Wait for the creationists...
Don't ya just love science?
The statement from the abstract is as prosaic as it gets: “A newly discovered partial hominin foot skeleton from eastern Africa indicates the presence of more than one hominin locomotor adaptation at the beginning of the Late Pliocene epoch.” The implication, however, is profound: potentially a new species of hominin has been …
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PHOEBE: Go ahead and scoff. You know, there're a lot of things that I don't believe in, but that doesn't mean they're not true.
JOEY: Such as?
PHOEBE: Like crop circles, or the Bermuda triangle, or evolution?
ROSS: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What, you don't, uh, you don't believe in evolution?
PHOEBE: I don't know, it's just, you know...monkeys, Darwin, you know, it's a, it's a nice story, I just think it's a little too easy.
ROSS: Too easy? The process of every living thing on this planet evolving over millions of years from single-celled organisms, too easy?
PHOEBE: Yeah, I just don't buy it.
ROSS: Uh, excuse me. Evolution is not for you to buy, Phoebe. Evolution is scientific fact like the air we breathe, like gravity.
PHOEBE: Ok, don't get me started on gravity.
ROSS: You uh, you don't believe in gravity?
PHOEBE: Well, it's not so much that you know, like I don't believe in it, you know, it's just...I don't know, lately I get the feeling that I'm not so much being pulled down as I am being pushed.
ROSS: How can you not believe in evolution?
PHOEBE: Just don't. Look at this funky shirt!
ROSS: Pheebs, I have studied evolution my entire adult life. Ok, I can tell you, we have collected fossils from all over the world that actually show the evolution of different species, ok? You can literally see them evolving through time.
PHOEBE: Really? You can actually see it?
ROSS: You bet. In the U.S., China, Africa, all over.
PHOEBE: See, I didn't know that.
ROSS: Well, there you go.
PHOEBE: Huh. So now, the real question is, who put those fossils there, and why?
Except of course that you CAN'T actually see it. There still are NO transitional fossils. There are fossils of two species Darwinists BELIEVE evolved one to the other, but no actual transitions. Given the number of transitional species you need, and the numbers within a transitional species for them to evolve, there SHOULD be fossils of transitional species.
And the microbaloney that's supposed to have started it all off is even worse. The whole primordial soup concept has been debunked. Add in trace quantities of O2, in the amount present on Jupiter or Saturn, and the soup oxidizes again before you get amino acids, let alone proteins. And nobody ever synthesized proteins from the aminos, they just waved their hands and left it as an exercise for the student. That's not science. In fact, it sounds to me quite a lot like a man-made religion. It makes certain tautological statements it likes, says trust authority where it has no explanations, and declares non-believers heretics who must be cast out lest they corrupt the body.
Creationist logic concerning 'transitional' species has always confused me and not just because they seem to think evolution works like pokemon. Consider this:
1) They believe that everything in the world was created at the beginning (all at once, 7 days, it doesn't make too much difference)
2) They believe all species are static, i.e. that one can't become another through natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, etc.
When looking at the fossil record these two points are obviously contradictory. If you believe species can't evolve then the only logical conclusion is that certain species popped into existence, were around for a couple of million years and then popped out of existence again (sometimes disappearing shortly after a remarkably similar species has just popped into being). This of course is at odds with God creating everything in the beginning.
Creationists do like to only view the fossil record selectively though. I've seen arguments where the fossil record is described as incomplete (which it is), but implying that all species were created at once and we simply haven't found the fossils of [insert species here] (usually Homo Sapiens) that stretch all the way back to the beginning. We do however have lots of fossils of creatures from the past which certainly don't exist today. If what the Creationists say is true then the Earth has been undergoing one giant extinction event for the last 3.7 billion years (or even more terrifyingly, 6000 years).
I really can't get my head around this way of thinking...
My ambition is to BE a transitional fossil... preferably for a new phylum.
Just think how cool that would be... not only immortalised in millions of descendants, but preserved in rock, rediscovered and given a new name after millions of years. Hope there's a good pop song on when I'm dug up!
icon: my photo.
@Tom13 - I call troll, but I'll bite anyway.
There is no such thing as a transitional species, these are used for convenience / convention. The changes between one species and another are extremely gradual and it needs snapshots hundreds of thousands or millions of years apart to see enough difference to call them different 'species'.
Now here's something for your mind to boggle upon: Your DNA came from your parents, theirs came from their parents and so on ad infinitum. Go far enough back, Lucy could be your Great-^250000 grand-mother. Mine too for that matter
The bible certainly does state a very specific order of creation of stuff, and also quite a few "how"s (adam from a pile of dust, eve from adam's rib). And the timeframe is a bit contracted, but hey 7 days or 7 billion years, it's still 7 right?
Sure, it's possible for "God" to have set up all the gubbins necessary for the big bang plus carefully calculated constants for weak force, strong force etc and started it off just so that everything around us is now as we see it.... but (1) that scenario is both unprovable and indistinguishable from a "no-God" scenario and (2) it's a "God" scenario that is not really espoused by almost any God-believers anyway.
The bible is full of an astounding amount of rubbish tucked in between the religious wars, genocide, infanticide, homophobia and sexual abuse, although I have to admit there's also quite a few bits of good advice.
"Everything in the Bible is true, and some of it actually happened."
The "six-day literal creation" interpretation of the book of Genesis being flogged by a narrow, peculiarly American strain of Protestant Christianity is a relatively recent twist on Biblical interpretation, and is not shared by the majority of believers (present or past) within the Judeo-Christian tradition. As far as I can tell, its main intent is to distract from the core teachings of the Gospel, which are hard to follow and make American Christians particularly uncomfortable.
Y'know... I've often wondered if the Six-Day Creation Story wasn't an ancient version of that bit they used to do in my biology and astronomy classes back in high school, where they use a 24-hour clock analogy to lay out the timelines for the evolution of life and the Universe in order to make it more understandable... you know, the Big Bang happened at midnight, first stars appeared at around 12:30am, our solar system's original accretion disk formed around 6pm the following afternoon, Earth cooled to a temperature conducive to liquid water and life around a quarter to midnight that night...
Along with the other recent sub-species discoveries in Asia (hobbits, red deer cave people etc), it seems that there have been more evolutionary branches than we used to think. Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?
It reminds me of the recent boom in exo-planet discovery: we've recently become good at finding more stuff, and it's amazing how much more stuff there is to be found.
Eight bones from a foot and we have a new species? See the TED talk on new fossil species being found.
Let's just say that if this was evidence showing that a new nuclear plant design was just as safe as the others, I'd be moving a bit further away.
If we expect millions of tiny genetic changes to contribute to our evolution, how many creatures do we need of the same type to get the mutations required? How many mutations do we need to get where we are going and how many failed mutations do we expect to find? Has anyone actually done the statistical work on this?
With a geometric progression in human reproduction giving us more humans than there have ever been before, where are the useful mutations happening in the human race today? I reckon infra-vision would be a bonus worth keeping [+5 stealth].
The Beeb's report is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17533826
>>where are the useful mutations happening in the human race today?
The assumption that there are no "useful mutations" for humans today is faulty, there are mutations happing all the time, from the ability to handle very fatty diets, tetrachromacy, short twitch run muscles, but what is useful in the context of evolution?
How many of these things will be added to the evolutionary pressure survivability? Humans no longer have evolutionary pressure that we used to have, we have welfare states, choice on reproduction etc. a "weak" genetic trait no longer will add towards the ability to pass on the gene any more than a "strong" genetic trait inhibits it. Although it's a sterotype, poor, undereducated families often have more children earlier than better off, better educated families, so our "evolutionary pressue" now favours poverty and lack of education.
It matters nothing to evolution if you are the smartest, fittest ape unless you pass your genes on, conversely, die early, be unhealthy, uninteligent, but if you have had 10 kids you have done well for evolution.
>>How many mutations do we need to get where we are going
This is a common misunderstanding, there is no "get where we are going", there is no "destination", we are where we are because of evolutionary pressures, we will be where we end up because of evolutionary pressures, it's not survival of the "fittest" (a common misquote), it's survival of the best fit - get in a tank with a shark, you won't do well, put a shark in a forest and you'll do better than the shark, it's adaping to the environment, not be "more evolved" cockroaches are an almost perfect animal (for their environment).
>>how many failed mutations do we expect to find?
There's no such thing as a "failed" mutation, if it is useful (helps us pass genes) it's more likely to be kept, if it's not useful it "may" be kept but is likely to fade away, if it interferes with our ability to breed it will be lost.
I'm interested in this research that shows that poverty and lack of education are genetic traits and not societal.
They are societal ... but being thick as two short planks is genetic. If you're somewhat dim with a "bad back" living on incapacity benefit, child benefit and perhaps maintenance BUT you have 15 kids (hence the bad back perhaps); more of your genes are being passed on to the next generation than someone with a Phd in particle physics with only 2 children.
Therefore the evolutionary trend may favour people of lesser intelligence in the long run.
There's something about this argument that doesn't quite fit for me. It's quite well demonstrated that the greatest indicators for large families are rural environments and poverty, this is because in poor and rural settings, children are a resource that can be put to work. For more advanced countries, and richer and highly-educated people the number of children goes down.
So firstly, the trend is selecting for poorer people (not necessarily dumber although there could be a small correlation), and secondly this is a short-term trend. In the long term as poorer countries and areas become richer, the birth rates will stabilise. It's also the case that the smarter and more driven of the 'poor' kids will succeed more and have better reproductive prospects than their less intelligent siblings.
Finally, we're talking here about a trend (small nuclear family) that has developed in the last 2-300 years, in evolutionary terms that is a drop in teh bucket and will hardly be noticed.
>>So firstly, the trend is selecting for poorer people (not necessarily dumber although there could be a small correlation)
Don't forget, there's selection where a trait helps genes to be passed on (larger families), and deselection of a trait which is not required to pass on genes, it's not that "dumbness" is a selected trait (being stupid doesn't help genes being passed on, although there's an argument for teen pregnancies) it's that if you are a human being super inteligent doesn't mean that your genes are more likely to be passed on than being super dumb, it's not a "selected" trait, and don't forget, inteligence has a cost, larger brains, more energy required, if there's no evolutionary advantage and there's a cost to a trait then it naturally becomes "deselected".
Put another way, pretty much any wild animal (excludes pets, farmed etc.) has an evolutionary advantage to being smart enough to stay alive and breed as much as possible, smart enough to avoid a predator, smart enough to find food (it doesn't need to be able to do the times crossword, it needs to be smart enough to stay alive) comparatively "dumb" animals will be eaten or starve.
Humans have no such requirement to be smart, people with a low IQ will find a mate, breed and pass their genes on, they don't need to live to 100, just breed (the earlier and the more the better) evolution doesn't care about quality of life, just the perpetuation of it.
>>It's also the case that the smarter and more driven of the 'poor' kids will succeed more and have better reproductive prospects than their less intelligent siblings.
Not true at all, while affluence may attract a different category of "mate" it's just "different" (arguably "more") reproductive prospects, not "better". Having a good job or lots of money doesn't mean you attract someone who has a better ability to breed, and in fact may even have the opposite affect, if you only breed with your "class" the less people in your class then the less the genetic diversity and this usually brings down viability.
>>Finally, we're talking here about a trend (small nuclear family) that has developed in the last 2-300 years, in evolutionary terms that is a drop in teh bucket and will hardly be noticed
I agree in principle, but we will likely continue this trend, for example, a few thousand years ago, someone with a genetic disorder could find it life threatning, the smartest or strongest would rule a tribe (and get the pick of mates or even just be allowed to mate), today, not so, Gattica is a great film which touches on this subject.
Ironically, the mechanism by which the smartest get to rule the tribe is religion. Invent a plausible explanation for what happens when you die (heaven or hell depending on whether you do what god wants), convince people that you know what god wants, tell them that he is all seeing so they will go to hell even is nobody catches them doing wrong. Everyone will do what you tell them.
If you are really smart, and intuitively understand that evolution applies to memes as well as genes, also tell them god doesn't like masturbation or birth control.
"being thick as two short planks is genetic"
Genes are only one factor in intelligence. But by far the biggest factor is education. Children in an environment with low mental stimulation are less well educated when they start school and never catch up.
(On the other hand, I've known many people in degree-educated jobs who do seem quite thick despite all that education...)
"With a geometric progression in human reproduction giving us more humans than there have ever been before, where are the useful mutations happening in the human race today?"
You know this already of course, but there are in no way "more humans than there have ever been before". Not by a long shot.
I think you rather underestimate the scales involved in changing a complex species... either time, and quite a lot of it, or environmental pressure, preferably brutal. In our not so distant past we have nice examples of serious pressure on immune systems; those who didn't do so well when faced with smallpox or the black death haven't passed down many genes to us today.
That aside, as a species we are adept at dealing with all sorts of problems that would have killed us off in the past. This may be a backwards step in the eyes of folk like you (OMG, we're encouraging the spread of genes contributing to bad diseases instead of letting sufferers die childless!) but we have social and technological evolution instead which is many ways is vastly more powerful.
Example: back in the day, an ignorant troll might find themselves burned at the stake by a rampaging mob of anthropologists who'd finally snapped. Thanks to the internet, those trolls can now prosper and reproduce in safety, passing their genes and ideas on to the next generation.
Damn, I can think of a bunch of times when I could've really used an opposable big toe... like working in the garden, or around the house, and stuff. No, really, you guys, c'mon, quit laughing.
Also, I can think of a lot of times a tail would've been handy, like on the subway... or bringing in groceries from the car -- both hands loaded up with bags of groceries, and no way to lower and close the trunk (boot) lid... shit, man, that would've been a piece of cake with a strong prehensile tail.
Your headline, on the other hand, is breathless hysterical tabloid hype, not to mention being fabricated nonsense that is not remotely grounded in the story. Quite the opposite of prosaic, then.
I see that after a while you pulled the front-page photo of the sexy-woman's-stockinged-leg and replaced it with a picture of Fred Flintstone, but you still have this headline which suggests that there was some discovery of interbreeding between hominin species, a suggestion that the Nature paper does not even hint at. And the "cave tryst" reference is particularly ludicrous since the new species is believed to be forest-dwelling, not cave-dwelling. (Then again, Lucy probably wasn't a cave-dweller either, but why let facts get in the way of a cheap bit of sub-Carry-On innuendo? Pitching for a job at News International, are you?)
Pull over to the side of the road and show me your scienceing licence. I'm going to rip it up right here in front of you for those egregious violations.
I understand Darwin's only qualification was a degree in Theology. I'm fairly certain that were he alive today he would be mortified that his paper had been turned into a modern religion. Fast forward to the present day and you now have a group of people who think that it's acceptable to make ad hominen attacks on anyone who thinks differently (eg calling them "Creationuts"). There is even a belief that if it weren't for religion that humanity and science would be much further ahead now (I cannot find any justification for this belief however but I am open to being proved wrong).
Phoebe has a very good point. Evolution is just as much a leap of faith as believing in creation.
I actually used to believe in it till I realised that I was only believing in it because I was told it was true. There are too many major problems with the theory for me to accept it scientifically. For example, if the moon is five billion years old then it would have been touching the earth back then if you presume it's moving away at the same rate it is now (in other words for the moon to be as old as it is presumed it would have to be moving away at a slower rate now or be further away - check my maths if you don't believe me).
Of course the irony is that if those who presume everything happened by chance are right, they will statistically be worse off in life than those who believe in God. Numerous studies have shown that having a faith gives you better health. So even if Christians are wrong, we die happy. Being right isn't everything.
The fact that a vocal minority of non-religious people are childish thickos who mistake name-calling for intelligent debate is lamentable, but don't fall into the trap of generalising this to the whole bunch of us. I am a complete agnostic, and will never ever be an atheist, because it's an intellectually unsupportable standpoint.
However, you'd have to be blinder than Saul to miss the irony in your post. You espouse religion. Why? Presumably because you were told it was true -- there isn't much more than that to go on with religion. Now that in and of itself is not a bad thing -- I believe in your right to have a faith and to profess that faith, and I would defend that right for you -- it's just that you reject evolution by the very same mechanism that you accept faith.
And what maths am I to check? You haven't provided any figures. The long-term movement of the moon is a very hard thing to model indeed -- celestial motion falls into the realm of complex systems; AKA "Chaos theory". It's such a difficult mathematical problem that it's currently technically unsolvable -- there is still too much to learn about gravitational interactions.
Moreover, how is the motion of the moon an example of the flaws in the theory of evolution? As long as the moon existed before the evolution of the modern moth, it's largely irrelevant when or how it got there....
At last! an evolution denier! at least you don't sound as mental as some of them (and that's not ad hominen, you generally sound sane, whereas some sound insane).
>>I understand Darwin's only qualification was a degree in Theology.
He held an "ordinary" degree including theology, maths and physics, he also studied biology and medicine, originally studying to be a doctor but found it boring and didn't like the sight of blood, it's a often seen attack against Darwins "credentials", but even if he was totally unqualified, it is an irrelevance, he was going into an area of study that very few people knew, there's no way he could get an evolutionary science degree, because he was discovering a new field - somebody has to do this for the first time!
>>I'm fairly certain that were he alive today he would be mortified that his paper had been turned into a modern religion.
Again a common attack, firstly where is this "religion" (apart from in the minds of the religious), and anyway, if religion is so bad why do the religious think that it's a criticism to call evolution a religion? Is it because they know religion is bad? talk about cognitive dissonance, unless of course what they really mean is any religion apart from their own is bad... ahem!
Oh, and by the way, a book 30 years in the making that had six revisions (technically seven for the modern versions), translated into eleven languages in his lifetime, nearly thirty languages today isn't a "paper".
>>There is even a belief that if it weren't for religion that humanity and science would be much further ahead now (I cannot find any justification for this belief however but I am open to being proved wrong)
Firstly I doubt sincerely that you are open to being proved (or perhaps proven) wrong, but there are two arguments here, how much did organised religion help science, and there's good examples of religious funding, this of course is no surprise as they had all the money and controlling knowlege controls people, conversely there are examples where funding was only given if what they found didn't contradict the bible (e.g. Egyptian digs), so yes people with money (royalty and religions) helped science with funding, but these days it retards science in schools (teaching creationism as science and not teaching evolution at all in some schools for example).
>>Phoebe has a very good point. Evolution is just as much a leap of faith as believing in creation.
I love Phoebe, she's a great character, I'm not sure that her understanding of science or the world in general (like her grandmother being reincarnated as a cat) is a reason to believe a worldview she promotes is valid (besides, you do know she is the "comic relief" who holds stupid views to make people laugh?)
>>For example, if the moon is five billion years old then it would have been touching the earth back then if you presume it's moving away at the same rate it is now
The key thing here is that you *have* to assume it's moving away at the same rate, I'm not sure if creationists are deliberately getting things wrong or it's ignorance, ignorance can be forgiven but misrepresenting something deliberately is called lying. Yes, your statement is correct, but the point is, it's moving away faster and faster (this is called acceleration) which means that the moon (as a satellite) was never "touching the earth", it's possible (given the similar make up of the moon) that rather than being a captured satellite it's a bit of the earth smashed off by a massive impact, is now in orbit, because it is getting futher away the attractive force is less, which means it will get further away faster (conversely, when it was closer it moved away slower) - check my maths if you don't believe me - yours is faulty, mine is not.
>>So even if Christians are wrong, we die happy. Being right isn't everything.
Blue pill or red pill? ignorance is bliss as they say, keeping poor people happy with their lot is perhaps a valid idea, but lets face it, choose to live a happy lie or a true reality and make of it as you will? I have no problem at all with someone consoling themselves with a lie, it's your choice to believe in Santa or Satan if it makes you happy, I don't want to take that away, just don't impinge on anyone else's lives, don't tell people in Africa they can't use condoms, don't tell people they are evil and die in sin because they don't belive your lies, stop shooting doctors, don't justify wars by your god and keep religious crap out of the science class.
I could spend my life off my tits on heroin, the sheer bliss and hapiness I would feel would be second to none, or I could travel the world, meet people, try and do some good, be worried that my life will come to an end and I will cease to exist before I get all the experiences I can, or I could be a happy insular theist, waiting to die and go to paradise.
Bollocks to that, I want this life to be good, now, I want to help other people have a fulfilling life and I want to make the best of this one, I don't want to be a crack head or theist and it's a fucking crime that you're promoting these ideas as valid.
@No, I will not fix your computer
I think he's referring to the cult-like behaviour of Dawkins and his mindless fans. Dawkins love of evolution led to his espousal of the daft notion of "memes", and I'm not talking about Downfall subs.
Dawkins does want to see evolution as the sole guiding principle of all science, and he's a stuck-up, self-important pseud.
But again, I ask the OP not to portray all atheists as fanatics, just as we don't judge all Christians by the standards of Irish bishops or Westboro Baptist....
Considering how some humans look (not color, but SHAPES), it's a wonder the blending "took".
If humans were labeled like oil, we'd have some labels such as "Crude, dark/drak, sweet, haggard, stately, gaunt, hunch/haunch, beanstalk, curmudge, lank, spliced, de-spliced, respliced, disrupted, incongruous-fusion, or dreg..." (Well, assuming there are anthropologists who have dark, sweet, crude senses of humor...)
What'll be kewl will be to find a bunch of glowing, but non-smoking/not-bashed-in multi-colored orbs that do currency in quatloos alonside holograms of the bodies they escaped (pigeon-toothed/buck-toed, Z-spined, opposable-glanded, opposable elbowed, double-jointed kneed types...)
However, my first thought was "Hera???"
No, that's not sarcasm either. I'd like to think that I'm generally sane, although I do have Asperger's and Bipolar Affective Disorder.
As for figures, well divide 5 billion years by the distance the earth is from the moon (average distance is fine or you could use apogee or perigee) and you'll be close to the annual regression of the moon. I'm not giving you all the figures I expect you to do some research yourselves.
Another conundrum is population. If mankind has been around for well over 6,000 years then population would be in the trillions. If the world population doubled every 150 years we'd be at a population around 6 billion after 4,800 years (32 doublings).
My belief in the power of faith is based both on my subjective experience of becoming a Christian over 25 years ago which changed my life and the objective surveys that have found that having a faith is better for your health. For example see the HEA statement - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/462748.stm. I base it on the historical evidence of the existence of Jesus, not just because I was told to believe it. On the contrary I had very little spiritual input in my childhood.
As for Westboro Baptist Church (and others like them) they do not represent the majority view of Christians. They should be locked up for inciting hatred, the irresponsible sociopaths that they are. They are just like the Pharisees of Jesus' day.
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