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Dinosaur-Bird Flap Ruffles Feathers
Yahoo!News ^ | October 10, 2005 | E.J. Mundell

Posted on 10/11/2005 4:07:11 AM PDT by mlc9852

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Head to the American Museum of Natural History's Web site, and you'll see the major draw this fall is a splashy exhibit on dinosaurs.

And not just any dinosaurs, but two-legged carnivorous, feathered "theropods" like the 30-inch-tall Bambiraptor -- somewhat less cuddly than its namesake.

The heyday of the theropods, which included scaly terrors like T. rex and velociraptor, stretched from the late Triassic (220 million years ago) to the late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) periods.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: bambiraptor; cretaceous; dinosaur; dinosaurs; godsgravesglyphs; hitchcock; paleontology; science; theropods; triassic; tyrannasaurusrex; velociraptor
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1 posted on 10/11/2005 4:07:12 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: mlc9852
They are marxists.

Bambiraptor? Love their sense of humor.
I prefer to think of the chicken sandwich I had yesterday as a “dinosaur” sandwich, not a bird sandwich.
2 posted on 10/11/2005 4:12:59 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: mlc9852
Dinosaur = Bird = Chicken. ...Fried Chicken Dinosaur Tonite :)
3 posted on 10/11/2005 4:13:55 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: mlc9852
Dinosaurs became birds, yup, that's worth taking about, that's real news.

Of course in our polite, politically correct society we no longer laugh at the insane, we call them "Doctor" and shake our heads knowingly or is it condencendlingly, when they say, with a straight face, "Billions and billions of years ago, after the acid rained on the rock and diosaurs got tired of having diaosaurs they started branching out and had birds.

They had these birds by mating with other dinosaurs, but they had gold finches isntead of T-Rex's.

Well I guess we should thank God they haven't tried to convince us that it was birds that came first.

Could be these guys are the answer to 2 Timothy 3:1-5. And Peters scoffers.

4 posted on 10/11/2005 4:27:29 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer
diosaurs got tired of having diaosaurs they started branching out and had birds.

Your Nobel prize in genetics awaits you, sir.

5 posted on 10/11/2005 4:28:55 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: RogueIsland

There is a suburb of Bejing China whre you can buy reproduced, hand-crafted, authentic DinoBird fossils for $39.95 - just like the pros have.

Seriously, there are entire cities in China which survive on the cottage industry of "Fossil Reproduction" which supplies anthropologists around the world.


6 posted on 10/11/2005 4:42:22 AM PDT by joeclarke (Wrong Place, But Right Time)
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To: RogueIsland
Your Nobel prize in genetics awaits you, sir.

You know if those that believe in evolution were not so funny, they would, in all probability, be ignored. But the things they come out with are so outlandish that it is hard not to egg them on.

We went to a museum and the kids, all 5-7th grade homeschooled, had a ball with the guide, this guy did not even know he was being shown to be the fool, he just smiled and in his highhanded manners said things like. "Well, little lady, we aren’t sure exactly when the dinosaurs died, but from the fossil record, we know it had to be between 16.7 million and 100 million years ago." She said "How do you know that?" and he said "Why from the location of the fossil remains of these giant extinct animals of course."

Later he got talking about the age of the earth, so. our cute little sixth grader said: "Sir, how do you know how old that area is?" and he said "Why little lady we know it from the fossil remains we find, we know that the animals remains we find at that level all died off in 12-60 million BCE." Note the new politically correct BCE instead of BC.

The kids caught on right away that dating bones by layers and layers by bones is a bit stupid, but being the polite kids that they are, they just shook their heads up and down as you would to an imbecile.

I love those who believe in evolution, it is so much fun to watch them go in circles and defend their empty theory by attacking the Word of God and Creationist rather than taking a hard look at their theory and it's foolish assertions.

7 posted on 10/11/2005 4:44:57 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer

It's been proven over and over again!
Everybody in "Science" knows that the little dinosaurs became birds so they could get away from the big mean T-Rex's!
Why don't you believe the scientists? They're always right!


8 posted on 10/11/2005 4:48:09 AM PDT by GadareneDemoniac
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To: joeclarke
Seriously, there are entire cities in China which survive on the cottage industry of "Fossil Reproduction" which supplies anthropologists around the world.

At least they aren’t still having Australian Aborigines murdered for their skulls. For too long, back 80 years or so ago, museums in the civilized west paid serious money for Australian Aborigines skulls, claiming them to be the “missing link” racist bastards.

9 posted on 10/11/2005 4:48:19 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer; PatrickHenry
Of course in our polite, politically correct society we no longer laugh at the insane, we call them "Doctor" and shake our heads knowingly or is it condencendlingly, when they say, with a straight face, "Billions and billions of years ago, after the acid rained on the rock and diosaurs got tired of having diaosaurs they started branching out and had birds.

Dinosaurs didn't even exist "billions" of years ago. So who's the crazy one?

They had these birds by mating with other dinosaurs, but they had gold finches isntead of T-Rex's.

As is usually the case on these threads, what you don't understand about biology would fill volumes. And yet, also as usual, that doesn't stop you from unjustly ridiculing the people who *do* know the field or work in it, and have good reasons (and evidence) for their positions.

Why do you continually feel compelled to display your ignorance, and to belligerently attack those who aren't?

10 posted on 10/11/2005 4:50:05 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: GadareneDemoniac
Why don't you believe the scientists? They're always right!

I know, they like olympia snowe, teddy kennedy, susie collins and johnnie kerry are all true leginds in their won minds, why they maybe even be the missing link.

You know, For too long, back 80 years or so ago, museums in the civilized west paid serious money for Australian Aborigines skulls, claiming them to be the “missing link” racist bastards.

Maybe if we could convince these museums that kenndy, kerry, snowe, collins, biden and others of their ilk are really missing links, they, the museums would solve our social and political problems. Could be some of those hunters are still around.

11 posted on 10/11/2005 4:52:03 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: mlc9852

Why did the Archaeopteryx get the worm?


12 posted on 10/11/2005 4:53:45 AM PDT by Rebelbase ("There are millions of mediocre Americans, and they, too, deserve to be represented in the USSC. -RH)
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To: newsgatherer
Later he got talking about the age of the earth, so. our cute little sixth grader said: "Sir, how do you know how old that area is?" and he said "Why little lady we know it from the fossil remains we find, we know that the animals remains we find at that level all died off in 12-60 million BCE." Note the new politically correct BCE instead of BC. The kids caught on right away that dating bones by layers and layers by bones is a bit stupid

Well, that museum guide was using circular reasoning and should probably polish his presentation to avoid that. However, I think it's great that your cute little sixth grader has studied stratigraphy to the point where he is able to publish monographs critiquing the current state of the field. Look forward to reading the abstracts.

13 posted on 10/11/2005 4:53:58 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Ichneumon
Dinosaurs didn't even exist "billions" of years ago. So who's the crazy one?

Are you sure? Where you there? How do you know?

14 posted on 10/11/2005 4:54:17 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: Ichneumon
Way back in post seven, I said this: I love those who believe in evolution, it is so much fun to watch them go in circles and defend their empty theory by attacking the Word of God and Creationist rather than taking a hard look at their theory and it's foolish assertions. Thanks for proving me right.
15 posted on 10/11/2005 4:56:51 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: RogueIsland
Well, that museum guide was using circular reasoning and should probably polish his presentation to avoid that. However, I think it's great that your cute little sixth grader has studied stratigraphy to the point where he is able to publish monographs critiquing the current state of the field. Look forward to reading the abstracts.

Glad to see you read so carefully what I had to say, oops, guess you didn't, "little lady" sure isn't a "he".

But, I agree the museum guide needs to polish up and update his feeble knowledge of evolution, but then again who can keep up with the every changing ‘facts’ of evolution, one day millions, the next day billions, the day after birds from dinosaurs, then it dinosaurs from birds.

Thank God the Word of God hasn't changed, we Christians are way to dumb to keep up with the changes the religion of evolution demands of it's servants.

16 posted on 10/11/2005 5:03:03 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer; RogueIsland; PatrickHenry; GadareneDemoniac; mlc9852
You know if those that believe in evolution were not so funny, they would, in all probability, be ignored. But the things they come out with are so outlandish that it is hard not to egg them on.

People always laugh at stuff they don't understand. You're a prime example.

We went to a museum and the kids, all 5-7th grade homeschooled, had a ball with the guide, this guy did not even know he was being shown to be the fool, he just smiled and in his highhanded manners said things like. "Well, little lady, we aren’t sure exactly when the dinosaurs died, but from the fossil record, we know it had to be between 16.7 million and 100 million years ago."

Is there any particular reason you're blatantly lying? You're obviously making things up that never happened. No museum guide anywhere would every be so stupid as to say that the dinosaurs died out "between 16.7 and 100 million years ago". Even most gradeschool kids know that the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Please don't post your fantasies as if they were actual anecdotes. Bearing false witness is a sin.

She said "How do you know that?" and he said "Why from the location of the fossil remains of these giant extinct animals of course."

Yet again, your own ignorance reveals your dishonest lie. No museum guide would ever say *that*, either, because that's not how dating is done. That's how *creationists* falsely *think* it's done (all their propaganda pamphlets are filled with that goofy but false claim), so you obviously didn't actually hear that from a museum guide, you made it up based on what you have read from your creationist idols. Shame on you for lying.

Later he got talking about the age of the earth, so. our cute little sixth grader said: "Sir, how do you know how old that area is?" and he said "Why little lady we know it from the fossil remains we find, we know that the animals remains we find at that level all died off in 12-60 million BCE."

Again, horse manure. Stop telling fantasy tales that "prove" the standard creationist horse manure, but which bears no resemblance to how things are *actually* done in science.

The kids caught on right away that dating bones by layers and layers by bones is a bit stupid,

It would be if that's how it's done, but it's not. Thanks for lying in order to promulgate a popular piece of creationist bull***t. I don't know why you creationists lie so baldly and unashamedly so often, but you do -- I've seen you guys do it more times than I can count. Please explain how you manage to square such behavior with your alleged Christian principles.

There are many examples of creationists making this false claim (that fossils are dated by strata and that strata are dated by fossils, in a case of circular reasoning). For example: Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 95-96, 136.

It is, however, horse crap. See for example: Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale: Circular Reasoning or Reliable Tools? .

No museum guide would ever make the mistake of repeating creationist propaganda as if it were actually how the museum and/or scientists conducted dating tests. Newsgatherer is lying to you -- like so many other creationists.

but being the polite kids that they are, they just shook their heads up and down as you would to an imbecile.

The only "imbecile" here is the guy who makes up stories and presents them as if they really happened, and in the process demonstrates his dishonesty and ignorance of how scientists actually do things. That imbecile would be you.

I love those who believe in evolution, it is so much fun to watch them go in circles and defend their empty theory by attacking the Word of God and Creationist rather than taking a hard look at their theory and it's foolish assertions.

Which "foolish assertions" would those be? Be specific.

We "attack creationism" because it richly deserves to be, as you have so well demonstrated. It's a pack of lies, propaganda, and false attacks on valid science. It's Michael Moore tactics, and deserves the exact same kind of scorn and exposure.

Meanwhile, it's the creationists who have such an "empty theory" that they have to lie about it in order to falsely and dishonestly attack actual science. And no one who actually cared about the "Word of God" would be as grossly dishonest and deceitful as you are. So who are you *really* following?

17 posted on 10/11/2005 5:08:02 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: mlc9852
There's no plausible way for something which can't fly to evolve into something that does. It would have been observed in recorded history if it was possible.

Similarly with fish developing legs and feet and walking. With all the tens of millions of fish we pull out of the ocean every year, if that could happen, we'd see it. Darwinism demands that this stuff be happening all the time, everywhere, and not just once upon a time, every fifty million years or so.

18 posted on 10/11/2005 5:08:26 AM PDT by tamalejoe
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To: newsgatherer
[Dinosaurs didn't even exist "billions" of years ago. So who's the crazy one?]

Are you sure?

Yes I am.

Where you there?

No, but I don't need to be in order to determine ages.

How do you know?

Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale: Circular Reasoning or Reliable Tools?

Isochron Dating

The Age of the Earth

19 posted on 10/11/2005 5:12:19 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: newsgatherer
Way back in post seven, I said this: I love those who believe in evolution, it is so much fun to watch them go in circles and defend their empty theory by attacking the Word of God and Creationist rather than taking a hard look at their theory and it's foolish assertions. Thanks for proving me right.

You're lying again. Nowhere have I "attacked the Word of God". Retract your slur, or I will take the matter up with the moderators.

And I have indeed "taken a hard look at the theory" for the past thirty years. It holds up incredibly well, and is massively supported by mountains of evidence. It has passed every validation test and every potential falsification test, thousands of times over. Deal with it, and stop behaving like such a jackass.

Finally, I have hardly "proven you right", because I have demonstrated and documented how very wrong you are.

20 posted on 10/11/2005 5:15:01 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: newsgatherer
but then again who can keep up with the every changing ‘facts’ of evolution, one day millions, the next day billions, the day after birds from dinosaurs, then it dinosaurs from birds.

Two lies in one sentence. Nice going.

Thank God the Word of God hasn't changed,

So, you still follow the Torah? I didn't know you were Jewish.

we Christians are way to dumb to keep up with the changes the religion of evolution demands of it's servants.

Do you really think that this sort of thing helps your case, or makes you look reasonable, or helps provide a good example of Christian behavior?

21 posted on 10/11/2005 5:16:52 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: Ichneumon
"As is usually the case on these threads, what you don't understand about biology would fill volumes. And yet, also as usual, that doesn't stop you from unjustly ridiculing the people who *do* know the field or work in it, and have good reasons (and evidence) for their positions."

The thing is, we DO know people who hold real, laudable, credentials in these fields and other related fields who are very well-able to describe the circular reasoning of sci-politicians and the poli-scientists with regard to the dating of fossils and the strata in which they are found.
22 posted on 10/11/2005 5:18:30 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: newsgatherer

Dinosaur-Bird Flap Ruffles Feathers

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter
Mon Oct 10, 7:02 PM ET

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Head to the American Museum of Natural History's Web site, and you'll see the major draw this fall is a splashy exhibit on dinosaurs.

And not just any dinosaurs, but two-legged carnivorous, feathered "theropods" like the 30-inch-tall Bambiraptor -- somewhat less cuddly than its namesake.

The heyday of the theropods, which included scaly terrors like T. rex and velociraptor, stretched from the late Triassic (220 million years ago) to the late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) periods.

But most authorities on dinosaurs will tell you these creatures' direct descendents strut, screech and squawk among us today -- as birds.

In fact, an entry on theropods from the Web site of the University of California, Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology attests that "recent studies have conclusively shown that birds are actually the descendants of small, non-flying theropods."

However, a study in the October issue of the Journal of Morphology suggests that theory may be, well, for the birds.

Based on evidence ranging from a buried dolphin to differences in a three-fingered hand, the study suggests birds are not the smaller, chirping descents of T. rex's kin, after all.

"Thing just aren't adding up for feathered dinosaurs," said lead researcher, avian evolutionist and paleobiologist Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He described the prevailing theory that birds descended from theropods as paleontological "wish-fulfillment" based on "sloppy science."

Instead, said Feduccia, birds and dinosaurs may be related, but only by a common ancestor stretching back hundreds of millions of years.

The new study first attacks the notion that the reptile fossil record is rife with feathers or what paleontologists call "protofeathers" -- long, filament-like structures observed in fossils like that of the 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx. In 1996, scientists in China discovered an even more striking, allegedly "feathered" fossil, Sinosauropteryx.

"It had these little filament-like structures all over it, especially on the back and tail," Feduccia said. He said that because the dinosaurs-begat-birds theory is now "accepted dogma," paleontologists automatically declared these filaments to be feathers without doing the necessary research to back that claim up.

"The whole thing had become circular -- birds are dinosaurs, so whatever we find on dinosaurs that looks like a rudimentary feather has got to represent the origin of feathers," Feduccia said.

But he and his colleagues have long thought otherwise. Instead, they counter that these filaments are the fossilized remains of "collagenous fiber meshworks" lying under the dinosaur's skin. To help prove that theory, co-researcher Dr. Theagarten Lingham-Soliar buried a dolphin for one year, then exhumed it and looked at the patterns of decay.

"The fiber-collagen meshwork looked virtually identical to these so-called 'proto-feathers' found in the Chinese dinosaurs," Feduccia said.

The researchers also produced examples of fossils with similar, feather-like markings from another dinosaur, Psittacosaurus. Trouble is, all paleontologists agree that this large non-therapod is in no way a bird ancestor.

Finally, Feduccia's team also contends that the forearm of a small "bird-like" theropod with the avian name of Pelicanimimus was actually covered in scales, not feathers.

Then there's another piece of evidence: the bone structure of the modern bird foot.

Feduccia explained that most primitive vertebrate hand structures were like that of humans: five-fingered. Somewhere in the evolutionary process, both dinosaurs and birds lost two of those digits, leaving three behind.

"The question is, which three? In dinosaurs we know it's the thumb and the next two fingers," he said, something experts call the "1-2-3" morphology. But the study's third author, Dr. Richard Hinchliffe -- a recognized expert in vertebrate limb development -- "points out that there are five different assessments showing that the bird hand has the three middle fingers left," the "2-3-4" morphology, Feduccia said.

All of this suggests that dinosaurs never had feathers, he said, and that birds evolved on a separate track from dinosaurs, although the two may have shared a common, distant ancestor.

Not everyone agrees. Back at the American Museum of Natural History, another paleontologist said Feduccia's bird theory may just be a wild goose chase.

"I don't agree with their argument," said Xing Xu, the museum's resident expert on avian evolution. First of all, he said, looking at the recently decayed remains of a modern animal tells us little about how dinosaur protofeathers might or might not have been preserved in stone tens of millions of years ago.

And, he said, the samples of collagenous filaments Feduccia's team presents as an alternate explanation for protofeathers don't match those seen in the fossil record. "In the paper, these fibers are 0.2, 0.5 millimeters long," Xu said. "That's much tinier than the ones we have in the feathered dinosaurs like Sinosauropteryx which are 2, 3 even 5 centimeters long sometimes."

The orientation of Sinosauropteryx's protofeathers also runs perpendicular to the animal's long bones, whereas collagenous fibers from modern animals run roughly parallel to these bones. "It's another problem," Xu said.

John M. Rensberger, former curator of paleontology at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, Seattle, called Feduccia's paper "the best presentation" he's seen yet of the argument that birds did not descend from theropods. But he agreed with Xu that Feduccia's theory has flaws.

Regarding alleged differences in bird and theropod hand morphology, both he and Wu said scientists are still debating whether birds display the 1-2-3 digit arrangement or the 2-3-4. "It really hasn't been proven one way or the other," he said.

And he said his own research as a specialist in morphology favors the birds-came-from-dinosaurs theory. "All the bones that I've looked at of the more lightly built theropods are indistinguishable [in internal structure] from those of birds," Rensberger said. "And that's a completely unique situation among all vertebrates. It's a strong indication of a very close relationship between birds and theropods."

But Feduccia contends his own evidence is equally strong.

"I think all this takes us back to the drawing board -- we have to start re-looking at where birds come from," he said.

He also believes media and museum hype over "feathered dinosaurs" has done paleontology a disservice.

"There's been way too much hyperbole. To get back to any good science you've got to get away from that and get back to the bench," Feduccia said. "I think the field is ripe for some young scientist who doesn't have any cemented views to come in and look at this and paint it with a brand-new brush."

More information

For more on theropods, check out University of California, Berkeley Museum of Paleontology.


23 posted on 10/11/2005 5:20:00 AM PDT by vannrox (The Preamble to the Bill of Rights - without it, our Bill of Rights is meaningless!)
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To: newsgatherer

That reminds me of something I heard years ago but was never able to verify. Maybe someone on FR knows if this is true or not. I heard that of the present day human race, 1:40 humans has the skull skeletal structure of a Neanderthal Man and 1:100 has the structure of a Cro-Mangon Man. This stuck with me cause I thought that I could easily think of several people I knew that this would apply to.


24 posted on 10/11/2005 5:24:05 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Ichneumon

Give it up, Ichneumon. This one is beyond your reach. I don't even think he realizes that his posts sound like they were written by an evolutionary biologist with a wicked sense of humor who's trying to discredit the ID movement. I mean, honestly, the only people with whom such logic- and fact-challenged pronouncements could possibly resonate are those who share the same echo-chamber of scientific illiteracy and dogmatic bull-headedness.


25 posted on 10/11/2005 5:24:24 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Free Baptist
The thing is, we DO know people who hold real, laudable, credentials in these fields and other related fields who are very well-able to describe the circular reasoning of sci-politicians and the poli-scientists with regard to the dating of fossils and the strata in which they are found.

A shame none of them ever show up here.

26 posted on 10/11/2005 5:26:46 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: newsgatherer

It is entertaining - lol.


27 posted on 10/11/2005 5:27:56 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: newsgatherer
newsgatherer, your Christian faith reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, where the Red Queen tells Alice that she can believe in impossible things if she would only try, that she herself has believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Biblical literalism/inerrancy used to be what I believed, including young-Earth creationism (YEC). Then I learned something about evolution and geology, and I reached the dreadful position of realizing that my simple teenaged faith was wrong. I stopped being a Christian for many years. I realize now that YEC is a stumbling block for millions of well-educated people's faith, who equate belief in YEC with faith in Christ -- thanks to the efforts of you and your kindred.

Now I am a Christian again. I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, leading me away from sin and towards wholesome things. Evolution is not a threat to my faith, science is not a threat to my faith, and it shouldn't threaten yours either.

I might mention an experience I had many years ago. I was a freshman in college when I attended a debate between Dr. Duane Gish and a biology professor from my college. Gish had a slick and entertaining presentation, with professionally produced color slides and folksy stories. The biology professor spent 40 minutes carefully explaining, using logarithms, how radiometric dating works. The biology professor knew that if he proved the Earth is more than 10,000 years old, YEC is disproved. I have no doubt the audience thought that Gish demolished the college prof: as a math teacher I can guarantee to you very few people know how logarithms work. But I was a physics major and I already knew calculus. So I understood the biology professor's argument and it was convincing. After the debate, I approached Gish to ask him a question: How can we see the Andromeda Galaxy if it is two million light years away? (One light year = the distance light travels in one year.) His answer: He didn't know anything about astronomy, but God tells us in Genesis that he created the lights in the sky to instruct men, so he must have created the light in transit. At that point, it was abundantly clear that not only is YEC wrong, but its proponents were foolish.

28 posted on 10/11/2005 5:28:13 AM PDT by megatherium
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To: tamalejoe
There's no plausible way for something which can't fly to evolve into something that does.

Gee, really? Little do you know how little you know.

Evolution predicted that transitional forms once existed between dinosaurian forelimbs and bird wings. Creationists predicted that "half a wing" would be unworkable and useless. Guess whose predictions were found to be right?

Theropod dinosaur to bird evolutionary transition:

The cladogram for the evolution of flight looks like this:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

(Note -- each name along the top is a known transitional fossil; and those aren't all that have been discovered.) Here's a more detailed look at the middle section:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Fossils discovered in the past ten years in China have answered most of the "which came first" questions about the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.

We now know that downy feathers came first, as seen in this fossil of Sinosauropteryx:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

That's a close-up of downy plumage along the backbone. Here's a shot of an entire fossil

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sinosauropteryx was reptilian in every way, not counting the feathers. It had short forelimbs, and the feathers were all the same size. Presumably, the downy feathers evolved from scales driven by a need for bodily insulation.

Next came Protarchaeopteryx:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It had long arms, broad "hands", and long claws:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Apparently this species was driven by selection to develop more efficient limbs for grasping prey. One of the interesting things about this species is that the structure of the forelimb has been refined to be quite efficient at sweeping out quickly to grab prey, snap the hands together, then draw them back towards the body (mouth?). The specific structures in question are the semilunate carpal (a wrist bone), that moves with the hand in a broad, flat, 190 degree arc, heavy chest muscles, bones of the arm which link together with the wrist so as to force the grasping hands to spread out toward the prey during the forestroke and fold in on the prey during the upstroke. Not only is this a marvelously efficient prey-grabbing mechanism, but the same mechanism is at the root of the wing flight-stroke of modern birds. Evolution often ends up developing a structure to serve one need, then finds it suitable for adaptation to another. Here, a prey-grasping motion similar in concept to the strike of a praying mantis in a reptile becomes suitable for modifying into a flapping flight motion.

Additionally, the feathers on the hands and tail have elongated, becoming better suited for helping to sweep prey into the hands.

Next is Caudipteryx:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This species had hand and tail feathers even more developed than the previous species, and longer feathers, more like that of modern birds:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

However, it is clear that this was still not a free-flying animal yet, because the forelimbs were too short and the feathers not long enough to support its weight, and the feathers were symmetrical (equal sized "fins" on each side of the central quill). It also had very reduced teeth compared to earlier specimens and a stubby beak:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

But the elongation of the feathers indicates some aerodynamic purpose, presumably gliding after leaping (or falling) from trees which it had climbed with its clawed limbs, in the manner of a flying squirrel. Feathers which were developed "for" heat retention and then pressed into service to help scoop prey were now "found" to be useful for breaking falls or gliding to cover distance (or swooping down on prey?).

Next is Sinornithosaurus:

Similar to the preceding species, except that the pubis bone has now shifted to point to the back instead of the front, a key feature in modern birds (when compared to the forward-facing publis bone in reptiles). Here are some of the forearm feathers in detail:

Long feathers in detail:

Artists' reconstruction:

Next is Archaeopteryx:

The transition to flight is now well underway. Archaeopteryx has the reversed hallux (thumb) characteristic of modern birds, and fully developed feathers of the type used for flight (long, aligned with each other, and assymetrical indicating that the feathers have been refined to function aerodynamically). The feathers and limbs are easily long enough to support the weight of this species in flight. However, it lacks some structures which would make endurance flying more practical (such as a keeled sternum for efficient anchoring of the pectoral muscles which power the downstroke) and fused chest vertebrae. Archaeopteryx also retains a number of clearly reptilian features still, including a clawed "hand" emerging from the wings, small reptilian teeth, and a long bony tail. After the previous species' gliding abilities gave it an advantage, evolution would have strongly selected for more improvements in "flying" ability, pushing the species towards something more resembling sustained powered flight.

Next is Confuciusornis:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This species had a nearly modern flight apparatus. It also displays transitional traits between a reptilian grasping "hand" and a fully formed wing as in modern birds -- the outer two digits (the earlier species had three-fingered "hands") in Confuciusornis are still free, but the center digit has now formed flat, broad bones as seen in the wings of modern birds.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Additionally, the foot is now well on its way towards being a perching foot as in modern birds:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It also has a keeled sternum better suited for long flight, and a reduced number of vertebrae in the tail, on its way towards becoming the truncated tail of modern birds (which while prominent, is a small flap of muscle made to look large only because of the long feathers attached).

From this species it's only a small number of minor changes to finish the transition into the modern bird family.

(Hey, who said there are no transitional fossils? Oh, right, a lot of dishonest creationists. And there are a lot more than this, I've just posted some of the more significant milestones.)

There's been a very recent fossil find along this same lineage, too new for me to have found any online images to include in this article. And analysis is still underway to determine exactly where it fits into the above lineage. But it has well-formed feathers, which extend out from both the "arms" and the legs. Although it wasn't advanced enough to fully fly, the balanced feathering on the front and back would have made it ideally suited for gliding like a flying squirrel, and it may be another link between the stage where feathers had not yet been pressed into service as aerodynamic aids, and the time when they began to be used more and more to catch the air and developing towards a "forelimbs as wings" specialization.

So in short, to answer your question about how flight could have developed in birds, the progression is most likely some minor refinement on the following:

1. Scales modified into downy feathers for heat retention.
2. Downy feathers modified into "straight" feathers for better heat retention (modern birds still use their body "contour feathers" in this fashion).
3. Straight feathers modified into a "grasping basket" on the hands (with an accompanying increase in reach for the same purpose).
4. Long limbs with long feathers refined to better survive falls to the ground.
5. "Parachute" feathers refined for better control, leading to gliding.
6. Gliding refined into better controlled, longer gliding.
7. Long gliding refined into short powered "hops".
8. Short powered flight refined into longer powered flight.
9. Longer powered flight refined into long-distance flying.

Note that in each stage, the current configuration has already set the stage for natural selection to "prefer" individuals which better meet the requirements of the next stage. Evolution most often works like this; by taking some pre-existing ability or structure, and finding a better use for it or a better way to make it perform its current use.

It would have been observed in recorded history if it was possible.

Don't be ridiculous. "Recorded history" is no more than 10,000 years long. Changes of this type take several million years. Your comment is as ridiculous as expecting the rise of new mountains to be observable in a weekend trip.

If you mean that we should expect to see other species in the middle of a transition towards actual flight, well then:

Happy now?

Similarly with fish developing legs and feet and walking.

There is a huge amount of fossil and DNA evidence for exactly that. Game, set, match.

With all the tens of millions of fish we pull out of the ocean every year, if that could happen, we'd see it.

What exactly would you ignorantly expect to see -- a foot to grow out of a fish in the net just as you pull it out of the water? Don't be stupid.

If you meant we should find other fish species in the middle of the process of evolving towards "developing legs and feet and walking", I guess you're really ignorant of biology then, because you're obviously totally unfamiliar with the mudskipper (or any of a number of other land-adapted fish):

Evolution in action, Joe.

Darwinism demands that this stuff be happening all the time, everywhere, and not just once upon a time, every fifty million years or so.

Yup. And it does. Thanks for admitting that this confirms evolutionary biology.

29 posted on 10/11/2005 5:30:30 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: newsgatherer
And I believe you tbat this event actually happened.










I win.
30 posted on 10/11/2005 5:30:39 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:the Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: tamalejoe

Why on Earth would something develop wings to fly? It's not like there would have been anything in the environment that necessitated that for survival. I'm also curious about the development of lungs. They would need to be a minimum size for a creature to depend on them for survival. How could they have developed slowly when they weren't even useful at first. There'd be no purpose for them.


31 posted on 10/11/2005 5:30:57 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Free Baptist
The thing is, we DO know people who hold real, laudable, credentials in these fields and other related fields who are very well-able to describe the circular reasoning of sci-politicians and the poli-scientists with regard to the dating of fossils and the strata in which they are found.

Uh huh. Sure. Of course you do. Here's a cookie.

Look, son, I'm sure you believe that, because the creationist propaganda factories produce that lie over and over again, and you made the mistake of believing it. But it's not true. And while there may be a few confused idiots in with "credentials" who have bought into the same lies, it quite simply is not true. Read any ACTUAL science journals in the field, and you'll quickly learn the scores of different ways in which dating is performed in NONcircular ways. No amount of foot-stomping and declaring "is so, is so!" by creationist liars will make that fact disappear. So stop following the people who are lying to you, and learn to think for yourself for a change, start to learn the field yourself instead of relying on the falsehoods of others. In short, stop acting like an empty-headed Michael Moore groupie who swallows any crap he's fed, and rejects any and all evidence to the contrary out of hand because he "knows" that his hero is right...

The creationists have lied to you. A lot. It's not hard for you to look around at actual science journals and discover that they contain material that the creationists have dishonestly claimed doesn't exist. All you need do is look, and be honest with yourself. If not, well -- complete this sentence: "There are none so blind..."

32 posted on 10/11/2005 5:36:42 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: RogueIsland
Give it up, Ichneumon. This one is beyond your reach.

I know he's beyond reach. I'm just making sure that he doesn't poison anyone else's mind with his lies.

33 posted on 10/11/2005 5:38:39 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: metmom; tamalejoe
Why on Earth would something develop wings to fly? It's not like there would have been anything in the environment that necessitated that for survival.

Evolution is driven not by what is "necessitated", but by what is an advantage. As for the selective pressures which would drive it, see my earlier post (the one with all the bird transitional fossil pictures.

I'm also curious about the development of lungs. They would need to be a minimum size for a creature to depend on them for survival. How could they have developed slowly when they weren't even useful at first. There'd be no purpose for them.

You shifted gears in the middle of your paragraph, and didn't even notice. Yes, they would need to be a minimum size (or more accurately, functionality) for a creature to DEPEND on them. However, in your next sentence you claim they wouldn't "even be useful" -- this is a shift. Proto lungs would be *useful*, even if they were not yet sufficient to fully *depend* on yet (as a sole means of acquiring oxygen.

The answer was actually provided by Darwin in his 1859 book (and was based on yet still earlier evidence), and has been confirmed and reconfirmed by fossil and DNA research since then.

The answer is that early lungs developed in animals that already were relying on some *other* primary means of acquiring oxygen. Lungs developed in some lineages of early fish, as an *auxiliary* to the gills which were the primary oxygen system. So there's the answer to your puzzle -- early lungs were an *assist* to the gills, not a system that had to develop entirely from scratch all the way to full functionality before the animal could breath in the first place. So even a barely functional proto-lung would still be useful, and the animal would still be able to survive (because it didn't *depend* solely on its lungs for its survival).

The fish lineage which eventually evolved into amphibians evolved the ability to store fresh air in its swim bladder (which was already an air sac used for floation) in the manner of a "scuba tank", which would allow it to have a source of oxygen even when venturing into brackish water where the gills began to have trouble getting enough oxygen. The "lungs" were a supplement. Over time, they became more sophisticated and capable in this function, and their ability to exchange the oxygen they contained with the bloodstream grew in efficiency, until eventually the "lungs" became worthy of their name, and became something which the animal could use on its own even when the gills were unable to carry on (as in totally brackish water, or when crawling across land in search of new bodies of water, as in modern mudskippers or lungfish).

The mistake that many people make when trying to picture evolutionary developments of modern organs or systems is that they try to picture they arising *in* modern organisms (you probably tried to imagine lungs appearing in an early mammal or somesuch, right?) Instead, it's often the case that modern organs evolved in very different animals or different circumstances, when other systems or environments were "carrying the load" that the organ *eventually* (but not in the beginning) became the primary carrier of.

34 posted on 10/11/2005 5:53:52 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: skinkinthegrass
Dinosaur = Bird = Chicken. ...Fried Chicken Dinosaur Tonite :)


_______________TASTES LIKE CHICKEN

35 posted on 10/11/2005 6:04:09 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Psalm 73)
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To: metmom
Maybe someone on FR knows if this is true or not. I heard that of the present day human race, 1:40 humans has the skull skeletal structure of a Neanderthal Man and 1:100 has the structure of a Cro-Mangon Man. This stuck with me cause I thought that I could easily think of several people I knew that this would apply to.

It's not true.

Neandertals were so significantly different from modern man that it would be surprising if *any* modern humans actually had the skull structure of a Neandertal. As Trinkaus and Shipman (1992) write:

"Rare individuals among modern humans may share one, or even a few, of the anatomical characteristics of Neandertals, but not one human - much less any population - can be found that possesses the entire constellation of traits that define Neandertals" (p 412).

And on the other hand, you say that "1:100" would match Cro-Magnon man, but that's far too few. Almost *all* would, because "Cro-Magnon" is the name given to the anatomically *modern* humans who first colonized Europe. It's a designation of the (modern) peoples in a given time and place (Europe 35,000 to 10,000 years ago), *not* a designation of a species or subspecies of human "different" from our own, which is the case with Neandertal.

36 posted on 10/11/2005 6:08:38 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: mlc9852
These evolution/creation threads are sooooo much fun to read. /sarc
37 posted on 10/11/2005 6:09:34 AM PDT by manwiththehands ( "France and chicken, somehow it just goes together.")
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To: Ichneumon
Bearing false witness is a sin.

I think in some cases mental deficiency will mitigate.

38 posted on 10/11/2005 6:09:55 AM PDT by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Ichneumon; Junior
Thanks for the pings. This is obviously not a thread for the evolution list.

Junior, for the catalog.

39 posted on 10/11/2005 6:17:18 AM PDT by PatrickHenry ( I won't respond to a troll, crackpot, retard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: newsgatherer

"claiming them to be the “missing link” racist bastards.
"

Aborigines were racist bastards? First I've heard about that.


40 posted on 10/11/2005 6:19:07 AM PDT by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Ichneumon

If you can give me a complete and "finished" (meaning not missing any "missing links")fossil record, starting with the big bang, then I'll start to take you seriously. Even then, that doesn't mean that evolution's true. Oh, btw, if the big bang actually happened, where did all the matter for the big bang come from? If you are a "scientist" and not a "layperson" you will be able to give a better answer than the "oh it was always there" after all, it had to come from somewhere, right?


41 posted on 10/11/2005 6:20:51 AM PDT by evilrightwingconspirator (The ability to speak (or think) does not make you intelligent. Bill Clinton is a prime example)
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To: Ichneumon
People always laugh at stuff they don't understand. You're a prime example.

Now that is a pretty stupid statement! I know and can articulate what I believe in, God created the everything and He did it in six days!

Now, let's see you articulte what you believe as clearly.

Take as much space as you want, I really need a good alugh this moring, you evolutionist keep digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourselves. Open mouth insert millions and millions of feet.

42 posted on 10/11/2005 6:27:31 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: Ichneumon
Creationists predicted that "half a wing" would be unworkable and useless.

That's because a half a wing WOULD be unworkable and useless. Besides, having a wing doesn't mean that a bird can fly. Think of the ostrich, dodo bird, penguin...
43 posted on 10/11/2005 6:28:12 AM PDT by evilrightwingconspirator (The ability to speak (or think) does not make you intelligent. Bill Clinton is a prime example)
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To: Ichneumon

Don't have time to look at your silly links, just answer the questions, if you can, which I doubt. Don't try sending me all over the net to do yur homework, if yu can't answer the question jsut say "Da, I don't know... but, I know my great, great granddaddy 2 zillion times removed was either a rock, or a monkey."


44 posted on 10/11/2005 6:30:03 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: evilrightwingconspirator
If you can give me a complete and "finished" (meaning not missing any "missing links")fossil record, starting with the big bang, then I'll start to take you seriously. Even then, that doesn't mean that evolution's true.

By such a ridiculously high standard of proof, no one would accept any religion either, or anything else at all.

If those are the lengths you will go to in order to shield yourself from following the massive amounts of evidence where it overwhelmingly indicates, I will not trouble you with pesky real-world evidence. Enjoy your beliefs, I hope they serve you well. I wouldn't dream of making you uncomfortable by presenting you with facts which might cause you to question your premises.

45 posted on 10/11/2005 6:30:33 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: newsgatherer
[People always laugh at stuff they don't understand. You're a prime example.]

Now that is a pretty stupid statement! I know and can articulate what I believe in, God created the everything and He did it in six days!

And this has *what* to do with my observation about how you don't know anything about evolutionary biology, and thus you laugh at it? Oh, right, nothing.

Now, let's see you articulte what you believe as clearly.

Okay: I believe you're trolling.

46 posted on 10/11/2005 6:33:17 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: evilrightwingconspirator
[Creationists predicted that "half a wing" would be unworkable and useless.]

That's because a half a wing WOULD be unworkable and useless

Didn't bother to actually read the rest of the post, I see...

47 posted on 10/11/2005 6:33:50 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: Ichneumon
You're lying again. Nowhere have I "attacked the Word of God". Retract your slur, or I will take the matter up with the moderators.

When you say millions and millions of years, you are calling God a liar! When you say we evolved, you are calling God a liar! Read Genesis chapter one and two. God says In the beginning He made everything. He says He did it in six literal 24 hour days, Read Exodus 2-:11, written not by man but by the very finger of God.

You attack me and you call God a lair instead of defending your humanist religious belief. Go to the moderator see if he or she agrees with you.

Now tell me, according to your religious belief in evolution, how did you get here? Why are you here? What happens to you after you die?

48 posted on 10/11/2005 6:36:16 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: Ichneumon
Say, why do you continue to attack me instead of defending your evolutionist belief?

Tell me, as an evolutionist, How did we get here? Why are you here? What happens to you after you die? What do you use for the basis of law? Whose laws do you follow? Are there any absolutes? If so, if they do not come for God where do they come form? And if not, are you absolutely sure?

49 posted on 10/11/2005 6:39:20 AM PDT by newsgatherer
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To: newsgatherer
Don't have time to look at your silly links,

Can't risk actually *learning* something, eh?

just answer the questions, if you can, which I doubt.

I *have* answered the questions already. Try to keep up.

Don't try sending me all over the net to do yur homework,

I'm trying to get you to do *your* homework before you spout off more nonsense, son. If you don't know the subject, stop making confidently arrogant (and wrong) pronouncements about it.

And if you can't be bothered to actually read a technical answer, stop asking questions about how science works. It's a technical field, and proper answers can't be accurately distilled down to the sort of bumper-sticker slogans that creationists are so fond of. If you want to learn how radiometric dating works, in sufficient depth to be confident that it's accurate and a valid method of determining dates, you're going to have to actually *LEARN* how it works, in detail. If you can't be bothered with that, feel free to skip the science threads and go hang out on the daily cartoon threads or something else more in line with your capabilities.

if yu can't answer the question jsut say "Da, I don't know... but, I know my great, great granddaddy 2 zillion times removed was either a rock, or a monkey."

Your shtick gets old and boring pretty fast.

50 posted on 10/11/2005 6:41:52 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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