This starts with an email from Mike dated 25th August 2005. My response, sent on the 26th interposes comments into the text of the original email. I've highlighted the original text and my response to make things clearer.
Mike: Hi, I've read many of your "analysis" pages in response to Creationist theories. While I don't necessarily believe in Creationism, I don't believe 100% in evolution. Out of many of your rantings (I found many to be 100% false based on my own research),
Richard: Okay: which of my 'rantings' is '100% false', and what research can you produce to demonstrate that?
Mike: you still have not been able to explain, "scientifically", how there could be such huge fossil record gaps.
Richard: I don't understand this. In what way is the fragmentary nature of the fossil record not a 'scientific' explanation?
Mike: You claim "there are".
Richard: I claim there are what?
Mike: Are they imaginary? Are they "supported by evidence"?
Richard: The evidence is in the form of new fossils which are found which match the predictions of palaeontologists based on the theory of the evolutionary relationships of previously known forms.
Mike: Or, are they simply "faith"? I understand and buy a lot of the foundations for the theory of evolution - but the gaps you have not yet been able to explain!
Richard: Firstly, evolutionary theory is not primarily based on the
fossil record. It never has been. It explains the fossil record, but as
that record is inherently very patchy, it cannot be used as primary evidence.
The primary evidence for evolution is the nested hierarchy of all living organisms. This means that, for example, all mammals have hair and suckle their young. All placental mammals give birth to relatively developed young which have grown in the mothers body attached to a placenta. All marsupial mammals give birth to relatively undeveloped young which they nurture in abdominal pouches. Try reading about nested hierachies.
More recently, the evidence for evolution has been greatly increased by genetic studies. All living organisms on this planet share the same code of four base pairs on their DNA. Genetic studies reinforce the pattern of nested hierchies derived from morphological studies.
I could go on and on, but it's not my business to educate you: read some books on the subject, and not those from creationist sources.
It's a matter of interpreting the evidence. There is no faith involved.
Mike: Therefore, your unfounded "belief" that absolutely everything comes from a few simply microorganisms is ridiculous.
Richard: R: As there is a vast amount of evidence to support that belief, why is it ridiculous?
Mike: On the same token, the claims made by Creationists that absolutely everything was created by a "Creator" is unfounded as well
Richard: R: It's not unfounded, it's just that this is not a proposition which can be tested using the tools of science. A creator might have made everything. A creator might have set up the starting conditions for the universe in such a way the mankind is the inevitable outcome. A creator might have created the world last Thursday with all the appearance of being part of an ancient universe. I can't test either proposition using the tools of science.
Mike: - there are simply too many obvious evolutionary links to prove that many life forms have simply "evolved" and were not "created".
Richard: As I said, this begs the question as to what is meant by 'created'. I have no argument with anyone who believes that the universe was created by God. I don't even have an argument with someone who believes that the universe was created last Thursday. I don't even have an argument with anyone who claims that the evidence shows that the universe was created last Thursday. I DO have an argument with anyone who claims that the evidence supports their position, but distorts, fabricates and ignores the evidence, and misreprents the position and arguments of their opponents. Furthermore, I object most strongly to accusations that I am a dishonest liar because I 'believe in evolution' made by people who are unable to demonstrate that I am dishonest, and are demonstrably dishonest themselves.
Mike: Wow, exactly the type of response I expected from you - such disection and yet the same convicton-based rantings.
Richard: Rantings? What rantings?
Mike: You certainly haven't changed and so too has your inability to explain away the fossil record gaps.
Richard: Why on earth should I change my views when you offer me no evidence, only tired old creationist arguments? And what is wrong with the explanation that fossilisation, especially of vertebrates, is a rare occurence which only happens under exceptional conditions? Ask anyone who has ever collected vertebrate fossils on a regular basis just how rare they are.
Mike: Where are the fossil records for transitonal types that are obviously not there?
Richard: What do you mean 'obviously not there'?
Sometimes we find fossils which fit into those gaps exactly where evolutionary theory would predict. The feathered dinosaurs from China, the early whales from Pakistan, Kenichthys, which showed that choanae are homologous with internal nares. If you bother to look, you'll find that there are numerous such examples.
Mike: You're obviously able to dig up fossil records dating back millions of years (e.g., dinosaur fossils) but have yet to find those of species suddenly thrown into the timeline - where are they?
Richard: What about Kenichthys, Osteolepis, Eusthenopteron, Sterropterygion,
Panderichthys, Elpistostege, Hynerpeton, Acanthostega, Ichthyostega, Hynerpeton,
Pholidogaster, Pteroplax, Dendrerpeton, Archegosaurus, Eryops, Trematops,
Amphibamus, Doleserpeton, Triadobatrachus, Vieraella, Karaurus, Limnoscelis,
Tseajaia, Solenodonsaurus, Hylonomus, Paleothyris, Captorhinus, Scutosaurus,
Deltavjatia, Proganochelys, Hylonomus, Paleothyris, Petrolacosaurus, Araeoscelis,
Apsisaurus, Claudiosaurus, Planocephalosaurus, Protorosaurus, Prolacerta,
Proterosuchus, Hyperodapedon, Trilophosaurus, Paleothyris, Protoclepsydrops
, Clepsydrops, Archaeothyris, Varanops, Haptodus, Dimetrodon, Sphenacodon,
Biarmosuchia, Procynosuchus, Dvinia, Thrinaxodon, Cynognathus, Diademodon,
Probelesodon, Probainognathus, Exaeretodon, Oligokyphus, Kayentatherium,
Pachygenelus, Diarthrognathus, Adelobasileus, Sinoconodon, Kuehneotherium,
Eozostrodon, Morganucodon, Haldanodon, Peramus, Endotherium, Kielantherium,
Aegialodon, Steropodon, Pariadens, Kennalestes, Asioryctes, Cimolestes,
Procerberus, Gypsonictops, Archeopteryx, Coelophysis, Deinonychus, Oviraptor,
Lisboasaurus, Sinornis, Ambiortus, Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, Palaechthon,
Purgatorius, Cantius, Pelycodus, Amphipithecus, Pondaungia, Parapithecus,
Propliopithecus, Aegyptopithecus, Aegyptopithecus, Proconsul, Limnopithecus,
Dryopithecus, Sivapithecus, Cynodictis, Hesperocyon, Ursavus, Protursus,
Ursus minimus, Pachycynodon, Enaliarctos, Neotherium, Imagotaria, Imagotaria,
Thalassoleon, Leptophoca, Montherium, Haplogale, Proailurus, Proailurus,
Pseudaelurus, Dinictis, Hoplophoneus, Herpestes, Eoconodon, Microclaenodon,
Dissacus, Hapalodectes, Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Basilosaurus,
Protocetes, Indocetus, Prozeuglodon, Eocetus and Dorudon.
When you've explained why none of these are 'transitional types', I'll give you another, even longer list.
Mike: Why is evolution "selectively" leaving out those fossils, if they do exist?
Richard: It isn't. Taphonomy is.
Mike: How can we evolve so suddenly enough to account for these gaps (which goes against the naturalism)?
Richard: We don't. There is plenty of time. We have observed evolution in action.
Mike: Why do we suddenly appear in the fossil record without transitional types before us (and no, apes are not intermediate transitional types)?
Richard: Oh, please! What's wrong with Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo ergaster and the gang? 'We' (by which I presume you mean modern man) do NOT appear suddenly in the fossil record, and early representatives of Homo sapiens are sufficintly different from us to be considered by some taxonomists to be a separate species.
Mike: Forget about God - let's focus on evolution here - show me some fossil records that prove these transitional types.
Richard: Read a book on the subject. I can recommend Richard Fortey's 'Life - an unauthorised biography'. It isn't my job to educate you.
Mike: If you can't, then I can't buy your theory of evolution as it pertains to man.
Richard: And why should this bother me? You approach me with virtually no knowledge of the subject just to tell me that I'm wrong. I find it very amusing, but it I don't care if you 'buy into my theory of evolution' or not.
Mike: And don't give me "you can't see gravity, but it's there" BS - we can feel and see the effects of gravity - we have no such supporting type of evidence for the evolution of man.
Richard: Explain goose pimples.
Mike: Convince me that these fossil records exists (as they pertain to man's evolution) and I'll be bought, otherwise, you're claims will still be just faith and convictions in my opinion - nothing more - nothing less.
Richard: If you read about the subject, do your research, and come back with an objection to evolutionary theory based on evidence and argument instead of ignorant rantings, I'll treat your objections seriously. As it is, they're a joke.
Do you mind if I post this on my web site? I'm sure other people will be as amused as I am.
Mike: "What about Kenichthys, Osteolepis, ..."
LOL, utter bollocks!!! I just proved my point - you've gone nothing - nothing of those are man's 'transitional forms' - No transitonal types to explain man's origin, and here I was hoping to get something (I guess I did, another with a strong conviction based on faith alone)! I'll move on the next 'evolutionist' that can hopefully find me some bones ;-)
I won't bother conversing with you further - there's no point arguing with faithful conviction! Have a nice life!
Richard: Do you mind if I post this on the web?
Richard: You wrote "You're obviously able to dig up fossil records dating
back millions of years (e.g.,
dinosaur fossils) but have yet to find those of species suddenly thrown into
the timeline - where are they?"
Richard: I gave you dozens of examples.
This is apparently not good enough for you. You now want examples from human evolution.
We can now add Homo floresensis to this list.
You can read all about it here:
The site is not fully complete, but it contains links to photographs of the bones. If you doubt the existence of these bones, go to the museums where they are stored or put on display. If you think that they are forgeries, learn something about the processes of fossilisation, examine the bones and demonstrate how they are forged. If you think that these fossils do not demonstrate that man is evolved from earlier hominids, please explain why the evidence does not support this interpretation.
What point have I proved by the way?
Mike: Jeesh, (as if your passion for something that died 80 million ago isn't) pathetic. You're now just another spammer to me. You're going into my "blind-faith" box (along with the other spammers), and don't publish my e-mail address, otherwise you'll be subject to violation of spam laws (ie, CAN-SPAM Act of 2003).