Re: Morphologically intermediate species

Stephen Jones (
Mon, 03 Mar 97 15:28:37 +0800


On Tue, 25 Feb 1997 09:39:06 -0600, Lee A. Spencer, Ph.D. wrote:

LS>It has been interesting to read the debate about archaeopteryx.
>However, archae is not a bird with reptile teeth. It is really a
>reptile with feathers.

Agreed. The problem is what is a "reptile"? As I understand it,
there is a problem in classifying what a reptile is, since what
reptiles have, so do mammals and birds

LS>Of the characters usually assigned to birds that archae shares,
>only two are uniquely avian: feathers and an opposable hallux (and
>maybe not feathers). The furcula has been found in dinosaurs
>(Bryant and Russell, 1993, Jour. Vert. Paleo. 13(2):171-184). It
>has many more characters that are found only in reptiles (see
>Archaeopteryx FAQ, Talk.Origins.Archive). The reptile/mammal series
>is even more interesting.

If the claimed dinosaur feathers are confirmed it will be a problem
for classification. But maybe the dinosaur will turn out to be a
large, flightless bird?

LS>The existance of morphological intermediates by itself does not
>prove or disprove any specific cosmology because one can always
>propose hypotheses for the existence of these rare cases. They do
>not prove evolution because the necessary steps from one form to
>another are still missing; archae is only one of many steps that
>would be necessary to evolve from a reptile to a bird. The missing
>steps are explained away by the ad hoc statement of incompleteness
>of the fossil record.

Agreed. Darwinist `blind watchmaker' macro-evolution needs more
than a handful of "morphological intermediates" to prove its point.
It has to also explain the systematic *absense* of "morphological
intermediates" where it most needs them and the pervasive *stasis*
that characterises the fossil record. Since `blind watchmaker'
macroevolution required countless intermediate forms, a relatively
small number of intermediates is more consistent with a
progresssove mediate creation than naturalistic evolution:

"It isn't merely that grand-scale Darwinism can't be confirmed. The
evidence is positively against the theory. For example, if
Darwinism is true then the bat, monkey, pig, seal, and whale all
evolved in gradual adaptive stages from a primitive rodent-like
predecessor. This hypothetical common ancestor must have been
connected to its diverse descendants by long linking chains of
transitional intermediates* which in turn put out innumerable side
branches. The intermediate links would have to be adaptively
superior to their predecessors, and be in the process of developing
the complex integrated organs required for aquatic life, flight, and
so on. Fossil evidence that anything of the sort happened is
thoroughly missing and in addition it is extremely difficult to
imagine how the hypothetical intermediate steps could have been
adaptive." (Johnson P.E. "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment
of Naturalism", 1990, p35)

LS> Similarly, creationists can also explain away the problem by the
>ad hoc statement that God originally created a more complete scale
>of nature, most species of which are now extinct. Either of these
>ad hoc statements have equal probability of being true until tested.
>What creationists cannot do, however, is argue that morphological
>intermediates do not exist.

Not in an absolute sense. But the argument is still perfectly valid
in a *relative* sense. The modern creationist argument should not be
there are *no* transitional forms but there are *not enough*
transitional forms. It is only YEC that needs to argue the former
since the existence of *one* proven transitional intermediate would
be fatal to YEC, because it claims instantaneous creation over the
space of a few 24-hour days. But PC (Progressive Creation) and MC
(Mediate Creation) do not need to claim that this. They are actually
supported by relatively small numbers of transitional forms and
would be falsified by no transtional forms.

LS>Creationists need to spend less efffort attacking evolution and
>more time devising testable hypotheses consistent with their
>cosmology, and then changing their hypotheses to remove those
>aspects that have been falsified.

I disagree with the former, but agree with the latter. If evolution
is false and a progressive mediate creation is true, then *both*
evolution should be attacked and creation defended and strengthened.

God bless.


| Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\ |
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