To the right is a computer generated rendering of the Tiktaalik roseae, the creature that will once and for all banish the evil science-hating creationists, in his prehistoric habitat.
Oh wait, I’m sorry that was an actual photo of an alligator gar fish that can be found in Flordia today.
Maybe this is it:
Nope, that’s a "walking catfish," also alive today.
Okay last one, this has to be it. This is a fish that made it on to land 300 million years ago (ignore the human feet in the background):
Oops, that’s a snakehead fish which has been a real pest in Maryland in the last few years.
I know those of us who are sympathetic to creation and intelligent design will be ridiculed for not following the scientific dogma on this issue. But the fossil that was found could be for an odd-looking fish, an early alligator or any other creature that has been extinct for a significant period of time. None of that means that this animal fills the missing gaps in the evolutionary tree.
Before anyone goes off about how this is science and who am I to dare doubt these experts – a couple of things need to be remembered.
First, once they move from this is a fossil to this is what this animal did, what he looked like etc., they have left the realm of hard science and entered into speculation. Now the speculation may be based on evidence, strong or weak. But we have no way of determining exactly what this creature is or what he did merely by seeing his fossil.
Second, this is not the first time a fossil was discovered, trumpeted across the media as the missing link to end all controversy. Archaeoraptor was supposed to be the long sought after half-bird, half-dinosaur. But that was the problem, it actually was a half-bird, half-dinosaur that a fossil maker had put together using the body of a bird and the tail of a dinosaur. It was a total hoax and National Geographic had to admit as such, although with a lot less fanfare than they gave the original story.
I don’t know if Tiktaalik is a hoax or not. Most likely it isn’t, but that still doesn’t mean it proves evolution. When you read the story in the Boston Globe I linked to, you will find extravagent claim after extravagent claim about how great this find is, what a great evolutionary tool the fins on the fish were, etc.. However when you get a few paragraphs from the bottom, you find this intriguing statement:
Then every scientist takes a turn guessing what good the fins would actually do, but while they don’t know why this would give the fish an advantage they know it gives him some type of advantage and they know that this is a missing link that proves evolution.
Excuse me if the alligator gar fish, the walking catfish, the snakehead fish and I are not impressed.