Kangaroos and the Fossil Record

by Gedanken 35 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • IslandWoman


    Your reputation precedes you Sir. Looking forward to reading more of your posts here.

    The only comment I have on this subject right now is: "If you can't convince them, confuse them." A ploy which has served to win many a db argument.


    Sally said she believes in Santa because every Christmas she gets presents.

    Joey said he does not believe in Santa because he never, ever gets presents.

    Sally's b elief in Santa is based on what is to her hard evidence.

    Joey's disbelief in Santa is also based on what is to him hard evidence.


    They are both wrong of course because Santa does not give Sally presents and Joey does not receive presents because there is no Santa! The reality is that Santa does not exist.

    My point is that there is much we do not know or understand about the earth and it's early history. The science of Plate Tectonics alone opens more doors than we can enter right now, not to mention the discoveries that continue to add to our knowledge such as the dinosaur discovered recently with it's skin intact though fossilized.

    I think evolutionists and creationists are where "Sally" and "Joey" were: each tr ying to make firm conclusions using faulty evidence.


  • Carlo

    Du kannst auch deine Argument an den Maulwurf erweitern. Es gibt auch eine marsupials-maulwur. Wie kann man sich Vorstellen, dass ein Maulwurf, sich die ganze Weg, erst nach Mesopotamien unter die Erde gegrabt hat? Und dann sich zurck nack Australien under die Erde?


  • Gedanken

    IW - thanks for your kind words and insights.

    Carlos - unfortunately I don't speak German and am not German. The handle comes from the idea of "thought" or "gedanken" experiment in physics - it has to do with a thought experiment that is worth doing: imagine that JWs who died in the 1950s were resurrected - would they recognize the religion...

    jack2 - check your email.


    Edited by - Gedanken on 27 October 2002 15:46:54

  • Carlo

    Hi Gedanken

    Just some thougts about the mole. There is a marsupials-mole also. How could a mole dig itself all the way from Australia to Mesopotamia and back.


  • Gedanken

    As I will show, pomegranate is guilty of being intellecutually dishonest; this is the case whatever his reply to my question to him might be - if he even decides to reply at all.

    If pomagranate didn't read the original article by Mark Ridley then he is doing merely what the WTS often does - quote people out of context, or misquote them altogether, to support preconceived beliefs. It is intellectually dishonest to obtain a quotation without checking the source and then simply passing it on.

    If pomagranate did read the article then he is being intellectually dishonest in making Ridley appear to be saying something that will cause readers to draw a different conclusion from the one Ridley himself draws.

    But, in these things most born again fundamentalist Christians are as crooked and dishonest as is the Watchtower Society. They would defend God with a lie (Job 13) although it is their own beliefs that they are defending through lies - the sure sign of the true believer.

    Exceprts from Ridley's article - apart from title all bold mine:

    Who doubts evolution?

    [Abstract]Paleontologists diasgree about the speed and pattern of evolution. But they do not - as much recent publicity has implied - doubt that evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution simply does not depend upon the fossil record.

    [Introductory paragraph] Some paleontologists maintain that animals have evolved gradually, through an infinity of intermediate stages from one form to another. Others point out that the fossil record offers no firm evidence for such gradual change. What really happened, they suggest, is that one animal species in the past survived more or less unchanged for a time, and then either died out or evolved rapidly into a new descendent form (or forms). Thus, instead of gradual change, they posit the idea of "punctuated equilibrium." The argument is about the actual historical pattern; but outsiders, seeing a controversy unfolding have imagined that it is about the truth of evolution - whether evolution occurred at all. This is a terrible mistake; and it springs, I believe from the false idea that the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place. In fact evolution is proven by a totally different set of arguments and the present debate within paleontology does not impinge at all on the evidence that supports evolution.

    [Para. 4] Someone is getting it wrong, and it isn't Darwin; it's the creationists and the media. But why?

    [Para 6 - IMPORTANT since it contains pom's quote]However, the gradual change of fossil species has never been part of the evidence for evolution. In the chapters on the fossil record in the Origin of Species Darwin showed that the record was useless for testing between evolution and special creation because it has great gaps in it.The same argument still applies. Eldredge and Gould pointed out that the fossil record might be even less complete than Darwin had thought. Populations in the process of speciating are probably small and geographically separated fromtheir ancestral population, so the ful course of speciation would not be preserved at any one site of fossil deposition. What we would see is a series replaced by another, obviously related and yet with no gradual transitional intermediate forms. In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationalist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed t special creation. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS UNPROVED. (capitals mine; italics his).

    Follows three cast iron but lengthy arguments proving evolution, but note the final paragraph.

    [final paragraph] If the creationists want to impress the Darwinian establishmen, it will be no use prating on about the fossils say. No good Darwinian's belief in evolution stands on the fossil evidence for gradual evolution, so nor will his belief fall by it. What we want to know instead is what the creationists say about organiz variation in space and time, in nature and the laboratory, about the artificial manufacture of new species, about ring species of gulls, about the universality of the genetic code. And about a host of other cases of which these are but examples.


    So the creationists have erected a straw man - the fossil record - and then proceded to attack it rather than the actual accepted evidence for evolution. The fossil record is certainly consistent with evolution, but, as I showed above, attacking the gaps in it presents problems for those who accept Creation and a flood, e.g., "how did kangaroos get to Australia aftre the flood without leaving fossil evidence elsewhere."

    As usual, Creationists have deliberately, and dishonestly, quoted a scientist out of context to try to prove their point. The basic point of the article is that differences in opinion about various theories of evolution, and what the fossil record is saying, in no way call evolution itself into question. This infuriates creationists because they generally do not have the critical thinking abilities to understand the point being made. It is quite simple: I might not be able to explain how gravity works but my inability does not do away with gravity itself.

    As usual, pomagranate has said nothing original on the point of evolution - preferring to employ quotes - or, in this case, misrepresentative quotations.

    I encourage everyone to visit their local library and read the entire article. It presents a compelling case for the truth of evolution - and the article is now over 20 years old.


    Edited by - Gedanken on 27 October 2002 18:12:56

    Edited by - Gedanken on 27 October 2002 18:16:13

  • pomegranate

    In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationalist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed t special creation. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS UNPROVED.
    Then if the fossil record is of no use to support the evolution theory for any REAL evolutionist (gradualist or punctuationalist), because it is so "creation" like, what is there to support evolution? Nothing except an individuals preconceived beliefs and accepted hypothesis.

  • Prisca

    I don't know enough about evolution and creation to enter into this argument, other than to say that Australia does have a unique array of animals that would have had to evolved on this continent, rather than be directly created.

    Alternatively, you could use the argument that had there been a global flood, perhaps Noah kindly stopped at each continent to let off certain animals, before settling on Mt Aranat (sp?). Eg the polar bears at the Arctic, the kangaroos and koalas in Australia, etc. (This is just a joke, folks, don't take me too seriously! )

  • pomegranate

    After publishing his 1978 book, Evolution, *Dr. Colin Patterson of the British Museum of Natural History was asked why he did not include a single photograph of a transitional fossil. In reply, Dr. Patterson said this:

    "I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualise [portray] such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it.

    "[Steven] Gould [of Harvard] and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived. I will lay it on the linethere is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test."*Dr. Colin Patterson, letter dated April 10, 1979 to Luther Sunderland, quoted in L.D. Sunderland, Darwins Enigma, p. 89.

  • Gedanken


    One misquotation per day is surely enough.

    I suggest you read Ridley's article and then you will understand what he is saying. The fossil record does not in itself suggest gradual evolution, and Ridley emphasizes thatthis is what he is talking about - since it contains gaps, as even Darwin noted. It does, however, show that a variety of different species have existed over time - and that means millions of years - some of which are here now, but not then, while others existed then and not now. Evolution accounts for that fact whereas creationism cannot - just as it cannot explain the enigma about kangaroos.

    The fossil record alone cannot tell us whether that resulted from evolution or from a God who wiped populations out every now and then. It could be the case that God plants fake bones to test between those who will follow the Bible and those who look to rational explanations. The fossil record cannot distinguish those possibilities - and that was Ridley's point.

    But let's cut to the chase as I ask you again:


    What excuses do you have for your _proven_ intellectual dishonesty - I can suggest one but you might take it to be an insult.


    Edited by - Gedanken on 27 October 2002 18:42:36

  • AlanF

    Pomegranate's mind is a fine example of the intellectual desert in which almost all creationists live. Evidence is presented and they discount it with a few inanities and misquotations. They refuse to provide evidence in support of their beliefs. They refuse to acknowledge that their beliefs are entirely based on emotion, not fact. I have rarely seen a better example of this, well, "mentality" (for lack of a better word) at work than in Pomegranate.


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