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David M Raup 1933-2015

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U Chicago News obit:

University of Chicago paleontologist David Raup, SB’53, an innovative authority on evolution and mass extinctions, died of pneumonia July 9 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He was 82.

Raup’s former students and colleagues uniformly praised his unique creativity along with his astute capabilities as an academic adviser, senior colleague and paleontological statesman. They remember him for the sweeping scope of the questions he asked, his analytical and quantitative rigor, and his skepticism and humility.

“David Raup ushered in a renaissance in paleontology,” said Raup’s former student and colleague Charles Marshall, SM’86, PhD’89, director of the University of California’s Museum of Paleontology and professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. “Before Dave, much of the discipline was centered on describing what was. Dave taught the discipline to think about the processes that might have generated the past record.”

Raup introduced statistical concepts to paleontology that treated the fossil record as an outcome of yet-to-be-discovered processes. Raup was widely known for the new approaches he brought repeatedly to paleontology, such as extensive computation, modern evolutionary biology, theoretical ecology and mathematical modeling. More.

The article doesn’t mention that he respected ID theorists, and for good reason. Here, from Evolution News & Views:

a friend directed my attention to this passage from Thomas Woodward’s book Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design. Woodward writes,

A group of Berkeley professors gathered in September 1988 to discuss the original paper on ID framed by Phil Johnson. This remarkable encounter — retold in detail in chapter four of Doubts About Darwin — served as a public debut of his major theses, which would prove to remain substantially constant during the book’s evolution.

During the early stage when Johnson was circulating copies of his paper to wider circles of scientific critics, there looms one other huge milestone: the private 1989 meeting of a dozen scholars at the Campion Center in Boston. Emerging from this was an unexpected defender of Johnson, David Raup, a well-known evolutionary paleontologist with a reputation of brutal honesty about empirical gaps in the neo-Darwinian scenario.

Raup had already read Johnson’s original Berkeley paper and had used it in a graduate seminar at the University of Chicago. He and his students had found no factual errors as they reviewed the paper. As an open-minded scientist, he came to respect Johnson’s scholarship, although he was not persuaded to abandon hope that evolutionary explanations would ultimately be found for the nagging anomalies.

In a phone call to Thomas Woodward, Raup stated “Johnson’s work is very good scholarship, and of course, this is widely denied. He cannot be faulted; he did his homework, and he understands 99 percent of evolutionary biology.” (Darwin’s Nemesis, p. 63-64)

Johnson on occasion exposes his bias as a philosophical theist and a Christian. He says; “I believe that a God exists who could create out of nothing if He wanted to do so, but who might have chosen to work through a natural evolutionary process instead.” Also, “Why not consider the possibility that life is what it so evidently seems to be, the product of creative intelligence? Science would not come to an end, because the task would remain of deciphering the languages in which genetic information is communicated, and in general finding out how the whole system works. What scientists would lose is not an inspiring research program, but the illusion of total mastery of nature. They would have to face the possibility that beyond the natural world there is further reality which transcends science.” (Darwin’s Nemesis, p. 75)

Of course, in those days, Raup was soon shouted down by Darwin’s punks, bullies, and hangers-on. His legacy has nonetheless greatly multiplied.

And many scientists are now shouting back.

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

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6 Replies to “David M Raup 1933-2015

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related:

    Medical Miracles – Dr. Mary Neal’s Near Death Experience – video
    https://vimeo.com/73580456
    In his episode about life after death, Dr. Nandi sits down with fellow colleague Dr. Mary Neal. Dr. Neal is an orthopedic surgeon, a scientist whose life work revolves around nothing but facts- tangible pieces of evidence that can be seen, touched, validated, and replicated through the tools of her trade. As a doctor, death is a part of her profession and it is likely accurate to assume that she handles death as we expect all doctors do- to compartmentalize it, leave it on the table, and move on to the next patient who is very much alive. So to hear such a woman speak about a life after death experience gives her story a surreal sense of credibility. And to hear two doctors deeply explore the concept of crossing over to the other side and walking with a greater being in the after life is something you will have to hear for yourself to believe. Dr. Nandi does not present mythical science or magical thinking or even a story about people who just want to believe in something bigger. With the help of Dr. Neal and two additional guests- Adam McLeod and Elaine M. Grohman- he presents medical evidence that our cognitive processes continue after our earthly life is over.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Better link:

    Medical Miracles – Dr. Mary Neal’s Near Death Experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCNjmWP2JjU

    Speaking of Phillip Johnson’s scholarship, which David Raup was impressed by, here are a couple of excellent lectures from Johnson:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

    Blind Watchmaker? A Skeptical Look at Darwinism – Phillip Johnson – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2MwUgi8dlc

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Deciphering butterflies’ designer colors: – July 17, 2013
    Excerpt: The three tropical butterflies the researchers studied all display iridescence, a property of materials that change color depending on the viewing angle, but they do so with different colors. Papilio ulysses, the Ulysses butterfly or blue mountain swallowtail, appears bluish green when seen from above. Its cousin Papilio peranthus, by contrast, looks yellowish green from above, and a third relative, Papilio blumei, the green swallowtail, is more of a deep green. All three shift toward deep blue when viewed from a sharp angle.
    To probe the physics behind the wings’ structural colorations, the scientists examined a cross-section of each species’ wing under a scanning electron microscope. The team found that the wings contain specialized architectures in which solid flat layers known as cuticles alternate with thin “air” layers known as laminae. The laminae aren’t entirely empty space, however; they also contain pillars of the cuticle material, which gives the wing a repeating crystal-like structure. This structure is similar to what is known as a Bragg reflector—essentially a multi-layered mirror that reflects only certain wavelengths, or colors, of light.
    The researchers then measured the light spectrum reflected from the wing at different angles, using a technique called angle-resolved reflection spectroscopy. They found that the varying colors of the three species’ wings arise from slight differences in crystal parameters. P. ulysses has seven cuticle layers, for example, while P. peranthus has eight. The thicknesses of the cuticles and air layers also vary between species. Cheah notes that even though these differences are slight, they have a major effect on the butterflies’ appearance. “It all comes from the fact the wing structure has subtle differences between these three types of butterfly,” he says.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-d.....rials.html

    also OT:

    Interview with Alvin Plantinga – video (uploaded July 14, 2015)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XavgXn2fLbY

    Alvin Plantinga is author of KNOWLEDGE AND CHRISTIAN BELIEF, a philosophically serious yet accessible investigation of the rationality of Christian belief. In his widely praised Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford, 2000) Alvin Plantinga discussed in great depth the question of the rationality, or sensibility, of Christian belief. In this book Plantinga presents the same ideas in a briefer, much more accessible fashion.

    Knowledge and Christian Belief – Alvin Plantinga
    PAPERBACK; Published: 4/13/2015
    http://www.eerdmans.com/Produc.....elief.aspx

    Might as well throw this in to:

    Stephen Tillman’s trip through atheism. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To92LMvXMJA

    Former Atheist Leader, Steve Tillman, Accepts Jesus as His Savior – Walker Wildmon : Jul 16, 2015
    http://www.breakingchristianne.....l?ID=16324

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The Importance of the Cambrian Explosion – video (loaded two weeks ago)
    https://vimeo.com/132440584
    Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. Stephen Meyer explore why the Cambrian explosion is leading many scientists to reject the text-book theory of evolution known as neo-Darwinism.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Faith and Science – Dr. Raymond Bohlin – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTIp1kgSqzU

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    per post 4

    The Evidence of the Fossil Record – video – part 2
    https://vimeo.com/132440586
    Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. Stephen Meyer explore where the problems with modern evolutionary theory began.

    The Missing Links in the Fossil Record – video – part 3
    https://vimeo.com/133699514
    Dr. Stephen Meyer and Dr. John Ankerberg explore the problems with neo-Darwinism, and the suddenness of the Cambrian Explosion.

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