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Just in case it might come in handy, here is a site (by a Christian, no less) with some nice photos of hominid skulls as they evolved over millions of years.

http://www.theistic-evolution.com/transitional.html

We have in front of us an obvious and steady progression of features from ape-like creatures to modern man. There are debates among scientists over the classification of these fossils into genus and species. That's exactly what we would expect from transitional fossils, because there are no obvious divisions that we can draw among them. The TIME article notes that most of these specimens are not directly on the human line of descent; they are cousins instead of direct ancestors. That's okay. Close relations still tell us about our own history, on the assumption that "the apple does not fall far from the tree." Your aunts and uncles are more like you than unrelated people, even though they are not your parents. Sure, we all would like to see many more fossil skulls, some from currently-missing sections of human history, and all along the line of direct human ancestry. We'll just have to keep on digging.

Here's an article by Stephen Jay Gould showing transitional fossils of whale ancestors, going back to the time they had functional legs (which they gradually lost).

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/gould_leviathan.html

Pliny the Elder, before dying of curiosity by staying too close to Mount Vesuvius at the worst of all possible moments, urged us to treat impossibilities as a relative claim: “How many things, too, are looked upon as quite as impossible until they have been actually effected.” Armed with such wisdom of human ages, I am absolutely delighted to report that our usually recalcitrant fossil record has come through in exemplary fashion. During the past fifteen years, new discoveries in Africa and Pakistan have greatly added to our paleontological knowledge of the earliest history of whales. The embarrassment of past absence has been replaced by a bounty of new evidence — and by the sweetest series of transitional fossils an evolutionist could ever hope to find. Truly we have met the enemy and he is now ours. Moreover, to add blessed insult to the creationists' injury, these discoveries have arrived in a gradual and sequential fashion — a little bit at a time, step by step, from a tentative hint fifteen years ago to a remarkable smoking gun early in 1994. Intellectual history has matched life's genealogy by spanning gaps in sequential steps.
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Here is some related information (from a Christian) that offers more recent findings. I make no claims about it, don't know if it has been superceded, I only offer it for consideration:

http://www.reasons.org/resources/connections/2000v2n2/index.shtml#whale_ankles

Whale Ankles — No Support for Neodarwinism
By Hugh Ross

Proponents of gradualism often trot out so-called “transitional” whale fossils as evidence supporting their view.1, 2 In my book, The Genesis Question, I explain why no other animal has a higher risk of rapid extinction and a lower chance of natural advancement than the whale.3 My short explanation for the fossil record's “transitional” whales is simply that God likes whales. He repeatedly made new ones to replace those that went extinct.

A new challenge to the claims of naturalists and Darwinists comes from the first-time discovery of some relatively complete ancient whale ankle bones.4 Theorists have insisted that modern whales descended from either artiodactyls (archaic hippos) or mesonychians (archaic ungulates). Thus, expectations ran high that this discovery would settle the question. The surprising answer is that ancient whale ankles do not look anything like artiodactyl ankles or mesonychian ankles—or any other known ankles, for that matter. The Bible's claim that God specially created the great sea mammals receives further affirmation.

References:
1. Hugh Ross, “A Whale of a Change,” Facts & Faith, v. 10, n. 3 (1996), p. 3.
2. Hugh Ross, “Creation on the Firing Line,” Facts & Faith, v. 12, n. 1 (1998), pp. 6-7.
3. Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998), pp. 50-52, 55-57.
4. J. G. M. Thewissen, S. I. Madar, and S. T. Hussain, “Whale Ankles and Evolutionary Relationships,” Nature, 395 (1998), p. 452.
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And another on this subject:

http://www.reasons.org/resources/faf/98q1faf/98q1aisi.shtml

Creation on the "Firing Line"
by Hugh Ross

I applaud producers who bring spiritually significant issues to the little screen. Such an occasion presented itself in December, 1997, when William F. Buckley, Jr., featured seven panelists, four naturalistic evolutionists and three skeptics of the naturalistic view, on "Firing Line." The announced topic for this Public Broadcasting Service television program was the following question: Is there room within academia to consider creation as a possible explanation for the advance of Earth life?(1)

. . . the naturalists chose to support their position with evidences that can easily be shown to support the creation position. Kenneth Miller, Eugenie Scott, Michael Ruse, and Wally Lynn focused almost exclusively on transitional forms in the fossil record, identifying these as the crux of the creation-evolution debate . . .

This focus on transitional forms probably arose from creationists' exploitation of this topic in their attempts to prove that Darwinism is wrong. The four naturalistic scholars seemed to relish the opportunity to disprove that "proof" publicly. Dr. Kenneth Miller showed beautifully illustrated charts of Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, and Inodcetus, three ancient species supposedly representing transitions between large land mammals and modern whales. The other evolutionists mentioned, for example, the dozen plus "transitions" between the four-hooved eohippus and the modern horse, or equus. All four spoke confidently, even triumphantly, about these "verifications" of natural process evolution.

. . . The presenters could not have picked any more vulnerable "evidences" than the whale species. The whale's capacity for natural process change is severely limited by six factors: 1) relatively small population; 2) long generation spans (the time between birth and the ability to give birth); 3) low number of progeny produced per adult; 4) high complexity of biochemistry and morphology; 5) enormous size; and 6) specialized food supply. As The Creator and the Cosmos explains, these factors severely limit a species' capacity to change, or even to adapt to change, through mutations and natural selection.(2) Rather, small environmental changes would tend to drive whales rapidly to extinction. The same can be said for the so-called "descent" of horses. Many of these same factors affecting whales also severely restrict the horses' capacity to survive internal and external changes. Indeed, biologists have observed several extinctions of horse and whale species during human history, never a measurable change within a species, much less the appearance of a new one.

Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, and Indocetus can more realistically be cited as evidence for special creation.(3) The fossils of these species show that whales transitioned from drinking fresh water to drinking salt water in only two to four million years--and at a time of environmental stability. Neither Darwinism nor Stephen Gould's punctuated equilibria hypothesis can explain such dramatic and rapid change, especially in creatures so resistant to change and vulnerable to extinction.

The Bible offers this explanation: God created the first sea mammals on the fifth day. As the fossil record documents, sea mammals have persisted on Earth from that epoch till now, though not without interruption. Sea mammals' multiple extinctions imply that God repeatedly replaced extinct species with new ones. In most cases, the new species were different from the previous ones because God was changing Earth's biology, step by step, in preparation for His ultimate creation on Earth--the human race.

The many "transitional" forms of whales and horses suggest that God performed more than just a few creative acts here and there, letting evolution fill in the rest. Rather, God was involved and active in creation of new species . . .

1. Firing Line, PBS broadcast, Dec. 28, 1997.

2. Hugh Ross, Creation and Time (Colorado Springs: Nav Press, 1994) pp. 78-80.

3. Hugh Ross, "A Whale of a Change," Facts & Faith, v. 10, no. 3, (1996), p. 3.


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Pliny the Elder, before dying of curiosity by staying too close to Mount Vesuvius at the worst of all possible moments, urged us to treat impossibilities as a relative claim: “How many things, too, are looked upon as quite as impossible until they have been actually effected.” Armed with such wisdom of human ages, I am absolutely delighted to report that our usually recalcitrant fossil record has come through in exemplary fashion. During the past fifteen years, new discoveries in Africa and Pakistan have greatly added to our paleontological knowledge of the earliest history of whales. The embarrassment of past absence has been replaced by a bounty of new evidence — and by the sweetest series of transitional fossils an evolutionist could ever hope to find. Truly we have met the enemy and he is now ours. Moreover, to add blessed insult to the creationists' injury, these discoveries have arrived in a gradual and sequential fashion — a little bit at a time, step by step, from a tentative hint fifteen years ago to a remarkable smoking gun early in 1994. Intellectual history has matched life's genealogy by spanning gaps in sequential steps.


In spite of Pliny the Elder's ill fate (which I always thought was plain bad luck, but I'll take the younger Pliny's word for the "curiosity killed the cat" argument if he says so), we now have positive proof that good school science and intelligence can be positively selected for in the grand lottery:
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050103/od_uk_nm/oukoe_quake_briton_girl
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My short explanation for the fossil record's “transitional” whales is simply that God likes whales. He repeatedly made new ones to replace those that went extinct.

You'd think an intelligent designer could design something right the first time, so he didn't have to keep replacing it.

On the other hand, I guess we can hunt them all to death now, since we'll get new and improved whales.
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Indeed, biologists have ... never a measurable change within a species

With a statement as wrong as that one, this guy has no credibility.
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You quoted (out of context):
Indeed, biologists have ... never a measurable change within a species

It is out of context because he was referring to horse and whale species during the span of human history. Your selective quote makes him look like an idiot.

You commented on the quote:
With a statement as wrong as that one, this guy has no credibility.

You imply that there are numerable new horse or whale species that have arisen during human history that could be used to refute Ross' statement. I'm not familiar with that evidence, and would appreciate more information.

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You quoted: My short explanation for the fossil record's “transitional” whales is simply that God likes whales. He repeatedly made new ones to replace those that went extinct.

And commented:
You'd think an intelligent designer could design something right the first time, so he didn't have to keep replacing it.

But you are presuming that you understand the whole history of whales, know how each species fit into it's unique ecosystem, know the impact each species made on it's environment, know God's intent and purpose, and are now in a postion to judge God inept, based on your superior knowledge of what is the "right" way to do things.

You also commented:
On the other hand, I guess we can hunt them all to death now, since we'll get new and improved whales.

According to Ross, God's creative acts ceased at the end of the 6th day of creation, after the creation of humans. That's why (according to him) you see tons of extinctions since man came on the scene, and few if any new species appearing. So no new whales, and once we ineptly exterminate them, there is no reason to believe God will fix it for us.

Bryan
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According to Ross, God's creative acts ceased at the end of the 6th day of creation, after the creation of humans. That's why (according to him) you see tons of extinctions since man came on the scene, and few if any new species appearing. So no new whales, and once we ineptly exterminate them, there is no reason to believe God will fix it for us.

Bryan


As you know very well, your whale and horse argument proves nothing. On the other hand, speciation has arguably taken place in dogs (dogs / canis familiaris developing from wolves / canis lupus, further spawning dingo / canis dingo) during a time span of under 15,000 years. Speciation in human lice took place earlier, but still after the presumed "creation" of the human genus:
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6489

I don't know the detailed argument of Ross, but consider the statement you quoted strongly anti-scientific. Besides, if he wants proof, "few if any" isn't good enough. he has to make the distinction: Either yes, there did appear new species which seems to disprove his thesis, or he wants to argue that zero new species appeared after the "sixth day".

Gunnar
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You quoted (out of context):
Indeed, biologists have ... never a measurable change within a species

You imply that there are numerable new horse or whale species that have arisen during human history that could be used to refute Ross' statement. I'm not familiar with that evidence, and would appreciate more information.


No, I did not. The comment appeared to be a general statement that was trying to refute microevolution.

Nor did I imply anything about new species of horses or whales.
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You'd think an intelligent designer could design something right the first time, so he didn't have to keep replacing it.

you are presuming that you understand the whole history of whales, know how each species fit into it's unique ecosystem, know the impact each species made on it's environment, know God's intent and purpose, and are now in a postion to judge God inept, based on your superior knowledge of what is the "right" way to do things.

Evolution solves all those problems, though. But then again, the idea that God keeps stepping in is contradicted by your statement below:

According to Ross, God's creative acts ceased at the end of the 6th day of creation

Either he quit creating after the 6th day (meaning no new whales and your last statement is wrong) or he didn't, and the statement that god kept creating new whales is wrong.
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But then again, the idea that God keeps stepping in is contradicted by your statement below:

According to Ross, God's creative acts ceased at the end of the 6th day of creation

Either he quit creating after the 6th day (meaning no new whales and your last statement is wrong) or he didn't, and the statement that god kept creating new whales is wrong.


Yes, he quit after the 6th day. He created new whales before that time, not after.

I don't readily see the contradiction you assert. But I have more of the context of Ross' comments in mind, and doubt I've done him justice anyway. Let me add more context to Ross' statements, and see if makes more sense (not that you'd agree to the statements, just that they are logically consistent).

1. God creates, over millions of years, all the different whale species and transitional forms leading up to them, up to the time humans appear on the scene. Since Ross dates humans back 30-50 thousand years ago, we can assume he thinks that day 6 ended there.

2. After the 6th day, God does not directly create new whale species. He doesn't "step in" anymore and create anything.


Bryan



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On the other hand, I guess we can hunt them all to death now, since we'll get new and improved whales.

Na, we have oil now. No need for blubber.

Chris
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Yes, he quit after the 6th day. He created new whales before that time, not after.

Then why is it that the whales with legs all seem to have died, while the ones without legs are still around?

Faulty design?
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Then why is it that the whales with legs all seem to have died, while the ones without legs are still around?

Faulty design?



It seems to me you need to know what the intentions for the design are before you can assert faulty design. The Pinto had a poorly designed gas tank that caused the car to explode under certain circumstances. It was designed to be a safe car (at least I assume that Ford did not intentionally make it that way). That is a case of faulty design, a design that failed to accomplish what was intended.

For me to conclude that God did not design a certain whale species properly, I'd have to know a lot more than I do about his intentions.

How would you define "faulty" ?

Bryan
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For me to conclude that God did not design a certain whale species properly, I'd have to know a lot more than I do about his intentions.

How would you define "faulty" ?


Well, the fact that they all died would be your first clue. Whatever God's intentions, I guess one of them wasn't to keep them around.
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Well, the fact that they all died would be your first clue. Whatever God's intentions, I guess one of them wasn't to keep them around.


Kazim,

I put my answer in the next thread.

Bryan
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Empirical evidence of extinctions, vestigial structures (human tailbone, eyes of the blind cave fish), and suboptimal design (blind spot in the human eye) strongly suggest that creation occurred by a process of trial and error.
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