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  Topic: Discussing "Explore Evolution", Have at it.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,14:53   

Sheesh, Paul.  The size of the pages of paper whereupon books are printed is, um, finite.  Do I need to define this term, finite, or are you still with me so far?

Some glorious day--or perhaps not, if you're a fan of actually holding, fondling, and stroking books--maybe all textbooks and the like will be on screens or on wearable computer textiles, or some such.  Then we can simply click on each illustration to see it enlarged, or zoomed, or whatever.

In the meantime, back in finite-page world (let me know if connecting up those two terms in a novel manner gives you comprehension problems), pictures of early mammal jaw structure would be very, very small alongside pictures of therapsid or early-reptile jaw stuctures, which would be very, very large by comparison.

To show the relevant features--you know, the ones of actual interest--it just makes sense to show them all at a scale which is at once visible to the reader without, at the same time, requiring the (ahem) designer of the book to try to fit enlarged photos of early mammals on the same (ahem) finite page with super-enlarged photos of therapsids.

If you respond at all, which I doubt, please be specific regarding which of the above points and terms you find hard to follow or with which you disagree (and, in the latter case, please state why you do so).

IOW, please try very hard not to reply with your usual dodges, circumlocutions, and Gish gallops.

Thanks ever so.

No mugs for jugs.

  
Paul Nelson



Posts: 43
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,15:57   

There's no problem with scaling up or down in illustrations so that anatomical features can be seen.

Not telling the reader that one is making some skulls very much bigger, and others much smaller, however, or failing to provide the dimensions of the actual fossils -- that's problematic.  This is especially the case with extinct groups (e.g., therapsids), where the reader will have no frame of reference.

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,16:04   

Paul, stop repeating yourself.

What exactly is problematic (misleading? deceptive? misrepresentational? what?) about not explicitly moving the scale issue to the forefront in the context of this particular example?

If it were relevant, that is, capable of being misinterpreted, etc., that would be one thing.  But you've admitted that it's not relevant.

One is having a difficult time avoiding the conclusion that you are zeroing in on this particular non-issue to dodge dealing with the many more significant problems with your work that have been raised by the others here.

Enough with the nit-picking.  Deal with the substance.

No slugs on rugs.

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,16:49   

Paul, these questions are really beginning to pile up.  I've compiled some of them--I don't pretend to have caught them all, and I haven't included repeats and more extended criticisms-not-in-the-form-of-a-question, nor have I surveyed other blogs or websites reviewing/criticizing, just this thread--here, just for your convenience.

Like any accumulated workload, it's going to be hard to bite off all at once, so feel free to just start in somewhere.  But IF you don't get started (that is, if you continue to dance around the least relevant of the bunch as a way to avoid dealing with the rest), you certainly won't be getting anywhere fast.

(Though, unfortunately, that does seem to be the rap on your criticism-of-common-descent article.)

Anyway, here they be:

Argystokes:
Quote
I also have a brief question for Paul Nelson, if he does show up. Do you honestly believe that this is a college-level textbook, appropriate for use at the University of Washington, for example?


stevestory (paraphrasing):
When, ten years on, can we expect your much ballyhooed work criticizing common descent to finally appear?

Hooligans:
Quote
Why are they quoting the Science Framework for California Schools from 1990 in EE?


IanBrown_101
Quote
Why don't you just debate it [the issues arising from EE] HERE?


stevestory:
Quote
Paul, is Exploring Evolution going to contain a single new argument we haven't seen in previous creationist 'textbooks'?


Lenny:
Quote
Paul, since creationism is already illegal to teach in public schools, what utility do you see for your, uh, "science textbook" . . . ?


Wesley R. Elsberry:
Quote
Let's ask the Wikipedia question: is Moneymaker's status as an author of science curricula verifiable?


Lenny (I’m gonna assume the link leads to some questions):
Quote
A reminder for you, Paul:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/nelson.html

Any time you're ready . . . . . .

(sound of crickets chirping)


ck1:
Quote
On the EE website, one of the sample pages discusses something called the "artifact hypothesis".  Is this a term used by actual evolutionary biologists?  Most of the Google hits for this term seem to be to creationist websites.


Doc Bill:
Quote
When has Paul Nelson ever given a straight answer or a truthful answer to any question posed?


Lenny:
Quote
Paul, are you here to actually answer questions?  Or just BS everyone again.


Lenny:
Quote
Hey Paul, does this magnificent, uh, "science textbook" tell us how old the earth is?

Why not?

(snicker)  (giggle)


hooligans:
Quote
Hey Mr. Paul Nelson,

I am a science teacher in the state of Washington and would love a review copy of EE. How can I get one?


Lenny:
Quote
Why not explain why _Diarthrognathus_ has two jaw joints -- one mammalian, one reptilian.

And why not explain why all this "therapsids" crapola is lifted nearly intact from Gish's writings at ICR from twenty-five years ago?  Since, ya know, "teach the controversy" doesn't have anything -- anything at all whatsoever -- to do with either creation "science" or intelligent design "theory".

(snicker)  (giggle)

Paul, ever wonder why everyone thinks creationists/IDers are dishonest evasive deceptive deliberate liars?

Think maybe books like this one have something to do with that?


Lenny:
Quote
My dad is taller than me, Paul.

Does that mean, in your opinion, that he's not my dad?

Just curious.

After all, we can't tell if he's my dad through a DNA paternity test, since we all KNOW that genetic similarity doesn't indicate descent either.  Right?  (snicker)  (giggle)


Lenny (the indefatigable):
Quote
Tell you what, Paul, since you're such an eager betting man and all, I'll even offer you a wager.  I'll give you one hundred dollars ($100) for every scientific argument against evolution presented in your magnum opus that has appeared in any peer-reviewed science journal anywhere in the world in the past 50 years, and you will give me one hundred dollars ($100) for every one that has appeared in some creationist/ID tracts published by ICR, AiG, or one of DI's minions.

Deal?


No drugs for bugs.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,17:08   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ July 20 2007,16:49)
Quote
Paul, are you here to actually answer questions?  Or just BS everyone again.

Well, I think we already got the answer to THIS question . . . .

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
JAM



Posts: 503
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,17:20   

Quote (Paul Nelson @ July 20 2007,09:54)
The accurate representation of data is important, especially when most students will never see the actual fossils in question.

JAM, can you say which quotes from the box "Coming Out of Their Shell?" you find objectionable, and why?

All of them. Quoting instead of presenting the data is inherently dishonest, and you know it. How can anyone be so dishonest as to not see the hypocritical contrast between your statement to Afarensis, immediately followed by your attempt to defend your avoidance of representation of data in favor of quotes?

Is quoting an "accurate representation of data," Paul? Why is it that real scientists don't generally do it, and you fake scientists do it all the time?
     
Quote
Also, Burke's data were interpreted by Rieppel (2001) as disproving the "correlated progression" model for turtle evolution, advanced by Kemp and others.

So what? The bottom line is the accurate representation of the data, and you run away from that in the most cowardly way. Your intent is clearly to deceive.
     
Quote
Rieppel writes:

Why not show the students the data, Paul? The  Alcian-blue and Alizarin-red pictures from Figure 3 alone would demolish any doubt that the shell was derived from existing structures.
     
Quote
For his part, Kemp responds:

Selective quoting is inherently dishonest. Show the students the data. What are you afraid of?
     
Quote
[Correlated progression] stands in contrast to an alternative view of the origin of turtles, expressed most recently by Rieppel (2001 [citing Burke]), that the rib-vertebrae-carapace-limb complex is too radically different from the ancestral amniote condition to have evolved gradually, but must have resulted from a macromutational event caused by a radical change in early development.  The difficulty with Rieppel's hypothesis is that it must account for how this sudden developmental change also caused what must have been simultaneous, but functionally integrated

Wow. "Functionally integrated" is definitely not a term I'd use to describe a turtle!
   
Quote
... shifts in many other traits, notably the musculature, limb function, central neural control of locomotion, ventilation mechanism, dietary shift away from faunivory and so on: it is unrealistic in the extreme that any single macromutation could have such a comprehensive effect.

I don't find it unrealistic at all, but then, I've seen some pretty comprehensive effects of single mutations on skeletal morphogenesis. Have you looked at any of those data? Why don't you quote the predictions of which morphogenetically-important proteins will be involved from the Burke paper? Is it because you're too chicken to make a testable prediction yourself?

I know that you are renowned for your avoidance of simple questions, so here's another: why do real scientists cite data, but you choose to quote bits and pieces of interpretation? What would your target audience think if they saw Figure 3 of the Burke paper instead of your chosen quotes?

If you think my questions are unfair, what proportion of my own publications would you bet contain quotations?

Can I get the same bet as Lenny proposed?

  
stevestory



Posts: 8884
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,17:34   

How is Explore Evolution supposed to advance the Discovery Institute's goal of promoting ID?

   
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,17:42   

Quote (JAM @ July 20 2007,17:20)
Is quoting an "accurate representation of data," Paul? Why is it that real scientists don't generally do it, and you fake scientists do it all the time?
   

This is an understatement.  I have never used a direct quote in any paper I have written, and the only paper I can think of from a peer-reviewed journal that makes liberal use of quotes is one that Afdave (remember him?) brought up a lot.  I guess this literary device appeals to creationists (because it is a common tactic in religous apologetics).

  
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,17:59   

Quote (ck1 @ July 20 2007,17:42)
   
Quote (JAM @ July 20 2007,17:20)
Is quoting an "accurate representation of data," Paul? Why is it that real scientists don't generally do it, and you fake scientists do it all the time?
   

This is an understatement.  I have never used a direct quote in any paper I have written, and the only paper I can think of from a peer-reviewed journal that makes liberal use of quotes is one that Afdave (remember him?) brought up a lot.  I guess this literary device appeals to creationists (because it is a common tactic in religous apologetics).

As a teacher of scientific writing, I totally agree with JAM.  Many of my undergraduate students were trained to cite in Freshman English classes, usually taught in English departments, where the rule is to cite via quotation.  This is a humanities model that is actually disabling in scientific education.  Students in scientific writing classes have to learn that scientists almost never quote (a few exceptions are almost always found in complex and anomalous articles such as, say, Gould and Lewontin's "Spandrel's" essay).  I comment briefly on this in a paper I published with Cary Moskovitz:

Moskovitz, Cary and David Kellogg. "Primary Science Communication in the First-Year Writing Course." CCC 57.2 (2005): 307-334.

For what it's worth, CCC is College Composition and Communication, the leading journal in the field.  (I'd quote the relevant passage here, but I'm on a relative's computer and don't have access to the paper directly.)  

I also have a reply to Paul Nelson's endlessly repeated comment re: figure sizes.  In general, as graphic design experts such as Edward Tufte have noted, scale provides information that is lost (!) when rescaling occurs without noting the activity.  Obviously some notation is better than none.  See his books The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information.  If biology textbooks print such comparisons without a "not to scale" note, I actually agree with Nelson on this minor point.  But such failures to reach an ideal representation are (a) common throughout technical illustration, and (b) nothing compared with the regular and repeated distortions characteristic of the ID community.

--------------
"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
stevestory



Posts: 8884
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,18:14   

Back when you guys imagined yourselves scientific revolutionaries, did you ever suspect this is how it would end up? No accomplishments, no theory, no experiments, no solution to any scientific problems whatsoever? Just sitting around complaining that an irrelevant aspect of a diagram maybe gave someone a wrong impression? While evolutionary science rolls on, unaffected, publishing thousands of papers a month. Looking back, would you have spend the last decade in the same way, if you could see that nothing would come of it?

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4361
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,18:25   

Quote (Hermagoras @ July 20 2007,17:59)
Quote (ck1 @ July 20 2007,17:42)
   
Quote (JAM @ July 20 2007,17:20)
Is quoting an "accurate representation of data," Paul? Why is it that real scientists don't generally do it, and you fake scientists do it all the time?
   

This is an understatement.  I have never used a direct quote in any paper I have written, and the only paper I can think of from a peer-reviewed journal that makes liberal use of quotes is one that Afdave (remember him?) brought up a lot.  I guess this literary device appeals to creationists (because it is a common tactic in religous apologetics).

As a teacher of scientific writing, I totally agree with JAM.  Many of my undergraduate students were trained to cite in Freshman English classes, usually taught in English departments, where the rule is to cite via quotation.  This is a humanities model that is actually disabling in scientific education.  Students in scientific writing classes have to learn that scientists almost never quote (a few exceptions are almost always found in complex and anomalous articles such as, say, Gould and Lewontin's "Spandrel's" essay).  I comment briefly on this in a paper I published with Cary Moskovitz:

Moskovitz, Cary and David Kellogg. "Primary Science Communication in the First-Year Writing Course." CCC 57.2 (2005): 307-334.

For what it's worth, CCC is College Composition and Communication, the leading journal in the field.  (I'd quote the relevant passage here, but I'm on a relative's computer and don't have access to the paper directly.)  

I also have a reply to Paul Nelson's endlessly repeated comment re: figure sizes.  In general, as graphic design experts such as Edward Tufte have noted, scale provides information that is lost (!) when rescaling occurs without noting the activity.  Obviously some notation is better than none.  See his books The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information.  If biology textbooks print such comparisons without a "not to scale" note, I actually agree with Nelson on this minor point.  But such failures to reach an ideal representation are (a) common throughout technical illustration, and (b) nothing compared with the regular and repeated distortions characteristic of the ID community.

Jesus Christ Paul, this is not rocket science. You can drop a scale into any picture these days!  In the field you might us a rock hammer, but it's easy enough to put a ruler by a skull!

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
afarensis



Posts: 1005
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,18:54   

Quote (Paul Nelson @ July 20 2007,15:57)
There's no problem with scaling up or down in illustrations so that anatomical features can be seen.

Not telling the reader that one is making some skulls very much bigger, and others much smaller, however, or failing to provide the dimensions of the actual fossils -- that's problematic.  This is especially the case with extinct groups (e.g., therapsids), where the reader will have no frame of reference.

Yet in footnote 21 it is admitted that some authors do provide scale, others indicate that the pictures are not to scale. Seems to me that you are saying that the style used to present evolution is objectionable (evil Darwinists actually make people use their brains) therefore evolution must be false. That being the case one would have expected that "Exploring Evolution" would have lived up to its name and provided guidelines to help the reader interpret these pictures and help them "explore" the material more fully.

--------------
Church burning ebola boy

FTK: I Didn't answer your questions because it beats the hell out of me.

PaV: I suppose for me to be pried away from what I do to focus long and hard on that particular problem would take, quite honestly, hundreds of thousands of dollars to begin to pique my interest.

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,18:58   

Quote (stevestory @ July 20 2007,18:14)
Back when you guys imagined yourselves scientific revolutionaries, did you ever suspect this is how it would end up? No accomplishments, no theory, no experiments, no solution to any scientific problems whatsoever? Just sitting around complaining that an irrelevant aspect of a diagram maybe gave someone a wrong impression? While evolutionary science rolls on, unaffected, publishing thousands of papers a month. Looking back, would you have spend the last decade in the same way, if you could see that nothing would come of it?

Psalm 37:7  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil. 9  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Or something like that.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,19:04   

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 20 2007,18:58)
 
Quote (stevestory @ July 20 2007,18:14)
Back when you guys imagined yourselves scientific revolutionaries, did you ever suspect this is how it would end up? No accomplishments, no theory, no experiments, no solution to any scientific problems whatsoever? Just sitting around complaining that an irrelevant aspect of a diagram maybe gave someone a wrong impression? While evolutionary science rolls on, unaffected, publishing thousands of papers a month. Looking back, would you have spend the last decade in the same way, if you could see that nothing would come of it?

Psalm 37:7  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil. 9  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

Or something like that.

I prefer the word of Jules:  
Quote
There's a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you. I been sayin' that sh** for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherf****r before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some sh** this mornin' made me think twice. Now I'm thinkin': it could mean you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd.


--------------
"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,20:05   

Quote (Hermagoras @ July 20 2007,17:59)
Many of my undergraduate students were trained to cite in Freshman English classes, usually taught in English departments, where the rule is to cite via quotation.  This is a humanities model that is actually disabling in scientific education.  Students in scientific writing classes have to learn that scientists almost never quote (a few exceptions are almost always found in complex and anomalous articles such as, say, Gould and Lewontin's "Spandrel's" essay).  

Yes.  It is actually jarring to come across a direct quote in a technical paper, so rarely is this device used.

  
stevestory



Posts: 8884
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,20:15   

He's from the Discovery Institute. Familiarity with real scientific communication is not going to be his strength.

I expect he can work a fax machine like a World Champion, though.

   
JAM



Posts: 503
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,20:32   

Quote (ck1 @ July 20 2007,20:05)
Quote (Hermagoras @ July 20 2007,17:59)
Many of my undergraduate students were trained to cite in Freshman English classes, usually taught in English departments, where the rule is to cite via quotation.  This is a humanities model that is actually disabling in scientific education.  Students in scientific writing classes have to learn that scientists almost never quote (a few exceptions are almost always found in complex and anomalous articles such as, say, Gould and Lewontin's "Spandrel's" essay).  

Yes.  It is actually jarring to come across a direct quote in a technical paper, so rarely is this device used.

It's just as jarring to come across this device in a textbook.

Quote-mining also is a favorite of the equally corrupt animal-rights movement.

  
silverspoon



Posts: 123
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,21:03   

Quote (afarensis @ July 20 2007,18:54)
Yet in footnote 21 it is admitted that some authors do provide scale, others indicate that the pictures are not to scale.

This is too funny. The Exploring Evolution people admit this in their book?

This is all beginning to look like an argument for Heap-Big-Illustrations because their intended audience hates to read. All those footnote numbers scattered throughout texts must give them hissy fits wondering what they mean.

--------------
Grand Poobah of the nuclear mafia

  
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,21:17   

Quote (JAM @ July 20 2007,20:32)
Quote-mining also is a favorite of the equally corrupt animal-rights movement.

It is not the quote-mining I am referring to here (although doctored quotes are an obvious issue with creationists) - but the odd use of direct quotes to support an argument rather than a simple reference to the actual data.  This is not as much a question of dishonesty as it is a question of how arguments are made by actual scientists as opposed to religious apologists.

Is this use of direct quotes also seen with other denialists (HIV/AIDs, vaccine/autism, global warming...)?

  
afarensis



Posts: 1005
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,22:30   

Quote (silverspoon @ July 20 2007,21:03)
Quote (afarensis @ July 20 2007,18:54)
Yet in footnote 21 it is admitted that some authors do provide scale, others indicate that the pictures are not to scale.

This is too funny. The Exploring Evolution people admit this in their book?

This is all beginning to look like an argument for Heap-Big-Illustrations because their intended audience hates to read. All those footnote numbers scattered throughout texts must give them hissy fits wondering what they mean.

Paul, would you be so kind as to provide us with the complete text of footnote 21, page 38?

--------------
Church burning ebola boy

FTK: I Didn't answer your questions because it beats the hell out of me.

PaV: I suppose for me to be pried away from what I do to focus long and hard on that particular problem would take, quite honestly, hundreds of thousands of dollars to begin to pique my interest.

   
Hermagoras



Posts: 1260
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2007,22:38   

Quote (ck1 @ July 20 2007,21:17)
 
Quote (JAM @ July 20 2007,20:32)
Quote-mining also is a favorite of the equally corrupt animal-rights movement.

It is not the quote-mining I am referring to here (although doctored quotes are an obvious issue with creationists) - but the odd use of direct quotes to support an argument rather than a simple reference to the actual data.  This is not as much a question of dishonesty as it is a question of how arguments are made by actual scientists as opposed to religious apologists.

Is this use of direct quotes also seen with other denialists (HIV/AIDs, vaccine/autism, global warming...)?

ID produces no data as such, so it has nothing to pit against the scientific data.  ID's interpretive focus, and its use of quotes, is a direct consequence of this.  

This is, of course, an old creationist tactic.  Old-style creationists would acknowledge (for example) a universal genetic code, similar structures in related species, etc. etc. They would say that such evidence shows not universal common descent but a God with a common plan.  (The creationist god is like Isaiah Berlin's hedgehog: he's got just one good idea.)  

Creationists don't accept the claims of biology, but they have to deal with the data.  So for each claim, they focus on the warrant connecting them.  



All of the IDCs, from Johnson to Wells, practice what is essentially rhetorical criticism.

--------------
"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
kdaddy



Posts: 4
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,00:32   

Quote (Paul Nelson @ July 20 2007,15:57)
There's no problem with scaling up or down in illustrations so that anatomical features can be seen.

Not telling the reader that one is making some skulls very much bigger, and others much smaller, however, or failing to provide the dimensions of the actual fossils -- that's problematic.  This is especially the case with extinct groups (e.g., therapsids), where the reader will have no frame of reference.


I teach high school biology and zoology and have many labs where students compare drawings of skulls, both of living animals and fossils. Apparently, I've been unethical all this time by not informing them that the skulls are scaled to fit the paper. Oh well, at least the students don't seem to be bothered by it as no one has ever complained. I wonder if that's because they don't care because it is irrelevant or because of my nefarious plot to misinform them? I suppose I can just test this out by letting them complete the lab unawares and then asking them this after the lab is done: "I didn't tell you before the lab started that these drawings aren't actual size. Some were scaled down to fit the paper and some were scaled up to allow you to see certain features more clearly. Is anyone bothered that I didn't share this with you at first?" Why do I have the feeling that I would get a lot blank "duh" stares?

  
kdaddy



Posts: 4
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,01:10   

This is a question for Paul Nelson about the Explore Evolution book and website. On the website, there is a Discussion: News page that contains an errata section. It says:    
Quote
Page 129, 4th complete paragraph, second sentence:

Should read: Most reptiles lay eggs, while mammals carry fertilized eggs internally, which they nourish through a placenta, and bear live young.


I have no idea what was originally corrected (did you say "All reptiles lay eggs..." perhaps), but why did you not correct the second part while you were at it? There are two things wrong with this part. First, the monotremes (platypuses and echidnas) are mammals that lay eggs and do not bear live young. Second, not all mammals nourish embryos through a placenta as monotremes, as I just pointed out, lay eggs and marsupials (kangaroos and possums) have only primitive placentas and use pouches to further develop their young.

I'm also curious what the context of this terrible sentence is. For example, ignoring the platypus in mammalian evolution discussions is a big deal, since it displays so many reptilian traits (shelled egg, cloaca) and transitional mammalian features (lack of nipples).

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,07:17   

Quote (kdaddy @ July 21 2007,01:10)
I have no idea what was originally corrected (did you say "All reptiles lay eggs..." perhaps), but why did you not correct the second part while you were at it? There are two things wrong with this part. First, the monotremes (platypuses and echidnas) are mammals that lay eggs and do not bear live young. Second, not all mammals nourish embryos through a placenta as monotremes, as I just pointed out, lay eggs and marsupials (kangaroos and possums) have only primitive placentas and use pouches to further develop their young.

I'm also curious what the context of this terrible sentence is. For example, ignoring the platypus in mammalian evolution discussions is a big deal, since it displays so many reptilian traits (shelled egg, cloaca) and transitional mammalian features (lack of nipples).

It should also be pointed out that some viviparous reptiles (garter snakes, for instance) have a primitive type of placenta that provides nutrients to the growing embryos.


I've always found it odd that, for people who like to yammer long and loud about the wonders of God's -- uh, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer's -- creation, creationists know virtually nothing about the world around them.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
JonF



Posts: 571
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,11:48   

Quote (Paul Nelson @ July 20 2007,10:54)
Afarensis wrote:

   
Quote
The morphology that was transitioning was not based on size so "smoothing" the scaling to make them look similar is irrelevant.


Right.  But if size is irrelevant to the characters involved in the transitional series, and in any case is easily modified genetically, why not just depict the fossils using the same scale (so that the relative sizes of the actual specimens is clear to the reader)?

Because that hides the important data, masking it with true but irrelevant data.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,12:04   

Quote (JonF @ July 21 2007,11:48)
   
Quote (Paul Nelson @ July 20 2007,10:54)
Afarensis wrote:

         
Quote
The morphology that was transitioning was not based on size so "smoothing" the scaling to make them look similar is irrelevant.


Right.  But if size is irrelevant to the characters involved in the transitional series, and in any case is easily modified genetically, why not just depict the fossils using the same scale (so that the relative sizes of the actual specimens is clear to the reader)?

Because that hides the important data, masking it with true but irrelevant data.

There is another dynamic that is at work here, and I call it, for lack of a better word, literalism. I see it in my intro biology students all the time.

Say that there is a figure in the textbook that shows a process like photosynthesis, and the Calvin cycle reactions are to the right of the ATP-producing light-dependent reactions, and I want the students to know where the ATP comes from. There is an arrow going from left to right in this figure, showing ATP moving from the light-dependent reactions to the Calvin cycle reacions.

If I write a test question and use a revised figure from another textbook with the Calvin cycle to the left, remove the labels and arrows, and ask where the ATP comes from, a large fraction will answer that it comes from the Calvin cycle. Because that part of the pathway is now at the left, and that is the only way that they can recall it. They don't think about the concepts, they focus on the details of a picture. These students are concrete and literal thinkers to a fault. And they will bitch at me for writing a "tricky question".

I suspect (but have no data to prove it) that these students and Paul (and his acquaintances who object to scaling of figures in textbooks) are similar in lots of other ways as well.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,14:29   

EXPLORE ILLUSTRATION

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,15:57   

That was funny, C.J.

And it wasn't just funny standing "on its own"--or simply in the context of Paul's attempt to divert all discussion to this triviality--but in the entire context of the page, contrasting the top-down authoritarian approach of the ID-YECists with the bottom-up evidence driven approach of science and scientists.

A brilliant and bust-out-laughin' summation of a whole series of relevant comments and questions.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,18:41   

Paul,

I'm getting nervous a little bit. Aren't you going to take Lenny's bet?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
stevestory



Posts: 8884
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2007,19:27   

I love this. Where are we in getting several review copies of this book? This thing's coming apart line by line.

   
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