1. Regarding Talk.origins
I have been familiar with this site from the usenet days. It has some good argumentation, but it is not the gospel. It now, of course, has a rebuttal site called trueorigins.org.
2. Defining Evolution
You are right, I probably did not use accepted definitions. But I believe that my understanding of the concepts is ok – natural selection is the proposed mechanism for evolution. Microevolution, or speciation, or adaptation, to me all seem similar enough to be grouped together as "change within a kind," as creationists like to call it. This type of change, which is observed in the natural world, is not macroevolution, which is of course, the development of new and more complex organisms over eons. But maybe that isn’t even right – but anyway, macroevolution does promise that we got humans and other complex animals from some original primordial soup via evolution, right?
This last type of change, which purports to answer the question of origins, esp. of mankind, is what I find dubious, fanciful, and poorly supported by evidence – claiming it as fact based on the historical evidence (since there is not directly observed data) seems, um, nothing I would bet on.
3. I am a mutant.
Lucky for me I am not insulted by such a tongue in cheek statement. I agree that we are all mutants, but not more advanced mutants than our ancestors. In fact, we may be less advanced, biologically speaking.
One of the interesting claims that the biblical creationists make is that, before the Noahic flood, people lived to 900 years. What is interesting in this fantastic (but perhaps true) account is that it would indicate that we were pretty well put together in the past, but have been actually getting worse over time – that makes sense to me, since most mutations are not helpful at all but rather deletrious (sp?)
4. Morphologically Modern Bone
I do not mean "if you found a horse head in the cambrian." I was not clear enough on my dating method. I do not trust dating things via the geologic column because the assignment of age of the columns is based on evolutionary assumptions, and therefore probably circular.
But if an indisputably modern bone was radiodated as very old, that would contradict evolution. That’s why I thought my link to the ICR article was appropriate.
5. Pre-Cambrian Fossils
I didn’t know there was more evidence on this. I will check it out.
My experience in the evolution/creation argument is thus – there is lots of condescenion on both sides, many straw men being built on both sides, and good arguments and counter arguments that make both sides seem right.
I guess I lean towards the creationist side for a few reasons –
(a) evolutionists are often so cock-sure of their position that they react with scorn to criticism, and leave no room for reasonable debate. Of course, I’m sure there are reasonable, good-natured folk on both sides of this issue, as well as zealots. And since evolutionists are the establishment and not the underdogs, their derision is all the more concerning to me – they look like people trying to hold onto power, not just defenders of the truth turning away the religious idiots.
(b) Creationists have convinced me that there is reasonable doubt, and no science professor (except one in college) ever told me there was any doubt. When I began to look at the evidence (where’s my J. Gould book? ;), it was not as solid a case as I was taught – and many of the revelations about the fluid phylogeny trees, mis-classified human fossil remains, and the relatively low amount of human remains all made me feel like I had been duped by the establishment. So I gave up my evolutionary "religion" and went looking for facts.
(c) many of the creationist claims make sense, at least on the surface. This is not to be poo-pooed as mere deception. Simple exercises like showing how the law of entropy lines up better w/ the creationist model than the evolutionary one are powerful, and make you think. I mean, if the whole "closed system v. open system" and many other arguments (Wolfram included) for self-organization and complexity from simple equations convinces you that life as we know it could happen by chance, that’s fine. But sometimes Occam whispers to me "creationism might be the right answer – evolution looks more like a hopeful monster than a compelling model."
7. Religion and Science
I totally agree with evolutionists on one thing – religious or superstitious claims, if not founded in historical and/or empirical data, have no place in science.
However, a religious world view, with its foundational assumptions, seems to me to be as valid as an atheistic one – some of our greatest scientists had a religious world view that informed their science. If it is grounded in principles, not doctrines, faith can and has bolstered science. We should remember that.