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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas; pieceofthepuzzle
St_Thomas_Aquinas: "The theory of evolution is diametrically opposed to the empirical evidence.

"Fossils have been collected for 150 years.
They paint a uniform picture.
Species remain static over time.
Species exit the fossil record the same way they enter...

"The evidence directly contradicts Darwin’s theory.
The remaining, minority position is that evolution occurs in great leaps.
But no remotely plausible mechanism has ever been proposed."

Hmmmmm... where to start?...

Yes, it's true that species come and go over relatively short intervals -- typically a few million years.
But remember that the word "species" is just a scientific construct, one of many describing biological classifications, including such terms as "sub-species", "breed", and "race" which come and go on even shorter time scales.
Indeed, we've seen "breeds" of domesticated animals developed over the short span of human history:

So every fossil, without exception, belongs to some longer-lived higher order or class, which scientists can determine by examining common characteristics.
It's a fact, for example, that human bones share certain characteristics in common with every other mammal, including the earliest proto-mammals from over 300 million years ago:


"Mammalian and non-mammalian jaws. In the mammal configuration, the quadrate and articular bones are much smaller and form part of the middle ear.
Note that in mammals the lower jaw consists of only the dentary bone."

So, yes, "species", "sub-species" & "breeds" come and go, but fossil records show that larger related families, orders and classes have survived for tens and hundreds of millions of years.

And the important point here is: DNA analyses of existing (or recently extinct) species confirms what the fossil record suggested -- that those with very similar characteristics also have closely matching DNA.
And DNA has a rate of mutations which can be measured in living species and calculated back to geological time-frames.

Certain DNA mutation (roughly one per generation) go on regardless of any outward modifications to a "species", and can be used, for example, to estimate when, say, St_Thomas_Aquinas and BroJoeK last shared a common ancestor. ;-)

And if, for example, that last common ancestor was several million years ago, and if our sub-species had lived all those years in radically different environments, then we might well expect that today our families could no longer interbreed -- hence by definition, we'd be different "species", regardless of how similar we looked.

St_Thomas_Aquinas: "Period"

No, not "period", but rather "comma", followed by a more detailed explanation. ;-)

20 posted on 04/27/2012 5:18:27 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
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To: BroJoeK

-—But remember that the word “species” is just a scientific construct, one of many describing biological classifications, including such terms as “sub-species”, “breed”, and “race” which come and go on even shorter time scales.-—

Aristotle classified things (genus/species) according to common characteristics and specific differences.

Modern classification of species assumes that evolution has occurred, because of common characteristics between species. The difficulty is that the fossil record overwhelmingly demonstrates the fact that species are static. They remain unchanged as they enter and exit the fossil record, except for minor variation within species.

-—Indeed, we’ve seen “breeds” of domesticated animals developed over the short span of human history:?-—

This is variation within a species directed by human intelligence. For your analogy to hold on a wide scale, evolution would have to be directed by a great intelligence. Regardless, the fossil record contradicts this idea.

-—It’s a fact, for example, that human bones share certain characteristics in common with every other mammal, including the earliest proto-mammals from over 300 million years ago:-—

This evidence is ambiguous, because it could imply evolution or a common designer.

-— So, yes, “species”, “sub-species” & “breeds” come and go, but fossil records show that larger related families, orders and classes have survived for tens and hundreds of millions of years.-—

I don’t see your point.

The evidence simply contradicts Darwin’s expectation that the fossil record would show an unbroken continuum of change.

-—And the important point here is: DNA analyses of existing (or recently extinct) species confirms what the fossil record suggested — that those with very similar characteristics also have closely matching DNA.-—

Sounds plausible, but THERE IS NO FOSSIL EVIDENCE to support microevolution. You can’t ignore this fact or wish it away. The lack of evidence MUST BE EXPLAINED SCIENTIFICALLY.

Moreover, upon closer examination, this data is not very compelling evidence of evolutionary theory. DNA-sharing is ambiguous evidence, supporting evolutionary theory or a common designer. Are we more closely related to cows, cats or mice? How closely? Are we related to bananas?

Cat: 90%
Cow: 80%
Mouse: 75%
Fruit Fly: 60%
Banana: 50%

-—And DNA has a rate of mutations which can be measured in living species and calculated back to geological time-frames.-—

Cut and paste below...

While it is convenient for evolutionary biologists to assume that various DNA proteins evolve at a fixed rate, a recent study blows a hole in this theory. The September 25, 2001 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, geneticist Francisco Rodriguez-Trelles and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, indicate the idea of a molecular clock may be hopelessly flawed. “It may be ripe for the pawnshop” say Menno Schilthuizen, writing in Science Now.

Calculating the different mutation rates for three well-known genes for 78 species, researchers found widely different mutation rates even for closely related species. “Molecular clocks are much more erratic than previously thought and practically useless to keep accurate evolutionary time,” says Schilthuizen. The authors of the research conclude that the neutral theory of molecular evolution (predictable or constant rates of change) is flawed and that changes in the rate of variation are left to the vagaries of natural selection
(randomness). With no evidence to confirm the neutral theory of molecular evolution, scientists say this amounts to a “denial of there being a molecular clock.”

-—And if, for example, that last common ancestor was several million years ago, and if our sub-species had lived all those years in radically different environments, then we might well expect that today our families could no longer interbreed — hence by definition, we’d be different “species”, regardless of how similar we looked.-—

So... WHERE IS THE FOSSIL EVIDENCE?

Eventually scientific hypotheses should address reality.


22 posted on 04/27/2012 6:59:47 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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