Thursday, April 06, 2006

The missing link?

Jim Still of The Secular Outpost has put up the following post:

“According to a story published in today's New York Times, scientists have discovered a "missing link" between fish and land mammals. The transitional fossils are "so clearly an intermediate 'link between fishes and land vertebrates,' they said, that it 'might in time become as much an evolutionary icon as the proto-bird Archaeopteryx,' which bridged the gap between reptiles (probably dinosaurs) and today's birds." Since creationists have made it a central point to argue that no such transitional fossils exist, this is definitely a blow to their argument.

Of course, I've always thought that any young-earth creationist who drives a car ought to be ashamed of his own ignorance. How do they suppose that geologists figure out exactly where to look for oil? Do they just start drilling any old place and hope they get lucky? Of course not. Geologists have such high probabilities of finding oil because they exploit their knowledge of platetectonics, evolution, and the millions of years it took for the earth to turn megatons of plankton into petroleum.”

I’m afraid his post raises more questions than it answers.

1.How is a fish-like mammal—or is it a mammal-like fish?—evidence of a transitional species?

Why is it not merely evidence of a species which inhabited a swamp?

As a natural swamp-dweller, it has a body plan that maximizes its ability to exploit its particular environment.

How is it inconsistent with creationism to have creatures naturally suited to different ecological zones? It’s not as if Moses never had a chance to see a Nile crocodile.

2.Is continental drift or plate tectonics inimical to creationism?

3.I’m not a petroleum geologist. Unless I’m mistaken, neither is Still.

What is his evidence for the rate of fossilization and localization of fossil remains consistent with extensive oil fields and coal deposits? Could he favor us with some hard data?


  1. Hays, what are you crazy? Don’t you know they have traced all the missing links to prove evolution? Here is your PROOF!. The transitions are so clear; I don’t know how any one can deny that the fork evolved from the knife. This ‘might in time become as much an evolutionary icon as the proto-bird Archaeopteryxbe’ ;-)

  2. Um, Mr. Secular Outpost man, Archaeopteryx is not a transitional form for ANYthing. Evolutionary scientists admit it's a dead end in their proposed evolutionary chains. See J. Wells "Icons of Evolution" for more info.

  3. And the duck-billed patypus is a transitional form between aquatic birds and mammals? Look at a thing, find it looks like a cross between one thing and another and pronounce it a 'transitional form' if it's dead enough. Not proof. lads, not proof, just confirmation of prejudice.

  4. I normally would be reticent to comment on this topic, but I really can't help myself.

    I understand if you don't agree with the lines of evidence for common descent.

    However, to claim that the individual fossils (archaeopteryx, with new instances of Ardipithecus & tiakklik, just in the past week) do not display intermediate forms such that these finds were predicted is silly. What I mean is, say, if you want, that God "poofed" them just as you see them. Fine, your issue.

    But, saying, "these are not transitional fossils" by the paradigm of "non special creation" is silly. The mixture of characters between previously known taxa is as obvious as the nose on your face.

    Back to the oft-touted dino-bird:
    is it a bird, or a dinosaur?
    Note that it has a beak...with teeth
    It has feathers...but no grasping toe [this is a recent discover with the beautifully-preserved newest fossil we found: Thermopolis, Dec 2,2005 -- source]
    It sure as heck doesn't have aviary wings, and it has the characteristic hyper-extended middle claw of the foot [characteristic of raptors]
    Find me a bird with bones in its tail, please.

    But...creationists call it a bird.

    I strongly suggest you read up on it before asserting [whether or not it gave rise to other lineages] that it isn't "transitional" -- as this, itself, is evidence that such transitions do occur (or "are created" in your worldview) simply by its existence and the assemblage of its characters, irrespective of its lineage thereafter. IOW, whether or not this particular guy gave rise to the birds is irrelevant, it's that it exists in the first place, proof of major change among higher taxa to those of us who deny "poof" events occurring.

    Honestly, even the so-called smart creationists [ID-iots] these days don't deny common descent, but assert that it took a "guiding force"

    What you guys are doing here is similar to me coming on and spewing that "this whole systematic theology business is just so dumb!" - it equates to talking from your anal sphincter

  5. it does NOT prove anything - it merely reasserts a theory - that is flawed on so many other fronts now.. WHY not allow HONEST & OPEN evaluation in the University System & quit supressing intelligent design proponents so we CAN get to the bottom of what the TRUTH really is .. the TRUTH IS CURRENTLY IN COMPETITION WITH A LIE . why not explore ALL sides INCLUDING intelligetn design and UNCOVER the TRUTH ... OR MAYBE YOU CAN:T STAND THE COMPETITION ... becasue evoloution as an explanation for what we now know IS simply WEAK!!!!WEAK!!!!WEAK!!!!!!!!!!