Creationist Wisdom #696: Tiktaalik Is a Fraud

Today’s letter-to-the-editor was brought to our attention by our clandestine operative in Kentucky — whom we call “Blue Grass.” It appears in the Abbotsford News of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Their headline is Gideon Bible issue is a farce, and the newspaper has a comments section.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Dan. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Responding to an article titled “Gideon Bibles will no longer be distributed in Abbotsford,” Dan says:

What a farce. A book containing thousands of years of human history violates the B.C. School Act because the atheistic community wants a fish story monopoly in public schools? I haven’t seen this discussed objectively in the public forum of British Columbia lately. Who’s making the rules? Is the secular position on this matter so weak it cannot withstand a debate?

A fish story monopoly is suppressing “thousands of years of human history”? What’s going on in British Columbia? Dan tells us:

Scientists claim the coelacanth barely changed in 66 million years, but then turn around and say Tiktaalik is a type of transitional fossil.

Huh? That’s inconsistent? Tiktaalik is our favorite transitional fossil, about which we wrote The Lessons of Tiktaalik. On the other hand, Coelacanth is a fish once thought to be totally extinct, but varieties still exist. It pops up on occasion in letters-to-the-editor, for example: Creationist Wisdom #401: The Coelacanth. What does Dan have to say about what he thinks is a Tiktaalik-Coelacanth conflict? He explains:

This belief violates Occam’s razor where if two explanations exist for an occurrence, the simpler one is usually better. If Tiktaalik is not found to be a “living fossil” like coelacanth, then it’s logical to assume Tiktaalik is just an extinct fish.

You can play with that if you like, dear reader, but your Curmudgeon won’t even try. Let’s read on, as Dan turns his keen mind to Tiktaalik’s discoverer, Neil Shubin:

Here’s a quote from Neil Shubin himself, “It’s reasonable to suppose with those big fin rays that Tiktaalik used its hind fins to swim like a paddle. But it’s possible it could walk with them as well.” Shubin admits Tiktaalik may have just been using its sturdy pelvis and fins to swim, but he then leaps to what he believes was “possible.”

Shubin is obviously a fool! Dan continues:

From this imaginative possibility he later draws conclusions which have made their way into public education. These conclusions and those who support them (atheism community) is one reason why the Bible is now no longer distributed in B.C. public schools.

It’s all Shubin’s fault! Here’s more:

Wikipedia explains religion in this way: “Religion is a cultural system of behaviours and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organization that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called ‘an order of existence.’”

Fair enough, but why does Dan bring that up? Ah, here’s why:

Wouldn’t believing we have fish ancestors easily fall within a category of an order of existence?

Tiktaalik is a religion! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That conclusion is as impressive as Dan’s usage of Occam’s Razor. Moving along:

Instead of heavy-handed tactics, there should be room for a fair and balanced discussion on this matter. Is there an arbitrator who can decide, surely not the media in B.C. which has almost exclusively reported opinions against the Bible in the last few days.

We think Dan would be an ideal spokesman for his side of the debate. And now we come to the end of his letter:

In summary, the decision to now completely ban the distribution of a history book supported by such a vast array of archaeological findings in favour of this fishy belief is completely preposterous. I would expect more living in a constitutional monarchy than a secular dictatorship establishing a rule while refusing to listen to the other side of the debate.

Dan is the victim of a secular dictatorship based on a fishy belief. Preposterous indeed!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #696: Tiktaalik Is a Fraud

  1. As you say, it’s the Occam’s Razor part of the argument that truly stuns. I wonder what Dan thought he was trying to say?

  2. Eric Lipps

    This is the first time I’ve heard the Bible baldly called a “history book.” If it is, why do these people want it taught in science class?

    No, never mind. It’s because they think its “history” covers the creation of the universe. All the evidence that it simply isn’t so is just atheistic scientists trying to cover up the holy truth of God’s Word. To the reeducation camps with them!

    If Tiktaalik is not found to be a “living fossil” like coelacanth, then it’s logical to assume Tiktaalik is just an extinct fish.

    Except, of course, that the whole point of this species’ discovery is that Tiktaalik has un-fishlike characteristics. As for the “living fossil” part, first, living Tiktaalik have to be found—and even if that happened, it wouldn’t erase those pesky un-fishy traits.

  3. michaelfugate

    So the “logic” is the Bible should be taught in schools as history because… Tiktaalik?

    Is this a variant of “why are there still monkeys”?

  4. jimroberts

    If there were extant non-tetrapod descendants of Tiktaalik-like organisms, that would be interesting and we could probably learn a lot from them, and maybe even call them living fossils: but it wouldn’t change the status of Tiktaalik as a transitional form between fish and tetrapods.

  5. I guess the Canadian schools are also having a tough go of it in teaching science to the likes of Dan.

  6. It’s unfortunate that Dan will probably never get around to reading Shubin’s terrific book. He would find some observations about patterns in bodily evolution that he might like and even approve of.


  7. Dan complains about banning “…a history book supported by such a vast array of archaeological findings…”. He’s surely not talking about the Holy Babble, in which there are almost no historical stories supported by any archaeology. From his post, I’d guess he knows no more about archaeology than he does about fossils.

  8. abeastwood says: “He’s surely not talking about the Holy Babble, in which there are almost no historical stories supported by any archaeology.”

    Oh yeah? How do you know what happened back then? Were you there?

  9. …it’s logical to assume Tiktaalik is just an extinct fish.

    Most paleontologists do, in fact, consider Tiktaalik an extinct fish. It just represents a form intermediate between fish that lived exclusively in water and fish capable of spending part of their time on land. The existence of some similar form during the time preceding the earliest amphibians would seem to be necessary to bridge the gap between fish and amphibians, and … voila! Tiktaalik.

    Yes, Dan should read Shubin’s book. Everyone should, actually.

  10. michaelfugate

    A soon to be published paper in the journal Evolution by Terry Ord and Georgina Cooke reports the following:

    One of the most extreme ecological transitions has been the shift in habitat associated with the move from water to land by amphibious fish. We provide the first phylogenetic investigation of these transitions for living fish. Thirty-three families have species reported to be amphibious and these are likely independent evolutionary origins of fish emerging onto land. Phylogenetic reconstructions of closely related taxa within one of these families, the Blenniidae, inferred as many as seven convergences on a highly amphibious lifestyle. Taken together, there appear to be few constraints on fish emerging onto land given amphibious behavior has evolved repeatedly many times across ecologically diverse families.

  11. @michaelfugate
    And thus the transition to land was a case of micro-evolution.

  12. michaelfugate

    They are still fish and so are we – cladistically speaking.