"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils." S. J. Gould, "Evolutions Erratic Pace", Natural History, vol. 86, (1987) p.14.
"... does [the lack of fossil evidence] permit us to invent a tale of continuity in most or all cases? I submit, although it may only reflect my lack of imagination, that the answer is No" - S. J. Gould.
It is a fact that all life on earth evolved from unicellular organisms?
Both the fact of Evolution as well as the fact that the Theory of Evolution is the only explanation that has ever been presented or tested are both supported by the majority of the recognized Christian faiths. Only the Christian Cult of Ignorance & Dishonesty deny those two facts.
I'd forgotten about how Nebraska Man was invented on the basis of one pig's tooth. That episode demonstrated that the standards of evolution science are of the highest quality.
In the highly unlikely event you'd like to know the actual facts about Nebraska Man I post the Wiki on it below. What you should - but won't - notice is that it happened almost 100 years ago, was never accepted as an ape by science and was rejected by the same science a couple of years later. This proces is how science works and it's how you got to hear about it.
In contrast, the ignoramouses and liars at your creationist web sites still bring these things up as though there was something wrong with the process when it's actually conclusive proof that science works. Mistakes and faulty hypotheses are discarded and knowledge increases.
quote:From its initial description, Hesperopithecus was regarded as an inconclusive find by a large portion of the scientific community. Examinations of the specimen continued, and the original describers continued to draw comparisons between Hesperopithecus and apes. Further field work on the site in the summers of 1925 and 1926 uncovered other parts of the skeleton. These discoveries revealed that the tooth was incorrectly identified. According to these discovered pieces, the tooth belonged neither to a man nor an ape, but to a fossil of an extinct species of peccary called Prosthennops serus (i.e. a pig). The misidentification was attributed to the fact that the original specimen was severely weathered. The earlier identification as an ape was retracted in the journal Science in 1927.[
Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.
From Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260.
The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents.
From "The Verdict on Creationism", The Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 87/88, pg. 186.
I take your point. If you took the skeletons of all creatures in the world today, you could line them up to form lots of imaginary "evolutionary sequences". All you need to "join the dots" is a bit of imagination. You can play the same meaningless game with fossils.
And yet scientists consistently come to the same nested hierarchy arrangement, just as Linnaeus had, and amazingly they also match what is derived from DNA
It's the consilience of results that demonstrates accuracy.
I started studying "creation science" in 1981, but it wasn't until a few years later that I was able to discuss any of it with a creationist. That was Charles whom I mention in my 1990 essay, Why I Oppose Creation Science (or, How I got to Here from There). He was a fundamentalist Christian but he had earned a BS Biology. He described Duane Gish of the ICR as his hero. I saw him again years later. He was still a Christian, but he was completely disgusted by the gross dishonesty of creationists and wanted nothing to do with them.
In his objections to evolution, he included the evolution of wings. Now, wings are modified forelimbs, but in his "objection" he had wings being additional limbs such that the end result would be like the popular image of angels with legs, arms, and wings. I questioned that on the spot and he realized his mistake.
So, yeah, I do not doubt that Dredge would make the same mistake. The difference is that he is so dishonest that he will continue to bluff in order to push his wrong ideas.