Evolution Break – The Frogmander!

I figured, I haven’t mentioned evolution in a little while, so here you go.Image from University of Calgary

The short article reads as follows:

“Some people just don’t get the point, no matter how much stuff happens – Americans continue to see creationism taught in their schools not as a religious doctrine, but as science, by at least a quarter of the nation’s biology teachers.Despite a 2005 Pennsylvania court case that threw intelligent design out of the classroom, states still set their own precedent, and teachers, more than legislators, are in control of what happens in their classroom. This is a dangerous proposition when 16% of the nation’s biology teachers are creationists, and 1 in 6 of those believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. It’s this very population that may not be qualified to explain to their students what is going on when scientists in the field discover an animal like the frogmander: a 290-million-year-old fossil linking modern frogs and salamanders to a single ancient amphibian.”

“The frogmander is just the latest in a long, long line of body blows to creationism that are typically shrugged off as the work of the devil, or the by-products of a scientific community that’s not open to a pluralism of views when it comes to creationism. Instead, this frog, the Gerobatrachus hottoni, or “elderly frog” will help unify the family tree of amphibians, which had been shrouded in scientific mystery since time immemorial. The ancient record existed up until the point that the elderly frog should have existed, and the modern one began after it, but the gap was not to be filled until the current issue of the journal “Nature” was released, and with it the news of this missing evolutionary link.”

“First collected in the 1990s, nobody noticed the significance of the frogmander until 2004, when a scientist going through the archives of the Smithsonian Institution found what are termed “archaic features” in the fossil, anachronisms that gave away the frogmander’s deep secret.”

I have to say, frogmander sounds like a villain from the four-color golden age of comics. “Spider Man #57 “Attack of the Frogmander!”

3 thoughts on “Evolution Break – The Frogmander!

  1. My favorite example of a so-called missing link is the Archaeopteryx, which looks like what you’d get if a Dinosaur made sweet, sweet love to a bird. But so called ‘Creationists’ (whose right to that name I challenge) continue to insist that there are no intermediate fossils despite the fact that the so called missing link has not been missing for a long time now.

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  2. Then of course, there are a lot of us on the Right (really) who don’t give a hang one way or the other about evolution as such–it’s the use of evolutionary theory to push atheism that we object to.

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  3. Its an odd question in some ways. Personally I’m fine with various religions and atheisms all being out there for people to learn about openly, wherever their commitments are. I’m not a huge fan of pushing anything on anyone really.For me, there are interesting academic and political questions about what a “religion” is. Any definition you use will break down when considering at least one example – that is, there are exceptions that break most “rules” about what a religion is which aren’t vague enough to include anything. I’m a fan of the anti-establishment clause, so I am in favor of there being no specific religious agenda pushed by the government.I do have the understanding that science requires a particular kind of skepticism which really can’t allow any explanation that “God did it” – even if it is true that God did do it. Science cannot have that option on the table and still be anything like science. So, in that sense, I think that science must be agnostic in a radical way that it will look atheistic to some religious people.Its a messy issue. My main concern is that people will be taught “creation science” and go through school thinking that it is a valid scientific method, only to find that it isn’t science at all, does not contribute one iota to our material knowledge of the universe, and will never be able to produce any testable evidence. Using the Bible as a scientific text will almost certainly never result in any kind of scientific advance. As you point out in your excellent recent post, it is an absurd and grave misuse of the text. I don’t think that should be pushed in the classroom, but I’m quite sure that Biblical literalism *must* not be.

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