Sunday, March 27, 2011

Idle Question

I read over at Uncommon Descent that Jonathan Marks doesn't buy common descent based on the genomics. When is the Discovery Institute going to turn out a palaeontologist? Has anyone else noticed that there is no emphasis on geology or palaeontology at the site and when they do forage into those two fields, their specious and ill-formed arguments usually get blown out of the water?

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  1. Did you have any actual criticisms of what I wrote, James?

    I could name you quite a few pro-ID paleontologists actually -- Paul Chen is an obvious example.

    Who is Jonathan Marks, by the way?


  2. Hi Jonathan M. I am very sorry. I mistook you for someone else. As far as what you wrote, I am not nearly qualified to comment on it since I am not a molecular biologist. You say that Paul Chien (not Chen) is an obvious example, yet I can find nothing in the literature for him (Google Scholar and Web of Science searches). He is present as the last author on the Stephen Meyer paper on the Cambrian Explosion which was published in 2003 but he received his Ph.D. in Developmental & Cell Biology. The DI's website claims that he has published in over fifty technical journals but when you click on the "Articles by Paul Chien" link, you get exactly ONE. Others have tried to find publications by Dr. Chien (see here for example) and have come up empty. Are there others?

  3. Also, Jonathan M., I read in several places in that paper by Meyer et al. that old canard that there are no transitional fossils in the fossil record. I work in the human fossil record and I can tell you that

  4. And if you had read Meyer et al. you would know that it doesn't make that generalised claim, because the paper discusses the CAMBRIAN fossil record (for which the claim is true).

    Would be delighted to engage with you properly on this subject at some point - for the next month and a half, though, I'm rather busy.

    By the way, paleontology being your area of expertise, you should know enough to be able to give an informed assessment of what I wrote about the biogeographical case for common descent.



  5. Jim, as a geologist, I have yet to see a single, remotely credible paper by a YEC'ist/ID'er that actually proofs or say anything that could remotely disprove old ages etc.

    Have you seen any?

  6. Singular Observer: No, I have not. In fairness, that is not what the ID supporters go after simply because it is a non-starter. A high school class in geology and biology is all that is needed to disprove the YEC model.

  7. Jonathan M.: You are correct, a close reading reveals what you say about the circumscribed nature of the “no transitional fossils” claim in the paper. I have read other DI writers write that and extrapolated incorrectly. However, one has to wonder why God would use intelligent design in the Cambrian but nowhere else in time, since the evidence for transitional forms is so prevalent elsewhere.