July 21, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

Evolutionists Exacerbate the Cambrian Explosion

Two secular papers this month will not be welcome
by Darwinians. They remove their biggest excuses.


Swordfighting is easier when your opponent stabs himself. Gunfights are easier when your opponent shoots himself in the foot – figuratively speaking, of course: we are not advocating violence. Some heated debates among gentlemen about the Cambrian Explosion, though, have crossed figurative swords ever since Darwin. Now, pro-evolution scientists have cut off two major rescue devices for saving Darwinism from the evidence of the fossil record, which is a bit like watching them commit self-inflicted wounds.

Life on Earth didn’t arise as described in textbooks (University of Copenhagen, 18 July 2023). The first rescue device was to attribute the sudden explosion of diversity at the base of the Cambrian to a rise in atmospheric oxygen. According to this idea, a lack of oxygen “suppressed” animal diversification, but a rise in oxygen “permitted” new evolutionary innovations. It sounds crazy, and it is (see my refutation here), but that was the story being told. What else was there in the materialistic toolkit to explain the sudden rise of 14 to 18 new body plans?

The rug has been pulled out from the oxygen theory by evolutionists themselves. They now say that the alleged rise in oxygen never happened: “No, oxygen didn’t catalyze the swift blossoming of Earth’s first multicellular organisms. The result defies a 70-year-old assumption about what caused an explosion of oceanic fauna hundreds of millions of years ago.” For 70 years, the scientists were wrong!

Up until now, it was believed that increased oxygen levels triggered the evolutionary arrival of more advanced marine organisms. This is being disproved by University of Copenhagen researchers working together with colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the University of Southern Denmark and Lund University, among others.

By studying the chemical composition of ancient rock samples from an Omani mountain range, the researchers have been able to “measure” oxygen concentrations in the world’s oceans from when these multicellular organisms appeared. Defying expectations, the result shows that Earth’s oxygen concentrations had not increased. Indeed, levels remained 5-10 times lower than today, which is roughly how much oxygen there is at twice the height of Mount Everest.

This should not be taken to think that the scientists are abandoning the theory of evolution. Not at all; one doesn’t change their religion so easily. But they are having to go to confession.

“The fact that we now know, with a high degree of certainty, that oxygen didn’t control the development of life on Earth provides us with an entirely new story about how life arose and what factors controlled this success,” says the researcher, adding:

“Specifically, it means that we need to rethink a lot of the things that we believed to be true from our childhood learning. And textbooks need to be revised and rewritten.

The key phrase is “entirely new story.” They suggested the plot of the new just-so story of Darwin: the rise of animals in low-oxygen conditions. Maybe the low oxygen actually helped animals evolve quickly! What a concept: it turns a defect into a bonus! Motivational speakers should learn from this lesson on how to turn a negative into a positive.

“It’s interesting that the explosion of multicellular organisms occurs at a time with low concentrations of atmospheric and oceanic oxygen. That indicates that organisms benefited from lower levels of oxygen and were able to develop in peace, as the water chemistry protected their stem cells naturally,” says Christian J. Bjerrum….

“We know that animals and humans must be able to maintain low concentrations of oxygen in order to control their stem cells, and in so doing, develop slowly and sustainably. With too much oxygen, the cells will develop, and in the worst case, mutate wildly and perish. It is far from inconceivable that this mechanism applied back then,” concludes Christian J. Bjerrum.

So if it is not inconceivable, is it ipso facto true?

The Cambrian Explosion: most animal phyla appear abruptly without ancestors at the base of the Cambrian strata. Credit: canbedone (Adobe Stock)

Time Crunch

Cambrian explosion condensed: High-precision geochronology of the lower Wood Canyon Formation, Nevada (Nelson et al., PNAS, 17 July 2023). The second rescue device has been to stretch out the duration of the Cambrian Explosion. Pro-Darwin paleontologists have tried desperately to find hidden ancestors and transitional forms in the Precambrian strata, with little success. The molecular clock seemed to suggest that they must have existed. Maybe the strange Ediacaran creatures were transitional forms. Maybe small shelly fossils before the biggest part of the bang were evolving quickly. Sorry; a new examination of Cambrian rocks in Nevada pulls the rug out from that rescue device.

The early Cambrian Period marks the important interval when most major groups of animals first appear in Earth’s sedimentary record. The tempo of this biological diversification is still poorly defined because, globally, there are few absolute age constraints that calibrate early Cambrian fossil occurrences or the carbon isotope perturbations used to correlate the biostratigraphy of different continents. In this study, we present high-precision age constraints for strata in the southwestern United States, which suggest the early Cambrian animal radiation was significantly faster than currently recognized. Accurately constraining the timing and rates of early animal evolution is a critical step toward better understanding this milestone in Earth’s history.

Over and over, this team of six from universities in the USA and Canada admit that the tempo of the explosion was faster than currently recognized. They really put the bang in Biology’s Big Bang:

These data demonstrate the base of the Cambrian Period, as defined by both ichnofossil biostratigraphy and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy, was younger than 533 Mya, at least 6 My later than currently recognized. This new geochronology condenses previous age models for the Nemakit–Daldynian (early Cambrian) and, integrated with global records, demonstrates an explosive tempo to the early radiation of modern animal phyla.

The new onset date at 533 Mya (million Darwin Years ago) is, they say, “at least twice as rapid as previously inferred.” Those in the Intelligent Design community, such as Dr Stephen Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt, have been saying this for years: the pulse of the explosion was 5 million years or less. It could be less, because the new body plans appear suddenly without any lead up in terms of simpler forms. Bang! They are there: trilobites with complex eyes and articulating limbs, along with some 14-18 other new body plans, depending on who is classifying the fossils. This paper shows that paleontologists are admitting that the Cambrian explosion really was explosive.

Over the last four decades, calibration of the base of the Cambrian Period has shifted progressively younger, from c. 570 Ma (50) to c. 544 Ma (51), to c. 541 Ma (28, 44), to c. 539 Ma, and now to c. 533 Ma. While paleontological studies reveal an increasingly apparent Ediacaran root to animal evolution, this revision to the geologic time scale lengthens the fuse and demonstrates that the early Cambrian radiation of modern animal phyla was even more explosive than formerly realized.

By “lengthens the fuse,” they are saying that nothing much happened after the Ediacaran. A long, slow fuse burned. Then suddenly, at the base of the Cambrian, Bang! Animals!

So what is the new rescue device? The authors resurrect the notion that the Ediacaran creatures acted like an underground “root” of evolution, such that genetic innovations must have prepared for the bang to come. That’s hard to swallow, though, because the Ediacaran fauna (if they were animals at all) look nothing like the Cambrian animals. These authors toss that hot potato to a paper published back in 2015 cited in the references. More recently, former evolutionist (now ID advocate) and esteemed paleontologist Günter Bechly has dismissed any Ediacaran affiliation with Cambrian animals (Evolution News, 23 March 2021).

Eat your heart out, Live Science.

They’re all wrong, because they believe in the Stuff Happens Law that Darwin concocted, which is silly. They also accept his eons of time, which runs contrary to much evidence. Creationists deny Deep Time and evolution, and account for the sudden appearance of animal body plans as the evidence of engineering know-how by an all-wise Creator who told us what He did in Genesis. It didn’t take millions of years. It only took six days. (Actually, only days 5 and 6).

But since we know that evolutionary paleontologists deny all such evidence because of unbelief (Romans 1:18-23), it is gratifying, in a tragic way, to see the unbelievers shooting themselves in the foot. (So to speak.)

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