The term "living fossil" is an imperfect concept, which has caused much consternation among paleontologists and biologists as they have sifted through the fossil record over time. It is meant to describe an organism that has remained relatively unchanged over millions of years, or one that has no, or very few, close surviving relatives. The concept is an informal window into the past, a way for us to consider species as they may have been millions of years ago by observing their modern descendents.
Creationists seize upon the phrase in its most rigid form, pointing to species that have apparently not evolved for a great deal of time as evidence that evolution does not exist. This, of course, is where the very literal definition of a living fossil gets us into trouble—no species alive today has followed a flat line of evolution since it first appeared however many millions of years ago. Not even the famed coelacanth is the same now as it was when it arrived in the fossil record 410 million years ago.
When Charles Darwin first coined the phrase, he was referring to the way in which evolution can slow to a crawl because of an environment in which competition is minimal. If a species is not constantly having to adapt to survive, it will have little need to change. Still, some scientists would rather see the term fade into the historical record like so many dodo birds, for the way it is often misapplied. So the moniker "living fossil" is a guideline at best, and a tool used against science at worst. With all those caveats in mind, then, let's take a closer look at some of the plants and animals which have for one reason or another come to be considered living fossils.
We would not say that evolution does not exist because variation in a Kind certainly does exist, this is called Micro-evolution. Shellfish, however, do not evolve into dogs. And if you'll tread on over to www.AnswersinGenesis.com you'll soon see that no one is trying to use anything "Against" science. Disagreement among scientists is all well and good, but the stigma that modern day creationists are somehow anti-science is simply rubbish. Everyone has the same evidence, it is simply the interpretation of that evidence that creationists find fault with.
It's a little bit bizarre that evolutionists find their arguments so indefensible that they're not even willing to allow alternatives to be discussed. There have been plenty of other periods in history where groupthink predominated and incorrect scientific theories were widely accepted. To declare the history of life outside the realm of scientific discussion is uncanny, and seems to put the evolutionists in a more dogmatic camp than the ID-ists.
Oh, and believe it or not their are plenty of IDists like myself who believe life was designed but that these beings or race are not worthy of being objectified as "God."
This article is about a term and not the creatures the term refers to? Horrible article, doesn't belong on POPSCI.
*sigh. Can we all just agree that Religion, while having a (generally) wonderful message, is based on nothing more substantial than myth and fairy tales? Come on... Answers in Genesis? Have you been to the Creation Museum?
"Everyone has the same evidence, it is simply the interpretation of that evidence that creationists find fault with."
This is also the basis for delusion.
i agree with paralsilth
c'mon guys...if you're looking to argue against evolution, shouldn't you be visiting Popular Superstition instead? (I think they've just announced the finding of the wreckage of Noah's Ark, compete with dinosaurs!)
For those of you who never really wanted to learn that over a time period exceeding one billion years that which is currently here on this planet evolved, I have three questions: First, God created Adam and Eve, who in turn had children. Correct? Ok, from where how did the next generation (number three) evolve - was it the kids having sex with each other and/or their parents? Now, question number two: If this god created the human animal in its likeness why are there different nations, cultures, languages, skin colors and other bio-diversities? Finally, question number three: How many gods are there?
Author of "True Freedom - The Road to the First Real Democracy" found on the website www.truefreedom.tv
Why won't every one understand, there the same. God made the heaven and earth in one day. Days didn't even become invented until a few thousand years ago. What's a day to God when he/she is infinite. A billion years to us is less than a blink of his/her eye. We are created in God's image, right. Wrong, we are still evolving into God's image. It may take us another million years to evolve to the way God was when he set about starting the creation and evolving of man. I worry that God is evolving to. We may never be created in his image if he/she is evolving. Stop arguing about generalities, Were all together, Not different.
It's interesting how evolutionists often seem to be so dogmatic about their "theories". After all, we don't really know anything for certain, and there will always be people with a different opinion. To answer one of David's questions, do you know how long ago the incest laws were passed? Way back when, it wasn't as much of a problem, but now a days, our DNA is so faulty, that if two people that have similar DNA have children, the chance that they will be handicapped in some way or other are very high.
Also, ParalSilth is completely right. This article is just causing an argument...
"Everyone has the same evidence, it is simply the interpretation of that evidence that creationists find fault with."
I agree completely with this. And if evolutionists have a problem with this statement, they aren't approaching the issue in a scientific way. If you have evidence, and are trying to evaluate it, you CANNOT be biased. Being biased for OR against evolution is NOT scientific.
I think we can all agree that species will adapt to their surroundings to a certain degree (Microevolution), but until we have concrete evidence of species evolving from one to another, we shouldn't spend our time disproving other peoples opinions.
The point of this article is to show that these animals have remained relatively unchanged over the course of their history. It is not however popsci trying to question or disprove your beliefs. Take science as that, science, it is the stating of theories, so is Theology, it's the stating of theories. Lets all just be happy and try and view this in an unbiased viewpoint. Or maybe, just maybe, you could try and see it from the other persons perspective for a change, and that part goes out to everyone.
On my bitter biased side note...
But of course it's the religious nuts that are turning this into a big deal. Yay happy and peace, but we can't stop fighting amongst ourselves, maybe you'll get there someday.
Arent ya'll glad you are FREE to argue about things that aren't going to change the future. Just think! If you loved in a communist country, you could be shot for thinking either way! lol
SO! Nobody yet has been able to disprove religion or science because both rely on definition made by man.
Now! Here is the question you have to ask yourself! SELF! What can I learn from this article posted by POPSCI?! Can I turn the information into something productive and positive to help myself or others?
Then, when you find that info and productivity, you can make a point with it, instead of talking endlessly about whose theory is wrong.
Evolution might be true since God didn't leave us any hints as to how long He's been running this little world (I don't believe He created fossils to stump us). The fact remains despite the end times fools who dismiss God, the Bible is based on fact as proven repeatedly by archeology. In fact, it has never once been proven wrong. The score is overwhelmingly in favor or proven facts as the Bible related them, again with not one fact proving it to be a myth or "fantasy". The deniers of God are merely signs of the end times we are in. As to in-fighting, mankind is incapable of getting along thanks o "free will". Everyone is allowed to use their judgment (of varying IQ/capability) to decide, desire, pontificate, choose, etc whatever they want. Humankind will never "get along". War is with us as long as we're on our own.
It all has to do with the motivation for developing a theory. Those who think scientifically look at evidence without the aim of trying to prove any sort of religious story. The goal of science is to get closer to the truth of how the world works through observation and experimentation. Creationists don't do this. They already have their answers, and work hard to bend science around to prove that their answers are the right ones. They even have "schools" and "universities" where they teach their illogical way of thinking.
The narratives represented in the atheistic as well as in the theistic explanations of life's origin are ontological assumptions. It is arrogant in the extreme for the staff of Pop Sci to argue for atheistic narratives as if they are logically derived, observationally tested, data driven conclusions. Even scientists depend on assumptions; scientific ontology is as significant as scientific epistemology. This is true even in mathematics, in which unprovable assumptions appear in the form of postulates. The Pop Sci attacks of creationists are just another kind of pseudo-scientific grandstanding, a pitiful, cowardly shutting down of conversations. Furthermore, the arguments are simple straw man constructions, not really engaging creationist/intelligent design ideas.
The other possibility is that these creatures are living witness against the assumption of millions of years of evolution. This would be the most logical assumption, not given the unwieldy influence of Darwinian theory, artificially imposed on every kind of data that can possibly be gathered. It seems that pseudo-science has an a priori commitment to Darwinian evolution (possibly just because it lends support to atheistic ontology). It's as if the theory CAN NOT BE FALSIFIED. A theory that explains EVERYTHING ought to be considered extremely dubiously. It might possibly be a mere TAUTOLOGY.
FALSELY CALLED "POPULAR SCIENCE" here is just "POPULAR RELIGION", atheism.
These living fossils, taken at face value, not interpreted through the lens of Darwinian evolutionary theory, could be for us indicators of the true extent to which things actually change over time. In short, they could indicate that things really don't change that much over time. Species don't become other species; change is extremely limiting, not infinitely variable. If we could look at the fossil record with this new perspective, we might recognize that we see in it types which in themselves are the means by which we read the records. We recognize horses in the record because they look like horses. They have NEVER looked like fish or any other species at any time. Dogs in the fossil record are always dogs. A wolf looks different than a poodle in an extremely limited way. This could be due to the extremely LIMITING nature of change over time, contrary to Darwinian theory. Darwinian explanations for ORIGINS OF THE SPECIES might for us seem to fail, since all we see in the record is variation within species, not between them. Scientists have yet to demonstrate the real origin of any species from another one. Darwinism has only speculation on which to pontificate. All things said, the evidence of "living fossils" is not support of Darwinian theory, the author's last paragraph not withstanding. NIce try. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
a child will beleive in santa and the easter bunny but at some
point must realize they are not real. fairy tales are just that
fairy tales stories for children, science may not have all the answers but its not a fairy tale
On the contrary, science is as much involved in storytelling as are the world's religions, especially in biology. Science narratives begin with assumptions about the nature of things. Atheistic narratives begin with MATERIALIST assumptions, that the only things that are real are those that can be sensed (touched, tasted, seen, smelled, heard). Plato would remind us that our senses are often not to be trusted; they are fallible. Furthermore, the kinds of knowledge that scientists must pay attention to are more than that derived from senses or through reason. Narrative assumptions help scientists interpret their data. Without a WORLD VIEW, a scientist can make no sense of his or her data. No one gets to be without an ontology, some kind of narrative of the nature of things, of the nature of being itself. The clear failure of this article in Popular Science is to distinguish between epistemological and ontological claims. Claims about the origin of things and the existence of a Creator are ontological. They depend upon the scientist's world view, the assumptions he or she makes about things, not upon data he or she gathers. These claims can be critiqued philosophically, but not by using the scientific method. One clear problem with materialism is that it itself begs the question of origins. If all that is is material, then the supposition that all material things came from merely material things begs the question.
"God made the heaven and earth in one day. Days didn't even become invented until a few thousand years ago. What's a day to God when he/she is infinite. A billion years to us is less than a blink of his/her eye."
A. This doesn't make sense.
B. Can I get the exact date days were invented. If you look in the back of your bible do they list patents? In mine there are only stories about dragons that somebody decided were too crazy to be in the "real" bible. How did they draw that line?
C. The blink of an eye thing... let me guess, you heard that in church? Or have you seen god and that "he/she" has eyes, and that a blink is a billion years?
"the Bible is based on fact as proven repeatedly by archeology. In fact, it has never once been proven wrong. The score is overwhelmingly in favor or proven facts as the Bible related them, again with not one fact proving it to be a myth or "fantasy" "
Um, no. I'm still waiting for that elusive unicorn fossil. The bible has repeatedly been proven wrong and I am hard pressed to think of something in it that has been proven right. Any attempt it makes to explain something about the world we now realize as a cute attempt at something that today is explained in grade school science classes.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to bash too hard on Christianity or religion in general. But science is based on fact, and religion based on faith. Don't come to a science website and pretend that science supports religion, or that religion is a fact.
"On the contrary, science is as much involved in storytelling as are the world's religions"
Tell me the story of the quantum field theory again. Paragraphs of math and logic are so riveting.
"Science narratives begin with assumptions about the nature of things"
then they perform experiments, gather data to test the assumptions, and end with a way to reproduce the same results. If its specifically proven false, then it's scrapped immediately. I love these stories because I can reproduce the results myself!
"that the only things that are real are those that can be sensed (touched, tasted, seen, smelled, heard)."
Whether we like it or not, we experience the world through these senses. They are limited and fallible yes, but the collective input from multiple peoples fallible senses is more reliable then the input from one persons fallible mind alone. In a world where peoples mental states can be very easily affected, all we have in our reality to rely on is the reproduction of sensory input.
"Narrative assumptions help scientists interpret their data."
At least there's data to interpret.
"No one gets to be without an ontology, some kind of narrative of the nature of things, of the nature of being itself."
And a scientists view of the nature of things is that there is a limit to what we can know and observe as we are part of the system we are observing. Quantum mechanics tells us this clearly. But a scientists story of how things occur is based on sensory input received from a physical universe about that very physical universe. Thats all they claim to do, thats all they can do. They link it together so it can answer questions that are relevant. To call this story telling is delusional and ungrateful. Where is the center of creationist research and development? What things are they doing to actively learn about the universe? What papers are they publishing? Is God one of the peer reviewers?
Living Fossils....Why does John McCain come to mind
Oh ya, For those of you "Too Smart" to beleive in a higher being...........good luck
Science and Religion can (and do) co-exist
Every thing came from Dirt..........but who's dirt was it
Why are people searching so deeply through this? It's not that difficult. The biggest thing I noticed was someone saying that days were created only a few thousand years ago. Hmm...this poses a quandry. A few thousand years ago many of the thousands of fossils were still alive and well. What were they doing at that (for lack of better word since there were no days then :p) time? It's mind-boggling how dumb you can be.
Briguy2k, the categories I've opened for exploration are rather broad. Your responses have a quality of specificity which suggests you may not have given me a generous reading. It is not clear that you even understand what I've claimed. Furthermore, if your response to my claim about science narratives is an indicator, I think your understanding of the philosophy of science doesn't represent a deep reading of the subject. Science is never a thing done in isolation. The scientist brings all that he or she is to his/her field. To the field is brought all that is understand about life and its many meanings. Claims of absolute knowledge in all fields, including science, must be open to question, from many perspectives. Otherwise, all that is actually practiced in the field is grandstanding, metanarrative explanations which become doubtful in the postmodern era.
Briguy2k, your estimation of science process seems to me to represent a misunderstanding of the powerful role of science. Reproducibility is a logical consequence of a well ordered methodology; there is no mystery here, but it is all relative. However, actually repeating experiments is only advisable in light of conclusions drawn on data and recommendations as to possible applications. At this point in research it becomes clear whether findings should at all be tested further. Furthermore, conclusions and recommendations arise out of a context of narrative assumptions. These assumptions involve many ways of knowing, including intuition, emotion, spirituality, creativity, imagination, and reason.
You do well to embrace reproducibility, concerning things which are easily discernibly connected. The establishment of natural causation is science's most limiting feature. That science is equipped to connect natural causes with natural effects is its LIMITATION. Its path out of this limiting feature is its embrace of OTHER WAYS OF KNOWING. Good scientists access many ways of knowing, not just the natural and observation. Great scientists draw on world views which help make meaning of conclusions drawn on data. They do this because they are HUMAN. Those that attempt science that is always and only limited to the establishment of natural causation involve themselves in circular reasoning, furthermore.
"At least there's data to interpret"...This is a silly response, briguy, and a straw man argument, by the way. I have not argued that scientists don't collect data.
Your last comment is loaded with more straw men. As I have tried to show in previous comments, it is wrong to claim that scientists should and do only concern themselves with observations of the physical universe. The involvement of researchers as subjects as well as objects means more than that their data comes from a physical universe and that they must faithfully gather it. It means that the very ways of knowing in which scientists engage themselves are embedded in human lives. Being human involves much more than the employ of senses. The science that you seem to be embracing would as readily be embraced by a Mengele as by a Schweitzer.
Briguy, once again, scientists do not and should not limit themselves to simple claims about how things occur physically. Even if they did, they don't and shouldn't limit themselves to only sensory data. Really, Briguy, just give a little thought to evolutionary biology and anthropology. If you still think the claims that are made in these fields derive from observational data, you are misreading material. The whole theory of evolution is NOT derived observationally, since no one was around to gather data. Fossil data are interpreted extremely creatively and is constantly reevaluated relative shifting theories. Surely you don't think someone was around to watch things die and to actually observe how living things as well as non-living things have related in the distant past. Get off the high horse.
As for your vacuous charges against creationism, investigate it further before casting aspersion. Ever hear of Michael Behe, etc., etc. Visit the Discovery Institute and Answers in Genesis on the internet to learn more. There is much excellent science there, science that is not afraid to embrace its human, cultural embededness.