Friday, December 14, 2007

Arguments V - Transitional Forms

This is one of my favorite arguments against evolution. Of course it does nothing to advance intelligent design, but then neither do most intelligent design supporters.

The argument goes like this "Where are all the transitional forms that should have evolved? Where are the organisms in mid-evolution? Why do Apes still exist if we evolved from Apes, shouldn't there be some transition between us and apes?" You get the point. I hate to do this again, but we need to settle on a definition here. When someone utters this types or arguments, we need to know what they mean by transitional form.

The very first time I had this discussion with a creationist friend of mine I was shocked to learn what he expected in the way of transitional form. He was expecting some part-man, part-fish, part-bird like creature that would exist today to show the relationship. I really thought he was talking about some B-list science fiction movie, the type you would see on late night TV.

I had to sit back and think on it for a little while and it dawned on me his biggest problem was the time frame. He's a YEC, a Young Earth Creationist, who believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old. You know for Evolution to have worked it 'magic' in only 6,000 year, he's right, there would be some pretty strange fossils and potentially even living creatures today.

But when the time frame is extended into the billions of years, the need for transitional forms to be radical disappears. At this point the Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx and others makes much more sense. For a more interesting list check out

When you consider the long time for forms to transition, you can see that the changes were much less radical. A shoulder joint here, a wrist here, or feathers here, as opposed to a single organism with characteristics of multiple species in one generation.

Of course my YEC friend denied my evidence. "It's a conspiracy of "paleontologists" who would be out of a job if the 'truth' were known." was one of his responses. At this point I think I truly decided that Intelligent Design had no place in the science classroom. My friend was perfectly willing to disregard the work of hundreds, even thousands of scientists because it didn't agree with his personal religious belief. He had no other basis for his disagreement other than vehement denial.

This form of denial was later repeated by Michael Behe who denied evidence of evolution on his examples of irreducible complexity during the Dover PA trial. I cannot get behind any idea where the main line of argument is to deny evidence. Fossils don't support your idea, so just toss them out -- or claim they were all formed in one world-wide flood. Radiological dating doesn't support your idea, so toss it out -- without realizing that the physics behind it, Thermodynamics, is also the science behind your car running. Geology dates the Earth at more than 4.5 billion years, just toss it aside because you don't like it. Then abuse religion to trick people into agreeing with you. "You believe in God, so you must be an anti-evolutionist!" "The Bible is the only biology text worth studying!" "More people believe in God than Darwin!"

OK, enough said for the moment. Transitional forms existed and today we are the transitional forms of what will come tomorrow. If you disagree, look at your children. They are like you in some ways, like their other parent in others, and still they are their own person. If you still disagree, also look at the furniture of Colonial America. Why are the beds so short . . .were the trees shorter also? Or was the average height less than it is today? We are taller and live longer than 200 years ago. It's Evolution . . . Live and In Person!

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