Saturday, July 20, 2013

IDiot Irony

Sometimes I really wonder what goes on at the Discovery Institute.

As most of you know by now, Stephen Meyer has written a new anti-evolution book where he criticizes the expert scientific opinion on the Cambrian Explosion. He says that the experts are all wrong and the evidence shows that evolution is impossible. The only reasonable alternative is that god(s) made the primitive animals. Meyer has an undergraduate degree in physics and earth science (1981) and got a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science ten years later (1991). He is not a scientist and he is not an expert on evolution.

Casey Luskin has a Master's degree in earth sciences but later on he got a law degree and he is primarliy a lawyer. He is not a scientist and he is not an expert on evolution.

David Klinghoffer is a writer. He is not a scientist and he is not an expert on evolution.

Nick Matzke is a graduate student who is finishing up his Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. He is a scientist and he is an expert on evolution. He is also an expert on Intelligent Design Creationism.

Nick Matzke wrote a long review of Darwin's Doubt—a book written by a philosopher [Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, Part II].

Casey Luskin, a lawyer, took it upon himself to critique Matzke's review [How "Sudden" Was the Cambrian Explosion? Nick Matzke Misreads Stephen Meyer and the Paleontological Literature; New Yorker Recycles Misrepresentation]. Luskin says,
Since Matzke published his review, The New Yorker reviewed Meyer's book. Gareth Cook, the science writer who wrote the piece, relied heavily on Matzke's critical evaluation, even though Matzke is a graduate student and not an established Cambrian expert. Cook uncritically recycled Matzke's claim that the Cambrian explosion took "many tens of millions of years," ...
Do you see the irony? Meyer is a philosopher and Luskin is a lawyer but poor old Nick is just a graduate student about to get a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. Matzke is not an established Cambrian expert. Neither are Meyer or Luskin but that doesn't seem to stop them from criticizing Matzke and all other evolutionary biologists and all paleontologists.1

David Klinghoffer just can't wait to contribute his two cents. Klinghoffer isn't a scientist and he certainly isn't an expert on paleontology but that doesn't mean he can't have an opinion [Regarding Matzke, Coyne, and Darwin's Doubt, a Reader Asks].
That is a good question. Casey Luskin has already demonstrated what a non-paleontologist Matzke is.
How could non-scientist Klinghoffer possibly know whether lawyer Casey Luskin had made a good case against evolutionary biologist Nick Matzke? Does Klinhoffer realize that Luskin is a lawyer, not a paleontologist?

Do you wonder why we call them IDiots?


1. My irony meter survived but it was touch-and-go for a minute or two.

47 comments :

  1. Does Casey practice law anywhere? I thought he was the PR guy for the group.

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  2. Luskin got his J.D. [law degree] from the University of San Diego, Calif. & was admitted to the State Bar of Calif. in Nov. 2005

    He's still listed as active & thus he can practise law in that state:-
    http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/238124

    However he lives in Seattle, WA & I can't find anything to show he can be an attorney there. He writes as follows about his job with DI in Seattle:- "By profession, I am an attorney who works in Seattle, Washington as Program Officer in Public Policy & Legal Affairs." So this is a bit of word play in my view. I doubt that he can practice law in the State where he actually lives.

    I can find no listing anywhere of anything he's done connected with lawyering EVER such as cases, law review etc.

    His own little personal website is rather amusing. One of his links has been hijacked by an "escort service", I will not link to his site in case it brings malware. It confounds me how he can have worked for a few years on Scripps Oceanographic geomagnetism & still be a YEC... weird

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  3. Don't make the mistake of underestimating these professional liars for doctrine. Under the selection pressure applied by Matzke et al., they're evolving. They're becoming, with the passage of time and each new smackdown, more sophisticated at covering their traces. They won't hand us another "cdesign proponentsists" gift again if they can help it. Though with this latest "work" (assuming that the relevant tissue of creationist lies can be dignified with such a term), it seems that the prevailing tactic consists of dazzling the gullible and uneducated rubes with convoluted apologetic fabrications clad in a stolen lab coat. But they're becoming better at making the defenders of valid science waste long, tedious hours unravelling their webs of deceit. Vigilance will always be needed, for as long as charlatans find they can build lucrative careers, peddling lies to a public pre-conditioned by venomous religiosity to assume that anything with Jeebus attached is "the truth".

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  4. Is Casey Luskin a YEC as claimed by Michael Fisher? It's often hard to tell with IDiots. Has he ever made it explicit?

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    1. My error. I apologise. Luskin is OEC, but works with a mixture of OEC & YEC at the Discovery Institute.

      This letter from Luskin [2006] where he tries to distance ID from the various types of creationism is interesting:-

      http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=662

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  5. Yeah, it's pretty funny. Creationists' rapid alternation between naive trust in, and total dismissal of, arguments from authority, will blow your irony meter every time. Sadly I'm too jammed to respond to their latest, every response has to spend paragraphs just explaining introductory mistakes usually restricted to undergrads. I don't care so much if they disagree with the established paradigm, but get some understanding of the basics first please! E.g. the node rotation stuff in Berlinski's latest is hilarious -- does he not understand that we regularly explain to students that node rotation in cladograms is arbitrary and doesn't change your data/conclusions? And he offhandedly admits there is tree structure in cladistic data. This is game over for Meyer's claims, but Berlinski doesn't get (or, more likely, deliberately avoids getting it).

    Anyhoo. PS Luskin and Meyer are OECs not YECs, in reply to Fisher.

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    1. An interesting reaction to your review(s) is at Uncommon Descent, where numerous posters and commenters have loudly and brazenly accused you of reviewing Meyer's book without reading it. You have clearly and explicitly said that you did read it, and even said when you read it.

      But they continue to treat their accusations as if true and established. Not nice people.

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    2. Joe, I'm curious about your opinion of the following statements by casey luskin at ENV:

      "There is a concluding irony in all this. As Meyer shows in Chapter 10 and Chapter 12 of Darwin's Doubt, the extreme rarity of genes and proteins in sequence space means that even thirty million years is not nearly enough time to give the neo-Darwinian mechanism a realistic opportunity to generate a new gene or protein -- let alone a new form of animal life. Further, as he shows in Chapter 12, the calculated waiting times using the standard principles of population genetics for the occurrence of just a few (three or more) coordinated mutations vastly exceed 30 million years."

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    3. I just want to add that I would also appreciate seeing opinions of luskin's statements above, from other people here.

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    4. It looks to me like the usual creationist/IDiot bafflegab. It does not "mean" any such thing, it simply means that Meyer relies on the fact that his target audience will not know what it actually means and thus be impressed by it.
      The bit about 'coordinated mutations' in fact represents a monumental ignorance of basic evolutionary principles. Either that or a rather pathetic tendency to engage in long-term and repetitive deception.

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    5. In response to this:


      "There is a concluding irony in all this. As Meyer shows in Chapter 10 and Chapter 12 of Darwin's Doubt, the extreme rarity of genes and proteins in sequence space means that even thirty million years is not nearly enough time to give the neo-Darwinian mechanism a realistic opportunity to generate a new gene or protein -- let alone a new form of animal life. Further, as he shows in Chapter 12, the calculated waiting times using the standard principles of population genetics for the occurrence of just a few (three or more) coordinated mutations vastly exceed 30 million years."

      Basically: there is no particular reason to think that the evolution of the Cambrian animals required a bunch of new genes, or especially new genes that are something other than modified copies of old genes. There is considerable opinion that the basic suite of genes/proteins was set long before the bilaterian animals evolved (as they are found already in e.g. sponges and cnidarians), and that most of the developmental complexity is due to gene regulation.

      Even if lots of new genes were required after all, everyone in evolutionary biology knows that there are lots of documented, proven, observed, and tested/confirmed mechanisms to make new genes. One introduction to the literature is Long (2003), Evolution of new genes, Nat. Rev. Genetics, on Google Scholar. Meyer addresses this article in his book, but basically it boils down to asserting that using documented, known mechanisms to explain something is just as doubtful as using miracles. I comment more on this in my review on pandasthumb.org.

      Also, there is no particular reason to think that multiple simultaneous mutations were ever required for the evolution of most new genes. We don't see any particular evidence for multiple-mutations-required when the origin of new genes is reconstructed, and there are good biochemical reasons to think it is rare -- it is a proven fact that binding sites can and do shift their binding preferences and strengths through single point mutations. Evolution of binding sites is most of what is going on in the evolution of regulation, new enzymatic capacities, etc. Note that saying some point-mutation-pathways were available in history does not necessarily mean that *every* random artificial intermediate between two proteins that Doug Axe and Anne Gauger cook up in their lab will be functional, no more than chopping off a dolphin flipper and sewing a leg on (assuming we can ignore the surgical problems) would tell you about the plausibility of the walking ancestor of whales.

      Finally, even if, despite the above, multiple simultaneous mutations did sometimes happen in evolutionary history, it is one thing to calculate the odds that this occasionally happens in a few of the tens of thousands of genes in millions of species, and another thing to assume that whatever did happen is the only possible way it could of happened, and to ignore all the background events where such events didn't happen, and species either went extinct or found alternative routes to survival. Evolution only needs the former calculation, where ID creationists consistently and ignorantly rely on the latter.

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  6. The Tooters are having a conniption fit over how Doubt is being discussed at Nature, no, er, Science, no, er, OK, on the Amazon dot com book review thread. Yeah, that's it. Their venue is an on-line bookstore book review comment thread where any Joe Bloggs can post a comment ... and has.

    That's right, Tooters, the only action Meyer's Hopeless Monster 2 is getting is on various obscure 1-star comment threads on Amazon.

    Darwin killer. I'm shakin' in me boots.

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  7. the node rotation stuff in Berlinski's latest is hilarious

    ?

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  8. The Discovery Institute would never let Luskin litigate a case-- they know he's not bright even as a lawyer (Tim Sandefur's blog has fisked Luskin's moronic legal pronouncements). He is however widely assumed to be the author of the Academic Freedom laws passed in Louisiana and Tennessee [?] and defeated elsewhere. Even there he copied the "Shall not be construed" language straight from the Louisiana Equal Time creationism law struck down as unconstitutional by SCOTUS in 1987. Not a smart thing to do, copying from laws already declared unconstitutional, yet he crows about it endlessly as his life's greatest achievement, as during his unctuous radio "debate" with Zack Kopplin.

    It's obvious, even to the IDiots, that Luskin's unctuous, dishonest, sophomoric sophistries would infuriate a trial judge. Judges can tell when someone is lying-- they're better at that than most scientists-- and lying infuriates judges.

    Perhaps 50% of all scientists, upon encountering creationists like Luskin, are too polite to call them liars, but instead are nice and assume they just have abysmal educations. Judges are less easily fooled. They could tell Luskin was lying.

    Scientists don't know what to do when they encounter real liars. We don't have a protocol for that, so we flail about individually. But judges know exactly what to do. They have a protocol for it and it isn't pretty.

    So the DI will never let Luskin litigate. The TMLC and the other Christian legal troopers will never hire him either. The DI is the end of the road for Luskin.

    When he is old he shall be mumbling "Shall not be construed"--words he copied from a long dead law-- to himself over and over as his incantation of invulnerabilit.

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  9. Matzke is not an established Cambrian expert. Neither are Meyer or Luskin but that doesn't seem to stop them from criticizing Matzke and all other evolutionary biologists and all paleontologists.

    Of course the "idea" behind that farce is that there simply is nothing to evolution but a desire that "materialism" and "atheism" should triumph, so any ignorant moron who thinks otherwise can "see through" that "facade."

    So even the experts don't know what they claim to know, much less a "mere graduate student." In the end it's mere circularity, that anyone who accepts evolution is ipso facto untrustworthy and prejudiced, and any lie or self-refuting nonsense is fine to use against such an evil "system" and anyone who supports it.

    That this is all projection of their own prejudice and untrustworthiness probably does occur to them at times, but it is to be quickly denied, and replaced by "faith."

    Glen Davidson

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  10. I wish someone with the appropriate background and credentials could do a chapter by chapter review. It's difficult for us non-specialists to keep up with the technical details of the debate.

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    1. You imply that there is such a thing a a debate here. There is not. Meyer's book has nothing to do with any scientific controversy, just creationist apologetics. And Nick Matzke's review should be close enough to what you ask for by any rational reckoning.

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    2. There's a debate here, it's just not a science one, rather a public debate about science.

      It's a debate to persuade non-scientists, and it's not surprising that someone would like a detailed fisking of the book. The trouble is, it takes a good deal of time.

      Glen Davidson

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    3. John,

      You're a scientist with the appropriate training and credentials to see beyond the jargon and the pile of references that are thrown at us non-specialists. Even if you think there isn't a genuine debate in the scientific community (which is my stance, by the way), we non-scientists see things differently. It is difficult for us, quite naturally, to unpack the arguments and evaluate them in light of the evidence.

      I read Nick's review, and I think he did a nice job. But it was neither detailed enough, nor specific enough for a person like myself to fully comprehend it.

      I really think that there's more to science than what exists in the science journals. Reaching out to the public is just as important, if not more. And we haven't seen that happening as extensively as the situation demands.

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    4. ShadiZ1, here's a link to the first part of a review of meyer's book that you may find interesting:

      http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/20/darwins-doubt-prologue-part-i/

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    5. If someone were to pay me for a month or so to do it, I could write an introductory textbook level coverage of all of the issues and terminology that I touched on in my review. But as long as responding to creationists is basically a volunteer occupation, and is an excursion from the science work that we are actually being paid on and hired on, we're going to be stuck with the sorts of hurried blogposts like I produced, I'm afraid!

      As it is, by googling the confusing terms and looking them up on wikipedia, after a few hours you will have a better understanding of a particular issue than Meyer did!

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  11. I wish someone with the appropriate background and credentials would do a page by page review of "If I Ran the Circus" by Dr. Seuss. It's difficult for us non-specialists to keep up with the technicals of the debate over fictional circus running.

    First, Meyer's "Doubt" is a work of fiction. Meyer is not engaging in any kind of scientific debate. All one has to know is that "Doubt" is ideological propaganda and leave it at that.

    Second, nobody outside of the weird circle of creationist watchers, me included, gives a rat's ass what Meyer or any Tooter writes. If you asked the 50,000 newly minted Biology college graduates (USA, 2013) who Stephen Meyer was, you'd get a 50,000 strong chorus of, "Who?"

    The only reason I care about "Doubt" and Luskin's heartbreakingly pitiful "Discovering ID" (now with a workbook!) is that they will be proposed, most likely, as supplementary material by the Texas State Board of Education which is currently dominated by creationists. Only from that standpoint is it important for "Doubt" to be discredited as religious ideology not science.

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    1. Heh! About "Discovering Intelligent Design," it actually has this disclaimer:

      The claims that ID is religiously based or anti-science are false. With an awareness of those accusations, however, the authors of the DID textbook have been careful to present the scientific evidence without any religious influence.

      http://discoveringidbook.com/curriculum.html

      Wait a minute! If ID isn't religiously based, why would the autors have to be careful to avoid "religious influence"?

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    2. Maybe I'm coming from a different background, but things are going quite differently in other places around the world. The ID creationist literature is becoming the new fuel for the Muslim creationists in the Middle East. And when I speak of the Middle East, creationism here isn't a minority view, nor is it a minor challenge to science and science education. It is the rule, rather than the exception.

      And the story that was published recently in Science Magazine about the Turkish government's stance on evolution is just a small example of what scientists and science educators are seeing in this part of the world.

      I really think that there's a problem here, if not a scientific one, then at least a social and cultural one. Dismissing it and ignoring it won't do.

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    3. Shadi -- I don't suppose you are the Shadi I met in Berkeley a coupla years back?

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    4. Shadi,

      We sympathize with your dilemma. We know real science is subject to censorship in Muslim countries.

      There is no super-detailed review of the book yet, but Nick Matzke wrote two relevant posts at Panda's Thumb on the "Hopeless Monsters" of Meyer and Luskin; Donald Prothero wrote a review at Amazon; and Smilodon's Retreat has started on his detailed review.

      Please note that Meyer's book has NO new creationist arguments against evolution. We have seen ALL of his arguments before-- some go back many decades-- and they're all refuted somewhere on the internet.

      For a semi-technical essay at a good level for beginners, read Keith Miller's article on the Cambrian and Ediacaran at the ASA website. Google Keith Miller, ASA, Cambrian explosion. Not recent but still good.

      On this topic Wikipedia helps. Read the Wikipedia articles on Opabinia (the article reproduces an important phylogenetic chart from Graham Budd et al. 1996(?).) And the Wikipedia articles on lobopods, halkieriids, and ecdysozoa, in that order.

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    5. Nick,

      No I have never been to Berkeley before. Though, I have been following the evolution vs. creation issue for sometime now (for around a year and a half, actually), and I enjoy reading your input on the subject. Please continue your service to humanity, as far as you possibly can.

      Thank you again for your review!

      P.S. I'm going to be contacting you over the next couple of days to get your advice on a project that I'm currently working on. I'll identify myself more fully in that e-mail.

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    6. Diogenes,

      Thank you for the kind advice. I have read a couple of articles and reviews about the Cambrian "explosion". In particular, I read Dr. Donald Prothero's input on the subject in his book 'Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters'. I also saw Kieth Miller's series of articles on the BioLogos forums.

      In addition, I've ordered Erwin and Valentine's authoritative book on the subject a couple of days ago. And from what I have heard about it until now, it seems that it's going to give me a solid understanding of the subject.

      P.S. I read a couple of your articles on your personal blog (especially the ones about the creationist movement), and I really like your style. Is there a way to get hold of you? I need your advice on the same project I told Nick about in my previous comment.

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  12. Nick,

    Let me try this again:

    the node rotation stuff in Berlinski's latest is hilarious

    Perhaps some kind of reference?

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    1. JH,

      You can find some good explanations of this at T Ryan Gregory's site; Genomicron. I also read an article somewhere called 'How not to read a cladogram' or something like that that also explains it. In fact, I could swear that Berlinski got those diagrams from an article devoted to explaining how NOT to misinterpret cladograms.
      Seems to me the DI went into full damage control after Nick's article. Refuting most of their replies is like shooting fish in a barrel, except, it seems to me, for one: though what constitutes the CE is open to interpretation, many repected authors have said that a lot was going on in a mere 5-6 million years. Nick said it was 30 million, but this definition is beside the point if most inovation occured in far less time.

      RodW

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    2. I was just asking for the link to Berlinski's comments. I'm a systematist.

      I went to a symposium on tree thinking at the Evolution meeting a few years ago (Fairbanks??) where eexactly this sort of thing was discussed: how hard it is to get students to read cladograms correctly, and the problem of seeing rotations around branches as not affecting the tree was one of those discussed, as was its apparent cause, the need to view the tree as a scala naturae. Berlinski displays all the symptoms. And he's proud of it, too.

      There is now a textbook specifically devoted to tree thinking, aptly titled "Tree Thinking". I'd be interested to know if anyone has used it in class, and if it works.

      The length of the explosion is flexible, depending on what you think you're talking about. What do you want to have happened during that time? We really don't have a good handle on exactly what happened, and when. Taphonomy is a problem here. The Chengjiang is shortly (<5my, probably) after the first appearance of trilobites. But what does the first appearance of trilobites mark? I bet it marks the first use of calcified chitin skeletons, and I'll bet there were uncalcified trilobites (rather like Naraoia before that. Without a Chengjiang-type lagerstatt of the proper age, who can tell? A case can be made for starting the explosion with Cloudina or even with the first clear ichnofossils. Which is probably what Nick does.

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  13. Hi John -- I'm not getting what you're not getting. It is common for e.g. students (and certain sorts of insufficiently educated biologists) to misinterpret cladograms (usually upwards-pointing ones) by giving significance to the left-to-right order of the tips at the top. This is the origin of myths like "rats are more closely related to humans than mice are", I think.

    It is also common for us evolutionary biologists to correct our students and to make the point that the branches can be rotated about the nodes without effecting the information in the cladogram, which is just the information of grouping relationships and sometimes the order of character state changes, if that is plotted. There are even several articles in education journals pointing this out and making exercises of this activity.

    But, Berlinski goes and does some node rotations and thinks he has a serious point, which I think is hilarious.

    You presumably know all of this already so I'm not sure what you're looking for from me. The Berlinski post is at the DI's Evolution News and Views.

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  14. Nick,

    All I was asking for was the reference, which Piotr supplied. When I read it, it was all you implied and more. How can anyone be at once so condescendingly smug and so mindlessly wrong? Oh yeah: he's an IDiot.

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    1. Hi! Ah that makes sense, for some reason I thought you had read the Berlinski thing already and were asking for something else. Cheers! Nick

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    2. JH,

      Thanks for the reply. I suspect that Berlinski does understand cladistics, but his goal here isn't to enlighten but cast doubt on its validity any way he can.
      Hopefully this thread hasn't died because I have 2 questions: could the CE be due to limitations in the fossil sites available? I assume that the familiar Cambrian animals were all living in shallow seas. Do we have fossil sites from shallow seas 5 million, 10 million 15 million years prior to that? If so then the absence of fossils really suggests the animals didn't exist...but if not then perhaps finding such a site would show simpler ancestors. ( were the 'small shelly fauna' deep sea?)
      It seems to me that the basis for claiming the Cambrian was an 'explosion' was that morphological innovation has occurred so much more slowly since then, but could it be that during the Cambrian evolution was running at a 'normal' pace and the thing that needs to be explained is why it has occurred much more slowly subsequent to that ( more intense competition? complex ecological networks etc? ) I don't think we have enough of an understanding of the number and nature of genetic changes leading to major morphological innovation to say that for it to occur in 5 million years requires a special explanation(s)

      RodW

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    3. I suspect he understands only as much as he thinks necessary, which is very little. I don't think he's lying, just conveniently deluded.

      Your questions:

      1. could the CE be due to limitations in the fossil sites available?

      No, but our understanding of its nature might be. There was clearly an explosion in well-skeletonized taxa, which all appeared within a few million years (except for bryozoans). That can't be a taphonomic effect, since conditions for preservation are widespread and always have been. But that could be just adding a preservable skeleton to an existing taxon, i.e. that calcification of chitin I mentioned for trilobites. Now in fact Nicholas Butterfield has argued that the preservation conditions necessary for Burgess or Chengjiang-type lagerstätten are not found for quite a long time before they Chengjiang. This would be supported by the clear trace fossils of otherwise unknown bilaterians in the late Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian.

      I see I have already answered your second question. The question "How fast was the explosion?" must be linked to another question: "What exploded?"

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    4. Thanks again. I just read the review by Prothero and he states that there were no locales before the Chengjiang that could have preserved Burgess ancestors...but from what you say this is Butterfield's interpretation - perhaps not widely accepted? Prothero also says the CE was 80 million years. Like any healthy science there are disagreements and interpretations. Throw in a few careless comments by paleontologists and you have fertile ground for mischief on the part of creationists.

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  15. It's quite uncontroversial that there are no lagerstätten of comparable preservation to the Chengjiang known for the Ediacaran or early Cambrian before the Chengjiang. Butterfield's explanation for this observation (or lack thereof) is controversial, but the observation itself is not.

    The length of the Cambrian explosion depends on what you count as the beginning and the end. Prothero doesn't specify. But I suspect he begins with the oldest clear metazoan fossils, which I suspect he considers to be the Doushantuo embryos. I might be wrong.

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    1. What's the time scale on Doushantuo to Atdabanian?

      Paul Chien, who is an IDer, did some of the work on Doushantuo, along with Jun-yuan Chen. Chien interpreted the embryos as indicative of a magic Poof! in the Cambrian. At least that was the message of a crypto-creationist article on Chen and Chien by evangelist Fred Heeren in the Boston Globe a few years back.

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    2. It would be hard to use the Doushantuo as evidence of anything Cambrian, as it's clearly Precambrian. But of course we're talking about a matter of a few days' difference during the Flood. Returning to the real world, the Doushantuo fossils are around 570ma and the Atdabanian starts at around 520ma.

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  16. If the Doushantou fossils are the preserved embryos, I thought those had been shown to more likely be green algae related to volvox.
    As for the early trace fossils which was evidence of coelomate animals, I thought that was called into question as well? Deep sea observations of large protists ( forams?) showed that they can produce similar tracks.
    RodW

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    1. Almost everything Precambrian has been called into question in one way or another. "Shown" is too strong a word. And I think the protist tracks you're talking about are older than the tracks we're discussing here. I could be wrong, though. Do you have a reference?

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    2. I found this: Giant deep-sea protist produces bilaterian-like traces. Curr Biol. 2008 Dec 9;18(23):1849-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.028. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

      This is not where I first read about it. A news article came out in either Science or Nature maybe 4-5 years ago. It included photos from a submersible of the forams making the tracks.

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  17. From the abstract: "...remarkable resemblance to the Precambrian trace fossils, including those as old as 1.8 billion years."

    I do think they're talking here about a number of questionable fossils, mostly older than what we're talking about here. Not Precambrian trace fossils as a whole.

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  18. I noticed this in the quoted abstract (?): "This is significant because the ape-to-man scenario requires tens of millions of selective nucleotide substitutions in the human lineage." Considering that there are only around 18 million nucleotide substitutions, total, in the human lineage, how did the authors come up with that number of selective substitutions?

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  19. Whoops, wrong thread. How did that happen?

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