Mark McFall, Part 3

Feedback discussions - Mark McFall, Part 3

----- Original Message -----

From: mark mcfall

To: Steve Locks <Steve Locks>

Sent: 13 January 2000 06:01

Subject: Re: Re:Communication

Steve wrote:

>Here are some more transitional forms for you: Australopithecus afarensis,

>with its apelike palate, its human upright stance, and a cranial capacity

>larger than any ape's of the same body size but a full 1000 cc below ours.


>God made each of the half-dozen human species discovered in ancient rocks,

>why did he create in an unbroken temporal sequence of progressively more

>modern features - increasing cranial capacity, reduced face and teeth,


>body size? How does that fit with Adam and Eve?

Mark reply:

Now were getting some where, let's look at the facts. Johanson found the

remains of more than a half-dozen creatures, one of which was of a female

about 40% complete. He gave this female creature the name "Lucy"

(Australopithecus africanus) and has declared that "Lucy" and the associated

creatures, although ape from the neck up, walked upright exactly in the

manner of modern man. Johanson thus claimed that he had the oldest link

between man and the apes. Because of the senstational nature of these claims

which were widely disseminated by press, radio and Tv, Johanson became

world-famous almost overnight and now has his own Institute of Human Origins

on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley (I live a couple

of hours from there). Anyways since it is admitted the A. afarensis was

essentially ape from the neck up (it was reported that when a skull was

reconstructed from fragments of several individuals it resembled a small

female gorilla), the claim that these creatures represent a link between

apes and humans rests on the claims that they walked upright.

Even before Johanson's find, based on fragmentary evidence, it has been the

consensus of evolutionists that the australopithecines walked upright. This

consensus has not gone unchallenged, however. A study of australopithecine

fossils spanning 15 years with a team of scientists which rarely numbered

less than four conviced Lord (Dr. Solly) Zuckerman, a famous British

anatomist, that the australopithecines did not walk upright and that they

are not intermediate between ape and man (S. Zuckerman, J. Roy Surg.

Edinburgh 11 1966, Pg 87) (S. Zuckerman, Beyond the Ivory Tower 1970, Pg


Dr. Charles Oxnard, one of Lord Zuckerman's former students, formerly

Professor of Anotomy and director of graduate studies at the Uneversity of

Southern California Medical School and now at the University of Western

Australia, Perth, has spent many years studying the postcranial skeleton

(that part of the skeleton below the head) using the most sophisticated

methods of analysis available. His studies have likewise convinced him that

the australopithecines were not intermediate betwwen ape and man and that

they probably had a hanging climbing mode of Iocomotion similar to that of

the orangutan (C.E. Oxnard, American Biology Teacher 41,1979: 264) (C.E.

Oxnard, American J. Phy. Anthro. 52, 1980:107).

Ok Steve this is the facts, according to Oxnard:

"The australopithecines known over the last several decades from Olduvai and

Sterkfontein, Kromdrai and Makapansgat, ARE NOW IRREVOCABLY REMOVED FROM A


group any closer to humans than to African apes and certainly from any place

in the direct human lineage (C.E. Oxnard, The Order of Man, Yale University

Press, New Haven, 1984, Pg 332).

In his analysis Oxnard included Donald Johanson's "Lucy". Other challenges

to Johanson's interpretations of the mode of locomotion of A. afarenisis

have appeared recently in the scientific literature. We must conclude that

the best scientific studies and analyses available demonstrate that the

australopithecines neither walked erect nor had any genetic ling whatsoever

with humans. To answer your challange directly, they are extinct apes,

uniquely themselves just as are the gibbons, gorillas, chimps and orangs. If

australopithecines, the central figures in human evolutionary schemes, are

eliminated from these schemes, the whole edifice is in danger of collapse.

At this point it would be well to consider the sorry record of evolutionists

in their search for human ancestry. As a matter of fact, the record is so

poor that Lord Zuckerman has stated that he doubted whether there was any

science in this field at all (S. Zuckerman, Beyong the Ivory Tower, Pg 64).

Steve I have used Evolutionist documentation to demonstrate to you, that

this in not a transitional form. I have not used Creationist. Talk origins

is not in harmony with the rest of the Evolutionary Scientist.

Steve wrote:

>Surely you also know about Eohippus (correct name "Hyracotherium") they


>little horse like animals no larger than a terrier. They had moderately


>slender limbs with only 4 toes in the forefoot and 3 in the hindfoot, all

>equipped with hooves. The molars had low, rounded cusps and the premolars

>were simple. They disappeared from the fossil record in the Eocene where we

>start to see a slightly different animals, the Orohippus and Epihippus.


>are known only for minor advances from the Hyracotherium, such as the

>development of a molar configuration in two premolars. Then in the

>Oligocene three toed horses appear in the fossil record. Mesohippus,

>Miohippus and others. More transitional jaw development - all of the

>premolars were similar to the molars, low-crowned but rigid. Then we see

>larger horses with teeth further developed for grazing, changing the


>of the crests on the surface and increasing their grinding efficiency. The

>teeth also became high crowned which would have given them a good

>grinding surface. Then cement came to supplement the dentine and

>enamel forming the teeth of the earlier types, and provided additional

>material to resist abrasion.

Mark reply:

ONE of the most commonly presented 'proofs' of evolution is the horse

series. It is claimed that the evolution of the horse can be traced from the

tiny, four-toed Hyracotherium -- sometimes called Eohippus, which supposedly

lived about 50 million years ago -- to Equus, the singletoed horse of today.

But this is a gross over-simplification and ignores some facts. Eohippus

(Hyracotherium) was most likely not related to horses at all, but to modern

conies (creatures like rabbits). Indeed, the first specimen was named

Hyracotherium by its discoverer, Robert Owen, because of its resemblance to

the genus Hyrax (cony). Later specimens, found in North America were named

Eohippus (' dawn horse'), but there is no sound reason for linking it with

horses. So the horse family tree has a false origin. The horse series was

constructed from fossils found in many different parts of the world, and

nowhere does this succession occur in one location. The series is formulated

on the assumption of evolutionary progression, and then used to 'prove'

evolution! The number of ribs vanes within the series up and down, between

15, 19, and 18. The number of lumbar vertebrae also changes from six to

eight and then back to six. There is no consensus on horse ancestry among

palaeontologists, and more than a dozen different family trees have been

proposed, indicating that the whole thing is only guesswork.

Fossils of the three-toed and one-toed species are preserved in the same

rock formation in Nebraska USA, proving that both lived at the same time,

strongly suggesting that one did not evolve into the other.' Modern horses

come in a wide variety of sizes. There is a great difference between the

Fallabella horse of Argentina-- fully grown at 43 centimetres (17 inches)

high -- and the massive Clydesdale. Both are horses. end the larger has not

evolved from the smaller, nor the smaller from the larger. In view of the

above facts, it is amazing that evolutionists continue to present the horse

series as one of their 'best proofs of evolution'.

Steve wrote:

>So you think "transitional forms" are holes! Why do we have toes, blood

>vessels in front of our retinas, and appendices? Why are our bodies covered

>in little hairs that stand up uselessly when we are cold? You and I

>*are* transitional forms!

Mark reply:

Steve you have fallen prey to this fallacy, it's going to take some time to

deprogram you from talk orgins and your thinking. Again please demonstrate

to me intermediate fossils. If it is how you say it is, there should be

millions of transitional forms, but theres not, there not even one. Nice

attempt though at bringing up only two that evolution Scientist say are not

transitional forms.

On Steve Carr's website it is in bold letters it is written something to the

effect of "dedicated to Stephen Jay Gould", I know and you know that he is

one of the leading spokesmen for evolution. He confessed that "The extreme

rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade

secret of paleontology (S.J. Gould, Natural History 86, 1977:14).

Unfortunately for the evolutionary apologists, that fact is rapidly losing

its status as a trade secret and has found its way into the popular press.

Check this out Steve, in an article signifcantly entitled "Is Man A Subtle

Accident?" which appeared in Newsweek November 3 1980, we read that:

"The missing link between man and the apes, whose absence has comforted

religious fundamentalists since the days of Darwin, is merely the most

glamorous of a whole hierarchy of phantom creatures....The more scientists

have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more

they have been frustrated".

Ok Steve, read the following with an open mind, I am going to quote from

evolutionist's. Corner, a Cambridge University botanist and evolutionist

states that:

"Much evidence can be adduced in favor of the theory of evolution --- from

biology, biogeography and paleontology, but I still think that, to the

unprejediced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation.

(E.J.H. Corner, in Contemporary Botanical Thought, ed. A.M. MacLeod and L.S.

Colbley, Chicago:Quadrangle Books, 1961, Pg 97)

D.B. Kitts, a paleontologist and evolutionis at the University of Oklahoma

states that:

"Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing'

evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the

most notorious of which is the presences of 'gops' in the fossil record.

Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does

not provide them (D.B. Kitts, Evolution 28, 1974: 467)

Steve, this area is going to be the most dificult for you, concerning the

hypothetical evolutionary phylogenetic tree, Colin Patterson, senior

paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, states that:

"We have acces to the tips of the tree; the tree itself is theory, and

people who pretend to know about the tree and to describe what went on it --

how the branches came off and the twigs came off --are, I think, telling

stories (Brian Leith, The Listener, 106, 1981: 390).

In a speech he gave at the American Museum of Natural History, Patterson



(Transcript from tape, recorded November 5, 1981 at the American Museum of

Natural History). It was clear to him now, he said, that in accepting

evolution he had moved from science into faith. He cited several example in

which predictions based on the theory had been precisely falsified.

Sir Edmund Leach has recently added his voice to the growing chorus of

evolutionists who are candidly admitting the true nature of the fossil

record. He states: "Missing links in the sequence of fossil evidence were a

worry to Darwin. He felt sure they would eventually turn up, but they are

still missing and seem likely to remain so" (E.R. Leach, Nature 293,


Steve, why do you believe evolution despite all of what these Evolution

Scientist say? Or do you believe evolution inspite of what these scientist


Did you ever read these quotes on Talk Orgins? And if not, why? It's because

they believe intermediate's exist, this my friend is what I call "Blind

Faith". Again please show me transitional forms to demonstrate to me that

the Bible is in fact wrong in the creation account?

P.S. What does red herring mean? I have not heard of it. If it's metaphor I

would like to add it to my vocabulary.

I'm from California near Lake Tahoe, USA.

Good night


IN THE WORD ministries

----- Original Message -----

From: Steve Locks <Steve Locks>

To: mark mcfall

Sent: 14 January 2000 23:00

Subject: Examples of transitional forms

You wrote:

<< Now were getting some where, let's look at the facts. >>

You also wrote before:

<< I have never been afraid of reading

critical material and I'm not going to stop now. >>

I know you don't like, but you say you read it. Surely you

would have checked before you copied me your old discredited

creationist stuff. As I said before, there is no point me reinventing the

wheel, you can read why you wrote nonsense about Australopithecus

afarensis by reading this

You asked me for transitional forms saying there weren't any but I gave them.

I have more in this email, as well as direct proof of evolution. The link above shows why your criticisms are bogus.

You said:

<< Again please show me transitional forms to demonstrate to me that

the Bible is in fact wrong in the creation account? >>

Here are more transitional forms for you:

Transition from amphibians to amniotes (first reptiles)

The major functional difference between the ancient, large amphibians and the first little reptiles is the amniotic egg. Additional differences include stronger legs and girdles, different vertebrae, and stronger jaw muscles. For more info, see Carroll (1988) and Gauthier et al. (in Benton, 1988)

a.. Proterogyrinus or another early anthracosaur (late Mississippian) -- Classic labyrinthodont-amphibian skull and teeth, but with reptilian vertebrae, pelvis, humerus, and digits. Still has fish skull hinge. Amphibian ankle. 5-toed hand and a 2-3-4-5-3 (almost reptilian) phalangeal count.

b.. Limnoscelis, Tseajaia (late Carboniferous) -- Amphibians apparently derived from the early anthracosaurs, but with additional reptilian features: structure of braincase, reptilian jaw muscle, expanded neural arches.

c.. Solenodonsaurus (mid-Pennsylvanian) -- An incomplete fossil, apparently between the anthracosaurs and the cotylosaurs. Loss of palatal fangs, loss of lateral line on head, etc. Still just a single sacral vertebra, though.

d.. Hylonomus, Paleothyris (early Pennsylvanian) -- These are protorothyrids, very early cotylosaurs (primitive reptiles). They were quite little, lizard-sized animals with amphibian-like skulls (amphibian pineal opening, dermal bone, etc.), shoulder, pelvis, & limbs, and intermediate teeth and vertebrae. Rest of skeleton reptilian, with reptilian jaw muscle, no palatal fangs, and spool-shaped vertebral centra. Probably no eardrum yet. Many of these new "reptilian" features are also seen in little amphibians (which also sometimes have direct-developing eggs laid on land), so perhaps these features just came along with the small body size of the first reptiles.

The ancestral amphibians had a rather weak skull and paired "aortas" (systemic arches). The first reptiles immediately split into two major lines which modified these traits in different ways. One line developed an aorta on the right side and strengthened the skull by swinging the quadrate bone down and forward, resulting in an enormous otic notch (and allowed the later development of good hearing without much further modification). This group further split into three major groups, easily recognizable by the number of holes or "fenestrae" in the side of the skull: the anapsids (no fenestrae), which produced the turtles; the diapsids (two fenestrae), which produced the dinosaurs and birds; and an offshoot group, the eurapsids (two fenestrae fused into one), which produced the ichthyosaurs.

The other major line of reptiles developed an aorta on left side only, and strengthened the skull by moving the quadrate bone up and back, obliterating the otic notch (making involvement of the jaw essential in the later development of good hearing). They developed a single fenestra per side. This group was the synapsid reptiles. They took a radically different path than the other reptiles, involving homeothermy, a larger brain, better hearing and more efficient teeth. One group of synapsids called the "therapsids" took these changes particularly far, and apparently produced the mammals.


a.. Minchenella or a similar condylarth (late Paleocene) -- Known only from lower jaws. Has a distinctive broadened shelf on the third molar. The most plausible ancestor of the embrithopods & anthracobunids.

b.. Phenacolophus (late Paleocene or early Eocene) -- An early embrithopod (very early, slightly elephant-like condylarths), thought to be the stem-group of all elephants.

c.. Pilgrimella (early Eocene) -- An anthracobunid (early proto-elephant condylarth), with massive molar cusps aligned in two transverse ridges.

d.. Unnamed species of proto-elephant (early Eocene) -- Discovered recently in Algeria. Had slightly enlarged upper incisors (the beginnings of tusks), and various tooth reductions. Still had "normal" molars instead of the strange multi-layered molars of modern elephants. Had the high forehead and pneumatized skull bones of later elephants, and was clearly a heavy-boned, slow animal. Only one meter tall.

e.. Moeritherium, Numidotherium, Barytherium (early-mid Eocene) -- A group of three similar very early elephants. It is unclear which of the three came first. Pig-sized with stout legs, broad spreading feet and flat hooves. Elephantish face with the eye set far forward & a very deep jaw. Second incisors enlarged into short tusks, in upper and lower jaws; little first incisors still present; loss of some teeth. No trunk.

f.. Paleomastodon, Phiomia (early Oligocene) -- The first "mastodonts", a medium-sized animals with a trunk, long lower jaws, and short upper and lower tusks. Lost first incisors and canines. Molars still have heavy rounded cusps, with enamel bands becoming irregular. Phiomia was up to eight feet tall.

GAP: Oligocene gap. No elephant fossils at all for several million years.

a.. Gomphotherium (early Miocene) -- Basically a large edition of Phiomia, with tooth enamel bands becoming very irregular. Two long rows cusps on teeth became cross- crests when worn down. Gave rise to several families of elephant- relatives that spread all over the world. From here on the elephant lineages are known to the species level.

b.. The mastodon lineage split off here, becoming more adapted to a forest browser niche, and going through Miomastodon (Miocene) and Pliomastodon (Pliocene), to Mastodon (or "Mammut", Pleistocene).

Meanwhile, the elephant lineage became still larger, adapting to a savannah/steppe grazer niche:

a.. Stegotetrabelodon (late Miocene) -- One of the first of the "true" elephants, but still had two long rows of cross-crests, functional premolars, and lower tusks. Other early Miocene genera show compression of the molar cusps into plates (a modern feature ), with exactly as many plates as there were cusps. Molars start erupting from front to back, actually moving forward in the jaw throughout life.

b.. Primelephas (latest Miocene) -- Short lower jaw makes it look like an elephant now. Reduction & loss of premolars. Very numerous plates on the molars, now; we're now at the modern elephants' bizarre system of one enormous multi-layered molar being functional at a time, moving forward in the jaw.

c.. Primelephas gomphotheroides (mid-Pliocene) -- A later species that split into three lineages, Loxodonta, Elephas, and Mammuthus:

1.. Loxodonta adaurora (5 Ma). Gave rise to the modern African elephant Loxodonta africana about 3.5 Ma.

2.. Elephas ekorensis (5 Ma), an early Asian elephant with rather primitive molars, clearly derived directly from P. gomphotheroides. Led directly to:

a.. Elephas recki, which sent off one side branch, E. hydrusicus, at 3.8 Ma, and then continued changing on its own until it became E. iolensis.

b.. Elephas maximus, the modern Asian elephant, clearly derived from

c.. E. hysudricus. Strikingly similar to young E. hysudricus animals. Possibly a case of neoteny (in which "new" traits are simply juvenile features retained into adulthood).

3.. Mammuthus meridionalis, clearly derived from P. gomphotheroides. Spread around the northern hemisphere. In Europe, led to M. armeniacus/trogontherii, and then to M. primigenius. In North America, led to M. imperator and then M. columbi.

The Pleistocene record for elephants is very good. In general, after the earliest forms of the three modern genera appeared, they show very smooth, continuous evolution with almost half of the speciation events preserved in fossils. For instance, Carroll (1988) says: "Within the genus Elephas, species demonstrate continuous change over a period of 4.5 million years. ...the elephants provide excellent evidence of significant morphological change within species, through species within genera, and through genera within a family...."

You said previously:

<<Maybe it's because there is nothing to look at, you know

"transitional forms". >>

You then said:

<< there should be millions of transitional forms, but theres not, there not

even one. >>


After showing you examples (one would refute your claim) you now

ask for millions of examples! My examples are completely valid. Your

discussion of the evolution of the horse is also a complete

misunderstanding of the subtleties of the fuller details of its evolution.

I will leave it as an exercise for yourself to find out why you are wrong about the horse lineage so that I can see if you really do read sceptical literature carefully. The evolution of the horse was never a straight line. I have all the details in front of me, but I have my suspicions about what you are doing.

Just think about it, a progression of gradually changing species from ape-like to modern

humans in the fossil records, deposited in rocks that can be dated by

geological strata and isotopic ratio are not only evidence of evolution

but the very facts you accuse me of not having. I rest my case! The

missing link is not missing

<< Nice attempt though at bringing up only two that evolution Scientist say

are not transitional forms. >>

This is complete bunk! My multiple sources for these examples we discussed previously are from various evolutionists who explicitely say they are using them to illustrate transitional forms!

Scientists say they are transitional forms - I have it in front of me! Regarding Australopithecus afarensis "transitions are often found in the fossil record" (Gould, Evolution as fact and theory). See, they do say they are transitional forms! I also

have a number of encyclopaedias here with similar statements from

other scientists! Your statement is just plain false.

I take it you have found your quotations from creationist sources of

evolutionists' quotes? Do you really think that they are correctly applying

quotes from evolutionary scientists and understand what they are saying?

Do you really believe that an evolutionary scientist is trying to make a

point in favour of creationism? If so then he would be a creationist. This

is just like the misunderstanding of Einstein's quotes about God which

are often taken by Christians to mean he was a theist. Often scientists

make subtle points using language like you quote, but their meaning is

completely misunderstood by creationists. Creationists even misquote or lie about what scientists say (you can ask me for references and examples if you wish!) Evolutionists are evolutionists, not spokesmen for creationism!

You wrote:

<< On Steve Carr's website it is in bold letters it is written something to

the effect of "dedicated to Stephen Jay Gould", >>

Whereas on the top of Stephen Carr's website it really says:

"This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Carl Sagan, whose book 'The

Demon-Haunted World' is an inspiration and a warning to us all. "

If you don't check your sources, then how can you know your quotes from

evolutionists mean what you interpret them to mean?

You went on to say about Stephen Jay Gould:

<< I know and you know that he is one of the leading spokesmen for evolution.

He confessed that "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil

record persists as the trade secret of paleontology (S.J. Gould, Natural

History 86, 1977:14). >>

You have not understood Gould. I got my previous discussion of the transitional form from none other than Stephen Jay Gould in his book "Hen's teeth and Horse's Toes." I

repeat what he said, "...what better transitional form could we expect than

the oldest human, Australopithecus afarensis..."

Gould also says that a *relative* rarity of transitional forms is to be

expected from evolutionary theory - i.e. it would be odd if they were common.

I quote "Preserved transitions are not common - and should not be, according

to our understanding of evolution." (Evolution as fact and theory - Gould).

Your portrayal of Gould's quote as if it is a problem is misinformation.

Gould (and others) explain that there are transitionary forms and that they

should be expected to be rare. Nevertheless, there are still enough to prove you wrong.

Gould makes it quite clear in his essay that this he is giving an example of

transitional forms and evolution, and this is after having discussed other

examples! Your critique is completely demolished at and your

implication that Gould thinks there is not good evidence is quite false. He

takes great care to describe transitionary forms in his essay I have

in front of me. As Gould goes on to say "faced with these facts

of evolution and the philosophical bankruptcy of their own position,

creationists rely upon distortion and innuendo to buttress their rhetorical


It looks to me like you done just that. I thought you were seeking after


You said this:

<< Steve you have fallen prey to this fallacy, it's going to take some time to

deprogram you >>

After reading this I almost decided to terminate this discussion. I had originally thought that you were entering into a fair minded open debate and were portraying yourself as an honest truth-seeker. Such taunts are not acceptable.

Your distortion is shown here

and your innuendo is shown in your quoting of Gould, implying that he

does not think transitional forms are secure, whereas he says exactly

the opposite in his book. If this is how you read sceptical literature then

I really feel that I am wasting my time with you and I might halt these

conversations after all. There is no point in searching for the truth if you

are going to play games with me. I am being quite serious here. I want to

know why you are debating me. Are you looking at what I have to say to see if

it makes sense or are you rushing out to find some counter argument from your

stack of creationist writings somewhere? I am not prepared to be used in any

kind of mind game, but I am glad of a frank and honest discussion. I am a

human being at the end of your Internet connection with a family and many

other interests and responsibilities. If you are not honestly seeking with

me, but rather trying to "explain where I went wrong" and desperately

grappling for arguments to throw at me each night then I want nothing more to

do with you. Remember you came to me to ask my opinion.

<snip more distortions>

<< Steve, why do you believe evolution despite all of what these Evolution

Scientist say? Or do you believe evolution inspite of what these scientist

say? >>

They say that evolution is a fact. Have you never heard Stephen Jay Gould or

Stephen Rose say this? I am not convinced that evolution is true "despite of

evolutionary scientists" at all! (I don't think "inspite" is a word, in case

you think I am trying to change your meaning). Rather, I am in accordance

with them.

Okay, once again. The non-mammalian jawbones are reduced, step by step, in

mammalian ancestors until they become tiny nubbins located at the back of the

jaw. The "hammer" and "anvil" bones of the mammalian ear are descendants of

these nubbins. Palaeontologists have discovered two transitional lineages of

therapsids (the so-called mammal-like reptiles) with a double jaw joint - one

composed of the old quadrate and articulate bones (soon to be the hammer and

anvil), the other of the squamosal and dentary bones (as in modern animals).

More transitory forms from species to species for you. This one is from the encyclopaedia Britannica. Here is direct proof that species evolve. This proof even includes transitory

forms for you that are as close as they can be:

In long chromosomes of the fruit flies of the genus Drosophila, the genes in

one species form a linear series that may be labelled ABCDEFGHI. In another

species, the corresponding genes are in the order AEDCBFGHI; the section BCDE

has been inverted. A third species has the order AEHGFBCDI; here the section

DCBFGH of the second species has been inverted, which shows that the

third species was derived from the second, and it from the first. That's

evolution of species, with a transitionary form, observed! You wanted to see

the fine detail of transitionary forms between species, and here it is on a

plate - they don't come any finer than that!

Evolution is not "just a theory" it has now been proved and actually observed

using genetics. Read this:

The field of molecular biology has emerged during the mid-20th century. This new discipline has unveiled the nature of hereditary material and the workings of organisms at the level of enzymes and other molecules. Molecular biology provides the most detailed and convincing evidence available for biological evolution.

It is now known that the hereditary material, DNA, and the enzymes that govern all life processes hold information about an organism's ancestry. This information has made it possible to reconstruct evolutionary events that were previously unknown and to confirm and adjust the view of events that already were known. The precision with which events of evolution can be reconstructed is one reason the evidence from molecular biology is so compelling. Another reason is that molecular evolution has shown all living organisms, from bacteria to humans, to be related by descent from common ancestors.

A remarkable uniformity exists in the molecular components of organisms--in the nature of the components as well as in the ways in which they are assembled and used. In all bacteria, plants, animals, and humans, the DNA comprises a different sequence of the same four component nucleotides, and all of the various proteins are synthesized from different combinations and sequences of the same 20 amino acids, although several hundred other amino acids do exist. The genetic "code" by which the information contained in the nuclear DNA is passed on to proteins is everywhere the same. Similar metabolic pathways are used by the most diverse organisms to produce energy and to make up the cell components.

This unity reveals the genetic continuity and common ancestry of all organisms. There is no other rational way to account for their molecular uniformity when numerous alternative structures are equally likely. The genetic code may serve as an example. Each particular sequence of three nucleotides in the nuclear DNA acts as a pattern, or code, for the production of exactly the same amino acid in all organisms. This is no more necessary than it is for a language to use a particular combination of letters to represent a particular reality. If it is found that certain sequences of letters--planet, tree, woman--are used with identical meanings in a number of different books, one can be sure that the languages used in those books are of common origin.

Genes and proteins are long molecules that contain information in the sequence of their components in much the same way as sentences of the English language contain information in the sequence of their letters and words. The sequences that make up the genes are passed on from parents to offspring, identical except for occasional changes introduced by mutations. To illustrate, assume that two books are being compared; both books are 200 pages long and contain the same number of chapters. Closer examination reveals that the two books are identical page for page and word for word, except that an occasional word--say one in 100--is different. The two books cannot have been written independently; either one has been copied from the other or both have been copied, directly or indirectly, from the same original book. Similarly, if each nucleotide is represented by one letter, the complete sequence of nucleotides in the DNA of a higher organism would require several hundred books of hundreds of pages, with several thousand letters on each page. When the "pages" (or sequence of nucleotides) in these "books" (organisms) are examined one by one, the correspondence in the "letters" (nucleotides) gives unmistakable evidence of common origin.

The arguments presented above are based on different grounds, although both attest to evolution. Using the alphabet analogy, the first argument says that languages that use the same dictionary--the same genetic code and the same 20 amino acids--cannot be of independent origin. The second argument, concerning similarity in the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA or the sequence of amino acids in the proteins, says that books with very similar texts cannot be of independent origin.

The evidence of evolution revealed by molecular biology goes one step further. The degree of similarity in the sequence of nucleotides or of amino acids can be precisely quantified. For example, cytochrome c (a protein molecule) of humans and chimpanzees consists of the same 104 amino acids in exactly the same order; but differs from that of rhesus monkeys by one amino acid, that of horses by 11 additional amino acids, and that of tuna by 21 additional amino acids. The degree of similarity reflects the recency of common ancestry. Thus, the inferences from comparative anatomy and other disciplines concerning evolutionary history can be tested in molecular studies of DNA and proteins by examining their sequences of nucleotides and amino acids.

The authority of this kind of test is overwhelming; each of the thousands of genes and thousands of proteins contained in an organism provides an independent test of that organism's evolutionary history. Not all possible tests have been performed, but many hundreds have been done, and not one has given evidence contrary to evolution. There is probably no other notion in any field of science that has been as extensively tested and as thoroughly corroborated as the evolutionary origin of living organisms.

That was from the online version of the Britannica. Convinced yet?

If I hear back from you immediately, then I will assume you are not taking

time to ponder what I write and I will terminate our discussion.


----- Original Message -----

From: mark mcfall

To: Steve Locks <Steve Locks>

Sent: 15 January 2000 02:30

Subject: I will rebuttal later, but check out this website, it has direct linkage to talk origins.

----- Original Message -----

From: Steve Locks <Steve Locks>

To: mark mcfall

Sent: 15 January 2000 12:51

Subject: Re: I will rebuttal later, but check out this website, it has direct linkage to talk origins.

Dear Mark,

I wrote:

<< Are you looking at what I have to say to see if

it makes sense or are you rushing out to find some counter argument from your

stack of creationist writings somewhere? >>

and I ended my last email with:

<< If I hear back from you immediately, then I will assume you are not taking

time to ponder what I write and I will terminate our discussion. >>

You immediately wrote back with an attempt to show there is a rebuttal. I am

loath to terminate discussions, but I am not willing to continue a discussion

that is not reflective.

I am already very familiar with It is linked to

from which has exhaustive links to creationist sites and I have

also found it discussed at another ex-Christian site I have read on the

ex-Christian web-ring. As promised, this discussion is terminated because you

were unable to pause for thought. You are now in my "kill-file" and your

messages will not be downloaded from my server. If you want to ponder

over what we have said you can find our conversation at

I am very sorry to have to end a conversation as it is quite against my

inclinations to communicate over such an important subject. I will take you

out of my "kill-file" next year. If you wish to write again then and can show

some reflection on what we have discussed to date, then I will be pleased to

continue our conversation.

For your interest I am from the North of England, and "red herring" means a

false trail - i.e. a path that does not lead to your goal.

Maybe I'll hear from you next year. Until then, goodbye and good luck.


P.S. March 2001:

Mark McFall now has his own website IN THE WORD Ministries where he very kindly links to my site and other websites critical of Christianity. I have also updated his email link to take you straight there (incase you're wondering why it does!)

P.P.S. November 2001:

Two years after our discussion I re-contacted Mark to update my link to his website. He asked for my response to a piece he recently wrote on "the need for quality apologetics." Click here for Mark's piece, my response, and any subsequent discussion that may ensue.