New dinosaur species is a missing link
April 12th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

New dinosaur species is a missing link

It's fitting that a place called Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, would yield the discovery of a scary-looking creature. But it's not a ghost - it's a dinosaur.

This dog-sized, ferocious-looking critter is called Daemonosaurus chauliodus, which means something along the lines of  “buck-toothed evil lizard,” says Hans-Dieter Sues, lead author of the published research describing this dinosaur, and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The illustration above compares the head and neck with a quarter. You can see that it has a short snout and enormous front teeth.

Scientists found the skull and neck of this previously unrecognized dinosaur, and described it in a study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

This dinosaur provides a link between what paleontologists consider "early" and "later" dinosaurs. There's a gap in the fossil record between the oldest known dinosaurs, which walked or ran on their hind legs about 230 million years ago in Argentina and Brazil, and other predatory dinosaurs that lived much later. Daemonosaurus chauliodus helps fill in a blank in dinosaur history.

This newly discovered species lived about 205 million years ago, and probably preyed on other dinosaurs and other small animals, Sues said. At that time, what is now the American Southwest was located close to the equator, so it was warm and monsoon-like with heavy seasonal precipitation. This dinosaur was probably active during the day, although its large eyes suggest it could have seen at night as well.

How did it go extinct? It may have fallen victim to an extinction event that occurred about 200 million years ago. As the continents were separating, there was a large zone of volcanic activity. Enormous quantities of lava was released, doing "horrible things to the atmosphere." Most dinosaurs made it through (that is, until an asteroid struck around 65 million years ago), but perhaps not this one.

"It just shows that even here in the United States, there are still many new dinosaurs to be found," Sues said. "People always think we have to go to some remote places, but, right here in northern New Mexico, we can still find new dinosaurs."

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Filed under: Animals • Dinosaurs
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  1. Really?

    Is this a picture of Michelle Malkin or Bristol Palin? I can't tell.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      It's a picture of Mike's southern POS redneck mother

      April 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Oh Mike, pretty sure Michelle doesn't have the same middle name.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      I thought I slapped you people around pretty good earlier today. This is not a political story. Go back to your pot smoking and/or cross burning rallies. The rest of us are not interested.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Nah, dude ... that's Ann Coulter!

      April 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Beritebak

      It's a picture of my mother-in-law when she's in a -good- mood.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Beritebak

      It can't be a Palin, predatory dinosaurs were smart.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • bal

      No. Its Larry king when he was a kid.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • wzrd1

      Me, after a holiday weekend. A few cups of coffee makes me look nearly human again.
      Well, my glasses help too...

      April 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • dendata

      Bristol is hot!...

      April 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I was always told the devil put dinosaurs in the ground to confuse us!

      April 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolph

      Looks like Arianna Huffington to me. Or maybe Hillary Clinton? It could be an Oreo like Obama...

      April 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry2

      Please? Don't insult the poor thing by comparing it to those two things!

      April 13, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. cesar

    @Really: You cannot comment until you take and pass the test.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • JaC

      Sorry if he saw the problem with his "test" he wouldn't have the faith to believe in evolution.

      Atheists demand a scientific level of proof for God, something that we admit we believe on faith, but they accept evolution though they've never seen it, and pretend it's empirical science.

      Hypocrisy 101...

      April 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      We've never seen evolution? Google "observed instances of speciation". Just because you're too lazy to do the research doesn't mean we haven't. I don't require "proof" for god or evolution, I require emperical evidence for either. When I ask for emperical evidence of god, I get "accept it on faith", when I ask for emperical evidence for evolution I got
      "A New Skull of Early H-mo from Dmanisi, Georgia"
      "Detecting genetic drift versus selection in human evolution"
      "Cerebral Cortices of East African Early Hominids"
      "A probabilistic approach to the problem of s-xual dimorphism in H-mo habilis: a comparison of KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 "
      "New Australopithecus boisei calvaria from East Lake Turkana, Kenya"

      Etc etc. Really, there's no limit to the number of papers I could come up with on any aspect of evolution, those are just concerning various aspects of human evolution specifically. I could provide more if you want.

      "Implications of new early H-mo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya"
      "Comparisons of Early Pleistocene Skulls from East Africa and the Georgian Caucasus: Evidence Bearing on the Origin and Systematics of Genus H-mo"

      See, that's how easy it is to find evidence for just a single aspect of evolution. I could provide article after article of aspect after aspect after aspect, that is what makes evolution science.

      I don't accept evolution on faith, I accept it on the same principles I accept General Relativity. I reject god on those same principles, as there isn't a lick of evidence, let alone "proof".

      April 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paleo

      @JaC You aren't arguing with atheists or the faith of others. You're arguing with repeatable, observable fact. You argue with the entirety of the fossil record and you argue with the relatedness of modern species with your willful lack of understanding of DNA. I wouldn't consider it a leap of faith to see the validity of fact.

      Also, the term "missing link" is a misnomer. I think it time to shed the vestige of Aristotelian thought in regards to biology. Each of us are transitional forms...

      April 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Dude

      @Andrew
      There was a pretty stunning case in England where a coal powered generating station went online. Within five years a local species of white moth evolved into a black species. As soot covered the white trees they hid on, their white color made them easy targets. The previously rare back mutations had a huge advantage. If that can happen in 5 years, how about a million?

      Or the poodle being a decedent of the wolf in a few thousand years. Compare the farm bred turkey to it's wild ancestor. That was less then 200 years of breeding.

      The only difference between evolution and breeding is whether the pressure to change comes from a natural or artificial environment.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      JaC: Actually, it's plain as day, right in front of you. Everywhere you look. Selective breeding for example, with dogs. All you have to do is accept the possibility that this can happen naturally. Natural selection. Those species that survive have a tendancy toward certain characteristics.

      You can see evolution, you just have to open your eyes.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • What the...

      Actually all of the examples given are not evolution, but of change within a kind. Speciation is not evolution, just change within a kind. Evolution requires new, never before exisiting information to arise in order to form new species. However, that has never been observed, neither presently or in the fossil record. Dogs vary within their kind, moths within their kind, etc, etc, but one kind of animal never becomes a new totally different kind (dogs don't become moths, etc).

      April 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • woobie

      you have never seen evolution at work because there is no such thing as evolution. you are deluded. athiests are always the same changing terminology, saying it's here or there and when you get there there's nothing. and look here again its a drawing, a drawing is not evidence of anything. atheists have no clue what evidence is. evolution is a hoax and a lie. you people should quit taking advantage of people and go back into the closet where you belong.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      @What The... Did you even google "examples of observed speciation" before making your comment?

      April 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mynameisdanny

    Mexican food is awesome

    April 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chodin

      I got some bomb ace carne asada right here.
      *points between legs*

      April 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Hell to da farkin yeah it is, mang! Now I'm gonna have to have it for dinner .. thanks a lot.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al Beritebak

      Sauritos rule.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal

      Andrew, I'm with you man, but the people who post on these boards are far too ignorant to bother with: American religious zealots at their finest. Just wanted to note, it's not fur on the picture, it's feathers. It's widely believed and speculated that most dinos had feathers. This has been talked about for ages now, with people even stating that TRex might of had feathers, and lice!

      April 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kerry Berger

    Attention all Bible Thumpers. Proof again that Evolution is a reality. If you wish to believe in fairy-tales that's fine by me, but I'd rather stick to scientific fact.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Analytics

      Proof? You call that proof? Hardly. I dare you to read a book that investigates the possibility that evolution is poor theory based on a weak assertion. Darwin's Black Box pops to mind. You can't expect to argue for evolution with a high school understanding of the theory. BTW, as any scientist worth is weght will tell you, it is still a theory, not a fact.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      There is no "proof" in science, there's just evidence. However do explain to me how KNM ER 1470, KNM ER 1813, Lucy, Turkana Boy, Peking Man, DIK-1, are all "weak". Tell me how "changes of gene frequency of a population over time" seems unreasonable given it has been verified over and over. We've seen speciation. Do you want me to give you a list of some dino-bird transitional fossils? What about land mammals to whales? Or how about I give you transcripts of the Dover trial where Behe gets his "Irriducable Complexity" argument so thoroughly trashed as to make him admit that his idea isn't science.

      Seriously, if you're championing "Darwin's Black Box" as indicating issues with evolution, you clearly don't care about understanding how evolution works period. Behe is a joke, like all other creationist "researchers".

      April 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'BTW, as any scientist worth is weght will tell you, it is still a theory, not a fact'
      seriously how often are posters like yourself going to use that stupid its only a theory line without bothering to investigate what that term 'theory' means in scientific circles?

      April 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • akruckus

      Did you even read the article?

      They found a skull and a neck. Then they draw a picture (giving it fur) and call it the missing link. How on earth can you call this scientific fact? Smithsonian got in big trouble for taking 4 bones that appeared to be from a human, and re-constructing a large, hunched over human and covered him in gorilla hair. You people are no better than the other side in your whole creation vs evolution debate.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      PS, any scientist worth his weight will also tell you that theory is the highest obtainibule status for an idea in science.

      Theory of General Relativity.
      Theory of Special Relativity.
      Plate Tectonic Theory.
      Germ Theory of Disease.
      Quantum Field Theory.
      Atomic Theory.

      See, a "theory" is a large explanatory body in science backed up by mountains of evidence. Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation for example was replaced by Einstein's THEORY of General Relativity. Why? Because an explanation means a lot more than a "law" or a "fact" which are trivial statements. Theories are penultimate in science, and while they're subject to change, they're as factual as facts get in science.

      April 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      No one doubts that there were dinosaurs but that doesn't say anything about religion. You can't disprove religion with science. They are two different things.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • D Russell

      Analytics. In spite of your name, I think you have not yet analysed a simple dictionary. Look up two words for me 1) theory – as in the everyday use of the term. 2) Scientific theory. You will see that they are not the same thing. But I am sure you already know that. The problem with fundamentalist Christians is that I think they know they are twisting the truth because they know they may fool some uneducated people. I guess fundies think that the 'good' end of getting someone to join their supernatural belief system outweighs this lack of truthfulness. Now since I explained your error, I expect (not) that you will stop trying to fool people using the word "theory" in that ignorant way.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      akruckus, the Smithsonian didn't get in trouble for that... it was the London Illustrated Times for creating the image of Nebraska Man with almost no real information to go off of. Did you know, the actual researcher who first described the tooth, Osborne, actually railed against the drawing?

      Don't confuse what the popular press puts out with what researchers say.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • akruckus

      @Andrew

      I still would like to know from a complety scientific standpoint why they found a skull and a neck and gave it fur.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      wow, so since everyone here seems to be so sure of their own answers, can you all get off the computer and do something productive now? it must be fun trying to win an argument with someone you'll never know, or feeling better than someone because you think your ideology makes more sense, and therefor everyone else is inferior. this isn't facebook. grow up.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • RC Roeder

      Analytics,
      Yes it is a theory, which means that people are willing to adjust their thought pattern.
      Only the facts from the bible is based on second hand and hearsay evidence. After all, there is no Book of Jesus…

      April 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      akruckus
      I'd tell you to also search the original paper on these findings, but per CNN's usual poor science reporting, they don't actually list the paper, or the journal, or link it, or anything that indicates an ounce of competence with science reporting. Anyway, yeah, my recommendation to see what the difference between CNN's graphics department, and actual scientific research, is to take some time and read some scientific papers on paleontology. Feel free to read articles like
      "Phenetic affinities among early H-mocrania from East and South Africa" or "A New Skull of Early H-mo from Dmanisi, Georgia" if you really honestly believe that its the researchers making that picture.

      You'll learn that the papers they put out look very very different from what CNN does.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sumday

      when they can accurately predict it, or have an equation that shows how it functions, or explain how a 1 celled organism somehow without intelligence, thought, planning, or future knowledge was able to go from simple to complex randomly then maybe I'll buy into your fairy tale. Random evolution takes more blind ignorant faith than any religion. Now if you would like to speak on an "intelligent designer" level then maybe I can take you somewhat serious. Just ask yourself how did trillions of trillions mutations randomly occur without design or planning that not only resulted in billions of different species especially when every mutation that we observed is harmful not beneficial (cancers & tumors), but also happened at a fairly balance pace IE in random evolution there is not 1 reason that the predator doesn't out evolve the prey and collapse the food chain- but somehow things "evolved" in a balance. Do you really think we are the only intelligence out there? or is it much more likely that we were CREATED by other being from somewhere in this universe. I don't deny "evolution" I just scoff at it being without design, planning, or thought- like it just randomly happened now that is for the foolish indeed.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Genius

      Join the 21st cetury. Most christian churches have already accepted evolution.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • gjellenbecker

      Science parlance is a little different than the everyday use of the word. When something is labeled a 'theory' among scientists it is an all but proven fact. A "hypothesis" is an as yet unsubstantiated which can be tested through experimentation. Translated to everyday speak "theory" is more like fact or law, and "hypothesis" is similar to the everyday use of the word theory. The Theory of Evolution, like the Theory of Gravity, is well supported through experimentation and observation and is widely accepted by the scientific community. I have yet to see one argument based on actual science (I.E. disproving a testable hypothesis) that counters evolution... or gravity for that matter.

      "The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed."

      April 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      @sumday
      They can accurately predict, model, AND explain how evolution works. Fossils like Tiktaalik are first predicted, with the properties we expect, at a geological timescale we expect, and then are found. That's pretty strong levels of prediction and confirmation. But we also have observed instances of speciation, transitional fossil over transitional fossil, and it operates on a principle so simple that denial is absurd... "change of gene frequency of a population over time".

      BTW, producing nylonase is a pretty useful mutation, and the vast majority of all genetic mutations are benign. But hey, why let facts get in the way of a petty dogma? Oh, don't believe me? Consider this, there are about 20 amino acids our DNA codes for, but DNA codes in "codons", 3 nucleotide sets. With 4 different nucleotides, that's a total of 64 possible combinations, and only three stop codons. That means fundamentally there's a lot of redundancy built into our DNA, meaning a mutation can happen which yields NO difference in amino acid. Then, even if there is a difference in amino acids, usually it has little change to the organism as there are generally 4 main types of amino acids with generally similar properties, polar, nonpolar, basic or acidic. There's limited change in phenotype if amino acids change within their own group, making even more built in redundancy.

      But hey if you're going to sit there and tell me that most genetic mutations are harmful, it means you don't care enough to learn about genetics anyway. So my words probably fall on deaf ears.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      I long ago gave up trying to have a rational conversation about a subject such as this with the average publicly schooled American. Most Americans don't even know the difference between science theory and science law.

      One should be allowed to post on articles such as this only after offering a cogent and rational explanation on why it is called Einstein's Theory and not Einstein's Law. I'll even give you a hint: scientific Law ranks higher than scientific Theory.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Ralph, it's called Einstein's Theory of General Relativity because it is a large explanatory body based on evidence.

      Theory trumps law, because "laws" are simple statements that have application over possibly narrow sets of circ-mstance. For example, Ohm's law is thrown out the window with superconductors. We tossed out Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation when looking at things like Mercury's Orbit and instead adopted the far more powerful far more accurate Einstein's THEORY of General Relativity.

      Other laws include:
      Coulombs law-> Only valid for electrostatic objects, in other words if you have moving charges it becomes less and less accurate.
      Bernoulli Law doesn't account for compressible flow.
      Hooke's Law falls apart once you have a strain that exceeds the elastic limit.
      Ideal Gas Law is never truly valid and just an approximation.

      Laws are simple statements, they might be right, they might be wrong, they generally only apply to a narrow set of circ-mstances, but they certainly do not count as above theories. Anyone to claim so has clearly never studied science in depth.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRH

      @Analytics: what's it like on your home planet? I'm a scientist, worth at least my weight (in something), and I'll give you that evolution is *not* a theory, it's proven fact. When was the last time you had a resistant strain of bacteria infecting you? Why don't dogs become wolves if you leave them to breed on their own? I could go on and on. You're the one who needs to get your facts straight my friend. You can believe or not believe in what the Bible says, but scientific fact is scientific fact. Let's not let religion (once again) get in the way of science here, okay?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Actually a scientific theory is based on mountains of evidence. Ideas without much evidence are called hypotheses.

      Evolution has hundreds of fossils to support its theory.
      What does creationism have? Oh right, nothing.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cocopuf

      You'd rather believe in anything that other people tell you than to the truth. I'm glad I'm not in your predicament. lol

      April 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cocopuf

      Dead fossils don't evolve. They simply died (period).

      April 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mao

      @Andrew
      Read it; I ain't seeing where Professor Behe admits "that his idea isn't science". You made that up.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      @ Mao
      It depends, if you're using Behe's definition of a "Scientific theory", Behe says IC is a scientific theory and reasonable science. He also said that under his definition, astrology will also count. However, according to the actual definition of a scientific theory, Behe really does admit his idea wouldn't be accepted.

      Day 11, Dover trial, PM session.

      Q Towards the end of your testimony today you said that it's good to teach students about intelligent design so that they can look at the facts from several theoretical perspectives, correct?

      A Yes, that's right.

      Q Now, in the case of germ theory, you're not aware that students are taught some other theoretical perspective so that they can understand the facts and not confuse germ theory with germ fact, correct?

      A That's correct.

      Q And not - the same would be true for atomic theory, correct?

      A That's correct.

      Q The theory of plate tectonics?

      A But evolutionary theory is in many ways very much more involved than some of the other ones that you mentioned. In particular, as I tried to make clear in my testimony, it has a number of parts which are - which are together, under an aggregate, considered Darwin's theory of evolution. But again, as I tried to make clear in my testimony, not all of them are as well supported as other parts of the theory.

      So I think in this particular case, yes, it would make a great deal of sense for students to view the data from a number of theoretical perspectives.

      Q You're not an expert in germ theory, are you?

      A No.

      Q Or atomic theory?

      A I studied it but I wouldn't call myself an expert.

      Q Take germ theory, you don't really know the nature of the controversies around germ theory, do you?

      A I think the nature of the controversies around germ theory are pretty much past. I think it was controversial in the 19 Century, but I don't think there is a controversy in it in the present time.

      Q Okay. And you don't really know if a germ theory or atomic theory, where there are gaps or unexplained phenomena?

      A I don t, but I do know evolutionary theory, and I know there are gaps and unexplained problems in that.

      Q Probably true of all scientific theories, right, Professor Behe?

      A It might be true of - yes, it's certainly true of many scientific theories.

      Q Now, you claim that intelligent design is a scientific theory.

      A Yes.

      Q But when you call it a scientific theory, you're not defining that term the same way that the National Academy of Sciences does.

      A Yes, that's correct.

      Q You don't always see eye to eye with the National Academy?

      A Sometimes not.

      Q And the definition by the National Academy, as I think you testified is, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences and tested hypotheses, correct?

      A Yes.

      Q Using that definition, you agree intelligent design is not a scientific theory, correct?

      A Well, as I think I made clear in my deposition, I'm a little bit of two minds of that. I, in fact, do think that intelligent design is well substantiated for some of the reasons that I made clear during my testimony. But again, when you say well substantiated, sometimes a person would think that there must be a large number of people then who would agree with that. And so, frankly, I, like I said, I am of two minds of that.

      Q And actually you said at your deposition, I don't think intelligent design falls under this definition. Correct?

      A Yeah, and that's after I said - if I may see where in my deposition that is? I'm sorry.

      Q It's on pages 134 and 135.

      A And where are you - where are you reading from?

      Q I'll be happy to read the question and answer to you. I asked you whether intelligent design - I asked actually on the top of 133, I asked you whether intelligent design qualifies as a scientific theory using the National Academy of Sciences definition.

      A What line is that, I'm sorry?

      Q That's 133, line 18.

      A Is that going - question beginning, "Going back to the National Academy of Science?"

      Q Yes. And you first said, "I m going to say that I would argue that in fact it is." And that's 134, line ten.

      A Yes.

      Q Okay. And I said, "Intelligent design does meet that?" And you said, "It's well substantiated, yes." And I said, "Let's be clear here, I'm asking - looking at the definition of a scientific theory in its entirety, is it your position that intelligent design is a scientific theory?" And you said, going down to line 23, "I think one can argue these a variety of ways. For purposes of an answer to the - relatively brief answer to the question, I will say that I don't think it falls under this." And I asked you, "What about this definition; what is it in this definition that ID can't satisfy to be called a scientific theory under these terms?" And you answer, "Well, implicit in this definition it seems to me that there would be an agreed upon way to decide something was well substantiated. And although I do think that intelligent design is well substantiated, I think there's not - I can't point to external - an external community that would agree that it was well substantiated."

      A Yes.

      Q So for those reasons you said it's not - doesn't meet the National Academy of Sciences definition.

      A I think this text makes clear what I just said a minute or two ago, that I'm of several minds on this question. I started off saying one thing and changing my mind and then I explicitly said, "I think one can argue these things a variety of ways. For purposes of a relatively brief answer to the question, I'll say this." But I think if I were going to give a more complete answer, I would go into a lot more issues about this.

      So I disagree that that's what I said - or that's what I intended to say.

      Q In any event, in your expert report, and in your testimony over the last two days, you used a looser definition of "theory," correct?

      A I think I used a broader definition, which is more reflective of how the word is actually used in the scientific community.

      Q But the way you define scientific theory, you said it's just based on your own experience; it's not a dictionary definition, it's not one issued by a scientific organization.

      A It is based on my experience of how the word is used in the scientific community.

      Q And as you said, your definition is a lot broader than the NAS definition?

      A That's right, intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in the scientific community.

      Q Sweeps in a lot more propositions.

      A It recognizes that the word is used a lot more broadly than the National Academy of Sciences defined it.

      Q In fact, your definition of scientific theory is synonymous with hypothesis, correct?

      A Partly - it can be synonymous with hypothesis, it can also include the National Academy's definition. But in fact, the scientific community uses the word "theory" in many times as synonymous with the word "hypothesis," other times it uses the word as a synonym for the definition reached by the National Academy, and at other times it uses it in other ways.

      Q But the way you are using it is synonymous with the definition of hypothesis?

      A No, I would disagree. It can be used to cover hypotheses, but it can also include ideas that are in fact well substantiated and so on. So while it does include ideas that are synonymous or in fact are hypotheses, it also includes stronger senses of that term.

      Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?

      A Yes.

      Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?

      A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that - which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other - many other theories as well.

      Q The ether theory of light has been discarded, correct?

      A That is correct.

      Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

      A Yes, that's correct. And let me explain under my definition of the word "theory," it is - a sense of the word "theory" does not include the theory being true, it means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain some facts by logical inferences. There have been many theories throughout the history of science which looked good at the time which further progress has shown to be incorrect. Nonetheless, we can't go back and say that because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect theories, are nonetheless theories.

      Q Has there ever been a time when astrology has been accepted as a correct or valid scientific theory, Professor Behe?

      A Well, I am not a historian of science. And certainly nobody - well, not nobody, but certainly the educated community has not accepted astrology as a science for a long long time. But if you go back, you know, Middle Ages and before that, when people were struggling to describe the natural world, some people might indeed think that it is not a priori - a priori ruled out that what we - that motions in the earth could affect things on the earth, or motions in the sky could affect things on the earth.

      You should really read the entire day's transcript, just about everything Behe says is so thoroughly dismantled, so thoroughly trashed, so utterly UTTERLY eviscerated that it becomes almost painful to read. I was paraphrasing, I admit, but I'm glad you called me on it because frankly, the trial's transcript really doesn't help Behe.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mao

      @Andrew
      It is quite a long piece of work I'm surprised that both parties are mentally able to continue. It's not easy to go for an hour straight, take a break, then continue for another 30 minutes as did happen in the transcripts. I applaud the humor in there too:)
      But I think we're at odds as to whether he got trashed (that goes without saying). However it was very interesting to see how specific Prof. Behe sees intelligent design (ie. that it is not proof that God exists).
      You found a good source to go to to see how Darwin's Black Box should be viewed, especially if churches are going to use it to teach others about God.

      April 13, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Mao, while it's technically true that the designer could be anything, including aliens, there's a problem with regression. Say it was aliens, and not god, how did the aliens come about? Maybe they were designed. But by who? Well, maybe god, or more aliens? Except the universe is only 13.7 billion years old, eventually you'll get down to the very first life in the universe and either it was "god", or it was some process very much like abiolgenesis and naturalistic evolution. If it's the former, Behe is still stating "god" ultimately, and if it's the latter, it seems almost pointless to suppose these aliens could come about via abiogenesis and naturalistic evolution, but we didn't.

      Either way, "intelligent design" is fairly untenable. BTW, when Behe started having those textbooks on the bacterial flagellum placed on his desk, and still denies it's sufficient evidence peering out the side to say so, you can claim he wasn't thrashed all you like, but the conservative Christian George Bush appointed judge's ruling is pretty unequivocal regarding how poorly the ID side supported their case.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. religionsucks

    Jesus used to ride around on one of these things

    April 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      Giddyup

      April 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      Yee-haw, Yahweh!

      April 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cesar

    @Myname and Kerry: Students, Please! You know you need to test. Comment after you pass.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ThatOneDude

    Don't they have to know where in Genesis this particular critter was found?

    Oops, did I forget to turn off my sarcasm filter?

    April 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cesar

    Class! I am getting upset. No more comments until you test. Next blogger to comment without first testing will get a 15 min. time out.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Howard

    and ... 5. What sort of jerk appoints himself to pose questions to determine whether someone should post in this thread?

    April 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CCUBED

    Cesar, I haven't seen you pass the test yet. Stop commenting please!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cesar

    Howard, you have lunch detention for 3 days. And I want a parent conference.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. religionsucks

    I don't need no education, the church tells me what I think.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dinogod

    shut up cesar

    April 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cesar

    @theInternet: I graded your test. You made a -0- The rest of you will be reported to the principal's office. I'm going to the lounge.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. L64

    Cesar, l want a conference with YOUR parents!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
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