Eric Hovind is continuing his father's tradition of utterly inane arguments against evolution. In this case, it's a video of Hovind and two of his bland buddies sitting around talking about…cephalopods. Oh, it is painful to witness.
They show excerpts of some perfectly lovely videos of cuttlefish swimming about, exercising their camouflage, and they talk about its specialized defenses and sophisticated behavior. In classic creationist form, they watch all this beauty and throw up their hands in surrender, and exclaim that they don't see how this could have evolved, and ask, "How does evolution explain that?"
I would turn that question around: "How does creationism explain that?" And I'm sorry, "God did it" is not an explanation. It says nothing about the processes used to create the cuttlefish's capabilities, and it does nothing to explain limitations — why can't the cuttlefish fly? Why doesn't it have three eyes? Why does it use similar genes to our own? You can't just posit an omnipotent creator who can create anything without also having an explanation for the constraints on his creations.
At one point, they are talking about the mechanisms the animals use to camouflage themselves, and they express dumbfounded ignorance about how they do that (and babble incorrectly about some of the details — they do not see everything in shades of green). Did Eric Hovind's two researchers ever think to look up the science? Roger Hanlon has been doing some marvelous work on cephalopod behavior and camouflage; I have no idea what Hanlon's religious beliefs are, and it doesn't matter, but he clearly sees these as natural phenomena generated by natural processes.
We do have explanations of cephalopod evolution. I don't expect Hovind and cronies are at all aware of them. In fact, in this interview Hovind reveals a common and significant misconception about how evolution works. He speculates that an evolutionary explanation would be that "…one of them decided while he was sittin' there getting munched on, hey, I need to evolve a defense mechanism to overcome this…".
I hear this all the time. The only way they can imagine evolution working is by an act of will, that every adaptation must be a product of an individual organism doing something special and directed towards acquiring that ability. They miss the key insight Darwin had.
No, one of them getting munched on did not decide anything, and the action was done: it was being eaten. It would not reproduce. The properties of that specific individual would have a diminished influence on the next generation. It was the other cephalopods that were not being eaten who would propagate, and it would be their genes that would continue on.
The idea is right there in their very own scenario, and they lack the intelligence to grasp it. They keep talking about features of the animals that help them survive better, and they are blind to the fact that survival is the key. It's depressing to see such hopeless ignorance in these three, each reinforcing the other, when the answers to the questions they ask are in books anyone can get.Read the comments on this post...
Circus of Garden Delights.
West 34th Street/Penn Station Subway tile mosaic art #2
as seen at NYC's West 34th Street stop at 8th for the A, C and E trains.
Artist: Eric Fischl, 2001.
According to the artist, this subway station artwork "depicts a commuter being drawn into the bizarre and surprising world of the circus, meeting animals, clowns, acrobats and fire-breathers on his way to work."Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...
What the heck has happened to the media? Have they lost their minds?Newsweek has an article online about a psychic who charges $10,000 per month to her clients. The article gushes all over her — she must have needed a towel after reading it — detailing her intuition, her successes, her clients.But it forgets to [...]
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Goldfish Asians are domesticated subspecies of goldfish, carp Gibela, kind, of course, presents a wide range of morphological changes, if in different environments. In his native China, inhabiting rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and canals, live in operation, still, stagnant water and even 10 ° C to 32 ° C, will increase to about 30 cm long and 2.5 kg in weight During the 2 -3 years, about 10 years. This tasty dish of fish! He easily crosses any ornamental goldfish, produce viable offspring. On the right picture of the Asian carp Gibela.
In the wild, goldfish can be found in slow-moving, freshwater waters. Like its close relative of the carp, they thrive in a slightly sludgy water. None of the Goldfish varieties found in aquariums occur naturally in the wild. They are all bred specifically for a particular characteristic - color, shape or FIN, etc. The closest in the form of the wild Goldfish is the Comet, although the wild form is a somewhat shorter stockier fish with fins.
Goldfish has a lot of subspecies or varieties such as Ranchu, Tosa, LionHead, Oranda, Comet, Pearlscale, Ryukin and Celestial Eye each has it's own distinguished beauty.
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tags: bpr3.org/?p=52, Early Bird Project, Tree of Life, avian evolution, deep avian evolutionary relationships, avian phylogenomics, location cues, Shannon J. Hackett, Rebecca T. Kimball, Sushma Reddy
Basic topology of the evolutionary relationships between birds.
Maximum Likelihood (ML) phylogram reveals the short internodes at the base of Neoaves and highlights certain extreme examples of rate variation across avian lineages. The phylogenetic tree was rooted to crocodilian outgroups (not shown). Branch colors represent major clades supported in this study: land birds (green), charadriiforms (yellow), water birds (blue), core gruiforms and cuckoos (gray), apodiforms and caprimulgiforms (brown), galloanserae (orange), and paleognaths (purple). Scale bar indicates substitutions per site.
Image: SJ Hackett et al. Science 2008. DOI: 10.1126/science.1157704.
A fascinating paper was just published by some of my colleagues in the top-tier journal, Science, that analyzes the largest collection of DNA data ever assembled for birds. This analysis effectively redraws avian phylogeny, or family tree, thus shaking up our current understanding of the early, or "deep", evolutionary relationships of birds. For example, one of the most surprising findings of this analysis is that parrots and songbirds are "sister groups" -- each other's closest relatives! Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...
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When my girlfriend told me that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had suggested that Barack Obama choose Chet Edwards--my former (and George W. Bush's current) congressman--as his running mate, I thought she was pulling my leg. But, she was serious, and--as usual--she was right.Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...
Drink up. It's good for you.
From del.icio.us hotlist: The world's first moving building, an 80-story tower with revolving floors giving a shifting shape, will be built in Dubai, its architect says. The Dynamic Tower design is made up of 80 pre-fabricated apartments which will spin independently of one a
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This is an amphioxus, a cephalochordate or lancelet. It's been stained to increase contrast; in life, they are pale, almost transparent.
It looks rather fish-like, or rather, much like a larval fish, with it's repeated blocks of muscle arranged along a stream-lined form, and a notochord, or elastic rod that forms a central axis for efficient lateral motion of the tail…and it has a true tail that extends beyond the anus. Look closely at the front end, though: this is no vertebrate.
It's not much of a head. The notochord extends all the way to the front of the animal (in us vertebrates, it only reaches up as far as the base of the hindbrain); there's no obvious brain, only the continuation of the spinal cord; there isn't even a face, just an open hole fringed with tentacles. This animal collects small microorganisms in coastal waters, gulping them down and passing them back to the gill slits, which aren't actually part of gills, but are components of a branchial net that allows water to filter through while trapping food particles. It's a good living — they lounge about in large numbers on tropical beaches, sucking down liquids and any passing food, much like American tourists.
These animals have fascinated biologists for well over a century. They seem so primitive, with a mixture of features that are clearly similar to those of modern vertebrates, yet at the same time lacking significant elements. Could they be relics of the ancestral chordate condition? A new paper is out that discusses in detail the structure of the amphioxus genome, which reveals unifying elements that tell us much about the last common ancestor of all chordates.Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...
Space X, a private company hoping — with reason — to be the first to launch a commercial rocket into orbit, test-fired their new Merlin 1C engine yesterday. The cool thing: it’s on the rocket, and the rocket is on the pad! The only thing that prevented liftoff was a restraining arm holding the rocket [...]
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