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Liaoconodon hui  (Source: Jin Meng)
A new fossil, Liaoconodon hui, was found in China and has all three middle ear bones

Researchers have discovered a complete mammalian fossil that includes a transitional middle ear, which consists of three bones that paleontologists have been searching for over 150 years.  

Jin Meng, study leader and curator in the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, along with Wang Yuanqing and Li Chuankui, both from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, have found the first complete mammalian fossil that includes the transitional middle ear.

Mammals are defined as a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals that share characteristics like hair and mammary glands in mothers with young. They also share three middle ear bones called the malleus, incus and ectotympanic. Two of these bones are found in the joint of the lower jaw in reptiles, and researchers believe that an evolutionary shift from lizards to mammals separated the quadrate and articular plus prearticular bones from the posterior lower jaw, and they became associated with hearing as the malleus and the incus.

Previous fossils show early mammals with reptilian jaw joints and reductions in these bones for both chewing and hearing while other early mammalian fossils have ossified cartilage still connected to the groove on their lower jaws. But none of these fossils had the middle ear bones, and more evidence was needed to confirm this early transition and the mysteries of the mammalian middle ear. 

"People have been looking for this specimen for over 150 years since noticing a puzzling groove on the lower jaw of some early mammals," said Meng. "Now we have cartilage with ear bones attached, the first clear paleontological evidence showing relationships between the lower jaw and middle ear." 

The new fossil, which is called Liaoconodon hui, is a medium-sized mammal measuring 35.7 cm long. It dates from the Mesozoic (about 125 to 122 million years) and was named after the fossil beds in Liaoning, China, which is where it was discovered. It was also named after Yaoming Hu, who was a graduate of the American Museum of Natural History's doctoral program and passed away recently.  

Liaoconodon hui is complete, and shows researchers that the incus and malleus are detached from the lower jaw in order to create part of the middle ear. According to the study, the incus and the malleus "remain linked to the jaw by the ossified Meckel's cartilage that rests in the groove on the lower jaw," and the eardrum was stabilized with this cartilage as support. 

"Before we did not know the detailed morphology of how the bones of the middle ear detached, or the purpose of the ossified cartilage," said Meng. "Liaoconodon hui changes previous interpretations because we now know the detailed morphology of the transitional mammals and can propose that the ossified cartilage is a stabilizer."

This study also found that the middle ear "probably" evolved twice in monotremes, marsupials and placentals. This was determined by features associated with the groove on the lower jaw and other bones, including the presence of ossified Meckel's cartilage.  

This study was published in Nature.





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Why Bother?
By Suntan on 4/18/2011 1:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
Another childish pissing match about the theory of evolution, brought on by yet another flame-bait article that has nothing to do with technology in 3…2…1…

-Suntan




RE: Why Bother?
By PaterPelligrino on 4/18/2011 1:16:58 PM , Rating: 3
Poor choice of words, that "pissing match" - a term which implies two parties in a competition to prove not who is factually correct, but who is "the man". I do agree, however, that these arguments over evolution are pointless; how could they be otherwise when the two sides don't even speak the same language.


RE: Why Bother?
By chmilz on 4/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Why Bother?
By Krotchrot on 4/18/2011 5:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
There should be an immediate 1 week ban every time some assclown does the "so gay.'


RE: Why Bother?
By Arsynic on 4/19/2011 9:51:54 AM , Rating: 1
Immediate ban? Where the fuck are you from, NeoGAF?


RE: Why Bother?
By spread on 4/18/2011 1:49:34 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Another childish pissing match about the theory of evolution


The theory of gravity hasn't been proven either!

Stupid scientists, what do they know?


RE: Why Bother?
By ebakke on 4/18/2011 2:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think you completely missed his point.


RE: Why Bother?
By Obujuwami on 4/18/2011 3:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
No, he got it. He was practicing the ancient and honored art of "Sarcasm".


RE: Why Bother?
By bug77 on 4/18/2011 6:25:38 PM , Rating: 3
If you mean "the theory of gravitation", which predicts the force of attraction between two masses, I think that has been proven pretty well.


RE: Why Bother?
By zixin on 4/18/2011 1:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
This site does have a science section. You might want some basic understanding of science before claming to be tech savy.


RE: Why Bother?
By JasonMick on 4/18/2011 2:18:48 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
that has nothing to do with technology in 3…2…1…

-Suntan


Let me act as the official DailyTech response to your comment.

There seems to be a lot of confusion among certain science articles (especially on evolution) about "what is this doing on DailyTech?"

If you only read our site's name, I can see why this might confuse you, but if you read our site's FAQ:
http://www.dailytech.com/Faq.aspx

quote:
DailyTech is the leading source of news, research and discussion for current and upcoming issues concerning science and technology.


... you would know better.

We cover science, technology, and a number of related topics (e.g. security and business technology).

quote:
Another childish pissing match about the theory of evolution, brought on by yet another flame-bait article


Look, Tiffany wrote about a scientific study. If you can't handle scientific research because your particular religious beliefs compel you to disavow science, that is not our fault.

As a website that covers a great deal of science news, we will obviously cover topics like evolution/paleontology/extraterrestrial life, which may seem offensive to certain religious extremists.

Clearly such individuals have the right to comment as we are hosted in the U.S. and like our host nation support freedom of speech and free expression.

I think this dialogue can be healthy, though I think sometimes such discussions have the tendency to get off course and personally insulting.


RE: Why Bother?
By Suntan on 4/18/2011 3:24:24 PM , Rating: 1
Sure pal…

Take whatever high road you’d like. Every week there is another article thrown up with some tenuous connection to the theory of evolution in hopes that it sparks endless bickering about evolution vs. religion that runs hundreds of posts long.

What’s next, you’ll print a highbrow article about how humans used to have spiny penises…?

-Suntan


RE: Why Bother?
By UNCjigga on 4/18/2011 4:01:28 PM , Rating: 3
pageview + 1...


RE: Why Bother?
By LRonaldHubbs on 4/18/2011 4:05:59 PM , Rating: 1
A tenuous connection?
quote:
ten·u·ous
lacking a sound basis, as reasoning; unsubstantiated

The fossil record is a major component of the theory of evolution. Any fossil, especially a fossil which is a new, transitional specimen like this one, is absolutely connected to the theory of evolution. This article didn't use any baiting or weasel words; it simply presented the information. Any flaming which occurs on this page is introduced by users, not by the article.

quote:
What’s next, you’ll print a highbrow article about how humans used to have spiny penises…?

The whole point of that article was that humans evolved to not have spiny penises. Any ancestor of humans which had a spiny penis was just that, an ancestor, not a human.


RE: Why Bother?
By Suntan on 4/18/2011 4:36:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The whole point of that article was that humans evolved to not have spiny penises. Any ancestor of humans which had a spiny penis was just that, an ancestor, not a human.


The point of my post was to call out the absurdity of running an article about spiny penises... Not to question the mechanics of evolution.

I happen to believe in evolution, however I get tired of reading endless articles about obscure references to it for the sake of bringing out the Bible Thumpers on one hand, and the folk that like to use the term “Occam’s Razor” on the other.

The article here doesn’t even go into a discussion of these bones, or even give a picture of these bones, showing what they look like in this early mammal. Further, there is little to no effort to put it into a chronological context. Read the one source article (the one link that doesn’t point to a lot of other sensationalistic Dailytech evolution posts) that all of this article was cribbed from gives a better understanding. But a true understanding of this article isn’t needed. Just a good ol’ reference or two to evolution and then the arguments will get going in the discussion section…

…I also happened to notice that there has yet to be a single comment posted actually discussing the *topic* of this article… Coincidence?

-Suntan


RE: Why Bother?
By Skywalker123 on 4/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why Bother?
By Kurz on 4/19/2011 9:14:15 AM , Rating: 1
Dont read the comments?


RE: Why Bother?
By JasonMick on 4/18/2011 6:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure pal…


I'm not your pal, buddy.

quote:
Take whatever high road you’d like. Every week there is another article thrown up with some tenuous connection to the theory of evolution in hopes that it sparks endless bickering about evolution vs. religion that runs hundreds of posts long.


I find it funny how people complain about research into evolution and the news coverage thereof, when often in the same breath they go on to complain about the supposed "lack of evidence" (fossils, etc.) supporting evolution.

The gaps are filling in. Isn't that worth covering?

quote:
What’s next, you’ll print a highbrow article about how humans used to have spiny penises…?


No I think we covered that already (well not humans, technically, but our evolutionary precursors).

Do you see a problem with that?

....
Let me just add that you may not like this article for whatever reason (the debate that it causes, etc.), but at the end of the day it is a study published in what is perhaps science's most prestigious journal.

I certainly think that this study has a ton of merit and is worth covering.

I'm very sorry you don't agree -- but I do have to ask. If you feel that way, why did you come here and read it and leave all these comments? :)


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Why Bother?
By JonnyDough on 4/19/2011 12:54:37 AM , Rating: 1
Radioactive material doesn't become inert over long periods of time either. I think I'm seeing a trend here...you seem to believe that the universe is static and not dynamic. I believe you are limiting yourself by not considering infinite possibilities in an unlimited universe.

Those who believe in God I ask this:

Why is it so hard to believe in an endless, timeless universe? Why do you feel compelled to believe in an endless timeless God with all the knowledge to create such a universe? Is that not just adding an additional and absolutely unprovable/illogically theorized complex layer on top of what we already see as truth? The universe exists. We both take that as fact. God exists, you rely on "belief, faith, emotion" and you take that as fact.

Which do we both concur on? It must be true. The universe exists.

So if we take that as a truth, then we must believe that within the universe there can come "intelligence" (ie creation, such as the birth of more humans) but can intelligence (ie creation) create a universe out of nothingness? Seems to be a farther stretch of my imagination...perhaps you and your God have powers that the average limited man doesn't have.

Why humans believe themselves to be some sort of demigods rather than animals I do not know. We are made of earth, and we rely on it for survival. If only more people realized we are not "above" nature. Last time I checked, a polar bear could eat things that you couldn't, survive places you couldn't, and kick your ass in a fist fight. So you have centuries of learning that you can borrow from and hold a gun in your hand. Big whoop. Human beings are not superior nature. They merely have a superior ability. It's time we start to understand that.


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why Bother?
By LRonaldHubbs on 4/19/2011 8:07:20 AM , Rating: 1
If you don't believe in Creationism, and you also don't believe in evolution of species, then what exactly do you believe?


RE: Why Bother?
By safcman84 on 4/19/2011 4:45:11 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of evolution do you believe in then?

single cell life --> multi-cellular life --> diversify into the hundreds of different plants and animals you see today through evolution.

Maybe I misunderstood you but:
Mammals evolved from something, why cant it be from a reptile? it is not a evolutionary leap, but gradual evolution from reptile to mammal, it only seems to be a "leap" as not every single process in the evolution from reptile to mammal has found in the fossil record, so we have gaps and missing links. this fossil fills one of the gaps in, but not all of them -> the remaining gaps make it look like a leap, but that is far from the case.


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why Bother?
By Paj on 4/19/2011 8:32:10 AM , Rating: 1
How can you believe in evolution, yet deny macroevolution? All youre doing is demonstrating your lack of knowledge.

Why do humans have a tailbone? Wisdom teeth, that can cause pain and death if not removed? Seems like an oversight at best, a poor design at worst. Furthermore, why do dolphins and whales have lungs if they live in the water? Who would design an animal in this way?

quote:
Isn't it possible that two species can have the same type of ear bones WITHOUT being related to each other? Is there any other evidence besides the ear bones that we're looking at a distant relative here?


Yes, it is. Its called convergent evolution, where the same biological trait is acquired in unrelated lineages. ie wovles and the (now extinct) Tasmainian Tiger share many common characteristics, despite being unrelated biologically or genetically.


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why Bother?
By Fritzr on 4/19/2011 7:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Quite easily. I don't. Our thoughts shape the universe, do they not? It always matters what we think.


If you believe that thinking beings created modern humans by shaping the universe with their thoughts, then yes I would include you with the Flat Earthers who deny that ships disappear over the horizon as they sail away.
quote:
This is still a very health debate on macro evolution in scientific circles, so please don't pretend that I'm some wacko claiming the Earth is flat.

If you actually read the article you would know that the discovery documents support of your theory of gradual change.


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/19/2011 9:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you believe that thinking beings created modern humans by shaping the universe


Not exactly what I meant, and I think you know that. But okay, moving on...

quote:
If you actually read the article you would know that the discovery documents support of your theory of gradual change.


Then hoooray. Go me!


RE: Why Bother?
By Fritzr on 4/19/2011 7:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I believe in micro evolution. That a species can adapt etc etc, you know the deal.

I do NOT believe that frogs can become dogs, or dogs can become man. I do not believe in macro evolution. Also this crackpot theory about how all the dinosaurs "evolved" into birds and one of those birds became a primate and that primate became, eventually, man....I mean, give me a break. You really buy that crap?

So you believe that all canines evolved from earlier canine variants, horses, zebras etc. evolved from earlier equine variants, alligaors, crocodiles, gavials etc. evolved from earlier crocodilian variants.

Extending this argument to it's logical conclusion, you end up with intelligent design and dinosaurs sharing the planet with apes. This occurs because simple precellular life cannot evolve into single cell life, single cell life evolve into simple multicellular life, simple multicellular life into complex multicellular life, different lineages of multicellular life branching into multiple unique and seemingly unrelated life.

In short your theory requires that the primordial earth be populated by "advanced" life forms that were spontaneously created. Note this is not intelligent design, but simply "Spontaneous Creation" of "higher" life forms directly out of the chemical broth that covered the early Earth.

These various lineages then had to survive ALL the disasters and climate changes that have occurred during the subsequent history of the Earth.

Applying Occam's Razor to the logical consequences of your theory lends credence to evolution generating what appear to be major leaps in form and function.

This article documents the discovery of physical evidence of one of the gradual changes that your theory requires, so I do not understand why you are objecting to an interpretation of the discovery that lends support to your beliefs.


RE: Why Bother?
By PaterPelligrino on 4/20/2011 12:26:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm not religious and I DO believe in Evolution.

However I do not believe in this kind of macro-evolutionist crap. Sorry but lizards don't eventually become men through a long series of changes


Forgive me if I doubt your assertion that you are not religious, that you reject macro-evolution simply because it doesn't make sense to you. In my experience, those who reject evolution are almost always biblical literalists - though, for obvious reasons, some are reluctant to admit it in online discussions about evolution. However, the biblical literalist doesn't reject evolution because he disagrees with the science, he rejects it out of hand to safeguard his religious beliefs.

But let's take your statement at face value. So if you are not religious - which means you do not accept the creationist explanation for the existence of life - how do you explain the existence of all the distinct species that have ever existed on earth?

If life hasn't divine origins, there must be a scientific explanation for how it arose. What possible non-divine explanation could account for the existence of so many different species that doesn't involve evolution from a common origin? Many creatures alive today clearly weren't here in the remote past; where did they come from? Did the horse and Homo Sap just one day pop into existence without any precedents?

I'm not aware of a competing non-religious explanation for the origin of species, so I'm looking forward to your reply.


RE: Why Bother?
By Suntan on 4/19/2011 3:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I find it funny how people complain about research into evolution and the news coverage thereof, when often in the same breath they go on to complain about the supposed "lack of evidence" (fossils, etc.) supporting evolution.


I find it funny that you are suggesting I’m doing that by even writing this as a response.

My issue isn’t with evolution. My issue is with Dailytech half-heartedly cutting/pasting someone else’s article about a specific topic of evolution in an effort to get people here to argue about it.

Feel free to spin that buster…

-Suntan


RE: Why Bother?
By JasonMick on 4/19/2011 4:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Feel free to spin that buster…


LOOK. I'm not trying to spin your remark. I'm just pointing out that a large number of DailyTech commenters (perhaps not yourself) complain about us covering the topic of evolution. A frequent argument is that there is a lack of evidence.

So when we present a prestigious scientific study on some of the evidence, it hardly seems fair to be accused of flamebating. We're just offering that evidence people are always demanding.

quote:
My issue isn’t with evolution. My issue is with Dailytech half-heartedly cutting/pasting someone else’s article about a specific topic of evolution in an effort to get people here to argue about it.


I fail to see how Tiffany used "cutting/pasting" to write this piece, other than direct quotes. What would you suggest, she went out and did the study herself?

Can you give any meaningful evidence to support your outlandish and inflammatory claims? Or are you content just to sit behind your keyboard and try to play bully with one of our hardest working writers?

Honestly, I don't think there's any pleasing you.

Tiffany wrote a terrific, well-researched piece on a study published in science's most prestigious journal.

But for some reason that's not up to your standards.

I don't know what to tell you...


RE: Why Bother?
By GTVic on 4/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Why Bother?
By JasonMick on 4/18/2011 6:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And predictably a lot of responses to the effect of "if it's science then it's irrefutable" or "if you argue against this then you are by definition a religious nut job even if you didn't make any references to such beliefs".

Hard to believe this type of crap response comes from the editor though.


It's one thing to question a study or hypothesis using the scientific method. It's quite another to criticize it on the basis of "feelings" and your religious beliefs. That was to whence I was referring.

Science is by no means irrefutable. If you consider yourself a greater expert that the researchers or think they screwed up, type away and share your perspective with us. But do it in a rational, scientific way.

The original op asked what a science article was doing on this site. I explained to them.

quote:
you argue against this then you are by definition a religious nut job even if you didn't make any references to such beliefs".


I would also point out that this study was published in Nature, perhaps the most prestigious journal in the scientific research community. Nature is an incredibly hard journal to get a paper in. To do so a paper must pass an extremely stringent criteria of critique and analysis by dozens of top experts.

If you honestly think you know better than the paper's authors, do society a favor. Go to grad. school, get a Ph.D and begin publishing. Not only will you be furthering science, you will also probably be making more money that you do at your current position!

But until you're formally educated on the topic, you may want to be cautious in your criticism, for all our sakes.


RE: Why Bother?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Why Bother?
By JasonMick on 4/18/2011 11:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I thought Tiffany did a GREAT job writing this up. The facts were just presented, period. No bias and fl@me baiting. No stupid Jason Mick history hour where the evolution vs. religion issue gets rehashed for the upteenth time. If you had wrote it, we could expect a paragraph or two dedicated solely to saying "EAT THIS RELIGIOUS ID1OTS!!".


I love you too.


RE: Why Bother?
By ARoyalF on 4/19/2011 4:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, all we need now is mention of abortion, jihad, socialism, ditching petroleum, stem cells and the deficit!


To preempt the religious debaters...
By rbuszka on 4/18/2011 1:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see if we can't approach the discusson on this news story (obviously put up to inflame the Religious Right and proponents of intelligent design and create a debate spectacle between ID proponents and evolutionary naturalists) a little differently this time. I'm fairly tired of the mud-slinging and immaturity on both sides of the debate, and greatly prefer respectful intellectual conversation.

Let's suppose evolution on the scale required to produce speciation could be observed in nature to occur. What exactly does this prove? I don't think even that would eliminate the question of intelligence in natural design. The question of who or what did or didn't create what is not a question for science (which can only state conclusively that evolution "can" happen), but a question for history, since there remains the possibility that an intelligent agent could have acted in one or more single events to influence the progression of evolutionary development of life on Earth to produce specifically what we see today, instead of some other possible outcome.

Because a single historical event requiring the action of an intelligent agent is not necessarily repeatable, it is not testable, and thus cannot be considered within the domain of science. The question of an intelligent creator God is thus NOT a scientific one, but a historical one, with the debate being over the historicity (or the possibility) of one or more alleged historical events in which a supernatural entity could have acted.

The amount of fossil record evidence that has been put forth in support of naturalistic macro-evolution is not even close to sufficient to show the supposed gradual progression of morphological changes in organisms of a particular species that we would expect to observe as proof of naturalistic evolution, because each individual fossil found is like a single frame in a movie -- we can string the still frames together and play them back quickly enough and see what we interpret as motion, but we cannot say with certainty what was occurring between the frames of a film (which are individual still images), and in the same way we cannot say with certainty what happened between fossil specimens that appear to show different transitional forms (which are 'still' in the sense that they are not actively reproducing, because they are no longer living). The naturalist must make the assumption that between two fossil specimens, the rate of change in the physical feature was gradual and steady, whereas the theist may suppose that between transitional forms, the rate of change may have been steady, or it may have been sudden as the result of the addition of new useful information to the organism's genome, thus the theist has greater freedom within the doctrine of theistic evolution to suppose what may have happened rather than forcing his interpretation of the evidence to coincide with his worldview, and thus the theist has the freedom to reconcile the claims of a theistic religious text (which makes claims to historicity) with the events observed.

A common objection that is raised is "Occam's Razor", which is misused to say that more complex solutions to a problem must be discarded in favor of simpler ones. In this case, Occam's Razor is trotted out as a means to require that a creator God be discarded in favor of a creatorless universe. This is not Occam's Razor at all; Occam's Razor is simply an aesthetic that prefers simpler solutions to more complex ones in answering a particular question, but it is only an aesthetic and not a law of logic, and it is not applicable to complex questions of history or science.

I don't expect to solve anything here. This debate is destined to end in a stalemate until judgment day. My point with this post is simply to show that even if we find many, many 'transitional forms' that appear to support the gradual development of a feature that was once thought to be "irreducibly complex", that does little to make the evolutionary argument from the fossil record more compelling, and does nothing at all to undermine the position of intelligent design.




By zixin on 4/18/2011 1:47:37 PM , Rating: 1
First of all, be it a historical or scientific inquiry, you need evidence to proof something happened before said something is true. Since there is absolutely no proof that an intelligent creator exists, scientifically or historically, he/she/it doesn't exist.

Second of all, invoking an intelligetn creator only begets the question of what created said creator, and then what created the creator's creator and so on and so forth until eventually you end up with abiogenesis or the super natural version of religion. If we are going to end up with abiogenesis as the beginning of life anyway, we don't need all the creators in between. If you are going to invoke God then this is no longer a scientific discussion.

Thridly, you claim there is no enough proof for evolution. What exactly are you qualifications to make such a claim? Should we believe you or the majority of biologists who have Ph D. and spend their entire career studying evolution?

Finally, there is no debate. Intelligent Design is not a valid scientific theory. It is just another attempt at trying to make creationism sound legitimate. There is no evidence supporting it. "Irreducible Complexity" simply means we don't know how it formed, therefore we don't want to find out. That is a piss poor attitude to have toward the unknown.


RE: To preempt the religious debaters...
By spread on 4/18/2011 1:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think even that would eliminate the question of intelligence in natural design.


It's not a matter of intelligence. When a species evolves, a variety of options occur. Maybe larger horns, heavier bones... etc. The ones with the more useful adaptions survive and those with the weaker ones do not. It has already been proven in bacteria and finches (small birds) because of their fast reproductive cycles.

We would be able to see this process on a larger scale if we lived longer but we're a short lived species.

quote:
My point with this post is simply to show that even if we find many, many 'transitional forms' that appear to support the gradual development of a feature that was once thought to be "irreducibly complex", that does little to make the evolutionary argument from the fossil record more compelling, and does nothing at all to undermine the position of intelligent design.


It's our quest for knowledge that has made us what we are today and given us the technological conveniences that you are using right now. It's never enough to say "Gee I don't know Bob, I guess God musta done it!"


RE: To preempt the religious debaters...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/11, Rating: 0
By JediJeb on 4/19/2011 4:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
The Dark Matter question you talk about is one I have been pondering also. What gets me about it is that instead of questioning the theories on the behavior of gravity they just made up more mass to compensate. Maybe gravity behaves differently over large distances than we have been able to experimentally discern. If gravity is not constant, but actually varies more with distance could that explain the disparity in the rotational speeds of galaxies and thus all the way down to quantum level interactions? If gravity is a variable with a very very small delta over distance, instead of a constant maybe that would explain a lot of things. Problem is if that is actually true, then a lot of scientists have to admit they were wrong, and we have seen in the past just how hard that can be even with things like relation of planets to the sun, size and shape of the Earth, whether or not you can travel faster than the speed of sound( was once believe that if anyone tried they would disintegrate) and many other scientific "truths" we now take for granted.

Even with evolution, the evidence works for now, but if in the future some evidence points to a different conclusion will scientists be able to change their views? Scientists for all their logical thinking can also be some of the most stubborn people when their theories are challenged. Not saying scientists are better than religious people or vice versa, just pointing out that both sides can be guilty of being bull headed in their views so it isn't always warranted that scientists must bash the religious for their views or the other way around.


By Fritzr on 4/19/2011 8:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Half assed theories are the very basis of good science. When someone says "that's strange...I wonder why that happened", you are seeing the beginning of a new theory. Sure the first stabs at answering the question may be dead wrong, but they are things that can be tested and modified until the results of extrapolating from the theory match what happens in nature.

This happens repeatedly in Theoretical Physics where scientists spout off with half assed theories and then spend years discovering what the reality is.

A very good example is phlogiston. Researchers noted that a fire in an enclosed container would go out. Animals placed in the container with the fire died as the fire went out. These observations along with others formed the basis of a theory that stated that an unidentified component of air dubbed phlogiston was required by living creatures and was destroyed by fire. This theory was updated when oxygen was discovered and is now known as the Oxidation Theory where oxygen combines with other chemicals in the presence of high temperatures creating the phenomonon called "fire" and is acquired by living beings in a process known as "respiration" for the purpose of providing energy in the living cells through "oxidation". Today Phlogiston Theory is considered half assed, but virtually all the observations and predictions of that outmoded theory remain correct.

Another half assed theory that remains in common use because it is accurate enough is Newton's Law of Gravity.

Just because Phlogiston has been replaced and Newton's Law of Gravity has been shown to be incorrect is no reason to state that they should have never been used due to inaccuracy. Instead both theories formed the basis for the research that eventually disproved them.

"I don't know therefore it cannot be" is not something that advances science.
"I think this might be, let's check it out" is something that advances science.


By Cr0nJ0b on 4/18/2011 2:04:32 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not a certified smart guy, like many of the people on this forum, but I still want to comment...if that's ok...

rbuszka, I understand you comment, but it sounds to me like you are just replacing GOD with the unknown answer to a question. You can say GOD did everything. GOD makes the electrons inside an ATOM move from place to place. Since we can't actually observe the true underlying nature of the force that propels them, you could make that argument. People will likely chime in and say...wait...we know clearly how electrons move...we have observed them...but at a very, very micro, sub-atomic view, we are still just now learning what is happening...and likely we will continue to find smaller and more hidden degrees to the nature of the physical world...but does that mean that I should make the argument and force a cirriculum in education that teaches how GOD moves electrons...? What does that do to help in the discovery anyway?

We are constantly searching for more evidence and linkage in all areas of science, that's our nature. Adding GOD to the equation, in my opinion, is just a convenient placeholder for those who are unwilling to keep searching for the answer.


By PReiger99 on 4/18/2011 2:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
thus the theist has greater freedom within the doctrine of theistic evolution to suppose what may have happened rather than forcing his interpretation of the evidence to coincide with his worldview

I never read something more absurd than that. Theists force their interpretation of the evidences to coincide with their worldview. They begin with "gods must exist because I believe they do and as such they must guide evolution (because at this point denying evolution is simply too ridiculous)". Theists aren't interested in what may have happened, otherwise they would try to find evidence to support the existence of their gods. But you said it yourself, no evidence will ever "make the evolutionary argument from the fossil record more compelling" to you.

quote:
A common objection that is raised is "Occam's Razor", which is misused to say that more complex solutions to a problem must be discarded in favor of simpler ones.

Occam's Razor states that the simplest explanation that account for all the data is usually the best, not just the simplest explanation. Since there is not the slightest evidence that support the existence of deities, and that deities are infinitely more complex than the phenomenon you are trying to explain. Such hypothesis can be logically discarded.

quote:
My point with this post is simply to show that even if we find many, many 'transitional forms' that appear to support the gradual development of a feature that was once thought to be "irreducibly complex", that does little to make the evolutionary argument from the fossil record more compelling, and does nothing at all to undermine the position of intelligent design.

It won't convince people like you because your position is illogical. Basically, I could say that transitional forms are merely the will of invisible pink unicorns and my argument would worth as much as those of intelligent design proponents (which isn't much). When (un)intelligent designers manage to bring evidence to support their absurd hypothesis, then there will be a debate. Until that time, there is no debate whatsoever if one side demands extraordinary proofs from the other while bringing none of their own (while at the same time, demanding that their position be considered as logical as the scientific one for no other particular reason that they "believe" it to be true).


By gman7664 on 4/18/2011 2:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
Near as I can tell you are pretty similar to all the other folks that claim evolution is not valid.

Your comment about there never being enough fossils to make evolution work fails to take into account the parallel line of evidence being developed through researching the genomes of both living and fossilized species and which does contain such information.

As we progress on both fronts it is amazing how well these two tools fit together to demonstrate the mechanisms behind evolution. You seem to forget that evolution is an observed fact and that the theory is simply a description of how it all worked. The theory is quite well tested and is very complete, albeit not totally.

As our science investigates that which we can observe we refine our understanding of the subject.

Contrast this to any investigation of any god proposed by any human. Interestingly, the Universe at present contains a very large amount of information, much of which we have processed, yet nowhere is there a single bit of information about any such god. People do not hesitate to use god to explain things they do not understand but they fail to show that their god actually exists which is of course a prerequisite to being the explanation for something.

Were science to obtain any actual information about god then we can study the phenomena, but to date there is an utter absence of any such information. Even more interesting is that the Universe works quite well without any such god; our inability to understand it all does not make god responsible for the universe.

Evolutionary theory uses observable mechanisms to explain how evolution operated. In each and every case there is an observable cause and an observable effect. ID has no such observable cause and is used to explain things for which we either have an excellent explanation or will have shortly - ironically ID puts the spotlight on things that are poorly explained and by doing so attract the attention of some scientist that then proceeds to work out the mechanism behind the observation. Naturally this does not suit the ID proponents so they dismiss it but that does not invalidate the work.

Finally,what undermines Intelligent Design is that it solves a problem that does not exist. It is tacked on to things when the actual explanation does not suit someone that wants there to be a different explanation, typically involving a god they desperately want to exist in order to provide them with comfort.

Remember, kids, Science is the means by which we determine how the Universe actually is as opposed to how we want or beleive it to be.

Religion, on the other hand, is the means by which we convince ourselves the Universe is the way we want or beleive it to be as opposed to how it actually is.

I prefer the former to the latter as I do not find comfort in lying to myself.


By japlha on 4/18/2011 2:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
The idea of Occam's Razor is not about the complexity or the simplicity of a solution. It's about explaining an unknown with as many knowns and as few unknowns as possible.

Adding God into the mix just adds to current number of unknowns. Saying, "God did it" does not make an unknown become a known.

So, a universe, with a God, has more unknowns than a universe without a God. If we can come up with a scientific repeatable test that gives evidence of God's existence, within a reasonable degree of certainty, then the theory of God be considered seriously.

quote:
A common objection that is raised is "Occam's Razor", which is misused to say that more complex solutions to a problem must be discarded in favor of simpler ones. In this case, Occam's Razor is trotted out as a means to require that a creator God be discarded in favor of a creatorless universe. This is not Occam's Razor at all; Occam's Razor is simply an aesthetic that prefers simpler solutions to more complex ones in answering a particular question, but it is only an aesthetic and not a law of logic, and it is not applicable to complex questions of history or science.


RE: To preempt the religious debaters...
By nengel on 4/18/2011 6:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
I very much agree with your post, and I don't think that the army of responders who came out against your very reasonable stance refuted what you were offering, which is really quite neutral in terms of metaphysical and theological commitments.

I have done little research into this area, some on either side, and am very interested in digging deeper. The stance I take would be similar to yours, that being if we find the naturalistic processes for which we can show the possibility and plausibility for the origin of life and subsequent change leading from single cell to multi-cellular to complex organisms, then I would absolutely accept it. Theistic evolution would sit just fine with me. This is really the open minded position to take, despite the objections. This approach would use information we HAVE to make an inference to the best explanation. Be it the origin of life or the massively finely-tuned universe that is needed to support it, the teleological argument has a lot of weight. Far from stopping science or positing God as a substitute for more explanation to current processes as we observe them, it is merely open to a non-naturalistic metaphysic, that if we see in nature what appears to be trademarks of design, so be it, follow the argument where it leads. A committed materialist cannot allow a divine foot in the door, but this is a metaphysical position, not a scientific position, in fact science can say nothing to it.

So I really don't mind evolution. I do get annoyed when it is the one theory you cannot criticize, at minimum it will allow a better theory to emerge when we understand it more fully, and isn't that the goal of the scientific enterprise? It certainly does not prove atheism, it would merely push back the question of why life, to why a finely tuned universe with minds to comprehend it rather than nothing at all? And God as proposed as a metaphysically ultimate starting point needs no other creator/designer, but matter, energy, time, and space do, if you accept contemporary cosmology.

I understand why evolutionists get angry at evolution deniers, there are some ridiculously bad arguments trotted out against it, even ones that have had no merit for a while. But there is a big difference from what I have seen between denying an old universe because the Bible says "days", and propounding problems for bio-genesis or the development of radically new organs from random mutation due to the specificity of biological information we now have. I try to be as un-dogmatic either way, we may really find all the processes needed for the formation of the first cell from simple organic compounds, but me may not, and I am also willing to look down that path.


By rbuszka on 4/18/2011 8:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thankful and encouraged that somebody actually understood the true point of my post above, instead of knee-jerking into "Gaaah, die, you Creationist!" mode like everyone else did. I'm also encouraged to see that my first respondent was rated down to '0', because the first three paragraphs of his post are three different textbook logical fallacies (that is, non-arguments).

My point was that evolution in any form can't be used as a religious-political tool to exclude God from participating in events on Earth, and that a theistic evolutionary worldview can provide someone with the freedom to be in harmony with both science and theistic faith. Really, it's only at odds with Genesis Chapter 1, which most English translations of the Bible render as poetry anyway, indicating that its source is actually a poem whose writer may have been taking artistic license in order to explain that God is the first cause of the universe. Yes, I know about Multiverse Theory, but that has not yet been shown to be a provable theory, and I don't subscribe to "if you can dream it you can do it" cosmology. However, I do recognize that my above statements would be very frustrating to those who want to use the success or usefulness (not necessarily the same things) of evolutionary theory to force a post-Enlightenment naturalistic worldview on other people, because it allows one's faith to sidestep the Evolution issue entirely.


Never the twain shall meet
By PaterPelligrino on 4/18/2011 1:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
For those of us who aren't committed to a literal interpretation of the Old Testament, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. To reject evolution is to opt for a very specific version of the Christian faith over reason.

For those who believe that everything written in the Old Testament is literally true, the only evidence that matters - that they even acknowledge - is that which supports that narrative, and nothing will ever change their minds.




RE: Never the twain shall meet
By gamerk2 on 4/18/2011 3:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
I now point out theres several inconsistencies within said old testamate:

Man and Woman created first, or Women created out of Man?
2-by-2, or seven clean, two unclean?
Noah or Arron?

The irony being, Isriel and Judah kept TWO seprate versions of the Torah, which were combined [probably during the reign of King David]. You can tell too; one was written by scribes, the other wasn't. [Its not THAT hard to seperate...]

Secondly, given some of the...translations in the Bible, anyone who takes anything in the Bible literally is basically already lost. Using a New Testamate example: The word "Virgin" never appears in the origional texts. The correct translation is literally "Young Women", but of course, in midevil Europe, all Young Women are Virgins, yes? Replace "Virgin Mary" with "Young Woman Mary", and boom, totally different interpretation.


By callofduty1000 on 4/22/2011 1:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
For readers who would like more information on the contradictions and inconsistencies, they have been well documented.

http://www.bartdehrman.com

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Interrupted-Revealing-...

"In this New York Times bestseller, leading Bible expert Bart Ehrman skillfully demonstrates that the New Testament is riddled with contradictory views about who Jesus was and the significance of his life. Ehrman reveals that many of the books were written in the names of the apostles by Christians living decades later, and that central Christian doctrines were the inventions of still later theologians. Although this has been the standard and widespread view of scholars for two centuries, most people have never learned of it."


Evolution is all around us
By callofduty1000 on 4/22/2011 1:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
People, in the last couple of decades evolution has been proven beyond any doubt. Do the research!

Let me help you get started:

http://pondside.uchicago.edu/ecol-evol/people/coyn...
Coyne, J. A. 2009. Why Evolution is True. Viking, New York

http://faculty.oxy.edu/prothero/
Prothero, D.R. 2007. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters. Columbia University Press, New York, 381 pp.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXdQRvSdLAs

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1fGkFuHIu0&feature...

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CvX_mD5weM&feature...

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K11knFKqW4s&feature...

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eblrphIwoJQ&feature...




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