Archaeoptery2 - Archaeopteryx: Answering the Challenge of...

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Archaeopteryx : Answering the Challenge of the Fossil Record ost literalist creationists argue that there are no transitional forms (e.g. Morris 1967 , Gish 1979 , 1985 , 1995 ). Cracraft ( 1983 ) suggests that this argument, could well be the paradigm example characterizing the entire creation-evolution controversy for it illustrates how creationists have taken an extremely complex scientific question, simplified the matter to the point of misrepresentation, and then have promoted the blatantly false claim that the fossil record supports the creationist world view. Indeed, from the manner in which creationists have discussed this issue, one can only conclude that either the creationists have consciously adopted the tactic of outright distortion or they are so abysmally ignorant of the scientific arguments and data that their apparent distortions are only accidental, not purposeful. (p. 178) Cracraft also discusses the methodology employed by creationists on this topic. Creationists have adopted three lines of argumentation against the existence of transitional forms: (1) they quote liberally from various paleontologists as to the paucity of transitional forms; (2) they define the concept of "transitional form" in a way that is distinctly different from the evolutionists' use of the term; and (3) they simply deny the existence of intermediate taxa, whilst ignoring the vast scientific literature opposing their position. (p. 179). In discussions about the existence of transitional forms in the fossil record, no fossil has caused more feathers to fly than Archaeopteryx , due to its pride of place as a classic example of a transitional form - in evolutionary terms, a form which exhibits characters shared with one group and only that group, whilst also exhibiting other characters shared with another group and only with that group (e.g. Kitcher 1982 ), in other words a morphological intermediate. Dr. Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research , is probably one of those most vocal in crying foul at the recognition of Archaeopteryx as a transitional form (e.g. Gish 1979 , 1985 , 1995 ). There have been various commentaries on passages from Dr. Gish's 1978 book Evolution? The Fossils Say No! (e.g. Kitcher 1982 ; Cracraft 1983 ; Raup 1983 ; Halstead 1984 ; Strahler 1987 ; Blackburn 1995 ), but relatively little commentary about Dr. Gish's 1985 book
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This note was uploaded on 11/22/2011 for the course GLY GLY1100 taught by Professor Jaymuza during the Spring '10 term at Broward College.

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Archaeoptery2 - Archaeopteryx: Answering the Challenge of...

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