Thursday, June 22, 2006

An archeologist is working in an ancient village.  During his work, he finds a small ball shaped object that looks like a golf ball.  Later, he discovers a second object that looks like a tennis ball.  Soon he comes across another ball shaped object that looks like a softball.  Then, he discovers another object shaped like a basketball.  After each discovery, he places the round objects next to each other according to size.  Consequently, he has a golf ball, then a tennis ball, followed by a softball, and finishing with a basketball.    

He continues his work for weeks without finding any other round objects.  Eventually he discovers a round object that looks like a soccer ball.  He places that object between the softball and the basketball according to size.  Just before he was about to finish at the site, he makes one last discovery.  He finds another ball shaped object that looks like a baseball.  He places that object between the tennis ball and the softball.  In a row based upon the size of the objects, he has a golf ball, tennis ball, baseball, softball, soccer ball, and a basketball.

What conclusions can he reach?  Can he conclude that the golf ball evolved (or changed) into the tennis ball which then evolved (or changed) into the baseball, which then evolved (or changed) into the softball, which then evolved (or changed) into the soccer ball, which then evolved (or changed) into the basketball?  The answer is: of course not!  He does not have enough information or enough evident to leap to that conclusion.

What then can he conclude?  Among the possibilities, he can conclude by observation that the shape—round—of the different objects is similar.  He can conclude that the size of the different objects is different.  He can conclude that each of the balls surfaces is different.  The surface of the soccer ball is more like the basketball surface but also different.  The golf ball has dimples that none of the other balls have.  The tennis ball is fuzzy unlike any of the other balls.  The baseball and the softball are very similar except for the size and weight difference.  He might also conclude that each of the different spheres may have been created by the local inhabitants.  He might also conclude that the maker(s) of the spheres used the same round pattern.  (Notice, it is understood that someone, at some time made each of the balls.  None of the balls magically appeared from nothing.  Each had to have a maker of the ball.  Any archeologist who works in an ancient village setting will confirm that objects in that village were made by someone.)  Thus, each ball has at least one similarity but they are all also different.

So, what is the point?  The Peoria Journal Star published a short article (June 16, 2006, page A2) entitled “Scientists revel in missing link of bird evolution.”  Since the article is short, I’m going to print the entire article.

Washington, D.C.—An international team of scientists has found what is being called the missing link in the evolution of birds, a loon-like creature that lived in northwest China and is the earliest example of modern birds that populate the planet today.

Previously there was a gap between ancient and modern species of birds, and this creature, Gansus yumenensis, ‘fits perfectly into this gap,’ added Jerald D. Harris of Dixie State College in Utah.

It was about the size of a modern pigeon, but similar to loons or diving ducks, the researchers said.  One of the fossils even has skin preserved between the toes, showing that it had webbed feet.”

Can these scientists realistically conclude that this new found fossil is “the missing link in the evolution of birds?”  Of course not!!!  They can not use this fossil or any fossil to prove evolution.  Fossils that are similar but different do not prove evolution occurred any more that the discovery of different balls prove that the balls evolved from each other.  At best, the discovery demonstrates that a different type of bird has been discovered which is similar to but also different from other birds that have previously been discovered.  

That is what this discovery can prove!!!  You would think that scientists would know this!!!  One last observation.  If this discovery really provided the missing link of bird evolution, would it be a three paragraph story on page A2 or a front page lengthy article screaming that Darwin was correct?          


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