Check your Darwinian assumptions

Commonly held presumptions about what constitutes evidence for evolution as a viable explanation for the bio-diversity we see will have to be rethought.  All too often, defenders of the evolutionary process point to what they consider examples of homology, or the science of things kinda looking like other things in other animals.  Well, the idea that dolphins and whales “hip bones” which are merely a bygone leftover from land-walking days has just come into question with new research out of the University of Southern California and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

(Science Daily) — Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly withering away like tailbones on humans.

 New research from USC and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) flies directly in the face of that assumption, finding that not only do those pelvic bones serve a purpose — but their size and possibly shape are influenced by the forces of sexual selection.

“Everyone’s always assumed that if you gave whales and dolphins a few more million years of evolution, the pelvic bones would disappear. But it appears that’s not the case,” said Matthew Dean, assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and co-corresponding author of a paper on the research that was published online by Evolution on Sept. 3.

Dean collaborated with fellow co-corresponding author Jim Dines, Collections Manager of Mammalogy at NHM and one-time a graduate student in Dean’s lab, on a painstaking four-year project to analyze cetacean (whale and dolphin) pelvic bones.

The muscles that control a cetacean’s penis — which has a high degree of mobility — attach directly to its pelvic bones. As such, it made sense to Dean and Dines that the pelvic bones could affect the level of control over the penis that an individual cetacean has, perhaps offering an evolutionary advantage.

[…]

“Our research really changes the way we think about the evolution of whale pelvic bones in particular, but more generally about structures we call ‘vestigial.’ As a parallel, we are now learning that our appendix is actually quite important in several immune processes, not a functionally useless structure,” Dean said.

Anyone who has been discussing evolution for any length of time is familiar with the scientific terms “perhaps”.  Actually, I’ve never had a discussion with an defender of evolution (who I could actually get to offer an explanation) where the supposed explanation wasn’t thick with speculative language.  It’s all maybes, perhapses, resembleses, and possiblys.

Every once in a while a scientific discovery unfolds and upends the common thought of the day.  This time it seems that what has always been regarded as a vestigial remnant of land habitation actually turns out to be a fully and properly functioning feature of the animal’s reproductive system.  Imagine that.

Comments

  1. Yep, imagine that – scientists often change their opinion based on new discoveries. Unlike religious ideologies, who are rigid and reluctant to even consider the possibility that they may be mistaken.

    As for the article, I was unaware that dolphins and whales originated on land. That’s a new one.

    I suppose you’ve cherry-picked this article to make an argument for your position to not accept the evolutionary process?

    • It’s just that us religious type folks are ridiculed for not accepting these kinds of things, only to find out its not the case anyway.

      Really? You were unaware sea mammals were speculated to have originated on land? I knew that. I’m not picking at you, I just thought that was a basic one. But like I said, I don’t mean that snarky even though that’s how it sounds.

      • Religious folks are ridiculed for not accepting literal mountains of evidence to support evolutionary models. You just happen to select this particular story because it illustrates a possible misconception within one specific aspect of it.

        I don’t take your comment as snarky, John. Personally, I’ve never had an in-depth study of cetaceans, but I’m not afraid to learn new things.

  2. Isn’t science wonderful!

    • So apparently those weren’t left over “hips” but rather fully functioning reproductive features. Maybe then they didn’t evolve from land mammals. Or no, they still did, there’s just no actual evidence for it.

      • So scientists have discovered something that contradicts a previously held belief. So what? This happens all the time. It is how we progress as a species.

        Once upon a time the earth was the centre of the galaxy .. now we know differently.

        If you are trying to make a point, John it is already becoming obscure.

      • “rather fully functioning reproductive features” and “just no actual evidence for it” – I call BS on this. First, even the article doesn’t say that these are “fully functioning”, what they say is that these bones now are being used for a separate purpose that they were not initially developed for. This is common in evolution – in fact it is a major point. Second, there is also evidence when you look at the genes – the genes for leg production are turned off or broken in whales and dolphins. Occasionally dolphins will have a mutation here, and the genes will be turned on, and those same bones will develop into full legs! The fact that a vestigial organ has another function now that wasn’t thought of, although interesting, is not at all evidence against common descent, or that dolphins and whales were once land animals.

        • My point as a whole, maybe I should have been more explicit in the post, is that no matter the upending, there’s never any doubt on the conclusion. The whole enterprise puts the cart before the horse.

        • Amazing, actually, this is a proof of evolution! Odd that this presenter thought that somehow it contradicted evolutionary evidence. His jaws are what have evolved from gill arches, so are the hearing elements in his ears. Isn’t it wonderful that one thing can build on another? Isn’t it odd that people who have this vast body of solid evidence available to them would think it all fake and prefer the self-contradictory mythologies of some bronze age shepherds? I guess that the threat of eternal damnation for not getting the story right (and that matters how?) is pretty powerful!

  3. My point as a whole, maybe I should have been more explicit in the post, is that no matter the upending, there’s never any doubt on the conclusion. The whole enterprise puts the cart before the horse.

    Hilarious! Truly. You base your entire world view on presuppositional apologetics with no verifiable evidence whatsoever and you claim this evolutionary example is putting ”the cart before the horse”.
    Truly, does the ignorance of the religious know no bounds?

    • Actually I don’t base anything on presuppositional apologetics.

      • Really? I am truly amazed. Then on what<exactly, do you base your Christian Worldview?
        Pray, do tell.

        • The historical record and the philosophical foundation that God exists.

          • There is no historical record that any god exists.
            You are a presupposionalist. Plain and simple.
            Do not try to get clever … it will only make you look very silly.

            • Only if you ignore the bible as historical records based on YOUR physicalist presupposition that no gods exist and the supernatural is impossible. If the multiple books contained under one cover, since the bible isn’t actually a single book, rather a compilation, is treated and examined lime any other historical record, it is reliable. It’s only if you dismiss it because of naturalist presuppositions does it not count for anything.

              • If it is examined like any other book that makes historical claims it can be dismissed out of hand.
                There no historical records of any gods existing.
                It can be dismissed simply because what it claims is lies, un-falsifiable and basically nonsense.
                Furthermore, the god you genuflect to, in whichever guise he materializes as, is a narrative construct and I challenge you to produce a scrap of evidence to demonstrate otherwise.
                You are a fundamental apologist who has been indoctrinated and you have no verifiable evidence to demonstrate a single claim you base your world view upon.

                Please, have the integrity to simply state that what you believe is based on faith. Stop trying to suggest otherwise, John. You will end up simply looking very, very silly.

              • Your worldview filter is clogged with a naturalistic sludge. The truth is you can’t see things objectively because you already presuppose your view is correct. I haven’t been indoctrinated, there wasn’t anyone to do it. It wasn’t until I actually looked at it all without a presupposition against did I see that God does exist, and I can trust the bible as reliable.

              • The truth is you can’t see things objectively because you already presuppose your view is correct.

                My worldview is based on the best scientific evidence available. Pain and simple.
                There is no margin for unsubstantiated supernatural nonsense.
                You do not have any evidence for your god based christian worldview.
                And once AGAIN you avoid the challenge to supply verifiable evidence for your claims.

                Your god is a narrative construct, I have already stated this. The historical evidence is there as well.

                I see that God does exist, and I can trust the bible as reliable.

                Then provide evidence to support this claim,otherwise you are simply making fraudulent claims, as you were over the Coptic issue.

  4. It’s like talking to a brick wall, isn’t it Ark? Good luck getting an answer there.
    Dodge and weave.

    The truth is you can’t see things objectively because you already presuppose your view is correct.

    This is religion defined, yet he tries to project this trait upon those to reach conclusions based on the evidence.

    Your worldview filter is clogged with a naturalistic sludge.

    As opposed to accepting unnatural events as natural.

    It’s laughable that a response has actually been “You don’t accept it because you dismiss the supernatural out of hand!”

    If the multiple books contained under one cover, since the bible isn’t actually a single book, rather a compilation, is treated and examined lime any other historical record, it is reliable.

    No it is not. It just shows the impossibility for a believer to take a truly objective and critical look at the claims made in the bible. Believers have reached their conclusion and will interpret that text in whatever way possible to meet that conclusion.

    The fact is that the bible is a book of claims – claims that need to be supported with evidence. This evidence has yet to be presented. What has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    • Z

      You always claim to want evidence. You’ve never offered what exactly constitutes evidence so that it could be offered to you. What you have done is equate evidence with strength of evidence. In other words, if it doesn’t compel you to change your mind, it isn’t evidence.

      So I’d love to argue for my view, but if all you’d do is dismiss it offering no reason why other than saying “that doesn’t count” how can it even be discussed? You’ve said before that you believe you’re justified in simply rejecting arguments I make with no counter argument.

      So what are the chances that you two will get together and come up with what constitutes reasonable evidence for you.

      • In other words, if it doesn’t compel you to change your mind, it isn’t evidence.

        Wrong.

        Now you’re just complaining about what actual evidence is. You’ve argued this before and it still doesn’t hold water. Your phrase “strength of evidence” is meaningless.

        Present what you think is evidence and it will be determined whether it is evidence or not evidence to support your claim – it’s that simple.

        Old text that you consider “historical” still has to have evidence to support those events. You can’t just point to the text itself as evidence for it.

        • Are you aware of how history is assessed? Because it doesn’t sound like it.

          I fully understand why you don’t want to offer a criteria, it gives you an out to be able to say “doesn’t count”. Let me know when you’re willing to actually discuss the issue.

    • @ zqtx
      They are funny, are they not?
      Now wait and see … marshalart will be over soon to lambaste left-wing liberal atheists for not simply accepting god …oops, sorry, God, and why must he supply evidence? Thus, we are blind, dumb, ignorant and heading for Hell. As are all those other pernicious religious people, incidentally, who also believe in the supernatural, miracles, virgin births, god claims, god-inspired religious text etc etc but not the right god or right miracles or right virgin births etc because their claims and their evidence are completely untrustworthy.
      Burn the Zoroastrians …oh, and the Catholics, and Coptics, and Mormons and …yawn …
      And while we are at it we can include every other Christian that isn’t the right Christian – according John and Marshalart, including YEC’s and of course, Dan.

      ”Line on the left … one cross each.”.

      • Yup – he’s still tap-dancing…

        • You should ask yourself why you’re so opposed to providing me with what your standard of evidence is so that I can answer you without you protesting that I’m not giving you enough or what you’re asking for.

      • Did someone call my name? Look, Arkie. If you’re going to disparage me, at least have the integrity to do so based on actual shortcomings. I will state once again that I have provided for you support for a statement I’ve made. You simply dismissed it without any counter evidence of any kind whatsoever. From that point I have refused to play your game until you show some maturity, civility and integrity of providing that which you demand from me. Sure, you’ve made a weak attempt with your references to Kenyon, but those fell short as well without a complete counter argument from you. You simply began giving me more crap when I provided even more, against my better judgement. You’re a whiny fraud. Your posturing as intellectually superior is laughable and more than a little pathetic.

        • Hey D******d! Wonder where you had got to?

          We’ve finished the Kenyon episode. Are you still trying to catch up?
          You will be suggesting the earth is 600 years old next.

        • Still you cannot restrain yourself from childish name-calling, and then later presume to refer to me as a “preschooler”. Typical self indictment from the morally obtuse. As to Kenyon, we didn’t finish anything. Like Obama, you simply left. As I recall, you offered the least compelling “evidence” available (carbon dating), and unjustifiably did a victory dance. So, with that in mind, I will be suggesting and continue to suggest is that you have a religious-like devotion to that for which you cannot provide actual evidence, but instead, due to your religious-like fervor, you assume the least is enough to confirm your desperate hope that God does not exist.

  5. You should ask yourself why you’re so opposed to providing me with what your standard of evidence is so that I can answer you without you protesting that I’m not giving you enough or what you’re asking for.

    Is that all!
    No problem.
    1) Provide verifiable evidence that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is the god you claim he is.

    We’ll take it from there. Off you go.

    • Ok ark, one last thing, when you say verifiable, what do you mean? Some sort of corroborating account? Because we k ow that facts of history are not repeatable, so it’s not a scientific endeavor.

      • Verifiable evidence that does not rely on any faith and is enough to convince everyone from an atheist like me to a South American Indian from the rain forest who has never heard of the character Jesus of Nazareth.

        Corroborating account? lol…

      • So where’s this evidence then? Are you going to do the theological two step once again?
        Are you ever going to stop being a fraud and come clean , John?
        I thought your god did not approve of those who bore false witness?
        Let’s see this verifiable evidence, please.

        • I’m working on a post. It’s not really the topic on this post and isn’t suitable as a comment.

          • No problem. I can be as patient as you want. Just remember, John – without wanting to preempt your endeavors, nothing biblical is considered evidence unless it can be backed up by secular witnesses.
            Neither am I interested in Tacitus and such like – hearsay.
            Neither Josephus and the TF.
            And certainly no philosophical theological spin.Fair enough?

            We are looking for verifiable evidence of your man god.
            Understand?
            I await your post with interest.

            • Wrong. That’s not how evidence is determined. Just because you demand secular based witness or evidence doesn’t mean that is a reasonable request.

              I’m curious how you have thought it “fair enough” that YOU define the parameters? Would it be fair enough for me to ask you for evidence of evolution, but you can only use evidence that is corroborated by young earth creationists?

              Nevermind.

              • But there is no point in referencing people such as Tacitus or Josephus.
                Surely you are not so naive to assume I am unaware of virtually every source/reference there is – that I have not been investigating this issue for a number of years.
                Or did you think I just randomly picked a few verses from the bible then dropped by to give you and marshalart hard time?

                That’s not how evidence is determined.

                Just because you are not happy is not my problem. Your religion does not get a Free Pass simply because you cannot provide the type evidence you believe should be considered proof.

                The parameters must be sound enough that there can be no misunderstanding, no dispute.

                We are talking about your claim of a man-god, not
                Alexander the Great or Caesar, or Hannibal.

                Remember, I am NOT arguing or disputing with you about whether some itinerant preacher named Yeshua, ran around 1st century Galilee – who could know? I have no interest in this character.

                I want to see the evidence you claim you have of the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth – the man god you genuflect to.

                I await your post with interest.

  6. You’re still trying to deflect answering anything by arguing about what evidence actually is?

    You’re not that daft, Johnny. Just present some evidence to support biblical claims without trying to present the bible itself for evidence.

  7. @marshalart

    John,
    He wants a copy of Christ’s driver’s license.

    Oh, dear, the preschooler has showed up.

    • This preschooler knows the proper grammar is “has shown up”, and once again, you have been.

      • No, d***head, it isn’t.

        http://www.wordwebonline.com/en/SHOWUP

        • Yes, boy. It is. “She showed up” is not the same grammatically as “She has shown up.” Your link does not support your ignorant insistence, despite your desperate hope. Thus, you have been “shown up” once again.

        • “But you have no truck with YEC so why must I reference them?”

          Because it’s the standard you set for validating evidence and determining credibility. Funny, though…you count as credible scientists, archeologists and researchers only those that happen to agree with you. Yet we cannot use any that support our findings. Not hard to guess how such a one-sided set of rules would work out.

          No. An honorable person would not worry about WHO is providing the evidence, or WHO is the source, but instead would focus on the evidence provided and speak on that alone. If only we had an honorable atheist to evaluate evidence, sources and arguments here.

          • No, D******d, one has to account for background when it comes to the ”experts”.
            Someone like Habermaas or Licona are full on evangelical Christians.
            Their worldview starts from the presupposition that their god is real. That their god is Jesus of Nazareth.
            And based on what?
            The bible. An erroneous collection of works based on an unfalsifiable deity.
            No sir. This is not how the historical method works.

            You will lend no credence to miracle claims etc from other religions yet will swear the ones claimed in you bible to be beyond reproach.

            If you have evidence to demonstrate the claims you make regarding your man – god, the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth then feel free to show us.
            Otherwise, you are ranting like a buffoon and you can be dismissed without consideration.

          • Funny, though…you count as credible scientists, archeologists and researchers only those that happen to agree with you. Yet we cannot use any that support our findings. Not hard to guess how such a one-sided set of rules would work out.

            Wrong – I have referenced Kenyon. She was a Christian.
            I have referenced Devers who was also a Christian.
            They work from science.
            What do people like Habermaas and Licona work from? Presuppositional apologetics – just like you.
            One follows where the evidence leads.
            One tests and retests.

            Simply provide evidence that leads to demonstrate beyond doubt that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, is the man-god you worship.
            How difficult could that be?

            • Nice. Now you compare people of different disciplines. Do either Habermass and Licona call themselves scientists?

              Habernas is a historian, New Testament scholar, and philosopher. Not an archeologist. As such, he does not argue from archeological finds, as he has not, to my understanding, produced any.

              Mike Licona is a New Testament scholar, Christian apologist and historian. Not an archeologist.

              Kenyon and Devers? Archeologists. Furthermore, the fact that they are Christians does not mitigate the truth of the statement you attempt here to rebut: You count them as credible scientists, archeologists and researchers because they happen to agree with you. If they were atheists who came to believe that perhaps God/Jesus does exist, you would write them off as having lost their credibility and minds.

              “Simply provide evidence that leads to demonstrate beyond doubt that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, is the man-god you worship.
              How difficult could that be?”

              This is your impossible standard by which you pretend you are dealing in honesty. There isn’t a Christian in the world who is capable of meeting that standard. Ironically and hypocritically, there is no atheistic scientist who can demonstrate beyond any doubt that the world is billions of years old, or that evolution is true. Each side of the equation has evidence for their case. Neither side has absolute proofs which are beyond doubt.

              • There isn’t a Christian in the world who is capable of meeting that standard. Ironically and hypocritically, there is no atheistic scientist who can demonstrate beyond any doubt that the world is billions of years old, or that evolution is true. Each side of the equation has evidence for their case. Neither side has absolute proofs which are beyond doubt.

                Morning, D******D.
                Science doesn’t deal in absolutes as it is always changing.
                Science has been the death knell for myriad of religions and will eventually be the death knell for your Middle Eastern god as well.
                Science has already forced changes in your religion – most major Christian sects accept evolution, thanks to science and it is only idiotic fundamentalists that are still hanging on to nutters like Ron Wyatt and Ken Ham and AIG.
                Religion deals in absolutes ( but even here it has been forced to change) as it claims it is all over bar the shouting when JC returns to fry our brains.

                As you rightly state no Christian can meet these standards.
                Now, once and for all, admit that what you believe in is based on indoctrination and faith, but not verifiable evidence.
                Your religion does not even fit into the most ”plausible answer” category.

          • Listen, if you feel honest about rigging the discussion by requiring evidence for Jesus that atheists believe is true then by all means, ask for those square circles. But it’s not an honest discussion to demand that only your rules of determining historicity are valid.

  8. There are not ”my rules”.

    If you provide evidence that is not subject to any special dispensation then it should be worth considering.
    But you cannot start by assuming, for instance, that the gospels are written by eyewitnesses’.

    The evidence must at be be corroborated.

    • You had said you need evidence to be affirmed by some secular source, ie, some source that didn’t believe it was true. I used an atheist as an example and you are harping on minutiae.

      I hadn’t presumed the Gospels were eyewitness accounts. I concluded it after investigating. I now treat them as eyewitness accounts.

      • I hadn’t presumed the Gospels were eyewitness accounts. I concluded it after investigating. I now treat them as eyewitness accounts.

        RFLMAO..are you serious?
        In the face of every recognised biblical scholar you are going to assert they are eyewitness accounts?
        Well let’s kick this in the crutch straightway shall we?

        Every major christian scholar since Erasmus has concluded the gospels were originally written in Greek and not translated from Aramaic – the language most likely spoken by the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples.
        Of the more recent scholars only Maurice Casey was a firm believer in an Aramaic source for Matthew and this view is not shared by any other currently recognised scholar – that I am aware of.

        The very first ”New Testament” was compiled by Marcion and published in 145.
        So we are already a century past JC’s supposed death
        The first historical mention of any of the four gospels was in the year 180 AD by Theopholis of Antioch, who mentioned only the gospel of John, not Matthew, not Mark, not Luke.
        So please enlighten us as to where you derive the notion that these fallacious stories are eyewitness accounts?

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