Thursday, October 20, 2005


Pandas Poo-Pooed

Red State Rabble took a brief dip into the Kevin Padian transcript from the Dover intelligent design trial last night. Padian, a paleontologist at U.C. Berkeley, testified on Day 9 as an expert for the plaintiffs on paleontology, evolutionary biology, integrated biology, and macroevolution. Here's a sample:

DIRECT BY MR. WALCZAK: When we finished we were talking about the evolution of birds, and just one last point I want to make on that before we move on to mammals. On page 99 to 100 of Pandas it makes the statement there that I think has been read previously in this trial that, "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact," and it says, "birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc." Now, in fact does the fossil record show whether birds evolved with those features intact?

DR. PADIAN: You have a thing about the birds today. Dinosaur for lunch? To answer your question, it definitely doesn't show that these features evolved all at once intact, but rather in a step-like progression of features.

Q. So did the birds at first have just feathers and then the other features evolved?

A. We saw the simplification, we saw from a very simplified picture of all the features that evolve in birds, but they start with very simple filamentous hair-like structures that are feathers, but if I had shown all the features of birds evolving we would have seen the wishbone appear very early before birds evolved and become a very boomerang shaped structure well before birds evolved or take flight. So that evolved for completely different purposes anyway, but birds do use the wishbone today as an anchor of some of the flight muscles. That wasn't the case originally for birds. There's just lots of features like that we could go through, sure.


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