(Cross-posted at New Covenant)

At the Thumb, we have a post titled, The Inner Fish speaks: Neil Shubin makes a guest appearance on Pharyngula, in which we’re given a glimpse into how natural process evolution views template fossil forms which appear fully functional for the environment, and time, in which they existed: They’re declared as gap-filling transitional forms (the kind OEC types like myself say don’t exist).

The human ancestor in question, this time, is the fish Tiktaalik roseae. Yes, that’s correct, a fish. How, you may ask, is a fish an ancestor of us humans? Well, you see, it all has to do with the fact that the bone structure of the fish fins is eerily similar to the bone structure for human hands. Over time, it is supposed, such early structures transformed into the variety of similar structures we see today. For the Tiktaalik roseae this, Great Transformation, is but one of the many transformations that obviously occurred  over the millions of years of life’s history. Watch this clip from the PBS series, Evolution, particularly noting the quick animation of a fin to hand skeletal structure. Or take a look at the Flash animation, on page 1, from this NOVA site. (note: Evidence for Evolution, a NOVA Vodcast from 11/9/07, provides another glimpse of the thought processes involved here)

But wait, there’s more.

It’s not merely the fact that such a bone structure template is similar to tetrapod structures, it’s the case-closing fact that such an early structure appeared in the proper sequence in geologic time – just as predicted! From NOVA’s website,

In 2004, a field crew digging in the Canadian Arctic unearthed the fossil remains of a half-fish, half-amphibian that would all but confirm paleontologists’ theories about how land-dwelling tetrapods (four-limbed animals, including us) evolved from their fish ancestors. The animal was a so-called lobe-finned fish that lived about 375 million years ago. Named Tiktaalik rosae by its discoverers, it is a classic example of a transitional form, one that bridges the evolutionary gap between two quite different types of animal. In this slide show, see this and four other well-known fossil transitions, which clearly indicate Darwinian evolution in action. (emphasis added)

Let me explain how to think this through:

  1. we know that life evolved (the essential prerequisite);
  2. we have primitive life forms recovered from the fossil record (presumably because of point #1);
  3. we have a sequence of life forms moving from simple to complex, as they move through time in the fossil record (i.e., the fin animal, and the limb animal);
  4. we predict that a gap between two disparate forms of complexity will be filled by an intermediate form of complexity (all we need now is a fin-limb animal);
  5. Tiktaalik roseae, with its “fimb” (i.e., a fin-limb), is found. (Bingo! You win.)

No, your eyes do not deceive you – you are, in fact, on a merry-go-round.

Never mind the fact that the evidence fits just as easily, if not more so, with the concept of a designer’s template, being utilized for successive applications within an equally designed changing set of living parameters (aka ecosystems). Never mind that each of the successive, transitional, intermediate, gap-closing life forms appear fully formed and entirely functional for the environments they happen to be living in. Never mind about other “issues”, such as how to transition from breathing underwater to breathing on land. Never mind that there is no indication how a transition is made between a fin and and a fimb. Never mind that intermediate in form is not the same as transitional in nature. Never mind that there are other life forms with disparate time sequences (i.e., temporal paradoxes) which run counter to the theories proposed.

No, never mind all of that.

For a wonderful synopsis of the current state of evolutionary affairs, read Dr. Fazale Rana’s Evolution Loses Its Direction.

One of the key pieces of evidence cited in support of biological evolution is the fossil record. Evolutionary biologists point out that: 1) the fossil record shows that past life on Earth is different than life today; and 2) simple life preceded complex life-forms. For many scientists these general features indicate that life on Earth must have evolved.

These observations, however, could just as easily be accounted for by evoking the work of a Creator who created in stages, bringing different life-forms into existence at different times in Earth’s history. This pattern accords with the Genesis 1 and Psalm 104 creation accounts.

Given a Darwinian mechanism, it’s expected that the fossil record should display gradual transformations replete with corresponding transitional forms. Over the last 30 years or so paleontologists have debated whether or not the fossil record truly displays this pattern. In the early 1970s, Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge argued that the fossil record fails to show gradual evolutionary transformations. Instead these two paleontologists maintained that evolutionary change happens suddenly and then periods of stasis, or no evolutionary change, follow. They termed this idea punctuated equilibrium.

Filed under: EvolutionIntelligent DesignRustyScience

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