March 10, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Lazarus, Come Forth: Living Fossils Rise from the Dead

An animal goes extinct.  Millions of years pass.  The animal is found living in some remote jungle.  Scientists call this the “Lazarus effect,” after the man Jesus raised from the dead (see John 11).  Others call these finds “living fossils,” long thought to be extinct but now thriving in isolated ecological niches.  There are many such organisms – plant and animal.  Two showed up in recent news.
    In Science,1 Mary Dawson et al. talked about the new species of rodent found in Borneo (see 12/06/2005).  They identified it as a member of a long-lost group called Diatonyids, thought to have gone extinct 11 million years ago.  Live Science writer Bjorn Carey quoted study co-author Mary Dawson calling this the “coelacanth of rodents” after the well-known living fossil fish (emphasis added in all quotes).  Most other mammals exhibiting the “Lazarus effect” spanned time gaps of 10,000 to just over a million years, she said.  MSNBC, and National Geographic and CNN all noticed the story.  Nobody questioned the 11 million year time gap.
    Another living fossil made the news, this time a beak-headed reptile named the tuatara, once thought to be extinct since the age of dinosaurs.  Bjorn Carey also wrote for Live Science a report on findings that this lizard-like animal from New Zealand already had advanced walking skills.  “Tuataras have been around for 225 million years [sic] and haven’t changed much, the fossil record shows.”  That stunner was followed by another: “Since they can walk and run, both energy-saving mechanisms probably appeared when the first vertebrates moved onto land [sic], said study coauthor Steve Riley of Ohio University.”  The press release from Ohio State claims these lizards cannot survive in temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  For more on the tuatara, see the 03/31/2002 and 10/02/2003 entries.


1Mary R. Dawson et al., “Laonastes and the ‘Lazarus Effect’ in Recent Mammals,” Science, 10 March 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5766, pp. 1456 – 1458, DOI: 10.1126/science.1124187.

The first vertebrates to walk and run on land; how do they know this?  Why couldn’t the first vertebrates to walk and run have had two feet?  How do they know that other species that came before this one didn’t vanish?  If these animals can not survive in temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius, how have they survived at all?  In all those 225 million years have there been no droughts and hot spells?  Why have all the other animals, like dinosaurs, died out but this one has flourished?  And where do they get the 225 million years from?  Purely from evolutionary assumptions.
    Evolutionary reasoning goes like this: evolution is a fact, therefore, evolution is a fact.  Because evolution is a fact, all anomalies must be forced into the theory before the gun-toting fundamentalists storm the science lab, otherwise students will be unable to compete in the global economy and the glorious reputation of Charlie (blessed be the name) as the greatest scientist in history will be besmirched (and our funding will be cut).  It is vital to save the appearances, therefore, at all costs.  Here are two more good examples: a rodent virtually unchanged for 11 million years, and a lizard for 225 million, yet both are doing just fine today.  Clearly these animals never went extinct.  In whatever gap existed between the last fossil and the first live sighting, there has been a continuous population of these animals living and reproducing.  Stretching this gap into many millions of years without fossils rapidly becomes incredible.  Imagine, for instance, if only 100 of these rodents lived at a time (very conservative estimate, considering their much broader extent in the past), and each individual lived about 20 years (a very generous estimate).  There would be 500 deaths per century, therefore, and since there are 110,000 centuries in 11 million years, are we to believe that 55,000,000 of these rodents died without a trace?  It becomes even more unimaginable to think that over a billion tuataras died without leaving a fossil, only to show up on some New Zealand islands as if nothing happened.  These problems vanish if the time gaps are reduced to thousands, not millions.
    The raising of Lazarus was a bona fide miracle.  There was a living man, known to have died, who could be seen and touched and conversed with.  The skeptics could not deny it.  Evolutionists, by contrast, are conjuring up images of resurrection from a dead theory.  Both miracles require faith, but the first has one advantage: an adequate cause.  Jesus knew how to apply miracle-working power with intelligent design.  Just as the skeptics in Jerusalem could not deny the raising of Lazarus, so tried to have him killed again, today’s dogmatic Darwinists are attempting to put intelligent design and creation to death, while validating their claims to be the messiahs of science with nothing more than mental magic tricks.

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