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Friday, August 1, 2008

The Fool Hath Said in His Heart....blah, blah, blah

Tired of theists calling you a "fool" because of a few verses of scripture? Well, don't worry, you are in good company.

If rejecting scripture makes me a fool....well, I am damn foolish, indeed! The likes of Ray seem to live in a different world, where nothing scathes their beliefs. They adopt even the most ardent atheist as their own-if they can quote-mine them. Ironically, Ray feels he is not a fool due to his presumed understanding of and belief in that favorite work of fiction. It seems we can't point out enough what an idiot he really is when he makes claims about things that can be checked. For example, he makes himself an idiot when he says thinks such this:

"Archaeopteryx (unlike Archaeoraptor) is not a hoax—-it is a bird, not a "missing link" between birds and reptiles. The missing link is still missing, and I'm still waiting for the first piece of genuine evidence for the theory of evolution."

This is known as observational selection. He neglects all the other dinosaur to bird forms we have. Archaeopteryx is but one form. Further, Ray Comfort wouldn't know a strong piece of evidence if he saw it, because he doesn't know anything about biology. A trained paleontologist understands anatomy and physiology inside and out, and not just of one organism, but many related organisms to the ones they study. Certain bone shapes, sizes and orientations tell a paleontologist a wealth of information that would be wasted on Ray Comfort. Notice Ray doesn't explain what would be a "genuine" piece of evidence in the reptile-bird transition...because he hasn't a clue. I am going to provide the talk origins section on this:

Claim CC214:There are no transitional fossils between reptiles and birds.

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, 75.

Response: Many new bird fossils have been discovered in the last couple of decades, revealing several intermediates between theropod dinosaurs (such as Allosaurus) and modern birds:

Sinosauropteryx prima. A dinosaur covered with primitive feathers, but structurally similar to unfeathered dinosaurs Ornitholestes and Compsognathus (Chen et al. 1998; Currie and Chen 2001).

Ornithomimosaurs, therizinosaurs, and oviraptorosaurs. The oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx had a body covering of tufted feathers and had feathers with a central rachis on its wings and tail (Ji et al. 1998). Feathers are also known from the therizinosaur Beipiaosaurus (Xu et al. 1999a). Several other birdlike characters appear in these dinosaurs, including unserrated teeth, highly pneumatized skulls and vertebrae, and elongated wings. Oviraptorids also had birdlike eggs and brooding habits (Clark et al. 1999).

Deinonychosaurs (troodontids and dromaeosaurs). These are the closest known dinosaurs to birds. Sinovenator, the most primitive troodontid, is especially similar to Archaeopteryx (Xu et al. 2002). Byronosaurus, another troodontid, had teeth nearly identical to primitive birds (Makovicky et al. 2003). Microraptor, the most primitive dromaeosaur, is also the most birdlike; specimens have been found with undisputed feathers on their wings, legs, and tail (Hwang et al. 2002; Xu et al. 2003). Sinornithosaurus also was covered with a variety of feathers and had a skull more birdlike than later dromaeosaurs (Xu, Wang, and Wu 1999; Xu and Wu 2001; Xu et al. 2001).

Protarchaeopteryx, alvarezsaurids, Yixianosaurus and Avimimus. These are birdlike dinosaurs of uncertain placement, each potentially closer to birds than deinonychosaurs are. Protarchaeopteryx has tail feathers, uncompressed teeth, and an elongated manus (hand/wing) (Ji et al. 1998). Yixianosaurus has an indistinctly preserved feathery covering and hand/wing proportions close to birds (Xu and Wang 2003). Alvarezsaurids (Chiappe et al. 2002) and Avimimus (Vickers-Rich et al. 2002) have other birdlike features.

Archaeopteryx. This famous fossil is defined to be a bird, but it is actually less birdlike in some ways than some genera mentioned above (Paul 2002; Maryanska et al. 2002).

Shenzhouraptor (Zhou and Zhang 2002), Rahonavis (Forster et al. 1998), Yandangornis and Jixiangornis. All of these birds were slightly more advanced than Archaeopteryx, especially in characters of the vertebrae, sternum, and wing bones.

Sapeornis (Zhou and Zhang 2003), Omnivoropteryx, and confuciusornithids (e.g., Confuciusornis and Changchengornis; Chiappe et al. 1999). These were the first birds to possess large pygostyles (bone formed from fused tail vertebrae). Other new birdlike characters include seven sacral vertebrae, a sternum with a keel (some species), and a reversed hallux (hind toe).

Enantiornithines, including at least nineteen species of primitive birds, such as Sinornis (Sereno and Rao 1992; Sereno et al. 2002), Gobipteryx (Chiappe et al. 2001), and Protopteryx (Zhang and Zhou 2000). Several birdlike features appeared in enantiornithines, including twelve or fewer dorsal vertebrae, a narrow V-shaped furcula (wishbone), and reduction in wing digit bones.

Patagopteryx, Apsaravis, and yanornithids (Chiappe 2002; Clarke and Norell 2002). More birdlike features appeared in this group, including changes to vertebrae and development of the sternal keel.

Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, Gansus, and Limenavis. These birds are almost as advanced as modern species. New features included the loss of most teeth and changes to leg bones.

Modern birds.
Chen, P., Z. Dong and S. Zhen, 1998. An exceptionally well-preserved theropod dinosaur from the Yixian Formation of China. Nature 391: 147-152.
Chiappe, L. M., 2002. Osteology of the flightless Patagopteryx deferrariisi from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina). In Chiappe and Witmer, pp. 281-316.
Chiappe, L. M. and L. M. Witmer (eds.), Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Chiappe, L. M., M. A. Norell and J. M. Clark, 2001. A new skull of Gobipteryx minuta (Aves: Enantiornithes) from the Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert. American Museum Novitates 3346: 1-15. http://diglib1.amnh.org/novitates/i0003-0082-346-01-0001.pdf
Chiappe, L. M., M. A. Norell and J. M. Clark, 2002. The Cretaceous, short-armed Alvarezsauridae. In: Chiappe and Witmer, pp. 87-120.
Chiappe, L. M., S. Ji, Q. Ji and M. A. Norell, 1999. Anatomy and systematics of the Confuciusornithidae (Theropoda: Aves) from the Late Mesozoic of northeastern China. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 242: 1-89. http://diglib1.amnh.org/bulletins/i0003-0090-242-01-0001.pdf
Clark, J. M., M. A. Norell and L. M. Chiappe, 1999. An oviraptorid skeleton from the Late Cretaceous of Ukhaa Tolgod, Mongolia, preserved in an avianlike brooding position over an oviraptorid nest. American Museum Novitates 3265: 1-36.
Clarke, J. A. and M. A. Norell, 2002. The morphology and phylogenetic position of Apsaravis ukhaana from the late Cretaceous of Mongolia. American Museum Novitates 3387: 1-46. http://diglib1.amnh.org/novitates/i0003-0082-3387-01-0001.pdf
Currie, P. J. and P. Chen, 2001. Anatomy of Sinosauropteryx prima from Liaoning, northeastern China. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 38: 1705-1727.
Forster, C. A., S. D. Sampson, L. M. Chiappe and D. W. Krause, 1998. The theropod ancestry of birds: New evidence from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. Science 279: 1915-1919.
Hwang, S. H., M. A. Norell, Ji Q. and Gao K., 2002. New specimens of Microraptor zhaoianus (Theropoda: Dromaeosauridae) from northeastern China. American Museum Novitates 3381: 1-44. http://research.amnh.org/users/sunny/hwang.et.al.2002.pdf
Ji, Q., P. Currie, M. A. Norell and S-A. Ji, 1998. Two feathered dinosaurs from northeastern China. Nature 393: 753-761.
Makovicky, P. J., M. A. Norell, J. M. Clark and T. Rowe, 2003. Osteology and relationships of Byronosaurus jaffei (Theropoda: Troodontidae). American Museum Novitates 3402, 1-32. http://diglib1.amnh.org/novitates/i0003-0082-3402-01-0001.pdf
Maryanska, T., H. Osmólska and M. Wolsan, 2002. Avialan status for oviraptorosauria. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47(1): 97-116. http://app.pan.pl/acta47/app47-097.pdf
Paul, Gregory S., 2002. Dinosaurs of the Air. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sereno, P. C. and C. Rao, 1992. Early evolution of avian flight and perching: New evidence from the Lower Creates of China. Science 255: 845-848.
Sereno, P. C., C. Rao and J. Li, 2002. Sinornis santensis (Aves: Enantiornithes) from the Early Cretaceous of Northeastern China. In: Chiappe and Witmer, pp. 184-208.
Vickers-Rich, P., L. M. Chiappe and S. Kurzanov, 2002. The enigmatic birdlike dinosaur Avimimus portentosus. In: Chiappe and Witmer, pp. 65-86.
Xu, X. and X. Wang, 2003. A new maniraptorian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Western Liaoning. Vertebrate Palasiatica 41(3): 195-202.
Xu, X. and X-C. Wu, 2001. Cranial morphology of Sinornithosaurus millenii Xu et al. 1999 (Dinosauria: Theropoda: Dromaeosauridae) from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 38: 1739-1752.
Xu, X., Z. Tang and X. Wang, 1999a. A therizinosaurid dinosaur with integumentary structures from China. Nature 399: 350-354.
Xu, X., X-L. Wang and X-C. Wu, 1999b. A dromaeosaur dinosaur with a filamentous integument from the Yixian Formation of China. Nature 401: 262-266.
Xu, X., Z. Zhou and R. O. Prum, 2001. Branched integumental structures in Sinornithosaurus and the origin of feathers. Nature 410: 200-204.
Xu, X., M. A. Norell, X. Wang, P. J. Makovicky and X. Wu, 2002. A basal troodontid from the Early Cretaceous of China. Nature 415: 780-784.
Xu, X., Z. Zhou, X. Wang, X. Kuang, F. Zhang and X. Du, 2003. Four-winged dinosaurs from China. Nature 421: 335-340. http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/zo501/4WingedDino.pdf
Zhang, F. and Z. Zhou, 2000. A primitive enantiornithine bird and the origin of feathers. Science 290: 1955-1959.
Zhou, Z. and F. Zhang, 2002. A long-tailed, seed-eating bird from the Early Cretaceous of China. Nature 418: 405-409.
Zhou, Z. and F. Zhang, 2003. Anatomy of the primitive bird Sapeornis chaoyangensis from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 40: 731-747.
Further Reading:
Chiappe, L. M. and G. J. Dyke, 2002. The Mesozoic radiation of birds. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33: 91-124. (technical)

Dingus, L. and T. Rowe, 1997. The mistaken extinction: dinosaur evolution and the origin of birds. New York: Freeman and Company.

Padian, K. and L. M. Chiappe, 1998. The origin of birds and their flight. Scientific American 278(2) (Feb.): 38-47.

Paul, Gregory S., 2002. Dinosaurs of the Air. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Pojeta, John Jr. and Springer, Dale A., 2001. Evolution and the Fossil Record, American Geological Institute, Alexandria, VA. http://www.agiweb.org/news/spot_06apr01_evolutionbk.htm , http://www.agiweb.org/news/evolution.pdf .

Prum, Richard O. and Alan H. Brush, 2003. Which came first, the feather or the bird? Scientific American 288(3) (Mar.): 84-93.

Wang, Justin, 1998. Scientists flock to explore China's 'site of the century'. Science 279: 1626-1627.


  1. Yes, but they're all still dino-birds; that's just variation within a kind, not TRUE evolution!

    Seriously, that is interesting stuff. I hadn't realized the wealth of fossil evidence for the dinosaur-bird transition before.

    This is the reason why links are prohibited over at the Comfort Food Buffet of Ignorance.

    Nice work, Clos.

  2. Thanks,

    and you are absolutely correct. If people could link, Ray couldn't lie as easily.

  3. If people could THINK, Ray couldn't lie as easily.

  4. Nice, ranting. That too, for sure!!!

  5. People like Ray, and other televangelists lie for jesus, and they know it.

    Many of them "fleece the sheep" and people fall for it. My parents used to go to this church where they ask for money all the time. And on top of the tithe, they would ask for donations ranging from 500-5k. Many gave more. And if you did, depending on how much you gave, you would be a warrior, or hero or given some lame title. If you didn't, you were looked down upon and didn't "recieve the blessings".

    Funny though, that church has never had an official building, they rented a place every weekend. The only good thing I liked about the church was the Pastor's daughter (she had the goods).

  6. "The only good thing I liked about the church was the Pastor's daughter (she had the goods)."

    Ahhh, yes. Hopefully, Daddy wasn't deflowering the girl. PZ just posted on a preacher who murdered his wife and stuffed her in the freezer...for four years...after she caught him molesting his daughters. The cops waited until after he finished his sermon to arrest him. How thoughtful.

  7. You're right Clos.

    If I were one of the police, I would have arrested him in the middle of his sermon. Adds to the climax.

  8. clos,
    remember, he had to tell his flock about morality first. If the police had arrested him before he could finish his brainwashing session, all of them would have gone out on a killing rampage. Some theists have even admitted they would be stealing and raping if they didn't get their dose of Jesus on time. Destroying people's innate sense of morality and replacing it with another that has only one option toget it right is an ages-old method to keep people in line - your line. The time of religious rule over humanity makes up more than 99% of our species' history. But even that couldn't weed out the spirit of reason and freedom.


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