Heart of Stupid

Lizard

I’m continuing a review of comments from creationist David Buckna. I will keep the current title for this series in order to maintain continuity. Additionally the wording tends to reflect the sense of the comments I’ve been receiving.

Here’s what David posted last Sunday. I’m not going to paste his entire comment, but I will follow some of his links and provide some analysis.

Blanton: “What this is about is that Buckna asked me to put forward examples of macro evolution in the scientific literature. I previously pointed to research related to the development of the mammalian ear:”

4. Macroevolution can only be seen or inferred in the 4 skulls if one PRESUPPOSES macroevolution in the first place. I could just as easily invent a cladogram and arrange various knives, forks, spoons, scissors, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. into a certain order to show their “evolution” from a “common ancestor”

This seems to be in reference to my response to “So, still waiting for you to list even ONE example of macroevolution, backed up with references from the scientific literature.” What I provided as an example was the evolution of the mammalian ear, along with images from UC Berkeley’s site Understanding Evolution. Here is my example:

Like birds, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians, and most fishes, the earliest synapsids had a bone in the back of the skull on either side called the quadrate that made the connection with the lower jaw via a bone called the articular. But mammals today, including humans, use two different bones, called the squamosal and the dentary, to make this connection. How did this new jawbone configuration evolve?

For reasons we don’t fully understand, several lineages of synapsids — including the one that would eventually give rise to the mammals — began to evolve changes in the jaw joint. Originally the quadrate and articular bones formed the jaw joint, but these synapsids (e.g.,Probainognathus) evolved a second pair of bones involved in the jaw articulation. The squamosal bone was positioned alongside the quadrate in the upper jaw, and the dentary was positioned alongside the articular in the lower jaw.

probain_skull

joints

Saying “presupposes” as David has done seems to fly in the face of the evidence. From the fossil evidence, it is apparent that gross (macro) evolution has taken place. The Understanding Evolution page does more than just post images of four skulls. There is a top-level explanation of the interpretation of these and many more such fossils. We are left with some unavoidable conclusions.

  • We find fossils of a certain age with an observed form.
  • We find fossils of a later age (newer) of a different form.
  • We find fossils of intermediate form.
  • There is a compelling conclusion to be drawn from these studies.

What is compelling is this: Fossils representing mammalian ear are comparatively modern. Similar fossils of greater age are not in evidence. These modern animals must have had ancestors that did not look like them. What were their ancestors like? The answer presents itself in additional fossils. These are fossils of a somewhat different form. There is a comprehensive chain of fossils representing a chronology of change from the ancient reptilian form to the more modern mammalian form. If this does not give a picture of biological evolution of the reptilian form to the mammalian form, then somebody doubting it will need to provide an alternative explanation.

Not only does David’s “I could just as easily invent a cladogram and arrange various knives, forks, spoons, scissors, screwdrivers, pliers, etc. into a certain order to show their ‘evolution’ from a ‘common ancestor’” not make any sense, it does not provide an alternative explanation.

My task is to continue the analysis of David Buckna’s comments and other Internet postings. In the mean time I have this problem: David has responded to my posts by pasting vague comments to the blog. For example:

So your answers to the 2 questions:
1. Evolutionists know living things weren’t designed because…
2. The criteria for “apparent” design…
a)
b)
c)
etc.

When I got back to David by email I asked this:

The comment is extremely vague. Please respond by email and elaborate. What is it you want to say?

 

All I got back from David was:

Answer the two questions.

This with no explanation of what the two questions are. I responded to David’s four-word email by asking him to elaborate and to provide additional commentary. Hopefully I will obtain a more complete explanation from David and will be able to pursue this line of discussion further.

Keep reading.

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3 thoughts on “Heart of Stupid

  1. As TV’s Dr. Phil is so fond of saying, “What part of this don’t you understand?”

    1. Richard Dawkins writes: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

    If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how do evolutionists know they weren’t designed?

    2. What are the criteria for “apparent” design? (I assume you can list more than a single criterion)

    Criteria:

    a)

    b)

    c)

    ?

  2. Pingback: Heart of Stupid | Skeptical Analysis

  3. Pingback: Heart of Dimness – Part 12 | Skeptical Analysis

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