an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Stormy, Quote Mining AGAIN

From Stormy’s ridiculous Piltdown Superman blog

“If there are prehistoric animals  alive today it would imply that there’s something very wrong with our understanding of the fossil record.”

I don’t think he even knows what the article he’s linked to (from that well known scientific journal, British tabloid, the Daily Mail) has quote mined in the first place, distorting what Dr Darren Naish (the source of that unattributed quote at the start of Bob’s post) actually said. 

Luckily, using that little known tool ‘Google’ (seriously, does Stormy not realise such a thing exists? Probably not, after he accidentally posted as himself rather than his sockpuppet Rhomphaia on the QQQ blog, deleting it quickly in the hope that no-one would notice, forgetting the wonders of caching) it’s possible to find a more detailed account, restoring the context to Naish’s words.

One of the speakers, science writer and palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish, said: “The huge number of ‘sea monster’ sightings now on record can’t all be explained away as mistakes, sightings of known animals or hoaxes.
“At least some of the better ones, some of them made by trained naturalists and such, probably are descriptions of encounters with real, unknown animals.
“And, because new large marine animals continue to be discovered – various new whale and shark species have been named in recent years – the idea that such species might await discovery is, at the very least, plausible.”
Some have suggested that present-day “monsters” might be plesiosaurs, long-necked marine reptiles that lived at the time of dinosaurs, or other survivors from the prehistoric world.
Dr Naish thinks this is unlikely and points out that the “prehistoric survivor paradigm” (PSP) contradicts what is known about the fossil record.
“The idea that these ‘sea monsters’ might be such things as living plesiosaurs is not a good explanation at all,” said Dr Naish, who is affiliated with the University of Portsmouth.

So, he’s not saying that finding a living dinosaur would completely upset our understanding, he’s actually saying that it’s extremely unlikely, and made more unlikely by our understanding of fossils. 

The thing is, even if animals are found that are very similar to their ancient ancestors (like some modern coelacanths) nothing changes about evolution – all it means is that some species have found a niche, and haven’t been pushed by natural selection into changing a great deal.

Bottom line, Stormy needs to research his posts before he publishes, as this isn’t the only mistake of this kind he’s made today.

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2 thoughts on “Stormy, Quote Mining AGAIN

  1. Stormy wrote"If there are prehistoric animals alive today it would imply that there's something very wrong with MY understanding of the fossil record."

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