Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Jan 12, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    Jun 30, 2000
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    [Administrator: Hal Parker’s opening post here is taken from the theistic evolution page. It was left there because of BWSmith’s response to it belonging on that page, but also put here as an excellent opener.]

    First let me come back to the issue of transitional fossils. The TalkOrigins website claims there are plenty of transitional fossils. Well what do some evolution experts say about the fossil record and transitional forms.

    "The oldest truth of paleontology proclaimed that the vast majority of species appear fully formed in the fossil record and do not change substantially during the long period of their later existence. . . . In other words, geologically abrupt appearance followed by subsequent stability."
    Stephen Jay Gould, "Opus 200", Natural History, Vol. 100 (August 1991), p. 14.

    "Most families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors."
    Eldredge, N., 1989 Macro-Evolutionary Dynamics: Species, Niches, and Adaptive Peaks
    , McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New York, p. 22

    "The point emerges that, if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find - over and over again - not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another."
    Derek W. Ager, "The Nature of the Fossil Record," Proceedings of the British Geological Association, Vol. 87, No. 2 (1976), p. 133.

    You are probably asking, well how can the TalkOrigins website claim so many transitional fossils. Well, let's approach it from another angle.
    Ariel Roth presents an interesting problem for transitional forms in his book, Origins: Linking Science And Scripture. He has a table that is very similar to this:

    Transitional forms claimed between phyla: None
    Transitional forms claimed between classes: A few
    Transitional forms claimed between genera: Many
    Tranistional forms claimed between species: Multitudes

    Evolutionists do not claim to have any transitional forms as fossils between different phyla. But a phylum is just beneath the kingdom in the classification system. If evolution were true, there should be countless transitional forms as fossils between the different phyla.

    Evolutionists claim a few transitional forms between different classes of organisms. Creation scientists have begun to address these.

    They claim many transitional forms between genera and species. This is not a problem for Creationists. These probably represent variation within a kind for most of these fossils. More research is being done with this.

    Finally, I want to say that it is not good science to make a big distinction between theory and fact. The theory of electromagnetism is a good example. Think of all the devices made by man that depended on the theory of electromagnetism to be correct. Your computer is an obvious example. But the theory of electromagnetism is still called a theory. There is not a big difference between a theory and a fact sometimes.

    Just for fun, here are a few links about transitional fossils.

    "The Fossil Record" by Clifford A. Cuffey

    Now, here's something interesting. If there was no such thing as a transitional fossil, why do we find critters like Pachygenelius (formerly known as diarthrognathus, which I prefer to call it, myself, but am trying to relearn. Sigh.)? Pachygenelius falls on the razor's edge between mammal and reptile in its diagnostic features.

    "Pachygenelius stands truly at the dividing line between reptile and mammal in so far as this important diagnostic feature of jaw articulation is concerned. This is the only reason why the ictidosaurs are classified as reptiles rather than mammals. In the mammals, the quadrate and articular bones have migrated from the articular region of the jaw to the middle ear where they have been transformed into two of the bones concerned with the transmission of vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. Because, in the ictidosaurs, the tta formation of the quadrate and articular bones had not taken place, these animals can be placed arbitrarily within the reptiles."
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    Speaking of mammalian development, let's keep going. If you look at the fossil record, diagnostics that are used to classify mammals do not appear suddenly nor all at once in the fossil record. For example, the migration of the reptilian jaw bones to those of the mammalian inner ear are well documented in a fine series of fossils.
    Described here:</A>

    Also, you'll notice that other mammalian traits (changes in the skull, hair/fur, mammary developement, live births, placental development) occur separately from each other in the geologic record, not altogether at once. The traits we associate with mammals seem to develop and build upon one another though time. Which is exactly what evolutionary theory would predict. Interesting.
    Described here:


    Finally, here's more on the therapsid series:

    This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are plenty more examples of transitional forms in the fossil record, with plenty more being discovered every day. But, this is a plenty good starting point.

    * * * * *

    [Administrator: Below are some other links from various posts. The links are from different contributors to the evolution side of the debate]

    Check out this one called bambiraptor (yes that bambi) from Montana. I don't think any feathers were fossilized, but it does have some remarkably bird like features in the skeleton.

    How about the fossil record. There is a detailed list, complete with how and why each species is transitional and what defines transitional

    For pics of early snakes with legs, see this slide show presentation on transitional fossils:
    The last four slides include pictures of these snake fossils. Earlier in the slideshow you can see some nice pictures of transitional fossils between frogs and earlier amphibians, between turtles and earlier reptiles, and between lobe-finned fish and early amphibians.

    [ January 22, 2002: Message edited by: Administrator ]

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