Sep 21 2015

44 Reasons Creationists Are Deceptive

Part I: Transitional Fossils

Creationists are an endless source of material for skeptical analysis. The reason for this is that modern creationism is what I call “sophisticated nonsense.” It is an elaborate system of motivated reasoning crafted to defend a particular religious view.

The energy, time, and resources that some creationists put into this endeavor is astounding, resulting in a mountain of false claims, half-truths, misdirections, unsound arguments, and misinterpretations.

Creationists are engaged in science denial – denying evolutionary science. The purpose of denial is doubt and confusion, so they don’t have to create and defend a coherent explanation of the origins of life on Earth. They don’t have to provide an explanation for all the available evidence. All they have to do is muddy the waters as much as possible.

This behavior is absolutely clear when you examine their arguments and their methods. One of the hallmarks of creationist arguments is that they don’t change, or they change only slowly and minimally. They continue to use arguments that have been demolished decades ago. That is a sure sign of intellectual dishonesty – even when corrected on a factual error, they don’t seem to care. They continue to spread the misinformation.

One recent example is called, “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.” The author, Michael Snyder, is the worst kind of creationist in my opinion – a polemicist for creationism who boldly and even condescendingly spouts utter nonsense.

His “44 reasons” are not actually 44 separate reasons – he spreads out a single point into multiple “reasons.” He also likes to use the old creationist method of taking quotes out of context. This is another sure sign of intellectual dishonesty. You will see what I mean. (It takes a lot more time to correct a misconception than to create one, so I will have to break this up into multiple posts.)

Reasons 1-6: Transitional Fossils

The first six reasons are essentially the same point, that there is a lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. This, of course, is a complete lie. Snyder, however, maintains this lie with two common misconceptions among creationists that relate to how we define “transitional fossil.”

Creationists, of course, do not provide and then use one consistent definition of the term. They rely upon shifting definitions to sow their confusion. Evolutionary biologists consider a transitional fossil any fossil that gives us information about the evolutionary connection between two groups. These two groups can be descendants and ancestors, or two descendants with a common ancestor. The two groups can also be at any taxonomical level – two orders, two families, or two species. This is a broad definition, which allows for creationist mischief.

When scientists discuss the fossil record they will often discuss specific aspects of the record, and their points can easily be taken out of context, especially if you allow yourself a fluid definition of “transitional.” First let me explain, in broad brushstrokes, what the fossil record actually shows, and then we can see how they exploit the details to confuse.

We now have an enormous fossil record containing numerous transitional forms – species that are clearly in between extant species or that clearly fall between extant groups. To give some common examples:

There are now many transitional whales, such as Pakicetus, that are part way between terrestrial mammals and full whales, with stubby legs and nostrils still toward the front of their skull.

Archaeopteryx was the first fossil species part way between theropod dinosaurs and birds, but now we have discovered numerous examples of feathered dinosaurs, and part birds.

Tiktaalik is part way between fish and amphibians.

We have excellent documentation of the evolution of reptiles to mammals, including therapsids and cynodonts. This includes many steps in the transition from a reptilian to mammalian jaw and inner ear.

And of course there is excellent documentation of the hominin group – species that are between modern apes and modern humans. This includes the recently discovered Homo naledi, 15 nearly complete specimens of a creature that is about as close to half-way between apes and humans as you can get.

Here are a list of some other transitional forms.

While this is impressive, the fossil record is admittedly patchy. We are getting narrow glimpses into the past – into a 550 million year history of the evolution of hundreds of millions of multicellular species. Scientists try to understand the patterns in evolutionary history as well as the small details of what exactly evolved from what and when, from this patchy record. Scientists frankly discuss the limitations of this record and will often argue with each other about how to interpret it.

This is where creationists step in – to exploit this discussion and pretend as if a disagreement over the details calls into question the bigger picture, that there is massive evidence that evolution happened. Three of those details are most commonly exploited: the difference between species-level transition and group-level transition, the extent and meaning of stasis in the fossil record, and the difference between a transitional form and an actual ancestor.

Generally we have better documentation of group-level change than species-level change. This is a matter of the resolution of the fossil record. We can see changes that happened over millions of years much easier than changes that occurred over thousands of years. Although when we get closer in time to the present, the resolution of the fossil record improves and we get more species-level data. For example, we are fleshing out the evolution of early humans down to the species level.

Stasis in the fossil record simply means that species tend to arrive in the record, remain relatively stable for their existence, and then disappear. They are not constantly slowly changing. This led Gould and Eldredge to propose the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which is now generally accepted. This means that selective pressure tends to keep a species in an optimal relationship with their environment. However, this stability is punctuated by often rapid change when that environment changes or something disturbs the stability. “Sudden” in the fossil record, of course, can mean 50 thousand years – enough time for a speciation event.

In order to understand the third point about actual ancestors you need to understand that evolution does not progress in a straight line toward some end. Rather, adaptive radiation results in species evolving in multiple direction, in a branching bushy pattern.  For example, theropod dinosaurs hit upon feathers as an adaptation, and there were many species of feathered theropods. They were not evolving into birds, just adapting to their niche. One branch of theropods started using those feathers in a way that led to flight, a rather significant adaptation. They branched out in many directions, only one twig of which ultimately led to modern birds.

So – when paleontologists find a fossil of a half-bird, half theropod (like Archaeopteryx), that is a transitional fossil because it represents the morphological space between birds and theropods, and is a definite evolutionary connection. However, we have no way of knowing if the specific individual discovered was an actual ancestor to modern birds, or was from a closely related branch. This again gets to the resolution of the fossil record. Also, without DNA it is impossible to confirm actual ancestry. Fossils alone will never do it. This doesn’t mean that the form is not transitional, however.

Now, let’s get to Snyder’s claims and see how he exploits the complexity of the science to sow confusion. He writes:

#1 If the theory of evolution was true, we should have discovered millions upon millions of transitional fossils that show the development of one species into another species. Instead, we have zero.”

Forgetting the lack of the subjunctive, the core problem with this statement is that it refers to “species” without putting that into context. We do have some evidence of species to species evolution, but not much. Most of the fossils we have demonstrate genus or higher level transitions. He is simply wrong that we should (given the state of the fossil record) have “millions” of fossils that are transitional at the species level. He never explains this either because he is confused on this fact, or he simply wants to create confusion.

Point #2 is simply that Darwin admitted there were no transitional fossils during his time – this is irrelevant since we have discovered numerous transitional forms in the last 150 years.

#3 Even some of the most famous evolutionists in the world acknowledge the complete absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record. For example, Dr. Colin Patterson, former senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History and author of “Evolution” once wrote the following

“I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them …. I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”

OK – this requires some explanation. Fortunately, Lionel Theunissen has already done so. First, the comments in question were made in 1979 (a fact Snyder does not disclose). Relying upon a 36 year old quote about the current state of the scientific evidence is always dubious.

From reading the full quote, and knowing that Patterson accepts evolution, it seems obvious that he was referring to the third point I discuss above – the difference between a transitional fossil representing the morphological (and I would add temporal and geographic) space between two groups and proving that a specific specimen is an actual ancestor. Theunissen suspected this also, and so he wrote a letter to Patterson asking him if this is the correct interpretation. Patterson replied:

“I think the continuation of the passage shows clearly that your interpretation (at the end of your letter) is correct, and the creationists’ is false.”

(Follow the link for the full letter.) It cannot be more clear than that. Patterson directly says that the creationist interpretation of his quote is false, and that he was only referring to the difference between being transitional and being an actual ancestor. Despite this iron-clad revelation, creationists continue to use this out-of-context quote, and even dispute Patterson’s own explanation of what he meant.

Of course, all of this is also a misdirection – it is not a discussion of the actual evidence of transitional fossils. It is a discussion about a quote from one scientist from 36 years ago and about what, exactly, they meant. I suspect part of the reason (other than misdirection) that creationists like this tactic is that they are used to citing a book as authority. So when they argue against evolution they follow their form, and make arguments from authority, specifically how to interpret a particular passage of the speech or writings of a scientist. Very telling.

In fact this form of misdirection is so common that TalkOrigins has a page dedicated to exposing creationist “quotemining.” On that page you will find Snyders next two examples.

Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, once wrote the following about the lack of transitional forms…

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

As talk origins explains:

“This is a rather unspectacularly predictable mined quote, as everyone who has had a few hours exposure to Gould’s writings on evolution can instantly see that he’s arguing against gradualism and probably in favor of punctuated equilibrium, a theory that he co-originated with Eldredge in 1972. Contrary to possible first impressions of the uninformed, Gould is presenting a problem FOR gradualist evolution, and countering WITH solutions to this apparent “problem” later in the paragraph.”

Gould and other scientists argue about gradualism vs punctuated equilibrium. Essentially this is a debate over whether or not the admitted gaps in the fossil record are an artifact of the spotty record or do they reflect the actual pace of evolution – long periods of stasis with rapid change in small populations?

Gould is not arguing against evolution, but against gradualism. This is a common denialist tactic – to confuse debate over the details as if it calls into question the bigger claims.

Snyder finishes this section with the following claim:

#6 If “evolution” was happening right now, there would be millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs.  But instead there are none.

This is the crocoduck gambit. In fact evolution does not predict the existence of “partially formed features and organs.” Rather, each form is complete for what it is.

To use a technological analogy, Snyder would have you believe that in the 1700s farmers were dragging half-constructed modern tractors behind their horses, or that the absence of such half-built tractors in the 1700s means that modern farming sprung up whole without any antecedents. Rather, pre-industrial farmers were using fully formed (but far simpler) plows.

Likewise, the predecessors to any modern biological structure were not partly formed, but were a fully formed something else. Creationists never seem to get this simple evolutionary concept. The entire pseudoscience of “irreducible complexity” is built upon this misunderstanding.

Conclusion

Snyder is an aggressive creationist whose writing is dripping in equal measures with condescension and abject ignorance, with a heavy helping of intellectual sloppiness and/or dishonesty (it can be sometimes difficult to tell the difference, but it doesn’t really matter).

He is raising no new points – no points that have not already been demolished long ago. This is because creationists have no new points. They also have no evidence or science on their side.

Evolutionary science, meanwhile, continues to progress nicely. The gaps in the fossil record are slowly being filled in. Recent finds show transitions in turtle evolution, for example. What evolutionary theory predicts is that we would find fossils that fit into a coherent evolutionary history of life on earth, with nestled hierarchies of related creatures. That is exactly what we find.

The pace and tempo of evolution is a detail. Creationists exploit both limitations of our understanding of tiny details, and scientists debating over these details, as if they refute or call into question the massive evidence for the big picture – that all life on earth is the result of common descent.

33 responses so far

33 Responses to “44 Reasons Creationists Are Deceptive”

  1. Bill Openthalton 21 Sep 2015 at 11:35 am

    Well argued and detailed, but I guess we’ll have to wake up to the fact that these people simply cannot accept evolution because it doesn’t fit in their world-view. Like the South African trades-union leader who equates evolution with racism, religious people are convinced accepting evolution means giving up their faith.

  2. Ivan Groznyon 21 Sep 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I think that by descending to talk about creationism at this length you only give them an undeserved significance. If somebody is still susceptible to that nonsense they are probably beyond redemption (hm, mixing the metaphors here maybe. :)). You almost act like an apologist in reverse, who has to provide the talking points to his flock to counter the opposing propaganda and convince the faithful that everything is fine…But, ok its your blog… To me it would be for example far more interesting to know what some serious thinkers s such as Jerry Fodor or David Berlinski (both of whom are agnostics or atheists,a s far as I can tell) say against Darwin. I still think they are wrong, but they are at least much more formidable opponents than creationist crackpots.

  3. Willyon 21 Sep 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I wonder if Dr. Egnor will drop by to defend “intelligent” creationists?

    Talk Origins is a great resource–too bad it is no longer being added to.

  4. hammyrexon 21 Sep 2015 at 1:20 pm

    “You almost act like an apologist in reverse, who has to provide the talking points to his flock to counter the opposing propaganda and convince the faithful that everything is fine”

    Not everyone enters the blog already knowledgeable about scientific skepticism, they often simply read something that sounded ‘weird’ and are looking for what the other side has to offer and skeptical blogs show up in Google searches. Providing simple answers to misguided questions or outright lies shouldn’t be discouraged just because a haughty elite considers them below dealing with.

    “To me it would be for example far more interesting to know what some serious thinkers s such as Jerry Fodor or David Berlinski (both of whom are agnostics or atheists,a s far as I can tell) say against Darwin”

    Fodor has been discussed several times.

    Berlinski doesn’t warrant much discussion as a unique entity – he doesn’t have any unqiue or novel arguments, so most of his positions simply collapse into the usual talking points.

  5. Kestrelon 21 Sep 2015 at 1:46 pm

    “I think that by descending to talk about creationism at this length you only give them an undeserved significance. ”

    I respectfully disagree with this sentiment. Creationist beliefs are incredibly pervasive. They’re worth engaging. Personally, I enjoy reading refutations of Creationism because tangentially I’m being educated about evolution and science.

  6. edamameon 21 Sep 2015 at 2:44 pm

    When they balk at a land mammal-whale transitional form, I just point them to the hippopotamus.

  7. Pete Aon 21 Sep 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Kestrel, It was reading the refutations of creationism that inspired me to start learning about evolution, many other branches of science, and critical thinking skills.

  8. BillyJoe7on 21 Sep 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Ivan,

    Why are you wasting your time telling people they are wasting their time.
    Why are you wasting time reading stuff that you are telling people they are wasting their time writing.

    And why am I wasting my time telling people they are wasting their time telling people they are wasting their time.

  9. michaelegnoron 21 Sep 2015 at 6:58 pm

    [Evolutionary science, meanwhile, continues to progress nicely. The gaps in the fossil record are slowly being filled in. Recent finds show transitions in turtle evolution, for example. What evolutionary theory predicts is that we would find fossils that fit into a coherent evolutionary history of life on earth, with nestled hierarchies of related creatures. That is exactly what we find.]

    Sorry, Steve.

    Evolutionary science may or may not be progressing nicely, but it’s got nothing to do with “predicting” nested hierarchies.

    Darwin didn’t ‘predict’ a nested hierarchy, he copied it from Aristotle. Aristotle’s Tree of Being was a nested hierarchy. Linnean taxonomy (1735) is a nested hierarchy.

    Biological classification for 2000 years before Darwin was a system of nested hierarchies.

    What Darwin contributed, which was new, is that there was no teleology to evolutionary change. That remains an hypothesis that is as unsupported by evidence as it is original to Darwin.

  10. Willyon 21 Sep 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Mikey! You’re back!

    Newton was a decent enough man to acknowledge that he stood on the shoulders of giants. But because Darwin is a bad guy, he just “copied”. As for you–you’re not so decent. You’re just a biased hack. Evolutionists, atheists, Democrats, scientists, they’re all just stupid, evil, or ignorant in your book. Only you and those who think like you are “smart”.

    Whether or not Darwin “copied” from Aristotle (I doubt it but am willing to be proven wrong), he arrived at an explanatory idea that is still accepted over 150 years later, er, accepted by all but religiously motivated people, anyway. Why is it that the overwhelming majority of people who reject Darwinian thinking are religious?

    Can you say “motivated reasoning”?

    BTW, evolution predicts nested hierarchies, like it or not.

    Shame on you, Mikey.

  11. RickKon 21 Sep 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Michael: Yep – no teleology. At least no evidence for it. Darwin cut a major piece out of your ancient philosophical rationalization of the human tendency to see intelligent agency where there is none.

    Over and over again complexity just happens.

    Time for your world view to grow up and deal with it. You can follow the evidence where it leads. Or you can hang out with the “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” crowd.

    Pete A – You may be right. Egnor and hardnose seem to be conveniently tag-teaming. If so, it is an amazing example of dishonest (and spookily obsessive) sock-puppetry.

  12. hammyrexon 21 Sep 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Yeah, that quote doesn’t actually address Steve’s point. No one really cares that Darwin wasn’t the first person to cook up a nested hierarchy. What he did do is establish the basic principles about why the nested hierarchy looked the way it did and made predictions about what it would look like and some possible errors. Most important is that he demonstrated the immutability of species was false.

    It’s bit like saying Newton wasn’t a big deal, because all he did was show that things move, instead of appreciating that he actually described *how* things move.

  13. Willyon 21 Sep 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Dr. Egnor is so damned blind and biased. I wonder if he thinks Dalton, Thomson, Planck, Bohr and the gang “copied” the idea of the atom from the Greeks. I wish I knew enough philosophy to be able to show how Aquinas, Augustine, and others “copied” ideas from the Greeks, because no doubt there were significant Greek influences on Catholic thinkers, hence the great respect shown for Greeks in medieval “universities”.

    I started engaging with Dr. Egnor with a feeling of respect. I posed questions to him that were genuine puzzles to me. I reached out to him and offered an olive branch. I was genuinely curious to hear his thoughts. All for naught. His thoughts on “settled” science from an earlier thread demonstrated his emptiness and extreme bias.

    Now, I feel nothing but scorn for him. He’s a smug, condescending, arrogant, self-righteous person. High accomplishment DOES NOT demonstrate wisdom nor intellectual honesty.

  14. arnieon 22 Sep 2015 at 7:51 am

    Willy….”He’s a smug, condescending, arrogant, self-righteous person. High accomplishment DOES NOT demonstrate wisdom nor intellectual honesty.”

    That’s the bottom line, for sure, as well as with his tag team troll, HN, but without the “high accomplishment” for the latter. (I agree that they aren’t identical but they’re very related, nevertheless whether intentionally or not).

    So why, then, do we continue to supply oxygen and nourishment to them with our endless rational and evidence-based responses to them. We could practice just as much critical thinking and sharing of information as well as having meaningful debates with each other around our honest disagreements by simply and totally ignoring the tiresome and worthless “same old-same old” from such a proven nonproductive and disruptive pair of trolls. And this blog would be the better for it.

    They may not totally wither, but they would struggle more to survive here if we quit endlessly pumping oxygen their way.

    At least that continues to be so IMHO. (Or maybe not so humble, I don’t know. :-))

  15. Pete Aon 22 Sep 2015 at 10:17 am

    Arnie wrote: “(I agree that they aren’t identical but they’re very related, nevertheless whether intentionally or not).”

    It must be “morphic resonance” causing the apparent relationship between them! Rupert Sheldrake is one of hardnose’s heroes, and Sheldrake detests modern science, scientists, and skeptics with a vengeance — especially Richard Dawkins.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Rupert_Sheldrake

    I think “Creationist movement” is a delightful double entendre (movement, as in bowel).

  16. Willyon 22 Sep 2015 at 11:31 am

    arnie: I disagree. I find it interesting to read viewpoints of those with whom I disagree, especially in the case of Dr. Egnor. Here is an intelligent man, a prominent man, a man touted by the Discovery Institute as an important defender of ID, yet he is so biased that he mocks science for one of its greatest strengths, which is the continued construction of new understandings of the cosmos made by building on the ideas and discoveries of earlier scientists.

    Really, how dense, how blinded must one be to assert that because Linnaeus had recognized patterns and commonality between life forms means that Darwin did nothing except excise teleology from biology. It’s absurd. More importantly, it’s extremely revealing and if Dr. Egnor is kind enough to expose his bias and hatred–and it IS hatred that drives him, read his blog–to us, we should just appreciate it. Supporters of ID are every bit as foolish as YECs; they just cloak their “beliefs” in the garb of science. It is comical; a Moonie, a YEC (Lane) and a Catholic are buddies in arms. Whoops, I forgot, “thoughtful” people can disagree. ROFLMFAO!

    Pete A: I love it–we’re back to bowels!

  17. Pete Aon 22 Sep 2015 at 11:37 am

    “Pete A: I love it–we’re back to bowels!”

    An especially irritable bowel in the case(s) of Egnor/hardnose.

  18. edamameon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Egnor they didn’t predict: they were glorified stamp collectors. That’s where Darwin one-upped the lot of ’em: he made unifying principals clear.

  19. edamameon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Once again Egnor seizes on a tangent and derails a thread. People can’t resist feeding a troll when it casts a long shadow, apparently. 🙂

    The topic is transitional forms. Let’s watch Egnor ignore it some more!

  20. michaelegnoron 22 Sep 2015 at 12:34 pm

    @edamame:

    [Egnor they didn’t predict: they were glorified stamp collectors. That’s where Darwin one-upped the lot of ‘em: he made unifying principals clear.]

    The reality is quite simple: taxonomy by nested hierarchies has been around since Aristotle. The challenge was to explain why organisms can be grouped as such. Arisotle and his successors inferred teleology or design. Darwin inferred RM + NS.

    Darwin didn’t predict nested hierarchies. He offered a novel explanation for them.

    [Once again Egnor seizes on a tangent and derails a thread.]

    I just posted one modest comment to clear up a misunderstanding.

    [The topic is transitional forms. Let’s watch Egnor ignore it some more!]

    There are real problems with transitional forms vis-a-vi Darwin’s theory. Punctuated equilibrium is one effort to address that problem. The invocation of LGT to explain the evolutionary bush (not tree) is another effort to address the problems of Darwinian taxonomy.

    Perhaps the most obvious problem (a problem the troubled Darwin) is that phylogeny appears top-down, with most major phyla suddenly appearing in the Cambrian, despite the very clear prediction by Darwin’s theory that phylogeny should be bottom-up, with major phyla appearing very late in the tree (or bush or whatever).

    Darwin’s theory is consistent with some things, and quite inconsistent with others. What is troubling is your “used car salesman” approach to Darwinism– your insistence that the theory is beyond reproach. You would be more credible if you admitted the problems,which are serious, and considered other explanations, including teleology.

  21. Pete Aon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:36 pm

    The reason that Egnor/hardnose obsessively derails conversations on Dr Novellas articles is because his evidence-less dogmatic religious ideology is devoid of any other course of action.

    Each time an article is published that is based on independently verifiable empirical evidence, the only recourse available to him is to spray shit all over it — in a similar manner, and for very similar reasons, to a dominant male hippopotamus.

  22. arnieon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Willy, In general I agree with you and did find your disagreement with me interesting and valuable. But, for me, ME-HN were way over the top. They weren’t/aren’t into exchanges over disagreements in the interests of mutual exploration and enlightenment. They seemed to me to be into hijacking the blog purely in the interest of belittling others and their ideas and viewpoints in an arrogant and contemptuous manner. Closed minds become terribly repetitive and boring after a while and, I think, add nothing of interest to the blog over time. just my opinion, and I do respect your continuing to find value in them. I don’t and feel that they are simply using the blog to vent their own disdain for science and critical thinking, not contributing to it meaningful interactions.

  23. arnieon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Corrections: “…not contributing to it VIA meaningful interactions”.

  24. michaelegnoron 22 Sep 2015 at 12:48 pm

    @arnie:

    [They seemed to me to be into hijacking the blog purely in the interest of belittling others and their ideas and viewpoints in an arrogant and contemptuous manner]

    I haven’t belittled anyone in this thread. I’ve made a couple of points quite relevant to Steven’s post, which should make the discussion more interesting.

    If the consensus is that you merely want an echo chamber, don’t let me get in the way.

  25. Pete Aon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Egnor, It seems to have escaped your vast intellect (not) that the theory of evolution has been developed far beyond Darwin’s original hypotheses.

    Whereas, fundamentalist religions remain hopelessly stuck in the ancient past.

  26. arnieon 22 Sep 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Pete A, I suspect your “dominant hippopotamus” analogy is very apt but I’m not sure the motivation of his derailment is quite as benign as simply a lack of “any other course of action”. Of course your analogy did, in fact, point to another likely motivation.

  27. Pete Aon 22 Sep 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Egnor can’t, and won’t, ever attempt to be honest about the role of various forms of RNA in gene expression, and the other roles that RNA plays in both evolution and disease.

  28. Willyon 22 Sep 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Echo chamber = Discovery Institute = Institute for Creation Research

    Mikey: Evolution predicts “nested hierarchies”. Period. Doesn’t matter that Aristotle or anyone else had noted similarities in body plans. Hell’s bells, I’ll bet cave men recognized similarities between different types of animals. Perhaps Darwin really stole his ideas from Grog or Grunk. Darwin (along with Wallace) is important because he put the whole ball of wax together.

    Mikey says “I haven’t belittled anyone in this thread.” True for this particular thread. Go back and review your comments from other threads or your own blog. Belittling, vilifying, and condescension are signatures of your style.

  29. hammyrexon 22 Sep 2015 at 1:53 pm

    “He offered a novel explanation for them.”

    The explanation wasn’t actually that novel – the main thing Darwin offered was evidence.

  30. hammyrexon 22 Sep 2015 at 1:59 pm

    And of course it’s already been noted, but this is a good example of the creationist bait-and-switch.

    Somehow, we’re no longer talking about evolutionary theory as understood by the collective scientific literature and researchers today, but instead desperately trying to find something, ANYTHING, that maybe Darwin kind of possibly didn’t get exactly right. It’s hilariously transparent.

    RI would sincerely hope a Catholic apologist would be self-aware enough to be cautious about using a “sins of the father” approach to denouncing opponents.

  31. Willyon 22 Sep 2015 at 4:23 pm

    arnie: I understand your viewpoint, too. Thanks for taking time to explain it. In the end, we’ll agree to disagree.

  32. BillyJoe7on 22 Sep 2015 at 5:13 pm

    hammyrex:

    “Somehow, we’re no longer talking about evolutionary theory as understood by the collective scientific literature and researchers today, but instead desperately trying to find something, ANYTHING, that maybe Darwin kind of possibly didn’t get exactly right. It’s hilariously transparent”

    You hit the nail on the head.
    SN was talking about evolutionary theory.
    ME switches it right back to Darwin.

  33. arnieon 22 Sep 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Willy: No problem there.

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