Sunday, April 18, 2004

More News From the Home Fromt In Thursday's post I reported on an editorial that ran in the student newspapser of my home base, James Madison University. That article can be found here. They have now graciously published my letter to the editor in reply to this article, available here. Here's an excerpt:

[The author of the original article] claims support for his allegations from paleontologists Colin Patterson, Stephen Jay Gould, and George Gaylord Simpson. He has misrepresented all three of them — none were addressing the general questions of whether the fossil record was consistent with evolution, or whether there were transitional forms between major groups of animals such as reptiles and mammals. Instead, the issues they were discussing were more esoteric issues of interest primarily to researchers.

For example, Gould has written, "… it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups." I wonder why Anderson didn’t cite that quote.

Patterson wrote, "In several animal and plant groups, enough fossils are known to bridge the wide gaps between existing types. In mammals, for example, the gap between horses, asses and zebras (genus Equus) and their closest living relatives, the rhinoceroses and tapirs, is filled by an extensive series of fossils extending back 60 million years to a small animal, Hyracotherium, which can only be distinguished from the rhinoceros-tapir group by one or two horse-like details of the skull."


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