Discovery Institute: Fossil Gaps Discredit Darwin

YES, dear reader, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) have done it again. The Discoveroid blog has another post by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist: Smithsonian’s New Human Origins Exhibit Targets Students Who Doubt Darwinism.

Like so many of Casey’s efforts, this is a terribly tangled essay — but it’s worth a glance. It’s actually one of those mirthful moments when it seems as if someone wrote across the cyber sky: Lookin’ for a good time? Read Casey!

Except as indicated, the bold font was added by us. Casey says:

The Smithsonian has a new human origins exhibit, “What does it mean to be human?” specially targeted at swaying student visitors who might doubt Darwinian evolution.

The most amusing part of the exhibit proudly explains that evolution predicted we’d lack evidence for evolution; that’s how we know it’s true! [Bold font in the original.]

We suspect that Casey failed to understand the Smithsonian’s message. But we’re not surprised — misunderstandings are the essence of creationism. Let’s read on:

That’s right, this is how the nation’s most prestigious natural history museum presents evolution: evolution predicts that evolution is supported both when we do and when we don’t find confirming fossil evidence.

Okay, Casey, you’ve made your claim. Now let’s see if you can back it up. We continue:

Consider the following from the educator’s guide:

[Casey quotes the guide:] Misconception: Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution.

Response: Science actually predicts gaps in the fossil record. Many species leave no fossils at all, and the environmental conditions for forming good fossils are not common. The chance of any individual organism becoming fossilized is incredibly small. Nevertheless, new fossils are constantly being discovered. These include many transitional fossils — e.g., intermediary fossils between birds and dinosaurs, and between humans and our primate ancestors. Our lack of knowledge about certain parts of the fossil record does not disprove evolution.

That couldn’t be more clear — to a rational mind. Although many transitional fossils have been found (which shouldn’t exist at all according to creationism), gaps in the record are inevitable. How could Casey fail to grasp the point? We don’t know, but he does. He even drives home his “point”:

Did you get that? Ignoring the fact that transitional fossils are often missing even among taxa whose records are very complete, now Darwin’s defenders argue that their theory “predicts gaps in the fossil record.” How convenient!

Here’s another excerpt from this monument of misunderstanding:

What’s ironic, however, is that if you ask the question How Do We Know Humans Evolved? the answer you’re given is, “Fossils like the ones shown in our Human Fossils Gallery provide evidence that modern humans evolved from earlier humans.” So whether you find fossils or you don’t, that’s evidence for evolution.

What can we say about such a mentality? Nothing, really. Like an exhibit at a circus sideshow, it’s sufficient to take a look, shudder, and then carry on.

But there’s more! Casey then rambles about the incomplete record of human evolution. We’ll skip that and go right to the end:

I guess according to the Smithsonian’s exhibit, this large, unbridged gap is just more evidence for evolution.

So there you are, dear reader. The “think tank” in Seattle strikes again. Thanks for another good time, Casey.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Discovery Institute: Fossil Gaps Discredit Darwin

  1. I’ve seen the new exhibit.

    Casey is full of unfossilized corprolites.

  2. This is what happens when you can’t differentiate one theory for another. It’s bad enough when abiogenesis keeps being added to evolution, but to try and dump the number of theories on fossilization into is just plain idiotic. Not to mention that someone should point out to Casey that given we haven’t dug up every bit of fossil bearing strata to begin with, our knowledge of what has been and has remained fossilized is incomplete. Its like complaining that a puzzle isn’t a complete picture when you haven’t even gotten out all the pieces.

  3. The Gadfly says: “I’ve seen the new exhibit.”

    Casey at the Smithsonian is like OJ Simpson searching for Nichole’s killer.

  4. Any chance that, for every 100 people that takes Casey’s bait, one instead reminds him: “Too bad that the only DI person to suggest a potential alternate ‘theory’ unequivocally conceded common descent.”?

  5. Frank J asks: “Any chance that …”

    No chance. Not even Behe will publicly disagree with another Discoveroid.

  6. Wow…my education was obviously incomplete. Nobody ever told me evolution predicts what will and won’t be fossilized ;-)

  7. Curmudgeon: “No chance. Not even Behe will publicly disagree with another Discoveroid.”

    Heck, the Discoveroids won’t even challenge Kent Hovind, and even AiG thinks he’s nuts. But I’m talking about “Darwinist” critics of ID, not other Discoveroids. Behe is on record, so all we have to do is cite him. But sadly I think you’re right. Most of us “Darwinists” would rather feed trolls like Luskin than exploit the hopeless disagreements among them.

  8. I suspect this is more than a mis-understanding of what Evolutionary Theory covers and what it doesn’t.

    As addled as the Discoveroids™ are, they none the less must be aware that every time a new transitional fossil is found, the number of “gaps” in the fossil sequence increases. Knowing that there isn’t any real evidence for their nonsensical alternative, nor will there be since they don’t do an research to advance it, the “‘roids™” are have made the most of the losing hand they hold: by proclaiming (wrongly of course) that gaps in the fossil evidence are a flaw in evolutionary theory, they are guaranteed ever increasing “pseudo-evidence” as more transitional fossils are found.

    It’s the only way they can maintain the fig leaf of increasing evidence in favor of their balderdash, and the best part for them is scientific community is doing all the work. All they have to do is stand back and shout, after each new transitional fossil find: “Look! More Gaps! Darwinism, a theory in crisis! Teach the controversy!”

    It’s not a misunderstanding; it’s a parasitical survival strategy.

  9. Longie says:

    It’s not a misunderstanding; it’s a parasitical survival strategy.

    Why are you being so cruel to Casey?

  10. Why are you being so cruel to Casey?

    Truth is a cruel mistress…..

  11. *blink blink*

    Greetings, other James F!

  12. James F says: “Greetings, other James F!”

    I was wondering about that.

  13. Poor Casey really is a special case, isn’t he?

    The boy claims to have a M.S. degree in Earth Science, yet he displays the reading comprehension skills of a second grader.

    He apparently knows nothing about stratigraphy nor sedimentology.

    He is innocent of any comprehension or even a little passing knowledge of paleontology.

    Yet, he deems himself worthy and well-qualified enough to wave off the last 150 or so years of science.

    Ugh.

  14. retiredsciguy

    Waldteufel writes,”The boy (Luskin) claims to have a M.S. degree in Earth Science…”

    Well, that got me wondering — could that be true? So I checked Wikipedia. Says Luskin has a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Sciences from University of California, San Diego and earned a Law Degree from the University of San Diego.

    If that is true, either UCSD has incredibly lax standards (which I doubt), or Luskin is demonstrating a breathtakingly high degree of willful ignorance. He HAS to know better.

    Begs the question — who’s paying him to say these things, and why is he willingly prostituting himself to say them?

  15. waldteufel

    retiredsciguy, I used to think that Casey was just stupid, but I’ve concluded that he’s just a two-bit intellectual prostitute.

    He’s both stupid and a paid liar.

  16. retiredsciguy

    Two-bit prostitute, eh? Reminds me of that old joke I first heard in high school about 50 years ago…

    “Times were hard, and a couple decided the only option they had was for the wife to go out and “lie down on the job.”
    When she comes back after her first night, Hubby asks, ” How much did you make?’

    “Two hundred, fifty dollars and 25 cents.”

    “And 25 cents? Who gave you the quarter?”

    “They ALL did!”