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Saturday, April 8, 2006 - 10:16amSanction this postReply
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Such discoveries are always fascinating and welcomed!

It will be even more fascinating to watch creationists twist themselves into mental pretzels trying to explain yet another piece of evidence that disproves their fairy tales. I wonder if they'll resort to the old trick of saying that where there was one missing link that evolutionists couldn't account for -- between fish and early land animals -- now there are two missing links they can't account for -- one between fish and the newly discovered intermediate creature and another between the intermediate creature and early land animals.

For those of you who receive The New Individualist, check out the letters to the editor exchange that I have with two creationists who didn't like my piece on them in the last issue, which is linked to here.
http://www.objectivistcenter.org/ct-1636-Creationists.aspx


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Post 1

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 6:31amSanction this postReply
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Mastodon Progress

 


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - 10:34amSanction this postReply
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In the model it looks just like the first-on-land animals cartoonists have been drawing for decades.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 - 1:05pmSanction this postReply
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Direct evidence that middle-ear bones of modern-day mammals

evolved from bones in ancient reptilian jaws:

Yanoconodon allini





Post 4

Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:23pmSanction this postReply
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While from external appearence the cartoons of decades past and the sketches of today look the same, Peter, the importance lies in the details of the jaw, skull, limb and wrist bones. Fishes don't really have skulls, they have external head armor with free-floating jaws derived from gill arches and a small braincase that lies free-floating within the head. The land vertebrates, tetrapods, reduce the dermal skin bones and fuse these bones with the jaws and braincase to form what we call a skull. Our cheekbones are the remnants of the dermal armor of fishes. Our braincase is now enlarged and externally as the back and crown of the skull and our jaws are fused to the bottom of the skull, and reduced in modern mammals to only one lower jaw bone, while fish jaws had more than five bones.

These details take years of study to become obvious. Saying that they look alike is like saying that the Queens Golden Coronation Coach looks like a Model T which looks like a VW Bug. Car buffs and mechanics will know the difference even though to the eyes of the uninitiated they are all boxes on wheels.

Long held beliefs, such as the idea that the first fish to develop limbs must have had five fingers because that is the same number found in primitive mammals and turtles and lizards. But seven and eight-toed fossils have been found that threw that theory out of the window.

The creationists tend to ignore the details and their implications. Laymen may not have the time or inclination to follow fossil discoveries, but they are fascinating indeed. One of the earliest known flying dinosaurs, Microraptor gui had wings on both its arms and legs. The implication is that these animals were bi-planes and evolved from arborial gliders - disproving a long held theory that birds evolved from ground-running leapers.

In any case, it is not the iconic image of the perceptual level that matters, but the details visible to experts who learn the vocabulary of the bones.

Ted Keer



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Friday, December 14, 2007 - 7:08amSanction this postReply
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I've been studying cartoons for years.  I know what these creatures look like.  Why do people think I'm dumb when I know more about science than Al Gore?
(Edited by Peter Reidy on 12/14, 8:48am)

(Edited by Peter Reidy on 12/14, 8:49am)


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Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 5:19pmSanction this postReply
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LOL

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Post 7

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 8:10amSanction this postReply
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2009 Darwin Celebration - Public Lectures at Boston University
(scroll down)


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Monday, October 27, 2008 - 8:05amSanction this postReply
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The International Society for the History of the Philosophy of Science

 

Abstracts from the conference History of the Philosophy of Science 2008

 

“What Were Biological Laws?

  Chris Haufe (Virginia Tech)

Philosophical naturalism, the dominant biological research paradigm during and prior to Darwin's time (and of which he considered himself a member) had as its central preoccupation the discovery and formulation of biological laws. For most people in the field, biology’s future as a science was tethered to whether researchers could successfully formulate true biological generalizations (primarily with respect to biological form [e.g.]).
 
Whence this view of biology's scientific fate? The philosophical naturalists' picture of science was strongly (if not entirely) informed by the enormously influential views of leading Victorian philosophers of science, John Herschel and William Whewell, both of whom had argued that the discovery of (or intent to discover) laws of nature was essential to science. Darwin was deeply committed both to the maxims laid out by Herschel and Whewell and to the philosophical naturalists' biological mission.
 
However, contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology are generally skeptical a bout the existence of “distinctly biological laws” (Beatty 1995), a skepticism which they trace back to Darwin (in one way or another). I attempt to reconstruct the role of laws in the burgeoning science of pre-Darwinian biological theory and practice and argue that the types of scientific tasks for which putative laws of biology were used by the 19th philosophical naturalists, Darwin included, are still part and parcel of modern biological practice. This creates a prima facie plausible case for the view that Darwin's discoveries do not destroy the possibility of biological lawhood, and for the view that there are laws in biology.

 

Darwin and Analogical Reasoning”

  Marcus P. Adams (Western Mighigan University)

In this paper, I discuss Darwin’s analogy to artificial selection in the Origin. I consider whether we ought to view it as a search for a vera causa, and I conclude that we should not. I then discuss whether we should view the analogy as an argument from analogy. I argue that there are reasons why we should not view it as this either. I then encourage a view that has the analogy doing minimal work overall. I then provide a positive account which examines the pedagogical value the analogy had for Darwin’s readers.

 

Bibliography

Aristotle. Art of Rhetoric. J.H. Freese, ed. (Loeb Classical Library Series; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1959).

Darwin, Charles. “Essay of 1842,” in The Foundations of the Origin of Species: Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844, Francis Darwin, ed. (New York: NYU Press, 1987).

Darwin, Charles. “Essay of 1844,” in The Foundations of the Origin of Species: Two Essays Written in 1842 and 1844, Francis Darwin, ed. (New York: NYU Press, 1987).

Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species, 1st edition (Cambride, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).

Del Re, Giuseppe. “Models and Analogies in Science.” Hyle: International Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry 6.1(2000):5-15.

Evans, L.T. Darwin's Use of the Analogy between Artificial and Natural Selection.” Journal of the History of Biology 17.1(1984):113-140.

Gildenhuys, Peter. “Darwin, Heschel, and the Role of Analogy in Darwin’s Origin.” Stud. Hist. Biol. & Biomed. Sci. 35(2004):593-611.

Lloyd, Elisabeth A. “The Nature of Darwin’s Support for the Theory of Natural Selection.” Philosophy of Science 50.1(1983):112-129.

Loewenberg, Bert James, ed. Darwin, Wallace and the Theory of Natural Selection (Cambridge, UK: Arlington Books, 1959).

Peckham, Morse. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin: A Variorum Text (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1959).

Rosenberg, Alexander. “Ruse's Treatment of the Evidence for Evolution: A Reconsideration.” Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980.1(1980):83-93.

Ruse, Michael. “The Value of Analogical Models in Science.” Dialogue 12(1973):246-253.

Ruse, Michael. Philosophy of Biology (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1973).

Ruse, Michael. “Charles Darwin and Artificial Selection.” Journal of the History of Ideas 36.2(1975):339-350.

Shelley, Cameron. “Analogy Counterarguments and the Acceptability of Analogical Hypotheses.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2002): 477-496.

Sterrett, Susan G. “Darwin's Analogy between Artificial and Natural Selection: How Does It Go?” Stud. Hist. Phil. Biol. & Biomed. Sci. 33(2002):151-168.

Waters, C. Kenneth. “Taking Analogical Inference Seriously: Darwin’s Argument from Artificial Selection.” Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986.1(1986):502-513.

Wilner, Eduardo. “Darwin’s Artificial Selection as an Experiment.” Stud. Hist. Phil. Biol. & Biomed. Sci. 37(2006):26-40.


 

 

“Teleology and Chance in the Darwin-Gray Correspondence: 1860-64

  James Lennox (University of Pittsburgh)

This paper reviews the core thematic elements in the correspondence between Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. We will start by reviewing the evidence that Darwin was a teleologist (presented in Lennox 1993). But what sort of a teleologist was he, and did his teleological perspective change over time? It will be argued that Darwin’s interactions with Asa Gray plays a significant role in modifying his understanding of the relationship between teleological explanation and chance. For both Darwin and Gray, a discussion of these concepts and their relationships had significant religious overtones. Gray’s New England Presbyterianism shaped his understanding of Darwinism and the positions he adopted in his discussion with Darwin about chance and design. Conversely, it will be argued, Darwin’s understanding of teleology and chance changed significantly as a result of his correspondence with Gray; and with that change Darwin’s theological convictions waned.

 

“Chance, Theology, and Evolution:

  Conceptual Change in Darwin’s Understanding of Contingency

  John Beatty (University of British Columbia)

This paper concentrates on the development of Darwin’s thinking regarding the contingency of evolutionary outcomes, which went hand-in-hand with his struggles to make sense of the theological implications of evolution by natural selection. It will be argued that Darwin’s engagement with religious issues, especially through correspondence with Gray, was productive of further developments in his evolutionary thought. He did not simply derive theological consequences from previously arrived-at evolutionary premises. Darwin came to see considerable contingency in evolution by natural selection, long before subsequent Darwinians began to stress the Mendelian-stochastic sources of unpredictability in evolutionary outcomes. And he came to this highly indeterminist point of view in the process of contemplating a theology that would have made Gray’s hair stand on end, if Gray could have fathomed it, and that would bedevil Christian compatibilists up to the present day.

 

“Asa Gray’s Evolving Perspective on Teleology and Natural Theology

  Alan Love (University of Minnesota)

This paper focuses on how Gray’s understanding of teleology and theology evolved as a consequence of his discussion with Darwin, with special attention to Gray’s later writings (post-1873) and the role of his particular religious perspective (Presbyterian Christianity, in contrast to the British Anglicanism with which Darwin was familiar). Three elements of Gray’s writing are explored: (1) the interpretive framework used by Gray in his “Structural Botany, or Organography on the basis of morphology” (1879), which is significant given his 1874 Comment, “let us recognize Darwin’s great service to Natural Science in bringing back to it Teleology: so that, instead of Morphology versus Teleology, we shall have Morphology wedded to Teleology”; (2) the new essay (“Evolutionary Teleology”) written for his collection of previously published essays in Darwiniana (1876), where Gray explicitly distinguishes “purpose” from “design”; and, (3) Gray’s mature perspective on natural theology in his 1880 Yale lectures entit led “Natural Science and Religion”. Gray’s correspondence and published writing demonstrate substantial conceptual change in his understanding of both natural science and natural theology, including the famous argument about variation being led along beneficial lines that he is most associated with today. In addition to addressing the historical question of how the communication with Darwin transformed Gray’s thinking about teleology (and how this illuminates the impasse between Darwin and Gray on these topics), the significance of Gray’s final perspective on natural theology and natural selection for continuing philosophical discussions about biology, theology, and design is considered.

 

References

John Beatty. 1984. “Chance and Natural Selection.” Philosophy of Science 51 (2): 183-211.

———. 1990. “Teleology and the Relationship Between Biology and the Physical Sciences in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.” In Frank Durham and Robert D. Purrington, eds. Some Truer Method: Reflections on the Heritage of Newton. New York.

Frederick Burkhardt et al., eds. 1985-. The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Cambridge.

Charles Darwin. 1877. The Various Contrivances by which Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects. Second Edition. London.

Asa Gray. 1963. Darwiniana: Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism. Cambridge, MA 

Jane Loring Gray, ed. 1893. Letters of Asa Gray, 2 Vols. Boston and New York.

James G. Lennox. 1992. “Teleology”, in Evelyn Fox Keller and Elisabeth A. Lloyd (eds.), Keywords in Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 324-333.

———. 1993. “Darwin was a Teleologist.” Biology and Philosophy 8: 409-422.



Post 9

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 10:10amSanction this postReply
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as always, your postings are of interest... ty

Post 10

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 5:43pmSanction this postReply
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So why don't you sanction him, Robert?

Post 11

Monday, October 27, 2008 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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Capital idea - so done...

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Post 12

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 9:42amSanction this postReply
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Mining the Gaps



(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 2/04, 9:43am)


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Post 13

Monday, February 16, 2009 - 7:44pmSanction this postReply
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Last week News Hour Jeffrey Brown interviewed a science writer and a biologist concerning Darwin’s theory and continuing research program.

An excerpt:

JEFFREY BROWN: Within the science community, what's still being debated? Or what is reworked and rethought from his original theories?

DAVID QUAMMEN: Well, the basic idea of natural selection as the primary, not the only, but the primary mechanism of evolutionary change has stood the test of time magnificently. And we're getting more and more confirmation all the time from molecular genetics and other dimensions of biology that Darwin was right about evolution in general and about natural selection in particular.

In the meantime, there are refinements that are happening all the time. One of the most famous from the early 1970s is the idea of punctuated equilibria, proposed by Steven Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge.

There are other refinements and elaborations of exactly how evolution by natural selection works. It's a very -- it's a simple idea with a lot of complicated details and complicated implications. Those are still being worked out by brilliant scientists, biologists all over the world, but they are filigree on the great central truth of evolution by natural selection.

JEFFREY BROWN: Ken Miller, you want to weigh in on this aspect of it?

KEN MILLER: Yes, I think I would. David is exactly right in the way he describes natural selection being right as the general mechanism that drives evolution.

But there are still areas of controversy, and I'll give you one of them. There's an enormous and very productive argument and research program going on in the evolutionary biology community as to whether or not the unit of natural selection -- the basic unit upon which natural selection acts -- is at the level of gene, the level of the individual, or, in some cases, at the level of the group. . . .


(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 2/16, 7:48pm)


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:04amSanction this postReply
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“Development and Phylogeny of the Arthopods: Darwin’s Legacy”
Jean S. Deutsch(2006)

“The Impact of Darwin on Biology”
Alfred E. Emerson (1961)

“Wallace, Darwin, and the Theory of Natural Selection”
Barbara G. Beddall (1968)
Related WSJ Note from James Lennox (1/29/08)

“Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution: An Analysis”
Michael Ruse (1975)

“Darwin’s Evolutionary Philosophy: The Laws of Change”
Edward S. Reed (1978)

Available online by James Lennox:
“Darwinism”
“Darwin’s Methodological Evolution”
“Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism”
Radio Interview (Jan 2009)



(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 2/18, 7:11am)


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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Punctuated equilibria are when large genetic changes occur quickly and pervasively in isolated populations. An example might be finches on the Galapagos Islands -- which may be much different (e.g. in color) from other finches, but very similar to each other (with little evidence of gradual changes, the kind expected).

I see this as simple, natural selection occuring in a setting more confined than is "usual" -- rather than as an instance of non-natural selection.

Ed


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - 9:56amSanction this postReply
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Darwin/Chicago 2009

A Really Big Show


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Friday, September 18, 2009 - 2:16amSanction this postReply
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T. rex body plan was set in miniature 60 million years earlier.

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Post 18

Friday, September 18, 2009 - 9:47pmSanction this postReply
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Pictures of Raptorex at Nat Geo.

(Edited by Ted Keer on 9/18, 9:48pm)


Post 19

Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Ted.
#18 – Pictures


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