Joined: May 2006
|Trust me, your evidential argument for a theory is going to be stronger if it does not entail conclusions that flow from the theory itself.|
Given your rather obvious aversion to answering direct questions, Mr. Hunter, you'll understand why I don't "trust you" on this or any other point. You have refused to answer a number of those, like WHAT SPECIFIC characters you wish to compare pentadactyly to. You also refuse to answer what ALTERNATE theory you hold to that can be similarly examined.
Your primary refusal to accept evidence supporting homology is incredibly weak, Mr. Hunter.
I asked for specific examples of characters that you wanted me to compare pentadactyly to. You still can't respond except to point at pretty pictures and say " look at their skulls and body shape and sharp teeth" ( those are your specific comments) Well, what about their skulls? The fact that they are generally what? WEDGE-shaped? That they have orbital bones in common? What?
What about their body shape, Mr. Hunter? That they are quadrupeds? What about their digitigrade locomotion? What other animals possess that? Are mammals with this condition that we see today fast runners? Do I need the taint of Darwinian theory to tell me that? No. You ignore all the observations that can be made about how the hunting carnivory lifestyle of the two animals would lead to vaguely similar skulls, with similarly "sharp teeth" You ignore that carnivore skulls like the mustelids follow the same pattern, or mongooses, or many other examples. Will you argue that a weasel skull and wolf skull and "sharp teeth" and quadrupedal form are all "powerful evidence " of something? If so, what?
You rely on this claim of "you can't use that because it's 'theory-laden' " when I point out that Australia is known (in a evolutionary-theory-free way) to have split off from other land masses 30-35 million years ago.
You ignore the fossil data ( which can be observed in an "evolution-free-way") --that shows the marsupial "wolf" to be distinct from C. Lupus -- for the same spurious reason.
You use the same unsupported premise when you disallow genetic data (by the way, Mr. Hunter, your caricature of how genetic phylogenies are done is hilarious.)
I have a little gift for you, Mr. Hunter. When I first read your little screed here, I was reminded of something: Faust. This was, of course, written by Goethe.
Goethe wrote many other things, one of which was " The Metamorphosis of Animals" (1816). Here's a quote:
"...the way of life powerfully reacts on form.
Thus the orderly growth of form is seen to hold,
Whilst yielding to change from externally acting causes."
Note that Goethe was able ( prior to Darwin) see that similar niches can and would lead to SOME similarities that have little basis in immediate common descent.
|If species can exhibit similarities such as those in thylacines and wolves that are not due to common descent, then why must similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern be due to common descent? Do not merely explain the data according to evolution. This does not explain why it is powerful evidence. And do not presuppose evolution in your answer.|
See above. I don't HAVE to presuppose evolution in order to say that radiometric dating of fossils and geology shows that they cannot have immediate common descent.
I'll go back to my little thought experiment, Mr. Hunter:
I wish to present two VERY long-lived and industrious beings that tirelessly investigated life on this planet. These beings are merely going to observe and gather data prior to formulating a hypothesis about the data. I will call these hypothetical beings the WE..and I submit to you that WE will find these things:
1.Time exists, along with various ways of measuring it. One powerfully-justified way of measuring will be called "Radiometric"
2. Organisms on this planet fall into large-scale groupings based on similar morphology and DNA that WE can call "reptiles" "amphibians" and "mammals." There are of course, other groups, but for now, let's concentrate on "mammals" that have specific features.
3. In observing the mammal group, pentadactyly is seen to be universal at the moment. WE have also observed that animals are born, give birth and die. When they give birth, variation in offspring is seen. Those variations can result in better/worse opportunities for a long life and breeding
4. Using observation of extant mammals, WE can group them according to characteristics that WE observe. WE can also note that observed LOCOMOTION AND DIET aid in sorting animals into quasi-Linnean groups without invoking common descent.
5. WE find raised heels and sharp teeth in deer (yes, deer can bite and have "sharp teeth," so do horses) wolves, cats, lots of species, but not all. We observe that deer don't consistently eat meat and are not carnivores, but canids and felines are, as were some marsupials like Thylacines. WE observe that carnivory and herbivory and omnivory are most often accompanied by differing teeth and surface features of teeth.
6. WE can examine the DNA of such species and further refine groupings. Contrary to your claim that such studies NECCESSITATE some evolutionary bias, I challenge YOU, Mr. Hunter, to demonstrate that this is so.
7. Using radiocarbon dating WE can find recent examples of dead canids and felines and Thylacines. WE observe them to be the same structurally to modern ones. WE then find increasingly older but anatomically identical examples as WE tirelessly dig up and compare fossils and entire suites of anatomical characteristics.
8. Reaching deeper into the bag of radiometric tools, WE find increasingly older forms of canids, felines, and Thylacines--- keeping in mind that in our thought -experiment our long-lived beings can dig a LONG time and can dig up fossils anywhere ( or everywhere) on Earth. WE find lots of **other** fossils, too and begin the same process of comparing KNOWN extant specimens to recently-dead and much more distantly-dead specimens of mammals and other groups.
9. WE refine such groups of fossils as well, based only on observed characteristics
10. WE find that "raised heels" and "sharp mammalian CARNIVORE teeth" reflect diet and locomotion and are not found universally . WE find that pentadactyly is still universal in mammals even in the deep, deep past.
11. WE find that geology indicates Australia has been separate from other land masses for quite a long time, and that it was most recently connected to South America and Antarctica some 30-35 MYA. WE also observe that marsupials and mammals don't co-exist on Australia until recently. WE find that marsupials don't exist outside of Australia today except for Opossums. WE observe that only in deep time do WE find fossils bearing marsupial characters.
Given that locomotive modes and diet coincide with specific forms of teeth and digitigrade anatomy today, and given that WE have a "theoretically" NEAR-PERFECT fossil collection to compare current forms and ancient forms, given that We can use DNA comparatives, given that WE can isolate thylacines to Australia AND given that marsupial Thylacine dentition and multiple other characteristics are quite different from Wolf dentition and basio-cranial morphology, epipubic bones, etc., AND given that WE can show evolution occurs today, and given that Geology gives an evolutionarily-unbiased set of dates based on rocks that contain fossils....the question is why do YOU NOT view pentadactyly and dentition or digitigrade locomotion as carrying different value in constructing relatedness-relationships?
So... what do YOU say our hypothetical beings should do at this point? Place "sharp carnivore teeth," "wedge-shaped skull" and "digitigrade locomotion" as being homologous or homoplasic ? If you select homologous or homoplasic, Justify your answer.
Now do the same with pentadactyly.
AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism