GetBusyLiving27 posted a link to Ray Franz's essay regarding evolution. The essay is based on the book Icons of Evolution by one Jonathan Wells. Wells is one of the stars of the so-called Intelligent Design movement. He's also a minister for the Unification Church, aka the Moonies, who revere the nutjob and charlatan Reverend Sun Myung Moon as a god. Wells obtained a Ph.D. specifically to give himself some secular credibility towards his goal of doing everything in his power to advance the goals of the Moonies.
Wells' book has been thoroughly discredited by a number of writers. Check out the talkorigins.org website and search for stuff about Wells to see this.
Wells' presentation is even worse, in terms of honesty, than the JW Creation book. The following discussion shows a good example of how misleading the presentation is. Franz presents the following material extracted from Wells' book:
Chapter Six- Archaeopteryx: The Missing Link
Popular View: First discovered in 1861 in a limestone quarry in Solnhofen, Germany, the eight known fossils of Archaeopteryx (meaning ?ancient wing?) have been viewed as evidence of a ?transitional link? between reptiles and birds. Wells notes it ?had wings and feathers; but it also had teeth (unlike any modern bird), a long lizard-like tail, and claws on its wings.? It has been recognized as perhaps the most widely published and revered fossil specimen in history. Ernst Mayr referred to it in 1982 as ?the almost perfect link between reptiles and birds.?
Updated Understanding: Paleontologists now agree that Archaeopteryx is not the ancestor of modern birds and, in the midst of a heated controversy about bird origins, this fossil has been quietly set aside as the ?First Bird.? Nonetheless, it persists in modern textbooks as a classic example of a missing link. Sylvia Mader?s 1998 Biology refers to it as? a transitional link between reptiles and birds, and William Schraer and Herbert Stoltze?s 1999 Biology: The Study of Life states that ?many scientists believe it represents an evolutionary link between reptiles and birds.? Yet neither side of today?s controversy would now give it this status.
This entire argument is an example of the strawman fallacy, where a caricature of an argument is presented which is then knocked down, leaving careless readers with the impression that the argument itself has been demolished. Note, in the following discussion, how the above argument contains half-truths that lead the reader astray.
While it's true that the fossils of Archeopteryx "have been viewed as evidence of a 'transitional link' between reptiles and birds," it is no longer viewed as THE "missing link" between them by modern paleontologists, for the simple reason that other fossil birds have been found that were nearly contemporary with it but display more modern features. Furthermore, recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs have muddied the waters considerably. The present view -- sure to be modified many more times -- appears to be that there were many kinds of birds with dinosaurish characteristics such as teeth, as well as many kinds of small, feathered dinosaurs. Archeopteryx remains the most chimeric of early birds, i.e., it has the most dinosaurish characteristics of all the ancient birds discovered so far. In fact, its characteristics are so dinosaurish that one specimen was classified as a small dinosaur called Coelurosaurus when first found in the late 1800s, and was not recognized as an Archaeopteryx until around 1990, when a careful reexamination revealed feathers. So, as paleontologists have been stating for at least a couple of decades, the evolution of birds is not a linear affair, but a highly branching bush. The same appears to be so for the feathered dinosaurs. And no one with half a brain today thinks that the discovered fossils represent more than a tiny fraction of all the animals that have lived. Interested readers can find a somewhat outdated but still relevant discussion of Archaeopteryx here: http://www.geocities.com/osarsif/ce05.htm
Given the above, note how the strawman argument proceeds: Wells (and Franz) next note that modern paleontologists no longer view Archaeopteryx as THE ancestor or THE transitional link between reptiles and birds, or as the "First Bird", but they fail to note that it's still viewed as the archetype of a creature that displays features of both the creatures that came before it and the creatures that came after it, evolutionarily speaking. In other words, they fail to note that paleontologists view Archaeopteryx as just one twig on the bush of bird evolution.
Here's where the strawman comes in: rather than giving the full view of modern paleontologists, Wells and Franz complain that some modern textbooks still view Archaeopteryx "as a classic example of a missing link." But modern paleontologists don't use that term. Rather, they use terms like "transitional form" and "intermediate form" -- which do not mean THE one and only link between earlier and later creatures, but one of a number of creatures on various branches of the evolutionary bush that display "transitional" or "intermediate" features -- features such as the teeth and tail and clawed wings of early birds. Wells and Franz then improperly equate the outdated term "missing link" with the terms used in two textbooks, "transitional link" and "evolutionary link" -- but this completely misunderstands and misrepresents the views of modern paleontologists. They also fail to talk about the observable evolution in the fossil record of various bird features, such as the fact that all of the earliest birds have teeth and some have tails, and these features gradually disappear in later birds. Having built the strawman, they proceed to knock it down: "Yet neither side of today?s controversy would now give it this status" of THE missing link between reptiles and birds. I can't say what Wells wrote beyond what Franz quoted, but Franz leaves the reader with the impression that the entire idea of bird evolution has been disproved -- which is far from the case with this strawman presentation.
The rest of Franz's essay proceeds along similar lines, and as I said, interested readers can look at the talkorigins.org website to see how some experts deal with many of Wells' misrepresentations.
While Ray Franz has done excellent work in the field of exposing the Watchtower Society, and in this I have nothing but admiration for him, his expertise demonstrably does not extend to evolutionary science. In fact, it appears that he still retains much of the thinking he learned as a JW. He certainly doesn't understand how poor Jonathan Wells' book is.