The fossil record causes trouble for evolutionary theories because:
The new theory, however, predicts these very characteristics of the fossil record.
(Page 518) "The sudden appearance of numerous creatures in the fossil record without any common ancestors is a strong indication that all of these creatures originated simultaneously. The fact that the creatures in the Cambrian explosion were unique and evolutionarily unconnectable, and the appearance of entirely new creatures later in the fossil record, also support the new theory, while repudiating all evolutionary theories. And finally, many creatures that originated eons ago have remained virtually unchanged through the millennia -- a contradiction of evolution, but a firm corroboration for the new theory."
"Although many details in the fossil record discredit evolution, evolutionists have always tried to force these details into the domain of evolutionary theory -- because so far there has been no scientific infrastructure to offer any other type of explanation. ... [M]any evolutionary biologists and paleontologists themselves clearly recognize the problems presented by the fossil record."
From James Bush: I would suggest a book which I believe you will find very pertinent to [the fossil record]. The Origins of Order by Stuart A. Kaufman, one of the best written books I have ever read, and succinct to the point.
From: Dave Oldridge: Senapathy doesn't dismiss the fossil record; he mischaracterizes it in the same fashion that many of the creationist groups do. Then he points out that the mischaracterized fossil record is in keeping with his theory. That's ONE of my reasons for being very skeptical about it. He should read a lot more paleontology and write fewer biochemical just-so stories (just my two cents worth).
The fact is there are lots of intermediates at the generic and class levels. What is missing is intermediates between species (and in some cases even those exist).
JM: I admit to being a neophyte on the fossil record. I have been reading books and listening here and in other groups and know that there is much debate about the fossil record. So much so, that I cannot see how it supports Darwin much more that it refutes Darwin. It's like the bloody glove that didn't fit -- you need it, but wish it would go away, too.
Dave: It's not so much that it doesn't fit, but rather that it is, of necessity very incomplete. Of all the billions of organisms, only a handful ever fossilize. Of all the billions of fossils, only a handful survive that long. Of all those that survive, only a handful are accessible to be dug out of the ground.
Senapathy's theory does NOT explain the fossil record in any way. In fact, it is largely contradicted by the entire record from the Cambrian onwards.
JM: Now this I will claim to know something about, because I've read Senapathy's book thoroughly and have no doubt that if his theory is correct that the existing fossil record is totally supportive of it. In fact, any fossil record would do -- give me one from Mars. Assuming you can find one, it would show similarities (some nicely linked in time sequence and some not) and many unique characteristics . From your knowledge of Senapathy's work, I assume you have read his book. Please show me where the fossil record refutes his theory in any way. If you mean....
Dave: There would be no discernible cladistic tree and it would bear no discernible relationship to the tree derived from comparative anatomy if Senapathy was correct. Again, he ignores evidence that doesn't back up his theory.
JM: ..then I have to assume you have not read his theory because anatomical similarities at all levels are predicted.
From: James Bush: (quoting Dave Oldridge) "The fact is there are lots of intermediates at the generic and class levels. What is missing is intermediates between species (and in some cases even those exist)."
James: Please remember, at least in the fossil record, that species differentiation is strictly subjective. A lot of the so called objectivity is gone. What one differentiates between "closely" related species another calls the same species. Some people are splitters while others prefer to put "great diversity" into one group. I know this to be so for it has been the bane of my existence for the past 60 years.
From Shane McKee: As for the intermediates for limbs etc., I think there is plenty of evidence, fossil and embryological, for them...no new body parts - only the relative growth parameters have changed. Evolution can do that.
From Cliff Lundberg: Obviously there are intermediate forms. But are we justified in assuming that an intermediate form is a transitional form? This would seem a circular "proof" of evolution. And if an intermediate form IS a transitional form, which way is the transition proceeding? If we're talking about evolution in a general sense, we're talking about the origin of complex organisms. But the hard evidence -- close fossil sequences among indisputably related organisms -- shows reduction and distortion, not new anatomical complexity originating. Can someone address this conflict between fact and theory?
From Bob Morse: What the fossil record reveals is that certain INDIVIDUAL organisms lived and died at certain particular times. That's all. It does NOT reveal -- and CANNOT reveal, conclusively -- that particular other organisms did NOT live and die at the same time. And it certainly does NOT reveal WHY the preserved individual organisms lived and died when they did. Even logical inferences derived from probabilistic assessments are, in fact, only inferences.
Any and all such inferences are merely interpretation and speculation, no matter how much evidence may support them, and no matter what proportion of the esteemed scientific community may accept them -- or declare them "facts."
From William A. Brindley: If it is true, we can know nothing and we obviously know a great deal. When a stem breaks, do we really not know that all apples will fall just because we have not seen all apples fall? Your thesis that the fossil record indicates only information about INDIVIDUAL organisms and that no further inferences and speculation is appropriate is discordant with well established human experience and we would have had no successful science or technology if we were so constrained.
From Dave Oldridge: (Quoting JM) The fossil record supports his theory 100%. We don't even have to discuss whether or not the fossil record supports Darwin's macroevolution.
Dave: Sorry, Senapathy (and now you) seem to be somewhat ignorant of the fossil record. The fact is there are lots of intermediates at the generic and class levels. What is missing is intermediates between species (and in some cases even those exist). The "gaps" are important, but they are by no means the only feature. And Senapathy's theory does NOT explain the fossil record in any way. In fact, it is largely contradicted by the entire record from the Cambrian onwards.
JM: The gaps in the record, the sudden appearances of organisms, the uniqueness of the Burgess Shale creatures, the lack of transitional forms, etc., etc., etc., and even the commonalities between organisms, are all predicted, bulls-eye-style, by Senapathy's theory.
Dave: I think not. There would be no discernible cladistic tree and it would bear no discernible relationship to the tree derived from comparative anatomy if Senapathy was correct. Again, he ignores evidence that doesn't back up his theory.
If his interpretation of it is to be taken at face value, then new species ought to be crawling out of ponds everywhere, all the time.
JM: No, certainly not now. The productivity of the primordial pond ceased long ago because of changing conditions (e.g., the environment, lack of enough DNA material). Senapathy makes this very clear in his book, although h> does not attach a date to the demise of the pond.
Dave: Wisely, since most of the fossil record shows evidence of evolution by natural selection.
If Senapathy's theory has any merit, it ought to be easy for him to demonstrate it in the lab by actually producing new species from an artificial "soup."
JM: He does not claim to know the proper conditions, but no doubt we will be able to do this some day. It did happen at least once, so there can be no doubt that it is possible. Along that same line, if it happened once, why not twice -- or a few billion times?
Dave: It may well have happened more than once. However, it is also clear that living organisms change their environments, all the while evolving adaptations to the changes they are causing. Newly emerging replicators would tend to be out-competed by those that had already adapted.
JM: This possibility does not make multiple births impossible -- there could be great geographical isolation (or just enough isolation), for example. Maybe Dr. S. can expand on this.
From Shane McKee: New anatomical complexity is an astonishingly rare thing to arise, so it's not surprising that we don't find much between "indisputably related organisms". For example, where is the new anatomical complexity distinguishing a human from a dog? All there seems to be is "reduction and distortion". We don't even need fossil sequences to show that.
I think in evolution, people get way too hung up on the rocks, and don't see that the evidence for the processes that drove/drive evolution is right here and now in the living beasties which populate the planet. We can extract DNA from them, but it's harder from rocks.
From William A. Brindley: We have many intellectual protections against being fooled by "circular reasoning." The objection of "circular reasoning" is no objection at all. Anyone who takes any trouble to dig into modern publications in science or who contributes them is well aware of this.
Evolution is not just the origin of complex organisms. Evolution is also changes in frequency of gene alleles in a population due to some kind of environmental pressure. In the case of complex organisms, evolution from one complex form to another appears to be accomplished by relatively modest changes in the body details or biochemistry of the previous organism. That being the case, it takes a geological time scale to go from a reptile to a mammal-like reptile to a mammal. Given that, the position of the fossils in the geological column will give one an idea of the directionality (not necessarily a good word to use in this context) of the 'transition'.
The issue raised of 'reduction and distortion' is one I have never heard but it obviously contains a lot of individual value and definitional problems. An excellent example is the transition of the multi-boned jaw of reptiles to the single boned jaw of mammals. Is this a reduction and distortion or is it an increase and elaboration since the former bones of the reptilian jaw were used to increase and elaborate the mammalian hearing apparatus?
There are also numerous examples of intermediate forms in limbs as the previous poster pointed out.
The assertion that reduction and distortion is the result of evolution from one closely related complex organism to another is also belied in the evolution of humans. There, transitions in the pelvis, skull, and brain are quite clear. John C. Eccles' Evolution of the Brain makes it very clear to me, at least, that reduction and distortion is a simplification beyond meaning.
The place to look for answers to evolutionary problems is to the stream of publications from the main-line scientists who have researched these issues. This includes, obviously, biologists but also geologists, some astronomers, and some cosmologists who have helped define the platforms or time scales upon which biological evolution operates.
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