Hot news, evolution cools!

Steve McIntyre has the scoop:

According to the University of Victoria, Andrew Weaver says:

the next generation of his climate model will address the influence of climate on human evolution—much like it’s now being used to examine the influence of humans on climate evolution”.

In breaking news, Climate Audit has obtained exclusive information on output from the first runs of Weaver’s “next generation” climate model. These are the first known climate model predictions of the future of human evolution. The results are worrying: take a look.Mann_evolution_scr

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Cartoons by Josh

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256 thoughts on “Hot news, evolution cools!

    • That’s what I was afraid of. The pseudo science of climate hurting real sciences by the honor by association fallacy. A fallacy very used by the climate science, which claims to be ‘exactly like evolutionism’ or ‘exactly like theory of gravity’.
      For your info, evolution was tested in laboratory in controlled experiments. Something never achieved by the climate pseudo science. And the computer models based on evolution theory really work. They correctly solve real problems. Evolutionary algorithms really work.

      • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which is the common useage of the term, “evolution,” is about how NEW SPECIES are formed.
        The experiment referred to (if I’m correct about what some body meant) only proves what NO one disputes which is the textbook definition of “evolution” WITHIN species (i.e., “non-directed change within species over time”).
        No new species has emerged, not even the beginnings of one.
        “… bacteria just keep getting fitter and fitter and fitter.”
        {Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/15/245168252/bacterial-competition-in-lab-shows-evolution-never-stops }

      • ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ by Richard Dawkins contains summaries of a number of experiments, the results of which provide compelling evidence of evolution in a variety of organisms.

      • Evolution theories are well tested and proven by DNA, fossil records, observation, and I think what you are referring to, genetic testing in a laboratory.
        I am not sure if you infer it, but would disagree that evolution theory is predictive. Thankfully they haven’t jumped off that cliff.
        It does anger me that climate science is equated with evolution, a much more mature and proven science, and that climate skeptics are associated with young earth creationists or worst.
        Especially when we have John Kerry who with great gravitas (his general demeanor for everything whether war or ordering a cup of coffee), comparing climate science to gravity. Goes to show anyone could be the President of the most powerful nation on earth since qualifications apparently are no longer a consideration.

      • Alx, it depends on what you mean by ‘predictive’. If you want exact predictions under random mutation and unpredictable natural selection of course that is not achievable. But if one controls mutations and keeps the experiment under controlled conditions, one can achieve some sort of prediction (yes, it can be named that way). As an example (there are many) look for the Nature article “Escherichia coli K-12 undergoes adaptive evolution to achieve in silico predicted optimal growth”.
        For the ones that think there is a magical red line between species: there isn’t. It’s in your head only. Really.

      • Love Evolution.
        It’s biology’s equivalent of the UFF (Universal Fudge Factor). For example, no one really knows how mitrochondrial DNA appears in humans but since it happened, then the UFF took over and you have the evolved ATP chemistry. Thus, given some state of affairs we’ve no real idea how it happened, all you need do is multiply by millions of years of natural selection and there you are. Even with strong evidence that all the minor changes are nothing more than mistakes that happen which do not kill an organism, not to worry, evolution will take the mistakes and compound them, like interest. In this regards, the evolution graph shown is perfect, the species will end up with it’s evolved mistakes creating the ultimate mistake resulting in extinction. Likely by dying from all the fracking earthquakes.
        One simply must embrace and love Darwin.

      • Dear Old ‘un,
        Yes! As you say, “…in a variety of organisms… .:
        We AGREE on the “non-directed change WITHIN species… .” This is, however, not how the average person uses the term “evolution.” What they usually by “Evolution” is Darwin’s theory about the origin of species. Thus, I wrote to clarify above.
        Just thought it might be nice to avert disagreement amongst us all based simply on overlooking the definition of “biological evolution” (about which we all agree).
        Now we all won’t waste time arguing over a non-issue. #(:))
        Janice

      • The owner of this blog is IMO far too lenient in allowing creationist comments here, to the great detriment of climate skepticism. But it’s his blog and his choice what idiotic, ignorant, anti-scientific comments not to censor.
        There is not a shred of evidence in support of creationism and all the evidence in the world against it. Evolution does most certainly make predictions, which are found valid, confirming the fact and theory of evolution, whereas all predictions made based upon creationism are always shown laughably wrong.
        Evolution is a fact. Deal with it.
        In my beginning human genetics class, I show using powers of ten how our genome has changed over time. The portion from one million years ago, in the time of H. erectus, is very little different from that of today (although I do wonder about Dr. Mann’s genome, which might well show devolution). Even going back ten million years, to around the time of the common ancestor of all living African great ape species, doesn’t yield a great many changes (although our ancestors then had the standard ape 48 chromosomes). However at 100 million years ago, when mammals on the line to placentals existed but not quite yet placentals, we start to see noticeable differences. At a billion years ago, the most fundamental parts of the genome shared by those unusual eukaryotes, animals and fungi, are found. These shared derived traits are distinctive when compared to other eukaryotes, such as plants (which of course hadn’t yet evolved at that point), and of course even more so when compared to the other two domains of life, the bacteria and archaea.
        Taxonomy doesn’t use Linnaean categories anymore except informally, but the evolution of our species, “genus”, “family” (great apes), “order” (primates), class (mammals) and phylum (chordates) is written in our genome for all to see who are willing to look and not blinded to the light of reality by benighted, false religion.

      • Somebody,
        “For the ones that think there is a magical red line between species: there isn’t. It’s in your head only. Really.”
        There are indeed magical red lines between “species” in some people’s heads – the lines put there as a matter of definition. For example, the magical red lines used to separate an ordinary bacteria species from antibiotic resistant varieties of the same bacteria. There is no evolution involved because there is nothing new evolved. Resistance existed within the bacteria population before the non-resistant members were decimated:
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v477/n7365/full/nature10388.html
        SR

      • Sturgis Hooper March 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm
        The owner of this blog is IMO far too lenient in allowing creationist comments here, to the great detriment of climate skepticism. But it’s his blog and his choice what idiotic, ignorant, anti-scientific comments not to censor.
        Sturgis, be grateful that the owner of this blog is lenient, or you might have been asked to provide scientific evidence, rather than speculation, that humans once had 48 chromosomes.
        SR

      • Can you point me in the direction of those experiments please
        ============
        evolutionary algorithm’s are a class of machine learning programs

      • No new species has emerged, not even the beginnings of one.
        ===============
        typically there is an explosion of new species after extinction events. this suggests either competition with existing species bars new species, or increased cross breeding between species after extinction accelerates the emergence of new species, or the extinction events are caused by the same event that leads to new species.
        different bacteria routinely exchange DNA looking for improved capabilities. viruses routinely modify the genetic structure of existing organisms. sea water contains millions of viruses in each liter. survival dictates what changes are improvement and what is not. however, from a human viewpoint the rate of change is imperceptible, because organisms must typically be separated for long periods of time before they lose the ability to successfully inter-breed, which is a standard classification technique to distinguish different species.
        Are grizzly bears and polar bears different species? Are dogs and wolves? Are horses and mules? Or donkeys and zebras? Not all offspring are sterile, even when the species appear far apart. Hybrids often out-compete the originals over the long run. Are these new species emerging?

      • We don’t need global warming cultists equating AGW skeptics with anti-science simpletons more than they already do.
        The old sayings that we have observed small mutations and microevolution but not speciations is conventional wisdom that is false and needs to be corrected. The old textbook mechanisms of slow long drawn out mutational accidents that sometimes work and a new species arises is an outdated bit of misinformation that needs to go away.
        It’s being realized that speciation happens in spurts and not just slow continuous change, commonly occurs through hybridization and direct physiological changes from interaction with the ecosystem, and through horizontal gene transfer. Species have biological barriers to reproduction that can cross over to other species that are similar. Evolution occurs rapidly when there is stress on an environment and species look for ways to propagate which test these boundaries.
        Speciation has been directly observed in the laboratory and in nature. The Aspidoscelis neavesi, is a new lizard species that was deliberately bred from two separate species of lizards. The coywolf is a wolf-coyote hybrid that began in the wild from eastern Canada around 1900. Many new fertile plant hybirds have been observed.

      • Stevan Reddish March 17, 2015 at 7:54 pm
        Of course I can provide evidence that humans once had 48 chromosomes. You could have found it yourself in seconds were you interested in science and reality.
        Human chromosome #2 resulted from the fusion of two standard ape chromosomes. The incontrovertible evidence is provided in this paper:
        http://www.pnas.org/content/88/20/9051.full.pdf
        ABSTRACT We have identified two allelic genomic
        cosmids from human chromosome 2, c8.1 and c29B, each
        containing two inverted arrays of the vertebrate telomeric
        repeat in a head-to-head arrangement, 5′(TTAGGG),,-
        (CCCTAA),,3′. Sequences fln g this telomeric repeat are
        characteristic of present-day human pretelomeres. BAL-31
        nuclease experiments with yeast artificial chromosome clones
        of human telomeres and fluorescence in situ hybridization
        reveal that sequences flanking these inverted repeats hybridize
        both to band 2q13 and to different, but overlapping, subsets of
        human chromosome ends. We conclude that the locus cloned in
        cosmids c8.1 and c29B is the relic of an ancient telomere-telomere
        fusion and marks the point at which two ancestral ape
        chromosomes fused to give rise to human chromosome 2.
        Not that further confirmation was needed, but since then the genes on the fused chromosome have been shown to correspond to those on the ancestral ape chromosomes.

      • Steve Reddish March 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm
        Of course microbes have naturally evolved resistance to antibiotics. Most of the antibiotics discovered so far occur naturally, so there would be selective pressure on microbes to evolve defenses.
        However resistance also arises anew in response to new antibiotics, by the same evolutionary processes as it has arisen in the past against naturally occurring antibiotics. Here’s an example:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25281399
        Thanks for providing an opportunity to demonstrate the fact of evolution yet again.

      • RWTurner,
        Good examples, but for multicellular organisms, polyploidy is the most common form of rapid (ie, essentially instant) evolution.
        Polyploidy is pervasive in plants and around 70% (as per a link I posted earlier, although I’ve estimates of 30–80%) of living plant species are polyploid, and many lineages show evidence of ancient polyploidy (paleopolyploidy) in their genomes. Huge explosions in angiosperm species diversity appear to have coincided with ancient genome duplications shared by many species. About 15 percent of angiosperm and 31% of fern speciation events are accompanied by ploidy increases. Most polyploids display heterosis (greater biomass, speed of development and fertility than both parents, similar to hybrid vigor) relative to their parental species, and can display novel variation or morphologies that may contribute to the processes of speciation and eco-niche exploitation. The mechanisms leading to novel variation in newly formed allopolyploids may include gene dosage effects (resulting from more numerous copies of genome content), the reunion of divergent gene regulatory hierarchies, chromosomal rearrangements, and epigenetic remodeling, all of which affect gene content and/or expression levels. Many of these rapid changes may contribute to reproductive isolation and speciation.
        All eukaryotes (including humans) probably have experienced a polyploidy event at some point in their evolutionary history. In many cases, these events can be inferred only through comparing sequenced genomes. Angiosperms have paleopolyploidy in their ancestry. Unexpected ancient genome duplications have recently been confirmed in a number of common species.

      • Janice Moore March 17, 2015 at 3:09 pm
        Why do you keep spouting the same lie over and over again, when you have been shown over and over again, repeatedly, that new species can and do evolve all the time?
        Your imaginary “textbook” definition of evolution is no such thing, indeed the exact opposite of the actual meaning of evolution in real biology as opposed to the mendacious cartoon of it with which your lying, false “teachers” have indoctrinated you.
        The fact is, as you’ve repeatedly been shown, that new species arise all the time via evolutionary processes. This has been observed frequently in nature and reproduced in labs. It’s not the least little bit in doubt. It’s not controversial. It’s as well established as the fact that the earth goes around the sun.
        So kindly please quit lying and polluting this science blog with your false religion. You do skepticism no favors by commenting here out of such profound ignorance and mendacity.

      • Steven:
        It would be highly amusing to hear your creationist explanation for the existence in human chromosome 2 of telomeres with their sequences reversed. Do you know what a telomere is? I’ll assume not, based upon the level of ignorance of elementary biology you have displayed so far.
        A telomere is like a cap on the end of a chromatid, which is one copy of a duplicated chromosome. The two copies are typically joined by a centromere. Telomeres are regions of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromatid, which protect the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes.
        In human chromosome 2, as has been known for about 25 years, telomere sequences are found, but with their order reversed, showing that two chromosomes fused to form the new chromosome.
        Besides the telomere sequences in the middle of human chromosome 2, it also has two centromeres, one of which is a vestigial remnant. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, have nearly identical DNA sequences to human chromosome 2, but they’re found in two separate chromosomes. The same goes for our more distant relatives, gorillas and orangutans.
        Hope this illustration of the fusion process shows up:
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Chromosome2_merge.png
        The evidence for fusion is abundant and overwhelming. Only a zealot blinded by faith could fail to see the truth.

      • @Steve Reddish March 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm
        Microbes which live in environments with naturally occurring antibiotic substances evolve resistance to them in the same way as microbes without genetic defenses evolve resistance in hospital settings and when patients take antibiotics at home, or when antibiotics are criminally used in water supplies in lieu of water treatment plants.
        What your Nature paper shows is that the evolution of resistance occurs in the wild as well as in human environments. No surprise since so many antibiotic drugs come from naturally occurring sources. The paper does not show what you imagine it shows. The microbes in the study aren’t the same as those which have developed resistance against antibiotic drugs.
        Moreover, pathogenic microbes also develop resistance to antibiotic chemicals which don’t occur in nature.
        You’ve been fed creationist lies and bought them hook, line and sinker without stopping to think about whether they make any sense or not.

      • @Stevan Reddish March 17, 2015 at 7:54 pm
        “Humans” never had 48 chromosomes, but our ancestors did. Sometime after the split with our last common ancestor with chimps and bonobos, the line of African great apes leading to humans enjoyed this gross chromosomal mutation. Since the even has been linked to bipedalism, it probably occurred before the evolution of australopithecines, our ancestors who walked upright but had chimp-sized brains.

      • Sturgis Hooper March 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm
        From your linked paper:
        “Although the precise nature of this putative fusion is unknown, cytogenetic data point to either a centromeric or telomeric fusion in the vicinity of region 2ql (1, 2, and 6).”
        Definition of “putative”: Commonly believed or deemed to be the case; accepted by supposition rather than as a result of proof.
        Also, the authors do not know whether they are talking about a centromeric or a telomeric fusion.
        “suggest” – 1st sentence of body
        “suggests”…”may have been” – 4th sentence of body
        That paper freely admits it is speculation. Of course I can also find similar speculation. The question is whether there is anything stronger.
        Remember, similarity does not show derivation any more than correlation shows causation.
        SR

      • Steve,
        I take it that you don’t read a lot of scientific papers. They’re always couched in language like “suggest”. The fusion is putative because no one saw it happen, but if you have a better explanation for the existence of telomeres inside chromatids, along with two centromeres, I’d be happy to read your inference. The observations are not speculation. They are facts.
        The authors of 1991 article concluded that the fusion was telomere-telomere, which makes sense. The geometry would be harder to arrange for a centromere-centromere or centromere-telomere fusion. And in fact the telomeres are adjacent, with the usual sequences going away in both directions from what would have been the head of each.
        I don’t know how much more evidence you need for the fact of chromosome fusion in the line of African great apes leading to humans, but, as I noted, there is lots. As noted, the other great apes, eg chimps, gorillas and orangs, show nearly identical DNA sequences as on human chromosome 2, but the sequences are located on two separate chromosomes.

      • Stevan:
        Please study the schematic which I hope will appear below. You missed the point about the alignment of sequences from the fusion site. The graphic illustrates this point.
        Please compare the telomere sequence found at the ends of the chromatid (dark yellow) with the fused telomere sequence (light yellow) amid the chromatid. Note that the letters change after the fusion, which fact provides yet stronger evidence for the fusion. (As you may know, the letters A, C, G and T stand for the four nucleotide bases of a DNA strand, ie adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.)
        Remember that DNA has two strands but the graphic shows only one. The match for TTTAGG on the other strand would be CCTAAA. But at the fusion point, two base pairs are missing, the first T-C and last G-A match.
        http://genetics.thetech.org/sites/default/files/FusedTelomereSeqBig.gif
        Again, please offer your alternative explanation for these observations. Thanks.

      • Sturgis Hooper March 18, 2015 at 5:37 pm
        …”resistance also arises anew in response to new antibiotics, by the same evolutionary processes as it has arisen in the past against naturally occurring antibiotics.”
        Your link referenced HIV, a virus, so …
        Viruses are continually changing the exact form of their attack methods (in this case an integrase enzyme) and they are continually changing the exact form of their outer coating, in order to remain effective against the host organism and evade its defenses. This is why there is a new flu shot every year. This is similar to the change in each person’s facial appearance from that of their parents. To call any of these changes “evolutionary processes” is a gross overstatement, because these kind of changes do not go beyond the variation already included within the genome.
        When I said “There is no evolution involved because there is nothing new evolved.”, I think you know I was referring to actual evolution, that is, changing the genome to form something with new capabilities.
        SR

      • Sturgis Hooper March 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm
        Steve,
        I take it that you don’t read a lot of scientific papers. They’re always couched in language like “suggest”. The fusion is putative because no one saw it happen, but if you have a better explanation for the existence of telomeres inside chromatids, along with two centromeres, I’d be happy to read your inference. The observations are not speculation. They are facts.
        Sturgis,
        My education is in the fields of physics and chemistry, though I have read texts on microbiology. Physics papers rarely use the word “suggests”, and never use “putative” because any claim made has been tested and confirmed. Only papers that are speculative in nature use such terminology.
        As for human chromosome 2, it is indeed a fact that telomeres which “normally” surround centromeres are situated between centromeres. However, it is speculation that this is a change that happened to the human genome during a transition from ape ancestors. It is also speculation that this arrangement has anything to do with the differences between apes and humans. Please take a lesson from the changes in thinking on “junk” DNA.
        SR

    • Comparing the reality of evolution with the dodgy and highly politicised theory of man made global warming deserves to be put in the dustbin of Skeptical Science, not here on WUWT.

    • Evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation, which is explained by a body of theory, just as the observation of gravitation is explained by an evolving body of theory.

      • Exactly! Evolution started with observations, which we tried to explain. AGW started with a hypothesis and assertion, which they tried to prove. VERY different beasts.
        Evolution has been observed on numerous scale, including complete speciation, including proper predictive qualities… evolution is only murky in its exact details, since we lack the full story of how life began or how certain types of DNA segments were formed, however that isn’t the crux of evolution (or, in the case of the formation of life itself, not even a part of evolution). Evolution merely paints a high-level picture of life adapting to circumstances and those adaptations being passed down either genetically, epigenetically, or through an unknown number of other mechanisms.
        Speciation is simply the result of generations of adaptation in multiple isolated groups of organisms.
        Group A, dogs, gets separated due to a catastrophic flood. They see different environments and face different challenges to survive:
        Gen = generation
        ——– Island Marsh Continent
        Gens Group B Group C Group D
        0 =A =A =A
        10 0 Smaller Swim better =A
        1000 Smaller+ Streamlined fur =A
        5000 Smaller++ No fur, thick skin =A, stronger legs
        10k+ Fox Sea Lion Wolf
        Simple.

      • looncraz March 18, 2015 at 7:34 am
        evolution is only murky in its exact details
        But it is the details that matter. Would you say it is possible to build a bridge from California to Hawaii by extending a pier out from the Ca coast? I think you would run into some insurmountable details. You could only go a short distance out from the shore before you would need a fundamental change in the design of your bridge.
        Genetics works in a similar manner. A certain amount of variation is built into each genome. A dog can have more or less hair, longer or shorter legs, but it cannot have antlers or wings because those features are not already included in the dog gene pool. They require a fundamental change in dog genetics. You assume dogs are infinitely variable, but everything we know about genetics shows DNA actually works to limit variation.
        P.S. Sometimes people say that loss of limbs (lizards to snakes) is evidence of evolution. But loss of a feature once had is not the same as gaining a feature never had before. To [lose] a feature merely requires a DNA sequence to be deactivated. If there was a first life, it could not have advanced by deactivating what little DNA it had.
        SR

    • You can get genetic material from fossils 100 million years old? Really?
      Thanks for pointing me to summaries of experiments by Richard Dawkins in the greatest show on Earth – I look forward to an unbiased account when reading them!

      • I don’t know to whom your comment about 100 million year old DNA is directed, but genetic material that old is not required to observe evolution. Over 20 years ago, however, fragments of DNA were recovered from insects in amber even older than that:
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v363/n6429/abs/363536a0.html
        Insects have been found in tiny droplets of amber from the Triassic, about 230 Ma, but I don’t think an attempt will be made to recover DNA from them.
        The oldest complete genome was sequenced from a 700,000 year-old horse from the Yukon about two years ago. Even older plant DNA has been recovered from Greenland ice cores, but not anywhere near a complete genome.
        Obviously the depositional environment of the fossil determines its DNA preservation potential. Outside of amber, dry and cold are best, ideally frozen.
        The half life of DNA under “normal” conditions has recently been determined using moa bones.

    • I think it is unfortunate that the first comment in this thread equates a true junk science (‘Global Warming’) with ‘Evolution’. And what is meant by ‘Evolution’? The “origin of species by natural selection” as proposed by Darwin and elaborated for well over a century? What other explanation do you have for the fact of the fossil record? Was it all implanted in the Earth by a demon on Arcturus? The Climate Fanatics who delight in calling skeptics “flat-earthers” and “Creationists” will have a field day with that one comment.
      /Mr Lynn

    • You need to distinguish between evolutionary creation, which is an article of faith (i.e. there doesn’t exist a probable path to apply the scientific method), similar to designed creation, and evolutionary principles, which are anthropomorphized descriptors of a subset of chaotic behaviors. Modern scientists, and their political patrons, are all too eager to liberally indulge in assumptions of uniformity, independence, and inference in both time and space. They have far exceeded departures from the scientific domain that have occurred over the last several hundred years.

    • To counter the argument that evolution and divergence only happens within a species: who defines when divergence by evolutionary means moves from having one distinct species to having a separate one? It is us that put such labels on things. Are chimps and bonobos the same species or a separate one? How about chimps and gorrillas? Why is it so hard to make the leap between say finches growing larger or smaller wings, beaks, bodies, etc on separate islands to a group on the mainland changing its beak, wings and body until it is no longer recognisable as a finch?

      • Chimps and gorillas are definitely different species. They differ more from each other than humans and chimps or bonobos differ.
        Chimps and bonobos might be able to produce fertile offspring, but they have effective geographical and behavioral barriers to successful mating.

    • Elmer
      March 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm
      Evolution and Global Warming the perfect marriage of the Junk Sciences. Nice Cartoon!

      You need to stay on your medication. Neither is actually junk as the world has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age. The main cause is what is being disputed by sceptics. IPCC temperature projections and other projections are mostly junk. AR1 – surface temperature, methane, Antarctica extent all fail so far.
      Here is something on human evolution and heat. There is some evidence that the Turkana Basin and the Danakil (Afar) Depression were central to early human evolution. It is pointed out that the Danakil Depression is among the hottest, permanently inhabited places on Earth.

      Abstract – 2010
      Benjamin H. Passeya et al
      High-temperature environments of human evolution in East Africa based on bond ordering in paleosol carbonates
      Many important hominid-bearing fossil localities in East Africa are in regions that are extremely hot and dry. Although humans are well adapted to such conditions, it has been inferred that East African environments were cooler or more wooded during the Pliocene and Pleistocene when this region was a central stage of human evolution. Here we show that the Turkana Basin, Kenya—today one of the hottest places on Earth—has been continually hot during the past 4 million years. The distribution of 13C-18O bonds in paleosol carbonates indicates that soil temperatures during periods of carbonate formation were typically above 30 °C and often in excess of 35 °C……
      http://www.pnas.org/content/107/25/11245.short
      ======
      Letters to Nature – 1998
      A one-million-year-old Homo cranium from the Danakil (Afar) Depression of Eritrea
      One of the most contentious topics in the study of human evolution is that of the time, place and mode of origin of Homo sapiens1, 2, 3. The discovery in the Northern Danakil (Afar) Depression, Eritrea, of a well-preserved Homo cranium with a mixture of characters typical of H. erectus and H. sapiens contributes significantly to this debate……
      http://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2F30954

    • I find it funny when Alarmist try linking Skeptics with Creationist while Creationist try and link Evolution with the Alarmist.
      The reality is Creationist and the Alarmist are exactly the same
      Compare
      Creationism was rebranded as “Intelligent Design”
      Global Warming was rebranded as “Climate Change”
      Heretic
      Denier
      God works in mysterious ways
      It’s weather not climate
      The Garden of Eden
      The Noble Savage
      Eating of the Apple
      Invention of the internal combustion engine
      Jesus Ascended into the sky and will come back one day and bring on Armageddon
      Global Warming descended into the deep ocean and will come back one day and bring on Armageddon
      There are no transitional fossils
      There is no pause
      Tithes
      Carbon Credits
      Kosher Foods
      Organic Foods
      Pascal’s Wager
      Stewart’s Justice and Equality

      • Right on!
        CACA advocates are the anti-scientific religious zealots bent on beheading their “enemies”. Or blowing up their heads.

  1. Yikes … it looks like GLO-BULL warming has mankind (mannkind?) going backwards on the evolutionary tree … perhaps this is the “missing link”!

  2. “next generation of his climate model will address the influence of climate on human evolution”
    I hope he has considered the influence of central heatings and A/C’s.

  3. What Evolution? The only environmental pressures we have today are self imposed ones like too much sugar and even that doesn’t stop us breeding.

  4. That completes the <a href=http://nortonsafe.search.ask.com/search?geo=US&prt=360&locale=en_US&o=15527&ver=21&chn=retail&q=underwear+clothesline+global+warming&tpr=10&ctype=pictures (clothes) line of evidence on global warming.
    Obvious evidence: Bald and bare is cooler.

      • Glad you liked that. First Gen and first year (1953) 🙂
        Thought the climate models would have to start there… but, then, who knows WHAT those simulation code writers would come up with…. lol.

    • You do the reputation of skeptics no favors by spewing the lies of creationists on this science blog.
      The evolution of new species is a repeatedly observed fact. Why do you keep spouting such ridiculous lies here? There is not the least controversy in science over the fact of evolution.

      • Mike,
        How does that work?
        Have you observed automobiles reproducing?
        Evolution is a consequence of reproduction.

      • So much for free speech! You want to allow it where you believe you have right to a different opinion, but disallow it where you consider it “settled science”. For myself, I think “Creation Science” is awful, but I don’t see that we should shut them up.

    • Definitely not a ’53. It’s a ’56. Photo is in the “Complete Book of Corvette” by Mike Mueller 🙂

  5. Well people living on the coast will be well off to evolve gills and webbed fingers…. 😉 (waterworld, anyone?)

    • Dear Joe,
      Cute. However,… just in case you were PARTLY serious and, thus, misinformed, thinking that sea level rise is:
      a. happening to any anthropologically significant degree
      and/or
      b. if it ever DOES start to rise more quickly (rate of acceleration hasn’t changed significantly for as long as it’s been measured, iirc), that it would not be a simple matter of building a sea dike or moving a bit farther inland (i.e., adapting) …
      … check out this WUWT post (and others on the same topic) to rest easy!:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/30/new-paper-on-sea-level-rise-purkey-et-al-2014-examines-the-sea-level-rise-by-basin/
      “The global mean trend of ocean mass addition is 1.5 (±0.4) mm yr-1 for 1996–2006 from the residual method and the same for 2003–2013 from the GRACE method.” (from abstract of paper linked and discussed in the above post and its accompanying comments)
      Janice

    • Nice joke. Many times in the past the oceans have risen faster than they are now. NOAA says the oceans are rising at 3 mm/year. Which means in a hundred years it could have risen 11 inches. That is frightening. Ha!
      Since the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago, sea level has risen by more than 120 m (averaging 6 mm/yr) as a result of melting of major ice sheets. Funny, it is rising slower now. An inconvenient fact for the AGWs.

  6. How about using the models to show how much the rich cronies are getting richer via the AGW scam as their stooges(clueless and willing conspirators alike) spread their gospel and rake in the subsidies and donations of the blind marks/suckers/gulls/gullible (take your pick).
    They could show how the hotter they make the climate appear to be getting or going, the more money they’ve raked in. Woops they couldn’t do that. They’re models can’t show the truth.

  7. Almost forgot…. JOSH, GREAT CARTOON! Creative and insightful and FUN (as you can see by all the comments here — we’re not truly criticizing, just extrapolating for the fun of it, you know).
    Thanks for sharing,
    Janice

  8. I generally find Darwinism to be convincing. Yet…de Chardin noted the problem at the … i think he called them…the “peduncles”. How do new genera get formed?

    • No mystery there. Not only new genera but families, orders, classes and phyla have evolved via the same processes as speciation.

      • Which is? honestly I have scanned an awful lot of websites and papers, but – like Darwin, no-one seems to be able to identify exactly what makes one species different from another. It seems to me that its very hard to prove something that can’t be defined. I have also spent a lot of time with botanists and zoologists and every time they find something that looks like a new species, thats precisely it! It just looks to be different. So they send it off for genetic testing and in most cases it comes back as a “variant”. BTW can somebody at least confirm that the genetic testing that is undertaken comprises an assessment that confirms that there are a statistically significant number of different alleles present? i.e. that the population of a new species is significantly different at the genetic level?

      • Goldie writes:
        ” I have scanned an awful lot of websites and papers, but – like Darwin, no-one seems to be able to identify exactly what makes one species different from another. ”
        Your mistake is in thinking there must be a right way to draw the boundaries between one “kind” of thing and another. That way of thinking is based on the fallacy of “natural kinds” — the notion that nature determines what kinds of things there are. Nature is not about “kinds” of things. Kinds are not intrinsic — they are not within things in the natural world — they are epistemological categories created for the purposes of human understanding. Nature operates only with what Aristotle called the “this” — the particulars of reality — and all particulars are unique in some way, even if only numerically, as the philosophers put it, meaning that two electrons that appear to be identical in every respect are still unique, in that they are different electrons. And in biology, no two organisms are ever identical genetically, not even twins, since random events are always operating on the molecular level.
        So don’t get hung up on things like, for example, the differences among Darwin’s finches with different length beaks. For all we know a finch with a radical “birth defect” may be born with no beak at all but — surprise — it can nourish itself by sucking algae off of rocks. Passing this defect onto its offspring we will call it a new kind of finch, or maybe not a finch, but a new genera, the “suckbird”, a family of which may change quickly and without leaving a fossil record as competition selects among natural variations for more effective suckbird features. The group statistical genetics may soon diverge widely from those of finches — but in the real world of particulars, where entities act and processes interact, groups are irrelevant. Every individual organism and entity is sui generis, it is only for the human epistemological purpose of simplifying the immense complexity of the world that we group them into kinds.
        Of course, that doesn’t mean there are not better and worse criteria for sorting things into kinds. But as for “exactly what makes one species different from another” — that depends entirely on one’s human purposes. Establish objective, measurable criteria for sorting individuals into species and one’s species will be objective, but they will never be intrinsic. Only the particularities of each particular are intrinsic, not the categories into which one chooses to place them.
        I hope that helps.

      • Goldie:
        Are you kidding?
        An individual of one species cannot mate with an individual of a different species and produce fertile offspring.
        Pretty basic…

      • As far as evolution goes, I see it in the same boat as current mainstream climate science- a great theory but woefully short of evidence. Like climate science, there are bits of evidence here and there but few people are willing to wait a million years for evidence. The problem is the the scale. Humans operate on a scale of year, a hundred something. Both climate and evolution operate on two scales- day to day, and millennium to millennium. We can’t gather enough data day to day and neither theory has existed long enough to show clear evidence.
        Evolution has another problem, illustrated by Josh’s excellent cartoon. In most people’s minds it is one animal, which they can see in front of them, becoming another quite different animal. The concept that evolution occurs with large numbers of animals over thousands to millions of years is entirely different concept.
        Both climate and evolution are observational, not experimental. While the scientific process has evolved, it is still extremely difficult to make observational science as precisely clear as experimental sciences such as physics, chemistry, even astronomy. Most of the evidence for the processes involved is fairly fuzzy and poorly understood so the results are often slightly different fuzzy theories. E=Mc^2 has been hard to come by.
        Due to the UNFCC and IPCC climate science forked about 1980 for political reasons and has been in trouble ever since.

        • With all due respect, you couldn’t be more wrong. The evidence for evolution by natural selection is copious, and involves many disciplines of science. The Theory of Evolution has been proven experimentally. It has predictive power. It is a fact beyond any doubt.
          The best comprehensive, methodical and easily understood laying out of the proof of evolution is “The Greatest Show on Earth.” If you read it without bias, you will be convinced to accept the fact of Evolution.

      • Phil Cartier March 18, 2015 at 5:55 am
        All the evidence on earth supports the fact and theory of evolution. There is no evidence against it yet, ie it has never been shown false.
        The theory meets the highest standards of the scientific method, which most certainly cannot be said of CAGW. It’s an obscene calumny to equate the continuously observed fact and repeatedly confirmed theory of evolution with the repeatedly falsified hypothesis of AGW. Evolution makes testable predictions which are found valid. CAGW and creationism don’t.
        Every time a commenter here who has never studied biology compares evolution with CAGW, it just give ammo to the Warmongers.

      • @Goldie March 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm
        I have more time now.
        There are lots of evolutionary processes, which fall into two broad classes: “directional” or “deterministic” (which doesn’t mean in biological jargon what you might suspect it means), ie good old-fashioned natural selection and other processes driven by selective pressure, and “stochastic”, that is evolution driven by statistical processes without necessarily a selective bias. Among the latter are such well known phenomena as genetic drift, reproductive isolation and the founder principle. Both classes of evolutionary process occur all the time, but scientists disagree as to which has been more dominant in the history of life on earth.
        For plants, the most common cause of speciation is probably polyploidy. Another quick and dirty method of creating new plant, animal and I presume fungal species is through hybridization.
        Speaking of fungi, the closest relatives of animals, here’s a good paper on the question raised here about what counts as a species in sexual organisms:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1764934/
        Fungi, like animals, are opisthokonts (with posterior flagella instead of anterior, as in other eukaryotic cells with flagella. think sperm). Animals, or metazoans, are multicellular, heterotrophic eukaryotes with mobility at some point in their life cycles. Fungi are similar (although also unicellular in some cases), but less mobile.
        But you want to know about the evolution of new Linnaean genera rather than species. While genera can also arise through such quick and dirty, “overnight” mechanisms as polyploidy and hybridization, these simple processes are naturally less likely to produce higher levels of Linnaean taxonomy than the more stately selective and stochastic processes.
        A good example of the formation of a new animal genus via evolutionary processes comes, not surprisingly, from the isolated Hawaiian islands:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296276
        Remarkably, members of the new genus managed to recolonize the mainland of the continent of origin of their distant ancestors.
        Hawaiian flies are fascinating and have been studied in great detail, not just those in the family Drosophilidae, but also long-legged flies and other groups which have diversified prolifically there:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25219449
        Hope this helps.

  9. “Click image for a larger version”
    There’s one link I’d just as soon go missing.

  10. I think the lefty education design is having an effect on evolution. By controlled experiment, it was found that 97% of scientists were dumber today than they were 40yrs ago. I think the researcher’s name was Kook or something. Before the experiment, I already thought there was something wrong when I learned that they had investigated 12,000 papers (!!!) written over the last 10 years on climate all saying the same thing. I didn’t know there had been 12000 papers written on the whole spectrum of science in century until I heard this. This works out to about 10 papers a day assuming they didn’t work on weekends and took a holiday or an exotic trip or two to a climate concert or fracking protest each year. Sheesh, now to complicate things, the subjects of the dumbing down experiment are now doing research on human evolution!!!

    • 10 years = 3,654 days. So they would have had to produce 3.28 papers per day, never taking a day off, not even Christmas.
      But 10 years working 5 day weeks (and no holidays) = 2,610 days. They would have to produce 4.60 papers per day.
      No wonder it cost billiions, that’s a small army producing papers.

  11. Mods
    Precisely zero comments on
    Science Lessons for Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
    I know Kerry is in bed with an oil industry executive [against several for some other politicians], but surely we can at least praise his grasp of science, were we to chose to do so.
    A puzzled Auto
    [Checking on it now. ~mod.]

  12. The cartoon looks like an advertisement for convincing the majority of humans to voluntarily kill themselves. I think this ad was taken out Ehrlich and Holder.

  13. I wrote a long series of posts about this topic in an earlier thread this week. Search my name in this article if you want to know more. Any science-oriented person should be into this topic.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/13/the-conversation-why-is-ccs-stuck-in-second-gear/
    NO climate model is going to be able to explain why CO2 fell to 280 ppm for the first time 24 million years ago nor why the climate started drying out 8 million years ago, nor why the Ice Ages started 2.6 million years ago, nor why stone tools appears 2.6 million years ago, nor why humans lost their body hair 1.8 million years ago, no why the ice ages allowed our adaptations transform us into the species in charge.
    Global warming theory and a climate model has NOTHING to do with it (although CO2 strangely does). We are a low CO2, hot day-time African savanna adapted species. Homo Erectus became king of the day-time savanna because of the special adaptations that started about 8 million years ago. Read the above mentioned posts if you want to know more.
    Meanwhile, this chart explains some of the story (and it should be clear that global warming theory has nothing to do with it).
    http://s24.postimg.org/dwxdmrpxh/Climate_and_Human_Evolution.png

    • Good stuff Bill Illis – haven’t time to read right now. Should put it all together as a WUWT article.

    • Religion and faith are separable. AGW purports to be a religion or moral philosophy as a matter of the redistribution schemes attached to it. However, climate science is not an article of faith, but rather an article of philosophy, where improved knowledge and skill may establish a path that will lead to the scientific domain (i.e. an open set where accuracy is inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference).

    • I agree with carbon-based life form:
      We should try to limit the degree that the world view of Scientism takes over decent discussions of scientific investigation of the natural world.
      Scientism is the belief, largely unsupported by further proof or evidence, that we live in a universe that is entirely a matter of time, space, energy, and matter, and nothing else, that this universe operates on consistent principles of physics that cannot be violated, and that all effects observed are entirely the result of antecedent causes.
      There are three axioms, or tenets, or articles of faith, or first principles, in that paragraph above.
      To believe in these is to believe in the faith of Scientism.
      We do not have irrefutable proof of any of these.
      There are decent, arguably defensible counter-arguments to each of these three articles of faith of Scientism.
      For example: cause and effect: a logical conclusion is that the universe never started.
      Combine that with the observation that the universe seems to be expanding.
      We arrive at a couple conclusions:
      the universe cycles in expansion and collapse phases (back to a fudge factor concept called the “singularity”), and has no end or beginning,
      or
      it was begun by some force or cause outside of the universe.
      A universe that has infinite expand and contract cycles leads to some problems, such as the lack of material to sustain the gravitation force needed to eventually get it to contract again.
      Hence, the need for another fudge factor: dark matter.
      There: the faith is sustained by adding a new tenet to the faith.
      There are some other problems:
      the apparent increase in order in the universe despite the second-law-of-thermodynamics tenet.
      D’oh!
      If a hundred monkeys typed for one hundred years, surely one of them would produce the works of Shakespeare.
      To believe in Scientisim is to believe this:
      Given enough time, the most unlikely things will occur. Defying entropy.
      Mammals get driven by reproductive pressure into a self-improvement program to spend ever-more time underwater until they grow flippers and blowholes!
      That, my friends, requires tremendous faith to believe. Call me a “denier;” I prefer the scientific term “skeptic.”
      Or, you could consider that the universe was created by something out side of it.
      Belief in God now has some logical support.
      Oh, the “multiverse.” That rescues Scientisim. Yes, the multiverse.

  14. Since this post is about science models, I think it;s okay to segue into ” Science Lessons for Secretary of State John F. Kerry” byDavid Middleton,
    In reference to this Kerry quote, “So stop for a minute and just think about the basics. When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that.”
    Kerry’s statement, about the apple was idiotic! The fact that gravity exists is common knowledge. Thanks to our evolutionary history living on the surface of a planet, even my cat and dog are both well aware of gravity and falling fruit without mathematical models.
    Newton’s theory of universal gravitation was stating that the motions of the moon around the earth and the earth and other planets around the sun, and the stars in our galaxy, obeyed that same laws as that apple, I, my dog, and my cat do here on earth. THAT part is NOT common knowledge.

    • When Kerry said “When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that.” he was displaying a tremendous amount of ignorance.
      “Science” quantified gravity; it did not tell us that gravity exists.
      By his analogy, if he wants the claim “Humans are causing climate change” to be “science”, human’s effect upon climate change will need to be quantified.
      I’m waiting…
      SR

      • The search continues for the cause of the centripetal force, which appears to be associated with mass/energy. The detection of a novel pattern, presumably the Higgs Boson, may unify the Standard Model. In the meantime, the concept of “gravity” and related models/equations seem to represent the observed physical phenomenon in a local frame.
        Oh, well. We are incapable of distinguishing between origin and expression. Not many people will voluntarily acknowledge the temporal, physical, and logical constraints imposed by the scientific method. The art of correlation — the conflation of scientific and other logical domains — will have to suffice for development purposes.

  15. Great cartoon. May I be the little boy who points out that the scientist has no clothes?

  16. As a Simple Red Neck, y’all need to help me out. Now Einstein’s theory of relativity is a theory that has neverbeen disproved. Evolution, on the other hand, is a fact with a 97% concensus and anybody who may doubt it is to be shunned. Do I have that right?

    • Not exactly, Jon. Evolution is, of course, a theory. Those who call it a fact are merely expressing their conviction that the theory of evolution is the only theory that can account for the facts known through real-world observations. I would generally agree with your implication that one should limit one’s assertion that something is a fact to observed events but of course justifiable implications from facts may still be true and if they are, one might be forgiven for claiming that the implication — or theory — is a fact. So we do legitimately convict accused, i.e.,”theoretical” murderers and deprive them of life or liberty. We may even call such convicts guilty “as a matter of fact.”
      On the other hand, one may make a mistake in drawing implications — even those in a 97% consensus of opinion may be wrong. If you think they are wrong then you may wish to point out the errors they made in their observations or in the matter in which they drew their conclusions based on those observations. For example, you may be a “simple red neck” but if your neck is red from the radiation of the sun, and demonstrably so, you have at least that observation as a basis for proposing what it is that causes things to heat up on earth. Combine that observation with others and a solid way of drawing conclusions from those facts, and you will fit right in here, where, from my own observation, doubt is never shunned — but claims unsupported by observed facts may well be.

      • Evolution is both an observed fact and a theory explaining that fact, just as gravity is an observed fact with a body of theory explaining it. The theories of gravitation and evolution are thus both explanations for scientific facts, What is hard to understand about that?
        As for “censorship” on this blog, the “Slayers” are banned, so why not the even less scientific spewers of creationist lies?

        • Sturgis Hooper

          As for “censorship” on this blog, the “Slayers” are banned, so why not the even less scientific spewers of creationist lies?

          And why is it necessary for you to claim any creationist has lied? Why do you care if they believe an origin of something you cannot explain is something different than what you believe in?
          Are creationists going to be responsible for harming billions of innocents by artificially raising energy prices and deliberately restricting energy usage to the rich so the elite rich “feel” better about their imaginary CO2-restricted Gaea-heaven of perfect equilibrium at some pre-industrial level of 280 ppm CO2?
          If you disagree with any proposed theory of life that does not affect your life and the health of those around you, ignore it.

      • takebackthegreen wrote: “An individual of one species cannot mate with an individual of a different species and produce fertile offspring.” [http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/17/hot-news-evolution-cools/#comment-1885852]. That is a useful definition for some purposes but if it were that simple it would be impossible to distinguish different species of organisms that reproduce asexually, which, needless to say, is not the case.
        Sturgis Hooper, to say that evolution is a fact is true, but to say it is an observed fact is something of a stretch. Radical genetic change has been observed, of course, but those are observations supporting the theory of evolution, which, when combined with an uncountable large number of other factual observations and proven theories make a case for the large-scale evolution of life from simple to complex, niche to niche, and so on irrefutable given our current knowledge. Not all facts are observed facts.
        You think creationsts should be banned. We have nothing to learn from them? If you can’t keep your mind open even a splinter to those whom you are convinced are wrong, then please stick around here and explain why that is, since it will help us enormously to understand the CAGW mentality. As for your unscientific “spewers of creationist lies”, why do they bother you so much? Afraid you will be associated with their primitive level of scientific reasoning even though you have explicitly rejected it? Are your feelings also hurt by the warmist claim that people with your views on CAGW also reject connection between smoking and health problems? Believe the earth is flat? Don’t you see the fallacy of ignorance by association?
        Is creationism a uniquely distressing display of ignorance? How do you feel about economists who reject Ricardo’s Law? And perhaps you have forgotten that creationism is not the only alternative to evolutionism, there is also eternalism, such as that of Aristotle, which says that the cosmos, the earth, and the species we know, for the most part, have always existed. Needless to say, there are an uncountably large number of observations that refute that theory as well, but while those two false theories may not help you understand nature, they certainly help you to understand the human quest to understand our place in the universe. Did it ever occur to you that you may persuade a doubter to embrace the truth by asking him what are the bases for his beliefs? Don’t you wish warmists would have that attitude towards CAGW skeptics?
        Of course if you can show that creationists really do spew lies, i.e. that they know what they are saying is false, then you have grounds to despise them. But what makes you say they spew lies, rather than ignorant falsehoods?

        • Are you familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect? You should look it up. I also constructively suggest that you research the current state of our knowledge about evolution. Read “The Greatest Show on Earth” for example. It is very, very enjoyable reading. Not a chore at all.
          You will see that many of the things you say are just not true.

      • Once upon a time, there was a 97% consensus that Newton’s Laws were The Answer. And anyone who said that time could speed up and slow down and that gravity could bend light had to be barking mad. Until they were not. My real point was that, while DT seems to be the best theory to date, maybe it is not, and just maybe the arguments here are pointless. Albert E. is quoted as having said that 100 facts can’t prove me right, but one fact can prove me wrong. Can’t we all just get along?

      • What origin do you imagine I can’t explain?
        It is a fact that creationist lie, including those on this blog.
        It’s a science blog, so liars should be called out.
        Proposing that God created species individually isn’t a scientific theory useful as an alternative to the fact and theory of evolution.
        Creationists do indeed threaten the lives of billions. If they had their way, there would be no biological or medical science. MRSA would be a mystery. Islamic fundamentalists are also creationists.
        But the point is that a science blog shouldn’t allow anti-scientific liars to pollute it, giving ammunition to its Warmunista opponents who claim that this blog is anti-scientific.
        There is not a shred of evidence in support of creationism and all the evidence in the world against it. All the evidence in the world supports the fact and theory of evolution, and there is so far none against them.

      • The previous was in response to RA Cook.
        RalphB March 17, 2015 at 10:50 pm
        Creatioinsts are indeed ignorant yet feel competent to comment upon subject they’ve never studied. Many on this blog have repeatedly been shown that their assertions are ludicrously false, yet they keep making them.
        Of course I can show that the professional creationists from whom the amateurs here get their lies are liars. Recently in the comments to another post a creationist posted video of a shameless liar, Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, a pack of professional liars. Meyer cannot possibly be ignorant of the fact that proteins don’t form at random, but are assembled inside cells using DNA, RNA and various enzymes. Yet ignoramuses credit the lies of the DI and other charlatans preying on their lack of scientific education.

      • Ralph and Jon.
        It is not a stretch to call evolution an observation. It has been observed repeatedly and constantly at least since 1798, when Cuvier demonstrated the fact of extinction. Decades before Darwin, it was already known that what was then called “development” has occurred, eg. that the assemblages of species found in Cambrian rocks is different from those living today. What was in dispute was whether “transformation” occurs, ie existing species give rise to new forms. This hypothesis wasn’t accepted not just for religious reasons but because a good explanatory mechanism hadn’t yet been discovered. Lamarck failed to provide one, leaving the field to Christian divines like Darwin’s geology mentor Sedgwick, who believed in serial creation, ie that God made new species over time.
        Darwin and Wallace’s discovery of natural and sexual selection provided explanations for many of the observed “transformations”, and still do today, although evolutionary theory has moved far beyond its status in 1858.
        Evolution is not only a constantly observed fact in nature, but can be done in the lab, both making new species and recreating speciation events in the wild. Polyploidy is one of the most common evolutionary processes:
        http://polyploidy.biosci.utexas.edu/polyploidy.php
        The Livescience article is wrong about animal hybrids, but accurately reports the recreation in the lab of a naturally occurring hybrid species.
        http://www.livescience.com/800-scientists-create-butterfly-hybrid.html
        Among the many natural speciation events recreated in the lab are the creation of nylon-eating bacteria from sugar-eating ancestors, by making the same mutations that occurred in the wild.
        Evolution has also been observed in labs by letting microbe populations evolve on their own over longer periods of time, rather than in a single generation, as with polyploidy in plants and single point mutations in bacteria.
        Evolution is a fact. Today science doesn’t have to look at fossils, embryology or islands to see it in action, although of course it is the only inference possible from the many such classic observations, to include excellent records of many major transitions in the history of life.
        As to Einstein amending Newton, the equivalent in evolutionary theory happened shortly after that correction to gravitational theory, with the development of the so-called Modern Synthesis, combining statistics, ie population genetics, with classical darwinian evolutionary processes.
        It would be helpful if people choosing to comment on biology had actually studied the subject.

      • @Sturgis Hooper
        Likening the theory of evolution to the theory of gravity is a mistaken analogy. We have a theory of gravity and observational facts both of which are in effective complete agreement. While the theory of evolution has many observable facts to back it up it cannot be said that these observable facts match the theory to anything like the extent to which they do in the case of gravity (a far less complex theory). I think you are well over-egging the cake with your analogy.

      • Hoplite,
        Comparing the theories of evolution and gravitation is perfectly valid.
        Evolution was improved by the invention of a new system of statistical mathematics, which has proven to be of great value in other areas, just as happened with calculus.
        Allele frequencies in the next generation can be calculated with great accuracy and precision, thanks to population genetics.
        The Modern Synthesis of darwinian evolutionary theory with population genetics based upon the laws of inheritance is comparable to Einstein’s relativistic improvement on newtonian gravitational theory.
        Maybe you could elaborate a little on the differences you see that I don’t. They could be due to your greater familiarity with physics than biology.

  17. @Sturgis Hooper March 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm. Sounds a bit dodgy to me and a lot like censorship by the global warming crowd. Do you feel you have the right to say what should and should not be allowed on a science blog owned by someone else? I understand the moderators catching pornography, profanity, etc.,and trolls and sending them packing. I think you protest too much.

    • I’m glad that this blog permits creationist comments. Nothing will change the minds of anti-scientific fundamentalists who oppose evolution based upon their faith rather than the facts. But there could be some here who are willing to learn and might be surprised by the enormous and ever-growing evidence in support of the origin of species by means of natural selection and the many other evolutionary processes.
      I recall that after the Dover Intelligent Design trial over ten years ago, even college educated reporters were surprised by how overwhelming the evidence is for evolution, and that there isn’t any against it.

  18. I think evolution definitely happens, but that neoDarwinism as an explanation for macroevolution is as much a crock as the idea that anthropogenic CO2 is the greatest evil of our time. No, I’m not a creationist: we just don’t know, and that’s the truth, though to be sure, they evolved somehow. Perhaps one day we’ll find out.
    But that aside, this is a clever cartoon–well done, Josh!

    • I don’t what you imagine NeoDarwinism means, but evolutionary theory does as good a job of explaining observations as does the theory of gravity as amended since Einstein.
      If you imagine there are problems with the theory, please state them.

  19. John Kerry is such an embarrassment to me as well. Politics, especially the US Congress proves that the braindead can be successful politicians. RE: Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a complete scientifically illiterate tool being used by groups that will funnel him money for his campaigns.
    John Kerry and Barack Obama will no doubt face harsh criticism in the history books as complete idiots on science.

    • money provides a competitive advantage. trial by combat is still the basis of our legal systems. though we use lawyers instead of knights to wage battle. He that can hire the strongest knight will often prevail over the opponent in the right.

  20. We have to be sceptical of all science if we are to advance. I am not a God botherer, I have seen fruit flies living in cages supposedly made from crystallised DDT, I am pretty well convinced about evolution, but then I see crabs evolving in to land animals. Is it lack of beach front property or some ghastly sea trapped predator? It actually looks like they have just decided it is the way to go. They are pushing the limits of their DNA and waiting for mutation. Boldly going where no crab has gone before. Do they know something we do not?

    • Crabs have been a remarkably successful outcome of evolution. The fossil record indicates a pre-Jurassic origin and since then they have evolved into many species capable of living in all the oceans of the world, on land and in fresh water. They have quite simply spread into every conceivable environment including the foliage of coconut trees in the south pacific. Any grouping that has survived over 150 million years is doing something right. As to why they moved to land the answer seems fairly straightforward. In the intertidal zones they have many enemies. Octopi and Squid simply love crabs as do seals but they have a hard time reaching them in a coconut palm 🙂

      • Expressed by Willshaw is the tautological nature of “evolution” mentioned earlier in comments: the answer for anything and everything is the same: whatever unlikely observation is noted, the True Believer in evolution has a ready answer: “It is God’s Will.”
        No, sorry – wrong faith.
        It is: “Because it contributed a reproductive advantage.” [“Once upon a time long, long ago.”]
        Repeat for any question: the woodpecker’s nostril-scarf-tongue, the wisp that is a butterfly navigating thousands of miles in daylight in front of how many birds for how many days to winter in the tropics, and so on.
        I admire the faith of those True Believers in this tautology: it is because it must be. It must be so consoling to quiet the anxiety of existence with such explanatory tales of just-so.

      • Democrat,
        Either you don’t know what tautology means or you don’t know anything at all about evolution or both.
        It is possible to think up stories explaining the origin of various anatomical features or behaviors, but in most cases, that isn’t necessary because there is ample evidence showing precisely how innovations arose. This is the case, as noted, for many major transitions, such as tetrapods from lobe-finned fish, mammals from “reptiles” (actually synapsid amniotes), birds from theropod dinosaurs, whales from terrestrial artiodactyls, etc. Reconfirming evidence is often available from different lines, such as embryology, fossils and genetics.
        In actuality, it’s often the reverse of the case which you imagine. Science can watch evolution in the act but doesn’t always know what selective advantage might have been associated with the innovation, or if it resulted strictly from stochastic processes or reproductive isolation. In other cases, however, the selective advantage is obvious, as for instance in the case of the evolution of the woolly mammoth from the steppe mammoth as climate got colder.

    • Crab evolution is no different from the evolution of land vertebrates, ie tetrapods, from lobe-finned, coastal marine fish in the Devonian or the invasion of the land by the ancestors of spiders and insects in the Silurian.

  21. For those willing to question/criticize the Darwinian theory (DT) of evolution on scientific grounds, please check the Macroevolution web site (http://www.macroevolution.net/table-of-contents.html): there are hundreds of science papers together with comprehensive explanations for why DT, while not false, is incomplete (a trivial point in epistemology) and a step by step description of a novel approach of the problem of species.

  22. I don’t see why “Evolution” cannot possibly be the MECHANISM of “Creation”.
    But that’s just the dysfunction of an open mind.

    • Yeah, evolution is a fairly solid theory – the main issue I have with it is that is does have some significant questions that should be acknowledged in the classroom, but aren’t. Abiogenesis – how “simple” (no such thing) life capable of reproducing itself came into being in the first place – is a whole different story. That, in my opinion, is where science becomes the equivalent of the CAGW movement. It’s now basically – “because we said so!” which, after all the layers of the onion of both the CAGW movement and the abiogenesis movement are stripped off, is what remains – “because we said so!”.
      “One day, he [Stanley Miller] vowed, scientists would discover the self-replicating molecule that had triggered the great saga of evolution….[and] the discovery of the first genetic material [will] legitimize Millers’s field. “It would take off like a rocket,” Miller muttered through clenched teeth. Would such a discovery be immediately self-apparent? Miller nodded. “It will be in the nature of something that will make you say, ‘Jesus, there it is. How could you have overlooked this for so long?’ And everybody will be totally convinced…”
      Miller, of the famous 1953 “Miller Urey” experiment
      F
      rom the wiki page on abiogenesis:
      “Based upon such experiments, Colin S. Pittendrigh stated in December 1967 that “laboratories will be creating a living cell within ten years,” a remark that reflected the typical contemporary levels of innocence of the complexity of cell structures…”
      I probably could find other quotes if I felt so inclined to spend the time, but you get the idea…
      However, when it comes to abiogenesis, the trend of the last number of decades is NOT your friend – both the biology and also the stats
      I’d invite anyone who is interested to do their own research on this issue – reading both the “true believers” and the skeptics – and come to their own conclusions. There is plenty of scientific material out there that discusses how likely it is that simple life “came into being” without intelligent intervention on earth. In my opinion, the “true believers” stance boils down to “Because we said so!”, the skeptics have a lot of ammo on their side – but that’s just my opinion, please read info from both points of view and decide for yourself. Just like CAGW – don’t simply swallow and believe the propaganda – look carefully at the science, the actual data, how truly realistic and valid the various experiments, models, and proofs of concept really are, and what relevance they actually have, consider the enormous complexity of “simple” life and how it is being found to be more complex with every decade, and the actual trends in all these areas, and use your own brain.

      • Clearly you have not taken your own advice and actually studied origin of life research.

      • Speaking of origin of life research, this paper has gotten some ink recently. Nature Chemistry has made it and a previous related study fully available on line:
        Common origins of RNA, protein and lipid precursors in a cyanosulfidic protometabolism.
        http://www.nature.com/articles/nchem.2202.epdf?referrer_access_token=6UyqGsU4pXqc8sfwe1RrHdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NIo3js7EMAlL7iCggjrUCBrW4ZYTThpc_6DIsDphT9-A1BfL9NwZH8DLA1qmS-mFJSmY_r7_REqDO0W-NgqQ41BcezUDi2H0ILyguqM67PmKg3u4Zyl0LsPNDFw0rZrhVz744QBMtFCv048nn_WhWK2S1q-v2r7llTu2ClJOfnVADbgw41CGKSkUQNrtY4THI%3D&tracking_referrer=news.sciencemag.org
        Only the abstract is available for a prior article on the spontaneous formation of RNA in ice:
        http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n12/full/nchem.1781.html
        Mechanisms of molecular self-replication have the potential to shed light on the origins of life. In particular, self-replication through RNA-catalysed templated RNA synthesis is thought to have supported a primordial ‘RNA world’. However, existing polymerase ribozymes lack the capacity to synthesize RNAs approaching their own size. Here, we report the in vitro evolution of such catalysts directly in the RNA-stabilizing medium of water ice, which yielded RNA polymerase ribozymes specifically adapted to sub-zero temperatures and able to synthesize RNA in ices at temperatures as low as −19 °C. The combination of cold-adaptive mutations with a previously described 5′ extension operating at ambient temperatures enabled the design of a first polymerase ribozyme capable of catalysing the accurate synthesis of an RNA sequence longer than itself (adding up to 206 nucleotides), an important stepping stone towards RNA self-replication.
        This Nature Chemistry paper was preceded by a notice in Nature Communications:
        A crucial transition in the origin of life was the emergence of an informational polymer capable of self-replication and its compartmentalization within protocellular structures. We show that the physicochemical properties of ice, a simple medium widespread on a temperate early Earth, could have mediated this transition prior to the advent of membraneous protocells. Ice not only promotes the activity of an RNA polymerase ribozyme but also protects it from hydrolytic degradation, enabling the synthesis of exceptionally long replication products. Ice furthermore relieves the dependence of RNA replication on prebiotically implausible substrate concentrations, while providing quasicellular compartmentalization within the intricate microstructure of the eutectic phase. Eutectic ice phases had previously been shown to promote the de novo synthesis of nucleotide precursors, as well as the condensation of activated nucleotides into random RNA oligomers. Our results support a wider role for ice as a predisposed environment, promoting all the steps from prebiotic synthesis to the emergence of RNA self-replication and precellular Darwinian evolution.
        Origin of life research is IMO under-funded but still has made great progress in recent years.

  23. It sounds like people here generally accept the idea of variations within species, that is, developing new traits by genetic alteration. After all, food crops, and domesticated animals all demonstrate the effectiveness of selective breeding. The hang-up seems to be speciation. What permits animals to mate and produce viable offspring? Haploid gametes mix and the resulting diploid cell should have chromosome pairs with sufficiently similar genetic information that the organism can grow, divide, and function all the way through producing its own offspring.
    What would prevent formation of a viable organism? In interphase, DNA molecules can rearrange by cross-over events between homologous sequences. Unless the supposedly homologous chromosomes are almost identical, when cells divide, the chromosomes can have two centromeres and break, have none, or otherwise segregate genetic information unequally. Speciation could occur when a subpopulation interbreeds with a sufficiently large chromosomal rearrangement that only mating within the subpopulation can produce viable offspring with high probability.
    The new “species” would look identical to the main population. The difference is, now mating is decoupled from the main population and variations progress independently. I have no doubt someone could perform such an experiment in the lab with mice, for example, to produce a new species. They would look exactly the same until karyotypes were compared.
    Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes whereas apes have 24. One of our chromosomes has a cryptic centromere, evidence that it once was two separate chromosomes. It’s lucky for us only one of the centromeres is functional, or we would not live long.

    • Humans are apes. You mean other great apes have 24 pairs.
      The fusion of two standard great ape chromosomes to create the human #2 appears to be associated with our upright walking.
      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11598-006-9021-x
      This paper also shows that evolutionary science is as far from tautological as possible, since the author challenges the then prevailing “just so story” about the development of upright walking in evolution of our australopithecine ancestors.

  24. Seventy years ago the Yalta Conference took place in the Crimea, held February 4–11 1945.
    Here we see F.D. Roosevelt, the American president, on his way from the airport to Yalta. There was no snow then in February 1945, but seventy years of “unprecedented global warming” later, the Crimea is covered with snow in March and battered by blizzards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yalta_Conference
    https://fdrlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/feb4-1-img2.jpg
    Social network users are uploading photos of a snowy Crimea.
    According to the Ministry of Energy, due to adverse weather conditions (strong winds of 20-25 m / s, snow) mass outages occur in the distribution networks of 6-10 kV (GUP RK “Krymenergo”).
    Residents remained without electricity in 13 settlements of Feodosia, Kerch, Sudak and Leninsky districts – about 18 ,250 people. Total power outages is 13 MW.
    http://iceagenow.info/2015/03/crimea-covered-snow-18000-lose-power/#comment-293248
    http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2015/03/17/7061792/
    http://img.pravda.com/images/doc/3/4/34646b9-11022896-621326654635165-889033868-n.jpg
    http://img.pravda.com/images/doc/b/4/b448df3-11008172-842465179154077-750503002-n.jpg
    http://img.pravda.com/images/doc/0/4/044704f-914483-1591427984435973-1355860903-n.jpg
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/10653626_10152850951822632_5914317966590076262_n.jpg?oh=9e3c1b31d2a8a06185307541ded31c74&oe=55721115&__gda__=1434620

  25. The definitive line in the sand for “species” is simple (sort of), and can be summed up in two words: “reproductive isolation”. Organisms that are phenotypically and genotypically incompatible define the speciation layer. Since evolution is a continuum there are always examples of where this line is indistinct. Biological science is well “settled” in describing these relationships, while at the same time, readily recognising the plasticity of the continuum. Darwinian evolution is solid science, demonstrable in the lab and observable in the real world at both the population and at the individual level. Mystic explanations, like the church of AGW, may be good for your soul, but contribute little to your intellect. Recommended: amongst other things, a good course in comparative anatomy. if you can find one.

  26. Expect the Sue Birds to be up in arms over this. Canadian courts have spoken. You cannot make fun of academics, not matter how wrong they might be.

  27. I saw that one in an old New Yorker, entitled “The Rise and Fall of Man”, with WJ Bryan at the end. Works well with Man(n), too, come to think of it.

  28. Why should religious beliefs be accommodated here?
    I appreciate all of the reasonable points posted already.
    But how about another: at least tolerate your bothersome old aunt a couple times a year – she loves family at holiday time so much; the truth is that science, itself, and great areas of scientific inquiry, were developed by Christians, nay even Catholics in some cases, truth be told.
    Scientists might as readily turn their backs on the English language in favor of Esperanto, never looking back.
    As if English has a lot going for it, like am, is, are, was, were, may, can, might, should, could, would, do, did, does, have, has, had, be, being, been,

  29. great cartoon…as to the comments. Is it really necessary to be provocative at every turn and divert discussion into areas where views are either irreconcilable or require an answer to “first mover” issues of philosophy? Feels an awful lot like what goes on on both sides of the aisle on capitol hill and we know that accomplishes nothing.

  30. One does not have to look far to find a “scientist” who expresses a great deal of contempt for religion and/or faith as the weaker way to understand the universe. Some express it with a bit of caution so as to try not to offend, while others will callously and defiantly proclaim science’s superiority without any thought of how offensive it may sound. But whichever the expression, the heart of the argument is the unassailable purity of science as the discipline based upon facts and reason contrasted with religion’s liability of reliance upon faith.
    The irony is that a careful examination of the foundations of each reveals that the two are not that altogether different, and in the final analysis it may be the practice of “science” takes the largest leap of faith to achieve. Full disclosure: I was schooled in engineering (though not practicing), and am a faithful Christian. But before you dismiss me and reach for that mouse and presumptively click away before finishing this article, I would remind you that the scientific method challenges you to consider all possibilities before reaching a conclusion.
    So let us delve into the foundation of the scientific method and the tool that scientists use to stand upon a bed rock of certainty while casting a doubting eye towards religion. At the heart of the scientific method is to “accept nothing but what you can prove”, then sets forth a methodology by which all theories are to be tested. It has standards for defining facts, assumptions, logic, and parameters of statistical analysis and verification. The end goal is producing repeatable, and therefore verifiable, results. It therefore is easily adopted by any rational, logical person. It is the basis of physics, chemistry, etc.
    But the cornerstone of all science is an unwritten assumption that must be implicitly adopted in order for any of it to work: The cosmos is built and acting upon a rational and consistent physical set of rules which can be known and derived. Gravity is. Chemical bonds work. Energy transfers. These, and many other things, simply are…and consistently are. Scientist go about studying these phenomenon to determine what they are and how they work, but never bother with the “why” because it is simply accepted as “is” and always will be. It is an assumption that is so fundamental that it isn’t even mentioned in the “assumption” section of their publications.
    Consider for a moment that this foundational assumption is not true, and our cosmos as we know it exists in a temporary altered state that is fundamentally different from the true nature of matter and energy. Perhaps our positively charged cosmos is a temporary state that exists in the high energy flux created in the splitting from the negatively charged alternative cosmos, and the laws of matter and energy will have entirely different attributes when the two are ultimately rejoined into a neutral charge state. Our cosmos may be an experiment of its own, and we are like the microbes floating in the proverbial petri dish of some other entity who has manipulated the conditions to produce states of matter that ordinarily wouldn’t exist. In such circumstances (or many others we could imagine), “science” is producing erroneous conclusions by failing to qualify them with the assumption of a steady-state.
    It is entirely logical to accept that whatever truths about the cosmos that have existed for so long and so consistently will continue to exist for the foreseeable future, and therefore it is rational to adopt conclusions with that as an assumption. But is it correct? We cannot know, so we have to accept it in order to conduct the rest of science. However the acceptance of that assumption is an act of faith.
    A scientist could point out that the above is mere conjecture, a contrived hypothetical meant to tear at the fabric of the cosmos enough to cast mythical doubt at the fundamental nature of matter, and the true nature of the cosmos may just as (if not more) likely be what we know it to be today. And they would be right. I can no more prove my position than they could prove the contrary. But as scientists we can’t accept either as “true” because we must only accept that which we can prove. Adopting the current state of the cosmos as “true” is an act of faith.
    A second perhaps more important point is that faith and science are not mutually exclusive. To stereotype all those with faith as zealots who blindly and dogmatically practice religion is a gross mischaracterization. It is akin to equating a thoughtful and open-minded scientist practicing his craft to a seventh grade “science” teacher who spouts whatever happens to be written on the textbook page without a serious understanding of the science.
    History is full of examples of people who were devoutly, religiously faithful and serious scientists who developed meaningful advances in knowledge of the physical world. For each of the famous examples I assure you that there are many more anonymous people who find no contradiction in science and faith. Indeed it may be true to that someone with a closed mind to faith likely lacks the insight and perspective to be truly open-minded about science, thereby limiting what they can learn through science.
    My last point is that knowledge without wisdom is perhaps the most dangerous circumstance. Without a conscience to guide them, amoral scientists are free to discover without thought of the consequences of their actions. Be it carelessness leading to danger, or willful disregard giving rise to villainous use of science, in its purest form “science” is not bound by wisdom. The scientific method is an ethical practice, not a moral one, and history also shows examples of the destruction this can bring. The only check to this is morality, which is rooted in faith.
    To be clear: science and the scientific method seeks to understand the cosmos as we know it, and the advances in knowledge and technology is a large benefit of that effort, and for that we all should be grateful to those scientists. But any scientist who claims arrogantly that they hold the superior method of understanding is engaging in a dangerous level of hubris and is failing to recognize just how much of their craft really relies upon faith; that faith and science are not incompatible; and that science without the wisdom of faith is extremely (occasionally wickedly) dangerous.
    If the above has not swayed those hardened scientists out there who look down upon faith to reassess their position, then respectfully submit that they are not availing themselves to the fullness of science by having an open mind. Science requires that we always check our assumptions and be open to the possibility that previous “knowns” are not correct, and that by closing your mind to the possibilities of faith you may not be able to learn all that you could. Regardless, I shall pray for you.

    • Excellent and profound post HBooth. One of the most profound and insightful I have seen here on this website. Ultimately, faith is an integral part of every person’s life even if they don’t believe in God at all. It is a Cartesian delusion that life with absolutely no faith can be lived.
      As an aside, I really only came to the whole CAGW thing as I was bothered by the attitude of the pro-CAGW people with their arrogance and dismissiveness and a level of certainty that I felt was simply not intelligent. I know the evolution debate is very very different (and personally I have no issues with it from faith or scientific perspectives) but the attitude and demeanour of Sturgis and Catherine here remind me a lot of the pro-CAGW crowd. (In fairness, they do argue the science more which pro-CAGW never seemed to do)
      What is it they say is the reality when a politician or scientist says ‘the debate is over’? Sturgis and Catherine would do well to remember Crichton’s apposite observation ‘I am certain there is too much certainty in this world’.
      I largely accepted evolutionary theory to be true (at least from adaptations perspective) but now I am beginning to question that given how ‘certain’ some are that it is absolutely true. How completely and apparently easily the entire scientific community can be corrupted has me bothered also – this is, maybe, part of the fallout that can be expected when the CAGW imbroglio enters the public consciousness. Who will have confidence in science again?

      • Corruption. Community. Consensus… they are all distractions that have nothing to do with why evolution is a fact.
        Evolution is a fact because the mountain of evidence proves it beyond doubt.
        CAGW is NOT a fact because it is falsified by many kinds of evidence. See how that works?
        So, gossip about sources and supporters, and their dislikeability, bank accounts or grooming habits. Congratulations, you are Naomi Oreskes.
        Play word games about “faith.” It isn’t relevant or true or interesting.
        By all means avoid the only thing that matters. (In case you’ve already forgotten: Evidence.)
        There are worse ways to completely waste time, I guess.

      • Since evolution is science, of course its entire body of theory is not “settled”, but the theoretical aspects are to explain the fact of evolution, which is not any more in doubt than the fact that “germs” cause disease, that elements are made up of atoms, that gravity works on both apples and planets and that the earth goes around the sun, to refer to other well established scientific theories.
        CAGW OTOH is so far from settled that it has been effectively falsified, in both the scientific and ordinary senses of the word.

  31. Am I missing something here? I recently read about the Capistrano Swallows and how they have “evolved” shorter wing spans so that they could cope with the changes to their environment and could maneuver easier around the homes, automobiles, viaducts and bridges that are now in their breading areas. WHAT? It seems more likely it is forced selection. Those swallows that do not maneuver around the automobile DIE and do not have offspring (or do not feed the offspring they had). Those that do, have offspring and create more birds with shorter wings. These birds live longer, breed with other birds, some with short wings and some with long wings. However, those with short wings have a higher probability of living. That to me seems more like “survival of the fittest” not the common (miss)conception of evolving where genes decide to change so that the species can live, as is taught in many schools.
    Sort of like what is happening now to humans. You do not need to learn math because you have a calculator, you do not need to learn how to spell because you have a spell-checker, you do not need to learn how to write because you can use your “device” (PC, tablet, phone, etc,) i.e. you do not need to use your brain and thus the IQ starts to drop. Don’t believe me? Look at the stats on the IQ of those graduating from college today compared to 20, 50, 75, and 100 years ago. How many years till the average communication device (cell-phone today) has more brains that the person holding it?

    • Am I missing something here? I recently read about the Capistrano Swallows and how they have “evolved” shorter wing spans so that they could cope with the changes to their environment and could maneuver easier around the homes, automobiles, viaducts and bridges that are now in their breading areas. WHAT? It seems more likely it is forced selection.

      Both points are true and not mutually exclusive; but are not referencing the same thing. If the swallows have persistently shorter wingspans than a previous point-in-time norm that breeds true, then, they have evolved for that feature, at a present point-in-time, relative to the previous. Adaptation is evolution. The mechanism, more correctly, the selection pressure, that resulted in the population being selected for short wings with a concommitant breeding advantage (without which you have adaptation without evolution – phenotypic variation) is the mortality associated with close manouevering. Bird populations with short wings have an apparent selective advantage for reproduction over birds with longer wings. Individual birds don’t suddenly develop short wings (Lamarckian) – the local population does. Taxonomically, if the phenotypic variation breeds true (altered mean wingspan), you have the emergence of a sub-specific variant. If the phenotypic variation also leads to reproductive isolation (i.e. short wing birds won’t breed with long wing birds) then you have a case for speciation. Absence of cross fertility is not a requirement for speciation (but may be the stuff of argument). There are species that over large geographic ranges are infertile at the extremes of range, but contiguously fertile between (a “rassenkreis”)

  32. This thread is highly unfortunate, as it shows how weak an understanding many posters here have of science, and the scientific method. CAGW is similar in its poor use of the scientific method and science. Evolution, Evolutionary Theory, etc., and all it implies, is so well proven that many of these comments border on ridiculous. In the scientific world, CAGW and Evolution (including humans evolving from a common ancestor with apes), are on opposite sides of a spectrum well done, well demonstrated science. This thread is fodder for WATTS enemies, and unfortunately, rightly so.

    • The scientific method is not to “prove” anything. By definition it can only disprove. There is no such thing as an experiment which definitively proves its thesis, it can only fail to disprove it. Any theory, no matter how well tested, is subject to room for doubt, and history is full of examples of widely accepted theories being eventually shown to be in error. Indeed good scientists are always skeptical, and challenge their own theories as a matter of good practice.
      Ironic that you chastise others on their lack of the knowledge on the scientific method and at the same time you fail to see your own basic error. Your closed mind and acrimonious tone likely give more comfort to the AGW camp than anyone at whom you may wag your finger.

      • There is more than one scientific method.
        One view in the philosophy of science is that science can only disprove. In that view, originating in Hume’s attack on inductive knowledge, and systematized in the twentieth century by Carl Popper, I suppose you could say it is true “by definition”. But there are many problems with Popperian falsificationism and support for traditional inductive verificationism is by no means dead. In practical terms, inductive generalizations may be proven by complete enumeration — examining every case, and may be relied on to very high degrees of probability — virtual certainty — in cases where experiments may be reliably controlled to isolate every causal factor with even the remotest possible effect. And of course if one wishes to define proof as perfect certainty, then proof of the facts vital to our survival is neither possible nor, fortunately, necessary.
        However, demanding that those claiming knowledge specify what observation would falsify the claim remains a damn good test of the scientific seriousness of the claim.

        • You are using words that loosely fit into the category of “scientific vocabulary.” But they are not forming relevant or purposeful english sentences.
          Philosophy, the very definition of unsolveable subjectivity and nauseating loghorrea, should keep its grubby, navel-gazing mitts off of Science, which at least aims for objective knowledge about our world. IMHO, of course. 🙂
          ***********************
          Every Pope since JP2 has accepted the fact of Evolution. It is the official policy of the Catholic church that Evolution is a fact. Does that persuade any of the faithful in here?
          A big, noisy herd of your people believe God and Evolution are compatible. Who the hell are you to disagree?

      • I believe he was using “proven” in the colloquial sense. And he is absolutely correct that, in common parlance, evolution is as much a fact as gravity, heliocentrism, death and taxes. You are quibbling, not debating.

    • I agree.
      It is shocking how many commenters on this blog spout such anti-scientific nonsense out of total ignorance.
      Creationists are far worse than the Sky Dragon Slayers or whatever they call themselves, so should suffer the same treatment, IMO, ie banishment.

  33. “…the next generation of his climate model will address the influence of climate on human evolution—much like it’s now being used to examine the influence of humans on climate evolution”.
    It looks like a little more art than science.
    Now Josh, that for sure is art! (:

  34. Sturgis Hooper If evolution is a fact explain to me how we got from amino acid to DNA? Within DNA many wonderful thing happen, but as far as fa I know we do not know where the digital data came into being in this analog world. Funny “facts” are not what you think they are! Don’t think I am a creationist, the reality is we do not “know” how life evolved, we do know that DNA is what we call life at this present time, what we also do “know” we have no idea where DNA comes. When you can answer that question Evolution will be a fact but as far as I know that question remain unanswered unless you can enlighten me, which I highly doubt.
    I also wonder if and when the bible thumpers whom claims we are in God image will do if we are lucky to stumble onto life the comes from somewhere else in our great universe. Those bible thumpers and evolutionist who think they have the answer today are going to be sorely disappointed sometime in the future, after all I assume you are well aware that the Newton’s laws stood for 200 years only to be swept away by Einstein’s, who was a lowly patent clerk whose theory of relativity was not even peer reviewed. swept Newton’s Laws away.
    And now a hundred year latter we do know Einstein was not wholly correct. the unfortunate part about the evolution debate and the physics debate physics relies on math and it the math does not work they know the Physics theory has problems, unfortunately in most other science that is not true.
    Evolution and Climate science fall in that category. I don’t believe you are one of those you are willing to agree with my point, My point is simple climate change and evolution is not proven. evolution does have a lot more going for it since the Mitochondrial DNA is solid evidence of evolution inside of DNA, but not where DNA cane from as and as to the evolution of DNA it is totally unknown. Now I have lay out how I feel about evolution and climate change even though you great statement of evolution is proven we know that is false now we come to to climate science, the unknown of climate science dwarfs anything if regular science or even evolution, and to the from what an an intelligent person must see it is to the most part it is pure fiction.
    Sturgie, I will not debate you on this issue of Evolution is proven because I agree with the quote no point in debating with idiots since they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. An yes I do believe that anyone who state evolution it proven is and idiot, although I expect that might be and insult to idiots

    • To willingly reject freely available knowledge about the world you live in. To choose ignorance over truth. To not even know WHY you are wrong.
      Sad.

      • To not differentiate between AN indefinite article AND a conjunction. Revealing.
        (To obnoxiously pick grammatical nits. Cheap? Lame?)
        🙂

    • You’re an insult to humanity.
      Of course you won’t “debate” any scientist because you can’t. You’re an ignoramus on both on science and grammar.
      For starters, you don’t even know what the theory and facts of evolution are. Evolution is about the origin of new life forms. It’s not about the origin of life from complex organic chemicals. That’s called abiogenesis.
      Had you bothered to read even the tiny fragments of information about evolution on this blog, you’d know that evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation, as well as a theory. Your false religion blinds you to reality.
      I guess about one thing the Warmunistas are right. Among CAGW skeptics is a disturbing number of creationist ignoramuses.

  35. Just a few further thoughts to clarify my previous offerings in this thread:
    Some of the posts I have read seem to confuse faith and religion. Faith is an act of belief: finding truth in something without an offer of proof. Religion is a dogmatic practice of morals which may (or may not) solicit acts of faith. One can be faithful without being religious, and also one could be religious without being faithful. Indeed it happens quite a bit. Confusing faith and religion akin to confusing science and engineering.
    Whenever you read the summary of some white paper put out by one of your respected peers and agree with its conclusion without reading the entire study, without repeating any of the tests, and without trying to craft your own experiments to disprove the theory, you have engaged in faith. You might trust that person by reputation and the logic of the presentation may seem reasonable and plausible, but if you just adopt it as “truth” without firsthand experience, then you’re accepting on faith the validity of the product.
    And that is okay. If we all had to run around repeating every experiment and testing every truth, we’d all spend a lot of time repeating, and the body of our collective knowledge would never really advance. Accepting some information on faith is just practical. Indeed I would bet that most of what we all “know” we have taken on faith. Beyond science, how much of human history have we taken on faith? If an honest assessment of the percentage of knowledge we each adopt as “fact” or “truth” without genuine firsthand experience, the fraction would likely be staggeringly high.
    So since so much of what we have to accept as truth must be taken on faith, then is it reasonable to sneer at those who practice religious forms of faith? Just because a truth is beyond the scope of firsthand experience, is it necessarily wrong for anyone to accept it? I’m not saying that everyone should believe these truths; that is a matter of personal choice. I am saying that the wholesale dismissal of the religiously faithful as irrational is hypocritical and inconsistent with what we all do when choose to take information on faith. To the point, some of what I have read in this thread goes a step further in narrow-mindedness to border upon bigotry.
    Just because the news is filled with images of religious zealots engaging in irrational acts doesn’t mean you should cast us all in that same vein any more than you should lump all science as irrational because a few zealots of CAGW get to dominate the media. Some of posts in this thread made that logical leap, casting all faithful as illiterate bible-thumping rubes, and looking dismissively down their nose while standing at the alter of science using the same sweeping damnation that those in the CAGW camp use of the “deniers.”
    I came to the defense of faith, not creationism, yet some here presumed that because I am Christian that I must be a creationist and of course that there is a contradiction between it and evolution. (There isn’t, and we can delve into that rabbit hole if it really makes a difference, but I doubt it does). As someone pointed out, the Pope has accepted evolution, and indeed most Christians have too long before that. However I would conclude that there is a decidedly thin amount of understanding of modern Christian doctrine in some who posted here, just as there is a rather thin amount of knowledge of science within the CAGW camp.
    My original point is that having an open mind is consistent with good science, and faith and science are not incompatible, and in many ways they are complimentary. There are many of us out here, and throughout history, that use both science and faith to know their world and practice both with an open mind. I humbly suggest to those of you who wish cast stones to consider carefully the material of which their house is constructed.

    • It’s my impression that few if any here attack faith per se, but do strongly object to forming scientific opinions based upon faith rather than the facts.
      Before it could be observed directly, the hypothesis that the earth orbits the sun was based upon inference from observations. Now that fact can be directly observed. There may have been a time in the 19th century when evolution had to be inferred from all the then available data, but since the genetic basis of evolution has been understood, it too has been directly observed, but also at the level of whole organisms.
      It was always wrong to say the evolution was “just a theory”, since a theory in science doesn’t mean exactly the same as it does in common parlance. But now it’s correct to say it is both an observation, that is, a scientific fact, as well as a scientific theory. Maybe a little confusing, but in biology, “evolution” refers both to fact and theory, just as does “gravitation” in physics.

  36. Just a few further thoughts to clarify my previous offerings in this thread:
    Some of the posts I have read seem to confuse faith and religion. Faith is an act of belief: finding truth in something without an offer of proof. Religion is a dogmatic practice of morals which may (or may not) solicit acts of faith. One can be faithful without being religious, and also one could be religious without being faithful. Indeed it happens quite a bit. Confusing faith and religion akin to confusing science and engineering.
    Whenever you read the summary of some white paper put out by one of your respected peers and agree with its conclusion without reading the entire study, without repeating any of the tests, and without trying to craft your own experiments to disprove the theory, you have engaged in faith. You might trust that person by reputation and the logic of the presentation may seem reasonable and plausible, but if you just adopt it as “truth” without firsthand experience, then you’re accepting on faith the validity of the product.
    And that is okay. If we all had to run around repeating every experiment and testing every truth, we’d all spend a lot of time repeating, and the body of our collective knowledge would never really advance. Accepting some information on faith is just practical. Indeed I would bet that most of what we all “know” we have taken on faith. Beyond science, how much of human history have we taken on faith? If an honest assessment of the percentage of knowledge we each adopt as “fact” or “truth” without genuine firsthand experience, the fraction would likely be staggeringly high.
    So since so much of what we have to accept as truth must be taken on faith, then is it reasonable to sneer at those who practice religious forms of faith? Just because a truth is beyond the scope of firsthand experience, is it necessarily wrong for anyone to accept it? I’m not saying that everyone should believe these truths; that is a matter of personal choice. I am saying that the wholesale dismissal of the religiously faithful as irrational is hypocritical and inconsistent with what we all do when choose to take information on faith. To the point, some of what I have read in this thread goes a step further in narrow-mindedness to border upon bigotry.
    Just because the news is filled with images of religious zealots engaging in irrational acts doesn’t mean you should cast us all in that same vein any more than you should lump all science as irrational because a few zealots of CAGW get to dominate the media. Some of posts in this thread made that logical leap, casting all faithful as illiterate bible-thumping rubes, and looking dismissively down their nose while standing at the alter of science using the same sweeping damnation that those in the CAGW camp use of the “deniers.”
    I came to the defense of faith, not creationism, yet some here presumed that because I am Christian that I must be a creationist and of course that there is a contradiction between it and evolution. (There isn’t, and we can delve into that rabbit hole if it really makes a difference, but I doubt it does). As someone pointed out, the Pope has accepted evolution, and indeed most Christians have too long before that. However I would presume that there is a decidedly thin amount of understanding of modern Christian doctrine in some who posted here, just as there is a rather thin amount of knowledge of science within the CAGW camp.
    My original point is that having an open mind is consistent with good science, and faith and science are not incompatible, and in many ways they are complimentary. There are many of us out here, and throughout history, that use both science and faith to know their world and practice both with an open mind. I humbly suggest to those of you who wish cast stones to consider carefully the material of which their house is constructed.

  37. HTB:
    I’m fully aware that the vast majority of Christians belong to denominations which accept the reality of evolution, whatever may be the personal opinions of their adherents. Among these denominations are the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic Churches and Mainline Protestant churches. Unfortunately there are also a lot of noisy cults that resist science, and their paid shills are particularly active in the US.
    The Catholic Church learned its lesson when for so long it objected to the heliocentric theory on biblical grounds, because in the Bible the sun moves, while the earth is immobile. By the time of Newton, even a Puritan such as he was (writing a whole book on biblical chronology), knew that the Bible is not literally correct on scientific issues.
    As Cardinal Baronio said to Galileo, “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go”.

    • Catherine Ronconi says: As Cardinal Baronio said to Galileo, “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go”.
      Can I then understand that you do not count me as part of those “spouting anti-scientific nonsense out of total ignorance” worthy of banishment, or is your quote as close as it may come to a retraction? Since you quoted from a religious person on the subject of science, I will give you a scientist on the subject of faith:
      “It was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls.” – Max Planck

      • What’s to retract?
        If you spouted creationist lies, then my statement applies to you. If you didn’t, then it doesn’t.
        What does Max Planck´s concept of God have to do with anything? I was writing about the ignoramuses commenting on this blog who base their opposition to science on their interpretation of the Bible and the lies about science which their false mentors of the Discovery Institute feed them.
        As I’ve commented here before, the fools who imagine that the origin of species requires their “God” are as wrong theologically as they are scientifically. The whole point of faith is that it should be blind. Looking for evidence of a “Creator” is completely counter to at least the Calvinism that fundamentalists falsely imagine their religion to be. God intentionally remains hidden, or what is the value of belief, of the faith by which alone you can be saved? Of course Calvinists also believe that they are among the elect, already chosen to be saved, but that’s another issue.
        Scholastics wrong imagined that God could be “proven”. It’s an entirely wrong-headed philosophical or theological exercise.

      • I should add that in Christian theology God has remained hidden for the past 2000 years. Before that He took human form as a man in Roman Palestine, before that spoke to Moses through storms and fires and before that also took human form, walked with Abraham and drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden. The OT imagines Him as the Greeks and other peoples with anthropomorphic gods imagined theirs, like people only bigger and immortal. In the OT, God sits on the edge of the earth and looks down at the people, who appear to Him as insects. Coins have been found in the Holy Land with the image of YHWH in a flying chariot, like a Levantine Apollo.

      • “If you spouted creationist lies, then my statement applies to you. If you didn’t, then it doesn’t.” – Catherine Ronconi
        Your reluctance to be explicit shows a rather disappointing level of conviction in your position. It was you, was it not, that sat in judgment of the worthiness of the thought of others in this thread and called for their banishment based upon your opinion of what you had read. Am I an “ignorant” “anti-scientific” “nonsensical” “lying” “foolish” “ignoramus” according to your standard, or am I not?
        You would do well to reconcile with the fact that most (if not all) of those Christian factions you credit with some level of enlightenment by acknowledging evolution also still hold fast to creationism and do not find an inherent contradiction between the two. Am I safe to assume that all of those insulting terms apply to them as well per your point of view, and they too should be silenced?
        I may be new to this whole arena, but my experience is that the one lobbing the most insults and calling for the others to be silenced often has the weaker intellectual claim. Isn’t that what the CAGW crowd is doing now with “deniers?”
        “What does Max Planck´s concept of God have to do with anything?” – Catherine Ronconi
        It seemed to be more on point than Cardinal Baronio’s quote. Planck’s quote is not a remark on God as you suggested, it is a comment how congruent being faithful is to great scientific discovery; that enlightenment in faith is often doorway to enlightenment in science. In other words, you’d be surprised by what you might learn if you opened your mind.

  38. Re: Hot news, evolution cools! 3/17/15:
    Great cartoon! But what might Dr. Weaver have discovered about the link between climate and evolution in general? Notice the date on this more complete version of Weaver’s plan:
    Weaver says the next generation of his climate model will address the influence of climate on human evolution—much like it’s now being used to examine the influence of humans on climate evolution. The Ring: The University of Victoria’s Community Newspaper, Back to the future, v. 33, no. 2, February, 2007. http://ring.uvic.ca/07feb08/weaver.html
    That’s less than a promising approach. Besides, Weaver was a lead author on Global Climate Projections (IPCC doesn’t make predictions: [W]e have attempted to clarify that the projections are from models, and are not predictions. editor’s response to Gavin Schmidt, Ch. 10, Second Order Draft; science makes predictions), AR4, Chapter 10. IPCC assumes AGW exists, having adopted that conjecture into its own charter in 1998. Weaver accordingly adjusts the vocabulary of climatology to fit the dogma:
    Global warming describes the average warming of the Earth’s surface temperature as a consequence of human activity. Weaver, Andrew J., Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming, Part One, 2011.
    Did Weaver get his next generation model working in the years since 2007? Did it show that (manmade) global warming is deleterious to any beneficial evolution of man?
    A good argument exists for a link between climate and evolution, but judging by Weaver’s writings, he is as likely to assume the answer, one way or the other, as he is to support it with science. The problem here is that biologists have done to evolution what climatologists have done to climate: destroyed the science.
    To be perfectly clear, The Origin has this full title: The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. The longer title presumably contains the essence of Darwinism. But that title alone should have been enough to raise the hackles of any self-respecting scientist, biologist or not. It alarmed the creationists, believers in the immutability of the species and divine intervention, or not, and with good cause.
    Like IPCC modifying its own charter in 1998 to assume AGW, Darwin anthropomorphized his Natural Selection, and did so from the outset of his tome. Natural Selection is imbued with motives, as in to preserve things. It is omniscient, able to see where the accumulation of changes leads. It has wisdom, able to decide the better path. And NS is all powerful, able to protect the favored race while guiding the others to extinction. In the main body of The Origin, Natural Selection exhibits knowledge of a direction to evolution, a power to extinguish deviations from the desired path, a power to coordinate genetics with extinction, and all to accumulate incremental changes in better and beneficial directions.
    Darwin should have called it Supernatural Selection. Science has few rules, but one of them is zero tolerance for the supernatural, which is yet another reason science riles the fundamentalists.
    And no, this is not the voice of anti-science. Science can actually rehabilitate the Theory of Evolution and expand its horizons. Darwinism can move away from Darwin 1.0 with its Natural Selection, its Struggle for Life, and Survival of the Fittest. It is to be replaced with Darwin 2.0, with (lower case) natural selection: the mathematics of crowding, survival of the net most prolific, and the pursuit of the positive reinforcements of feeding and reproducing.
    Darwin 2.0, at least with respect to the fauna, is based on some observations. Here is summary.
    • Species that exist today are those that have the ability to evolve because they have evolved to accommodate the ever-changing environment, e.g., climate change, changing composition of the atmosphere.
    • To evolve, a species must not breed true; it must have genetic drift.
    • Species form from varieties through genetic drift.
    • Viable populations are those able to increase without limit as a matter of mathematics.
    • Animals live in niches, a state space of life support parameters, which like whole of Earth have finite carrying capacity.
    • When a niche is at capacity in any part of its life support parameters, the lid is on the pressure cooker — the population with the greatest growth rate will survive alone, crowding the others into extinction as a matter of mathematics.
    • Hence, in long stable periods, evolution cools and varieties become stratified.
    • Hence evolution is a property of entire populations, not of prolificity and not just of members of reproductive age.
    • Hence evolution is enhanced by knowledge in the population.
    • When a niche is not full, the lid is off, and new varieties emerge from the necessary randomness of reproduction.
    • Hence the creation of radical new life forms following mass extinctions.
    • To evolve requires assortative (preferential) mating in varieties.
    • Hence viable species have two sexes, a sufficient number.
    Darwin 2.0 has neither anthropogenic nor supernatural components. And as far as Anthropogenic Global Warming and its evolution are concerned, CO2 is a beneficial greening agent whose concentration in the atmosphere is short-lived and determined by Sea Surface Temperature and ocean currents. Darwin’s analysis of the fact of evolution is a record of the effects, in part, of natural climate change, the missing part of the AGW model.

    • Utter drivel and poppycock!
      What is this “Darwinism” of which you speak?
      Have you ever actually read “On the Origin of Species”? Darwin does no such thing as you so baselessly imagine. Natural selection is not only wholly natural, but a consequence of reproduction and variation. It’s as observable in action as the earth going around the sun.
      But of course now that we understand how inheritance works, science knows of other evolutionary processes besides natural and sexual selection. Evolution has a come a long way since 1858, just as the theory of gravitation has since 1687.

      • Re: Catherine Ronconi 3/19/15 @ 1244:
        What is this “Darwinism” of which you speak?
        >>1. Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by Charles Darwin and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Wikipedia > Darwinism
        >>2. Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. Lennox, J., Darwinism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1/19/2010.
        >>3. Darwinism[:] theory of the evolutionary mechanism propounded by Charles Darwin as an explanation of organic change. It denotes Darwin’s specific view that evolution is driven mainly by natural selection. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2011.
        >>4. ON THE ORIGIN OF DARWINISM, p. 428. THE CONCEPTS OF DARWINISM, p. 430. Campbell, N. A., Biology, 2d ed., 1990.
        Have you ever actually read “On the Origin of Species”? Darwin does no such thing as you so baselessly imagine. Natural selection is not only wholly natural, but a consequence of reproduction and variation. It’s as observable in action as the earth going around the sun.
        >>5. These individual differences are highly important for us, as they afford materials for natural selection to accumulate, in the same manner as man can accumulate in any given direction individual differences in his domesticated productions. Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859, Project Gutenberg EBook, p. 26.
        >>6. Not that, as I believe, any extreme amount of variability is necessary; as man can certainly produce great results by adding up in any given direction mere individual differences, so could Nature, but far more easily, from having incomparably longer time at her disposal. Id., p. 40.
        >>7. Thus it will be in nature; for within a confined area, with some place in its polity not so perfectly occupied as might be, natural selection will always tend to preserve all the individuals varying in the right direction, though in different degrees, so as better to fill up the unoccupied place. Id., p. 48.
        Direction, preservation, greatness, correctness, requiring vision, motive, power.
        Utter drivel and poppycock!
        It’s poppycock and drivel, all right, but it’s Darwin’s poppycock and drivel. Like Andrew Weaver and so many other on climate, Darwin anthropomorphized natural phenomena.

      • Re: Catherine Ronconi, 3/19/15 @12:44
        P.S.
        I left intelligence off my list: [Natural] Selection has vision, motive, power, and intelligence. Darwinism is clearly Intelligent Design.
        [Natural Selection also needs a spell-checker. .mod]

        • Jeff Glassman

          I left intelligence off my list: [Natural] Selection has vision, motive, power, and intelligence. Darwinism is clearly Intelligent Design.
          [Natural Selection also needs a spell-checker. .mod]

          Point. I would, however, merely defy all who allow “only” Natural Selection – no matter how it is spelled – to write a Biology textbook without “capitalizing” either “Nature” or “Evolution”. rather, try to write it without ever using the “Designer-From-Above” verb tense.
          Birds did not “evolve” wings” in order to” fly. Birds suddenly found they could fly (why were those muscles already there BEFORE they were needed for flying?) AFTER they evolved wings. And feathers. And very, light (hollow) bones. And tails. And pin feathers. And flight feathers.
          Whales did not “evolve” tails in order to swim better. They could swim faster AFTER they evolved tails FROM the “bear-like” tails. Until their tails were effective – BOTH bear-like tails and non-linked tails were USELESS and should NOT have supported ANY further evolutionary advantages.
          Whales did not “evolve” vast layers of fat “in order to” stay warm deep underwater.
          Random genetic changes occurred, and apparently some of those changes allowed more xxxxx to survive. Yes. Likely true.
          But, there was NO evolutionary advantage to ANY middle-not-yet-effective “random mutation”! Until a beaver’s flat tail was useful in slapping mud and swimming, WHY did it continue to get bigger and flatter?
          But “why” did the changes in the middle – BEFORE any advantages occurred to the tens-of-thousands of generations of whales that did not have “tails” (could not swim fast yet) but did still have legs (still had excess drag) and did not have vast layers of fat (could not dive deep yet) and did not have baleen and immense tongues yet (and so could not yet eat their modern plankton/krill/shrimp as food, yet had lost their “bear-like-teeth” (and so could not eat seals and walarus or fish either) and did not have and have noses in front of their eyes (and so could not yet “blow” their lungs efficiently. ALL of these changes were needed, but “why” were ANY of them “successful” before the whole animal was created?
          How can a “hopping” not-yet-flying-yet-no-longer-legged-and-fast-running-dinosaur be competitive?
          How did a turtle or tortoise stay competitive and still be so slow BEFORE its shell grew together but when its head and neck could not yet retract?
          What did a spider use its web-spinners for BEFORE they became effective? BEFORE the web itself became “sticky” and yet the other parts were still smooth (climbable)? Why were these web-spinning “deformities” passed on to future not-yet-spiders BEFORE they were fully useful? Did the “hole” for the spider’s web exist long before the web-spinning genes “evolved” ? Why?

          • Do you really want answers?
            Can you read a book?
            All of your questions and more are answered in MANY books. One of the best is “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins.

      • You are so wrong, it’s not even funny. Just sad. And disturbing that anyone capable of writing basic English could be so twisted.
        Study biology and get back to me in four to six years.

      • As I said, utter drivel and poppycock.
        You cite people other than Darwin to the effect that “all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce”. Darwin of course said no such thing about all species, indeed quite the opposite, but it doesn’t matter whether he did or not, since evolutionary theory in the 21st century is far beyond just natural selection, important as that process is.
        The fact is that evolution, that is, the origin of new species from existing species, is a fact, arising from many processes besides but including natural selection.
        I really don’t know why so many anti-scientific activists are hung up on Darwin but not Newton, when both biology and physics have evolved beyond the work of these ground breakers.
        The fact is that both Newtonian physics and Darwinian biology work perfectly well within their spheres, but science now also recognizes other explanations for the facts of gravitation and evolution.

      • Jeff Glassman March 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm
        The proper term to refer to evolution via natural selection is darwinian, not “Darwinism”, just as we speak of newtonian gravitation, not Newtonism.
        As you have been shown at embarrassing length, your assertion that Darwin’s sometimes capitalizing “natural selection” means that he anthropomorphized the concept is not only baseless but ridiculous.
        RACookPE1978 March 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm
        You are wrong to assert that “there was NO evolutionary advantage to ANY middle-not-yet-effective “random mutation”! Until a beaver’s flat tail was useful in slapping mud and swimming, WHY did it continue to get bigger and flatter?”
        Beaver evolution is actually quite interesting. Their teeth became adapted for gnawing wood only after their ancestors had already adopted a semi-aquatic life style. Every incremental increase in tail size conferred a selective advantage in this case, so was preferentially passed on to the next generation. No mystery there.
        The evolution of whales is even more interesting. The ancestors of whales went through stages in which they lived somewhat like otters, then like seals, then manatees. As with beavers, their tails became more adapted to aquatic propulsion with each passing generation.
        I don’t know why you find any of this difficult to credit. Whale fossils plainly show the development from terrestrial artiodactyl (more closely related to hippos than deer, cattle, pigs, camels, sheep, goats or antelope) to modern cetaceans, a descent confirmed by genetics, embryology, anatomy and every other line of evidence.

    • RACookPE1978 March 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm
      Nobody, either in 1858 or 2015 ever said that evolution precedes only by natural selection.
      That’s just one of many evolutionary processes. I don’t know why or how the misconception that natural selection is the only evolutionary process could have arisen. Darwin never said any such thing. His theory of evolution was attractive because it included natural selection, which is a fact. It appears that religiously motivated enemies of science must be behind the travesty of Darwin that natural selection is the only driver of evolution. Darwin never said any such thing, although the process is very important.
      The majority of speciation events probably aren’t from natural selection, but the higher you go, the more important it becomes. This is an active area of biological research. As I’ve written before, speciation is probably dominated by rapid evolutionary processes like polyploidy (genome duplication and multiplication) and hybridization. But the evolution of new genera, families, orders, classes, phyla and kingdoms is increasingly controlled by natural selection and other “directional” processes.
      Consider the transition for instance from lobe-finned fish to tetrapods, ie “amphibians”. While stochastic processes such as reproductive isolation may well have played a part, the main impetus for the development of the new “class” Tetrapoda was the selective advantage conferred by being able to haul out onto land.

      • In the billions-of-years-long view of things, Natural Selection really is the primary engine. There are minor alternate theories, etc., but they have yet to earn a place outside the footnotes.
        So there’s nothing inaccurate or wrong about referring to Evolution by Natural Selection, regardless of the delusions of god’s li’l buddies.

  39. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/mann_evolution_scr.jpg
    While that is the finest rendering I have ever seen of a much-repeated and well-known theme from all UNESCO approved world history books, which is the highest possible complement for the cartoonist, I do have one small objection. Through much personal experience and through wise counsel passed down for over 3,000 years in our unapproved history book, I know that man is not, has never been, and never will be an ape or any other of those primates. Human kind is either far above the ape in understanding and will, or by groveling and unwise thoughts and choices he sinks far beneath the ape in understanding and will.
    And whatsmore, this sinking beneath the level of ape is rapid enough to occur within one single lifetime. In the life of a country, the descent of man only requires one very spoiled, corrupt, and unthankful generation to undo all good society. It does not take millions of years, nor even the 200,000 years estimated to develop our stunning pre-frontal cortex we now possess, to lose whatever advantage this extra grey matter affords us. Every life and every nation makes choices and reaps what it sows. So on balance, is it really a sign of unintelligence to give thanks each day, and together each week, to the One who made male and female, and for the love and purpose we might enjoy in our brief time on earth?

    • Giving thanks to an imagined One is neither intelligent nor unintelligent except in so much as it promotes or detracts from your enjoyment of a brief configuration of elements as a member of the subspecies H. sapiens sapiens, without thereby detracting from the enjoyment thereof by other members of the subspecies.

      • I suppose that is a nice enough gospel of sorts. In fact I am sure many here will be quite warmed by it. (:
        Although, my experience leads me to conclude that people need to watch very, very closely what a particular group says about origins and the past, because they are in reality stating what they want to use for a future crafting of society. In other words, animals reduced to pens, breeding, and vegan local only organic foraging is now the undeniable political object of these same people who claim we were once apes and orangutans. The scientific paradigm of the Anthropocene Age requires this to save the “fragile planet” from environmental “tipping points” set off by any and all human life – agriculture, energy, personal transportation, children and homes. They even hate cattle and chickens – and the farmers who raise them – for heaven’s sake. So rational doubts should now arise, it is to be hoped, that this scientific paradigm will decidedly “detract from the enjoyment thereof by other members of the subspecies.”
        I recall something about remaking economies and societies carried out in the 1900’s, before this call to the Great Transformation to a low carbon economy. It seems to me sometimes that God Himself is an empiricist and that it is the trendy intellectuals and scientists that are ignoring the verifiable experimental results of their own philosophies, eugenics, and social experiments to treat people like programmable, drugged up, managed androgynous hominid creatures. The good book says He is restraining all of this by His love and providence, but He will lift restraint one day. Isn’t it clear the experiments for a godless, debauched, scientifically-based and managed society were carried out, and the results were deadly?

      • Zeke:
        The “group” which you appear to fear consists of those who look only at the evidence, ie, the works of “God” as revealed by nature, not words written by people almost 2000 to over 3000 years ago in an attempt to understand and tell stories about their tribal god, to make him look better than the competing petty deities. In fact they were happy just to make YHWH the chief god, not the only one. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” means the same in Hebrew as in English. Go ahead and worship Baal or the Golden Calf, as long as I’m Number One.
        The pagan Nazis and atheist Communists were effectively no more nor less murderous than Christians when they held comparable power.
        Evil is a human thing, not constrained by belief systems. In fact, belief systems of all kinds, whether political ideology or religion, apparently make people more murderous.

      • Catherine Ranconi says, ” In fact, belief systems of all kinds, whether political ideology or religion, apparently make people more murderous.”
        As usual, it has been rewarding to talk with you. Thank you for that observation. Let me restate that just a little, so that it is clear. Men love their theories and are deeply devoted to them. Devotion to theory is what really motivates all work in history, economics, political activism and science. No one starts with an objective neutral frame of reference, and proceeds with the evidence where ever it leads.
        I suppose adherents of grand scientific theories build character in the rest of us. Putting up with their claims of objective knowledge, pristine-as-the-driven-snow neutrality, and uniquely unbiased inquiry develops our patience and longsuffering. Cheers Catherine Ranconi.

  40. Wow … people not believing evolution is true, as in humans descending from a common ancestor with apes, do not belong on a blog criticizing others for their (probable) mistakes in the scientific process (e.g., CAGW). Some of your views on evolution are simply wrong and preposterous … and are analogous to people approx. 500 years ago demanding that Copernicus, Bruno, and Galileo were doing poor science and didn’t really know what they were talking about when stating the earth was not the center of the universe, and the earth actually (yes it was hard to “believe” at the time) revolved around the sun.
    It is ironic that much of the best data used against CAGW is from historic and prehistoric records which show we are within normal, natural ranges of climate variability of the earth’s past. The reason it is ironic is that in the study of evolution millions of prehistoric data (fossils) that have been collected since Darwin’s time (as opposed to the few he had at the time of his theory), and their consistency has overwhelmingly demonstrated that descent with modification has gone on for some 4 billion years on our planet.
    If you truly study the fossil record with rationality and rigor you will be amazed at how obvious and well proven this is. The so-called “missing link” between humans and apes has been found over a hundred times since Darwin … but you crazed ideologues, or people half educated in science or philosophy, simply don’t care how many are found. GO STUDY BETTER, and you will discover you are not only related to the apes’ ancestors, but that if you go back far enough your ancestors(and mine) were amphibians and cockroaches. Hard for you to believe, but sorry … it’s true. Some of you seem to love to study, so go take a course (at a major university) in archaeology, evolutionary biology, geology, genetics, physical anthropology, etc.

    • Jake:
      Even more amazing: If NOT A SINGLE FOSSIL had ever been found, overwhelming evidence from a wide range of scientific disciplines would still prove evolution beyond any possible doubt.
      That’s one of the more pitiful aspects of the evolution-deniers: they cling so tightly and loudly to the “missing-link/gap-in-the-record” nonsense they’ve been taught, that they can’t even comprehend how meaningless their words are.

    • Our ancestors weren’t cockroaches. Perhaps you meant that we share a common ancestor with insects, which is of course true, but that was in the Precambrian. The ancestor of chordates like us and of arthropods like cockroaches were already separate in the Cambrian.
      “Amphibians”, in the form of tetrapods which hadn’t yet evolved shelled eggs (to evolve into amniotes), were however our ancestors, emerging in the Late Devonian and diverging in the Early Carboniferous.

  41. And for those that don’t know …
    A scientific “theory” means much more than a “fact”. It is a set of facts which are many, growing in number, and so consistent – that they create a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature. Most lay people (nonscientists) think of “theory” as what actually is termed an “hypothesis” in science. A scientific theory is continually supported by, and not falsified by, more and more facts that continue to be gathered over time. For example, evolutionary theory, so fits in this category that it is literally the backbone and basis of modern biology. We as modern humans owe much to it’s discovery and continued study.

  42. Wow, what great arguments. “Jake,” “Catherine Ronconi,” and the others who sustain faith in evolution as being “scientific fact” sure have a lot to discredit creationists: just review the comments: they have: “take a class,” you are dumb,” “trust the experts,” and “yes, evolutionary theory was wrong, but we have a new-and-improved theory now .”
    tmtisfreeactually contributes by 1. not throwing out insults and 2. providing a link for further study.
    I am glad I jumped off of that Scientism crazy train in my 30s.
    Oh- there was a remark that there is no such thing as Scientism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism
    Pretty much what I said, earlier.

    • TheLast: Why bother presenting evidence when you won’t read it, acknowledge it and/or understand it.
      The comprehensive, unassailable proof is available. Right there within reach. Easily accessible. You can’t refuse to read the proof and then claim there is no proof.
      It is YOUR JOB to place that information into your brain and adjust your understanding of the world accordingly.

    • Do you seriously imagine that because a false concept rates a Wiki entry, ergo it must be something real?
      No wonder you believe in the fairy tale that God made every living thing independently, poofing them into existence. One instant, no chickens, next instant, chickens!
      What a hideous, repulsive monster is this imaginary deity of yours, to create parasitoid ichneumon wasps. Who would worship such a cruel sadist?
      What an incompetent, stupid designer your idiotic deity is, to give humans muscles and other features we don’t need and to have created such laughably badly made feet.

  43. Re: Capitalizing Natural Selection:
    The best reasons to capitalize the phrase natural selection are (1) that Darwin did, and (2) to make the same distinction Darwin made:
    >>This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element, as perhaps we see in the species called polymorphic. Bold added, Darwin, On The Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859, Gutenburg eBook, p. 40.
    At one point, Darwin capitalized Struggle for Life. Bold added, id., p. 195. In the 5th edition, Darwin modified the first sentence above, adding Spencer’s characterization of Darwinism, writing,
    >>This preservation of favourable variations, and the destruction of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest. Bold added, id., 1869, p. 92.
    Another good reason is to underscore that Darwin gave Natural Selection God-like powers, violating a principle of science. Too bad that Spencer was wrong. It’s the math, the survival of the normalized population with the fastest growth rate.

    • What then are we to make of Motte’s 1729 translation of Newton’s Principia, “Rational Mechanics will be the science of motions resulting from any forces whatsoever”, or the Law of Conservation of Energy?
      Or how about Einstein’s own “Relativitätsprinzip”?
      True, capitalization rules are different in German, but so were they in 17th, 18th & 19th century English from now. Look at the Declaration of Independence, for instance.
      Sorry, but your argument from capitalization is just plain ridiculous.

    • Sorry, but your argument from capitalization is just plain ridiculous. The rules for capitalization were different in 1858 from now. Also in the preceding centuries and for some time thereafter. Read the original of the Declaration of Independence, for example, to see what was capitalized in the late 18th century.
      Did James Clerk Maxwell in 1864 imply God-like powers for capitalizing (and italicizing) “Dynamical Theory” and “Electromagnetic Field”?
      How about the Law of Conservation of Energy?

      • Catherine Ronconi, 3/20/15 @ 9:10:
        Sorry, but your argument from capitalization is just plain ridiculous. The rules for capitalization were different in 1858 from now.
        Darwin sometimes used Natural Selection, and sometimes natural selection for identically the same thing. Are you actually suggesting he was following a rule? Be careful what you call ridiculous.
        A real old guideline was to capitalize defined words and phrases, e.g., your Maxwell quotations. That rule is passé in Post Modern Science, where, as Popper, its founder, says, Definitions do not matter. Popper, K.R., Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach, 1979, p. 311. Regardless, capitalizing defined words and phrases still exists widely as a rule in many company and government style manuals. It has much to offer in team writing, and it is widely practiced in industry where Modern Science prevails to the exclusion of PMS.
        Read the original of the Declaration of Independence, for example, to see what was capitalized in the late 18th century.
        What’s your point in referring to 18th Century orthography? All nouns were capitalized in the Constitution. Perhaps this is your notion of evolution, but that’s not the evolution on this thread.
        Aside: Doesn’t these passages from Darwin just cry out for capitalization?
        >>Can we wonder, then, that nature’s productions should be far “truer” in character than man’s productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of far higher workmanship? Darwin, On the Origin (1859), p. 41.
        He explained:
        >> Although natural selection can act only through and for the good of each being, yet characters and structures, which we are apt to consider as of very trifling importance, may thus be acted on. Darwin On the Origin, (1859) p. 41.
        We’re all guided by a Higher Authority, who is known by his Good Works.
        How about the Law of Conservation of Energy?
        >>Only proper names attached to the names of laws, theorems, principles, etc., are capitalized. Chicago Manual of Style, 13th Ed., 1982, ¶7.118, p. 221. CMoS is better suited for literary works than science writing.
        If you need any more help, don’t be shy about posting your questions.

      • Jeff,
        As usual, you could not possibly be more ridiculously wrong.
        The Constitution most certainly does not capitalize every noun, such as “defence” and “day”, and it sometimes capitalizes non-nouns, like “Least”. How hard would it have been for you to check before posting such a falsehood?
        The fact that Darwin did not always capitalize “natural selection” alone should have told you that your preposterous argument is, well, ridiculous.

  44. Before hatching this cockamamie concept, it would have behooved you to read widely in mid-19th century scientific literature and correspondence. To take but one example, consider capitalization in this January 1857 letter of Darwin’s to William Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society. Will you have us believe that “Natural History of the Region”, “Coal”, “Glacial”, “Expedition” and “Geologist” signify God-like action?:
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2206
    Down Bromley Kent
    Jan. 24th—
    Dear Sharpey
    Having never especially attended to the Natural History of the Region in question I really am quite unable to offer any special points of research. And as far as general suggestions go, I cannot add to the Instructions published in the Admiralty Manual.— As it seems that there will be a Geologist attached to the Expedition it seems superfluous to remark, that a collection of the Carboniferous plants from the Coal of that Region would preeminently possess high interest. So again with Glacial action, more especially in regard to sea-borne erratic boulders, it would be highly desirable to ascertain their extension southward, inland, & to what elevation on the land.—
    I wish sincerely I could aid in any suggestions, but it is really not in my power.—
    Pray believe me, Dear Sharpey | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
    I could produce thousands of similar letters to and from Darwin with capitalization far from today’s standard. Your argument is, in a word, ridiculous. Also ludicrous, laughable and preposterous.

  45. Catherine Ronconi, 3/20/15 @ 1:12 pm:
    Throughout most of the eighteenth-century, it was common for drafters to begin every noun with a capital letter, just as Germans do today. This convention was fading by the time the Constitution was drafted (1787), but Gouverneur Morris, who actually penned the final document, elected to follow it. That is why nouns in the original Constitution are capitalized.
    However, Morris made a few mistakes, and some nouns were left without capitals. They include: “defence” in the Preamble, “credit” in Article I, Section 8, Clause 2 (the congressional borrowing power); “duty” in Article I, Section 9, Clause 1; and “present” in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8.
    Two years later, when (under the guidance of James Madison) the First Congress drafted the Bill of Rights, it elected to drop the capitalization rule. Nevertheless, a few mistakes crept in: Several of the nouns in the Bill of Rights were capitalized.
    The capitalization or non-capitalization of a word has no substantive effect, although when used to introduce a phrase it can serve as a clue to meaning.

    Natelson, R., The Constitution: capitalization, http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2011/04/the-constitution-capitalization/

    • Total balderdash!
      Look at the Declaration of Independence. Did Jefferson and the secretary of the Congress accidentally forget to capitalize “events”, “people”, “bands”, “powers”, “earth”, “station”, etc?
      Whoever wrote that nonsense which you quoted is totally ignorant of 18th century English.
      Put please, by all means, keep digging your hole deeper & darker.

    • I notice no source for your italicized citation. No wonder, since it’s ridiculously wrong, as any reader of 18th century English literature would know.
      Please begin the education you should have had before making your ridiculous claim by reading the 1749 novel Tom Jones (the arrows let you flip thrlugh the pages):
      https://archive.org/stream/tomjones03fielgoog#page/n8/mode/2up
      Or any other 18th century English work.

  46. Re: Capitalization & Darwin,
    As mpainter suggested on 11/5/2014 @ 1:38 pm, pay no attention to the foul mannered trio (naming familiar names). They are epithet-hurlers (e.g. on this thread, balderdash, drivel, ignorant, lies, poppycock, ridiculous), bolstering what must be their needy egos with factless or anecdotal, random posts, eschewing any substantative dialog.
    Instead, here is a link to a well-written and even informative little article on capitalization in the Declaration of Independence. Thurman, J., In Defense of Cursive, The New Yorker, 7/5/2012. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/in-defense-of-cursive
    A spoiler: While Jefferson was the lead author of the Declaration (along with J. Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston, and Madison), he was a reliable atheist, bothering not to capitalize even god. His draft was officially transcribed in ancient ink for engraving by engrosser Timothy Marlack, who would capitalize everything in the Germanic style, according to a Benjamin Franklin conjecture.
    The article quotes a modern writer at Slate, Jonathon Lackman, PhD, [2010 dissertation: Mud and Glory: Art-Critical Invective in Paris: 1844-1876], author of Capital Embellismhent: Why do Tea Parties uppercase so many of their nouns?. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2010/11/capital_embellishment.html . After an interesting history of capitalization in various eras, Lackman shows how he has deduced the following scenario: the modern Tea Party, a religious right organization, writes in that 18th Century style, believing they are respecting the style of Founding Father Jefferson, ironically an infidel in his time, hence mistaken on two counts, because what it mimics is the artistic flourishes and occasional misspellings of a proletariat copiest of the day. If [heavy caps] succeeds too well, we may all end up subscribing to the Tea Party’s concept of Freedom, Lackman warns.
    >>More Capitals, less Das Kapital!. Id.

    • Are yoU still flOgging the SubjecT of capitALIZation in thE 18th ceNtury? BaCk on pLAneT EArth, PUnCtuatioN DoEsn’t REally m A t T e r. ?noissergid sseldne siht yhw oS
      Content, not form.
      Seriously, for the sake of us simple, ground-based life forms who may have been napping in the back of the classroom… Can you (in fewer than 100 simple words) summarize what point you are trying to make?

      • Re: takebackthegreen 3/20/15 @ 7:05 pm:
        Can you (in fewer than 100 simple words) summarize what point you are trying to make?
        The operator of an IPCC climate model predicting a human influence on climate, but which subsequently failed, spoke in 2007 of plans to use that model to predict the influence of climate on human evolution, where the existing biological model, Darwinism, never had predictive power. The models are similar for their misattribution of natural causes to human or human-like influences, but that similarity does not mean that two useless models can be meaningfully synchronized. An alternative model for evolution fully based in science does show natural climate to be a cause of evolution.

        • First, the Theory of Evolution is absolutely predictive.
          Second, I meant What point is being made with the endless obsessing about capitalization?

    • Mpainter began the name calling. He’s so divorced from reality that he called those advocating the position with all the evidence behind it crackpots, while refusing to accept any evidence or offer any in support of his patently absurd position, instead making lunatic assertions contrary to all physical reality, while claiming superior geological expertise.
      Birds of a feather flocking together.
      You just keep compounding falsehood upon ever crazier falsehood. Jefferson was as far from an atheist as is possible. He was a Deist, ie he believed in the One God, but not that Christ was His Son. The reason he resisted the concept of extinction so long was that he felt God could not make creatures so imperfect as to die off. He believed in the Great Chain of Being until the evidence for extinction became too great and late in life he accepted its reality, but still cited the workings of God (you can read all about it in one of his letters to Adams). Your ignorance is astounding, and your willingness to spout falsehoods out of such profound ignorance even more shocking.
      http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/species-extinction
      Jefferson believed fervently in an almighty Creator. Whether he capitalized in his first “Rough draft” or not, the text of the Declaration shows what was considered standard in 1776, ie a mix of upper and lower case initial letters different from common practice today.
      You’ve been shown over and over again the evidence that all nouns were not capitalized in the 18th century, as you falsely claimed, on no authority at all and without a shred of evidence.

      • Jefferson probably also had a favorite color and type of underwear.
        The important religious facts about Jefferson are 1) his religious views accommodated the enslavement of other humans, as do all 3 versions of the Abrahamic God, as well as his special little boy, J.H. Christ himself; 2) he had an especially strong dislike of organized religion and its perpetrators–I mean its clergy; and 3) he repeatedly, clearly and unmistakably believed in a strict wall of separation between Church and State.
        None of which seems remotely relevant to climate change… But, since we’re (unfathomably) discussing boring, plagiarized Bronze-age myths that people still believe on “faith,” I’d like to point out my faithful belief that if Jefferson were alive today, he would view slavery as the horror that it is, and would most certainly be anti-theist. He would also have the courage to get in front of a CSPAN camera and say both things.

  47. My long reply failed to post, so I’ll just observe that Jefferson was not an athiest. He was a Deist, who resisted the concept of extinction for religious reasons:
    http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/species-extinction
    The text of the Declaration as printed shows what was considered standard form, regardless of how TJ wrote his first “Rough draft”. You have not a shred of evidence supporting your baseless assertion that all nouns were capitalized nouns in the 18th century. As in the 19th, the standard was different from now, but more were capitalized then than now, but not all. As you have been repeatedly shown.

  48. Re: Catherine Ronconi 3/20/15 @ 7:30 pm:
    You have been accused of hurling invectives, and you respond by saying in effect, he started it, salted with another handful of invectives (e.g., crazier, lunatic, divorced from reality, patently absurd, claiming superior[ity]). You cannot be considered a serious poster, and you’re lucky to get this much attention.
    I imagine that in Jefferson’s day a certain heat from the witch burnings still hung in the atmosphere. It took a great deal of courage and possibly a bodyguard or two to admit to being an atheist. It was political correctness with a death penalty. Neither you nor I can attest to Jefferson’s religious beliefs, but Jefferson famously said, Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my god and myself alone. I suggest you take Jefferson’s advice.
    I did. I asserted nothing about Jefferson’s religion. I cited from authorities, i.e., Judith Thurman, a prize-winning journalist, and Jon Lackman, PhD, where Jefferson’s religion was tangential. If you don’t agree, take it up with them.
    Besides, you’re picking the fly specks out of the pepper. The subject is the use of capitalization, the subject treated by both Thurman and Lackman, and by me, taking the lead first from Darwin’s own writings. Natural Selection was his defined word, and according to some standards still found today, appropriately designated by capitalization, and a phrase needing differentiation from its meaning in ordinary English. It also is worth preserving because it suggests a holy origin, suiting Darwinism’s Intelligent Design.
    If you want a dialog on the subject, my advice is turn off the noisemaker and write something substantative.

    • Are you nuts? It would appear so, even loonier than your buddy Mpainter.
      Do you really not recall asserting that Jefferson was “was a reliable atheist”?
      I guess it should have been obvious from the get go, since your claim that Darwin “anthropomorphized” natural selection was based on his sometimes having capitalized the process, which is ridiculous.
      As you have been shown over and over again, Darwin capitalized all kinds of words that nowadays aren’t usually capitalized.
      Pointless to try to educate a whacko and of course impossible to engage in a dialogue with one.

      • Re: Catherine Ronconi 3/21/15 @ 7:38 am:
        … nuts … loonier
        Do you really not recall asserting that Jefferson was “was a reliable atheist”?
        Is this a test to see if I, too, recall things that didn’t happen? Aim before you shoot. What I wrote was a synopsis of Thurman’s article, made plain under the heading A spoiler:. 3/20 @ 4:32 pm. Could the problem be that you don’t know what a spoiler is?
        I guess it should have been obvious from the get go, since your claim that Darwin “anthropomorphized” natural selection was based on his sometimes have capitalized the process, which is ridiculous.
        Didn’t happen! I led you personally and by the numbers through Darwin’s process of imbuing his Natural Selection with human powers. ¶¶ 5, 6, & 7, 3/19 @ 3:22. In quotations ##5 &6, Darwin expressly gives Natural Selection (as it appears over 20 times in the Origin) the same powers as man demonstrates in husbandry. Moreover, Darwin went much further than mere anthropomorphizing natural selection. In my post to you personally on 3/20 at 10:40 am, I gave you two quotations from The Origin showing that Darwin thought Natural Selection came from a Higher Authority (my translation of higher workmanship) and that it worked for the Good (my capitalization) of the species. This isn’t anthropomorphizing, it’s deifying and it’s anti-science. Your only responses (apparently, because you routinely fail to cite what you are critiquing) was to misunderstand, immediately above, and to say ridiculously wrong [3/20 @ 1:12 pm].
        As you have been shown over and over again, Darwin capitalized all kinds of words that nowadays aren’t usually capitalized.
        Where exactly was that shown? Regardless, the issue is not what Darwin in general capitalized. Darwin frequently, though not consistently, capitalized Natural Selection, which is my principal, though partial, justification for doing so here. He also capitalized Struggle for Life and Survival of the Fittest. Other Darwin capitalizations are frequent, and irrelevant. As I pointed out to you on 3/20 @ 10:40 am, your claim that Darwin was following some 1858 rules of orthography was, to be kind, improbable.
        … whacko … .
        You seem to misread deliberately just to bolster your ego by casting epithets.
        By the way, in my recounting of your invectives, I left out ludicrous, laughable, preposterous. They could be sung to the tune of My Funny Valentine. This pattern could be interpreted as insulting, but considering the source, they are excused.

        • Jeff Glassman says, “By the way, in my recounting of your invectives, I left out ludicrous, laughable, preposterous. They could be sung to the tune of My Funny Valentine.”

          Ya each day is Valentine’s Day around here!

        • It’s amazing how snide you are regarding issues that have no merit, having been thoroughly addressed. Every single objection. Every question. You aren’t even beating a dead horse. The carcass has been collected and you are beating the chalk outline.

      • Jeff Glassman March 21, 2015 at 9:47 am
        So let me get this straight. You summarized the work of a guy who is so ignorant about Jefferson that he claims he was an atheist, in support of your position about Jefferson’s use of capital letters. All in effort to support your entirely evidence-free inference about the wholly imaginary implications of Darwin’s use or non-use of capitals. Which claim you continue to assert even after being shown that Darwin capitalized all kinds of words that could not possibly have anything to do with capitals implying anthropomorphism, and when by your own admission he didn’t always capitalize “natural selection”.
        Sorry, but that’s just flat out nutty!

      • Thomas Jefferson was a Francophile. His sympathies were with Europe and all of its atheist/agnostic trends, but esp. with France. He and John Adams had a long correspondence after their protracted political rivalry was over. John and Abigail Adams both had a deep and lifelong faith, and John Adams wanted to bring his friend around before their deaths. But their main difference was about Jefferson’s huge, enormous, blindingly daft error in regarding the French Revolution as the equivalent and/or the natural outcome of the American Revolution. John Adams in the end was persuasive enough to win an admission from Jefferson that the French Revolution was not in the spirit of the American Revolution at all, but was a mass execution, and did not obtain the same results.

      • @Zeke
        Jefferson and Adams were in accord on religion, despite Adams’ coming from a Puritan background. Both were deists, not atheists. Abigail Adams, too. They didn’t have to bring him around. All of them were monotheists but questioned the divinity of Christ, ie they were unitarians, not trinitarians
        Jefferson and the Adamses all believed in an almighty creator and saw the hand of providence in the Patriots’ victory in the Revolution. If anything, Jefferson was more religious than the New Englanders, although perhaps more anti-clerical.
        As for his sympathies for the French Revolution, you’re right. Adams was more pro-English and was ridiculed for it (“His Rotundity”). But IMO Jefferson never went as native in France as Franklin did. That’s why Adams and Jay were sent over to rein the old lech in.

        • I am well aware that history is being re-written to remove Christians from American history and from science history. This re-writing of history is aggressive and shameless. (Apparently we even have a President claiming that Jefferson was a Muslim sympathizer, had a Qu’ran and that Islam is woven into the country’s founding.)
          My caution to anyone is that if a member of the Cannabis Generation’s mouth is moving, speaking or writing publicly about any Christian, or any passage of the Bible, you should consider that the opposite is much closer to the truth.
          Madison, Adams, and Washington made their faith in the Word and the Savior (Y’shua) clear in speeches and writings. They did understand that they worked along side natural philosophers and even trendy European intellectuals. They each warned that even a society based on individual freedom has no solid foundation if there is no love, integrity, duty, and grace of God in people’s hearts.
          This is how history is re-written: Once a Christian dies, atheist/agnostic academics suddenly become experts in what the departed really believed. This altering of the actual Christian faith of scientists and historical figures is especially easy to accomplish on the internet.

          • Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear… If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you.
            — Thomas Jefferson, to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787.
            More importantly: Who cares? Belief in fairy tales doesn’t matter anymore than eye or hair color except in very narrow circumstances. Nothing obsesses believers as much as figuring out all the minutiae of their stingy little belief system and how it matters in the world.
            It is abusively boring.
            The very fact that intelligent people who are knowledgeable about science bother to engage this nonsense is like feeding pigeons: it gives them sustenance, it attracts more pigeons, and your surroundings end up covered in sh*t.

          • takebackthegreen says, “The very fact that intelligent people who are knowledgeable about science bother to engage this nonsense is like feeding pigeons: it gives them sustenance, it attracts more pigeons, and your surroundings end up covered in sh*t.”

            I have read in the good book that during a siege by the Assyrians in the land of Israel in the 8th century BC, dove droppings could be sold for several days’ wages. Therefore we have historic record that at least in the worst circumstances dove scat has some nutritional value.
            UNESCO approved versions of world history, on the other hand, have nothing like that dove s#&^ recommend it, and even less of taste to the heart and mind. And it should give many people pause to wonder why the UNESCO World Empire bunch is so anxious to wipe out our book, to undo agriculture, energy, and personal transportation, and expunge our contributions to freedom, science, and history.
            I remind everyone here that there are many historical models and ways of interpreting the past. One person may hold the geographical view, one the unhistoric view, one the economic view, one the great-man interpretation of history. There is no more worthless historical paradigm than the one glorifying the conquering empires of the past – least of all Rome. In the scriptures, empires are portrayed as aggressive and unnatural chimera, assembled from the worst of the conquered nations. They are portrayed as conquering and “trampling the residue under the feet.” The world empire that is coming will be the worst of all of the past world empires – Babylon, Assyria, Greece and Rome – put together. In our writings and prophets, these truths are recorded accurately, and for our good.

          • inre: Thomas Jefferson quotes. One more for good fun.
            “As for France and England, with all their pre-eminence in science, the one is a den of robbers and the other a den of pirates. And if science produces no better fruits than tyranny, murder, rapine, and destitution of national morality, I would rather wish our country to be ignorant, honest, and estimable as our neighboring savages are.”

          • Well Zeke, you should probably update your playbook. Because that quote doesn’t mean what you think it does. I won’t spoil the fun of figuring it out for yourself.
            Also, I would’ve cut it off before the word “savages.” Guess who he was referring to? Not exactly his noblest moment…
            Yes, good fun indeed.

      • Those who assert that Adams believed that Jesus was the son of god are rewriting history. Or have never bothered to read it. I don’t know for certain about George Washington, because he didn’t write about his beliefs, but he probably was a unitarian, like James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and other Founders. Franklin was probably the closest to being an atheist, late in his life, but no one can say for sure. He did object to Jefferson’s original language in the first draft of the Declaration as too religious.
        From reading the letters between Jefferson and the Adamses, I know that they were in accord that Jesus was not divine. That makes them technically not Christians, same as Lincoln, but they were theists. (The young Lincoln was probably an atheist, however. Those who knew him best said so, but he might have gotten more theistic in the terrible years before his death.)
        The Adamses were unitarian. They were active members of the First Parish Church in Quincy, which was unitarian from at least 1753. Like John’s, Abigail’s theological views evolved over time. In 1816, late in her life, she wrote her son and future president J. Q. Adams, about her religious beliefs then:
        “I acknowledge myself a unitarian – Believing that the Father alone, is the supreme God, and that Jesus Christ derived his Being, and all his powers and honors from the Father … There is not any reasoning which can convince me, contrary to my senses, that three is one, and one three.”
        She expressed similar sentiments to her daughter and to Jefferson. The fact is that the most important Founders and their families were deist and unitarian, that is, they believed in a god but not in the divinity of Jesus.

  49. Evolutionist believe a super outer space meteor delivered the key to start this life evolving circus. The movie Prometheous with multi million dollar CGI however is more convincing…Evolution circus began when the bald, oversized pasty white guy seeded life with a chirality potion.
    When your Daddy is a meteor, you have to assume outer space rocks are smarter than terrestrial.

    • @Prometheus
      Whether microbes arrived on earth in meteorites or developed here independently has nothing to do with evolution, which is not about the origin of life.
      Evolution explains the observed changes that have occurred (and not occurred) in life on earth after it arose here, by whatever means.
      It is, as many have noted in comments above, an observed fact that new species (and higher taxonomic classifications) have evolved from ancestral forms.
      Nor should this fact surprise anyone. People have created new species out of existing ones for thousands of years. Domestic sheep can no longer produce fertile offspring with their ancestral species, for instance. Corn cannot reproduce on its own, let alone produce fertile offspring with its wild ancestor teosinte. Now we can create new species in the lab, both gradually over time, as in selective breeding experiments with insects, or rapidly, as with bacteria and yeast through simple mutations, plants through polyploidy, and even animals (to include insects but also “higher” animals) via hybridization.
      The last common universal ancestor of all life forms now alive on earth lived quite a while after the first appearance of organisms on this planet.
      Organic chemical evolutionary mechanisms played a part in the development of life from its constituent parts (which do exist in abundance on meteorites), but biological evolution requires biology and biochemistry, ie replication and metabolism, to exist before it can operate.

  50. If it is so easy to disprove Christianity, why are the arguments here so based on vitriol and insult?
    Humorously, that only fulfills prophecy.
    Sowerby sez:
    “Those who assert that Adams believed that Jesus was the son of god are rewriting history. Or have never bothered to read it. I don’t know for certain about George Washington, because he didn’t write about his beliefs, but he probably was a unitarian, like James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and other Founders.”
    “Other Founders:”
    —The majority of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians. In recent decades, we hear a lot about the handful who were Unitarian and deist or atheist because this is in vogue in higher education.
    George Washington, as best as we can tell, was a devout, Bible-reading Christian.
    During the Revolutionary War, he sent a letter to a general regarding how to direct the revolutionary soldiers in order to stay healthy. The letter is not that long, and is an interesting read. Anyone can access it here, or elsewhere by googling “washington peeks-kill orders general”
    http://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-100970598-bk
    “Soldiers are not supposed to be acquainted with the Art of preserving Health; they are little versed in Books; but, to the Honour of American Soldiers, it is allowed that no men in Christendom of the same Occupation are so well acquainted with their Bibles: Let them, once more, read the History and Travels of the Children of Israel while they continued in the Wilderness, under the Conduct of Moses; and let them consider at the same Time that they are reading the History of a great Army, that continued forty Years in their different Camps under the Guidance and Regulations of the wisest General that ever lived, for he was inspired. In the History of these People, the Soldier must admire the singular Attention that was paid to the Rules of Cleanliness. They were obliged to wash their Hands two or three Times a Day. Foul Garments were counted abominable; every Thing that was polluted or dirty was absolutely forbidden; and such Persons as had Sores or Diseases in their Skin were turned out of the Camp*. [Here GW footnotes Numbers 5:1]
    “The utmost Pains were taken to Keep the Air in which they breathed, free from Infection. They were commanded, to have a Place without the Camp, whither they should go, and have a Paddle with which they should dig, so that when they went abroad to ease themselves, they might turn back and cover that which came from them**. [Here, GW footnotes Deuteronomy 23:12.]”
    I hardly see Washington gushing over some “bronze-age pigeon – sh yte” in such an effusive manner if he did not believe this.
    The truth is that the Old Testament, in the Exodus narrative, simply has some public health stuff and other stuff that is FAR different than any other legend-writing, fable, etc.

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