Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"These chemical responses have been going on for a long time." Abrupt appearance and stasis are the discriminants to use.

Here's a quick one ... but the "discriminants" of:

ABRUPT APPEARANCE

and

STASIS

are vital to sort out truth from flim-flam in the creation-evolution controversy..


I just saw in today's Oregonian about a soldier beetle, alleged to be 100 million years old, discovered trapped in amber while discharging a chemical repellant to chase off some hungry invader (Oregonian, August 29, 2007, p. A12. "Amber shows ancient battle." You can read more about it at:



The photo (right) is really cool. The big guy appears to have been splattered with a blob of tree resin just as he was in the process of excreting his bug-off juice. The discharge, as well as the antenna of an apparent attacking predator trapped in the goo, is visible in the figure.
As the Oregonian article puts it, "George Poinar, an OSU courtesy zoology professor, examined the specimen about a year ago ... (and) ... was surprised to see a chemical oozing from the beetle's sides.
"It's remarkable that this beetle's defensive response was at the precise moment the resin fell on it," said Poinar, an emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Berkeley. "This shows that these chemical responses have been going on for a long time."
Let's discuss the statement "these chemical processes have been going on for a long time." The point is that the chemical class of defense mechanisms we see today (e.g., the bombardier beetle ... see Dwayne Gish's discussion of "Bomby" www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i1/beetle.asp ) was also functional at the time the critter was gooed up. Let's look at some key discriminants to see what this may imply in the creation-evolution controversy.
Note: "discriminant" is not necessarily something that will get you in trouble with the EEOC. It just refers to a way or means to decide if an item is drawn from one population or another by evaluation of distinguishing characteristics. For example, a medical diagnosis may rely heavily on a "discriminant analysis" statistical tool to decide if a subject has disease A or disease B.
So what are the major discriminants we seek in sorting out the many evolution and creation claims? It seems pretty straightforward: if neo-Darwinian evolution is true, the fossil record would be generally described by (1) gradual appearance and(2) continued gradual change (pretty much a continuum). The creation hypothesis (yes, let's call it a hypothesis) would be characterized by (1) abrupt appearance (discontinuity), and (2) stasis. "Stasis" means once you see it in the fossil record, it stays pretty much the same in the fossil record up to the present time or until it becomes extinct.
To the fair-minded, the fossil record is indeed characterized, with reasonable precision, by "abrupt appearance" and "stasis" rather than by gradual appearance and change. Hence, the creation hypothesis is supported and the evolution hypothesis is weakened.
So how about our beetle who thought his big problem was an approaching predator until an even stickier problem dropped in? Professor Poinar was surprised to see the chemical repellant in the (alleged) 100-million-year-old fossil as he said "these chemical processes have been going on for a long time."
That is a statement of STASIS.
Just add that to the jillions of examples of stasis in things both living and fossil. The creation hypothesis continues to be supported as each discovery comes in.
Respectfully submitted,
D.U.

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