I mentioned a couple days ago the new fossil of a species dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, which beautifully fills a gap in the fossil record for the fish-amphibian transition. The response to this find from the ID creationists has been quite amusing. The DI media complaints division promptly posted a response that is deliciously inconsistent. On the one hand, it says that the find is “no threat” to ID because ID doesn’t necessarily deny evolution or common descent (which depends on which ID advocate you ask, of course). On the other hand, it tries to argue that it’s not an intermediate form anyway with one of the silliest arguments you’ll ever encounter:
These fish are not intermediates, explain Discovery Institute scientists I queried about the find. Tiktaalik roseae is one of a set of lobe-finned fishes that include very curious mosaics–these fishes have advanced characteristics of several different groups. They are not intermediates in the sense that they are half-fish/half-tetrapod. Rather, they have some tetrapod-like features.
And some fish-like features. Which means the argument really is “these creatures aren’t intermediate in the sense that they are half fish, half tetrapod, they’re just have some features of fish and some features of tetrapods.” Now, unless they’re going to take the idiotic position that an intermediate must be precisely half fish and half tetrapod (how would one measure such things anyway?), they’ve just contradicted themselves. What on earth do they think an intermediate form should look like if not that it has some features of the ancestral form and some features of the descendant form?
Add to that the fact that it appears in precisely the right anatomical and temporal sequence predicted by evolution and there is no doubt that this is an excellent example of an intermediate form, regardless of whether this specific species split off to or from another specific species. So why bother denying that, especially with such a stupid argument, if they’re going to take the position that it doesn’t matter whether it’s intermediate or not since ID doesn’t deny common descent? You got me. Apparently they think like a lot of high school debaters, that multiple weak arguments is better than one good one.
PZ Myers has a more thorough response to the “not an intermediate form” argument.