Evolution happens

Olivia Judson has a lovely article about ongoing examples of evolution.

Before the creationists start whining, I know — they're still birds and lizards and flies. Get over it. They've changed, as evolution predicts.

More like this

Medic! Copy editor!

Olivia Judson has a lovely ongoing examples of evolution.

Olivia Judson has a lovely essay posted listing ongoing examples of evolution.
Olivia Judson has a lovely list of ongoing examples of evolution.
Olivia Judson has a lovely ass, and has posted a list of ongoing examples of evolution.
None of the above

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

The fruit fly Drosophila subobscura has been evolving bigger wings in higher latitudes in North and South America; mosquitoes that live in pitcher plants hunker down for the winter later in the year than they used to; in a forest in southern England, great tits have been shrinking

Say what!?

(great tits are songbirds).

Oh.

Everyone (including creationists) recognizes the difference between microevolution (adaptations within a species) and macroevolution (one species evolving into another species). Nothing new here. You folks still haven't found any of those pesky missing links yet, in which one species is proven to evolve into an entirely different species. Oh, well. I guess you guys just accept it on Faith.

Sandi. You're dumber than a doorknob.

Yes damn it, I have read all of them three times, The "Darwinmania" four times, but the damn New York Times won't let me print them! Olivia, they are suppressing your science expertise! Does any one know a way around this dilemna so that I can print the series and file it with my science stuff? Help!

There's a great series of videos on youtube (and liveleak)titled "_ Foundational Falsehood of Creationism". I believe there are 10 parts currently, each part covering a wide range of issues.

Check out part one here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c03_1213054333

I highly recommend watching the entire series.

Sandi @ 3 What faith? Your imaginary god did it all, that's all you need to know. It even made you and got you to think that it even made you. Have a cracker!

You show them proof, and they still don't get it. *sigh*
Holbach - by the way, did you see that TED video about love and the brain over on the Dawkins site? It's pretty interesting.

Sandi, all species are intermediate.

Sandi, please identify why lots of little events of "microevolution" cannot add up to "macroevolution" when given enough time. Is there some sort of barrier that stops two divergent populations of the same species from accumulating enough "microevolutionary" changes to result in two seperate species?

There is no wall between micro and macroevolution, these are terms that differ only in scale, not mechanism.

Gee,but that Ms Judson is a Hottie LOL !

//Before the creationists start whining//

Too late....

Interesting the fact that the finches beak size "jittered about" like a drunk man staggering,reminds me of the "drunkards walk",maybe the biology-versed here can comment on that a bit more,is evolution meant to be staggering about?It would make sense I guess,as a reflection of the ever-changing natural world.

Sandi it's true by definition that no one has found any MISSING links. If they had found them they wouldn't be missing. They have found lots of links which were PREVIOUSLY missing and were predicted by evolutionary biology, though.

Sandi, you mean proof like the NANOGP8 pseudogene? Or do you really think that the identical Alu retroelement placement within it in both chimpanzee and human versions of the gene are a random accident? Odds are rather slim (read: NONE) that this is due to anything other than common descent....

Sandi, you capitalize 'Faith' as if it's something special, to be venerated. Faith, being without evidence, is just plain dumb. Why believe what people tell you just because they've got an old book of ancient texts & wear funny uniforms? That's infantile.

The bible is full of crap, vile, murderous crap.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

sandi the hibernator:

You folks still haven't found any of those pesky missing links yet, in which one species is proven to evolve into an entirely different species. Oh, well. I guess you guys just accept it on Faith.

We have many, many missing links. And we find more on a routine basis. Check wikipedia, they have a short list. A longer list would take pages.

And we've seen species evolve into other species in real time. Hawaiian butterflies, mice on Medeira and in Tunisia, and on and on.

You must have been asleep for the last 100 years. Science continuously moves on, update your calendar. It is 2008 not 1908.

Sandi,

Ignoring your complete lack of understanding of evolution I will point out that most creationist didn't believe in microevolution until scientists proved them wrong without a doubt. In fact, as you are probably aware, the Bible speaks of animals as being fixed and immutable (Gen. 1:21). So maybe you should just go pray because God apparently disagrees with you.

Everyone recognises the difference between microwalking (from the fridge to the TV) and macrowalking (the Pacific Crest Trail). Nothing new here. You folks can't show me a single example of someone walking from California to British Columbia since breakfast time. Oh well. I guess you guys just accept it on faith.

You folks still haven't found any of those pesky missing links yet, in which one species is proven to evolve into an entirely different species.

Actually, the only way we can identify "missing links" is by using evolutionary predictions. And those are done using the same criteria that are used for "microevolution."

IOW, if you can accept the evidence for microevolution, there is no difference between it and the evidence for macroevolution. Only your pigheadedness and ignorance deny one while accepting the other.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

"You folks can't show me a single example of someone walking from California to British Columbia since breakfast time. Oh well."

That someone didn't walk there. He took the damn plane. That's evolution for you.

Sandi blathers
You folks still haven't found any of those pesky missing links yet

Uh, um... If someone found "missing links" that would be a bigger problem for evolution to explain than the endless fine gradations of transitional forms that are continually being found.

#21 JohnW for the win! You didn't show all the missing steps!

You must have been asleep for the last 100 years. Science continuously moves on, update your calendar. It is 2008 not 1908.

Didn't you mean 108 rather than 1908?

If Sandy had bothered to read the full article, she would know that it does contain an example of observed speciation within the past 30 years--Croatian lizards.

So Sandy, if you want us to take you seriously and not berate you, it would help for you to actually read the information provided before commenting. It would also help for you to understand the meaning of the terms as they are used within the context at hand.

No, Sandi wants intermediate forms... Here's a few of the things she's looking for:

the jackelope (intermediary between rabbits and antelope)
http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/archive_2006/today06-08-30.html

the Deep One (intermediary between fish and humans)
http://www.hamsterizer.com/Art/images/Items/DeepOne01b.jpg

the northern fur-bearing trout (intermediary between fish and chinchillas)
http://www.fiendishcuriosities.com/viewitem.php?selectItem=34

Cthulhu (intermediary between cephalopods and God)
http://llbbl.com/data/RPG-motivational/target52.html

JohnW nails it! You da man.

Sandi extrapolates from her few decades of life ( and inattention to detail) to a grand conclusion. The missing links she should be concerned with are those associated with the logic of her religious beliefs.

Patricia @ 10 Yes, I watched the TED video at the Dawkins site. Interesting stuff! Did you watch his new video "Voices of Science"? The interview with Steven Weinberg is just great and have watched it three times already! More, more! Speaking of science, how ironic that we are dealing more with religious retards and blasting them for science than we are dealing with science! Love it! Steven Weinberg is one of my favorite scientists and I have three of his books. I highly recommend his "Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries." Good stuff!

To a creationist, a "missing link" looks like a taxidermist hack-job, and would, of course, be a hoax.

It never seems to occur to them that it does not work like that...

http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/fishibian.html

Because, of course, they have been brainwashed with lies. And they continue to brainwash themselves with lies.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

You guys really need to show more reverence to explanations that work great as arguments among people who don't know biology at all.

Come on Sandi, explain us how Behes mystery mechanism that stops maacro-evolution at some arbitrary point.

By Dutch Delight (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Oops, just making sure I make my spelling error quota this month.

Come on Sandi, explain to us how Behes mystery mechanism stops macro-evolution at some arbitrary point.

By Dutch Delight (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

I especially like the example of the Croatian lizards. It seems to me to be a wonderful counter to the idea that "punctuated equilibrium" or sudden jumps in the evolutionary record indicate divine intervention. This is a pretty drastic evolutionary change in a short period of time... and there's no reason to think it's the result of anything other than descent with modification.

And Sandi needs to read some actual evolution texts. Countless "missing links" have been found; not just between species, but between entire classes of living things. What the heck do you think Tiktaalik was?

If I ever find a missing link, I'm going to name it "Sandi."

So, if we ever find a black hole, who should we name it after:
Kenneth Ham
George W. Bush
Sherri Shepherd (She believes the Earth is flat.)

Other suggestions?

I feel a poll coming on. PZ should start his own polls with PollDaddy.

Patrick, what about the nice ass and great tits mentioned earlier? Hey man, help us out.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Does anyone else see any probkems with this particular comment?

If all this is correct then why do so many who are firmly committed to evolution so strongly fight against pollution? It would seem to me they would welcome it so as to continue the natural selection. Usually evolutionists argue that human involvement via pollution is not good because evolution takes a long time and the pollution time frame is too short. However, this author is implying that the time frame is only long because there has not been much pollution till the present. interesting

-- Posted by steve

@ Owlmirror - #29

To a creationist, a "missing link" looks like a taxidermist hack-job, and would, of course, be a hoax.

You mean we shouldn't be continuing our search for the elusive crocoduck?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNTGmoTb8sw
(@ 2:00 into the video)

(remove sharp objects from reach before viewing)

LoL I don't know why some of you even acknowledge the fundies' existence here; PZ is a haven from their lunacy.

If you want to effectively ridicule a fundie, don't argue with them, don't call them a damn thing... just ask them what they believe, it does the job all on it's own ;)

Usually people send me links to polls -- I haven't been seeing any lately!

It might have something to do with the fact that my inbox is a maelstrom of idiocy right now...

To Randy, Ghost of Minnesota, et al: Did you know human DNA only differs from tree DNA by about 3%? Maybe Ghost evolved from a tree. I'm thinking a walnut tree or some other kind of nut tree. And Jonathan: perhaps a whole bunch of micro changes can create a macro change into another species given enough time, but we haven't seen it happen yet. How much TIME do you guys need for your missing links? Incidentally, your ad hominem attacks aren't persuasive. Stick to the facts, people.

You folks still haven't found any of those pesky missing links yet, in which one species is proven to evolve into an entirely different species.

WHEW!! Thank The Cosmic Muffin. Finally some good old creationist trolls.

Sandi, just because you people are too dumb to read the evidence and understand it does not mean it isn't there.

Sandi writes:
Did you know human DNA only differs from tree DNA by about 3%? Maybe Ghost evolved from a tree.

Idiot. Human and tree had common ancestor.

If you're going to try to attack evolution, you should actually know a smidgen about how it works.

#35, Posted by: Richard Harris:

Patrick, what about the nice ass and great tits mentioned earlier? Hey man, help us out.

A gentleman doesn't discuss these things. Use your imagination. (In this case, it's what I do.)

Stick to the facts, people.

HA. And you thought you could wreck my new Irony Meter. Little did you know I got the extra CreoInsulation© from Dupont.

No chance you .... oh crap. nevermind.

There goes another.

Sandi wrote: "How much TIME do you guys need for your missing links? Incidentally, your ad hominem attacks aren't persuasive. Stick to the facts, people."

The urge to nail a consecrated slice of toast to my bed board is growing day by day. If only I could convince my Catholic friends ...

Incidentally, your ad hominem attacks aren't persuasive. Stick to the facts, people.

Why stick to facts when people like you just ignore them anyway? Ridicule is not only fun, sometimes it's the only option.

Holbach @ 27 - Haven't watched that yet. I'll give it a look when I get back from the book store & library. I wheedled my way back into my class when it starts back up next month.

For those who may be interested there is a new and controversial research field that would not be possible without genetics and evolution -- race-based medicine. It was really kicked-off financially by the FDA approval of Bidil

If you deny evolution you are forced to accept some morally and epistemologically problematic claims. Did god create/design certain peoples with specific disease susceptibilities? Or was disease susceptibility the result of sin after The Fall? Why was this not taken care of after the Deluge? How many ad hoc hypotheses do you need to accept in order to keep the original hypothesis?

Randy (#15) wrote:

Sandi, you mean proof like the NANOGP8 pseudogene?

The following paragraph is from the website Randy linked to:

Humans and chimpanzees share ten NANOG pseudogenes, all in the same places: one duplication pseudogene and nine retropseudogenes. Of the nine shared NANOG retropseudogenes, two lack the poly-(A) tails characteristic of most retropseudogenes, indicating copying errors occurred during their creation. Due to the high improbability that the same pseudogenes (copying errors included) would exist in the same places in two unrelated genomes, evolutionary biologists point to NANOG and its pseudogenes as providing formidable evidence of common descent between humans and chimpazees.

They call it formidable evidence. I would call it smoking gun proof.

What's wrong with the creationists? There's plenty more evidence like this. How can they deny evidence this powerful? Apparently faith makes people permanently stupid.

Did you know human DNA only differs from tree DNA by about 3%? Maybe Ghost evolved from a tree.

Or perhaps they both evolved from a common ancestor.

perhaps a whole bunch of micro changes can create a macro change into another species given enough time, but we haven't seen it happen yet. How much TIME do you guys need for your missing links?

holy shit, how many examples do you need?

sandi Lying:

To Randy, Ghost of Minnesota, et al: Did you know human DNA only differs from tree DNA by about 3%?

That isn't even remotely true. Humans differ among themselves by up to 0.5%, chimpanzees are around 1-2% different, rhesus monkeys around 17% different, and humans and trees differ by probably around 90% or so (didn't look it up but just estimating, at any rate it is very high). Exactly what one expects for common descent with modification over 3.7 billion years.

Telling lies doesn't mean god exists. It just means you are a liar, have zero background in science, and are too lazy and stupid to look anything up using google or wikipedia.

We shouldn't kick retarded people when they fall down.

Sandi - do you dot the 'i' with a smiley face or a heart?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Since you know zero about science and less than that about evolution that's really the only question we need you to answer. Ever.
Thanks for playing.

BobC writes:
Apparently faith makes people permanently stupid.

Causality can be tricky in these cases. Is it faith that makes stupid, or stupid that makes faith?? Since stupid has been observed in the absence of faith, I would argue the latter.

No mention of Culex molestus, which is my favourite. As a Londoner who takes the tube every day, it's kind of cool to discover that evolution has been taking place right beside me, so to speak.

PZ - Sorry to pull your chain during this whirl wind... did you ever recieve a small brown mailer from me, mailed about the same day this whole mess started? My email must not have made it through alerting you that it was safe. (No wafer) Thanks. :)

Sandi,

Asking us to stick to facts while you obviously make up your own only proves that you wouldn't know a fact when you saw one and that you are fully capable of good old fashioned theistic lies when they suit you. Pretty sure your god book mentions that lying is a sin. You might want to give that some thought.

sandi the moron:

And Jonathan: perhaps a whole bunch of micro changes can create a macro change into another species given enough time, but we haven't seen it happen yet. How much TIME do you guys need for your missing links?

The average metazoan species lasts 1 to 10 million years. The successful ones leave descendents. Are you going to stay up for a million years and take notes?

If point of fact, macroevolution has been seen within my lifetime. The croation lizards evolved a valve to turn their stomach into a rumen like organ as described in the NYT article linked above on this post. And a tumor in Tasmanian devils evolved the ability to transfer from one animal to another. A free living pathogen from a cancer. It is decimating the whole species. Which is evolving in turn to defeat the disease.

BTW, did you see Moses drop the tablets and break them? How about a walking, talking snake? How about Jesus being nailed to a cross? If you weren't watching, how do you know someone didn't just make up some stories? You don't. We at least have the real bodies, myriads of fossils dug out of rocks and are finding more every day.

Pretty sure your god book mentions that lying is a sin.

They don't actually care about the ten commandments. When was the last time you saw a Christian demanding that desecration of the Sabbath be outlawed? Or even telling other Christians that desecration of the Sabbath was wrong?

If they'll ignore the biblical rules for how to behave as God wants on Saturday, they'll certainly ignore the commandment about not bearing false witness.

The only thing they care about is repeating the parts of the bible that they tell each other is true, or imagine is true, not what the bible actually says.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

a typical creationist argument; Great Tits are shrinking but they're still Great Tits! sorry I couldn't resist.

By charlie s (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

How much TIME do you guys need for your missing links?

whooooooooooooooosh!!!!!!

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

If all this is correct then why do so many who are firmly committed to evolution so strongly fight against pollution? It would seem to me they would welcome it so as to continue the natural selection.

Of course it is stupid. We might be able to poison the planet so much that a whole new biosphere of pollution resistant organisms appear. By that point, we would probably be extinct. For sure the vast majority of us would be dead.

It actually happened once before when ambitious blue green algae produced oxygen and poisoned much of the biosphere out of existence.

Steve is also assuming that reality acceptors want to live in a world wide garbage dump. Uhhh, thanks Steve, but no thanks.

From the article: "in a forest in southern England, great tits have been shrinking"

Now there's intelligent design in action!
(sorry, I couldn't help myself)

X &lt-- Science
.
.
. &lt-- Whoosh zone
.
.
O &lt-- Creationists's head
-|-
/ \

#61, Posted by: Barry Pearson

Try this:
http://images.google.co.uk/images?q=%22Olivia+Judson%22&btnG=Search+Ima…

(I did that PURELY for you. But didn't she look good in "Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex"!)

Your selfless research is much appreciated. It must have been painful for you. (But trust me, I've run that same search before.)

Olivia, Olivia ...

I wasn't aware that Olivia Judson had groupies. Who'd thunk it? An evolutionary biologist with groupies! She rocks! I want to be her when I grow up.

Don't you Darwnist get it that when you "discover" a new species you just open two new gaps in the fossil sequence? Nice try guys claiming you observed it happening, science is based on evidence, not hearsay. Let's see some fossils.

Some of those comments clearly illustrate the problems we have. Comments such as,

"This article reveals a lack of knowledge about genetics..."

and (my favorite)

"This person obviously doesn't know anything about evolution..."

should worry us all. Let's see, the professional evolutionary biologist, who has spent most of her adult life studying evolutionary biology, doesn't know anything about evolution or genetics, but these clowns, who could just as well have written, "My pastor says..." think they are experts?

Dumbasses.

@ Sandi

A large number of genes are similar between disparate organisms because proteins that are encoded perform the same task e.g. metabolic pathway enzymes. Thus, homology is expected, though there are differences between homologous enzymes, etc. However, pseudogenes do not get transcribed, let alone translated into protein, and serve no function whatsoever. There is no selection pressure to conserve the sequence in pseudogenes. Thus, pseudogenes can mutate all they want, have retroelements inserted, whatever, without any cost. Thus, you have utterly failed to answer the question: how do you explain the exact one-to-one positioning of Alu retroelements without invoking the explanation that chimpanzees and humans have a common ancestor?

Try to connect these lines of thought:
"Don't you Darwnist get it that when you "discover" a new species you just open two new gaps in the fossil sequence?"
+
"Nice try guys claiming you observed it happening, science is based on evidence, not hearsay. Let's see some fossils."

This must be the primary example of why evidence will never dissuade Creationists. They simply cannot comprehend what it is.
I mean, you just said that fossils was not ever going to prove evolution (regardless of what they show), and then you demand evidence in form of fossils? What the hell?

Let's see some fossils.

You mean like these? Do you need us to hand-deliver them to your front door or something?

Transitional fossils exist. Pretending they don't won't make them go away.

Xeno,

Check out the link for El Tabor at #72. It's a Poe.

BJ Tabor @ 72 We have plenty of real fossils, just as you have plenty of imaginary gods. Let's see those gods of yours; we'll match you fossils for gods. Can't do it eh?

Sandi. You're dumber than a doorknob.

Less honest too.

LawnBoy @ #77

Are you suuuuure?
Poe's Law makes me confused. :/

Holbach,

You got punked. Mr. Tabor is with the satirical Landover Baptist. One of the annoying gnat like species known as the parody troll.

By MAJeff, OM (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Don't you Darwnist get it that when you "discover" a new species you just open two new gaps in the fossil sequence? Nice try guys claiming you observed it happening, science is based on evidence, not hearsay. Let's see some fossils.

Poe people. Landover baptist.

Another problem with the comments: even those from non-creationists are falling for the bait of, "These examples don't prove evolution. There are better examples of speciation blah blah blah"

Of course, she never claimed that these were the "best examples to prove evolution" or any such nonsense. These are, as she indicates, examples of evolution that is occuring _right now._ Hokey smokes, the longest term study is all of 30 years! Of course you aren't going to see massive changes in those time scales (evolutionary theory would be in trouble if you did). However, as the lizard example shows, even very large changes can be observed over short time scales (40 generations). Examples of ongoing evolution, absolutely.

#63 Owlmirror

Yeah, I know. *sigh*

Sometimes I hope to much. I figure if a creobot can follow it's programming well enough, than pointing it to part of it's programming might jam it up enough for an original thought to be generated.

It's a dream I have. *smile*

#71, Posted by: Liz S

I wasn't aware that Olivia Judson had groupies. Who'd thunk it? An evolutionary biologist with groupies! She rocks! I want to be her when I grow up.

My respect for Dr. Judson is strictly professional. I admire her data.

Here's another scientist who has earned my admiration: Lisa Randall, Professor of Physics.

Sandi, you capitalize 'Faith' as if it's something special, to be venerated. Faith, being without evidence, is just plain dumb.

By Adobedragon (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

@ Marcus #56

Is it faith that makes stupid, or stupid that makes faith?

I see it as being a reinforcing feedback loop of retardation - mental, educational, moral and emotional.

People who were always more gullible, stupid, vacuous, greedy, fearful, lazy and needy are more likely to fall for religion in the first place. Once captured (or captivated), the religion tends to encourage them not to think for themselves, not to learn (or even encounter anything outside the religion), not to explore or internalise their moral code but see it as external (eg in a book!) and not to grow up (ie stop being needy or start challenging the patriarchy). Religions and their corrupt leadership rely heavily on all these attributes in their marks.

If anyone dares to think for themselves and question the dogma, then they might notice that it's illogical and self-contradictory.

If anyone dares acquire knowledge of reality, then they might notice the religious fantasies are contradicted by it.

If anyone dares consider ethics / morality as distinct from the book version (from which their religious authority is selectively choosing whatever suits their purpose of the moment), then they might notice how despicable the religion is and how dishonest the leadership is.

If anyone dares grow up and stop being fearful of reality or dependent on parental figures to tell them what to do, then they might notice they don't need the religion anyway.

Unfortunately for civilisation, the inherent laziness of people and the cunning design of modern religions, after centuries or millennia of evolutionary tweaks, pretty much guarantees that a large proportion of humans will continue to fall for religions which tap into their baser instincts.

EvolvingSquid @ 26 wrote:

the Deep One (intermediary between fish and humans)

Hmm...this looks like an intermediate form, too.

MaJeff,OM @ 82 Should have known better from previous posts! Anyway, the reply was deserving of the comment.

I would say that even other advances (such as advances in technology by humans) is in a way part of evolution. We are evolving intellectually to better our lives.

Sandi, do you do crosswords? I once came across an analogy of scientific research as a crossword. While it was a good metaphor I do not think the original writer went quite far enough (that I wish to credit but cannot remember who she is.) Scientific research is more like a 10000 - 11000 square per side cryptic skeleton crossword where the clues are written in multiple languages that you do not speak. On top of that they are all encoded in multiple codes that you do not have the cypher for. Why the the range in dimensions you may ask? Well along with the skeleton cryptic coded and multilingual nature of the crossword, it is also made up of smaller pieces which means the whole crossword has to be assembled and some parts may or may not overlap. Some people may come along and say that such a crossword is impossibly complex and cannot be solved, others will look at it, see what has been solved and see how they can build on it. Some people will look at it bewilderedly for a bit and demand all the answers now and declare it impossible because there are gaps, while not admitting that the gaps are slowly decreasing as more people work very hard to solve the crossword.

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

@ LawnBoy (#85)

Thanks for the links. I guess it's a secret sign of spoofing then? :)

Anyway, I just have to add that it's disturbing how easy it is to take comments like the one I replied to as true. But if that's on the part of the group it's attributed to, or on my very low opinion of the same, I cannot say.

Damn, I think someone opened the asylum doors.

I see so no one has a 15 year old fossil of a transitional Finch? Looks like your Darwnist theory is a theory in crises. Well I will tell you what happened; God was wrathful at the sinful nature of small beaked Galápagos Finches and one night had His angels KILL all of the small beaked Galápagos Finches! Every last bird, killed them and tossed their little bird souls into the pit of Hell. GLORY! He then created a new species of large beak Galápagos Finches when one was looking that we see today. That's why there are no transitional fossils of medium beaked Galápagos Finches

It's called Punctuated Smiting secularist and that is based on TRUE Christian™ science.

Maybe one day PZ will evolve! From his posts I can see he is still stuck somewhere between ape and humanoid.

Hey john, nice going, two idiocies in two sentences! Individual organisms do not evolve; humans can perfectly well be classified as apes, particularly since we have a more recent common ancestor with chimpanzees than the latter do with gorillas. Apart from that, you really should credit Bishop Wilberforce as the originator of your hilarious jibe.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Ok BJ Tabor ... joke's over... (well played though)

Yours in cracker fellowship

BJ Tabor Yeah, the joking is over. We have enough to handle with the real weirdos without you adding to the fray and causing unnecessary and wasteful responses! Confine yourself to the cretin sites, as I am sure they will find you more amusing than we do. I can't offer you a cracker as that symbol of idiocy has been buried.

Jack Picknell #103

They're still birds and lizards and flies. Get over it. Evolution is crap.

But they're different birds and lizards and flies than their ancestors.

Nice blog, jack, see those comment threads are fill to the brim

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Ray: sometimes people come up with the wrong guess in their crossword puzzles, especially when they have preconceived notions. Case in point? I recall seeing pictures in science textbooks of crouched over monkeys gradually getting taller and straighter until they ended up with a human. The brilliant scientific minds said we were directly descended from apes. Now the great scientists say, "Wait, strike that! We weren't descended from apes but had a common ancestor." Well .... Name that ancestor. We sure know it wasn't Neanderthal Man. There's no fossil record to prove the theory that modern man evolved from a different species, such as a monkey or a fish. We've got tons and tons of fossils out there, but no missing link fossils. Pass the bananas--I'm hungry.

Sandi.

You don't understand evolution. At all. You just sound stupid and ignorant.

But let's turn that around, there's not one shred of evidence for any gods, anywhere, ever.

Try to be consistent. We have fossils, DNA, observed speciation.

You have _________.

Methinks Olivia Judson puts the sexy in science!!! If you can't see the sexy in science then you eyes must not be evolved enough.

haha, bananas. Sandi, you're a frigging idiot. Seriously, you really are embarrassing yourself because you just do not get it. I think you need to do some back reading on this blog, you will see that your 'questions' to us (which you seem to take as proof that we're just wrong) are discussed and answered time and time again. You don't get the basics, Hence, you look like a huge dumbass.

Anyways, thanks for the link PZ. That was fantastic!

We've got tons and tons of fossils out there, but no missing link fossils. - Sandi

Sandi, you are either invincibly ignorant, or a bare-faced liar. Find the recent thread here on the fossil intermediates between fish and tetrapods - search for "Tiktaalik". Read it. Look at the pictures. Stop being so stupid.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Sandi, you are targeting the gaps which are shrinking.

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but bananas will never hurt me.

Sandi is the typical shit-for-brains creationist I've seen many times before. No matter how much evidence is explained to them, at the end they always say there's no evidence for evolution. I never met a creationist who wasn't a total waste of time. They're all brain-dead.

I just saw the Louise Leakey video recommended by Stephen Couchman in #101. It was the best video I've seen in a long time. Everyone should see it (except for Sandi who wouldn't be able to understand it).

Wrong BobC -- I'm actually not a creationist at all and am even willing to accept evolution (within certain parameters). I like to keep an open mind about all theories until one's been proven beyond all doubt. I've been testing you folks and have found that you accept your theory without sufficient evidence--you fill in the gaps with Faith. I'm fairly certain that I also have substantially more education than most of you have (a college degree plus two higher degrees). That's why most of you keep up the ad hominem attacks instead of sticking to the facts. See ya!

Sandi, then why are you using the term theroy in its lay, non scientific usage then?

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

Damn spelling, Theory

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

I like to keep an open mind about all theories until one's been proven beyond all doubt.

Well, well, a brazen lie, and a clear demonstration you haven't a clue about science, all in one sentence. Nice going, Sandi.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

I'm fairly certain that I also have substantially more education than most of you have (a college degree plus two higher degrees).

That's strong evidence for the idea that no matter how much education a moron gets, they're still morons.

Sandi,

You might have those degrees (maybe, maybe not - next week I'm going to go to a random blog and claim to have earned a PhD in ethnobotany, and no one will be able to prove me wrong!!!). However, all the irrelevant education in the world doesn't matter a bit if you don't know a thing about the subject at hand.

And you don't.

The claims you are making here are the same claims that uneducated and misinformed people have been making for decades, and they've been disproven for years. It doesn't take any intelligence or education to parrot unsupportable claims and to ignore the counter evidence that could open your eyes.

If your claims about education are true, then you should be able to read the information you're given here and learn from it. Or you can just insult people who know what they are talking about when you don't. That second option is easier, isn't it?

Isaac Asimov was probably thinking about creationists when he wrote this:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Sandi, I have a BSc, an MSc, and am half way through my PhD. Many others on this blog are also very well educated and have me matched or beat. I'm willing to bet your 'higher degrees' don't amount to that. So by your logic, that means......

I win!!!

By the way, whatever time you've spent on your education has obviously been wasted. You, again, don't understand the basics of how science works. Those rationally minded amongst us that don't hold 'higher degrees' have no problem understanding that and have knocked you out of the park intellectually.

Again, you're a dumbass.

sandi doth proclaim :

Wrong BobC -- I'm actually not a creationist at all and am even willing to accept evolution (within certain parameters).

Which parameters would those be - your level of understanding ?

I like to keep an open mind about all theories until one's been proven beyond all doubt.

I suspect your mind is so open your brains have fallen out.

'Until one's been proven beyond all doubt' ? Name ONE scientific theory that has been proven beyond all doubt - and explain HOW you 'know' it has been proven beyond all doubt.

Initiating standard Dembski dodge :

I've been testing you folks and have found that you accept your theory without sufficient evidence--you fill in the gaps with Faith.

Nope - we fill in the gaps with RESEARCH and EVIDENCE. That you are unable/unwilling to accept this is hardly reality's fault.

Initiating standard hollow posturing :

I'm fairly certain that I also have substantially more education than most of you have (a college degree plus two higher degrees).

I have a Masters in biology plus fifteen years of recombinant DNA research; your 'degrees' are in what ?

Homeopathy and rhetoric ? Apoplexics and posturing ?

That's why most of you keep up the ad hominem attacks instead of sticking to the facts. See ya!

We do stick to facts - that you are unwilling/unable to ACCEPT them is hardly our fault.

By prof weird (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

The author of that article needs to learn that in order to prove "evolution" ToE-style, that natural selection must select genetic traits. ToE is a theory about how genomes got built up over time, but if natural selection is not selecting a randomly-arising genetic trait, then it cannot be considered "evolution." Therfore the finches, which are actually "evolving" via changes in the BMP4 protein, are not examples of "evolution" at all. Her other examples are also not supported or backed up that the said traits were genetic. Thus, she struck out.

By stan-the-man (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

stan-the-man,

So, your argument is that you haven't seen the genome evidence, so you don't know if these inherited traits are genetic?

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!!!!

Please, don't embarrass Mr. Musial. He deserves so much more than this lame trolling.

lawnboy, show me the link that explains how it is that finches (along with their beaks) adapted genetically.

Heck, science even calls the different varieties of finches different "apecies." But how can speciation happen without a genetic change?

Boy ToE is pathetic.

Simpson:

"Adaptation has a known mechanism: natural selection acting on the genetics of populations."

and where exactly did the finches change genetically?

thud......

show me the link that explains how it is that finches (along with their beaks) adapted genetically.

So, basically, you want me to give you a link that explains science. Good luck with that.

But how can speciation happen without a genetic change?

Ummm.... it doesn't? Your premise is so flawed that you don't even know what you're asking.

lawnboy = chicken/inept

Name that ancestor. We sure know it wasn't Neanderthal Man.

I thought this deserved an answer just because it's so heartwarming to see a Creationist saying something true about evolution. We do in fact know that Neanderthal Man wasn't the ancestor of modern man.

The actual ancestor's name is "Lucy". (Strictly speaking, this was her nickname; we're still trying to find out her real name.) If you're asking for her species name, it's Australopithecus Africanus.

There's no fossil record to prove the theory that modern man evolved from a different species, such as a monkey or a fish/i>

We've found Homo Habilis skeletons in the fossil record. Homo Habilis is the "missing link" between Lucy and modern man.

By chaos_engineer (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

what do you want to bet that lady who wrote the article doesn't know that natural selection must wade through the genetic fitness of a populatin in order for adaptation to happen. If natural selection isn't selecting genetic fitness then nothing's evolving genetically, which is the whole POINT of evolution.

Gaylor-Simpson:

Simpson:

"Adaptation has a known mechanism: natural selection acting on the genetics of populations."

------

yet here we have a clueless little skank writing a science article who cites examples of "evolution" that do not include genetic changes. The lizards don't change genetically, neither do the finches and neither does the field mustard:

http://www.plantcell.org/cgi/content/full/14/suppl_1/S111

and PZ is either just as clueless or just purposefully playing dumb by promoting this nonsense...I don't know which it is. Anyone care to ask him?

Here's another example of possible evolution in mammals. Tasmanian researchers have discovered that Tasmanian Devils are breeding earlier and younger in response to the fatal facial cancer that is devastating the Tassie Devil population. Supposed to be the first time a mammal has changed its reproductive behaviour in response to an infectious disease.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/07/15/2302909.htm?site=scie…

shane, where's the genetic mutation that caused this new breeding habit....can you point me to the paper that identifies it?

Sorry dude, there's no fossil evidence for Darwin's theory.

@Sandi, and other trolls,

There is no substitute for hard work. Moving beyond analogies (which prove nothing, by the way, read Bacon's Advancement of Learning please before arguing with that one) you would need to make a effort to understand the theory in the first place, then go look at the evidence. No one is hiding it. Quick, simple (or simplified) answers on a blog will not accomplish much, however well intentioned.

As for "macro-evolution" I wonder if one of the scientists on this list can confirm that we have a pretty good set of "transitional" fossils tracing the evolution of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) from a feline-like land animal? It's been so long since I read the article about this that I am not sure this will prove the best example.

But then evidence remains meaningless to the creationists.

Quick story: I recall a documentary in which a creationist teaching "science" in a private religious school derided the movie Jurassic Park for it's presentation of evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds (can you say "straw man?" It's a movie not a textbook). Anyway, imagine my glee later on when I visited Toronto in 2005 and had the good fortune to see the exhibit on "feathered dinosaurs" at the Royal Ontario Museum. After Jurassic Park Chinese quarrying slate found a trove of great fossils that showed not only feathers on some dinosaur species but also inverted hip bones (the transitional bit between reptiles and birds - I think).

The gaps, they are 'a fillin.

Sheesh stan, are you really that ignorant? Evolution applies equally well to ANY trait that is heritable in ANY way.

But on planet earth, genetics is the only currently known mode of heredity for living organisms. So if we observe that a trait is heritable, we can safely assume that there is some genetic basis, even if we don't know the details of it yet. Perhaps one day we will discover some heritable trait that does not rely on genes even peripherally. That trait would still evolve.

wrong, armpit, ToE was dreamed up to explain the existence of genomes. It is therefore a theory of GENETIC evolution....aka natural sifting through random genetic variation. If the selected trait is not genetic then it does not and cannot count as "evolution."

Gaylord-Simpson:

"Adaptation has a known mechanism: natural selection acting on the genetics of populations."

it's amazing how many of you people who frequent this site have no idea what evolution is.

just in case anyone doubts that ToE is a theory that requires genetic changes:

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/21st_century_science/lectures/lec09.html

"evolution = genes mutate, individuals are selected, populations evolve"....."Evolution is a change in the gene pool of a population over time. A gene is a hereditary unit (the microscopic `atom') that can be passed on unaltered for many generations. The gene pool (also called the phenotype of a species) is the set of all genes in a species or population (the macroscopic `object')."

I like to keep an open mind about all theories until one's been proven beyond all doubt.

Do you keep an equally open mind, then, about your belief in your god?

Usually people send me links to polls -- I haven't been seeing any lately!

I did send ya this one a while ago, but just another email in the maelstrom, I'm sure.

Anyway, its still strutting around, begging for a kicking:

"Are you a believer or a sceptic?" (refering to *oooooo* 'psychic powers')

Current stats: 5346 votes, 67% Believer, 33% Sceptic

(ergh - I weep for Aus...)

By Charlie Foxtrot (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

#138: "But on planet earth, genetics is the only currently known mode of heredity for living organisms."

then cut the crap and show me where the finches and lizards and field mustard that olivia was referring changed their genes.

Stan, Tassie Devil paper here.

I'm sorry the abstract doesn't mention the "g" word you're fixated on but it does mention the "e" word. If there are any other big words you're not familiar with I'm sure you can ask here.

Speaking of still a fish, or still a bird...
Does anybody ever point to something like a
mud skipper or some (other?) lungfish as an
example of not-quite-still-a-fish, or do
creationists just say "it's still mostly a fish"?

By neville chamberlain (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

the abstract doesn't mention jack, shane. What evidence do you have that the new trait was a result of a mutation? If there is no evidence just say so and move on to the next failed attempt.

stan,

Since the meaning of DNA, genes, and the genome were discovered decades after Darwin published the seminal book, you are truly and completely clueless - evolution was discovered which figuring out inheritable traits, and genes were found trying to figure out how evolution works.

You've built up a lot of anger and ignorance on a single quote-mine. Gaylord-Simpson is discussion how evolution works. That's the meaning of the word "mechanism". Hell, your quote just backs up amphiox's attempt to explain this to you.

"Stan = Illiterate fool"

By Charlie Foxtrot (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

BobC writes:
No matter how much evidence is explained to them, at the end they always say there's no evidence for evolution.

Right. Yet, oddly, they are willing to leap to the assumption that "god did it" based on even less evidence.

That's what's so amazingly jaw-droppingly stupid about creationists: they nitpick stupidly (and usually incorrectly) at evolution, yet have no problem accepting a vastly more ridiculous supernatural hypothesis.

You think it's hard to explain NANOG to a cretinist? They've got a vastly harder row to hoe if they want to uphold a theory of divine action at a distance to a physicist. You'll notice that the cretinists aren't offering any cosmological theories much more sophisticated than "let there be light" but if they're saying there was a supreme being at the beginning, they ought to be able to offer some evidence or even a theory that explains how the supreme being did the whole inflation trick. Stupid cretinists think they are smart poking at evolution but their supreme being postulate leaves a lot more questions unanswered than evolution does. Gaps in the fossil record are nothing compared to explaining any of the purported capabilities of "god" - how does he 'see' faster than the speed of light? Where is "god"? How does "the hand of god" affect material reality while remaining invisible and unmeasurable? etc. etc.

The biggest mistake cretinists make is they think they're actually smart. Idiots.

Heh heh, Stan doesn't want to read the full article. An abstract is just a brief summary of the full article. You'll have to read the whole paper oh seeker of truth.

stan @139
So what you're saying is that Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in order to explain the existence of genomes which he didn't even know existed?

BTW, we know that human languages evolve (eg. Latin --> Italian), yet there doesn't appear to be any genetic component for Latin. Care to elaborate how language evolves yet does not rely on genes?

In areas of Africa where farmers grow small-plot rice and hand weed, barnyard grass (Echinochloa crusgalli) has evolved so its seedlings are visually indistinguishable from rice. In other areas where herbicide is used, or plants growing in the wild, the seedling stage is quite distinctly different from rice. Maybe it's not speciation, but it sure is evolution.

stop morphing, stan; it's a banning offense.

I just want to clarify I wasn't trying to say that with any kind of authority: just stating what's on the dungeon page.

stan, you are one lazy individual.

Guess what? You know the example that Olivia Judson, the "clueless little skank", has included in the article? If you weren't so intellectually lazy, you could have attempted to look up the authors that are referenced. And here is what you find:

Genetics and the origin of bird species

This is rather general paper about speciation in bird populations, but the Finches are mentioned.

But wait! There's more:

Gene Linked to Beak Length in Darwin Finch

"After Darwin pointed out the "diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds," in his own words, it took several subsequent generations of scientists to document that the beak sizes and shapes provide a rich case study of how natural selection can drive extremely rapid evolution of life in response to changes in the environment. Now, researchers in the lab of Clifford Tabin, HMS professor of genetics, have added a new chapter to the classic story.

The team has discovered the first genetic and molecular underpinnings of the different beak morphologies. Two years ago, they reported that a gene known to shape the faces of laboratory animals also sculpts the height and width of the finches' upper beaks.

Now, the researchers have found another gene whose activity independently contours the third dimension, length. In addition to identifying a new player in craniofacial development, the results provide insight into the nature of variation, the indispensable raw material for natural selection to act on. The findings are reported in the Aug. 3 Nature.

Earlier and greater expression of the gene for bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) forms the deeper, broader beak, ideal for cracking seeds. The researchers first observed this in finch embryo samples and then demonstrated its direct effect in the chicken embryo model system. An earlier and greater exposure to the calmodulin (CaM) pathway correlates with longer finch beaks, suited for extracting nectar and insects, and it creates elongated chick beaks in the lab."

And you'll never guess what? That's right, there's more:

Evodevo: Darwin's finch beaks, Bmp4, and the developmental origins of novelty

[Link to follow. Only two per post]

"For the past 25 years, a cadre of evodevotees has been struggling to unify the fields of evolution and development. A recent paper published in the journal Science by Abzahnov et al (2004) reports on the role of the growth factor Bmp4 during the evolution in the beak morphology of Darwin's finches on the Galápagos Islands. These data show that evolutionary changes to the developmental program of large- versus small-beaked species of Darwin's finch arise from shifts in the heterochronic - timing of ontogenetic events - and heterotopic - spatial expression of ontogenetic events - expression of Bmp4.

Stephen J Gould (1977) popularized the term heterochrony, which now serves as a mantra chanted at evodevo journal clubs around the globe. If Gould were alive today, he would undoubtedly be raving about the latest evodevo findings on Bmp4.

Heterotopy (Edelman, 1987) and heterochrony (Gould, 1977) capture the five-dimensions of ontogeny and phylogeny: the three spatial dimensions of the developing embryo and the two temporal dimensions of development and evolution. It is no wonder that the synthesis of evolution and development is so difficult to achieve. Einstein only had to worry about the four dimensions involved in the fabric of space and time.

Intriguingly, Abzahnov et al (2004) show that heterochronic manipulations of Bmp4 expression during chick development can reproduce the comparative patterns observed among Darwin's finches. The investigators first attached the chicken Bmp4 gene to a retroviral vector, RCAS, to allow them to infect a group of cells in a specific layer of developing cells and thus precociously express the Bmp4 gene. Mesenchymal versus ectodermal cells can be targeted with the retroviral construct because the virus does not cross the basement membrane separating these two cell layers.

Mesenchyme cells of chicken embryos infected with the RCAS:Bmp4 construct at stage 23 to 24 precociously express Bmp4 at stage 26 rather than at stage 29 as is normally the case. Such heterochronic shifts yield a chick embryo that develops into the large-beaked morphology characteristic of the aptly named Geospiza magnirostris, which likewise expresses Bmp4 earlier in mesenchymal cells than any of the other members of the ground finch genus.

What is even more intriguing is the effect of a heterotopic shift in the expression of Bmp4 in different cell layers. If the same RCAS:Bmp4 construct is used to infect ectodermal cells of the developing beak, the effect achieved on beak morphology of chick embryos - smaller and narrower beaks - is opposite to that achieved by infection of mesenchymal cell layers. Such heterochronic and heterotopic expression of Bmp4 provide a parsimonious way to achieve both the svelte-beaked form of the most ancestral of the ground finch (Geospiza) group of Darwin's finches, G. difficilis, as well as the robust-beaked form of G. magnirostris.

Abzahnov et al (2004) further confirmed that the changes in beak morphology among Darwin's finches were not associated with two of the regulators of Bmp4, sonic hedgehog (Shh) and fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8). The junction where expression of these two regulatory genes meet on the developing cranium has been shown to drive the out-pocketing of cells that eventually develops into beak and to also induce expression of Bmp4 (Abzahnov and Tabin, 2004).

Even though Shh and Fgf8 interact to control the proper location of Bmp4 expression on the cranium and thus beak morphology, variation in Shh and Fgf8 were not correlated with differences between large- and small-beaked species of Darwin's finches. The authors did find that a mesenchymal injection of a viral construct with the gene Noggin, which antagonizes Bmp4 signaling, dramatically reduced the size of the upper beak of the chick. This result does not rule out potential epistatic interactions of other regulatory genes, but it does narrow the search to those that specifically affect Bmp4 gene expression.

These findings elucidate the developmental origin of an adaptive radiation that serves as the textbook example of evolution. More importantly, it brings us one step closer to understanding how morphological diversity can be achieved with a minimum amount of informational change. The fact that the same growth factor, when applied to mesenchyme versus ectoderm, can achieve completely opposite morphologies provides us with a partial answer to the paradox of the genome. How can the complex morphology of a human require only the coordinated expression of 30 000 genes? The combination of heterochronic and heterotopic changes in the regulation of single genes provides an infinite set of topological shifts to evolve a limitless set of morphological diversity."

Will someone just refer sandi and the other ignorant trolls to Talk Origins and be done with it. Particularly the Index. Its not like all this same, tired, uneducated bizzare claims (3% difference between humans and trees? cripes) havent been heard before.

Perhaps don't respond to them until they have shown they have read and understood the material.

Quoting Stan:
wrong, armpit, ToE was dreamed up to explain the existence of genomes.

Get your facts straight. Darwin presented his theory before Mendel's work on heritability became widespread knowledge. DNA itself was not discovered until decades later. So your chronology here is completely wrong. How could the theory of evolution be used to explain repositories of discrete units of heritability (genomes) when those discrete units (genes) hadn't yet been observed?

In truth, Darwin posed an exhaustively researched theory that was hindered by the lack of knowledge about genes. Subsequently, knowledge of genetics and the discovery of DNA as a medium for heritability served only to bolster his theory.

A two minute scan of Wikipedia reveals:
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (published 1859)...

Mendel read his paper, "Experiments on Plant Hybridization", at two meetings of the Natural History Society of Brünn in Moravia in 1865. When Mendel's paper was published in 1866 in Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Brünn,[2] it had little impact and was cited about three times over the next thirty-five years. His paper was criticized at the time, but is now considered a seminal work... It was not until the early 20th century that the importance of his ideas was realized. In 1900, his work was rediscovered by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns.

Wiki links.

Bolded emphasis mine.

Short version: People here aren't often convinced by a half-assed, poorly researched argument.

Creationist/id to truth translation:
I'm not a creationist = I am a creationist. a common variations on the net include I'm not a scientologist.
I am open minded = I believe in a magic beard in the sky but I think I am superior to those who accept evolution.
Its still a (lifeform) = kent hovind and ken ham dun told me that it shure aint evilution an i is goanna believe those god fearing men
Theory = its just a guess.

By Ray Mills (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

"great tits are songbirds"
Well who could argue with that? Even Ken Ham would agree. Sorry to hear about them shrinking though.
I'm even sorrier that that's what will stick with me the longest.
And Stan? The ToE was dreamed up to explain changes in genomes? And Newton dreamed up the *principia* to explain black holes right? Even stupider than "if people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"

Great Tits are songbirds
They certainly sing to me.

3% difference between trees and humans
That explains why I woke up with wood this morning.

Evolution makes great conclusions about life. So minor variation within species is not in any way relevant to the origin of species.
Its fine with creationism to see , if true, a mechaism of selection changing details of species. Its trivial.
Yet to change greatly requires a creature to suddenly, mutation, be different and prevail over its siblings.
these mutations are unlikely and unproven and absurd to turn a mouse into a cow. Etc.

Its said that if creationists accept selection for minor changes then just add time and you got major changes.
Within species the differences are already there and can be made use of. However the big changes are not there and unlikely to be there. The great changes required for the great claims of evolution are absolutely not in the makeup of a species.
All this variation shows is minor selection for minor gains or later losses.
The flaw in this thinking has been ignoring how impossible it is to bring great change from such minor differences. Anyways there is no time in creationist models.
variation and time has no evidence of having been the origin of species.

By Robert Byers (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

The Theory of Walking makes great conclusions about getting from one place to another. So minor steps within your house is not in any way relevant to getting from your bed to your car.
Its fine with flotationism to see , if true, a mechaism of moving your feet to get from a table to your fridge. Its trivial.
Yet to walk farther requires a creature to suddenly, move their feet, walk and go somewhere else.
these movements are unlikely and unproven and absurd to move around hitting yourself with your own penis. Etc.

Its said that if flotationists accept walking for minor distances traveled then just add time and you got major distances traveled.
Within your house your feet are already there and can be made use of. However your legs are not there and unlikely to be there. The great movements required for the great claims of The Theory of Walking are absolutely not in the makeup of a movement.
All this walking shows is minor movement for minor steps or later trips.
The flaw in this thinking has been ignoring how impossible it is to bring great distances from such minor distances. Anyways there is no time in flotationist models.
variation and time has no evidence of having been the origin of walking.

Stan the morphing lying troll quotes some hyphenated person called Gaylord-Simpson (no title or date, but whatever). Could this be a reference to G. G. Simpson, the well-known palaeontologist and evolutionary theorist? Gaylord was George's middle name; no hyphens.
Excellent article by Judson, but reading the comments over there was a bit depressing. I wonder if she even bothers to read them at all? (Sometimes I wonder if PZ reads his, but he keeps jumping in with responses so he reads at least some)

By John Scanlon FCD (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

The comment on the other board from someone who said that Judson was "ignorant about genetics"... who ARE these arrogant people who feel justified in arguing with acknowleged experts?

If a professional musician wrote an article about Bach, I wouldn't then post a comment telling them they were ignorant about counterpoint. If I thought there might be an error, I might politely query it - but I'd assume that I was going to learn something, not that they were wrong. Even if I were an expert, and the guy truly was wrong, I'd still politely query it. Calling someone ignorant is really a good way of getting a two-word pithy response.

And as for the guy who referred to Judson on here as a "clueless little skank" - well, that's just deeply offensive (looks to me like misogyny), and if I were running this site, he would be immediately banned, no matter how correct his arguments are.

Frankly, I don't know how people put up with it. Judson is trying to educate people in an entertaining way - and she gets personally insulted for her pains. She doesn't have to do it - it's not as if she is likely to have loads of spare time as a research fellow at Imperial....

"he would be immediately banned, no matter how correct his arguments are..."

...just for the avoidance of doubt, I'm not suggesting that I believe that his arguments have any substance at all...

Speciation

Try looking at the "ring-species" of palearctic gulls.

In England, the Lesser Black-Backed Gull, and the (European) Herring Gull are distinct, mutually infertile species.
BUT
If you travel around the Arctic perimeter, Easterly from the UK, you get a whole gradation of other species, that shade into each other, and each can breed with the next, as you go along.

FWIW the other gulls are:
Siberian Lesser Black-Back, Heuglin's, Birula's, American Herring.

By G. Tingey (not verified) on 23 Jul 2008 #permalink

stan: "wrong, armpit, ToE was dreamed up to explain the existence of genomes."

#158: "Get your facts straight. Darwin presented his theory before Mendel's work on heritability became widespread knowledge. DNA itself was not discovered until decades later"

look, moron, Charles darwin did not promote ToE, which is what I was talking about. ToE is otherwise known as Neo-darwinism which was a combination of darwin's natural selection and mendel's observation of genetics. The truth and reality is, evolutionists have to come up with a non-magical way for genomes to have appeared...but to present an example of biological change that does not include a change in the genome in no way can count as evidence for ToE, which IS an attempt to explain the buildup of genomes.

Get your facts straight.

Now that is real inspirational writing. Thanks for the link Paul.

but to present an example of biological change that does not include a change in the genome in no way can count as evidence for ToE

The example provided does include a change in the genome (see #155). The only person who says it doesn't is you, and you are just making an invalid assumption. And even if they hadn't established the specific genetic change (which they have), it would still be an inheritable difference operating as Evolution would predict.

Charles darwin did not promote ToE

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!!!! The dude invented the Theory of Evolution. That it has improved since he invented it to include understanding of the genetic mechanism does not mean he didn't promote it, or any of your other facile claims.

Quote-mining, sock-puppeting, cherry-picking, putting the cart before the horse, and changing definitions at your whim - you've got a whole big pile of logical fallacy going there.

The only moron who needs to get his facts straight is you.

"in a forest in southern England, great tits have been shrinking (great tits are songbirds)." How depressing, but great tits are great tits, no matter how large or small. LOL. Only a biologist/zoologist could say that with a straight face.

Aw, has stanely disappeared? I was hoping that he would tell us all about how he "shoots his eyes at the moon":

Let's say someone is jumping on the moon in complete darkness (dark side of the moon). Now let's say someone situated on the planet Pluto is watching....(someone who can see through the dark) How long will it take him to be able to "see" the jumping? Remember, there is no light involved. it would be instantaneous if he could see that far.

because I, standing on the earth, do not have to "wait" for that image to get here -- I can see it with my own eyes.

wait -- stop right there at "there is no speed of sight..." What do you mean by that. You mean you cannot see in front of yourself?

so when a big green monster is jumping on the moon, do you think there is an "image" of that green monster travelling to the earth? Keeping mind that "image" is a visual thing that humans experience. But their is no image of a green monster going anywhere.......the monster is jumping on the moon and is staying on the moon. Any light reflected might shine somewhere else, but the image itself doesn't go anywhere........as a human I simply see it....I don't see an "image" of it.

you guys keep saying that what we see is all reflected light --- if that were true, then nothing we see would be real -- it would only be a reflection. I don't see how this could be true.

oh I think I get it...
You guys think images have to come to us...while I think our eyes go to the image! Am I right?

but there is no image "coming" my eyes go get it!

by seeing I pretty much am "shooting my eyeballs" out into the distance.

stop there....but you are assuming that the lightwave has to travel to us....why can it not be that my eyes travel to it?

hmmmm.....are you also saying it doesn't matter how powerful my eyes are? What if I had telescope eyes?

so if there were someone doing jumping jacks on the sun and I had a super high-powered telescope I would not be able to watch real-time jumping????

fine...who cares.....that's not the topic....I don't doubt that it takes light time to travel...I'm simply saying it doesn't take my sight time to travel

@G.Tingey #167
What I also find fascinating about Larus fuscus and L. argentatus is the way they seem to compete so strongly for eg food and nest sites. Regrettably at 04.30 outside my window, noisy bastards!!
There are not even any major behavioural differences between the species (except mate-choice), purely a question of two ends of a circle meeting after "micro-evolution" round the globe. Beautiful :-)

evolutionists have to come up with a non-magical way for genomes to have appeared

Are you trying to say that magic is a scientific answer to anything?!

By Dutch Delight (not verified) on 24 Jul 2008 #permalink

I wonder how many comments PZ would get if trolls like sandi didnt start up shit on every post.
Everyone seems to have a need to react to her, when it's plain that it won't work.

IGNORE THE LITTLE TROLL AND SHE'LL GO AWAY AND BOTHER SOMEONE ELSE.
then we can all enjoy talking about science in a positive light.

This post was a great example of how we not only learn new things, but we should be celebrating these discoveries, not arguing with pissants that havent the capacity to understand them.

Before one critizes an important idea presented by an expert in the field, in a forum frequented by many other experts in the same field, it is customary to first obtain some small understanding on the topic at hand. Now I would not be so unreasonable as to demand that you know EVERYTHING about the ToE before you open your yammer, since no one does, but a teensy leeeetle bit of comprehension is recommended.

To whit, the following can (and should) be taught to first graders:

Evolution requires just two things: 1. heritable variation and 2. selection pressure. Some people like to say three, and split #1 into heredity and variation and discuss them separately, but I will stay with two, since you seem to have difficulty holding more than that many concepts in your head at one time.

Genetics is the mechanism of heredity that life on earth uses. Is it the only such mechanism? We don't know, but so far we haven't found any other candidates. The weight of evidence is now such that we can say with reasonable certainty that genes (made of nucleic acids) are the dominant mechanism of heredity for life on earth.

As a result, the modern formulation of ToE is expressed in the language of genetics. This is because the study of genetics arose from the investigation into evolution. Genetics is dependent on evolution, not the other way around. But, and I will say this very slowly so that you may understand fully, GENES ARE NOT NECESSARY FOR EVOLUTION TO WORK.

Any means of passing on information to the next generation will do. If there was no DNA, and inside every cell was a pair of tiny little stone tablets which are copied and passed on to descendents, evolution would still work. If parents had to serenade their gametes with a four-point a capella duet describing their features, and conception could only occur when the gametes hear the song, evolution would still work.

There are things called computer viruses whose information is stored in patterns of electrical charges, no chemicals at all, and some of them, the ones that have variation to their replication, can evolve. Languages evolve, they have no genes. Your religion (I will hypothesize from your prior comments that you have one), passed on from one generation to the next, evolves. Go check the bible, especially the books of Deuteronomy and Judges, and tell me how much what is described there resembles the religion you and your fellow co-religionists practice today. Consider the number of sects and churches out there who all use your bible, and the number of printed versions of your holy book, read up on the history of the Reformation, the founding of Mormonism, the Taiping Rebellion in China, then come back and talk to me about common descent.

Dear stan, #176 is for you.

sandi displaying vast ignorance:

The brilliant scientific minds said we were directly descended from apes. Now the great scientists say, "Wait, strike that! We weren't descended from apes but had a common ancestor." Well .... Name that ancestor.,

Sandi gets it all wrong. Taxonomically, we are classified as apes. We share a common ancestor with monkeys. We also share common ancestors with chimpanzees and gorillas, although we are not directly descended from either.

Our ancestors would be a variety of early H. sapiens from Africa, archaic H. sapiens, H. erectus, H. habilis, A. africanus, and earlier apes that we know less about. We have fossils of all of these, in some cases quite a few. It is hard to draw the lines between some of these as with more fossils they start to intergrade with each other.

You know less than the average middle schoolers. And yet you claim to know more than scientists who work in the field. This is just delusional.

Let me guess. Your degrees are in bible studies, apologetics, and advanced delusional trolling.

For those who don't know, stan is a well known lamarckian who has no ability or interest in reality. He usually gets mad at some point and threatens to kill everyone. Best to just ignore him and sincerely hope he doesn't live near you.

Thanks, raven. I'm too new here to have recognized him.

I haven't quite figured out how stan (and his multiple personality choir), Byers, etc., manage to get on the Internet - breathing would seem to take all of their available operating brainpower, so I can't see where the extra power needed to operate a computer or to spell out words comes from. Maybe there's a commercial crayon-to-character tool I don't know about...

Sandi - a fly lives about 2 weeks. If you asked a fly if a seed can turn into a giant tree, a fly would say "heck no, never in my lifetime have i seen that happen, that's just nuts."

By Texas Reader (not verified) on 24 Jul 2008 #permalink

stan is a lamarckian?!

There are still lamarckians around?