Friday, May 06, 2005

Another missing link is no longer missing

from BBC NEWS:

Fossils of an ancient fish - dating back 450 million years, when the creatures had neither bones nor teeth - have been found in South Africa.

The finds, which are 50 million years older than any other fossil fish in Africa, will help provide a "missing link" in the evolution of early fish.

The point is mere preaching to the converted to everyone here, but it bears repeating: the primary rap Creationists level against the theory of evolution is in fact the source of its strength.

Given the special circumstances that spell the difference between a dead trilobyte leaving behind a fossil or coming back a few million years later as a spoonful of petroleum, rational thinkers are amazed at how good the known fossil record already is -- they don't see the current holes as flaws in the theory, but as an opportunity to refine and extend what is already known.

But more to the point, the "flaws" in evolution, as in all scientific concepts, are inevitable but also generally transient. Evidence will continue to refine the theory -- or contradict it, in which case a new theory takes its place. So it must be in a reality-based world-view.

But how does one fix flaws in received wisdom, imported from an unchallengable source? They cannot be fixed, so eventually creationists and Intelligent Design lackeys must admit that they simply will not consider the possibility that their premises might be false. And that, my friends, is where religion and science cleave.


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