Tim C. wrote:
"Very cool! I would only comment that nothing gives creationists fits.
They are already immunized against all forms of scientific evidence.
Ignoring, denying, or misrepresenting data are all traits with which they have been inoculated!"
For the most part I agree. However, there are exceptions, both in terms of _some_ YECs being willing to consider contrary evidence and even abandon YECism (as I did years ago), and in terms of specific claims or lines of evidence. Not to toot my own horn, but my work and writings on the Paluxy tracks, and the "Japanese plesiosaur", prompted most creationists to reluctantly backpedal on both cases, despite once being among their favorite "evidences." A few small groups and individual YECs still advocate one or both cases, but none of the larger groups still do, and the two largest (ICR and AIG) specifically advise fellow YECs to not use the Paluxy tracks as evidence against evolution.
YECs also have largely abandoned a handful of other claims over the years (like "moon dust" and "speed of light decay"), but only in the face of clear and massive evidence persistently presented by mainstream workers. Granted, YECS usually only admit possible or partial mistakes, and typically try to take credit for the bulk of research, while mimimizing or smearing "evolutionists" (as they did in all three cases mentioned above). Although John Morris, who now runs ICR, and is Henry's son) admits there are no clear human tracks at Paluxy, suggests the Paluxy case is "mysterious" and the matter not entirely settled. He does this by obscuring several key aspects of the evidence, and suggesting that the some of the tracks may have been artificially stained to encourage non-human shapes, even tho he admitted to me that he knows this is not the case. When I challenged him (years ago) to come completely clean, he he said he could not, and had to do
something to "cover my butt." He also confessed that he exaggerated many things due to "pressure from the group". But instead of acknowledging that in original back-tracking article or his most recent one (earlier this year) he says essentially the opposite: that he made the "best interpretation" at the time. He also boasts that ICR withdraw his book on the subject because of "questions" about the tracks and their strong commitment to scientific integrity. Gag me with a spoon. There are also a few fringe of the fringe individuals like Carl Baugh and Kent Hovind who still actively promote the Paluxy claims and countless others even more loopy, but even most YECs disavow them. For more details on the history of the track controversy see my article _On the Heels of Dinosaurs_ at: http://paleo.cc/p...
So overall, I agree that most YECs are very stubborn when it comes to facing contrary evidence. After all, most are firmly committed to Biblical literalism and the idea of a young earth and fiat Creation. So many will bend, cram, and deny evidence any way possible, for as long as possible, to avoid retracting any claims, let alone abandoning their overall worldview.
In terms of the their facing evidence for whale evolution, we seem to be at a watershed moment. YECs can no longer claim with a straight face (if they ever could) that there are no intermediate forms between whales and their alleged terrestrial ancestors, since several apparent intermediates are now well documented. Many still try to downplay the increasing evidence, but they seem to be having more and mroe trouble doing that, as they scramble to find excuses for each new find. Besides the accumulating fossils, they have to face that even some modern whales occassionally show atavistics hip, leg, and even foot bones. Some YECs are now even saying 'well, maybe whales did once have legs, but the loss of limbs is "degeneration" or "devolution," so it doesn't count.' Of course this obscures the many other features that show change over time (such as the migration of the blow hole), and I doubt even many lay YECs are buying these lame rationalizations.
That's why I said I the whale evidence is giving YECs fits. Publicly they can't admit that, but I think the accumulating evidence for fossil intermediates for whales as well as many other groups (like Tiktaalik, a fish-amphibian intermediate, or the new hominids and feathered dinosaurs) are causing some to loose at least a little sleep. Duane Gish's once polular book _Evoluition: the Fossils Say No!_ was always full of half truths and distortions, as it argued that there are no intermediate fossils. Now, the book looks even more ridiculous. A fundamentalist friend of mine who has been a YEC most of his life admitted to me the other day that in view of all these recent finds filling in alleged gaps, he's no longer comfortable with YECism, and is on the verge of abandoning it. Better late than never, I always say.
The problem YECs have with the ever-increasing evidence for fossil intermediates is that that they not only involve losses of favorite YEC claims, but extremely compelling positive evidence for evolution. Dr. Thewissen (the paleontologist speaking at our fossil club meeting tomorrow) doesn't usually directly address creationist claims (unless asked), but if you're at all interested in fossils or evolution, I encourage you to come and hear his talk tomorrow. The club website again is http://ncfclub.or... In the past Hans has even brought along some actual fossils (or casts). Our "show and tell" theme for the meeting is also "fossil whales," so many of our regular members will be bringing whale fossils as well. Thanks!