Stalling over Transitional Forms | The Institute for Creation Research

Stalling over Transitional Forms

Skeptics of Mr. Darwin's strange theory have for years used a truly remarkable book by evolutionist Barbara J. Stahl of Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. It is titled, Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution, (1974).1 Sadly, this is now out of print. Dr. Stahl, anatomy professor and paleoichthyologist, is clearly no friend of the creationist. She was, however, intellectually honest enough to write this 604-page book documenting the many problems associated with alleged evolution of the vertebrates.

Darwinists were understandably quick to downplay Dr. Stahl's research. In recent years their only "valid" criticism is that the book is dated and anything found in its pages is now (thankfully) passé.

I beg to disagree. In 2001 Edwin H. Colbert and his coauthors published their fifth edition of Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates.2 Dr. Stahl's detailed research has held up all these years when compared with Colbert's more recent text.

Bird origin: "In the absence of fossil evidence, paleontologists can say little about the date at which these |sixty-nine living families of Passeri-formes| . . . appeared" (Stahl, 386). "Of all the classes of vertebrates, the birds are least known from their fossil record" (Colbert, 236).

Whale origin: "As with most tetrapods secondarily modified for aquatic living, ascertaining the terrestrial stock from which the whales came is exceedingly difficult" (Stahl, 486). "Like the bats, the whales (using this term in a general and inclusive sense) appear suddenly in early Tertiary times, fully adapted by profound modifications" (Colbert, 392).

Amphibian origin: "Since the fossil material provides no evidence of other aspects of the transformation from fish to tetrapod, paleontologists have had to speculate how legs and aerial breathing evolved" (Stahl, 195).

"This is certainly a logical explanation of the first stages in the change from an aquatic to a terrestrial mode of life. We can only speculate about this" (Colbert, 84-85).

Snake origin: "The origin of the snakes is still an unsolved problem" (Stahl, 318). "Unfortunately, the fossil history of the snakes is very fragmentary, so that it is necessary to infer much of their evolution" (Colbert, 154).

Fish origin: "The higher fishes, when they appear in the Devonian period, have already acquired the characteristics that identify them as belonging to one or another of the major assemblages of bony or cartilaginous forms" (Stahl, 126). "Both these groups |bony and cartilaginous| appeared in the late Silurian period, and it is possible that they may have originated at some earlier time, although there is no fossil evidence to prove this" (Colbert, 53).

Contrast this lack of fossil evidence for evolution with the clear evidence for creation: the sudden appearance of fully formed vertebrates (and invertebrates) in the fossil record.

References

  1. Stahl, Barbara. 1974. Vertebrate history: Problems in evolution, New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
  2. Colbert, E. H., M. Morales, and E. C. Minkoff. 2001. Evolution of the vertebrates: A history of the back-boned animals through time, 5th ed., New York: Wiley-Liss, Inc.

*Frank Sherwin is a zoologist and seminar speaker for ICR.

Cite this article: Sherwin, F. 2007. Stalling over Transitional Forms. Acts & Facts. 36 (2).

The Latest
NEWS
Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis Conference Coming to Lincoln,...
Are you looking for real answers to the tough questions of faith and science? Come to the Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis Conference on June 26 at Lincoln...

NEWS
Inside June 2021 Acts & Facts
How do the Everglades illustrate Bible-affirming biology? Why do marine sponges inspire engineers? What can we learn about God’s providence from...

NEWS
Two Excuses for Human Evolution Confusion
Public school textbooks assert that apes and humans emerged from an ape-like animal, whereas Genesis 1 says that God created humans and the different animal...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Summer 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Coral Reef
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Legacy and Faith of a Godly Father
Good fathers serve an essential role in the family, and it’s surely fitting that we express our love and gratitude on Father’s Day. After...

APOLOGETICS
Even Seaweed Is Proof of God's Providence
Tidewater-tossed seaweeds display God’s providence.1,2 Hidden in plain view, tidewater seaweeds are spectacular exhibits of Christ’s...

ACTS & FACTS
What It Takes to Make a Cell: A Review of The Stairway to Life
Rare is the science book that can hold even an average reader’s attention. But The Stairway to Life does just that. Coauthored by biochemist Laura...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Radioisotope Dating Prove an Old Earth?
Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.* When most people think about radioisotope dating, they think of carbon-14 (C-14), or radiocarbon...

ACTS & FACTS
The Everglades: Two Biology Basics the Bible Got Right
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Gary Parker, Ed.D.* Imagine a river 50 miles wide and 100 miles long but only inches deep. Its slow flow is hidden...