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Fact, Fable, and Darwin (If you haven't read this already, you should!!!)
American Enterprise Magazine ^ | 8/04 | Rodney Stark

Posted on 08/02/2004 3:58:04 PM PDT by Renfield

Fact, Fable, and Darwin By Rodney Stark

I write as neither a creationist nor a Darwinist, but as one who knows what is probably the most disreputable scientific secret of the past century: There is no plausible scientific theory of the origin of species! Darwin himself was not sure he had produced one, and for many decades every competent evolutionary biologist has known that he did not. Although the experts have kept quiet when true believers have sworn in court and before legislative bodies that Darwin's theory is proven beyond any possible doubt, that's not what reputable biologists, including committed Darwinians, have been saying to one another.

Without question, Charles Darwin would be among the most prominent biologists in history even if he hadn't written The Origin of Species in 1859. But he would not have been deified in the campaign to "enlighten" humanity. The battle over evolution is not an example of how heroic scientists have withstood the relentless persecution of religious fanatics. Rather, from the very start it primarily has been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science.

When a thoroughly ideological Darwinist like Richard Dawkins claims, "The theory is about as much in doubt as that the earth goes round the sun," he does not state a fact, but merely aims to discredit a priori anyone who dares to express reservations about evolution. Indeed, Dawkins has written, "It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane...."

That is precisely how "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Huxley, hoped intellectuals would react when he first adopted the tactic of claiming that the only choice is between Darwin and Bible literalism. However, just as one can doubt Max Weber's Protestant Ethic thesis without thereby declaring for Marxism, so too one may note the serious shortcomings of neo-Darwinism without opting for any rival theory. Modern physics provides a model of how science benefits from being willing to live with open questions rather than embracing obviously flawed conjectures.

What is most clear to me is that the Darwinian Crusade does not prove some basic incompatibility between religion and science. But the even more immediate reality is that Darwin's theory falls noticeably short of explaining the origin of species. Dawkins knows the many serious problems that beset a purely materialistic evolutionary theory, but asserts that no one except true believers in evolution can be allowed into the discussion, which also must be held in secret. Thus he chastises Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould, two distinguished fellow Darwinians, for giving "spurious aid and comfort to modern creationists."

Dawkins believes that, regardless of his or her good intentions, "if a reputable scholar breathes so much as a hint of criticism of some detail of Darwinian theory, that fact is seized upon and blown up out of proportion." While acknowledging that "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record" is a major embarrassment for Darwinism, Stephen Jay Gould confided that this has been held as a "trade secret of paleontology" and acknowledged that the evolutionary diagrams "that adorn our textbooks" are based on "inference...not the evidence of fossils."

According to Steven Stanley, another distinguished evolutionist, doubts raised by the fossil record were "suppressed" for years. Stanley noted that this too was a tactic begun by Huxley, always careful not to reveal his own serious misgivings in public. Paleontologist Niles Eldridge and his colleagues have said that the history of life demonstrates gradual transformations of species, "all the while really knowing that it does not." This is not how science is conducted; it is how ideological crusades are run.

By Darwin's day it had long been recognized that the fossil evidence showed that there had been a progression in the biological complexity of organisms over an immense period of time. In the oldest strata, only simple organisms are observed. In more recent strata, more complex organisms appear. The biological world is now classified into a set of nested categories. Within each genus (mammals, reptiles, etc.) are species (dogs, horses, elephants, etc.) and within each species are many specific varieties, or breeds (Great Dane, Poodle, Beagle, etc.).

It was well-known that selective breeding can create variations within species. But the boundaries between species are distinct and firm--one species does not simply trail off into another by degrees. As Darwin acknowledged, breeding experiments reveal clear limits to selective breeding beyond which no additional changes can be produced. For example, dogs can be bred to be only so big and no bigger, let alone be selectively bred until they are cats. Hence, the question of where species come from was the real challenge and, despite the title of his famous book and more than a century of hoopla and celebration, Darwin essentially left it unanswered.

After many years spent searching for an adequate explanation of the origin of species, in the end Darwin fell back on natural selection, claiming that it could create new creatures too, if given im-mense periods of time. That is, organisms respond to their environmental circumstances by slowly changing (evolving) in the direction of traits beneficial to survival until, eventually, they are sufficiently changed to constitute a new species. Hence, new species originate very slowly, one tiny change after another, and eventually this can result in lemurs changing to humans via many intervening species.

Darwin fully recognized that a major weakness of this account of the origin of species involved what he and others referred to as the principle of "gradualism in nature." The fossil record was utterly inconsistent with gradualism. As Darwin acknowledged: "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?"

Darwin offered two solutions. Transitional types are quickly replaced and hence would mainly only be observable in the fossil record. As for the lack of transitional types among the fossils, that was, Darwin admitted, "the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory."

Darwin dealt with this problem by blaming "the extreme imperfection of the geological record." "Only a small portion of the surface of the earth has been geologically explored, and no part with sufficient care." But, just wait, Darwin promised, the missing transitions will be found in the expected proportion when more research has been done. Thus began an intensive search for what the popular press soon called the "missing links."

Today, the fossil record is enormous compared to what it was in Darwin's day, but the facts are unchanged. The links are still missing; species appear suddenly and then remain relatively unchanged. As Steven Stanley reported: "The known fossil record...offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."

Indeed, the evidence has grown even more contrary since Darwin's day. "Many of the discontinuities [in the fossil record] tend to be more and more emphasized with increased collecting," noted the former curator of historical geology at the American Museum of Natural History. The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism, Stephen Jay Gould has acknowledged. The first problem is stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear. The second problem is sudden appearance. Species do not arise gradually by the steady transformation of ancestors, they appear "fully formed."

These are precisely the objections raised by many biologists and geologists in Darwin's time--it was not merely that Darwin's claim that species arise through eons of natural selection was offered without supporting evidence, but that the available evidence was overwhelmingly contrary. Unfortunately, rather than concluding that a theory of the origin of species was yet to be accomplished, many scientists urged that Darwin's claims must be embraced, no matter what.

In keeping with Darwin's views, evolutionists have often explained new species as the result of the accumulation of tiny, favorable random mutations over an immense span of time. But this answer is inconsistent with the fossil record wherein creatures appear "full-blown and raring to go." Consequently, for most of the past century, biologists and geneticists have tried to discover how a huge number of favorable mutations can occur at one time so that a new species would appear without intermediate types.

However, as the eminent and committed Darwinist Ernst Mayr explained,The occurrence of genetic monstrosities by mutation...is well substantiated, but they are such evident freaks that these monsters can only be designated as 'hopeless.' They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through selection. Giving a thrush the wings of a falcon does not make it a better flyer....To believe that such a drastic mutation would produce a viable new type, capable of occupying a new adaptive zone, is equivalent to believing in miracles.

The word miracle crops up again and again in mathematical assessments of the possibility that even very simple biochemical chains, let alone living organisms, can mutate into being by a process of random trial and error. For generations, Darwinians have regaled their students with the story of the monkey and the typewriter, noting that given an infinite period of time, the monkey sooner or later is bound to produce Macbeth purely by chance, the moral being that infinite time can perform miracles.

However, the monkey of random evolution does not have infinite time. The progression from simple to complex life forms on earth took place within a quite limited time. Moreover, when competent mathematicians considered the matter, they quickly calculated that even if the monkey's task were reduced to coming up with only a few lines of Macbeth, let alone Shakespeare's entire play, the probability is far, far beyond mathematical possibility. The odds of creating even the simplest organism at random are even more remote--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, celebrated cosmologists, calculated the odds as one in ten to the 40,000th power. (Consider that all atoms in the known universe are estimated to number no more than ten to the 80th power.) In this sense, then, Darwinian theory does rest on truly miraculous assumptions.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the current situation is that while Darwin is treated as a secular saint in the popular media and the theory of evolution is regarded as the invincible challenge to all religious claims, it is taken for granted among the leading biological scientists that the origin of species has yet to be explained. Writing in Nature in 1999, Eörs Szathmay summarizes that, "The origin of species has long fascinated biologists. Although Darwin's major work bears it as a title, it does not provide a solution to the problem." When Julian Huxley claimed that "Darwin's theory is...no longer a theory but a fact," he surely knew better. But, just like his grandfather, Thomas Huxley, he knew that his lie served the greater good of "enlightenment."

When The Origin of Species was published it aroused immense interest, but initially it did not provoke antagonism on religious grounds. Although many criticized Darwin's lack of evidence, none raised religious objections. Instead, the initial response from theologians was favorable. The distinguished Harvard botanist Asa Gray hailed Darwin for having solved the most difficult problem confronting the Design argument--the many imperfections and failures revealed in the fossil record. Acknowledging that Darwin himself "rejects the idea of design," Gray congratulated him for "bringing out the neatest illustrations of it." Gray interpreted Darwin's work as showing that God has created a few original forms and then let evolution proceed within the framework of divine laws.

When religious antagonism finally came it was in response to aggressive claims, like Huxley's, that Newton and Darwin together had evicted God from the cosmos. For the heirs of the Enlightenment, evolution seemed finally to supply the weapon needed to destroy religion. As Richard Dawkins confided, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Atheism was central to the agenda of the Darwinians. Darwin himself once wrote that he could not understand how anyone could even wish that Christianity were true, noting that the doctrine of damnation was itself damnable. Huxley expressed his hostility toward religion often and clearly, writing in 1859: "My screed was meant as a protest against Theology & Parsondom...both of which are in my mind the natural & irreconcilable enemies of Science. Few see it but I believe we are on the Eve of a new Reformation and if I have a wish to live 30 years, it is to see the foot of Science on the necks of her Enemies." According to Oxford historian J. R. Lucas, Huxley was "remarkably resistant to the idea that there were clergymen who accepted evolution, even when actually faced with them." Quite simply, there could be no compromises with faith.

Writing at the same time as Huxley, the leading Darwinian in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, drew this picture:

On one side spiritual freedom and truth, reason and culture, evolution and progress stand under the bright banner of science; on the other side, under the black flag of hierarchy, stand spiritual slavery and falsehood, irrationality and barbarism, superstition and retrogression.... Evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth. Whole ranks of...sophistries fall together under the chain shot of this...artillery, and the proud and mighty structure of the Roman hierarchy, that powerful stronghold of infallible dogmatism, falls like a house of cards.

These were not the natterings of radical circles and peripheral publications. The author of the huge review of The Origin in the Times of London was none other than Thomas Huxley. He built his lectures on evolution into a popular touring stage show wherein he challenged various potential religious opponents by name. Is it surprising that religious people, scientists as well as clerics, began to respond in the face of unrelenting challenges like these issued in the name of evolution? It was not as if they merely were asked to accept that life had evolved--many theologians had long taken that for granted. What the Darwinians demanded was that religionists agree to the untrue and unscientific claim that Darwin had proved that God played no role in the process.

Among those drawn to respond was the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, who is widely said to have made an ass of himself in a debate with Huxley during the 1860 meeting of the British Association at Oxford. The relevant account of this confrontation reported: "I was happy enough to be present on the memorable occasion at Oxford when Mr. Huxley bearded Bishop Wilberforce. The bishop arose and in a light scoffing tone, florid and fluent, he assured us that there was nothing in the idea of evolution. Then turning to his antagonist with a smiling insolence, he begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey? On this Mr. Huxley...arose...and spoke these tremendous words. He was not ashamed to have a monkey for an ancestor; but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth. No one doubted his meaning and the effect was tremendous."

This marvelous anecdote has appeared in every distinguished biography of Darwin and of Huxley, as well as in every popular history of the theory of evolution. In his celebrated Apes, Angels and Victorians, William Irvine used this tale to disparage the bishop's snobbery. In his prize-winning study, James Brix went much farther, describing Wilberforce as "naive and pompous," a man whose "faulty opinions" were those of a "fundamentalist creationist" and who provided Huxley with the opportunity to give evolution "its first major victory over dogmatism and duplicity." Every writer tells how the audience gave Huxley an ovation.

Trouble is, it never happened. The quotation above was the only such report of this story and it appeared in an article titled "A Grandmother's Tales" written by a non-scholar in a popular magazine 38 years after the alleged encounter. No other account of these meetings, and there were many written at the time, made any mention of remarks concerning Huxley's monkey ancestors, or claimed that he made a fool of the bishop. To the contrary, many thought the bishop had the better of it, and even many of the committed Darwinians thought it at most a draw.

Moreover, as all of the scholars present at Oxford knew, prior to the meeting, Bishop Wilberforce had penned a review of The Origin in which he fully acknowledged the principle of natural selection as the source of variations within species. He rejected Darwin's claims concerning the origin of species, however, and some of these criticisms were sufficiently compelling that Darwin immediately wrote his friend the botanist J. D. Hooker that the article "is uncommonly clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes me quite splendidly." In a subsequent letter to geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin acknowledges that "the bishop makes a very telling case against me." Indeed, several of Wilberforce's comments caused Darwin to make modifications in a later revision of the book.

The tale of the foolish and narrow-minded bishop seems to have thrived as a revealing "truth" about the incompatibility of religion and science simply because many of its tellers wanted to believe that a bishop is wrong by nature. J. R. Lucas, who debunked the bishop myth, has suggested that the "most important reason why the legend grew" is, first, because academics generally "know nothing outside their own special subject" and therefore easily believe that outsiders are necessarily ignorant, and, second, because Huxley encouraged that conclusion. "The quarrel between religion and science was what Huxley wanted; and as Darwin's theory gained supporters, they took over his view of the incident."

Since then the Darwinian Crusade has tried to focus all attention on the most unqualified and most vulnerable opponents, and when no easy targets present themselves it has invented them. Huxley "made straw men of the 'creationists,'" as his biographer Desmond admitted. Even today it is a rare textbook or any popular treatment of evolution and religion that does not reduce "creationism" to the simplest caricatures.

This tradition remains so potent that whenever it is asked that evolution be presented as "only a theory," the requester is ridiculed as a buffoon. Even when the great philosopher of science Karl Popper suggested that the standard version of evolution even falls short of being a scientific theory, being instead an untestable tautology, he was subjected to public condemnations and much personal abuse.

Popper's tribulations illustrate an important basis for the victory of Darwinism: A successful appeal for a united front on the part of scientists to oppose religious opposition has had the consequence of silencing dissent within the scientific community. The eminent observer Everett Olson notes that there is "a generally silent group" of biological scientists "who tend to disagree with much of the current thought" about evolution, but who remain silent for fear of censure.

I believe that one day there will be a plausible theory of the origin of species. But, if and when that occurs, there will be nothing in any such theory that makes it impossible to propose that the principles involved were not part of God's great design any more than such a theory will demonstrate the existence of God. But, while we wait, why not lift the requirement that high school texts enshrine Darwin's failed attempt as an eternal truth?

Rodney Stark was professor of sociology at the University of Washington for many years and is now university professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. He is author of For the Glory of God (Princeton University Press) and other acclaimed books on science and religion.

The Miracle of Creation

Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, is a preeminent mathematical physicist, and one of the most wide-ranging thinkers and writers in modern science. These observations are drawn from interviews with Monte Davis and Stewart Brand.

QUESTION: How do we understand the universe at all? Do you agree with Carl Sagan that humans find the mathematics of gravitation so simple and elegant because natural selection eliminated the apes who couldn’t understand?

DYSON: Not at all. For apes to come out of the trees, and change in the direction of being able to write down Maxwell’s equations, I don’t think you can explain that by natural selection at all. It’s just a miracle.

QUESTION: You have written that “as we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” Is that a playful suggestion?

DYSON: It’s not playful at all.

QUESTION: Then we seem to be talking about sentiments that most people would consider religious. Are they religious for you?

DYSON: Oh yes.

QUESTION: The dominant tendency in modern science has been to assert that we occupy no privileged place, that the universe does not care, that science and religion don’t mix. Where do you fit into those ideas?

DYSON: The tendency you’re talking about is a modern one, not old. I think it became almost a dogma only with the fight for acceptance of Darwinism, Huxley versus Bishop Wilberforce, and so on. Before the nineteenth century, scientists were not ashamed of being religious, but since Darwin, it’s been taboo.

The biologists are still fighting Wilberforce. If you look now, the view that everything is due to chance and to little bits of molecular clockwork is mostly propounded by biologists, particularly people like Jacques Monod—whereas the physicists have become far more skeptical about that. If you actually look at the way modern physics is going, it’s very far from that. Yes, it’s the biologists who’ve made it so hard to talk about these things.

I was reading recently a magnificent book by Thomas Wright, written about 1750, when these inhibitions didn’t exist at all. Wright was the discoverer of galaxies, you know, and he writes:

“I can never look upon the stars without wondering that the whole world does not become astronomers; and that men, endowed with sense and reason, should neglect a science that must convince them of their immortality.”

QUESTION: There’s a provocative sentence in your book Imagined Worlds: “The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible.” What do you mean by that?

DYSON: It’s the numerical accidents that make life possible. I define an interesting universe as one that is friendly to life, and especially one that produces lots of variety.

QUESTION: What accidental numbers make that possible?

DYSON: If you look at just the physical building blocks, there’s a famous problem with producing carbon in stars. All the carbon necessary for life has to be produced in stars, and it’s difficult to do. To make carbon, you’ve got to have three helium atoms collide in a triple collision. Helium has an atomic weight of 4, and carbon is 12. Beryllium, at 8, is unstable, therefore you can’t go from helium to beryllium to carbon; you have to make helium into carbon in one jump. This means three atoms colliding together.

QUESTION: Which statistically is not so often.

DYSON: No. But Fred Hoyle, who discovered this process, came up with one of the most brilliant ideas in the whole of science. He said that in order to make carbon abundant as it should be, there must be an accidental, coincidental resonance. This means that there’s a nuclear state in the carbon nucleus at precisely the right energy level for these three atoms to combine smoothly. The chance of having that resonance in the right place is maybe 1 in 1,000. Hoyle believed it must be there in order to produce the carbon. Of course, the nuclear physicists then looked for this resonance, and found it!

There are other famous cases: The fact that the nuclear force is just strong enough to bind a proton and a neutron to make the heavy isotope hydrogen, but not strong enough to bind two protons to make helium with an atomic weight of 2. Just two protons stuck together is a rather narrow range of strength. So the nuclear force is fine-tuned so that hydrogen doesn’t burn to helium right away. If the two hydrogen nuclei did bind, all the hydrogen would burn to helium in the first five minutes. The universe would then be pure helium and a rather boring place. Whereas, if the force were a little bit weaker, so that the neutron and the proton didn’t bind, you wouldn’t get any heavy elements at all. You’d have nothing but hydrogen. Again, this would make for a boring universe.

Published in One America September 2004


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; darwin; evolution; huxley; wilberforce
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To: Dimensio

I think I noted to someone else that I was dealing with someone tuned into venus on another thread -- Venetian brainwaves must have melted his capacity to reason and Linux has become a threat to the free world because Gates could go broke and the MS trolls would no longer get paid..
Something like that anyway.


251 posted on 08/03/2004 1:51:10 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: VadeRetro; Tribune7; Alamo-Girl; cornelis; marron; unspun; PatrickHenry; bondserv
It was not as if they merely were asked to accept that life had evolved--many theologians had long taken that for granted. What the Darwinians demanded was that religionists agree to the untrue and unscientific claim that Darwin had proved that God played no role in the process.

VR, you wrote: "Darwin spent no time advocating atheism." Even if he had wanted to (which is dubious), he didn't have to: He had Thomas Huxley -- a thorough-going atheist who was first among his popularizers -- to do that for him. Huxley obviously had an ax to grind against "Rome" (we can come to this reasonable conclusion on the basis of his own statements) and it seems that his critique of Darwin was largely a polemical appeal to the masses, for the purpose of freeing them of the backward superstitions and putative persecutions of religious fanatics who stand athwart science yelling STOP! because (supposedly) the theory of evolution is a threat to Genesis....

A thoughtful Christian is unlikely to see evolution as a threat to Genesis. Certainly I don't.

Nonetheless, Huxley gins up his straw man. I gather he conceived of his project as human liberation of some sort ... once God's out of the way, you see, man is completely free to do whatever he likes -- to make a better, more perfect world, for instance; or simply to indulge his own viciousness, "guilt-free," should he prefer that. In short, T. Huxley -- and later on, grandson J. Huxley -- was just another tom-tom beater for the "God is dead" movement, and his use (misuse? abuse?) of Darwin's "theory" well served his purpose.

The author of this fine article has not imputed motives to Darwin, and I won't do that either. I'm sure the Darwin thought he was doing science, and was in fact doing science. But he himself seems to have been aware of certain weaknesses in his theory.

Huxley, on the other hand, obviously did have a motive. That meretricious motive continues to inspire the likes of Richard Dawkins, who also seems to prefer dishonest polemics to good science.

252 posted on 08/03/2004 1:59:01 PM PDT by betty boop
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To: Modernman
A rational person might consider that to be evidence of transitional species.

No, a rational person might actually just appreciat the fact that they can glide. They might actually also look at how they do it. But to postulate that they are transitional species wouldn't even come to my mind. Especially without any evidence that they'd ever existed in any other form but what they are now. You know, giving ground for a postulation that they were changing. I would generally posit that absent any evidence of change, assuming change bears the responsibility of proving it rather than saying it's possible and then saying "every living thing today is in transition". I can say equally as absurd things just as easily. It doesn't mean I'm any more or less right than you. Nor does it make either of us truth tellers. You can't say that you observed a change in foxes or squirrels that spontaniously allowed one bread to glide. Nor can you say that a time ever existed that they couldn't do this. I know I've said it' but, it's worth repeating things that we can truthfully say. So you have no basis for saying that these are in transition because you are not accounting for what you DON'T know. The fact is that the possibilities do not stop at your theory's edge. In absence of proof for your "theory", I think I'd leave well enough alone. But that would deny you the chance to shape politics and force your views on others via science.. right.

253 posted on 08/03/2004 2:00:16 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: razoroccam

I was just taking it from the greek... biblio meaning book and phileo (love)...


254 posted on 08/03/2004 2:03:34 PM PDT by RUCKUS INC. ("Wow, what a crapweasel." - Frank_Discussion)
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To: Modernman
Bird wings work great. What's the point of creating a whole new structure for bat wings?

Why not create bat wings. Bat wings work great too. Why didn't you go the other way with it. When you can make a bat out of nothing but elements, color it, size it, set it's environment and design something for it to eat all by speaking it into existance, I think at that point you'll be in a position to compare notes with God. Till then - until you have some basis on which to know His purpose in having done it the way he chose to do it, I think it is well beyond presumptuous to assume you could have done better. And not being in possession of all the facts or how everything works while HE does..

255 posted on 08/03/2004 2:05:53 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc
Liquifaction doesn't sort by size - it sorts by bouyancy.

Most dinosaurs were man-sized or smaller critters, and if their nearest relatives, crocodiles and birds, are any indication, about as dense as modern animals. A two-meter long velociraptor therefore probably weighed in the neighborhood of 45 kg (remember, one meter is tail). A 1.8 meter human male weighs on the order of 80 kg. Note, they are both approximately the same density. Therefore, the Flood should have sorted the remains of velociraptors above those of humans -- but we don't see this in the actual fossil record.

256 posted on 08/03/2004 2:10:29 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Havoc; Registered
Thanks to Photoshop, we now have "proof" of transitional forms:


257 posted on 08/03/2004 2:10:30 PM PDT by My2Cents (http://www.conservativesforbush.com)
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To: Havoc
Why not create bat wings. Bat wings work great too.

They work no better than bird wings, AFAIK. So what's the point? You need to give one rational reason other than "God felt like it."

If God loves wings so much, why not create a different wing type for each bird?

258 posted on 08/03/2004 2:12:46 PM PDT by Modernman ("I have nothing to declare except my genius." -Oscar Wilde)
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To: Junior

You're ignoring the possibility that humans are probably better swimmers than velociraptors.


259 posted on 08/03/2004 2:13:41 PM PDT by My2Cents (http://www.conservativesforbush.com)
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To: My2Cents
But ichthyosaurs are better swimmers than human beings and many species were of comparable size to the latter. However, they don't appear above humanity in the fossil record, either.

Oddly enough, insects, arachnids, and other similarly teeny critters, have a tendency to float because they don't break the surface tension of the water, yet some of their remains are found far below those of later, larger critters.

In other words, hydrographic sorting makes absolutely no sense as an explanation for the fossil record.

260 posted on 08/03/2004 2:17:01 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Havoc
You're the best! you are my favorite creationist. You have a knack for stumbling and bumbling over and through pretty much every goofy creationist idea, with no regard for what you are actually typing. Awesome. How do you know a bat without wings never existed.

Um, because they wouldn't be bats, by definition. (Keep in mind, please use a dictionary or zoology text when looking up what bats are. For, as I'm sure you know, the Bible calls bats "fowl," which, as I'm sure you know, happen to be avian, something which, as I'm sure you know, bats are not. Bats are mammals. Not birds. Fowl are birds. Not mammals. Careful where you learn your biology from.

Of course, bats are a creationist favorite (after the eye and bombadier beetles) since someone once learned that their fossil record is spotty (due to their habitats and tiny/brittle bones). So they get picked on. But, if you did a google search and weeded out the creationist sites, you could actually learn a thing or two.

And btw, why would I particularly care one way or another if either foxes or squirrels can glide?

Well, I think I know why you wouldn't care. Because you have no thirst for knowledge about the natural world around you. Others, however, may find gliding mammals (and reptiles and fish) rather an interesting evolutionary adaptation. "Hmmm," an inquisitive bloke might say, "All the squirrels I know can't glide. I wonder why these particular ones do. Perhaps, in their niche, their is an advantage to gliding, whereas in my backyard there isn't. I wonder why that is." Then they'd google something.
261 posted on 08/03/2004 2:17:06 PM PDT by whattajoke
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To: RobRoy
Creationists have rightly responded by pointing out that Archaeopteryx is a mosaic of fully-formed reptilian features and fully-formed avian features, not a half- reptile/half-bird.

Then they're wrong. Archaepoteryx's wing is certainly not the fully formed wing of a modern bird.

And you haven't given a usable cite to Gould and Eldriodge 1977,

BTW, have I mentioned that I love Google...,

You're evidently one of the many under the mistaken impression that cutting and pasting other people's statements is the same as writing a response.

262 posted on 08/03/2004 2:18:40 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
The people on FreeRepublic who defend Evolution seem to principally argue from an Ad Hominen stance. Get used to it. Sigh.

The attacks can indeed be biting; can't say I really blame them for the intensity of their defensiveness. I would offer the following, however.

A Darwinist, like a Creationist, or Buddaist, or Hindu, or Red Chinese Communist Party Politboro member ... they all have in common a hard-wired need for 'God' (their hot denials notwithstanding). A Darwinist is especially vocifierous b/c of the limits of their experience.

But I have met several highly trained scientists who are also ardent Christians (and I haven't met a single Christian who utterly rejects outright ALL science) ... and for these Christians, an extra dimension of experience is theirs from which they draw knowledge ... and security. Not so for a Darwinist who KNOWS that to acknowledge a creator is to essentially kill an identity within himself. And thus, out of all faiths, fundamentalist Christianity is the greatest perceived threat to their survival. To them, it really is all about survival, spiritual survival.

Why submit to a 'Jealous God' who seems to endlessly limit the whims of appetite, when their experience base reveals that pleasure is obtained through pursuing the pulses of appetite (primarily the hunger for the lime light in scientific conferences/journals) - and the imitation spiritual experiences embedded therein?

If imitation is the best there is, by gum, its the REAL DEAL ... so how DARE Christians attempt to point the way to a more 'authentic' way of life?

That all said, I wouldn't 'get used to it'. The very fact so many of them bother to attempt to engage so many of us, even on so negative terms, is a very good sign. We're to heed them as they arise...and witness to the extent we can. Ridicule is a far better indicator of what we're about than indifference.

263 posted on 08/03/2004 2:20:20 PM PDT by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/laocoon.htm)
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To: Havoc
No, I think it's clear in the discussion what has been talked about.

Yes, it is quite clear. You said in 112 that there are no transitional fossils. I gave one. You haven't made any serious attempt to dispute that Archaeopteryx is transitional.

Show the fish growing legs, arms and lungs, etc.

I have a reptile with wings and feathers. I can give you a fish - amphibian transitional if you want, but let's have the verdict on my reptile-bird transitional first. Why isn't it a transitional?

264 posted on 08/03/2004 2:26:12 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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To: Right Wing Professor

Transitional placemarker.


265 posted on 08/03/2004 2:27:28 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
Your trantional placemarker isn't really transitional, it's a fully-developed placemarker. A transitional placemarker wouold look like this:

Tr_ns__onal _lace_ark__

Science has never found one of those. Therefore evolution is wrong.

266 posted on 08/03/2004 2:33:25 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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To: gobucks
The very fact so many of them bother to attempt to engage so many of us, even on so negative terms, is a very good sign.

I engage you because I care about conservatism, and I'd hate to reliquish it to biblical literalists, because I feel that would result in it becoming a perpetually shrunken political movement.

267 posted on 08/03/2004 2:35:52 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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To: Dimensio
Not a single one of your mined quotes discusses "natural selection".

Thus there is a paradox. Both nucleic acids and proteins are required to function before selection can act at present, and yet the origin of this association is too improbable to have occurred without selection. (T. Dobzhansky et al, Evolution, 1977, 359)

I'm not saying this thought is so convincing that all discussion is closed. It's just a curious thing.

Keep going back on the evolutionary trail and you come to this point. How did such complex structures as nucleic acids and proteins come to be? One can't exist without the other. They are interdependent.

268 posted on 08/03/2004 2:36:37 PM PDT by siunevada
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To: Right Wing Professor
...because I feel that would result in it becoming a perpetually shrunken political movement.

"Creationism: the Ice Water of Politics" placemarker

269 posted on 08/03/2004 2:38:09 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Havoc

Ask, and ye shall receive.

270 posted on 08/03/2004 2:45:11 PM PDT by balrog666 (A public service post.)
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To: Right Wing Professor

I know many people who vote Democratic because of the perceived anti-science position taken by Republicans. Their comments run along the lines of: "If you cannot trust Republicans to do science correctly, how can you trust them with anything?"


271 posted on 08/03/2004 2:46:08 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


272 posted on 08/03/2004 2:49:28 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Tribune7

LOLOL! What a wonderful compliment! Thank you!!!


273 posted on 08/03/2004 2:52:37 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: siunevada
Keep going back on the evolutionary trail and you come to this point. How did such complex structures as nucleic acids and proteins come to be? One can't exist without the other. They are interdependent.

If you are referring to the ultimate origins of the first life forms, such matters are outside the scope of the theory of evolution. If you aren't referring to the ultimate origins of life, then I'm afraid that you've lost me.
274 posted on 08/03/2004 3:06:51 PM PDT by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob: http://www.aa419.org)
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To: Right Wing Professor; RobRoy
>It is the same reason the frame of a Kenworth typically has holes that are not used. Several models use slightly different mounting points for different things, not to mention accessories. It is more effecient to just drill the holes in all the frames at once than to have a seperate jig for every style, or, worse, have a workman come by later and manually measure and drill every hole.

Thats applicable to a human workman who has limited time and effort available. But your God is supposed to be omnipotent. Why does an omnipotent deity need to take short-cuts? If you can say 'let there be light' and bam!, there is, why can't you say 'let there be snake' without putzing around with lizard designs?

I find it amazing when engineers cite engineering shortcuts as evidence of an infinitely intelligent creator. As a software engineer myself, it is mind-bogglingly obvious that code re-use, code stubs, or even extra mounting holes on Kenworth truck frames, are efficient ways of compensating for our finite intelligence. These kind of examples are always compelling evidence of a non-infinite intelligence behind the design.

And of course the undirected process of evolution is the ultimate in non-intelligent designers.

275 posted on 08/03/2004 3:09:35 PM PDT by jennyp (Tremble and cower, Osama! John Edwards is comin' to getcha!)
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To: betty boop
once God's out of the way, you see, man is completely free to do whatever he likes -- to make a better, more perfect world, for instance; or simply to indulge his own viciousness, "guilt-free," should he prefer that.

I think you hit it on the head.

276 posted on 08/03/2004 3:13:48 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Alamo-Girl

:-)


277 posted on 08/03/2004 3:14:20 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Havoc
When you can make a bat out of nothing but elements, color it, size it, set it's environment and design something for it to eat all by speaking it into existance, I think at that point you'll be in a position to compare notes with God.

...and yet, that's precisely what the "intelligent design" folks presume to do. That's the entire *basis* of their "analysis".

Thanks for pointing out that the ID folks are just winging it, by presuming to know what an ultra-advanced "designer" would or would not do, and presuming to make any conclusion about whether Earthly life matches what such a designer would design.

On the other hand, life produced by evolutionary means would result in life with a number of specific characteristic features, and that's exactly what we find. Why, then, do you not accept the most obvious conclusion, which is that life arose by evolutionary means?

278 posted on 08/03/2004 3:22:00 PM PDT by Ichneumon ("...she might as well have been a space alien." - Bill Clinton, on Hillary, "My Life", p. 182)
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To: RobRoy
And yes, I CAN have it both ways. God is the most creative force in AND OUTSIDE the universe. He is efficient when he wants to be, and inefficient when he doesn't.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!!

Ahem. Giggle. smile. <big sigh>

Sorry, but after all these years on these crevo threads, it's not often that a creationist earnestly makes a totally silly argument that I haven't heard before. This one is just so funny... :-)

279 posted on 08/03/2004 3:22:00 PM PDT by jennyp (Tremble and cower, Osama! John Edwards is comin' to getcha!)
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To: Modernman
Of course, Creationists also fail to notice that bat wings are different than bird wings. So, we've already established that the Creator is inefficient (vestigial bones in snakes and whales) and now we can see that he forgets old designs and goes to the trouble of re-inventing the wheel, or the wing. Since bats evolved after birds, why not just use the bird wing structure?

Give it up, Modernman. They've come up with the Trump To End All Trumps: He is efficient when he wants to be and inefficient when he doesn't.

280 posted on 08/03/2004 3:25:46 PM PDT by jennyp (Tremble and cower, Osama! John Edwards is comin' to getcha!)
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To: betty boop; VadeRetro; Tribune7; Alamo-Girl; cornelis; marron; PatrickHenry; bondserv
A thoughtful Christian is unlikely to see evolution as a threat to Genesis. Certainly I don't.

Right; yet it's when the "e" is capitalized that the trouble begins, so to speak....

281 posted on 08/03/2004 3:28:49 PM PDT by unspun (RU working your precinct, churchmembers, etc. 4 good votes? | Not "Unspun w/ AnnaZ" but I appreciate)
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To: jennyp; RobRoy
Sorry, but after all these years on these crevo threads, it's not often that a creationist earnestly makes a totally silly argument that I haven't heard before. This one is just so funny... :-)

jennyp, please let me know when you get your appointment at the Great White Throne to explain to God that He can't be what He want's to be.

282 posted on 08/03/2004 3:31:40 PM PDT by unspun (RU working your precinct, churchmembers, etc. 4 good votes? | Not "Unspun w/ AnnaZ" but I appreciate)
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To: Havoc
No, a rational person might actually just appreciat the fact that they can glide. They might actually also look at how they do it. But to postulate that they are transitional species wouldn't even come to my mind.

Obviously.

Especially without any evidence that they'd ever existed in any other form but what they are now.

You mean besides the DNA evidence (i.e. the patterns of protein functional redundancy, DNA functional redundancy, transposons, redundant pseudogenes, and endogenous retroviruses), the morphological evidence, the anatomical parahomology evidence, the molecular parahomology evidence, the cladistic evidence, the evidence of the chronology of common ancestors, the molecular vestige evidence, the evidence of past biogeography, and so on?

Well, yeah, other than that, there's not much...

You know, giving ground for a postulation that they were changing.

See above.

I would generally posit that absent any evidence of change, assuming change bears the responsibility of proving it rather than saying it's possible and then saying "every living thing today is in transition".

So what would you "generally posit" given evidence such as I mention above?

I can say equally as absurd things just as easily.

Clearly.

It doesn't mean I'm any more or less right than you.

No, what makes you less right than us is your almost complete unfamiliarity with the subject.

283 posted on 08/03/2004 3:31:50 PM PDT by Ichneumon ("...she might as well have been a space alien." - Bill Clinton, on Hillary, "My Life", p. 182)
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To: unspun
Right; yet it's when the "e" is capitalized that the trouble begins, so to speak....

Exactly right, unspun, IMHO. The capital "e" is a reliable indicator that you are probably dealing with a sectarian thinker, not a scientist. Great catch!

284 posted on 08/03/2004 3:37:24 PM PDT by betty boop
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To: Junior

You're saying that the velociraptor is Bigger than a man, weighs less and therefore should be above the man by weight.
Your assumption is based on what - as weight goes. If you're right about the weight, then your conclusion is well founded. If you are not, lets just say, at .2 meters bigger than the average man and given the weight of gators, I don't find it credible that a Raptor would weigh less than a man. Nor would I base my conclusions on single instances with regard to the fossil record. By and large, the sorting of fossils is far more indicative of bouyancy sorting. The sorting of the strata can also be accounted for in this manner along with the difference in the strata world wide.


285 posted on 08/03/2004 3:46:30 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Modernman
Talk.Origins has already shredded AiG's argument that this clearly beneficial mutation represents a loss of information (whatever the heck that is supposed to mean in this context).

It's not that creationists lie like leftists, in the way we usually think of the term "lie". It's that they are forced to swallow whole classes of FUD-generation techniques whole. They end up totally convinced that they are using the best arguments & logic possible, even as they get more & more divorced from reality & logical self-consistency. You'd think it should destroy their ability to think in general - and yet they tend to be good conservatives. Go figure.

286 posted on 08/03/2004 3:54:42 PM PDT by jennyp (Tremble and cower, Osama! John Edwards is comin' to getcha!)
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To: Modernman
You need to give one rational reason other than "God felt like it."

Why. When I draw a picture or sculpt someone, I don't need a rhyme or reason. I do what the heck takes my fancy to do. I don't sit back and worry myself about being subjected to an inquisition by you. Why should God have done so. Did he have something to fear from your disapproval of how he did things. Again, awful presumptuous. Has it ocurred to you that the way Bats hang upside down in wet caves and hold their young might present problems if Bats had feathered wings. Bats don't act or function like birds. And if efficiency of design is such a no brainer and Lamborghinis are the best car on the road.. why aren't semi trucks shaped like Lamborghinis. Oh, that isn't fair is it. screwing with the design of something obviously meant to serve a different purpose and operate differently. The design makes sense for the purpose of the critter. But who knows - if I can see that - perhaps a mighty being capable of speaking the sun into existance can also design a bat to function properly.. Might be assuming too much for someone whos ways are much higher and more complex than ours.

287 posted on 08/03/2004 3:55:40 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: My2Cents

That was a good one.. LOL.


288 posted on 08/03/2004 3:56:23 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Dimensio
If you are referring to the ultimate origins of the first life forms,

Yes, that is what I am referring to.

If that is outside the theory of evolution, which I would agree is correct but still a necessary point to consider, then a lot of people for a lot of years have misused the theory as 'proof' that life came into existence in a manner that can be explained as a fairly linear process from the prebiotic soup to the present.

289 posted on 08/03/2004 3:58:08 PM PDT by siunevada
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To: Havoc

Actually, the sun was created first, then the plants.


290 posted on 08/03/2004 4:04:38 PM PDT by ConservativeBamaFan (We know too much, and are convinced of too little. --T.S. Elliot)
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To: betty boop
An argument from motive is a fallacy. While noting even the most transparently obvious motive may hint that the text is false, it does not guarantee such falsehood. The DNC may issue a press release tomorrow that pictures of Bush have surfaced dancing drunk and naked on a bar in 1976. Their motives would be obvious. The picture might nevertheless be real. You can't use the motive to "prove" that the picture is faked.

In the case of an argument from motive against a theory that has worked for 145 years and still works ... The motives of the maker of the argument are the real issue. If any thought processes are likely corrupt, THERE's where the cloud of suspicion must hover. Sorry, BB!

Darwin got the science right. It doesn't matter what Huxley or even Darwin thought of "Rome." That should be obvious by now. One has to studiously ignore or be genuinely ignorant of a whole lot of science to pretend otherwise.

291 posted on 08/03/2004 4:06:25 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: whattajoke
Um, because they wouldn't be bats, by definition.

Really. who named them? And why wouldn't they be bats if they didn't have wings just based on the wings alone. A bat that evolves wings or loses them is still a bat. Your logic doesn't follow. If I knock the doors off a car, it's still a car. For that matter, if I knock them off a trans am, it's still a car and a transam. It just doesn't have doors. So are you saying that a Human being that has no limbs is not a human being... Sorry, but you stepped into that trap yourself and went laughingly in as though you thought you were catching me. Would you like the dunce cap now or later?

Of course, bats are a creationist favorite

I don't particularly find it a favorite anything. And I'm not quite sure what it matters to the argument whether creationists like bats or not. My name here is havoc. Deal with me.

Well, I think I know why you wouldn't care. Because you have no thirst for knowledge about the natural world around you.

Take a hint. Don't give up your day job. Gliding would be an advantage for humans, being able to breathe under water would be as well. Being able to withstand pressure without concern for the benze would also be a plus. Humans have not developed such capacities. So advantage would seem to have little to do with evelution if the theory had any factual basis at all - and it doesn't. However, an animal designed a specific way will always appear that way in nature - even fossilized (which, btw, doesn't happen in nature other than in wet places and even then only where something can be quickly buried. Another tick on the board for the good old flood fact.

292 posted on 08/03/2004 4:07:37 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: whattajoke
[To Havoc:] You're the best! you are my favorite creationist. You have a knack for stumbling and bumbling over and through pretty much every goofy creationist idea, with no regard for what you are actually typing. Awesome.

He and Southhack are pretty much the same poster. Impenetrable density, wielded as a bludgeon.

293 posted on 08/03/2004 4:09:38 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: Right Wing Professor
Yes, it is quite clear. You said in 112 that there are no transitional fossils. I gave one. You haven't made any serious attempt to dispute that Archaeopteryx is transitional.

Does it show a partial change from a reptile toward being a bird or is it a bird with what you think are reptile characteristics. A fully developed critter ain't a transition. Sorry. I know you want to confuse the two things and point to this as transitional; but, it ain't transitional. I believe this is a repetition at this point.

294 posted on 08/03/2004 4:11:29 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: balrog666

What, is that where you learned science?


295 posted on 08/03/2004 4:12:55 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Ichneumon
On the other hand, life produced by evolutionary means would result in life with a number of specific characteristic features

Really. You mean Chaos produces order and is therefore predictable in the order it produces. Good. Perhaps you can predict the next 50,000 frames of static on my tv set? Oh, forgot, you were speaking in rhetorical terms - not actual science..

296 posted on 08/03/2004 4:15:22 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

SInce you did not bother to reply, I take it the links in post 79 were good enough to refute your tin foil comment to me.


297 posted on 08/03/2004 4:20:01 PM PDT by RadioAstronomer
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To: Ichneumon
You mean besides the DNA evidence

Sorry, I'd have to say produce a pre-gliding squirrel and then prove it. You can't, so I think the rest of your ramble and it's built in assumptions are worth precisley squat.

So what would you "generally posit" given evidence such as I mention above?

Evidence? Evidence of what? I think I've deliniated clearly the difference between theory and fact, the difference between having something verses having evidence of it, having evidence vs. having evidence that clearly supports a position. Produce a pre-flying squirrel and prove that flying squirrels developed from it. And prove it isn't a genetic trait for squirrels to be able to produce flying squirrels as a trait. Ah, we haven't quite got there yet have we. Yes, I understand how you slant things to an appearance. I've dealt with it in archeology in trying to pick through all the opinion to get to facts. One of my favorites now days is the obfuscation that slaves couldn't have built the pyramids because some of the lead workers were buried onsite and a Pharaoh never would have allowed a slave to be buried near him.. That assumes a lot. So do you. You just don't point out in your speil what the assumptions are. Sorry.

No, what makes you less right than us is your almost complete unfamiliarity with the subject.

I see. One has to be an evolutionist to buy evolutionist arguments cause nowhere else can one find support. Which is why so many are begging to differ nowdays. People have had it with the quackery.

298 posted on 08/03/2004 4:28:55 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: RadioAstronomer

one word, assumption. Nuff said.


299 posted on 08/03/2004 4:30:56 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Tr_ns__onal _lace_ark__

And you call yourself a scientist! Obviously that's just a mosaic. A real transitional placemarker would look like this:

Transitional placemarker

300 posted on 08/03/2004 4:31:30 PM PDT by jennyp (Tremble and cower, Osama! John Edwards is comin' to getcha!)
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