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Re: Bird origins

>   The truth is, this has  been a question that has ben bugging me about 
>evolution for some time. I'm still not sure that I get it. However, I 
>suppose that a mistake that I made was when I anthropomorphized 
>evolution. Out of pure curiosity (and not some Creationist desire to 
>thwart evolution), how often does something like this, different 
>offspring thing occur? Are there ny documented cases? If so, I would 
>like to know, and was wondering if you would be kind enough to supply me 
>with some places where I could actually get more info on the case.
>Caleb Lewis

Caleb, I take your word for it that you are not a "strict" creationist - I
would describe myself as a "strict" evolutionist, but if you want to read a
book by a highly respected biologist and palaeontologist who considers himself
a christian, you might try "The Crucible of Creation" by Simon Conway Morris. 
Dr. Conway Morris is certainly an evolutionist, but may come close to some of
your views.  The book is, in part, a rebuttal to Stephen Jay Gould's
Life" and concentrates on the Burgess Shale fauna.  I do not agree with
much of
what he says, mind you, but he is one of the world's leading experts on this
fauna (which Gould is not).

As for your question: In any sexually-reproducing organism, unless the two
parents are genetically identical, EVERY offspring is slightly different from
its parents and from its siblings (unless they are identical twins, triplets
etc.Therefore every offspring has the potential to differ from others of its
species in the way it which it overcomes the hazards of its environment and
produces offspring of its own.

There are many direct examples of documented evolutionary changes in
populations (hence it is not true to say "evolution is just a theory").  Every
time a farmer breeds a new crop variety, evolution is happening.  Every time a
bacterium develops a resistance to an antibiotic, evolution is happening. 
There are well-studied examples in birds, fish, moths and other organisms.

Once again - and please pardon me - I think it would be better if you would
take some steps to inform yourself on these matters rather than airing them
here.  I strongly recommend Jonathan Weiner's "The Beak of the Finch" as a
superb place to start.  IMHO it is one of the best popular works on
evolutionary studies ever done, and compellingly readable.

Do some reading before you come back here - and when you do, please remember
that the subject of this list is NOT the whole of evolutionary theory, but
dinosaurs and, to a lesser extent, other creatures of the Mesozoic.

Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@inforamp.net