Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis Evolution discussion


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Source check failures of Denton's 2016 book

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James Downard I wonder how many of those praising Michael Denton's new book took the trouble to source fact check any of it first? Denton is actually a very superficial researcher, his 1985 relying on sparse or dated sources (especially on paleontology), which I encountered in the course of my #TIP project www.tortucan.wordpress.com. As Denton skipped past the reptile-mammal transition in that older book, I took special note of how he mangled the subject in his 2016 book when I prepared my comprehensive review of the antievolution literature on this issue, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1540736296/...

Denton failed miserably not only on that reptile-mammal transition macroevolution case (failing to discuss any of the paleontological details, or even cite works relevant to it), but did so equally badly regarding the origin and evolution of feathers, the systematics and evolutionary origins of ants, and even the claim that the shape of maple leaves was somehow inexplicable from the view of a "Darwinian adaptive scenario" (a topic which he had implied would be discussed in the new book, but which in the end he didn't allude to).

I strongly recommend all readers of works claiming sweeping revision of a scientific paradigm take the trouble of inspecting the sources used to support the claims, and see if they match up. In Denton's case, they don't.


Chad Tronetti Your claims are bizarre. "Still a Theory in Crisis", first of all, is not "antievolution literature" as you characterize it. Denton doesn't discuss the paleontological details or cite works relevant to it because their are no works regarding these issues that tackle the types of problems to which Denton refers. You seem to believe that Denton denies the transition. He does not. Why would he cite evidence suggesting a particular phenomena occurred, when he does not deny its occurrence? Before disagreeing with a particular scientific interpretation, you must first understand that interpretation rather than some kind of caricature of that interpretation. I'm not sure Denton gave a compelling argument for self-organization or pre-programmed adaptability in this book (James Shapiro gives a much more compelling argument in "Evolution A View from the 21st Century"), but he certainly lays out the undeniable deficits of the current Neo-Darwinian Synthesis and posits some reasonable and informed speculations as to the direction in which biology will be moving in the 21st century. It is truly an exciting time for the biological sciences.


James Downard Denton doesn't deny the data in his latest book but he doesn't address it either. He tries to claim no one can explain the mammal jaw shift in an a


James Downard An adaptive darwinian way. Denton was flat out wrong there as it had already been found it was adaptive to an insectivorous diet. I am answering this on a smartphone so typing awkward.


James Downard Your claim Chad that no science work existed on the points Denton raised is wrong and was obvious when checking his sources which I did when analyzing his sources claims in writing my own work on reptile mammal transition for "Evolution Slam Dunk". I ask you Chad did you do any source fact checking of Denton's claims or simply accept them as so?


message 6: by Chad (last edited Jan 05, 2018 07:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chad Tronetti Again, Denton does not claim that the transition did not occur. He also does not deny adaptation. He also does not deny adaptation through Darwinian means. I'm not sure what you think he's arguing for or against, but you seem to want to pretend he's some kind of anti-evolutionary creationist. He's simply saying that the Neo-Darwinian synthesis cannot account for much of the adaptive change we see in the fossil record. There's nothing controversial about that. You're a couple decades behind if you think so. James Shapiro's continuation of the work of Barbara McClintock in pre-programmed adaptability and the ability of an organism to alter/cut/splice/paste/transfer elements of its own genetic code, the findings of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, the ever-expanding findings within the studies of epigenetics, the inexplicable order and complexity discovered through the Human Genome Project, Symbiogenesis, Kaufman's work on auto-catalytic sets and order for free, Stuart Newman's work on the top-down causation and emergent biomechanical processes creating function and order within the cell? Denton is commenting on the clear failure of the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis to coherently integrate these well founded laboratory-based discoveries with its just-so, hypothetical, hand waving, speculative stories. Denton sees evolution as a beautiful, brilliant process, that occurred through the incredible, mindboggling properties woven into the fabric of our universe. Lay down your ideology and take a look at what's happening at the cutting edge of biology. It's about time the wet biologists started taking Darwin with a grain of salt, and started thinking outside the box.


James Downard I see you declined to say if you tried source checking Denton. I have. Denton pp 240-241 "accepts" the reptile-mammal data, but claims (falsely) that no one can even imagine an adaptive Darwinian explanation. Ironically his one cited source, Bates & Falkingham (2012) had clue to work showing that jaw shift WAS adaptive, re insectivore diet. Denton's book is as sloppy & poorly reasoned as his 1985 book, except he had no excuses in internet era not to be able to find the facts.


Chad Tronetti You are creating yet another straw man argument that Denton does not make. He does not say that "no one can even imagine an adaptive Darwinian explanation" for the jaw shift. He says, "There is no doubt that parallel evolutionary trends for which adaptive scenarios are hard to envisage are marked in the synapsids". He then cites Sues. This is in no way an unreasonable statement. You seem to have some deeper beef with Denton that goes beyond the science. I have a feeling its ideological. I have no use for ideology. Good day.


James Downard Once again Chad you blithely take Denton's word for things. Why did Denton cite the DECADES old Sue's paper (1985) rather than newer works, such as Crompton & Luo's 1993 explicitly noting how work had moved on? I remind you of the fact that Denton acted as if adaptive models were hard to imagine, when what he meant was that HE couldn't imagine such, & hadn't bothered to look.


message 10: by Chad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chad Tronetti Of course you're correct...
as all ideologically possessed people inevitably are.


message 11: by James (new) - rated it 1 star

James Downard Short but still evading, what ideology am I serving in insisting on sound method & fact-checking? Are you suggesting NOT source-checking Denton is an OK part of your ideology? Or are you claiming you have no ideology of you own?


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