Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Fossil gaps

Michael Shermer is a bit of a smart ass, but I like this Scientific American column.
Nineteenth-century English social scientist Herbert Spencer made this prescient observation: 'Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all.' Well over a century later nothing has changed. When I debate creationists, they present not one fact in favor of creation and instead demand 'just one transitional fossil' that proves evolution. When I do offer evidence (for example, Ambulocetus natans, a transitional fossil between ancient land mammals and modern whales), they respond that there are now two gaps in the fossil record.
The column goes on to talk about "convergence of evidence from such diverse fields as geology, paleontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, molecular biology, genetics, and many more" that supports evolution and then about "Richard Dawkins's magnum opus, The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)--688 pages of convergent science recounted with literary elegance."

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