"DAVID TYLER" writes:
Thanks for visiting the BCS web site and for your note. As it happens, the latest issue of "Origins", our journal, has an essay by Paul Garner on "The Whale that Wasn't". I'll forward your post to Paul.
BTW, we're quite comfortable with cetaceans having hind limb rudiments. They are mammals and they have a mammalian body design.
David J. Tyler, on behalf of BCS.
Thanks for your quick reply.
I do intend to read Garner's article that you mentioned if it goes online or if you could email it to me.
When I was a young-earth creationist (YEC) I read Doughas Dewar's book THE TRANSFORMIST ILLUSION along with a huge packetful of tracts from the Biblical Creation Society, or was it called the British Creation Movement back then?
Later, I read a book by another Brit, Alan Hayward, titled, CREATION AND EVOLUTION. I wrote Hayward and he sent me his opening statement at a debate he had with a BCS person on the age of the earth. (Hayward is an OEC), and he said that the vote afterwards was in his favor. Hayward's arguments for an old-earth in his book influenced me to move completely away from YEC, even to oppose it as he did. In fact I cited some of Hayward's arguments in a little paper I wrote:
Creationist "Flood Geology" Versus Common Sense -Or- Reasons why "Flood Geology" was abandoned in the mid-1800s by Christian men of science
You wrote that you were "quite comfortable with cetaceans having hind limb rudiments. They are mammals and they have a mammalian body design."
I wonder of course how you (a YEC) might feel about this evidence if you could first be convinced that the world is indeed very old, and that fossil succesion has occured, and see for yourself what comparative anatomical changes throughout time imply.
You currently believe that all the whale fossils were of creatures that lived simultaneously with each other and with dinosaurs and marine reptiles, etc. Though I would like him to explain why whales are found in the correct relative geological layers for their comparative anatomy to even suggest evolution from previously living land mammals with peculiar ear bones. Or why modern day whale fossils are not found in layers beneath their obvious precursors but only afterwards. Or why other large denizens of the deep that were reptiles from the age of reptiles, are never found buried with the earliest whales nor above them but always beneath them?*
*Please don't bring up the alleged "Pleisiosaur carcass," that even Answers in Genesis warns its members against citing: "The Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru caught a dead plesiosaur near New Zealand'. This carcass was almost certainly a rotting basking shark, since their gills and jaws rot rapidly and fall off, leaving the typical small `neck' with the head. This has been shown by similar specimens washed up on beaches. Also, detailed anatomical and biochemical studies of the Zuiyo-maru carcass show that it could not have been a plesiosaur.
Those large marine reptiles certainly would have swam in the same environments as the cetaceans (whales and porpoises) if they all lived together. Indeed, with a Flood of the magnitude of the Bible there should be out-of-place-fossils galore, out of place fossil fragments too. Only long eons of time could have separated the fossils as they are separated so completely, right down to bone fragments and micro-fossils (single celled fossilized organisms) -- For more on that please see Creationist "Flood Geology" Versus Common Sense -Or- Reasons why "Flood Geology" was abandoned in the mid-1800s by Christian men of science
Even the YEC creation-evangelist Duane T. Gish refuses to debate the age of the earth and has even admitted (much to his fellow creationists' chagrin) that the evidence for fossil succession is a challenge that his fellow young-earthers at ICR have not adequately met:
"When I visited the Institute for Creation Research towards the end of 1978... The associate director is Duane T. Gish, who has a PhD in biochemistry from Berkeley. ... Considering that I believe living things have a common origin and have evolved over a long period of time, and Duane Gish doesn't, there turned out to be a surprising amount of shared ground between us. ... Duane Gish and others of his standing are well aware of this problem [for their young-earth views, i.e., the problem of the age of the earth], but in the end they let their faith over-ride it. When I asked him what were the biggest difficulties for creationist science the points in a debate which he felt least comfortable in answering - he answered after a moment's thought that it was the apparently great age of Earth as shown by the fairly recent advances in radiometric dating; and that the the fossil record could be interpreted as showing ecologically complete ages - the age of invertebrates, the age of fishes, the age of reptiles, and so on up to the present. " [from Hitching F., The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong, Pan: London, 1982, pp.115-121]
Of course you are "quite comfortable" as Gish is, being a YEC, because then you can just call everything "part of God's plan," including "body plans" that go awry every now and then and sprout rudimentary hind limbs. And you can be "quite comfortable" with land-based relatives of whales that had special "water-hearing" ear bones and which preceded species that were even more fully adapted for the water. And "quite comfortable" with the earliest whales being so different from later more highly specialized and robust modern species. And finally, "quite comfortable" that the record of fossil succesion shows it wasn't "Design," but a work done in stages, at best, tinkering with some land mammals over tens of millions of years, during which time most of those ancient species became extinct, rubbish heap designs.
I was never quite comfortable myself, even as a creationist, especially once my faith in "Flood geology" explanations ran out.