It’s not a “fish with legs” when it’s not a fish in the first place!

On February 28, 2013 we published the following post on the Understanding-creationism.com Facebook page…

“The fossil record simply does NOT document macro-evolutionary change. The single best expected evidence for the history of supposed evolutionary change does not in fact show it at all…

“There are two huge gaps in the fossil record that are so immense and indisputable that any further discussion of the fossil record becomes superfluous. These are the gap between microscopic, single-celled organisms and the complex, multi-cellular invertebrates, and the vast gap between these invertebrates and fish…The world’s museums should be bursting at the seams with enormous collections of the fossils of transitional forms. As a matter of fact, not a single such fossil has ever been found! Duane T. Gish, Ph D, Creation Scientists Answer Their Cricits, 1993. p. 115 “

Several sharp verbal responses came back to us on this quote. Most critics simply dismiss this quote as being “old” or “out of date” since it was written in 1993. Others made comments about how only “fundamentalist idiots” deny there are transitional (in-between) forms in the fossil record. They are everywhere, we were confidently told. In fact, according to these critics there are so many that there isn’t time or space to list them all. These sorts of ad hominem (that is, personal) or dismissive comebacks are all too common in this debate.

The quote from Dr. Duane T. Gish is indeed an older quote (1993). Still, the content of this quote remains true. If evolution is true, the world’s museums should indeed have so many examples of in-between forms from one life-form kind to another that we shouldn’t be able to contain them. This is just as true today (2013) as it was in 1993. Only a very, very few creatures are thought to be possible transitional forms. In discussions about this issue, it is rare for evolutionist critics to bring up an example of a supposed transitional form. Usually they are simply dismissive, falling back to the idea that there are lots of transitional forms and talking about them is pointless.

Well – if there are so many, let’s see em!

In fact, this new page on understanding-creationism.com will be devoted to taking a look at these supposed in-between forms. Let’s see if they are really compelling evidence that evolution has actually happened on this planet.

In the discussion about the post we made on February 28th, one critic responded with a link to an article about a creature called Fuxianhuia protensa. The article is titled “500 million year old sea creature with limbs under its head unearthed”.[i]

Here is our answer…

Considering our limited staff (ONE at present) we were not able to respond to this challenge right away. In addition, Facebook and Twitter, however valuable they may be, are generally not the best forum to answer such questions in detail. I decided to take some time and answer this question in greater detail. But before I was able to research and type a response the same critic posted the following…

“Fossil record- suggestive, not proof (and getting weaker all the time, see my previous post of the fish with legs)  (from D.G.)

But F. protensa is not a fish – and certainly not a “fish with legs.” F. protensa is an arthropod!

This means the article about F. protensa does not even relate to the quote by Dr. Gish. Dr. Gish is making a different point. He is talking about microscopic single celled life-forms in rocks of the so-called pre-Cambrian period (600 million or more years old in evolutionary thinking). He is saying there are no forms leading step-by-step to the complex invertebrates (animals without backbones) of the so-called Cambrian. He is also pointing out there are no transitional forms between the Cambrian invertebrates and the fishes.

This is still true!

Arthropods such as F. protensa include insects, spiders and crustaceans like lobsters. Citing an example of an arthropod with legs near its head demonstrates nothing in terms of evolution or transitional forms.  After all, there are plenty of living arthropods today that have multiple legs.

Since Arthropods are invertebrates and fish are vertebrates any creature in-between these two kinds of life-forms would be obvious. How is F. protensa an example of an invertebrate becoming a fish? Where is there an example in the fossil record of any invertebrate being a partway vertebrate? F. protensa certainly doesn’t show such a transition. F. protensa cannot be a possible transitional from between fish and amphibians either since it is an invertebrate.

The article D.G. cites comes from the peer reviewed science journal Nature[ii]. In the summary for this article the authors do not suggest this is a transitional form between invertebrates and vertebrate fish. Surely, if these evolutionist thought this was a transitional form between invertebrates and fish or between fish and amphibians they would have mentioned it.

In fact, the authors only speculate it might have been part of the early development of euarthropods (animals with a hard exo-skeleton, segmented body and legs) There is no mention of this being a supposed transitional animal at all – only an “early” version of animals such as scorpions and butterflies.

So – even the authors of this study do not call this animal a “fish with legs.”

But what does it show???

Recent studies of these fossils tell us F. protensa had a complex brain. This is not something evolutionists expected. Modern insects have complex brains. If this was their ancestor evolutionists should expect to see a less complicated brain – but F. protensa has as complicated a brain as any modern arthropod.

In addition – the legs on its head are not transitional forms either. The authors state…

“Preserved functional articulations indicate a well-defined but restricted range of limb movement, suggestive of a simple type of sweep feeding.”[iii]

In other words, these “limbs” were very short and designed to either grab prey and/or sweep food into the mouth. This is not in any way an in-between feature but a design feature for feeding. This is not a creationist suggestion – the evolutionists writing this article think this is the most likely use of these legs.

In conclusion, Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell sums up the case for F. protensa…

“No evolution from simpler creatures is shown here. Instead, the discovery shows that these extinct invertebrates, like extant (living) invertebrates, possessed a level of complexity that equipped them for life in their environment.”[iv]

 


[ii] Nature/ 494, 468–471 /(28 February 2013) / doi:10.1038/nature11874 / Received 24 October 2012 /Accepted, 21 December 2012 / Published online, 27 February 2013. Accessed April 15, 2013

[iii] ibid

[iv] Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, http:www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/03/23 news-to-note. Accessed April 15, 2013

About Patrick C Marks

The basics are…really basic. I’m a husband, father of 5, teacher, pastor, writer and a musician. I am also…bald...I have a crooked back (had to wear a back brace when I was a kid – ultimate geek with a piece of plastic and aluminum that made me look like a cyborg)...I dye my goatee so I don’t look like I have one foot in the grave and I would do much better if I actually USED the gym membership I pay for. I blog about things that matter to me and I write everything from non-fiction books about Evolution and Creation to short stories about being chased by bears. In short - I don't fit many molds but I can be entertaining.
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