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Oooh, can we get a quote from a scientist from some point within the last ten years? Barikada 14:50, 23 January 2008 (EST)

Why? That would seem to be a rather abitrary cut-off point. Philip J. Rayment 20:47, 23 January 2008 (EST)
Cutoff point would mean eliminating everything from before then, not simply adding something made since then... Barikada 20:49, 23 January 2008 (EST)
Not it wouldn't. Philip J. Rayment 00:47, 24 January 2008 (EST)
What? Yes it would. That's the definition of a cutoff point. You ignore everything past the cutoff point. I'm not suggesting we ignore everything before ten years ago, I'm just asking for a recent source so this article seems current. Barikada 01:29, 24 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, a "cutoff point" means that you ignore everything past the cutoff point, but in context that means ignoring everything older than ten years when looking for a quote to add. It doesn't mean deleting every quote in the article older than ten years, because that's not what you were suggesting. Philip J. Rayment 04:20, 24 January 2008 (EST)
Well, what would you consider a less arbitrary cutoff point? Nine? Eight? Seven? Six? Five? Four? Three? Two? One? Seriously, having a more recent quote in the article can't be a bad thing. Barikada 15:44, 24 January 2008 (EST)
I wouldn't specify a cutoff point. If you have an appropriate quote from more recently, feel free to add it. Philip J. Rayment 20:34, 24 January 2008 (EST)
So you're suggesting you'd be perfectly fine adding quotes from any time period? I don't have any; I'm not arguing for the non-existance of transitional forms. If "Many scientists have admitted the lack of transitional fossils.", it shouldn't be terribly difficult to find something from this century, should it? Barikada 20:36, 24 January 2008 (EST)
If the quotes are relevant, when they date from should not be an issue (but the date of them could affect their relevance). But "many" is a relative term (in fact I would consider changing that in the article), and I'd say that only a few (relatively speaking, although I think it could easily be a dozen or so) have admitted as much. Note the quote from Gould about it being a "trade secret", i.e. it was not something that was widely known. Also, since creationary views have been gaining ground, many of these scientists have been much more guarded in what they admit to, so given that this century is only seven years old, then no, I don't agree that it wouldn't be difficult to find something from this century. That's not to say it's impossible, of course, but it may not be easy. Philip J. Rayment 01:15, 25 January 2008 (EST)
I don't really think they've been gaining ground, but eh, if you say so/claim there's a conspiracy against non-scientific beliefs being passed off as science, that's your right. As for the quotes, I'm just saying that a more recent one would make the article more up to date, and not like outdated ramblings.
Oh, and this century is eight years old. Barikada 15:46, 25 January 2008 (EST)
45 years ago there were almost no creationist organisations, and now there are quite a few. 40 years ago we didn't have science magazines publishing articles about what was wrong with creationism. 30 years ago the anti-creationist group NSCE hadn't started. Creationism is definitely gaining ground. I've said umpteen times that I don't claim there to be a conspiracy (a group of people plotting to suppress something they know to be true), but it is a standard anti-creationist tactic to accuse creationists of claiming that. And how are the existing quotes "outdated" and "ramblings"? Or is that just a throwaway line when you've got no actual criticism?
The century began on 1st January 2001, which is seven years, 25 days ago.
Philip J. Rayment 02:22, 26 January 2008 (EST)
I said they look like outdated ramblings, not nessecarily that they are outdated. You're accusing scientists of hiding information because it would be helpful to your cause-- That is accusing them of conspiracy. But I know you're just going to dismiss that with "Standard darwinist tactic, ha ha!" so I ask you this: If Creatinionism has been "gaining ground" as you so claim, surely the number of scientists speaking out against it must be going up? Barikada 14:39, 26 January 2008 (EST)
Okay, so I guess I should have asked how the existing quotes look "outdated", and "rambling".
No, it's still not conspiracy. I defined conspiracy as "a group of people plotting to suppress something they know to be true". I'm making no accusations of any sort of group, i.e. organisation of individuals, plotting, i.e. planning this together. And when I said "suppress something they know to be true", I was talking about them suppressing creation knowing it to be true. They don't believe creation to be true, so their suppression of it is not fitting that definition.
I would say that the number of scientists speaking against it is going up, although I would qualify that with several points:
* Scientists tend to not like getting involved in this sort of thing, thinking that it gives creation some legitimacy. So they tend to leave it to non-scientists to comment on (including the mass media and the science magazines).
* They have reduced their involvement in live public debates, ostensibly because it gives creation publicity and legitimacy, but likely because they tend to lose the debates.
* They consider Intelligent Design to be a form of creationism, and their efforts in recent times have been more directed to that, with not so much effort directed against creationism itself.
Philip J. Rayment 05:47, 27 January 2008 (EST)

The quotes look outdated because they're all at least a decade old-- Things easily could've changed in a decade. If memory serves, there are many lists of transitional specimens, and I can dig them up if you wish once I return home from the LAN party I'm at.

Ah, so it's conviently not a conspiracy, just... Every scientist hates magic.

For the record: Science is not decided by who can plead the most. Watch a Creation video, and you'll see what I mean.

ID is Creationism. I again reference Of Pandas And People, bearing the historic words "cdesign proponentsists." 16:58, 28 January 2008 (EST)

  • The Of Pandas and People issue is virtually meaningless. That one book does not define the entirety of ID. There are plenty of ID proponents who are not religious at all. Jinxmchue 19:46, 28 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, one book does not define it, particularly given that the book concerned came out pretty early in the ID movement, and was co-authored (from memory) by one of the ID people who is a creationist.
As for the chances of things changing in the last decade, I wouldn't pin too much hope on that. In 1859 Darwin wrote,
Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection fo the geological record.
But 120 years later, David Raup wrote,
Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information...
Then we have the other quotes (such as in the article) from around the same time from various scientists, supporting the severe lack of transitional forms. So why would it suddenly reverse direction and there start to be a swag of transitional forms?
What's "convenient" about it not being a conspiracy? Your language betrays your bias. But your analogy with magic is not bad, actually. Scientists sometimes speak out against astrology, fortune telling, communicating with the dead, etc. But nobody ever claims "conspiracy" with these; it's just that most scientists are of one mind on those issues, so they all tend to reinforce each other on them. The same with creation. I don't agree, of course, that creation is in the same basket as astrology etc, but in the minds of the scientists opposing creation, that's pretty much what they think. So no reason to suppose a conspiracy. Yet anti-creationists keep accusing creationists of claiming that, even though creationists don't claim that, in order to denigrate them, and when creationists call them on it, rather than admit their error, they try and divert attention or excuse themselves with comments such as "how convenient".
I've seen lists of transitional fossils (and one is referenced in the article). But with none of the examples provided can, in the words of Colin Patterson (in the article), with none can one make a watertight argument. Just because they are claimed to be transitional does not make them so, and none really stand scrutiny.
Philip J. Rayment 21:13, 28 January 2008 (EST)
Bugger, thought I responded to this yesterday. It's convenient because if it's not a conspiracy, you don't look like a nutter for trying to play the persecution card.
And I must ask, how do you prove that they aren't transitional? Barikada 19:49, 29 January 2008 (EST)
If it really was a conspiracy, then I wouldn't look like a nutter for claiming persecution. So how does it not being a conspiracy change that?
Perhaps the question should be, how do you prove that they are transitional? If creature 1 has features A, B, C, D, E, and F, and creature 2 has features A, B, C, G, H, and J, then we find a creature with features A, B, C, D, H, and J, does that mean that it's transitional between 1 and 2. Or just a creature with a different mix of features? Evolutionists presume that creature 1 must have evolved into creature 2, so anything with a combination of the two creatures' features is seen as evidence of an intermediate/transitional form. That explanation is an over-simplification, but that's at least part of how it works. That was the basis for claiming that Archaeopteryx was transitional: it had some features in common with both reptiles and birds. But even staunch evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould described it as a "curious matrix", that is, a creature that had some features in common with reptiles and birds, but not on the way from one to the other.
So how do you prove that something is transitional? I don't think you can, ultimately, but a big step in the right direction would be to find not just a creature intermediate between two others, but a whole chain showing a gradual transition. My example above listed six "features", but any real creature is going to have hundreds if not thousands. If you have two creatures that differ by 200 features, and you found 200 other creatures that could be placed in a sequence where each one had one feature different to the previous, you'd be well on the way to demonstrating transitional forms. I'm not, of course, suggesting that you would need to have every one of those 200, but a large proportion of them would be needed. As it is, all you have these days is one or at best a handful.
Furthermore, given that creationists argue for variation within a created 'kind', this would need to be for two distinctly different creatures (i.e. of different created kinds); a smooth transition of intermediates between one type of shark and another type of shark doesn't count.
Philip J. Rayment 20:46, 29 January 2008 (EST)
Logically, if a creature with features ABC and a creature with features ADE are found, and a creature with features ACD is found between them (vertically or horizontally) the natural conclusion is that ACD is some sort of midway. Haha... "kinds"... right, how scientific.
You're claiming it's not a conspiracy, were you to claim there's a conspiracy, you'd be A: Wrong and B: Nutty.
Indeed, it would be a tricky business to find the entire series-- after all, fossilisation is the exception, not the rule. This isn't helped by the fact that previous ideas of evolutionary chains are constantly discarded, nearly every time a new fossil is unearthed.
Also, this century started 1/1/2000.
FINAL POINT: If we can't get a quote from this century, can we at least have some sort of counterbalance quote? Barikada 22:29, 30 January 2008 (EST)
If a creature with features ACD is found horizontally between creatures with features ABC and ADE, surely, according to evolutionary thinking, they lived at the same time? And therefore would not be intermediate?
If a creature with features ACD is found vertically between creatures with features ABC and ADE, then (a) it still doesn't prove that it is transitional, and (b) it assumes the evolutionary view, as the creationary view would (depending on the layers concerned) probably be that all three were buried within the same year (of the Flood). And what's so unscientific about "kinds"? Answer please, and not one that's self-serving.
"You're claiming it's not a conspiracy, were you to claim there's a conspiracy, you'd be A: Wrong and B: Nutty.": Yes, but your comment was not about whether or not I was claiming it, but whether or not it was a conspiracy ("...because if it's not a conspiracy...").
"Indeed, it would be a tricky business to find the entire series...": Would it really? Given the number of fossils that have been found, I'd say that you should have found at least a few fairly-complete series. Gould thought so too, which is why he came up with Punctuated Equilibrium—to argue that you don't find the smooth series because evolution happened suddenly in short bursts. The point is, he came up with this because the expected smooth series was not found. So your argument that it would be tricky is really just a post-hoc argument to explain the uncomfortable facts. Secondly, it being difficult to find the required evidence is no excuse for claiming something for which the evidence has not been found.
"...the fact that previous ideas of evolutionary chains are constantly discarded, nearly every time a new fossil is unearthed": Which to me says that the whole idea is so tenuous it has no right claiming that the alternative view (creation) has been disproved by the evidence.
If the 21st century started at the beginning of 2000, then the first century must have started at the beginning of the year nought, but we number the years from one, not nought. So the first year ended at the end of year 1, the second year at the end of year 2, the tenth year at the end of the year 10, the hundredth year—the 1st century—at the end of the year 100, the first millennium at the end of the year 1000, and the second millennium (and the 20th century) at the end of the year 2000.
What's unbalanced about the article as it stands?
Philip J. Rayment 04:49, 31 January 2008 (EST)
Not nessecarily same time, but a similar time. Remember, these take a while to form. Sufficient for small changes.
Kinds is not a scientific designation of any sort.
Dude. Do you know what oil is? Do you realize how much more of that there is than fossils? Out of all the creatures that have ever lived, we've recovered very little in the manner of fossils.
Tenuous? No, not really, but the exact order is uncertain. Such is the way of science; things change when new evidence is uncovered. I could give a condescending explanation of how that's different from religion, but I'll spare you that.
There's a nice bit on this on Wikipedia, d'you mind if I quote it at you in my next edit?
Gee... could it be the fact that every single quote is from one side? Barikada 09:41, 31 January 2008 (EST)
"Remember, these take a while to form.": Yeah? a given layer takes, what?, a few million years to form whilst slowly burying a specimen and it's evolved descendant?
"Kinds is not a scientific designation of any sort.": How about baramin then? That's the scientific word for "kind".
"...we've recovered very little in the manner of fossils.": I totally agree that we've only found a small proportion of all the creatures that lived, but there's still been enough to expect some smooth transitions. You didn't address the evidence I offered from Gould.
"Tenuous? No, not really, but the exact order is uncertain.": Now it's "the exact order". Before it was "evolutionary chains are constantly discarded". Your explanations seem about as flexible as evolution itself.
"I could give a condescending explanation of how that's different from religion, but I'll spare you that.": I don't think you did (spare me). Besides, I already know the explanation: "Science is good because the scientists can't be certain they know what they are talking about. Religion is bad because they know what they are talking about". Well, that's not how you would spin it, but that's not far from what it would amount to.
You can quote Wikipedia here if you wish.
"...could it be the fact that every single quote is from one side?": Golly! You're right! They're all evolutionists! Do you want me to find a quote from a creationist too?
Philip J. Rayment 03:28, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Uh, what?
Teach the controversy! Bats are birds!
Are you familiar with the term "statistical improbablity"?
What, about it being a "trade secret"? Yeah, that doesn't sound nutty.
Oh boy, let's pick apart every single word I say! Perhaps I mistyped when I said discarded-- Rearranged fits better.
No, science is good because it's constantly being updated in response to new evidence. Religion, however, is not.
"Although transitional fossils elucidate the evolutionary transition of one life-form to another, they only exemplify snapshots of this process. Due to the special circumstances required for preservation of living beings, only a very small percentage of all life-forms that ever have existed can be expected to be represented in discoveries. Thus, the transition itself can only be illustrated and corroborated by transitional fossils, but it will never be "caught in the act" as it were. Critics of evolution often cite this argument as being a convenient way to explain the lack of 'snapshot' fossils that show crucial steps between species. However, progressing research and discovery are managing to fill in gaps." -Wikipedia.
No, mein freund, that's not what I meant. Not one saying that there are, indeed, transitional fossils.
Here, have a list of them: List from Talk Origins Barikada 09:26, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Much of your post is nonsensical throw-away lines. Such as "Uh what"? Huh? What yourself? Explain yourself if you want to make an argument.
In your next line I think you are making reference to an old and discredited furphy, to which the answer is here.
Regarding statistical improbability, again, throwing around a few terms does not an argument make. And if your "nutty" reference was supposed to be an answer to my reference to Gould, first, it's evolutionist Gould that you are calling "nutty", and second, I wasn't referring to that, but to my argument from Gould in my prior post.
Evolutionists like to make out that it's just the details that they are still uncertain about, yet what they actually disagree on and keep changing are some fairly fundamental points (such as whether it happened slowly and gradually or in sudden spurts). Your previous comment, whether you use 'discarded' or 'rearranged' suggests the major changes in the idea, whereas your later comment about the "exact order" suggests that only the detail is in question. I was contrasting those two aspects.
The creationary model is also constantly being upgraded in response to new evidence. The basic premises, such as creation itself is not, but then the basic premises of evolutionists, such as naturalism and evolution itself are not either. Typical of sceptics, you are merely trying to make a self-serving distinction where none exists and in doing so are being inconsistent.
The Wikipedia quote is nothing more than post-hoc explanation for the lack of the evidence that evolutionists should expect, as I pointed out from Gould. Furthermore, it is trying to have a bob each way, in both claiming that the fossil record does ("Although transitional fossil elucidate...") and will ("progressing research and discover are managing to fill in gaps.") show evolution whilst also explaining why it doesn't.
And how is it unbalanced to only say that there are no transitional fossils if that is so? You are claiming that it is unbalanced because it doesn't acknowledge your views. But if your views are wrong, then it's not unbalanced to not acknowledge them. The article already has a reference to the link you provide, but the link fails to make its case. To take the first example I looked at, elephants, it starts off with "Minchenella or a similar condylarth (late Paleocene) -- Known only from lower jaws. Has a distinctive broadened shelf on the third molar. The most plausible ancestor of the embrithopods & anthracobunids." This is nothing more than evolutionary story-telling. There's not enough of the fossil to really tell, and the best she can say is that it's "the most plausible ancestor". So apart from it not being hard evidence contradicting Gould and Patterson, it's circular reasoning because it's starting with the assumption that there must be something that evolved into an elephant and that this is the most likely candidate. Not all her arguments are exactly like that of course, but from what I've seen there is nothing of real substance there. The existence of an article full of bluff and fluff trying to make the case does not mean that the case is actually made and that the paleontologists quoted in the article had no clue what they were talking about.
Philip J. Rayment 18:49, 1 February 2008 (EST)
""Remember, these take a while to form.": Yeah? a given layer takes, what?, a few million years to form whilst slowly burying a specimen and it's evolved descendant?" That's what my "uh, what?" was directed to. I have no freaking clue what you were attempting to say there.
"first, it's evolutionist Gould that you are calling "nutty"," Oh no, I will now withdraw my opinion upon finding out that I dared to call an "evolutionist" nutty.
It does; You simply choose to ignore every transitional form, prefering instead to cry and weep that we haven't found every fossil yet.
It wouldn't be, if that was true. That's not circular, it's a correctly terminating idea. "If it evolved, and this fossil looks like it's reasonably simliar, this creature probably evolved from that."
As a sidenote, I love how you write off every attempt to connect things as "storytelling" and seem to be scared by the idea that the evolutionary paths of each creature are not fully understood yet. Barikada 19:22, 3 February 2008 (EST)

(unindent)"That's what my "uh, what?" was directed to.": That's better; explaining what it is that you don't understand.

You indicated that a creature would be intermediate if it was found in the same layer (which is the only reasonable conclusion to draw from "if a creature with features ABC and a creature with features ADE are found, and a creature with features ACD is found between them (vertically or horizontally)" (my emphasis)), so I questioned how this would make it intermediate ("If a creature with features ACD is found horizontally between creatures with features ABC and ADE, surely, according to evolutionary thinking, they lived at the same time? And therefore would not be intermediate?"). You replied with "Not nessecarily same time, but a similar time. Remember, these take a while to form. Sufficient for small changes.". I assumed that "these" refers to the rock layers. The reasonable conclusion to draw from this was that a given rock layer—containing creatures at two different stages of evolutionary development in the same line—took so long to form that the creature had enough time to evolve into something different (ABC to ACD, for example). So I replied, "Yeah? a given layer takes, what?, a few million years to form whilst slowly burying a specimen and it's evolved descendant?", to which you replied "Uh, what?". Do you understand now?

"Oh no, I will now withdraw my opinion upon finding out that I dared to call an "evolutionist" nutty.": How about just withdrawing that comment from the discussion that you are having with me? In the context of this discussion, it reads as though I'm nutty or creationists are nutty or the article is nutty. I guess that you can think that Gould was nutty if you like, but keep in mind that you are calling "nutty" something said by a widely-respected scientist about his own field of study. I'm not saying that you have to agree with him (I don't on quite a few issues), but calling someone's idea "nutty" is hardly an argument.

"It does; ": What does? Could you please include mentions in your replies as to which points you are replying to? Much of the time I can figure it out, but I shouldn't have to solve a puzzle to do this, and sometimes it is very unclear.

"You simply choose to ignore every transitional form, prefering instead to cry and weep that we haven't found every fossil yet.": What transitional forms? Your criticism of me presumes that they exist, a presumption that I've rejected. I don't ignore claims of transitional forms; I reject such claims as unsubstantiated. You, in return, use emotive language about my motives rather than actually address the points and provide evidence.

"That's not circular, it's a correctly terminating idea. "If it evolved, and this fossil looks like it's reasonably simliar, this creature probably evolved from that." ": No, that's not circular reasoning. But it's circular reasoning to take it to the next step: "And this therefore shows that there are transitional fossils (and therefore that evolution is true)", which is (a) the point of the list of transitional forms, and (b) your point in citing it.

"I love how you write off every attempt to connect things as "storytelling"": I call it like it is! If I pick up a bunch of sticks and arrange them in order according to (say) size, then try and tell a story that one evolved into the other, all I'm doing is storytelling. And that's what evolutionary "connecting things" is; it's telling a story about how things supposedly came about; events that have not actually been observed happening.

"...seem to be scared by the idea that the evolutionary paths of each creature are not fully understood yet.": How can I be scared of something that I don't believe happened?

Philip J. Rayment 20:47, 3 February 2008 (EST)

Ah, thanks. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, then.
Withdrawing the comment serves no purpose.
Yeah, I should add references... To be honest, I'm not sure what exactly I was referring to either. I'm sorry.
"I reject such claims as unsubstantiated." And here's the problem. You lay down a blanket statement rejecting all claims of transitional fossils as unsubstantiated. If I'm interpreting that correctly, there is no point in continuing this discussion.
So any list of transitional fossils is mere circular reasoning?
No, what you're doing is horribly misunderstanding how trees grow. You could easily argue that every theory is "Storytelling", by that logic.
You don't believe that the evolutionary paths of each creature are not fully understood yet happened? Uhh... mate, that doesn't make a lick of sense. Barikada 20:55, 3 February 2008 (EST)
How can I be scared of something that I don't believe happened?
Aren't atheists often thought to be, deep down, afraid of God? Feebasfactor 20:58, 3 February 2008 (EST)
I only reject claims of transitional fossils as unsubstantiated because that's what they have been so far. I should add that in this case I'm not meaning that no substantiation is provided, but that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. I'm not claiming that such claims are inherently unsubstantiatable; in theory, assuming that evolution is true, such claims could be substantiated. But so far they haven't been.
"So any list of transitional fossils is mere circular reasoning?": No, I made the claim of circular reasoning about the particular example I picked out of the list. There was no evidence that the particular example was intermediate, beyond the presumption that there must be an intermediate and this was the most likely candidate. Rather than start with the presumption that something evolved, you should start with the question, "Did it evolve?", then see if there is evidence supporting that.
"No, what you're doing is horribly misunderstanding how trees grow.": I could say exactly the same thing about your understanding of how life came to be.
"...that doesn't make a lick of sense": I wondered if I wasn't clear. I don't believe that there are/were such things as evolutionary paths, so why would it concern me that they are not yet fully understood.
Feebasfactor, the claim is that deep down, atheists don't really, fully, believe that there is no God. At least in some cases. See also here. I didn't actually look at your link to the atheism article, and I'm not necessarily defending how it might be worded. Philip J. Rayment 21:41, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Ah, that makes a bit more sense. Nice to see you'll at least entertain the notion of transitional fossils.
Answering the question and then reworking it as new evidence comes about, I presume?
They're two entirely different things, trees and life in general. For example, I do not proclaim to know the origin of life-- And that is not what this is about-- but I do proclaim to know the basics of tree growth.
Ah. Possibly because fear of the unknown is common in humans of all creeds, races, etc.? Barikada 21:45, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Regarding the stick analogy, I made a small error in wording it as a comparison to the origin of life. I meant the origin of individual types of living things, that is, evolution. You do claim to know that evolution brought about the different types of living things, don't you? So I could say, just as you did for the sticks, that your have a "horrible misunderstanding" of it.
"...fear of the unknown is common in humans of all creeds, races, etc.? ": It's not an unknown: I know it didn't happen that way. So "fear of the unknown" doesn't apply.
Philip J. Rayment 22:15, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Except what I claim to know is consistent with the current understanding of evolutionary theory. What you say is not.
I'm sure you do, Philip. I'm sure you do. Barikada 22:18, 3 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, what you claim to know is consistent with evolution. But the fossil record part of evolution is little more than arranging unrelated fossils in a sequence and telling a story connecting them, just as I did with the sticks. The stick story is absurd because you know better. The evolution story is not absurd because... er, because.... er, because you don't know better. But they amount to the same thing, in principle. Evolution is a story to explain the evidence. Creationists have the same evidence, but tell a different story to explain it. So it really comes down to which story is the more believable. I don't dismiss the evidence, but I happily dismiss the story that evolutionists tell about that evidence. And the evidence and the story are two different things, yet I've often seen evolutionists quote the story as though it is the evidence. In which cases I will dismiss it as "storytelling". Philip J. Rayment 08:14, 4 February 2008 (EST)

Picture

Would it be useful to add a picture such as this: http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/3803/horseevolutionbl3.png --GDewey 22:15, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Useful in what way? Jinxmchue 00:08, 30 January 2008 (EST)
Useful to explain the concept of a transitional form. --GDewey 16:55, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Article plan

I suggest that before we edit any further we sit down and discuss a plan for the article.

I maintain that your quotations should follow descriptions of transitional forms because that is what the article is supposed to be explaining. What are your thoughts? --Merriweather 01:13, 3 March 2008 (EST)

My last edit was one that I had started before you posted this, so I completed it rather than having it hang in limbo. I'll have a look at what you've changed further and come back here to comment. Philip J. Rayment 01:24, 3 March 2008 (EST)
Okay, I've now looked, and here are my comments:
  • The "Claims of a lack of transitional forms" again has an objectionable introduction. The quotes are not "selective" if that is the true state of things, so the use of the word "selective" is unsubstantiated. Also, it seems odd to introduce a section quoting evolutionists by saying that creationists believe it! Yes, creationists do believe it, but so did the quoted evolutionists!
  • I might go along with your preferred order of the two sections we've both swapped, but putting the claims first might give the false impression that the claims have some validity.
  • The claims of transitional forms appear to be little more than storytelling, with almost nothing of substance there.
Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 3 March 2008 (EST)
1. The quotes are selective. In a sense, of course, all quotes are selective but your quotes give a false impression. I don’t (yet) know about Patterson but, as you are no doubt well aware, Gould never suggested that transitional forms didn’t exist. In the first quote he was making a point in support of his punctuated equilibrium theory (see Creationwiki’s entry on transitional forms). The same can be said of Raup. He never rejected transitional forms. Aren’t you trying to show that there were/are no transitional forms? Can’t you find someone to quote who actually believes that? Having said that, I am happy to rework the sentence. It seems to me, however, that the introduction must acknowledge that the predominant view amongst evolutionary scientists is that transitional forms do exist. Otherwise the quotes will inevitably mislead.
2. Of course the claims have validity. I understand that you don’t accept them but the bulk of the relevant scientific community do accept them. You are in the minority. And yes, I know that this is not a vote, but unless you have actually serious qualifications in the area (and I don’t count theological qualifications) then surely we must rely on the experts.
3. Your use of the term “storytelling” is quaint. I do not see it as being in any way helpful. I imagine that you didn’t even realise the irony attaching to a creationist talking about evolutionary theory as storytelling.
4. I suggest that, given our obvious dislike for the other’s views, we proceed methodically. I have looked at a number of “controversial” pages on the site and I see that many are full of one-sided rhetoric and devoid of serious scientific information. I hope that we can make a sensible compromise here. I am certainly happy to attempt to be as even handed and as fair as possible.
5. I note the suggestion above in relation to a picture. Would you be amenable to that? --Merriweather 15:55, 3 March 2008 (EST)
"...your quotes give a false impression.": How so?
"Gould never suggested that transitional forms didn’t exist...": His words were "extreme rarity", not "non-existence", so I'd go along with that. But then that's what the quote says, so I don't see the problem.
"In the first quote he was making a point in support of his punctuated equilibrium theory (see Creationwiki’s entry on transitional forms).": Yes, because PE supposedly explains the lack of transitional forms.
"[Raup] never rejected transitional forms.": I didn't say that he did. Evolutionists believe that they must exist, and even people like Gould and Raup likely believe(d) that some exist. But the general impression given the public is that there are lots of them, whereas experts such as Gould et. al. admit that the supposed abundance of transitional forms is a myth. Patterson probably put it best: he said that there are none "for which one could make a watertight argument". Not that there are absolutely none at all, but that there may be some, but not that one could be certain about. That is, despite there being no conclusive evidence of transitional fossils, they cling to thoughts that do exist.
"Aren’t you trying to show that there were/are no transitional forms?": I'm trying to show that there is no convincing evidence of transitional forms, and therefore no reason to believe that they exist. This is different to proving that they don't exist (which is impossible anyway). The point is that if even those that believe that they should exist (Gould, Patterson, Raup, Darwin) admit that the evidence is severely lacking (Gould, Patterson, Raup) or not conclusive (Patterson) and that it is less than predicted by the theory (Raup cf. Darwin), then the reasonable conclusion is that the creationary explanation (which predicts their non-existence) is the better explanation than the evolutionary one which predicts that they should exist in great numbers (Darwin). Gould's PE theory is a variation on the evolutionary explanation that tries to explain why the evidence expected by evolution is lacking, and is therefore really based on a lack of evidence than on evidence.
To clarify a point, though, that may be causing confusion, the creation view predicts that there will be no transitional forms between the created kinds, not that there won't be transitional forms within created kinds. For example, there won't be transitional forms between amphibians and birds, but there would be between sheep and goats (or the common ancestor of sheep and goats), because sheep and goats are of the same created kind.
"It seems to me, however, that the introduction must acknowledge that the predominant view amongst evolutionary scientists is that transitional forms do exist.": I'm happy for the article to say that that's what they believe, but it should also point out that evidence for that belief is severely lacking.
"Of course the claims have validity.": Of course?
"...the bulk of the relevant scientific community do accept them.": That might depend on what you mean by "relevant".
"...surely we must rely on the experts.": Perhaps that's why we have quotes from experts?
"Your use of the term “storytelling” is quaint. I do not see it as being in any way helpful. I imagine that you didn’t even realise the irony attaching to a creationist talking about evolutionary theory as storytelling.": Quaint? Not helpful? On the contrary, I think it's a pretty accurate, and therefore helpful, description. Irony? Ironic that a creationist who bases his views on observation (by the author of the Bible) and evidence (fossils, etc.) calls a view that is not based on observation "storytelling"? How is that "ironic"?
"I see that many are full of one-sided rhetoric and devoid of serious scientific information.": The site is still young, which is an excuse that Wikipedia doesn't have, despite it having the same problem.
"I am certainly happy to attempt to be as even handed and as fair as possible.": I don't know how "possible" it is for you to be even handed and fair, but I welcome the desire.
Regarding the picture, I don't know if that one is available (or copyrighted), but I've no objection as long as it's not presented as being correct.
Philip J. Rayment 20:13, 3 March 2008 (EST)

Lacking any further discussion here and having now read the New Scientist article quoted herein, I've altered the "fishbian" example to show that the claim is not supported by the evidence, and to remove the other claims. I've also added a section about the problem of identification. This is, as much as anything, the problem with the examples that I removed. They amount to identifying fossils that have some characteristics in common with two other groups, but the claims gloss over the differences and in no way are the examples unambiguously transitional. The pinniped one, for example, identified a pinniped which had some features not found in other pinnipeds, as one might expect if evolution was true. But the claim that it was intermediate between pinnipeds and bears was a huge leap. Philip J. Rayment 06:41, 8 March 2008 (EST)

I apologise for my recent absence. I'm back now and I see that whilst I was away you have done your best to push your own agenda in the article. Very disappointing. I was hoping to co-operate on an article that was even-handed and represented both views clearly and without misleading readers. You appear to be able to talk the talk (on the talk page) but you are incapable of walking the walk (in the article). --Merriweather 20:30, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
I believe that the "agenda" that I've "pushed" is accuracy. Yes, it doesn't favourably represent the pro-evolution view that there are transitional fossils, but that's because there are no transitional fossils. The New Scientist article, in making such weak claims as those but calling them the "best documented" just served to show how little evidence there is for transitional forms.
I accept that the pro-evolutionary view is not treated very favourably in the article. But unlike Wikipedia, we strive for accuracy, not neutrality. Is there anything in the article that is inaccurate?
Philip J. Rayment 06:19, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
I have no doubt that you believe in your agenda. Just as I do in mine. My agenda, however, has the significant advantage of being accepted by the vast majority of scientists working in the field. Yours is a fringe view inspired by your faith, not science. In my view your claim to accuracy is laughable. However, I understand that your view is sincerely held and, as a result, I am happy to incorporate it into an even-handed article. It is not helpful for you to assert that that "we strive for accuracy, not neutrality" in circumstances where you have constructed an article that, as far as I can discern is almost entirely devoid of accuracy. I suggest that the article be divided into sections that set out first of all the evolutionary view of transitional forms (to be written by me) followed by the creationist criticisms (to be written by you). The reason that I suggest that particular order is that the concept is an evolutionary concept and the article ought to accurately explain what a transitional form is before stating why creationists say they don't exist. I would appreciate your assistance in uploading a picture or two to illustrate the article. How does that sound? --Merriweather 09:27, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
Yes, your agenda is consistent with the majority view of scientists, but then science, and accuracy for that matter, is not decided by majority views, is it?
My "fringe" view is not all that fringe, and it no more inspired by faith than is the atheistic origins myth believed by the majority of scientists. No, I guess my comment about accuracy over neutrality is not "helpful" if indeed the article is devoid of accuracy, but of course the former is dependent on the latter being true, and I reject that the latter is true. That is, I reject that the article is devoid of accuracy.
What do you mean by "the evolutionary view of transitional forms"? Are you talking about the "evolutionary view" of what a transitional form is? Or of their existence?
Evolutionists tend to change their definitions when it suits (see Definition of evolution), and I suspect the same applies to transitional forms. I don't mind defining the term up front, but if you are claiming precedence because evolutionists came up with the concept, then it should represent the concept that they came up with, not a recent redefinition of it (which is not to say that a recent redefinition can't be covered elsewhere in the article).
Andy abhors "placement bias", so it probably won't be feasible to put too much evolutionary stuff too close to the beginning, but please go ahead and write a more detailed explanation of what a transitional form is. The existing section before the first heading should be considered a summary introduction to the article, and there is already a definition there. So this can remain (perhaps with some small modification), but could be followed by a new section (before the "Identification problem" section) with a more detailed explanation.
As for the rest of your suggestion of the article layout, this is supposed to be an article, not a debate, but how about we leave that until after you've written a more detailed explanation of what a transitional form is?
I'd be happy to help with uploading pictures, as long as they are free for Conservapedia to use. I would tend to err on the side of caution with such things.
Philip J. Rayment 03:17, 15 March 2008 (EDT)