Joined: Jan. 2006
|You're absolutely right and since I accepted you response "for the sake of arguement" then I've got to concede the whole point. I'll take this as a lesson that I'll have to be much more clear about the statements I make. So that means that at this point, the fossil record adheres to the current theory and any proposed gaps are actually not proof against the theory. I've got to stress, though, that this still requires that the theory be valid and this does not in and of itself validate the theory.|
That's correct - as you say, it's possible to build almost any framework round a given set of facts. That's why science requires predictive as well as explanative power.
In the case of common descent, if the chain of thought had been "ooh, fossil record. Hmm, common descent could explain this. Case closed" then the fossil record would indeed not validate common descent. However, the fact that evolutionary biologists then went on to draw further predictions as to what they'd see next, and that these predictions were subsequently confirmed, does validate common descent. Anyone here should be able to rattle off at least three such predictions for you. My favourite examples are:
1) One human chromosome resembling two fused chimp chromosomes
3) Stoneflies possessing haemocyanin
If these evolutionary hypotheses and theories did not bear a close resemblance to the processes that actually give rise to life, they would not consistently give rise to accurate predictions.