Archaeopteryx Raises Fears Over Creationists Response

Since its discovery in 1861, this icon of evolution which is known as “original bird” or “first bird” had become very controversial. Archaeopteryx was considered for many years to be the earliest and most primitive bird known. However, creation scientists disputed the fact that this fossil was actually a bird. Evolutionary scientists finally admitted to this fact at least for now. Shuffling the evolutionary tree is a common practice because it’s based on a story. As a result of this newly reclassification, some evolutionists in the media are concerned over this back peddling on their position.

In Nature, Archaeopteryx status of being a bird gets shot down…

“Archaeopteryx is widely accepted as being the most basal bird, and accordingly it is regarded as central to understanding avialan origins; however, recent discoveries of derived maniraptorans have weakened the avialan status of Archaeopteryx. Here we report a new Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China.”

“This find further demonstrates that many features formerly regarded as being diagnostic of Avialae, including long and robust forelimbs, actually characterize the more inclusive group Paraves (composed of the avialans and the deinonychosaurs). Notably, adding the new taxon into a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis shifts Archaeopteryx to the Deinonychosauria.”

In that same publication of Nature, Lawrence Witmer from Ohio University raises concern over the creationist response…

“Given this iconic role, Archaeopteryx has also been in the cross-hairs of creationists, and remains a lightning rod for political debates and legal proceedings about teaching evolution in schools,” Witmer remarked. “Of course, Xu and co-workers’ finding only deepens the impact of Archaeopteryx by highlighting the rich evolutionary nexus of which it is a part, but how the ever-clever creationist community will ‘spin’ it remains to be seen.”

His conclusion is very revealing…

“In truth, this chapter of the scientific story is just beginning. Just as Xiaotingia moved Archaeopteryx out of the birds, the next find could move it back in — or to somewhere else within this fuzzy tangled knot that makes up the origins of birds and bird-like dinosaurs. That said, during this sesquicentennial anniversary of Archaeopteryx, which is being honoured with exhibits and commemorative coins, the bitter irony may be that it may not have been the bird we’ve always thought it was. But Archaeopteryx will remain an icon of evolution, perhaps even more so now, providing compelling evidence that, as we should expect, evolutionary origins are rather messy affairs.

This was a fossil that was supposed to demonstrate evolution in the fossil record, (says the BBC) indeed now you know why the reclassification is a “bitter irony” which was once used as a weapon against creationism. Alan Boyle from MSNBC uses the blind faith approach, “It may well be they’re going to suggest that we evolutionists don’t know what we’re doing…”

So they say evolution is “messy” but how does “messy” demostrate you know what you’re doing? How does “messy” data become science? How can “messy” data be advocated as a confirmation for a theory? What about a prediction of your theory that is going to be enormously difficult to figure out what’s going on, do you have a scientific theory or an ideology masquerading as a theory, immune from testable evidence?

Everyone who has been taught Darwinism, knows that evolution is supposed to represent a law of nature where it predicts a branching tree of life with species splitting and going their separate ways. The branches are inferred. Witmer wants to suggest to his readers that the complex traits already existed in the common ancestor before the groups diverged, but all that does is merely pushes the problem back into the ancestor, demanding multiple lucky mutations being selected in one species that generated all kinds of complex innovations at once. Could he be suggesting “hyper-evolution” like inflation being introduced to patch up the theory of the big bang?

And lastly, why are these “feathered dinosaurs” all coming from one man, Xing Xu? Why haven’t there been other scientists around the world over the last 150 years being able to find these alleged “feathered dinosaurs”? Surely there must be other sites if these creatures (from dino to bird) other than archaeopteryx actually existed! No wonder they are so fearful over a creationist response!

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6 thoughts on “Archaeopteryx Raises Fears Over Creationists Response

  1. @ Michael,

    Since its discovery in 1861, this icon of evolution which is known as “original bird” or “first bird” had become very controversial. Archaeopteryx was considered for many years to be the earliest and most primitive bird known. However, creation scientists disputed the fact that this fossil was actually a bird.

    First of all Michael, Archaeopteryx is not controversial in the slightest, since no one really disputes that it was a bird. What you are leaving out is that without the feather impressions left on one of the fossils, it was actually confused with Compsagnathus, a small theropod dinosaur.

    Second, it is a “primitive” bird in the sense that it has dinosaurian characteristics that modern birds DO NOT have. Archaeopteryx has a long bony tail that matches that of theropod dinosaurs which NO MODERN bird has. Also IN ADULTHOOD, it had UNHINGED claws on it’s digits.

    Witmer wants to suggest to his readers that the complex traits already existed in the common ancestor before the groups diverged, but all that does is merely pushes the problem back into the ancestor, demanding multiple lucky mutations being selected in one species that generated all kinds of complex innovations at once.

    And all you are doing here is arguing from incredulity, which is not much of an argument at all. There is nothing “lucky” about mutations. Genetics is not a “language” like written English is a language, so it is not like a game of scrabbel where you spell out different letters. Genetics is much more dynamic in which you can get a new message NO MATTER WHAT the genetic combination. There is nothing lucky about it.

    And lastly, why are these “feathered dinosaurs” all coming from one man, Xing Xu? Why haven’t there been other scientists around the world over the last 150 years being able to find these alleged “feathered dinosaurs”? Surely there must be other sites if these creatures (from dino to bird) other than archaeopteryx actually existed!

    So, what’s your point? They all came from China, so unless we find more in other places, we need to assume they are not truly feathered dinosaurs? — It is not true that feathered dinosaurs ONLY come from China. Velociraptor is a feathered dinosaur. It was found in China, but it was also found in Russia!!

  2. Kriss,

    “So, what’s your point?” feathered dinosaurs is a transition in the evolutionary framework, which means they should be abundant like dinosaurs themselves in fact even more abundant since it considered a transitional animal rather than considered “messy” data discovered in isolated locations.

    You say, “Genetics is not a “language” like written English is a language, so it is not like a game of scrabbel where you spell out different letters.”It’s similar to a computer code! Who said it was the same as the english language? Although both are considered specified information which is most likely where you tried pulling it out of context.

    You say, “There is nothing “lucky” about mutations.”Does that mean mutations are being instructed to produce in a certain way?

    Then you say, “Genetics is much more dynamic in which you can get a new message NO MATTER WHAT the genetic combination. There is nothing lucky about it.”So in other words accurate copying of genetics is not required because it’s going to function anyway. Genetic combinations are not like a free for all.

  3. @Michael,

    feathered dinosaurs is a transition in the evolutionary framework, which means they should be abundant like dinosaurs themselves in fact even more abundant since it considered a transitional animal rather than considered “messy” data discovered in isolated locations.

    I don’t know what you mean by “messy,” and frankly, I doubt that even you know. Care to elaborate?

    Feathered dinosaurs ARE “abundant,” and even if they weren’t, the evolution of of birds from theropod dinosaurs is a fact. We know for a fact, for example, that Velociraptor had feathers BECAUSE of quill knobs left behind on some fossil bones belonging to them. Only feathers could leave behind such a mark. And yet there is no denying that Velociraptor was a dinosaur.

    Another good example is Anchiornis which was discovered only a couple years ago. It is also the first feathered dinosaur found that actually pre-dates Archaeopteryx [1]. The anatomy on the fossil shows that it was indeed a theropod dinosaur, and yet the feather impressions are so great that it is indisputable that it DID have feathers.

    They are much more “abundant” than you apparently think, but even if they weren’t, that would not discredit the evidence we do have. Quill knobs and deep feather impressions on anatomical dinosaurs is proof enough.

    It’s similar to a computer code! Who said it was the same as the english language? Although both are considered specified information which is most likely where you tried pulling it out of context.

    A code (even a computer code) is still based on written language BECAUSE they ARE written (or rather typed), since it IS based on on written AND spoken language. You don’t get that with genetics. Codes, whether Computer or not, an written language follow Zipf’s Law. Genetics does not.

    So in other words accurate copying of genetics is not required because it’s going to function anyway. Genetic combinations are not like a free for all.

    I never said it WAS a free-for-all, since there is a process which eradicates mistakes, though it is imperfect. . But ANY combination OR new mutation DOES create a new message. A new message may not have the on-switch turned YET, but if it lasts, there is no reason to assume that it won’t, since we have genetic instances of new genetic information STARTING to function. I have mentioned some of those examples in other comments on different posts, so I am incredulous that you don’t know them yourself.

    ————
    [1] In Icons of Evolution Jonathan Wells claims that there are no feathered dinosaurs that pre-date Archaeopteryx, but the discovery of Anchiornis disproves him.

  4. @Michael,

    One more thing. You asking why we only find feathered dinosaurs in China (a question with a false premise) is as absurd as asking why don’t we find marsupials outside of Australia.

  5. In other news, some scientists are starting to suggest that Archaeopteryx was not a bird at all:

    Los Angeles Times:

    The paleontologists then built a family tree by comparing anatomical features of Archaeopteryx, Xiaotingia, other avialans and deinonychosaurs. They noted that the skulls of Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia were far more similar to those of deinonychosaurs than to those of the other avialans. Based on this and an analysis of other traits, such as structure of the pelvis, toes and legs, they concluded that Archaeopteryx was a deinonychosaur, not an early bird.

    If this is the case, we have a “feathered dinosaur” discovered in Europe, not just China, since that is where Arvhaeopteryx was discovered in the first place.

    Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-dinosaur-birds-20110728,0,3889724.story

    WAIT A MOMENT! This is the same story that Michael is citing here, just from different outlets. It looks like he didn’t get the implications. The way that Michael posted on this, one would think it was something completely different!

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