Debate:Adam and Africans

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Debate.png This is a Debate page.
Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by Human and Ace.

Adam, Africans, etc.[edit]

It is a well-known fact that Africans have the most diverse genetic information of any other group of people on earth. So it makes perfect sense that Adam, and all people at least through the Noachic second generation, would have resembled Africans, in order to carry the greatest amount of genetic information forward to the present. The black population contains the biggest, strongest, fastest, smartest, smallest, slowest, weakest, and stupidest examples of humanity. Their bell curve is very wide, whereas most other "races" are more tightly confined genetically. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:51, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

As far as intelligence is concerned, I thought the Africans had a lower standard deviation than others. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:55, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Please don't spoil my argument with potential facts that might undermine it, m'kay? I'll see if I can find my alleged "source". ħumanUser talk:Human 21:02, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
All studies I've seen placed blacks as a whole a little lower in intelligence. I'm sure that would trump size, speed, stature and strength in Phil's warped world of information. Interesting idea, though. I wonder if Phil could deal with a black Adam. "Sure, Adam could have been black...(but I know he's white)." I wonder if Phil thinks one skin has more information. — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 21:07, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) Actually, that does not "undermine" your theory if the "smart genes" and "stupid genes" are recessive, which would bring them out more in a population that had less variance and more recessive traits. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:09, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I think there are several studies that place black Americans' average IQ at 85. I do not know if the measurement problems caused by cultural differences were accounted for in those numbers. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:12, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Ugh, I just read the link on the latest wigo... I actually hate PJR. He is Ken Ham. — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 21:13, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Not really; he is a CMI lackey. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:15, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking in terms of being a retarded, yet somehow still willfully ignorant, Australian. No offense to the mentally retarded. — Sincerely, Neveruse513 / Talk / Block 21:18, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
An average IQ of Africans being 85 seems remarkably low to me. 85? Hmmm. Anyway, to Philip - he is so dishonest to himself and willfully ignorant to the point of physically blinding himself. AceMcWicked 21:24, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
85 is hugely low, it is a whole standard deviation below average. Seriously getting a reliable citation for that is going to be hard, as pretty much the only people who do racially profiled intelligence studies are, not to be too blunt, racists. Finding someone who set out to do the test with no preconceptions is going to be difficult. - π 23:00, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I got the number from the APA's response to The Bell Curve. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:32, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I would love to look at it, but my university is filtering it as racial hatred. <rant>What the fuck is happening to this place, what happened to academic freedom and intellectual debate?</rant> - π 01:39, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
These days, academic freedom does not include the freedom to question the academics. (Brief summary: Black Americans have most consistently tested at an average of 85, but more recent studies have seen the gap narrow, indicating some cultural bias in the earlier studies.) Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 01:45, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
My guess would be increased education levels. Academic freedom does no include the academics having the freedom to disagree with the university administrators would describe it better. Another trend I have noticed nobody seems to be given tenure any more, just a "continuing position"; that is the position will continue just maybe not with the same person. - π 01:52, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Most of the political-correctness pushed by university administrations is realpolitik — an effort to appease the whineboxes in <identity group>-studies departments, who do not have any actual work to do and hence kill time mouthing off at the administration. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Fortunately my university still has a classics department that is bigger than the gender studies and social inclusion department, unfortunately I suspect I know which of the two brings in more money. - π 02:29, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Alan Charles Kors, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says that administrations have tended to hand liberal arts departments over to radicals to buy them off, in order to maintain an apolitical atmosphere in the science, mathematics and medical departments, which bring in the cash. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:37, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Money in mathematics departments is always funny to watch. Every year we will get two or three grants around $500,000 and nobody will have any idea how to spend it (I didn't realise you could buy $8,000 Macs but there you go). Mostly they have meeting trying to decided what to do with the money. I suspect most of it gets siphoned off by the administration and used to subsides social sciences. In the end they just hire someone to do the research they didn't have time to do because of all the meetings. - π 02:57, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
You could have just said he's a creationist, it's shorter. Creationists are either monumentally stupid, or in it for the money. Or in the case of Ray Comfort, both. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 21:58, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Its not a matter of stupidity - I dont think Philip is stupid. He is willfully ignorant and dishonest. AceMcWicked 22:14, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't know why any one bothers arguing against him he is never going to budge and seriously believes that CMI nonsense that it is just the worldview you begin with that effects the conclusions you draw from evidence. The only person he is dishonest with is himself. - π 23:16, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Listener, what does the IQ of contemporary Americans who can trace their origins to Africa more recently (i.e. "African Americans") than those who are more distantly descended from Africa (i.e. "the rest of us") have to do with the IQ of current or historical Africans? RaoulDuke 23:37, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

You will have to ask Human about that. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:32, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The longer a population is isolated away from Mother Africa, the more likely they are to lose genes only of use in that environment. What it has to do IQ, who knows? I didn't bring IQ up as it is a lousy measure of "intelligence". ħumanUser talk:Human 01:51, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Here is what I read ages ago and mangled (partly intentionally, since while life on earth is a fact, and human genetic differences are facts, the "Adam" part is pure fiction. It's a long read, but Gladwell is a good writer. Sadly, no footnotes. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:01, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for posting that Human, pretty fascinating read. I rarely dislike anything that man writes.--الملعب الاسود العقل When you're a star, I know you'll fix everything 00:29, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Edit break thing[edit]

I see lots of insults and accusations, but no facts to back any of it up - in fact, no specific criticism. Human's first post here is the most sensible part, although "Africans" should not considered one group, and though the genetic diversity of the "grouped groups" is broad it does not encompass all of modern humanity's - which, (apart from 6K years of mutations) Adam and Eve's would have. The WIGO implies that "black" and "white" are self-evidentally the only options. Is that an American thing? I don't ask that to be snarky. To me assigning a colour label to skin colour usually involves an actual approximation. In other words "black" means black (or brown dark enough to be indistinguishable). Generally, I wouldn't refer to skin colour anyway, unless I am talking about the skin rather than the person. BTW, IQ discussed above would be a poor measure anyway, as it is a) culturally sensitive and b) a developmental metric that loses significance in adulthood. Tricksy 01:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

  1. If as PJR's link said, a black population can turn white in "a few generations," why has such a phenomenon not occurred in modern times?
  2. ...a developmental metric that loses significance in adulthood. How? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 01:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC)First off, the Black/white thing in the WIGO obviously wasn't American in origin - as it was posted by Ace.
  1. I'll have to read the linked article (I read it once a long time back), but I thought it talked about "brown" being able to lead to "black" or "white" or even "brown" in a few generations. We don't see the phenomenon very much in modern times because any given group has less diversity than early humans had. It does occur sometimes, though, generally with couples of diverse parentage, that they have offspring of dramatically different appearance to themselves (and even to each other) - actually if that article is the one I recall, there is an example mentioned. I personally know a couple with 5 children, each darker than previous, with the oldest having pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes and the youngest having dark brown skin, black hair and almost black eyes (the parents had medium/pale skin, dark brown hair, brown eyes).
  2. IIRC it was designed to measure the intellectual development of children (the "quotion" being their intellectual "age" over the average for their physical age). As we mature, development slows and both numbers in the quotient increase. Both of these facts tend to drive IQ towards 100 as individuals get older. A child could have an IQ assessed at either 85 or 115 only to reach adulthood with an IQ close to 100. An individual could be an "early bloomer" and score high IQ all through childhood only have IQ assessments steadily drop in late adolescence or early adulthood to near 100. Generally, as little development is occuring in adulthood, there is little to measure, and a metric that measures it is no longer significant. Tricksy 02:03, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there can be freak color changes when people of previously isolated lines of descent interbreed. However, color does not fluctuate wildly in stable populations, and in the many generations between Adam and Noah, surely this sort of stabilization would have had to occur? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:23, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) I think this has moved on to a different issue but nevertheless... How many generations would it take? Noah was 9 away from Adam, and there is no evidence that I know of that Noah's lineage was in some way isolated. (I doubt anyone has attempted to research this, so I think we would be "guessing" at stabilization rates). Without isolation, any given couple would have retained close to the potential for variability as Adam and Eve, and we are dealing in this case with 3 such couples. My point was that the colour differentiations were a natural result of the variability potential of the parents. Uncommon, but not "freak". Tricksy 03:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
there is no evidence that I know of that Noah's lineage was in some way isolated. Uh, that furthers my point, not yours...
I doubt anyone has attempted to research this... It is impossible to research a claim that has been plucked out of the air based on no primary observations whatsoever. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:09, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Point, the first; Read the sentence after the one you quoted (not the one in brackets). You point was based on isolation and then re-combination (i.e. loss and restoration of variability). My point was that no prior isolation amounted to the same thing (no loss of variability).
Point, the second; :) I was talking about your claim that " the many generations between Adam and Noah, surely this sort of stabilization would have had to occur". If you wish to discredit that claim, I will take your word for it. Tricksy 03:28, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(1) There is a certain limit to the amount of genetic information that can be carried in just one or two people (i.e., Adam and Eve). In only nine generations out from Adam there would have needed to be some extreme mutations to produce the requisite level of genetic diversity.
(2) This is an exercise in elementary genetics. Stable populations that interbreed freely (i.e., no isolation) will cease to have such wild (g/ph)enotypic variations within only a few generations. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:45, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(1) I think we need to be clear about when we are referring to variability (in an individual) and diversity (across multiple individuals, and resulting from variability). Also, you are saying that Noah required something that Adam lacked, whereas I am saying that Adam didn't lack it, and we needn't think it was lost by Noah's generation.
(2) I would like to see some support for that. If the population is stable and the "wild variations" continue to breed, then why would the occurrence cease? Tricksy 04:34, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(1) Again, there is a certain limit to the amount of genetic information that can be carried in just one or two people — generally limited to one dominant and one recessive trait for each gene. Hence, Adam and Eve could not have carried sufficient "variability" for a closed group of their descendants to diverge into all races, especially within 20-odd generations, without mutations.
(2) Genes mix quickly. Children inherit only half their parents' genetic information, and any dominant alleles quickly take over in a closed population. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(1) I would like to see some support for that also. There has been a lot of "couldn't happen" (not didn't, but couldn't), without supporting data of some kind. Address why it couldn't happen (with specifics) so that I can reply (with specifics), else this is not really a debate but merely contradiction.
(2)That is not support, but new claims. An individual child inherits only half of their parents' genetic info (obviously), but unless all the children are identical siblings this does not work for "children". Consider how many children a couple could have over a reproductive period of something like 250 years. For convenience I assumed 25 years out of 85 currently, and 850 year antediluvian lifespans. Very rough, but even with amended figures, one couple could have a lot more than 100 children. Actually, if the reproductive period is not simply proportional, but is the lifespan less immaturity (call it 20 years to be conservative), less sterility (call it 50 years), then over a lifespan of even 600 years a single couple could have 500+ children. The chances of any given trait not being passed on is the same as not flipping heads on a coin. 50% for 1 child (flip), 25% for 2 children and so on. Not passing on a trait to at least one of 100 children? 2-100, which I think is roughly 10-30. Thus is is very likely that Adam and Eve's genetic variability was still present in Noah's generation, but shared throughout the whole population rather than a single couple. Tricksy 00:39, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
(1) For a trait like blood type, which involves only three different alleles, it is possible for two individuals to carry the entire batch. For a more genetically complex trait, which may involve more than three alleles possible at a given locus, there is just not enough room on the gene for all of them. Period. On an unrelated note, there is also the Y chromosome, which undergoes no changes at all except for mutation, and varies widely across races but not in individuals.
(2) I was referring to stabilizing selection. But even assuming there is no selection, for a population to maintain that sort of heterozygosity, it has to be (a) large (i.e., several thousand people or more) and (b) free of inbreeding. It does not matter how heterozygous the population's founders are; small or inbred populations tend toward homozygosity almost immediately. The immediate descendants of Adam formed a population that was both small and extremely inbred — even more so if many people in that population interbred with the little green aliens nephilim and hence were excluded from the gene pool in question. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:43, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Edit break again[edit]

From what I remember reading (about 6 years ago), everyone is "black" ,ie produce melanin, certain proteins suppress the level of melanin produced however. "White" people are descended from a group that had a gene which added to the genome about 30,000 years ago which produced a protein that nearly completely shut off melanin production. - π 01:44, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
How can that have happened? That was over 20,000 years before light even existed! ħumanUser talk:Human 01:54, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Don't worry Human the creationist will just select out the bits they want, actually it is really easy to paint Adam and Eve white using that fact. See you can only lose information in the creationist "worldview", so all you have to say was there was a mutation which caused the loss of the protein that suppressed melanin output, this happened a few years after the flood and Bob's your Uncle you have a story that fits the creationist "model". If I wasn't such an honest person I could make millions peddling this crap, it would sell well in the south too. - π 02:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Gee, Tricksy, mutations are involved in the diversity of humans? I thought it was only natural selection, like sorting out the M&M's or Philip's dog example. No offense, but why is it that creationists ignore mutations when it's convenient and ignore natural selection when it's convenient, but never think to consider them together? Plus, do you really think that there was enough genetic diversity in three men in about 160 generations (4000 years) with mutations to explain the diversity in humans? (They all had the same father, Noah, limiting the genetic diversity at that!) Sterile hobgoblin 02:49, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
What are you talking about 3 men? It was more likely their wives that were the source of postdeluvian genetic variability (heres hoping they had more than one each), given they were brothers. - π 03:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Bah, women are useless. Like the bible said, obviously the men did all the work. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 03:03, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I think I already addressed Sterile's diversity question further up (Pi's response is similar). Neither mutations nor natural selection are ignored, separately or together.
Here is an analogy (I know they unpopular, but they can be useful). I haven't tried to long jump for a while, but considering my age and general flabbiness let's assume I can jump 3m. Picture a bunch of islands. I cannot jump a gap of 30m from one island to another simply by jumping 10 times, because the first jump lands me in the water. I can only jump the gap if there are convenient islets every 3m for me to jump to, else I fall. The jumps in this are mutations and gravity is natural selection - the islands are viable states. We currently see islands with significant separations. YECs say that there is no evidence of [an extensive number of] convenient close islets and 3m jumps will never get from one island to the next [without them], EVOs say that the existence of the islands and 3m jumping ability prove the existence of the islets. I think I need to put some more into our "Speciation" discussion as aSK. Tricksy 03:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Wait are you saying I got the correct response to that question? - π 03:27, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
In that more variability would have come from 3 unrelated (presumably) women than from 3 brothers? Yep (marginally in this case). Tricksy 04:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Unrelated? Aren't they all descended from the same two people only a dozen generations back? I have a book at home that list everyone descended form a chicken thief that was transported to Australia 7 generations ago. I would call everyone in that book related. - π 04:34, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Well "relatively unrelated" just doesn't flow. I mean as unrelated as any 3 random persons on the planet, contrasted with 3 full brothers. I'll assume your book is not about a South Australian, as yours was a free settlement. I certainly have no chicken-thief ancestors. They stole a mule. Others stole cattle. One was a politician. Tricksy 04:59, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
But his 7 or so children didn't marry each other, they married outside the family. This being the nub of the problem. Where does the genetic diversity come from if only a few generation earlier there were only two people? Mutations don't happen that fast. - π 05:23, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Wasn't the disproved by some guy, what was his name, oh yeah, JESUS. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 03:22, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
The reason no one likes analogies is sometime, like that one, they make no fucking sense. - π 03:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Well it was a little rushed, and not great, but I don't think it was that bad. I will work on expressing it differently, but that will probably be in my userpages at aSK.Tricksy 04:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
  1. The Lenski experiments show that mutation can give rise to new traits in a way that does not render the mutating organisms sterile or biologically unfit.
  2. EVOs say that the existence of the islands and 3m jumping ability prove the existence of the islets. Scientists do not have to hypothesize the existence of the "islets;" some billions of new ones are seen every day. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:29, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Lenski Experiments: that is about he most soundly worded description I have come across. Sticking to my analogy, and not debating anything about the outcomes of Lenski's experiments, Lenski would have demonstrated that existence of 1 convenient islet. What are needed are unbroken chains of them.
Examples, any? (Well there is Lenski, but we spoke of that) Again, sticking to the analogy, jumping around on the islands would be different to jumping off the islands. (I am seriously going to work on a better illustration for this). Tricksy 04:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes but if you had a 30m tall mountain and could high jump 3m high, after 10 jumps you could get to the top. Where as creationist stupidly think unless you can jump 30m meters up a mountain, you can't climb it. Do you see what I am saying about analogies, you can make them up which ever way you want? - π 03:32, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I thought LowKey's analogy was actually fairly good; he was just wrong about the islets, is all. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:47, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, if in the past the sea level was lower, I could walk to the new "island". I think someone actually did study populations on nearby islands once. Was it finches that were observed closely? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:13, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Well maybe it would help to see the YEC view as islands/islets and EVO as mountains. Tricksy 04:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
To fit the Lenski experiment (a.k.a. the E. coli long-term evolution experiment) into your analogy, he has demonstrated the possibility of building a bridge between two islets. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Wait. Are you saying Lenski demonstrated support for theism? Artificial selection (+ or -) is a whole nother kettle of E. coli. Tricksy 04:59, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Lenski wasn't choosing which E. coli. would beget the next generation therefore it is not artificial selection. The E. coli. were competing between each other, therefore natural selection, even if it was just inside a Petri dish. - π 05:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I was joking a bit, BUT if (Dr ?) Lenski was effecting the environment (the Petri dish) in any way (such as supplying substances in any amounts that differ from what would be naturally available) then artificial selection was occurring. Not that that is necessarily a big deal, but it could be. Tricksy 06:05, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Artificial selection is breeding in favor of certain traits, usually by micromanaging the mating process. Prof. Lenski was not doing this; the bacteria reproduced in the normal way, and the trait in question here was entirely new, formed by mutation.
My point about Prof. Lenski's research was that he demonstrated how organisms can develop new traits by mutation such that the mutations are not "harmful" (i.e., the organism moves between islets without falling in the water). The mutations giving rise to the new traits in Prof. Lenski's population happened many thousands of generations before organisms of the new phenotype appeared. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

(OD) That is only one aspect of artificial selection. Any artificial change to selection pressures is artificial selection. Tricksy 06:38, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Humans affect animal breeding patterns every day. It is only when our actions are specifically intended to do so that it is artificial selection. Prof. Lenski, on the other hand, was just setting his E. coli loose in a new environment to see what would happen. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:45, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. Humans killing all the wolves in the NE US was not "artificial selection" of the deer population. It just altered the selection pressure. Much as we did not "artificially select" for MRSA, we just altered the selection pressure on populations of S. aureus. ħumanUser talk:Human 20:06, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Bullshit, Bradley[edit]

The rate of mutation is ~2.5×10-8 per generation. If Noah is a common ancestor of all humanity (or Adam and Eve about 250 generations ago), you cannot get the genetic diversity we see today with the rate of mutation. Sterile hobgoblin 10:24, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I would also add that creationists should be able to use computational phyogenetics to validate the 4000-year claim. Show me the data! Sterile hobgoblin 18:16, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Phylogenetics is something creationists just have to ignore. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:29, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I haven't done much reading on computation phylogenetics, so I cannot give an actual answer until I know more. But my reaction based on what I see here is this (I include here doubts and questions):

1. "The rate of mutation is..." (Emphasis added). Standard uniformitarianism. Hopefully, we agree that there are environmental effects on mutation rate. Changed environment means changed rate.

2. What is the measure of current genetic diversity? Why why can that not be achieved from a baseline of the variability potential of Adam and Eve?

3. This is your claim, please provide the data to support it. You have supplied a mutation rate (from somewhere), but beyond that only assertions.

4. I have not intention of ignoring computational phylogenetics, but you need to do more with it than simple invocation. Otherwise this is just another form of elephant hurling.

5. "Branches of science" is big stretch given the description in the WP article Sterile linked.

6. (OT) Aah, Haldane again. :)

Tricksy 00:04, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

So, "uniformitarianism" is a bad thing? Should I expect that when I put my key into my car ignition it will start? When I throw an object up in the air should I expect the trajectory to be as predicted by college physics students worldwide? When I cool water below 0 degrees Celsius should I expect water to freeze? When a person with a deficiency of alcohol dehydrogenase to get drunk? When the earth is tilted toward the sun, should expect the appropriate hemisphere to be in summer? Which of these predictions of "uniformitarianism" is bad? Explain why. And what exactly changed about the environment? Your special pleading about God and creation is not convincing: what is so different about "6000" years ago than now? If God created the the fine-tuned universe with its physical laws, then why must we look for exceptions for them?
And you know, I could supply scientific papers with phylogenic evidence--you could just go buy Dawkins's new book--but will you honestly take the time to read it? I've never had a creationist take up a book offer. Sterile hobgoblin 00:39, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, none of those is uniformitarianism. This is (specific to geology, anyway), but I was applying the general principle of assuming that only the variable being measured has changed. Variables are, you know, variable. Uniformitarianism treats them as constant. They may have been, or may not have been. Without additional data one cannot know. Uniformitarianism assumes that they have been constant without [what I consider to be] good reason to make that assumption.
What changed? We have had a global catastrophe (total relandscaping). The entire face of the planet was remodelled. Variable volcanic activity, ice age, atmosperic change, climate change. Drastic changes.
Actually, "take the time" is more the issue than any willingness. I do intend to read the book, but I think I 'll borrow one. I actually do not want to generate funds for a person who actively campaigns against what I stand for (& I don't think that's unreasonable). I don't want to pre-empt, but my previous readings of Dawkins have turned up more claims of evidence than actual evidence. Things along the line of "we have evidence of the mechanism by which X turned into Y, because we have X and Y." I hope for better this time, but I have hoped for better from him before. Tricksy 01:12, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for concisely stating something I find infuriating about creationism. You're perfectly happy to criticize "uniformitarianism" as being based on the assumption that whatever relevant variable hasn't changed (put to the side that "uniformitarianism" wouldn't be an ism were there not a strong basis for believing that whatever relevant term isn't a variable at all, or that its variation can be accounted for), yet your entire "flood geology" worldview is buttressed by the unsupported assumption that the variable has changed. Perfect. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:42, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
It does stagger me that nobody has measured constants/variable changing, yet creationists call it an assumption. - π 01:57, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Creationists' use of the term "uniformitarianism" implies a logical fallacy from the start that does a funny thing to the attention I'm willing to devote to the discussion. There are tons of examples of variables, tons of examples of constants. But I think you'll find that when creationists use the term they're usually cherry picking a term they need to be a variable for their worldview to work. Boring. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 02:01, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC)I like the assumption that they have only changed in the direction that is convenient for a young earth. Is it not possible that we went through a period of time when the mutation rate was lower, maybe even near 0? - π 02:05, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I understand the difference between uniformitarianism and catastrophism in a geological sense (although the version of uniformitarianism is a more broad view and implies geologic uniformitarianism), but the distinction is rather artificial: There have been times in the past according to "secular" geologists during which there was an ice age, asteroids hit the earth, and the climate was different: Big deal! That doesn't mean that the geological strata did not form slowly and it certainly does not question the old earth concept. The WP article on catastrophism says as much: "Today most geologists combine catastrophist and uniformitarianist standpoints, taking the view that Earth's history is a slow, gradual story punctuated by occasional natural catastrophic events that have affected Earth and its inhabitants." [1] Furthermore, that you say there was a global catastrophe--a flood, I assume--where's the ice age in the Bible?--says nothing about when there was a global catastrophe. Certainly you are not saying we currently exist in a catastrophic regime.... We do have a two good pages about that here: Evidence against a recent creation and Lower limit on the age of the universe. Perhaps you'd like to provide the contrasting view on those talk pages, Bradley. Sterile hobgoblin 02:05, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't bother challenging him, all you will get is <annoyingnasallyvoice>"you have used the uniformitarianism assumption that it was always constant"</annoyingnasallyvoice> answer for everything. - π 02:16, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Pi, please count for me the number of times I have made that claim in debates/discussions (you can even count aSK, CP and WP). Or pull your head in. Whichever.
Sterile, the distinction is the current "mainstream" position is that gradualism rules (i.e. causes most of the features we see) with some catastrophic exceptions. We however have measured rates of strata formation, and they are rapid. Thus worldwide features of sedimentary strata fit a rapid catastrophic model. We also see rapid metamorphism, so that that fits too. Since I was talking about the flood as the global catastrophe, "when" is known. An ice age is deducable from a global flood and climatology. The Bible doesn't mention specific summers or winters either, but we can deduce that they happened.
This has gotten wildly OT, and only Sterile and Listener seem to be trying. The original proposition was about how like Africans Adam must have been. See my response near the start of this section, specifically items 2,3 and 4. Can we progress with those. Pending that, I am offline from this one until I have read up on computational phylogenetics. Tricksy 02:57, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Can I count the time you used it passively at the top of this section? - π 03:05, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
LowKey, <annoyingnasallyvoice>you have used the uniformitarian assumption that it was always constant except when it being so falsifies a literal interpretation of the Bible.</annoyingnasallyvoice> If you allow one exception there is no reason why you cannot allow others, so under those conditions, deducing ice ages, summers and winters is just as fallacious as deducing an old earth by radiometric dating. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:40, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

I have no time to respond adequately, but I'd like to point out that you did not use uniformitarianism as a geological term in number 1, as mutations are not a geological phenomenon last I checked. Sterile hobgoblin 14:30, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Absolutely. Firstly, I said that it was simply my reaction, and it was almost a "brainstorming" style of response. I did say it wasn't an actual answer. I think I also mentioned a shortly after that that I was applied the general principle, not the geological specific. Unfortunately I kicked of a whole off-topic teacup tempest with my own mental shorthand. This is a large part of why I asked to focus on points 2-4, as the point two questions are a better expression of what I was thinking in point one. And even then, it was still just my off-the-cuff response. I do plan to read up on the topic. Tricksy 04:00, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't normally get involved with these creationist debates as I have better things to do than bang my head against a brick wall but as a geologist I need point out that uniformitarianism is not just about constant rates of sedimentation it is also about about constancy of process - the same natural laws continue to apply and natural forces have the same effect that they always have done. Like all sciences geology has progressed so that we no longer have Neptunism v Plutonism or uniformitarianism v catastrophism. The geological record shows us that they all have their place in understanding the structure and history of the earth. Also geologists recognise that conditions have changed over the aeons, the early earth did not have sedimentary rocks they were all igneous. Onluy over a millions of years did the igneous rocks succumb to forces of weathering and break down into particles that would later be turned into sedimentary rocks. The YECreationists tend to show their ignorance by trying to make an analogy between some rapid erosional or depositional feature and extrapolating it to the whole of geological history. This is mainly done with reference to the Grand Canyon or Mount St. Helens, but anyone who has studied geology and seen the thousands of feet of sediments or evaporites which are then intersected by volcanic dykes and sills which are then eroded and overlain by further sediments or the geophysical images that are obtained by oil and gas exploration which show layers upon layers of subsurface river structures, some as large as the Grand Canyon but now buried, cannot help but recgnise that this took a bloody long time to happen. The island of Britain has a geological cross section exposed at the surface from northwest to south east which shows geological hisory from the the pre-Cambrian up to the present. The neat differentiation of all the different rocks types - limestones, sandstones, siltstones, shales, salt and coal - cannot honestly be explained by a universal flood. To propose that it is, is massively delusional and dishonest. YECretinists seem quite happy to believe that Adam was created as an adult male rather than as an infant, so why not just claim that the Earth was made like it is today with all those dinosaur fossils already in place? Trying to shoehorn all the conflicting evidence into some absurd "creation-science" only makes them look even more stupid and is ultimately an exercise in futility. Just say Goddidit and be done with it. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 15:46, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I think you mean Last Thursdayism rather than "Goddidit," there. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:48, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's more what I meant, God made it that way rather than Goddidtt. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 15:30, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Slightly off topic, but as someone who has never studied geology I came to a sudden realisation last week. All the geological strata's are named after places in Britain, I suspect either were the strata was first found or what the top strata there is or something like that. Cambrian = Cambridge, Devonian = Devon ect. I am just kind of proud of myself for this insight. - π 02:04, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Pi, it's because there just happens to be a huge broken uplift of strata in Britain exposing the whole damn story. Also, of course, Britain was at the cutting edge of scientific exploration at the time. PS, "Cambria" = Latin for Wales. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:14, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Now I learn. I might discuss this more over at the Saloon bar, there is something bothering me about all this. - π 05:43, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
No big deal, you're learning. As a kid growing up in Wales, I could check out the ammonites at the beach, and find cool carboniforous-era fossils in, I guess, coal tips, all within 30 miles of each other. And alabaster at Penarth. But anyway, I encourage you to study geology, it's an awesome science. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:00, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately the most famous of them all, thanks to Crichton and Spielberg, is named after mountains in Switzerland. Editor at CPmały książe 07:16, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
The geological map of the British Isles is pretty awesome (I keep a copy on my wall at home). Is there anywhere else that can match the range of surface geology in such a small space? Many of the geological names are of UK origin, the Ordovices and Silures were ancient tribes. Even if you don't know geology I recommend Simon Winchester's execellent book The Map That Changed The World [2001] which tells the story of how the first map was made and also deals with early battles against the Biblical literalists. Of course reading a general geology book as well will give you the ability to read the landsacpe of our home planet, recognise where glaciation has occurred, notice raised beaches etc. It's like putting on a pair of spectacles and seeing something that you never knew was there before. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. 15:30, 16 October 2009 (UTC)