Climate Change and Fear of Change are Natural Conditions Easily Exploited Because People Don’t Understand Amount and Extent of Change

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Richard Hooker explained,

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even when from worse to better.”

People know change occurs. They also know it always has and always will. They know that when it occurs everyone is inconvenienced as Hooker observed and some gain and some lose. They fear change because they might be in the loser group but don’t know.

The general condition and view of change in the natural world were reinforced and promoted in western science by a philosophy developed by Hutton and Playfair. The latter was a Church of Scotland minister, mathematician, and naturalist who promoted James Hutton’s work on the theory of the earth called uniformitarianism. It entered mainstream thinking because it provided a basis for Sir Charles Lyell’s thinking in his famous book, Principles of Geology. It became even more pervasive because Darwin took a Lyell’s book with him on his famous Beagle voyage. Darwin acknowledged in his journals that it along with Thomas Malthus’ essay on population together with the fossil evidence were most influential in his theory “On the Origin of Species.” The basic tenet of uniformitarianism is that change is very gradual over long periods of time. It replaced the biblical view of Neptunism that events were either pre- or post-Noah’s flood.

Darwin’s theory was never tested, as normally occurs in the scientific method. His theory of evolution was used by the scientific establishment of the time to defeat religion. Unfortunately, this painted science into a corner. It meant that if anybody challenged Darwin, they were automatically branded as creationists. An example of the level of scientific elitism in existence at the time was the shunning of probably one of the greatest scientists of all time. However, don’t take my word for it he was one of three, along with Newton and Maxwell, scientific heroes of Einstein. He had pictures of all three on his office wall. Faraday’s sins were that he did not have a university education and he belonged to a very strict fundamental religious group called the Sandemanians.

The general theme of the challenges to Darwin, who was aware as anyone of the limitations of his ideas, is that natural selection is a well-observed phenomenon. The problem comes in the evolution portion where there is no evidence to support the increasing evolutionary tree of speciation (Figure1).


Figure 1

Two good books on the subject are Michael Denton’s, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” and a second volume, “Evolution: Still a theory in Crisis.”

The failure to test Darwin’s theory is important, but of little consequence to most people. This is like some 40% of the European and American public still think the Sun goes around the Earth even though Copernicus showed it was the opposite 475 years ago. It doesn’t matter to most people. As long as the Sun rises and sets, everything is fine. It changed and became personal with implications for everybody when Darwin said we were animals and just another species of apes.

Another hypothesis with profound implications for everyone evolved in the 1960s and is generally known as anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Like Darwin’s work, it evaded the scientific method. It was never tested and became prey, ironically because he avidly supported Darwin, in Thomas Huxley’s observation 120 years ago


The great tragedy of Science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”


An ugly fact appeared after 1998 that dealt a mortal blow to the beautiful AGW hypothesis. It was a beautiful hypothesis because it appeared to confirm the central thesis of the new paradigm of environmentalism that humans were a cancer on the planet. This ludicrous notion, which ignores humans as the most successful animal on the planet from a Darwinian perspective, even received credibility from supposedly thoughtful people. The AGW hypothesis assumed that an increase in CO2 would cause an increase in temperature. After 1998, the CO2 continued to increase, but temperature levelled. Promoters tried to ignore what was going on, but that caught the eye of those humorous cynics, the cartoonists (Figure 2).


Figure 2

The people controlling the AGW deception were aware of what was happening. Emails from 2004 leaked from the University of East Anglia revealed the concern. Nick at the Minns/Tyndall Centre that handled publicity for the climate story said,

“In my experience, global warming freezing is already a bit of a public relations problem with the media.”

Swedish climate expert on the IPCC Bo Kjellen replied,

“I agree with Nick that climate change might be a better labelling than global warming.”

Many people noticed the change but didn’t understand the implications. It was still about global warming because CO2 had to remain the demon, but now change became the operative and important word. Promoters of the AGW scoured the world and filled the media with stories of change. The problem is they are all natural and well within natural variability. It resonated because the people listened with uniformitarian ears and minds. Supposedly educated people made innocuous statements sound menacing. Consider this comment from biologist Daniel Inouye and labelled an “accidental climate scientist” shows he doesn’t understand. The problems are most climate scientists are accidental, dealing with one small piece of a complex puzzle.

“These days, plants and animals are arriving at Rocky Mountain Biological Lab a week or two earlier than they were 30 years ago. The robins that used to arrive in early April now show up in mid-March. Marmots end their winter slumber ever earlier.”

Consider this 1772 quote from biologist, fur trader, and arctic explorer Samuel Hearne. His research and description of Arctic Fox and their behavior is still considered by many as the best. How does Inouye explain such significant change, cooling in this case, before AGW could have occurred?

“I have observed, during my several journeys in those parts that all the way to the North of Seal River the edge of the wood is faced with old withered stumps, and trees which have been flown (sic) down by the wind. They are mostly of the sort which is called here Juniper, but were seldom of any considerable size. Those blasted trees are found in some parts to extend to the distance of twenty miles from the living woods, and detached patches of them are further off; which is proof that the cold has been increasing in those parts for some ages. Indeed, some of the older Northern Indians have assured me that they have heard their fathers and grandfathers say, they remembered the greatest part of those places where the trees are now blasted and dead, in a flourishing state.

Hearne knew the context of this. The tree line advanced during the warmth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) then retreated in the cooling to the nadir of the Little Ice Age (LIA). This is what Hearne describes with his comment that this is “proof that the cold has been increasing in those parts for some ages.”

It is just 180 years since Louis Agassiz suggested the Earth experiences Ice Ages. It is so recent that most, even scientists, don’t realize that there were four phases in the recent Ice Age and that there have been possibly nine previous ice ages approximately every 250 million years. Most can’t imagine that just 20,000 years ago over half of North America was covered with an ice sheet larger in area than the current Antarctic ice sheet. Even more remarkable sea level was at least 130 meters lower than today (Figure 3). Amazingly, most of the ice melted in approximately 8000 years and sea level recovered in that same period.


Figure 3

As climate change became the new target of the deception, many of us pushed back. When it was called global warming, those who challenged, were designated, skeptics. With the shift to climate change, they became deniers. The problem was that most, like me, spent their careers explaining to people how much climate changed all the time naturally. There was pushback because people noticed the change of name and knew climate changes, but they didn’t know how much and assumed it was small because of uniformitarianism.

The response of AGW supporters was to claim the change was more rapid than ever before. They argued that it was outside the natural rate, but it wasn’t. Most of the public didn’t know that because they are not even aware of how rapidly society changes.

It is just 85 years since Hitler came to power. How much has happened since then? World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Internet, people on the moon, Satellites, Cell phones, collapse of communism, Jet airplanes, nuclear power, and you can add your own choice to the list. Who predicted any of it? Maybe somebody mentioned the possibility of one or two, but they are usually a result of randomness. The response to such an argument by AGW alarmists is that this is proof of it being a recent phenomenon.

A broad response is in English historian Arnold Toynbee’s observation that history is just one damn thing after another. I also urge you to read the diaries of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). He began a diary in 1660 and kept it for almost ten years. It is a remarkable read and illustrates how much society changes all the time. For example, he watched Charles I executed and the monarchy replaced by a Republican government under Oliver Cromwell. Pepys’ served in that government and is primarily responsible for the development of the Royal Navy that became the vehicle of global power for the British Empire. Because of his position, he was on the Navy ship that brought Charles II back to England to restore the monarchy. Imagine in your working lifetime going from a monarchy to a republic and back to a monarchy. Fortunately, he only spent a short time in the Tower of London, but that was more because of suspicions he had Catholic leanings.

It is a cliché to say change is the norm, but what people don’t understand is how quickly and dramatically it occurs. That natural pattern is what made people innately afraid of change. People supporting AGW exploit that fear, but they also exploit it by using natural events and claiming they are unnatural and occurring faster than ever before.

314 thoughts on “Climate Change and Fear of Change are Natural Conditions Easily Exploited Because People Don’t Understand Amount and Extent of Change

  1. “Two good books on the subject are Michael Denton’s, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”

    Is that a joke? A book by an Creationism Apologist?

        • Hot Scot
          Perhaps our friend RS is an Obfuscatory Irrelevance?

          I almost wrote Obfuscatory Ob5cen1ty, but though better of it.
          Alliteration Ain’t Always Absolutely Ace!

    • Dr Ball. I am perhaps not surprised about your ignorance of evolutionary theory as much as your comparing this scientific consensus with that of CAGW. I’m afraid that everything else you write will have to be filtered through these optics.

      • Evolution isn’t a scientific consensus. It’s a scientific fact. No consensus required. Just the observations.

        CACA, by contrast, can’t exist without a bogus consensus. Science doesn’t rely on consensus, but observation, whether of nature directly or by experiment.

        CACA was born falsified and has been repeatedly shown false again since its hatching. The fact of evolution, OTOH, has been repeatedly confirmed, over and over and over again, and never shown false.

        • Felix, Darwin’s theory of evolution is what Dr. Ball is talking about. Indeed Darwin knew of the short comings of his theories. And while the liberals of the time loved Darwin’s theory of evolution they hated his theories of other things like the development of coral atolls. Much of what we think we know about Darwin’s theory comes from Huxley’s “selling” of the theory which at the time drove scientific consensus. The theory of evolution has evolve profoundly since Darwin. Dawkins and Gould both caused rethinking of Darwin’s theory, going from phyletic gradualism (basically Darwinian) to punctuated equilibrium (better explanation.)

          • Darwin’s contributions were the fact of common descent and of natural selection and other evolutionary processes.

            I don’t think I know what Darwin wrote. I’ve read his works.

            Of course evolutionary theory has advanced. Natural selection is now a simple observation, not an hypothesis. Darwin didn’t know how inheritance works.

            To speak of Darwinism, ie evolution as a belief system, is pure ignorance. There is the term “darwinian”, which refers to evolution by means of natural selection.

            The modern darwinian synthesis of the 1920s combined natural selection with stochastic processes, informed by statistics, the branch of math developed to deal with evolution, just as calculus was developed to quantify physics.

    • I have not read either book and do not know if the author is a “creationist”. One does not need to accept (or reject) the religious views of an author in order to deal in an intellectually honest way with that author’s scientific evidence, theories, or claims. If the theory presented is that evolution is false because a holy book says something different, then you are entirely justified in declining to credit that as scientific evidence. But if an avowedly religious person presents rigorous arguments backed by evidence, and you wave them away with the caveat “consider the source”, then your action reveals the fact that you are equally zealous about a proposition that you take on faith, namely that there is no God and that evolution has to be entirely random and undirected.

      Again, I don’t know what the author proposes as an alternative to conventional evolutionary theory, but true scientists welcome challenges and the opportunity to refine and improve theories. A true scientist always suspects that they have it wrong and will relentlessly seek out evidence that helps refine their understanding. The political charlatan talks about “settled science” and “scientific consensus”, and tries to discredit views opposing their political program by ad hominem arguments.

  2. “there is no evidence to support the increasing evolutionary tree of speciation”

    Cough,…this’ll be good.

    • Yep.
      “there is no evidence to support the increasing evidence for AGW”
      That’s not really a Ball quote, sorry. Just paraphrasing the rest of the post.
      But, hey, he’s not a flat-earther at least.

      • Notice how the trolls don’t bother actually debating the point. They just assume that they are right because that’s what all their professors told them.

          • Well there are people who want to debate the spherical earth, gravity, the germ theory of disease and plate tectonics.

          • You do realize though, that there isn’t enough Neutrino flux to support the Standard Model of the Sun.
            If Science is empirical evidence and measurement, then you must stand bound by that philosophy… hmmm? You can’t say something is so, because it has to be. That would be lazy. You either understand something because you have quantified the mechanism of its processes in its entirety…. or you do not understand it beyond a few significant parts and say so.

          • It’s been about 10 years since I tried to discuss evolution with someone (like you).

            I brought up my questions on the evolution of viruses, and the timing with respect to other life forms … I was an idiot.

            I brought my views on epigenetics … I was a Lamarkian idiot.

            Things have changed a little in the last 10 years, but I suppose that those researching viral evolution (and epigenetic triggers) are stupid (and as are wasting their time).

          • While the fact of evolution isn’t debatable, aspects of the body of theory trying to explain its workings are certainly subject to discussion and research. Same as with the theory of universal gravitation and many another well-established scientific fact.

            Please cite a viral researcher who imagines that evolution doesn’t happen. Viruses evolve so rapidly that it enhances their threat to their hosts. When they get too deadly, they evolve to be less lethal, just as their hosts evolve resistance.

            Please state why you imagine that epigenetics somehow is in opposition to the fact of evolution. Are you thinking of evo-devo?


          • Can you please provide the evidence that, via “viruses evolv(ing) so rapidly” they became, oh, say, a newt?

            Or a virus that “evolved” into something, anything, other than a virus?

            Or how about, in the hundreds of thousands of generations of fruit fly “evolution” observed by researchers, can you please provide the details of the fruit fly “evolving” into, oh, say, a butterfly? Or anything other than a fruit fly?

            Yes, there is evidence of micro-evolution, species undergoing relatively minimal tweaks to form or function. See Darwin’s finches–their beaks changed! But not one of Darwin’s finches “evolved” into dragons, or sharks, or snakes, or even larks or buzzards.

            Where’s the evidence of macro-evolution? Other than the just-so stories imagined and spun by those who stare at bone fragments too long?

            Ready, willing and interested.


          • Well, we have little knowledge of the peduncles. Way back when differentiation initially took place. And…Darwinism is just a theory. If you can disprove it, go right ahead. First, explain how we came to be after the dinosaurs were eliminated. And the only (?) mammals at that time looked like voles.

          • Felix,

            This thread is going a little off, and I am late responding, so this may not get to you, but I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring a good comment.

            In my opinion, evolutionary theory (the big basket full of subsets of evolutionary study) needs to be defined before reasonable discussion can take place (certainly before calling some stupid). I’m probably close to being on the same page as you … I think that the basket full of study does add up to an acceptable conclusion, but it is a conclusion. When people state that evolution is fact (and they do) it confuses.

            Being a math guy I still need to stick with my definition of theory; I don’t think I will ever be able to reconcile any theory as “scientific fact”. “Scientific fact” is consensus. Fact is fact. Premise is premise. My theory is there ain’t no santa claus … I can’t prove it, I don’t want to, and it doesn’t make any difference. (On the other hand there either is or isn’t a sanity clause, it is verifiable, and it’s conceivable that the lack of such could make a difference).

            Viruses change rapidly in response to their environment … is this the real thing … evolution? But that’s an aside; wrt to virus study, the giant viruses and the argument for a fourth branch of life shows just how little we knew/know, but that is an aside as well. To me the commonly accepted big basket of evolutionary theory doesn’t make sense when viruses are packed in there … maybe I just don’t enough yet.

            I don’t think advances in epigenetic research show any reason to oppose the accepted consensus opinion of the big basket of evolutionary theory. I think the new (and recently accepted) ideas and research show that we know very little about how life changes (evolves). (“There are three … no wait four … no wait five, yep five, important mechanisms leading to evolutionary change … each a scientific fact”).

            Gravity: current math model assumes attractive force, & it works for what we use it for. Better understanding (and better associated modeling) may provide for better and unique uses.

          • Evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation. With a body of theory explaining those observations. Same as gravity, the atomic theory of matter, germ theory of disease, relativity and QM, among others.

            The evolution of new species and genera has been repeatedly observed and created in the lab. The evolution of higher classifications is inferred from all available evidence, without any evidence against that conclusion.

            Thus, it’s as valid as any scientific theory explaining observed facts. As the devout Orthodox Christian Dobzhansky, of fruit fly fame, so sagely noted, “Nothing makes sense in biology but in the light of evolution”.

          • Why are people in this comment section debating evoluion? It doesn’t make sense. If evolution is a theory which is wrong then eventually science would chuck it out. You have to trust the scientific process because that’s how it works. Why should people who haven’t studied or experimented with it be bothered by it?

          • I believe that viruses are artifacts of complex life forms and agents of evolution.

            Viruses cannot exist without the relatively intricate DNA machinery found in a nucleus.

            They transmit genetic material between members of a species as well as between unlike species. They do it in spite of our immune systems. And we suffer the most when a virus crosses from another species to us. And we might even benefit the most from it.

            They transmit new, small pieces of genetic material into our nuclear DNA continuously. We then unwittingly give it a test run. I will bet this can be demonstrated in part by comparing the DNA of twins at birth and then again at old age.

            The day when viruses are conquered by medicine will be the same day we remove ourselves from the process of natural evolution. We are headed in this direction already. I think of it as “Directed Evolution”. Who knows where it will lead us? Definitely to ridiculous, ego driven, designer children…definitely the darker side. There are, as well, many potential life saving benefits due to come from manipulating our DNA using viruses. It is the next step or stage of evolution for us. I find it and the speculation of how it will be used quite interesting.

          • Viruses have indeed contributed their DNA and RNA to other, more complex organisms (or just plain to organisms, since by some definitions viruses aren’t alive). The extent to which they have contributed to the evolution of prokaryotes and eukaryotes is unclear overall and varies among groups.

            But other sources of genetic variation are probably more important than the bits of nucleic acid we’ve borrowed from viruses.

          • It depends of your definition of life. If you want to tailor a definition of life that includes viruses, it probably includes my iPhone as well, or a bonfire, or something else not regarded as alive.

          • Viruses are closer than phones or fires.

            The modern definition of life is something capable of replication, metabolism and evolution in its population. That’s the short version.

            Phones don’t reproduce, for starters. And evolution is a consequence of evolution.

          • Willard – June 25, 2018 7:23 pm

            They transmit new, small pieces of genetic material into our nuclear DNA continuously. We then unwittingly give it a test run. I will bet this can be demonstrated in part by comparing the DNA of twins at birth and then again at old age.

            On a similar note, it is a literal scientific fact that all life forms have genetically inherited “memory” data/info that is stored in the DNA of their cell’s chromosomes.

            IMLO, it is also a literal scientific fact that all higher life forms that have a brain, …. also have the ability to grow new brain neurons pre-birth or as needed post-birth, …… wherein newly sensed environmental data/info is/can be stored in the DNA of the neuron’s chromosomes. I will bet this can be demonstrated in part by comparing the DNA in different neurons of the same person, at different times (months/years) of their post-birth development.

          • The estimable commentator MarkW can speak for himself, but IMO he has made his belief or conclusion abundantly clear.

            He believes that natural selection or other evolutionary processes can change the size of shape or existing structures, but cannot produce complex organs such as the eye or kidney.

            By extension, I infer that he has also concluded that transitions between species or even genera are possible, but not the origin of higher classifications without supernatural intervention.

            But the point of science is to seek natural explanations for observations of nature. There are no “irreducibly complex” structures. The mission of a scientist is to try to explain through natural mechanisms the origin of features of living things, simple and complex.

            To claim “irreducible complexity” is to throw up the arms of science and punt. And indeed, since Behe hatched the antiscientific conjecture of “IC”, in order to sneak creationism into public school science classes, the evolution of his allegedly IC bacterial flagella has been elucidated.

            So-called “Intelligent Design” is simply creationism redux, and just as antiscientific, without any scientific basis whatsoever, as was shown to high hilarity in the Dover trial. If there be a Designer, He, She or It is an incompetent idiot. Also cruel and deceptive, hence not worthy of worship.

            But anyone is free to inject his or her concept of a Creator God into the history of life on Earth at any point, as I told my fundamentalist students at a leading Baptist college. It’s just that it’s not necessary and indeed anti scientific to do so.

          • What is the meaning of supernatural? I would say it falls into two categories: the unreal/impossible/fantasy, and the unexplained/not-as-yet-understood.

            If there is a God who creates, isn’t it conceivable that the method of creation is evolution? And the random changes may not be pure chance? The mechanics of how complex features come to exist, will have to fall into the second category. Ellucidating the process will never prove that the process is guided or unguided.

            There are more things in heaven and earth Felix, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

          • Indeed. God can’t guide the development of life on earth over 500,000,000 years, but He can do it in 7,000.

          • Supernatural in terms of science means an explanation that doesn’t rely upon observation of nature, but is a made-up. untestable conjecture. Such as the God hypothesis, which is incapable of being tested and found false.

            The as yet understood does not qualify as supernatural, unless you make up untestable stories about the not understood phenomena, such as that God did it. The story explains nothing.

            You can insert God into the history of life, the Earth and the universe, but the conjecture explains nothing. The point of science is to find natural explanations of nature.

            The point is that there is no need for supernatural hypotheses when natural observations explain everything. The God hypothesis explains nothing.

            How do you know that there are things in heaven and earth of which I haven’t dreamt? How do you things in either place without observing them, forming hypotheses thereupon and testing them?

          • Felix, “there is no need for supernatural hypotheses when natural observations explain everything.” The problem is that something outside of nature can’t be observed, so you can’t possibly know if natural observations explain everything. You simply must rely on faith to assume whether there is or isn’t a god of any kind. Don’t conflate that with science. Science is not a god. Science is a tool. Just do science and stop worrying about evangelizing people to your faith.

          • Felix – June 26, 2018 6:01 pm

            Supernatural in terms of science means an explanation that doesn’t rely upon observation of nature, but is a made-up. untestable conjecture. Such as the God hypothesis, which is incapable of being tested and found false.

            Excerpted from: “A Logical Perspective On the Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens”, …. to wit:

            A need for religious beliefs arises

            As the individuals within these groups became more intelligent and knowledgeable of their environment they began to question those things they were subjected to that they didn’t understand, including thunder, lightning, the seasons and their own origins. And when such questions arise in social groups of humans their leader(s) were queried for an answer to them. But their leaders no longer had any memories of, or the access to any of the alien explorers that originally created humans, to nurture them on their origins, or any historical records that would explain things to them. Therefore, the leaders and/or oldest members of these isolated groups were forced to use their imagination to create acceptable “reasons” for said origins in order to appease the curiosity of the individuals in said group.

            Thus, Gods and Goddesses were thought up to “explain the unexplainable”. And the isolation of the different groups of humans resulted in differences in their imagined “reasons”, otherwise known as “religious beliefs”. Our knowledge of said religious beliefs are recorded in both the archeological and historical records of past cultural groups, of which some are the root source of most all present day Religions.

            A per say, ….. Religious belief decent with modifications, ….. from the polytheism worshipping of the past to the monotheism worshipping of the present.

          • Well, actually the God hypothesis is subject to empirical test. At the time of death this test will be made. The problem is that once we have made the empirical test, should we discover that there is a God, we are unable to publish our findings.

          • Paul,

            Maybe they can be published … but maybe it’s just that the pay walled doesn’t allow us access.

            Anyway, given the state of current published material, would anyone be willing to trust the findings & conclusions?

            (and the peer review … some things just can’t be done)

          • True. Although in Hamlet, the ghost does return from the alleged “land from which no traveler returns”.

          • >>
            Although in Hamlet . . . .

            You do realize that Hamlet was fiction? The ghost’s return isn’t reality.


          • Yes, I do.

            But many are the people alive today who claim to have returned from that borne from which none are supposed to return. And also many who believe in ghosts.

          • Yes, but evolution seems to be your hot button. I used to argue in favor of evolution, but those arguing with me turned out to be AGW supporters too. The appearance of AGW advocates, who acted just like creationists (or should I say theists), made me skeptical of both AGW and evolution. I never had a period of AGW belief–to me, it was phony from the very start.


          • It’s not my hot button issue. It’s my scientific discipline, ie the area of science about which I know the most. It’s also a big part of my professional work, as a plant geneticist, breeding new strains to feed the world.

            The problem is that many climate skeptics are indeed also creationists, just as the alarmists charge.

            The difference is that evolution is an incontrovertible fact, better supported than gravity. CACA, OTOH is antiscientific, antihuman death worship.

            Denying the fact of evolution is the same as denying that Earth is spherical, that germs cause disease, that continents move, or any other theory you want.

            There are no arguments or evidence against the fact of evolution, yet people with no experience whatsoever of biology feel qualified to spout the lies they have been fed by professional liars.

          • >>
            It’s not my hot button issue . . . .

            Yeah, right. 115/282 = 40.8%. That's quite a lot of comments–essentially dominating this entire thread. –Not that I really care how many posts you make.

            If you believe just the fossil record, then evolution is obvious. I'm not sure the current crop of theories/hypotheses: fundamental theorem of natural selection, Muller's ratchet, punctuated equilibrium, etc. can adequately explain everything in the fossil record.


          • How about 32 of 92 comments on the YD impact post? Lukewarm button?

            I responded to people when it appeared no one else wanted to. I guess hot button could describe my attitude. If a post had claimed that heavier than air flight isn’t possible, especially long-range, multi-engine aircraft, and many commenters supported that view, then you might have felt impelled to reply.

            What do you think evolution can’t explain about the fossil record? I don’t know of any organisms or structures in it which could not have evolved naturally, without supernatural intervention. But I might have missed something.

          • Evolution explains sex better than just about any other major development in the history of life on Earth.

            Not that anything fully explains it. Sweet mystery of life. And torment.

            There are competing evolutionary hypotheses:


            But then maybe the Bible is right, and females are help metes.

            But then why is the normal developmental pathway female, with males shunted onto a deviant pathway. Hence, male nipples.

          • Probably more than that on the electric airplane post.

            ATheok accused me of thread bombing that one and Willis’ volcano post.

          • There’s an advantage to sex–it’s a search algorithm, whereas, natural selection is a hill-climbing algorithm. The current crop of theories can’t explain why sex is favored–just that it is.

            Dandelions used to be sexual but are now asexual. They don’t even need to bloom–the yellow flower is unnecessary. There’s also a whip-tail lizard that is all female. They are asexual too. So conversion from sexual to asexual happens. Why isn’t it more common?

            Another problem is how do organisms change their chromosome count. It’s not by non-dis-junction. Everything I’ve read is just more hand-waving.


          • Dandelions are still sexual, but can also reproduce by budding. This is very much a selected for trait. Like many plants, they have both male and female sex organs on the same flower.

            They retain both male and female reproductive organs. Insects may carry pollen from male to female reproductive organs in order to form a fertile seed. Dandelions can do this in two different ways. Insects can carry the pollen from one flower to another. Or, the flowers can pollinate themselves. Thus a single dandelion can reproduce itself and spread over a lawn.

            However, they don’t need insects to carry the pollen. Dandelions can reproduce themselves when there isn’t enough sunlight to cause the flower buds to open. In this case the male parts pollinate the female parts against which they are pressed. The resultant fertile seeds push their way out of the top of the bud.

            There are more parthenogenic organisms than just the whip-tailed lizard. Parthenogenesis occurs naturally in some plants, some invertebrate animals (including nematodes, water fleas, some scorpions, aphids, some mites, some bees, some Phasmida and parasitic wasps) and, besides the lizards, a few vertebrates (such as some fish, amphibians, other reptiles and very rarely birds). I wrote a paper on parthenogenic chickens. Parthenogensis has been induced artificially in a few species including fish and amphibians.

            It makes evolutionary sense in certain stable environments, but is usually an evolutionary dead end, because the sexual organisms adopting this method of reproduction limit their genetic variation, hence their ability to adapt to rapidly changing environments. Males after all are a waste from a purely bioenergetic standpoint, so there can be a selective advantage in all female populations. Even in the ZW sex determination system, there will be a preponderance of females, although not all, as in the XY or XO systems.

            Changing chromosome count is no mystery at all. It’s just repackaging of the same genetic material. They often fuse or split without losing function. Translocations, such as Downs Syndrome, however can be a negative mutation.

            Humans have 46 instead of 48 chromosomes because two smaller, standard great ape chromosomes fused to form large human chromosome #2. In that case, it was a beneficial gross chromosomal mutation, since it’s associated with upright walking.

          • PS: Dandelions also save energy and resources by not making all the amino acids which bees need, yet the insects still visit them and spread their pollen around. Bees can’t survive on low protein dandelion pollen alone, but dandelions are often the only flowering plant available at some times of the year.

          • >>
            Changing chromosome count is no mystery at all. It’s just repackaging of the same genetic material.

            Let's say we have a gene pool (with diploid chromosomes) that decides to change their chromosome count from n to n+1 pairs. Now the easy way would be if every individual in the pool just changed over at the same time. I doubt that happens.

            So we have one individual that has n+1 pairs and everyone else has only n pairs. This individual's gamete will have n+1 haploids and the other gametes will have only n haploids. When they combine, there's an unmatched haploid (actually three). Does the zygote automatically re-package? That doesn't seem likely–to me.


          • Jim Masterson – June 28, 2018 12:40 am

            Let’s say we have a gene pool (with diploid chromosomes) that decides to change their chromosome count from n to n+1 pairs.

            Sorry, Jim, but “gene pools” decision making have no control over mutations occurring during mitosis or meiosis of cellular reproduction.

            So we have one individual that has n+1 pairs and everyone else has only n pairs.

            Assuming your above was in reference to this statement by Felix, to wit:

            Felix-June 27, 2018 10:53 pm “Humans have 46 instead of 48 chromosomes because two smaller, standard great ape chromosomes fused to form large human chromosome #2.

            Jim, the above “fused chromosomes” just might have been a “junk” mutation that occurred 1K, 50K or 200K+ years prior to an additional mutation that changed its status from “junk” to “survival necessary” and thus the Genus homo became a separate lineage in the Family of Great Apes.

          • >>
            Sorry, Jim, but “gene pools” decision making have no control . . . .

            Sorry Sam, but that was one of my points.

            Jim, the above “fused chromosomes” just might have been . . . .

            I’m not seeing a good explanation about how chromosome number changes. However, you’re in good company.


          • Jim Masterson – June 28, 2018 9:31 am

            I’m not seeing a good explanation about how chromosome number changes.

            Jim, employee your imagination along with the possibility of “Horizontal Gene Transfers” which could/would have occurred more frequently millions of years ago. (Think of the Cambrian Explosion)

          • Sam,

            The fusion, which probably took place millions of years ago, appears to have been promptly adaptive, since it’s associated with our upright walking.

            Australopithecus evolved over four Ma.

          • Also, Neanderthals and Denisovans have the same chromosome #2 as modern humans.

            Human #2 features the HOXD complex of genes. HOX D-12 controls hindlimb development in mammals. Mutations in this gene, and possibly D-11 and D-13, which control forelimb morphogenesis, associated with the fusion have been implicated in the evolution on bipedalism in the human lineage.

          • Felix – June 28, 2018 1:24 pm

            The fusion, ….. appears to have been promptly adaptive, since it’s associated with our upright walking.

            Felix, don’t be talking silly with your “promptly adaptive” claim because the evolution of “bipedal walking” by pre-human hominoids surely required hundreds of other “good” mutations during the million or so years required to achieve said bipedal gait.

            Australopithecus evolved over four Ma.

            Shur nuff, Felix, …… and the fusion (mutation) of those two chromosomes could have occurred one (1) million years prior to Australopithecus arriving in the fossil record. And besides that, Felix, ….. you DON’T HAVE A CLUE of how many other varieties of Homo fossils that might exist in locales that are now covered with water, ….. over 450 feet deep in some locales.

            June 28, 2018 1:44 pm

            Also, Neanderthals and Denisovans have the same chromosome #2 as modern humans.

            “DUH”, do you suppose that is the reason they both are included in the Genus Homo, to wit?

            Homo neanderthalensis and Denisova hominins …. (Homo sapiens denisova)

            And here ya go, Felix, check this bipedal’er a wading in da water., to wit:


            The wild gorilla known as Leah uses a walking stick to help her wade in a marshy pond in the Republic of the Congo.

          • Australopithecus emerged about 4.5 Ma.

            Of course apes wade. So what?

            So does almost every other mammal around a waterhole or body of water, unless they fear crocs.

            What is your conjecture, exactly? Various humans and our ancestors used aquatic and even marine resources. So what. That doesn’t mean that we were aquatic or marine mammals.

            Grizzlies catch salmon.

          • Animals and plants reproduce sexually with individuals of different chromosome number all the time. I don’t know about fungi, but assume so as well. Sometimes, the resulting offspring are infertile, as in the case of mules, but often they can produce viable young.

            Many species have arisen in just this way. Sooner or later, the chromosomes repackage into alignment. It’s a common observation.

            Looks at the horse genus, Equus, or the lesser apes. All closely related species with different numbers of chromosomes. By looking at their karotypes, it’s possible to work out how the present number of chromosomes in each evolved from their common ancestor.

            The ape ancestral to humans and chimps had 48 chromosomes, as chimps still do (and all other great apes). As noted, it’s plain to see which ape chromosomes fused. This event probably happened more than once in the population of apes ancestral to humans, but even if it didn’t, the fusion conferred a bit selective advantage, thanks to upright walking.

            The apes with the fused chromosomes had no problem interbreeding with apes with 48 chromosomes, since all the genetic info was still there, just packaged slightly differently. Over time, the improved configuration was selected for, so here we are.

            Interestingly, even after our ancestral population settled on the 46 chromosome configuration, we were still able to hybridize with more chimp-like relatives, as clearly shown in out genome today.

            The lesser apes show rapid evolution in chromosome number. It’s an interesting case of “natural genetic engineering”:


            As with human bipedalism, sometimes the chromosomal rearrangements can confer selective advantage.

            As long as the needed DNA sequences are there somewhere, RNA will find them and carry the info where it’s needed.

          • PS: Horses have 64 chromosomes, donkeys 62 and mules 63.

            As is common with mammalian hybrids, male mules are infertile. Female mules are “sub-fertile”, ie it is possible for some of them to produce offspring, and all if stimulated to ovulate, then mated with a horse, donkey or other equid.

            Similarly, Soviet agronomist Karpachenko in the 1920s created a new genus in the lab by hybridizing plants in genus Brassica (cabbage, etc), chromosome number 20, with those from Raphanus (radish, etc), chromosome number 18.


            Both diploid and allopolyploid hybrids exist and share the new generic name.

            The hybrids have little agricultural use besides as fodder, since they have the root of a cabbage and leaves of a radish.

            Probably most flowering plant species have evolved as a result of hybridization and polyploidy.

          • MarkW You wrote :
            “Anyone who disagrees is to stupid to talk to.”
            But hopefully , not too stupid to spell correctly !

      • I can think of only three ways to explain the great diversity of life forms on Earth.
        1) They “evolved” over time (of which there was plenty) from more primitive to more complex.
        2) Each form occasionally and spontaneously generates (from what?) where it did not exist before.
        3) All life forms were created nearly simultaneously in the distant past (how past depends on your “religion”)

          • People are free to believe in them, but they’re not just far-fetched. They have no scientific support, so are religious beliefs.

          • All that is necessary for evolution is:

            1. Reproduction,
            2. Inheritance of traits,
            3. Variability of traits.

            That’s it. It’s not complicated at all.

        • add hybridization to that, there are countless thousands of hybrids that we’ve seen occur in our lifetimes – but once we accept a hybrid it rapidly becomes accepted as a norm and everyone forgets it’s actually a new thing.

          • True. Hybrids are also often indubitably new species, since they can’t produce fertile offspring with either parent species.

            And estimates of plant species created practically overnight via polyploidy range from 30% to 80%, with the higher estimates the more recent. IMO it’s fairly safe to say that the majority of plant species arose in a single generation, from genome multiplication or duplication. Again, undoubted new species, since unable to produce fertile offspring with parent species. The duplicants also now have twice as much genetic material with which to evolve, without losing any other their prior selective advantage.

          • It can however be reproductive isolation. Hybrids can even keep living in the same habitat with their parent species, but if they can’t or don’t interbreed with them, then they’re effectively isolated.

        • This thread is far off-topic.

          Cue the dyslexic atheist, who will assert: “There is no Dog!”

          A dyslexic robber ran into a bank. He screamed: “Air in the hands mother stickers this is a f*ck up!”

      • The biggest obstacle to the evolutionary hypothesis from Darwin is that he had no clue about the immense amount of time involved. Most people are limited to around 100 years in their perspective, maybe a few thousands for historians, astronomers have some evidence for 14 billion years. Geologists are stuck with some 4 billion or so years. 98% of humanity can’t even conceive those timeframes, much less think about what they mean.

        One thing that means is that while genetics can show mechanisms for fairly rapid change of phenotypes, according to geology and fossil studies the formation of new forms of animals took millions of years. Archaeo bacteria didn’t evolve into dinosaurs in a million years. The time between the first fossil hints of life and actual fossils of animals with a bone structure was a 2-3 billion years. Something like a million generations.

        “Species” is a term of convenience. Dogs and wolves are different species because they rarely mate and get cubs. Many species of frogs in the tropics are basically the same kind of frog in a new environment with a different color or markings. Now there is pretty good genetic evidence that humans evolved through many hybrid backcrossings- females mating with their fathers, grandfathers, and even great grandfathers and vice versa. Hybrid backcrosses result in fast fixation of traits and may be one of the real mechanisms behind evolution.

        • Darwin had a much better clue about the depth of time than did physicists of his day. He figured that the Weald must be around 300 million years old, based upon observed sedimentation rates. Thus, he estimated the age of the earth to much older than did Lord Kelvin, working only from heat calculations. Even Charles’ physicist son thought Earth was only tens of millions of years old.

          After the discovery of radiation, the biologists and geologists where shown right and the physicists wrong.

      • I’ll say it another way.

        Evolution explains the diversity of life on earth. Displacing evolution requires a better theory for the diversity of life on earth. Picking on Darwin is not a theory.

      • Biology 101.

        First off, the “tree” is more like a shrub, and that image doesn’t show speciation but the evolution of higher categories. Numerous instances of speciation have been observed in the wild and created in the lab.

        Technically, speciation refers only to the origin of new species, which doesn’t have to occur gradually. It can and often does happen in a single generation, as in the case of a single, simple point mutation in nylon-eating bacteria and polyploidy in eukaryotes. Probably a majority of plant species have arisen from whole genome duplication, which has also occurred in the ancestry of animals, such as people. Hybridization is another quick and dirty evolutionary process. But evolution of new groups above the generic level usually requires time.

        Every line of evidence shows the fact of common descent. Shared, derived traits reflect relationship.

        Short version, but the evidence for each is enormous and overwhelming, with examples abounding:

        Genetic: the more closely related organisms are, the more similar their genomes. This applies to non-coding sequences as well as genes, including material derived from viruses and bacteria.

        Biochemical: the more closely related organisms are, the more similar their proteomes and metabolic processes.

        Comparative anatomical: the more closely related organisms are, the more homologous features they share. Differences between related groups also shows the evolution of complex structures, such as the cephalopod eye or vertebrate jaw.

        Biogeographical: Even though different continents and islands have similar climates, the life forms there differ markedly, but are obviously descended from forms which lived there previously.

        Embryological: While ontogeny doesn’t recapitulate every step of phylogeny, it does enough so as to leave no doubt. Marine mammal embryos grow, then resorb their rear pelvic girdles. Ape embryos grow, then resorb their tails. In both cases, developmental errors occur, such that infants are born with these features. Bird embryos grow then resorb teeth; they grow long tails, which then consolidate into the pygostyle. I could go on indefinitely.

        Conversely, we can observe gill arches turning into jaw bones in developing vertebrate embryos.

        Paleontological: Every year the fossil record improves, filling in gaps for the transitions from one group to another. A critical test of the fact of evolution is that predictions made its basis are confirmed. Paleontologists knew to look for transitional forms between lobe-finned lungfish and tetrapods (land vertebrates) in Late Devonian rocks in the Canadian Arctic, and sure enough, that’s where they found them. Similarly, creationists used to scoff at scientists because mammalian evolution requires that at some time we switched from the standard vertebrate jaw joint to our unique arrangement, in which the back two jaw bones are now found in our middle ears. That was until paleontologists found Triassic protomammals with both jaw joints, just as predicted. The older joint was already being coopted for improved hearing.

        Just scraping the surface here. As I said, all the evidence in the world and none against it.

        I hope you’ll do me the courtesy of citing the evidence which convinces you that the “evolutionary tree of speciation” doesn’t exist. Thanks!

        • This is cut and paste with little thought.
          No new species have been created under lab conditions by natural selection. Its not just impractical because of time constraints, taxonomy is subjective. Many examples of different species having fertile offspring even if in a different genus.
          Not saying that the evidence for it occurring is good but as for evidence expected in more rigorous science, the bar is set low.

          • Not a single bit of cut and paste. All mine, all off the top of my head. The lack of thought and study are clearly all yours.

            You are simply as wrong as wrong can be. You really ought to study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.

            Not just species but genera have been made in the lab via natural selection, ie selective breeding. It’s easy with species with short generation times.

            It’s potentially lethal in the case of microbes, but necessary in order to test new antibiotics.

            Sorry, but you’re sadly misinformed.

          • “Not just species but genera have been made in the lab via natural selection, ie selective breeding. It’s easy with species with short generation times.”

            Can you please share details?

            Probably the best counter-example is dogs. Man has been manipulating dogs’ genetic material for hundreds of thousands of generations. The result?

            Different “breeds” of dogs. All dogs. No new species. The same species. Different characteristics.

            Same with dozens of other domesticated animals. Same with domesticated plants.

            It would be very interesting to see examples of “created” species.


          • They abound, with more every year. To include new genera.

            In reply to Tty’s instance of an observed new species, below, I commented:

            Lots of other instances of speciation observed or discovered in the wild and created in the lab, both gradually via selection or isolation and quickly via hybridization or polyploidy.


            This list is old, so many more examples could be added from this century.

          • Is that talkorigins link the only evidence you have? If so, then you may want to raise the white flag. It’s pitiful.

            Nearly every “example” of new “species” being “created” is of new TRAITS being created in a species, or of HYBRIDS between two species. This is NOT evidence of evolution. It’s evidence of mixing species, or of a species developing new traits.

            The article author, in fact, destroys his own stated goal of documenting “observed speciation”:

            “The literature on observed speciation events is not well organized. I found only a few papers that had an observation of a speciation event as the author’s main point…Why is there such a seeming lack of interest in reporting observations of speciation events?…it appears that the biological community considers this a settled question. Many researchers feel that there are already ample reports in the literature.”

            Talk about a circular argument!

            This review of observed speciation events could find nearly none (reviewing a hundred years or more of “science”), because the “community” believes there are ample reports of such events!


            There are very few reports because there are plenty of reports!

            Now, that’s “settled science” isn’t it?

            Might want to read your “evidence” a little more closely before entering it into the discussion!

            Shoot, the only way the poor lunk can get any new “species” out of the whole effort is to play games with the meaning of “species…” He descends into a lexical farce…

            “Do these represent speciation events? The answer depends on how species is defined.”

            Right…depends on what the meaning of “is” is….

            Please provide evidence of a species turning into a new species…An ant becoming a bumblebee; a horse becoming a whale; a mouse becoming a bat; a monkey becoming a man….Anything observed?

          • Clearly you have not the least little bit of understanding of what evolution is. It doesn’t posit the evolution of one existing species into one not capable of being descended from it. A horse can’t give rise to a whale in a single birth. Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

            All the examples I gave are of speciation, which is what was called for, ie the formation of new species.

            Why should an ant evolve into a bumblebee? Ants evolved from wasps, for good reasons. Horses and whales share common ancestors, but they now live in different environments and have evolved traits not reversible enough to allow them to evolve into each other.

            Mice and bats are related, but have long since gone their separate ways. Humans and monkeys share common ancestors millions of years ago. The changes in different lines of descent are gradual in the case of evolving new major groups, ie families and above. The ape lineage lost its tails, as did some of the New World Monkey groups separately, for example. A monkey didn’t give birth to a human.

            Evolution is descent with modification. It isn’t distantly related species suddenly turning into each other.

            This would be obvious to anyone who had ever studied biology. Or who had ever even thought about what evolution means and how it works.

          • Felix,

            Arrogant condescension does not make your points logical.

            The”reference” you link to above, for observation of species “evolving” into another species is not what you think it is.

            Again, your reference is nonsense. Take at random one of the pitiful “examples” he thinks proves “observed speciation.” How about, “5.6 Flour Beetles (Tribolium castaneum)”

            What did the “observed speciation” in this case actually mean? Hold on, here comes the proof of evolution we’ve been waiting for!

            Heavy and light beetles had preferences for mating with others of similar size! Or something…..!

            “Positive assortative mating on the basis of size was found in 2 out of 4 experimental lines.”

            Or at least in 50% of the cases! Yeah! There it is! Flip a coin, and a big beetle may mate with a little beetle–or–it may mate with another big beetle!

            Well, I’m not quite convinced!

            Again, check your source. It is total nonsense.

            Only by semantic games can he even convince himself that he’s talking about “speciation.”

            Forget my examples of non-evolution–please provide some specific examples of one species being observed “evolving” into another species….


          • Kent.

            I’m addressing you because dunno if it were clear that my prior response was to your comment.

            The Talk Origins instances are all of new species, ie organisms which cannot or don’t interbreed with other similar living things.

            It’s by no means a catalogue of different traits alone. These are whole plants, animal, fungi and microbes which qualify as new species, not just old species with new traits.

          • Felix,

            You really should re-read the TalkOrigins link you provided.

            I’ve provided specifics above–the poor guy is hand-waving and spluttering silliness.

            He provides NO examples of a species evolving into another species.

            Here’s one of his best attempts:
            “While studying the genetics of the evening primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, de Vries (1905) found an unusual variant among his plants.”

            Huh? He found an unusual variant! Well, how unusual. Later he found it differed in some ways from the usual type! It’s just a different variety of primrose.

            This is really a perfect example of the critiques of the theory. Where are actual examples of new species “evolving” from another?


          • “You are simply as wrong as wrong can be. You really ought to study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.”

            It is a grand Argumentum Ad Verecundiam. Weathermen commenting on biology.

          • It’s not just that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, but that there is no evidence against it.

          • Exactly, Felix. It takes a better theory to replace evolution. They have none. Dogs are still dogs is not a better theory. It’s a non sequitur.

          • Look, speciation requires mutation in something like HOX genes. For example, “Evo-Devo and an Expanding Evolutionary Synthesis: A Genetic Theory of Morphological Evolution

            HOX genes are highly conserved and control morphology. Most HOX mutations are fatal.

            Most of evolution therefore occurs in utero (or in ovo), where mutations are first and most severely tested. All of that happens out of sight.

            Something like between 50-90 % of human conceptions end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages display as slightly late menstruational periods. Such ‘early periods’ are natural selection in action.

            Natural selection in the external environment tests mutated forms that have passed the test of viability in utero. External natural selection constitutes a minority of the testing a new species must undergo.

          • When I studied human biology, the estimate of spontaneous abortions was lower than that, but that was a long time ago.

            Yes, lethal mutations and recessives often lead to failed pregnancies.

            In conserved regions, evolution works to maintain those vital parts of the genome the same, rather than change them. It’s often not understood that evolution works both ways.

            The similarity of conserved areas, and of basic genetic and metabolic systems, across the whole of life is one observation supporting the inescapable conclusion of common descent.

            The majority of mutations are probably negative, with the other half or so divided between neutral and beneficial. Humans on average are born with four mutations, and acquire more during life. If the changes are in our egg and sperm-producing cells, they get passed on.

          • No new species have been created under lab conditions by natural selection.

            Well, obviously not, because natural selection by definition doesn’t create anything. It selects what has been created by other means and weeds out the ones unfit for survival. But even that is a misnomer, because it makes it look like natural selection has intelligence and purpose.

            In reality genetic variation means the members of a species follow a sort of bell curve of characteristics. Sometimes edge case find habitats that they – and only they – can thrive in. They becomes slightly different – are white tigers a different species than ordinary tigers?

            Obviously you cant prove natural selection any more than you can prove God, but as an explanation for wide species variation it makes sense and does not need a God, and has merit in directing work on biological genetics.

            In fact you cant prove anything in te real world. That is what Popper was all about. You can only disprove.

            The deductive proofs of Euclid etc. are no more than the explication of implicit relationships inherent in the axiom sets that create the relationships.

            Darwinism however is at least potentially disprovable, whereas God concepts aren’t even that.

          • Not arguing that it doesn’t have merit, just a typo in the first comment. Just that it can’t be proven as you can do in physics (design of experiments that will expose it as flawed).
            Don’t mix up those who insist that it is a fairy tale with those who just point out the practical limitations. I don’t think evolution is the work of the devil. Dawkins and others who Mark Twain said of “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” might be.

          • The fact of evolution is far better understood than most of physics. It can be and repeatedly has been confirmed, both by experiment and by observation of nature.

          • Natural selection has been shown to exist over and over and over again. It is a scientific fact.

            But you’re right that the God hypothesis isn’t scientific because it can’t be tested.

        • Too many view evolution as a total jump from one species to another. It can be gradual. There occur examples and evidence which indicate two varieties are actually different species, or two species can actually inter-breed (although with sterile offspring). When we draw a distinct species box of characteristics and set boundaries, we limit our own understanding.

          • Yes. The fact of evolution makes it hard to define “species”. Outside of microbes, it’s often pretty easy, to the existence of “ring species” presents difficulties, in which neighboring varieties or subspecies can interbreed and produce fertile offspring, but mating the groups from either end of series doesn’t. Zebras used to be an instance, before extinction of some subspecies.

            Humans and chimps are distinct species, for instance, since all intermediary species are extinct.

          • Humans and chimps are distinct species, for instance, since all intermediary species are extinct.

            You might say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment…

            I sometimes think reading these blogs that I am seeing evolution in action.

            There is a species of ‘believer’ whose days are in fact numbered, because belief is not good at coping with rapid changes in the environment. You need to be smart and able to think for that.

          • Lamarck was still a strong believer in God even during the revolution. There was Gregor Mendel as you know.
            Nicholas Steno proposed the formation of fossils from animals by being buried in sediments for a long time, then went on to become a bishop. Much of the work of the Enlightenment is based on the work of medieval clergy who went on to be bishops.
            In the 29thC there is Fr George Laimatre.
            You still don’t seem to get the point. Evolution attracts people who want a reason to believe and don’t look for reasons not to. The reason it differs from good physics.

          • No one says believers can’t be scientists. You just can’t use “God” as a scientific explanation.

            Evolution doesn’t attract or not attract. It’s simply a scientific fact.

            The God hypothesis attract believers, who then try to inject their supernatural belief into science, where it doesn’t belong.

            Trying to mix science and religious makes both worse.

          • Like Florin, Ann-Britt & Ödeen, Anders (2002), “Laboratory environments are not conducive for allopatric speciation”, Journal of Evolutionary Biology,

          • Do you know what allopatric speciation is, and how many different types of speciation there are?

            I thought not.

            Please learn before commenting.


    • “Cough,…this’ll be good.”

      100s of posts later… I’m starting to question that judges awareness. Ball’s got you all by the well, balls, with his bollocks. Bravo sir, nicely done.

      • zazove

        At least there’s a civilised discussion over it.

        One you were notably absent from.

  3. Sorry, Dr. Ball, but the fact of evolution has been tested every day in every way and never been shown false. Even in the 19th century, predictions made upon the hypothesis of natural selection were repeatedly born out.

    Pasteur, as a devout Catholic, resisted the theory of evolution, as Darwin and Wallace’s hypothesis came to be called, until he discovered bacterial resistance.

    All the evidence in the world supports the fact of evolution, and there is none against it. That includes evolutionary processes like natural selection and the fact of common descent.

    Darwin and Wallace did not discover natural selection and other evolutionary processes in order to discredit religion. Darwin’s degree was in theology. Wallace was a spiritualist. Darwin’s side of the family tended to free-thinking, but his Wedgwood cousin-wife was religious.

    Darwin’s agnostic friends urged him to address the religious implications of his theory directly, but he demurred. One of the reasons he hesitated for 20 years in publishing his theory was from fear of offending the religious.

    You have Darwin and 19th century evolution researchers wrong. Some, like Huxley, were agnostic. He coined the term, but he also disagreed with Darwin on some of the implications of his theory until further discoveries confirmed Darwin’s views. Huxley also correctly first showed that birds are dinosaurs, ie “glorified reptiles”.

    This site belongs to the estimable Mr. AW, but IMO publishing creationist nonsense here harms the credibility of CACA skeptics.

    • That evolutionary pressure can cause the length of a birds bill to lengthen or shorten., or limbs to lengthen or shorten is self evident.

      That evolution can cause the creation of an eye or a kidney is not.

      • Mark,
        The evolution of the eye has been discussed many times over and is well understood. You
        need to read the appropriate literature.

          • Because there is no need to duplicate every undergraduate textbook on evolution. All of the evidence is there and as others have noted there is plenty of resources on the web. All of which are written by professional biologists who can do a far better job than me.

          • What is a conjecture?

            What about epigenetics? Genomes consist of more than just protein-coding sequences, ie “genes”. The so-called “junk” sequences include control stretches, which tell cells how long to make a protein, for instance.

            Humans and chimps have the same number of follicle of body hair. Our epigenetics just causes our hair to grow shorter.

            At the “gene” level, corn and its wild ancestor teosinte are identical. Human domestication worked on the epigenetic factors.

            I forgot to mention domestication and the breeding of new species and varieties in my quick summary of evidence above.

            Among other bodies of evidence.

          • Well, when you duplicate evolution textbooks, you’re likely duplicating erroneous, and sometimes fraudulent, information.

            A great rundown on that here:


            “We all remember them from biology class: the experiment that created the “building blocks of life” in a tube; the evolutionary “tree,” rooted in the primordial slime and branching out into animal and plant life. Then there were the similar bone structures of, say, a bird’s wing and a man’s hand, the peppered moths, and Darwin’s finches. And, of course, the Haeckel embryos….On the subject of Darwinian evolution, the texts contained massive distortions and even some faked evidence. Nor are we only talking about high-school textbooks that some might excuse (but shouldn’t) for adhering to a lower standard. Also guilty are some of the most prestigious and widely used college texts, such as Douglas Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology, and the latest edition of the graduate-level textbook Molecular Biology of the Cell, coauthored by the president of the National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts. In fact, when the false “evidence” is taken away, the case for Darwinian evolution, in the textbooks at least, is so thin it’s almost invisible.”

          • Please state just what you imagine to be wrong about the alleged textbook instances which you cite.

            The overwhelming evidence for the reality of evolution is visible everywhere we look, to include our own bodies.

          • Gosh, Felix, you surely are demanding!

            How about if you do a little research yourself? Outside your clearly one-dimensional belief system–settled “science,” right?

            Ok, ok, it is a lot of work to actually keep up with the frauds of “evolution:”

            Peppered Moth fraud:
            The standard biology textbook (complete with pictures!) case study of “evolution” was/is Kettlewell’s Peppered Moth “evolution” of various color schemes depending on the tree bark it rested on, and then to match bark soiled by soot.

            A perfect example of “industrial melanism!” Ooops…that is until the whole cookie crumbled, and scientists were unable to reproduce his findings. And moth experts pointed out that these moths did not rest on bark–they hid away in upper leaves.


            “Commenting on Kettlewell’s moth example of natural selection at work, University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, in 1998, wrote in Nature, “From time to time, evolutionists re-examine a classical experimental study and find, to their horror, that it is flawed or downright wrong.”

            Did you not know about that fraud, Felix?

            It’s a textbook case!


            Let me know when you finish reading up on the others.

            “Following decades of investigation on natural selection, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini have been driven to conclude in What Darwin Got Wrong, “Darwin’s theory of natural selection is fatally flawed”. Not only is flawed, even the concept of natural selection is simply an “intensional fallacy”.


          • What makes you think that Kettleworth’s pepper moth observations were fraud? He was probably sincere. He was persuaded that he had found an instance of adaptation. It was a perfectly reasonable inference. Science advances by improving upon research. A majority of scientific papers aren’t repeatable. That’s why they all need to be checked.

            Grego Mendel has been accused of cooking his pea plant results, but that wasn’t fraud either. The principles he discovered are valid.

            Jerry Coyne is a good scientist, so naturally welcomes further research. But that Kettlewell’s work wasn’t reproduced led to its exclusion from later textbooks. Science is self-correcting. Every scientific field includes research which was later found wanting.

            An proposed instance of adaptation that wasn’t says nothing about the fact of adaptation, observed countless times.

            Coyne BTW of course remains a prominent evolutionary biologist. He’s also a militant atheist.

            Fodor has no understanding whatsoever of evolution. He’s a philosopher, not a scientist.

            If you really think you can somehow “disprove” the fact of evolution, please do so. Newton was wrong about space, time and the speed of gravity, but that doesn’t mean that gravity doesn’t exit.

          • Dude,

            I said nothing about “disprove!”

            You’re the one who pastes the same link over and over “proving” the theory.

            Your link (“Observed Speciation”) is nonsense.

            I provided you examples of fraud embraced by those pushing “evolution.”

            You pretended not to know about them.

            I provided details of the Peppered Moth fraud.
            –Peppered moths do NOT sit on tree trunks, they hide in leaves
            –the “scientist” glued moths to tree trunks for his fake “predation data”
            –the “scientist” used the fake glued moths to fake pictures
            –the fake pictures were replicated over and over again–by NOVA TV producers, textbook publishers, and others
            –and it was perpetuated for 40 years! Over and over and over–it was the perfect Just-So story that “proved” evolution–the narrative picked up in biology textbooks for generations.
            There is more, much more.

            And there are many, many such frauds–all used to “prove” the theory. Until they didn’t.

            Piltdown Man
            Nebraska Man
            Darwin’s finches
            Haeckel’s embryos
            etc., etc, etc

            And you say that the “scientist” was “probably sincere???!!”

            Yeah, and Bernie Madoff probably was “sincere” in his investing intentions too!

            Declaring fraud to be “sincere,” making ad hominem disparagements of others, and babbling about gravity…

            Again, please provide evidence of one species evolving into another. Not a trait, not a wing-color, not a tendency–another species. That is the theory isn’t it? That slime mold became man? Step by step? Please show evidence of one such step.


          • Please state what it is you suppose to be conjecture rather than evidence with respect to the fact of evolution.


          • The theories of how an eye might have evolved.

            You are mighty quick to note that models are not science when it comes to global warming. Why the change of heart on this subject?

          • It’s not a model like GCMs. How eyes evolved isn’t conjecture. It’s observation. Had you studied biology, you’d know this.

            Same with kidneys. Human embryos and fetuses recapitulate the development of ancestral systems. Early in embryonic development, we have a system like those of hagfish and lampreys (jawless fish), but it’s absorbed before becoming functional. Then we develop a system like those of jawed fish, which is briefly functional. Then it too is absorbed and we develop a mammalian-style kidney, which workd for the rest of fetal development and after birth.

            Only an Idiotic Designer would design such a developmental pattern. Same as with having our gonads arise in our chests, as with fish, then descend through the abdomen, leaving behind in the case of male mammals, holes which readily form hernias. If there is a Designer, It’s intensely stupid.

          • As with evolution in general, every line of evidence shows how eyes evolved.

            For vertebrates, embryological development recapitulates evolution. The eye arises from different dermal layers, just as happened in evolution, by first forming a cup.


            Transverse section of head of chick embryo of forty-eight hours’ incubation.


            Transverse section of head of chick embryo of fifty-two hours’ incubation, showing the lens and the optic cup.

            The nautiloids show the stage of eye development in cephalopod evolution before the eyeball closed completely and evolved a lens.

            No conjecture. Just the facts.

          • I was pointing out the fact that some geneticists are resistant to what seems to be a return to Lamarkism.

        • I wish my eye was designed per the cephalopod design instead of the stupid design mammals inherited from some fish. I probably wouldn’t need glasses to compensate for an aging lens.


          • But they have lenses too, don’t they? It’s when the lenses get stiff, we can’t read close anymore.

          • The difference with cephalopods isn’t in the lens so much as at the back of the eye.

            Both the vertebrate and cephalopod eyes, instances of convergent evolution, have advantages and weaknesses.

          • >>
            But they have lenses too, don’t they? It’s when the lenses get stiff, we can’t read close anymore.

            Exactly. The cephalopod lens is rigid and moves backward and forward–like in a camera. Our lenses are focused by muscles that vary the thickness of the lens to change the focal length.


          • ReallySkeptical

            There you go, something else you didn’t know.

            Every day’s a school day at WUWT you know.

            Visit soon for some more education.


            Vertebrates and octopodes developed the camera eye independently. In the vertebrate version the nerve fibers pass in front of the retina, and there is a blind spot where the nerves pass through the retina. In the vertebrate example, 4 represents the blind spot, which is notably absent from the octopus eye. In both vertebrates and octopodes, 1 represents the retina, 2 represents the nerve fibers, and 3 represents the optic nerve.

            The camera eyes of cephalopods, in contrast, are constructed the “right way out”, with the nerves attached to the rear of the retina. This means that they do not have a blind spot. This difference may be accounted for by the origins of eyes; in cephalopods they develop as an invagination of the head surface whereas in vertebrates they originate as an extension of the brain.

            Charting Evolution’s Trajectory: Using Molluscan Eye Diversity to Understand Parallel and Convergent Evolution


          • Hi Felix, good video.
            Lens such interesting things. I had congenital Cataracts They were removed in 1967 at Yale New Haven. No implants back then. so I have no lens . Glasses of course. Worked in only one eye, so no depth perception.
            So no, you and I will never see things the same 😀

          • LOL! Or hack out loud, as chicken in throat.

            You were merely precocious. Anyone who lives long enough gets them. Maybe if octopi lived more than three years, they would, too.

            My cousin and brother have already had theirs removed, as did my mom. The optometrist says mine are “babies”, but the macular degeneration is incipient.

            Evolution works with what it has, so structures end up looking as if designed by an idiot rather than a super-intelligent being.

            But both mollusks and chordates converged on a similar design. We’d look like space aliens had we gone the arthropod route, starting with the same light sensitive proteins:





            Insects are terrestrial crustaceans, so their eyes are similar.

          • Glad you got a laugh, As I said I was born with them. It was nice “seeing” after surgery . Thus I have always had a interest in the human eye.


          • Referring to your joke about not seeing the same. Not your condition, for which my condolences.

            I’m headed down the road which you took in your youth.

            Glad the surgery was successful and granted you the blessing of good vision.

            Vertebrate lenses are indeed an instance of Idiotic Design.

        • The evolution of the eye has been inferred based on preconceived assumptions agreed by a consensus of like-minds and interests. What is the Nyquist Rate for sampling history?

          • It’s not based upon assumptions but observations. Every stage of development of arthropod, mollusk and chordate eyes has been studied, to include the underlying genetics.

            You really ought not make baseless assertions about fields of study in which you’re totally ignorant.

      • Nope. Evolution of the eye and kidney are easy-peasy. You’ve been lied to.

        Photo-sensitive proteins exist even in microbes, as shown by photosynthesis. Bacteria have rhodopsins, related to those we use to see.

        Once you have light-sensitive proteins in your skin or shell, evolution of an eye of some type follows naturally. In the case of cephalopod and vertebrate eyes, first a cup forms in order to focus the image better. The the cup gets progressively deeper, the better to improve the resolution. Then, as with nautiloids, you get a near eyeball, but it’s still open to the water through a narrow slit. Finally you have a full-fledged eye, with its own internal fluid, as in octopi and humans.

        The arthropods followed a different route, starting with similar proteins.

        • >>
          as with nautiloids . . . .

          The nautiluses still have a pin-hole eye which has served them well for about 500 million years. I doubt they will ever develop a lens.


          • They won’t, but they demonstrate the final stage in the evolution of the eyes of their close kin. In their environment, a lens doesn’t offer much selective advantage, although they must have enjoyed the mutations which lenses possible many times. The genetic change just wasn’t selected for, and might even have been harmful.

      • MarkW The origins of complex organs was a puzzle that delayed the Origin of Species for some years. Darwin realized that there were existing organisms with photo sensitive organs from simple eyespots to optic cups to pinholes to lenses to irises. These formed a continuum that could explain eye evolution without invoking irreducible complexity. The Victorians recognized the logic, perhaps you should update your knowledge.

        • GC,

          The thread is so long and indentation not so pronounced, that I’m not sure if your comment is addressed to MarkW or not, but presume so. Is that right?


    • “Pasteur, as a devout Catholic”
      A popular British historian described the Catholic Churches response to evolution as ” check out how wonderful it is the way God works” (can’t remember the exact quote). You’re highlighting Dr Ball’s point about a poorly scientifically explored discipline being taken as Gospel because of its anti- religion ammunition.

      • Not at all. My point is just the opposite. Pasteur was part of the religious opposition to the fact of evolution, until he saw it with his own eyes.

        Some French scientists remained skeptical of evolution into the mid-20th century, when Monod convinced them of its undeniable reality. Because Not Invented Here. Anti-Angloism run amok.

        • The RC thought Darwin’s effort was brilliant work in the 19th C. Those who opposed it were mostly non-religious types.

          • Not so much in the 19th century, although even then the Church had started to realize that the Galileo thing hurt them.

            On an official basis, the Church avoided the topic until the middle of the 20th century. In 1950, Pius XII proclaimed that there was no intrinsic conflict between evolution and Christianity. Since then, official Catholic doctrine has gravitated toward theistic evolution, ie biology with a role for divine intervention.

          • The church did not avoid the topic in the 19th C. There was a proclamation at the end of the 19th C that there was no conflict with science and Christianity. It didn’t take until the 1960.
            While Galileo was being harassed, mostly by Jesuits, they were supporting Kepler.
            You’re too intoxicated with anti religious spiel to see the truth. Most of the opposition was from those who worshiped nature because it made nature seem so nasty.

          • You’re too subject to Church propaganda.

            GG was condemned by the Roman Inquisition and a special panel appointed by the pope. I don’t know how many, if any of his Inquisitors were Jesuits. But everything went back to the pope, who felt betrayed by his former friend, who put his, the pope’s, words, in the mouth of his character Simplicius.

            Please provide some evidence of your assertion that the Holy See officially embraced evolution before 1950. Thanks.

          • “You’re too subject to Church propaganda.” Actually, no. Motivated by finding out a lot of what I was taught was fact was half truths at best and relied more on ignoring evidence as on evidence.
            Providentissimus Deus by Pope Leo VIII. Doesn’t specifically mention evolution but says that there is no conflict with science and scripture yet. Plenty of arguments within the church but overall, only difficulties with humans evolving with a soul.

          • That’s right. I said nothing about evolution, but could be construed as opposing creationism.

          • Yes, it has.

            Church doctrine today is best described as theistic evolution or evolutionary creation.

            For decades, Catholic theologians have concerned themselves with issues such as at what point in human evolution did God grant our ancestors souls?

    • I’ll agree with Dr Ball, The Theory of Evolution hasn’t been rigorously tested scientifically. That doesn’t mean we can’t use it, just as NASA scientists used Newtonian Gravity calculations to get to the moon (and allow for short burns en route for correction). I think Darwin’s theory leaves some gaps, that scientists today still struggle to explain or ignore. And we can’t build any kind of device that actually demonstrates evolution, no genetic particle accelerator or axlotl tank that can produce a new species, so I have to agree, the theory of evolution is scientifically untested. Felix, that doesn’t say you’re wrong, I’m just asking, where’s your scientific demonstration of evolution?

      • Evolution has been repeatedly confirmed, both in the wild and in the lab.

        What gaps do you imagine it leaves? Like the theory of gravitation, we can always learn more, but evolution is a fact, ie a scientific observation.

        We can and do build devices that not only demonstrate evolution, but rely upon it for major industries, such as drug discovery.

        You’re making pronouncements about evolution without apparently even having studied it.

        It is tested every day, in every way, as I’ve shown repeatedly.

  4. Starting out excusing creationists, or their misbegotten kin, intelligent design advocates, puts you in the place of fitting a stereotype commonly used by the green blob. While the green blob and their devotees are as prone to anti-scientific tropes as a central casting right wing anti-global warming advocate, giving them an easy cheap shot is silly.
    Speciation is rather complex, and like all real science, not “settled”. But giving someone a club to beat you over the head is suicidal.
    Other than that unforced error, I agree with the rest of the post, but it was not one of your better posts.

    • The problem is not intelligent creationists, it is evolutionary creationists who through consensus are prone to conflate logical domains and corrupt the scientific philosophy a la catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. It is also people who fail to distinguish between evolution in a limited frame of reference (e.g. human life) and evolutionary creationism (e.g. spontaneous, “big bang”) through inference (i.e. created knowledge) and liberal (i.e. divergent) assumptions/assertions. Everyone wants to believe in something. Everyone has their articles of faith.

      • You clearly have no concept whatsoever of evolution.

        There is no difference between “microevolution”, ie the evolution of a brown bear into a polar bear, and “macroevolution”, ie the evolution of lobe-finned lungfish into tetrapods, but time. The processes are the same.

        Microevolutionary changes accumulate into macro changes. There is no governor on changes to genomes. The ancestor of us tetrapods was practically the same as its lobe-finned fish relatives, except that, among a few other simple changes, its fin rods had become more calcified and reduced in number, en route to becoming fingers. Calcification and fusing was a trait strongly selected for in the environment of these fish.

        This change is visible not only in Late Devonian rocks but modern embryology, genetics, comparative anatomy, you name it. To cite but one example out of a whole world filled with them.

        No religious belief is required. Simply observation of reality.

    • Aspects of speciation are indeed settled. No field of scientific inquiry is ever completely settled. But we know a lot more about evolution than climate.

      Copious instances of speciation and the creation of new genera have been conducted in the lab and observed in the wild.

      The instances of observation of natural selection in the wild are also numerous. Here’s a recent remarkably rapid one for a vertebrate.

      Extraordinarily rapid speciation in a marine fish

      Of course, new species can arise in a single generation, thanks to quick and dirty speciation from such processes as polyploidy and hybridization. The latter process, seen in the wild among, for instance, South American butterflies, has been reproduced in the lab.

      • Speciation? Your scientific reference to the Wikipedia page on speciation is sleight of hand misdirection.

        The “speciation” experiments listed in that table appear to be efforts to change TRAITS, not SPECIES. They list several traits in the table of experiments–locomotion, escape response, DDT adaptation, etc.

        Dogs have been bred with massively differing traits–retrieving birds from the water, tracking by scent, killing bulls, sitting daintily in their mistress’s lap, and many, many more. These are TRAITS that differentiate BREEDS of dog–variations of the same species. A chihuahua is the same species as a Mastiff.

        Same for cows, horses, sheep, wheat, corn, fish, etc, etc. No one has ever created a new species by breeding, have they?

        Any actual evidence of a different species created in the lab?


        • I’ve given copious examples of species created in the lab at least twice here.

          Yes, new species have been repeatedly created by breeding.

          Even withing domestic livestock, domestic sheep are considered a separate species from their wild ancestors.

          Corns is a species distinct from its wild ancestor teosinte.

          New species of orchids are bred all the time. With polyploidy, it’s easy.

          Even new genera have been bred in the lab.

          • “Considered” a new species?

            A sheep is a sheep.

            Corn is corn.

            A chihuahua is a dog. A Saint Bernard is a dog. They have different traits, they have different colors. They’re still dogs.

            Darwin’s finches are all the same species! Various versions of the same species have different traits–including beak sizes–but they’re the same species.

            “Considering” the Galapagos finches as different species is faking it.

            The theory postulates single-celled creatures gradually metamorphing into mankind. In a step-by-step, species-by-species evolution.

            Any evidence of one species evolving into another species?

            Not traits, not colors, not size, a new species. A lizard becoming a bird? A groundhog becoming a monkey? Anything? Evidence. Not a Just-so story describing a thought experiment.


  5. Darwin’s theory was never tested, as normally occurs in the scientific method. His theory of evolution was used by the scientific establishment of the time to defeat religion.

    Darwin’s long exposition on pigeon breeding described an on-going, even if inadvertent, test of variation and natural selection. Darwin himself thus measured his theory against a falsifying test.

    Really, Tim, that you should dispute Evolutionary Theory is beyond incredible and truly disappointing.

    The Talk.Origins Archive is a fine place to see the nonsense arguments that dispute evolutionary theory and the gigantic amount of science that supports it.

    Talk.Origin’s review of Michael Denton’s book is here. Tim, how could you fall for such foolishness?

    • That is evidence that natural selection can work like a breeder. After some 17 000 years of breeding (and 20 of the consensus) dogs are still wolves.

      • Yes, dogs are wolves. The domestication changes from wolf to dog are minor. Dogs are wolves with arrested development.

        So, what? Polar bears are still effectively brown bears after far more time than that.

        But humans are still African great apes after even much more time. Our ancestors were Asian and African great apes 17 Ma. Our ancestors were apes millions of years before that, and Old World Monkey-ape ancestors tens of millions of years before that.

        Four hundred million years ago, we shared a common ancestor with coelacanths and lungfish. Eight hundred million years ago, our ancestors were proto-sponges, evolving from colonial unicells called choanoflagellates, which resemble both the feeding cells of sponges and the sperm of higher animals. Choanoflagellates even make collagen, the key connective tissue protein of animals.

        Sorry, but evolution is a fact. Even your church has been forced to recognize that fact, belatedly, by the overwhelming mass of evidence, and its desire not to repeat its mistake by insisting that the sun goes around the earth, and burning or imprisoning anyone who dare disagree, based upon mere observation of nature.

  6. The global sea level 20000 thousand years ago was -130 meters plus or minus 10 meters, if I read those error bars correctly. About 7000 thousand years ago, sea level was a few meters lower than now, plus or minus a few meters.
    I’d say there is enough difference between those two points to reject the null hypothesis.
    On that scale, I don’t see a significant difference between 7kya and today.

    Assuming a temperature change caused the melting, with a lag of maybe 2000 years. Ie. sea level follows temperature change. So the temperature increase stopped 9000 years ago.

    Compare the change in average temperature between 20000ya and 9000ya. Somewhere in the past I’ve seen proxy data showing a difference in temperature of something like +10C plus or minus two degrees. Just guessing, but I’d agree that the temperature difference between those two years is statistically significant. Ok, then, north polar climate changed significantly over an interval of around 10k years.
    Using the same reasoning, there is no significant difference in temperature between 9kya and today.

    If there was a “tipping point” that ended the LGM, what happened 9000 years ago to stop the trend?

  7. I am curious to know why Tim Ball thinks Faraday was shunned. Looking at wikipedia it has this to say:
    “In June 1832, the University of Oxford granted Faraday a Doctor of Civil Law degree (honorary). During his lifetime, he was offered a knighthood in recognition for his services to science, which he turned down on religious grounds, believing that it was against the word of the Bible to accumulate riches and pursue worldly reward, and stating that he preferred to remain “plain Mr Faraday to the end”.[20] Elected a member of the Royal Society in 1824, he twice refused to become President.[21] He became the first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution in 1833.[22]

    In 1832, Faraday was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[23] He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1838, and was one of eight foreign members elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1844.[24] In 1849 he was elected as associated member to the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, which two years later became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and he was subsequently made foreign member.[25]”

    None of which seems to indicate that he was shunned. He would appear to have refused various honours including a knighthood and being buried in Westminster Abbey but he was certainly recognised in his time as a great scientist.

    • They even named a unit of electrical charge after him: a Faraday is a mole of electrons equal to about 96,485.332 coulombs.


    • To the extent that Faraday was denigrated, it wasn’t because of his Dissenting faith, but because of his lowly origin and lack of formal education.

      In any case, Davy was an Anglican Christian.

    • I also live inside a stucco house. They apply stucco to a wire mesh, so I lived inside a Faraday cage. Until they built a nearby cell tower, I couldn’t receive cell phone calls unless I went outside.


  8. Copernicus did not show us that the earth went around the sun. He was an early astronomer who theorized that the earth may go around the sun. It wasn’t till hundreds of years later that we had proof (and no, it wasn’t Galileo who proved it either…)

    • And Einstein reminded us that both views – helio or Earth centric – are correct. The Sun does revolve around the Earth, but the math is a lot messier than if the Earth revolves around the Sun.

    • GG showed the Ptolemaic, geocentric model to be false.

      In the 18th century observation of stellar parallax showed that Earth does indeed orbit the Sun. Pendulum observations in the 19th century showed that Earth rotates on its axis.

      But heliocentrism was so obviously correct, especially after the discovery of elliptical orbits, that it was embraced before these definitive demonstrations.

      • Oh dear.

        I do love someone who believes in absolute co=ordinates

        GG was in fact mostly wrong and the church was in fact mostly right. Its impossible to say what goes round what, as axes of rotation are chosen for mathematical convenience.

        Only when you get to relativity can the question ‘why when I spin do my arms fly out, since in reality its the rest of the universe spinning around me, not I who spins?’ be answered by the statement that ‘it is precisely because the rest of the universe is spinning round you that your arms fly out’ , You are spinning relative to the average mass of the rest of the universe.’

        • Nope. Totally and completely wrong.

          GG showed the Ptolemaic system false, first by the phases of Venus, then, as support, by the mini-solar system of Jupiter. His observations didn’t necessarily show the Copernican system to be objective reality, but it showed the geocentric model wrong.

          There was no particular in which the Church was right.

        • Leo,
          There are no absolute co-ordinates but rotation is still absolute in general relativity.
          A bucket of water rotated will always cause the water to rise up the sides and that can be measured and give an absolute measure of rotation. This is a local measurement of rotation and so you can always locally determine whether or not you are rotating.

  9. I actually liked thus article and read the evolutionary theme as a metaphor for the (apparent) CAGW from CO2 as being a mere blip in time. One that we would not even notice if we still had the non- digital thermometers. A fun perspective.

    • So the data before 1970 or so “we would not even notice”. Those were mercury-in-glass thermometers.
      Don’t think so.

  10. “Another hypothesis with profound implications for everyone evolved in the 1960s and is generally known as anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Like Darwin’s work, it evaded the scientific method.”


    Got get ’em Dr. Ball!

    • CACA is antiscientific. Evolution is repeatedly confirmed scientific fact, meeting the highest standards of the scientific method. It’s better understood than universal gravitation.

      • “CACA is antiscientific. Evolution is repeatedly confirmed scientific fact, meeting the highest standards of the scientific method.”

        You mean natural evolution is repeatable in the laboratory? Or have I misunderstood the “highest standards of the scientific method”?

        • Yes. Absolutely. It’s done all the time.

          Directed evolution is now the most promising technique for discovering new drugs and other useful compounds, for instance. Quite apart from pure experimentation on various organisms, such as fruit flies.

          • “Directed evolution is now the most promising technique for discovering new drugs and other useful compounds, for instance.”

            No I asked about “natural evolution”, not “directed evolution.”

            “Directed evolution” would really be better described as “intelligent design”, would it not?

          • No, it wouldn’t. Directed evolution is a lab technique for producing biochemical products via artificial selection. It’s similar to domestication, but rapidly sped up. The director is not an Unintelligent Designer, but research scientists.

            Selection is selection, whether it’s artificial or natural. Directed evolution uses “evolution machines” to produce new compounds and organisms.

            New species are made in the lab by selecting for a trait or traits, in order to mimic natural selection. In synthetic biology, such as directed evolution, we use the facts of genetics to make things. Those things can be biochemical products or new species or genera.

            People think of natural selection as random, but it’s the opposite of that. In biology it’s called “directional” evolution, as opposed to “stochastic” processes. Mutations can arise more or less randomly, but they are just the raw material upon which evolutionary processes work.

            The term “directional” does tend to confuse the general public, but biologists know what they mean by it, which is that natural selection is heading in a particular direction in a reproducing population. Such as northern populations of steppe mammoths getting hairer during the increasingly colder Pleistocene, leading, among other adaptations, to the evolution of woolly mammoths.

          • The director is not an Unintelligent Designer, but research scientists.”

            Then it would appear my question stands.

            Is natural evolution repeatable in the laboratory? You did say that it met the “highest standards of the scientific method.”

          • “Natural evolution” isn’t a thing.

            There is natural selection, an evolutionary process by which members of a population better adapted to survive and reproduce leave a higher share of offspring in the next generation than those less “fit”.

            In labs, new species have been created via artificial selection, the same process as in the wild, but with scientists doing the selection, to show how new species can be evolved over many generations.

            There have also been experiments in labs recreating observed evolution of new species in the wild, by selecting for the same traits that were favored by natural selection.

          • ““Natural evolution” isn’t a thing.

            Then neither is evolution in any form. By “natural evolution,” I mean exactly the process by which new species are created in the wild.

            “In labs, new species have been created via artificial selection, the same process as in the wild, but with scientists doing the selection, to show how new species can be evolved over many generations.”

            Then, once again, you haven’t proved natural evolution in the wild. By default, sentient scientists doing the selection isn’t the same process as unconscious nature doing the selection.

            All you’ve done in such a case is Beg the Question, by presupposing the conclusion (natural evolution) in the premise (scientists doing the selection).

            At best you’ve proved only that an “Unintelligent Designer” (your ad hominem) could have put the pieces together in the first place.

          • How is Unintelligent Designer an ad hominem? It describes how living things are in fact “designed”. The features of organisms are ad hoc, Rube Goldberg apparatuses.

            I have repeatedly shown you evolution in the wild. It happens daily. Most plant species rose in a single generation from polyploidy and hybridization, as have many animal species.

            Tty mentioned the beach grass which evolved in Britain c. 1870. The instances are legion.

            You just won’t read about them.

          • “I have repeatedly shown you evolution in the wild.”

            You haven’t. You’ve claimed it’s true, but nothing more.

            “It happens daily. Most plant species rose in a single generation from polyploidy and hybridization, as have many animal species.”

            Which plant species? Which animal species?

            “Tty mentioned the beach grass which evolved in Britain c. 1870. The instances are legion.”

            Tty hasn’t commented in this section. Which grass?

          • “How is Unintelligent Designer an ad hominem? It describes how living things are in fact “designed”. The features of organisms are ad hoc, Rube Goldberg apparatuses.”

            Agreed, it’s not an ad hominem. I misunderstood your reference.

            Since Rube Goldberg machines are by default designed by sentient designers, then natural evolution, by your definition a chaotic system, doesn’t apply.

          • I guess that “natural evolution” could be a thing if you’re contrasting it with artificial evolution in a lab, as done by “evolution machines”, just as natural selection and artificial selection indicate selection in the wild and by humans via domestication or modern lab processes.

            But i don’t think that that’s what you meant.

          • “But i don’t think that that’s what you meant.”

            I told you what I meant by “natural evolution” above?

      • There is no such thing as scientific fact. There are only models that haven’t been shown to be completely wrong, yet.

        Evolution is one such

        CAGW is not.

        • Leo,

          A scientific fact is an observation of nature or experiment. Models are hypotheses which, to be scientific, must make testable predictions capable of being shown false or confirmed.

          For instance, it is today a scientific fact that Earth orbits the Sun. Newton’s model explaining that fact, ie observation, differs from Einstein’s. We know that Einstein’s is correct, or at least more correct, than Newton’s because of predictions made on its basis having been confirmed.

          That’s the scientific method.

  11. Another interesting book is”Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen C. Meyer. He discusses the Cambrian explosion of new species versus the theory of evolution.

    • “This question is the starting point for a new book that aims to rekindle the “intelligent design” movement. “Darwin’s Doubt,” by Stephen Meyer, which will début at No. 7 on the New York Times best-seller list this weekend, argues that scientists have found no way to account for the Cambrian explosion. Life-forms appeared with no obvious precursors, it says, too quickly for a random process of mutation and survival of the fittest to explain it. The only alternative explanation, Meyer writes, is the involvement of an intelligent designer (read: God) who rushed along the story of life on Earth.” (New Yorker)

      So. Bullshit.

      • It’s bad theology and bad science. Not science at all, since ID is the opposite of science.

    • It’s a pack of ludicrous lies and preposterous errors. Meyer knows nothing about biology.

  12. Natural selection is nothing more than pre-programmed variability to ensure survival of life and is visible every single day.
    Evolution on the other hand calls for the creation of new information, particularly through random chance errors. Something that thus far has never once been observed.
    Sure, all life on the planet seems to have the same basic coding blocks of DNA. A great dane does not look much like a small poodle, or even a wolf. So, does that mean evolution is the only logical choice? If I were a God, capable of creating a universe, and creating life, I would use the same coding blocks to create as much of the life as I could. Why reinvent the wheel for each and every single creature. I also would make my creation robust and able to survive as long as I need the experiment to go for, thus it would be coded for natural variability such that changes in the environment would not kill it off.
    Some guy did an experiment where he laced the petri dish with poison for some bacteria. In the middle or at the edges it was extreme amounts of poison, the other edge or center was only lightly poisoned. The bacteria grew until the poison was too much, then remained at that growth location, until low and behold a bacteria was created that was able to handle more of the poison, and it blossomed further in/out. It hit a wall like before, and it remained locked for a while again, until yet again, another bacteria was created that could handle more of that particular poison, and it grew again. This repeated until the entire petri dish was filled with the bacteria.
    So, did the bacteria gain any new powers? Was it evolution? Nope, natural selection. The bacteria was always programmed to be capable of living in that environment, but at the cost of being able to live in other different environments. Its genetic code already had the built in power, it just needed to randomly keep producing slight variants of itself until it finally had the right DNA turned on and off so it could live there.
    Every creature has these on and off buttons, and they variably turn on and off over time. The polar bear is different than other bears, but if you took a large enough selection of polar bears, and populated a green environment with them, over time they would gain some brown hairs, and maybe 100 generations later most if not all would be brown or black.

    • New information is created continuously, all the time.

      Natural selection is the opposite of random.

      Mutations are “random” in the sense that I can’t say precisely when and where a passing cosmic ray will knock out a single nucleobase, but I can be sure that that will happen somewhere and sometime. That’s how sugar-eating bacteria get changed into nylon-eaters. The mutation occurred countless times and was fatal until nylon entered the environment.

      Genetic systems make new sequences available for evolution simply by dividing and replicating. Errors are a feature of the system. They produce not just deletions but substitutions and duplications, to include of the whole genome.

      But there are lots of other sources of genetic variation. We get DNA sequences from virus and bacteria, for instance.

      Genetic innovation has not only been observed endlessly, but is created in labs daily. It’s a huge industry.

      You too, I’m sorry to say, have been lied to.

      • Among other sources of mutations, I forgot to mention gross chromosomal alterations, such as Downs Syndrome, a negative mutation. But mutations can be neutral, negative or positive from a selective standpoint, depending upon environment, as with the nylonophagic bacteria.

        A positive gross chromosomal change was the fusion of large human chromosome #2 from two smaller, standard great ape chromosomes. It’s associated with upright walking.

        Our big brains were permitted by a simple sequence mutation in our African ape ancestors, then another in the human lineage.

    • “Evolution on the other hand calls for the creation of new information, particularly through random chance errors. Something that thus far has never once been observed.”

      wow. educate yourself. duplication and change the copy. Now you have two copies, a little different, and folder for doing new things. This is old stuff, from the 90’s.

      Mammals have two duplications to work with, that’s 4 copies. Teleosts (those are most fish) have three, 8 copies.

  13. Did you know a secret international cabal are using the commercial airliner fleet to spray aerosol coal fly ash into the troposphere to geoengineer climate change? This academic paper purports to prove it. Many millenials, relying on the Internet for “facts”, believe in “chemtrails”. Because odd white streaks in the sky.

  14. This post is very unsettling. I don’t usually agree with these people. You do know that I “believe” in CO2 warming.

  15. At the risks of setting off the Trolls, Copernicus didn’t prove the Earth revolved around the Sun. The ‘system’ or model did no better than the Ptolemaic in predicting positions of the Sun. Even of the misunderstood The Copernicus Revolution, Kuhn said that it was accepted for atheistic value.
    Even now, its just neater to have the COM as the centre which is mostly with in the Sun, as the centre of the Solar System if studying physics, otherwise, it’s meaningless.

    • Copernicus also had his heliocentric theory published after his death. He didn’t have to face the same wrath that Galileo did–at least, not while alive.


      • “In 1533 Albert Widmanstadt lectured before Pope Clement VII on the Copernican solar system. His reward consisted in a Greek codex which is preserved in the State library of Munich. Three years later Copernicus was urged by Cardinal Schonberg, then Archbishop of Capua, in a letter, dated at Rome, 1 November, 1536, to publish his discovery, or at least to have a copy made at the cardinal’s expense.”
        What wrath?

        • In his introduction, which you should read so as to be able to comment on the history of science out of knowledge rather than ignorance, C explicitly states that he delayed publishing for 36 years out of fear of the reaction of the Church.


          Kuhn was far from an expert on Copernicus. The world’s leading expert on Copernicus, Harvard’s Gingerich, demolished him thusly:

          • Demolished him thusly? Did you read it? Are you a child?
            He is challenging the idea that it was simpler. I was already aware that only superficially was it simpler. Since both were poor, epicycles were added for both models to get them to fit the observations.
            I can’t open the other link but you don’t want to trust the Catholic Church while that work is based on selective writings of the only primary sources which was the Catholic Church. Considering how poorly you read the other one, it might even back me up.

        • In 1757, Galileo’s “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” was removed from the Index, the list of publications banned by the Church.

          In 1992, after a report in 1984, the Vatican formally apologized to Galileo, fat lot of good it did him. Better late than never.

          Finally the Church admitted that GG had been wrongfully condemned. Later, Pope John Paul II said that the scientist was “imprudently opposed.”

          But I guess you know better than the Church what happened.

    • Copernicus’s system was most certainly not accepted because of atheism, which scarcely existed in the century after 1543. It was accepted because of scientific observations.

      Galileo’s observation of the phases of Venus showed the Ptolemaic system false, while leaving open the option of Tycho’s clunky system. GG’s observation of the mini-solar system around Jupiter also lent credibility to heliocentrism.

      When Kepler showed planetary orbits elliptical, the pieces fell into place for Newton to work out universal gravitation, using his calculus.

      In the 18th and 19th century observations showed that in fact Earth does go around the Sun, while turning on its axis.

      Copernicus’ original system didn’t greatly improve upon Ptolemaic calculations because his model still used circular orbits.

      Copernicus, GG and Kepler were religious men. They didn’t embrace heliocentrism to promote atheism. There were Copernican Calvinists in the Netherlands. GG was persecuted by the Church, but he remained a believer, even under house arrest.

      • Felix et al – please get over the church. They were in modest agreement, with normal doubts as befits a new paradigm. GG only got arrested (comfortable house-arrest). for a sort of lese-majeste because he insulted the Pope. Foolish of him, and unbecoming of the heir to St Peter also. But religion was not involved. It is just too tempting for haters of beliefs not to use that lie.

        • It was indeed unwise of GG to diss his former BBF the pope, but he was in fact found guilty of heresy for teaching that the Earth moves.

          Some in the Church were OK with studying the heliocentric theory as a mathematical model, but Church doctrine was based upon both the Bible and Ptolemy, namely that the Earth was at rest at the center of the Universe.

          GG got off easy because of his connections. His sentence of imprisonment was commuted to house arrest. He recanted to avoid torture.

          Bruno wasn’t so lucky. They burned him alive.

          Not anti-Catholic. Just the facts. Calvin also burned a scientific heretic, on other grounds.

          • “Bruno wasn’t so lucky. They burned him alive.” Yes, don’t agree with it but he was lucky the Calvinists didn’t before that ( not to mention the Anglicans) and his very unscientific pushing of the heliocentric model was never brought up in his trial. I’m afraid that your understanding is very much based on anti-Catholic sentiments even if you don’t realise it.

          • My understanding is based upon actual historical events.

            Among the charges against Bruno was his belief in “an infinitude of worlds”. Please study history before presuming to comment upon it.


            The fact is that the Catholics burned and otherwise judicially murdered far more heretics than all Protestant denominations and Orthodox combined.


            Of course they had a headstart, before the Reformation, but even starting in the 16th century, there’s no comparison.

            I’m not anti-Catholic, but simply oppose judicial murder by any organization, whether on antiscientific grounds or any other.

          • What Bruno said then would not be classified now as science. It wouldn’t even be labelled science fiction but sci-fi. It was never brought up his trial. You keep highlighting that you have been indoctrinated rather than studied this.
            I never said heretics were not burnt. Never condoned it.

          • I have studied it, and you haven’t.

            My doctorate is in the history of science, specifically organic chemistry and biology.

            His scientific teachings featured prominently in his trial. Why do you assert falsehoods so easily shown wrong?

            It wasn’t science fiction. While in England, Bruno probably saw a “perspective glass”, a sort of early telescope well known to Elizabethans, including Shakespeare’s circle, with which invisible stars of the Milky Way could be seen.

            There are much better sources in books, but this at least is on line, to give you an idea:


    • Copernicus theory was accepted because it worked better.

      William of Occam appears to have been able to understand something that eludes most educated people today, but was elucidated exactly by Korzybski. ”

      The Map is not the Territory

      Models (theories) are not the real world. They are maps of it.

      William of Occam’s tenet that ‘(in the construction of theories [models] ) entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity is widely and erroneously held to mean that the simplest explanation is the ‘correct’ one.

      This is palpable nonsense. We cannot know what is correct. Only what is incorrect. William of Occam urges us to be humble in our ignorance, and pick simple theories that work. Not make statements about absolute knowledge that can never be justified.

      This forum shows how easy it is and how much problems it causes when people contend – laughably – over what is the ‘One True Explanation’ of the world.

      A map is only a map. One map shows the churches, another map shows the public houses and another yet shows the geological strata in the ground, whereas the final one only shows the mountains.

      We live inside our own maps. Not inside reality itself. That is one step removed. The earth, the sun, God, Evolution, Climate change – these are all things in those maps.

      Not in the real world.

      We have no idea what is really in the real world at all. That we have invented a language to describe it that works is a triumph of …evolution? ! 🙂

      Science is about testing and developing maps that work.

      Not about discovering the truth.

      The greatest truth is that there is no truth that we can know. The world -0 Truth – is beyond belief, out there somewhere, it is whatever is the case.

      But its way outside our pay grade, and it behoves us to be more humble when claiming we have found it.

      Darwin maps work.

      AGW maps don’t.

      Neither are ‘True’

      That’s all.

      • No, that evolution occurs is true. It is objective reality, repeatedly observed.

        It is objectively true that the Earth goes around the Sun and that hydrogen has a single proton in its nucleus.

        Sometimes models are required in science, but they are tested against observations of nature, ie objective reality, if properly made.

        Science seeks to explain nature naturally, without recourse to supernatural explanations. So it makes observations, then build testable hypotheses thereupon. If predictions made upon the hypotheses are found valid, then the hypothesis is confirmed. If not, then it is shown false. Repeatedly confirmed, but never “proven”, then hypotheses may form a well-established theory.

        That’s the scientific method.

        Evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation, with a body of theory explaining it. CACA, not so much. It rests upon “consensus”, but has been repeatedly shown false, hence is not scientific.

      • “Copernicus theory was accepted because it worked better.” It didn’t. It was accepted because as Kuhn put it
        “as Copernicus himself recognized, the real appeal of sun-centered astron-
        omy was aesthetic rather than pragmatic. To astronomers the initial choice
        between Copernicus’ system and Ptolemy’s could only be a matter of taste,
        and matters of taste are the most difficult of all to define or debate.”

        • Again, it does make calculations simpler than the Ptolemaic system.

          Heliocentrism was accepted in the 17th century because Galileo showed the Ptolemaic model false, thanks to his observation of the phases of Venus, and because it was simpler than the clunky system of Tycho.

          Then observations in the 18th and 19th century showed it objectively true.

          After GG, it was not a matter of taste, but of observation.

          • Heliocentrism was accepted in the 17th because of Kepler”s system. Still flawed but obviously better than previous efforts. The Catholic Church support Kepler even though he was protestant and it was a heliocentric model.

          • It came to be accepted because of GG’s and subsequent observations. Kepler’s discovery of elliptical orbits meant that calculations of planetary movements based upon the heliocentric model were much better than geocentric.

            Then Newton showed that his theory of universal gravitation explained Kepler’s Laws.

            All during that time, the Church still formally opposed the Copernican system, but allowed it to be taught as an hypothesis.

            Finally, in the 18th century, observations showed that Earth did indeed move around the Sun. I said before that was because of stellar parallax, but that wasn’t until the early 19th century. Bradley observed stellar abberration in 1727, not parallax. That’s what I get for trusting my memory after 45 years.

            The Church lifted the ban on heliocentrism in 1737.

    • I didn’t write that well. Both models didn’t predict the movement of the planets well. Felix, you”re just a sandwichbiard butter if you can’t understand that’s why Copernicus proved nothing.
      Also, Copernicus’s work was presented to the Poor at the time and money was given for it to be published by him.

      • Robert,

        You’re simply an ill-informed blatherer, who clearly has never studied the history of science.

        Copernicus’ model predicted the movement of planets as well as did the Ptolemaic system. His system wasn’t better because he continued to rely on circular orbits, as did Galileo. Kepler fixed that.

        Copernicus didn’t set out to “prove” anything. He put his system out there. His publisher said it was just a model promising improved prediction, but C believed it was real. Naturally, he lacked sufficient observations to confirm it, but its greater simplicity attracted him. Occam’s razor.

        It fell to scientist a lifetime later to show the geocentric model false.

        He dedicated his book, published in the last year of his life, to the pope.

        Its publication was paid for by its Protestant publisher because he expected to make money off it. He added another forward about its only being math, not real, contrary to C’s belief.

        • You are a sandwich-board nutter (even if my phone doesn’t think it). Its probably why you can’t see the limitations of evolution. Copernicus couldn’t have proven anything if the modelling was poor at predicting the position of the planets in the sky at night. Regardless, his musings were well accepted before he died.
          “In 1533 Albert Widmanstadt lectured before Pope Clement VII on the Copernican solar system. His reward consisted in a Greek codex which is preserved in the State library of Munich. Three years later Copernicus was urged by Cardinal Schonberg, then Archbishop of Capua, in a letter, dated at Rome, 1 November, 1536, to publish his discovery, or at least to have a copy made at the cardinal’s expense.”
          You are ill informed because you read the truth in your chosen propaganda material and don’t check or listen to anyone else. You are probably one of those who believe in the Copernicus revolution despite, as Kuhn stated
          “as Copernicus himself recognized, the real appeal of sun-centered astron-
          omy was aesthetic rather than pragmatic. To astronomers the initial choice
          between Copernicus’ system and Ptolemy’s could only be a matter of taste,
          and matters of taste are the most difficult of all to define or debate.”
          To you, there is consensus on facts that just aint so and hence, I can’t get through to you.

          • I don’t “believe” in anything about the history of science. I go by the evidence.

            You’ve lifted your blather from Widmannstetter was secretary to Clement VII. In 1533, he did indeed tell the pope that Copernicus assuming the Earth goes around the Sun would make some calculations simpler. As a hypothetical rather than real model, the pope and cardinals were OK with the model.

            Copernicus thought that Earth really did go around the Sun. Part of the appeal was aesthetic, but simpler explanations are always preferred in science. Copernicus himself tells us that he didn’t publish until the end of his life, waiting 36 years from his first formulation of the theory, for fear of the reaction. Had not a Protestant student importuned him and arranged for printing of his book, it would never have been brought out in his lifetime.

            You miss the point that when a scientist asserted that the heliocentric theory was actual, physical fact, as in GG’s case a century later, the Church came down on him like a ton of bricks.

          • Felix, Galileo was hit with a wet lettuce. He was restricted to a whole village and country side around a Bishops palace when under house arrest. He was drinking and eating so much rich food as a guest of the bishop that his daughter feared for his health.
            As soon as you see that the quote comes from the Catholic Church you go off without realising everything known about Copernicus comes from documents kept by the Catholic Church.
            You’re defending doctrine of the left rather than being academic.

          • Nothing from Copernicus comes from Catholic documents. Please study the history before presuming to comment thereupon.

            In 1507, C first wrote up a short description of his concept of heliocentrism. He didn’t publish a book on it until on his death bed in 1543, at the instigation of a Protestant pupil, and by a Lutheran publisher.

            As a curiosity in 1533, the pope’s secretary mentioned that a Church canon in Polish Prussia, who had advised the See on other issues, had circulated privately the notion that assuming Earth goes around the Sun might simplify some planetary movement calculations. That notice meant nothing.

            What mattered was when Copernicus published his book, after greatly expanding his previous work, at the behest of his Protestant student.

            Please try to study real history rather than laughable Church propaganda.

          • If your going to rely on Wikipedia
            “Copernicus finally agreed to give De revolutionibus to his close friend, Tiedemann Giese, bishop of Chełmno (Kulm), to be delivered to Rheticus for printing by the German printer Johannes Petreius at Nuremberg (Nürnberg)”
            If not, you might want to ask why your source neglects it.

          • I used Wiki just for convenience. I’m familiar with the publication of De Revolutionibus in detail.

            That he gave the ms to Giese to deliver because Copernicus was sick. It signifies nothing.

            The guy responsible for Copernicus’ finally writing a book and getting it printed, by a Lutheran, was the Protestant Rheticus.

            It’s enough that Copernicus was a Catholic canon. The Church however played no role in the writing and publication of his book. His fear of the Church’s reaction, as he himself admits, delayed its publication for 36 years.

  16. I don’t think it’s “fear of change” that motivates humans. What made humans split from the other primates was the ability to imagine a future that was worse than today. The more you can imagine a future condition that does not yet exist, and use that imagined world to motivate you, the more you will prepare for that future. Humans thus have evolved to fear disaster and prepare for it as best they can. Climate change plays on exactly that fear.

  17. The basic tenet of uniformitarianism is that change is very gradual over long periods of time. It replaced the biblical view of Neptunism that events were either pre- or post-Noah’s flood.

    Darwin’s theory was never tested, as normally occurs in the scientific method.

    To refer to it as “Darwin’s theory” is to believe in a pre-Darwin/post-Darwin world, as if the theory and the evidence for it has not gradually changed since then, evolved. Darwin was religious when he discovered natural selection. His thinking on that evolved too.

    • You are correct. Today evolution isn’t “Darwin’s theory” but a fact observed daily.

      What was a brilliant insight when discovered by Darwin, then Wallace, is now simply an observation. in use every day in a variety of practical ways.

      Same as with heliocentrism. When Copernicus proposed it, it was an hypothesis. It has however now long since been an observation.

      Darwin was prevailed upon to include a Creator in his famous last paragraph of the Origin. Hard to say precisely his level of religiosity in 1858, but he was from the more free-thinking side of the Wedgwood-Darwin clan. His wife was from the other, more religious side. Both sides were staunchly anti-slavery.

      IMO whatever faith Charles might have retained in a Creator was probably damaged irreparably by the loss of his favorite daughter Annie in 1851, so that he was probably an agnostic by 1858. But he conceived of natural selection in 1837 or before, possibly while still on HMS Beagle.

  18. Evolution is a chaotic process. A human life is a chaotic process, from conception to a Natural or elective death. Evolution is both observable and reproducible. The issue is origin. Some people believe it was evolutionary, but there is only incomplete, circumstantial evidence so support that conclusion. Science is a philosophy practiced in a limited frame of reference with cause. Inference is method of reasoning that creates knowledge, based on what some people assert to be reasonable, but often unverifiable assumptions. Everyone want to believe, something. The contemporary conflation of logical domains is innovative and divergent, and exploited for political and social leverage.

    • The fact of biological evolution operates upon populations of living organisms. It doesn’t address the question of whence came the first living things.

      That’s a different field of inquiry, called abiogenesis. There probably are similarities between chemical and biological evolution, but it’s not necessary to know how life developed to try to understand its subsequent history on Earth.

      It’s clear that there were protocells before the already pretty complicated prokaryotes in the fossil record (rocks) and molecular clocks. The DNA-RNA-protein world was probably proceeded by an RNA world, but various hypotheses in origin of life research are now being tested.

      But OoL research is separate from biological evolution, ie the origin of new species, genera, families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms and domains of life.

  19. Hey Guys and Gals, Let us get back to the discussion on global warming. Then after we prove, that one is a hoax, we can work our way back on all the other scams in order by the amount that they cost society. I would reckon the ozone hole scam would be next but this global warming scam may take a couple years yet.

  20. Dr. Ball,

    Please clarify what you mean by this passage:

    “It is just 180 years since Louis Agassiz suggested the Earth experiences Ice Ages. It is so recent that most, even scientists, don’t realize that there were four phases in the recent Ice Age and that there have been possibly nine previous ice ages approximately every 250 million years.”

    By “recent Ice Age” do you mean the Pleistocene Epoch? If so, you’re wrong that scientists (geologists, anyway) don’t realize that there were way more than four “phases”, ie glacial advances. There have been around two dozen in the past ~2.6 million years, with interglacial phases between them. In the mid-Pleistocene, the glacial interval lengthened.

    Nor have there been nine prior “ice ages”, ie glacial intervals, every 250 million years. Some cosmoclimatologists have found a 150 million year periodicity between “ice houses” and “hot houses”, but not every ice house features a full blown ice age.

    The Phanerozoic Eon, the past 542 million years, has suffered three “ice ages”, ie the Ordovician-Silurian, the Carboniferous-Permian and our present Cenozoic. In the Paleoproterozic Eon, ie 2.5 Ga to 542 Ma, there was the Huronian “Snowball Earth” in the Paleoproterozic Era (2.5-1.6 Ga), no ice age that has been detected in the Mesoproterozic Era, and one big or a series of smaller ice ages in the Neoproterozoic (1.0 GA to 542 Ma).


  21. For the 19th century, Michael Faraday’s contributions to science may have been more significant than those of Maxwell.

  22. Oh dear.

    I think you really should not compare AGW and Darwinism. There is a lot of supporting evidence for Darwinism.

    Posts like this make the skeptical community look like nutcases.

    • Leo,

      From the standpoint of science, there is no such thing as “Darwinism”. There is only biology.

      The term “darwinian” does have meaning in biology, to refer to old fashioned evolution by natural selection, as opposed to stochastic evolutionary processes, such as genetic drift, the founder’s principle, etc, which aren’t “directional”, ie without selective significance, but resulting simply from reproductive isolation.

      There is not just a lot of supporting evidence for evolution. It is a scientific fact, ie an observation recorded over and over and over again, repeatedly.

      • There is no such thing as scientific fact.

        Just models whose disagreement with observations is not large enough to cause them to be junked.

        Also, you appear not to understand Darwin.

        Evolution is not by natural selection, he never said that. He merely pointed out that what you call stochastic drift will, quite naturally, results in species that are not so ill adapted to their ecological niches that they become extinct.

        What Darwin did, was explain diversity by positing just that variation within species was a reasonable hypothesis, and that, once you have that what he termed natural selection would eliminate the losers. so to speak.

        And that some variations would then diverge to become separate species.

        Natural selection is not “opposed to stochastic evolutionary processes, such as genetic drift, the founder’s principle, etc, which aren’t “directional”, i.e. without selective significance, but resulting simply from reproductive isolation.’ at all.”

        It is what takes the results of those processes and filters out the completely useless.

        Darwin isn’t making a point about why variation happens, he is merely pointing out that given variation, it explains why different species exist . If you like, simply because what we would call today ecological niches exist, therefore species which randomly find they can survive within them, prosper, whilst others die out.

        • Leo,

          You don’t understand evolution. Excuse me, but you keep commenting on the history of science and technology without ever having studied them, as per your false belief that the Wright brothers didn’t make profound advances in understanding of aerodynamics.

          Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”, was about natural selection, as its title would suggest.

          Natural selection and other directional evolutionary processes, aren’t opposed to stochastic processes. They both occur. Much of modern evolutionary theory tries to determine the relative importance of each category in observed evolution.

          Darwin’s contribution was that for the first time he, and Wallace, offered a convincing scientific explanation for observed “development”, ie the history of life on Earth, in which new, generally more complex, species replace older ones. Previous theories of what would now be called evolution, such as Lamarck’s, weren’t convincing to the scientific community.

          • Just curious. Have the doorways in your house “evolved” into keyhole shapes, to allow your head to pass?

          • Nope! Just have a problem when pompous asses hijack a thread denigrating everyone’s opinion but their own! You come across as the very “religious fanatic” which you seek to destroy. You owe Dr. Ball an apology!

          • Not everyone’s. Only those who are totally clueless about the topics upon which they presume to comment.

            I owe Dr. Ball no apology. He’s right about climate, but he’s completely wrong about the fields upon which he comments out of ignorance. In the case of biology, that’s total, and partial in geology.

          • Dr. Ball should apologize to his fellow CACA skeptics for embarrassing himself and giving ammunition to alarmists who claim we’re all anti-science.

            He’s woefully ignorant of biology, yet presumes to comment upon it, and hopeless out of date about geology.

  23. If I look at a specific place such as Lincoln UK we note that for a lot of our geological history we were under the sea because we see the deposition of limestone and also chalk this is also true of much of the USA. The Lincoln edge was a mid ocean ridge a long time ago when the Atlantic ocean was forming there was a lot of volcanic activity around the UK , Iceland would have been closer so that we were above sea level at this time likely but as the Atlantic has got wider the UK disappeared under water until renewed volcanic activity caused the UK to rise above sea level probably the closing of the Mediterranean and formation of the Alps. We have in more recent geology witnessed frequent glaciations evidence of this I was taught in junior school the gap in the Lincoln edge cut by the river Witham should be v shaped but it is actually u shaped which indicates the presence of a glacier. There were positive feedbacks to glaciation in the Southern UK as The UK tipped over because of the weight of the ice in the North we would have been above sea level at this time even more than the drop in sea level would suggest and there was possibly seismic activity because of this.
    The way virus research has an influence on the theory of evolution by natural selection, nobody doubts that things evolve, is firstly that more complex life than virus or bacteria take longer to evolve and secondly we see a reversion to a mean genetic composition in a population not all inferior traits are deselected but a small percentage of these traits survive in a population so that when an antibiotic is used against bacteria then they will acquire resistance to this antibiotic while this antibiotic is a threat but when there is no longer a threat then this trait will drop to the same percentage in the population.

  24. ” there is no evidence to support the increasing evolutionary tree of speciation”

    Would You accept a speciation event that was observed as it happened? Google Spartina anglica.

      • The”reference” you link to above, for observation of species “evolving” into another species is not what you think it is.

        Again, your reference is nonsense. Take at random one of the pitiful “examples” he thinks proves “observed speciation.” How about, “5.6 Flour Beetles (Tribolium castaneum)”

        What did the “observed speciation” in this case actually mean? Hold on, here comes the proof of evolution we’ve been waiting for!

        Heavy and light beetles had preferences for mating with others of similar size! Or something…..!

        “Positive assortative mating on the basis of size was found in 2 out of 4 experimental lines.”

        Or at least in 50% of the cases! Yeah! There it is! Flip a coin, and a big beetle may mate with a little beetle–or–it may mate with another big beetle!

        The list is “old,” yes. Published in 1995. The poor dude must have realized the how foolish the results of his quixotic quest were. Or is there a newer such list?


  25. “The failure to test Darwin’s theory is important, but of little consequence to most people.”

    There is a heck of a lot more evidence supporting Darwin’s theory than that supporting the existence of God – for which there is none

    How do you test a process that takes billions of years?

    I find this essay to be most odd



  26. Developing Professor Ball’s statement:-

    “Most can’t imagine that just 20,000 years ago over half of North America was covered with an ice sheet larger in area than the current Antarctic ice sheet. Even more remarkable sea level was at least 130 meters lower than today (Figure 3). Amazingly, most of the ice melted in approximately 8000 years and sea level recovered in that same period.”

    I have written a blog article showing that a similar thing happened in Europe and especially in the UK.
    It is at:-

    It also mentions the US and Australia.

    • The most interesting fact you have failed to discuss is that ALL life has exactly the same basic structure and chemistry, which says that it has only ever started exactly once! How we got to all the different forms is secondary to the question as to why the chemistry to produce life didn’t ever (over billions of years) happen a second time? It is statistically ridiculous to say that life is so unlikely to the extent that it couldn’t happen more than once, and a Darwin based evolution cannot work before you have a satisfactory means of reproduction, which the first living whatever cannot have had by definition. There was no second chance available if its slow changes ever led to death. Otherwise a complete reproducing entity must have occurred spontaneously to start Darwin’s process, with enough features to copy itself reliably built in. This is where evolution needs to answer fully, which it has not done to date.

      • Biological evolution doesn’t need to answer the origin of life. That’s not what it’s about.

        Why life arose just once, or at most twice, and not again thereafter should be obvious, for two reasons. One, Earth four billion years ago was a very different place. Two, once life existed, any organic compounds undergoing chemical evolution would rapidly be devoured by the organisms which already existed.

        It’s also possible that life arrived on Earth from outer space rather than developing here.

        • That is no answer at all and precisely why Darwinism as the entire mechanism cannot be correct.
          “Biological evolution doesn’t need to answer the origin of life. That’s not what it’s about.”
          Really, but that is the real question, not why there is more than one species on Earth. If you cannot describe why and how life started, you cannot claim, as you have above, that it was not created. Usual thing then, no evidence, just a set of claims of dubious value!!! You need to define the beginning before you claim that AGW is true, the same as life. If you jump in later than the beginning you jump to false conclusions based on local phenomena just like Mann did. It then becomes a matter of politics which is valueless.

  27. Oh dear.
    169 comments so far concentrating on the pimple on Dr Ball’s nose.
    (Nothing coherent on how the GHGE works = good – because the whole is incoherent, self contradictory and absurd)

    Consider: A Rainforest.
    Species rich in both plants and animals (ecologically diverse?)
    But which came first – does the rain create the forest or does the forest create the rain?
    Is it possible that The Forest creates its own weather/climate?
    But why do rainforests and deserts exist at similar latitudes, similar solar radiation, cosmic rays similar everything really?

    {Peta puts on Lawyer’s Hat: We now examine Cause & Effect so, did the diverse critters create the forest or maybe the weather created the critters and they created the trees? Are critters good Rain Dancers. or Gardeners? Do critters fall from the sky. Are clouds made of critters? Are clouds hot or cold? Black or white? Where did the multi coulor critters come from. More research is…..]

    Like the dying Bobo trees we heard about recently, is it possible that something has been overlooked.
    Is evolution killing the Bobo trees or has something been taken for granted?

    Something that Victorian scientists could see with absolute clarity
    Is this not the point of the essay here, the parlous state of current science?

  28. Thanks for the insightful article Dr Ball

    Evolution was used to defeat religion. Climate change is used to defeat the market economy. It is not that evolution is a false idea or that the climate does not change that makes this objectionable. It is the dishonest use of science for hidden political purposes.

  29. I have enormous respect for Tim Ball. He is a hero of the climate debate. We would not agree on evolution, but I do believe he would respect my opinion and arguments and I should respect his. Fortunately governments and advocacy groups are not trying successfully to force a new world order on the whole of society based on religious beliefs (except to the extent that CAGW could be considered a religion). Were it so we would all suffer because of course, there are a wide variety of religious interpretations of the world we live in, and in many ways they are in conflict with each other. History tells us all we want to know about religions in conflict, such that we would be best to avoid more of the same.

    The global warming theory however is the basis of proposals for massive change in the whole industrial and social construct that would have devastating impacts on people and the natural world. Imagine 7.5 billion people trying to survive, feed themselves and their children and find security, without the energy that we depend on every minute. Imagine that every living thing is potential food, every tree potential fuel and every person a potential competitor for those resources. That is not the world we want and not one that most of us would survive. Sadly there are “environmentalists” who think the likely outcome of that would be good for the planet.

    • I’ve often paraphrased Dr. Ball’s analogy of a car with climate change, in which the sun is the engine, water vapor the transmission and CO2 is a lugnut on one wheel.

      Like Dr. Spencer, he’s right on CACA and wrong on evolution, which is outside their areas of expertise.

  30. history is just one damn thing after another.

    Big argument about whether Toynbee said that. Apparently he did say LIFE is just one damn thing after another.


  31. As I understand Darwin he did not invent evolution just explained how it can occur. Random changes are tested by nature: the useful ones survive, the others die out. Makes me wonder why in hell we have an endangered species act.

    • Your own statements contain the reason there are endangered species, but I suspect you are wondering why we are so foolish as to think that every endangered species should be preserved by human intervention in contrast to what natural selection seems to have in mind.

    • Actually, Darwin didn’t really understand HOW evolution was happening, so much as saw that it WAS happening. He saw the process, not the details.

      • Darwin’s contribution was to discover a major process explaining how evolution worked. Prior explanations had failed to do so, such as Lamarck’s attempt.

        Many before Darwin saw that what was then called “development” had occurred, but couldn’t provide a good scientific explanation for it. Geologists knew that you could date rocks based upon the fossils in them.

        Without such an explanation, the possibility was open that God simply created new species continuously. What is now called evolution was then referred to as “transmutation” of old species into new ones. That hypothesis was not only considered impious, but lacked a good natural explanation, which Darwin provided.

  32. Having been a “change agent” and worked for a “change agent” one thing I learned is that the majority of people know that change is continual yet at the same time they hate change. They really hate people telling them profound change is coming at which point they begin to push back. The longer you give them to ponder the coming change the less they like it, not more. It may be the biggest problem the CAGW crowd are facing. They keep “screaming” change is coming. Yet not knowing history they fail to realize they just end up sounding a lot like religious zealots of the past, meeting on a hill on a given date with all their believers, waiting for the second coming.

  33. Great post.
    “Theories supporting theories supporting theories suppo….”
    “The debate is over.” “No need for debate.”
    “The science is settled.”
    “The consensus.”
    Obscuring the definitions (bait and switch). “Global Warming” becomes “Climate Change”.
    Observations concerning changes in the weather become proof of the entire theory of CAGW and are considered “observations”.
    Observation that fit within “Seed after its Kind” become proof of the “Molecules to Man” aspect of the theory that says at some time, for example, something that was not a feline had a kitten. Something that was not a canine had a puppy. And they managed to reproduce with …..?”. A bone that resembles another bone becomes an “observation” that such happened.
    Ignoring the scientific method.

    The PR end of it?
    People like to be “settled in”. Convince them that their “settled-inness” will change unless ….”

    • You clearly don’t understand evolution, and apparently have never even tried to do so.

      What do you imagine a “kind” to be?

      Cats evolved from members of the Order Carnivora which had already split off from the dog, bear, weasel, seal side of the order.

      An African ape mother in the Pliocene had one child ancestral to chimps and another ancestral to humans, but the differences between her kids was slight. Over millions of years, the differences added up.

      A single gross chromosomal mutation is largely responsible for our upright posture. An even simpler mutation allowed our bigger brains.

      • Felix, you’re making assumptions about me and my past based solely on the fact that I don’t agree with you about the “Molecules to Man” version of evolution.
        Frankly, you sound a bit like those who dismiss what one says because they are not a “climate scientist” or not Peer reviewed.

        If you want to call changes within a “kind” “evolution”, no problem.
        Yes, I know Man and not nature is primarily responsible for the different breeds of dogs but they are all still “dogs”, the same “kind”.
        Man has observed these changes.
        Man has never observed a canine giving birth to something other than another canine.
        The same goes for all the rest of the “-ines”.

        No one has ever observed any the things you mention.
        They are just theories supported by other theories supported by….at best, an observation that spawned a theory.

        • It’s not an assumption that only creationists talk about the undefined concept, if I may dignify the conjecture with that term, of “kinds”.

          As I said, you totally, completely and utterly don’t understand evolution, because you’ve been lied to.

          For millions of years, canines have only given birth to canines. But there was a time when a carnivore gave birth to young like it in every way but one small way, probably indistinguishable from its litter mates. Then descendants of that carnivore gave birth to another with such a tiny difference. Before too long the dog-bear-weasel-seal line of carnivores diverged noticeably from the feline line.

          Now, please do as I asked and define “kind”. If by “canine” you mean a member of the dog family, then your concept of “kind” must be close to the Linnaean category “family”. Too bad that that level of relatedness is clearly not what the Bible has in mind. Nor would it solve the problem of too many millions of “kinds” on the Ark.

          As I keep pointing out, evolution of new species and genera have been repeatedly observed in the wild and created in the lab. Evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation repeatedly observed.

          There is no magic barrier in genomes that keep them from changing enough for accumulated shared, derived traits to add up to new species, genera, families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms and domains.

          For example, the lobe-dinned lungfish relative which gave rise to us tetrapods was practically identical to its kin, except that its fin rods were a little more calcified, hence a little less cartilaginous. That’s a fact confirmed by paleontology, genetics, embryology and comparative anatomy, etc.

          • Nice “model”.
            Who made the actual observations way back then?
            It’s a theory based upon theories … etc.

            And what about “The Scientific Method”?

            The steps of the scientific method go something like this:

            Make an observation or observations.
            Ask questions about the observations and gather information.
            Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what’s been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
            Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.
            Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary.
            Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. “Replication of methods and results is my favorite step in the scientific method,” Moshe Pritsker, a former post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and CEO of JoVE, told Live Science. “The reproducibility of published experiments is the foundation of science. No reproducibility – no science.”
            Some key underpinnings to the scientific method:

            The hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, according to North Carolina State University. Falsifiable means that there must be a possible negative answer to the hypothesis.
            Research must involve deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is the process of using true premises to reach a logical true conclusion while inductive reasoning takes the opposite approach.
            An experiment should include a dependent variable (which does not change) and an independent variable (which does change).
            An experiment should include an experimental group and a control group. The control group is what the experimental group is compared against.

          • The observations are made today. That makes them no less valid.

            Accident and crime scene investigators reconstruct what happened from evidence obtained after the event.

            Astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, etc, not just biology, rely on observations of events which occurred in the distant past, to include billions and tens of billions of years.

            They are still observations.

            The relationships of various carnivore groups isn’t a “model”. It’s an observation, based upon genetics, comparative anatomy, embryology, paleontology and every other relevant discipline. Why is this hard to understand?

          • To continue my “Reply” which was interrupted by a “hiccup” in the system…
            Hmmm…I can’t go back to add in the numbers for the steps in “The Scientific Method” I copied or highlight the steps I wanted to point out.

            Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what’s been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
            Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.

            Can either of us do that?

            Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory.

            Can either of us do that?

            The hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, according to North Carolina State University. Falsifiable means that there must be a possible negative answer to the hypothesis.

            Can either of us do that?

            “Replication of methods and results is my favorite step in the scientific method,” Moshe Pritsker, a former post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and CEO of JoVE, told Live Science. “The reproducibility of published experiments is the foundation of science. No reproducibility – no science.”

          • The fact of evolution has been repeatedly confirmed by the most rigorous application of the scientific method for 160 years.

          • MODS!
            How did this go into moderation before I finished it?
            I inserted something into a “blockquote”.
            I couldn’t scroll up or down to clean it up.
            I hit “Post Comment” so I could use “edit” to do but it went straight to moderation with no option to edit.
            What gives?

            [nothing gives, its just the way things work. A comment that gets flagged for moderation by software doesn’t get editing privilege. Don’t think that it is directed at you, it isn’t. -mod]

  34. I am not really that interested in this question of evolution but I think that nature does not care about individuals. Darwin was a liberal who believed in the power of the individual to shape the future and that is where the idea of natural selection came from and why it is so popular to many. Nature just uses percentages if 110000 individuals fail to survive to reproduce then at least 111000 individuals must be born or the species dies out but with the ideology most have here we only here about the individual surviving and changing future evolution. The evidence is in the rocks limestone and chalk deposits were laid down under water because it is the fossilised remains of sea creatures which have accumulated over millions of years and we see evidence of creatures evolving , they tend not to remain the same they can get larger or smaller for example. I am worried by the fundamental religious beliefs that tell us things never evolved and that the Earth is flat.

    • Darwin’s (and Wallace’s later) discovery of natural selection came from observing that many are born, hatched, split off, by whatever means of reproduction, but relatively few survive to reproduce. Among humans in his day, this was visible all around him. The population of Britain was rapidly growing, yet infant mortality was high, and many who did survive didn’t have families. The effect was even more stark in non-human nature.

      The discovery of change in nature has been a profound contribution of science to thought in general. The biblical world was static, as was that of ancient scientists. Creation was perfect, and any falling away from it was thus bad, and not allowed by God.

      Since Copernicus and Vesalius first challenged both the Bible and the authority of the Church and the ancients (Aristotle and Ptolemy for C; Galen for V) in 1543, science has increasingly discovered that the universe, our galaxy, the solar system, Earth and life upon it constantly change.

      It has proven hardest, apparently, to convince people that life changes naturally. Opposition to the fact of evolution has persisted longer than did opposition to heliocentrism. Although it took the Church a very long time formally to admit that, contrary to the Bible, Earth moves, that it does was generally accepted much sooner.

      Belief in supernatural or fact-free, made-up explanations for evolution has lasted much longer than did supernatural explanations for the movements of planets or the spread of disease. People readily accepted the concept of gravity, instead of angels or God moving the spheres which carried planets and the fixed stars. Same with germs as opposed to evil spirits, sin or bad airs or out of whack humors causing infectious disease. This despite the fact that we are threatened by the evolution of ever newer, more deadly bacteria resistant to all existing antibiotics.

  35. “I agree with Nick that climate change might be a better labelling than global warming.”

    — Two can play that game. Let’s use the term “Climate Cycle.”

  36. I’m a climate skeptic. I have no agenda. I stopped counting the many, many flagrant errors of science, logic and rhetoric in this essay.

    There are hundreds of intelligent, clear and scientifically valid books out there that answer every single mistake and misunderstanding that Ball exhibits in this piece. Either he is ignorant of their direct disproval of his unoriginal ideas, or he is purposefully being deceptive for reasons unknown. Either way, he seems unlikely to become objective about evolutionary biology.

    But I would count it as time well spent if anything I wrote contributed even a little bit to convincing the proprietor of this website that the anti-evolution pieces Tim Ball puts out do incredible damage to the credibility of this website. If you can’t be convinced by the (much more intelligent and eloquent than I) hordes of scientists who have exhaustively answered every single mistake Ball makes, I want to think it’s possible WUWT could be persuaded to just eliminate it as a topic.

    Evolution and climate change aren’t comparable. They don’t inform each other. Nothing and no one is served by discussing evolutionary biology on this site.

    It is only negative. It only does damage. At some point or other, you will look back with regret at how throughly you shot yourself in both feet.


    Also, it bugs the bejeezus out of me that I can’t say to alarmist friends: “Go check out WUWT. There are hundreds of scientific essays that refute CAGW.” Because those friends unfairly (but very understandably) exit as soon as they come across the specter of living, modern, supposedly educated adults who still reject evolution, and who refuse to accept facts that they (wrongly) assume run contrary to their cherished beliefs.

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