Posts Tagged ‘creationism’

Chemostratigraphy shows the geologic column is no flood deposit

itsdemtitans
itsdemtitans
Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:18 pm by itsdemtitans

The one thing that bugs me about creationism is they rarely put forth any real research (and what they do make is usually revealed to be crap based on shoddy data). They love to point out anomalies such as soft tissue remnants in fossils and claim that it’s flat out impossible for it to be there if the fossils are ancient. There’s no good reason to think this, as the processes which form the rock are far better established than long term tissue decay rates in dinosaur fossils.

But what I consistently notice is they’ll use things like soft tissue to try and advocate their position must be right by default. I mean, how else would you explain these discoveries???

I don’t know. Scientists are only just beginning to find out what mechanisms may play a role in preserving tissue remnants over long periods of time. But what needs to be made absolutely clear, and that creationists just can’t seem to get, is that even if we don’t know how these anomalies came to be, that does not prove their global flood at all. The simple fact is their global flood idea has been falsified over and over, and over, and over again. A falsified model, which I will show as conclusively falsified below, is not the answer.

Now then, how do we know, conclusively, that a global flood as advocated by YECs never happened? It’s all due to this lovely branch of geology known as Chemostratigraphy.

Chemostratigraphy is the study of the chemical variations within sedimentary sequences to determine stratigraphic relationships.(1.) This obscure subdiscipline in geology completely undermined every young-Earth interpretation of the geologic column. Before reading any further, I’d highly advise reading the crash course on chemostratigraphy at AgeofRocks.

To sum it up, Chemostratigraphers can use the ratios of certain stable isotopes, such as Carbon 12 or 13, to determine the chemical make ups of rocks and graph them stratigraphically. Often this is because the isotope ratios will record certain events from the time periods when the rocks were laid down, such as the carbon levels in the ocean.

Here’s the analogy from AgeofRocks:

Perhaps the best way to illustrate isotopes of carbon in the ocean is with a bowl of red and green M&M’s, where each color corresponds to a different stable isotope of carbon. For the sake of discussion, this bowl contains precisely 50% green M&M’s (light carbon) and 50% red M&M’s (heavy carbon), for a ratio of 1:1. Now, imagine you leave the room and return later to find that the ratio has shifted to 0.9:1.1, meaning the bowl has been enriched in red M&M’s. There are two possibilities that could explain the shift: either someone added a sample containing more than 50% red M&M’s, or someone removed a sample containing less than 50% red M&M’s. Perhaps you have a child, therefore, who prefers one color to the other, so every handful he takes is biased to that color. This process will leave the bowl preferentially enriched in the other color. If every handful contained precisely half green and half red M&M’s, then the ratio of green to red in the bowl would never change. Likewise, any process that removes carbon from the ocean will change the δ13C value of oceanic carbon, so long as the isotopic ratio of the sample differs from that in the bulk ocean.

Typically, we can use index fossils and radiometric dating alongside stratigraphy to determine that, for example, a rock layer in Nevada is the same age as a rock layer in southern China (perhaps they both contain a unique assemblage of Cambrian-aged trilobites). According to a flood geologist, these layers were deposited in a single year around 5000 years ago. However, they were not necessarily deposited simultaneously. So, if the fossils are in the same order, it has to be due to hydrological sorting or ecological zonation. Regardless of how the order arose, one thing is certain: if these marine organisms were all buried in a global flood, then all of them made their shells from the same ocean and the same reservoir of carbon with approximately the same isotopic ratio. So when fossilized shells of trilobites, brachiopods, mollusks, etc. are analyzed across the Phanerozoic (542 Ma – Present) for carbon isotopes, flood geology would predict that the levels of carbon found in all of these animals, regardless of where in the column, should have an equal amount of the same isotopes.

But this is not what we see. (3.) Instead, what we see are patterns of fluctuating isotopes. This is best illustrated by the graph from Veizer et al.,

https://ageofrocks.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/eac8d-veizer1999.jpg?w=500&h=307

The graph shows that the carbon-isotope ratio in carbonate fossils—and therefore the ocean itself—varied substantially over the past 500 million years. This is in direct conflict with what one would expect had these fossils all been laid down by a single flood. Because the carbon reservoir in the ocean is so large (today, about 39,000 billion tons of carbon), the color of this bowl of M&M’s does not change appreciably on a whim—certainly not in the space of a 370 days. It takes time. Thus, chemostratigraphy leaves the creationist idea of a global flood dead in the water.

To be through, I’ll use the possible immediate objections to chemostratigraphy here, with refutations:

The flood caused wild variation in carbon isotopes!

Variations in the carbon-isotope ratios of fossils are far too great to be explained by shifting ocean chemistry within a single year, meaning these organisms could not have lived in the same ocean at the same time. See the attached graphic above. There would also need to be a mechanism for the addition and removal of massive amounts of carbon isotopes (2.), making the idea even less likely.

What’s more, the pattern of carbon-isotope variations from Cambrian to Quaternary is the same across the entire globe. Whether you’re sampling rocks from Texas or Tanzania, layers of limestone determined to be the same age according to their fossil content also exhibit the same pattern of δ13C values over time. These values are invariably high for Permian-aged carbonates and invariably low for Ordovician-aged carbonates.Consider the fact that in order to increase the oceanic δ13C value by only 5‰ requires a sustained doubling in the rate of organic carbon burial for about 1 million years. There is no reason for any proposed fluctuations in the flood to have been spread out evenly across these deposits all over the globe, especially not if all the sediment (and any carbon by extension) was getting mixed up prior to deposition. The values should be highly variable, not identical across the globe.

The animals in these areas prior to the flood lived in unique basins with different carbon ratios. Therefore, seeing their values varied like this should be expected.

If variations between one part of the ocean and another could account for trends in carbon isotopes, then we shouldn’t find the same temporal trends in different parts of the world (e.g. China vs. North America vs. Australia). Also, we find carbon isotope values changing significantly within the lifetime of single species (e.g. of Cambrian trilobites (4.) ), so one couldn’t claim that all those trilobites just lived in a unique basin prior to the flood. In every environment, the relative change in carbon isotopes correlates well from one site to the next. Finally, we can examine both carbon and strontium isotope trends to ensure that carbon variations weren’t limited to a unique environment (strontium isotopes don’t vary from one basin to the next). (2.)

Chemostratigraphy provides the final falsification of a global flood depositing all of the geologic column. It instead provided a wonderful opportunity to examine the chemical environment of Earth’s past and is a testament to an ancient world.

References:

1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemostratigraphy

2.http://ageofrocks.org/2014/08/23/chemostratigraphy-silent-objector-to-flood-geology/

3.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009254199000819

4.http://ageofrocks.org/2014/08/27/the-spice-event-global-disruption-in-the-late-cambrian-carbon-cycle/

A Brief Structural and Developmental Comparison of Trilobites and Modern Arthropods

Isotelus
Isotelus
Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:52 pm by Isotelus

Hello all! I decided that it was about time to break into the World of Blog! I have a number of topics in mind for the future, which will focus on primarily on paleontology, geology, biology, zoology, etc. Many of you know very well that I tend towards the vertebrate paleontology side of things, however; I do love me some invertebrates! For those of you who weren’t aware, the username “Isotelus” is actually a genus of Asaphid trilobite, the main inspiration being Isotelus rex, the largest trilobite species currently known (My profile picture is as it is because the bird amuses me). In light of this astonishing revelation, my very first post will be a response to the myriad of creationist websites I have come across that seek to disprove evolution using trilobites as an example. As such, this post is not a direct response to any one particular article I’ve read, but a general statement on their overall position.

Trilobites represent one of the earliest arthropod groups in the fossil record, appearing in the lower Cambrian and persisting until the Permian-Triassic extinction event (520 MYA – 252 MYA). Comprising of roughly 20,000 species and 5000 genera, they were among the most successful group of arthropods to date. While an overall highly complex and sophisticated animal, a number of features identify trilobites as a basal member in relation to living relatives. Despite the often spectacular levels of preservation of trilobites (due primarily to their hard exoskeletons), the fact of their extinction can impose great difficulty in attempting to examine and interpret components of the body in relation to function or behaviour, especially when it involves microscopic structures, such as lenses of the eye or layers of the exoskeleton. Nevertheless, the trilobite eye, body plan and associated structures, as well as certain physiological processes including moulting and development, can be successfully compared with those of modern arthropods, which functions to demonstrate the set of primitive and derived characteristics that set the groups apart. Insects, crustaceans, and xiphosurans (horseshoe crabs) will be included here primarily, as most evaluations center on these groups in particular. This brief assessment also serves as a response to certain pseudoscience proponents who falsely claim the complexity of trilobites and modern arthropods is evidence against evolutionary processes. Advocates of creationism and intelligent design tend to focus only on the eyes of trilobite and neglect the rest of the animal, justifying the need to cover other aspects of the body and exoskeleton.

Eye Structure and Function

From personal experiences/encounters, the trilobite eye in particular is sometimes used by creationists to claim evolution has not occurred, primarily because they and modern representatives have functionally the same complex, perfected visual design. According to this view, trilobites were not primitive creatures, keeping in mind that “primitive” here is defined incorrectly. Taxonomically speaking, primitive or basal indicates a character that is closer to the ancestral condition, and relative degrees of complexity or superiority do not apply. In this context, the highly developed trilobite eyes were not necessarily inferior in their visual capacities relative to modern derived forms; however, there are many aspects of the overall structure that are nevertheless primitive in comparison to crown arthropods.

The majority of all arthropods have compound eyes that are comprised of a series of optical units called ommatidia, which themselves contain a variety of structures and function overall as photoreceptors. Trilobites are no exception, and are some of the earliest animals in the fossil record to show a more complicated version of the visual complex. While varying wildly in terms of general shape and placement, three types of eye are present in trilobites (see this site for a more detailed introduction to trilobite eyes, as well as some great pictures http://www.trilobites.info/eyes.htm). Holochroal eyes were the simplest form and by far the most prevalent type characterized by numerous closely packed lenses with a single outer corneal surface. This type is considered to be basal to the trilobite group and was likely associated with a benthic lifestyle (Clarkson et al., 2005). Schizochroal eyes occur only in one suborder and are distinguished from the holochroal type by a fewer number of lenses separated by sclera and each with an individual corneal surface. Both schizochroal and abathochroal eyes were derived from a holochroal ancestor and likely resulted from paedomorphosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny), as fossils of juvenile holochroal species have been found with schizochroal and abathochroal eye types (The abathochroal eye appears only in a certain group for a short time, and so will not be dealt with here)(Thomas, 2005). Trilobite eyes are typically compared to those of horseshoe crabs, which retain a number of primitive traits, including potentially the most basic eye characteristics relative to other extant arthropods (Schoenemann and Clarkson, 2013). This comparison is not always well-supported, as schizochroal eyes are so unique that optical theories typical of many modern taxa cannot always be successfully applied (Fordyce and Cronan, 1993). However, detailed preservation of microscopic structures in a number of trilobite fossils has since reinstated xiphosurans as a useful structural analogue (Schoenemann and Clarkson, 2013). In terms of structural composition, the lenses of trilobite eyes were uniquely made of a single immobile calcite crystal formed in a biconvex shape to counteract aberration, rather than a proteinaceous crystalline cone typical of all insects and most crustacean groups (Nilsson and Kelber 2007). Additionally, trilobite ommatidia likely connected to a single photoreceptor, indicating both holochroal and schizochroal species had simple apposition eyes, which is considered primitive for Athropoda, and present in Limulus (horseshoe crab) and some members of other groups (Fordyce and Cronan, 1993; Nilsson and Kelber 2007; Schoenemann and Clarkson, 2013). Both trilobites and Limulus ommatidia also potentially show a star-shaped arrangement of tubular, light-collecting rhabdomeres associated with a modified sensory receptor (eccentric cell). The above similarities, as well as the similar size and number of ommatidial elements, suggest Limulus has inherited and maintained a comparatively primitive visual system (Schoenemann and Clarkson, 2013). The structure of the trilobite eye, while complex and highly functional, is clearly not as advanced as most modern arthropods.

Schizochroal eye typical of phacopid trilobites, from http://www.trilobites.info/eyes.htm

Body Plan

Trilobites were so named because of the three lobes consisting of the cephalon (head), thorax, and pygidium (tail) (see image below) (Hughes, 2003). This basic pattern of segmentation is also reflected transversely in the axial and pleural lobes of the main body. This particular configuration is highly conserved across the group, with high levels of variation occurring typically in ornamentation (e.g. spines), and relative size, number, and shape of the segments and associated structures, such as the mouthparts. Unlike the majority of arthropods today, such as crustaceans and insects that occupy a great diversity of habitats, trilobites were restricted to a marine setting and evidently never invaded fresh water or terrestrial environments. This constraint is reflected in the comparatively static trilobite bauplan, which never diverged greatly from the basic roughly ovoid shape or formed highly complex structures such as wings, or showed the higher degree of morphological divergence achieved by comparable aquatic crustaceans (lobsters, crabs, ostracods, barnacles, etc). The latter may seem counter-intuitive considering how speciose and widespread the trilobites were as a whole. One potential interpretation considers their success over a long time period in correlation with their conserved and relatively simplistic body plan, which evidentially allowed them to function perfectly well in a range of marine environments, such that any significant changes or divergences were not favoured by natural selection. Evidence from trace fossils, taphonomy, and general morphology suggests the majority of trilobite species were likely feeding on particulate matter in a seafloor environment, which may at least partially explain both the relatively unchanging body plan and holochroal eye morphology (Hughes, 2003; Clarkson et al., 2005).

Soft-tissue preservation and ventral morphology of Triarthrus, from http://www.fossilmuseum.net/trilobites/ptychopariida/Triarthrus/Triarthrus.htm;

In addition to the body segments themselves, trilobite legs were biramous, consisting of two separate branches on a single limb (Hughes, 2003). Only the antennae were uniramous, and this trait along with biramous appendages seems to be the most basal arrangement among arthropods according to studies in homology and development (Boxshall, 2004).The same arrangement is also typical of crustaceans, while insect limbs are uniramous and lack a second branch. However, unlike both insects and crustaceans, the limbs of trilobites occur in identical pairs that repeated sequentially on the head, tail, and each thoracic segment, with divergence in form appearing in the uniramous antennae, or between species as a result of diet. Morphologically diverse and modified appendages typical of many modern arthropods, such as those for prey capture and consumption, reproduction, swimming, etc., are entirely absent in all known trilobite species; even those with soft tissue preservation. Although it may correlate with the relatively inflexible trilobite bauplan in association with a benthic, particulate-feeding lifestyle as discussed previously, this explanation may not necessarily account for the invariable limb morphology across all trilobite groups, including those that are interpreted as having been planktic, pelagic, or burrowing, based on other specific aspects of their morphology (such as eye size and placement) (Hughes, 2003).

Exoskeletal Structure and Development

The trilobite exoskeleton was highly mineralized in comparison to modern arthropods, which tend to rely more on organic secretions (Miller and Clarkson, 1980). In addition, the calcitic exoskeleton was fairly typical of an arthropod cuticle, with structural similarities occurring variably with modern arthropods, but was composed of only two simple, distinct main layers, the exocuticle and endocuticle (Mutvei, 1981). This same study found that a lack of a thinning endocuticle and the pores and cavities near ducts used to transport/dissolve old calcitic and organic material for reuse indicated trilobites could not reabsorb their molted cuticle. Miller and Clarkson (1980) also showed that the calcium carbonate contained in the cuticle is shed in its entirety during ecdysis. In contrast, absorption of the old cuticle in modern arthropods potentially aids in speeding the hardening process after molting, and some groups will also consume the old cuticle for nutrients and/or later incorporation. Due to the high degree of mineralization of their cuticle, trilobites were not likely able to eat their exoskeleton given the strength of their mouthparts (Brandt, 2008). The inability of trilobites to reabsorb their exuviae (shed exoskeletons) potentially left them at a particular disadvantage during moulting, as regrowth of new calcium carbonate requires a substantial amount of energy and incurs a high metabolic cost. The soft stage directly following molting may have been protracted, making them particularly vulnerable to injury and/or predation directly following their moult.

Fossil evidence shows that trilobite development is hemimetabolous, with gradual change occurring over three stages from the egg, instar, and adult phases (Hughes, 2003; Thomas, 2005). This particular form of ontogeny is primitive among arthropods, with many modern insects being homometabolous. Insects and crustaceans tend to undergo metamorphosis and grow through a series of very distinct stages. Trilobite developmental patterns in contrast are less complex in that they grow by gradually adding thoracic and tail segments with each successive molt until they reach a certain point nearing adulthood at which they continue only to increase in size. The modification across instar stages was also comparatively slight and referred to as hemianamorphic, which is seen currently in primitive crustaceans and fossil xiphosurans, and as a result is considered to be a primitive trait (Hughes et al., 2006). This process, like the eyes and body segments, also remained unchanged over the length of trilobite evolution, possibly due to compromises of selection pressures acting on other aspects of the body (That’s the best explanation I’ve found thus far, as few studies tackle this particular question) (Brandt, 2006).

Concluding Remarks

From a scientific standpoint, comparisons between fossil and modern taxa serve as a means to potentially shed light on the functional significance of certain structures and morphology across various groups. This approach has an alternate function in that it confronts factual misinterpretations of creationists seeking to find faults in the theory of evolution by claiming it evidently did not occur in perfectly-designed fossil trilobites. Trilobite eyes were well-developed and similar in many aspects to modern arthropods, and they shared a number of archaic characteristics with modern horseshoe crabs, which are generally considered to be among the most basal extant arthropods. Conversely, the trilobite bauplan, exoskeleton, and limbs were comparatively basic in contrast to morphologically diverse crustaceans and insects, and remained relatively static over time, possibly due to habitat and lifestyle. Growth and development also seems to follow a primitive pattern both in types of stages and relative degrees of change. Trilobites evidently represent a highly successful group of primitive arthropods that maintained a basic platform over time relative to modern crown taxa.

End :). I highly recommend taking a look at this website: http://www.trilobites.info/, for everything trilobite. I also apologize if the eye section of this post is a tad confusing; it’s a rather complicated topic that deserves its own blog, which I plan on addressing in the future.

Also, special thanks to Prolescum for allowing me to write this blog in the first place, and he_who_is_nobody for helping with editing.

 

References

Boxshall, G. A. 2004. The evolution of arthropod limbs. Biological Reviews. 79 (2): 243-300.

Brandt, D. S. 2002. Ecdysial efficiency and evolutionary efficacy among marine arthropods. Alcheringa. 26 (): 399-421.

Fordyce, D., and Cronin, T. 1993. Trilobite Vision: A Comparison of Schizochroal and Holochroal Eyes with the Compound Eyes of Modern Arthropods. Paleobiology. 19 (3): 288-303.

Hughes, N.C. 2003. Trilobite tagmosis and body patterning from morphological and developmental perspectives. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 43 (1): 185–206.

Nilsson, D.E, Kelber, A. 2007. A functional analysis of compound eye evolution. Arthropod Structure & Development. 36 (4): 373-385.

Miller, J., and Clarkson, E.N.K. 1980. The Post-Ecdysial Development of the Cuticle and the Eye of the Devonian Trilobite Phacops rana milleri Stewart 1927. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 288 (1030): 461-480.

Mutvei, H. 1981. Exoskeletal structure in the Ordovician trilobite Flexicalymene. Lethaia 14 (3): 225-234.

Schoenemann B., Clarkson E.N. 2012. Discovery of some 400 million year-old sensory structures in the compound eyes of trilobites. Scientific Reports. 3 (1429).

Thomas, A.T. 2005. Developmental palaeobiology of trilobite eyes and its evolutionary significance. Earth-Science Reviews. 71, (1–2): 77-93.

Answers for Eight questions for Evolutionists

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:48 pm by he_who_is_nobody

(Ian Juby, seen here playing a scientist)

Last month Ian Juby asked eight questions for us silly evolutionists to answer. Here are my answers in the order they were asked.

 

 1) Let’s start at the beginning: How did the first life arise? If you have no life, then you have no evolution. Following the laws of science and nature, how did that first life arise?

 

We do not know, yet. However, saying that we do not know does not open up the question for Juby to insert a god(s). Modern science’s inability to answer this question completely is not a victory for magic (a.k.a. creationism).  However, I would encourage Juby to look into the field of abiogenesis. Lots of progress has been made in that field in the past decade.

 

 2) How do you explain the origin of Grand Canyon without a world wide flood?

 

Seeing as how a worldwide flood does not and cannot account for the Grand Canyon, I will give a truncated explanation for it. The layers one observes in the Grand Canyon were laid down at different times. Near the bottom of the canyon, one can easily see an angular unconformity, where the land was laid down horizontally, than uplift happened to one side raising that side higher than the rest. Erosion than happened, which flattened down the raised layers to an even plain, after that, more layers of sediment were laid down on top of the angular unconformity. Some of these layers are made up of limestone, which cannot form rapidly in an aquatic environment; others are made up of sandstone that had to have come from a vast desert. Both of those observations alone expose that the earth is not young and there was not a worldwide flood in recent history.

After all the layers were formed, the Colorado River started to make its way across the area were the Grand Canyon is now found. It was once a slow meandering river, which one is able to see when looking down on the Grand Canyon (it meanders around the Colorado Plateau). Slowly the Colorado Plateau uplifted making the Colorado River cut down into it more and more. This is how the Grand Canyon was formed.

Again, this is a truncated response, one could write a whole book about the history of the Grand Canyon.

 

 3) How do you explain the copious numbers of dating methods which point to a young earth, and a young universe?

 

One wonders what Juby means by copious, because as far as modern science is concerned there are no dating methods that point to a young earth or young universe. Perhaps Juby could point some out.

 

 4) What scientifically factual information can you supply to support your contention that the universe is billions of years old? Don’t give me your assumptions and theories, and don’t give me the speed of light problem because it’s also a problem for you, and I already answered it with my response. I want scientifically factual information.

 

Seeing as how Juby will not accept the speed of light (i.e. the only reason we can see stars billions of light years away is that their light had to travel billions of light years to get here) I guess we will have to settle for our observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation, globular clusters, white dwarf stars and radiometric dating. All of those establish the universe to be billions of years old.

 

 5) How do you explain the origin of information, such as the information contained in the DNA, without violating the laws of thermodynamics?

 

Well, it would be nice if Juby defined information for us. Using the correct definition of information when talking about DNA (Shannon information), information can arise in a system without violating the laws of thermodynamics. No doubt Juby will take issue with this, but that is because Juby tries to equivocate the different definitions of information in his arguments.

 

 6) How do you explain the PRESERVATION of the information in our DNA over MILLIONS and MILLIONS of years, seeing as how thermodynamics is observably and quickly removing bits and pieces of that information in every single generation? 

 

Since Juby again does not define information, one can only assume he is talking about Shannon information. It is untrue to say that thermodynamics is removing bits and pieces every generation. Thus, this question is invalided because it is based off a flawed premise.

 

 7) How did sex arise? Seeing as how there are miriads of sexual reproduction systems in organisms, pretty much NONE of which are compatible with one another in reproduction. See CrEvo Rant # 13 Ian’s Sex Video for the quick low down on the problems you face in explaining this dilema. I’m not interested in sexual fantasies of how one system evolved into the other, I’m interested in factual, scientific evidence – observed changes, like any good scientist would expect of a theory.

 

Once again, we do not know the exact answer, yet. However much like the first answer I gave, science not knowing an answer does not make room for Juby’s god(s).

 

 8) Do you think your brain was intelligently designed? And if not, then how can you trust your thoughts if they are the result of unintelligent, undirected forces? Random chemistry?

 

This question is a vague attempt to insult proponents of evolution, and never fails to make me laugh when I see it. Of course our brains are not intelligently designed; they are a product of natural and sexual selection. However, just because they were not intelligently designed does not mean our thoughts are based on unintelligent, undirected forces. The reason we can trust our thoughts is based on knowledge that we obtain through experience or learning. Because we live in a natural world, were the laws of physics do not change on a whim, we can base our prior experiences and knowledge on the facts of reality in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Hat tip to Bill Needle for transcribing the questions used above. 

Creationism – Cargo Cult Science

Inferno
Inferno
Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:23 pm by Inferno

In a Caltech-address given in 1974, Richard Feynman coined the term “Cargo Cult Science” to describe any group of scientists who follow the external traits of being a scientist (like wearing lab coats and saying “Deoxyribonucleic acid”) but who don’t follow the rigorous scientific method (like trying not to fool yourself and publishing in the peer-reviewed literature).

There are quite a few stories about how creationism is cargo cult science. For example, the story about the Discovery Institute using a stock photo of a lab to gain scientific credibility. Or take the Creation Science Museum. Those are all good examples of cargo cult science. They follow some external traits (having a laboratory, having a museum) but none of the rigorous scientific method.

I’ll introduce you to another aspect: Peer review. A few of you will be familiar with the Discovery Institute’s list of ID peer reviewed articles. They count 50 articles in seven years (2004-2011) a lot, a “boom” even. Wow, impressive.

Some of you will know the Answers in Genesis research journal. I wrote about an article of theirs a while back, calling their article one of the “most dishonest creationist “research paper”“. They’ve got another article up, one I’ll look at in due time.

A third attempt by creationists to get peer reviewed is CreationWiki’s attempt at peer review. “No articles submitted” should tell you something. Why hilarious? Because of this quote by Chris Ashcraft: “That is the goal of peer reviews in general – to uphold the consensus position. Peer reviews are just what the phrase describes – reviews by peers. Atheists and creationists are not peers regarding theories formed from these worldviews. Only creationists can provide peer reviews of creationist views.”

There are also several others out there attempting to do the same, but we shan’t worry about them for the time being. (Nor ever, as far as I’m concerned.)

Why is peer review so important for creationists? Well, proponents of evolution (hereafter called “scientists”) have often told creationists to “put up or shut up“: Either produce peer-reviewed evidence positively indicative of magical creation or get out of our schools.

Creationists now had two options: To either try and get their articles passed through proper channels or create their own journals. The first option failed horribly so they went for number two.

In very clear terms: If creationists are unable to produce peer-reviewed articles, they will not be regarded as science. Or so they think. The problem, of course, lies not with the publications, that is to say whether there are any published or not. Nor, as Casey Luskin claims, with the quantity of the research. It lies solely with the truth and evidence of the publications. Creationists could have published only a single article and, if it were correct, that would sufficiently throw any theory into doubt. Yet creationists don’t have that silver bullet, nor do they have anything else of value. They could have millions of articles out there and still not convince anyone, simply because their articles (as I showed) are full of crap.

Creationists don’t agree, of course, and rectified their problem (not getting published enough) by simply making up their own journals. Pretty awesome logic, right? Read the link, it’s rife with hilarity. First the author suggests that peer review is ineffective anyway, then he goes on to casually mention “therefore we’ve got our own journals”. Yeah, good on ya.

Anyway, back on topic. What makes this “cargo cult science”? Well, look again at the AiG journal. Doesn’t it remind you of some other journal? I think it looks a lot like a mix between the design from Nature and Science. (I seem to remember there’s another journal that looks even more like AiG’s but I can neither find it nor claim with certainty that I’m correct on that one.) That could be a coincidence, right?

Well, consider the fact that trueorigins looks identical to talkorigins and you might not feel like it’s that much of a coincidence any more.

In conclusion:
Creationists and ID-folk alike use fancy look-alike pages to make their audience think they’re real scientists. They use “big words” (Beta-Globin Pseudogene yadda yadda) and write articles hat look like real scientific articles, so much even that one of their articles slipped into a journal some years ago. They have editors, rules for submission, peer reviewers… everything a real journal has. Except for one thing: Evidence-based articles.

/a

Cotyledion and creationists

Inferno
Inferno
Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:32 am by Inferno

I often search creationist websites for new arguments, but they’re usually the same: “Evolution is wrong because of X, therefore creation”. In addition to that, they haven’t really found new examples for the last five or so years. Since Kitzmiller vs. Dover, there has been surprisingly little from creationists. Even finding a new organism to criticize is a relative novelty for creationists.

So I was surprised to find that the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) had an article up (this was about mid January) criticizing the evolutionary history of Cotyledion tylodes. Now even though this article appears under my name, this is a joint project between Isotelus and me. I wrote it and she heavily criticized and improved it. So, let’s take a look at the ICR article.

Another Cambrian Discovery Discredits Evolution

A fossil creature from the phylum Entoprocta (invertebrate animals that have tentacles and lacking a mineralized skeleton) was found in marked abundance (over 400 individuals) in Burgess Shale. The Burgess is a sedimentary layer that’s purportedly part of the Cambrian period about a half-billion years ago, according to evolutionists.1 The problem for paleontologists is that the supposedly 520 million year old creature looks exactly like its living counterparts, only up to 8 eight times larger.

First, let’s quickly explain what Entoprocta is and where it fits in. They are animals in the superphylum “Lophotrochozoa“, just like we are in the superphylum “Deuterostopmia“. Lophotrochozoa includes Molluscs, Annelids and of course Entoprocta.

Entoprocta differs from the largely similar Bryozoa (or Ectoprocta, archaic) in one major aspect: All Bryozoa have the anus on the outside, while Entoprocta have the anus on the inside. Entoprocta range from the early Cambrian until today, with a fair number of living relatives still around. (Examples include LoxosomatidaeBarentsiidaePedicellinidae and Loxokalypodidae) These represent four families with around 150 species.

One thing to note is that I couldn’t trace C. tylodes to the Burgess Shale (Canada), but rather to Chengjiang in China. Now that’s not a huge problem since both “lagerstätten” are roughly of the same time period. (505mya and 520mya respectively) However, the fossils are significantly closer to the Cambrian Explosion (~550mya) I could also be missing something and this fossil was actually found in the Burgess Shale, but there’s no indication for that. Indeed, Zhang et al. (2013) and Luo et al. (1999, original find) both mention the Chengjiang Konservat-Lagerstätte.

This is another testament to the stunningly thorough research abilities of creationists: The Burgess shale fossil they’re confusing C. tylodes with is Dinomischus, which has an unknown affinity.

But let’s now look at the anatomy. Sadly, the picture provided by LiveScience is incorrectly labelled (Isophagus instead of Esophagus), the original one can be found in Zhang et al. (2013), Figure 1.

Here’s the incorrectly labelled version for better viewing pleasure, the original is too small:

Figure 1.: Extinct Entoprocta, C. tylodes, interpretative drawing

The creationist contention is that C. tylodes look the same as their living relatives. Now I already pointed to the four families above, so we’ll look at a few species. Loxosomella vivipara (apparently now called Loxocalyx raja?), Loxomitra kefersteiniiLoxosomella crassicauda They all look fairly different from C. tylodes, though of course the main structure remains.

A quote from this article is spot on:

Indeed, researchers are coming to realize that the term “living fossil” is a misnomer. One by one, the classic examples—horseshoe crabs, coelacanths, cycads, and more—have turned out to be very different from the fossils that they apparently resemble, either at a genetic level or through subtle physical changes. Their recognizable nature is a red herring—these creatures simply did not exist in their current form millions of years ago.

Let’s recap those last two points: Contrary to the creationists statements, extinct Entoprocta look different than their extant counterparts. But even if they did not change much morphologically, it’s certain that they would have changed genetically.

Now we already know that size isn’t at all relevant when it comes to animals’ and plants’ evolutionary status, but what if C. tylodes really was more complex than his ancestors? That would be a completely different discussion. Now to check that, the only resources available to us are the pictures I provided above and peer-reviewed articles talking about their structures/anatomy/etc.

The pictures already showed some differences, but that doesn’t solve the question of complexity. In the case of C. tylodes, the creationists were very specific in their criticism:

Interestingly, the fossils of C. tylodes also appear to have somewhat more complex features than modern entoprocts. Unlike living entoprocts, the stem and flowerlike feeding cup of the “ancient” version was covered by tiny hardened protuberances (sclerites), and the creatures were much larger.

Now there’s absolutely no denying that the average C. tylodes was much larger than modern Entoprocta, extant ones being between 0.1mm and 7mm, extinct ones between 8mm and 56mm long. I already explained that size really doesn’t matter, so we can safely skip over that point.

So on to the next point: tiny scelerites. This too is true, in fact the 2013 paper (Zhang et al.) is actually called “A scelerite-bearing stem group…” But is that really a sign of complexity? Let’s look at the rest.

Figure 2.: Extant Entoprocta anatomy

This picture shows what extant Entoprocta look like. Well, it’s of course either a general form or one specific species, I couldn’t determine that. (Note: Isotelus suggests it’s most likely a general form.) Notice the tentacles on the left (extended) and on the right (retracted). This is actually a very important quality in this Phylum, because they feed by putting stuff into their mouths with their tentacles. In Zhang et al., they specifically state that C. tylodes was able to retract the tentacles a bit, but not as much as extant Entoprocta.

In addition, there is some evidence that the tentacles may have been contractible and could have been retracted into the membranous band where they originate from (Fig. S4a–c), suggesting some degree of retractability of the tentacles that corresponds functionally and structurally to that seen in those of the extant entoprocts [1].

So C. tylodes was well on its way to retracting them fully, but they don’t seem to have been as mobile as their contemporary counterparts. This may be due to the fossils we found, since none of them exhibit the degree of curling that modern examples do. So on this, the jury is still out. The scelerites mentioned may also be the reason why the tentacles are so well-preserved. Which isn’t at all unexpected, given how well preserved other fossils from that location are.

However, Zhang et al. also note other differences to extant Entoprocta.

In addition, recent entoprocts are pseudocoelomate, with the cavity surrounding the calycal (aka. calyx, see Fig. 2) organs and extending into the stalk in-filled by a hydrostatic skeleton of loose mesenchyme cell or narrow primary body cavity [1].

So there we have it, folks: Extinct Entoprocta were different from their extant descendants and they were almost certainly not as complex. (Whatever creationists mean by that.)

Resources/References:

Clausen, S. B.; Hou, X. G.; Bergström, J.; Franzén, C. (2010). “The absence of echinoderms from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang fauna of China: Palaeoecological and palaeogeographical implications”. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 294 (3–4): 133.

Iseta, Tohru. (2002) Loxocorone, a New Genus of the Family Loxosomatidae (Entoprocta: Solitaria), with Descriptions of Two New Loxomitra (sensu stricto) and a New Loxocorone from Okinawa, the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan Toological Science 19: 359–367 (2002)

Luo, Huilin, Hu, Shixue, Chen, Laingzhong, (1999). “Early Cambrian Chengjiang Fauna from Kunming Region, China. Yunnan Science and Technology press, Kunming China. (<–Only in Chinese, if you really want to read it…)

Zhang, Z.; Holmer, L. E.; Skovsted, C. B.; Brock, G. A.; Budd, G. E.; Fu, D.; Zhang, X.; Shu, D. et al. (2013). “A sclerite-bearing stem group entoproct from the early Cambrian and its implications”. Scientific Reports 3

Rebuttal to Ian Juby’s “’In 7 Days’ Crash Course in Creation” Day 7

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:19 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Read part onepart twopart threepart fourpart five, and part six.

Day 7:  What would Jesus believe?

 

In this lesson, Juby spends the majority of his time proselytizing for Jesus. I frankly do not care about the claims of Christianity (or any religion for that matter). I was not sure if it was worth my time to make a post for this lesson because there is so little creationist content in it. However, I pressed forward to have a complete rebuttal to all his creationist nonsense.

The whole crux of the creation/evolution debate boils down to consequences: If there is no God, then there is no such thing as sin, there is no eternity, and no judgment.  The core of the origins debate is not so much science, but rather free will and a deep-seated, natural rebellion and resentment towards our creator God.  I freely admit that until I got to know this Creator personally, I too struggled with resentment towards this God.

After this very brief tour of some of the evidence pertaining to the debate, we now reach this crux of the matter head-on.

 

First off, Juby is wrong to claim that the crux of the Origins Debate boils down to consequences, it boils down to having accurate science taught in schools. Juby is essentially making a version of the First Foundational Falsehood of Creationism. However, the difference is that Juby is claiming that one cannot be a Christian and still accept evolution. Juby does not come out and say that evolution is inherently atheistic. Second, Juby can speak for himself. As an atheist, I know that I do not have any resentment towards any of the deities that have been created by humans over the eons. Furthermore, if there were such a thing as a god(s), it would do nothing to disprove evolution, as we know it.

Juby than spends a lot of time discussing C. S. Lewis and explaining what his thought about Jesus and the bible. What point does this have to do with creation?

Death before sin?

Another significant point in trying to cram evolution into the scriptures is that death, disease and survival of the fittest are crucial to the evolutionary process.  Mutations (disease, sickness) are the driving force behind the supposed changes needed by evolution.  Death is supposed to have happened for hundreds of millions of years before people evolved, according to evolutionary theory.  Yet in Genesis, we read that death, diseases, thorns, etc., are the result of Adam and Eve’s sin.

 

Once again, Juby is wrong, mutations are not the driving force of evolution; natural and sexual selection are. However, I would like Juby to explain how our fellow animals and we were able to survive in Eden if we were not able to eat from this garden. Juby never says it in his crash course, but he believes that all animals on earth were vegetarians before the expulsion from Eden (and perhaps up until the flood). When one eats and digests food, one is killing the plant matter.

Furthermore, it would also be nice for Juby to explain where he thinks diseases and thorns came from? Did they just spontaneously generate after the expulsion from Eden or does he think they evolved (he would not call it that) from preexisting creatures into what they are now.

If evolution was happening for millions of years leading up to Adam and Eve, then you have death before the sin of Adam and Eve, and the Genesis account is null and void.  Furthermore, Christ died to redeem man from the sin of Adam and Eve.  If death was going on before Adam and Eve, and it was a tool God used to produce the diversity of life on earth, then how could God say it was all “good” throughout the days of Creation, (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25, & 31) while simultaneously referring to death as wicked, evil, and an enemy?  (Deut 31:15,Ezek 33:1,1 Cor 15:26)

 

I am including this section because I want to know what everyone thinks about it. Has Ian Juby created a great argument against Christianity from a modern scientific standpoint? Has Juby just destroyed his own faith?

Juby goes on to echo this point throughout the rest of this lesson, but I do not think it is worth quoting here. It appears to me that Juby has set up a huge failure for himself. We know that evolution and deep time are facts and that universal common descent is abundantly obvious. Once any creationist that has actually read this crash course is exposed to real science, it appears to me, that they might have a higher chance of losing their faith.

I point this out because I am an atheist, but my understanding of evolutionary theory and deep time had no bearing on that. For most of my youth, I was a Christian, but never a creationist (I was in the sense that I thought god was behind everything). Juby has made it abundantly clear in this lesson that either the bible is literally true or there is no Christian god (the Second Foundational Falsehood of Creationism). Thus, once a student of Juby enters college and is actually exposed to real science, they have a much higher chance of leaving Christianity behind, because Juby has stapled creationism to that faith.

Fine by me.

That’s all folks!
Thank you for subscribing to the “In 7 Days crash course in creation.” I hope that you have enjoyed it.

 

I have enjoyed this. I actually thought it was going to be much harder to debunk most of Juby’s tripe, but it was surprisingly easy. That makes sense because creationists very rarely get any new arguments. Juby’s lesson three is a great example of a creationist hoarding debunked arguments.

Unless you want to receive an occasional update about these lessons (which will be almost never), use the link down below to UNSUBSCRIBE from the course.

 

I wonder how much updating Juby will be performing after he reads these blogs. I am going to stay subscribed, because I would love to read his updates and if they are more of the tripe he has put forth thus far, I will make more posts about it.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed reading this. I know I enjoyed writing it.

Have a nice day. :)

 

Rebuttal to Ian Juby’s “’In 7 Days’ Crash Course in Creation” Day 6

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:01 am by he_who_is_nobody

Read part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.

Day 6:  Nothing changes…

Often I have had skeptics say “You keep arguing against evolution – what are your arguments for creation?”

 

This is a very fair and open question; because creationists seem to believe (as Juby goes on to demonstrate); there is a dichotomy when it comes to the Origins Debate. It appears that all creationists believe that they simply have to disprove evolution in order to prove creationism. However, this is not the case, creationism (young earth creationism especially) has been disproved for the last 200 years. Thus, proving evolution wrong will not make creationism true.

While this is a fair question, something does need to be clarified before proceeding:
The scientific method is one based upon falsification.  In other words, you cannot really “prove” anything – you can only “disprove” something.  Furthermore, creation and evolution really do rule out all other possible models.  For example, suggesting that aliens transplanted us here on earth (and thus answering the question “where did we come from?”) does not answer the question “From whence did we come?” It is actually intellectual cop-out – it only brings up the question “Where did the aliens come from?”

 

Juby makes this statement without realizing the irony of what he has just done. One only needs to change a few words and Juby has virtually made a great case against his position.

For example, suggesting that a god(s) magically created us here on earth (and thus answering the question “where did we come from?”) does not answer the question “From whence did we come?” It is actually intellectual cop-out – it only brings up the question “Where did this god(s) come from?”

Tada, Juby has just explained why creationism fails.

It all boils down to creation, or evolution.  Either we were created by supernatural processes, or we evolved by supernatural processes.

 

Again, here we have Juby admitting that creationism is nothing more than magic while at the same time projecting that fault onto evolution and science in general. There is nothing supernatural about evolution and evolutionary theory. We have evidence in the way of genetics, fossils, etc… Juby’s shameless projection will do nothing to diminish these facts. Furthermore, it does not boil down to creation or evolution, no matter how much Juby wants to set up that false dichotomy. Evolution is the only explanation for the diversity of life on earth, while creationism has never been anything more than belief in magic, as Juby so readily points out.

One example of evidence for creation comes from my good friend, John Mackay (http://creationresearch.net).  As he points out, ten times in the first chapter of Genesis it says God created things to reproduce after their kind.  Evolution requires things to change over time, and so we thus have another scientific test to apply to the creation/evolution debate.

 

Before Juby could move on from this, he would have to define kind in a scientific context. I have blogged about this idea earlier and pointed out that as soon as a creationist defines kind they have lost; because it is effortless to show evidence that all species of animals share a common ancestor. Thus, Juby (and Mackay) have given us away to falsify creationism in their own words.

Stasis in the fossil record:
“Stasis” is a huge problem for evolution.  “Stasis” simply means that things stay the same – for example, on the right is a cast (in the collection of the Creation Science Museum of Canada) of a fossil garfish.  How do we know it’s a garfish?  Because they are still around today, and they have stayed the same.

This fossil fish is supposedly 100 million years old by evolutionary standards.  Fossil garfish have evolved into….. garfish.

Instead of being evidence for evolution, this is evidence that garfish have faithfully reproduced after their kind.

 

Stasis is not a huge problem for modern evolution. It might have been a problem for early ideas of universal gradualism, but we now know that stasis is a normal part of life on earth. Think about this, evolution only happens when there is need for change (e.g. changes in climate). If the climate an organism lives in changes very little over geologic time, the organisms found in said environment would also change very little.

However, even with that said, there are still build-ups of neutral mutations that will change an organism ever so slightly over the eons. Thus, the fossil garfish Juby shows a picture of (and this is true for all the examples Juby gives) is not the same species as the modern version. So, depending on how Juby would define kind this example (and all others provided) could be examples of kinds changing over time.

On the right you see another excellent example of a fossil horseshoe crab.  Beside it is a modern one.  Again, 100 million years of supposed evolution has turned horseshoe crabs into…. horseshoe crabs.

In fact in early 2008, a fossil horseshoe crab was found in Manitoba, Canada, dated at over 400 million years old.  How did they know it was a horseshoe crab?  Cause it looks like one.  400 million years of evolution has changed nothing.

 

Juby throws out the term “horseshoe crab” as if it were a species level designation; it is not. Horseshoe crab (Limulidea) is a family level classification that holds three living genera and one extinct genus.

Furthermore, Juby exposes how little he knows about taxonomy by acting as if Limulidea were a species level designation. In fact, this whole lesson is an example of how little Juby knows about taxonomy, cladistics, and basic biology. To make an analogy, Juby is saying they found a species of cat (Felidae) that dates back to 16 million years ago. How did they know it was a cat? Because, it looks like one. The traits that make a Limulidea a Limulidea (or a cat a cat) are the traits used by scientists in order to classify them in relation to other organisms. This includes species as diverse and different as house cats, lions, and extinct species such as Smilodons.

This fossil fish (part of the CSMC collection) is from the Green River formation – supposedly 50 million years old.  This is a fossil herring.  Commonly called “Knightia,” wikipedia claims it has become extinct.  Compare the photos yourself – the one on the right, to the wikipedia photo of a herring:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Herringadultkils.jpg

Unfortunately, it is confusion in the latin names that has caused some evolutionists to become convinced that evolution has happened.  Knightia is not even the same genus as the herring (Genus Clupea).  In fact, as Vance Nelson has pointed out, often the only evolution in an organism is in its latin name!  In other words, the modern, living version of a fossil organism is often classed in a completely different genera than the fossil, giving the appearance of having major differences when there isn’t any.

 

Juby is asking his non-scientific audience to compare a fossil skeleton to a living fleshed out fish. You have to be kidding me.

Juby has already exposed that he knows nothing about human anatomy (let alone any other animal’s anatomy), so what makes anyone think he is qualified to question the classification of any organism. Furthermore, based on the they look the same argument I am sure Juby would argue that mammoths, mastodons, and modern elephants were the same animal.

Usually I don’t need to tell people what the fossil on the right is (courtesy of the Big Valley Creation Science Museum).  It’s a dragonfly – and there is a photograph of a modern counterpart.  Dragonflies have evolved into dragonflies.

This example falls under all the arguments I have made thus far (Juby’s ignorance of anatomy, cladistics, misunderstanding of stasis, and thinking dragonfly is a species level designation). The only main difference is that dragonfly (Anisoptera) is considered a suborder classification, even worse than his Limulidea example.

 

Nothing has changed – this is powerful evidence for creation, and thoroughly refutes evolution which requires changes over time en par with a frog turning into a prince – only evolution requires a second frog turning into a princess at precisely the same time and place.

 

First off, this is not evidence of creationism at all. It is only evidence of Juby’s basic ignorance (or blatant misrepresentation) of taxonomy. In addition, Juby goes on to straw man evolution by comparing it to a fairy tale, which again is an example of him projecting the faults of creationism onto evolution. He further goes on to expose just how little he actually knows about evolution (or another blatant misrepresentation) by stating “evolution requires a second frog turning into a princess at precisely the same time and place.” Obviously, Juby does not know that evolution happens to populations and not individuals, thus stating something this ignorant is inexcusable for someone who claims to have studied the Origins Debate for as long as Juby claims.

One of the classic examples of a “living fossil” is the Coelacanth (pronounced See-la-canth).  Once thought to be a precursor to the fish that walked onto land (in the evolutionary belief system), it was also believed to have been extinct for some 70 million years (i.e., went extinct the same time as the dinosaurs).

Then one was caught alive in the 1930’s.  Schools of them have been found since.  This was akin to finding a Stegosaurus in your back yard!
The coelacanth first appears in the fossil record some 450 million years ago, and has remained essentially unchanged.
(Photo courtesy of Max Planck institute, click here to see the Chicago field museum’s page on the coelacanth.)

 

First off, the photo he used was too large to be included in this blog and I will not be bothered to look for another one (everyone already knows what the fish looks like). Second, since this is, as Juby points out, the classic example of a living fossil for creationists, I will repeat myself and explain the mistakes Juby is making when it comes to the Coelacanth.

The first mistake is that Juby acts as if Coelacanth (Coelacanthiforme) is a species level designation. Coelacanthiforme is an order classification with several species found within it. Coelacanthiformes were never thought to be a precursor for tetrapods, but a very close relative of the first tetrapod lineage.

Juby is correct that finding a living Coelacanthiforme was akin to finding living Stegosaurs, but not for the reasons he thinks. Essentially, this animal was only known from fossils and because of that, we thought it went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous. Finding a living version was a surprise, but did nothing to shake up our ideas of evolution; it only shook up our ideas of the fossil record, just like finding a living non-avian dinosaur would not shake up our ideas of evolution, only our ideas of the fossil record.

Furthermore, the species of Coelacanthiforme alive today (Latimeria) is not found in the fossil record. The last example of Coelacanthiforme found in the fossil record was Macropoma, a shallow sea version of Coelacanthiforme. Latimeria are deep-water fish and could be the reason why their fossils have never been found.

Now some anti-creationists will contend that there are changes in these organisms.  When one examines the claims closely, one finds the claim is primarily speculation, i.e., the internal organs of the coelacanth are assumed to have changed over time (see my commentary on the NOVA Coelacanth program and why the coelacanth is not evidence for evolution).  The few minor variations we do see are still well within variation within the species.

 

We can see evidence of evolution from the first Coelacanthiforme, Litoptychius, found in the Devonian all the way through Macropoma the last Coelacanthiforme found in the fossil record. Second, as I pointed out Macropoma was a shallow sea fish and there are many species of Coelacanthiforme that were fresh water fish as well. That alone would be a major change in their anatomy; something Juby probably would not understand because he thinks all fish would have survived the flood. Juby would not understand that salt-water fish and fresh water fish have different ways of coping with their environment. Furthermore, Litoptychius is a deep-water fish, and in order for it to survive at the water pressure it does, means major anatomical differences from any of the fossil versions we have. Again, I doubt Juby would understand this. He believes animals can move well being incased in mud.

Yet many anti-creationists try and focus on differences that are minute compared to the variations within dogs – and claim that this is somehow evidence for evolution.  No, coelacanths have “evolved” into coelacanths.  This is powerful evidence for creation, and powerful evidence against evolution.

 

Living in fresh water, shallow sea, and deep sea are not tiny differences. Furthermore, stating that the variation between breeds of dogs is greater than the variation it would take to live in three completely different environments is just asinine and once again exposes how little Juby understand biology.

So many living fossils, so little time…
There are far, far more examples of living fossils around today.  See part 10 of “The Complete Creation” video encyclopedia, still viewable for free on my website:
http://ianjuby.org/videos.html

 

That simply means there are far, far more examples for Juby to misrepresent and display his utter lack of knowledge about taxonomy, cladistics, and basic biology. Stasis is very well understood in evolutionary theory. Punctuated equilibrium explains the stasis we see in the fossil record. Nevertheless, for every example of stasis Juby could find, I could find an even more dramatic example of transition. From horses to whales, and even in our lineage, we have great examples of transitional life forms.

Coming up in the next lesson:
What would Jesus believe?

 

Rebuttal to Ian Juby’s “’In 7 Days’ Crash Course in Creation” Day 5

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Mon May 27, 2013 8:15 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Read part one, part two, part three, and, part four.

Day 5:  Dinosaur Egg Nests: An argument against a global flood?

I’ve had numerous skeptics try to use dinosaur egg nests as an argument for an old earth, and to counter the claim that the rock layers we see around the world were formed by Noah’s flood.  After all, if those layers were made by Noah’s flood, how did the dinosaurs lay nests on the bottom of this raging, world-wide ocean?

 

I have actually never heard this argument made against creationism, but it is a good one. Truly think about a flood and how destructive they are, even a small-scale one. Does anyone truly believe that a nest of eggs would be preserved during a flood of any scale?

Such comments betray a lack of knowledge of what the Bible says, and what Noah’s flood would accomplish, how, and when.  The Bible indicates that Noah’s ark did not float until the 40th day after the start of the flood – that’s almost a month and a half! (Genesis 7:17)  During the flood of Noah, tides would still be in effect – in fact, they would be enhanced as more and more of the land becomes submerged, and thus resistance to the tides become less and less.

Thus, every twelve hours, you have a tide flowing inland, laying down a new layer, and then flowing out during low tide.  Because the waters of the flood are continually rising, the next tide that comes in will be higher than the last, and so it lays down another layer.  During low tides, dinosaurs, people, and other animals will go out onto these new tidal flats as they forage for food or try to get to higher land.  Footprints are made during this time, which harden into rock and become fossil footprints.

Dinosaurs carrying their eggs during this time ( a period of weeks at least) are going to do one of two things: They are either going to ditch the eggs, or try to lay a nest.

 

I will not argue against a global flood having larger tides, and I will just accept his premise. This leads to an experiment that Juby can perform in order to verify his hypothesis. Juby could take eggs from various species of birds and other reptiles today, place them in mock nests in a tidal zone and record the experiment. He can see whether the force of the tides bury the nests or destroy the nests and move the eggs to different areas. Since Juby believes that the tides would become larger and larger as the flood went on he can also try this experiment in different locations (e.g. Minas Basin, in Nova Scotia) in order to truly test his hypothesis.

Now, Juby travels around the U.S. and Canada with his traveling creationist museum. During his travels, he could stop at different coastal cities and perform his experiment in order to verify the claims he is making. The fact that Juby has not already done this speaks volumes about how much stock he actually holds in his hypothesis. On the other hand, Juby is a creationist; they never perform experiments to test their hypotheses.

Furthermore, Juby alludes to the tides during this worldwide flood creating different sedimentary layers, thus accounting for the geologic column we see today. This is a very sophomoric look at sedimentation and does not account for major features found in the geologic column (i.e. angular unconformities, lava flows, eolian sandstone, and shale; just to name a few). Additionally, flooding would sort sediment by grain size and in many places in the geologic column; this is simply not the case.

On the right is a reconstruction of an Oviraptor egg nest.  Most dinosaur eggs are found in a disordered state, not an ordered one like this.  We will focus on the “ordered” nests here.
This nest would be a text-book example.  The Oviraptor apparently stood in the middle of the circle, and apparently laid eggs in pairs, toward the outside.  It would then rotate, lay another two eggs, rotate, lay another two eggs, etc… It would then sometimes lay a second level on top of the first circle, and sometimes a third level.

 

Juby claims that Oviraptors laid eggs in pairs yet cites no evidence to support this claim. Based on birds and crocodilians (the closest living relatives to dinosaurs), I highly doubt that Oviraptors would have laid their eggs in pairs. Nevertheless, I digress, where is Juby going with this?

Oviraptor was originally so named because it was found associated with some dinosaur eggs.  The evolutionary assumptions of “Survival of the fittest” and “there has been no global catastrophe” led to the conclusion that it was stealing the eggs for food.  This led to the name Ovi-raptor; ovi for egg, raptor for thief.

Later on however, an identical egg was found with an embryo still inside of it.  As it turns out, these were Oviraptor eggs!  It wasn’t stealing the eggs for food – it was the mother trying to protect the nest from whatever catastrophe buried it and the eggs together!

 

There is just so much wrong in this, it is hard to know where to start. First, there have been several mass extinctions in earths passed, and paleontologists have often speculated about some sort of global catastrophe behind all of them. Juby is just upset because a global flood is not one of them. However, Juby is correct in pointing out that the eggs belong to Oviraptor thus the name is misleading. Nevertheless, what Juby does not tell you is that the people who corrected the old ideas of Oviraptor being an egg thief were actual scientists, not creationists. I do not understand why Juby thought this was relevant to point out.

The evolutionary assumptions of these finds is still evident, even in the wikipedia article on Oviraptor citipati.  This was an Oviraptor found buried alive sitting on its nest:
“This brooding posture is found today only in birds and supports a behavioral link between birds and theropod dinosaurs.”

Wait a minute – was it in a brooding posture, or did it have its arms wrapped around the nest to protect it from the flood that buried it alive while sitting on top of the nest?  Even the evolutionists agree it was a flash flood that buried it alive while sitting on its nest.  But the evolutionary beliefs (that of dinosaurs evolving into birds) are assumed, whereas the catastrophic interpretation (which is more logical) is ignored.

 

Juby seems to be missing the point of the fossil cited, he even admits that the Oviraptor was sitting on its eggs, something birds do and other reptiles do not. Whether this fossil was formed by a flash flood, sandstorm, or global flood it appears the Oviraptor was in the brooding posture.

Furthermore, Juby also fails to understand the vast amount of evidence that links therapod dinosaurs, such as Oviraptor to birds (e.g. feathers, hollow bones, skeletal anatomy, etc…). In addition, Juby believes that a wall of water (which would be produced in a worldwide flood) burying this Oviraptor in the brooding posture is logical. Does he not understand the physics that goes into a flood (small or large scale)?

Next, we move onto Juby’s biggest blunder of this whole crash course:

Here is another example of an Oviraptor “nest” found in Montana.  The eggs are again laid in pairs, but apparently this Oviraptor laid its eggs on the run!

This is, again, the more logical explanation – but in the original article on this “nest,” the authors claim (for some inexplicable reason) that the Oviraptor re-oriented the eggs in this position.  You see, an evolutionary perspective is programmed into you in school and via the media.  I’ve been a hard-core, young-earth creationist for almost 20 years now, and I still find myself having to de-program myself of my evolutionary assumptions that I was taught when I was younger!  Evolutionary assumptions that were colouring my world-view, and I did not even know about them.

 

First off, Oviraptors are found in Mongolia, not North America. Second, there is a reason why Juby does not cite the article in this lesson, and that reason is that the eggs seen above come from a Troodon, not an Oviraptor. Juby’s inability to honestly portray the evidence speaks volumes about his character. Potholer54 has a wonderful video about this specific claim from Juby.

Juby, it does not seem like you are deprogramming yourself, it seems like you are willfully deceiving yourself, and others, into believing in creationism. This blatant misrepresentation can only be interpreted as a lie and I do remember how Juby felt about being lied too.

Our last nest we’ll look at today comes from a Hadrosaur.  Again, the Hadrosaur apparently stood in the middle and laid its eggs in a circle.  However, notice how the eggs in this nest were laid – each higher than the last?  Apparently between the time the first egg was laid and the last one was laid, there was mud rising around the ankles of the dinosaur!  In fact, the highest egg was actually a polystrate egg – the rock layer cut right through the middle of this egg.

Again, clear evidence of eggs being laid in catastrophic conditions, when apparently the dinosaur had no other choice.

 

This is not clear evidence of a catastrophe, at least not one that Juby thinks happened. Everything that Juby attributes to the fossil I can agree with, it does appear that the Hadrosaur laid its eggs in a muddy area, leading to the polystrate egg (remember polystrate fossils are not what creationists wish they were). However, making the leap from this fossil to global flood does not follow from the evidence.

Floods are seen in the geologic column and they leave evidence behind. The fossil evidence Juby points out in this lesson is not the type of evidence we would see for a flood. Again, if Juby wants to make a case for a global flood, he needs to start with the sedimentation and point to a layer in the geological column that, not only is created by a flood, but stretches around the world and dates to the same time. Without evidence like this, one cannot claim evidence of a global flood.

Coming up in the next lesson:
Nothing changes….

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