Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES- 150 Year Anniversary, November 24, 2009

One hundred and fifty years ago today, a book that became the foundation of evolutionary biology was published.

I want to recognize this monumental achievement and remember Darwin and [Wallace] today for the work that brought mankind out of the dark world of superstition and ignorance and into the bright, lucid light of scientific knowledge.

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection


Anonymous said...

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then ... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

This week was the anniversary of JFK's death. The 46th Anniversary of his Assassination
There were no official ceremonies or events for the anniversary and there were no officials making speeches as they do on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death every year. WHY?
There were hundreds of tourists, conspiracy theorists, history buffs and others on hand to mark the anniversary, but no one of importance were to be found anywhere. WHY?

Tom said...

Congratulations to Darwin and his observations of fact that led to his theories of how natural growth occurs in the natural World.
It should be noted that he was a religious man and never thought, or intended his findings to be used as a denial of God, or the text of the Bible.
We have spent decades proving the theories of Einstein and still will have to wait for our technology to catch up with proving the rest of his theories. The same is true of Darwin's theories. Scientists who dig in the Earth to reveal the truth of our past, have shown Darwin was correct.
Darwin would be surprised to know of some of the facts that have been found, but it would not change his mind about evolution, and the people of the World (regardless of their religion) still believe in evolution.
If God is, then he certainly can withstand the Scientific facts revealed about the Earth he created. What is there to fear? What is there to deny? Are we not in fact, just factually proving the complexity of his creation?

Monkey's Uncle said...

Darwin was a genius.

Anyone who says Evolution is only a "theory" has got to be dumber than a monkey's banana.

dmarks said...

Nap: I happen to think that Dr. King was a much more significant figure in history than JFK was.

besides, we already have a Presidents' Day. Finally, in regards to "there were no officials making speeches as they do on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death every year", the real big celebration of Dr. King and his accomplishments is on his birthday, not the date of his assassination.

Jim said...

“We also share
about 50% of our DNA with bananas and that doesn’t make
us half bananas...” Steven Jones, a renowned British geneticist

"Why, if species have descended from other
species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see
innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature
in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see
them, well defined?… As by this theory innumerable
transitional forms must have existed, why do we not
find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust
of the earth?" Charles Darwin

Darwin knew that the lack of transitional forms would be the Achilles heel of his theory. And on this 150 anniversary not one has been found.

I guess MU can't be a liberal by Napqueen's definition. ;-)

dmarks said...

Jim said: "“We also share
about 50% of our DNA with bananas and that doesn’t make
us half bananas.."

Oh yeah? Look at the voting results last November.

(Yeah, that's a partisan dig. But readers can choose which side to dig at!).

Shaw Kenawe said...


I believe this is the Steven Jones you mentioned in your comment:

From Wikipedia:

"Jones has stated that creationism is "anti-science" and criticised creationists such as Ken Ham. Jones suggested in a BBC Radio Ulster interview in 2006 that Creationists should be disallowed from being medical doctors because "all of its (Creationism's) claims fly in the face of the whole of science" and he further claimed that no serious biologist can believe in biblical creation. For Jones, 'evolution is the grammar of biology'. Jones elaborated on his full position on creationism in a public lecture entitled 'Why creationism is wrong and evolution is right'."

As to the second part of your statement by Darwin:

Thousands of transitional forms had not been discovered when Darwin made those statements. Here are just two significant discoveries of verified transitional fossils:

"Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, the nearly 40% complete skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis specimen discovered in 1974 at Hadar in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Depression. Lucy is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago. The discovery of this hominid was significant as the skeleton shows evidence of small skull capacity akin to that of apes and of bipedal upright walk akin to that of humans, providing further evidence that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size in human evolution.

In 1994, a new hominid, Ardi was found, pushing back the earliest known hominid date to 4.4 million years ago. Details of this discovery were finally published in October 2009."

Since Darwin's death thousands of transitional fossils of all living and extinct forms of life have been discovered.

Again from Wiki:

"In 1859, when Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published, the fossil record was poorly known, and Darwin described the lack of transitional fossils as "the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory", but explained it by the extreme imperfection of the geological record.

He noted the limited collections available at that time, but described the available information as showing patterns which followed from his theory of descent with modification through natural selection.

Indeed, Archaeopteryx was discovered just two years later, in 1861, and represents a classic transitional form between dinosaurs and birds. Many more transitional fossils have been discovered since then and it is now considered that there is abundant evidence of how all the major groups of animals are related, much of it in the form of transitional fossils."

I'm glad to be able to clear up your misunderstanding on this subject.

Jim said...

Ah, SK, I warned you already about using Wiki as a source. Very unreliable. Biased. Try a real encyclopedia, Brittanica comes to mind.

Harvard paleontologist
Stephen Jay Gould writes:
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the
fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.
The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have
data only at the tips and nodes of their branches;
the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the
evidence of fossils.… All paleontologists know that
the fossil record contains precious little in the way of
intermediate forms; transitions between major groups
are characteristically abrupt.

Mr. Gould wrote that in 1980. And now we are to believe there are thousands of transitional forms found since 1980 when the prior near century and a half produced not one credible example?

Again SK you are avoiding how the heart, lungs, blood, etc. evolved. Why? And here's one more to ponder. Eyes.

Evolutionist Robert Jastrow acknowledges that highly trained
scientists could not have improved upon “blind chance”:
The eye appears to have been designed; no designer
of telescopes could have done better. How could
this marvelous instrument have evolved by chance,
through a succession of random events? Many people
in Darwin’s day agreed with theologian William
Pauley, who commented, “There cannot be a design
without a designer.”

O well, I see that as in the theory of manmade global warming not all scientists believe in Darwin's theory. They must be bananas.

Tom said...

Prof. Gould did not deny evolution, he disagreed with the process that most scientists say it occurs.

In fact, you can read for yourself (below) that he basis all his inquiries about evolution on Darwin's 200 year old observations.

It's nice that Prof. Gould had hindsight and modern technology.

Prof. Gould certainly does not support creationism.

It's pretty dishonest for you to pick one quote out of context and claim Prof. Gould is saying something, he is not.

If your mind was as open as Prof. Goulds, or all other scientists, you would understand that we do not know everything yet, and it my be centuries before we do.

That's why it is called a theory. As Prof. Gould states in these following quotes, the theory of evolution has merit far beyond creationism.

Here are a few quotes by Prof. Gould.

“The anatomical transition from reptiles to mammals is particularly well documented in the key anatomical change of jaw articulation to hearing bones. Only one bone, called the dentary, builds the mammalian jaw, while reptiles retain several small bones in the rear portion of the jaw. We can trace, through a lovely sequence of intermediates, the reduction of these small reptilian bones, and their eventual disappearance or exclusion from the jaw, including the remarkable passage of the reptilian articulation bones into the mammalian middle ear (where they became our malleus and incus, or hammer and anvil). We have even found the transitional form that creationists often proclaim inconceivable in theory—for how can jawbones become ear bones if intermediaries must live with an unhinged jaw before the new joint forms? The transitional species maintains a double jaw joint, with both the old articulation of reptiles (quadrate to articular bones) and the new connection of mammals (squamosal to dentary) already in place! Thus, one joint could be lost, with passage of its bones into the ear, while the other articulation continued to guarantee a properly hinged jaw. Still, our creationist incubi, who would never let facts spoil a favorite argument, refuse to yield, and continue to assert the absence of all transitional forms by ignoring those that have been found, and continuing to taunt us with admittedly frequent examples of absence.”


Tom said...


— "Hooking Leviathan by Its Past," Dinosaur in a Haystack, New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997, pp. 360-361.

“Scientific claims must be testable; we must, in principal, be able to envision a set of observations that would render them false. Miracles cannot be judged by this criterion, as Whitcomb and Morris have admitted. But is all creationists writing merely about untestable singularities? Are arguments never made in proper scientific form? Creationists do offer some testable statements, and these are amenable to scientific analysis. Why, then, do I continue to claim that creationism isn't science? Simply because these relatively few statements have been tested and conclusively refuted.”

— "Genesis vs. Geology" In Ashley Montagu, ed., Science and Creationism, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp. 130-131.

“Our creationist detractors charge that evolution is an unproved and unprovable charade—a secular religion masquerading as science. They claim, above all, that evolution generates no predictions, never exposes itself to test, and therefore stands as dogma rather than disprovable science. This claim is nonsense. We make and test risky predictions all the time; our success is not dogma, but a highly probable indication of evolution's basic truth.”

— "Magnolias from Moscow," Dinosaur in a Haystack, New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997, p. 409.

“Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.”

— "Evolution as Fact and Theory," Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, New York: W. W. Norton, 1994, p. 254.

“�Creation science� has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and because good teachers understand exactly why it is false. What could be more destructive of that most fragile yet most precious commodity in our entire intellectual heritage—good teaching—than a bill forcing honorable teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to undermine any general understanding of science as an enterprise?”

— "Verdict on Creationism," The Skeptical Inquirer, 1988, 12 (2): 186.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you, Tom, for posting that.

I just didn't have time today to show Jim the error in his comment.

Shaw Kenawe said...


You should spend a little time reading this blog to see how dishonest Creationists are when they pull quotes from scientists out of context to try to prove something they did not say.

I've said before that I don't discuss whether or not someone "believes" in Evolution. That would be like trying to discuss with someone whether or not he or she "believes" in the theory of gravity.

Jim, seriously, you need to carefully read the data, and not go to Creationist websites to copy and paste their specious arguments.

Shaw Kenawe said...

And finally, Jim, here's the ENTIRE quote which you cherry picked to illustrate that, well, you cherry picked sentences that actually DID NOT SAY WHAT YOU THINK THEY SAID:

Quote #41

"All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. Gradualists usually extract themselves from this dilemma by invoking the extreme imperfection of the fossil record." (Gould, Stephen J., The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 189)

[Following right after]

"Although I reject this argument (for reasons discussed in ["The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change"]), let us grant the traditional escape and ask a different question. Even though we have no direct evidence for smooth transitions, can we invent a reasonable sequence of intermediate forms -- that is, viable, functioning organisms -- between ancestors and descendants in major structural transitions? Of what possible use are the imperfect incipient stages of useful structures? What good is half a jaw or half a wing? The concept of preadaptation provides the conventional answer by permitting us to argue that incipient stages performed different functions. The half jaw worked perfectly well as a series of gill-supporting bones; the half wing may have trapped prey or controlled body temperature. I regard preadaptation as an important, even an indispensable, concept. But a plausible story is not necessarily true. I do not doubt that preadaptation can save gradualism in some cases, but does it permit us to invent a tale of continuity in most or all cases? I submit, although it may only reflect my lack of imagination, that the answer is no, and I invoke two recently supported cases of discontinuous change in my defense.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Such dishonesty is unbecoming. The Creationist websites you grabbed those examples from are being deceitful. They're hoping you'll read just PART of a paragraph and not go looking for the truth of the WHOLE STATEMENT.

Jim said...

Assumptions are like . . . well you all know that one. And you assume way to much SK.

I worked for almost a dozen years at the most advanced research facility in the world. The leading edge of chemistry, physics, computer generated graphics (hollywood types came to use our equipment at times), biology, and cryogenics. I had an opportunity to discuss issues of race and ethics and evolution with some of the top scientists in the world. That place is AMGEN in Thousand Oaks CA. So much for your assumptions.

I was able to have several discussions with the following scientist. He is smart, caring, and a gentleman.

Dr. Francis Collins

Jim said...

The quotes used were to illustrate that evolutionists have all along noted the difficulties of their theory. As they should.

Evolution Theory still can't answer any basic concepts of how the eyes, ears, lungs and heart came to be! And why they are so similar in so many different animals!

Evolutionists love to use fact vs theory and then go into convulsions about the mechanisms!

Jim said...

The rooting of the Tree of Life, and the relationships of the major lineages, are controversial. The monophyly of Archaea is uncertain, and recent evidence for ancient lateral transfers of genes indicates that a highly complex model is needed to adequately represent the phylogenetic relationships among the major lineages of Life. We hope to provide a comprehensive discussion of these issues on this page soon. For the time being, please refer to the papers listed in the References section.
Tree of Life Web Project

Controversy? I was led to believe that the science was not in dispute. Nothing here, move along.

Humm, just as in the Big Bang THEORY, the beginnings from a single cell organism is in doubt. Study the Root of the Tree in the link above.

O I almost forgot, the esteemed Mr. Gould used a bush instead. The tree analogy being too simple I suppose.


Tom said...

"I was led to believe that the science was not in dispute."

Then you are wrong. Wrong because you listen to the fringe in the field, like The Tree of Life group.

Of course there is dispute.

As I pointed out before these are theories. But disregard that fact, and try to make it appear that one side is correct and the other is factually wrong.

The dishonesty you use in your debate, means this debate is over, as far as I am concerned.

As Shaw said, you need to educate yourself on the facts and science of the theory of evolution.

Anonymous said...

Good blog. If you like this crap.

Jim said...


Jim said...

Well, guess I lit up the lights on Tom's tree! ;-)

I don't give a twit about my ancient, ancient, very ancient ancestors. Monkey, gorilla, orangutan, blue green algae, pond scum, whatever. But. If you gonna make the statement that that is how it is. Prove it. Show me. The science ain't done it yet and some person with a high degree of education interpreting some fragment of a skull ain't done it either! (O man, that's gonna piss off Mr. Fogg, all that country witticisms.)

Why is it that some animals haven't "evolved" for millions of years? Or roaches and ants? Have their adaptions to environments ceased? No need for "natural selections"?

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Jim: "Why is it that some animals haven't "evolved" for millions of years?"

For the same reason, I suppose, that there are human beings who refuse to learn something new or embrace new knowledge, who remain stuck inside their teeny minds, and who engage in dishonest arguments even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There are some folks who would call these human beings delusional, some who would call them backwards, and some who would call them merely irrelevant.