Forget the Cambrian Explosion—Here’s a SERIOUS Biodiversity Event

Darwin's Doubt Stephen MeyerA few months ago, I attended a lecture by Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute about his new book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.

He explains “Darwin’s doubt” in the Amazon summary:

When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock.

The Cambrian explosion was the appearance of all but one of the 35 present animal phyla (body plans) in the first 20 million years of the Cambrian period.

What did Darwin say?

In On the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote:

If [evolution is] true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures. Here we encounter a formidable objection; for it seems doubtful whether the earth, in a fit state for the habitation of living creatures, has lasted long enough.

Darwin then notes that the best evidence available to him gives evolution 100–200 million years since the consolidation of the earth’s crust. In fact, today’s estimate is 4 billion years.

Would Darwin have still found a “formidable objection” if he had known that the earth was actually 20 to 40 times older than he thought? Perhaps Meyer is fairer in his book, but in the lecture, he did nothing to clarify the incorrect data that underlay Darwin’s conclusions.

Who cares?

More to the point, no biologist cares what Darwin thought.

Contrast Darwin with Aristotle. Europe even through the Renaissance compared new developments with Aristotle to see if the great philosopher would have agreed. From 2000 years in the past, Aristotle could frown on revolutionary new ideas. Bertrand Russell said, “almost every serious intellectual advance has had to begin with an attack on some Aristotelian doctrine.”

But no biologist today cares if Darwin would approve of a new idea or not. Darwin did remarkable things for his time, but Darwin is relevant in the field History of Science, not Biology. Evolution deniers like Meyer point out where Darwin was wrong, but this is useful only in mesmerizing the public.

Is the Cambrian explosion that remarkable?

The Cambrian explosion might have been the result of a perfect storm of factors that opened the field to new innovative body plans: predators accelerated the evolution of hard body parts, a global ice age had just ended, the Hox genes that control body plans may have developed at this time, and atmospheric oxygen may have been rising. We might also have underestimated the progress in the Precambrian because those animals were tiny or soft and didn’t leave much of a fossil record.

Let’s also be clear how limited the Cambrian explosion was. It’s a quick expansion in the body plans of animals. That’s it. While it happened quickly, it still took 20 million years, and there was little filling out of these phyla with individual species. There were no land animals, and our ancestors in the phylum Chordata would’ve been no more than primitive eel-like fish at this time (see drawing above). Evolution would slowly push this phylum to produce bony fish (420 million years ago), amphibians (370 mya), reptiles (310 mya), dinosaurs (230 mya), mammals (225 mya), and birds (160 mya).

Plants also developed slowly. We find algae 1200 million years ago, photosynthetic plants 1000 mya, land plants 450 mya, flowering plants 200 mya, and grasses 40 mya. There was no Cambrian explosion here.

Getting back to basics, the remarkable development of the eukaryotic cell (the kind that animals and plants have) from the more primitive prokaryotes such as bacteria happened 2700 mya.

In short, the Cambrian is impressive when we zoom in to just the major divisions in one kingdom, but it ignores most of evolution.

Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event (GOBE)

The Cambrian explosion looks at one feature in the vast expanse of evolution. Another that is at least as remarkable is the Great Ordovician Biodiversity Event. If the Cambrian created the display cases for the phyla, the GOBE filled them with species.

The Ordovician period followed the Cambrian, and it created far more genera (“genuses”) than its predecessor, as the graph below shows.

(The three kinds of fauna listed above aren’t important for this discussion.)

From the perspective of biodiversity, the Cambrian doesn’t look so innovative after all. The article that accompanies the graph states,

This boom was like nothing the world has seen since. The Ordovician is the only time in the history of animal life that huge numbers of new species appeared without a mass extinction to clear the decks beforehand.

Why does Meyer focus on the Cambrian?

Meyer must weave a simple story: evolution expects gradual change, but the Cambrian shows that change was sometimes explosive. Evolution can’t explain this, but Intelligent Design can. And they all lived happily ever after.

But reality looks a lot more complicated than “And God said, ‘let there be many animal phyla,’ and it was so.” The Cambrian explosion is just one part of a big picture. It is separate from the very different explosive growth in the GOBE and the gradual evolution of plants and chordates.

Note also that Intelligent Design advocates didn’t uncover the Cambrian explosion. Biologists did. And it hasn’t convinced them that evolution is wrong. How could it convince me?

See nature through the eyes of science, the only way we ever have learned about it.

Religion is like aspirin.
It’s okay to take a little to make yourself feel better,
but you shouldn’t take too much,
and you shouldn’t force people to take it who don’t want any.
— Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • Y. A. Warren

    This sort of scientific discovery creates feelings of awe in me. That in which I feel awe creates my sense of the sacred. Is it anathema to atheists to attribute a sense of awe to everyday events and discoveries that illuminate continuing mysteries in some manner?

    • Eli

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean. Are you asking if atheists have a problem with accepting/experiencing awe? If so, then, well, no. We just don’t attribute it to anything sacred or religious. It’s part of what gets so many of us excited about scientific discoveries. I feel like I should point you to things written by someone like Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but I would like to think you already know who they are.

      • Y. A. Warren

        I am looking for common language. I wish all atheists, theists, and scientists would do the same. “Awe” seems, to me, to be describing what others call “sacred.” Are there essential, definable differences in the terms?

        • http://pleonast.com/users/closetatheist Mr. Two

          I may not understand exactly what you’re getting at, but my initial thought about it is that “awe” is common language between theists and atheists. From what I’ve read, though, theists seem to think that we cannot be awed by something we can understand or even hope to understand, and that if we admit to being awed we are implying agency. The emotion is the same for either, the result of observing things that amaze, yet the theist insists on attributing the object of awe to an intelligent agent.

        • Y. A. Warren

          I find it interesting, and sometimes insulting, that theists define their “god” as omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and continue to limit how others perceive the manifestations of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.

          All that i perceive as awe-inspiring, is in that moment, “godly” in my worldview.

        • MNb

          I don’t find that insulting, only silly, because I don’t experience any manifestation as omniwhatsit.

        • Surprise123

          “Awe” and “Amazement” are, perhaps, identical. They describe the state of “having your mind blown.”
          You are NEVER awed by or amazed by that which you understand. Awe and amazement, once experienced, can, in some instances, fuel your desire for understanding, but THAT is a different matter.

        • Armanatar

          I would disagree with you to an extent. I believe it is possible to be awed by something you understand, and with many things awe arises from that process of understanding. Take this well-known quote from Carl Sagan:

          “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

          Before we knew that, we could hardly have been awed by it, and even understanding the realities of stellar fusion and exploding supernovas does little to dispel that sense of awe.

          I believe that awe is more precisely defined as that feeling which comes with a radical shift in perspective, in coming to view things in a way so utterly different from that to which we are accustomed. To see the everyday objects around you as the last remnants of stars hundreds of millenia dead can induce such a state, no matter how well we understand it, because it’s not a view we can easily internalize and integrate into our everyday reality. That’s awe, to my mind.

        • Castilliano

          A magician can amaze me, fill me with wonder but I won’t be in awe. (Unless, maybe their names rhyme with Tenn & Peller.)
          Fireworks too, unless they are of such a complex weave I’m baffled by their sophistication.

          I agree, Armanatar, there’s a scope or magnificence to awe, one that leaves you grasping to internalize the awesome. You may know you’re made of stardust, as it’s a straightforward fact, but to contemplate the ramifications of that fact, that’s tremendous. That inability to readily process that wonder, that, to me, is awe.

          To theists, I think amazement at such grand scale immediately mirrors their sense of god(s) so they have a hard time separating the two, even in their reasoning.
          I think that’s why Oprah couldn’t process somebody being able to feel awe, yet still be an atheist.

          My two.
          Cheers.

        • Surprise123

          In your moment of amazement, you’re not thinking, “Oh, this is how he did this sleight of hand, this is how he pulled the rabbit out of his hat.” Amazement comes from the word “maze,” which suggests disorientation.
          Of course, atheists can feel awe. But, the fact is that some of them are very uncomfortable with the idea that their System 2 analytic thinking might be interrupted for a bit by something they don’t understand.

        • Castilliano

          I’m not sure about those claims being as absolute as you phrase them.
          Even a revealed trick can amaze, much like watching expert jugglers or feats of dexterity, like when Jackie Chan or Jet Li pulls off an amazing stunt. You can see how they did it, but it still amazes.
          And when watching magicians, I constantly dismantle their methods in my head, sometimes spoiling it, I admit. But sometimes I’m amazed even when I know (type 2) how they did it (methods), and I don’t know (type 1) how they did it (managed to so deftly).

          Maze & amazing share the same root, neither coming from the other, but amazing being closer to the original. FWIW.

          I don’t know of any atheists adverse to being amazed, but maybe that’s just my limited spheres. Many atheists seek out things they don’t understand, craving the mental exercise, or even just distraction from “overthinking”. Think about scientists, always exploring.

          Cheers.

        • Surprise123

          And, I hold to the idea that in the moment of amazement, in the period of time that you feel awe, you’re not activating System 2 analytic thinking. System 2 analytic thinking destroys awe and amazement.

          “I don’t know of any atheists adverse to being amazed…” I didn’t say that atheists were adverse to being amazed: I did say, however, that some atheists don’t like the idea that their understanding, their ability to categorize reality and impose their rational mind upon it, may not always be engaged.
          Therefore, they seek to portray the physical phenomena and mental constructs that amaze them, that awe them, as things they understand, even in the very moment of awe and amazement.
          Cheers back at you. :)

        • Surprise123

          The ability to categorize reality and impose one’s rational mind upon it: this is an area in which many atheists are quite defensive — if you assert that this might not be true in all instances, they marshal arguments to defend this particular mental construct. This suggests that we’re entering the arena of the sacred (at least for some atheists), the arena that human beings seek to wall off from inquiry and further exploration.

        • Surprise123

          I think your last paragraph (albeit in a far more wordy way) sums up my definition of awe: your mind is blown.

        • Surprise123

          “I believe it is possible to be awed by something you understand.” If you think you “understand” the Cosmos because you know that “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars” then I just don’t know what to say.
          The awe that accompanies our viewing the Cosmos comes because we intuitively understand that there are a millions mysteries out there, millions of possible realities that we have yet to uncover. The Cosmos is beyond our understanding, is far bigger than us and our puny human consciousness, at least in our moment of awe.

        • http://pleonast.com/users/closetatheist Mr. Two

          I disagree with this! There are lots of things I understand that I still find amazing and awe inspiring. For example, I understand perfectly well why the sky appears orange or pink on the horizon at sunset, from the perspective of the refracted light and the perspective of the nerves in my eyes and the way the brain interprets the light waves, but it’s still amazing that it all works, and it’s something I know I can (and probably will) lose to some extent as I age. Admiration of beauty is an expression of awe, and understanding in no way diminishes it. In fact, it may increase the awe, as opposed to writing it off as “well, God made it that way, isn’t God amazing!” The belief in a god simply displaces the awe and amazement away from the real cause of the perceived beauty.

        • Surprise123

          If you are truly awed by a sunset, in that moment, you’re not saying to yourself, “Ah yes, from the perspective of the refracted light and the perspective of the nerves in my eyes and the way the brain interprets the light waves…” You’re immobilized, your mind is blown.
          Because if bring your System 2 analytical thinking skills into that moment to understand what you’re seeing, the awe dissipates…fast.
          Sure, later, you can seek to overlay meaning to what you saw…but, that only happens later.

        • Surprise123

          I’ll take a shot at it. “Awe” is the feeling of letting go, of incomprehension, of experiencing something so outside your comprehension, that you let go (at least temporarily) of your need for understanding and control. Great beauty in other human beings, great art, great architecture, great physical or mental achievements, certain views – the cosmos, landscapes or natural environments – are all able to produce “awe.”
          Whereas “sacred” refers to physical phenomena or mental constructs of great communal value that human beings close off from inquiry or exploration.

        • Y. A. Warren

          I agree with you on the common definition of sacred being “physical phenomena or mental constructs of great communal value that human beings close off from inquiry or exploration.”

          I seek to extend that.

        • Surprise123

          “I seek to extend that.” I’m sorry…I don’t understand: what does that mean?

        • Y. A. Warren

          I seek to include what we do explore in the common understanding of the sacred. This would be in place of the limitations of dogma.

        • Surprise123

          Wouldn’t “exploring the sacred” desecrate it, thereby destroying its sacredness?

        • Y. A. Warren

          Not in my worldview. I most enjoy wrapping myself in mystery and all the permutations of possible answers.

        • Surprise123

          Don’t know what that means…sorry.

        • Y. A. Warren

          I mean that I believe that there is no absolute truth, only our many individual manifestations of answers, all based on our own pre-programmed beliefs. .

        • Surprise123

          How do you define truth? Reality subject to empirical testing? Wisdom associated with understanding the human heart? Or…?

        • Y. A. Warren

          Even science, when not arrogant, admits that we only have prevailing theories of truth. This is good enough for me, as I enjoy the pursuit of answers to life’s great mysteries.

        • Surprise123

          And, how do you define truth? :)

        • Y. A. Warren

          I don’t. Every “truth” is based on perception.

        • MNb

          Again: how does this play out for those nuclear bombs I mentioned above?

        • Y. A. Warren

          I don’t understand your question. Beliefs lead to action. Action has consequences. Events happen, and they are perceived very differently by each person participating or observing.

        • MNb

          No matter how much Anton dislikes it, I still want to know how this plays out for the victims of the nuclear bombs thrown on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, August 1945. Did they chose the wrong individual manifestations of answers, based on their own pre-programmed beliefs? If they had chosen other individual manifestations of answers based on different pre-programmed beliefs, could they have avoided their suffering?
          If you can’t answer these questions you’re producing baked air.

        • MNb

          Yes, there are differences imo. “Sacred” has an element of untouchable; you are not allowed to ask difficult questions. “Awe” inspires to ask difficult questions with the specific aim to find answers.
          My two SRD.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Is it anathema to atheists to attribute a sense of awe to everyday
      events and discoveries that illuminate continuing mysteries in some
      manner?

      No. Richard Feynman wrote about “the pleasure of finding things out.” Carl Sagan wrote about ” a sense of wonder.”

      • Y. A. Warren

        Please see my comment to Eli.

  • GubbaBumpkin
    • MNb

      That’s scoring in open goal, so I couldn’t resist:

      Six reasons why the Flat Earth Theory should be taugh in schools – but only religious American ones.

      1. There are no criticisms of spherical earth theories.
      2. Critical skills requires questioning spherical earth theories.
      3. Give parents who accept FET what they want.
      4. Freedom of speech.
      5. Spherical Earth Theory is bad science like Evolution Theory because founded on exactly the same “scientific” principles. Teaching spherical earth theorie as fact is just plain bad science.
      6. Rejecting Evolution Theory and Spherical Earth Theory is inspired by certain belief systems.

      Posted overthere.

    • Castilliano

      1. I totally thought you were joking. Ewww…really?
      2. Bob is at patheos, too. It’s “Christian Crier” to be clearer.
      3. Again, ewww…really?
      4. As MNb’s example shows, this could be applied to any whacked out belief system with equal validity. (None.)
      5. You’ve made me sad. :(

      • Castilliano

        Went to the comments where the OP & its supporters got a good solid drubbing with tons of upvotes, so now my sadness has passed. :)
        Cheers.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          That yan-bray issell-bay looks like a hard-headed jerk.

        • Castilliano

          Yep. Built himself a mighty strong construct based on conspiracy, conjecture, ego, & anger.
          It’s a calcified shell, impenetrable, and complex enough to resist analysis or undermining.
          Glad I don’t have to deal with him in real life, on any topic.
          Cheers.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Don Prothero’s Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters is a terrific summary and refutation of the geology- and fossil-related claims of creationism.

    One possibility that has been bandied about: perhaps changes in ocean chemistry at the time facilitated biomineralization and the development of “hard parts” – the body parts which are likely to show up in fossils.

    • MNb

      Yep, I recommend Prothero’s book wholeheartedly as well.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    While it happened quickly, it still took 20 million years, and there was
    little filling out of these phyla with individual species.

    As Richard Dawkins put it:

    Isn’t it strange that no major new boughs have appeared on this tree for many years? These days, all the new growth appears to be at the twig level!

  • Surprise123

    Bob, I agree with almost all of what you say in the above post, but your statement “no biologist cares what Darwin thought” caught me up short. Sure, I understand that what you meant to say in this specific context was that modern day scientists don’t turn to Darwin for interpretation of new scientific data, but it reminded me of (at least here in the United States) just how often those trained to value empiricism are often unaware of, disinterested in, or even dismissive of history, art, and culture.
    Often on the atheist channel, I come across posts claiming that “religion is always harmful,” or “Christianity is always destructive and evil,” and it’s clear to me that those making such claims have no clue or understanding of the history of religion, of the history of art, and even the history of science.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Yes, I know plenty of biologists who care what Darwin thought. I presume what Bob meant to say is that none of them consider Darwin’s pronouncements to be sacred.

      • Surprise123

        Yep, I agree, as I stated in my post: “I understand that what you (meaning Bob) meant to say in this specific context was that modern day scientists don’t turn to Darwin for interpretation of new scientific data.”

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Yes, that’s right. Where biologists do care, they’re approaching Darwin from the standpoint of the History of Science.

        Newton has a fascinating biography, for example. Same for Darwin.

        I wanted to express it in absolute terms to slap down hard the perennial Creationist claims about Darwin being wrong or racist or a baby eater or whatever.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    EVOLUTIONARY TRANSITION FROM
    THE PRECAMBRIAN TO CAMBRIAN

    until 1995 a gap between Ediacarian assemblages and the base of the Cambrian

    this gap now filled by new finds in Namibia where Ediacarian type assemblages found up to the Cambrian boundary

    Ediacarian assemblages diversify through time

    small shelly fossils present by the end of the Vendian

  • wlad

    Is this a serious scientific explanation of the Cambrian Explosion:

    “The Cambrian explosion MIGHT have been the result of a PERFECT storm of factors…”

    Perfect storm–several various factors happening at once, combining to have a much greater effect than just a sum of various factors.

    Well:
    “The evolution of active predators in the late Precambrian LIKELY spurred the coevolution…

    “Early complex animals MAY have been nearly microscopic.”

    ” A “snowball earth” before the Cambrian explosion MAY HAVE hindered development of complexity or kept populations down so that fossils…”

    “Hox genes, which control much of an animal’s basic body plan, were LIKELY first evolving around that time.”

    “Atmospheric oxygen MAY have increased at the start of the Cambrian…”

    “Planktonic grazers BEGAN producing fecal pellets…” Pellets caused explosion or just possibly?

    “Unusual amounts of phosphate WERE deposited…” Did unusual amounts of phosphate cause the Cambrian Explosion, or JUST POSSIBLY?

    So there we have it. The Cambrian Explosion explanation above is telling us that “The Cambrian Explosion MIGHT POSSIBLY have been a result of a perfect storm of factors–and EVERY factor itself was nothing more than the presentation of a possibility.

    So a POSSIBILITY of a perfect storm (all happening at ONCE) of seven factors, all themselves just possibilities, scientifically explains the Cambrian Explosion?

    • MNb

      Yes, dear Wlad – that’s what science is about: formulating hypotheses that can be tested, dealing with uncertain factors. Only 30 years ago the age of the Universe was estimated 10-20 billion years old. Now it’s stated more precisely as 13,7 billion years. That’s called scientific progress.
      Something silly ID doesn’t provide.

      If you want to learn more – something I doubt:

      http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.earth.33.031504.103001
      http://www.unm.edu/~pibbs/CourseMaterials/SiBBs2008/Week11/Marshall2006.pdf
      http://jetpress.org/v20/phoenix.pdf
      http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hsr/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/The%20Cambrian%20Explosion%20and%20the%20Origins%20of%20Diversity%20-%20Anirudh%20Penumaka.pdf
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/26/1312778110.full.pdf

      Stay tuned, because those pesky evilutionary biologists are busy like bees to find out what happened and we may expect much, much more on this topic.

      • wladyslaw

        I will wait for evolutionists to provide the tested proof for their hypotheses for explaining the Cambrian Explosion. Right now all they have to offer is a possibility of a perfect storm of seven other possibilities–none tested.

        I suspect no tested proof will be forthcoming. In the meantime, evolutionists like you and Bob simply declare the Cambrian Explosion no longer a major problem–and ridicule us questioners for asking for an explanation for the Cambrian Explosion. It’s really no problem, ID folks.

        • Castilliano

          You’re silly.

          All the evidence I’ve seen for ID has been along the lines of “See, evolution hasn’t explained everything, therefore ID.”
          None. Zero. Zilch.

          So you point at one gap left unfilled, and therefore ID?
          Bob listed plausible options, even showed how little of an explosion it actually was compared to other increases in flora, and all you can suggest is that this lack of explanation is tacit approval of ID being right?
          Really?
          You’re going to replace his plausible options with your implausible one? One that should be evident throughout, not just at one point, but isn’t…

          “God of the Gaps” is not much of a god, I’ll just say, and “ID of the gaps” is not much of a hypothesis.

          Cheers.

        • wladyslaw

          Bob did NOT list different plausible options. He opined that there COULD have been a perfect storm–all options happening at once and reinforcing each other–of seven possible factors, everyone of which was a mere hypotheses, a possibility. All the possibilities would have to become actualities for the perfect storm to happen. And even if all the seven factors were actual facts, Bob, and others, have said that all these factors, even if they were facts, only MIGHT result in a perfect storm.

          No biologist has ever stated ANY one explanation with certainty–they all say it might have happened this way. Most say that a variety of reasons working together might account for the explosion. The problem is that some of these reasons rule out the others.

          Simply declaring that the Cambrian Explosion is really no problem simply ignores the reality of the facts of the explosion.

          It is reasonable for you to say that the explosion is a really, really BIG problem that CONTRADICTS a lot of traditional evolutionary hypotheses–gradual step by step changes, simple organisms evolving into more complex, existence of soft-bodied fossils before the explosion, evolution happening at an order of magnitude faster, all phyla present today except one evolving at the same time in a space of 10 to 40 million years, and then remaining basically the same for 500 million years. It’s reasonable to expect you to say, we’re scientists, we’ll figure it out in time.

          Saying “Forget the Cambrian Explosion” (No real problem folks), is a denial of reality.

        • MNb

          Helpful as I am I gave you several relevant links. Like I predicted you did not care to read them. If you care to read them Kenofken predicts that you will handwave the findings. See? The scientific method works. Evolution Theory is a result of the scientific method – the best actually and I write this as a teacher physics.

        • wlad

          C’mon, I read all of them, except for the PNAS one– NONE of them were findings. They were all proposals–and I think that all of the biologists admitted that it may have needed other several factors. Might be this, or it might be this. Do you as a physicist accept their “findings” as proof? Scientific method works. Explosion no longer a problem?

        • MNb

          Above you asked:

          “why are so many prominent biologists struggling to come up with possible proposals to explain it?”
          And now you admit:

          “They were all proposals”
          Thanks for admitting your dishonesty.

          “Do you as a physicist accept their “findings” as proof?”
          As a Dutchman I embrace Continental scientific philosophy. In it there is no place for the word proof, only for empirical confirmation.
          Hey, smartie, that’s what those proposals are about. Formulating hypotheses that can be confirmed or refuted by empirical data. As soon as there are enough of them it will become clear which proposal correctly describes all of them. That’s what science is about.
          Proof is for lame theists like you, who need certainty. Go to church and pray, then you can delude yourself you’ve found it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Science doesn’t find proof. Jeez–educate yourself so you don’t embarrass yourself.

        • wlad

          Do you believe that the Explosion is no longer a problem for science? That one of the many proposals has answered the problem? Or any combination?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, the Explosion is not a problem. Since it’s been understood for well over 2 centuries, evolution had developed with full knowledge of it.

          Y’know how you and I would know if it were a problem? The biologists would tell us so. They haven’t.

          Read more widely than Creationist sites. They have an agenda. (I mean–unless you also have an agenda.)

        • wlad

          Evolutionary biologists haven’t told us it is a problem because they had no answer for it. They were looking for the fossil evidence Darwin expected would show up. When no fossil evidence was found, they came up with many proposals when repeatedly CONFRONTED with the problem–”might have been, likely, possibly, perhaps if we put several of these together etc.”

          Funny. Darwin published his theory of evolution in 1858. In 1859 he famously noted that the Cambrian Explosion posed the greatest serious challenge to his theory, but opined that later scientists might come up with fossil evidence to answer it.

          Over 156 years later, NO fossil evidence has turned up, just proposals (evolution “somehow not quite understood” sped up by an order of magnitude, etc.)

          But Bob claims that it has been addressed well OVER TWO centuries ago, even before Darwin’s had his doubt.

          OK, OK Bob. You really meant well understood over ONE century ago.

          Well, Wikipedia, that bastion of conservatism, said:

          “argued that there was a period of “eruptive” evolution in the Early Cambrian,[13] but as recently as the 1970s there was no sign of how the relatively modern-looking organisms of the Middle and Late Cambrian arose.[12]

          No sign HOW as early as the 1970′s, just fifty years ago!

          SINCE the 70′s a variety of proposals, NONE of which has been accepted by a consensus of biologists as accounting for the explosion.

          And Bob himself opined in 2014 that perhaps a perfect storm of these proposals MIGHT have caused the Cambrian Explosion.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion

          No longer a problem? Actually no problem since 1959, since Darwin’s doubt? It’s been UNDERSTOOD for well over two (one) centuries?

          Really?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          They haven’t told us it is a problem, because they had no answer for it.

          What is that supposed to mean? That there are unanswered questions within science? Uh, yeah. Duh.

          Or are you saying that biologists know that this blows their house of cards apart and they’re afraid to man up and take ownership of the problem?

          Give me ONE source, just ONE, that says the Cambrian Explosion no longer poses any serious problem for evolution, and has SUFFICIENT evidence that has been accepted by consensus of biologists.

          Why? The question is, “is evolution the consensus of biologist.” It is.

          This issue is settled, despite your flabby attempts to argue otherwise.

          In 1859 he famously noted that the Cambrian Explosion posed the greatest serious challenge to his theory, but opined that later scientists might come up with fossil evidence to answer it.

          Who cares what Darwin thought?

          But Bob claims that it has been addressed well OVER two centuries ago, even before Darwin’s had his doubt.

          Wrong again.

          Really?

          Really. Despite all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, and Wlad, evolution remains the consensus even with the riddles posed by the Cambrian explosion.

        • wlad

          “Why? The question is, “is evolution the consensus of biologist.” Of course that’s the consensus on evolution.

          No, the issue of the POST–the Cambrian explosion– is the issue you brought up, not the the general theory of evolution.
          NO consensus of biologists yet on the Cambrian Explosion, even after 156 years, even AFTER they began offering proposals around the 1970′s. No ability to show EVEN ONE proposal in fifty years that shows consensus.

          I noted that you, Bob, “claimed “that it has been addressed well OVER two centuries ago, even before Darwin’s had his doubt.”

          You said “Wrong again.”

          But you SAID: “No, the Explosion is not a problem. Since it’s been understood for well over 2 centuries,”

          Of course the reality of the explosion has been known for a long time, perhaps 200 years. BUT No one understood the WHY or HOW. NO “well understood for over two centuries.”

          Acknowledged, yes, understood, absolutely not.

          If understood, please cite how they understood it.

          Only when Darwin presented his theory of evolution did it become a problem.
          Only since the 70′s did biologists start offering proposals when no fossils showed up.

          Well understood for over 200 years? Not ONE is well understood today.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, the issue of the POST–the Cambrian
          explosion– is the issue you brought up, not the the general theory of evolution.

          What’s your point? That biology still has questions to
          resolve? Yes, obviously. Or is it that evolution is on the ropes? (It’s not.)

          But I think I repeat myself.

          No ability to show even ONE proposal in
          fifty years that shows consensus.

          What’s your point?

        • wlad

          You said the Cambrian Explosion has been WELL UNDERSTOOD for over 200 years.

          Absolutely wrong!

          Acknowledging it in geological history, yes, of course.

          Well understood how it happened for the last 200 years? Absolutely NOT!
          Darwin would have gladly provided the evidence.

          “No ability to show even ONE proposal in
          fifty years that shows consensus.”
          What’s your point?”

          You said “Well understood for 200 years”

          There is absolutely NO consensus of biologists of how they understand it TODAY.

          They offer many proposals, sometimes conflicting.

          It is absolutely not well understood TODAY, not even close.

          Cambrian Explosion no problem?

          Why are evolutionary biologists trying to offer proposals since the 70′s, all or most dramatically different? With absolutely no consensus? Well understood today, explosion no problem?

          Consensus of biologists important? You seem to think so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well understood how it happened for the last 200 years? Absolutely NOT!

          Yeah. Thanks. I didn’t say that it was understood.

          What’s your goal here, BTW? Just to catch me in an error? I make ’em, though searching for them seems to be a pretty minor quest. The issue here is the truth of evolution, last time I checked.

          You said “Well understood for 200 years”

          OK. Scientists have understood about the Cambrian explosion for almost a century before Darwin.

          If you twisted that in your mind to mean that scientists have explained it thoroughly, you misunderstood. Shake it off and move on, bro.

          There is absolutely NO consensus of biologists of how they understand it TODAY.

          And you’re still afraid to tackle the interesting question: is evolution the consensus view.

          It is. You lose.

        • MNb

          “Just to catch me in an error?”
          Yes. It’s a well known creacrap tactic. They have tried it on me as well. Haha! You made an error! I win! Evolution loses! ID is correct!
          The IDiots from Seattle fill an entire website with this. It’s pathetic. This “strategy” gives The Sensuous Curmudgeon enough food for more than one hilarious post a day though.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I used to live in downtown Seattle, 3 blocks from the Disco Institute. In the 21st century.

          The mind boggles.

        • wlad

          It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that evolution is the consensus of today’s biologists. Watch what happens when a scientist dares to publish an ID paper. I have never denied that.
          Of course that’s true. I’m not sure why you keep bringing that up.

          I assume you accept the statement–”There is absolutely NO consensus of biologists of how they understand it TODAY.”

          There isn’t even ONE biologist that says he understands the Cambrian Explosion. All, including YOU, say “might, could, likely.”

          None, even the proposal people have said, “We can’t explain the Explosion thoroughly, but here is what we DO KNOW. Not One.

          Not ONE.

          No problem?

          Not ONE bit of empirical data.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Of course that’s true. I’m not sure why you keep bringing that up.

          Because you keep talking about tangents. Evolution is the
          topic here.

          You keep crowing that science has unanswered questions. Yep, we’re all on the same page. And evolution still wins.

        • wlad

          Right–let’s talk about evolution, not about the greatest challenge to evolution.
          Evolution wins!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Huh? By talking about evolution, we do talk about the evidence for and against it. Evolution is the consensus view, as you’ve insisted yourself.

          The evidence has been weighed, and you lose. I don’t know why you keep coming back to this.

        • wlad

          Of course evolution is the consensus view of biologists.

          There is NO consensus on HOW to explain the problem of the Cambrian Explosion, which challenges a lot of previous assumptions of the evolutionists.

          No evidence to show how it happened.

          “Huh? By talking about evolution, we do talk about the evidence for and AGAINST it.”

          GOOD! We are NOW talking about evidence AGAINST it–the explosion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Of course evolution is the consensus view of biologists.

          So what are we arguing about?

          There is NO consensus on HOW to explain the problem of the Cambrian Explosion

          Uh huh. And my car needs a wash. Neither changes the fact that evolution is the consensus. You lose.

        • purr

          You lose.

          You just like repeating yourself, dont’cha?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Any other ideas for getting Wlad to shut up?

        • purr

          Kitty pix!

          http://rickpdx.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/jesus-and-a-big-cat.jpg

          The above photo would not have been possible without intelligent design, Bob!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That is one terrifying feline.

        • purr

          Oh, lucky you, Fenix is replying to you over on LAN. He imagines himself as some sort of rhetorical assassin and always brags about he crushes the pro-aborts.

          A friend and I dealt with him over on mommyish.com, and we asked him to give some examples of where in the world people are forced to donate their bodies in order to preserve the life of another…

          His answers:

          1) China

          2) pregnancy is an exception to the rule (that we don’t force people to donate their bodies to help others) but, that’s too bad, it just is, stop whining about it you silly women

          Yeah, 1 and 2 really support his point, don’t they?

          I was banned from LAN a long time ago btw. And no, I didn’t misbehave or use bad werdz.They get tired of you after a while if you keep presenting good arguments.

        • wlad

          Simple. Admit that there is NO scientific consensus on answering the question or challenge of the Cambrian Explosion.
          Not too difficult. So far, you only admit consensus on evolution.

          Admit there is NO empirical evidence to support any of the various guesses offered by evolutionary biologists to answer the Cambrian challenge (You will not under any condition admit it to be a problem). I’ll accept the word “challenge.”

          Not too difficult.

          Admit that the challenge to show empirical evidence (or scientific consensus) still stands.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Admit that there is NO scientific consensus on answering the question or challenge of the Cambrian Explosion.

          Love to. Show me the evidence.

          So far, you only admit consensus on evolution.

          And that’s all that matters.

        • MNb

          “Admit that there is NO scientific consensus on answering the question or challenge of the Cambrian Explosion.”
          Eeeehhhhh – we have admitted that dozens of times. Everyone agrees that there are several hypotheses on the phenomenon. I was the one who provided the links, remember? So of course there is no scientific consensus on the Cambrian Explosion. There is scientific consensus on Evolution Theory. BobS has asked you dozens of times as well what your point is. You are only repeating it without getting anywhere. That’s why lose and lose again and lose again.
          Where we disagree is your silly claim that this in some way or another falsifies Evolution Theory. It doesn’t. And you’re the one too dishonest to admit it. Because of your silly belief system. Assuming you have an IQ higher than room temperature you know this too. Hence you’re a Liar for Jesus and as such an embarrassment for your own belief system, given the 9th commandment.
          When are you going to answer Adam Lee’s questions? If you don’t you show how anti-scientific you are.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-two-questions/
          Of course you are totally anti-scientific. Oh – and a liar.

        • wlad

          You–Wladyslaw, why are you not satisfied with our guesses about how the Cambrian Explosion happened? We have lots of “mights” and “likely” and “could” hypotheses? We’re satisfied with them.

          Me–Well, I guess I would like to see some empirical data for these guesses, these “mights.” Give me SOME empirical for at least ONE “might.”

          Silence on any empirical evidence.

          You–We have no empirical evidence.
          We’ve been looking since the 70′s, haven’t found any, but trust us, we will, soon. Anyway, guesses, “mights” are enough for us, and should be enough for you. We biologists don’t NEED empirical evidence for any of these guesses for our hypotheses on the Explosion.

          You know why you should accept our guesses, Wladyslaw, without empirical evidence?

          We’re evolutionary biologists, and we all agree on evolution–we don’t need empirical evidence to refute any challenge to our evo theory.
          A simple guess without evidence should be enough to satisfy you.

        • MNb

          “We’re satisfied with them”
          Strawman. We’ll only be satisfied when one set of hypotheses has emerged as the best one. For now it’s impossible to decide which one that will be. For now. For now. For now.

          “Silence on any empirical evidence.”
          That’s a matter of time.

          “We’ve been looking since the 70′s, haven’t found any”

          http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2013/04/two-books-on-cambrian-explosion.html

          “A simple guess without evidence should be enough to satisfy you.”
          Of course there is empirical evidence for the Cambrian Explosion: the fossil record. Without those fossils we wouldn’t even know that there had been a Cambrian Explosion.
          What’s lacking is sufficient empirical evidence for the several possible hypotheses; they all nicely fit within the framework of Evolution Theory. I have told you so a gazillion times, but you prefer to neglect that point. We don’t ask you to accept any of those hyptheses simply because we ourselves don’t know which are the correct ones. Nobody does.
          You need to show how and why the fossil record regarding the Cambrian Revolution falsifies the Evolution Theory. You can’t because it doesn’t. You have miserably failed. So you take the next creacrap step.
          You’ve become a pathetic liar, like every single creacrapper I have ever met on internet. That quote above of you is a straighforward deliberate lie. Don’t blame us for having mud in your head iso brains. You put it there yourself.

        • wlad

          “Of course there is empirical evidence for the Cambrian Explosion: the fossil record. Without those fossils we wouldn’t even know that there had been a Cambrian Explosion.”

          The ONLY empirical evidence we do have of the Cambrian Explosion, the fossils, brings UP the greatest challenge to evolution, not solve it.

          “What’s lacking is SUFFICIENT empirical evidence for the several possible hypotheses; they all nicely fit withinthe framework of Evolution Theory. I have told you so a gazillion times, but you prefer to neglect
          that point. We don’t ask you to accept any of those hyptheses simply because we ourselves don’t know which are the correct ones. Nobody does.”

          “”What’s lacking is SUFFICIENT empirical evidence”

          Insufficient evidence!? There is ABSOLUTELY NO empirical data, no evidence at ALL.

          So you evolutionary biologists don’t accept any of these “mights” because of lack of ANY empirical evidence–

          NOBODY does.

          And then you expect me to believe that the Cambrian Explosion is not a problem.

          “For now. For now. For now.”

          Biologists have known about this problem, according to Bob, for over 200 years (or at least for 156 years since Darwin cited the problem), and for 156 years since Darwin opined his doubt, and hoped future biologists would find supporting fossil evidence, biologists have NOT come up with a single bit of evidence to refute the problem, just a lot of guesses, a lot of mights.”

          How long is “for now.” Another 156 years?

          We should accept that the Cambrian Explosion is no problem to the theory of evolution because– why?

          Because you say ” we have not come up with any evidence for 156 years, don’t have any evidence now.
          But trust us, someday we will?

          Therefore, no problem.

          You don’t accept your own hypotheses. As you said “Nobody does.” You are still waiting for any evidence.

          Why should I?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why should I?

          Fair enough. Don’t. Just accept the scientific consensus. (I mean, what alternative do you have?)

        • wlad

          What consensus. Guesses are not consensus.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The consensus that evolution is the best explanation. You’ve admitted it yourself.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Me–Well, I guess I would like to see some empirical data for these guesses

          Why? Do you have the expertise to evaluate it?

          I have a better idea: let’s look to the conclusions of biologists. So far, evolution is the overwhelming consensus view.

          Whew! Resolved.

          You know why you should accept our guesses, Wladyslaw, without empirical evidence?

          Wrong. You should accept the scientific consensus.

        • wlad

          “There is NO scientific consensus on the challenge of the Cambrian evolution. No empirical evidence for biologists to evaluate.
          Only guesses.

        • MNb

          “There is NO consensus on HOW to explain the problem of the Cambrian Explosion, which challenges a lot of previous assumptions of the evolutionists.”
          Such as? Thus far you mentioned exactly one – that evolution were to be a gradual development. Well, in the first place that isn’t essential for Evolution Theory. Only creacrappers think so. In the second place even Darwin suggested that acceleration was possible – you’ve seen the relevant quote.
          Besides that you wrote some unsubstantiaded pseudomathematical nonsense.
          You’re punching air.

        • wlad

          ” In the second place even Darwin suggested that acceleration was possible – you’ve seen the relevant quote.”

          No, I didn’t. Please cite.

          BTW, did he ever suggest that it would accelerate at an order of magnitude? Did any biologist? Or the sudden appearance of all except one present day phyla in 5-40 million years–and then no major changes in ANY of them for the following 500 million years? Why did the evolution stop for those 500 million years until today? No reason why it happened so suddenly, and no reason why nothing major happened afterwards.

          http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_are_the_to_1062011.html

          The only relevant quote I saw was where Darwin said that the Cambrian Explosion presented the greatest challenge to his theory and opined that future biologists would find the necessary fossil evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          For the love of the god that doesn’t exist, don’t quote Darwin (because his thoughts are irrelevant to biologists today) and don’t quote the Disco Institute (not objective).

          Are you talking science? Then quote conventional scientists.

        • wlad

          Quote or cite ONE evolutionary biologist who says we now have the empirical evidence to corroborate one (or any combination) of our guesses.

          Not even one! Certainly a consensus is impossible

          They are offering guesses, looking for the evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The consensus is that evolution is the best explanation. You admitted yourself that you’ve lost. Why make me repeat it?

        • MNb

          “Watch what happens when a scientist dares to publish an ID paper.”
          Then nothing happens. Even the iDIots from Seattle have several dozens of papers published in established journals in the course of two decades or so.

        • MNb

          “NO consensus of biologists yet on the Cambrian Explosion”
          So what? I already told you that it’s a matter of more empirical data. That’s how science works. Your whole standpoint is the result of a chain of non-sequiturs.
          “I don’t wanna feel bad – my life having no external purpose makes me feel bad – hence god exists – hence evolution can’t be correct – hence every single argument I can think of against evolution is valid, no matter how lame.”
          As the good creacrapper you are you refuse to learn that science being imperfect not in any way refutes evolution, not in any way confirms ID and not in any way proves your particular kind of god. To make ID credible you have to bring up empirical data that can be better explained by ID than by Evolution Theory. Moreover you have to make testable predictions. Moreover I have shown you in which respects ID as it stands now falls apart; you have to repair that as well.
          You can’t. So you do what every creacrapper I ever have met does: whining and nitpicking about irrelevant details. And because we need to spell things out for creacrappers like you: irrelevant for the question which is the better theory, Evolution Theory or ID. So once again: the fact that evolutionary biologists don’t know what exactly happened during the Cambrian Explosion by no means is an argument for ID.
          Not that you will learn. That’s what you are a creacrapper for. And that’s how I began this comment.

        • wlad

          Look, Bob said the Cambrian Explosion was well understood for over 200 years.

          It’s absolutely NOT well understood TODAY!

          ” the fact that evolutionary biologists don’t know what exactly happened during the Cambrian Explosion by no means is an argument for ID.”

          The problem is that evolutionists don’t know how it happened at ALL! Some of them have submitted proposals, with qualifiers. like “might have… possibly… likely…could have, would have… Bob opined that it MIGHT be a perfect storm of all these “might haves.”

          It’s “A matter of MORE empirical data,” you said.

          There is ABSOLUTELY NO EMPIRICAL data to explain the explosion. If so, please. cite.

          Not ONE of the biologists said , “It is well understood that…and presented their proposal with even some empirical data.

          And so:

          Do YOU believe that the Cambrian Explosion is WELL UNDERSTOOD today? Yes or NO. If yes, present ONE source, other than Bob’s simple pronouncement.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Look, Bob said the Cambrian Explosion was well understood for over 200 years.

          Wow. All this just to get me to say, “I misspoke.” I’m flattered. I guess.

          But I didn’t misspeak. You misunderstood. I said that scientists of Darwin’s day understood the facts of the Cambrian explosion. They had (and we have) unanswered questions.

          You gotta stop beating yourself up. We all make mistakes—misunderstand, flog dead horses, and so on. Let it go.

          Why don’t you worry about something important? Like the fact that truth doesn’t automatically conform to one’s presuppositions, even if you squeeze your eyes shut really tight and wish hard.

          There is absolutely NO EMPIRICAL data. If so, please. cite.

          Evolution is still the champ. I think that’s a significant fact in our discussion.

        • MNb

          “Why don’t you worry about something important?”
          Because he doesn’t like the consequences: Evolution Theory might be correct, hence the Universe is meaningless, hence Wlad feels bad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          :-(

        • wlad

          I see. “Evolution is still the champ. We win!”

          What is the greatest challenge to evolution? Cambrian Explosion.

          You–”Let’s NOT talk about the Explosion. Let’s talk about evolution.”

          Right.

          You. “Let’s not talk about the greatest problem we face. We can simply declare, “Evolution is still the champ.” We win!”

          “If we HAD empirical data, scientific consensus, and adequately answered the Cambrian Explosion critics, we win, of course.”

          “And when we DON”T HAVE empirical data, no scientific consensus, just various “might” proposals, no adequate
          response. why we win too. Evolution is still the champ!

        • wlad

          Bob,
          I see that you have chosen not to respond. Your response before–

          “Let’s NOT talk about the Cambrian Explosion.”

          I understand why evolutionists might be reluctant to discuss the Explosion. Resorting to simply announcing “Evolution wins.” does not take them off the hook.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What is the greatest challenge to evolution? Cambrian Explosion.

          Says who? (I mean, besides Creation.com, the Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis?)

          “Let’s not talk about the greatest problem we face. We can simply declare, “Evolution is still the champ.” We win!”

          Dude—you have a seriously inflated view of the science that you and I can adjudicate and even discuss. You and I are just amateurs.

          Are you saying that biologists know that the evidence isn’t there, but they just keep quiet about it? Are they all liars?

        • wlad

          “”Let’s not talk about the greatest problem we face. We can simply declare, “Evolution is still the champ.” We win!”

          No, I was just stating YOUR personal viewpoint on the issue.

          Non-amateurs admit the severity of the problem the Cambrian Explosion poses to their theory, and at the present, are only at the stage of offering different “might” explanations.

          None has offered any evidence. They do hope to be able to do so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Non-amateurs admit the severity of the problem the Cambrian Explosion poses to their theory

          … and conclude that evolution still stands. You lose. Again.

        • MNb

          “There is ABSOLUTELY NO EMPIRICAL data”
          The word data is plural. Never learned Latin I guess. See? I can nitpick as well. Sure there are empirical data: the fossils, data regarding the composition of the atmosphere back then, the topography etc. What’s more – data don’t explain anything. Hypotheses do. You don’t make sense.

          “Do YOU believe that the Cambrian Explosion is WELL UNDERSTOOD today?”
          Ignorant, dishonest, inconsistent and now you begin to shout too. You go from bad to worse. Fortunately for me I get more amused the sillier and angrier you get.
          Once again you show that you don’t understand – want to know how science works. What’s your criterium voor well undestand too? Do we understand the downfall of the Roman Empire well? Human psychology?
          OK, let me do you a favor and answer no. We don’t understand the Cambrian Explosion well. So what? How does that disprove Evolution Theory and how does that validate IDiocy?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nicely put. There are lots of things we understand imperfectly, and yet those shadows don’t take down an entire discipline.

        • wlad

          Right, “Hey, we more or less understand the Cambrian Explosion, just imperfectly. Check out all the “might” proposals that tell us how it might have happened. No problem here.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Do you have a point? All I’m hearing is “Nuh-uh!”

          Summarize your position.

        • wlad

          The Cambrian Explosion IS a serious problem for evolutionists, NOT yet solved.

          Evolution at a rate of speed faster by an order of magnitude, the sudden appearance of almost all the phyla alive today , absence of bone fossils (hoped for by Darwin)–all were not explainable by the usual understanding of how evolution worked. Challenged by evolution critics, the evolutionists proffered various “might” possibilities. No consensus on any ONE of the “might possibilities, or, even of any combination of them. A lot of “mights.”

          Evolutionary biologists admit it is a serious problem, and are working on it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wrong again. I assert: “Evolution is the scientific consensus.”

          A small but critical difference. But this is constant: you still lose.

        • wlad

          Look, even though evolutionary biologists admit that the Cambrian Explosion is a serious problem, it is impossible for you to admit that it is a serious problem.

          I guess I understand why you would need to not do so.

          It doesn’t really matter that you personally don’t acknowledge it as a problem. Evolutionary biologists will continue to try to either come up with more “might” proposals. Others will try to find satisfactory evidence for their present “might” proposals.

          Critics will still keep working to keep their feet to the fire. The issue just won’t quietly go away.

          The Cambrian Explosion is not the only challenge for evolutionists. The amount of personal invective and anger hurled at biologists challenging evolution in other areas shows clearly the growing worry of evolutionists. Certitude of one’s facts don’t need angry personal ad hominem attacks. Why the anger? Why the angry insults?

          We don’t get angry at flat earth proponents. We simply ignore them. Their arguments don’t threaten us.

          So Bob, it’s really OK for you to personally believe that the Cambrian Explosion is not a problem for evolutionists.

          Scientists who think it is a problem, either pro-evolution or anti-evolution will continue to work on the problem as best they can.

          It won’t go away.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          even though evolutionary biologists admit that the Cambrian Explosion is a serious problem

          There’s your answer: whatever the consensus view of the Cambrian explosion within biology, I’m happy to accept it. But apparently you’ve already done the research to back up your statement. Show me.

          Critics will still keep working to keep their feet to the fire. The issue just won’t quietly go away.

          Elaborate on this for me. So biologists just wish the clamor of evidence against evolution would just go away, but the Creationists won’t let up? Is that it? ’Cause I thought that scientists had plenty of incentive on their own to research interesting puzzles like the Cambrian explosion.

          That’s yet another claim of yours that needs backup. Show me.

          The amount of personal invective and anger hurled at biologists challenging evolution in other areas shows clearly the growing worry of evolutionists.

          I can think of two biologists who have challenged evolution, one of which has admitted to the agenda that he became a biologist simply to have the platform from which to argue against evolution. Who do you have in mind? Perhaps there’s a legion of evolution-denying biologists that I’m unfamiliar with. Show me.

          “growing worry”? I’d not heard this, either—except from breathless Creationist sources. Show me.

          Why the anger? Why the angry insults?

          You’re kidding, right? Because Creationists know they can’t overturn evolution with the facts and so are playing dirty tricks. “Teach the controversy” is still in vogue in those circles.

          Shanghaiing science to support a religious presupposition is maddening to those of us who want to follow the evidence.

          We don’t get angry at flat earth proponents. We simply ignore them. Their arguments don’t threaten us.

          And the arguments of well-funded, agenda-driven Creationists do. See the difference?

        • wlad

          “There’s your answer: whatever the consensus view of the Cambrian explosion within biology, I’m happy to accept it.”

          The problem–there is NO consensus view of the Cambrian explosion within biology.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Show me. I want to see the various views within biology and the size of the various constituencies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why–what problems do you imagine? That evolution is on the ropes?

          You lose.

        • wlad

          No, just serious challenge to the theory of evolutionists that they hope someday they will find an adequate answer.

          I am absolutely flabbergasted that you refuse to acknowledge the Explosion is not well understood. Even one of your own evolutionists admitted that it was not well understood.

          Well, actually, it’s not really surprising.

          Of course admitting that it is not well understood creates a problem for you and evolutionists, and the scientists you pointed to under “factors” offered six “might” possibilities to attempt to address it in some way at least. They weren’t playing thought games. THEY were attempting to address a real scientific PROBLEM.

          How YOU personally solve it. “The problem doesn’t exist.”

          So, no problem. See? We win.

          BTW, did you ever see a Muslim apologist debate a Christian one?
          They present their statement and add, “you lose.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No,

          So we agree then. Biologists are far more aware of the Cambrian explosion than you are, and they’ve concluded that evolution still stands.

          It’s good to finally join hands on the key question here.

          Of course admitting that it is not well understood creates a problem for you and evolutionists

          Oh? What’s the problem? Evolution still stands, and you still lose.

          How YOU personally solve it. “The problem doesn’t exist.”

          Solve what? The problem that science always has unanswered questions? Doesn’t bother me. Should it?

          BTW, did you ever see a Muslim apologist debate a Christian one?

          They present their statement and add, “you lose.”

          I haven’t seen such a debate. Why you keep coming back to hear me observe that evolution still stands, I can’t imagine. Just a masochist?

        • wlad

          You can observe that evolution still stands all day and all night, and very purposely ignore the challenge that the Explosion offers evolutionists. Simply announce it is not a problem, or maybe offer a guess, a “might.”

          No empirical evidence necessary.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I have no respect for your evaluation of the “problem” of the Cambrian explosion. Show me what biologists say.

          Looks like evolution is still the consensus! And you still lose.

        • wlad

          Biologists say, “maybe, might, likely, perhaps a combination of some of these.”
          Without a single piece of empirical evidence.
          And then announce there is no problem.

          Actually, you are the only ( I don’t think you are a biologist) one I know who says it is not a problem.

          All the biologists who came up with multiple guesses and are actively working to provide corroborating empirical evidence to point to one “might,” or perhaps a combination of “mights” and,
          are doing so because they understand the present evidence is insufficient to support ANY present hypotheses, and is still a problem.
          They certainly could stop and say, “Evolution is true, why do we need to come up with any theses, any empirical evidence, no problem.

          The problem is public, in the awareness of the world. Darwin’s Doubt book was #7 on the New York’s Best Seller list. They had to respond to the criticism.

          The response should have been easy, right? Evolution is settled!?

          They have responded with “maybe this, maybe that.”

          Because they NOW have NO evidence. And no evidence against the Explosion for 156 years.

          And they are trying to answer. They don’t say, “no problem.” They are saying, “well possibly.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve said nothing new in the last 30 comments and have become a pest. I’ll give you a couple of comments to wrap it up. Then I’m deleting future comments on this subject from you.

        • MNb

          “Of course admitting that it is not well understood creates a problem for you and evolutionists”
          Now if I were religious I would call for Heavenly assistance. No, it is a luxury problem. We have too many hypotheses. None of them conflicts with Evolution Theory.
          You know – if we understood everything well in science we could stop and fire all scientists. We only would need teachers like me.

        • wlad

          “No, it is a luxury problem. We have too many hypotheses”

          Right, many guesses, and NOT ONE hypothesis with ANY evidence. They CANNOT provide the data, so they just offer another “might,” another guess.

        • wlad

          “Why? The question is, “is evolution the consensus of biologists.” It is.”

          Therefore the question is settled, right? Once there is a consensus in science, case closed, right?

          Tell that to Galileo. Tell that to the one who brought up the Big Bang theory.

          Are consensus biologists able to explain the greatest challenge to their theory–can they scientifically answer the challenge? Their response–”Evolution is true! We all agree. Therefore trust us, we’ll come up with a scientific explanation. We have a bunch of possible ideas–but anyways, since evolution is true, the Explosion is not, and CANNOT be a real problem.” “NOT a problem,” you agree.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Therefore the question is settled, right?

          From the standpoint of laymen, yup.

          If you think otherwise—that you have the chops to go up against the people who actually understand this stuff and have the doctorates to prove it—expand on that. Tell me how your evaluation of biology or quantum physics or cosmology is relevant within science.

          Tell that to Galileo. Tell that to the one who brought up the Big Bang theory.

          Oh—you’re talking about scientists! No problem there. That’s where new ideas come from (as you’ve pointed out yourself). The rather small error you make is that you’re not a scientist. No scientist cares what you think. You don’t get to vote on the consensus.

          Are consensus biologists able to explain the greatest challenge to their theory

          Wow—arguing with you is a pain because I’m always having to repeat myself. I slap your argument silly and, instead of responding to my response, you just restate your original point. Like a Weeble, you just ignore the argument and pop back up for more humiliation.

          (1) Show me that this is biology’s “greatest challenge.”

          (2) Biologists have responded to your popgun of a broadside. Evolution stands. You lose.

        • wlad

          Bob,
          Because if there was a greater challenge, we certainly would be focused on that challenge.
          This challenge is certainly good enough. Biologists in universities and scientific centers certainly would not be spending time and publishing papers offering various “might” proposals– a lot of proposals– if it wasn’t a serious problem. If it was an easily dismissed issue, they would have done so long ago–they have had 156 years to do so.

          Still NO adequate answer.

        • MNb

          Of course you’ve had the adequate answer a gazillion times before. You just hope we get tired and give up. Then you can declare yourself the winner. That’s just another logical fallacy: argumentum ad nauseam.
          There I go again. Evolutionary biologists are offering various “might” proposals because that’s what they are paid for. These proposals are all consistent and coherent within the framework of Evolution Theory. More empirical data are needed to decide which proposals are right and which ones should end in the dustbin. That’s how science works. That’s the challenge. It always has been, at least since Tycho Brahe decided to painstakingly write down his celestial observations. His goal was to decide between Terra Centrism and Heliocentrism. He succeeded. The previous lack of knowledge by no means was a threat to the theory that the Earth is spherical.
          Neither is the Cambrian Explosion a challenge to Evolution Theory.
          As you are intellectually dishonest you simply refuse to acknowledge this. I’m on the verge of calling you a liar – a liar for Jesus. Because it begins to seem you do it deliberately and repeatedly.

        • wlad

          The problem is NO empirical data have been found for ANY of the proposals. Just a series of “mights.”

          “Mights” with no empirical data is not evidence.

          But,
          No problem, right?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re saying that science has unanswered questions.

          Yeah, that’s kind of obvious. But thanks.

        • MNb

          “Once there is a consensus in science, case closed, right?”
          It’s here that I disagree with BobS: no, case not closed. Never. It means though that to refute Evolution Theory you have to

          1) bring up empirical data that can’t be explained by ET’
          2) propose a consistent and coherent theory that does and does explain all the known data up to now.

          Laymen can do it in principle. It’s very rare though.
          Galilei qualified. Friedman and Lemaitre never met resistance in the community of physicists though. You show your ignorance once again.

          “Are consensus biologists able to explain the greatest challenge to their theory”
          See? Laymen like me can do science too. I have a consistent and coherent theory regarding creacrappers like you. I made a prediction. You nicely confirm it. You won’t leave your denial position.
          So I repeat for the gazillionth time: the Cambrian Explosion is only a challenge (note how you try to be cunning and have exchanged “problem” for “challenge” – as if we thus have to take you seriously now) for Evolution Theory in the overheated fantasy of creacrappers. Evolutionary biologists only face the problem of having to many options and not knowing which one to pick. Yet.
          It’s the point of this very article: developments during GOBE went even faster than the Cambrian Explosion. But no creacrapper goes after that one – or after superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. Conclusion: they are just cherry-picking, another favourite creacrap logical fallacy.
          Epic fail, Wlad, but you can’t admit it. So you remain an endless source for my entertainment.

        • wlad

          Anti-evolutionists certainly has done step 1) with no adequate response from the the evolutionists.

          The compression of evolutionary time for all the phyla present today to between 5 and 40 million years is well documented. Evolutionists have so far been unable to provide an adequate response. No evidence. NONE. Just various “might” proposals. With promises of “we’ll find the evidence, just wait.”

          Can we agree that step one (up to today) has been successfully fulfilled?

        • MNb

          No. That’s not evidence against Evolution Theory. That’s (possibly deliberately) wrong calculation, aka bogus. Alas it’s a subject I’m hardly familiar with, but I know that evolutionary biologists have been addressing the issue since decades.

          http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-molecular-clock-and-estimating-species-divergence-41971

          They don’t see it as a problem, so why should I?
          Now I am a math teacher and I do know that the results of mathematical calculations depend on the assumptions you make (compare Euclidean geometry and its axioms). In simpel words: Garbage In, Garbage out. That’s what I’m referring to.
          Moreover I asked for empirical data, not for pseudomath.

        • wlad

          “Moreover I asked for empirical data, not for pseudomath.”

          The problem is EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGISTS need to come up with the empirical evidence to refute the challenge that the lightning speed evolution of the Explosion squares with their previous theories. Not us.

          As you said, they have been addressing it for decades (fifty years) and so far have NO empirical evidence, just a series of possible “mights.” Not even just a little bit. None.

          Show ME the data, not a series of guesses, of “mights.”

        • MNb

          Almost forgot that one! You’re amazing Wlad, given enough time you trot out every single creacrap cliche imaginable.

          “Tell that to Galileo”
          Yup. 1. Galilei was a genius.
          2. Galilei was right.
          3. Galilei was mocked at.
          4. Creacrappers get mocked at.
          5. Creacrappers are geniuses and they are right.

        • wlad

          Just “a degree of uncertainty?” Otherwise pretty sure–explosion no longer a problem?

        • MNb

          You really don’t want to understand, do you? Well, that’s why you a creacrapper after all. The Cambrian Explosion is not a problem for Evolution Theory. The problem is that biologists do not know yet which hypotheses correctly describes the event. Because they don’t have enough empirical data. Yet.
          Not that you will get out of denial position now. Unfortunately for you I’m more stubborn than any creacrapper around, so I’ll just continue cram up this lesson in your creacrap head until you either accept it (unlikely) or prefer to neglect it (my bet is on that one).

        • GubbaBumpkin

          No biologist has ever stated ANY one explanation with certainty–they all say it might have happened this way….

          You’re going to criticise them for admitting to a degree of uncertainty? Unjustified certainty is only admirable in religion, it seems.

        • kenofken

          If you’re a typical ID proponent, you’re not asking for an explanation of the Cambrian Explosion, nor is there any standard of evidence which would be sufficient to convince you. You’ve decided in advance of any experiments that the virtue and salvation of the human race demands that Darwin cannot, under any circumstances, be right even in a proximate sense. You insist that the Cambrian period is simply inexpicable. Evolutionary biology has shown it to be very plausible. So then you ridicule it, saying “well, you only know it MAY be true.” You’re casting stones at the state of science when your alternative explanation (it’s magic, and the Hand of God), requires us to abandon all reason and accept a “theory” that is utterly untestable.

        • Norm Donnan

          Dont ask for evidence,thats the atheist line,and besides it spoils their fantasy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Evidence? You mean for evolution? Unless you’re a biologist, no one cares what your evaluation of evolution is. Knowing that you’re just an amateur, you should care least.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh but I do listen to biologists Bob and I do care what they say.You to can find out at creation.com.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (1) You’ve changed the subject.

          (2) I also get my science from Creationist sources. (Not.)

        • MNb

          http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

          No one made a study of evolutionary biology. I clicked a random one, Dr. D. deWitt. No single publication in a well established scientific news magazine. “The dark side of evolution” for instance is just an internet article. It doesn’t contain anything that can pass as science and in fact contains a few lies.
          Here some other scientists you could listen to:

          http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve
          The list is longer than the creacrap one. You’re listening to fringe scientists and shut your ears for the consensus.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          I’m sure that’s why you’re not a Christian too: no one has provided “tested proof” that Christianity is true.

          Right?

        • wlad

          Tu toque.

          Scientific methods cannot prove the existence of God. Even supernatural events witnessed by tens of thousands don’t necessarily convert anybody, and are explained away–like atheists explain away miracle of the sun (Wiki article below), saying it was caused by prolonged exposure to looking at the sun, or mass hallucination, or “sun dog” Last time I checked, prolonged exposure to the sun causes blindness–and not a single case of such blindness was reported–atheist reporters would have jumped at any such evidence. Or saying it was mass hallucination (it was reported by people 17 miles away). Or saying it was a natural “sun dog.” (the exact day of the miracle was predicted for months). The sudden drying after the night of rain? I suppose atheists can attribute it to mass hallucination.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

          And Our Lady of Zeitun, witnessed by hundreds of thousands, even by President Nasser.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Zeitoun

          Something unusual happened and was recorded. Atheists, non-Christians, the president of Nasser, saw it. It was photographed.
          Atheist explanations–mass delusion (as far as I know delusions cannot be photographed), “tectonic strain theory, and Muslims and Christians wanted to see something very badly for peace. No satisfactory alternative explanation could be found.

          No matter for atheists. It just could not be true, therefore it wasn’t. It seems atheists could have had a field day and scored a touchdown against believers, proving it was a hoax–it lasted years.

          “For the believer, NO EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY. For the Skeptic, NO EXPLANATION WILL SATISFY …”

        • GubbaBumpkin

          I’m sure you are just as confident in the reality of Hindu miracles.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Scientific methods cannot prove the existence of God…

          Scientific methods cannot prove the existence of Santa Claus either. The best explanation for that is Santa Claus does not exist.

        • wlad

          Scientific methods cannot prove the existence of love.
          Therefore love does not exist, right?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Scientific methods cannot prove the existence of love.

          I have no idea why you would think that. Try taking a bear cub away from its mother.

        • wlad

          Just evolutionary survival of the fittest. DNA passing on. Right?

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Just evolutionary survival of the fittest.

          I highlighted your problem for you.

        • wlad

          Ask evolutionary psychologists..

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Name three evolutionary psychologists who have ever taken a bear cub away from its mother.

        • wlad

          Just ask the evo psychologists why the mother protected her cubs.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why do you present this example of a miracle? Does your own faith rest on it? If it were proved wrong, would your faith go with it? Is this what convinced you that Christianity is true?

          If not, why should we care? Once it’s proved wrong, you’ll just fine some other “miracle.”

        • wlad

          i was ultimately trying to show that God cannot be proven by scientific fact.

          Love cannot be proven by scientific method.

          Does that mean that love does not exist?

          No, my faith in God certainly does not depend on such miracles.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, my faith in God certainly does not depend on such miracles.

          That makes sense. But then why bring them up? They don’t mean much to you, so why imagine that they’ll mean much to me?

        • wlad

          You’re absolutely right.

        • wlad

          Christians and believers know they cannot provide scientific proof for the existence of God, and don’t claim to.

          Evolutionists claim they have “tested proof” for evolution, and therefore, can provide tested proof for answers for the explosion

          Well, let them provide it.

        • MNb

          Like I wrote a gazillion times before, evolutionary biologists are busy like bees doing exactly that. And I am predicting that you will reject it no matter what they show up with. Or am I wrong? I like to be surprised. Then I have Adam Lee’s questions for you.

          1. What kind of evidence would convince you that Evolution Theory is correct? Please be specific.
          2. What kind of evidence would convince you that ID is wrong? Again be specific.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-two-questions/

          “Christians and believers know they cannot provide scientific proof for the existence of God, and don’t claim to.”
          Oh yes. The IDiots from Seattle claim so. You did. You guys are just too dishonest to admit that your Intelligent Designer/Guider/Whatever (blessed be Him/Her/It) is an unspecified god. Note that you guys a priori rule out the option of polytheism.
          Of course there are also loons like Ken Ham and my personal favourite, the good reverend David Rives, who can be found at WND.

          Thus far I have forgotten a point and I’d like to read your reaction. I’m going to be brutally honest with you: I expect a new opportunity to mock you.
          No matter who you ask, evolutionary biologists and paleontologists (the people who do the actual digging) are highly consistent on the contents of Evolution Theory. You won’t find any ambiguity.
          How comes there are so many variations of creationism? Wikipedia recognizes Young Earth Creationism, Creation Science, Old Earth Creationism, Gap Creationism, Day-Age Creationism, Progressive Creationism, Neo-Creationism and ID.
          Now creationism began as a reaction to Darwin’s research a bit more than 100 years ago. Let me restrict myself to christians – it gets too complicated if we also consider say Hindu creationism.
          Isn’t it lame that even in the most christian First World Country, the US of A, creationists fail to reach some consensus on the very subject they think so important? You guys all read the same Holy Book and more or less worship the same god, namely the christian one. Why can’t you decide which brand is correct?
          You see, that’s what scientists do. They formulate tests to find out which hypotheses are correct and which ones not. They organize conferences to present and discuss those tests and promising new hypotheses. But creationists, from Ken Ham to you, never have provided any test to decide between two brands of creationism. Ol’ Hambo from AIG now and then attacks the IDiots from Seattle for not being christian enough. Those IDiots from Seattle grumble a bit about Ol’ Hambo not doing science and them totally doing (which is a demonstratable lie), but that’s it.
          Very unscientific.
          Of course if you neglect these questions you can be sure I’m going to harp on you with them at every opportunity.

        • wlad

          I personally believe that the intelligent designer is God.
          I have never said I can provide scientific evidence for Him. I would love to hear from a believer who claims he has such evidence. Logical arguments, theological, philosophical arguments–of course. Scientific evidence? Please cite me such a believer.

          “Like I wrote a gazillion times before, evolutionary biologists are busy like bees doing exactly that.”

          And absolutely NO empirical evidence yet, just guesses. It is why they are so busy.

        • Kodie

          Why are your standards of proof so low for god?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          We’re seeing the glorious hand of God yet again in the blossoming of many incompatible forms of Creation Science®.

          Just like the one unambiguous and immutable Bible produces tens of thousands of Christian sects, the same happens with Creation research. Blessed be!

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Christians and believers know they cannot provide scientific proof for the existence of God, and don’t claim to.

          If only that were true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Evolutionists claim they have “tested proof” for evolution

          Really? Show me.

        • wlad

          Bad choice of words, I was responding to the “tested proof for Christianity” comment before. I meant empirical evidence, and biologists bring up the fossil record as physical empirical evidence.

          Now you have had your chance at “gotcha.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t particularly get off on gotchas. I’d rather you thought before you spoke, researched widely rather than just at sites that confirm what you already believe, and made interesting points rather than going for gotchas yourself.

          I prefer adult conversation to vindictive pointing out of errors. Did I make a mistake? Great–help me out by pointing out the error and showing the evidence. Once.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve yet to explain why you pretend that you’re able to evaluate the evidence better than the people with the PhDs.

          Let’s leave the nice scientists alone and let them do their job, OK?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      wlad: Is this a serious scientific explanation of the Cambrian Explosion:..

      1) It’s more serious than the “Goddidit” you are going to offer in its stead.
      2) It is acceptable – even laudable – to admit a degree of uncertainty.

  • MNb

    “While it happened quickly, it still took 20 million years,”
    Just compare: it took only about 7 million years for the evolution from common ancestor to Homo Sapiens and Chimp plus Bonobo.

    The Cambrian Explosion is only a problem in the eyes of creacrappers like Meyers. It’s probably not even unique; there might very well have been an Avalon explosion as well. And you already mentioned GOBE.

    “evolution expects gradual change”
    This is what all creacrappers insist on; as always they are wrong.

    • wlad

      Darwinianists did expect gradual change over countless generations, until the neo-Darwinianists didn’t.

      • Greg G.

        Nothing can be effected, unless favourable variations occur, and variation itself is apparently always a very slow process. The process will often be greatly retarded by free intercrossing. Many will exclaim that these several causes are amply sufficient wholly to stop the action of natural selection. I do not believe so. On the other hand, I do believe that natural selection will always act very slowly, often only at long intervals of time, and generally on only a very few of the inhabitants of the same region at the same time. I further believe, that this very slow, intermittent action of natural selection accords perfectly well with what geology tells us of the rate and manner at which the inhabitants of this world have changed. [Charles Darwin, Origin of Species 1st Edition 1859, p.153]

        Copied from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/punc-eq.html, bolding added.

        See, Darwin did expect non-gradual evolution.

      • MNb

        Even if they did: Newtonian physicists did expect that the speed of light could exceed 300 000 km/s. So what? Physics is wrong, like your deepest wish Evolution Theory is wrong?
        You’re silly.

    • wlad

      If it’s not a problem, why are so many prominent biologists struggling to come up with possible proposals to explain it?

      • MNb

        They aren’t. Elsewhere I gave you several links with possible proposals. You are dishonest again. Even if you had taken a glance you wouldn’t have asked this incorrect question.
        The problem is that they don’t have enough empirical data to choose between the several proposals.
        I repeat: why don’t you bring up superconductivity at relatively high temperatures as argument for your god? Now that’s a phenomenon where physicists struggle to come up with possible proposals. Thus far they all have failed.
        Because you’re dishonest I’ll answer the question for you.
        1. Because of your belief system you dislike evolution hence your conclusion is fixed a priori.
        2. Arguing for god from superconductivity would make you look silly.
        Hence you prefer to be inconsistent – which is anti-scientific.

        Edit: underneath you have admitted your dishonesty yourself. There you wrote:

        “They were all proposals”
        apparently after you read the links.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Science always has unanswered questions. But if you imagine that whatever problem you’ve stumbled across has caused biologists to thrown in the towel and agree with your point of view, just ask them.

        (I think not.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’d not heard of the Avalon explosion. Thanks.

  • KarlUdy

    Note also that Intelligent Design advocates didn’t uncover the Cambrian explosion. Biologists did. And it hasn’t convinced them that evolution is wrong. How could it convince me?

    It does not make sense to compare what Intelligent Design advocates and biologists achievements were, because it is possible to be both.

    In any case it was geologists, not biologists who made the discovery.

    And by the way, before you so quickly attribute credit for this discovery to atheism, are you aware that one of the major contributors to this discovery was a theologian?

    • MNb

      Where did BobS attribute credit to atheism? I just have reread the article and didn’t find the ugly a-word you dislike so much. When you do science it doesn’t matter what you believe. What matters is if you accept and apply the scientific method, something IDers by definition don’t.

      ” it is possible to be both”
      It is not possible to be an evolutionary biologist and an IDer. The very, very few other biologists who adhere ID are fringe. Moreover it’s hardly possible to be a geologists or paleontologist (the guys who do the digging) and an IDer.
      BobS’ point still stands: since Darwin wrote his books not any scientific discovery had made based on ID.

      • KarlUdy

        It is not possible to be an evolutionary biologist and an IDer. The very, very few other biologists who adhere ID are fringe. Moreover it’s hardly possible to be a geologists or paleontologist (the guys who do the digging) and an IDer.

        With your qualifications you have a better comparison. However, that was not Bob’s comparison. And also being fringe should not come into it.

        Where did BobS attribute credit to atheism?

        I was getting in first. Bob seems to like to pit science and faith up against each other, and I was just pointing out that an obvious reason it won’t work in this case.

        By the way, I think we may have a different understanding of ID. I don’t see ID as disregarding the scientific method by definition (although some proponents may in fact do so.)

        • MNb

          Thanks for the clarification; it looked like a strawman. No, we have a different understanding of science and the scientific method. And your understanding is flat out wrong.

          1. As far as ID makes testable predictions (not far at all) it is refuted, like the irreducible complexity of Behe’s Mousetrap and Dembski’s specified complexity.
          2. So IDers usually avoid making testable prediction and then it’s not science by definition.
          3. IDers never, I have mentioned this before, answer the questions how the Intelligent Designer did it, which means He/She/It used and which procedures He/She/It followed. That’s because they can’t. That’s why ID is theology, not science.

          “And also being fringe should not come into it.”
          I wouldn’t know why not. They are fringe and fringe is fringe.

        • KarlUdy

          MNb,
          If we we take your point that ID is theology, not science, then it still holds that someone can be an ID proponent and a biologist.

          As I understand it, ID proposes an intelligent agency behind the current physiological state of organisms. I also understand that there is a range of opinions among these proponents as to how direct the agency’s involvement is, from guided evolution to special creation.

          If an ID proponent holds to the view that the intelligent design is brought about by guided evolution, then an argument can be made that it is more a theological position than a scientific position, but in such a case, an ID proponent need have no conflict with evolutionary biology at all.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          an ID proponent need have no conflict with evolutionary biology at all.

          I think you just contradicted yourself. The IDer who imagines guided evolution does indeed accept evolution, but he must also accept divine intervention–God’s nudging things (at the very least).

          This is very much in conflict with evolutionary biology, which admits no evidence of a supernatural anything.

        • MNb

          “someone can be an ID proponent and a biologist.”
          I already admitted that; there are a few and they are fringe. Someone can’t be an IDer and an evolutionary biologist.

          ” ID proposes an intelligent agency behind the current physiological state of organisms.”
          Any intelligent agency implies automatically rejecting the scientific method. Period.

          “If an ID proponent holds to the view that the intelligent design is brought about by guided evolution”
          then intelligent design has become meaningless. You’re confusing ID with theistic evolution here. People like Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins would be insulted if they read what you write.

      • wlad

        What some IDers believe is that GUIUDED evolution could explain the process of life forms. I certainly believe so.

        • Greg G.

          Godidit can explain anything if you will accept lame explanations. Unguided evolution explains evolution without requiring an unexplained guide.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          What some IDers believe is that GUIUDED evolution could explain the process of life forms.

          ID proponent William A. Dembski says:

          The answer to this question is quite simple: Design theorists are no friends of theistic evolution. As far as design theorists are concerned, theistic evolution is American evangelicalism’s ill-conceived accommodation to Darwinism. What theistic evolution does is take the Darwinian picture of the biological world and baptize it, identifying this picture with the way God created life. When boiled down to its scientific content, theistic evolution is no different from atheistic evolution, accepting as it does only purposeless, naturalistic, material processes for the origin and development of life.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      … are you aware that one of the major contributors to this discovery was a theologian?

      What is your point? Was that theologian a Creationist?

      • KarlUdy

        I think he probably was. But probably not of the type you would recognize. Today’s species of creationist is a very recent evolutionary mutation.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          I think he probably was.

          I don’t give a rip what you think, especially since you seem to be thinking impaired. Rather, you should provide a citation naming the theologist and giving a reliable account of his/her beliefs.

        • KarlUdy

          Why should I do that? If you’re not thinking impaired you should be able to find it all out by yourself.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          KarlUdy – great comment. It is tiresome the way some who advocate ‘critical thinking’ often resort to insults as soon as their opinion is threatened by a rival idea.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Oh yes, great comment – refuse to provide a citation for something you claim in a discussion. radicalrevolution wishes to praise that behaviour.

        • http://www.revelation4radicals.com/ radicalrevelation

          He offered that you find it, if you so need it. You don’t ‘give a rip for what he thinks,’ and called him ‘thinking impaired’ when he suggested that not all scientists may fit into your particular worldview.

          I simply called attention to your behavior.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          And I was calling attention to his behaviour of making an assertion and failing to back it up.

  • GubbaBumpkin
  • MNb

    LOL! Thanks to Jeffrey Shallit I learned something today. Creacrap is older than Darwin’s famous book.

    http://answersinscience.org/demise.html

  • Mike Hatch

    Having just finished Meyer’s book, I would recommend deeper analysis, as the key points in the book go beyond what Meyer may have said in the lecture. A rehash of Cambrian explosion arguments & counter arguments misses a deeper point and more valuable argument, in my opinion. I had the opportunity to attend a different lecture by Meyer on this book, and there he clearly highlighted the key argument, which revolves around newly discovered complexity involved in the creation of proteins. He uses a ‘bicycle lock’ analogy for the creation of proteins, which were once thought to have ubiquitous viable combinations, but now are known to have rare sequence combinations, and it is hard to justify the existence of the simplest proteins (of approximately 150 base-pair combinations). If every single-celled organism that has ever existed (prior to the Cambrian) had one chance for mutation and selection, it would only cover half of the combinatorial space of one simple protein, let alone the great variety of complex proteins necessary for complex life. I recommend deeper analysis of the book’s claims.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’ve heard this argument before, I think. Tell me if i’m saying it right.

      If you have 20 amino acids, and you’re making a protein that’s 150 amino acids long, you have 20^150 = 10^195 possibilities. If you’re looking for a specific protein, and you’re making random tries to get it, that would take a very, very long time to come up with by chance.

      I agree. Two small problems: (1) evolution is not looking for a specific protein, and (2) they aren’t made randomly.

      A particular protein came into existence from instructions for a similar protein. And so on, as you turn back the clock.

      The important thing about ID, as always, is that is has been considered and roundly rejected. Evolution is the consensus view, and this point hasn’t overturned that. We laymen have no choice but to accept the scientific consensus.

      • Mike Hatch

        Yep, I think that is a fair summary of the lock argument. To the problems you present: 1) certainly evolution is not looking for a specific protein, but combinations that are functional are very sparse in combination-space and very unlikely to be discovered by chance. 2) you’re saying that it isn’t random because selection builds upon previous proteins? That does not answer how the first/simplest proteins (which are still very complex) were ‘stumbled upon’, does it? Meyer also addresses the issues of ‘re-use’ that you are hinting at, and proposes that is a more difficult argument since mutations in existing functional proteins causes dysfunction and often death.
        I personally don’t accept that consensus = truth we must accept. It is possible for the majority to be incorrect.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          combinations that are functional are very sparse in combination-space and very unlikely to be discovered by chance.

          And yet this argument doesn’t convince the people who actually understand the issue.

          you’re saying that it isn’t random because selection builds upon previous proteins?

          Right.

          That does not answer how the first/simplest proteins (which are still very complex) were ‘stumbled upon’, does it?

          No, it doesn’t. So then is this the actual issue? If so, why bring up the other argument??

          I personally don’t accept that consensus = truth we must accept. It is possible for the majority to be incorrect.

          Obviously. Consensus isn’t necessarily truth, and the consensus can be incorrect. But what do we laymen have as an alternative?? Surely you would dismiss as quickly as I would someone with a “conclusion” he picked because it was most pleasing rather than best supported by evidence, right? That sure sounds like what you’re doing.


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