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View Diary: Evolution in Action. White Lizards in White Sands, NM (29 comments)

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  •  Deniers keep moving the goalposts as needed (2+ / 0-)
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    Bronxist, newyorknewyork

    I looked at the article and abstract but couldn't find the names of these lizards.  The photograph though is of a Whiptail Lizard.  Way cool.

    •  you got that right! (1+ / 0-)
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      Wee Mama

      They always have an explanation.  In Da Vinci's day when he discovered marine fossils in the mountaintops the church's explanation was that that was from the great flood!

      •  Not really moving the goalposts (2+ / 0-)
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        Orinoco, newyorknewyork

         While I think this is an interesting and amusing episode, I don't think it's really a case of "evolution-deniers moving the goalposts."  There was no theory of evolution at the time, and the people really were curious about how in the world sea creatures could have gotten into the mountains.

        •  Is "curious" really the right word? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't mean any offense but it seems more likely that they were NOT curious- just eager to find any explanation for it in the bible.

          Da Vince was the one who was curious about it but they pretty much shut him down on that one.

          •  What other explanation did they have? (1+ / 0-)
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            Orinoco

            Okay, let's grant that Leondardo DaVinci wanted to continue studies, but what was next?  There was no theory of evolution at that point.  I don't think the Church's attitude was, "We must find the answer in the Bible!"  Rather, I think their attitude was, "Interesting discovery!  How could this happen?  Well, we all know there was a flood.  That must be it."

            The Church was not anti-science at the time.  Some people doubted Christopher Columbus' plan to sail to India by going west was crazy, but not because they thought the earth was flat.  The late medieval and renaissance Churchmen knew about the Greeks' arguments for a round earth.  They also knew Eratosthenes calculations about the circumference of the earth.  They beleived those calculations that said the earth was about 3 times bigger around than Columbus thought.  They were right!

            •  let's put it this way (1+ / 0-)
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              Orinoco

              I'm just saying that I don't think they necessarily encouraged scientific endeavors. Heck, look at Galleleo!

              And I don't think they stifled all science- just science that posed a threat to their beliefs, which could in turn, threaten their power.

        •  True that in Da Vince's time there was no science (1+ / 0-)
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          Orinoco

          It was standard practice to accept everything on authority.  The fact that Da Vince actually made observations and rationally thought out possible explanations placed him in a class of his own.  Practically nobody was doing that kind of thing.  It was a new way of thinking.

          As far as fossils on mountains, another groundbreaking thinker was Nicholas Steno who recognized that fossil shark teeth were actually old shark teeth that had been encased in aquatic sediments.  The thought at the time was that they were "dragon tongues" which had fallen from the sky and slowly worked their way into the rocks.

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