Re: Evolution's Imperative

Kevin O'Brien (
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 19:05:47 -0700

>>There are lots of things we do not yet understand about gravity or
>>lightning or tornadoes or cancer or....etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
>>Should we therefore state that these too cannot be considered fact? The
>>problem is that you miss one of the most basic points about science:
>>first you recognize the phenomenon, then you try to explain it.
>>Evolution, even so-called "macroevolution", is a readily observable
>>phenomenon. Any observable phenomenon can be considered to be a fact;
>>hence evolution is a fact.
>Except that I disagree that macro evolution is a phenomenon and observable
>as you say.

That's because you are unfamiliar with the scientific literature and refuse
to take the time to familiarize yourself with it even in the most basic way.
I exaggerated the extent to which I was busy as an undergraduate for comical
affect, but in truth I was at least as busy as you and yet I still found
time to read about both evolution and creationism, at least enough to
convince me that, as difficult as it was to understand sometimes, evolution
still made far more sense than the garbage the creationists were writing.
If you really wanted to understand macroevolution you would take the time to
read about it, instead of making these kinds of dogmatic statements in total

>I understand that basic point about science. I disagree with
>your connection between it and evolution.(macro) And if it's so readily
>observable, again, start posting pictures of transitions that have been
>found. I'm not aware there are any, correct me (with proof) if I'm wrong.

Let's start with Archaeopteryx (though by now it is no longer the only
transitional bird fossil). The skeleton of Archaeopteryx is virtually
identical to that of a small bipedal dinosaur, except for the length of the
arms, so it possesses a skull with jaws and teeth rather than a skull with a
beak, three clawed articulated fingers instead of a fused bird's wing-hand,
and a long bony tail instead of a stubby, fused knob. These are the
dinosaurian features. The avian features include a wishbone, "half-moon"
wrist bones, a backward pointing pubis bone, bird-like feet including a
backward pointing toe, and of course feathers. This is exactly the kind of
mosaic transitional that macroevolution would predict. For more information
see the TalkOrigins website at, plus a Scientific
American article and National Geographic article published last year (you
should be able to find them in your university library in the unbound
periodicals section).

>>Except that any perusal of the archive of this listserv, plus the
>>scientific literature, would prove them {creationists} wrong.
>I disagree with that as well.

Again, because you are not familiar with the archive of this listserv or the
scientific literature.

>Both sides are able to claim that the other
>twists evidence to fit with their respective hypotheses.

I agree that this is a common rhetorical trick used by both sides, but that
does not refute the FACT that creationists on this list have offerred almost
no evidence in support of creation, whereas the evolutionists have
referenced or described a great deal of evidence in support of evolution.
With one exception, what little evidence I have seen consists only of
describing the supposed flaws of evolution or taking bits and pieces of
legitimate scientific evidence that supports evolution and distorting it so
that it supports creation instead. If you don't believe me, check out any
public debate I have had with either David Tyler or Karen Jensen from the
Archives. And check out other debates from the Archive as well, not just my

>I think if you
>look through many discussions of this topic, some observations are used by
>both sides against the other, depending on interpretations of what the
>observation could imply.

The key word is "think"; had you checked the Archive personally you would
see that this is largely not true.

>>Cute thing about that, though......
>Actually, I would say that's a good example of creationists being
>scientific and changing their views, whether or not they publicly admit to
>incorrect conceptions in the past is a different issue IMHO.

Actually, if a legitimate scientist realizes that he has made a mistake, he
does the following three things: 1) he admits to it, publically; 2) he
prints a retraction in a scientific journal; and 3) he never denies that he
ever made such a mistake. The vast majority of creationists I am familiar
with, both on and off this list, prefer instead to ignore the mistake and to
deny when confronted that they ever made that mistake. I know of only two
instances in which any creationist admitted to a mistake, and in only one of
those cases was a public announcement and a written retraction made.

Creationists who try to ignore their mistakes, especially if they deny they
ever made them in the first place, are not changing their views in order to
be scientific, but to avoid looking like fools.

Kevin L. O'Brien