Green Buttocks

Does anyone watch TV anymore?


I mean, seriously, its like every other day Creationists are doing something infinitely more hysterical than anything Hollywood can think up.

Todays side-splitting sitcom is brought to you by William Dembski and a new character*– a buxom young brunette named Sean McDowell. They wrote a new hip (some would say, ‘groovy’… perhaps even ‘ZANY!’) book on ID Creationism for teenagers, ‘Understanding Intelligent Design‘.

I think Creationists are going for ‘The Odd Couple’ spin with this mismatched duo! Check this out!

Dembski: theotard with no scientific training

McDowell: theotard with no scientific training

WHOA! You just KNOW their bizarrely erotic book on Creationism for kids is gonna be something new and awesome!


Check out the first chapter, available for download for free online! It alone contains mind-blowing, REVOLUTIONARY ideas like:

  • Degrees in ‘Bible’ make you competent to discuss biology, physics, and biochemisty
  • Science makes atheists
  • Reading the Bible makes atheists
  • There is no difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism
  • Public schools indoctrinate children with atheism
  • Darwin = Propaganda
  • All scientists are atheists
  • Science and Christianity are at war
  • Only Christians have A Purpose(TM)
  • Evil is the result of The Fall
  • “Redemption is found in Jesus Christ”
  • Stupid Evilutionists believe we can solve our own problems (I shit you not, page 19/20)
  • Stupid Evilutionists believe one day the Sun will burn up the Earth
  • Buddhist believe something else, and we dont care
  • Darwinism is a religion
  • Darwin is in ‘Lilo & Stitch’
  • Darwinism is false AND an ideology
  • Gratuitous reference to Marx
  • The world looks designed
  • Darwinism cant explain INSECTS + BIRDS
  • Bacterial flagellum
  • ‘Just so story”
  • Judge Jones is a poopy head

WOW! I mean WOW! I havent seen any of those arguments before! Man, Dembski and McDowell TOTALLY blind sided us with this hammer!


* Michael Behe appears to have been written out of this seasons script. He was last seen giving Creationists $6.99 blowjobs in the bargain bin.


  1. #1 Matt
    July 10, 2008

    John, in reference to your 3:10 comment, thank you.

    Thank you for informing us of what we never knew. We didn’t know that natural selection was an aspect of evolution, we didn’t know that Darwin and Wallace were instrumental in helping discover that, and we certainly never heard that some scientists and media types think ID is a form of creationism.

    Thanks for that information. It comes as quite a blow. I’m fairly devastated. Now that you’ve explained that, why, we’re going to have to go right back to the drawing board and start all over again! I mean, just think of all the time we’ve wasted, since no one was kind enough to clue us in earlier.

    Thanks, actually, for sticking to the easy, obvious stuff, so we can work on substantive matters without having to worry about you noticing. It’s kind of like I said at 12:04 today. We don’t mind if you don’t bother paying attention to the real issues.

  2. #2 ERV
    July 10, 2008

    Its like a cornucopia of TARD on the internet today.


    *goes to get the wet-dry vac*

  3. #3 The Christian Cynic
    July 10, 2008

    I tend to agree with Heddle, et al., about reviewing a book you haven’t read (I once had a buddy who claimed Gladiator was his favorite movie and then proceeded to tell us about how he was going to finally go see it the next weekend – he got no end of torment for that stupidity), but forgetting that, I found the phrase “mendacious intellectual pornography” 15 times in John Kwok’s posts alone. I’m not really a fan of Dembski, Behe, or the ID movement in general, but I’m also not a big fan of awkward catch phrases (“Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective” is equally absurd). It seems to me a sign of poor intelligence – or at least creativity, to be more charitable – to simply repeat the same phrases (especially when they show signs of chronic unoriginality) over and over ad nauseum to criticize one’s opponents (especially when doing so solely on the basis of disagreement, reasonable or otherwise).

    But then again, I’m probably just a member of the Discover Institute IDiot Borg Collective who implicitly supports the mendacious intellectual pornography of Dembski, et al., right?

  4. #4 Zarquon
    July 10, 2008

    To ASSUME that random chance can account for EVERYTHING

    No one does assume that, it’s one of the lies creationists made up to blame science for their stupidity.

  5. #5 PZ Myers
    July 10, 2008

    Dawkins and PZ have insisted it’s unnecessary to know what theologians think–they can attack religion by means of derision.

    Why, no, we’ve never said that. We’ve said that we’ve read what the theologians say, and it’s all vacuous fluff that is unsupported by any evidence. Perfect example: listen to this conversation with John Lennox. There’s your clever theology.

  6. #6 Itchy
    July 10, 2008


    In a heated debate such as this, it is important to remember that Abbie Smith is a totally hot babe.

    Carry on.

  7. #7 Bouncing Bosons
    July 11, 2008

    hmmm… I’m not sure I agree with the phrase mendacious intellectual pornography being thrown out over and over. Why must you degrade pornography so by using it as a comparison point for ID literature (and I use that term loosely)?

    And yes, I did just come here to say that. Also that the rest of the many internets would appreciate it if Mr. Kwok would introduce some more variety into his writing. (For example, consider references to IDiots as mindless drone ants, or cybermen, or lemmings…)

  8. #8 keiths
    July 11, 2008

    Some more opinions on Mr. Kwok’s behavior here.

  9. #9 N. Wells
    July 11, 2008

    Step 1 in reviewing a book is reading the book. A book review is a considered evaluation of a book, for others to use in deciding whether or not to buy it and read it.

    One may well be justified in holding and expressing the opinion that, based on the author’s past performance, a book is likely to be a pile of crap with nothing new and nothing worthwhile and not worth anyone’s time and money. In fact, in Dembski’s case, I agree that this is pretty much a sure bet.

    Nonetheless, presenting that opinion as a book review is an unnecessarily weak and non-authoritative position that does a disservice to one’s audience and to the side of reason and science. Giving a “book review” that is not based on reading the book misrepresents your expertise on the book and presents opinions that are at least theoretically subject to revision because they are based on incomplete information.

  10. #10 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    FYI, here’s the review in question. I had every valid reason to write it.

    John Kwok

    “Understanding Intelligent Design” is intellectual child abuse aimed at the hearts and minds of children who lack ample appreciation and understanding as to what constitutes valid mainstream science; nothing more and nothing less. It is a well-written polemic co-written by Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Bill Dembski and a “Christian” educator, Sean McDowell, who claim that Intelligent Design is truly a valid scientific alternative not only to contemporary evolutionary theory, but indeed, all of mainstream science, period. This is the rare occasion where I am reviewing a book here at that I have not yet read, but their publisher, Mr. David Bartlett, has reneged on his promise to send me gratis a review copy. So I am writing this review not only to demonstrate that I – as someone trained in paleobiology and evolutionary ecology, can review at least part of it without actually reading it – but more importantly, to advise potential purchasers that they would be making a serious mistake by acquiring this book for their adolescent children, thinking that it was presenting a “valid scientific alternative” to contemporary evolutionary theory.

    In Chapter Four of “Understanding Intelligent Design”, Dembski and McDowell contend that there is a serious problem with the so-called “Cambrian Explosion”, since hard part skeletonized multicellular life seems to have appeared “suddenly” in the Cambrian Period, more than 530 million years ago. However, their inane assertion flies in the face of excellent paleontological and stratigraphic research done by paleobiologists and biostratigraphers for generations, especially those in the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China (Since both countries possess the best exposures of late Precambrian through Cambrian sedimentary sequences.). As eminent American vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero has stated in his recent book, “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”, the “Cambrian Explosion” should be regarded instead as a “Cambrian Slow Fuse”, since the appearance of hard part skeletonized multicellular organisms occurred gradually over a period of eighty million years, from the late Precambrian through the early Ordovician. Moreover, overall taxonomic diversity was relatively low, with at most, 60 genera recognized from the middle Cambrian “Burgess Shale Fauna”.

    Dembski and McDowell have made the same breathtakingly inane observations about the “Cambrian Explosion” uttered by fellow 20th Century Fundamentalist Protestant Christian creationists like Henry Morris and Duane Gish. Indeed, their published remarks merely offer more evidence that they should be regarded as creationists, period; an astute observation which Prothero has noted for Michael Behe, whom he refers to as an “Intelligent Design creationist” in his book. If you want a realistic depiction of the fossil record as important evidence for the fact of evolution, then you will be much better off acquiring Donald Prothero’s “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”.

    Much to my amazement, Chapter Four of Dembski and McDowell’s latest published example of intellectual pornography, lacks any discussion about mass extinctions. Such a discussion is truly important given the facts that mass extinctions have altered fundamentally the structure and diversity of Earth’s biosphere not just once, but at least 7 times. Moreover, each of these instances saw a sudden drop in marine biodiversity of at least 40 to nearly 90 percent (The terminal Permian mass extinction that occurred 245 million years ago, involved a loss of more than 80 percent of Earth’s marine biodiversity.). Instead, they are, like other creationists, fixated on the Cambrian “explosion” as though that was the most important event in the history of life on Planet Earth.

    From a purely philosophical perspective, one must ask how efficient an “Intelligent Designer” would be in “designing” life, especially after realizing that this new “creation” would be decimated by mass extinctions not just once, but indeed, more than 7 times throughout the history of life on Earth in the past 600 million years. Indeed, this would be a rather illogical means of having an “Intelligent Designer” devote so much time in “designing” this life.

    The University of California, Berkeley’s evolution website has this fascinating portrait of University of Chicago marine invertebrate paleobiologist David Jablonski and the important research he has done in trying to understand mass extinctions:

    Jablonski’s work is quite important simply because he was among the first – if not the first – to recognize a fundamental distinction between “background” (normal) extinctions and mass extinctions.

    “Understanding Intelligent Design” also lacks any credible discussion of the significance of the discovery of paleontological “missing links” in order to understand the evolutionary history of lineages as diverse as avian dinosaurs, whales, horses and fishes, for example. Recently fellow customer Tim Beazley has noted succinctly:

    “This just in: Apparently scientists have discovered yet another fossil in the fish-tetrapod sequence.


    This raises the question: If evolution is as useless as the ID-iots keep telling us, then why is it that evos are making all the discoveries like the above, not ID-iots?”

    Alas, I could not have said it better myself.

    For nearly two decades Intelligent Design advocates like Bill Dembski and his scientifically-trained Discovery Institute colleagues Mike Behe and Jonathan Wells have had ample opportunity to present their Intelligent Design ideas in the rational marketplace known as mainstream science by submitting their work for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, demonstrating how they have developed hypotheses, tested and refined them, and yielding publishable results in support of their ideas. They have not yet done so, but rather, instead, have engaged in substantial public relations work via lectures, media appearances, and the publication of books like this one in support of what eminent Columbia University philosopher of science Philip Kitcher has referred charitably as “dead science” while yours truly has noted repeated here at and elsewhere that Intelligent Design is merely mendacious intellectual pornography. So should you, the potential purchaser, acquire this book for your school-age children? Sadly, the answer ought to be all too obvious: NO.

  11. #11 tho1138
    July 11, 2008

    Here’s my review* of John Kwok’s review:

    John Kwok’s review of “Understanding Intelligent Design” is a well-written polemic against the latest attempt by “creationists” to indoctrinate impressionable children against the fact of Darwinian evolution. While Mr. Kwok has not read the book, he winsomely and tactfully debunks the arguments of Dembski which, in his evidently clairvoyant wisdom, Kwok knows and has represented fairly, time and time again.

    *I confess that I have not read Kwok’s review of “Understanding Intelligent Design.”

  12. #12 ERV
    July 11, 2008

    So ERV is definitely a complicated blog. Im sarcastic and hide jokes in links, and you actually have to click on the links to get the lolz.

    However, its amusing that people have decided to make this comment thread about ‘JON KWAK HAS NUT RED DIS BUK!’, when the whole point of my post is:

    Check out the first chapter, available for download for free online! It alone contains mind-blowing, REVOLUTIONARY ideas like:
    * Degrees in ‘Bible’ make you competent to discuss biology, physics, and biochemisty
    * Science makes atheists
    * Reading the Bible makes atheists
    * There is no difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism
    * Public schools indoctrinate children with atheism
    * Darwin = Propaganda
    * All scientists are atheists
    * Science and Christianity are at war
    * Only Christians have A Purpose(TM)
    * Evil is the result of The Fall
    * “Redemption is found in Jesus Christ”
    * Stupid Evilutionists believe we can solve our own problems (I shit you not, page 19/20)
    * Stupid Evilutionists believe one day the Sun will burn up the Earth
    * Buddhist believe something else, and we dont care
    * Darwinism is a religion
    * Darwin is in ‘Lilo & Stitch’
    * Darwinism is false AND an ideology
    * Gratuitous reference to Marx
    * The world looks designed
    * Darwinism cant explain INSECTS + BIRDS
    * Bacterial flagellum
    * ‘Just so story”
    * Judge Jones is a poopy head
    WOW! I mean WOW! I havent seen any of those arguments before! Man, Dembski and McDowell TOTALLY blind sided us with this hammer!

    Creationists have no new arguments.

    There is no reason to read ‘Understanding Intelligent Design’ if youve read ‘Design of Life’. There is no reason to read ‘Design of Life’ if you have read the Answers in Genesis website within the past decade.

    Its the same shit with a different title and with green buttocks on the cover.

    But by all means, folks, keep bashing Kwok, when you all cant be bothered to read a fucking eight sentence post.

  13. #13 questioner
    July 11, 2008

    Does anyone know what John Kwok’s undergrad and grad degrees are in? He claims he has revelant ones but remains ambigous when he talks about it. Does anyone have background info that could clear it up? ERV?

    Also, Sorry ERV, it does look like this thread has strayed from your original intent with the introduction of book review tangent.

  14. #14 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    Dear questioner:

    I possess bachelor’s degrees in geology-biology and history. I also have master’s degrees in biology and geology. So, as you can see, I am well qualified to comment on Dembski’s gross omissions, distortions, and outright lies about the fossil record.

    What are your qualifications, you sanctimonious IDiot?

    Meanwhile, I trust you’ll continue enjoying your Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective membership. It’s a membership that’s been obviously well-earned.

    John Kwok

  15. #15 tho1138
    July 11, 2008

    ERV, don’t be so…teleological. I have greatly enjoyed the evolution of this conversation.

  16. #16 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    Dear tho1138 –

    You must have missed an earlier post in which I noted that one must “KNOW THINE ENEMY”. In other words, I try to read as much of Dembski’s mendacious intellectual pornography as I can, merely so I can anticipate inane comments from his zealous IDiot sycophants like questioner and yourself.

    John Kwok

  17. #17 tho1138
    July 11, 2008

    Once again, Kwok, your clairvoyance is astounding. You were able to conclude that I am a zealous, IDiotic, sycophant after just one comment. For the record, I am neither zealous, nor idiotic, nor sycophantic. One thing I am, though, is familiar with rational argumentation. That your comments are nothing more than repeated hyperbole (ID is “mendacious intellectual pornography” and ad hominem attacks indicates a VERY deep insecurity. A person with more confidence that the evidence supported their position would be calmly presenting that evidence, not resorting to name calling and personal attacks, an observation that applies to ID supporters as well. But then again, perhaps I’m nothing more than a memeber of the “Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective” (of course, if you knew anything about the Discovery Institute, you’d know that they are a conservative thinktank: they are more likely to be fascists than collectivists).

  18. #18 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    Dear tho1138 –

    Am actually a firm adherent of the “Carl Flygare” school of argumentation over at He’s persuaded me that it’s absolutely pointless and hopeless to argue with TARDS like yourself (Me, I prefer the more diplomatically-worded phrase, “intellectually-challenged”.). Anyway, when I have a friend like Ken Miller (OOPS, sorry creo thought police but I’m name dropping again here…..) tell me privately that he thinks Mike Behe ought to write a textbook on Klingon biochemistry, then I must be really onto something when I refer to a “Discovery Institute IDiot Borg Collective” and to Intelligent Design as “mendacious intellectual pornography” (a harsh assessment which AMNH anthropologist and author Richard Milner agrees with – and oh, so sorry, I’m name dropping again).

    When you’re ready to come out of your cesspool shared with the likes of Bill Dembski, Denyse O’Leary, and DaveScot, then maybe I’ll talk to you in a more reasonable way.

    Have a nice day TARD!!!!!

    John Kwok

  19. #19 tho1138
    July 11, 2008

    That your comments are nothing more than repeated hyperbole and ad hominem attacks indicates a VERY deep insecurity. A person with more confidence that the evidence supported their position would be calmly presenting that evidence, not resorting to name calling and personal attacks.

  20. #20 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    Dear tho1138 –

    Ask my friends who know me well whether I have a “VERY deep insecurity”. Their laughter would fill Yankee Stadium. As for your “a person with more confidence” shtick, maybe if you tried to read carefully my reviews of Dembski’s mendacious intellectual pornography and of Miller’s and Dawkins’ books, then perhaps you’d realize that I am “calmly presenting that evidence”.

    Otherwise, I don’t have much time to waste on a sucker like you.


    John Kwok

  21. #21 James F
    July 11, 2008

    *gingerly steps around the Little Green Buttocks brouhaha*

    Rich @58 wrote:

    Dave calls things as he seems them, and is certainly no friend of the DI.

    Point of information, if I may. Why is Prof. Heddle one of the Discovery institute’s “Dissent from Darwinism” signatories?

  22. #22 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008

    Dear James,

    Thanks. That’s news to me. I am aware that Heddle had a major “falling out” with Dembski back in 2005, and has been – according to what I have heard from Abbie Smith and Wesley Elsberry – a harsh critic of his. So I have to wonder as to why Heddle would agree still be listed on the Discovery Institute’s “Dissent from Darwinism” petition.

    Appreciatively yours,


  23. #23 ERV
    July 11, 2008

    James– Lots of people were tricked into signing it, and asked to have their names taken off after DI made their intentions known. The DI refuses to acknowledge their requests.

  24. #24 heddle
    July 11, 2008

    James F,

    Yes, it is definitely time to change the topic. Here is the story behind that. I’ve explained it several times, you must have missed it. You might not consider it an explanation, but it’s all I got.

    Not sure exactly when, maybe 2002 or 2003 I was asked by the DI to sign. At least two things led to my signing: 1) I recognized the statement was void of actual substance. That should have been a warning that the reason to collect signatures on a meaningless statement would be for political purposes, but I was stupid. 2) I was, I’m embarrassed to admit, flattered to be asked. I was out of academia and research at that point, and it somehow made me feel like a professor again. I don’t know why. And I didn’t know about the Wedge document, etc. I simply thought a group of scientists/Christians like myself wanted me to join them, so I did.

    For a year or so after that I was a cheerleader. Then I started to dig deeper, do a lot of reading. I started blogging about the need for real science in ID, and then as John correctly stated I had a major falling out.

    That’s it, If that’s not good enough for you, I don’t care.

  25. #25 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008


    That merely shows you – and I have to agree with tho1138 on this – that the Discovery Institute really operates as a crypto-Fascist totalitarian organization. If they truly respected people’s liberties, then they would have honored the requests of those signatories wishing to have their names removed from this petition.


  26. #26 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008


    Thanks for enlightening us (And I do mean this without any sarcasm.). Although our motives may differ, I hope you can at least acknowledge my own efforts in fighting the DI as much as I have been made aware of yours courtesy of both Abbie and Wesley’s information (At the very least, I think you owe Abbie and me an apology for your Jodie Foster / John Hinckley comment which you posted elsewhere at Our friendship doesn’t even remotely resemble that, for heaven’s sake.).

    Sincerely yours,


  27. #27 heddle
    July 11, 2008


    Absolutely. And I do owe both of you an apology for that comment, which I now offer.

  28. #28 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008


    Let me take this opportunity to apologize to you for calling you a “Discovery Institute IDiot Borg drone”. Unfortunately, you sounded just like one and I jumped to conclusions immediately. Incidentally, I have made this very observation to both Abbie and Wesley in a private e-mail that I sent to them earlier today.



  29. #29 ERV
    July 11, 2008


    Im glad you two are cool now, and I must apologize to Heddle for just flying off the handle at AtBC, and not being direct with him. If it makes you feel better, Heddle, I do this to Orac all the time.

    Since Im an April Child, I forget not everyone is psychic 😛

  30. #30 John Kwok
    July 11, 2008


    No problem. You remind me of my sister, and I mean that as a compliment, since she’s the brilliant one in the family. Her birthday is nine days after yours.



  31. #31 James F
    July 11, 2008


    Prof. Heddle,

    I greatly appreciate your candid explanation. Indeed, I missed your prior explanations, as I’m relatively new to scienceblogs. I was honestly curious and meant nothing negative by it. I know, as Abbie noted, that once the DI gets your signature they just keep it on.

    Now that I’ve got a hold of you, though, I’d like to digress and ask you a trivial point: what is the significance of the macron over the scarlet A in your Panda’s Thumb avatar? Just curious. Thanks!

  32. #32 heddle
    July 11, 2008

    James F,

    The bar over the top is the mathematical symbol for “anti” or “opposite.” For example, in physics a p represents a proton, a while a p with a bar on top is an antiproton. Thus, in a double negative sense, I am declaring that I am an anti-a-theist, or the opposite of an atheist. That is, a theist.

  33. #33 James F
    July 11, 2008

    Ahhh, now I understand. I knew it wasn’t the statistical mean of atheism, at least! 🙂

  34. #34 Lledowyn
    July 11, 2008

    Since Im an April Child, I forget not everyone is psychic 😛

    Aaahhhh… the woo of ERV in full display… 😉

  35. #35 questioner
    July 12, 2008

    John Kwok,

    Thanks for answering my question about your degrees. My suspicion was incorrect then, I apologize for that. What led to my suspicion was how you potrayed the cambrian explosion in your review. Maybe I am misreading what you intend it to mean, but you say and seem to imply that the cambrian explosion (CE) took place over 80my. Are you saying this reflects the spread of research opinion on the matter or are you making the more limited point that one prominent researcher views it that way? Also, are you saying the CE has not been and is not currently an evolutionary difficulty?

    Thanks for responding and btw my bachelor of science degree from Purdue Univ. with a heavy background in math, geology, astronomy and have for the past 8yrs continued to independently study senior-graduate level textbooks about them and biology.

  36. #36 John Kwok
    July 12, 2008

    Dear questioner,

    Don Prothero has summarized what is known about the diversification of metazoans from the late Precambrian to early Ordovician. This is based on decades of research by paleontologists, stratigraphers, and other geologists working in the former Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China, Canada (primarily Newfoundland and, of course, British Columbia, where the original Burgess Shale fossils were found) and Australia. Now, as I did note in my review of “Understanding Intelligent Design”, the best exposures for looking at the entire sedimentary sequence from the late Precambrian through the early Ordovician are in Eurasia, within the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that Russian and Chinese scientists have made most of our important contributions towards our understanding of this particular interval in Earth’s history, especially from the 1970s onwards. While it is true that metazoan body plans did emerge over a period of 10 to 20 million years from the late Precambrian into the early and middle Cambrian, the actual taxonomic diversity was rather low, with no more than tens of genera with a few species within each genus. So for these reasons, I have to concur with Don Prothero’s assessment of the “Cambrian Explosion” as a “Cambrian Slow Fuse” (Incidentally, his specialty is the evolutionary history of rhinos, not the Cambrian metazoan fauna itself, so his assessment is a valid and insightful one.).



  37. #37 DC
    July 13, 2008

    So I’m desperately disappointed there isn’t actually going to be a green buttocks on a new ID tome.

  38. #38 questioner
    July 15, 2008

    John Kwok,

    I agree – that range of cambrian explosion 10-20 my is a reasonable one (anywhere from 6 – slightly over 20 my has been supported in the literature). The explosion itself is usually anchored around 530 mya with extensions slightly before and ending at the beginning of the middle cambrian (just younger than 520 mya).

    The challenge of the explosion that has been the center of so much research is the existence of many abrupt and diverse representation of soft and skeletonized phyla bodyplans. Only skelentonized phyla absent is Bryozoa which doesnt make an entrance until beginning of the Ordovician which is what Prothero must be bracketing as the end date in his skeletonized arrangement.

    Simon Conway Morris, I think, was the first to use the term ‘slow fuse’ in research discussing Late Neoproterozoic. The minute and questionable affinity of nearly all of this type of fauna save for possible sponge and cnidarian like examples has preplexed researchers. Finding strained stem examples of the rest of Cambrian phyla has not met with success. Prothero must be thinking of the weakly skeletonized forms of cloudina and other tube, or cone type fossils for his start date in his arrangement.

    Sources are pre/cambrian researchers include: Valentine, Knoll, Conway Morris, Erwin, Chen, Xiao. Valentine has a good summary volume of the latest.

  39. #39 John Kwok
    July 15, 2008


    No, it’s not only Prothero. He’s not an invertebrate paleobiologist, so he’s relying upon work by Conway Morris, Valentine, Erwin and Knoll (By Chen, I hope you don’t mean Paul Chien, who is a “biologist” and Discovery Institute fellow teaching at the University of San Francisco.). I would also refer you to work done by Runnegar and Seilacher as other important researchers on this time interval; in fact, would probably rank them alongside Conway Morris, Knoll, Valentine and Erwin in their importance.



  40. #40 questioner
    July 17, 2008

    Hi John,

    The Chen I am referring to is J.Y. Chen who has done a lot of research particularly with the Chengjiang fauna. He has too many to cite here but you can find them with a quick search. He has also worked on Late Neoproterozoic fossils.

    Thanks for the mention of Runnegar and Seilacher. I have heard of them before. Seilacher is known for Late NeoProterozoic fauna that he named Vendobiota and worked on early Cambrian I believe. Runnegar as well worked in the similar fossil time frames as Seilacher.

    I listed those researchers those who were prominent and that came to mind and whose information I was using for my synopsis. It’s definitely not exhaustive so I’m not implying because they didn’t make the list they didn’t contribute; definitely not :).

    I did a search on the USF website for the Chien you referred to. You are correct – he is a biology prof; has 2 BS degress in Biology and Chemistry and a Ph.d in Marine Biology.

    Thanks for the conversation and unless you have a question I’ll let this thread end after reading what you post next.

  41. #41 John Kwok
    July 17, 2008

    Hi questioner,

    Glad to be of assistance. IMHO, the most important recent researchers within this time interval have been Seilacher, Runnegar, Conway Morris, Valentine and Erwin. I believe that there’s been too, important work by several Russians, including one named Fedonkin.

    As for James W. Valentine, he’s on my list of the five most important American invertebrate paleontologists since 1950; the others include Norman D. Newell, John Imbrie (a college professor of mine), David M. Raup and Stephen J. Gould. Valentine literally “created” the field of evolutinary paleoecology, and has been one of our most original thinkers.



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