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For Rize - the evidence

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Jerry Smith, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    Rize, I wanted to start a different thread for discussing the data itself, rather than the methodology. A good jumping off point is this statement of yours:

    The evidence that apes and men share a common ape ancestor is conclusive. The evidence that birds did evolve from dinosaurs is conclusive. I may decide later to discuss the evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but for the sake of our conversation, I am going to stick to the evidence for human evolution. How I present this evidence and how you respond to it will tell us all that we need to know about the strenght of our respective methodologies. I will begin with the very general evidence, and move to the more specific:

    We find fossil remains of living organisms deposited in many rock formations. We have various methods for dating those specimens that give us both relative ages of the remains and absolute ages of the remains. Human (Homo sapiens) remains are entirely absent from most of the fossil record of life history. When they are found, and their relative or absolute ages can be determined with any degree of certainty, they universally appear only in the last two million years, and only in younger strata than the oldest ape remains occur. Since fossil excavation has been done for the past 150 years, and many fossils multi-cellular organisms have been identified in all of the geological periods since the Vendian, there is ample reason to believe that humans appeared on earth more recently than apes, and were absent before apes had existed for quite some time (roughly 5 million years, if memory serves).

    Fact 1a: Humans are late-comers to the planet, and were preceeded by apes.

    Fact 1b: Universally, our experience of complex living organisms is that they come to exist only through reproduction of similar complex living organisms. (Law of biogenesis)

    Fact 1c: Living organisms are almost continuously evolving by variation and natural selection, as they adapt to new environmental pressures, and this is observed often often in both the field and the laboratory.

    Fact 1d: Apes and humans are similar in many respects.

    Now we have two theories to test using this very general data:
    Creationism: accounts for humans as late-comers by only one day. In order to accept it, standard geological methods must be scrapped and new ones invented that manage to survive falsification tests that standard geological methods have already passed.

    Evolution: accounts for humans as late-comers, because they are descended from apes.

    Creationism: By definition violates law of biogenesis. Depends on a mechanism (special creation) which has never been observed, nor has left any unique evidence behind.

    Evolution: is consistent with law of biogenesis.

    Creationism: ignores the possible impact of natural selection and adaptation over time on human origins.

    Evolution: Requires that a mechanism operates that changes the genotype and phenotype of living organisms over time. Upon inspection, the required mechanism is found to operate consistently in nature.

    So here, without even looking at transitional fossils, molecular evidence or any of the more eclectic evidence, and only glancing at the evidence from anatomical homology, we see a clear distinction between the two theories. Evolution is consistent with known laws (where creationism requires exceptions to an important natural law), we find that evolution is consistent with the general paleontological data (where creationism requires us to scrap many long-standing geological dating methods to reconcile the paleontological data with the theory), and evolution makes a minor prediction about an observable mechanism (where creationism has little or nothing to say about the observation of evolution's mechanisms).

    My next post in this thread (maybe today, maybe tomorrow) will discuss some of the specific evidence for the evolution of humans from an ape-ancestor.
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  2. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

  3. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water


    You beat me to the punch on that one. I was also going to talk about fossil transitionals, the LGGO pseudogene, the urate oxydase pseudogene, atavaistic tails, etc... But I plan to organize it and present it along with a look at the "interpretations" of the evidence, and their respective credibility.
  4. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    An entire thread for me?

    I won't be able to address this until later.

    And where are all the other creationists :p
  5. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water


    That's fine.. It will take some time for me to put my part together. I'm a patient fellow. I will be pleased just that you consider it worth responding to. :)
  6. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    Allow me, please to post some of the specific fossil evidence.  Or at least references to it:

    F. Clark Howell, Early Man Time Life Library, 1980

    Afarensis to habilis:  OH 24 is in between A. afarensis and habilis

    Habilis to erectus:
    Oldovai:  Bed I has Habilis at bottom, then fossils with perfect mixture of characteristics of habilis and erectus, and erectus at top.  At bottom of Bed II (top of Bed I) have fossils resemble H. erectus but brain case smaller than later H. erectus that lies immediately above them.  pg 81
    OH 13, 14 was classified by some anthropologists as H. habilis but others as early H. erectus.  650 cc

    Koobi Fora: Another succession with several habilis up to 2 Mya, then transitionals, and then erectus at 1.5 Mya.

    Erectus to sapiens:  Omo valley.  Omo-2 "remarkable mixture of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens characteristics"  pg. 70. 
    Omo-1: another mix of erectus and sapiens
    Skhul and Jebel Qafza caves: "robust" H. sapiens at 120 Kya that have brow ridges like erectus but brain case like sapiens.
    Tautavel, 200Kya:  large brow ridges and small cranium but rest of face looks like H. sapiens.
    "We shall see the problem of drawing up a dividing line between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is not easy."  pg 65.
    Ngaloba Beds of Laetoli, 120 Kya:  ~1200 cc and suite of archaic (erectus) features.
    Guamde in Turkana Basin, 180 Kya: more modern features than Ngaloba but in-between erectus and sapiens.
    Skhul, Israel  "posed a puzzle to paleoanthropologists, appearing to be almost but not quite modern humans" 

    Erectus to neandertalis:
    Stenheim and Swanscombe, 250 Kya: called H. heidelbergensis but have characteristics of both erectus and neandertalis.  Large brows and small cranium ( ~1200cc) but otherwise looks like neandertalis
    Petroloma skull (complete): brow ridges and low forehead like erectus but not quite as primitive but not as derived as sapiens or neandertalis.  Back of head resembles sapiens. 250 Kya
    Vertesszollos, 400 Kya.  Teeth like H. erectus but occipital bone like H. sapiens.  brain ~ 1300 cc

    Francis M Clapham, Our Human Ancestors, 1976
    Omo Valley, Ethiopia:  ~ 500,000 ya. mixture erectus and sapiens features
    Sale in Morrocco: skull discovered in 1971, ~300,000 ya.  also shows erectus and sapiens features.
    Broken Hill skull: another skull with mixtures of erectus and sapiens features

    Ehrendorf in Germany and Saccopestore in Italy:  mixture erectus and early neandertals, classed as archaic H. sapiens or H. heidelbergensis.
  7. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    Here's a site of Huxley's original pamphlet on the similarity of apes and humans and the rationale for an evolutionary relationship:

    And here is a news report of one particular fossil. Note, Rize, that if your hypothesis that humans did not evolve but were specially created is correct, fossils that show mixtures of features of humans and other species should not exist.  Humans appeared de novo in their present form.  However, if evolution is correct, we should find fossils with features of both H. sapiens and another species: our ancestors.  Notice that this fossil has mixed features:

     DISCOVER Vol. 19 No. 9 (September 1998)
    Table of Contents


    This million-year-old skull pushes back the appearance of Homo sapiens features by some 300,000 years. (Courtesy Ernesto Abbate, reprinted with permission of Nature)

    A Million-Year-Old Relative
    When a 30-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea came to an end in 1991, it brought not just peace and independence for the people of Eritrea but a chance for geologist Ernesto Abbate of the University of Florence to resume his long-suspended excavations in the region. That exploration has now paid off. Abbate recently discovered a 1-million-year-old hominid skull near the village of Buia in Eritrea, not far from the Red Sea coast.

    The fossil, found with two teeth and fragments of a pelvis, is the first intact hominid skull found from the period between 1.4 million and 600,000 years ago. But even more remarkable is the skull's shape. It blends features of Homo erectus-a tool-using hominid predating modern humans-with those of Homo sapiens. The find, which Abbate calls Buia man, although the sex of the individual is not known, marks the earliest known appearance of an individual with Homo sapiens traits.

    The skull is long and oval, pointed at the back, and has massive browridges, all features characteristic of Homo erectus, as is the small brain capacity. Where the skull differs from erectus is in the parietal bones, which form the curved sides and top of the skull. They are much wider at the top than those of H. erectus and are typical of Homo sapiens.
  8. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    So you think special creation is questionable?  How exactly do you explain the existance of the universe then?  Or the original life that everything supposedly evolved from?

    I'm not blind!  I can see quite clearly that there are great similarities between humans and apes (which explains the genetic similarities as well).

    Throwing this extremely detailed scientific data at me is not going to help at all since I'm not qualified to judge the data.  If I begin to comprehend it (quite possible), I'll be unable to judge whether or not things have been overlooked.  And if I do bring something up, it will be objected to (and rightfully so considering my knowledge of the details).

    In the old thread, I think that FoW summed up my biggest argument against evolution.  That is, with a gradual change from one life form to another, you would expect many more representations of the inbetween stages.  And yet there is no picture of a transition to any major structure (dinosaurs to winged birds for example).

    Btw, according to AiG, there is a growing movement in evolutionary circles that does not believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs (I'm sure it's always been there, but they're probably objecting more and more loudly now and growing).

    And while we're on the subject of humans verses apes, I was curious as to what scientific study has been done on the evolution of human sexuality.  I'm talking yearly estrogen cycles verses monthly cycles in human females and whatnot.  If I'm not mistaken, our closest "relative", the chimp, is estrogen driven like every other animal.
  9. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    Jerry will probably go into with more detail. But right now we explain the existence of the universe with the Big Bang Theory.

    Last I checked The Theory of Evolution has no say on the origin of life. As of right now we have no idea how life started on this planet. There are theories that say meteors helped start life on this planet, but no one knows how life was started.

    This is almost like the question in the FAQ at www.talkorigins.org.

    Question - If evolution is true, then why are there so many gaps in the fossil record? Shouldn't there be more transitional fossils?

    Answer - Due to the rarity of preservation and the likelihood that speciation occurs in small populations during geologically short periods of time, transitions between species are uncommon in the fossil record. Transitions at higher taxonomic levels, however, are abundant.


    Truely I have never heard about this. But there are probably people that believe that. But check this out.

  10. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    Jerry is a Christian who believe in evolution (theistic I suppose) and long ages not an atheist (if you didn't know that, thought you should).

    The big bang explains what happened in the beginning of the universe, not how it exists in the first place.

    Then how did life get started on those meteors?

    The likelihood that speciation occurs in small populations during geologically short periods of time... so it has to be taken on faith then :)

    As for "higher taxonomic levels", these transitions are meaningless since they do not demonstrate evolution.

    That refutation is debateable (though I won't be the one to debate it).

    Of course, all information is debateable.
  11. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    LOL and your point is? I don't care if he's a atheist or a christian.

    The big bang theory tells us how the unvierse became to be. But your right it can't tell us how the big bang was started. It could have been god or it might not have been god.

    I'm not really sure I don't know a lot on that topic. But it was like bacteria life or something similar.


    Edited.... had to change a few things.
  12. chickenman

    chickenman evil unamerican

    I think the chromosome challenge might shake your faith in YECism rize, its very compelling - it converted DNAUnion
  13. chickenman

    chickenman evil unamerican

  14. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

  15. webboffin

    webboffin NOT APPLICABLE

    We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."
    Stephen W. Hawking

    Maybe then with no God that is all we are. So what makes us special?
    Maybe there are 10000000000 of lifeforms that do the same lol
  16. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    He is saying that we are the only species on this planet RIGHT NOW that can understand the universe. So that makes us special in that way. But your right there probably thousands or millions of other species in the universe that can do the same thing.

    BTW there could still be a god he isn't saying there isn't one.
  17. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    Rize, I am still working on my fossil post. I had to put together a desk for my step-son last night & I haven't had much time to work on it. I hope to have it up by this evening.  In the meantime:

    I cannot explain the existance of the universe. I can offer speculations only. Some of those speculations borrow ideas from science, but none of them are scientifically demonstrated, the way biological evolution is.

    By the way, I have not made it clear, but the fact is that I am not a Christian. When I told you that I grew up Southern Baptist, that was true, but I have since become an unbeliever. I did not mean to mislead you on that point, and I hope the fact that we don't share belief in God does not keep us from seeing eye to eye on science. Many Christians believe in evolution: it is certainly not an issue of salvation, and many believe that it is not an issue that has any bearing on faith.  

    Again, the best that I could do would give you an idea of how the first life could have come about. There is not well supported theory of abiogenesis, and it is not likely that we will have enough evidence to say that this or that possible chemical pathway led to the first life on earth.  

    I am inclined to believe that there exists a naturalistic reason (even if it remains undiscovered) for the origin of life on earth. To the origin of the universe, I am less sure of that point. Certainly it would not be unreasonable to believe that a deity exists who is directly responsible for the creation of the big bang, and who is also created all life through the secondary mechanisms.

    By secondary mechanisms I mean this: Christians believe that God creates each and every human being. None of them, however believe that He forms them from clay each time - he uses the secondary mechanism of sexual reproduction. It is not unreasonable to believe that God uses the secondary mechanisms of abiogenesis and evolution to create all life on earth. 

    I plan to bring up genetic similarities that cannot be explained by similarities of appearance, and cannot be readily explained by common design. 

    Trust me that my presentation will be very non-technical and not highly detailed. My hope is that you will see that you can make a well-informed opinion on it after you have reviewed it.

    Again, it isn't going to be technical, or even very detailed. You will easily grasp it.

    We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    I will do my best to "answer" it instead of "objecting to it", where possible & appropriate.  

    The fossil record is incomplete and there is little we can do about that. Nevertheless, you might be surprised at how many transitional fossils are found in the fossil record. You would be surprised at how well-represented some transitions are from the fossil record. I will be dealing with the ape/human transition in particular. Ape-to human is a relatively small change, yet there have been several transitional species identified, and many individual fossils from some of those species - including ones like lucaspa mentioned that even show the transition between one of those human ancestors and another one of those human ancestors. 

    Actually, there are a few fossils organisms that do show that transition. I don't know if I will get to those in this thread or not. 

    Alan Feduccia and a few other ornithologists have been around for the past few decades objecting to the dinosaur/bird connection. They have diminished in the last 10 years as new paleontological evidence has come in to support the dinosaur/bird connection. Don't be misled though: Feduccia and his colleagues are not proposing anything radically different: they are proposing birds evolved from a different group of reptiles that were related to the dinosaurs. For a long time, the evidence was too vague to be certain that the ancestors of birds were dinosaurs, and not other reptiles.

    That's a technical question - I'm not equipped to answer it satisfactorily right now. It is a good question though & I'm sure the answer, to the extent that it is known, will be an interesting one!!

    Until this evening,

  18. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water


    Sorry for breaking up your paragraphs... It's a hard habit for me to break. I always want to respond to one point at a time, and do it in a way that everyone can follow the conversation. If I don't quote the line that I am answering it is difficult for people to understand what my response means. Also, I sometimes lose my own place & that helps me keep track. I'll try to avoid doing this when responding to your posts in the future. I hope you will overlook those cases where I can't figure out a way to avoid it...

  19. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    Umm, Rize, special creation is the belief/hypothesis that all species/kinds were created separately. It doesn't make claims about the origin of the universe.
  20. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    GeoTheo was also converted by it. Bear in mind he remains a faithful conservative Christian. I avoid linking to infidels here - most Christians here don't care about reading an atheist forum.