HAL PARKER Importance of Fossils to the Origins Issue Fossils are the dead remains of a plant or animal that is preserved in rock. Fossils should provide the best evidence to decide between Creation or evolution. If there is any evidence of evolution at all, the fossil record should conclusively demonstrate it. If fossils don't provide clear evidence for evolution, everything else an evolutionist says is just interesting speculation. A few quotes should make it clear how important fossils are to evolution. "Most people just assume that fossils and evolution go hand in hand. Some people even seem to think that believing in fossils is almost the same as believing in evolution. We've been thoroughly indoctrinated with educational materials and entertainment touting evolution, and it's hard to even think that fossils argue so strongly against evolution and for creation." Henry Morris and Gary Parker, What Is Creation Science?, p. 130. "Although the comparative study of living animals and plants may give very convincing circumstantial evidence, fossils provide the only historical, documentary evidence that life has evolved from simpler to more and more complex forms." Carl O. Dunbar, Historical Geology (New York: Wiley, 1949), p. 52. "While many inferences about evolution are derived from living organisms, we must look to the fossil record for the ultimate documentation of large-scale change. In the absence of a fossil record, the credibility of evolutionists would be severely weakened. We might wonder whether the doctrine of evolution would qualify as anything more than an outrageous hypothesis." Steven M. Stanley, Macroevolution: Pattern and Process (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman, 1979), p.2. Predictions For The Fossil Record Let’s consider the predictions each model (Creation and Evolution) makes concerning fossils. We can then compare the predictions with the actual evidence. Remember, the model that predicts more of the evidence, without resorting to ad hoc explanations, is probably closest to the actual situation. Creation Model Predictions Sudden Appearance When organisms appear as fossils, they will have a great variety even in the oldest rocks (lower layers). The Creation was complete after the initial period of Creation. The oldest fossils would already be fully functional and have complete ecosystems. The organisms would already have their characteristics complete from the initial Creation period, so they would not need to develop characteristics. Each major group would appear fully functional in a rock layer. The same system of biological classification used today should work when studying fossils. Their would be no fossils (transitional forms) showing a gradual change in characteristics from one type to another. Stasis Once a type of organism appears in the fossil record it will not change significantly over time. The fossils near the bottom layers will look almost the same as the fossils near the top layers (for the same type of organism). Organisms would have been created with their characteristics complete in the first representatives and would not need to change. Number Of Phyla Over Time All of the organisms that were ever going to exist began during the initial Creation event. The oldest rock layers should have more phyla represented as fossils than the top layers. As organisms went extinct, the number of phyla would decrease. (Remember, a phyla is just below the kingdom in the classification scheme.) Evolution Model Predictions Gradual Development The simplest organisms would evolve first. These organisms would then branch out and become more complex species. The simplest fossils should be found in the lower rock layers. The more complex fossils should only be found in the higher rock layers. Transitional Forms There should be fossils showing gradual changes in traits from one fossil to another fossil. There should be clear transitions between the higher categories of biological classification. These have the most differences between them and should be ideal examples of evolution because of the many structural changes required. The modern system of biological classification should be difficult to use when studying fossils. There should be so many in between stages, that it is hard to decide where one group ends and another group starts. Number Of Phyla Over Time The lower rock layers should only have a few types of organisms. As evolution proceeded, more types of organisms would develop. The fossil record should show a consistent increase in the number of different phyla from the bottom to the top layers of rock. The Cambrian Explosion The Cambrian rock layer is usually one of the bottom layers (sea-floor creatures, starfish, clams, etc.). Since they are on the bottom they are older (not much according to a biblical time frame) than the other layers. Since these are the oldest fossils they should be the simplest according to evolution. If evolution happened, these fossils should be some of the first to evolve after the first living cell formed from molecules floating around in the ocean. The Cambrian rock layer has fossils of all of the major body forms (phyla). The layers below it have very few fossils. This rapid increase in body types has so surprised the experts it was called the Cambrian explosion. The second stage of the evolution of living things had an incredible amount of diversity so evolutionarily young. The Cambrian also had life more complex than would be expected if the evolution model were true. The Cambrian explosion is consistent with the prediction of sudden appearance by the Creation model for the fossils. Many varieties of organisms appeared suddenly in the fossil record. The fossils found in the Cambrian rock layers contain fossils that require high levels of design. The Cambrian explosion is inconsistent with the prediction of gradual development by the evolution model. The evolutionary process that would be required to produce almost eighty different body designs in only ten million years by random processes. This is inconsistent with the random approach to evolution. Either evolutionists will give up or change the process of evolution to an impersonal intelligence. Relevant Quotes "Studies that began in the early 1950s and continue at an accelerating pace today have revealed an extensive Precambrian fossil record, but the problem of the Cambrian explosion has not receded, since our more extensive labor has still failed to identify any creature that might serve as a plausible immediate ancestor for the Cambrian fauna. . . . Where, then, are all the Precambrian ancestors—or, if they didn’t exist in recognizable form, how did complexity get off to such a fast start?" Stephen Jay Gould, "A Short Way to Big Ends," Natural History, Vol. 95 (January 1986), p. 18. "Students of evolutionary history have observed repeatedly that in an adaptive radiation, the major subgroups appear early and at about the same time. . . . Nearly all living phyla of marine invertebrates that have reasonably good fossil records have first occurrences either in the late Precambrian or early to middle Cambrian. At the class level there are 27 paleontologically important living groups and all have documented occurrences which are Silurian or older. . . . The same relative pattern can be seen in the geologic records of vertebrates and land plants, although origins are generally displaced in time toward the recent." David M. Raup, "On the Early Origin of Major Biologic Groups," Paleobiology, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1983), p. 107. "One of the major unsolved problems of geology and evolution is the occurrence of diversified, multi-cellular marine invertebrates in Lower Cambrian rocks and their absence in rocks of greater age. These Early Cambrian fossils included porifera, coelenterates, brachiopods, mollusca, echinoids, and arthropods. Their high degree of organization clearly indicates that a long period of evolution preceded their appearance in the record. However, when we turn to examine the pre-Cambrian rocks for the forerunners of these Early Cambrian fossils, they are nowhere to be found. Many thick (over 5000 feet) sections or sedimentary rock are now known to lie in unbroken succession below strata containing the earliest Cambrian fossils. These sediments apparently were suitable for the preservation of fossils because they are often identical with overlying rocks which are fossiliferous, yet no fossils are found in them" D. Axelrod; Science, 128, 7(1958) "The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, and orders before families. This is not to say that each higher taxon originated before species (each phylum, class, or order contained at least one species, genus, family, etc. upon appearance), but the higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa." Erwin, D., Valentine, J., and Sepkoski, J. (1988) "A Comparative Study of Diversification Events" Evolution, vol. 41, p. 1183 "Described recently as "the most important evolutionary event during the entire history of the Metazoa," the Cambrian explosion established virtually all the major animal body forms — Baupläne or phyla — that would exist thereafter, including many that were quickly "weeded out" and became extinct. Compared with the 30 or so extant, some people estimate that the Cambrian Explosion may have generated 100. The evolution innovation of the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary had clearly been extremely broad." Roger Lewin, "A Lopsided Look at Evolution," Science, Vol. 241 (July 15, 1988), p. 291. "If ever we were to expect to find ancestors to or intermediates between higher taxa, it would be in the rocks of late Precambrian to Ordovician times, when the bulk of the world’s higher animal taxa evolved. Yet transitional alliances are unknown or unconfirmed for any of the phyla or classes appearing then." James W. Valentine and Douglas H. Erwin, "Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments: The Fossil Record," in Development as an Evolutionary Process (Alan R. Lias, Inc. 1987), p. 84. Number of Phyla Over Time This information is easier to understand graphically. Check out the graphs at: http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/origins/graphics-captions/sub3.html They show a definite problem with the number of phyla over time from a Darwinian standpoint. Darwinian theory predicts an increase in the number of phyla with time. However, the fossil record shows a spike (the Cambrian explosion) and then a decrease in the number of phyla with time. That is more consistent with a Creation interpretation of the fossil evidence than with a Darwinian one. KEYLAN Thank You! KATHY Speaking of fossils...where is the evidence of "transitional" fossils? If we evolved, where is the proof in the fossils? There aren't any because it's not true. HAL PARKER I was just about to post some things about transitional forms when I read your post. General Lack of Transitional Forms Transitional forms are organisms that have different types of organisms as descendents. The figure at the right shows how evolutionists believe animals are related. The animals that should located where the magnifying glasses are would be transitional forms. Transitional forms are also called common ancestors and missing links. Take a look at the figure at http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/origins/CATALOG/FIGB.html Notice that no animals are located where the magnifying glasses are looking. You can tell what is coming from this fact alone. Take a look at the figure at http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/origins/CATALOG/FIGD.html The figure represents what the actual fossil evidence indicates. (We would disagree with the ages, though.) Most of the animals fit into the present day classification system. The animals appear fully formed in a lower rock layer and remain unchanged up to the top rock layers. This is consistent with the Creation model’s prediction of sudden appearance and stasis. The evolution model predicts transitional fossils, and they aren’t found. Darwin admitted in his book that fossils are a problem for his theory (read the quote below). Darwin did have a reasonable excuse at the time. The study of fossils was a relatively new science and not much effort had been put into it yet. He expected that with time the transitional fossils would be found. "... The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, (must) be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory." Charles Darwin (1859) The Origin of Species (Reprint of the first edition) Avenel Books, Crown Publishers, New York, 1979, p. 292 Darwin did have an excuse for the lack of transitional fossils. That excuse doesn’t hold water today. Fossil experts have many tons of fossils to examine. What is the situation today? Notice in the quote below that David Raup admits transitional fossils are still not found. He even says there are fewer examples of evolutionary transitions now than in Darwin’s time. Remember Darwin admitted there weren’t many. You can see why punctuated equilibrium would be an easy way out of this predicament for an evolutionist. "Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded ... ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded as a result of more detailed information ...." David Raup "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology" Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50 (1), p. 24, 25 The rest of this chapter is a survey of evolutionary transitions that would require many transitional forms. We will examine only the key transitions that would require clear changes in form. Supposed Transitions Invertebrate to Vertebrate If evolution occurred, then the transition from invertebrates (animals without backbones) to vertebrates (animals with backbones) should be a major test because of the dramatic changes in structure required. Lets look at what evolutionist experts have to say. Testimony of F. Ommaney: "How this earliest chordate stock evolved, what stages of development it went through to eventually give rise to truly fish-like creatures, we do not know. Between the Cambrian, when it probably originated, and the Ordovician, when the first fossils of animals with really fish-like characteristics appeared, there is a gap of perhaps 100 million years which we will probably never be able to fill." F. D. Ommaney, The Fishes, Life Nature Library (New York: Time-Life, Inc., 1964), p. 60. Testimony of A. Romer: "In sediments of the late Silurian and early Devonian age, numerous fish-like vertebrates of varied types are present, and it is obvious that a long evolutionary history had taken place before that time. But of that history we are mainly ignorant." A. S. Romer, Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd Ed., (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), p.15. Testimony of G. T. Todd: "All three subdivisions of the bony fishes appear in the fossil record at approximately the same time. They are widely divergent morphologically, and they are heavily armored. How did they originate? What allowed them to diverge so widely? How did they all come to have heavy armor? And why is there no trace of earlier intermediate forms?" G. T. Todd, American Zoology 20(4): 757 (1980). These evolutionists admit there is no evidence for evolution of invertebrates into vertebrates (fish in particular). They still believe evolution; they probably think the best evidence for evolution is elsewhere. The Creation model fits the fossil evidence better than the evolution model for the origin of vertebrates. Fish to Amphibian This should be an ideal case for evolution because the bone structure of a fish is clearly different from the bone structure of an amphibian. The skeleton of a fish would have to change in clear detectable ways to turn into the skeleton of an amphibian. Also, bones fossilize well. There should be unmistakable transitional forms between a fish and an amphibian. The body of a fish is supported by the water. The fins of a fish are not connected to the backbone by other bones. The body of an amphibian is supported by its legs when it is on land. The legs of an amphibian are connected to the backbone by other bones. If a fish evolved into an amphibian, then either a fish-like creature that had its fins connected to its backbone should be found as a fossil, or an amphibian-like creature with its legs not connected to its backbone should be found as a fossil. No such creature has been found as a fossil. I have more about the vertebrate fossils, but that should be enough for now. JOHN WELLS Hal, I really appreciate this information. If I may ask, what qualifications on this subject do you have? You are certainly more informed than me . . . but I'm learning! HELEN I know who Hal Parker is and I can guarantee to you that this man has his information together. In the meantime, for those who are involved in creation/evolution debates on the web or otherwise, I might mention that transitionals, like beauty, exist in the eye of the beholder. What I would see as an interesting variation an evolutionist might declare a transitional. Keeping this in mind, be careful how you approach the subject. Ask why they think it is a transitional, and a transitional to what other form. You might mention that if a chihuahua were fossilized below a spaniel and both were below a great Dane, it would sure look like evolutionary progress! HAL PARKER John Wells asked about about my credentials. That is a reasonable question. I became interested in the origins issue in the late 70s. I read several of Dr. Henry Morris' books before I went to college. I went to Christian Heritage College and studied under Dr. Henry Morris, Dr. Gary Parker, Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. Ken Cumming, Dr. Don DeYoung, and other leaders in the Creation movement. I graduated with a double major in biology and geophysics. I did my graduate work in physics at Ball State University. I took all the graduate classes offerred in astronomy at Ball State. I also took some graduate geology courses there. My thesis in physics was a topic in theoretical geophysics. I have taught high school science, math, and computers for several years. Then I started teaching science at the college level at a Christian college. This semester I am teaching an online class on origins. I wrote an online book for the class: A Survey of Modern Creationary Thought. It is a survey of the best in Creationary scholarship. It focuses on the development of a true Creation model of science. I also teach all of my other science classes from a Creationary perspective and regularly bring in the best in Creationary scholarship as they touch on the various subjects. I am a voting member of the Creation Research Society. I am also a participant in the society's listserve, CRSNet. That is where I first came across Helen and I consider what she wrote about me as a great compliment.