probabilities, multiverse, and fine tuning is this provocative 10-minute interview of Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist and atheist.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVNtM0XFTaE

    -Q

  78. 78
    Alan Fox says:

    And that’s exactly Dr. Tour’s position.

    Excellent.

    He never says we can’t know. He asserts that current OOL hypotheses are far off the mark.

    Then he asserts too much. “Origin-of-Life” ideas are not yet testable hypotheses. I risk making myself look foolish by making a prediction that OoL research will only advance when plausible evidence emerges from elsewhere than Earth.

    For example, Mars is being studied closely. Evidence could show that Mars is incontrovertibly sterile, supporting the idea that emergence of life is rare or unique to Earth. Or we find evidence of life that suggests it had/has features that suggest relatedness to Earth life, supporting panspermia. Or we find evidence of living organisms utterly unlike Earth life, supporting life can get going anywhere there is an opportunity.

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ata-point/

  79. 79
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @78,

    Then he asserts too much. “Origin-of-Life” ideas are not yet testable hypotheses.

    I think what Dr. Tour is pointing out are three massive obstacles to the current crop of terrestrial hypotheses:
    • Racemic environment
    • Chemical purity and concentration of the reagents
    • Critical timing at each step

    I risk making myself look foolish by making a prediction that OoL research will only advance when plausible evidence emerges from elsewhere than Earth.

    No, I wouldn’t at all say foolish. After all, that’s what Francis Crick initially proposed.
    https://www.liquisearch.com/francis_crick/directed_panspermia

    But I’d also point out in the above article, when the author writes the following about the 1960s:

    Many molecular biologists were puzzled by the problem of the origin of a protein replicating system that is as complex as that which exists in organisms currently inhabiting Earth.

    When I took high school biology at the time, there wasn’t even a hint at any scientific doubt at what MUSTA happened! From the Miller-Urey experiment, it was a short hop to “coacervates,” and then it was another easy hop to coelenterates, followed by kangaroos.

    Absolutely NOTHING in our Biology textbook indicated any doubt that everything was well-understood. Only trivial details and refinements were left. Geology was frequently cited in support of the tree of life. Similarly, the tree of life was frequently cited in support of the geological column. I noticed this and resulted in the first cracks in my faith in Darwinian evolution. Subsequently, I noticed similar dogmatism in many of the college science courses that I took, a lot of which is no longer considered correct. Except Darwinism, of course.

    For example, Mars is being studied closely. Evidence could show that Mars is incontrovertibly sterile, supporting the idea that emergence of life is rare or unique to Earth.

    However, note that “The presence of moon and Mars rocks on Earth forces us to conclude that there must be Earth rocks on Mars, and such rocks could have carried primitive life to the Red Planet.”
    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/martian-soil

    Thus, I don’t think it would be impossible that carved stone structures ejected from earth by meteorite impacts might eventually be found on Mars or the moon. Or remnants of once-living organisms for that matter.

    For example, Mars is being studied closely. Evidence could show that Mars is incontrovertibly sterile, supporting the idea that emergence of life is rare or unique to Earth. Or we find evidence of life that suggests it had/has features that suggest relatedness to Earth life, supporting panspermia. Or we find evidence of living organisms utterly unlike Earth life, supporting life can get going anywhere there is an opportunity.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ata-point/

    Currently, the odds seem to favor panspermia over a terrestrial OOL. Incidentally, you have a very nicely written and reasonable article on the subject! Yes, this is a compliment.

    -Q

  80. 80
    Querius says:

    P.P. Did you have a chance to view the 10-minute Sabine Hossenfelder interview?

    Even though she holds a deterministic materialism worldview, I respect her not trying to cover up the current problems with the “standard model” of physics, fine tuning, the multiverse, and the role of improbabilities.

    This interview has to do with the Anthropic principle applied to a speculated multiverse and the problem of the unlikelihood of fine-tuning (or the chance hypothesis of the OOL).

    Sabine Hossenfelder – What’s the Deep Meaning of Probability?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVNtM0XFTaE

    -Q

  81. 81
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox,

    As another alternative to a non-terrestrial OOL scenario, let’s speculate that (1) the earth was seeded from an unknown extraterrestrial source with a complete spectrum of life forms early on. Let’s also speculate that (2) micro but not macro evolution took place for millions of years. And finally, let’s speculate that (3) there are no “primitive” features or simpler, less-evolved organisms, just different ones.

    Considering what’s actually OBSERVED in fossil strata, what would you expect to support these speculative assumptions?

    Here’s my list:

    1. Rapid appearance of all major body plans without evidence of a common origin (Cambrian).

    2. A plethora of fossils of extinct organisms among contemporary ones (or nearly so, considering microevolution).

    3. Mass extinctions tied to catastrophic events such as floods or tsunamis, meteorite impacts, “supervolcanoes (https://www.sciencealert.com/new-study-suggests-the-threat-of-supervolcano-eruptions-lingers-for-thousands-of-years), and the resulting climate change.

    4. A lack of smooth sets of “transitional” forms, since there were no significant transitions, only extinctions. As an analogy, think of the teeth in a massively long comb arranged from smallest to largest teeth. Then, randomly break off 99% of the teeth as extinctions.

    5. “Living fossils” that mysteriously survived. Any observed fossils, if reconstructed could conceivably survive on earth today. For example, consider trilobites versus triops:
    http://www.arizonafairyshrimp.com/triops.html

    6. Fossil beds with many mixed and disarticulated remains, coal seams, animals killed during birth or during predation, and fossils in death poses identical to those in drowned chickens.

    7. Out-of-place fossils and polystrate fossils.

    To the contrary, what’s actually OBSERVED in fossil strata that weakens the speculation?

    1.

    -Q

  82. 82
    Alan Fox says:

    Incidentally, you have a very nicely written and reasonable article on the subject! Yes, this is a compliment.

    Thank-you. Much appreciated.

  83. 83
    Alan Fox says:

    @ Querius (81)
    That’s a lot to respond to so let me initially pick up on a couple of points that stood out as needing a reply.

    Distinguishing between micro and macro evolution is unnecessary and misleading. Evolution (involving sexual reproduction) can only occur in steps small enough so that reproductive isolation of an individual does not prevent those genes spreading through a population. Macroevolution does not involve additional processes, only more time.

    Regarding the comb analogy, it misses an important point if your teeth represent populations of species sharing a planetary environment.

    Extinction is both a loss and an opportunity. I see space left by broken teeth as previously-occupied empty niches that allow existing neighbouring species to exploit. Chicxulub was a disaster for dinosaurs but an opportunity for cynodonts.

  84. 84
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @83,

    Distinguishing between micro and macro evolution is unnecessary and misleading.

    I disagree. Microevolution HAS BEEN OBSERVED in the disabling of certain features for a survival benefit. There are many instances of this. For example

    – Wing loss of insects on windy islands
    – Sickle cell mutation in humans to combat malaria
    – Eye loss in cave fish

    However, epigenetic changes in Darwin’s finches between large and small beaks in a single generation is built-in genetic programming for adaptability.

    What’s not observed is the macroevolution of novel features, biochemical improvements, or dare I say, new body plans along the lines of Echinodermata with a hydrostatic vascular system functioning for locomotion, predation, and respiration (and they also have pincers to move food along their body surface to their mouth). This combination of features is so unusual, one might think they were aliens.

    What’s not known about Echinoderata is as fascinating as what is known:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308324/

    What becomes apparent is that some elements in Echinoderata are considered “primitive” (lack of blood cells, light-sensitive eye spots) while other elements are considered “advanced” (DNA, immune system with factors found only in vertebrates and chordates). To an unbiased scientific observer, such variety of characteristics seem like a Frankenstein of features.

    To put it another way, I could imagine alien AI/robotic entities finding a destroyed planet earth having intense arguments over whether motorcycles evolved from cars or cars evolved from motorcycles based on their design features.

    This is why microevolution and macroevolution are often considered separately (as is abiotic OOL).

    -Q

  85. 85
    Querius says:

    P.S.

    Extinction is both a loss and an opportunity. I see space left by broken teeth as previously-occupied empty niches that allow existing neighbouring species to exploit. Chicxulub was a disaster for dinosaurs but an opportunity for cynodonts.

    Or encroachment by neighboring species in a global Survival World Cup that selects for adaptability over long periods of time.

    Here’s a great example. Panthera tigris has become so specialized that its variability is almost nil. This alone is sufficient to make it a candidate for extinction in the face of inevitable environmental changes. Similarly, Wheat has become such an agricultural monoculture that a single pathogen could wipe out all wheat. This is why seed banks for obscure varieties of wheat have been established.

    The threat is as real as the Irish Potato Famine and banana extinction. Here’s an excellent article on the subject:

    https://ourplnt.com/bananas-extinction/

    -Q

  86. 86
    Alan Fox says:

    What’s not observed is the macroevolution of novel features…

    Well, of course not. “Macro-evolution” is accumulation of small evolutionary steps over up to four billion years.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, what is more to the point is, no mechanisms adequate to account for blind force body plan level transformations have been actually observed. Newton’s rules obtain. KF

  88. 88
    Alan Fox says:

    blockquote>…no mechanisms adequate to account for blind force body plan level transformations have been actually observed.
    HOX genes are a powerful piece of circumstantial evidence which bolster the fossil record.

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, predictable, and predictably failed. Take wings for instance, said to have separately evolved four times: arthropods, reptiles, birds, bats. You need not only aerodynamics and all sorts of coordinated body changes but motors, nerve controls, brain wiring plus underlying metabolic and genetic structures far beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity. You are resorting to poof magic, information and organisation from nowhere on claims about niches and incrementalism. Flight is brutally, lethally exacting and demands fine tuned function. The problem is you have to first get to fine tuned shorelines of function before hill climbing can even begin. This and many other glided over issues — and the hostility to those who point them out — tell us we are looking at ideologically driven just so stories pronounced in a posh accent while dressed in a lab coat. KF

  90. 90
    Querius says:

    Alan Fox @86,

    Querius: What’s not observed is the macroevolution of novel features…
    Alan Fox: Well, of course not. “Macro-evolution” is accumulation of small evolutionary steps over up to four billion years.

    And this is the magician’s cape draped over macroevolution, which has not been observed but extrapolated contrary to both the fossil record and the limited DNA analysis that’s been done (and NOT applied to taxonomies for the most part).

    The counter-argument is that evolution has NOT magically stopped, so it MUST be the case that among the billions and billions of organisms on earth right now, many are in process of evolution considering slow environmental changes including ALL features in stages of evolutionary change and MANY novel features must be occurring in hundreds of organisms.

    So where is the current evidence for contemporary recurrent evolution? Are there any mice that are starting to develop wings or becoming aquatic by developing gills?

    Adaptation but not any NEW features
    https://phys.org/news/2020-10-species-aquatic-mice-cousins-world.html

    Back to Origin of Life, James Tour just released this video devastating current science fantasy:
    https://youtu.be/aUOZh4zmrXo

    Again, his primary point is that current OOL hypotheticals are grossly inadequate. We shouldn’t exaggerate by claiming “while we don’t yet have all the precise details,” but rather be honest in admitting “we are completely clueless.”

    Honest admissions of ignorance are the first step in advancing scientific knowledge. Collecting unprejudiced, unfiltered observations and data are a second step.

    Anything else is puffery and dogmatism.

    -Q

  91. 91
    asauber says:

    “Macro-evolution” is accumulation of small evolutionary steps over up to four billion years.”

    Which makes it entirely imaginary. A fantasy about the past. *POOOOOOOOF*

    Andrew

  92. 92
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @91

    Which makes it entirely imaginary. A fantasy about the past. *POOOOOOOOF*

    Did the Holocaust happen? Do we know what caused the French Revolution? What led up to the Peloponnessian War?

    If you think that historians can answer those questions, what’s the criterion that leads you to put historians in one category and archeologists and paleontologists in a different category?

  93. 93
    asauber says:

    “Did the Holocaust happen? Do we know what caused the French Revolution? What led up to the Peloponnessian War?”

    PM1,

    These attempted diversionary questions have no relevance to my point. BUZZZZT! Wrong!

    Andrew

  94. 94
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @93

    These attempted diversionary questions have no relevance to my point. BUZZZZT! Wrong!

    Why are they irrelevant?

  95. 95
    asauber says:

    “Why are they irrelevant?”

    PM1,

    Different issues. The issue is Imaginary Evolution. Stick to the issue.

    Andrew

  96. 96
    Querius says:

    Asauber @93,

    PyrrhoManiac1: Did the Holocaust happen? Do we know what caused the French Revolution? What led up to the Peloponnessian War?”

    Asouber: These attempted diversionary questions have no relevance to my point. BUZZZZT! Wrong!

    Exactly! This is an attempt to create a parallel or an analogy between historical human events over the past several thousand years and an extrapolation of evolution for up to about 4 billion years. This is time factor of about a million to one in the case of the OOL problem.

    Human history is replete with human witnesses, interlocking histories, and artifacts, while there are no human witnesses to the OOL and subsequent evolution. Even changing the analogy to hypothesizing that the Greek gods had corporeal existence, is not an equivalent extrapolation.

    After watching James Tour’s videos, the incredible speed attributed to the origin of life, and the probable environmental conditions of the earth and its atmosphere, I’d agree with Alan Fox that an extraterrestrial source for life on earth is far less complex and far more plausible for the simple reason that planets in other solar systems had far more time available, commonly accepted to be about 13.8 billion years, a factor of 3 times as long.

    If it took about a half billion years for life to evolve on earth, which is commonly accepted among researchers in the subject, then intelligent extraterrestrial life among billions and billions of stellar systems has had about 13 billion years MORE time to develop into something that could locate and seed suitable planets such as the earth with a massive spectrum of life forms.

    It seems like a mathematical slam dunk that life on earth was seeded by an unknown agent or agents.

    -Q

  97. 97
    Querius says:

    All,

    Coincidentally, this wide-ranging and mind-blowing interview/conversation at a conference between chemist Dr. James Tour and cosmologist Dr. Brian Keating was posted a few hours ago.

    Did Aliens Seed Life on Earth? Dr Tour & Astrophysicist Brian Keating on Science, Faith & Evolution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIhzqMQSIzc

    It’s well worth watching. I learned several new things and I loved it!

    -Q

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