Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just another from Michael Snyder: Lie #24

I thought I would quit at 12, but exposing creationist frauds is like eating potato chips - hard to stop at just a dozen.

Lie #24 (Quote Mine) Why did evolutionist Dr. Lyall Watson make the following statement?…

“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!”

This was attributed by the creationist rags published by the Institute for Creation Research to Lyell(sic)(correct spelling Lyall) Watson, "The Water People," Science Digest, vol. 90 (May 1982), p. 44. First Lyall Watson has no doctorate in a science. Second, “Science Digest” was not a professional scientific journal, and was not peer reviewed. It was a “Readers Digest” formatted magazine that looked for sensationalized articles they dumbed down for their readers. Thirdly, the author Lyall Watson was a sham with a long list of pseudo-scientific books about the supernatural, and “psychic powers.” examples are ’Supernature’ (1973) called ’A natural history of the supernatural.’ Watson was the author of additional New Age nonsense such as “BEYOND SUPERNATURE” (1986).

But finally, the major lie is that this is merely a lie. Even in 1982 we had far more human fossil material than admitted by creationists even today. This is a variation on Creationist Claim CC030.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Snyder, "44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.” Exposing 1 - 12.

Creationist frauds and lies regarding the sciences have a characteristic pattern similar to other forms of science denial. I recommend reading a NewsWeek article recently published, Can You Inoculate Against Science Denial? By John Cook The following graphic gives a rough outline of how science denial follows common patterns whether employed by creationists, anti-vaccination loons, or climate change deniers.

Mr. Michael Snyder is a lawyer, and like too many lawyers he is not shy about lying if it will make him money. He has already scored on the denier’s hit list by falsely presenting himself as an expert on biology, paleontology, geology, and anthropology. His not an expert in any of those sciences. He is not even a poor student. His “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults” is a promotion for his book, and a click-bait advertising website. (I won’t link to it). His “44 Reasons” are entirely false. Worse, none are original and it seems conclusive that Mr. Snyder is merely plagiarizing other creationists.

As we will see below, these 44 falsehoods are a mix of refuted, or baseless assertions, quote mines, as well as just plain lies that follow the pattern mentioned above. For the quote mines, I always recommend the TalkOrigins “Quote Mine Project.” When the particular falsehood prompted by Mr. Snyder is a Quote Mine, I’ll generally just refer to the TalkOrigins exposure of his fraud. None are actually original to Mr. Snyder. Some have been repeated by creationists for decades in spite of the fact they are lies. It is also worth pointing out that most of these 44 have been already debunked from just two other easily available resources, the TalkOrigins An Index of Creationist Claims, and Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent”

(Note added: I found another blog that debunked the first 9 of Mr. Snyder's falsehoods, written last February, 2014.)

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

This is a lie. It is debunked by the resources I linked to above. It is false Claim CC200. We have museums and museum warehouses filled to the rafters with transitional fossils. One I have personally worked with was Gomphotaria pugnax, a transitional species between the bears, and the pinnipeds. The transitional fossils for the cetaceans are very well known showing the shift from land animals to fully aquatic. The most accessible general reader source is from the laboratory of Dr. J. G. M. Thewissen, also an excellent source on the evolution of Sirenians. The known transitional fossils fall into six families, Indocetidae, Pakicetidae, Ambulocetidae, Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, Dorudontidae, and Basilosauridae. The transitional fossils of the Sirenians are less well studied with only about fifty specimens. None the less, the broad outline connecting the elephants, hippos, and manatees is known. The early transitional fossils for the pinipeds are the least well known. The best fossil specimen in the world (over 90% complete) of the most likely common ancestor of the pinipeds, Gomphotaria pugnax, was discovered by one of my former students and is curated by a museum where I was a director. Gomphoria shows the fossil connection between the pinipeds and their ancient ancestor bears.

Lie #2 (Quote Mine) When Charles Darwin came up with his theory, he admitted that no transitional forms had been found at that time, but he believed that huge numbers certainly existed and would eventually be discovered…

“Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?”

This is a “quote mine.” Quote mining is “the use of a (usually short) passage, taken from the work of an authority in some field, "which superficially appears to support one's position, but [from which] significant context is omitted and contrary evidence is conveniently ignored" (The TalkOrigin “Quote Mine Project.”) Darwin did pose the question of where would we find the fossils that confirmed his theory of common descent. He actually devoted a whole chapter to his geological study and wondered if the loss of geological fossils might have been so great that his “transitional” fossils could never be found. That was over 150 years ago. He should not have worried. We have more than adequately confirmed his theory. Here is a list of books written for non-specialists on the discovery of transitional fossils;

Prothero, Donald.
2007 "Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why It Matters" Colombia University Press.

Shubin, Neal
2008 “Your Inner Fish” New York: Pantheon Books

Tattersall, Ian
1995 "The Fossil Trail" Oxford University Press

Ward, Peter Douglas
1992 “On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions” (New York: W. H. Freeman,).

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

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

This is Quote Mine # 56. It even has an extended debunking, Patterson Misquoted.

Flasehood #4 (A Quote Mine) Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, once wrote the following about the lack of transitional forms…

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

This is merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.

#5 (A Quote Mine) Evolutionist Stephen M. Stanley of Johns Hopkins University has also commented on the stunning lack of transitional forms in the fossil record…

“In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”

This is debunked at TalkOrigins Quote Mine #7.

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

In fact there are “millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs.” Charles Darwin was most interested in the greatly modified organs that we see today called “vestigial” organs. He was unaware of amphibians without lungs, or fish with them. He did not know that the monotremes were mammals that still laid eggs. Mr. Snyder is either an ignorant lout who wants his followers to stay ignorant, or he is a con-man.

Lie #7 If the theory of evolution was true, we should not see a sudden explosion of fully formed complex life in the fossil record. Instead, that is precisely what we find.

This is simply another appeal to ignorance. This is perfect demonstration that Mr. Snyder has not made even a slight good faith effort to learn about evolution. This particular lie of his is refuted by the following books (These are written for professionals and are not the feel-good-trivial-lies familiar to creationists);

Erwin, Douglas H., James W. Valentine
2013 "The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Diversity" New York: Roberts and Company Publishers

Valentine, James W.
2005 “On the Origin of Phyla” University of Chicago Press

Here are the facts in very simple terms. The origin of multicellular organisms was first found about 2.5 billion years ago. This was one billion years after the first fossil single cell organisms, and 1.3 billion years after the first geochemical evidence of life.

“Complex” organisms with specialized cells appeared over a billion years ago. Additional references to those above are;

Rosing, T. Minik
1999 “13C-Depleated Carbon Microparticles in >3700-Ma Sea-Floor Sedimentary rocks from West Greenland” Science 283 (5402): 674

Rosing, Minik T. and Robert Frei
2004 “U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis" Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 217 237-244

Schopf, J. William
1999 "Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils" , Princeton University Press

#8 (Quote Mine) Paleontologist Mark Czarnecki, an evolutionist, once commented on the fact that complex life appears very suddenly in the fossil record…

“A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”

This is Quote Mine #26. It is just another of Mr. Snyder’s many lies.

#9 (Quote Mine) The sudden appearance of complex life in the fossil record is so undeniable that even Richard Dawkins has been forced to admit it…

“It is as though they [fossils] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Both schools of thought (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and both reject this alternative.”

This is Quote Mine #40

My advice to Mr. Snyder is to stop lying. 1 John 4:1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Lie #10 Nobody has ever observed macroevolution take place in the laboratory or in nature. In other words, nobody has ever observed one kind of creature turn into another kind of creature. The entire theory of evolution is based on blind faith.

This is actually two lies. First, I was a working scientist for 40 years. I know what I discovered, and I know the degree of severe criticism and review scientists hold each other to every day. I do not accept anything on “blind faith.” Scientists do not accept anything on “blind faith.” I do place a modicum of trust in my fellow scientists, but only that little bit. I trust them to fear what happens to a scientist caught lying. And the fact that it is a great career opportunity for a young scientist to expose the errors of a senior scientist leads me to trust that over time errors will be exposed and corrected. This contrasts science with religion. Religionists will brand (or burn, or stone to death) any deviations from dogma. This is on-going around the world even today.

The big lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species. For additional information about how Mr. Snyder has lied, see Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent.”

#11 (Quote Mine) Evolutionist Jeffrey Schwartz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, openly admits that “the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed.”

This is Quote Mine # 53 slightly varied. In simple terms, Mr. Snyder is lying again. Worse, he has merely copied someone else lying.

The bigger lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species.

Lie #12 (Quote Mine) “Even evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University has admitted that the record shows that species do not change. The following is how he put it during a lecture at Hobart & William Smith College…

“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. That’s bothersome….brings terrible distress. ….They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that’s not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change, its not evolution so you don’t talk about it.”

This is a very odd “quote” as it has no text as a reference. It is claimed to be a “lecture” that Steven Gould was supposed to have given to Hobart & William Smith College in 1980. There is no text, or record of this so-called “lecture.” In the creationist’s alternate reality, this lecture was titled, “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” There is no independent documentation that such a lecture ever took place, or what might have been said. What is interesting is that there was a paper by Gould published by the journal Paleobiology in 1980 with the title that creationist sources give to the illusive ‘lecture.’ In that paper, Steve Gould never wrote anything near the faked “quote.” The 1980 paper was also the subject of Mr. Snyder's Falsehood #4 which was merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.

“Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Stephen Jay Gould
Paleobiology Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter, 1980), pp. 119-130

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ego Google

I had not done an "ego Google" for months. It is typically boring: the same creationist whines about how mean I am, and Ed Brayton's bullshit posts.

Today I saw a rather amusing link to a set of lecture slides in German from a book chapter I coauthored decades ago.

Trance and Possession States E. Mansell Pattison, Joel Kahan, Gary S. Hurd presented by Gerald Zwinger.

The original publication was;

1985 "Trance and Possession States," E. M. Pattison, Joel Kahan, G. Hurd. In Handbook of Altered States of Consciousness. B. B. Walman and M. Ullman (ed.s) New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 286-310.

The way I was added to that book chapter was because I was the principle author of;

1984 "Manifestations of Possession in Novel Ecological Contexts," G. S. Hurd, E. M. Pattison. in Ecological Models in Clinical and Community Mental Health, W.A. O'Connor and B. Lubin (ed.s). John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Mansell had "adopted" most of my text, and added one of our students as a coauthor.

I was wroth. Very Wroth.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Russian Hack

The page read data for the last three weeks has been abnormally high.

The majority of hits come from a slew of Russian sites ranging from commercial to pornographic.

I don't know what they are up to but I doubt it is related to evolution, education, or creationism.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dr. Dino Does Dumb

Some of you will have followed the recent trial of "Dr. Dino." There are several quick ways to get up-to-date if you would like the details. The Pensacola News Journal has several articles organized by a time line. Tax expert, and journalist Peter J. Reilly has a lot of good material on his personal blog, and his commentaries at Forbes on-line. Another tax expert, and retired IRS investigator Robert Baty has a very active blog dedicated to the trials and tribulations of the Hovind clan. And a final recommendation is, Hovindology created by Dee Holmes.

For fairness, there here are two links to concentrated Hovindry. There is the "official" Kent Hovind website. And this is in my opinion one of the most unbalanced pro-Hovind sites Free Kent Hovind. I have played in the comments for their YouTube video.

Well, the jury acquitted Kent Hovind zero times. They found him guilty on one charge of contempt. Kent Hovind can also say goodbye to any chance at parole on his existing sentence. Will the Judge add the new time on the existing? I think so. If I understand the rather dense guide lines, he might not even get to count the time wasted during this trial. A any rate, Kent Hovind is in jail waiting for his next sentencing hearing in June.

At a minimum he is in the jug for another 3 1/2 years and could easily see 5 more.

What will happen on the other charges?

He was not acquitted and is still vulnerable to retrial. I have no idea how this will work out in the court. If as some people have speculated there was just a single juror that prevented guilty verdicts, then there will certainly be a retrial.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Was Darwin "Debunked" about extinctions?

I can always count on creationists to lie, and distort science.

A recent comment I saw was that "Darwin's theory on extinction has been debunked, see this takedown" and a link to Darwin, Then and Now.

The link is to a website maintained to promote an anti-science book written by Richard William Nelson.

Darwin is always a favorite target as if he had been the last authority on evolutionary biology rather than the first. "Darwin's theory on extinction has been debunked" is built on the false claim was that Darwin thought that all species extinction must be very slow. This was based on a partial citing of a sentence fragment ripped from context, AKA a Quote Mine. The actual section from the definitive 6th edition of Darwin's "The Origin of Species" was "On Extinction" in Chapter XI regarding the fossil record. It reads;

"Both single species and whole groups of species last for very unequal periods; some groups, as we have seen, have endured from the earliest known dawn of life to the present day; some have disappeared before the close of the palæozoic period. No fixed law seems to determine the length of time during which any single species or any single genus endures. There is reason to believe that the extinction of a whole group of species is generally a slower process than their production: if their appearance and disappearance be represented, as before, by a vertical line of varying thickness the line is found to taper more gradually at its upper end, which marks the progress of extermination, than at its lower end, which marks the first appearance and the early increase in number of the species. In some cases, however, the extermination of whole groups, as of ammonites, towards the close of the secondary period, has been wonderfully sudden."

The bold italic sentence fragment was the whole of "Darwin's theory" according to Mr. Nelson.

So all Darwin has said is that the disappearance of entire Genera, or Families is commonly slower than their appearance and diversification in the fossil record. He referred to a well known instance of rapid extinction. We do know today that there have been unusual events on time scales unimagined by Darwin, or his contemporaries. Time scales of millions and tens of millions of years have marked the ends of great eras, and the extinctions of millions of species, even entire phyla. These mass extinctions are commonly followed by equally rare periods of rapid diversification of species among the survivors.

Mr. Nelson's falsehood that Darwin's "theory of extinctions" was disproven by the rapid man-made extinction of the Great Auk is a fraud of his own invention. The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) extinction was sudden. But the extinction of the Family it was has been much slower than their origin. Further, Darwin was focused on the fossil record and was not addressing the human interventions into species diversity.

From Moum, Truls; Arnason, Ulfur; Árnason, Einar (2002). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence evolution and phylogeny of the Atlantic Alcidae, including the extinct Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis)". Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 19 (9): 1434–1439.

It is in perfect accord with evolutionary biology.

The discovery of mass extinctions following extraordinary events like the "Snowball Earth," Meteor impacts, or massive flood volcanoes was touted by Steven Jay Gould 45 years ago as "overturning Darwinism." He got his tenure at Harvard and then calmed down. We are in the midst of another extraordinary event. This is one we have done on our own starting with the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I have been busy

But I did play hooky Saturday the 17th with my friend Randy Foliente. We were aboard the Fury out of Dana Point Harbor.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hindu UFO Cult Creationists (Updated 30 Dec. 2014)

In a recent FaceBook post by creationist Richard Haralambus, a link was given to a Hindu inspired UFO cult. This was amusing all alone since Mr. Haralambus presents himself a a Christian. I wanted to do a point by point debunking, but health and kitchen plumbing intervened. I have some free time today, and I'll make a start.

I do not want any creationists to comment in this thread at all. Your opinions are pointless.

The link was to an article entitled, "9 Scientific Facts Prove the "Theory of Evolution"," and it had as the top illustration a "quote mine" from Charles Darwin's book, "On the Origin of Species." (The Hindu UFO cultist cited the sixth edition). I have copied the JPEG to this page so that nobody will waste time going to the cult's advertisement trap. If you really want to see it, the site is called "humansarefree dot com"

Here is the entire quote in proper context.

Organs of extreme perfection and complication.—To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. (only portion used by creationists) Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real."
In the 1872 6th edition, Darwin devoted the bulk of 4 pages, 143-146, to details of the evolution of eyes from light sensitive nerves to those of vertebrates. He cites studies from paleontology, and embryology. He concluded,
"... and when we bear in mind how small the number of all living forms must be in comparison with those which have become extinct, the difficulty ceases to be very great in believing that natural selection may have converted the simple apparatus of an optic nerve, coated with pigment and invested by transparent membrane, into an optical instrument as perfect as is possessed by any member of the Articulate Class."

So before we even get to the text, the author is already lying. This is a popular lie with many creationists, and is a TalkOrigins featured creationist falsehood. Darwin clearly refutes the notion that an eye could not evolve. Indeed, a recent book by Professor Ivan R Schwab, “Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved” (2011 Oxford University Press) shows in great detail just how eyes have evolved many times. A new paper traces the chemical, genetic and functional evolution of the mammalian eye over 90 million years;

The second graphic I have posted shows a sketch of the known stages of eye evolution from Nilsson and Pelger,
1994 "A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve" Proceedings of the Royal Society 256: 53-58

Notice that these idealized steps are represented in a single modern organism, the Box Jelly.

The second instalment

The next lie told by the Hindu/UFO cult leader Alexander Light was a compound lie. There are multiple parts mixed together across a few paragraphs. Here are some relevant sentences.

"The DNA in plants and animals allows selective breeding to achieve desired results. Dogs are a good example of selective breeding. The DNA in all dogs has many recessive traits."

I'll first point out that Charles R. Darwin even wrote an entire book in 2 volumes on selective breeding, "The variation of animals and plants under domestication" (1868 London: John Murray, Publisher).

It is an excellent example of how selection alters the physical, and genetic biology of a species.

The remark about "recessive traits" might seem like a non sequitur. It is. However the unenlightened Mr. Light thinks this is an important fact. Mr. Light continues, "A desired trait can be produced in dogs by selecting dogs with a particular trait to produce offspring with that trait. This specialized selective breeding can continue for generation after generation until a breed of dog is developed. This is the same as the "survival of the fittest" theory of the evolutionists."

One more scientific and historical objection is that "survival of the fittest" was a phrase invented and promoted by 19th century economist Herbert Spenser. He had his own version of "evolution" with the explicit application to human institutions, and society. Darwin resisted using this term until it became so popular that he could not avoid it. Even then Darwin first used the phrase in his 1868 book on Domestication, and not until the 1869 5th edition of "Origin of Species." He then directly attributed this to Spencer, and in the context of human selection of domesticated animals. He nearly dismissed Survival of the Fittest when writing, "But Natural Selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is as immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art." ("Origin," V Edition, pg 79).

Update. 21 Dec. 2014 (Happy Solstice)

Just time for a little debunking today (major plumbing problems).

The Hindu/UFO cultist site makes the false claim, "New variations of the species are possible, but a new species has never been developed by science. In fact, the most modern laboratories are unable to produce a left-hand protein as found in humans and animals. Evolutionist fail to admit that no species has ever been proven to have evolved in any way. Evolution is simply pie-in-the-sky conjecture without scientific proof."
There are several errors/lies. The most blatant is "a new species has never been developed by science."
We of course have directly observed the origin of new species in nature, and in experimental settings. I compiled a list of dozens of examples. The earliest publication was over a century ago. See: Emergence of New Species.

I thought I might add an update:

The creatocrap continued with "In fact, the most modern laboratories are unable to produce a left-hand protein as found in humans and animals."

This is a 3 for 1 lie. First is the lie that abiogenesis (the origin of life) is identical with the origin of species. Second is the lie that all proteins are formed exclusively by "left-handed" amino acids. For detailed discussion, see my short article, "A short outline of the origin of life"

But, the third lie is that we do not manufacture synthetic proteins, and genes to make them. We can, and we do.

For two papers I just read last night on new proteins made from first principles, see:

Nathan H. Joh, et al "De novo design of a transmembrane Zn2+-transporting four-helix bundle" Science 19 December 2014: 1520-1524.

Woon Ju Song and F. Akif Tezcan "A designed supramolecular protein assembly with in vivo enzymatic activity" Science 19 December 2014: 1525-1528.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another palindrome milestone

I know that this is very silly, but the page view meter just turned over another palindrome, 92629.

This is personally amusing because it is also my ZIP code.