Author: Tom Shipley
The failure of the fossil record to yield any evidence of the long evolutionary sequences of transitional life forms (missing links) predicted by Charles Darwin is now common knowledge. This is not only acknowledged by creationists, but also acknowledged nearly universally by evolutionists as well (albeit begrudgingly). Of course, such acknowledgement on the part of evolutionists is always dependent upon how large a segment of the general public the evolutionists think is listening to any given pronouncement. In supreme irony, the general public (Marx’s “lumpenproletariat,” i.e. the ignorant masses), is the one thing evolutionists fear greatly, because it is the general public’s pocket which is being picked. If a sizable segment of the general public is listening in, the evolutionists’ default storyline kicks in: “There are so many intermediate links in the fossil record,” they say, “we can’t count them.” If it is a negligible number but more astute and educated audience of skeptics listening in, the evolutionists suddenly get half-honest about the state of affairs. Even then, the evolutionists fear being too honest, because such candor could possibly be repeated to the general public. And if that should happen, the money, the public funding, could disappear.
The state of affairs regarding the fossil record is simply empirical fact: there are zero verifiable transitional forms documented in the fossil record other than what can be classified as intraspecies variations, as for example various types of dogs or cats, or examples of what are unsupported speculation about an organism’s place in the evolutionary fairy tale, the “phylogenetic tree of life.” I have my doubts, to give one specific example, whether the tyrannosaurus rex and the allosaurus are even two different species at all. I suspect these two “species” are probably intraspecies variations like panthers and jaguars. Now I may be committing a blunder here, not being any kind of anatomist, but maybe we are even looking at “sexual dimorphism” when we look at tyrannosaurus rex and the allosaurus? (Sexual dimorphism is the phenomenon of great difference in size, or other anatomical features, between the male and female of a species. The gorilla is the classic example, where the male is literally twice the size of the female. Another example would be the black widow spider where the female can be up to four or five times the size of the male and looks quite different.)
The evolutionists boldly and confidently tell us that there are “innumerable” intermediate forms in the fossil record. When you listen to evolutionists make such statements, you can almost believe you are being lifted to the heavenly realm and hearing eternal verities. But the evolutionists fudge and equivocate when they say things like that. What they mean, without informing their listeners, is that they believe in faith that the entire existing fossil record consists of organisms which all have their place on the grand phylogenetic tree of life, going all the way back to the first living cell. This is what the evolutionists are referring to when they say the fossil records is full of intermediate forms because, by their definition, there is nothing else! And there are innumerable fossils to contemplate.
The evolutionists do not prove, but define, the situation according to their own dogma. When pressed, the evolutionists will acknowledge that there are no solid lines in their “phylogenetic tree” representations directly connecting one species with another, only dotted lines (i.e., speculative and tentative associations between species). As Colin Patterson, former Director of the British Museum of Natural History has acknowledged, not a single watertight case can be made for any specific sequence of fossils. This is from the very top of the evolutionary establishment, and Patterson is hardly alone among evolutionists admitting this. Yet evolutionists as a whole prattle and babble on endlessly about evolutionary sequences and never inform their listeners that there are many scores of thousands or even hundreds of thousands, or possibly even millions, of dotted lines of missing transitional species in their phylogenetic trees. You see, the dots and dashes on the charts of their phylogenetic evolutionary sequences are all, without exception, abbreviations; there simply is no chart within light years of being large enough, not even if it is draped down the length of a skyscraper, to accommodate all of the dashes and dots representing the unknown and undiscovered intermediate links. And they dare not put in too many solid lines today because their own taxonomists will almost inevitably re-locate the fossil specimens to another branch on the tree tomorrow. And they know that creationists like myself will make great hay of that.
This is what creationists expected and predicted. Evolutionists, on the other hand, not expecting this but expecting the transitional forms to be found in vast abundance, have sought for explanations (rationalizations?) that could preserve evolutionary speculations. Ever since Darwin, the standard evolutionary “party line” to account for the lack of transitional forms among fossils has been to claim that the fossil record is miserably incomplete. Said Darwin in his now very famous quote: “The explanation lies, I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the fossil record.” I will dispute Darwin’s claim of the extreme imperfection of the fossil record below, but first, for argument’s sake, let’s accept the claim that the fossil record is miserably incomplete compared to the vast number of species that have ever existed. Even if this were true, would this solve the evolutionists’ problem? The answer is a resounding No, it would not because of the systematic nature of the gaps. Geneticist, Michael Denton, as usual, is most illuminating:
“The fundamental problem in explaining the gaps in terms of…the imperfection of the record is their systematic character—the fact that there are fewer transitional species between the major divisions than between the minor…and this rule applies universally throughout the living kingdom to all types of organisms…But this is the exact reverse of what is required by evolution. Discontinuities we might be able to explain away in terms of some sort of sampling error but their systematic character defies all explanation. If the gaps really were the result of an insufficient search, or the result of the imperfection of the record, then we should expect to find more transitional forms between mouse and whale than between dog and cat.”—”Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”—pg. 191-192, bold emph. supp.
This is an exceedingly striking and amazing fact, and a consideration that I personally regard as conclusively and formally falsifying the Darwinian schema beyond any doubt whatsoever. Denton’s argument here is an all-out juggernaut. There is simply no possibility whatsoever of random mutation and natural selection producing this state of affairs. If evolution occurred, it assuredly did not occur by Darwin’s preferred random mechanism. Given the significance and conclusive nature of this consideration, I am astonished that this is not the object of much more extensive comment than it is among creationist scientists, and I would like to suggest that they have dropped the ball on this one, or, to use a different metaphor, they have missed their cue. Perhaps this has gone over the heads of most of our fellow creationist scientists? I hope not! (I have a scientific prediction of my own: this line of argumentation by Denton will NEVER be overcome by Darwinian evolutionists. Not even close. Oh, they will give us their usual song and dance routine, but it will amount to nothing substantive.)
Concerning the “imperfection of the fossil record,” we have, of course, discovered thousands of new species of living creatures in the fossil record since Darwin’s time, none of them suggesting sequential progression, totaling to about 100,000 known species now (Denton, pg. 185), but this does not mean that the knowledge of Darwin’s time was without significance. Enough paleontology had been done to give a general overall picture. And the paleontologists’ response to Darwin was that his speculations (i.e., continuously evolving and “inconceivably great” number of transitional forms) were not at all what they saw in the fossil record, but only distinct species throughout the entire thickness of a geologic stratum, some of which existed in great abundance. (See, “Darwin’s Creation Myth: What it is, How it has Proved ‘Unfit,’ Why it Survives”, by Alexander Mebane, pg. 8.)
How is it that random processes could have so specifically and with such precision eliminated all the transitional species in the fossil record leaving only numerous distinctly isolated species behind, and in many cases numerous specimens of specific species? This would be virtually miraculous and we know what the secular evolutionists think about miracles! Here again, in regard to this particular, Darwin cannot be excused due to lack of scientific progress in his time. Darwin went so far as to make the baseless claim that a species was not a real thing but an “ephemeral manifestation” in the long and continuous chain of evolutionary development! One example will suffice: atheist Richard Dawkins, in his book, “The Blind Watchmaker,” describes in step-by-step speculation the hypothetical stages that occurred to a flightless proto-bat on its way to becoming a full-fledged flying mammal. I know this was only an illustration to explain his point but let us, indeed, consider the bat; if, in fact, the bat developed according to Richard Dawkins’ hypothesis (and it MUST have according to his hypothesis), then how do we explain the real world phenomenon of nearly a thousand complete full-fledged bat fossils unearthed and not a single intermediate fossil of a protobat becoming a bat? Where is the sequence? If the evolutionary speculation is true, this scenario would be quite impossible. Once again, this scenario would require a bona fide miracle.
All of this is by way of introduction to what I really want the reader to take away from this article, namely, the relative completeness of the fossil record. The relative completeness of the fossil record, understandably, is not something discussed very much by evolutionists (or—mysteriously—by creationists either!). On page 190 of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” Michael Denton presents a quantified table titled “The Adequacy of the Fossil Record” of living organisms compared to fossilized specimens and the comparison is astonishing to any dumbed-down and propagandized product of American public education! The reader should ponder this table at great length until the full significance of it settles in. Do not speed past this: this is a place to park and check out the vista. Consider:
“Number of living orders of terrestrial vertebrates: 43
Number of living orders of terrestrial vertebrates found as fossils: 42
Percentage fossilized: 97.7%
“Number of living families of terrestrial vertebrates: 329
Number of living families of terrestrial vertebrates found as fossils: 261
Percentage fossilized: 79.1%
“Number of living families of terrestrial vertebrates excluding birds: 178
Number of living families of terrestrial vertebrates found as fossils excluding birds: 156
“Percentage fossilized: 87.7 %”
Denton cites Darwin again:
“That the geological record is imperfect all will admit; but that it is imperfect to the degree required by our theory, few will be inclined to admit?” (pg. 191)
So I ask: Then why did Darwin try to appeal to the “extreme imperfection” of the fossil record when he knew there were so few who would agree with such a claim, especially paleontologists? I’ll spare Darwin the posthumous accusations and let the reader answer the question.
Denton’s table is striking proof of the great extent of preservation of the record of the whole panorama of life as fossils. This deserves great emphasis. The fossil record of the kinds of past living creatures is not poor; it is, in fact, exquisitely rich and complete. And this poses an utterly insurmountable problem for Darwinists. Not only are the presumed transitional species not preserved as fossils, it is not mathematically possible that they ever existed to be preserved in the first place. Both the living world AND the fossil record are testaments to the uniqueness of species and their biological (i,e,. reproductive) isolation from one another. It should not go without being explicitly stated that this scenario is perfectly consistent with the biblical declarations by Moses in the book of Genesis of the independent creation of various kinds of living creatures which reproduce only after their own kind. God Himself instituted this law of differentiation and made it impossible for different kinds of living beings to reproduce with one another.
Now–extrapolating this out even further regarding a point that Denton tap danced around but I will not–I also find all of this rather relevant and significant to the question of how long life has existed on the earth. I’ll content myself with a couple questions for the reader to ponder: If, in fact, millions, or hundreds of millions, or billions of years have elapsed since life first appeared on earth, then would we not expect something roughly the equivalent of what the evolutionists claim is the state of affairs, namely, that the fossil record would be in a state of “extreme imperfection?” That is to say, would not a much higher percentage of species have become extinct by a process of attrition over very great stretches of time? And since the fossil record is relatively full and complete as compared to living specimens, is this not, therefore, another very powerful indicator of a YOUNG history of life on the earth? This state of affairs CANNOT possibly be consistent with the passage of millions of years. I submit to the reader that we have conclusive PROOF, both of the near completeness of the fossil record and, therefore, of the relative YOUTH of life on earth, to the tune of thousands of years and not millions.