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Miamian
06-25-2007, 01:26 AM
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1182409629220&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The author concludes that time is religion for scientists.

ckb2001
06-25-2007, 01:55 AM
Well, the author doesn't understand some basic things. He says evolution is inconsistent with the laws of thermodynamics? He needs a first course in physics. Entropy increase applies to the ENTIRE system (a closed system), not to a subset of the system. One part of a system can decrease in entropy (become more organized, meaning it can be represented in fewer bits) as long as the OVERALL entropy increases.

And he also doesn't understand the difference between relying on time (say billions of years) for useful mutations to take hold versus relying in principle on time for any possibility to become reality! You can calculate rates of evolutionary change, and IF they are NOT consistent with the time available, then the theory doesn't hold water. There is a lot of research going on in that field, and you can be sure any evolutionary theories that don't fit with such calculations may end up being rejected ("may" because it might be the calculation that is later shown to be inaccurate).

Either way, there's no intrinsic faith in time involved here.

Finally, he speaks of holes in the fossil record. Well, the question is posed wrong. There are "complete" fossil records, just not for all species (just a small number in fact). Pointing out the holes does nothing, since that just means we don't have enough information to make a judgment about the intermediate forms for that species. Being able to find complete records, on the other hand, IS powerful, because that supports evolutionary theory in a direct way.

Miamian
06-25-2007, 02:59 AM
Well, the author doesn't understand some basic things. He says evolution is inconsistent with the laws of thermodynamics? He needs a first course in physics. Entropy increase applies to the ENTIRE system (a closed system), not to a subset of the system. One part of a system can decrease in entropy (become more organized, meaning it can be represented in fewer bits) as long as the OVERALL entropy increases.

And he also doesn't understand the difference between relying on time (say billions of years) for useful mutations to take hold versus relying in principle on time for any possibility to become reality! You can calculate rates of evolutionary change, and IF they are NOT consistent with the time available, then the theory doesn't hold water. There is a lot of research going on in that field, and you can be sure any evolutionary theories that don't fit with such calculations may end up being rejected ("may" because it might be the calculation that is later shown to be inaccurate).

Either way, there's no intrinsic faith in time involved here.

Finally, he speaks of holes in the fossil record. Well, the question is posed wrong. There are "complete" fossil records, just not for all species (just a small number in fact). Pointing out the holes does nothing, since that just means we don't have enough information to make a judgment about the intermediate forms for that species. Being able to find complete records, on the other hand, IS powerful, because that supports evolutionary theory in a direct way.
Your last assertion fits his equating time as a replacement for faith. May I suggest that you e-mail him?

I'm not 100% about this, but I think that he's writing outside of is area of expertise. If he's the same guy, he was featured on Oprah (yes, I admit that I've watched it a few times, but only a few). He specializes in family counseling.

ckb2001
06-25-2007, 03:51 PM
Your last assertion fits his equating time as a replacement for faith. May I suggest that you e-mail him?

I'm not 100% about this, but I think that he's writing outside of is area of expertise. If he's the same guy, he was featured on Oprah (yes, I admit that I've watched it a few times, but only a few). He specializes in family counseling.

There's no point in emailing him. Science goes on without having to explain simple things to people who don't take the time to learn the science yet claim it's flawed.

And my last assertion on the fossil record only suggests that the evidence we have so far is highly suggestive that intermediate forms occur as evolutionary theories predict (since there are some complete records).

There's nothing taken on faith there.

Miamian
06-26-2007, 09:06 AM
There's no point in emailing him. Science goes on without having to explain simple things to people who don't take the time to learn the science yet claim it's flawed.

And my last assertion on the fossil record only suggests that the evidence we have so far is highly suggestive that intermediate forms occur as evolutionary theories predict (since there are some complete records).

There's nothing taken on faith there.Doesn't that assume that they eventually will be complete?

But, why not e-mail him? If he's wrong, then shouldn't you try to halt the spread of misinformation?

ckb2001
06-26-2007, 03:18 PM
Doesn't that assume that they eventually will be complete?

But, why not e-mail him? If he's wrong, then shouldn't you try to halt the spread of misinformation?

No, it doesn't assume we will ultimately have complete data - that's a practical impossibility given the nearly uncountable number of different organisms and the fact so many organisms don't even turn into fossils.

What such a "complete" fossil record does however is suggest any theory that doesn't predict the layering (in which layer each fossil was found) with high probability is likely wrong. For example, there's no a priori reason it's most probable we would find such fossils in such layers if you assume some intelligent designer. With an intelligent designer, it would be equally likely they are in any order.


As far as emailing him, it's clear this person is willing to claim something in science is either wrong or incomplete without FIRST studying it carefully. This isn't a case of JUST misinformation. It's a case of a person NOT willing to study something first before attacking an argument, and that attitude/approach is independent of the information he possesses and also almost certain not to change even with new information. I mean if he really did debate with the people he claimed to have debated with, there was ample time to acquire this kind of information from people that know this stuff in greater detail than I do. Obviously, it didn't stop him from making such a baseless claim like evolution being inconsistent with thermodynamics. So, why bother?

Miamian
06-26-2007, 03:32 PM
No, it doesn't assume we will ultimately have complete data - that's a practical impossibility given the nearly uncountable number of different organisms and the fact so many organisms don't even turn into fossils.

What such a "complete" fossil record does however is suggest any theory that doesn't predict the layering (in which layer each fossil was found) with high probability is likely wrong. For example, there's no a priori reason it's most probable we would find such fossils in such layers if you assume some intelligent designer. With an intelligent designer, it would be equally likely they are in any order.


As far as emailing him, it's clear this person is willing to claim something in science is either wrong or incomplete without FIRST studying it carefully. This isn't a case of JUST misinformation. It's a case of a person NOT willing to study something first before attacking an argument, and that attitude/approach is independent of the information he possesses and also almost certain not to change even with new information. I mean if he really did debate with the people he claimed to have debated with, there was ample time to acquire this kind of information from people that know this stuff in greater detail than I do. Obviously, it didn't stop him from making such a baseless claim like evolution being inconsistent with thermodynamics. So, why bother?I understand your argument about the fossil record.

As far as e-mailing him, I'm surprised you wouldn't want to because it's obvious that you believe in the importance of promoting Evolutionism to explain cosmic history. Just to illustrate, why do you think that I jump on posts that bash Israel? The opinions are often misinformed, misguided, prejudiced, or hypocritical and sometimes in various combinations. My country is important to me and I simply cannot tolerate anyone trying to smear it. Since it doesn't have the power of many others I feel compelled to defend it.

ckb2001
06-26-2007, 03:40 PM
I understand your argument about the fossil record.

As far as e-mailing him, I'm surprised you wouldn't want to because it's obvious that you believe in the importance of promoting Evolutionism to explain cosmic history. Just to illustrate, why do you think that I jump on posts that bash Israel? The opinions are often misinformed, misguided, prejudiced, or hypocritical and sometimes in various combinations. My country is important to me and I simply cannot tolerate anyone trying to smear it. Since it doesn't have the power of many others I feel compelled to defend it.

I'm sure someone already pointed out the obvious flaw in trying to argue the 2nd law of thermodynamics is inconsistent with evolutionary theory. It's HIGHLY improbable he hasn't heard the critique I gave before. My suspicion is that he doesn't care about what's most accurate. So why bother?

At least for me at this time, most of my attempts to correct misinformation about science will be confined to Finheaven where no important record is being created of this (sure there's a record, but no one cares). The moment I step into an arena that is truly public, well anything I write or say MUST be "perfectly" accurate or it could be derided from scientists!! It's hard to make sure of this unless you're in the field. Furthermore, the impact of the statements (from a grad student) mean nothing in comparison to those of a leading researcher.

PhinPhan1227
07-02-2007, 12:34 PM
Finally, he speaks of holes in the fossil record. Well, the question is posed wrong. There are "complete" fossil records, just not for all species (just a small number in fact). Pointing out the holes does nothing, since that just means we don't have enough information to make a judgment about the intermediate forms for that species. Being able to find complete records, on the other hand, IS powerful, because that supports evolutionary theory in a direct way.

What would you consider a complete fossil record for a species? Bear in mind that I support fully the theory of evolution. But to my knowledge we don't have solid records fro any intermediary species. I wouldn't call a record complete unless we could see those. Now, I'm not complaing. A ridiculous number of events has to take place for us to get a fossil of ANYTHING. So it's great that we have hat we have. But we also have to do an awful lot of guessing about even the smallest matters due to our lack of more evidence.

ckb2001
07-02-2007, 04:23 PM
What would you consider a complete fossil record for a species? Bear in mind that I support fully the theory of evolution. But to my knowledge we don't have solid records fro any intermediary species. I wouldn't call a record complete unless we could see those. Now, I'm not complaing. A ridiculous number of events has to take place for us to get a fossil of ANYTHING. So it's great that we have hat we have. But we also have to do an awful lot of guessing about even the smallest matters due to our lack of more evidence.

You start with a phylogenic tree. That is, something that predicts the relationships among various organisms (one could do this through a distance matrix where the distances were calculated based on differences in genomes). Such a tree will predict there are intermediate forms (called transitional forms) between two or more nodes on the tree.

The key is two-fold. First of all, each transitional form should have a morphology that differs from the previous one in such a way that "minor" genetic changes could account for it - something similar to micro-evolution. And second of all, we should NOT see transitional forms where the phylogenic tree doesn't predict them!

Those are testable predictions given whatever fossils are found.

So, concerning the postulated evolution from reptiles to birds, you would expect reptiles that have some bird-like morphologies, for example reptiles with feathers. Later in the fossil record you should expect birds with some reptile features, such as long tails. But, you wouldn't expect to find transitional forms between mammals and birds.

Here's one nice link you can read on this:
http://www.asa3.org/asa/resources/Miller.html

And here's an article with a list of dinosaur-to-bird transitional fossils with no morphological gaps (sorry if you can only see the abstract):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10381873&dopt=Abstract

"Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, Compsognathus, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Sinovenator, Beipiaosaurus, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Archaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Apsaravis, Ichthyornis, and Columba"
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PhinPhan1227
07-03-2007, 03:26 PM
The key is two-fold. First of all, each transitional form should have a morphology that differs from the previous one in such a way that "minor" genetic changes could account for it - something similar to micro-evolution. And second of all, we should NOT see transitional forms where the phylogenic tree doesn't predict them!


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Considering how tiny the percentage of creatures who become "found" fossils is, how do we know that those transitional forms didnt exist, but have just never been found?

ckb2001
07-03-2007, 04:22 PM
Considering how tiny the percentage of creatures who become "found" fossils is, how do we know that those transitional forms didnt exist, but have just never been found?

We don't. That's why theories in science are tested on new data as it emerges. Keep in mind this is not "the" theory of evolution that's being tested. It's different theories of how different species evolved that are being tested (so specific theories on the evolution of specific life forms), all of which are evolutionary theories (science is past the point of arguing whether or not evolution occurred and is responsible for the variety of life forms).