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# Miss the Point Much

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This occurred to me while I was reading Dr. Torley’s latest post.

Some Darwinists suggest that at least part of the solution to the mystery of the Cambrian Explosion is expanding the time during which the explosion occurred from ten millions years to 25 million years.  Let’s do some math:

Estimated age of the earth:  4.5B years

Beginning of Cambrian explosion:  540M years ago

Estimated Duration 1:  540M to 550M years ago

Estimated Duration 2:  540M to 565M year ago

For perspective let’s put this on a 24 hour clock:

Formation of the earth to beginning of Cambrian explosion:  12:00.01 AM to 9:07 PM

Estimated Duration 1:  9:07 PM to 9:10 PM

Estimated Duration 2:  9:07 PM to 9:15 PM

Suppose two roommates, let’s call them Steve and Larry, leave on a trip just after midnight and they return to their home 24 hours later to find a new car sitting in the garage.  They ask two neighbors (Mary and Sue) if they saw anything.  Mary says she noticed that the garage door had been open earlier that evening, and she estimates it was probably open between 9:07 PM and 9:10 PM.  Sue also saw the garage door open, but she thinks it was between 9:07 PM and 9:15 PM.

The following exchange ensues:

Larry:  Wow, someone built a brand new car in our garage earlier this evening.

Steve:  Well, the garage door was only open for three minutes.  I think a more reasonable explanation is that someone drove it in there and left it.

Larry:  Idiot!  Your explanation might work if Mary’s three-minute time frame were correct.  But Sue is almost certainly correct, and that means the builder had eight whole minutes!

Steve:  Uh, OK.

Skipping most of the discussion, there are any number of known cases where a car or other motor vehicle is assembled from parts inside a garage. Ever watch the TV show "Monster Garage"? And then there are of course Shoe Elves, who may assemble cars on alternate Tuesdays or something. Polar explorers and the military regularly assemble vehicles on-site because it's easier (and cheaper) to ship the vehicles as parts. And of course even us Supply Guys understand the difference between a "dressed" engine and an "undressed" engine. (Hint: the dressed engine comes with the carburetor, etc., installed.) Sometimes the receiving folks want a bare engine because they intend to add non-standard accessories or perform a non-standard installation (e.g., install a 400 hp car engine in a boat). So, yeah, I consider "car built in garage" to be a perfectly reasonable Theory. However, "assembled car driven into garage" is much more likely, especially considering the time constraints. Police officers and lawyers know from experience that eye witnesses are not to be trusted. So in many fields outside Biology, what people are going for is a "high degree of confidence" or "certainty beyond a reasonable doubt".mahuna
May 17, 2015
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Sorry, Mung. I got distracted.Bob O'H
May 16, 2015
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Barry, Bob O'H @ 15. If you have a longer attention span I apologize ;)Mung
May 15, 2015
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@ Mung. What was the question?Barry Arrington
May 15, 2015
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07:07 PM
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Because Barry has a short attention span. A day is about it.Mung
May 15, 2015
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Barry, why did you choose one day, rather than (say) one year, as your point of comparison?Bob O'H
May 15, 2015
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DD, Dr Torley is a philosopher. And, the issue remains, what is the balance on the merits. If you had a clear observed basis for arguing that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information comes about by blind chance and mechanical necessity you would not be arguing to the man, so the manner of the objection inadvertently shows the strength of his main point. KFkairosfocus
May 15, 2015
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Allowing more time would not change the fact that the pattern of fossils is consistent with design but contradicts what natural evolution would predict. More time would just make certain aspects of the pattern worse for theories of natural evolution.
"Consistent with design" is vacuous when you have: a) a Designer that could be anything, with any set of capabilities up to and including -- get this! -- an omnipotent, omniscient supernatural deity b) no design constraints or specified requirements the Designer and design process are subject to c) no means to distinguish any phenomena as "more designed" than "less". A perfectly matched evidential base for a theory of "unguided evolution" would also be "perfectly consistent" with design -- it just implicates a designer who makes the world look like unguided natural processes were sufficient. QED! So, saying some set of facts or evidences is "consistent with design" tells us nothing, based on ID's intransigence with respect to advancing a positive model for design that *would* provide a basis for assessing "consistency with design".
The fossil record does not just show that many phyla appeared in a brief period of time.
Let the record show that "brief period of time" refers to tens of millions of years, here.
It also shows that the phyla arose without ancestors.
It does? If the ancestors of these guys were soft-bodied creatures, what kind of fossils and in what frequency and location should we expect to find them?
There were very few species at that time. And no phylum has ever diversified enough to form another phylum. This is consistent with design not natural evolution.
"Phylum" is not a classification bestowed as a measure of diversity, it's a classification "tier" that occurs below class and above kingdom. There is no amount of later diversification that would put a "sub tree" up at the phyla tier, as that would break the lineage. What would that new "phyla created by diversity overload" descend from? If you think it through, that's not a possible reconfiguration. You're getting confused on how linnaean taxonomy works.
Precambrian fossils of animal types that first appeared in the Cambrian explosion would have been found if they existed.
You mean we haven't found things like this? What did these ancestors look like, what were they made of, and thus, what does their form and composition mean for the taphonomy of these linneages? What would you expect to find as fossils for these ancestors that we dont have, in other words?eigenstate
May 15, 2015
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Dash Design, I don't have Dr. Torley's vitae in front of me, so I can't attest that he has an earned doctorate. But, I have 2 objections to your assertions: 1. A PhD is not the only "credible" doctorate. 2. Peer review has been shown to be far, far, far from infallible. In fact, it has been demonstrated to be a corrupt, cronyistic system of obscuring truth and keeping the status quo intact.OldArmy94
May 15, 2015
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Why not can find publications in scholar journals by 'Dr. Torley'? (Maybe my access search was insufficient?) It seems he only publishes on this blog Uncommon Descent. All credible Doctors (PhDs) usually must make articles in journals with peer review for credibility & credentials. vjtorley is exception to this rule? Not looking good for Intelligent Design theory if this is example. Please show vjtorley's publication record in real scholarship, not blog. Otherwise, why you respect his as 'Dr.' if not actually usual & believable performance met?Dash Design
May 15, 2015
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I can write a software program that uses evolution to find the phrase "METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL" in a matter of seconds. It's easier to build a car. So I don't see what the problem is.Mung
May 15, 2015
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Allowing more time would not change the fact that the pattern of fossils is consistent with design but contradicts what natural evolution would predict. More time would just make certain aspects of the pattern worse for theories of natural evolution. The fossil record does not just show that many phyla appeared in a brief period of time. It also shows that the phyla arose without ancestors. There were very few species at that time. And no phylum has ever diversified enough to form another phylum. This is consistent with design not natural evolution. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html Precambrian fossils of animal types that first appeared in the Cambrian explosion would have been found if they existed. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-missing-ancestors-of-cambrian.htmlJim Smith
May 15, 2015
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Eric @ 5: Indeed. Thus the smug certitude of the true believer (as helpfully demonstrated by eigenstate on this very thread).Barry Arrington
May 15, 2015
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Better call 'Cambrian Diversification' to describe what happened over 20+ myr, not just speed but also physiological form (outdated name are you ready to forget? Slow bomb tricky talk because bomb is very fast - sounds 'creationist')Dash Design
May 15, 2015
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5 minutes of 24 hrs, when being used as an anology of "the entire age of everything", and when the age of everything is 14.3 billion years, is quite a long time, i did the math... 24hrs * 60 min = 1440min 5 min of 1440 min == 0.347% 0.347% of 14 300 000 years (14.3 billion) == 49621 years 50 000 years isn't very long in evilution's timescale, but slightly longer than the article implies, especially since the "explosion" was among relatively small creatures, novel yes, but still, bugs always evolve faster.NinjaNoel
May 15, 2015
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Barry, the whole timeframe -- the entire age of the universe -- is but a rounding error against the awful improbabilities that beset the materialist creation myth. The Cambrian Explosion just highlights the problem in a particularly dramatic way. A way in which even reasonable evolutionists acknowledge is a serious problem for their theory. Unfortunately, the head-in-the-sand types will not be phased by any evidence. Doesn't matter if the Cambrian Explosion was 1M years, as opposed to 25M years. Naturalistic evolution is true by fiat, so a shorter timeframe would just show how amazing and powerful evolution really is! The circular logic is impeccable and unassailable!Eric Anderson
May 15, 2015
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@Barry,
@ E again. At least you are consistent. Only someone with an unshakable, fundamentalist type of faith commitment could have written your comment at 1. Keep the faith bro. Keep the faith.
No faith needed, just a passing familiarity with what we know about the fossil record and the era. ETA: blockquoteeigenstate
May 15, 2015
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@ E again. At least you are consistent. Only someone with an unshakable, fundamentalist type of faith commitment could have written your comment at 1. Keep the faith bro. Keep the faith. Also, you missed the point of "Miss the Point Much." I will leave it to you to figure out why that is. I am tired of spoon feeding the obvious to you.Barry Arrington
May 15, 2015
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E, beg the question much?Barry Arrington
May 15, 2015
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In your analogy, if you are applying this to evolution and the Cambrian explosion, a) it takes about 10 seconds to "build a brand new car in a garage", b) there are no instances known of a car being driven anywhere, ever, just built in place. Now which is the more reasonable explanation?eigenstate
May 15, 2015
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