What Mr. Knott Wouldn’t Reply To

It’s probably not a good idea for my first post on this blog to be what is essentially a personal vendetta, but I feel this is important.

Some creationists, whether they’re on Youtube or WordPress or their own personal site, have a tendency to embrace censorship. This can mean editing comments, disabling ratings or simply blocking off all methods that anyone can use to criticise their views. Even if you get these people in a private conversation, some of them will run from the discussion the moment evolution comes up.

Which brings us to the subject of  one Sirius Knott. Mr. Knott and I have been engaged in a somewhat heated discussion, over the course of which it has become clear that Sirius has no hesitation in editing or simply deleting comments he doesn’t like, leading to one of my comments being deleted despite containing absolutely nothing that violated Knott’s rules (The fact that it refuted several of his arguments and called him out on two pieces of extremely sloppy research (ironic for a man who constantly accuses his opponents of lacking independant thought) may be more relevant). Or rather, I thought it had been deleted- what he actually did was reply to it within the text of my last comment, without showing any of my original post at all.

So I’m posting the comment below, unaltered, with Sirius’  comments in their rightful places (you’ll notice he didn’t respond to much of it). Not because I think it’s a great piece of writing that the world needs to see, but because I find Knott’s behaviour to be dishonest. Such displays of intellectual cowardice shouldn’t be allowed to slip by un-noticed. I’ll be posting up my own reply to him later, probably tomorrow.

(Sections written by me will be in ordinary script, Sirius’ reply will be in italics. As you’ll no doubt ntoice if you visit his site, Sirius likes to reply not as if he’s actually talking to his opponent but as if he’s doing a running commentary for the benefit of an audience, so I may insert edits for clarification. Due to the way he replied to this, I may have missed something. If I did, I invite Mr Knott to bring it to my attention and I’ll correct the mistake as soon as I can.)

———————————————-

You want me to give you a source for my claims? The last time I did that you deleted all of them, but here goes anyway:

The research I referenced is a talkorigins page (considering you asked for this link I’m assuming you’ll permit me to post it): http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html#sisterna. You’ll find a much more in-depth explanation there, as well as the details of the paper if you feel like hunting it down (it doesn’t appear to be online).

I’d also like to point out that being unable to understand what I said doesn’t invalidate my argumennt.

 

Predictably, his source was the highly argumentative, biased and misanthropic TalkOrigins.

 

You haven’t really addressed my point about volcanoes either. Large volcanic eruptions can have serious effects on the enviroment, sometimes for a very large area, and a young earth model calls for all of these eruptions to have occured within a relatively short space of time. Volcanic eruptions, even more run of the mill ones, dump huge amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere- far, far more than humans do. The only reason this isn’t devestating to life is because they occur over such large spance of time.

In relation to asteroids, it’s thought that asteroid impacts are capable of crippling ecosystems (planetwide, in some cases), often for extended periods of time, and you are, by necessity, suggesting that all of the observed impacts in Earth’s history occured over a relatively short span of time, without the necessary recovery periods inbetween- this isn’t even getting into the improbability of a young Earth being subjected to so many impacts given what we know about collision rates.

(I’m not actually suggesting that all, or even any, of these impacts occured during the flood itself- the ecosystems I referred to are the post and pre flood ones. This is a contention I have with the idea of a young Earth)

I did address animals that died while giving birth- again, local, small scale catastrophes. I’m curious to know why you think a global flood explains these fossils any better than, say, a large-scale cliff face collapse or even a bog-standard run of the mill flood.

Polystratic fossils are a subject I honestly meant to tackle, but simply forget. I’ll address them here.

In fact, my answer is similar to my previous one: why do we need a global flood to explain these fossils? You yourself quoted an instance where a volcanic eruption- a small (well, relatively), local event- created the right enviroment for fossils like this to form. The reason the trees didn’t decay is because they were preserved after they were buried, at least long enough to leave a hollow imprint that could be replaced with inorganic material as the tree decayed.

Although I also need to point out that the events that created the fossils (or precursor fossils) after Mt. St Helens aren’t indicitave of how these fossils usually form, because most of them have fossilized roots digging down into the earlier strata, which showed that they weren’t uprooted but were buried where they stood.

Keep in mind that geologists don’t insist that all of the geologic column must always have taken a long time to form. Rapid deposition can occur, as I believe I pointed out in an earlier post.

On to the Cambrian Explosion. The Cambrian lasted for millions of years- five to ten million by conservative estimates (note that you still haven’t refuted my rebuttal to your attempt to discredit dating methods). Scientists do have explanations for the sudden divirsification of life forms at this time and why it occured so quickly. One of these is that pre-Cambrian organisms were much smaller, and that the Cambrian was therefore more of a sudden increase in size rather than a sudden increase in complexity (keeping in mind that “sudden” still means millions of years).
This is backed up by the fact that nearly all pre-Cambrian fossils are extremey small, and that tiny ediacaren fauna appear to have been on their way to developing the major body plans present in the Cambrian (there’s a bit of a gap because pre-cambrian life forms were soft bodied and only fossilized in exceptional circumstances). The Cambrian also seems to represent the development of collagen, which would explain why large fossils appear so suddenly- “hard parts” containing collagen fossilize much more readily, whereas most pre-Cambrian fauna wouldn’t have fossilized at all, except in rare cases of rapid burial.

“Hyracotherium. Small hyrax-like animal. Not even included on a lot of the more recent horse mythology charts”

I’m somewhat mystified by your comments on the Hyrax- are you saying that hyacatherium was actually a Hyrax? Like I said, Hyrax has nothing to do with horse evolution, as it’s an entirely different animal.

On to horse ribs. You actually put your finger on the button- natural selection keeps beneficial mutations. The number of ribs is not beneficial (unless an animal went from having no rib cage to having one) and isn’t selected for- the number of ribs is free to vary up and down, because rib number doesn’t affect an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce unless it’s rib cage shrinks to the point that it can  no longer protect the internal organs. Now if you showed me horse fossils where the number of legs varied up and down we’d be on to something.

 

He did not provide any examples [edit: Sirius is referring here to an earlier post, where I said that rib numbers can vary within species. I’ll be addressing this soon.] in a subsequent response, though he again insisted the variation on the   number of ribs was not inconsistent.

 

Back to plate tectonics. Far from being “quite a trip”, the idea that Europe, Africa and the Americas were once the same landmass is well established in geology, even if the exact details aren’t known. What my “comrades” are suggesting is exactly what I’m suggesting- that Old and New World horses share a common ancestor. Plate tectonics explains how they got around.

In your next comment you very gracefully conceded a point. I don’t want to seem like I’m insulting you now, but in using this argument without researching it beforehand you displayed exactly the kind of absence of independent thought that you’ve so often criticised others for- and unfortunately, as I’m going to show below, you did it more than once. I’d encourage you to look over some of the other points you’ve raised, and ask yourself how much you really looked into them before accepting them as valid.

“National Geographic, January 1981, p. 74.”

Exactly what point are you trying to make with this? Answers in Genesis describes the photo as showing three and one-towed horses side by side in the fossil record (interestingly, they also describe the article as being about a fossil graveyard found in Nebraska, not South America), not the former below the latter. I’ve already answered this, and you conceded the point then- ancestor and descendant species can co-exist. Since the fossils were found at a site of rapid burial it just lends credence to the idea that this is co-existance between one-towed horses and the species they evolved from.

“A kind of animal, which in general best relates to a family or sub-family.”

Do you realise you’ve just admitted that humans and chimpanzees are of the same kind? Humans are in the family hominidae, which includes chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Since evolution within kinds is perfectly acceptable, I guess you should have no trouble believing that humans evolved from earlier primates along with these other species. Or to put it in your own words, an ape is still an ape, whether it’s a human or a chimpanzee.

 

Predictably, he latched onto the idea of a kind as a family [though I warned that this was a generality] and stated that I had just said humans and apes were the same kind. That’s the weakest straw man I’ve ever seen thatched on my site. Like Darwinists when pressed to define a “species,” we Creationists do have trouble defining a “kind” and have found it best to provide an illustration instead: a dog is still a dog whether a wolf or a teacup poodle. A kind is a grouping based on the demonstrated ability to interbreed [or to be bred from], if that clarification helps somewhat.In any case, I apologise for any confusion my general equivocation may have engendered.

 

You asked me for fossils that show evolution from one kind ot another. How about fish to four-legged animals?

Panderichthys was a group of two devonian fish with transitional features of terrestrial four-legged animals. The head of is notably similar to early land animals, as are bones in it’s shoulders and skull. Notably, it has a pelvic girdle. It also had a spiracle, or a breathing tube on the top of it’s head, which is thought to be ancestral to ears bones. At the same time, it’s clearly still a fish, and it has no sign of feet or legs- this thing couldn’t have moved around on land.

Fast forward to the late Devonian (there’s that chronological sorting again).
Tiktaalik is a genus of lobe-finned fish and a prime candidate for the link between Panderichthys and what followed. It has primitive wrist bones that were probably used to prop the creature up on land (although not walk) and it has more developed spiracles than Panderichthys. Most strikingly, it appears to have had both gills and lungs, exactly the sort of mixture you’d look for in a transitional species (keeping in mind that tiktaalik still couldn’t have walked on land).

Next we come to Ichthyostega, from the upper devonian. It probably lived in shallow water, and had proper lungs and limbs which were capable of allowing juvenile specimens, at least, to walk on land. This animal was not fish, but it also wasn’t yet amphibians. What better example of an intemediate form could you find? Keep in mind that the chronology, once again, is sound- we go from lobe-finned fish to lobe-finned fish with terrestrial adaptions to something that was clearly not a lobe-finned fish but a four-legged animal that used lungs to breath. This pattern is repeated everywhere you look in the fossil record. How do you account for this if evolution isn’t taking place? Why should new types of animals appear in stages like this as we move up the fossil record, showing similarities to earlier species before divirsifing? The only conclusions I can see is that either God did his creating in the same manner as a software company releasing periodic updates, or these new types of animals arose from earlier ones.

“That’s a lovely non sequitur. So now you believe in God?”

Of course not- I was using God as a rhetorical device,as you well know. But congratulations on completely dodging the point.

“And the OTHER more glaring differences?”

Those differences are irrelevant, since you’ve already conceded that humans are of the same kind as other apes, and that we can share a common ancestor through microevolution.

—————

And there you have it. I’ll be responding to Sirius in a new blog post as soon as I can.

3 Responses to What Mr. Knott Wouldn’t Reply To

  1. He does tend to edit a lot. He deleted my comments once because he said they were “shrill”.

    So I posted about it on my own blog instead. 🙂

    But hey, I have to give him a little slack…he is a fan of the show “Lost”–also my favorite show.

  2. Lottie says:

    Yes, this seems to something of a habit for Mr. Knott. It’s precisely why I don’t bother with his blog at all. I don’t mind heated debates, but I don’t want to waste my time writing comments only to have them deleted or edited just because some self-deluded narcissist goes into complete meltdown when presented with facts that refute his fantasies.

    Guess I needed to vent for a minute, huh?😆

  3. Mike says:

    Self-deluded narcissist? That’s a bit… Wait, accurate.

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