Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is it a problem for evolution when modern animals alive today are found fossilized from millions of years ago?

If you happen to run into someone who claims that there are modern animals in the fossil record that date back millions of years ago...and this person is trying to use this as evidence against evolution...don't worry! By the end of this blog you will be see that they are either lying, ignorant, regurgitating, or are a combination of all three. 

This is not meant in an insulting way as we all regurgitate information because it is the way we learn, but this makes passing on false information easy...causing us to become ignorant. Most creationists regurgitate anti-evolution claims that are said to be valid by the people who are closest to them; their churches, families, and friends. This makes the claims easier to accept as true and even harder to accept as false. This causes people to become ignorant to the actual scientific evidence as well as to the fact that the claims, if traced to their sources, are originally based on someone else's lie. We all get lied to but we must do our best to not voluntarily remain ignorant. We must investigate our own knowledge bases and discover if our sources' evidence is valid, and if we find that it isn't then we should do our best to assist others who still remain blinded.

If you ask yourself the following questions and apply the concepts, any claim will fall apart instantly:

1.) When they say the fossil is of a modern animal do they mean  the fossil looks LIKE a modern animal or it literally IS a modern animal?

Lets look at the difference between those claims using the modern Anole and the fossil Orobates:

~~The modern Anole lizard looks LIKE the 290 million year old fossil Orobates because they are both lizard looking. This means that the fossilized Orobates and the modern Anole must be the same animal!

 ~ VS.~

~~The modern Anole resembles the 290 million year old fossil Orobates because they are both similar size and have a lizard-like skeletal structures. This means that the Anole has probably maintained a similar lizard-like form to Orobates and they might share a distant common ancestor.

290 Million years old - Orobates
Modern Anole

Many creationists think they can just look at a fossil and if it looks similar it must be the same thing! Imagine a robin and a mocking bird both fossilized. Would you be able to tell the difference? They are obviously both bird-like as well as having similar sizes but beyond that most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference.


Mocking bird
Paleontologists spend years examining the details of fossils and are aware of the differences between species, especially species separated by 300 million years. Something can be lizard looking but no matter what...300 million years of evolution will change things, though it often requires a trained eye to see those changes. A creationist will say "this fish today is just like this fish that's fossilized" when the two fish have been separated for 250 million years and actually do have small differences between them. This is a claim based on ignorance.

2.) When an old form is still working today, why change it? 

Now it's possible for someone to hear that an animal is fossilized as well as alive but this still doesn't cause an issue for evolution. Often these claims are made by creation scientists who then spew it out to the public where it gets passed on as something evolutionists cant explain... Below are a modern Queensland lungfish and a fossilized Devonian lungfish from 410-400 million years ago. They look similar and scientists have said they are both lungfish...but none of that is bad.

Dipnoi - Lungfish 400 million years old
Modern Queensland lungfish

Imagine that a species develops in a calm river system 400 million years ago and after all this time they are still not forced to change their way of life because they have no new predators and no environmental changes. Even after 400 million years...this species can remain almost the same physically. You must have natural selection pressures for changes to happen. There were many more lungfish species 300-400 million years ago but their environment drove them to extinction. The lucky Queensland lungfish just happened to settle in the right spot that has maintained a low selective pressure and it has been safe ever since (until recently).

This is why we still have fish, amphibians, and reptiles. They can look similar to their ancestral forms but that's because they have maintained the forms through time, keeping varying parts that work well and inventing new ones! And even though they look similar...changes have occurred, they may just not be easily seen by the average person. We can find these changes genetically...but that's for another day.

This misunderstanding is also linked to the famous "If we came from monkeys, why are monkeys still here?" Monkeys have retained our common ancestor's forms in ways we have not. All of the primates have pieces of our ancestor's form, but some parts work better for different populations than for others. We still have our primate ancestors color vision, fingernails, and large brains but the squirrel monkeys still have long tails and graspable toes. This is a claim based on ignorance and regurgitation.
3.) If you determined they mean a truly modern animal in the fossil record, where is their evidence?

If someone is claiming there are true modern animals in the fossil record, they have no scientific evidence. Every time a claim is made like this, like there being literal parrots fossilized with dinosaurs (way before parrots evolved) there never seems to be any scientific journals about them, or even any organized documentation of the site in which they were found.

When I dig at the Archosaur site, once a fossil is found it is thoroughly documented. Pictures are taken of the layer, orientation, the direction it is facing (N,S,W,E). Notes are taken of everything previously mentioned along with every other tiny detail possible. The fossil must be maped out and compared to every other fossil found in that area. Then all the dirt that was removed from around the fossil must be put into separate pans and sifted through to find any small pieces, including bones, teeth, and seeds. In the end after many years of work, everything is put together in a scientific journal that can be verified by anyone.

If an organism is found in a layer it is not supposed to have been in, the documentation of it would have been beyond thorough and there would be no issue in determining its legitimacy…but alas, this is not what we see with creationist claims! This is a claim based on lying, but it can be also regurgitating depending on the source.

4.) If they truly mean a modern animal fossilized, and they claim that their source said there is evidence, who is the original source for the claim?

Most people that don't know a lot about the fossil record but still claim to know it goes against evolution have been reading or watching unscientific creationist nonsense or have been told this by their church, family, or friends...who also probably read or watched creationist nonsense. Ask them where they heard about these fossils that are misplaced and every time they lead back to the creationist nonsense online or in the creationism science videos.

I say creationist nonsense because these claims usually go back to old 80s and 90s creationist science videos that today creationists are telling people not to use anymore. And if they are newer they are usually just the same things being repeated. A great example is Kent Hovind...who's arguments are widely used (even from my 12 year old relative who watched the videos in private catholic school).

They quote the same fossil names when they don't know what the fossil actually is, and they use the same wording of the claims but don't have a response if you challenge them. Those claims are always traced back to someone who knows nothing about the site or specimen. There are a few unique people who believe they have evidence and try to use science to defend it but time and time again they are shown to be completely wrong.

A local example of this are the dinosaur and "human tracks" on the Paluxy Riverbed in Glen Rose, Texas. Young earth creationists have set up a museum and tourist site that is advertised on billboards all over Texas claiming they have evidence for man and dinosaurs coexisting...

Bipedal dinosaur tracks and "man tracks"
The so-called "man tracks" were actually just the impressions of a bipedal (upright) dinosaur that stepped in mud balancing on it heels and soles, and once the mud flowed back it ended up looking like a pseudo foot to the people who wanted to see it. So though a few creation "scientists" have visited the site and supported the claim with "evidence", no qualified paleontologist agrees. They have thoroughly disproved it for almost 40 years and yet people are still claiming that Glen Rose is evidence for creationism. This is a claim based on a combination of everything. The creation "scientists" at Glen Rose are lying and the public are ignorantly regurgitating lies.
Metatarsal tracks
Glen Rose Fraud

No matter where you go, you will find people who say there are modern animals (including humans) in the fossil record that are in the wrong place and wrong time, and that it proves that the fossil record doesn't show the evolution of animals…

Just remember everything you just read and you will soon find that either they are lying, ignorant, regurgitating, or are a combination of all three. Once you find out which, help them out!

Why are there fish species that live in darkness but still develop eyes that then degenerate, are functionless, sealed over, or so small they are almost gone completely?

The blind cave fish is one of many species of fish we know of that live in the darkness. Often these fish lose their pigments, change jaw formation, and develop odd sleep patterns. The blind cavefish and the surface dwelling Mexican tetra though look different can interbreed, and their offspring become hybrids that can also interbreed back with the parent populations. The two populations are genetically very similar but cave fish have low genetic diversity from the constricted food. The intermixing of the cave and surface forms combine different traits of blind/albino/altered sleep cycles and vision/color/daylight, which causes the hybrids to have a wide range of color, eye size, visual capabilities, etc…

The blind cave fish as adults lack functional eyes but they still have small eyes that actually formed as embryos and continued to form the lens and retina. The blind cavefish actually experiences the high cost of the growth but never gets to benefit from the sight! Eventually the cells self destruct, or undergo “apoptosis” and the partially formed eye degenerates and sinks into the eye orbit.  This lack of eye growth then causes the cavefish eye to get “swamped” by a flap of skin.

So the blind cave fish form eyes but destroys them right after and their same-species neighbors have fully functional eyes. What is causing the blind cave fish to degenerate their eyes? And why?

Though there is disagreement on the strongest selection for degeneration, I believe the strongest idea is that gene ACTIVATION and not gene LOSS OF FUNCTION is what controls the degeneration of their eye. We have shown that the cavefish have the ability to actually form an eye if the lens from a surface form is transplanted in. This is because the lens controls the signaling outside the eye give the blind cave fish their sunny neighbor's lenses right from their eyeballs and the blind fish reform their own eyes.

Darkness also can create a neutral selection for allowing mutations to build in the genes for the eye, and conserving energy by omitting the eye in the dark might have assisted in the drastic change.

But there is another force for change called Pleiotropy…and this is what most likely drove the eye loss in the cavefish. This is the idea that 1 gene can do multiple things, some things more helpful than others. The gene may have helped the fish adapt in some way but it also caused them to stop the formation of their eye. This is why they continue to develop it but stop mid way, they havent lost the instructions for the eye but instead developed a new gene that disrupted those instructions.

Why do we have birds that are tooth-less but have their DNA code for teeth that we can resurrect in labs?

Birds are related to reptiles and their ancestry can be traced all the way back to the dinosaurs 150+ million years ago. In the fossil record we find transitional species with feathers, teeth, plus older reptilian features..

We can look back genetically and find the “instruction manual” that the previous bird ancestors used. We glanced into the genetic past of birds and we found that they retain the instruction manual their ancestors used to make teeth. So why don’t we see birds with teeth outside the window if they have the genes?

30 years ago: Scientists took a layer of cells from the mouth of a mouse embryo and placed it in the beak region of a chick embryo and the cells combined, causing the chick to grow rudimentary teeth in its beak! The bird embryo had the “instruction manual” for teeth already and just needed the “go” signal, which they received from the mouse cells. The mouse and chick cells combined and they used chemical “language” to talk to each other. The genes for the “go” signal chemically turned on the genes for instructions for teeth, and together they developed teeth on the chick’s beak!

2006: We discovered a small mutation in the DNA of a chick embryo that affected its development and caused it to develop rudimentary teeth. This mutation is important because it changed the arrangement of tissue layers in the beak. In modern birds their beak tissues develop too far apart to exchange their “chemical language” and thus, never talk about making teeth. This small mutation caused the layers of tissue to move closer and they began communicating again. We then looked at these rudimentary teeth in the chick’s beak to look at how they were developing and we then saw that the teeth were being built just like reptiles and not mammals.

Why still “rudimentary” teeth?
If you visualize genes lined up along chromosomes like close neighbors living next door in a neighborhood, we find that in birds the houses/genes for making enamel are in the same “neighborhoods” in reptiles and mammals. We looked for the houses/enamel making genes in the chick DNA and the genes are still in their “neighborhood” but they are but badly mutated...

Visualize visiting an old neighborhood where several houses are broken down and have been abandoned for 80 million years! Who cares if you throw a brick through a window of an broken down abandoned house? Well natural selection doesn't care what you do with abandoned genes either! If there is a mutation in a gene that is not needed, it will be passed on because it doesn't harm anything. Reproduction will continue to pass on old genes as they accumulate mutation, like an old house falling apart through time. These old genes will be useless just like the old house unless it can become renewed…which for a house could be a new tenant and a paint job, but for genes its mutation. Mutation will continue in the genes and sometimes (quite often actually) old useless genes gain a new function because the right mutation.

This is the story of birds and their teeth. Birds have broken down genes for their “go” signal that “talks” to the instructional genes for teeth. This allowed mutations in the neighborhood of enamel making genes to accumulate unnoticed and eventually cause the weak “rudimentary teeth” in the chick embryo. Perhaps these old one day will mutate and become the signal for something brand new.

So if birds did not evolve from the reptilian-like ancestors we find in the fossil record, why then do birds have the ancient instruction for their teeth?

Homosexual Animals: The Male Sheep

Female sheep want little to do with male sheep most of the year. The male sheep actually prefer homosexual sex to heterosexual sex. Why is this?

Brains have a "dis-inhibition" switch, where the brain is organized to inhibit the desire to mate with the same sex but this switch varies significantly. This switch tells the animal that sex with the same sex is less desirable, but works in a pinch. This is why we see many animals exhibiting homosexual behavior but immediately switch over when the opposite sex is around and willing. Switches can be manipulated by chemicals and sometimes individuals can be naturally "disinhibited", making their capacity for same sex attraction fixed in the "on" position.

In autumn, female sheep come into heat and only during that time do the males seem interested in them. This is not because the males become interested in female-ness but instead the females begin to act and smell different causing the males to now be interested in them. They allow the males to use male-like foreplay (kicking, sniffing, grunting) just this once, and once the females become pregnant, they once again smell normal and are not interested in male-like foreplay, causing the males to ignore them once again and return to homosexual sex.

Though males react to the female's change in smell and behavior, some males don't react to this at all and actually prefer the same sex all year round. Gay males act like males, using male foreplay, but only with other males and the hormonal surges they receive around other males is the exact same as the males around autumn females.

They are naturally attracted to the opposite sex because their brains are organized that way.

The Chemistry Behind Homosexual Behavior

In an experiment using pregnant guinea pigs and rats, scientists were able to create homosexual female offspring. This experiment was actually very simple, using only pregnant guinea pigs, rats, and testosterone. 

Guinea Pigs
Scientists injected testosterone into pregnant guinea pigs at a specific time of development and all of the female offspring were born with ambiguous genitalia. These offspring were then put into heat and instead of arching their back they mounted as much as the male offspring. The females exposed to testosterone prenatally then not only developed ambiguous genitalia but also had their brains change to make them mount instead of arch. If you inject guinea pigs with testosterone as adults, there is no effect at all. 

We scanned the brains of rodents to try to find a difference between males and females and surprisingly we found something. There is section of the brain right where the optic nerves cross that has been labeled the sexually dimorphic nucleus, or SDN. This section in the male rodent is 5 times larger than females and in our own species its 2 times larger. The SDN size depends on hormone exposure in utero...meaning how ever much testosterone is exposed to the SDN in utero will determine how big it gets, thus determining how masculinized the brain will be. 

So, when we gave testosterone to pregnant rats, the female offspring were born with male sized SDNs, causing them to act like males. When we gave pregnant rats testosterone early in the pregnancy, the female offspring were born with masculine genitalia but acted like females. When we gave the pregnant rats testosterone late in the pregnancy the females were born with female genitalia, but acted like males. 

What does all this mean? 
All offspring start out feminized but when a larger amount of testosterone is released, it causes females to become males who then develop testes and a large SDN. Without the large exposure to testosterone, the body and mind stay feminized. 

If you expose a female at a certain time of development to testosterone, her SDN becomes large, causing her to have homosexual behaviors.

 If a female receives enough testosterone in the beginning to develop testes but not enough to enlarge their SDN, the male will exhibit homosexual behavior. 

Homosexuality is natural. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Q&A Creationist and Myself: Dawkins is talking a lot about micro evolution, which is accepted by creationists. All of the observed cases are either speciation or micro. What is the proof of macro? Giving examples of micro and saying with time it should become something different just seems like faith unless you give evidence.

Since I do not like to assume people’s knowledge, I will talk a little bit about speciation, as well as macroevolution … and by a little bit that probably means a lot lol.

So what are species anyway, and how do new ones evolve? A species is often defined as a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature.


These spiders all look different but since they can interbreed, they are considered the same species Theridion grallator.  (

The definition of a species is not really that simple though. In nature there are a lot of places where it is difficult to apply it.  Many plants and animals form hybrids in nature.


The hooded crows and carrion crows look different, and largely mate within their own groups – but in some areas, they hybridize. (

There are lots of other places where the boundary of a species is blurred, but it is not so surprising that these blurry places exist – after all, the idea of a species is something that we humans invented for our own convenience. The existence of blurring between species will come in later on…

Speciation is a lineage-splitting event that produces two or more separate species


I do not even feel that the word macroevolution needs to exist because the only people that really use it are the ones that do not understand what it means, thus forcing scientists explain it when the concepts needed to understand it are actually complex.

So what is the difference between macro and microevolution? 

Most people's initial answer is that microevolution is small changes, and macroevolution is large changes.  Though this simplistic explanation is somewhat correct, it leads to a lot of confusion. Microevolution is accepted even by creationists, and is the incremental small changes in the genetic information passed on through generations of a species that can account for differences in fur color, wing length, and body size, as well as bacteria resistances to antibiotics.  Changes in the DNA passed on to the next generation can be selected for or against…. leading to things ranging from bacteria resistance to longer canines in a wild cat.  Though microevolution has only been recently accepted by the creationists, this form of first stage biological evolution is quite obvious as it can be seen in our lifetime in the lab as well as in the wild.

Now, since we have already established that changes do develop in the DNA of every species that cause variation…what is the next step? 

If there was a stage between a species being able to interbreed and a species being split into two species that are no longer able to interbreed…what do you think this would be?  Before you read on, actually try to think of a scenario that would be in between being able to interbreed and have children and not being able to interbreed…

Using a math understanding…If you give the interbreeding population the number 0, and the non-interbreeding populations a 1... The amount that is between these is ½.  So in a simplistic sense, the stage between these two scenarios should be literally half reproducing and half not reproducing.  What this means is that on some level they are able to interbreed but also are unable to.  Okay, so what would that be?  If you do not know the answer, it is actually easier than you think. 

You know the starting point is a single species, and the endpoint is two different species that are no longer able to interbreed and have been separated for millions of years… And you want to find that middle stage, the ½ point…The example of the tiger and the lion, as well as the awkward mating between the other big cats of the Panthera group, the leopard and jaguar.  

So let us get some names out of the way for these hybrids.  No you do not have to memorize this… Though some of these names are pretty hilarious…

So for entertainment purposes… Let us look at a couple of these hybrids

Leopon: Proved to be sterile and the last one died in 1985.  
Tigard and Dogla: Tigards produced by tiger/leopard matings are infertile, producing spontaneously aborted "walnut sized fetuses", or in other words, "stillborn offspring".
Liger and Tiglon: Can interbreed and produce fertile female hybrids and infertile male hybrids
Jagger: There has been no report of the birth of a healthy hybrid from a male jaguar and female tiger, 

Why did I even do that? 

Well! The big issue with the hybrids is that they do not generally give rise to new species. Because hybrid males are mostly infertile, hybridization is frequently a dead end because the hybrids are not fully fertile. If the hybrids are fertile (almost always only the females), they are usually absorbed back into the population of one or other parent species and most of the alien genes are bred out.  So if two cat groups which look similar like the tiger and the lion though can though breed…cannot produce BOTH male and female fertile offspring…This is then the first signs of speciation.

What could be considered more of a ½ stage then two similar groups, who shared a common ancestor, being able to reproduce BUT their offspring is incapable of continuing the line?  This is the case with practically all of the big cats in the Panthera group… And the incompatibilities and fertility issues begin to grow larger when you move into the next family that is most related to the big cats. 

If you are someone who agrees with evolution… is not this exactly what you should have predicted?

  Species that have not been separated for long having issues reproducing… but then compared to the next closest family they have even more?  And then compared to the next closest family, it grows larger?  And will continue that way as you compare them down the line?  This is exactly what happens, and this gradual progression of infertility growing stronger and stronger as the groups become farther and farther apart, only makes sense in the light of evolution.

If biological evolution was not true…

--Is it just a coincidence that very similar forms of animals can interbreed though not produce fertile children? …
--As well as there being no example of something that looks extremely different morphologically and genetically(cat to an antelope) that can even remotely interbreed?  
--That every single time...when something can produce infertile offspring…they always look like they came from the same ancestor?  
--And if you move only a few million years away into a different line that still resembles them (like the closely related civet), they are now unable to produce any offspring?  
--And is it just coincidence that this next step is what you would expect to see as a first reproductive issue, the offspring starting to develop but ending up being stillborn?   
--And is it a coincidence that the more different groups become, the genetic changes between them increases accordingly? …

I am sure you have noticed that all of the Panthera have something in common… They all look like damn cats!  And we are concerned about macroevolution…so we want to see the cat give birth to a monkey or something right?  If this is what you expect evolution to show, I am sorry I must disappoint you… because cats give birth to cats… and monkeys give birth to monkeys….  So how did anything become anything?  What is our evidence of it?

So in 2012 we have the four main Panthera species, the lion, jaguar, tiger, and leopard....

Who is the last common ancestral group of the Panthera group?

We know from genetics as well as the fossil record that the lion and the tiger have been separated, and have been accumulating differences in their DNA for about 3.7 million years.  A study based on mitochondrial genomes of the Panthera told us that we should find the last common ancestor of the Panthera at around 9-11 million years ago. These mitochondrial studies then showed that the tiger and lion split away 6.55 million years ago, and the leopard at 4.35 million years ago…and all of this genetic information completely matches the fossil records, without a fossil out of place.

So the next closest living group to Panthera according to morphological similarity and fossil record comparisons should still look quite similar to the group though it should hold a couple traits separate from the Panthera family… And this is where we find the snow leopard and the clouded leopard.  Both of these belong in their own group separate from Panthera, as their family branched off 2-3 million years before the Panthera group developed and they have been genetically diverging ever since.   The clouded leopard diverged 8.66 million years ago and the snow leopard at 4.63 million years, and these two cats are within their own more distant group but when combined with the Panthera they are under the label “Pantherinae”.

The Pantherinae (lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards + snow leopards, cloudy leopards) are all still cats…though the snow leopard and clouded leopard after being separated for longer, have even more issues interbreeding with the more recent subgroup of Panthera (which is exactly what you would expect).

Moving backwards we should find a group that though is still a cat, should have further issues interbreeding with the original starting point of the Panthera…and should have even more, though slight, difference compared to the Pantherinae as a whole morphologically as well as genetically.  And this brings us to the next closest family the Felinae, which consists of the cheetah and the cougar, as well as the lynx , margay, serval, ocelot, bobcat, as well as many other endangered small wildcats. 

Now the Felinae group contains again…cats…but everyone in this group, including my favorite animal in the world…the cheetah, CANNOT breed with the original Panthera. Not one single bit. Yet…we consider them “cats”. But now we see that within two major groups of cats, the Pantherinae and the Felinae, though have only been separated for 10 million years, are no longer able to breed with each other. Now this is where we will start to see some major “macroevolutionary” differences

These are still considered “cats”…even though the two main subgroups can’t interbreed…So what is the next step?  

Well now is where things get real interesting…All of the next mammals are considered part of the Suborder Feliformia, but are not Felidae, or not "cats". They are the next steps that slowly start to change something cat-like into something civet-like and then into a full blown civet. The civet is considered a different "kind" from cats, and yet they have MANY issues placing these animals into categories....Especially the first who just so happens to be the closest living mammal to the cats that's not a "cat".

Asiatic Linsang - (
Genet - (
Asian Palm Civet - (
African Palm Civet ( & (

No matter what group you give me, if you want to know the blurring lines I will show you and let you decide for yourself.  Cats, dogs, reptiles, fish, humans, amphibians, birds, insects… You will always follow the line backwards until you find that blurring point genetically, morphologically, and reproductively.  And these blurring points only makes sense in the light of biological evolution.

So we have hit the awkward blurring point between the group of “cats”, the Felinae, like the cheetah and Lynx, and the next closest group containing the civet.  

The civet belongs to the group Viverridae, which you do not have to remember that name, but if you want to see the members of this important blurring group, you should check into them.  Some of them look more cat-like than others, and some of them are starting to look like large tree squirrels… 
(Viverridae family photo- 

Use your own judgment on what you think is considered more cat-like, just be sure to compare that to the least cat-like of the group Viverridae and then compare it to the slightly more cat-like Felinae.  I guarantee you will not be able to make distinctions between them, and yet they are all linked up to the Panthera “big cats” we know today.

If you are following along so far, be proud of yourself because it is a lot of information and a lot of scientific names… But every single one of these can be googled or possibly be found at your local zoo.  You do not need me to tell you what is more cat-like, and that is the beauty of evolution… The ability to see things on your own.  We now hit I believe the most interesting part of this whole feline evolution rant that is lasted way too long…

Hyena's are part of the cat-like family. 
They are Feliformia not Caniformia. And to keep things short, in the fossil record, hyenas look just like civets and slowly develop into hyenas...
(Civet-like ancestor comparison-

Canids (dogs, wolves, foxes) or the dog-like carnivores do not come from the cat-like civet family Viverridae so hyena's having a civet-like fossil record show it developed from the same cat-like ancestors as the big cats today and this is matched genetically...more on this another time!

This evidence takes no faith at all.  
If the differences between the civet, the hyena, and the lion are not examples of observable evidence for the incremental microevolutionary changes that lead to the broad term of macroevolution… Then I do not know what is. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Q&A Creationist and Myself: The fossil record is a record of the destruction and death caused by the Flood.

Part 1-
Question: The fossil record is a record of the destruction and death caused by the Flood.

Response: If the record represented the Noah’s flood…why is the majority of the record extinct predatory arthropods (exo skeletons like scorpions and crabs) who were highly adapted to swimming? Why are there literally no fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, dinosaurs, birds, or anything that shouldn’t have evolved yet (according to evolution) in the record? Why is the most primitive form of every family today present before the Cambrian which is then represented in the Cambrian with only simple advancements?

Organisms killed by a flood would never fall into place like the Cambrian fossil record because there is no way a highly water adapted organism like Anomalocaris would die and sink to the bottom before a house cat. The order of the record makes literally no sense in the light of a biblical flood. Records of floods are very obvious in that they show a great amount of unnatural mixing and no natural order. This is definitely not the Cambrian.

Part 2- 
Question to Response: Was the predictable form of the fossils created after the fossil was found or before? The fact that the fossils found in Cambrian rock differ from living animals of the same phyla only shows the living forms were not buried in Cambrian rock. You also assume that the fossil bacteria are as old as the rocks they are found in. It is well known that bacteria have found their way to every place on Earth that is possible for them to live, including deep rocks. Bacteria dying in a rock long after it was formed could under the right conditions become fossilized in the that rock, so it is no surprise to find bacteria fossils in rock well below multicellular organisms. Furthermore, there is still no evidence connecting bacteria to multicellular organisms. Evolutionists take fossils and find patterns in other fossils. This is just pareidolia not evidence of common decent

Response to Question 

"Was the predictable form of the fossils created after the fossil was found or before?”

Both, fossils can often be predicted before we find them and are found later with their form verifying the prediction as well as fossils that are found before that still fit into the form that they are supposed to. Predictions wont be made though without a lot of information of the two points on either side because you need traits to follow.

“The fact that the fossils found in Cambrian rock differ from living animals of the same phyla only shows the living forms were not buried in Cambrian rock”

The fact that not even one fish, reptile, amphibian, mammal, bird, dinosaur, or any known insect or crustacean was found in the record that was supposedly created by a flood that killed everything really makes no sense. And the fact that everything that SHOULD be in the record like finless, jawless pre-fish (myllokunmingia, haikouichthys , haikouella) for evolution to be correct is, without one species out of place. Literally. None. As the Cambrian rocks get older, the forms get more and simpler, just like they are supposed to.

“You also assume that the fossil bacteria are as old as the rocks they are found in. It is well known that bacteria have found their way to every place on Earth that is possible for them to live, including deep rocks. Bacteria dying in a rock long after it was formed could under the right conditions become fossilized in the that rock, so it is no surprise to find bacteria fossils in rock well below multicellular organisms”

Well the bacteria I mentioned were the stromatolites which aren’t just 99% rock with some bacteria on top of it. Stromatolites are literally built by bacteria living in a group and their waste being laid down layer by layer…so they created the structure. And during this time period what should be found in the environment (increase in oxygen from the new bacteria) is found at this time period and not before. They correlate with each other, as they should according to evolution.

“Furthermore, there is still no evidence connecting bacteria to multicellular organisms. Evolutionists take fossils and find patterns in other fossils. This is just pareidolia not evidence of common decent”

Well, since you said there is no evidence for the connection between bacteria and multi-celled organisms, ill explain the evidence that actually does exist.

Archaea and Bacteria are small, relatively simple cells surrounded by a membrane and a cell wall, with a circular strand of DNA containing their genes. They are called prokaryotes. Evidence supports the idea that eukaryotic cells are actually the descendants of separate prokaryotic cells that joined together in a symbiotic union. In fact, the mitochondrion (the powerhouse of the cell) itself seems to be the "great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter" of a free-living bacterium that was engulfed by another cell, perhaps as a meal, and ended up staying as a sort of permanent house guest. 

The host cell profited from the chemical energy the mitochondrion produced, and the mitochondrion benefited from the protected, nutrient-rich environment surrounding it. This kind of "internal" symbiosis — one organism taking up permanent residence inside another and eventually evolving into a single lineage — is called endosymbiosis.

Biologist Lynn Margulis first made the case for endosymbiosis in the 1960s, but for many years other biologists were skeptical. Although Lynn watched his amoebae become infected with the x-bacteria and then evolve to depend upon them, no one was around over a billion years ago to observe the events of endosymbiosis. Why should we think that a mitochondrion used to be a free-living organism in its own right? It turns out that many lines of evidence support this idea. Most important are the many striking similarities between prokaryotes (like bacteria) and mitochondria:

1) Membranes — Mitochondria have their own cell membranes, just like a prokaryotic cell does.
2) DNA — Each mitochondrion has its own circular DNA genome, like a bacteria's genome, but much smaller. This DNA is passed from a mitochondrion to its offspring and is separate from the "host" cell's genome in the nucleus
3) Reproduction — Mitochondria multiply by pinching in half — the same process used by bacteria. Every new mitochondrion must be produced from a parent mitochondrion in this way; if a cell's mitochondria are removed, it can't build new ones from scratch.

When you look at it this way, mitochondria really resemble tiny bacteria making their livings inside eukaryotic cells! Based on decades of accumulated evidence, the scientific community supports the ideas that endosymbiosis is the best explanation for the evolution of the eukaryotic cell.

What's more, the evidence for endosymbiosis applies not only to mitochondria, but to other cellular organelles as well. Chloroplasts are like tiny green factories within plant cells that help convert energy from sunlight into sugars, and they have many similarities to mitochondria. The evidence suggests that these chloroplast organelles were also once free-living bacteria.

The endosymbiotic event that generated mitochondria must have happened early in the history of eukaryotes, because all eukaryotes have them. Then, later, a similar event brought chloroplasts into some eukaryotic cells, creating the lineage that led to plants.

Biologists are in the process of figuring this out using evidence provided by comparing the gene sequences of different organisms. In general, the more similar two organisms' genes are, the more recently their two lineages split apart from one another. If two organisms have been evolving separately for a very long time, and have a distant common ancestor, they are likely to have evolved lots of differences between their gene sequences. So by comparing the genetic sequences of different organisms, biologists can piece together their family tree — who is related to whom. Biologists have even studied the DNA in mitochondria to figure out how they are related to free-living bacteria. These studies have shown, first, that all mitochondria are descended from one original mitochondrion — that is, endosymbiosis of a mitochondrion only happened once — and second, that mitochondria are most closely related to a bacteria called Rickettsia prowazekii. 

Q&A Creationist & Myself: The loss and addition of large DNA sequence blocks are present in humans and gorillas, but not in chimps" even though "the gorilla is lower on the primate tree than the chimp and supposedly more distant to humans. How could these large blocks of DNA--from an evolutionary perspective--appear first in gorillas, disappear in chimps, and then reappear in humans?

Question: The loss and addition of large DNA sequence blocks are present in humans and gorillas, but not in chimps" even though "the gorilla is lower on the primate tree than the chimp and supposedly more distant to humans. How could these large blocks of DNA--from an evolutionary perspective--appear first in gorillas, disappear in chimps, and then reappear in humans?

Response: Though I am unsure of this exact case, and would like to see the article about this…ive heard of something similar. Until I can know exactly what section of DNA they are talking about, I can only give you my best understanding from other examples.  So I believe this is saying that a large section of DNA is present in gorillas as well as Homo sapiens, but is not present in the chimpanzee DNA.  And since chimpanzees are our closer cousins… How can they be in the gorilla and not the chimpanzee?

Example 1- Apes: If section A of chromosome 1 in the last common ancestor of gorillas chimps and humans (around 12 million years ago) contains 1000 base pairs… And when looking at the three species today you only find this section in the gorilla and the human, this simply means that sometime after the chimpanzee broke off from the Homo sapiens lineage around 7 million years ago, they lost this section of the chromosome… And the gorilla and humans have not.  Now again I am unsure what sections of the chromosomes you are speaking of but if these sections are functional DNA then it simply means that the gorilla and Homo sapiens have maintained this section of the chromosome from the last common ancestor, and the chimpanzee lost it. 

Large sections of the chromosomes can be deleted, functional or nonfunctional and if it does not hurt the organism, that deletion will be passed on.  It is not within the deletion that we trace lineages, but within the existence of a specific section of DNA.  Large sections can be lost all the time, but large copying mistakes are beyond rare, and when present in two different species it can tell us that they are related as their common ancestor is the only way that they could both have this exact section.

I did read the article that I believe this was pulled from…(  And the people who wrote this made a critical error when they make the claim that we are not 97% similar to chimpanzees.  This comes from the understanding of genetics…which indeed can be complicated but fascinating.  In short, the authors of this article only compare functional DNA, meaning the part of the DNA that as far as we know codes for actual proteins.  This is the part of the DNA that allows for differences in appearance.  Though this part of the DNA is interesting, it is within the rest of the DNA that our ancestry is found.  This is where the large copying mistakes show up as well as old genes such as genes for tails.  These other genes no longer function, but they are still inherited through the generations.  We can find “fossilized” genes in our genome for all sorts of things…that can only be explained by looking at our ancestry and what their forms looked like.

Example 2 - Blind Cave Fish: A great example of this is within the blind cave fish who though live in caves, and have for millions of years, still possess eyes but are now almost functionless and now develop skin over them.  The only reason it has eyes in the first place is because it inherited eyes from its ancestors who needed them... But now that they have been living in the dark, they have begun to develop mutations in the genes controlling the function and form of their eyes, and now have almost completely lost their ability to see.  We can compare the genes for their eyes to their common ancestor and see that they have inherited the same genes that made functional eyes in a different species but are now breaking apart in the albino fish.  If this fish does not need the ability to see, why have eyes in the first place?  And why did the genes that code for these nonfunctional eyes look so similar to the genes the fish that is considered an ancestor?

Example 3 - Icefish: My last story involves something I actually spoke about on the podcast, and it is one of my favorites. This is about the icefish. I read about them in Sean B. Carroll’s book The Making of the Fittest and this is where ill be pulling most of my information.  .  This fish lives in the South Atlantic Ocean and it completely lacks red blood cells, the pigmented oxygen – carrying cells that until the discovery of these in Arctic ice fish, have been found in every living vertebrate.  Even close relatives of the icefish, such as the in Arctic rock cod and the New Zealand black cod, are red-blooded.  What happened to their hemoglobin?  How can the fish survive without red blood cells?  We have no fossils of this fish so they decided to look into the DNA.  In these amazing fish, the two genes that normally contain the code for the globin, part of the hemoglobin molecule, have gone extinct.  One gene is a molecular fossil, a mere remnant of the globin gene that still resides in the DNA of the icefish, but it is utterly useless and eroding away, just as a fossil weathers upon exposure.  The second globin gene, which usually lies adjacent to the first in the DNA of the red-blooded fish, has eroded away completely. 

This is absolute proof that the ice fish has abandoned the genes for making a molecule that nurtured the lives of their ancestors for over 500 million years.  Over the past 55 million years, the temperature of the southern ocean has dropped, from about 68°F to less than 30° and some locales.  About 33 to 34 million years ago, and the continual movement of the Earth's tectonic plates, Antarctica was severed from southern tip of South America, and became completely surrounded by ocean.  This limited the migration of fish populations such that they either adapted to the change or went extinct, which was the fate of most.  While others vanished one group of fish exploited the changing ecosystem.  The ice fish are a small family of species, within the larger suborder “Notothenioidea, that altogether contain 200 species that now dominate in Arctic fisheries.  The low temperature of the Arctic waters present some great challenges on body physiology.  In Arctic fish, in general, cope with this problem by reducing the number of red cells per volume of circulating blood.  Red-blooded  Arctic fish have about 15 to 18% of their  blood volume made up of red blood cells, when we are at about 45%.  But the icefish have taken this to an extreme, by eliminating red blood cells altogether, allowing their hemoglobin genes to mutate into obsolescence.”

Analysis of the DNA of pale hearted icefish revealed that their myoglobin gene is mutated – an insertion of five additional letters of DNA have disrupted the code for making normal myoglobin proteins.  In these species, the myoglobin gene is also on its way to becoming a fossilized gene.  There are many more genes that have been modified so that all sorts of vital processes can occur in the subfreezing climate.  The adaptation to cold is not limited to the modification of some genes and the loss of others; it also required some innovation. 

Foremost among these inventions is the anti-freeze protein.  The plasma of an Arctic fish is chock-full of these particular proteins which help the fish survive in icy waters.  Without them the fish would freeze solid.  These proteins have a very unusual and simple structure.  They made up of 4 to 55 repeats of just three amino acids, where most proteins contain all 20 different types of amino acids.  Since warm water fish have nothing of this sort, the antifreeze genes were somehow invented by an Arctic fish.  Where in the world antifreeze come from?

It was discovered that the antifreeze genes arose from a part of another, entirely unrelated gene.  The original gene encoded a digestive enzyme.  A little piece of its code broke off and relocated to a new place in the fish genome.  From this simple DNA code, a new stretch of code evolved for making the antifreeze proteins.  The origin of the antifreeze proteins stands out as a prime example of how evolution works more often by tinkering with materials are already available – in this case a little piece of another code – rather than designing new things completely from scratch.  By comparing the states of genes in different icefish, their closest red-blooded relatives, and other in Arctic fish, we can see that certain changes occurring at different stages and icefish evolution.  All 200 or so in Arctic species have antifreeze genes, so that was an early invention.  But only the 15 or so icefish species have fossil hemoglobin genes.  This means that the hemoglobin genes must have been abandoned by the time the icefish species evolved.  Furthermore, while some icefish cannot and do not make myoglobin, some do.  This reveals that the changes in the myoglobin genes are more recent than the origin of the icefish, and disuse of myoglobin is still evolving.  By examining other DNA sequences from each species, it is possible to map these event onto a timeline of geology with the South Atlantic – with the origin of the Antarctic Notothenioidae occurring about 25 million years ago, and the origin of the icefish only about 8 million years ago.

So it is within the addition of these sequences making the anti-freeze proteins that we can find the ancestry for the icefish as this digestive enzyme duplication can only arise in this specific way once. And the genes that the icefish no longer need, like genes for hemoglobin and myoglobin, are now eroding away, showing they used to have functional ones but now are just inheriting broken genes, representing their heritage.

Sean B Carroll’s Book -

Q&A Creationist & Myself - Grass cannot survive without a certain fungus that helps it fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and the fungus can't survive without the grass. They must have appeared on earth at the same time. Same is true for the throat and mucus,and the digestive system and appetite. Which came first?

Question: There are many examples where creatures rely on each other to survive which could not arise through evolution. Grass cannot survive without a certain fungus that helps it fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and the fungus can't survive without the grass. They must have appeared on earth at the same time. Same is true for the throat and mucus,and the digestive system and appetite. Which came first?

Response: Your first question is about symbiotic relationships, in which two sides need each other to survive because they work off of each other.  Symbiotic relationships are all over the place… flowering plants, or “angiosperms”, need pollinators such as bugs to spread their pollen… And yet these insects need the pollen to create a food source.  So one without the other will not work…

There is also a beautiful symbiotic system in the South American Cerrado involving mound building termites, leaf cutting ants, fungi, giant anteaters, the lobeira tree, and wolves. Ill number a few of the pieces of the system. 

(1) The mane wolf in the Cerrado though hunts small animals, it’s diet consists mainly of the fruit from the lobeira tree.  (2) The lobeira tree in turn depends on the wolf for its continued existence as the seeds will not germinate until eaten and passed through its digestive system. 

(3) The Cerrado’s giant anteater produces one baby in which she will carry on her back for up to a year, and both of them eat thousands of termites per day.  The anteater, though consuming thousands of termites, do minimal damage to a termite mound as it feeds for only ONE  minute before moving on to the next. (4) This allows the termites to quickly repair the damage and it does not wipe out the anteaters food source. 

(5) Once a year during the rainy season, the myriad of termite mounds in the Cerrado glow bright green because larva of the headlight beetles have been laid within the mud structure. (6) Every year when the termites begin their mating flight, the light produced by the larva attracts the flying termites, ending in the termite’s death and the beetle’s meal.

(7) The local ants come out and pick the seeds out of the wolf's fecal matter and transport them deep into the ground where they feed a species of fungus which breaks down the seeds. (8) Sometimes the seeds arent broken down but actually germinate in the ground, which are under termite mounds, and then spring up to growing the tree. 

So 1-8 all together: These trees would not be able to survive without the nutrients the ants bring into the ground, but the ants would not have the seeds without the wolf eating the lobeira fruit… And the beetles and anteaters would not have a food source without the termites… And the termites would never survive without the anteater’s internal clock of spending only 1 minute per mound…There are symbiotic relationships all around us, from the bacteria in our gut needing our digestive tracts to survive, and us needing the bacteria to digest certain foods…to the examples you gave a certain grasses needing a fungus to survive… They are all around us.

Trees need nutrients found deep within the soil.  They could evolve more efficient root systems that would allow them to extract those nutrients themselves but this can take a lot of time and might not happen at all.  It just so happens that fungi already have this ability, so when two species find themselves in close proximity, it is much faster to evolve a way to incorporate another organism’s ability than to reinvent it itself…Like I said earlier, insect evolution is closely related to the evolution of flowering plants.  The symbiotic relationship is quite obvious considering that about two thirds of flowering plants are insect pollinated.

So how could separate species evolve traits that happened to fit together so well, and cannot function without each other? 

Well like everything in evolution, natural selection is the answer.  In a population of organisms, some will have traits that are more advantageous to successful reproduction than others, and over many generations the population will inherit the successful traits.  Traits that allow creatures to take advantage of another life form in it’s environment will be just as successful as the traits that allow it to escape or eat them.  So when these traits first appear they will be optional, with some individuals taking advantage of another and some not, but if taking advantage of another organism becomes advantageous…natural selection will begin to select the organisms that inherited traits that allow them to do this.  Eventually the symbiosis can become a sole source of food, shelter, enzymes, or anything else that these relationships derived from one another.

This question is also linked to the idea of the irreducible complexity, in which if you take a part away from something, it can no longer function.  This is a popular term but it is not a problem for evolution.  There is a great example of how complexity can evolve, and I will try to explain it as best I can.

Example: Imagine a unicellular organism in which has two specific entrances for two specific chemicals…I will call them entrance (A) and (B), and chemical (a) and (b).  At first, the organism must intake chemicals (a) and (b), through specific entrances (A) and (B) because it needs these chemicals to survive.  When the organism replicates, a mutation occurs that actually allows the organism to intake chemical (a) and actually break it down into chemical (b)... At this time the organism still has two entrances (A) and (B) but with the new ability to break down the chemical (a) into (b)s, it no longer needs the second entrance (B) .  This trait is passed on as it is slightly more advantageous for the organism, and throughout the generations if a mutation occurs that changes the structure, the size, or anything about entrance (B) , it will not matter because it can create chemicals (b) inside it’s walls.  Eventually this species will build up mutations that cause entrance  (B) to disappear... But it still retains the ability to create chemical (b) FROM (a)

Imagine this organism lives today but we are studying its ability to make chemical (b) from (a)… But someone comes along and says “this system is irreducibly complex because without the ability to create chemical (b), the organism would die”.  But this is not true because in it’s past it had a different ability that allowed it to intake both chemicals and it evolved the ability to make chemical (b) from a later on…thus allowing it the option to get rid of that second (B) entrance and only keeping the  (A) entrance.

This is pretty much what happens with co-evolution and symbiotic relationships.  It is always in incremental steps, and when something appears that is slightly advantageous, and allows for the loss of something else (entrance (B) ), the need to rely on each other begins to build up as functions are lost because they use each other more and more.  The end result is something that looks like it cannot survive without all of the parts, but it is because they evolved using each other and lost several of its previous abilities in the process.

So in the example you gave of the grass needing the fungus, and the fungus needing the grass, it would have arose in the same fashion.  In the ancestral versions of this grass and fungi, each would have been able to survive alone.  Eventually due to cohabitation, once one of them discovers a way through mutation to use less energy itself by relying on the other and… a relationship occurs.  It is not required in the beginning, but the energy saved by relying on another organism is tremendous, and thus is quite advantageous…as well as common.  Once the relationship is established, previous functions will begin to disappear as they are no longer needed because it is gained through the use of another organism.  So for the grass and fungi, they began to use each other in the beginning and when a mutation developed that hurt a previous function it did not matter…and was passed on.  And the end result is fungi and grass that are reliant on each other because they let each other lose their previous abilities as long as they continued to provide for one another.

So, neither one of the current forms came first as what you see today did not exist in the past.  The ancestral forms would not have been so dependent on one another, and it is not after millions of years that the acquired their current forms of being dependent.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, nearly every living thing would die."

If this comment is stating that God exists because if you were to change the percentage of elements in the atmosphere, it would would cause most life to die...this person must not know that the life alive today is only here because it evolved along side an atmosphere that it could live in. Life would never evolve in an environment in which it couldn't survive., The atmosphere in the beginning of our planet's formation 4-3.5 billion years ago determined what life could come about. 

Earth’s atmosphere used to have no free oxygen, and it was not until the first photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms produced O2 as a waste product 3.5 billion years ago that we started to build up oxygen in our atmosphere. We have also shown that oxygen then probably disappeared from the atmosphere around 1.9 billion years ago and it had little effect on the organisms. It was not until around the Cambrian 541 million years ago that oxygen was in higher percentages and it provided life with new possibilities like aerobic metabolism. Only about 2% oxygen level by volume is needed to make collagen  which is used by all animals and its only the large animals that need the higher levels. Large animals only developed after the oxygen increased in the Cambrian, thus my point that life evolves along side the atmosphere in which it can live in. The percentages of our atmosphere fit life today because we have been evolving with it for billions of years.

Since around 500 million years ago, O2 has been fluctuating between 15% and 30% of atmospheric volume and in the Carboniferous period 300 million years ago had up to 35% which probably contributed to the large size of bugs and amphibians. The life during this period evolved with the high O2 levels and wouldn't survive in today's oxygen %. 

If the percent of elements changed in our atmosphere changed so drastically that it caused mass extinctions  we would just be another extinction even for the books. Give it a few million years and a new set of organisms will have evolved to the new atmospheric levels and will have taken over.

Berner, R. A. (Sep 1999). "Atmospheric oxygen over Phanerozoic time" (Free full text). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96 (20): 10955–10957.

Berner, R. A. (Sep 1999). "Atmospheric oxygen over Phanerozoic time"(Free full text). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96 (20): 10955–10957.