From: LARRY SITES Posted: 9 Oct 94 08:53
To : ALL
Subj: Biele pegged again
From an InterNet talk.origins post by Chris Nedin:
Observe my pitiful example of the creationist art of the "out of
WARNING: *Do not try this at home* This practice is dangerous as it
has a well documented, deleterious affect on intellectual honesty.
The U of E accepts no liability for any loss of intellectual honesty
experienced due to use of this practice.
This is how it works:
The current theory of evolution suggests that, whilst a few organisms
evolved via phyletic gradualism, the vast majority of organisms evolve
over shorter time frames interspersed with periods of stasis. The idea
of phyletic gradualism as the basis for evolution can be shown to be
invalid by . . .
Creationist (or their dupes):
The current theory of evolution suggests that organisms evolved via
phyletic gradualism. However phyletic gradualism is false, even
palaeontologists say so, "The idea of phyletic gradualism as the basis
for evolution can be shown to be invalid by . . ." (A.
Palaeontologist, 1994, Internet)
Simple isn't it? Now a real example:
Arthur Beile wrote: [about the absence of transitional fossils in the
>AB> "The known fossil record fails to document a single example of
>AB> phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition."
>AB> Steven Stanley, `Macroevolution: Pattern and Process' p. 39, W.M.
>AB> Freeman and Company, 1979.
This is a classic example of the standard literalist creationist ploy
of 'quoting out of context'. Sounds pretty damning right? Well it is
suppost to. The one thing you are not supposed to do is actually look
up the reference (creationists say "well look, we provided the
reference", but how many good ol' boys and girls would rush down to
their local library to check?). If you do, however, you will see that
the quote is not the damning statement it appears to be. Mr. Beile,
whether willfully or through ignorance is misleading you. Let's take a
look at this quote.
Firstly you may think 'what is Stanley up to?' A palaeontologist,
writing a book called "Macroevolution - Pattern and Process" and
claiming that there is no support for evolution in the fossil record!
However a glance at the actual book will show the basic dishonesty
that is literal creationism.
The quote comes from the introduction to chapter 3 "Diverse Lines of
Evidence" - hmm, strange title, perhaps it should have read "Diverse
Lines of Non-evidence"?
Well, not really. Lets put the quote back into context. The begining
of the paragraph starts:
"Some distinctive living species clearly originated in the very recent
past, during brief instants of geologic time. Thus, quantum speciation
is a real phenomenon. Chapters 4 through 6 provide evidence for the
great importance of quantum speciation in macroevolution (for the
validity of the punctuational model). Less conclusive evidence is as
follows: (1) . . . (5) The known fossil record fails to document a
single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic
transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model
can be valid." (p39)
Now, compare (5) above with Mr. Beile's quote. Notice the full stop
after "morphologic transition" and notice that there is no full stop
in the actual quote. Here Mr. Beile is being dishonest, since there is
no full stop in tha actual quote and there are 11 words missing.
Whether Mr. Beile is being willfully dishonest or wether it is through
ignorance (i.e. plaigerizing the quote from a secondary source) I do
not know. However, the dishonesty goes beyond that, since it is now
clear that the passage is not the stinging inditement of the fossil
record that Mr. Beile would have you believe. The passage is merely
stating what palaeontologists *HAVE KNOWN FOR DECADES*, that a purely
gradualistic approach to evolution is invalid. As Stanley says (and
Mr. Beile must have somehow missed), "quantum speciation is a real
phenomenon." And, "Chapters 4 through 6 provide evidence for the great
importance of quantum speciation in macroevolution (for the validity
of the punctuational model)."
What makes it even easier in this case is that palaeontologists, when
writing about evolution, will clearly state the problems with the old
idea of phyletic gradualism and why it was discarded in favour of an
improved model. Literalist creationists leap on the statements
outlining the problems of phyletic gradualism, ignore the context, and
use them as if the palaeontologist was refuting evolution.
Stanley, S.L. (1979) Macroevolution: Pattern and Process. Freeman &
Co. p. 39
firstname.lastname@example.org "How can Nedin be trusted"
Dept. of Geology & Geophysics C Wieland (1991). Director,
University of Adelaide Creation Research Foundation,
South Australia 5005 Queensland. Australia.