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An interesting discussion with Matt Slick

Microsuck
Posts: 1,562
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5/9/2012 6:27:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I had a discussion last night with Matt Slick on the CARM Radio and we were discussing evolution/fossils. I think he asked a good question: How do we know what is a transitional fossil? He says that scientists say, "Fossil X looks like Y and Z therefore it is transition between Y and Z; which is elementry"
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drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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5/9/2012 6:33:45 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:27:38 AM, Microsuck wrote:
I had a discussion last night with Matt Slick on the CARM Radio and we were discussing evolution/fossils. I think he asked a good question: How do we know what is a transitional fossil? He says that scientists say, "Fossil X looks like Y and Z therefore it is transition between Y and Z; which is elementry"

All fossils are transitional.
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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5/9/2012 10:11:45 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:27:38 AM, Microsuck wrote:
I had a discussion last night with Matt Slick on the CARM Radio and we were discussing evolution/fossils. I think he asked a good question: How do we know what is a transitional fossil? He says that scientists say, "Fossil X looks like Y and Z therefore it is transition between Y and Z; which is elementry"

As draft said.

However, even if that weren't the case, we know that for example the archeopteryx is a transitional fossil because it clearly has characteristics of two distinct species. This is the very definition of a transitional fossil.
Floid
Posts: 751
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5/9/2012 2:51:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:27:38 AM, Microsuck wrote:
I had a discussion last night with Matt Slick on the CARM Radio and we were discussing evolution/fossils. I think he asked a good question: How do we know what is a transitional fossil? He says that scientists say, "Fossil X looks like Y and Z therefore it is transition between Y and Z; which is elementry"

Well the tools we have to work with are:

Observation of living species
Fossils of extinct species
Various dating techniques (both relative and absolute)

Now, when we look at the fossils of extinct species, there seem to be obvious groups of like animals (much like we classify animals today). If we look at those obvious groups, there seem to be slight changes between different sets of fossils and the living species today.

So one theory that could be made here is that these classifications of animals decended from each other, where successive eras of animals had slightly different characteristics. Other theories that could be presented is that God made all these animals slightly different but most of them are dead now or that God just created the fossils and put them there to fool us.

So, which is it? Well if we examine the fossils both chronologically and topologically, it seems that the first theory is correct because many of these animals did not exist at the same time as each other even though they lived in roughly the same areas. This is what leads scientifist to classify these fossils as transitional.

To the alternative theories: God could have made all the animals slightly different, but that begs the question why did apparently do it successively and if he didn't do it successivly, why did he create so many very similar species to cohabitate the same locations?

To the third theory (God created the fossils to fool us), there is no good response. He is quite the jokester.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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5/9/2012 3:02:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/9/2012 6:33:45 AM, drafterman wrote:
At 5/9/2012 6:27:38 AM, Microsuck wrote:
All fossils are transitional.

This is true.

Course, getting precise about what transitioned into what is more tricky with fossils t began dna.
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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/10/2012 11:53:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Sure, all fossils are transitional, but the question is usually about whether fossil X is in the transition between, say, dinosaurs and birds. My understanding is that the determination is extremely technical and depends upon specific structures in the fossils that are characteristic of the species at issue. Scientists have noted that all birds have certain skeletal characteristics, a fairly long list of identifying marks. then they will have a log list of dinosaur characteristics. A transitional species will then be identified by comparing it's characteristics to the lists. Alas, the lists are not absolute and there are exceptions to be argued.

Here is an idea of hat is going on from the Wikipedia article on bird anatomy:

"Birds also have more cervical (neck) vertebrae than many other animals; most have a highly flexible neck consisting of 13-25 vertebrae. Birds are the only vertebrate animals to have a fused collarbone (the furcula or wishbone) or a keeled sternum or breastbone. The keel of the sternum serves as an attachment site for the muscles used for flight, or similarly for swimming in penguins. Again, flightless birds, such as ostriches, which do not have highly developed pectoral muscles, lack a pronounced keel on the sternum. It is noted that swimming birds have a wide sternum, while walking birds had a long or high sternum while flying birds have the width and height nearly equal." http://en.wikipedia.org...

It's all about the details of the skeletal anatomy.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
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5/11/2012 4:21:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A transitional fossil is a fossil that, once produced upon a request by a Creationist, spontaneously generates the need for two more transitional fossils (one on either side).