Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Of Objection 2 - Evolution Debate (Part 8)

Objection 2 for the recent debate involved the complete absence of any transitional forms in the fossil record. And no Kristoffer, variation within a species does not qualify, nor does reconstructing a caveman from a pigs tooth. For evolution to be true you need to have transitional forms at the macro level ie dinosaurs transitioning to birds and apes transitioning to men. But the problems go further than that and we will today take a look at some "scientific" transitional forms that will occur in the future.

Several years ago Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron insulted the intelligence of the "scientific community" with their own fictitious transitional forms.

Perhaps it was foolish of Ray and Kirk to insult everybody's intelligence when modern science could do a vastly superior job . . . of insulting everybody's intelligence. If you sometimes wonder where your tax money goes, I can tell you about one place. The Future is Wild is a website demonstrating the evolutionary speculations of a group of highly recognized and accredited scientists (including people from places like Harvard and the Natural History Museum). This is how they present themselves:

From the beginning we wanted The Future is Wild to be about more than simply guesswork, so we recruited 16 scientists from top institutions around the world to provide the scientific basis for the project.

They're experts in fields such as geology, climatology and biology, and together they painstakingly projected where evolution and planetary events might take the Earth 5 million, 100 million and 200 million years from now.

So how did they do it?:

Building a vision of the planet aeons from now isn't straightforward, even when you involve some of the world's best scientists. But nature does work to certain rules which we can use to make predictions . . . using this data our biologists can project what plants and creatures might evolve and how they might behave - to create the living, breathing worlds of The Future Is Wild.

Everything you'll see is based on the best available science. No event or animal is outside the realms of possibility. It could all happen - so get ready for the voyage of a million lifetimes!

Note: They say "the best available science" without actually telling us what it is. Yeah, trust me I wear a white coat with a pocket protector - believe everything I say!!! They go on to say:

Every animal and plant in The Future is Wild could really exist. Our science team devised each one as a viable, living organism. Their place in the environment, their life cycle and their place in the food chain are all authentic.

The mathematics of their sizes and shapes and the technology of their movements were all calculated. It’s not surprising that our scientists talk about them as if they really existed!

Yes they were calculated but we're not going to tell you how we did that. Great science guys! But this is not science fiction - no way!

Populating the future world with new creatures wasn't blind guesswork or science fiction. There's a whole series of rules of how life evolves that we can test by looking back at the past. All we had to do was apply the same rules to the future and then add a little imagination!

Oh, add a little "imagination" . . . very scientific. Forget Ray and Kirk's crocoduck. These futuristic transitional forms are a legitimate contribution from the "scientific community". Things like the Mega Squid:

Here is the Megasquid FACT FILE:

Time zone: 200 million years

Type: Land-living cephalopod or squid

Size: 4m tall, weighs 8 tonnes

Ancestor: Deep sea squid

Lives: In the Northern Forest

Eats: Fruit, leaves, small animals including squibbons

Eaten by: Nothing

Behaviour: The megasquid is king of the forest. Since it has no enemies, it can live for up to 50 years. An invertebrate, meaning it has no backbone or skeleton, it has strong muscles in its 8 thick legs. These need to be strong enough to support such a large body. It has a strange walking style. Moving at no more than a human walking pace it shuffles forwards a few legs at a time. As it marches through the forest it makes aloud bellowing to let other creatures know that this is its territory.

Feeding: Because they are not warm-blooded endothermic animals like mammals, they need far less food. They are not fussy eaters, feasting on anything in its path, including leaves, shoots and other animals which it grabs from the trees with its long grasping tentacles.

Breeding: Not known.

Wow! At least they had the humility to admit that they did not know how this big Megasquid would make baby land dwelling Megasquids. So this branch of science does have limits after all! What else did they come up with? I'll leave you with just a couple more: How about a flying fish with a lion's jaw and a 120 ton turtle . . . and it's all "scientific":

Now my intelligence is way more insulted. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron should have left it to the experts after all!

Go On To Part 9
Go Back To Part 7
Go Back To Part 1


Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I am bit at a loss as to why you spent your effort commenting on a fanciful website directed at kids, but maybe you should get yourself a tie with some of these beasties on it...just like a couple of the more prominent evolutionists are proudly wearing their crocoduck ties:D

As to transitional forms, I mentioned one of the early fossils of the whale series in an earlier post (Part 7 of your series, I think), and I would dearly like to hear your comment on this example of whale evolution? -I can add that Kurt Wise, the author of the book you plugged in the previous post, considers this series of fossils one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for macroevolution, but maybe you disagree with him?

-Should this single example not suffice, I will of course be happy to shower you with other examples from e.g. the evolution of the horse, ourselves or from the family tree of the dinosaurs of our time, the birds. All of it is based on both fossil evidence and genetic evidence, just let me know which kind of evidence you prefer and I shall be happy to refer to the relevant sources:) I'll even briefly summarize them for you, in plain ol'e English rather than the dense prose that passes for a scientific narrative in some circles;)

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Regarding your demand of proof for "apes transitioning to men", I am afraid this is something that you will never see, as modern humans are NOT descended from apes. -Rather, as described in my comment to your Part-7, we share a last common ancestor (ancestral species), which is something entirely different.
THIS situation, on the other hand, is quite well documented in the fossil record and confirmed by modern genetics studies and as described in my previous post I will be happy to refer to sources describing this:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, evolutionary science has an outrageously bad track record of "discovering evidence" that is as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle. How many have to be refuted? Should we discuss this ad infinitum? Your evidence is dead things that share some common traits with whales. That is not empirical proof of whale evolution. What if common traits point to a common designer? But you reject that presupposition in favor of your own presupposition - this does not make you a man of science, it makes you an adherent of your own religion, a religion that believes that non-life can spring from life all by itself with no evidence for it ever.

There is plenty of debate regarding "whale evolution" and the fossil evidence only proves that there are dead things in the ground. Here is what AIG said about it:

To summarize the evolutionist case, evolutionists have been increasingly claiming that the fossil ancestors of modern whales have been found, and that a transition can be clearly seen between creatures walking on land (with legs) and whales (which have no legs today), and include the following:
Pakicetus-however, it consisted only of jaw and skull fragments yet it’s been claimed to be a “walking whale.”
Basilosaurus has also been offered as an ancestor to whales; while it did have hind limbs, they were far too small to have anything to do with walking. Yet evolutionists agreed that they were clearly functional, not useless, and the most common view is that they were probably used for grasping in reproduction.
Ambulocetus had hind limbs, and could walk; it is thus the latest fossil candidate for whale evolution. However, as explained in Refuting Evolution, it is doubtful that this supposed creature (constructed with some imagination) had anything to do with the history of whales.

A bad preacher is someone who has a predetermined end point and finds Bible verses that can get him there. A good biblical preacher is one who submits to the Bible and arrives at the destination where the text takes him. Bad science is when the end result is predetermined, evidence of a Creator is ruled out because they don't like Him, and then they go looking for the evidence that fits their model. I respect empirical science but this is not even close.

The fact remains that you gravitate towards ideas that reject a Creator because you hate God and love sin. You reject the obvious evidence all around you that a creation testifies of a Creator and you suppress this truth in unrighteousness as the Bible plainly states about you. Your conscience bears witness of this by giving you the knowledge of your guilt every time you lie and lust and covet and fail to love God supremely. This in turn points to your need for a Savior. One who would bear the penalty for every evil thing you have done (and you are very evil) and credit you with His perfect righteousness. Why won't you humble yourself and repent of your wickedness and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? On the day of judgement we will not be making appeals to how many arguments we won in this life!

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Just two quick comments/questipons before I dig into your post for real:

1) What would you consider valid, empirical evidence for, say, whale evolution?

2) I feel absolutely no guilt for the lusts I have, on the contrary, I quite enjoy pursuing them:) -And as a general rule I do not lie, but when I do lie to protect others, it is for sufficiently good reason that I feel no guilt at all. Basically the only guilt I feel is when I inadverdently hurt others, something which has nothing to do with your particular brand of superstition and the guilt-tripping invoilved:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, so you have only ever lied for noble reasons? You have never done it for selfish sinful reasons? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever been unjustly angry? Have you ever coveted something that was not yours? Have you ever been involved in sexual immorality? You will answer for these things. They won't go away by the faith you have in your godless religion . . . well actually you are the god in your religion.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Coveting and sexual immorality (christian-style) are some of my favourite pastimes:)

And as previously stated, no I dont steal and I dont lie for personal gain. Sorry, boring, I know:)

-But lets not talk about me all the time...although it IS a fascinating subject, at least to me;) -But what about you, Cameron, do you have any kind of response to my question 1) above?

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, you're behavior is not boring. It is disgraceful and you are self righteous as well. How can you even defend yourself?

Cameron Buettel said...

Empirical evidence would need an observer Kristoffer!

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

So, to sum it up, there is absolutely no fossil evidence that you would accept as evidence for evolution? Because no-one was there to "see it happen", correct?

How do you then feel about modern genetic evidence, clearly observable today, that we&the apes share a common ancestor, as do hippos and whales? And that these common ancestors are more closely related to, respectively, apes&humans and whales&hippos than they are to any other existing species. And how do you feel about the fact, that these common ancestors can be estimated to have been around at just about the same time as the fossil record says that these divergence events took place?

Do you consider such evidence, clearly observable even if a bit hard to come by, as completely irrellevant?

I can add, that the view of science that you espouse in your previous post has absolutely nothing to do with how science is practiced today and nothing to do with how it was ever practiced. Many, many branches of science deal with "proxy evidence" (fossils, old rocks, ancient starlight...) and are still able to give us hard facts, testable facts, about how the weather was back in time, how the universe looked and even what the oxidation state of the iron dissolved in the primordial waters on Mars was. You may not call it science, but I am afraid Science doesn't really care one bit about your narrow views of what is and isn't science and Empirical Science (yes, Capitalized;) will continue to contribute to our understanding of our past, present and future world :)

Cameron Buettel said...

Science doesn't care about the elephant sitting in the living room either. You don't have a clue about these things. Your dating methods are built on assumptions as I have already pointed out. You find genetic similarities but you have no proof of a common ancestor. Why can't the similarities point to a common Designer? Because you are committed to your religion. Everything you said here is just theories that are unproven. Kristoffer you said you only ever lie to protect people. My question is who are you trying to protect right now?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Cameron, I am not quite sure you understand how this type of genetic analysis works...actually I am pretty certain you don't understand it at all;)

The techniques used could JUST AS WELL have detected simultaneous creation of the investigated species, if this was indeed the signature present in the genetic material. In fact, simultaneous creation would be eminently visible in EXACTLY this type of data, but it ISN'T. Instead, the observed genetic variations point to common ancestry, millions of years ago. Not common creation a few thousand years ago, even though this would be much, much easier to detect.

And, just for the record, I distinctly remember dismantling your claim that dating methods are built on nebulous assumptions in an earlier post -- dating methods are not a house of cards, they are a sturdily constructed building where each independent part supports and reenforces the other bits, and where each part is constructed from well-established knowledge of radioactive decay, isotope chemistry, variations in the Earth´s orbit and what have you:) -Even if one of these assumptions should prove to be disastrously wrong (very, very unlikely), the rest of the house still stands pretty much unaffected -- so, at the base of it, your claim that dating methods don't work would require more or less that EVERY physical and chemical theory is fatally flawed...And as computers and airplanes built based on these theories and all kinds of modern medical diagnostics based on the same principles seem to work pretty fine, this appears somewhat unlikely:)

Cameron Buettel said...

So what is the noble purpose behind these lies? The only thing you were honest about was that all these things are based upon assumptions. You don't derive facts from assumptions. What part of this confuses you?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Cameron, I am more and more coming to the conclusion that you do not understand the scientific method that underlies almost everything around you, including the computer you are writing these posts on...

The scientific method used to do the genetic analysis mentioned above, the scientific method used date fossil bones, the scientific method used to design computer chips and the scientific method used to take non-invasive images of brains inside living humans are all exactly the same scientific method. And it works. It works really, really well, otherwise all of the high-tech gadgets we use today simply wouldnt be around.

You may say that this scientific method, that is used for ALL of the studies above, is based on assumptions and, for the sake of argument, I will give you that -- for now. But in that case, it seems like these assumptions are REALLY good assumptions, since this approach works so very, very well:)

And to me, it would seem very strange that the same assumptions that make sure we can trust, say, medical imaging or medical diagnosis based on genetics would suddenly fail when we use the SAME assumptions to understand our past...but maybe you do not think that would be strange?

Cameron Buettel said...

I am not opposed to medical advancements and empirical science. Evolutionary theory (at the macro level) contributes NOTHING useful to these fields. And the radiometric and carbon dating methods are a house of cards once you extrapolate 100 years of measurement over billions of years - that is a fact. You are trying to throw me by venturing into fields where my knowledge is very limited. But what I do know is what I have said here and these issues invalidate most of what you are trying to deceive everybody with. Why are you so hung up on trying to deny God? Maybe your conscience has a harder time than you confess. You will find out that you are wrong Kristoffer - better to do so now than in eternity. And right now, I am your best friend!

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I am not trying to throw you off your game by venturing into fields where you knowledge is limited, such as evolution;)

-What I am trying to do is to make the point that there is absolutely nothing special from a scientific point of view about the science of evolution. It uses exactly the same principles and methods as all other kinds of science! Also, the methods used for dating fossils and for genetically tracking our evolutionary past are exactly the same methods that are used on a daily basis in medical diagnostics and genetic research in general.

This means, that your attempts at discrediting e.g. dating is not only that, discrediting dating methods. IF you were correct, which you emphatically are not, then entire scientific fields would be wrong in a very fundamental way. Such a fundamental way, that all of the technological marvels that we see around us would never have come to be and countless diagnostics methods would never have been developed, much less work. -Such is the nature of moderns science, that no scientific field stands alone and no method is peculiar to just one scientific question, such as evolution. This is part of the reason that people trust dating methods as much as they do, because they are directly or indirectly used in countless other applications and they just WORK, no matter whether you are interested in dating your favourite fossil or figuring out how to measure out the dose of some radiation/contrast agent to a cancer victim.

-Incidentally, the decay rates of the particular radioactive elements used for dating are known with a precision of about a percent or better. This in turn means an absolute error in dating of a 500 mio. year old fossil of 5-10 mio. years, based on this particular contribution to the uncertainty. Measuring the decay rates of even very long-lived radioactive isotopes with decent accuracy is actually exceedingly easy. This is due to to the exceptionally large number of atoms in a chunk of material and the ease with which radiation can be accurately detected. THAT is a fact:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Again Kristoffer, you are dead wrong about dating methods. Dating an ancient rock has no relevance to modern medicine. FACT 1 - when you date a rock you don't know how many parent/daughter isotopes were in the rock to begin with. FACT 2 - when you date a rock you assume a uniform rate of radioactive decay and you extrapolate 100 years out to billions to do this. Any statistician will tell you that is wild speculation. There are many scientists now conceding the possibility of catastrophism in order to explain certain problems in evolutionary theory. I, of course, believe that the flood of Noah was a massive catastrophe that radically affected the fossil record and the way sedimentary layers were put down. Also, the evidence is all there for a global flood covering everything. FACT 3 - You also have no idea how much contamination from flowing water etc happened to the rock during all these billions of years of uniform radioactive decay. Be honest Kristoffer - your dating methods are guesswork and not scientific fact. No one has even observed a uranium half life. Did they really need this theory to discover Asprin?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

For a man who knows remarkably little about modern science, you seem surprisingly sure about your "facts" :)

As it turns out, the connection between nuclear medicine/diagnostics and actually touches upon several of your points. -To use nuclear medicine, then one of course needs to know the decay times and decay modes of the radioisotopes used with very high accuracy. But just as importantly, it is also crucual to know their chemistry and solubility as well, and in particular whether they are prone to be biomineralized - you REALLY dont want the radiaactive tracer piling up in your bines rather than being excreted:) This all means that the water-phase chemistry of many radioactive compounds is known with a high degree of precision, as are various segregation processes. Combine this with the same kind of investigations from geology, where it is of course of significant interest to know which compounds are washed out and which compounds are bound in any particular rock or soil type, and you end up with a VERY comprehensive understanding of the geochemistry of radionuclides and how they bind to organic matter.

All this just to say that there is very good understanding of how these radioactive tracers are bound and how they respond to the presence of e.g. flowing water. -At the same time, a multitude of other geochemical processes are very well studied, making it comparatively simple for the trained geologist to reconstruct the hydrological history of some piece of rock. This allows high-precision dating, even in those instances where the rock in question has been subjected to geological processes, like water flows. Again, the various independent branches of science mutually supports and strenghtens one another, allowing a very detailed and comprehensive picture of past events.

Turning now to that old trope of a possible non-uniformity of radiactive decay rates, the evidence is both of a geologic as well as astronomical nature. Turning first to the geologic evidence, several places on Earth have high enough concentrations of uranium to allow nuclear chain reactions to take place at a very slow pace. From the abundance of the fission products, it is possible to determine that the fundamental constants governing nuclear reactions have been constant for many hundreds of millions of years. -This is directly supported by looking at gamma rays from nuclear decays in nearby supernova explosions. Further support comes from observing the spectra of very distant stars, as the emission/absorption lines in such spectra depends on some of the same constants that govern nuclear decay. These results confirm the measured half-life of long-lived isotopes and the constancy of their decay rates. Unless, of course, that the speed of light ALSO varied in the past and at PRECISELY the correct rate to make the observed decay times appear constant. Unfortunately, there is no indication of such a spectacular coincidence either.

-Physicists have spent a lot of time over the past century looking for any signs that the fundamental constants of nature change over time -- not because of creation research or anything like that, but simply becuayse it would be phenomenally exciting physics if the constants of nature were not constants after all. Unfortunately, the constants of nature are just that - constants. And thus radioactive decay rates are constant as well, to a spectacular degree of precision. A pity, as any time dependence would mean that some really exciting, unknown physics were going on:)

As to your espousing of "flood geology", it is a stark misrepresentation of facts to say that many scientists espouse this catastrophism-view of the geologic past. They are exceedingly few, and they are all evangelic christians (or hardcore muslims) trying to salvage their world view from the onslaught of modern science, like you do.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

-As to aspirin, it was discovered by analytical chemists using the same methods as were used for analytical geology, to isolate and identify chemical compounds and tease out the history of a rock. If these methods were basically flawed, it would have been damn hard to isolate salicylic acid, and we would all still be chewing willow bark;)

Oh, and no, there is not any evidence for a global flood covering everything. And even less evidence for where all of that water should have come from and where it should have gone....The only ones believing in a global flood are die-hard religious folks like yourself. And you dont believe in it from evidence, you believe in it from readings of your particular holy book. A sad state of affairs, really... It may not be evident from my posts, but I DO pity you, and in particular your kids:(

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, I don't mind you advocating an opposing view and I give you airtime on this blog. But your lack of honesty about valid points I have raised tells me it is about time to stop responding to your false religion. My facts about the assumptions in the dating method are true. There is a huge different between an observer measuring radioactive decay in real time ( which is legitimate empirical science) and extrapolating the decay rate out over billions of years (not empirical). This is true but you are so brainwashed by your religion that you can't even concede that. When you say there is no evidence for a global flood you are lying again. There is evidence but you clearly don't like it. In fact there are six major categories of geological evidence for a global flood. I will mention just one for the readers:

That marine fossils are buried all over the earth on every continent and often at high altitudes. Marine fossils are found high in the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range, reaching up to 29,029 feet (8,848 m) above sea level. Fossil ammonites are found in limestone beds in the Himalayas of Nepal. All geologists agree that ocean waters must have buried these marine fossils in these limestone beds. So how did these marine limestone beds get high up in the Himalayas?

And you cannot see where the water came from for a global flood on earth but you believe they have found water on Mars. Which raises the question Kristoffer - what planet did you come from. Have you ever seen an ocean? If the earth was leveled to a perfect sphere the oceans would cover it to a depth of 2.7 km.

And as for starlight, I readily admit that it is a challenge for the Creationist position. But there are several theories that account for the time it takes light to travel. None of them are proven but they are legitimate possibilities. You, on the other hand won't admit that starlight is equally problematic for Big Bang cosmology. It's called the Horizon Problem and it does not fit with your theory. But you just hammer away speaking with factual authority when you have neither facts nor authority.

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, you are right in stating that my belief in a global flood is based upon the Bible. That is my starting point. It is also the starting historical point for the emergence of the scientific method. Science is built upon presuppositions that cannot be proved by science and yet these presuppositions find their sole affirmation in the Bible. The evidence I write about merely supports what the Bible has always said. The Bible, the most reliable document in antiquity, and a text that has never been proven wrong. You are also wrong to try and make science and a biblical worldview into opposing factions where science transcends Christian thought. Science is actually an outgrowth of what the Bible teaches.

Throughout this I have provided evidence in the empirical realm for my views. It is evidence and I simply ask why it cannot be considered. Why can't a common designer be a possible reason for similarities in the genetics of different species? This is where I have a problem - not that everyone should agree with me, but that all evidence should be considered and "historical science" continues to display a brazen lack of integrity because of this. When I contend that you derive facts from assumptions you don't even have the decency to admit that this is a problem.

Until you have the honesty to admit the assumptions that your theories are built upon. Until you have the decency to consider all the evidence and not just the evidence that fits with your naturalism then I am not willing to invest the time to debate this with you. Yes the truth of the Bible is my starting point but you start with a set of presuppositions too. Have I tried to prove my position empirically - no! I am not smart enough to do that. But I have tried to show that there is evidence that has validity and deserves consideration. I have also shown that there are major problems with evolutionary theory. In all of this you have dismissed everything I have brought to the table of discussion. Why should I even continue to allow you to post here and waste everybody's time?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

First off, I can only assume that you chose the very, very best piece of evidence for a global flood in your post above. However, for anyone familiar with plate tectonics and continental drift (7th grade material in Danish schools, I don't know about Australia...), finding such fossils at the top of the Himalayas is exactly what you would expect, as these kinds of mountains are formed from ancient seabeds uplifted during the monumental, slow-motion collisions of continental plates. No need to involve some wrathful deity to explain these, and the plate "theory" also has a host of other fully confirmed predictions such as ocean-ridge volcanism and the continental drift that is observed on a daily basis using GPS. This is what is called the predictive power of a theory.

Secondly, the horizon problem is not a problem in modern cosmology at all, it is but one feature which is well explained by what is called inflation -- basically a phase of very rapid expansion of the young universe. -Again, this is not just a pipe dream or a theory dreamed up to explain away one single problem, as the predictions of inflation were in general confirmed about 20 years after the theory was proposed. -As in all kinds of empirical science, a theory was put forth to explain a phenomena (the uniformity of the observed universe), the theory had predictive power regarding other phenomena that HAD to be observed if the theory was correct, and these predicions were later confirmed. This is how empirical science works, and has nothing to do with "being there" and observing whatever phenomena "in person" as you seem to think.

These two points show, I hope, why I have dismissed everything you have brought to the table. Your objections to evolution/dating/cosmology are easily refuted from completely mainstream science, be it geology, paleontology or astronomy.

Thirdly, you and your fellow believers can consider all kinds of evidence in a biblical light to your hearts delight. But unless the theories you put forth have the same kind of predictive powers that secular theories have, you can have no expectations of being taken seriously. This is the crucial point where creationism in all its forms have failed again and again -- no predictive value, significants amounts of ad-hoc speculation ("well, the flood water came from somewhere and went somehwere, but we have NO evidence as to where...") and an odd reliance on some antique document with a lot of fanciful tales.

My fourth point is more general, and is what I have tried to argue in my lasts few posts: modern science is such an intricately interwoven patchwork of well-established theories, that is a logically untenable position to say "well, I trust modern medicine and my computer, but I dont trust radiometric dating and genetic reconstructions of family trees". -The underlying science is the same, both in the particulars and at a very fundamental level. -Your distinction between empirical and non-emprical science is entirely made-up, as every good scientific theory rests on the same foundations: observation->theory-> predictions->validation/refutation/modifiation->observation. -The predictive element of this loop can be both hands-on, in the lab, or "what will I/won't I find in the cambrian deposits" or "there must be a whale-like fossil with really tiny legs".

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

As a final point, it is of course your perfect right to decide who may and who may not post on your website. If you feel that your arguments cannot stand scrutiny from someone with a working knowledge of modern science and direct, hands-on experience with how the scientific method actually WORKS, well, then you can of course choose not to show my posts. It would detract significantly from the street-cred of your blog, I think, and reduce it to a soapbox in almost deserted corner of the internet where you, your friends and fellow believers can pat one another on the shoulder saying "great argument, Cameron" as much as you like. So, if you think that my postings detract from the value of your blog and that your readers are not smart enough to see what is a waste of time and what isn't, just say so and I will find some other creationist to have fun with;)

But as you say, maybe we should let this particular thread rest. I will be happy to wait until the next of your posts regarding the evolution debate you participated in, and will eagerly await whether my posts will show up in the comments section:)

Cameron Buettel said...

Zoologist D. M. S. Watson speaks of "the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible" and here lies your problem Kristoffer. It is not that your responses dazzle me. It is because of all the smoke and big talk that detracts from my main contentions and questions. You continue to respond with more facts built on more assumptions. When I provide evidence of marine fossils at very high altitude in the Himalayas you will not even concede that this may be evidence of a global flood because it does not fit with your presupposition. So don't give me this garbage about your scientific scrutiny.

You are a joke. You say that uniformity is a proven fact, which it is not, and then you solve the "Horizon problem" by denying uniformity. And where does the "cambrian explosion" fit with uniformity"? Good one! I gave an answer, the standard creationist answer, for where the waters came from for a global flood - the oceans, and you completely ignore it and say we have no explanation for where the water came from. You dismiss my distinguishing between radioactive decayin real time and extrapolating it out over billions of years. That is a rasonable point but you won't even answer it - you just brush it off. You lie about transitional forms. You lie about countless experiments where things just "pop" into existence. You refuse to acknowledge massive problems with evolutionary theory. You are not an empiricist, you are a sinner who hates God wandering around in your scientific smorgasbord picking and choosing the pieces that fit with your own idolatry of yourself. Your brilliance has never been the problem here, it is your lack of integrity. You told me that the only time you ever lie is when you are protecting people - did that include yourself?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

OK, here we go again:)

Fossils in the Himalayas:
My apologies for not understanding that your comment regarding oceans being the source of the flood waters above was actually meant as a possible explanation. Let us now play your game, and assume that we are truly baffled by discovering fossils at the top of the Himalayas and that we think an earlier flood is a credible explanation. Option 1 is to assume that the waters came high enough to cover these 6-9 km high mountains. That is A LOT of extra water, and there is no evidence as to where it would have come from and where it would have gone after the flood. I read your statement as if you dont consider this option credible for that reason?
As I read your comment, it seems like Option 2 is to assume that the layout of the Earth´s surface was very significantly different before the supposed flood, allowing the present amount of water to cover the then-lower mountains? The problem is, that there is zero evidence for massive geological upheaval following such a flood and zero evidence for a significantly different geography before the supposed flood. It might, just might, have been a viable theory a few hundred years ago, when we had much less knowledge of the Earth´s surface and how it changes over time, but today such a radical change in the Earth´s geography flies in the face of all that is known. This is the reason for dismissing the theory of a global flood out of hand, it is simply not supported by the available facts.

Uniformity/horizon problem:
I am afraid you are mixing up a few issues brough up a so-called "horizon problem" above, which is a well-known issue in cosmology relating to the observation that distant parts of the universe look surprisingly similar (uniformity). This is what I responded to by explaining about the inflationary era of our Universe´ distant past, a theory which is well supported by actual observations. It has nothing to do with the "Cambrian explosion", where the diversity of life really got up to speed.

Radioactive decay:
As with the flood theory, this is an objection which might have been somewhat credible and a "reasonable point" a hundred years ago, but today it is contrary to such a large number of measurements, both in the lab, in the field and by observatories that this position is simply not tenable anymore. 50 years ago we didnt know, today we do know to an astonishing degree of accuracy that the fundamental constants of nature (the constants that govern the rate of radioactive decay) have been constant in the past billions of years. I do not brush this objection of yours off because I dont like it, but because it is in direct conflict with heaps of evidence saying that this is just not the way the world around us works.

Experiments where stuff pops into existence:
I am not quite sure why you call me a liar on this issue? -It is a simple fact that these experiments have been carried out, and that they confirm the continued creation and annihilation of particle pairs all around us. It is certainly quite weird that this is happening, but nevertheless it is and we have the theories to describe the process in intricate detail:)

Massive problems with evolutionary theory:
I am afraid I have missed you drawing attention to those...? You have presented a few old fossils that were frauds and some that were mis-classified, but out of thousands and thousands of real fossils that have been correctly classified, this is hardly "massive problems"?

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, don't lecture me about credibility by publishing all the comments. In the world of modern science many scientists have lost their jobs, been kicked out of universities, cannot get their research published, and get black banned in the academic community just because they question or reject Darwinian evolution. We are left with an academic mafia who consider all possibilities as long as they are not Divine possibilities. And a Creator is a viable explanation of a Creation. A lot more scientific than everything coming from nothing and life coming from non-life. But your religious presuppositions demand that you only consider theories that help turn your evolutionary theory into a fact. No Divine foot is allowed into the room. It is you I pity because you will find out you are wrong. I sincerely pray it is this side of eternity.

Cameron Buettel said...

Can you give me a scientific explanation for your knowledge of right and wrong and why you continually do things that you know are wrong?

Cameron Buettel said...

Here's a video for you Kristoffer showing all the empirical scientific facts concerning the "transitional forms of whale evolution". Another fraud in the endless procession of evolutionary frauds.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Sigh...-why is it that you creationist types always want to make me watch videos? -Videos and movie clips form a lousy background for qualified discussion compared to textual material, but on and on you go with the damn videos...

Anyway, I took the time to watch the video and was, as usual, underwhelmed. The fake neutrality and contrived "he said, she said" style gets really tiring after a while of watching such videos! But enough of me griping about the form, let's go on to the content:)

I think it is inadverdently, but the video actually does manage to underscore why paleontology/evolution is indeed an emprical science. Darwin put forth a theory -- bears were the ancestors of whales -- with an implicit prediction that intermediate fossils of such a transition should show up. None did, on the contrary, so the theory had to be discarded and was thrown on the midden heap. Later, based on clues from fossil skulls, a theory was proposed that the whale ancestors were more like a now-extinct class of predators called mesonychids, the hyena-like beasties of the video I guess. Alas, new evidence again showed up, this time from genetics, and the theory had to discarded as it was in conflict with the best available evidence. The genetic data predicted (a key feature of empirical science, in addition to falsifiablity like in the two preceding examples) that there should exist an ancestral species with traits similar to the ancestral species of hippos, and now THIS prediction actually held true. Rhodocetus and Pakicetus were found in the Afghan/Pakistani deserts, confirming the general theory of common ancestry with hippos or, more precisely, the artiodactyls. -However, as the video shows, there was still room for refinement as early predictions about the anatomy of Rhodocetus were falsified (no flippers) and the theory was corrected to reflect the new evidence. And so it goes, theories are put forth, and as time passes they are either falsified, corrected or confirmed as they are held against evidence old and new. And through this arduous, slow process new knowledge is gradually formed. Unfortunately, the video does not present this clearly, and it very much seems like footage taken many years apart (the webpage says more than a decade) is inserted in non-chronological order to bolster the message of the video rather than representing the process behind the science. A bit of a naughty trick, but something that is used in all kinds of video productions all the time and is part of the reason I dislike that format as a background for discussion.

The last few minutes really should have been left out as they detract significantly from the general quality of the video. It is painstakingly clear that the author/director has no clue about the actual mechanisms behind body layout and the invocation of "structural proteins" is flat out wrong. And even if it was just a little bit correct, then the presentation of totally random mutations as the "evolutionary explanation" is at best a misrepresentation, at worst willfully misleading on the part of the director as it completely ignores the key evolutionary concept of selection.

Cameron Buettel said...

"Naughty tricks"????? How about the falsification of Rhodocetus? Another in the long line of evolutionary frauds. Why, because there are no transitional forms. Not a single one has ever been found. Just lots of frauds and errors.

Whale evolution was your big Darwinian ace up your sleeve. You said:

"And if I should pick just one transitional form, then Ambulocetus is kind of a nice one -- something like a small whale with legs, legs well adapted for swimming. This very nicely illustrates how even transitional forms are superbly well adapted to the niche they occupy, like penguins are today. Anyway, if you or some of your other readers feel like it, look up "whale evolution" or "horse evolution" on wikipedia or elsewhere. There is a plethora of transitional forms, all species or subspecies in their own right and all well adapted to their particular ecological niche:)"

Your commitment to your theory and presuppositions outweighs your honest evaluation of the evidence. This is one reason why I reject the idea that this arm of science is empirical. Because the theory drives what evidence they look for, what they look for in the evidence, and how they interpret the evidence. Why will you not not even consider that the presupposition and theory could be wrong and maybe look at other possibilities? How is adding artificial tails and legs to fossils a part of empirical science. Your slander against creation scientists is embarrasing in the light of this. They show far greater integrity, honesty, and superior scientific method. Try pursuing evidence instead of inventing it!

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Well, as I touched upon in my comments to your new post, the Rhodocetus fossil was never falsified but the hypothesis that it had a a tail and flippers was. -I fear, that your confusion is due to the various uses of "falsification" that are in play here...

As an example, if you falsify a fossil you can add bones to what you actually found and report that they were there when you dug up the thing in the first place. This is fraud and will get you ostrasized and fired very quickly.

On the other hand, if you falsify a theory, then you point out that some hypothesis or conclusion of a previous study ("Rhodocetus had a tail for swimming") is in direct conflict with evidence from e.g. newer fossils or that the assumptions of the conclusion are not valid. This is an integral part of the scientific process, although it is sometimes painful as I can personally testify to:)

Unfortunately I do not have access to the databases of the scientific literature today, but I will bet you a good beer that when I do look up the article by Gingrich and colleagues where they suggest that Rhodocetus had a tail and flippers for swimming, then it will be clearly stated that this is a hypothesis based on their interpretation of the then-available evidence. It will not be presented as fact, but unfortunately such cautios wording rarely makes it unto the glossy pages of popularized science magazines and almost never into the mainstream media. This is a huge challenge for scientific outreach and public understanding of science, but not for science as such.

-By the way, when did I slander against creation scientists? I don't mind doing so, but I don't think I did?