Quick Evolution Question
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09-07-2014, 11:06 AM
Quick Evolution Question
So as some of you may have seen - a fundie on youtube posed some questions for me and I've a strong mind to tear him a new one when I get the chance. One of his more laughable (out of a strong field) assertions was that whales came from cows if evolution is true.

Being in Britain this is probably the first time I've ever had to deal with a theist who's clearly anti-evolution. Thus I'm a little non-plussed as to how to actually respond.

My initial thought is to say that under the theory of evolution whales and cows share a common ancestor and to say that one descends from the other is equivalent to saying that someone gave birth to their cousin...

My question is - is that a good analogy...? I'm no expert in this particular field as none of the religious people I've ever debated with have been this scientifically dense. This appears much more prevalent in America so maybe someone can help me out here...

Cheers.
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09-07-2014, 11:17 AM
RE: Quick Evolution Question
You have a false premise.

There is no such thing as quick evolution.

Drinking Beverage

Anyway, for a scientifically dense audience, go for parody / irony.

Maybe a little absurdum ...

"Of course we, as atheists, as part of our religious indoctrination, are taught that whales did, indeed, evolve from cows. Here is the evidence...

[Image: 224.jpg]

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09-07-2014, 11:19 AM
RE: Quick Evolution Question
(09-07-2014 11:17 AM)DLJ Wrote:  You have a false premise.

I assume that's addressed to the creatard?
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09-07-2014, 11:29 AM
RE: Quick Evolution Question
(09-07-2014 11:19 AM)CiderThinker Wrote:  
(09-07-2014 11:17 AM)DLJ Wrote:  You have a false premise.

I assume that's addressed to the creatard?

I was just making fun of your thread title

but yeah, "quick evolution" is effectively what a YEC is arguing for if they state that speciation only started after the flood.

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09-07-2014, 11:30 AM (This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 12:05 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Quick Evolution Question
(09-07-2014 11:06 AM)CiderThinker Wrote:  So as some of you may have seen - a fundie on youtube posed some questions for me and I've a strong mind to tear him a new one when I get the chance. One of his more laughable (out of a strong field) assertions was that whales came from cows if evolution is true.

Being in Britain this is probably the first time I've ever had to deal with a theist who's clearly anti-evolution. Thus I'm a little non-plussed as to how to actually respond.

My initial thought is to say that under the theory of evolution whales and cows share a common ancestor and to say that one descends from the other is equivalent to saying that someone gave birth to their cousin...

My question is - is that a good analogy...? I'm no expert in this particular field as none of the religious people I've ever debated with have been this scientifically dense. This appears much more prevalent in America so maybe someone can help me out here...

Cheers.

This is because he doesn't understand science, paleontology or fossils.

Give me a few minutes to type it up. I am taking an evolution science course at the moment and have the answer in front of me in the text. It isn't an easy or short answer. So i am going to put on my speech recognition crap and start babbling in an attempt to give you the answer.

quick version from the net below;

http://www.transitionalfossils.com/

Land mammals - whales and dolphins


Indohyus ~48 million years ago
Although only a cousin species of the ancestor of whales, Indohyus had bones denser than normal mammals, indicating it was partially aquatic: heavy bones are good ballast (Thewissen et al, 2009). Its ears shared a feature with modern whales: a thickened wall of bone which assists in underwater hearing; non-cetaceans don't have this (Thewissen et al, 2009).


Pakicetus ~52 mya
Perhaps the actual ancestor, Pakicetus was probably semi-aquatic; like Indohyus, it had dense bones for ballast (Thewissen et al, 2009). Its body was "wolf-like" but the skull had eye sockets adapted for looking upwards, presumably at objects floating above it (Thewissen et al, 2009). Although initially known from just a skull, many more bones were found later (Thewissen et al, 2001).

Ambulocetus ~50 mya
With a streamlined, elongated skull and reduced limbs, Ambulocetus probably spent most of its time in shallow water. Its reduced limbs meant it could only waddle on land (Coyne, 2009). It resembled a crocodile in some ways.

Rodhocetus ~45 mya
The nostrils of Rodhocetus have started to move backwards (towards the blowhole position) and the skeleton indicates a much stronger swimmer (Coyne, 2009). On land it would struggle, moving "somewhat like a modern eared seal or sea lion" (Gingerich et al, 2001). Its teeth were simpler than its predecessors (Futuyma, 2005), a trend that continued to the present.

Maiacetus ~47 mya
Seems similar to Rodhocetus. One fossil was found with what appeared to be a foetus, in a position indicating head-first birth (Gingerich et al, 2009) unlike modern whales. However this is disputed; the "foetus" might just be a partially digested meal (Thewissen and McLellan, 2009).

Basilosaurus ~40 mya
The whale-like, fully aquatic Basilosaurus had almost lost its (tiny) hindlimbs, but they had not yet vanished entirely (Prothero, 2007).

Dorudon ~40 mya
Also fully aquatic, Dorudon also had tiny hind limbs, which "barely projected from the body" (Futuyma, 2005).

Aetiocetus ~25 mya
The blowhole in Aetiocetus is about halfway to its position in modern whales on top of the head. Aetiocetus also represents the transition from toothed whales to the filter-feeding baleen whales, being similar to baleen whales in most respects, but possessing teeth (Van Valen, 1968).

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” - Christopher Hitchens
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09-07-2014, 11:40 AM
RE: Quick Evolution Question
(09-07-2014 11:06 AM)CiderThinker Wrote:  So as some of you may have seen - a fundie on youtube posed some questions for me and I've a strong mind to tear him a new one when I get the chance. One of his more laughable (out of a strong field) assertions was that whales came from cows if evolution is true.

Being in Britain this is probably the first time I've ever had to deal with a theist who's clearly anti-evolution. Thus I'm a little non-plussed as to how to actually respond.

My initial thought is to say that under the theory of evolution whales and cows share a common ancestor and to say that one descends from the other is equivalent to saying that someone gave birth to their cousin...

My question is - is that a good analogy...? I'm no expert in this particular field as none of the religious people I've ever debated with have been this scientifically dense. This appears much more prevalent in America so maybe someone can help me out here...

Cheers.

That's a pretty good analogy. I think a better one is to say that evolution is not like a ladder but like a tree with many, many branches with the common ancestors being the branching points. So a cow didn't turn into a whale. One branch eventually became a cow and the other eventually became a whale.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.
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09-07-2014, 12:01 PM (This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 01:44 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Quick Evolution Question
and here you go....

Whales happen to have an excellent fossil record, courtesy of their aquatic habits and early fossilized bones. How they evolved has emerged within only the last 20 years. This is one of our best examples of an evolutionary transition, since we have a chronologically ordered series of fossils, perhaps a lineage of ancestors and descendents, showing their movement from land to water.

Whales like their relatives, the Dolphins and porpoises, are mammals. They are warm blooded, produce live young who may feed with milk, and have hair around their blowholes. Evidence from whale DNA, as well as vestigial traits like their rudimentary pelvis in hind legs, show that their ancestors lived on land. Whales almost certainly evolved from a series of the artiodactyls: the group of mammals that have an even number of toes, such as camels and pigs.

Biologists now believe that the closest living relative of Whales is the hippopotamus. But whales have their own unique features that set them apart from their terrestrial relatives. These include the absence of rear legs, front limbs that are shaped like paddles, a flattened fluke-like tail, and blowhole, a short neck, simple conical teeth, special features of the ear that allow them to hear underwater, and robust projections on top of the vertebrae to anchor the strong swimming muscles of the tail. Thanks to an amazing series of fossils found in the Middle East, we can trace the evolution of each of these traits, except for the bonus tail which doesn’t fossilized, from a terrestrial to an aquatic form.

The sequence begins with a recently discovered fossil of a close relative of whales, a raccoon sized animal called Indohyus. Letting 48 million years ago it was an artiodactyl. It is closely related to whales because it has special features of the years in teeth seen only in modern whales and their aquatic ancestors. Although Indohyus appears slightly later than the largely aquatic ancestors of Whales, it is probably very close to the what the whale ancestor looked like. And it was at least partially aquatic.

We know this because it’s bones were denser than those of fully terrestrial mammals, which kept the creature from bobbing about in the water, and because the isotopes extracted from its teeth show that it absorbed a lot of oxygen from water. It probably waded in shallow streams or lakes to graze on vegetation. While Indohyus was not the ancestor of whales, it was most certainly its cousin. If we go back 4 million more years, to 52 million years ago, we see what might well be at ancestor. It is a fossil skull from a wolf sized creature called Pakicetus, which is a bit more will like than Indohyus, having simpler teeth and whale like ears. Pakicetus still look nothing like a modern whale, surgery had been around to see it, you wouldn’t have guessed it or its close relatives would give rise to a dramatic evolutionary radiation.

Then follows and rapid order, a series of fossils and become more and more aquatic with time. At 50 million years ago there is the remarkable Ambulocetus (walking whale), with an elongated skull and reduced but still robust limbs, limbs that still ended in hooves that reveal its ancestry. And probably spent most of his time in shallow water, and would have waddled awkwardly on land much like a seal.

Rodhocetus (47 million years ago) is even more aquatic. Its nostrils have moved somewhat backward, and has a more elongated skull. With stout extensions on the backbone to Anchor its tail muscles, it must have been a good swimmer, but was handicapped on land by small pelvis and hind limbs. Finally at 40 million years ago, we find the fossils Basilosarus and Dorundon… Clearly fully aquatic mammals, with short necks and blowhole. They could not spent any time on land, for their pelvis and hind limbs were reduced and were unconnected to the rest of Skeleton (Coyne 2009, pp48-51).

So as you see, to the uneducated the posit that whales came from mammals may seem ridiculous, but knowledge and close examination of the transitional fossil record shows otherwise.

Reference:
Coyne, J. (2009) Why evolution is true. London. Penguin books limited

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“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” - Christopher Hitchens
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