Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

 
By Sean Pitman

.

For those who aren’t already aware, Southern Adventist University opened up its new long anticipated Origins Exhibit on April 15, 2012.   It took over four years of planning and some $300,000 in donations to produce the first two of three phases of the project:  1)  hire professors who had origins experience.  2)  find a way to provide origins education outside of the classroom. 3) expand the hallway exhibit into an institute that provides information for all who are looking to learn about the short-term creation worldview.

Before work began on the second phase of the project, the “hallway phase”, Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair, wrote to 20 prominent scientists who support the Biblical perspective on origins and asked them what they felt was the strongest evidence supporting short-term creation?  Dr. Snyder then used this information to produce an exhibit that features 25 hallway displays which highlight three main categories of evidence:  the living cell, the geologic column, and intelligent design.

So, why does the biology department at SAU hope to achieve with their project?

We wanted the finished product to be professional, but not overpowering.  Our goal is not to tell people that their beliefs are wrong, but to provide scientific evidence that substantiates the Bible’s account of creation.

Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair

 

Also, Ron Hight, the art director for the project, says that he felt called by God to help with this exhibit.  He spent the last 15 years working as an artist for The Institute for Creation Research, and believes his experience there was excellent preparation for this work.

“Our goal,” says Hight, “is to present the creationist viewpoint in an attractive, professional, and educational way.  It is a challenge because no one has ever done this kind of thing before.”

 

This is all reflected in the general attitude toward the Biblical view of creation at SAU among professors in all departments.  Dr. Greg King, dean of the School of Religion and Professor of Biblical Studies, explains:

“Our campus has a commitment to creation.  We are unapologetic creationists, but we do not claim to have all the answers.  Religion and science don’t need to be at odds. We as scientists and theologians have a camaraderie. Our belief in the biblical perspective on origins is what binds us together.”

 

 

SAU Origins Exhibit – From the spring issue of Columns – the magazine of SAU:

For more information, visit:  Southern.edu/FaithandScience

 

Please follow and like us:
4
262
37

725 thoughts on “Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

  1. Adam, Eve, and sons and daughters of Noah

    Adam

    By analyzing the Y-chromosome DNA from males in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are patrilinealy descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago.[2]

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/12/1212_021213_journeyofman.html

    Eve

    Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock

    http://tinyurl.com/bmcv46b

    criticism of young age is premature

    http://creation.com/mitochondrial-eve-and-biblical-eve-are-looking-good-criticism-of-young-age-is-premature

    Sons of Noah?
    Global variation in copy number in the human genome

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669898/?tool=pubmed

    Mitochondrial diversity within modern human populations
    Robert W. Carter
    Noah’s three “daughters”?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1888801/
    The most recent common ancestor of all humanity lived just a few thousand years ago, according to a computer model of our family tree. Researchers have calculated that the mystery person, from whom everyone alive today is directly descended, probably lived around 1,500 BC in eastern Asia
    http://www.nature.com/news/2004/040927/full/news040927-10.html




    0
    View Comment
  2. BobRyan: How sad that any Adventist would choose blind faith evolutionism over the Bible.

    It’s hilarious that the basic assumption of naturalism–there is no God–gets turned into “blind faith evolutionism” by those who openly proclaim their faith in God. Naturalism applies the evidence to understand scripture, and creationism applies scripture (in no small part) to understand the evidence. But only one group could possibly have uninformed faith? It’s premeditated pejorative propagandizing.

    Is there such a thing as a kind, gentle, and gracious Christian?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: “Naturalism applies the evidence to understand scripture, and creationism applies scripture (in no small part) to understand the evidence.”

      Jeff, your clauses are not parallel. Naturalism first assumes that there was no Creator God (a faith assumption) and then uses that assumption to interpret the data of nature. It then uses its (atheistic) interpretation of nature to re-interpret Scripture. But since Scripture is all about miracles, all about an omnipotent Creator God, why would anyone who rules out such a God in his interpretation of the data of nature even be interested in the Bible?




      0
      View Comment
      • @David Read:

        After reading your Dinosaur book I can see you know about science as a non-participant but do not really know about the practice of science or of scientists.

        Your statement

        “Naturalism first assumes that there was no Creator God (a faith assumption) and then uses that assumption to interpret the data of nature. It then uses its (atheistic) interpretation of nature to re-interpret Scripture.”

        bears no resemblence to the reality of the history of science or of current scientific practice of scientists

        The comments by 2011 Nobel winner Brian Schmidt whose work on the supernova project are typical of most scientists I know.

        http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3522732.htm

        Look at his response to the question on science and creation at 20:26 and on science deniers at 33.39.

        Science is predicated on 2 things.
        1] Admission of ignorance and
        2] attempt to understand the physical universe based only on natural law.
        To know all the answers a priori deprecates the first. To consider that the world is ruled by a capricious God that intervenes constantly minimizes the second.
        This has been the approach from Newton to Darwin to any contemporary scientist publishing in the peer reviewed literature. It is very clear that many might believe that those natural laws have a orderly God behind them but this does not stop the attempt at understanding the world as a product of natural law.

        That you do not understand this scientific process is clear from your book in that you privilege the cryptic words of prophet some 150 years ago over any scientific view based on natural law and at the same time do not allow for any criticism or assessment of the validity of that source of knowledge. I do not think that you have any credibility to offer criticism of Jeff Kent.




        0
        View Comment
  3. Nice to see folks, including Sean Pitman, admit that their interpretation of the fossil record is influenced by their understanding of Genesis.

    For this reason alone, it’s difficult to defend a position that one must find and acknowledge God through the objective, rational, unbiased study of fossils. And it’s difficult to claim that one’s belief in God is anchored entirely in empirical evidence such as the fossil record when one’s interpretation of it is biased by faith in what scripture tells us.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      It is not mysterious or inconsistent to suggest that the Bible influences one’s interpretation of the fossil/geologic records and that empirical evidence influences our understanding of the Bible as the true Word of God.

      The same thing is true for any historical document thought to be a genuine description of real historical events – like documents describing the life of Alexander the Great. The credibility of such accounts are based on empirical evidence that, once established, affects our modern view of other forms of empirical evidence since the document is able to fill in details regarding history that could not otherwise be known…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  4. Professor&#032Kent: In just one sentence, please tell me whether Genesis informs your interpretation of the fossil record, or whether the fossil record informs your interpretation of Genesis.

    The Bible informs my world view and that by definition for all observers informs my interpretation of the fossil record.

    But even without that super advantage available to the Christian and even more so to the Seventh-day Adventist Christian we have examples of atheist scientists themselves admitting to the paucity in scientific method that can be seen among the by-faith-alone believers in evolutionism.

    How sad that any Adventist would choose blind faith evolutionism over the Bible.

    It is one thing to treat the Bible as a book of good moral instruction, to be heeded so far as is consistent with the spirit of the times and our position in the world; it is another thing to regard it as it really is—the word of the living God, the word that is our life, the word that is to mold our actions, our words, and our thoughts. To hold God’s word as anything less than this is to reject it. And this rejection by those who profess to believe it, is foremost among the causes of skepticism and infidelity in the youth. {Ed 260.1}

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  5. My position is that the students should be exposed to truth, rather than have it hidden from them. Further, if the students are on their knees daily, cementing a relationship with God as strong as any other relationship in their life, then their faith will withstand even mountains moved into their path.

    Yes, I know, my position on faith is reckless, dangerous, anti-SDA, and heretical. Good thing I’m not employed by the SDA Church!




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Anyone who is on his knees daily, cementing a relationship with God as strong as any other relationship in their life (hopefully stronger) will believe what God has told him about our origins, and will interpret the evidence accordingly, not accept interpretations, and rules of interpretation, that make God a liar.

      Armed with proper principles of interpretation, he will proceed to interpret the data bearing on origins accordingly, and turn the mountains of data against his faith into mountains of evidence that support his faith.




      0
      View Comment
  6. Eddie,

    It’s hard to find your comments where they appear beneath a prior comment. Could you respond in a way that they appear as the most recent comment?

    I like your approach. You have a very forthright, honest, and balanced approach in the way you craft your remarks. The SDA colleagues I know personally assure me that your views are held by the majority of SDA biologists. I agree with them myself.




    0
    View Comment
  7. I’m sure that the vast majority of scientifically-informed Adventists will thank Dr.Kent for his every effective and rational approaches to the views expressed by Dr. Pitman and others on this misnamed web site. There is little that needs to be added. Dr. Kent has done a masterful job of exposing the misunderstandings of scientific data dealing with geology and evolutionary biology that has been offered by Dr. Pitman on this and his own web site.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Ervin Taylor:

      I literally have not logged on to this website in years. It looks like the same arguments are going back and forth which means that if you haven’t been able to solve them by now, you aren’t going to convence each other of your points. What is really amazing to me and anyone intersted in the topic, however, is the tone of the comments, which usually reveal the maturity of the writer especially if they include absolutes:

      Examples:
      “vast majority of scientifically-informed Adventists will thank Dr.Kent ”

      “this misnamed web site”

      “Dr. Kent has done a masterful job”

      These are usually tip-offs to a lot. Also, it makes me wonder that if Sean Pitman is so ill-informed, and he operates on such a mis-leading web site, why does the good Dr. Taylor waste his time coming to this website, reading the material and then commenting on it? In fact I can bet that Dr. Taylor has spent more time on this web site then I have in the last year – and that speaks volumes about what Dr. Taylor really thinks of this website – perhaps the good Dr. Kent as well.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Ervin Taylor:

      really? Do you have some actual evidence for that assertion (for our unbiased objective readers) or is it simply another example of musing on your part intended only for your own following?

      Critical thinking people here who pay attention to detail – would like to know where you come up with those sweeping assertions.

      in Christ,

      Bob




      0
      View Comment
  8. Professor Kent,

    Of course students should be told about all the information in hand.

    The issue here is that there are many, the vast majority of mainstream scientists in fact, who believe that the information in hand definitively proves that life has existed and evolved, in a Darwinian manner, over the course of millions of years of time. They simply ignore or do not substantively discuss or understand the very strong evidence that effectively falsifies the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity, the rapid genetic deterioration of all slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for instance), the recent and catastrophic nature of the geologic and fossil records, the preservation of complex proteins and soft tissues within dinosaur bones and other fossils where kinetic chemistry says that such proteins and tissues should not survive more than 100kyrs at best, the general lack of bioturbation (not a complete lack despite your misunderstanding of this argument – just much much less than would be expected if the mainstream perspective where actually true), the discovery of “first appearance” of many different kinds of creatures lower and lower in the fossil record that previously thought, the discovery of more and more “Lazarus” taxa thought to be long extinct during their “last appearance” within the fossil record (like the coelacanth which is still alive and well today), and on and on and on.

    This is what is not explained by those, like you, who actually believe that the neo-Darwinian perspective has the clear weight of evidence on its side. This simply isn’t so. Despite the fact that there are still unanswered questions, the basic features of geologic, fossil, and genetic evidence that are currently in hand strongly support the Biblical perspective on origins and effectively disprove or falsify the neo-Darwinian perspective.

    Of course, if you still believe that the neo-Darwinian perspective has the overwhelming weight of evidence on its side, that’s fine. You, like everyone else in this country, is welcome to such opinions. It is just that you would not then be able to effectively represent the Adventist perspective in one of our schools and should not be hired to do so… because of your apparent ignorance of the science, of the weight of evidence, in favor of the Biblical perspective…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  9. I recognize that many of you are angry that I would point out these problems, or even admit that they are problems. But problems they are.

    Now Sean Pitman and David Read will argue vociferously that the weight of the evidence–if not overwhelming evidence– favors Young Life Creationism (YLC). Yes, there certainly is evidence that supports it, but the weight or strength of this evidence will depend on how one chooses to “weigh” the varied pieces of evidence. Obviously, if you weigh heavily the two predictions most scientists think are critical, and which fail spectacularly, then it would be easy to conclude that the Genesis account is not literal.

    There are SDAs who do exactly what Sean Pitman advocates–they follow the evidence and conclude from this evidence in particular that the Genesis account of origins and the flood cannot be literal. And there are SDAs who do exactly what Professor Kent advocates–they admit the evidence is problematic but continue to trust in God’s word, conceding there is much that remains to be understood.

    We all get to decide which approach we use (prioritizing evidence vs. faith), and how we choose to weigh the different pieces of evidence, but it’s really sad that so many of you hate Professor Kent’s approach and think he has no right to call himself a Seventh-day Adventist. Bob Ryan, for example, loves to insinuate Professor Kent is an evolutionist, which he most certainly is not. Another anonymous soul recently referred to Professor Kent as a “fool.” These are undoubtedly fine SDAs who are, unfortunately, possessed by a spirit which encourages them to mock a fellow believer. But is this antagonism really necessary? Is Professor Kent truly dispicable because he honestly points out the key problems with flood theology? Because he chooses God’s word when it conflicts with the evidence? Because he disagrees with the goal of Educate Truth to publicly mock and humiliate fellow SDA Christians?




    0
    View Comment
  10. Having yet to see responses from Sean Pitman, David Read, or others, I’ll anticipate a few additional arguments as to why the fossil record provides overwhelming support for Young Earth Creationism.

    GENERAL LACK OF BIOTURBATION

    There is a “general lack” of bioturbation between successive layers of the fossil column. Bioturbation would be expected if there were millions of years between some layers, and a complete lack would be expected if there were, at most, only days to months between successive layers.

    Well, this argument certainly oversimplifies reality. In the real world, bioturbation is certainly present and scientists find it throughout the geological column.

    A book published in 2004 provides a nice compilation of articles on the topic of bioturbation (The Application of Ichnology to Palaeoenvironmental and Stratigraphic Analysis, by D. McIlroy, editor). As one author put it, “The use of trace fossils for palaeoenvironmental analysis is commonplace, and can be applied to ALL PARTS of the geological column, including extinction-recovery intervals (emphasis supplied).” The book provides detailed examinations of bioturbation in many layers of the geologic column and at many localities. Yet, the authors point out that our understanding of bioturbation in the fossil record remains rudimentary. As the same author quoted above noted, “We have only just begun to scratch the surface.”

    Another more recent book (Ichnology: Organism-Substrate Interactions in Space and Time, by Luis A. Buatois and M. Gabriela Mángano, 2011) summarizes our current understanding further. A simple literature search at ISI Web of Science yields >200 articles with the keywords “bioturbation, fossil.” Seems to be a LOT of scientists finding a LOT of material to study in the fossil record.

    Are you comfortable taking a stand on the bioturbaton argument? In your judgment, if we use the argument of a “general lack” of bioturbation in the fossil record as evidence in support of a recent creation, and we eventually learn that there is a lot more bioturbation present than we formerly believed, and that there are bona fide reasons why significant bioturbation might be absent under certain ecological conditions associated with preservation events, should we then abandon our faith? In other words, should we allow science to dictate what we believe?

    GLOBAL COVERAGE OF THE FLOOD

    We find evidence throughout much of the planet that water-deposited sediments are present. Therefore, there was a single global flood.

    Unfortunately, this argument lacks traction because there is nothing in evolutionary theory that precludes the possibility of major floods. As Eddie has pointed out (several times), secular geologists believe there were two major floods. Not one, but two really, really big floods.

    Is there evidence that there was one major flood that covered every single piece of earth at one point in time. No. Of course not. There is no evidence ANYWHERE to support the view that 100.0% of land was covered, as opposed to 80% or 70% or even 50%.

    Again, there is physical evidence that much of the planet at one time or other was covered by water, but there is NO physical evidence to support the literal interpretation of Genesis that a single flood covered the entirety of the planet.

    UNIFORMITY OF PALEOCURRENTS

    Paleocurrents are vectors indicating the direction of flow of currents depositing sediments on the earth’s surface. Supposedly, the majority of paleocurrents established by studies flow in just one direction.

    There are a number of factors that influence the direction of water flow, chief among them being topography (elevation change). It’s unclear how one would could conclude a priori from scripture, or Ellen White, why “flood geology” would predict primarily unidirectional flow. Why would the preflood global topography favor this more than the topographies evolutionists posit to have existed over the millenia?

    Unfortunately, this entire argument hinges on the unpublished analyses of one individual, Dr. Arthur Chadwick, of Southwestern Adventist University. Have you, the reader, analyzed the data yourself, or are you going to place your faith in Dr. Chadwick’s analysis and conclusions? Chadwick’s argument has not been challenged because the argument remains a private conclusion that has yet to be vetted to scientists capable of assessing the claim. (Of course, Sean Pitman believes this claim wholeheartedly, not because he has analyzed the data independently, but because, well…maybe he should tell us.)

    IN SUM

    Look folks, I believe as most of you do, but not because we’ve got this “overwhelming” or even “weight” of fossil and geological evidence supporting our position. As even Sean Pitman and David Read have admitted in this thread, they interpret this evidence based on their understanding of Genesis. Clearly, we as SDAs accept the Genesis account for reasons other than evidence arising from so-called flood geology.

    Considering the difficulties we have supporting our view with flood geology, it seems all the more remarkable that Dr. Pitman maintains that an SDA scientist must be fired if they fail to tell students that our position is supported by overwhelming evidence. I imagine most of you think a scientist should be fired for sharing the facts that I have just related.




    0
    View Comment
  11. And here is just a smattering of the evidence for the second failed prediction:

    AMPHIBIANS

    How did 400 species of plethodontid salamanders (almost the entire family) and 100 species of leptodactylid frogs (the entire family) end up in the New World, with just species of plethodontid and no leptodacylids in the Old World? As amphibians, they could not have survived salt water or swam across the ocean after leaving Noah’s ark. Most or all had to have evolved in the New World from ancestors that left the ark. In the Caribbean Islands, as far removed from Mt. Ararat as one can get, every one of the 170 amphibian species found there is confined to those islands without members occuring elsewhere. Where did they all come from?

    BIRDS

    Even more puzzling, some 300 species of trochilids (the entire hummingbird family), 500 species of tyranids (an entire flycatcher family), and 300 species of funariids (the entire ovenbird and woodcreeper family) occur strictly in the New World, without a single representative (apart from a fossil hummingbird) in the Old World. These birds can potentially fly from one continent to another, so you would expect a few of the millions upon millions of descendents to remain in the Old World before heading to the New World, or at least fly back to whence they came–but there are none!

    SNAKES

    There are some 30+ species of rattlesnakes in the New World that had to evolve their distinct features here and speciate in less than 4,000 years, as none–even as fossils–occur in the Old World. I could add that, for the rattlesnakes, it was a heckuva crawl from Mt. Ararat in such a short time. Curiously, Geanna Dane tells me they originated in Mexico of all places, according to the same DNA-based analyses that Sean Pitman insists are valid for testing the ancestry of North American indians (I had to laugh when she brought this up!). So how did they get to Mexico before acquiring their rattles and other features, and how did they spread so far from there and diversify into so many forms in just a few thousand years?

    And these animal groups are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many others that show no evidence of having originated in the old world. Neither Sean Pitman nor David Read can explain the lack of an “out of Ararat” pattern.

    And these groups have evolved hundreds of new species–at spectacularly rapid rates–within just a few thousand years. Makes you wonder who the “true” evolutionists are, as we require far more rapid rates than evolutionists believe to be possible.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      And here is just a smattering of the evidence for the second failed prediction:

      AMPHIBIANS

      How did 400 species of plethodontid salamanders (almost the entire family) and 100 species of leptodactylid frogs (the entire family) end up in the New World, with just species of plethodontid and no leptodacylids in the Old World? As amphibians, they could not have survived salt water or swam across the ocean after leaving Noah’s ark. Most or all had to have evolved in the New World from ancestors that left the ark. In the Caribbean Islands, as far removed from Mt. Ararat as one can get, every one of the 170 amphibian species found there is confined to those islands without members occuring elsewhere. Where did they all come from?

      Besides the fact that there were numerous land bridges after the Flood, especially during the ice ages when ocean levels dropped dramatically, this situation is not at all unique. For example, most of the species on the island of Madagascar are unique to the island.

      Again, speciation and unique local adaptations can be achieved very quickly via Mendelian-style variation within a particular “kind” of gene pool. That is why essentially all modern breeds of dogs could be realized within 300 years or so.

      Also, local environments may support certain kinds of creatures while elsewhere they’ve gone extinct…

      BIRDS

      Even more puzzling, some 300 species of trochilids (the entire hummingbird family), 500 species of tyranids (an entire flycatcher family), and 300 species of funariids (the entire ovenbird and woodcreeper family) occur strictly in the New World, without a single representative (apart from a fossil hummingbird) in the Old World. These birds can potentially fly from one continent to another, so you would expect a few of the millions upon millions of descendents to remain in the Old World before heading to the New World, or at least fly back to whence they came–but there are none!

      Obviously hummingbirds were in the Old World post-Flood since you yourself cite the fossil evidence (rare as it may be – which is also telling). The fact that they went extinct in the Old World and did not repopulate it is pretty much beside the point – – that they were once there. There are, of course, many potential explanations for this lack of repopulating old habitats – such as the current difficulty of actually making it across the vast distances of inhospitable terrain that would be required (huge oceans, ice sheets, etc), the fact that birds tend to remain in established habitats as long as they remain viable, etc.

      SNAKES

      There are some 30+ species of rattlesnakes in the New World that had to evolve their distinct features here and speciate in less than 4,000 years, as none–even as fossils–occur in the Old World. I could add that, for the rattlesnakes, it was a heckuva crawl from Mt. Ararat in such a short time. Curiously, Geanna Dane tells me they originated in Mexico of all places, according to the same DNA-based analyses that Sean Pitman insists are valid for testing the ancestry of North American indians (I had to laugh when she brought this up!). So how did they get to Mexico before acquiring their rattles and other features, and how did they spread so far from there and diversify into so many forms in just a few thousand years?

      It doesn’t take nearly as long as you imagine for a turtle or a snake to get from one part of the globe to the opposite side. Do the math.

      As far as rattle snakes appearing only in Mexico and North America, not in the Old World, again, this is not unique as already noted. Many species are isolated from other regions because they went extinct in other regions for whatever reason or evolved specializations in isolated regions over time (at low-levels of functional complexity or via a loss of ancestral genetic information). In fact, currently, 18 genera and 151 species of “pit viper” are recognized: 7 genera and 54 species in the Old World, against a greater diversity of 11 genera and 97 species in the New World. The original front-loaded genetic information within this subfamily of venomous vipers could easily explain their rapid diversity as well as cases of isolated diversity.

      And these animal groups are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many others that show no evidence of having originated in the old world. Neither Sean Pitman nor David Read can explain the lack of an “out of Ararat” pattern.

      There are many potential reasons for the patterns that currently exist. Your arguments do not remotely falsify the Biblical claim for a single origin for all land animal life. This is hardly the strongest argument for neo-Darwinism…

      And these groups have evolved hundreds of new species–at spectacularly rapid rates–within just a few thousand years. Makes you wonder who the “true” evolutionists are, as we require far more rapid rates than evolutionists believe to be possible.

      That is because most evolutionists do not seem to understand that changes that are not dependent upon the gain of novel genetic elements can and do happen very very quickly. They don’t understand the concept of front-loaded information and the speed of diversification that this allows – to include various forms of Mendelian variation for instance.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Once again I cant help but respond to your most egregious claims.

        You are absolutely right science practitioners skilled in genetics do not understand the concept of front-loaded information. It is not a concept that is even mentioned in the indexed bioscientific literature. In trying to understand it from the lay literature I see that it can refer to a washing machine or a concept from economics that seems to find favour with Stephen Meyers and understandably you then seem to have borrowed uncritically. I suppose you are referring to some concept of allelic variation in a population that can then allow for rapid shift in gene frequency within a generation. What is completely baffling is how you can have a huge amount of front-loaded information (allelic variation?) in the face of the most astounding instance of genetic bottle-necks in every species required in the global flood model. You must accept a population of 2 snakes and hummingbirds at around 3000 BC which I am finding difficulty understanding as a high degree of front loaded information.

        Maybe you have some other concept to which I am naive but I would appreciate if you could explain in simple terms using the concepts and terminology I can read in any textbook of genetics what exactly and precisely you mean by front-loaded information in genetics.

        Of course you could resort to magic or a gnostic approach and dismiss me completely as unworthy to received the information.

        On another issue that piqued my interest. Can you give me the references for the data that shows that there were land-bridges across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans during the period from 3000-2500 BC when the northern half of North America and presumably also Asia was covered by Ice during the 500 years of the last ice age as David Read so cleverly argues in his dinosaur book. I presume you think that the Atlantic or Pacific trenches were bridged at some point within the last 4000 years? Or maybe the tectonic plate movements have all occurred after the flood and after the animals moved in an Easterly direction across Eurasia across the temperate zone pacific land bridges or maybe in a Westerly direction across the Atlantic ocean over temperate zone land bridges.

        Astonishing claims really deserve some solid supporting data.




        0
        View Comment
        • @pauluc:

          The basic concept of front-loaded information is the basis of Mendelian and polygenic forms of variation where the potential for all of the various phenotypic differences or traits among the offspring of two parents was all contained within the parental gene pool.

          Also, it doesn’t take a large population to achieve a very high degree of potential phenotypic variety among offspring. Even a pair of individuals can have pre-programmed potential for a huge amount of phenotypic variety – as demonstated by the fact that most modern breeds of dog were produced from a very small “bottlenecked” population of ancestors within very short order (around 300 years or so).

          Additional allelic variety via various forms of genetic mutations at lower levels of functional complexity can also be rapidly achieved and introduced into the gene pool as time progresses and the population size increases.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sorry I am still baffled by the logic of your response.
          1] It is a basic principle of genetics that you can at the maximum get only one of 2 alleles from each parent. A population of 2 has only 4 allelic options in the gene pool for that population. No matter how many bases or aa may differ between the alleles there is only 2 options.
          2] Recombination is rare in intragenic region so there is little chance for generation of new recombinant alleles.
          3] You can obvious argue anything by divine intervention but a gene pool is extremely small in a population of 2.
          4] It is extremely unlikely that the current wide range of dog breeds comes through a bottleneck. Since the domestication of wolves by human populations, dogs have been associated with human populations and likely represent a very large gene pool. Further any dog breeder knows that at some point you may well have to backcross to maintain low levels of deleterious traits. Indeed there is evidence that black colour in wolves derives from breeding of domestic dogs into wild populations of wolves.
          You will have to argue against the history of dog domestication to maintain your spurious argument that the current derivation of canis lupus familaris is via some genetic bottleneck. For this there is absolutely no evidence.

          As always I imagine that you are truly genuine in your desire for data. I offer some references on domestication of dogs for you to consider, although from past experience it seems you are relatively impervious to new data that does not fit your front-loaded paradigm.

          Vilà, C. et al (1997). Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dog. Science 276, 1687–1689. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9180076

          Lindblad-Toh, K., et al. (2005). Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog. Nature 438, 803–819. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16341006

          Vonholdt, B.M., et al. (2010). Genome-wide SNP and haplotype analyses reveal a rich history underlying dog domestication. Nature 464, 898–902. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20237475

          Wayne, R.K., and vonHoldt, B.M. (2012). Evolutionary genomics of dog domestication. Mamm. Genome 23, 3–18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270221

          Do a search on pubmed for some of the primary data on dog domestication and genomics if you are not afraid of what you might find. If you read a little you will see that there is really little need for spurious concepts like front loaded information there is simply variation and selection based on well known principles of genetics. It is really much more interesting and exciting than simply dreaming of what might have happened in alternative reality.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338479
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711490
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22022279




          0
          View Comment
        • @Pauluc:

          Sorry I am still baffled by the logic of your response.

          1] It is a basic principle of genetics that you can at the maximum get only one of 2 alleles from each parent. A population of 2 has only 4 allelic options in the gene pool for that population. No matter how many bases or aa may differ between the alleles there is only 2 options.

          Many features, of dogs for example, are polygenetic – such as height or color, etc. For example, the determination of coat color and pattern is a polygenic in that these features are controlled by more than one gene or gene complex. A dog with the gene for black color expression may also have the gene for suppression of black and so have a red or yellow coat. Or a dog with the brindle gene may have one or more of the genes for large areas of white and so have little or no brindle coloring visible. A dog with the dominant black gene may have genes for color fading and appear gray or merle.

          Such polygenetic traits can be additive or non-additive.

          Additive polygenes have a cumulative effect. This refers to genes simply adding up to increase the expression of a trait… such as making a dog taller. Additive traits can have a low hertibility, such as litter size or birth weights. Or, additive traits can have a high hertibility, such as height or growth rate. It is important to remember that many traits with low heritability are still under considerable genetic control. That is, litter size is highly genetic but it is not highly heritable.

          For non-additive polygenes it is the combination of genes that makes the difference. This means that different sets of genes can combine in different ways to produce dogs who appear identical with regard to a given trait. Furthermore, a dog who is superior in any one respect may owe that superiority to his particular combination of genes more than to the specific genes themselves. Unfortunately, such outstanding animals are unable to pass on their own particular gene combinations; they simply pass on a sample of the individual genes that make up those combinations. Those genes may combine quite differently in their offspring producing very different results.

          2] Recombination is rare in intragenic region so there is little chance for generation of new recombinant alleles.

          Beside the fact that new alleles can be produced by many different kinds of mutations (besides intragenic recombination) and are fairly common in larger populations, they simply aren’t needed to produce a huge variety of phenotypic variations starting from just two parents.

          3] You can obvious argue anything by divine intervention but a gene pool is extremely small in a population of 2.

          Indeed, but the potential of such a small gene pool for phenotypic variety of offspring can be truly enormous.

          4] It is extremely unlikely that the current wide range of dog breeds comes through a bottleneck. Since the domestication of wolves by human populations, dogs have been associated with human populations and likely represent a very large gene pool. Further any dog breeder knows that at some point you may well have to backcross to maintain low levels of deleterious traits. Indeed there is evidence that black colour in wolves derives from breeding of domestic dogs into wild populations of wolves.

          I’m not arguing that the current range of dog breeds actually came through a recent bottleneck. What I’m saying is that the offspring from a single pair of wolves could actually be bred to produce a very wide variety of domesticated dogs, very similar to what we have now, in relative short order – i.e., just a few hundred years. The current diversity of domesticated dog breeds simply doesn’t require long periods of time or very many novel allelic options beyond what can be found within an original pair of wolves.

          Do a search on pubmed for some of the primary data on dog domestication and genomics if you are not afraid of what you might find. If you read a little you will see that there is really little need for spurious concepts like front loaded information there is simply variation and selection based on well known principles of genetics. It is really much more interesting and exciting than simply dreaming of what might have happened in alternative reality.

          I’m afraid you’re the one living in an alternate reality where functionally complex features can evolve from pre-existing systems without having to have been in the original ancestral gene pool. That just doesn’t happen. It has never been observed and is statistically impossible this side of eternity when it comes to anything beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. Also, genetic deterioration is quite evident in slowly reproducing creatures. The death rate required by natural selection to keep up with the rapid buildup of slightly deleterious mutations is far far too high for your theories to be tenable (as I’ve already discussed with you extensively).

          It seems to me like your main problem here is that you think every trait is governed by only two alleles. This simply isn’t true. Many if not most traits are governed by multiple genetic elements. This makes for huge phenotypic variety from what might otherwise seem like a very limited parental gene pool…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  12. FLOOD MODEL PREDICTIONS

    There are two major predictions that derive from the flood model:

    1. Plants and animals that lived together should be buried together in the geological column. The evolutionary model, in contrast, predicts that order exists, with the simplest organisms appearing first and increasingly complex life forms appearing only higher in the geologic column.

    2. The biogeography of contemporary plant and animal groups should reveal a pattern of dispersal originating from Mt. Ararat. The evolutionary model, in contrast, predicts that large taxonomic groups are restricted to the area of origination by barriers to dispersal.

    As the next two posts make crystal clear, these two major predictions fail badly. Virtually all SDA biologists and geologists agree that these are two HUGE problems for creationism, as our explanations to account for these failures are embarrassingly weak. Others will brush them off as unimportant, if only because, well, we know what really happened.

    The question is what to do with the evidence: follow where it leads–to accept the evolutionary model–or reject the evidence in favor of inspired history?




    0
    View Comment
  13. Here is the evidence for the first failed prediction: the incontestable succession of simple to complex organisms that exists in the geological column:

    SUCCESSION FOR VETEBRATE ANIMALS

    Quaternary (post-flood)
    Tertiary (post-flood) – no humans below this
    Cretaceous (flood)
    Jurassic (flood)
    Triassic (flood) – no birds or mammals below this
    Permian (flood)
    Pennsylvanian (flood) – no reptiles below this
    Mississippian (flood)
    Devonian (flood) – no amphibians below this
    Silurian (flood)
    Ordovician (flood)
    Cambrian (flood)
    Precambrian (pre-flood)

    SUCCESSION FOR INVERTEBRATE ANIMALS

    Quaternary (post-flood)
    Tertiary (post-flood)
    Cretaceous (flood)
    Jurassic (flood)
    Triassic (flood)
    Permian (flood) – no trilobites or rugose corals above this
    Pennsylvanian (flood)
    Mississippian (flood) – no graptolites above this
    Devonian (flood) – no pentamerus brachiopods or cystoid crinozoans above this
    Silurian (flood)
    Ordovician (flood)
    Cambrian (flood) – no archaeocyathids (primitive sponge-like organisms) above this
    Precambrian (pre-flood)

    SUCCESSION FOR PLANTS

    Quaternary (post-flood)
    Tertiary (post-flood)
    Cretaceous (flood) – no angiosperms (flowering plants) below this
    Jurassic (flood)
    Triassic (flood)
    Permian (flood)
    Pennsylvanian (flood)
    Mississippian (flood) – no gymnosperms (coniferous plants) below this
    Devonian (flood) – no psilopsid plants (whisk ferns–primitive vascular plants) above this
    Silurian (flood)
    Ordovician (flood)
    Cambrian (flood)
    Precambrian (pre-flood)

    No matter how loud a few protest by pointing out that the sequence is consistent with ecological zonation (a spectacularly failed explanation), or that there are one or two exceptions (like fossil pollen in the precambrian, the decades-old evidence for which only creationists accept), the simple fact is that the order is undeniably real. Even Sean Pitman and David Read will concede this, if begrudgingly.




    0
    View Comment
  14. David&#032Read: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

    On what planet do you live? Low-elevation environments in most parts of the world are loaded with all of the vertebrates.

    And you’re totally ignoring the plants. WHERE on this planet do you find near sea level the exclusive presence of ferns and lycophyes, followed by the addition of gymnosperms but not angiosperms at somewhat higher elevation, then followed by the addition of angiosperms at higher elevations yet? WHERE?

    Angiosperms abound at low elevations–along rocky seashores, sandy seashores, marshes, swamps, you name it.

    Mangroves are a HUGE problem, as Eddie pointed out, because they are angiosperms (flowering plants) that grow abundantly ONLY in low-elevation saline environments. How did they (and their closely associated snails) end up growing so far out of place before the flood? I’d really like to hear how you explain this one.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Ecologic zonation does not remotely solve all problems, obviously. There are numerous other factors to consider that may contribute to an explanation (buoyancy in water, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but still may not solve all potential problems for the Biblical perspective.

      That being said, an interesting observation along these lines is that as more is learned about the fossil record, the “first appearance” of various types of organisms is consistently pushed farther and farther back in time.

      To illustrate, consider that many scientists had long argued that angiosperms first appeared during the early Cretaceous. However, it is now known that there are numerous Mesosoic examples of angiosperm pollen and leaf impressions. For example, Hochuli and Feist-Burkhardt (2004) reported on eight pollen-grain taxa with angiosperm-like morphology from marine Middle Triassic sediments of the Boreal Realm (Norwegian Arctic, Barents Sea area). Also, Kirkland et al. (2002) reported the discovery of a water-lily-like leaf in the basal Jurassic Whitmore Point Member of the Moenave Formation.

      Such discoveries are in addition to the as yet unexplained and unfalsified discovery of angiosperm pollen and fragments of vascular plants in Cambrian and pre-Cambrian sediments in the saline series of the Punjab salt range.

      It seems therefore, that while mysteries remain as to the sorted nature of the fossil record, that some of these features can be explained by a difference in the relative abundance of different types of plants before vs. after the Flood. After all, this planet was a very different place before the Flood. There were no great oceans, only rivers and shallow seas. There were no great mountains or ice caps. The entire planet was warm and lush – a subtropical type environment. This drastic difference in worldwide environment would have produced drastic differences in the relative abundance of different types of plants and animals alike. This is in addition to other contributing factors for fossil sorting – such as ecologic zonation, effects of water sorting, and the like…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Dear Professor Kent and Sean,

        As I see it, the ecological zonation theory (EZT) explains the big picture, but runs into difficulty with the fine tuning. Clearly, it isn’t the whole answer to order in the fossil record. There is still much that we don’t know, but I think that the various factors Sean has listed likely contributed to the distribution of plant fossils in the geologic column. It is also true that the first and last appearances of fossils in the geologic column keeps expanding, and this also needs to be considered, as Sean has pointed out.

        Professor Kent, I appreciate your asking difficult questions, because they illuminate the fact that we don’t have all the answers and that more research is needed. However, the mere fact that there are unanswered questions should not lead us to throw in the towel in when it comes to creationism and flood geology. It’s important to remember that the Lyell-Darwin paradigm also faces unanswered questions.

        Professor Kent, I agree with you that the fossil plant distribution poses a challenge for the EZT. However, I must take issue with your statement that low-elevation environments in today’s world are loaded with vertebrates. That may be true of terrestial environments, but actual low elevation environments are found on the sea floor, and these environments are loaded with invertebrates, along with some rather bizarre fish – like eels. The modern sea floor is an extremely close fit with the Cambrian fossil record and comports nicely with the EZT!




        0
        View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, see my response to Eddie, above. It is clear that the modern world is not a reliable guide regarding conditions that existed before the Flood. Inspired history tells us that there were no bare, jagged mountain tops, no dismal swamps and no arctic wastes; the world was very different, and the conditions that prevailed then are not the conditions that prevail now.

      The fossil record confirms inspired history; warm-weather flora and fauna are found in abundance in arctic and antarctic zones, and this fact cannot remotely be explained by continental drift. How were the arctic climes ever able to support these life forms? The fossils tell us that conditions differed radically, but they don’t tell us why. Inspired history tells us that conditions were very different before the Flood

      These types of mysteries are at least as prevalent in the mainstream model as in the the creationist model.




      0
      View Comment
  15. Dear Shining,

    You are welcome. Both the evolutionist and creationist models have strengths and weaknesses, but there is considerable data that favors the creationist model (in contrast to what some people claim). We’ve got to remember that we still don’t have undisputed bird bones from the Triassic, but those footprints sure look convincing to me. They have “bird” written all over them.




    0
    View Comment
  16. David&#032Read: Those tracks are so obviously bird tracks that the fact that some scientists want to assign them to “birdlike theropods” is itself a very useful teaching tool as to how the model creates the data.

    David&#032Read: That the model actually creates the data is one of the hardest concepts to get across, not only to lay people but even to the scientists themselves.

    How does the model affect the data? Data don’t change and they shouldn’t change. It’s the interpretation, not the data, that is affected by the model.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie: The tracks are raw data until interpreted, and then the data combined with the interpretation become higher-order data. Do you understand how this works?

      For someone who is an ichnologist (a specialty of paleontology dealing with tracks and traces) the tracks, whatever they are, are his raw data. Based upon the fact that birds did not exist in the Triassic, the ichnologist interprets them as tracks of a birdlike theropod (a dinosaur).

      Now, for someone who is not an ichnologist, but who is making generalizations about evolutionary history, the track together with the interpretation IS the data. He is not an ichnologist, and he takes the expert’s word for it; he does not go back to the lower order data and try to re-interpret it. He accepts what the expert has said, and goes on with the construction of his theories. HIS raw data includes the fact that there are no bird tracks or traces in the Triassic, only dinosaur tracks, and hence no problem with his theory that birds evolved from Jurassic-era dinosaurs. The raw data rolled up with the interpretation has become the raw data for HIS theories about evolutionary history.

      But, if the original ichnologist had been a creationist, he looks at those track and says, those are bird tracks. Now, the next guy up the line is faced with data to the effect that there are bird tracks in the Triassic, and he’d better make his theories accordingly.

      So, the model has created the data in a very real sense. I hope this has been helpful.




      0
      View Comment
  17. David&#032Read: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

    It could, and it’s the best creationist explanation, but it doesn’t explain why flowering plants were absent from lowland forests. Or why so many land plants appeared before mangroves, which today occur strictly in the intertidal zone. Or why no pre-flood humans have been found. Or, if Sean is correct that the flood ended at the K-T boundary, why many modern groups of birds and mammals (including marine mammals) which first appear during the Tertiary were not buried by the flood.

    David&#032Read: The fact that something appears before something else in the fossil record is not proof than anything evolved into anything else.

    True.

    David&#032Read: You seem to be complaining that God has not made the fossil evidence compulsory, i.e., so clear that no reasonable person can possibly doubt it. And if God hasn’t made the evidence skeptic-proof, then the skeptic is God’s fault, God is responsible for the skeptic.

    I’m not complaining. I’m merely pointing out that the evidence can be interpreted in different ways by honest people. And I’m relieved to see that even you don’t think the evidence is crystal clear.

    David&#032Read: Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved.

    I agree.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie: Dear Eddie.

      You have raised some good questions about the ecological zonation theory (EZT). As I said elsewhere, the EZT does a good job with the big picture, but not with the fine tuning. I agree that the apparent absence of pre-flood humans raises questions. Perhaps they were intelligent enough to survive long enough to avoid burial, or perhaps there is some other reason we don’t find them. I agree that the distribution of fossil mammals poses serious problems for ending the flood at the KT boundary, which is another reason I and others opt for an end to the flood in the upper Cenozoic, near the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      As noted elsewhere, ecologic zonation is not the “best creationist explanation” all by itself. It does seem able to explain the big picture quite well of going from “simple” to more “complex”. However, there are numerous finer features of the fossil record that EZT does not explain very well at all… as you point out.

      Other processes may help to explain additional features of the fossil record (like water sorting, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but some features clearly remain quite difficult to explain given the knowledge that is currently in hand.

      Creationists certainly do not have all the answers in hand. That’s not true at all. However, when it comes to the weight of evidence, the Biblical perspective clearly caries the day. There are far more difficulties for the neo-Darwinists that are far more fundamental than there are for Biblical creationists who believe in a recent rapidly catastrophic model for the origin of the majority of the geologic/fossil records.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Eddie: The fossil record gives evidence of a pre-Flood world differing in many respects from present conditions. But we also know that from inspired history, such as the fact that there was no rain in the antediluvian world, but rather the earth was watered by a mist. There were no desert wastes, no dismal swamps, and no arctic ice fields.

      The radically different climatic conditions of the pre-Flood world might well have given rise to ecological zonation somewhat different from what we see in the modern world. Plants that have taken over in the modern world, such as angiosperms, might have had a much more restricted ecological niche in the pre-flood world.




      0
      View Comment
  18. Sean&#032Pitman: There are numerous other factors to consider that may contribute to an explanation (buoyancy in water, mobility, relative abundance, etc), but still may not solve all potential problems for the Biblical perspective.

    Sounds nice, but how did those wee little tiny pollen grains just happen to end up consistently in the very same layers as the much larger plant parts that produced them? Buoyancy? Mobility? Hydrologic sorting? Or a mystery we can wait until we’re in heaven to understand?




    0
    View Comment
  19. Bob&#032Helm: I agree that the apparent absence of pre-flood humans raises questions. Perhaps they were intelligent enough to survive long enough to avoid burial, or perhaps there is some other reason we don’t find them. I agree that the distribution of fossil mammals poses serious problems for ending the flood at the KT boundary, which is another reason I and others opt for an end to the flood in the upper Cenozoic, near the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary.

    Now you’ve introduced another problem. All those highly mobile dinosaurs that were know had to be eating, mating, and laying eggs during the flood had ample opportunity to climb to the same high elevations where the mammals were overcome by the flood. Yet the dinosaurs magically fell short. All of them. Now why is that?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: We dont know the fine details of geomorphology in the antediluvian world. Perhaps there were natural barriers that prevented dinosaurs from mixing with many of the mammals. Or perhaps there is some other explanation. Or maybe I am wrong and Sean is right about the KT boundary being the upper limit of the flood. I’m open to different ideas.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Dear Professor Kent,

      I have been thinking more about your question as to why dinosaurs did not climb into the higher elevations inhabited by mammals during the early stages of the flood, and it occurred to me that this question does not merely pertain to the months when dinosaurs were alive, but seeking shelter from the oncoming flood. The same question also pertains to the extended period of time when dinosaurs and mammals lived in the antediluvian world. What kept them separate then?

      Again, I don’t know the fine details of antediluvian geomorphology, but as I think about this issue, I suspect that there were natural barriers that kept dinosaurs and most mammals separate.

      Let’s consider an example from our modern world. Modern lion populations occur in Africa and a few places in southern Asia, while modern tiger populations occur strictly in Asia. Why are there no lions in northern or central Asia? Why are there no tigers in Africa? I think the answer is that natural barriers keep the populations of these large cats separate.

      Now lion and especially tiger populations have dwindled in recent years, but let’s go back to a time when there were more of these cats in the world – say the year 1800. Suppose a progressive, year long catastrophe had occurred in 1800 and had wiped out all the world’s lions and tigers. Would we find lion fossils in Siberia today? Would we find tiger fossils in Africa today? I doubt it. If lions and tigers had lived for several months in the oncoming catastrophe before perishing, I suspect that they would have sought higher ground. But I doubt that they would have crossed the formidable natural barriers that separate Siberia and Africa.

      As I have already stated, I cannot speak with certainty in answering your question, but I suspect that a similar situation prevented the dinosaurs and mammals from mixing, both in the antediluvian world and in the early stages of the flood.




      0
      View Comment
  20. Bob&#032Helm:
    @Eddie: Eddie, I would like to see more research on Protoavis.I remember when its discovery was first announced in the early 1990s, it created a sensation, but then it was seemingly forgotten in the rush to prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs.I was trying to google recent information on Protoavis, but everything I found that was significant dated to the early 90s.If you have anything more recent on this fossil, I’d love to read it.

    Bob, One of the things that has always concerned me is that, according to what I’ve read, birds and reptiles have completely different forms of respiratory systems (flow-through vs. bellows) How is this explained by evolutionists?

    Does anyone know?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Holly Pham: You bring up an interesting question. Reptile and bird respiratory systems are quite different, and I’m not sure how evolutionists deal with this.

      There is a similar question that has bugged me for a long time, and I’ve never seen it addressed. Dinosaurs come in two different orders – saurischians or lizard-hipped dinosaurs and ornithiscians or bird-hipped dinosaurs. Those who propose that birds evolved from dinosaurs state specifically that theropods or meat-eating dinosaurs gave rise to birds. But theropods are lizard-hipped, while birds are, well, bird-hipped! Even the bird-like theropods are lizard-hipped. One would think that if birds evolved from dinosaurs, they would have evolved from the ornithiscians, except that in other respects, ornithiscians are very unlike birds. I’m not sure how evolutionists who believe in dino-bird evolution account for this transition from lizard-hipped theropods to bird-hipped birds. Also, was archaeopteryx lizard-hipped or bird-hipped? What about protoavis?

      I will second Holly’s question and ask if anyone knows how Darwinists explain these fundamental changes in anatomy.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Bob Helm: If I recall correctly, John Ostrom, who studied the theropod-like features of Archaeopteryx, exaggerated its reptilian features, including its lizard-like (saurischian) hips, but later studies revealed its hips to be distinctly bird-like (ornithischian). Critics of the theropod origin of birds consider the lizard-like hips of theropods to be a serious flaw.

        As for Protoavis, its bones were rather smashed so I doubt the hips bones were preseved well enough to interpret their shape.




        0
        View Comment
  21. Sean, Bob, David, Eddie, and Holly,

    In just one sentence, please tell me whether Genesis informs your interpretation of the fossil record, or whether the fossil record informs your interpretation of Genesis.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Faith and science inform each other. Without Genesis certain features of the fossil record would be much harder to interpret. I think that’s a given. It’s always good to have an eye-witness account in hand when investigating historical evidence. Such eye-witness accounts help fill in many details that would otherwise be very very difficult to determine.

      However, even without Genesis it should be clear that the fossil record and geologic column are records of recent shortly-spaced watery catastrophes.

      It is only because of the philosophical influence of neo-Darwinism that the catastrophic nature of the fossil record, to include its recent and rapid formation, has not become the standard interpretation in mainstream science. It’s similar to what happened to J Harlen Bretz and his theory for a flood or series of floods as the origin for Washington’s Scablands. He was rebuffed by mainstream scientists until it was discovered that the floods were local floods, not the Noachian Flood…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: I agree with Bob and Sean that it works both ways, but I believe more the former than the latter. Because of the Genesis narrative, I interpret the fossil record, at least the great bulk of it, as the residue of the Flood. Were it not for the Genesis narrative, I might interpret the fossil record, or the bulk of it, according to the principle of uniformity, ala Lyell. So clearly, the primary determinant is Scripture, not unaided examination of the raw data.

      For an example of how the fossil record can add depth of meaning to the interpretation of Scripture, consider Genesis 8:3. The King James Version renders it “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: . . .” The Hebrew word translated “from off” is usually translated “upon” or “above.” Two Hebrew words are translated together as “continually.” The first is yalak, which means, “to go.” The second is shuwb, which means, “to return.” The text might better be translated, “And the waters returned upon the earth, going and returning.” The floodwaters surged in and retreated in a repeating cycle. One commentator explains it as follows:

      “In Genesis 8:3, “continually” is a translation of two Hebrew verbs: shuwb, which means “to turn about, to return,” and yalak, which means “to go.” Together they present us with a graphic picture of the powerful churning action of the flood waters! A going is followed by a returning. Both verbs are set in the infinitive absolute form, indicating emphasis and duration. The flood waters did not tranquilly seep into the soil. This was a moving Flood, carrying back and forth vast amounts of water, soil, vegetation, and sediments. Gradually, layer after layer of sediments, vegetation, and other materials were laid down and covered over. The infinitive form means that it kept happening over a period of time (instead of only once if the imperfect form had been used). Terrific hydraulic forces were at work. Massive erosional and depositional actions were taking place. Gradually, layer after layer of sedimentary deposits were laid down.”

      The fact that the sedimentary deposits testify so strongly to this back and forth deposition pattern brings to our attention a detail in Scripture that we probably would not have noticed otherwise. The implication of back and forth action was always there in the Bible, but we would not have noticed it or attached any significance to it were it not for a very prominent characteristic of the stratigraphic record. So that’s an example of the fossil record enhancing our knowledge and interpretation of the Genesis record.




      0
      View Comment
      • @David Read: Dear David,
        I agree with everything you have stated. The reason I said it works both ways is that the Biblical account, while true, is only a sketch. In fact, Genesis moves very fast through its first 11 chapters and then slows down when it arrives at Abraham. Furthermore, Genesis is not written in scientific jargon; it is written in language that even children can understand, which is as it should be, because the Holy Spirit has wanted to communicate with all people in all ages, not just modern scientists. So scientific concepts like ecological zonation, catastrophic plate tectonics, and post-flood glacial theory are not touched on in Genesis, but they give us a broader picture of how the events described in Genesis probably took place.

        I do have to agree with Sean on one thing. The Phanerozoic fossil record looks very catastrophic to me, and I would have a hard time keeping an open mind and applying the principles of uniformitarianism to it. With what we know today, it can only be interpreted that way if we are already committed to the philosophical presuppositions of Lyellism and are trying to force nature to conform to that model. An objective interpretation of the fossil data yields catastrophism of some sort, and the Genesis account of the flood helps us to be more specific in identifying the catastrophic process that was involved.




        0
        View Comment
  22. Bob&#032Helm: However, I must take issue with your statement that low-elevation environments in today’s world are loaded with vertebrates. That may be true of terrestial environments, but actual low elevation environments are found on the sea floor, and these environments are loaded with invertebrates, along with some rather bizarre fish – like eels.

    I was speaking only of terrestrial biomes. And I know you won’t take exception with the facts there.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: No, Professor Kent, I won’t take issue with the fact that low elevation terrestial biomes contain many vertebrates. And I hope you agree that the ocean floor is the home of many invertebrates. Now the interesting thing is that the lower Paleozoic column contains abundant marine invertebrates and fish. And this is exactly what the ecological zonation theory would predict. Please bear in mind that I agree with you that the EZT has some problems and cannot account for all the order we find in the fossil record. But it accords nicely with the lower Paleozoic fossil record.




      0
      View Comment
  23. David&#032Read: God has provided plenty of evidence to confirm our faith, but He’s not going to remove the necessity of faith. There will always be hooks for skeptics to hang their doubts on, but if you cannot ultimately overcome your doubts and exercise faith, you cannot be a Christian believer. Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved.

    I say a big “Amen” to this.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      I also agree. Science is dependent upon faith. God is not going to remove the need for faith because faith is more than just a knowledge of what is true. Satan has great knowledge, but no faith. Faith is a combination of knowledge of and desire or love for the truth.

      However, faith is also linked to knowledge. Did the faith of the disciples of Jesus increase or decrease after the Resurrection? Did the empirical evidence of Jesus’ deliberate fulfillment of Biblical prophecy regarding his birth, life, death, and resurrection add to the faith of those investigating His claims to be God? How about His demonstrated ability to raise the dead? Would such a demonstration tend to increase or decrease faith?

      Clearly, faith and empirical evidence are inextricably linked together – yet, faith goes beyond evidence to include the motive of love…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: New Testament faith is always based on evidence – especially prophetic evidence. It was only during the 18th century Enlightenment, when the idea arose of science and spirituality being in two “airtight” compartments, that faith was defined as being a blind leap in the dark. If we take the New Testament seriously, there is a pressing need for Christian apologetics.




        0
        View Comment
  24. David Read said:

    “Ellen White’s statements about larger antediluvian life forms are well attested with regard to many different types of flora and fauna. They’re not even controversial…

    Hi David,

    As you know, I took advantage of your kind offer and I read your manuscript as well as I purchased 3 of your books, one for me, one for my sisters, and one for the church library. It took me a week to finish the book, and I and my sisters are very impressed with it. My one sister calls it “one incredible book”. It has answered a lot of the questions we had on the subject of evolution vs creation science, and, yes, I believe we (you and I and my sisters) are on the same page in our beliefs. We have immensely enjoyed discussing the various aspects of the subject as we read. It makes perfect sense to us.

    I still have a couple of questions–new ones will probably always keep popping up–but I would say you have covered the subject admirably. Thanks so much for this book.

    I agree with Elder Wilson, this is something every Adventist should read. In my opinion it should be used as required reading for science courses. It is exactly the way I would want science courses in the universities to treat the Creation/evolution debate in the classroom. And if the professors at LSU and the other SDA institutions would do this we wouldn’t be constantly losing our young people and, for that matter, our professors, to skeptisism.

    Thank God someone has the courage to publish the truth and expose error.

    God Bless you, David.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Faith: Thank you so much for your gracious and kind comments, Faith. I am humbled and gratified to know that you and your sisters were blessed by the book, and I am confirmed in thinking that God impressed me to write the book.

      Also, I am appropriately impressed that you read it [over 600 pages] in a week. You’re obviously a highly literate and intelligent person, with a strong to desire to learn about origins.




      0
      View Comment
  25. Holly&#032Pham: One of the things that has always concerned me is that, according to what I’ve read, birds and reptiles have completely different forms of respiratory systems (flow-through vs. bellows) How is this explained by evolutionists?

    Evidence from the vertebrae of non-avian theropod dinosaurs suggests that they, too, possessed unidirectional flow-through ventilation of the lungs. So, according to evolutionary theory, it evolved first in “primitive” non-avian theropods rather than in birds, and comprises one of many shared derived characters supposedly linking birds with more “advanced” theropods. However, I don’t think there is any evidence or even a hypothesis for a step-by-step process of HOW it evolved. Here is a reference:

    http://www.ohio.edu/people/ridgely/OconnorClaessensairsacs.pdf




    0
    View Comment
  26. Sean&#032Pitman: If these very same breeds of dog were produced in the wild in different environments instead of by human design, they would indeed be classified by various definitions of “species” as distinct species that have been produced by various forms of breeding isolation. Certainly cryptic species are far more similar, morphologically, than are certain breeds of dog.

    Cryptic species are not identified on the basis of morphological differences. They are delineated on the basis of molecular divergence–after all, they’re called “cryptic” for a reason. Dogs show extremely shallow genetic divergence. No mammalogist considers the different breeds to be distinct species for good reason. I do know of a physician, though, who insists he knows things about taxonomy that no taxonomist understands.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Why don’t you at least try to look this stuff up before you comment on it? A simple Google search would tell you that most modern breeds of dogs are very new, produced by human breeding over the last 300 years or so.

    I did look it up. That’s why I wrote “And where did you come up with 300 years? Surely not from the original stock.” Yes, I wrote “original stock.” Again, archaeological evidence shows human domestication of dogs long before Christ. Molecular analyses suggest 15,000+ years ago. Look these up yourself. Domestication has resulted in multiple species? That’s a pretty fantastic claim, Dr. Pitman. Multiple species have not resulted in 300 years, nor in several thousand years.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Also, you’re not taking into account how far snakes can migrate when encouraged to do so… as in cases with increasing local competition, or changes in the environment, etc.

    And what do you know about this? Do you think local competition was greater as populations were spreading than they are now? Doesn’t matter. You didn’t address the other issues I mentioned that are far more problematic. Hugely problematic! You won’t concede one inch–and not because of the evidence, but because of your faith. You’re becoming increasingly transparent.

    Sean&#032Pitman: [Professor Kent wrote] The evidence does not support the flood geology prediction. Not even remotely. Somehow I don’t think you want to go with the evidence.

    This simply isn’t true. The fact that animals would change rapidly over time with isolation and would go extinct in certain areas while thriving in others is actually predictable from the Biblical model of origins.

    Are you serious? You actually believe that contemporary biogeography SUPPORTS the flood narrative and the Biblical model of origins? And by predictable, I assume you mean falsifiable, since you use these in the same phrase often. You amaze me, Dr. Pitman.




    0
    View Comment
    • Cryptic species are not identified on the basis of morphological differences. They are delineated on the basis of molecular divergence–after all, they’re called “cryptic” for a reason.

      That’s right. However, molecular divergence (which has no significant functional and/or phenotypic effect) isn’t the only definition of “species” in use. There are also phenotypic definitions – among many others. That is why the “species” concept is still quite subjective…

      Dogs show extremely shallow genetic divergence. No mammalogist considers the different breeds to be distinct species for good reason. I do know of a physician, though, who insists he knows things about taxonomy that no taxonomist understands.

      Again, you know as well as I do that if the history where not known, if various types of dogs were found in the fossil record or even on an isolated island without first knowing how their phenotypic and/or genetic differences were derived and in what time frame, they would be classified as different species.

      After all, it has often been the case that male and female forms of the same type of animal were originally classified as different “species” until it was later discovered that they were in fact the same type of creature. So, don’t tell me that the concept of “species” is consistently reproducible or is free from subjective determinations. It isn’t.

      I did look it up. That’s why I wrote “And where did you come up with 300 years? Surely not from the original stock.” Yes, I wrote “original stock.” Again, archaeological evidence shows human domestication of dogs long before Christ. Molecular analyses suggest 15,000+ years ago. Look these up yourself. Domestication has resulted in multiple species? That’s a pretty fantastic claim, Dr. Pitman. Multiple species have not resulted in 300 years, nor in several thousand years.

      What I said was that most modern breeds of dog have been produced within the last 300 years or so – which is true.

      Are you serious? You actually believe that contemporary biogeography SUPPORTS the flood narrative and the Biblical model of origins? And by predictable, I assume you mean falsifiable, since you use these in the same phrase often. You amaze me, Dr. Pitman.

      I would certainly predict a rather randomized pattern to arise over relatively short periods of time for animals that can rapidly adapt to local environments with a huge variety of phenotypic modifications in combination with widespread extinction events and the rarity of fossil formation outside of large-scale catastrophic events…

      I’m not sure why you or anyone else would think otherwise. Your “falsified” model simply isn’t one that I would predict. In short, what you’ve “falsified” here is simply a strawman of your own creation – not an actual prediction from the Biblical perspective.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  27. @Professor&#032Kent
    “FLOOD MODEL PREDICTIONS
    “There are two major predictions that derive from the flood model:
    1. “Plants and animals that lived together should be buried together in the geological column.

    False straw-man prediction. This is based on a flawed understanding of what the flood was like. It was far more catastrophic than you imagine.

    2. “The biogeography of contemporary plant and animal groups should reveal a pattern of dispersal originating from Mt. Ararat.
    False straw-man prediction. It assumes that one would find such pattern in the fossil record, which is contrary to creationary flood models where the fossil record is the record of the flood, not post-flood events. And it assumes that fossils lived where they were buried, again not a flood model assumption

    “Virtually all SDA biologists and geologists agree that these are two HUGE problems for creationism, as our explanations to account for these failures are embarrassingly weak.”

    This is a “Huge problem” in your eyes only because you are all bound up in the blinders of naturalism..

    The question is what to do with the evidence: follow where it leads–to accept the evolutionary model–or reject the evidence in favor of inspired history?

    WRONG! The question is how do you interpret the evidence within the Biblical world view of creationism. Creationism is not an hypothesis or theory to be tested by science. Rather it is the philosophical paradigm within which science MUST be done.

    Allen




    0
    View Comment
  28. Professor Kent, I would add that rainfall was probably a minor source of water for the Genesis flood. The main source came from the great deep, which is mentioned first in Gen 7:11. Gen 8:2 suggests that the fountains of the great deep were not closed until the end of the 150 days.




    0
    View Comment
  29. No, professor Kent, I did not pull 5 months of rising water out of a hat. The mere fact that it rained for 40 days/nights does not mean that the flood had crested by the end of that period. The 5 month period is derived from Gen 7:24. There is some uncertainty about the precise meaning of the Hebrew verb “gabar”, but it can be understood to mean that the waters strengthened on the earth for 150 days. Note this from “Origin By Design” (Coffin, Brown,and Gibson, Review & Herald 2005, p. 41): “The 110 days beyond the first 40 either represent a time of continued rising water and perhaps rainfall, or was a period when the waters remained high.”
    The Hebrew verb can support either option, but the former makes more sense to me, and I am certainly not alone in that opinion.




    0
    View Comment
  30. David&#032Read: I had researched and written an appendix to my book on dinosaurs about giant human remains, but cut if from the final book, which was already too long. If you’d like the unpublished manuscript, please email me at david@readlawoffice.com, and I will send it to you.

    I think I’ll take you up on this, though my interest in the human fossil record barely ranks as peripheral.

    David&#032Read: Jeff, for your sake, I hope you’re never in a flood and have to defend your high and dry perch from the poisonous reptiles who’ve been driven from their shelters. I’ve been told that this can be one of the worst aspects of floods

    Scary indeed. I find venomous animals very fascinating, but the reptile kind are a bit intimidating. I’m a big fan of venomous cone snails. My good friend Geanna is totally into snakes and would probably relish a cold-blooded tide brought on with a flood.

    David&#032Read: Regarding pre-Flood fossils, I think they were probably limited to single-celled organisms, with the possible exception of the Ediacaran forms.

    I’m no paleo expert, but an SDA colleague has told me that many creationists, including highly faithful SDAs, now see things quite differently. They now believe a lot more fossil formation occurred prior to the flood than traditionally believed. Keep your antennae up.




    0
    View Comment
  31. David&#032Read: I also lean toward a last Flood-laid level being substantially higher than the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary.

    If Noah’s flood still covered the planet during the Eocene (early Tertiary), how would you account for fluctuating salinities (ranging from freshwater to hypersaline) in the Green River Formation of Wyoming?

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/eocene-fossil-lake-green-river-formation-wyoming-history-fluctuating-salinity/




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie: Eddie, in estuaries, riparian fresh water tends to ride on top of salt water for miles out to sea, so there might well have been sorting of water during the Flood. There could also have been a tidal pulse where freshwater laid down sediment in one direction, and then saltwater coming from the other direction laid down sediment on top of that in alternating layers.

      I can only read the abstract, but it appears the authors describe the deposit without suggesting a mechanism as to how it got that way. In fact, their description seems to imply that they are mystified about the relevant geological history:

      “These data are interpreted as representing a lake fluctuating from fresh to hypersaline, with stages controlled by sudden freshwater expansions of the lake followed by more gradual regressions. However, initiation of dolomite precipitation was relatively sudden at the end of regressive stages. Even then, the lake remained relatively fresh along its margins as indicated by accumulated synchronous shore–phase calcimicrite.”

      If they’re not suggesting a geological history and mechanism to explain their interpretation of the deposit, why must I? Everything about origins turns on burden of proof. Whoever has it will lose, because no one can prove anything about origins.




      0
      View Comment
  32. Dear Sean,

    We are in full agreement regarding post-flood catastrophism. It was very great in comparison with what we experience today. The Channeled Scablands in eastern Washington are just one example of a regional catastrophe on a scale that we don’t experience today. There were many others as well. Even the ice age can be considered a slow-moving glacial catastrophe.

    However, there is a difference between large regional catastrophes and a world-wide catastrophe on the scale of the Genesis flood. There have been no world-wide catastrophes since the flood, although another one will be coming up at Christ’s second advent.




    0
    View Comment
  33. Sean&#032Pitman: The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time…The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things.

    Please share verses from the Bible.

    Sean&#032Pitman: There are no new “kinds” of animals living now that did not also exist before the Flood. However, there are a great many different kinds of animals that have gone extinct. I would call this a great loss of genetic diversity – wouldn’t you?

    Diversity can be recognized at multiple levels. If you want to talk higher taxonomic levels, you still have the problem that evidence from the fossil can’t support one theory over the other. Evolutionists posit that many major clades have disappeared over time. Again, where does scripture, or even Ellen White, claim that diversity (at any level) became reduced over time? If anything, the Bible suggests that diversity was preserved during the flood.

    Sean&#032Pitman: The Bible says that things started out in an idealic state right from the hand of God and then proceeded to rapidly degenerate and decay over time.

    Verses, please.

    Sean&#032Pitman: In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

    Decades-old news. How long can elephant go without food? How long can a human go without food? Forty days? Do some reading.

    Sean&#032Pitman: So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

    Scavenging animals outside the ark lived an entire year after the flood began? Seriously? What’s your source for this? How many days into the flood did the waters cover all of the highest mountains? Are you suggesting that it required more than 40 days and nights? Are you suggesting the phrase “40 days and 40 nights” was not literal?

    Sean&#032Pitman: Satan feared for his life because the Flood was gradually killing off all human and land-animal life. Just because it wasn’t happening all at once at all places on the globe simultaneously doesn’t mean that Satan didn’t have reason to fear that God would just continue the job to finish him off in the process…

    Where did you get this interpretation of why, exactly, Satan feared for his life? And where does scripture, or even Ellen White, tell us the flood wasn’t happening all at once at all places? Where do you get these notions?

    Sean&#032Pitman: I really see very little in the geologic column/fossil record that substantive counters the Biblical account or the claims of Mrs. White…

    Again, I think you’ve greatly embellished the details told by scripture and by Ellen White. To a disturbing extent.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time…The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things. – Sean Pitman

      Please share verses from the Bible.

      Read Genesis. The world starts out as perfect from the hand of God – with God calling it all, “very good”. There was no death for sentient creatures. Not until the Fall did death enter this world. Then, after the Fall, things started to degenerate. Read about how long people lived as time went on. The life spans, described in the Bible, follow an exponential decay curve that clearly supports the concept of degenerating longevity.

      Mrs. White says the same thing – that the world and life on it has experienced significant degeneration and decay over time… that it is not remotely close to the original beauty that she was shown existed, in visions from God, when the world was freshly created. Consider this passage:

      He [Christ] took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity…

      When Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.

      – Ellen White, 7ABC 452.2 and DA pp. 117

      So, you see, Mrs. White is quite plain here regarding the degeneracy of the human race over time. It only follows the natural law of informational entropy. Things wear out and get old over time. That’s just the nature of our world – of natural law.

      Diversity can be recognized at multiple levels. If you want to talk higher taxonomic levels, you still have the problem that evidence from the fossil can’t support one theory over the other. Evolutionists posit that many major clades have disappeared over time. Again, where does scripture, or even Ellen White, claim that diversity (at any level) became reduced over time? If anything, the Bible suggests that diversity was preserved during the flood.

      Of course we’re talking about diversity of major kinds of animals, not just on the species or intra-species level within the same basic “kind” of gene pool.

      And, nothing in the Bible or the writings of Mrs. White suggest that there would be no extinctions – even of major plant an animal groups. Such is only to be expected given the harsh, risky, and unpredictable nature of our planet.

      Sean Pitman: In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

      Decades-old news.

      So, why then did you make the argument that they would rather not search for food if you knew of the warm-blooded nature of dinosaurs?

      How long can elephant go without food? How long can a human go without food? Forty days? Do some reading.

      It’s not how long a warm-blooded animal can survive without food when forced to do so. Rather, the question is how long a warm-blooded animal will deliberately avoid searching for and eating food when it is readily available?

      Your argument that dinosaurs would not have scavenged during the year-long Flood when there were various times and places of relative calm makes no sense.

      Scavenging animals outside the ark lived an entire year after the flood began? Seriously? What’s your source for this? How many days into the flood did the waters cover all of the highest mountains? Are you suggesting that it required more than 40 days and nights? Are you suggesting the phrase “40 days and 40 nights” was not literal?

      It only rained for 40 days and nights, but the Bible does not say that the Flood waters crested during this time. In fact, it might be read as suggesting that the waters did not crest till after this time – as noted elsewhere in this thread. Dinosaur trackways are present in the fossil record all the way up until the KT-Boundary… a point in time that was toward the end of major sedimentary deposits and fossil formation. In other words, dinosaurs evidently survived a very long time during the many months of the Flood.

      Where did you get this interpretation of why, exactly, Satan feared for his life? And where does scripture, or even Ellen White, tell us the flood wasn’t happening all at once at all places? Where do you get these notions?

      How do you know that my interpretation is necessarily wrong? Where did you get your interpretation as to why Satan feared for his life? Where does Mrs. White say that Satan was actually scared of drowning in the Flood? After all, you’re talking about someone who was, at this point in time, free to travel away from this planet to attend meetings in Heaven as a representative of this world (read Job).

      The suggestion is that Satan feared for his life, not so much because of Flood itself, but because he didn’t know whether or not God had gotten fed up enough and had decided to end it all, the entire rebellion, right then and there. After all, nothing on this scale of destruction of life had ever been seen in the entire universe before.

      Again, I think you’ve greatly embellished the details told by scripture and by Ellen White. To a disturbing extent.

      How so? Where have I contradicted anything in the Bible or the writings of Ellen White?

      Rather, it seems to me that I’ve only contradicted your own interpretations and how you’ve always read the Bible and Mrs. White as being in inescapable conflict with overwhelming empirical evidence.

      For most people who candidly read the texts, it is very clear that both the Bible and Mrs. White describe a pre-Flood world that was far more grand and glorious than what now exists and that God will one day restore this planet to that idealic state after thousands of years of suffering the degenerative effects of rebellion and sin.

      I’m actually quite surprised that you seem to be arguing against this concept? This view is consistent, not antagonistic, with the historic Christian interpretation of these texts. And, the additional details that we can glean from the geologic/fossil records are not at all inconsistent with the Biblical account of origins or the Noachian Flood.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  34. Sean said……

    “So, you see, Mrs. White is quite plain here regarding the degeneracy of the human race over time. It only follows the natural law of informational entropy. Things wear out and get old over time. That’s just the nature of our world – of natural law.”

    And this is precisely, Sean, why you can not trust “natural law” to determine origins or the state of things before sin. Had there been no sin, there would have been no degeneracy and things would not get old and wear out.

    And as I have already said, nature can not be equal in authority to determine origins or even how things were before creation. And since this is true, we must acknowledge the bible as first in authority with nature being a source of evidence. As the two can not be “equal” in determining what the truth of the matter is.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen:

      While it is true that the Bible and the writings of Mrs. White add in additional details regarding the nature of the pre-Fall world that would not otherwise be knowable from the study of nature alone, it is not true that the current world of nature, together with our God-given ability to use various forms of scientific reasoning, does not also speak of God’s creative power (Romans 1:20). It is also not true that Bible’s credibility is entirely independent of empirical evidence derived from the real world in which we live.

      Again, faith alone does not trump empirical evidence (aka – wishful thinking) and science cannot function without making leaps of faith. They must walk hand-in-hand as they are dependent upon each other when it comes to helping us to rationally understand our world and God’s written Word.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Sean, I think you subtly altered Bill’s point. He wasn’t arguing that nature does not speak to God creative power, or contradicting Romans 1:20. His point, with which I agree, is that Scripture is the superior source of God’s revelation, and it is through the lens of scripture that we interpret the data of nature. This is true of current data, but specially true of those data bearing on origins.

        Ellen White states it like this:

        “God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God’s word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation.”

        Clearly, Ellen White is saying that scientists, especially those dealing with origins, must be guide in their interpretation of the data by the Word of God.




        0
        View Comment
  35. Dear brothers in Christ,
    I have been quietly following this debate since i last left the university namely Adventist university of the Philippines. and even joined this discussion on how we can show this beloved brothers of ours who have gone astray on the other side of the fence (theistic or even atheistic evolution). to made up their mind and join and concentrate all of our resources and intellect in proclaiming the three angels message to all the corners of the world. you know what brothers, we have been wasting our time here stuck in this issues right here in the Adventist community because we couldn’t consolidate all our leaders and all our minds intellectuals in this issues. i know it is not easy, but it should be if we just humble ourselves and let God speak simply to us. if you are still confuse here is a few of what is out there that speak loudly may be better than we can communicate this topics. follow this link and check it. my only appeal is that our teacher should teach science to our students in the Adventist geography, in the way this people teach in their denomination.

    in Christ

    Lyndon Diancin Roque

    (congratulation brother Sean Pitman) for you love to our adventist youth and even for elders.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Lyndon Diancin Roque: Anoteher place to find much material is at http://www.nwcreation.net It freely shares the talks of their annual creation conferences in Seattle. In fact that is where I “met” Spike Psarris. Other favorite speakers of mine are John Byl, Michael J. Oard, Steve Austin, Thomas Kindell, and Larry Vardiman. This web site also has pointers that take you to, among many others, A.E. Wilder-Smith (1915-1995)who was perhaps the best defender of Creationism ever. I find his talks both entertaining and solidly scientific. If I had time for no other, I would choose all of his talks. There are many many more speakers, some better than others on nwcreation. Many of them freely share their accomanying power-points. Another good source is http://www.icr.org/ For best Adventist presentation my vote is for Walter Veith’s series: the Genesis Conflict, available on You Tube.

      I found many years ago there was no sense even trying to speak of God and His word the Bible to my non-Christian friends without dealing with Genesis 1-11. My friends thot of such things like the tooth fairy, something cute you tell children that rational adults know isn’t true. I also found that it was the number one reason youth from our church left off believing in God. So I have made it my business to consume everything on the subject I can find. BTW it only makes sense to give an honest hearing to all sides: 6 day creationists, ID and other theistic evolutionists, and various shades of naturalistic, Darwinian evolutionists. This takes a lot of time but remember friends that the call to worship the Creator is at the beginning of the 3 Angels’ Messages.

      -Shining




      0
      View Comment
  36. Dear Sean,

    I’m glad we agree when it comes to the scale of the Noachian Flood. I think we both agree that the Flood was the one world-wide catastrophe that affected all of life on this planet, and that the flood was followed by massive regional catastrophes before the earth reached a measure of stability. Our only significant difference is that you view these regional catastrophes as occurring throughout the Cenozoic, whereas I view them as occurring during the Pleistocene, or post-flood ice age. At present, I opt for the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary as the upper limit for the flood, whereas you opt for the KT boundary. This accounts for our difference as to where we place the post-flood regional catastrophes. And you know what Sean? You could be right! I have not closed my mind to your position, but I also see what appear to be significant problems with it. However, the important thing is that we are both creationists who believe in a literal creation week, in the actual fall of Adam and Eve, and in the Genesis flood account. Where we place the upper limit of the flood in the geologic column makes for an interesting scientific discussion, but it is not a spiritual issue, and in the eternal scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. I do thank you for your defense of creation and the flood. We are on the same wavelength. God bless you!




    0
    View Comment
  37. Sean,

    I’m glad to see you concede that profound adaptations involving qualitatively new traits–such as toxin systems–can indeed evolve via mutations and natural selection, regardless of how substantial the “fairly specified” specificity is. The remarkable, novel, unquestionably evolved lifestyles of parasitic and predatory animals amply illustrate this. I personally agree with you that God created the original lifeforms that have become parasites and predators (e.g., bacteria, nematodes, mosquitos, snakes).

    Your argument about 1,000 fsaars, however, still falls short of invoking God for two reasons that come to my mind:

    1. As some have suggested, the original life forms containing complex structures like flagellar motility systems, ATPsynthases, and TTSS toxin injectors could have arrived on our planet having evolved originally elsewhere in the universe. Your arguments of probability that require “trillions upon trillions” of years suffer when vast numbers of potential locations and vast numbers of replicating entities can be invoked. (Again, I agree with you on the basic faith-based premise that God, instead, created these life forms instantaneously.)

    2. I’m not convinced that, once the basic machinery is in place, mutations and natural selection cannot build indefinitely on existing systems. You argue that systems are winding down, but regardless of whether you are right, and whether the improvements cannot exceed 1000 fsaars, selection continues to refine and improve and create novel solutions to new challenges. We see evidence almost everywhere we look for the ongoing creativity of natural selection among both slow- and fast-reproducing life forms. The remarkable biodiversity that has evolved following the flood, with terrestrial animals in particular having become highly adapted to ever-changing niches, testifies to this.

    You could help me better understand your arguments for the limited creativity of RM/NS if you could describe some traits that, according to your theory, illustrate why it is impossible for the following transitions to occur because to do so would require >1,000 fsaars:

    – fishes to amphibians
    – amphibians to reptiles
    – reptiles to mammals

    In other words, what trait(s), precisely, would block the gradual evolution of a fish to an amphibian, an amphibian to a reptile, or a reptile to a mammal?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Your argument about 1,000 fsaars, however, still falls short of invoking God for two reasons that come to my mind:

      1. As some have suggested, the original life forms containing complex structures like flagellar motility systems, ATPsynthases, and TTSS toxin injectors could have arrived on our planet having evolved originally elsewhere in the universe. Your arguments of probability that require “trillions upon trillions” of years suffer when vast numbers of potential locations and vast numbers of replicating entities can be invoked. (Again, I agree with you on the basic faith-based premise that God, instead, created these life forms instantaneously.)

      This argument is based on a failed understanding of the statistics involved. Even given an entire universe filled with planets similar to our own, each filled with bacteria to maximum capacity, no novel higher-level biological system is remotely likely to have evolved anywhere in the entire universe this side of a practical eternity of time – i.e., trillions upon trillions of years.

      2. I’m not convinced that, once the basic machinery is in place, mutations and natural selection cannot build indefinitely on existing systems. You argue that systems are winding down, but regardless of whether you are right, and whether the improvements cannot exceed 1000 fsaars, selection continues to refine and improve and create novel solutions to new challenges. We see evidence almost everywhere we look for the ongoing creativity of natural selection among both slow- and fast-reproducing life forms. The remarkable biodiversity that has evolved following the flood, with terrestrial animals in particular having become highly adapted to ever-changing niches, testifies to this.

      Darwinian-style evolution is indeed real and an amazing force of nature. When it works, it works quickly. It is just limited to very low levels of functional complexity is all. It simply cannot produce what neo-Darwinians claim for it.

      The reason you’re not convinced as to the limitations of RM/NS is because you do not understand the nature of protein or DNA sequence space, the distribution of potentially viable sequences within these spaces, or the odds of randomly coming across a qualitatively novel sequence at higher and higher levels of functional complexity within these sequence spaces. If you took the time to sit down and do the math, you’d quickly discover that the Darwinian mechanism has have clear limitations that definitively undermine neo-Darwinism.

      You could help me better understand your arguments for the limited creativity of RM/NS if you could describe some traits that, according to your theory, illustrate why it is impossible for the following transitions to occur because to do so would require >1,000 fsaars:

      – fishes to amphibians
      – amphibians to reptiles
      – reptiles to mammals

      In other words, what trait(s), precisely, would block the gradual evolution of a fish to an amphibian, an amphibian to a reptile, or a reptile to a mammal?

      Anything novel between these groups that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts would qualify (or an equivalent number of codons of DNA) – like the middle ear with tympanic membrane and ear bone in amphibians as well as the amphibian ability to metamorphosize to the adult stage (vs. no such middle ears with in fish or the ability to metamorphosize legs, lungs, etc.), or the amniotic eggs of reptiles with a tough leathery shell (vs. the soft watery gel that surrounds the eggs of amphibians), or the hair and sweat glands of mammals (compared to a lack of such in reptiles), or the true flight feathers of birds with their interlocking Velcro-like features (compared to a lack of such in true reptiles).

      Some of these features might seem very close, morphologically, to certain structures within the proposed evolutionary pathways presented by neo-Darwinists. However, when one actually considers the underlying genetic programming that would be required to make the next morphologic step possible, it is well beyond what RM/NS could achieve in a reasonable amount of time.

      After all, if the pathways were really littered with such closely spaced steppingstones as evolutionists would have us believe, many of these proposed evolutionary steps, like in the evolution of the eye, could be reproduced in the laboratory. The fact is that the minimum number of specific genetic changes needed to realize the next morphologic step are far greater than evolutionists generally realize… or they don’t realize that just a few dozen specific mutational changes, which are not sequentially selectable, would require trillions of years for random mutations of any kind to realize.

      This is why such real time demonstrations have never been produced for such complex structures (like the eye or the flagellum, etc)… not even for the crossing of a single proposed evolutionary step between morphologic steps that are supposedly very tiny baby steps.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  38. Sean&#032Pitman: The Ringneck Pheasant are a native of Asia and were imported to the United States in the 1880′s. It is thought that the escaping of a single breeding pair began the population of these birds in the U.S.

    Sean&#032Pitman: I suppose that Ringneck Pheasants just fly in from Asia on a regular basis?

    FYI, ring-necked pheasants were first introduced to North America (New York) between 1730 and 1733, but failed to become established. The first successful release occurred during 1881-1882, when Judge O. N. Denny released some 100 pairs of Chinese ring-necks in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Other early introductions occurred in New York in 1877 and 1886–1891, Washington in 1883, Colorado in 1885, New Jersey in 1887, Georgia in 1888, California in 1889, Montana about 1895, Illinois in the 1890s, Massachusetts in 1897–1898, Pennsylvania in 1892–1895, California in 1889, Utah in 1890, and the Midwest about 1900. Numerous releases have continued since then.

    Sources (much superior to an internet search):

    Hill, D. A. and P. Robertson. 1988. The pheasant: ecology, management, and conservation. BSP Prof. Books, Oxford, UK.

    Lever, C. 1987. Naturalized birds of the world. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York.

    Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced birds of the world: the worldwide history, distribution, and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Universe Books, New York.

    Prince, H. H., P. Squibb, and G. Y. Belyea. 1988. Sichuans, pheasants of the future?-learning from past release programs. Pages 291-305 in Pheasants: symptoms of wildlife problems on agricultural lands. (Hallett, D. L., W. R. Edwards, and G. V. Burger, Eds.) N. Central Section of The Wildl. Soc. Bloomington, IN.




    0
    View Comment
  39. Sean&#032Pitman: This is a reasonable argument for the White Terns on Oahu and perhaps even for the N. American ring-neck pheasants. However, it is a bit more difficult for bald eagles and several other known examples of populations surviving extreme bottlenecks.

    During the period in question, bald eagles bred in other southeastern states as well. You can rest assured that gene exchange occurred all up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Nestlings in Florida, for example, will fledge and disperse as far north as Canada, with some banded individuals recovered during the breeding season (i.e., presumed breeding) throughout the eastern seaboard–including North Carolina. No one has demonstrated that any bird species recognizes and remains within a state’s designated boundary.

    Yes, there was a genetic bottleneck of some 450 breeding pairs (900+ individuals) in the contiguous 48 states. We are, indeed, very fortunate they are still with us today.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Perhaps, though far less likely for a specific area during general continental population bottlenecks.

      In any case, there are many other examples of extreme population bottlenecks where it is directly known that no outside genetic information was inserted into the population. Yet, the population remains viable and healthy… even starting with gene pools that have been subject to far greater numbers of deleterious mutations compared to the post-Flood era.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  40. Sean&#032Pitman: Thank you for admitting that there simply is no universally consistent single definition of the “species” concept in mainstream literature. It all depends upon which one among many potential definitions one chooses…

    I can’t help but smile when I read a remark like this.

    The simple reason why species concepts are varied, and delineation is inexact, is because biological variation is often continuously distributed, and is distributed in different ways among different traits and among different taxonomic groups. I don’t think you show sufficient understanding or appreciation of this. You simply wave your hands and dismiss most attempts to delineate taxonomic groups as inexact and, therefore, unscientific. I’ll elaborate more on this problem of variation.

    Speciation, as you recognize, occurs almost always in allopatry. The two populations exist under different selective regimes, which leads to change. Initially (immediately after the event that created allopatry, which we’ll call point A), everyone is agreed that a single species exists. Over time, if differences accumulate to a point where they become obvious enough (at point B), everyone agrees they’ve now evolved into two species. The differences we’re talking about can involve behavioral traits, ecological traits, morphological traits, molecular distances, and so forth. There’s a gray zone, however, between point A and point B in which disagreement can result. You need to recognize that the aforementioned traits diverge at different rates. In some cases, morphological traits will diverge faster than molecular traits; in such instances, the morphological species concept may be more appropriate than molecular differences for delineation. In other cases, molecular traits will diverge faster than morphological traits; in such cases, the phylogenetic species concept may be more appropriate for delineation. And while differences of opinion will often exist depending on which of these criteria are prioritized, practicioners very seldom quibble over differences beyond the boundary of two adjacent taxonomic ranks (i.e., they may argue whether two populations comprise the same subspecies or species, but will agree they both are within the same genus).

    Of course, allopatric populations can often merge again to become sympatric, and whether the two differentiated populations merge again into a single one or remain distinct will depend on how far they have become differentiated and whether reproductive isolating mechanisms can evolve to avoid hybridization.

    So, to summarize, the reason we have different species concepts, such as the biological (emphasizing reproductive isolation), morphological, ecological, and phylogenetic species concepts, is because these are all aspects of biological variation that can reflect differences in the gene pools of organisms. They don’t covary lock-in-step; instead, they vary independently of each other.

    In summary, as you well recognize, speciation can happen in a multitude of ways and involve a multitude of traits. Taxonomists and systematists recognize and acknowledge that, just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also many ways to explore and define differences among gene pools. I suggest you embrace this reality rather than besmirch it.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      The simple reason why species concepts are varied, and delineation is inexact, is because biological variation is often continuously distributed, and is distributed in different ways among different traits and among different taxonomic groups.

      That’s right. There’s a continuous spectrum of distribution – except when you’re talking about levels of functional complexity. Only here is there a distinct line between gene pools that is not dependent upon subjective interpretations as to where the line should be drawn between different “kinds” of plants or animals.

      I don’t think you show sufficient understanding or appreciation of this. You simply wave your hands and dismiss most attempts to delineate taxonomic groups as inexact and, therefore, unscientific.

      They fact is, as you admit, all of these definitions you cite take on a component of subjectivity as to exactly where the line of “speciation” should be drawn. It is not an exact science. It is more philosophy or art than science. Sure, there is a scientific component and even a component of reproducibility. However, these definitions also retain an arbitrary subjective element.

      I’ll elaborate more on this problem of variation.

      Speciation, as you recognize, occurs almost always in allopatry. The two populations exist under different selective regimes, which leads to change.

      Yep…

      Initially (immediately after the event that created allopatry, which we’ll call point A), everyone is agreed that a single species exists.

      Yep…

      Over time, if differences accumulate to a point where they become obvious enough (at point B), everyone agrees they’ve now evolved into two species.

      This isn’t quite true since the mechanism is still in question here. Certainly there are uniquely different kinds of gene pools that exist which are based on novel functionality at high levels of functional complexity – levels that cannot be produced by any mindless naturalistic mechanism.

      The differences we’re talking about can involve behavioral traits, ecological traits, morphological traits, molecular distances, and so forth.

      Right…

      There’s a gray zone, however, between point A and point B in which disagreement can result.

      Indeed! It is this “gray zone”, as you call it, that is part of the subjective nature of the definition of the “species” concept. It is not an exact science by any means. I’m glad you can actually admit this much.

      You need to recognize that the aforementioned traits diverge at different rates.

      Oh, I do recognize this concept. I totally agree with this point.

      In some cases, morphological traits will diverge faster than molecular traits; in such instances, the morphological species concept may be more appropriate than molecular differences for delineation.

      Not when it comes to dogs, ironically, where very different morphologic features are given different breed names, but are still considered to be part of the same species because of a lack of molecular divergence.

      You see the problem. Your “rules” cannot be, or at least are not, consistently applied in all cases. Again enters the subjective aspect of determining “species” groups.

      In other cases, molecular traits will diverge faster than morphological traits; in such cases, the phylogenetic species concept may be more appropriate for delineation.

      And here you have the “cryptic” species concept where the different groups of animals look and function in an identical manner. They can even interbreed with each other to produce viable and virile offspring. Yet, they are classified as different species without any regard to functionality – based only on some arbitrary cut-off for genetic divergence of a given genetic region or collection of regions… a cut-off for genetic distance that is also not consistently applied to all groups of plants or animals.

      And while differences of opinion will often exist depending on which of these criteria are prioritized, practicioners very seldom quibble over differences beyond the boundary of two adjacent taxonomic ranks (i.e., they may argue whether two populations comprise the same subspecies or species, but will agree they both are within the same genus).

      Not always true. And, even if this were the case, it doesn’t change the fact that the species concept itself is based on subjective arbitrarily chosen parameters – parameters that are debatable even among mainstream scientists on a case-by-case basis. That is because these parameters are not always consistently chosen or used in practice. They are not generally applied in a consistent universal manner.

      Of course, allopatric populations can often merge again to become sympatric, and whether the two differentiated populations merge again into a single one or remain distinct will depend on how far they have become differentiated and whether reproductive isolating mechanisms can evolve to avoid hybridization.

      True, but irrelevant to my point.

      So, to summarize, the reason we have different species concepts, such as the biological (emphasizing reproductive isolation), morphological, ecological, and phylogenetic species concepts, is because these are all aspects of biological variation that can reflect differences in the gene pools of organisms. They don’t covary lock-in-step; instead, they vary independently of each other.

      Which restates what I’ve been saying all along – that there is no universally applied species concept. The many methods used to defined “species” all have subjective elements that are arbitrarily applied and which are never universally applied in a consistent manner in all cases.

      In summary, as you well recognize, speciation can happen in a multitude of ways and involve a multitude of traits. Taxonomists and systematists recognize and acknowledge that, just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also many ways to explore and define differences among gene pools. I suggest you embrace this reality rather than besmirch it.

      I do embrace and affirm this reality. After all, it is this reality that makes the species concept so subjective and arbitrarily applied to various specific cases.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  41. Sean&#032Pitman: You tell me. At what point is a distinct species realized? For example, just how different does one have to be, genetically, to be classified as a different species? How many mutations, for a given stretch of DNA, does it take to consistently define a novel species with universal application?

    I’m mildly surprised by your reticence to answer my questions. We both know that you have expertise that qualifies you to be a declared authority on most any discipline in science, including taxonomy and systematics (not to mention theology, history, and philosophy). I suggest you do some reading on your own, as I shouldn’t have to explain any of this to you. In the meanwhile, perhaps my primer will help you understand that systematics is a legitimate science based on very sound concepts and methodology, and that species delineation, while complex, has a sound method to what you imply is madness.

    The two primary approaches for delineating species using molecular (DNA) variation involve (1) genetic distance and (2) reciprocal monophyly. The latter is based on unique sequence variation, not amount of variation.

    For genetic distance (amount of variation), the amount of DNA base pair differences required for distinguishing between species and subspecies depends on DNA region (some regions evolve faster than others) and organism group (the same region in different groups can evolve at varying rates). I know that you would like a universal criterion, but you won’t get this unless you want to stick strictly with reciprocal monophyly–that’s about as universal as you’ll ever get, but it still has its limitations (e.g., incomplete lineage sorting and past introgressive hybridization).

    With regard to amount of DNA variation, here’s how it works. One simply examines variation among many taxa at various taxonomic ranks, including well-defined closely-related sympatric species (e.g., two frog species that look similar but despite living together rarely or never interbreed), and variation within population segments of those species. For certain mtDNA markers, for example, one may find that DNA differences above 5% exist among different genera, 1-2% exist among distinct species, and differences less than 1% correspond to subspecies. So, if one then wishes to discern whether two candidate populations–especially allopatric populations for which reproductive isolation cannot be discerned–are distinct species, one simply compares their genetic distance with that already established for different taxonomic ranks within the group. If frog A and frog B, for example, look virtually identical but differ by 2.9%, then one would conclude they are probably distinct species–indeed, these are cryptic species, as you recognize.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. It works.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      For certain mtDNA markers, for example, one may find that DNA differences above 5% exist among different genera, 1-2% exist among distinct species, and differences less than 1% correspond to subspecies.

      Are these percentages consistently and universally applied in all cases? Do you have a reference for these numbers and their universal application? If so, please do provide said reference regarding universally applied percentage of divergence for any mtDNA markers or other genetic regions…

      So, if one then wishes to discern whether two candidate populations–especially allopatric populations for which reproductive isolation cannot be discerned–are distinct species, one simply compares their genetic distance with that already established for different taxonomic ranks within the group. If frog A and frog B, for example, look virtually identical but differ by 2.9%, then one would conclude they are probably distinct species–indeed, these are cryptic species, as you recognize.

      Again, do you have a reference for your percentages for any region or kind of genetic sequence and their universal application in all cases?

      There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. It works.

      Does it consistently work in all cases? Can it be universally applied without disagreement or contradiction? – the same definition for the degree of divergence of a specific genetic sequence defines all groups of plants or animals with this same degree of divergence as a different “species” group? If so, where is your reference to this effect?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  42. A couple of my edits took in the preceding comment, and a few did not show up. Now there are two summary statements. Oh well.

    I’ll add two more things:

    1 – Systematists appropriately acknowledge that their taxonomic arguments and reconstructions are simply hypotheses.

    2 – Most practicioners use more than one species concept (or operational definition) to argue the delineation of any given species boundaries. Clearly, the more concepts applied to the argument, the better. For Sean, it may merely be “depends upon which one among many potential definitions one chooses…,” but systematists are much more methodical and sophisticated than Sean would like for you to believe.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Exactly. This is right in line with my comments that there is no single set species definition that can be consistently and universally applied. One is forced to pick and choose and combine various species concepts, with a component of human subjectivity thrown in, in order to define what is and what is not really a “species”.

      In contrast, my definition of a unique “kind” of gene pool, based on levels of functional complexity that are beyond the reach of any naturalistic mechanism, can be universally applied, in theory at least, without dependence upon human subjectivity.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  43. To continue with problem #4 in the previous post, I should add that there are numerous polyploid species among plants and animals that have isolated gene pools not because of functional differences, but because of chromosomal constraints.

    Another problem with your definition is its limited ability to help us understand the speciation process. By focusing solely on identifying functional differences–which are exceedingly difficult to ascertain for many taxa because of the frequent need to examine traits functioning in the natural environment–we overlook a great deal of information more readily obtained from other traits, including molecular. Now that I think of it, by ignoring the molecular traits that are central to the phylogenetic and evolutionary species concepts, you might be completely unable to identify cryptic species.

    Yes, Sean, we would all love to identify a single universally-applicable species definition, but it’s simply not realistic. Don’t lull yourself into believing you can accomplish what thousands who have gone before you have failed to do. And don’t be so dogmatic about your correctness and the errant approach of everyone who disagrees with you.




    0
    View Comment
  44. Sean&#032Pitman: there is no single set species definition that can be consistently and universally applied. One is forced to pick and choose and combine various species concepts, with a component of human subjectivity thrown in, in order to define what is and what is not really a “species”.
    In contrast, my definition of a unique “kind” of gene pool, based on levels of functional complexity that are beyond the reach of any naturalistic mechanism, can be universally applied, in theory at least, without dependence upon human subjectivity.

    No, Sean, you are dead wrong, though I’m sure you will continue to argue otherwise.

    The key problem with your definition is that it lacks clarity and operational specificity. Here are just a few problems that come to mind without delving deep:

    1. Your definition assumes that two or more populations having functional differences are reproductively isolated, but fails to identify how different the differences must be–unless it’s your magical 1000 fsaars, in which case useful data are completely lacking for the vast majority of species. To illustrate this problem, try telling us exactly what functional differences exist among the following universally recognized sympatric species. Better yet, tell us the size of these differences (in fsaar or other relevant units).

    Small-mouthed bass, large-mouthed bass (fish)
    Tiger salamander, spotted salamander (amphibians)
    Golden eagle, bald eagle (birds)
    Deer mouse, cactus mouse (mammals)

    2. Your definition relies on the same criteria used in other species concepts or definitions. The functional differences that might exist could, for example, result from morphological differences (morphological species concept), ecological differences (ecological species concept), or behavioral differences (behavioral species concept). You haven’t introduced anything novel with your definition.

    3. Your definition fails to consider the relevance of functional differences to reproductive isolation and population divergence. It ignores polymorphisms, for example, which can result in dramatic functional differences among individuals within a single population, yet the functionally distinct genotypes do not emerge as distinct species. These polymorphisms can be maintained by frequency-dependent selection (you probably need to Google this) within a single population. Genetic polymorphisms in alternative mating tactics, for example, are widespread among animals. Consider the many species of fish which have multiple (as many as four) genetically-based alternative mating tactics. Some males (territorial males) take a long time to achieve a large size, but then set up and defend territories from other males, and mate many females that enter their territory. Other males (sneaker males) quickly mature at a small size and, resembling a female, they sneak into the territories of the territorial males and obtain fertilizations by cuckoldry. Functionally, these mating tactics are very, very different, yet they are maintained within a single gene pool by frequency-dependent selection. Another example of a genetic polymorphism would be the European cuckoo, in which some female lineages prefer to brood parasitize (lay eggs in nest of) one particular songbird species, and other female lineages prefer to brood parasitize other particular songbird species. Again, you’ve got a major functional difference resulting in multiple females gentes (lineages), but males cross-mate them to maintain the cuckoo as a single species. Genetic-based morphological polymorphisms are also abundant, such as within the snow goose. The white versus blue individuals, having very distinctive colors, result in significant thermoregularly differences, yet the two groups formerly considered distinct species maintain a single gene pool.

    4. Your definition overlooks subtle traits that may be non-functional, but which can still lead to reproductive isolation and population divergence. Consider the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). These are two broadly sympatric cryptic species that look identical. The former is diploid and the latter is tetraploid. They can be distinguished by comparing their calls relative to body temperature (i.e., one must know the body temperature) and by examining the size of their red blood cells, which differs because of DNA content. Their gene pools are maintained separately because hybrids would be triploid and gamete production via meiosis would break down. Your definition would synonymize these two taxa unless–and I wish you good luck–you could identify functional differences.




    0
    View Comment
  45. Sean&#032Pitman: That’s right. There’s a continuous spectrum of distribution – except when you’re talking about levels of functional complexity. Only here is there a distinct line between gene pools that is not dependent upon subjective interpretations as to where the line should be drawn between different “kinds” of plants or animals.

    Oh sure, so “levels of functional complexity” are not continuously distributed? There’s a major gap–a bimodal distribution–for which you can objectively and correctly decipher what constitutes a population or subspecies versus a valid species? Where are the data for this claim? Can you cite a reference to back up this claim (I’ll most certainly look it up)? What is the precise measure for this magical criterion that you claim to be universally applicable? Do tell!

    Look Sean, you have indicated you have no desire to publish in appropriate journals your most profound syntheses regarding evolutionary theory. If you could convince me you truly have something at all valuable–or as revolutionary as your claims suggest–I’d happily write the paper for you and coauthor it with you as the first author. I know how to publish in mainstream science, and have the courage to do so.

    The problem is that it’s becoming increasingly clear that while you can dismiss everybody else’s science regarding taxonomy and systematics (and essentially every other discipline in science) and claim that your understanding, being informed by scripture, is far superior, you can’t convince anyone other than your non-scientist readers here that you have a firm grasp on what you make claims about.




    0
    View Comment
  46. Sean&#032Pitman: Are these percentages consistently and universally applied in all cases? Do you have a reference for these numbers and their universal application? If so, please do provide said reference regarding universally applied percentage of divergence for any mtDNA markers or other genetic regions…

    You’re not paying attention. I’ve already made clear that percentages used in delineating species will vary depending on the gene that is sequenced (genetic marker used), unit of measurement, and taxonomic group. There is no such thing as a universally applied percentage for delineating species, although Hey and Pinho (2012) make a valiant effort to derive one. If you want to learn more (which I seriously doubt since you’ve already decided what facts are true in advance), you can start with the following reference and check the papers cited within it:

    Hey, J. and C. Pinho. 2012. Population genetics and objectivity in species diagnosis. Evolution 66-5:1413-1429.

    But, of course, there’s little point in supplying you references because you and I both know that you won’t read them, as you can’t even access the vast majority of literature out there. And we both know that I’m not going to use my library access to do your work for you.




    0
    View Comment
  47. Sean&#032Pitman: …and you’ll be able to move beyond your more or less empirically blind faith to a more rational understanding of the claims of the Bible regarding origins.

    Any reader here recognizes that the Bible makes relatively few claims regarding origins compared to those you make. The Bible claims God created all living life forms on this planet within a 6-day span. One can only infer that this event happened in the recent past; the Bible itself makes no such claims. Further, the Bible makes no claims about the creative limits of RM/NS (it says absolutely nothing about mutations or natural selection), the eventual demise of all slowly-reproducing animals, the distribution of life forms in the geologic column (the incontrovertible sequence from simple to complex) or explanations of it, the timing of glaciation events relative to the flood, the relative abundance of different radioisotopes, and so forth that form your elaborate construct which you call “reason” to believe God’s word regarding origins can be trusted.

    If you wish to put me down–hardly for the first time–for accepting Scripture’s claim(s) based on reliance on God’s word rather than all the other empirical claims you believe support your view, you’re certainly entitled to that. My belief in this regard is no different than that of the vast majority of faithful Christians prior to the first books that appeared in the creationist literature.

    Most readers here recognize that you derogate my faith and that of other like-minded SDA scientists not because we believe differently than you do regarding origins (many of us embrace young life creationism), but because we have arrived at our beliefs for different reasons. We’re amused that you insist your faith is superior and that ours is as useless as belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Highly amused.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Any reader here recognizes that the Bible makes relatively few claims regarding origins compared to those you make. The Bible claims God created all living life forms on this planet within a 6-day span. One can only infer that this event happened in the recent past; the Bible itself makes no such claims.

      While the Bible doesn’t list a specific date B.C.E for the creation week, the Bible is quite clear that it was in fact a recent historical event – i.e., within the last 10,000 years or so (certainly not millions of years ago).

      Further, the Bible makes no claims about the creative limits of RM/NS (it says absolutely nothing about mutations or natural selection), the eventual demise of all slowly-reproducing animals, the distribution of life forms in the geologic column (the incontrovertible sequence from simple to complex) or explanations of it, the timing of glaciation events relative to the flood, the relative abundance of different radioisotopes, and so forth that form your elaborate construct which you call “reason” to believe God’s word regarding origins can be trusted.

      The creation of all life within recent history via a 6-day creation week event, together with a Noachian Flood, necessitates the observation of certain features of living things if such a story is to be rationally credible. Also, the Bible does indeed describe the degeneration of vitality of living things and the wearing out of the planet over time.

      The Bible’s claims are consistent with the observed laws of informational entropy while mainstream science is inconsistent with these laws.

      If you wish to put me down–hardly for the first time–for accepting Scripture’s claim(s) based on reliance on God’s word rather than all the other empirical claims you believe support your view, you’re certainly entitled to that. My belief in this regard is no different than that of the vast majority of faithful Christians prior to the first books that appeared in the creationist literature.

      The weight of evidence shifts over time. As new evidence comes to light, it forces those who appreciate the empirical basis for faith to re-evaluate prior notions of truth. Those who refuse to do this, who will not evaluate their positions in light of new evidence, cannot be subject to potential falsification or any change of mind for any reason. These hold their positions blindly regardless of anything that may be presented. Many people in various faith traditions, to include many SDAs, are of this mindset – as are you.

      Your arguments tend to tear down a rational basis for faith for many people since you continually argue that the Bible must be accepted almost entirely on faith that is blind to empirical evidence – in the face of what you claim is the best science for the explanation of life on this planet. For many people, your faith position is irrational. I am one of those who, if I believed like you believe regarding the validity of mainstream science, would be forced to leave not only Adventism behind, but Christianity as well.

      Most readers here recognize that you derogate my faith and that of other like-minded SDA scientists not because we believe differently than you do regarding origins (many of us embrace young life creationism), but because we have arrived at our beliefs for different reasons. We’re amused that you insist your faith is superior and that ours is as useless as belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Highly amused.

      Empirical evidence is no laughing matter. It is important to the faith position of many many people – a concept you seem to take lightly. So far, the current Adventist Church leadership recognizes the importance of providing an empirical basis for faith in the credibility of the claims of the Bible. If few were at all concerned along these lines, no one would care if any of our schools, like LSU in particular, promoted the scientific validity of neo-Darwinism or not…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  48. Sean&#032Pitman: My definition is not a new definition of “species”. My definition is a definition of qualitatively novel gene pools that contain functional systems that go well beyond the powers of any mindless naturalistic mechanism to explain.

    This concession on your part comes as a bit of a surprise given the manner in which you contrasted existing species definitions with your definition (e.g., your comment on June 30, 2012 at 8:48 am). Nevertheless, I see you’ve made some progress in your thinking.

    Sean&#032Pitman
    Various species definitions have their place and their utility. However, not one of these taxonomic definitions draws a distinct line that marks the limits of what the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS can explain.

    Of course they don’t. No one has ever suggested they do. I encourage you to make up your mind: do you embrace (as you recently stated) or reject (as you’ve hinted all along) any utility of species definitions? If you’re going to continue criticizing existing species definitions, you should criticize them for what they actually address, not the attributes you seem to think they should address.

    Sean&#032PitmanMy definition does mark the “edge of evolution” when it comes to explaining the origin of functionally novel gene pools.

    Your definition of what? You’ve represented it as the most suitable definition of a taxonomic entity, so what is its name if not a species? Personally, I think you’re trying to define the boundary between macroevolution and megaevolution–which is not at all a taxonomic unit.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      This concession on your part comes as a bit of a surprise given the manner in which you contrasted existing species definitions with your definition (e.g., your comment on June 30, 2012 at 8:48 am). Nevertheless, I see you’ve made some progress in your thinking.

      Many creationists think that no new species can evolve. Given the numerous modern definitions of the concept of “species”, none of which are based on levels of functional complexity, this common creationist argument is mistaken.

      That is why I draw a contrast between my definition of limitations to what can and cannot evolve via RM/NS and the modern concept of “species”. Also, my definition can be universally applied . . .

      Various species definitions have their place and their utility. However, not one of these taxonomic definitions draws a distinct line that marks the limits of what the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS can explain. – Sean Pitman

      Of course they don’t. No one has ever suggested they do.

      Exactly my point. Practically no one in mainstream science recognizes any limitation to the creative potential of RM/NS based on levels of functional complexity.

      I encourage you to make up your mind: do you embrace (as you recently stated) or reject (as you’ve hinted all along) any utility of species definitions?

      Not when it comes to determining the potential and/or limits to the mechanism of RM/NS – no. The modern species concept simply is not useful here. And yet, this is the topic in play in this particular forum.

      If you’re going to continue criticizing existing species definitions, you should criticize them for what they actually address, not the attributes you seem to think they should address.

      Again, this forum is entirely about the potential and limits of RM/NS as an evolutionary mechanism. This forum is not about the various potential uses of taxonomy that are not related to the main topic of discussion.

      Your definition of what? You’ve represented it as the most suitable definition of a taxonomic entity, so what is its name if not a species? Personally, I think you’re trying to define the boundary between macroevolution and megaevolution–which is not at all a taxonomic unit.

      That’s right. Such boundaries are not part of any modern definitions of taxonomic classification. That’s my point here. My definition is unique in that it does specify the limitations of mindless naturalistic mechanisms when it comes to explaining qualitatively novel genetic elements in different gene pools beyond very low levels of functional complexity…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  49. Sean&#032Pitman: The various concepts I’ve presented to you regarding the potential and limits of RM/NS only seem incompatible to you because you’ve spent very little if any time considering what actually happens to this mechanism at various levels of functional complexity. Once you actually start to investigate the concept of levels of functional complexity and the nature of sequence space at various levels of functional complexity, things will start to come into focus for you too… and you’ll be able to move beyond your more or less empirically blind faith to a more rational understanding of the claims of the Bible regarding origins.

    Why is it that so many geneticists arrive at a different conclusion? Is it because they spend less time investigating levels of functional complexity and sequence spacing than you do? Or because their conclusions are based on faith, unlike yours?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      Why is it that so many geneticists arrive at a different conclusion? Is it because they spend less time investigating levels of functional complexity and sequence spacing than you do? Or because their conclusions are based on faith, unlike yours?

      This is a difficult question, but it may have to do with the fact that most scientists are brought up from childhood indoctrinated in Darwinian thinking. They are never taught to question this untouchable doctrine. Beyond this, when one does think to question it, they experience heavy peer pressure to stop doing so – to the point of having their careers put in jeopardy.

      Regardless of the reasons, it is a fact that very few published papers even discuss the concept of levels of biological complexity – and none discuss the specific limitations that these levels place on the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS when it comes to the average expected time needed to evolve anything novel at various levels.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  50. Sean&#032Pitman: The determination that the Bible is in fact the sure Word of God can be, and I think should be, based on reason and intelligence

    No objection here whatsoever.

    Once accepted as the word of God, there are many claims in scripture beyond the purview of science that can only be accepted on faith (subject to appropriate interpretation), including a literal six-day creation week and a global flood (not to mention the floating axehead, virgin birth of Jesus, and resurrection of long-deceased human bodies). Seventh-day Adventists accept these claims on faith. And if these claims clearly contradict all available science (which the floating axehead, virgin birth, and resurrection of a deceased body most certainly do), Seventh-day Adventists do not then reject the Bible and Christianity in their entirety. Sean Pitman may, but true SDAs do not.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Again, the question is why does one accept the Bible among so many compete options as the real Word of God? If this choice is based on blind faith without any rational basis or appeal to the weight of empirical evidence, what you have is nothing much more useful than wishful thinking… not the kind of faith that has the power to provide a solid hope in the future for most rational people – especially in the face of very difficult trials or even the threat of torture and death.

      What you’re asking people to do is to accept the Bible without really considering the weight of empirical evidence or any additional evidence that may contribute to the current weight of evidence for or against the Bible’s credibility. That’s simply not a rational expectation. Certain God does not expect anyone to believe without a rational basis for belief or faith set upon the weight of evidence that would appeal to the candid mind.

      In this line, we are talking about what paid representatives of the SDA Church are teaching and/or preaching in the name of the Church. The Adventist Church, as an organization, simply cannot afford to pay people to go around teaching our young people that the best we have to support the Adventist position on origins is faith that is effectively blind to the otherwise overwhelming scientific basis for neo-Darwinism. That simply isn’t helpful to Adventism. Those who believe in neo-Darwinism, however honest and sincere they may be (and there are many in this category) cannot effectively represent the Adventist perspective on several fundamental doctrinal positions within our schools…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  51. Regarding the possible evolution of feathers in birds, information for producing feathers exists in the genes of the American Alligator, but the instructions are suppressed during embryological development, causing alligator hatchlings to produce only scales. Again, I don’t see a single huge step to go from featherless to feathered.

    When one considers the dramatic variation in feather types that exists today–from simple (single filament) to complex (with barbs and barbules), I don’t see a single 1,000-fsaar step as being necessary for this transition.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Regarding the possible evolution of feathers in birds, information for producing feathers exists in the genes of the American Alligator, but the instructions are suppressed during embryological development, causing alligator hatchlings to produce only scales. Again, I don’t see a single huge step to go from featherless to feathered.

      Individual genes usually code for basic building blocks that can be used for very different purposes in different creatures. For example, humans and sea anemones share numerous genes, used for different purposes, that are not present in plants or animals that are supposedly much more closely “related” to the sea anemone.

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Anemone

      Regardless, the fact remains that flight feathers are complex structural systems that require far more than 1000 specifically coded residue positions where each position must be specifically coded relative to all the other positions in the system (involving many genes).

      Such a system could not have evolved from any gene pool where the original ancestors of that gene pool did not have the genetic code for a such a system. Such a complex system may be lost over time (as is the case with cave fish who have lost the ability to make eyes). However, such a system cannot be evolved via RM/NS.

      When one considers the dramatic variation in feather types that exists today–from simple (single filament) to complex (with barbs and barbules), I don’t see a single 1,000-fsaar step as being necessary for this transition.

      As I’ve explained to you numerous times before, the genetic distance between qualitatively novel systems that a require at least 1000 specifically arranged parts is never 1000aa differences. The Hamming distance is sequence space is always smaller, much smaller, than the minimum size/specificity requirement for the complex system.

      The Hamming distance need only be a few dozen required residues changes in order to be uncrossable by random mutations in what anyone would consider to be a reasonable amount of time.

      This is the same basic misunderstanding of the impact of the minimum likely gap distances that effectively block what might otherwise seem like small phenotypic steps between a proposed evolutionary “spectrum” of existing phenotypes… like the variation “spectrum” that exists between different types of eyes for example.

      The problem, of course, is that the gap distance between each one of the proposed steppingstones in such evolutionary sequences is far far too far for the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS to actually cross.

      For further information on this topic, please refer to the following links:

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/humaneye.html#Nilsson

      http://sciencepolice2010.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/oh-what-a-tangled-web-he-weaves/

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  52. Sean&#032Pitman: Your arguments tend to tear down a rational basis for faith for many people since you continually argue that the Bible must be accepted almost entirely on faith that is blind to empirical evidence – in the face of what you claim is the best science for the explanation of life on this planet.

    You remain as clueless as ever. I have never argued the Bible must be accepted almost entirely on faith that is blind to empirical evidence. I have simply stated, many times, that SDAs and most honest YLCs accept the origins account (and other miraculous claims in scripture that cannot be verified by science) largely on faith. Will you never stop denigrating faith?

    Sean&#032Pitman: Empirical evidence is no laughing matter.

    What’s laughable is when one elevates their own reason and intelligence ahead of God’s sure word.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      The determination that the Bible is in fact the sure Word of God can be, and I think should be, based on reason and intelligence – The Bible itself advises us to use our God-given powers to think and reason to determine what is and isn’t true, based on the “weight of evidence”, among the many “Holy Books” or individuals who claim to contain or speak the words of God (Isaiah 1:18; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 4:1).

      “The human mind is endowed with power to discriminate between right and wrong. God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence… – Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 458

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  53. Sean&#032Pitman: Again, this forum is entirely about the potential and limits of RM/NS as an evolutionary mechanism. This forum is not about the various potential uses of taxonomy that are not related to the main topic of discussion.

    This is, of course, the Sean Pitman forum. It’s whatever you decide it should be–whatever educated truth is.

    Sean&#032Pitman: the Bible does indeed describe the degeneration of vitality of living things and the wearing out of the planet over time. The Bible’s claims are consistent with the observed laws of informational entropy.

    Where are these claims? Human longevity declined, but where do we read that other life forms have degenerated? And how would the remarkable diversity we see today, which has come about subsequent to the extremely severe genetic bottleneck of the flood, be seen as degeneration?

    Sean&#032Pitman: The weight of evidence shifts over time. As new evidence comes to light, it forces those who appreciate the empirical basis for faith to re-evaluate prior notions of truth. Those who refuse to do this, who will not evaluate their positions in light of new evidence, cannot be subject to potential falsification or any change of mind for any reason. These hold their positions blindly regardless of anything that may be presented. Many people in various faith traditions, to include many SDAs, are of this mindset – as are you.

    You have a remarkably dim view toward those who do not share your special talent in deducing all sorts of specific details that God neglected to share with us.




    0
    View Comment
  54. Pauluc: Jeff Kent and I have both offered advice in publication of these experiments in the peer reviewed literature.

    Ain’t gonna happen, Pauluc. And remarkably, no one seems to want to become famous by scooping Sean’s math.

    Pauluc: You [Sean Pitman] might like to also comment on your model of evolution of all Y chromosome variation that exists today from a single Y chromosome 4000 years ago at the time of flood. In case anyone suggests there were 4 males on the boat and therefore there were 4 Y chromosomes, Noah and his 3 sons would all have the one identical Y chromosome because of transmission from Noah to his sons.

    Very fascinating problem! Seems someone could do some math on mutation rates over the 4,000-year time span.




    0
    View Comment
  55. And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

    If anything, the only evidence Ms. White spoke of that might be used to offer support for one of the two major hypotheses on origins is her claim that humans and dinosaurs coexisted together (if it’s fair, that is, to equate dinosaurs to the “class of very large animals which perished at the flood” that she wrote of, as she never mentioned dinosaurs specifically). On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

    I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      “I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.”

      Jeff, it’s already been copiously demonstrated that the fossil record does have many examples of plants and animals much larger than their current counterparts. So I am puzzled as to how evidence supporting what she said harms the perception that she was accurate in what she said.

      The one issue that you’re hanging your hat on is the absence of any confirmed remains of genuinely pre-Flood humans. But there is a great deal of evidence that the race has become smaller over time, not larger. If you’re willing to read my manuscript with an open mind, you’ll find that to be true. The evidence is simply ignored and filtered out by mainstream science, because it is meaningless and insignificant in current evolutionary models, which have modern humans evolving from the 3 ft tall “Lucy” to modern 5′ 10″ humans. (But, as several have noted, even Darwinian science hasn’t always been committed to this model; hence Weidenreich’s interest in gigantopithicus and meganthropus.)




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

      It isn’t the body size that conflicts with evolutionary theory. It is the very rapid catastrophic nature of the formation of much of the geologic column that is inconsistent with neo-Darwinism – and strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

      On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

      A lack of positive evidence isn’t the same thing as a “contradiction”. Also, the currently available empirical evidence does not support neo-Darwinism over and above Biblical creationism. The opposite is true. The fossil/geologic evidence strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

      I don’t think it’s wise to trumpet Ellen White’s quote regarding gigantic pre-flood organisms. Doing so can only harm any perception of her as being an accurate source of scientific facts. Surely you folks can see this.

      But gigantic fossilized organisms are a fact of science – consistent with the Biblical description of a vastly better and more verdant pre-Flood world. There really is no argument here except when it comes to pre-Flood humans. And, the evidence in favor of the Biblical model has more to do with the duration of the formation of the geologic/fossil records than it has to do with the size of pre-Flood organisms.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  56. Ms. White wrote, “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…

    Do SDAs believe that all fossils resulted from the flood? Sean Pitman and Bob Helm have suggested that many fossils are AFTER the flood. Do you folks believe this? And were there also fossils preserved BEFORE the flood?

    What do you folks make of dinsosaur tooth marks on other fossils? Did dinosaurs actually survive the flood by being preserved in the ark, and then feed on the caracasses served up by the flood? Or did they feed on other dead animals and become preserved before the flood?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Regarding pre-Flood fossils, I think they were probably limited to single-celled organisms, with the possible exception of the Ediacaran forms. The Bible and Ellen White describe a pre-Flood water cycle that did not include rain, and would not have created the large-scale erosion and deposition, and hence fossil formation, that we see today.

      I would say that many fossils were formed after the Flood. I would say, at a minimum, that all the quaternary (Pleistocene and recent) fossils are post-Flood.

      There are no dinosaur remains above (or least significantly above) the K/T boundary, so I don’t think they survived the Flood. In my book, “Dinsoaurs – An Adventist View,” I spell out why I think they did not survive.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: I am comfortable with fossils after the flood. It makes a lot of sense. I will say that many things both creos and evos believed got changed after the succession of events on Mt. St. Hellens so that anything stated beyond the accounts of inspiration are always tentative in my mind.

      -Shining




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Do SDAs believe that all fossils resulted from the flood? Sean Pitman and Bob Helm have suggested that many fossils are AFTER the flood. Do you folks believe this? And were there also fossils preserved BEFORE the flood?

      Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.

      What do you folks make of dinsosaur tooth marks on other fossils? Did dinosaurs actually survive the flood by being preserved in the ark, and then feed on the caracasses served up by the flood? Or did they feed on other dead animals and become preserved before the flood?

      Perhaps some kinds of “dinosaurs” did survive the Flood – like alligators and crocodiles, etc. However, many of the largest and/or most viscous kinds did not survive.

      As far as scavenging is concerned, the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      I don’t think there’s really a firm consensus about the last Flood-laid level in the geologic column, although many creation scientists would agree with Sean. (For example, I think Kurt Wise also argues that the Flood/post-Flood boundary is the K/T boundary.)

      A few creation scientists would put the boundary even lower than the K/T, and many would put it higher, perhaps at the paleogene/neogene (oligocene/miocene) boundary. A few others would put it even higher still, at the pliocene/pleistocene boundary.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      How do you know when the flood ended in the fossil record? Creationists traditionally viewed Tertiary sediments as deposited by the flood.

      Most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins interpret Tertiary sediments as post-Flood sediments. Part of the evidence in this regard is that fossil trackways of reptiles and dinosaurs abruptly end at the end of the Cretaceous period. In other words, no more trackways means no more live animals walking around on the sediments by that point of the Flood.

      Tertiary sediments were produced by more localized post-Flood catastrophes.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  57. I’m a bit surprised by the number here who have readily agreed that Ms. White’s statement on fossils of antediluvian humans being found has so far proven incorrect.

    So where did Ms. White get her notion that antediluvian humans much larger than now exist would be found as evidence to establish faith in inspired history? Did others who preceded her make such suggestions? Was she the first to make such a claim? Did she see this in a vision?

    The animal fossils had already been unearthed, so there was nothing new about this. I’m not up on the plant fossils. She has so far been wrong about human fossils.

    With regard to “inspired history” to which the giant organisms supposedly witness evidence to, where’s the actual “inspiration” that tells us larger organisms existed prior to the flood? Where are the Bible verses? Or is it just Ellen White’s statements (which to me, frankly, have not bolstered anything about inspiration thus far)?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, Ellen White’s statements about larger antediluvian life forms are well attested with regard to many different types of flora and fauna. They’re not even controversial.

      You’re pointing to the issue of human remains, but the evidence is more mixed than you know. I had researched and written an appendix to my book on dinosaurs about giant human remains, but cut if from the final book, which was already too long. If you’d like the unpublished manuscript, please email me at david@readlawoffice.com, and I will send it to you.

      There’s a lot of evidence, including scientific evidence of Turkana Boy and Franz Weidenreich’s Meganthropus, which Bob Helm and Sean Pitman have already mentioned. In the mid-20th Century, evolutionary science was open to the idea that modern humans evolved from apes via giant apes like Gigantopithicus. But most of the evidence is from other sources. The ancients commonly believed that the race had been reduced in size. The Bible itself gives evidence of this, as do ancient pagan sources like Homer. The evidence that Ellen White may have been thinking of was the constant stream of 7 and 8 foot skeletons uncovered from north American mounds in the 19th Century. The native americans also believed that a race of giants had preceded them.

      Seriously, if you or anyone else wants to see the manuscript appendix, email me. After I cut it from the dinosaur book, I was going to publish it as a small softbound volume, but I never followed through with that project. It would need considerable additional research to really be worth publishing, and maybe some day I’ll get around to it, but if anyone is really interested, it will provide some ideas for future research.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      So where did Ms. White get her notion that antediluvian humans much larger than now exist would be found as evidence to establish faith in inspired history? Did others who preceded her make such suggestions? Was she the first to make such a claim? Did she see this in a vision?

      Mrs. White claimed to have been shown the pre-Flood world in vision and to have been shown that many kinds of plants, animals, and humans were much larger then compared to their modern counterparts. She did not claim to have been shown what would be discovered in the fossil record of the remains of this world. It is possible that she simply assumed that everything she was shown in vision would be found buried in the Flood sediments of the geologic column. After all, she knew of the finds of large plant and animal fossils and had no doubt heard of fantastic reports of large human fossils as well – possibly to include reports of post-Flood remains of 7-9 foot tall 600+ pound well-proportioned and muscular human fossils like Meganthropus (truly giant-like compared to modern humans).

      Or, there is even the 3.5 meter bronze-age Giant of Castelnau.

      In any case, the lack of validated evidence of pre-Flood human remains does not invalidate Mrs. White’s general claim that the fossil record was intended to support our faith in the Genesis account of origins. The evidence that we do have is in fact very consistent with a picture of a pre-Flood world that was vastly richer and more verdant than the world we live in today… filled with much larger plants and animals, on average.

      The animal fossils had already been unearthed, so there was nothing new about this. I’m not up on the plant fossils. She has so far been wrong about human fossils.

      Just because pre-Flood human fossils have yet to be found does not mean that she was necessarily wrong about their existence. The rest of the fossil evidence very strongly supports the recent and catastrophic origin of much of the geologic column and fossil records… right in line with the Genesis account.

      With regard to “inspired history” to which the giant organisms supposedly witness evidence to, where’s the actual “inspiration” that tells us larger organisms existed prior to the flood? Where are the Bible verses? Or is it just Ellen White’s statements (which to me, frankly, have not bolstered anything about inspiration thus far)?

      The Bible describes a massive Flood on a global scale that destroyed all pre-Flood land-animal life. It rationally follows that such a Flood would leave evidence of its activity. Fossils of plants and animals, as well as massive deposits of coal and oil, are part of that evidence – part of the support for the Biblical account of origins.

      The Bible also describes the markedly enhanced strength and vigor of pre-Flood humans. If true, this implies that plants and animals were also bigger and better than they are today. It’s a rational inference from the Biblical account alone… an inference that is in fact supported by the fossil record.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  58. Sean&#032Pitman: Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.

    What do you think of Leonard Brand’s wholistic geology hypothesis in which he postulates that “a literal one-week of creation, literal global flood, short age geology theory does not require that all or most of the geologic column be placed within the one-year of the flood.” (Brand 2007, p. 31)

    A pdf of Brand’s 2007 publication in Origins is posted here:

    http://www.grisda.org/origins/61007.pdf




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      I think that Dr. Brand’s “wholistic hypothesis” has several interesting features that seem to me to reasonably explain certain aspects of the geologic column quite well, especially in the lower Paleozoic. However, I just wouldn’t apply these features as far up the column as Brand suggests because of the very widespread and catastrophic nature of the column at higher levels, to include mass extinctions on an enormous scale – as Brand himself points out. There is also very good evidence of closely-spaced catastrophes within the upper Paleozoic and Mesozoic, as well as universal paleocurrents, a lack of expected bioturbation and erosion between layers (beyond rapid sheet erosion).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  59. I am aware that many creationists have proposed the KT boundary as the upper limit of flood sediments in the geologic column. However, I still favor the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary as roughly the upper limit of flood sediments. Please note that I state this somewhat tenatively, and I am willing to reconsider my position on the basis of convincing data to the contrary. However, the sheer magnitude of Tertiary sediments seems far too great to explain on the basis of regional or local catastrophes in the early postdiluvian world. If the Tertiary sediments did not result from the Genesis flood, we would probably need a second world-wide flood to account for them! Also petroleum deposits are found in the geologic column up through the Pliocene, but not after, and magnetic reversals continue into the lower and middle Pleistocene. Inasmuch as these flood induced phenomena appear throughout the Tertiary, their presence in that part of the column is difficult to explain if the Tertiary is postdiluvial. So I suggest that the Phanerozoic fossils from the Cambrian through the Pliocene are derived from the Genesis flood. Furthermore, I tentatively suggest that the Great Unconformity on the Pre-Cambrian-Cambrian boundary (that can be viewed at many sites throughout the world, including the Grand Canyon) marks the onset of the Genesis flood.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bob Helm: I agree with Bob about the pre-Cambrian/Cambrian being the beginning of the Flood.

      I also lean toward a last Flood-laid level being substantially higher than the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. Bob has mentioned some good geological arguments. I would add that the fossil fauna found in the Tertiary are mighty strange; most of the familiar modern mammal types don’t even come into the fossil record until the upper Tertiary or even the Pleistocene. To me, that indicates that most of the Tertiary forms are pre-Flood forms, hence much of the Tertiary represents Flood sediment, albeit post-high-water-mark, subsiding waters sediment.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Bob Helm:

      However, I still favor the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary as roughly the upper limit of flood sediments.

      There are some significant difficulties with this hypothesis I would think. For instance, dinosaurs and reptiles lay down trackways pre-KT, but not post KT while the bodies of reptiles continue to build up post-KT. Large numbers of modern animals appear in the early Tertiary as well on a global scale. Very high mountains and plateaus were well developed by the Miocene as a result of rapid continental drift. Also, rapid ocean cooling occurred during the mid-Miocene… consistent with a dissipation of postdiluvial energy.

      It seems to me then that the Flood waters may have crested and receded enough within the early Tertiary to allow Noah and the animals to get off the ark. However, the ocean basins were probably not yet well developed to hold all the water they currently hold and much of the Earth was still in aftershock upheavals with large regional catastrophes (like massive volcanoes and flooding) going on all over the place for quite some time.

      The sheer magnitude of Tertiary sediments seems far too great to explain on the basis of regional or local catastrophes in the early postdiluvian world.

      Unless, of course, the early postdiluvian world was still in significant turmoil and experiencing major aftershocks from the massive energy release (like massive impacts from large meteors) that caused the global Flood and very rapid continental drift, early on, on a global scale …

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  60. Bob&#032Helm: I believe that five months pased before the Genesis flood crested

    It rained for how many days and nights? If the water had not crested by this point in time, what is your source for the additional water that came afterward? And how exactly did you derive the number 5 months? I’d say you pulled it out of a hat.




    0
    View Comment
  61. Also what do I make of dinosaur tooth marks on other fossils? I believe that five months pased before the Genesis flood crested, and during that time, carnivorous dinosaurs were still attempting to survive. Clearly, they had to make kills and eat during that time, which would account for their tooth marks on the bones of other animals, including other dinosaurs.




    0
    View Comment
  62. @ Sean Pitman

    Again, most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins believe that sediments as well as fossils were formed before and after the Flood, but that the bulk of the geologic column was produced by the Flood.”

    If it never rained prior to the flood, what catastrophes caused fossil formation prior to the big flood?

    The evidence that we do have is in fact very consistent with a picture of a pre-Flood world that was vastly richer and more verdant than the world we live in today.”

    Vastly richer? The Bible makes this claim? The fossil evidence certainly doesn’t bear this out. Biodiversity today far exceeds anything represented by the fossil record.

    But gigantic fossilized organisms are a fact of science – consistent with the Biblical description of a vastly better and more verdant pre-Flood world. There really is no argument here except when it comes to pre-Flood humans. And, the evidence in favor of the Biblical model has more to do with the duration of the formation of the geologic/fossil records than it has to do with the size of pre-Flood organisms.”

    Vastly better? More verdant? Where does scripture make these claims? And how does the fossil record testify to a “better” and “more verdant” environment than that which exists today? And how would any of this so-called evidence contradict neo-Darwinism?

    As far as scavenging is concerned, the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.”

    This may be obvious to you, but there is nothing in scripture to support your views on scavenging. Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food. The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.

    You continually embellish “inspired history” to convince yourself and others that the fossil record supports your views of creationism. More astounding, your embellishments add nothing to bolster the case for creationism against evolutionism.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      “Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food. The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.”

      Jeff, for your sake, I hope you’re never in a flood and have to defend your high and dry perch from the poisonous reptiles who’ve been driven from their shelters. I’ve been told that this can be one of the worst aspects of floods.

      Actually, what we see in the fossil record is not “life as usual” but catastrophe. Mainstream origins science always argues that these catastrophes were local floods, separated from each other by thousands or millions of years. But the fact is that what is seen in the fossil record is almost invariably catastrophe.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      If it never rained prior to the flood, what catastrophes caused fossil formation prior to the big flood?

      The fossils within the lowermost layers of the geologic column (early Cambrian and below) are largely small marine organisms. There would be no need for rain or flooding or significant erosion to preserve such fossil remains on occasion prior to a Noachian-style Flood.

      Vastly richer? The Bible makes this claim?

      The Bible makes the claim that living things are degenerating over time. Humans aren’t living nearly as long and the Earth has suffered a dramatic insult by the Noachian Flood that destroyed all land animals save those on the Ark. The Bible and Mrs. White claim that the world fresh from the hand of God was indeed superior in richness and beauty compared to the current state of things.

      The fossil evidence certainly doesn’t bear this out. Biodiversity today far exceeds anything represented by the fossil record.

      There are no new “kinds” of animals living now that did not also exist before the Flood. However, there are a great many different kinds of animals that have gone extinct. I would call this a great loss of genetic diversity – wouldn’t you? We’re not talking about producing different breeds of dogs or different “cryptic species” of giraffe here. We’re talking about uniquely different kinds of gene pools with phenotypic differences at higher levels of functional complexity.

      And how would any of this so-called evidence contradict neo-Darwinism?

      Darwinism is based on the idea that things have historically gotten better and more complex over time. The Bible says that things started out in an idealic state right from the hand of God and then proceeded to rapidly degenerate and decay over time. The Bible also claims that all life on this planet was created within six literal days in recent history and that all land animal life on this planet, save that in Noah’s ark, was destroyed by a world-wide watery catastrophe just a few thousand years ago…

      The fossil and genetic evidence supports the Biblical picture rather than the progressive evolutionary notions of neo-Darwinists.

      This may be obvious to you, but there is nothing in scripture to support your views on scavenging. Reptiles generally retreat to shelter and do not feed when it is raining, nor do they need to, as they can go extended periods of time–easily 40 days and 40 nights–without food.

      Not true. Many large dinosaurs had high energy needs and could not retreat for such long periods of time without food. In fact, many scientists are now arguing that certain dinosaurs were warm blooded.

      Prior research conducted by Pontzer’s group showed that the energy cost of walking and running is strongly associated with leg length, so the distance from the hip joint to the ground can predict the observed cost of locomotion. After calculating these measurements and studying anatomical models of 14 dinosaurs, they determined that walking and running dinosaurs would indeed have used more energy than a cold-blooded animal would’ve been capable of producing. Conclusion: many dinosaurs were probably athletic, warm-blooded animals.

      http://news.discovery.com/animals/were-dinosaurs-warm-or-cold-blooded.html

      So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

      The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd.

      Satan feared for his life because the Flood was gradually killing off all human and land-animal life. Just because it wasn’t happening all at once at all places on the globe simultaneously doesn’t mean that Satan didn’t have reason to fear that God would just continue the job to finish him off in the process…

      You continually embellish “inspired history” to convince yourself and others that the fossil record supports your views of creationism. More astounding, your embellishments add nothing to bolster the case for creationism against evolutionism.

      Obviously, we see things quite differently here. I think the fossil record is very much in line with the Biblical account, and Mrs. White’s account, of origins and of the Flood. I really see very little in the geologic column/fossil record that substantive counters the Biblical account or the claims of Mrs. White…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  63. Sean&#032Pitman:

    Professor Kent: And if “inspired history” suggests we should expect to find animals, plants, and humans much larger than exist today, how would this contradict anything about evolutionary theory? There is nothing in the modern sysnthesis which states that animals can never experience a reduction in body size.

    It isn’t the body size that conflicts with evolutionary theory. It is the very rapid catastrophic nature of the formation of much of the geologic column that is inconsistent with neo-Darwinism – and strongly favors the Biblical model of origins.

    Professor Kent: On this score, her statement is clearly contradicted, as you all have conceded, because the empirical evidence actually supports the wrong theory.

    A lack of positive evidence isn’t the same thing as a “contradiction”.

    Yet Ms. White clearly wrote of body size and the burial of antediluvian humans being key features of fossils to testify of inspired history, not the rapidity of fossil formation. Moreover, if one goes solely with the evidence–a position you have enthusiastically embraced–one would have to concede that she was was wrong. And you need to be consistent: after all, “a lack of positive evidence” is precisely what you and others use to refute abiogenesis. Harold Camping’s recent prediction of the end of this world in 2011 lacked positive evidence; would you suggest he was not wrong? In the case of Ms. White’s quote, a lack of positive evidence means one glaring thing: she was wrong.

    Ms. White also included in this troubling passage:

    Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation.

    Nothing? Do you seriously believe this? I ask one simple question: does post-flood or contemporary biogeography support the view that all terrestrial life forms originated from one place on this planet–Mt. Ararat?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: You have asked many more than one question. And when one is answered, you ask another. No one here claims to have all knowledge about the present, let alone the past but many of the questions you ask, you could find the reasonable creationist responce on the web, if you, as you have several times stated, really want to know.

      -Shining




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Yet Ms. White clearly wrote of body size and the burial of antediluvian humans being key features of fossils to testify of inspired history, not the rapidity of fossil formation.

      The claim is that the fossil record itself was intended by God to give empirical credibility to the Biblical account of origins – to include the pre-Flood existence of plants, animals, and men who were superior in vigor, health, and size to their counterparts now living. In other words, the fossil record was meant to support the claim of a recent origin of life as well as its catastrophic destruction by the Noachian Flood… and its degeneration over time. All of this is well-supported by the fossil record.

      Moreover, if one goes solely with the evidence–a position you have enthusiastically embraced–one would have to concede that she was was wrong. And you need to be consistent: after all, “a lack of positive evidence” is precisely what you and others use to refute abiogenesis.

      There is a great deal of positive evident that refutes the concept of abiogenesis – such as the statistical improbability of any known mindless mechanism producing the high level of functional complexity necessary to do the job. There is also abundant evidence that plants and animals were bigger and arguably better before the Flood. Given the post-Flood remains of very large humans, it only stands to reason that pre-Flood humans were also much larger, stronger, and vital than we are today. Such a conclusion is hardly based on a complete lack of evidence… regardless of the fact that definitive positive evidence is not yet in hand.

      Ms. White also included in this troubling passage:

      Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation.

      Nothing? Do you seriously believe this? I ask one simple question: does post-flood or contemporary biogeography support the view that all terrestrial life forms originated from one place on this planet–Mt. Ararat?

      Contemporary evidence is not at all inconsistent with the recent origin of all land-animal life from a single region on the globe.

      We have argued this before, but you still do not seem to grasp the speed at which Mendelian variation can produce marked phenotypic adaptations and diversity. Again, nearly all breeds of domestic dog (far more phenotypically and genetically distinct compared to “cryptic species”) were produced within the last 300 years or so. It doesn’t take too much time to migrate around the globe or to produce the phenotypic variations within a certain “kind” of gene pool that we see today.

      Now, this is not to say that there are no difficult or even impossible questions. While modern science may come up with many questions for which we do not yet have answers from a Biblical perspective, which might in isolation even seem to favor the neo-Darwinian position, Mrs. White is very clear that true science will never come up with anything that tips the clear “weight of evidence” (a phrase she uses several times) away from the Biblical account of origins for those honestly seeking to know the truth. All the rest is naturalistic philosophy dressed up as science “falsely so called”.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  64. From the article:

    “Religion and science don’t need to be at odds.”

    This statement is false. Only and unless scientists acknowledge the biblical account by way of revelation which transcends any scientific study and conclusions [will there be harmony].

    Science does not allow for miracles. Period. As soon as you allow for the super-natural that goes beyond the natural, you are subjecting any scientific finding as being false if and when it implies a conclusion contrary to the biblical revelation.

    Unless we accept this reality, we are setting ourselves up to be deceived. Origins can not be explained by natural law.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen: @Sean Pitman:

      “Science does not allow for miracles.”

      I think this is an attitude that closes the door for further scientific exploration.

      A lot of scientific discoveries were once considered “miracles” simply because the laws were not yet understood. So, it seems to me that science is indeed in the business of investigating miracles. Scientists do not yet have all knowledge of all the laws of the universe. Until then, “miracles” is the term used for all activity that are beyond our present knowledge of the laws by which they occur.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Bill Sorensen:

      You wrote:

      Science does not allow for miracles… Origins cannot be explained by natural law.

      It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a spaceship?

      You see, science is in fact perfectly capable of detecting the need for very high level creativity and intelligence to explain various features of the natural world. Science is capable of aiding us in detecting even the signature of God Himself – behind both the natural world and the written Word since He is the Author of both. Those who read the Bible are not the only ones who are able to detect the hand of a very powerful Creator, even a Divine Power, behind various features of the universe in which we all live.

      After all, it was Mrs. White who wrote:

      God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

      No finite mind can fully comprehend the existence, the power, the wisdom, or the works of the Infinite One. Says the sacred writer: “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Job 11:7-9. The mightiest intellects of earth cannot comprehend God. Men may be ever searching, ever learning, and still there is an infinity beyond.

      Yet the works of creation testify of God’s power and greatness. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1. Those who take the written word as their counselor will find in science an aid to understand God. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” Romans 1:20.

      – EGW, PP, p. 115-116.

      Notice especially the phrase “The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.” That phrase is key.

      In other words, science and empirical reasoning are not the enemies of true religion – but its base. These are gifts of God which, rightly used with sincere motives and an earnest heart, are the only rational options we have to appreciate God and worship Him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize – a religion that goes beyond mere emotion and empirically-blind faith.

      To further clarify that Mrs. White was actually speaking of empirical evidence as a basis of faith in God’s word, consider the following comments found a few pages before the above-listed reference in Patriarch and Prophets:

      “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.” – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      In other words, according to Mrs. White, God actually gave the fossil record to us as a gift that was intended to help establish our faith in inspired history – i.e., the Bible. This is a very direct appeal to empirical evidence as a basis for faith. Just because many have made a wrong use of these evidences and have misinterpreted them, does not mean that such empirical evidences have nothing to do with rational faith. According to Mrs. White, empirical evidence does have a role to play in establishing a rational faith.

      If such passages are not an appeal to empirical evidence as a basis of rational faith in God’s existence and essential nature, even for those who have never read or heard of the Bible, I’m not sure what is?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  65. Sean
    Since you havent responded to my request to identify in the genomic comparison of mammalian species or primates with the instances of where the 1000fsaar criteria limiting the sequence differences, I suggest an alternative. Please provide insights on this recent paper from Kate Sullivans group on Human Accelerated Regions that are proposed to be contributors to the differences between humans and Chimps particularly in limb and brain development. Im interested in the comparison between human SNPs and the varying presence of these SNPs in chimp, Neandertal and Denisova genomic sequences.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22412940
    Analysis of human accelerated DNA regions using archaic hominin genomes.

    I am sure you see P Troglodyes as entirely unrelated to man but I am a little unclear on your model of origins in terms of relatedness of Neandertal and Denisova hominids to man. Are they the children of Adam, Noah or neither? How do you account for any sharing of SNPs, the HAR and the development of pehnotypic differences by SNPs?

    Another paper that cries out for your interpretation including the point at which ignorance about the 1000fsaar limit has blinded this group of scientist.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22398555

    Critique below the abstract would be most helpful in seeing the errors.




    0
    View Comment
    • @pauluc:

      Since you havent responded to my request to identify in the genomic comparison of mammalian species or primates with the instances of where the 1000fsaar criteria limiting the sequence differences, I suggest an alternative.

      But I have responded to this question at least a couple times in this thread. Please go back and review these responses to you and Jeff Kent.

      Please provide insights on this recent paper from Kate Sullivans group on Human Accelerated Regions that are proposed to be contributors to the differences between humans and Chimps particularly in limb and brain development. Im interested in the comparison between human SNPs and the varying presence of these SNPs in chimp, Neandertal and Denisova genomic sequences.

      Differences between human and ape brain development are based on more than SNPs (which would produce quantitative differences in form and function, but not produce qualitative changes beyond very low levels of functional complexity).

      As already noted a few posts above in this thread, humans and apes are quite different in various respects, to include brain structure and function – which is thought to be based on numerous differences in genetic regions that code for miRNAs (around 8% of which are human specific).

      “miRNAs recently have been implicated in synaptic development and in memory formation. As the species specific miRNAs described here are expressed in the brain, which is the most complex tissue in the human body, with an estimated 10,000 different cell types, these miRNAs could have a role in establishing or maintaining cellular diversity and could thereby contribute to the differences in human and chimpanzee brain … function.”

      Eugene Berezikov, Fritz Thuemmler, Linda W van Laake, Ivanela Kondova, Ronald Bontrop4, Edwin Cuppen & Ronald H A Plasterk, “Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain”, Nature Genetics, Vol 38 | Number 12 | December 2006 pp. 1375-1377.

      The Y-chromosome is even more unique. A study published by Nature in early 2010 showed many striking differences between human and chimp chromosome structure, gene content, and even qualitatively unique genes between the two species.

      As far as looking at specific genes, the chimp and human Y-chromosomes seem to have a dramatic difference in gene content of up to 53 percent. In other words, the chimp is lacking approximately half of the genes found on a human Y-chromosome. Because genes occur in families or similarity categories, the researchers also sought to determine if there was any difference in actual gene categories. They found a shocking 33 percent difference. The human Y-chromosome contains a third more gene categories, entirely different classes of genes, compared to chimps.

      Hughes, J.F. et al. 2010. Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure gene content. Nature. 463 (7280): 536-539.

      For further discussion see:

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Key

      I am sure you see P Troglodyes as entirely unrelated to man but I am a little unclear on your model of origins in terms of relatedness of Neandertal and Denisova hominids to man. Are they the children of Adam, Noah or neither? How do you account for any sharing of SNPs, the HAR and the development of pehnotypic differences by SNPs?

      Neandertals and Denisova are human, descendants of Noah. They are simply ethnic variations of humans. Even mainstream scientists think that they could interbreed with each other to produce viable and virile offspring.

      Of course there will be SNP differences between modern humans and Neandertals and other ancient ethnic groups – as there are between modern ethnic groups. And, these SNPs may be associated with functional differences – but not beyond low levels of functional complexity (usually only quantitative differences of the same basic type of gene function).

      As far as the HAR-1 RNA, there are 18 character differences between humans and chimps (out of 118 characters/nucleotides). These differences are thought to play some role in the development of our brain differences, but no one knows exactly what role. Obviously, there are many structural and functional brain differences at high levels of functional complexity. However, there are also many unique non-coding genetic elements that seem to be involved with these differences (as already explained). No single point mutation or small cluster of mutations is going to be able to cross the gap between any qualitatively novel higher level system of function. Again, there are no examples of this in literature – for very good statistical reasons.

      Another paper that cries out for your interpretation including the point at which ignorance about the 1000fsaar limit has blinded this group of scientist.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22398555

      Critique below the abstract would be most helpful in seeing the errors.

      Where in this paper is there any discussion of levels of functional complexity and how mutations can generate qualitatively novel systems at high levels of functional complexity? Remember, we aren’t just talking about quantitative differences in functionality here. We are talking about qualitatively novel differences beyond low levels of functional complexity. We need some actual math here – a few statistical calculations as to the odds that the just-so stories in papers like this might or might not actually be likely to be realized in a given span of time. Please do quote for me the relevant portion of this or any other paper along these lines.

      Don’t just give me a bunch of references without any quotes or commentary (aka: reference mining). Show me that you actually understand the problem under discussion by, well, discussing it for a change with the use of quotes that you think are relevant. That would be most helpful…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  66. @ Sean Pitman

    The vast majority of mainstream scientists…simply ignore or do not substantively discuss or understand the very strong evidence that effectively falsifies the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity

    Falsifies? Your “falsification” is statistical probability at best. You’re right: we can’t falsify whether Jesus’ body came back to life (we don’t have access to that event nearly 2,000 years ago). But using your criterion of statistical probability, human brain cells simply cannot revive even one day after cellular death. If you think your statistical inferences regarding RM/NS equate to falsifiable evidence supporting scriptural claims, then scripture’s claim regarding resurrection of a 3-day-old corpse is as falsifiable as anything else. Statistical probability declares the resurrections of Lazarus and Jesus (not to mention the others at Christ’s resurrection) to be a fairy tale. And you know it.

    the rapid genetic deterioration of all slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for instance)

    Mere statistical probabilities. Sorry to point this out to you.

    the recent and catastrophic nature of the geologic and fossil records

    All physical evidence suggests old dates, as many honest YLCs forthrightly concede. Multiple dating systems based on different assumptions yield similar results. Catastrophic? The secular scientists completely agree with you on the catastrophic conditions leading to fossil preservation, so how is this evidence supporting a literal versus non-literal Genesis account?

    the preservation of complex proteins and soft tissues within dinosaur bones and other fossils where kinetic chemistry says that such proteins and tissues should not survive more than 100kyrs at best

    Published empirical evidence shows that the assumptions of kinetic chemistry do not apply to the preservation conditions within bone. With this argument, you latched onto an apparent candy bar before you discovered what was actually inside it.

    the general lack of bioturbation (not a complete lack despite your misunderstanding of this argument – just much much less than would be expected if the mainstream perspective where actually true)

    Oh…”much less than would be expected” by whom? Right. The problem is that you’ve hitched yourself to a factoid that continuing research can’t support. You need to get up to date.

    the discovery of “first appearance” of many different kinds of creatures lower and lower in the fossil record that previously thought, the discovery of more and more “Lazarus” taxa thought to be long extinct during their “last appearance” within the fossil record (like the coelacanth which is still alive and well today)

    None of which contradicts evolutionism. You fail to recognize this is a simple statistical expectation: with additional research, fossil groups will be found to be more widespread than was apparent with a smaller sample size. But showing, for example, that birds actually make it into the Triassic (one level lower) does not change the bigger, unassailable evidence for the sequential deposition of fossil life forms from simple to complex. And it’s completely inconsistent on your part–I won’t use the word ignorant–to emphasize the discovery of more widespread taxa while dismissing the discovery of more widespread bioturbation. How do you fail to see this logical fallacy? As many have pointed out, you cherry pick your evidence to “weigh” that which fits your faith-based expectations.

    Despite the fact that there are still unanswered questions, the basic features of geologic, fossil, and genetic evidence that are currently in hand strongly support the Biblical perspective on origins and effectively disprove or falsify the neo-Darwinian perspective.

    You’ve convinced yourself, that’s quite clear. But you haven’t effectively disproved or falsified anything other than your straw man construct of the neo-Darwinian perspective. The only reason you’ve convinced yourself is that you have used scripture to interpret the evidence–and cherry-picked evidence at best. I know you can’t bring yourself to admit it, but your faith supercedes your objective assessment of evidence. I congratulate you, Dr. Pitman.




    0
    View Comment
  67. @ Sean Pitman

    Again, speciation and unique local adaptations can be achieved very quickly via Mendelian-style variation within a particular “kind” of gene pool. That is why essentially all modern breeds of dogs could be realized within 300 years or so.

    Domesticated dogs do not exemplify speciation. Not even remotely close. And where did you come up with 300 years? Surely not from the original stock. Archaeological evidence shows that humans were domesticating dogs long before Jesus was born. Secular scientists date it to 20,000 years or more.

    Obviously hummingbirds were in the Old World post-Flood since you yourself cite the fossil evidence (rare as it may be – which is also telling). The fact that they went extinct in the Old World and did not repopulate it is pretty much beside the point that they were there.

    What’s more parsimonious: An Old World group of hummingbirds (of multiple genera) departed the ark and spread to the New World, whereupon all the Old World populations vanished while other Old World bird groups fared perfectly well? Or a New World radiation of hummingbirds spread to the point where one species invaded the Old Word, whereupon it became extinct while the New World population continued to thrive? Think statistical probabilities (which you seem to think are important). But I do understand; parsimony is meaningless when the evidence has to fit informed faith.

    It doesn’t take nearly as long as you imagine for a turtle or a snake to get from one part of the globe to the opposite side. Do the math. As far as rattle snakes appearing only in Mexico and North America, not in the Old World, again, this is not unique as already noted. Many species are isolated from other regions because they went extinct in other regions for whatever reason or evolved specializations in isolated regions over time (at low-levels of functional complexity or via a loss of ancestral genetic information)…

    I did a quick Google Scholar search for annual movement of rattlesnakes. I found a mean annual displacement of 3.5 km for timber rattlesnake and 4.6 km for prairie rattlesnake. Given the larger value, my math says they could travel 18,400 km. The bigger problem you don’t get is why the animals moved outward from the ark, reproducing after their kind, establishing new populations in all directions from the ark (across much of Asia and Africa)–and then they all died off without leaving a post-flood fossil trace except for those that managed to make it to the New World, where they absolutely thrived. Remarkably, other non-rattlesnake vipers persisted in the Old World without any problem whatsoever. I know, this evidence is no problem for your informed faith. I shouldn’t have to explain to you that your explanation, of course, is ad hoc and faith-based.

    There are many potential reasons for the patterns that currently exist. Your arguments do not remotely falsify the Biblical claim for a single origin for all land animal life.

    Depends on what you mean by “falsify.” If you accept statistical parlance, it’s a big huge FAIL. The evidence does not support the flood geology prediction. Not even remotely. Somehow I don’t think you want to go with the evidence.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Domesticated dogs do not exemplify speciation. Not even remotely close.

      This is only by convention since the very definition of “species” is quite subjective – as you surely know (Link). Different breeds of dogs are produce by placing them in reproductive isolation to select for certain phenotypic trait expressions. This also produces genetically unique breeds which can be identified, with a very high degree of accuracy, by genetic analysis alone. If these very same breeds of dog were produced in the wild in different environments instead of by human design, they would indeed be classified by various definitions of “species” as distinct species that have been produced by various forms of breeding isolation. Certainly cryptic species are far more similar, morphologically, than are certain breeds of dog.

      And where did you come up with 300 years? Surely not from the original stock. Archaeological evidence shows that humans were domesticating dogs long before Jesus was born. Secular scientists date it to 20,000 years or more.

      Why don’t you at least try to look this stuff up before you comment on it? A simple Google search would tell you that most modern breeds of dogs are very new, produced by human breeding over the last 300 years or so.

      Most dog breeds have been created by humans over the past 300 years, and each breed has clearly defined standards for an animal’s behavior and physique.

      http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/2004/05/20/dog.php

      See, was that so hard?

      But I do understand; parsimony is meaningless when the evidence has to fit informed faith.

      You mean parsimony is indeed effectively meaningless when there are so many factors involved where animals are migrating and evolving different morphologies within the same gene pool at very rapid rates over thousands of years? – when groups are isolated from other groups from the same original gene pool over extended periods of time? All these things are not unexpected, even predictable, from a Biblical perspective.

      I did a quick Google Scholar search for annual movement of rattlesnakes. I found a mean annual displacement of 3.5 km for timber rattlesnake and 4.6 km for prairie rattlesnake. Given the larger value, my math says they could travel 18,400 km.

      Half the circumference of the globe is just over 20,000 km. Also, you are considering current average annual displacement rates when you should be talking about maximum displacement rates per region or colony per year. Also, you’re not taking into account how far snakes can migrate when encouraged to do so… as in cases with increasing local competition, or changes in the environment, etc.

      I shouldn’t have to explain to you that your explanation, of course, is ad hoc and faith-based.

      Again, we know that many animals died off in many areas without leaving much if any trace – despite having lived there for long periods of time. Why you put so much stock in this argument is therefore a mystery to me. It simply isn’t a useful argument at all against the Biblical account of origins.

      Depends on what you mean by “falsify.” If you accept statistical parlance, it’s a big huge FAIL. The evidence does not support the flood geology prediction. Not even remotely. Somehow I don’t think you want to go with the evidence.

      This simply isn’t true. The fact that animals would change rapidly over time with isolation and would go extinct in certain areas while thriving in others is actually predictable from the Biblical model of origins. I really don’t see why you think anything else should expected or predictable over a few thousand years of time?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  68. Science, if it is accurate, will confirm the truth of our origins. (a week of creation and an earth roughly 6,000 years old.)

    Amazing that the debate here is a dispute about that. That is the true Adventist position and basically the world disagrees. So what?

    It seemed to me the original intent of this site was not so much about debating our origins but was about discussing whether or not one or more of our (SDA) educational institutions was teaching something contrary to the Adventist position? Yes? No?

    Seems to me, that question has been well settled here. If you indeed believe that the earth is millions of years old and that we evolved from lower forms of life, you are in the majority. But you most certainly are not an SDA. (call yourself what you like.)




    0
    View Comment
  69. David&#032Read: The fossil record as a whole supports creationism much better than Darwinism.

    David, I basically agree with all of your statements–except for this one. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a “Seventh-day Darwinian.” As you point out there are certain aspects of the fossil record that support creationism (and bolster my faith), but other aspects do not and I don’t think they should be glossed over by creationists who insist that the fossil record more strongly supports creationism. It doesn’t.

    Here are the cold, hard facts. Single-celled organisms appear before multicellular organisms; non-vascular plants appear before vascular plants; non-flowering vascular plants appear before flowering vascular plants; invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds; various primates occur before humans. Even within those groups, more primitive species often appear before more advanced species. For example, reptile-like birds with teeth and long bony tails appear before modern birds, and reptile-like mammals with double-hinged jaws appear before modern mammals.

    As creationists often point out, not all fossil sequences perfectly match the predictions of evolutionary theory, but the general trend does–and remains, in my opinion, the strongest evidence for megaevolution and against a 6-day creation 6,000 years ago. I can understand why so many people find the evidence for megaevolution so persuasive. I am personally skeptical of megaevolution, but I don’t think the evidence should be dismissed as hogwash, and I don’t think those who accept it should be banned from the church. It’s very difficult to explain the overall trend in the fossil record from a creationist’s perspective (ecological zonation helps, but doesn’t resolve all the problems, such as mangroves not showing up until the Cretaceous), and I don’t think any arguments that you or Sean or anybody else can come up with will adequately explain why the trend occurs.

    Why did God allow such a trend to occur in the fossil record? Did Satan have a role in sequencing the burial of fossils?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.

      The fact that something appears before something else in the fossil record is not proof than anything evolved into anything else. It only means that, if we accept the uniformitarian timescale, such an evolutionary transition is temporally possible. But the fossil evidence of transition is typically lacking.

      And the proposed mechanism of evolution–DNA copying errors–is completely unpersuasive. It’s like postulating that we can go from “Don Quixote” to “War and Peace” by re-copying the book a billion times with small errors creeping in each time we re-copy it. Nonsense!

      You seem to be complaining that God has not made the fossil evidence compulsory, i.e., so clear that no reasonable person can possibly doubt it. And if God hasn’t made the evidence skeptic-proof, then the skeptic is God’s fault, God is responsible for the skeptic. Not true. The unbeliever is responsible for his own unbelief. God has provided plenty of evidence to confirm our faith, but He’s not going to remove the necessity of faith. There will always be hooks for skeptics to hang their doubts on, but if you cannot ultimately overcome your doubts and exercise faith, you cannot be a Christian believer. Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved. And this is as it should be, because otherwise sin could reappear and the Great Controversy could start all over again.




      0
      View Comment
  70. I erroneously described the study of amber drops from a Devonian site in the Alps. That study was, instead, from the Triassic in southern Italy. The coniferous plant (gymnosperm) material found in the amber does not occur below the Mississippian, and therefore would not be present in the Devonian. My bad.




    0
    View Comment
  71. Sean&#032Pitman: All I asked you was if there was a single universally applicable and consistent definition of species? You’ve admitted that the answer to this question is no. There is no universal definition of a “species” group that is consistent in all cases.
    You also failed to provide a standardized genetic definition of a species group whereby a particular genetic distance in any one or any collection of genetic regions can be universally applied.
    Let me know if/when this situation changes…

    All true; so what’s your point? Where’s the problem? There’s no universally agreed upon view of hermeneutics, theology, flood geology, Biblical archaeology, or fulfillment of prophetic history among Christians. Does plurality of views among Christians invalidate the basis or practical value of Christianity?

    I suggest you rethink your argument if you really think it supports your view that your own highly unorthodox definition of species is superior to those used successfully by mainstream scientists for many decades.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      My definition is not a new definition of “species”. My definition is a definition of qualitatively novel gene pools that contain functional systems that go well beyond the powers of any mindless naturalistic mechanism to explain.

      Various species definitions have their place and their utility. However, not one of these taxonomic definitions draws a distinct line that marks the limits of what the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS can explain. My definition does mark the “edge of evolution” when it comes to explaining the origin of functionally novel gene pools.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  72. Sean&#032Pitman: At what point is a distinct species realized? For example, just how different does one have to be, genetically, to be classified as a different species? How many mutations, for a given stretch of DNA, does it take to consistently define a novel species with universal application?

    Two species could potentially differ by a single mutation if the mutation happens to code for a reproductive isolating mechanism (consistent with the Biological Species Concept).




    0
    View Comment
  73. Sean&#032Pitman: [regarding Pitman’s species-recognizing criteria for distinguishing small mouth vs. large mouth bass; bald vs. golden eagles; tiger vs. spotted salamanders; deer vs. cactus mice] There are no significant gene pool differences here (functionally speaking) compared to the ancestral gene pool…Same original gene pools without anything novel beyond very
    low levels of functional complexity . . .

    Thank you for answering this question. It’s clear that your definition of species contrasts sharply with any notion of species that exists in mainstream science. Why do you insist on making your definition correspond to the species level? Why not a higher taxonomic group? Or a baramin? Frankly, you have a difficult time selling your ideas to others when you insist on using your own very peculiar and poorly articulated terminology.

    Sean&#032Pitman: You do understand that I do actually find value in mainstream methods of defining taxonomic groups of organisms? – right? It is just that these methods do not suggest limits to evolutionary potential whereas my definition does. That’s the key difference.

    No; I’m surprised by this admission. Up to this point, I don’t see how your comments could possibly be construed as seeing value in mainstream methods of taxonomy.

    I’d say the problem is that you conflate the need to properly define species with your need to show limits to evolutionary potential. If you understood better the practice of taxonomy and its place in evolutionary theory as a tool merely for generating hypotheses about relationships, you’d recognize that the two goals (deciphering taxonomic relationships, including ancestor-descendent relationships, versus determining limits to RM/NS) are at completely different levels of analysis.

    I think you’re also conflicted in that you need to:

    1) explain substantial evolutionary diversification after the flood by simultaneously insisting

    a) substantial change can happen with remarkable genetic potential despite the very severe problems of genetic bottlenecking

    b) while minimizing realized biodiversity by use of a narrower species definition (i.e., to imply that much fewer than 400 species of a particular bird group restricted to the New World evolved in just a few thousand years)

    and

    2) show that only baby steps can happen as animals lurch forward with dramatic diversification even though the remarkable genetic potential for change has gradually but surely eroded, and continues to do so.

    You’re quite the expert at juggling a lot of seemingly incompatible notions. I commend you for your imagination, tenacity, and faith-based adherence to the claims of scripture.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Thank you for answering this question. It’s clear that your definition of species contrasts sharply with any notion of species that exists in mainstream science.

      That is because, as already noted, my definition isn’t a species definition. My definition is a definition of the limits of the creative potential of RM/NS this side of trillions of years of time.

      Why do you insist on making your definition correspond to the species level?

      I don’t. The species concept, as I’ve already explained quite extensively in this and other threads, is almost entirely unrelated to the concept of levels of functional complexity and the limits that these levels place on potential evolutionary progress via the mechanism of RM/NS.

      Why not a higher taxonomic group? Or a baramin? Frankly, you have a difficult time selling your ideas to others when you insist on using your own very peculiar and poorly articulated terminology.

      If you’re trying to say that I’m in a distinctively minority position when it comes to the opinions of mainstream scientists, you’re obviously correct. If most accepted my ideas neo-Darwinism wouldn’t be nearly as popular an idea.

      No; I’m surprised by this admission. Up to this point, I don’t see how your comments could possibly be construed as seeing value in mainstream methods of taxonomy.

      That’s because this discussion isn’t about the value of mainstream taxonomy. It’s about the potential and limits of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS – which isn’t part of modern taxonomic classification systems.

      I’d say the problem is that you conflate the need to properly define species with your need to show limits to evolutionary potential.

      You’re the one who thinks I’m trying to redefine the species concept. I’m not. I’m only trying to defined the limits of the evolutionary mechanism – and to note that these limitations are not defined by any modern species concept.

      If you understood better the practice of taxonomy and its place in evolutionary theory as a tool merely for generating hypotheses about relationships, you’d recognize that the two goals (deciphering taxonomic relationships, including ancestor-descendent relationships, versus determining limits to RM/NS) are at completely different levels of analysis.

      Exactly – which is my main point here. I’m glad we’re in agreement on this key point.

      I think you’re also conflicted in that you need to:

      1) explain substantial evolutionary diversification after the flood by simultaneously insisting

      a) substantial change can happen with remarkable genetic potential despite the very severe problems of genetic bottlenecking

      Genetic bottlenecking is much more of a problem today than it was closer to Creation Week because of the substantial build-up of detrimental mutations in all slowly-reproducing gene pools – as already explained numerous times in this thread.

      b) while minimizing realized biodiversity by use of a narrower species definition (i.e., to imply that much fewer than 400 species of a particular bird group restricted to the New World evolved in just a few thousand years)

      Because modern species concepts are not related to the concept of levels of functional complexity, it is very easy to realize numerous “species” in a very short time via various forms of reproductive isolation and genetic changes at very low levels of functional complexity.

      and

      2) show that only baby steps can happen as animals lurch forward with dramatic diversification even though the remarkable genetic potential for change has gradually but surely eroded, and continues to do so.

      The potential for genetic change has not been eroded at all. Genetic mutations continue to affect all gene pools at a very rapid pace. It is just that the functional quality of slowly-reproducing gene pools has eroded over time in that there are far more detrimental mutations within all such genomes than there were right after the Flood.

      It is for this reason that all slowly-reproducing gene pools are headed for eventual genetic meltdown and extinction.

      You’re quite the expert at juggling a lot of seemingly incompatible notions. I commend you for your imagination, tenacity, and faith-based adherence to the claims of scripture.

      The various concepts I’ve presented to you regarding the potential and limits of RM/NS only seem incompatible to you because you’ve spent very little if any time considering what actually happens to this mechanism at various levels of functional complexity. Once you actually start to investigate the concept of levels of functional complexity and the nature of sequence space at various levels of functional complexity, things will start to come into focus for you too… and you’ll be able to move beyond your more or less empirically blind faith to a more rational understanding of the claims of the Bible regarding origins.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        I agree with Prof Kent. I think you have a few problems
        1] You have used an arbitrary statistical limit to define a universal limits of evolutionary development and speciation
        2] You have conceded that 80-90% of the genetic variation between species has been acquired over 4000 years. (I am surprised that you feel able to extend this to 5000 years given EG White’s writings.
        3] You allow for rapid development of phenotype and novel repurposing of proteins in the development of evenomation
        4] You claim some value for a limit of 1000fsaar but do not seem able to identify concrete examples of this during speciation.
        5] Indeed comparative genomics between man and apes suggests that the differences between these species is mostly at the single nucleotide level and in gene duplications
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19212409
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718026
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21270892
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20448178

        and that there seems to be none of the barriers of 1000fsaar complexity that Sean suggests to limit evolution of homo sapiens from an hominid ancestor common with great apes.
        6] You define species classification as being arbritary but have some nebulous concept of a barrier of complexity for potential changes induced by the acquired changes which you concedes occurs rapidly and frequently.
        This limit to complexity you relate to some theoretic 1000fsaar limit.

        You seem to support models of rapid evolution by Darwinian mechanism inside a 1000fsaar limit; if you think them scientific they must be tested by reference to reality and real data. I suggest you look at the genomic data and point out the genetic differences that correspond to your 1000 FSAAR limit.

        The 29 genome project would be the place to start in defining the limits between for example rat vs mouse cat dog sloth armadillo little brown bat and fruit bat.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993624

        You might like to also comment on you model of evolution of all Y chromosome variation that exists today from a single Y chromosome 4000 years ago at the time of flood.

        In case anyone suggests there were 4 males on the boat and therefore there were 4 Y chromosomes, Noah and his 3 sons would all have the one identical Y chromosome because of transmission from Noah to his sons. Humans in terms of Y chromosomes are equivalent to a breeding pair.

        The variation in the Y chromosome in humans today, like all other unclean animals must therefore date to mutations in the last 4000 years.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20981092

        All this genomic sequence is now freely available so there is no excuse for not testing it except the paucity of value you see in your arguments.

        Both Jeff Kent and I have both offered advice in publication of these experiments in the peer reviewed literature.

        Until you give me some real evidence based on experimental data you seem to be simply doing what Bob Ryan abhors; telling just so stories.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Pauluc:

          I agree with Prof Kent. I think you have a few problems

          1] You have used an arbitrary statistical limit to define a universal limits of evolutionary development and speciation

          The limitation is not arbitrary. It is both observed in real time and can be calculated to show that it (a minimum requirement of 1000 specifically arranged residue positions) is the most likely limitation this side of trillions of years of time – from the perspective of RM/NS.

          2] You have conceded that 80-90% of the genetic variation between species has been acquired over 4000 years. (I am surprised that you feel able to extend this to 5000 years given EG White’s writings.

          It depends upon what type of variation you’re talking about. Certainly all variation at lower levels of functional complexity could easily be realized in this period of time.

          3] You allow for rapid development of phenotype and novel repurposing of proteins in the development of evenomation

          DNA can and does rapidly mutate – true.

          4] You claim some value for a limit of 1000fsaar but do not seem able to identify concrete examples of this during speciation.

          Speciation is not based on producing novel functional complexity beyond very low levels of functional complexity. In fact, speciation can be based on functionally neutral genetic changes. Also, there are no examples of evolving beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues because it is statistically impossible to do so. Only variations at low levels of functional complexity can be or ever have been demonstrated.

          5] Indeed comparative genomics between man and apes suggests that the differences between these species is mostly at the single nucleotide level and in gene duplications
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19212409
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718026
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21270892
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20448178

          and that there seems to be none of the barriers of 1000fsaar complexity that Sean suggests to limit evolution of homo sapiens from an hominid ancestor common with great apes.

          Humans and apes are quite different in various respects, to include brain structure and function – which is thought to be based on numerous differences in genetic regions that code for miRNAs (around 8% of which are human specific).

          “miRNAs recently have been implicated in synaptic development and in memory formation. As the species specific miRNAs described here are expressed in the brain, which is the most complex tissue in the human body, with an estimated 10,000 different cell types, these miRNAs could have a role in establishing or maintaining cellular diversity and could thereby contribute to the differences in human and chimpanzee brain … function.”

          Eugene Berezikov, Fritz Thuemmler, Linda W van Laake, Ivanela Kondova, Ronald Bontrop4, Edwin Cuppen & Ronald H A Plasterk, “Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain”, Nature Genetics, Vol 38 | Number 12 | December 2006 pp. 1375-1377.

          The Y-chromosome is even more unique. A study published by Nature in early 2010 showed many striking differences between human and chimp chromosome structure, gene content, and even qualitatively unique genes between the two species. As far as looking at specific genes, the chimp and human Y-chromosomes seem to have a dramatic difference in gene content of up to 53 percent. In other words, the chimp is lacking approximately half of the genes found on a human Y-chromosome. Because genes occur in families or similarity categories, the researchers also sought to determine if there was any difference in actual gene categories. They found a shocking 33 percent difference. The human Y-chromosome contains a third more gene categories, entirely different classes of genes, compared to chimps.

          Hughes, J.F. et al. 2010. Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure gene content. Nature. 463 (7280): 536-539.

          For further discussion see:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Key

          6] You define species classification as being arbritary but have some nebulous concept of a barrier of complexity for potential changes induced by the acquired changes which you concedes occurs rapidly and frequently.
          This limit to complexity you relate to some theoretic 1000fsaar limit.

          Again, this limit is both observable and calculable based on known distributions and densities of viable sequences in sequence spaces at various levels of functional complexity.

          You seem to support models of rapid evolution by Darwinian mechanism inside a 1000fsaar limit; if you think them scientific they must be tested by reference to reality and real data. I suggest you look at the genomic data and point out the genetic differences that correspond to your 1000 FSAAR limit.

          I’ve given you numerous examples already of systems that require a minimum of far more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. How many more examples do you need?

          You might like to also comment on you model of evolution of all Y chromosome variation that exists today from a single Y chromosome 4000 years ago at the time of flood.

          In case anyone suggests there were 4 males on the boat and therefore there were 4 Y chromosomes, Noah and his 3 sons would all have the one identical Y chromosome because of transmission from Noah to his sons. Humans in terms of Y chromosomes are equivalent to a breeding pair.

          The variation in the Y chromosome in humans today, like all other unclean animals must therefore date to mutations in the last 4000 years.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20981092

          All this genomic sequence is now freely available so there is no excuse for not testing it except the paucity of value you see in your arguments.

          What testing would you want? Low level genetic changes can and do take place very fast – especially in larger populations. There are no examples of higher level changes because, statistically, they are impossible this side of a practical eternity of time.

          Both Jeff Kent and I have both offered advice in publication of these experiments in the peer reviewed literature.

          Until you give me some real evidence based on experimental data you seem to be simply doing what Bob Ryan abhors; telling just so stories.

          Sit down. Do the math for yourself. Then, come back and talk to me about who is telling the just-so stories regarding the creative potential of random mutations and natural selection (RM/NS).

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean Pitman claims

        “The various concepts I’ve presented to you regarding the potential and limits of RM/NS only seem incompatible to you because you’ve spent very little if any time considering what actually happens to this mechanism at various levels of functional complexity. Once you actually start to investigate the concept of levels of functional complexity and the nature of sequence space at various levels of functional complexity, things will start to come into focus for you too… ”

        Sean I know it may seem to you that on these issues you alone have clarity of thought and knowledge that supercedes all other scientists who may disagree with you. But this is the perspective of all who are on a “mission from God”. I do think it a little arrogant to presume to know what precisely excercises the mind of Prof Kent or that the aspects of biology he investigates professionally does not at all address the issues you raise.

        I have read your ppt “All I Need is Time” and presume it an accurate portrayal of your perspective. To gain insight you suggest I should investigate

        1] The RM/NS mechanism at various levels of functional complexity.
        2] The nature of sequence space at various levels of functional complexity.

        I therefore did what any biologist would do did a pubmed search. Herein lies a problem.
        A pubmed search for”random mutation AND natural selection AND functional complexity” yeilded 5 references none particularly helpful.
        “protein evolution AND functional complexity” yields 424 publications with some fascinating papers few if any supporting your views on natural selection, sequence space and complexity. Papers on PDZ domain containing proteins is particularly relevant to your model of complexity. One in particularly I think you should address in your model.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19738200

        A pubmed search for “sequence space” AND “functional complexity” yielded 30 publications none of which convey your perspective but do follow the scientific tradition of testing models against biological data in order to understand the operation of the natural world.

        Where I think scientists like Prof kent and myself and you seem to be at cross purposes is in our broad approach.

        You make an assumption that a certain aspect of science is impossible on theoretical grounds. You accept that theoretical model and construct increasing elaborate scenarios to preserve that model in the face of biological observations. We start with simple observation and construct models driven by the biological observations.

        For example for speciation
        1] We say that with time there is accumulation of genetic change or mutations by a variety of mechanisms including point mutations, indels, duplication events and within a population there is thus variation and selection for a phenotype that reflects a favourable genotype. With time pheotypic selection leads to genetically isolated populations which you can call a species.
        2] You start with a model of all possible protein sequences. Calculate the possibility that anything big and complex is statistically impossible within your sequence space matrix and then decide this is the basis of limitations of “RM/NS” and the limit of speciation. You may well be right but you do not seem to appreciate that at least to me without anchoring your model to real data and observations it appears just theory and conjecture over reality, an instance of argument from incredulity that does nothing to advance science.




        0
        View Comment
        • @pauluc:

          A pubmed search for “sequence space” AND “functional complexity” yielded 30 publications none of which convey your perspective but do follow the scientific tradition of testing models against biological data in order to understand the operation of the natural world.

          That’s right. There are no papers, of which I am aware, that detail the limitations of the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS when it comes to levels of functional complexity.

          Of course, the basic concept of different levels of functional complexity is fairly well defined in literature. However, no one has gone to the next step and detailed the limitations that this concept presents to Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS. No one has published anything at all about the average time necessary for random mutations to find anything qualitatively novel at various levels of functional complexity.

          Yet, this concept is not beyond reach for scientific investigation. In fact, there is enough information for anyone interested in this question to sit down and work out the math for him/herself. The results are quite surprising – from an Darwinian perspective anyway. There is a very clear exponential decline in evolutionary potential with each linear increase in the level of functional complexity under consideration.

          Now, don’t take my word for it. Do the math yourself. Don’t simply rely on what you read in literature. Why not actually do some of your own investigation into this question?

          For example for speciation

          1] We say that with time there is accumulation of genetic change or mutations by a variety of mechanisms including point mutations, indels, duplication events and within a population there is thus variation and selection for a phenotype that reflects a favourable genotype. With time pheotypic selection leads to genetically isolated populations which you can call a species.

          Great! I have no problem with this except for the fact that it details no limitations to the potential for producing qualitatively novel systems of function beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

          2] You start with a model of all possible protein sequences. Calculate the possibility that anything big and complex is statistically impossible within your sequence space matrix and then decide this is the basis of limitations of “RM/NS” and the limit of speciation. You may well be right but you do not seem to appreciate that at least to me without anchoring your model to real data and observations it appears just theory and conjecture over reality, an instance of argument from incredulity that does nothing to advance science.

          My model is anchored to real data and observations. The data is available. You can determine the density of potentially viable protein sequences in sequence spaces at various levels of functional complexity. From this density, you can determine the most likely minimum Hamming distance between any one viable island cluster of protein sequences and the next closest viable/potentially beneficial sequence. Then, you can determine the average number of mutations necessary to get across this minimum likely gap distance…

          As it turns out, the minimum likely gap distance increases in a linear manner with each linear increase in the level of functional complexity under consideration. With each linear increase in the gap distance, the average number of mutations needed to cross the gap increases exponentially…

          I’ve explained this all in detail on my website.

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  74. Sean&#032Pitman: In other words, extrapolations from low-level examples to high-levels of evolution taking place in “millions of years” aren’t based on any actual scientific evidence or rational statistical analysis. Neo-Darwinism isn’t valid science. It’s as simple as that.

    And you think that extrapolations based on math, suggesting that such changes are impossible, and therefore inferring only God could do it, is valid science as opposed to faith?

    Sean&#032Pitman: Also, one must consider that malevolent design may also have been employed in the creature of certain features of living things which could not have evolved (or devolved) via any mindless mechanism.

    Wow. Could you please share some examples of God’s “malevolent design?”




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      And you think that extrapolations based on math, suggesting that such changes are impossible, and therefore inferring only God could do it, is valid science as opposed to faith?

      The scientific basis for detecting the need to invoke intelligent design to explain any phenomenon is based on the known statistical limitations of what non-intelligent mechanisms are likely to be able to achieve. How else could you tell the difference between a naturally carved rock and a deliberately formed artifact – like an arrowhead or a highly symmetrical granite cube? – or a SETI radio signal?

      There is a scientific basis to detecting design that can be universally applied – even to information systems like that contained in the DNA of living things.

      Wow. Could you please share some examples of God’s “malevolent design?”

      God isn’t the only intelligent agent capable of intelligent action on this planet…

      Matthew 13:27-28

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  75. Sean&#032Pitman: @Eddie:
    Is the Biological Species Concept universally applied? Unfortunately no. Also, reproductive isolation is not necessarily genetically based or obligatory. There are a great many examples of different “species” that can interbreed to produce viable and even virile offspring.

    Your remarks are so odd, coming from one whose definition is universally not applied.




    0
    View Comment
  76. Professor Kent,

    You wrote:

    The key problem with your definition is that it lacks clarity and operational specificity. Here are just a few problems that come to mind without delving deep:

    1. Your definition assumes that two or more populations having functional differences are reproductively isolated, but fails to identify how different the differences must be–unless it’s your magical 1000 fsaars, in which case useful data are completely lacking for the vast majority of species.

    When it comes to determining evolutionary potential, the differences between gene pools must be beyond the power of RM/NS (or any other mindless naturalistic mechanism) to explain – which is any qualitatively novel system of function that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged residues to do a particular task.

    To illustrate this problem, try telling us exactly what functional differences exist among the following universally recognized sympatric species. Better yet, tell us the size of these differences (in fsaar or other relevant units).

    Small-mouthed bass, large-mouthed bass (fish)

    There are no significant gene pool differences here (functionally speaking) compared to the ancestral gene pool. Small and large mouth bass are derived from the very same ancestral gene pool – as are all of the other examples you list here.

    Tiger salamander, spotted salamander (amphibians)

    Golden eagle, bald eagle (birds)

    Deer mouse, cactus mouse (mammals)

    Same original gene pools without anything novel beyond very low levels of functional complexity . . .

    2. Your definition relies on the same criteria used in other species concepts or definitions. The functional differences that might exist could, for example, result from morphological differences (morphological species concept), ecological differences (ecological species concept), or behavioral differences (behavioral species concept). You haven’t introduced anything novel with your definition.

    Drawing a limit to what can be explained by RM/NS as far as the quality of genetic functionality is concerned is quite novel. Such a definition is fundamentally opposed to all of mainstream science regarding the topic of origins.

    3. Your definition fails to consider the relevance of functional differences to reproductive isolation and population divergence. It ignores polymorphisms, for example, which can result in dramatic functional differences among individuals within a single population, yet the functionally distinct genotypes do not emerge as distinct species. These polymorphisms can be maintained by frequency-dependent selection (you probably need to Google this) within a single population. Genetic polymorphisms in alternative mating tactics, for example, are widespread among animals. Consider the many species of fish which have multiple (as many as four) genetically-based alternative mating tactics. Some males (territorial males) take a long time to achieve a large size, but then set up and defend territories from other males, and mate many females that enter their territory. Other males (sneaker males) quickly mature at a small size and, resembling a female, they sneak into the territories of the territorial males and obtain fertilizations by cuckoldry. Functionally, these mating tactics are very, very different, yet they are maintained within a single gene pool by frequency-dependent selection. Another example of a genetic polymorphism would be the European cuckoo, in which some female lineages prefer to brood parasitize (lay eggs in nest of) one particular songbird species, and other female lineages prefer to brood parasitize other particular songbird species. Again, you’ve got a major functional difference resulting in multiple females gentes (lineages), but males cross-mate them to maintain the cuckoo as a single species. Genetic-based morphological polymorphisms are also abundant, such as within the snow goose. The white versus blue individuals, having very distinctive colors, result in significant thermoregularly differences, yet the two groups formerly considered distinct species maintain a single gene pool.

    I have no problem with this. Such phenotypic differences are not based on anything new within the gene pool that was not already there in the ancestral gene pool beyond very low levels of functional complexity. It’s like the white vs. the black peppered moth. Same gene pool with multiple phenotypic options programmed into it. What’s your point?

    4. Your definition overlooks subtle traits that may be non-functional, but which can still lead to reproductive isolation and population divergence. Consider the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). These are two broadly sympatric cryptic species that look identical. The former is diploid and the latter is tetraploid. They can be distinguished by comparing their calls relative to body temperature (i.e., one must know the body temperature) and by examining the size of their red blood cells, which differs because of DNA content. Their gene pools are maintained separately because hybrids would be triploid and gamete production via meiosis would break down. Your definition would synonymize these two taxa unless–and I wish you good luck–you could identify functional differences.

    These frogs are also derived from the same gene pool and are not functionally unique beyond low levels of functional complexity. The same is true for donkeys and horses. They are derived from the very same gene pool and are not functionally unique beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Yet, their offspring (mules/hinnies) are almost universally sterile because of non-functional differences in chromosomal structure (chromosomal number, inversions, etc.) between the two gene pools.

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/donkeyshorsesmules.html

    You do understand that I do actually find value in mainstream methods of defining taxonomic groups of organisms? – right? It is just that these methods do not suggest limits to evolutionary potential whereas my definition does. That’s the key difference.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  77. Sean&#032Pitman: And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina.

    I would like to believe Chatterjee’s claims that Protoavis represents a bird more modern than Archaeopteryx, but his claims are not well accepted among paleontologists, and even if Protoavis was a bird it still has several reptile-like traits. I would also like to believe the Triassic footprints were made by birds, but the authors of the study concluded they were made made by an unknown theropod dinosaur with a reversible hallux–based on the assumption that birds did not exist at the time.

    In any event, how do you explain the presence of birds with reptilian-like traits (teeth, long bony tails, clawed forelimbs, etc.) occurring earlier in the fossil record than more modern birds, just as predicted by evolutionists? I can understand why people examining the evidence objectively would interpret early bird-like fossils as support for megaevolution. Those who do so should be respected for their interpretations (and not ridiculed repeatedly by a certain individual here who erroneously thinks evolutionists believe that birds evolved from lizards). I have a hard time understanding how anybody could interpret the early fossil record of any vertebrate class as overwhelmingly supporting the Biblical account of origins.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      Contrary to popular belief, even modern birds have genes for producing teeth… and have done so under experimental conditions (Link). Also, there are modern birds that have claws on their winged digits as well (Link) and some modern birds, like penguins, have bony tails.

      In short, these features are not distinctive to reptiles. In fact, certain dinosaurs, like Velociraptors have so many features similar to birds (to include quill knobs on their arm bones) that a number of mainstream scientists are starting to suggest that these types of dinosaurs evolved from birds, not the other way around (Link).

      It is much easier to explain the loss of complex pre-established phenotypic features (like true features, teeth, tail bones, etc.) than it is to explain their novel evolution – especially given that true birds seem to exist lower down in the fossil record than originally thought.

      As far as Protoavis is concerned, Chatterjee is not alone in his assessment. As Lawrence Witmer recently pointed out, “such esteemed paleornithologists as Evgeny Kurochkin and D. Stephen Peters have regarded Protoavis as a bird in their published accounts of early avian evolution.” Likewise, Chatterjee reports, “Many experts on fossil birds came to our museum and confirmed my belief that the newly found material exhibited a suite of distinct avian traits.” (Chatterjee, 1997)

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Yes, yes, yes, you are right, but toothed birds with clawed forewings and long bony tails nevertheless do appear in the fossil record before beaked birds lacking clawed forewings and long bony tails, which is predicted by evolutionary theory–not Biblical creationism.

        The fact that chickens have produced tooth-like structures, juvenile Hoatzins (and adults of a few other species) have claws on their forewings and penguins have short bony tails doesn’t mean that the fossil record of the reptile-bird transition overwhelmingly favors Biblical creationism. An evolutionist would merely shrug and say the facts you pointed out simply confirm the evolutionary connection between reptiles and birds.

        I think the occurrence of Protoavis and bird-like tracks from the Triassic, long before any avian-like theropod dinosaurs appear in the fossil record, are the strongest arguments creationists can make against the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Eddie:

          Yes, yes, yes, you are right, but toothed birds with clawed forewings and long bony tails nevertheless do appear in the fossil record before beaked birds lacking clawed forewings and long bony tails, which is predicted by evolutionary theory–not Biblical creationism.

          A loss of features, like cavefish without eyes or birds without teeth, is perfectly consistent with Biblical creationism. Such devolutionary changes (losing something that was originally there) isn’t remotely the same thing as evolving something novel that wasn’t there to begin with.

          The fact that chickens have produced tooth-like structures, juvenile Hoatzins (and adults of a few other species) have claws on their forewings and penguins have short bony tails doesn’t mean that the fossil record of the reptile-bird transition overwhelmingly favors Biblical creationism.

          Neither are these features inconsistent with Biblical creationism. There are many other features of the fossil/geologic records that do strongly favor the Biblical perspective while be inconsistent with the neo-Darwinian perspective.

          An evolutionist would merely shrug and say the facts you pointed out simply confirm the evolutionary connection between reptiles and birds.

          Similarities are very easy to explain by common descent via RM/NS. This is not true for phenotypic differences beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. Dariwnists are all hung up on the similarities between various kinds of living things when it’s the differences that are key to determining if this or that kind of organism could actually have an evolutionary relationship or if there had to have been intelligent design involve to produce various key differences.

          I think the occurrence of Protoavis and bird-like tracks from the Triassic, long before any avian-like theropod dinosaurs appear in the fossil record, are the strongest arguments creationists can make against the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs.

          This is just one among many even stronger argument for the creationist position…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  78. Sean&#032Pitman: Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments.

    This remains debatable. What remains uncontested is the fact that pollen from advanced plants is remarkably and conspicuously absent from a number of well-studied layers. I’ll give you four examples.

    (1) The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona reveals spores of more than 50 different fossil fern and lycophyte species and pollen from more than 80 species of gymnosperms, but no pollen grains of any flowering plants have been identified, nor are any of the fossilized trees, which make the site famous, the remains of flowering plants. This particular layer is part of the Chinle Formation that is found spread across Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and western Colorado, and is dated as Jurassic or older. No flowering plants have been found anywhere in this extensive formation, nor in the same part of the geological column in other well-studied regions of the world.

    (2) A study in Antarctica of somewhat older Permian rocks revealed abundant spores of more than 20 fern species, and pollen from a similar number of gymnosperms, but no evidence of any flowering plant pollen.

    (3) A study in Spain of sedimentary rocks at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary revealed more than 45 species of ferns and gymnosperms but no flowering plant fossils.

    (4) Amber (fossil resin) formed by trees can be quite abundant at higher levels in the column, but is absent below the Devonian, when the first tree-like plants capable of producing the resin magically appear. At one Devonian site in the southern Alps, more than 50,000 tiny drops of amber were found in crushed sandstone. Microscopic examination revealed predominantly conifer pollen and plant parts with smaller numbers of fern and lycophyte spores, but again, no pollen or vegetative parts of flowering plants could be identified. Yet amber at higher levels contain flowering plant material. Bizarre.

    Equally or more important, you haven’t addressed the remarkable lack of flowering plants themselves in any layers below the Cretaceous. To any intelligent mind, the plants could not possibly outrun the rising flood waters, so how does your mind propose they escaped the early flooding? Do you suppose the herbivores, since we now know they had ample opportunity to eat and make babies during the flood itself (a fact presumably unknown to Ellen White), consumed all of these plants selectively during the flood, while ignoring the more primitive plants that were left behind, before they moved on to higher ground?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      This remains debatable. What remains uncontested is the fact that pollen from advanced plants is remarkably and conspicuously absent from a number of well-studied layers.

      It really isn’t debatable that pollen and fragments of flowering and vascular plants have been found in Cambrian layers and below (Link). However, the fact that such finds are very rare is certainly interesting, but not without precedent. There are actually numerous examples of “Lazarus Taxa” where certain types of plants and/or animals seem to completely disappear from the fossil record through numerous layers, only to return in much higher layers or as living modern species…

      The fact that such mysteries are prevalent, even from a creationist perspective (also very hard to explain from an evolutionary perspective), does not remove the fact that the weight of fossil/geologic evidence strongly favors the Biblical model of recent catastrophic origin…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  79. Sean&#032Pitman: Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments.

    Do you actually believe your statement? Has anybody besides Clifford Burdick claimed to have discovered pollen from Cambrian and Precambrian rocks?

    Educate Truth supporter Art Chadwick conducted his own study and published a rebuttal to Burdick’s claims (see http://www.grisda.org/origins/08007.pdf). Does Art Chadwick believe your statement? A statement from 2009 suggests otherwise (see
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/dinos/pollen/eng/index.html).




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      Yes, Arthur Chadwick is aware of other far more interesting and convincing reports of pollen and fragments of vascular plants in Cambrian sediments… such as those found in the saline series of the Punjab salt range and the discovery of Lycopodiaceous shoots in the Middle Cambrian of East-Siberia (Link).




      0
      View Comment
  80. The fossil record as a whole supports creationism much better than Darwinism. As I wrote in my book:

    The fossil record does not support the Darwinian version of natural history. The near-absence of complex life forms below the Cambrian, the incredible diversity of life forms that suddenly appear in the Cambrian explosion, the fact that fossil forms do not change or evolve during millions of years of geological time, and the extreme rarity of transitional or intermediate forms anywhere in the fossil record are together sufficient to falsify the larger claims of Darwinism.

    The observed configuration of fossils is, however, exactly what a biblical creationist would expect to find. First, if the fossiliferous layers were formed during the Flood, we would expect that the plants and animals then existing would have been buried and preserved as fossils, and that is exactly what we find.

    Second, a biblical creationist who believes that the Genesis Flood began in the oceans with the bursting forth of the “great fountains of the deep” would expect to find a great variety of sea creatures buried by turbidity currents during the early stages of the flood. He would not expect to find intermediate fossil forms leading up to those sea floor creatures; rather, they would all appear suddenly in the fossil record, an “explosion” of diversity and variety at the lowest fossiliferous level. This is exactly what we see in the Cambrian explosion.

    Third, instead of the “branching tree” pattern predicted by Darwin, the biblical creationist would expect to find a tremendous range and diversity of life at the very lowest fossiliferous levels. In fact, we find that the “tree” of life is upside down, with almost all the modern phyla and many extinct phyla appearing in the lower Cambrian. This aspect of the “Cambrian explosion” is well illustrated by the Burgess Shale fauna.

    Fourth, a biblical creationist would not expect to find fossil evidence of any species changing into a different species. Rather, as each ecological zone was overtaken by the floodwaters, the flora and fauna of that zone were drowned and buried in sediment. After each zone was overtaken, the flora and fauna of that zone were eradicated, and not buried again in higher strata. This is why forms come into the fossil record, they do not change during their tenure of “geological time,” and then they disappear from the fossil record, but yield no evidence of having evolved into something else. This pattern of abrupt appearance, stasis, and disappearance is puzzling to Darwinists, but it is exactly what biblical creationists would expect, and exactly what we find.

    Finally, a biblical creationist would expect to find many fossil animals in the strata that no longer exist as living animals. This is partly because the ruined post-Flood world cannot support the range, diversity, and type of life that it could support when it came perfect from the hand of its Creator. Seventh-day Adventists have another reason to expect to find fossil animals that no longer exist as living species. [Ellen White’s statement that “The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood.”] Thus, we find many fossil species that are now extinct and known only from fossils.

    Clearly, the fossil record, fairly interpreted, supports the biblical record and the prophetic statements of Ellen White. “God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood—the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.”




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bob Helm: Bob, thanks for those links. I discuss the Melchor’s Argentinean finds in Chapter 16 of my book. Those tracks are so obviously bird tracks that the fact that some scientists want to assign them to “birdlike theropods” is itself a very useful teaching tool as to how the model creates the data.

      A creationist has no difficulty whatsoever with the idea that birds lighted on temporarily exposed sand during the Flood, but then flew off so that their bodies are not found buried until higher in the stratigraphic pile. But the Darwinist views the stratigraphic pile as the residue of long ages, so it would obviously be impossible for an animal (a bird) that did not exist until millions of years later to leave those tracks. Therefore, as a matter of simple logic, the tracks must have been left by a very bird-like theropod dinosaur. QED.

      That the model actually creates the data is one of the hardest concepts to get across, not only to lay people but even to the scientists themselves. But these bird tracks are an excellent teaching tool to illustrate this concept.




      0
      View Comment
      • @David Read: I agree with you David. And due to the fact that bodily remains are usually found higher than tracks, we may not find the bodies of birds in the Triassic. Still, it would be nice to find an actual Triassic bird, and perhaps Chatterjee’s Protoavis is one. However, I have heard that this fossil is badly mangled, so that its identification is somewhat uncertain. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but I’d rather be extra slow to jump on someone’s bandwagon, instead of making the mistakes Darwinists have made with Piltdown Man and Archaeoraptor.




        0
        View Comment
    • thanks bob, i found that bird track article worth saving to a word document. Old saying proved again, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” This won’t help those who don’t want to consider creation viable. Each time one of their accusations is explained they just go looking for another. But the article will help those who are honestly considering all the options. Thanks again

      -Shining




      0
      View Comment
  81. Dear Sean,

    Pardon my intrusion into your dialogue with Professor Kent, but you are discussing some topics that are of keen interest to me.

    I appreciate your posting what appear to be footprints of birds in Triassic strata. I also had heard of this discovery, and it seems convincing to me.

    However, I am wondering about your claim for Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian pollen. Do you have a good source to back it up? I am aware that the late Clifford Burdick once claimed to have discovered Pre-Cambrian pollen, but it was my understanding that both the mainstream uniformitarian community and the creation science community (including the Institute For Creation Research and the Geoscience Research Institute) had rejected his claim. I’m just wondering if I have missed something about Pre-Cambrian pollen.




    0
    View Comment
  82. Sean,thank you for the claification on the pollen. I believe it needs more study. However, it must be remembered that Cambrian sediments are generally from the deep sea, where one would not expect pollen to be common. So if claims for Cambrian pollen are valid, it would be neat, but if they are invalid, this would certainly not invalidate flood geology.




    0
    View Comment
  83. One more thought. I would suggest that less dogmatism is needed in interpreting the absence of certain fossils in certain portions of the geologic column. For example, it wasn’t too long ago that the rather dogmatic assertion was made that grass evolved in the Miocene. But recently, clear evidence for Cretaceous grass has been discoverd (see link below). The absence of a particular living organism is not proven merely because fossils of that organism have not been discovered in a portion of the geologic column.

    http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2005/1117grassdinos.shtml




    0
    View Comment
  84. Dear Eddie,

    Although I am aware of Chatterjee’s claims for Protoavis, I am uncertain whether they are valid. However, the Triassic footprints that closely resemble bird prints look very convincing, and yet it seems that since 2002, the scientific community has ignored them – probably because of the zeal many have to promote a bird-dino link. Take a look at the articles I posted above, and see what you think.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Bob Helm: Bob, I have the original published articles for both Chatterjee’s Protoavis from Texas and the bird-like tracks from Argentina, both dating from the Triassic. They are tantalizing if not convincingly avian. As you surmised, the only reason why they aren’t widely accepted as birds among paleontologists is because they throw a monkey wrench in evolutionary theory.

      For those less familiar with these fossils (Bob is obviously well informed), the theropod dinosaurs (thought to be the ancestors of birds) that look the most like birds first appear in the Cretaceous, well after Archaeopteryx which appears in the Jurassic, so a sequence issue already exists. If birds predated Archaeopteryx and appeared as early as the Triassic, the sequence problem for the theropod origin of birds becomes more acute for evolutionists to explain.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Eddie: Eddie, I would like to see more research on Protoavis. I remember when its discovery was first announced in the early 1990s, it created a sensation, but then it was seemingly forgotten in the rush to prove that birds evolved from dinosaurs. I was trying to google recent information on Protoavis, but everything I found that was significant dated to the early 90s. If you have anything more recent on this fossil, I’d love to read it.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Bob Helm: Bob, if you send me an e-mail at sdabioprof2@gmail.com I will send you a pdf file of a 1991 article published by Chatterjee in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 332:277-342, titled “Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas.”

          Curiously his description is based only on cranial anatomy. I don’t think he ever published an analysis of its postcranial anatomy.




          0
          View Comment
  85. Sean&#032Pitman: Oh really? We can “rest assured” upon what basis? Are you equally confident for all of the cases I’ve presented? I suppose that Ringneck Pheasants just fly in from Asia on a regular basis?

    More bald eagles arrived in North Carolina from other locations in the southeast U.S.–just as the first pair did. More white terns arrived on Oahu from other locations in the Pacific Ocean–just as the first pair did. Humans released more ring-necked pheasants–lots more–in the U.S.

    Birds get around. You’ve assumed 100% natal philopatry. Look up “metapopulation” in Wikipedia.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      This is a reasonable argument for the White Terns on Oahu and perhaps even for the N. American ring-neck pheasants. However, it is a bit more difficult for bald eagles and several other known examples of populations surviving extreme bottlenecks.

      More bald eagles may indeed arrive in N. Carolina now days – true. However, when they were much more endangered during the time when the population in N. Carolina dropped to just one breeding pair, this situation doesn’t seem nearly as likely as a source of outside genetic input. The original single breeding pair did in fact survive and did produce an inbred population of Bald Eagles in this region that was most likely inbred for quite some time before outside influences could reasonably have been realized. Consider, in this line, that bald eagles are monogamous and remain faithful to each other until one of the pair dies.

      Various rabbit populations are known to have arisen from significant population bottlenecks.

      http://attic.areavoices.com/2012/03/17/hare-raising-times-on-duluths-park-point/

      The Brookfield herd of Wisent Bison stared from a single breeding pair in 1956. The only import after that time was a single full-sibling female to the breeding male. No animals have been added since.

      Anyway, there are numerous other such examples. And, while such inbreeding is no doubt problematic in today’s world, it is not impossible to achieve a viable population even today and was no doubt much easier when gene pools had far less detrimental mutations and when the environment was far less toxic.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  86. Sean&#032Pitman: The former [increased genetic diversity] is caused by the latter [loss of genetic information]…

    So…God created life with remarkable genetic mechanisms to ensure that living organisms 1) can rapidly diversify to overcome small population size and adapt to changing environmental conditions (I admire the foresight and loving care of this God), but also 2) collapse spectacularly because they eventually can no longer rapidly diversify and adapt to changing environmental conditions (I’m not so sure what to think of this God). If the latter is true, does this mean that God designed these life forms poorly, or that He simply wanted them one day to all die off? Surely you have some thoughts on WHY God designed all life forms to eventually crash.

    Which group do you suppose is proprammed to reach its termination point first: the fast-reproducing (short-lived) species, or the slow-reproducing (long-lived) species? When will all these genetic systems disintigrate to the point of total failure? You’re good at math and have a thorough understanding of genetic systems, so surely you have a good idea. This might give us a hint as to when Jesus returns; after all, the collapse can’t happen before His return, as Satan would be able to point out God’s utter failure in creating defective life forms.

    Furthermore, you have a thorough understanding of theology, so perhaps you could show us from scripture where we should have realized all along that the self-limiting genetic mechanisms of living creatures would offer testable falsifiable empirical evidence that God is real.

    Your theories become more fascinating the more elaborate they become.




    0
    View Comment
  87. Sean&#032Pitman: Almost all examples of the evolution of “new” functional traits or alleles are based on the disruption or loss of a pre-existing trait or functional system. And, those occasional examples of evolution where qualitatively novel functional systems are produced in observable time are all at very very low levels of functional complexity (requiring a minimum of no more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues).

    Lymphostatin is a pernicious toxin made by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, which colonizes the intestine of vertebrate animals. In humans, E. coli causes the majority of the 1 billion cases of diarrhea each year, resulting in 3-4 million deaths. This particular toxin is essential for bacterial adhesion, intestinal colonization, immunosuppression, and disruption of gut epithelial barrier function. It occurs in pathogenic strains of E. coli, but not in the harmless, non-pathogenic strains. It also shows the strongest statistical association with infectious diarrhea. The toxin itself is approximately 3,258 amino acid residues in length (or a few residues less). And this toxin is but one of a suite of virulence factors that work together to promote colonization of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.

    Clostridium difficile toxins A and B are also nasty virulence factors that function similarly in enteropathogenesis. These toxins are approximately 2,772 and 2,430 amino acids, respectively. As for E. coli and lymphostatin, the pathogenecity of C. difficile and effectiveness of toxins A and B are modulated by additional virulence factors.

    If qualitatively novel functional systems cannot evolve beyond a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues, then where did these enormous toxins, and the other virulence factors that act in concert with them, come from? You have told us repeatedly that nothing beyond 1,000 fsaars (fairly specified amino acid residues) can evolve within trillions upon trillions of years. So did God create these highly virulent toxins to function as they do today in harming humans and other vertebrates, or did they evolve as qualitatively novel functional systems?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      Lymphostatin is a pernicious toxin made by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, which colonizes the intestine of vertebrate animals. In humans, E. coli causes the majority of the 1 billion cases of diarrhea each year, resulting in 3-4 million deaths. This particular toxin is essential for bacterial adhesion, intestinal colonization, immunosuppression, and disruption of gut epithelial barrier function. It occurs in pathogenic strains of E. coli, but not in the harmless, non-pathogenic strains. It also shows the strongest statistical association with infectious diarrhea. The toxin itself is approximately 3,258 amino acid residues in length (or a few residues less). And this toxin is but one of a suite of virulence factors that work together to promote colonization of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.

      The lymphostatin toxin consistent of three enzymatic motifs (a glucosyltransferase, a protease, and an aminotransferase motif). These motifs are not required to work together at the same time, but in sequence – as in an cascading-type enzymatic system. That means that there is little required specificity of their arrangement relative to each other. In other words, the lymphostatin toxin is not like a flagellar motility system where all the parts are required to be in a specific location at the same time in order for the motility function of the flagellar machine to work in a beneficial manner.

      Also, from what did the lymphostatin toxin evolve? Consider that the bacterial TTSS toxin injector system, which requires the services of 10 proteins and several thousand specifically arranged amino acid residues, is a truncated version of the flagellar motility system in bacteria. In other words, the TTSS system has been shown to have evolved from the fully formed bacterial flagellum. Its evolution is therefore based on a loss of parts from a pre-existing system. It is, of course, far far easier to lose parts than it is to gain parts to produce a functional system.

      Clostridium difficile toxins A and B are also nasty virulence factors that function similarly in enteropathogenesis. These toxins are approximately 2,772 and 2,430 amino acids, respectively. As for E. coli and lymphostatin, the pathogenecity of C. difficile and effectiveness of toxins A and B are modulated by additional virulence factors.

      C. diff toxins A and B are similar in form and function. They are also comprised of multiple motifs which are not required to work at the same time, but work in sequence – as with enzymatic cascades. For instance, there are 1) Domains for receptor binding, the first essential step in the process of cell entry. 2) After receptor-mediated endocytosis and membrane translocation, only the N-terminal domain of TcdB exits the endosome and gains access to substrates. 3) Once this occurs, TcdB glucosylates the GTPase RhoA and two other GTPases, Rac and Cdc42, via transfer of a sugar moiety to Thr-37 of the GTPase with UDP-glucose as a cosubstrate. The same thing happens with TcdA.

      In short, TcdA and TcdB act as glucosyltransferases, capable of inactivating small GTPases within the cell. This system functions in a sequential manner. It is therefore no more complex than its most complex individual part or functional element in the stepwise process. Also, you’ve not determined the likely minimum size for any of the domains in this cascading system. The current size is not the minimum size that would actually do the job.

      If qualitatively novel functional systems cannot evolve beyond a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues, then where did these enormous toxins, and the other virulence factors that act in concert with them, come from? You have told us repeatedly that nothing beyond 1,000 fsaars (fairly specified amino acid residues) can evolve within trillions upon trillions of years. So did God create these highly virulent toxins to function as they do today in harming humans and other vertebrates, or did they evolve as qualitatively novel functional systems?

      Beyond the fact that these toxins are not examples of “evolution in action” (at least not as far as I’m aware), they are not highly specified in their residue sequences nor do their current sizes reflect the minimum size requirement needed to produce their functionality. Also, you don’t know if these toxins are the result of a loss of functionality from some pre-existing system – as in the case of the TTSS toxin injector system.

      In other words, your examples fail to explain how RM/NS can likely find novel systems of function at higher levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time . . .

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  88. Professor&#032Kent: When did he tell you this? I have a friend who says he got the idea from Chadwick (I’m not sure whether first-hand or second-hand).

    Okay, looks like my friend heard this, indeed, second-hand, and says that it came from a reliable source during a behind-closed-doors conversation. While EducateTruthers believe any such conversations must become public knowledge if found out about, I feel they are sacrosanct. My friend says he should not have let the cat out of the bag, and likewise I should not have closed the bag to keep the cat crawling about. My apologies to those involved in the conversation.

    Apparently, the notion has gained a lot of traction in private discussion, but it’s clear Sean Pitman would never allow for the possibility of any terrestrial animals surviving outside the ark. So all you faithful SDA academics out there who fear for your jobs, don’t ever breathe a word about this hypothesis. Your fate might resemble those poor critters outside of the ark. Don’t you dare Educate anything other than Truth.




    0
    View Comment
  89. Sean

    Just trying to understand your model of life.

    1] The original creation between 6000-7000 BP was by divine fiat.
    2] only sentient creatured did not die in the original creation.
    3] Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells contained the normal regulators of death and longevity.
    4] There was continuous and diven intervention preventing decay in biological information until the fall.
    5] In the time between the fall and the flood there was removal of the supernatural prevention of natural deterioration.
    6] At the time of the flood two animals had so much “front loaded” genetic “information” that they could generate a large population without inbreeding or loss of fitness.
    7] Over the last 4000 years there has been dramatic and life threatening accumulation of genetic defects
    8] At around 2000 BC the continental plates had not seperated and there were large ice caps and very low sea levels so animals could scroll across the ocean floors
    9] Somewhere beyond 2000BC the plates separated so we have the biogeography we see today.
    10] The diversification within species does not require new information.
    11] diversification of species is the same as phenotypic changes within species and does not require new genetic information.

    I see a few inconsistencies in this account.
    1] Was there really genetic degradation from the fall or from the flood? How does his impact the perfect pair model you have proposed.
    2] When did fast continental drift start and finish. You dont really seem to be allowing much time for the 10000 K pacific ocean to develop. 10K per year for seperation of Eurasia and america seem pretty fast.
    3] You use the dog model of phenotypic variation as a model of post flood diversification but claim there is no new mutations. Dog phenotypic variation is not at all speciation so you must have all the current species on the ark or you must believe that for example all canines species diversified by mechanisms that do not require new information.

    .




    0
    View Comment
    • @Pauluc:

      Just trying to understand your model of life.

      1] The original creation between 6000-7000 BP was by divine fiat.

      Yes, the original creation of this Earth as a place able to support complex life and then all living things on this planet took place within recent history (i.e., less than 10,000 years ago) – by Divine fiat.

      2] only sentient creatured did not die in the original creation.

      Yes. Obviously, if you take a bite out of an apple, cells die, are chewed up and digested. But no one cares because such cells are not sentient or “self-aware”.

      3] Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells contained the normal regulators of death and longevity.

      Yes.

      4] There was continuous and diven intervention preventing decay in biological information until the fall.

      Yes.

      5] In the time between the fall and the flood there was removal of the supernatural prevention of natural deterioration.

      That’s right.

      6] At the time of the flood two animals had so much “front loaded” genetic “information” that they could generate a large population without inbreeding or loss of fitness.

      There obviously was inbreeding. It is just that such inbreeding (as in marrying one’s sister) wasn’t such a problem at this time since there weren’t as many detrimental mutations within the gene pool at that time. So, yes, a large population of fit as well as phenotypically diverse individuals could be produced starting with just two individuals.

      7] Over the last 4000 years there has been dramatic and life threatening accumulation of genetic defects

      The accumulation of detrimental mutations started at the Fall. However, this accumulation had not reached nearly the hazardous levels that are currently known by the time of the Flood.

      8] At around 2000 BC the continental plates had not seperated and there were large ice caps and very low sea levels so animals could scroll across the ocean floors

      The continental plates were broken up, for the first time, during the Flood and started their drift at that time. Right after the Flood, there were several hundred years when the entire world was warm and lush. The continents, while rapidly drifting apart, had not yet completely separated at all points. There were no ice caps or massive ice sheets yet as the first ice age had yet to be realized. After several hundred years, the first ice age struck suddenly and trapped millions of animals in a single season. It is for this reason that we still find frozen Mammoths and other post-Flood animals all around the Arctic circle today. The rapid increase of ice resulted in a significant decrease in ocean levels – also contributing to bridges between the separating continents. As the continents began to crash into each other, the energy used up in the process of creating huge mountain chains and ocean trenches slowed down their rate of drift.

      9] Somewhere beyond 2000BC the plates separated so we have the biogeography we see today.

      The biogeography we see today wasn’t realized immediately. It took some time for the continents to reach their current positions via drift.

      10] The diversification within species does not require new information.

      Very dramatic changes in phenotypic expression need not be based on the generation of new alleles at all – that’s correct. Of course, new mutations do affect alleles. However, as already noted, these effects are almost always quantitative effects, not qualitative. And, as you know, most functional mutations are detrimental. The relatively rare examples where something qualitatively new is actually produced by random mutations are always at very low levels of functional complexity. Because of these features, in combination, all that we see today as far as diversity within a species or even at the genus or family or even ordinal levels could be realized in a very short period of time.

      11] diversification of species is the same as phenotypic changes within species and does not require new genetic information.

      Not qualitatively new beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Again, there are no examples of qualitatively novel systems of function, based on any kind of underlying genetic mutation, being produced by RM/NS beyond very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., requiring no more than a few hundred specifically arranged residues). If you want to call functionally detrimental mutations “new”, that’s fine. Just make sure and define the quality of the mutations and the resulting functions you’re talking about.

      I see a few inconsistencies in this account.

      1] Was there really genetic degradation from the fall or from the flood? How does his impact the perfect pair model you have proposed.

      From the Fall. The pairs at the Flood were not “perfect”. They were just a lot better than gene pools are today and therefore had far less odds of producing offspring that would be homozygous for detrimental genes.

      2] When did fast continental drift start and finish. You dont really seem to be allowing much time for the 10000 K pacific ocean to develop. 10K per year for seperation of Eurasia and america seem pretty fast.

      It was much faster right after the Flood. . . and has yet to finish. Continental drift is still taking place.

      3] You use the dog model of phenotypic variation as a model of post flood diversification but claim there is no new mutations. Dog phenotypic variation is not at all speciation so you must have all the current species on the ark or you must believe that for example all canines species diversified by mechanisms that do not require new information.

      Of course there are new mutations. New mutations happen all the time, in every individual in every generation. How many times have I pointed this out to you? Why then would you claim that I recognize no new mutations?

      I also think that creatures like dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, etc., are all part of the same original gene pool – the same original parents. Many phenotypic differences between these “species” are indeed based on novel mutations. It is just that these mutations did not produce qualitatively novel information/function beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        You are correct. I did inadvertently misstate your positiom

        I said

        “3] You use the dog model of phenotypic variation as a model of post flood diversification but claim there is no new mutations. Dog phenotypic variation is not at all speciation so you must have all the current species on the ark or you must believe that for example all canines species diversified by mechanisms that do not require new information.”

        You responded

        “Of course there are new mutations. New mutations happen all the time, in every individual in every generation. How many times have I pointed this out to you? Why then would you claim that I recognize no new mutations? ”

        “I also think that creatures like dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, etc., are all part of the same original gene pool – the same original parents. Many phenotypic differences between these “species” are indeed based on novel mutations. It is just that these mutations did not produce qualitatively novel information/function beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.”

        I did try to maintain your distinction between new mutations and new information although I think this is an unnecessarily opaque distinction that is not part of the peer reviewed genetics literature. I apologize in that I inadvertently suggested you do not recognize new mutations when in fact you do but then make a distinction between new mutations and new information. I seem to have failed to maintain that distinction. The point I was making was that you have often stated on this site and in relationship to Darwinian evolution your position that random mutations cannot generate new information or contribute to changes in phenotype. Now you seem to indicate that phenotypic changes in dogs (and I presume in all kinds represented by 2 animals) only occur by resorting multiple alleles in the original 2 founders but have qualified this somewhat in that you concede that you consider there may be minor mutation that do not have any significant functional contribution and do not contribute new information. I really do not understand; I have interpreted both you and David Read as saying there may be essentially information-less mutations but now you indicate some of them do have a little information or novelty. It seems you need to decide if there is new information or not. Beyond that as everyone recognizes novel changes may be neutral, beneficial or detrimental all to varying degrees based on circumstances. Is there novel information or not? If there is, no matter how small there is new information and even this minimal new information may still be fodder for selection and your position becomes, except in time frame, no different to the conventional view that sees variation (genetic variation) as the basis for natural selection and evolution.

        In terms of random mutation accumulation in dogs. Do you think the >2 millions SNP identified in dogs (actually canids) come from the founding pair of canids or were introduced by mutation over 4000 years? That is a new mutation rate per year of 500/year or approximately 500 per generation. The alternative is of 1 million nucleotide differences in each of the near perfect pairs. That means that in the 19000 genes in dogs there were on average 5000 nucleotide differences some 4000 years ago. An example of this in the sequence literature would be very helpful in testing your hypothesis. I say there is no example anywhere near this level of allelic variation within an individual but if you can give the URL for such alleles then i would concede I do not need to reject your hypothesis.

        Of course the SNP density in current day dogs is at around 1 per 1000 bases but in your model of 2 near perfect pairs you need more loci to account for more than 4 possibilities. You could account for more than 3 SNPs at a site by increasing the number of possible sites by gene duplications but you might have a novel solutions for which you can provide evidence.

        For details consult this freely available review.
        http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.0010058#s2
        or this less easily accessed paper
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270221
        or the paper which I referenced before that gives the SNP data on dogs in comparison to other canids.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16341006




        0
        View Comment
        • @pauluc:

          I did try to maintain your distinction between new mutations and new information although I think this is an unnecessarily opaque distinction that is not part of the peer reviewed genetics literature.

          That’s exactly right. Mainstream science has yet to draw this distinction. That is why mainstream science does not recognize or even discuss the statistical odds of the evolutionary mechanism (RM/NS) working at various levels of functional complexity. All levels of functional complexity are lumped together. It is simply assumed that if evolution can take place at any level that it can take place at all levels given enough time. No calculations are done to actually determine what the likely time would be to realize something qualitatively new at various levels of functional complexity – that higher levels of complexity would require exponentially greater periods of time to achieve.

          I’m not quite sure why these concepts are never discussed in mainstream literature? except perhaps because they so clearly undermine the entire concept of neo-Darwinism.

          I apologize in that I inadvertently suggested you do not recognize new mutations when in fact you do but then make a distinction between new mutations and new information. I seem to have failed to maintain that distinction.

          Indeed.

          The point I was making was that you have often stated on this site and in relationship to Darwinian evolution your position that random mutations cannot generate new information or contribute to changes in phenotype.

          Not true. Where did you get this idea? I’ve certainly never made such a statement. In fact, I’ve often given examples, to include in this very thread, in response to your own comments, of random mutations directly causing various phenotypic changes. I’ve specifically noted that these changes are most commonly qualitative in nature and usually degenerative. I’m not quite sure how you’ve been able to so consistently overlook these comments of mine?

          Now you seem to indicate that phenotypic changes in dogs (and I presume in all kinds represented by 2 animals) only occur by resorting multiple alleles in the original 2 founders but have qualified this somewhat in that you concede that you consider there may be minor mutation[s] that do not have any significant functional contribution and do not contribute new information. I really do not understand; I have interpreted both you and David Read as saying there may be essentially information-less mutations but now you indicate some of them do have a little information or novelty.

          I’ve consistently and repeatedly explained to you, in this thread and in many others, that many if not most random mutations have functional effects to one degree or another. They do affect the informational quality of the genome – of course! What is the nature of this affect?

          As repeatedly explained, the vast majority of functional mutations have a detrimental or degenerative effect on the genome. Those mutations that result in a survival advantage generally do so by producing quantitative changes in per-existing systems of function. Those relatively rare mutations that actually produce something that is truly qualitatively new, not already there within the ancestral gene pool, never so do beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

          I’m not sure how many times I need to repeat myself here?

          It seems you need to decide if there is new information or not.

          Why would you think it an all or nothing situation? It’s not. There are levels of functional complexity. Lower levels are very easily realized, in short periods of time, by RM/NS. Higher levels are exponentially less likely to be realized in a given span of time.

          Beyond that as everyone recognizes novel changes may be neutral, beneficial or detrimental all to varying degrees based on circumstances. Is there novel information or not?

          Yes, but mostly quantitative in nature; rarely qualitative – and never beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

          If there is, no matter how small there is new information and even this minimal new information may still be fodder for selection and your position becomes, except in time frame, no different to the conventional view that sees variation (genetic variation) as the basis for natural selection and evolution.

          The difference is in the recognition of the functional quality of the mutations… and in the fact that novel information based on random mutations is not needed, not at all, before a vast array of phenotypic variations can be realized in short order – starting with a single breeding pair.

          In terms of random mutation accumulation in dogs. Do you think the >2 millions SNP identified in dogs (actually canids) come from the founding pair of canids or were introduced by mutation over 4000 years? That is a new mutation rate per year of 500/year or approximately 500 per generation.

          First off, genetic mutations started before the Flood at the Fall. The original post-Flood mating pair would very likely have had very different point mutations and therefore a higher SNP number to begin with to pass on to their offspring.

          Also, aren’t the >2 million SNPs simply part of the overall data base for canids? not necessarily representative of the average number of SNPs in a individual vs. individual comparison within or between breeds? or even species of canids? – as per the 2008 Lindblad-Toh et al. paper you cite from Nature? If so, large gross numbers of SNPs can be rapidly produced by larger populations in short order. Sure, the same article cites SNP densities of “1/900 base pairs (bp) between breeds and 1/1,500 bp within breeds… and 1/580 bp between dogs and wolves”, but aren’t these densities based on specific regions of the genome that tend to harbor SNPs? SNPs are classically clustered in a non-random pattern – strongly favoring recombination sites and the like. Also, “SNPs attract further mutations to their vicinity through heterozygote instability”.

          http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7069/full/nature04338.html
          http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/01/08/rspb.2009.1757.full

          And, isn’t it true that the SNP rate, when taken as a comparison between any two individuals, is approximately double that of the mutation rate since the MRCA? due to the fact that random mutations rarely affect exactly the same site in different genomes? For example, say a pair of dogs has a litter of dogs, each with 100 random mutations. How many SNPs will there be, on average, between any two of the puppies in this F1 generation? Up to 200 SNPs per comparison – right? Consider also that the determination of SNPs is prone to significant lab errors that are rather difficult to compensate for.

          As far as the potential for a single breeding pair to produce a vast array of dog phenotypes in short order, consider watching a Nova documentary entitled, “Dogs Decoded”. Notice the part at about the 40 minute mark where foxes were bread for tameness. Very quickly, in just a handful of generations, this trait was significantly enhanced. Surprisingly, along with this trait phenotypic differences were also realized which were very similar to those realized in domesticated dogs.

          [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM1JsGr76Ro&w=560&h=315%5D

          So, there you have it . . . starting with a very small population very significant phenotypic effects can be realized, based on pre-existing functional information, without the need for additional mutations . . .

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  90. Sean&#032Pitman: The lymphostatin toxin consistent of three enzymatic motifs…These motifs are not required to work together at the same time, but in sequence…It is therefore no more complex than its most complex individual part or functional element in the stepwise process. Also, you’ve not determined the likely minimum size for any of the domains in this cascading system. The current size is not the minimum size that would actually do the job…your examples fail to explain how RM/NS can likely find novel systems of function at higher levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time . . .

    If you’re going to introduce sequentiality within a system as a criterion that conveniently skirts your 1000 amino acid limit for qualitatively novel systems of function, then you’ve changed the rules of your own game. Sequentiality is an attribute of all complex traits. You’re right that a trait is only the sum of its components, but natural selection can favor the origin of a qualitatitvely new trait only if it is acting on the trait itself, not its parts. If you’re going to stick with your fantastic claim, then you can’t disqualify any given “system” because the “system” is comprised of individual components. What kind of logic is this?

    All your Fsaar Side theory really claims is that a single mutation resulting in a >1000 amino acid change within a single motif of a single protein cannot result in a qualitatively new function in a single step or generation. No big deal. You’ve essentially admitted that your theory says nothing about the accumulation of smaller amino acid changes across multiple motifs and/or multiple proteins over multiple generations that collectively exceed a >1000 amino acid change in a system.

    Regardless whether the toxins I’ve described have components that act sequentially, these are very large systems that serve a pernicious role which seems highly unlikely to be a part of the original creation. These toxins most certainly constitute valid examples of complex, qualitatively new traits that have evolved.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      “The lymphostatin toxin consistent of three enzymatic motifs…These motifs are not required to work together at the same time, but in sequence.” – Sean Pitman

      If you’re going to introduce sequentiality within a system as a criterion that conveniently skirts your 1000 amino acid limit for qualitatively novel systems of function, then you’ve changed the rules of your own game.

      The rules have been the same all along. Do you not understand, after all this time, the concept of specificity? that systems where all residues must be specifically arranged relative to all of the other residues are at much higher levels of functional complexity compared to systems of similar size that do not have this specificity requirement?

      Do you really not think that I’ve dealt with your examples many many times before in discussions like this? that I’m not aware of vary large proteins and intricate enzymatic cascades? The function of such systems simply isn’t dependent upon the specific arrangement of all parts in 3D space.

      As I’ve explained to you before, at least a couple times now, these enzymatic systems are not like fully specified systems – such as the falgellar motility system or ATPsynthase where all of the proteins and amino acid residues must be specifically arranged in space for the system to work. The minimum size of sequence space needed to contain such systems is much much larger than the minimum size needed to contain non-specified systems.

      Sequentiality is an attribute of all complex traits… If you’re going to stick with your fantastic claim, then you can’t disqualify any given “system” because the “system” is comprised of individual components. What kind of logic is this?

      Specificity of part arrangement is not an attribute of all systems.

      All your Fsaar Side theory really claims is that a single mutation resulting in a >1000 amino acid change within a single motif of a single protein cannot result in a qualitatively new function in a single step or generation.

      Not true. No mutation or series of mutations of any kind or size over any period of time this size of a practical eternity of time can produce any qualitatively novel system of function that requires a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues… where all of the residues must have specifically coded positions relative to all the other residues in the system for the system to work.

      No such system has been observed to evolve. Your examples are not examples of observable evolution in action and they do not require a specific arrangement of all parts relative to all other parts within the system.

      Regardless whether the toxins I’ve described have components that act sequentially, these are very large systems that serve a pernicious role which seems highly unlikely to be a part of the original creation. These toxins most certainly constitute valid examples of complex, qualitatively new traits that have evolved.

      They are not examples of observed evolution and you have no idea from what they evolved? As already noted, fully specified systems at much higher levels of functional complexity have been observed to evolve, or rather devolve, from systems at even higher levels of functional complexity – like the TTSS toxin injector system devolving from the flagellar motility system.

      The potential evolution of most toxins, via RM/NS really isn’t as complex as you imagine. There are many other much more complex systems, such as the mechanism of the HIV virus (the cause of AIDS), that are much harder to explain without any origin in design – which then seems to have degenerated from its original purpose over time (as with the case of the TTSS system).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment

Comments are closed.