Quotes on the Fossil Record

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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)


“One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, 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 is wrong.” – Eldredge & Tattersall,The Myths of Human Evolution, 1982, p45-46

“For more than a century biologists have portrayed the evolution of life as a gradual unfolding…Today the fossil record…is forcing us to revise this conventional view” – 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.” - N.D.Newell, Why Scientists believe in Evolution, 1984, p 10, American Geological Institute pamphlet

“I believe that our failure to find any clear vector of fitfully accumulating progress…represents our greatest dilemma for a study of pattern in life’s history” – S.J. Gould, â€˜The paradox of the first tier: an agenda for paleobiology’, Paleobiology, Vol 11, No 1, 1985, p 3

Clear-cut lineages

“...the gradual morphological transitions between presumed ancestors and descendants, anticipated by most biologists, are missing.” - David E.Schindel, Curator at Peabody Museum of Natural History

“Many 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. … 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 phylogeny” – P.L.Forey, Neontological Analysis Versus Palaeontological Stories, 1982, p120-121

Identifiable Ancestors

“I agree…that ancestor-descendant relationships cannot be objectively recognized in the fossil record” – R.M. Schoch, â€˜Evolution Debate’, Letterin Science, April 22, 1983, p360

“The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal” – R. Wesson, Beyond Natural Selection, 1991, p 45

Now, regarding creation predictions/expectations of the fossils record:

Sudden Appearance

“For all of the animal phyla to appear in one single, short burst of diversification is not an obviously predicable outcome of evolution” - PeterWard & Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth, Feb 2000, p. 150

“One of the most difficult problems in evolutionary paleontology has been the almost abrupt appearance of the major animal groups” - A. G. Fisher,Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1998, fossil section

Fully Formed

“…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 creationists” – 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

“The overwhelming prevalence of stasis became an embarrassing feature of the fossil record” - S.J. Gould, â€˜Cordelia’s Dilemma’, Natural History, Feb1993, p 15

Read 443280 times Last modified on Sunday, 26 October 2014 22:00
Fred Williams

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