A Blurry Line Between TE and OEC

Look, that’s outlandish to hang your position on that. Maybe they only have one fossil from Antarctica because almost all of it is under a mile-thick sheet of ice! And Australia itself has a terrible fossil record at this time. Heck so did S. America for that matter. The authors of your link say so themselves…

However, the poor fossil record from South America, Antarctica, and Australia does not exclude that Djarthia, like Dromiciops, could be of South American origin and had a pan-Gondwanan distribution. Additional fossils from Australia or South America will shed more light on the early Australidelphian relationships and their biogeography in mammals.

So when you write…

I agree there was radiation in Australia, the question is “how much”? T the graphic is showing one view of the evidence, does not include Antarctica, and the amplifying text of the study does not support your assertion. I do think it was a top-drawer study. They are to be congratulated for meticulous research, but it doesn’t show what you want it to show. The evidence is inconclusive.

But it does not show how diverse that branch was when it first came to Australia. That’s my point. Until we know starting conditions we can’t measure the power of radiation. The study itself says…

The relationship among the four Australasian orders is not resolved, and of special interest is the phylogenetic position of the marsupial mole,…

So while they can say that all Australian orders are more closely related to each other than to Microbetheria, they can’t figure out a tree within the four orders themselves. This would be the case if there was no tree, if they were already separate when they came to Australia. No one of them would be any more closely related to any one group than the other. BTW I believe this is the case among Placental mammals and marsupials- but I am having a bit of a rotten day and don’t wish to get into that now.

I will add that when you start showing evidence of powerful radiations in nature yet the fruit fly experiments under controlled conditions show no radiation of new types just the same limited set of recurring mutations, you are actually making a better case for God’s intervention in the Australian radiation vs. now. Perhaps you do not have a problem with that because you think, as I do, that God was guiding or driving evolution in some way. I am just saying, whatever amount of radiation we think occurred in nature in the distant past better line up with the amount of radiation of species we can see under controlled conditions or it is reasonable to conclude that something or someone else was at work in the past.


Instead of saying all the things that might be wrong … all you need to do is demonstrate that something significant is missing.

There are no indigenous placental forms on Australia - either extant, or evidenced by fossils during the entire time frame in question.

They found one placental form on Antarctica for that time period.

There is no evidence for any other interpretation. And it is consistent with all the other persuasive patterns of speciation and radiation of genotypes and phenotypes into under-exploited eco-systems/niches.

And it just plain makes sense.

The authors of the paper you cite and rely on do not share your certainty.


So… if they are so skeptical… you can produce the sentence and we will all be better informed.

What’s the point of offering a negative interpretation from the authors… and yet not providing the text for context?


At the very least, now we know where the line is for Christian Evolutionists who accept God’s role as creator:

He starts with a life form, and he uses Evolution to speciate.


He starts with a life form, and when he wants a significantly new species, he creates it specially.

You know, this is a lot of arguing by people who agree. You both are fine with common descent, and God’s guidance in a process of common descent.

The only disagreement appears to be about whether or not to use the term “evolution” or not.


@anon46279830’s acceptance of “common descent” is limited and punctuated.

Whereas, I accept that God used evolution to produce virtually all life forms on Earth.

That’s a pretty big difference.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Macro- vs. Micro-Evolution

Just wanted to make sure both of you could find this post (see above)! It took me a while to find it.



I am gonna be out of pocket for a while guys. Got a long way to go and a short time to get there, but I think it is going to be better for the family in the long run.

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When might you be back my friend???

Just messaged you; take your time with any reply. All the best during this (hopefully short?) hiatus, and for prioritizing your local family. Cheers!

Take care of family. Remember the ancient Vulcan 1:1 “Live long and Prosper.” :grinning: Hope to talk to you soon. Take care of your self and if you (or your family) are near New Jersey and need an atheist to fix something or to solve a problem, please let me know as I will always help a friend.

I hope by this weekend.

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More than a year ago, I was cautioned about how best to introduce Australia… because of the fact there WERE (ONCE) placental mammals on Australia… before there were marsupials (at least marsupials that are ancestral to Australia’s extant marsupial populations).

But this does NOT prove what the writer thinks it proves. It does not prove that placentals will generally out-produce marsupials, because there do not appear to be any marsupials competing against the early placental group.

In any case, the theory of evolution does not depend upon a generalism that placentals ALWAYS out-compete marsupials. We already have the north American opossum as at least one exception.

The early placental in Australia, for the moment, looks like it died out for reasons other than rivalry with a marsupial type.

You may, of course, add me to that list, having questioned the distinction between progressive creation and evolutionary creation in 2016 here. But we also join with a whole generation of the first theistic evolutionists, of whom I usually mention friends of Darwin Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley, the early theological supporter of evolution B B Warfield, and not least Alfred Russel Wallace, though for him spiritual beings were the direct agents under a more distant Deity…

In the present generation don’t forget population geneticist David L WIlcox, who introduced me to the concept that “chance is God’s fingerprints”, and hence to the exploration of randomness and the realisation that “random” mutations or anything else described as “chance” are either lawlike but with their mechanisms unknown to us (in which case they are God’s work through general providence) or the result of God’s special action (in which case they are God’s work through special providence). Either way divine creation is occurring.

As Joshua says, we are not told exactly where the divide between general and special providence (or in other words between the outworking of the original creation and creatio continua) lies. However, I note from the first Royal Society that whereas they, like Bacon, admitted that God’s special providences and purposes could not be fully known, some can.

At some stage the discussion of possible “demarcation criteria” for the types of providence might be useful. By way of provisional examples, Boyle and Co. would see extraordinary circumstances as special providence (one instance being, perhaps, the extremely rare truly beneficial mutations).

Then Aristotelians like Etienne Gilson, and others (like Goethians, for example) who see arguments or evidence for the existence of substantial forms might say, like Aquinas, that nature (ie general providence) cannot produce these unaided (and maybe they correspond to Mark’s templates). There might be evidence for such substantial forms in saltations, lineage-specific Orfan genes or other empirical data, indicating special providence.

I’ve argued (in a general way) that there is no reason for the eternal God to privilege the beginning of time with his activity - he is not an engineer trying to prove his prowess by creating the universe as an automaton - it is only we temporal beings who appreciate automation. I’ve also reasoned that the character of Christ, the logos by whom, through whom and for whom all things in heaven and earth were created is that of one who loves and cares for each thing he has made. The Creator walked on earth, and is known by his disciples, so arguments from the inscrutability of God have a limited place.


But are you sure that it is a “problem with marsupials evolution”? Or is it simply what we would expect: new evidence which might lead to a revision of dates and details?

Are you implying that the link you provided somehow weighs against the Theory of Evolution? (If yes, are you sure?)

Is it possible that you are employing the traditional tactic I used to hear from anti-evolutionists like Morris and Gish: pick some obscure mystery in biology and pretend that it somehow outweighs and overturns the massive evidence for evolution? (I hope I am wrong in this perception. Perhaps I’m not understanding your purpose in posting the link. Please do explain your position.)

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@AllenWitmerMiller ( & @scd )

Further, genetic analysis of the existing marsupial populations on Australia reveals that three of them are unusually closely related… this research was included in an earlier posting by me. Finding the antarctica fossil inspired further research along genetic lines – but, frankly, now we could throw that single fossil away and rely on the genetic comparisons alone!

I paste below the link and a key image from that published report:



“Tracking Marsupial Evolution Using Archaic Genomic Retroposon Insertions” by Maria A. Nilsson, Gennady Churakov, Mirjam Sommer, Ngoc Van Tran, Anja Zemann, Jürgen Brosius, and Jürgen Schmitz
PLoS Biol. 2010 Jul; 8(7): e1000436. Published online 2010 Jul 27. PMCID: PMC2910653 PMID: 20668664

Notice in the image below, the various branches associated only with South America, and branches associated with Australia, where “radiating” speciation continued, in isolation from the rest of the world.

[Be sure to click on the images to enlarge text to a more convenient font size!]


While at the top we have “shrew-like” forms, and at the bottom we have “kanga” forms aggregated, in the middle grouping, we have the suggestion that three very distinct groupings share a close heritage:

Dasyuromorphia: the group having most of Australia’s carnivorous marsupials, including
the Numbat,
the Tasmanian Devil.
[In Australia, the exceptions include the marsupial moles and the omnivorous bandicoots.]

Notoryctemorphia: moles, vegetarian

Peremelamorphia: bandicoots & bilbies “the characteristic bandicoot shape: a plump, arch-backed body with a long, delicately tapering snout, very large upright ears, relatively long, thin legs, and a thin tail. Their size varies from about 140 grams up to 4 kilograms, but most species are about one kilogram, or the weight of a half-grown kitten [4 kilograms = 4 half-grown kittens].”