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Creation Or Evolution?
Part 3 the Fossil Record
by Winkie Pratney
Strange as it may seem, Darwin himself said that the fossil record is "one of the most obvious and serious objections which could be urged against the theory," and "the absence of transitional forms between species... presses hardly on my theory."
He realized what many people today do not realize: the record of the rocks is more a testimony to EXTINCTION than to evolution. We see CHANGE all right between fossil and modern forms, but only of the "variation within kind" accepted by Creationists. Fossil forms on the whole are MORE COMPLEX and VARIED than their counterparts today, except from those creatures like the Coelacanth, the Tuatara, cockroaches, ants, and dragonflies. Like other "living fossils," they have not changed significantly at all - a real problem in a theory that assumes life-forms tend to change!1
Darwin hoped that further research by the science of paleontology (then still in its infant stages) would SUPPORT his theory; he thought he just didn't yet have enough data. "He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional (missing) links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species..."'2
"Missing Links" Still Missing
Few scientists are still looking for "missing links;" it looks as if they will STAY missing. The most famous, "Archaeopteryx," once considered the link between reptiles and birds, is now generally acknowledged as one of the first birds; the discovery of another bird femur in the same strata has ruled her out as being the ancestor of birds, because they ALREADY EXISTED in her time.3
"The fossil record," says Douglas Dewar, a British naturalist and once an ardent evolutionist, "cannot be regarded as other than a HOSTILE witness against evolution; the earliest known fossils of each class and order are not half-developed but have all the essential characteristics of their class and order.4
"As we look at the main groups of fossil flora, we find there that at definite intervals they are all at once and quite suddenly there, in full bloom in all their manifold forms. Any change is entirely lacking. This all stands as crass a contradiction to the evolution theory as could possibly be imagined... all my investigations have led to incredible contradictions... on account of which the theory of evolution ought to be entirely abandoned... it is a serious obstruction to biological research. My attempts to demonstrate evolution by experiments carried out for over 40 years have completely failed."5
More recently, some, like Stephen Gould of Harvard, have returned to the "hopeful monster" theory ("saltatory" [jumping] evolution, or the "punctuated equilibrium") of Richard Goldschmidt in the 1930s; the idea that radical change in genes or chromosomes made a lizard, for instance, give birth to a bird - a "hopeful" idea indeed. Gould himself points out problems with this. (How VERY lucky can you get? And if you think People have problems finding a mate, how about our hopeful monster?)6
There are some big (and I do mean BIG) problems getting the facts to fit in Sir Charles Lyell's geology. The neat "geological ages" chart you see on school walls is a MYTH - it never exists like that anywhere on earth or it would be a hundred miles high. Then there are the many examples of totally REVERSED "strata layers" that. no known force could have produced that way - some are THOUSANDS of square miles (the Lewis overthrust for instance, weighs in at around 800,000 BILLION TONS, but shows no signs of grinding or sliding that a true "overthrust" would produce).7 But some of the most embarrassing discoveries of modern times are entirely "misplaced fossils," millions of years in the wrong place, such as human footprints found in Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Kentucky, and other states, in rocks supposedly 250,000,000 years old. Only two explanations of these are possible: (1) Modern man lived in the earliest years of evolutionary history; (2) History must be shrunk to the time of man. Neither of these is acceptable to a geology based on uniformist principles. Albert C. Ingalls said, "If man... existed as far back as the Carboniferous period in any shape, then the whole science of geology is so completely wrong that all geologists will resign their jobs and take up truck driving. Hence, for the present at least, science rejects that attractive explanation that man made these mysterious prints."8 Dinosaur AND giant human tracts cut from the same "Cretaceous" strata are an embarrassing find, if these lizards were extinct 70 MILLION YEARS before man "evolved."9
| Though the dino tracks (in the Paluxy River Bed in Glen Rose, Texas, for instance) are real, perhaps the human prints were later "clever carvings" by Indians (who must have gotten around other states a lot). Recent research, however, has shown that they CONTINUE under shale bulldozed away, and paleontologists like Dr. Camp of the University of California and Dr. G. Westcott of Ypsilanti, Michigan, have pronounced them genuine. Scores of other similar finds have come in: human skulls, gold chains, and an iron pot in coal; human skulls in the Pliocene strata; pollen and anthropods in Pre-Cambrian layers; even pictographs of a dinosaur among other animals on ancient canyon walls, which would knock some 70 million years out of the geologic column!10
Photo courtesy of the Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., From The Genesis Flood.
A brief word on radioactive and other dating methods. We do not have space to go into the problems of some of the different methods used to establish the "long ages" of Earth's fossil records in a short treatment like this; suffice to say that although these systems have value in confirming the age of more recent creatures or artifacts, much is based on ASSUMPTIONS that no radical changes have taken place in Earth's atmosphere or radiation decay rates.11
Twenty-Three Century Snails
This may lead, for instance, to numerous ridiculous findings, like LIVING snails being dated (C-14 method) at 2,300 years old, NEW wood from growing trees at 10,000 years, and Hawaiian lava flows KNOWN to be less than two centuries dated by the potassium-argon method at up to 3 BILLION years old!12 Wysong and others give a large list of factors that point to a young Earth, like Gentry's "pleochroic halos," oil gusher pressure, decay of Earth's magnetic movement and its slowing spin rate, the shallow dust layer of the moon, and much more.13
For nearly a century and a quarter, people have attempted to improve this "imperfection of the geologic record." Darwin would have been sick if he had seen what has been collected. The Curator of the Field Museum For Natural History in Chicago (housing 20% of all known fossil species) says, "... Ironically we have even FEWER examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."14 "Famous paleontologists at Harvard, the American and even the British Museum say we have NOT A SINGLE EXAMPLE of evolutionary transition at all."15
Am I My Keeper's Brother?
How about fossil men classed as pre-humanoid? How about all the pictures of beetle-browed, club-lugging Neanderthal muggers? How about them, indeed! Although some textbooks and magazines don't seem to have caught up with recent research, it seems as if "ape-men" are largely figments of the artistic "reconstructor's" IMAGINATION. The vast majority of fossil finds (which include thousands of apes and a great many skeletons of MODERN man) have been shown to be either fictitious or mistaken classification. We shall not mention in detail embarrassing cases from the past like the elephant's knee-cap assigned to "Pithecanthropus" in 1926, or the "Hesperopithecus" tooth of 1922 introduced as evidence in the famous Scopes trial, but which turned out to be that of a pig! Others like the DuBois "Java Man" and "Peking Man" (whose remains "mysteriously disappeared" ) have been quietly removed from the textbooks, along with "Piltdown Man," the clever but shameful hoax of Charles Dawson that fooled specialists and men of science for nearly 40 years.
More recently, "Australopithecus" ("southern ape") was news; that is now quite probably all Donald Johanson's "Lucy" is.16 Louis Leaky found tools at the site, and assumed Australopithecus made them; his son found "bones virtually indistinguishable from modern man" (the toolmaker?) underneath them 13 years later, and said then his discovery "shattered standard beliefs in evolution."17 Many fossilized skeletons of MODERN man have been unearthed at locations as OLD or OLDER than the supposedly less advanced humanoids found.18 The "Cro-Magnon" men of Europe have superior size and brain capacity than modern man; a number of men of great age, but truly human, of gigantic size have been unearthed in the Far East, especially in Java. All these findings add to the principle that developmental evolution is not the universal law of biology, but rather DETERIORATION or degeneration.
The World That Then Was Perished
How did the fossils form? James Hutton introduced to geology "uniformitarianism," an idea popularized by Sir Charles Lyell and deeply influencing Darwin's work - that "the present is the key to the past." Sometimes it is indeed. Erosion, sedimentation, and the occasional island formation or flood, give us pictures of what has happened in some places. Of course, this all takes TIME and lots of it. And fossils do not form like that. Creatures that die today quickly vanish from decay or scavengers. Fossils are the children of CATASTROPHE - a living thing is buried suddenly by eruption, flood, or landslide. The world is filled with these "graveyards" of more than 100,000 different species; some fossil beds have not less than 10 BILLION individual fossils! COAL is a classic example. Trillions of tons of vegetation, much of it perfectly preserved even to flowers and leaves, are buried, with some seams as much as 30-40 feet thick. Forget your grade school image of trees falling into a swamp and "millions of years later" becoming coal. Under the right conditions, coal can be formed in a few DECADES, and plants falling into water only rot unless SUDDENLY compressed and cut off from oxidation by a large dump of soil or clay. No known peat bog in the world grades into coal, and some coal seams have 75 or more stratas each representing up to 300-400 feet of original vegetable matter! And what about large tree trunks that go right through SEVERAL sedimentary strata?
A Warning In The Rocks
It looks very much indeed as if the fossil record is one of great CATASTROPHE, an order of DEATH, not an order of ascending life. One creation model much researched today is that of Flood Geology, which postulates that much of the fossil record is an order of DEPOSITION, as a terrible judgment swept the world the first time.19
All life was buried by walls of water, and so-called "ages" are actually ecological ZONES that were buried and choked in mud. In the Noarchian Flood, waters swirled over the planet face for 371 days, with tides 5,000 to 10,000 feet high creating tremendous pressure on all buried matter, providing the power to fossilize forests and petrify wood in a matter of months. Recently there have been popularized searches for the location of the last resting place of the Ark (NOAH'S Ark, not the one Indiana Jones was after!) It was a massive vehicle of some 43,300 tons displacement, around 450 X 75 X 45 feet in size, with a total deck area of 101,250 square feet and a carrying capacity equal to 8 freight trains of 65 cars each! (1,396,000 cubic ft.) Ernest Mayr, leading systematic taxonomist, lists around 1,000,000 different species of modern animal life, of which, (even according to modern "kinds") only some 35,000 were land-based.
With around 240 large animals to a standard 2-deck rail car, 2 trains hauling 73 such cars could carry the full load; the Ark had space for 522 cars this size, so there was plenty of room (even for the elephants' bathrooms)! It should be obvious that without supernatural CARE, Noah's little family would never have survived; without supernatural INTERVENTION, our world would STILL be buried in water. (See Isaiah 54:9-10) Scripture indicates a possible mammoth re-structuring of Earth's topology (Psalms 104:6-9- "The mountains ascend, the valleys descend"), creating our present deep ocean basins to drain off the floodwaters, and our ancestors finally stepped off into a new world. (Genesis 6:20, 7:15-16, 8:1)
How Long Can We Tread Water?
"For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah,“ said Jesus, "For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and dunking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:37-39) The first time He came as a baby; the next time He comes as the rightful King of the Earth. The Apostle Peter said: "Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'... For this they willingly are ignorant of... the world that then was being overflowed with water perished; but the present heavens and earth by His Word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (II Pet. 3:3-7)
Water then, FIRE next time. It is the considered convicetion of thousands of respected researchers and scientists that, based on the evidence, it is time to return to the Lord. They say this not because they are blind, prejudiced, or stupid, but because the FACTS do not fit the alternative. If both the Creationist and Evolutionist picture are, in the final analysis, matters of FAITH, it is better to stick with the faith that best coincides with the facts. It is a big gamble indeed to risk your soul and your future on the hope that you are nothing more than the blind product of time, chance, and matter, when you may have to stand one day before the Creator you rejected - DESPITE THE FACTS - and explain to Him your logic. It is also our conviction that you will not have to wait very long. Time's final drama is about to take place, and as CS Lewis put it- "When the Author walks on stage, the play is over." It is time to seek the Lord. The next move is over to you...
Master Book List Of Creationist Research
These books can be obtained through your local Christian bookstore - they are not available through us.
(1) GENERAL OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY
* Evolution & The Christian Faith, Bolton Davidheiser/Baker.
*Creation-The Fads of Life, Gary E. Parker, Creation-Life Publishers, Box 15666, San Diego, CA 92115.
Man's Origin, Man's Destiny, A.E. Wilder-Smith, Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL, 1970,
*The Creation-Evolution Controversy, Randy L. Wysong, Inquiry Press, 4925 Jefferson Ave., Midland, MI 48640, Creation-Life Publishers.
(2) FLOOD GEOLOGY
*The Genesis Flood, Henry Morris, John Whitcomb, Pres. & Reformed Publishing Co., 1967,
Speak to the Earth, Ed. George F. Howe, Pres. & Reformed, 1976.
*Noah's Three Sons, Arthur C. Custance, Zondervan,
Genesis & Early Man, Arthur C. Custance, Zondervan, 1975,
*Evolution-The Fossils Say No!, Duane T. Gish, Creation-Life Publishers.
Fossils in Focus, J. Kerby Anderson, Zondervan, 1977.
(5) FLOOD HISTORY
The Flood-Local or Global?, Arthur C. Custance, Zondervan, 1979,
(6) HISTORY OF DARWINISM
Evolution or Creation?, Arthur C. Custance, Zondervan, 1976,
Darwin - Before and After, R.E.D. Clarke, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1967.
(7) POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS
Communism Versus Creation, Francis Nigel Lee, Craig Press, Nutley, NJ 07110, 1969,
(8) PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS
Genesis in Space and Time, Francis Schaeffer, IVF Press, Wheaton, IL,
Ape-Men-Fact or Fallacy?, M. Bowden, Sovereign Pubs., Box 88, Bromley Kent, BR2 9PF, 1977.
* The Creation of Life, A.E. Wilder-Smith, Harold Shaw Pub., Wheaton, IL, 1970,
The Battle for Creation, Eds. Henry Morris/Duane Gish, 2 Volumes: Creation-Life Pub. San Diego, CA 92115, 1976
(12) SCHOLARLY ARTICLES
A Symposium on Creation, Donald Patten Ed. & Various, Baker VoIs. 1-6, 1977, each.
Scientific Case for Creation, Henry M. Morris, Creation-Life, San Diego, CA.
*Evolution - Possible Or Impossible? James F. Coppedge, Zondervan
(15) SOLAR SYSTEM
Age of the Solar System, Harold Slusher & Stephen Duursma, Institute Creation Research Tech. Monograph (ICRTM).
Age of the Earth, Harold Slusher & Thomas Gamwell, ICRTM.
Origins of the Universe, Harold Slusher, ICRTM.
(18) ORIGINS OF LIFE
Theories on Origins of Life, Duane T. Gish, ICRTM.
A Critique of Radiometric Dating, Harold Slusher, ICRTM.
(20) SCHOOL OUTLINES
Origins -Two Models, Richard Bliss, Creation-Life,
Those marked with an asterisk (*) are of special value and content. If you have technical questions or need futher research materials or information, please contact one of the following creation-research organizations:
2911 E. 42nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(Bible-Science Newsletter subscription)
Creation Research Society
2717 Cranbrook Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI
(Creation Research Quarterly)
Institute for Creation Research
2100 Greenfield Dr.
El Cajon, CA 92021
(Readers may be interested in the free subscription plus catalogs for books (dozens), tapes, and elementary education materials. All of the information is interesting and very up-to-date and is free.)
1) James Millot: Scientific American, Dec, 1955, p. 37; Charles M. Bogert: Scientific Monthly, 1953, p. 167; “Insects in Amber, “ Scientific American, Nov, 1951, pp. 57-58, 60-61; “The Dragon Fly - Fossil on Wings, “ Science Digest, May 1961, p. 6.
2) Darwin, op. cit. 179.
3) Gary Parker; Creation-the Facts of Life. pp. 101-102.
4) Why We Believe in Creation, p. 312.
5) (Dr. Herbert Nilsson, Professor of botany, Univ. of Lund, Sweden, after a LIFETIME STUDY of genetics and the fossil record.)
6) Steven Gould: “The Return of Hopeful Monsters,” Natural History, June-July, 1977.
7) William G. Pierce: Bulletin of Amer. Association of Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 41, 1958, p. 596; John G. Read: Experiences in Overthrust areas, bible-Science Association, op. cit. pp. 1-6.
8) “The Carboniferous Mystery”, Scientific Monthly, Vol. 162, January 1940, p. 14.
9) Natural History, May 1939, p. 255.
10) Otto Stutzer: Geology of Coal, Chicago, Univ. of Chicago, 1940, p. 271; R.L. Wysong. op. cit. pp. 370 - 383; E. Scoyen: Arizona Highways, 27, July 1951, pp. 36-39.
11) W. F. Libby: Radiocarbon Dating. Chicago, Univ of Chicago, 1952; F. B. Juneman: Industrial Research, 14, 1972, p. 15; Anderson & Spangler: “Radiometric Dating: Is the 'Decay Constant' constant?” Pensee, 4, Fall 1974. P. 34.
12) Keith & Anderson: “Radiocarbon Dating: Fictitious Results with Mollusk Shells,” Science, 141, 1963, p. 634; Funkkhouser & Naughton: Journal of Geophysical Research, 73, 1968, p. 4606; Laghlin: Excess Radiogenic Argon in Pegmatite Minerals, op. cit. 74, 1969, p. 6684. R. L. Wysong: “Youth Or Antiquity?” op. cit. pp. 145-179.
13) op. cit. pp. 158-178.
14) David Raup: “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology”, Field Museum Bulletin, January 1979.
15) Parker, op. cit. 95.
16) Time, January 29, 1979.
17) Parker, op. cit. 117-118.
18) Men of Galley Hill, Swanscombe, Foxhall, Grimaldi, Oldoway, Wadjak, and others.
19) Whitcombe & Morris: The Genesis Flood; George Howe, ed: Speak to the Earth, Pres. & Reformed Publishing Co.; Duane Gish: Evolution - The Fossils Say No!, Creation-Life Publishers.