While I do not debate evolutionists online any more, I do read some “debates” when I feel like some aggravation. In one of the latest ones, in response to an article that is critical of evolution, someone said that there are thousands of transitional fossils, and kindly provided a link to the site, a well-known evo site. I counted at most a few hundred, but it does not really matter.
Why are fossils, and particularly transitional fossils, so important to evolutionists? It is because along with homology, it is the only “real” evidence they can show for their theory. It is of the two kingpins on which proof hinges, as stated by Darwin himself, and many subsequent to him.
Darwin, 150 years ago, realized that fossils did not prove his theory, and speculated that it was down to the imperfection of the geological record. And rightly so, unless one chooses to see all fossils as transitional, and consider the track record honestly, then the fossil record is not convincing, to say the least. If out of the approximately 250,000 fossil species found, only a few hundred (or thousand, depending on who you believe) are considered transitional, then it is problematic for evolution.
So on the one hand we are to believe that there are numerous transitional fossils, but on the other hand we must also believe that the fossil record is incomplete, either because biological matter does not fossilize well, or because we have not dug enough. This leads to a core problem.
There are many good resources that discuss specific transitional samples, but I want to concentrate on the core problem. Transitional fossils are called so because they show some characteristics in common with both ancestor and descendant fossils. (This is an appeal to homology, which I will discuss in a later post). The main problem with this line of thinking is falsification. Arranging fossils in a lineage cannot be falsified, unless more fossils are found. But until that happens, the arrangement is nothing but a guess, and not scientifically valid. So the basis to claim lineage is unscientific, failing the falsification test.
Furthermore, even if transitional status is accepted as claimed, the other 99% of fossils found, show that species appeared and disappeared abruptly, without any ancestors or descendants.
The bottom line problem remains though, that the arrangement of fossils in a lineage cannot be proof for evolution, unless one accepts a-priori that the theory is true. One cannot arrange fossils in an age and homology sequence, unless one believes that evolution is true. Both age and homology are proving problematic though. The more fossils are discovered, the more they show time overlap between what was previously considered to be ancestor/descendant relationships. This is particularly prevalent in the Burgess Shale exploration.
Ulitmately though, it all becomes proof, because that is what evolutionary theory predicted. And that can only be true if one accepts the a-priori truth of the theory of evolution. There are no insurmountable problems in the fossil record, according to the faithful disciples of evolution. The incompleteness, the stasis and sudden appearence, inability to falsify and the circular reasoning are not problems, in fact, they all prove the theory correct.
All roads lead to Rome when it comes to the fossil record. The only problem is that the travellers are already in Rome.
I know I have not quoted specific examples here. For specific arguments, go here to the section
Doesn’t the fossil record prove Darwinian evolution?