Galileo and Live PterosaursAugust 20th, 2012 at 12:44
I recently noticed a comment, on this blog, submitted for a post unrelated to that comment. I quote it here because I believe origin philosophies now deserve a brief post. I leave out the commenter’s name because I see some serious problems that I need to address, and the words of that comment are similar to other criticisms I have encountered over the past nine years. Galileo may seem unrelated but the similarity in reasoning is critical.
“If the ropen are real (I’m not convinced, but it would be cool if it was) it wouldn’t disprove evolution anymore than it would prove intelligent design.”
On this blog, I searched for “evolution” and found six relevant posts and pages, out of 171 total posts and 8 total pages. Live Pterosaur (this blog) deals with many concepts about extant pterosaurs and specifics about particular sightings; but only rarely does a post or page deal with evolution, Biblical Creation, or Intelligent Design. This brief post will be another of those exceptions, but it will still be limited in scope.
Four Moons of Jupiter
Early in the 1600′s, Galileo discovered the four largest moons of the planet Jupiter and proclaimed the discovery to all who would listen. Wikipedia now proclaims, “the incontrovertible discovery of celestial bodies orbiting something other than the Earth dealt a serious blow to the then-accepted Ptolemaic world system . . .” We now take a closer look.
Did Galileo’s discovery prove that the earth revolves around the sun? Did it disprove the old earth-centered philosophy? No, on both points. It did, however, cause more people to reassess old assumptions, dramatically preparing the way for a better concept, the Copernican Revolution. We now know that the earth is not the center of the universe, but the sun-centered solar system was not proved by the observations of the four largest moons of Jupiter.
The scientist Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642
The General Theory of Evolution
I do not use the simplistic word “evolution,” for it is vague, with numerous meanings. When referring to Darwin’s origin philosophy, I use the phrase “general theory of evolution,” defined by the evolutionist Gerald A. Kerkut as “the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.”
That concept of evolution has been disproved by the Evolutionary Boundary simulations, but let’s get back to the original question, implied by the one who made the comment about living pterosaurs:
Would the discovery of a living pterosaur disprove the General Theory of Evolution? It would have a similar effect to the discovery of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter: It would invite rethinking old assumptions.
I view the following statement to be simplistic and practically useless: “The discovery of an extant pterosaur would not disprove evolution.” How much better to think and reason in specifics and how much better to appreciate the value of important discoveries!
Galileo snatched hold of a tidal hypothesis that he hoped would be evidence for the Copernican model (sun-centered solar system); it was wrong. More recently, one living-pterosaur investigator tried to shore up the story of what I call the “Tunnel Pterodactyl.” It now seems obvious that signs of a hoax outweigh anything that may be said in favor of that story. But tunnel vision can be seen in the investigations and research of scientists and cryptozoologists of all fields and philosophies. Galileo’s mistake about tides does not mean that the sun revolves around the earth.
From the book Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition):
National newspapers ignored the success of the Wright brothers (their December, 1903, successful powered flight . . .). News reporters and editors, many of them, assumed that the controlled powered-flight of two bicycle mechanics was a lie, that it never happened. Even as late as 1908, many newspaper professionals thought the Wright brothers “better liars than flyers.” . . . But lack of news reporting and abundance of lie-insinuations can relate to both flying machines and flying pterosaurs, even those called “dragons.”
But flying dragons! In modern California? Without news headlines? It’s easier to believe in flying bicycle mechanics.