The Fossil Record is Indicative of Biological Evolution rather than Intelligent Design
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Fossil Record: history of life as documented by fossils, the remains or imprints of organisms from earlier geological periods preserved in sedimentary rock.
Biological Evolution: the change in inherited traits over successive generations in populations of organisms.
Intelligent Design: the theory that life cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity.
"If the general mechanism of evolution is gradual changes over time leading to greater biodiversity, it would make sense that changes in diversity (small-scale) would happen first, which would accumulate over long-periods of time creating disparity (large-scale). "
- Pliohippus: 12-6 million years ago
- Dinohippus: 13-5 million years ago
- Equus: according to other sources, at least 3.5 million years ago-present day
To test this hypothesis, one may analyze the morphological traits of these older organisms. In horses, the Pliohippus, Dinohippus, and Equus, all appear to be descended from the one before, respectively. The pre-orbital fossae of Pliohippus are deep, in Dinohippus, these facial depressions are shallow, while in Equus, the fossae are non-existent.
- We have not seen where the specific fossils were found, or if they are even from the same continent.
- We have not seen how old the specific fossils are that are being linked, especially since there is a time gap in the millions of years to choose from.
- Related to the previous point, we have not seen the specific layer that the fossil evidence was found in.
- We have not been told why a slight change in the depression of a single bone in the skull somehow shows an ancestral lineage of horses.
- We have not been told why a slight change in the depression of a single skull bone should be considered evidence of macroevolution.
A rudimentary form of the "stay apparatus" in modern horses, that allows them to conserve energy while standing for extended periods first takes shape in the Dinohippus fossils, further indicating an ancestral relationship between their populations.
We know the lobe-finned fish are from 390-380 million year old rocks. The first tetrapods appear around 363 million years ago. Common sense tells us that the transitional form must have arisen 380-363 million years ago.
My opponent accepts upfront, short-term evolution, because that's the evolution that he can't deny. But to deny the logical conclusion of that concession is to accept the centimeter, and deny the meter. What the silver fox experiment demonstrates is that a selective pressure, such as humans wanting tame foxes, can produce tons of other morphological changes in a very short time. Evolution can happen rapidly, even in less than 100 years. With 30 million years, it is not unreasonable to expect morphological changes in organisms.
It's important to keep in mind that most cambrian and precambrian animals were soft bodied, meaning they would not be easily fossilized. So the 'suddenness' of the appearance of novel body forms in the fossil record is likely a side effect of the fossil record's incompleteness. However, even though soft bodied organisms do not often fossilize, we still have a number of precambrian fossils of Vendian Fauna.
Diversity would refer to small-scale differences, such as those between different species of similar animals. Disparity would refer to large-scale differences between animals with completely different body plans.If the general mechanism of evolution is gradual changes over time leading to greater biodiversity, it would make sense that changes in diversity (small-scale) would happen first, which would accumulate over long-periods of time creating disparity (large-scale). But this is not the case in the Cambrian explosion. Gould states, "Using this terminology, we may acknowledge a central and surprising fact of life's history - marked decrease in disparity followed by an outstanding increase in diversity within the few surviving designs." Another study puts it even more clearly, “The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families...The higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”
"Could you please provide a link that shows the femur of Tiktaalik so we can observationally confirm that it actually had the features of a tetrapod?"
"The reason I accept "short-term evolution" is because it can be directly observed. I can see the morphological changes in Silver Foxes with no assumption needed. However, I cannot observe fish turning into land animals. That requires the assumption of extrapolation rather than observation. Extrapolation can be a useful tool, but it is ultimately a prediction or a guess, even if it is an educated one. I prefer the scientific method of observation over extrapolation. That is why I accept "short-term evolution.""
"While the technical name of "Irreducible Complexity" did not begin here, the very concept was expressed by Darwin, and it is an example of a testable prediction in the framework of Intelligent Design."
"One example is the transport system in a cell."