Miscellany: gaps in evolution (General)

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 13, 2021, 16:17 (430 days ago) @ David Turell

From this thread earlier today:

Clear evidence of common descent
dhw: Once more: do you believe that every life form (apart from the first) is descended from a previous life form, or every life form was created from scratch (de novo)?

DAVID: Many life forms are modifications of previous species: birds came from a branch of dinosaurs, and their design did not require a complete rewrite. I pose God as the rewriting engineer which gives us descent with modification. Frankly the only full de novo I know is the Cambrian explosion.

dhw: Thank you...The “explosion” began approx. 540 million years ago. That is one helluva long time by any standards, and the fact that ANY fossils have survived is itself amazing. It lasted for up to 25 million years, but even if the productive period was “only”, say, 10 million years, that is also one helluva long time.

To answer, our friend Gunter Bechly is back:


"I have been introducing the subject of a mystery that bothered Charles Darwin himself. The abrupt origin of flowering plants is by no means an exception to the rule. Instead, it is representative of a general pattern in the history of life and the fossil record. In all groups of organisms, in all regions of the Earth, and over all periods of Earth history, new groups and new body plans appear abruptly in the fossil record, mostly without any potential precursors in the older layers. Another famous example is of course the Cambrian explosion of animal phyla (animal body plans), as Darwin (1859) wrote:

"There is another and allied difficulty, which is much graver. I allude to the manner in which numbers of species of the same group, suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks."

"This problem is still with us, as is clearly and unequivocally admitted by many recent evolutionary biologists and paleontologists specializing in Cambrian fossils. Here are just two prominent examples:

"The first is the Dutch ecologist Marten Scheffer, winner of the Spinosa Award and foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In his 2009 Princeton University Press book, Critical Transitions in Nature and Society (pp. 169-170), he wrote:

"The collapse of the Ediacaran fauna is followed by the spectacular radiation of novel life-forms known as the Cambrian explosion. All of the main body plans that we know now evolved in as little as about 10 million years. It might have been thought that this apparent explosion of diversity might be an artifact. For instance, it could be that earlier rocks were not as good for preserving fossils. However, very well preserved fossils do exist from earlier periods, and it is now generally accepted that the Cambrian explosion was real."

"The second example is from one of the most recent books on the Cambrian explosion, by Nelson Cabej (2019), titled Epigenetic Mechanisms of the Cambrian Explosion and published by Academic Press. He said it even more clearly:

"Nevertheless, now, 150 years after The Origin, when an incomparably larger stock of animal fossils has been collected, Darwin’s gap remains, the abrupt appearance of Cambrian fossils is a reality, and we are still wondering about the forces and mechanisms that drove it. Despite the fact that, from time to time, a small number of students have questioned the reality of the Cambrian explosion on the same ground as Darwin, today’s consensus is that Cambrian explosion is a scientific fact (Linnemann et al., 2019) … The Cambrian explosion is real and its consequences set in motion a sea-change in evolutionary history (Conway Morris, 2000; Nichols et al., 2006). … Despite the accumulation of an immense fossil record, the development of a relevant theoretical groundwork, and the numerous attempts to deal with the causal basis of the Cambrian explosion, just like in Darwin’s time, it continues to be one of the greatest enigmas of modern biology. …Many hypotheses have been presented on the causal basis of the Cambrian explosion. Today, we are still grappling with the question, but no closer to understanding the nature and causes of the Cambrian explosion. … The erection of the metazoan structure, as an improbable structure, requires an immense volume of information, compared to which the information contained in even the most complex genomes represents but a negligible fraction." (my bold)

Comment: note my bold. A Darwinist scientist recognizes the amount of new information that must have been involved. Does dhw?

dhw: As for chance, I would argue that any innovation leading to the complexities of new organs and organisms suggests design rather than chance, BUT…design is not confined to your God. Hence the theory of cellular intelligence (possibly provided by your God). And the intelligent response of organisms to changing conditions through millions and millions of years would provide a rational explanation for the Cambrian Explosion, as it does for the rest of evolution. What remains unexplained is the origin of the mechanisms and the intelligence that drives them.

The bold is refuted in the quotes from Darwin scientists themselves. The Chinese Cambrian and Ediacaran fossils are much more plentiful than the Canadian and simply made the gap worse, and destroy Darwin's hope/wish for intermediates. All presented here previously.

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