Gaps in the fossil record

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The argument that there are gaps in the fossil record is used extremely commonly by [[apologists]] and is basically the same as saying that there are no [[transitional fossil]]s.  There are several large problems with this argument, however:
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The argument that there are '''gaps in the fossil record''' is used extremely often by [[apologists]] and is basically the same as saying that there are no [[transitional fossil]]s.  There are several large problems with this argument, however:
  
# When the ''[[The Origin of Species]]'' was first published the fossil record was very sparse and, thus, the amount of gaps it contained was very damning.  However, as the years passed scientists found more and more fossils, thus decreasing the amount of gaps.  Nowadays gaps do still exist, but in some places the gaps are very small and in some they're very large.  It's not logical to state that the gaps that exist nowadays will never be filled.
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# When [[Darwin]]'s ''[[The Origin of Species]]'' was first published the fossil record was very sparse , and thus the size of the gaps it contained (i.e., between older species and their supposed descendants) was a problem for the theory of descent from a common ancestor.  However, as the years passed scientists found more and more fossils, some of which "filled in" the gaps, thus decreasing the "jumps" required to move from one species to another.  Nowadays gaps do still exist, and even though there are large gaps remaining, in many places the gaps are comparatively very small.  It's not logical to assume that the gaps that exist nowadays will never be filled.
 
# In reality, there's almost no way to convince a [[creationist]] that transitional fossils exist.  For example, suppose scientists don't know how one animal evolved into another.  Creationists then tout this gap (the gap between fossil A and fossil B) as proof that there are no transitional fossils.  However, when a transition (fossil C) ''is'' discovered between the two, the creationist will simply say that there are now two gaps, one between fossil A and fossil C and one between fossil C and fossil B.  In other words, the more transitions are discovered, the more gaps creationists posit.
 
# In reality, there's almost no way to convince a [[creationist]] that transitional fossils exist.  For example, suppose scientists don't know how one animal evolved into another.  Creationists then tout this gap (the gap between fossil A and fossil B) as proof that there are no transitional fossils.  However, when a transition (fossil C) ''is'' discovered between the two, the creationist will simply say that there are now two gaps, one between fossil A and fossil C and one between fossil C and fossil B.  In other words, the more transitions are discovered, the more gaps creationists posit.

Revision as of 13:30, 28 April 2008


The argument that there are gaps in the fossil record is used extremely often by apologists and is basically the same as saying that there are no transitional fossils. There are several large problems with this argument, however:

  1. When Darwin's The Origin of Species was first published the fossil record was very sparse , and thus the size of the gaps it contained (i.e., between older species and their supposed descendants) was a problem for the theory of descent from a common ancestor. However, as the years passed scientists found more and more fossils, some of which "filled in" the gaps, thus decreasing the "jumps" required to move from one species to another. Nowadays gaps do still exist, and even though there are large gaps remaining, in many places the gaps are comparatively very small. It's not logical to assume that the gaps that exist nowadays will never be filled.
  2. In reality, there's almost no way to convince a creationist that transitional fossils exist. For example, suppose scientists don't know how one animal evolved into another. Creationists then tout this gap (the gap between fossil A and fossil B) as proof that there are no transitional fossils. However, when a transition (fossil C) is discovered between the two, the creationist will simply say that there are now two gaps, one between fossil A and fossil C and one between fossil C and fossil B. In other words, the more transitions are discovered, the more gaps creationists posit.
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