May 16, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Out-of-Order Fossils Make Darwinists Wave Hands

When a fossil violates Darwinist expectations, it never falsifies the theory.  It just creates a new round of imaginative gesticulations.

Bad, monster, badNational Geographic wrote a headline, “New Sea Monster Found, Rewrites Evolution?”  The question mark implies, “Of course not,” even though the partial ichthyosaur fossil found in Kurdistan is “Out of time,” according to Live Science.  Actually, it wasn’t lacking time.  It had plenty of time to create problems for Darwinists:

Researchers had previously believed that ichthyosaurs declined throughout the Jurassic Period, which lasted from 199 million to 145 million years ago, with the only survivors rapidly evolving to keep ahead of repeated extinction events. The new fossil, however, dates from the Cretaceous Period, which lasted from 145 million to 66 million years ago. It looks remarkably like its Jurassic brethren, revealing a surprising evolutionary statis [sic, stasis].

The fossil “represents an animal that seems ‘out of time’ for its age,” study researcher Valentin Fischer of the University of Liège in Belgium said in a statement.

Now, the gesticulation: one evolutionist called it a “ghost lineage” (i.e., “changing very little over millions of years”).  Another called it a “living fossil of its time.” One “never even imagined” it could survive so long.  One said “it shouldn’t be there, but it is.”  The new story will apparently read: “The resulting ichthyosaur family tree suggests these marine reptiles stayed diverse into the Cretaceous, only to go mysteriously extinct 95 million years ago.”  National Geographic is holding out hope that a single specimen won’t “rewrite evolution”.

Go, ginkgo:  Speaking of stasis, the unusual tree Ginkgo biloba is a classic “living fossil.”  Because it is the now the “most abundant cityscape tree in the world,” one might be growing in a park near you.  Evolutionists, though, consider it an exception to their rule, “evolve or perish.”  J. C. McElwain wrote in Science Magazine about a new book about the ginkgo tree by Peter Crane:

Ginkgo is among Earth’s oldest-living organisms, reaching ages of around 1500 years. It is a “living fossil,” belonging to a family line extending back over 200 million years. It is a symbol of morphological stasis yet incredible persistence, having survived two of the five great mass extinction events in Earth history.

Now, the gesticulation: maybe it’s because it invented lignotubers, “among ginkgo’s adaptations that have ensured its persistence and resilience through hundreds of millions of years of global change.”  Funny no other plant borrowed that idea.  McElwain relishes in some tidbits of “subtle” evolutionary change, even though the tree is a “poster child for morphological stasis“.  He puts a positive spin on how ginkgo fossils can “inform us about the tempo and nature of plant macroevolution.”  Then he relishes how Crane makes the most of reverse evolution:

He holds that Darwinian microevolutionary processes and contingency can account for most of the patterns observed in the plant fossil record, and he downplays (but does not entirely discount) the roles of evolutionary innovations and environmentally driven macroevolutionary processes. Crane also draws a nice parallel between the trajectories of horse and ginkgo evolutionboth belonged to once highly diverse families and both were “winnowed” to a single extant species.

The human network:  Categories of early humans are falling like dominoes, now that Svante Pääbo’s team has found more evidence of interbreeding between Denisovans, Neanderthals and modern humans (see 9/01/12).  Elizabeth Pennisi’s report in Science Magazine about a well-attended talk he gave in Germany last week seems devastating to evolutionary attempts to parse out human ancestors to various species and make a tree out of them:

With all the interbreeding, “it’s more a network than a tree,” points out Carles Lalueza-Fox, a paleogeneticist from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain. Pääbo hesitates to call Denisovans a distinct species, and the picture is getting more complicated with each new genome.

Pääbo’s team also deciphered additional Denisovan DNA, both nuclear and mitochondrial, from two teeth found in different layers in Denisova Cave. The nuclear DNA confirmed that both teeth are Denisovan. But, surprisingly, one tooth showed more than 80 mitochondrial DNA differences from both the other tooth and the pinkie bone. These Denisovans, who lived in the same cave at different times, were as genetically diverse as two living humans from different continents and more diverse than Neandertals from throughout their range, says Susanna Sawyer from Pääbo’s lab. Such diversity implies that the Denisovans were a relatively large population “that at some point may have outnumbered Neandertals,” Pääbo said.

Now, the gesticulating: Pennisi reported that the evolutionists feel the new data will help clarify “genetic changes that underlie our own evolution.”  They might be able to line up genes from these “archaic people” and find out which are unique to our species, compared to genes of apes and monkeys.  See also the 9/05/11 and 8/12/11 entries.

The observations show solid horizontal lines between interbreeding kinds, but dashed vertical lines where the evolution is supposed to have happened.  Where is the tree?  It’s all a tangled bramble bush.  When the fossils don’t tell the Darwin tale, they have to invent terms like “morphological stasis” and wave their hands to keep you from seeing what the evidence implies.  Ignore the waving hands.  If they can’t get the tree right, what makes you think they got the dates right?

Pääbo has basically undermined the Neanderthal myth.  Evolutionists give arbitrary names to populations of Homo sapiens, giving them new species designations like Homo neanderthalensis.  Since it fits Darwin’s expectations, it quickly becomes textbook orthodoxy.  Artists go to work to make the new species look as different as possible from us.  But what have we just heard?  “These Denisovans, who lived in the same cave at different times, were as genetically diverse as two living humans from different continents and more diverse than Neandertals from throughout their range.”  It’s all phony baloney categorizing among true humans, whose ability to interbreed proves they are one species.

At first, Pääbo and other evolutionists tried that with the bones from Denisova cave, but now is reluctant to call those cave dwellers a distinct species.  How could he?  The DNA is all scrambled, showing they were all members of a single species: human beings.  The people in that cave were smart.  They were networking way back when they lived, just like we do today.  None of them were stupid enough to try mating with apes, or to think that’s where they came from.  If you respect evidence, help toss the Darwin Party out of power.

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  • Pikaia says:

    Rewriting evolution does not mean falsifying it. This article seems to imply that every time a new discovery is made that sheds light on how animals evolved, that that means evolution is false because it has to be rewritten. New planets are being discovered all the time. Does that mean that astronomy is fundamentally wrong? The fact that Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans can interbreed does indeed imply that they might be considered the same species. If species are so hard to demarcate, and seem, in fact, to blend in with eachother, which theory would that support? Specially created species or species that continually evolve from one species to the next? How do you explain the fact that the fossil record starts with bacteria, progresses to sponges, to arthropods, to fish, to amphibians, reptiles, then birds and mammals? Why would creation happen in that order? There are populations of animals on earth right now that can interbreed with eachother in a ring, but when the last population in the ring connects with and tries to interbreed with the first, it can’t because the members become so different as they go around the ring. Do you even count that as one species or more than one? It’s unclear! How would special creation explain these things, plus all the other observations and fulfilled predictions that support evolution? What wild gesticulations would it have to go through?

    • Editor says:

      Thanks for your comments that avoided ad hominem attacks. As for what creationists believe, they do not support fixity of species, but fixity of created kinds. For instance, all dogs are descended from a wolf-like kind of animal. That’s not upward evolution, but horizontal variation, due to built-in adaptability provided at creation (e.g., long-haired dogs surviving in cold climates). As for the fossil record, you ignored the Cambrian explosion. I suggest you order Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt to understand that issue before claiming fossils support Darwinian evolution.

  • Pikaia says:

    So, wait,.. you admit that one species can evolve into another? Seems like you and Darwinists disagree on very little, then. Is it such a huge leap to think of all organisms as one created kind? The details behind the Cambrian explosion aren’t known that well. It could be adaptive radiation due to some change in the environment.. it seems to have taken place over millions of years, and the fossil record is spotty, so it by no means disproves evolution. Look at all the positive evidence for evolution (which is not as twisted and biased as you make it seem), weigh it with the remaining mysteries and it becomes clear which is the reasonable opinion.

    • Editor says:

      Pikaia, the Cambrian explosion is much more serious than you portray. I urge you to get the new book Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer, or to watch Darwin’s Dilemma from Illustra Media, or search on “Cambrian Explosion” in our archives. Calling it “adaptive radiation due to some change in the environment” is a question-begging response (it assumes the issue at hand). Also, the word “evolution” needs clarity. As Darwin meant it, it referred to the common ancestry of all life by an undirected process called natural selection.

  • Pikaia says:

    No, the Cambrian explosion is much less serious than you portray. It doesn’t even refute my argument about the order and complexity of organisms appearing in the fossil record. All animals in the Cambrian explosion are of about the same level of complexity: arthropods, molluscs, worms, and the like. There are no sea lion fossils or anything of that complexity in Cambrian strata. Animals of lower complexity appear in lower strata. A possible mollusc has been found in the Ediacaran along with sea-pen-like animals and jellyfish, and sponges even lower. This order matches what would be predicted from anatomy and evolutionary theory. ID can’t explain it.

    • Editor says:

      Read Meyer’s book, and watch the Illustra film, then see if you can still claim that.
      No more comments till after June 21– CEH is on hiatus. Before you comment again, do the homework assignment.

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