29th February 2008

“The idea still persists that the fossil record is too patchy to provide good evidence of evolution. One reason for this is the influence of creationism. Foremost among their tactics is to distort or ignore the evidence for evolution; a favourite lie is 'there are no transitional fossils'. This is manifestly untrue. We now have abundant evidence for how all the major groups of animals are related, much of it in the form of excellent transitional fossils.”

Professor Donald Prothero

7 Responses to “29th February 2008”

  1. Chris Says:

    Pulled this forward from yesterday:

    Christhinker, correct me if I’m wrong but you seem from your posts to be one of these religious moderates. Forgive the seeming impertinence in this question but if your faith is compatible with modernity and science then on what foundation does it rest? Biblical scholarship, archeology, anthropology, chemistry, physics etc. make clear a few things about those book’s pedigree. Among these are that the creation story cannot be correct, that there was no global flood, that the books themselves were written by people that cannot have witnessed the events and were subsequently fought over until a consensus document was created. The book itself predates punctuation andwaswrittenmorelikewhatyouseehere. The fact that Mary was described as a virgin is down to a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for “young woman”. Such ambiguity cannot be the divine and unalterable word of any god. Not to mention that he didn’t bother to tell the Chinese who had the most advance civilization of the time.

    So I guess I’m asking how you maintain your faith, knowing that so much of it rests on quicksand. See, I was raised catholic and moderate. It was my education that split me away from belief. I’m very grateful. I’m curious how other moderates somehow avoid what was for me absolutely unavoidable. It makes me think that Dan Dennett is right when he says people don’t so much believe as believe in belief.



  2. Chris Says:

    I love the transitional fossils gambit. Scientist says “I’ve got B, D, F, G, H fossils. This proves evolution is true.” Creationist says “There’s no A or C or E! This proves creation!” Then the scientist goes out and finds C and the creationist says “Hey, what about A and E and gee, I is missing too! God did it! God did it!” Scientist goes out and finds A and I and creationist says “I’m gonna hold my breath until you admit God did it!” Sigh. Just walk away.

  3. Critic Says:

    Along with the, “Transitional fossil gambit you have to include the, “Scientists can’t even agree on evolution,” ploy and the, “Evolution is only a theory,” red herring. Those who want to perpetuate their own ignorance cannot be swayed.

    Happy Leap Day!

  4. Terence Meaden Says:

    Here’s a concise godbot quote: laconic and typical of their inadequate learning and narrow mentalilty

    “Nobody can prove anything to me, if I don’t want ’em to.” James A. Johnson

  5. Chris Says:

    Here’s a nice concise explanation of the use of the word theory in science.


    My favorite line – “A theory never becomes a law. In fact, if there was a hierarchy of science, theories would be higher than laws. There is nothing higher, or better, than a theory.”

  6. Critic Says:


    Thanks, TM. I always like to learn a new word everyday and you just made my day!!

    Chris: good link.

  7. Terence Meaden Says:

    William G. McAdoo (1863-1941): “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”

    When all is said and done, belief in religions (or not) boils down to education.
    Everyone who is educated enough learns the truth that the universe is huge and ancient—of the order of 13.7 billion years. That the age of Earth is around 4.5 billion years, that the age of Homo is around 2 to 3 million years, and that Homo Sapiens is limited to the last 200,000 years.
    That none of the fanciful stories of creation can be true, that all are fabrications of the minds of mankind.
    Those who succumb to belief in the biblical impossibilities do so because their brains were got at when young. They will not accept that the people who taught them and who continue to surround and mingle with them surely cannot be wrong, and would never have misled them. Such is the nature of trust that youngsters put in their elders. Rarer are those who in truly profiting from the experience of life and from full enough scholarship no longer fall for the irrationalities of religions, and cast the fairytales aside.

    Bertrand Russell: “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.” 1950. Unpopular Essays. “Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”.

    Christhinker: You are welcome to come and join us—the true freethinkers.