- Transitional links from plant to animal
Neither of these two cellular artifacts would be preserved in a fossil record. However, lets look at an existing member of the protozoa kingdom: the euglena. A single celled something, that has some plant like qualities, and some animal like ones too. There are also several species of animals that have symbiotic algae that grow within them from simple hydra to more complex corals.
Ok, what do you want? Here is a half plant half animal? What distinguishes the plants from animals?
A key concept though is that plants and animals diverged at a very early point in the history of life. To hold a fossil of such a single celled thing, the rock grains must be smaller than the size of the thing. Over a billion or so years, these rocks have been distorted from their original form and lost much of their original information. To find a single good cell in a rock that is about a billion years old and has gone through metamorphic stresses is akin to finding a needle in a field of hay that has tossed about by a tractor.
For transitions between one species of animal to another - these are all around us. From fossils of ancient tetrapods which show fish leaving the water to modern horse shoe crabs. Darwin's finches on the Galapagos islands are all seperate species, yet they clearly all evolved from a single species of finch some time ago - that was a transition species. As such, every species alive today that does not become extinct will likely some day become a transition. Species are not the 'final product' but rather part of the process of life.
- Natural Selection
Species and hybrids. At one time, there was an animal. This animal looked a lot like a horse, bit a bit smaller, more like a donkey. Over time and separation of genetic pools, these two populations driftedapart from one another.
This can easily be demonstrated. Take a handful of marbles of different colors. Drop them on the ground. This assortment represents different populations with slight differences between them. Now, all the ones on one half, select for 'red-ish'. The ones on the other half, select for 'green-ish'. As the gene pools separate, their ability to have young that are fertile diminishes.
Today, the horse and the donkey can reproduce, however the offspring (known as a mule) are always infertile. There is no way to get the genes from the donkey population back into the horse population, or vice versa.
This is prohibited genetically since all of the information for the development of an organism has already been encoded in DNA of its parent.
First off, a correction - the DNA of its parents. Unless we are talking asexual reproduction, it is the combination of genes from its parents. Next, What is 'more than a dog'? Or something a bit closer to us, is a lemur more than a shrew? Is a monkey more than a lemur? Is an ape more than a monkey? Is a human more than an ape?
Not all mutations are harmful. There are times when a mutation can be beneficial, helping an organism to adapt to its environment better. Consider the blind cave salamander. A distant ancestor of it could see, however some mutation took away its sight, which really didn't help it. If anything, not having to confuse the brain with constant darkness and spending energy keeping the eyes in top form could be considered a beneficial mutation.
Thermodynamics. It is indeed the case that entropy and disorder tend to a maximum. However, this does not mean that things cannot get better from this. There is a device called the hydraulic ram. This sits in a river running downhill, and uses the energy of disorder to force a small portion of water up. This in no way violates thermodynamics.
There are trillions of mutations, and billions of species. Many of these die out, but those few that do survive and pass on their genetic information have succeeded. This does not violate thermodynamics either.
BTW, what is a basic kind? And what basic kind is the platypus and spiny ant eater?
- Life from Non-Life
What constitutes life? or non-life? These terms must be defined. Lets take a shot at it. Life is a system of molecules that are able to replicate themselves. It is possible for some combination of molecules to do this. Systems of molecules that don't do this are non-life. The only way for life to arise would be from something that is non-life. Cells came from organizations of these molecules.
And what is this "first matter" stuff you're talking about? What is so absurd about it? Where is this logic you are talking about being absurd?
Morality in humanity? You imply that other creatures have no morals or feelings? Do not dolphins mourn the loss of companions? Or the other primates? Our mental capacity is dwarfed by that of whales. Why does our ability to dominate the environment (which we are not alone in, just the most obvious) set us apart from the rest of the world? Many other species use tools, yet we just happen to have the most free time on our manipulative appendages to come up with unique ways to throughly destroy the world we live in.
Feel free to read The Blind Watchmaker.
- Hominid Fossils
Once again, what do you expect. The population of the various hominoids has been very small. Consider the entire population of gorillas alive today - there are only a few thousand. Of all the gorillas that die, how many of them die in a place where fossilization would happen. Not everything that dies becomes a fossil, the right conditions are necessary for such a process to happen. The early hominoids most likely also had small populations. It hasn't been until homo sapiens that the population has exploded into the millions and billions. Think about it, we are lucky as it is to have a jawbone.
Yes, there have been hoaxes and misunderstandings in the past. A lot of research has been done in the past 50 years, and a greater understanding of what has actually happened has arisen.
Footprints that date back to before homo sapiens took its place in the evolutionary latter. Footprints of a being that walked upright. What other explanation could there be?
- Apes, Monkeys, and You
Where do you draw the line between ape and human ancestor. Yes, they very well may have been closer to the ape than the modern homo sapiens. So?
Now two years after the original node, a debate wages about if the chimpanze should be placed in the homo genius rather than the pan genius and thus quite literaly our cousins.
- More monkey business
Do you expect hominoids to live in different places than apes and monkeys? Even today humans live in places that are in close quarters to apes and monkeys. Do you really expect our ancestors to have lived in a different place?
- Social implications of making a monkey out of you
Society's fitness is not determined by survival, but rather passing on the memes (rather than genes). Domination is one way that this can occur, and the Romans did it very well. Today's societies don't look well upon people who pass on memes by domination of others. This can be seen in how the Iraqis were handled with their conquest of Kuwait. It is necessary for a society today to be good and show others that it is the best for others to follow its way. In this new paradigm mercy, pity, and morality are the best ways to pass on these memes.
- It is possible for a slightly hindering mutation that does not prevent a creature from reproducing to act with another later mutation to provide a MUCH better organism. This is important. Read that again. It is possible to have a mutation that does currently hinder an organism that later leads to its survival. Hypothetically, a butterfly that eats a wide variety of plants. A mutation prevents this butterfly from eating all but one plant of its normal diet, a bad thing. But in eating this one plant, it becomes poisonous to other animals, a very good thing.
- Any animal that cannot pass on its genes is a failure in natural selection.
- Order from disorder. A salt solution is a disordered state. A salt crystal is a highly ordered state. The salt crystal comes from a disordered state. I have also shown how an ordered state can be reached through the motion of disorder.