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Convergence Crams Uncooperative Fossils into Darwinism

first_imgWhen unrelated fossils have similar traits, evolutionary paleontologists twist, shove and stuff them into Darwin’s theory with an all-purpose tool called convergence.It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Animals were supposed to diverge as they evolved. Branches on real trees do that. In neo-Darwinism, the branch tips in Darwin’s image of a branching tree should get farther apart the more they evolve, because neither branch knows what the other one is doing. But the real world is full of counter-examples, where unrelated animals end up becoming very similar. Even more often, fossils exhibit “mosaics” of traits from different branches, or from “stem” (early) or “crown” (mature) members of a single branch. It’s all very confusing to Mr. Darwin, so his disciples invented a trick to keep from getting their story falsified. It’s called convergence, and here’s how it works. (Note: Not being Darwinians, we will dispute inclusion in the occasional first-person plural pronouns.)The Weird FishColin Barras at New Scientist introduces his fossil with a warning: “Weird fish fossil changes the story of how we moved onto land” [Who’s we, Paleface?]. If you thought the story of tetrapod evolution from fishy ancestors was all wrapped up, the wrapping just came off.The evolutionary story we have written [Who’s we, Paleface?] to explain our ancestors’ move from sea to land may need a rethink. A fossil fish from this era has been discovered with several of the features of land animals – yet it was only distantly related to them.Roughly 360 million years ago, one group of lobe-finned fish began evolving into four-legged, land-living animals that resulted in reptiles, amphibians and mammals like us. [Who’s us, Paleface?]Notice first that he calls it an evolutionary “story” – not a scientific discovery. The long-stable account of how lobe-finned fish moved onto land just got unstabilized by a Chinese fossil given the name Hongyu chowi.But when the researchers tried to fit H. chowi into the existing evolutionary tree, it didn’t fit easily.That’s because in some respects, H. chowi looks like an ancient predatory fish called rhizodonts. These are thought to have branched off from lobe-finned fish long before the group gave rise to four-legged land animals.Very well, then. Time to bring in the all-purpose tool called convergence. It works like a vise, cramming the fossil into Darwin’s box whether it wants to fit or not. (Jargonwocky note: Sometimes this is called “independent evolution” or “parallel evolution”).This implies one of two things, the researchers say. The first possibility is that H. chowi is some sort of rhizodont that independently evolved the shoulders and gill cover supports of a four-legged animal.Alternatively, the rhizodonts may be more closely related to the four-legged animals and the elpistostegids than we thought. But this would also imply a certain amount of independent evolution of similar features, because the rhizodonts would then sit between two groups that have many features in common – features the two groups would have had to evolve independently.It implies no such thing, but in Darwinland, everything must fit.The Flying Jurassic Early SquirrelEvolutionists found another misfit: a Jurassic flying squirrel. Trouble is, it’s in the wrong group. It’s not a therian (placental) mammal, and it’s not a marsupial mammal either (that’s another severe case of convergent evolution). This is a “stem mammal” called an eleutherodontid, that is supposed to be earlier than both later groups and not as evolved, but behold: it already was a glider! Plus, it had tooth rows “convergent” with bats, and other specialized traits that weren’t supposed to evolve till later. Writing in Nature, the authors from University of Chicago and University of Beijing seem surprised: “Here we report a new Jurassic eleutherodontid mammaliaform with an unusual mosaic of highly specialized characteristics,” they say, yet they continue to claim they have “New evidence for mammaliaform ear evolution and feeding adaptation in a Jurassic ecosystem.” Whatever it was, it evolved!The inferred dietary adaptation of eleutherodontid gliders represents a remarkable evolutionary convergence with herbivorous gliders in Theria. These Jurassic fossils represent volant [flying], herbivorous [plant-eating] stem mammaliaforms associated with pre-angiosperm plants that appear long before the later, iterative associations between angiosperm plants and volant herbivores in various therian clades.How can this be? Well, the Bearded Buddha was experimenting.The unique mosaic of characters related to tooth replacements and the middle ear of eleutherodonts adds to growing evidence of complex transformations of mammalian characteristics. Their complex dentitions and occlusal patterns are probably adapted for omnivory and herbivory, showing that the volant and herbivorous lifestyle, previously known only in therian gliders, was also part of mammaliaform evolutionary experimentation during the Jurassic.Shameless Plug for ConvergenceBaleen whales are champions of filter feeding with baleen instead of teeth. Long before they appeared on the evolutionary timeline, though, a marine reptile, unrelated to mammals, already had come up with a similar feeding strategy. Phys.org‘s coverage of a plesiosaur that evolved filter feeding puts convergence right in the headline: “Plesiosaur fossil found 33 years ago yields new convergent evolution findings.” All other marine reptiles used their teeth for biting, but Morturneria had interdigitating teeth that allowed them to catch krill, much like baleen whales do. So how did that happen? Bring out the all-purpose Darwin rescue tool:The identification of Morturneria’s whale-like filter feeding is a startling case of convergent evolution between reptiles and mammals. Plesiosaurs and whales shared many of the intervening steps in the evolution of this feeding style and their extreme morphologies are similar despite arising from different ancestors.[Sankar] Chatterjee stresses convergent evolution does not imply Morturneria was in any way related to today’s baleen whales; it just means they both evolved the same way.“They had adopted similar lifestyle and feeding,” he said. “For example, birds and bats fly, but birds are now considered dinosaurs [according to whom, Paleface?] and bats are mammals. These superficial similarities of lifestyles and behavior are called ‘convergent evolution.’” [by whom, Paleface?]Giving something a name is not the same as explaining it. Physicist Lee Spetner spoke about “convergent evolution” for ID the Future, commenting that “convergent evolution is even more improbable than evolution itself” (see Evolution News). Spetner presents an alternative, the Non-Random Evolutionary Hypothesis, which proposes “evidently purposeful evolution as a response to environmental and other stresses.” But then, if it is non-random, such adaptability must have been pre-programmed into organisms—i.e., intelligently designed.Convergence is an essential ingredient in Darwin Flubber. Don’t let the Darwin Party get away it. “Convergent evolution” is simply an empty phrase, a cover for ignorance, a rescue device to avoid falsification. Multiple independent similar adaptations are not proof of evolution in action: they are the opposite of what Darwin predicted. Some convergences in nature are so precise, it takes an expert to identify them (see the “Convergence Concoction” page by Brett Miller).If the Creator pre-programmed organisms with the ability to respond to environmental changes, or to use similar strategies for similar needs, that’s a design feature, not luck. The former is the kind of programming that goes into fault-tolerant systems. It represents intelligent design at a high level. The latter is an example of modular design (see Living Waters for examples of multiple unrelated animals that use magnetic navigation, for instance). Darwinians, by contrast, would rather believe animals won the lottery multiple times when they see finely-tuned, successful creatures with similar designs than to reject their Buddha’s teachings. What better proof of design could there be than similarities between unrelated organisms? What better disproof of blind, unguided evolution could there be than convergence everywhere? Don’t be fooled. Evolutionists get away with this in the media because they are totalitarian bigots, not allowing any criticism or debate. They know that once legitimate debate is allowed, they would be laughed off the stage in disgrace. Bring it on.(Visited 514 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Durban’s waste to energy project

first_img11 October 2006The French Development Agency (AFD) is to contribute a loan of between R60- and R70-million to the eThekwini (Durban) Municipality for a project to generate electricity through the fermentation of household waste.The project is expected to generate up to 10 Megawatts of electricity – enough to illuminate about 9 000 homes – from landfill sites at the three Durban suburbs of Bisasar Road, Mariannhill and La Mercy.Gas recovery wells and generators are currently under construction at the three sites, where methane released by the waste will be converted into electric power by generators and fed directly into the city’s power grid.This will help cut back on the amount of coal burnt at the power stations that serve the city – and thus reduce South Africa’s production of greenhouse gases.“The project will enable South Africa to earn carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism,” the French Embassy said in a statement following the signing of the loan agreement with the AFD in Durban on Tuesday.“These carbon credits will be sold through the Prototype Carbon Fund managed by the World Bank.”The project is one of the first in South Africa to be eligible for carbon credit trading.The AFD, which supports development projects in the fields of energy efficiency, service delivery and job creation, plans to contribute over R3-billion to local projects as part of a recently signed Framework Charter for Partnership between France and South Africa.SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Key accused in Dadri lynching case gets bail

first_imgThe Allahabad High Court on Monday granted bail to Vishal Rana, a key accused in the lynching case of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri. Residents of Bishahra village in Dadri, 45 kilometers from the national Capital, lynched Mohammad Akhlaqu, a fellow villager and brutally assaulted his younger son Danish, over rumours of them having eaten beef in September 2015. According to the chargesheet of Akhlaq’s murder case, Vishal Rana, son of a local BJP leader Sanjay Rana, spread the rumour of Akhlaq having eaten beef after which a village mob lynched the Muslim man. Rana was charged with 302, 307, 147, 148, 149, 323, 504, 506427, 458 of the IPC and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.While giving bail to Rana, Justice Pratyush Kumar in his order said, “It is submitted that co-accused Saurav, Shivam, Gaurav, Puneet and Arun having similar role to that of the applicant have already been granted bail by this court. Therefore the applicant is also entitled to be released on the bail on the ground of parity. Without commenting on the merits of the case, I find it a fit case for bail”J.B. Singh, one of the lawyers of Rana told The Hindu, “Honorable High Court granted bail to Vishal on the grounds of parity of other accused. The court did not go into the merits of the case”.Syed Farman Ahmad Naqvi, the lawyer of Akhlaq, however, told The Hindu that they will consider challenging the bail of all the accused who were named in the FIR, in the higher court.Despite Akhlaq’s murder case is under trial in a fast track court in Greater Noida, the charges are yet to be framed against the accused 22 months after he was lynched.With Rana’s bail, only three of the total 19 accused Sri Om, Rupendra and Vivek, will be in jail in the lynching case that led to a national debate on intolerance. One accused, Ravin Sisodia, died in jail due to apparent case of Chikangunya fever.last_img read more

BJP MP’s daughter arrested in Assam cash-for-job scam

first_imgNineteen Assam government officers, including the daughter of BJP MP R.P. Sharma, were arrested in Guwahati on Wednesday as their handwriting did not match with that in their answer sheets in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) examination held in 2016, the police said. The Dibrugarh Police, which is probing the cash-for-job scam in the APSC, had summoned the 19 officers of the Assam Civil Service (ACS), Assam Police Service (APS) and allied services of the 2016 batch to appear for handwriting tests after forensic examinations of their answer sheets indicated anomalies.Handwriting mismatchDibrugarh SP Gautam Bora said the handwriting of the 19 officers did not match with their answer sheets that were found to be fake. The 19 officers were selected in the examination conducted by the APSC when Rakesh Pal was its chairman. The arrested officials include 13 ACS, three APS and three from the allied service, Mr. Bora said. The APS officers arrested are Gulshan Daolagpu, Bhargav Phukan and Pallavi Sharma (daughter of BJP MP from Tezpur), said Additional SP and investigating officer Surjeet Singh Paneswar. The allied service officer are District Transport Officer Suranjita Hazarika, Superintendent of Taxes Rituraj Neog and Inspector of Taxes Nipon Kumar Pathak, he said. Among the dismissed officers is former Congress Minister Nilamani Sen Deka’s son Rajarshi Sen Deka.last_img read more

Injured Praveen out, Sreesanth in

first_imgPacer Sreesanth was on Tuesday drafted into the Indian team, replacing injured Praveen Kumar, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian board announced. The decision was taken just 11 days before India play Bangladesh in the tournament opener on February 19 in Dhaka.Praveen has an elbow injury and he returned midway from India’s recent tour of South Africa as a precautionary measure to recuperate at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.In anticipation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had asked Sreesanth to stand by and reach the NCA. “Praveen Kumar has been ruled out of the World Cup due to an elbow injury. The all- India senior selection committee has picked Sreesanth as Praveen Kumar’s replacement. The ICC has confirmed that Praveen can be replaced by Sreesanth,” BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.The 28-year-old Kerala pacer, who bowls with passion, was naturally excited. “It is a great opportunity and a great challenge to be part of Indian team for the World Cup. I am lucky to be a part of it and am looking forward to giving my best in the tournament,” Sreesanth, who will be playing in his second World Cup, told reporters.”I am just looking forward to giving my best in the World Cup. I am absolutely fine with any role given to me. Whatever I would be asked to do, I will perform accordingly.” Sreesanth’s replacement was approved by the ICC’s event technical committee headed by David Richardson (ICC). It also includes Ratnakar Shetty (tournament director), Campbell Jamieson (IDI representative), Anil Kumble ( host nominee), David Lloyd (independent nomination) and Sanjay Manjrekar (independent nomination).advertisementIt would have been Praveen’s first World Cup. But his right elbow failed to respond in time and with the prospects looking bleak, the selectors had no choice but to quickly find a replacement.The Uttar Pradesh bowler from Meerut consulted Dr Andrew Wallace, a London- based surgeon who has treated many Indian players including Sachin Tendulkar, but it seems the injury is more serious than anticipated.It is a huge setback for Praveen, 24, an automatic starter in One- Day Internationals who usually bowls with pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. He has so far taken 57 wickets in 48 ODIs.Praveen Kumar checks out his elbow as Sachin Tendulkar looks on.Sreesanth, who joins Zaheer, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel – the other pacers in the 15- member squad – has captured 75 wickets in 51 ODIs.The pacer said he would try to better his economy rate, which he admitted was a concern. “I was worried about that aspect of my game, but in the last couple of years, whatever chances I have got I showed a lot of improvement.With age and experience you learn a lot. I am still learning and, hopefully, will do a good job,” he said.”There are no issues as far as subcontinent pitches are concerned.Zaheer, Ashish and Munaf have all played in World Cups before and have enough experience. We are ready to give our best. We are doing well and are number two in ODIs. Hopefully, by the end of the World Cup, we could be the number one team in the world.” Sreesanth, who composed a song to cheer the team in the World Cup, said: “I was looking forward to cheer the team, but now I am happy to be a part of it.”last_img read more