Search This Blog

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Behe's Box and Huxley's Horse Part Three

The famous Horse Evolution Chart presents a straight-line evolutionary progression from a Hyrax-like creature variously known as Eohippus or Hyracotherium on up to Equus, the modern horse. This chart is still displayed in musuems and school textbooks despite the fact that it has been abandoned by Darwinists for various reasons.

"I admit that an awful lot of that has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs [in the American Museum] is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared perhaps 50 years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now I think that that is lamentable, particularly because the people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we've got science as truth and we've got a problem." Dr Niles Eldredge, curator at the American Museum of Natural History ("Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems", Master Books:California 1988 p:78)

One problem with the chart is that one-and-three toed Horse-types have been found to co-exist in the fossil record. This despite the Horse Chart claim that horses evolved from four to one toed creatures step-by-step.

"In northeastern Oregon the three-toed Neohipparion is found in the same rock formation with the one-toed horse, Pliohippus." [Stuart E. Nevins, Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 10, March 1974, p. 196.]

"Two modern-day horses, Equus nevadenis & Equus occidentalis, have both been found in the same fossil strata as the so-called “Dawn Horse”, Eohippus. This fact is fatal to the notion of the evolution of the horse, as both horses are equally as old as Eohippus, and therefore could not have evolved from it." Scott M. Huse, "The Collapse of Evolution", Baker Book House: Grand Rapids (Michigan), 1983 p:106

Fossils of three-toed and one-toed animals, which are said to be evolutionary ancestors of the modern horse, have been found preserved in the same rock formation (Nebraska, USA). This proves that they lived together at the same time, and it is obvious that one could not have evolved into the other. Evolution demands that there has to be many millions of years between the three-toed and the one-toed species in the 60-65 million year evolution of the horse. (National Geographic, January 1981 p:74)

Another problem with the supposed course of horse evolution is a lack of continuity. Concerning the Horse Evolution Chart:

" - the number of ribs varies within the series, from 15, to 19, and then down to 18; and the number of lumbar vertebrae changes from 6, to 8, and back to 6." Creation Ex Nihilo, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1992 p:50

The animals in the Horse chart are pictured as having grown from 17" to 80" in height during the course of their evolution. But in fact horses of all sizes are found today.

"The largest horse today is the Clydesdale; the smallest is the Fallabella, which stands at 17 inches (43 centimeters) tall. Both are members of the same species, and neither has evolved from the other." Peter Hastie. (Creation Magazine, Sep.-Nov. 1995, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 14-16.)

The Time Factor

Darwinists like to say that from the time that Noah's Ark landed on Mount Ararat (around 2400-4500 BC) there is no possible way that all the varieties of animals could have been propagated from the few thousand pairs of kinds kept alive on the Ark. They tend to forget that microorganisms, marine life and in fact all but vertebrates from land and sky were excluded from the Ark's boarding list. They also discount how quickly populations can grow and how rapidly variation within kind can take place.

Chicago, now a metropolitan area of more than ten million people, was a swamp 180 years ago. Founded in 1833 by 350 settlers, it has become one of the great cities of the earth. How, in less than 200 years?

There are now more than 400 different breeds of dogs recognized by official Kennel Clubs in the United States and that number has more than doubled since the late 1800's. This is not a result of evolution but rather animal husbandry as organizations standardize pre-existing breeds and establish standards for new breeds. Ah, the wonders of variation-in-kind.

Note this chart of World Population for the last 200 years:

* 1 billion in 1804
* 2 billion in 1927 (123 years later)
* 3 billion in 1960 (33 years later)
* 4 billion in 1974 (14 years later)
* 5 billion in 1987 (13 years later)
* 6 billion in 1999 (12 years later)


There are those who cannot accept the idea that from the eight-person population of the Ark, that the varied races found on earth and the massive population we now see could not have possibly arisen. This is short-sighted, speculative and not supported by facts.

"Human population can be extrapolated backwards to see how long it would have taken to achieve present-day numbers. Using conservative growth figures of one-half percent per year, Earth's population would have been eight people about 5,000 years ago, comparing very well with the number of people on Noah's Ark. Based on evolution's claim for the origin of man, the same ½ percent growth calculation for the human race results in a huge present day population that can not be justified by the fossil record or current statistics." Fifty Reasons Why Evolution Will Not Fly (Mike Toler and Eric Samuelson)

The pressure in modern day oil fields is too high for them to be very old. Current estimates indicate that the longest a rock layer could keep oil under pressure would be 100,000 years.

Scientists discovered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton so well preserved that it contained blood cells (cells that could not possibly exist more than 10,000 years at most). The T-Rex is currently being studied at Montana State University.

The helium-leak age of zircons (radioactive crystals) found deep underground reveals an age of around 6,000 years. In fact, more sophisticated investigation of dating methods are now coming up with shorter ages for the earth. This includes the measurement of the earth's magnetic field and many other factors.

Rather than go on, it is reasonable to say that there are many reasons why a creationist will stand on observable "fact", such as it is, to defend his belief in a young earth and a world-wide flood without calling on the Bible to be anything other than a historical narrative.

In fact, so many of Darwinist's standard claims have been refuted that one wonders why they live on....other than the idea that if Darwinism is, indeed, dead and macroevolution did not occur, then that means life and the Universe was created. This means that there is a Creator. Then, finally, this means that we owe that Creator our very existence and He may well have something to say about the nature of that existence and the meaning of our lives.

I have found meaning in life through a relationship with a personal God. The idea of God is not distressing to me but I have not always believed. To those who believe differently than I, I do hope you find the way to Truth and that Truth will be satisfying to you as you live out your life.

Meanwhile, Radaractive will take a hiatus from the evolution-creation dialogue for at least one day and enjoy a wonderful Saturday afternoon and Sunday with his family. Peace and blessings!

35 comments:

IAMB said...

The "they existed at the same time" one is crap and I think you're smart enough to know it. You, as a white man, are likely descended from European stock, but how can that be since there are still Europeans???

Get the point?

One species descending from another does not require that the previous immediately go extinct. In fact, we have evidence that neandertals survived alongside modern homo sapiens for quite a while in Europe after the line branched. This no more disproves evolutionary theory than the existence of Europeans proves that your ancestors were really aliens from Krylon V.

For two: you still have yet to explain how all those marine animals and invertebrates could have survived the floodwaters (especially the flying sort and the ones that eat plant matter).

Actually, I'd be happy if you could tell me how any phytoplankton survived, since that's more my area. Without them, we'd have a slight oxygen problem around these parts. They aren't exactly durable enough to survive a rapid change in either salinity, temperature or silt concentration... and pick a bacteria species that's not archaebacteria and doesn't inhabit any of your "kinds" on the ark, and we'll look to see how well it would fare. Unless of course you think that it's fair to assume that any species outside the ark had to be a variation from a species of archaebacteria to survive outside, and that's fine, but it will raise a whole other series of problems for your flood model.

Final thought:

I wish someone had bet me about the resurgence of the T Rex argument. I called that one a couple days ago. Radar, before you go and make any assumptions off of that find, you'd better read up on it. I have the actual research papers of Dr. Schweitzer sitting on my desk at home as we speak (type). Assume nothing when it comes to the implications of her findings. Oh, by the way: her findings further solidified the dino-bird link, since the preserved tissues in the femur are only found today in expectant female birds... more specifically: ostriches.

Anonymous said...

-Dan S.

An interesting collection of fictoids from creationist sources, many of which have no acceptance (indeed, just the opposite) within the scientific fields they relate to; confused, misdirected argumentation A few quick points:

The Eldredge quote: Yep. Outdated stuff gets passed on, things are sometimes presented as received truth when they're inferences. (Believe me, creationists aren't the folks to be calling anyone out on this.) It's a problem, sure. Not that many years ago, the AMNH's primate exhibit still had an decades-old drawing of ape evolution which has us splitting from apes something like 14 million years ago - it may still be up. Evil plot? Nope - it's what happens with museum exhibits - they age. Eventually they're updated. Textbooks? Like many other fields, high school biology textbooks often weren't that great, being churned out with the same things year after year; too often science has been taught as 'facts to be learned' instead of a process of discovery Things have been getting better, bit by bit (although current ed trends may not encourage this). A few years after Eldredge's comment, the AMNH had a bigbig exhibit with our modern understanding of horse evolution on display; if I remember right, the issue of change and growing, uncertain knowledge was explictly addressed; will get back to you on this.

The big issue is that science changes - it's not dogma, it's not received wisdom. Eldredge is saying here that we have too make sure that comes through in school textbooks and museum displays, despite inertia. Any recent production of this sort with any degree of accuracy will have updated info. What's your point?

Equus nevadenis & Equus occidentalis with Hyracotherium (Eohippus).
I posted information about this earlier: it is being argued that, when you trace this claim back to its source, it turns out a) there is no mention of that poor little dawn horse being found with them, and
b) The two Equus species are probably one (a alternate, discarded name)

To the best of my knowledge you have not responded to this at all, but simply reposted the claim. Do you feel this criticism is mistaken? a lie? kinda fishy? Are you simply ignoring it? what's up?

"The animals in the Horse chart are pictured as having grown from 17" to 80" in height during the course of their evolution. But in fact horses of all sizes are found today."
What is the relevance of this? The current understanding of horse evolution has different sized species existing at the same time, not a single, unidirection trend - supersize neigh!. The classic, outmoded 'Evolution Chart' model of horsie evolution is over a century old, and reflects, I think, the influence of a nonDarwinian idea of evolution - orthogenesis, a sort of inward striving towards a goal seen in a lineage - that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century, in the time between acceptance of evolution-in-general and later discoveries in genetics, etc. As we found out more about horse evolution - more finds, more fossils, more study, etc., it became clear that reality did not support this view, so science adjusted.

What is the significance, as you see it, that human directed natural selection has resulted in distinctly sized horse breeds, from little to big? What's your point?
It is clear that the fossils we have belong to different times. If you don't like it, argue with the geologists, paleontologists, and physicists, the folks who helped contribute to human knowledge.

Noah's ark:

The comment from iamb above underlines how creationism is talking about a simplified, cartoon, world, with a far, far less less detailed scientific understanding of even relatively non-'controversial' areas. It's a toy world where 'bugs' and 'germs' just go off somewhere, fish live in a generic 'water', and 'just' "vertebrates from land and sky" - even in kind form - are thought capable of fitting into a bronze age? wooden boat at all, let alone for any length of time.

""Chicago, now a metropolitan area of more than ten million people, was a swamp 180 years ago. Founded in 1833 by 350 settlers, it has become one of the great cities of the earth. How, in less than 200 years? "
Mass immigration (historically both from other parts of the US and the old world, lately there are many Mexican immigrants, etc.) and good old reproduction with 19th and 20th century standards of medical care/mortality. Anyone who is actually interested, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West is a neat economic/environmental history . . .

"There are now more than 400 different breeds of dogs recognized by official Kennel Clubs in the United States and that number has more than doubled since the late 1800's. This is not a result of evolution "
But it is (ie, artificial selection - don't like the term, but hey ... ). Why do you think it isn't?
Creationists: they believe in feet, just not in miles.

"Rather than go on, it is reasonable to say that there are many reasons why a creationist will stand on observable "fact","
Yes, the scare quotes are entirely accurate. Most of these "facts" are not accepted by modern science.

"* 1 billion [people]in 1804
* 2 billion in 1927 (123 years later)
* 3 billion in 1960 (33 years later)
* 4 billion in 1974 (14 years later)
* 5 billion in 1987 (13 years later)
* 6 billion in 1999 (12 years later) "

(this is supposed to tell us something about population growth in the ancient world)
Geez, I never realized that ancient people had access to modern medicine. No wonder health care's so screwed up!

"In fact, so many of Darwinist's standard claims have been refuted that one wonders why they live on..."

Note that the folks arguing with these 'standard claims' (some of them long discarded or never part of evolutionary theory) are members of a specific religious sect, and whose religious/quasi-scientific doctrines have no acceptance among the mainstream scientific community. Note also that many of creationist's standard claims have been repeatedly refuted by mainstream science. {That doesn't mean one is right or wrong - but think, if a loved one was sick, would you go with the mainstream medicine option or the shady alt-medicine clinic in Mexico?

"f Darwinism is, indeed, dead and macroevolution did not occur, then that means life and the Universe was created. This means that there is a Creator. Then, finally, this means that we owe that Creator our very existence and He may well have something to say about the nature of that existence and the meaning of our lives."
And now we come to the crux of the matter - which is, it turns out, a false dilemma. If not A, then it has to be B - except it turns out that not A just means not A, and it might be b-z, or maybe %-@, or etc. If Jill doesn't go out with Jack, there's no reason to assume, on the face of it, that this means that she's going to go out with Joe. She might go out with Tom, or Dick, or Harry, or . . . , she might stay home and read a good book, she might go out with Jane, she might . . . and so on. If we find out (and note: how? by using science) that the theory of evolution is flat out wrong, all that would mean is that the theory of evolution is flat out wrong. Whether we were formed by some other no-intelligences-involved method, were created by the God of the Bible, genetically engineered by friendly aliens (who then later revealed this fact to a french race car driver who went on to found a new age religion, roughly strewn upon the Earth by an evil god who relishes our sufferings - it doesn't say . .

Sometimes creationists seem like folks who have got old of a telescope, but, instead of using it to see some of the beauty of nature and learn more about it, are staring at some blob or other and insisting that it's heaven, heaven, damn it! how dare you tell me it's not!

We can't find heaven with a telescope, man.

"I have found meaning in life through a relationship with a personal God. "
That's good. Yay!

"The idea of God is not distressing to me "
That's good, too. Me neither. (Although the idea that there's an organized movement that wishes to cripple science education in this country due to certain religious beliefs - now that's a little distressing to me . . )

"To those who believe differently than I, I do hope you find the way to Truth and that Truth will be satisfying to you as you live out your life."

At least for certain understandings of Truth, that's a very nice wish. I don't expect to find my way to Truth, anymore I expect to visit the north star, but I do like to think that maybe my fumblings will be headed a little bit more towards the right direction thanks to a incredibly distant, clouded, and uncertain glimpse or two . . .

Enjoy your hiatus!

Anonymous said...

"folks who have got old of a telescope"
'old' should be 'hold'.

-Dan S.

Jake said...

Whether we ... were created by the God of the Bible, [or] roughly strewn upon the Earth by an evil god who relishes our sufferings...

You're repeating yourself...

Anonymous said...

-Dan S.

jake said: "You're repeating yourself..."

Ha! : )

Amy P said...

What a great post! I'm discussing evolution and Darwinism with some folks and the info in your entry will be extremely helpful. Thanks!

I've added you to my blogroll, too, by the way.

Peace!

Middle_America said...

Good post and interesting comments left behind.

One thing, I would like to point out. Those continueing to believe in the evolution trend and those belieiving in young earth/creationism have something in common, their own faith.

Let's face it. If you take the time to split the hairs, you can find holes in each side of the equation.

My point, no-one here currently on earth was there 6k nor 1 million years ago.

Yes, we have our science and we have our test.

Radar points out, as we learn more in our testing, the old school of evolution is not holding up.

I suggest a good debate on national tv. We take well qualified evolutionist and well quatlified creationist and let them go at it.

I don't want any off the chart lingo either. Let's bring it down to the common person (if they really care) language and see which of the two stands more to reason.

creeper said...

Radar,

It’s regrettable that you find so little time to read the rebuttals and questions regarding your claims, but yet can always find the time to repost the claims.

1. It has been pointed out to you more than once by commenters on your blog that evolution is not linear. What you call the “lack of continuity” is simply the lack of linearity. Evolution can move in one direction, then another, can split off and join, all according to different factors. The horse evolution chart is a simplified presentation, in that it does not show this complexity. There is nothing in the theory of evolution that says that only one direction is possible, for example that all off-spring of Eohippus must increase and only increase in number of ribs or vertebrae.

This non-linearity is in line with the theory of evolution, and does not falsify it.

2. Dan S has asked you repeatedly (I’m guessing about half a dozen times or so) to respond to the debunking of the ‘Eohippus and Equus’ in the same strata claim, to which you chose not to respond. If you were still looking into the matter that would be one thing, but it is now clear that you intend to simply repeat the claim and ignore its debunking. Poor form, Radar.

3. The Time Factor: you seem to misunderstand the question that was put here. Quantity of individual specimens was not the issue, but the variety of them. Same for human beings – not the number of individuals, but the variety of races. Pointing at dog breeds (which are an example of artificial selection) hardly serves as an answer, since human beings were not artificially bred.

The question remains: even if they are “variation within kind”, by what mechanism did the different races evolve so quickly after Noah’s family stepped off the Ark? Do we see evidence of this mechanism (whatever it is) around us today?

(Even "variation within kind" requires mechanisms.)

(And I take it you’re aware that Chicago in large part benefited from immigration, in addition to sexual reproduction.)

” There are those who cannot accept the idea that from the eight-person population of the Ark, that the varied races found on earth and the massive population we now see could not have possibly arisen. This is short-sighted, speculative and not supported by facts.”

How true, Radar.

I for one accept the idea that from the eight-person population of the Ark, that the varied races found on earth we now see could not have possibly arisen, and I agree with you that someone who does not accept this idea is being short-sighted, speculative and not supported by facts.

Unfortunately, you are one of those 'someones', which is why I've been asking you this very question. How is it possible? Again, not the quantity, but the variety.

5. You bring up a couple of talking points previously rebutted:

"Human population can be extrapolated backwards to see how long it would have taken to achieve present-day numbers. Using conservative growth figures of one-half percent per year, Earth's population would have been eight people about 5,000 years ago, comparing very well with the number of people on Noah's Ark. Based on evolution's claim for the origin of man, the same 1⁄2 percent growth calculation for the human race results in a huge present day population that can not be justified by the fossil record or current statistics." Fifty Reasons Why Evolution Will Not Fly (Mike Toler and Eric Samuelson)

The pressure in modern day oil fields is too high for them to be very old. Current estimates indicate that the longest a rock layer could keep oil under pressure would be 100,000 years.

Scientists discovered a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton so well preserved that it contained blood cells (cells that could not possibly exist more than 10,000 years at most). The T-Rex is currently being studied at Montana State University.

The helium-leak age of zircons (radioactive crystals) found deep underground reveals an age of around 6,000 years.

"In fact, more sophisticated investigation of dating methods are now coming up with shorter ages for the earth."

Examples?

"This includes the measurement of the earth's magnetic field and many other factors."

” Rather than go on, it is reasonable to say that there are many reasons why a creationist will stand on observable "fact", such as it is,”

It is reasonable to say this just as soon as you address the rebuttals. As long as you are merely restating the same points over and over again – and running away from all rebuttals and questions – it is reasonable to say that you do not stand on observable fact, but on received dogma.


Fair play to you having found meaning in life through a relationship with a personal God. It’s obvious that the idea of God is not distressing to you, but I suspect what is distressing to you is the notion that God may have worked His miracles one way instead of another, for reasons that remain unclear.

Which brings me back to another question I posed to you earlier:

Let’s say God did create life, the universe and everything. Let’s say he created man and all the flora and all the fauna.

How would you go about demonstrating that He did it using one method rather than another? That He did it in seven days 6,000 years ago instead of over millions of years?

And why would you care?

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says:

[note: in the following comment, I am talking about creationism as a attempt to show, using the language of science, that evolution is wrong and that there is physical evidence that supports a literal reading of Genesis. I (along with entire denominations of Christianity, for example) do not think this has anything to do with the existance or nature of God. I do not see an argument against creationism as being an argument against God, but against pseudoscience designed to support a specific religious interpretation. When I talk about Genesis as a creation myth, this does not preclude it being a source or reflection of a deeper truth, much like how the story about Washington and the cherry tree doesn't mean that George Washington didn't exist. Ultimately science simply cannot say anything about matters outside the natural world.]

Amy P -
I would urge against relying all that much on the information here. I don't mean this as an insult to radar - the same goes for what I've been writing. With the exception of iamb, I think, no-one here, including me, seems to have significant training in a relevent field, let alone all of them. We're just doing our amateurish best (with an exception for arguments relying strictly on common sense or logic alone).

A better idea, if you are primarily concerned with finding out things, is to start off, for convenience's sake with high-quality professional-ish online resources (if you haven't already). For the evolution/creation debate, representing mainstream science, the big one is Talk Origins. For evolution itself, UC-Berkley has a very nice site on Understanding Evolution. There is a list of creationist sites here.

But that's really just a first step. You might (again, if you haven't already) want to go to library or bookstore and read about evolution and related science fields. Some good books:

* Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, by Carl Zimmer
* At the Water's Edge : Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea, by Carl Zimmer
* Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated
* What Evolution Is, By Ernst Mayr
* Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity, by Jennifer Ackerman
* Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, by Sean B. Carroll

to name a few recent works.

Middle_America, you wrote:
"Those[ continuing] to believe in the evolution trend and those belieiving in young earth/creationism have something in common, their own faith. "

I'm not sure what you mean (and "the evolution trend" is a very strange way of putting it, like 'the genetics trend' or 'the gravity trend'). Anyway, certainly many people who agree with modern science share with creationists a common Christian faith. Many others who agree with (etc.) share with these first two a belief in the God of Abraham.

Or do you mean that creationists and people who accept evolution both do so on faith? Biblical creationists believe in a literal, Genesis-style creation primarily because they read the Bible as saying so. (If all such creationists suddenly agreed with modern science in realizing that the actual evidence does not support a literal reading of the Genesis account, and instead seems to support common descent on an very old earth, how many would go: 'huh! Well, I guess Genesis doesn't have to be taken as a history and science textbook''?)

Certainly there are people who accept evolution (along with gravity, etc.) simply on the grounds that scientists say so. Nobody who is a fan of greater public science understanding is all that happy with this. Many people who accept the scientific consensus (least of all scientists in these fields) base it on some awareness of the actual evidence, etc.

"Let's face it. If you take the time to split the hairs, you can find holes in each side of the equation."
This sort of equivalence is not quite right, to say the least. After all, the same could be said for genetics or gravity. Certainly there are many unanswered questions re: evolution, as is the case with many other scientific issues. But that's the way science works, There are enormous numbers of things we don't understand yet: gravity, for example. That's what makes science so neat - we're finding out about how life works! Isn't that amazing?

But while these "holes" appear to be a normal part of sucessful science - (remember, we didn't understand anything about genetics until not quite a century ago, we didn't discover DNA until a few decades ago, and major advances in molecular bio, genetics, and developmental bio are occurring right now), the holes in the creationist argument appear to be the result of trying to assert the literal truth of an ancient creation myth using elements of modern science* - even though modern science has conclusively rejected it. Geologists, for example, gave up on the idea that there was scientific evidence for a global flood more or less in the 1840s - years before "On the Origin of Species".

"My point, no-one here currently on earth was there 6k nor 1 million years ago. "

Ok. Do you ever watch CSI or Law and Order or any sorta courtroom drama? Have you ever been in involved in the real-life version? Do the folks involved have any other way of getting at what probably happened besides eyewitness testimony?

Imagine: A man is found hung to death. He's in a room locked from the inside, with no other means of access and no furniture, ladders,etc. except a single chair. The rope is tied to a beam that would be too high for him to reach, even by standing on the chair. There is quite a large puddle of water under the man. In his pocket is an invoice from Jim's Giant Chunks of Ice Delivery Service.

What happened?


'Radar points out, as we learn more in our testing, the old school of evolution is not holding up."

In fact, that is not the case. The overwhelming consensus in mainstream science - especially the relevent fields - is that so far the more we learned, the more support we've found for evolution. Some of what we've learned has resulted in the theory being modified or enlarged, new questions have been asked, etc. That's how science works.

"I suggest a good debate on national tv. We take well qualified evolutionist and well quatlified creationist and let them go at it. "

Why? It might be entertaining, but how would this be helpful? The disputatio has gone downhill since the high point of medieval scholarship, and isn't commonly regarded today as a particularly good method to look into extremely complex questions.

What are the drawbacks to a debate?
For starters, for many scientists, this would be like entering an "Earth or Sun: which is in the center? We debate, you decide!" event , or debating the literal existence of Santa Claus** in front of an audience of small children - it endows a kind of legitimacy against something that doesn't deserve it, and - with the second example - is unlikely to convince audience members who disagree.

The format of a televised debate holds many disadvantages. Like any live debate, it gives a great deal of power to rhetorical tricks, personal presentation, etc. The time constraints mean that a very complex subject would have to be presented in an extremely simplified manner, something with works in creationism's favor. These two factors combine in the technique known as the Gish Gallop, in dubious honor of creationist Duane Gish, and famous from many live evolution/creation debates. All you have to do is toss out as many objections to evolution you can muster in the time alloted. The quality of the objections, if they've been repeatedly refuted, if they twist facts - that's all irrelevent. The audience sees the scientist faced with a mountain of objections, of which he can only refute a small fraction in the availble time. Nice rhetorical trick.

You bring up another factor:

"I don't want any off the chart lingo either. Let's bring it down to the common person (if they really care) language and see which of the two stands more to reason."

Most scientists aren't that great at communicating with the general public. They're not trained to be, nor is it often seen as a vital part of their work. Certainly there are scientists who can, and some very good popular science writers,like Carl Zimmer but this is far from universal. (Scientific habits of thought just don't make for good television, unless you already are so inclined). It's been argued that fancy-smancy scientific terminology is just a way to make science seem elite and special, and in some examples that might be true (cumulus, stratus, and cirrus (cloud types) just translate as heap, layer, and curl - would that have been so hard?). In many other cases, though, they're the most efficient way of communicating complicated ideas. What's easier, saying "How much is that doggy in the window" or "How much is that hair-covered four-footed domesticated animal with a long muzzle that likes to chase sticks"?

In a wider sense, debating or arguing may not be a good way to go about this issue at all. In the entire history of the creation/evolution debate - let alone the bit chronicled in Usenet, etc. - I've never heard of a creationist stopping in the middle of an argument to say: Hey, you know what? You're right, On the other hand, there are many stories of people who were raised to believe in a literal reading of Genesis, but came to accept evolution after reading, taking classes, etc. One reason for this (besides motivation, etc.) may have to do with the very way our minds work. After all, the argument goes, we tend to think in metaphors that structure how we perceive the world; one famous example (by Lakoff and Johnson) is that "argument is war" - that we talk about arguing/debating in fighting terms, and indeed often experience it as such. Given that creationists often seem to see themselves as fighting for and defending God, Christianity, and morality, it's not surprising little gets done. Perhaps if we viewed arguments as being like the feisty flirting style of courtship one sees in romantic comedies, things would be different (it would be fascinating to look at the social/gender dynamics!)

But yeah - so, how would a televised debate be useful?

* creationism seems rather parasitic in this regard. Certainly all advances in science build on prior science, whether by confirming or extending them, or knocking them down. But creationism is exceptional in the degree that it uses science while rejecting/attacking so many of its current findings and core precepts, while failing to increase our scientfic understanding of the world at all. In a way, it's like a particular species of barnacle which is parasitic on crabs, , sterilizing the crab and using it to aid its own reproduction.

Yech.

** Santa Claus - this is in fact a good example of the religious issue (Note that I'm not comparing God and Santa, but creationism and Santa). Santa Claus, like the idea that science supports a literal reading of Genesis - a la 6 days, creation of fully formed life, big flood, Noah) is not, as far as we can tell, factually true. But is it entirely false? After all, especially in his secular aspect Santa is about generousity and the joy of giving and family. Is this false? Of course not! Santa Claus is a way to teach small children about these things; it is appropriate for them. Likewise, it could be argued that, whatever the underlying truth, the creation story in Genesis was appropriate to ancient times. But this isn't science, of course.

-Dan S.

Juggling Mother said...

oh:-( I've been doing some extra reading in all my spare time, and was going to make a sensile comment, but Dan S & Creeper have pretty well covered it I think.

But I do have a question. you may have answered it before, but I'm newish to your site, so I'll ask anyway, and you can always direct me to your post about it...

OK, so the flood took place 5000 years ago, covered the entire surface of the earth & the only vertebrates to survive were the ones on the ark.

This same flood is what caused geological changes in the earths surface, such as the grand canyon & the various continents we have now, yes? (I'm sure I read one of your posts saying that all the animals got to noah as there was still a pangeia before the flood)

Noah landed when the pretty dove came back with a leaf, and the ark remained on mount ararat, everyone diembarked and started to breed into the myriads of species we have now.

have I got all that right?

Because, if so, I was wondering... How did the kangeroo get to Australia?

It's too far to swim, it can't fly, Noah didn't take it there, and it couldn't have survived from before the flood.

Did God pick up all the animals and put them on particular continents? Or were whales particularly friendly to certain species & offered them a ride on their backs? why didn't everything go everywhere?

Just trying to be logical here.

Amy Proctor said...

Mrs.Aginoth,

1) If you have any idea about the male sex drive, repopulation of the earth in 5,000 years shouldn't be a shock.

2) If the continents were once connected, isn't this why animals are on every continent?

cranky old fart said...

Amy,

Are you a YEC too?

creeper said...

Amy Proctor,

"1) If you have any idea about the male sex drive, repopulation of the earth in 5,000 years shouldn't be a shock. "

Mrs. Aginoth's question clearly had nothing to do with the numerical possibilities of the re-population of Earth, but with how a kangaroo could make it to Australia (and nowhere else) when the continents were supposedly already split.

That means: clean slate on all continents, continents now separated. Noah's Ark landing in one location and one location only, with a shipload full of "kinds" which are to serve as the source material for the entire variety of life we see around us today.

"2) If the continents were once connected, isn't this why animals are on every continent?"

In the YEC worldview, this was a possibility right up to the Flood. Afterwards, no more.

So the question is: how were the animals able to spread out in a way that explains the specific variety of life on each continent, when there were large bodies of water between these continents.

Again, the old Earth view is much more plausible here than the young Earth one.

Juggling Mother said...

Amy - I thought it was a fairly simple question, which as pointed out had nothing to do with population numbers, speciesation, space on the ark, the truth of the flood or the age of the earth - I took Radar's view of all those for granted on this one. Do try to answer the question posed!

If the continents were in place when noah's ark landed, and it only landed in one place, how did the different animals get to the other continents? And why did some go to africa, and others to Australia? Why not everything to everywhere?

Anonymous said...

-Dan S.


"If you have any idea about the male sex drive, repopulation of the earth in 5,000 years shouldn't be a shock. "

Yeah, baby!

But seriously. I mean, people can reproduce relatively fast(assuming good nutrition and excellent medical care), although the immediately post-Flood world would not have been a fun place to raise any species of baby (no food, except for very small populations of animals). Two problems here:

* For post-Flood generation 1, every possible mate choice would have been a first cousin (or an aunt or uncle. Or - ick - a grandparent). Populations this small - even if not all related - are generally considered hopelessly doomed from inbreeding depression. (You can get around this by deciding that, with mankind not having been around long, they hadn't built up a stock of harmful mutations yet. But you're still faced with a major bottleneck in terms of genetic diversity).

* While population might have grown quickly (under these fantasy best-case scenarios), as mentioned before, even the rosiest projections have ridiculously, impossibly small numbers of people into early history.

""2) If the continents were once connected, isn't this why animals are on every continent?""
In science, yes. Indeed, biogeography - the pattern of distribution of species - was one of the strong early pieces of evidence for evolution: why do animals on islands show such a strong resemblance to the animals on the nearest mainland. And continental drift helped make sense of some really weird ranges - ie, clearly related animals and plants that inexplicably appeared only on widely separated continents, until one realized they all were on parts of former Gondwana, etc. (Sorta returning the favor, since the existence of identical fossils in places now nowhere near each other helped support continental drift . . .

But's what up with the Wallace Lines (and Lydekker's Line)?

In terms of kangaroos, even presuming drastically lowered sea levels from over-evaporation letting animals get to the Americas, there's no way to get them to Australia. As the song sorta goes: the water is wide (and very deep)* and they cannot cross over/and neither have they wings to fly . . ..

But there's a perfectly obvious answer.




They hopped!


(Although I do like the little 'theory' I just cooked up, where the Flood waters all rushed down into the core of the Earth . . . the resulting pressure ripped the land apart, causing high-speed continental drift, raising instant mountains as pieces slammed into each other. A small band of marsupials (sticking together, since they were being picked on by the Eutheria) suddenly found the chunk of turf they were standing on hurled south-eastwards, with hardly a second to wave good-by to Br'er Possum, who had been standing just west of the split (along with Br'er Shrew Opossum and Br'er Dromiciops gliroides

I suppose there's a third option, which is that most of the marsupials - again, mostly traveling together, they reach the coast of SE Asia, and get stuck, unable to complete the epic journey to their very own promised land! Happily, just then a group of proto-Aborigines (and pet dingos) come by with a boat, and invite them aboard. How kind! Of course, once they disembarked at a continent otherwise devoid of yummy mammals ('sides little crunchy bats), the quicker ones might have realized why the people were being quite so helpful . . . but no worries, mate! (Although also no more diprotodonts or other members of the late great Australian megafauna : (

How does creationism explain South America's fossil record of bizarre mammals (and the few hardy survivors of that mass wave of mammal immigration from El Norte?

Like I said, it's talking about a toy world, a cartoon world, a drastically simplified world that doesn't, in its suppposedly historical and scientific details, seem to encompass anything not imaginable by (or familiar to) ancient Middle Easteners.

But still, I must admit, Creationism is Fun! It's like science without standards (even more than evolutionary psychology)!

* there's a deep ocean trench. For land mammals to get from Eurasia to Australia - unless sea level drops enormously - they need boats, or floating branches for the small, hardy ones.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

That should be "Wallace Line" - don't know where the S came from.


-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

I have a hypothesis, based on observed facts. radar isn't going to answer the Kangaroo Question, and he certainly isn't going to answer the Horse Question.

Perhaps he'll prove me wrong.

-Dan S.

creeper said...

[busily observing]

radar said...

I gave multiple examples of various "stages of horse" found together and Dan has only presented evidence that he believes discounts one of them. Correct me if I am wrong. Plus, the disclaimer has not disproved but simply cast doubt upon the original statement.

I believe if you research you will also find that while there are some "horse ancestors" found in the same strata, there is not one area where they are all found in different strata, but rather the specimens had to be gathered from three different continents to produce the original horse chart. I will be glad to get off the subject of horse chart when textbooks, teachers and museums quit teaching it!

Beyond that, the size issue is an issue because the horse was presented as developing in size as well as other ways. Finally, the change back and forth in the skeletal structure remains a problem for Darwinists and remains unexplained.

When Darwinists say that the straight-line evolution model has been replaced by multiple lines, don't they realize that this multiplies the already insane odds against evolution?

By the way, not one of you has given me a straight answer to the problem of statistics. That 52 card canard won't cut the mustard. It is an admirable sleight-of-hand to change the argument.

The whole idea of the salinity of the waters needs to be looked into with more care, and I intend to do so. Stay tuned, should be a future posting.

Whether dinosaurs had some characteristics that are similar to birds is of no relevance. People and Guppies both give live births, did people descend from guppies, or vice versa? Of course not, so we cannot discount the T-Rex blood in any way because of this.

"Radar,

It’s regrettable that you find so little time to read the rebuttals and questions regarding your claims, but yet can always find the time to repost the claims."

A) Some of you post rebuttals that I do not find to, indeed, rebut. Talkorigins is particularly good at posting so called rebuttals that have already been rebutted. When you post a rebuttal that has already been rebutted I just let it go. Whew, did that make sense?

B) I was gone part of the weekend and then came back and found that due to storms I had no internet. At least my house didn't blow away.

C) You will all have a chance to give a point of view as posters on this blog, that is, in the next carnival. I am going to challenge the Darwinist side to enter the carnival with complete posts and that is coming soon.

By the way, it doesn't matter to me if God took 6 days or 6 billion years to create. I am just taking His word for it, and I see evidence to support this in the real world.

Anyway, it will take me another day to go through all the posts since Friday, but I will endeavor to do it.

Anonymous said...

" Plus, the disclaimer has not disproved but simply cast doubt upon the original statement."

John (let's say) says Jack told him he saw Jen's boyfriend in bed with Julie. Gasp! Except it turns out that Jack probably didn't actually say that. Sure, it doesn't prove Jen's boyfriend wasn't in bed with Julie, but really, now . . .

"I believe if you research you will also find that while there are some "horse ancestors" found in the same strata, there is not one area where they are all found in different strata, but rather the specimens had to be gathered from three different continents to produce the original horse chart."

1) So? My ancestors orginally would have been found somewhere in Africa. Later ones lived somewhee around the eastern shore of the Mediterrean. Still later ones lived in Eastern Europe. Recent ones lived in New York. Ohmigod, I can't exist! It's all a lie! [waves hands wildly, runs out of room].
2) Would that be the over-a-century-old original horse chart?

" I will be glad to get off the subject of horse chart when textbooks, teachers and museums quit teaching it!"

As I said: any textbook, teacher, or museum exhibit that was printed/trained/installed anytime recently shouldn't be doing so. If it is, that's a bit of a problem, since that's misrepresenting current findings. Can you give me any examples?

"Beyond that, the size issue is an issue"
Oh c'mon, do we have to get into the size issue?
"because the horse was presented as developing in size as well as other ways"
Oh, that size issue. Er. Well,I'll double-check, but I think that the specific lineage resulting in modern horses actually did tend to keep getting bigger - but I might be wrong. (I always forget details : ( ). Certainly not all fossil horses uniformally increased in size throughout time, and there's no reason to think they would. If all you have is criticism of a century-old chart (which has been substantially revised) - well, just sayin . . .

"When Darwinists say that the straight-line evolution model has been replaced by multiple lines, don't they realize that this multiplies the already insane odds against evolution?"

Rather like having several kids multiplies the already insane odds against reproduction.

"Whether dinosaurs had some characteristics that are similar to birds is of no relevance."

Well, it is of no relevance in your framework of thought: it can't tell you anything. In science, on the other hand, all sorts of facts like these have relevence, and can, through hard work by scientists, help us learn about the world.

" People and Guppies both give live births, did people descend from guppies, or vice versa? "

Well, no - both share a common ancestor, which presumably had eggs, a condition retained by many fish as well as amphibians and most reptiles. People and guppies evolved this nifty trait separately. See, the clue is that while we share this with guppies, there's a heck of a lot we don't share. Dinos and birds share many traits, and dinos and early birds shared even more traits.

"When you post a rebuttal that has already been rebutted I just let it go. Whew, did that make sense?"
But, but . . .
You could post a link to the supposed rebuttal rebuttal. We may not be aware of it, in which case we either a) see the errors of our ways or b)get a good laugh.

-Dan S>

Juggling Mother said...

"I have a hypothesis, based on observed facts. radar isn't going to answer the Kangaroo Question, and he certainly isn't going to answer the Horse Question.

Perhaps he'll prove me wrong"


doesn't look like it.....

Anonymous said...

"doesn't look like it....."
It doesn't, does it?
Hoppity-hop.

" Plus, the disclaimer has not disproved but simply cast doubt upon the original statement."
radar, what does this mean? (and what counts as disproven?) The original statement was that Hyracotherium (eohippus, dawn horse - lovely name) had been found in the same strata as Equus species, its far-distant descendants (again, this wouldn't disprove that horses evolved or that Hyracotherium was apparently their ancestor - unless all specimens of it turned out to be misdated - although it would be a sensational find). Following the citation trail, this claim was traced back to a 1930s creationist tract, which unexpectedly turned out never to have made this specific claim - only, at best, that two species of Equus (E. nevadensis and E. occidentalis) coexisted (In constrast, there are 10 recognized species of Equus alive today, and there were possibly up to 9 in Ice Age America alone.) The debunker uses a major reference work and goes souce-diving, but was unable to find any record of Hyracotherium being found with Equus.

Back to the original claim. The creationist author talks about the variety of modern horses (like radar, 61 years later), and says that if we only knew them by their fossils, we might construct an evolutionary procession from pony to draft horse. (This would be highly unlikely, as they would all be found in deposits of Holocene age, and would almost certainly be regarded as closely related species (albeit separated by more generations than is actually the case) but ok, we see his point). He goes on to say that this is probably the case with real fossil horses, and that attempts to prove otherwise assume we're stupid. Several pages later, the debunker says he found the claim itself:

"We feel that the case against the horse demonstration would not be complete without a mention of the paleontological fact, that all the evolutionary writers and text books seem so eager to suppress, and that is that there are true fossil horses known to science today! Do we ever hear about them? Indeed, we do not, and for the simple reason that they spoil the "demonstration." How can you show the evolution of a four-toed, rodent-like animal, the size of a cat, into the horse, that weighs a ton, if there was a true horse eating grass side by side with the Eohippus that was just starting in to evolve into a horse thirty million years later? That simply can't be done: so they just suppress any mention of the true horse of fossil ages in North America.

There are at least two of them, the Equus nevadensis, and the Equus occidentalis. Did the reader ever hear of them? Not if his reading has been confined to evolutionary authors. We desire to stress the Equus occidentalis especially, as we are personally familiar with that variety. This horse (and it was a true horse) roamed the western slope of what is now known as the United States, especially the Pacific Southwest. It was the contemporary of the elephant, the camel and the so-called Saber-tooth Tiger, with all of whose bones the remains of this fossil horse are found in profusion. Long before man appeared on this continent the great creatures that were the companions of the horse disappeared, and the horse likewise vanished with them. But today in profusion we are recovering his fossil remains, and his bones rise up to confront the dogma of science whose basis is prejudice, and to refute the supposed demonstration of his evolution from a creature with whom he was on grazing terms! It is apparent to the most unlearned that the case collapses: If the creature that evolved out of a tiny ancestor millions of years after that ancestor died out, really lived with that ancestor side by side, the supposed demonstration becomes a joke."

To tell you the truth, this is so garbled I can't figure out exactly what he is claiming. For sure he says that at least two species of fossil horse have been found in North America: E. nevadensis and E. occidentalis (as far as the debunker can tell, E. nevadensis, consisting of a handful of fragmentary finds and only identified as such by a single worker, Hay,* in a single paper in the 1920s, is probably really just E. occidentalis). He asserts - but he doesn't, really, he poses, twice, a hypothetical (and then presumes it once): if Hyracotherium lived alongside Equus, horse evolution is revealed as a joke. Perhaps he really is saying that Hyracotherium was found alonside Equus, but if so, he provides no evidence for this claim, and the only source mentioned (a AMNH guide leaflet from '27) doesn't either. The bit about "true fossil horses known to science today" but suppresed by evolutionists is very odd, and is hard to read any way other than the debunker does: that the creationist imagines that all fossils are basically the same age - and it would seem, apparently thinks the scientists do too.

(Additionally, they wouldn't be grazing together, given what we know - eohippus probably would be trying to find some nice soft bushy browse)

Now, it's possible that the debunker, by accident or bad intention, skipped some passage stating that Equus occidentalis remains were found alongside eohippus fossils at so-and-so location. Perhaps a more thorough search of the scientific literature would turn up a record of such a find, one that somehow slipped under the radar, or {ears perking up at the hint of a conspiracy} perhaps it was intentionally suppressed! Perhaps - perhaps one night in 1930 a crack team of stealth ninja Darwinists** slipped into the now octagenarian Hay's office, killed him, destroyed the evidence,and disappeared into the night to change any references that had appeared in the previous few years.

But seriously, radar.
A)Let's say this analysis is accurate (and the source for all this is here; feel free to read for more information). Would you then admit this claim is entirely unfounded? (If you want to tell people that over six decades ago a creationist suggested that eohippus and Equus co-existed, but refused to give any details, that's ok with me!)

B) SInce probably no-one here really wants to an exhaustive search of all possibly relevent literature, would you admit it appears likely that this claim is entirely unfounded?

C) If you won't, can you explain why?


Why am I going on and on and on about these stupid horses? (oh crap, now an international network of young girls with an inexplicable love of equines is going to come after me!) Partly it's for the same reason that nobody will play Monopoly with me any more, but more importantly it's because
virtually all creationist claims are like this: a confused, mistaken, distorted or genuinely deceitful tissue of lies. And not good tissue, either - the cheap kind that basically dissolves when you blow your nose and dumps snot all over your fingers. Remember AIG's list of arguments creationists shouldn't use? I don't believe it was put together out of a high concern for academic propriety*** - it only exists because science advocates kept smacking down these claims so hard, and so convincingly, that after decades of this the better -educated creationists realized it was hurting their cause. Maybe in a few more decades we'll see a similar list with many of the arguments discussed here on it. And perhaps, in an unimaginably distant future, as our last few surviving - and totally unrecognizable - descendants cluster around a drying puddle tinted blood-red by the light of a grotesquely-bloated sun, one will turn to another, and, crinkling its upmost tentacle and rubbing its xicangi bristles in thought, somehow communicate the idea: [[well, perhaps there is something to macroev-]] - at which point the sun will go nova.

Pliohippus and Neohipparion? Next comment.



*Hay? Oh, that's too good to be true!
** Modern evolutionary ninjas have often been trained in that most mystical of martial arts: punchuated equilibrium. They just stand still for long periods of time until suddenly, WHAM!, they strike at you with incredible speed! Of course, since 'incredible speed' is actually in terms of geologic time, it's not particularly useful unless the target is actually themselves a fossil. Or possibly a rock.
*** Truth an' honesty an' all that may have played a subsidiary role. I don't imagine it was the driving force, although I guess it's possible I could be wrong. Maybe.
-Dan S.

radar said...

Horse question? Dan S has cast doubts on one claim since one cannot find new evidence of it. However, one cannot find evidence against it, either.

Re: Eohippus, since most serious students will acknowledge that it is more Hyrax than Horse, many will also say it was not a horse ancestor anyway, which is probably a better comeback to me.

Changes back and forth in lumbar and ribs is very significant no matter how you pooh-pooh it, since it is yet another set of corollaries one has to bring in to support horse evolution. There are already so many!!!

Kangaroos were answered by another commenter, I thought. How the heck did they get there? They went there not long after the flood, probably, and if there was no land bridge that later disappeared, then kangaroos came with people that came to Australia. That is how rabbits got there later on.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S.]
If wishes were horses, creationists would . . .

The claims:

"In northeastern Oregon the three-toed Neohipparion is found in the same rock formation with the one-toed horse, Pliohippus." [Stuart E. Nevins , Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 10, March 1974, p. 196.]


Fossils of three-toed and one-toed animals, which are said to be evolutionary ancestors of the modern horse, have been found preserved in the same rock formation (Nebraska, USA). This proves that they lived together at the same time, and it is obvious that one could not have evolved into the other. Evolution demands that there has to be many millions of years between the three-toed and the one-toed species in the 60-65 million year evolution of the horse. (National Geographic , January 1981 p:74)"

(To see Neohipparion and Pliohippus together, look here!)

The reality, as far as can tell (you can preface all these claims with "to the best of our knowledge" or "scientists believe" - but that's the case with almost everything):

[note: we're talking about genera here, not specific species unless so indicated]. Pliohippus and Neohipparion both lived together in North America during the Miocene, both evolving from a common ancestor (Merychippus primus) which also lived during the Miocene. Merychippus gave rise to a number of species in three major groups, including the hipparions (including Neohipparion) and the 'true equines,' including Pliohippus and Equus.

Early Pliohippus has three toes (two small side toes), which disappear over time. Pliohippus may have given rise to one-toed Dinohippus or merely be related to it; Dinohippus seems to have given rise both to stocky, square-skulled South American hippidion horses, who went extinct perhaps 10,000 years aho, and a pony-sized horse (Equus) that gave rise to zebras, donkeys, onagers/kiangs, and the proverbial wild horses.

Neohipparion had three toes and survived into the early Pliocene. While the hipparions as a group were quite wide-ranging, Neohipparion has only been found in North and Central America. The last known hipparion species, Cormohipparion emsliei- I don't know if it was a descendent of Neohipparion or not - "hung on in Florida until about 2 million years ago;" the group is exinct, with no modern representatives.

The problem, and solution:
Evolution does not demand " there has to be many millions of years between the these three-toed and the one-toed species," nor does the co-existence of three- and one-toed horses raise any eyebrows. This mistake arises in part from following a century-old account of horse evolution - the "original" horse chart - which has been substantially revised as we learned more, as well as a misunderstanding of evolution perhaps encouraged by this account. radar, you yourself point this out, though I'm not sure you understand the significance.

The misunderstanding is as, iamb pointed out, descendant species can coexist alongside the less-modified offspring of their ancestors (in other words, alongside their ancestral species).

Regardless, it should be clear that Pliohippus is not considered to have descended from Neohipparion, any more than you might be descended from your (hypothetical) sister.* Both descended from a three-toed ancestor (which already had an enlarged middle toe). Horse evolution did not go single file: instead of a ladder, it's a bush, of which only one branch manages to stretch all the way to the top. Pliohippus' immediate ancestors (after the Merychippus split already had small side toes. Evolving a single-toed foot seems to have taken several million years.

I do not understand why you keep pulling out that old, faded, and obsolete horse chart, when there is a much more current acount. In writing this comment, I used (along with good ol' TO) two museum sites, both of which present this current picture (feel free to visit them - they're nifty, especially the Florida Museum of Natural History one (fossil horses in cyberspace! what will they think up next). Any textbook, museum display, etc. made or revised/renovated any time recently will have this account. Again, can you give me examples of some that don't?

I'll check if you mentioned any other examples of horse "stages" supposedly found together, but remember: there's no real reason why this should be a problem for the modern account of horse evolution (although it might modify some fine details).

Finally, it's possible that you feel tricked, in a sense - that caught in a mistake the scientists played a trick and just changed things around, simply so they wouldn't be caught being wrong. If this is the case, I'm sorry. I can't see any way of showing you otherwise, of convincing you that this belief (that paleontologists are trying to fool people - possibly including themselves, or possibly just the public - why?) is wrong. In essence it's the same accusation that the Equus-mentioning creationist from my last comment made over sixty years ago: evolutionists are suppressing evidence and " this "demonstration" [of horse evolution[ was evidently not planned for those who were very much alive, mentally at least!."

I've seen creationists sometimes claim that evolution is keeping people from God and the Bible. I actually doubt this, but it's clear that we have a valid counter-complaint: creationism is turning people's minds against science - at least, any science that doesn't uphold Genesis, which means most of them. Healthy, reasonable skepticism of scientific claims is good. A blanket mistrust of science itself (which this anti-science attitude can only nourish) is dangerous.

References:
Kathleen Hunt's Horse Evolution page on TalkOrigins (last updated 1995)
The Florida Museum of Natural History's Horse Cybermuseum: Fossil Horses in Cyberspace
Humboldt State University Natural History Museum's Prehistoric Mammals of the Cenozoic-Horses page

-Dan S., still horsing around.

radar said...

Neigh!!!!!!

Rather than nay this time. Good answer, Dan. I understand your points and they are well made....and fit into your view of evolution.

The chart I posted was from the 1990's and a similar chart has been spotted in textbooks still in use. I understand that modern evolutionary theory has moved on and so my primary problem is the publishers and teachers and even museum curators that continue using outdated and totally wrong charts such as this.

Otherwise, we can bring an end to the Horse debate. No one can prove or disprove, evidently, the eohippus/equus information but many evolutionist would agree that eohippus was probably just a hyrax. So if it were important, I would keep saying the same thing about this because just because a book is out of print or the author not now available doesn't mean his information was wrong and it is very possible that the two animals co-existed. But I now think we might all agree it is no longer significant anyway?

The old charts are outdated and now as you say, Dan, a bush is a better representation of how evolutionists believe horses evolved. That takes us back to the original overall evolution versus creation debate in that case.

I am willing to concede that evolution has moved on from the old horse charts. Hopefully evolutionists will agree that the chart should no longer be displayed in museums and schools and taught as science by teachers. Then in this one particular area we will have something unusual for this blog = agreement!

radar said...

"The "they existed at the same time" one is crap and I think you're smart enough to know it. You, as a white man, are likely descended from European stock, but how can that be since there are still Europeans???"

Americans and Europeans are all men, not descended from each other but related. It doesn't apply at all here.

I missed this first part of your comment the first time for some reason...

Re: Phytoplanktons....what evidence that they would have a difficult time surviving do you have at your disposal? Formulate the question another way. If it is just about salinity, we have not yet even addressed salinity.

Anonymous said...

[Dan S. says]

radar said:
"Horse question? Dan S has cast doubts on one claim since one cannot find new evidence of it. "

One can't find any evidence of it,

"However, one cannot find evidence against it, either."

radar is an evil alien from the horsehead nebula, here to eat our young!!! Sure there's no evidence for it, but there's no evidence against it, is there?! Ha! Now run for your lives, everybody!

How could one even find evidence against Hyracotherium and Equus somewhere, somehow being found in the same strata? Never mentioned in the literature? Maybe it was never published! Etc. Proving a negative is a wee bit tough.

"Eohippus, since most serious students will acknowledge that it is more Hyrax than Horse,"
Serious students, in this case, would have to be defined strictly as a subgroup of creationists. Are paleontologists not "serious students"? Sure, they probably like a good joke as much as the next person, and I'm sure that a kind offer of beer wouldn't be turned down, but still . . .

Hyracotherium and Hyrax

Remember, you're not just making a claim about Hyracotherium's relationships, but about what people think about it. SImply, you're wrong. (Unless, again, "serious scholars" is defined as some - not all - creationists.)

"many will also say it was not a horse ancestor anyway,"
Do you have documentation for this claim?

I have no idea about ribs and such. I will try to find out.

", since it is yet another set of corollaries one has to bring in to support horse evolution. There are already so many!!!"

What are you talking about?

"Kangaroos were answered by another commenter, I thought . . . [maybe[ kangaroos came with people that came to Australia. "

Geez, irony really is dead.

" That is how rabbits got there later on."

Yeah. In retrospect that was a bit of a mistake . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...

So we are NOT killing off the horse?

Fine. I posted sources about eohippus and they were not disproven. You want eohippus, you got him!

Dan, that link is pretty lame (about the eohippus?) and doesn't help your cause. Let's see a comparison in physical makeup between a horse and eohippus and see how that looks.

National Geographic's absolutely hilarious November 2004 issue continued the horse evolution nonsense as Dr.s Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub point out:

"In a section of his article that is an inexcusable gaffe on his part, and one that surely must represent a terrible embarrassment to his evolutionary colleagues, Quammen resurrected the long-dead concept of “horse evolution.” Several decades ago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City assembled a famous exhibit of fossil horses, from Eohippus (now known as Hyracotherium) to modern Equus. This exhibit was presented as powerful evidence for Darwinism, with Equus being the ultimate “goal” of equine evolution. Soon thereafter, this story of the horse family was included in practically all biology textbooks—from which no doubt, Mr. Quammen obtained his outdated information. He wrote:

In North America, for example, a vaguely horselike creature known as Hyracotherium was succeeded by Orohippus, then Epihippus, then Mesohippus, which in turn were succeeded by a variety of horsey American critters. Some of them even galloped across the Bering land bridge into Asia, then onward to Europe and Africa. By five million years ago they had nearly all disappeared, leaving behind Dinohippus, which was succeeded by Equus, the modern genus of horse (p. 12).

Interestingly, another editor of a well-known magazine tried this tact several years earlier, and ended up being publicly scolded for it. John Rennie, editor of Scientific American, wrote in the July 2002 issue of that publication: “Actually, paleontologists know of many detailed examples of fossils intermediate in form between various taxonomic groups…. A sequence of fossils spans the evolution of modern horses from the tiny Eohippus” (2002, 287[1]:83).

The alleged evolutionary tree that gave rise to modern day horses
The alleged evolutionary tree that depicts the rise of modern-day horses

Evolutionists themselves long ago abandoned horse evolution as an example of transitional forms, since they no longer believe the fossil record represents anything like a straightforward progression, but instead a bush with many varying branches. As Heribert Nilsson correctly pointed out as long ago as 1954:

The family tree of the horse is beautiful and continuous only in the textbooks. In the reality provided by the results of research it is put together from three parts, of which only the last can be described as including horses. The forms of the first part are just as much little horses as the present day damans are horses. The construction of the horse is therefore a very artificial one, since it is put together from non-equivalent parts, and cannot therefore be a continuous transformation series (pp. 551-552, emp. added).

Mr. Quammen apparently does not realize that as far back as the 1950s, scientists already had cast aside the false notion of horse evolution via classic Darwinian changes. [In fact, the vast majority of textbooks (including ones published by National Geographic!) have abandoned the horse in favor of the camel—a species they believe can paint the same picture but that has not been so publicly ridiculed.] David Raup of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois, acknowledged:

Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded.... Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information—what appeared to be a nice, simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic (1979, pp. 24,25).

The late eminent paleontologist of Harvard, George Gaylord Simpson, summed it up well when he wrote: “The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature” (1953, p. 125, emp. added). Another scientist from Harvard—and a man for whom Dr. Simpson served as mentor—Stephen J. Gould, bemoaned the continued use of what he termed “misinformation” such as horse evolution. He wrote.

Once ensconced in textbooks, misinformation becomes cocooned and effectively permanent, because, as stated above, textbooks copy from previous texts. (I have written two essays on this lamentable practice: one on the amusingly perennial description of the eohippus, or “dawn horse,” as the size of a fox terrier, even though most authors, including yours truly, have no idea of the dimensions or appearance of this breed…) [2000, 109[2]:45; to read his exposure of the fallacy of horse evolution, see Gould, 1991, pp. 155-167].

Creationist Jonathan Sarfati wrote along these lines:

Even informed evolutionists regard horse evolution as a bush rather than a sequence. But the so-called Eohippus is properly called Hyracotherium, and has little that could connect it with horses at all. The other animals in the “sequence” actually show hardly any more variation between them than that within horses today. One non-horse and many varieties of the true horse kind does not a sequence make (2002a).

Truer words were never spoken: “One non-horse and many varieties of the true horse kind does not a sequence make.” It will require much better evidence than this from evolutionists if they hope to convince knowledgeable people that their theory is correct (much less a “fact” of science). "

Anonymous said...

"I posted sources about eohippus and they were not disproven"

Perhaps I missed them - the only thing I saw about poor eo was an unsubstantiated claim that is in itself appears to be a distortion of another unsubstantiated claim.

"Dan, that link is pretty lame "
In my head, I can't help hearing this in the voice from that incredibly annoying cell phone commercial - you know, where some guy hidden behind a cubicle is tormenting his co-worker with his new spiffy cell-phone, making it talk in this screechy voice - where at the end the little cellphone goes "'Cause it's laaaame!" That's what it sounded like.

Just sayin' . . .

A whole lot of out of context quotes from the 70s. One point - the fact that horse evolution turned out to be kinda bushy doesn't mean it doesn't have transitional forms. We can still trace a line from Equus back to eohippus, just as if some of the other kinds of horses had survived, we could have traced a line from them back to eohippus too, although not every step is incredibly certain. If you just talk about one line, it's can be misleading, since popular understanding of evolution is so off.

What all this 'they're just horses' talk really means is that within the modern horse lineage, there are some really nice examples of fairly gradual evolutionary transitions, to the degree that species kinda flow into each other.

Gould's piece was a good demonstration of poor textbooks.

"Interestingly, another editor of a well-known magazine tried this tact several years earlier, and ended up being publicly scolded for it"
How so? Where?
I tried to find some reference to poor John Rennie gettin' schooled - no luck so far, although I found a nice post by PZ Myers commenting on recent research in horse evolution. It shows a little of what 'evolutionists' do at work, and how science is always trying to find out more, and clarify - even overturn - previous knowledge. In the comments, somebody finds this same quote; they couldn't figure it out either. Is PZ's hypothesis right - is that quote from Rennie supposed to be the scolding? That doesn't make sense . . .

In your quote, Safati - after a weird !gotcha! about eohippus being Hyracotherium, says:
" The other animals in the “sequence” actually show hardly any more variation between them than that within horses today. One non-horse and many varieties of the true horse kind does not a sequence make"

I'm not going to paste the entire TalkOrigins Horse Evolution page here. Anybody who wants to can go through step by step, as she notes various changes. There are also the other links I posted before. What we need is a high-quality website showing excellent side by side reproductions (ink and photo) of the fossils (perhaps as a tree, with little pictures that open up into new windows with bigger versions) pointing out what paleontologists are picking out as important, as well as reconstructions, explanations of what (and how) we can guess about habitat and diet and such like. . . .

I don't know of one.

I want to respond to your 10:12 post, which as a reply is in some ways very characteristic of this debate, but that will have to be in a bit. There is agreement, though - presenting horse evolution solely as eohippus . . . . Equus is not quite right. (Saying that we can trace a clear path from eohippus to Equus is a bit different, I think.)

I dunno. As laborious as this is, I really enjoy reading about, in this case, horse evolution - even learned some new things, remembered some things I had forgotten. And eohippus - dawn horse - what a great name - makes ya picture little mammals padding along in some dim primeval forest. And catching a faint, uncertain glimpse of the forces shaping life - as climate shifts, vegetation changes, animals move - wow.
I hope you have a similar experience on your end with the creationist stuff . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...

..and a great big wave from the Flood catches the little guy, slams him into the mud and immortalizes him there for all time, myuhahahahaha!!!!

Sorry, just couldn't help myself. Dan, I get a kick out of all this too, which is why I find it interfering with work and I will probably have to work overtime the last couple of days this week, too!

Creationist like using quotes from evolutionists in the 1970's and 80's because they said so many dumb things! Gould was one of the primary culprits. Mostly the quotes aren't out of context but they weren't CAREFUL because in the 1970's evolutionists thought they had the floor all to themselves and now in the 21st century it is no longer true.

That talkorigins link, I could picture the skulls of a bulldog and a greyhound side-by-side and the variations being pointed out....ah well, it was a thought.

Dan, you are a gentleman and even though you like to poke gleeful fun at me you do it with style. I kind of enjoy it, actually. But you like to say stuff like "science is messy" a lot and go on about the way evolutionists are looking at things now.....are you comfortable with that?

I mean, if your accountant told you, "well, accounting is messy" you would wonder if you were about to be audited. If your surgeon told you that heart surgery was "messy" and he didn't mean the blood, you would be checking on your will and insurance, wouldn't you?

I think evolutionary thought is messy because it has to be so speculative. All sorts of organisms we don't see now or find in the fossil record must be postulated, transitional forms and transitional systems not observed have to be considered. Equilibriums get punctuated, long straight lines of descent become trees, become bushes, maybe someday they will look like the maze gardens of ancient Rome, designed to inspire meditation and strength of mind?

Juggling Mother said...

Kangaroos were answered by another commenter, I thought. How the heck did they get there? They went there not long after the flood, probably, and if there was no land bridge that later disappeared, then kangaroos came with people that came to Australia

Oh come on radar, try and think it through a little bit.

Assuming it took a while for the flood waters to receed, how can there hsve been a land bridge all the way to Australia, where there is now a tench?

Even if every woman had 10-15 living & healthy children every generation, we're still talking a good few generations before there will be enough humans to go wandering off around the world colonising different continents. Kangeroos re-produce much quicker than humans, so there would be more of them. Are you really suggesting that 100 years or so later, a bunch of people collected every single kangeroo put them on their boat & rowed/sailed of to Australia with them?

WHY?

Juggling Mother said...

I mean, I'd have taken pig - being able to eat pretty much anything, and us being able to eat every part of them.

Oh no, hang on, these people were all good Jews I assume?

Maybe sheep & cows then. Certainly not (nearly) all the marsupials on the planet, a bunch of reptiles, poisonous snakes and the duck billed platypus!

And WHY (or indeed, how) did the group colonising Africa take hippo's, elephants & Lions with them?

I'm sure you can come up with a better answer if you try.

Of course, an old world explains the variations & migrations quite easily.....

Anonymous said...

"Certainly not (nearly) all the marsupials on the planet, a bunch of reptiles, poisonous snakes and the duck billed platypus!"

Does seem an odd choice. It gets odder when you start looking at extinct/fossil Australian megafauna. Not only did these proto-Aborigines decide to bring the historically-extinct Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), fossil finds reveal they also found room (and reasons!) to bring a giant, 2-3 meters tall giant kangaroo, Diprotodon optatum (a giant wombat-like animal that was 3 meters long, 2 meters tall at the shoulder, and weighed perhaps two tons), a leopard-sized marsupial "lion", an oversized Tasmanian devil, a 70kg carnivorous rat-kangaroo, and a sheep-sized echidna.

Now, personally, I would have tried to bring the sheep-sized echidna, because echidnas are awesome, but there's no way my wife would've let me . . .

I made up that "aborigines brought them!" bit upthread as an example of an over the top ridiculous creationist claim, only to find Sarfati genuinely suggesting it in his rebuttal to the TalkOrigins Global Flood? page.

Apparently the same thing happened to Pennock when he was writing Tower of Babel: The evidence against the new creationism. He kept on trying to make up reductio ad absurdum analogies for creationism (creationist linguistics, intelligent design by aliens) only to find out that people were really promoting such ideas . . . (Teach the controversy! I want to see a debate between Raelians and Biblical Creationists!)

Ever read Terry Pratchett's The Last Continent?

-Dan S.

Juggling Mother said...

I would rather Radar had said that God picked thm up and moved them - at least it's not pretending to be anything other than faith based dogma!

For really silly psuedoscience, go look at the fixedearth site. I'm fairly certain it's for real.....

I love Pratchet (actually it was his fault I met & married Aggie), and have read The Last continent a few times. I'm currently reading Darwins Watch (the science of discworld 3) which is pitched at just about the right level for me:-) I heartily rcommend it to everyone on this site.

Anonymous said...

Ach, th' browser froze an' me comment died, but basically
1) so that it explains why there are a few marsupials in South America and points north - they must have slipped through God's fingers and fell when he was transporting them!

2) Agreed, Pratchett is awesome (and it sounds like you have quite a story to tell : )).

I just discovered his 'kids'' books - Crivens!

Is it wrong that I derive so much amusement from trying to pronounce the blogger word-verification words?

-Dan S.