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Flag rsielin June 1, 2012 1:05 PM EDT

The devastating evidence keeps rolling in …  this time from a Harvard research group looking at modern birds and their reproductive history and published in the professional peer reviewed journal, Nature.


Interesting stuff. Devastating information for creationists, their made up science, and an expected consequence of their self-inflicted intellectual straitjacket. LOL


Excerpts from In Skull Analysis, Charting the Path From T. Rex to Falcon By JAMES GORMAN


It is well accepted that birds evolved from dinosaurs


One part of that transformation has just been traced in detail


[T]he skulls of birds look like those of baby dinosaurs. This kind of change is at the heart of the current understanding of how evolution proceeds, … this new research shows how it occurred in two kinds of animals— dinosaurs and birds


The change from dinosaur to bird is one of those grand evolutionary shifts. The smart, quick theropod dinosaurs that gave rise to birds may have had feathers, but they did not fly and they certainly didn’t resemble birds today.


[A] change in speed and agility requiring not only wings and flight feathers but sharp senses and sophisticated brains for long-distance vision and high-speed action. Sure enough, birds’ skulls have room for relatively huge eyes and for a brain that has expanded in the part devoted to the visual sense. And they are the same shape as the skulls of juvenile dinosaurs, not those of adults.


That similarity is what prompted the research by a group of [Harvard] investigators. … They trained their attention on the evolution of skull shape in dinosaurs and birds, with the working hypothesis that as birds


To test the idea, the group used CT scan information on all the known fossils of theropod dinosaurs that show skull growth, as well as skulls of birds and crocodilians. They identified 45 points called landmarks on the skulls, and used a computer analysis to see how the areas defined by those points changed both during an individual life and over evolutionary time.


The analysis showed that in dinosaurs like Coelophysis and in crocodilians, the shape of the skulls changed significantly during an individual animal’s growth. The juveniles had short faces, and large brains and eyes. The adults had a longer snout and less room, relative to skull size, for eyes and brain. In primitive birds, however, there was very little change in skull shape during growth, so the skull retained its juvenile form.


Dr. Abzhanov [Harvard Dept Organismic and Evolutionary Biology] said the skull evolution was apparently a result of a change in the relative pace of two processes, body growth and sexual maturation. Crocodilians and dinosaurs, he said, may reach sexual maturity in 7 to 10 years. But modern birds become sexually mature 15 to 20 times as fast, and their body growth stops when their skulls are still like those of juvenile dinosaurs.


www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/science/skull...

Flag teilhard June 1, 2012 5:30 PM EDT

EVERYTHING we presently know about present-Day Living Things on The Earth -- EVERYTHING in Anatomy and Physiology, Genetics and Embryology, Ecology and Paleontology -- vividly demonstrates that St. Chuck Darwin got it **spot**on** RIGHT, i.e., that ALL Living Things on The Earth are related by Descent with Modification from Common Ancestry ...

Flag Thetanager June 2, 2012 3:40 PM EDT

Forgive me for being a greenhorn in discussions like this, but what specific point(s) from the article support evolution against alternative views?  I'm not saying there aren't any, I'm just trying to pinpoint the connection you are making.  Is it that the skull shapes are the same or something else?

Flag d_p_m June 2, 2012 4:26 PM EDT

One of the common routes for evolution is neotony - the preservation of juvenile attributes in mature individuals.


This appears to indicate that the skulls of birds were derived from dinosauroid species through neotony.

Flag rsielin June 2, 2012 7:06 PM EDT

Jun 2, 2012 -- 3:40PM, Thetanager wrote:

... what specific point(s) from the article support evolution against alternative views?  I'm not saying there aren't any, I'm just trying to pinpoint the connection you are making.  Is it that the skull shapes are the same or something else?


The hypothesis is that modern birds are descendants of dinosaurs. There is an accumulating body of evidence now supporting that hypothesis.


The above research on skulls provides additional evidence for another credible pathway leading from dinosaurs to modern birds. It's one more piece of corroborating evidence to be added to the accumulating body of knowledge supporting the hypothesis. 


If you're interested here's some links:


Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/12...


Professional peer review research published in the journal Nature: www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurr...

Flag d_p_m June 2, 2012 7:10 PM EDT

Or to look at it another way, this is phenotypical information indicating a probable link between the dinosaur genotypes and avian genotypes.

Flag Thetanager June 3, 2012 8:49 AM EDT

I don't have the money to spend on the one link, perhaps my questions would be answered there, but I was wondering what the alternative theories looked at are, which could also explain the similarities.  I was also wondering how progenesis works.  What factors/mechanism would cause the speeding up of maturity in a species.

Flag Midutch June 3, 2012 12:34 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 8:49AM, Thetanager wrote:


I don't have the money to spend on the one link, perhaps my questions would be answered there, but I was wondering what the alternative theories looked at are, which could also explain the similarities.  I was also wondering how progenesis works.  What factors/mechanism would cause the speeding up of maturity in a species.


There are NO "alternative" scientific theories that explain this sort of evidence.

Flag d_p_m June 3, 2012 1:18 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 8:49AM, Thetanager wrote:


I don't have the money to spend on the one link, perhaps my questions would be answered there, but I was wondering what the alternative theories looked at are, which could also explain the similarities.




Further to Midutch's comments... when you get a complete, well investigated, mature theory such as evolution, the big bang, quantum physics, or relativity, there is often no credible scientific alternative, because every other alternative that can be thought of has already been falsified, and those theories do a very complete job of explaining known phenomena and predicting new ones in their realm of applicability. Since you have millions of very smart people spending their lives trying to think of those aternate explanations for decades or centuries, they do a pretty thorough job of it. As Midutch says, in this case, there are no surviving alternatives - every one anyone has managed to think of has failed the test.

Flag Thetanager June 3, 2012 1:19 PM EDT

So, for instance, why is it not possible that these species just happen to have similar skull features?  Are there no other species unrelated that have similar features?

Flag d_p_m June 3, 2012 1:28 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 1:19PM, Thetanager wrote:


Maybe "theory" was a wrong choice of terms on my part. What other explanations (even if they are poor ones) could there be for why the skulls would be similar? If there are no other possible explanations (or they are quite poor), why not (or why)?




The other possible explanation is something called convergent evolution. That's what happens when a feature or set of features evolves separately in two or more different species. There are quite a few examples of that where a certain body plan and mode of life fits in an ecological niche, so similar animals or plants evolve to fit that niche in different parts of the world. On a shorter time span, over the last 12,000 years, lactose persitence (adult lactose tolerance) has evolved several times in different human populations. It was not a likely mutation to become fixed in the population before humans began herding, because there was no real advantage. Once humans began to keep milk producing animals, the ability to consume dairy products became a major survival and reproductive advantage. As a result, adult latctose tolerance reaches more than 98% in some Northern European populations where the additional high quality nutrition was very important, and is less than 2% in some South Asian populations where herding for milk never became established.


Convergent evolution is a bad explanation in this case because of the extensive fossil and genetic information tracing the evolution of dinosaurs into birds. This datum is just one more confirmation of what we already know from other data.

Flag d_p_m June 3, 2012 1:29 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 1:19PM, Thetanager wrote:


So, for instance, why is it not possible that these species just happen to have similar skull features?  Are there no other species unrelated that have similar features?




Good question.... it was taking me time to type the answer... see my previous post.

Flag Midutch June 3, 2012 1:31 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 1:19PM, Thetanager wrote:


Maybe "theory" was a wrong choice of terms on my part. What other explanations (even if they are poor ones) could there be for why the skulls would be similar? If there are no other possible explanations (or they are quite poor), why not (or why)?


One "alternative" explanation I can come up would be something like this: the forest pixies thought baby dinosuars were cute and they didn't want the cuteness of the baby dinosaurs to change into the ferociousness of the adult dinosaurs so they used magic to change the development rate to allow dino/birds to mature faster and retain the cute baby features.


It's a VERY poor explanation, and one without a shred of logic, reasoning, observation, experimentation, research or empirical evidence, but it is an explanation.


All other "alternative" explanations will be very similar in credibility and will have the same complete lack of supporting science.

Flag Thetanager June 3, 2012 2:35 PM EDT

dpm...so are you saying that convergent evolution is bad in this case because we already have good reason to believe birds evolved from dinosaurs? If so, it seems that (in this specific case...not the overall theory) the study does not provide more confirmation for common ancestry against other theories, rather it provides more confirmation of the inner coherency of evolution through common ancestry. In other words, it assumed common ancestry and the data fits in that assumption...an assumption that may be warranted due to other lines of evidence/science. Right?


Midutch...please understand, I am not trying to make the case for creationism here, I'm really trying to understand the impact of this article on theories about natural history. So, we have this piece of evidence: similar skull size/features in birds and baby dinosaur fossils.


Theory A already says birds evolved from dinosaurs. The above evidence fits theory A due to progenesis.


Theory B is convergent evolution. It seems from dpm's comment that this evidence fits theory B, too, but we already have more reason to accept theory A.


Then there is theory C, pixies (or some other intelligent being) created birds and dinosaurs differently (at the same time or different times). I don't see how this evidence falsifies theory C. I'm not saying other evidence doesn't, just that this article doesn't.


Then there is theory D, pixies (or some other intelligent being) CHANGED baby dinosaurs into birds. I don't see how this evidence falsifies this theory, although other pieces of evidence may.


Am I understanding this correctly?

Flag d_p_m June 3, 2012 2:42 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 2:35PM, Thetanager wrote:


dpm...so are you saying that convergent evolution is bad in this case because we already have good reason to believe birds evolved from dinosaurs? If so, it seems that (in this specific case...not the overall theory) the study does not provide more confirmation for common ancestry against other theories, rather it provides more confirmation of the inner coherency of evolution through common ancestry. In other words, it assumed common ancestry and the data fits in that assumption...an assumption that may be warranted due to other lines of evidence/science. Right?




Not exactly. On the one hand, the new data indicates not just that dinosaurs evolved into birds, it gives an indication of how dinosaurs may have done this. The observation of bird skulls being fundamentally neotonous dinosaur skulls does not rely on any assumption of common ancestry before the observation. As well, it indicates that the genetic templates for bird skulls existed in dinosaurs. So the data not only provides another reason to postulate common ancestry, it also underlines the internal concistency of the current dinosaur -> bird evolutionary concept.

Flag Midutch June 3, 2012 2:49 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 2:35PM, Thetanager wrote:

Midutch...please understand, I am not trying to make the case for creationism here, I'm really trying to understand the impact of this article on theories about natural history. So, we have this piece of evidence: similar skull size/features in birds and baby dinosaur fossils.


Nor did I assume that you did in my post. I was merely emphasizing that there are NO credible "alternatives" to the Theory of Evolution which explain the minute details of biology such as this latest research which helps explain how dinosaurs evolved into birds.


Flag d_p_m June 3, 2012 3:07 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2012 -- 2:49PM, Midutch wrote:


Jun 3, 2012 -- 2:35PM, Thetanager wrote:

Midutch...please understand, I am not trying to make the case for creationism here, I'm really trying to understand the impact of this article on theories about natural history. So, we have this piece of evidence: similar skull size/features in birds and baby dinosaur fossils.


Nor did I assume that you did in my post. I was merely emphasizing that there are NO credible "alternatives" to the Theory of Evolution which explain the minute details of biology such as this latest research which helps explain how dinosaurs evolved into birds.




Indeed. Evolution is the unifying thread that brings order to a billion biological facts.


"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" -- the evolutionary biologist and Russian Orthodox Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky


Flag Thetanager June 4, 2012 2:18 PM EDT

But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.

Flag d_p_m June 4, 2012 2:34 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:18PM, Thetanager wrote:


But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.




Let's see.


1. Theistic evolution and evolution and evolution can be virtually identical, depending on the version of theistic evolution. Convergent evolution is just one possible special case within evolution.


2. The evidence fits evolution, theistic or otherwise.


3. The evidence does not particuarly fit convergent evoltion, because convergent evolution works on the organism-in-play. A transient juvenile form would not count, as there would be no real selection pressures for it.


4. Young earth/ 6 day creationism does not fit because the skeletons involved are way too old (over 65 million years old), and there is no time for dinosaurs to evolve into birds.


5. IP (intelligent pixies) and 6 day creationism are not theories. They are not supported by sufficient evidence, have not been validated and tested, and do not make useful predictions. They have not been subject to scientific peer review, nor do they have the necessary logical and evidentiary structures supporting them.


6. It is also all consistent with last Tuesdayism, but Last Tuesdayism doesn't even make it as far as a scientific hypothesis, let alone a supported theory.


-----------------------


PS. Pay no attention to Last Thursdayites - they're a pack of heretics.

Flag d_p_m June 4, 2012 3:44 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:18PM, Thetanager wrote:


But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?




The other point that should probably be raised is that scientific theories do not stand or fall on isolated pieces of evidence. You don't look at just one data point or example, you look at thousands, millions, or billions of them. Each one contributes something to the picture. If you focus on one thing to the exclusion of all else, you find yourself in the position of the blind men with the elephant. The guy at one end thinks it's like a rope, the guy at the other thinks it's like a snake... unless he grabbed a tusk, in which case he thinks it's like a spear... and so on.


When we sort out something like the evolution of birds from (other) dinosaurs, we look at tens of thousands of fossils, hundreds of thousands of birds, bird genomes, reptilian genomes, the effects of certain genes and mutations, and so on. No single example will give us the whole picture... it would be like trying to draw an image on your computer screen using a single or a few pixels. Add in a million more data points and the picture becomes a lot clearer and more definitive.


Flag Oncomintrain June 4, 2012 3:45 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:18PM, Thetanager wrote:


But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.





The difference between the value of the Theory of Evolution vs. Creationism/ID, etc. in this case is that the ToE provides an explanation for why we see specifically what we see.


Think of it this way: take the question "Why do bird skulls look like baby dinosaur skulls?"


Evolutionary science provides a specific answer: because birds are descended from dinosaurs, and their similarity to baby dinosaurs is a form of neoteny, a frequently observed phenomenon wherein the descendent adult retains the features of the ancestral juvenile.


Creationism can only say: because God decided to make it like that. Which isn't really an explanation at all, since that same claim could be made, no matter WHAT evidence was found.


Convergent evolution isn't a particularly strong explanation in this case, because other evidence and discoveries strongly support the claim that birds evolved from dinos (though the exact relationship between birds and dinos isn't 100% settled amongst scientists).


In terms of science, Theistic Evolution and (nontheistic) Evolution are functionally identical. And ID is mostly just a political smoke-screen for Creationism.

Flag d_p_m June 4, 2012 3:46 PM EDT

Oh, yes, and there was a travelling exhibit called Feathered Dinosaurs that was at our local museum for a while. If you ever get a chance to see it, don't miss the opportunity. It was fascinating, and very informative, with fossils spanning the better part of a hundred million years, showing the gradual evolution of birds, along with evidence on the featheredness of dinosaurs.

Flag Oncomintrain June 4, 2012 3:49 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 3:46PM, d_p_m wrote:


Oh, yes, and there was a travelling exhibit called Feathered Dinosaurs that was at our local museum for a while. If you ever get a chance to see it, don't miss the opportunity. It was fascinating, and very informative, with fossils spanning the better part of a hundred million years, showing the gradual evolution of birds, along with evidence on the featheredness of dinosaurs.





If that's the same set of dioramas that went through the AMNH a couple years back, it is a must-see. Beautiful, fascinating stuff.

Flag d_p_m June 4, 2012 3:53 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 3:49PM, Oncomintrain wrote:


Jun 4, 2012 -- 3:46PM, d_p_m wrote:


Oh, yes, and there was a travelling exhibit called Feathered Dinosaurs that was at our local museum for a while. If you ever get a chance to see it, don't miss the opportunity. It was fascinating, and very informative, with fossils spanning the better part of a hundred million years, showing the gradual evolution of birds, along with evidence on the featheredness of dinosaurs.





If that's the same set of dioramas that went through the AMNH a couple years back, it is a must-see. Beautiful, fascinating stuff.




Could be. I saw it at the ROM. This is from their site:


"Organized by the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah and The Liaoning Fossil Administration Office in China, Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight features rare, original fossils of primitive birds and newly-discovered four-winged flying dinosaurs. The fossils, excavated in Liaoning Province in northeastern China, reveal new information about the origins of flying reptiles and birds, and address some of the most controversial questions concerning the evolutionary relationship of birds and dinosaurs."

Flag Thetanager June 5, 2012 3:58 PM EDT

My line of questioning was only meant to understand the impact of this article, if it really is swaying the case one way or the other.  It is consistent with evolution (and some other theories).  The title of this post made it seem like this article adds extra evidence for evolution against other views (not mainly evidence of inner coherency, which I think is it's extent).  The cases lay in other pieces of evidence/science/philosophical presuppositions, etc.  So, of course, just like every belief system, one piece of evidence does not prove it true or untrue.  Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts and giving me a better picture of this and other things through this short conversation!

Flag amcolph June 5, 2012 4:26 PM EDT

Science is rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle for which the top of the box has been lost.


As you put it together you will gradually begin to have an idea of what the picture is, but usually long before that you will know what it is not.


If you are constructing a border which shows trees and grass, for instance, you can be pretty sure in concluding that it is not a picture of a full-rigged ship at sea.


 

Flag rsielin June 5, 2012 6:39 PM EDT

Jun 5, 2012 -- 3:58PM, Thetanager wrote:

The title of this post made it seem like this article adds extra evidence for evolution against other views (not mainly evidence of inner coherency, which I think is it's extent).  


The article presents compelling peer reviewed evidence supporting the dinosaur to bird evolution hypothesis.  


It is a literary but accurate metaphor to say the evidence supporting evolution science "keeps rolling in" as this piece is just one of many research publications I have referenced here from the tens of thousands of research articles published annually in the professional science journals.


And it is true that modern science is devastating for creationists as they cannot reconcile the findings of modern science with their ideology without misrepresentation and fabrication. 


IMHO, the title is quite accurate. Maybe you could poke a hole in my thinking on this. I would be interested in what you say. 


Flag Midutch June 5, 2012 7:22 PM EDT

Jun 5, 2012 -- 4:26PM, amcolph wrote:


Science is rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle for which the top of the box has been lost.


As you put it together you will gradually begin to have an idea of what the picture is, but usually long before that you will know what it is not.


If you are constructing a border which shows trees and grass, for instance, you can be pretty sure in concluding that it is not a picture of a full-rigged ship at sea.


Bravo, Amcolph. Brilliant analogy.

Flag Thetanager June 6, 2012 8:28 PM EDT

Jun 5, 2012 -- 6:39PM, rsielin wrote:


IMHO, the title is quite accurate. Maybe you could poke a hole in my thinking on this. I would be interested in what you say. 




rsielin...to me to say that this particular piece of evidence (that birds and baby dinosaurs have similar skulls) is devastating to intelligent design or creationism is not quite accurate.  A creationist could say that God just designed this similarity...that evolutionists even agree that we have scientific evidence of similarities existing between different species with no immediate common ancestry that explains those similarities.  [New points, of course, can then be argued that other pieces of evolutionary theory show reason to believe in birds coming from dinosaurs, etc.]  Those worshipping the great pixie could say that the pixie made similar skull sizes for these creatures without the process of evolution.  Perhaps a case is then made from other evidences for evolution, but it just doesn't seem to be coming from the above evidence.


To me, you are coming at this article with the framework of evolution firmly established in your mind.  This similar skull size fits in nicely with that theory, confirming it as coherent.  But if Jimmy came to this article hypothetically with a blank slate and we say "See here, these birds have very similar skulls to baby dinosaurs.  What do you think the explanation is for this: evolution from dinosaur to birds or God created them with similar skulls?"  Jimmy would be just as justified (from this evidence alone) to say "I'm not sure.  Both logically fit."


Then, the task of the evolutionist or intelligent pixie worshipper or whomever is to bring in other evidence.  To show why one theory is better and the other theories are falsified by such evidence.  I don't think other views are falsified by the similar skull sizes.  So, to me, this is evidence confirming the evolutionary framework as still being a valid framework...not confirming evolution against intelligent pixies.  It's the other evidence that this matter falls upon to really sway opinion one way or the other.


Perhaps I'm still missing something that you all are saying here, though.

Flag rsielin June 6, 2012 9:26 PM EDT

Jun 6, 2012 -- 8:28PM, Thetanager wrote:

Perhaps I'm still missing something that you all are saying here, though.


Yes, you are missing something. You are approaching this as all creationists do; i.e., take each piece of evidence individually and isolated and then announce it is not convincing enough. That claim is merely a mechanism for denial.


I am coming at this with the framework of evolution firmly established not "in my mind" but firmly established in science.  This piece of evidence cannot rightfully be judged separately but must be judged with all the accumulated evidence. And that accumulated empirical evidence always without exception corroborates and confirms ToE as the most complete and compelling explanation. And it is that which is devastating for creationism. 


How many drops of water do you need before you recognize you have a lake?  Well, the drops of empirical evidence confirming evolution are astronomical. It can no longer be honestly be denied. 

Flag Oncomintrain June 6, 2012 11:20 PM EDT

I think I take the point here:


Creationism ALREADY rejects the entire scientific structure into which this evidence is being slotted. It only represents a compelling argument IF one accepts prior evolution-supporting conclusions as having merit, and if one rejects the very basis of Creationism: that what we see is, de facto, necessarily a direct act of God. If we don't understand why He did it that way, that's just further evidence of the fallibility of the human mind.


It isn't any more of a kill-blow to Creationism than any prior argument, because Creationists explicitly reject the notion that similarity suggests relatedness. "So the skulls are similar and the genes are similar... common Creator, duh."


In that sense, I have to agree, this discovery -- while fascinating and very much in line with evolutionary theory -- is hardly a watershed moment in debunking Creationism.

Flag d_p_m June 7, 2012 1:28 AM EDT

Jun 6, 2012 -- 8:28PM, Thetanager wrote:


Then, the task of the evolutionist or intelligent pixie worshipper or whomever is to bring in other evidence.  To show why one theory is better and the other theories are falsified by such evidence.  I don't think other views are falsified by the similar skull sizes.  So, to me, this is evidence confirming the evolutionary framework as still being a valid framework...not confirming evolution against intelligent pixies.  It's the other evidence that this matter falls upon to really sway opinion one way or the other.


Perhaps I'm still missing something that you all are saying here, though.




Actually, that's a good point. One of the problems is that once you have been thinking about / studying something for a long time, sometimes you forget to mention things that you have learned and internalized so completely that you don't even have to apply them conciously.


In this case, one of the missing pieces might be the Principle of Parsimony, also known as Occam's Razor or Least Plausible Hypothesis. This is one of the foundational concepts in the philosophy of science, and it basically states that you should use the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions that fits the facts, until you find a reason to reject it.


There's a good example of its application here (read it, it has fairies!)


mason.gmu.edu/~cmcgloth/portfolio/fallac...


A classic example is that you can model the movement of the planets by having them rotate in circles (because circles are perfect, you see, and thus appropriate for Creation) but then the circles have to rotate around points moving in circles around points moving in circles, around points... for each planet (including the Sun, because God put us at the centre of the universe), until you are drowning in circles. This was the original proposal... until someone realized that if each planet moved in an ellipse about the sun, described by some very simple formulae, all the circles on circles on circles on circles were not needed. If you ignore theological arguments, and focus on the complexity of the descriptions, you quickly realize that the PoP tells you to go with the ellipses. Indeed, they work out almost exactly (the variations being explained by relativity, and are very very small, and were not observed until quite recently as they are so small they are hard to measure).



To make Creationism work, you have to go with either:


(1) some variant of Last Tuesdayism (God created everything like Genesis said but used his power to make everything look like the universe is billions of years old, and that we evolved, and that starlight had been travelling for billions of years, and... and... and....).  This is sometimes called 'Last Tuesdayism', because once you assume God is faking the apparent age of the universe, and filling in a history that never happened, you could just as easily claim that the world was created Last Tuesday, but God gave us memories of a time before last Tuesday that never happened, for his own inscrutable divine reasons.


or


(2) a whole whack of arbitrary assumptions made only to explain away problems... often leading to other assumptions to explain away evidence against the first round of assumptions, or a lack of evidence that should have been seen if the first round of assumptions were true. Pretty soon you're drowning in assumptions, and the logical consequences of these ad hoc assumptions often contradict one another, either breaking the plausibility, or requiring still more assumptions to 'fix things'.



So, Occam's Razor inclines us to use the simpler, less arbitrary, more elegant explanations that require the fewest assumptions... and that leads us to evolution, which is basically very simple - all it needs to work is replication (observed) with variation (observed), operating under conditions of natural selection (observed) producing differential reproductive success.(observed).


That's it. Everything else is just details about how it works.


Note that there are no assumptions - the four basic requirements are all observed fact, both in nature and in the laboratory.

Flag rsielin June 8, 2012 8:31 AM EDT

Jun 6, 2012 -- 11:20PM, Oncomintrain wrote:

"So the skulls are similar and the genes are similar... common Creator, duh."


And if the case may be, creationists will take it any which way; "So the skulls are dissimilar and the genes are dissimilar... common Creator, yeah."

Flag Thetanager June 9, 2012 12:10 PM EDT

Jun 6, 2012 -- 9:26PM, rsielin wrote:


Yes, you are missing something. You are approaching this as all creationists do; i.e., take each piece of evidence individually and isolated and then announce it is not convincing enough. That claim is merely a mechanism for denial.



I am doing no such thing. I have never said evolution is not convincing. I said that this piece of evidence does not add anything new to the debate between various theories, for it would fit different ones. I said it is important for not falsifying evolution, and that it adds strength to evolution's inner consistency.  I have said that the comparison of theories rests on other lines of evidence (even including this as an example of one line) put all together.  And I've made no argument one way or the other there.


Jun 7, 2012 -- 1:28AM, d_p_m wrote:

In this case, one of the missing pieces might be the Principle of Parsimony, also known as Occam's Razor or Least Plausible Hypothesis. This is one of the foundational concepts in the philosophy of science, and it basically states that you should use the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions that fits the facts, until you find a reason to reject it.



Thanks for this explanation.  I've run across some people and talks that treat Occam's Razor simply as simplest explanation wins, but I like this additional clarification of simplest until there is good reason to reject it.  The simplest answer is not always the correct one, but I do agree with this basic idea.

Flag rsielin June 9, 2012 12:56 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 12:10PM, Thetanager wrote:

I am doing no such thing. ... I said that this piece of evidence does not add anything new to the debate between various theories, for it would fit different ones.


I did not mean to imply you were a creationist, only that taking each bit of evidence separately and isolated will not prove anything and that is a prevalent tactic employed by science denying creationists. Just wanting to steer you away from that mistake that I sensed (maybe incorrectly) you were making. My line "and the evidence keeps rolling in" is my way of a literary tip to the corroborating and overwhelming accumulated empirical evidence supporting evolution. 


However one bit I do disagree with you, this skull evidence does add quite a bit to the evidence supporting dinosaur to bird evolution. And provides clues to additional avenues of investagation. That's how science works. 


Flag d_p_m June 9, 2012 1:15 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 12:10PM, Thetanager wrote:


Thanks for this explanation.  I've run across some people and talks that treat Occam's Razor simply as simplest explanation wins, but I like this additional clarification of simplest until there is good reason to reject it.  The simplest answer is not always the correct one, but I do agree with this basic idea.




In science, any conclusion is subject to revision in light of new evidence, although this too is relative. A few months ago when one of the CERN teams got a result indicating that neutrinos were going faster than light, they did not immediately reject Einstein's work. Instead, given the amount of evidence for a speed of light limit, they quite properly doubted the new evidence, and rechecked their work. That as because there is so much accumulated evidence that supported Einstein's theories.


When the evidence seemed sound, they then asked other scientists to examine their experimental setup and design, to see if there was something wrong with their evidence. After thousands of scientists had analyzed their work, it was eventually discovered that an equipment/design failure had thrown their timing off by a few billionths of a second.


Similarly, any assumption that any answer MUST be right breaks the rules.


And experience has shown that simple answers are often, but not always right. Sometimes what is simple is how we think something works... our understanding of it... and not the actual real world process itself.

Flag Midutch June 9, 2012 4:50 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 12:10PM, Thetanager wrote:

I am doing no such thing. I have never said evolution is not convincing. I said that this piece of evidence does not add anything new to the debate between various theories, for it would fit different ones.



Of course it does. It supports the Theory of Evolution quite well and, SINCE NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORIES EXIST, it does does NOT support those NON-existent "theories" ... since they don't exist.


There are NO other "theories".


This line of evidence does NOT support anything other than the Theory of Evolution, becuase nothing else exists.


You've been told this before. Why is that so hard for you to understand?


Flag Oncomintrain June 9, 2012 6:19 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 12:10PM, Thetanager wrote:


I am doing no such thing. I have never said evolution is not convincing. I said that this piece of evidence does not add anything new to the debate between various theories, for it would fit different ones. I said it is important for not falsifying evolution, and that it adds strength to evolution's inner consistency.  I have said that the comparison of theories rests on other lines of evidence (even including this as an example of one line) put all together.  And I've made no argument one way or the other there.




I would say that this discovery isn't going to be any great turning point in the Creationism/Evolution conflict, but does add one more straw to the horse's back, when it comes to establishing Evolution as more likely that Creationism.


Obviously both possibilities are COMPATIBLE with this piece of evidence (in isolation). It could have arisen by evolutionary means, or God could have just made them that way.


What favors Evolution is the fact that Evolution provides an explanation for why the skulls are that way, AND NOT SOME OTHER WAY. Bird skulls look like juveline dinosaurs skulls (instead of looking like the skulls of some other animal) because birds descend from dinosaurs. Creationism CANNOT explain why the skulls are not "some other way," since God could have made them any way he liked.


This is a demonstration of the explanatory power of Evolutionary Theory, and the fact that evolution is a better explanation for the evidence. So this evidence supports Evolutionary Science over any other competing idea.


Now, that said, scientists have already found a lot of OTHER commonalities between birds and dinosaurs physiologically... most notably that some dinosaurs have FEATHERS. So the fact that there is another piece of physiological evidence linking dinos to birds is just coals to Newcastle. It is just a further confirmation of something we pretty much knew already.


And in so far as that is true, you're right... it doesn't contribute much to the Creationism/Evolution conflict, since -- in light of all the evidence Creationists are already ignoring (like dino feathers) -- this new finding is just a drop in the bucket.


Of course, you put enough drops in a bucket, and suddenly you have a very full bucket...

Flag rsielin June 9, 2012 7:23 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 6:19PM, Oncomintrain wrote:

I would say that this discovery isn't going to be any great turning point in the Creationism/Evolution conflict, ...


However, it should be pointed out to Thetanager that there is evidence that does present a compelling turning point in the Creationism/Evolution conflict and that is the evidence found with the recent technology of genome sequencing.


As in the 1600s when the then new technology of the telescope opened the cosmos for discovery for a whole new realm of knowledge; so does this new technology open the workings of biology for significant discoveries and new knowledge. And what has been found so far is more than devastating for creation science. 


Flag d_p_m June 9, 2012 9:34 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 4:50PM, Midutch wrote:

SINCE NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORIES EXIST




This is crucial. No one, in the last hundred years, has been able to come up with a competing theory. There are, at this time, no other scientific alternatives.


Anything put forth as a competing idea has not met the requirements for a scientific hypothesis, let alone a theory.

Flag rsielin June 10, 2012 7:12 AM EDT

As the sayings go ...


If your theory ends with "and then a miracle occurs", you've left the realm of science and entered the realm of theology.


You can believe whatever you want, it's just when doing science you have to get your science right or you fail. 

Flag Thetanager June 10, 2012 5:12 PM EDT

Jun 9, 2012 -- 4:50PM, Midutch wrote:

Of course it does. It supports the Theory of Evolution quite well and, SINCE NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORIES EXIST, it does does NOT support those NON-existent "theories" ... since they don't exist.


There are NO other "theories".


This line of evidence does NOT support anything other than the Theory of Evolution, becuase nothing else exists.


You've been told this before. Why is that so hard for you to understand?



Midutch, it fits into more theories. I never said this evidence directly points to other theories. But it does not contradict intelligent pixies as creators, for they could have chosen to make the skulls similarly for whatever reasons. If the great pixie made our world and chose to give birds and baby dinosaurs similar skulls (without common ancestry link), she could have done that and our fossil data (of skull comparisons at least) would be exactly as it is in our real world. At least as far as I know. If you think the data would be different given a pixie creator, please explain why. Then, perhaps, this evidence/article has some impact beyond an inner discussion of the theory of evolution. If you can do that, even this simpleton will be able to understand.


Even if you want to say that only the scientific theory counts, that judgment between theories (or theories and "pipe dreams" or however you want to distinguish them from science) is based on evidence outside of this comparison of skull features (as you have been arguing: that there is no other reason to accept them as true).


Jun 9, 2012 -- 6:19PM, Oncomintrain wrote:

What favors Evolution is the fact that Evolution provides an explanation for why the skulls are that way, AND NOT SOME OTHER WAY. Bird skulls look like juveline dinosaurs skulls (instead of looking like the skulls of some other animal) because birds descend from dinosaurs. Creationism CANNOT explain why the skulls are not "some other way," since God could have made them any way he liked.



So, then, all species have similar skulls as the species they are descended from? Or does evolution remain a valid theory whether or not this is the case? If it is the latter, then evolution does not necessarily give why it is in this case, but not other cases. It is just trying to be descriptive within its own framework. And Creationism can explain why...it says God chooses to out of his own free will. Certainly not a scientific explanation. Creationists can then still try to see what biological or environmental benefits such a thing may have given the overall theory of a creator. But, of course, all of this does not mean creationism trumps evolution.

Flag steven_guy June 10, 2012 7:35 PM EDT

Jun 10, 2012 -- 5:12PM, Thetanager wrote:

Midutch, it fits into more theories. I never said this evidence directly points to other theories. But it does not contradict intelligent pixies as creators, for they could have chosen to make the skulls similarly for whatever reasons. If the great pixie made our world and chose to give birds and baby dinosaurs similar skulls (without common ancestry link), she could have done that and our fossil data (of skull comparisons at least) would be exactly as it is in our real world. At least as far as I know. If you think the data would be different given a pixie creator, please explain why.



Sure, pixies could have created the entire world last Thursday and created us with false memories of time before last Thursday and made the world look like it is billions of years old. However, just like in the case of birds being an evolutionary branch of dinosaurs, the world appears to have existed for a very long time because of the evidence we see around us. Consider Occam's Razor and parsimonious thinking. For the earth to have been created fully formed and made to look older last Thursday is a convoluted and frankly unlikely scenario. The same is true of the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. One could argue, I suppose, that they were "designed" as they evolved from dinosaurs by God. An argument against this is why would an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being need to do things in such a crude way? You're probably aware that more than 99% of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. This does really help the idea that evolution or the "design" of life has been helped along by an omnipotent being. 



Jun 10, 2012 -- 5:12PM, Thetanager wrote:

 Then, perhaps, this evidence/article has some impact beyond an inner discussion of the theory of evolution. If you can do that, even this simpleton will be able to understand.


Even if you want to say that only the scientific theory counts, that judgment between theories (or theories and "pipe dreams" or however you want to distinguish them from science) is based on evidence outside of this comparison of skull features (as you have been arguing: that there is no other reason to accept them as true).


So, then, all species have similar skulls as the species they are descended from? Or does evolution remain a valid theory whether or not this is the case? If it is the latter, then evolution does not necessarily give why it is in this case, but not other cases. It is just trying to be descriptive within its own framework. And Creationism can explain why...it says God chooses to out of his own free will. Certainly not a scientific explanation. Creationists can then still try to see what biological or environmental benefits such a thing may have given the overall theory of a creator. But, of course, all of this does not mean creationism trumps evolution. 



Firstly, there are no alternative theories of the origin of species. Evolution is the only game in town and it is supported by mountains of evidence, observation and research in a number of fields (genetics is an example).


I do not agree that Creationism can "explain why" in relation to anything. 


Creationism doesn't even come close to trumping evolution any more than Flat-earthers could come close to trumping modern geography. Creationism is simply wrong, which wouldn't matter at all if Creationists weren't trying to push their crackpot ideas and junk science into children's classrooms and text books.

Flag Oncomintrain June 10, 2012 9:13 PM EDT

Jun 10, 2012 -- 5:12PM, Thetanager wrote:


Jun 9, 2012 -- 6:19PM, Oncomintrain wrote:

What favors Evolution is the fact that Evolution provides an explanation for why the skulls are that way, AND NOT SOME OTHER WAY. Bird skulls look like juveline dinosaurs skulls (instead of looking like the skulls of some other animal) because birds descend from dinosaurs. Creationism CANNOT explain why the skulls are not "some other way," since God could have made them any way he liked.



So, then, all species have similar skulls as the species they are descended from? Or does evolution remain a valid theory whether or not this is the case? 




Based on the degree of historical remove, yes... in my layman's opinion, it is reasonable to expect that we would find similarity between the skulls of ancestral and descendent species, based on my understanding of evolutionary science. Particularly, I would expect to find similarities in the fine details. Convergent evolution may lead divergent species to develop similar gross features in order to fill a particular ecological niche. But it tends to leave intact many of the smaller things, and that helps us distinguish convergently evolved species from related ones... an idea that is borne out by the available genetic evidence.


If bird skulls resembled (in the finer details) the skulls of other organisms more than they resembled the skulls of therapodian dinosaurs, that would certainly damage the theory that birds evolved from therapodian dinosaurs. Would it disprove the Theory of Evolution? No, not necessarily... it might simply suggest that birds belong to a different ancestral lineage.


However, birds were already understood to resemble therapodian dinosaurs in many of their fine bodily details (again, most notably, in advanced featheration). If it had turned out that birds resembled therapods in the fine details of their bodies, but some other organisms (say, snakes for example) in the fine details of their skulls, then yes, that WOULD present a challenge to our current evolutionary biological understanding, as it would contradict the nested heirarchy predicted by the ToE. (This all breaks down with single celled organisms, where lateral gene transfer is common.)


So, in short, if bird skulls did NOT resemble therapod skulls, it would have the POTENTIAL to damage the credibility of evolutionary biology IF no reasonable explanation for the discrepency could be found.


But in being consistent with prior evidence, it further CONFIRMS evolutionary theory, strengthening (if only by a tiny bit) the case for evolution.


And Creationism can explain why...it says God chooses to out of his own free will.



But that fails as an explanation, because God could have chosen to make them ANY way out of His own free will. Creationism CANNOT be strengthened on the basis of evidence, for the same reason it cannot be WEAKENED on the basis of evidence: Creationism (in playing the "because God wanted it that way" card) makes itself EQUALLY compatible with ANY evidence.


So evolutionary science GAINS further credence by this discovery, while Creationism gains nothing. It is one more tiny way (added to a myriad of already existing ways) that Evolution is demonstrated as the stronger, more useful explanation for the history and diversity of life on Earth.

Flag Midutch June 11, 2012 6:37 PM EDT

Jun 10, 2012 -- 5:12PM, Thetanager wrote:


Jun 9, 2012 -- 4:50PM, Midutch wrote:

Of course it does. It supports the Theory of Evolution quite well and, SINCE NO OTHER SCIENTIFIC THEORIES EXIST, it does does NOT support those NON-existent "theories" ... since they don't exist.


There are NO other "theories".


This line of evidence does NOT support anything other than the Theory of Evolution, becuase nothing else exists.


You've been told this before. Why is that so hard for you to understand?



Midutch, it fits into more theories.


No, it does not.


There are NO other theories that it can fit into because NO other scientific THEORIES exist.


I never said this evidence directly points to other theories. But it does not contradict intelligent pixies as creators, for they could have chosen to make the skulls similarly for whatever reasons.


So what. Pixies messing with the dino DNA so that birds retain their baby skulls is NOT ... repeat, NOT a theory. It's a silly, off the cuff, try to make it sound as ridiculous as "fundie christian creationism" "fairy tale" that I just made up to clearly show what does NOT qualify as a THEORY.


Obviously, you didn't catch that.


If the great pixie made our world and chose to give birds and baby dinosaurs similar skulls (without common ancestry link), she could have done that and our fossil data (of skull comparisons at least) would be exactly as it is in our real world.


What part of "it's NOT a theory" did you not understand?


At least as far as I know. If you think the data would be different given a pixie creator, please explain why. Then, perhaps, this evidence/article has some impact beyond an inner discussion of the theory of evolution. If you can do that, even this simpleton will be able to understand.


Wow. Just, wow.



Flag Thetanager June 11, 2012 8:04 PM EDT

Okay, midutch.  Thanks to everyone helping me to understand this piece of evidence and how it fits evolutionary theory and whatnot.  Hope to see you all around on other topics.

Flag rsielin June 13, 2012 10:41 AM EDT

Jun 11, 2012 -- 8:04PM, Thetanager wrote:

Okay, midutch.  Thanks to everyone helping me to understand this piece of evidence and how it fits evolutionary theory and whatnot.  Hope to see you all around on other topics.


I'm not so sure you really understand. But if you are now willing to leave the real science to the real science professionals, I think real progress has been made. After all, that's what the controversy truly boils down to be.


Take care. Thanks for the conversation.

Flag Thetanager June 14, 2012 8:09 AM EDT

Jun 13, 2012 -- 10:41AM, rsielin wrote:

I'm not so sure you really understand. But if you are now willing to leave the real science to the real science professionals, I think real progress has been made. After all, that's what the controversy truly boils down to be.


Take care. Thanks for the conversation.



You've missed the whole point of what I was doing here.  I was not making a scientific analysis of the evidence, for the very reason that I am not a "real science professional."  I know my limits there and never said the science was wrong or that creationism was scientific.  I was simply making a philosophical analysis.  You don't have to be a "real philosophy professional" to discuss that with me, but at least address it philosophically or we will continue to just talk past each other.

Flag rsielin June 14, 2012 8:39 AM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 8:09AM, Thetanager wrote:

... I was simply making a philosophical analysis.  You don't have to be a "real philosophy professional" to discuss that with me, but at least address it philosophically or we will continue to just talk past each other.


My apologies. I'm only prepared to discuss the science. And I stand by my OP statement as factual.  

Flag d_p_m June 14, 2012 10:31 AM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 8:09AM, Thetanager wrote:


Jun 13, 2012 -- 10:41AM, rsielin wrote:

I'm not so sure you really understand. But if you are now willing to leave the real science to the real science professionals, I think real progress has been made. After all, that's what the controversy truly boils down to be.


Take care. Thanks for the conversation.



You've missed the whole point of what I was doing here.  I was not making a scientific analysis of the evidence, for the very reason that I am not a "real science professional."  I know my limits there and never said the science was wrong or that creationism was scientific.  I was simply making a philosophical analysis.  You don't have to be a "real philosophy professional" to discuss that with me, but at least address it philosophically or we will continue to just talk past each other.




There is an area of overlap here, more specialized than general philosophy, commonly referred to as the philosophy of science. Among other things, it looks at how we know things about science, how the logical underpinnings work, how we classify different types of knowledge, how we learn about the universe, how we understand the universe, etc.


This overlaps with, but is not identical to, the more pragmatic issues about the methodology and practice of science. It also, of necessity, touches on terminology and definitions.


Under the tenets of the PoS, and the application of the MoS, things like ID and
Last Tuesdayism, and Evolution Fairies are not theories, nor even hypotheses. To put it another way, Dr. Behe, the inventer of IC (irreducible complexity), admitted under oath in Kitzmiller vs Dover, that in order to make Intelligent Design science, one would have to use a definition of science that also made Astrology science.


The cross examination, and the findings, are fascinating reading, and demonstrate that Irreducible Complexity is not science, either.


To call ID, or Creation, or IC 'theories' is to use a non-technical, colloquial use of the term, much like people tend to confuse the concepts of weight and mass - something people do in loose, sloppy every day conversations, but which would wreak havoc in an attempt to discuss the branches of physics known as mechanics and relativity.


Thus the experimental results raised about dinosaur and avian skulls cannot contribute support to an alternate theory, because under the time tested definitions of the PoS and the MoS, there are no other theories. This is both a scientific (pragmatic, real world) and philosophical (theoretical, conceptual) conclusion.

Flag iamachildofhis June 14, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

Jun 2, 2012 -- 7:06PM, rsielin wrote:



Jun 2, 2012 -- 3:40PM, Thetanager wrote:

Thetanager: ... what specific point(s) from the article support evolution against alternative views?  I'm not saying there aren't any, I'm just trying to pinpoint the connection you are making.  Is it that the skull shapes are the same or something else?


The hypothesis is that modern birds are descendants of dinosaurs. There is an accumulating body of evidence now supporting that hypothesis.


rsielin: The above research on skulls provides additional evidence for another credible pathway leading from dinosaurs to modern birds. It's one more piece of corroborating evidence to be added to the accumulating body of knowledge supporting the hypothesis. 


If you're interested here's some links:


Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/12...


Professional peer review research published in the journal Nature: www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurr...



iama: The Scientific Method of Investigation requires reality observation regarding the hypothesis.  There is absolutely no observation POSSIBLE for what the hypothesis is claiming.  SPECULATION only, based upon collected, current remains.  There is no evidence which is observational regarding reproductive relationship in ACTUALITY!


The Bible states that birds were created BEFORE land animals!  That statement / claim was made by The Creator-God of birds and dinosaurs.


.

Flag iamachildofhis June 14, 2012 1:13 PM EDT

Jun 2, 2012 -- 7:10PM, d_p_m wrote:



d_p_m: Or to look at it another way, this is phenotypical information indicating a probable link between the dinosaur genotypes and avian genotypes.



iama:  Note your SPECULATION-terminology, "probable link."


.

Flag amcolph June 14, 2012 1:22 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 1:13PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


Jun 2, 2012 -- 7:10PM, d_p_m wrote:



d_p_m: Or to look at it another way, this is phenotypical information indicating a probable link between the dinosaur genotypes and avian genotypes.



iama:  Note your SPECULATION-terminology, "probable link."


.




A probable link with evidence which supports it.


You don't even have 'probable' to support your claims and no evidence whatever.


Who ya gonna call?

Flag rsielin June 14, 2012 1:57 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 1:10PM, iamachildofhis wrote:

iama: The Scientific Method of Investigation requires reality observation regarding the hypothesis.  There is absolutely no observation POSSIBLE for what the hypothesis is claiming.  SPECULATION only, based upon collected, current remains.  There is no evidence which is observational regarding reproductive relationship in ACTUALITY!


Clear evidence you don't know what you're talking about with respect to any real science. Good example of intellectual naiveté.

Flag d_p_m June 14, 2012 2:57 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 1:13PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


Jun 2, 2012 -- 7:10PM, d_p_m wrote:


d_p_m: Or to look at it another way, this is phenotypical information indicating a probable link between the dinosaur genotypes and avian genotypes.



iama:  Note your SPECULATION-terminology, "probable link."




Rather, note the science style terminology which does not make inflated claims of spurious infallibility, unlike non-science pronouncements which are commonly bandied about as "absolute truth".


Please note that a thousand pieces of independant evidence probable at the .95 level mean less than one chance in a billion, billion, billion, billion (repeat billion a hundred more times) billion of being wrong.

Flag d_p_m June 14, 2012 4:44 PM EDT

TT,


Further to the remarks I made on the philosophy of science and the methodology of science, I came across this succinct explanation while reading a critique of a piece of tripe linked by one of our resident YECs. It very nicely explains one of the crucial aspects of scientific hypotheses, which are a step toward estabilishing theories:



"There is no conceivable evidence that could, even in principle, refute the notion that everything happens as a result of an unconstrained, very powerful "designer". This is because such an entity can be invoked to explain any evidence whatsoever. Real scientific hypotheses have to be vulnerable to evidence. It must be possible to imagine evidence that would undermine them (see Pennock 1999, ch 6, for an extensive discussion). This is not the case for a mysterious "intelligent designer" of nature so unspecified that one cannot even make predictions about what one would expect to observe if it existed."



-- ncse.com/rncse/25/1-2/review-privileged-...


Flag iamachildofhis June 14, 2012 6:42 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:18PM, Thetanager wrote:



Thetanager: But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.



iama: It all depends upon which SPECULATION best fits the data!


.

Flag steven_guy June 14, 2012 7:08 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 6:42PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:18PM, Thetanager wrote:



Thetanager: But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.



iama: It all depends upon which SPECULATION best fits the data!


.




Speculation? That's something that Creationists do. Scientists deal with evidence and facts. Evolution is a very uncontroversial and complete science, supported by a mountain of evidence, obervations and facts.


Creationism is supported by an irrational devotion to ancient myth concocted by ignorant desert dwelling goatherds.

Flag wohali June 14, 2012 8:57 PM EDT

"The Bible states that birds were created BEFORE land animals!  That statement / claim was made by The Creator-God of birds and dinosaurs."


No, that "statement / claim" was made by a bunch of guys long ago cobbling thgether a bunch of stories.

Flag MMarcoe June 14, 2012 10:16 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2012 -- 1:10PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


The Bible states that birds were created BEFORE land animals!  That statement / claim was made by The Creator-God of birds and dinosaurs.


.





God would never say something so false. So you must conclude that Satan wrote the creation story.

Flag Thetanager June 15, 2012 12:07 AM EDT

rsielin...I thank you for adding the science to our discussion and my learning


dpm...I think I agree with you on the distinctions and on the overlap. I was using "theory" in the more non-technical use of the term. I do think both the technical scientific sense and the non-technical philosophical use are both important.


And involving the unfalsifiability of the "designer" notion...I was curious (and I'm not saying there aren't any) about what vulnerability the theory of evolution has. I have heard people claim that evolution is also invoked to explain any evidence whatsoever, but (as is probably obvious) am just now starting to dig deeper into such things myself. For instance, it seems to me that evolution would still be upheld if baby dinosaur skulls and bird skulls were not similar.

Flag d_p_m June 15, 2012 12:45 AM EDT

Jun 15, 2012 -- 12:07AM, Thetanager wrote:


rsielin...I thank you for adding the science to our discussion and my learning


dpm...I think I agree with you on the distinctions and on the overlap. I was using "theory" in the more non-technical use of the term. I do think both the technical scientific sense and the non-technical philosophical use are both important.


And involving the unfalsifiability of the "designer" notion...I was curious (and I'm not saying there aren't any) about what vulnerability the theory of evolution has. I have heard people claim that evolution is also invoked to explain any evidence whatsoever, but (as is probably obvious) am just now starting to dig deeper into such things myself. For instance, it seems to me that evolution would still be upheld if baby dinosaur skulls and bird skulls were not similar.




Ok, let me take a shot at this. Please bear in mind that while I do have a science degree and an interest in evolution, I am not an evolutionary biologist, so I may miss a few of the finer points.


Evolution is falsifiable in any number of ways. Some of the ones I can think of:


1) If there were no modification in descendants - if all species replicated without error or variation, there would be no place for differential reproductive success to manifest to drive evolution and speciation. Luckily, we see significant mutation rates, plus we see other forms of variation driven by things like sexual reproduction, which recombines existinge genetic material in different ways. The average person, for example, has about 130 mutations - changes in their genetic structure from what they might have inheirited from their parents.


2) If there were no natural selection. All the variation doesn't do much except provide scope for random changes. While that occurs, it does not 'drive' change the same way selecting for advantageous alleles does. Luckily, we see natural selection exerting a powerful influence over survival and reproduction. For example, in less than 10,000 years, some N. European populations have a 98% rate of adult lactose tolerance as a result of the advantages of being able to consume dairy products for food. In S. Asian populations, where there were no dairy herds, adult lactose tolerance can be 2% or less. We also see fairly rapid evolution in things like antibiotic resistance and island dwarfism.


3) If the world really were only a few million years old, there would be no time for evolution to occur. Luckily, a whole bunch of independent dating techniques put the age of the sun at about 5 billion years, planets and other cold bodies at about 4.7 billion years, surface rocks at about 3.7 billion years, and microfossils about 3 to 3.5 billion years ago. That turns out to be lots of time.


4) If there were no nested hierarchies. Taxonomists have built up structured relationships between species, which show the gradual change of characteristics, and the inheiritance of characteristics from common ancestors. If this were not the case, evolution would be incorrect.These were done from gross physical characteristics but have now been corroborated in many cases by examining the actual genetic structure of related species. The first genome sequencing was expected to cost ten billion dollars, and take ten years, with the world working on it. Now one lab can do it in a few weeks for about three thousand... so we have a lot of new data.


5) If something showed up grossly out of order in the fossil record. The classic example, I beileve, is 'fossil rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian'. That has never happened, and barring time travel, if evolution is correct, never will.


There are doubtless more, but those are five easy ways to disprove the ToE, and I've typed enough for now.... :)



Flag d_p_m June 15, 2012 12:50 AM EDT

Oh, and the similarity in skulls fits in with the same nested hierarchy structure for birds and dinosaurs as similarities in other features, so it adds another consistent data point.


If the skulls were not similar, you would expect to find either a 'nested subhierarchy' within the dinosaurs, of dinosaurs with different skulls that resembled birds; or birds preceeding current birds that had skulls more similar to dinosaurs than current birds, with current birds forming a nested hierarchy within the classification of 'all birds'.

Flag iamachildofhis June 15, 2012 1:27 PM EDT

Jun 4, 2012 -- 2:34PM, d_p_m wrote:



Thetanager: But, taking only the evidence of this article, doesn't this evidence fit into each theory...convergent evolution, common ancestry, theistic evolution, 6 day creationism, intelligent (pixie) design?  I'm not seeing why this evidence does not fit all the above theories equally.


d_p_m: Let's see.


1. Theistic evolution and evolution and evolution can be virtually identical, depending on the version of theistic evolution. Convergent evolution is just one possible special case within evolution.



iama:  Evolution paradigms of all sorts, can accommodate any and all data, so it is not falsifiable.


d_p_m: 2. The evidence fits evolution, theistic or otherwise.



iama:  Yes, all data fits all sorts of evolution paradigms!  It is like a vacuum cleaner.


d_p_m: 3. The evidence does not particularly fit convergent evolution, because convergent evolution works on the organism-in-play. A transient juvenile form would not count, as there would be no real selection pressures for it.



iama:  An attempt by evolutionists to explain what actually does exist re: all life-forms - evidence for special creation:


Evidence for Turtle Evolution



The Mole



C4 photosynthesis—evolution or design?



Does homology provide evidence of evolutionary naturalism?



Biogeography



Opossums


d_p_m: 4. Young earth/ 6 day creationism does not fit the skeletons involved are way too old (over 65 million years old), and there is no time for dinosaurs to evolve into birds.



iama:  "Way too old (over 65 million years old)" is speculation derived from the evolution paradigm!  All life-forms were originally created ~6,000 years ago by special creation, and have since, reproduced "after his / their KIND," ONLY,  having great variation built-in mechanisms fitting them to the post-The Flood habitats of the world! Birds were created first on Day 5, and dinosaurs with the rest of the land animals on Day 6, prior to the creation of Adam and Eve, also, on Day 6.


d_p_m: 5. IP (intelligent pixies) and 6 day creationism are not theories. They are not supported by sufficient evidence, have not been validated and tested, and do not make useful predictions. They have not been subject to scientific peer review, nor do they have the necessary logical and evidentiary structures supporting them.



iama: 6 Days of Creation is a documented, biblical, fact!  There is absolutely no observational evidence of reproductive relationship of all life-forms!  All predictions which are validated and are claimed by the evolutionists, are based upon The Creation of life-forms by our Creator-God!  Scientific peer reviewed journals have rejected the truth regarding origins of all things, so, therefore, they reject creationists' articles!


Darwinian Thought Police Strike Again


d_p_m: 6. It is also all consistent with last Tuesdayism, but Last Tuesdayism doesn't even make it as far as a scientific hypothesis, let alone a supported theory.


PS. Pay no attention to Last Thursdayites - they're a pack of heretics.



iama:  Yes, along with the evolutionists.


.

Flag d_p_m June 15, 2012 1:43 PM EDT

Jun 15, 2012 -- 1:27PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


iama:  Evolution paradigms of all sorts, can accommodate any and all data, so it is not falsifiable.




It may seem that way to you, but that's because evolution explains almost all biological facts, because it's TRUE, and fundamental to the way life works.


"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" is a 1973 essay by the evolutionary biologist and Russian Orthodox Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky


The essay: www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml

Flag Abner1 June 15, 2012 2:40 PM EDT

iama wrote:


> An attempt by evolutionists to explain what actually does exist re: all life-forms


> - evidence for special creation:


Note that Iama is blatantly lying in the above statement.  Every single one of the five articles she linked to following that statement were articles by creationists denigrating the work of biologists that supports evolution.  Not a single one was an 'attempt by evolutionists to explain' anything, because none of them were written by an 'evolutionist'; they were all by creationists.

Flag iamachildofhis June 15, 2012 9:20 PM EDT

Jun 15, 2012 -- 2:40PM, Abner1 wrote:



iama: An attempt by evolutionists to explain what actually does exist re: all life-forms


- evidence for special creation:


Abner1: Note that Iama is blatantly lying in the above statement.  Every single one of the five articles she linked to following that statement were articles by creationists denigrating the work of biologists that supports evolution.  Not a single one was an 'attempt by evolutionists to explain' anything, because none of them were written by an 'evolutionist'; they were all by creationists.



iama: My reply was related to "convergent evolution" which was the topic of that segment of d_p_m's comments.


.

Flag Thetanager June 15, 2012 9:22 PM EDT

Thank you dpm, I'm definitely interested in going further in these lines of thought.  Thanks for all the thoughts you've given me.

Flag Abner1 June 15, 2012 9:26 PM EDT

iama wrote:


> My reply was related to "convergent evolution" which was the topic of that segment


> of d_p_m's comments.


And it consisted of five articles by creationists, not by evolutionists as you falsely claimed.  If you were an honest person you would admit what you did and fix it, not try to obfuscate.

Flag iamachildofhis June 28, 2012 4:33 PM EDT

Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:26PM, Abner1 wrote:



iama: My reply was related to "convergent evolution" which was the topic of that segment of d_p_m's comments.


And it consisted of five articles by creationists, not by evolutionists as you falsely claimed.  If you were an honest person you would admit what you did and fix it, not try to obfuscate.



iama:  I don't need to fix anything, because I was referring to d_p_m's use of the wiggle-room term "convergent evolution," and I then, gave some examples of animal life-forms by which evolutionists forced to speculate their "convergent evolution," in order to explain-away a reality evidence which doesn't fit with their "goo to zoo to you" continuum.  I presented the creationists' paradigm with reference to those same life-forms.  I think that you missed the context, and in your stated reason for making replies, got your ready gun out and shot your volley, blindly.


.

Flag Abner1 June 28, 2012 5:27 PM EDT

Iama wrote:


> I presented the creationists' paradigm with reference to those same life-forms.


But claimed it was written by creationists.  Here's your introduction to those articles:


"An attempt by evolutionists to explain what actually does exist re: all life-forms - evidence for special creation:"


It wasn't an attempt by evolutionists to do anything.  It was  entirely by creationists, and you misrepresented it.


Flag d_p_m June 28, 2012 5:28 PM EDT

Jun 28, 2012 -- 4:33PM, iamachildofhis wrote:


Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:26PM, Abner1 wrote:



iama: My reply was related to "convergent evolution" which was the topic of that segment of d_p_m's comments.


And it consisted of five articles by creationists, not by evolutionists as you falsely claimed.  If you were an honest person you would admit what you did and fix it, not try to obfuscate.



iama:  I don't need to fix anything, because I was referring to d_p_m's use of the wiggle-room term "convergent evolution," and I then, gave some examples of animal life-forms by which evolutionists forced to speculate their "convergent evolution," in order to explain-away a reality evidence which doesn't fit...




Wrong again. Not only does the evidence fit, it is predicted by the ToE. It's not a problem, it's proof that the ToE is a sound theory (= explanation for life as we find it in the world).

Flag McAtheist June 28, 2012 7:13 PM EDT

iama:  "Way too old (over 65 million years old)" is speculation derived from the evolution paradigm!


No, an old Eath is the only rational explanation for the actual evidence.  Rates of sedimentary lithification, rates of shield volcanic deposition, rates of erosion of different materials, rates of glacier advance and retreat,speed of the movement of tectonic plates, rates of amino acid racemization, number of magnetic pole reversals,  number of layers in ice sheets, the number of meteor impacts, the number of seasonal layers in sedimentary deposits, depth of varnish on rocks, the speed of light from distant stars --- all of these give the age of the Earth in hundreds of millions of years.


Even YEC researchers in the form of the ICR-CRS's RATE groups found "evidence for more than 500 million years worth (at today’s rates) of nuclear and radioisotope decay” (p. 284, Thousands Not Billions).


Do you accuse the RATE group of indulging in "speculation derived from the evolution paradigm", Iam?


So, unless you have some very convincing evidence from some very credible sources, the young Earth plan of your religious agenda is already fully discredited --- and no, don't post any more crap from your usual list of misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies from YEC websites.  (You don't want to be embarrassed again like you were when I showed, using  Kirschner's and Gerhar's own words, how completely your creationist nutbar website misrepresented their work, do you?)


For starters, why don't you tell us why the data from the RATE group is wrong, Iam.

Flag steven_guy June 28, 2012 8:12 PM EDT

Jun 28, 2012 -- 7:13PM, McAtheist wrote:


iama:  "Way too old (over 65 million years old)" is speculation derived from the evolution paradigm!


No, an old Eath is the only rational explanation for the actual evidence.  Rates of sedimentary lithification, rates of shield volcanic deposition, rates of erosion of different materials, rates of glacier advance and retreat,speed of the movement of tectonic plates, rates of amino acid racemization, number of magnetic pole reversals,  number of layers in ice sheets, the number of meteor impacts, the number of seasonal layers in sedimentary deposits, depth of varnish on rocks, the speed of light from distant stars --- all of these give the age of the Earth in hundreds of millions of years.


Even YEC researchers in the form of the ICR-CRS's RATE groups found "evidence for more than 500 million years worth (at today’s rates) of nuclear and radioisotope decay” (p. 284, Thousands Not Billions).


Do you accuse the RATE group of indulging in "speculation derived from the evolution paradigm", Iam?


So, unless you have some very convincing evidence from some very credible sources, the young Earth plan of your religious agenda is already fully discredited --- and no, don't post any more crap from your usual list of misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies from YEC websites.  (You don't want to be embarrassed again like you were when I showed, using  Kirschner's and Gerhar's own words, how completely your creationist nutbar website misrepresented their work, do you?)


For starters, why don't you tell us why the data from the RATE group is wrong, Iam.




Don't hold your breath, you'll probably get a load old tosh about the creator-whiz-bang!-biff-ka-pow!-banana-frankenstein-toothpaste-rhododendron-... some lame proselytising and a lame quote from the Bible.

Flag Idbc July 17, 2012 9:20 AM EDT

 Howdy Folks


Jun 28, 2012 -- 7:13PM, McAtheist wrote:


iama:  "Way too old (over 65 million years old)" is speculation derived from the evolution paradigm!


No, an old Eath is the only rational explanation for the actual evidence.  Rates of sedimentary lithification, rates of shield volcanic deposition, rates of erosion of different materials, rates of glacier advance and retreat,speed of the movement of tectonic plates, rates of amino acid racemization, number of magnetic pole reversals,  number of layers in ice sheets, the number of meteor impacts, the number of seasonal layers in sedimentary deposits, depth of varnish on rocks, the speed of light from distant stars --- all of these give the age of the Earth in hundreds of millions of years.


Even YEC researchers in the form of the ICR-CRS's RATE groups found "evidence for more than 500 million years worth (at today’s rates) of nuclear and radioisotope decay” (p. 284, Thousands Not Billions).


Do you accuse the RATE group of indulging in "speculation derived from the evolution paradigm", Iam?


So, unless you have some very convincing evidence from some very credible sources, the young Earth plan of your religious agenda is already fully discredited --- and no, don't post any more crap from your usual list of misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies from YEC websites.  (You don't want to be embarrassed again like you were when I showed, using  Kirschner's and Gerhar's own words, how completely your creationist nutbar website misrepresented their work, do you?)


For starters, why don't you tell us why the data from the RATE group is wrong, Iam.




Don't hold your breath, you'll probably get a load old tosh about the creator-whiz-bang!-biff-ka-pow!-banana-frankenstein-toothpaste-rhododendron-... some lame proselytising and a lame quote from the Bible.





Here is more NEW devasting evidence!  that keeps rolling in!


The more you learn, the more fascinating the subject becomes.


I think that one of the differences between Theistic Creationism and Non-Theistic Creationism is that "NEW" evidence keeps rolling in to support Non-Theistic Evilution and there is "NO" NEW evidence that keeps rolling in to support Theistic Evolution. 

Flag MMarcoe July 17, 2012 10:01 AM EDT

Jul 17, 2012 -- 9:20AM, Idbc wrote:


I think that one of the differences between Theistic Creationism and Non-Theistic Creationism is that "NEW" evidence keeps rolling in to support Non-Theistic Evilution and there is "NO" NEW evidence that keeps rolling in to support Theistic Evolution. 





There isn't supposed to be evidence for theistic evolution. That's not how it works.

Flag amcolph July 17, 2012 10:07 AM EDT

LOL!  It is if you let the Creationists define 'theistic evolution' for you.  Did you watch that video from CMI that Iama put up?

Flag MMarcoe July 17, 2012 5:16 PM EDT

Jul 17, 2012 -- 10:07AM, amcolph wrote:


LOL!  It is if you let the Creationists define 'theistic evolution' for you.  Did you watch that video from CMI that Iama put up?





Yes, I did. It only proved once again how much CMI likes to tell lies.

Flag Idbc July 19, 2012 9:07 AM EDT

Howdy Amcoph


 


Jul 17, 2012 -- 10:07AM, amcolph wrote:


LOL!  It is if you let the Creationists define 'theistic evolution' for you.  Did you watch that video from CMI that Iama put up?





I am not letting the Creationist define 'theistic evolution' for me.  


I am 'letting' define 'theistic evolution'.   


"Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. In short, theistic evolutionists believe that there is a God, that God is the creator of the material universe and (by consequence) all life within, and that biological evolution is simply a natural process within that creation. Evolution, according to this view, is simply a tool that God employed to develop human life"


"Proponents of this view are sometimes described as Christian Darwinists"


It does not deny scientific evolution.  It propose that god is the the reason that there is natural evolution.  They do not claim that god "literally" created each species. 


Theistic evoultion is different from Creation Science.  Which does claim that god created each species.  It does deny scientific evolution.    


Neither Theistic Evolution or Creation Science are "scientific'.  


They are both "religious".   


Wether they are both "philosphical"  is less clear to me. 


I think that Creation Science is at least less "philosophical" than Theistic Evolution.     


 More evidence for "natural evolution" keeps "rolling in."


There is no new "evidence" that god is the cause of "natural evolution."  


There is no "new" evidence rolling in for Creation Science.


 

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