You raise an interesting scenario.
Maybe it makes it easier to crawl into small holes/spaces, or maybe something else that cannot be seen but was advantageous for the snake's ancestor.
May I refer you to Richard Ellisin’s book AquaGenesis where he puts it this way on page 158
“Although the fossil record is too sparse to make any definitive statements (always dangerous in paleontology anway), many paleontologists have done exactly that. After two groups of scientists examined fossil snakes from the same area, two scenerios emerged. Scanlon, Lee, and Caldwell have proposed that snakes are derived from water-dwelling lizards (mosasaurs), and emerged from the water to become the terrestrial species that we know today. “
“the other group of scientists, Tchernov et al. (2000), believe that modern snakes are the descendants of small, burrowing, terrestrial lizards.
. . . As for the legs, which Scanlon et. al. cited to demonstrate that snakes are descended from lizards, all they mean to Tchernov's group is that ancestral lizards lost their legs, became snakes, evolved into snakes with legs, and as of now have become (mostly) snakes without legs. They acknowledge that this is a less parsimonious explanation, but it nevertheless "remains a possibility, given the incompleteness of the fossil record of snakes and the recognition of multiple loss of limbs among squamates in general."
This excerpt simply highlights the different views.
Notice that with the “land hypothesis”, the originators Tchernov et.al. acknowledge that their explanation is “a less parsimonious” one, the hypothesis that you appear to be supporting.
Excerpts from Page 155
. . . None of this discussion addresses what to many is the fundamental question about snake evolution in the first place: Why should an animal with legs evolve into one without them? Legs seem to be quite a useful bit of equipment; every other terrestrial vertebrae has them. Only the fishes are legless; the whales, to adapt to the fishes watery environment, have lost their hind limbs completely and their forelimbs have evolved into paddles. Perhaps the sea snakes are a more advanced form of snake, for only in aquatic animals does leglessness confer an advantage -- or at least, it does not handicap the animal. . .
You will notice that my question is a direct lift from Ellisin’s book. So it is Ellisin who does not see the advantage of loss of limbs. In fact he goes further and states that “only in aquatic animals does leglessness confer an advantage -- or at least, it does not handicap the animal. . .
My guess is he knows more about this subject than you or I and it could even include Geokinkladze
You suggest I use Occams razor and I am very happy to apply that principle.
Here is the principle http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/occamraz.html
“The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.”
So which idea do I apply Occams razor to
The aquatic hypothesis
The land hypothesis
Or the “someone removed the legs intentionally” hypothesis.
Well since I have played “devil advocate” by introducing the creation or “someone removed the legs intentionally” hypothesis I will apply occam’s razor to it.
Remember one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed.
We know that during the late 50’ and early 60’s thousands of women took the drug Thalidomide to combat morning sickness. This resulted in the terrible tragedy of thousand’s children being born with deformed or missing limbs.
So it proved that direct intervention (whether intentional or not) during the embryo stage of development can produce loss of limbs.
The only assumption that therefore needs to be made is that the cell mechanism can be directly altered to make this change heritable.
Therefore just one assumption is required.
Less than one could make it a fact.
How many assumptions are needed for the “land hypothesis” ?
How many for the “aquatic hypothesis” ? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1626205/
Please read just the Conclusion of the paper and count the number of assumptions. Also remember that the land hypothesis is less parsimonious than the aquatic hypothesis.
Now I am only playing “devils advocate” here, but the creation hypothesis wins, simply on the basis of the occams razor principle which you have introduced into this discussion.
I have studied Gould’s essay on the Panda’s thumb and I would ask you to count the number of assumptions he has had to make before he arrived at where he wished to go.
We are dealing here with belief systems not with the scientific method.
The boundary between belief and science is being blurred to the point that beliefs are being presented as fact and that, I strongly argue, is not good science.