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My collection of (mostly) quotations and links (mostly) about skepticism, science, philosophical naturalism, freethought and humanism. Mostly. (Formerly “Un bon mot ne prouve rien”.)
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Posts tagged "evolution"
… during the filming of this series I developed a deep irritation with the intellectual vacuity of those who actively seek to deny the reality of evolution and the science of biology in general. So empty is such a position, in the face of evidence collected over centuries, that it can only be politically motivated; there is not a hint of reason in it. And more than that, taking such a position closes the mind to the most wonderful story, and this is the tragedy for those who choose it, or worse, are forced into it through deficient teaching.

Prof. Brian Cox, The Wonders of Life, via “Your Cousin, the Blade of Grass: Brian Cox on the Wonders of Life

Brian Cox, The Wonders of Life

There are no transitional fossils, right?

Fish, Fishapod, Tetrapod by Maija Karala, Eurwentala on deviantART

From bottom up: Mandageria, Osteolepis, Eusthenopteron, Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, Acanthostega, Ichthyostega, Pederpes. All are known from well-preserved fossils and date from the Devonian, except for Pederpes, which is from the Early Carboniferous.

  • BANDits: Dromaeosaurs and troodontids are /OBVIOUSLY/ dinosaurs and /COMPLETELY/ unlike birds!
  • * Paleontologists find deinonychosaur fossils preserving unambiguous feathers. *
  • BANDits: Oh shit… uh… what we /MEANT/ to say is that dromaeosaurs and troodontids are /OBVIOUSLY/ birds and /COMPLETELY/ unlike dinosaurs!!
… battling the evolution deniers seems to be a thankless, never-ending task because no amount of effort in science education or good science in the media seems to make any difference. Their numbers (around 40% of Americans) have remained constant in the polls over many decades, no matter what approaches are tried. This is an endless source of frustration for many of us, since creationism is like the many-headed Hydra in the labors of Hercules: every time you cut off one head, it grows back two more. Science never seems to make any progress in blunting their efforts to contaminate schools with their religious dogma.

Donald R. Prothero, “In the Belly of the Beast”, eSkeptic 

Donald R. Prothero

Prothero is the author of the excellent Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters.

Donald R. Prothero » Evolution


Another diagram for the upcoming evolution book!

Everything but pigeon referenced from Greg Paul diagrams; pigeon referenced from various photographs of pigeon skeletons I could find. The position of metatarsal III on the Deinonychus pes is modeled after Fowler et al. 2011.

Two interesting points as an animal becomes more “birdlike”: the hallux moves towards greater mobility, and the tarsometatarsus fuses. The tarsometatarsus of Archaeopteryx represents a unique semi-fused “transition” state between unfused and totally fused metatarsal bones.

Tikaalik roseae

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Evolution as Fact and Theory”, Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould

 (via serial matrix)

(via elpaleofreak)

Carl Zimmer, “How did feathers evolve?”

h/t Prehistoric Birds


If people of faith tried to objectively discredit their concept of God, with as much zeal as some of them try to discredit evolution, would religion survive?

Evolutionary theory is believable because it is supported by reams of mutually buttressed evidence, can provide an explanation for our observations, and is able to make testable predictions based on those observations. It is, for all intents and purposes, scientific fact.

However, after all the data has been laid out beautifully before them, some apologists will still inquire “Yes, but where’s the evidence?” In reply, they will turn to God as an ultimate explanation, not on the basis of evidence, but on faith.

Such beliefs could be called active non-thinking, because faith in a religious context is not only belief without evidence, but also belief contrary to evidence.

(via theraginghottruth)

Of course humans live with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are one of the most successful groups of large animals ever to have evolved and now number more than 10,000 species. I have a dinosaur feeder in my back yard.
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