In Part II, I addressed the first pillar that is necessary for a Darwinian evolution, abiogenesis. Here in Part III we will take a look at the second pillar necessary for Macro-evolution, the fossil record. In the last hundred years since Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species’ paleontologists, (people who study fossils) have universally discovered that new animal forms in the fossil record appear abruptly, not gradually as Darwin predicted. Not only are the appearances abrupt, but with little connection to the life that came before.

Because this appearance is so sudden paleontologists refer to the appearing of more than half of the major animal groups some 530 million years ago as the Cambrian explosion.1 To put this in perspective if our planets history or timeline was stretched to the length of a football field then the Cambrian explosion would use up about 4 inches.

Turtles are a fine example of a group of animals that appear suddenly in the fossil record. Some 200 million years ago they entered the stage fully developed and do not have any intermediate forms. Their top shell called the carapace is made up of about 50 bones covered with scutes, (plates of armor) which has a layer of keratin, (much like our fingernails) that help protect the shell.2

How can evolution explain this? Evolutionary biologist Scott Gilbert wrote, “The turtle shell represents a classic evolutionary problem: the appearance of a major structural adaptation…[evolution] needs to explain the rapid origin of the turtle carapace.”3

On the flip side, we have examples of organisms that have remained unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. If you compare fossils of the Ginko leaf to modern Ginko leaves you will see they are unchanged in 130 million years.

You can also research fossilized nautilus shells and see they are also unchanged in over 400 million years of evolutionary opportunity. Finally, you can find fossilized comb jelly (similar to jellyfish) from the Cambrian period that are identical in form to the modern comb jelly. Paleontologists have a name for this kind of stability in the fossil record, ‘stasis’.

This certainly challenges the evolutionary picture that is widely accepted and promoted in our culture. David Raup who was a paleontologist at the University of Chicago wrote, “What geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”4
Few paleontologists will admit the fossil record does not really show the transitional forms that would be predicted by Darwinian evolution. Why is that? Many in the field of science have a philosophical bias against a creator. Facts and evidence are irrelevant because they don’t want to be answerable to anyone or anything.

Richard Lewontin an evolutionary geneticist and a Marxist wrote, “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”5

Former atheist Lee Strobel shared the same bias as Lewontin and wrote, “I was more than happy to latch onto Darwinism as an excuse to jettison the idea of God so I could unabashedly pursue my own agenda in life without moral constraints.”6

In previous posts, I have addressed the Miller experiment, Haeckel’s Embryos, Lucy, and the Peppered Moths, but one of the most well known and popular ‘missing links’ is Archaeopteryx, (meaning ancient wing). This specimen was first found a year after Darwin published The Origin of Species and within a few years, a total of 8 specimens were found in the Solnhofen limestone quarry in Germany.

Authors of a Biology book my daughter Beth was using at Chico State, Kenneth Mason and Jonathan Losos wrote about Archaeopteryx, “Undoubtedly the most famous of these is the oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx which lived around 165 million years ago. This species is clearly intermediate between birds and dinosaurs. Its feathers, similar in many respects to those of birds today, clearly reveal that it is a bird. Nonetheless, in many other respects – for example, possession of teeth, a bony tail, and other anatomical characteristics – it is indistinguishable from carnivorous dinosaurs.” 7 What you don’t hear is how much the role of Archaeopteryx is in dispute, that is, if it is actually a link between reptiles and birds. The evolution of birds from non-flying reptiles is not a simple matter.

Just how this could have happened falls into two camps, the trees down theory and the ground up theory. The tree’s down theory seems to make more sense because we can envision animals already in the trees over millions of years having small variations and adaptations that would allow it to stay in the air longer. While the ground up theory would mean birds evolved from an animal that ran on the ground and used their hind legs for running and their forelimbs for catching prey, and those forelimbs evolved into wings.8

Evolutionists and paleontologists are divided on the role of Archaeopteryx. Until recent years Darwinists classified and grouped organisms by the sharing of a common ancestor’s. Then in the 1950’s a second camp began and relied completely on homology, (having the same or similar position, or structure). This new perspective is called ‘cladistics’, and simply assumes common descent or a common ancestor without evidence.

Jonathan Wells wrote concerning cladistics, “The order in which animals appear in the fossil record also becomes secondary or irrelevant. If evolutionary relationships are inferred solely on the basis of character comparisons, an animal can be the descendant of another even if the supposed ancestry doesn’t appear until millions of years later. The fossil record is simply re-arranged to fit the results of cladistic analysis.”9 All other lines of evidence or considerations take a back seat. Problems in the ground up theory, such as having animals older in the fossil record than their ancestors is dismissed and assume the dating of the fossil records are in error.

Is Archaeopteryx a missing link or not? According to cladistics it was a two-legged dinosaur with feathers. Many textbooks still claim that it is the missing link but fail to point out the in-house argument as to its origins and if anything, (modern birds for example), did evolve from it.

Cladistics does not even try to explain the Cambrian explosion. It is simply a tool to classify organisms. Stephen Myer wrote in Darwin’s Doubt, “Cladistics does not, and cannot, offer any explanation of what caused the Cambrian animals to come into existence. Nor can it account for the origin of genetic and epigenetic information necessary to produce them.”10

In the spring of 2000 Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen gave a lecture at the University of Washington. Chen discovered some Cambrian era fossils in southern China and after TIME magazine ran a story on the Cambrian explosion and mentioned Chen’s findings he became a notable expert in the field.

Chen’s findings displayed an even greater variety of body plans than many paleontologists expected. The Chinese fossils supported the contradiction that life seemed to appear suddenly and spontaneously without gradations, not what Darwinists would have everyone believe. During the lecture at the University of Washington, one professor questioned Chen about his criticism of Darwinian evolution, as if reminding him to be careful. Stephen Meyer who was at the lecture wrote, “As a result, one professor in the audience asked Chen, almost as if in warning, if he wasn’t nervous about expressing his doubts about Darwinism so freely – especially given China’s reputation for suppressing dissenting opinion. I remember Chen’s wry smile as he answered. ‘In China,’ he said, ‘we can criticize Darwin, but not the government. In America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.'”11

Why are the conclusions of creationists immediately dismissed as bias but not atheists? Indeed, atheists have a worldview they want to protect and like that of a creationist, is anything but neutral, it is a double-edged razor. Both have worldviews and beliefs that may sway their findings, but having beliefs that are consistent with the Bible does not mean it is based on the bible. Any Christian that uses scripture as a science book will be disappointed, but rather should use scripture to confirm what science already tells us. In the beginning, God created… Genesis 1:1

The truth of any view is not based on the worldview of a particular person but based on the quality of evidence. There is no evidence for abiogenesis, only speculation that would make the most addicted of gamblers hesitate to place a bet. As for the fossil record, it is very much in question, even among Darwinists themselves and far from the slam dunk many evolutionists would have us believe.

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

 

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Why I Don’t Believe in Evolution – Part III by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Sources:

  1. Valentine, James W. On the Origin of Phyla, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2004, pg 35
  2. Meyer, Stephen C. “Fossil Succession.” Explore Evolution, Melbourne & London, Hillhouse Publishers, 2007, p 24
  3. Meyer, Stephen C. “Fossil Succession.” Explore Evolution, Melbourne & London, Hillhouse Publishers, 2007, p 24
  4. Raup, David M. “Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50, 1979 pgs 22-29.
  5. Lewontin, Richard. “Billions and billions of demons,” The New York Review of Books, 9 January 1997, p31
  6. Strobel, Lee. “Since Miracles Contradict Science, They Cannot Be True.” Case for Faith, Zondervan, 2000, pg91.
  7. Losos, Jonathan B., and Susan R. Singer. “21 The Evidence for Evolution.” Biology, by Kenneth A. Mason, 11th ed., McGraw Hill, 2017, pp. 428–429.
  8. Wells, Jonathan. “Archaeopteryx: The Missing Link.” Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000, pgs 116-117
  9. Wells, Jonathan. “Archaeopteryx: The Missing Link.” Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000, pg 119
  10. Meyer, Stephen C.“Epilogue: Responses to Critics of the First Edition.” Darwin’s Doubt, Harper One, 2013, pgs 436-437
  11. Meyer, Stephen C.”Soft Bodies and Hard Facts.” Darwin’s Doubt, Harper One, 2013, pgs 50-52.
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