When the news reports evidence for evolution in the fossils or genes, it sounds like Darwinism has been all but proved, because scientists have observed its effects. Can these stories withstand deeper scrutiny?
- Lungless frog: Science Daily reported a frog without lungs in Borneo. Lunglessness in tetrapods has been reported in salamanders and other amphibians, but this was the first frog found without functioning lungs. Apparently the frog gets its needed oxygen through its skin. National Geographic News has a video clip of the unusual frog.
David Tyler at Access Research Network wrote about the implications for evolution, as did Carl Wieland for Creation Ministries International.
- Legged snake: The BBC News reported a fossil snake possessing two legs. The 2-cm long limbs, possessing tibia and fibula, were apparently non-functional. Answers in Genesis commented on the implications for creation vs evolution. The response included links to their earlier articles from 2006 and 2000 about snake fossils with rudimentary legs.
- Tapired eleph-hippo: National Geographic News said that the ancestor to the elephant was like a tapir that lived in the water like a hippopotamus. The interpretation was based on teeth of a fossil named Moeritherium that they say lived 37 million years ago. “It seems to have lacked a trunk but may have had a prehensile upper lip,” the article states (again, based on the teeth alone). The article was accompanied by artwork of a cross between a tapir and a hippo.
The fossil was found in Egypt in what was interpreted as a swampy area, “But it was difficult for scientists to tell whether the ancient animals had actually lived in such an environment or whether their bodies had washed up there after their deaths.” One scientist doubted the interpretation. He thinks Moeritherium was a unique, specialized animal. He “cautioned against assuming an aquatic ancestry for modern elephants or even suggesting that all early proboscideans were aquatic.” He questioned the “popular myth” that the elephant evolved a trunk by using its nose like a snorkel (see 11/07/2002). That would involve a terrestrial mammal evolving into an aquatic animal, then re-adapting to to the terrestrial environment inhabited by modern elephants.
Charles Darwin expected the fossil record and discoveries of organisms in exotic environments to be filled in with the transitional forms his theory predicted. Do these latest examples qualify as evidence? Incidentally, the first draft of Darwin’s Origin of Species just went online, reported the BBC News. The free Darwin online website (click here for latest additions) includes mountains of his papers, notes and experiments, for those wishing to explore the ideas of the man who “changed our understanding of nature.”
Many extinct animals are known from fossils. As far as we can tell, they were well adapted to their particular habitats and were not evolving into something else. Among living animals, some oddballs are found, like the lungless frog or blind cave fish – but these indicate loss of function, not upward-and-onward evolution. How justifiable is it to piece them into ancestral trees after the fact? The sociopolitical and rhetorical aspects of such interpretations cannot be ignored.
The few fossils evolutionists point to for confirmation of Darwin’s evolutionary tree are either unrelated, degenerative, questionable, subject to alternative explanations, fragmentary, figmentary, dubious, specious, facetious, hoaxious, or noxious examples of the habit of reifying imagination. Where are the billions of missing links Darwin expected? Only in the dreams of artists who illustrate high school textbooks. Charlie didn’t change our understanding of nature; he changed certain gullible disciples’ perception of reality, natural or not. The many counter-examples and falsifications get underreported in the press. Evolution revealed? No; evolution re-veiled.