First Prove God? (Another way Evolution Fails)

I find that a lot of conversations with atheists on social media tend to follow the same path. I always hope for better conversations, but instead I wind up in deja vu land, and I have yet another good reason to be thankful for that MUTE button. One of the tired and well worn avenues which I get dragged down by the roach clowns who stop by to start an argument with me is the declaration that, before I can prove Evolution is false, I have to prove that God exists, and then I have to prove that He is the God of the Bible and not Thor or Zeus or Oprah.

I spend a lot of time reading tweets multiple times and saying to myself, “What the whaaaaaat?”

Here is the point: It is possible to prove that Evolution fails without first concluding that the Bible is true. The irony is, you can’t come to the conclusion that Evolution is a fact without first rejecting the Bible. That’s what Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin and a host of other people have done. Now a days the kids are all told to use their faith in evolution as a reason to reject the Bible, but the point is the same. One does not need to accept the Bible as true before he can reject evolution, one only needs to know enough science.

If you want to see evolution fail, just look closely at evolution. Evolution fails all by itself.

But once it does, the smart thing is to start asking- “Where we did come from?”, which will eventually lead you to discovering that the Bible is true starting on the very first page. Check that page out sometime, and thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.


Where has Rent a Friend gone? He’s been building a Soapbox!

Greetings friends! No doubt some of you have been asking, “Where has he been all year? Has Rent A Friend 2000 gone to the moon? Or been arrested? Or been eaten by bears?”

No, none of the above, yet. Where I have been is working on the NEW Creation Soapbox!

While this site will remain here, I am moving my considerable efforts and internet charm over to the new social media blitz which is aimed at using logic, reason, scripture and science to show that the Bible can be trusted from the very first page. And of course the most popular assault on the  first pages of the Bible is Darwin. So starting in August of this year, I will be relaunching the Evolution 101 series with weekly videos, shorter and funnier chapters, more illustrations, and some video playlists, fabulous quotes, and friendly references.

Here is the promo for the youtube channel and the series:

And here is a promo for all the stuff that will be going on, over on the wordpress site (among other places).

Don’t wait! Subscribe to day! And thanks for letting me be your Rent A Friend!

Evolution 101- Part 23: Climbing the Fish Ladder to Nowhere

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Now offering Plush Bill Nye dolls at their merch table)

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Is evolution progressive?
This is not an easy question to answer. From a plant’s perspective, the best measure of progress might be photosynthetic ability; from a spider’s it might be the efficiency of a venom delivery system.darwin aha

Here is where the darkness of this worldview peeks out its ugly head. On atheism, there is no value at all. Nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, only useful or harmful to the individual. Humans are not better than any other animal, as we are all merely organized pond scum, which itself is merely organized soup. We eat the plants, the plants ingest the soil we become when we die and decompose, why should we not also eat each other? Darwin gives no reason, and this is one of the reasons his theory so heavily influenced Adolph Hitler, as well as many other despots and mass murderers in the past century. Admittedly, this does not prove Evolution to be false, but it gives good reason to consider the case against it, and does in fact lead to a strong line of argumentation against the world view based on observable data of another kind. Also, if you wonder why anyone would want to spend the time and effort it takes to mount an attack against Darwinism, then look no further than this. When an idea leads to the slaughter of MILLIONS of civilians, that idea needs to be attacked as strongly as possible until it is no more.


The problem is that we humans are hung up on ourselves. We often define progress in a way that hinges on our view of ourselves, a way that relies on intellect, culture, or emotion. But that definition is anthropocentric.

I’d hate to have these people as parents. That’s all I’m saying.

It is tempting to see evolution as a grand progressive ladder with Homo sapiens emerging at the top. But evolution produces a tree, not a ladder — and we are just one of many leaves on the tree.

fish ladder

There is the final message- you are no better than the fish, insects, and plants. You are just another temporary interruption in the laws of entropy, until entropy wins. This view not only has no room for God, but no room for value judgments, morals, or even free will. Life is merely a chemical accident, nothing more.

I dig that guy’s little crown though. I’d totally wear one of those if I was sitting on my fish ladder.

Having reached the end of Berkley’s Evolution 101 web page, I feel like I need to have one of those moving musical montages of the highlights where we get to see the cast growing up, using catch phrases for the first time, and other moments which became part of the pop culture until we started seeing them made fun of in cartoons… Ah, the memories.

The evolutionary story tells us that we, the human race, are nothing more than the most recent version of fish or worm. We differ from the gum on our shoe only in the complexity of our make up and in the fact that the gum is the result of a conscious designer creating it for a purpose. WE are here without cause, purpose, value, or destiny. On this story, there is no right or wrong, good or evil, heaven or hell, hope, justice, or salvation. On evolution, there is no sin, there is no righteousness, and we are merely animals. NOTHING is wrong- for as we eat animals and animals eat each other, we could just as well eat each other. On evolution we have no reason not to own other men as we own hamsters.

Here is the most important place that Evolution FAILS when compared to the observable data. We all KNOW there is good and evil. We know slavery is WRONG. Rape, theft, murder, and lies are EVIL. Not merely inconvenient, but EVIL. We know that loving other people is GOOD. Not merely socially preferred, but truly GOOD. We all know this as sure as the sun shines. My first critic on this series admitted that he believed kindness was good and cruelty is evil, as EVERYONE KNOWS. He was offended that I would even ask the question. But if that is so- if we observe the fact that good and evil are real, then we KNOW evolution is wrong because it CANNOT account for that fact. Not only does it have no explanation of the fact of objective morality, it CANNOT CO EXIST with the fact of objective morality. If one is true the other MUST be false.

If Good and Evil exist, then there is a moral law by which to distinguish between them. If there is a moral law, then we know there is a law giver. If there is a law giver, then there is a God who has the authority and the character to give us that law.

Science has given us lots of observable data which can be used to discredit the evolutionary story and give support to the account of creation as told in Genesis, but there is some data which anyone can examine for themselves, and that is the human experience. We know that Good and Evil are real. We know that we are not meaningless accidents. We know that the people we love have REAL value, beyond our love for them. We know that we are not just blind, purposeless accidents. This is not wishful thinking- this is DATA. And the data deserves a conclusion. The evidence demands a verdict.

Here’s the point of all of this- the data we cannot escape, as hard as we try, is that we are sinners. We all have done wrong, even in our own eyes. We’ve all done what we know we should not do. We all need to be forgiven. The conclusion of the data is, because we know we have done wrong, we know we can tell right from wrong. because we know right from wrong, we know there is a Moral Law. Because there is a Moral Law, there must be a moral law giver, and the only being with the character and authority to be that law giver is the God of the Bible. But of course, if he is the perfect moral law giver, and we have done wrong, then we have put ourselves under his wrath, guilty of that law, and in need of forgiveness. We need GOD to forgive us, for we have broken HIS law.

One of the reasons I take the time to disprove evolution is to show that the Bible is true from the very first page. God did create the heavens and the earth, just as he said, and all attempts to explain the universe opposed to Genesis fail under scrutiny. But the Bible doesn’t just tell us where we came from, and what went wrong, it tells us how GOD set about to fix it.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Here is the point of all of this scientific debate- we are made special, and we have sinned, but GOD has come to us and given us a way to be forgiven. All you have to do if accept that you are a sinner, believe that Christ died for your sins, to pay your debt to God, and confess that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved.

As Paul wrote in Romans 8: 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

Give your sins to Jesus and accept his gift of forgiveness and you will be adopted into the family of God. Darwin said we are rearranged pond scum, and the children of worms. The truth is, we are made in the image of God, and through Jesus we can be children of God. Accept his love today.

Evolution 101- part 22: Half Way to Flatworm

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Battle Cry: “Stop Asking Questions!”)

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Looking at complexity: Life is full of grand complications, such as aerodynamic wings, multi-part organs like eyes, and intricate chemical pathways. When faced with such complexity, both opponents and proponents of evolution, Darwin included, have asked the question: how could it evolve?

 frog bird etc
Complex adaptions: bird wings, insect wings, vertebrate eyes, and insect eyes.

Science does not sweep such difficult questions under the rug, but takes them up as interesting areas for research. The difficulty is as follows.

OK, I’ve got it! “Evolution did it!” Send that to everyone and let’s go to lunch. Oh, and let’s make fun of the creationists for claiming God did it.

Since many of these complex traits seem to be adaptive, they are likely to have evolved in small steps through natural selection. That is, intermediate forms of the adaptation must have evolved before evolution arrived at a fully-fledged wing, chemical pathway, or eye.

Note the use of the phrase “must have evolved” in the place of actual evidence. This is a statement of faith, not of science. Also, there are MANY examples of biological systems which are irreducibly complex- meaning we know through study and observation that they need multiple specific parts all at once for the system to work AT ALL. Like a machine, these systems, organs, organelles, chemical pathways, and protein machines could not have formed through small steps and gradual accumulations, but must have had all of their necessary parts immediately. They will gloss over this fact in the following section.

But what good is half a wing or only a few of the elements of an eyeball? The intermediate forms of these adaptations may not seem adaptive — so how could they be produced by natural selection? [Editor’s Note: Produced by Natural Selection? Keep this question in mind.]

There are several ways such complex novelties may evolve:

  • Advantageous intermediates: It’s possible that those intermediate stages actually were advantageous, even if not in an obvious way. What good is “half an eye?” A simple eye with just a few of the components of a complex eye could still sense light and dark, like eyespots on simple flatworms do. This ability might have been advantageous for an organism with no vision at all and could have evolved through natural selection.
flatwormA Planaria flatworm with its light-sensitive eyespots.

Michael Behe covers this well in his book, Darwin’s Black Box. While the arguments against this evolutionary cartoon are valid, a better argument is an examination of the irreducible complexity of light sensitive cells which turn light into sight (And the chemical cascades which do the job of making sight possible). These cells, like all cells, are very complex, but unless they are fully functional, they do the organism and themselves no good, and thus would be weeded out by natural selection. Building these cells one piece at a time is impossible, not merely unlikely, as they depend on multiple parts and processes to function at all.

And do I have to point out that, even after THEY explained that Natural Selection only selects from what is already in the population- meaning it takes AWAY genetic information- they again want to give credit to Natural Selection as being able to produce the ability to see? Remember when they said this back in Part 14? “Natural selection just selects among whatever variations exist in the population.” So, sure,  those flatworms which can see may survive better than those that can’t, but that doesn’t do anything to explain where the complex machinery of sight came from.

  • Co-opting: The intermediate stages of a complex feature might have served a different purpose than the fully-fledged adaptation serves. What good is “half a wing?” Even if it’s not good for flying, it might be good for something else. The evolution of the very first feathers might have had nothing to do with flight and everything to do with insulation or display. Natural selection is an excellent thief, taking features that evolved in one context and using them for new functions.hairy dino

Once again we are skipping the actual, observable complexity of real feathers for some dark streaks which we will declare to be feathers. First problem- fossils of modern birds have been found in rock layers older than this. Secondly, these dark fibers have also been found on fossils of an ichthyosaur- a dinosaur which is a lot like a dolphin. Either these dark lines are, as some have proposed, protein strands from the decay of the dead animal as it fossilized, or a fish like dinosaur was also growing feathers. And third, even if this is a lizard with feathers, so what? That no more proves it was evolving into a bird than the beak proves birds evolved from turtles or parrot fish. That leap is based, not on the evidence, but on the evolutionary bias used to color the interpretation of evidence or maybe an odd species.

One of the best reasons for this dino to bird theory is fossils like Archeoraptor being put forth by magazines like National Geographic. You need to see the facts behind this amazing fraud for yourself. Here’s a spoiler-  they were told MONTHS BEFORE they published on it. They had been shown (By a pro-evolutionary lab who examined the fossil) that archeoraptor was a fraud made of several different animals in several different kinds of rocks. Even so, National Geographic shrugged it off and published it as fact anyways, KNOWING it was a fruad. Watch the story here.

I love science, kids. I love Biology, and I love studying all kinds of living things. But I can tell you one thing from observation: If Natural Selection was anything to shout about, these kinds of science frauds would have gone extinct many years ago. Even the flatworm can see that I’m right.

Join me next week for part 23 (The Big Finish!).

Evolution 101- Part 21: Quick Death of the Diamond Squid

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Last years 3rd place at the “Understanding Evolution Bowl”)

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

What would we observe in the fossil record if evolution happens in “quick” jumps (perhaps fewer than 100,000 years for significant change)?
If evolution happens in “quick” jumps, we’d expect to see big changes happen quickly in the fossil record, with little transition between ancestor and descendant.diamond squid 2

In the above example, we see the descendant preserved in a layer directly after the ancestor, showing a big change in a short time, with no transitional forms.

When evolution is rapid, transitional forms may not be preserved, even if fossils are laid down at regular intervals. We see many examples of this “quick” jumps pattern in the fossil record.

Or maybe you see quick jumps because you have found two different species and the transition never existed. A lack of transition is exactly what the biblical model would predict, because there would be no half cat /half dog, or half bird /half lizard. Each creature reproduces according to its KIND. But worse than the assumption of the evolutionary theory here is the gross misrepresentation of what is found in the rock layers. Paleontologists do not find fossils in neat layers like this. This layering of simple forms to more complex forms is created after the fact as illustrations like the one above. In the real rocks, there is no assortment of creatures. Clams and fish are found with T Rex and flamingos. Clams are found on the top of Mt Everest. Footprints are found in rocks supposedly older than the first tetrapod (4 legged creature) and birds are found in layers supposedly older than the first dinosaur to grow feathers and start evolving into a chicken. Modern human footprints are found in rock layers supposedly MILLIONS of years older than the first human. The geological column is pieced together by imagination based on the evolutionary bias. It does NOT exist.

Does a jump in the fossil record necessarily mean that evolution has happened in a “quick” jump?
We expect to see a jump in the fossil record if evolution has occurred as a “quick” jump, but a jump in the fossil record can also be explained by irregular fossil preservation.

 diamond squid 3

This possibility can make it difficult to conclude that evolution has happened rapidly.

Does anyone else hear the laundry list of excuses? Where else does a scientific model get this much legal defense and yet still make so many excuses? When I teach gravity, I don’t have a lot of “What should we think it we let go of a brick and it fails to fall” lessons. What they essentially have said is, “No matter what the observed data, evolution has happened.” When I say this is faith and not science, this is a fine example of what I am talking about.

We observe examples of both slow, steady change and rapid, periodic change in the fossil record. Both happen.

So evolution happens so slowly that we can’t observe it, and it happens so fast that it doesn’t have time to leave the expected transitional forms. Yes, sometimes we find a variety in the fossil record which is no longer around today, but that doesn’t make it a transition between any two KNDS, only two varieties of the SAME kind. Sometimes- in fact, very often- we just find fossils of things that are still around, like bats, turtles, platypuses, cats, dogs, snakes, fish, clams, birds, etc. Many of which have not evolved AT ALL even on their view, and many of which wind up found in rock layers which- on the evolutionary view- were laid down BEFORE that species own ancestors was supposed to have evolved. This is when a fossil becomes “Controversial.”

But scientists are trying to determine which pace is more typical of evolution and how each sort of evolutionary change happens.

I’m skipping the part that follows, because it’s not really anything new except that it applies some concepts to ancient silverfish instead of modern fruit flies. You can read about fruit flies HERE in Part 16.

This next part is always fun to watch them dance around:

a. Explosion: About 530 million years ago, a huge variety of marine animals suddenly burst onto the evolutionary scene. (Of course, “suddenly,” in geological terms, means in perhaps 10 million years).

Let me illuminate this: For billions of years (on their view) the earth had nothing but single celled bacteria. All of a sudden, they not only accidentally mutated enough information to create multi-cellular life forms, but ALL of the still existing Phyla. Suddenly means, there are no fossils to fill in as transitions before these guys all show up at the same time, almost as if they were created as these separate phyla, as we have found nothing which could be transitional between them.  Also, they managed to evolve into phyla which were ALL so successful that they are still ALL around today. Talk about beginner’s luck! If you can’t see how this explosion completely fails to sit the evolutionary story, yet totally fits the creation account, then I haven’t done my job. Or maybe you aren’t paying attention. Why should I take all the flack around here?

These animals had a variety of new body forms that evolution has been using to produce “spin-offs” ever since, such as these representatives from the Burgess Shale.fossils and friends

b. Extinction: About 225 million years ago, over 90% of the species alive at the time went extinct in fewer than 10 million years.

Yes, they couldn’t swim. They went extinct in 150 days, which, the authors correctly identify here as ‘fewer than 10 million years.’ Although they shouldn’t have rounded 4400BC up to the nearest 225 Million years. That skews the data a little.

Some groups that were dominant before the extinction never recovered. The cause of this extinction is the subject of much debate, but of equal significance is that it set the stage for a massive diversification of taxa that filled the empty niches.

Why the debate? Because despite the many lines of observable evidence and scientific reasoning that tell us that the many rock layers were laid down by water, rapidly (Like the huge deposits of sandstone, chalks, and conglomerates) and that the fossils are mainly resulting from major water related catastrophe (Like entire herds of dinosaurs who drowned as they were buried, and the MANY fossils of birds, dinosaurs and marine animals in the ‘death pose’ indicating they died fighting for air) and that the fossils were formed rapidly (such as fossil jellyfish) the evolutionists will not tolerate any explanations which give credence to the biblical account of creation or the flood. Otherwise, it would be fairly obvious that the only explanation which makes sense is a global flood.

When Charles Lyell invented (Not discovered or calculated) the ancient, deep time version of earth history and a geology to go with it, he did it with the expressed intent of replacing the history of the world as written in the Bible. Darwin based part of his theory on Lyell’s work, and then Lyell used Darwin’s work to support his own. Anti-creationists have been fighting tooth and claw to hang onto both ever since, despite the weak and often missing evidence for either. millions of years graph

I’d just like to remind you, as you look at the chart above, of the large and growing collection of creatures which get grouped under the category of “Living Fossil,” meaning they were THOUGHT to have gone extinct, but did not. That’s all. Just a reminder. Enjoy your chart of mass extinctions.

Also, for more on the topics above, check out these great episodes of Genesis Week, staring robotics engineer and certified genius, Ian Juby:
The Geologic Column
Fossil Record
Flood of Noah and more on the Flood of Noah

Join me next week for part 22.

Evolution 101- Part 20: Natural, Natural, Natural, and the Diamond Squid

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Milwaukee’s #1 News Team)

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.
The big issues

darwins notebook
A page from Darwin’s notebook. [Editor’s Note: Believe it or not, this is in English. And that may be the worst drawing of a giraffe I have ever seen.]

All available evidence supports the central conclusions of evolutionary theory, that life on Earth has evolved and that species share common ancestors.

Give them a break. They haven’t read my critique yet. Or anything Answers in Genesis has put out in the past thirty years. But I hope YOU have seen how NONE of the available evidence supports the evolutionary theory, and in fact how it opposes it at every turn.

Biologists are not arguing about these conclusions.

It’s funny how they used the word “Biologists” to mean, “evolutionists.” Did these guys not have a dictionary? Or do they live in such a tiny evolutionary bubble that they have never heard of Michael Behe, or Dr Dwane Gish, or all of the scientists on this list who are arguing AGAINST their conclusions:   and this one:

But they are trying to figure out how evolution happens, and that’s not an easy job. It involves collecting data, proposing hypotheses, creating models, and evaluating other scientists’ work. These are all activities that we can, and should, hold up to our checklist and ask the question: are they doing science?

Have I answered this question already? I think I have.

All sciences ask questions about the natural world, propose explanations in terms of natural processes, and evaluate these explanations using evidence from the natural world.

Can you feel how much they REALLY want to say “Scientists do not accept any supernatural ANYTHING!”? They want it so bad they can taste it. They used the word NATURAL three times in one sentence. Who talks like that? But to show you they aren’t alone, here’s Dr Scott Todd, an immunologist at Kansas State University: ‘Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic’ correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999.

So, there is a conclusion which SCIENCE is NOT ALLOWED to reach, even if ALL Of the evidence supports it, namely, God. But surely it’s because SCIENCE has proven this worldview, right? Think again:

“It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.

Remind me again, what is the difference between observational science and blind religious faith? Because I suspect it might be different than the definition of “Observational Science.” A blind faith is a godless universe is still a faith, and not a reasonable faith.

Evolutionary biology is no exception.

Except for the fact that it violates the laws of thermodynamics and biogenesis, and any information sciences, and the fact that it is not based on any observable evidence. Otherwise, yeah, it’s all natural, natural and natural. I mean, “science.”

Darwin’s basic conception of evolutionary change and diversification (illustrated with a page from his notebook at left) explains many observations in terms of natural processes and is supported by evidence from the natural world.

Did I miss it? Because I read their whole web page here and I saw NO evidence from the NATURAL world. I did see hypothetical examples, guesswork, speculation, and conclusions which could not possibly be derived from the observations. I would suggest that, if there was evidence which supported it, these guys should have listed some on this web site. But that’s just me. I don’t want to tell them how to do their jobs.

Some of the questions that evolutionary biologists are trying to answer include:

  1. Does evolution tend to proceed slowly and steadily or in quick jumps?
  2. Why are some clades very diverse and some unusually sparse?
  3. How does evolution produce new and complex features?
  4. Are there trends in evolution, and if so, what processes generate them?

Or 5. not at all?


The pace of evolution: Does evolution occur in rapid bursts or gradually?

This question is difficult to answer because we can’t replay the past with a stopwatch in hand. However, we can try to figure out what patterns we’d expect to observe in the fossil record if evolution did happen in bursts, or if evolution happened gradually. Then we can check these predictions against what we observe.

It’s almost cute how they keep trying to sound like they’re doing real science. They know scientists make observations and predictions and then check with experiments. But they are starting with the evolutionary bias, THEN making predictions, THEN finding the data to wedge into their model NO MATTER WHAT the data actually is (See Stasis). If this was real science, they’d make observations, then ask questions, then form a hypothesis, then create experiments to test those guesses, then compare the results and try it again a few times just to be sure. Can you see how that’s different?

Note that in the first sentence they admit they CANNOT observe the past, which is what this question is about. Then in the last sentence they claim to check their “Predictions” (About the past?) with their observations (of the past?). I may have A.D.D., but even I can see the bait and switch going on here.

What should we observe in the fossil record if evolution is slow and steady?
If evolution is slow and steady, we’d expect to see the entire transition, from ancestor to descendant, displayed as transitional forms over a long period of time in the fossil record.fossil toon

In the above example, the preservation of many transitional forms, through layers representing a length of time, gives a complete record of slow and steady evolution.

OK, seriously, what is this supposed to be? The evolution of the diamond squid?

In fact, we see many examples of transitional forms in the fossil record.

This is a bold faced lie, as is revealed by their using CARTOONS to show the transitions. If those transitions existed, they would have pictures of those fossils in here, but they keep reverting to cartoons. And you should see the cartoons when they are color coded to indicate which of those bones they actually have and which are speculation. It’s… well it should be illegal. There are NO KNOWN TRANSITIONAL FORMS alive or in fossils. But don’t take MY word for it: “It remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of families, appear in the [fossil] record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.”—*George G. Simpson, The Major Features of Evolution, p. 360.

Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded…Ironically we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time……by this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information.” *David Raup, Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology, Chicago Field Museum Bulletin, January 1979”

“…I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustrations of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them…Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils…I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.” Personal letter from * Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London, to L. Sunderland

What’s amazing about the sequence below is, the highlighted parts are some of the parts that were NOT FOUND.  The first creature (Pakicetus) was most of a skull and some teeth. The arm/hand of the second in this lineup (Ambulocetus) was not found until after this cartoon lineage was proposed and made popular, and then that one was removed from this lineage BY THE GUY WHO PROPOSED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE because it did NOT support this evolutionary sequence. You can watch him discuss it here: Apparently these guys didn’t do their homework, because they still have that thing in this lineage, based on parts which were fabricated to fit the proposed evolutionary sequence. They also don’t tell you that the second animal was found 400 feet HIGHER in the fossil record than the first one. How does THAT fit into their slow gradual depositing of rocks and fossils? Did this one dig its way up 400 feet after it had been dead for a few million years? Because that sounds unlikely.

The next animal up didn’t have a tail when they found it, making its whale-like tail another piece of artistic license (aka: Fiction). What evidence lead them to add a whale tail? None. It was added to support the evolutionary sequence which had already been decided on.

When you see enough of these, it’s hard not to start thinking of it as an intentional scam. Some of these guys would reconstruct a whole city block from two bricks and a shoe lace. But I digress.

For example, to the right we show just a few steps in the evolution of whales from land-dwelling mammals, highlighting the transition of the walking forelimb to the flipper.

Transitional forms in whale evolution

To recap- the first animal at bottom left was reconstructed from parts of a skull, the next was found with no front limbs, and the one behind that with no tail. Do you see why I object to this cartoon? Do you see why they use this cartoon and not pictures of the actual fossils? And if you consider that the first animal is the size of a Labrador Retriever and the last bigger than a city bus, the illustration above begins to feel even more misleading, as well it should. Above the authors of the Evo 101 site said this: “Biologists are not arguing about these conclusions.” I think I can make this statement true with just some slight modifications: “The facts are not arguing for these conclusions.” There. Now that’s REAL science.

Join me next week for part 20.

Evolution 101- Part 19: Trilobites and Other Things Found Stuck to your Shoe

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Now with Scratch Resistant Coating)

BOLD font is me, Rent A Friend 2000, being Bold.

Patterns in macroevolution: You can think of patterns as “what happened when.” [Editor’s Note: Or, as “What Not to wear with Stripes”] All of the changes, diversifications, and extinctions that happened over the course of life’s history are the patterns of macroevolution.

However, beyond the details of individual past events — such as, when the beetle radiation began [Editor’s Note: 1962] or what the first flowers looked like — biologists are interested in general patterns that recur across the tree of life:

Stasis: Many lineages on the tree of life exhibit stasis, which just means that they don’t change much for a long time, as shown in the figure to the right.body time split

In fact, some lineages have changed so little for such a long time that they are often called living fossils. Coelacanths comprise a fish lineage that branched off of the tree near the base of the vertebrate clade. Until 1938, scientists thought that coelacanths went extinct 80 million years ago. But in 1938, scientists discovered a living coelacanth from a population in the Indian Ocean that looked very similar to its fossil ancestors. Hence, the coelacanth lineage exhibits about 80 million years’ worth of morphological stasis.

coelocanthA coelacanth swimming near Sulawesi, Indonesia

If you recall, this was my example of why the “fossil record” doesn’t record much. The fossils show this thing disappearing 80 million years ago (or 65 million if you ask Wikipedia, but what’s 15 million years among friends?). Yet here he is. The obvious lesson is, just because we don’t find the fossil of a certain species in a certain rock layer doesn’t mean that species wasn’t living at that time. That goes for the time BEFORE the fossils we have were formed, as well as after. On their story, this fish was around 80 MILLION years after it last left a fossil. How long was it around before it FIRST left a fossil? So much for the fossil record.

And can I just point out that stasis, even on their weak sauce definition of evolution is NOT evolution? They said evolution is “Decent with Modification.” Stasis would be “Decent WITHOUT modification.” If you need me to explain why that is different, you may be reading the wrong blog. Maybe try Googling “Elmo” and “Rhetoric” and see what comes up.

And if stasis can keep some creatures like the coelacanth and the horseshoe crab the same for hundreds of millions of years, then of what value is that “molecular clock” they used to argue for deep time at the beginning? If mutations happen so regularly that they can be used as a clock, then stasis should not be happening at all, let alone for so many species for such vast amounts of time. Yet, stasis is not rare: Fossils bacteria dated 3.55 billion years   “…look idential to bacteria still on Earth today.” Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth, Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, 2000, p. 57. If something can remain unchanged for 3.55 BILLION years, then there might be less to this evolution thing that the brochure lead us to believe.

Character change: Lineages can change quickly or slowly. Character change can happen in a single direction, such as evolving additional segments, or it can reverse itself by gaining and then losing segments. Changes can occur within a single lineage or across several lineages. In the figure to the right, lineage A changes rapidly but in no particular direction. Lineage B shows slower, directional change.body time squiggleTrilobites, animals in the same clade as modern insects and crustaceans, lived over 300 million years ago. [Editor’s Note: Here’s one embedded in a shoe print] As shown below, their fossil record clearly suggests that several lineages underwent similar increases in segment number over the course of millions of years.

trrilobite graph

I’d just like to point out, again, by their own admission, that these family groupings are for the convenience of ourselves. Thus, when two fossil trilobites are compared, it’s entirely up to the person looking at them to say “They are variations on one family of trilobites” or “these are two different species of Trilobite.” The irony is, we all agree that they are trilobites. So, like beetles, they might all be the same species, living at the same time, with LOTS of diversity because of a high amount of genetic information, which is exactly what the creation model calls for. Yet, the vast amount of diversity in such an “Early” creature which, without a single known evolutionary ancestor, seems to have shown up completely prepared for life in the oceans goes directly against the onwards and upwards evolutionary model. So ready are these guys that they have eyes with compound lenses which we have studied in my life time so that we can learn how to make better lenses for underwater viewing.

Lineage-splitting (or speciation): Patterns of lineage-splitting can be identified by constructing and examining a phylogeny.

I’m skipping this one, because it’s really just about drawing those tree of life diagrams more than anything else. I did teach art at one point, but I still have fairly little to say about their drawings.  All I need to say about this is, they are constructing a phylogeny based on their evolutionary assumptions, and then examining the picture they drew to find the patterns which they feel will show them macroevolution. Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy or fabricating evidence? Because it’s no where near observational science, yet don’t they seem to be treating it that way? Maybe it’s just me. OK. I see how it is. Fine. Be that way.

Extinction: Extinction is extremely important in the history of life. It can be a frequent or rare event within a lineage, or it can occur simultaneously across many lineages (mass extinction). Every lineage has some chance of becoming extinct, and overwhelmingly, species have ended up in the losing slots on this roulette wheel: over 99% of the species that have ever lived on Earth have gone extinct. time bodyform graphIn this diagram, a mass extinction cuts short the lifetimes of many species, and only three survive.

I’d like to give credit to these guys for not coming out and saying “Extinction is evolution.” Some people are that thick, but these guys seem to have noticed that extinction is the opposite of what evolution requires. After all, dead animals don’t have descendants with modifications. Of course, neither do the coelacanth, or horseshoe crab, or platypus… why don’t you just surf on over to AiG’s web site and read all about them?

I would like to draw attention to the 99% who have gone extinct. What could have caused the vast majority of animals to die, and then be buried fast enough to form layer upon layer of fossils? And what could have occurred that left these layers of fossils all over the world, on every continent? How about a global flood? I happen to know where you can find one [Editor’s Note: Genesis 6].

And on a personal note, can anyone answer this quandary of mine? If 99% of ALL species which ever lived have gone extinct, then why are we so bent out of shape when another one goes extinct? What arguments can an evolutionist make for animal conservation? Wouldn’t that be like trying to dry off the Pacific Ocean basin with paper towels? But I digress.

Join me next week for part 20.

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