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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! So is Evolution/Darwinism scientific?

Arachnophobia spider fear animated pictures, backgrounds and images

credit

Don't stare at the picture for TOO long, you might get a migraine...

I like spiders.   I have to get rid of big wolf spiders if found in the house, because my wife is vulnerable to insect bites and on occasion a wolf spider will bite you.  Naturally I had to kill a brown recluse spider I found behind the water heater a few years back.   Otherwise I let them do their thing and leave them alone.   We are usually unaware of the vast array of life around us, much of which is either hidden or too small for the human eye to detect.  Like spiders, the majority of things living around us are either somewhat beneficial or else do not represent any danger to us.   Spiders eat lots of insects like fruit flies and mosquitoes that I would prefer to be gone so I am not going to kill them for no purpose.


Around Halloween, spider webs become part and parcel of spooky decorations.   There are all sorts of people with arachnophobia and it was the title of a pretty funny-yet-scary movie from a couple of decades back, starring John Goodman, Jeff Daniels and Harley Jane Kozak (yep, some people pick odd stage names).

Before my shower today I was shaving and a tiny object came into my line of sight.   It was an apparently colorless or white very tiny little spider lowering itself down on a strand of web.   It was going to be in the way of my shaving activities, so I backed a little farther from the mirror and watched.   He lowered himself to within about three inches of the wet sink basin and probably just below the line of the top of the sink.   He hung momentarily and then moved up about five inches and began to look as if he was going to spin a web.   That would not do!

I gently blew some air at him and he sprinted up that line with surprising speed, moving up about six inches quite rapidly and not leaving any web behind.   I gently blew again and he resumed his trip back up towards the ceiling.   I hoped he would decide to build his web higher up and away from human activity after experiencing the dangerous territory in the vicinity of my bathroom sink.  A few hours later I came back and looked all around the sink area and no sign of a spider web at all.  Such a small spider was probably a juvenile house spider looking for his niche in the world.   He may find a secluded area to survive or he may meet his end during one of my wife's vacuuming forays.

 credit

After a time it occurred to me that what I had done was a bit of research and experimentation concerning tiny little spider behavior and it was probably more scientific than anything Richard Dawkins has done in the last few years.   After all, I was not inventing functions or fictional organisms, I was experimenting with a living organism and observing behavior.   Based on previous experiences with spiders I had presumed I could chase the spider away from an area of human activity and it appears I was right.   I have certainly observed more spider behavior than Dawkins has observed evolution in action!

So what?  Hopefully you have read my last post.   If you are not a brainwashed dyed-in-the-wool Darwinist, you find yourself asking the question, "Is evolution even science at all?!"   My hope is that the question will occur to you.   Calvin Smith explores that question using the National Science Education Standards (NSES) to audit Darwinism:


Is evolution ‘scientific’?

Published: 25 December 2008(GMT+10)
Photo by Dave Sackville, sxc.hu
classroom

Is evolution ‘scientific’? What better way would there be to decide this issue than to use the standards set out by the pro-evolution National Research Council (US).

Their 1995 report entitled the National Science Education Standards (NSES) was produced and approved (published in 1996, revised 1998) by the Governing Board of the Council listed criteria for defining science. The purpose of the report was to assist educators in setting goals for achievement that are appropriate for all members of the science education community’.1
 
Groups like the National Science Teachers Association are involved in an ongoing effort to implement the Standards in classrooms throughout the country. Why?

The online description of the product says:
‘Americans agree that our students urgently need better science education. The Standards offers a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate, describing what all students should understand and be able to do in science. The volume reflects the principles that learning science is an inquiry-based process, that science in schools should reflect the intellectual traditions of contemporary science, and that all Americans have a role in science education reform’.2

Nature of Scientific Knowledge

Although pro-evolution, the NSES has some very specific criteria they promote in regards to the nature of scientific knowledge.
‘Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and scepticism.’
‘Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. First and foremost, they must be consistent with experimental and observational evidence about nature, and must make accurate predictions, when appropriate, about systems being studied.’

‘They should also be logical, respect the rules of evidence, be open to criticism, report methods and procedures, and make knowledge public.’

‘Explanations on how the natural world changes based on myths, personal beliefs, religious values, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful and socially relevant, but they are not scientific.’3
From this we can make a short list according to their criteria of what ‘science’ involves.

1-Observational data
2-Accurate predictions
3-Logical
4-Open to criticism
5-Accurate information
6-No presuppositions

Now, let’s apply these criteria to the ‘theory’ of evolution.

1-Observational data

Most evolutionists insist evolution is observable, but disingenuously point to examples of change that fall far short of what they really mean by evolution. According to a text evolution published by Pergamon, evolution is:

Photo by Olei, Wikipedia
moth
‘ … the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.’4
Ask the average person what evolution means and you’ll get the same idea. Often they will describe it like ‘We came from monkeys’.

So showing students examples such as light and dark coloured moths evolving into various populations of light and dark coloured moths hardly constitute proof of evolution. They do not show that amoebas somehow gained the massive amounts of functional genetic information to morph into a human being in the unobserved past. Even evolutionists have admitted this:
‘The experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection—or survival of the fittest—in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the populations may alter in their content or light, intermediate or dark forms, all the moths remain from beginning to end Biston betularia.5
No one has ‘seen’ evolution.

Mutation and natural selection (evolutions supposed mechanism) have never once shown an ability to create new, functional genetic information in a creature. No one has ‘seen’ evolution.

Evolutionary champions such as Richard Dawkins are continually pinned down in this area when they are forced to defend their own faith position.

After being chided recently by a creationist on a UK TV program about his comment; ‘Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening’6, Dawkins attempted to parry with a prepared comment:
‘The refusal to believe in anything you can’t see yourself is absurd. Think about it, I never saw Napoleon with my own eyes, but that doesn’t mean Napoleon didn’t exist.’7
The existence of Napoleon or Jesus Christ can only be known through historical records, not operational science.

And Bible believers everywhere said, Amen! However, I’d reckon atheists were figuratively banging their heads against their TV sets because of Dawkins ‘letting the cat out of the bag’. The existence of Napoleon or Jesus Christ can only be known through historical records, not operational science. So the scientific method cannot be invoked.

Once again the world’s most vocal champion of evolution and the outgoing Oxford University Chair for the Public Understanding of Science has revealed that evolution hasn’t been observed! So according to the NSES, (‘ … all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation … ’8) evolution fails their first criterion for being scientific.

2-Accurate predictions

Charles Darwin admitted there was a serious challenge to his hypothesis.
‘Why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory.’9
Darwin hoped that subsequent fossil discoveries would vindicate his ideas. So an accurate evolutionary prediction would be an abundance of transitional fossils.

Over 100 years later, Gould said:
‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology.’10
And recently National Geographic admitted;
‘Illuminating but spotty, the fossil record is like a film of evolution from which 999 out of 1,000 frames have been lost.’11
In other words, they are admitting that 99.9% of the evidence is missing! Evolutionists continually point to a small group of highly disputed, (even within their own community) doubtful transitional candidates to justify their theory.

Gould’s attempt to overcome the situation was to invent ‘punctuated equilibrium’, an evolutionary hypothesis that basically says creatures evolved so quickly that they left little trace of it in the fossil record. But such a shift from Darwin’s expectation of a finely graduated organic chain of fossils is a public admission of evolution’s lack of predictive ability. By a sleight of hand the the absence of evidence becomes ‘evidence’ of evolution.

Similarly, predictions about useless vestigial organs like the appendix (supposedly a usefuless left over from our evolutionary past) and non coding regions of DNA being described as millions of years of left-over junk have proven equally wrong. The latter prediction resulted in one researcher saying;
‘ … the failure to recognise the implications of the non-coding DNA will go down as the biggest mistake in the history of molecular biology’.12
And further research has revealed that the appendix is a fully functional and important organ, particularly in early childhood.

The NSES proposes that true science should make accurate predictions but the evolutionary story is continuously plagued with false guesses. If over 100 years of in-depth research has not confirmed even Darwin’s biggest prediction about the fossil record evolution is clearly non-science.

3-Logical

Imagine you open your front door and see a robot walking on two legs along the street carrying a package on its shoulder. The package is marked with an address, that the robot has followed and arrived at.

Glancing at your neighbour you say ‘Who do you think made the robot?’ To which he says ‘I don’t think anyone made it, I think it made itself!’ With even a lay person’s knowledge of basic engineering, would this be a logical conclusion?

For many people, discoveries inside living things of micro technology of an astounding nature (analogous to the scenario above) have stretched concepts of self assembly to the limits of credulity.

For example, the tiny protein kinesin is the miniature ‘postman’ contained in abundance within every living cell. Kinesin carry parcels of proteins along cellular roadways, walking on two legs in a similar fashion to humans. Somehow the cell knows when and what ‘parts’ (proteins) to manufacture, which it then does in tiny factories and packages them (in Golgi apparatus), somehow transmits a signal to the ‘robot’ (kinesin) that arrives, picks up and delivers these ‘packages’ (vesicles) to the specified destination.

Similarly, knowledge of motors such as the bacterial flagellum (equivalent to a 32-piece outboard motor, which also has a clutch) and the incredible ATP synthase (a motor that spins at 1000 rpm and faster, producing ATP, the universal energy currency of all known life forms) cause any thinking person to ask, ‘Where did these machines inside living beings come from?’

No logical person would conclude their car’s motor designed and assembled itself

Occam’s razor is often paraphrased ‘All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.’ Is it more logical and rational when observing things like motors and robot-like mechanisms to believe they created themselves or they were created by an intelligent designer? No logical person would conclude their car’s motor designed and assembled itself, or that computer software writes itself! The NSES states scientific explanations must be logical, so once again evolution fails.

4-Open to criticism

The newly released documentary Expelled blows the whistle on what many evolutionists have been doing for decades, which is brooking no opposition to anything that challenges Darwinian dogma.

The movie reveals that even Darwinists themselves, when attempting to be open-minded, are often removed from their positions for daring to allow other points of view. A recent example is evolutionary Prof. Michael Reiss, the Royal Society’s former director of education, who was forced to resign within a couple of days after suggesting that creation and ID should be discussed in classrooms (he proposed this so that they could be countered!).

When first making their way into the public education system, Darwinists argued that evolution should at least be taught alongside creationism in the spirit of fairness. But today the intellectual elite command total obeisance to their interpretation of origins as the ‘only way’, and use taxpayer’s money to indoctrinate children in public schools by disallowing competing viewpoints.

Far from encouraging scientific scrutiny, evolution fails the NSES criteria of being open to criticism.

5-Accurate information

Those remembering the long-running radio and TV show ‘Dragnet’ may recall Detective Joe Friday’s exhortation for truth; ‘All we want are the facts, ma’am.’ Many people imagine scientists the same way.
But scientists are people and people make mistakes, including knowingly fudging their data to promote their theories. Those that have been around the creation/evolution debate are usually familiar with hoaxes like Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor (the Piltdown Bird!), Nebraska man and the Staged photos of peppered moths, all fraudulent ‘evidences’ used to promote the theory of evolution.

drawings of Haeckel's embryos compared with real photographs
Top row: Haeckel’s drawings of several different embryos, showing incredible similarity, in their early ‘tailbud’ stage.

Bottom row: Richardson’s photographs of how the embryos really look at the same stage of development. 

Creationists point these out not as an example of differing opinions on how evidence can be interpreted, but rather as complete falsehoods, which evolutionists have admitted to. Why then do scientists and science educators continue to endorse such blatant lies?

One such fraud refuses to die it seems. I was shocked days ago when flipping through my daughter’s science text book to find Haeckel’s forged embryo drawings! I knew these had still been used in textbooks up to a short while ago but couldn’t believe my eyes to see it used in a 2008 science curriculum. This false ‘evidence’ was created in the 1860’s, so if the NSES states accurate information be given to the public, where is the outcry from these evolutionists demanding the removal of this material?

6-No presuppositions

Although many evolutionists deride creationists as pseudo-scientists because of their ‘religious’ presuppositions, one can quickly conclude the same of evolutionists by their own definitions.

Photo by Sanja Gjenero, sxc.hu
study and textbooks

In order to be truly neutral (hold no presuppositions) regarding the theory of origins, one would have to be open to the view that life could have arisen completely naturalistically, while simultaneously accepting that it may have been intelligently designed. You would then conduct investigations to see which hypothesis is better supported. But many evolutionists are atheists or were taught by atheists. By definition an atheist is;
A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.13
So how can an atheist be unbiased or hold no presuppositions when their world view pre-supposes ‘no-God’?
‘I would describe myself as a humanist or a nontheist.’14
Eugenie Scott, Executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE-America)
Evolutionist Richard Lewontin revealed his bias in this quote;
‘It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’15
And this bias has deep roots in Darwinian tradition. Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (and grandson of T.H. Huxley, ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’) admitted meaninglessness (no God) was central to his world view;
‘I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.’16
Huxley’s quote reminds us that humanist philosophy, unbound by any absolute moral restrictions, has no qualms about seizing political power to promote their atheistic views. No wonder we see quotes like these in humanist publications;
‘I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly view their role as the proselytizers of a new faith … The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new; the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of Humanism … ’17
according to the NSES’ own stipulations, evolution fails every test they have put forth to qualify as true science

Evolutionists are religious too. Religion is defined as:
  1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.
  2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons.18
So Humanism is a religion being promoted in public schools. And what is the weapon that teachers are wielding to promote the religion of humanism? Evolution!
‘ … belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.’19
So looking into the roots of evolution we see a deep seated tradition of naturalism, with an incredible bias against any concept of intelligent design or God. So much for the NSES’s appeal for no religious presuppositions.

Conclusion

Where does this leave us? The table summarises our analysis:

Science Evolution
1-Observational data Fail
2-Accurate predictions Fail
3-Logical Fail
4-Open to criticism Fail
5-Accurate information Fail
6-No presuppositions Fail










Many people will profess loudly that they do not believe in God because ‘science’ has proven that evolution explains our existence without God. But according to the NSES’ own stipulations, evolution fails the test they have put forth to qualify as true science.

In light of this, why do so many scientists, who ought to know better, blindly accept evolutionary notions of our origins, instead of at least considering the possibility of a Creator?

Perhaps Hebrews 11:6 is appropriate to cite in this context. It says:
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.




Related articles

Further reading

References

  1. Return to text.
  2. Return to text.
  3. National Science Education Standards (page 221) National Academy Press (1996) Return to text.
  4. Kerkut, G.A., Implications of Evolution, Pergamon, Oxford, UK, p. 157, 1960. Return to text.
  5. L. Harrison Matthews, FRS, Introduction to Darwin’s Origin of the Species J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1971, p. XI. Return to text.
  6. Transcript at: Return to text.
  7. "The Genius of Charles Darwin (Episode 3): Richard Dawkins, Channel 4 (UK), Monday 18th August 2008. Return to text.
  8. National Science Education Standards (page 221) National Academy Press (1996) Return to text.
  9. C. Darwin, Origin of Species, 6th ed. 1872 (London: John Murray, 1902), p. 413. Return to text.
  10. S.J. Gould, Evolution’s Erratic Pace, Natural History 86(5):14, 1977. Return to text.
  11. National Geographic Nov. 2004 Page 25 Article: Was Darwin Wrong? No! Return to text.
  12. Return to text.
  13. atheist. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). website: Return to text.
  14. Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology Return to text.
  15. Richard Lewontin, Harvard Geneticist, “Billions & Billions of Demons”, The New York Review of Books, Jan. 9, 1997, Pg. 31. Return to text.
  16. Huxley, A., Ends and Means, pp. 270 ff. Return to text.
  17. Official Journal-American Humanist Association (1983) Return to text.
  18. "religion." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 28 Oct. 2008. >. Return to text.
  19. Provine, W.B., ‘No free will’ in Catching up with the Vision, Margaret W Rossiter (Ed.), Chicago University Press, p. S123, 1999. Return to text.
Hey Darwinist?  Boo! (Hat tip to Karl Priest)

12 comments:

Jon Woolf said...

Someday, Radar, you'll figure out that doing your own research is a lot better than relying on creationist sources. They lie to you. This post provides several good examples.

Item 1: the Stephen Jay Gould quote you use here. "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology."

A damning indictment indeed ... until you read this sentence in context. It comes from 1977, a time when Gould and his partner Niles Eldredge were trying to destroy the orthodox concept of pure gradualism in favor of their idea of "punctuated equilibrium." Gould was talking about the relative lack of intermediate individuals between species, not intermediate species between higher clades. Intermediate species there are in plenty; intermediate individuals are rare. Gould himself made this clear just four years later, after enduring four years of watching creationists lie about him and distort his words to suit their own perverted ideas. In "Evolution as fact and Theory" (March 1981), he wrote: " Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists - whether through design or stupidity, I do not know - as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. The punctuations occur at the level of species; directional trends (on the staircase model) are rife at the higher level of transitions within major groups."

Item 2: Most evolutionists insist evolution is observable, but disingenuously point to examples of change that fall far short of what they really mean by evolution.

Another lie. "Evolution" has numerous meanings in biology, and such cases as the peppered moth do in fact demonstrate one such meaning.

Item 3: Those that have been around the creation/evolution debate are usually familiar with hoaxes like Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor (the Piltdown Bird!), Nebraska man and the Staged photos of peppered moths, all fraudulent ‘evidences’ used to promote the theory of evolution.

Piltdown man was a hoax perpetrated on scientists, not by scientists. "Archaeoraptor" was not, strictly speaking, a hoax; it was rather a clumsy and misguided attempt to make a fossil worth more money. Nebraska Man was a minor discovery and speculative claim that was blown completely out of proportion by a reporter.

Objective readers should also note that in all three of these cases, the correct answer was found, not through mystical chants or biblical quotes, but through scientific analysis of the evidence.

As for the 'staged' photos of peppered moths: most photos and videos of wildlife are staged. The actual studies of peppered moths show exactly what biologists say they show: coloration does make a difference in the survival patterns of Biston betularia.

Item 4: When first making their way into the public education system, Darwinists argued that evolution should at least be taught alongside creationism in the spirit of fairness.

I don't see this claim in the linked article. The Scopes trial was an early effort by the ACLU to drive religion out of public schools. It became an illustration of why it's a mistake to force cultural change through the courts: while Scopes never actually paid any fine, and popular culture depicted the trial as a victory for science against religion, the case generated so much controversy that for the next forty years, no textbook publisher dared put even the concept of evolution into any science text, because he knew the theocrats would skin him alive in defense of their 'just, loving, and truthful' god.

Why then do scientists and science educators continue to endorse such blatant lies?

They don't. However, as shown above, you and your fellow creationists routinely repeat and endorse blatant lies in your dogged drive to force your religion on everyone, even those who want no part of it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Woolf, could you please give an example of an intermediate species? As for the coloration and its benefits for survival every one agrees. People come in various shades is one skin shade more evolved than another? Is the definition of evolution variation? If my white cat has a litter of multicolored kittens is that evolution? DebB

Jon Woolf said...

Deb,

"Mr. Woolf, could you please give an example of an intermediate species?"

Elephas recki, intermediate between Elephas ekorensis and .

"People come in various shades is one skin shade more evolved than another?"

Only if the color difference confers some sort of selective advantage, and only in the context of that advantage. For example, it's thought that dark skin confers an advantage in tropical climates. It's also thought that pale skin confers an advantage in temperate climates.

In all other ways, in all other contexts, skin color in humans is meaningless. No other traits have any significant linkage to skin color; no other differences correlate with skin color to any noticeable degree.

"Is the definition of evolution variation?"

No. In biology, there are at least four different meanings for the word 'evolution':

EVOLUTION, Fact of (1): that genes and gene frequencies in a population change over time in ways that can be analyzed, observed, and predicted.

EVOLUTION, Fact of (2): That life through geologic time has changed in systematic ways, as illustrated in the fossil record.

EVOLUTION, Theory of (1): that the changes in genes and gene frequencies occur through recognized mechanisms of genetic variation followed by natural and sexual selection.

EVOLUTION, Theory of (2): that the observed changes in genes and gene frequencies, produced by recognized mechanisms of variation and selection, are sufficient to explain the history of life on Earth over geologic time.

radar said...

Man, Jon Woolf, you present so many non-facts at once it is like a massive dumping out of a dumpster. Punctuated Equilibrium is just a ridiculous proposal with no basis in fact. Transitional forms are not really the problem, the problem is that if there actually was evolution there would be a continuum of organisms all evolving into something new. Furthermore your so-called intermediate species are simply various forms of a kind of animal and we have that same situation today.

I can play pretend scientist, too@
Fact - Unicorns mate for life!

Once the election is over we might look at the fossils more closely now that Darwinists have been routed from the field in the areas of information and biogenesis. Might as well spend a little time on that subject I suppose.

Jon Woolf said...

People who actually study these subjects for a living say you're wrong, Radar. And they have evidence, and can show me evidence. All you've got is a collection of Iron Age fireside tales, and a dogged determination to believe the world really is as simple as you want it to be.

You lose.

Anonymous said...

Mr Woolf, I did a quick google check and apparently Elephas recki is not intermediate between Elephas ekorensis. In fact there were several elephant species coexisting in the same location.

African Elephas recki: time, space and taxonomy

There was also a NG article showing that paleontologists are perplexed about their findings.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/12/1217_leeelephant_2.html

So can you give me another example? DebB

Jon Woolf said...

Sorry, Deb, somehow I mucked up the HTML in that comment. It should have said that Elephas recki is considered intermediate between E. ekorensis and a later species called E. iorensis.

Other examples ...

Pachyrachis and Haasiophis have many of the features of modern snakes, but they also have functional legs. They are generally interpreted as ancestral snakes, transitional between advanced lizards and primitive snakes.

For a hundred years, the way to distinguish mammal from therapsid (mammal-like reptile) was to look at the jaw joint: if it had one type of jaw joint, it was a therapsid; if it had another, it was a mammal. Until Diathrognathus was found -- its name means "two joint jaw" and for good reason: it has both the therapsid and mammal jaw joints present and functional. Other fossils from the same time period exhibit similar therapsid/mammal intermediate features.

For a long time, entomologists suspected that ants had evolved from wasps, but couldn't prove it because the oldest known ants were still clearly ants, with all the adaptations that make an ant an ant. Until 1966, when Sphecomyrma was discovered. Sphecomyrma is an insect with some traits that all modern ants have, and some traits that modern ants never have but wasps do. It also appeared in time right about when it should have: mid-Cretaceous, 90 million years old, when all other ant fossils are 60 million or younger. It's a transitional ant that still preserves traces of its wasp ancestry.

Anonymous said...

"I can play pretend scientist, too"

That would describe most of your blog. Certainly the "science" section.

Anonymous said...

"I did a quick google check and apparently Elephas recki is not intermediate between Elephas ekorensis."

It was pretty clear that Jon Woolf had mistakenly left out a word or two at the end of the sentence. Obviously something can not be an intermediate between one thing. But it is true that Elephas recki was an intermediate between Elephas ekorensis and something else, as your google check could have shown you.

"In fact there were several elephant species coexisting in the same location."

Which ones, and why would you think that falsifies Elephas recki being an intermediate between Elephas ekorensis and something else?

"African Elephas recki: time, space and taxonomy"

This is the title of a PDF that can be found here. It confirms what Jon Woolf was saying.

"There was also a NG article showing that paleontologists are perplexed about their findings.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/12/1217_leeelephant_2.html"

Neither the article nor the PDF argues against Elephas recki not being an intermediate between Elephas ekorensis and something else. The PDF confirms it, while the article doesn't appear particularly relevant to this point.

If you were trying to argue that Jon Woolf's example wasn't valid, you haven't done so. If you think that species co-existing disproves evolution, then you've misunderstood something fundamental about evolution. It doesn't march forward in lockstep. Species branch off, and it is entirely possible for a species and its ancestral species to continue to co-exist. You can google "allopatric speciation" for more information.

Anonymous said...

From the PDF I posted:


The African Elephas lineage has traditionally been very important for faunal correlation of
African paleontology localities, due to the division of the intermediate member, Elephas recki, into five timesuccessive
subspecies. This lineage has been proposed as an example of anagenetic change, with each species
and/or subspecies evolving directly into the next with no overlap in time. Results from comparison of dental
variability in Elephas recki to both extant elephant species as well as other African and Eurasian fossil elephants
indicate that the variation in the sample of specimens currently attributed to Elephas recki exceeds that
of many other species, with great variation at the subspecies level as well. Consolidation of the published
records of Elephas recki subspecies indicate that the ranges for all five subspecies overlap, and are not separated
in time as previously proposed.

So they used to think that one species evolved into another over time and now they don't. I think it just shows variation within elephants like dogs or finches or horses. Some of those elephant species have become extinct like the wholly mammoth. But if we have another ice age maybe that would trigger the long hair gene in elephants to activate once again. But with all the verity in elephants they will not become whales or anything but elephants. DebB

Jon Woolf said...

So they used to think that one species evolved into another over time and now they don't.

That's certainly one way to read the article abstract. However, it's a way that (no offense intended) only someone who doesn't know how to read a formal paper would read it. If you understand taxonomic jargon, a very different picture emerges. In short, the article says that there's something very wrong with the species Elephas recki. The known specimens of it vary too much. This might mean that some fossils assigned to E. recki actually belong to other species, or it might mean that "E. recki" is actually a species-swarm which contains more than one actual species.

Either way, however, it doesn't disprove what I said. Look at the article's Figure I. It shows E. recki overlapping with E. ekorensis at the older end of its range, and with E. iolensis at the younger end. In between, there's a span where E. recki stands alone, and neither of the others is present. That's entirely consistent with the conventional picture of E. recki as intermediate between the other two.

I think it just shows variation within elephants like dogs or finches or horses.

So it does. It's still exactly what you asked for: an example of an intermediate species. You didn't say what level of intermediate you wanted.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, the distribution of the species in the PDF doesnt make any sense in YEC world - there is no mechanism by which a flood could have performed that kind of sorting.