He hates Tiktaalik. He hates it so much he even has a hard time spelling its name correctly.

Tikaalik is again being popularized through the new PBS series "Your Inner Fish.” it’s really a desperate con job on the part of evolutionists who can’t defend their evolutionary fictional story.

He actually surprises me a little bit: one of his arguments that it can’t possibly be a transitional form is that it is only a fossil. That’s one I hadn’t heard before. So extinct species can’t be evidence for evolution anymore, because only living species count?

Because it belongs to the group of lobe finned fishes (like Coelacanth /lung fish), and is only found as a fossil, the secularists force their evolutionary worldview onto this fossil in their desperate need to try to convince the world they have found a transitional form (when in reality such transitional forms should be abundant both fossilized and living).

I have heard creationists tell me, though, that extant forms can’t be ancestral (obviously), therefore living examples of intermediate forms can’t be used as evidence for evolution, either. That leads to perfect, irrefutable arguments for creationists.

Evilutionist: “The shared expression of Sonic Hedgehog and it’s homologous role in limb development in the limbs of different forms is evidence of common desc…”

Creationist: Doesn’t count. It’s alive. Are you trying to pretend that modern limbs are ancestral forms? God clearly created it that way.

Evilutionist: “OK, here’s Tiktaalik with limbs that exhibit a bony core of homologous…”

Creationist: Doesn’t count. It’s dead. Transitional forms have to be living creatures.

Evilutionist: <stunned into silence by the stupidity>

Seriously, reading anything by Ken Ham is discombobulating.

They claim that Tiktaalik is the link between fish and “terrestrial tetrapods”—four legged animals that walk on land. Tiktaalik’s discoverer Neil Shubin even calls his big fish a “fishapod” to emphasize his belief that it is a transitional form. (Most people hearing about Tiktaalik even think it had limbs, but it didn’t—it just had fins, like fish do. Having a special kind of fins with bones in them—as lobe-finned fish do—did not mean they were legs or limbs.)

Having a special kind of fins with bones in them…but, but, but — that’s what makes them transitional. They have a combination of characteristics of the fins of fish and the limbs of tetrapods, being neither quite one of the other. Once again, we enter the realm of Catch-22.


Evilutionist: “Here’s the Tiktaalik limb. It’s got these internal bones, unlike a fish fin, that are similar in organization to our limb bones…”

Creationist: Then it’s a land animal. Case closed.

Evilutionist: “But it wasn’t strong enough or anatomically capable of actually walking on land, and it’s got traces of membranous fins…”

Creationist: Then it’s a fish. Case closed. It’s got to be one or the other, because transitional forms don’t exist, therefore I say it’s all fish.

Evilutionist: <wondering why she is wasting time with this idiot>

It wouldn’t be a Ken Ham rationalization if it didn’t drag out his usual claim that both the evilutionist and the creationist are using the same data, and only differ in the worldview they use to interpret it.

All this talk about Tiktaalik is also a reminder that the battle is not ultimately about evidence–Liz Mitchell and the evolutionists are looking at the same fossil. It’s not the fossil that’s different–it’s the worldview one has (and the starting point it is built from–God’s Word or man’s word) the determines how one interprets this fossil in regard to the past. But looking at the fossil, one can see it won’t directly fit into an evolutionary worldview–but it does fit directly into a worldview based on the Bible, as it is a particular type of fish for which we have similar types of living examples (e.g. Coelacanth ).

But we aren’t using the same data. The scientist is using the totality of the data, looking at both similarities and differences, to try and account for its place in history and biology. The creationist, as Ham has just clearly demonstrated, handwaves away all the unique characters of the fossil to claim it’s just like a coelacanth or a lungfish — he is explicitly ignoring any datum that contradicts his presupposition that it must be just another fish.

And then to take it that extra step further, and argue that his naive vision of what Tiktaalik was, stripped of all of its significant and unique characters, is somehow evidence for creationism that contradicts its clear evolutionary niche…

Evilutionist: “Holy crap…you’re an idiot, Creationist. Go away.”


  1. #2 Dan Cameron
    April 15, 2014

    This link shows “Your Inner Fish” isn’t real.

  2. #3 Art
    April 16, 2014

    It is hard to get people to understand something that will disrupt their world view. And even harder for them to admit understanding it if they ever do.

  3. #4 NoOneInParticular
    April 16, 2014

    Apparently, Ken Ham got tired of having to move the goalposts all the time, and decided to just hide them in a ditch altogether.

  4. #5 G
    April 16, 2014

    PZ, something I’ve found is true about political debates: “he who explains, loses.” Explaining is playing defense. Relentless questioning is playing offense. Offense wins, defense loses. As soon as you let these people drag you into an “explaining match,” they’ve got you. Instead, go on the offense, and question them until they fold.

    Also be willing to counterattack by invading their territory: “So, you use the male pronoun when referring to God. What evidence have you that God is male? Does God have XY chromosomes and external genitalia? What’s your proof of that?” etc. It sounds absurd but it will get results, in part by the role-reversal of putting one’s opponent in the position of having to explain things that to him/her are “obvious” to the point of being wholly implicit.

    In the end, our position should be something like this: “You (creationists and fundamentalists generally) stay on _your_ side of the line between religion and science, and we (scientists, etc.) will stay on _our_ side of the line, and it’s all good. But if you attempt to cross the line, we will retaliate with overwhelming political and legal force, and we will pulverize you.” It’s basically the strategic nuclear deterrence theory applied to the separation of church and state, extended to cover the separation between religion and science.

  5. #6 Melissa
    April 16, 2014

    It completely stuns me that creationists can be so ignorant. The fact that creationists cannot give a reasonable explanation for transitional forms, opting to rather become defensive and simply trying to make the visible evidence disappear , displays their blatant ignorance to question or even explore their own theories in more detail. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion however if a person is truly confident in their beliefs then they should be able to listen to other theories and ideas without becoming defensive and being blatantly ignorant.

  6. #7 Wayne K
    United States
    April 17, 2014

    It is a waste of time and effort to talk to people like Ham. Facts and evidence mean nothing to him and their retarded cohorts unless it agrees with their absurd bible.

  7. #8 bughunter
    The Derp End of the Gene Pool
    April 17, 2014

    Re: Melissa @ #6

    Oh, they’re not ignorant. Many creationists are well educated but still it hasn’t shaken their faith in a Anthropomorphic Creator. They NEED someone who will forgive (and even justify) their Earthly greed, lust, narcissism, and misogyny if they only keep their faith and prove it by defeating ungodly secularists in symbolic combat and winning converts to their side.

    Thus, they’re not interested in giving reasonable explanations. Their goal is to make you look stupid in the eyes of their ignorant marks, even if the spectators are simply imagined ones. They’re perfectly willing to turn the debate into an academic game of Calvinball in their quest to find an avenue that leaves you with no counterargument.

    Once you realize the terms of the game, the usual tactics become predictable. And as Wayne said later, really it’s a waste of time arguing with them although sometimes it can be entertaining. It’s very much like feeding trolls.

  8. #9 David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
    April 18, 2014

    Also be willing to counterattack by invading their territory: “So, you use the male pronoun when referring to God. What evidence have you that God is male? Does God have XY chromosomes and external genitalia? What’s your proof of that?” etc. It sounds absurd but it will get results, in part by the role-reversal of putting one’s opponent in the position of having to explain things that to him/her are “obvious” to the point of being wholly implicit.

    …Don’t you think the result will be “lolwut, it says so in the Bible, don’t you know anything”?

    We’re talking about literalists here. They take for granted that (their interpretation of) the Bible is true; they use it as an axiom. You have to attack this basic assumption if you want to get anywhere.

    Oh, they’re not ignorant. Many creationists are well educated

    I’ve never found one who actually understood what they were talking about. Many are well educated in, say, engineering or some narrow branch of medicine – but they talk about biology instead.

    It’s very much like feeding trolls.

    You’re new on Pharyngula. We feed the trolls till they explode. It works very well.

  9. #10 Eddie
    April 18, 2014

    Re: bughunter @ #8

    Just because a person is well educated, doesn’t mean they can’t be ignorant, because it means “lacking knowledge”. Creationist’s lack knowledge of evolution, and they honestly don’t care to educate themselves in any subject that would oppose their creation view.

    I think most, if not all christian/creationist’s such as Ham, Comfort, Hovind, Craig etc… have no choice but to stick to their lies and flat out falsehoods about evolution, no matter the mounds of evidence to support it. If they did one day actually take the time to educate themselves in biology etc… and they seen the evidence for evolution, they’d have to admit it to their followers, the same followers who spout the same nonsense as they do, because they’ve bought the christian/creationist’s books over many years.

    That is the main reason I believe they don’t want to know how evolution works, and have to continue with the lies. Lying for Jesus, in other words.

    Doesn’t that make sense?

    What would all their followers do if they came out an admitted evolution is a fact? If I was a follower, I’d be pretty pissed off that I spent $$$ on their books,only to find out what they told me in their books wasn’t true, and I had been following a lie all this time. And teaching the same lies to my children.

    Ponder that for a while.

    Happy Eostre, the real reason for the Spring season.

  10. #11 Russell
    April 19, 2014

    Waving its ineffectual arms and rattling its T. rex sized brain as it bristles at the mention of Sonic Hedgehog, Homo hamensis seems the very model of a modern major transitional species.

    What lucky Kentucky museum will end up with the stuffed holotype on display?

  11. #12 Melissa
    April 27, 2014

    Re: bughunter @ #8.
    Eddie@ #10 stated “Just because a person is well educated, doesn’t mean they can’t be ignorant” and i couldn’t agree more. What is the use of a highly-regarded degree if the person lacks basic common sense. the ignorance of creationists used to infuriate me however, nowadays, I mostly laugh off their non factual remarks because as bughunter says ” It’s very much like feeding trolls.’

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