About

Support the TIP anticreationism project at www.GoFundMe.com/dseego make every voice for science count!

The first full court press coverage of the amazing Reptile-Mammal Transition evidence, totally up-to-date, addressing every single antievolutionist who has ever dared stumble across the RMT, up to and including Michael Denton’s latest 2016 antievolution book.  This is applied #TIP methodology.

Amazon Print Edition:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1540736296/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481509663&sr=8-2&keywords=Evolution+slam+dunk
Amazon Kindle ebook edition:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6FV206/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481509719&sr=8-1&keywords=Evolution+slam+dunk
Barnes&Noble Nook ebook edition:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/evolution-slam-dunk-james-downard/1125299919?ean=9781365572807
Lulu general ebook edition:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-downard/evolution-slam-dunk-why-the-reptile-mammal-transition-proves-macroevolution-and-how-antievolutionists-ignore-it/ebook/product-22972004.html
And for those who would like some entertaining science fiction along with their science fact, Follow the Fogg and escape to 1872 …

Nick Matzke interview at “Pandas Thumb” with James Downard on the new TIP project, on its importance and the need to support it.

Jeff Lowder (at The Secular Outpost at Patheos.com) on #TIP

View Jim Downard’s appearance on #29 REASON podcast

Angel Rios “The Mortal Angel” podcast #5


Welcome to TIP, a new open access resource for defenders of sound science who get really unsettled by the claims of antievolutionists (be they Young Earth Creationists or the newer brand of Intelligent Design) but may not have all the best science information ready to drop on their claims.

The TIP files (all in pdf format) cover all aspects of antievolutionism (from paleontology and biology to the social and political ramifications of antievolutionism as they play out in schoolrooms and school boards or in state legislatures, Congress, or even candidates for President.

The Old TIP files form the base of the project, drawing on over 5500 sources, and step by step I am updating that material with a much larger set of newer data (over 36,000 sources and counting, including over 14,000 technical science sources aimed at claims popping up in over 6000 antievolutionist works) to keep TIP constantly current.  The new modules also have an index to help locating all specific topics and people covered.

There are more pdfs & offsite web links in Other Stuff, including the 3ME illustrated guide to the  Cambrian Explosion, and the origin of birds and mammals, the perfect heavy brick to lob at antievolutionists who make the mistake of claiming “there’s no evidence for macroevolution.”  3ME not only shows how wrong that is, it also pulls back the curtain to see just how antievolutionists manage to evade all that evidence (not a pretty picture, but has to be done).

Check out all the material here on TIP, all open access to download and share freely with anyone you think needs evens stronger evidence to counter the claims of antievolutionists.

116 thoughts on “About

  1. Few of the “great revolutions” in science come about POOF out of the middle of nowhere. Plate tectonics and even quantum and relativity theories built on decades or more of ground work that generated pieces of the puzzle, but which got lost in the noise shuffle of the dominant paradigm, until some new striking data comes along to jostle things, and the “paradigm shift” proper lurches onto the scene.

    Old TIP was the seed corn of my project, Robert. If you look at the chapters and their increasing length, you can literally see how I had grown more prone to hunting up the primary source technical data and research at ever greater depth in the course of it. By that time I had a thousand pages of work (if you toss in the bibliography), but that was peanuts compared to where I’ve moved onto since. I had around 5500 sources (with perhaps 2000 technical works) in that Old TIP. Today I have 48,000 sources and over 20,000 technical papers, all catalogued and organized in a way I couldn’t have done initially because I didn’t have access to as many of the primary sources full text that I do now.

    If I can keep at it long enough, the plan is to retool all of that Old TIP into the new module structure, as I’ve done with TIP 1.1 to 1.7 (which relates just to the intro chapter of the new work, which you can compare to the Old TIP Introduction, which is the seed piece I have expanded on). The advantage of the modular layout is that I can (and have already) updated them easily as new data arrives. I haven’t been able to do that for the HTML versions at http://www.tortucan.com though, and have to leave that task to a someday thing when I can get more of an IT grip on that side of things.

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  2. A truly amazing body of work. it’s not easy to keep up with a scattered literature such as that of biology, paleontology, and the relevant parts of geology, let alone also keeping pace with creationist “literature.”

    BTW, I just posted a review of ESD on Amazon saying the same thing about it, and, as a retired science teacher, emphasizing in my comments how useful it could be to teachers of biology, paleontology, and historical geology. (My thinking: Sew some seeds and maybe something will grow.)

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    • Thank you so much for your review of ESD. I’ve already found that Christine Janis had my book too, and had been following my#TIP work for some time, and was even revising her new mammal evolution book based on information I had gathered in ESD (wow). She had offered my book as a link recently, but once I heard from her on Facebook I’m urging her to put a review in as well. Slow and steady people may be, but getting that word out into the wider world is a drum banging thing I can’t do just on my own. Your putting up a review is MOST appreciated, Robert!

      I am quite capable of keeping up with the incoming data flood for #TIP, scholarly analysis is mother’s milk to me, and I will definitely keep at it as long as I can. I am hampered because my data backlog that needs printing is horrendous (I have to ration my ink usage), but I can least access the data and safe things as pdfs and htmls as stopgap. The goal is to get out AHEAD of antievolutionists, laying in wait to pounce, so to speak, instead of playing catch-up. From my vantage, antievos are a quite slowly moving Tortucan target, and ESD I hope shows how a comprehensive approach can knock the props from under the antievolution case at its very base, way below the “God or Matter” philosophy issue.

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      • My reading and commenting here has been rudely (and still) interrupted by a kidney stone but before that I happened I was reading through the bird evolution chapter in “God’s Word or Human Reason” and found some excellent examples new to me of major creationist organizations flip-flopping and contradicting their own points on this topic. These are both amusing in their way and, also, I would imagine, eye-opening for those who haven’t much experience with the expediency-oriented part of the creationist world. That chapter also includes some recent, particular examples of creationists’ whose own work on baraminology (the creationist alternative to biological taxonomy) ends up undermining and falsifying the creationist “party line.”

        I heartily recommend this as a book to anyone interested in bioevolution from either side. You don’t have to be a specialist and are bound to learn something. Of course I also recommend “Evolution Slam Dunk,” not least for its huge reference list where you can make your own discoveries.

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    • Robert, have you used this website? If so how did you find it’s “user-friendlyness”? Was there a specific topic you were interested in and we’re you able to easily find that, or was it just general perusing? How would you like this site to be improved?

      PS, thank you for supporting Jim and his hard work by purchasing “Evolution Slam Dunk”

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  3. That looks like a very good book, especially relevant being the editors and contributors are coming from the theistic perspective. Given my finances, I’ll have to put that on a maybe get someday work, but will look through what is available open inspection in the Amazon excerpts.

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    • Re: R. J. Downard comment on “God’s Word or Human Reason
      With his permission, the authors edited together Glenn Morton’s existing writings on the Great Flood and this is what makes up Ch. 2 on the Flood & the Fossil Record. The references are about a decade old but, as you know, creationists don’t change their arguments much and keep on reusing even completely discredited arguments because their “public” does not usually check up on them and they are typically tortucans anyway, so evidence and logic usually does not easily penetrate their shells.

      The dino-bird chapter (ch. 4), called “Created Kinds and the Origin of Birds” is by Jonathan Kane, a science writer and former creationist. I learned of the book from ex-creationist David MacMillan’s review on pandasthumb.org a month or so ago. He specifically mentioned with approval the dino-bird chapter and the chapter on hominin history. I have not yet gone through the hominin chapter in detail yet. So far, I’ve not been disappointed in the book and I have not see anything that seemed out of the geological/paleontological mainstream in either chapter that I’ve gone through in some detail so far.

      I was a geologist, not a paleontologist, but through a general interest in bioevolution along with teaching Historical Geology and Stratigraphy for many years, I’ve become passably familiar with some of the relevant paleontology (through abstracts of professional papers and quite a few 2ndary sources, I admit).

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  4. I see you’re involved in a free-for-all about the definition of evolution over at Larry Moran’s Sandwalk site. Personally, I favor putting out a simple definition then dealing with the details of mechanisms and outcomes in a subsequent elaboration & discussion section. That’s probably because that’s a typical way for me to teach a topic. I drop by Sandwalk a lot but don’t post because usually it’s often too biochemical or genetic for me to feel I have enough background to add anything to the discussion. Of course there’s a gaggle of creationists including Robert Byers & txpiper who don’t let their ignorance stop them from posting. When i was actively teaching Historical Geology I made notes on some of the things they’d bring up and try to address them in class just in case there were any students wondering about such things but unwilling to ask.

    I tell chemistry teachers that they’re lucky not to have people disputing the existence of atoms or the reality of chemical reactions in their intro classes or putting such things on the internet where they can confuse students.

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  5. I have found the back and forths at Sandwalk revealing but not surprising, where the tactical point I was making tended to dissolve into a claim that I was offering THE definition of evolution, even though I reminded everybody of the context. My object in this is to find better ways to blunt antievolution efforts, which I do think requires us all to keep our game up to practical speed.

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    • Re Sandwalk,
      Teaching for several decades and reading a lot of science blogs more recently has taught me that no matter how careful one is in framing a definition, someone will find an exception or omission (at least from their point of view). No matter how careful one is in describing a problem or crafting an explanation, someone will misconstrue it. The debate about what to put and not put into the definition of evolution involves both of these, along with the problem of putting too much “how it occurs” into what should be, I think, just a description of “what occurs.”

      Antievolution is at least as much an emotional issue as it is an evidential and logical one, and it also involves a reluctance among many people to work at understanding anything. It is so much easier to turn to “goddiditbymagic” and save all that mental effort. Nevertheless, there are former creationists who, despite the odds, were eventually persuaded to abandon that mindset by the accumulation of evidence over time. The problem is that too many people never have enough evidence directed at them or they duck it by avoiding science in general.

      Your ESD provides a lot of ammunition for teachers and others who would like to stem the tide of antiscience. It deserves to be better known to more of them. The dinosaur-bird relationship also has a lot of potential in that direction. It would help a lot if most of the most active and vocal religious people were not the bible literalists who keep hammering away at “It’s either religion OR evolution, you can’t believe both.”

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  6. From my self-interested niche, I must concur with the idea that the info in ESD should be better known, and used by as many as possible. So much of the underlying evidence of the RMT intersects bird-dino origins that it was natural to include that too, plus that it is an area already more generally known in public and so provides an additional hook.

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    • Re Birds,
      There are a lot of birdwatchers; more so than mammal watchers I think. I did a couple of presentations for our local bird club on why many bioscientists consider birds to be dinosaurs nowadays. I hadn’t thought much about birds before. Working on those presentations really brought home to me how classification terms can so easily hide transitional forms and even minimize diversity in general. (Of course, creationists are adept at that game, as you know.) I tried to point out to my bird club audience the trap the Linnaean classification scheme can be when used without due awareness of its limitations.

      I also learned something about the great morphological/anatomical diversity of Cretaceous birds compared to our modern birds. Back then there were “opposite birds” and modern-type birds; long bony-tailed birds & short-tailed birds; birds with four wings and others with two; beaked and non-beaked birds, toothed and toothless birds, even some partly beaked and partly toothed. What a treat for an anatomist. Someone like Baron Cuvier could have had a lot of fun with Cretaceous birds. And then in the Cenozoic there were giant, big-headed “terror birds.” Amazing and scary! I wonder if anyone is working on analyzing and perhaps explaining the different morphological/anatomical trajectories of mammals and birds over time.

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  7. I agree totally on the amazing new finds of Cretaceous birds, which the antievo lit overall ignores. I’ve been keeping track of the incoming technical literature on the enantiornithurine “opposite” birds” which relates to a shoulder bone that rests with the protrusion part occurring on the other bone than ones in extant birds; the genetics of this haven’t been pinned down yet. The recent taxonomy suggestion putting theropods as a secondary derived group nearer to ornithischians actually clarifies a bit on the role of the genes that led to feathers, since at least one ornithischian has some feather-like tail stuff, while no sauropod appears to have any analog (understandable, if they split off with the herrerasaurs before some of those adaptive pre-switches were thrown). Lots of work to keep my eye on as it slips on the scope.

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  8. Yes, I’ve also read something recently on the proposed theropod-ornithischian clade. The original paper is behind a paywall unfortunately. It will be interesting to see if the idea holds up under scrutiny. I imagine that the creationist leaders are trying to figure out whether this is good or bad news for them. Probably they will just point out that once again scientists are changing their minds and therefore put no trust in science.

    The last 50 years or so have been tough on creationists. Within that period, the discoveries of fossils filling in gaps in the lobe-fin fish to tetrapod transition, the land artiodactyl to whale transition, the hominin transitions, and the pre-avian dinosaur to bird transition, their baraminologists have gotten to the point that even using their own software programs they can’t find (and agree on) those unbridgeable gaps between the “kinds” that their faith demands. More and more they are being forced into a Robert Byersian redefine and deny mentality. I’ve watched in amazement over the years as R. B. redefined “biological evidence”* so that it includes nothing but direct observation of experiments and denied the validity/utility to biology of anything at all from other sciences. Recently, on Sandwalk, he has denied that reptiles and mammals are even real categories. (To be fair, though, I think I remember reading that reptiles might be too broad a class and perhaps polyphyletic. Aren’t the earliest known diapsids and synapsids about the same age and possibly of different ancestry within the “amphibia”? It’s been a while since I’ve studied up on the subject.)

    * Of course RB has produced no biological evidence at all for his bizarre idea that thylacines are just wolves who instantaneously developed marsupial reproduction when they arrived in Australia. (As if Australia was all that different from other post-Flood continents. Maybe he confused Australia with Mars.)

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  9. I took note of the reptile classification issue in ESD, regarding how modern cladists don’t use “reptile” to describe synapsida, but why I use the term with those caveats in the book. While the facts have been tough on creationism, their social demographic has never been stronger, or have more political clout, as I fear we’ll be seeing through the Trumplandia regnum.

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    • Re reptiles,
      I remember that you dealt with that topic in ESD. I agree that the term reptile, like the term fish, still has utility due to its familiarity and the fact that it is based on some easily observable characteristics. There’s good reason for Dimetrodon being so easily confused with a dinosaur by most people.

      From some statistics I’ve seen quoted on pandasthumb.org a while back, I’m not so sure that creationists are gaining ground percentage-wise. Church affiliation is decreasing overall. The political clout is largely because of the religious right’s takeover of the GOP (ironically, despite the lip service to Jesus, that takeover was facilitated by an “unholy” alliance with Big Business/Big Polluters). It remains to be seen if they can hold on to that political power. Denying reality and disrespecting science and scientists are not useful when dealing with the kinds of environmental and other problems governments face and are expected to deal with by an easily irritated public.

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  10. I’ll agree that creationists aren’t gaining ground in popularity, at least as a proportion of the population, though they can be growing in numbers as population goes up. But they still have unwarranted political influence from those who believe as they do and have been elected to state legislatures, Congress, or become cabinet secretaries or even Vice President. In that respect they can be very pernicious indeed, and will act as unsettling roadblocks to reason & progress (at least out through the next four years).

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    • It’s sad and ironic that a country still living under a radical Constitution framed in an Age of Enlightenment and Reason should turn into a bastion of conservative belief under the rule of what Bobby Jindal called “the stupid party.”

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    • Re the ongoing posting on Sandwalk about how to define evolution.

      I can’t quite decide whether Jack Jackson is adopting the “were you there” approach of creationists to avoid confronting data and conclusions they don’t like in his attempt to distinguish history from science. I’m just confused by his example of radiometric dating used to date a past event as not being science but history! Doesn’t the past start an instant later than whatever phenomenon, action, or thought occurs? If so, where then is the line to be drawn between history and science? Is the radiometric dating of trees pushed over by a glacier in MN during the most recent ice age history or science? What about rad. dating of a volcanic eruption also witnessed by ancient Romans? Is the recognition of trilobites, therapsids, and tyrannosaurs as once-living animals part of history or part of science? What about mammoths which are also pictured in cave drawings?

      There may be another useful book in debunking these kinds of creationist claims.

      Jack Jackson seems to be using Robert Byers’ ploy of redefining things to avoid unwelcome conclusions. As you know, Byer’s idea of “biological science” excludes most of biology (and logic) as scientists know it. I’m enjoying your rational comments on Byers’ nonsense even, though, of course he pays no attention to any critiques by anyone and just repeats or amplifies his nonsense to an even higher level. For example, recently he has stated — if I’m paraphrasing accurately — that reptiles and mammals are the same thing, so there can be no transitions between the two! If it were true that reptiles and mammals are the same “kind,” why not include birds, amphibians, and fish too? The span of variation is about the same if you consider fossil forms along with extant organisms.

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    • Michel, the information is out there (in fact has been for a long while), the difficulty is pulling it all together so interested people can make the best use of it. There’s nothing magical about the methods approach, and a strength will be for many reading my work to use it as a springboard to embark on their own research, drawing on (but not restricted to) the sources I have gathered together in #TIP. I think I have been most careful in sticking close to the facts and fairly representing them, and am confident that all of my work can be subjected to a rigorous fact-checking source methods probing without fraying.

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