Intelligent Design

What “Quote-Mining” Means To Darwinists

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I used to make a joke here that quote mining, to a Darwinist, was any time an IDist or Creationist quoted a mainstream evolutionary biologist.  A recent thread at TSZ  has sadly revealed that my joke wasn’t a joke. That’s what they actually think.

After looking over the site petrushka (the author of the thread) referred to, I realized that the people at that site presented no evidence for quote-mining, and one of the site authors attempting to characterize why a quote was “quote-mined” said this:

So we see that Gould et al. don’t reject evolution, but claim that phyletic evolution takes a second seat to speciation.

Did anyone actually try to paint Gould as “rejecting evolution”? That hardly seems reasonable. It seems that simply using the Gould’s quote to establish agreement on both sides about the fact of “few transitional fossils” in a pro-creationist argument is the same as trying to paint him as “rejecting evolution”. I found this baffling and made what I thought was a rather sarcastic comment on the thread:

It seems that anti-ID/creationists think that if one quotes a Darwinist to make an anti-Darwinism point, it must be quote-mining simply because the Darwinist rejects creationism/ID.

Sadly, my comment turned out not to be sarcastic at all. Petrushka actually responded:

Well, yes, it’s true that quoting a mainstream biologist to support a creationist argument is quote mining.

You might think that the “intellectually honest” members of TSZ would have corrected him immediately. I mean, seriously, surely not even those at TSZ would try to defend such an ignorant, erroneous, laughable idea. Well, then again, you might not.

Flint agreed with petrushka with this bit of nonsense:

Yes, absolutely this is quote mining. Those who reject creationism DO NOT make statements supporting creationist arguments.

Faded_Glory chimes in:

Say there is a quote from a known and knowledgeable anti-creationist. How can such a quote, when seen in context, ever support creationism?

Amazed at the how far they would go to defend a blatant error and attack the person who pointed it out, I re-posted petrushkas statement and asked:

Anyone willing to agree that Petrushka is simply flat-out wrong about this? If not, you’re just as wrong as he is.

Only GlenDavidson came forth with a rather timid response:

Yeah, I don’t agree with that, and it seems not out of context (I’ll check).

But later, GlenDavidson said (and others agreed) that the list of quotes at the Idea Center was itself a case of “quote-mining” – even though it has a disclaimer at the top that not all the quotes had been verified and that the quotes were intended as a resource for research. They were not contextualized in any way on the site, nor was the original meaning of the quotes characterized (much less mis-characterized).

Glen Davidson said:

Here is an interesting example of a collection of creationist quotemines on the fossil record.

Robin agreed:

Actually it is a source of quote-mines William.

Surely someone at that site realizes that petrushka et al are utterly, laughably wrong about what constitutes a quote-mine, but as of yet none have chosen not to correct them. Which makes one wonder, if they can’t even bring themselves to go against one of their own making such a blatant, laughable error about something that isn’t really even all that important to serious debates, how can anyone find them remotely credible when defending their compatriots views on actual, meaty matters in the ID/Darwinism debate?

UPDATE: Glen Davidson won’t even call petrushka wrong, and offers a long apologetic argument that Gould probably, in most cases, is not “properly” quoted by creationists, noting near the end:

So while I do think that it’s possible for IDists/creationists to use Gould quotes appropriately, I can’t think of any instance where I could say that they have.

 

UPDATE: GlenDavidson has stated that him “differing” from petrushka is, in fact, him disagreeing with petrushka. Also, Reciprocating Bill has agreed that petrushka is wrong. I appreciate them coming forth to correct this misapprehension about what “quote-mining” means.

 

67 Replies to “What “Quote-Mining” Means To Darwinists

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM, it is one of their favorite tactics.

    Darwinian Debating Device #5: The False Quote Mining Charge

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Mung says:

    You might think that the “intellectually honest” members of TSZ would have corrected him immediately.

    Oh man, you just cracked me up. Always nice to have a good laugh. Thanks!

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Here’s a quote-mine.

    Glen Davidson: The only thing interesting about IDiots is the various ways in which they are dishonest.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    William, I do love irony. Here’s petrushka from the OP of that thread:

    “The humor comes from observing that the armies of ID clash by night, without ever mentioning or discussing their differences…”

    😀

  6. 6
    TSErik says:

    This is rather sad. One must wonder if they are truly ignorant or intellectually dishonest.

    Apparently, if one accepts certain data or a premise, yet rejects a conclusion, they must also then disregard the previous data or premise?

    Seems like they have a failure of basic logic.

  7. 7
    Virgil Cain says:

    petrushka is just a pathetic loser. It can’t help itself. It is a highly evolved loser.

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    The quote mining accusation has always shown me a desperation of evolutionists.
    Everyone misquotes, some on purpose but probably not creationists, but to profile ID/YEC with this is just strange weird wrong.

    My heart tells me that can’t stand using their own words against them.
    There must be some sincerity they are taken out of context too much but come on. One could find more from their side.

    Possibly it shows they really do spend more time DISCREDITING creationists then in other contentions of mankind.
    They really don’t make a good case and so must more discredit ID/YEC case and presentation.
    Also its about using SCIENTISTS own work against their own conclusions.
    just everyone keep quoting them if its suits your case. you can do it in court because one can do it.
    They can do it too.

  9. 9
    HeKS says:

    WJM,

    Yes, no matter how many times I come across it (very many times) it never ceases to amaze me how Darwinists misuse this accusation. They don’t seem to understand that people are capable of, for example, making ‘statements against interest’, or simply acknowledging facts and data that generally are inconsistent with evolutionary expectations, or with the popular notions of evolutionary theory, or with popular misconceptions regarding the evidence supporting the theory (or theories). Instead, they think – quite ridiculously – that it is inappropriate to quote anyone in support of a premise used in an anti-evolutionary argument unless the person being quoted agrees with a conclusion along the lines of “evolutionary theory is nonsense”.

    This creates a ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ scenario, because if an ID proponent quotes an evolutionary biologist (or any other person in any field) who ‘believes in evolution’, then it is quote-mining, but if they quote someone else who also accepts ID, then the quote is to be understood as worthless, because the person they are quoting is already biased in their favor.

    In my experience, it is very often the Darwinists themselves who are quote-mining ID proponents by misrepresenting the purpose for which the ID proponents are using quotes.

    You might think that the “intellectually honest” members of TSZ would have corrected him immediately. I mean, seriously, surely not even those at TSZ would try to defend such an ignorant, erroneous, laughable idea. Well, then again, you might not.

    I’m going to have to go with the ‘not’ here. Not at all, in fact. I discovered early last year that TSZ is a den of intellectual iniquity when I saw how willing they were to stand by and watch KeithS scale new heights of intellectual dishonesty through his constant misrepresentations and attempts at grandstanding, even in some cases praising his deceitful foolishness. When literally everyone in the room is too concerned with upholding their ‘zero concessions’ policy (including supposedly respectable members) to call out one of their fellow travellers for blatant dishonesty then it’s a good indication that you’re in a place that simply isn’t worth your time.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    HeKS, well said — sadly. One hopes there will be a wake-up. KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    HeKS:

    Headlined:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....win-issue/

    “HeKS on the “you IDists are quote-mining”/ “heads I win . . .” issue”

    KF

  12. 12
    Jack Jones says:

    Mr Murray, Evolutionists that use that phrase are pathetic.

    This sophomoric phrase appears to trace back to talk origins. When evolutionists can’t refute a quote then they hand wave quotes away with this phrase.

    It shows you just how shaky their position is and how emotional their position is when they use this rhetorical phrase instead of pondering problems brought up by hostile witnesses to their position.

  13. 13

    Couple of updates to the post; Reciprocating Bill agrees that petrushka is wrong, and GlenDavidson has stated that he does in fact also disagree. Credit where credit is due.

  14. 14
    Virgil Cain says:

    Quote-mining? Pfft. I have learned tat asking evolutionists to support their claims is erecting a strawman. Seriously- go to TSZ and ask how to test the claim that any functional multi-protein complexed evolved via natural selection, drift and/ or neutral construction and you will be accused of erecting a strawman.

    But that is nothing compared to the whining you will get by telling them how to falsify ID.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    William J Murray: It seems that simply using the Gould’s quote to establish agreement on both sides about the fact of “few transitional fossils” in a pro-creationist argument

    That’s a quote-mine!

  16. 16
    Jack Jones says:

    The term “quote mine” is empty rhetoric relied upon by empty heads.

  17. 17
    TSErik says:

    Zachriel:

    Are you serious? One cannot be that foolish.

    It certainly is not a quite-mine. It would be if WJM was insisting that Gould was supporting ID or Creation, but he is not. He is agreeing to the data or premise Gould establishes, but disagrees with Gould’s conclusion! That isn’t “quote mining”!

    Until WJM argues that Gould is arguing FOR ID or Creationism based on the quote, it isn’t quote mining.

    Accepting the premise of an argument, or a set of data, does not require one to accept the conclusion. There are countless examples of this in science. How can you not understand this?

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    TSErik: It would be if WJM was insisting that Gould was supporting ID or Creation, but he is not.

    No. The reason it is a quote-mine is not because it leaves a false impression of Gould’s views on evolution, but because, by leaving out the context, it gives a false impression of Gould’s views on transitional fossils.

    Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups. — Stephen Jay Gould

  19. 19
    TSErik says:

    Not quite.

    In your quote it is affirmed that, at the species level, there is a lack of transitional fossils. Gould equivocates his statement by saying, “…but they are abundant between larger groups.” This doesn’t erase the previous claim, unless he is marching back his statement entirely.

    As such, if one is quoting Gould to illustrate a portion of the fossil record is lacking, it is entirely accurate. It is a straw man to state such a claim is establishing Gould as saying there are no transitional records, or, as this post says, that Gould rejects evolution as a whole.

    I suppose you could try and complain there is ambiguity as “transitional fossils” is a broad term and requires specification. But in Gould’s original quote even he didn’t specify which transitional fossils were “rare”.

    This premise can be accepted and Gould’s conclusion rejected.

  20. 20
    Zachriel says:

    TSErik: This doesn’t erase the previous claim, unless he is marching back his statement entirely.

    That’s the whole point. The claim concerning lack of transitionals is out of context.

    TSErik: As such, if one is quoting Gould to illustrate a portion of the fossil record is lacking, it is entirely accurate.

    The quote-mine leaves the impression that Gould is saying there is a lack of transitional fossils generally. But that’s a false impression of Gould’s position.

  21. 21
    TSErik says:

    It certainly isn’t out of context if one is speaking towards a lack of transitional fossils in certain areas of the fossil record. Unless, are you saying Gould didn’t really mean there is a general lack of transitional fossils at the species level in the quote you yourself presented?

    As far as leaving the impression of Gould stating there is a complete lack of any kind of transitional fossils, I certainly didn’t get that from WJM’s examples.

    The example puts forth the idea that there exists some portions of the fossil record that are quite lacking. Gould was quoted as affirming that indeed, there are portions of the fossil record where transitional fossils are “rare”. Those two statements are in perfect agreement with one another.

    It is a straw man, plain and simple, to then argue WJM is saying Gould rejects evolution (as was suggested by petrushka), or is suggesting Gould affirms there are absolutely no transitional fossils.

    I don’t deny that there have been some instances out there of people improperly using Gould’s words. The example in this post, however, is not one of those instances.

  22. 22
    Jack Jones says:

    “The quote-mine leaves the impression that Gould is saying there is a lack of transitional fossils generally. But that’s a false impression of Gould’s position.”

    “The quote-mine”

    A meaningless empty hand waving phrase used by empty headed evolutionists like zach.

    As for “there is a lack of transitional fossils generally. But that’s a false impression of Gould’s position.”

    No it is not, Gould later went back on earlier words during a time there was the debate about having creationism taught in schools.

    But we are not interested about Gould whining for political reasons, he let the cat out of the bag and should have had the integrity to stick by his words.

    “That’s the whole point. The claim concerning lack of transitionals is out of context”

    No, to quote out of context would be to remove something from what he said, him trying to back track because his opponents were using him as a hostile witness is not using words out of context.

    Just because Gould didn’t like it being used later on from people opposed to his faith, that does not equate to out of context.

    The phrase “quote mine” is a phrase used by emotionally stunted evolutionists who cannot handle any criticism of their faith.

    If a phrase is out of context then you only need to say “out of context” and show it, when you have to rely on or add the retarded phrase “quote mine” then it shows your surrender and that you cannot deal with the quotes that have been posted.

    You failed to show out of context, you are stuck with your 0 substance “quote mine” phrase because you have no content, only rhetoric.

    Try again.

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    TSErik: It certainly isn’t out of context if one is speaking towards a lack of transitional fossils in certain areas of the fossil record.

    Except that qualification wasn’t included in the original quote-mine, the result being to misrepresent Gould’s position on transitional fossils. As Gould points out, there are abundant transitionals between larger groups, including the reptile to mammals and the hominin transitions.

    Jack Jones: No it is not, Gould later went back on earlier words during a time there was the debate about having creationism taught in schools.

    That is incorrect. The gaps to which Gould referred are only at the species level, which is clear when you understand the proposed theory. According to the theory, species transitions occur in small, isolated populations, hence are much less likely to leave fossils of the transition. Darwin noted this effect in Origin of Species, but it was largely left unexamined until Gould and Eldredge.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    The gaps to which Gould referred are only at the species level

    LoL. Where they are most to be expected!

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Since Gould has become a focus, I cross-post a comment from the derivative thread:

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Gould on gaps and stasis etc, here on — including a live case of accusation, where to this day while there was an error of “the” major groups, I cannot understand why the objector would latch on to that in the teeth of the following corrected cite: “transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt”. Where in context, we can see:

    The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change, and the principle of natural selection does not require it—selection can operate rapidly . . . . All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt . . . .

    Even though we have no direct evidence for smooth transitions, [–> notice his underscoring of the “characteristically abrupt” just above] can we invent a reasonable sequence of intermediate forms—that is, viable, functioning organisms—between ancestors and descendants in major structural transitions? Of what possible use are the imperfect incipient stages of useful structures? What good is half a jaw or half a wing? [–> surely this points well above species level] . . . [[Stephen Jay Gould ‘The Return of Hopeful Monsters.’ Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, pp. 22 – 30 & elsewhere.]

    I point out that characteristic implies a dominant, defining pattern that distinguishes from other things that may be held similar.

    Cf. Dictionaries, e.g.:

    char•ac•ter•is•tic (?kær ?k t??r?s t?k)

    adj.
    1. indicating the character or distinctive quality of a person or thing; typical.
    n.
    2. a distinguishing feature or quality.
    3.
    a. the integral part of a common logarithm.
    b. the exponent of 10 in a number expressed in scientific notation.
    [1655–65; Greek]
    char`ac•ter•is?ti•cal•ly, adv.
    syn: See feature.
    Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

    ++++++++++++++

    I trust that we can see and acknowledge that Gould definitely means much more than neighbouring species.

    That is the line of talking points Z is trying so assiduously to build and pass off collapses.

    Half jaws and half wings go very high in the taxonomy of life forms.

    KF

  26. 26
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: I trust that we can see and acknowledge that Gould definitely means much more than neighbouring species.

    Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.

    Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory, 1984
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org.....heory.html

    kairosfocus: Half jaws and half wings go very high in the taxonomy of life forms.

    The transition from reptiles to mammals (half jaws) is very well documented in the fossil record; while the transition from flightless to flight (half wings) finds many intermediate forms in extant organisms.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Z,

    with all due respect, you are ducking and dodging, Gould is clearly speaking to very high level characteristic features of body plans, and is pointing out that the transitions are CHARACTERISTICALLY missing, which still obtains.

    Backtracking for rhetorical damage control does not compare to the points made to his fellow thinkers in trying to found a new school of thought relative to the evidence they hold in common.

    As for your reptile to mammal jaw sequence this is far less solid than it seems when looked at within the a priori evolutionary materialist cave. Ditto on origin of wings and more; what I find is the ideological a priori pointed out by Lewontin long since, shapes the hall of mirrors in which the evidence is evaluated so that things that would not look very convincing on a level playing field, look oh so convincing in the locked in evolutionary materialist scientism cave with its shadow shows, and too often smoke and mirrors frankly.

    Lit allusions to the in the cave zone or lit bluffs that do not really show what was wanted or claimed, do not count — and to date there is simply no good empirical warrant for the mechanism claimed to originate body plans and associated algorithms and processing, communicating and control or regulatory systems on blind chance and mechanical necessity — you are talking writing coded algorithms in data structures processed in molecular nanomachines here.

    The point is, were gradualism really so, we should be seeing it as dominant all over the place, not as an if maybe here is a case never mind the collapse of the last ones, after 250 k species observed and billions of fossils in situ.

    With of course the Cambrian explosion of body plans as case in point no 1 despite all the attempts to side track and deflect or dismiss it.

    Worse, the molecular patterns are all over the place with mutually inconsistent patterns.

    Then, go back to the root of the matter, Darwin’s pond or the like and the challenge to bridge to life from chemistry and physics including statistical thermodynamics.

    The notion that code — language, algorithms, and execution machinery involving comms systems and control systems replete with purposeful meaning and co-ordinated complex and functionally specific often key-lock fitting structures — came about by happy chance and necessity without intelligence can only have taken hold because of a dominant ideology in a materialist cave that took over the shadow shows game of our civilisation.

    Intelligently directed configuration, as of epistemic and inductive right, sits at the table from the root of the TOL on.

    Let us step into the sunshine, getting out of the cave of shadow shows and intoxicating smoke and mirrors.

    KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Lewontin, and note the link that addresses oh you quote mine — that one is taking on the colours of a stock false accusation that disqualifies those who use it, right next to the slanderous Gish gallop. Clip:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads [==> as in, “we” have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge] we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Philip Johnson’s reply:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And if the latter is twisted into a caricature god of the gaps strawman, then locked out, huge questions are being oh so conveniently begged.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    –> fixing the captcha headache

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Backtracking for rhetorical damage control does not compare to the points made to his fellow thinkers in trying to found a new school of thought relative to the evidence they hold in common.

    If Gould’s own words won’t convince you, then it’s doubtful any other argument will.

    kairosfocus: PS: Lewontin

    Hodor.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, pardon but after the cat has already spilled out of it, it is too late to try to put the cat back in the bag and sell it as a piglet. KF

  32. 32
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: but after the cat has already spilled out of it, it is too late to try to put the cat back in the bag and sell it as a piglet.

    Either you are misrepresenting misunderstanding Gould, or Gould is misunderstanding misrepresenting his own work. Are you saying that Gould doesn’t understand his own theory? Or are you saying he is lying about his own work?

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Z,

    the matter is simple.

    If there were a properly empirically grounded chance and necessity account of origin of life from chemicals in a pond etc, crossing gap no 1, it would be trumpeted to the highest heavens.

    Gap no1 is not crossed.

    Second, were there a similarly empirically well warranted account of branching tree evolution by blind chance and mechanical necessity, sufficient to account for origin of main body plans, that too would be trumpeted. It is not, there are attempts to blunt the reality known since Darwin, on the Cambrian life forms, and there are stories to try to get rid of the body plans first pattern.

    Gap no 2 is unbridged, and on the issue of accounting for needed functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, there are no good answers for the mechanisms for FSCO/I on a naturalistic perspective.

    That is gap no 3.

    Going on further, the origin of many major innovations such as organ systems etc is subject to gaps 2 and 3. Thus, the pattern of sudden appearance, stasis of key forms, etc.

    Gap no 4.

    No mechanism, no detailed incremental evidence for origin of main body plans and key features.

    Next, molecular reconstructions have ended up in mutual inconsistency, providing further gaps.

    Further yet, in AA sequence space, there are many, many structurally isolated small protein fold domains, leading to an island of function pattern that is sufficient that species viewed as neighbouring will tend to have such molecular gaps.

    Gap no 5.

    Going back, the origin of codes, algorithms, co-ordinated execution machinery etc provides gap no 6.

    KF

    PS: The timeline is clear, including when carried out to his legacy book released two months before death. Gould tried to damage control once controversies erupted. Popper did much the same on the want of falsifiability of the grand evolutionary narrative. So sorry you cannot push the cat back in the bag.

  34. 34
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: the matter is simple.

    It is! The matter didn’t concern the existence of gaps, but whether Gould’s views were properly represented by the purported quote-mine.

    You didn’t answer the question @32.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Also, let me cite from Gould’s last book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002), on his thoughts after all was said and done (and when he knew he was beyond retaliation):

    The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The longterm stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists, as the previous story of Hugh Falconer [c. 1862] testifies. This fact, as discussed on the next page, established a basis for biostratigraphic practice [ –> cf. http://www.stratigraphy.org/upload/bak/bio.htm ], the primary professional role for paleontology during most of its history.

    But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life’s history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution’s expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologists could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession — but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature’s ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution — with an evident implication that the fossil record’s dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty — paleontologists became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum . . .

    That is the context for his comment in the same book:

    long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists.

    Where of course. species stasis and sudden appearance is the context of and grounds for stasis and suddenness of appearance at higher levels of taxonomy. All specimens are members of species. So, without a demonstrated body plan feature mechanism established through a solid body of observation on accumulation of incremental chance variation and differential reproductive success, we face an assumption that dominates the theorising. Not a fact as well grounded on observation as the gravitational force law that grounds the orbiting of the planets around Sol.

    What we have, rather were as if the nebular hypothesis were deemed fact and imposed as a control on accounts of solar system models without clear, consistent notice on limitations and weaknesses as well as strengths.

    Eppur si muove.

    KF

  37. 37
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: The longterm stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies

    Species-level as stated above. Darwin attributed the granularity in the fossil record to the incompleteness of the fossil record, as well as to speciation occurring in small populations on the periphery of the parent population which then overtaking the parent population. Gould & Etheridge reinvigorated and extended this observation with their theory of punctuated equilibrium.

    Meanwhile, quote-mines of Gould were propagated in the ID culture as supporting the general lack of transitional fossils, which Gould emphatically and explicitly denied.

  38. 38
    Roy says:

    Also, let me cite from Gould’s last book, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002), …
    That is the context for his comment in the same book…

    Were these two snippets actually taken from Gould’s book, or are you once propagating text copied from dubious on-line contextless “quote” sites?

    Did you learn anything from the last time you were caught trying to pass off an umpteenth-hand misquote as being from the primary source?

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Roy, you go get a copy of the book and confirm before making baseless accusations. You have already had almost a year to check and confirm, save that I corrected what looks like a typo. Troll, as proves last February. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, again species is the gateway to everything above If species are not connected neither is anything beyond that level, as in smooth gradations are not there. KF

  41. 41
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: If species are not connected neither is anything beyond that level, as in smooth gradations are not there.

    That doesn’t salvage the quote-mine. Not only does Gould say there are ample transitional fossils above the species level, he does not say there are no species transitions, but that the transitions occur in small, isolated populations that are unlikely to leave fossils.

    Indeed, from your own citation, Gould also says,

    the conflation of punctuated equilibrium (speciation in geological moments) with true saltation (speciation in a single generation, or moment of human perception) persists as the greatest of all scaling errors. I am discouraged by this error for three basic reasons: (1) It has been exposed and explained so many time, both by the authors of punctuated equilibrium and by many others; so continued propagation can only record carelessness. (2) Saltation at any appreciable relative frequency surely represents a false theory, so punctuated equilibrium becomes tied to a patently erroneous idea; whereas misapplication of punctuated equilibrium to higher levels may at least misassociate the name with a true phenomenon (like catastrophic mass extinction). (3) This particular error of scaling embodies our worst mental habit of interpreting other ranges of size, or other domains of time, in our own limited terms.

    Even if anyone were confused on Gould’s position before, they should not be confused now. It’s clear that the original quote above is lacking the necessary context.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, it is quite clear tha the gaps are there, both as can be seen from the fact that you are not able to triumphantly list the many headlined cases, and from the word games being played. The species is the reproducing unit. If there are serious problems of the dynamics to get species level and above adaptations and particularly body plan level evolution on blind chance and mechanical necessity, it is no surprise that the dominant pattern is of species. Yes, I suspect the taxonomic definitions and adaptations are such that we likely get variability up to about the level of the family but the origin of major body plan features is seriously missing in action. Similarity without mechanism is meaningless as the molecular evidence clearly shows. KF

    PS: No one is seriously discussing single generation body plan level saltations, by the way.

    PPS: It seems Gould had a habit of republishing essentially the same text in various works.

  43. 43
    Eric Anderson says:

    Punctuated equilibrium was proposed in large part to help explain stasis and the lack of gradual transitionals between forms. In that sense it is important because it seeks to deal with an actual, real feature of the fossil record — unlike Darwin, who when viewing the fossil record pled the “poor data” card to salvage his “slight, successive variations” hypothesis.

    So if someone looks at the fossil record (and accepts it for what it is, rather than poor data) they will certainly see that punctuated equilibrium matches the record better. The rubber hits the road when we try to pin down evidence for what punctuated equilibrium proposes as a mechanism to account for the fossil record: to quote our old friend Wikipedia, punctuated equilibrium posits “rare and geologically rapid events.”

    We can point to a few hints here or an occasional piece of circumstantial evidence there, but when trying to find solid evidence for these rare and geologically rapid events, we are often left with an exchange something like this:

    Q: I’ve looked at the fossil record and I’m not seeing many transitionals from one species to another. Are we sure that such transitions actually take place?

    A: Of course they take place. Evolution is true and so there must be transitions.

    Q: Where are they? They don’t seem to show up in the fossil record.

    A: We don’t expect to see them in the fossil record. My theory is that changes take place rarely and in geographically-rapid events, so we wouldn’t expect to see much physical evidence in the fossil record.

    Q: Wait a minute. So you’re saying that we shouldn’t see much physical evidence of these changes nor should we expect to ever find much physical evidence of them?

    A: Exactly! The lack of physical evidence in the fossil record is precisely what my theory predicts!

    —–

    The ironic thing about punctuated equilibrium is that, while it is more consistent with the fossil record, as far as actual transition is concerned, it is not seeking to explain transitions so much as it is seeking to explain the lack of transitions. In other words, it is a theory that is based on a lack of physical evidence.

    We don’t have physical evidence for these transitions — and that is precisely what my theory predicts!

    Finally, let’s be clear, there is still no good explanation for how punctuated equilibrium is supposed to operate — on the ground, at the physical level. Punctuated equilibrium just posits that the evolutionary change somehow, somewhere happens.

    —–

    Apologies for yet another Wikipedia quote, but this caught my eye [emphasis added]:

    According to Gould, “stasis may emerge as the theory’s most important contribution to evolutionary science.”[36] Philosopher Kim Sterelny adds, “In claiming that species typically undergo no further evolutionary change once speciation is complete, they are not claiming that there is no change at all between one generation and the next. Lineages do change. But the change between generations does not accumulate. Instead, over time, the species wobbles about its phenotypic mean. Jonathan Weiner’s The Beak of the Finch describes this very process.

    Indeed, this is all that has ever been observed, whether we are talking about finch beaks, insects and insecticide, fruit fly experiments, or peppered moths. What we learn is not that “slight, successive changes” can accumulate and add up to large-scale changes over time. No, the great takeaway from all the observations and experiments is this:

    Populations tend to be stable over the long-term, oscillating around a norm and undergoing small, temporary adaptive changes without undergoing significant long-term change.

  44. 44
    Eric Anderson says:

    At some level you have to feel for Gould.

    Here is a capable paleontologist who recognized that Darwin’s accumulation of slight, successive changes wasn’t going to cut it. He also recognized that the fossil record was real and couldn’t be written off with the “bad data” card.

    Yet he was committed to a purely naturalistic story. So what is a guy supposed to do?

    Well, you stay committed to the naturalistic storyline and affirm that evolution happens — it just happens too rarely, or too quickly, or in too much isolation to leave significant traces in the fossil record. One might be forgiven for noticing that this theory is based largely on a lack of data. But, hey, it is the best you can do if the data are missing and you are committed to a naturalistic storyline.

    So rather than proposing that the fossil record constitutes bad data because it failed to preserve myriad slight, successive changes, Gould essentially proposed that there was nothing to preserve. Said in other terms, rather than the fossil record failing to preserve the data, the data are of the kind that don’t get preserved.

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    We don’t have physical evidence for these transitions — and that is precisely what my theory predicts!

    Punctuated design!

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: it is quite clear tha the gaps are there

    That’s not the question in the thread. The question isn’t whether Gould is right or not, but whether Gould’s views are properly represented by the quote-mine. They’re not.

    Eric Anderson: In that sense it is important because it seeks to deal with an actual, real feature of the fossil record — unlike Darwin, who when viewing the fossil record pled the “poor data” card to salvage his “slight, successive variations” hypothesis.

    The incompleteness of the fossil record in inarguable. In any case, Darwin provided several reasons why the fossil record wouldn’t encapsulate “infinitely many fine gradations”:

    1. exploration will always be incomplete;
    2. many classes of organism rarely fossilize;
    3. fossilization is rare;
    4. stasis is more typical than change, so change will be less likely to be preserved;
    5. new species will often form in small sub-populations on the periphery that then overtake the parent population, and are therefore unlikely to leave fossils.

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1872.html

    Eric Anderson: So if someone looks at the fossil record (and accepts it for what it is, rather than poor data) they will certainly see that punctuated equilibrium matches the record better.

    Not always. Granularity in the fossil record varies depending on taxa and period.

    Eric Anderson: The lack of physical evidence in the fossil record is precisely what my theory predicts!

    We can test theories of allopatric and parapatric speciation by carefully observing extant nature.

    Eric Anderson: In other words, it is a theory that is based on a lack of physical evidence.

    That is incorrect, because it also predicts all the other evidence in the fossil record, such as the succession of fossils and the nested hierarchy. Compare to the lack of entailments from Intelligent Design.

    Eric Anderson: Finally, let’s be clear, there is still no good explanation for how punctuated equilibrium is supposed to operate — on the ground, at the physical level.

    No. That is not correct. Speciation is posited to occur in small isolated or peripheral populations. Fixation can occur rapidly in such situations, and if there are significant adaptive changes, can then overtake the parent population. This is consistent with population genetics, and with observations of the process of speciation.

    Eric Anderson: “Lineages do change. But the change between generations does not accumulate. Instead, over time, the species wobbles about its phenotypic mean.

    That’s generally true, but like all such quote-mines, you are leaving out the rest of Gould’s findings, which indicate that lineages can and do sometimes change progressively over time.

  47. 47
    Eric Anderson says:

    The incompleteness of the fossil record i[s] inarguable.

    If by “incompleteness” you just mean not a preserver of 100% of every species that has ever lived, sure. But that is not the problem, is it? The problem is not that we’re missing a couple of transitional forms round the edges. The problem is that the fossil record is diametrically opposed to Darwin’s “fine gradations.” Thus all the effort to explain away the fossil record by both Darwin and his followers.

    And, contrary to your claim, whether the fossil record is “incomplete,” as a general matter, is indeed very much in dispute. That is part of the whole issue: does the fossil record give us a generally reliable account of the history of life on Earth, or is it unreliable? Gould argued that it is generally reliable and should be taken seriously. Gradualists, like Darwin, continue to focus on the unreliability of the record — precisely to explain away the inconsistency with their theory, a theory in search of data.

  48. 48
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: If by “incompleteness” you just mean not a preserver of 100% of every species that has ever lived, sure.

    Fossilization is a very happenstance process.

    Eric Anderson: The problem is that the fossil record is diametrically opposed to Darwin’s “fine gradations.”

    Except that Darwin’s theory included an explanation for the lack of fine gradations, including the fact that most of evolutionary history is characterized by stasis.

    Eric Anderson: And, contrary to your claim, whether the fossil record is “incomplete,” as a general matter, is indeed very much in dispute.

    Of course it’s incomplete, otherwise there could be no new discoveries in the fossil record!

    Eric Anderson: does the fossil record give us a generally reliable account of the history of life on Earth, or is it unreliable?

    It gives a very incomplete picture. However, statistics is helping to resolve observational artifacts from the underlying pattern.

    Eric Anderson: Gradualists, like Darwin, continue to focus on the unreliability of the record —

    Darwin provided several explanations for the granularity of the fossil record. Waving your hands doesn’t constitute addressing those explanations.

  49. 49
    Virgil Cain says:

    What Zachriel doesn’t realize that is the special pleading just means we cannot form any inference from the fossil record pertaining to common descent. Tetrapods could have very well lived before fish but the environment they lived in wasn’t conducive to fossilization.

  50. 50
    goodusername says:

    Eric Anderson,

    Punctuated equilibrium was proposed in large part to help explain stasis and the lack of gradual transitionals between forms.

    Punk Eek is a description of the fossil record more than an explanation of it.
    What they proposed is that the punctuated equilibrium seen in the fossil record is what we would expect if Mayr’s allopatric speciation is how speciation typically occurs.

    Here is a capable paleontologist who recognized that Darwin’s accumulation of slight, successive changes wasn’t going to cut it. He also recognized that the fossil record was real and couldn’t be written off with the “bad data” card.

    That is part of the whole issue: does the fossil record give us a generally reliable account of the history of life on Earth, or is it unreliable? Gould argued that it is generally reliable and should be taken seriously.

    Well, under Punk Eek, in one sense the fossil record is taken more at face value – but in another sense they claim that the fossil record is even worse than imagined.

    Under Punk Eek, fossilization of intermediates are even rarer since they occur in smaller populations, covering less area, and exist for a shorter duration of time. And so they aren’t saying that there aren’t intermediates – it’s just that they are just even harder to find than if fossilization occurred via phyletic gradualism.

    But in another sense they do view the fossil record as more reliable than generally believed.

    Let’s say that paleontologists are digging at a particular location and they find species “A” and species “B” but no intermediates.
    A proponent of phyletic gradualism might say that B evolved here and gradually replaced A, but the fossil record is too poor to show the intermediates. But a proponent of punk eek might say “the fossil record isn’t the problem – B probably evolved somewhere else and then came here and replaced A. Thus what we’re seeing in the fossil record is an accurate portrayal of what happened at this location. We need to dig elsewhere to find the intermediates.”

  51. 51
    Eric Anderson says:

    Except that Darwin’s theory included an explanation for the lack of fine gradations, including the fact that most of evolutionary history is characterized by stasis.

    No, his theory most certainly did not. Have you ever read “Origin of Species”? The fossil record was an objection to his theory, not part of it. His so-called “explanations” you keep referring to are attempts to dismiss the objections to his theory.

    Of course it’s incomplete, otherwise there could be no new discoveries in the fossil record!

    Don’t get cute. I’ve already answered both angles of your poorly-defined claim of incompleteness.

    Darwin provided several explanations for the granularity of the fossil record. Waving your hands doesn’t constitute addressing those explanations.

    Wow, doesn’t get much more rich than that. Here Darwin and the other gradualists are, frantically waiving their hands to try to explain away the fact that the fossil record doesn’t confirm their theory. And then when someone points out that their explanations are lacking and all-too convenient, the skeptic is accused of hand waving.

    Anyway, not much point in discussing further. You are so completely entrenched in battling everything tooth and nail that your arguments are all over the place. Every true-believing evolutionist from Darwin to Gould and in between has been on board with the grand, cohesive, coherent, non-contradictory narrative that supports the party line. And any contradictions are swept away, ignored, subjected to revisionist history, or decried as quote mines.

    Sure. Whatever.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, the gaps are still there, the stasis is there, the “sudden appearance” is still there, i.e. the record of fossils as interpreted on the typically given timelines, does not demonstrate a dominant pattern of gradualistic incremental development of forms at body plan level. This after well past 1/4 mn fossil species as catalogued and billions of observations in the ground (which would have been pounced on as breakthroughs if they had told the gradualistic message). We are left with Darwin’s attempts to explain away gaps in both Origin and Descent [in this case making some chilling predictions in Ch 6] and with things like the Cambrian fossil revolution there from his day till ours. Gould’s work and statements, across a 1/4 century, clearly document that pattern, but of course they have to be hammered into shape to fit the narrative and those who point out otherwise must be locked out at all costs — including in one case accusing of misquoting without doing the basic HW of a Google search that would instantly confirm the cite as Gould . . . it looks like in 2002 he republished remarks, something I notice with his writings, he published much the same stuff in multiple venues. Gould made it crystal clear that as he left behind what was consciously a legacy he retained the same views he had put forth 25 years before in setting out punctuated equilibria . . . the suddenness, stasis and resulting gaps are there in the record. Where, I add that as species are the gateway to higher levels of taxonomy, it is contradictory (though convenient) to suggest gradualism at higher levels when the “characteristic” pattern at species level is not gradualism. Such statements are little more than saying homologies in absence of adequate empirically grounded blind watchmaker mechanisms can be fit into the dominant narrative. This thread leaves a very sour taste in my mouth, as it reflects the Overton Window lockout effect all too well. KF

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: the gaps are still there

    So you’ve given up on defending the quote-mine. Fair enough.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, sorry but you are into blue smoke and mirrors territory now. I showed that 25 years later, Gould’s view was STILL the same, 2 months before he died. There is no dishonest distortion of claim, there is no snipping out of context that changes the substantial meaning of the point. Gould made an admission against interest that the gaps Darwin tried to address and hoped would go away are still there after 1/4 million fossil species identified and billions seen in the ground. he tried to compose a new theory to explain the evidentiary silence, the missing links, the gaps in the record as relative to expectations, a theory that has not really worked out. Species are the gateway to higher levels, and if there are gaps at species level, these mean gaps at higher levels no mind the confident manner assurances otherwise. Key admission against interest on facts that show the balance on the merits. And, sustained 25 years later. It looks like rhetorical talking point barbed accusatory skewers is all you lot seem to have on this and on others. I am confident that if you had the goods per fossils showing the claimed framework and backed up by demonstrated blind watchmaker thesis mechanisms, you would instead have been trumpeting these. Where are the overwhelming numbers of precambrian fossils showing the basis of the cambrian life revolution? The key trains of fossils showing the rise of major features subsequently? The chance variation and differential reproduction mechanism shown to give rise to actual body plan level innovations, not things like finch beaks and colour changes or insecticide and antibiotic resistance or circumpolar gulls grossly extrapolated on assumptions of methodological naturalism? That silence is telling. KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I clip more from Gould:

    The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. [–> that on fair comment goes well beyond species level to the grand tree of life narrative and icon] Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    [here, I — KF — flesh out Gould’s allusion to Darwin:]

    I [Darwin]have attempted to show that the geological record is extremely imperfect [–> c. 1859]; that only a small portion of the globe [–> Europe and North America] has been geologically explored with care; that only certain classes of organic beings have been largely preserved in a fossil state; that the number both of specimens and of species, preserved in our museums, is absolutely as nothing compared with the incalculable number of generations which must have passed away even during a single formation . . . these [and other listed] causes taken conjointly, must have tended to make the geological record extremely imperfect, and will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps.

    He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species, found in the several stages of the same great formation . . . [Cf. Origin, Ch 10, “Summary of the preceding and present Chapters,” also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9. note, the circumstances today with 1/4 million plus fossil species, millions of fossils in museums and billions seen in the ground now make the collected record “almost unmanageably rich” but with the same basic pattern.]

    [Gould again:] Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see [–> note the language used here] the very process we profess to study.” [Stephen Jay Gould ‘Evolution’s erratic pace’. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. ]

    –> Let me add: where is the clear and convincing, empirically grounded observationally rooted dynamic framework that allows us to infer that blind watchmaker mechanisms are adequate to create the 10 – 100+ Mbits of genetic information required for the cells, tissues, organs and networks to create a new body plan? To move from Darwin’s pond to first living code using, reproducing metabolising encapsulated cells?

  56. 56
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: Species are the gateway to higher levels, and if there are gaps at species level, these mean gaps at higher levels no mind the confident manner assurances otherwise.

    Again, that is not Gould’s view, so you continue to misrepresent misunderstand his view — even after Gould repeatedly repudiated your interpretation. Gould says there are ample transitionals above the species level, and that fossil gaps at the species level are artifacts of the evolutionary process.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, sorry I am not playing your game complete with suggestive struck out words. i did not say that Gould is not an evolutionist, just that as I just explicitly cited, he is pointing out where there is evidence and where there are gaps covered by inferences and the need to acknowledge that they are just that inferences not observed facts. Where I do come in is that I am saying that there is need to ground a blind watchmaker mechanism starting in Darwin’s pond etc, and going through the Cambrian up to the origin of the many body plans around us. So far as I see the only observed mechanism if it can be called that capable of the required FSCO/I is design, i.e. intelligently directed configuration. Reliably and consistently observed, on trillions of cases in point backed by the million monkeys blind needle in haystack search challenge. KF

  58. 58
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: i did not say that Gould is not an evolutionist

    No. The claim is that the snip from Gould concerning “few transitional fossils” misrepresents his views by leaving out important context. If there were any doubt, Gould directly repudiated the quote-mine by explicitly stating that transitional fossils are ample above the species level.

    Now, you may disagree with Gould, but that was his view.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, No The relevant context is there, and it is there in a context that continues for 25 years. Indeed if anyone is leaving out material context of a key admission against general interest it is you. Indeed the force of an admission against interest pivots on it being by someone who would have no interest to admit such apart from it being seen by him as true. The further clip I put up today, shows just how wide ranging his admission is in its wider context at the time. As for he oh its just species, the ToL is supposedly made up from chains of species branching out to yield the range of biodiversity. Only there is a big and characteristic problem of the chains lacking interconnexions. beyond, to say in effect on similarity and differences we can construct a tree diagram, has very little import. Especially when the molecular trees — a former great hope — ran into mutual inconsistencies. KF

  60. 60
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: The relevant context is there

    Not according to the author of the statement. Nor is the quote-mine consistent with the proposed theory of punctuated equilibrium. The quote-mine misrepresents the author’s argument so is a “rhetorical gambit of red herrings led to strawman caricatures”.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, kindly take a moment to read the clip above on the famous trade secret of paleontology remark. That, too is part of the wider context in which SJG was trying to found his punctuated equilibria, and in that case he was probably most direct regarding the tree of life as a whole. SJG has not been misrepresented, he has been cited as making a key admission against interest, which has force all of its own — a force, BTW backed by the observational evidence, most notably the Cambrian life revolution, which is where one of the main levels of branching is. I am sure that the onlooker will notice that instead of trotting out reams of cases in point, you are disputing nuances of meanings of cites and contexts. That too is revealing. And, as the above shows, he did so on record repeatedly. Indeed, in the last instance, as part of his farewell legacy. KF

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: kindly take a moment to read the clip above on the famous trade secret of paleontology remark.

    Done. Now when you read it in context, it’s clear he is talking about change at the species level as observed in the fossil record. From the same chapter by Gould:

    Eldredge and I believe that speciation is responsible for almost all evolutionary change. Moreover, the way in which it occurs virtually guarantees that sudden appearance and stasis shall dominate the fossil record. All major theories of speciation maintain that splitting takes place rapidly in very small isolated populations…

    What should the fossil record include if most evolution occurs by speciation in peripheral isolates? Species should be static through their range because our fossil are the remains of the large central population. In any local area inhabited by ancestors, a descendant species should appear suddenly by migration from the peripheral region in which it evolved.

    So when someone implies that Gould did not recognize fossil intermediates between larger groups, that is simply not a correct reading of Gould’s position.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, it is quite clear that the gaps are real and the links are inferred. More centrally, there is no observationally established blind watchmaker mechanism adequate to provide origin of body plans. Beyond, punctuated equilibria as your just cited gives, is a theory of speciational invisibility (already a telling result) and so it tends to underscore the issue of observational gaps at species level and up. Gould plainly infers adequate mechanisms exist, as I have cited. But where are they and what observational warrant shows sufficient capability to account for body plans. KF

  64. 64
    Mung says:

    Zachriel, I have pretty much every book Gould ever wrote.

    What do you claim is being quote-mined?

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: it is quite clear that the gaps are real and the links are inferred.

    That’s immaterial to whether Gould’s views were properly represented by the quote-mine.

    Mung: What do you claim is being quote-mined?

    @15

  67. 67
    Mung says:

    Understanding the origin of animal body plans has been a longstanding issue in evolutionary biology, ever since Darwin struggled to reconcile his theory with the early fossil record of animals.

    Another creationist quote-mine?

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02542.html

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