One of the required homework my daughter, who is in public kindergarten, got recently was a booklet called Where Animals Live. After giving examples of several animals and where they live, the book ends with a page (see the image on the side) which tells the reader where Mandy and Michael live. “What does where people live have to do with where animals live?”, one may wonder. Well, the book explains that right away: “People are animals too.”
I love science. I loved it ever since I learned about it. While it didn’t become a career, it became a hobby and I did a lot of reading and research. I’m also interested in the intersection between science and religion and I’ve presented on the topic of evolution at two science-and-religion conferences (one of the abstracts being published in the CRSQ Journal). I may end up alternating productivity posts with science (and religion) posts. The blog below is partly based on the email I wrote to my daughter’s teacher and the school’s principal.
There are many strong arguments for evolution. The question is not whether or not it works but rather where it stops working. The theory of evolution (TOE), or neo-Darwinism, claims that every single feature of biology (apart for the origin of life itself) is the result of evolution. That is, everything evolved from a single, common ancestor. But there are many very good reasons why that’s not the case. Here I’ll just shortly list the fossil related objections to evolution.
- Fossils. Fossilization is an very unusual event. It happens under very special conditions. Primarily, a creature needs to be quickly covered by sediments or mud, before it’s destroyed by scavengers or decay.1, 2 But such events are catastrophic. They happen quickly. This doesn’t align with the slow, gradual processes of evolution but rather with a catastrophic event such as Noah’s Flood. Furthermore, when most fish die, they float and then get scavenged and decomposed. They shouldn’t get fossilized unless there was some catastrophic, fast burial event.
- Rapid fossils. There are many examples today where fossils happen today quickly under the right conditions, no millions of years required.3
- Soft parts fossils. Not just fossils but there are many soft parts fossils, such as jellyfish or bees. “Despite the rarity, there are hundreds of fossil sites worldwide where soft tissue parts are preserved.”4 Ironically, Darwin predicted that “No organism wholly soft can be preserved.”5. It turns out that they do but under very special circumstances. “Such exquisite preservation require specific environmental conditions, such as anoxic (little or no oxygen) mud and sediment that inhibits bacterial decomposition processes for enough time for mineral exchange, precipitation, and other chemical processes to form casts and films of delicate softer body parts.”6 Such preservation “with soft parts intact [and] often with food still in their guts” and “even raindrop imprints and ripple marks have been found preserved”.7 Such conditions, again, would exist during a major flood with burial and lithification happening extremely quickly not over long ages.
- Soft, flexible/stretchy and pliable tissue in dinosaur bones which, according to experts in fossilization, could have not possibly lasted tens of millions of years.8
- Not only that original, non-mineralized, proteins were found but also data “support[ing] preservation of multiple proteins and to present multiple lines of evidence for material consistent with DNA in dinosaurs“.9 (my emphasis). However, rigorous studies of DNA decay indicate that it has a half-life of 521 years. That puts an upper limit of 10,000 for DNA.10 Therefore such findings of soft tissue and DNA are at odds with TOE’s time-line.
- Out-of-sequence fossils, for example, evidence of flowering plants or bees many millions of years before there were any flowering plants were supposed to exist.11
- Fossils caught in the act of eating their prey12 (I even saw a case of one eating another while eating a third) or in the act of giving birth13 or mating14. All these must have been fossilized very rapidly. They don’t last like that for millions of years to fossilize. They can only happen in catastrophic events such as Noah’s flood.
- Many polystrate fossils, for example trees fossilized vertically across multiple layers of rock that is claimed to have taken millions of years to deposit. Well, trees just don’t remain vertical for millions of years. Some are even vertical but upside down which again is unexplainable within TOE (but an effect that has been observed in case of major floods).
- Often fossils are found together in huge graveyards. There are many fossil shales and Lagerstätte around the world, many with “near perfect fossilization”15 and “exquisite preservation.”16 This is totally unexpected given TOE. Why would why so many different species die together in the same graveyard? However, it makes perfect sense given Noah’s flood.
- Not only that fossils are often in huge graveyards but these graveyards contain mixture of creatures living in incompatible environments and climates. Often sea and land animals and saltwater and fresh fish are mixed together. For example, at the Green River Formation of Wyoming, the fossils include deep water fish, crustaceans, mollusks along with birds, mammals, insects and palm trees.17 Or, at Fossil Bluff in Tasmania, thousands of marine creatures, including corals and clams and a whale were buried together with a marsupial possum.17 Or Caves and fissures on the Cote d’Azur have mammals such as rhinos along with whales.18 The Cretaceous Santana Formation in Brazil includes clams, sharks and pterodactyles (flying reptiles or pterosaurs).7 Numerous crevices on the Rock of Gibraltar include many various mammals (from wolf and rabbit to panther and rhino) and marine shells and corals. Or at Mont San Giorgio there are terrestrial reptiles among marine reptiles and fish.7 The same at the Triassic Cow Brand Formation in Virginia which includes terrestrial, fresh water and salt water plants, insects and reptiles.7 There are also multiple places in Britain and Eire. But such mixture of disparate fossils doesn’t make any sense unless there was a catastrophic event that brought all these disparate fossils together in one graveyard.
- Consistent exquisite level of preservation on large scale fossil graveyards. Exquisite level of preservation requires catastrophic events (such as quick burial). But such “exquisite preservation” extends to very large fossil graveyards16 which is what the term Lagerstätte refers to.6 Some large bone beds include Ordovician Soom Shale in South Africa which stretches over thousands of square kilometers and the Devonian Thunder Bay Limestone formation in Michigan stretches many hundreds of miles, containing billions of fossils catastrophically buried. Such large bone beds requires not only that there was a catastrophic event but that it was of very large proportions.
- Missing links. The missing links are still missing. These fossils object to evolution by there absence. There are very few transitional forms and even those are not indisputable. Darwin’s response in his Origin to this problem was that the fossil record is imperfect. But if it was imperfect it should be equally imperfect. However, we keep finding plenty of the known forms and find none or almost no transitional forms. Consider how many transitions were supposed to have happened and how many transitional forms are claimed by evolutionists. The fossil record is conveniently imperfect only when it comes to transitional forms. But given the slow, gradual process of Darwinian evolution, an organism must have spent a long time in each stage of evolution. Then where are all the transitional forms? Why is there such a scarcity of transitional forms while the other forms are plentiful? This doesn’t go well with TOE.
- Living fossils. There are plenty of fossils claimed to be millions and even billions of years that look just like modern ones. The technical term is evolutionary stasis but it is an oxymoron! Evolution is all about change but stasis is the opposite of change. How could an organism not change for so long? How could it not find any improvements for so long? There is a catch-22 situation here. Either a living fossil is highly specialized and optimally fitted to the environment or is not. If it is then it can’t survive major changes in the environment which have certainly happened. If something was to survive unchanged across all such changes it must be a generic, unspecialized organism which is much more resilient to changes in the environment. But in this case there were plenty of improvements and environment specific specializations that the organism should have undergone, given Darwinism. While there were big environment changes across history there were also long periods of relatively stable environment which provided plenty of opportunities for the organism to improve and specialized. Apparently the organism didn’t read the Origin of Species and turned down such changes.
- Opisthotonus is very common among fossils. In a press release from US Berkley, this is described as follows: “The peculiar pose of many fossilized dinosaurs, with wide-open mouth, head thrown back and recurved tail, likely resulted from the agonized death throes typical of brain damage and asphyxiation… Virtually all articulated specimens of Archaeopteryx are in this posture, exhibiting a classic pose of head thrown back, jaws open, back and tail reflexed backward and limbs contracted… Dinosaurs and their relatives, ranging from the flying pterosaurs to Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as many early mammals, have been found exhibiting this posture.”19. Almost all the claimed causes of this unnatural position (such as, rigor mortis20, commonly caused by asphyxiation, brain injury19, having fallen into water21, carried out by the current19) make much more sense in the light of a catastrophic flood. This is especially so considering how common opisthotonus is in fossils. Another explanation (besides the ones listed above) put forward is poisoning. While it is conceivable that some herbivore dinosaurs ate a wrong plant and got poisoned, it stretches credulity that such a large proportion of articulated fossils, including carnivore dinosaurs, birds and mammals were all poisoned. All the other explanations are equally unlikely apart from Noah’s flood.
There are much stronger objections to evolution but I saved the best for last and I’ll discuss those in follow up posts.
Note: This was updated and expanded on 6/18/2017.
Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper, Analyses of Soft Tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex Suggest the Presence of Protein, ‘Protein’ in 80-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bolsters Controversial T. rex Claim, The iDino Project Speical Report, Triceratops soft tissue, Oldest-ever proteins extracted from 3.8-million-year-old ostrich shells, Signs of ancient cells and proteins found in dinosaur fossils; Dr Mary Schweitzer is best known for her research and soft tissue findings including stretchy tissue publishing multiple papers in Science. She was also interviewed several times on TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynXwAo9V_pY,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS6TXh_bx8Q (BBC), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJOQiyLFMNY (60 Minutes).