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Casey Luskin on the unique origins of humanity in the fossil record


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Does the fossil record prove humans developed from ape-like ancestors? Or does it reveal that humans had a unique origin? In this lecture, geologist Casey Luskin offers some surprising evidence about the fossil history of humanity.

Dr. Luskin is co-author of the book Science and Human Origins, and an editor of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith.

This talk was originally offered as part of the 2021 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith sponsored by Discovery Institute.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

The evolution debate arose out of findings in the fossil record. Two things were quickly recognized: First, there were vast numbers of very distinct fossils, and second these fossils grew more complex over time as well as more varied. So there was change over time and much of this change included extremely unrelated body plans. There was no tree of life or UCD. Darwin forced that thinking on people as a speculation/explanation for his ideas. It may or may not be true. The best way to define evolution that deals with the original fossil findings is just change in life forms over time. Simple and easy and fits the scientific evidence. Cause for the changes is a different issue. Micro evolution is just changes within a species and represents small variation over time. There are known mechanism for why this happens. Macro evolution is the appearance of different species that are substantially different from previous species. This has happened but no known mechanism has been found to explain these changes. If this or similar definitions are accepted there are no conflicts with any science that has been validated. The error in reasoning is to just think macro is bigger micro when in fact they are completely unrelated. Darwin and his adherents have invested in the false notion that macro is just micro a large number of times. The DNA model helps perpetuate this misnomer. There is a research approach that would solve this. jerry
Just as I said back at #5. Fasteddious
Perhaps this is just a definitional impasse. I would define "evolution" generally as being a change with ancestor/descendent relationships. If there is no ancestor/descendent relationship, it is not evolution. However, I can see how one might classify just a general "change" in biosphere as an "evolution" of sorts, with or without ancestry. johnnyb
^^^^ And why is de nova creation of new life forms during the Cambrian explosion ruled out in your book, and only 'macro-evolution' from simpler life forms acceptable? i.e. Since the entire universe came into being at the Big Bang, and since quantum mechanics now shows that that the material universe itself Is dependent on a beyond space and time cause for its continued existence, then there is, and can be, no rigid 'scientific' reason, and/or scientific law, that prevents the sudden appearance of new life forms within the universe. i.e. The universe is not a 'causally closed' system. Of related note to the universe not being causally closed:
Bruce Gordon: Hawking irrational arguments - 2010 Theoretical physicist takes leave of his senses Excerpt: Instead, we find that material reality itself lacks a principle of sufficient causation: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency - a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/1/hawking-irrational-arguments/
Maybe if there is going to be a discussion of evolution, one should have a common definition so that all are on the same page. Similarly for categories of evolution such as micro evolution and macro evolution. Any definition that includes a mechanism should be a non starter for analysis as that is begging the question of a cause which should be determined and not pre-determined. So evolution in life forms is just changes in life forms over time. Micro evolution are just small changes over time. These can be explained by known biological processes. Macro evolution are large changes over time in body plans and capabilities. There is no known mechanism that can explain the appearance of these changes but they have happened. ID recognizes all these changes in life forms and postulates that an intelligence is the only likely explanation for these appearances classified as macro evolution. First distinguish between the types of evolution. Only then, speculate on the causes for these changes. The issue is not whether these changes have happened but how did they happen. jerry
Meyer did a fairly good job showing why the Cambrian explosion was not likely to have been an instance of evolution.
Define evolution. jerry
"Meyer wrote a book about the Cambrian explosion, the greatest example of macro evolution there is." HUH? What? https://giphy.com/explore/huh bornagain77
ChuckDarwin - "Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought ID rejected macroevolution (interspecific variation and major taxonomic changes) but was OK with microevolution (intraspecific variation)?????" ID rejects macroevolution ***by Darwinian means***, not macroevolution generally (though individuals in ID do). ID does not have the toolset to reject it on its own. That is, for any change X, there could be an information component Y that causes the change X to occur. Whether that information component Y exists or ever existed is a valid (and potentially answerable) question, but it outside of ID per se. Jerry - "Meyer wrote a book about the Cambrian explosion, the greatest example of macro evolution there is." How do you know that the diversification happened due to macroevolution? What specific evidence can you point to that excludes other possibilities, or shows macroevolution to be superior to those possibilities? Meyer did a fairly good job showing why the Cambrian explosion was not likely to have been an instance of evolution. Where did Meyer go wrong with his case? johnnyb
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought ID rejected macroevolution (interspecific variation and major taxonomic changes) but was OK with microevolution (intraspecific variation)
The different taxa obviously exist/existed. ID accepts that they happened. The question is how. It would be foolish not to.
Behe believes in macroevolution and Meyer doesn’t.
Meyer wrote a book about the Cambrian explosion, the greatest example of macro evolution there is. Meyer postulates the mechanism that created the changes is intelligence. jerry
ChuckDarwin claims ,,,"I thought",,, OH please ChuckyD, will you finally get with your Darwinian program???,,,, If Darwinian atheism is true, then 'you' don't exist to think anything, 'you' are a 'meat puppet', a 'neuronal illusion',,,, a 'neuronal illusion' who is only under the illusion that he is having real thoughts about anything. The following is Dr. Craig’s refutation of atheist Professor Alex Rosenberg’s book “The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions”
1.) Argument from intentionality 1. If naturalism is true, I cannot think about anything. 2. I am thinking about naturalism. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 2.) The argument from meaning 1. If naturalism is true, no sentence has any meaning. 2. Premise (1) has meaning. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 3.) The argument from truth 1. If naturalism is true, there are no true sentences. 2. Premise (1) is true. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 4.) The argument from moral blame and praise 1. If naturalism is true, I am not morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for any of my actions. 2. I am morally praiseworthy or blameworthy for some of my actions. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 5.) Argument from freedom 1. If naturalism is true, I do not do anything freely. 2. I am free to agree or disagree with premise (1). 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 6.) The argument from purpose 1. If naturalism is true, I do not plan to do anything. 2. I (Dr. Craig) planned to come to tonight's debate. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 7.) The argument from enduring 1. If naturalism is true, I do not endure for two moments of time. 2. I have been sitting here for more than a minute. 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. 8.) The argument from personal existence 1. If naturalism is true, I do not exist. 2. I do exist! 3. Therefore naturalism is not true. Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? - William Lane Craig - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ
A few more quotes
"You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today" Jerry Coyne - No, You're Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) - video https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20 "that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.” Francis Crick - "The Astonishing Hypothesis" 1994 “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.” Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought ID rejected macroevolution (interspecific variation and major taxonomic changes) but was OK with microevolution (intraspecific variation)????? chuckdarwin
As to Jerry's claim that: "Certainly Meyer and Behe do." (believe in macroevolution) I beg to differ, last time I checked, especially after he wrote "Darwin Devolves", Behe was hesitant on fully endorsing common descent, i.e. 'macroevolution', and, if I remember correctly, Behe 'couched' his answer about the subject much like a politician would couch his stance on a controversial topic. As to Meyer, well there is the little matter of a book he wrote called "Darwin's Doubt" which called the entire narrative of common descent, i.e. macroevolution, into question. And then of course Meyer's subsequent book 'The Return of the God Hypothesis", in which Dr. Meyer argues that God is the best explanation for the creation of the universe. As well, Meyer also has a chapter, (i.e. chapter 10), in the book entitled "The Cambrian and Other Information Explosions" and also has another chapter, (i.e. Chapter 14), in the book entitled "The God Hypothesis and the Design of Life". Meyer concludes chapter 10, (page 213), with this, "if a purposive intelligence had acted periodically during the history of life on earth, we might well expect-given our experience of intelligent agents generating information-to find evidence of episodic bursts of new information in the biosphere." And Meyer concludes his next to last paragraph in chapter 14, (page 298), with this, "As one surveys several classes of evidence from the natural sciences-cosmology, astronomy, physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and paleontology- the God hypothesis emerges as an explanation with unique scope and power. Theism explains an ensemble of metaphysically significant events in the history of the universe and life more simply, more adequately, and more comprehensibly than other competing metaphysical systems, including not only materialism and naturalism, but also pantheism and deism." Needless to say, those passages from Dr. Meyer are NOT an endorsement of macroevolution, i.e. common descent. bornagain77
Jerry - Depending on the usage of the term, I would say that Behe believes in macroevolution and Meyer doesn't. johnnyb
Best to define what you mean when you use a term like "macroevolution". Clearly ID proponents do not understand that term the same way that Darwinists do. This can lead to silly misunderstandings in posts and comments like these. Fasteddious
That’s not the same as ID = macroevolution
I didn’t say ID = macro evolution. I said ID believes in macro evolution. Or at least every scientist that endorses ID does. Certainly Meyer and Behe do. Is there one that doesn’t? jerry
"ID believes in macro evolution" Not quite. There is no direct conflict between ID and macroevolution, and many ID'ers believe in macroevolution. That's not the same as ID = macroevolution. johnnyb
Chuck Norris doesn’t “believe” in “macroevolution.” Well there you have it
What’s the point? ID believes in macro evolution and so does nearly everyone on this site. It’s how it happened that under debate. Why don’t you tackle the real question not a make believe one? jerry
Chuck Norris doesn't "believe" in "macroevolution." Well there you have it...... chuckdarwin

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