Please explain how extracting a single evolutionary progression from a fossil record can be misleading. How do you think this has affected the publics' opinion of evolution as a scientific theory?
Let's start by defining the key term:
An evolutionary progression describes the evolution from one species to another over the course of time. Alternatively, we can think more broadly of evolutionary progressions, for example the evolutionary theory that ocean dwelling species evolved into land dwelling creatures is an example of a progression. In the fossil record an evolutionary progression is demonstrated most clearly by finding intermediate fossils, those that morphologically (anatomically) seem to represent the transition between an ancestral species and a newer species. For example, in the spring of 2006, paleontologists discovered an intermediate species between fish and tetrapods (early land dwelling animals). This species has anatomical characteristics of both fish and tetrapods (see this article for details: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=106807).
Now to answer your questions:
How is a single fossil ...
How is a single fossil progression misleading? Using fossils as evidence of evolutionary progression is not easy. Due to the nature of fossils, we do not have fossils for every ancestral species that once roamed on Earth.... I continue with a series of examples, defining scientific terms as needed.