Time is Running Out for "Intelligent Design"

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The discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, the missing link between fish and land animals, is big news in the world of science. It's also one more blow to the concept of Intelligent Design, and a source of fun and inspiration for Internet entrepreneurs.

Tick tock Tiktaalik. Time appears to be running out for the idea of Intelligent Design. Paleontologists have just reported a discovery that promises to be as significant to evolutionary theory as it will be damaging, if not fatal, to biblical literalism. Now Bob Michael is commemorating the discovery with hats, t shirts, jerseys, sweatshirts, mugs, pillows, and tote bags.

Proponents of Intelligent Design claim that a superior intelligence created each species in the forms that we see today. They insist that evolutionary theory is wrong because there exist no transitions, no evidence of "missing link" fossils to show changes from one species into another. Their argument has always, of course, ignored the existence of archaeopteryx fossils - the transition species from reptile to bird.

Now we have the uncovering, on Canada's Ellesmere Island, of a fossil which clearly shows a species that bridged the gap between fish and land animals. Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago and Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia have reported on the 375-million-year-old Tiktaalik roseae which "blurs the boundary between fish and land animals... It is both fish and tetrapod," showing how life made the transition to land, evolving four limbs from fins. They have dubbed this creature a "fishapod."

There are those who make discoveries, and then there are those who try to have fun with them, which brings us to Bob Michael. "I had been digging around for quite some time, trying to find the transition store from the traditional T-shirt and gift shop to a shop with legs, something that could stand on its own. When I read about the discovery of Tiktaalik, and saw an artists conception of what it probably looked like, I said to myself 'Intelligence could not have designed that' and I was on my way to the creation (if you'll excuse the expression) of 'Tiktaalik Roseae Fishapod T-shirts and Gifts' which can be found at http://www.cafepress.com/tiktaalikroseae. Tiktaalik is an Inuit word for shallow-water fish, and I immediately started to think about deeply-lined pockets." It started out as just another T-shirt shop, but quickly evolved into a full-service Tiktaalik emporium, with hats, jerseys, sweatshirts, mugs, pillows, tote bags and everything else to fill shoppers' Tiktaalik needs.

Items in the shop bear the catchy phrase, "Tick-tock, Tiktaalik roseae... Time is running out for Intelligent Design." Bob confirms that "as mutations occur, additional variant forms of my Tiktaalik design will naturally appear in my shop."

So the next time you think Intelligent Design, think Tiktaalik, because in the past everything was famous for 15 million years.

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Barbara Freedman-de Vito

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