Exposing the Evolutionist’s Sleight-of-Hand With the Fossil Record

Author(s):  Fred Williams

Whose credentials as a scientist with knowledge of evolution are no more than a BS in Electrical Engineering.

Source: Featured in Creation Digest, Winter 2002

Link: http://www.evolutionfairytale.com/articles_debates/fossil_illusion.htm

One of the most effective pitches evolutionists use to sell their theory is their claim that the fossil record supports evolution.
It provides very good support for evolution over geological time scales. That evolution occurs is a fact.
This could not be farther from the truth;
It's a conclusion based on extensive evidence, and there is no alternative theoretical basis which explains that evidence. It seems to me that it could not be closer to the truth
Unfounded assertion
in fact the fossil record provides powerful and overwhelming evidence that evolution did not occur on earth.
It provides extremely good evidence that evolution has occurred if we look at the geological record as a whole.
So how is the evolutionist able to effectively sell to their audience the precise opposite of what the data shows?
A false assertion, based in a falsehood
They achieve this by employing a clever sleight-of-hand with the fossil data that can easily be missed by any reasonable person.
This is a personal attack on the integrity of the scientists involved in evolutionary research, It suggests deliberate deception on their part.
Character attack
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 – the fossil record is an overwhelming and devastating contradiction to evolution.
More unsupported assertions
Unsupported assertion
The Sleight-of-Hand
Here’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.
He will? Not the evolutionary scientists I know. The most detailed studies of evolution at fine scales have been carried out on invertebrate fossils as these are overwhelmingly the most abundant.
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
If the "evolutionist" is talking to the general public, he (or she for that matter) will tend to talk about extinct animals with which people are familiar, such as dinosaurs. This does not necessarily reflect the importance of such organisms to the support for evolutionary theory from the fossil record
What about the other 99.99% of the fossil record? That’s the other key piece of information the evolutionist is withholding from you.
This evidence has been widely published for over a century, and is available to anyone with access to a decent library or the internet
Complex invertebrates make up the vast majority of this portion of the record, roughly 95%. We have cataloged literally millions of different species of these very complex creatures, and we have entire fossils, not just pieces here and there.
Well, sort of. This all depends on what is meant by "complex invertebrates". Most of the fossil record is formed from rather simple organisms such as coccoliths. What organisms in the fossil record tend to have in common is hard body parts such as shells and bones.
In this rich and virtually complete portion of the fossil record, there is not a single sign of evolution, whatsoever!!!2
Utterly false. There are numerous examples of evolution at fine scales of discrimination in this record, as the Micraster paper above illustrates.
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.
Yes, and we have numerous such examples
Utterly false. There are numerous examples of evolution at fine scales of discrimination in this record, as the Micraster paper above illustrates.
The remarkable completeness of this vast portion of the fossil record
It's not "remarkably complete", but very patchy. The reason why we have many more invertebrates is that they are vastly more numerous, and the ones we find in the fossil record, molluscs and brachiopods in particular, have hard mineralised shells which fossilise readily. Most invertebrate groups are virtually unknown in 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.
More unsupported assertions of dishonesty
Character attack
There is not the wild guesswork inherent when dealing with willy-nilly fragments of a tooth here, a leg bone there.
Wild guesswork is not a characteristic of the science practised by evolutionary scientists.
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,
There is ample evidence for the evolution of plants in the fossil record.
whatsoever.3 In the small portion that includes insects, again we find no fossil evidence of evolution, whatsoever.4.
Utterly false. See here:
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,
False, as any reading of such popular books as Gould's "Wonderful Life" and Conway Morris' "The Crucible of Creation" can demonstrate
but also missing in action are the enormous number of transitionals that must have existed to bridge the gap between invertebrates and vertebrates.
False, as any conodont worker can tell you. There is also Pikaia, of course
The transformation from invertebrate to vertebrate would have been a major event in the earth’s evolutionary history. Yet the fossil record does not leave a single shred of evidence for this enormous transformation!5.
False, as the references I've given show
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.
Our knowledge of the early evolutionary stages of vertebrates has been greatly enhanced by the discoveries from these Chinese faunas. This is not a "problem"!
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
The "Cambrian Explosion" is not a 2-3 million year window. It probably lasted about 30 million years
are markedly distinct morphologically from each other.
There are marked morphological similarities between many of the representatives of different phyla at this early stage of their separation. The proto-chordates, for example, differ little from their ancestors.
This disparity of body plans is followed by stasis,
No it isn't. Although the fossil record from such a remote time-period is very patchy, there is clear evidence for evolutionary changes, such as the early evolution of the trilobites:
where there are no incremental alterations to the body plans through the entire history of the fossil record up to the present!8
Completely and utterly false. The development of the tetrapod body plan occurred long after the Cambrian.
This is precisely what one would expect if special creation were true, and a stark contradiction to evolution
And empty assertion, as "special creation" can "explain" anything, and in any case is based on the false premises about the nature of the fossil record.
Empty assertion
So all that is left is a sliver of a corner of the fossil record, the vertebrates.
This assertion is false, as has been demonstrated above
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
Again, utterly false. The fossil record shows in detail the evolution of tetrapods from fish!
.5 A small remainder of this miniscule sliver is left for the land-dwelling vertebrates.
Which is hardly surprising, as terrestrial deposits are far less likely to form fossils than marine deposits
Of the land-dwelling vertebrate species unearthed, 95% are represented by a bone or less1.
A bone "or less"? I know of no vertebrates which are represented by less than a bone!
Very silly
Yet this is where the evolutionist concentrates all his efforts to "show" to his audience that "the fossil record supports evolution"!
Utterly false, as has been shown above
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.
And this is an empty assertion which denigrates the integrity of the scientists involved, and is in any case falsified by the evidence.
The Sliver Considered
What about this miniscule and fragmentary portion of the fossil record where evolutionists have been forced to spend so much of their time & energy?
Most evolutionary scientists work on the fossil record of invertebrates.
False implication
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.
Well so what? This is the way science operates!
Indeed we have an abundance of examples of both of these expected outcomes.
Well so what? This is the way science operates!
Take Archaeopteryx, for example. Many evolutionists hail this fossil bird as an intermediate between dinosaur & bird. Yet a decent number
No it is a vanishingly small number
of leading bird experts, who are themselves evolutionists, roundly dispute this claim.9
Though this hardly supports creationism. They claim that it evolved from a basal stock before the dinosaurs
The alleged ape-man ‘Lucy’ is another example championed by many evolutionists, but disputed by other qualified evolutionist scientists.to be found in this field at all”.11
Not any more, as many more specimens have been found
Renowned anatomist Lord Solly Zuckerman once scornfully denounced the australopithecines as nothing more than “bloody apes”!10
Yes, and he did so in the 1950's! His views have been refuted by the multitude of more recent finds
He became so frustrated with the claims of his fellow evolutionists that he declared there was “no science
So what? He was wrong
There are also many examples where later fossil data overturned prior misconceptions.
Emm.. Yes. This is something called "science". We go where the evidence takes us.
Consider Mesonychid, an alleged whale ancestor.
Actually, they are the Mesonychids, a family of extinct mammals
In a recent debate between evolutionist Pigliucci and creationist Walter Remine, Pigliucci confidently touted Mesonychid as an ancestor to the whales.12
Even Remine's account of the debate shows that he did not "confidently tout" Mesonychids as whale ancestors. He offered them as a possible model.
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
They are still considered to be whale ancestors!
For more than 20 years Ramapithecus was proudly displayed in museums across the country as man’s first direct ancestor, based entirely on jaw and teeth fragments!14
And this stopped when better evidence was discovered!
When a complete jaw was found, evolutionists where forced to admit that it was actually a relative of the orangutan!
Humans are relatives of orang utans. We are all great apes
There are many more examples, such as the now debunked Nebraska man,
Which was a very tentative identification in the first place, blown out of proportion by the press at the time and creationists ever since, and corrected within a few years of the original discovery almost a hundred years ago.
Mindblowingly irrelevant!
the chordate Pikaia as a vertebrate ancestor7,
It is still considered as representing a vertebrate ancestor by most palaeontologists.
the eventual removal of Neanderthal man as a human ancestor, etc.
Which was done as better information became available
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 Encyclopædia Britannica Online. (click for larger image)
the "Britannica Encyclopaedia" is hardly the most authoritative source on the evolutionary ancestry of dinosaurs! There are many fossils which represent stages in dinosaur ancestry. Thecodonts:
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,
There's a lot of careful anatomical and cladistic analysis. This is not simply "speculation", but the formation of testable hypotheses.
especially when we do not have any of the soft anatomy available to analyze.
One can hardly criticise the scientists for not analysing something which isn't there!
In his book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”, Dr Michael Denton
A creationist with no formal training in palaeontology, and who has made no contribution to evolutionary science, by the way...
Dubious credentials...
wrote: “Because 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.”15
Weird assertion
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.
emm..no. It was analysis of the skeletal anatomy in the light of new findings of early tetrapod ancestors, and genetic analysis
An Analogy
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 aren’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 it’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!
Well it's a freaking lousy museum in that case.
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 “evidence” for evolution! These fragments of bones allow John to make all kinds of wild, fanciful speculation. “Hey, this is ‘evidence’, man!” 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. He’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 “the fossil record supports evolution”, and gives them his “examples” 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.
Answering the standard evolutionist objections
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.
A perfectly reasonable argument, by the way.
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.
These are exceptional cases! Just because we find a few scattered cases of outstanding preservation does not mean that the whole fossil record suddenly becomes equally good!
Stupid argument
Numerous soft-bodied specimens from the Ediacara fauna, organisms in pre-Cambrian strata, have now been found in more than 30 localities worldwide.16
...out of the millions of localities in which fossils have been found...
Stupid argument
These creatures are so diverse and unusual that many evolutionists recognize that they cannot possibly be ancestors to the complex invertebrates
Does the author have any idea what "diverse" means? Some are considered to be ancestral to modern or other extinct organisms, others evolutionary dead-ends, as we would expect for any diverse fauna
Stupid argument
, 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.
No it doesn't. The Edicaran faunas are found in a very few places, and are scattered over a wide temporal range.
The Burgess shale fossil formation in Canada also consists of numerous soft-bodied fossils.
Quite so.
Since this fossil bed was discovered, a rich diversity of over 60,000 detailed soft-bodied specimens have been unearthed.17
Wow! The point being?
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: “Since 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.”18 [emphasis mine]
Some evolutionists who realize the soft-bodied excuse
It's not an "excuse" but an observation of the nature of the fossil record. Most fossils are not exceptionally well-preserved!
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.
It is not a "mammoth problem" if the timescales involved and the paucity of the fossil record are considered
One evolutionist has proposed that all the animal phyla before the Cambrian explosion had nearly identical genes, and that “differential usage of the same set of genes” 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;
Yes there is. It's the existence of hox genes
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.
It explains how such diversity can be generated within a geologically short timescale. The paucity of the fossil record is explained by the lack of mineralised structures.
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 “new” vertebrate structures are derived from just a few “new” embryonic cell types.20
Well, they are! It's a fact.
Again this has very little evidence to support it.
Emmm..it does.
It also is very difficult to image how such a mechanism could arise via random mutation alone.
False premise. Nobody is suggesting that. It's the effect of selection in mutation
Selection would be impotent since such a mechanism would not logically be expected to have a selective advantage until virtually intact.
Logically it would, as has been demonstrated in numerous studies and experiments
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.
There is no "complete lack of ancestors"
In Their Own Words
Even if we ignore the evolutionist’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:
If by "their own words" you mean quotes selectively taken out of context in the pretence that evolutionary scientists support your views...
1) Gradualism
Yep. We find this in, for example the evolution of Micraster
2) Simple to complex
Not a prediction of evolutionary theory, but nevertheless richly illustrated by the fossil record
3) Clear-cut lineages
Not a prediction of evolutionary theory, which predicts the close similarities we find between representatives of different lineages we find in the early stages of separation.
4) Identifiable common ancestors
Of which there are numerous examples
Now consider the predictions of the fossil record if special creation is true:
1) Sudden appearance
Which is rarely the case
2) Fully formed
Which is utterly meaningless. All species are "fully formed".
3) Stasis
Which is a prediction of evolutionary theory in the absence of environmental changes
All of the predictions for evolution have failed miserably,
Emmm...no they haven't. The example of Tiktaalik is a recent example of predictions of evolutionary theory being verified.
while all of the predictions for creation have been overwhelmingly borne out by the evidence.
Emmm...no they haven't. Creationists systematically deny 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.
Not when you try to find out what the scientist actually thinks rather than taking something out of context
On the following web page I have provided such substantiations from leading evolutionists. For brevity I have included two quotes for each expectation/prediction:
Evolutionist Quotes on the Fossil Record
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.
Conclusion – Be prepared to dismantle the Illusion!!!
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 Darwin’s necessary links, not even one that evolutionists can agree on. None. Nada. Zippo. Creationist Dr Duane Gish summed it up very well:
An assertion which is flatly untrue, as the references I have provided demonstrate
“All 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 trace…The evidence from the fossil record ... has established beyond any reasonable doubt that evolution has not taken place on the earth.”22 [emphasis in original]
These are not the words of an "evolutionist", but the unsubstantiated assertions of a creationist
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. It’s time to hold the evolutionists accountable for this deception.
These are not the words of an "evolutionist", but the unsubstantiated assertions of a creationist
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 “the fossil record supports evolution”. 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.
These are not the words of an "evolutionist", but the unsubstantiated assertions of a creationist
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.
These are not the words of an "evolutionist", but the unsubstantiated assertions of a creationist
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.
A creationists source, incidentally
2. For example, in the widely used college undergraduate textbook “Evolutionary Biology” (3rd Ed. 1998), author Douglas Futuyma does not list one single transitional leading up to the complex invertebrates (see chapter 6 in particular, “Evolving Lineages in the Fossil Record”). 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 “Invertebrate Beginnings”, Paleobiology, 6: 365-70, R.D. Barnes, 1980. Also see Dr Chen’s comments in the Boston Globe article A Little Fish Challenges A Giant Of Science (see footnote 7).
And this implies what, exactly?
3. Botanists at the University of Nebraska recently wrote: “The 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.” See The Abominable Mystery Of The First Flowers: Clues from Nebraska and Kansas, by M. R. Bolick and R. K. Pabian.
Which given the poor fossil record of plants is not surprising
The words of widely recognized evolutionist botanist E.J.H. Corner of Cambridge University still ring true 40 years after he wrote them: “But 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 inquisition” - Contemporary Botanical Thought., MacLeod, A.M. and Cobley, L.S. (eds) 1961. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, p 97.
A quotation taken out of context:
4. The 2001 Encyclopædia Britannica Online states: “No 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.”- Insect: Insect Fossil Record, Encyclopædia Britannica Online 2001.
Which given the poor fossil record of insects is not surprising
5. The lack of fossils intermediate between invertebrate and vertebrate is well documented in the scientific literature. Carl Zimmer in Science magazine recently wrote: “But 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.”(‘In Search Of Vertebrate Origins: Beyond Brain And Bone’, Science, March 3, 2000 [emphasis mine]). I also chose to cite this article because it subtly alludes to the fossil illusion this article addresses.
Carl Zimmer refers clearly to the bias in displays in real museums. His article begins "Walk through the halls of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and you will see our lopsided bias toward vertebrates on spectacular display. The history of the vertebrates unfolds in hall after hall of magnificent fossils, from dinosaurs to cave bears. Meanwhile, equally magnificent specimens of invertebrates such as Nautilus and giant clams are tucked away in a few smaller, less popular rooms ...". He comes back to this in the final paragraph "Museums may never mount a major exhibit about the neural crest ..."
(thanks to Jim Roberts for correcting me on this)
So the article does not refer to any "fossil illusion", but a bias in presentation.
“The extensive marine beds of the Silurian and those of the Ordovician are essentially void of vertebrate history”- “Fish", Encyclopædia Britannica Online 2001[emphasis mine]
And this implies what, exactly?
6. Chinese National Geography 467 ( Sept 1999): 6-25
7. ‘A Little Fish Challenges A Giant Of Science’ - The Boston Globe, May 30, 2000, Pg. E1; Fred Heeren, Globe Correspondent. From the article: “According 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.” Chia-Wei Li was more blunt: “No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.”
8. In his college textbook Evolutionary Biology (3rd ed. 1998, p 173), Douglas Futuyma asks “why did fundamentally different body plans evolve in such great profusion early in evolutionary history, but hardly at all thereafter?” In Early Life on Earth, ‘Ideas on early animal evolution’ (1992, NS 84), Jan Bergström wrote “There 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.”
And this implies what, exactly?
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.
And Alan Feduccia wants to turn Archaeopteryx into a cousin rather than an ancestor of the dinosaurs
So what?
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 “…one of the grander scientific hoaxes of our age — the paleontological equivalent of cold fusion.” – Open Letter to National Geographic Society, 1999
He's entitled to his opinion. It is not shared by most palaeontologists
So what?
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. ‘New Views of the Origins of Mammals’, Science, Aug 7, 1998, p775
14. "Ramapithecus" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
15. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1986, p. 180
16. ‘Ediacaria Biota, Ancestors of Modern Life or Evolutionary Dead End?’, The Miller Museum of Geology Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
17. "Burgess Shale" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
18. ‘An early Cambrian craniate-like chordate’, Nature 402, 518 - 522 (1999), Jun-Yuan Chen, Di-Ying Huang and Chia-Wei Li.
19. Susumo Ohno, “The notion of the Cambrian pananimalia genome,” 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: “Assuming 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 can’t possibly be explained by mutational divergence of individual gene functions.”
20. Carl Zimmer, ‘In Search of Vertebrate Origins: Beyond Brain and Bone’, 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
As egregious a collection of misinformation, distortion and outright falsehood as one can come across even in the creationist literature. This was incidentally the book which first exposed me to creationism, and demonstrated to me the dishonesty of their position.