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In 1993 Walter ReMineâ€™s book "The Biotic Message"1 hit the street, bringing with it several devastating arguments against evolution that are still clamoring through the halls and smoke rooms of the evolutionary faithful. One of these arguments is based on a paper by J. B. S Haldane in 19572 that showed the reproductive capacity of vertebrates was way too low to pay the costs needed to account for large-scale evolution. This problem is referred to as â€œHaldaneâ€™s Dilemmaâ€.
So far I have only encountered one attack against Haldaneâ€™s Dilemma that offers any kind of sophistication, one posted on the internet by Robert Williams. It regularly shows up early in search engines when searching on â€œHaldaneâ€™s Dilemmaâ€, so evolutionists often cite it or copy from it.
There are many, many problems with Robert Williamsâ€™ article. When I first read it, I became very suspicious that he had never read ReMine's book since ReMine deals with most of Williamsâ€™ arguments in his book. I contacted Mr. ReMine, and he confirmed that Williams eventually admitted on the newsgroup sci.bio.evolution to not having read the book. On several occasions I attempted to contact Williams about this, but he did not reply. It is very unfortunate that Williams refuses to do the right thing and properly review ReMineâ€™s book before posting a rebuttal. Nevertheless, since so many evolutionists refer to Williams' tenuous paper, I thought I would address its arguments. Robert Williamsâ€™ comments appear in italic green.
ReMine neglects the fact that humans did not evolve from chimpanzees, rather humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor. Therefor we have actually had two different branches each evolving independently, thus allowing for twice as many gene substitutions (3300 vs. 1700) as ReMine has allowed, even if all of the above is true.
His insinuation that ReMine believes humans evolved from chimpanzees is completely unsubstantiated (this was the first sign he had not read ReMine's book). This is a very common ploy of evolutionists, to claim that creationists donâ€™t understand that evolutionary theory posits common decent from a shared ancestor. Regardless, this does not double the amount of substitutions that can occur from point A (man/ape ancestor) to point B (man), and this is the context of ReMineâ€™s (and Haldaneâ€™s) argument.
ReMine assumes that all the differences between the human and chimp genomes are due to selection.
Remine makes no such assumption in his book.
This can't possibly be the case because many of the differences are known to occur at the 3rd triplet of gene codons and thus usually do not change the amino acid coded and can't affect fitness. Furthermore, since 95% of the genome is not transcribed (although that does not mean it is all non-functional ), most point mutations will not affect fitness. This reduces the number of selected substitutions by 5 x 2/3 % or from 4.8 x 107 substitutions to 1.6 x 106. Please remember that changes in the genome due to drift and other "random" processes do not add to the cost of substitution. I should add that Haldane's Dilemma has been viewed by scientists as possible evidence for the importance of Neutral Evolution as proposed by Kimura in 1967.
At this point I was very certain Williams had not read ReMineâ€™s book, since ReMine has an entire chapter dedicated to Neutral Evolution and its inability to solve Haldaneâ€™s Dilemma. If Williams had read ReMinesâ€™ book, or even just thought about the problem logically, he would have discovered that neutral substitutions also must be substituted in! If a neutral trait (or substitution) becomes fixed, all alternative alleles at the same locus must still be removed.
In fact, neutral mutations incur a greater cost, since they will have a greater propensity to drift back and forth in frequency since they have no selective value. Every time the frequency goes down, it negates any previous payment made by reproductive excess to get it to that frequency; when it drifts back up, a new payment via excess reproduction is needed, hence net cost is increased. According to ReMine, Haldane showed that cost is minimized only when fixation moves steadily upward3.
ReMine neglects the fact that there are only 23 pairs of human chromosomes. Thus, when there are any favorable genes on the same chromosome, their substitution cost would only have to be paid one time for the chromosome as a whole, not one time for each favorable gene. This alone could falsify ReMine's whole argument if many genes are approaching fixation on a few chromosomes. Again, ReMine's book correctly addresses this. If Williams had read it he would have been reminded of Mendelian genetics, recombination and crossover, and that humans reproduce sexually, not asexually. Diploid offspring do not inherit completely intact chromosomes from their parents. Does Williams submit that Haldane, a distinguished evolutionist, also â€œneglected the fact that there are only 23 pairs of human chromosomesâ€?
ReMine ignores the possibility of gene hitchhiking - the concept that even though some mutations are neutral, they will be carried to fixation because they are physically close to a gene that is beneficial. ReMine does not ignore this possibility, he discusses it in the book Williams pretended to read4. ReMine also cites Haldane as addressing this possibility and that Haldane also dismissed it as very negligible5.
For linkage to pay the cost of two for the price of one, the following must occur:
a) The neutral mutation must occur about the same time as the beneficial mutation it is linked to. If it occurs say 50% into the fixation cycle of the beneficial mutation, it canâ€™t just magically appear on all the other chromosomes in the population. It has to begin its own payment cycle when it first appears. All those without the mutation, which would be the entire population plus all descendants without the mutation, must eventually be removed.
b) the two would have to remain very tightly coupled through at least half the fixation process to give the neutral mutation an even chance to reach fixation6.
c) gene hitchhiking is very rarely found in sexually reproducing populations7.
I hope it is now quite apparent why linkage effects have negligible impact on cost evaluations.Finally, ReMine ignores the fact that due to non-point mutations (deletions and insertions due to non-equal crossing over), a single mutation can affect many more than one DNA base pair. In fact, what has to be by far and away the most common mutation is the change in DNA due to the alignment mismatch mutations in mini-satellites. These mutations can affect some multiple of between 5 and 15 base pairs and have been observed in as many as 1 in 6 human sperm!
This is a completely bogus argument for several reasons. First, the must common mutations are point mutations (base pair substitutions)8. Second, even when multiple mutations occur, the harmful ones will incur an immediate reproductive cost, and any remaining neutral or â€œbeneficialâ€ ones must still pay their own cost if they are to reach fixation!!! Also, it appears Williams again forgot that humans reproduce sexually, not asexually. If multiple mutations occur, they will be divided among the offspring, and only so many of these will reproduce on to the next generation. Hence only a handful will remain, only to face the same shredding machine the next generation. Because sex continually scrambles genes every generation, population geneticist Ronald Fisher (1930) estimated that a â€œbeneficialâ€ mutation will have at best only a 1 in 50 chance of ever reaching fixation in a population 9.
Haldane assumed that the cost of substitution had to be paid on top of the "natural" death rate! In other words, it didn't matter that 90% of a mammal's offspring died without reproducing - any death that resulted from the substitution of one gene for another had to be additional death that the animal would not "normally" have suffered. This is known as hard selection and we can now easily see why Haldane only allowed an excess fertility of 10% to go towards the cost of substitution. However, most Biologists today consider all or some selection to occur as soft selection. In this scenario, the cost of substitution is "paid" in the natural death rate of the animal. That is, a disproportionate number of the individuals that die without reproducing in any generation are the ones that have lower fitness due to their genes. The Biologist Bruce Wallace has been the champion of soft selection, and you can learn more about this topic in his book "Fifty Years of Genetic Load - An Odyssey".
Let me bring in another Williams to refute Williams! Highly regarded evolutionist George C. Williams wrote the following regarding Wallace and soft selection:
â€œ...the problem [of Haldane's dilemma] was never solved, by Wallace [soft selection] or anyone else. It merely faded away, because people got interested in other things. They must have assumed that the true resolution lay somewhere in the welter of suggestions made by one or more of the distinguished population geneticists who had participated in the discussion." 10
As we can see, Robert Williamsâ€™ last effort to soften the blow of Haldaneâ€™s Dilemma is disputed by an evolutionist of considerably more standing.
Despite various attempts by evolutionists over the last 40 years to soften the impact of Haldaneâ€™s Dilemma, it still remains an enormous problem for their theory. It is worth noting that Haldane's analysis even used very favorable assumptions for the evolutionary theory, such as assuming the mutations are dominant (recessive mutations pay an exponentially higher cost). Regardless, the numbers do not bode well for the evolutionists, and is very likely why the problem stays buried in back-room discussions and does not see the light of day in evolutionary textbooks.
Current molecular data is making matters even worse for the evolutionist faithful, because it makes the problem easier to see for the layman. I document this in my article Monkey-Man Hypothesis Thwarted by Mutation Rates. This article stands on its own and does not rely on the validity of Haldaneâ€™s calculations. Using a conservative estimate of mutation rates based on current studies, it shows that the ape/human line would have required at least 40 offspring per mating pair just to maintain equilibrium! This forcefully argues that the Monkey-Man shared ancestor hypothesis is simply implausible.
Update: Several months after I wrote this, Robert Williams to his credit removed most of the arguments I addressed above from his web page! (he keeps a copy of the original here). His first line of defense in his latest installment is his claim that 1667 beneficial substitutions may be enough to account for human evolution from our alleged simian ancestor! As far as I'm concerned this is a complete capitulation of the issue! Remember that this is not just a problem for human evolution, but for mammalian evolution in general.
Robert also still defends gene hitchhiking as a cost reducer, and gives an example of it occurring in nature. I have not had a chance to confirm his example, but it doesn't really matter. It is still a rare phenomenon, as Futuyma points out in his Evolutionary Biology testbook7. A blind squirrel, well, you know the story.
Finally, Robert mentions that Haldane did address the issue of "multiple simultaneous substitutions". Haldane did indeed, but Robert's citation from Haldane's paper is completely inaccurate. In the paragraph Robert referred to, Haldane is not addressing the impact on cost of "multiple simultaneous substitutions". Where Haldane does address this is the 4th paragraph on page 522, where he explains "[for three mutants]...since the cost of selection is proportional to the negative logarithm of the initial frequency, the mean cost...would be the same as that of selection for the three mutants in series..."
1. Walter ReMine, The Biotic Message, 1993, St Paul Science
2. JBS Haldane, The Cost of Natural Selection, Journal of Genetics 55, pp 511-524 (1957)
3. ReMine, The Biotic Message, p 500
4. Ibid. pp 245, 503
5. Haldane, 1957, p 522
6. Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 1998, p 300
7. Ibid. p 245 (gene hitchhiking is technically referred to as linkage disequilibrium)
8. Personal correspondence with Professor James Crow
9. Futuyma, p 298
10. George C. Williams, Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges, 1992, p 143-148
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PRESS RELEASE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
DENVER April 1, 2000 - A new fossil has been found that may throw a huge wrench into the current evolutionary paradigm for the origin of elephants. Univ. of Colorado biology professor Scott L. Eugenie commented that "we might as well throw out the elephant with the bathwater, if we accept this fossil as what it appears to be".
The fossil was discovered in a lava bed in the southern part of the Congo, near the small village of Geheradhanda. It was in a layer suggesting it originated from the Cretaceous period some 50 million years ago. The main fossil appears to be that of a trunk, while other fragments found 50 yards away appear to be imprints of feathers! This new discovery is shaking the evolutionary community. Many scientists are jumping on the flying bandwagon, others are jumping into the sea and sticking with the aquatic hypothesis. Harvard paleontologist Stephen Gould is skeptical: "I still think the elephant can trace his great, great ancestor to a fish". Others disagree. Richard Dawkins of Cambridge was ecstatic "flying elephants seem very feasible to me. This fossil demonstrates clearly and irrevocably this apparent certainty". He went on to add "I knew we would find more transitional fossils, I can't wait to hear what the creationists have to say!". The fossil has been dubbed Elaphantavianicus Bigfairytalicus.
How have evolutionary predictions/expectations of the fossil record fared? How have creation predictions/expectations of the fossil record fared? Below are candid admissions by leading evolutionists on the various predictions of the fossil record. Note that the following quotes are entirely in context as they pertain to the respective prediction they are associated with.
(all bold emphasis mine)
â€œOne hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwinâ€™s predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.â€ â€“ Eldredge & Tattersall,The Myths of Human Evolution, 1982, p45-46
â€œFor more than a century biologists have portrayed the evolution of life as a gradual unfoldingâ€¦Today the fossil recordâ€¦is forcing us to revise this conventional viewâ€ â€“ S.M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species, 1981, p 3
Simple to Complex
"The old Darwinian view of evolution as a ladder of more and more efficient forms leading up to the present is not borne out by the evidence.â€ - N.D.Newell, Why Scientists believe in Evolution, 1984, p 10, American Geological Institute pamphlet
â€œI believe that our failure to find any clear vector of fitfully accumulating progressâ€¦represents our greatest dilemma for a study of pattern in lifeâ€™s historyâ€ â€“ S.J. Gould, â€˜The paradox of the first tier: an agenda for paleobiologyâ€™, Paleobiology, Vol 11, No 1, 1985, p 3
â€œ...the gradual morphological transitions between presumed ancestors and descendants, anticipated by most biologists, are missing.â€ - David E.Schindel, Curator at Peabody Museum of Natural History
â€œMany fossils have been collected since 1859, tons of them, yet the impact they have had on our understanding of the relationships between living organisms is barely perceptible. â€¦ In fact, I do not think it unfair to say that fossils, or at least the transitional interpretation of fossils, have clouded rather than clarified our attempts to reconstruct phylogenyâ€ â€“ P.L.Forey, Neontological Analysis Versus Palaeontological Stories, 1982, p120-121
â€œI agreeâ€¦that ancestor-descendant relationships cannot be objectively recognized in the fossil recordâ€ â€“ R.M. Schoch, â€˜Evolution Debateâ€™, Letterin Science, April 22, 1983, p360
â€œThe gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenalâ€ â€“ R. Wesson, Beyond Natural Selection, 1991, p 45
â€œFor all of the animal phyla to appear in one single, short burst of diversification is not an obviously predicable outcome of evolutionâ€ - PeterWard & Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth, Feb 2000, p. 150
â€œOne of the most difficult problems in evolutionary paleontology has been the almost abrupt appearance of the major animal groupsâ€ - A. G. Fisher,Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1998, fossil section
â€œâ€¦the Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationistsâ€ â€“ Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1987, p 229
"Most orders, classes, and phyla appear abruptly, and commonly have already acquired all the characters that distinguish them." - Francisco J. Ayala and James W. Valentine, Evolving, The Theory and Processes of Organic Evolution,1979, p. 266.
Stasis (little change over time)
"The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperors' new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin's predicted pattern, simply looked the other way" - Eldredge and Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution, 1982, p 45-46
â€œThe overwhelming prevalence of stasis became an embarrassing feature of the fossil recordâ€ - S.J. Gould, â€˜Cordeliaâ€™s Dilemmaâ€™, Natural History, Feb1993, p 15
One of the most effective pitches evolutionists use to sell their theory is their claim that the fossil record supports evolution. This could not be farther from the truth; in fact the fossil record provides powerful and overwhelming evidence that evolution did not occur on earth. So how is the evolutionist able to effectively sell to their audience the precise opposite of what the data shows? They achieve this by employing a clever sleight-of-hand with the fossil data that can easily be missed by any reasonable person. The purpose of this article is to expose this sleight-of-hand, which will then dissolve the false illusion it creates. Once the curtain is pulled and the illusion exposed, the truth can clearly be seen â€“ the fossil record is an overwhelming and devastating contradiction to evolution.
Hereâ€™s the catch, the magic behind the illusion. Whenever an evolutionist presents his line of evidence for evolution in the fossil record, he will without fail, virtually every time, present a vertebrate transitional fossil. Why is this important? The evolutionist is failing to mention to his audience that vertebrates constitute less than .01% of the entire fossil record, and of these fossils, most species are represented by a bone or less!1 What about the other 99.99% of the fossil record? Thatâ€™s the other key piece of information the evolutionist is withholding from you. Complex invertebrates make up the vast majority of this portion of the record, roughly 95%. We have cataloged literallymillions of different species of these very complex creatures, and we have entire fossils, not just pieces here and there. In this rich and virtually complete portion of the fossil record, there is not a single sign of evolution, whatsoever!!!2
If evolution were true, the fossil record should be littered with countless examples showing many different transitions leading up to the millions of species of these complex creatures. YET WE DO NOT HAVE A SINGLE EXAMPLE! NOT EVEN ONE! The remarkable completeness of this vast portion of the fossil record thwarts evolutionists from cooking up "transitionals" because speculation is not so easy when you have entire specimens. There is not the wild guesswork inherent when dealing with willy-nilly fragments of a tooth here, a leg bone there.
The distribution of fossils is illustrated in the pie chart in Figure 1. As can be seen, complex invertebrates constitute 95% of the fossil record. The remaining 5% consists mostly of plants & algae, where again we find no fossil evidence of evolution, whatsoever.3 In the small portion that includes insects, again we find no fossil evidence of evolution, whatsoever.4
Figure 1 - Fossil Distribution
The problems only get worse for the evolutionist. Not only is there no sign of evolution leading up to the complex invertebrates, but also missing in action are the enormous number of transitionals that must have existed to bridge the gap between invertebrates and vertebrates. The transformation from invertebrate to vertebrate would have been a major event in the earthâ€™s evolutionary history. Yet the fossil record does not leave a single shred of evidence for this enormous transformation!5. This problem has been exacerbated by recent finds in China of highly advanced and extremely well preserved vertebrate life forms in the lower Cambrian strata. These fossils have collapsed the available time for the invertebrate to vertebrate transformation by at least 50 million years, to between 2 to 3 million years!6. This is a blink of the eye in geological time (a period called the Cambrian Explosion), prompting the two primary Chinese scientists involved to bluntly admit that these fossils roundly contradict the theory of evolution.7
The nightmare gets worse for the evolutionist when we consider that the wide diversity of body plans that suddenly appear in this brief 2 to 3 million year window are markedly distinct morphologically from each other. This disparity of body plans is followed by stasis, where there are no incremental alterations to the body plans through the entire history of the fossil record up to the present!8 This is precisely what one would expect if special creation were true, and a stark contradiction to evolution.
So all that is left is a sliver of a corner of the fossil record, the vertebrates. This is the rabbit in the hat for the evolutionist. The bulk of this sliver is made up of fish, where we again find no sign of evolution whatsoever.5 A small remainder of this miniscule sliver is left for the land-dwelling vertebrates. Of the land-dwelling vertebrate species unearthed, 95% are represented by a bone or less1. Yet this is where the evolutionist concentrates all his efforts to "show" to his audience that "the fossil record supports evolution"! Their audience is completely unaware that all of the examples they are being shown come from an incredibly puny section marred with incomplete data. They are conveniently left in the dark regarding the other 99.99% of the data, from a portion of the fossil record that is far more complete, that shows NO HINT OF EVOLUTION WHATSOEVER! This is their sleight-of-hand. This is a sham. This is brainwashing. There is no other way to put it.
What about this miniscule and fragmentary portion of the fossil record where evolutionists have been forced to spend so much of their time & energy? We would expect that due to the subjective nature of such fossils, many examples put forth from this group by evolutionists would be either 1) disputed by other experts in the field, or 2) later disproved by new, more complete data. Indeed we have an abundance of examples of both of these expected outcomes.
Take Archaeopteryx, for example. Many evolutionists hail this fossil bird as an intermediate between dinosaur & bird. Yet a decent number of leading bird experts, who are themselves evolutionists, roundly dispute this claim.9 The alleged ape-man â€˜Lucyâ€™ is another example championed by many evolutionists, but disputed by other qualified evolutionist scientists. Renowned anatomist Lord Solly Zuckerman once scornfully denounced the australopithecines as nothing more than â€œbloody apesâ€!10 He became so frustrated with the claims of his fellow evolutionists that he declared there was â€œno science to be found in this field at allâ€.11
There are also many examples where later fossil data overturned prior misconceptions. Consider Mesonychid, an alleged whale ancestor. In a recent debate between evolutionist Pigliucci and creationist Walter Remine, Pigliucci confidently touted Mesonychid as an ancestor to the whales.12 He was apparently unaware that two years earlier the original champion of the Mesonychid link had retracted it because additional fossils falsified the original assessment.13
For more than 20 years Ramapithecus was proudly displayed in museums across the country as manâ€™s first direct ancestor, based entirely on jaw and teeth fragments!14 When a complete jaw was found, evolutionists where forced to admit that it was actually a relative of the orangutan! There are many more examples, such as the now debunked Nebraska man, the chordate Pikaia as a vertebrate ancestor7, the eventual removal of Neanderthal man as a human ancestor, etc.
What about dinosaur fossils? Take a look at Figure 2, taken out of the most recent copy of the Britannica Encyclopedia. All of the light red lines and the dashed lines refer to fossils that have NEVER BEEN FOUND! These lines represent "inferred" fossils! In other words, evolutionists cannot offer a single example of an ancestor of the dinosaurs.
Figure 2 - Dinosaur Family Tree, from EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online.
Finally, even when we do find well preserved, intact fossils, a great deal of speculation is still required to determine its place in an evolutionary tree, especially when we do not have any of the soft anatomy available to analyze. In his book â€œEvolution: A Theory in Crisisâ€, Dr Michael Denton wrote: â€œBecause the soft biology of extinct groups can never be known with any certainty then obviously the status of even the most convincing intermediates is bound to be insecure.â€15 He gave as an example the Coelacanth, a fish once believed to have gone extinct over 100 million years ago. For nearly a century the Coelacanth had been considered an ideal intermediate between fish and terrestrial vertebrates based on its well-preserved skeletal fossil remains. But after one was discovered alive and well in 1938, analysis of the soft anatomy quickly revealed that it had all the characteristics of a fish, not the characteristics of an intermediate the evolutionists had hoped for.
Image John the evolutionist and Fred the creationist entering a huge 50-story museum filled with all the fossils that have ever been unearthed. The curator of the museum explains that most of the complete fossils are displayed in every single room up to the 50th floor, while the incomplete fossils are kept in a small closet in the basement. The curator tells John and Fred that the fossils throughout the building represent all the invertebrate phyla discovered, literally billions of complete specimens representing millions of different species of complex invertebrate animal life, from clams, to trilobites, to sponges.
The curator then tells John & Fred about the small closet in the basement. They are told that the fossils in this small room constitute only .0125% of the fossil record, and most of these are fish. He then adds that the remaining fossils in this small room that arenâ€™t fish make up all the remaining vertebrate fossils, 95% of which are represented by less than a single bone.
John and Fred scurry through all the evidence throughout the massive building, ignoring that little closet in the basement, realizing that itâ€™s the most unrevealing data to look at. As the huge cache of complete fossils is examined, panic soon begins to set in for John the evolutionist because THERE IS NOT A TRACE OF EVOLUTION IN ANY OF THE EVIDENCE! NONE! THERE IS NOT A SINGLE LINK TO THE COMPLEX INVERTEBRATES, AND NOT A SINGLE LINK BETWEEN INVERTEBRATES AND VERTEBRATES!
In a total state of panic and defeat, John suddenly remembers something the curator had mentioned. That little closet in the basement! John quickly runs to the basement and opens the door to the small closet. Soon his mind begins whirling, he becomes excited, and before long he has found â€œevidenceâ€ for evolution! These fragments of bones allow John to make all kinds of wild, fanciful speculation. â€œHey, this is â€˜evidenceâ€™, man!â€ John gleefully declares. The curator quickly reminds John that many similar past speculations made from observations from this tiny room have long since been refuted. Heâ€™s reminded of Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Ramapithecus, Mesonychid, Pikaia, and so on and so forth. But John is so excited about his speculation that he chooses to ignore this very important and revealing truth.
John goes on to gleefully tell others that â€œthe fossil record supports evolutionâ€, and gives them his â€œexamplesâ€ from the closet in the basement. He fails to mention to them that his evidence is from a tiny closet full of incomplete specimens. He also fails to mention that all of the other rooms in the 50-story building contained complete specimens, yet yielded NO sign of evolution whatsoever. He tells his story over and over again, and before long, many begin to share in his fantasy, themselves telling the story to others over and over again. Eventually, their myth emerges as reality to countless unsuspecting listeners.
Some evolutionists argue that since soft-bodied organisms do not fossilize as easily as invertebrates with hard shells, we should not expect a good history of the transition that would have produced the complex invertebrates. But this excuse no longer carries much weight, even with many evolutionists, since discoveries in recent years have yielded a wealth of soft-bodied organisms from early Cambrian and pre-Cambrian strata.
Numerous soft-bodied specimens from the Ediacara fauna, organisms in pre-Cambrian strata, have now been found in more than 30 localities worldwide.16 These creatures are so diverse and unusual that many evolutionists recognize that they cannot possibly be ancestors to the complex invertebrates, and consider them an evolutionary dead-end. This fauna also appears in the fossil record suddenly with no trace of ancestors whatsoever, compounding the problem for evolutionists even further.
The Burgess shale fossil formation in Canada also consists of numerous soft-bodied fossils. Since this fossil bed was discovered, a rich diversity of over 60,000 detailed soft-bodied specimens have been unearthed.17
More recently an impressive cache of soft-bodied fossils was discovered in China (called the Chengjiang fauna). One of the discoverers of the early Cambrian vertebrate fossils at Chengjiang stated: â€œSince the identification of the Lower Cambrian Yunnanozoon as a chordate in 1995, large numbers of complete specimens of soft-bodied chordates from the Lower Cambrian Maotianshan Shale in central Yunnan (southern China) have been recovered.â€18 [emphasis mine]
Some evolutionists who realize the soft-bodied excuse no longer carries weight are invoking strange ideas in an attempt to deal with this mammoth problem of the sudden arrival of such complex and diverse life. One evolutionist has proposed that all the animal phyla before the Cambrian explosion had nearly identical genes, and that â€œdifferential usage of the same set of genesâ€ accounted for the extreme diversities of body plans.19 There are two primary problems with this: 1) he offers little evidence to support his hypothesis; 2) even if true it would only serve to push the problem back in time - it would then fail to explain why the fossil record left absolutely no trace whatsoever of such a massive accumulation of all this shared genetic information.
Another just-so story offered up by some evolutionists in an attempt to shrink the enormous gap between invertebrate and vertebrate is the claim that many â€œnewâ€ vertebrate structures are derived from just a few â€œnewâ€ embryonic cell types.20 Again this has very little evidence to support it. It also is very difficult to image how such a mechanism could arise via random mutation alone. Selection would be impotent since such a mechanism would not logically be expected to have a selective advantage until virtually intact. Regardless, this still would not solve the enormous dilemma of the complete lack of ancestors leading up to the complex invertebrates that represent 95% of the entire fossil record.
Even if we ignore the evolutionistâ€™s sleight-of-hand described above, their own words reveal convincingly that the fossil record does not support evolution. Consider the following predictions (or expectations) of the fossil record if evolution were true:
2) Simple to complex
3) Clear-cut lineages
4) Identifiable common ancestors
Now consider the predictions of the fossil record if special creation is true:
1) Sudden appearance
2) Fully formed
All of the predictions for evolution have failed miserably, while all of the predictions for creation have been overwhelmingly borne out by the evidence. For each of the individual predictions above, it is very easy to find an evolutionist scientist who substantiates the creationist viewpoint for that particular prediction. On the following web page I have provided such substantiations from leading evolutionists. For brevity I have included two quotes for each expectation/prediction:
It is truly amazing that evolutionists, including those whom I cited in the preceding page, still unabashedly tell the world the myth that the fossil record supports evolution.
Darwin wrote that in order for his theory to be true, the number of transitional links "must have been inconceivably great".21 A century and a half later, the tons of fossils we have since unearthed have not produced even the slightest inkling of what must exist if evolution occurred on earth. When we examine the most intact and thorough portion of the fossil record, a portion that represents more than 99.99% of the entire fossil record, we do not find a single one of Darwinâ€™s necessary links, not even one that evolutionists can agree on. None. Nada. Zippo. Creationist Dr Duane Gish summed it up very well:
â€œAll of the complex invertebrates appear fully-formed without a trace of ancestors or transitional forms linking one to the other.... If evolution is true, the rocks should contain billions times billions of fossils of the ancestors of the complex invertebrates. Yet, not one has ever been found! Even more convincing, if that can be said, is the total absence of intermediates between invertebrates and fishes, and the total absence of ancestors and transitional forms for each major class of fishes... It is physically impossible for millions of years of evolution to take place, producing a great variety of major types of fish, without leaving a traceâ€¦The evidence from the fossil record ... has established beyond any reasonable doubt that evolution has not taken place on the earth.â€22 [emphasis in original]
The fossil data has clearly produced a nightmare scenario for the evolutionist. There is no way one can examine the fossil data and come away with the conclusion that the fossil record supports evolution. Yet this is what virtually every evolutionist continues to do. They find themselves pushed into a very tight corner by the fossils, but make their escape with a sleight-of-hand, erecting an illusion by scraping bits & pieces together from this tight corner of the fossil record and molding them to make it appear they tell the story of the entire fossil record. Once out of the corner, the evolutionist storyteller is free to spread the illusion to a mostly unsuspecting public. We should be ready to quickly expose this fallacy and tear down the illusion erected by the evolutionist storyteller. Itâ€™s time to hold the evolutionists accountable for this deception.
When an evolutionist presents his vertebrate transitional, if you deal with his specific claim without pointing out the sleight-of-hand, you are playing right into the illusion. While I believe we should continue to address specific claims, we should first demolish the illusion being erected. Begin by asking the evolutionist why he is presenting you with a piece of data that comes from such a fragmentary and incredibly miniscule portion of the fossil record. Show him the chart in Figure 1. Ask him why he will not show you examples of evolution that fall within the other 99.99% of the chart, a portion that not only represents the bulk of the data, but a portion where the data is far more robust and complete. Then return to their original claim that â€œthe fossil record supports evolutionâ€. Ask them how they can make such an audacious claim given the fact that they cannot provide you with even a shred of evidence where it should be the most abundant, from that 99.99% portion they had originally failed to mention to you.
Once the curtain is pulled and the illusion is exposed, it is much easier to deal with the fragments of bones the evolutionists scrape out of that closet in the basement of the large 50-story museum. We would expect many of these speculative claims to fail even loose standards, and indeed this is exactly what occurs. When the entire scope of the fossil record is considered, the nature of these speculative claims quickly comes into context with clarity. The only reasonable conclusion that remains is clear and undeniable: The fossil record sharply and powerfully contradicts evolution.
1. The fossil distribution data comes from Answers is Genesis, and is based on various sources (including Paleontologist Dr. Kurt Wise). This data is not disputed by informed evolutionists, which includes frequent Talk.Origins regular Andrew Macrae.
2. For example, in the widely used college undergraduate textbook â€œEvolutionary Biologyâ€ (3rd Ed. 1998), author Douglas Futuyma does not list one single transitional leading up to the complex invertebrates (see chapter 6 in particular, â€œEvolving Lineages in the Fossil Recordâ€). All his transitional examples spanning orders or classes are vertebrates! His only mention of the "evolution" of the complex invertebrates is a brief snippet on the changes in rib numbers on trilobites! This of course is nothing more than small-scale variation, or micro-evolution. Also see â€œInvertebrate Beginningsâ€, Paleobiology, 6: 365-70, R.D. Barnes, 1980. Also see Dr Chenâ€™s comments in the Boston Globe article A Little Fish Challenges A Giant Of Science (see footnote 7).
3. Botanists at the University of Nebraska recently wrote: â€œThe mystery of the origin of flowering plants was and still is complicated by the lack of any obvious candidates for next-of-kin for the group.â€ See The Abominable Mystery Of The First Flowers: Clues from Nebraska and Kansas, by M. R. Bolick and R. K. Pabian. The words of widely recognized evolutionist botanist E.J.H. Corner of Cambridge University still ring true 40 years after he wrote them: â€œBut I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favor of special creation ... Can you imaging how an orchid, a duck weed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisitionâ€ -Contemporary Botanical Thought., MacLeod, A.M. and Cobley, L.S. (eds) 1961. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, p 97.
4. The 2001 EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online states: â€œNo fossils have yet been found from the Late Devonian or Early Carboniferous periods, when the key characters of present-day insects are believed to have evolved; thus, early evolution must be inferred from the morphology of extant insects.â€- Insect: Insect Fossil Record,EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online 2001. <http://members.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=108350&sctn=35>
5. The lack of fossils intermediate between invertebrate and vertebrate is well documented in the scientific literature. Carl Zimmer in Science magazine recently wrote: â€œBut the record provides few clues to help resolve this contradiction, because there are no animal fossils that old and no examples of an intermediate species.â€(â€˜In Search Of Vertebrate Origins: Beyond Brain And Boneâ€™, Science, March 3, 2000 [emphasis mine]). I also chose to cite this article because it subtly alludes to the fossil illusion this article addresses.
â€œThe extensive marine beds of the Silurian and those of the Ordovician are essentially void of vertebrate historyâ€- â€œFish", EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online 2001[emphasis mine]
6. Chinese National Geography 467 ( Sept 1999): 6-25
7. â€˜A Little Fish Challenges A Giant Of Scienceâ€™ - The Boston Globe, May 30, 2000, Pg. E1; Fred Heeren, Globe Correspondent. From the article: â€œAccording to Chen, the two main forces of evolution espoused by neo-Darwinism, natural selection ("survival of the fittest") and random genetic mutation, cannot account for the sudden emergence of so many new genetic forms.â€ Chia-Wei Li was more blunt: â€œNo evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.â€
8. In his college textbook Evolutionary Biology (3rd ed. 1998, p 173), Douglas Futuyma asks â€œwhy did fundamentally different body plans evolve in such great profusion early in evolutionary history, but hardly at all thereafter?â€ In Early Life on Earth, â€˜Ideas on early animal evolutionâ€™ (1992, NS 84), Jan BergstrÃ¶m wrote â€œThere is absolutely no sign of convergence between phyla as we follow them backwards to the Early Cambrian. They were as widely apart from the beginning as they are today.â€
9. Leading ornithologist Dr. Alan Feduccia wrote "Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earth-bound feathered dinosaur. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of "paleobabble" is going to change that". Cited in J. Sarfati, Refuting Evolution, p 58, from Science, 259(5096), p 764-65. Dr Storrs Olson, Curator of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, equated the belief that birds are descended from dinosaurs to â€œâ€¦one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age â€” the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion.â€ â€“ Open Letter to National Geographic Society, 1999
10. Roger Lewin, Bones of Contention, 1987, p.164, 165
11. Lord Solly Zuckerman, Beyond the Ivory Tower, 1970, p. 64
12. Walter ReMine vs. Massimo Pigliucci Debate, University of Minnesota, August 12, 2000 (video)
13. â€˜New Views of the Origins of Mammalsâ€™, Science, Aug 7, 1998, p775
14. "Ramapithecus" EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online. <http://members.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=64162&sctn=1>
15. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1986, p. 180
16. â€˜Ediacaria Biota, Ancestors of Modern Life or Evolutionary Dead End?â€™, The Miller Museum of Geology Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
17. "Burgess Shale" EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica Online.<http://members.eb.com/bol/topic?eu=2421&sctn=1>
18. â€˜An early Cambrian craniate-like chordateâ€™, Nature 402, 518 - 522 (1999), Jun-Yuan Chen, Di-Ying Huang and Chia-Wei Li.
19. Susumo Ohno, â€œThe notion of the Cambrian pananimalia genome,â€ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA: Vol 93, No 16, 8475-78, August 6, 1996. Dr Ohno proposes his just-so story because he is well aware of the enormous problem the sudden appearance of life in the fossil record puts on population genetics. He writes: â€œAssuming a spontaneous mutation rate to be a generous 10 -9 per base pair per year and also assuming no negative interference by natural selection, it still takes 10 million years to undergo 1% change in DNA base sequences. It follows that 6-10 million years in the evolutionary time scale is but a blink of an eye. The Cambrian explosion denoting the almost simultaneous emergence of nearly all the extant phyla of the Kingdom Animalia within the time span of 6-10 million years canâ€™t possibly be explained by mutational divergence of individual gene functions.â€
20. Carl Zimmer, â€˜In Search of Vertebrate Origins: Beyond Brain and Boneâ€™, Science 2000 March 3; 287: 1576-1579.
21. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Chapter 10 - On The Imperfection Of The Geological Record
22. Duane Gish, Evolution: the Fossils STILL say NO!, 1995, p. 81
The term evolution often takes on several meanings in today's scientific circles, often in very misleading ways. A 1999 undergraduate college textbook on Biology states: "Evolution is a generation-to-generation change in a population's frequencies of alleles or genotypes. Because such a change in a gene pool is evolution on the smallest scale, it is referred to more specifically as microevolution"1 [emphasis in original]. This type of "evolution" is widely accepted by evolutionists and creationists alike and is not in dispute. It really amounts to minor genetic variation that may result from selective breeding such as found in the different varieties of dogs, or from placing stress on a population resulting in adaptation to an environment (i.e. the peppered moth in England, or drug-resistant bacteria). Microevolution is a misnomer, since it is not evolution as most people understand the word, but instead is adaptation and variation within a kind of organism - lizards are still lizards, dogs are still dogs, and peppered moths are still peppered moths! Evolutionists invariably appeal to this kind of "evolution" as "proof" for their theory.
The same college biology book later defines macroevolution as the origin of new taxonomic groups, from species to families to kingdoms2. The problem with this definition is that it encompasses both large-scale change, such as invertebrates evolving to vertebrates (which creationists dispute), and small-scale change that results in speciation (which creationists do not dispute). Indeed a new species can easily arise by simple geographical isolation of segments of a population (called allopatric speciation). For example, there are six species of North American jackrabbits, all of which lost the ability to interbreed due to changed mating habits caused by geographic separation. Thus the term macroevolution is misleading by its inclusion of microevolution, a confusion confirmed by the very biology book that defined it, since the book later attributes speciation to microevolution on isolated populations!3
Finally, there is large-scale evolution that may be referred to as molecules-to-man evolution, a theory that organisms over a long period of time have evolved into more complex organisms through the improvement or addition of new organs and bodily structures. This is how the wordevolution is generally understood by the public. In fact it was defined this way for many years until evolutionists began evolving the word!4
Molecules-to-man evolution is the type of evolution that my web site seeks to portray as a "fairy tale for grownups". It is unobservable, untestable, and has little, if any, evidence to support it. At best it should be labeled a low-grade hypothesis. Unfortunately, evolutionists continue to invoke microevolution and speciation as "evidence" that large-scale, molecules-to-man evolution is true. This is an invalid extrapolation, and is very misleading to the public. It is apparent that due to the lack of any real, tangible evidence for large-scale evolution, evolutionists have sought to create the illusion that evolution is true by reshaping and blurring the meaning of the word evolution.
1. Campbell, Reece, Mitchell, Biology 5th Edition, 1999, p. 432
2. Ibid. p. 445
3. Ibid. p. 451
4. Evolutionist G.A. Kerkut defined the â€˜General Theory of Evolutionâ€™ in his 1960 book 'Implications of Evolution' as "the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form." Some dictionaries still define it similarly, such as the Oxford Concise Science Dictionary: "evolution: The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for the past 3000 million years."
Evolutionists often argue that DNA similarity between chimps and man is powerful evidence that they share a common ancestor. Recent estimates put the difference at 1.24%. Creationists respond by arguing that DNA similarity would be expected due to common design, and also note that 1.24% still represents a difference of roughly 39 million fixed base pairs between the two. These are valid points that sufficiently expose the weak logic of the evolutionist claim.
However, there are other serious problems with the evolutionist claim that have gone mostly unnoticed. In recent years, study after study have yielded human mutation rates that are inexplicably too high [3,4,5,6]. These rates are determined by doing direct comparison of simian DNA to human DNA. Estimates are then made for the deleterious (harmful) mutation rate for both the human clade and simian clade since their assumed split from a common ancestor 5 to 6 million years ago.