A Tale of Two Crocoducks: Creationist Misuses of Molecular Evolution

Science & Education 23 (10):2095-2117 (2014)
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Although some creationist objections to evolutionary biology are simplistic and thus are easily refuted, when more technical arguments become widespread it is important for science educators to explain the relevant science in a straightforward manner. An interesting case study is provided by misguided allegations about how cytochrome c data pertain to molecular evolution. The most common of these misrepresentations bears a striking similarity to a particularly glaring misunderstanding of what should be expected of a transitional form in a fossil sequence. Although evangelist Kirk Cameron’s ridiculous injunction of a hypothetical ‘crocoduck’ as an example of a potential transitional form is frequently invoked to illustrate the ignorance of many critics of evolutionary science, a strikingly analogous argument was applied to cytochrome c data by biochemist Michael Denton in 1985. The details of this analogy are worth exploring to clarify the fallacy of the widely circulated molecular argument.
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