Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just another from Michael Snyder: Lie #24

I thought I would quit at 12, but exposing creationist frauds is like eating potato chips - hard to stop at just a dozen.

Lie #24 (Quote Mine) Why did evolutionist Dr. Lyall Watson make the following statement?…

“The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all of the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin!”

This was attributed by the creationist rags published by the Institute for Creation Research to Lyell(sic)(correct spelling Lyall) Watson, "The Water People," Science Digest, vol. 90 (May 1982), p. 44. First Lyall Watson has no doctorate in a science. Second, “Science Digest” was not a professional scientific journal, and was not peer reviewed. It was a “Readers Digest” formatted magazine that looked for sensationalized articles they dumbed down for their readers. Thirdly, the author Lyall Watson was a sham with a long list of pseudo-scientific books about the supernatural, and “psychic powers.” examples are ’Supernature’ (1973) called ’A natural history of the supernatural.’ Watson was the author of additional New Age nonsense such as “BEYOND SUPERNATURE” (1986).

But finally, the major lie is that this is merely a lie. Even in 1982 we had far more human fossil material than admitted by creationists even today. This is a variation on Creationist Claim CC030.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Snyder, "44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.” Exposing 1 - 12.

Creationist frauds and lies regarding the sciences have a characteristic pattern similar to other forms of science denial. I recommend reading a NewsWeek article recently published, Can You Inoculate Against Science Denial? By John Cook The following graphic gives a rough outline of how science denial follows common patterns whether employed by creationists, anti-vaccination loons, or climate change deniers.

Mr. Michael Snyder is a lawyer, and like too many lawyers he is not shy about lying if it will make him money. He has already scored on the denier’s hit list by falsely presenting himself as an expert on biology, paleontology, geology, and anthropology. His not an expert in any of those sciences. He is not even a poor student. His “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults” is a promotion for his book, and a click-bait advertising website. (I won’t link to it). His “44 Reasons” are entirely false. Worse, none are original and it seems conclusive that Mr. Snyder is merely plagiarizing other creationists.

As we will see below, these 44 falsehoods are a mix of refuted, or baseless assertions, quote mines, as well as just plain lies that follow the pattern mentioned above. For the quote mines, I always recommend the TalkOrigins “Quote Mine Project.” When the particular falsehood prompted by Mr. Snyder is a Quote Mine, I’ll generally just refer to the TalkOrigins exposure of his fraud. None are actually original to Mr. Snyder. Some have been repeated by creationists for decades in spite of the fact they are lies. It is also worth pointing out that most of these 44 have been already debunked from just two other easily available resources, the TalkOrigins An Index of Creationist Claims, and Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent”

(Note added: I found another blog that debunked the first 9 of Mr. Snyder's falsehoods, written last February, 2014.)

Falsehood #1 "If the theory of evolution was true, we should have discovered millions upon millions of transitional fossils that show the development of one species into another species. Instead, we have zero.”

This is a lie. It is debunked by the resources I linked to above. It is false Claim CC200. We have museums and museum warehouses filled to the rafters with transitional fossils. One I have personally worked with was Gomphotaria pugnax, a transitional species between the bears, and the pinnipeds. The transitional fossils for the cetaceans are very well known showing the shift from land animals to fully aquatic. The most accessible general reader source is from the laboratory of Dr. J. G. M. Thewissen, also an excellent source on the evolution of Sirenians. The known transitional fossils fall into six families, Indocetidae, Pakicetidae, Ambulocetidae, Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, Dorudontidae, and Basilosauridae. The transitional fossils of the Sirenians are less well studied with only about fifty specimens. None the less, the broad outline connecting the elephants, hippos, and manatees is known. The early transitional fossils for the pinipeds are the least well known. The best fossil specimen in the world (over 90% complete) of the most likely common ancestor of the pinipeds, Gomphotaria pugnax, was discovered by one of my former students and is curated by a museum where I was a director. Gomphoria shows the fossil connection between the pinipeds and their ancient ancestor bears.

Lie #2 (Quote Mine) When Charles Darwin came up with his theory, he admitted that no transitional forms had been found at that time, but he believed that huge numbers certainly existed and would eventually be discovered…

“Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed. But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?”

This is a “quote mine.” Quote mining is “the use of a (usually short) passage, taken from the work of an authority in some field, "which superficially appears to support one's position, but [from which] significant context is omitted and contrary evidence is conveniently ignored" (The TalkOrigin “Quote Mine Project.”) Darwin did pose the question of where would we find the fossils that confirmed his theory of common descent. He actually devoted a whole chapter to his geological study and wondered if the loss of geological fossils might have been so great that his “transitional” fossils could never be found. That was over 150 years ago. He should not have worried. We have more than adequately confirmed his theory. Here is a list of books written for non-specialists on the discovery of transitional fossils;

Prothero, Donald.
2007 "Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why It Matters" Colombia University Press.

Shubin, Neal
2008 “Your Inner Fish” New York: Pantheon Books

Tattersall, Ian
1995 "The Fossil Trail" Oxford University Press

Ward, Peter Douglas
1992 “On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions” (New York: W. H. Freeman,).

Lie #3 (Quote Mine) “Even some of the most famous evolutionists in the world acknowledge the complete absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record. For example, Dr. Colin Patterson, former senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History and author of “Evolution” once wrote the following…

“I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them …. I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”

This is Quote Mine # 56. It even has an extended debunking, Patterson Misquoted.

Flasehood #4 (A Quote Mine) Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University, once wrote the following about the lack of transitional forms…

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

This is merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.

#5 (A Quote Mine) Evolutionist Stephen M. Stanley of Johns Hopkins University has also commented on the stunning lack of transitional forms in the fossil record…

“In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”

This is debunked at TalkOrigins Quote Mine #7.

Lie #6 If “evolution” was happening right now, there would be millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs. But instead there are none.

In fact there are “millions of creatures out there with partially developed features and organs.” Charles Darwin was most interested in the greatly modified organs that we see today called “vestigial” organs. He was unaware of amphibians without lungs, or fish with them. He did not know that the monotremes were mammals that still laid eggs. Mr. Snyder is either an ignorant lout who wants his followers to stay ignorant, or he is a con-man.

Lie #7 If the theory of evolution was true, we should not see a sudden explosion of fully formed complex life in the fossil record. Instead, that is precisely what we find.

This is simply another appeal to ignorance. This is perfect demonstration that Mr. Snyder has not made even a slight good faith effort to learn about evolution. This particular lie of his is refuted by the following books (These are written for professionals and are not the feel-good-trivial-lies familiar to creationists);

Erwin, Douglas H., James W. Valentine
2013 "The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Diversity" New York: Roberts and Company Publishers

Valentine, James W.
2005 “On the Origin of Phyla” University of Chicago Press

Here are the facts in very simple terms. The origin of multicellular organisms was first found about 2.5 billion years ago. This was one billion years after the first fossil single cell organisms, and 1.3 billion years after the first geochemical evidence of life.

“Complex” organisms with specialized cells appeared over a billion years ago. Additional references to those above are;

Rosing, T. Minik
1999 “13C-Depleated Carbon Microparticles in >3700-Ma Sea-Floor Sedimentary rocks from West Greenland” Science 283 (5402): 674

Rosing, Minik T. and Robert Frei
2004 “U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis" Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 217 237-244

Schopf, J. William
1999 "Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils" , Princeton University Press

#8 (Quote Mine) Paleontologist Mark Czarnecki, an evolutionist, once commented on the fact that complex life appears very suddenly in the fossil record…

“A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”

This is Quote Mine #26. It is just another of Mr. Snyder’s many lies.

#9 (Quote Mine) The sudden appearance of complex life in the fossil record is so undeniable that even Richard Dawkins has been forced to admit it…

“It is as though they [fossils] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Both schools of thought (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and both reject this alternative.”

This is Quote Mine #40

My advice to Mr. Snyder is to stop lying. 1 John 4:1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Lie #10 Nobody has ever observed macroevolution take place in the laboratory or in nature. In other words, nobody has ever observed one kind of creature turn into another kind of creature. The entire theory of evolution is based on blind faith.

This is actually two lies. First, I was a working scientist for 40 years. I know what I discovered, and I know the degree of severe criticism and review scientists hold each other to every day. I do not accept anything on “blind faith.” Scientists do not accept anything on “blind faith.” I do place a modicum of trust in my fellow scientists, but only that little bit. I trust them to fear what happens to a scientist caught lying. And the fact that it is a great career opportunity for a young scientist to expose the errors of a senior scientist leads me to trust that over time errors will be exposed and corrected. This contrasts science with religion. Religionists will brand (or burn, or stone to death) any deviations from dogma. This is on-going around the world even today.

The big lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species. For additional information about how Mr. Snyder has lied, see Dr. Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent.”

#11 (Quote Mine) Evolutionist Jeffrey Schwartz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, openly admits that “the formation of a new species, by any mechanism, has never been observed.”

This is Quote Mine # 53 slightly varied. In simple terms, Mr. Snyder is lying again. Worse, he has merely copied someone else lying.

The bigger lie is that we are not fully able to document the evolution of new species from older ones. I have compiled a list of dozens of published examples, The Emergence of New Species.

Lie #12 (Quote Mine) “Even evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University has admitted that the record shows that species do not change. The following is how he put it during a lecture at Hobart & William Smith College…

“Every paleontologist knows that most species don’t change. That’s bothersome….brings terrible distress. ….They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that’s not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don’t change, its not evolution so you don’t talk about it.”

This is a very odd “quote” as it has no text as a reference. It is claimed to be a “lecture” that Steven Gould was supposed to have given to Hobart & William Smith College in 1980. There is no text, or record of this so-called “lecture.” In the creationist’s alternate reality, this lecture was titled, “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” There is no independent documentation that such a lecture ever took place, or what might have been said. What is interesting is that there was a paper by Gould published by the journal Paleobiology in 1980 with the title that creationist sources give to the illusive ‘lecture.’ In that paper, Steve Gould never wrote anything near the faked “quote.” The 1980 paper was also the subject of Mr. Snyder's Falsehood #4 which was merely TalkOrigins Quote Mine #50.

“Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Stephen Jay Gould
Paleobiology Vol. 6, No. 1 (Winter, 1980), pp. 119-130

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ego Google

I had not done an "ego Google" for months. It is typically boring: the same creationist whines about how mean I am, and Ed Brayton's bullshit posts.

Today I saw a rather amusing link to a set of lecture slides in German from a book chapter I coauthored decades ago.

Trance and Possession States E. Mansell Pattison, Joel Kahan, Gary S. Hurd presented by Gerald Zwinger.

The original publication was;

1985 "Trance and Possession States," E. M. Pattison, Joel Kahan, G. Hurd. In Handbook of Altered States of Consciousness. B. B. Walman and M. Ullman (ed.s) New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 286-310.

The way I was added to that book chapter was because I was the principle author of;

1984 "Manifestations of Possession in Novel Ecological Contexts," G. S. Hurd, E. M. Pattison. in Ecological Models in Clinical and Community Mental Health, W.A. O'Connor and B. Lubin (ed.s). John Wiley & Sons: New York.

Mansell had "adopted" most of my text, and added one of our students as a coauthor.

I was wroth. Very Wroth.