Well, it's more the gf and her family who've been dumped on, but thank you anyway. They found some spots on the sister's liver today -- hopefully that doesn't turn out to be as bad as it sounds to my ears; she's still very young.
Anyway, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy makes the interesting claim -- not sure how sound the data is, but intuitively and ecologically it makes sense -- that population growth rates in industrialized nations, as they approach ZPG (excluding emigration and immigration from the equation) are also approaching the same rate as exist in extant hunter gatherer societies, where many children are born and even survive infancy but don't make it to reproduction age.
Prolly coincidental -- hunter gatherer populations presumably are limited by carrying capacity in a way that technological societies are not (yet), but I still find the parallel vaguely satisfying.
Yes, "Walking With Dinosaurs" did come up with some extrapolations that would raise a few eyebrows. I don't believe it did much damage -- it's never going to convince the Creationist crowd one way or another if there is some error portrayed in a scientific documentary that is purveyed as entertainment. Actually, two brontosaurus did lumber aboard Noah's Ark and the ship listed about 20 deg.
Farmerman: Could we at least have the names of the consultants so we can see what else they might have written?
Joe, the point I made vwas that certain consultants used in Walking with Dinosaurs, had some major credibility problems with the science facts. Its not a critique of their careers, they are respected in their fields and Im not a paleontologist, although I hang around some in my work. You can see the names of All the science advisors used in the Discovery Walking With Dinos series.
Wiz, I do a lot of pro-bono work in testimony o state ed boards re: teaching evolution as developed as a sytematic by Darwin/Wallace/ Mayr/ etc. The Creationists have gotten amazingly more sophisticated , well beyond the Archbishop Usher stage. Theyve gotten into the Intelligent Design Camp, which, in case your not familiar, uses all the data found in scietific inquiry and espouses an OLD EARTH story. Its hard to tell where they start and where they cleverly abandon the scientific method.
Therefore, Much of the technical errors in Walking With Dinos,presented a subtle overtone of "inheritance of Acquired Characteristics" John Goodman was slightly preaching some neo- Lamarkian stuff. Also, the show projected a story of selection without any environmental or edaphic pressures. It sort of said that everything was a competition among species. As I said, a couple of the techy consultants in the area of Paleoecology, (who I shall not name for reasons I hope you can consider) were a bit angry that final editing presented a different story than they were involved in advising. Guys like "the whether dinos were warm blooded or not" camp, were presented as speakers of the gospel, whereas the analysts of the details were not .
As you sort o intimated, the scientists live in the details and this was an entertainment program that, if some information was gleaned-GREAT. If not, GREAT.
What you're saying is some of the consultants were "upset" about the misrepresentations in "Walking With Dinosaurs." That would mean, if other consultants were'nt displeased, then the could argue amongst temselves as well. It's all very subjective when one comes right down to it as scientists don't agree on certain details in evolution and especially when studying dinosaurs.
I don't agree that the Creationists have put together anything close to a viable explanation based on even an ancient Earth interpretation of the Bible where carbon dating can be considered correct. Most of them still stick to the theory based on a 6,000 yr. plus Earth history. Either way, anyone duped by this quasi-science should be in cognitive therepy or perhaps they could join a cult and wear white tennis shoes.
wIZ - in all respect, you are wrong about the Creationists not forwarding good arguments
There are specialists in paleo ecology, and these guys spend their times with what are called "ichno" fossils. They study the lifestyles, jobs, and eventual demises of the dinosaurs.On the other hand, The people like Bob Bakker, study mostly anatomy. Over these, the economic paleontologists who use the scientific evidence, are always arguing with the pure anatomists . Paleo, like many other areas in science, is made up of different styles of reasoning there are Linneans and there are systematicians. I side with the economic paleos(systematicians) cuz, I spend lots of clients money looking for deposits of minerals that many times are only keyed by specific fossils and their environments. To me, its a tool , not a calling. So, being perfectly objective, what works is what we can demonstrate in the field and Neo-Lamarkian Crap is just that.What appears to you as a minor point of gentlepersonal debate over some chilled wine, is the object of much heated debate and research, just like in the early days of DNA research, no one had any idea that the structure they were looking for was a helix.
2 You havent been close to the debate for our kids minds that is going on in the states legislatures and ed boards right now. I have. The coopting of good geologic evidence by Intelligent Design Camps is SOP for their debate now. Guys Like The Institute of Creation Science"s Duane Gish, and Ian Mclellan are pretty much being swept under the rug because they are a major embarrasement to the Intel Design Camp. These strict Biblical Creationists are lately becoming few in number and are the only ones who espouse a young earth theory. They still hang on to a Noadic Flood as the "sorting element" for all fossils.
The education boards of the various states have debated for about 10 years now, some very arcane points of theory v religion, and what is the importance to our children. (the debates in recent years began in the late 80s in Louisiana, and into states like Kansas, missouri and then headed East, where Intelligent Design Creationists have swept along with the Conservativising of the states legislatures, that happened in the 90s)
i was involved in the Pa hearings in the late 90s and Im lately, peripherally involved in Ohio. North and South Carolina are soon up for major hearings, and this will be fought in such a way, that should the Creationists lose, they will try to cobble up a strong appeal on purelyConstitutional grounds. Unfortunately for science, Ohio has taken a step backwards by deeming that "alternative theories to evolution may be used to explain the origins of life on our planet" That was a purely political copout. The scientists I know at some of the Universities in Ohio are feeling quite foolish right now. However, this one isnt over by a long shot.
You have had to be there in person to say what the Creationists can and cannot do. Ive posted a number of threads on abuzz in the past 2 years , mostly about the status of all these hearings in which creationists (actually Intelligent Design Spouters) have presented very passionate and quite convincing(and Im a Phd in economic geology) stories of their points. We had some quite heated debates in Pa and we (the espousers of keep science curricula in schoolsbased solely on that which uses the scientific method) won handily, but not until the state senators mounted a smear campaign against the "elitists, Godless preachers of EVOLUTION". WE all were doing this for friggin Free and we were being treated just like the anti Iraq war folks. Fortunately the ed board was not swayed by this alabama -like political tactic.
With the present admins "no Child left Behind" , there isa growing strong pressure being exerted from the Christian Conservatives (Santorum is in there hevily,) to sanction the "alternative theories" of the origins of life. This would be a total copout and capitulation to a Biblical based thought process and the abandonment of the basis of all biological science curriculum. If this thought prevails, we may as well send all our bio research to Japan. PS the Japanese think were completely nuts for giving this debate any time at all.
PS, some of the most astute Creationists were those in thermodynamics who critiqued the ATOMIC CLOCK concept of dating geologic events. They overlayed the error bars of each method and presented excellent although mathematically unstable models. We, on the science side had, not only to refute their points but do iot in a way that was understood by the ed board members who were mostly, NOT scientists.
There are several theological schools in the United States and many abroad who teach evolution just as it is written about today but, of course, won't discount an intelligent creator. Of course, there is a lot of befuddled conjecturing going on somewhere between the two extremes of pure Creationist ideas and Evolutionist ideas but the support of fact is well weighed on the Evolutionist side. The intelligent design boys can neatly tie it up in one package but what happens when one opens the package? Pandora's Box, perhaps?