Re: transitional fossils

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Mon Dec 05 2005 - 09:22:13 EST

Just a few brief comments from someone who has focused on transitional economics (economies), if not on petrified plants, animals and fossil samples.
   
  "The term 'Transitional forms' is not a theory-neutral description of
the data. Those forms are 'transitional' if evolution is true." - C. Hunter
   
  This is a semantics argument. Economists have had it also. Is an economy in transition or not? How can that be decided? What are the pace or rate of transition? What affects transition? There is no use hand-waving away those who agree to speak about it, especially the professional societies.
   
  Well, we know that economies change-over-time and 'transition' has become a useful concept for describing certain changes in properties, structures, functions, shapes, sizes, meanings and values of economies. It doesn't help at all if someone simply says, 'Your (economic or biological) concept is invalid - instead why not try using design theory instead.' It is more positively cooperative to ask what the concept 'transition' helps us to understand that before was ambiguous or less understandable.
   
  Is Cornelius really arguing against mutability or the idea that species change? Or is he just arguing against common descent as an objectionable scientific philosophy?
   
  "The only hypotheses that are clearly outside of evolution are supernatural ones." - C. Hunter
   
  It appears that the only non-evolutionary hypothesis for Cornelius is 'there's a supernatural explanation for that.' Darwin was not merely trying 'to overthrow special creation' - this is a reductionistic view that betrays reality. He built a theory about processes of change in plants, animals and ultimately people which has fascinated scientists and non-scientists around the world. Ignoring the merits of Darwin's contribution for a one-sided ideological opposition verges on utter nonsense. Respect for a scientist goes much further towards peacefully resolving disagreements over his or her ideas.
   
  In fact, there are non-evolutionary hypotheses that are not supernatural and even that have nothing to do with fossils. At least one I know about closely.
   
  "When evolutionists ask this 'What's your theory?' question it is difficult to know how to answer, since the evolutionist has already accepted a theory with so many problems, and yet denies there are any problems." - C. Hunter
   
  Well, i can't think of an alternative theory in biology (though I am not persoanlly 'in biology') that explains the evidence better than Darwin's ideas in combination with a wealth of research knowledge gathered in years following his publications. Many scientists continue to remain faithful to the evolutionary narrative. It is attackful and impolite to label people pejoratively as 'evolutionists' as if all evolutionists are closed-minded and academically backwards - this is untrue and counterproductive to improving dialogue.
   
  Many theists accept evolutionary science for the contributions it has made, directly or indirectly to their disciplines. It is likely only intelligent design theorists and creationists in America that are challenging specilized scientific claims with general ideological alternatives. In the past, Cornelius has not answered some of my direct questions and would not distinguish if there are any forms of evolution which he agrees with or accepts as scientifically useful. I wonder why.

  Otoh:
  "Common descent is the core of the general theory of evolution. Non-evolutionary means a model that does not accept common descent." - Keith Miller
     
  If you'll accept the criticism, I beg to differ that there is a single 'general theory of evolution.' Probably upon reflection Keith will agree. There are actually many 'theories of evolution,' which is why one of the most well-known Christians of the 20th century referred to it that way. For example, there many be a consensus about evolution in geology, but not in anthropoogy, familiar agreement in botany, but not in cognitive studies. Evolutionary theory is multi-disciplinary and cannot (any longer) be 'claimed' by one academic discipline.
   
  For example, 'common descent' is also used by historians, not just paleontologists. Hopefully this helps to contextualize who is making what claims about evolution and on what basis.
   
  Cheers,
   
  Gregory

   
  
Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu> wrote:
    
Please name one falsified prediction of the general theory of evolution
(ie. common descent). Also please provide any non-evolutionary theory that explains the fossil evidence that common descent effectively predicted.

Keith

Keith B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
785-532-2250
http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~kbmill/
  

                
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Received on Mon Dec 5 09:24:20 2005

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