Saturday, June 28, 2008

AiG's News to Note: Ventastega

It has been a while since I have posted something specifically debunking Answers in Genesis. Anyway, the creationists are up in a tizzy about the latest fossil find, and for good reason. Here is what they have to say:

"[C]ase closed on fish evolving into land animals. Or is it? It is interesting that the authors would suggest that Ventastega is a “midpoint” between the fish Tiktaalik and land animals, since this is not entirely accurate—even using their own framework. In fact, according to the BBC News report, “Ventastega is a later species [than Tiktaalik] but is a more primitive animal.” Setting aside the arbitrary application of “primitive,” it is interesting that something hailed as transitional would be, by the author’s own estimation, a step backwards of sorts. After all, Ventastega was a dead-end that went extinct."

Will anyone teach these idiots about cladistics? The history of life is a branching bush. Think of every transition in life, like the one from water to land, as an explosion of many different species, one of which was the ancestor of modern life forms. We must therefore not be surprised if most fossils appear not as direct ancestors of today's life, but rather as forms related to the ancestors of today's life. And Ventastega is not a "step backwards" but rather should be interpreted as a sort of "cousin species" of our ancestor.

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