Excerpt taken from "Vanishing Proofs of Evolution"
Copyright © 2005 by Thomas F. Heinze. Reproduced by permission.
Do Fossils Prove Evolution?
Darwin, like many today, thought natural selection caused each kind of plant or animal to gradually and constantly evolve into new kinds of plants or animals.
The Missing Links are Missing
Unlike many textbook writers today, Darwin admitted in writing that the fossil record did not show the constant change his theory predicted:
The fossil record shows that many kinds of plants and animals have lived and then become extinct. Their earlier and later fossils show no significant difference. There is no evidence of the gradual evolution of one animal into another that Darwin's theory requires. He was right in admitting that fossils do not show one animal gradually changing into another. The intermediate links between one major category and another are lacking. The missing links are really missing. Darwin believed the transitional steps must really be there and would be found as more fossils were dug up. Since Darwin's time, many more fossils have been discovered, but fossils that show one kind of plant or animal becoming another are still missing.
In addition, fossils showing the development of organs are also absent. Take wings for an example. Flight is a complex process. Evolving it would take many tries over a long period of time, leaving behind fossils of unsuccessful tries with quarter wings, half wings, etc. They don't exist.
In addition, flying insects, birds, dinosaurs, and mammals are not claimed to have evolved from a first winged creature. Evolutionists claim instead that each group of flying creatures evolved from some animal in its own group that did not have wings. None of them left transitional fossils to show how wings developed. Fossils of wings and other organs show up in the fossil record completely formed.
Many biology books, instead of admitting the problem as Darwin did, present a make-believe fossil record which supports the evolutionist point of view, hoping the reader will believe it is real.
One evolutionist, after reading this book while I was writing it on www.creationism.org, wrote to object that the development of the human skull showed the smooth gradual evolution that I was denying. He referred me to a website that lined up skulls so you could clearly see that each skull on the way to becoming human was slightly larger than the one before. The first thing I noticed was that this website placed the skull of Neanderthal man just before that of modern man. It was just the right amount smaller than that of modern man to show the gradual evolution of modern man from Neanderthal. Since I knew the average Neanderthal brain was 10 to 20% larger than ours today, I immediately noticed the falsification. They had just photographically reduced the size of the Neanderthal skull to make it look smaller than ours to fake the smooth transition they were claiming to prove.
My favorite answer, to those who claim that the transitional fossils exist, is in the Cambrian layer that for years was considered the very beginning of the fossil record. Because all 30 of the major categories called "phyla" which exist today appeared suddenly, fully formed, in the Cambrian, it is referred to as the Cambrian explosion.
Most of us have been taught that eyes gradually evolved step by step from spots on the skin. What do the fossils show? Way down there among these very old Cambrian fossils was that of an animal called the trilobite that crawled along the bottom of the sea. It is one of the index fossils used to identify the Cambrian era. The fossils of its eyes are almost unbelievable to evolutionists. Here are two quotes from amazed evolutionists from a fascinating article on Trilobite eyes in Reason and Revelation, Apologetics Press, Oct. 03, along with their documentation of the quotes:
Recently some fossils evolutionists have dated even earlier (Precambrian) have been found, but they seem too different to be ancestral to the Cambrian fossils. The oldest and most famous of these are the fossil bacteria dated at 3.55 billion years old which even atheists admit: "look identical to bacteria still on Earth today.
In the past, evolutionists generally misrepresented fossil evidence by claiming that the fossils showed a gradual change from one type of plant or animal to another. They mocked or ignored the creationists who said the fossils did not show these gradual transitions because God had created a number of basic categories that brought forth after their kind. More recently, however, two evolutionist scientists also let the cat out of the bag. They, too, insisted that transitional fossils were generally lacking and suggested an evolutionary solution. In doing so, doctors Stephen Gould and Niles Eldredge stirred up an evolutionary earthquake!
Gould explained that slow gradual evolution was contrary to the fossil record:
Gould and Eldredge wanted other evolutionists to accept "…the fossil evidence at face value, regarding it as a true representation of how evolution worked instead of misrepresenting the fossil record to go with the orthodox evolutionist idea of how the fossil record should look. Gould and Eldredge did not think evolutionists should make false claims about the fossil record.
Gould, until his death in 2002, was one of the most anti- creationist evolutionists imaginable, yet it was he who announced that the missing links were really missing and would always be missing because evolution had not occurred gradually as Darwin had insisted. Gould suggested that after long periods without significant change, which he called "stasis," evolution advanced rapidly in small isolated groups of plants and animals. He insisted the groups were so small and the evolution so rapid that they did not leave fossils. The long periods of little change called "stasis" are what the fossils show:
"Stasis is data" means that the stable periods without evolutionary change that the fossils actually show are evidence, and should be studied. Naturally, many evolutionists object to this, and continue to pretend that:
One of the best evidences that transitional fossils are lacking is the fact that experts disagree among themselves as to which animals were the ancestors of most groups.
While there was no fossil evidence to back up Gould's solution of rapid evolution among small isolated groups, his idea did point out a way in which evolutionists could honestly admit lack of transitional fossils instead of claiming that fossils showed slow gradual evolution.
Gould did not, however, say there were no transitions at all, and got quite upset when he felt creationists inferred that he did, so I will let him clarify with his own pen:
To show how wrong creationists are, he gives two illustrations. One is well known. He calls the Australopithecus afarensis the oldest human. Australopithecus had the head of an ape, the long arms and curved fingers of a tree dwelling ape, short legs like an ape, and toes like an ape. The few afarensis fossils that have been found show no evidence of gradually becoming more human like.
In another book, Gould states, "Archaeopteryx, the first bird, is as pretty an intermediate as paleontology could ever hope to find. Archaeopteryx, by a strange coincidence, is the same example those who believe in gradual evolution use to support their position. It was an extinct fossil bird with teeth in its beak and claws on the elbows of its wings. While, for lack of a better example, evolutionists claim it is a transitional fossil between reptiles and birds, it is actually a great illustration of stasis (no change). In his attempt to show a difference between his interpretation of the fossils and that of creationists, Gould gave examples of exceptions he said did show slowly evolving transitions. Did they? You be the judge. Seven or eight fossils of Archaeopteryx have been found, and none were more or less evolved than the others. All are fossils of the same fully formed bird. They show stasis; no evolutionary change from one Archaeopteryx fossil to another.
If either Gould or the gradualists really have fossils showing gradual evolution from one animal to another, why use these examples? People have objected, showing me reports of fossils of dinosaurs they claim were ancestors to archaeopteryx, but evolutionists date archaeopteryx as having lived at the time of the earliest dinosaurs, and the so called "ancestors" as having lived after archaeopteryx.
Many evolutionists are backing off and calling such fossils "intermediate" or "intermediary" instead of "transitional." While it may sound like six of one and half a dozen of the other, when a distinction is intended, "transitional" means one evolved from the other while "intermediary" only means that two groups share some characteristics.
The reason the punctuated equilibrium idea "truly shook up the field," was that the thrust of the argument was that the fossil evidence did not show the slow gradual evolution that evolutionists for years had been claiming. Despite the fossil evidence to the contrary, most schoolbooks still promote evolution by insisting that one plant or animal evolved slowly and gradually from another. Some, instead of admitting that evidence for punctuated equilibrium is evidence against slow, steady evolution, now hide the controversy by adding a bit of punctuated evolution to slow evolution. Here is how one schoolbook has it both ways:
Punctuated equilibrium, however, was not intended as a compromise, but as an ax that would chop off and uproot the dishonest old idea of gradual evolution. Brett wrote:
Like Gould, Brett is saying the fossil record is emphatically against the claim that living things evolved gradually. It is strange that evolutionists, from the inception of the theory, could firmly believe something which so clearly contradicts the fossil record. In this, Darwin was right. The fossil record does not provide the multiplied billions of transitional fossils that would validate the idea of slow gradual evolution. Brett's quote reminds his fellow evolutionists of what the fossils really show, and tries to get them to quit honoring the traditional evolutionary dogma. The fossil record, rather than evolutionary tradition, should determine what they teach.
The fossil record does not offer evidence for either slow or rapid evolution. Fossils show distinct groups that start fully formed and stay that way until they become extinct. That's more what we would expect if God had created distinct groups of animals. The punctuated equilibrium provides an evolutionary explanation for the lack of transitional fossils, but since it is based on an absence of fossils, it too is unsupported by evidence. My friends who believe in either fast or slow evolution do so by faith! As a creationist, I too have faith.