It’s happened again – I’m a good week behind in DpSUs, so it’s a good thing there’s not much to them. First, Marine Reptile Fossil Rewrites Evolution.

Acamptonectes densus (some fossils from the paper)

Ok, this one will be very quick. It was once thought that Ichthyosaurs suffered badly in an extinction event at the Juarassic boundary: a paper in PLoS ONE (New Ophthalmosaurid Ichthyosaurs from the European Lower Cretaceous Demonstrate Extensive Ichthyosaur Survival across the Jurassic–Cretaceous Boundary) shows that this was not nearly as severe. Darren Naish, who has had his work used and abused by Mr Thomas before, was a co-author of the paper and has a lengthy blogpost explaining the facts behind the paper.

There is no reason for Mr Thomas to be latching onto this paper, and indeed he goes off on a tangent about finding multiple kinds of fossils in the same fossil bed. *yawn*

Next, on Thursday, was Google Doodle Celebrates Creation Geologist. Said ‘creation geologist’ was working in the 17th century, somewhat before a non-creationist viewpoint was scientifically tenable. Mr Thomas sows confusion by saying that this geologist “summarized his ideas about how rock layers formed and how fossils came to be in them. At the time, many naturalists reasoned that what looked like seashells and bones in the earth—today called fossils—were produced by the earth, since they could not fathom that the middle of land masses could ever have been covered by an ocean.” That’s…not even wrong.

Nicolas Steno – for that was his name – was indeed genuinely religious, to the point of being canonised by the Catholic Church for his role in the counter-reformation. As well as his fossil stuff (what actually happened there was that he determined that shark teeth he had in his posession looked rather like some “stony formation” found embedded in rocks; the reason why people thought they grew in situ was that they could not concieve of how they got into the rock) Steno is credited for determining such laws of geology as the fact that ‘the layer on top is younger than the one beneath’ etc, which are very important in what we might call ‘evolutionary geology.’

The question remains: so what if he was a creationist?

On Friday Mr Thomas expressed outrage that a New Book Says Universe Came from Nothing. He writes:

[S]trict science tests that which is repeatable, and history is not repeatable. Science did not write the Big Bang story. That required immense imagination and deliberately ignoring a wide range of scientific observations that contradict the Big Bang, such as the universe’s clumpy mass distribution and galaxies that appear to be billions of years more mature than the model predicts.

Having seen both these objections raised in DpSUs before, I am not overly impressed by them. Another quote:

Krauss cited Edwin Hubble’s now famous scientific observation of redshifted starlight, which is a repeatable observation and is therefore science. But to interpret this as being caused by expansion is not directly scientific. And to extrapolate an expanding universe backward in time all the way to when everything supposedly burst forth from nothing is philosophically motivated history, not science at all!

I don’t think Mr Thomas fundamentally understands the nature of ‘science’ either – it’s not just natural selection, or any other topic.

I’ll cover the remaining articles later. Some other happenings:

  • There is no That’s a Fact video for this week
  • However, there is another refutation video from Dr Shorey out, which you can see here.
  • And also, I was interviewed on Stuart Robbins’ Exposing Pseudo Astronomy podcast the other day, and the interview is now up. You can struggle to understand my heavily nasal voice here.

And that’s all. I’m also behind on the IEE and  Acts & Facts stuff, but that can wait.


One thought on “WednesdayThursdayFriday

  1. Hi Peter, Good blog! A somewhat Sisyphean task to undertake as it’s always easier to fabricate lies than to refute them.

    A good analogy is that of an “Intellectual Tennis match” For the YECs the “net” is down when they serve but of course it must be “up” for your returns…


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