By Greg Neyman
© 2009, Old Earth Ministries
First Published 15 Jun 09
Recently the revelation of a fossil, called Ida, has the paleontological world excited. It has also stirred the interest of young earth creationist organizations, who have attacked it, claiming that it is not a transitional fossil.1
The implications of this fossil being a transitional fossil are enormous. Transitional fossils show the progression of a species as it evolves from one species into another. Because young earth creationists reject evolution, they must reject all transitional fossils, no matter how strong the evidence.
As Brian Thomas of ICR points out, it is common for evolutionists to promote a fossil as being transitional. He claims that "Historically, most―perhaps all―fossils or natural phenomena that were claimed as representations of Darwinian evolution have eventually been recognized by both creation and evolutionary researchers to be bad examples that offered no evidentiary support for descent with modification." Thomas then gives a handful of examples. However, this is not the case at all. Many fossils are considered to be transitional by evolutionists. While it is true that "creation" researchers reject all these claims, evolutionists do not.2
For evolutionists, all fossils can be considered as "transitional." For example, suppose we find a fossil of a 60 million year old mammal, and there is no apparent ancestors or descendants. This only means the ancestor and descendant fossils have not been discovered yet. The fossil record is going to contain gaps, because not all previous life forms have been preserved, and those that have may not have been discovered yet.
Young earth creationists commonly point out fossils which are considered evolutionary dead ends (the species became extinct). This has even been suggested for Ida. However, even for fossils that may represent an evolutionary dead-end, they transitioned from something in the past. In this sense, a dead end fossil is still transitional, as it evolved from something before it.
Finally, much hype has been made in the young earth community about the arguments among evolutionists concerning Ida. When new ideas are proposed, and new scientific evidence presented, it is common for the scientific community to argue the claims. This is called "peer review." Once the claims have all been examined, the scientific community will come to a consensus, and we will have a clearer picture of how Ida fits into earth's history. This is science at work, and it is not evidence that the claims for Ida are false. We must give Ida some time, and let the experts examine the evidence, before a solid conclusion is reached. Even though young earth creationists often point out these arguments, they provide no proof that the earth is young. As is typical of YEC claims, they will grasp at anything, no matter how small, to prove their point.
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and believe that the earth is billions of years old? You can even
believe in evolution and be a Christian. There is no conflict
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