Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Few Observations About Evolution

[a video clip from a fellow blogger]



Spike said...

Another bullshit line of argument. For a full discussion about the horrible things creationists do to innocent words see here [].

natschuster said...

While where on the subject of fraud, I have an interesting example. In the nineteenth century, a man named Haeckel developed the theory of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. This means that an organism goes though its entire reproductive history during fetal development. He produced a famous series of drawings to illustrate this point. He eventually admitted to falsifiying the drawings. They are basically fraudulent. Recapitulation theory has been almost completely repudiated. The problem is that the same series of fraudulent drawings can be found in any biology textbook, including the ones I teach from. These books are written by scientists. So it looks like the scientists are deliberately perpetrating a fraud on the public.

natschuster said...

I found this interesting quote from Stephen Jay Gould on recapitulation theory.

"We do, I think have the right to be both astonished and ashamed by the century of mindless recycling that has led to the persistence of these drawings in a large number, if not the majority, of modern textbooks!"

"Abscheulich! Atrocious!" Natural History (March, 2000) 42-49, 44-46.

Spike said...

Can you list the textbooks you are using and their publishing date, please?

jewish philosopher said...

If any of the quotations in this video clip are inaccurate or misleading I will immediately delete the post.

Regarding Haeckel's embryos, believe it or not the drawing appears on page 28 of "What Evolution Is" by Ernst Mayr copy write 2001. And Mayr was truly an evolutionary biologist who contributed a great deal to the modern theory.

I have personally found that the best evolutionist literature seems to be much more riddled with fallacy and deception than the better creationist literature. (I wonder if Cameron writes some of it??) But no one cares, because evolution is a fact since it doesn't involve God and creationism is false because it does involve God, so who cares about little details?

Spike said...

1st quote of the video:

"The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change"

What Dr. Gould actually wrote was, "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." (Natural History 86:22, 1977). This is a prime example of an out of context quote, carefully chosen to be misleading. I can go on if you like, but given that the very first quote is misleading, the rest are unlikely to be any better.

Spike said...

* Evolutionary theory is not founded on Haeckel's observations or theories. Haeckel's work was discredited in the 19 th century, and has not been relevant to biology since the rediscovery of Mendel's laws of genetics. That the biogenetic law is false has been the consensus of biologists for over 100 years, and developmental biologists have been working constructively to provide alternative explanations, which have so far all been evolutionary in nature.
* The similarities between vertebrate embryos are real. We must distinguish between observations of those similarities and hypotheses about their causes. The similarities are not in doubt; there are worthwhile studies of the degree and timing of the similarities, but none that question their overall existence.
* Evidence for common descent lies in the unity of form and process. We do not use Haeckel's outmoded, invalid mechanism to argue for evolution. Instead, we look at the marvelous convergence of disparate organisms on common principles: all animals use the same genes to define regions of their bodies, all vertebrates build their faces by unlikely rearrangements of odd pharyngeal protrusions, and even tailless mammals like us have to start with tailed embryos. The best explanation for these phenomena is that they are a consequence of a common heritage.

Mayr discusses Haeckel's dictum of "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and points out that embryos do not pass through the adult stages of ancestral forms, but that certain structures are retained in development as being necessary to embryonic organization. This passage from Mayr informs the reader that modern embryological understanding of the causes of early embryological similarities in vertebrates differs significantly from both Von Baer and Haeckel. The caption for the image also notes the fraudulent nature of the images.

natschuster said...

her are some examples of textbooks that have the pictures:

Living Environment: Biology
Rick Hallman Amsco 2000

Biology, The Study of Life
William Schraer Herbert J. Stoltze PhD. Prentice Hall 1995

Biologia (Spanish)
Kenneth Miller PhD. Joseph Levie PhD.
Prentice Hall 2004

All these books mention recapitulation theory as support for evolution.

jewish philosopher said...

Gould's statement, even taken in toto, would still seem to contradict a foundation of Darwinism, that all life developed gradually from one form to the next. Darwin wrote in Origin of Species Chapter 10: “New species have appeared very slowly, one after another, both on the land and in the waters.” And “The process of modification must be extremely slow.”

Regarding the embryos, Mayr does qualify the argument from embryology, but still includes it together with the old diagram. Could we call this a vestigial argument??

Spike said...

No, evolution has two foundations: 1) Natural selection and 2) Random mutation, both operating on populations. Introducing gradualism is a further constraint that need not apply, and was strongly argued against by Gould. However, he still argued that evolution occurred, just not in the precise way the gradualists thought. Darwin was occasionally wrong in the specifics, and science has travelled an enormous distance in the 150ish years since the theory came up. Darwin is not a prophet, and can be critised, but the two main points upon which the theory of evolution was formed, being natural selection and random mutation have been shown again and again to be correct. See here [, pdf] for a (slightly) more in depth argument of current science and its relationship with creationism.

The quote used against Gould was misleading, and was intended as such.

jewish philosopher said...

According to my dictionary, "evolution" means "A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form."

If scientists have now decided that this is not what happened then, for the sake of clarity, they must change the theory's name.

In fact, the name "evolution" is always used by atheists because for something very complex to develop very, very slowly all by itself seems somehow reasonable to the average person. To change the name to "revolution" or "multi-revolution theory" would sound blatantly absurd to the general public, and I think rightly so.

DrJ said...

Nat said:
"So it looks like the scientists are deliberately perpetrating a fraud on the public."
If you're so inclined to disbelieve the scientists and dismiss their scientific method as conspiracy, than there is no point in discussion. You might as well throw away your antibiotics and cellular phones, devices which are based on baseless unproven theories intentionally being promoted by those scheming scientists. Invisible waves that penetrate walls? Invisible organisms causing disease? Just a bunch of nonsense designed to disprove God.

On the other hand, I think that George Carlin, in one of his routines, referred to religion and God as being the biggest con job that man has ever perpetrated. An invisible, all knowing, all powerful man in the sky, who loves you, but needs your money and prayers!!

Spike said...

Oh, your dictionary says so? Well, isn't that just dandy. We can tell all the scientists to stop work, the dictionary has the answer. Dick.

Spike said...

To expand, the kind of infinite gradualism that you seem so enamoured of is ridiculous. Gould is arguing against such, if I read him correctly, and may well be swinging too far the other way. However, this is just a minor disagreement in how we expect evolution to have acted on past populations.

jewish philosopher said...

The way I understand this video clip is that the speaker is pointing out that many scientists, perhaps most experts in field, have actually discarded Darwinian evolution and today support catastrophism and possibly even Lamarckism. This does not mean that most scientists are creationists. However it does mean that there are major disagreements among scientists today about the validity of evolution; not just a little detail here or there, but the entire concept.

As far as I can tell, what scientists do agree upon is:
Terrestrial life has existed for billions of years.
Life in earlier eras was different than it is today.
Life in earlier eras was generally less diverse and complex than in later eras. Therefore we can reasonably speculate that all life originated from one common ancestor, probably a bacterium.

However to say more than that about the “overwhelming evidence” and “universal acceptance by scientists” of “Darwinian evolution” is incorrect and deceptive. It’s atheistic propaganda. That’s the point of this post.

DrJ, I'm curious about why it is that atheists constantly promote scientists as being unquestionably honest because they invented cell phones. Are politicians unquestionably honest because they arrange the trash removal?

natschuster said...


I don't accuse scientusts of lying unless I see the proof with my own eyes. And that is the case here. And I don't usually tka eissue with scientists on their statremtns of facts, just te interpertation. I don't question the fact that scientistd have discovered fossils, just the conclusions that the scientists draw.

DrJ said...

"DrJ, I'm curious about why it is that atheists constantly promote scientists as being unquestionably honest because they invented cell phones. Are politicians unquestionably honest because they arrange the trash removal?"

Individual scientists can be unethical like anybody else. But the scientific method as applied by a whole scientific community would be hard pressed to perpetuate a fraud. Since there is open debate, freedom of expression, and the ability to retest others' assertions, there is an intrinsic integrity in the system. Its fallible, not 100% correct, but pretty good, and when it makes mistakes it discovers and corrects them.

Furthermore, whatever the ultimate "truth" may be, science simply works! It has a proven track record, in the past 150 years, in discovering the nature of our reality, and then being able to apply those truths for practical applications. I don't know how evolution could ever be "practical" in that sense, but overall, scientific achievement speaks for itself and attests to its ability to discover "truth", to the best of our ability.

Maybe religion or more specifically Judaism has a track record in other realms, such as morality or social health, but it can't match science for discovering the physical nature of our existence.

" don't accuse scientusts of lying unless I see the proof with my own eyes. And that is the case here. And I don't usually tka eissue with scientists on their statremtns of facts, just te interpertation. I don't question the fact that scientistd have discovered fossils, just the conclusions that the scientists draw."

It's of course your right to reject scientist's conclusions--after all we're talking about inductive reasoning--but your alernative explanation, whatever it is with all due respect, should be better and more logical at explaining what we see out there. Maybe we can't directly observe speciation at this point in time, just like we weren't able to directly observe Einstein's predictions until recently. The evidence was indirect put eventually the theory was put to the test to make predictions. Eventually this will be the case with evolution as well.

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, I think that's what is happening today. Just like Freud was finally declared a fraud, although it took decades, Darwin is finally being discarded in favor of catastrophism. That's the point of this clip - the consipiracy is finally being broken.

Spike said...

More bullshit.

1) At least 3 of the quotes in the video are from creationists, and at least one of the others is from a minor clerk at the british museum in the 19th century.

2) Have you come across Project Steve?

3) Catastrophism is entirely different from declaring that populations may change on a more rapid timescale than the incrediably slow gradualism you seem strangely enamoured of, particularly when compared to geological timescales. Disagreement over the exact time taken to evolve new species need not be taken to mean that one of the parties is a strict gradualist, and the other a catastrophist.

jewish philosopher said...

The video says in the beginning "mostly evolutionists".

OK, catastrophism is the new evolution. I guess it's like 50 is the new 30, or something.

DrJ said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of catastrophism is that it is primarily a geological/cosmological explanation of mass extinctions, but it does not directly address the mechanisms of formation of new species. It is not a theory of the origin of life or species. It seems to me that it complements or refines evolutionary theory, but does not contradict it.

jewish philosopher said...

Catastrophism seems to generally include the idea that the earth and life on it have changed suddenly in the past, perhaps many times in the past. Evolution is basically the opposite. My impression is that paleontologists, looking at the fossils, tend to be catastrophists while biologists, trying to understand a mechanism for change, tend to be evolutionists. There is even a book out about the conflict between Gould the paleontologist and Dawkins the biologist.

Antipelagian said...

I saw you linked my vid...thanks.

Just to let people know, that quote from Gould was not to imply he didn't believe in evolution...

...rather, that he believed in evolution in spite of the facts (sounds like faith to me). In fact he helped create a theory to "explain" why there isn't evidence for gradual evolution: Punctuated Equilibria.

Unfortunately, this still ought to provide us with transitional fossils. As of yet: still none.

Evolutionists, feel free to accuse me of quote mining...but please work on understanding the implications of what Gould said.

What Gould did, and what other unbelievers are doing is suppressing the Truth with lies. Your blind faith in science will not provide you an excuse in the end.

In Christ,

jewish philosopher said...

Thank you very much for making the video clip and I have just given you credit for it.

Jorgon Gorgon said...

Antipelagian: "Unfortunately, this still ought to provide us with transitional fossils. As of yet: still none."

Hence, I will not accuse you of quote-mining. A simple charge of lying would be quite sufficient, since many "transitinal fossils" have been found and described in great detail. See Prothero's "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters", for a good overview; specific papers can be found on the interwebz.

jewish philosopher said...

Sure, if you arbitrarily decide that any two fossils are transitional.

If you go to the city dump, dig to the oldest layer which is 150 years old and you'll find a wagon. Go to the top layer and you'll find a car. In between you'll find a Model T Ford. Wow, a transitional vehicle! This proves the wagon developed into a car!