The Summit Lecture Series: Myths of Evolution with Sean McDowell, part 6

The Summit Lecture Series: Myths of Evolution with Sean McDowell, part 6 December 9, 2014

To purchase the entire DVD set of the Summit Lecture Series, visit summit.org.

Let’s look at Darwin’s Tree of Life. At the bottom of the diagram is the first ancestor and over time, it shows a development through random mutation and natural selection into all the living organisms. It’s like they’re branched together like a tree:

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 10.54.43 AM

This was one of Darwin’s most famous examples that he pointed to in his efforts to clarify his theory. He went on to say:

“Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”

Darwin himself realized that the evidence they had when he presented his theory did not support his own Tree of Life. He believed that over time, scientists would discover the proof that supported it. He held that the fossil records were merely incomplete, but as we find more, his theory would be corroborated.

So let’s take a look at it.

To start off, we won’t look at the relationship of humans to apes yet, because they are so close together on Darwin’s Tree. Instead, we will look at the big picture – the fossil record from the top down – from a macro level view.

For example, phyla is the greatest division within the animal kingdom. Starting with “life from non-life” (domain), then “plants from animals” (kingdom), then within all animals, the next division is called phyla, which basically means your body structure or morphology. So from a body structure plan alone, consider how different a flatworm is from an arthropod with an exoskeleton. You can visibly see that in mere terms of bodily structure how radically and fundamentally different they are.

So the question rises: should all the different phyla emerge at the beginning of the evolutionary process, or should they emerge at the end? In other words, on Darwin’s theory, when should these major bodily differences emerge? The answer would presumably be at the end, after a long process.

However, in actuality, what we find is that even if you believe in an “old earth”, evolution as Darwin’s Tree of Life depicts does not fit the fossil data.

The Cambrian Explosion is dated to have occurred some 520 million years ago. Others call it the Biological Big Bang because in a short period of time, geologically speaking, the majority of major phyla just appeared as if they were placed into the fossil record, without any precursors before them.

This is a major problem for Darwin’s theory.

If his theory rang true, than the fossil record would show his tree and all its various branches in place for centuries before the Cambrian Explosion. But it’s not there.

Some people say that the soft-bodied organisms couldn’t be preserved for the fossil record. But we have found microscopic organisms from the pre-Cambrian Explosion period preserved, so that excuse is eliminated.

So, imagine a football field with the beginning of earth’s history on the left goal line and present day on the right goal line. The left goal line is marked by, let’s say, 4.6 billion years ago. Life first showed up (for argument’s sake) 3.8 billion years ago, which would be at about the 17-yard-line.

Now, Darwin’s theory would predict that life merged, grew out, and developed throughout this whole period, and all across the earth. But, keeping with the football field timeline, the Cambrian Explosion happened a mere eight inches away from the 17-yard-line. In that tiny amount of time, the fossil record shows all these different body types just showing up as if they had been placed there without any substantial precursors at all.

The fossil record basically shows: simple, simple, simple, simple, BAM – complex phyla show up without anything there before them. The problem that this presents for Darwin’s theory is that to go from simple to complex, there must be more information; and information comes from a mind.

So, Cameron’s Explosion actually points to Intelligent Design and there’s no known mechanism in the natural world that could cause this type of Explosion or Biological Big Bang to happen.

Even Darwin said:

“The manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdoms suddenly appear in the [Cambrian]… at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views entertained here.”

Again – when both sides of the argument are looked at, does evolution sound like “Fact. Fact. Fact. Fact.” to you?

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