January 5, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Two Fossil Explosions Are Better than One

“If one is good, two is better” might work with cookies, but not with headaches.  Evolutionary paleontologists have just gotten a second headache and seem almost happy about it.  How can this be?  Read this article in Science Daily to learn how some evolutionists seem to be masochists.  As if the Cambrian Explosion were not a big enough problem for Darwinian gradualistic views (04/23/2006, 03/28/2007) here comes the Precambrian Explosion.
    Using the evolutionists’ geologic timescale, it appears that fossils of mysterious organisms called the Ediacaran biota appeared abruptly without precursors.  Although this problem has been known before (see 12/23/2002, 08/19/2004), a team of scientists from Virginia Tech decided to check out the paleontology and diversity of these organisms that appeared, diversified within limits, and then went extinct some 15 to 40 million years before the Cambrian “radiation” (a scientific euphemism for explosion).  They published their ‘dynamite’ results in Science.1  Because the Avalon group is the earliest of three assemblages of Ediacara, each of which appears abruptly, they dubbed the phenomenon of their sudden appearance “the Avalon explosion.”
    Nowhere did they account for this phenomenon in Darwinian terms.  Nor did they even consider pre-empting the charge that might surely come from creationists who would argue this amounts to a double falsification of evolutionary theory.  Instead, they began to see a pattern: if abrupt appearance is the norm, maybe this is how evolution works!  In the new view, evolution simply explodes life into morphospace (i.e., the space of possible body plans).  The final paragraph of the paper explains:

What might have led to the rapid morphospace expansion in the Avalon assemblage, and what might have constrained the Ediacara morphospace from further expansion or shift in the subsequent White Sea and Nama assemblages?  We consider a long, undocumented period of Ediacara history before the Avalon assemblage to be unlikely.  The rapid increase of morphospace at the beginning of Ediacara evolution parallels the disparity patterns of the Cambrian explosion: a rapid evolution of body plans followed by taxonomic diversification within the limits of a predefined morphospace.  Various environmental, ecological, and developmental factors have been proposed to explain the rapid evolution of animal body plans during the Cambrian explosion, as well as to account for post-Cambrian constraints on modifications of these basic body plans despite taxonomic diversification.  In principle, these explanations may also be applied to the Avalon radiation…. Regardless of the veracity of these causative explanations, the marked parallels between the Cambrian and Avalon explosions suggest that the decoupling of taxonomic and morphological evolution is not unique to the Cambrian explosion and that the Avalon explosion represents an independent, failed experiment with an evolutionary pattern similar to that of the Cambrian explosion.

The way one co-author put it, “Accelerated rates may characterize the early evolution of many groups of organisms.”  Evolution itself was never in any doubt.  Now they “know” that evolution works at accelerated rates.  Darwin had insisted that evolution was slow, operating by the “gradual accumulation of numerous, successive, slight modifications.”
    Science Daily indicated that the team was surprised at what they found.  “Surprisingly, … these earliest Ediacara life forms already occupied a full morphological range of body plans that would ever be realized through the entire history of Ediacara organisms,” the article says.  They knew Charles Darwin had been concerned about the Cambrian explosion way back in the 19th century.  Now, here was another explosion just like it.  His branching tree pattern, or expanding cone of diversity, is wrong:

“The explosive evolutionary pattern was a concern to Charles Darwin, because he expected that evolution happens at a slow and constant pace,” said Shuhai Xiao, associate professor of geobiology at Virginia Tech.  “Darwin’s perception could be represented by an inverted cone with ever expanding morphological range, but the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion and since is better represented by a cylinder with a morphological radiation at the base and morphological constraint afterwards.”

How can a cylinder with all the radiation at the base be reconciled with an evolutionary view?  The scientists did not attempt to answer that question.  “Scientists are still unsure what were the driving forces behind the rapid morphological expansion during the Avalon explosion,” the article ended.  Xiao commented, “But, one thing seems certain — the evolution of earliest macroscopic and complex life also went through an explosive event before to [sic] the Cambrian Explosion.” 

1.  Shen, Dong, Xiao and Kowalewski, “The Avalon Explosion: Evolution of Ediacara Morphospace,” Science, 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 81-84, DOI: 10.1126/science.1150279.

OK, that’s it.  It’s over.  Darwinists, give up!  How many times does the evidence have to falsify your theory before you admit that this little worldview experiment was a bad trip?  We are no longer going to allow you to believe in free lunches (08/07/2007).
    For an experience in complete bewilderment at the propensity for the human mind to cling to a false belief, read the Science Daily article in its entirety.  This team of scientists has just seen a very non-evolutionary picture staring them in the face, and all they can see is evolution.  “Well, what do you know – evolution proceeds explosively instead of gradually!”  It’s enough to make one despair of the human condition.  To despair even more, ponder the fact that these falsifications of Darwinism keep appearing at the very time the Darwinists and all the leading scientific societies are on the warpath to stamp out all opposition to evolutionary teaching (see 01/02/2008 entry and a story on Evolution News).  The inmates are running the asylum.
    Cryptanalysts look at noise for evidence of a message.  Archaeologists look at markings to look for evidence of an intelligent culture.  Intelligent design scientists look at patterns in improbable structures for evidence of purposeful intent.  SETI scientists look at stellar noise for evidence of a signal.  Darwinists look at signals for evidence of noise.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Fossils

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