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.
5. Filamentous microfossils in a 3,235-million-year-old volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit. Birger Rasmussen, Nature 405, 676-679, 8 June 2000

6 thoughts on “RYDER’S COMB JELLY IGNORANCE by John Mackay.

  1. John argues that the ubiquity of abrupt changes observed in the fossil record suggests that young earth creationism is true, and not evolution by universal common descent. He is claiming that, according to evolution, the sequence of organisms should change gradually, and that the fossil record is complete enough that we should find a whole bunch of intermediate forms that we don’t in fact find.

    That argument rests on at least three false assumptions:

    A) The fossil record is quite complete. (False – gaps are there and to be expected!)
    • We have fossils of somewhere between 1 out of 3500 and 1 out of 35000 species that have existed (calculated from David Raup’s data on extinctions and a conservative estimate for the number of current species). That is a very incomplete record – there are far more gaps than fossil species. Imagine watching a movie with only 1 out of every 3500 frames! It would jitter rather a lot, no? (Another way of looking at it: yes, we’ve catalogued 250 million individual fossils, but that’s only about one out of every 20 trillion organisms that have existed in the last 500 million years!)
    • In general, the further back in time you go, the sparser is the fossil record – so you expect big gaps. By contrast, the recent fossil record (measured in tens of millions of years ago) displays more gradual transitions. (E.g. Gingerich (1980) Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 8:407-424 found 24 gradual speciations and 14 sudden appearances from around 50 million years ago. Or see this very partial list of horse relatives from the last 50 million years.)
    • Geological layers in a particular location are always incomplete, due to geological events. Often there are gaps of many millions of years, so of course you get gaps in the fossil record at that point. For example, late Cretaceous mammals are rare simply because most of the places you’d find them have been eroded away (due to a change in sea level).

    B) There are no “transitional” fossils. (False – there are plenty!)
    • In fact, there are large numbers of transitional fossils – loads of them from relatively recent times (last 50 million years), and many earlier ones as well. See here for a very incomplete description. At the species level there are lots of gaps (as expected – see the numbers above), but at more general levels of classification (genus, family) there are many fewer. (Note that the gaps at the species level wouldn’t look like gaps at all to the layperson – check out those horses.)
    • Young earth creationism, by contrast, predicts that there should be no transitional fossils, at least between their so-called “kinds” (which they leave undefined). That puts John between a rock and a hard place. If he says that all of the “sudden” changes in the fossil record are indeed differences in “kind”, he’s saddled with different kinds at the species level – which means he has at the very least tens of millions of species to fit on Noah’s Ark. (Even the “Answers in Genesis” website gives a (wildly optimistic) estimate of only 8,000 “kinds” of animals on the Ark, given the description of the Ark in Genesis.) On the other hand, if he broadens the definition of “kind” to include anything grouped at, say, the level of family (e.g. all those diplodocids, which is still not broad enough to solve that Ark problem), then he has to accept that all those “abrupt” transitions between species are cases of common descent, and so no evidence against evolution even by his own lights. Either way, he’s up the spout. (John: a response?)

    An important note: John really shoots himself in the foot in this regard with his bacteria example. Apparently the point is: bacteria reproduce only “after their kind”, producing only bacteria. Well, bacteria are about as broad a kind as you can get – there are millions upon millions of species. If John is accepting common descent within bacteria, or within the 10 or so different shapes of bacteria, he’s given up the whole ball game!

    C) Evolution always works gradually. (False – it can be quick!)
    • It’s universally accepted that evolution can often work so quickly that the changes are even less likely to show up in the fossil record because so few animals had the intermediate forms. That’s what Gould and Eldridge are talking about in the quotes John gives – and they are talking mainly about low-level (genus, species) transitions. (If they meant higher levels, they’re seriously overstating the case, as demonstrated above.)

    A couple further points on John’s (totally different) “look how long these lasted without change” argument, with the comb jellies and the filamentous bacteria:
    1) Fossil shape is in fact a terrible guide to organism identity. This is obvious for bacteria. Another example: there are identically shaped tunicates that are as genetically different as humans and birds! So if those tunicates are the same “kind”, then why not humans and birds? Finally, soft tissue differences can be large while the bits that fossilize aren’t.
    2) Morphological similarity of past creatures to modern ones is evidence *for* common descent, not against it, since common descent predicts that all organisms alive today are related to ones in the past. (By contrast, on your theory why wouldn’t the fossil record contain a bunch of totally different creatures that God created, which are now extinct?)

    In short: give up on the comb jellies, John!

  2. TRANSITIONAL THINKING AS Dan says: “there are large numbers of transitional fossils, then refers all of us to the talk origins web. How about we pick a much better authority; David Raup, who when I was just starting out way back in the 70’s, was curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which holds the world’s largest fossil collection. Raup stated way back then: “[Darwin] was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn’t look the way he predicted it would…. Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much…. [W]e have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.” (David M. Raup, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50 (January 1979):22-23, 24-25). It’s now more than 153 yrs since Darwin’s book and we all know that in the last 33 yrs nothing has come to light to change that, or you would have named it Dan. The argument Raup raises is still valid and it was the main reason I abandoned evolution. Sounds great in the lecture theatre, reads well in the text book, suits the do what you want morality, and totally lacks any evidence it ever happened.

    And to think you actually put up as your fossil authority the Talk Origins website – you should be ashamed Dan. I hope you don’t let your students use websites as reference when they are stacked by your fellow atheists. Though I believe you are one less now. Apparently you just lost Dawkins who now declares himself Agnostic I have heard. Dan it’s time to stop waving your magic broad brush of ignorant strokes – either put up or shut up when it comes to fossils and genetics.

    -John Mackay

  3. Hey John, have you thought about maybe addressing the arguments instead of always trying to play authority tennis? Your entire reply is, in effect, “Raup: Good, Talk Origins: Bad,” plus a little rhetoric, completely ignoring all of my arguments above which show how far we’ve come since Darwin. (Plus you implied, yet again, that it’s atheism that biases folks against creationism – despite the fact that you still haven’t managed to respond to my argument showing this is codswallop.)

    Besides, the Raup quote is a quotemine for exactly the same reason as your Gould and Eldridge quotes – he’s talking about changes at the species level, as he makes clear on p. 23: “There are very few cases where one can find a gradual transition from one species to another.” I repeat: those are transitions, John, that you are committed to being within the same “kind”, therefore having occurred via common descent and natural selection. Do you deny this? (That’s a direct question I expect you’ll ignore. Folks reading along: that means he admits it is true, and all this stuff about sudden changes in the fossil record is more of a problem for him than it is for evolution, for the reasons I just gave in my comment above.)

    Also, if you bother to read the article you’re citing, you’ll see that what Raup is discussing is natural selection, not common descent – he does not question at all the fact that the fossil record shows common descent. He is arguing that chance – such as natural disasters and random genetic fluctuations – played a larger role in this descent than Darwin believed. His overall conclusion on p. 29 is this: “If [my] ideas turn out to be valid, it will mean that Darwin was correct in what he said but that he was explaining only a part of the total evolutionary picture. The part he missed was the simple element of chance!” As I said, we’ve come a long way since Darwin. (Darwin didn’t even know about genes, for Pete’s sake.)

    One more thing: In an aside, you say that evolution “suits the ‘do what you want'” morality. Um, just like I don’t consult biology to find out about math, I don’t consult biology to find out about morality. Why would anyone? That’s just a bizarre notion. (Almost as bizarre as taking the Bible to be an inerrant moral authority. You still haven’t said what you think of this bit: “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.” [Exodus 21:20-21 NAB]. This thread might be a good place to do so.)

    (Why do you keep mentioning my atheism? For the purposes of the debate, I was granting the existence of God. Are you just hoping to stoke the prejudice of our religious readers? There certainly is a lot of prejudice against atheists, unfortunately. [BTW, when Dawkins says there might be a God, though there very probably – almost certainly – isn’t, that doesn’t mean he’s agnostic. He’s an atheist who knows that nothing is absolutely certain, and is willing to consider any evidence he’s given. By contrast, you believe that it is absolutely certain that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, because the Bible says so, and you are not willing to listen to any evidence to the contrary. I think this debate has given us all an ample demonstration of your dogmatism.])

  4. UNNATURAL SELECTION Sorry Dan; but claiming the content of Raup’s statement about fossils has nothing to do with problems for evolution because Raup is discussing natural selection, is about as far off the mark as you can get The content of Raups quote is accurate regardless of what else he discusses in the article. His opinions on natural selection do not change his accurate statement that we have fewer fossil transitions than Darwin had. FACT!. End of argument! Likewise it is irrelevant what you or talk origins think natural selection can do when the fossils show it hasn’t done it. If you want to bring up examples of fossils which show evolution has happened by natural selection and mutation then do so –we are still waiting after 2 weeks of noise and very unauthoritative vacuous bluff from you. I am still surprised you haven’t brought up the whales – but then you know we’d mash you on any example you bring up so you don’t actually list any. Likewise it’s you I am debating – not linked web sites.

    I have asked several creationists to peruse your arguments to date and the best comment from them is that they like me are still waiting for you to bring up any evidence. We are not interested in discussing your may atheist interpretation which is all we have gotten so far. Evidence Dan – give us some or concede the truth – you’re not evolving – nothing you see is evolving. Darwin knew nothing about genetics but it hasn’t made any difference – genetics shows no mechanism for evolution even still, and the fossil confirm nothing ever has.

    Concerning morality – yes Dan you are probably right – maybe you don’t consult biology for your morality. But your certainly have shown us that you impose your atheist blinkers on biology to see what’s not there – evolution – and then turn evolution around to become the justification for your amorality. Otherwise you would fear the Christ who did create and who alone has the right to make the rules.

    -John Mackay

  5. John says: “The content of Raup’s quote is accurate regardless of what else he discusses in the article.” True, there are many gaps at the species level (that’s the content of the quote). The point of my comments above is: so what? In fact, that’s a worse problem for you, since you have to accept that these fossils are related by common descent.

    (Fewer than Darwin had? All he means is that cases where they thought there was clearly direct ancestry we now know may be other common descent relationships – sister, cousin etc. Not unrelated, but possibly differently related. Again, no help to you.)

    I’m embarrassed for you, John, that you’re saying I haven’t brought up any examples of transitional fossils. I have taken the trouble to read your references, but it seems you’ve made it a principle not to look at mine. (Perhaps this is your principle: if a source is pro-evolution, you refuse to read it. That would explain a lot.) As everyone else reading knows, I’ve brought up many examples, none of which you have deigned to address. Let me pick just two:

    1) Are to ready discuss the 530 million year old Haikouichthys yet? It was an inch long with the beginnings of a notochord (transitional to vertebrates). Its “bones” were soft and unmineralized (transitional to a skeleton). It has a distinct head (transitional out of the invertebrates it comes from). And palaeobiologists are in a quandary how to classify it, along with the other candidate early vertebrates I mentioned (see Donoghue et al. in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol.20 No.6 June 2005) because, well, it doesn’t clearly fit in any group – in other words it is… transitional!

    2) Or to pick one of hundreds from that Talk Origins FAQ: Poebrotherium, (38 to 31 millions years ago), ancestral to both modern camels and llamas. (Same “kind”, John, or not?) From Talk Origins: “From here the camel lineage developed pads in place of hooves on the feet, reverted to digitigrade posture, and began pacing instead of trotting, as shown by Miocene fossil footprints. This camel lineage goes through Protomeryx (early Miocene) and Procamelus (Miocene). The llamas split off here (Lama). The main camel lineage continued through Pliauchenia (Pliocene) and finally, in the late Pliocene, Camelus, the modern camels.” What’s wrong with this, John?

    If you tell me which of the modern animals you include in which “kinds” in this state-of-the-art cladogram, (from Geisler et al., I’d be happy to talk whales with you.

    And I am really, truly amazed that you’re still claiming that I and all those biologists are driven by our “atheist blinkers”, despite not having even attempted to respond to my proof that is false. Plus you go further and accuse me of being amoral. Wow. (I’ll say a bit more about morality in the post where you bring up abortion.) You have some serious cojones, I’ll give you that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *