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filling a gap just makes two gaps

I'm bothered by this paragraph in Transitional form#Difficulty of identification:

Proponents of evolution will sometimes object that when an intermediate form is found, creationists simply claim that there are now two gaps instead of one. However, this objection fails to recognise the size of the remaining gaps.{{ref|Woodmorappe, John, [http://creation.com/does-a-transitional-form-replace-one-gap-with-two-gaps Does a ‘transitional form’ replace one gap with two gaps?], ''Journal of Creation'' 14(3):5–6, August 2000.}} There is still no "finely graduated" sequence as Darwinian evolution would predict.

Which creationists use the two-gaps-is-worse than one argument? Which evolutionists publically object to it? How often does this come up? I have the feeling this is a red herring on somebody's part, or at least a distraction from the real issues. I'd like to delete it if no one can back it up better. —Awc 10:20, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Which creationists use the two-gaps-is-worse than one argument? Dunno. The article doesn't say that any do.
How often does this come up?
  • "... if one transitional fossil is found for a given gap, does that mean that two more have suddenly appeared and must be filled? This is obviously a game that no amount of scientific research can ever fully satisfy."[1]
  • "Finally, creationists will sometimes belabor the fact that there are gaps in the fossil record. Even if we have a transitional fossil between two groups of organisms that is suggestive of an evolutionary relationship, creationists will demand intermediaries between the intermediaries. And, if those are found, creationists will want intermediaries between the new organisms. It's a no-win situation."[2]
  • "Sigh. Two new gaps in the fossil record..."[3]
  • "This argument ... theoretically moves the goalposts every time a "gap" is filled, as each discovery of a transitional form creates two new gaps."[4]
  • "The joke is getting so overused now it is becoming a cliche in skeptical circles – what happens when a paleontologist fills in a gap in the fossil record? They create two gaps, one on each side. But it is often used because it pithily exposes the intellectual buffoonery of those evolution deniers (aka creationists) who deny common descent."[5]
  • "One of the problems with creationists is that every time their questions are answered, they shift the goalposts. If you have fossils of two species, call then A and B and it is clear that B is probably a descendant of A then the creationist will ask for a transitional fossil showing A changing to B. When such a fossil is found, call it C (Tiktaalik is a good example), the creationists now have two gaps and demand a transitional fossil between A and C and C and B. produce those and they then have four gaps for you to fill. It doesn't matter to a creationist how many transitional fossils you find, there are never enough."[6]
  • "Everytime a new transitional fossil is discovered, two new gaps are created." (www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1535)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:12, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Do you think mentioning this argument and counter argument helps the reader understand something important about the topic of transitional forms? —Awc 15:09, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
R. S. Dietz brings Duane Gish into the discussion by name ("Gish's Law"), but I haven't been able to trace that accusation back to specific instances. (See [7] and [8].)
Do you think mentioning this argument and counter argument helps the reader understand something important about the topic of transitional forms? Yes, how silly evolutionist claims are. Keep in mind, too, that people reading this article will not always/usually be coming from a position of complete ignorance; some will be aware of the argument, so it's appropriate to address it.
...I haven't been able to trace that accusation back to specific instances. What makes you think that it is based on anything other than a desire to ridicule?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
If you have fossil a and b and foosil a is dated to 10mya and fossil b is 1mya then you have 1 gap and a time frame of 9 million years to rxplain. If more fossils are found , say 5,000 total evenly spread through a geological column, then you have 4,999 gaps to explain with each gap approx. 9,000,000/5,000 years on a statistical basis. This is obviously impossible therefore evolution is false. Hamster 15:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Huh??? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:32, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Attempt to whitewash equivocating self-serving redefinition

Much of Awc's recent editing of this article amount to legitimising evolutionist attempts to hide the lack of transitional forms by redefining the term. I will be reverting it, with modification. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Please explain this sentence: "However, organism V could simply be a distinct organism that shares some characteristics of both A and G, as would be expected from a biblical creation view, in which organism V could simply represent a separately-created kind." How is this expected by the creationist view? Why would V be required share any characteristics with any another kind? Why is God limited to such a restriction? Sterile 13:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Who made you the lord of the English language? I tried very hard to discuss all the different ways I saw "transitional form" being used, but you come in and say, creationists use the term this way, so that's the real definition. If you are going to claim that "proponents of evolution have started redefining" the term, then please show that they ever used the term in a different way. Considering that probably less than 1% of all species have been preserved as fossils, it is ridiculous to expect the last common ancestor of any two groups to be found. Are creationists making this claim? If you don't want to use the term "transitional" for forms near the branching point of two groups, what would you call them? Whatever they are, they are what you would hope to find a lot of, and you do find a lot of them. I'll try to do it piece by piece and take any reservations into account, but if you don't fix this section up, I'll do it. —Awc 13:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
And another thing! As far as the "Lack of transitional fossils" goes, you have provided some (not entirely unambiguous) quotes, but the majority of paleontologists think there are plenty of transitional forms (not last common ancestor species!). You are cheating your readers if you don't report that. —Awc 13:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict; reply is to Sterile, above) I didn't indicate that God was limited by such a restriction. Rather, God would choose to create in certain ways to convey ideas that he wanted us to know, such as his power, consistency, etc. There are numerous reasons for organisms to share features, including allowing us to study one organism to draw conclusions about another that has similar features. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
As part of reinstating material that was removed, I have added back in the line that "none of Archaeopteryx's features are half-formed, as predicted by evolution." Awc removed this with the comment that "Evolution does not predict that all or any individual features should be "half-formed"". On the contrary, evolutionists frequently deny that features popped into existence in one hit, but formed gradually over a period of time. Thus there must (according to evolution) have been a stage when there were features that were part way to being feathers.
I have also removed the sentence "The challenge to creationism comes more from the placement of Archaeopteryx fossils at a restricted location in the geological column near the lowest level found for a variety of avian features.". This assumes the evolutionary dating of the fossil, which of course creationists reject. I can't find much on how Archie was dated, but the abstract of this paper suggests that it was by biostratigraphical analysis, which means that the rocks are dated by the fossils found in them, which process assumes an evolutionary sequence, making the evolutionary argument circular reasoning.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
There are also several species of early birds / feathered dinosaurs with intermediate forms of feathers. I look forward to enriching the article with those details.
I usually take great pains to formulate my edits without a world-view bias, but you seem to be so steeped in your world-view that you see everthing as biased that doesn't directly support your world-view, even if it is a simple objective description. I say and imply nothing at all about absolute dates. I just say if you dig down, you might find an Archaeopteryx and you might find other birds. If you happen to find both, then the Archaeopteryx will be near the strata at which you find the most deeply buried birds. End of observation. I don't say creationism can't explain this, I just say it will be "challenging".
—Awc 14:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)


Who made you the lord of the English language? You are asking the wrong person. I am not the one who changed definitions to hide the fact that the evidence refutes the claims.
you come in and say, creationists use the term this way, so that's the real definition. That's not what I said. I said that evolutionists changed the meaning when the evidence didn't support the claim.
If you are going to claim that "proponents of evolution have started redefining" the term, then please show that they ever used the term in a different way. Isn't it obvious from Darwin's (falsified) prediction?
Considering that probably less than 1% of all species have been preserved as fossils, it is ridiculous to expect the last common ancestor of any two groups to be found. No, not at all, given the number of species. The figure may be right if you are talking about the last common ancestor of any two particular groups, but not of any two groups. But that's missing the point...
Are creationists making this claim? The point is not (just) the last common ancestor (D in the article's diagram), but so many transitional forms (B to F). The point is that creationists have quoted evolutionists admitting that B to F are missing, so now the evolutionists say "No, the stupid creationists are wrong, because we have found transitional forms: V". Finding V and claiming it as transitional merely serves to obscure the fact that B to F are still missing.
Whatever they are, they are what you would hope to find a lot of, and you do find a lot of them. Not so. Even the claimants are relatively few in number, and most of them are readily refuted.
...if you don't fix this section up, I'll do it. In case you didn't notice, I just fixed it up. And that's what you don't like.
As far as the "Lack of transitional fossils" goes, you have provided some (not entirely unambiguous) quotes, but the majority of paleontologists think there are plenty of transitional forms... "not entirely unambiguous"? Extremely clear, actually, even if you don't want to admit it. And so what if the majority of palaeontologists think that there are plenty of transitional forms; the point is that they admit that they can't produce them.
You are cheating your readers if you don't report that. We are cheating our readers if we don't report that evolutionists think that there is evidence for evolution? I don't think they need us to tell them that! Besides, isn't that what the "claimed transitional forms" section is about: the evolutionist belief (claim) that (some) transitionals do exist?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
most of them are readily refuted Evidence, please? You provide no citations or information, not here nor in the article. And please, refutation based on evidence. Also, what is meant by the "size" of the gap? What would consistute a "small enough" gap?Sterile 16:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
why would God make anything 'similar' if they are different 'kinds' and therefore seperate creations. Does this show a lack of imagination ? are similar morphologies in created kinds actually to function in the same way or are they two different things ?
feathers and scales are very similar, its just the direction of folding. There would be no need for a partially developed feather. Here is an interesting paper http://ncsce.org/PDF_files/feathers/2000CurrOpinGenetandDev.pdf Hamster 19:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
the use of index fossils in strata was known prior to the TOE. It is simply a relation between a type of rock and a specific fossil that allowed geologists to say "this layer seems the same as they layer over there, so the are likely to have been formed at about the same time. It allowed a relative dating and organisation of a "geologic column" where parts are missing because of erosion or other geological events. There is nothing whatever circular about it. Hamster 20:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
In another context, statements like organism V could simply be a distinct organism that shares some characteristics of both A and G, as would be expected from a biblical creation view and There are numerous reasons for organisms to share features, including allowing us to study one organism to draw conclusions about another that has similar features. would be known as "just-so stories".
The article by Chuong et al. is excellent. I'm sure Philip will be grateful that you have provided him with the "stage when there were features that were part way to being feathers" that he was fretting over.
the use of index fossils in strata was known prior to the TOE Well why didn't you say so earlier?! Here Philip has been laboring under the assumption that biostratigraphical analysis ... assumes an evolutionary sequence, because nobody has ever told him before that that is wrong. Come on, guys, help Philip out a little bit here.
—Awc 21:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
quit using whitewash ! its 2011 you should use a good two part epoxy at least ;-) Hamster 00:11, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

To quote the paper more clearly:

Recent discoveries in the Yixian formation in China, which has exceptional preservation conditions for integuments, are most exciting in pointing out the origin and evolution of feathers. Sinosauropteryx ([35]; ~120 mya) has ‘fuzz fibers’ surrounding the body. These filamentous ‘protofeathers’ are ~5–40 mm long and appear to be rather homogenous over the body. The protofeathers appear to be down-like — lacking aerodynamic properties and probably used for insulation (Table 1). Beipiaosaurus also has similar primitive feather filaments that appear to be hollow, reflecting the cylindric developmental stages of the feather filament (Figure 2). They are long, on average ~50 mm [36].

I predict for some reason this won't be "good enough" for Philip, although he dare not use the "need something in between", because after all, creationists don't use that argument. Sterile 00:31, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Add: There also is this recent example of proto-feathers in a theropod (a dinosaur): Xu, Xing; Zheng, Xiaoting; You, Hailu. "A New Feather Type in a Nonavian Theropod and the Early Evolution of Feathers." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sciences (January 20, 2009)106:3, 832-834. creation.com doesn't mention Epidexipteryx, so Philip's on his own. Sterile 00:37, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I am frequently surprised at how much is known in specific areas of science, and how much is available on the internets. It certainly wasn't this easy when I was in college. Who would have thought a bunch of papers on feathers Hamster 00:48, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
There are also several species of early birds / feathered dinosaurs with intermediate forms of feathers. According to you, evolution doesn't predict such half-formed feathers, so I guess that these falsify evolution?
I usually take great pains to formulate my edits without a world-view bias, but you seem to be so steeped in your world-view that you see everthing as biased that doesn't directly support your world-view, even if it is a simple objective description. I can say the same about you. Surely the modern definition of transitional form includes that they do represent evolutionary relationships, rather than just having some characteristics in common with two other species possibly independent of any evolutionary relationship? If so, then the "transitional" forms listed in the article that you say meet the modern definition do so only insofar as they share features in common; that they are actually transitional in the sense that this is due to an evolutionary relationship is still something that is disputed, yet you worded the article from your POV that they are transitional forms. That's not without a world-view bias nor a simply objective description. That's an evolutionary bias, yet it seems that you are so steeped in your worldview that you don't see it.
The way I worded the article was that they "are" transitional forms "in the sense it is used in paleontology", which I had defined shortly before. This is unbiased and true. Having set that straight, let me say that, as dissatisfied as I am with your version, I am not completely satisfied with my version, either. I'm working on it. —Awc 15:42, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I say and imply nothing at all about absolute dates. I didn't say that you did. Your reference to the date of Archie implied a great deal of time between different forms, instead of the creationary view that they all lived at the same time. That is an evolutionary view.
Excuse me for misunderstanding your statement, This assumes the evolutionary dating of the fossil, which of course creationists reject. I was very careful not to refer to the date of Archie, but only to his "location in the geological column". In a creationist model, with thousands of meters of sediments formed violently within a year, it is indeed challenging to explain why all the Archie fossils are found in a layer only a couple hundred meters thick (or less?), and why there happen to be no other birds buried very much deeper than that, and why there are birds in every major layer above that. Did the birds not start falling out of the sky until halfway through the flood, with Archie the first to go? —Awc 15:24, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
If you happen to find both, then the Archaeopteryx will be near the strata at which you find the most deeply buried birds. End of observation. "End of observation? That wasn't an observation! You said "if"—you were speculating.
Thats more of a prediction. Unsurprisingly its what is actually found. Awc gets an internets for ptognosticating. Hamster 15:43, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Since Philip has some trouble with the ins and outs of the English language, let me rephrase that as, "Whenever you happen to find both, ...". —Awc 16:04, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't say creationism can't explain this, I just say it will be "challenging". Challenging to explain a non-observation? How is that a challenge?
Evidence, please? See here for some. See also below on protofeathers.
What would consistute a "small enough" gap? One that met Darwin's description.
why would God make anything 'similar' if they are different 'kinds' and therefore seperate creations. Already answered.
Does this show a lack of imagination ? Given the evidence of plenty of imagination in His creation, no.
are similar morphologies in created kinds actually to function in the same way or are they two different things ? Could be a bit of both.
feathers and scales are very similar, its just the direction of folding. Nonsense; they are very different, as even your link shows.
There would be no need for a partially developed feather. True. Yet evolution both requires them and can't explain them. Ergo, evolution doesn't make sense. There is a term for this, a 'fitness valley' or something, I think.
you are confusong a fully formed and functional proto-feather with something half formed. Hamster 15:20, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
the use of index fossils in strata was known prior to the TOE. It is simply a relation between a type of rock and a specific fossil that allowed geologists to say "this layer seems the same as they layer over there, so the are likely to have been formed at about the same time. It allowed a relative dating and organisation of a "geologic column" where parts are missing because of erosion or other geological events. There is nothing whatever circular about it. I'll concede that my wording was poor, but it assumes that layers were formed over long periods of time rather than most at once (per the flood model), and further assumes that particular species are unique to certain time periods. It is this aspect (rather than evolution itself) that the comment I removed was about, so my point stands, albeit with a bit of rewording.
prior to radiometric dating geologists were split betwen biblical timescales and the long-slow process they saw in effect. They saw however that certain fossils and certain rock strata occured in multiple locations and determined the correlation was useful. Many discounted the flood model because what they saw in rocks did not match very well with what they saw in floods occuring at the time. Hamster 15:20, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
In another context, statements like ... would be known as "just-so stories". Not so. A just-so story is an ad hoc one. As I heard someone say recently, evolution is a series of ad hoc explanations (e.g. "So on the one hand male promiscuity is ‘explained’ by the selfish gene idea, but male fidelity is also ‘explained’ by the same selfish gene idea." (from here which has the argument leading to this conclusion)), whereas creationary explanations all follow from the basic premise that God created.
The article by Chuong et al. is excellent. I'm sure Philip will be grateful that you have provided him with the "stage when there were features that were part way to being feathers" that he was fretting over. That article provides no evidence of features that were part way to being feathers. Rather, it assumes that feathers evolved from scales, then speculates on how that might have happened.
To quote the paper more clearly: ... I predict for some reason this won't be "good enough" for Philip Actually, it's not good enough for other evolutionists, such as Alan Feduccia and colleagues,[9] Larry Martin, and Theagarten Lingham-Soliar and his team of researchers.[10], who all are either not convinced or reject the claims.
There also is this recent example of proto-feathers in a theropod (a dinosaur): ... creation.com doesn't mention Epidexipteryx, so Philip's on his own. You actually checked Creation.com?? So why didn't you check it for Sinosauropteryx, where you would have found the answer to your previous comment? In any case, the pattern is that the discoverer writes up his find as some fascinating new discovery, but after the hype has died, other researchers check it out and come to different conclusions, as with Sinosauropteryx. So citing a paper so recent that others have yet to do their own research and publish it doesn't prove much. In any case, I'm not limited to Creation.com (I know about Google!), and it here points out that there is some reason to believe that Epidexipteryx was a flightless bird descended from birds capable of flight. And by the way, I think you provided the wrong link; that one didn't mention Epidexipteryx.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:20, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Yep, "not good enough" as predicted. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite sources about denialism: "One central question for the evaluation of skepticism is 'what evidence would be convincing?' One sign that open-minded doubt has turned intractable is the answer: 'I cannot say.'" [1] So, tell us Philip, what are these "part formed feathers" supposed to look like that would be convincing to you?
I will also add this is the third or fourth time in recent days you really haven't engaged in the evidenced presented to you; nothing really about the content of the papers we've given you is here. Even your creation.com link is insufficent, as although it talks in general terms about archie and tetrapod precursors, it does not discuss rhinos or pinnipeds nor the "other examples" in the article. The gap comment is also insufficient; what does Darwin say and do you agree with it (I've also lost track of where that is....)? Hmmm.... I guess you are right about Epidexipteryx--there are so many examples, it's easy to get confused. Anyway, I want to know what YOU think about these issues, Philip, and in your own words. Sterile 14:58, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
we look at all sorts of sites Philip (by we I mean sciency people) but Sterile(?) was talking of Epidexipteryx so why look up Sinosauropteryx ? Hamster 15:49, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
And I would add that the best examples of transitional fossils are probably for the evolution of Homo sapiens. Sterile 16:46, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

part 2

The way I worded the article was that they "are" transitional forms "in the sense it is used in paleontology", which I had defined shortly before. This is unbiased and true. The way you worded the article, a transitional form can be any creatures that share characteristics, even if their purported evolutionary relationship is distant, and even if convergent evolution was supposedly involved (i.e. where their common ancestor didn't have the shared characteristics). Is that what you meant? Is that really the way it is used? I assumed not, which means that a transitional form does (supposedly) demonstrate an evolutionary relationship, which means that your claim that the examples are transitionals assumes the truth of evolution.
Sure. If you change the part of what I said where I define my terms, then the other part of what I said becomes only conditionally true. —Awc 18:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
In a creationist model, with thousands of meters of sediments formed violently within a year, it is indeed challenging to explain why all the Archie fossils are found in a layer only a couple hundred meters thick (or less?), and why there happen to be no other birds buried very much deeper than that, and why there are birds in every major layer above that. That comment assumes the integrity of the geologic column, a hypothetical construct assembled from partial columns in multiple places. So the comment "birds buried very much deeper" is not a reference to depth below the surface, but a reference to depth in this artificial construct that assumes secular geological deep time, and with which the "depth" is often determined from the fossils they contain.
except the geologic column exists in I think 4 places intact. You are of course free to explain how a geologicic cross section got shuffled to bury more recent animals underneath the rest without obvious signs. Hamster 15:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying you don't see any challenge, Philip? —Awc 18:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Did the birds not start falling out of the sky until halfway through the flood, with Archie the first to go? Do you not realise that these fossils were found relatively close to the surface? I'm not saying that the rocks Archie was found in were always close to the surface; there might well have been other layers above that have eroded away. But if so, then that would explain why there were no more Archaeopteryx fossils above the ones found: the rocks are no longer there!
Are you serious? Do you want to play children's games? —Awc 18:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Thats more of a prediction. Still not an observation.
Since Philip has some trouble with the ins and outs of the English language, let me rephrase that as, "Whenever you happen to find both, ..." Okay, so I'll now respond to the reworded claim:
I just say if you dig down, you might find an Archaeopteryx and you might find other birds. Whenever you happen to find both, then the Archaeopteryx will be near the strata at which you find the most deeply buried birds. End of observation. So you are saying that both Archaeopteryx and other birds can be (or have been) found in the same place albeit in different depths? Or are you talking about finding both in different places in layers that are deemed to be different in time, in which case, this is no longer an observation and assumes the secular geological timescale.
Nope, there is still no assumption of any timescale, no matter how much you would like to see one to get yourself off the hook. If that's your line of defense (even though the explanation, which you haven't yet even attempted, won't be any easier) then we need to talk about the geological column. (We really should have an article on that.) You could start by trying to answer the issues raised in K–T boundary#Models. ... To date, all the Archeopteryx fossils were found in the Franconian Jura (Bavaria). The hills there are up to 300 meters higher than the valleys, so there is room for fossils be be above or below each other. The geological strata in the area are not too difficult to trace. The upper Jurrasic is divided into the black Jurassic, the brown Jurassic, and the white Jurassic, i.e., the groups have distinctive coloration. The white Jurassic has alternating layers of limestone and marlstone with characteristic thicknesses, so these can be followed with some precision. If you follow a layer in one direction and it angles down so that other layers are on top of it, then those layers are higher in the geological column. If it angles up, so that it disappears but other layers that were deeper come to the surface, then those layers are deeper in the geological column. That is hardly ambiguous. I don't know why you pretend that that is difficult to understand. I haven't said anything about absolute time scales or even relative times or simultaneity. I have only described the layers and how it is possible to define a spatial ordering and extend it over a large region. —Awc 18:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
you are confusong a fully formed and functional proto-feather with something half formed. That sounds like playing with words. If a "proto-feather" is something on the way to being a fully-formed feather, then surely it is a half-formed feather? If it's not, then it's not a proto-feather.
half formed implies incompleteness. Philip has half a head would be seen as a bad thing. Evolution does not predict half of body parts. Each thing found is a complete thing in itself , if not what we see today. So a feather on a dinosaur might be a step towards modern feathers, but it is still a complete feather itself. Hamster 15:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
prior to radiometric dating geologists were split betwen biblical timescales and the long-slow process they saw in effect. No, they were split between biblical timescales and long slow processes that they imagined; they did not have observations of deep time. Yes they did see slow processes, but they only saw them over a short period of time, and the biblical record specifically included an exceptional catastrophic event that involves fast processes. So they deemed such catastrophic events to not have occurred, because they didn't want to accept the biblical account.
they saw river erosion and deposition and that was well understood. They saw and understood annual river floods as well as the effects of tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanic actions and earthquakes. By using their observations they concluded that long time periods would be needed to explain rock formations rather than a biblical 6000 years. The reasoning is well documented from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Hamster 15:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
They saw however that certain fossils and certain rock strata occured in multiple locations and determined the correlation was useful. They also did so on the assumption—not evidence—of deep time.
nope Hamster 15:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Many discounted the flood model because what they saw in rocks did not match very well with what they saw in floods occuring at the time. They discounted the flood model because they wanted to reject the biblical account. Also, the flood model was not what was popular at the time anyway; there was a popular idea of multiple catastrophes, of which the biblical flood was only the latest.
assumes motives not in evidence Hamster 15:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Yep, "not good enough" as predicted. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite sources about denialism: "One central question for the evaluation of skepticism is 'what evidence would be convincing?' One sign that open-minded doubt has turned intractable is the answer: 'I cannot say.'" It could also be a sign of honesty. A better sign of intractability is the answer "none", as an evolutionist said of Mary Schweitzer's such question to him about her findings. But then what should one make of a reply that appears to answer the question but is unrealistic, like a person saying that they will believe in God if he materialises a ton of gold for them (to take an extreme example)? I would suggest that that is also a better sign of intractability.
So, tell us Philip, what are these "part formed feathers" supposed to look like that would be convincing to you? They would have some of the features of feathers, but not others, in a way that some of those features had no use (but not from loss of function) because they required other features that had not yet appeared in order to be useful. That is, I would not accept other types of feathers that had separate functions that they were suited for, because such feather would not be evidence of feathers being part-way evolved as opposed to simply a different type of feather with a different purpose.
I will also add this is the third or fourth time in recent days you really haven't engaged in the evidenced presented to you; nothing really about the content of the papers we've given you is here. I have responded to all the relevant evidence presented. Anything that I've said "nothing really" about was because I indicated that it wasn't particularly relevant.
Even your creation.com link is insufficent, as although it talks in general terms about archie and tetrapod precursors, it does not discuss rhinos or pinnipeds nor the "other examples" in the article. It was not meant to be an exhaustive list; I was merely trying to give an example of the sort of evidence available.
The gap comment is also insufficient; what does Darwin say and do you agree with it (I've also lost track of where that is....)? Darwin said (this is from memory) that if his theory is true, there should be a finely-graduated sequence of fossils, and yes, I agree with that.
You better read it again. He said that finely-graduated forms (varieties, blending into new species, blending into new genera, etc.) must have existed, and then asked why those finely-graduated forms were not found as fossils. He argued that there are many reasons to expect the fossil record to be extremely imperfect. No evolutionist since has predicted or expected to find finely-graduated forms in the fossil record. —Awc 18:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Anyway, I want to know what YOU think about these issues, Philip, and in your own words. I've refuted such nonsense claims before: I write extensive replies (to the point that I've been criticised for writing so much), and very little of it is direct quotes from other people. In other words, it's in my own words. I fail to see how anyone can think otherwise, unless they are really struggling for something to criticise.
we look at all sorts of sites Philip (by we I mean sciency people) but Sterile(?) was talking of Epidexipteryx so why look up Sinosauropteryx ? Perhaps because Sinosauropteryx was mentioned in the quote that Sterile provided, above??? Do you think that might be a good enough reason for me to look it up?
And I would add that the best examples of transitional fossils are probably for the evolution of Homo sapiens. That's a laugh, given that almost every fossil put forward as being on the lineage to humans has since been relegated to side branches (ignoring, of course, those that were frauds or etc.)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

They would have some of the features of feathers, but not others, in a way that some of those features had no use (but not from loss of function) because they required other features that had not yet appeared in order to be useful. That is, I would not accept other types of feathers that had separate functions that they were suited for, because such feather would not be evidence of feathers being part-way evolved as opposed to simply a different type of feather with a different purpose. Could you explain that more clearly? It's hard to follow. The proto-feathers do have some of the features of feathers, but not others (table 1 in Hamster's review article and the associated text support that) and many are on flightless nonavian therapods, and feathers are required for flying. I don't have a degree in biomechanics, but if you look at the renditions of Epidexipteryx and Sinosauropteryx, I don't think they could fly. Or are feathers not for flying now? Even if we know, function is largely interpretation when you are looking at fossils (and much morphology serves no function, like nipples on males and wisdom teeth and the coccyx), and this just seems to be a statement that creationists can come up with ad hoc reasons to discount certain fossils. Sterile 16:58, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh, and you have not responded to the evidence. You in no way referred to the information in the articles that Hamster's or I provided here or the two about the co-evolution theory/others of the genetic code paper or Wikipedia reference. You may have ackowledged their existence, but in terms of the content and ideas of the paper, there's been nothing. Sterile 17:06, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I need some explication of Philip's statement, too. What I'm hearing is only features with no function are evidence of evoution. At other times, Philip emphasizes (correctly, with only very few exceptions) that every single stage in an evolutionary development must be adaptive. Would you like to make another go at it, Philip? —Awc 19:10, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Sure. If you change the part of what I said where I define my terms, then the other part of what I said becomes only conditionally true. The point is that the definition as stated (ignoring any implications or unstated assumptions) seems deficient, and the implications or unstated assumptions should also be taken into account.
except the geologic column exists in I think 4 places intact. I don't believe that it does.
You are of course free to explain how a geologicic cross section got shuffled to bury more recent animals underneath the rest without obvious signs. I think you miss the point, but perhaps you could explain yourself more clearly.
Are you saying you don't see any challenge, Philip? I don't see a genuine challenge, only one which assumed evolutionary thinking to be true.
So start talking. How do you explain in a creationist model the correlation between the strata in which Archaeopterix and other birds are found? —Awc 11:38, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you serious? Do you want to play children's games? I am serious, I'm not playing games, so perhaps you could treat my comments seriously.
I'll take your comments seriously when you start making serious comments. What a revelation that most fossils are found at the surface of the Earth! And how irrelevant! —Awc 11:38, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Nope, there is still no assumption of any timescale, no matter how much you would like to see one to get yourself off the hook. Your denial does not address my argument.
The hills there are up to 300 meters higher than the valleys, so there is room for fossils be be above or below each other. Okay, but are there fossils above the Archie ones?
I haven't said anything about absolute time scales or even relative times or simultaneity. Yet you have implied it, because your argument about different layers implies that higher layers are later in time than lower layers, and not just hours, days, or weeks later in time.
A baseless assertion. Playing games again. To quote myself, I have only described the layers and how it is possible to define a spatial ordering and extend it over a large region. It is true that the layering and the spatial ordering of fossils is easy to explain if deep time and evolution are assumed, and that these are next to impossible to explain if recent creation of life followed by a global flood are assumed, but the observation is the same in either case. —Awc 11:46, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
half formed implies incompleteness. Yes, as does proto-.
Evolution does not predict half of body parts. That depends on what you mean. Neither does it predict that body parts will pop into existence fully formed. Rather, it claims that they will develop gradually. So a heart didn't appear fully formed; it developed gradually from no heart. Hence evolution predicts organs that are part-way to being what we see today, which means that they were at one stage quarter-formed, at another half-formed, and so on.
Each thing found is a complete thing in itself , if not what we see today. In other words, not a complete thing we see today, but something on the way to being a complete thing we see today. I know what you mean, that each stage is fully functional, but this doesn't negate that we should find evidence of features which are part-way to being what we see today, such as half-formed feathers.
So a feather on a dinosaur might be a step towards modern feathers, but it is still a complete feather itself. So it's not a complete modern feather.
By using their observations they concluded that long time periods would be needed to explain rock formations rather than a biblical 6000 years. Incorrect. By using their observations and the assumption that only processes they observed had occurred they concluded that long time periods would be needed.
nope Yep.
assumes motives not in evidence No, the evidence exists. For example, Lyell wrote that he wanted to "free science from Moses".
You better read it again. He said that finely-graduated forms (varieties, blending into new species, blending into new genera, etc.) must have existed, and then asked why those finely-graduated forms were not found as fossils. He did more than that. He also indicated that they should be found, by pointing out that this was the most serious objection that could be raised.
He argued that there are many reasons to expect the fossil record to be extremely imperfect. Not immediately after making that comment he didn't.
No evolutionist since has predicted or expected to find finely-graduated forms in the fossil record. Why not? Because they wouldn't want to keep predicting what is clearly not there? Yet Gould came up with a new version of evolution to "explain" the lack of expected intermediates.
Could you explain that more clearly? It's hard to follow. What about it is hard to follow?
The proto-feathers do have some of the features of feathers, but not others (table 1 in Hamster's review article and the associated text support that) and many are on flightless nonavian therapods, and feathers are required for flying. and Or are feathers not for flying now? Not all feathers are required for flying. That is, some are flight feathers, some are for insulation, and so on.
Even if we know, function is largely interpretation when you are looking at fossils... Agreed, and this makes it hard to classify creatures known only from fossils.
...and much morphology serves no function, like nipples on males and wisdom teeth and the coccyx... You make the errors of (a) assuming that because we don't know of a function, it doesn't have one, and (b) relying on anti-creationist material. See a very timely (posted yesterday) response to such claims here. The coccyx has a known purpose, wisdom teeth (like other teeth) are for chewing, and male nipples have a possible purpose.
Oh, and you have not responded to the evidence. I said that I did (as necessary), yet you've simply restated your claim without specifying what in particular (links, specific claims) I should have replied to that I didn't.
What I'm hearing is only features with no function are evidence of evoution. I'm not saying that.
Would you like to make another go at it, Philip? It will probably take more than a one-liner, but in a nutshell, there needs to be evidence of things being on the way to what we know now, not just things that can (alternatively) be explained as features that share some characteristics of features in other creatures, but are fully functional for what they are. To give a specific example, the paper that Hamster linked to seems to suggest that feathers evolved through the stages of downy feathers, plumulaceaous contour feathers, and pennaceous contour feathers, to flight feathers. But unless you assume evolution to start with, why does the existence of downy feathers suggest that they are on the way to being flight feathers? That is, if downy feathers are fully functional as downy feathers in their own right, what is the evidence that they are actually part-evolved flight feathers? Sure, if evolution occurred, then this might be a reasonable path for flight feathers to have taken, but to demonstrate evolution there needs to be clear evidence of them being part-evolved flight feathers rather than merely fully-functional downy feathers.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:37, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
If you just line up all the fossil species found, then it is easy for creationism to say each of them was either created that way or evolved to that from a created kind (although the transitional forms might not have been preserved). The functionality of features does not per se speak for either alternative (particularly if you allow the argument that a feature might have a function we haven't discovered yet). It only gets interesting if you look at the correlations in the strata, both the large scale correlations (deeper-simpler, shallower-more modern) and the fine scale correlations (gradual transitions of one form to another over adjacent strata). You seem to be dancing around that issue. —Awc 12:01, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
So start talking. How do you explain in a creationist model the correlation between the strata in which Archaeopterix and other birds are found? First I need to see the correlation.
I'll take your comments seriously when you start making serious comments. What a revelation that most fossils are found at the surface of the Earth! And how irrelevant! The relevance is that if they are found near the surface, there is very little room for others to be found higher up.
A baseless assertion. Playing games again. Not at all, to either.
I have only described the layers and how it is possible to define a spatial ordering and extend it over a large region. It is true that the layering and the spatial ordering of fossils is easy to explain if deep time and evolution are assumed, and that these are next to impossible to explain if recent creation of life followed by a global flood are assumed, but the observation is the same in either case. First, your "observation" wasn't. Second, I fail to see how it is difficult for a creationist to explain unless the evolutionary timescales are assumed.
Then try to do it. —Awc 15:43, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
It only gets interesting if you look at the correlations in the strata, ... You seem to be dancing around that issue. I have pointed out that the "correlations" are based on evolutionary thinking.
Of course, they're not, as you must be intelligent enough to realize. I don't have time for an exchange on this level. —Awc 15:43, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:17, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually, feathers are just a smaller part of a larger discussion of comparative anatomy. For example, there is the evidence about the lengths of digits (picture here) as well as other skeletal features. A cladogram is here. There are also molecular and DNA evidence such as the comparison of enzymes between birds and reptiles (and other species) that indicate how the DNA developed over time; and genome size as inferred from bone cell size that indicates a relationship. There are also the provocative studies of scientists reactivating genes in birds to make dinosaur-like tails and teeth. How would a creationist justify that genetic information being there if it wasn't there in the first place? In reality features are icing on the cake in the overall picture of converging evidence. Sterile 14:35, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and PS: re: That is, if downy feathers are fully functional as downy feathers in their own right, what is the evidence that they are actually part-evolved flight feathers? What you just did is take a gap that we filled and divide it in two. Point out where there were feathers and now demand more evidence for "part-evolved flight feathers"--whatever than means. What does it mean? That is, I'll ask again: So, tell us, Philip, what are these "part formed feathers" supposed to look like that would be convincing to you? Judging from Hamster's paper, the only difference is that the flight feather and the downy feather has the vane and radial-bilateral symmetry oveall with asymmetry for the barbs and barbules. And the rightmost column of that table documents the dinos its on. Sterile 14:40, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Then try to do it. The position of fossils is how they happened to be buried in the Flood, with where they lived and hydraulic sorting being factors affecting that.
Don't stop now.
  • Both Ichthyosaurs and dolphins are air-breathing marine animals of similar size, so "where they lived and hydraulic sorting" would not differentiate between them. Why are all Ichthyosaurs found in lower strata than all dophins?
  • Both flowering and non-flowering plants have every possible combination of hydrodynamic properties and habitats. Why are only non-flowering plants found in and below Jurassic strata?
—Awc 12:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Of course, they're not, as you must be intelligent enough to realize. Denial is not an argument.
It is sufficient if the only thing coming from the other side is argument by assertion, but if you need some help, some of the data you should be trying to explain can be found in Fossil#Geological_range_and_order_of_taxonomic_groups. —Awc 12:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually, feathers are just a smaller part of a larger discussion of comparative anatomy. True, but the overall picture depends very much on the details, which it looks like you've just decided to ignore.
The cladogram had 189 characters conisdered to generate it, which it looks like you've just decided to ignore. How many more details to you need? 13:17, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
There are also the provocative studies of scientists reactivating genes in birds to make dinosaur-like tails and teeth. Studies? Dreams, more like it.
Be careful of your wording. This makes it sounds like you are ignorant of the experimental work, not just giving it a different spin. —Awc 12:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Awc there. These are experiments. Sterile 13:17, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
How would a creationist justify that genetic information being there if it wasn't there in the first place? What information, specifically? In some cases, it might be because the information was once there. An example might be teeth; who's to say that chickens didn't devolve from a bird that had teeth (especially given that birds with teeth are known)? But creatures losing information is not what goo-to-you evolution requires. In other cases, it's because both birds and dinosaurs had similar structures, but arranged differently or with different amounts. So as both have/had digits, it's to be expected that they both have/had information for digits, even if some control switches change how many digits each have. The real test comes with features that are completely foreign to birds but which dinosaurs had. Off the top of my head I'm not sure what would be in this category, but reptilian lungs is a likely one. If the chickens had information for reptilian lungs, then creationists might find it a bit harder to explain (whether or not they would find it hard would depend on the specific details), but so far there is no evidence of this. All we have is a couple of scientists dreaming about what they might be able to do, and assuming evolution to justify that. That's hardly anything that creationists need to explain.
birds with teeth are known Except that they've all been extinct for millions of years. —Awc 12:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
And the tail experiments? Do you know of any birds with repitilian tails? And the feathers? I'll add, there's nothing here that discredits evolution. There is information on the evolution of avian lungs here. I will also add that the types of analysis are you discounting here are part of modern evolutionary theory. You must be redefining evolution to fit your needs. Sterile 13:32, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Say, here's another good question. What hydrodynamical property do teeth endow birds with, so that the flood always deposited toothy birds below the K-T boundary? —Awc 13:31, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
In reality features are icing on the cake in the overall picture of converging evidence. Sounds like the old story of failing to prove a point on one detail, so throw the elephant of other supposed details to divert attention from that failure.
So you don't want the evidence to converge in support of a hypothesis? That's a new one. Sterile 13:25, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
What you just did is take a gap that we filled and divide it in two. Not really, but so what if I did?
So, tell us, Philip, what are these "part formed feathers" supposed to look like that would be convincing to you? I've already answered, and you haven't explained what was hard to follow about my answer.
Judging from Hamster's paper, the only difference is that the flight feather and the downy feather has the vane and radial-bilateral symmetry oveall with asymmetry for the barbs and barbules. This is the old evolutionary failing of not appreciating the amount of complexity involved. The paper just concentrates on the broad differences, without going into much detail. It does mention associated molecular pathways, but doesn't know what all these are. But one thing it doesn't mention is preening, something that birds need to do and which requires not just a new behaviour (which may require programming in the brain), but an oil gland or source of powder to assist with that. You can't reduce differences to merely the existence of vanes, symmetry, and barbs and barbules. There's a lot more to it than that.
This is the old creationist failing of not appreciating the selection advantage of a simple change. (1) Feathers without preening are better than no feathers at all. (2) As soon as feathers start to develop, preening can develop simultaneously. —Awc 12:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Way to move the goalposts! I suppose I can look up the evolution of the avian lung and the oil gland, but suspect when I find those they will be "what you are looking for". Actually aren't feathers without the gland feathers that don't function properly; i.e., what you were looking for the last time. If not, what specific thing are you looking for that would be evidence of evolution? We can look at the 189 characters in the paper if you wish. Sterile 13:25, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
And the rightmost column of that table documents the dinos its on. In birds, actually, except for questionable ones.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:44, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Both Ichthyosaurs and dolphins are air-breathing marine animals of similar size, so "where they lived and hydraulic sorting" would not differentiate between them. I would suggest that you don't know enough about where they lived to say that with certainty.
How handy! A one-size-fits-all response to any claim that ecological zonation is an inadequate hypothesis. In my book, "air-breathing marine animals of similar size" is prima facie evidence that they lived in nearly the same environment. —Awc 14:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Why are all Ichthyosaurs found in lower strata than all dophins? Are they? Or are they simply deemed to be, based on the belief that they lived much earlier?
Again, a universal answer! No need for counter authorities, counter evidence, any substance at all, just a simple "Are they?" With the last of the Ichthyosaurs going extinct about 90 Ma ago and the first dolphins appearing about 20 Ma ago, you will have to summon all your creationist ingenuity to create an overlap. —Awc 14:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Both flowering and non-flowering plants have every possible combination of hydrodynamic properties and habitats. Why are only non-flowering plants found in and below Jurassic strata? That's a good question for evolutionists. Their answer might be that this is because flowering plants didn't appear until the Jurassic, but this is shown to be incorrect by the existence of pollen fossils in the precambrian[11]. So it can't be because of when they lived, so perhaps hydraulic sorting makes more sense after all?
Yes, yes! The best defense is a good offense. If you don't have any explanation in your own model, point to a weakness in your opponents model. And the best way to do it is with the tried and true rhetorical question: "perhaps hydraulic sorting makes more sense after all?" I'm willing to discuss pollen in pre-Cambrian strata any time, just not here. Try Talk:Fossil with reference to Fossil#Flood_geology. Meanwhile, about the sorting of flowering plants by the Flood, you were saying? —Awc 14:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
It is sufficient if the only thing coming from the other side is argument by assertion... True, but that's not all I provided. I pointed out the fallacy of your argument.
I'm sorry, I must have missed that among the garbage. I went back through the thread but couldn't find what you are refering to. Would you mind providing me with the quote? —Awc 14:47, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
...some of the data you should be trying to explain can be found in Fossil#Geological_range_and_order_of_taxonomic_groups. Some of that "data" is evolutionary story-telling, as the section points out with the quotes under "interpretation".
This is good, too. "Some"? Like 10%? 1%? 0.1%? In the section you cite the phrase "not as clear as it could be" is also a masterpiece of innuendo. But declare yourself: Is your explanation of the correlations that they don't exist? —Awc 14:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Be careful of your wording. This makes it sounds like you are ignorant of the experimental work, not just giving it a different spin. Okay, to clarify, I accept that the actual observations involved, related to the control genes, etc. is valid, but not the extrapolated ability to recreate unique dinosaurian traits, which is still the stuff of dreams (and, by "dreams", I don't mean fantasies; they may indeed be able to do some of what they propose—the point is that at this stage it's still in the future, not something that's been done).
Except that they've all been extinct for millions of years. Correction: as far as known, they are now all extinct, but not for less than 5,000 years. The "millions of years" bit is evolution talking.
Shucks, you caught me there. I thought I could slip that one past you. Let's just say no one has ever seen a living bird with teeth. —Awc 14:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
This is the old creationist failing of not appreciating the selection advantage of a simple change. An "advantage" that has not been demonstrated, at least for cases such as this. That is, it's theoretical (layman's use of the word) only. Unlike numerous examples of evolutionists finding that things were much more complex than they expected.
Feathers without preening are better than no feathers at all. Yeah? So feathers that are destroyed by parasites or lice or the diseases they carry[12] are better than no feathers? Feather that makes it harder to attract a mate [same ref] are better than no feathers? You're going to have to do more than simply assert the evolutionary dogma that feathers without preening are better than no feathers at all. That's why I emphasised the word "need".
As soon as feathers start to develop, preening can develop simultaneously. You can't have preening until you have feathers to preen, so it won't be simultaneously. This comment reminds me of one I heard from an evolutionist decades ago, which went something like "one day, a fish crawled out onto land, and after a few generations it became viable...". So how did it survive those few generations being non-viable? In evolutionary thinking, these sorts of problems are simply glossed over.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:30, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Again, above you said you wanted feathered that didn't function properly; and now you are saying you want feathers that did. Which is it? I will add this is a typical denialist ploy: keep on adding more criteria until you get one that isn't as well researched and then DEMAND THE EVIDENCE, when in fact the other lines of converging evidence are plenty enough. It's not unlike the example of the elbow joint of the lesser spotted weasel frog in The God Delusion. That there is a research question does not discredit all the other evidence of evolution, and God doesn't necessarily fill the gap. Ironically, however, the answer IS in Hamster's paper: "Powder downs are derived bipinnate contour feathers that are characterized by elongate barbules covered with powdery particles that are distributed around the plumage by the preening of the adult bird (Lucas and Stettenheim, ’72, p 386– 387). Powder down feathers evolved through the derived retention of the axial and marginal cells within barbule plates (stage Ve)." Nothing external is required other than the feathers themselves. In addition your own source says that the preen gland is not necessary, as there are modern birds without one: "Some types of birds, including owls, pigeons, parrots and hawks, lack a uropygial gland and instead have specialized feathers that disintegrate into powder down, which serves the same purpose as preen oil." It also lists several methods by which bird can preen without a gland (dust bathing, sunning, bathing, stretching, and anting). Furthermore, reptiles have glands that produce waxy/oily subtances (as do mammals). So whay is this a problem in the evolution of feathers? Sterile 14:14, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
The person who said "one day, a fish crawled out onto land... " was mocking you (or creationists at least). Scientists have never postulated such a ridiculous idea. You didn't think they were serious did you? Is that some kind of record, a decade later the penny drops? Jaxe 14:07, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Part 3

Perhaps some evidence of parasites at the time proto feathers existed ?
feather color , shape or patterning is a sexual preference feature of animal conduct. Perhaps when proto feathers developed the females preferred a nicely rounded beak ? Hamster 01:26, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Hamster 01:12, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Like Sterile, I have lost track of what point Philip is trying to make. Philip, would you mind stating just what it is about the fossil record of feathers that you want to emphasize, and why you think that is incompatible with evolution? —Awc 14:55, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
The cladogram had 189 characters conisdered to generate it, which it looks like you've just decided to ignore. How many more details to you need? That's not details; that's elephant hurling. That is, you've not introduced any of those details to the discussion, just thrown at me the fact that there are 189 details.
No, there are more than 189 details. Those are the 189 characteristics that the people in the paper considered. [13] There is more than one therapod considered. Cladistics is a standard type of analysis in biology, that even baraminologists use, so why are you denying it? First you criticize for so few details, and no you criticize for so many. And yet, you still refuse to even look at the evidence. Sterile 13:44, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
And the tail experiments? Do you know of any birds with repitilian tails? What do the tail experiments show? Horner and Gorman page 1

You could suspect, say, that a gene that controls a particular growth factor is important in how five-fingered hands develop at the ends of arms. So the hypothesis might be that if that gene were absent or nonfunctional, the hand would not develop. You can engineer mice so that the gene is absent or silenced and see what happens to the development of the embryo. If the hand develops perfectly, your hypothesis is false. If the hand does not develop, you have good evidence that the gene in question does what you thought it did.

In other words, if the experiment does what you expect, you're likely on the right track. If not, you're on the wrong track. Horner and Gorman page 2:

Transplanting completely failed to keep the chick embryo’s tail growing, but the retinoic acid, Larsson said, “pushed tail growth to the upper range of normal development. It had some effect, but it didn’t break it out of the cycle.”

In other words, the experiment didn't do what they expected. But the faith of evolutionists exceeds that of many Christians, so they are determined to keep trying.
Um, actually it is not unexpecetd based on what developmental biology. Yes, they activated some of the tail-growing mechanisms, but the other mechanisms in the developing embryo will interact with that. So they expect some effect, but not a full tail. I'm not sure what the probelm is here.14:57, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
And the feathers? I'll add, there's nothing here that discredits evolution. And nothing that supports it, either. (In both cases, "nothing" is probably overstating it a bit, but it's about right.) So why the dogmatism that the evidence shows evolution?
It's hard to have a discussion when you "dogmatically" refuse to even consider a cladogram. Please stick with evidence rather than characterizing your discussants. Sterile 14:57, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
There is information on the evolution of avian lungs here Nice, vague, wording: "information on". Not "evidence for", nor "strong argument for", but simply some information (yes, there is information) on some fossils that appear to have features of avian-type lungs.
the authors do use the term "suggesting" and it appears to be a letter rather than a full paper. Perhaps useful to other reasearchers in that field Hamster 16:32, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I can certainly look at the evidence; I wasn't claiming to be providing it. The question is whether you are willing to consider it, as it seems doubtful from your previous patterns. Sterile 15:26, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on lungs, although there are several blog posts or other pages explaining the findings in layman's terms. One says:
However, the similarity between the pneumatic features of theropod dinosaurs and modern birds was already known through a number of studies (12). So what does this new study indicate that we didn't know before? Detailed analysis of the individual vertebrae and ribs reveal a pattern of pneumaticity that is entirely consistent with the pattern in living birds - that is, the cervical air sac connect to vertebrae and ribs in the neck region of the spine, and in the thoracic vertebrae nearest the head; the abdominal air sac connects with the tail and sacrum vertebrae and the thoracic vertebrae nearest the tail; and the lung itself connects with the mid-thoracic vertebrae. This pattern is the same in all birds and is exactly what is found by detailed analysis of the vertebrae of M atopus. So it is not the discovery of pneumatised vertebrae in this fossil that is new, but the fact the pattern of pneumatisation is found to be the same as in living birds and consistent with a uni-directional flow-through breathing system. This situation is consistent for all known non-avian theropods, suggesting that it is a derived characteristic of the first theropods and spread throughout the entire clad of theropods including modern birds

Furthermore, O'Connor and Claessens point out that in order for either uni-directional or bi-directional flow-through ventilation to work, the tail end of the abdominal cavity has to change volume more than the head of the cavity. Indeed that is the arrangement in birds, and analysis of the skeleton of theropods shows that they possess the appropriate characteristics in the articulation of the ribs with the vertebrae to show that the tail end of the trunk can change volume mure than the head end, just as in birds. Indeed air sacs and associated features at the tail end of the abdominal cavity are known to have developed in chameleons, snakes and certain types of lizard and this indicates that the tail end of the lung in the entire sauropsid (a group that includes birds and most reptiles and dinosaurs) is able to develop air sacs and invade the tail end of the skeleton.[14]

Without actual lungs in hand, it's of course difficult to say for sure, but anatomically, this critter has the correct set up for avian lungs.Sterile 17:31, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
I will also add that the types of analysis are you discounting here are part of modern evolutionary theory. You must be redefining evolution to fit your needs. I'm not sure I'm still up with what you are referring to here, but if modern evolutionary theory uses evidence that could equally be explained from a creationary view, it's failing at showing that evolution is correct. Redefining evolution? The evolutionists have already done that, redefining it in a way that creationists could be considered evolutionists. That hardly helps their case.
Incorrect. It's a false dichotomy you've just presented. Your statement that the evidence can be used for both hypotheses validates that. In fact, the evidence so weakly validates the creationary point of view it's barely worth mentioning. Sterile 14:57, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Say, here's another good question. What hydrodynamical property do teeth endow birds with, so that the flood always deposited toothy birds below the K-T boundary? Did it in fact do that? Or is this merely a case of dating such fossils to those ages?
the KT boundary is well known, its hard to mistake actually. Are you saying that competant geologists are confused about where certain fossils are found ? Hamster 16:32, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
So you don't want the evidence to converge in support of a hypothesis? That's a new one. Huh? How did you get that from my comment?
Actually aren't feathers without the gland feathers that don't function properly; i.e., what you were looking for the last time. If not, what specific thing are you looking for that would be evidence of evolution? I don't have anything specific in mind, but it needs to be something that cannot be explained by creation.
Again, a false dichotomy by your own reasoning. It's not that the evidence is mutually exclusive, but which of contrasting hypotheses it best supports. If you have nothing specific, then you have no way to discredit evolution. Sterile 15:01, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
How handy! A one-size-fits-all response to any claim that ecological zonation is an inadequate hypothesis. It wouldn't fit the case where you did know enough about where they lived. And your next comment shows that you don't know much about where they lived.
In my book, "air-breathing marine animals of similar size" is prima facie evidence that they lived in nearly the same environment. Not in mine. "Most species [of dolphins] live in shallow areas of tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world."[15] Perhaps icthyosaurs lived in deeper areas and/or in cooler parts.
Again, a universal answer! No need for counter authorities, counter evidence, any substance at all, just a simple "Are they?" You're the one making the case; The onus is on you.
With the last of the Ichthyosaurs going extinct about 90 Ma ago and the first dolphins appearing about 20 Ma ago, you will have to summon all your creationist ingenuity to create an overlap. Why do I need to explain evolutionary dating that I don't accept?
And the best way to do it is with the tried and true rhetorical question: "perhaps hydraulic sorting makes more sense after all?" I did also give reason for this question.
I'm willing to discuss pollen in pre-Cambrian strata any time, just not here. Try Talk:Fossil with reference to Fossil#Flood_geology. Meanwhile, about the sorting of flowering plants by the Flood, you were saying? I can understand you not wanting the discussion to go off in all directions, but at the same time, if I introduce a relevant point to my argument, then sidestepping it away does not negate it. My point, of course, was that you want me to explain the evidence that supposedly supports the evolutionary claim of fossils distribution being indicative of when the organisms lived, yet the pollen shows that the evidence doesn't support that claim.
I went back through the thread but couldn't find what you are refering to. Would you mind providing me with the quote? Looking back, I've not put it all together in one place in this discussion (although I've referred to Fossil#Interpretation which briefly discusses it). I said "the rocks are dated by the fossils found in them, which process assumes an evolutionary sequence, making the evolutionary argument circular reasoning", and "That comment assumes the integrity of the geologic column, a hypothetical construct assembled from partial columns in multiple places." and asked the question "Or are you talking about finding both in different places in layers that are deemed to be different in time, in which case, this is no longer an observation and assumes the secular geological timescale." I'll now explain it in one place:
Index fossils are used to correlate different rock layers together, on the basis that rock layers with the same index fossils were laid down at the same time, which is itself on the basis that only those layers contain the particular fossils because the creatures concerned only lived at the time that those rocks were laid down. This is opposed to flood geology which argues that there are other reasons why only certain layers contain particular fossils, with hydraulic sorting being just one of those other reasons. So to then use the placement of the fossils in particular layers as evidence of evolution presumes the evolution that it is seeking to prove. In addition, the geologic column occurs nowhere on Earth in its entirety, so it is a hypothetical construct assembled on the basis that different layers in different parts of the world really can be correlated on the basis of an evolutionary/deep-time sequence. So, to take a hypothetical example, dolphins and ichthyosaurs are never found in the same geographical location—i.e. dolphin fossils are never found literally above ichthyosaur fossils. Rather, dolphins are found in one place, and ichthyosaurs in another place, but because dolphins are supposed to be more recent than ichthyosaurs according to evolution, then the dolphin-bearing rocks are dated as being younger than the ichthyosaur-bearing rocks, allowing you to claim that dolphins are only ever found "higher" in the geologic column.
To address another point you made somewhere, yes, rock layers in two different geographical locations kilometres apart can often be correlated with a reasonable degree of confidence, based on not just fossils, but similarity of different sequences, etc., but there is a limit to this, and over longer distances the correlation is less clear, so more tenuous evidence, such as index fossils, is used.
Now, I said that this was a hypothetical example. I don't actually know that dolphins and ichthyosaurs are not found in the same geographical location. Perhaps they are, but I'm not going to simply accept your claim of lower/higher in the geologic column without specific evidence that this is the case. (And, of course, them simply being found occasionally in different layers in the same place doesn't in and of itself disprove flood geology.)
But to repeat a quote in the Fossil article:

Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.

This is good, too. "Some"? Like 10%? 1%? 0.1%? That's not something that you can measure readily, but I'd take a stab at about half, given all the evolutionary dates, and the excuses for why some of the evidence doesn't appear to support evolution.
In the section you cite the phrase "not as clear as it could be" is also a masterpiece of innuendo. I guess that could be reworded "not as clear as usually claimed".
But declare yourself: Is your explanation of the correlations that they don't exist? No, I would say that there are correlations, but we don't really know how much of the claimed correlation is valid.
Again, above you said you wanted feathered that didn't function properly; ... No, I didn't say that I wanted feathers that didn't function properly. I said that there needed to be feathers that are only part-way developed, rather than feathers that are simply different, but fully functioning. Did a fork evolve from a spoon via a splade, or is a splade simply a separate implement that has some of the characteristics of each?
Funny, I would have thought in a way that some of those features had no use (in your original statement) meant feathers that didn't function properly. Again, it's not clear what part-way developed means, which is what we've been trying to get you to clarify by being specific. Could you give an example of what observation (visually or through the other senses) or molecularly would indicate partly developed or partly evolved feathers? Sterile 14:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
...and now you are saying you want feathers that did. Which is it? I'm saying that for evolution to work, each step needs to be fitter than the previous, so each stage needs to work. But I'm pointing out one of the problems of evolution: Each stage needs to work, but just as importantly, to demonstrate evolution, each stage must show evidence of being on the way to being something else, not simply be a different, fully-functional, form, like a splade is a different, fully-functional form.
That's only true if the environment stays static and if the characteristic helps an organism survive. If the environment changes, then which characteristics are important for survival can also change. Are any of the non-avian therapods not "fully funtional"? Sterile 14:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
That there is a research question does not discredit all the other evidence of evolution... True, but similarly not every problem can simply be brushed aside as a research question while still claiming that evolution can explain it all.
until you do the reasearch how do you know if you can explain it. ? Hamster 16:18, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Ironically, however, the answer IS in Hamster's paper:... Hamster's paper? The only place I can find that sentence on Google is here, which I can't see has been linked on this page until now.
Here is an interesting paper http://ncsce.org/PDF_files/feathers/2000CurrOpinGenetandDev.pdf Hamster 19:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC) Thats the only feather paper I linked. Hamster 16:18, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
..."Powder downs are derived bipinnate contour feathers that are characterized by elongate barbules covered with powdery particles that are distributed around the plumage by the preening of the adult bird... That's not an answer, as I'll get back to in a moment. But for now note that I already included this in my answer (requires ... an oil gland or source of powder).
Nothing external is required other than the feathers themselves. My whole point is that it's not just a simple change, such as add a vane, there are other things that have to be added simultaneously. In this case, the powder is one of those things.
That's an outrageous claim. The feathers just slight, fractal-esque changes of each other. Sterile 14:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
In addition your own source says that the preen gland is not necessary, as there are modern birds without one: "Some types of birds, including owls, pigeons, parrots and hawks, lack a uropygial gland and instead have specialized feathers that disintegrate into powder down, which serves the same purpose as preen oil." Oh dear, as I've pointed out above, I've already covered that: requires ... an oil gland or source of powder.
It also lists several methods by which bird can preen without a gland (dust bathing... It does not say "without a gland". In fact, the dust bathing one says "The dust helps dislodge parasites and absorbs excess preen oil"—these other methods are not instead of using oil (or powder), but in addition to.
There are birds without a preen gland. They live and survive. The get powder from their own feathers. Logically, it is not required to have a preen gland for there be an evolutionary transition from reptiles to birds. Are you denying that? Sterile 14:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Furthermore, reptiles have glands that produce waxy/oily subtances (as do mammals). So? Are they identical? If not, then a co-ordinated change is still required.
Oh, [taking the Lord's name in vain deleted by Umpire] really? Reptiles are waterproof for a reason, and teenagers get acne for a reason. It's not a huge change in evolutionary history for this to occur. Sterile 14:44, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
So whay is this a problem in the evolution of feathers? Because, as I said, of the related changes that need to be made when a new feature is added. Actually, your reference appears to provide an additional one: Not only does the evolution of feathers need to have a corresponding evolution of an oil gland (or powder!), but note that "Preening ... stimulates the flow of this oily secretion". That is, there are not just feathers, but an oil gland AND a mechanism to trigger the flow of oil. The point is that the more you look, the more complexity there is, so none of these changes (such as evolving feathers) is a simple change; there's a lot of corresponding changes that have to be made as well, which makes the whole idea farcical. As Horner and Gorman wrote about Larsson's experiment to reproduce a reptilian tail in a chicken, "The tail was a far more complex system than he or anyone else had imagined."
Moving the goalposts again. Before it was just part formed feathers; then it was an unnecessary preen gland; now it's a gland with flowing oil. Keep at it. Sterile 14:59, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Philip, would you mind stating just what it is about the fossil record of feathers that you want to emphasize, and why you think that is incompatible with evolution? That the fossils do not show an evolutionary progression; all they show is that there have been a range of feathers on a range of creatures.
Again, what would be convincing to you? It's a simple question. Sterile 14:59, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:31, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps some evidence of parasites at the time proto feathers existed ? feather color , shape or patterning is a sexual preference feature of animal conduct. Perhaps when proto feathers developed the females preferred a nicely rounded beak ? Perhaps this is more evolutionary story-telling; no facts, just speculation. Now that may be fine when one is exploring possibilities, but not when one is saying that their view trumps the other view. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:36, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
That God breathed on dust is a story, with no facts, just speculation, and not even the slighest proposed mechanism to even discuss. Actually, there have been studies about dinosaur coloration. And your insistence on more details does not change the existing evidence, which you still have not discussed. Sterile 14:41, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
No, there are more than 189 details. Okay, there are more than 189. It's still elephant hurling.
Cladistics is a standard type of analysis in biology, that even baraminologists use, so why are you denying it? I'm not denying the existence of cladistics. Why on earth do you think I am?
First you criticize for so few details, ... Where did I do that?
...and no you criticize for so many. No, I'm criticising your elephant-hurling style of argument.
And yet, you still refuse to even look at the evidence I've looked at lots of evidence. Just because I refuse to look into all the elephant-hurling evidence does not mean that I'm refusing to look at evidence.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, if you insist, I can copy all the 189 characteristics, and all the characters from the supplementary information and discuss how they came up with the nodes/relationships of the different therapods to each other. It seems like an awful waste of time, since it not only is a standard type of evidence that you don't deny, but also it would be far easier if you could point to the part of the paper at which there is a problem in the analysis; it's far easier for someone to falsify a claim by pointing out where it's inaccurate. It seems at this point you would rather label the evidence as "elephant hurling" rather than actually pointing out where there is a problem. Of course, since you've labelled it as such doesn't discredit the evidence, so I find this "discussion" tedious. Sterile 14:25, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Um, actually it is not unexpecetd based on what developmental biology. ... So they expect some effect, but not a full tail. Rationalising after the fact. Their reasoning before the experiment was

Baloney. Evidence for a hypothesis is evidence for a hypothesis. Many hypotheses are developed as the result of evidence and then re-tested. Sterile 17:17, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

It seems a good bet that this was a simple evolutionary change at the molecular level, a turning off of the growth program that was keeping the tail going. Find the chemical switch, flip it the other way in embryonic development, and the result would be a bird with a tail.

It's hard to have a discussion when you "dogmatically" refuse to even consider a cladogram. Please stick with evidence rather than characterizing your discussants. Why is it hard to have a discussion. We were discussing feathers, and you sought to change to a range of other factors. I merely wanted to keep to the topic of feathers for this discussion.
the authors do use the term "suggesting" and it appears to be a letter rather than a full paper. Perhaps useful to other reasearchers in that field Perhaps so, and I wasn't criticising the paper per se; I was saying that it added nothing useful to this discussion.
I can certainly look at the evidence; I wasn't claiming to be providing it. The question is whether you are willing to consider it, as it seems doubtful from your previous patterns. Nonsense. My "previous pattern" has been to consider evidence provided, assuming that it is (a) relevant and (b) available on-line.
I'm not an expert on lungs, although there are several blog posts or other pages explaining the findings in layman's terms. One says... You are missing the point. I originally said, The real test comes with features that are completely foreign to birds but which dinosaurs had. Off the top of my head I'm not sure what would be in this category, but reptilian lungs is a likely one. All your latest evidence is doing is showing that some dinosaurs had the same sort of lung as birds. All that means is that my particular example was not a valid example, not that my point has been refuted.
Incorrect. It's a false dichotomy you've just presented. Your statement that the evidence can be used for both hypotheses validates that. In fact, the evidence so weakly validates the creationary point of view it's barely worth mentioning. What is a false dichotomy? And of course I reject your last sentence as begging the question.

What is the evidence for the intervention of a supernatural being? As far as I can tell the only ones you've given are (1) God did it, and God's infallible; (2) Information is lost only, but I'm not going to tell you how I know that other than tautology or question-begging analogy; and (3) life "looks" designed. All of which are either fallacious or have scant evidence to back it up. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

the KT boundary is well known, its hard to mistake actually. I'll accept that it's often hard to mistake.
Are you saying that competant geologists are confused about where certain fossils are found "Confused"? Not in their own minds. I was suggesting more incorrect than "confused", and incorrect because to a fair extent the fossils determine the layers, so cannot therefore be used to show that fossils only occur in certain layers.
Again, a false dichotomy by your own reasoning. It's not that the evidence is mutually exclusive, but which of contrasting hypotheses it best supports. If you have nothing specific, then you have no way to discredit evolution. Not by my reasoning, but your misinterpretation of my reasoning. The onus is on evolutionists to show that evolution is the only reasonable explanation, else they have no justification for suppressing the alternative view.
Funny, I would have thought 'in a way that some of those features had no use' (in your original statement) meant feathers that didn't function properly. Perhaps it does; part of my point was about your claim that I "wanted" feathers that didn't function properly. I contrasted what I supposedly "wanted" with what was "needed" by evolutionists to demonstrate their case.
Again, it's not clear what part-way developed means, which is what we've been trying to get you to clarify by being specific. "part-way developed" means something that is not fully there in a way that demonstrates evolution. That's up to you evolutionists to come up with something that fits that description, not up to me to describe exactly. Something that is fully functional can be explained by a Creator making different creatures with overlapping features. If it sounds like I'm asking for the impossible, then that's because evolution is impossible, or because it's impossible to demonstrate evolution empirically from "still images" of past events. It is evolutionists who insist that they are correct to the point of suppressing creation, so the onus is on them to demonstrate it in a way that cannot be reasonably explained by creation. Fully-functional features (such as down feathers) that have some characteristics of other features that do something else (such as flight feathers) is not a demonstration of evolution that is not better explained by creation.

Since evolution doesn't require part-way developed feather (I still have no idea what that could possibly mean; I mean, birds in utero must have part-way developed feathers, and we've given you papers with proto-feathers in them) nor function of any type, I reject your criteria. (Many structures evolve with no function, but get co-opted later on.) Creationists' distortion of evolution is irrelevant. (Most evolutionary changes do not fit a function until an organism can fill a niche.) Try again. An omnipotent creator can explain every observation, functional body parts or not. It's not evidence if everything can be explained. We are no more confident of your assertion given the evidence, because contrary evidence would also support your assertion. Furthermore, it's the entire picture, not one piece of evidence that support evolution: morphology, modern DNA evidence, and the fossil record. And yes, that downy feathers resemble flight feathers is better evidence of evolution, because it takes into account how morphology as determined by DNA sequence changes with time. There is no time dependence or genetic constraints required for a creator. Furthermore, if there is no observation that would disprove evolution, than you can't say it doesn't happen.

One central question for the evaluation of skepticism is 'what evidence would be convincing?' One sign that open-minded doubt has turned intractable is the answer: 'I cannot say.' [2]

Intractable, indeed. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

That's only true if the environment stays static and if the characteristic helps an organism survive. Why?
If the environment changes, then which characteristics are important for survival can also change. That doesn't mean that evolution is demonstrated.
Are any of the non-avian therapods not "fully funtional"? Why ask me? As a creationist, I believe that God made everything fully functional. The onus is on you to show otherwise.

Stupid. Evolution doesn't claim that. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

until you do the reasearch how do you know if you can explain it. ? I'm not saying that you can. My point is that if there is a lot still to explain, evolutionists can't claim that evolution is the be-all and end-all of explaining the origin of species.

False. The positive evidence is what is important; lack of evidence never accomplishes anything for or against a hypothesis. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

That's an outrageous claim. The feathers just slight, fractal-esque changes of each other. No, that is an outrageous claim.

Your response says nothing of any content. How are The differences are much greater than that? Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

There are birds without a preen gland. They live and survive. The get powder from their own feathers. Logically, it is not required to have a preen gland for there be an evolutionary transition from reptiles to birds. Are you denying that? Sheesh! I have already explained that my original comment was that they needed something more than just feathers: they needed to be able to preen, and for that they needed a preen gland or a source of powder. This is now the third time I've said that!
Reptiles are waterproof for a reason, and teenagers get acne for a reason. It's not a huge change in evolutionary history for this to occur. That's what I'm disagreeing with, and why I said This is the old evolutionary failing of not appreciating the amount of complexity involved.

How much complexity is involved does not preclude evolution. Life's complex, therefore creationism is true?

Moving the goalposts again. Before it was just part formed feathers; then it was an unnecessary preen gland; now it's a gland with flowing oil. Keep at it. No, I'm not moving the goalposts, for two reasons. One, "moving the goalposts" refers to something you have to achieve (i.e. I set a goal for you to reach). I wasn't setting a goal here. Second, I said that This is the old evolutionary failing of not appreciating the amount of complexity involved. The paper just concentrates on the broad differences, without going into much detail. It does mention associated molecular pathways, but doesn't know what all these are. But one thing it doesn't mention is preening... Preening was just one example of the complexity involved, and a gland that is triggered to produce oil by preening is another.

It's complex, so let's give up. Do the creationists win then? Science has dealt with lots of "complex" questions. Are creationists too lazy to do so? Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Again, what would be convincing to you? It's a simple question. Why do you claim that it's a simple question, when the whole topic is complex? What would be convincing would be features that are clearly not fully developed (but not having lost information, i.e. not devolving), and a finely-graduated sequence of them.

WHINE WHINE... And again, evolution doesn't say that. What is devolving? Evolution can remove traits, and it's still evolution. More distortions of what evolution actual is. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

That God breathed on dust is a story, with no facts, just speculation, and not even the slighest proposed mechanism to even discuss So you're saying that the creation story is no more scientific than the evolution story? Good, we agree on something for once.

I made no comparison to evolution. Stop putting words in my mouth. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Actually, there have been studies about dinosaur coloration. Which has relevance to this discussion how?
And your insistence on more details does not change the existing evidence, which you still have not discussed. I have discussed plenty of evidence.

But ignored lots--it's complex after all. Cherry picking at its worst. Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

OK, if you insist, I can copy all the 189 characteristics... I'm not insisting on that. I'm pointing out that you introduced those other details as an "answer" to why the evidence we were discussing does not show evolution. The conversation went like this:
  • Me: Feathers don't show evolution.
  • You: A lot of other features do.
  • Me: We are talking about feathers; referring to a whole host of other features is elephant-hurling.
  • You: Aha—you're not prepared to consider evidence!
  • Me: I do consider evidence; that I wouldn't divert onto this other evidence does not meant that I won't consider evidence.
  • You: ... I find this "discussion" tedious.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 22:26, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

So the meta question of whether reptiles evolved into birds and the evidence that supports that isn't important in the evolution of feathers? (Feathers are, indeed one of the characters.) Yet another example of the creationists wanting to control all the rules, cherry picking the evidence. The evidence is. You don't get to change that.

If you continue like this, then there is nothing to discuss, as you refuse to look at actual evidence except under your terms. That's not a discussion. That I have to respond to rhetoric rather than information is truly disappointing.Sterile 17:06, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh, and PS. Are or are not feathers' primary function for birds of flight flying? You ignored that. Sterile 17:14, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Baloney. Evidence for a hypothesis is evidence for a hypothesis. Stating a truism is not an argument. Their test did not produced the expected result; it was falsified.
Many hypotheses are developed as the result of evidence and then re-tested. True, and to some extent this is expected. But a hypothesis that is so flexible it can be modified indefinitely is hardly scientific. So "modified hypothesis" is often an excuse for "falsified hypothesis".
What is the evidence for the intervention of a supernatural being? I notice that you didn't actually answer my question (What is a false dichotomy? ) Why not?
As far as I can tell the only ones you've given are (1) God did it, and God's infallible; I have never given that as evidence.
(2) Information is lost only, but I'm not going to tell you how I know that other than tautology or question-begging analogy; Nonsense. You just refuse to accept the evidence and arguments I provide. I see that you don't actually quote me or link to anything I've said; you just provide your own interpretation of what you reckon I've said.
(3) life "looks" designed. All of which are either fallacious or have scant evidence to back it up. As I've recently posted on another page, even Dawkins admits that it looks designed. But there's more, because creationists are not claiming just "looks", but hard evidence of design, such as a coded information system, specified complexity, etc.
Since evolution doesn't require part-way developed feather... If it doesn't, then it requires feathers to appear suddenly, fully formed.
...we've given you papers with proto-feathers in them... Actually, you given me papers that claim that certain fossils are proto-feathers. But at least some of them were simply different types of feathers which are claimed to be on the development path of feathers.
(Many structures evolve with no function, but get co-opted later on.) That's part of the story, not observation/fact.
Creationists' distortion of evolution is irrelevant. What distortion? Many creationists were trained as evolutionists; they know what evolution claims.
(Most evolutionary changes do not fit a function until an organism can fill a niche.) You mean that until they fit a niche, they offer no advantage to be selected for? Then what is the point of natural selection?
An omnipotent creator can explain every observation, functional body parts or not. Must be a good explanation! Or are you suggesting that evolution can't explain every observation? Hmmm.
It's not evidence if everything can be explained. That's why evolution is not science; it can explain everything.
Furthermore, it's the entire picture, not one piece of evidence that support evolution: morphology, modern DNA evidence, and the fossil record. No, it's the entire picture that supports creation. See, I can argue by elephant-hurl too. It doesn't make an argument, though.
And yes, that downy feathers resemble flight feathers is better evidence of evolution, because it takes into account how morphology as determined by DNA sequence changes with time. Downy feathers resembling flight feathers is evidence of good design. Morphology and DNA sequences don't always correspond.
Furthermore, if there is no observation that would disprove evolution, than you can't say it doesn't happen. True. But there are observations that disprove it, such as the observations that mutations only destroy information. Or the historical observations that the world is only 6,000 years old.
One central question for the evaluation of skepticism is 'what evidence would be convincing?' One sign that open-minded doubt has turned intractable is the answer: 'I cannot say.' Sounds like evolutionists to me. Such as the one that told Mary Schweitzer that no evidence would convince him that she had found soft dino tissue.
Stupid. Evolution doesn't claim that. Doesn't claim what? (I probably won't get an answer to this one, either.)
False. The positive evidence is what is important; lack of evidence never accomplishes anything for or against a hypothesis. Evolution doesn't have much positive evidence, though.
Your response says nothing of any content. It said as much as the comment I was replying to, apart from an unsubstantiated assertion.
How are "The differences are much greater than that"? For one, adding a preening powder is not just a slight, fractal-esque change.
How much complexity is involved does not preclude evolution. Life's complex, therefore creationism is true? It does preclude evolution as evolution is not capable of producing specified complexity. Life has specified complexity, therefore it was designed. (Therefore creation is true.)
It's complex, so let's give up. Give up what? And why? It's the belief that God created that spurred modern science. Atheism will kill science eventually, because atheism says that it's all just an accident. An accident provides no meaning to discover. Evolution has already demonstrated its science-stopping nature, by hindering research into so-called 'junk DNA'; it's just left-over evolutionary junk, so why study it?
Science has dealt with lots of "complex" questions. Are creationists too lazy to do so? Science has dealt with them by studying them. Evolution tries to deal with them by denying them.
WHINE WHINE... And again, evolution doesn't say that. What is devolving? Evolution can remove traits, and it's still evolution. More distortions of what evolution actual is. Actually, it's evidence of what I referred to above: being able to explain everything. If it gains function, it's evolution; if it loses function (devolves), it's evolution; if it changes slowly, it's Darwinian evolution; if it changes rapidly, it's the punctuated part of punctuated equilibrium; if it doesn't change, it's the equilibrium part of punctuated equilibrium; if it changes, it's due to environmental pressure; if it remains largely unchanged for millions of years, it's because the environment didn't put pressure on it to change; if males are promiscuous, it's because evolution wants to spread the genes around; if they are not promiscuous, it's to ensure his sperm carries on rather than a rival's[16];
I made no comparison to evolution. Stop putting words in my mouth. Nonsense. I described evolution; you described creation in the same terms. It was obviously to make a comparison.
But ignored lots--it's complex after all. Cherry picking at its worst. Hmmm, said by the person who ignores much of what I say and just picks out a few bits here and there to misrepresent me on.
So the meta question of whether reptiles evolved into birds and the evidence that supports that isn't important in the evolution of feathers? No, it's not important in an argument that feathers evolved.
Yet another example of the creationists wanting to control all the rules, cherry picking the evidence. No cherry-picking; sticking to the point.
The evidence is. You don't get to change that. Neither do you.
...you refuse to look at actual evidence except under your terms. Says the person who leaves questions unanswered. Are you insisting on your terms, only answering questions that you choose to answer, even when they are merely asking you to clarify, explain, or back up something you've said?
That I have to respond to rhetoric rather than information is truly disappointing. Is that why I'm disappointed? Much of what I get from evolutionists is rhetoric rather than information. Including in your comments that I'm replying to.
Are or are not feathers' primary function for birds of flight flying? You ignored that. Where did you ask?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:00, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

@awc, paper on expected transitional fossils

http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/evc/argresp/tranfull.htm I don't know if that useful Hamster 17:32, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I had seen that. It seems to take a rather different approach than I did, but has the obvious advantage that it is not original research on my part, while getting across the same point. It should at least be referenced in the article. —Awc 18:51, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Interesting, but I see problems.
First, despite saying that they "can derive an expectation of the ratio of transitional to non-transitional fossils found", the formula actually derives a ratio of transitional fossil to species. So even assuming that everything else is okay, the calculation shouldn't be 1/80,000 of the stated 250,000 fossil species, but 1/80,000 of all the fossils. So how many is that? This creationist source says that "billions of fossils have been found", and this evolutionary source says that "there are probably countless billions". If we take a mid-range between the two of ten billion fossils, then the formula gives 125,000 transitional fossils. The article gives a source for claiming that 139 have been found.
Second, it assumes something more like Gould's punctuated equilibrium (PE) than Darwin's gradualism. It seems to justify this by saying " Because Darwin said "often only at long intervals", NSTP [the "natural selection time proportion"] should be small.". But their quote from Darwin has him saying "I do believe that natural selection will always act very slowly, often only at long intervals of time", which means that he sees it taking a long time, not that there will be long intervals of little selection. Gould's PE predicts far fewer transitional fossils (that's why he came up with it: to explain the lack of expected transitionals), so the formula—even taking the 125,000 figure—grossly undercalculates the expected number of transitionals anyway.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:28, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Darwin[17]: " It is a more important consideration, leading to the same result, as lately insisted on by Dr. Falconer, namely, that the period during which each species underwent modification, though long as measured by years, was probably short in comparison with that during which it remained without undergoing any change." Would it be too much to ask that you read what Darwin wrote before you make any more statements about what you think he believed? —Awc 11:02, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't know either how reliable or how useful the estimate of billions of fossils found is. I have also seen a figure of millions cast out. Either way, if they have not been examined and catalogued by a paleontologist, they cannot contribute to answering the question of the number of transitional forms. The number of catalogued specimens is more likely to be millions. Likewise, whether one exemplar or a thousand of a given form exist, doesn't change the answer to the question of the existence of transitional forms. This calculation could be applied either to individual fossils or to fossil species, but the author seems to have species in mind. Certainly the 139 number applies to species. Both this calculation and mine are very, very crude, but I haven't seen any attempt at all at quantification by creationists. How then, can they be in a position to say that there are fewer transitional fossils than expected? —Awc 11:22, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Would it be too much to ask that you read what Darwin wrote before you make any more statements about what you think he believed? Are you suggesting that I read everything that Darwin wrote in case he provided further information elsewhere, before I address a particular point? I did read what the page quoted Darwin saying. I could only go on what they said.
I also notice that the bit you quoted wasn't included in Origin of Species until the fourth edition, so this may be an early case of trying to justify the lack of evidence as originally expected.
I haven't seen any attempt at all at quantification by creationists. How then, can they be in a position to say that there are fewer transitional fossils than expected? Because the evolutionists, such as Darwin, Raup, Gould, and Patterson said it.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:00, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
All I see is statements that there are "few" transitional fossils in an unquantified sense. None of these authors say there are "fewer" transitional fossils than should be expected, considering the extreme imperfection of the fossil record. —Awc 12:12, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Darwin used the imperfection as an explanation as why there weren't as many as should be expected, but many more fossils have been found since; Gould came up with a new version to explain the lack; if there were only the expected ones, then why the need for a new version? Patterson wasn't able to come up with any. That sounds like a "quantification" to me.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:22, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Come back after you have carefully read the whole of Chapter X. "On the Imperfection of the Geological Record" of On the Origin of Species, —Awc 15:53, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
How would that change the comments of more recent evolutionists? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:46, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

correlation of strata / fossil type

I have pointed out that the "correlations" are based on evolutionary thinking. Can you explain what you mean? I have explained before that these correlations were worked out prior to Darwin and simply address the issue that specific fossils are found in specific rocks. This allowed geologists to assign a relative time scale to the dating of geologic layers. The correlations assisted in keeping layers ordered where some of the geologic column is missing. This should be explainable by either evolutionery thinking or creationism. Admittedly geologistscould see accumulation of layers by water and wind and formulate ideas on how long it might take for say a 10 meter thick sandstone to form, but thats uniformitism v catastrophism. Only when radiometric dating became available did the "deep time" concept have some solid evidence.

entire geologic column exists in the following places
   *  The Ghadames Basin in Libya
   * The Beni Mellal Basin in Morrocco
   * The Tunisian Basin in Tunisia
   * The Oman Interior Basin in Oman
   * The Western Desert Basin in Egypt
   * The Adana Basin in Turkey
   * The Iskenderun Basin in Turkey
   * The Moesian Platform in Bulgaria
   * The Carpathian Basin in Poland
   * The Baltic Basin in the USSR
   * The Yeniseiy-Khatanga Basin in the USSR
   * The Farah Basin in Afghanistan
   * The Helmand Basin in Afghanistan
   * The Yazd-Kerman-Tabas Basin in Iran
   * The Manhai-Subei Basin in China
   * The Jiuxi Basin China
   * The Tung t'in - Yuan Shui Basin China
   * The Tarim Basin China
   * The Szechwan Basin China
   * The Yukon-Porcupine Province Alaska
   * The Williston Basin in North Dakota
   * The Tampico Embayment Mexico
   * The Bogata Basin Colombia
   * The Bonaparte Basin, Australia
   * The Beaufort Sea Basin/McKenzie River Delta 

what specifically do you have a problem with ? Hamster 16:10, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
First, I'll recap the relevant parts of the conversation:
  • Me: ... the geologic column [is] a hypothetical construct assembled from partial columns in multiple places.
  • You: except the geologic column exists in I think 4 places intact.
  • Me: I don't believe that it does.
  • Me: In addition, the geologic column occurs nowhere on Earth in its entirety
Neither of us have explained what we mean by the "entire" geologic column. Your list, which originates with Glenn Morton, apparently claims that at each of those places all ten geological periods are found. In this version he was actually responding to claims by Clifford Wilson and Henry Morris and Gary Parker that the entire column didn't exist in one place. Wilson was referring to the thickness, rather than the number of periods, and Morris and Parker were referring to both the number of periods/systems, and the thickness. In this version he isn't referring to Wilson.
John Woodmorappe puts the creationist view here, responding specifically to an earlier version of Morton's article, pointing out that most creationists don't agree with Morris and Parker on the complete non-existence of the ten periods, but that the thickness is still an issue, as are other factors such as identification, index fossils, etc. Morton has updated his article to dismiss the thickness issue, but hasn't addressed the identification issue, at least insofar as index fossils are concerned.
This site also tackles Morton's list, claiming that the evidence doesn't support Morton's list.
In summary, my claim was vague, but the point remains that the geological column is a hypothetical construct made up by making correlations (correct or otherwise) between layers in different parts of the world.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:36, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Lack

Now that I've come back to this article after a while, for the record...

Sterile wrote in an edit comment, "Gould does not say lack; he says rare". "Lack" does not have to mean complete absence; it can mean a shortage, or insufficiency, and that is the way I was using the word.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:42, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

In the Fossil article you changed "the relative low level of bioturbation by burrowing animals" to "a lack of bioturbation by burrowing animals". Since "lack" can mean either an insufficiency/shortage or an absence, your edit added unnecessary ambiguity. —Awc 10:46, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I was reverting to an earlier version for other reasons; changing "relatively low level" to "lack" wasn't a key point of my change, although I wasn't sure how much there was and "lack" provided necessary ambiguity in that case. Regardless, in this case, I think that "extreme rarity" is pretty close to complete absence, and "lack" was probably more accurate than "rarity", which Sterile substituted. It doesn't matter now, as I have reworded and now say "extreme rarity". Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:00, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Philip's edits of 2012-03-22

I'm changing the sub-headings below, as these heading are too long allow both them and further comment to be added to the edit comment of any comment added. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:11, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Definition of transitional

"Actually, Darwin said "a fairly well-marked variety", not "imperceptibly different". Most of the rest I deleted built on that mistake."

The diagram can be used to illustrate anything from the development of a new species from varieties, or a new class from orders. If my memory serves me correctly, Darwin also mentioned that. So I don't understand what "mistake" you are referring to. Since you use that as the basis for removing a good deal of content, I'd like to hear your reasons in more detail.

The phrase "explain away" seems to be rhetorical, not expository. It doesn't belong in an encyclopedia.

—Awc 18:49, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

The mistake is in calling what Darwin called "a fairly well-marked variety" an "imperceptible difference". In other words, the difference is not imperceptible, but reasonably obvious. Therefore the claim that "the discovery of a near common ancseter like z5 is almost as good as discovering the true common ancester in terms of illucidating the course of descent." fails, because they are not "imperceptibly different", but markedly different.
Step back and look at this differently. Your argument, i.e. the way it is worded, starts with a scenario of common descent. So if n14 and z14 do in fact have z5 and z6 as common ancestors,then u5 might well give us insight to z6. But in real life, we don't know that. Instead, we have various fossils with various dates attached (rightly or wrongly), which are not known to be related. Relationship has to be determined, and the bigger the difference, the harder that is to establish. If u5 is "imperceptibly different" to z5, this might be reasonable. But if there is a marked difference, it's not reasonable. The problem is that evolutionists assume that there is an evolutionary relationship (a claim disputed by creationists, of course), then find the closest fit and claim that that proves relationship. If the difference is imperceptible, they would have a case. If it's markedly different, they don't. Yet they use these markedly different fossils to "prove" that there are transitional forms, because the actual transitional forms are consistently missing.
What word or phrase would you use instead of "explain away" that conveys the idea that evolutionists are doing just that?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:54, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Expected number of transitional fossils (1)

"It's the evolutionists who say it; the creationists merely publicise it."

I can live with this edit. —Awc 19:32, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Expected number of transitional fossils (2)

"The point is that the evidence is missing, regardless of why it is missing."

I'll tentatively accept this one, too. —Awc 19:35, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Expected number of transitional fossils (3)

"Remove first part: not needed here, and is quoted below."

This one is harmless. —Awc 19:37, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Difficulty of identification

"Replace self-contradictory sentence with one that makes more sense. Add link."

This one drifts towards being polemical, but at least it fixes a funny sentence. —Awc 19:40, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Expected number of transitional fossils (4)

"Consolidate reference"

Bookkeeping. OK. —Awc 19:41, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Forms with transitional characteristics / Claimed transitional forms

You're right that calling these forms "transitional" suggests something about evolution. "Intermediate" and/or "mixed" would be more objective. Prothero may be a major source for this section, but it's not about him or his claims. As I always try to do - and I thought we had agreed it is the best approach - I wanted to first describe objectively the facts/observations before going into interpretations. Can't we stick to that principle? In that case, the subject of the section should be those intermediate forms, not just somebody's claims about what the existence of those forms imply. —Awc 20:53, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

It need not be about Prothero, but it is about claimed transitional forms. I understand (and agree with) you wanting to describe objectively first, but you are not describing random facts; you are describing facts that are relevant, and the relevance here is that they are claimed as transitional forms.
"Intermediate" and "mixed" could be neutral/objective, but (a) that essentially means that there are certain combinations of features shared by two organisms, but (b) all living things share some characteristics, so the point is really about certain combinations or a certain degree of mixing. How do we decide which combinations or degrees are relevant for this section, other than by doing it with the claim of being transitional in mind?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:02, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the various and partially conflicting definitions of "transitional" are causing confusion. The word can mean, (1) an intermediate stage on the direct line of descent from A to B, (2) the last common ancester of A and B, (3) a form on a branch not too far from (1) or (2), or (4) a form sharing some characteristics with two different groups, regardless of the reason. The first two definitions are constructs useful in theoretical discussions (only). The third is an approximation of the first two that is useful in the practice of paleontology in an evolutionary framework. The last is where an objective discussion between evolutionists and creationists has to begin, but is probably not actually used that way by either side. (It would include similarities due to convergent evolution and design.) Anyway, you do have a point, so I'll back off on the title. —Awc 08:22, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
In the light of that decision, the changes in content do little more than bring the intro into line with the title, so we'll leave that be as well. —Awc 08:26, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Not really relevant to the broader discussion, but I consider your definitions (1) and (2) to be the same, but they look different because you've used "A" and "B" in different ways. In evolution, species A has descendant species B and C, and B has descendant species D and E. So (1) might be B, which is both "an intermediate stage on the direct line of descent from A to [E]" and "an intermediate stage on the direct line of descent from A to [D]", and (2) might also be B, which is "the last common ancester of [D] and [E]", but this is so because B meets requirement (1) for both D and E. So (2) is really a special case of (1), and I see nothing in the definitions of "transitional" to suggest that the branching point is a transitional any more than any other intermediate point.
As I have now written in the section below, the problem with the a transitional form not being actually transitional is that it makes claimed transitions unfalsifiable by fossils that are not in the expected sequence. So although (3) might give us information about what the actual transitional is like assuming that the evolutionary reconstruction is true, this definition seems rubbery in that (a) how far is "not too far", and (b) it allows for features that don't fit to be explained away (e.g. features that are in neither the ancestor nor the "descendant").
As for (4), you are right that similarities and differences are where discussion should begin, but calling these "transitional" is (a) jumping to a(n evolutionary) conclusion, and (b) simply not a valid use of the word.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:49, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I'll make a few changes to the new version, trying to keep your comments in mind. —Awc 11:07, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Fishbians

"Revert to earlier version (retaining some bits) that doesn't try to disguise the contrary evidence, and more accurately represents the Berkeley source"

Evidence contrary to what? And how was that being disguised?

The Berkeley source never claims that Tiktaalik is on a direct line from fish to amphibians. Has anyone ever made this claim (except perhaps creationists setting up a straw man)? Why the emphasis on claims anyway? First describe the facts. Then describe the creationist interpretation of those facts. Finally describe how the majority of real paleontologists interpret those facts (not what creationists or journalists represent as the majority interpretation). —Awc 21:15, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I've had a rethink of this edit, and I went too far in the edit. I'll change it back closer to what you had.
My wording in the edit was ambiguous. I wasn't meaning to imply that Berkeley or anyone else has switched definitions of "transitional" since the contrary evidence (earlier footprints, to answer your question) was found, but that they use the newer definition to negate the problem of the contrary evidence. That is the problem with the modern definition: it makes claims unfalsifiable by fossils that are not in the expected evolutionary sequence. But I agree that my wording in the edit could be read as claiming that they have switched since.
Wikipedia and other evolutionary sources of information don't describe the facts then both the creationist and evolutionist interpretations of the facts. They present the evolutionary interpretation as correct. Depending on how clear the evidence is, why shouldn't we present the creationist understanding as correct?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:25, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The new version is mostly acceptable.
  • I believe there is some controversy about whether the early tetrapod tracks really are that. This uncertainty should be alluded to, if only with a qualifying word.
  • You deleted some general information: The so-called “fishbian” sequence consists of fossils found in the Devonian system. The fossils show a rather complete set of graduated characteristics from the distinctly fish-like Eusthenopteron to the four-legged amphibian Hynerpeton. Was there a reason for that removal? The fishbian sequence is much more than just Tiktaalik.
  • Shouldn't we mention some transitional forms recognized by creationists? If millions of fossil and living species evolved from a few hundred or a few thousand created kinds, then the there should be almost as many transitional forms in the creationist model as in the evolutionary model.
—Awc 12:04, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
The bit you said I deleted is still there.
Right you are. I must have gotten mixed up with the change summaries. —Awc 20:58, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
What transitional forms are recognised by creationists and are known from the fossil record? Many of those "millions" of living species are nearly identical to each other insofar as their fossilised forms are concerned (what would the transition between a horse and a zebra look like in a fossil?), and given that most fossils were laid down during the flood, but all extant speciation occurred since then, we wouldn't expect to find many of them preserved.
(There are fossils claimed to be specifically zebras, so somebody thinks you can tell them apart.) Run that by me again. To start with, why shouldn't there have been a fair amount of speciation during the 2000 years between creation and the Flood, in comparison to the 4000 years afterwards? But the real question is, where are the transitional forms connecting the millions of animal species buried by the Flood? (Or did we decide there were only hundreds of thousands of species?) Unless each of those species was a created kind (and therefore with a reserved stall on Noah's ark), they must have speciated between creation and the Flood. Are those transitional forms missing from the fossil record? —Awc 20:58, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a reference to the doubt about the earlier tetrapod tracks?
I don't remember where I got that, and I can't find anything in that direction now. Maybe I was hallucinating. —Awc 20:58, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:48, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I got myself a bit confused about transitional forms in the creationist model, thinking that you wouldn't see the post-flood transitionals, and that the ones before the flood wouldn't be preserved because the ark only had every kind. Confused? Yes, well that's what I did to myself. You're right in that there would have been "speciation" (i.e. variation that would likely be classified as speciation today) before the flood, and that the fossils are (mostly) of the creatures alive at the time of the flood which perished in it. (Although perhaps different conditions, such as different environmental conditions, meant that it didn't occur so frequently? I don't know. You could probably also argue that it would have occurred more often, as there may have been greater potential for variation in the genomes.)
However, the fossil record is still a snapshot of what things were like at the time of the flood, so it would only preserve transitionals that were still in existence at the time of the flood, unlike in the evolutionary scenario that should have preserved samples from throughout time. But yes, I would expect some transitionals within kinds to be preserved, and although I asked you what ones there are, I wasn't trying to imply that there weren't any. I have heard evolutionary claims of good sequences of transitionals between two similar species, so these may in fact be the ones that you are talking about. But you don't hear so much about them, so I can't actually recall any specific examples.
A quick Google search failed to produce any obvious hits on zebra fossils, except for one Muslim old-Earth Creationist site. By the way, when I asked what the transition would look like in a fossil, what I was meant was what would it look like if all you had was the skeleton. I'm not suggesting that there's no difference, but that the differences between a horse and a zebra are small, so the differences between either and an intermediate would be even less, and you may not be able to tell for certain.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:07, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I was confused, too, somehow thinking that the flood would preserve a record of all the animals that lived between creation and the Flood. But of course, the Flood gives a snapshot of the situation at that time, just like the cohort of animals living today only gives a snapshot of the current situation, not the forms leading up to it. I withdraw the question. —Awc 08:01, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Zimmer at the Loom; and corresponding Nature paper

Zimmer:

As scientists compare all these fossils, a rough outline of the evolution of feathers is coming into view. It appears that the earliest theropod feathers were simple hollow shafts, which then evolved into more elaborate structures. The sequence of changes gets more complicated as scientists look at more dinosaur fossils. Complex feathers may have evolved more than once. Some dinosaurs may have evolved bizarre feather forms that exist on no bird today. The filaments on the tail of Beipaiosaurus turn out to have been very broad. Another dinosaur called Epidexipteryx sprouted a pair of ribbon-like tail feathers. “The more you look, the more complex the story gets,” Xu said.

...

As the warehouse staff solved the puzzle, I looked closely at the pieces. These were big dinosaurs. They resembled Tyrannosaurus rex, and the big one of the fossilized pair might have been 25 feet long or longer. I could see the streaked marks of feathers on the tail, and patches on other parts of its body. Feathers don’t fossilize easily, and so it’s common to find feathered dinosaur fossils with traces of plumage only on some parts of their bodies. Scientists then have to judge whether the dinosaur only had feathers on some of their body in life, or whether they were fully cloaked and then some of their plumage failed to fossilize. It’s also possible that the dinosaur had different kinds of feathers, and some types fared better than others. (Even fossil birds, which were definitely covered completely in feathers, sometimes only retain patches of fossil feathers.)

...

The two fossils I saw, plus a third, all belong to a new species, which Xu has dubbed Yutyrannus huali (a mix of Latin and Mandarin, meaning beautiful feathered tyrannosaur). They had filament-like feathers, reaching several inches in length. Since they are preserved on widely separated parts of Yutyrannus’s body, Xu leans towards the dinosaurs being extensively covered with feathers. Still, he can’t rule out the possibility that they only had patches. Another tricky question is what this discovery means for related dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus rex. No one has found T. rex feathers, and, indeed, some researchers have argued that a gigantic dinosaur would trap so much heat in its big body that insulating feathers would be a burden. The discovery of Yutyrannus may mean that’s wrong. Or it may mean that Yutyrannus was an unusually feathery dinosaur. Interesting, it lived in a relatively cold period of dinosaur history, and so plumage may have evolved to be thicker.

[18]

And the corresponding Nature article (not well formatted):

Gigantism affects many aspects of animal structure and function. Extensive filamentous integumentary coverings such as feathers and hair are partly or even primarily insulative in function, but some large mammals have become almost entirely hairless because their low surface-to-volume ratios permit them to retain metabolic heat even without a pelage (although large mammals living in cold environments, such as the bovid Bison bison, retain substantial fur). Gigantic tyrannosauroids have been suggested to lack an extensive feathery covering for analogous reasons6. This interpretation derives some support from reported impressions of small patches of scaly skin25, 26, and there is certainly no direct fossil evidence for the presence of feathers in gigantic Late Cretaceous tyrannosauroids. The discovery of Y. huali, however, indicates that at least one gigantic dinosaur had an extensive insulative coat of feathers, showing in turn that drastic reduction of the plumage was not an inevitable consequence of very large body size. If Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurids such as Tyrannosaurus rex were similar to Y. huali in this respect, both basal and derived tyrannosauroid dinosaurs would differ from mammals in lacking a tendency to lose their integumentary covering as result of gigantism.

Alternatively, if scales were indeed the dominant integumentary structures in most Late Cretaceous tyrannosauroids, the presence of long feathers in the gigantic Y. huali could represent an adaptation to an unusually cold environment. Y. huali lived during a period (the Barremian–early Albian) that has been interpreted as considerably colder than the rest of the Cretaceous (a mean annual air temperature of about 10 °C in western Liaoning, in contrast with about 18 °C at a similar latitude in the Late Cretaceous)27. Most gigantic Late Cretaceous tyrannosauroids, by contrast, lived in a warm climate that was conducive to the loss of an extensive insulative feathery covering, although populations inhabiting cold environments such as the land that is now Alaska would have been a notable exception28, 29. It is possible that the extent and nature of the integumentary covering changed over time in response to shifts in body size and the temperature of the environment throughout tyrannosauroid evolutionary history, as has clearly occurred in some mammalian taxa30. However, it must be noted that the plumage is only partly preserved in all three known specimens of Y. huali, and the possibility that the feathers had only a restricted distribution on the body cannot be completely excluded. If this was so, the feathers might have functioned primarily as display structures as in some other non-avian theropod groups1.

[19]

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