Fig 1: Somewhat similar? YES. Related by birth? NO. Proof is impossible.
- When Napoleon’s army invaded Egypt in 1798, a large number of animal mummies were brought back to France.
- These represented many species, including cats, jackals, dogs, crocodiles, snakes, sacred ibis, and other birds, as well as human mummies. George Cuvier analyzed the samples and concluded that no detectable anatomical changes had occurred over the time passed since those animals were mummified. This made him the first to test and disprove the idea of evolution. In opposition, Lamarck’s argument was that a passage of 3,000 years would have been insufficient to observe evolutionary processes because the environmental conditions in Egypt had not changed during this time. Couvier countered that longer timescales simply contain the sum of changes within shorter periods. In other words, he reasoned that since no changes had been observed over approximately 3,000 years, it was unreasonable to argue that any longer timescale would produce them. Is that debate still relevant? Who was right?
- Since many still insist that “evolution” is true, yet we cannot document any historic “evolution”, the debate is relevant to this day. To settle it, we note that environmental conditions change continuously, and that Lamarck could not have known – much less proved – that they did not, therefore his argument was invalid. But aren’t Darwin’s finches, the peppered moth, antibiotic resistance, the great lakes cichlids, etc. examples of ongoing “evolution”? They are certainly examples of adaptations. Yet “evolution”, if true, requires much more than temporary, reversible adaptations as most (all?) of those examples are. To confirm a trend, we must compare short versus intermediate versus long term trends. If we see no intermediate term trends (say 3000 years), then the short term trends are merely noise aka temporary, reversible, inconsequential adaptations. It also means that postulated long term trends – the sum of intermediate trends – are very much doubtful. The only way a long term change is compatible with intermediate term stasis is if nothing happens for a very long time, then everything happens suddenly – a scenario not considered by Couvier. Could it be?
- Punctuated equilibrium is a desperate and failed attempt to explain away the evidence against “evolution”. Belatedly catching up to Couvier, Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Darwin is virtually nonexistent (!) in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species… Before them, Mayr was concerned with explaining the morphological discontinuity (or “sudden jumps”) found in the fossil record. Lack of gradualism in the fossil record is clear evidence against “evolution” and should have prompted these people to discard the theory. However, their blind faith prompted them instead to propose the purely hypothetical scenario (removed from any historical or experimental facts) called “punctuated equilibrium”. Yet, if “sudden jumps” were real, somewhere, sometimes, in one of the many species out there, “evolution” would happen and be observed in real time. In addition, “sudden jumps” would have to be triggered by specific conditions replicable in a lab. Thus we would confirm “evolution” both in nature and in the laboratory. That this is not the case is proof that “evolution” in general and “punctuated equilibrium” in particular are just fantasy.
- “Transitional fossils” presuppose “evolution”, therefore cannot be an argument in its favor. The fossil record consists of more or less incomplete individual finds. No flesh, no colors and certainly no arrows linking one to the other. When fossils in different strata match, we infer stasis over that time interval. Not because we know one particular sample descends from the other, but because we know that any organism descends from matching organisms. This we can observe in the living and thus extrapolate to the extinct like the trilobites. But when a fossil looks like a mix between an earlier fossilized organism and a more recent one, we cannot infer that said organism is transitional between the older and the younger one. Unless we presuppose “evolution” true. That is because we witness no such transitions. The so called “transitional fossils” require “evolution” to be true to even make conceptual sense. Only then these “transitional fossils” may support “evolution” in a classical circular reasoning. So let us not presuppose “evolution” true. Then what is an Australopithecus to us humans? Epihippus to a horse, Pakicetus to a whale, etc.? Nothing! Just extinct organisms that came from nowhere and went nowhere.
- What exactly does “evolution” predict, and how does it stack up against the fossil record? The theory came after some fossils had been known and thus it had a chance to be reconciled with the fossil record. And yet, gradualism and divergence of character – two main predictions of the theory – are clearly disproved by the long term stasis we see everywhere in the fossil record. The trilobites stasis is estimated to have lasted 270 million years and cyanobacteria 3.5 billion. Actually, all organisms current or extinct have undergone stasis periods long enough to invalidate the “theory of evolution”. And when they do transition into or out of existence, said transition is always instantaneous with no intermediate steps as the “theory of evolution” would dictate. Other predictions of the theory are beneficial mutations (improvements), specific response to specific environmental condition changes, and directionless changes. However, the sudden appearance, long term stasis, and eventual demise of organism that disappeared, such as trilobites and dinosaurs, is inexplicable and in fact contrary to the theory of “evolution” as they were not better adapted and were not replaced by better adapted than them organisms. They could not have been poorly designed and yet last millions of years or even a few hundred generations. Furthermore, environmental changes explain nothing in their story, though it should according to the Darwinist theory. This is because homeostasis reduces organisms’ sensitivity to the environment. Vestigial organs and atavism refute the “evolution” story since, on one hand massive “evolution” changes, while on the other “persistence” of useless and even detrimental traits are claimed. Incidentally, these traits make perfect sense if organisms are designed for “manufacturability”, obsolescence, and optionality. Comparative similar progress of all branches (apes vs humans) should also be expected. Therefore, it is illogical that humans would have “evolved” so much when other apes were essentially static over the same period of time and geography. Absence of a precambrian rabbit is not an expectation since “evolution” is supposedly directionless and because of the “convergent evolution” claim. Unity of life is expected not just from “evolution”, but also from creation, panspermia and other theories.
- Organisms vary greatly and populations change all the time without “evolving”. If in the distant future one would find fossils of two contemporary dog breeds, they would likely classify those as two different “species”, just as Sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans are currently classified. Despite the genetic evidence that they mated with each other which, by the most lenient definition, means they were the same “species”. Other “ongoing evolution” examples (the finches, the moth, antibacterial resistance, etc.) are not “origin of species” transformative but mere reversible minor adaptations as noted.
- Ever increasing life complexity disproves “directionless evolution” and “beneficial mutations”. Current time progression models show ever increasing complexity of life. This is contrary to “undirected evolution”. As new organisms appeared, old ones continued as well, thus resulting in more diversity and increased complexity of life. For instance, when eukaryotes appeared, the prokaryote kingdom continued seemingly unperturbed. Life complexity increased and new life forms are demonstrably no better than the older ones since one did not replace the other. Cetaceans are different from the fish they share an environment with, and thus another example of complexity increased. If “evolution” were true and directionless as theorized, one would expect some intermediate organisms to have “evolved” from “primitive” organisms and other from more “advanced” ones. For instance, some amphibians would be expected to have “evolved” from fish and others from mammals, were “directionless evolution” true.
- “But transitional fossils fit so well, don’t they?” No. They only seem to fit due to the confirmation bias – the tendency to favor information that confirms one’s previously existing beliefs or biases. In this case, the prejudice in favor of “evolution” and against any other explanation. Thus the artist’s impression meant to convince us of the “excellent fit” draws little from the actual fragmentary fossil and much from the myth and theory of evolution. And let us not “affirm the consequent”. Is there anything unique to “evolution” but not to any other theory that would result in the fossil record we know? The answer is “no”. Even if newer organisms derived from older ones by descent – big unsupported if – that would still not validate “evolution” or any of its other associated claims including “natural selection”, undirected, unguided “process”, etc.
- Darwin was right, Kelvin was wrong? Kelvin opposed evolution on the account of the age of the earth. Darwin knew from his work with pigeons that even deliberately breeding for specific characteristics took a long time to produce them. But how much time was necessary? Darwin felt that it required at least hundreds of millions of years. By 1895 the consensus physics view was that the age of the planet lay in the range 20–40 million years. Natural selection appeared to be doomed. Whereas today the consensus is 4.5 billion years, so evolution is safe? Turns out, the consensus (that fellow again) is that there is no scientific basis for determining the speed of evolution. Does anyone wonder why? The story is often presented as “Darwin owning Kelvin or physics for that matter”. The real lesson is the absurdity of a theory entirely based on feelings and not one bit on anything measurable.
Did the author below read all this somewhere like nonlin.org? Or does he see the bright light that others simply refuse to acknowledge?
Species tend to appear abruptly in the fossil record and then persist unchanged for some period of time (a phenomenon called stasis) before they disappear. In 1972, paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould called this pattern punctuated equilibria.5 According to Gould, “every paleontologist always knew” that it is the dominant pattern in the fossil record.6 In other words, the “inconceivably great” numbers of transitional links postulated by Darwin are missing not just in the Cambrian explosion, but throughout the fossil record.
Two Human Skeletons
Even if we did have a good fossil record, we would still need our imagination to produce narratives about ancestor-descendant relationships. Here’s why: If you found two human skeletons buried in a field, how could you know whether one was descended from the other? Without identifying marks and written records, or perhaps in some cases DNA, it would be impossible to know. Yet you would be dealing with two skeletons from the same recent, living species. With two different, ancient, extinct species — often far removed from each other in time and space — there would be no way to demonstrate an ancestor-descendant relationship.
Apparently even paleontologists and – gasp – “evolutionary biologists” can see that very bright light… :
Decades ago, paleontologist Gareth Nelson wrote, “The idea that one can go to the fossil record and expect to empirically recover an ancestor-descendant sequence, be it of species, genera, families, or whatever, has been, and continues to be, a pernicious illusion.”7 In 1999, evolutionary biologist Henry Gee wrote that “it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way.” He concluded, “To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story — amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”
I don’t find anything objectionable about anything you quote. But I think an important point is being made about both how evolution progresses, and what can be extracted from the fossil record.
The latter point might be easy to misunderstand, but it’s that the fossil record is extremely incomplete. From it we can get a good hint that organisms change over time, but there’s nowhere near enough evidence to detail that history.
So OK, did all those past organisms just kind of appear with no history, just POOF, or is something else going on. Gould and Eldredge made the (rather unoriginal) proposal that 1) evolution primary takes place in the form of branching events, whereby new species split off from existing species. Once that happens, and there is no gene flow between populations, the two (or more) populations can follow independent biological pathways. And 2) that in evolutionary time scales, these branching events are both local and rapid. Local might mean, within a 100 mile radius or less, and rapid might mean within a million years or so. It’s possible, even likely, that NO fossils were preserved within those limits of time and space, which are very narrow.
This proposal doesn’t just stand in an evidentiary vacuum, however. A very few fossil deposits support it, genetic analysis supports it, consistent morphological characteristics support it. Sure, it remains a theory. But as Gould also wrote, people tend to conceive of a hierarchy of levels of certainty, running downhill from facts to theories to hypotheses to guesses. And this conception is simply wrong. A theory is not an “imperfect fact”, it is a proposed explanation of observed facts which both helps scientists make sense of observations, and predict what sorts of fossils should be looked for, and where. Good predictions support the model.
I would agree that we can’t take a line of fossils and claim they represent a lineage. There are at least six, perhaps more, different sorts of hominids in the fossil record, but nobody I’m aware of is saying any one of them is our direct ancestor. People ARE saying it’s quite possible NONE of them are. But this does not mean our species has no ancestors.
Of course. Your admission would be better if you didn’t continue with “but…”
Actually no. The fossil record as is is enough to see only stasis just as Couvier and everyone else after him noted. Hence the “punctuated equilibrium” hypothesis.
Something is going on. Yet that something need not be “evolution”. And in fact it cannot be it given the stasis observed, the utter lack of gradualism and utter lack of “divergence of character” to not mention the unworkable “natural selection”.
The only pathway is stasis. If a gradual transition were taking place in 1 million years, we would see a fragment of that transition in 1000 years. Roughly 0.1%. That we don’t see. Check back with Couvier once again. But also with all fossils of existing organisms – basically no different millions of years ago than today.
Maybe not people you know directly. But many do claim that. Yet somewhat similar in no proof of ancestry.
“Punctuated equilibrium” turns out to be how evolution works.
Darwin didn’t predict it because you wouldn’t, necessarily. But you can see it with any evolutionary algorithm. You get a “breakthrough”, then a rapid period of optimisation, then a long period of optimum-conservation when most variants are less than the optimum so the optimum is maintained.
It’s not fudge. It’s how it actually works, especially in the real world where you get rapid adaptation when a species “discovers” a new niche then stabilisation.
It’s the basic mechanism of speciation.
If you know of any paleontologist who points to a specific fossil and claims that fossil is our direct ancestor, I would appreciate a link or reference. Yes, certainly all of them claim we do have a lineage of direct ancestors. But fossils do not provide sufficient data to specify ancestral relationships directly.
Because you say so? No way. Show your proof. It reeks of desperation when you finally realize there’s no “evolution” in the fossil record.
You probably don’t have the background to understand that algorithms do what their designer intended regardless of how little, if at all, they represent reality.
Why would “evolution” have anything to do with adaptation? It doesn’t.
Oh, it has to be paleontologists now? Of course the more careful of them merely “suggest” and “indicate”. Others take that and broadcast as fact. It’s an industry of lies and misrepresentations.
And of course you too “suggest”, without spelling it, non-human ancestors. Based on what? Not on the fossil record. And not on any facts.
Adaptation, genotypic change due to differential reproductive success of phenotypes among a population within the niche environment (which is multidimensional and subject to change also), is a central tenet of evolution.
The process can be observed in real time with bacteria (without sex).
Giant Petri Dish Experiment
I asked for a link, name, or reference. Imagine my surprise that you don’t have any. And as to support for the claim that they “suggest”, lie, and misrepresent? Nope, no references or support for that either. In fact, I’ve never seen you provide any support for anything you say. There’s probably a good reason for that.
We need to distinguish between evolution as understood by those who understand evolution, and “evolution” as denied by those who understand nothing. It’s confusing to use the same word for completely unrelated things.