Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Missing Link Found!!!

Oh yeah, this proves there's no God! (LA Times photo)

This little jaw bone with somewhat rounded teeth is the missing link proving evolution. So says some sun-baked paleontologists and the LATimes.

Here's their stretch: Even though the animal has short, stubby legs, a pot belly and rounded chompers instead of flesh-rippers, it's got 5-inch slasher claws , so therefore:
"It is half raptor and half herbivore," [paleontologist Scott] Sampson said. "It gives us amazing documentation of an evolutionary shift."
Sampson and crew believe the newly found critter is "an intermediate form in a shift from a carnivorous to a vegetarian diet," and hence the long-sought missing link: the fossile evidence of a species evolving.

Lack of fossiles capturing species in transition is one of the weakest links of evolutionary theory, so let's forgive Sampson and the LAT their enthusiasm. But let's not accept it.

For starters, the researchers admit they have no idea what the critter eats, whether it's plants or animals. Secondly, they don't bother to explain how a stubby-legged, pot-bellied creature can be considered a raptor. Third, they don't consider alternative explanations for the slasher claws and longish tail, the primary evidence they have for the carnivorous side to their little hypothesis.

The claws very well could have been on the paws of a vegetarian, designed to rip open tough seed pods or nuts, or to climb trees for fruit. The long tail would have come in handy for that tree-climbing task as well, although stubby legs seem a bit out of place in trees.

But anyway, they admit, "The shape of the pelvis suggests that its gut expanded to accommodate the larger stomach needed to digest tough shoots, leaves and tubers." So take them out of the trees, and explain those slashers as tools that would come in handy for digging.

Or it might really have been a carnivore, created to thrive in an area where where were lots of soft, mushy meats to chew on. Consider muscles and clams in a primordial lake. Dig 'em with those claws, eat 'em with those flat teeth. Or grubs. Yummy.

The fact of the matter is that despite the LAT's giddy excitement, the paleontologists just don't know what this critter did, or what its significance, if any, it has to their theory of evolution.

So, they have to take it on faith.

Exactly. And they laugh at Christians for believing the unprovable.