William Gibbons, Take 3

Our intrepid creationist, William Gibbons, is back again. You might remember him from a year ago when I challenged him to explain the evidence from biostratigraphy, a challenge he has still not even attempted to meet. A couple weeks ago, he was back with a long reply of plagiarized and uncredited cutting and pasting as a reply. And now he is back again. But first, he's quite tweaked that I dared to take him to task for plagiarism:

It would seem that it is quite unacceptable for a creationist to use and quote from creationist and non-creationist sources when answering critics. It is perfectly plausible, however, for an evolutionist to quote, use, and parrot from evolutionist sources.

Leaving aside the fact that he apparently thinks that "plausible" and "acceptable" can be used interchangably, his argument here is quite silly. If you're going to quote someone, you ought to say that you're quoting them and give them credit for the work, and that applies to everyone regardless of what their views on this issue happen to be. In a private email, Gibbons offered a somewhat different excuse:

I was not writing a dissertation for any school or university, but challenging evolution on a garden variety Blog. Therefore who would charge me with a breech of ethics except an evolutionist?

So apparently, he thinks that copyright laws and the basic courtesy that any genuine scholar would automatically extend to others only applies in certain circumstances. But I would argue that it is unethical in all situations to represent the words of someone else as your own. If you are going to use their work, you ought to give them the attribution for doing the work. And this is not only a matter of ethics, it's a matter of copyright law as well. Plagiarism is wrong, regardless of where it takes place. But bear in mind that this is only a minor issue. I offered a long and detailed critique of the substantive claims contained in the plagiarized material without any substantive response at all.

He did send me another multipage essay by email, which I will address and critique below. It is long on rhetoric and short on substance and some of it is just downright funny. He begins by talking about the big bang, which he falsely describes as the explosion of a "cosmic egg". I'm not going to bother to address this because it is entirely irrelevant. Evolution deals with biodiversity on earth, not with the origin of the universe and even if big bang cosmology was proven completely false it would have nothing to do with whether the theory of evolution is true or not. Likewise his questions about abiogenesis, which is a fascinating subject but the validity of evolutionary theory does not depend upon it. If you wish to assume that God put the first self-replicating life form on earth, fine by me. Now on to the evolution stuff:

In covering this in an early post,I would again point to the so-called Cambrian explosion, 600 million years ago, where all kinds of complex life forms suddenly 'appeared' and without any race oftransitional ancestors. You have argued that fossilization is a difficult process. However, if we have fossilized algea, bacteriaworms, why not transitional forms that gave rise to highly complex triobites,fishesor even sea urchins?

First, notice that when he's not plagiarizing, he has a little trouble with accuracy. In his last reply, the Cambrian explosion was dated at 500-550 million years ago, now it's 600 million years ago. And this is hardly a nitpicking distinction. The entire creationist argument rests upon compressing this period into as small a time as possible. In fact, the Cambrian period began 540 million years ago. 600 million years takes us well back into the precambrian period. Second, notice that he has picked out only one of the statements I made and ignored everything else. I didn't just argue that fossilization is a "difficult process", I argued that we are far more likely to have fossils of animals with hard parts, particularly exoskeletons like trilobites have, than of animals without them. It's not a coincidence that a huge percentage of all of the fossils in existence are of animals with shells, those skeletons are far more likely to fossilize and that is simply reality. But he completely ignores the entire argument wherein I quote the Christian geologist Keith Miller (with attribution, I might add) about all of the precambrian fossils we have now discovered and how they do in fact show ancestral and transitional forms to the Cambrian biota. All of that data is ignored without so much as a mention. Why? Because it answers his objections so it's best to stick one's head in the sand and pretend it's not there. He also ignores the substantive critique of the misleading argument about "all modern phyla" appearing in the Cambrian, misleading because it fails to communicate the reality that virtually none of the plants and animals on earth today existed during the Cambrian - no mammals, no birds, no reptiles, no amphibians, not even any insects or flowers. The notion that modern life forms just "jumped" into existence in the Cambrian is simply false.

Bird Evolution: As I had mentioned before, crow-sized birds have been found in Dockum Strata that would make them 225 millions years old. This is right at the beginning when the first dinosaurs appeared, and 75 million years before archaeopteryx appeared. Yet these earlier birds did not possess claws on their wings or teeth in their beaks. One would expect birds older than archaeopteryx to be much more reptile-like, but they are much like modern birds. Furthermore, the early birds that did have teeth possessed straight peg-like teeth (different from the angled, serrated teeth of theropods.) They also had a completely different kind of tooth implantation and replacement.

He is referring here to the Chatterjee bird, or Protoavis. But in fact, this is still a highly suspect specimen and the jury is still out on it, for several reasons. As Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology says on the subject of Protoavis:

One problem with Protoavis is that the bones were not found in an articulated skeleton, and had to be pieced together. In this situation, there is always the possibility of mixing up bones from different organisms. This has happened often enough in the past to make many paleontologists wary when discussing Protoavis. Dr. Kevin Padian of the UC Museum of Paleontology believes that Protoavis is probably a mixture of two or more different skeletons, and several other paleontologists concur in this interpretation. Other paleontologists accept Protoavis as a single organism but put its birdlike features down to convergent evolution: Protoavis might be an early dinosaur or other diapsid that had evolved some birdlike features but was not on the lineage leading directly to modern birds. Several other Triassic diapsids, including forms not directly related to the archosaurs, show some convergent features with birds. The true story of Protoavis will probably remain a controversial topic for paleontologists for quite some time.

Until we have more evidence, and an articulated specimen, we just don't know what to make of this creature. But the fact is that we know have numerous species of dinosaurs that had feathers and they show a wide range of traits. Some had teeth and some did not, for instance (modern birds do not have teeth at all). But cladistic analysis in fact suggests that birds are dinosaurs and belong in the same clade. That alone is compelling evidence of ancestry.

Whale Evolution: Most textbooks now assert that the first whales evolved from an early group of hoofed mammals called mesonychids. The mesoychids lived 55 million years ago apparently, but there is absolutely nothing to link them to primitive whales.

Boy, Gibbons just can't keep his claims straight. Now he says that evolution claims that whales evolved from mesonychids. But in his last reply, he presented a quote from Phillip Gingerich in which he says that paleontologists were wrong about that and in fact whales evolved from artiodactyls.

"Until now paleontologists thought whales had evolved from mesonychians, an extinct group of land-dwelling carnivores, while molecular scientists studying DNA were convinced they descended from artiodactyls [even-toed ungulate]. The paleontologists, and I am one of them, were wrong." P.D. Gingerich, N.A. Wells, D.E. Russell, and S.M.I. Shah, Science 220(4595):403-6, 22 April 1983.

By the way, this quote was from Gingerich, but not from any of the others listed. And it wasn't said in 1983. Or in Science magazine. But other than that, he got it right. But it's amusing to me that in his previous reply he quotes a scientist correcting himself and admitting error, and uses this as evidence for why we shouldn't believe anything scientists say, yet now he's pretending as though that correction never happened and that scientists still think that whales evolved from mesonychids. As I said before, Gibbons has found Gingerich and other scientists guilty of flagrantly and wantonly doing science.

Human evolution is hotly contested among some of the top evolutionary anthropologists. Johanson and Richard Leakey have both made significant finds, according to evolutionary scientists, but they cannot even agree on the basics of where we ought to start.The best examples so far haveAustralopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, early homo, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens.evolutionary (physical) anthropologists Charles Oxnard and Lord Zuckerman conducted a fifteen-year study of A. aferensis and concluded that they did not walk upright in a human manner (at least not habitually) and were certainly not our ancestors.

There's just one problem with this - virtually every word of it is nonsense. Gibbons can't even be troubled to recount the standard creationist arguments accurately, for crying out loud. Oxnard and Zuckerman did not do a study of A.afarensis togehter. The "15 year study" that he refers to is from Zuckerman and it was done in the late 40s and early 50s, before A. afarensis (the famous Lucy skeleton was of this species) was even discovered. He published his work in the 1950s, claiming that the australopithicenes were apes, but he lost the debate back then and they are taken even less seriously today having so much additional evidence. Oxnard, on the other hand, does accept that Lucy was bipedal at least much of the time. In fact, no paleontologist today denies that A. afarensis was bipedal. The only debated question is whether they were also arboreal part of the time (meaning that they could walk upright, but also spent a good deal of time in the trees) because they show some adaptations for both. And it is simply a lie to claim that Oxnard says that A. afarensis were "certainly not our ancestors", nor did Zuckerman say that.

In 1974 Mary Leakey and her team found a set of hominid footprints at Lately (sic), Tanzania. The footprints were remarkably similar to the kind that would have been left by a small, unshod human being, but they were dated at 3.5 million years.

The footprints he refers to are in Laetoli, not "lately", and the dating is 3.7 million years ago. But the fact is that they could just as easily have been left by an australopithicene or an early homo species. As my friend Jim Foley wrote:

Tuttle (1990) thinks the footprints are too human-like to belong to A. afarensis, and suggests they may belong to another species of australopithecine, or an early species of Homo. Johanson, who has often said that Lucy was fully adapted to a modern style of bipedality, claims (Johanson and Edgar 1996) that the A. afarensis foot bones found at Hadar, when scaled down to an individual of Lucy's size, fit the prints perfectly. Stern and Susman (1983), who have argued that Lucy's foot and locomotion were bipedal but not yet fully human-like, believe that the footprints show subtle differences from human prints and could have been made by afarensis. Clarke (1999) believes that the Laetoli tracks could have been made by feet very similar to those of the new australopithecine fossil Stw 573.

In short, there is a wide range of opinions about the nature of the footprints and whether A. afarensis could have made them. Most creationists usually cite only Tuttle, whose conclusions they find most convenient. The most honest conclusion, for now, is to admit that although no-one can be entirely sure what made the Laetoli footprints, it seems quite likely that they belonged to australopithecines.

Here is perhaps my favorite part of his reply. It's astonishing to me that so many creationists believe that this is an argument against evolution, and it only shows that they have no understanding whatsoever of how evolution operates:

Much of the fossil evidence reveals that many of our alleged ape-ancestors were contemporaries and sometimes overlapped one another.

No kidding. And this is a problem for evolution why? Of course they overlapped one another. You and your parents also overlapped one another and existed at the same time. Because creationists are so ignorant of what evolutionary theory actually says, they actually believe that an entire species turns into a new species as a group and that the ancestral species immediately ceases to exist when the new one evolves. But this is nonsense, a cartoonish caricature of evolution with no basis in reality. New species split off from already existing species, usually when they become isolated from the rest of the group by some environmental event. The reproductive isolation allows independent evolution of new traits. But the ancestral species and the daughter species both continue to exist until one or both of them become extinct. This argument is like saying that the people in Australia could not have come from England because there are still people in England. Pure stupidity.

Biology & Genetics: science has revealed many remarkable secrets through generations of careful study and experimentation. All our accumulated knowledge in these fields has indeed established that genetic drift, genetic recombination, "jumping genes" gene frequencies, and mutations do happen. However, these result in either a loss of genetic information, reshuffling of available genetic information, or the copying of current genetic information. Not one of these processes has ever resulted in a gain of NEW information in the genome that would be required to allow macroevolution to occur, nor has any amount of carefully controlled experimentation proved that this has happened at any time in the past.

This "new information" argument is so profoundly silly. The reason the argument is absurd, in my view, is that it presumes, or at least implies, a serious misunderstanding of what evolution requires. It seems to presume that there is a simple way to measure the amount of information in the genome and that evolution requires with each successive change a mere increase in the total amount of information. The person asking the question must have the notion that evolution progresses by successive and discrete additions of information with each new...what? Each new mutation? Each new mutation that is preserved? Each new trait developed within a species? Each new species that splits off? This goes unspoken. In and of itself, the question makes little sense. How would one measure a raw increase of information? An increase in the number of chromosomes? An increase in the number of genes or base pairs per chromosome? This also goes unspoken. If all they are asking for is a mere increase in the total amount of genetic information in the genome, then we know of several mechanisms by which it can not only increase, but double with a single mutation. That's what polyploidy does, and we observe polyploidy all the time, especially in plants. Gene duplication would also increase the total amount of information in the genome. As Dawkins points out in his response, the crested newt has a genome several times larger than the human genome, which is the result of gene duplication. And that fact, at the least, means that the unspoken assumption of the question above - that there is a correlation between the amount of information in the genome, as opposed to how the information is expressed in the phenotype is the key to evolution - is false.

It should also be said that an increase in the amount of information in the genome is not required for a new trait to emerge, and this has also been observed. For example, the nylon-eating bacteria. A single frame shift mutation allows for an entirely new trait - the ability to metabolize nylon. We know that this is a new trait for the obvious reason that nylon didn't exist a few decades ago. This frame shift mutation neither increases or decreases the amount of information, it simply shifts the sequence by a nucleotide or two. Yet an entirely new trait evolves and is preserved, and the amount of information has nothing to do with it. That's why I say it's an absurd question, because it betrays, at the very least, a serious oversimplification of evolutionary genetics.

And now that he's done with silly factual claims, he moves on to breathless rhetoric that I'm sure my readers will find every bit as amusing as I do:

Evolution, however, has ruled the roost for far too long. Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins and Eugenie Scott are given unprecedented access to the media to attack and vilify those who dare to question them. Asimov, after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Duane Gish during a public debate on origins, said that he laughedat Christ and Christianity. Gould and Sagan whole-heartedly agreed. All three have since passed on, and I often wonder if any of them are still laughing. Richard Dawkins delights in attacking creationism with shocking hostility, but refuses to debate Gish or any scientifically qualified creationist for that matter. Spouting humanistic rubbish dressed up as science to a class of captive students is considerably easier than having to actually prove your case to someone who actually knows what they are talking about. Dr. Eugenie Scott who heads the pretentiously named National Center For Science Education is another virulent atheist. The real purpose of that organization is not to promote good science, but to enforce humanism and atheism at any cost, and often with the help of their friends in the ACLU. The very fact that Dr. Scott has a portrait of Charles Darwin hanging on the wall behind her desk says it all.

Oh my god, a portrait of Darwin behind her desk! Burn in hell, you heathen wench! I'm sorry, but this had me laughing out loud at the screen. Is this what they teach you when you get a "PhD" in "creation science apologetics"? It's always funny to me to hear people I know described by people who don't know them. Genie Scott is a friend of mine. I assure you that should you ever meet her the word "virulent" will not be one that comes to mind. I actually have no idea whether Genie is an atheist or not, nor do I care. But she's not a virulent anything. She's a delightful and charming person and a damn sight better educated than Mr. Gibbons. What is the point of saying that these prominent evolutionary scholars were atheists? Many others are not. Francisco Ayala is a Christian, as are Ken Miller, Keith Miller, Howard Van Till, Wes Elsberry and many other prominent evolution defenders. Does this mean that evolution is inherently atheistic or Christian? Neither, of course. The religious views of an individual has nothing to do with whether evolution is true or not. But this is the sort of heated and inflammatory rhetoric that one must engage in when they have nothing of substance to offer.

One last thing. In an email, Gibbons actually said:

There are no dishonest assertions or mis-quotes. The very reason why the source materials were quoted with issues, volume and page numbers is for you to check the sources.

This, mind you, while he did not bother to respond to my quote-by-quote dismantling of his previous reply. His "quote" from Sean Carroll's book was not a quote at all. In fact, it was two small fragments of a much larger paragraph, and not even in the correct order (the material after the ellipses was actually before the material before the ellipses). The quote from Gingerich was from the wrong publication and nearly 20 years off on the date. All of the quoted material on Archaeopteryx was blatantly false and distorted the avian traits of the specimen. This is what happens when you steal material that quotes other material without bothering to actually read the original sources.


Which brings me to one thing, would you be willing to participate in a face-to-face debate? I do not know where in the USA your are located, but I would be happy to participate. After all, you will be on home ground, and as you have all the facts on your side, an easy victory over a creationist would be assured. How about it?

As much as I enjoy a good oral debate (I used to coach debate in my younger days), the answer is no. The reason is because oral debates are a transient, temporary and poor format for such discussions. I'd much rather have that debate here, in writing, where the full text is preserved for all to see well into the future. That way when you say that you didn't have any misquotes, a reader may simply follow the link to the previous exchange, find the citation and look it up for themselves. There is no point in trying to squeeze into a small time frame what can more accurately be done in writing here. I look forward to you crowing like a rooster about how I "refused" or "backed down" from your challenge. Rest assured that I will react with approximately the same amount of laughter with which I greeted being put on Karl Priest's "debate dodgers" list. Good day.

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You said:

What is the point of saying that these prominent evolutionary scholars were atheists?

Because from Gibbons' point of view anyone who argues against "Intelligent Design" is arguing against the existance of God. His behavior is due to the fact that since he has a fanatical religious belief in the Christian God that if "Intelligent Design" does not exist, then not only does he not have answers to his questions, he also has to question his faith.

This is my first time reading your blog. Wow, that was fun. I am a rhetorician and that kind of careful argumentative dissection is a pleasure to read. It was also very educational, my compliments on the execution.

It is a pity you would not do an oral debate although I certainly understand the reason, especially given Mssr. Gibbons penchant for misquoting, distorting, or just plain making stuff up. I am, however, always curious to see how such dogmatic and ill-informed advocates respond in the moment when they cannot answer or even understand the arguments directed at them. Kind of a debaters' version of rubber-necking I guess.

From the "evolution ruling the roost too long" excerpt, though, I get the feeling that Gibbons' internal monologue is interfering with his ability to listen. Its as if evolutionary theory is wilting in the heat of the mighty knights of creationism. Please.

I cannot wait for the next semester to start, I have some humanistic rubbish to spout to my captive students.

And I will certainly consider assigning some of this exchange in my discussions on evidence and norms of argument in science.

Some Guy wrote:

It is a pity you would not do an oral debate although I certainly understand the reason, especially given Mssr. Gibbons penchant for misquoting, distorting, or just plain making stuff up. I am, however, always curious to see how such dogmatic and ill-informed advocates respond in the moment when they cannot answer or even understand the arguments directed at them. Kind of a debaters' version of rubber-necking I guess.

Well, I've been involved in this issue long enough to have seen lots and lots of such debates and they all go pretty much the same way. Evolution is, of course, a very complex theory involving an enormous range of issues. Creationists can throw out 25 one line quips, each of which takes at least a couple of minutes to explain why the question is based on a misconception, what the evidence really says, and so forth. And if you answer one or five or ten of them, they simply bring up more. A creationist can throw out three false claims all in a single paragraph - "We see out of order fossils all over the place. In the Paluxy river in Texas, there are human footprints next to dinosaur footprints. In Colorado, there's a human sandle print over the top of a trilobite that evolutionists say went extinct millions of years ago. And in Tanzania there are human footprints that their dating says are over 3 million years old." - and those three claims would take at least 5 minutes to explain what he's referring to, what the evidence actually shows, and why the claims are false. By the time you've done that, he's ready with 10 more of them. It's so common that it even has a name, the Gish Gallop.
As much as I enjoy oral debates, the written form is much better for examining a complex issue. You don't have a strict time limit, you can write 800 words to debunk a one line false argument, and you can actually supply references that can be checked.

A creationist can throw out three false claims all in a single paragraph ... and those three claims would take at least 5 minutes to explain what he's referring to, what the evidence actually shows, and why the claims are false. By the time you've done that, he's ready with 10 more of them. It's so common that it even has a name, the Gish Gallop.

And even if you fully answer 10 of the 25 or so claims, they will declare victory in the end because you were "unable" to answer the 15 remaining claims.

By Troy Britain (not verified) on 03 Aug 2005 #permalink

Ah yes, and what is particulary revealing about that tactic (the Gish Gallop) is that it really says one is serious about scholarly debate don't you think? You know, giving the interlocutor time to really engage and explore what is the best argument. Real scholars don't attempt to bury other scholars and then claim victory based on unanswered verbiage.

Glad you could use some of my material, Ed. I'm disappointed that Gibson didn't choose to discuss all those 'early Homo', but not surprised because all creationists seem to develop blind spots concerning them. Mr. Gibson, please do a bit of research and come back and tell us what ER 1470, OH 24, ER 1813, ER 3733 and the Dmanisi skulls are.

Mr. Gibson, please do a bit of research and come back and tell us what ER 1470, OH 24, ER 1813, ER 3733 and the Dmanisi skulls are.

They're apes! Err, wait, they're humans! No that can't be right, they're apes! Um no, they're humans...

You're an atheist!

By Troy Britain (not verified) on 03 Aug 2005 #permalink

Evolution is, of course, a very complex theory involving an enormous range of issues.

And as if that wasn't enough, they'll haul abiogenesis, cosmology, information theory, atheism, Social Darwinism and lots of other issues that are at best only tangentally related to the biological theory of evolution. The depth of their understanding in these fields is likely measureable at the sub-micron level, by usually they can find some area where the person they are debating is not knowledgable at all, and proudly proclaim how that person can't answer their "evidence".

The way to go if you go at all is to insist on a written debate with a clearly delineated topic from which they cannot stray.

What gets me riled up is the sheer arrogance. Creationists routinely stomp into The Panda's Thumb and claim they've studied evolution "thoroughly" when all they've done is cribbed talking points from Hovind and his ilk. They apparently don't know (or don't care) that at the Thumb they're often talking to ACTUAL SCIENTISTS.

By Savagemutt (not verified) on 04 Aug 2005 #permalink

Jim Foley wrote:

Glad you could use some of my material, Ed.

I use it all the time. For those who don't know, Jim is the man behind the Hominids FAQ at the TalkOrigins Archive. It's an incredible resource for information on human evolution, with pictures and descriptions of every hominid skull ever found, answers to creationist arguments about them, and much more. I can't imagine how many hours of work he has put into it over the years, but it's really an exceptional resource.

Because creationists are so ignorant of what evolutionary theory actually says, they actually believe that an entire species turns into a new species as a group and that the ancestral species immediately ceases to exist when the new one evolves.

Ahh, the old "why are there still monkeys" argument, a personal favorite of mine.

I must give Gibbons credit for 1 thing; I wasn't aware that Asimov debated these loons. I think I like him even more now.

Greetings All,

I have read all replies with some interest. Well, it does seem that creationists are hitting where it hurts, judging by your replies.

I shall be happy to reply to each point and will be careful to quote AND give credit when using other resources. It might take me a few days, but this red-haired Scot doesn't run from a fight, particularly when it is started by smug, self-assured humanistic Americans.

Best Wishes,

William J. Gibbons

Now this should be good. I'm off to get my popcorn. I suggest that Mr. Gibbons bring his flak jacket.

I have read all replies with some interest. Well, it does seem that creationists are hitting where it hurts, judging by your replies.

Actually, Mr. Gibbons, as far as I'm concerned, creationists are showing that they are showing themselves to be horse's hind ends. If you wish to keep american children in ignorance of real science, it's no problem with me. We don't have any children, and never will. This discussion about creationism is nothing more than an intellectual exercise for me.

Scientific research will continue going abroad, to Europe and the Far East. It won't stop. And it won't include this "creationism" nonsense. If that's what you want, why don't you just say so?

I notice Gibbons' URL directs us to something called "creationgeneration-dot-org," which is now vacant and used as generic advertizing space. Why does this seem so...appropriate?

I also notice that Gibbons is taking the total debunking of his arguments as a victory: the fact that we actually go out of our way to prove his ignorance and dishonesty, only proves how central and important he is. Truly a legend in his own mind...

Greetrings all,

A quick note to all you educated secularists who are replying to Brayton's critique of my most recent posting. If you are going to call me names and attack all creationists in general , then have the courage to use your real names. Monkers like "savagemutt" "Some Guy" "Oolong" "ragingbee" and "raj" do not cut it.

Even if you are all too cowardly to debate us publicly face-to-face, then at least whip up the courage to tell us who you actually are.

Yours Sincerely,

William J. Gibbons

By William J. Gibbons (not verified) on 10 Aug 2005 #permalink

Greetrings all,

A quick note to all you educated secularists who are replying to Brayton's critique of my most recent posting. If you are going to call me names and attack all creationists in general , then have the courage to use your real names. Monikers like "savagemutt" "Some Guy" "Oolong" "ragingbee" and "raj" do not cut it.

Even if you are all too cowardly to debate us publicly face-to-face, then at least whip up the courage to tell us who you actually are. And, if is not too much trouble, then read the rebuttles to your own humanist tripe at www.trueorigins.org which is more than a match for your one-sided "talk origins" site. Warning, it takes "reading," that is, so pay attention. That is, if you can read.

Yours Sincerely,

William J. Gibbons
www.creationgeneration.net

Greetings,

I will be answering Mr. Brayton's post shortly. As for the rest of you, at least Jim Foley has the courage to use his (presumably) real name. By the way, Mr. Foley, my surname is 'Gibbons' not 'Gibson.' And yes, I will answer your questions on the hominid skulls that you have mentioned.

As for the post by Matthew, Asimov stopped debating creationists for two reasons: Firstly, he was creamed by Gish in a face-to-face debate, and secondly Carl Sagan appealed to his fellow athiests to stop debating creationists after a series of very public humiliating defeats. Not of course, that you would agree. By the way Matthew, either stop the name calling or debate me publicly. As you are unwilling to do the latter (as with everyone on this forum), then perhaps you could stop the former? Much appreciated, thank you.

My next post will be an answer to Mr Braytons comments, and each one of your individual comments.

Best Wishes,

William J. Gibbons

Missed this:

Dave, from above:

And as if that wasn't enough, they'll haul abiogenesis, cosmology, information theory, atheism, Social Darwinism and lots of other issues that are at best only tangentally related to the biological theory of evolution.

Actually none of the things that you listed have anything to do with Darwin's theory of evolution. Social Darwinism is the worst example. Darwin's theory attempts to describe what is. Social Darwinism purports to describe what ought to be. There is more than a bit of a difference.

Mr. Gibbons: it is you who are behaving in a cowardly fashion, by lapsing into insults and changing the subject to our use of assumed names after your arguments for ID have been refuted. Your arguments will stand or fall regardless of what we call ourselves.

As for the rest of you, at least Jim Foley has the courage to use his (presumably) real name.

Get off your high horse, Mr. Gibbons. I don't know of anyone else, but I've been using "raj" as my handle on web sites for at least a decade. They are my initials. It's easier to type than "richard allen jordan" which is what they stand for. Internet handles come and go, so as far as I'm concerned your comment is rather idiotic.

Regarding Asimov, by that time (I know the history) he had moved on to writing popular science books. He couldn't be bothered with debating creationists. Why should he have?

Ah,

"Raging Bee" tries to sting me with a charge of "cowardice?" What is your REAL name raging bee? Where are the "insults" you accuse me of? I only ask that people use their real names, (I like to know who I am dealing with). But then again, that's too much to ask for some people who want to hide behind the mask of secular humanism, isn't it?

I think Richard Allen Jordaon sounds a lot better than the Islamic sounding "raj." And no, there is nothing "idiotic about my comments. If I was hiding behind a moniker to do battle with evolutionists, you would be asking me the same thing. But, I use my real name, my actual email address and website.

As for your comments about creationists, Mr. Jordan, it's so much easier to call people names than to defend your own position publicly in face-to-face debates, don't you think? I would ask for you to describe what you call "science," but I can guess. We will deal with this after I have answered Mr. Brayton's most recent post.

I should have my rebuttals available this week, and more. Sorry for the delay, but I do work for a livingquite apart from being busy with a number of urgent tasks, including a new book devoted to Mokele-mbembe.

William J. Gibbons

www.creationgeneration.net

I must admit, I don't see the hubbub either. For one, how do you know "oolong" isn't my name? Maybe I think "William J. Gibbons" sounds like a fake moniker and think you should use your real name. If I said my name was "John Smith" would that help matters any? Are you going to then ask for my address and fly/drive to my house and call me to account face-to-face? I mean come on. I'm with raj on this one.

As bee notes, arguments are either sound or not, valid or not, and this has nothing to do with who utters them.

Wow, Mr. Gibbons (if that's your real name), you're really defensive these days. Are you really afraid of having your "science" attacked by shadowy figures whose validity depends on whether you can find us in a phone book? Or are you just flailing about for another excuse to avoid arguing with someone who's already made a dog's breakfast of your previous arguments?

You've been called. Quit hemming and hawing and put your cards on the table already. We're waiting...not that we're putting any pressure on you or anything...

PS: You got something against "Islamic sounding" initials?

"...a new book devoted to Mokele-mbembe."

Cool! Just tell us when it comes out, and we'll look for it right next to Mark Fuhrman's book about the Schiavo case.

Maybe I am oversimplifying, but it seems pointless to me, to debate creationists. Correct me if i am wrong, but how can one debate an issue when both sides can't agree on what sources are authoritive?

Raging Bee,

I will post my reply as soon as I have completed my research, which WILL include giving credit and referencing all sources used.

I certainly concede to Mr. Brayton's point that I was careless in not doing this earlier, and will ensure that there is no repeat of this.

As for hemming and hawing, I simply want to know who I'm dealing with before we proceed, that is all.

William J. Gibbons

You're dealing with laymen of various faiths, and varying education/experience in the sciences, who seem to share a strong scepticism regarding the intelligence, logic, and honesty of the ID movement. What more do you need to know about us?

William Gibbons wrote:

I certainly concede to Mr. Brayton's point that I was careless in not doing this earlier, and will ensure that there is no repeat of this.

Well that's quite a change of tune. When I pointed this out the first time, you had two responses. First you whined about an imaginary unfairness:

It would seem that it is quite unacceptable for a creationist to use and quote from creationist and non-creationist sources when answering critics. It is perfectly plausible, however, for an evolutionist to quote, use, and parrot from evolutionist sources.

And then you scoffed at me pointing out that you had plagiarized almost your entire text and attempted to turn it around into something I did wrong, for crying out loud:

I was not writing a dissertation for any school or university, but challenging evolution on a garden variety Blog. Therefore who would charge me with a breech of ethics except an evolutionist?

Now suddenly, you "certainly concede" as though my point was just obvious all along and you had no reason to not accept it immediately. One wonders about this sudden change of tune. Were you just full of crap a couple weeks ago or are you pretending now to be far more reasonable than you really are?

William J. Gibbons

I think Richard Allen Jordaon sounds a lot better than the Islamic sounding "raj." And no, there is nothing "idiotic about my comments.

I apologize if I displeased you, Mr. Gibbons, but I've been using my initials "raj" on most message boards on which I've been posting over the last decade. Even FreeRepublic.com. Sometimes I have had to extend it to raj49 (1949 being my birth year) in some locales I've had to extend it to rajmgk, "mgk" being the initials of my (same sex) partner. I prefer to use "raj" in most of my comments to provide some modicum of continuity. Sometimes that is impossible, because "raj" has previously been taken, so I use "raj49" or "rajmgk" Get a grip.

Just to let you know, in the late 1990s someone on one of the boards, reacting to my handle "raj" suggested that I go back to India. It was hillarious. I had been posting there for some time and it was obvious that I had nothing to do with India. I had made it clear that I was raised in Cincinnati of parents from South Norfolk VA and Albany GA. Go back to India? I was literally rolling on the floor laughing when the poster raised that.

BTW, as far as I can tell, "Raj" (note the capital "R")is Hindi, not Islamic.

And, Mr. Gibbons, I'll overlook your apparent inability to spell my last name properly, even though it it is the same name of an important river in the Middle East. (Jordan)

Reply to Ed Brayton

Plagiarism

EB) Now suddenly, you "certainly concede" as though my point was just obvious all along and you had no reason to not accept it immediately. One wonders about this sudden change of tune. Were you just full of crap a couple weeks ago or are you pretending now to be far more reasonable than you really are?

WG) As I had stated earlier, I had given some thought to your comments and saw that yes, you were correct. I was careless, and should have taken greater care to have properly credited what sources I used. There was no "sudden change of tune." I was simply wrong, and so conceded the point and will ensure that all quoted sources will be credited in future. However, your vulgar and ungracious response only reveals your own intolerant attitude.

Cosmic/Organic Evolution

EB) He did send me another multipage essay by email, which I will address and critique below. It is long on rhetoric and short on substance and some of it is just downright funny. He begins by talking about the big bang, which he falsely describes as the explosion of a "cosmic egg". I'm not going to bother to address this because it is entirely irrelevant. Evolution deals with biodiversity on earth, not with the origin of the universe and even if big bang cosmology was proven completely false it would have nothing to do with whether the theory of evolution is true or not. Likewise his questions about abiogenesis, which is a fascinating subject but the validity of evolutionary theory does not depend upon it. If you wish to assume that God put the first self-replicating life form on earth, fine by me.

WG) On the contrary, if the Big Bang is where it all started, then the subject is very pertinent indeed to the whole question of origins. Evolutionary cosmologists assert that one of the principal elements of the Big Bang was hydrogen gas, which went on to turn itself into stars, planets, our solar system, including our own planet earth, with its an incredible diversity of life, including mankind with a three pound brain more complex than anything in the known universe! So, if the Big Bang theory is eventually proven false, then yes, this would have a very serious impact on the entire question of organic evolution on our planet.
WG) As for the first replicating systems, the onus is on you to prove that life appeared without a divine hand or any form of higher intelligence being involved. The early earth's atmosphere (we are told) contained methane, hydrogen, ammonia and water. From this, life eventually evolved from non-living chemicals around 3.8 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million years. This process eventually led (with innumerable "lucky chances") into fantastically complex single cell organisms and multi-cellular creatures. To quote from an evolutionary source: Dr David Green (Ph.D., Biochemistry) stated in his book Molecular Insights into the Living Process:
the macromolecule-to-cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area all is conjecture. The available facts do not provide a basis for postulating that cells arose on this planet.
If life did evolve on our planet, was there an atmosphere? If there were no ozone layer to protect the earth, any form of micro-biotic life would be destroyed by the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. If life evolved in the sea, further problems would have arisen as an aquatic environment favours depolymerization as opposed to polymerization. In other words, water would break down large molecules into simpler ones. This is hardly conducent towards an increase in complexity.
WG) Donald Voet and Judith G. Voet wrote:
Our hypothetical nucleic acid synthesis system is therefore analogous to the scaffolding used in the construction of a building. After the building has been erected the scaffolding is removed, leaving no physical evidence that it was ever there. Most of the statements in this section must therefore be taken as educated guesses. Without having witnessed the event, it seems unlikely that we shall ever be certain of how life arose. ( Donald Voet and Judith G. Voet, Biochemistry, John Wiley and Sons, New York, p. 23, 1995).

Cambrian Explosion

EB) First, notice that when he's not plagiarizing, he has a little trouble with accuracy. In his last reply, the Cambrian explosion was dated at 500-550 million years ago, now it's 600 million years ago. And this is hardly a nitpicking distinction. The entire creationist argument rests upon compressing this period into as small a time as possible. In fact, the Cambrian period began 540 million years ago. 600 million years takes us well back into the Precambrian period.

WG) Evolutionists Glenister, Witzke, Futuyma and Eldredge have all put the Camrian period between 540 to 600 million years in published literature. Hardly "nit picking" when sources like these can't get it right either!

EB) Second, notice that he has picked out only one of the statements I made and ignored everything else. I didn't just argue that fossilization is a "difficult process", I argued that we are far more likely to have fossils of animals with hard parts, particularly exoskeletons like trilobites have, than of animals without them. It's not a coincidence that a huge percentage of all of the fossils in existence are of animals with shells, those skeletons are far more likely to fossilize and that is simply reality. But he completely ignores the entire argument wherein I quote the Christian geologist Keith Miller (with attribution, I might add) about all of the Precambrian fossils we have now discovered and how they do in fact show ancestral and transitional forms to the Cambrian biota. All of that data is ignored without so much as a mention. Why? Because it answers his objections so it's best to stick one's head in the sand and pretend it's not there.

WG) If the evolutionary development of all Cambrian known fossils has indeed occurred, the fossil record would be jammed with their transitional ancestors. But we find none, unless the aforementioned Keith Miller knows something that other evolutionists do not. I challenge you to give me clear examples of the transitional ancestors of the Cambrian fossils, that show a continuous and unbroken lineage from simple single cell life forms to complex invertebrates with the step-by-step transitional forms that would have undoubtedly have existed in their millions, if not billions. Of course, Christians like Miller always win your approval - so long as they support evolution. Richard Dawkins wrote about the Cambrian fossils:
"It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." The Blind Watchmaker, 1987, p. 229.
EB) He also ignores the substantive critique of the misleading argument about "all modern phyla" appearing in the Cambrian, misleading because it fails to communicate the reality that virtually none of the plants and animals on earth today existed during the Cambrian - no mammals, no birds, no reptiles, no amphibians, not even any insects or flowers. The notion that modern life forms just "jumped" into existence in the Cambrian is simply false.
WG) Evolutionist, Richard Fortey who wrote:
"The beginning of the Cambrian period, some 545 million years ago, saw the sudden appearance in the fossil record of almost all the main types of animals (phyla) that still dominate the biota today". (Fortey, "The Cambrian Explosion Exploded?" Science, vol. 293, No 5529, 20 July 2001, p. 438-439.
WG) So go pick your bone with Fortey, who is a committed evolutionist and is apparently 5 million years out on his dating of the Cambrian period (according to you, Mr. Brayton). The Cambrian rocks are a rich source of many complex fossils. These include trilobites, clams, soft bodied and hard-bodied sponges, sea cucumbers, sea lilies, worms, snails, brachiopods, jellyfish, etc. These are all highly complex creatures, especially the trilobites that we are told evolved over hundreds of millions of years. If we look at older rocks were find the Precambrian, which has revealed fossilized remains of microscopic single celled, soft-bodied bacteria and algae. Such fossils have even been found in rocks as old as 3.8 billion years, according to evolutionary literature. If this is the case, then why are there no clear ancestors to the hard bodied complex creatures found in the Cambrian? If the simple evolved into the complex, then the transitional ancestors of all Cambrian life would have been preserved over such a vast expanse of time and at each stage of their evolutionary development.

Bird Evolution (Protoavis)

EB) Until we have more evidence, and an articulated specimen, we just don't know what to make of this creature. But the fact is that we know have numerous species of dinosaurs that had feathers and they show a wide range of traits. Some had teeth and some did not, for instance (modern birds do not have teeth at all). But cladistic analysis in fact suggests that birds are dinosaurs and belong in the same clade. That alone is compelling evidence of ancestry.

WG). More research has been done on Protoavis than is generally known. The evidence thus far strongly suggests that Protoavis qualifies as a bird. For example, Protavis has quill knobs on its forearms, a more avian skull than archaeopteryx, avian brain shape, avian eye sockets, and more bird-like jaw joints than archaeopteryx. While I agree than Protavis is still a subject of some controversy, this fossil was found in the early to mid-Triassic, a time when there were very few dinosaurs of any kind existed, and with no transitional ancestors. While there are a few evolutionary gadflies who argue against dinosaur-to-bird evolution, Protoavis is controversial mainly because it pushes bird evolution back before the therapods. Birds are classed as "aves," and the early birds with teeth all had straight peg-like teeth that were totally different from the slanted, serrated teeth of the theropods. And, early birds also possessed a totally different kind of tooth implantation and replacement than theropod dinosaurs to boot. Unless feathered dinosaurs far different from the later theropods appeared right at the beginning of dinosaur evolution. As for your "cladistic analysis" and "compelling ancestry" of bird evolution, tell me then:

How did solid bones evolve into hollow bones?
How did feathers evolve from scales?
How did cold-blooded animals reptiles evolve into warm blood birds (mammals)?
How did the highly efficient avian heart/lung/circulatory system evolve to enable some birds to fly at high altitudes?
How did birds evolve the ability to navigate across the globe by using the earth's magnetic field?

Whale Evolution

EB) Boy, Gibbons just can't keep his claims straight. Now he says that evolution claims that whales evolved from mesonychids. But in his last reply, he presented a quote from Phillip Gingerich in which he says that paleontologists were wrong about that and in fact whales evolved from artiodactyls.

WG). It is the evolutionists who cannot keep their stories straight. Evolutionist Lenny Flank wrote:
The first hint that they were probably right came in 1983, when researcher Phil Gingerich found a 52-million year old skull in shallow deposits in Pakistan. Although fragmentary, the skull had teeth that were nearly identical with those of Mesonychids and the Archaeocetes. The configuration of the bones at the rear of the skull, however, were different from those in the Mesonychids, and were identical to that of the Archaeocetes. Gingerich thus concluded that the animal, which he named Pakicetus, was a very primitive whale. "In time and in its morphology," Gingerich reported, "Pakicetus is perfectly intermediate, a missing link between earlier land mammals and later, full-fledged whales." (Gingerich, The Whales of Tethys, Natural History, April 1994, p. 86)

WG) Gingerich wrote:

"Until now paleontologists thought whales had evolved from mesonychians, an extinct group of land-dwelling carnivores, while molecular scientists studying DNA were convinced they descended from artiodactyls [even-toed ungulate]. The paleontologists, and I am one of them, were wrong." P.D. Gingerich, N.A. Wells, D.E. Russell, and S.M.I. Shah, Science 220(4595):403-6, 22 April 1983.

EB) By the way, this quote was from Gingerich, but not from any of the others listed. And it wasn't said in 1983.

WG) And yet you didn't give the correct source.

EB) As I said before, Gibbons has found Gingerich and other scientists guilty of flagrantly and wantonly doing science.

WG) fairy stories and plastic theories are not part of science. The entire premise of whale evolution is based on mere fragments and incomplete fossils. There is not a jot of evidence that any land mammal evolved into a whale. All fossil whales are complete, functional whales. Gingerich believes that Pakicetus a good example of an intermediate or transitional fossil. Yet, Pakicetus is known only from some cheek teeth and fragments of the skull and lower jaw, so we have no way of knowing what form of locomotion this creature had. But we do know that its hearing mechanism was that of a land mammal and that it was found in fluvial sediments with other land animals. Hardly compelling evidence for whale evolution, in spite of the imaginary drawings that have appeared in popular science journals and textbooks. The enormous biological changes that any terrestrial creature would have to undergo in order to evolve into a fully aquatic animal is simply staggering. First the creature would have to shed its fur coat and replace it with a thick coating of blubber (while at the same time regulating its body temperature to either avoid becoming inactive or dying). Then its pelvis would have to shrink without crushing its reproductive organs. Of course, it would also have to find a transitional mate in order to reproduce offspring that would also show the same state of transition or more advanced transition. Let's not mention the fact that it's nostrils would have to migrate from its snout to the top of its head, while its tail would have to evolve into the broad fluke of a whale and with the powerful muscles needed for propulsion. Interestingly, the Ambulocetus fossils that have also been touted as the ancestors of modern whales have been found in the lower to middle Eocene strata. Fossils of whales of the suborder Archeoceti have been found in lower Eocene strata, so Ambulocetus is unlikely to be an ancestor of modern whales.
Then there is the niggling matter of its highly sensitive and very advanced organic sonar for ocean navigation - more advanced than anything the US Navy operates today. If whale evolution did happen, again, the fossil record would be jammed with clearly recognizable transitional forms going back at least 52 million years or more according to evolutionary chronology. Where are they?

Human Evolution (Zuckerman and Lucy)

EB) There's just one problem with this - virtually every word of it is nonsense. Gibbons can't even be troubled to recount the standard creationist arguments accurately, for crying out loud. Oxnard and Zuckerman did not do a study of A.afarensis together. The "15 year study" that he refers to is from Zuckerman and it was done in the late 40s and early 50s, before A. afarensis (the famous Lucy skeleton was of this species) was even discovered. He published his work in the 1950s, claiming that the australopithicenes were apes, but he lost the debate back then and they are taken even less seriously today having so much additional evidence. Oxnard, on the other hand, does accept that Lucy was bipedal at least much of the time. In fact, no paleontologist today denies that A. afarensis was bipedal. The only debated question is whether they were also arboreal part of the time (meaning that they could walk upright, but also spent a good deal of time in the trees) because they show some adaptations for both. And it is simply a lie to claim that Oxnard says that A. afarensis were "certainly not our ancestors", nor did Zuckerman say that.
WG). Zuckerman stated that if special creation did not occur, then no scientist could deny that man evolved from some apelike creature, but;
"without leaving any fossil traces of the steps of the transformation." Solly Zuckerman (former Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government and Honorary Secretary of the Zoological Society of London), Beyond the Ivory Tower (New York: Taplinger Publishing Co., 1970), p. 64.
You stated that Zuckerman's work was carried out before Lucy was discovered. This is true, but you missed my point. Zuckerman's research established conclusively that the australopithecines were nothing but knuckle-walking apes, was performed on fossils that were younger than Lucy. Even if Lucy was bipedal and still adept to tree climbing, this still does not make her our ancestor, no matter how much you want an ape to be part of your family tree (pardon the pun). Although Zuckerman was an evolutionist, he never accepted the australopithecines as being directly ancestral to man. Other evolutionists did not accept his findings because he dared to put the australopithecines where they belonged - in the trees. So, my previous statement may have have been inaccurate, but it was not the "lie" you claim it to be.
Laetoli Footprints
EB/JF) Tuttle (1990) thinks the footprints are too human-like to belong to A. afarensis, and suggests they may belong to another species of australopithecine, or an early species of Homo. Johansen, who has often said that Lucy was fully adapted to a modern style of bipedality, claims (Johansen and Edgar 1996) that the A. afarensis foot bones found at Hadar, when scaled down to an individual of Lucy's size, fit the prints perfectly. Stern and Susman (1983), who have argued that Lucy's foot and locomotion were bipedal but not yet fully human-like, believe that the footprints show subtle differences from human prints and could have been made by afarensis. Clarke (1999) believes that the Laetoli tracks could have been made by feet very similar to those of the new australopithecine fossil Stw 573.

In short, there is a wide range of opinions about the nature of the footprints and whether A. afarensis could have made them. Most creationists usually cite only Tuttle, whose conclusions they find most convenient. The most honest conclusion, for now, is to admit that although no-one can be entirely sure what made the Laetoli footprints, it seems quite likely that they belonged to australopithecines.

WG). So Tuttle thinks what? He "suggests" that they "may" belong to another species of homo? Homo habilis perhaps? Even Homo erectus? And contemporary with A. afarensis? Even if Lucy was fully bipedal, she still possessed a convergent big toe. No known australopithecine in the fossil record could possibly have made those footprints. Even the aforementioned Stw 573 is fragmentary, including just four tiny foot bones, but it is thought by evolutionists that the fossil still possessed a chimp-like foot structure. I have spent a lot of time traveling, including 20 years of exploring remote areas of Equatorial Africa. The Baka pygmies of Cameroon, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, and the rural dwelling Aboriginal people of Australia all walk around habitually barefoot. Indeed the pygmies (and I have lived and worked with four separate tribal groups) and some are as small as four feet in height. The Laetoli footprints were made by a habitually unshod Homo, but this is not acceptable to evolutionary anthropologists, because any relative to modern man within the genus Homo going back to 3.7 million years would be an anathema to them. Mary Leakey herself even suggested that the footprints were most likely made by a member of the genus Homo, although she was unwilling to speculate which one, given the date of the Laetoli prints. It is only "quite likely" that the Laetoli footprints were made by an australopithecine because evolutionary suppositions say so.

Human Origins (Overlapping Fossils)

EB) No kidding. And this is a problem for evolution why? Of course they overlapped one another. You and your parents also overlapped one another and existed at the same time. Because creationists are so ignorant of what evolutionary theory actually says, they actually believe that an entire species turns into a new species as a group and that the ancestral species immediately ceases to exist when the new one evolves. But this is nonsense, a cartoonish caricature of evolution with no basis in reality. New species split off from already existing species, usually when they become isolated from the rest of the group by some environmental event. The reproductive isolation allows independent evolution of new traits. But the ancestral species and the daughter species both continue to exist until one or both of them become extinct. This argument is like saying that the people in Australia could not have come from England because there are still people in England. Pure stupidity.

WG). There is not a single verifiable fossil in the alleged human evolutionary tree that shows that A. afarensis, or Homo habilis, gave rise to one another or any other human ancestor. A. afarensis, or at least a more recent member of the australopithecine family overlapped with Homo habilis. However, Richard Leakey reported as far back as 1972, the contemporaneous existence of Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and H. erectus fossils at the Olduvai Gorge. Mary Leakey went further after discovering the remains of a circular stone hut at the base of bed 1 in the Olduvai Gorge, beneath the fossils of H. Habilis. While it is generally considered that the of stone huts and other similar shelters are the work of H. sapiens, then where exactly does this place the australopithecine family if they were contemporary at least with Homo habilis? As late as 1995, Richard Lewontin wrote:

When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor. (Human Diversity, New York: Scientific American Library. 1995, P. 163)

Lubenow wrote:

Homo erectus individuals have lived side by side with other categories of humans for the past two million years (according to evolutionist chronology). This fact eliminates the possibility that Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens. ...On the far end of the Homo erectus time continuum, Homo erectus is contemporary with Homo habilis for 500,000 years. In fact, Homo erectus overlaps the entire Homo habilis population.... Thus, the almost universally accepted view that Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus becomes impossible.... Homo habilis could not be the evolutionary ancestor of Homo erectus because the two groups lived at the same time as contemporaries. (Lubenow, Marvin (1992), Bones of Contention (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

WG) Over 6,000 or so hominid fossils exist, but the problem for the evolutionist is that the majority of the fossils that make up our alleged evolutionary ancestry is fragmented with very few complete fossil remains. They were either fully humans - or they were apes. There are simply no transitions. In site of the imaginary reconstructions and alleged the "family tree" found within the textbooks, paleontologists are still divided over the exact sequence of which fossils go where. As I stated in an earlier post, I watched a television interview with Johansen and Leakey, with Johansen presenting a chart displaying what he proposed was our evolutionary lineage. Leakey drew a cross right through the chart and replaced it with a large question mark. Although both men accept human evolution, they can't even agree on the basics of fossil sequencing. The acceptance of fossils, especially regarding our alleged ancestors is based largely on who has better funding to stay in the field long enough to find more fragmented bones of extinct apes, and who can shout the loudest. Douglas Palmer wrote:

The trouble is we probably know more about the evolution of extinct trilobites than we do about human evolution". (One Great Leap for Mankind, New Scientist, March 16, 2002).

WG) The Australopithecines were mere apes in spite of their apparent bipedal or partial-bipedal locomotion. There is a great deal of bias among the bone peddlers of human origins. If Johansen and Leakey were honest enough to admit that all they are finding is either extinct humans or extinct apes - with no transitional forms, then their funding would dry up rather quickly wouldn't it? Perhaps in a more candid mood, Donald Johansen wrote:

There is no such thing as a total lack of bias. I have it; everybody has it. The fossil hunter in the field has it.... In everybody who is looking for hominids, there is a strong urge to learn more about where the human line started. If you are working back at around three million, as I was, that is very seductive, because you begin to get an idea that that is where Homo did start. You begin straining your eyes to find Homo traits in fossils of that age.... Logical, maybe, but also biased. I was trying to jam evidence of dates into a pattern that would support conclusions about fossils, which, on closer inspection, the fossils themselves would not sustain (Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind: New York: Simon & Schuster. 1981, pp. 257,258).

WG) As for your daft rationale regarding Australians and the English, members of the Homo family were in Australia even before the Aboriginals got there. I am sure you are familiar with the Kow Swamp fossils? The Cohuna cranium was discovered in 1925, with further fossil material discovered in 1967. The Talgai cranium was discovered as far back as 1886, the Mossgiel cranium was discovered in 1960 and the Cossack skull was discovered in 1972. More recent hominid fossils have been found at Willandra Lakes and Coobool Crossing. The Java Solo fossils like the others, reveal the same H. Erectus like morphology, but have been dated at between 13,000 to 10,000 years or less due to the artifacts that were found with some of the fossils. These finds were made thousands of miles apart on the same island continent. The evolutionists, of course, do not accept these remains as belonging to the same group with H. Erectus due to the recent date, but given all the available evidence worldwide, it is abundantly clear that not only were H. Erectus and H. Sapiens contemporaries, but there were both fully human.

WG) Take for example, the six foot plus Scandinavian, the four foot tall pygmy, the short stocky Canadian Inuit (with their extra molars and prominent jaw development, and the more remote Hindu people of India with their prominent forehead/brow development? I can only guess what the evolutionists would be thinking if we knew all of these widely divergent, but nevertheless fully human people only from the fossil record.

WG) If fossils contemporary to, if not actual Homo Erectus are being found as far away as China and Australia, then Africa could not have been the "cradle of humanity" than some would like, unless H. Erectus was smart enough to build vessels that could span vast stretches of ocean. Besides, if human evolution is a fact, then once again we would find untold millions upon millions of our alleged ape-like ancestors showing a clear pattern of evolutionary development from one species to another including specimens of all ages and at all stages of physical/morphological development. All we have are fragments, incomplete fossils very few complete ones, and lots of overlapping. In the meantime I imagine that Leakey, Johansen, Lewontin et al will continue to squabble and shout each other down while competing for funding to find the next extinct ape to be touted as our "ancestor."

Biology: New Information

EB) This "new information" argument is so profoundly silly. The reason the argument is absurd, in my view, is that it presumes, or at least implies, a serious misunderstanding of what evolution requires. It seems to presume that there is a simple way to measure the amount of information in the genome and that evolution requires with each successive change a mere increase in the total amount of information. The person asking the question must have the notion that evolution progresses by successive and discrete additions of information with each new...what? Each new mutation? Each new mutation that is preserved? Each new trait developed within a species? Each new species that splits off? This goes unspoken. In and of itself, the question makes little sense. How would one measure a raw increase of information? An increase in the number of chromosomes? An increase in the number of genes or base pairs per chromosome? This also goes unspoken. If all they are asking for is a mere increase in the total amount of genetic information in the genome, then we know of several mechanisms by which it can not only increase, but double with a single mutation. That's what polyploidy does, and we observe polyploidy all the time, especially in plants.
Gene duplication would also increase the total amount of information in the genome. As Dawkins points out in his response, the crested newt has a genome several times larger than the human genome, which is the result of gene duplication. And that fact, at the least, means that the unspoken assumption of the question above - that there is a correlation between the amount of information in the genome, as opposed to how the information is expressed in the phenotype is the key to evolution - is false. It should also be said that an increase in the amount of information in the genome is not required for a new trait to emerge, and this has also been observed. For example, the nylon-eating bacteria. A single frame shift mutation allows for an entirely new trait - the ability to metabolize nylon. We know that this is a new trait for the obvious reason that nylon didn't exist a few decades ago. This frame shift mutation neither increases or decreases the amount of information, it simply shifts the sequence by a nucleotide or two. Yet an entirely new trait evolves and is preserved, and the amount of information has nothing to do with it. That's why I say it's an absurd question, because it betrays, at the very least, a serious oversimplification of evolutionary genetics.

WG) Sorry if the question sounds "silly" to you old boy, but the entire axiom of biological/organic evolution hinges on new information being input into the genome of all living creatures - and this is precisely what evolution requires. But let us take a closer look at your answer for a moment, starting with mutations in humans.
If human beings really have been evolving over the past 3-4 million years, this would require about 20 "positive" mutations per second in order to change a primitive ape-like creature into a human being. This would add up to 1,714 mutations per day for 12 million years. A continuous change of this kind would also mean that vast changes to the genome would also occur. Each change would also require a change in the amino acids, which in turn would in turn require a change in the chemical molecules. We possess a protein molecule called polymers, which is responsible for repairing damaged base pairs in our DNA. If we were continuing to evolve at a rate of 1,714 "positive" mutations per day, then the polymers would have to be continuously re-programmed in order to recognize the new mutations. This process would have to be non-stop for as long as we continue to evolve. But what does biological science actually tells us?
There are around 4,500 different genetically linked diseases listed today, caused by harmful mutations. These include Marfan's syndrome, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis and certain cancers. These are associated with many different mutations that affect us. However, sickle cell anemia has been touted as an example of "positive mutations" because the mutation that causes this condition also enhances the carrier's ability to resist some strains of malaria. The problem with sickle cell is that it also impairs the function of the hemoglobin molecule, causing more problems that it solves. Mutations are caused by either a loss of genetic information, or a random re-ordering of current genetic information, but they do not produce new information. The most up-to-date research in this field has revealed that there are literally tens of thousands of all such mutations that affect the human genome, and they are either harmful or benign, affecting every organ and cell in our bodies. Genetically linked inherited diseases also include high cholesterol, heart disease and certain cancers. The BIG problem here is that we are seeing a never-ending increase in harmful or benign mutations, but no positive mutations have yet been identified that would offset this process. Indeed, in spite of the billions of dollars spend on biological research, not one mutation that increased the efficiency of a genetically coded human protein has yet been found.
We know that "mixed race" marriages can be beneficial in that they tend to replace some of the lost DNA, but in simple terms, the loss of genetic information that continues through harmful mutations from one generation to another will continue unabated. Each new generation has a slightly more disordered genetic constitution than the generation before. Gene therapy may mask the effects, but the underlying degenerative process will continue on. This simple fact makes a complete nonsense of human "evolution" which would still require massive amounts of new information to be added to the genome in order to allow this fictional upward evolutionary progress to occur.
In the animal kingdom, speciation can occur rapidly, but what do actually we see? Population isolation, cross breeding and gene manipulation can produce a wide variety of different birds, cattle, dogs, cats, sheep, horses, pigs, salmon, flowering plants (roses, etc) and wheat. Darwin's Finches are a good example of this, but in spite of their variety, they are still just finches. This is mere speciation, sometimes called microevolution. Again, all this is a loss of genetic information or a random reshuffling of information, but absolutely no new genetic information had been added to the genome of any living creature. Each major group merely reproduces after it's own "kind" with no evolutionary transitions. A Baka pygmy and a blonde Scandinavian can produce human beings, but you cannot cross a human being with a chimpanzee because the chromosomal count in the genome of each is different. And I sincerely hope that no one tries it either! Likewise, Viruses do not "evolve" but they do mutate, which helps them to resist certain antibiotics for a time. Again, no new information that increases the efficiency of the mutations has been observed.
WG). Regarding polyploidy in plants, this process does indeed double the number of chromosomes, which can technically result in a new species. But because of the reproductive isolation of that plant, no new information is produced, and thus we simply see an endless doubling of the current genetic information, which results in the same plant being produced over and over without any "evolutionary" development.
WG) On Richard Dawkins' reference to the crested newt, gene duplication does not increase the overall amount of encoded information in the protein molecules of the genome (as with polyploidy in plants). And this is a scientific fact. This is like printing thousands of copies of a three hundred-page book. All you are really doing is duplicating the same information, but not adding to an overall increase in the information within the book itself. Newts (a sub order of salamanders) go back to the Jurassic, but they are and always have been - newts. Dawkins is a trained biologist, and should not make such an obvious blunder, but this is only one of many statements that he has made which does not stand up to real science.
Nylon eating bacteria
WG). According to agricultural scientist, Dr. Don Batton, new research on the nylon-eating bacteria has revealed that this is not due to a frame shift at all, but through a plasmid-encoding enzyme for nylon oligomer degradation. More than one species of bacteria has the ability to eat nylon, as they already resided on plasmids. This reveals that the bacteria already had the information encoded within, and was merely passed on between different types of bacteria.
Dr. Eugenie Scott (Portrait of Darwin over her desk)
EB). Oh my god, a portrait of Darwin behind her desk! Burn in hell, you heathen wench! I'm sorry, but this had me laughing out loud at the screen. Is this what they teach you when you get a "PhD" in "creation science apologetics"? It's always funny to me to hear people I know described by people who don't know them. Genie Scott is a friend of mine. I assure you that should you ever meet her the word "virulent" will not be one that comes to mind. I actually have no idea whether Genie is an atheist or not, nor do I care. But she's not a virulent anything. She's a delightful and charming person and a damn sight better educated than Mr. Gibbons. What is the What is the point of saying that these prominent evolutionary scholars were atheists? Many others are not. Francisco Ayala is a Christian, as are Ken Miller, Keith Miller, Howard Van Till, Wes Elsberry and many other prominent evolution defenders. Does this mean that evolution is inherently atheistic or Christian? Neither, of course. The religious views of an individual has nothing to do with whether evolution is true or not. But this is the sort of heated and inflammatory rhetoric that one must engage in when they have nothing of substance to offer.
WG) Once again Mr. Brayton, you missed the point. But should I be surprised? I have read numerous science books and textbooks that all claim that Darwin was the "most important biologist in the 20th Century." This is utter bilge. Darwin had no scientific training of any kind, and his only degree was in theology. He was a clever man in his own right and keen observer of nature, but he was not a "great scientist" as humanists contend. Louis Pasteur, Lord Kelvin, Joseph Lister, Joseph Clerk Maxwell, John Bell Pettigrew, Richard Owen, Edward Hitchcock, John Henry Gilbert, William Huggins, Balfour Stewart, P.G. Tait, James Glaisher, and hundreds more scientists who were either contemporaries of Darwin or came after him, firmly rejected Charlie's ideas. They positively dwarfed Darwin in intellect and scientific achievement. His ideas have been firmly refuted by the cold hard facts of empirical science. Not that this will mean anything to you, of course. As for your list of Christian defenders of evolution - they can believe what they want, in spite of the scientific bankruptcy of their position on the question of origins. The whole premise of evolution is to explain origins without a creator or higher intelligence of any kind. Your reference to "evolutionary genetics" is a contradiction in terms. Genetics is and always has been the enemy of macroevolution. But we can discuss this later if you wish.
WG) So Genie is a friend of yours? Well of course, she would be wouldn't she? Did I say she was going to Hell? That's up to her - so don't jump to conclusions. After all, any organization that fights tooth and nail to stop any challenge to the teaching of organic evolution (i.e. naturalism) in public schools should be open to scrutiny. She challenges schools that dare to give a voice to creation science or Intelligent Design. If she can't persuade the school board to drop the idea, then she picks up the phone and calls her friends at the ACLU, one of the most evil organizations in the USA. They then threaten the school or school board with a lawsuit, so they back down and our kids continue to be indoctrinated with the usual man-to-molecules philosophy. Almost any subject in our public education system can be debated openly, except of course, the question of origins. What Dr. Scott and the ACLU are afraid of is knowledge - real knowledge. I am sure that Dr. Scott is as charming and as well educated you say Mr. Brayton. However, is she "educated" or simply indoctrinated? Nit picking about my own doctorate does you no credit - especially as you refuse to debate me face-to-face. It is all too easy to call me names by email and on your blog, but that doesn't take a lot of courage, now does it?
WG) The reason I pointed out that most of the past and present voices of evolution are atheists is because they share the same single goal as Dr. Scott, the propagation of naturalism at any cost. It is this single underlying factor that dominated their entire academic studies from the very earliest day of their training: Evolution did it all we are told, even though the facts tell a different story. Carl Sagan assured us that the universe is all that there is and ever will be. Stephen Jay Gould could not speak of creationists without resorting to profanity. Richard Dawkins stated that anyone who does not believe in evolution is stupid, insane, etc. Isaac Asimov called creationists "stupid, lying people who cannot be trusted in any way." Mind you, he made that statement after he was creamed by Gish in a highly publicized debate. Not a very tolerant bunch I'd say.
Michael Ruse, professor of history and philosophy and author of The Darwinian Revolution (1979), Darwinism Defended (1982), and Taking Darwin Seriously (1986), wrote:
Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion--a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit in this one complaint. . . the literalists [i.e., creationists] are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. (Michael Ruse, "Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians," National Post (May 13, 2000).
WG) In spite of the billions of dollars spent in evolutionary research, there is not a single verifiable case where life has been demonstrated to spring from non-life. Intriguing isn't it, that our most brilliant scientific minds cannot, even under strict laboratory conditions, reproduce an alleged process that apparently started in nature by accident - or at least with any direct intelligence being involved.

And now to other posts
Drew) Because from Gibbons' point of view anyone who argues against "Intelligent Design" is arguing against the existence of God. His behavior is due to the fact that since he has a fanatical religious belief in the Christian God that if "Intelligent Design" does not exist, then not only does he not have answers to his questions, he also has to question his faith.
WG) Hmmm.... "a fanatical religious belief in the Christian God." Showing a little humanist bias are we? I have not even mentioned God, religion, the Bible or anything else to do with theology. Your rush to caricature me in such a way only reveals your own fanaticism. I am interested only in science, and so far evolution has proven to be nothing more than a humanistic philosophy dressed up in scientific clothing.
Some Guy) I can't wait for the next semester to start, as I have some humanist rubbish to spout to my captive students.
WG) Just out of curiosity, what do you teach?
Some Guy) I am, however, always curious to see how such dogmatic and ill-informed advocates respond in the moment when they cannot answer or even understand the arguments directed at them.
WG) Sounds like the evolutionists to me. Unless you are claiming that the thousands of creationists and ID advocates who hold legitimate Ph.D.'s from major universities "can't understand" the arguments for evolution? Careful, your bias is showing.
Troy Britain) And even if you fully answer 10 of the 25 or so claims, they will declare victory in the end because you were "unable" to answer the 15 remaining claims.
WG) It's not about "answering claims," It is about what does and does not constitute science.
Jim Foley). Ed. I'm disappointed that Gibson didn't choose to discuss all those 'early Homo', but not surprised because all creationists seem to develop blind spots concerning them. Mr. Gibson, please do a bit of research and come back and tell us what ER 1470, OH 24, ER 1813, ER 3733 and the Dmanisi skulls are.
WG) The name is Gibbons, Mr. Foley. And no, creationists certainly do not have a "blind spot" concerning hominid fossils. Have you ever read Bones of Contention by Marvin L. Lubenow (Baker: 1998). However, to answer your questions:
ER 1470 H. Erectus; OH 24 H. Erectus; ER 1813 Uncertain, but possibly H. Habilis; ER 3733 H. Erectus
Dmanisi skulls: H. Georgicus, possibly within H.Erectus family.
Jim Foley): They're apes! Err, wait, they're humans! No that can't be right, they're apes! Um no, they're humans...you're an atheist!
WG) All fossils discussed thus far are either apes or humans. Atheism has nothing do to with the facts.
Raging Bee) Wow, Mr. Gibbons (if that's your real name), you're really defensive these days. Are you really afraid of having your "science" attacked by shadowy figures whose validity depends on whether you can find us in a phone book? Or are you just flailing about for another excuse to avoid arguing with someone who's already made a dog's breakfast of your previous arguments?
WG) Yes, that is and always has been my real name. It's on my birth certificate, in my army record, and on my driving license too. However, please define your perception of "science."

My New Book on Mokele-mbembe
Raging Bee) Cool! Just tell us when it comes out, and we'll look for it right next to Mark Fuhrman's book about the Schiavo case.
WG) Forgive me, but I don't see the connection here. Please explain.
Raging Bee) You're dealing with laymen of various faiths, and varying education/experience in the sciences, who seem to share a strong scepticism regarding the intelligence, logic, and honesty of the ID movement. What more do you need to know about us?
WG) So, you are all committed to the concept of a self-creating universe, and life springing from non-living chemicals on earth regardless of what the evidence actually tells us.
RAJ) I apologize if I displeased you, Mr. Gibbons, but I've been using my initials "raj" on most message boards on which I've been posting over the last decade. Even FreeRepublic.com. Sometimes I have had to extend it to raj49 (1949 being my birth year) in some locales I've had to extend it to rajmgk, "mgk" being the initials of my (same sex) partner. I prefer to use "raj" in most of my comments to provide some modicum of continuity. Sometimes that is impossible, because "raj" has previously been taken, so I use "raj49" or "rajmgk" Get a grip.
RAJ). Just to let you know, in the late 1990s someone on one of the boards, reacting to my handle "raj" suggested that I go back to India. It was hillarious. I had been posting there for some time and it was obvious that I had nothing to do with India. I had made it clear that I was raised in Cincinnati of parents from South Norfolk VA and Albany GA. Go back to India? I was literally rolling on the floor laughing when the poster raised that.
WG) No apologies necessary Mr. Jordan and thanks for the info. Just to let you know, I was born and raised on the SW coast of Scotland. I married after my army service and emigrated to Canada. My wife (opposite sex) is from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, and my business partner (a heterosexual male) is from India. So, no I don't have anything against anyone with a Muslim sounding name. I even have two very likeable gay cousins in my own family. See - I even managed to spell your last name correctly this time. I must be "getting a grip" After all!
Savagemutt): What gets me riled up is the sheer arrogance. Creationists routinely stomp into The Panda's Thumb and claim they've studied evolution "thoroughly" when all they've done is cribbed talking points from Hovind and his ilk. They apparently don't know (or don't care) that at the Thumb they're often talking to ACTUAL SCIENTISTS.
WG). So, our "arrogance" gets you riled up? How distressing for you. Creationists, and ten of thousands of them are qualified scientists in their own right, have every right to question your philosophy, especially when evolutionists claim to possess all the "facts" on the question of origins.
EB) Because creationists are so ignorant of what evolutionary theory actually says, they actually believe that an entire species turns into a new species as a group and that the ancestral species immediately ceases to exist when the new one evolves.
WG). Do tell? Perhaps then Mr. Brayton, you can enlighten us all as to what exactly the evolution theory is.

WG). So, our "arrogance" gets you riled up? How distressing for you. Creationists, and ten of thousands of them are qualified scientists in their own right, have every right to question your philosophy, especially when evolutionists claim to possess all the "facts" on the question of origins.

If that's so, perhaps you could point us to a few scientific papers in reputable journals that contain creation "science"? With so many "thousands" of creationist scientists out there, there must be even more thousands of such papers.

BTW, Rivista di Biologia isn't a reputable science journal.

And evolution is not my philosophy. Neither is gravitation, plate tectonics or any other scientific theory.

By Savagemutt (not verified) on 24 Aug 2005 #permalink

Gentry's papers were in reputable journals. They were shot down, but he did follow the process.

Point taken. I admit to being pretty ignorant about the whole polonium halo hypothesis. Still, with these "ten of thousands" of creation scientists, I'd expect a bit more actual research.

By Savagemutt (A … (not verified) on 24 Aug 2005 #permalink

"Mutations are caused by either a loss of genetic information, or a random re-ordering of current genetic information, but they do not produce new information."

Hmmm, what about Down's Syndrome? Down's Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by an extra chromosome in the 22nd pair. Where most people only have two chromosomes in that pair, people with Down's syndrome have three. So while this mutation is undoubtedly harmful, it does involve "new information," as you put it.

"However, sickle cell anemia has been touted as an example of "positive mutations" because the mutation that causes this condition also enhances the carrier's ability to resist some strains of malaria. The problem with sickle cell is that it also impairs the function of the hemoglobin molecule, causing more problems that it solves."

It doesnt cause more problems in people who only receive one copy of the mutation. They get immunity to malaria and live relatively normal lives. Now, in people who receive two copies of the gene, one from each parent, then it does cause more problems than it solves. Incidentally, the sickle cell mutation only involves changing one DNA "letter" base. This causes one amino acid in a particular hemoglobin protein to change from glutamic acid to valene. The change of this one amino acid isn't enough to make the protein completely non-functional, but it is enough that the protein can crystallize and deform the shape of the blood vessel. Thus, a very small change in DNA can have a very large result.

"The BIG problem here is that we are seeing a never-ending increase in harmful or benign mutations, but no positive mutations have yet been identified that would offset this process."

Tell you what. How about we put you, and a man who carries one sickle cell mutation, into a room with malaria-infected mosquitoes. Then let's observe both of you for a few months, and see about the supposed benefits of certain mutations.

" We know that "mixed race" marriages can be beneficial in that they tend to replace some of the lost DNA, but in simple terms"

No no no. The only sense that they are beneficial is that they make it less likely that one will inherit two pairs of the same recessive mutation. For instance, the fact that only one of my parents was Jewish significantly decreased my chances of inheriting Tay-Sachs syndrome.

"but in simple terms, the loss of genetic information that continues through harmful mutations from one generation to another will continue unabated"

Let me introduce you to a concept known as "natural selection." Leaving aside the non-existant "loss" of genetic material, harmful mutations generally will be selected against. For instance, Down's Syndrome leaves its patients sterile. This means that while healthy parents can still bear Down's Syndrome children through errors in sperm and ova meiosis, the patients themselves will not continue to bear children with that mutation, thus limiting its prevalence in the population.

"Viruses do not "evolve" but they do mutate, which helps them to resist certain antibiotics for a time."

Ummm, so when Simian Immunodeficiency Virus mutated into Human Immunodeficiency Virus, you don't think that this was evolution? This was a bit more than just mutating to avoid antiviral drugs, especially since antiviral drugs weren't even in use at the time, this was a mutation that allowed it to infect a whole new species.

Oh, and antibiotics are not used on viruses, will not kill viruses, and viruses do not need resistance to antibiotics any more than you need resistance to oxygen.

"
WG) On Richard Dawkins' reference to the crested newt, gene duplication does not increase the overall amount of encoded information in the protein molecules of the genome (as with polyploidy in plants). And this is a scientific fact. This is like printing thousands of copies of a three hundred-page book. All you are really doing is duplicating the same information, but not adding to an overall increase in the information within the book itself."

Hmmm, so if I save 300 copies of this post on my hard drive, I'll have the same amount of free space as if I'd saved one? This is clearly adding to the total amount of genetic information. Now, if you're saying that it doesn't create anything "new," but merely a reproduction of something already there, then you would be moderately correct. But you're missing the second step. A minor mutation in the second, duplicated gene can slightly alter it. Now we have the original gene and resulting protein/enzyme, and a second, slightly different gene resulting in a slightly different protein/enzyme. Clearly this is an increase in genetic information, even by your arbitrary terminology.

"The reason I pointed out that most of the past and present voices of evolution are atheists is because they share the same single goal as Dr. Scott, the propagation of naturalism at any cost."

Hmmm, I didn't know I was an atheist. I mean, I'm a very religious person, I've even led religious services. You really shouldn't argue that accepting a particular scientific theory that has nothing to do with religion implies atheism. I've read the bible straight through in both English and Hebrew, and I fail to find any part where it specifically prohibits evolution. On the other hand, it does specifically prohibit bearing false witness.

However, having read through your extensive post, I fail to see any serious scientific observation, hypothesis, or theory. I see a lot of attacks on specific evolutionary processes, most of which are overgeneralizations or half-truths, but you don't seem to have done any dot-connecting. What conclusion have you reached? If evolution does not occur, then what process explains the diversity of life that we see today? How do you propose to explain the differences between various species and the observations of the fossil record?

In short, do you have a competing theory which better explains scientific observations, or do you just have a bunch of criticisms for why a process which is accepted by the majority of the world's biologists is false? I mean, not to put to fine a point on it, but most of your observations are like using an airplane to disprove the theory of gravity, and then sneering when someone tries to explain aerodynamics.

"Evolutionary cosmologists assert that one of the principal elements of the Big Bang was hydrogen gas, which went on to turn itself into stars, planets, our solar system, including our own planet earth, ... "

Evolutionary cosmologists? As opposed to creationist cosmologists? I don't think the Big Bang theory is used by cosmologists to explain star formation, rather they use the theory of gravity. The formation of the planets also does not require the Big Bang theory.

By David Drumm (not verified) on 25 Aug 2005 #permalink

As for the first replicating systems, the onus is on you to prove that life appeared without a divine hand or any form of higher intelligence being involved.

That is some onus. How about proving that life could have appeared without a divine hand?

By David Drumm (not verified) on 25 Aug 2005 #permalink

David Drumm at August 25, 2005 10:50 AM

Actually, into the 1950s and early 1960s, there were two competing theories. Fred Hoyle's "steady state universe" theory and the "big bang" theory. The BB theory predicted a cosmic microwave background radiation, which the SS theory did not. When the CMBR was discovered in 1963 (it had been predicted by George Gamow et al in 1948), that proved to be the death knell for the SS theory.

To quote from an evolutionary source: Dr David Green (Ph.D., Biochemistry) stated in his book Molecular Insights into the Living Process:
the macromolecule-to-cell transition is a jump of fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable hypothesis. In this area all is conjecture. The available facts do not provide a basis for postulating that cells arose on this planet.

Green goes on to say:

This is not to say that some paraphysical forces were at work. We simply wish to point out that fact that there is no scientific evidence.

Just because "... it seems unlikely that we shall ever be certain of how life arose", does this imply a paraphysical force?

By David Drumm (not verified) on 25 Aug 2005 #permalink

Some interesting comments:
'I've read the bible straight through in both English and Hebrew, and I fail to find any part where it specifically prohibits evolution. On the other hand, it does specifically prohibit bearing false witness'

Perhaps starting in Genesis then. When God created Adam and Eve minus the intervening steps. On this the fundies are consistent and I respect them for that, for their stance on evolution I don't.

'The reason I pointed out that most of the past and present voices of evolution are atheists is because they share the same single goal as Dr. Scott, the propagation of naturalism at any cost'

OK, fine. Just prove a supernatural event of any type and you can begin an argument. Up to that point you are really arguing from nothing. Just prove something that doesn't exist in the 'natural' world and you can begin an argument. As it is you have an argument from personal inccreduilty at best, an argument from ignorance at worst.

'In short, do you have a competing theory which better explains scientific observations, or do you just have a bunch of criticisms for why a process which is accepted by the majority of the world's biologists is false? '

agreed.:-)

... the entire axiom of biological/organic evolution hinges on new information being input into the genome of all living creatures - and this is precisely what evolution requires.

Maybe not. Epigenetic inheritance is an interesting mechanism that does not involve mutation, yet could produce different phenotypes.

By David Drumm (not verified) on 25 Aug 2005 #permalink