Do Christian's have to explain God.

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ravensheart18:

adamtm:
all that work and you could have just posted this flowchart of scientific method vs religious method :P

Your prejudice is showing. Not all religions ignore scientific evidence. Many embrace it. Understanding the Universe better, including tossing out misunderstandings you had based on past religious understadings, is considered a blessing in a number of religions.

Yes, I know there are people and religions that are closed minded, but silly charts like that don't make you look smart, they make you look bigotted.

So then some religions favor increasing knowledge. That doesn't change the point the chart makes, which is about faith-- not necessarily all religion (though I would say quite a bit more than just 'some'.)

Seanchaidh:

ravensheart18:

adamtm:
all that work and you could have just posted this flowchart of scientific method vs religious method :P

Your prejudice is showing. Not all religions ignore scientific evidence. Many embrace it. Understanding the Universe better, including tossing out misunderstandings you had based on past religious understadings, is considered a blessing in a number of religions.

Yes, I know there are people and religions that are closed minded, but silly charts like that don't make you look smart, they make you look bigotted.

So then some religions favor increasing knowledge. That doesn't change the point the chart makes, which is about faith-- not necessarily all religion (though I would say quite a bit more than just 'some'.)

Given the context of his comment, your argument holds no water. I agree with your assessment of the chart, but, err.... scientific method vs religious method. His own words.

And this debate, as well as the cathartic release of frustration, are why I typed it out and didn't post the image :P

Seanchaidh:

ravensheart18:

adamtm:
all that work and you could have just posted this flowchart of scientific method vs religious method :P

Your prejudice is showing. Not all religions ignore scientific evidence. Many embrace it. Understanding the Universe better, including tossing out misunderstandings you had based on past religious understadings, is considered a blessing in a number of religions.

Yes, I know there are people and religions that are closed minded, but silly charts like that don't make you look smart, they make you look bigotted.

So then some religions favor increasing knowledge. That doesn't change the point the chart makes, which is about faith-- not necessarily all religion (though I would say quite a bit more than just 'some'.)

I would agree with you if the religious symbols of three religions weren't circling the "faith" box. That made it about three specific religions, and it just isn't true of all three of them. Plus in the poster's comments he specificially made it about "religious method" not faith.

Ampersand:

ravensheart18:

adamtm:
all that work and you could have just posted this flowchart of scientific method vs religious method :P

Your prejudice is showing. Not all religions ignore scientific evidence. Many embrace it. Understanding the Universe better, including tossing out misunderstandings you had based on past religious understadings, is considered a blessing in a number of religions.

Yes, I know there are people and religions that are closed minded, but silly charts like that don't make you look smart, they make you look bigotted.

If you want to better understand the universe then what's the point of being religious? Religion is just a devise that people use to pretend they understand. If you examine the evidence that is available faith becomes unnecessary.

Then you have a very narrow view of religion.

Most religions primarily teach you ways to live a good life and be better people.

I've said this in 4000 escapist threads already, but I'll say it again. Galileo in his arguments said that it was important to understand the true nature of the universe because only through that could they come to understand what god had done. This is a view shared by Jewish teachings, and that's why we say a prayer daily for scholars and say a specific prayer for just being in the presence of great non religious scholars. We are not the only religion to believe this.

If science corrects a religious misunderstanding, that's a good thing, every time.

ravensheart18:

Ampersand:

ravensheart18:

Your prejudice is showing. Not all religions ignore scientific evidence. Many embrace it. Understanding the Universe better, including tossing out misunderstandings you had based on past religious understadings, is considered a blessing in a number of religions.

Yes, I know there are people and religions that are closed minded, but silly charts like that don't make you look smart, they make you look bigotted.

If you want to better understand the universe then what's the point of being religious? Religion is just a devise that people use to pretend they understand. If you examine the evidence that is available faith becomes unnecessary.

Then you have a very narrow view of religion.

Most religions primarily teach you ways to live a good life and be better people.

I've said this in 4000 escapist threads already, but I'll say it again. Galileo in his arguments said that it was important to understand the true nature of the universe because only through that could they come to understand what god had done. This is a view shared by Jewish teachings, and that's why we say a prayer daily for scholars and say a specific prayer for just being in the presence of great non religious scholars. We are not the only religion to believe this.

If science corrects a religious misunderstanding, that's a good thing, every time.

If you understand that much then I congratulate you, because you're on your way to not being religious anymore. = )

Ampersand:

If you understand that much then I congratulate you, because you're on your way to not being religious anymore. = )

Uncalled for snark is uncalled for.

TheNewDemoman:

They are just theories, which means they aren't Scientific Law (hence the Theory of Evolution).

And if we evolve well guess what throw a f***ing parade.

There are no laws in science. All notions gained from it are via inductive reasoning, which is inherently logically suspect. This is why:

1. We have always observed that X happens this way.
2. X happens this way.

Is making a key assumption:

1. We have observed everything past and present and future.

No decent scientists ever claims to know all of time and space. That would obviously be impossible. However, there are huge mountains of evidence that support these theories and practically speaking the consistency with which they produce positive results (100%) goes a long way to indicate their validity.

And this is why you do:

Matt_LRR:

TheNewDemoman:

Matt_LRR:

Actually it is both testable and repeatable, and has been both tested, and repeated in the lab.

We use the predictive nature of evolution to determine how to cross breed crops and animals to create disease resistent strains of wheat, and to get the perfect blonde coat on a show-bred golden retriever.

It is a [scientific] theory based on hard data, and observation. Gravity is a theory too, I don't see you claiming you're about to float off into space.

This statement is plainly false.

-m

See Matt I like you you make statments and make no evidence.

How can we repeat a simple organism, evolving into something complex? Sure birds beaks change, dogs get longer coats, but do they start reading Aristotle and studying physics.

No.

There is no scientfic evidence for evolution. You just see something miniscule, and then create something massive out of it. So if I can lift over 100 Lbs, I am then super man right. Because something small CAN BE something big, if you think like that

::sigh::

Back in 2008, a researcher by the name of Richard lenski published the conclusions of a 20-year long study of evolution in a colony of e-coli bacteria.

the result of the study was that by manipulating environmental factors, his experiment gave rise to several evolutionary strains of e-coli that could metabolize Citrate as a nutrient as effectively as other growth mediums - something that e-coli can't normally do (ecoli is normally unable to use citrate to grow at all).

He has in his posession samples of the original e-coli, as well as samples taken at several points throughout the run of the experiment. My understanding is that he noted the modification of several protiens in the bactria that ultimately gave rise to the citrate eating e-coli.

The end result is that, if someone were to take the origina sample of e-coli and run the entire duration of the experiment they could replicate the same results (thus it is repeateable)

Several other scientists have taken more recent samples of the bacteria, and recreated the evolutionary shift to metabolization of citrate in replications of the later periods of the experiment.

Predictively, we can conclude that under specific conditions bacteria can grow to metabolize non-standard nutrients to continuue their survival.

(and since then we have discovered other bacteria that metabolize arsenic as a growth media, confirming the previous conclusions).

wikipedia summary of the ecoli experiment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

ecoli-experiment project website: http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

publications of the e-coli experiment documenting the experiment: http://myxo.css.msu.edu/PublicationSearchResults.php?group=aad

newscientist summary of the discovery: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14094-bacteria-make-major-evolutionary-shift-in-the-lab.html

National Geographic report on the NASA aresenic bacteria: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101202-nasa-announcement-arsenic-life-mono-lake-science-space/

NASA press release about arsenic bacteria: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiology_toxic_chemical.html

sorry, what was that about eveidence?

-m

While I love your style(As in backing up your claims with evidence and logic) I feel you should stop wasting your time. The guy's trolling you by going "I don't understand so it isn't true! WAH!" Did enjoy those links though, good read.

I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

That's not how it works at all. Evolution is the random occurrence of mutations that either strengthen or hinder a species. The good ones stick around because the ones with it are better suited to stay alive and mate.

Like when the first creature with sight appeared. He/she had a huge advantage over everything else and therefore had his/her pick of multiple mates. The children then shared the same trait and kept the advantage alive.

Humans won't evolve as fast as other creatures anymore because of our current social structure. Monogamy, advanced health practices, and the development of sympathy for those with hindrances undermine evolution. That's not saying that it's stopped, but it's not going to be anywhere near as obvious as before.

I think people who don't believe in evolution and say that it is just a theory should not dismiss it so flippantly. Evolution is a fact, we can see that fossils change throughout time, the Theory of Evolution is the best explanation for that fact.

Sabiancym:
I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

I think a large number of people don't understand evolution. To assert that it's only religious people is, well...

DuctTapeJedi:

Ampersand:

If you understand that much then I congratulate you, because you're on your way to not being religious anymore. = )

Uncalled for snark is uncalled for.

I was being genuine. If you don't think it's at all true then it shouldn't bother you.

DuctTapeJedi:

Sabiancym:
I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

I think a large number of people don't understand evolution. To assert that it's only religious people is, well...

I'd be willing to bet a larger percentage of religious people don't understand it.

And I didn't say only religious people, you assumed that.

DuctTapeJedi:

Sabiancym:
I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

I think a large number of people don't understand evolution. To assert that it's only religious people is, well...

are you really going to pick that particular nit?

Like, really?

I mean, I'm with you most of the time on not unfairly painting everyone with the same brush, but can you really argue that the frequency of misunderstanding of the prinicples of evolution is the same among the religious and the non-religious, and that religious persuasion doesn't bias anyone towards a rejection of evolution on priniciple?

-m

Matt_LRR:
snip

No, the misunderstanding in question was over some of the finer details of evolutionary principles, and the differentiation between a new species.

And yes, I generally will stand up for my faith when sweeping generalizations based on speculation are made.

DuctTapeJedi:
I think a large number of people don't understand evolution. To assert that it's only religious people is, well...

I'm sure you would yourself agree that there is a strong connection between religious beliefs and rejection of evolution.

DuctTapeJedi:

Matt_LRR:
snip

No, the misunderstanding in question was over some of the finer details of evolutionary principles, and the differentiation between a new species.

And yes, I generally will stand up for my faith when sweeping generalizations based on speculation are made.

uhh, the misunderstandings in this thread were along the lines of "there's no scientific evidence behind evolution" and "why haven't we got transitional fossils".

Those aren't "finer details".

Those speak to a wholesale rejection of evolution as plausible - and that is a condition that is almost, not quite, but *almost* unique to people of religious belief who are particularly devoted to their world-view.

-m

also, point of note, "your" faith wasn't under attack. the comment pertained to an undefined "a large number" of religious people. It's only "your" faith if you don't consider yourself part of the exception.

Sabiancym:
I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

That's not how it works at all. Evolution is the random occurrence of mutations that either strengthen or hinder a species. The good ones stick around because the ones with it are better suited to stay alive and mate.

Like when the first creature with sight appeared. He/she had a huge advantage over everything else and therefore had his/her pick of multiple mates. The children then shared the same trait and kept the advantage alive.

Humans won't evolve as fast as other creatures anymore because of our current social structure. Monogamy, advanced health practices, and the development of sympathy for those with hindrances undermine evolution. That's not saying that it's stopped, but it's not going to be anywhere near as obvious as before.

Matt_LRR:

This was the specific misunderstanding I was referring to. I wasn't calling the rejection of evolution was a misunderstanding, that's just denial.

Also, yes, I may have been a little over-sensitive, it's been a really long day.

DuctTapeJedi:

Sabiancym:
I haven't read the whole post but I have a hunch some of the religious people posting in this thread don't understand evolution. A great deal of religious people seem to think that evolution means the species as a whole suddenly starts to develop a new trait.

That's not how it works at all. Evolution is the random occurrence of mutations that either strengthen or hinder a species. The good ones stick around because the ones with it are better suited to stay alive and mate.

Like when the first creature with sight appeared. He/she had a huge advantage over everything else and therefore had his/her pick of multiple mates. The children then shared the same trait and kept the advantage alive.

Humans won't evolve as fast as other creatures anymore because of our current social structure. Monogamy, advanced health practices, and the development of sympathy for those with hindrances undermine evolution. That's not saying that it's stopped, but it's not going to be anywhere near as obvious as before.

Matt_LRR:

This was the specific misunderstanding I was referring to. I wasn't calling the rejection of evolution was a misunderstanding, that's just denial.

Also, yes, I may have been a little over-sensitive, it's been a really long day.

That misunderstanding is still a pretty basic point. we're still in transitional fossil and crocoduck territory.

"Finer points" among lay people are like, speciation processes, and understanding reproductive advantage.

Real finer points are like, understanding DNA mutations and how DNA replications lead to transcription errors.

-m

Matt_LRR:

Conceded, it may not have been a 'finer point.' I was just trying to say that it wasn't over the rejection of evolution itself.

Elcarsh:

DuctTapeJedi:
I think a large number of people don't understand evolution. To assert that it's only religious people is, well...

I'm sure you would yourself agree that there is a strong connection between religious beliefs and rejection of evolution.

Sorry I missed your post.

I wasn't referring to the rejection of evolution, but the specific point raised by Sabiancym. I just covered it in the above posts with Matt_LRR.

DuctTapeJedi:

Matt_LRR:

Conceded, it may not have been a 'finer point.' I was just trying to say that it wasn't over the rejection of evolution itself.

Actually, I would frankly say that "evolution has no scientific evidence whatsoever and makes up evidence to suit it" is about as close to the rejection of a concept as you can get. It's practically the atheism to Evolution.

TheNewDemoman:

Come on....... God knows everything, he lives outside of time!

(Before we go any further. God allows evil, because we sinned originally. Since that was OUR choice he lets us live with it.)

It was our choice to make, but God gave us free will while knowing all our future decisions. So now he punishes us for it.

It's logical holes like that that make explenation necessary.

So I admit to only having skimmed through this topic, but I've seen Pascal's Wager come up more than once. While I don't think this directly relates to Pascal's Wager, I'd like you to consider this, a paraphrasing of a quote I heard somewhere but can't for the life of me remember who said it. Something to the tune of, imagine you give in to Pascal's wager and decide to convert to Christianity, then you die and standing there at the pearly gates is Zeus, and boy is he pissed.

More on-topic with the original discussion, I think this applies more directly to Russell's Teapot, or the Celestial Teapot. In short, it essentially states that the burden of proof of a given statement should fall on the person making the statement. That is to say, if you claim that God exists, the burden of proof falls upon you and you should have to back it up, rather than saying, "Well you can't prove that he doesn't."

I wholeheartedly subscribe to this line of thought, and the reason why is best demonstrated with the hypothetical from which Russell's Teapot got its name. In layman's terms, Russell argued that he could state that there is a tiny china teapot revolving around the sun, and it's too small to be perceived with the naked eye or, indeed, any sort of technologically available to us. He then goes on to say that if he were to make this assertion and then claim that since it can't be disproved, then it must be true, then he should be thought of as batshit insane and rightfully so.

That's precisely what religious folks do when they claim that God exists, there is no way they are wrong, and it should lie upon the non-believers to prove it, and therefore, that is why you should absolutely have to prove that God exists if you want to be taken seriously in any capacity.

Not if they don't want to.

Tanner The Monotone:
Not if they don't want to.

They need to explain it if they're going into a debate with the assumption that they're going to be taken seriously, even if it's ridiculous and seems to contradict facts and common knowledge, just like you would have to explain why the Dolphins kept Sparano after the glorious Chad Henne experiment's conclusion to make it in any sports bar in America.

Serge A. Storms:

Tanner The Monotone:
Not if they don't want to.

They need to explain it if they're going into a debate with the assumption that they're going to be taken seriously, even if it's ridiculous and seems to contradict facts and common knowledge, just like you would have to explain why the Dolphins kept Sparano after the glorious Chad Henne experiment's conclusion to make it in any sports bar in America.

Hey! Don't mix sports and religon. Weird shat happens when you do that.

I think the Henne thing was more of an upper managment telling him what to do thing. If the draft a first round QB or get someone like Kyle orton or Carson Palmer, all will be forgiven.

Tanner The Monotone:

Serge A. Storms:

Tanner The Monotone:
Not if they don't want to.

They need to explain it if they're going into a debate with the assumption that they're going to be taken seriously, even if it's ridiculous and seems to contradict facts and common knowledge, just like you would have to explain why the Dolphins kept Sparano after the glorious Chad Henne experiment's conclusion to make it in any sports bar in America.

Hey! Don't mix sports and religon. Weird shat happens when you do that.

I think the Henne thing was more of an upper managment telling him what to do thing. If the draft a first round QB or get someone like Kyle orton or Carson Palmer, all will be forgiven.

1) I was just providing an example of a situation in which you'd have to explain something to be taken seriously
2) They won't

summerof2010:
I realized that practically the only one I'd heard before was the First Cause, with the argument from design being the other one I hear, though I find that it's more marginalized than the other. The problem I have with this argument for the existence of God (which can also be found in the wiki article), is that even if you accept something supernatural must have created the universe, that doesn't immediately imply all the properties of God and the supernatural world included in the Christian Bible. So, what argument supports the existence of the God, Heaven, Hell, miracles, etc. described in the Christian Bible? Remember, I'm not saying you have to answer the question and move on to play. Just make your point, whatever it is, as brief as possible (while still, hopefully, remaining intelligible and meaningful).

My answer (by the rules):

The Bible is the only evidence, but since it's claims are largely unfalsifiable and not subjected to any scientific control or methodological scrutiny of any kind, it amounts to nothing more than anecdotal evidence. Therefore, there is no evidence the Christian interpretation of the supernatural world exists.

But even things in this world cannot really be proven with 100% certainty. Entire books have been written about how the U.S. space program has been faked by the government (Just an example, I know we did but the point is showing that some people wont believe regardless of the levels of proof presented). All you have to do is set the standards of proof high enough, and absolutely nothing can be proven. Proof is a tricky subject. As the old Greeks like Euclid discovered, all proofs have to rely on at least several assumptions (which they called postulates) which cannot themselves be proven. So a person who demands hard proofs is doomed to failure.

Claiming first of all that the bible is the only source of proof is like claiming the tide is the only existence of the moon. Like the tide is an effect of the moon interacting with Earth, so is the bible an effect of God interacting with us.

I do find it marginally interesting that people keep getting asked to explain their faith, but hey, at least people show an interest.

Science is the observation of material objects, and try to understand why and how they do what they do. Faith is a believe in the immaterial. Of course their is going to be conflict.

"Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence. If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned - otherwise it is not science, but myth."
- Johnathon Wells, biologist.

If I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe the following:

- Nothing produces everything
- Non-life produces life
- Randomness produces fine tuning
- Chaos produces information
- Unconsciousness produces consciousness
- Non-reason produces reason

Now, even followers of evolution have a lot to believe for their theories. [1] Evolution on the scale of producing entirely new Kingdoms, is (again, in my opinion) a cheap way out for atheists. In fact, I think science is used as a buffer for atheists then people claim religion is for Christians.
In fact, I find that when I ask why people claim religion is bull, they answer with "science disproves it". Hang on, these same people accuse Christians of being ignorant by saying "God did it", yet they can use the same sentence with "science" instead of "God", and suddenly they are a more intelligent and less gullible person? Makes perfect sense.

The biggest evidence behind Macro evolution (the fossil record) even disproves it. Ever heard of the Chambian explosion? The majority, or, as some experts claimed, all of the world's forty phyla, the highers category in the animal kingdom, sprang forth with unique body plans over 500 million years ago. The sudden appearance of so many radical new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin's "tree" of life into the "newly cut lawn" of life.

I'm going to stop here for now as I've been typing a while.

[1] For reference, I believe the theory of evolution, to a degree. Micro Evolution, in my opinion, is real and exists, and even today we can observe. (Bacterium's resistance to antibiotics is a prime example, another is cancer.)

Meatman:
"Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence. If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned - otherwise it is not science, but myth."
- Johnathon Wells, biologist.

If I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe the following:

You're aware that "darwinian evolution" isn't the favoured evolutionary theory currently, and hasn't been for decades? "Darwinism" isn't a thing?

Meatman:
- Nothing produces everything

That has nothing to do with evolution, darwinian or otherwise.

Meatman:
- Non-life produces life

That's a gross oversimplification, and has more to do with organic chemistry than biology or (gasp) evolution.

Meatman:
- Randomness produces fine tuning

another oversimplification, but closer to right insofar as evolution kills off changes that don't work. But evolution doesn't "fine tune" so much as it selects the changes that work. It does not produce the "best" changes. (in evolutionary terms, a walkman from 1980 is functionally equivalent as a music player as an iPod touch today, in that they both play music, and until the world selects for size or other functions, adaptation will be satisfied by the walkman.)

Meatman:
- Chaos produces information

Uhh, rearrangements of information create other information.

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

The lazy fox jumped over the quick brown dog.

See what I did there?

Meatman:
- Unconsciousness produces consciousness

Now you're into psychology, and for all intents and purposes you're probably right, but this is less a question for evolution as it is of how our brains function.

Meatman:
- Non-reason produces reason

See my last answer.

Meatman:
Now, even followers of evolution have a lot to believe for their theories.

True, but there's lots of evidentiary support for it.

Meatman:
[/footnote]For reference, I believe the theory of evolution, to a degree. Micro Evolution, in my opinion, is real and exists, and even today we can observe. (Bacterium's resistance to antibiotics is a prime example, another is cancer.) [/footnote][/quote Evolution on the scale of producing entirely new Kingdoms, is (again, in my opinion) a cheap way out for atheists. In fact, I think science is used as a buffer for atheists then people claim religion is for Christians.

I like that you call it a cheap way out, while trotting out one of the oldest and most thoroughly beaten horses typically employed in this debate.

There is no evidence, whatsoever, period, anywhere, of any kind, that "micro" and "macro" evolution are different processes. Macroevolution is simply the long-term accrual and selection for micro-level changes within a species, leading to speciation.

No one proposes that evolution is kicking out new kingdoms - the kingdoms differentiated millenia ago. Evolution functions at a species/subspecies level.

Meatman:
In fact, I find that when I ask why people claim religion is bull, they answer with "science disproves it". Hang on, these same people accuse Christians of being ignorant by saying "God did it", yet they can use the same sentence with "science" instead of "God", and suddenly they are a more intelligent and less gullible person? Makes perfect sense.

Your straw people are idiots, but at least they have some physical evidence backing their "god".

Meatman:
The biggest evidence behind Macro evolution (the fossil record) even disproves it. Ever heard of the Chambian explosion? The majority, or, as some experts claimed, all of the world's forty phyla, the highers category in the animal kingdom, sprang forth with unique body plans over 500 million years ago. The sudden appearance of so many radical new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin's "tree" of life into the "newly cut lawn" of life.

I'm going to stop here for now as I've been typing a while.

Even a quick wikipedia search could have informed you that there are several working explanations of the cambrian explosion under scientific consideration, none of which throw evolutionary theory as a whole into question, The point being, this is less a nail in the coffin of evolutionary theory than it is simply a missing piece of the puzzle. And it's one we may not ever get, owing to the fossil record.

Thankfully, though, the fossil record is not the strongest evidence for evolution. it is woefully incomplete, and will continue to be incomplete forever, by nature of how it was created. Only a tiny fraction of the world's pre-historic species were ever fossilized. So it only serves as a secondary basis of evidence.

Jeez, it's like people forget we can map genomes and shit these days.

-m

Matt_LRR:

Jeez, it's like people forget we can map genomes and shit these days.

-m

And for some reason seem to forget that stuff like this is discovered monthly:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20127-why-some-gonorrhoea-bacteria-are-a-little-bit-human.html

"There's nothing like a personalised gift to make your lover feel extra special this Valentine's day, but perhaps not this one: a little piece of human DNA wrapped in the genome of gonorrhoea bacteria.

Hank Seifert and Mark Anderson at Northwestern University in Chicago analysed the genome sequences of 14 samples of Neisseria gonorrhoeae - the bacteria that causes the sexually transmitted disease. When the pair ran the sequences through a computer to look for contamination, they found a human fragment of DNA present in three of the isolates.

"We have never seen a direct DNA jump from a mammalian genome to a bacterial genome," says Seifert, who was surprised by the discovery. The jump must have happened via a process known as horizontal gene transfer."

Seriously, I'd like to see evolution-deniers explain this when they claim no beneficial mutations or sometimes even no mutations at all can or have happened.

Meatman:
But even things in this world cannot really be proven with 100% certainty. Entire books have been written about how the U.S. space program has been faked by the government (Just an example, I know we did but the point is showing that some people wont believe regardless of the levels of proof presented). All you have to do is set the standards of proof high enough, and absolutely nothing can be proven. Proof is a tricky subject. As the old Greeks like Euclid discovered, all proofs have to rely on at least several assumptions (which they called postulates) which cannot themselves be proven. So a person who demands hard proofs is doomed to failure.

Indeed, but there is proof beyond reasonable doubt - and quite often religious believers set the bar too low, and indeed in some cases lower than they would normally set it. Show them a claimed religious text, or indeed any text, written several decades after the event it claims to describe, and they'd quite naturally be skeptical of it - unless it's their religious text, of course.

Claiming first of all that the bible is the only source of proof is like claiming the tide is the only existence of the moon. Like the tide is an effect of the moon interacting with Earth, so is the bible an effect of God interacting with us.

He wasn't claiming it was the only source, rather it was the only thing he could consider as remotely plausible.

I do find it marginally interesting that people keep getting asked to explain their faith, but hey, at least people show an interest.

I should of course point out that neither the validity nor invalidity of evolution have any bearing on your belief.

"Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence. If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned - otherwise it is not science, but myth."
- Johnathon Wells, biologist.

Given that he is an Intelligent Design supporter, he should take his own advice and get his own house in order first before criticising others'.

If I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe the following:

- Nothing produces everything

Well, actually, we're still not sure. It may well be so, in a way that ties in with the established properties of the universe, or there may be more to the universe than we first thought.

- Non-life produces life

Actually, it's more a case of "chemistry is an odds-improver for specific reactions".

- Randomness produces fine tuning

You're assuming that there is even "tuning". If things weren't fine-tuned for us to exist then...erm...we wouldn't exist to know otherwise!

- Chaos produces information

Oh man. PLEASE define information.

That aside, if you're referring to natural selection, it is a directed process.

- Unconsciousness produces consciousness

Why...is this such a big deal? What is so special about consciousness that it cannot be created by unconsciousness? (Also this is subject to the same infinite regression problem that some conveniently and arbitrarily terminate with their version of God)

- Non-reason produces reason

Ditto....

Now, even followers of evolution have a lot to believe for their theories. Evolution on the scale of producing entirely new Kingdoms, is (again, in my opinion) a cheap way out for atheists.

Why? How is the creation of kingdoms implausible? All the processes of evolution that have been established are perfectly capable of bridging that gap.

In fact, I think science is used as a buffer for atheists then people claim religion is for Christians.

In fact, I find that when I ask why people claim religion is bull, they answer with "science disproves it". Hang on, these same people accuse Christians of being ignorant by saying "God did it", yet they can use the same sentence with "science" instead of "God", and suddenly they are a more intelligent and less gullible person? Makes perfect sense.

I'd say they're wrong to say that science disproves it - I would say it's impossible to outright disprove the existence of God, but depending on which version you subscribe to it could make his existence less plausible.

Additionally, Goddidit is not especially meaningful when applied to scientific matters, as it doesn't actually allow for a further progression of inquiry, which is what scientific theories are meant to do, and evolution does this splendidly.

The biggest evidence behind Macro evolution (the fossil record) even disproves it. Ever heard of the Chambian explosion? The majority, or, as some experts claimed, all of the world's forty phyla, the highers category in the animal kingdom, sprang forth with unique body plans over 500 million years ago. The sudden appearance of so many radical new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin's "tree" of life into the "newly cut lawn" of life.

No, this does not disprove evolution. The "explosion" is essentially a sampling artefact. The timespan covered by each layers in the geological column is much larger than the average time a speciation takes place. If you record the number of something really fast, say...camera flashes, on a calendar, in a box representing one day, it will LOOK like they're appearing instantaneously, but what you're really doing is sampling at too slow a rate.

Meatman:

summerof2010:
I realized that practically the only one I'd heard before was the First Cause, with the argument from design being the other one I hear, though I find that it's more marginalized than the other. The problem I have with this argument for the existence of God (which can also be found in the wiki article), is that even if you accept something supernatural must have created the universe, that doesn't immediately imply all the properties of God and the supernatural world included in the Christian Bible. So, what argument supports the existence of the God, Heaven, Hell, miracles, etc. described in the Christian Bible? Remember, I'm not saying you have to answer the question and move on to play. Just make your point, whatever it is, as brief as possible (while still, hopefully, remaining intelligible and meaningful).

My answer (by the rules):

The Bible is the only evidence, but since it's claims are largely unfalsifiable and not subjected to any scientific control or methodological scrutiny of any kind, it amounts to nothing more than anecdotal evidence. Therefore, there is no evidence the Christian interpretation of the supernatural world exists.

But even things in this world cannot really be proven with 100% certainty. Entire books have been written about how the U.S. space program has been faked by the government (Just an example, I know we did but the point is showing that some people wont believe regardless of the levels of proof presented). All you have to do is set the standards of proof high enough, and absolutely nothing can be proven. Proof is a tricky subject. As the old Greeks like Euclid discovered, all proofs have to rely on at least several assumptions (which they called postulates) which cannot themselves be proven. So a person who demands hard proofs is doomed to failure.

Claiming first of all that the bible is the only source of proof is like claiming the tide is the only existence of the moon. Like the tide is an effect of the moon interacting with Earth, so is the bible an effect of God interacting with us.

I do find it marginally interesting that people keep getting asked to explain their faith, but hey, at least people show an interest.

Science is the observation of material objects, and try to understand why and how they do what they do. Faith is a believe in the immaterial. Of course their is going to be conflict.

"Like all other scientific theories, Darwinian evolution must be continually compared with the evidence. If it does not fit the evidence, it must be reevaluated or abandoned - otherwise it is not science, but myth."
- Johnathon Wells, biologist.

If I were to embrace Darwinism and its underlying premise of naturalism, I would have to believe the following:

- Nothing produces everything
- Non-life produces life
- Randomness produces fine tuning
- Chaos produces information
- Unconsciousness produces consciousness
- Non-reason produces reason

Now, even followers of evolution have a lot to believe for their theories. [1] Evolution on the scale of producing entirely new Kingdoms, is (again, in my opinion) a cheap way out for atheists. In fact, I think science is used as a buffer for atheists then people claim religion is for Christians.
In fact, I find that when I ask why people claim religion is bull, they answer with "science disproves it". Hang on, these same people accuse Christians of being ignorant by saying "God did it", yet they can use the same sentence with "science" instead of "God", and suddenly they are a more intelligent and less gullible person? Makes perfect sense.

The biggest evidence behind Macro evolution (the fossil record) even disproves it. Ever heard of the Chambian explosion? The majority, or, as some experts claimed, all of the world's forty phyla, the highers category in the animal kingdom, sprang forth with unique body plans over 500 million years ago. The sudden appearance of so many radical new life forms, devoid of prior transitions, has turned Darwin's "tree" of life into the "newly cut lawn" of life.

I'm going to stop here for now as I've been typing a while.

Quoting myself from another thread - also I think you will find it is called the Cambrian expolosion and it took place over many many millions of years.

"I'm first going to respond to the claim made by http://www.evanwiggs.com/articles/reasons.html#howold on the lack of transitionary fossils as this is demonstrably and laughably incorrect and here are some links you can read up on that address this issue directly.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils#Nautiloids_to_Ammonoids

Anyway I am now going to go into some depth with the evolution of the horse which is to my understanding amongst the most well documented evolutionary chains we have.

Directly from talk-origins:

"The first equid was Hyracotherium, a small forest animal of the early Eocene. This little animal (10-20" at the shoulder) looked nothing at all like a horse. It had a "doggish" look with an arched back, short neck, short snout, short legs, and long tail. It browsed on fruit and fairly soft foliage, and probably scampered from thicket to thicket like a modern muntjac deer, only stupider, slower, and not as agile. This famous little equid was once known by the lovely name "Eohippus", meaning "dawn horse". Some Hyracotherium traits to notice:

* Legs were flexible and rotatable with all major bones present and unfused.
* 4 toes on each front foot, 3 on hind feet. Vestiges of 1st (& 2nd, behind) toes still present. Hyracotherium walked on pads; its feet were like a dog's padded feet, except with small "hoofies" on each toe instead of claws.
* Small brain with especially small frontal lobes.
* Low-crowned teeth with 3 incisors, 1 canine, 4 distinct premolars and 3 "grinding" molars in each side of each jaw (this is the "primitive mammalian formula" of teeth). The cusps of the molars were slightly connected in low crests. Typical teeth of an omnivorous browser.

At this point in the early Eocene, equids were not yet very different from the other perissodactyl groups; the Hyracotherium genus includes some species closely related to (or even ancestral to) rhinos and tapirs, as well as species that are distinctly equine. [Note: the particular species that probably gave rise to the rest of the equids, H. vassacciense, may be renamed, perhaps to "Protorohippus".]

Though in retrospect we may consider Hyracotherium to be "primitive", it was a very successful animal in its time, and seems to have found a nice stable niche for itself. In fact, throughout most of the Eocene (a good long 20 million years), only minor evolutionary changes took place in Hyracotherium and its near descendants. The body and feet stayed mostly the same, with slight changes in the toes. The major change was in the teeth; as Eocene equids started to eat more plant browse and less fruit, they developed more grinding teeth to deal with the slightly tougher food.
Orohippus

In the early-middle Eocene (approx 50 My), there was a smooth, gradual transition from Hyracotherium to a close relative, Orohippus (MacFadden, 1976). Overall, Orohippus looked much like Hyracotherium: 10-20" high at the shoulder, still "doggish" with arched back, short legs, short neck, short snout, and fairly small brain. Orohippus still had 4 toes on front and 3 behind, with hoofies, and was also "pad-footed". However, the vestiges of the 1st and 2nd toes vanished.

The most significant change was in the teeth. The last premolar changed in shape to become like a molar, giving Orohippus one more "grinding tooth". Also, the crests on the teeth were more pronounced, indicating Orohippus was eating tougher plant material.
Epihippus

Epihippus arose from Orohippus in the middle Eocene (approximately 47 My). Like Orohippus and Hyracotherium, Epihippus was small, doggish, pad-footed, and small-brained, with 4 toes in front and 3 behind. However, tooth evolution was continuing. Now the last two premolars were like molars, giving Epihippus five grinding cheek teeth. The crests on the cheek teeth were well-formed, and still low-crowned.

There is a late form of Epihippus sometimes called Duchesnehippus. It's unclear if this is a subgenus or a species of Epihippus. This animal was basically an Epihippus with teeth similar to, but a bit more primitive than, later Oligocene horses.
IV. Medium-Sized Browsing Horses (Late Eocene & Oligocene)

As we move toward the Oligocene, horses start to change. The climate of North America was becoming drier, and grasses were just evolving. The vast forests were starting to shrink. The late Eocene horses responded by developing tougher teeth and becoming a bit larger and leggier (for better speed out in the open).
Mesohippus

The species Mesohippus celer appears suddenly in the late Eocene, approx 40 My (such sudden speciations can occur when a population encounters new selective forces and/or becomes isolated from the parent species. These speciations are "sudden" only in geological terms, of course, where a few million years is "sudden".) This animal was slightly larger than Epihippus, 24" at the shoulder. It didn't look as doggish, either. The back was less arched, the legs a bit longer, the neck a bit longer, and the snout and face distinctively longer. It had a shallow facial fossa, a depression on the skull. (In later horses these fossae became complex, and handy for species identification.) Mesohippus had three toes on its hind feet and on its front feet -- the 4th front toe was reduced to a vestigial nubbin. As before, Mesohippus was pad-footed. Other significant changes:

* Cerebral hemispheres notably larger -- has distinctly equine brain now.
* Last three premolars are like the three molars, such that Mesohippus (and all later horses) had a battery of six similar grinding "cheek teeth", with one lonely little simple premolar in front.
* Has same tooth crests as Epihippus, well-formed and sharp, more suitable for grinding tougher vegetation.

Miohippus

Soon after Mesohippus celer and its very close relative Mesohippus westoni appeared, a similar animal called Miohippus assiniboiensis arose (approximately 36 My). This transition also occurred suddenly, but luckily a few transitional fossils have been found that link the two genera. A typical Miohippus was distinctly larger than a typical Mesohippus, with a slightly longer skull. The facial fossa was deeper and more expanded. In addition, the ankle joint had changed subtly.

Miohippus also began to show a variable extra crest on its upper cheek teeth. In later horse species, this crest became a characteristic feature of the teeth. This is an excellent example of how new traits originate as variations in the ancestral population.

It was once thought that Mesohippus "transformed" gradually into Miohippus via anagenetic evolution, so that only Miohippus continued. Recent evidence shows that instead, Miohippus speciated (split off) from early Mesohippus via cladogenetic evolution, and then Miohippus and Mesohippus overlapped for some 4 million years. For instance, in one place in modern Wyoming there were three species of late Mesohippus coexisting with two species of Miohippus. (Prothero & Shubin, 1989)
V. The Miohippus Radiation (Early Miocene, 24 My)

Mesohippus finally died out in the mid-Oligocene. Miohippus continued for a while as it was, and then, in early Miocene (24 My) began to speciate fairly rapidly. The horse family began to split into at least 2 main lines of evolution and one small side branch:

1. 3-toed browsers called "anchitheres". They were very successful, spread into the Old World, and thrived for tens of millions of years. They retained the small, simple teeth of Miohippus. Genera include Anchitherium and the large Hypohippus and Megahippus.
2. A line of small "pygmy horses", e.g. Archeohippus. These horses did not survive long.
3. A line that underwent a transformation from browsing to grazing, taking advantage of the new grasses. Large grasslands were just beginning to appear, thus creating a new ecological "opportunity" for grazers. Grass is difficult to chew and wears down teeth rapidly (due to the silica in the leaves) and thus a grass-eater needs tough teeth with ridges of some sort. Open-country grass eaters, in addition, often benefit from being swift runners with long legs. The evolution of this line of horses is described below.

VI. Horses Move Onto the Plains: Spring-Foot & High-Crowned Teeth (Miocene, 18 My)

As this third line of Miocene horses began to specialize in eating grasses, several changes occurred. First, the teeth changed to be better suited for chewing harsh, abrasive grass. Small crests on the teeth enlarged and connected together in a series of ridges for grinding. There was a gradual increase in the height of the tooth crowns, so that the teeth could grow out of the gum continuously as the tops were worn down ("hypsodont" teeth). And, in addition, the tooth crowns became harder due to the development of a cement layer on the teeth.

Second, these horses started to become specialized runners. There was a simultaneous increase in body size, leg length, and length of the face. The bones of the legs began to fuse together, and the leg bones and musculature became specialized for efficient forward-and-back strides, with flexible leg rotation being eliminated. Most significantly, the horses began to stand permanently on tiptoe (another adaptation for speed); instead of walking on doglike pads, their weight was supported by springy ligaments that ran under the fetlock to the big central toe. All these changes occurred rapidly, and we are lucky to have a fairly good fossil record during this time. This was one of the most interesting times in horse evolution. The transitions in these characters are seen in:
Kalobatippus

This genus is not well known, but its teeth seem to be intermediate between Miohippus and the later Parahippus (see below).
Parahippus

Arose in early Miocene, 23 My. A typical Parahippus was a little larger than Miohippus, with about the same size brain and same body form. Parahippus was still three-toed, and was just beginning to develop the springy ligaments under the foot. Parahippus showed gradual and fluctuating changes in its teeth, including the permanent establishment of the extra crest that was so variable in Miohippus. In addition, various other cusps and crests were beginning to join up in a series of strong crests, with slightly taller tooth crowns. Parahippus evolved rapidly and was quickly transformed into a fully spring- footed, hypsodont grazing horse called Merychippus gunteri. This burst of evolution took place about 18-17 My. Later fossils of Parahippus (e.g. the species Parahippus leonensis) are so similar to early Merychippus that it's hard to decide where to draw the line between the genera.
Merychippus

Arose 17 My ago. A typical Merychippus was about 10 hands (40") tall, the tallest equine yet. The muzzle became elongated, the jaw became deeper, and the eye moved farther back, to accommodate the large tooth roots. The brain was notably larger, with a fissured neocortex and a larger cerebellum, making Merychippus a smarter and more agile equine than the earlier horses. Overall, Merychippus was distinctly recognizable as a horse, and had a "horsey" head.

Merychippus was still 3-toed, but was fully spring-footed. This animal stood permanently on tiptoe, supported and propelled by strong, springy ligaments that ran under the fetlock. The side toes were still complete, but began to be of varying sizes; some Merychippus species had full-size side toes, while others developed small side toes that only touched the ground during running. The central toe developed a large, convex, "horsey" hoof, and the legs became longer. The radius and ulna of the forearm fused so that leg rotation was eliminated. Likewise, the fibula of the shin was greatly reduced. All these changes made Merychippus' legs specialized for just one function: rapid running over hard ground.

Merychippus' teeth were fully high-crowned, with a thick layer of cement, and with the same distinctive grazing tooth crests as Parahippus.

Merychippus gunteri evolved into a slightly more advanced form, Merychippus primus, in the middle/late Miocene.
VII. The Merychippine Radiation (Miocene, 15 My)

By the late Miocene, Merychippus was the one of the first bona-fide speedy plains grazers. (Simpson, 1961, called Merychippus "the horse with a new look"). Merychippus underwent rapid speciation, and gave rise to at least 19 new grazing horse species in three major groups. This explosive burst of horse evolution is often called the "merychippine radiation". The three major groups were:

1. Three-toed grazers known as "hipparions". These were tremendously successful and split into 4 genera and at least 16 species, eventually covering a variety of niches for small and large grazers and browsers. They developed large and elaborate facial fossae. Hipparions spread from the New World into the Old World in several waves of migration.
2. A line of smaller horses including Protohippus and Calippus, collectively called "protohippines".
3. A line of "true equines" in which the side toes sometimes began to decrease in size. In this flurry of evolution, Merychippus primus gave rise to two later merychippines called M. sejunctus and M. isonesus, who had a mixture of "primitive" (Parahippus-like), hipparion, and equine features. They, in turn, gave rise to M. intermontanus, which begat M. stylodontus and M. carrizoensis. These last two looked quite "horsey" and gave rise to a set of larger three-toed and one-toed horses known as the "true equines" (see below). Crystal clear, right?

As this brief list shows, new species arose in rapid succession in all three of these groups. This rapid speciation makes it hard to determine exactly which species arose from exactly which others.

About 10 My, the horse family reached an apex of diversity (of species and of genera) and sheer numbers which it has never equalled since. The Old and New Worlds both seemed overrun with a wide variety of hipparions, protohippines, and "true equines", large and small, forest browsers and plains grazers. Throughout the evolution of all these related merychippine descendents, the facial fossae got deeper and more elaborate. With so many equine species overlapping at once, these facial fossae may have housed species-specific glands of some sort, similar to the scent- marking glands of modern antelopes and deer.
VIII. One-Toed Horses (Late Miocene, Pliocene & Pleistocene)

Let's leave the hipparions and protohippines now, and concentrate on the merychippine line that led to the "true equines". The late merychippine species of this line, such as M. carrizoensis, were large horses with small side toes. They gave rise to at least 2 separate groups of horses that independently lost their side toes. This occurred as side ligaments developed around the fetlock to help stabilize the central toe during running. These one-toed horses include:
Pliohippus

Arose in middle Miocene (~15 My) as a three-toed horse. Gradual loss of the side toes is seen in Pliohippus through 3 successive strata of the early Pliocene. Pliohippus was very similar to Equus and until recently was thought to be the direct ancestor of Equus, except for two significant differences. First, Pliohippus's skull has deep facial fossae, whereas Equus has no facial fossae at all. Second, Pliohippus's teeth are strongly curved, and Equus's teeth are very straight. Though Pliohippus is obviously related to Equus, it probably didn't give rise to Equus.
Astrohippus

Astrohippus (~10My) was another one-toed horse that arose shortly after Pliohippus. Astrohippus also had large facial fossae, and was probably a descendent of Pliohippus.
Dinohippus

Finally, a third one-toed horse called Dinohippus (recently discovered) arose about 12 My. The exact ancestor of Dinohippus is not yet known (see Evander, 1989). The earliest known species are D. spectans, D. interpolatus, and D. leidyanus. They look smashingly like Equus in foot morphology, teeth, and skull. The teeth were slightly straighter than Merychippus, and the facial fossae were significantly decreased. A slightly later species was D. mexicanus, that showed even straighter teeth and even smaller fossae. Dinohippus was the most common horse in North America in the late Pliocene, and almost certainly gave rise to Equus. (Recall that Equus has very straight teeth and no fossae.)

The Isthmus of Panama arose at this point. Some very early Dinohippus species gave rise to the "hippidions", stocky, short-legged, one-toed horses with odd boxy skulls (~4 My). They travelled into the South America and thrived there briefly.

Throughout the end of the Pliocene, Dinohippus showed a gradual decrease in the facial fossae, straightening of the teeth, and other gradual changes, as Dinohippus smoothly graded into Equus. (Hulbert, 1989)
Equus

Finally we arrive at Equus (4 My), the genus of all modern equines. The first Equus were 13.2 hands tall (pony size), with a classic "horsey" body -- rigid spine, long neck, long legs, fused leg bones with no rotation, long nose, flexible muzzle, deep jaw. The brain was a bit larger than in early Dinohippus. Like Dinohippus, Equus was (and is) one-toed, with side ligaments that prevent twisting of the hoof, and has high-crowned, straight grazing teeth with strong crests lined with cement.

Members of Equus still retain the genes for making side toes. Usually these express themselves only as the vestigial "splint bones" of toes 2 and 4, around the large central 3rd toe. Very rarely, a modern Equus is born with small but fully-formed side toes. (see Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horses' Toes.)

The earliest known Equus species were a set of three "simple Equus" species collectively known as the Equus simplicidens group. They still had some primitive traits from Dinohippus, including a slight facial fossa. They had zebra-like bodies (relatively stocky with a straight shoulder and thick neck), and short, narrow, donkey-like skulls. They probably had stiff, upright manes, ropy tails, medium-sized ears, striped legs, and at least some striping on the back (all traits shared by modern equines). They quickly diversified into at least 12 new species in 4 different groups, in a burst of evolution reminiscent of the great merychippine radiation. All these Equus species coexisted with other one-toed horses (such as Astrohippus) and with various successful hipparions and protohippines, which had been merrily evolving on their own paths.

During the first major glaciations of the late Pliocene (2.6 Ma), certain Equus species crossed to the Old World. Some entered Africa and diversified into the modern zebras. Others spread across Asia, the Mideast, & N. Africa as desert-adapted onagers and asses. Still others spread across Asia, the Mideast, and Europe as the true horse, E. caballus. Other Equus species spread into South America. The Equus genus was perhaps the most successful perissodactyl genus that ever lived -- even before domestication by humans.

Compare Equus to Hyracotherium and see how much it has changed. In no way can Equus and Hyracotherium be considered the same "kind". The change from Hyracotherium to Equus is truly long-term, large-scale evolution.
IX. Modern Equines (Recent)

The three-toed horses gradually died out, perhaps outcompeted by the phenomenally successful artiodactyls (or not). Most of the one-toed horses in North America also died out, as the Ice Ages started. (The causes of these extinctions are unknown.) However, one-toed Equus was very successful. Until about 1 million years ago, there were Equus species all over Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, in enormous migrating herds that must easily have equalled the great North American bison herds, or the huge wildebeest migrations in Africa.

In the late Pleistocene there was a set of devastating extinctions that killed off most of the large mammals in North and South America. All the horses of North and South America died out (along with the mammoths and saber-tooth tigers). These extinctions seem to have been caused by a combination of climatic changes and overhunting by humans, who had just reached the New World. For the first time in tens of millions of years, there were no equids in the Americas.

The only members of Equus -- and of the entire family Equidae -- that survived to historic times were:

Order Perissodactyla, Family Equidae, Genus Equus

* Equus burchelli: the Plains zebra of Africa, including "Grant's zebra", "Burchell's zebra", "Chapman's zebra", the half-striped Quagga, and other subspecies. The Plains zebra is what people usually think of as the "typical zebra", with rather wide vertical stripes, and thick horizontal stripes on the rump.
* Equus zebra: the Mountain zebra of South Africa. This is the little zebra with the dewlap and the gridiron pattern on its rump.
* Equus grevyi: Grevy's zebra, the most horse-like zebra. This is the big zebra with the very narrow vertical stripes and huge ears.
* Equus caballus, the true horse, which once had several subspecies.
* Equus hemionus: the desert-adapted onagers of Asia & the Mideast, including the kiang (formerly E. kiang).
* Equus asinus: the true asses & donkeys of northern Africa. (The African wild asses are sometimes called E. africanus.)

[I have a separate file about the relationships & current status of all surviving wild equines, including information about captive breeding programs. E-mail for details.]
X. SUMMARY

For many people, the horse family remains the classic example of evolution. As more and more horse fossils have been found, some ideas about horse evolution have changed, but the horse family remains a good example of evolution. In fact, we now have enough fossils of enough species in enough genera to examine subtle details of evolutionary change, such as modes of speciation.

In addition to showing that evolution has occurred, the fossil Equidae also show the following characteristics of evolution:

1.

Evolution does not occur in a straight line toward a goal, like a ladder; rather, evolution is like a branching bush, with no predetermined goal.

Horse species were constantly branching off the "evolutionary tree" and evolving along various unrelated routes. There's no discernable "straight line" of horse evolution. Many horse species were usually present at the same time, with various numbers of toes, adapted to various different diets. In other words, horse evolution had no inherent direction. We only have the impression of straight-line evolution because only one genus happens to still be alive, which deceives some people into thinking that that one genus was somehow the "target" of all the evolution. Instead, that one genus is merely the last surviving branch of a once mighty and sprawling "bush".

The view of equine evolution as a complex bush with many contemporary species has been around for several decades, and is commonly recounted in modern biology and evolution textbooks.
2. There are no truly consistent "trends".

Tracing a line of descent from Hyracotherium to Equus reveals several apparant trends: reduction of toe number, increase in size of cheek teeth, lengthening of the face, increase in body size. But these trends are not seen in all of the horse lines. On the whole, horses got larger, but some horses (Archeohippus, Calippus) then got smaller again. Many recent horses evolved complex facial pits, and then some of their descendants lost them again. Most of the recent (5-10 My) horses were three-toed, not one-toed, and we see a "trend" to one toe only because all the three-toed lines have recently become extinct.

Additionally, these traits do not necessarily evolve together, or at a steady rate. The various morphological characters each evolved in fits and starts, and did not evolve as a suite of characters. For example, throughout the Eocene, the feet changed little, and only the teeth evolved. Throughout the Miocene, both feet and teeth evolved rapidly. Rates of evolution depend on the ecological pressures facing the species.

The "direction" of evolution depends on the ecological challenges facing the individuals of a species and on the variation in that species, not on an inherent "evolutionary trend".
3.

New species can arise through several different evolutionary mechanisms.

Sometimes, new species split off suddenly from their ancestors (e.g., Miohippus from Mesohippus) and then co-existed with those ancestors. Other species came into being through anagenetic transformation of the ancestor, until the ancestor had changed appearance enough to be given a new name (e.g. Equus from Dinohippus). Sometimes only one or a few species arose; sometimes there were long periods of stasis (e.g. Hyracotherium throughout the early Eocene); and sometimes there were enormous bursts of evolution, when new ecological opportunities arose (the merychippine radiation). Again, evolution proceeds according to the ecological pressures facing the individuals of a species and on the variation present within that species. Evolution takes place in the real world, with diverse rates and modes, and cannot be reduced to a single, simple process.

A Question for Creationists: Creationists who wish to deny the evidence of horse evolution should careful consider this: how else can you explain the sequence of horse fossils? Even if creationists insist on ignoring the transitional fossils (many of which have been found), again, how can the unmistakable sequence of these fossils be explained? Did God create Hyracotherium, then kill off Hyracotherium and create some Hyracotherium-Orohippus intermediates, then kill off the intermediates and create Orohippus, then kill off Orohippus and create Epihippus, then allow Epihippus to "microevolve" into Duchesnehippus, then kill off Duchesnehippus and create Mesohippus, then create some Mesohippus-Miohippus intermediates, then create Miohippus, then kill off Mesohippus, etc.....each species coincidentally similar to the species that came just before and came just after?

Creationism utterly fails to explain the sequence of known horse fossils from the last 50 million years. That is, without invoking the "God Created Everything To Look Just Like Evolution Happened" Theory.

[And I'm not even mentioning all the other evidence for evolution that is totally independent of the fossil record -- developmental biology, comparative DNA & protein studies, morphological analyses, biogeography, etc. The fossil record, horses included, is only a small part of the story.]

Truly persistent and/or desperate creationists are thus forced into illogical, unjustified attacks of fossil dating methods, or irrelevant and usually flat-out wrong proclamations about a supposed "lack" of "transitional forms". It's sad. To me, the horse fossils tell a magnificent and fascinating story, of millions of animals living out their lives, in their natural world, through millions of years. I am a dedicated horse rider and am very happy that the one-toed grazing Equus survived to the present. Evolution in no way impedes my ability to admire the beauty and nobility of these animals. Instead, it enriches my appreciation and understanding of modern horses and their rich history."

Now I assume you are thinking that is all well and good but this could all just be "evolutionist" bullshit.

I now present pictures of the fossils because as the old phrase goes seeing is believing along with artists representations because sadly we can't take photos of the living thing (yet - who knows what we might be able to clone one day). I hope you will take the time to observe the commonalities and developments you will observe in the skeletal structure of these creatures and please note I am ignoring the evolutionary dead ends that branched off for the sake of time and am simply focusing on the line from Hyracotherium to Equus ferus caballus -that is the horse of today for the sake of not making the post longer than it needs to be.

This took ages so I hope it wasn't in vain :).

Edit: I seem to be having some issues with some of the images blast this is damn frustrating. Please see below I have a theory my post was too long."

[1] For reference, I believe the theory of evolution, to a degree. Micro Evolution, in my opinion, is real and exists, and even today we can observe. (Bacterium's resistance to antibiotics is a prime example, another is cancer.)

Still quoting myself:

"This is the first equid (that's basically the horse family to you and me) hyracotherium who lived 55 million years ago:

50 million years ago we see a little chap called Orohippus emerging:

47 million years ago Epihippus emerged:

Notice the gigantic size difference!(sorry couldn't find an artistic drawing of this one)

Around 40 million years ago Mesohippus emerged and really marks the beginning of the trend of horses getting larger:

36 million years ago Miohippus emerges and whilst similar is a bit bigger than its direct ancestor Mesohippus:

Now the immediate fossils become a little bit scarce in the lineage of the horse with Kalobatippus being pretty fragmentry from my understanding. However we can pick up the trail of the modern horse again 23 million years ago with Parahippus

17 million years ago Merychippus arose and was the tallest horse yet:

13 million year ago Dinohippus arose and we are not sure what the immediate ancestor of this was but we do know it was descended from Merychippus:

4 million years ago we meet the delightful and handsome Equus the genus of all modern horses some even went to Africa and diversified into the modern Zebra as I already pasted :P and we find their fossils on every continent except Australia and Antarctica which is reasonable due to their geographic isolation 4 million years ago and I can give you a photo of this :D :

Edit: It seems like there might be a limit to the number of pictures I can post so unfortunately the 2 pictures per animal wont appear so I will have to link you to some stuff :/.

image

image

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http://www.dinocasts.com/prod_productDetails.asp?ProductId=590

You can follow along with this actually :D:

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fhc/Stratmap1.htm"

I would recommend visiting that last link because you can see the skeletons of the various equines and see the evolution of them noting particularly the way the toes are fused and lost.

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