Evolution Out of Sync
Evolutionary theory explains everything but the kitchen sink, but what if things get out of sync? According to Darwin’s tree of life, things happen in a particular order. The same complex trait should not emerge on separate branches independently. Findings contrary to the tree pattern could sink the theory – or at least give some Darwinists a sinking feeling.
- A placoderm is born: Imagine finding a fossil of a primitive fish giving live birth. That’s what was reported in Nature this week.1 The scientists were not only surprised to find an animal fossilized in that maternal instant. Another surprise was that this kind of animal was supposed to lay eggs, not give birth to live young. Carina Dennis, commenting on the paper in the same issue of Nature,2 said, “The discovery of embryos in fossils of placoderms (ancient, armoured, jawed fish) indicates that vertebrates have been copulating and giving birth to live young for at least 380 million years.” That is over double the previous date for viviparity detected in fossil marine reptiles in the Jurassic.
The fossil from the Gogo Formation in Australia was also remarkably well preserved. One of the researchers said, “Gogo fish are three-dimensional, uncrushed, perfect specimens – as if they died yesterday.” Muscle tissues, nerve fibers and a yolk sac were all detectable. The discoverers said that it “shows additional soft-tissue preservation never before recorded in any fossil.” They could even tell that the young inside the womb was the same species, and that it showed no sign of etching from stomach acids. For these and other reasons they were convinced this was a young fish about to be born, not the adult’s lunch.
Placoderms were thought to be dull, slow, primitive fish, paddling about in their armor. This fossil implies implacably that placoderms were anything but primitive. They had an elaborate courtship ritual, along with all the internal biology necessary for giving birth to live young. The paper ended by saying “Further discussion of the significance of viviparity and evolution can be found in the Supplementary Information.”3 Thus teased, we went there and looked. The first paragraph of the Supplemental Information revealed a multi-faceted conundrum about evolution:
Live bearing evolved independently in all classes of vertebrates except birds, and also in many invertebrate clades. Phylogenetic analysis of viviparity in living fishes indicates a non-reversible transition from egg-laying to live bearing in teleosts [bony fish, like tunas], with two possible reversals in chondrichthyans [cartilaginous fish, like sharks]…. Similarly, lack of parental care has been assumed the ancestral state in fishes…. Such analyses assume oviparity [egg-laying] as a primitive and comparable condition in teleosts and chondrichthyans, and that viviparity in the latter can be interpreted as a form of parental care. However, the complex behavioral, morphological and physiological mechanisms required for successful copulation and internal fertilisation in chondrichthyans must have evolved independently and non-reversibly 12 times in teleosts, whereas they are part of an ancient evolutionary heritage in all living chondrichthyans. This fundamental difference has been overlooked in some recent analyses….
So here they admitted that a transition from egg-laying to live birth involves multiple overhauls of body shape, organ function and behavior, yet claim that evolution figured out how to do this a dozen times independently in teleost fish, to say nothing of all the other classes of vertebrates where it also emerged independently. At the end of the Supplemental Information they said, “whether internal fertilisation was ancestral for, or evolved within placoderms, it can be assumed now to have been acquired independently of internal fertilisation in chondrichthyans.”
What this means is that a highly improbable event on one branch of Darwin’s tree must have occurred multiple times on other branches. The complex morphological-physiological-behavioral package for giving live birth was not bequeathed by a common ancestor to all the upper branches, as Darwin supposed, but was invented independently and irreversibly – and that multiple times. National Geographic News repeated the evolutionary interpretation and provided a video of the fossil and its soft parts, along with an artist’s rendering of the fish giving live birth, umbilical cord and all. The article did quote Long remarking, “Having such advanced reproduction for a fish that primitive is amazing.” David Catchpoole and Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International analyzed the plausibility of this evolutionary story.
- Wood this happen twice? Lignin, the molecule responsible for the toughness of wood, is a complex molecule manufactured by complex enzymes in plants. Wikipedia4 states that the complexity of lignin biosynthesis is still challenging biochemists after a century of study:
Lignin biosynthesis (Figure 4) begins in the cytosol with the synthesis of glycosylated monolignols from the amino acid phenylalanine. These first reactions are shared with the phenylpropanoid pathway. The attached glucose renders them water soluble and less toxic. Once transported through the cell membrane to the apoplast, the glucose is removed and the polymerisation commences. Much about its anabolism is not understood even after more than a century of study.
The polymerisation step, that is a radical-radical coupling, is catalysed by oxidative enzymes. Both peroxidase and laccase enzymes are present in the plant cell walls, and it is not known whether one or both of these groups participates in the polymerisation. Low molecular weight oxidants might also be involved. The oxidative enzyme catalyses the formation of monolignol radicals. These radicals are often said to undergo uncatalyzed coupling to form the lignin polymer, but this hypothesis has been recently challenged. The alternative theory that involves an unspecified biological control is however not accepted by most scientist [sic] in the field.
Given the complexity of lignin synthesis, it challenges credibility that a random process like evolution would achieve this feat even once. Yet now, according to Science Daily, evolutionists are saying it happened twice – once in gymnosperms and again in lycophytes. The title carries the theme: “Fundamental Building Block In Flowering Plants Evolved Independently, Yet Almost Identically In Ancient Plants.”
In both these examples, the evolutionists have not considered Darwin’s tree of life to be falsified by the evidence. They have, instead, expressed amazement that evolution produced these complex structures over and over again. And they have promised that this new information will shed more light on the process Charles Darwin proposed would explain all the complexity and diversity of life on earth.
1. Long, Trinajstic, Young and Senden, “Live birth in the Devonian period,” Nature 453, 650-652 (29 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06966.
2. Carina Dennis, “The oldest pregnant mum,” Nature 453, 575 (2008) | doi:10.1038/453575a, May 28, 2008.
3. Supplemental information for Long et al (PDF photocopy) from Nature.
4. We are not using Wikipedia as an authoritative source, but only for its recognition of the complexity of lignin. The article includes links to scientific publications.
Evolutionists believe in miracles. You have just seen it right here. Let’s get them to stop this psychological game they play against creationism, wherein they claim that believers in God as an intelligent Designer of these complex structures resort to “faith” in the “supernatural” and “miracles” of creation. What, pray tell, is the difference? They have an endless stream of miracles themselves. And they have much more faith in the miracle-working power of their naturalistic deity, natural selection, than any closed-minded, irrational religious nutcase you want to exhibit.
You would think that contrary evidence this strong would be devastating to any scientific theory. Look at them; no amount of falsification overcomes their faith. These two cases alone, beside the dozens of others we have reported for years, should have tossed Darwinism overboard, but the evolution-talk, like the Titanic theme song, goes on and on and on, as their ship of evidence sinks into the night. What does that take? Belief. Undying devotion to Charlie can produce miracles in the imagination, no matter what happens in reality.
Near, far, where bad data are
I believe that the theory goes on;
Once more no watertight door
But he’s here in my heart
And my faith will go on and on and on and on and on and on and on…..
Evolution is out of sync. The H.M.S. Darwin is not only sinking. It sank, and it is sunk.