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Has anyone been paying attention to teh Dawkins, P.Z. Meyers, "Expelled" debacle?

Plummit

Monkey
Mar 12, 2002
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The film makers conned Dawkins, Meyers, and several other science notables into giving interviews for the film by lying about what it was about. When Meyers later brought Dawkins as his guest to the premiere at the Mall of America (we are talking high production value here,) the producer and theater owner had the police ask Meyers to leave. Ironically, they didn't notice Dawkins and let him slip in.

During the question and answer session after the showing, Dawkins apparently stood and asked the producer why he had one of the people featured in the film tossed from the venue. Indeed, Meyers, Dawkins and others are thanked in the credits for their appearances.

The central tenet of the film is that there are hard working, god fearing "scientists" are out there making "discoveries" and running "experiments" that are yielding "evidence" of Intelligent Design. The real irony is that the movie claims that these "scientists" are being systematically "expelled," hence the name of the film, by the greater science community at large, and their work is being "suppressed."

It's made the NYTimes, and many
linked the the project, as in "Ben Stein's: Expelled." He's frequently a guest on cnbc, but i had no idea he was an I.D. freak. The always noxious "Discovery Institute" has taken the bait and entered the fray as well.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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I just saw this movie.


Without a doubt the most disingenuous piece of shlt I've ever seen.

Anyone who believes the well documented process of biological evolution is a godless heathen, just one step away from a nazi (yes, he really implies this), and ID proponents are honest scientists just victimized by a rock hard establishment who cannot question itself. Total Bullshlt.

Just wanted to share that.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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In my pants
I haven't seen it, now I have to.
Whatever you do, just make sure the morons who put this out receive no money.


I got it on a 'watch now' feature from netflix.


Seriously though. I'm compelled to make a better case for intelligent design myself. And I don't even buy the crap. But I know I could do a better job than these hacks. It's like they set out to do a movie and thought to themselves "let's appeal to the most uneducated demographic we can."


edit: let wet your appetite
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ben-steins-expelled-review-john-rennie
 
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jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
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Netflix at best, I wouldn't support it. I did have hopes due to the fact I enjoy Ben and his dry humor, though.
 

vibiker

Monkey
May 3, 2004
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Santa Clara / Vashon
Anyone who believes the well documented process of biological evolution ...
well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils? I know of at least one source that has a bounty for the first person to present one fossil. $10k I believe. So who claimed the prize?
 

Defenestrated

Turbo Monkey
Mar 28, 2007
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well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils? I know of at least one source that has a bounty for the first person to present one fossil. $10k I believe. So who claimed the prize?
wikipedia said:
In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation.
:busted:
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
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well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils? I know of at least one source that has a bounty for the first person to present one fossil. $10k I believe. So who claimed the prize?
Man vs. dinosaur.

 

Plummit

Monkey
Mar 12, 2002
233
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well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils?
Do you require a 'plethora' or will a whole bunch do?

Of course, in a very real context, all living things, and the fossils and remains that were once living things are essentially 'transitional.' Perhaps next you'll start repeating talking points you've heard about 'fossil gaps.' I might as well ask you to document your complete lineage back to Adam and Eve.
 
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kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils? I know of at least one source that has a bounty for the first person to present one fossil. $10k I believe. So who claimed the prize?


I get the feeling you didn't spend a whole lot of time in science classes after high school. And I don't mean generally, I mean biology.
 
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bohorec

Monkey
Jun 26, 2007
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well documented? As in proven? From the plethora of transitional fossils? I know of at least one source that has a bounty for the first person to present one fossil. $10k I believe. So who claimed the prize?
It's usually entertaining that christians in America are using muslim sources in crusade against Darwin, however the fact that fanatics were successful in Turkey might rise some concerns.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/creationist-offers-prize-for-fossil-proof-of-evolution-945289.html

To answer your question, here is the real proof:

fossil
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
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And here's the best part.

Pay attention now: You don't need fossils to verify the process of biological evolution. (although certainly nice to have)


And just to clarify vbiker: when people who know what they're talking about use the term evolution, that's generally what they mean, the biological process. Not specifically the absolute origin of mankind in its current state. That's religion's job.
 

bohorec

Monkey
Jun 26, 2007
327
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Well some forms of creationism denies evolution on all levels. I also remember some evolutionary ideas about origins of life on Earth from biology classes, none of them included fictional creatures.
 

vibiker

Monkey
May 3, 2004
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Santa Clara / Vashon
Do you require a 'plethora' or will a whole bunch do?
One would do. Nice drawings over there.

Perhaps next you'll start repeating talking points you've heard about 'fossil gaps.'
No argument that species evolve. Where are the interspecies fossils? We have millions of fossils of different species, some extinct, some not. But no transitional ones. So how do you explain "the gaps"?


And here's the best part.

Pay attention now: You don't need fossils to verify the process of biological evolution. (although certainly nice to have)


And just to clarify vbiker: when people who know what they're talking about use the term evolution, that's generally what they mean, the biological process. Not specifically the absolute origin of mankind in its current state. That's religion's job.
No argument from me about the absolute origin. That's not the point here.

Bottom-line, science is not a democratic process. What is the specific proof of evolution?

You might want to read a little of Michael Behe. The guy has had a few more Bio classes than me. Maybe even more than you.
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
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No argument that species evolve. Where are the interspecies fossils? We have millions of fossils of different species, some extinct, some not. But no transitional ones. So how do you explain "the gaps"?
still a bone of contention for me is "have we accurately assessed what makes up an intermediate species?". in other words, we give a platypus its own designation, but would it not meet the definition for an intermediate species? i have no idea, and it doesn't keep me up @ night.


oh, expect to be met w/ ad-hominem attacks when invoking behe; he's the only devil these lot believe in
 

Silver

find me a tampon
Jul 20, 2002
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oh, expect to be met w/ ad-hominem attacks when invoking behe; he's the only devil these lot believe in
You mean the guy who admitted that his definition of a scientific theory included astrology?

Oh yes, he's a clever devil. Maybe when the fifth moon of Jupiter is ascendant over the fifth house of Mars, Xenu and Jesus will come back to earth and get married in California...
 

Plummit

Monkey
Mar 12, 2002
233
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So how do you explain "the gaps"?
As I pointed out, in terms of what I take to be your beliefs, what you are asking for would be the equivalent of producing exact genealogical records of your lineage traced back to Adam and Eve, and preferably the Deity's birth certificate as well (or at the very least records of his birth at the town hall.)

Quote below, bold is mine.
Link
Misconception: “Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution.”



Response: The fact that some transitional fossils are not preserved does not disprove evolution. Evolutionary biologists do not expect that all transitional forms will be found and realize that many species leave no fossils at all. Lots of organisms don't fossilize well and the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are not that common. So, science actually predicts that for many evolutionary changes there will be gaps in the record.

Also, scientists have found many transitional fossils. For example, there are fossils of transitional organisms between modern birds and their theropod dinosaur ancestors, and between whales and their terrestrial mammal ancestors.
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
No argument that species evolve. Where are the interspecies fossils? We have millions of fossils of different species, some extinct, some not. But no transitional ones. So how do you explain "the gaps"?
What do you mean by "transitional" or "interspecies" fossils? If you find something morphologically different from what is already know to exist in the fossil record, it gets its own species designation. But the fact that we name things differently is only a result of our arbitrary naming system, simply for the sake of organization. Do yourself a favor and look into the concept of Cladistics.
There's actually a very obvious path from the simple (Burgess Shale) to the very complex (living creatures today). And from the lobe finned fishes to the tetrapods like ourselves. The only means by which one can deny this is to claim "god put them there to test our faith" which is basically not worth debating.
Something like a Lungfish (which still exist) is a perfect example of the transition from fish to tetrapod.
 
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vibiker

Monkey
May 3, 2004
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Santa Clara / Vashon
As I pointed out, in terms of what I take to be your beliefs, what you are asking for would be the equivalent of producing exact genealogical records of your lineage traced back to Adam and Eve, and preferably the Deity's birth certificate as well (or at the very least records of his birth at the town hall.)
So what you are saying is that evolution is a belief system as well?


Quote below, bold is mine.
Link
Note that I am not trying to disprove evolution. I am just trying to see how you prove it. It is very difficult to prove a negative.

So where are these transitional fossils that the Cal web site eludes to?
 

Plummit

Monkey
Mar 12, 2002
233
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oh, expect to be met w/ ad-hominem attacks when invoking behe; he's the only devil these lot believe in
His own department at Lehigh University disavows his creationist/ID ideas:

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally and should not be regarded as scientific.[13]
... and I hear he's a jerk and has HORNS!
 

BurlyShirley

Rex Grossman Will Rise Again
Jul 4, 2002
19,183
1
TN
Note that I am not trying to disprove evolution.
That's good because overzealous spacktards have been trying to do so for the last 120 or so years and have come up empty. It's really a pretty solid theory compared to something like gravity.
 
...Note that I am not trying to disprove evolution. I am just trying to see how you prove it. It is very difficult to prove a negative...
Y' don't prove anything.

There are more or less useful models of "reality" which, if used while understanding their limitations, can improve, say, the likelihood that you'll survive a little longer.

The scientific method provides a discipline for the evaluation of the usefulness of models.

Evolution models have proved to be useful.

Creationist models are useful if you desire comedy or tragedy, depending on how applied. :disgust1:

That is all.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
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So what you are saying is that evolution is a belief system as well?

Note that I am not trying to disprove evolution. I am just trying to see how you prove it. It is very difficult to prove a negative.

So where are these transitional fossils that the Cal web site eludes to?
There is a tunnel here in Portland that was dug for the train. They also cut an elevator from the train.

In the tunnel, they took a sample of dirt from top to bottom, dated it, then mapped it. You can SEE the evolution from bottom to top while you wait for the next train.

I believe that the dirt is actual dirt. So I guess it is a belief system in that respect.

There is also a town in Oregon called Fossil. It's not just a clever name.
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
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What do you mean by "transitional" or "interspecies" fossils? If you find something morphologically different from what is already know to exist in the fossil record, it gets its own species designation. But the fact that we name things differently is only a result of our arbitrary naming system, simply for the sake of organization. Do yourself a favor and look into the concept of Cladistics.
There's actually a very obvious path from the simple (Burgess Shale) to the very complex (living creatures today). And from the lobe finned fishes to the tetrapods like ourselves. The only means by which one can deny this is to claim "god put them there to test our faith" which is basically not worth debating.
Something like a Lungfish (which still exist) is a perfect example of the transition from fish to tetrapod.
so if classification is arbitrary, doesn't is also hold true our interpretation is as well? not trying to be a dick, but i'm trying to understand if we're going to point to exhibit B as the transitional species 'tween exhibits A & C, then we can dismiss the terms macro- and micro-evolution, as their thresholds are irrelevant.

reaching back into formal grammatical frameworks, i have a segue: are there any species that ever fold in on themselves, like a->b->c->a, or some nonlinear combination of species a-N recombine to return to a? mathematically, it seems plausible, if indeed it is arbitrary.
 

Secret Squirrel

There is no Justice!
Dec 21, 2004
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Up sh*t creek, without a paddle
so if classification is arbitrary, doesn't is also hold true our interpretation is as well? not trying to be a dick, but i'm trying to understand if we're going to point to exhibit B as the transitional species 'tween exhibits A & C, then we can dismiss the terms macro- and micro-evolution, as their thresholds are irrelevant.

reaching back into formal grammatical frameworks, i have a segue: are there any species that ever fold in on themselves, like a->b->c->a, or some nonlinear combination of species a-N recombine to return to a? mathematically, it seems plausible, if indeed it is arbitrary.
Excel only goes to Column IV. So, the answer seems to be yes.
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
29,919
2,710
Portland, OR
so if classification is arbitrary, doesn't is also hold true our interpretation is as well? not trying to be a dick, but i'm trying to understand if we're going to point to exhibit B as the transitional species 'tween exhibits A & C, then we can dismiss the terms macro- and micro-evolution, as their thresholds are irrelevant.

reaching back into formal grammatical frameworks, i have a segue: are there any species that ever fold in on themselves, like a->b->c->a, or some nonlinear combination of species a-N recombine to return to a? mathematically, it seems plausible, if indeed it is arbitrary.
Yes

 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
reaching back into formal grammatical frameworks, i have a segue: are there any species that ever fold in on themselves, like a->b->c->a, or some nonlinear combination of species a-N recombine to return to a? mathematically, it seems plausible, if indeed it is arbitrary.
mathematically, it is completely implausible. Do you understand chaos? It is as implausible as (actually less plausible than) the same two clouds ever existing.
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
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mathematically, it is completely implausible. Do you understand chaos? It is as implausible as (actually less plausible than) the same two clouds ever existing.
entropy, yes, yes.

but for it to be implausible suggests there's some state data hashed in a table which says "cannot reproduce", which neither of us would suggest. i would, in fact, find it to be highly unlikely, but if we both understand the fundamentals of chaos, we have to believe there's an expectation of probability on a long enough time-line that it could re-exist (at least within the same "species" of cloud). so i take issue w/ your dissimilar analogy of 2 identical clouds ever existing, whereas they may not ever exist concurrently
 

jimmydean

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are there studies/theories which map its genetic journey?
Yes, as a matter of fact, there is:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-platypus-dna_08may08,0,735091.story

From the Los Angeles Times
Mammal? Reptile? Platypus
2-year study reveals animal's genetic code

By Rick Weiss | The Washington Post
10:45 AM CDT, May 8, 2008

WASHINGTON - When the British naturalist George Shaw received a weird specimen from Australia in 1799 -- one with a mole's fur, a duck's bill and spurs on its rear legs -- he did what any skeptical scientist would do: He looked for the stitching and glue that would reveal it to be a hoax.

"It was impossible not to entertain some distant doubts as to the genuine nature of the animal," Shaw wrote of the seemingly built-by-committee creature, which he eventually named "platypus."

Now, more than 200 years later, a team of scientists has determined the platypus's entire genetic code. And right down to its DNA, it turns out, the platypus continues to strain credulity, bearing genetic modules that are in turn mammalian, reptilian and avian.

There are genes for egg laying -- evidence of the animals' reptilian roots. Genes for making milk, which the platypus does in mammalian style despite not having nipples. Genes for making snake venom, which the animal stores in its legs. And there are five times more sex-determining chromosomes than scientists know what to do with.

"It's such a wacky organism," said Richard Wilson, director of the genome center at Washington University in St. Louis, who led the two-year international effort, described online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Yet in its wackiness, Wilson said, the platypus genome offers an unprecedented glimpse of how evolution made its first stabs at producing mammals. It tells the tale of how early mammals learned to nurse their young; how they matched poisonous snakes at their own venomous game; and how they struggled to build a system of fertilization and gestation that would eventually, through relatives that took a different tack, give rise to the first humans.

"As we learn more about things like platypuses," Wilson said, "we also learn more about ourselves and where we came from and how we work."

Platypuses (preferred over "platypi" in U.S. dictionaries) live on a relative sliver of Earth along Australia's east coast, Tasmania and Papua New Guinea. But Ornithorhynchus anatinus has a global fan base, it seems, having been chosen as the mascot of countless companies, products and events.

The animal's complete genetic code, or genome, turns out to have 2.2 billion molecular "letters" of DNA, or about two-thirds as many as the human genome, and contains 18,500 genes, about the same as humans.

Finding the order of all those letters was grueling, scientists said, because no similar animal has ever been sequenced. The platypus inhabits an isolated branch on the evolutionary tree with just one other close cousin, the echidna, also of Australia. That left researchers with no model to help them figure out how the platypus's DNA should fit together.

"It was quite a difficult thing," said Jennifer Marshall Graves of Australian National University in Canberra, who led part of the analysis after the St. Louis team derived the basic sequence. "The genome was completely unknown, and we knew it was going to be fairly weird," Graves said. "You'd look at some of these repetitive sequences and think, 'What on Earth is that?' "

One of the more surprising elements was the animal's system for sex determination. Most mammals have two sex chromosomes, either two X chromosomes (to make a female) or an X and a Y (to make a male). Not only do platypuses have 10 instead of two, but some of those resemble the Z and W chromosomes of birds more than standard-issue X's and Y's.

Moreover, the key gene on the Y chromosome that confers maleness in most mammals is not present on any of the platypus's sex chromosomes. It is on another chromosome, where it seems to have nothing to do with sex. In its place, another gene seems to be central to sex determination in platypuses -- evidence of a shakeout of various evolutionary efforts to settle on a system of sex determination in early mammals.

Other genes show how platypuses were transitional creatures on the road from egg laying to internal gestation. There is just one gene for one kind of yolk protein, for example, while chickens have three. That is consistent with the idea that the platypus represents a shift in strategy toward providing more nutrition after hatching, rather than during incubation, and lends credence to the poet Ogden Nash's famous appreciation of the platypus's approach to child-rearing: "I like the way it raises its family/Partly birdly, partly mammaly."

Platypus milk appears to be a modified version of a moisturizing fluid that ancestral platypuses once used to keep their leathery, lizard-like eggs from drying out during incubation. It is secreted from "milk patches" on the mother's abdomen.

As with kangaroos, platypus milk becomes more nutritionally complex over a period of months while the young suckle and grow, the result of at least five different genes turning on in sequence.

"The dairy industry is actually very interested in this and want to get their hands on the controlling gene elements that turn these milk genes on and off," Graves said. (End Optional Trim)!

Another surprise was that platypuses have a huge array of genes that help them detect chemical signals released underwater by other animals. That makes sense, scientists said, because platypuses close their eyes and nostrils while diving for the small aquatic crustaceans that make up the bulk of their diet.

These "vomeronasal organ" genes give the platypus perhaps the most sensitive known system for detecting pheromones -- hormone-like signals -- allowing it to pick up the scents of potential mates or prey underwater.

One final surprise came from an examination of the genes involved in the production of venom, which the platypus can deliver from a sharp spur on each of its rear legs.

The platypus is the only mammal to make venom, and the chemicals in it are almost identical to those in some snake venoms. Yet the new analysis shows plainly that the two classes of animals came up with the innovation independently and by different evolutionary routes, though both built their poisons from the same starter molecule, an immune system chemical.

Disappointingly, scientists said, they have been unable to find any genes involved in the platypus's elaborate system for detecting electrical fields, which it does through its bill, perhaps to help navigate through narrow waterways. But that is just one of many avenues, they said, that promise to keep them busy with duck-billed DNA.

"We're going to be using the platypus genome for the next 50 years," said Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, England, which was involved in the analysis.

"The platypus gives us a perspective that is deep in time, that tells us what was going on 170 million years ago, when all these traits were being developed," Birney said. "Every time there's a difference in the DNA between human and dog, or human and some other mammal, and you want to know which one changed more recently, you need these outgroup species to be able to answer that."
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
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so it seems to me a species (as we categorize it) has 3 options: extinction, stasis, or evolution. so do anti-evolutionists purport there are imaginary boundaries beyond which a species may not venture genetically?

seems a bit silly to me, but i'm just a man