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Horse fossils don't show evolution (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Horse fossils don't show evolution (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC216.2:

The fossil record does not show a gradual development from a small animal to the large modern horse. The horse family tree is not simple and direct; some scientists say Eohippus was not an ancestor of the modern horse; and the different types of fossils show stability, not gradual change.

Source:

  • Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, pp. 66-67.

Note: Talk.Origins chose the worst possible source. A better one would be The non-evolution of the horse.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The fossil record does not show a gradual, linear progression from Hyracotherium (Eohippus) to Equus.

So Talk.Origins is admitting that the claim is 100 percent correct on this point, yet it can't seem to bring itself to acknowledge the fact.

Nor is there any reason to think it should. The fossil record of equids shows that various lineages split into several branches. Evolution was not smooth and gradual; traits evolved at different rates and occasionally reversed. Some species arose gradually, others suddenly. All of this is in accord with the messiness we expect from evolution and from biology in general.

However demonstrating a gradual, linear progression is needed to show common ancestry. If all one has are the disjointed "branches" of the fossil record then it only shows a lineage if one assumes a common ancestor to begin with. That's the key. Evolutionists assume a common ancestor and they are just trying to find the relationships they already assume exist. But an explanation based on the assumption of evolution cannot be used to demonstrate evolution. Creationists, on the other hand, do not assume a relationship but are trying to see if one even exists.

2. Some creationists consider all the species in the horse family to be the same "kind." They accept "microevolution" from Hyracotherium at the time of the Flood, to modern horses and donkeys first recorded less than four hundred years later (Wood and Cavanaugh 2003). This rate of change is far greater than biologists accept.
  1. Most creationists see the so-called horse family as consisting of at least three different created kinds so this point would be irrelevant to most creationists.
  2. Talk.Origins' analysis of Wood and Cavanaugh is flawed. They speak of "biological trajectories", not ancestry. The theory is that these "biological trajectories" are a relationship, not a lineage. So while in Wood and Cavanaugh's model Hyracotherium and horses would have had common ancestors that came off the ark, horses would not have evolved from Hyracotherium.
  3. Creationists accept rapid change and speciation, but not the evolutionary hypothesis that requires the addition of new genetic information by chance, as goo-to-you evolution requires. Variation and speciation that is the result of a sorting or loss of genetic information can occur quite rapidly.
  4. Talk.Origins is committing the fallacy of contrasting "biologists" with "creationists", despite the fact that some biologists are creationists and some creationists are biologists.
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