Whales did (NOT) evolve

(George Brooks) #101


It’s one thing to say that you have to give God-driven evolution a name different from evolution. But now you have really gone past the limit of not just scientific terminology, but have stuck your face in complete opposition to what God can or won’t do.

Forget for the moment whether you are happy with the term Evolution… and your somewhat brittle (nay unfathomable?) attitude that you know how best to employ the word Evolution … but you are on the verge of saying God would never use common descent and speciation to accomplish his goals.

What makes you think that, @Ashwin_s? If God can use evaporation and condensation to make rain, why wouldn’t he use common descent to fill the world with interrelated kinship groups of all sorts of creatures?
Earlier in your post, you rather officiously declare that we would believe anything if we believe that “chance and natural selection” could accomplish such similarities.

This would be like me saying to you, if you believe Jesus and Satan can work together to make a beautiful starry night, you’d believe anything! Wouldn’t you feel grievously offended that I lumped the Savior in with Satan? Wouldn’t you feel that I clearly had no grasp of what is involved in Christian belief, if I could so cavalierly associate the Prince of Darkness with the Prince of Life?

Well, it’s the same kind of almost inexplicable ignorance on your part when you talk about randomness and natural selection, as though God would never use the latter to help avoid the former! What makes it so inexplicable is that you have had 3 or 4 instructors on these boards… giving you intimate snapshots of the logic involved when God is in charge of mutations, and in charge of climate-driven evolutionary patterns.

Bit none of it really matters to you … you refuse to actually connect the dots we describe. You are absolutely right … while thousands of other intelligent and professional experts in the fields of evolutionary science are engaged in some kind of quackery and fake processes - - and yet, mysteriously, they still produce medicines and treatments that save lives, and effectively predict how and where to find genetic traces of valuable biological resources all around the world. You must think they do it with some kind of dowsing rods to accomplish these things.


(George Brooks) #102


So you don’t think God is at work in producing the Flying Squirrel (a placental mammal) and the very similar Sugar Glider (a marsupial mammal) ? I don’t think these congruent evolutionary developments were random or accidental… nor do many of my friends. So why do you come here with your insulting attitude, impugning the intelligence of quite intelligent people, ridiculing them – all the while you can’t even explain speciation?

When you went to this site, and you saw the test question, did you try to give the correct answer?


If I recall, one of your favorite words is “homologous”, so I’m guessing you submitted that answer. And if you did, you would have been wrong.

(George Brooks) #103

@Ashwin_s (@Chris_Falter):

You obviously haven’t spent much time thinking this one through:

How would we know what the “average number of intermediate species” it would take to get from a terrestrial mammal to become a whale. Ponder for a moment: how long does it take just to create a species? More than a lifetime, usually, based on even the most aggressive estimates? So how many times has the Earth made whales? Is the process comparable to making walruses? Or Seals? When we had our video cameras rolling… how many species did it seem to require in your view?

What? You weren’t there? You didn’t see the video imagery? Oh … because there wasn’t any…

And yet you have the presumption to ask questions based on information you know cannot be adequately answered by anyone on this planet. Why do you seem so unpleasant in your efforts to discover the truth - - as long as “the truth” fits all your rules?

(Ashwin S) #104

I use the scientific meaning of the term evolution. It is always used to describe a random (i.e unpredictable), natural (i.e the only agency involved are natural laws and processes) process.
A design implies an agency that transcends natural explanations. A designed process is ultimately not random. The end results are anticipated/predicted.
Evolution cannot be conflated with Design.

What exactly do you mean by common descent? Suppose God worked on the embryo inside the womb of a regular bat, and caused mutations that made the off spring a new species with the ability to echolocate… would you call it common descent? I would call it special creation.

There is a place for randomness in a designed processes. However, the randomness is controlled.For example, if i made a search algorithm to find a solution to a problem, one way to do it would be to keep some parameters constant and allow random choices to be made from a controlled set of options.Then the process would be optimised by checking which “random” choice gives the best result for the parameter being optimised. The effectiveness of this strategy depends on two sets of decisions.

  1. Which parameters need to be kept constant.
  2. What are the sets/paths of variation allowed.

I am not saying God cannot use natural selection. I am saying natural selection + Random mutations cannot make the above two decisions and hence it cannot lead to the kind of optimisations of form/function we see in nature.
And if God made those decisions and programmed genomes accordingly, the process cannot be called natural selection.

They do this through empirical experimentation/ testing which has little to with evolution.Irrespective of whether they assume CA or not, such studies will give us information.Though assuming CA can cause people to neglect useful areas of research.
Take the ENCODE programme as an example. They defined function in genes in a way totally different from what evolutionary biologists do… And that is one of the reasons they found a lot of avenues of medical interest.
However they got a lot of criticism from evolutionary biologists for taking this approach to function in the genome.

Well then you should be happy i agree with you.
Do you think these congruent evolutionary developments are explained by natural selection?
If not… what is left?

I didn’t answer the question because both options were wrong. I had to choose between similarity caused by common descent (homologous) and Similarity caused by natural selection (analogous)…
I think its similarity caused by design.

Let me allow Darwin to postulate the question better :slight_smile:

Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record. Charles Darwin (1859), The Origin of Species

I am also saying the same thing…There is no finely graduated organic chain from teh Pakicetus to the whale.
Either Darwin is right and the fossil record just doesnt show the vast majority of the intermediate organisms… (which is another way of saying there is little support for the process of evolution in the fossil record)
or there isnt a finely graduated organic chain to begin with.
claiming that expectations of a finely graduated organic chain based on evolutions is unreasonable is ridiculous.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #105

For perhaps nearly most of the last four centuries, people have been assuming anything but. And still today, great numbers of people including yourself are determined to assume anything but. And yet for all that effort, they still haven’t come up with a compelling narrative for how God physically accomplished his creation. It’s like one set of folks wanting to talk about a carpenter’s tools and methods of the trade, while the other set of folks just insists: “No – the carpenter just said he made this table for us – so he must have just spoken it into existence. Because he barely mentioned using wood for his material and said very little about his tools and all this exacting craft that you’re all going on about.”

From what I can see, if you found 60 photographs of me, you would proclaim in amazement: “Look! Someone just like Merv was created 60 separate times!” And it doesn’t seem to occur to you that perhaps the same person developed and had a life in between those snapshots even though you don’t have a visual record of all of it. You point out that I don’t look exactly the same in every picture, so it can’t all be the same person. And you may be right in a couple cases (some photos of a twin brother or a ‘look alike’ thrown in); they would indeed be separate creations (“convergences” as it were.) But by and large, the best explanation for the string of photographs is that I grew and changed slightly between the photos, solidly and continuously existing throughout.

But you persist: No – it can’t be. Where are all the missing transition photos? You’ve got 60 gaps to account for. More photos are produced. But you declare – Now you have 120 gaps!

While we’re speaking of needing a multitude of miracles, this is a problem that the flood geologists have to explain, not the E.C. folks. But you’ve indicated that you are okay with an ancient earth, if I’m not mistaken. Sorry if you’ve explained this before and I’ve just forgotten; but what do you think happened in the billions of years of earth’s history before humans were on the scene?

(Ashwin S) #106

More like people trying to explain how the tools made the table without any carpenter.
I am just pointing out, look the table was designed and made by a carpenter…

Do you think the guys who proposed the appendix convergently evolving 30+ times didn’t know that one continuous development would be most probable ? They are forced into such conclusions because of assumptions of common descent applied to real data.
Give the scientists some credit. If there was any way for the appendix to have emerged in one shot in mammals without convergence, they would have gone for it.

When it comes to things like the appendix, my main problem is not the lack of transitions… its the claim that someone identical to Mervin (as per you analogy) was born and grew up several times in history by chance (no input from lineage)…

Actually its a problem faced by evolutionists…
Many related species are separated by oceans… and they had to cross oceans to reach where they did. This miracle had to happen many many times…
As to flood geology, haven’t looked too deeply into it so i cant make any comments. i have explicitly said before that i dont have any problems with the estimates of the age of the Earth.

For the large part, if fossil evidence is to believed, the earth consisted only of single celled organisms…No animal perse has been alive and kicking for billions of years…

(PETERC) #107


Just looking at those pictures, how do scientists know that Pakicetus, a 4-legged land animal, really is a direct ancestor of Basilosaurus, and that it really evolved into the modern whale? Why can they not be separate, unrelated species? I find it odd, given life supposedly began in the oceans, that after evolving to become land mammals, some eventually evolved back into water creatures.

Also, what was before Pakicetus?

Thanks, Peter


I think there is no way to tell for sure, it could be a side lineage. But we can tell a lot about you by studying your cousins, can’t we? And those ridiculously tiny hind limbs on basilosaurus? We call that a clue. And the hind limbs encased in the body walls of some whales? There’s another clue.

(T J Runyon) #109

Himalayacetus, though there is some uncertainty about its 53mya date. Indohyus. I’m guessing you’re about to ask what came before them now…"

(PETERC) #110

OK, but looking at my cousins you’d still see a very similar human being, not a different species (well some of them maybe!) which lives in water and not on land, and Im not aware that evolutionists believe in a few million years time (assuming we’re still around then) the future families of my cousins or myself will look significantly different. Thats the problem I have with evolution, all the real-world examples such as darwin’s finches were temporary in nature, reversing to the original features when the local environment reversed back. And of course, they remained finches!

(Matthew Pevarnik) #111

What kind of model for the ‘origin of species’ would you say you acknowledge? Are you more along the lines of ‘God created everything as is and species never change’ or ‘God created some original kinds and they diverged from there?’

(Mervin Bitikofer) #112

Hi, Peter – and welcome! Thanks for your questions. I’ll do my best although others here who delve into these things professionally as scientists will be able to answer more specifically and with more confidence; so I defer to any corrections that may be required. But here is my observing layman’s response. You asked:

Some relationships did not look immediately obvious, and only after some fossil study did any possible lineage make itself more apparent. In this case, finding skeletal commonalities that link it both with whales, but also with hippose and others as described in the paragraph below that I found at this site.

Over time, fossils also revealed that Pakicetus had an ear bone with a feature unique to whales and an ankle bone that linked it to artiodactyls, a large order of even-toed hoofed mammals that includes hippos, pigs, sheep, cows, deer, giraffes, antelopes, and even cetaceans, the only aquatic artiodactyls.

That is a good question, and one that gets to the heart of an entire outlook about the development of life in history. Is the whole concept of discrete species and their allged fixity --is that all a construct of our own making (as some like Ashwin allege the whole evolutionary outlook to be)? Or are the boundaries between species more fluid when considered over large time scales? That is all a bigger subject than can be addressed in one post here, but there are resources here that can help. At first I was going to recommend going to the search glass on the biologos home page and looking for the word ‘speciation’; [and you certainly can as interested]; but that brings you to some articles that may be a little more technical than needed. Maybe one good place to start would be with the first of these ‘misconceptions’ articles.

Creatures [populations, rather] will presumably evolve (or go extinct!) as new environmental circumstances change over time. So it wouldn’t be strange that ecological changes would give rise to these sorts of changes first in one direction, but then later in another.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #113

7 posts were split to a new topic: The ID Book Heretic: A Brave Journey where No Man Has Gone Before

(PETERC) #114

Well no, but would that not be a reasonable question if there is a continuous line of evolution?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #115

As I understand it, there would need to be geographical separation (or some other reproductively isolating mechanism) between animals before their speciation finally veers off far enough to where they would be recognized as a separate species in the traditional sense. Darwin’s finches (or David Lack’s finches, rather) didn’t have that so much, which would keep some of the speciation in check. Or at least that’s my understanding of that situation.

(George Brooks) #116

@Ashwin_s (@T.j_Runyon, @T_aquaticus, @pevaquark, @jpm and all those other volunteers who are interested in the exact wording of what BioLoogos officially rejects ) :

You write: " A designed process is ultimately not random. The end results are anticipated/predicted.
Evolution cannot be conflated with Design."

It doesn’t matter what rules you have made up in your head.

The BioLogos folks have qualified their definition and use of Evolution (see image below):

So, it would seem long before you could reject the BioLogos definition on Evolution, BioLogos.Org had already officially rejected YOUR view!:

“[BioLogos.Org] believe[s] that … God continues to sustain the … functioning of the natural world, and the cosmos… Therefore [BioLogos.org] reject[s] ideologies … that God is no longer active in the natural world.”

Further: “[BioLogos.org believes] that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth [including your Sugar Glider and Flying Squirrel] are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes.”

And lastly, but most crucially, for the purpose of discussion in this thread:

“…Therefore, we reject ideologies that claim that evolution is a purposeless
process …” [and that claim] “… evolution replaces God.”

[ severe line of text removed by moderator; ruling accepted and endorsed by GBrooks9 ]


(Phil) #117

Finally seems to be the key word. We have such a finite experience on earth that we think a couple of hundred years is a long time, which is less time than the finches have been observed, but for speciation, the time spans may well take orders of magnitude more. I don’t know how many years it would take, as it probably would vary, but suspect a range of 200K and up for most to truly develop as new species. Dogs are sort a sub-species of wolf, as they still interbreed, but is thought they separated about 18-32 thousand years ago, and have had help from us in differentiating and breeding.
It is difficult to understand deep time but that is the key ingredient.


That was an analogy. You didn’t comment on my other statements. Why would a whale have useless hindlimbs?

(George Brooks) #119


You are not the only one who has these concerns. Some Creationists are willing to allow for a population to “change slightly or a lot” - - but when they are asked to accept that at least one of the separated sub-populations can change into something VERY different … that’s when we have some major objections.

It just so happens that another thread has one or two particularly relevant postings on this topic! One of them is reproduced below:


The Australian Case Study: Marsupial Radiation Tracked
via Genetic Fingerprints of Ancient Viruses!

This post really should get its own thread (and it will, eventually).

“Tracking Marsupial Evolution Using Archaic Genomic Retroposon Insertions” by Maria A. Nilsson, Gennady Churakov, Mirjam Sommer, Ngoc Van Tran, Anja Zemann, Jürgen Brosius, and Jürgen Schmitz
PLoS Biol. 2010 Jul; 8(7): e1000436. Published online 2010 Jul 27. PMCID: PMC2910653 PMID: 20668664

Notice in the image below, the various branches of Marsupial populations that appear to be derived from a population in South America. Since the original discovery of this one population, decades ago, genetic analysis has shown that the existing marsupials of Australia are the result of this one population “radiating outward” into various empty niches - - to be vigorously exploited by emerging marsupial specialized forms - - in safe isolation from the placental mammals that were coming to dominate the rest of the world!

[Be sure to click on the images to enlarge text to a more convenient font size!]

A “zoom” of this image will be of particular value to us later on, because it creates a convenient grouping of some fairly disparate phenotypes:

While at the top we have “shrew-like” forms, and at the bottom we have “kanga” forms aggregated, in the middle grouping, we have the suggestion that three very distinct groupings share a close heritage:

Dasyuromorphia: the group having most of Australia’s carnivorous marsupials, including
the numbat,
the Tasmanian devil,
and the thylacine.
[In Australia, the exceptions include the marsupial moles and the omnivorous bandicoots.]

Notoryctemorphia: moles, vegetarian

Peremelamorphia: bandicoots & bilbies “the characteristic bandicoot shape: a plump, arch-backed body with a long, delicately tapering snout, very large upright ears, relatively long, thin legs, and a thin tail. Their size varies from about 140 grams up to 4 kilograms, but most species are about one kilogram, or the weight of a half-grown kitten [4 kilograms = 4 half-grown kittens].”

This is the ideal “research scenario” to see how much genetic change occurs, and how quickly - - according to Evolutionary Theory - - to accomplish divergence into three distinctive “forms” of marsupials!

Australia provides the perfect example of how 3 different populations, surprisingly closely related via Common Descent, can come to look dramatically different from the original population!




Would you like to learn about whale anatomy, up close and personal, including hindlimbs? You should. Here is a fascinating and instructive video.

Features veterinary scientist Mark Evans and comparative anatomist Dr. Joy Reidenberg. It’s a dissection of a whale that died of natural causes.

I also suggest that you try to catch the traveling exhibition: Whales: Giants of the Deep which was developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It features more than 20 skulls and skeletons from various whale species (ancient and modern) and showcases many rare specimens, including the real skeleton of a male sperm whale measuring 58 feet long (or about 18 feet longer than a school bus); etc. I saw it at the AMNH; not sure where it is now, but it was amazing!.

Hippos are the closest living relatives of whales. In this cute video you can see a mother and baby hippo swimming together.