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The Golden Calf of Evolution is on Fire… report ^ | August 23, 2005

Posted on 08/23/2005 10:39:22 AM PDT by woodb01

The Golden Calf of Evolution is on Fire…

The recent notice that Harvard was going to engage in “advocacy” research (it’s difficult to call the advocacy science) shows how concerned the evolution camp is about the theory of intelligent design.  Contrary to popular myth, the theory of evolution has many holes.  The only way evolution continues to survive is because people don’t actually stop to think about the absurd things that evolution requires one to accept on totally blind faith.

If in fact evolution were truly a science, then according to the scientific method, challenges to the theory of evolution, even a challenge calling itself “intelligent design” would be readily accepted.  The whole notion of science is to put forth a theory, and then work to further develop the theory, or abandon it, based on challenges to discrete aspects of that theory.  Real science not only accepts those challenges, but encourages them to ensure its accuracy.  Evolutionists routinely censor and attack all dissent.

Now why would real scientists be so concerned about “intelligent design?”  Why would prestigious Harvard University commit to invest a million dollars annually in a new program dedicated on the origins of life in relation to evolution?  And as Harvard chemistry professor David Liu noted "My expectation, is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention."

That is an interesting statement from a scientist.  In professional circles, this is called “confirmatory bias” and it is not about science, but about making additional theories fit the predefined outcome that you want them to fit.  It is advocacy “research” and not science.  After all, with evolution, there is no way to test or verify history, so it is routine to just “create” anything you can imagine to fill the void, anything except intelligent design.  Taking their cues from cults, when something doesn’t fit, just make up something that can’t be verified.

The secret of why Darwinists (evolutionists) see intelligent design as a threat is because in its simplest form, it is not only verifiable, but intelligent design is an ideal corollary [FN1] to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Paraphrased that law says:

Any system, on its own, moves from order to disorder, and eventually becomes totally random. 

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is considered an absolute, solid, verified truth in science.  The reason it is considered a “law” in science is because it is said to apply to all matter in the entire universe and in all situations and circumstances.  It has been tested, re-tested, verified, and re-verified and found to be a universal scientific truth.

Why is the Second Law of Thermodynamics Important?

Evolution defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  In plain terms, it expects people to accept, on blind, unverifiable faith, that out of disorder, and through a bunch of accidents, order is created--, disorder becomes order. 

Another way of looking at that would be to think of a deck of cards, carefully shuffled and thrown high in the air.  With the expectation that eventually an “accident” would happen which would cause all 52 cards in the deck, to fall in perfect order, and perfectly aligned. [FN2]

Now we get to the interesting part, the part that absolutely horrifies Darwinists and all evolutionists in particular.  INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS THE COROLLARY [See FN1]  TO THE SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS!

With external inputs of energy, directed in a specialized way, disorder and randomness can be ordered. 

Any system, whether open or closed, requires specialized work or specialized energy input to go from disorder to order.  This same specialized work or specialized energy input is also required just to maintain order. 

Let’s look at it this way.  If you work at a desk, or construction, or homemaker, or whatever your job is, there are parallels.  Evolutionists expect you to believe that if you leave a mess long enough, a set of accidents will eventually occur that will organize all your papers, build a new house, or clean each room in your house, etc.  This is plain nonsense and not science. 

Evolutionists realize that a COROLLARY to the Second Law of Thermodynamics is both science, is testable, is verifiable, and is true.  This is why they are terrified.  For evolution to “work” it requires that a settled scientific LAW be changed to accommodate it.  Evolution’s FALSE COROLLARY to the Second Law of Thermodynamics expects one to accept the following paraphrased idea:

With external inputs of energy, random or disordered energy creates order.

In more “evolutionary” terms, enough accidents, stacked on top of each other, for a long enough period of time, creates order and perfection.  Never mind that evolution also says that “natural selection” destroys all “accidents” that don’t have almost immediate usefulness.  It is lunacy to believe that from random occurrence you gain greater and greater order.  It then becomes zealous fanaticism when you deny that this is anything more than a secular fundamentalist belief system.  In fact, this is in direct defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Under evolution, instead of moving toward disorder, we are moving toward order.

On one hand we hear that life has developed and “evolved” through “accidents” that create the variations of the species.  And in contradiction to everything coming about because of these “accidents,” Darwin’s evolutionists say that “natural selection” does away with the “accidents” and “chooses” the superior “accidents.”  On one hand we have life being created, derived, developed and sustained through “accidents,” and on the other hand we have life being destroyed and killed off (natural selection) because the accidents aren’t the “right type” of accident.

STOP AND THINK about what evolution demands you to believe.  Disorder creates order, accidents fix things.  This is not only intellectually dishonest, it is absurd when you stop to think about it.

Is this Corollary Theory of the Second Law – Intelligent Design – Testable?

Routinely we hear from the evolution crowd that intelligent design is not testable.  Not only is this blatantly false, the Corollary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (intelligent design) has been proven over, and over, and over again.  In fact, it continues to be proven many thousands of times a day.

Every time a pharmaceutical medication is taken to treat a disorder, whether it is physical or mental, it is a test of the theory of intelligent design.  The Pharmaceutical companies that research new drug applications to treat disease not only defy “natural selection” but direct energy and efforts to cure a disorder which results in a medication to treat the disorder.

Every time a doctor performs a necessary surgery, that is successful, it is not only a test of intelligent design, but proof that it is valid.  The Physician brings order to disorder and again defies “natural selection.”

Over and over again, architect, electrical engineer, physicist, chemist, veterinary, and any number of professions routinely cheat “natural selection” with intelligent design.  Over and over again evolution’s “accidents” and “natural selections” are overcome by intelligent design. 

Is it any wonder that the evolution crowd is terrified by intelligent design?  Proving intelligent design disproves evolution.  When considering intelligent design as a corollary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as well as easily tested and verified, it’s no wonder evolutionists are frightened. 

Why so narrowly confined?

When major problems with evolution are raised, such as the INPUTS to the whole evolutionary process, evolutionists shriek, almost in horrified pain “that doesn’t apply,” or “that’s another area.”  Take for example the origins of life itself.  When raising the proposition that the origins of the chemical INPUTS to life, and the origins of life itself are critical building blocks to verify whether or not evolution is valid, routine shrieks of “abiogenesis” or some other silly segment of the process is invoked to defend the indefensible.  These silly segmentations, which alone may disprove evolution, are routinely segmented out of the idea of evolution.  These things are treated almost as if they must be warded off with some magical talisman or incantation against any evil spirits that might challenge the evolutionary cult.  Evolutionists hide behind these silly, ridiculous, and utterly absurd notions that you can build valid science on a small piece of a process and leave out all of the pieces that the process depends on. 

When parts of the process not only demonstrate that the sacred theory of evolution may be invalid or false, the shrieks of heresy and blasphemy are raised.  This isn’t science, it is utter madness disguised as science.  And certainly I can understand why the issue of the initial origins of life terrify evolutionists.  The idea of “abiogenesis” expects one to accept on blind faith that life just “magically appeared” from some accidents with rocks, water, and a few base chemicals.  Evolution suggests that right after that life was created, it began evolving.  This is difficult to believe when you stop and think about it.  Life “magically appears” from rocks, water, and a few chemicals?  I’m still amazed that all those alchemists in the middle ages couldn’t find a way to do something as simple as turning lead into gold.  If they had simply applied evolution’s teachings, water would have been gold, diamonds, and every other form of precious gem.

Evolutionary theory demands that only physical / material properties can be evaluated.  This notion completely ignores the fact that human beings have the ability to reason, to think through things, to make value judgments, to make decisions, to choose right or wrong, to have order and structure or to have disorder and chaos. 

This is another point of conflict, if you accept evolution’s true premises, only natural selection is valid and all of our morals, values, and social structures aren’t valid.  But they exist and their very existence proves that evolution has more holes.  So what do the evolutionists do?  No problem, they say that social structures just don’t apply.  It’s not “material” so we won’t even consider it. 

Evolution by other names is the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, kill or be killed, a form of “natural” eugenics, etc.  So, if you remove the social structures, the laws, rules, morals, values, the social structures, all you have are wild animals. 

The “law of the jungle” part of evolution is a glaring defect and a strong demonstration that evolution misses the mark.  There is something more to human life than just “kill or be killed.”  So what do the evolutionists do?  They simply spout their dogma “that doesn’t apply, we’re only looking at the material world!”  It’s easy to understand why they would do this, under the idea of eugenics, Hitler slaughtered millions. 

If you stop and think about what “evolutionary processes” was required to create emotions, social structure, values, order, and the awareness of “self,” it is easy to understand why evolutionists are terrified of this.  By their nature, by what these things ARE, they are not “natural” evolutionary occurrences.  By themselves, they could not have come about by any type of evolutionary theory known today.  So having these “artificial” structures imposed on “evolution” disproves evolution.

Evolution’s true believers treat any challenge to their sacred cow as blasphemy or heresy --, I guess that’s a normal reaction to a religious belief. 

Evolutionists are terrified.  And the debate must be contained.  If the debate is not contained, the public school indoctrination and the cult of evolution will collapse.  Once people actually stop and think about the blind leaps of faith that evolution requires, it will be seen as the cult it is.  Evolution is nothing but wild religious beliefs clothed with the appearance of science.

The golden calf of evolution is on fire.  As more and more people actually stop and THINK THROUGH the lunacy that evolution expects you to believe on totally blind faith, evolution will finally be seen for what it truly is, a religion pretending to be science.  At that point the fire consuming the golden calf of evolution will turn it to ashes.


[FN1]  A corollary is something that is generally a “natural consequence” of the thing it is related to.  So when a corollary is based on something that is already proven, the corollary generally does not require much proof because it is accepted and understood.  For example, water freezes and turns to ice at about 32 degrees (F) depending on atmospheric conditions.  A corollary would be that water melts as it rises above 32 degrees (F).

[FN2]  Before all of the shrieks from the Darwinists, what I have just outlined is called an analogous syllogism, it is a writing tool to help understand complex issues.


Additional Resources:


DNA: The Tiny Code That's Toppling Evolution (DNA is PROVING that evolution is a hoax)
The controversy over evolution includes a growing number of scientists who challenge Darwinism. (The fraud of Darwinism...)
Einstein Versus Darwin: Intelligent Design Or Evolution? (Most LEGITIMATE Scientists do NOT agree with Evolution)
What’s the Big Secret? (Intelligent Design in Pennsylvania)
What are the Darwinists afraid of? (The fervent religious belief in evolution)
The Little Engine That Could...Undo Darwinism (Evolution may be proven false very soon)

KEYWORDS: atheism; crevolist; cults; evolution; idiocy; intelligentdesign; religiousdoctrine; tripe
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To: Coyoteman
For a pun like that you are banned in civilized company roughly forever.

Like I haven't heard that one before?

221 posted on 08/23/2005 8:41:55 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Why are you still hanging around this hoary old thread defending indefensible puns. The action has moved on. Check out the new thread, Tuberculosis appeared on Earth three million years ago

(What, did we all evolve together?)

222 posted on 08/23/2005 8:46:35 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Is this a good tagline?)
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To: Coyoteman

My thread consumption has peaked for the night. I did post on that thread though.

223 posted on 08/23/2005 8:52:50 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
My thread consumption....

cough < gasp > cough!

"TB, or not TB; that is the congestion...."

224 posted on 08/23/2005 9:02:26 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
My thread consumption....

cough < gasp > cough!

"TB, or not TB; that is the congestion...."

OK, that's it! Too many puns. That's it for the night. I'll try again when you'all has regained your composure. I'll pulmonary comments for the rest of the evening.

225 posted on 08/23/2005 9:16:36 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Is this a good tagline?)
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To: DouglasKC
it's going to be increasingly difficult for evolutionists to continue their tactic of labeling those who don't accept their worldview as ignorant kooks and nuts.

That's wishful thinking. The religious community is isolating itself into an echo chamber that I'm sure appears to be gaining strength from the inside out. But from the outside appears to be ever marginal.

226 posted on 08/23/2005 9:28:46 PM PDT by narby (There are Bloggers, and then there are Freepers.)
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To: narby
Yet the case for common ancestry for ERV insertions does not stand or fall on randomness alone.

That was my case.

His argument pivotted on it and was inacurate and anachronistic. Interestingly if he'd read the article or understood it if he read it he would have seen that the non-randomness of integration is well discussed in the article from where the phylogram was borrowed. (he erred as well on its description, but that is for later to elucidate).

Also he has admitted my long time contention "or case" that his interest in not in discussing science but in what can be considered evangelizing or prosylitizing -- as he put it writing for the lay people.

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

227 posted on 08/23/2005 9:56:45 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Randomness has little to do with the conclusion. All that is needed is a distribution of insertion loci. Were the same virus DNA inserted in different places in closely related species, that would suffice.

Absolutely. This is, though, in direct contrast to itchy's argument wherein he stressed the site of insertion.

The Russian group that wrote the article cited by itchy identified elements by PCR which were common in all primates examined, some in humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons, some in chimps, human and gorilla and some in only human. The human chromosomal locations were known, but the location of the amplified sample was not addressed.

228 posted on 08/23/2005 10:27:09 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

You're welcome.

Hopefully you can learn a bit from your mistakes. Appearing to be a desperate lawyer seeking every advantage in a hopeless case isn't a good starting place from which to convince the jury.

229 posted on 08/23/2005 10:36:15 PM PDT by narby (There are Bloggers, and then there are Freepers.)
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To: DouglasKC; PatrickHenry; narby; longshadow; VadeRetro; RadioAstronomer; general_re; King Prout
I was pretty proud of my last post...why didn't you read it.

Which one? There has been a ton of posting activity today, even just considering the ones aimed in my direction. I may have missed some in the flood.

Alan Feduccia? Wikipedia states about Caudipteryx

: "Feduccia believes these fossils are flightless birds that evolved from a flying ancestor, probably Archaeopteryx."
Hmm, surprising. Feduccia believes that Archaeopteryx is a "full bird" (again, a very minority opinion -- Archaeopteryx has more reptilian features than avian). And Caudipteryx has even more "primitive" reptilian features, so it seems more likely that Feduccia would consider Caudipteryx reptilian and therefore no descendant from a lineage like Archaeopteryx. The Wikipedia article doesn't provide a citation or link to the statement about Feduccia and those fossils, so I can't quickly go check what Feduccia actually said and whether Wikipedia is representing his view correctly.

In any case, a *lot* of other experts in the field have found a lot of fault with Feduccia's conclusions, and Feduccia has been caught relying on obsolete findings when newer, more complete information has superceded it, and so forth, so I don't have a lot of confidence in his reliability on that topic.

[Because cladistic trees aren't based on dates in the first place.]

So what was the point in posting a cladistic tree to show the transistion of dinosaurs into birds if it has nothing to do with dating? Isn't evolution about change over time?

Yes it is, and cladograms show relative time of divergence, *but* they don't provide absolute dates, nor does the dating of particular specimens say much about the date of an evolutionary event (except as an upper bound).

Are you saying that how old fossils actually are has no bearing?

No bearing on the cladogram, right, unless there's a gross violation of consistency.

Scratch that. Let me ask straight out. How old are each of the fossils in the "transitional sequence" (your words) that you posted?

I looked them up back when I originally wrote the post (more than a year ago, IIRC), and they were consistent with the cladogram. But that's not the same thing as saying that they're strictly chronological (and *that* is not the same as saying that they're grossly out of sequence, either).

I'm genuinely curious as to dates and why or why they don't matter.

Okay, let's see if I can explain this clearly enough in text (it's a lot easier in diagrams or on a chalk board...)

Here's the detail section of the cladogram again:

Image Hosted by

The first thing to remember is that the "lines" from the fossil names down to the "main" line are not "pointers" indicating where the fossil species falls on "the" evolutionary sequence. It's *not* saying that Archaeopteryx is a direct descendant of Caudipteryx, or any other fossil species on the diagram.

Instead, all the (black) lines on the diagram indicate *separate* lineages which have branched off the main lineage being traced in this particular cladogram (the long diagonal line).

So it's actually saying that starting with Theropodia (the "root" of this cladogram on the left), there was a line of descent that eventually ended in modern birds (off the right-hand side of this sub-cladogram), and along the way spun off a lineage which eventually resulted in Sinosauropteryx, and at some time further down the timeline spun off a lineage which eventually resulted in Protoarchaeopteryx, and another branching off which eventually resulted in Caudipteryx, and so on down the line.

The reason that nothing is shown actually being *on* the "main line" is because it's pretty much impossible to determine for certain whether any given fossil is actually *directly* ancestral to another, or merely an offshoot (even if a close offshoot) from "the" directly ancestral form.

This is completely analogous to how, if you're descended from Englishmen and you find a skeleton of long-dead Englishman in a field, it's unwarranted to jump to the conclusion that he's actually your direct ancestor (i.e. your great-great-great-etc. grandfather), when he's more likely to instead be a *relative* of your actual great-great-great-etc. grandfather (i.e., the skeleton and your great-etc.-grandfather were both descendants of a yet-earlier member of the original people who first populated the British Isles).

(Again, I apologize if this isn't real clear when described in words, it's a *lot* clearer when I can sketch things on a blackboard, add lines then erase and move them, etc. If I get good enough making Flash animations maybe I'll whip up an animated "lesson" someday.)

So just to not presume *direct* ancestry when it may not be fully warranted, cladograms are instead drawn as "leaves" at the end of "branches" of family relationship, instead of labeling actual "forks" in the "tree".

Furthermore, the lengths of the "branches" are not significant in many cladograms. In the above diagram, Sinosauropteryx may actually be a lot more closely related to the "main lineage" than Caudipteryx, or vice versa. Or either could be closely related to the main lineage, or both very distantly related.

Similarly, the time between "branching split-offs" may be longer or shorter between subsequent branchings than between others. In other words, the cladogram (at least this one) is "not to scale". The sizes of its various lines is not meant to represent the absolute time spans involved between or since evolutionary branching of lineages.

So what *is* significant in a cladogram, you ask? Just the *order* of the branchings. This cladogram indicates which lineages split off when. And by virtue of that, it can show which traits arose first, which second, and so on, during the evolution of dinosaurs-to-birds.

To understand how, we have to briefly review how evolution proceeds. Among the many other necessary consequences of how evolutionary processes work, are the following:

1. New traits are added to a single lineage. The same trait does not arise multiple times in separate lineages even if it would be handy. The unique configuration of a bird's wing arose only once during the history of life on Earth. Even when other animals developed wings, and were subject to the same functional requirements, they arose as very different genetic and structural mutations -- bird wings are "constructed" very differently from bat wings, and pteradon wings, and insect wings, and flying-fish wings. Vertebrate eyes are fundamentally different from invertebrate eyes, because they evolved from different "roots".

2. New traits which arise in a lineage are inherited by all of that lineage's subsequent descendants.

3. Lineages "fork". New species split off of old ones, while the "old" one continues to exist in more or less its original form, or evolves off in its own different direction. This is how we've ended up with millions of living species today, from a more limited number of species long ago. These are the "forks" in the branchs of the evolutionary "tree".

Putting these together, it's straighforward to see that it implies a necessary order to the evolutionary "forks". If modern birds have traits A, B, C, D, E, and F, and you find a fossil with traits A, C, and D, but not B, E, or F, then you know for a fact that A, C, and D arose earlier in the evolutionary lineage of birds than did B/E/F. (Of course, it's not quite *that* easy in practice, since traits can also be lost on side lineages, or another trait can falsely appear to be the same as a modern trait, etc. etc., but with proper care such mistakes can be minimized, especially when multiple specimens across the lineage can resolve the finer details and resolve anomolies, and other methods of cross-checking. Creationists like to trumpet the difficulties, but they overlook the safeguards which are used, the cross-checks, the value of expert knowledge based on past experience, etc.)

Similarly, with more fossil finds the order of occurrence of B, E, and F traits can be resolved, and so on. These are the numbered (1-8) traits annotating the main lineage on the above cladogram.

Also note that this works *even though* the fossil find may not be (and in practice almost certainly isn't) *directly* ancestral to the lineage being resolved. Note that although the Dromaeosauridae are a "side" lineage on the cladogram, they *had* to have split off the main lineage before point "6", because if they had split off *after* point 6, they'd have modern-type flight feathers, since flight feathers were added to the main lineage (and thus to all subsequent descendants) at point "6". The Dromaeosauridae are *diagnostic* of the main lineage in the region between "5" and "6", even though they are an offshoot and probably have their own unique added traits which had evolved into that lineage after it split from the "main bird" lineage. Why? Because by rule #2 (traits are passed to descendants), they would still have traits 1-5, but not traits 6-8, just like all the species along the "main line" between 5 and 6 as well. The only thing you *can't* use Dromaeosauridae fossils to infer about the main bird lineage is traits that appear in the Dromaeosauridae but *not* modern birds, because those are necessarily (by rule #2 again) those are necessarily traits which arose in the Dromaeosauridae *after* it had split from the "main line" bird lineage, and thus never appeared in the main line lineage at all.

This is the manner in which I used these fossils in my "bird evolution" post. I used various fossil finds, which have been placed into their proper spots in the bird cladogram, as diagnostic indicators of what would necessarily have been present in the "main line" bird lineage at sequential points in time (again, *even* though those fossils may not have been, and need not have been, actually *on* that lineage, i.e. actually directly ancestral to modern birds). They still provide logically necessary conclusions about what *was* on the main bird lineage (as long as one restricts one's examination to traits which are held in common with modern birds, and not separately derived traits in the fossils).

Now, back to your question about the dates of the fossils...

Pulling numbers out of thin air (I'm too tired to look them up right now) for way of example, let's say that the point where the Caudipteryx lineage "forks" from the main line was 200 million years ago. And the time that the Archaeopteryx lineage "forks" is 140 million years ago. Does this mean that an Archaeopteryx fossil must necessarily be younger than a Caudipteryx fossil? Nope!

The Caudipteryx "fork" is only the fork point of Caudipteryx's last common ancestor with modern birds. It is *not* the time at which the species Caudipteryx actually arose. Caudipteryx may have been the end result of *another* 90 million years of evolution after the "fork". Similarly, Archaeopteryx might have arisen a mere 10 million years after "forking" from the main bird line (i.e., Archie's common ancestor with modern birds would have been rather Archie-like already, even if it wasn't exactly an Archaeopteryx like in the fossils which have been found).

Consequently, Caudipteryx fossils might be 110 million years old (200 mya fork - 90 my divergence), while Archaeopteryx fossils might be *130* million years old! (140 mya fork - 10 my divergence). Yes, that's right, Archaeopteryx as a species might be *older* than a fossil whose lineage split from the bird lineage *longer* ago than did Archie's lineage!

This is why dates of fossils is not extremely meaningful for cladograms. It's also why you can (via traits) *still* reconstruct the necessary *order* of each fossil's forking from the main lineage (albeit not the *absolute* dates of that split) via the traits which are and are not in common between various fossils, even apart from any concern about the dates of the fossil finds. In fact, the relative dates of the fossils may be misleading (for the reason I gave above).

That's not to say the fossil dates are entirely useless *after* you've constructed the cladogram, however. After the cladogram has been properly constructed from a careful analysis of the distribution of their traits, the dates of the fossils place a useful "lower bound" on the time of the actual divergence of lineages. With enough dates, and enough additional forks (and re-forks) in the cladogram, you can use the dates to get a pretty accurate estimate of the actual divergence dates.

Now to answer a few obvious questions, this method seems to be based on a number of assumptions, how do we know they're correct? One of the strongest ways is that for lineages where there are living representatives of various branches of the tree (such as cladograms of vertebrate lineages), we can use DNA analysis as a *very* powerful independent cross-check. In the many cases where that has been done, cladistic analysis has been shown to be a valid method.

Also, even for lineages (such as for birds) where all but the most modern offshoots are extinct, additional cladograms can be constructed for various "side branches" of the lineage, making not just a "forking line" like the one above, but an entire complex tree, such as this big-ass cladogram of all dinosaur families. If cladistic analysis was based on faulty assumptions, it would be impossible to create a coherent cladogram (i.e., one where all of the above "construction rules" are strictly followed) of that size with that many specimens, without the structure breaking down rather quickly (i.e., having the trait combination relationships indicate that something belonged at two different branches of the tree). Instead, coherent trees without contradiction are constructed even for the largest collections of specimens, which is very strong evidence that the assumptions and methods are valid.

Cladograms can even be constructed "universally" for all forms of life and remain coherent, yet more support for the theory of the evolutionary origin of all life from a common ancestral stock. Here is a stunning "super cladogram" of 3000 representative species from all Earth life (you'll need a PDF viewer, which may already be installed on your computer -- if not download it free here). Source: David M. Hillis, Derrick Zwickl, and Robin Gutell, University of Texas. It looks like a dense "fuzz" when displayed without magnification, but use the "zoom in" feature and you'll find an *incredible* amount of detail. To see full detail all at once, you'll need to print it out in "wall poster size" FIVE FEET across. Even as detailed as this is, it's only about 1/3000th of all the known species...

In any case, the point is that if cladistics was not a valid form of analysis (and indeed, if evolutionary origins were not true, since cladistics is built upon evolutionary principles), such cladograms wouldn't be possible to build coherently. But they can be, lending further support to evolutionary theory (i.e., life has the patterns of properties which evolution would be expected to produce).

230 posted on 08/23/2005 10:56:06 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: tallhappy; narby
[Ichneumon asked:] He falsely tries to imply that if 3 subjects out of 9 in a gene-therapy study had retroviruses integrate at the same locus, that this means that 3-out-of-9 retroviral integrations somehow "homed in" on the same location. WRONG! Hint: How *MANY* retroviruses (and thus retroviral integrations) are induced in *each* patient in a gene-therapy treatment? This wasn't "3 out of 9", it was "3 out of a mind-bogglingly large number". Those critical three only got noticed because they caused the individual cells which had the "fatal" location disrupted to trigger leukemia in their unfortunate recipients, but there were *VAST* numbers of *other* random integration events in *each* patient which caused no problems at all. Hey, tallhappy, do your own homework for a change, and tell us how many unique integration events there are, in total, in 9 patients in a gene-therapy study? So what are the *actual* odds of overlapping events, out of *all* integration events, in a study like that, eh?

<sound of crickets chirping>

231 posted on 08/23/2005 11:05:01 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon; Doctor Stochastic

I meant to ping you to post #230.

232 posted on 08/23/2005 11:05:47 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon; tallhappy


In post 227 tallhappy attempts again to be the smartest guy in the room while flattering me by appreciating my comments. While completely ignoring the fact that I'd understood completely his fabrication of the 1/3 odds of ERV insertion loci.

The thing that really burns me is that obviously he's looked at this issue long enough and deep enough to understand completely that he's misleading on the ERV insertion odds. I really, really dislike being deliberately misled.

It's partly my fault for not thinking about the process of ERV insertion. I knew better, but didn't think of it, and tallhappy took advantage of it. So I'm mad at myself for missing it, but madder at him for successfully misleading me.

I appreciate the meaning of ERV insertion "randomness". And I understand the meaning of "not quite" randomness, and "almost never" randomness. Although there are lots of other points that still support DNA verification of common ancestry, damage to the randomness issue would have weakened it. I'm glad to see that the smoking gun of common ancestry has a few extra orders of magnitude of certainty provided by "almost" random insertion points in the ancestral line.

233 posted on 08/23/2005 11:34:58 PM PDT by narby (There are Bloggers, and then there are Freepers.)
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To: Ichneumon

By the way, post #230 is very good.

234 posted on 08/23/2005 11:36:12 PM PDT by narby (There are Bloggers, and then there are Freepers.)
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To: narby; tallhappy; longshadow; <1/1,000,000th%; Doctor Stochastic; RadioAstronomer; VadeRetro; ...
In post 227 tallhappy attempts again to be the smartest guy in the room while flattering me by appreciating my comments. While completely ignoring the fact that I'd understood completely his fabrication of the 1/3 odds of ERV insertion loci.

The thing that really burns me is that obviously he's looked at this issue long enough and deep enough to understand completely that he's misleading on the ERV insertion odds. I really, really dislike being deliberately misled.

Actually, it's *worse* than that.

Here's his key passage again:

Given that this insertion in to the same site happen not in two genomes, as you asked for, but in three out of only nine integrations, the targetted nature of integration, which is not understood, is apparent. Addressing this targetting is an active area of current research.
As you and I have already noted, he has very dishonestly claimed (in the blue-highlighted text) that the same-site retroviral integration has occurred in "three out of only nine integrations", when *actually* it has occurred in "three out of [a vast number of integrations throughout millions of cells in the bodies of] nine patients". This is *extremely* dishonest.

By how much is it dishonest? Well let's look at the research paper (linked below), shall we?

"...the total number of injected transduced cells — 92 x 106 and 133 x 106 for patients P4 and P5, respectively..."
So it's not actually "3 of only 9 integrations", as tallhappy falsely claims, since just *two* out of the nine total patients had TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE MILLION retrovirus-treated cells pumped into their bodies...

Even leaving aside the other seven patients, tallhappy has understated the number of retroviral integrations by a factor of 25,000,000... Maybe more, since in other studies I've read, treated cells often have more than a single integration per cell.

But wait, there's more!

Note the passage highlighted in red... He claims that in these three patients, the retroviral integration was found at "the same site" (i.e., at the same basepair location in the genome, as is the case for shared ancestral endogenous retroviruses, which we have been discussing).

Well, it turns out that he was dishonest about *THAT* as well. "Same site", eh? Um, sorry, no -- I haven't found any data on the third patient yet, but in patient#4 and patient#5 (the two who actually came down with leukemia), it turns out that the disruptive integrations in the LMO2 gene were actually almost FIVE THOUSAND BASEPAIRS APART.

From LMO2-Associated Clonal T Cell Proliferation in Two Patients after Gene Therapy for SCID-X1, by S. Hacein-Bey-Abina et al, we find:

In the V{gamma}9V{delta}1 P4 clone, the single copy of the retrovirus vector was mapped to the short arm of chromosome 11, close to the distal (hematopoietic) promoter of the LMO2 locus (Fig. 2C). It was found inserted at position 46,229 (the first nucleotide of exon 1 is 44,218), within the first intron in reverse orientation. Sorted populations of the different T cell clones from patient P5 (i.e., Vß1, Vß2, and Vß23) possessed a unique integration site also located in the LMO2 locus, at position 41,253, 3 kbp upstream of the first LMO2 exon in forward orientation (Fig. 2C).
Um, "same site", as tallhappy claims? Not hardly. They were on OPPOSITE SIDES of Exon1 of the gene, oriented in OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS, nearly FIVE THOUSAND BASEPAIRS apart. Gosh, Mr. Wizard, that doesn't sound like the "same site" to *me*...

But hey, as he keeps trying to tell us, *I'm* the one who "doesn't understand" this subject...

Uh huh. Sure. I understand it well enough to catch it when tallhappy lies *twice* in the same sentence.

The final delicious irony is that although he has brought up this case study in an attempt to demonstrate that retroviral integration is "not random", and to claim a "targetted nature of integration", the authors of THIS SAME STUDY disagree with him:

Taken together, our data suggest that the following scenario might account for occurrence of the lymphocyte proliferations observed in these patients. LMO2 targeting suggests either that there is a "physical hotspot" of integration at this locus, or more likely, that random, activating, LMO2 integrants are selected simply by the growth advantage conferred on them. The chance of integration of any active gene is assumed to be ~1 x 10–5 (a rough estimate of a random hit within 10 kbp among the estimated transcriptionally active 1 x 109 base pairs. It is likely that each patient received at least 1 to 10 LMO2-targeted cells, because the patients received 1 x 106 or more transduced T lymphocyte precursors (estimating that at least 1% of the total number of injected transduced cells—92 x 106 and 133 x 106 for patients P4 and P5, respectively — could give rise to T cells).
So there you have it -- the case study that TALLHAPPY HIMSELF introduced in order to "demonstrate" that retroviral integrations were somehow "targeted" to a location (in this case the LMO2 gene) actually has the authors pointing out that they would expect between one and ten LMO2 integrations per patient BY RANDOM CHANCE ALONE, due to the large number of retroviral-treated cells, and the number of sites occupied by the LMO2 gene.

I'd say that this has "hoist on his own petard" written all over it...

235 posted on 08/24/2005 2:28:17 AM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon
It would be really neat to have a piece of software that could draw that big-ass cladogram on the fly from a database -- a kind of specialized CAD program, capable of handling millions of species.

The trick would be for it to generate only the parts needed for current display, but allow you to move about and zoom in like google maps.
236 posted on 08/24/2005 2:40:23 AM PDT by js1138 (Science has it all: the fun of being still, paying attention, writing down numbers...)
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To: Ichneumon
Your excellent essay on cladograms will soon find its well-deserved place in The List-O-Links.
237 posted on 08/24/2005 4:24:05 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. The List-O-Links is at my homepage.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Flat Earthers: The Columbus Myth
By Charles W. Colson

"It's about time someone stood up to the Flat-
Earthers who want to push their beliefs in the

The comment came from "Kansas City Star" columnist
Mike Hendricks, and he was letting the world know
what he thought about the decision by the Kansas
State School Board to let local public schools decide
how much to teach of Darwinian evolution.

It wasn't the first time Christians have been called
Flat Earthers, and it won't be the last. The phrase
is intended to suggest that Christian beliefs are
behind the times, out of touch with modern science
and rationality.

After all, didn't medieval Christians cling to the
idea that the Earth was flat? Didn't it take the
voyage of Christopher Columbus to convince backward
Christians that the earth is spherical?

Actually, the answer is "no"--and the history of this
phrase reveals how far secularists will go to
discredit Christianity.

Consider Augustine, perhaps the greatest of the
church fathers who lived about a thousand years
before Columbus. Augustine knew that the earth was
round, not flat.

And in the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas, the
most profound and prolific of the medieval
theologians, observed that the spherical shape of the earth can be
emperically demonstrated. His proofs
were both mathematical and physical. For example, he
suggested that the spherical shape of the earth could
be inferred from lunar eclipses.

Aquinas gave us classic examples of the scientific
method as he understood it. And the findings of
modern science confirm that he understood it
exceptionally well!

Throughout the centuries, many other Church Fathers
taught that the earth is spherical, and not flat. So
where do people get the idea that Christians were

It turns out it was a fable cooked up by
Enlightenment propagandists.

In a book entitled Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus
and the Modern Historians, Jeffrey Burton Russell
explains that the myth that medieval Christians
taught a flat earth was invented in the early 19th
century by Enlightenment thinkers bent on
discrediting the church. It was essentially a
calumny--indeed, a libel--designed to discredit the
Christian heritage of the Middle Ages.

Of course, medieval Christians did not have all the
vast information that has since been revealed by
modern science. But these men were not fools, and
they were certainly not anti-intellectual. On the
contrary, men like Augustine and Aquinas helped put
into place the tradition of careful, dispassionate
inquiry in the quest for truth--a tradition that is
one of the great glories of Western civilization.
Modern scholarship--including modern science--would
not have emerged without them.

Today the term "Flat Earthers" is still in vogue.
Hundreds of years after the Enlightenment, it seems
that our opponents still prefer to fight with insults
instead of facts.

As we observe Columbus Day today, we need to make
sure our children and friends know the truth about
why Columbus believed the Earth was round--he was
following in the tradition of Christians like
Augustine and Aquinas. And the next time you hear
people dismissing the arguments of Christians by
calling us "Flat Earthers," make sure your kids
understand that the phrase was invented by the elites
hundreds of years ago--people who were just as afraid
of Christian arguments as the elites of today.

Copyright (c) 1999 Prison Fellowship Ministries

238 posted on 08/24/2005 5:10:34 AM PDT by Stark_GOP
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Actually, transitions are roughly smooth.

I'm of the "smoothly rough" theory.

239 posted on 08/24/2005 6:19:41 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Coyoteman
Some of those who are in-between may be educated by the exchange, and that's a good thing, but I have given up trying to convince the young-earth and similar proponents of anything. Life is too short to deal with that level of obfuscation. Live and let live.

Someone has to go through the motions long enough to make it blazingly clear to the lurkers that the innocents "just asking questions" cannot be dragged kicking and screaming to the obvious over the devious. That's all these threads really illustrate. For one, there's a lot (about 150 years worth) of evidence and logic that evolution must have happened. For two, there is no making the Holy Warrior idiots see, understand, or acknowledge.

240 posted on 08/24/2005 6:24:32 AM PDT by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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