Fossils Do Not Prove Evolution, They Refute It!
- Grady McMurtry
- April 04, 2020
David B. Kitts (1923–2010) studied zoology, population genetics, paleontology and geology. Among his professors were the prominent evolutionists Theodosius Dobzhansky ["Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"] and George Gaylord Simpson [Most influential paleontologist of the twentieth century]. Kitts earned his PhD in geology in 1953. Certainly, he is qualified to evaluate the significance of the fossil record.
In 1979 Kitts authored a review of the book, Search for the Holy Transformation. Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation. Academic Press; New York. 1977, by fellow evolutionist, Pierre-Paul Grassé [Chair of Evolutionary Biology at the Sorbonne University for thirty years, and President of the French Academy of Sciences]. Grassé was decidedly critical of the Darwinian branch of evolutionary theory. The review is full of revealing statements about how paleontologists attempt to reconstruct the history of life on Earth. It is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the origins debate.
Here is one of the most interesting statements from that review:
“Darwinian paleontologists cannot take much comfort from the fact that the fossil record does not compel them to reject their theory because it does not compel them to accept it either. The fossil record doesn’t even provide any evidence in support of Darwinian theory except in the weak sense that the fossil record is compatible with it, just as it is compatible with other evolutionary theories, and revolutionary theories and special creationist theories and even ahistorical theories.”
Kitts, David B., "Search for the Holy Transformation," review of Evolution of Living Organisms, by Pierre-Paul Grassé, Paleobiology, vol. 5, 1979, pp. 353-354.
According to Dr. Kitts it is impossible to prove either Darwinian or any other branch of evolution using the fossil record. More than that, the fossil record is compatible, again according to Kitts, even with the Theory of Special Creation [The idea that a god started it all whole and complete.]. If someone tells you that fossils prove Darwin was right, you can rest assured it is not true.
Why do so many people believe that fossils prove Darwinian evolution? In the work reviewed by Kitts, Pierre-Paul Grassé gives us quite a blunt answer. Grassé says that they start with an assumption that Darwin was right, and then they make the fossils look like he was right.
Does Kitts argue with Pierre-Paul Grassé over this point? Not at all! He wholeheartedly agrees with Grassé’s indictment:
"Few paleontologists have, I think, ever supposed that fossils, by themselves, provide grounds for the conclusion that evolution has occurred. An examination of the work of those paleontologists who have been particularly concerned with the relationship between paleontology and evolutionary theory, for example that of G. G. Simpson and S. J. Gould, reveals a mindfulness of the fact that the record of evolution, like any other historical record, must be construed within a complex of particular and general preconceptions not the least of which is the hypothesis that evolution has occurred."
Grassé, on the other hand, holds just the view that has so often been erroneously attributed to Darwinian paleontologists. For him the fossil record reveals not only the course of evolution but its "mechanism" as well. The history of life is an untheory-laden chronicle which any biologist must take as raw data. Evolution, on this view, is a virtually self-evident fact which remains only to be adequately explained. Grassé faults the Darwinians for failure to recognize the pristine character of paleontological evidence. He says (p. 7), 'Paleontologists, who cannot have recourse to experiments when deciding that a given character is genetically valuable, thus expresses [sic] a very hypothetical opinion. Assuming that the Darwinian hypothesis is correct, they interpret fossil data according to it; it is only logical that they should confirm it: the premises imply the conclusion. The error in method is obvious". If a paleontologist claims to have supported the fundamental tenets of Darwinian theory in citing the fossil record, then he has indeed committed a methodological error. But every interpretation of the fossil record must proceed on the acceptance of some theory. Grassé never gives us any reason to think that he recognizes this fact, and we are, therefore, left to ferret out those surreptitious assumptions which, we must suppose, underlie his account of the history of organisms.
Grassé's confidence in the fossil record is excessive but he is not alone in supposing that it has something to tell us about the mechanism of evolution. Paleontologists and evolutionists have frequently turned to fossils for crucial tests of some theory, or even simply of some fact, only to come away with the realization that the answers lie more in the theory that they have presupposed in their interpretation of the fossil record than in the record itself and that, indeed, there isn't even any record at all until we somehow make one out of extant rocks and objects that seem to be the broken remains of plants and animals. The current debate over punctuated equilibria and gradualism as the principle modes of evolution is but the latest illustration of how difficult it is to extract theoretically significant information from fossils. When we are tempted to say that evolution or some aspect of it is an ‘obvious fact’, it is well to turn once again to Darwin himself who devoted a large book to an argument more directed at the elusive conclusion that evolution had occurred than explaining something that might be established independent of that argument.
Darwinian paleontologists cannot take much comfort from the fact that the fossil record does not compel them to reject their theory because it does not compel them to accept it either.
"The fossil record doesn't even provide any evidence in support of Darwinian theory except in the weak sense that the fossil record is compatible with it, just as it is compatible with other evolutionary theories, and revolutionary theories and special creationist theories and even ahistorical theories."
Kitts, David B., "Search for the Holy Transformation," review of Evolution of Living Organisms, by Pierre-P. Grassé, Paleobiology, vol. 5, 1979, pp. 353-354
Let us repeat the obvious truth: fossils do not prove evolution. Creation believing scientists, however, make a stronger claim. We assert that fossils not only disprove evolution but argue powerfully in support of a recent creation followed by a worldwide Flood.
There Are No Transitional Fossils Between Fishes And Four-Legged Land Dwelling Animals
Evolutionists assume that bipedal and quadrupedal land dwelling animals evolved from fish that crawled out of the water. Can they prove it by resorting to any fossil evidence?
In 1983, there were no known intermediates between fish and land animals:
“… there are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures in the fossil collections of the world”.
Taylor, G.R. The Great Evolution Mystery. NY, Harper & Row, 1983, p. 60.
In 1995, there were still no intermediates between fish and land animals:
“Which fish was ancestral to the tetrapods [four legged land animals] is, however, a very controversial subject among evolutionists. … Why such confusion and lack of agreement? As the saying goes today, ‘It’s the lack of transitional forms, stupid!’ Just a few transitional forms would reveal what was ancestral to amphibians [who evolutionists believed to be the first limbed land dwelling creatures] and what the evolutionary pathway was. Lacking that, all suggestions are mere scenarios and empty rhetoric.”
Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say NO! El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1995, p.85.
In 2004, a supposedly 375-383 million year old fossil fish named Tiktaalik roseae was discovered.
Nunn, Warren It’s all talk, Tiktaalik can’t walk: A fishy story that has no legs, Published: 30 January 2014, http://creation.com/tiktaalik-pelvis.
Subsequently, more fossilized remains of Tiktaalik have been found. Tiktaalik indeed became an iconic “link” between fish and four legged land dwelling creatures. Unexpectedly, at least for evolutionists, fossil tracks of four legged animals were found in Poland in 2010, which are dated by evolutionists at 397 million years.
Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki, Piotr Szrek, Katarzyna Narkiewicz, Marek Narkiewicz & Per E. Ahlberg, Tetrapod trackways from the early Middle Devonian period of Poland, Nature 463, 43-48 (7 January 2010).
If there already were some four legged animals supposed 14-22 million years before Tiktaalik, how can it be an evolutionary intermediate between fish and four legged animals? With Tiktaalik dethroned, “ … there is currently no body-fossil evidence and no detailed story for how the transition from fish to land animal took place.”
Walker, Tas. Tetrapods from Poland trample the Tiktaalik school of evolution, http://creation.com/polish-tetrapod-footprints-trample-tiktaalik.
Commenting on the implications of finding tetrapod tracks “18 million years” earlier than expected, authors of a Nature study stated,
“This forces us to infer much longer ghost lineages for tetrapods and elpistostegids [lobe-finned fish] than the body fossil record suggests.”
Niedziedski, G., et al. 2010. Tetrapod trackways from the early Middle Devonian period of Poland. Nature. 463(7277):43-48.
A Fossil Puzzle
It is commonly promoted that the fossils are arranged in a certain order within the sedimentary layers: generally, it is alleged that fossilized organisms in the upper sedimentary layers are more complex than those contained within the lower layers. It is also claimed that this order of the fossils within the sedimentary layers demonstrates their purported evolutionary tree of life.
One of the most influential and widely read writers of popular evolutionary science in the 20th century, Dr. Stephen J. Gould [Harvard evolutionary biologist, historian of science, co-inventor of The Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium], noted that the fossils had not recorded any obvious progress from simple to complex:
“I regard the failure to find a clear ‘vector of progress’ in life’s history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record.”
Stephen Jay Gould, The Ediacaran Experiment, Natural History, Vol. 93 (February 1984), pp.14-23.
Gould offers his own explanation as to why there is no clear ‘vector of progress’ in the fossils. His explanation involves “Punctuated Equilibrium” and, possibly, mass extinctions. Yet, Gould was an honest evolutionist. He wrote:
“… the absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”
Gould, S.J., in Evolution Now: A Century After Darwin, ed. John Maynard Smith, Macmillan, New York, p. 140, 1982.
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors: it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’”
Steven Jay Gould (Harvard University), Evolution’s erratic pace, Natural History 86(5):14, May 1977.
“…our ability to classify both living and fossil species distinctly and using the same criteria, fit splendidly with creationist tenets.”
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), ‘A quahog is a quahog’, Natural History, vol.88 (7), 1979, pp. 18-26.
The great atheist and evolutionary propagandist, Dr. Richard Dawkins, actually admitted to the religious nature of evolutionary faith and the lack of fossil evidence for it.
“It is as though they [fossils] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. ... Both schools of thought (Punctuationists and Gradualists) despise so-called scientific creationists equally, and both agree that the major gaps are real, that they are true imperfections in the fossil record. The only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation and (we) both reject this alternative.”
Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1996, p. 229-230)
The Bible, however, teaches us that there was a global Flood about 4,350 years ago. Noah’s Flood would have formed a layered graveyard of fossils with sea life at the bottom and land dwelling animals near the top, exactly as we find all over the earth today.
Fossils That Refute Evolution
There are many types of fossils that exist in the sedimentary layers that may be used to refute the various theories of evolution; and, the truth that many supposed fossils are missing is equally important!
“Many evolutionary biologists since Darwin's time, and even Darwin himself, have been struck by how few sequences of fossils have ever been found that clearly show a gradual, steady accumulation of small changes in evolutionary lineages. Instead, most fossil species appear suddenly, without transitional forms, in a layer of rock and persist essentially unchanged until disappearing from the record of rocks as suddenly as they appeared.”
Campbell, et al., Biology Concepts and Connections, 3rd Ed., p 290, 2000.
“In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found - yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks.”
Raup, David M. (U. of Chicago-Field Museum), “Evolution and the Fossil Record,” Science, Vol. 213 (July 17, 1981), p. 289
Darwin wrote about the missing fossils and he understood the significance of their absence. The following quotes are from Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859.
“As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth?” p.139.
“Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?” p. 143
“But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” p. 144.
“Lastly, looking not to any one time, but to all time, if my theory be true, numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely together all the species of the same group, must assuredly have existed.” p. 149.
“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.” p. 280.
“What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin …”
Carroll, R. Towards a new evolutionary synthesis, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15(1):27-32, 2000; p.27.
“What I did say was that there are gaps in the fossil graveyard, places where there should be intermediate forms but where there is nothing whatsoever instead. No paleontologist writing in English (R. Carroll, Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, 1988), French (J. Chaline, “Modalites, rythmes, mecanismes de l’evolution biologique: gradualisme phyletique ou equilibres ponctues?,” reprinted in Editions du CNRS, 1983), or German (V. Fahlbusch, “Makroevolution, Punktualismus,” in Palaontologie 57, 1983), denies that this is so. It is simply a fact. Darwin’s theory and the fossil record are in conflict. There may be excellent reasons for the conflict; it may in time be exposed as an artifact. But nothing is to be gained by suggesting that what is a fact in plain sight is nothing of the sort.”
Dr. David Berlinski, A Tour of the Calculus, Pantheon Books, New York, 1995, p. 28.
On every continent we find sedimentary rock layers, layers of dried out mud, containing “polystrate” fossils. The word polystrate means “many layers.” These fossils are usually tree trunks and tree roots, however, they may also be bones. These fossils penetrate two or more layers of sedimentary rock and the different layers are dated by evolutionists as being deposited millions of years apart.
At Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, there is a ridge, Specimen Ridge, that contains 27 layers of volcanic material containing non-polystrate (horizontal) and polystrate (vertical) fossil trunks and fossil stumps. The tree trunks are often found without branching tops or stumps with roots – they are simply fossil logs; and, likewise there are fossil stumps and roots without tree trunks attached to them. Initially, evolutionists dated these layers as about 50 million supposed years old, and taught that each layer had been deposited one at a time slowly of many years.
Obviously, the fossilized polystrate tree trunks contradicted the slow and gradual deposition theory, and eventually evolutionists changed their teaching about Specimen Ridge. Their story changed to say that all the layers were deposited at one time, which would, of course, require a truly great flood.
Thousands of square miles stretching from Oklahoma through the Midwest and ending in New York State contain innumerable polystrate fossil tree trunks, most within coal seams dated by evolutionists as more than 300 million supposed years old. These fossil tree trunks are found in locations all around the world, specifically: Essen-Kupferdreh, Germany; Saint-Etienne, France; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Craigleith Quarry, Edinburgh, Scotland; and, the Sydney Coal Basin, New South Wales, Australia.
The most interesting polystrate fossils are animal bones and skeletons. In 1999, in Northern Switzerland, the skull of an Ichthyosaur (marine reptile shaped like a fish) was found in a vertical position. The skull was 15 inches (37 cm) long. According to evolutionists the upright skull was penetrating sedimentary layers representing over one million years of time.
Polystrate fossils cannot be the result of slow and gradual deposition over millions of years of supposed time. Regardless of whether they are vegetable or animal materials, they would decay if left on the surface, or if parts of them were sticking out of the ground whether on the dry land surface or under water. Furthermore, basically all fossils, with the exception of single cell creatures, may be classified as polystrate. Therefore, these fossils refute all evolutionary scenarios, and demonstrate that a recent creation 6,000 years ago was followed by a worldwide Flood about 4,350 years ago.
The term “living fossil” was first coined by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species. He wrote: “These anomalous forms may almost be called living fossils; they have endured to the present day, from having inhabited a confined area, and from having thus been exposed to less severe competition.”
Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray. 1st edition, 1st issue, p. 107.
“Species and groups of species, which are called aberrant, and which may fancifully be called living fossils, will aid us in forming a picture of the ancient forms of life.”
Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray. 1st edition, 1st issue, p. 486.
No Transitional Fossil Forms Have Been Found
The history of most fossil species includes two features inconsistent with gradualism (evolution):
Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear.
Sudden Appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and “fully formed”.
“As Darwin noted in the Origin of Species, the abrupt emergence of arthropods in the fossil record during the Cambrian presents a problem for evolutionary biology. There are no obvious simpler or intermediate forms - either living or in the fossil record - that show convincingly how modern arthropods evolved from worm-like ancestors. Consequently there has been a wealth of speculation and contention about relationships between the arthropod lineages.”
Osorio, D, J. P. Bacon, and P. Whittington. 1997. The evolution of arthropod nervous system. American Scientist 95: 244.
Fossils Do Not Prove Evolution, They Refute It!