While we're discussing scientific skepticism, what about evolution?

Let me state right from the start that evolution driven by natural selection makes a lot more sense than some magical spirit guy started it all and created all the animals and plants.

But what's seldom discussed is some of the amazing holes in the evolutionary evidence. We have ample fossils of some species and none of others. 

Case in point: We've all seen at least one chart showing the evolution of man, or of the horse. 

I dare you to find one showing the evolution of the cow. I've spent hours and hours on google image search and have nothing to show for it.

Another massive hole: the bat, quite possibly the most prolific type of mammal. Bats seem to have popped out of thin air. There is no record of a creature whose fingers gradually get longer and longer until they are long enough to support a wing made out of skin.

But these are far from the only creatures lacking transitional fossils. This critique of the Darwinian position by Dr. Duane Gish, a prominent creationist, raises a lot of very interesting questions. A quote:

The essence of the neo-Darwinian view is the slow gradual evolution of one plant or animal into another by the gradual accumulation of micromutations through natural selection of favored variants.

If this view of evolution is true, the fossil record should produce an enormous number of transitional forms. Natural history museums should be overflowing with undoubted intermediate forms. About 250,000 fossil species have been collected and classified. These fossils have been collected at random from rocks that are supposed to represent all of the geological periods of earth history. Applying evolution theory and the laws of probability, most of these 250,000 species should represent transitional forms. Thus, if evolution theory is true, there should be no doubt, question, or debate as to the fact of evolution.

Such is not the case at all, however. The fossil record was actually an embarrassment to Darwin, and some paleontologists are willing to admit that it looks even worse from an evolutionary point of view today than it did in Darwin's time.1 Some even appear to admit that there is, in fact, little, if any, evidence for transitional forms in the fossil record. Kitts, for example, states, "Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing' evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." More and more paleontologists seem to be coming to the point where they are now willing to admit that this is indeed the case, and are seeking to devise a mechanism for evolution that will tolerate, even predict, systematic gaps in the fossil record.

Other evolutionists remain steadfastly wedded to neo-Darwinism. They argue that there are examples of transitional forms in the fossil record, and that even if examples of gradual change are few, these few examples eliminate the necessity of seeking mechanisms for evolution other than neo-Darwinism. The examples most often cited are the reptile-to-bird transition (Archaeopteryx is the sole suggested intermediate), the so-called horse series, and the reptile-mammal transition.

Of the latter, Olson has said "The reptilian-mammalian transition has by far the finest record of showing the origin of a new class."2 Others claim that there are forms that stand perfectly on the reptilian-mammalian boundary. In an "Impact" article to be published soon, we will examine in some detail the "mammal-like" reptiles that some paleontologists believe represent transitional forms between reptiles and mammals. In the present article we wish to review the general nature of the evidence related to the origin of mammals.


Tags: Duane Gish, creationism, evolution, natural selection

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I'm not sure how you know how to rank the skeptics on the list. Pray do tell.

already told you I chose "the four most prestigious institutions: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Duke." Educators at these institutions are generally considered to be the best in the world, if not on your list, which includes the Cato Institute.

By criticizing the shortness of the list, you are invoking consensus and consensus has no particular relation to truth.

Then why did you post this short list as an example of the "many scientists" who are climate change deniers (which actually totals just 1 to 6 percent of scientists overall)?

Think of all the past cases of consensus the proved wrong. (Do you want a list?)

Show me where I've argued that consensus is what supports the IPCC science. I've done no such thing. I've said all along that nobel-prize winning scientific research supports the case for human-caused climate change.

You invoked consensus by insisting it does not exist. I've only falsified your claims that no scientific consensus exists on human-caused global warming.

I know you spend a good part of your day working up overly long responses to whatever I say, so I don't know how you found time to determine which scientists refused to disclose their research. The list isn't THAT short.

Not at all, Unseen. Most of the time, falsifying your demonstrably false statements takes fifteen minutes of writing and Google.

Your more obtuse moments are a matter of seconds. Take your statement above, for instance.

I chose four scientists from that list (without knowing their work in advance) and, as I explained, discovered three were shills for the petroleum industry and one refused to disclose his research.

Why do you insist on calling my list of scientists who are skeptical of the IPCC's methodology, conclusions, and recommendations "client deniers"?


I don't claim the skeptics are in the majority. Science is not majority rule.

[The record of fossils, skeletons and DNA evidence] just shows that cattle haven't changed much in 2 million years [except for size, appearance, aggressiveness and territoriality]. How about a fossil that almost looks like a cow and the before it and one before that, etc.?

We're not going to play these stupid games where you ignore everything I say and keep asking the same questions and keep moving the goal posts.

You claimed there was no evolutionary record for modern cattle. There is. You're wrong. End of story.

How did you determine the relative shilli-ness of my short (though long) list of experts?

That's a strawman fallacy.

I didn't say your entire list consisted of shills. I said I chose four climate change deniers from the most reputable institutions and three turned out to be shills (and I cited my sources). I also said that most climate change deniers are shills for the petroleum industry because they are. Big Oil funds the climate change denial industry.

Truth is now up for a vote? Truth by committee? Calling some of them "shills" is a baldfaced ad hominem, or will be when you give them names.

I've already named them and specified their sources of funding. That you ignore everything I say and attack me falsely for "baldfaced ad hominem" is, in fact, a form of ad hominem against me.

A shill is someone who pretends to give an impartial endorsement of something in which they themselves have an interest. In this case, the interest is money from a powerful petroleum industry which stands to lose millions of dollars over reductions in fossil fuel consumption and emissions.

Gallup: For all your questioning of the IPCC evidence [for human-caused climate change] where is the reasoning behind it?
Unseen: Go JudithCurry.com or wattsupwiththat.com and you'll find lots of scientists discussing climate. Both sides of the debate.

That's not reasoning. That's a yet another burden of proof fallacy.

You claim (over and over) that scientific evidence and reasoning exists which refutes the IPCC case for human-caused global warming. But you cannot provide it here. You cannot be specific. You cannot provide ONE link to a single, specific, peer-reviewed scientific paper explaining the case.

All you can do is provide links to pages which discuss climate change in general, as though it's my burden to go and find support for your claim that the case exists on there somewhere. (And then you refer to your denial, gainsaying and irrationality as "reasoned questioning" of human-caused climate change.)

You lose, Unseen. Repeating the same demonstrably false position more firmly and relentlessly doesn't make you any less wrong.

Why do you insist on calling my list of scientists who are skeptical of the IPCC's methodology, conclusions, and recommendations "client deniers"? 

You didn't list them that way.

You listed them as those who "doubt the current dogma on climate change" where the IPCC dogma is "the idea that the main cause of climate change is human activities". 

Now you're falsely accusing me of misrepresenting your rather extreme statement that these folks refuse to accept human-caused climate change.



I don't claim the skeptics are in the majority. Science is not majority rule.

I didn't say you said skeptics are in the majority. I said you haven't presented a scientific case that the IPCC science is faulty. And you haven't.

Maybe you missed the part where I said one can't find a chart showing the evolution of the cow from some critter that hardly looks like a cow, stage-by-stage to the modern cow (ox, or any kind of example of modern cattle). You can't.

I didn't miss it. I was responding to the part about "amazing holes in the evolutionary evidence". We know where modern cows came from, both in terms of domestication and in a lineage that goes back millions of years in various parts of the world. I don't consider the collectively plentiful skeletons, fossils and DNA to be "amazing holes" in the evidence for cow evolution.

One supposed 2 million year old progenitor or, as I said, an extinct form of modern cattle, does not a progression show.

It's not the only one. There are many other fossils and remains of the aurochs. Even if the evidence shows the animal didn't change much, it's still evidence, not a "hole".

When did I call [Judith Curry] a denier? She's a skeptic. She's discussing the data, some of it disconfirming.

I didn't say you called her a climate change denier.

However, given Curry's funding from the fossil fuels industry, her penchant for giving sympathy and soap boxes to climate change deniers, her history of dishonest research, her record of making false and misleading statements, and her claims which resemble climate change denial, it's not surprising Curry is known as a climate change denier, even though she herself claims not to be "skeptical" of human-caused global warming.

I think your stridency is due to misreading ME as a denier.

You're circulating misinformation about climate change and the IPCC in a public forum. It doesn't matter if you yourself believe it or not.

All I've ever said is that there are real, actual, qualified scientists who find fault with IPCC's methodology, conclusions, and prescriptions.

You've said the IPCC case for human-caused global warming is "dogma"-- which means authoritative without adequate grounds-- and there is no scientific consensus.

You've shirked every opportunity to demonstrate the inadequacy of the IPCC's case for human-caused climate change. And your 'no consensus' claim is demonstrably false.

You'll find both sides represented there.

Teach the 'controversy'. Sounds familiar.

You thought I was sending you to a den of deniers? Where did you get that idea? LOL

I got the idea when you posted a link to her blog when I asked you to provide specific scientific evidence that the IPCC evidence for human-caused climate change is faulty.

I also got the idea when I looked up Curry and found her blog uses the same "stress-the-uncertainties" approach the fossil fuels lobby uses to thwart science-based policy actions, and was documented in the book 'Merchants of Doubt'.

Yawn. LOL

How horrible of Mother Earth not to disgorge all the fossil evidence right at our feet so that we don't have any "gaps" in the evolutionary record of every species.  I think the entire human race should stop what it is doing and go out (with shovels) and start digging until we find every single fossil out there.  Hopefully, Mother Earth is not so perverse as to have actually destroyed some of the fossil record over the last few hundred million years.  Surely, she was careful to preserve at least one complete skeleton of every precursor to every species still existing.

There are gaps in the fossil record? No fossils for cows?

GOD DID IT!!!!!!!!!!

Filet mignon is probably the strongest evidence that there is a God. Holy Cow!

And also proof the Hindus got it wrong. Way wrong..

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers

Sacred, sacred hamburgers. 



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