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Whale evolution time frame too narrow for a Darwinian process …

The Evidence for Evolution

In “Nice Try! A Review of Alan Rogers’s The Evidence for Evolution” (Evolution News & Views, April 27, 2012), Jonathan M. comments,

Rogers’s book starts to get a little more controversial at Chapter 3, which asks the question “Does Evolution Make Big Changes?” The chapter begins with a discussion of the fossil record, detailing the whale fossil series, as well as the fish-to-amphibian transition.

Although on the face of it, the whale transition seems to be a relatively nice progression of forms, the main problem is that the transition takes place in far too narrow a window of time for it to be reasonably attributed to a Darwinian process.

The sheer force of this conundrum is only properly appreciated when one considers the multiple feats of anatomical novelty, innovative engineering and genetic rewiring necessary to change a terrestrial mammal like Pakicetus into a fully aquatic whale. Indeed, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg has argued that even many of the relatively minor changes are extremely unlikely to have occurred in the timeframe allowed. Consider the following small sample of necessary modifications: …

More recently, however, a jawbone was discovered that belonged to a fully aquatic whale dating to 49 million years ago, only four million years after Pakicetus! This means that the first fully aquatic whales date to around the time when walking whales (Ambulocetus) first appear. This substantially reduces the time window — to 4 or 5 million years, perhaps even less — that may be allotted to the Darwinian mechanism to accomplish truly radical engineering innovations and genetic rewiring. It also suggests that this fully aquatic whale existed before its previously assumed semi-aquatic archaeocetid ancestors.

It’s the usual problem of Darwinists trying to prove too much, jam too much into their theory …

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12 Responses to Whale evolution time frame too narrow for a Darwinian process …

  1. I still haven’t seen anything but press releases about the new Antarctic whale so can’t really say anything about the whale itself or its age– it doesn’t seem to fit with everything else we know about early whale evolution so I am skeptical about its interpretation. Normally people release information to the press timed with a formal publication describing the science behind the press release.

  2. In the late biologist Michael Pitman’s book Adam and evolution: a scientific critique of neo-Darwinism published in 1984, Pitman posits in a brief overview some of the insurmountable problems for whale evolution, including the evolution of its ear, the calf’s ability to take in milk without drowning, the evolution of baleen plates in Mysteceti, the problem of the blowhole and a few others..

    In Francis Hitching’s The Neck of the Giraffe published in 1982, a critical book on evolution (Hitching favoured self-organization), Hitching cites his personal communication with Pitman in this respect:

    “One of the principal problems for Darwinians in whale evolution is constructing a pattern of events for the whale’s tail to emerge in small, naturally selected steps. The point is that the tail moves up and down, whereas in a land mammal it moves from side to side. This may sound a relatively small difference, but anatomically it is not. It means that somehow the whale’s ancestor had to get rid of its pelvis. … According to Michael Pitman, a young Cambridge University biologist who has made a study of the problem, ‘every downward movement of such a tail would crush the reproductive opening of the creature against the back of the pelvis, causing pain and harm.’ … Natural selection would work against, not for, such a change. So for the up-down action in whales to emerge, there simultaneously had to be random genetic changes that diminished the pelvis while allowing the tail to grow larger. Apart from the stupefyingly long odds against such a chain of events happening by chance, Pitman has concluded that there is a further anatomical objection. At a certain point in the supposed transitionary period, the hip bone would have been ‘too small to support the hind legs and yet too large to permit the musculature necessary to move the great tail of the whale’”

    The above assertions of Pitman’s are to be found only in Hitching’s book that came out two years prior to the publication of Pitman’s effort, not Pitman’s oddly enough.

    Pitman’s book was an entirely scientific critique of evolution (and scathingly so), and he was not a literal YECer at all (in fact he called himself an old earth creationist). I mention this because the title of his book can easily be misconstrued, and of course has been by the Darwinians.

    Here for a fairly lengthy overview of Pitman’s life and career, who is long overdue some recognition from the ID crowd. science.org.au/fellows/memoirs

    Pitman (who was born in the UK) was Director of the Institute of Biological Resources, a divisions of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. In 1992 Pitman was appointed the second Chief Scientist of Australia, that is he served in the senior advisory capacity to the Australian Cabinent and the Department of the Prime Minister. Imagine Michael Behe or Stephen Meyer being appointed to the same or similar post to the president of the USA and his Cabinet! No didn’t think so neither. Just imagine the hue and cry, it isn’t remotely plausible of course. Yet in Oz it appears to have happened without many murmurs of protest (or am I wrong here?), a mere eight years after Pitman had his book published. Pitman died in 2000.

  3. THis YEC creationist insists marine mammals are adapted ground creatures from kinds off the ark.
    Thats why they never will be found in fossil form below the k-t line.
    Which is the flood line.

    There was no evolution by mutation/selection yet just as people changed instantly so did these creatures.
    there must be and is innate triggers in the body to allow the needed changes.
    no in betwwen fossils but only rather different types suddenly fossilized.

    The whales etc changed only as much as they needed too.
    they are amongst the very very very few creatures with anatomical remnants of previous lives.
    They do show leg bits and milking and breathing and smarter then fish.
    that didn’t need to be changed.

    One can deduce there has been change even if mechanism is unknown.
    The example of this is people.
    WE instantly changed colours and other details soon after the flood and upon migrating to different lands. It was not from endless evolution striving to det it right and it was not slow.
    When we look at people we are looking at biologys ability.

  4. Somebody ought to compile a list of such mathematical IMPOSSIBILITIES.. and keep adding to them when the occasion arises. Their dogged obtuseness will be a marvel for futire generations to behold.

    These were the people who prided themselves on their pretended superior reasoning power!!!

  5. Ax: Passed by. Pardon, implausibilities seems a better term, methinks. KF

  6. Well, Kairos, I can see why that would be more appropriate under the canons of empirical science, and defer to your authority on the matter without cavil.

    Unless … the cavil… well, I can’t help wondering whether the canons of empirical science are appropriate for comment within the context of the interminable convolutions and evasions of the materialists, sometimes even in defiance of genuine ‘impossibility’.

    I don’t like common sense being marginalised in favour of the doctrinaire pedantry appropriate to most of science, since it will always let them off the hook, no matter how farcical their contentions. I’m sure you know what I mean.

  7. … which does not detract from my appreciation for your informed advice. It reminds me of something Pauli apparently stated. Not that I think he was right!11

  8. Of course the timeframe is too narrow. It is too narrow for a single functional protein to arise by Darwinian mechanisms. So it is certainly going to be too narrow for multiple functional systems to arise and integrate together.

  9. zephyr very interesting post, I have Michael Pitman’s book, in the book he makes it clear he is not religious, and in other publications he makes it clear he does not believe in the Christian God… he was also a critic of young earth creationism… yet he was in opposition to evolution, an interesting position indeed. His book is actually one of the first ID books yet for some reason was titled “adam and evolution” and the cover art was a picture of adam and eve… I can not work it out, this may be his publishers suggestion but it obviously backfired. There have been some Darwinists claiming Michael Pitman author of the book “adam and evolution” is a separate person to the austrialian biologist!! But from the inside of the Adam and evolution book.. it is revealed it is the same guy from the education etc..

  10. “In Francis Hitching’s The Neck of the Giraffe published in 1982, a critical book on evolution (Hitching favoured self-organization”

    I remember seeing a tiny section of self organization in his book, but hitching was a proponent of saltationism. I reviewed his book in detail if you want to have a look. Hitching the author who has been abused the most in the history of the creation/evolution debate.. Dawkins called him a charlatan whilst the creationists misquote the author for their own purposes, the book has been mispresented sadly. http://www.takeondarwin.com/in.....;Itemid=44

  11. Let me clear up this mistake, if you are still reading.

    “There have been some Darwinists claiming Michael Pitman author of the book “adam and evolution” is a separate person to the austrialian biologist!! But from the inside of the Adam and evolution book.. it is revealed it is the same guy from the education etc..”

    This is my mistake I have just looked over it. In the book it reveals that Michael Pitman went to Cambridge he appears to be a biology teacher. The biologist Michael George Pitman Director of the Institute of Biological Resources, a divisions of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia is NOT the author of Adam and evolution. They both were in Cambridge at some point in their lives, but are totally different people.

    Michael George Pitman was Chief Scientist of Australia theres no way that a highly decorated scientist would get away with supporting creationism.

    “Yet in Oz it appears to have happened without many murmurs of protest (or am I wrong here?)” We were both wrong zephyr, it is not the same guy.

    Michael Pitman is not Michael George Pitman. And the creationist Pitman was only a high school biology teacher, the other Michael George Pitman was obviously a professional scientist.

  12. zephyr just in case you are interested I reviewed the book by Michael Pitman:

    http://www.takeondarwin.com/in.....;Itemid=44

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