REPLY #28d TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the fourth of a five-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
(R) Science is not evolution and evolution is not science. Evolution is supported by a great deal of subjective theory and assumption. The empirical evidences that *do* exist, are extremely limited and quite ambiguous.
(MB) This has already been addressed. How about reading another paper?
[The Beginnings of Life on Earth]
The evidence is not "marks on rocks". It is actual trapped samples of "pre-biotic soup".
(R) Have we actually found these preserved samples of prebiotic soup or is just your blind faith that they are there?
(MB) If they hadn't been found, how could they be reported or tested? In addition, rock formations such as the carbonate materials found in early rock samples are direct evidence of prebiotic Earthly conditions.
When volcanoes erupt and the lava cools to form igneous rock, the process normally entraps air and liquids which existed at the time of the rocks' formation.
(R) Have you personally seen these samples?
(MB) Sure. They're not exactly rare since volcanic activity has been a rather common occurrance on Earth throughout its history. Do you have some reason to dispute this or to question that the formation of igneous rock can trap samples of air and liquid?
(R) If so, can you describe them to me or send me a picture of them?
(MB) You want me to send you a can of Campbell's Cream of Prebiotic Soup?
Quite true. But, I have already pointed out the error in your "marks on rocks" statement.
(R) I'll be happy to admit my error once you show me this evidence of trapped prebiotic soup samples.
(MB) I doubt that you'll either be happy or that you'll admit any error. More likely, you'll just demand additional proof.
Later on, you will present a quote that is supposedly support for such a claim. Since you offer it up as some sort of proof of your position, I can only assume that you agree with the "cats into dogs" argument.
(R) This is unintelligent babble based on false assumption. Don't you have
anything worthwhile to say?
(MB) I *always* have something worthwhile to say in these debates. On the other hand, you continue to contradict yourself and tap dance around uncomfortable questions. I know that you're just copying arguments and don't really understand most of them, but the quotes you have been presenting are a part of Gish's tortured attempts to depict evolution as saying that one species can miraculously transform into another unrelated and totally different species. Then, he uses his own misguided example as "proof" that evolution is "wrong". If you're going to stand behind him, then you must agree with his arguments.
(R) Macro-evolution as been directly observed? I thought macro-evolution takes a great deal of time?
(MB) Only when it involves large, multicellular creatures which will require a great many changes before speciation can take place. Speciation can be (and has been) easily observed in unicells in the lab and the fossil record provides direct evidence of it in larger creatures over long periods of time.
[Read more about macroevolution]
(R) Show me these examples of one species evolving into another.
(MB) Please check out the following link.
Please explain why they fail the test. Do you even know which creatures these are or have you just copied down a listing from a Creationist writing?
(R) Those examples are ones I got from studying "Evolution vol.2."
(MB) Who is the author of that work? How did you come upon the examples that you presented? Were those the only ones listed?
(R) I also have read about them in an Encyclopedia.
(MB) Which encyclopedia and under which article(s)? What were the circumstances under which you came to read about them?
(R) First, the "Coelacanth" was a fish that evolutionists said had been extinct for thousands of years until one was found swimming off the coast of Africa.
(MB) Actually, the coelacanth was thought to have been extinct for around 70 *million* years since no later record of them nor any live specimen had ever been found prior to the discovery you mentioned. Why do you think that this means it must be a transitional form?
(R) "Austalopithecus afaresis" [sic] is touted as a missing link of human evolution.
(MB) What makes you say that it is a "missing link"? It is one of several transitional species between Homo sapiens and the common ancestor of Ape and Man.
[Read about fossil hominids]
(R) This is largely based on presupposition considering the fact that the fossil skull was found only as a few fragments. The rest of the skull was reconstructed with a plater mold. So we end up with an artifice that is comprised of 10% fossil bone, and 90% plaster. (plaster mold supplied by an artistist's "vividus imaginationus.")
(MB) This is blatantly ignorant nonsense.
Please refer to this link for the truth.
Please give your definition of "transitional species" so I can see if you understand what you are disputing.
(R) A transitional species is a species that is an intermediate between it's hypothetical ancestor, and a different species all together. These can be between adjacent, or non-adjacent species.
(MB) OK, so what's your problem with the concept? If we have an ancestral species A and its evolutionary descendant species D, then species B and C would be considered "transitional". If species E evolves from D at some point in the future, species D will become a transitional form in the evolution of E. Nobody who understands even the minutest amount of logic can argue with that, so your problem must be with "speciation" and not with transitional forms.
Translation: "I know that there are many unrefutable examples of
(R) Yeah right.
(MB) Given that you seem to agree about what a transitional form is, how can you dispute that any exist in the fossil record?
...and don't wish to be cornered by having them entered into the discussion."
(R) Wrong once again. Its just that my library consists of mostly books by Gould, Futuyma, Dawkins, and Mayr, so I am throughly aware of what the arguments are and what "evidences" are pointed to.
(MB) I thought you said that your library was full of support for Creationism? If you've actually read those books, you've obviously not understood any of them. Otherwise, you couldn't begin to argue that no evidence exists to support evolution. If you haven't read them, why did you buy them in the first place?
If this is not true, please give examples of the "golden oldies" with which you claim to be familiar and detail exactly why they are not transitional forms.
(R) You already mention one of them. The horse. We can not tell from bones
whether or not the Eohipus' relationship to Mesohippus was evolutionary.
(MB) You've skipped a few descendants. Hyracotherium (also known as Eohippus) diverged into Pachynolophus and Orohippus. Orohippus diverged into Epihippus and Mesohippus.
(R) The Mesohippus was merely a larger variation of Eohipus, but they were of the same genus.
(MB) Now, I know you're not understanding what you're copying. The names Eohippus and Mesohippus *are* genus names, so they are obviously not the same genus. Also, Mesohippus is larger than Eohippus, but it had three toes on all feet while Eohippus had four toes on its front feet.
(R) Other interpretations of Merychippus have suggested that it was not a different "species" from the horse.
(MB) What "other interpretations" are these? Certainly, they are not from any knowledgeable source. Again, since Merychippus and Equus are genus names, saying that they "are different species" is taxanomically ignorant.
(R) In certain rock layers in China, Merychippus and modern horse fossils were found in the same rock layer.
(MB) This would be rather interesting since Merychippus lived during the Miocene and Equus evolved millions of years later during the Pleistocene. I suspect that this story is in the same category of hoax as the one which claims that dinosaur and human bones have been found in the same strata.
(R) I don't have time to go into them all, but a couple other golden oldies is the pepper moths, and the Raeroe Islands mice.
(MB) Take the time. Go into them and explain why they are problems.
Translation: "I don't believe them even though I don't understand them because that's what the tracts tell me to believe."
(R) I do understand evolutionary interpretive constructs.
(MB) So, why don't you demonstrate this? I've had to correct everything you've tried to define or give details on so far and have no reason to expect that this will change any time soon.
(R) I own no creationist literature or tracts.
(MB) Go back a few paragraphs and read what you said about owning a whole library of such material. I think that these flip-flops call into serious question your claim about owning any of the scientific works you've mentioned.
If this is not true, please explain the "evolutionary interpretations" that cause you to reject all examples of transitional forms.
(R) I already gave you some reasons why I reject the evolutionary assumption of evolutionary "relationship" in regard to the horse.
(MB) And, I have shown why your critique of the evolutionary history of the horse is incorrect. Do you have any additional problems with it or will you just continue to believe that it's wrong despite the facts to the contrary?
(R) However, the fallacy lies in your above statement. The evolutionary interpretation *is* that the forms are *transitional.*
(MB) Given the knowledge of what "transitional" means, how can you dispute that the evolutionary lineage of Equus contains such forms? By my count, there are at least six direct-line genus-level transitions between Eohippus and Equus. The entirety of the modern genus Equus consists of eight species.
Now, we have arrived at the section of your response that is copied verbatim from a Creationist web site -- despite your protestations to the contrary.
(R) When did I say that I never copied a statement from a creationist website?
(MB) Well, let's see. You've denied being a Creationist, you gave no credit to the site you copied from and you claimed to have quoted the passages "in context" -- as if you had drawn them directly from the original books and articles. You've certainly tried to mask the source(s) of your material. The only time anything close to a proper citation is given is when it suits the purpose of claiming that some scientist said something against evolution.
I haven't yet perused the entire site, but I have found many of your other arguments on this site and suspect that the majority of them will be found to have been lifted from it. You deny that you are a Creationist, but your choice of reference material speaks otherwise. On to the rest of your response...
(R) For you information, I also frequented talk.orgins to get my information on the 747 analogy. Does this mean I'm an evolutionist now?
(MB) Well, there's always the hope, I suppose. How did you end up on Talk.Origins in your search for info and did you read anything other than the article that contains the brief mention of that old Creationist chestnut?
(R) Read this web page and you'll find the analogy mentioned.
(MB) Excellent page! Too bad you didn't read any more of it than the brief mention of the 747 analogy. Did you even notice that the analogy was roundly criticized in that article?
Here is a classic contextual misquote from Gish (as are most of the others you will bring up). Gould is not saying that there are *no* transitional forms. He is talking about the difference between punctuated equilibrium and Darwinian gradualism.
(R) Difference? That sounds like a down-right contradiction of Darwin's theory.
(MB) Not a chance. PE is a revision of Darwin's idea of gradualism. It is not a new theory that overturns all of Darwin's work.
Gradualism predicts that we should find an unbroken series of smooth transitional forms -- which, as Gould is pointing out, are not what we find in the fossil record.
(R) So I guess that means Darwin was wrong.
(MB) Darwin was not entirely correct concerning gradualism. Of course, he didn't have the evidence of catastrophes and mass extinctions in the Earth's past that we have today. Even at that, the periods of relative stasis in between mass extinctions are still periods where gradualism could be considered correct.
(R) I have read the "Origin of Species." Here's what Darwin thought about this issue:
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
(MB) This is from Chapter 6 -- a chapter where Darwin answers potential difficulties with his theory. If you had actually read his book, you could not possibly have missed the very next sentence, which says: "But I can find
out no such case". And, no such case has ever been found in the ensuing 130+ years.
More proof that you've copied this quote from some Creationist work and not from Darwin's book is that your quote uses the word "organism" where Darwin actually wrote "organ". Darwin was writing about the evolutionary development of things like the eye and not about entire creatures. The Creationist misquote is trying to be slick by using a subtle change to try to show that Darwin is doubting his own theory of the evolution of organisms when this is clearly *not* the case.
(R) (And then Darwin went on to say in regards to Saltations):
"If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish. I would give nothing for the theory of natural selection if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent."
(MB) This quote is not contained within the Origin of Species, so your claiming that Darwin "went on to say" something is a deliberate falsehood. The quote is actually taken from a letter that Darwin wrote to Charles Lyell in the midst of a discussion about whether or not evolution argues against God's involvement in the development of Earthly life. It has been popularized by Creationist John Woodmorappe and is featured on the Revolution Against Evolution web site.
Needless to say, the quote is seriously out-of-context and also has a serious omission. Notice how you put a period after the word "rubbish" and continue the quote with "I would give...". In fact, Darwin actually wrote "...I would reject it as rubbish, but I have firm faith in it, as I cannot believe, that if false, it would explain so many whole classes of facts, which, if I am in my senses, it seems to explain". Once again, this is proof that you are just copying Creationist lies and have no idea of the truth of the matter.
Finally, you say that Darwin was writing about saltations. What was his actual reasoning? Read what he wrote immediately before your quoted lines:
"We must, under present knowledge, assume the creation of one or a few forms in the same manner as philosophers assume the existence of a power of attraction without any explanation. But I entirely reject, as in my judgment quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition "of new powers and attributes and forces;" or of any "principle of improvement," except in so far as every character which is naturally selected or preserved is in some way an advantage or improvement, otherwise it would not have been selected." Next follows your quoted lines.
Gish wishes people to believe that Gould is claiming that we find *no*
transitional forms whatsoever. This is clearly untrue.
(R) How is that untrue?
(MB) It's untrue because all available evidence (and Gould himself) says otherwise.
(R) It is quite clear that these forms are only *transitional* if you interpret them using evolutionary interpretive assumptions.
(MB) None of which you can define, of course. It's quite clear that a "transitional species" is a species that is somewhere in the middle of a lineage descending from an ancestral species through to a modern species.
Kitts agrees with Gould, but not in the way that Gish would like to have you believe.
(R) Regardless, the statement is quite clear. Either the statement is *true*, or it is *false*.
(MB) Just because the words of a statement are true (or false, for that matter) is not proof that it was quoted accurately or that it is being interpreted in the actual context in which it was originally written or spoken. Check the following link to see more documented examples of Creationist misquotes in action.