Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ray Comfort's Lies in Origin of Species, refuted pages 19-23

First, let's start by having you open this document and turn immediately to the 19th page. (Sec1:15). I will be starting this section pretty much where I left off the last one, at the section titled "Transitional Forms." Please feel free to follow along at home so you know I'm not warping Comfort's words, nor am I putting words in his mouth.

For the record, for any and all words copied verbatim from Mr. Comfort's document, I am claiming fair use under section 107 of the US copyright code. Specifically, those provisions which allow for use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In this case, the intent is to offer criticism of a clearly fraudulent document, and thereby falls under even the most stringent definition of the fair use statute.

When Darwin wrote Origin of Species, he had a lot of ideas and conjecture about how this immense variety of life came about. But what evidence do we now have that his ideas were correct?

The answer to Ray Comfort's question, of course, is an absolutely huge amount.

For starters, we have a pattern of endogenous retroviruses which could only have arisen if human beings, the the other great apes, monkeys, and lemurs all shared a distant common ancestor.

We have the fusion of chromosome #2 which can easily be explained by common ancestry between us and all of the other primates, or by the existence of a malicious and deceptive being who wanted to make it look as if evolution had occurred.

We have the morphological nested hierarchy of organisms both extant and extinct first described by Linnaeus, a Christian Creationist, which is rather elegantly explained by the theory of evolution.

We have observed instances of speciation in the laboratory, and in nature which have occurred just in the time that human beings have been on the scene.

We have an abundance of transitional species which are laid out in exactly the way that evolution demands that they be laid out, and that Ray Comfort is about to insist do not exist.

And that's just the barest scratch of the surface.

If evolution were true, and humans and chimps did have a common ancestor, we would expect to find something that is half-monkey/half-man. These intermediate stages where one species supposedly evolves into another species are called “transitional forms.”

Two sentences, two lies. That's a record, even for Ray Comfort.

It is completely and logically impossible to have anything that is "half monkey, half man" in much the same way that it is completely impossible to have anything that is "half dog, half vertebrate," or "half dog, half mammal." That's lie number 1.

Lie number two is that not only does the theory of evolution not predict that there should be something that is "half-monkey, half-man," it would actually be disproved on the spot if we were to ever find such a thing.

The only way to objectively classify animals is by their shared properties: properties that they share and which are never, ever found outside of that group. Primates, the smallest cladistic group which includes all animals with every last one of the shared properties of the monkeys, also includes human beings. Primates, collectively, are defined as any gill-less, organic RNA/DNA protein-based, metabolic, metazoic, nucleic, diploid, bilaterally-symmetrical, endothermic, digestive, tryploblast, opisthokont, deuterostome coelemate with a spinal chord and 12 cranial nerves connecting to a limbic system in an enlarged cerebrial cortex with a reduced olfactory region inside a jawed-skull with specialized teeth including canines and premolars, forward-oriented fully-enclosed optical orbits, and a single temporal fenestra, -attached to a vertebrate hind-leg dominant tetrapoidal skeleton with a sacral pelvis, clavical, and wrist & ankle bones; and having lungs, tear ducts, body-wide hair follicles, lactal mammaries, opposable thumbs, and keratinized dermis with chitinous nails on all five digits on all four extremities, in addition to an embryonic development in amniotic fluid, leading to a placental birth and highly social lifestyle. This definition includes absolutely all of the monkeys (old and new world), lemurs, tarsiers, and apes.

This definition also includes you. Not only that, but it's impossible to separate you from this definition. No matter how many properties you listed out that described all of the monkeys, you could not separate yourself from that definition.

A subset of "monkey" is a group known as the great apes. They have further defining characteristics such as a specialized dentition, a tail which has shrunk to the point that it no longer protrudes beyond the skin, and a greatly increased range of motion in the shoulder. You have absolutely every one of the shared properties of the great apes.

A subset of the great apes is a much smaller cladistic group known as genus homo, of which all known examples are extinct except for Homo Sapiens.

So, not only should we not find anything that is half-human, half-monkey, evolution actually demands that we be fully monkey and fully human.

Actually, not only must we be fully monkey, we must have absolutely every last one of the shared properties that all other primates share in order for our common ancestry to be true.

If, for example, human beings had every single one of the shared properties that all primates shared, except that we were proteostomes, that, on its own, would be sufficient to disprove our common ancestry on the spot. Instead, we fit in exactly with the predictions of evolution.

One thing that has to be mentioned is that this isn't a construct of "evolutionists" that resulted in this classification. The person who first described human beings as "primates" was not only a Christian, but a creationist who, unless he had also discovered time travel, could not possibly have been attempting to support either Darwin or his theories, as neither would exist until over three decades after his death.

I want to point out, that is just from one paragraph. In one paragraph, two sentences, Ray Comfort told two lies so audacious, it took the better part of several pages to adequately refute them.

And it doesn't get much better from here.

Because evolution is said to have happened in the past,

Lie #3. Evolution is not said to be have happened in the past, it's happening right now. It's a continuous process. It didn't stop happening just because we happen to be around here to see it happen.

As a consequence, we do see it happening in species which have a short enough generation time to observe it. Bacteria, who have a generation time measured in hours rather than years have a shockingly fast rate of evolution. Among other things, they develop antibiotic resistances all the time, and it's a constant arms race to keep ahead of their staggeringly fast evolution.

HIV is constantly evolving ways of avoiding antiretroviral drugs. Yet another arms race that we're constantly facing. Recent comparisons between modern HIV strains and some of the earliest known samples was performed. They show about as much similarity to each other as you do to your average aardvark. By even the most stringent standard, this constitutes "macroevolution."

Bacteria have evolved the ability to metabolize nylon, a compound which did not exist until 30 years ago, and to metabolize TNT.

Richard Lenski recently ran a long-term evolutionary experiment on e. coli where they developed an ability they did not possess before: the ability to metabolize citrate.

In recent times, we've observed speciation in drosophila. Furthermore, we've observed something called ring species which is literally an evolutionary lineage laid out geographically. At the opposite ends of this line, the species cannot successfully interbreed, but any two adjacent species therein can. In a true ring species, the lineage is stretched in a circle, where the two ends are in close proximity to each other, so you end up with two species, occupying a similar geographic region, but which cannot interbreed.

Whether the theory of evolution is a fable or a fact should be seen in the fossil evidence.

Yet another lie. As a woman who studies the evolution of HIV put it, "if Darwin and Wallace had opened up a resort in Cuba rather than going into science, if every single fossil were still hidden, then the instant we found endogenous retroviruses, and understood what they were and what they meant, then the fact of common descent would have hit us in the head like a sackful of doorknobs."

If evolution were true, the fossil record should reveal millions of transitional forms, as life gradually evolved from one species to another.

Which it does. We have, literally, millions of transitional fossils.

What we don't have is Ray Comfort's straw-man version of what a "Transitional Fossil" would entail.

The next paragraph is Ray Comfort again making the bald-faced false statement that "there are no transitional fossils."

In other words, he insists that not a single one of these exist.

Incidentally, that's an exceedingly short list.

Interestingly enough, Ray Comfort is about to name two transitional fossils himself without realizing it.

Excited evolutionists believed that they found one back in 1999. A Chinese farmer glued together the head and body of a primitive bird and the tail and hind limbs of a dromaeosaur dinosaur, and completely fooled the worldwide scientific community (including National Geographic magazine) into thinking that they had found the “missing link” between carnivorous dinosaurs and modern birds. Called Archaeoraptor, it was quickly exposed as a fraud.

Note two things:

1) the reason why it was exposed as a fraud was exactly because it failed to line up with evolutionary predictions. The two parts of Archaeoraptor seemed to be a part of two completely separate transitional series.

2) Ray Comfort does not identify the two species that make up Archaeoraptor.

Without admitting it, Ray Comfort has just identified two species which even meet the most stringent definition of a "transitional species." Archaeoraptor is made up of two species (Yanornis martini, the body, and Microraptor zhaoianus, the tail). Both are perfect examples of "transitional species" which meet any definition of the term pertinent to evolution.

They do not, however, meet Ray Comfort's straw man version of what he thinks a "transitional fossil" should be.

Aside from “feathered dinosaurs,” many other supposed “missing links” have been debunked.

First off, feathered dinosaurs have not been debunked. Among others Archaeopteryx is a valid fossil with feathers which was capable of limited flight.

For example, a Berkeley website claims that “there are numerous examples of transitional forms in the fossil record, providing an abundance of evidence for change over time.” The only example they cite as proof is Pakicetus.

Comfort looks at a website which shows a general overview of evolution, and doesn't bother to look farther.

If he did, he would find, in addition to Pakicetus:

Ambulocetus natans: Early to Middle Eocene, (predating Pakicetus).

Indocetus ramani: earliest Middle Eocene

Dorudon: the dominant cetacean of the late Eocene. Their tiny hind limbs were not involved in locomotion. They were, however, perfectly adapted for swimming.

Basilosaurus: A fully aquatic whale with structurally complete legs

an early baleen whale with its blowhole far forward and some structural features found in land animals but not later whales.

You know, all those transitional fossil thingies that Ray Comfort seems to think don't exist.

Now, a slightly further search by Ray Comfort would have revealed that the closest living relative to the ceteans is the Hippopotamus. Had he bothered looking further, he would have found that the link between the two known as anthracotheres, a family which is very well represented in the fossil record.

I'll continue further later. Suffice it to say, I can only take Comfort's blatant lies in small doses.

1 comment:

will m said...

I sent a message about a collaborative project to create a handout refuting Ray's thing. Check your fb inbox.