Friday, January 21, 2005

One of those posts....

....that's done for an archive. But someone might find it interesting anyway.

Denton notes some imperfections in the fossil record, as you do.

"On the other hand, the fact that, when estimates are made of the percentage of living forms found as fossils, the percentage turns out to be surprisingly high, suggesting that the fossil record may not be as bad as is often maintained. Of the 329 living families of terrestrial vertebrates 261 or 79.1% have been found as fossils and, when birds (which are poorly fossilized) are excluded, the percentage rises to 87.8% (see Figure 8.5).

G. G. Simpson recently estimated the percentage of living species recovered as fossils in one region of North America and concluded that, at least for larger terrestrial forms, the record may be almost complete! In another approach he compared the number of living genera of various categories such as insectivores, carnivores, etc in a particular region with the numbers of fossil genera of the same categories in a region of similar ecological make-up in the past. Two such ecological regions are recent Portuguese East Africa and Middle Oligocene Dakota. After comparing the composition of these two faunas, Simpson concludes:
These comparisons and some other considerations suggest that surely half and probably two-thirds or more of the Middle Oligocene genera are known and that those not yet known are mainly carnivores (indi vidually much less abundant than herbivores) and very small mammals (with less recoverability than large mammals by previous collecting methods).

According to an article by Wyatt Durham in the Journal of Palaeontology, as many as two percent of all marine invertebrate species with hard skeletal components that have ever existed may be known as fossils. Assuming ten to twenty species per genus, this means that for certain groups, such as molluscs which are ideal fossil material, the percentage of genera known could be as high as fifty percent. There are, therefore, grounds for believing that in the case of some groups appealing to the imperfection of the fossil record as an explanation for the gaps is not a particularly convincing strategy.

It is significant in this respect that many professional paleontologists, those actually familiar with the facts, have always regarded the appeal to imperfection as a way of explaining away the absence of transitional forms with a good deal of skepticism."
(Evolution: A Theory In Crisis
By Michael Denton :189-190)

There is the Darwinism of the gaps, many a naturalistic mythological narrative can be hidden in the gaps. Yet in some cases, the gaps are not there to hide in. Recall that Darwin said that if there was one form that could not be accounted for by a gradualistic type of mythological narrative of naturalism then his entire theory would "absolutely break down." There are many, many forms that do not fit such a narrative/hypothesis.

You argue that the reptilian form "turned" into an avian form. So write a narrative and let's see it. Is it the Tree Down Theory? I.e., "Once upon a time, some lizards were jumping around in trees, they had some feathers already for insulation. Somehow, their scales had turned to feathers already. So there they were, jumping around in trees. Some of them fell out of the tree and died because they didn't jump quite far enough. Others lived because they could. So their lil' arms began to get a web under it. But this was different than a reptilian web under the arm, this time. And their lungs, they began to change from reptilian to avian too. Their bone structure switched, switched on around and their lil' arms began to grow up out their back more, with the web and the feathers, remember...."

And so on. Or if we can attribute the notion of selection to things, "Once upon a time there was a group of lizards jumping around in trees. They jumped out and killed themselves enough times until one day, their group grew wings and feathers so they could fly on up, up and away! Another group of lizards on the ground looked up and felt in their little lizard heads, 'Man, I wish we had jumped out of trees and killed ourselves enough to grow wings." But Nature had not selected them any wings by its natural selection, naturally. So they felt sad, not glad! The other lizards look down from the sky and felt, "What a neat lizard am I. I mean bird...yes, me birdie now."

Instead of some vague handwaving towards the National Geographic, why don't you write a scientific narrative of how things happened? You must know quite clearly, after all. Since it is what is taught in State schools, while all contrary evidence is censored. Or, if it is mentioned at all it is for the sake of Leftist indoctrination through associative argument and emotional conditioning using the buzzwords "science" and "religion."

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