DailyDirt: Digging Up The Past

from the urls-we-dug-up dept

Though replete with accurate models, well-tested theories and millions of specimens, we're still a long, long way from having a complete picture of the history of life on earth. New discoveries can still upend everything or point to entire unexplored aspects of our prehistory — and yet, slowly but surely, scientists are building a catalog of all that can be known about living things. Here are some of the latest projects helping to fill in branches on the evolutionary tree:

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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 29 Apr 2016 @ 6:40pm

    Just To Preempt The Creationists ...

    ... if you don’t believe in biological evolution, then why are human and dinosaur bones never found together?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Apr 2016 @ 6:09am

      Re: Just To Preempt The Creationists ...

      I take it you have no plans to visit Ken Ham's park featuring a Noah's Arc replication.

      btw, how did Noah stop the predators from eating the other critters?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 30 Apr 2016 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Noah’s Ark

        Among the many problems with the Flood myth, not counting where all the extra water came from (and where it went), if it was deep enough to cover the world’s tallest mountain, then, because rain is fresh water, it would have diluted the salinity of the world’s oceans and killed all the creatures that need salt water to live in.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 4:38am

          Re: Re: Noah’s Ark

          You make an assumption for which you are not presenting any evidence for. That assumption is that the highest mountain existed prior to said flood. You make a strange and somewhat erroneous assumption that the tallest mountains are above sea-level. One should have a look around first and see if that is actually true. Additionally, actually read what is said and you might find that your assumption of fresh water rain as being the only cause for the water is not correct.

          You know that thing you always try to get other people to prove about their ideas but for which you don't ever provide the evidence for the truth of yours. The basic assumptions made in your statements and questions need to be proven true first before your questions can be considered valid.

          If you did some investigation, you will find some interesting archaeological finds for the South American Andes ranges. These finds include fishing villages (as in normal sea-going fishing villages) that are at very high levels above sea-level. How did they get there? This is a puzzle for some and fairly obvious for others. Extreme mountain movements are not uncommon, some of the best examples can be found in the Pacific Ocean.

          Just because you believe things doesn't make them true. Similarly, just because you don't want to believe something doesn't make it false. If you want people to believe you, it behooves you to prove the truth of your beliefs. Relying on saying that others must prove their beliefs without you having to prove your viewpoint is a simple failure on your ability to demonstrate that your viewpoint is in fact correct.

          Finally, since you obviously don't understand the problems and limitations of all dating methodologies and the problems of interpreting evidence, I suggest that you first educate yourself before pontificating on any subject. All dating methodologies have specific starting assumptions that have not been proven true. There are many examples where materials having a known date are dated at millions of times there actual age. These things have been and are being reported in various peer reviewed journals.

          We even have processes that created artificial copies of natural materials and the testing laboratories cannot determine that the artificial (man-made) materials are not natural.

          The years have taught me that my knowledge about any subject is quite limited and that there is still much more to learn. However, I will point out that your standpoint is lacking in all kinds of unequivocal interpretation.

          You (nor any other person on the planet) has no personal recollections of the far past and we are looking at the past from a great distance. I should point out that, though you seem to discount the biblical record, that it has recorded many things for which there was no apparent extent record but has been eventually found in archaeological findings, including that mythical people called the Hittites.

          Even Israeli generals have used the biblical records to provide defence strategies for their nation.

          So open your mind to the possibility that you have very limited knowledge and you might, just might find that true. Then you can actually start looking at the world around you and see that it is much more complicated and fascinating and full of things to investigate.

          Let me leave you with a puzzle question. Is the speed of electromagnetic radiation a constant? Or is it variable? If it is variable, on what physical conditions does it vary?

          I leave you with a second puzzle question. What simplifying assumptions are made about the charge carriers called electrons in all materials? If these assumptions are not made what are the expected effects might we observe at PN junctions under reverse bias?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 7:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Noah’s Ark

            "That assumption is that the highest mountain existed prior to said flood."

            Since the earth is only 6000 years old, it would have endured massive earth quakes in order to form the many huge mountainous areas in such little time thus causing the extinction of most life as we know it.


            "fresh water rain as being the only cause for the water"

            But the story says it rained. It does not rain salt water, that is not how it works.


            ".. assumptions made in your .. questions need to be proven true first before your questions can be considered valid."

            Errrr - what?


            "This is a puzzle for some "

            Actually, that is a well understood phenomena.


            Funny how you want others to prove everything they claim whilst demanding they believe your unproven claims .. because someone wrote it in a book long ago it must be true.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 7:36am

              Re: because someone wrote it in a book long ago it must be true.

              A book that cannot be true, if only because it contradicts itself.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 6:11pm

                Re: Re: because someone wrote it in a book long ago it must be true.

                You mean that all the engineering and science books in my library cannot be true either, because of all the contradictions in them?

                Shall we include all the various science theories with all the contradictions in them as well? Shall we include all engineering design guides and documents with all the contradictions as well? Shall we include all the medical books and published peer-reviewed documents that have contradictions in those as well?

                If you want to do it to one, we can do it too all, that would be appropriate, I think.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 6:21pm

                  Re: science theories with all the contradictions in them as well?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 6:24pm

                  Re: Re: science theories with all the contradictions in them as well?

                  Such as?

                  Remember that science is a self-correcting process: it seeks out contradictions and gaps and tries to resolve them, paying careful attention to the evidence.

                  Whereas religion is all about insisting something is true, in spite of all the evidence. In fact, the more you can insist on that, the more people will say “your faith is strong”, and that is somehow seen as a good thing.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 7:08pm

                    Re: Re: Re: science theories with all the contradictions in them as well?

                    Where should start?

                    Black holes and Big Bang.

                    Quantum mechanics.

                    Sub-atomic physics.

                    Genetics.

                    The list goes on. You should expend the effort to gain an education about the various subjects. You might find it enlightening.

                    Remember that science is a self-correcting process: it seeks out contradictions and gaps and tries to resolve them, paying careful attention to the evidence.
                    The fight between "String Theorists" and "Non-String Theorists" is an example of this is it? This is a classic example of dogma rule.

                    Whereas religion is all about insisting something is true, in spite of all the evidence. In fact, the more you can insist on that, the more people will say “your faith is strong”, and that is somehow seen as a good thing.
                    Can I include evolutionary theory in this as well? It insists it is true, even though no model actually works. Or even anthropogenic climate change? Their faith is strong, but can't answer some simple questions about their beliefs. For evolutionists, where are the extant transition forms today? For ACC believers, show me the energy equation solution.

                    For the latter, if they can supply a reasonable answer to this question then their viewpoint will have some validity. Otherwise, it is just faith based prognostication and has little to offer in providing any kind of accurate forecasting of global climate change.

                    If we don't understand the actual climate processes, we are not able to accurately mitigate any adverse changes. Not that man is able to do this adequately anyway. We don't build tornado proof buildings, we don't build earthquake proof buildings? We don't build forest fire proof buildings. We build in flood prone areas and don't build the flood mitigation infrastructure. We don't build power distribution infrastructure or transportation infrastructure that survives heat, cold and wind extremes.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 9:30pm

                      Re: Where should start?

                      Start with any one.

                      What are the “contradictions” in quantum mechanics? Bearing in mind that it actually works--the formulas do agree with reality, to amazingly high accuracy in many cases.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 6:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Noah’s Ark


              "fresh water rain as being the only cause for the water"

              But the story says it rained. It does not rain salt water, that is not how it works.
              Go and actually read it, instead of assuming you know the story and you'll find out you have missed a couple of vital points. Just to help you out, the first is - it didn't only rain.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 6:30pm

                Re: Go and actually read it

                Let’s see ...

                Genesis 6:10: “And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.”

                Whereas Genesis 6:12 says “And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”

                So, did it flood after seven days, or after forty days?

                Seems like you don’t have to look far to find contradictions in the Bible...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 7:32pm

                  Re: Re: Go and actually read it

                  Well for starters, It is in Genesis 7 not Genesis 6.

                  Secondly lets have the full description shall we.

                  10 After the seven days, the floodwaters came on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep were burst open, and the sky’s windows were opened. 12 It rained on the earth forty days and forty nights.
                  Now where is the contradiction here? So 7 days after Noah and his family went into the ark, the floods started. It then gives you the date it happened and fountains of the deep burst open and rain poured - we are told that the rain lasted for 40 days and nights. We are not told how long the fountains lasted for. Wherein is the contradiction?

                  We use such time-lines even today, the flood will take a while to get there and then it takes another period of time for it subside.

                  I grew up in a yearly flood prone area. it was common to consider the flood as coming over hours or days. After it reached its peak, we considered the flood event to have finished and we waited for the flood-waters to recede, which could take many more days or even weeks to occur. Because it is the peak that determines the extent of the damage, how long it stays around after is the consequence.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 9:35pm

                    Re: “fountains of the deep”

                    So you are saying these “fountains of the deep” were spewing out salt water? What were they--geysers? Because geysers don’t spew out salt water.

                    So if the flood was salt water, it would have killed off all the freshwater fish and other such life that lives in streams and lakes. Not to mention all the land plants, which cannot survive underwater, never mind under salt water.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 6:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Noah’s Ark


              "This is a puzzle for some "

              Actually, that is a well understood phenomena.
              Enlighten us then.
              Funny how you want others to prove everything they claim whilst demanding they believe your unproven claims .. because someone wrote it in a book long ago it must be true.
              I'm not demanding you believe what I believe, I am just demanding that you prove what you believe. From that, I can then see if what you believe has any validity.

              If you are unable to demonstrate your proof adequately then why should I believe you?

              I find it very interesting that atheists and evolutionists (as well as other people including economists and politicians) always want their opponents to prove their positions but themselves demand that they don't have to prove their own position. They tend to label their position as facts.

              If you really want to make this a worthwhile conversation, just answer the two questions I added to my post earlier about electromagnetic radiation and electrons in materials.

              Larry is unable to do so. His tendency is to argue by circular logic and he does not seem able to recognise this. So I don't expect any input from him on the subject. If he does respond, it never seems to be reasoned anyway. One does have to remember that he is a "true believer".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 6:32pm

                Re: atheists and evolutionists ... demand that they don't have to prove their own position

                As an “atheist and evolutionist”, I am quite capable of proving my position, thank you.

                Consider the question I asked right at the start: why are human and dinosaur bones never found together? This is one stubborn piece of real-world evidence that Evolution can explain, but Creation cannot.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 May 2016 @ 4:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Noah’s Ark

                I'm not here to dance to your tune, nor am I here for your amusement. I do not wish that you believe anything nor do I need to prove anything. I simply asked a few questions, they were not that difficult to answer but you chose not to.

                Have a nice day.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 3:56pm

            Re: That assumption is that the highest mountain existed prior to said flood

            What do you call it when you have to pile on more and more unsupported assumptions to prop up a failing theory?

            We have a term for it in science: “circular reasoning”.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2016 @ 5:56pm

              Re: Re: That assumption is that the highest mountain existed prior to said flood

              For which you are very good at as exemplified by your opinions about any area in engineering or science, philosophy or religion, metaphysics or politics.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 May 2016 @ 9:57pm

                Re: For which you are very good at

                Hilarious that you can say that with a straight face, given that I am the one putting you on the defensive by asking you questions you cannot answer.

                Like, why are human and dinosaur bones never found together?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 4 May 2016 @ 5:55am

          Re: Re: Noah’s Ark

          My favorite explanation for the Flood myth (both the Biblical one and the analogous floods from other traditions) is the hypothesis that what is now the Mediterranean Sea was once an immense - and inhabited - valley, until an earthquake destroyed a natural dam at what is now the Straits of Gibraltar... resulting in a massive inflow of seawater, drowning the entire valley, which could certainly have seemed like the entire world at the time.

          This would also serve to explain the Atlantis myth, but so far as I know, there's nothing in evidence to either confirm or refute the hypothesis.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Noah’s Ark

            I think that two things point suggestively to an explanation of the flood myth: it's the oldest myth we know of, and essentially every people who are near a coastline have a variation of it. At the same time, almost no non-coastline people have such a myth.

            The suggested explanation is that the myth comes from real flood experiences. Just not supernatural ones.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 7 May 2016 @ 6:15pm

            Re: the Mediterranean Sea was once an immense - and inhabited - valley

            While the Mediterranean has been dry in times past, I think the last time was long before humans appeared on the scene--something like 5 or 10 million years ago.

            A more likely explanation is a “jökulhlaup” at the end of the last Ice Age--a sudden, massive flood when a glacier lake collapses. There was one in the Middle East about 12,000 years ago, that covered a suitably wide area. The trouble is, many people are sceptical that an event that long ago could persist in human memory.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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