The fossil record fits best with progressive creation

(Chris Falter) #443

Hi Marty,

Maybe you could just use the term "metaphysical naturalism," which claims only that which can be explained scientifically truly exists. No God, no angels, no resurrection, etc.

As an evolutionary creationist, I of course vehemently disagree with metaphysical naturalism as a philosophy. However, I would likely agree with a metaphysical naturalist that evolution is, from the scientific perspective, both unguided and the explanation for life.

I would just add that the scientific perspective is not the only one we should consider when we think about life. Or the most important one.


(Mark D.) #444

I was as guilty as any about having fun with the idea of “atheistic evolution” but I never meant it to be insulting. Sorry if that is the way it came off.

I think science can be conducted by those who see the natural world as God’s creation as well as it can by people leaning toward scientism. But personally I would hope neither extreme would incorporate their bias into their practice. It is easy to see how YECs are guilty of doing exactly this. I think those who engage in what Chris has suggested calling metaphysical naturalism more often are guilty of twisting the way they report the implications of new findings. Perhaps what is needed is a kind of metaphysical neutrality when working in science.


You’re barking up the wrong tree here.
I’ll take your word for it that Gould “propounded a stochastic model of evolutionary rates of change” in The Panda’s Thumb. He did that to explain an observation - the “extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record”, which he claimed represented an “embarrassment” to Darwin’s theory of gradualism, did he not?
In which case, I have no need to understand Gould’s explanation for that observation (the gaps) or what a stochastic model is - it’s irrelevant - because Gould’s explanation for the gaps in the fossil record doesn’t make the gaps magically disappear … they remain, regardless.
I quote Gould as an authority, to establish that extensive gaps in the fossil record do exist.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #446

13 posts were split to a new topic: Theoretical Science (like evolution) is Useless for Society


“The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils” - Gould.
… Sounds like your contiguous network of nested hierarchies is “inference … not the evidence of fossils” - imaginary, in other words. Nested hierarchies do exist, of course - eg, the many breeds of dogs that have been produced from the wolf - but they exist in isolation from other nested hierarchies. Think “lawn”, not “tree”.

Not sure what you mean by “kinds” in the history of life - the only “kinds” I know of are the “kinds” in Genesis 1, which describe the end-point of the creative process, not some intermediate stage (or first) stage.


That won’t be necessary - I just want them to confirm my suspicion that common descent is irrelevant to the efficacy of the SIFTER model.


I’m wouldn’t dream of proposing my Progressive Creation model as science - it is predicated on lots of miraculous creative acts by God.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #455

I don’t know if you can help yourself, but please stop quote mining Stephen Jay Gould. You have done it above, grabbing a portion of a quote you copied from some website, but not Gould himself. Your most recent quote would be quote #3.2 in the quote mine project if you want to see the actual quote in context:

And just for fun, here’s a triceratops phylogeny based upon morphology that helps demonstrate what is meant by a ‘nested hierarchy:’


This is absolutely fascinating! Here we observe Gould clearly contradicting himself:
Compare what he says in 1981 - “Transitional forms … are abundant between larger groups” -
to what he said earlier, in 1980 (in The Panda’'s Thumb) - “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”

Wow, what a difference - he’s gone from “extreme rarity” to “abundant”!

But how does one explain this contradiction? Well, what probably happened was, after letting Team Evolution down badly with his heretical comments about the fossil record in The Panda’s Thumb (see pp. 181-182), Gould (unsurprisingly) took a lot of flak from his very upset evo-peers - so much so that by the next year he’d backed down and tried to make amends by talking-up the fossil record.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #457


I hope Edgar responds to this.


"The lack of ancestral or intermediate forms between fossil species is not a bizarre peculiarity of early metazoan history. Gaps are general and prevalent throughout the fossil record.” Rudolf A Raff and Thomas C. Kaufman, 1991
“Gaps between higher taxonomic levels are general and large.” Rudolf A Raff and Thomas C Kaufman, 1991
“Paleontologists have long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin’s postulate of gradualism … and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record.” Ernst Mayr, 1991
“The gaps in the fossil record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt.” Robert Wesson, 1991
“Despite these similarities, there is no evidence of any Paleozoic amphibians combining the characteristics that would be expected in a single common ancestor.” Edwin H Colbert, 1991
“No fossils are known that can be considered intermediate between these clearly aquatic [osteolepiform] fish and genera that are unequivocally classified as terrestrial vertebrates” Robert L Carroll, 1992
“The fossil record has always been a problem.” Montgomery Slatkin, 1994
“There is only one source of direct evidence of the early history of life—the Precambrian fossil record; speculation made in the absence of such evidence, even by widely acclaimed evolutionists, has commonly proved groundless.” Geologist W Schopf, 1994
“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen.” Niles Eldredge, 1995
“Fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown.” Stephen J Gould, 1997
“No intermediate fossils between jawed and jawless forms have been found – early fossils of jawed fishes had jaws, teeth, scales and spines. The origins of jaws and other structures that characterized the early gnathostomes are lost in the fossil record, belonging to some group about which we known nothing.” GS Helfman, BB Collette, and DE Facey, 1997
“Few fossils are yet known of plausible intermediates between the invertebrate phyla, and there is no evidence for the gradual evolution of the major features by which the individual phyla or classes are characterized.” Robert Carroll, 1997
“Progressive increase in knowledge of the fossil record over the past hundred years emphasizes how wrong Darwin was.” Robert Carroll, 1997
Species “appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus—full grown and raring to go.” Jeffrey Schwartz, 1999
“Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else.” Colin Patterson, 1999
“Given that evolution, according to Darwin, was in a continual state of motion …it followed logically that the fossil record should be rife with examples of transitional forms leading from the less to more evolved. …Instead of filling the gaps in the fossil record with so-called missing links, most paleontologists found themselves facing a situation in which there were only gaps in the fossil record, with no evidence of transformational evolutionary intermediates between documented fossil species.” Jeffrey H Schwartz, 1999
“As discussed earlier, the matter ultimately comes down to choosing between sparse protein data and uncertainties about the molecular clock on the one hand and an incomplete fossil record.” D J Crawford, 1999
“Palaeobiologists flocked to these scientific visions of a world in a constant state of flux and admixture. But instead of finding the slow, smooth and progressive changes Lyell and Darwin had expected, they saw in the fossil records rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years-patterns hauntingly reminiscent of creation.” M Pagel, 1999

“What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.” Robert L Carroll, 2000
“When we view Darwinian gradualism on a geological timescale, we may expect to find in the fossil record a long series of intermediate forms connecting phenotypes of ancestral and descendant populations. This predicted pattern is called phyletic gradualism. Darwin recognized that phyletic gradualism is not often revealed by the fossil record. Studies conducted since Darwin’s time likewise have failed to produce the continuous series of fossils predicted by phyletic gradualism. Is the theory of gradualism therefore refuted? Darwin and others claim that it is not, because the fossil record is too imperfect to preserve transitional series…Others have argued, however, that the abrupt origins and extinctions of species in the fossil record force us to conclude that phyletic gradualism is rare.” Cleveland Hickman, Larry Roberts, Susan Keen, Allan Larson, and David Eisenhour, 2000
“A number of contemporary biologists, however, favor various hypotheses of the punctuated equilibrium theory…They base their hypotheses on fossil records which have large “chains” of missing organisms. Although missing-link fossils are occasionally discovered, the record does little to support Darwin’s concept of gradual, long-term change…Others opposed to hypotheses of evolution through sudden change argue that because such a tiny percentage of organisms becomes fossilized…drawing definite conclusions from fossil evidence about evolution through either gradual or sudden change is not warranted.” Cleveland P Hickman, Larry Roberts, Susan Keen, Allan Larson, and David Eisenhour, 2000
‘The puzzle is the absence of fossils. Why have we not found traces of these lineages in their first tens or even hundreds of millions of years? It seems likely that the animals were too small or too rare, with the sudden appearance in the rocks corresponding to an increase in size and rise to ecological dominance.” Andy Purvis and Andy Hector, 2000
“With one exception, hardly any invertebrate chordates are known as fossils.” Cleveland Hickman, Larry Roberts, Allan Larson, and David Eisenhour, 20001
“Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” Ernst Mayr, 2001
“The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists” Stephen J Gould, 2002
“People and advertising copywriters tend to see human evolution as a line stretching from apes to man, into which one can fit new-found fossils as easily as links in a chain. Even modern anthropologists fall into this trap . . . [W]e tend to look at those few tips of the bush we know about, connect them with lines, and make them into a linear sequence of ancestors and descendants that never was. But it should now be quite plain that the very idea of the missing link, always shaky, is now completely untenable.” Henry Gee, 2002
“Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” Ernst Mayr, 2001
“Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.” Ernst Mayr, 2004
“The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal ‘types’ seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate ‘grades’ or intermediate forms between different types are detectable.” Eugene Koonin, 2007
“The fossil record doesn’t tell us much: The earliest fossils that have been proposed to be eukaryotes are only about 2 billion years old, and paleontologists have not yet discovered any transitional forms.” Carl Zimmer, 2009
“I wish we did have a complete and unbroken trail of fossils, an cinematic record of all evolutionary change as it happened.” Richard Dawkins, 2009
“We need more fossils.” Richard Dawkins, 2009

“About 80% of all known fossils are marine animals, mostly various types of fish. Yet there is no evidence of intermediate forms. The most common explanation for the total lack of fossil evidence for fish evolution is that few transitional fossils have been preserved. This is an incorrect conclusion because every major fish kind known today has been found in the fossil record, indicating the completeness of the existing known fossil record.” Jerry Bergman, 2011
“The general lack of transitional forms between species in the fossil record is a constant theme in evolutionary biology.” Eugene V Koonin, 2011
“Gould and Eldridge collected extensive evidence indicating that the history of the great majority of animal species, as reflected in the fossil record, represents mostly stasis−that is the virtual lack of change.” Eugene V Koonin, 2011
There are so many different scenarios for how life got going and they all involve molecules that don’t get fossilized. It’s a clear limit.” Jerry Coyne, 2011
“When do we see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organism did not evolve elsewhere.” James Le Lanu, 2012
“The main reason for paleontologist’s loss of faith in the orthodox evolutionary doctrine was the realization that the most notable features of the fossil record is that most of the time nothing happens.” James Le Lanu, 2012
“This ‘stasis’ clearly contradicts Darwin’s supposition if a continuous process of gradualistic transformation” James Le Lanu, 2012
”Evidence for these theories [origin of life] come, of course, not from the fossil record but from inferences based on biochemical comparisons of living forms.” Eugenie Scott, 2013
”… the fossil evidence currently does not illuminate links among most of the basic vertebrate groups.” Eugenie Scott, 2013
“Evolutionary biologists and antievolutionists are united in one respect: both agree that there are gaps in the fossil record. The record of life as seen in stone does not present a smooth, intergrading continuum from earliest times until the present, nor is there a continuum of variation of form between all living things.” Eugenie Scott, 2013
“Why… does the fossil record always happen to be incomplete at the nodes connecting major branches of Darwin’s tree of life, but rarely−in the parlance of modern paleontology−at the terminal branches” Stephen C Meyer, 2013
“Of course, the fossil record does not show an overall increase in the complexity of organisms from Precambrian to Cambrian times, as Darwin expected.” Stephen C Meyer, 2013
“As more and more fossil discoveries fall within existing higher taxonomic groups…, and as they fail to document the rainbow of intermediate forms expected in the Darwinian view of life, it grows ever more improbable that the absence of intermediate forms reflects sampling bias−that is, an ‘artifact’ of either incomplete sampling or preservation.” Stephen C Meyer, 2013
“The problem is that the fossil record isn’t always obliging when it comes to direct evidence.” Brian Switek. 2014.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #459

Stop quote mining people @Edgar or we are done with this thread. You are welcome to engage any actual evidence, but all you have done for many posts is quote mine over and over again.

It appears you’ve copied a wall of text from this site:


Yes a direct copy from 1990 to the end. And @Edgar didn’t even bother to provide his source. But then again with Goggle that isn’t too much of a problem. Interesting to note that the blank lines in Edgar’s cut and paste correspond to the years on the web site.

(Randy) #463

@pevaquark, maybe you can clarify for us and it will be clearer. Quote mining is taking out of context to give a different meaning than the author intended, right? so–maybe the copying of the last post by Edgar wasn’t really quote mining–it was copying someone else’s quotes (some of which were mines). I think Edgar would really enjoy reading a full book of Gould’s (I did).

It seems that the impression we get from the vast complexity of science is that if we know something, we have a good idea what it all is about–thus in medicine, an ICU person thinks they know what a rash is, and the family doc tells a patient that there’s no need for surgery (not quoting any specific instances here, but it’s easy to do).

Dr Lamoureux pointed out that to really be an expert in evolution, you should have an evolution degree, not just medicine. As a family doc, I fully agree with that–medical school is more like engineering–it’s applied in a specific area, but doesn’t deal as much with theory and etiology.

Here’s a definition I found:

The practice of quoting out of context (sometimes referred to as “contextomy” and quote mining), is an informal fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

There’s so much on the Web that we can copy accidentally and quote mine without meaning to! I appreciate your help in keeping us honest!

(Chris Falter) #465

That’s too bad, Edgar. I thought you might be just a little bit curious about how science really works. What you are doing instead is citing a scientist’s definition of a problem without bothering to consider the scientist’s solution.

Do you expect that your claims about Gould will be accepted when you profess that you have no clue about his stochastic model for evolutionary rate of change?

It’s kind of like saying, “A scientist has pointed out that human arms cannot be used as wings. Therefore, human-powered flight must be impossible, and I won’t believe what anyone says to the contrary.”

As this picture of the Gossamer Albatross shows, it is only ignorance about an alternative approach that would lead someone to conclude that the inability to fly by flapping arms implies that man cannot power flight. Likewise, my friend Edgar, your ignorance about the stochastic model alternative does not mean it is not a good scientific explanation of the fossil evidence.

I recognize that this analogy does not prove anything about which side of this debate is closer to the truth. What I do hope to accomplish, Edgar, is to get you to actually think about what the scientific community is saying–really explore the terrain, really find out what stochastic models are about, and why they make sense for the study of paleontology–rather than just dismissing stochastic models with a wave of the hand as worthless…even though you acknowledge not understanding them.

Would it help if I remind you that Einstein won his Nobel in physics not for the theories of relativity, but for the application of stochastic models to physics?

I also hope, Edgar, you will also think about the fact that you have never put any effort into explaining how “progressive creation” could be used to make predictions about new evidence. If you think that is not worth your effort, then I submit you really do not understand how science works.

Yet here you are, lecturing everyone about what science. What’s up with that?

I hope you will give some deep reflection to what your behavior manifests about your attitude towards Christian biologists, geologists, and paleontologists for whom Christ died, and about their work for Christ as they devote themselves to understanding God’s creation.

Finally, I hope you will consider other classes of evidence such as “fossil DNA” such as pseudo-genes and endogenous retroviruses. These show that common ancestry is overwhelmingly the best scientific explanation for the biological world around us. But with a wave of the hand you have dismissed this evidence. As for me, I cannot in good conscience wave such evidence away.

Thankfully, this scientific explanation for life does not interfere with the theological truths of God’s creation or His continuing providence.


(Chris Falter) #466

It’s not a contradiction. The rarity is at the species level, and the abundance is at higher levels like genus and class.

Do you understand how there is a difference between species and higher taxa, Edgar?

Instead of seeking to understand how there might be a good scientific explanation of Gould’s two statements, you instead chose to assume the worst about him. You ascribed dishonorable motives to him, not realizing how the supposed contradiction might actually be the result of a misunderstanding on your part.

Given the difference between species and higher taxa and the role the difference played in Gould’s analysis, was your ad hominem attack on Gould’s motives the right road to take, Edgar?



(a) Thank you, but there was no need to provide the full quote - I have the book (The Panda’s Thumb, pp 181-182) from which it was taken, sitting on my bookshelf.

(b) The gaps in the fossil record that Gould describes haven’t disappeared simply because he offers has an explanation for them.


@Edgar So you don’t agree with his explanation? If you don’t believe his explanation why do you believe his description of the gaps? You obviously have no idea where the gaps are located as all you have done is provide quote mines. Or do you just believe the parts that support your theory and don’t believe the parts that don’t?


No good - that would amount to quote-mining.

(Chris Falter) #473

Quote-mining is the practice of deliberately distorting someone’s statements by leaving out important context.

Are you saying that you do not have the ability to quote Gould in an ethical manner?