Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 2979 on March 13, 2007 12:51 PM.
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While The Thumb is primarily interested in the Intelligent Design movement in its current manifestation (infestation?) as exemplified by the Disco Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, let it not be thought that the old-time YECs are out of the game. After all, YECs compose the majority of the ID movement’s foot soldiers in the culture wars (not to mention some of its officers). Answers In Genesis is a ubiquitous (iniquitous?) player in the anti-evolution battles, and publishes nonsense that’s right up to (down to?) Disco Institute standards. A recent article on AiG’s site on Tiktaalik roseae was written by creationist anatomist David Menton. Not surprisingly, Menton gets everything wrong. Martin Brazeau (a student of Per Ahlberg at Uppsala) has a lovely takedown on The Lancelet. A sample:

In the article, Menton’s only claims about the anatomy of Tiktaalik relate to the pelvic fins and girdles (i.e. the hips and legs) of Tiktaalik. There is no disucssion of the skull or shoulder girdle, and only tacit reference to the fin skeleton. Menton explains in relation to fishes and tetrapods that:

[t]he hind limbs [of tetrapods] in particular have a robust pelvic girdle securely attached to the vertebral column. This differs radically from that of any fish including Tiktaalik. Essentially all fish (including Tiktaalik) have small pelvic fins relative to their pectoral fins.

Menton is a liar. He cannot possibly know anything about the pelvic fins of Tiktaalik. The two papers describing Tiktaalik offer absolutely no descriptions of the pelvic fin skeletons or girdle. I’ve seen the material first-hand and there are no such details of the pelvic fin.

Menton’s article is in the best Disco Institute tradition of “research” along the lines of, say, Jonathan Wells. I commend Martin’s post to PT readers’ attention.


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Comment #165294

Posted by tacitus on March 13, 2007 4:59 PM (e)

I used to believe that creationists and IDists were just armchair critics, making pronouncements on evolution research without lifting a finger themselves. But I’ve come to realize that the relationship is more insidious than that. Their very existence is predicated on there being a large body of scientific data and analysis that has been painstaking collected and distilled by hard working scientists who labor for years with very little publicity or recognition.

They are nothing but parasites.

Comment #165300

Posted by fnxtr on March 13, 2007 5:53 PM (e)

Well, bravo for the takedown, but really, what did you expect? “Oh, I guess we were wrong about evolution”?

The game is beginning to look less like whack-a-mole and more like shooting fish in barrel, or maybe the revolving ducks in the sharpshooter midway. You can pick ‘em off but they just keep coming around, very predictably.

Comment #165322

Posted by waldteufel on March 13, 2007 8:48 PM (e)

Thanks for the “heads up” on this. Martin Brazeau is a good writer, and a very thorough researcher.

Comment #165376

Posted by Michael on March 14, 2007 6:24 AM (e)

Regardless of how well Menton’s BS is refuted, the problem is that not one Kreashunist Bozo will ever see that refutation. While fog machines like RealPC are allowed to post freely on Panda’s Thumb (and they should be, if only for the opportunity to address their banal chatter directly), not one creationist site will allow dissenting opinion to be posted, nor will they link to articles that tear their arguments down (unless they think they already have an answer).

Responding to the IDiots and creationists on science blogs is a little like masturbation, it feels good, but accomplishes little. I may not agree with Dawkins about his need to attack organized religion itself, but he’s got the right idea about carrying the fight to the offender’s doorstep. The creationists/IDer’s are going to be claiming that they’re under attack by the intelligent, educated part of society anyway, might as well give them good reason!

Comment #165379

Posted by brightmoon on March 14, 2007 6:41 AM (e)

ive got jennifer clacks book, gaining ground

That was an interesting and fully enlightening read ….ive been going around for years now telling people that “yes, we’re fish with legs and we still have our gills -the parathyroid glands

Comment #165386

Posted by kay on March 14, 2007 8:09 AM (e)

I don’t know about the fish in a barrel thing, my perspective if anything is that we’re losing. Why? because the average person doesn’t hear about these things. What’s a Tiktaalik? They’re not going to put that in public school curricula for a while. They are not going to put that in the rapidly rising fundie private schools ever.

I spent 45 minutes explaining to a YEC how the universe has to be older than 6000 years in order for us to see most of the stars in it, and he questioned the speed of light. I explained to him how GPS works, and how it is dependent on the speed of light being well-determined (I work in that field). All I got for my efforts was a lot of “But you gotta have faith”.

Comment #165408

Posted by mark on March 14, 2007 10:44 AM (e)

What’s a Tiktaalik? I just saw an article in Christianity Today that offered Taktaalik as an example of a “missing link” but nothing to disturb the writer’s faith: “But what if Tiktaalik roseae turns out to be an indisputable evolutionary missing link? Certainly millions of Christians—including the late John Paul II—have believed in both evolution and God without apparent spiritual harm.”

Comment #188477

Posted by Joe G on July 17, 2007 11:07 AM (e)

OK wait- If we don’t know anything about its pelvic fins then all claims of a transition from fish to land animal are also lies.

Comment #188480

Posted by J. Biggs on July 17, 2007 11:27 AM (e)

OK wait- If we don’t know anything about its pelvic fins then all claims of a transition from fish to land animal are also lies.

Astute observation of the ignorance that pervades AiG. Essentially all of their arguments come from ignorance, or in other words because the scientists don’t know this or that detail that everything they say is worthless and Goddidit.

Unfortunately for AiG and the like scientists continue to uncover more of those pesky details we don’t know about every day, but that just gives the creationists the opportunity to move the goal posts once again.