Thursday, November 15, 2007

Are You as Smart as a Second Year University Student? Q2

 
Here's another question from my test.
In Icons of Evolution Jonathan Wells defines evolution as,
Biological evolution is the theory that all living things are modified descendants of a common ancestor that lived in the distant past.
Does this definition differ from the one you learned in biology class? Does it differ from the definitions of evolution commonly found in textbooks? Why does Wells choose this definition over any others?



36 comments :

  1. I can't say that Wells's definition differs from what I learned in biology class, for a very good reason. The reason is that, although my undergrad biology teachers were largely sympathetic to evolution as I was, the creationist college from which I took biology did not teach evolution (I've had to fill in the lacunae as best I can). However, I also suspect that many biology texts would leave the question of a "common ancestor" more open.

    The lateral transfer issue becomes important almost certainly at the beginning of life, and probably continues at least up till the origin of eukaryotes (we seem to have bacterial genes from very early on, yet probably some are from after our ancestors could be said to be eukaryotes). On PT, Paul Nelson tried to make points against evolution in the past year based on the issue that there may be no "common ancestor" in the narrower sense of the word, rather the eukaryote tree (for instance) may come out of a "common ancestral population".

    I would not be the slightest bit surprised if Wells used his definition with an eye to arguing how the specifics may differ from such an outdated concept. After all, it is pretty much just word games with these IDiots.

    Glen Davidson

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  2. I'm only in first year biology, but I'll give it a try. In my classes at the University of Regina, it has been stressed that evolution is simply changes in the allele frequencies of populations. Although the idea of common descent is part of the definition of evolution, I would not consider that to be the major definition of the theory of evolution, but of the fact of evolution. The theory of evolution has more to do with the mechanics of how evolution works. I would guess that Wells uses this definition because this is the aspect that most people take offense to. It's one thing to admit that allele frequencies can change to do selection or due to chance, but another to follow through with that logic (and the evidence) to realize that macroevolution and common descent are just as factual.

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  3. Wells takes the inference that evolution provides us and uses that as the definition. I'm pretty sure that we used a definition that included a phrase about heritable traits being passed on from one generation to the next. As for why he uses that defintion, I'm not sure. Maybe because he thinks that we can never prove that we came from one common ancestor? Maybe he just wants to demonstrate how evolution is anti-Bible?

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  4. Please. Everbody knows that "evolution" is correctly defined only as "changes in allele frequencies due to natural selection."

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  5. Sven DiMilo: Allele frequencies can change due to factors other than natural selection, yes? E.g., genetic drift, gene flow, etc.

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  6. Now colour me suspicious, but if you were really cunning you could argue that "modified descendants" leaves room for a 'modifier' or intelligent interference.

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  7. Sadly, the only biology class I had in school (high school) did not cover evolution -- the teacher refused to teach it (he was also later found to be an alcoholic). So I had to learn about it on my own (and still am).

    A lot of textbooks I have seen tend to gloss over the idea of evolution... and this damn word 'theory' is so misused and misunderstood and, of course, is a basis for many strawman arguments.

    Wells definition also seems to imply that 'all living things' today are no longer evolving, and that the common ancestor was *only* in the distant past and everything now has somehow acheived stasis.

    I don't think a proper definition of evolution can be stated without involving a genetic basis (i.e., changes in allele frequencies), and Wells definition (misuing the term 'theory') shoots rather wide of the mark from how a real scientist would define evolution (at least the scientists I know!). Like with many scientific theories, there's a statistical element here, although I admittedly am weak in my knowledge here.

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  8. Yes, it does differ. Primarily it lacks the genetic competent, and the driving forces of selection and drift.

    The possible reasons for leaving these out is that it creates a far easier strawman to topple. Especially given the fact that evidence for the impacts of selection pressures is bountiful and molecular studies give us a wealth of (usually) strong data showing the relationships between different species and taxa.

    I don't know however about the "common ancestor" bit, while it can be said that simply that all life on earth shares a common last ancestor, the genetic data doesn't coalesce to a single, shared point for common genes. It branches, more pointing to a collection of gene trading organisms.

    So technically Well's definition is wrong, but in terms of what most people learn it's correct.

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  9. 'Change in allele frequencies in a population over time'

    I think the most obvious difference is that Wells is implying that evolution has to include speciation - there's no mention of evolution from one generation to the next in a population (ie. 'microevolution').

    So for example, plenty of evolution has been observed in Drosophila in labs all over the world over the last several decades, but this would not be considered evolution at all by his definition.

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  10. What difference does it make how you define ‘evolution?’ I have seen scores of attempted definitions at Sandwalk, I’ve even had Sandwalk fans tell me that Webster didn’t get the meaning right, because Webster didn’t understand it. It’s not how it’s defined. It’s for what purpose it’s used. It’s used in an attempt to make science affirm naturalism and all of its various forms for the express purpose of creating a supporting rational for atheism.

    The more naturalists and atheists promote their evolution views publicly, the more empirical science reality will testify to the contrary and the more people (those that are interested) will see that the religion already taught in virtually every advanced science classroom is naturalism.

    Dragon

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  11. A wise man once said: "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations."

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  12. "It’s not how it’s defined. It’s for what purpose it’s used."

    I think you are splitting hairs here. If a word is used for a specific purpose, then it has an implicit definition based on the context it is used in. There's no functional difference between choosing to define a word a certain way and choosing to use it a certain way.

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  13. Dragon said… "It’s not how it’s defined (evolution). It’s for what purpose it’s used (evolution)."

    AL replied... “I think you are splitting hairs here.”

    Dragon replies… The various definitions of evolution appearing at Sandwalk are examples of splitting hairs. What I’m trying to show is why one guy parts his hair one way and another guy parts his differently. Apologies to the bald guys!

    Dragon

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  14. Al said:

    I think you are splitting hairs here

    Actually what you meant to write was; I think you are talking bollocks here.

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  15. Dragon said:

    What difference does it make how you define ‘evolution?’

    It makes a world of difference if the definition being used when arguing against evolution is not the definition evolutionary scientists are using.

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  16. OK, Larry, I’ll take this “test.” Here are some definitions of evolution:

    1. ‘Things change over time.’ Everyone agrees with this definition. We can all see that things change over time. What we do not agree on is ‘what causes change.’

    2. A naturalist’s definition is, “Evolution is a completely unguided and undirected process in which a mind plays no part. It is purposeless because only minds generate purpose.” This is where things begin to break down for naturalists, because your ‘test’ is a change on Sandwalk’s blog today that has been caused by a mind (yours) with a purpose (to spread the gospel of naturalism).

    Dragon

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  17. Dragon:
    U R A Troll.
    What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish by posting your eye-rollingly ignorant assertions on the blog of a biologist?

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  18. Wells' definition is actually a definition of common descent, which is an inference based on the immense mass of facts that show that all life on earth is related.

    Textbooks normally offer some definition of the process of evolution, such that one can determine whether a particular example demonstrates this process or not. E.g. examples of selection and drift demonstrate changes in gene frequencies in populations over time.

    I would guess that Wells chose his definition because 1) evolution as normally defined can be easily demonstrated, and 2) common descent, especially of humans from apelike ancestors, is what he actually objects to.

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  19. jackd said... ”I would guess that Wells chose his definition because … 2) common descent, especially of humans from apelike ancestors, is what he actually objects to.”

    Dragon replies… By “humans from apelike ancestors”, I presume you mean hominids. Can you give me one scientific example (verifiable and conclusive) of any hominid that has biologically, anatomically (putting aside superficial similarities), or through DNA been shown to have a direct, verifiable genetic connection to any known human? I don’t mean evolutionary speculation. I mean actual evidence. All the data I’ve seen indicates that of the nearly two dozen distinct hominid genre, each (after initially sparking much naturalistic hope) has eventually come to a morphological dead end. And, I believe it is now known that even when hominids and humans lived at the same time and in the same area, no DNA exchange ever took place, and that anthropologically-speaking, hominids are considered to be completely distinct from humans. Therefore, how do you so assuredly support your notion of “evolution’s” definition through the example of “humans from apelike ancestors”?

    Anonymous said... “Dragon: What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish by posting your eye-rollingly ignorant assertions on the blog of a biologist?”

    Dragon replies… True, I am only a fan, not a player like Larry and other Sandwalk visitors. However, some time ago, Larry Moran lamented that there weren’t more Christians visiting Sandwalk, because it would be so much more “fun.” I’m having “fun,” aren’t you?

    Also, you guys can contemplate your evolution navels all day long, by now the scientific evidence should be overwhelmingly supporting and simplifying your arguments with clear and definitive empirical data. That doesn’t seem to be happening and Jonathan Wells knows it. The “D” word keeps popping out of the evidence. I’m just here to make a pitch for the loyal opposition. I do get tired of simply arguing against evolution, though. I’m watching for an opportunity to throw in a little creationism.

    Dragon

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  20. By “humans from apelike ancestors”, I presume you mean hominids. Can you give me one scientific example (verifiable and conclusive) of any hominid that has biologically, anatomically (putting aside superficial similarities), or through DNA been shown to have a direct, verifiable genetic connection to any known human?

    Sure, neanderthals and chimpanzees. Even other living hominids clearly have a genetic connection to humans. By asking us to show a "genetic connection" from anatomic data, what do you mean?

    I don’t mean evolutionary speculation. I mean actual evidence. All the data I’ve seen indicates that of the nearly two dozen distinct hominid genre, each (after initially sparking much naturalistic hope) has eventually come to a morphological dead end.

    Whatever that means...

    And, I believe it is now known that even when hominids and humans lived at the same time and in the same area, no DNA exchange ever took place

    Pre-humans interbred with pre-chimps.

    and that anthropologically-speaking, hominids are considered to be completely distinct from humans.

    Humans are hominids. What is your source on paleontology: AiG?

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  21. The most important problem with Well's definition is that he defines evolution as a "theory." That's ridiculous. Evolution is defined as a thing, not a theory.

    Next, he selects a particular fact, namely the observations and evidence that all organisms have a common ancestor, and calls this a theory.

    Basically what he's saying is that evolution is the theory of a particular scientific fact.

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  22. Glad to see you keep turning up Dragon. I like your tough-minded resilience. Hope the occasional abuse doesn’t get you down because as you (and Larry?) suggest it is much more fun having you about. (I am a Christian myself, although you may have other views on that) I favor evolution as an explanation but I carefully consider what you’ve written, because I don’t want to become an ‘evolutionist’ - as if the concept is so embedded in my personality that it will need a brain surgeon to surgically remove it should the idea prove to at least need a measure of modification. (Even Newton’s great ideas needed to be seen from the perspective of a radically different theoretical context)

    However, having said that let me say that I rather feel there is something about evolution in the abstract that is fundamental; in fact should I actually say ‘mental’? After all, if Gerald Edelmann’s ideas are worth anything, ‘intelligence’ (I think that’s a similar word to the one used in ‘Intelligent Design’) itself is beginning to look a bit ‘evolutionary’! There are isomorphisms between evolution and adaptive and creative behavior.

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  23. Windy made a number of statements linking humans with hominids, chimps, etc. "

    Dragon replies… First, I’ve tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to separate myself from young-Earthers.

    Second, there are masses of data out there on this supposed human chimpanzee connection, and remember, while I’m not an idiot or an IDiot, I am still a science ‘fan.’

    Third, this is the point where I find difficulty communicating with you goys, because this is where detail matters. So, here’s just a snippet of biochemical detail on this subject. The chimp/human connection has turned from naturalistic wishful speculation to an urban/scientific myth to accepted fact, as … demonstrates. …, if you are talking about the notion that ‘humans and chimps share 99 percent gene similarity’, here’s what you have apparently missed. Chimps and humans do possess proteins with similar immunological properties, based on ‘apparently’ striking genetic similarity. First, to the best of my knowledge, a genome-wide comparison of humans’ and chimps’ DNA has never been made and is currently impossible. While the human genome has been sequenced, work on the chimpanzee genome has yet to begin in any real sense. Until a global comparison of all DNA sequences can be made, the declaration of 99 percent similarity must be considered unwarranted. Whole-genome analysis will undoubtedly identify additional similarities between the great apes and humans, but will doubtless uncover important biochemical differences, as well.

    Quoting Biochemist Fazal Rana, “Recent separate studies by scientists from the Max Plank Institute in Germany and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) foreshadow the anticipated discovery of these meaningful differences. These researchers found subtle but significant distinctions between the brain biochemistry of humans and that of chimpanzees.

    “The German group recently determined that gene expression in the brain tissue of humans differs markedly from that in chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys, whereas nearly identical gene expression occurs in the brain tissue of chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys. In contrast, gene expression in the liver and blood of chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys and humans show much similarity. According to the team’s head scientist, “Among these three tissues, it seems that the brain is really special in that humans have accelerated patterns of gene activity.”

    “Scientists from UCSD identified another important difference in brain chemistry between humans and chimps. Sugars found on the surface of tissue cells vary between the two.

    “Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and other mammals produce N-glycolylneuraminic acid (GC-neur), a sialic sugar associated with cell surfaces. Humans, however, do not produce this sugar. GC-neur serves as a binding site for certain pathogens. The absence of GC-neur makes humans immunologically distinct from great apes and other mammals.

    “In great apes and other mammals GC-neur is plentiful in all body tissues but occurs at its lowest levels in the brain and central nervous system. The lack of GC-neur in humans, specifically in brain tissue and its tissue distribution, signals the intriguing possibility of a relationship between the absence of GC-neur and advanced brain capacity. Experiments are underway to test this hypothesis.

    “For those who view life as the work of a Creator, genetic similarity presents no problematic implications. In fact, it would be expected since humans and great apes share so many anatomical and physiological characteristics. The proteins coded by genes are the building blocks used to construct organisms. Why wouldn’t a Creator designing organisms to share physical similarities build them from similar raw materials? Biochemistry’s uniformity throughout the living realm argues against randomness and for design. It is not the building blocks (genes) themselves, but rather the amount and combination of gene products that determine differences among organisms (at least to a first approximation), as the case of chimpanzees and humans demonstrates. As more becomes known about human and chimpanzee comparative biochemistry, scientists will undoubtedly find more subtle, but significant, indicators of divine design and of designed distinctions between humans and the rest of God’s creatures.”

    Dragon

    P.S. Timothy, I'll ry to find a reasonably well articulated explanation of my view of evolution under a creationism scenario.

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  24. First, to the best of my knowledge, a genome-wide comparison of humans’ and chimps’ DNA has never been made and is currently impossible. While the human genome has been sequenced, work on the chimpanzee genome has yet to begin in any real sense.

    What you have apparently missed is that the chimp draft genome came out in 2005.

    According to the team’s head scientist, “Among these three tissues, it seems that the brain is really special in that humans have accelerated patterns of gene activity.”

    This quote seems to be from Svante Pääbo, and Rana is misrepresenting him. An article where Pääbo participated in 2006 begins:

    "Recent work has shown that the expression levels of genes transcribed in the brains of humans and chimpanzees have changed less than those of genes transcribed in other tissues."

    Scientists from UCSD identified another important difference in brain chemistry between humans and chimps. Sugars found on the surface of tissue cells vary between the two.

    So? Sugars on cell surfaces vary between people with different blood types, does that mean they can't be related?

    Why wouldn’t a Creator designing organisms to share physical similarities build them from similar raw materials?

    Why would he/she make two ape chromosomes first, and cut-and-paste them together to make a human?

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  25. Dragon said… “By ‘humans from apelike ancestors’, I presume you mean hominids. Can you give me one scientific example (verifiable and conclusive) of any hominid that has biologically, anatomically (putting aside superficial similarities), or through DNA been shown to have a direct, verifiable genetic connection to any known human?”

    Windy said … “Sure, neanderthals and chimpanzees. Even other living hominids clearly have a genetic connection to humans. By asking us to show a "genetic connection" from anatomic data, what do you mean?”

    Dragon replies … My understanding is that genes and anatomy are related but different areas of science. You said, “hominids clearly have a genetic connection to humans.” You haven’t distinguished between your statement and that of Dr. Rana’s, concerning the basic, similar biochemical make-up of genes and how they work in an environment that fosters and sustains carbon-based life and the information carrying function of genes that results in distinctly different creatures.

    Any transition from knuckle dragging quadrupeds to upright bipeds would require extensive anatomical changes, including:
    - Relocating the foramen
    - Restructuring the inner ear bones
    - Introducing spinal curvature
    - Restructuring the rib cage
    - Reshaping the pelvis
    - Altering the lower limbs
    - Enlarging joint surfaces
    - Restructuring the foot
    - Reorganizing the body’s musculature

    To the best of my knowledge, and I’d bet to the best of yours (Windy), there is no fossil evidence to confirm any intermediate (chimp or hominid to human) anatomical changes of the type to which I have referred. Moreover, if my personal estimates are even close to correct, fossil evidence for such intermediate changes should abound from as recently as 100,000 years ago (when we know hominids existed), contrary to the mostly incomplete fossils that only confirm the existence of non-human hominids or apes. The fossil and anthropological record should also show some indication for the ‘naturalistic’ pressure that forced knuckle draggers to become bipeds, especially considering that the knuckle draggers were already well suited for their environment and lifestyle.

    The implication here is that genes would have had to have carried specific information that made the anatomical changes happen, which would have been a real trick, since naturalistically-speaking, each of these changes did not know where the others were going.

    All these anatomical changes would have to occur in a coordinated (not haphazard, random) fashion. But, the fossil record does not support the notion of anatomical haphazard, random changes.

    The existing fossil record and the anatomical distinctions to which I have referred create no problem for an old-Earth creationist view, which corresponds quite nicely with the Biblical view that bipeds came into existence through God’s direct creative activity. For example, if the design features of bipedalism result from God’s activity, they would:
    - Appear suddenly in the fossil record, which they do - distinct from ape and hominid fossils.
    - Remain essentially unaltered, which they do - demonstrating no evolutionary change.
    - Be optimal as soon as they appear, which they do –in a form sufficient to create advanced civilization.

    Concerning your critique of Dr. Rana’s other statements, I have never emailed him directly, but I will try, if you’d like me to, and see if I can get a response from him. I can't guarantee when I can get back to you, however.

    Dragon

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  26. Hi Dragon, I hope you get satisfaction on your questions and the issues aren’t fudged and don’t peter out inconclusively. I’m no paleontologist, but I’m not clear how fossils such as ‘Lucy’, Homo erectus, Homo Habilis (and the like) cohere with your stated 100,000 BCE date. My current knowledge (for what it's worth) on these fossils suggests that we have in them a very human physique associated with skulls with simian features. If the interpretation here is correct then it means that a very human like physique could go back more than 3 millions years, and yet is associated with an apparently non-human primate skull. Are you saying that bipedalism was ‘IDed’ around 3 million years ago or have I got my fossils wrong?

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  27. Timothy asked about the accuracy of my 100,000 year estimate and my fossil information accuracy.

    Dragon replies… I try to visit Sandwalk from about 6-6:30a.m. and sometimes on week-ends. It’s hard to give the fully complete answers all the time. But, my personal statement that, “… intermediate changes should abound (naturalistic-speaking) from as recently as 100,000 years [ago]” is based on when we have evidence for fully human fossils and fully hominid fossils. At that time, the two species (although “similar” to humans in appearance) are genetically and anthropologically completely distinct from one another and there is no evidence of any DNA exchange. There seems to be a complete lack of any transitional species that would demonstrate a change in the anatomical differences I noted. I forget where Lucy resides chronologically. But Homo Habilis (about 2 million years ago) and most other hominids are way back in time. As I recall, Homo Erectus seems to be the hominid that may have lived at the same time as humans. So, my point is, 1) 15-24 hominid species (all with some distinguishing characteristic) have been identified and each of them has come to a morphological dead-end. A schematic would show that each of the hominids appear like golf balls scattered all over the range, not in a series or any related sequence. The fossil record does not show a transition from one to the other, and 2) when hominids and humans did co-exist, they were very different and the hominids went on to extinction.

    Speaking as a laymen who likes to read scholars, I believe that this is an accurate representation of what the fossil record and modern DNA testing shows to be factual (outside a naturalistic lens). In the end, the evidence does not infer that humans descended from Hominids, it infers that humans appeared suddenly, as the Bible represents.

    Dragon

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  28. My point about Homo Erectus etc was that they were fully bipedal, thus pushing back the origin of bipedalism at least 3 million years thereby increasing considerably the margin for the possible evolution of most the anatomical features you list. I don’t have the immediate knowledge to refute what you say about the unrelatedness of the various hominid species, so I respect your position and will have to shelve it and label it ‘For further study’! However, I do have some rather vague ideas about ‘non-linearity’ in organized complex systems that might explain sudden appearances: for example, high civilization and industrialization, appeared very suddenly even on the scales of human history, and this sort of thing seems to have something to do with ‘feedback’ - that is, conditions that self reinforce. As I said these ideas are rather vague, so they don’t count for much. The Bible, (Early Genesis) on these issues is open to a certain amount of interpretation as is the paleontological evidence!

    Anyway, thanks very much for your response Dragon.

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  29. Timothy V Reeves said...
    “My point about Homo Erectus etc was that they were fully bipedal, thus pushing back the origin of bipedalism at least 3 million years thereby increasing considerably the margin for the possible evolution of most the anatomical features you list.”

    Dragon replies… Timothy, I couldn’t resist jumping back in for a minute. I believe that you are right about “bipedalism.” I was mixing my metaphors (bipeds and quadrupeds), because one of the previous Sandwalk visitors (Windy, I think.) was referring to chimpanzees and hominids and “other” pre-humans - all together. I got caught-up in the moment and tried to respond to the whole idea of the apes to humans issue. It seems to me that naturalists have been singing in the evolution choir so long that they don’t like anything that is non-naturalist sounding, and therefore, they miss or ignore the full range of empirical data that grows in size each day, data that does not affirm a naturalistic view, but is closer to a Biblical view (old Earth, in agreement with mainstream empirical data, not naturalism’s evolution). It’s even harder to appreciate a new song, when the visual similarities between apes and humans make it intuitively logical that they must be related.

    Further, I have never heard of any actual evidence for a link between apes and hominids (maybe I've missed it.). Simply put, my read of the data that is researched and made public by naturalists, but without the benefit of a naturalistic worldview, is that apes are a distinct species that obviously exist to today, hominids lived for about 2.5 million years and went extinct about 100,000+/- years ago, and there has been absolutely no fossil or DNA link established between hominids and humans, except in the imagination of naturalists.

    Dragon

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  30. ...my personal statement that, “… intermediate changes should abound (naturalistic-speaking) from as recently as 100,000 years [ago]” is based on when we have evidence for fully human fossils and fully hominid fossils. At that time, the two species (although “similar” to humans in appearance) are genetically and anthropologically completely distinct from one another and there is no evidence of any DNA exchange.

    What "two species" are those? Modern humans, and what's the other species? "Hominid" is not a species.

    Since you find the distinction between humans and hominids so clear-cut, which of these skulls belonged to humans and which to hominids (or apes)? (no peeking at the list!)

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/images/hominids2.jpg

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Dragon:

    but is closer to a Biblical view (old Earth, in agreement with mainstream empirical data, not naturalism’s evolution

    Handwaving much? What does religious reinterpreted dogma have to do with scientific knowledge, what does your vacuous claim mean exactly, and how does it differ from the paleontological facts that all support evolution (or you would definitely hear about it)?

    I have never heard of any actual evidence for a link between apes and hominids

    In this very thread, the genomic (and of course fossil) phylogeny between the more or less sequenced apes, including humans. Of course, you choose to not listen to the present biologists, and now feel free to lie about it.

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  33. In my naiveté I see evolution as the defining process of biological life as we know it, with such observable facts as allele frequency changes and common descent. Other associated processes, such as metabolism or replication isn't unique.

    [To defend "defining" I would have to note sundry minor matters, such that evolution in some form would be more robust and competitive than perpetual stasis so most probably everywhere, accepting that evolvable (not necessarily darwinian) von Neumann replicators would be definable as and competitive with "biological", and tentatively place protobiont communities in the still fuzzy gap between non-biological and biological.]

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  34. Yes I think I can buy that Torbjorn .. harks back to something I said about evolution in the abstract being fundamental. As an abstract concept it's robust. As soon as you've got replicators, then evolution is nearly there. Life starts once you've got replication. Even if it didn't exist in our reality, evolution would exist in the platonic spaces of mathematics and we can't now undiscover this incredible idea.

    Faced with this big compelling mathematical notion the relation between hominids seems a detail, although in a detail in need of more researching.

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  35. Torbjörn Larsson said... “What does religious reinterpreted dogma have to do with scientific knowledge?”

    Dragon replies… Dogma is dogma. I have mine, you have yours.

    1. Objectively speaking (Sorry I don’t know what country you call home.), why should your dogma be prevalent over mine in public (tax-payer funded) science classrooms?” (Simply a question. Don’t draw any conclusions from it.)
    2. My (religious) dogma stands on its own. My dogma, which is lived imperfectly by all people, has developed standards for civil living adopted by virtually all generations of mankind. It doesn’t ‘need’ science (the empirical method for observing, analyzing, and interpreting the data of the natural world) to justify itself. The trend of historical and emerging scientific findings to increasingly lean toward Biblical predictions and references to natural phenomena, more than naturalistic predictions, is simply logical and a bonus. Logical, because the author of the Word is also the author of the World. I perceive that your dogma (naturalism, materialism, atheism, humanism, etc., whatever) does ‘need’ science, and needs it to hold a privileged status concerning all forms of knowledge. For example, I think naturalists and their philosophical cousins believe that it’s science that provides for personal relevance vs. historical religious tradition. The way I view naturalistic dogma ( on a par with religion) is that it also needs science in order to have any appeal to the masses. What appeal is there, in other words, in a purposeless and meaningless explanation of the joys and trials of life (Remember, that’s what Larry said, “I don't think there is a special meaning and purpose to life.”)? I think that for naturalists, science (and therefore, ‘evolution’) embodies the potential to give purposelessness and meaninglessness a more positive shape.

    Concerning your use of the word “lie”. I don’t use that word, when referring to evolution. I attribute evolution to a misinterpretation of science, based on an a priory worldview that excludes non-material reality. Further, if you really feel that strongly about the thoughts I’ve shared, read one of my sources, “Who was Adam” by biochemist Fazale Rana and come back and make a report to all of us Sandwalk fans. Since you may be more a player than a fan, I’d love to see your critique.

    Getting back to defining terms, in the end, you and I will not be the arbiters of truth and lies, physical and spiritual reality will.

    Dragon

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  36. Dragon:

    I have mine, you have yours.

    If you are discussing the science of biology, technically it isn't my dogma. It is common knowledge.

    And science in no way constitute dogma, as it can be validated and is provisional. Sure, we can establish facts and theories beyond reasobale doubt. That still isn't dogma, which is a common agreement in social groups.

    naturalism, materialism, atheism, humanism, etc., whatever

    Serious conflation here. These are philosophical descriptions of diverse phenomena. For example, religious philosophers calls science "methodological naturalism".

    Still, we are discussing the science of biology, not any philosophical interpretation of it. Which is why, I suspect, you don't answer my previous questions, leaving your claims as vacuous or full of lies as I noted.

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