Why Not Accept the Fossil Record at Face Value Instead of Imposing a Theory on it?
|January 11, 2010||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
In a comment to a prior post Johhnnyb makes the following excellent points (see here):
One thing which I think ID can contribute to any historical aspect of earth history is shaving off hypothetical creatures. While there are certainly many creatures which haven’t yet been found, and I’m sure many of these creatures include chimeras of existing features in existing creatures, there is no reason to believe that there must be creatures where none have been found or evidenced. Darwinism has a bad habit of perpetually adding dashed lines in-between creatures for where it expects to find relationships. Instead, ID says that, perhap we can just take the fossil record as we find it. Perhaps what we need to be doing is measuring, say, the average known time fossils go missing from the fossil record, and use that plus statistical completeness estimates to estimate the error bounds of the fossil record. Instead, Darwinists will substitute a narration of what they think happened in the past to substitute for 99% of earth history, rather than simply looking at what’s there.
Here’s a simple example – extinction estimates. Darwinists will say that 99.99% of species that have ever lived have gone extinct. Well, that’s actually a bunch of B.S. There are roughly 250,000 species that have been identified in the fossil record, and well over 1,000,000 species that exist today. Taken at face value, even if every species in the fossil record has gone extinct (which they haven’t), that means that 80% of species that ever existed ARE STILL ALIVE. That’s quite a stretch. So where do Darwinists get their number? By assuming that innumerable species existed in the transitional spaces. Why? Because they _must_ have existed there for their theory to be true.
ID says that Darwinism is simply an unnecessary hypothesis. We should take the fossil record as it comes to us, measure its completeness on its own terms, and determine its limits as we can determine apart from Darwinism. After doing so, we might find certain features of the fossil record to be consistent with Darwinism, or we might not. The problem is that the Darwinists distort what they see to fit into their picture of Darwinism. There are also a set of Silurian trackways which were thought to be arthropods…why? Because it was thought that tetrapods hadn’t existed yet. Basically, Darwinism has been forcing the way in which we view the fossil record and earth history. When it is in conflict with the data, over and over again, the data gets modified to fit with Darwinism. ID makes a clean break with the Darwinistic picture, and would allow us to take the animal distributions within the fossil record much more on its own terms.