Mike Pincher, I totally agree with you. I have left conversations when I consider them to be a waste of my time, especially when the person can't discern the difference between evidence and conjecture in peer reviewed papers.
Heather Ritz, NEITHER CAN YOU. You've never once displayed any evidence of actually drawing an accurate distinction. It reads far more like you tossing out the stuff you don't like because it disagrees with your preconception of Biblical Inerrancy, which neither you nor Mike have ever justified as factual with actual evidence. There's plenty counter-evidence, like failed prophecies, scientific errors, logical fallacies and internal contradictions within the Bible, but no actual evidence of Biblical Inerrancy.
Furthermore, while I have eventually joined this group and debated people who Mike suggested I debate, and I proved to be far more of a force to them than Mike figured, hence why in the course of their debates they just end up back-tracking and resorting to ad hominems and excuses why they won't debate me, while issuing empty promises that I am "easy to beat", without ever getting into specifics like actually responding properly to my linked post as well as the stuff after it, for example. In contrast, while I readily claim that I will happily debate any creationist/IDer, even despite my comparable inferior knowledge of science to other allies of mine within and outside this group, whenever I challenge you or Mike or some other creationist/IDer/apologetic to go up against a seasoned biologist, you always come up with an excuse as to why you won't do it, either citing conspiracies or just making the bogus "busy schedule" argument Mike tends to make even though I know actual lawyers and none of them the kind of spare time that Mike has to continually troll groups with dozens of fairly long posts which if we look at his recent activity in this group alone would probably amount to more than 2000 or maybe even 3000 words. Don't you think you're applying a double standard? By all means, suggest another creationist/IDer for me to get in contact with, and I will gladly share with you my correspondence with you via my email at firstname.lastname@example.org provided that you return the favour and get in touch with a credentialed biologist like Lenski or PZ Myers who support evolutionary theory.
No, rejecting contradictory evidence is what evos do John, not creationists. You already know why many of my colleagues don't continue with you, because you try to be a spin doctor and retort with irrelevancies rather than direct evidence. You try to reshape issues and define things in ways not established by evidence. You don't admit defeat when the evidence is clearly against you. You're not a formidable force at all, but rather a misdirected one.
Bullshit, Mike Pincher. The reason they and you "don't continue" with me, is because they and you get more than they bargained for. Take, for instance, the most simple evidence I asked you to present: you made a slanderous claim about stuff like Haeckel, Lucy, and Piltdown and Nebraska Man making it into Evolutionary Text Books, and yet despite the simple standard of evidence I asked countless times for - book titles and the relevant pages where the information appears - you have not once provided the sources of your claims. You do not get to dismiss something as "irrelevant" when YOU'RE THE ONE WHO BROUGHT UP THE SUBJECT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Likewise, everything else I've talked about is something that relates to something I've said in my linked LJ archived reply that I made to you. The only one spouting irrelevant shit is you, because you're the one who also runs off to another thread when there's far too much of a concentrated calling you out on your crap by the more educated-in-the-sciences members here. Hell, even despite you being a lawyer, even I have a better understanding of the law than you do, judging your laughable misunderstanding of Edwards vs Aguillard, not to mention you cherry-picking the parts of that case you like, even though creationists got completely crushed and the book Of Pandas And People, which was attempted to be converted into an ID propaganda fest, ended up sealing ID's fate by linking it intrinsically to creationism.
Like I say, you want to prove my premises are wrong? Then attack my specific claims, not me. Cause all you've brought to the table is baseless ad hominems and laughable conspiracy theories, as well as showing that you're not even competent in your own profession. You know I had a look through more court records within District 4? There's nothing that I saw that even indicated that you *ever* got any victories under your belt, and it's still telling that the most visible court case available of yours is where you got epically smacked down by the court. Would you care to regale us about how much of a failure your appeal against the sanction imposed on you was again?
I then went into epic smackdown mode, pointing out a whole host of Mike's flaws:
A common claim by creationists like Mike Pincher is that evolution is nothing but random chance which they then follow by claiming that there is no way random chance could produce a particular adaptation or animal. This is most commonly used in association with an argument from design.
The "random chance" criticism is actually a straw man, since evolution does not rely only on random chance. While some elements of evolution are random, most notably mutation, the cornerstone of Charles Darwin's theory is natural selection, which is the opposite of chance. Natural selection is non-random and is one of the primary shaping forces for adaptation in nature. By ignoring natural selection in evolution, creationists are better able to argue that a god must have intervened, which is completely fallacious.
It is also interesting that because creationism makes no attempt (for it would represent a merely human limitation on divine power) to describe any regularities about the world, or to discriminate between what might happen and what might not happen as a consequence of creation (or intelligent design), there is no difference between the results of divine creation and random chance. While evolutionary biology rules out certain things - it is extremely unlikely that there would be a rabbit with ceramic armor or a supersonic hawk (unless a mad scientist decided to design one) - there is nothing that is less plausible than anything else in a creationist's world.
If we can say that "random chance" operates in evolution, we can say that it operates elsewhere in the world of life. One striking example is in the action of the adaptive immune system in jawed vertebrates. We jawed vertebrates are protected against diseases caused by certain viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites by changing our immune system to meet novel assaults. The adaptive immune system is the reason why vaccination works, and why we get certain diseases only once. The adaptive immune system generates great numbers of cells to detect alien biological molecules, and by "random chance" eventually one of these cells makes a match. This then allows our immune system to destroy the source of this novel alien molecule. As it turns out, relying on this "random chance" provides better protection against certain diseases than anything that we humans can "intelligently design".
"Random chance" is not incompatible with "intelligent design", or the achievement of goals. Creative artists often avail themselves of chance effects. There is the crackle glaze in pottery, which deliberately achieves artistic effects by encouraging the random patterns in the cooling of the pottery when it is removed from the kiln. Bronze outdoor sculptures are designed to acquire a patina. Performers respond to the unpredictability of the audience. Composers and playwrights release control over their works to the interpretation of the performers. Photographers and other visual artists respond to what is presented to them, for example the appearance of the model.
Now as to the rest of Mike Pincher's post:
But it doesn't, and purports theories that contradict not only a Genesis account of origins but when it boils down to it, common sense itself.
Which one? In the first two chapters of Genesis alone, there are two conflicting accounts of how creation had happened which upon literary inspection and criticism have been proved to contradict each other. You can't have it both ways. You can't protest at one moment that Biblical Inerrancy has nothing to do with Creationism/ID, and then come out with this bollocks.
Also, "common sense"? Is that really how you think the scientific method works? Before Galileo, it appeared "common sense" that the earth was flat.
For another example, it is common sense that if you drop a ball, it will fall. It always has, and it always will. It is common sense that the sun came up yesterday and will tomorrow. What is not such common sense is that gravity is a force (maybe) or an interaction between the ball and the Earth causing the ball to be drawn down to the earth, and the earth to in fact be drawn up, theoretically. Common sense would in fact deny that possibility, though it is the more true one. Common sense would also tell us that heavier objects drop faster than light ones — but this is actually an illusion caused by air resistance as was proven by science and then aptly demonstrated on the moon centuries later. In fact, the inferences we make about such objects can bleed into otherwise obvious questions, such as asking which is heavier, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers — people might instinctively think of the bricks before having that "wait a second!" moment.
Common sense is often confused with rational thought, being that people often believe common sense must be true and act incredulously to rational or scientific ideals that contradict common sense. This is due to the fact that the human brain can easily work with ideas like "common sense" and "rules of thumb" but can't quite cope with physics and statistics. For instance, it is statistically more probable to die from an asteroid impact (a rare and implausible event to many people) than a lightning strike (a common and very plausible event, particularly to golfers). Common sense is often made up of much prejudice and snap judgement, and therefore is not always useful and can certainly be irrational even when it is useful.
A similar train of thought is used by religious fundamentalists who insist that while other religious groups may have their own, incorrect, "interpretation" of holy scripture, their own group does not have an "interpretation" at all. They, you see, simply read the plain and direct words of scripture, whose meaning is clear to anybody with common sense.
You would do well to check out this article to see more instances where "common sense" is, ironically enough, not "sense" at all:http://www.cracked.com/article_1714
Lastly, after linking Heather to a bunch of sites that prove the existence of fossils:
And also taking the time to call Heather out on her crap for clearly not reading all the links, I then pointed out:
Heather Ritz, you're engaging in the God of the Gaps fallacy. The argument that there are gaps in the fossil record, used by apologists, basically amounts to a claim that there are no transitional forms between the transitional forms we've already discovered.
-misunderstands what constitutes a transitional feature.
-ignores the large number of fossils found.
-denies the transitions those fossils represent.
-is ignorant of the fossilization process.
-creates an expectation of accuracy far beyond what is necessary to illustrate transition.
-dismisses definitive examples of transitional forms, focusing on the ones that remain undiscovered.
-theoretically moves the goalposts every time a "gap" is filled, as each discovery of a transitional form creates two new gaps.
-is profoundly ignorant of the mechanisms of evolution itself.
Finding transitional forms never impresses creationists. If a transitional form B, between known species A and C is found, they demand "transitional forms" between A & B and B & C, a demand that is essentially unfulfillable at the individual level, such as at a parent-child case where no "transitional form" occurs. Apparently, the only thing that would satisfy them is a complete set of generation-by-generation fossils of every life-form in a direct line of descent from the first bacteria to Charles Darwin's grand-father However, due to the rarity of the fossilisation process, this is unlikely to occur, although new finds are being made which add to the information provided by the fossil record.
Incidentally, some more explanation about transitional fossils can be found here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/List_of_tr
To quote from that page:
According to creationists, each and every one of the following fossils is either misinterpreted by scientists, a fraud manufactured by scientists, or do not exist at all. They are utterly wrong in this claim - so they keep claiming it anyway.
Creationists also define transitional forms in inherently absurd or vague ways that cannot be met by the evidence. For example, they may insist that each of a proposed transitional organism's parts (its legs, eyes, wings) should be "partially formed" instead of "fully formed", even if those parts have nothing to do with the transition. What "partially formed" means is not always clear.
Even more nebulously, it is argued that a true transitional would be an "incomplete creature", a fantasy that creationists will contrast with the known fossil record of "fully formed" or "fully functional" creatures. A similar idea is that "real" transitionals would be Frankenstein's monsters, stitched-together assemblages of the parts of the two species. (It is akin to asserting that if teenagers were really between children and adults, they would have baby heads on adult bodies.) In short, if biologists believe the species's members were healthy enough to survive for more than a few days, then it can't be transitional, because it must have been "fully formed". The thinking here may be a product of biological essentialism — a thing is either A or B, and something "between" A and B is logically impossible or convoluted.
Some creationists propose that the common ancestor of two species would necessarily look like a blend of them, such as Kirk Cameron's infamous Crocoduck. This ignores that the evolutionary model involves traits arising without having to be present in the common ancestor. Otherwise, the world's earliest life forms would somehow look like combinations of every species alive today. Also, a given distant ancestor species with living progeny (for example, the reptilian ancestor of ducks and crocodiles) will also have many different-looking descendants, not just two. Evolutionary lines do not "run out" of divergences any more than the surname Smith would run out of acts of reproduction.
Another mistake/lie made by creationist is that a transitional fossil has to be the direct descendent of one species and the direct ancestor of another. What they do not understand is the true definition of a transitional form. A transitional form illustrates an evolutionary link, as it can have features of two species, but have no other species as descendants. For example, your mother would be a 'transitional form' between you and your grandmother, as she shares traits with both of you. However, if your mother had a sister, she would also be a "transitional form" between you and your grandmother, having traits from both of you.
For example, apes and humans split from a common ancestor seven million years ago and both lineages are still around.
For this reason the concept of "missing link" is a misleading one. A transitional form does not need to be a perfect halfway house directly linking one group of organisms to another. "It merely needs to record aspects of evolutionary change that occurred as one lineage split from another."
It is also sometimes argued that if key transitional traits of an intermediate species (for example, the wing claws of Archeopteryx) have not completely disappeared today, the species is not transitional. (The ostrich has wing claws). Of course, biology is under no obligation to "clear the slate" and make it so that extinct species' traits are utterly foreign to us. To assume otherwise is to assume presentism, that there is something "special" about the modern day.
When all hope is lost, creationists call the intermediate a "mosaic species" that "doesn't prove anything", and point out that God can create whatever he wants.
The species listed here are all thought to be close relatives of species descending from the first forms in the list and ancestral to the last ones. Each list represents some branch on the tree of life, its members being the sub-branches and "twigs" extending from this branch.