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Fossilized Thinking: Gaps in the Logic
by Dr. Arnie Gotfryd

"It is hard to understand why one should readily accept the creation of atomic and subatomic particles in a state which is admittedly unknowable and inconceivable, yet should be reluctant to accept the creation of planets, or organisms, or a human being, as we know these to exist." The Rebbe, in "Mind Over Matter" - Ch. 2

  
Hello Dr. Gotfryd,

I generally like your newsletters but there seems to be an inconsistency in your last email, "A New Beginning." To answer one question about the origin of species, you negate Darwin, arguing that the fossil record shows that species hardly change and transitional forms are virtually absent.

Then to refute the next challenge, about man's descent from apes, you cite the new discovery of Ardi, an ancient fossil that seems to indicate that apes descended from a human-like creature rather than the other way around.

You can't deny evolution on the one hand and bring an evolutionary argument on the other!

Also, can you provide me examples of sudden appearance of species as you claim? I look forward to any insights you can provide.


Gila D.
Charlotte, NC



Dear Gila,

I have nothing against Darwin, nor his book Origin of Species, nor modern day evolutionists. What I do take issue with is the claim that evolutionary theory provides a coherent, persuasive and scientific argument against the truth of the Torah including its account of creation.

The fact is that it doesn't. First I argued that the fossil record does not support evolution, which is true. Then I argued that even evolutionists now say that man did not evolve from apes, which is also true. Whether or not I believe that Ardi is anyone's evolutionary ancestor is not the point here. What's relevant is that the man-from-apes hypothesis has been refuted in the eyes of evolutionists.

Since you ask about the large gaps in the fossil record, you may be interested in some published quotes from recognized evolutionary biologists on the subject:

"Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series." (Ernst Mayr-Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, What Evolution Is, 2001, p.14.)
 
"All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. Gradualists usually extract themselves from this dilemma by invoking the extreme imperfection of the fossil record." (Gould, Stephen J. The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 189.)

"What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types." (Carroll, Robert L., "Towards a new evolutionary synthesis," in Trends in Evolution and Ecology 15(1):27-32, 2000, p. 27.)

 "Given that evolution, according to Darwin, was in a continual state of motion ...it followed logically that the fossil record should be rife with examples of transitional forms leading from the less to more evolved. ...Instead of filling the gaps in the fossil record with so-called missing links, most paleontologists found themselves facing a situation in which there were only gaps in the fossil record, with no evidence of transformational evolutionary intermediates between documented fossil species." (Schwartz, Jeffrey H., Sudden Origins, 1999, p. 89.)

"He [Darwin] prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search....It has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction was wrong." (Eldridge, Niles, The Myths of Human Evolution, 1984, pp.45-46.)

"There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways it has become almost unmanageably rich, and discovery is out-pacing integration...The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps." (George, T. Neville, "Fossils in Evolutionary Perspective," Science Progress, vol. 48 January 1960, pp. 1-3.)

 "It is interesting that all the cases of gradual evolution that we know about from the fossil record seem to involve smooth changes without the appearance of novel structures and functions." (Wills, C., Genetic Variability, 1989, p. 94-96.)

"We seem to have no choice but to invoke the rapid divergence of populations too small to leave legible fossil records." (Stanley, S.M., The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, 1981, p. 99.)

"Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, 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. and it is not always clear, in fact it's rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find." (Raup, David M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History, vol. 50, 1979, p. 23.)

"As we shall see when we take up the creationist position, there are all sorts of gaps: absence of graduationally intermediate 'transitional' forms between species, but also between larger groups -- between say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals. In fact, the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be." (Eldredge, Niles, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, 1982, p. 65-66.)

"A persistent problem in evolutionary biology has been the absence of intermediate forms in the fossil record. Long term gradual transformations of single lineages are rare and generally involve simple size increase or trivial phenotypic effects. Typically, the record consists of successive ancestor-descendant lineages, morphologically invariant through time and unconnected by intermediates." (Williamson, P.G., Palaeontological Documentation of Speciation in Cenozoic Molluscs from Turkana Basin, 1982, p. 163.)

"What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities: All species are separated from each other by bridgeless gaps; intermediates between species are not observed . . . The problem was even more serious at the level of the higher categories." (Mayr, E., Animal Species and Evolution, 1982, p. 524.)

"The known fossil record is not, and never has been, in accord with gradualism. What is remarkable is that, through a variety of historical circumstances, even the history of opposition has been obscured . . . 'The majority of paleontologists felt their evidence simply contradicted Darwin's stress on minute, slow, and cumulative changes leading to species transformation.' . . . their story has been suppressed." (Stanley, S.M., The New Evolutionary Timetable, 1981, p. 71.)

"The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life's history - not the artifact of a poor fossil record." (Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I., The Myths of Human Evolution, 1982, p. 59.)

"The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change." (Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I., The Myths of Human Evolution, 1982, p. 163.)

"The fossil record itself provided no documentation of continuity - of gradual transition from one animal or plant to another of quite different form." (Stanley, S.M., The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes and the Origin of Species, 1981, p. 40.)
 
 
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution." (Gould, Stephen J., "Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?," 1982, p. 140.)

 

 


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