Cambrian explosion

Louis Agassiz: The selective incompleteness of the fossil record

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Darwin's Doubt That was one of Louis Agassiz’s problems with it, resolved of course by ridiculing and sidelining Agassiz (right).

File:Louis Agassiz H6.jpgFurther to Steve Meyer on the Cambrian gaps not being filled in (compare it to paint samples at the hardware to see what the problem is):

Why, he [Agassiz] asked, does the fossil record always happen to be incomplete at the nodes connecting major branches of Darwin’s tree of life, but rarely—in the parlance of modern paleontology—at the “terminal branches” representing the major already known groups of organisms? These terminal branches were well represented (see Fig, 1.8), often stretching over many generations and millions of years, while the “internal branches” at the connecting nodes on Darwin’s tree of life were nearly always—and selectively—absent. As Agassiz explained, Darwin’s theory “rests partly upon the assumption that, in the succession of ages, just those transition types have dropped out from the geological record which would have proved the Darwinian conclusions had these types been preserved.” To Agassiz, it sounded like a just-so story, one that explains away the absence of evidence rather than genuinely explaining the evidence we have.

Was there any easy answer to Agassiz’s argument? If so, beyond his stated willingness to wait for future fossil discoveries, Darwin didn’t offer one. (p. 24)

And no one else has either. Here we are on the windy hilltop without one. Do we help keep the spin going? Or reassess how evolution works?

See also: Steve Meyer vs. hostile reviewer Charles Marshall

4 Replies to “Louis Agassiz: The selective incompleteness of the fossil record

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Well, there’s a surprise. It must have been subliminal. They would never act in bad faith. Their unimpeachable honesty and integrity are a byword; just like the truth of Darwinism.

    Established science meet impeccable personal and professional integrity.

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    its a cute way this Agassiz guy puts it.
    Yes evolutionists would be leaping for joy for the intermediate fossils between big groups said to have evolved from one to the other.
    Leaping I say.
    Instead they shrug it off as the fault of the geology deposition problems.
    If there was no evolution it would also be that no intermediate fossils would be found.
    Anyways its all got nothing to do with biological scientific evidence.
    Since without the geology placement there can not be biology conclusions of descent it therefore means it has nothing to do with biological investigation of the fossil data points.
    its just lines of reasoning concerning fossil data points based on geological claims for deposition of said fossils.
    evolutions flaw was always using geology and not biology regarding fossils.
    A historic scientific logical flop.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Over at TSZ Elizabeth claims that punk eek done it and that computer models prove it and someone named thorton claims that what Darwin thought is irrelevant.

  4. 4
    jstanley01 says:

    Why, he [Agassiz] asked, does the fossil record always happen to be incomplete at the nodes connecting major branches of Darwin’s tree of life, but rarely—in the parlance of modern paleontology—at the “terminal branches” representing the major already known groups of organisms?

    Obviously, the fossils appear that way because Agassiz was a creationist in a cheap tuxedo.

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