I’m reviewing the whole of Dr. Carl Werner’s “Evolution, the Grand Experiment” vol 1 on this blog. See this link for past chapter reviews.
This review is for chapter 10: The fossil record of Pinnipeds: Seals and Sea Lions.
Sea lions are up first. Dr. Werner gives some information about them. First line, first paragraph.
Sea lions can be distinguished from seals by the presence of a visible ear. There are various forms of sea lions living today, such as the California sea lion, the Australian sea lion and the Stellar sea lion.
Sea lions are highly streamlined and can swim at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. They can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes. Their front extremities are fin-like an are used during the swimming power stroke.
Dr. Werner describes sea lions’ webbed feet and the ability and strength it needs to dive as deeply as it can. Its body must withstand high pressures to dive as deeply as it does.
Dr. Werner describes some confusion over whether a sea lion evolved from a dog-like creature or a bear-like creature. Scientists can’t agree, because no fossils have been found for a sea lion ancestor. Dr. W also points out that scientists who oppose evolution ask, “Where is the evidence?” He points out again that no fossils have been found.
The next page shows three photos of sea lions. One photo shows a circle around an ear and says, “Sea lions can be distinguished from seals by the presence of external ears.”
The next page says, “What animal evolved into a sea lion?” Then it shows two pictures of a modern golden retriever. And another photo of a modern bear with lines pointing from the dog and bear to a sea lion. There are question marks between them. The bottom text on the page says, “A dog? A bear? Or Neither?”
The next page reinforces that no fossils have been found by quoting a Dr. Irina Koretsky from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Dr. Annalisa Berta from San Diego State University.
Dr. Berta quote says, “And the earliest animal that we’ve recognized has the name Pithanotaria. It’s very similar in terms of its body size and morphology to the modern sea lions.”
I googled Pithanotaria (link), and I couldn’t quickly discover what it was. I must interject that I find it odd that this quote includes a possible ancestor of sea lions, but Dr. W makes no effort to describe what it is.
I must also point out that the reason evolution believes that sea lions came from a sort of bear or dog is because bears and dogs are found to be closely related in evolutionary terms.
Dr. W says,
Despite this peculiar imbalance in the fossil record, scientists continue to hold out hope.
There’s a quote from a Harvard professor saying that he’s expecting a fossil discovery to emerge quietly soon.
The next section is about Seals. In a bout of redundancy, Dr. W says, “Seals are highly streamlined. They can dive to extreme depths, sometimes diving nearly a mile deep, and can hold their breath for an amazing two hours at a time.”
Dr. W says that similarities in seals, skunks, and otters mean that it’s where scientists think they evolved.
“Scientists who oppose evolution do not believe seals evolved,” says Dr. W. “Animals having similar features is not a justifiable proof of evolution. They suggest the fossil record does not correlate with the idea of a skunk or otter evolving into a seal. They ask: If evolution occurred, where are the fossils of a skunk or otter slowly changing into a seal.”
There is another question and answer series with Dr. Koretsky followed by a large-type statement:
5,000 fossil seals have been found, but the proposed evolutionary ancestors of seals have not been found.
After having responded to all the chapters previous to this one, I will forgo another response similar to my previous chapters. I’m not convinced that Dr. Werner is up front with his readers about evolution. He continues to refer to scientists that do not believe in evolution, but he does not name these scientists. Do they exist?
Despite all the google-able evidence for evolution of these animals, he continues to propose that evolution is untrue … notwithstanding the proposition that the claim that this is a balanced book, neither for or against evolution. The only argument against evolution Dr. Werner makes is that ancestral fossils can’t be found. But we continue to show how that’s not true.
Let me remind you that Dr. Werner isn’t trained in evolution. Neither am I. But I’m not claiming to debunk evolution. He’s a physician, and his and his wife’s hobby is traveling around the world interviewing scientists and taking photos of photos at museums. Dr. Werner continues to show a lackluster knowledge of evolution, and seems to be writing this book at a child’s level of intellect.
Again, I ask, how, then, should we take this book or Dr. Carl Werner seriously?
Crap, I forgot to post the pictures I took. Here they are so you can verify my work against Werners. It’s great that Werner wrote this as a child’s textbook. It makes it easy to allow you to do such a thing.