While we're discussing scientific skepticism, what about evolution?

Let me state right from the start that evolution driven by natural selection makes a lot more sense than some magical spirit guy started it all and created all the animals and plants.

But what's seldom discussed is some of the amazing holes in the evolutionary evidence. We have ample fossils of some species and none of others. 

Case in point: We've all seen at least one chart showing the evolution of man, or of the horse. 

I dare you to find one showing the evolution of the cow. I've spent hours and hours on google image search and have nothing to show for it.

Another massive hole: the bat, quite possibly the most prolific type of mammal. Bats seem to have popped out of thin air. There is no record of a creature whose fingers gradually get longer and longer until they are long enough to support a wing made out of skin.

But these are far from the only creatures lacking transitional fossils. This critique of the Darwinian position by Dr. Duane Gish, a prominent creationist, raises a lot of very interesting questions. A quote:

The essence of the neo-Darwinian view is the slow gradual evolution of one plant or animal into another by the gradual accumulation of micromutations through natural selection of favored variants.

If this view of evolution is true, the fossil record should produce an enormous number of transitional forms. Natural history museums should be overflowing with undoubted intermediate forms. About 250,000 fossil species have been collected and classified. These fossils have been collected at random from rocks that are supposed to represent all of the geological periods of earth history. Applying evolution theory and the laws of probability, most of these 250,000 species should represent transitional forms. Thus, if evolution theory is true, there should be no doubt, question, or debate as to the fact of evolution.

Such is not the case at all, however. The fossil record was actually an embarrassment to Darwin, and some paleontologists are willing to admit that it looks even worse from an evolutionary point of view today than it did in Darwin's time.1 Some even appear to admit that there is, in fact, little, if any, evidence for transitional forms in the fossil record. Kitts, for example, states, "Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing' evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." More and more paleontologists seem to be coming to the point where they are now willing to admit that this is indeed the case, and are seeking to devise a mechanism for evolution that will tolerate, even predict, systematic gaps in the fossil record.

Other evolutionists remain steadfastly wedded to neo-Darwinism. They argue that there are examples of transitional forms in the fossil record, and that even if examples of gradual change are few, these few examples eliminate the necessity of seeking mechanisms for evolution other than neo-Darwinism. The examples most often cited are the reptile-to-bird transition (Archaeopteryx is the sole suggested intermediate), the so-called horse series, and the reptile-mammal transition.

Of the latter, Olson has said "The reptilian-mammalian transition has by far the finest record of showing the origin of a new class."2 Others claim that there are forms that stand perfectly on the reptilian-mammalian boundary. In an "Impact" article to be published soon, we will examine in some detail the "mammal-like" reptiles that some paleontologists believe represent transitional forms between reptiles and mammals. In the present article we wish to review the general nature of the evidence related to the origin of mammals.


Tags: Duane Gish, creationism, evolution, natural selection

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Let's not get into climate change.  We're fucking up the planet, end of. 

Books.  Do you remember them? 

From my Prehistoric Animals book:  "Wild and domestic cattle, sheep, goats, antelopes, and musk oxen (but not the antelope-like pronghorns) are grouped together as bovoids, named from the latin word for ox.  All these animals probably evolved more than 20 million years ago from small, hornless, deer-like ancestors.  Early forms resembling gazelles gave rise to huge variety, with more than 100 genera by the beginning of the Quaternary ... .  The cattle family spread first through Europe, Africa, and Asia.  By one million years ago, some crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America where bison, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goats persist today." 

It makes you wish you had a time machine and a video camera.  Doesn't it? 

You don't count the 2 million-year-old aurochs as anything prehistoric. Thus appears your "amazing hole" in the evolutionary evidence for where cattle came from.

It just shows that cattle haven't changed much in 2 million years. How about a fossil that almost looks like a cow and the before it and one before that, etc.?

You provided an embarrassingly short list of climate change deniers, the four most prominent of which are paid shills for the petroleum industry or refuse to disclose their research.

How did you determine the relative shilli-ness of my short (though long) list of experts? Truth is now up for a vote? Truth by committee? Calling some of them "shills" is a baldfaced ad hominem, or will be when you give them names.

Find one link you posted anywhere in that thread which presents an actual scientific case against the IPCC evidence and data. Show me. Post it here.

For all your questioning of the IPCC evidence, where is the reasoning behind it?

Go JudithCurry.com or wattsupwiththat.com and you'll find lots of scientists discussing climate. Both sides of the debate.

I suppose you won't admit horses evolved over the last 32 million years, either.

Maybe you missed the part where I said one can't find a chart showing the evolution of the cow from some critter that hardly looks like a cow, stage-by-stage to the modern cow (ox, or any kind of example of modern cattle). You can't. One supposed 2 million year old progenitor or, as I said, an extinct form of modern cattle, does not a progression show.

I just went there. Not only is Judith Curry herself not a climate change denier, after reading about twenty random posts on her blog, I found no reasoned "objections" to the IPCC evidence for human-caused global warming. None.

When did I call her a denier? She's a skeptic. She's discussing the data, some of it disconfirming. I think your stridency is due to misreading ME as a denier. All I've ever said is that there are real, actual, qualified scientists who find fault with IPCC's methodology, conclusions, and prescriptions. You'll find both sides represented there. You thought I was sending you to a den of deniers? Where did you get that idea? LOL

Curry writes in regard to the just-released IPCC report:

My main conclusion from reading the report is this: the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless. The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change. Any increase in adverse impacts from extreme weather events or sea level rise is caused by humans. Possible scenarios of future climate change depend only on emissions scenarios that are translated into warming by climate models that produce far more warming than has recently been observed.

Some of the basic underlying climate science and impacts reported is contradictory to the recent IPCC AR5 reports. Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger have written a 134 page critique of a draftthe NCADAC report [link].

Even in the efforts to spin extreme weather events as alarming and caused by humans, Roger Pielke Jr. has tweeted the following quotes:

“There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900″
“Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity & frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain”
“lack of any clear trend in landfall frequency along the U.S. eastern and Gulf coasts”
“when averaging over the entire contiguous U.S., there is no overall trend in flood magnitudes”

Why do you insist on calling my list of scientists who are skeptical of the IPCC's methodology, conclusions, and recommendations "client deniers"?


I don't claim the skeptics are in the majority. Science is not majority rule.

Yawn. LOL

How horrible of Mother Earth not to disgorge all the fossil evidence right at our feet so that we don't have any "gaps" in the evolutionary record of every species.  I think the entire human race should stop what it is doing and go out (with shovels) and start digging until we find every single fossil out there.  Hopefully, Mother Earth is not so perverse as to have actually destroyed some of the fossil record over the last few hundred million years.  Surely, she was careful to preserve at least one complete skeleton of every precursor to every species still existing.

There are gaps in the fossil record? No fossils for cows?

GOD DID IT!!!!!!!!!!

Filet mignon is probably the strongest evidence that there is a God. Holy Cow!

And also proof the Hindus got it wrong. Way wrong..

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers


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