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The Cambrian explosion is back on again and Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is doing well too

BurgessShale trilobite/Smith609, CC

Readers may remember a recent paper that tried to show that the Cambrian explosion was not really an explosion after all. From Gunter Bechly at ENST:

The paper allegedly settles the case in favor of a more gradual pattern of appearance as predicted by Darwin’s theory. That would be big news indeed, if it were true. Darwinists bloggers are thrilled

To judge from the hype, you might expect that the authors of the new paper have discovered a well-dated temporal transitional series of fossils, documenting a gradual evolution stretched out over a long period of time, rather than an explosive event. Well, far from that. Actually, the article presents no new fossil evidence, no new phylogenetic studies, nor any new scientific results at all. Instead, it is just a review of other recent work. This is why it was published in the “Perspectives” section of the journal PNAS.

Instead of refuting the abruptness of the Cambrian explosion, Daley et al. (2018) confirm that the fossil record of euarthropods is even more abrupt than often believed. How so? Because the oldest body fossils from crown group arthropods like trilobites indeed predate (!) their alleged ancestors by about three million years. The authors recognize that this is a problem. They admit, “It may seem counter-intuitive that crown group euarthropods appear at 521 Ma, while the first appearance of stem lineage euarthropods is not until 518 Ma.” To solve this temporal paradox the authors have to postulate a ghost lineage of stem euarthropods that predate the oldest fossil trilobites but left no record of body fossils. Such hypothetical ghost lineages are required by the unquestioned assumption of universal common descent. Surprisingly, they also appeal to the artifact hypothesis (“… stem lineage euarthropods lack biomineralized exoskeletons and require preservation of soft tissues …”) even though they themselves show in their work that the Burgess-Shale-type (BST) conditions for soft tissue preservation existed all the way down to the Ediacaran period. More.

The authors, says Bechly, vindicate the three main theses of Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt.

It appears that, even though Gunter Bechly disappeared from Wikipedia due to his sympathy for ID, the Cambrian explosion has not similarly disappeared.  It has been characterized as an “unexplosion” in some quarters for PR reasons.

As of today, Darwin’s Doubt is still doing well:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

#2 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Theology > Creationism
#3 in Books > Science & Math > Evolution > Organic
#6 in Books > Science & Math > Biological Sciences > Paleontology

See also: Researchers: Cambrian explosion was not an explosion after all


Free discussion guide to Darwin’s Doubt. Quotations.

TR, some very good questions. Biological origins has been pinned to an incrementally modified C19 theory (it antedates general acceptance of genetic theory) in a C21 information age. The cracks have long been evident, but until things shatter irretrievably, the name of the game will be business as usual. KF PS: Randomness means in effect not correlated to or under control of a target configuration based function, in the context that accidents, molecular noise, radioactivity events etc are well known phenomena. kairosfocus
Never seen such rejection of evidence based now both on the lack of intermediates (sudden appearance and either stasis or extinction follow), is also backed up by genetic studies. AND while I am commenting, how the hell do traditional evolutionists push the ape cousin narrative, without explaining the HUGE difference in our Y chromosome, and having to add a trick of chromosome fusion (even though they don't know where the heck chromosomes even come from) - BUT my main consternation is that they can't begin to explain WHERE APES came from!!! The main evidence they rely on is that apes have a very similar morphology, and genetically we are not far apart. But we are also 50% similar to a banana. We are learning its not the CODE so much as it is how the CODE is expressed. I am a programmer by training, systems guy by trade, and for the life of me, considering the Cambrian Explosion (and all the other explosions we are now defining), from what we know about DNA, the immaterial encoded and decoded information, sequences that can be spliced, edited, turned on and off, read forward and backward in an overlapping fashion, the similarities of the CODE being the norm across the spectrum (i.e. bananas and humans share 50% of the genes), HOW THEY CANNOT SEE THIS IS OBJECT ORIENTED programing in action. You define a class of objects, each object can have many different variables that radically change the organism, but the CLASS (phyla/body plan) remains the same. In an age where physics is realizing that information is probably the key to our very existence, and yet they refuse to include conscious decision making which MUST be involved with altering or combining highly specified, purposeful information (If I change my program by changing a random bit here or there, it crashes, it does not improve. AND while I am on my soapbox, how do they know that a "mutation" which I believe is a poor choice of words that they use for genetic change of any kind, is random anyway? Knowing the very low odds of getting even two point mutations that are useful especially in two very different loci, would it not make more sense that this was a purposeful tweek - from all we have learned about how even trees seem to have agency, and have an amazing underground network of c02 and other mineral sharing, AND the hub trees preferring their own offspring, what is more likely, a copy mistake or a purposeful change - just because DNA may have a copy error or duplication, does not, in any way, prove that it is random.. Tom Robbins
Why am I not surprised? kairosfocus

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