One of the strongest proofs for evolution is that the geological record, for all its imperfections, shows a single invariant trajectory. The oldest rocks contain only single-celled creatures. Later strata show the appearance of invertebrates. Then we see the first fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, and finally mammals. Man appears latest on the scene. The fossils are found in exactly the places and at exactly the times that we would expect if Darwin's theory is correct. Not a single fossil has ever been found in a place where it is not supposed to show up. If we ever discover the fossil of a single reptile in a rock so old that fish had not yet arrived, or if we find human skeletons at the time when dinosaurs also lived, then Darwin's theory will be proven false and biologists will have to come up with a new one.As in the "reason" I examined in the last post, here too D'Souza's ignorance of the actual evidence (in this case, the fossil record) is difficult to disentangle from his inability to think critically on this one issue. He is right on target with his arguments in other chapters, and I wonder whether his many errors on this issue stem from gullibility, a desire to keep one sophisticated foot in the evolutionist camp, or some other factor. Nonetheless, I'll have a go first at teasing apart the circular reasoning and the factual errors involved here, before mentioning relevant findings (of which he seems completely unaware) that lead to a much better explanation for the invariant trajectory that impresses D'Souza. (This will likely take me at least a couple of posts.)
Perhaps a little game of "What he said/What he should have said" will clarify things. He said:
Not a single fossil has ever been found in a place where it is not supposed to show up. If we ever discover the fossil of a single reptile in a rock so old that fish had not yet arrived, or if we find human skeletons at the time when dinosaurs also lived, then Darwin's theory will be proven false and biologists will have to come up with a new one.What he should have said:
The actual fossil record shows a number of places where creatures deemed to be evolutionary ancestors appear much later than the creatures considered their descendents. This very problematic evidence is so abundant that a name has been coined for the phenomenon--the "temporal paradox." Together with the other evidential problems from the fossil record, the many instances of temporal paradox should long ago have led objective scientists to abandon the Darwinian theory and look for a better one.A classic case of the temporal paradox is that of birds and theropods. Theropods are--according to evolutionists--the dinosaurs from which birds evolved. Though a variety of therapods are well-represented in the fossil record, none appears prior to 20-30 million years after the first birds. My question is whether--when he is apprised of such evidences--D'Souza will be true to his word and consider Darwin's theory to have been proven false.
What he said:
The fossils are found in exactly the places and at exactly the times that we would expect if Darwin's theory is correct.What he should have said:
The continued acceptance of Darwinian evolution by academics and media personnel is largely the result of the ability of Darwinists to cast whatever evidence--no matter how contrary to their expectations and predictions--in such a way as to make it seem to support rather than refute their theory.Go here for support for this claim, but the truth is that Darwin himself (and the paleontologists and geologists of his day) recognized the fossil record as contrary to his theory. Moreover, the leading paleontologists of our day agree that Darwin's theory has been refuted by the fossil evidence.
Nonetheless, there is a sense in which D'Souza's very simple claim about a single trajectory is superficially true. In the next post we'll begin to examine whether this has anything to tell us about the merits of evolutionary theory.