I admit I’m a little late on this news too, but the evolutionists are all tickled pink over the discovery of another “transitional form,” the “fishopod” Tiktaalik (an Inuit name meaning “large freshwater fish;” nice to see that the natives can call a fish a fish). Here’s an evolutionary take, and here’s a creationist refutation (scroll down a bit). And finally a drawing from evolutionist science blogger Pharyngula, whose page I really need to start frequenting more, just for the excitement.

Basic story: Paleontologists in Northern Canada discovered several well-preserved skeletons of these creatures, whose unique features include: 1) lack of water-beating structures over gills, leading to the idea that they could breath air; 2) fins with “wrist-like arrangement,” suggesting “vaguely foot-like support.” (Such precision and definiteness!)

(I was forced to blog about this by encountering an editorial in the state capital paper (right above an editorial arguing that the US should “take full part” in the new UN Council on Human Rights, along with Sudan, of course; and some people write letters to this paper complaining that it’s too conservative) – anyhow, an editorial telling creationists that they should be silenced by this new discovery, and accusing them of blindly calling Archaeopteryx a hoax in spite of evidence to the contrary. I don’t know what creationist literature they’ve been reading lately – too little, obviously. Everything I’ve read argues that just because a bird has a few claws on the tips of its wings does not make it a reptile, just a different species of bird.)

A quote from the original scientific paper (published in Nature) about these fossils:

Although the body scales, fin rays, lower jaw and palate are comparable to those in more primitive sarcopterygians, the new species also has a shortened skull roof, a modified ear region, a mobile neck, a functional wrist joint, and other features that presage tetrapod conditions.

So this supposed step forward in evolution actually has “primitive” features, as well as very advanced features. Sounds like some creature got his chronology mixed up. You’d think it would be the advanced sarcopterygians (lobe-finned fish) who evolved next. [tetrapod meaning four-legged, ie land vertebrates]

Next: just because you wish its fins could work as feet doesn’t mean that’s how they were used; maybe they were just an efficient means of swimming. To quote from the creationist critique linked above,

It must be remembered, for instance, that Coelacanth was long considered a transitional form because of its bony fins, but when discovered alive, the fish did not use them for walking or raising itself up in any way.

The very concept of evolution implies a spectrum of progress, of movement in a certain direction. The discovery of a static point (a fossil fish) does not give any proof of movement. Please notice this quote from the news article, based on interviews with the discoverers:

For all its tetrapod-like features, Tiktaalik is still clearly a fish. For example, its limbs lack the fingers and toes that mark true tetrapods.

Just like Archaeopteryx is a bird – a unique bird, but still a bird – Tiktallik is a fish; unique, but still a fish.

Bottom line: God created a wide variety of animals, many of whom share various characteristics, and even DNA, with each other. That doesn’t prove that these animals evolved from each other. In the end, evolution is a theory about the origin of life. It’s based on speculation centering around the bones of dead creatures (when it’s not based in pure imagination). Scientists who were not present for the events in question, who do not have written records of the events, and who cannot reproduce the events or point to modern-day continuations of them, cannot claim to be making truly scientific inquiries. They are making religious theories, wish-fulfillment of their desire to evade responsibility to the Creator God. I’m glad the atheists are having a nice Easter: the gospel of Judas, and this funny fish. Too bad it won’t do them any good in the long run.