Scientists have been somewhat certain that tetrapods—four-legged animals—evolved from transitional "lobe-finned" fish called elpistostegids. The recently discovered Tiktaalik is an example of one.
Image from Nobu Tamura on Wikipedia Commons
Now, however, tracks of a tetrapod have been found dating from 395 million years ago. This is some 10 million years before the oldest elpistostegids fossils.
Somehow, young-earth creationists consider this a triumph.
The title of R.K. Bentley's blog, linked above, shows exactly what the problem is. He entitled his post "Evos Are Wrong Again."
Scientists Are Regularly Wrong
The Scientific Method requires scientists to be wrong on a regular basis.
Here's the idea of the scientific method.
- You wonder if something is true. This is called a "hypothesis."
- You formulate an experiment to begin determining whether your hypothesis is true.
Now just at this basic level, if you're a scientist, you're already going to get a lot of things wrong. Most people, however, won't hear about hypotheses being thrown out at this level. It's only after a hypothesis begins to look like it might be true before the public hears about it.
The problem is, once a hypothesis is backed up by a few experiments, now you're really likely to be shown to be wrong!
Why? Let's call it "friendly fire."
Once a hypothesis begins to look like it might be true, that's the time to really put it to the test. That's the time that everyone looks for ways to "falsify" your hypothesis.
Is there something missing? Is there an alternative explanation for the evidence your hypothesis seeks to explain? Were you experiments properly conducted?
Falsification is an integral part of the scientific method.
The idea that tetrapods arose sometime after 375 million years ago as descendants of Tiktaalik and Panderichthys has now been falsified (probably).
That is hardly a strike against evolutionary theory.
On the contrary, it's pretty strong evidence that scientists are still honestly carrying out the scientific method, trying to learn from God's creation rather than trying to squeeze their views into it.
It's also pretty strong evidence that their dating methods are relatively accurate and reliable. Here's a 10-million-year gap almost 400 million years ago, and they are confident enough with their dating methods to overthrow a well-received phylogeny. As Jennifer Clark of the University of Cambridge puts it:
We thought we'd pinned down the origin of limbed tetrapods … We have to rethink the whole thing.
Awesome. We wouldn't know anything accurate about evolution if "evos" weren't "wrong again."