[asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Mon Nov 30 2009 - 23:52:07 EST


I'm making my way through Richard Dawkins', "The Greatest Show on Earth". There's a bit of anti-YEC rhetoric--he calls them history deniers (I'm not so sure that YEC's themselves would reject his label). But aside from that, so far, it's a thoroughly enjoyable read and in my opinion an excellent presentation of the arguments for evolution.

Here's a section from Chapter 6 "Missing Link? What Do You Mean, 'Missing'?


What would be evidence against evolution, and very strong evidence at that, would be discovery of even a single fossil in the wrong geological stratum. I have already made this point in Chapter 4. J. B. S. Haldane famously retorted, when asked to name an observation that would disprove the theory of evolution, 'Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian!' No such rabbits, no authentically anachronistic fossils of any kind, have ever been found. All the fossils that we have, and there are very, very many indeed, occur, without a single authenticated exception, in the right temporal sequence. Yes, there are gaps, where there are no fossils at all, and that is only to be expected. But not a single solitary fossil has ever been found before it could have evolved. That is a very telling fact (and there is no reason why we should expect it on the creationist theory). As I briefly mentioned in Chapter 4, a good theory, a scientific theory, is one that is vulnerable to disproof, yet is not d!
 isproved. Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours. Sceptics of evolution who wish to prove their case should be diligently scrabbling around in the rocks, desperately trying to find anachronistic fossils. Maybe they'll find one. Want a bet?

Of course, this is only a jab at the YEC version of anti-evolutionism. All who admit to common descent (theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists, etc.) shouldn't have problem with this paragraph. As such, it is only a piece of the long argument. Nonetheless, I think Dawkins makes the point successfully and forcefully, as usual.

Anyone here think that Dawkins is off-base in his claim?

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Nov 30 23:52:23 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Nov 30 2009 - 23:52:23 EST