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Whoops! Why humans aren’t apes: Professor Coyne’s own goal


Over at Why Evolution Is True, Professor Jerry Coyne has written a post mocking an anthropologist for claiming that human beings aren’t apes. Not only is Coyne’s reasoning muddle-headed, but his biology is embarrassingly wrong. Heck, even I could spot his mistakes – and I’m not a scientist.

The anthropologist who has had the temerity to declare that humans are not apes is Professor Jonathan Marks, who teaches biological anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In an article on his PopAnth blog titled, Are we apes? No, we are humans, Marks insists that we are related to apes: “indeed,” he writes, “we are closer to a chimpanzee than that chimpanzee is to an orangutan” and “we know that our DNA is over 98% identical to that of a chimpanzee” – but he goes on to argue that “ancestry is not the same as identity.” Marks acknowledges that we fall phylogenetically within the group that we call “apes,” but he points out that we also fall phylogenetically within the group that we call “fish” – and yet nobody would think of calling us fish. “To call us ‘apes’ or ‘fish’ because our ancestry resides among those organisms is a trivial statement about how those categories are artificially constructed, not a profound revelation about our natural identity,” writes Marks.

(All emphases below are mine – VJT.)

Coyne’s embarrassing error

And it is here, in his critical review of Marks’ article, that Professor Coyne comes a cropper. In response to Marks’ argument that since a coelacanth is more closely related to us than it is to a trout, we therefore “fall within the category that encompasses both coelacanths and trout, namely, fish,” Coyne fires back:

Yes, but that’s not the same thing as saying that we fall phylogenetically with the group that we call fish. In fact we don’t (see below)…

Well, “bony fish” are in the superclass Osteichthyes, to which we don’t belong, but we do belong to the class Sarcoptrygii (sic), which are descendants of early fish, a group that include tetrapods.

The problem here is that Coyne’s own sources contradict him – and at least one senior evolutionary biologist does, as well. The Wikipedia article on Sarcopterygii, which he cites, states, “The Sarcopterygii … or lobe-finned fish … constitute a clade (traditionally a class or subclass) of the bony fish” (i.e. Osteichthyes), adding that “a strict cladistic view includes the terrestrial vertebrates” within the Sarcopterygii. The Wikipedia article on Osteichthyes confirms this by declaring that “the common ancestor of all Osteichthyes includes tetrapods amongst its descendants.” While the Osteichthyes were once considered a class, they are now regarded as a superclass, consisting of two classes: Actinopterygii, or ray-finned fishes, and Sarcopterygii, or lobe-finned fish – a group which on a strict cladistic view “includes the terrestrial vertebrates.”

So to sum up: contra Coyne, human beings do belong to the superclass Osteichthyes (bony fish) as well as the class of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish). Hence Marks is quite correct in saying that we fall phylogenetically with the group that we call fish – or more precisely, bony fish. Bony fish, in turn, belong to the subphylum known as vertebrates (or Vertebrata): “Vertebrates include the jawless fish and the jawed vertebrates, which includes the cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays) and the bony fish. A bony fish clade known as the lobe-finned fishes is included with tetrapods, which are further divided into amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds.”

It gets worse for poor Professor Coyne. Evolutionary biologist P.Z. Myers openly declares in Ray Comfort’s movie, Evolution vs. God, that “Human beings are still fish” (6:28). When an incredulous Ray Comfort echoes, “Human beings are fish?”, Myers calmly responds, “Why yes, of course they are.” Commenting on the interview with Ray Comfort, Myers declares that “we humans are derived fish.” Finally, in a recent post in response to Professor Jonathan Marks, Myers quotes Professor Marks’ remark:

On the other hand, we also fall phylogenetically within the group that we call “fish.” That is to say, a coelacanth is more closely related to us than it is to a trout. So we fall within the category that encompasses both coelacanths and trout, namely, fish.

and comments:

Yes! He almost has it!

He then goes on to chide Marks for “failure,” for refusing to accept this conclusion. I shall return to Myers’ arguments below. Suffice it for now to note that P.Z. Myers’ own testimony amply refutes Professor Jerry Coyne’s claim that humans are not phylogenetically classified as bony fish. Clearly, they are. As a biologist, Coyne really should have known that.

So, are we apes or not?

Marks elaborates on his argument that we are not apes, but ex-apes, in a TEDx talk (given in 2012) titled, You are not an ape! In the course of his address, Marks humorously contrasts a statement from Jerry Coyne’s best-seller, Why Evolution Is True, with a statement from evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson in his classic work, The Meaning of Evolution (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1949). Writes Coyne:

We are apes descended from other apes, and our closest cousin is the chimpanzee, whose ancestors diverged from our own several million years ago in Africa. These are indisputable facts.

However, Simpson declared the precise opposite:

“It is not a fact that man is an ape.”

Marks explains the apparent contradiction by pointing out that a few decades ago, back in Simpson’s day, scientists were unwilling to make the leap of logic from “Our ancestors were apes” to “We are apes,” whereas scientists today seem to be much more willing to take that step. The change has been largely driven by what Marks calls “twenty years of geno-hype” – that is, “the rhetorical excesses that accompanied the human genome project,” which have given rise to the myth that your DNA is the most important thing about you. However, a comparison of genomes, argues Marks, is a one-dimensional comparison; whereas bodies, on the other hand, are four-dimensional objects. We can’t really explain “how you make a four-dimensional body out of a one-dimensional set of instructions.” The problem here is not a technical but a conceptual one: units of heredity (genes) simply don’t map onto units of the body (e.g. elbows). Marks concludes by posing the question: “Are you just your ancestry?” – a question he answers with an emphatic “No!” We are not peasants, just because our ancestors were; and by the same token, we are not apes, just because our ancestors were. We are fundamentally different from chimpanzees, avers Marks: “We communicate differently, … and quite frankly, we’re driving them to extinction, not vice versa.” These things don’t show up in the DNA, but they’re arguably more important than the things that do show up in the DNA. While our ancestors were apes, we are ex-apes. Ultimately, the reason why the notion that we are apes has recently gained popularity, suggests Marks, is a cultural one: it gives us “one more weapon with which to bludgeon the creationists.” At the conclusion of his talk, Marks warns it’s a bad idea to be so preoccupied with attacking the creationists that you’re willing to say things that are simply wrong.

Humans and apes: What did George Gaylord Simpson actually say?

After listening to Professor Marks’ speech, the first thing I decided to check out was whether he had represented George Gaylord Simspon’s views correctly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access Simpson’s classic work, The Meaning of Evolution, online, but I did come across Simple Curiosity; Letters from George Gaylord Simpson to His Family, 1921-1970 (edited by Leo F. Laporte, University of California Press, 1987). In a letter to his sister, written in London in August 1927, Simpson declared himself a staunch human supremacist who considered himself infinitely above the apes, despite his embrace of evolution and his rejection of religion:

… I do get fed up with people who talk about about (sic) the degrading effect of the theory, or rather the fact, that man’s descended from the apes. The great contribution of the theory to human thought is, quite unlike what is thought, that it shows man’s infinite superiority to the lower animals. Everyone know that what we earn is more precious & less likely to be squandered than what is given to us. Our humanity, our character of being human beings, has been earned by the handicaps & battles of a hundred thousand generations. It wasn’t given to us by a gentleman in a long beard. We fought for it & it’s up to us to keep it. We aren’t poor silly weaklings who couldn’t even keep Yahweh from foreclosing his mortgage on our garden, we’re Men who’ve made ourselves such and raised ourselves above the brutes. We’re not on the way down, but on the way up. We didn’t inherit our wealth, we earned it by the sweat of our brows. Because we were once apes is the more reason for not acting like apes now that we are men. (p. 110)

So George Gaylord Simpson, who has been called the greatest paleontologist since Georges Cuvier and the most influential natural historian of the twentieth century, didn’t agree with the view that we are apes, even though he unhesitatingly affirmed that we are descended from apes.

What of Coyne’s and Myers’ arguments that we are apes?

But what, it will be asked, are we to make of Professor Jerry Coyne’s and Professor P.Z. Myers’ arguments that we are apes? Let’s look at Coyne’s arguments first:

If you look up the family Hominidae, you’ll see that it includes all the “great apes”: orangutans, chimps (both common chimps and bonobos), gorillas, and humans. In other words, we are “great apes”. We are also “hominids”, a term once used to refer to every species on “our” side of the evolutionary tree since we diverged from the ancestors of the other apes, but now hominids refers to all the hominidae, and the former “hominid” is now “hominin“. (You can see the full phylogenetic placement of our species here.) Finally, we are in the more inclusive superfamily Hominoidea, which are all apes, including the great apes and the gibbons.

Saying that we are not apes is like saying that Drosophila are not flies (dipterans). It’s just dumb, and somehow meant to set us apart from other great apes. Yes, we do have unique traits, but we’re still in the family of hominids. And, contra Marks, that does not mean that we are our ancestors. It means we share a common ancestor that lived in the past.

There are three glaring problems with the foregoing account.

First of all, Coyne simply assumes that the family of hominids (to which humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans all belong) should be called “great apes,” without providing any justification for this assumption.

The point I wish to make here is that the word “ape” is not a scientific term, but a “folk” term in our ordinary language. As such, its meaning is determined by the people who use it, rather than by a privileged class of experts. Since popular usage distinguishes human beings from apes, it follows that we are not apes.

Second, I should point out that the term “hominid” was originally defined by scientists themselves as the family to which humans belong; the great apes were placed in a separate family of their own: Pongidae. For example, my Concise Oxford Dictionary (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990) defines the term “hominid” as “any member of the primate family Hominidae, including humans and their fossil ancestors.” No mention here of apes! This was once the customary usage of the term “hominid.” It was only when molecular evidence showed that human and chimpanzee DNA are 98% similar that scientists decided that humans and great apes should be classed in the same family. Pongidae became an obsolete primate primate taxon. Now, I would not contest for a minute that scientists had every right to reclassify humans, chimps, gorillas and orangutans in the same family: hominids. What I do deny is that scientists have the right to call this family “great apes.” That’s for the people to decide, not scientists. For it is the people who own the term “ape.”

As for “hominoids” – a term that now includes humans, great apes (chimps , gorillas and orangutans) and gibbons – the simple fact is that there never was a common name corresponding to this scientific term. Indeed, Dr. John R. Grehan, former Director of Science and Research Buffalo Museum of Science, in an article titled, “Primate Taxonomy,” in 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook (edited by H. James Birx), defines the term “hominoid” as follows: “Hominoids comprise humans, great apes, and lesser apes” (p. 620). Yet Dr. Grehan has no problem with common descent – indeed, he repeatedly affirms it in his article. Hence for Professor Coyne to equate “hominoids” with “apes” is a move that has no linguistic precedent. Once again, Coyne is displaying the impertinence of a scientist trying to mold ordinary human language into the form he thinks it should possess. He has no right to do that. Ordinary language belongs to the people. I say: let them decide what they want the term “ape” to mean.

Third, Coyne’s argument overlooks the very awkward fact that until recently, evolutionary scientists used to deny that human beings were descended from apes. Indeed, I can remember it being drummed into me by my high school science teachers, from Grade 7 onwards, that the theory of evolution does not teach that humans are descended from apes; rather, what it teaches is that humans and apes have a common ancestor. Thus PBS, in its Evolution Library, features a 2001 Web page titled, Frequently Asked Questions About Evolution: Where We Came From, which states:

1. Did we evolve from monkeys?

Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn’t evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees. Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids.

The science in the above passage is a little out-of-date, as humans are now believed to be closer to chimps than gorillas are. Nevertheless, the writer of the article was well aware that humans are closer to chimps than orangutans are – and yet this fact did not cause him/her to reclassify humans as “apes.” Evidently the writer, like Professor Jonathan Marks, viewed humans as ex-apes. And why not?

Likewise, a Webpage by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, titled, Introduction to Human Evolution (last updated 2015-11-02), states:

Humans and the great apes (large apes) of Africa — chimpanzees (including bonobos, or so-called “pygmy chimpanzees”) and gorillas — share a common ancestor that lived between 8 and 6 million years ago.

Once again, humans are distinguished from the “great apes (large apes) of Africa,” with whom they are said to share a common ancestor.

I now turn to Professor P.Z. Myers’ post. Myers quotes a lengthy passage from Jonathan Marks, pointing out the vast behavioral differences between humans and chimpanzees, as well as the fact that human cells (which have 46 chromosomes) can be readily distinguished from the cells of apes (which have 48). Myers comments:

He’s confusing species with higher levels of the taxonomic hierarchy, that is, the leaves for the branches. If he’s going to take that attitude, there are no apes anywhere — there is no single species we’d call “apes”. Chimpanzees could similarly protest that they aren’t apes, they have a set of characteristics that distinguish them from those other apes, gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Gorillas could announce that they are Gorilla gorilla gorillia (sic), not some damn dirty ape like chimps or humans or orangutans. And so on.

Of course we’re apes. We’re members of a broad group of related animals, and we call that taxonomic group the apes. What he’s doing is similar to if I declared that I’m not human, I’m an American — rejecting affiliation with a general category to claim exclusive membership to a subcategory.

What’s wrong with Myers’ first paragraph is that it assumes that all morphological changes are equal. Chimpanzees do indeed have a set of traits distinguishing them from the ancestor they share with human beings. But by any sensible measure, humans are anatomically far more unlike chimpanzees than chimpanzees are unlike gorillas or orangutans.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a picture (courtesy of Wikipedia) showing the hominoids, standing side by side. It’s pretty easy to see that humans look very dissimilar to the great apes:

And here’s another picture, showing frontal views of a human skeleton and a gorilla skeleton. Not so similar, are they?

Finally, Charles Darwin himself was well aware that human beings had evolved to a much greater degree than their simian cousins, and in his Descent of Man, he wrestled with the question of how human beings out to be classified:

As far as differences in certain important points of structure are concerned, man may no doubt rightly claim the rank of a Sub-order; and this rank is too low, if we look chiefly to his mental faculties. Nevertheless, under a genealogical point of view it appears that this rank is too high, and that man ought to form merely a Family, or possibly even only a Sub-family. If we imagine three lines of descent proceeding from a common source, it is quite conceivable that two of them might after the lapse of ages be so slightly changed as still to remain as species of the same genus; whilst the third line might become so greatly modified as to deserve to rank as a distinct Sub-family, Family, or even Order. But in this case it is almost certain that the third line would still retain through inheritance numerous small points of resemblance with the other two lines. Here then would occur the difficulty, at present insoluble, how much weight we ought to assign in our classifications to strongly-marked differences in some few points, — that is to the amount of modification undergone; and how much to close resemblance in numerous unimportant points, as indicating the lines of descent or genealogy. The former alternative is the most obvious, and perhaps the safest, though the latter appears the most correct as giving a truly natural classification.

(Darwin, C. R. 1871. The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray. Volume 1. 1st edition. Scanned by John van Wyhe in 2006. Chapter VI, p. 195.)

As for the assertion in Myers’ second paragraph quoted above – that Professor Marks’s argument is similar to someone’s declaring that he’s not human, but an American – Myers’ parallel argument falls flat on one very simple point: you don’t acquire any fundamentally new abilities – such as the ability to speak, perform mathematical reasoning, or remember the story of your life (none of which a chimp can do) when you become an American. Compared to the mental Rubicon we crossed in the process of becoming human – whether it happened slowly or very quickly is beside the point here – the acquisition of American citizenship is a relatively minor change.

As we have seen, Marks argues that just as I wouldn’t call myself a peasant just because my ancestors were peasants, likewise I shouldn’t call myself an ape just because my ancestors were apes. I have to say that I don’t think this argument works, either. I still share many physical traits with the apes, with whom I share a common ancestry; on this point, Myers is correct. However, as far as I can tell, I don’t share any distinctive traits with my peasant ancestors.

Finally, in response to Professor Marks’ argument that he is not a fish, because he can read and fish can’t, P.Z. Myers retorts:

Jonathan Marks: go back to school and learn some cladistics. You don’t identify a clade by autapomorphies, or traits that are novel to a species, like reading. It’s like declaring that zebrafish have horizontal stripes, and fish don’t have stripes, therefore they are not fish. It’s stupid on multiple levels.

It hardly needs pointing out that Jonathan Marks is not a cladist: he doesn’t believe in categorizing organisms based on shared derived characteristics that can be traced to a group’s most recent common ancestor. As he writes in his essay, Are we apes? No, we are humans:

We reject the simple equation of ancestry with identity in other contexts. Why should we accept it in science? The short answer is that we shouldn’t.

One reader who commented on Professor Marks’ article perceptively summed up the problem with cladistics:

Evolution is descent with modification. Cladistics emphasizes descent. But some of these modifications are so profoundly game-changing (e.g symbolic communication) that it’s useful to collectively refer to groups that lack them but share ancestral characteristics even if the group is paraphyletic (grade). For example, prokaryotes are paraphyletic but few would have a problem referring to them collectively, and fewer still would say that eukaryotes are archaea.

Since Marks disagrees so fundamentally with cladistics in its approach to human identity, Myers’ suggestion that Marks should go back to school and study it, completely misses the point. The real question is whether my identity is determined more by what happened to my ancestors before they diverged from the line leading to chimpanzees, or by what happened to my ancestors after they diverged from the chimpanzee lineage. For my part, I would wholeheartedly agree with Professor Marks that it is the latter changes that truly constitute my identity as a human being. And I think that any person of good sense would share my view.

I’ll give the last word to anthropologist John Hawks. In his 2012 article, Humans aren’t monkeys. We aren’t apes, either, he attacks what he calls the “canard” that “humans are apes”:

My children can tell what an ape is. I work very hard to tell them why apes are different than monkeys. When they see a chimpanzee in a zoo, and other parents are telling their kids, “Look at the monkey!”, my children say, “That’s not a monkey, it’s an ape!”…

Chimpanzees are apes. Gorillas are apes, as are bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons. We routinely differentiate the “great apes” from the “lesser apes”, where the latter are gibbons and siamangs. Humans are not apes. Humans are hominoids, and all hominoids are anthropoids. So are Old World monkeys like baboons and New World monkeys like marmosets. All of us anthropoids. But humans aren’t monkeys.

What’s the difference?

“Ape” is an English word. It is not a taxonomic term. English words do not need to be monophyletic. French, German, Russian, and other languages do not have to accord with English ways of splitting up animals. Taxonomy is international – everywhere, we recognize that humans are hominoids…

We shouldn’t smuggle taxonomic principles into everyday language to make a political argument. That’s what “humans are apes” ultimately is – it’s an argument that we aren’t as great as we think we are. Whether humans are special or not should be derived from biology; I don’t think we need to make the argument by applying Orwellian coercion to the meanings of English words. Biologists control taxonomic terminology, and that’s where science should aim. I don’t think I’m being old-fashioned, nor am I promoting the idea that humans aren’t part of the primate phylogeny. I’m only promoting the idea that we use taxonomy for its intended purpose, and not insist that English do the job instead.

We aren’t apes. And it’s OK to teach your children that chimpanzees are apes, not monkeys. Because that’s what I do.

What do readers think?

Mapou - subtle difference. You don't mind having 98% genetic identity with an ape. If it is true, neither do I. However others are saying "I don't mind actually being an ape". As you correctly state, the difference is soul/spirit. It amazes me how many people think a translation to "image" from the Hebrew in "made in God's image" means bodily form. It is clearly spirit. This is verified by other Scripture: "God is Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth" That is the difference between us and animals - we have spirit like God's rather than just biologic material things. Anyone who is honest with themselves knows this. Dr JDD
I am a Christian and it does not bother me if I share 98% of my DNA sequences with apes. I believe apes are superbly and awesomely designed animals. What makes a human being much more than an ape, however, is his or her spirit. This is the real reason for the exceptionalism of humans. This is why we aspire to go to the moon, build airplanes and computers. This is why we are infatuated with beauty, music and the arts. All of these things are forever beyond the grasp of an ape. Why? it's because the ape is just a soul-less meat robot, regardless of how conscious they may appear to us. Our future robots will appear just as conscious and emotional as animals. Many people will demand that they deserve to be treated like humans. Mapou
The reason someone has no problem with being an ape is it justifies to themselves the idea that they can absolve themselves of their sin and couldn't possibly be held to account for their thoughts and deeds. After all, they are just an ape. Dr JDD
Vy, +1:) Meatbag of purposeless chemicals lol. ppolish
supplemental note to post 49:
Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language - December 19, 2014 Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,, (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, "The mystery of language evolution," Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).) It's difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/12/leading_evoluti092141.html
I have no problem with being an ape.
SHOCKA! Yeah, that's a given in Darwinism. I'm sure you have no problem with being a useless meatbag of purposeless chemicals.
Besides, this has nothing to do with taxonomy. It’s all about human exceptionalism
Meatbag, really? That's all you got?
which leaves the same bad taste in the mouth
There are things for that and they don't cost much.
where one group of people believe themselves to be better than all the rest because of their skin color or nationality or faith or whatever.
Ah, such a nice description of Dawkinian Atheopaths. Vy
The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals - Michael Egnor - November 5, 2015 Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals. Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different -- ontologically different -- from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,, It is a radical difference -- an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2100661.html
bornagain: I must also assume, since you did not contest the evidence I presented, that you also agree with me on the fact that the fossil record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinism as Darwinists would like it to be. Don't assume too much. But glad we agree there are still notochords. There are still monkeys too! Zachriel
I am glad that you agree with me. I must also assume, since you did not contest the evidence I presented, that you also agree with me on the fact that the fossil record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinism as Darwinists would like it to be. Thanks for honestly conceding that point. There might be an ounce of honesty in you yet. bornagain
bornagain: Such a flippant remark by you is characteristic of your obstinate refusal to honestly address the evidence on its own merits and to continually try to ‘spin’ the evidence to a Darwinian narrative even though you know full well it does fit that story. We were agreeing with you! You said notochords were still around today. Indeed they are! Human embryos develop notochords at about three weeks. http://discovery.lifemapsc.com/library/review-of-medical-embryology/chapter-19-week-3-of-development-the-notochord-neural-tube-and-allantois Zachriel
Zachriel, you state: "You had one once, but you outgrew it." Such a flippant remark by you is characteristic of your obstinate refusal to honestly address the evidence on its own merits and to continually try to 'spin' the evidence to a Darwinian narrative even though you know full well it does fit that story. This is not politics Zach, and you are not Bill and Hillary Clinton In this case it is the stasis of the fossil record that you refuse to honestly address. The fossil record is, (contrary to what I was taught in grade school and what you constantly push until you are presented evidence to the contrary and then have to lie your way out of it), completely antagonistic to the gradualism that is inherent to Darwinian thought. Namely the fossil record is one of sudden appearance and stasis. This is not only true for the appearance of the first bacterial life on earth as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth, but is also true for the Ediacaran assemblage, the Cambrian explosion, and most importantly, also true for the appearance of different life forms on earth after the Cambrian explosion.
Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013 Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form. Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories. ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,, Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on. Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,, http://phys.org/news/2013-07-scientific-evolution.html In Allaying Darwin's Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short - October 16, 2015 Excerpt: "A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation." - Doug Erwin What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it's ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion). http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/10/in_allaying_dar100111.html disparity [dih-spar-i-tee] noun, plural disparities. 1. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference:
In fact, so deep was the notion of Darwinian gradualism ingrained in my thinking from grade school and the popular media that I was literally blown away when I read Phillip Johnson's "Darwin of Trial" and learned the true state of the fossil record. I must have highlighted half that book. Moreover, the problem for Darwinists with the fossil record since I read Johnson's book has, as the reference I cited illustrates, only become much worse. Here are a few more notes on the subject of the fossil record to help get across, for the unbiased reader, just how severe this problem really is for Darwinists.
“It is hard for us paleontologists, steeped as we are in a tradition of Darwinian analysis, to admit that neo-Darwinian explanations for the Cambrian explosion have failed miserably. New data acquired in recent years, instead of solving Darwin’s dilemma, have rather made it worse. Meyer describes the dimensions of the problem with clarity and precision. His book is a game changer for the study of evolution and points us in the right direction as we seek a new theory for the origin of animals.” -Dr. Mark McMenamin - 2013 Paleontologist at Mt. Holyoke College and author of The Emergence of Animals "The record of the first appearance of living phyla, classes, and orders can best be described in Wright's (1) term as 'from the top down'." (James W. Valentine, "Late Precambrian bilaterians: Grades and clades," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 91: 6751-6757 (July 1994).) "Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record." Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46. In Explaining the Cambrian Explosion, Has the TalkOrigins Archive Resolved Darwin's Dilemma? - JonathanM - May 2012 Excerpt: it is the pattern of morphological disparity preceding diversity that is fundamentally at odds with the neo-Darwinian scenario of gradualism. All of the major differences (i.e. the higher taxonomic categories such as phyla) appear first in the fossil record and then the lesser taxonomic categories such as classes, orders, families, genera and species appear later. On the Darwinian view, one would expect to see all of the major differences in body plan appear only after numerous small-scale speciation events. But this is not what we observe. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/05/has_the_talk-or059171.html "The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line." Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97. Problem 5: Abrupt Appearance of Species in the Fossil Record Does Not Support Darwinian Evolution - Casey Luskin January 29, 2015 Excerpt: Rather than showing gradual Darwinian evolution, the history of life shows a pattern of explosions where new fossil forms come into existence without clear evolutionary precursors. Evolutionary anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz summarizes the problem: "We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus -- full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations. . ."98 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/01/problem_5_abrup091141.html “With the benefit of hindsight, it is amazing that paleontologists could have accepted gradual evolution as a universal pattern on the basis of a handful of supposedly well-documented lineages (e.g. Gryphaea, Micraster, Zaphrentis) none of which actually withstands close scrutiny." Christopher R.C. Paul, “Patterns of Evolution and Extinction in Invertebrates,” K.C. Allen and D.E.G. Briggs, eds., Evolution and the Fossil Record (Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 105. "It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student from Trueman's Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers' Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been 'debunked'. Similarly, my own experience of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.' Dr. Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceonography, University College, Swansea, UK), 'The nature of the fossil record'. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, vol.87(2), 1976,p.132. "The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find' over and over again' not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another." Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager, “The Nature of the Fossil Record,” 87 Proceedings of the British Geological Association 87 (1976): 133. (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK) “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.” G.G.Simpson - one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century "A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth's geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin's hypothetical intermediate variants - instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God." Paleontologist, Mark Czarnecki "There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration. The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps." T. Neville George - Professor of paleontology - Glasgow University, "Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." David Kitts - Paleontologist - D.B. Kitts, Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory (1974), p. 467. "The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists" – Stephen Jay Gould - Harvard "Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? ... The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record." Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin's Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9 "The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be .... We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin's time ... so Darwin's problem has not been alleviated". David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History "In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms." Tom S. Kemp, Fossils and Evolution (New York; Oxford University Press, 1999), 246. - Curator of Zoological Collections “The record certainly did not reveal gradual transformations of structure in the course of time. On the contrary, it showed that species generally remained constant throughout their history and were replaced quite suddenly by significantly different forms. New types or classes seemed to appear fully formed, with no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type.” Peter Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), 187. "The lack of ancestral or intermediate forms between fossil species is not a bizarre peculiarity of early metazoan history. Gaps are general and prevalent throughout the fossil record." R.A. Raff and T.C. Kaufman, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution: The Developmental-Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991), 34. "No one has found any such in-between creatures. This was long chalked up to ‘gaps’ in the fossil records, gaps that proponents of gradualism confidently expected to fill in someday when rock strata of the proper antiquity were eventually located. But all the fossil evidence to date has failed to turn up any such missing links . . . There is a growing conviction among many scientists that these transitional forms never existed." Niles Eldredge, quoted in George Alexander, “Alternate Theory of Evolution Considered,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1978. "Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin’s authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people [i.e., Eldredge] are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument." Colin Patterson to Luther Sunderland, April 10, 1979, quoted in Luther .D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, 4th ed. (El Cajon, CA: Master Book Publishers, 1988), 89. For the first decade after the paper was published, it was the most controversial and hotly argued idea in all of paleontology. Soon the great debate among paleontologists boiled down to just a few central points, which Gould and Eldredge (1977) nicely summarized on the fifth anniversary of the paper’s release. The first major discovery was that stasis was much more prevalent in the fossil record than had been previously supposed. Many paleontologists came forward and pointed out that the geological literature was one vast monument to stasis, with relatively few cases where anyone had observed gradual evolution. If species didn’t appear suddenly in the fossil record and remain relatively unchanged, then biostratigraphy would never work—and yet almost two centuries of successful biostratigraphic correlations was evidence of just this kind of pattern. As Gould put it, it was the “dirty little secret” hidden in the paleontological closet. Most paleontologists were trained to focus on gradual evolution as the only pattern of interest, and ignored stasis as “not evolutionary change” and therefore uninteresting, to be overlooked or minimized. Once Eldredge and Gould had pointed out that stasis was equally important (“stasis is data” in Gould’s words), paleontologists all over the world saw that stasis was the general pattern, and that gradualism was rare—and that is still the consensus 40 years later. Donald Prothero - American paleontologist, geologist, and author who specializes in mammalian paleontology.
bornagain: Funny notochords are still around today also You had one once, but you outgrew it. Zachriel
metaspriggina have 6 gill bars. when most of the modern fish have only 5. so in some traits it more complex then modern fish. a jeep is also an link between a car and a truck. but its prove design and not evolution. mk
There are non-vertebrate fish-like animals now, let alone in the fossil record.
That doesn't mean they evolved into vertebrates. Virgil Cain
Seversky is confused, but it is typical of all evos who refuse to grasp the simple reality tat theirs is the position that claims to have a step-by-step, ie detailed, process for producing life's diversity, not ID. All we are doing is asking them to support their own claims and they get all cowardly and defensive. ID has a step-by-step process for detecting design. That is what we have to support. I doubt Seversky will understand any of that. Virgil Cain
So Seversky, let's see which hypothesis makes more sense for the evidence in hand shall we? The human brain is found to be far, far, more complex than the entire internet combined. You say unguided material processes, all by their lonesome, put that astonishing integrated complexity together. I say God in his infinite wisdom put it together. Which hypothesis best fits the data Seversky? God or unguided material processes?
Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth - November 2010 Excerpt: They found that the brain's complexity is beyond anything they'd imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: ...One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor--with both memory-storage and information-processing elements--than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20023112-247.html The Half-Truths of Materialist Evolution - DONALD DeMARCO - 02/06/2015 Excerpt: but I would like to direct attention to the unsupportable notion that the human brain, to focus on a single phenomenon, could possibly have evolved by sheer chance. One of the great stumbling blocks for Darwin and other chance evolutionists is explaining how a multitude of factors simultaneously coalesce to form a unified, functioning system. The human brain could not have evolved as a result of the addition of one factor at a time. Its unity and phantasmagorical complexity defies any explanation that relies on pure chance. It would be an underestimation of the first magnitude to say that today’s neurophysiologists know more about the structure and workings of the brain than did Darwin and his associates. Scientists in the field of brain research now inform us that a single human brain contains more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! According to Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brain’s complexity is staggering, beyond anything his team of researchers had ever imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief. In the cerebral cortex alone, each neuron has between 1,000 to 10,000 synapses that result, roughly, in a total of 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies! A single synapse may contain 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A synapse, simply stated, is the place where a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another. Phantasmagorical as this level of unified complexity is, it places us merely at the doorway of the brain’s even deeper mind-boggling organization. Glial cells in the brain assist in neuron speed. These cells outnumber neurons 10 times over, with 860 billion cells. All of this activity is monitored by microglia cells that not only clean up damaged cells but also prune dendrites, forming part of the learning process. The cortex alone contains 100,000 miles of myelin-covered, insulated nerve fibers. The process of mapping the brain would indeed be time-consuming. It would entail identifying every synaptic neuron. If it took a mere second to identify each neuron, it would require four billion years to complete the project. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-half-truths-of-materialist-evolution/ "Complexity Brake" Defies Evolution - August 8, 2012 Excerpt: Consider a neuronal synapse -- the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse -- about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years..., even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/08/complexity_brak062961.html
bornagain @ 35
Now if you can just fill in the details of unguided material processes creating vertebrate fishes, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels, I think you just might have yourself a real live bonafide scientific theory there instead of just your unrestrained imagination parading as science.
And if you could just fill in the details of how an unspecified intelligent designer created vertebrate fishes, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels, you just might have yourself a real live bonafide scientific theory instead of just your unrestrained imagination parading as science. What's sauce for the goose... Seversky
Tim, Where are the transitions to vertebrate fish from something non-vertebrate but fish like Are you for real? There are non-vertebrate fish-like animals now, let alone in the fossil record. Lancelets. Lophotroch
Robert Byers @ 16
We are not apes. We are created in gods image and soul smart for that reason.
How do you know God is not an ape? How do you know you are not being blasphemous by denying your hominid kinship? And the whole made in God’s image concept seems problematical anyway. Does that mean that God is humanoid - two arms, two legs, one head, etc? If not physical similarity then what? If God is not physically like us - not an old man with a white beard, wearing white robes - then what is he like - a HAL 9000? If it’s mental similarity, that raises as many questions. God is supposed to be omniscient and omnibenevolent. He sees into the hearts of men and knows their innermost thoughts and loves them all even the most unlovable. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t come anywhere near that sort of mental capacity and I certainly don’t love all people - cats maybe, like Jerry Coyne, but not people. Maybe God is actually feline. Now, there’s a thought. Seversky
I hope I'm not the first one to suggest it, but I believe Coyne should be, how can I put it nicely, not mentioned as an authority anymore. I don't think that his views; of a professor emeritus represent any views at all. I'm more than willing to be corrected if need be. J-Mac
Funny notochords are still around today also
notochord A flexible rodlike structure that is present in the embryos of all chordates and in the adult forms of certain groups, such as the lancelets and hagfishes. The notochord develops into the spinal column in most vertebrates. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/notochord
Zach, perhaps you can walk me through that whole Darwinian evolution thing once again. I'm up to the unguided material processes part. Now if you can just fill in the details of unguided material processes creating vertebrate fishes, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels, I think you just might have yourself a real live bonafide scientific theory there instead of just your unrestrained imagination parading as science.
"The likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability of developing one: a double CCC (chloroquine complexity cluster), 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the entire world in the past 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety (just 2 binding sites being generated by accident) in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable." Michael J. Behe PhD. (from page 146 of his book "Edge of Evolution") "We go from single cell protozoa. which would be ameoba and things like that. Then you get into some that are a little bit bigger, still single cell, and then you get aggregates, they're still individual cells that aggregate together. They don't seem to have much in the way of cooperation,,, but when you really talk about a functioning organism, that has more than just one type of cell, you are talking about a sponge and you can have hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of cells. So we don't really have organisms that function with say two different types of cells, but there is only five total. We don't have anything like that." - Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin - quote taken from 31:00 minute mark of this following video Natural Limits to Biological Change 2/2 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo3OKSGeFRQ
Tom Robbins: Where are the transitions to vertebrate fish from something non-vertebrate but fish like? bornagain: it was a vertebrate fish, right there in the Lower Cambrian! Metaspriggina, a vertebrate without vertebrae, a fish without fins. Zachriel
Metaspriggina has features intermediate between cephalochordates and vertebrates. It directly answers Tom Robbins’ query.
Strange imaginary claim
Excerpt: Metaspriggina (originally named after an Ediacaran species Spriggina but later determined to be unrelated) was earlier thought to be a primitive chordate -- an ancestor of vertebrates. Now, Conway Morris and Caron have examined a hundred more fossils of Metaspriggina and compared them with similar fossils from China and the Burgess Shale. The greater detail seen in the Marble Canyon specimens (thought to be earlier than the Burgess Shale) confirms that this animal was far more than a chordate: it was a vertebrate fish, right there in the Lower Cambrian! Imagine a vertebrate fish, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels: it is so complex compared to what came before, it makes the suddenness and explosive increase in complexity undeniable.,,, This primitive fish displays unambiguous vertebrate features: a notochord, a pair of prominent camera-type eyes, paired nasal sacs, possible cranium and arcualia, W-shaped myomeres, and a post-anal tail. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/08/metaspriggina_v089471.html
Also funny that cephalochordates are still swimming around today
Introduction to the Cephalochordata Excerpt: With about twenty-five species inhabiting shallow tropical and temperate oceans, the Cephalochordata are a very small branch of the animal kingdom. Known as lancelets or as amphioxus (from the Greek for "both [ends] pointed," in reference to their shape), cephalochordates are small, eel-like, unprepossessing animals that spend much of their time buried in sand.,, Today, amphioxus may be extremely common in shallow sandy environments: at Discovery Bay, Jamaica, up to five thousand individuals per square meter of sand have been reported. In some parts of the world, amphioxus are eaten by humans or by domestic animals; they are important food items in some parts of Asia, where they are commercially harvested. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/chordata/cephalo.html
Mung: Zachriel is confusing chordates with vertebrates. Metaspriggina has features intermediate between cephalochordates and vertebrates. It directly answers Tom Robbins' query. Mung: I don’t have a post-anal tail You did. You just outgrew it. Zachriel
Zachriel is confusing chordates with vertebrates. And I don't have a post-anal tail, I must not be a vertebrate. Mung
I'm not surprised that Coyne doesn't fully understand modern evolutionary taxonomy. It is quite a counterintuitive subject, and goes against historical morphological approaches of taxonomy. A great book on the subject is Yoon's Naming Nature, which talks about both the traditional view and the evolutionary view. Interestingly, even though Yoon is an evolutionist she opts for the more traditional taxonomy, saying that it brings people closer to nature rather than, as the evolutionary taxonomy does, create a barrier for people knowing nature. johnnyb
Metaspriggina: Vertebrates Found in Cambrian Explosion - August 29, 2014 Excerpt: Now that some months have passed since the discovery of another rich trove of Cambrian fossils 26 miles from the Burgess Shale, scientists are starting to publish findings from the new Marble Canyon site. One amazing find just published by Simon Conway Morris and Jean-Bernard Caron is putting more bang in the Cambrian explosion.,,, ,,,confirms that this animal was far more than a chordate: it was a vertebrate fish, right there in the Lower Cambrian! Imagine a vertebrate fish, with a skeleton, binocular vision, muscles, nerves, gut and blood vessels: it is so complex compared to what came before, it makes the suddenness and explosive increase in complexity undeniable. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/08/metaspriggina_v089471.html picture - 550 million year old fossil fish - "Most major animal groups appear suddenly in the fossil record 550 million years ago, but vertebrates have been absent from this 'Big Bang' of life. Two fish-like animals from Early Cambrian rocks now fill this gap." "Lower Cambrian Vertebrates from South China" - Nov. 1999 http://www.evolutionnews.org/cambrianfish.jpg Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish What they had actually proved was that Chinese phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times. Because they found sponges and sponge embryos in abundance, researchers are no longer so confident that Precambrian animals were too soft or too small to be preserved. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology,” said Chen. “Before the Cambrian, we should see a number of steps: differentiation of cells, differentiation of tissue, of dorsal and ventral, right and left. But we don’t have strong evidence for any of these.” Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: “No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.” http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm Dr. Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Dilemma – The Significance of Sponge Embryos – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPs8E7y0ySs Half-Billion-Year-Old Heart Found More Complex than Today’s - April 24, 2014 Excerpt: "520 million years ago, the first known animal heart was formed. It was the heart of an ancient shrimp, and quite a heart it was. For it, and its vascular system, have been found to be more complex than that of modern shrimp," http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/articles/2014/04/half-billion-year-old-heart-found-more-complex-today’s?et_cid=3902736&et_rid=653535995&type=cta Complex Arthropod Eyes Found in Early Cambrian - June 2011 Excerpt: Complex eyes with modern optics from an unknown arthropod, more complex than trilobite eyes, have been discovered in early Cambrian strata from southern Australia.,,, Here we report exceptionally preserved fossil eyes from the Early Cambrian (~515 million years ago) Emu Bay Shale of South Australia, revealing that some of the earliest arthropods possessed highly advanced compound eyes, each with over 3,000 large ommatidial lenses and a specialized ‘bright zone’. These are the oldest non-biomineralized eyes known in such detail, with preservation quality exceeding that found in the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang deposits. Non-biomineralized eyes of similar complexity are otherwise unknown until about 85 million years later. The arrangement and size of the lenses indicate that these eyes belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in low light. The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms. They provide further evidence that the Cambrian explosion involved rapid innovation in fine-scale anatomy as well as gross morphology, http://crev.info/content/110629-complex_arthropod_eyes_found_in_early_cambrian "Molecular Clock" Can't Save Darwin from the Cambrian Explosion - October 28, 2015 Excerpt: "Certainly, there are no unequivocal records of crown-group bilaterians prior to the Cambrian, and robust evidence for bilaterian phyla does not occur until some 20 million years into the Cambrian.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/10/molecular_clock100431.html Small Shelly Fossils, and the Length of the Cambrian Explosion – Casey Luskin – October 23, 2013 Excerpt: as Marshall’s own technical writing has made clear. For example, in a 2006 paper in Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Marshall acknowledges that these fossils are of unclear evolutionary affinities and importance. He calls them “largely problematic fossils” that are “hard to diagnose, even at the phylum level.”2 Figure 1 of his paper portrays them as apparently disconnected to the later radiation of Cambrian animals. This impression is reinforced in the text of his article where he notes that the small shelly fossils for the most part are “problematic” organisms of unknown classification:,,, Other authorities agree that these small shelly fossils [SSFs] are of unclear evolutionary significance and affinity. In his book On the Origin of Phyla, James Valentine argues that the SSFs “are very difficult indeed to interpret.”4 Valentine’s 2013 book, The Cambrian Explosion, co-written with Douglas Erwin, notes that “many SSFs are still poorly understood.”5 Simon Conway Morris found them so unimportant that he does not mention them in either of his authoritative books on the Cambrian explosion (Crucible of Creation or Life’s Solution). http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/10/small_shelly_fo078261.html Current Biology Paper's Assumptions and Methodology Dramatically Underestimate "Rates of Change" in the Cambrian Explosion - Casey Luskin - October 31, 2013 Excerpt: paleontologists have recognized that the placement of Kimberella within mollusks is not clear-cut. As Budd and Jensen write: "Kimberella does not possess any unequivocal derived molluscan features, and its assignment to the Mollusca or even the Bilateria must be considered to be unproven." (Budd, Graham E., and Sören Jensen, "A Critical Reappraisal of the Fossil Record of the Bilaterian Phyla," Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 75 (2000): 253-95.) http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/10/current_biology078581.html
Tom Robbins: Where are the transitions to vertebrate fish from something non-vertebrate but fish like? Morris & Caron, A primitive fish from the Cambrian of North America, Nature 2014: "This primitive fish displays unambiguous vertebrate features: a notochord, a pair of prominent camera-type eyes, paired nasal sacs, possible cranium and arcualia, W-shaped myomeres, and a post-anal tail." Zachriel
Mung, great reply, "artificial" classification is key here...Until the supporters of common ancestry can explain why the Cambrian Explosion, was an eruption of all major forms or phyla of life, and that the precursors are ridiculous, even from a staunch Darwinist mindset - but more importantly - what is their IN BETWEEN these major phyla? Where are the transitions to vertebrate fish from something non-vertebrate but fish like? Until that is explained, and until the fossil record being like a film with 99 frames out of 100 missing, it's all just a bedtime story - this is not how life behaves, contemporary or with the evidence we have in the fossil record. Hopeful Monsters = one step closer to a down right creation event... Tom Robbins
Seversky, "I have no problem with being an ape." Good you spoke for yourself ;) EugeneS

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