Whale Evolution: Theory, Prediction and Converging Lines of Evidence

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #21

Why is this pessimistic? Does every enquiry of any kind have to lead inexorably to the Truth, with a definite article and capital T? Not just leading to truth, but leading to The Truth? Seems like a pretty limiting approach to me.


Design requires a designer. Once they prove design then they have proven there was a designer. If not God what other choice would you have, aliens?

(Ashwin S) #23

Hi Bill,

I believe God created all things. However if scientists find proof of design and have a choice between God and Aliens…

I would say, a good no: of them would prefer aliens to God.

Strictly speaking, proof of a designer is not proof of God. However the nature of the designer revealed by nature would point to a very God like figure ;)…
But then again, many evolutionists already go around saying creation does not point to a perfect, infinite God… they call it bad design.

(Ashwin S) #24

Nothing limited to it the way I see it.
Since Truth with a capital T can be known… Why not?


That would be “atheistic evolutionists already go around saying creation does not point to a perfect, infinite God”. What else would you expect?

(Ashwin S) #26

I would expect them to continue along the same lines even if there is evidence of design…


Those claiming to have “The Truth” often contradict each other. The real question is if humans can ever know anything with absolute certainty.

(Ashwin S) #28

So humans cannot know the Truth with absolute certainty anymore…?

Then what do you do with basic Christian claims such as existence of God, the diety of Christ, assurance of salvation etc… Are we supposed to be agnostics about these things?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #29

Bear in mind that not everyone on the BioLogos Forum ascribes to the BioLogos statement of faith. There are atheists, unitarian universalists, and others among us. It’s just a nice big space for conversation. Don’t assume you’re talking to BioLogos bloggers and board members. You’re not.

(Ashwin S) #30

Thanks for the update.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #31

Sure, truth can be known, but not every way of pursuing truth necessarily leads to a certain conclusion about the creator. If it’s my job to study the behavior of a particular Amazonian tree frog, I don’t want to be shackled into thinking that it has to lead to some conclusion about the Designer.

Then again, I suppose most of us live in the gray area between “Science must lead to the Truth” and “Science cannot lead to the Truth.” I hope most of us live in the space where “Science might lead to the Truth.” I don’t think that’s pessimism. I think it just frees us from insisting on finding evidence for “Design” at every turn.

But I think a long discussion of ID is quite off-topic here. Surely there are lots of places here on the Forum to discuss ID… and if not, maybe you want to start a new topic about it? In my previous response, I tried to get back to the whale evidence, but so far you haven’t seemed interested in pursuing that.

(George Brooks) #32


The really big difference between I.D. and the statements presented to you here is that a large number of I.D. supporters are YECs who think it all happened in 6000 years. While Old Earther I.D. folks think that God specially created life on Earth a species at a time … when the geology and physics that God has left for us to evaluate shows that either God intentionally engaged in sequential special creation (to LOOK like the evolution of species) - - or God intentionally used God-Guided-Evolution to fill the earth with life forms.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #33

All of it?! And it has to be science that is saddled with illuminating the whole shebang for us? That’s quite a lot of invested confidence toward science you have there!

Why can’t science just tell us little things … like what is the average mass of these adult tree frogs? Or what provides their main nutrition? And then some questions can work their way up toward more connective concepts … like how is this tree frog different from that tree frog that lives in a different jungle? Are they related? Do they interbreed? Higher questions yet … where do these tree frogs come from? If they evolved, what would their common ancestor look like?

Science modestly builds its way up from the initial observational depths and tries to get higher and more encompassing with its explanations. It sounds like you want it to start with some forced conclusions and then work its way backward to provide post-hoc justification for what you “just know” must be true. Let science do its modest job that it’s fairly good at; don’t try to elevate it into some larger gatekeeper for all truth!


That’s what “Truth with a capital T” is, absolute certainty that something is true.

You can do whatever you want with those claims. Personally, they aren’t something I believe in, but there are obviously many who do believe in those claims. However, I doubt many (any?) would claim that the tenets of Christian belief have been absolutely proven True. From what I have read, heard, and experienced, one believes that these are true through faith.

(T J Runyon) #35

I have discussed this specimen on other threads. I’ll try to track it down

(T J Runyon) #36

I’ll just do it on here. First this is the press release. The later paper dated it at 40-46mya which is consistent with other Basilosaurids worldwide. But let’s say it is 49mya, all this would mean is there are likely older Pakecetids. This is a real possibility. There aren’t any Paleocene Indian mammal localities.
Note: I’ve worked on Basilosaurids and love discussing them

(George Brooks) #37


@Now THAT is frustrating … the press release had the aging incorrect?! Arghhh.

(T J Runyon) #38

Well that was the researcher’s first date. But their later publication showed them to be incorrect

(T J Runyon) #39

The actual paper for those interested:
In summary, considering that 87Sr/86Sr ratios provided for TELM 4 might be biased (because of potential reworking and oscillation of the marine Sr isotope curve during the Eocene), we interpret the age of the horizon that produced MLP 11-II-21-3 (i.e., TELM 4) as early middle Eocene (~46–40 Ma; middle Lutetian to early Bartonian based on ICS International Chronostratigraphic Chart 2015; Cohen et al., 2013) and follow the most recent chronostratigraphic interpretation for the La Meseta Formation.

(Ashwin S) #40

Sorry, I didn’t reply earlier. I got a lot of responses and missed this.
All these are certainly possibilities. However, the fact remains that we don’t have evidence of most of these transitional forms existing before whales do in the light of the latest whale fossil.

And then the rest becomes pure speculation. I could speculate in the opposite direction that whales existed before the oldest known fossils and were fully developed 60mya… Of courses that would be just useless speculation. Just as speculating that the transitional species existed earlier and we just don’t have fossils yet.
Also there is the problem of whale evolution having to become much faster than before…