August 21, 2017

Adam and the Genome 2: Chapter 1- Evolution as Scientific Theory

Adam and the Genome 2: Chapter 1- Evolution as Scientific Theory

We continue our review of the book, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science, by Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight. Today, chapter 1.

Dennis begins this chapter by reminiscing about his childhood love of science.  He grew up in northern British Columbia (that’s in Canada for those of you from Rio Linda) and spent a lot of time outdoors with his father and brother.  He developed a great love and wonder for the natural world and a desire to know it better. While other kids wanted to be policeman and fireman, he wanted to be a scientist.  He notes:

“Real science, as I understood it from my private-Christian-school workbooks, matched up perfectly with what God said about creation in His Word.  “Darwin” and “evolution” were evil, of course—things that atheist scientists believed despite their overwhelming flaws, because those scientists had purposefully blinded their eyes to the truth.  I distinctly remember that even hearing those words said out loud felt like hearing someone curse, and not mildly.”

It is important to note this, because many feel that people believe in evolution because they have been “brainwashed” by secular liberals, whether raised by secular parents or from teachers in secular schools.  But Dennis’ “brainwashing” was the opposite typical of fundamentalist or conservative evangelical variety.  Since his parents couldn’t afford private Christian college he was off to the “secular” university with prayers from his pastor and congregation that he would not lose his faith in the process.  And it still wasn’t until after graduate school that he finally came to terms with evolution.  The process that began to persuade him was earning an honors degree and writing a research thesis. In his own words:

“It changed everything.  I was working on an open scientific question, one without a canned textbook answer.  To address the question, I needed to understand the principles of developmental cell biology, genetics, and how gene products work at the molecular level.  I was designing experiments to test hypotheses, and troubleshooting them to get them to work properly.  For the first time I was doing real science, and I was hooked.”

And this was the epiphany that many of us who are scientists have had: that science is a slow, step by step process of understanding the underlying principles that tie the facts together into a coherent whole.  In the common parlance a “theory” is just a guess or a speculation i.e. “I have a theory that aliens helped build the pyramids”.  But in science a theory is what facts grow up to be.  A theory is the explanatory framework for why the facts are the way they are.

So when the average uninformed Christian says, “Evolution is just a theory”, they mean that in the common parlance.  But in science evolution is a theory the way gravity is a theory.  No, we don’t know exactly how or why gravity operates the way it does, dimples in the space-time continuum and all that, but we know the theory explains how bodies of mass are attracted to each other.  Think evolution is just a theory, fine, think gravity is just a theory, step off a cliff and you’ll quickly (at 32 feet per second per second) find that the theory is not falsified.  Wait, don’t you mean—proved?  No, and this is the next very important point Dennis makes.

Scientific hypotheses (theories in infanthood) are never “proved” they are only “not falsified”.   They are not falsified until the next experiment is done, the next prediction is made, and the next discovery is uncovered.  If, based on your hypothesis, you predict A should happen, and then you find B happened, you must, if you are a good scientist, go back and modify your hypothesis to take B into account.  So then a hypothesis that is not falsified after many, many predictions and tests eventually grows up to be “a broad explanatory framework  that has withstood repeated experimentation and that makes accurate predictions about the natural world: in other words, a theory (page 4)”. 

So a scientist never “believes” in evolution, they simply accept it provisionally, as the best current explanation for the facts at hand.  This is where many apologists for evolution go off the rails, as I’ve seen time after time, in discussions.  The theory of evolution has abundant proof for over 150 years, they’ll say.  Their interlocutor will come back and say, give me one shining example of absolute proof of evolution. And the evo-apologist will flail around with “homo Naledi” or “Lucy” or archaeopteryx.  Then the interlocutor will scorn, that’s your PROOF; Lucy was an ape, archaeopteryx was a bird, you’ve proven NOTHING.  And you know what, they are right, you haven’t PROVEN anything.  You, and they for that matter, have failed to reject the hypothesis.  That is all.  But it is enough.  Because time after time, bone after bone, fossil after fossil, gene after gene the hypothesis has failed to be rejected.  So there is no knock-down, slam-dunk evidence for evolution there is only the slow, cumulative, failure to reject the hypothesis.

Another problem that it seems has recently gone from bad to worse is the reporting of science in the media.  The media loves to spout the headline of “overturn previous theories” or “changes everything we though we knew”, but, as Dennis points out, this is so often misleading.  Of course, these headlines are often about dietary science, which has become, let’s be frank, a racket.  Dietary research is naturally interesting to everyone since we all want to lose weight and stay healthy, but is very difficult to do right, and very easy to exploit.  The very term “snake oil salesman” refers to the peddling of a dietary supplement.

Dennis then recounts the infamous story of Johannes Bohannon, PhD and the study published in the spring of 2015 about how eating chocolate would help you lose weight.  The story caught fire and spread around the world but the real experiment was to see if a weak study with obvious flaws could be published and grab media attention.  The lead author of the study revealed after the fact:

“I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website. 

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.” 

“I Fooled Millions into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss”

So it’s no wonder that the public gets confused about real science and fake science.  The media does the public a great disservice by this type of reporting, but let’s be honest: “Overturns all previous theories” is going to sell better than: “Incremental advancement to a large body of prior knowledge”, as Dennis points out.

Dennis then covers the “two books” understanding; the view that nature and Scripture are each books authored by God.  All truth is God’s truth.  It’s His creation, His universe; therefore whatever we discover to be true must, by foundational presupposition, be His truth.  God is revealed in his creation.  Psalm 19:1 declares: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.”  Romans 1:20 tells us: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead…”  This is often called “General Revelation.”  God is revealed to us in the Bible, His Special Revelation.  John 5:39 says: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  Therefore, between God’s General Revelation (nature) and His Special Revelation (the Bible) there must be perfect harmony.

The study of God’s general revelation is what we call science.  The study of God’s special revelation is what we call theology.  But because of epistemological and hermeneutical limitations we have neither perfect understanding of nature nor perfect understanding of the Bible.  Hence conflict is not only to be expected, it is inevitable.

Dennis then recounts the Galileo/Copernicus geocentric vs. heliocentric controversy.  The basic issues that were on the table for them are the same as they are now; the truth of the new science versus it’s perceived threat to the authority of the Bible.  He gives a long quote by Jonathon Edwards who held that when science and scripture are in tension, the science must give way to the Bible because it is the “higher authority”.  But then Edwards gives a scientific argument that since we can feel earthquakes we ought to be able to “feel” if the earth is moving around the sun.  Edwards quote:

“Nay, truly, if the earth were hurl’d about in a Circle (as these persons assert) we should feel it to our sorrows, for we should not be able to keep our ground, but must necessarily be thrown off, and all Houses and other Buildings would be thrown down, being forcibly shake off from the Circumference of the Earth, as things that are laid on a Wheel are flung off by it when it turns around.”

And one of the key predictions of heliocentrism is stellar parallax.  If the earth circles the sun once a year then as its position in space shifts, we should observe shifts in how the stars are positioned relative to one another.

As Edwards was aware, the hypothesis made a prediction, the prediction could not be verified, the hypothesis was therefore falsified.  Except… in the 1600’s what was unknown was just how far the stars were from the earth.

Then in 1838 Friedrich Bessel made the first successful parallax measurement ever, for the star 61 Cygni, using a Fraunhofer heliometer at Königsberg Observatory.

Now, scientists failed to reject the hypothesis and heliocentrism was held to be the best explanation of the facts.  As Dennis says:

“In the 1600’s, pretty much all Christians were geocentrists, with only rare exceptions.  From the 1900’s through to the present day, the situation is reversed (yes, there are still Christian geocentrists out there, though they are extremely few in number).  The shift, then, was a gradual one, with plenty of opportunity for gradual theological change within the church along the way.  And what of Edward’s strong assertion that if heliocentrism is true, then Scripture is false?  Well, it seems that few believers see it that way today.”

Dennis then deals with tetrapod (four footed) evolution.  If one goes back in the fossil record there was a time when no tetrapods existed, only abundant fish.  Evolutionary biology predicts, counterintuitively, that tetrapods are descendants of fish.  Fish are aquatic, have gills, and lack limbs.  Tetrapods breathe air, have limbs, and are generally terrestrial.

They couldn’t be more different.

Yet there are lines of evidence that seem to force the biologist’s hand.  All tetrapods, like fish, are vertebrates (have a backbone).  There are no invertebrate tetrapods.  When amphibians first appear in the fossil record they bear resemblance to the lobe-finned lungfish (that persist to this day).  Lungfish have both gills and an air sac to breathe with and they have fleshy limbs and bones within their fins.  As we move forward in the fossil record the animals we find appear more amphibian like and less fish like.

Have we proved that fish evolved into amphibians?  No, but we have failed to reject the hypothesis that early amphibians share a common ancestor with lungfish.

Dennis then uses as his second example, another counterintuitive prediction that some tetrapods, after having adapted to a terrestrial environment, nonetheless returned to the sea i.e. whale evolution.

Did critics find this ridiculous?  Of course they did.  Consider this quote from Robert B. Seeley:

“Thus Mr. Darwin, while he finds it impossible to believe the plain words of Moses that on the fifth day, “God created whales”—“sees no difficulty” in believing that a race of bears, by contracting the habit of swimming, gradually lost their legs, and were “developed” into whales of a hundred times their own bulk!  And this sort of trash is called “science”! … Let us look, for a moment, at this whale, or bear, or bear-whale.  What says Geological Science to it?  Geology replies that she finds bears in the crust of the earth, and many of them; and that she also finds whales.  But that the whale-bear, or creature which was developing from a bear into a whale, she never met with.  And, not finding it, she no more believes in it than in a phoenix or roc.  In a word, Geology, which is really a science, declares Mr. Darwin’s bear-whale to be a rank imposter.”

And this charge is still made today by creationists: there are no transitional fossils.  But one characteristic of the modern cetacean skull is a distinctive thickened portion covering the middle ear, a structure known as the involucrum.  This characteristic feature, thought only to occur in cetaceans, was found in a small hoofed mammal, Indohyus, an extinct species that lived in India 48 million years ago.  Indohyus belongs to a group of mammals know as artiodactyls or “even-toed” hoofed mammals, of which species like deer, cows, and hippos are modern day examples.  Curiously, Indohyus had features consistent with semi-aquatic lifestyle, like thicker bones for ballast like hippos. Another feature of artiodactyls is a particular ankle bone, the astragalus.  A second group of artiodactyls from the same region, the Pakicetids have the astragalus and the involucrum and heavy thick bones.  Relatives of the Pakicetids, the Ambulocetids, also come from this region, except these artiodactyls were semi-aquatic marine predators. They probably would have looked like giant otters.

Later in the fossil record we find Protocetids that have skeletal features indicative of a more fully aquatic lifestyle.  The nostrils in Protocetids are not at the tip of the snout but are shifted back along the skull, and the hind limbs appear not to be able to bear the full weight of the mammal, much like a modern sea lion. And so on.   Do we know for certainty that these creatures are ancestors of whales?  No, it all could be a series of remarkable coincidences.  But again, given this fossil evidence, we have again failed to reject the hypothesis that whales, dolphins, and porpoises descend from terrestrial tetrapod ancestors.  Dennis ends this chapter with:

“It’s common for people, upon seeing such evidence for the first time, to begin to reflect on the immense probability of such large changes taking place repeatedly within a lineage.  How could a mutation so large occur to change one animal from one form to another without killing it?  How would such an animal breed with anything, unless these rare, massive mutations just happened to occur with a male and female in the same generation?  Isn’t this all wildly improbable?

Well, yes, such a process would be wildly improbable—so improbable, in fact, that no scientist thinks it could ever happen.  This does not pose a problem for evolution, however, because this is not how evolution works.  How it does, in fact, work is the topic we will turn to next.”

Comments

  1. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > So it’s no wonder that the public gets confused about real science and fake science

    Regarding this there is a simple problem of hyper-summarizing.

    I subscribe to Scientific Weekly – which distills science news down to 8 – 12 paragraph articles, with a few longer ones. I frequently read something in SW … and then three-four weeks later that will appear in the ‘News Cycle’ … as a 3-6 paragraph article. But at that degree of condensing so much content has been cut that it barely relates to the original study [which is usually **at least** a dozen pages]. It is no wonder people find things contradictory or confusing. Even “reputable” news services like NPR and the Times butcher scientific news in this way.

    • It’s even worse with climate studies. I’ve seen the progression over and over again…

      1 – the original paper: very technical, with all the usual caveats of “margin of error at such and such” and “further observations of X are required.”

      2 – the official roll-out: often done by the academic or research organization rather than the scientists. First layer of hype accrues to the story, sometimes subtle, sometimes not.

      3 – science media: they in turn focus on the “stand out” findings and hype them some more.

      4 – “climate wars” websites. The hype goes into, well, hyper drive. Depending on which side of the trenches you are, it’s either “MOAR LIBERAL LIES!!” OR “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIEEE!!!” BOTH sides are equally guilty.

      5 – mainstream news outlets: they typically cobble together a Frankenstein’s monster of a story with pieces parts from all of the above, either with an overzealous attempt to achieve “balance” or more hype intended to please their target audience.

      6 – Twitter: whatever wretched dregs of truth remain after this unholy process are brought here for burial.

      The moral of this story? Even if you have to do a little self-teaching in climatology (or whatever discipline is being discussed), DO NOT TRUST THE NEWS, even if it is “on your side”. Always, ALWAYS look at the original paper.

      Provided it isn’t trapped behind a paywall tall enough to keep even the White Walkers out… but that’s a rant for another time.

      • I was going to put this in the post, but it slipped my mind, to wit: Never, Never, trust one paper/study. If it hasn’t been duplicated at least a dozen times in different countries… then grain of halite, please. Aslo slavish devotion to the almight “p” value– but I’ll leave that rant to Dr. Fundystan 🙂

      • Michael Crichton termed it “The Gell-Mann Effect”. Basically, if the media gets something wrong in which you have personal expertise, why would you expect them to get everything else correct? While probably a little over-stated, it’s an interesting observation. It’s from a speech he gave titled “Why Speculate?”

        • Oops. Forgot the link. It’s about a dozen paragraphs down.

          http://larvatus.com/michael-crichton-why-speculate/

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Isn’t that similar to St Augustine’s observation that (paraphrased) “If you speak nonsense about things I do know about, why should I believe you when you speak of things I don’t know?”

          • Not sure if this is the one you had in mind or not but this is still good:

            When I come across one or other of my fellow Christians ignorant of astronomy, believing what is not so, I calmly look on, not thinking him the worse for mistaking the place or order of created things, so long as he holds nothing demeaning to you, Lord, the creator of all those things. But he is worse off if he holds that his error is a matter of religious faith, and persists stubbornly in the error. His faith is still a weak thing in its cradle, needing the milk of a mothering love, until the youth grows up and cannot be the play-thing, any more, of every doctrinal wind that blows.”

            Of course, he was Catholic. 😛

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              No, that’s a different quote. But he probably returned to the same idea in his writings.

              Don’t have the actual quote in front of me right now; could mean some digging.

              • I believe this is the Augustine quote that you paraphrased so well:

                “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although ‘they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion’. (1 Timothy 1.7)” [Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis (De Genesi ad Litteram), Book 1, Chapter 19; from Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation, No. 41, (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press), 1982 (A.D. 408)]

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  That’s it.
                  Auggie had his problems, but this wasn’t one of them.

                  And this excerpt should be required reading for all these Apologetics Warrior types and Calvary Chapel Bible-Bullet machineguns.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Hard to get more profound or go into more depth than “I made a poopie!” on Twitter.

  2. Not sure who is doing the implying, but this implies that Jon Jon Edwards lived in the 1600’s along with Shakespeare and Newton, when in fact if he hadn’t taken the new-fangled smallpox vaccine to encourage others to do the same, he would have probably lived to see the Declaration of Independence. But even Shakespeare and Newton understood that we live on a round planet which circles the sun, as did some classical Greeks for that matter. What interests me here is that apparently Edwards, who was highly educated, did not believe we circled the sun, and perhaps even that the earth was not rotating, and this on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution. Tho now that I think about it, if the earth was actually rotating it probably would fling us off, or at least make us sick to our stomach. Well, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

    • Mike the Geologist says:

      Right. That is why, when you are on an airplane and toss your apple up in the air, it immediately zooms to the back of the plane 🙂

      • CF: Imagine you’re in a car that’s cruising in a straight line at a constant speed. You don’t feel anything. Now imagine you turn the steering wheel sooooo slowly that it takes a full 24 hours just to do one complete turn. Your velocity is changing so negligibly that you barely perceive it. If you do the math, you’re accelerating at like 0.03 g’s. It doesn’t matter how “fast” you’re moving (and we’re moving along at enormous speeds on the Earth!), only by how much, or the rate, at which that velocity is *changing*…

        Mike: I can’t tell, is that sarcasm? Are you referring to a plane cruising at a nearly constant velocity (in which case the apple would go straight up and down when tossed), or one that is accelerating forward (like during takeoff)?

        • Mike the Geologist says:

          Yes, sarcasm, and constant velocity. One serious argument (at the time) about revolving around the axis was that if you shot an arrow straight up, if the earth was moving, it would be deflected east. Charles is kidding too, BTW.

          • brianthegrandad says:

            The arrow argument is correct, but given the short ranges of arrows, and the era’s limited ability to measure accurately very, very small deflections, it could not be ‘proven.’ However, today, with very long range ballistics, the rotation of the earth does have a measurable effect on where a projectile lands. so… science!
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/External_ballistics#Coriolis_drift

          • *slaps palm on forehead* duh, of course. While I assumed he was at least somewhat exaggerating, I wasn’t certain if there was still a small degree of consideration to the scenario he proposed. And the smiley face at the end should have been a giveaway if nothing else 😉

      • >> toss your apple up in the air

        Not so problematic as tossing your cookies. Please know where your barf bag is at all times.

        Good news! My next door neighbor just sent me a picture of the first Robin. Still 100% snow cover with a few flakes falling, but supposed to get in the 40’s and 50’s this coming week starting tomorrow.

    • The apologist in question is not the American theologian, but an English apologist named *John* Edwards. The book that the quote comes from was published in 1696.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And this was the epiphany that many of us who are scientists have had: that science is a slow, step by step process of understanding the underlying principles that tie the facts together into a coherent whole. 

    But a “GOD SAITH! IT IS WRITTEN!” diktat is sooooooo much easier and simpler. No “slow, step-by-step process”, just a prepackaged TRUTH! No need to bother your brain with thinking, just BEEEE-LEEEEEEEEEVE!

    • “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” – H. P. Lovecraft, *The Call of Cthulhu*

      I sometimes wonder if HPL had hyperrationalism (of which fundamentalism is one manifestation) in mind as he wrote this. If you are totally committed to a simple, immutable model of the way the world is, when science undercuts it you must either give up the model and “go mad from the revelation”, or shut down all further interaction with science and “flee into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

      Just a random musing…

  4. As with your series on the Grand Canyon and the Flood, I am completely fascinated by this. I remember reading that Kepler rejected supernatural creation because he believed that God had made the universe comprehensible–“The universe has been designed, therefore, it is comprehensible.”

    We homeschooled our kids up until middle school and this is the axiom I had them write in the front of their science textbooks (which we had to order from Pearson Education because none of the homeschool science curricula we could find taught anything but creationism). I understand the impulse behind creationism but it seems to me that our current understanding of the universe’s and life’s origins and evolution makes God to be even more magnificent, not less.

    Looking forward to the next installment and to adding yet another book to my reading list!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > “The universe has been designed, therefore, it is comprehensible.”

      I’m not sure what this means, but it is easily reversible – we are able to comprehend [much] of the Universe as our minds are a product of it. Why would a mind come into being in a Universe in which it provided no value/advantage?

      • If I recall his meaning correctly, Kepler’s thought was that since God made the universe and we are made in the image of God, we should be able to comprehend His creation.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Indeed. That line of argument reminds me of Douglas Adams’ Puddle argument from “The Salmon Of Doubt”:

        This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’

        • Klasie, there is a place near me on the Mackinaw Trail Highway where I pull on to it from a stop sign and God had the glacier leave a short level stretch in the uphill grade so I can pull the rest of the hill in fifth gear. There is another place where I exit the Trail onto a slight downhill grade left by the glacier so that I don’t have to downshift to make the turn unless another car prevents me from cutting the corner. God arranged this for me, what, 10,000–12,000 years ago, you would know, and I marvel at his care and concern for me so long before I was even born.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And this charge is still made today by creationists: there are no transitional fossils.

    When this subject came up on the Creation-vs-Evolution knock-down-drag-outs that killed the God’s Creatures list years ago, I chimed in with how the “No Transitional Fossils” argument is a rigged argument. Here’s how it’s rigged:

    1) Take a handful of coins out of your pocket. These represent a finite number of fossils.
    2) Place two coins about half a meter apart on the table. These represent fossils in an evolutionary sequence.
    3) YEC points to the gap and says “Where’s the missing link/transitional fossil?”
    4) Place one coin between the two. This represents the transitional fossil.
    5) YEC points to the two gaps between the three coins. “Where’s the missing links?”
    6) Place two coins to fill the gaps
    7) YEC points to the four gaps between the five coins…
    8) Repeat steps 4 through 7 until you run out of coins. (Remember, the number of fossils is finite.)
    9) YEC points to all the gaps between all the coins and crows in triumph.

    • Didn’t they summarize this perfectly on Futurama once?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > And this charge is still made today by creationists: there are no transitional fossils.

      Yep, sigh.

      There was a little museum on the University of Michigan campus I visited – it has a l-o-n-g wall of Canid fossils, moving up out of the mists of the early Pliestoscene toward the lowly house dog. Was one of the best presented, inarguable, displays I have ever seen.

      No transitional forms is flat-out naked bold-faced *LIE*.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        For what it’s worth, God’s Champion in that flamewar didn’t use the “no transitional fossils” argument after that.

      • Adam, if you are talking of the museum in Ann Arbor, I used to go to that museum when I was a kid. If I remember right it had skeletons of dinosaurs that probably went twenty tons and dioramas of various so called primitive peoples and a coiled rattlesnake in a box that you could push a button and make its tail rattle. Cool.

  6. Just look at a modern whale skeleton with a tiny pelvis and “legs” that fail to actually protrude outside its body and tell me evolutionists are making everything up. They’ve got a great example in Ithaca’s fine little natural history museum.

  7. I think you make a mistake when you accept the idea that evolution is a theory. It isn’t. It is an observed fact. We can see evolution happen in the lab and we can see it happen in the wild. Evolution is more akin to things falling, it is a fact. Things fall, populations evolve. We then make theories that EXPLAIN the facts of things falling and populations evolving.

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