Thursday, April 23, 2009

'THE' Missing Link

Here is another frequently heard anti-evolution argument. It usually falls into one of two tracks. The first claims something along the lines "Science hasn't yet found THE missing link" or "There are no transitional fossils." I do chuckle a bit when one person says both comments.

OK, the missing link . . . or I should say 'THE' missing link. Can we simply say that the whole concept of a single link between any two species is more a side-show concept than a scientific concept? There is no such thing as a single link between any two species. The progression from one species to another is chain of changes, many very small, that accumulate over time. The evidence, both fossil and even the genetic relationships clearly show the progression. In my opinion the discovery of THE missing link would probably support Creationism more than Evolution since such a single organism the is some sort of 50-50 amalgamation between two distinct species would probably not support evolution particularly well. So while many creationists whine over THE missing link, the slightly more rational people of the world recognize this is just another in a line of straw man arguments.

What has been found are hundreds of 'missing links', better known as transitional, or intermediate forms. Just recently another was found, "Walking Seal called Missing Link in Evolution". I really don't like the way the term 'missing link' was used here, because it seems almost to imply 'THE' missing link. In reality, as I said above, there are many, many intermediate steps between species, and many of those steps have yet to be discovered. We know this, and each new find fills in part of the puzzle biologists have facing them. So while this is certainly 'A' missing link explaining how the animal group moved from land-dwellers with legs to the semi-aquatic, flippered swimmers around today, it is the the mythical missing link.

I can't wait for the Discovery Institute to try and spin this, like they did with Tiktaalik in "Latest Fossil Find "No Threat" To Theory of Intelligent Design" when they stated:

"They are not intermediates in the sense that have half-fish/half-tetrapod characteristics. Rather, they have a combination of tetrapod-like features and fish-like features"
Of course they are simply living in a state of denial, because that is exactly what a transitional, or intermediate form is, one that exhibits a combination of features. But since they live in such a state, I am sure Casey, or one of the other less-than-brilliant members of the DI will have some half-baked response how the Puijila darwini isn't really transitional either since it doesn't meet their supposed 50-50 requirement that only seems to apply when the DI is looking at a transitional form.

There are many transitional forms and, as I have said before, ALL existing forms are transitional. We are not what we were in the past, and we more than likely will not be what we will become in the future. We are in fact a transitional form ourselves, and that just irritates the hell out of the DI. They just keep arguing against it because then they can continue to claim "We haven't found THE missing link" and "There are no transitional forms" for no apparently reason, nor understanding of what they are claiming.


  1. It's like a Xeno's paradox of paleontology. For every new fossil species you show them, you need to show them two new missing links!

  2. It doesn't seem to matter what you show them, unless you meet Dembski's magical 50-50 split, they simply claim the fossils are not transitional.