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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in August 2007. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index:Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
6/08/2007 "As our fight for good (and politically untrammeled) public education in science must include the forceful defense of a key word-for inquisitors have always understood that an idea can be extinguished most effectively by suppressing all memory of a defining word or an inspirational person-we might consider an interesting historical irony that, properly elucidated, might even aid our battle. We must not compromise our showcasing of the `E' word, for we give up the game before we start if we grant our opponents control over defining language. But we should also note that Darwin himself never used the word `evolution' in his epochal book of 1859, the Origin of Species, where he calls this fundamental biological process `descent with modification.' Darwin, needless to say, did not shun `evolution' for motives of fear, conciliation, or political savvy-but rather for an opposite and principled reason that can help us to appreciate the depth of the intellectual revolution that he inspired, and some of the reasons (understandable if indefensible) for persisting public unease." (Gould, S.J., "What Does the Dreaded `E' Word Mean Anyway?," in "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.242) 6/08/2007 "Pre-Darwinian concepts of evolution-a widely discussed, if unorthodox, view of life in early-nineteenth- century biology-generally went by such names as `transformation,' `transmutation,' or `the development hypothesis.' In choosing a label for his very different account of genealogical change, Darwin would never have considered `evolution' as a descriptor because this vernacular English word implied a set of consequences contrary to the most distinctive features of his own revolutionary mechanism of change-the hypothesis of natural selection." (Gould, S.J., "What Does the Dreaded `E' Word Mean Anyway?," in "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.242) 6/08/2007 "`Evolution,' from the Latin evolvere, literally means `to unroll'-and clearly implies an unfolding in time of a predictable or prepackaged sequence in an inherently progressive, or at least directional, manner. (The `fiddlehead' of a fern unrolls arid expands to bring forth the adult plant-a true `evolution' of preformed parts.) The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word to seventeenth-century English poetry, where the key meaning of sequential exposure of prepackaged potential inspired the first recorded usages in our language. For example, Henry More (1614-1687), the British poet and philosopher responsible for most seventeenth- century citations in the OED, stated in 1664: `I have not yet evolved all the intangling superstitions that may be wrapt up.' The few pre-Darwinian English citations of genealogical change as `evolution' all employ the word as a synonym for predictable progress. For example, in describing Lamarck's theory for British readers (in the second volume of his Principles of Geology in 1832), Charles Lyell generally uses the neutral term `transmutation'-except in one passage, when he wishes to highlight a claim for progress: `The testacea [shelled invertebrates] of the ocean existed first, until some of them by gradual evolution were improved into those inhabiting the land.'." (Gould, S.J., "What Does the Dreaded `E' Word Mean Anyway?," in "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.243) 6/08/2007 "Although the word evolution does not appear in the first edition of the Origin of Species, Darwin does use the verbal form `evolved'-clearly in the vernacular sense and in an especially prominent spot: as the very last word of the book! Most students have failed to appreciate the incisive and intended "gotcha" of these closing lines, which have generally been read as a poetic reverie, a harmless linguistic flourish essentially devoid of content, however rich in imagery. In fact, the canny Darwin used this maximally effective location to make a telling point about the absolute glory and comparative importance of natural history as a calling. We usually regard planetary physics as the paragon of rigorous science, while dismissing natural history as a lightweight exercise in dull, descriptive cataloging that any person with sufficient patience might accomplish. But Darwin, in his closing passage, identified the primary phenomenon of planetary physics as a dull and simple cycling to nowhere, in sharp contrast with life's history, depicted as a dynamic and upwardly growing tree. The earth revolves in uninteresting sameness, but life evolves by unfolding its potential for ever-expanding diversity along admittedly unpredictable, but wonderfully various, branchings. " (Gould, S.J., "What Does the Dreaded `E' Word Mean Anyway?," in "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.243) 6/08/2007 "Herbert Spencer's progressivist view of natural change probably exerted most influence in establishing `evolution' as the general name for Darwin's process-for Spencer held a dominating status as Victorian pundit and grand panjandrum of nearly everything conceptual. In any case, Darwin had too many other fish to fry, and didn't choose to fight a battle about words rather than things. He felt confident that his views would eventually prevail, even over the contrary etymology of word imposed upon his process by popular will. (He knew, after all, that meanings of words can transmute within new climates of immediate utility, just as species transform under new local environments of life and ecology!) Darwin never used the `E' word extensively in his writings, but he did capitulate to a developing consensus by referring to his process as `evolution' for the first time in The Descent of Man, published in 1871. (Still, Darwin never cited `evolution' in the title of any book-and he chose, in labeling his major work on our species, to emphasize our genealogical `descent,' not our `ascent' to higher levels of consciousness.)" (Gould, S.J., "What Does the Dreaded `E' Word Mean Anyway?," in "I Have Landed: Splashes and Reflections in Natural History," , Vintage: London, Reprinted, 2003, p.245) 6/08/2007 "In his autobiography Herbert Spencer recounts in excruciating detail the process by which he developed a naturalistic outlook, beginning when he was a boy. Over time, he writes, `a breach in the course of [physical] causation had come to be, if not an impossible thought, yet a thought never entertained' (Spencer 1904, 1:172). As in Darwin's case, members of Spencer's family described his adherence to naturalism in near-religious terms. His father drew a parallel between the son's naturalism and the father's own religion: `From what I see of my son's mind, it appears to me that the laws of nature are to him what revealed religion is to us, and that any wilful infraction of those laws is to him as much a sin as to us is disbelief in what is revealed' (Spencer 1904, 1:655). This semireligious attachment to naturalism explains why Spencer eventually became a tireless promoter of Darwinism. It was not because he was persuaded by Darwin's scientific theory; he rejected Darwinism and embraced Lamarckianism. Yet Spencer saw clearly that once he had embraced philosophical naturalism, he had no alternative but to accept some form of naturalistic evolution. As he puts it, having discarded orthodox Christianity, he developed an `intellectual leaning towards belief in natural causation everywhere operating.' And in that naturalistic leaning, `doubtless ... a belief in evolution at large was then latent.' Why latent? Because `anyone who, abandoning the supernaturalism of theology, accepts in full the naturalism of science, tacitly asserts that all things as they now exist have been evolved.' Spencer accepted naturalism first and then accepted evolution as a logical consequence. He goes on: `The doctrine of the universality of natural causation, has for its inevitable corollary the doctrine that the Universe and all things in it have reached their present forms through successive stages physically necessitated' (Spencer 1904, 2:7). Just so: Once one accepts the philosophy of naturalism, some form of naturalistic evolution is an `inevitable corollary.' Finding a plausible scientific theory is secondary. In Spencer's writings we get a glimpse of the intellectual pressure that impelled him toward a naturalistic view of evolution. `I cheerfully acknowledge,' he writes in The Principles of Psychology, that the hypothesis of evolution is beset by `serious difficulties' scientifically. Yet, `save for those who still adhere to the Hebrew myth, or to the doctrine of special creations derived from it, there is no alternative but this hypothesis or no hypothesis.' And no one can long remain in `the neutral state of having no hypothesis' (Spencer 1896, 1:466n). Similarly, in an 1899 letter, he writes that already decades earlier, `in 1852 the belief in organic evolution had taken deep root'-not for scientific reasons but because of `the necessity of accepting the hypothesis of Evolution when the hypothesis of Special Creation has been rejected.' He concludes with these telling words: `The Special Creation belief had dropped out of my mind many years before, and I could not remain in a suspended state: acceptance of the only conceivable alternative was peremptory' (Duncan 1908, 2:319). Here is a candid admission that Spencer was driven by a sense of philosophical necessity-naturalistic evolution was `the only conceivable alternative' to creation- more than by a dispassionate assessment of the scientific evidence." (Pearcey, N.R.*, "You Guys Lost: Is Design a Closed Issue?," in Dembski, W.A., ed., "Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1998, pp.79-80) 10/08/2007 "BEFORE one can decide that the theory of Evolution is the best explanation of the present-day range of forms of living material one should examine all the implications that such a theory may hold. Too often the theory is applied to, say, the development of the horse and then because it is held to be applicable there it is extended to the rest of the animal kingdom with little or no further evidence. There are, however, seven basic assumptions that are often not mentioned during discussions of evolution. Many evolutionists ignore the first six assumptions and only consider the seventh. These are as follows. (1) The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e. spontaneous generation occurred. (2) The second assumption is that spontaneous generation occurred only once. The other assumptions all follow from the second one. (3) The third assumption is that viruses. bacteria. plants and animals are all interrelated. (4) The fourth assumption is that the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa. (5) The fifth assumption is that the various invertebrate phylaare interrelated. (6) The sixth assumption is that the inver tebrates gave rise to the vertebrates. (7) The seventh assumption is that within the vertebrates the fish gave rise to the amphibia, the amphibia to the reptiles and the reptiles to the birds and mammals. Sometimes this is expressed in other words, i.e. that the modern amphibia and reptiles had a common ancestral stock, and so on. For the initial purposes of this discussion on Evolution I shall consider that the supporters of the theory of Evolution hold that all these seven assumptions are valid, and that these assumptions form the "General Theory of Evolution." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, pp.6-7. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "The first point that I should like to make is that these severe assumptions by their nature are not capable of experimental verification. they assume that a certain series of events has occurred in the past. Thus though it may be possible to mimic some of these events under present-day conditions, this does not mean that these events must therefore have taken place in the past. All that it shows is that it is possible for such a change to take place. Thus to change a present-day reptile into a mammal, though of great interest, would not show the way in which the mammals did arise. Unfortunately we can't bring about even this change; instead we have to depend upon limited circumstantial evidence for our assumptions, and it is now my intention to discuss the nature of this evidence." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, p.7. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "Non-living into living (Abiogenesis) This is one of the oldest problems to puzzle man. Is it possible for nonliving material simply to be turned into living material or is some extra `vital' force necessary? It is reasonably clear that living bodies in many ways use systems similar to those present in the non-living world. One of the first barricades appeared to fall to Wöhler, when he showed by his synthesis of urea that there was no very clear distinction between organic chemicals and non-organic chemicals. Within recent years we have been able to devise systems in which the irradiation of a mixture containing water carbon dioxide and ammonia brings about the formation of amino-acids, simple peptides, and carbohydrates. However, proteins and nucleoproteins have not yet been synthesized under such conditions and these latter compounds appear to be of great importance in the development and maintenance of life." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, p.7. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "One imagines that the synthesis of these substances will merely be a matter of time and application, but it will be useful to distinguish the two different methods of achieving their synthesis. The first is to try to synthesise them under conditions in which we imagine that living things first occurred, i.e. to irradiate simple solutions and hope that proteins and nucleoproteins will form by random combination. This would mimic the conditions under which we believe life originated. The second method is to use specialised chemical and physical techniques to synthesise proteins and nucleoproteins, and having synthesised them, then to place them in their correct structural relationship. In this way, the combination of synthetic proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates might lead to the formation of a simple virus-like compound that could reproduce in living cells. The next stage would be the development of an artificial solution to maintain the artificial virus. With these steps accomplished we should have learnt a great deal about the processes taking place in the living body and no doubt we should have discovered new rules for physics and chemistry, but we could not say from our experiments that the living material in the universe arose in this way. The results would show that living matter can arise by synthetic methods devised in the laboratory, but it would still be possible that there were other methods by which life actually arose in the universe." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, pp.7-8) 12/08/2007 "Life arose only once The assumption that life arose only once and that therefore all living things are interrelated is a useful assumption in that it provides a simple working basis for experimental procedure. But because a concept is useful it does not mean that it is necessarily correct. The experimental basis for this concept in particular is not as definite and as conclusive as many modern texts would have us believe." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, p.8. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "Biochemical evidence. Biochemists and comparative physiologists usually assume that all protoplasm, no matter where it is found, has the same fundamental biochemical and biophysical processes taking place in it. But even an elementary study of the situation shows that there are often many different ways of carrying out a simple process in the animal kingdom. One well-known example is that of carrying oxygen in solution; various substances such as haemoglobin, haemocyanin, haemerythrin and chlorocruorin are known to be capable of combining with oxygen. But the common possession of a specific blood pigment does not indicate any close phylogenetic relationship. Thus though many Crustacea have haemocyanin no biochemist or physiologist would suggest taking Daphnia out of the Crustacea because it possesses haemoglobin." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, pp.8-9. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "There are in the world but some ninety elements, and of these only a few such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus and sulphur appear capable of forming natural monomers and polymers. It is therefore not surprising that these elements are united to form compounds such as citric acid or 5-hydroxy- tryptamine in widely separated plants and animals. Such a synthesis might have occurred independently on many occasions by trial and error. It should be remembered that there is no Patent Law in the natural world, and though one can simplify the situation by use of William of Occam's razor, the careless use of such a weapon can at times be suicidal." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York, 1960, p.9. Emphasis original) 12/08/2007 "Our ignorance is even greater in other biochemical fields, yet it is often stated that all protoplasm shows the same fundamental biochemical systems. The most quoted example is the way in which protoplasm oxidises carbohydrates to liberate energy. This release of energy is obtained through two biochemical cycles, the glycolysis cycle (Embden-Meyerhof) and the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Krebs). Many of the chemicals present in these two cycles have been found in bacteria, protozoa, plants, lower metazoa, birds and mammals, and because some of the ingredients are present it is assumed that the whole system is present. The argument then runs that because the system is very complex, it would be too much to expect that each group developed this complex system independently and so protoplasm everywhere must have had a common origin." (Kerkut, G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut, G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, p.8. Emphasis original) 13/08/2007 "The bottom of Turkey's Lake Van is covered by a layer of mud several hundreds of metres deep. For climatologists this unprepossessing slime is worth its weight in gold: summer by summer pollen has been deposited from times long past. From it they can detect right down to a specific year what climatic conditions prevailed at the time of the Neanderthals, for example. These archives may go back as much as half a million years. An international team of researchers headed by the University of Bonn now wants to tap this treasure. Preliminary investigations have been a complete success: the researchers were able to prove that the climate has occasionally changed quite suddenly - sometimes within ten or twenty years. Every summer an inch-thick layer of lime - calcium carbonate - trickles down to find its final resting place at the bottom of Lake Van. Day by day during this period millions and millions of pollen grains float down to the depths. Together with lime they form a light-coloured layer of sediment, what is known as the summer sediment. In winter the continual `snowdrift' beneath the surface changes its colour: now clay is the main ingredient in the sediment, which is deposited as a dark brown winter sediment on top of the pollen-lime mix. At a depth of 400 metres no storm or waves disturb this process. These `annual rings' in the sediment can be traced back for hundreds of thousands of years. `In some places the layer of sediment is up to 400 metres thick,' the Bonn palaeontologist Professor Thomas Litt explains. `There are about 20,000 annual strata to every 10 metres,' he calculates. `We presume that the bottom of Lake Van stores the climate history of the last 800,000 years - an incomparable treasure house of data which we want to tap for at least the last 500,000 years.' ... The sediment promises to deliver a host of exciting results. For example vulcanologists can determine exactly when volcanoes near the lake erupted. In this case there will suddenly be a black layer of ash between the annual layers. `With our test drill we counted 15 outbreaks in the past 20,000 years,' Prof. Litt says. `The composition of the ash even reveals which nearby volcano it originates from.' Even earthquakes in this area of high geological activity are painstakingly stored in these archives." ("500,000 years of climate history stored year by year," PhysOrg.com, March 14, 2007) 13/08/2007 "What is the most interesting aspect for Thomas Litt, however, is the biological filling contained in the summer layers, especially. The microscopically small pollen tells the palaeobotanist what sorts of things used to flourish on the shores of the lake. In a piece of sediment the size of a sugar cube up to 200,000 grains of pollen can be trapped. Under the microscope the fine dust reveals a very special kind of beauty. The pollen of yarrow is as prickly as a hedgehog, the pollen of pine with its air sacs resembles the chubby- cheeked face of a hamster, `and look at the olive tree,' Professor Litt enthuses, `it's also got a very nice pollen grain.' The researcher normally recognises at once what genus or species the finds belong to - even when they are several thousands of years old, since the exine, the outer coat of the grain, successfully resists the ravages of time. `The material is extremely resistant to environmental influences and even withstands strong acids or bases,' Professor Litt explains. Using hydrofluoric acid or potassium hydroxide he dissolves the pollen grains from the sediment samples; the grains prove to be completely impervious to such rough treatment. Under the microscope the botanists then assess how much pollen of which species is present in the layer in question. `At interesting points we take every centimetre of material from the drill cores; in this way we achieve a chronological resolution of a few years.' The pollen permits pretty precise statements to be made about temperature and average amount of precipitation for the period covered by the finds, as every species makes different demands on its environment. `If we find pollen in a specimen from different species, whose demands on its habitat are known, we can make a plausibility statement about the nature of the climate of the time,' he adds. `Lake Van promises to provide unique insights into the development of the climate in Eurasia - and thus for assessing the current warm period.'" ("500,000 years of climate history stored year by year," PhysOrg.com, March 14, 2007) 24/08/2007 "Radioactive Carbon. The other radioactivity method applicable to Quaternary deposits is based on the presence in organic matter of radioactive carbon of the atomic weight 14 (C14), or radiocarbon as it is now commonly called. This method has achieved fame within a short time largely because it provides dates for Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in which archaeologists are intensely interested. As is so often the case enthusiasm has tended to make somewhat over-confident those who wish to apply the results of the method to their material, although the experts have not ceased to point out its difficulties and problems. Both the theory of the radiocarbon method and its technique were first worked out by Libby (1946) ... Cosmic radiation produces in the upper atmosphere of the earth neutron particles, some of which hit atoms of ordinary nitrogen (atomic weight 14). This is captured by the nucleus which gives off a proton (atomic weight 1) thus changing to C14. C14 in turn is radioactive and by losing an electron reverts to nitrogen. The half-life period of C14 is of the order of 5,700 years ... . Its comparatively slow disintegration makes it possible to base a method of absolute dating on its presence in organic matter. Carbon 14 is an isotope of ordinary carbon (atomic weight 12). It is believed to behave exactly like ordinary carbon from the chemical point of view. Thus it enters, together with ordinary carbon, into the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere, in which a constant amount of C14 is to be found which corresponds to the rates of supply and disintegration. This concentration is exceedingly low, being only one billionth (10-12) of a gram of C14 for each gram of C12. Since living vegetation builds up its own organic matter by photosynthesis and using atmospheric carbon dioxide, the proportion of radiocarbon present in it is the same as in the atmosphere, neglecting the very short lifetime of the individual plants compared with the half-life of radiocarbon. It may further be assumed that the bodies of living animals which, whether herbivorous or carnivorous, all ultimately derive body material from the plant kingdom will also exhibit the same proportion. So soon as the organism dies no further radiocarbon is added. The radiocarbon present in the dead organism will disintegrate so that after 5,700 years only half the original amount will be left, after about 11,400 a quarter, and so forth. The determination of the ratio of C14 to C12, therefore, gives a clue to its age. Unfortunately, since the initial amount of radiocarbon is low, the limit of detectability is soon reached. It is not likely, therefore, that specimens of an age exceeding 20,000 to 30,000 years can be dated by the radiocarbon method." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, pp.341-342. Emphasis original) 25/08/2007 "There are a number of technical difficulties inherent in the method .... A very obvious technical problem is the elimination of the large background of cosmic radiation that continually bombards the apparatus. It is reduced by protective shielding of iron and lead as well as by a screen of counters surrounding the C14 counter, which record the number of particles arriving from without. More recently the gas counter has replaced the solid carbon counter." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, p.343) 25/08/2007 "Another difficulty is that the quantity required for a single determination is comparatively large. In addition, in view of the low activity of radiocarbon it is very desirable that several estimates be made for the same material. The quantities required for two runs thus vary from 60 grams for charcoal to 2-2 kilos for charred bone. Occasionally archaeological sites produce large quantities of such material, but more often than not it will be difficult to obtain sufficient quantities, especially in the case of valuable museum specimens." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, p.343) 25/08/2007 "There are, however, other results which must be regarded as unsatisfactory, and much work remains to be done on the causes of such deviations. As an example, an accurately dated piece of peat may be referred to. It was taken by Professor Overbeck from 0-2 cm. below a dry horizon, dated at 2,500 to 2,700 years ago. Two radiocarbon runs were made and gave 1446 ± 250 and 1452 ± 290. This is over 1,000 years less than the expected age. It is probable that this discrepancy is due to the contamination of the peat layer in question by younger humus matter. This in fact must be expected to happen in peat deposits and equally so in soils, where humic solutions penetrate from the surface to a varying depth. Peat and still more so charcoal are substances which are liable to adsorb humic matter from the solutions that pass through them. If a specimen is analysed after having been exposed to such contamination by carbon compounds of an age younger than its own, its radiocarbon age is liable to be reduced (Zeuner, 1950, 1951). Broadly speaking, the best results have so far been obtained from specimens which were preserved under very dry conditions, or even enclosed in rock tombs or the like, whilst the less satisfactory results come from open-air sites with damp conditions, or wet caves. Quite apart from the risk of contamination of the samples, the investigation of which is a matter for the geologist, there is also the possibility of exchange of carbon isotopes occurring under such conditions." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, p.343) 25/08/2007 "Another serious difficulty is the possibility of uneven distribution of C14 in living matter. The work of Nier and others has shown that although, generally, the isotopes have the same chemical properties, there are instances in which it was observed that certain isotopes are favoured in the formation of certain chemical compounds. As regards carbon isotopes, Nier found that carbon of the atomic weight 13 is taken up in a relatively greater proportion than ordinary C12 when carbonates are being formed. On the other hand, a relative concentration of C12 is observed in plants. What applies to the difference between C12 and C13 may equally apply to C12 compared with C14, so the possibility has to be considered that different types of carbon compounds have slightly different present-day values for C14. It may eventually become necessary to compare samples of the same material only, for instance, old oak with recent oak, fossil land shells with similar recent land shells, and so forth." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, p.346) 25/08/2007 "That there are other risks of contamination and other pitfalls involved in this method is obvious enough. Whilst one can confidently expect the radio-chemist to be aware of the difficulties, it is up to geologists and archaeologists to study with care the conditions of preservation of specimens submitted for analysis and, in fact, to submit only specimens that can be regarded as foolproof as is possible in the circumstances." (Zeuner, F.E., "Dating the Past: An Introduction to Geochronology," , Methuen: London, Fourth edition, 1958, Reprinted, 1970, p.346) 26/08/2007 "When we survey the evolutionary story, from the first multicellular creatures up to man we soon get the feeling that from time to time there was a dramatic change of plan - and indeed of lifestyle - that is quite inconsistent with the slow accumulation of imperceptible changes upon which Darwin based his theory. ... The most obvious and striking of these major steps was the step from sea to land, a step taken some 360 million years ago. Suddenly, four-legged air-breathing creatures appeared - quite unlike the scaly, limbless, water-breathing fishes which had been the most prolific creatures up to this time. ... So why did the fishes invade the land? No one knows. The real obstacles to such a move were the massive structural changes needed to make life on land worthwhile. To begin with, the fish would need legs simply in order to relieve the pressure of its body on the ground, which would compress the lungs. Equally importantly, the land animal needs a strong pelvic girdle. The fins of fishes are attached only to bony plates beneath the skin and could not support the weight of the body until a link had been provided to transmit their support to the spine. There were problems with the front suspension too, for in fishes the forward fins are firmly linked to the skull. Turned into legs, the animal would have to move its head from side to side with each step, so a new system of suspension had to be provided. Finally, since the weight of the body was no longer taken by the water, the spine itself needed strengthening.We are all so used to the idea of bone that it is hard for us to realise what a milestone the creation of bone was. ... Bone has a precise, indeed an unique, structure, being composed of mineral and living matter interspersed. The strength of bone comes from the mineral component: crystals of hydroxyapatite; the adaptability from the living collagen. The two are arranged in specific patterns, with spaces reserved for living bone-making cells and for blood vessels. ... If one of the larger bones is sliced in half, it is seen to contain a spongework of criss-crossing sheets, the trabeculae, which align themselves in precisely the best way to absorb the stresses to which that particular bone, in that individual, is being subjected. Like the network of girders which support a bridge ... this gives strength for a minimum of weight. In addition the major bones contain a cavity, lined with a special sheath, which generates the blood cells needed by the blood. ... Then there is the mystery of joints with their capsule of cartilage and their remarkable lubricant, the synovial fluid. It is obvious that the creation of bone required not one but a whole burst of mutations, all integrated to a single end - an incredible thing to happen by chance even if nothing else had been going on. ... And so on to the next step, because land animals must also protect their body from drying out, by swapping scales for an impervious skin. ... Land animals also need to protect their eyes from drying by a flow of tears and need an eyelid to protect it from dust particles. Similarly the nose must be protected by a supply of mucus. The land animal must also change its sense organs. It no longer needs the curious organ which runs along its side called a lateral line, and this is converted, by an amazing series of steps ... into the ear. The eye, too, changes, since the refractive index of air is different from that of water and no doubt there are modifications in the sense of smell ... And then, of course, there is the problem of the legs themselves. Before ever the fish reached the land the structure of its fins began to change. Instead of rays, a series of bones corresponding to the tibia, radius and ulna of the arm appeared. Digits, tarsals and metatarsals evolved ... as wholly new structures .... The fish which decided to remain fish very sensibly, converted their lungs into swim-bladders with which they could regulate the depth at which they swam. ... All that need concern us is the larger question of whether such an impressive array of coordinated changes could have taken place by chance ...." (Taylor, G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1983, pp.55-61) 31/08/2007 "A measurement of the 14C content of an organic sample provide an accurate determination of the sample's age if it is assumed that (1) the production of 14C by cosmic rays has remained essentially constant long enough to establish a steady state in the 14C/12C ratio in the atmosphere; (2) there has been a complete and rapid mixing of 14C throughout the various carbon reservoirs; (3) the carbon isotope ratio in the sample has not been altered except by 14C decay; and (4) the total amount of carbon in any reservoir has not been altered. In addition, the half-life of 14C must be known with sufficient accuracy, and it must be possible to measure natural levels of 14C to appropriate levels of accuracy and precision. Studies have shown that the primary assumptions on which the method rests have bee violated both systematically and to varying degrees for particular sample types. Methods for calibration and corrections of conventional 14C values have been developed." (Taylor, R.E. & Müller, R.A., "Radiocarbon dating," in Parker, S.P., ed., "McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science & Technology," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, Third edition, 1994, p.1576)* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
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Created: 23 December, 2006. Updated: 4 April, 2010.