October 18, 2009

Intermediate Fossils

It occurred to me that the usual anti-evolution protest of "There are no intermediates in the fossil record!" is kind of like looking at a spectrum cast out of a prism:

Optics-Denier:  "Well, I see red and I see blue, sure, but there are no transitional colors."

Optics-Proponent:  "How about yellow?"

OD:  "Well, see, now you've actually made the problem worse.  Now there's a gap between red and yellow and a gap between yellow and blue."

OP:  "Okay, well, how about green?  Look, there's green right there."

OD:  "What green?  Where?  I see yellow and blue.  There is no such thing as green light coming from white light.  Show me a blue light that reflects red, and then I'll believe what you claim about optics."

OP:  "Arrgh!"

Now, the analogy isn't perfect.  Each individual color has a "common ancestor" with the others -- the white light hitting the prism.  But we can't really say that green is a closer relative to blue than is red, since the colors all diverged from the white light at the same time.  But aside from that, dealing with deniers of evolution is a lot like this.

It wouldn't matter if this was fringe stuff.  But lots of folks claim to disbelieve evolution.  It's like disbelieving gravity -- how long can you listen to someone say something like that without speaking out?

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