Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fish of the Month August 2008 - The Coelacanth

Coelacanths are, of course, popularly known as 'living fossils'




The oldest Coelacanth fossils have been dated as being about 400 million years old. The youngest fossil Coelacanths have been dated at about 70 million years old

And, for a while, palaeontologists and evolutionists thought that the coelacanths could possibly have been the first fish to develop legs, take the first tentative steps on land (presumably whilst holding their breath until they evolved a set of complimentary air-breathing lungs) and started the land-based evolutionary branch which culminated in the birth of Richard Dawkins

There wasn't actually any direct evidence that leg-sprouting fish have ever actually existed but they would fit nicely into a particular story and so evolutionists have allways been keen to find, or draw, some



Fantasia (1940) - leg sprouting fish make their appearance @1:48


Unfortunately for the coelacanth's place in evolutionary history, the coelacanth had to be taken off the list of possible candidates when people started pulling living examples out of the sea from the late 1930s onwards...

which raised all sorts of interesting questions such as...

  • Where had they been hiding for the last 70 million years?
  • How is it that a fish that was once identified as being the possible ancestor of all land based tetrapods, which is a fair old slab of evolution by any measure, didn't actually evolve very much at all?

    According to the Coelacanth page on Talk Origins that's because -'The theory of evolution does not say that all organisms must evolve. In an unchanging environment, natural selection would tend to keep things largely unchanged morphologically'

    ...except for when things do change

    which is another way of saying that evolutionary theory is a great way of 'explaining' things after they've happened but crap at predicting what will happen (cf. Nostradamus)

    (things must have been very quiet around the waters off Japan, where this character lives, for the last 550 million years)



More walking fish - this time courtesy of Guinness


Coelacanths do, however, clearly have a sense of humour and are aware that humans used to draw pictures of them walking around the sea bed on their fins, rehearsing their conquest of Land

Because, whenever anyone points a video camera at a coelacanth, they swim around doing cute little vertical headstands, keeping their feet fins as far away from the sea bed as possible...






So, in the context of the coelacanth, the term 'living fossil' is another, shorter, way of saying...

'we used to think this creature was long dead and thought we could get away with making up all sorts of fairy tales about it but then the fucker turned out to be still alive and left us all looking like gimps, the bastard'

The Coelacanth - My Fish Selection of the Month, August 2008 - learn more over at...



NB Richard Dawkins is currently appearing in Summer Season over at Channel 4 - and for someone advocating such a supposedly unassailable case his compulsion to tell one or two whoppers in the process is quite perplexing

.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bring on the fish, i say!!!

Tony said...

Ahhhh, what's the non-evolution of a fish compared to the evolution of forcebly entry devices? Isn't it nice?

Humans (TM): beating shit out of each other since 200,000 BC.

Tony said...

Forgot the link...
http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=daZdV1-6RdA

Wolfie said...

In the early days of the internet I came across an excellent site presenting a lengthy scientific paper explaining why Darwinian evolutionary theory was wrong (sadly gone now). Not having been a biologist I never gave it much thought but after reading all the material a light came on in my head - he was absolutely right! That doesn't mean the sky-pixie did it but I does mean its back to the drawing-board for a lot of scientists so it really gets my goat to see Dawkins on the telly trying to flog weak science for political ends to the telly-viewing proletariat.

There is a lot of pseudo-Darwinism intrinsically bound with our modern political theory and I think a lot of people are worried that this edifice may slip given the suitable intellectual lubricant.

lwtc247 said...

I'm gald you mentioned these babies. :)

'cos here's something the miserable fools would rather we forgot: that current thinking puts the origin of life on the earth as begining 600M years ago. So, from chemical soup to full coelacanth in just 200M years, evolution for them was switched on. Then it suddenly stopped. Yet other species it was soooo sloooow. Doesn't bode well for the coelacanth's food supply.

This causes major problems to their own godless-by-any-means hypotheses, for some of reasons Stef does well to point out, but significantly for mitochondria, it's deadly. Mutation of mitochondrial is heavily relied upon to date in many aspects of science and is used extensively as a 'prong' for people like Dorkins to try and poke people with. But the evolution of coelacanth from chemical soup to fully formed animal and then thn STOP, melts that prong like bLiar's fake cheest charisma in front of the Womens institute.

600M y.a. - 400M y.a. massive rate of magically appearng mitochondria mutation. 400M y.a. no rate at all. Oh dear.

Flush the toilet onthe way out guys.

I recomend this site http://tinyurl.com/6g2exw to see the gargantuan myths that are being cobbled together to try and spread the crap that Dorkins uses as a ketchup substitute.


aside: Dr Iain Stewart [University of Plymouth and BBC fave - see the Power of the Planet] says before that, it previously took 2 billion years for the oxygen reach life sustaining quantities thanks to iddy widdy stromatolitic bacteria, the orignin of which and how they siddenly statred producing gaseous oxygen all by themselves is like ALL these things of no importance.)

Aaaaah. that was enormously satisfying. :D

It's gonna be a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

"... explaining why Darwinian evolutionary theory was wrong ..."

It's not a case of binary right or wrong; it's the degree of truth of the hypothesis from a Bayesian perspective. The degree of truth is gleaned from objective evidence after starting from a position of Jayne's MaxEnt. (That goes for all other hypotheses 7/7 bombing, 9/11, etc etc). See, R Heuer's Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (or some such) particular the chapter on Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (google will provide).

Shahid said...

"Bayesian perspective" as in the algorithm employed by spam filters, right? That yields good binary results for 90% or more of data, and over 99% when fed with more rules. It's only the stuff on the boundary that can be difficult to get a binary result on. That's the domain of theory. The fringe. Except any time a theory comes symbiotically entwined with political ideology and propaganda, I'm inclined towards scepticism.

Anonymous said...

""Bayesian perspective" as in the algorithm employed by spam filters, right?" Amongst other things, yes.

"That yields good binary results for 90% or more of data, [it depends upon your cut off. In the guts of the algorithm there's something like, if this is x % spam like, I'll call it spam, if not I wont. The result may be binary, the guts of the process isn't] and over 99% when fed with more rules."

Bayesian is intrinsic scepticism. Start with a hypothesis; assign a degree of believe; look for weight of evidence; re-calculate degree of believe; repeat and repeat.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Bayes note, here.

"What matters is that Bayes is cool, and if you don't know Bayes, you aren't cool."

Shahid said...

"Bayesian is intrinsic scepticism. Start with a hypothesis; assign a degree of believe; look for weight of evidence; re-calculate degree of believe; repeat and repeat."

Sounds good to me.

You're right about the guts of the algorithm too (sorry, that's not meant to be patronising, my background is in programming, so I am just happily concurring, I'm no philospher!)

The last sentence in my original comment describes the variables I would feed into my own Bayesian evaluation of Dawkinism. It yields a binary "bollocks" ;-)

Anonymous said...

"... that's not meant to be patronising, ..."

too chilled to take umbrage etc.

"...any time a theory comes symbiotically entwined with political ideology and propaganda, I'm inclined towards scepticism."

Point taken and concur.

(Warp factor 5 Sulu, new territories to explore. Whoooooosh!)

Stef said...

@wolfie

...That doesn't mean the sky-pixie did it but I does mean its back to the drawing-board for a lot of scientists so it really gets my goat to see Dawkins on the telly trying to flog weak science for political ends to the telly-viewing proletariat.

There is a lot of pseudo-Darwinism intrinsically bound with our modern political theory and I think a lot of people are worried that this edifice may slip given the suitable intellectual lubricant.


Very, very nicely put

A clue to the kind of political ends Dawkins serves here

and recycling that rampant creationist Kurt Vonnegut's quote on Darwinism for the umpteenth time...

"Something perfectly wonderful is going on. I do not doubt it, but the explanations I hear do not satisfy me"

Stef said...

Anyone watching the start of Dawkins' latest series on C4 last week would have been treated to the sight of Dawkins comparing evolution to selective breeding of livestock

The problem with that of course is that selective breeding only works within a range of variability for each species and doesn't introduce any new features.

Otherwise someone would have selectively bred a chicken the size of a brontosaurus with a couple of thousand legs by now

Anonymous said...

Stop Press. War in the offing. Could be very serious if the Moronicans get directly involved.

Stef said...

an interesting thing about fossils, the ground is full of them, yet, I'm hard put to think of anywhere where fossil beds are being actively deposited today. Most animals that die nowadays get eaten, rot, smashed by waves and generally ground into their constituent parts.

Ordinarily, I'd conclude that the processes which laid down all those thick fossil beds were probably catastrophic in nature and not taking place today but Richard Dawkins was on tele last week telling me that geology doesn't work like that so now I'm confused

Stef said...

Stop Press. War in the offing.

a quick glance at a map does suggest that Georgia would make an excellent location for launching US pre-emptive strikes on all sorts of evil doers (entirely defensively of course)

though you have to ask yourself how would the Americans react in a parallel universe where the Russians started showing a strategic interest in the newly independent Republic of Arizona

DE said...

If I throw a bunch of sticks into a river, much like Pooh, some will float on downstream, some will get stuck etc.

I can repeat that a lot with roughly the same stuckness to non-stuckness distribution. Nothing was mysteriously turned on or turned off for any of the sticks. All depends on the river and the weeds.

I can happily make a theory on Survival of the Stickiest but I'm thinking it wouldn't be very intertesting. Maybe it would say that thin smooth sticks didn't get stuck so much, wheras thick muddy sticks did. Maybe trees producing thin sticks got to see the ocean more often. Is the river a cleverly designed sieve for thin sticks?

Oh I give up - you all hate Dawkins, I'm going to tell my mummy about you. Waah!

Stef said...

as it happens I don't pretend for a second that stuck twigs, or coelacanths, disprove Darwinism - Darwinism is based on too subtle a tautology to be so easily taken down

but I do pretend that any scientific theory which can't distinguish between a fish that remained essentially unchanged for 400 million years and one that evolved into all land based tetrapods isn't worth crap

and, on the subject of Darwinian bollocks, this extract from the wikipedia entry on the vexatious subject of punctuated equilibrium is pretty special...

Richard Dawkins dedicated a chapter in The Blind Watchmaker to correcting, in his view, the wide confusion surrounding the theory of punctuated equilibrium. His first, and main point, is to argue that phyletic gradualism in the sense of uniformity of rates—what he refers to as "constant speedism"—is a "caricature of Darwinism"[12] and "does not really exist."[13] His second argument, which follows from the first, is that once this caricature is dismissed, we are left with only one logical alternative, which Dawkins calls "variable speedism." Variable speedism may be distinguished in one of two ways: "discrete variable speedism" and "continuously variable speedism." Eldredge and Gould, believing that evolution jumps between stability and relative rapidity, are described as "discrete variable speedists," and "in this respect they are genuinely radical."[14] They believe that evolution generally proceeds in bursts, or not at all. "Continuously variable speedists," on the other hand believe that "evolutionary rates fluctuate continuously from very fast to very slow and stop, with all intermediates. They see no particular reason to emphasize certain speeds more than others. In particular, stasis, to them, is just an extreme case of ultra-slow evolution. To a punctuationist, there is something very special about stasis."[15] Dawkins therefore commits himself here to an empirical claim about the geological record,[16] and it is this particular claim that Eldredge and Gould have aimed to overturn

Shahid said...

Dawkins is a fundamentalist guilty of spouting shit and getting pulled up on it time and time again.

I'm perfectly happy to be convinced about evolution by someone who can actually explain it to me. It's not evolution per se that I'm suspicious of, moreso the industry and fascism that surrounds it.

I also despise what it has produced in the form of social Darwinism. Hitler was of course, happy to "accelerate" Darwinism.

Sure; thin, slippery sticks make it down stream, but they are still sticks. They don't turn into coelecanths and then bipeds. And as far as I can see, coelecanths are the same as they ever were tens of milions (hundreds of millions?) of years ago.

What you're talking about is natural selection. I don't have a problem with natural selection. What I don't see evidence of is evolution by natural selection. I don't see any mutations that are ever beneficial. The chances of beneficial mutation on the scale we're talking about, even over tens of millions of years. Hundreds of millions of years? Now that's something I can barely comprehend. And that might be part of the problem. My complete inability to comprehend massive time scales.

In the religion of evolution, why is it so necessary for there to be so much fraud and deception? Why do creeps keep fabricating skeletons or pictures?

BTW, anyone found the missing link yet?

Stef said...

What you're talking about is natural selection. I don't have a problem with natural selection. What I don't see evidence of is evolution by natural selection. I don't see any mutations that are ever beneficial.

at this point, Darwinists would traditionally point to the sickle cell

Shahid said...

"at this point, Darwinists would traditionally point to the sickle cell"

They obviously haven't seen the queue of people who want to be cured of this "beneficial mutation"

ziz said...

"Anyone watching the start of Dawkins' latest series on C4 last week would have been treated to the sight of Dawkins comparing evolution to selective breeding of livestock"

They would also have been treated to Mr D saying he would go to talk to some kids (they don't answer back and can be fairly readily manipulated) about evolution. THis was somewhere else from wher he was ...so we saw Mr D ambulate to a bus / train station (? - I was losing interest at this point)then he got on bus / train / plain / time machine (by this point I had lost the will to live) ... he then conducted a desultory conversation with some schoolkids who evidently had been tiodied up and told to be polite ....

Having trouble sleeping ... 10 minutes of Mr D ... works wonders

Tom said...

BTW, anyone found the missing link yet?

http://najmita.150m.com/szukalski/macimowa/yetisyny_ang.htm

If anyone has, it'll have been Szukalski. His proud bearing denotes a proto-Loon well used to keeping his nose above water.

Tom said...

*despite a chip on each of either his both shoulders.

Stef said...

Outstanding!

Shahid said...

"A cretin-imbecile woman, 39 years old, sexually mature, as the breasts show, but half as tall as her nurse and mentally equivalent to an ape"

Bloody hell, just for a minute I thought he was talking about my ex...

Anonymous said...

"...in a parallel universe ..."

Not so far fetched is the secession of Scotland; not so far fetched would be Scotland joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; would it be so far fetched to imagine Faslane with Russian troops?

Anonymous said...

re Georgia. I hope the Russians find Saddam Hussein and parade him for all the world to see. I wonder how the BBC would explain themselves?

Norman Nephilim said...

I thought Stanisław Szukalski was the Looniest of them all, until I discovered Gorilla 199's Youtube account

anon 22:41 said...

I'm too lazy to look for the sources, but I was under the impression that coelacanths were actually thought to have evolved from an amphibian quadruped back into a proper fish. That's based on a coelacanth fossil which shows four asymmetric limbs, whereas the "modern" coelacanths have four symmetric fins.

Anyway, evolution is still a theory, with many gaps. It's just that until proven completely wrong, I prefer evolution taught in schools than creationism. The only intelligent design theory I dig is Crick's panspermia.

Otherwise, on the more juicy subject on Georgia, try to read The Grand Chessboard by Brzezinski , and Chossudovsky's War and Globalization for more background.

Don't worry, it's al about oil. Georgia is part of the GUUAM (Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldavia) alliance formed under NATO. It purpose is basically to protect the pipeline that starts in Azerbaidjan, and ends in a Georgian port, completely bypassing Russia...

The Underdoug said...

Found myself looking over some Max Kaiser viewpoints for Al-Jazeera's "People and Power" series and found this http://blip.tv/file/1157098/ via http://www.maxkeiser.com/

Prescient or what?

Merkin said...

I liked the Dawkins programme.
Thought he explained things reasonably well.
Still, doesn't matter as I live only a ferry ride away from Faslane.

ziz said...

Darwin made BIG mistake

He called his book the Origin of Species

It should have been the first part of a greater and larger work called
The Origins of Species.

Duz that hilp ?

Anonymous said...

War Comments, Oh Please!

Anonymous said...

War comments, There Are No Good Guys, But We Must Be Most Wary of Russia (Craig Murray).

Stef said...

I'm too lazy to look for the sources, but I was under the impression that coelacanths were actually thought to have evolved from an amphibian quadruped back into a proper fish. That's based on a coelacanth fossil which shows four asymmetric limbs, whereas the "modern" coelacanths have four symmetric fins.

New to me. It would be well-funny if someone had come out with that

@merkin

Dawkins always sounds plausible but that's not the same thing as being right. He persistently refuses to debate with sceptics and prefers to rant unopposed

Stef said...

Murray is bang out of order on this one - lines like...

An immediate ceasefire is required now and a de facto Russian annexation of South Ossetia must not be permitted, unless we eventually want a war for East Ukraine. Sadly, the West will learn the wrong long-term lesson. The answer is not to strengthen NATO. NATO is part of the cause of the problem, not the solution. By encircling and humiliating Russia, not least with new missile systems, NATO has creaated the climate in Russia so favourable to Putin

...display his prejudices

By encircling and humiliating Russia, not least with new missile systems, NATO is understandably pissing the Russians off. Full stop

If Murray was talking straight shouldn't that article have been titled...

'There Are No Good Guys, But We Must Be Most Wary of NATO'

anon 22:41 said...

@Stef

There you go: how the coelacanth got its fins

Stef said...

with all respect (honestly) that article does not refer to coelacanths evolving from amphibians

It does refer to a puzzle which has long vexed evolutionists

and that puzzle is how can they spin the fact that the coelacanth has apparently evolved so little over the last 400Ma, when sixty years ago other evolutionists were claiming that it was possibly the Gt Grandaddy of all tetrapods

the answer?

its fins have changed a little bit

...am catching the Big Dick's latest show on Dawkins+1 as I type - the Fib Gene is strong in that one

anon 22:41 said...

@Stef

No need to respect me, I'm only some anonymous coward. No mention of amphibians indeed, it was just my own imaginitis.

Stef said...

not that cowardly

nobody's truly anonymous in cyberspace