The assumption of design from complexity.

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David Killens's picture
So what? That is just

So what? That is just incoherent ramblings. I prefer good literature.

Randomhero1982's picture
Ahh the old watchmaker

Ahh the old watchmaker arguement, it would make for a wonderful analogy...

... if it wasn't utter bollocks.

P1 - The watch mechanism has a maker
P2 - The world/universe is full of natural mechanisms

Conclusion - There must be a maker for these natural mechanisms.

Now we ask, is the watch a natural mechanism?
And would the laws that govern the artificial apply to the natural.

At best you could argue for everything having a natural causal link, but that's gets you nowhere near some pan-dimensional invisible cosmic wizard that gives a shit about you.

Jo's picture
@ Sheldon

@ Sheldon

Your second questions seems axiomatic.
If the universe is designed, that indicates a designer.
If it has a designer, God seems to follow.

On your first question.
I think the complexity goes against it all being just some inestimable happenstance.

Illustration
If I flip a coin and tell you it will be heads.
If it comes up heads you would not think that means anything.
If it came up heads 10 time, you might just think Jo is lucky.
At some point. if it keeps happening, you would want to examine the coin.
You would rightly suspect some agency behind the consistent results of heads.

David Killens's picture
@Jo

@Jo

"You would rightly suspect some agency behind the consistent results of heads."

All one does is investigate the reason why, not inject an "agent" into the conversation.

But coin flips are a very bad example, and if you ever do encounter a succession of heads, then call me. But what are the odds of that happening?

Jo's picture
@ David Klllens

@ David Klllens

I am sure you perceived this, but my successions of heads was the universe and life.
What are the odds of that happening? :-)

Sheldon's picture
@Jo

@Jo

Are you saying long odds are never defied in the physical universe? So what are the odds on a person being struck by lightning, more than once?

Since the universe already exists what relevance do the odd against it have anyway?

How exactly are you calculating the odds for an undersigned universe as opposed to one designed by a deity from a bronze age superstion you can produce no objective evidence for?

What are the odds that natural phenomena can and do occur? I'll give you a clue if you like?

Randomhero1982's picture
That's bollocks, you account

That's bollocks, you account for two simple possibilities.

The fact is that there is an almost incalculable number of possible different conditions the universe could have ended up in if any parameter was different following T=0.

Yes, we can argue that if any of the cosmological constants were different we may not be here... possibly even, likely not here.

But that is only directed to life as we know it and that is a very prescriptive parameter.

There seems to be some bias towards life as it appears on earth as being the only viable form of life, this is grossly close minded.

Sheldon's picture
Jo "Your second questions

Jo "Your second questions seems axiomatic.

I have no idea what you mean, do you mean the answer is axiomatic? If so then you need to look up axiomatic in the dictionary, if not then the sentence makes no sense.

Jo "If it has a designer, God seems to follow."

No it certainly does not, however I didn't ask for an unevidenced subjective opinion. I asked how does design evidence a deity. Note the words how and evidence, good grief Jo.

"I think the complexity goes against it all being just some inestimable happenstance."

Ffs Jo, read the question, how does complexity evidence design? All you've done is repeat your unevidenced belief that prompted me to ask the question. You're also using an argument from incredulity fallacy.

Jo "You would rightly suspect some agency behind the consistent results of heads."

No you absolutely wouldn't, leaving aside your complete ignorance of the laws of probability, what you've done is yet again used the common logical fallacy argumentum ad ignorantiam. It's a fallacy in informal logic, because not knowing how something happens doesn't justify bare assumption, and you fucking know this Jo, as I've told you innumerable times. Why do think you can simply ignore the principles of logic in a debate Jo?

You've also been told innumerable times that we know natural phenomena occur all the time, we have no objective evidence for, and so don't even know if anything supernatural exists.

I'm sorry but your posts are woefully I'll informed Jo, you ignore logic as if it doesn't matter, you make bare assertions as they represent empirical evidence, you make facile arguments up that contain known logical fallacies, but worst of all you roll on determined not to learn from these errors in epistemological reasoning.

How does complexity evidence design?

Don't just repost the claim, the answer needs explanatory powers and evidence, else it's pure assumption. No different than claim pixies did something. Also not random complexity occurs naturally all the time, snowflakes are a perfect example.

How does the assumption if design evidence a deity? Again don't simply assert your own a priori belief. The answer must have explanatory powers, and be supported by evidence, or it doesn't even pretend to answer the question. THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT Jo.

Dear dear Jo, this is pitiful stuff. The theory of evolution contains a vast amount of objective evidence amassed over 160 years of global scientific study, all of carrying explanatory powers. Your glibly denying all that, in favour of something you are asserting with no evidence or explanatory powers, and arguments that contain known logical fallacies....

Now please dont respond without looking up common logical fallacies and understanding what it means to base argument on them. Look up argumentum ad ignorantiam and scrutinise your posts for this and other fallacies.

Sheldon's picture
Jo "If I flip a coin and tell

Jo "If I flip a coin and tell you it will be heads.
If it comes up heads you would not think that means anything.
If it came up heads 10 time, you might just think Jo is lucky.
At some point. if it keeps happening, you would want to examine the coin.
You would rightly suspect some agency behind the consistent results of heads."

Not unless you were entirely unaware that probability theory is the mathematical study of phenomena characterised by randomness or uncertainty. More precisely, probability is used for modelling situations when the result of an experiment, realised under the same circumstances, produces different results (typically throwing a dice or a coin). Mathematicians and actuaries think of probabilities as numbers in the closed interval from 0 to 1 assigned to "events" whose occurrence or failure to occur is random.

Jo....you seem unaware that probability is not a "gut instinct" you can make up completely unevidenced claims about. As always Jo, one can only marvel at the confidence with which you espouse your complete ignorance of topics that you clearly think no one will call you on.

Here's is a clue from a fellow ignoramus on this topic, probability and possibility are not the same thing, though theists dishonestly conflate them all the time, as you have done here.

Ten coin flips all producing heads is improbable, but not impossible, and a hundred consistent coin flips whilst improbable, is NOT impossible, or a thousand, or a million etc etc etc.. I could go on, but it seems pointless as you are clearly determined to ignore facts that don't mesh with your a priori blind faith based beliefs.

Calilasseia's picture
I see our "Rabbi Mark"

I see our "Rabbi Mark" newcomer has come here peddling the tiresome and repeatedly destroyed "watchmaker" garbage. Yawn.

I've already covered several reasons why this drivel IS drivel, in this previous post, where I establish that, wait for it, watchmaking itself exhibits a history resembling an evolutionary history. Indeed, every human technology has an evolutionary history of its own, involving trial, error, discarding failures and building upon successes in a manner that bears FAR more relation to evolutionary processes, than any fantastic magic "design" process of the sort asserted to exist by supernaturalists. Which means that pointing to human design processes as a proxy for supernatural magic "design" is not only a fallacy, but a grand piece of apologetic dishonesty.

Then, of course, the entire "design" assertion is nothing more than an admission of ignorance of basic science. It consists, at bottom of "I don't understand how a testable natural process can produce X, therefore no testable natural process can produce X, therefore my magic man must have done it". Quite simply, this is complete and utter poppycock. Just because mythology fanboys who wasted their time with apologetics don't understand the requisite science, doesn't mean that no one else does.

For example, we have this blatant canard:

Now the whole question boils down to two, whether a particle incapable of thinking (doing logical processes), incapable of doing any process physical, chemical or anything

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, total garbage. Wait for it, vast classes of physical and chemical processes have been observed taking place spontaneously. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of chemical reactions that will take place spontaneously, the moment the requisite molecules come into contact with each other. A molecule of hydrochloric acid doesn't need to be "intelligent" in order to react with a molecule of sodium bicarbonate and liberate carbon dioxide - this happens spontaneously the moment those two molecules encounter each other in solution. Quite simply, the energy conditions (activation energy, enthalpy and reaction kinetics) favour that reaction strongly, and the reaction thus takes place. For that matter, even reactions with positive enthalpies can still take place spontaneously, if an external source of energy activates the reaction in that direction, and chemists have known for a long time, that one sure fire way of inputting energy into a positive enthalpy reaction and driving it forward, is to heat up the reactants. That's before we consider catalysis.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for a supernaturalist to present a proper, rigorous exposition, detailing what steps need to be undertaken successfully, in order to convert the "design" assertion into something other than the product of the rectal passages of pedlars of apologetics. I've never seen one even acknowledge the existence of this challenge, let alone attempt to meet it. Let's see of our latest newcomer understands what's actually required here, shall we? Once again, no prompting from the rest of you, let him do his own homework.

And, while we're waiting for this, let's see if our latest supernaturalist can work out why his entire post above was total and utter garbage from start to finish. Here's a clue: science isn't a branch of apologetics.

Rabbi Mark's picture
No logical rebuttals but

No logical rebuttals but empty rants is all there here. My stand regarding evolution is not because it somehow hurts my belief. I have tested which one both the Bible and the reason for the origin of the evolutionary idea and by considering all the data available to us by various disciplines of science I can only conclude that the Bible is true.

These are the problems I found with the evolutionary model:
FOSSILS:
-- Not many fossils of an animal are found in full. In many cases these paleontologists dig out some bones from a location then some other bone from another location and they piece it together to form an animal of their own. In the case of Lucy these bones were 2 kms apart. How do you know that the bone you just dug out belongs to the animal that you dug out miles and miles away?

-- Marine animal fossils are found on top of the Himalayas. But atheists say it denotes that Himalayas were once under the oceans. But how can a closed shell end up in the fossil since shells open when they die. Also a whale skeleton has been found on top of the Andes. Also marine fossils are not exclusive to the mountain that are supposed to have been formed when continents collided and when the seafloor was raised up, they are found in plain regions too and even at the bottom of the sedimentary rocks. How can one explain the presence of marine animals found around the world unless with a global flood. To note: marine animals are not unable to swim away from dust settling around for millions of years. Also if they had been dead then the shape of their bodies would not have been preserved since decaying would deform the body before sediments slowly settled over a million year.

-- Whole dinosaur fossils are found in awkward postures and this is very common among all fossils indicating that the animal died a catastrophic death and broken bones, massive bone grave yards, mixture of bones of different animals only add to the claim of a sudden catastrophic flooding and not slow sedimentation.

-- Polystrate tree fossils indicate that they were buried immediately and not over millions of years later. Since a dead tree stump would decay easily. The presence of roots in these trees also indicate that the layers were formed in a short span of time and not over millions of years. The reasons given such as growth after burial are not possible since no tree has ever been observed to have grown after it has been buried in deep mud unless it was young since old trees take more time to grow and need sunlight to form the energy needed for the processes.

-- The presence of Dinosaur paintings in rock arts and importantly a Stegosaur carving in the Angkor Wat temple (built a thousand years back) only indicate that man has always seen dinosaurs. Historical records of Marcopolo and many other writers, legends of many civilizations on monstrous animals and how their description matches with the fossil records of dinosaurs and avian dinosaurs only indicate that dinosaurs were there even a thousand years back. NOTE: This further drives us to interpret the sedimentary layers as the result of a flood and not of a graveyard of millions of years.

-- Further, the presence sedimentary rocks (75%) on earths surface only denotes a global flood and the fossil records must not be interpreted the way they are made today.

EMBRYOS: -- Bumps and bulges in embryos are being cited as proof for evolutionary process. First of all it does not precisely prove that evolution occured. Secondly, it does not negate the occurence of creation. So embryos neither prove evolution nor disprove creation.

DNA -- A widely used argument. Again it neither precisely proves only evolution took place and neither does it disprove the event of creation. The anatomy of both apes and men are nearly the same hence the same code could have been used for both. Similar looking things don't mean one came from the other.

Homologus Bone Structures - The same as with DNA and embryos. Similarity does not mean that God cannot exist neither can it mean God cannot do it.

In fact if similar things are found in abundance in a system, then the probability is higher that the system is created than assembled itself after random events.

Also,none of you have attempted to sort out the logical problem of the origin of the primordial atom. Just answer me atleast this one question. In the evolutionary model (assuming the absence of God) our thoughts are just random chemical reactions that occur as a domino effect of some reactions that took place several billion years ago why are you atheists trying to accuse Christians instead of accepting it as a random event as your atheism will be too? And are you ready to accept every injustice done to you as a random event?

Nyarlathotep's picture
crackpot

crackpot

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Rabbbi Mark

@ Rabbbi Mark

You're a comedian right? Looking for material?

Sheldon's picture
Old man shouts ...

Old man shouts ...

@ Rabbbi Mark

You're a comedian right? Looking for material?

Oh I think his posts thus far, indicate that he has a glut of comedic material at his disposal.

David Killens's picture
Maybe he is doing research

Maybe he is doing research for the next Mel Brooks movie.

Sheldon's picture
Have you told the scientific

Have you told the entire scientific world they're wrong? When are you being awarded the Nobel prize?

You better warn the pharmaceutical industry as well, all their research is based entirely on evolutionary science.

So one assumes you won't want the new strains of antibiotic if you get an infection, you'll be happy to have the old ones the diseases have evolved a resistance to, as you claim this doesn't happen?

Who to believe, some anonymous batshit crazy creatard on the internet, or the global scientific consensus supported by all the evidence of the last 160 years?

It's not exactly daddy vs chips is it...

Cognostic's picture
@Rabbi Mark: RE: Evolution

@Rabbi Mark: RE: Evolution

Why waste all the space. No one really cares if you believe in evolution or not. It has nothing to do with the existence of a god and nothing what so ever to do with Atheism. Why are you posting this shit in an Atheist chat site? Wouldn't you be better off bothering an biology forum?

Seriously.... What's the point? Atheists make no claims about biology. Atheists are people that don't believe in gods.

Sheldon's picture
@Cognostic

@Cognostic

He's a creatard, look at this nonsense for goodness sake.

Rabbi Mark "My stand regarding evolution is not because it somehow hurts my belief."

This was a highlight for me, the Breezy lie. I always ask the same questions in response.

Please list all the other scientific facts you deny that in no way contradict any part of your religious beliefs?

And

Please cite the peer reviewed falsification of species evolution? Then explain why the entire scientific world, and the global press, not to mention the Catholic church with all its resources, and the Nobel committee have missed this paradigm shifting scientific discovery?

If I hear the word conspiracy I'm going to bust a gutt laughing.

Talking of laughing check this out...

Rabbi mark " I have tested which one both the Bible and the reason for the origin of the evolutionary idea and by considering all the data available to us by various disciplines of science I can only conclude that the Bible is true."

Be a dear mark and list your qualifications, and cite your peer reviewed work, also again explain how the global scientific community, and the world's press missed your paradigm shifting discovery? Have you told the Pope yet? The RCC seems to still be under the misapprehension that species evolution is an accepted scientific fact? When are you getting the Nobel prize?

Rabbi mark "animal fossils are found on top of the Himalayas. But atheists say"

Yes now we can all see that your objections are nothing to do with your religious beliefs, why else would you insert the word atheist here, rather than scientists. Dear oh fucking dear...

Not to mention he's entirely ignored the thread topic and OP question.

How does complexity evidence design?

How does design evidence a deity?

All the usual creatard and apologist guff, but not one cogent answer to either question.

Randomhero1982's picture
No logical rebuttals but

No logical rebuttals but empty rants is all there here. My stand regarding evolution is not because it somehow hurts my belief. I have tested which one both the Bible and the reason for the origin of the evolutionary idea and by considering all the data available to us by various disciplines of science I can only conclude that the Bible is true.

So a book is true, a book that was made far after the beginning of space time, the accretion disk, the heavy bombardment, the first forms of simple life on earth, dinosaurs, our distant shared ancestors... and yet, its true?!

A book full of bollocks, is essentially just stealing from other books, ideologies and beliefs that predated it ... is true?!

Or, perhaps you have a confirmation bias?!

Perhaps, you clearly have no understanding of evolution and have basically quote mined from apologetic resources?!

Perhaps you were mistaken to hold science which accurately explains almost every question we have asked of it, to a higher evidentiary standard, then your holy book?!

Why don't you actually start another thread asking your question without appealing to authority or using a God of the gaps argument, then maybe we shall respond and link reliable, evidenced information.

Remember one thing, what we know is open to everyone and in plain sight.
It is available to be disproved as equally as it is to be further improved with more evidence.

Your belief is a faith belief with no objective empirical evidence.

Sheldon's picture
"perhaps you have a

"perhaps you have a confirmation bias?!"

"Perhaps, you clearly have no understanding of evolution"

Perhaps? I don't think there's any doubt at all is there?

He's clearly madder than a box of frogs.

Cognostic's picture
@Randomhero1982: Well you

@Randomhero1982: Well you know what the famous philosopher Tim Minchin has to say about the book! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

Leper's picture
@Rabbi Mark

@Rabbi Mark

You think it's a conspiracy then?

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Rabbi Mark...You think it's

Leper - You think it's a conspiracy then?

Royism seems to think so:

Royism - ...there is an orthodoxy in the scientific community that is disallowing any honest discussion on Darwinian theory of evolution.

Sheldon's picture
So tell me theists, if

So tell me theists, if complexity ant occur in nature without design how come every snowflake crystal pattern is both extremely complex, and unique?

Do you belief your deity designs each ew snowflake from scratch everytime it snows?

He must be one fucking busy little badger is all I can say.

What about complex and unique dune patterns in deserts formed randomly by the wind, and constantly shifting and changing? All designed from scratch then by your deity, it's a wonder he's got time for fuck all else right there.

Leper's picture
Nothing is random @Sheldon in

Nothing is random @Sheldon in God's creation.

Sheldon's picture
"Nothing is random @Sheldon

"Nothing is random @Sheldon in God's creation."

I just gave you two examples of things that are completely random. Your delusional superstitious beliefs don't alter objective reality. Simply denying reality to avoid the question is not very impressive, though it is a pretty standard theist tactic.

Snowflakes are unique and randomly generated by nature. As of course are desert dune patterns. Then there is the Fibonacci sequence which also appears as a purely natural phenomena.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterns_in_nature

Sheldon's picture
Thu, 08/22/2019 - 14:13 #71

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 14:13 #71
Sheldon

So tell me theists, if complexity ant occur in nature without design how come every snowflake crystal pattern is both extremely complex, and unique? Do you belief your deity designs each new snowflake from scratch every time it snows?

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 15:07
Leper

Nothing is random @Sheldon in God's creation.

So that's a yes then, you the inference must be that you believe a deity creates each new snowflake from scratch, WOW!

Nyarlathotep's picture
Leper - Nothing is random

Leper - Nothing is random

Beta decay is.

Calilasseia's picture
It's time to break out the

It's time to break out the ordnance once more ...

No logical rebuttals but empty rants is all there here.

So the inconvenient facts that destroy your apologetic fabrications are going to be ignored and hand-waved away, in typical duplicitous supernaturalist fashion?

I've seen your sort in action for over a decade.

considering all the data available to us by various disciplines of science I can only conclude that the Bible is true.

Poppycock. Your mythology contains numerous assertions that are plain, flat, wrong in the light of modern scientific knowledge, such as that farcical view of genetics contained in Genesis 30: 37-39, not to mention the whole "global flood" fantasy".

These are the problems I found with the evolutionary model:

No, you didn't find any "problems" with evolutionary theory, because you manifestly don't understand even basic science, let alone anything advanced enough to overturn the bset supported theory in the whole of science. The canards you've posted already demonstrate your level of ignorance in spades.

FOSSILS:
-- Not many fossils of an animal are found in full. In many cases these paleontologists dig out some bones from a location then some other bone from another location and they piece it together to form an animal of their own.

Bare faced lie. As anyone who has read any scientific papers in the field of palaeontology knows only too well. Specimens are treated as belonging to different individual organisms if they are not contiguous. Indeed, one of the aspects of palaeontological training that is taught in elementary classes on the subject, is the matter of separating properly different organisms that are lying together in the same stratum.

In the case of Lucy these bones were 2 kms apart.

Bare faced lie. What actually happened, was that the original Lucy fossil was missing an intact knee, but an intact knee from another specimen of the same species was found elsewhere, allowing a more complete reconstruction to be performed. This piece of blatant creationist lying is exposed here.

What part of "if you have bones from multiple specimens of the same species, you can reconstruct a more complete skeleton of that species using that data" do you not understand? Also see here, where we are informed that no less a personage than Georges Cuvier, a seminal contributor to anatomy and palaeontology, deduced what information could be determined from single bones versus more complete skeletons.

How do you know that the bone you just dug out belongs to the animal that you dug out miles and miles away?

Heard of comparative anatomy? Which was placed on a rigorous footing by individuals as diverse as Linnaeus (back in 1758) and Richard Owen (mid 19th century)?

-- Marine animal fossils are found on top of the Himalayas. But atheists say it denotes that Himalayas were once under the oceans.

Bullshit. It isn't "atheists" who state that the rocks currently comprising the Himalayas were once under the sea, it's geologists. Oh wait, the continued upward movement of Mount Everest, at a rate of 2 to 3 millimetres per year, has been measured using laser interferometry techniques.

But how can a closed shell end up in the fossil since shells open when they die.

Actually, if the molluscs in question die quickly and are buried under sediment, the two halves of the shell remain together. Only bivalve shells whose inhabitants die in open water are affected by disconnection of the shell halves.

-- Whole dinosaur fossils are found in awkward postures and this is very common among all fossils

No it isn't. Another blatant lie. Many complete skeletons are found in resting positions indicating a non-traumatic death.

indicating that the animal died a catastrophic death and broken bones, massive bone grave yards, mixture of bones of different animals only add to the claim of a sudden catastrophic flooding and not slow sedimentation.

Ahem, no one disputes the possibility of catastrophic local flooding affecting an area, and producing corpses. Oh, but wait, geologists worked out a long time ago how to tell the difference between gradually deposited sediments, and sediments deposited en masse in a flooding event. Apparently you haven't heard of taphonomy, which is the subset of geology devoted to determining such matters. Also, if the animals in a given deposition site are from different geological epochs, then they manifestly didn't die at the same time. Dealt with in more detail here.

Also a whale skeleton has been found on top of the Andes.

So what? The Andes contain rocks that are manifestly marine sedimentary rocks. See taphonomy once again. Or don't you realise that geologists learned to tell the difference between marine sedimentary deposits and other deposits a long time ago?

Also marine fossils are not exclusive to the mountain that are supposed to have been formed when continents collided and when the seafloor was raised up, they are found in plain regions too

Apparently, the elementary notion that different parts of a sea floor can have different long term fates, once again uncovered by taphonomy, never occurred to you whilst constructing your duplicitous apologetics.

and even at the bottom of the sedimentary rocks. How can one explain the presence of marine animals found around the world unless with a global flood.

Oh please, you think the fantasy "global flood" was real?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

I'll give you several reasons why this mythological fantasy is pure garbage. Namely:

[1] Absolutely zero evidence of the existence of a single, globally present, deep sedimentary stratum dating to recent age, of the sort that any actual "global flood" would leave in its wake. Instead, the Earth's geological strata are varied, with some strata close to the surface having been dated by reliable methods to an age of several hundred million years. That's before we consider the origin of some of those strata, such as the Deccan Traps, which currently form mountains in India. Hint: how does a "global flood" produce basalt?

[2] Absolutely zero evidence of any cessation of large-scale human activity on the planet, at about the time the fantasy "global flood" was supposed to be taking place, according to various creationist orthodoxies. Instead, archaeological evidence points to continued, unbroken human activity right around this period, including activity by the Ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and various other groups of humans around the world, who carried on blissfully unaware of the fact that they were supposed to be under 9,000 metres of water.

[3] Continued existence of vast swathes of aquatic taxa that would have been exterminated wholesale, had the fantasy "global flood" ever taken place. This includes the Ostariophysan fishes, almost all of which are intolerant of salt in the water, and which would have been wiped out within approximately 24 hours during such an event (several species of which are happily swimming in my aquaria just six feet from where I am typing this). This also includes virtually all of the reef dwelling fishes, most of which are acutely sensitive to changes in water chemistry, and, as any reef aquarium keeper knows only too well, die if appropriate conditions are not met stringently. Then we have all the higher aquatic plants, which would not have survived being buried under the millions of tons of silt that turbulent waters of this nature would have stirred up and deposited. Likewise, the reef building corals, who would not only have been killed through osmoregulatory shock as the salinity changes took place, but killed by being subject, in a short period of time, to an extra 900 atmospheres of pressure, and the death of their symbiotic zooxanthellae, as said organisms were cut off from sunlight under 9,000 metres of water, and deprived of the ability to photosynthesise.

[4] Absurdity of the so-called "models" erected by creationists to try and force-fit reality to doctrine. For example, the ludicrous "vapour canopy" fantasy, which would have resulted in thermodynamic exchanges that would have sterilised the planet. First, formation of the so-called "vapour canopy" as postulated by the creationists who erect this fantasy,would have resulted in the ambient atmospheric temperature being reduced to that more usually associated with Pluto, whereupon the breathable atmospheric gases would have become liquid, or in some cases, would have frozen solid (the sort of temperature we're talking about here is around 40 Kelvins). Second, the reverse heat exchanges that would have taken place during the rainfall asserted to take place in this fantasy, would have raised the ambient temperature to that of molten Copper. Then we have the so-called "runaway subduction" fantasy, which would have liberated enough heat to boil the planet's oceans into space. Then we have Walt Brown's hydroplate nonsense, which includes assertions that are in direct violation of the Gas Laws, as well as invoking fantasy scenarios involving meteorite bombardment that would have left our 600 year old barge captain with zero probability of survival.

[5] Exquisite sorting, in both time and taxonomic order, of the fossil record, which includes sorting of particles ranging in size from pollen grains to the carcasses of 100-ton Sauropod dinosaurs, which would be impossible to achieve with turbulent water flow, despite the repeated assertions about "hydrologic sorting" erected by creationists, which have no basis in fact. I invite everyone to look at video clips of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the 2011 Sendai tsunami, to see how ludicrous the "hydrologic sorting" assertion is. Moreover, this level of sorting would almost certainly fail to appear in any rigorous computational fluid dynamical model involving real physical equations, such as the Navier-Stokes Equations, and in any case would require a vast cluster of supercomputers to model properly. Though why anyone with functioning brain cells would waste those resources on trying to validate "hydrologic sorting", merely points to the continued tendency of creationists to prefer fantasy over reality.

And, once again, we're back to taphonomy, the discipline that geologists learn in order to determine properly the events leading to the formation of a geological stratum. A prime example of which is the Coconino Sandstone, which is an eolian deposit arising from wind action on sand dunes. Furthermore, a 1945 paper in The Journal of Geology includes documentation of experimental recreation of the deposition conditions in a wind tunnel, which resulted in recreation of the features found in the Coconino deposit. The paper in question being this one. Furthermore, not only does that deposit include well-preserved tracks from the passage of vertebrate animals, but tracks made by spiders walking across the sand, as documented here. Your fantasy "global flood" would have destroyed this deposit and its track wholesale.

To note: marine animals are not unable to swim away from dust settling around for millions of years.

Not if they're fucking dead!

Also if they had been dead then the shape of their bodies would not have been preserved since decaying would deform the body before sediments slowly settled over a million year.

Bullshit. There are literally millions of trilobite fossils alone destroying your crass assertion. Oh, and once again, we're back to taphonomy. I alighted upon an interesting paper, covering an experimental recreation of the burial under sediment of marine planktonic embryos. The paper in question is this one:

Experimental Taphonomy Shows The Feasibility Of Fossil Embryos by Elizabeth C. Raff, Jeffrey T. Villinski, F. Rudolf Turner, Philip C. J. Donoghue and Rudolf A. Raff, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 103(15): 5846-5851 (11th April 2006)

Let's look at this paper in more detail shall we? This will be a long exposition, but one that will be appreciated by those who paid attention in science class.

The recent discovery of apparent fossils of embryos contemporaneous with the earliest animal remains may provide vital insights into the metazoan radiation. However, although the putative fossil remains are similar to modern marine animal embryos or larvae, their simple geometric forms also resemble other organic and inorganic structures. The potential for fossilization of animals at such developmental stages and the taphonomic processes that might affect preservation before mineralization have not been examined. Here, we report experimental taphonomy of marine embryos and larvae similar in size and inferred cleavage mode to presumptive fossil embryos. Under conditions that prevent autolysis, embryos within the fertilization envelope can be preserved with good morphology for sufficiently long periods for mineralization to occur. The reported fossil record exhibits size bias, but we show that embryo size is unlikely to be a major factor in preservation. Under some conditions of death, fossilized remains will not accurately reflect the cell structure of the living organism. Although embryos within the fertilization envelope have high preservation potential, primary larvae have negligible preservation potential. Thus the paleo-embryological record may have strong biases on developmental stages preserved. Our data provide a predictive basis for interpreting the fossil record to unravel the evolution of ontogeny in the origin of metazoans.

So, what the scientists did in this paper, was create experimental conditions to test whether or not it was possible for embryonic aquatic organisms of the relevant phyla to be preserved long enough for mineralisation processes to begin, by devising appropriate conditions in the laboratory. In particular, they devised a series of conditions to prevent a process known as autolysis, namely tissues breaking down due to spontaneous chemical reactions after death, usually the result of oxidation processes that result in a cascade of other chemical reactions between the oxidised constituents. Since oxidation is an important factor in autolysis, it was determined, courtesy of well understood chemistry, that an environment preventing autolysis would be strongly reducing in nature, and appropriate reducing agents exist in natural systems. One that is of particular importance is hydrogen sulphide, H2S, a gas that is produced by anaerobic bacteria among other sources (it is also a product of some volcanic emissions), and which is a well-known reducing agent in chemistry. The appearance of H2S in aquatic systems is well known to aquarists like myself, and occurs whenever "dead spots" appear in a substrate that are deprived of oxygen for some reason, one reason why undergravel filters became popular in aquaria to eliminate these "dead spots" and promote the flourishing of aerobic nitrifying bacteria that help maintain water quality in the medium term. I shall leave aside the different technologies used in marine reef aquaria to achieve a similar end result with respect to nitrification, as this is not relevant here, but the appearance of H2S in aquatic substrates is a familiar and well documented process, indeed quite a few ponds will liberate the foul-smelling gas if the substrate is disturbed.

Now, the material used as the reducing agent in this instance was somewhat different from H2S for safety reasons (hydrogen sulphide is a readily flammable gas, as well as being as toxic as cyanide if inhaled in quantity, leading to death by respiratory arrest). However, a reducing agent possessing chemical properties as close to those of H2S as possible without the safety hazards was selected for the experiments. β-mercaptoethanol, HO-CH2-CH2-SH, which exhibits similar reducing chemistry, is also liquid at room temperature (thus vastly reducing the hazard level from inhalation) and readily soluble in water.

So, let's move on and continue with the paper.

Discovery of microfossils interpreted as metazoan embryos and larvae in rocks of Ediacaran and Cambrian age putatively coeval with the metazoan radiation (1–11) has the promise to provide direct insight into developmental mode in animal evolution. In contrast to the record for living metazoans, the Ediacaran and Cambrian record of fossilized embryos has been interpreted to represent only direct developing lecithotrophic forms. However, the available fossil record is biased and in different ways in different deposits (6, 12, 13). Putative fossil cleavage-stage embryos from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation are large in comparison with many modern embryos. Discussion to date has centered on the difficulty of distinguishing fossils of cleaving embryos from fossils of other multicellular forms, such as algae (5). Moreover, the validity of some putative fossils, particularly those interpreted as larval forms, has been questioned (2, 3, 5, 14). Whether primary larvae can be preserved as fossils has not been addressed.

Previous experimental studies of soft tissue mineralization showed that after introduction of an anaerobic bacterial community and sea floor sediment to shrimp carcasses, oxygen levels fell, sulfide levels rose, pH levels fell, and phosphatization of muscle tissue occurred within a month (15). A link was made between anaerobic decay and mineralization. Where oxygen is available, calcium carbonate deposition dominates, whereas in a closed system, calcium phosphate deposition can replicate soft tissues within 2 weeks (16, 17). Similar studies of embryos were not as successful at preserving cell structure. Experimental mineralization of lobster eggs in the presence of anaerobic sediments resulted in calcium carbonate deposition on the tough external egg envelope within 15–36 days, but no preservation or mineralization of the embryos within was observed (18). Anyone who works with marine embryos would consider preservation for sufficient time for mineralization via phosphatization unlikely, given the seeming fragility of such embryos. Freshly killed marine embryos in normal seawater decompose within a few hours. We carried out taphonomy experiments designed to uncover the impact of the mode of death and postdeath environment on the preservational potential of marine embryos and larvae.

So, prior to the work done by the authors of this paper, there have been prior experiments on the likely conditions required for mineralisation to begin, and a link between an anaerobic, reducing environment has already been established in experimental work on larger organisms. An anaerobic, reducing environment is associated with both preservation of soft tissues long enough for mineralisation to begin, and the onset of a process known as phosphatisation, whereby calcium phosphate begins to replace some of the soft tissue.

However, prior experiments to establish such conditions for embryonic material before this paper have been largely regarded as failures. Thus, the authors sought to determine what conditions would result in successful preservation of embryonic material, in order to obtain experimental evidence that embryos could fossilise under the appropriate conditions.

Moving on ...

The presumptive fossil cleavage embryos described to date are large in size (≅500 μm) and exhibit a covering that resembles a fertilization envelope and closely packed equal-sized cells resembling a pattern of cell division in which blastomere size decreases with increasing cell number, typical of cell division without cell growth in early embryos. We used the lecithotrophic Australian sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma as a model in our decay experiments because its embryos exhibit a comparable suite of features (19, 20). Mineralization was not studied, but conditions consistent with phosphatization (15–18) were investigated.

We also studied the effects of preservation conditions on small, planktotrophic sea urchin embryos and larvae to determine whether size of embryos is a determining factor in preservability. If it was, the bias toward reports of large-sized embryos in the Precambrian and Cambrian record might reflect a preservation bias and not contemporaneous embryological diversity. Our results show that under some experimental circumstances compatible with natural conditions maintenance of marine embryos for time periods compatible with the authigenic replication of soft tissue can potentially occur, but for only a limited set of developmental stages.

So, what the authors of the paper decided to do, was select an organism whose embryos bore as much resemblance to the fossils as possible, determined on the basis of morphological characteristics, induce the organisms to breed, then test under what conditions the embryonic offspring underwent the appropriate processes. When this was done, it was determined that in situ phosphatisation could occur, but not for every possible embryonic developmental stage.

Moving on again ...

Results

Effect of Death and Postdeath Conditions on Embryo Morphology.

We compared normal cleavage stage H. erythrogramma embryos (Fig. 1 A–D) with embryos subjected to various experimental treatments (Fig. 1 E–L). Scanning electron microscopic images of H. erythrogramma embryos in Fig. 1 bear a striking resemblance in general appearance and size to putative fossil cleavage embryos described from Ediacaran and Cambrian rocks (1, 6, 13, 14). The rate of killing was important. Embryos killed rapidly (Fig. 1 E–I) retained blastomere numbers and arrangements of the time of death. Rapid death allowed retention of normal morphology, except if by lowered salinity, which affected cell shape. In hypotonic seawater, two-cell embryos retained uniform blastomere configuration, but the cells swelled to fill the fertilization envelope, producing a distinct morphology that if fossilized might be interpreted as an embryo of a different taxon (Fig. 1G). When embryos died slowly, individual blastomeres displayed differential cleavage patterns and timing of arrest, yielding abnormal, nonuniform morphologies (Fig. 1 J and K). The aberrant cleavage patterns resulting from slow death resembled those in polyspermic embryos (Fig. 1L).

Extended Preservation of Cleavage-Stage Embryos in Strong Reducing Conditions.

Because in situ mineralization is associated with anoxic reducing environments (15–18), we examined H. erythrogramma embryos placed into comparably strong reducing conditions, either directly or after they had been killed by other treatments. In a reducing environment, cleavage-stage embryos exhibited striking potential for extended preservation with normal morphology (Figs. 1 E and F and 2 A–C). Examination of killed embryos returned to normal seawater showed that the inactivation of proteins that occurs under reducing conditions is a necessary correlate of preservation. For cleavage-stage embryos, the presence of the fertilization envelope provides a protective barrier both from physical damage and external decay processes, including bacterial action and protist predation. Within an intact fertilization envelope, the pericellular space provides an apparently sterile medium surrounding the embryo (21, 22). Nonetheless, in normal seawater, dead embryos rapidly degrade through the process of autolysis. This internal cell destruction is caused by the action of endogenous proteases and other lytic enzymes, resulting in loss of cell boundaries, swelling, fusion of lipid droplets, and finally disintegration (Fig. 2D). Autolysis of dead cleavage-stage embryos was well underway by 18 h postdeath. To be fossilized with good morphology, embryos would need to encounter conditions that block autolysis, such as a reducing environment, very soon after death.

So, cleavage-stage embryos exhibit significant autolysis (initial decay processes) just 18 hours after death under normal seawater conditions. The question is, does a reducing environment halt this? Let us move on ...

Autolysis was prevented experimentally in the reducing conditions produced by the addition of 100 mM β-mercaptoethanol (β-ME) to normal seawater (Figs. 1 E and F and 2 A–C). In this environment, protein disulfide bonds were reduced and enzymes were inactivated; embryos were still intact 3 weeks after their killing, when the experiment was concluded. If embryos were returned from reducing conditions to normal seawater, fertilization envelopes degenerated, and the embryos were subject to normal decay processes, including bacterial action and attack by hypotrichous ciliates (Fig. 2E). Because of the extreme toxicity and difficulty of working with H2S, we used seawater containing 100 mM β-ME as a stand-in for the high H2S levels that may be present under anoxic conditions on the sea floor. Concentrations of H2S up to 30–100 mM have been reported from some modern marine environments (23, 24). At least some deposits containing Ediacaran and Cambrian fossil embryos are rich in pyrite, including the Doushantuo phosphorite, indicating substantial H2S levels at the time of fossilization (10, 25). H2S has similar reducing potential as thiols (26–29), and at the reported concentrations should effectively reduce protein S-S bonds in embryos that fall into such a sea-floor environment. The key is an environment in which autolytic processes are inactivated.

So, this paragraph confirms my earlier reporting about the reducing properties of H2S and its prevalence in certain aquatic environments (in the case of the use of H2S as a reducing agent, any decent chemistry textbook will cover this). I note however that my initial thoughts above on oxidation being a direct factor in decay appear to be wrong: what appears to happen is that specific enzymes that are normally active under controlled circumstances in living cells begin attacking the cell's own tissues in death, presumably because of the absence of the controls present in life, and reducing agents act to denature those enzymes and prevent them from attacking the cell's own integument. Nice to know I can learn something new from papers such as this.

When reducing agents were present in the environment containing the dead embryos, those reducing agents did indeed halt normal decay processes, and the particular chemical signs of enzyme inactivation pertinent to this were detected. Apparently the enzymes in question rely upon disulphide bonds to maintain their integrity, and reducing agents break these, thus causing the enzymes to undergo radical structural change with respect to protein folding, which destroys the active lytic sites. Disulphide bonds can be found in a number of critical proteins, such as, for example, insulin, and are usually formed post-translation by other enzymes, frequently between cysteine molecules. Break the disulphide bonds between the cysteine molecules, which are formed by oxidising enzymes (hence reducing agents will reverse the process) and the enzymes cease functioning.

So, the authors have established direct evidence that their sea urchin embryos can be preserved in a reducing environment, and have even detected the chemical basis for this preservation. Let's move on again ...

The preponderance of reported large-sized embryos (10, 11, 30) in fossil fauna raised the possibility that large size might be a determinant in survival for mineralization. We therefore also examined preservability of the much smaller embryos of a planktotrophic sea urchin from another family, Lytechinus pictus. L. pictus eggs are only 100 μm in diameter and have a more inflated and apparently more fragile fertilization envelope than H. erythrogramma. L. pictus cleavage-stage embryos exhibited identical responses to our test conditions as the much larger H. erythrogramma embryos. Dead two- and four-cell L. pictus embryos placed in reducing conditions retained their fertilization envelopes and blastomere morphology for up to 4 weeks (Fig. 3A), whereas killed embryos returned to normal seawater underwent autolysis within a few hours postdeath (Fig. 3B). These data and taphonomy of later-stage embryos described below show that size is not a key factor in preservation.

So, by changing species to one with a much smaller embryo, the authors established that size is not an intrinsic factor in determining preservation when a suitable reducing environment is present - embryos of different sizes exhibit much the same level of preservation. Which adds weight to the notion that the fossil record in this respect is subject to an additional mechanism favouring large size.

Role of the Fertilization Envelope.

An unexpected factor in potential preservation of embryos is the crucial role of the fertilization envelope. Under reducing conditions both large lipid-rich embryos of a direct developer and small protein yolk-based embryos of an indirect developer could be preserved for prolonged times when the fertilization envelopes were intact. To further assess the role of the fertilization envelope we tested preservation of blastula-stage embryos from both small- and large-egged species before and after hatching. Examining embryos after release from the fertilization envelope mediated by the normal hatching process circumvented artefacts because of weakening or distortion of embryos that we have sometimes observed during mechanical or chemical removal of the fertilization envelope at earlier stages.

If killed prehatching blastulae were returned to normal seawater, the individual cells underwent autolysis, followed by degeneration of the fertilization envelopes and bacterial decay. Under reducing conditions, the preservation potential of killed prehatching blastulae was similar to cleavage-stage embryos, but retention of normal morphology was not as good as in cleavage stages. Under reducing conditions, the normal columnar shape of cells of unhatched L. pictus blastulae was lost; cells rounded up, cell–cell adhesion was diminished, and the blastocoels collapsed, producing a stereoblastula-like morphology (compare Fig. 3 C and D). Interpretation of developmental morphology in potential fossils at this stage would thus be misleading. The clusters of blastomeres in these preserved L. pictus blastulae resemble some of the rarer Doushantuo fossil embryo-like forms with hundreds of cells and poorer preservation than the more common cleavage-stage forms (1, 30). Unhatched H. erythrogramma blastulae behaved similarly. It thus appears that cell–cell adhesion is not sufficient in later-stage embryos to maintain faithful morphological architecture under reducing conditions.

So, the authors have established that later stage embryos (blastula stage) are less likely to retain their features faithfully even in a reducing environment than cleavage-stage embryos, and consequently care needs to be exercised when attempting to interpret putative embryo fossils.

Unhatched L. pictus blastulae exhibited similar preservational potential to cleavage stages, remaining well preserved in reducing conditions for at least 3 weeks. Unhatched H. erythrogramma blastulae showed slightly less preservational potential, caused in part by the accumulation of large lipid droplets. Some experimental samples began to degrade after 1 week.

So, a range of factors are already manifesting themselves as being implicated in the degree to which preservation of embryonic material occurs, and that the picture is a fairly complex one. Cleavage-stage embryos are apparently the best preserved, and exhibit more or less uniform preservation in reducing environments regardless of size or species. Later stage embryos with more complex tissue differentiation, on the other hand, begin to exhibit features that complicate the picture, making preservation of these stages more problematic and requiring additional specialised conditions.

Reducing conditions did not support preservation of any posthatching stages lacking a fertilization envelope for any of the three sea urchin species we examined (Figs. 3 E and F and 4). The morphology of newly hatched L. pictus blastulae is very similar to unhatched blastulae (Fig. 3E), and so is the behavior of the cells when placed in reducing conditions after killing the embryos. In seawater containing β-ME, cells from hatched blastulae quickly rounded up and lost the tight cell–cell adhesion of the living embryo. In the absence of the constraining fertilization envelope, the embryos rapidly fell apart (Fig. 3F). Killed hatched H. erythrogramma blastulae behaved similarly under reducing conditions. Individual cells might be preserved for extended periods in reducing conditions, but it would be difficult indeed to identify their fossilized remains.

So, the fertilisation envelope is crucial to good preservation, and consequently, early stages are more likely to be preserved under reducing conditions than later stages. Embryos that have hatched and emerged from the fertilisation envelope are least likely to be preserved well, and indeed are likely to disintegrate.

Although they possess differentiated cell layers and well integrated internal tissue architecture, H. erythrogramma larvae also lost morphological integrity within a day or less under reducing conditions (Fig. 4 A and B). Likewise pluteus larvae from the indirect-developing, planktotrophic sister species, Heliocidaris tuberculata (Fig. 4 C–J), were not preserved in seawater containing β-ME. Moreover, calcitic skeletal elements rapidly dissolved in the highly reducing conditions that would potentially support phosphatization processes of fossilization of soft tissues (Fig. 4E). Skeletal elements were stable in less severe reducing conditions or in normal seawater (Fig. 4 F–I), environments incompatible with preservation of cell structure.

So, for hatched embryos, the situation is even worse, because features that would normally be preserved under non-reducing conditions are degraded under the reducing conditions that are required to foster soft tissue preservation for sufficient time to ensure the initialisation of phosphatisation.

The discussion section that follows is long, and hence I shall simply highlight the important parts.

Discussion

Our results show that several factors may affect fossilization of embryos (Table 1). Both the correct chemical environment and the presence of a fertilization envelope are key. Even when contained within a fertilization envelope, soft-bodied embryos and larvae in normal seawater are subject to internal autolytic decay processes. Without a fertilization envelope, they are subject to both autolysis and external action by bacterial decay and action of protists. In reducing conditions compatible with mineralization, autolysis is blocked and extended preservation is possible, but only if the embryo is enclosed within the fertilization envelope. The fertilization envelope may facilitate establishment of a geochemical microenvironment that inhibits decay and allows authigenic mineralization.

These data suggest strong taphonomic biases in distribution of fossil embryos. First, fossils of cleavage-stage embryos in fertilization envelopes should reflect a broad phylogenetic spectrum. Throughout much of marine animal diversity, early developmental stages are surrounded by envelopes that harden at fertilization and surround the embryos until hatching, including embryos of many species within cnidarians, annelids, phoronids, bryozoans, nematodes, arthropods, hemichordates, echinoderms, ascidians, and vertebrates (31–34). This wide distribution among living marine clades suggests that fertilization envelopes were likely also widely distributed in Late Precambrian and Cambrian marine embryos. The presence of large numbers of fossilized embryos in early cleavage stages in the Doushantuo fauna (1, 6, 11) fits with the feasibility of preservation suggested by our data.

Second, hatched embryos and soft-bodied larvae are unlikely to be preserved even under reducing conditions. In light of these results, claims of fossilized larvae among the Doushantuo fauna (2, 3), already the subject of critical analysis (5, 14, 35), appear even more unlikely. In addition, the nonequivalence of preservational potential for different developmental stages means that there would likely be a gap in the fossil record for ontogeny of many species. Our data coupled with previous taphonomic studies (15–18) suggest we should expect to find fossils of early stages and later cuticularized developmental stages but not hatched blastulae or primary larvae. This preservation bias may produce an artifact of interpretation of fossil faunas in which common cleavage-stage embryo fossils might not relate to similar-sized fossils of preadult stages.

Our data provide clues for interpreting the morphology of fossil embryos. Rapid death maintains blastomere numbers and shape, whereas slow death produces aberrant embryos. Thus, although concern has been expressed over the patterns of cleavage exhibited by Doushantuo embryos (36, 37), the equal size of the blastomeres within these embryos suggests rapid death and a faithful representation of the living embryo. The embryos from the Lower Cambrian of Shaanxi (6, 11, 38), exhibiting unequal blastomere size, are more difficult to interpret. The irregular pattern could be explained by slow death. However, some cleavage-stage embryos, such as those of spiralians, have different-sized blastomeres; also, in stages where hundreds of cells may be present, some embryos have cells of unequal size that are less evenly spaced. Nonetheless, a general feature of early cleavage embryos is that cells have a regular and coherent arrangement, unlike the irregular cell patterns such as in Fig. 1 J and K. Moreover, embryos that have undergone abnormal fertilization, as in polyspermy (Fig. 1L), exhibit abnormal cleavages unrelated to the events that killed or preserved them.

We found that many modes of rapid death do not disrupt embryos. However, hypotonic seawater, a plausible cause of death in situ, resulted in changes to blastomere volume and shape (Fig. 1G). Doushantuo cleavage embryos show a range of morphologies in which the blastomeres are more or less tightly adpressed to one another (1) or to the fertilization envelope (39). Another possible artifact might arise from our observation that even under reducing conditions fidelity of normal architecture was not fully maintained in blastula stages. Such differences in morphology in fossil forms might represent different species or even a change in cleavage pattern during development of a single species, but also might be artefacts of taphonomic variables. Attempts to discriminate developmental series of different species in fossil deposits (11) have not considered such artefacts.

In some cases the fossils may provide clues to nonideal prefossilization conditions. For example, Xiao and Knoll (25, 30) inferred organic degradation in some of the Doushanto embryos, the appearance of which is similar to some of our experimental embryos under nonpreserving conditions (Fig. 3 B and D). Some of the poorly preserved fossils interpreted as hydrozoan gastrulae (2) also resemble these degraded embryos.

Understanding potential taphonomic biases in the preservation of Precambrian and Cambrian fossil embryos provides a window on the metazoan radiation and the origins of larvae (40). Hypotheses of developmental evolution among metazoan phyla formulated on the basis of a fossil record devoid of primary larvae (12, 35) may be spurious. Rather, the evolution of life history and developmental modes in early metazoans may have to be inferred indirectly from fossil embryos.

We observed that decay and preservation potential were similar in both the large lipid-rich direct developing H. erythrogramma embryos and small yolk-rich embryos from two species of planktotrophic indirect developers, indicating that size and cytoplasmic composition may have little influence on taphonomy of sea urchin embryos and larvae. The Doushantuo fauna reflects a developmental-stage bias consistent with taphonomic observations, but the fauna reported to date contains only larger embryos. This finding may result from a preponderance of large-egged direct developers in the fauna, a biostratinomic artifact, or an artifact of sampling microfossils of smaller sizes.

The distribution of fossil embryo sizes is significant because in modern marine fauna, large egg size (>300 μm) and lecithitrophy, and small egg size and planktotrophy, are strongly linked with direct and indirect development, respectively. We show that the primary larvae of indirect developers are unlikely to be preserved. Reinterpretation of the embryo fossil record in this light suggests that the absence of primary larvae is probably a taphonomic artifact and, as such, it may never prove possible to directly test hypotheses on the life-history strategy adopted by early metazoans. However, fossil embryos in the small size range can be used as a marker for the presence of feeding larvae. A shift associated with the Cambrian radiation from predominantly direct development to mainly planktonic feeding larvae should leave a signal of a change in size distribution in fossilized cleavage-stage embryos. Based on extant species, a size shift from 300 μm or more diameters to a smaller diameter range from 60 to 200 μm would be predicted.

There are convincing arguments that feeding larvae were present in several taxa by the early Ordovician (41, 42); thus comparisons of embryo fossils from the late Precambrian through the early Ordovician (13, 42) would allow this question to be answered. If small-sized embryos typical of planktotrophic indirect-developers are present in late Cambrian to early Ordovician sediments but absent in late Precambrian to early Cambrian deposits, this pattern would be consistent with a later appearance in evolution. In contrast, if small-sized embryos cannot be found in deposits from time periods when feeding larvae are known to exist, then their absence from other deposits is likely to be a taphonomic bias and would not be informative. Thus even though we cannot expect to find larvae themselves in the fossil record, the robust predictions supported by size classes of modern embryos will allow interpretation of life history and developmental mode of fossil fauna, once it is known if the size range of fossil embryo faunas is real or if microfossils representing small-sized embryos are present but heretofore unsampled.

So, in other words, experiments on present day sea urchin embryos indicate that it is possible to infer evolutionary conclusions about the development of specific traits in certain lineages based upon the appearance of embryos of specific sizes and their relative abundance once microfossils are subject to appropriate proper analysis. Indeed, the authors have already made a prediction above about the features that should be observed in microfossil populations, given the connection between certain developmental traits and embryo size in the respective lineages. It is also possible to determine in advance what patterns of microfossil distribution would fail to be evolutionarily informative with respect to these lineages, as stated above. Therefore, the experiments allow us to arrive at reasonable conclusions about those lineages, based upon future examination of microfossil populations in the light of these experimental results.

This is the level of detail of work that underpins modern scientific analysis. The authors of the paper above, went to the trouble of recreating experimentally, conditions that would be required to initiate the first stages of fossil preservation, and on the basis of that experimental work, have provided a means of analysing microfossils of relevant taxa. Similar papers covering similar work on other taxa can be found by the diligent.

Now, if the authors have established that it's possible for planktonic embryos to be preserved as fossils, with anatomy and morphology intacts, what makes you think this won't also apply to larger, more robust organisms?

-- Polystrate tree fossils indicate that they were buried immediately and not over millions of years later.

Bullshit. Oh wait, this has already been covered and debunked here.

Since a dead tree stump would decay easily.

Wrong. You're talking out of your arse here, because I'm aware of tree stumps in my own locality that have remained practically intact for a decade or more.

The presence of roots in these trees also indicate that the layers were formed in a short span of time and not over millions of years. The reasons given such as growth after burial are not possible since no tree has ever been observed to have grown after it has been buried in deep mud unless it was young since old trees take more time to grow and need sunlight to form the energy needed for the processes.

Drivel.

Oh wait, this creationist bullshit you're peddling here was destroyed by a nineteenth century geologist, who worked on this very problem. Which is covered in more detail here.

So, given that there's already numerous reasons to dismiss the above assertions you've presented, I suspect the rest of your assertions are nothing more than rehaqshes of previously destroyed creationist canards as well. I might return to some of those after I've finished by breakfast and scheduled JavaScript debugging.

Calilasseia's picture
Meanwhile, I think the truth

Meanwhile, I think the truth should be told here, regarding "Rabbi Mark" and his peddling of creationist canards. Because the canards he peddles here are straight out of the printed corpus of one Henry Morris.

For those who have never encountered this individual, Henry Morris was an arch-charlatan and professional liar for creationist doctrine, who wrote a number of scurriluous creationist screeds aimed at keeping the gullible rubes misinformed about science, all the better to keep the tithes flowing into the megachurch coffers. Among the verminous and pestilential tomes that emanated from his scabrous, lying hand, was a book that constitutes practically the manual for creationist quote mining of scientific papers, and on that basis alone, he should be regarded as a criminal-level fraud, even before we examine the rest of his mendacious output. Pretty much the entire basis of the apologetics of Ken Ham's Arsewater In Genesis website, is derived from Morris' excursions into fabrication and duplicitous manipulation of the work of others, all performed in the service of the American corporate creationism industry.

The tissues of lies that Morris scribbled during his excremental lifetime, are frequently listed as "recommended reading" on numerous conservative evangelican Christian websites. This includes those tawdry parts of his oeuvre that contain explicit racism - the "Hamitic races" garbage circulating in some creationist circles, particularly in those parts of the Deep South where the KKK retains some influence, is the product of Morris, and peddled to this day in Ham's ludicrous "creation museum".

Morris launched the duplicitous creationist practice of treating science as a branch of apologetics, another reason why anyone with integrity might feel the urge to piss on this lying bastard's grave. In short, Morris was the engine driving the development of modern American corporate creationism, in all its sleazy, feculent and morally elastic inglory.

Now, I think the truth should be told here. Given that virtually every canard peddled by "Rabbi Mark" emanates directly from the scribblings of Morris, which is circulated among the fundagelical Trumpoid crowd alongside anti-vaccine denial, climate change denial, and some of the more creepy apologetic products of Dominionism, it's pretty unlikely for this material to be regular reading in the world of Judaism, not least given the overt racism Morris peddled in some of his work. Even various ultra-Orthodox sects give the output of people like this a wide berth, and those sects that do embrace some brand of creationism, have their own, indigenous form thereof, with appropriate observable tell-tale signs of their origin. The sects in question regard borrowing from a figure like Morris, to be almost as anathema as shagging a pig.

So, do we have here another right-wing fundagelical posting under false pretences with the "Rabbi Mark" moniker? It's not as if we lack evidence for the tendency among the fundagelicals, to engage in mischief with both Jewish scripture and Jewish culture. Ann Coulter stepped into this territory at least once in the past with her public utterances, and now we have the very recent spectacle of none other than Donald Trump, the Orange Scrotum himself, posting that frankly deranged Twitter outburst about him being the "Second Coming", and trying to pass himself off as the new "King of the Jews" (I kid you not - savour the whole creepy spectacle here.

So, are we looking at a fundagelical pretending to be Jewish here?

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