Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
On 6 April 2006 Answers in Genesis reported on the media buzz surrounding the announcement of a new fossil that was found."1 This fossil, named "Tiktaalik," is from about 375 million years ago, and shows features of both fish and a land-dwelling reptile, and supposedly it could represent a transitional fossil, showing how life transitioned from the sea to land. It was reported in the journal Nature, and the report about this fossil can be read here on MSNBC.COM.
Answers in Genesis author David Menton focuses on the use of the word "may" by the secular scientists, who say that it may be a transitional form. I agree that caution should be used, as the Nature article is indeed a preliminary report, and I'm certain that more advanced studies will be done. However, even if this fossil is found to be a good transitional fossil candidate, it will prove nothing to the young earth creationist, due to their position on transitional fossils. For more on this issue, see Transitional Fossils.
The AiG article also mentions the negative attitude of the New York Times. In their reporting on this story, there was much anti-young earth creationist rhetoric. From the quotes given, this certainly appears to be the case. The New York Times could use a lesson in old earth creationism. The Times says that this fossil is a "powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who hold a literal biblical view...". It is not a powerful rebuttal to old earth creationists who are theistic evolutionists...it supports their cause. While it is true that many theistic evolutionists do not hold a literal view, it is possible for theistic evolutionists to hold a literal view. The NY Times fails to distinguish between these different groups of old earth creationists, and instead lumps them all together.
As a whole, I would agree that the NY Times is very anti-Christian, and thus any of their reports that venture into religion should be taken with a grain of salt.
Answers in Genesis makes note that no creationist has yet studied this fossil. They are referring to "young earth" creationists. Such a study would be a waste, given that young earth scientists have already concluded that the earth is young, prior to studying the evidence, thus they will twist the fossil evidence to match their preconcieved ideas. For more on this, see Creation Scientist?
The author, David Menton, finally goes into some "preliminary thoughts." He brings up some valid points, but as he says, we will have to wait until further studies are accomplished. From my years of experience examining young earth articles, I can sense a little bit of trepidation on his part, as this fossil obviously worries AiG. The follow-up reports on this fossil should be interesting.
1 Gone Fishin' for a Missing Link? (A Preliminary Response), by David Menton, published at answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0406fishin.asp
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