Sunday, June 25, 2006

Is an open forum a good idea?

I am fairly new to blogging. I posted my first comment in a forum not much more than a year ago, not even on any kind of scientific forum, but a chance encounter there with an ID supporter led me to discover the ideas of Dembski and Behe (this same supporter also linked mehere!).

Having lurked and blogged a fair amount since, especially being fascinated with the Dover trial, (and learning a huge amount of science and other stuff on the way) I gained a perception that discussion was not always free and fair. ID sites, especially (to me, at least, as a church-burning atheist) seemed not to welcome scepticism or criticism, as the frequency with which I was banned from Uncommon Descent confirms.

So, I naively thought, let's see what happens if you start a blog with no restrictions. I still think the biggest sanction on any poster is for their comment to be ignored, and that is a huge incentive, (certainly for me) to attempt to be succinct, lucid and relevant to the issue of the moment. It is easy to scroll past posts that are repetitive or content-free, and no-one was ever injured by flying pixels. So far, I see little evidence of flame-out, but a few ideas for new topics would be welcome.

I confess that, with the Kitzmiller decision, I reckon ID is a spent force as a political movement, and I am curious to hear from anyone who still wishes to justify the concept of ID as a genuine philosophy.

38 comments:

Mark Frank said...

Alan

I think this forum is a great idea. How do you get banned multiple times from UD? That implies getting unbanned at some stage doesn't it?

I would like to raise a specific issue:

Specification or Likelihood

I have just written an essay about it, simply because it interested me so much and put it here.

My main point is that the Explanatory Filter relies on rejecting chance hypotheses because they are both complex and specified. Dembski has now defined specified in terms of conforming to a simple pattern. He goes to considerable lengths to try to define simplicity and specification rigorously but never explains why conforming to a simple pattern should cause us to reject a hypothesis. Meanwhile there is a perfectly good basis for rejecting or accepting hypotheses based on the comparison of likelihoods which has a justification and is conceptually straightforward. The problem for ID is that this requires explaining not just why an outcome is improbable according to a chance hypothesis but also showing it is more improbable according to a design hypothesis. This of course implies getting into an level of detail about the design hypothesis which the ID community find unacceptable.

Alan Fox said...

How do you get banned multiple times from UD?

Multiple IDs. But I was taught by the master, eh, DaveScot?

Had a scan thro youe essay, will comment there.

Alan Fox said...

Does anyone know if there is an edit feature I can enable. Onn second thoughts at least this is tamper-free.

Scuse typo youe= your

DaveScot said...

"That implies getting unbanned at some stage doesn't it?"

No, it implies registering under a new name when the old name gets blacklisted.

We have a number of the loyal opposition on UD that don't get booted as Alan did repeatedly. Chris Hyland, Bob OH, Tiax, Jack Krebs, and many others who don't come immediately to mind. Chris isn't even on the moderation list I maintain - his comments are published immediately. I don't feel I need to monitor the quality or tone of his commentary because in my experience it always meets or exceeds a high standard in both quality and temper. Admittedly I set the bar a lot higher for the ID opposition than I do for the ID sympathizers but I don't pretend to be running a neutral blog - it's primarily a blog for ID supporters so they're all welcome no matter what boneheaded things they might say. The opposition doesn't get the same "get out of stupid free" cards. When an exceptionally bright and well informed ID supporter catches my eye I offer to make them authors. About half accept the offer.

Wonderpants said...

As I said ont he last thread, if DaveScot doesn't allow free comment at UncommonlyDense, why does he deserve a platform here?

Hell, he's even just admitted to allowing IDers to make all the boneheaded statements they like, yet jumps on anyone who dares breathe a critical word about ID.

Besides, look at Larry Fafarman's blog. That was set up to allow a neutral venue for IDers and biologists alike, yet it's pretty much descended into a war between Larry and a couple of others.

Wonderpants said...

And let's not forget that Otto, aka DaveScot, has hacked or tried to hack PandasThumb.

Alan Fox said...

@Wonderpants

I think the contrast between DaveScot's arbitrary moderation and the fact he is as welcome as anyone else in an open forum is a marvellous irony. You flatter me with the idea that this blog is a platform for Dave or anyone. Let all the lurkers who agree post now!

(pause)

See! There aren't any!

Alan Fox said...

Admittedly I set the bar a lot higher for the ID opposition than I do for the ID sympathizers

Just as well, Dave. It is a shame it was still too high for Josh Bozeman; he was a real asset at UD. :P

Mark Frank said...

I agree with Alan - do not ban Dave. As I understand it the point of this blog is that anyone should be allowed to comment without feeling that the blog "belongs" to one side or the other. The only reason for banning someone would be spam or a really personal attack.

I am interested in UD and Dave's management of it. What's the objective? It seems to be more like a rallying point for the ID community than a forum for debate or communication. In my science communication course I have been learning about the "ritual" model and "tranmission" model of communication. UD, and to a lesser extent PT, seem best described using a ritual model.

Alan Fox said...

Ritual model, eh? That seems to have religious connotations. Please explain, Mark.

JohnADavison said...

DaveScot rules with an iron fist at Uncommion Descent at the specific permission and approval of William Dembski. The truth of the matter is that DaveScot doesn't believe a thing that Dembski represents. He is the world's biggest hypocrit who has found the only forum in cyberdom where he can perform like the genetic bully that he really is. He is to Dembski what Alan Fox is to Elsberry, nothing but a one man goon squad sallying forth from his home base and surfacing everywhere with one thing in mind which is to discredit anyone who might challenge his lord and master. I am one of his favorite objects of attention as he will no doubt demonstrate shortly in his typically rabid fashion. Neither Falan Ox nor Spravid Dinger has any integity whatsoever as their personal internet histories so eloquently reveal. That is what makes them so valuable to their masters, Esley Welsberry and Dilliam Wembski respectively.

I love it so!

Biogeer said...

Don't worry, JAD, no one takes you the least bit seriously, any more than one would any of the scores of irrelevant cranks that stain the fringes of any legitimate science. It's just that your retarded obsessive ranting and comically unmerited arrogance are so frickin' amusing.

Mark Frank said...

The ritual model of communication recognises that we don't just use communication to transfer a message from a sender to a receiver (which is the transmission model). We use it to create and maintain relationships and roles between multiple people and institutions. A religious service is a good example but in fact I would say the majority of communiction is best described using a ritual model. Think, for example, of the House of Commons.

An important aspect is that success in a ritual model is defined very differently from success in a transmission model.

I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing if a blog is mostly about ritual. It would be hard work if it were all transmission. But UD is a particularly strong ritual - mostly about rallying the faithful.

johndarius said...

biogeer wrote:

>>Don't worry, JAD, no one takes you the least bit seriously, any more than one would any of the scores of irrelevant cranks that stain the fringes of any legitimate science. It's just that your retarded obsessive ranting and comically unmerited arrogance are so frickin' amusing.<<

I think you are dead wrong. If you will read through the internet archives, you will see that many have taken his hypothesis quite seriously. The ones that don't probably don't know enough biology, specifically physiology, to address his hypothesis, so they attack him personally as you have done here.

Also, it is well know that most of the great theories in science in physics and chemistry were developed by scientists on the fringe. That is what science is all about.

Alan Fox said...

Mark asks:

I am interested in UD and Dave's management of it. What's the objective?

That's a hard one. After Dover, it's pretty clear the sham that ID is science is scuppered. I am sure Bill Dembski still gets book sales via the faithful flock that still follow. I think the original motive for ID was opportunist; an "unholy alliance" of fundamentalists and right wing politicians, feeding off each other to gain political power. This is almost epitomised by the relationship between Dembski and David Springer.

All in all I am glad I live in France (heavy taxes and bureaucracy notwithstanding. :)

JohnADavison said...

God bless johndarius. Let me quote Samuel Johnson in response.

"The applause of a single human being is of great consequence."

There are two major forums where my name is no longer allowed to be mentioned and they are both run by self-centered, self-annointed, self-appointed ideologues neither of which can be considered a scientist by the wildest stretch of the imagination.

Panda's Thumb and Uncommon Descent are the forums and I don't have to tell you who these people are or who their chosen one man goon squads are, both of whom are posting here and now much to my personal glee and professional satisfaction.

Thank you again john. Naturally -

I love it so!

JohnADavison said...

By the way Alan, Intelligent Design is and always was plain as day to any unencumbered mind such as yours and the thousands of others suffering from the same condition who insist on displaying their genetic condition for all to marvel at. They are all homozygous at the auto-lobotomized locus. What would we rational souls do without you?

God but this is fun!

It is hard to believe isn't it?

Needless to say -

I love it so!

Biogeer said...

Predictable as the dawn, dumb as a rock and amusing as all hell.

God bless you, sir.

secondclass said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JohnADavison said...

I bet that last deletion was by Spravid Dinger, the biggest auto deleter of all time. Was it?

Mark Frank said...

Alan

I am sorry to say this but I think your idea for unmoderated forum is going to be a valiant failure. It is degenerating into a slanging match and it is not worth the effort of sorting through the abuse to find the nuggets of discussion.

I really liked the idea but the proof is in front of your eyes.

I will keep an eye on it just in case.

BTW - I envy you living Languedoc.

Alan Fox said...

I envy you living Languedoc.

It has its compensations, Mark. Mind you, temperatures have been around 32°C today until the most horrendous hailstorm blew in with hailstones the size of walnuts. Now it's still around 30° and 100% humidity.

Wonderpants said...

"I am sorry to say this but I think your idea for unmoderated forum is going to be a valiant failure. It is degenerating into a slanging match and it is not worth the effort of sorting through the abuse to find the nuggets of discussion."

As I expected. The same thing happened to Larry Fafarman's blog when he tried the same thing as Alan.

Alan Fox said...

Is Larry's blog still going, Wonderpants. After his brother intervened, I felt it was inappropriate to lurk there and deleted my bookmark to his blog.

Doppelganger said...

"I think you are dead wrong. If you will read through the internet archives, you will see that many have taken his hypothesis quite seriously. The ones that don't probably don't know enough biology, specifically physiology, to address his hypothesis, so they attack him personally as you have done here."


On the contrary - it appears to me that those who take his hypothesis seriously are those that do not know enough biology to see the lack of foundation for his claims, such as architects, electronics engineers, theologiansd, etc. Go ahead and ask him for actual evidence supportive of his hypothesis, and see what you get:

1. Repeated assurances that he agrees with a litany of long dead folk, some of whom are claiomed to have questioned various aspects of evolution

2. a reference to a case of parthenogenic turkeys

3. 'challenges' to show him 'new' genera (i.e., to prove evolution is still happening)

4. reference to his previous publicvations which have graced the pages of the creationist-run Rivista di Biologica, which themselves contain almost exclusively references to himself, the same handfull of 30-100 year old book citations, and the occasional misinterpretation of a paper published within the last decade or two.

Question any aspect of his claims, and he goes on the attack.



Just like I predict he will do to me, if he reads this.

If anyone actually reads his papers and finds them convincing of anything, scientifically, it is demonstrative of a shallow grasp of science.

johndarius said...

doppelganger,

I think I know you are, but if you prefer an alias that's fine. Can you tell me something about your science background?

Do you have any noteworthy publishings or research?

Btw, I may not be back until Wednesday, the 5th. So be patient.

Thanks.

JohnADavison said...

doppelganger is none other than Scott L. Page who became Pott L. Scage my my book long ago. He holds the world record for bannishments with 5 from ARN alone and another record for the number of aliases of which doppelganger is his most recent and most likely not his last. He is a homozygous atheist Darwimp of the first water and a vicious, mindless, arrogant snot very much like Spravid Dinger. He is the perfect addition to this flame pit.

Bye now.

I love it so!

Alan Fox said...

And this refutes Doppelganger's arguments, John? There are enumerated and specific points in Doppelganger's post. Remember this is an open forum. You can set out your stall and defend your PEH without fear of deletion.

JohnADavison said...

I suggest doppelganger apply to attack my PEH over at EvC. Has he been banned from participation there? Anything that he says here is absolutely meaningless. Come to think of it, anything any selection happy, mutationist, atheist Darwimp says is meaningless no matter where he says it. Selection, natural and artificial never had anything to do with creative evolution. Neither did Mendelian genetics, allelic mutation and sexual reproduction. I thought everybody knew that by now. I guess some folks are just slow learners like Pott L. Scage, Falan Ox and the vast majority of the rest of the bloggers that flame here.

Naturally -

I love it so!

johndarius said...

Alan, John, Scott:

Alan said, “And this refutes Doppelganger's arguments, John? There are enumerated and specific points in Doppelganger's post:”

I would like to point out that these so called ‘arguments’ are more ‘accusations’ and red herrings than arguments.

Let’s take the first one as that is all I have time for now:

>>1. Repeated assurances that he agrees with a litany of long dead folk, some of whom are claimed to have questioned various aspects of evolution.<<

I don’t have time to consider them all, but let’s just take one of these ‘long dead folk’, Otto Schindewolf

First of all, Schindewolf, a paleontologist, died in 1971. If you want to consider 1971 long ago, I guess that could be true if you are under 15 years of age or so. The fact is, paleontology, being a historical science doesn’t change much – since history is history. Schindewolf, ‘known for his research on corals and cephalopods’, made great contributions to the science of paleontology. In fact, so great that he is considered one of the greatest paleontologists of all time. Note this comment from Stephen Jay Gould:

“When I was a graduate student in 1965, I asked my advisor, Dr. Norman Newell: “who, in your opinion, is the world’s greatest living paleontologist.” He replied, without hesitation, Otto H. Schindewolf. Newell admired Schindewolf for his voluminous work on the morphology and phylogeny of Mesozoic ammonites, but Newell also honored his own highly developed sense of fairness in giving Schindewolf the nod.”

Today, we still use Newtonian mechanics as the science that underlies most of engineering and yet Newton died almost 300 years ago. And that is truly, a ‘long dead man’.

Finally, Scott seems to imply that Schindewolf and the others just ‘questioned various aspects of evolution,’ as though they were just like any other evolutionist, even a Darwinian. Well, once again I’ll let Gould, that great Darwinian propagandizer, dispel that notion:

“His [Schindewolf’s] thoughts, best expressed and summarized in this volume (originally published in 1950), represent the purest expression of a complete and thoroughgoing anti-Darwinian evolutionism based on traditions that had run deep in continental Europe ever since the late eighteenth-century works of Goethe and the Naturphilosophen.”

“Schindewolf therefore stands as a primary anti-Darwinian icon almost entirely by reputation, rather than by explicit study or confrontation with his actual words. This translation[1993], so long overdue, finally allows us direct access to a document that many of us rejected, explicitly and vociferously, only because our teachers had so instructed us. Perhaps we shall find something of value herein?

“Schindewolf’s ideas are particularly fascinating for historical reasons, because his anti-Darwinism is so fully formulated.”

To imply that Schindewolf merely ‘questioned various aspects of evolution,’ is a gross understatement. He refuted Darwinism altogether which most people in the western world associate with the term ‘evolution.’ Schindewolf, the great paleontologist, found that Darwinism simply could not be upheld under examination of the fossil record.

As Gould implies, this book is a most read for all interested in this subject.

JohnADavison said...

johndarius

You neglected to mention that after all that praise, Gould found it necessary to dismiss Schindewolf by claiming his evolutionary conclusions were "spectacularly flawed." So much for Stephen J. Gould, the Darwinian atheist to the very end of his life.

Consider one of his more famous pronouncements - "Intelligence was an evolutionary accident."

Gould, more than any other writer, did more to hinder evolutionary science than any other person with the possible exception of Richard Dawkins.

I do not hestitate to identify Gould, Mayr and Dawkins as the "Three Stooges" of the evolutionary literature, all three victims of their "prescribed" fates and all firmly glued to their endowed chairs, not one a scientist by the wildest stretch of the imagination. They all abandoned science early in their careers to spend the rest of their pathetic "prescribed" lives peddling ultra-Darwinian "snake oil" to naive like-minded audiences. This blog is crawling with them.

It is hard to believe isn't it?

I love it so!

Doppelganger said...

When did Schindewolf's book in question come out? Oh, right - 1950.
By anti-Darwinian, is it indicative that Schindewolf was anti-evolution? Was he a creationist?

=======
According to Darwin's theory, evolution takes place exclusively by way of slow, continuous formation increasing divergence and leads to the formation of genera, families, and higher taxonomic and phylogenetic units.Our experience, gained from the observation of fossil material, directly contradicts this interpretation. We found that the organizing structure of a family or an order did not arise as the result of continuous modification in a long chain of species, but rather by means of a sudden, discontinuous direct refashioning of the type complex from family to family, from order to order, from class to class. The characters that account for the distinctions among species are completely different from those that distinguish one type from another. (Italics by Schindewolf.)
=============

So, he, being a paleontologist form way back, was a pre-punc-eek kind of guy.

So why, I do wonder, does this have any bearing on evolution as such?


When was the structure of DNA discovered? Ah, yes - 1953.

When was the influence that genotype has over phenotype hashed out? Well, that is still going on.

That Schindewolf was anti-Darwinian simply means that, according to what he knew in the 1950s, he did not feel that the fossil record supported the Darwinian notion of gradual. slow evolution.

I cannot see how that supports Davison's wild extrapolations in any way, shape, or form?

What say you, Johndarius?

And yes, I do have some notewirthy publishings, at least the folks at the Tree of Life project seemed to think so.

You?

I might add that all we have in the usual hero worship. Schindewolf was ther 'greatest paleontologist' of his day and was a non-Darwinian, therefore, Darwinism is false. Grasse was 'europe's greatest zzologist' and was a non-Darwinian, therefore, Darwinism is wrong.

It is interesting to note that at the EvC forum, I posted some quotes from the same Grasse book that Davison cites in all hjis post-1976 papers that directly contradict some aspects of Davison's claims.

What did the hero-worshipper do? Well, he said he did ot have to agree with everything he wrote...

Doppelganger said...

Sorry about all the typos in the last post...

Doppelganger said...

I had to laugh at the showcase thread at EvC - Davison, exuding his usual contemptuous hubris, says he'll take all comers, then, he gets a polite, insughtful question asked of him, referring to published science, and how does he reply?

Does he actually address the question? Does he discuss the linked paper?

Oh, no - not JA Davison. He just pulls out some Grasse quotes and refers to his hero list.

Pathetic...

No mention of this Grasse quote:

\"A fact such as this confirms that neither the number nor the arrangement of the chromosomes affects the characteristics determined by the genes, and only the presence of the latter has any importance (except in the handful of cases of position effect reported by geneticists)."


Hmm....

johndarius said...

Scott,

>>When did Schindewolf's book in question come out? Oh, right - 1950.<<

Keep in mind the book was translated in 1993, and published by the University of Chicago press:

“Now available in English for the first time, Basic Questions in Paleontology is a landmark work in twentieth-century evolution and paleontology. Originally published in German in 1950, Schindewolf's book was highly controversial for its thoroughgoing anti-Darwinism, but today his ideas are remarkably relevant to current research in evolutionary biology.

"[This book] would rank number one on my list of items awaiting translation from the history of twentieth-century evolutionary theory."—Stephen Jay Gould

>>By anti-Darwinian, is it indicative that Schindewolf was anti-evolution? Was he a creationist?<<

No, he was not a creationist, but rather a saltationist, or rather he promoted saltational evolution.

=======
According to Darwin's theory, evolution takes place exclusively by way of slow, continuous formation increasing divergence and leads to the formation of genera, families, and higher taxonomic and phylogenetic units.Our experience, gained from the observation of fossil material, directly contradicts this interpretation. We found that the organizing structure of a family or an order did not arise as the result of continuous modification in a long chain of species, but rather by means of a sudden, discontinuous direct refashioning of the type complex from family to family, from order to order, from class to class. The characters that account for the distinctions among species are completely different from those that distinguish one type from another. (Italics by Schindewolf.)
=============
<<<

I assume you found that quote here:

http://www.weloennig.de/DeutscheWelle.html

Right?

>>So, he, being a paleontologist form way back, was a pre-punc-eek kind of guy.<<

No. Punctuated equilibrium still adheres to neo-Darwinism. The major difference being that populations become isolated, and then evolution proceeds at non-gradual tempos so that fossils documenting the transformations do not have time to develop. There is not enough geologic time for fossilization. Transitional forms were indeed present along each evolutionary pathway, however, we just don’t have any fossil record of such forms. Basically, Gould and Eldridge agree with Schindewolf’s assessment of the fossil record as to the lack of transitional forms. They just don’t agree (at least for Gould) with his saltational views.

>>So why, I do wonder, does this have any bearing on evolution as such?<<

Schindewolf’s book is very readable and well documented. As Gould said, his book “represents the purest expression of a complete and thoroughgoing anti-Darwinian evolutionism.”

>>When was the structure of DNA discovered? Ah, yes - 1953. When was the influence that genotype has over phenotype hashed out? Well, that is still going on.<<

Paleontology is unlike genetics, physiology, cell biology, etc. which examines mechanisms and how things work. Our ideas of how things work continuously change. Fossils dug up 200 years ago have not changed. After 150 years of digging, most paleontologists agree that we have a pretty good record of when, and in what order, life appeared. The big question is how it all happened?

>>That Schindewolf was anti-Darwinian simply means that, according to what he knew in the 1950s, he did not feel that the fossil record supported the Darwinian notion of gradual, slow evolution.<<

Those views, as Gould and Eldridge show, are still valid. That is obviously one reason the book was published in English in 1993 with Gould praising it. Gould just dismissed Schindewolf’s saltational interpretation out of hand.

>>I cannot see how that supports Davison's wild extrapolations in any way, shape, or form?<<

But it does. Davison goes a step further an offers a biological mechanism that he thinks can be tested to explain these jumps – the jumps observed in the fossil record.

That’s all I have time for now.

John

Alan Fox said...

As there are a couple of conversations on whether John Davison's sources do indeed include support for John's ideas, what about a thread on the subject? Some of the comments made already could be pasted there.

Doppelganger said...

Scott,

>>When did Schindewolf's book in question come out? Oh, right - 1950.<<

Keep in mind the book was translated in 1993, and published by the University of Chicago press:


And that changes it spublication date how? You wrote, did you not, that he died in 1971? He also retired in 1964. The date that his 1950 book was treanslated into english and re-published seems entirely irrelevant.

"[This book] would rank number one on my list of items awaiting translation from the history of twentieth-century evolutionary theory."—Stephen Jay Gould


Yes, that is great. The most important paleontologist that nobody has heard of. The book came out in 1950, what its English translation 43 years later has to do with anything, I am not sure.


>>By anti-Darwinian, is it indicative that Schindewolf was anti-evolution? Was he a creationist?<<

No, he was not a creationist, but rather a saltationist, or rather he promoted saltational evolution.


Did he believe that evolution had stopped? That there was a Grand Plan for evolution to produce humans? Did he provide any potential mechanisms? Did he claim evolution had stopped? Did he claim it was the result of a prescribed evolution (i.e., front-loading)?


=======
According to Darwin's theory, evolution takes place exclusively by way of slow, continuous formation increasing divergence and leads to the formation of genera, families, and higher taxonomic and phylogenetic units.Our experience, gained from the observation of fossil material, directly contradicts this interpretation. We found that the organizing structure of a family or an order did not arise as the result of continuous modification in a long chain of species, but rather by means of a sudden, discontinuous direct refashioning of the type complex from family to family, from order to order, from class to class. The characters that account for the distinctions among species are completely different from those that distinguish one type from another. (Italics by Schindewolf.)
=============
<<<

I assume you found that quote here:

http://www.weloennig.de/DeutscheWelle.html

Right?



I don’t recall, probably. Are you questioning the authenticity? It is, after all, a pro-ID site.


>>So, he, being a paleontologist from way back, was a pre-punc-eek kind of guy.<<

No. Punctuated equilibrium still adheres to neo-Darwinism. The major difference being that populations become isolated, and then evolution proceeds at non-gradual tempos so that fossils documenting the transformations do not have time to develop. There is not enough geologic time for fossilization. Transitional forms were indeed present along each evolutionary pathway, however, we just don’t have any fossil record of such forms. Basically, Gould and Eldridge agree with Schindewolf’s assessment of the fossil record as to the lack of transitional forms. They just don’t agree (at least for Gould) with his saltational views.


And this supports Davison, somehow....

Anyway, I fail to see a major difference, with the exception that Schindewolf did not appear to provide a possible mechanism. At least none have been evidence from the the I'm sure selective quoting provided by Davison.
Reading the PEH, we see some ambiguous quotes, including one in which descriptive terminology is employed as 'evidence' for ID:

"Schindewolf’s legend beneath the figure is of special significance
as it bears, not only on the questions raised here, but also, on the whole issue of Intelligent
Design with which those questions are clearly related.

“The skulls of carnivorous marsupials and of true carnivores show an extremely surprising
similarity in overall habitus and, in particular, in the unusual overspecialization of the upper pair
of canines. The similarities of form are present even in such details as the structure of the large
flange on the lower jaw, designed to guide and protect the upper canines.”"



>>So why, I do wonder, does this have any bearing on evolution as such?<<

Schindewolf’s book is very readable and well documented.


For 1950, sure. Any discussion on gene action?


As Gould said, his book “represents the purest expression of a complete and thoroughgoing anti-Darwinian evolutionism.”

For 1950, sure.


>>When was the structure of DNA discovered? Ah, yes - 1953. When was the influence that genotype has over phenotype hashed out? Well, that is still going on.<<

Paleontology is unlike genetics, physiology, cell biology, etc. which examines mechanisms and how things work.


Indeed.


Our ideas of how things work continuously change.


A bit of an overstatement, if we are talking in roughly the same time frame (1950s to present).

Fossils dug up 200 years ago have not changed.

No, but sometimes the interpretation of them does, and genetic data have caused some morphologists to re-examine osteological evidence and re-interpret their original positions (see Fleagle's re-examination of Mangabey skeletons). Bones only tell part of the story.


After 150 years of digging, most paleontologists agree that we have a pretty good record of when, and in what order, life appeared. The big question is how it all happened?



Yes, paleontology seems to prefer to jump to conclusions premised on scant evidence, then to cling to cherished notions when new evidence is unearthed. I’m pretty sure more fossils have been found and examined since 1950. I wonder how well new fossil material supports the 1950’s Schindewolf notions?




>>That Schindewolf was anti-Darwinian simply means that, according to what he knew in the 1950s, he did not feel that the fossil record supported the Darwinian notion of gradual, slow evolution.<<

Those views, as Gould and Eldridge show, are still valid.


In somecases, sure. Providing, of course, that fossils tell the whole story.


That is obviously one reason the book was published in English in 1993 with Gould praising it.


Yeah, I don't suppose it could have anything to do with issues of an historical interest...


Gould just dismissed Schindewolf’s saltational interpretation out of hand.


Most likey because there is pretty good reason to, at least for the 'larger' saltations.


And yet, fossils are the physical ‘outgrowths' of the genotype interacting with the environment. Would not a better source of ‘truth’ be the genotype?

I know, Schindewolf did not believe that there is any evidence for this.. in the fossils (from Davison's comic, quoting Schindewolf:
“On the other hand, an unbiased examination of the fossil material itself also reveals that
absolutely no direct response to environmental influences or appropriate adaptations in the
Lamarckian sense must necessarily be inferred.” ).


>>I cannot see how that supports Davison's wild extrapolations in any way, shape, or form?<<

But it does. Davison goes a step further an offers a biological mechanism that he thinks can be tested to explain these jumps – the jumps observed in the fossil record.


And yet for the 15-odd years that he still had lab space at UVM, he deigned not to test his claims. Isn't that interesting? Easier, I suppose, to sit back ala Dembski/Behe and declare 'victory' because nobody else will take the time to test THEIR claims...


And, of course, Davison’s “mechanism” is more chance-reliant than is ‘Darwinism’, since he has written (at EvC, I believe) that sometimes chromosomal changes produce speciation, sometimes they don't...

So – what are your publications of note?

Doppelganger said...

Just as I might have thought...