Evolution: the basics (by Dan Ryder)

If you look at human beings, it’s immediately obvious that there’s lots of variation. Much of that variation is accompanied by contributing genetic variation – on average, your DNA sequence differs from another person’s by about 0.1 percent (about 6 million letters of DNA).

Where did all this variation come from? From mutation, broadly construed. Whenever cells divide, copying errors can occur – from single-letter swaps, deletions, or insertions, to duplications of entire genes (or entire genomes – all the DNA!). Bits of DNA can be chopped out and moved around; in addition, viruses can insert their DNA sequences and sometimes these can stay put, like genetic squatters. All of these sorts of changes have been observed in the lab, and if any of them end up in sperm or egg cells, the resulting mutations are passed on to the next generation. A recent estimate for the single-letter mutations in humans suggests that you inherited about 30 of them from each of your parents! (That doesn’t include many of the other sorts of mutations, including e.g. gene duplications.) In other words: we’re all mutants.

A few of those mutations can have a large effect (sometimes good, but usually bad, causing a miscarriage), but most have a small or even zero effect. So variation accumulates – thus that 6 million letter difference that you have, on average, with someone else.

So far, young earth creationists agree.

Now, this variation is spread as evenly through the human population as all the sex allows. (Travel these days is making it more even.) But imagine that a group of people becomes isolated from the rest, so that nary a sperm makes it across the gap. What will happen? Well, both groups will continue to accumulate variation. But mutation is a random process; so the two groups will accumulate some different genetic variations. Maybe small differences that don’t matter at all, that are completely invisible – unless you sequence their DNA. Or maybe larger differences that still don’t matter, but that are visible (like racial differences).

Still, young earth creationists are nodding their heads.

Now what if those two groups stay isolated for, not thousands, but hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Those small differences will become larger, no? Like in Darwin’s finches, for example, or rock wallabies. Of course, there’s something else that can encourage change, and that’s natural selection. If one of the variants within a population has comparatively more offspring, that variant will become more common, and may even push out some other variants. For example, in a small population of brown bears that were isolated in arctic conditions, those with a light fur mutation would have been better off: precursors to the polar bear. This is a small but significant difference between the two groups. Other changes accumulated too, like skeletal and tooth changes, and we now have brown bears and polar bears as distinct species. (They can still interbreed in principle; they just tend not to because they don’t share a habitat any more.)

Still, John’s happy with all this. Because these changes are all within a “kind” – the human kind, the finch kind, the bear kind.

So where does he get off the boat? Actually, I have no idea. The longer the process goes on, the greater the variety that will be produced. He asks: how could mutation bring about large changes? I ask: how could it not bring about large changes!? It’s inevitable, given population separation and enough time. When the ball starts rolling down the hill, it keeps going unless you stop it. What stops it, John? (Maybe you’ll say: time, the young Earth. In which case the debate turns to the age of the Earth, and the impossible rate of evolution you’ll need to generate the observed variation within your “kinds”.)

How large a change is required for a change in a creationist “kind”? John is careful not to say. However, he is very clear that chimps and humans belong to different kinds. On the other hand, he thinks that all the rock wallabies belong to the same kind. Problem: the genetic distance between chimps and humans is the same as the genetic distance between the two most distantly related species of rock wallaby: 2%. If mutation and natural selection produced all the rock wallabies from a common ancestor, as John seems to accept, then how can he deny that it produced chimps and humans from a common ancestor too? For the wallabies, he accepts the mechanism (mutation and natural selection) and he accepts the common sense reasoning (the logic of common descent). But not in the chimp/human case, despite the fact that the mechanism would do the trick, the common sense reasoning applies, and the distance travelled would be the same.

Worse for him: the genetic distances within the kangaroo kind, the bear kind, the ape kind, the bird kind, and [gulp] the bacteria kind are much greater. And he indicates that they’re related by common descent too. (Though he won’t answer my direct questions to clarify that.) Well, if the range of genetic diversity within birds can be generated by common descent, so can the range of diversity within mammals. It’s roughly the same amount. John simply cannot have all the “kinds” he wants.

I’ve just shown that mutation and natural selection can produce large changes via common descent, and therefore changes in “kind”. Of course, John sees this problem. What he wants to say is this: God designed the “kinds” so that a certain amount of genetic variation was encouraged within them; they can mutate up to that point, but no further. (That’s ultimately what he means for the variation to be “built in” to the kind – see his finches point here.) The problem is there is absolutely no reason to suppose that mutation is restricted in this way. There’s nothing to stop the ball from rolling.

Worse for him, we know the ball didn’t stop rolling, because we have a record of the path it took in all the DNA sequences discussed in the “language analogy” thread, plus all the hundreds or thousands of similar DNA-based trees of descent that have been produced by biologists. These paths are consistent only with no-barrier mutation-based change. If there were barriers, they’d show up as separate, isolated trees of descent for each kind. But that simply isn’t what we find.

The mutation half of the evolution mechanism (by Dan Ryder)

The theory of evolution has two main planks: 1) organisms (and species) are related by common descent, and 2) variation is generated by mutation, natural selection, and chance (e.g. genetic drift). In a couple of places, John has now cast aspersions on mutation as a source of variation. Note that this doesn’t touch the first plank, common descent – that’s the one I’ve been pushing him on (e.g. here and here). No answers from him yet on that plank.

I’m happy to take up the topic of mutation, though.

First, in his “Trees and Kinds” post, John asserts without argument (and without defining his terms) that mutation can’t produce new kinds, because complex “information” always comes from intelligence. That’s demonstrably false on any reasonable interpretation of “information”. Karl Sims’ evolved virtual creatures in this cool movie and many other kinds of evolved artificial life (e.g. here and here) are clear counterexamples. In these examples, the programmer is like a designer who creates the first life, and then lets evolution do the rest. It’s clear that the increase in “information” as these creatures evolve comes not from the designer, but from the evolutionary mechanism. Indeed, the researchers involved often have little idea of how the creatures are even managing to do these things!

In the same post, John claims that biologists believe that mutation produces variation in organisms “by blind faith.” (The skunk complains of the rose’s stench.) Here are some powerful reasons why biologists accept mutation as the fundamental source of variation upon which natural selection acts:

a) Mutation-based evolution has been observed (despite John’s claim to the contrary):
• In Lenski’s meticulous experiment on E. coli, small populations (by bacterial standards) have been reproducing in controlled conditions (which limit evolution’s scope) for years, and Lenski’s team has tracked all the mutations. Some of these mutations have led to new capabilities, for instance the consumption of citrate in the presence of oxygen (a capability that is used to distinguish normal E. coli from Salmonella).
Kubinak et al. have observed viruses mutate to resist particular parts in mouse immune systems.
• Peter and Rosemary Grant observed mutation-based evolution occurring over the course of decades in Darwin’s finches. (More on finches in a moment.)
Castro-Nallar and colleagues have shown how, over the last hundred years alone, the HIV virus has mutated from a single type to hundreds. Many of these mutations are beneficial to the virus (though not to us!); for example, resistance to AZT.
• In the oral debate, John stated that antibiotic resistance in bacteria results only from genetic variation that is already present in the original population of bacteria. This is false – many novel mutations have been studied that lead to antibiotic resistance in various types of bacteria. See the review, Fitness effects of mutations in bacteria, or here (quote: “Spontaneous mutations, in particular, are pivotal in the emergence of novel resistances.”)
I could go on an on. But of course John won’t actually comment on any of those cases. He’ll just repeat his mantra, “But you haven’t shown me any evidence, yet, Dan! Where is it?” Maybe he thinks “evidence” means “bananas.” I’d have to agree with him that none of my posts contain bananas.

b) Mutation has been observed in the lab, of all sorts of different kinds (see my next post for some details). When we look at DNA sequences of modern related organisms (whether two human cousins or mice and bears) and compare them, we can work out the changes that would have led from a common ancestor’s DNA sequence to the sequences of those modern organisms. (Sometimes we even have the ancient DNA sequence, like with this polar bear.) Those transformations fit very nicely with the types of mutations we’ve observed in the lab.

We can even work out roughly how long the transformations must have taken, based on observed mutation rates. Then we can go to the fossil record, and see if that prediction matches. (See the amazing example of Foraminifera, in note 2 here.) Time and again, the genetic data fits with the fossil record. This is stunning evidence that mutation is the fundamental source of variation.

I should note that evolution acknowledges other sources of variation besides mutation, e.g. symbiosis (mitochondria and chloroplasts), sex, and recombination. (You might include here the insertion of viral genomes too, but I’m just counting that as a type of mutation.) Mutation doesn’t have to do all the work.

Finally, let me say something about John’s mistake about the finches, in his fifth paragraph here. He cites a Nature article (which is volume 442 by the way, not 445 as he states), claiming that it shows finch variations are not caused by mutations. He says “The genetic information for all finch beak shapes is built in and they can flip flop beak shape almost at will.”

First, flip-flopping is irrelevant – if the selection pressures reverse direction (as the Grants observed), so will beak shape. Evolution doesn’t have a “target”, though this is a popular misconception. Evolution is just about change whatever the direction.

Second, the study John cites does not show that beak shape variations are not caused by mutations. In fact, the article assumes that they are. What the article is showing is that there are separate mechanisms that determine different aspects of beak shape (e.g. length vs. width). This means that mutations can affect length and width independently, which makes it easier for finches to evolve new beak shapes. Of course, John would say: God designed that mechanism for easier evolvability; biologists would say that it’s a product of evolution – same old dispute. What’s not in dispute is that it’s mutation that causes the variation. (Indeed, Petren et al. work out the history of those genetic changes in “A phylogeny of Darwin’s Finches based on microsatellite DNA length variation”, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B (1999) 266, 321-329.)

Sidetrack Dan (by John Mackay)

SIDETRACK DAN is a good label for what you have often tried to do in this debate on fossils and genetics support evolution etc Dan. I have ignored most of them such as homosexuality, the age of trees and Old Testament being in error about slaves, therefore not inspired etc, so let me just put a perspective on this.

You raised C14 age of trees as indisputable evidence the Genesis record could not be taken literally. That would be a great argument except for one thing! Dating method results are not facts. You may choose to believe that whatever Carbon 14 is doing now it has always done, a basic necessity for the method to work, which is your only option if you have no authoritative witness from the past. But you need to admit that you got this assumption from the founding father of modern Geology from Charles Lyell who is on record as declaring the reason for his choice of such an assumption was his aim “to free the science from Moses!”( ref…)

He was well aware Genesis teaches the opposite. The present is very different from the past. Lyell knew nothing about C14 but he knew Genesis teaches God made the world very good. Ipso facto: in a good world devoid of death and suffering there was no loose canon H.E. radiation from above or below. Implication; not even short lived isotopes such as C14 would prove reliable in trying to reach beyond Noahs flood. Again – its not the facts that contradict genesis – it is your opinion as your create arguments. The reason why C14 and all the other methods contradict Genesis is they are designed to do this as Lyell and his disciple Darwin and their descendant Sidetrack Dan. Besides the most important point here is the age of a tree has little to do with how it got to be a tree. So where are your fossils and genetics Dan. All favour the mate. Sudden appearance and after their kind.

You are on your own Dan: “In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation” – Mark Ridley, ‘Who doubts evolution?’, New Scientist, vol. 90, 25 June 1981, p. 831 plus: “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether”. Henry Gee, ³Return to the Planet of the Apes,² Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131.

AS FOR ADMITTING a god for the purpose of the debate, the real God was unimpressed and neither was I his servant.

When you claim that some of the statements re slavery show the fallibility of scripture be careful Dan. Atheist philosophers are normally those who favour woman’s rights to kill their babies in the womb, of getting rid of the elderly when it is convenient, and of assisted suicide, so you are not in a moral position to judge how to treat slaves in a culture far different than yours. Of course if you are against any or all the above, now is the time to say so and then explain why. I can. God as creator has the right to tell us what is wrong. Stronger than that even. He has the right to judge us and will do so one day. Better yet. The Creator Christ came down to earth to die in our place so we could be forgiven all the murders and immorality thefts and adultery etc, that plague mankind, if we but humble ourselves and ask. I did.

MORE ON DATING http://evidenceweb.net/generic_search_results.php?p_SEARCH=dating

Kind (by John Mackay)

UNKIND DAN as this debate draws to a close and I sit here in Toronto airport pondering Dan slates faux pas grande, I am amused by his statement John: thank you for defining “kind” for me. You say the term refers to a group of organisms that are all related by common descent. OK, fine. (Dan Ryder on February 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm)

You remind me Dan of when I first went to the USA 30 yrs ago and was very homesick. Missing wife and new baby and the young family where I stayed also had a new child so in perfect innocence I asked if could nurse the baby. The mother looked horrified . The husband embarrassed. What they meant by nurse was very different than what we Aussies meant. We meat to hold the baby – the Americans meant to breast feed it. So get it into your head Dan when we talk about common descent within a kind we are not talking about evolutionist common descent. Your atheistic theory of common descent means lifeless molecules becoming cells, becoming multicelled, becoming fish, becoming amphibians etc up to man and it is still happening. Creation of Biblical kind means the bird kind is unrelated to the fish kind. Mankind is unrelated to ape kind. But all humans black white or any shade in between are related and have not evolved by millions of years of natural selection plus mutation. Hence the creationist term Mankind Single cells did not originate from lifeless molecules, but were created by the cleverness of the pre-existent creator Christ and in my last post for this debate that’s the topic I will address.

Trees and Kinds (by John Mackay)

HOW KIND? Yes it is true – I have hammered and will continue to hammer after their kind. You claim my use the of the term ‘kind’ is spectacularly vague. Nonsense. It is experimentally proven that organisms reproduce after their kind. What’s vague about that?
Kind simply refers to all those creatures that are related as in mankind being unrelated to the bird kind or the ape kind. You want the actual details on how God created? We know about as much about that process as evolutionists know about abiogenesis. But here is the difference. Complex information ALWAYS comes from intelligence. Always. This is where evolution fails big time. We have a source of complex information in the intelligence of God. Evolutionist have to rely on experimentally unsupported, yet to be found mechanisms they accept by blind faith alone! You continually view mutations/natural selection as the hero of the evolution story when there is no evidence that our laboratory efforts can mutate new types of organisms and gain new complex information. Our
attempts to scientifically reproduce the evolution fantasy have all proved to be failures. And that with carefully controlled lab conditions, scientists etc., and not natural non-guided conditions which is what evolution demands. The amount of your faith in evolution is admirable but foolishly founded in desperation. As Dr. Kemp curator of Zoological Collections at Oxford University so clearly stated; “To account for evolutionary changes that take millions of years to completion solely by reference to processes that can be studied only over tens of years requires an extraordinary faith.” T S Kemp, Fossils and Evolution, Oxford University Press, 1999, p 251. No, that is not a quote mine.

DATING TREES: I couldn¹t believe you would waste space in the debate on tree ring chronology since showing that a pine tree is old only undermines your case. If pine trees have remained pine trees for 10,000, or 30,000 or 300,000,000 yrs, then you have made a
claim that is no help to your argument for evolution. Knowing how old they are does not tell us where they came from. But the older you make them the longer we can argue they have not evolved! There is no observation evolution does happen, no mechanism to show it can, and no evidence to support it has ever happened! On this basis Dan I could allow you millions of years and safely predict you will find nothing evolves into a new KIND of organism. Case closed! Yet again- but are you listening?

So-called “flood geology” (by Dan Ryder)

Sedimentary rock forms when layers of deposits (often in water, but also on land) gradually build up and are compressed into rock. Organisms become fossilized in some of these layers, and we can trace the gradual changes in the organisms on Earth by looking at those fossils, since newer ones are on top of older ones (unless there has been some geological upheaval). These patterns have allowed palaeontologists to construct family trees of life on Earth that are independently corroborated by the DNA analyses I discussed in my “language analogy” post.

Each type of fossil is found only in a restricted range of rock layers (strata) – sometimes a large range, sometimes a small range. For instance, you just don’t find the familiar mammals anywhere except the top layers. These regularities are so good that oil companies employ experts in the subject in order to identify layers, the better to find oil deposits.

All this suggested to early geologists that the Earth is very old indeed, and that there was a succession of different creatures throughout this extremely long history. But many geologists still wanted to hold on to the Biblically derived model that the Earth was only thousands of years old – they clung to the idea that all those layers were deposited by Noah’s Flood. That hope finally died with the advent of modern dating techniques, which demonstrate that these rocks go all the way back to roughly 4 billion years ago. Here is a partial list of those dating methods:

Amino acid racemization (L-to-D) (AAR), Argon40 to argon-39 chronometric, Astronomical polarity time scale (APTS), 10Be/9Be isotopic analysis, chronostratigraphy (requires chronometric methods as well), Coral reef annual layering, Dendochronology (tree-ring), Deuterium-hydrogen isotope analysis, Electron spin resonance (ESR), Fission track dating, Fluorine-uranium-nitrogen analysis (FUN), Geomagnetic (archaeomagnetic/paleomagnetic) reversal time scale (GTRS), Geomagnetic secular variation (around magnetic pole), Helium dating, Infrared-stimulated luminescence, Lutetium-176 to hafnium-176 geochronology, Meteorite cosmic-ray exposure, Milankovitch cycle astrochronology, Neon-21 to helium-3 dating, Obsidian hydration analysis (OHA), Ocean sediment core analysis, Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), Oxygen-16/Oxygen18 stable isotope analysis, Polar ice-sheet core, Potassium-40 to argon-40 chronometric, radiocarbon dating, Radioluminescence (RL), Radon-222-lead-210-lead-206 chronometric, Rhenium-187-osmium-187 chronometric, Rubidium-87-strontium-87 chronometric, Samarium-147-neodymium-143 chronometric, Strontium87 to strontium-86 chronometric, Tephrochronology, Terrestrial rock cosmic-ray exposure, Thermoluminescence (TL), Thorium-232-lead-208 chronometric, Uranium-235-lead-207 chronometric, Uranium-238-uranium-234-thorium-230-radium-226-lead-206 chronometric (U-series) and Varve analysis.

Each method covers only a certain time range, from a few thousand years to billions of years. In each case, we take some natural process that changes with time, we measure its pattern of change today, and use that information to infer the dates of old things the process has affected. The marvellous thing is that we have so many completely different independent dating techniques that all agree where they overlap that we can be certain that we’re dating the rock layers correctly. Anyone who is not desperately hanging on to the inerrancy of Genesis will see that this is proof of an old Earth, and proof of the succession of organisms.

What can young earth creationists do with this evidence? They’re forced into contortions you wouldn’t believe:

1) They say that the strata were laid down from “settling” after Noah’s flood (except for the “creation week” layer at the very bottom). If you go to the McAbee fossil beds near Cache Creek (highly recommended!), you’ll find several hundred thousand micro-thin layers chock full of fossils (which geology dates to around 50 million years ago). After the rain stopped, the flood waters must have been as calm as a perfectly still aquarium for months or years to achieve that kind of settling! (But why the exactly similar layers?? I’ll tell you why: it’s a seasonal accumulation of debris, roughly one per year. But John can’t say that. And why are they now rock? Eons of compression, but John can’t say that either.)

2) They say that the settling occurred in such a way that each creature is found only within a certain range of layers across the globe. For example, hippopotami are always inexplicably found far above cockroaches with external ovipositors – I guess they were really, really heavy cockroaches! In the Grand Canyon, there are 2000 feet of sediment (containing marine organisms) before the first reptiles and plants appear. Were the reptiles treading water for months on end? (And the plants too?) Not only that, but the reptiles left tracks in the sediment (e.g. in the Hermit Shale layer). How did they manage to walk around on the bottom of the ocean, after having all been killed in the first 40 days of a violent global deluge, I wonder? And then other animals left more tracks on top of the layer above? and then the flood deposited thousands more feet of sediment? You can see why geologists laugh at so-called “flood geology.”

3) Moreover, they have to say that the many independent dating methods that make it *look* as though each layer is independently confirmed to be a certain age, and where these layers *appear* to follow a beautiful succession of dates, millions to billions of years old, are all wrong, in completely different ways for completely different reasons. That, I hope you can see, is utterly preposterous! All to save a literal interpretation of Genesis – there’s no independent confirmation of any of these crazy hypotheses.

Fossils and Finches (by John Mackay)

Dan we’ve been waiting nearly 2 weeks for that promised evidence and to date your blog entries read as just so many insinuations and patronizing replies. So let’s move the debate up a notch.

FOSSIL RECORD: We have established, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that organisms appear suddenly in the fossil record, have no ancestors and have been stable in form from their first appearance on earth. This fact alone speaks against evolution and supports the Biblical Kind account. The argument that the fossil record doesn’t support evolution because organisms have evolved to reach astable ‘equilibrium’ with selection pressure is not persuasive and is frankly a bit of a cop-out.

The fossil record doesn’t support the change from one kind of organism to another at all which you have to establish in order to convince any of us that the evolution of kinds has occurred! I am surprised you haven’t brought up evolution’s favourite whale of a tale story but perhaps you are beginning to see the flaws in that one.

The time is way past for you to argue that the fossil record is inadequate and spotty and only catches some change. It has been 150 yrs since Darwin and we have found billions of fossils. Billions. It’s hard to sweep that amount of evidence under the rug when we all know that not one example of an invertebrate ­ fish evolution sequence exists. That IS damning evidence. The experts in the field admit that the fossil record does not support evolution as I have repeatedly stated and you have repeatedly ignored.

GALAPAGOS FINCHES: You also ask; ‘Was the common design in finches achieved thru God targeting genetic changes?’ Are you deliberating baiting me with this? The genetic information for all finches was already present in its ancestor. As they proliferated, the different types of finches occupied different environments and it was these changes that Darwin used to support his theory of evolution. We now know that these finch changes are not caused by mutations. The genetic information for all finch beak shapes is built in and they can flip flop beak shape almost at will. This is adaptation and natural selection but it is not evolution. More information can be found here Nature, vol. 445, p563, 3 Aug 2006. And don’t forget that creationists were the first to define natural selection and adaptation before Darwin’s book. We emphasize that natural selection is not evolution. All that natural selection produces is the LOSS of genetic material and variability. It can’t evolve anything, just eliminate the unfit in a population. Finches turning into finches is of no use to you Dan and every support to us creationists. Admit it mate – you’ve lost.

The debate format

Just a reminder to everyone of the format: Mr. Mackay and I place our main points in posts (like this one) on the blog’s home page, and subsequent debate on that point (just between us) occurs in the comments. So make sure you click on the speech bubble at the top of each post, or the “replies” link at the bottom – that’s where most of the action is!

LANGUAGE ANALOGY Ryder’s Fatal Errors (by John Mackay)

Dan, why are you still playing around with languages to prove evolution? We agree languages do change over time and they do descend from a parent language. The bible describes exactly that. One common created language for all people which was first changed at Babel. But you abuse the analogy when you claim changing languages are a picture for the biological world where ‘one thing descended from another’. Are you kidding? Your language analogy has nothing to do with how simple chemicals formed the first cell, how naturalistic processes produced a genetic language from no language and then continued without intelligent input to generate increasing information. Language analogies also have nothing to do with whether fossils show how one type of organism evolved into a totally different organism. Could we stick to the debate question about fossil/genetic evidence and stop equivocating. You compare languages (invented by intelligent designers) to the genetic code which you describe as being much more complicated than languages. So let’s think that one through. Languages come from intelligence but a far more complicated genetic program happened by itself. Care to backtrack on that? Shouldn’t you conclude that since languages have come from intelligence therefore a much more complicated and efficient genetic code came from a much more competent and superior intelligence? That’s logical. You mention chimps and humans have 98% similar DNA. You¹re out of date. Recent studies now show quite a difference between chimp and humans on chromosome 22. I quote: ‘The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee only 17% are identical so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said.’ Furthermore, chimp and human Y chromosomes differ by more than 30% in a recent study. And you accused me of not researching things!

You make the statement that biologists have even better evidence for common descent among organisms. But the only common descent through time that could be demonstrated must come from fossils which do go all the way back to the original and separate kinds – but no further. Biologists have no evidence for a common ancestor of all life, no matter how insistently they point out gene similarities. Explanations are not evidence. We actually have evidence that kinds reproduce their same kinds in the present and all through observed history which is thoroughly supported by the fossil record. Besides as I stated during the debate ­ genetic mechanisms for replication prevent organisms from evolving.

My punch line? Museums are estimated to contain 100 billion invertebrate fossils plus another 500,000 fossilized fish. Evolutionists claim invertebrates gave rise to fishes. Surely 100 billion fossil invertebrates might contain one example showing how an ancestor evolved a backbone and ultimately became a fish. But there is ***absolutely no evidence*** for this supposed transition! Given the plethora of fossils and the inadequacies of the fossil record to support evolution…evolution has become the god of the gaps. The huge number of fossils is more than a lack of evidence for invertebrates evolving to fish. It’s damning evidence against evolution, and wonderful evidence that Genesis is accurate about how life was created to function ­ it really does produce after its kind! As you might say: case closed!


It is impossible to escape damning fossil evidence with the claim that evolution predicts there will be creatures that remain stable – such as the comb jellies I asked you about, without asking ( and more honestly answering) how many such groups behave that way? If it is only one or two or even the 100 groups you state you found on creationresearch.net then you might be able to ignore them and argue from the rest to show evidence of creatures having been fossilised in the process of evolving. But we have already quoted the problem with fossils as stated in your own Uni text book and you didn’t listen so here’s the important bit again; “….fossil species usually appear suddenly in a layer of rocks, and may persist essentially unchanged for the whole time they exist on earth, finally disappearing from the record of the rocks as suddenly as they appeared.”(1). Stop showing your ignorance Dan and start giving us evidence of real and observed evolution.

I first encountered this problem when I was an evolutionist during one year of my paleontology studies where we used Prof Carters text Structure and Habitat in Vertebrate Evolution. Full of wonderful diagrams on how life evolved – but the end of every chapter asked a far more important question – do you actually see this in the rocks? And in every case the answer then and now is NO! What you see is not just the comb jellies – not just the hundreds of specimens of scallops or oysters or stromatolites etc I have personally collected, but you see it in every group. As Carter taught us; “We do not have any available fossil group which can categorically be claimed to be the ancestor of any other group. We do not have in the fossil record any specific point of divergence of one life form for another, and generally each of the major life groups has retained its fundamental structural and physiological characteristics throughout its life history and has been conservative in habitat.“(2). That was when I began to doubt evolution Dan and 40 years of follow up fossil collecting confirms Carter is right.

Even Prof Gould who invented the punctuated equilibrium evolution theory to try to overcome this very real observation restated it in 1977 as; ‘All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.’(3) Likewise cofounder of Punctuated Evolution Niles Eldridge rephrased it again in 1995: “No wonder palaeontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history.”(4)

Wake up Dan the fossils are not only no use to evolution – they are the death of it, and all living things deny your atheistic evolution as well. You can even go and experiment with bacteria and get them to go through millions of generations and thousand of mutations to try to simulate evolution, but it’s been done and the end we have seen them stay bacteria. How long they have been doing this for was emphasised in the fossil Filamentous Bacteria I showed during the debate from the supposedly 3 1/4 billion year old West Australian rocks.(5) So if you want an absolute statement – bacteria have been bacteria for as long as we can prove they have been on planet earth. They provably produce their own kind in all present day observed processes, as well as showing every genetic ability to resist evolving at every opportunity. At the wish of being repetitive, they behave in accordance with the formulae Genesis states God created by; After their own Kind! Give up Dan. You’ve lost. God is and He did Create!

See our Article “A World Full of Living Fossils”. Download PDF here http://evidenceweb.net/pdfs/LivingFossils.pdf.
1.Campbell Mitchell and Reese, Biology Concepts and Connections, Benjamin Cummings 1994, p286.
2. G. S. Carter, Professor. Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Cambridge, England. Structure and Habit in Vertebrate Evolution. University of Washington Press.
3. Stephen Jay Gould ‘ The return of hopeful monsters’. Natural History, vol.LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p.24.
4. Niles Eldridge (1995) Reinventing Darwin, Wiley & Sons, p95.
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