Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: John Walley <>
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 07:43:34 EST


I am not sure who you mean by Progressive Creationists but in my mind that means RTB and they adamantly do not accept common descent. In fact, they go to great lengths to explain away the evidences for CD and instead appeal to a mysterious unknown function for the various markers in order to be able to appeal to "design", implying that they were put there intentionally in all the various species for some reason known only to God.

I don't know of any flavor of creationism that does other than TE that does accept CD and in fact from my perspective, it really is the new litmus test for evangelical orthodoxy. Most evangelicals can work in OEC into their theology although the death before the fall issue becomes problematic, but CD trashes the literacy of Genesis and becomes a theological can of worms, and is crossing the Rubicon into heresy for most evangelicals.



----- Original Message ----
From: Terry M. Gray <>
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation <>
Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009 11:52:07 PM
Subject: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record


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

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Received on Tue Dec 1 07:44:00 2009

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