Re: Don't forget about me!

From: Bill Payne (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 01:06:00 EDT

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    I just finished reading _Defeating Darwinism_, a book which I found
    absolutely fascinating. Incidentally, it contains a very eloquent essay
    by Keith.

    On Wed, 18 Apr 2001 22:31:15 -0500 (Keith B Miller)

    > But these transition are well documented in the fossil record.

    One of the questions I had while reading the book was a statement by
    Jonathan Wells (pp 137-138): "First, Darwin maintained that major
    differences evolve from minor ones. Yet the fossil record shows that all
    of the major animal groups appeared at approximately the same time,
    without any fossil evidence that they diverged from a common ancestor.
    These original groups have since diversified into many subgroups, so the
    major differences among animals appeared before the minor ones.
    Paleontologists James Valentine and Douglas Erwin call this a 'seeming
    paradox,' since in this respect Darwin's theory 'does not accord with the
    primary evidence.' "

    It doesn't seem to me that this paradox can be completely resolved by
    diffusing the "Cambrian Explosion" back into the pre-Cambrian. Valentine
    and Erwin made their statement in 1987. Is Wells using outdated
    information, or does he see a pattern which is not generally

    A second question along this same line is whether forms which appear to
    be transitional are truly so. The book _Of Pandas and People_ shows
    silhouettes of three skulls: a Tasmanian wolf, a North American wolf, and
    a dog. The cranial-cavity size increases as you go from the Tasmanian
    wolf to the dog, suggesting a transitional relationship. However, we
    know the Tasmanian wolf was a marsupial, while the other two are
    placental mammals. Convergent evolution can produce forms which look
    transitional but which we know are not, based upon soft-part anatomy,
    which of course is rarely fossilized. Is this factor just generally
    ignored by those inferring evolutionary relationships?

    Bill Payne

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