Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Bullshit from Answers in Genesis

Wouldn't you know it? AiG has written up a "preliminary report" on the newly discovered fossil 'Ida'. Although Ida is claimed to be ancestral to anthropoid primates (like Gorillas, Chimps, and Us) there is a lot of controversey over this in the scientific community, and so I think we should be very cautious before claiming anything.

On the other hand, Answers in Genesis' comments on this are so full of shit that they deserve debunking. Their comments are in italics, mine are in bold:

1. Nothing about this fossil suggests it is anything other than an extinct, lemur-like creature. Its appearance is far from chimpanzee, let alone “apeman” or human.

Correct. However, this fossil is only claimed to be a precursor to anthropoid primates, not an "apeman". This fossil would came way, way, before the emergence of humans.

2. A fossil can never show evolution. Fossils are unchanging records of dead organisms. Evolution is an alleged process of change in live organisms. Fossils show “evolution” only if one presupposes evolution, then uses that presupposed belief to interpret the fossil.

Bullshit. The theory of common descent is that all living things share common ancestors. Therefore, if it is true we ought to find fossils showing intermediate characteristics between older species and younger species, between older genuses and younger genuses, older families and younger families, etc. etc.

3. Similarities can never show evolution. If two organisms have similar structures, the only thing it proves is that the two have similar structures. One must presuppose evolution to say that the similarities are due to evolution rather than design. Furthermore, when it comes to “transitional forms,” the slightest similarities often receive great attention while major differences are ignored.

"Similar structures" may be evidence of evolution if they are used for completely different purposes (See my upcoming post on this). Furthermore, we know that deep similarity is indicative of a relationship. I look like my Dad. My sisters all look very similar.

4. The remarkable preservation is a hallmark of rapid burial. Team member Jørn Hurum of the University of Oslo said, “This fossil is so complete. Everything’s there. It’s unheard of in the primate record at all. You have to get to human burial to see something that’s this complete.” Even the contents of Ida’s stomach were preserved. While the researchers believe Ida sunk to the bottom of a lake and was buried, this preservation is more consistent with a catastrophic flood. Yet Ida was found with “hundreds of well-preserved specimens.”

How is this "more consistent with a flood"?!? And why can't hundreds of fossils be well preserved in a single lake?

5. If evolution were true, there would be real transitional forms. Instead, the best “missing links” evolutionists can come up with are strikingly similar to organisms we see today, usually with the exception of minor, controversial, and inferred anatomical differences.

This contradicts the earlier claim that transitional fossils are just a matter of interpretation. How can a creationist demand transitional forms on the one hand, but on the other hand refuse to 'interpret' any fossil as transitional? That's dishonest. Besides, there are lots of unambiguous transitional fossils (See here and here).

6. Evolutionists only open up about the lack of fossil missing links once a new one is found. Sky News reports, “Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin's theory of evolution,” while Attenborough commented that the missing link “is no longer missing.” So are they admitting the evidence was missing until now (supposedly)?

I think this is a good example of bad science journalism. One fossil does not make or break the theory of evolution (you need lots and lots of 'em to know about how life evolved or even whether it evolved). There will always be gaps in the fossil record, and paleontologists have been open about this. However, filling in these gaps does not imply that they the gaps used to be some fatal flaw in Darwin's theory.


Anonymous said...

On your response to #5 are there any actual pictures of fossils or just drawings?? i mean the artwork is great but is someones artistic ability proof of evolution. Does any place on your website explain how scales turned into feathers? or how cold blooded reptiles turned to warm blooded birds? or better yet how "warm blooded" dinosaurs turned into cold blooded reptiles and then back into warm blooded birds? these things would be much more helpful than drawings of bones

AIGBusted said...

Yes, these fossils are real. No one draws imaginary fossils. You have google, look this stuff up yourself.

Here's how scales may have turned into feathers:

"or better yet how "warm blooded" dinosaurs turned into cold blooded reptiles and then back into warm blooded birds?"

I'm not aware of any scientist who thinks that that scenario happened. Dinosaurs evolved into birds, but just why in the hell would they have to evolve back into cold blooded reptiles first?

This transition is pretty well documented by fossils like Archaeopteryx and Sinosauropteryx, and many more. Again, you have google. Use it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let me please google the answer to anything I ever need to know b/c we all know that anything posted on the Internet is true.

I choose instead to have Faith in God as our creator. In the end, maybe I'm wrong, but my fate for being wrong is no biggie, whereas your fate for being wrong ... not fun.

AIGBusted said...

No, I never said everything on the internet is reliable. That's why you should stick mainly to university/educational/reputable science organization websites.

Now, as for your lame re-hash of Pascal's Wager, my life is all I have, and I'm not wasting it on Christianity for a tiny shot at an afterlife which there's no proof of.

GP said...

"...for a tiny shot at an afterlife which there's no proof of."

Who was your English teacher? He/she must be groaning and smacking his/her forehead right about now.

AIGBusted said...

GP, it's a blog post. Leave the formalities behind.

Richard D. Benham said...

Well, there is nothing wrong with the grammar of that sentence.

On a more serious note, your arguments seem a bit suspect. AiG's assertions that no similarity or transitional form can "show" (in the sense of prove) evolution is, sadly, completely true. All such finds can do is make the creationist view look less and less plausible with the accumulation of evidence.

It's getting to the stage now where denying evolution is about as plausible as denying the connexion between smoking and lung cancer, but I remember a physician in my home city (Adelaide, Australia) who used to go around saying that there was no "proof" of the link. This is true, but by that standard of "proof" there is no "proof" that any of the treatments he prescribed did more good than harm, or that germs cause disease,.... So if he wanted to be consistent, he should have given up the practice of medicine. I suppose he needed the money to support his smoking habit, though.

Sorry for the digression.

AIGBusted said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the comment. I agree that no one fossil, all by itself, "proves" evolution.

However, since evolution predicts intermediate fossils, and since we have lots of those, it is good evidence for evolution. The fossils make evolution seem much more probable than if we had none.

Pragun said...

I just want to say, I love your blog! :)

Victor Polk said...

I'm always surrounded by arrogant atheistic evolutionists.