Re: Scientist disputes fossil is 'missing link' between dinosaurs, birds etc

From: Stephen E. Jones (
Date: Tue Jan 25 2000 - 07:24:06 EST

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    Below are web article links, headlines and/or paragraphs for the
    period 15-21 January, in descending date order, with my
    comments in square brackets.


    ================================================== CNN ...
    Scientist disputes fossil is 'missing link' between dinosaurs, birds Some
    believe the fossils represent dinosaurs that are the immediate ancestors of
    the first birds January 21, 2000 ... BEIJING (AP) -- A fossil hailed as an
    important find for the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs is really a
    composite of fossils from different creatures, a Chinese scientist says. Xu
    Xing, an eminent paleontologist in Beijing, said he has found fossils that
    prove the fossilized turkey-sized creature unveiled last year may not be the
    evolutionary link some thought it was. ... Also at: &
    National Geographic Society ... January 21, 2000 Dino-Bird Fossil
    Controversy Continued studies of a fossil specimen that was first thought
    to be a missing link between dinosaurs and birds have revealed that the
    fossil may be the remains of two or more extinct creatures. ...a primitive
    toothed bird and another portion may be the tail of a dromaeosaurid
    dinosaur. ... "It was disappointing to learn that Archaeoraptor may be a
    combination of animals," said Christopher Sloan, senior assistant editor of
    NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and author of the magazine's article about
    the find, published last November. "But we're still convinced that
    Archaeoraptor is an important specimen. After all, if it is a composite, it is
    a composite of some very important 125 million-year-old fossils." ... [Now
    *that's* what I call putting a positive spin on it! In the CNN and LA Times
    articles, Xu Xing says it more truthfully: "For science, this is a disaster."]
    CNN ... 'Coming of Age in Samoa' named 20th century's worst nonfiction
    ... January 21, 2000 ... HONOLULU (AP) -- In 1925, a 23-year-old New
    York City college student set sail for American Samoa to observe the
    transition from childhood to adulthood among members of a primitive
    culture. ... What she concluded after visiting the Manu'an Islands 2,300
    miles south of Hawaii was that teen-age girls and boys there were free of
    the hang-ups of their Western counterparts and that sexual promiscuity was
    common. "Samoans laugh at stories of romantic love, scoff at fidelity to a
    long absent wife or mistress, believe explicitly that one love will quickly
    cure another," Mead wrote in the best-selling "Coming of Age in Samoa."
    Those conclusions long have been scoffed at by American Samoans. And
    now a conservative academic think tank promises to keep the debate going
    by naming Mead's 1928 treatise the worst nonfiction book of the past 100
    years. ... "So amusing did the natives find the white women's prurient
    questions that they told her the wildest tales -- and she believed them!" the
    46- year-old nonprofit institute wrote recently. ... [It is incredible that
    Mead did not realise that asking leading sex questions of teenagers in a
    small community would elicit the sort of response that they thought she
    wanted to hear. One can imagine the teenagers comparing notes afterwards
    and vying to tell the most outrageous story! Another case of science
    believing what it wants to believe, going out looking for the evidence to
    support its theory, and not subjecting it to rigorous testing and sceptical
    analysis. Now what other science does that? :-) It would be funny if it
    wasn't for the *devastating* effect such `science' has had on society.] Yahoo!
    ... Wednesday January 19 ... Male Sex Genes Evolve More Quickly,
    Scientists Say LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States have
    uncovered new evidence which they say supports Charles Darwin's theory
    that the desire to mate is the strongest driving force behind evolution. ...
    researchers from the University of Chicago said genes linked to mating in
    male monkeys and humans have evolved much faster than other genes
    because of competition and pressures to find a mate. ... Wu and his
    colleagues discovered the accelerated evolution of the male sex genes by
    studying three sets of genes linked to sperm production in chimpanzees,
    gorillas, orangutans and humans. The genes from different humans were
    virtually the same but when they compared the human genes with the
    chimpanzees' the researchers were surprised to find they were very
    different. The scientists had expected the genes to be similar in accordance
    with a theory of evolution that says even after millions of years of evolution
    genes of closely related species should be barely distinguishable from one
    another. ... [Let me get this straight. If humans' and chimps' genes were the
    same that would be "in accordance with a theory of evolution". But when
    they turned out to be different that "supports Charles Darwin's theory ...
    [of] ...evolution"? Wow! What a theory! :-)]
    CNN ... Scientists: Ancient Earth wobble slightly shifted poles January 21,
    2000 ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- Suddenly, long ago, something changed
    the Earth's weight distribution, causing the planet to roll slightly before
    slowly returning to normal, say a pair of scientists studying underwater
    volcanoes. They're not sure just what happened 84 million years ago, but
    they have collected evidence they believe shows the planet shifted like an
    out-of-balance ball, relocating the poles and moving the location of
    Washington to the tropics. "What it appears that happened, was a rapid
    shift," followed by a "slow recovery to where things are today," said
    William W. Sager of Texas A&M University. ... [If this did happen, it is
    interesting that the Earth's design caused it to recover its initial
    Yahoo! ... Tuesday January 18 ... Biggest Dinosaur Believed Dug Up in
    Argentina By Lucila Sigal BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The bones of what
    may be the largest dinosaur species yet discovered were found by a villager
    in a vulture-ridden series of canyons in Argentina's southern Patagonia
    region, local paleontologists said on Tuesday. The beast is an herbivore
    that stormed the earth during the Cretaceous period up to 105 million years
    ago. Estimates on its length hover between 157 feet and 167 feet. "Two
    cervical vertebrae 3.94 feet high were found, in addition to a femur 6.56
    feet in height and some other indicative bones," paleontologist Carlos
    Munoz, director of the Florentino Ameghino museum in southern Rio
    Negro province, told Reuters. ... [Now that's what I call a *dinosaur*! :-)] Yahoo!
    ... Tuesday January 18 ... New AIDS Drugs Revise Treatment
    Recommendations CHICAGO (Reuters) - Drugs developed in the past few
    years have created new AIDS treatment options tailored to individual
    patients, a panel of experts said on Tuesday in its revised guidelines for
    caregivers. ... "Now we know that eradication with drug therapy alone is
    not a realistic goal at this time. Our new recommendations take this into
    consideration along with long-term-survival," report author Paul
    Volberding of the University of California-San Francisco wrote. Patients
    whose blood level of the virus does not decrease rapidly after the initiation
    of therapy may not be adhering to their drug regimen, or it may reveal the
    drugs are not being absorbed properly or may be a sign of drug resistance.
    Changes in the body's immune system can also negate certain types of
    treatment, the report said." [Sounds like a lot of escape clauses! If the virus
    count goes down the drugs are OK. If the virus count does not go down the
    drugs are still OK! How would they know if the drugs are not OK? And with
    multiple drugs how would they know which ones are OK and which ones
    aren't OK?]
    Yahoo! ... Monday January 17 ... Australia Fish Fossil May Be Distant
    Human Relative CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) - A 400-million-year-
    old fossilized fish recently discovered near an Australian dam may be one
    of the human race's earliest relatives, according to researchers at the
    Australian Museum. Museum research fellow Alex Ritchie said the fossil's
    braincase showed the fish had an eyestalk connecting its eye with its brain.
    It was the first fish of its type to be preserved well enough to show this.
    Ritchie said in a statement it was probably a primitive type of ray-finned
    fish. Previously, it was thought only archaic armored fish and some
    primitive sharks had eyestalks. ... Also at: Nature Science
    Update ... 13 January 2000 relics : Gone fishing HENRY GEE. ....
    Although the still-unnamed fossil resembles those of primitive ray-
    finned fishes already known, it differs in unexpected ways. One is the
    presence of what was once an 'eyestalk' -- a piece of cartilage that
    secured the eyeball in its socket. This feature is found in sharks: its
    presence in a bony fish is remarkable. And disturbing. For it suggests a
    number of possibilities. First, that some, if not many features thought
    to be advanced and exclusive to bony fishes, were once found more
    widely. We are more closely related to sharks than was once thought.
    Could it be that sharks are more advanced, highly evolved vertebrates,
    and that bony fishes are primitive left-overs? This would turn
    conventional wisdom on its head, and horrify most researchers. ...
    [There was an unwebbed article on this in an Australian magazine some
    time ago that I meant to scan but didn't get a round TUIT. If anyone is
    interested I could scan it and email it to them. It will be interesting how
    this turns out. But, even if it doesn't it once again it shows how fragile
    the evolutionist confident transitional fossils claims are. The "Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ" (where is the
    "Transitional Invertebrate Fossils FAQ" BTW) at has:
    "Transition from primitive jawless fish to sharks, skates, and rays".
    That this could easily become "Transition from sharks to primitive
    jawless fish, skates, and rays" (or any combination) without
    evolutionary theory missing a beat, shows how unfalsifiable any
    *specific* common ancestry claims is.]
    Yahoo! ... Monday January 17 ... Canadian Family Scores Hit With Virtual
    Dissection TORONTO (Reuters) - A digital frog that can be dissected at
    the click of a mouse could make high school biology classes easier for the
    faint-hearted. A Canadian mother and son team have created Digital Frog
    International, a small software company based in Pusinch, Ontario which
    has developed a CD-ROM program that allows pupils to dissect a frog
    without the pungent smell of formaldehyde or the ethical objections. ... [I
    hope this is in before I have to cut up my first frog! For those who don't
    know already, I have been accepted into a university Bachelor of Science
    (Biology) degree course, part-time. My daughter told me that one of her
    frogs was discovered to be still alive half-way through the dissection!
    Maybe I'll try to swith to *Theoretical* Biology! :-)] Yahoo!
    ... Monday January 17 ... HIV Infection Among the Young Down in
    Zambia By Manoah Esipisu LUSAKA, Zambia (Reuters) - Changing
    sexual behavior in Zambia has resulted in a decline in HIV infection in the
    key age group of 15 to 19 years, AIDS researchers said Monday. ... The
    report attributed the decline in HIV/AIDS infections to increase in the use
    of condoms, reduction in the number of sexual partners, fear and
    personalizing of AIDS, as well as increased knowledge about preventive
    practices. ... About half of all new HIV infections in the world occur in
    those aged 15 to 24. Nearly 34 million people in the world currently live
    with HIV or AIDS and some 11 million Africans have died of AIDS, while
    a further 22 million are infected. ... [One wonders how accurate the original
    incidence figures were, to evaluate this improvement? The current
    mortality rate of only (11*100)/(34+22) = 19.6% of all people in Africa
    who have ever had HIV or AIDS, presumably over the last 10-15 years,
    while bad, does not seem as bad as the media reports would indicate,
    especially considering Africa's already poor background mortality rate.]
    Yahoo! ... Sunday January 16 ... Report: Tribal Intermarriage Affects
    Saudi Health WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A preference for marrying
    cousins has, over the generations, caused an increase in genetic disease
    among Saudi Arabians, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.... the
    rates of some metabolic diseases may be as much as 20 times higher in
    Saudi Arabia than in countries where people cast farther afield for partners.
    Such diseases include thalassemia, which causes severe anemia, sickle cell
    anemia and diabetes. ... [It is interesting that sickle cell anemia is a result of
    in-breeding. Maybe its prevalence in Africa and its decline in Afro-
    Americans is not solely (or even mainly) the result of natural selection
    conferring immunity to malaria, but a consequence of tribal inbreeding in
    Africa? Maybe it's like the Peppered Moth, not proving much anyway and
    just another case of Darwinists seeing what they want to be there?] Yahoo!
    ... Sunday January 16 ... Efforts to Find Mars Lander Expected to End
    Monday ... PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) - Scientists are expected on
    Monday to give up attempts to locate the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander,
    which disappeared on Dec. 3 as it started a descent to the Red Planet. ...
    "These attempts will end on Monday, January 17, at which time we expect
    to end attempts to recover the spacecraft," the statement said. ... The
    review board is looking at budget, management structure and schedules of
    the Mars programs and will present its findings in mid-March. ... See also: New Scientist
    NEWS 25/12/99 ... They have a problem. FOCUS Never mind alien life.
    After a string of embarrassing mishaps, NASA could soon be fighting to
    save its own skin. ITS MISSIONS have got faster and cheaper--but they
    don't seem to be getting any better. After losing two spacecraft since
    September, NASA's policy of exploring the Solar System on a shoestring is
    in disarray, and the critics are closing in. But many space analysts warn that
    the agency's problems run much deeper than the loss of a few probes. In
    the post-Cold War world, they argue, NASA is in danger of losing its
    raison d'etre. And by trying to reinvent itself as the torchbearer for the
    search for extraterrestrial life, the agency is building its future on shaky
    ground. "It's not something you can hang a $13 billion-a-year agency on,"
    says John Pike, a space analyst with the Federation of American Scientists
    in Washington DC. ... [It will be interesting what the review board's
    findings will be. I would not be surprised if NASA's preoccupation with the
    origin-of-life may be curtailed.] Yahoo!
    ... Sunday January 16 ... Research Shows How Slipped Disks Fix
    Themselves WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two enzymes work to help cells
    in a ruptured disk fix themselves, researchers said on Sunday, adding their
    finding may help doctors find surgery-free ways to treat back injuries. The
    finding also explains why some people who "slip a disk" get better on their
    own, while others need more help recovering, researchers at Nashville's
    Vanderbilt University, said. ... [Another examples of the human body's
    amazing inventory of self-repair tools.]
    Yahoo! ... Saturday January 15 ... Study: Bioengineering Boosted Mouse
    Insulin PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Genetically engineered mice who
    produce extra insulin may help researchers find a way to treat human
    diabetics more effectively, University of Pittsburgh researchers said on
    Saturday. [More possible benefits from genetic engineering. The squeaky
    voice and fear of cats are just harmless side-effects! :-)]

    "The trouble was that in reading widely during my early teens I ran into the
    Darwinian theory, for a little while with illusions and then with less respect
    than adults with bated breath were wont to show. The theory seemed to me
    to run like this: `If among the varieties of a species there is one that
    survives better in the environment than the others, then the variety that
    survives best is the one that best survives.' If I had known the word
    tautology I would have called this a tautology. People with still more bated
    breath, called it natural selection. I made them angry, just as I do today, by
    saying that it did nothing at all. You could select potatoes as much as you
    pleased but you would never make them into a rabbit. Nor by selecting oak
    trees could you make them into colonies of bats, and those who thought
    they could in my opinion were bats in the belfry." (Hoyle F., "Mathematics
    of Evolution", [1987], Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p2)
    Stephen E. Jones | |

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