Friday, November 2, 2007

The Debate Part 2

Many of you will remember the debate I started a while. Dave has responded and this is my response to him. The online debate maybe viewed here.

Hello Dave! You seem to have worked hard on your response, but I have a bone to pick with it. Almost all of your links are to True Origin, Answers in Genesis, and ICR, with precious few references to peer reviewed work. These organizations are KNOWN for deception, as both you and I know (you stated that AiG had made an error in their article on whales). If you and I are aware of such sloppiness, why cite it? I also found a quote mine by AiG while reading an article you linked:
Reference 21 is a quote mine:

Recently My blog did an article on a quote mine from True Origin. The site owner was contacted, yet he was arrogant and would not admit wrong:

ICR was caught claiming that new species had been seen forming:

(The link to the original article is given if you want to verify it for yourself).

There are many, many more cases of creationist deception on blog. Given that, I did not look through every link given, only at your objections. I numbered them so I could keep track and went through one by one.

Objection 1
you are assuming that the geologic strata is constant and accurately reflective of static dates

I am assuming that strata on the bottom of the geologic column are oldest and the ones on top are youngest (except in cases that geological activity has caused a change, which is apparently easy for geologists to detect.).

Objection 2
you assume that the number of toes is an indication of sequence, as if the toes sprouted one-by-one, and finding them in ascending order indicates ordered evolution

Yes, I am. There is simply no explanation for them to be in that order other than evolution. I have repeatedly asked you for an explantion of why they are in this order, and you have not given it.

Objection 3
Berlinski calculated somewhere around 50,000 interdependent changes had to take place for all of this to happen.

So? Sean Carrol, in his book The Making of the Fittest, calculated that a specific one point mutation would arise and spread 20-100 times over the course of 1 million years, in a population of ten thousand. That means that every single point mutation would arise multiple times, and spread if it were good, over the course of one million years (plus gene duplications and insertions). Whale evolution took many tens of millions of years, so I see no reason to call it impossible.

Objection 4
Scientists still disagree over whether or not whales descended from mesonychians or artiodactyls.

Artiodactyls are a sister clade to the Whale, both descended from Mesonychids.

"We start with Sinonyx, a wolf-sized mesonychid (a primitive ungulate from the order Condylarthra, which gave rise to artiodactyls, perissodactyls, proboscideans, and so on)"


"For the first time, morphological evidence shows that artiodactyls are the closest relatives of the cetaceans," Christian de Muizon of the Museum of Natural History in Paris writes in a commentary accompanying the Science report.

"Now I admit the possibility that hippos are a sideline of artiodactyls that might be closer to whales than any other living animals," he remarks.

"In the last few years, 15 or 20 DNA studies have come out supporting this artiodactyl connection," Gingerich notes. "Those weren't taken very seriously, but this finding shows that they need to be. If the studies are done well, the DNA that animals carry in their bodies today gives us a better picture of the past than we might have thought it did." He further asserts that although molecular techniques will never replace paleontology, "they will complement it and expand on what we can competently infer."


Objection 5
How did this trunk evolve?

I was on Richard Dawkins' website the other day, reading his sample chapter from "Climbing Mt. Improbable" and he said he intended to discuss the evolution of the trunk in the book. Perhaps read it.

Objection 6
Elephant lungs are another very unique trait. (You imply they are too complex to evolve).

I would've thought that creationists would have learned something about the complexity argument from Michael Behe. Apparently not.

Objection 7
Horse fossils are scattered across continents

Wrong. Every fossil listed in this link was found in the U.S., mostly in the west and midwest:

Objection 8
"no consensus on the number of equid species or even the number of lineages that existed" in the Americas.

I'm sorry, but I don't see this as a real objection. Why would this affect evolution?

Objection 9
Mere changes within a created kind are not incongruous with creationism

I suppose that's true. I'm assuming mammals and reptiles are of different kinds, here are some transtionals between them:

Objection 10
Newer finds are contradicting the well-known and widely-held ideas about mountain formation.

Good for science!

Objection 11
What about "Big Bob" the T-Rex, which they found stretchy tissue in?

I addressed that here (and also cited sources):

Objection 12
We just saw how a few teeth have scientists ready to throw the human-ape equation back three million years.

3 million years is not much time in the grand scheme of things (4.5 billion years)

Objection 13
Scientists even had to throw the obscure "Little Foot" missing link out because of revised dating.

They did not "throw it out" but because of its place in the fossil record, it is not considered ancestral to humans, just an "offshoot" of the human lineage. To see what I mean, look here (it illustrates the same point of an offshoot):

Objection 14
[Various Geologic Structures are] younger than previously thought.

None of the things you cite were calculated to be less than 10,000 years old. Thus, these things are still incongruent with young earth creationism.

Objection 15
Fossil Anomalies

Almost all the anomalies listed are pollen and spores. TO has given the explanation for this:

There is also a geologist who has reviewed Woodmappe's work:

You also linked to some fossil fish that were found:

I don't see how this is a problem, because fish are known in the Cambrian.

Objection 16
Creationists see common design (in ERV's).

ERV's cause disease when they are active. They are viruses! That is hardly something that is designed. For more on homology, see:

Objection 17
"if I understand your argument correctly, the ERV would require existence in the entire alleged chain of descent from primate to human. According to a report in 2005, these retroviruses were inserted exogenously and independent of supposed human ancestors."

Not true. The ERV's do not have to be present in every single primate alive, because insertions can take place after the ape human split. From the article you site:

"The infections took place independently, and did not originate in a common ancestor of humans and apes. The event also took place between three and four million years ago, well after the separation of humans from apes."

Objection 18
How many times were we told the appendix was/is a useless vestigial leftover with no known function or purpose in humans?

We have a misunderstanding here. Vestigial does not mean totally useless. It means that has lost most or all of its original function. The appendix is homologous to the primate caecum, used for digesting cellulose. While ours may have some immunological function, it is still vestigial. For more, see:

Objection 19
Scientists have found a function for the appendix

Not quite.

"In industrialized societies with good sanitation, this function may not be important, he and his colleagues suggest."


Anonymous said...

talkorigins is a junk propaganda site.

But even there if you dig deep enough, they will allude to the failings and fabrications of the ideology.

AIGBusted said...

I'd like to know what you are talking about? I used t.o. about 4 or 5 times in this post, but a lot of my material comes from Science mags and peer reviewed articles.

Patrick said...

As usual, another excellent write-up.


call it "junk propaganda" if you want, but if all the claims are backed up empirically by multiple independent sources, all of whom clearly and unambiguously articulate their methods for corroborating the conclusion with the evidence, then it is you who needs to address the "failings and fabrications" of your ideology.

Swing and a miss. Try again.

Anonymous said...

The "junk propaganda" is actually coming from and other such websites.

Look at trueorigins and tell me that it doesn't ape the t.o website. It illustrates that creationists are only capable of imitating real science. And as the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Why should creationists imitate the look and feel of scientific reports, journals, and websites? Because they realize that this scientific age the Bible will never be accepted as a textbook. In order for people to be receptive to their particular theology of Biblical literalism, creationists must provide cognitive dissonance. They must raise doubts in people's minds about science. And to do that, they cloak themselves in the mantle of science in order to capitalize on the respect and goodwill scientists and engineers have with the general public.

Nevermind that many scientists and engineers are themselves church (or synagogue) going people, and hold the belief that their personal faith does not conflict with scientific knowledge. This is unacceptable to creationists, whose theology requires that mainstream science be discredited. Creationists provide these "alternative" sources in order to effectively "cancel out" mainstream science in people's minds. The idea is that once the scientific knowledge has been pushed out of people's heads, hopefully Biblical literalism will take residence instead.

I can't think of a more bankrupt theology as creationism.

How do you know when a creationist is lying? When he posts to the internet.

toomanytribbles said...

i've added your blog to me feeds. i must.... feed....