24 Replies to “Why they call it the Cambrian explosion

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    If one goes to the link News provided, the graphic expands if you click on it.

  2. 2
    Chris Doyle says:

    No critic of ID should be taken seriously unless they have demonstrated substanial awareness and understanding of this book and SITC. I’ve already read enough to see that this is just as devastating as SITC. An alternative name for Darwin’s Doubt could be “Game Over”. There is simply nothing that atheistic evolutionists can say in response to this one (the silence from SITC was deafening enough).

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    More power to this book and the author.
    However YEC insists the fossil record doesn’t show gradual evolution , even if it was true, because all it shows is moments in time of a type of creatures body when it died.
    Any connections to other fossils is entirely a line of reasoning entirely based on acceptance of the geological claim that deposition events holding the type of creature , and its changes/ or not, shows long periods of time elapsed.
    Naughty. This is not biological investigation but a cheat of mere connecting biology and claiming biological investigation.
    Evolutionists and ID folks are doing the same thing.
    Think harder folks about the logic here.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Chris Doyle, here is an entirely serious attempt to explain it away:

    “When you look at the period 570 million years ago, where you first find the larger fossils, and about 519 million years ago, when you find the chordates, that probably also seems pretty short. You can make that out as about 20 million years if count the actual radiation of the animals designated as the Cambrian fauna from about 542 million years ago, right after the extinction event to the appearance of the chordates 519 million years ago.

    If, however, you count the split that leads to the sponges at about 664 million to 634 million years ago, the Anthozoa and the Hydrozoa at 604 million years ago, and then everything else radiating out just before and after the extinction at 542 million years ago, you end up with a slightly different picture.”
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/140995135944096/permalink/567290769981195/

    Now all Darwin’s followers need do is get that explanation into the textbooks and fight off legal challenges.

  5. 5

    Denyse, it seems that you either deliberately misrepresent the counter-arguments to Meyer’s, or you really do misunderstand them.

    There was certainly an extremely rapid radiation of organisms starting about the beginning of the Cambrian. It seems to have followed a mass extinction of at least two of the major lineages found in the ediacaran. The Cambrian itself shows evidence of several mass extinction.

    Phylogenetic evidence suggests that after each mass extinction, the surviving lineages radiate rapidly. This makes sense – consider the analogy of what happens to a garden when you kill off the weeds – many hitherto suppressed seeds suddenly reach maturity. Similarly, at population level, if a whole range of niches are suddenly vacated, you will tend to get a whole lot of radiation into those niches.

    And that is exactly what phylogenetic analysis suggests. The big mistake Meyer makes in his book (and I am now nearly finished) is to make categorical what are continua. He insists on trying to classifyorganisms into discrete boxes, instead of placing them on a phylogenetic tree. His classification makes no sense, because it isn’t what is predicted by evolution. What is predicted is a tree, and phylogenetic analysis delivers statistically significant tree structure. Similarly, he wants to draw discrete boundaries between categorical periods, instead of understanding that “Cambrian” and “Ediacaran” are merely labels of convenience, deriving from the rocks in which the organisms are found, not a discrete population of critters followed by another, very different discrete population of critters.

    Of course most Ediacaran fossils aren’t directly ancestral to most Cambrian fossils – in fact most aren’t even indirectly ancestral. But that does not mean that phylogenetic analysis breaks down – it doesn’t. It still delivers a tree.

    Nodes are certainly missing, but nodes are always missing, because there are far fewer organisms alive at a node than between nodes.

    You may find fault with all this of course, but do at least give palaentologists the credit for some intelligence, if only to improve your own argument.

    Never underestimate your enemy. And by avoiding doing so, you might find some unexpected friends.

  6. 6
    Chris Doyle says:

    Wow, this is some strange use of the word “serious” that I’ve never come across before! The only thing missing was the appeal to all those soft-bodied transitionals that were obviously there even though the fossil record says they weren’t.

  7. 7

    Chris: how can “the fossil record” possibly tell you what was “not there”?

    Do you assume that if you complete a jigsaw puzzle, and find that most of the pieces are missing, that those pieces were never there? And that therefore the root of the tree at the bottom left must be completely unconnected with the branches at the top right?

  8. 8
    Chris Doyle says:

    Bad analogy, describing the fossil record as an incomplete jigsaw begs the question that there are missing pieces in the first place.

    I just follow the evidence, Lizzie. The fossil record is a story of stasis, discontinuity, sudden appearances and sudden extinctions. I don’t try to shape the evidence to fit the theory. Darwin himself recognised that the fossil record undermined his theory, but put off the axe for future generations. Well, that’s us. And we didn’t find any fossils to change the overall picture.

  9. 9

    Chris:

    Bad analogy, describing the fossil record as an incomplete jigsaw begs the question that there are missing pieces in the first place.

    Could you rephrase this, Chris: I don’t understand what question is begged. Are you saying that it is odd that there are “missing pieces” in the fossil record? If so, my response is that it is amazing that we have so many, given how rare both fossilisation and the preservation of fossils is.

    I just follow the evidence, Lizzie. The fossil record is a story of stasis, discontinuity, sudden appearances and sudden extinctions.

    Well, no, it isn’t. It is certainly a story of “punctuated equilibrium” but even within continuous strata we see gradual change.

    And, as I said, there will always be a tiny number of organisms at any node, compared by the number that comprise generations of adapted populations. So obviously, what we find will be representative of the numbers that existed – far more from the adapted periods, and far fewer from adapting periods. Meyer appears to completely miss this point.

    I don’t try to shape the evidence to fit the theory. Darwin himself recognised that the fossil record undermined his theory, but put off the axe for future generations. Well, that’s us. And we didn’t find any fossils to change the overall picture.

    Nor does anyone shape the evidence to fit the theory. That’s not how science works – we fit models to data, not data to models. And what Darwin thought is largely irrelevant (and isn’t what you say it was) – what matters is not what Darwin thought but what the data say. And phylogenetic analysis of extant fossils consistently delivers precisely the tree structure that Darwin predicted. In other words, the best fit of model to data delivers a tree.

    This includes, but is by no means confined to, actual transitional series.

    So far from not finding fossils to fit the picture, the fossils found overwhelmingly fit Darwin’s picture – far better than he even thought possible, not having access to the kind of data and statistical methods we now possess.

    Not only that, but we actually observe his mechanism, at work, in field, in lab and in silico.

  10. 10

    One slight clarification: I agree that the fossil record shows sudden extinctions – over and over again. Each one is, as you would expect, followed by a rapid radiation.

    None of this is a refutation of common descent.

  11. 11
    Chris Doyle says:

    Lizzie said:

    “Well, no, it isn’t. It is certainly a story of “punctuated equilibrium” but even within continuous strata we see gradual change.”

    Well, you’ve nearly finished Meyer’s book, Lizzie and you are not remotely affected by it. Nothing I can say will add to that. This comment above is just a ridiculous misrepresentation of the fossil record, not to mention a contradiction in terms: punctuated equilibrium is the opposite of gradual change.

    Flat Earth, atheistic morality and a fossil record that Darwin himself would be proud of. There is definitely a pattern emerging here: a severe case of cognitive dissonance on Lizzie’s part.

  12. 12

    Telling me I am wrong, Chris, isn’t very persuasive. My view is that Meyer’s is the misrepresentation, not mine, and that yours is the cognitive dissonance, not mine.

    So we will have to agree to differ.

  13. 13
    Chris Doyle says:

    I long ago gave up any hope of persuading an internet atheist, Lizzie. You have initiated discussions with me and I have no idea why: it is obvious we do not share any common ground and that we are not persuaded by anything the other has to say.

    When I post, it is to set the record straight, that’s all. Job done, here and on the other thread where you helped me demonstrate, once again, the abject failure of atheistic morality.

    “So we will have to agree to differ.” Absolutely, and since you’ve been assimilated by internet atheists, this is the only thing in this debate that we will ever agree upon.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Chris as to: ‘You have initiated discussions with me and I have no idea why”

    Exactly, why in the world, if Darwinism is such a slam dunk case against the pink unicorns of ID, do atheists even bother coming on this site? It seems they would be more than content to scoff at IDiots from the lofty perches of their own websites and let the evidence speak for itself.,,, I don’t visit astrology sites for hours on end trying to convince them astrology is wrong. It is simply insane for atheists to behave as they do.

    When Atheists Are Angry at God – 2011
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    Are Religious People Happier Than Atheists? – 2000
    Excerpt: there does indeed appear to be a link between religion and happiness. Several studies have been done, but to give an example, one study found that the more frequently people attended religious events, the happier they were; 47% of people who attended several types a week reported that they were ‘very happy’, as opposed to 28% who attended less than monthly.
    In practical terms, religious people have the upper hand on atheists in several other areas. They drink and smoke less, are less likely to abuse drugs, and they stay married longer. After a stressful event like bereavement, unemployment, or illness, those who worship don’t take it as hard and recover faster. All of the above are likely to be beneficial to a person’s happiness. Additionally, religious people, as a result of their beliefs, have a greater sense of meaning, purpose and hope in their lives.
    http://generallythinking.com/a.....-atheists/

  15. 15
    Chris Doyle says:

    Hear hear, Bornagain77!

    I’m passionate about this subject (like many here), having spent years looking into it, in great detail. Intelligent Design theory is wholly supported by the evidence and without any weaknesses: indisputable truth tends to be like that. Atheistic evolution, on the other hand: has failed every important test, is unsupported where it matters most and is without any strength.

    But the beauty of it, for me at least, is that even if Intelligent Design science was totally wrong, and neo-darwnism was totally correct, it would be a simple switch to Theistic Evolution/Evolutionary Creation and would change almost nothing about my approach to existence, nothing significant anyway. So, the stakes are very, very low meaning I can view proceedings with a very clear and untroubled mind.

    As far our atheistic evolutionist acquaintances…. well, the stakes couldn’t be higher which is why they demonstrate a distinct lack of clarity in their thinking.

    Much as I think it is a travesty of truth that the truth about ID and neo-Darwinism is not universally recognised, I’m certainly not going to waste a second of time on some Atheistic Evolutionist website trying to persuade Internet Atheists (who are so wrong, about everything, and yet their minds are so closed) that they’ve backed the wrong horse.

    Throw in the denial of free-will, the acceptance of a meaningless existence that ends in oblivion, and no need to be moral whatsoever and there is no doubt about it: it is simply insane for atheists to behave as they do: here and in the real world.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    None of this is a refutation of common descent.

    How can one refute something tat cannot be tested?

    Nor does anyone shape the evidence to fit the theory.

    Yes they do- at least wrt evolutionism.

    And phylogenetic analysis of extant fossils consistently delivers precisely the tree structure that Darwin predicted.

    Only in the minds of the evo-faithful.

    Not only that, but we actually observe his mechanism, at work, in field, in lab and in silico.

    And we see it doesn’t do anything beyond eliminating the weak and deficient. IOW we do not see it doing what it needs to do. It’s as if it only works when no one is around.

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    My view is that Meyer’s is the misrepresentation, not mine, and that yours is the cognitive dissonance, not mine.

    Given your track record it is easy to infer Meyer is correct and you don’t know what you are talking about.

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Do you assume that if you complete a jigsaw puzzle, and find that most of the pieces are missing, that those pieces were never there?

    Jigsaw puzzles are DESIGNED. Your analogy only works if evolution was also designed and gradual.

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Phylogenetic evidence suggests that after each mass extinction, the surviving lineages radiate rapidly.

    Based on what molecules? Do all molecules give the same tree? Does phylogenetic analysis assume common descent?

    Does phylogenetic analysis say anything about a mechanism? And if DNA is not responsible for the type of organism, does phylogenetic analysis even show universal common descent? Hint- no it cannot.

  20. 20
    jerry says:

    One of the inconsistencies with those who espouse that the fossil record is incomplete is the sampling problem. Meyer makes the argument and it has been made before that for all the eras of fossil records that there were multiple samples. If one continues to reach into the urn and get only red balls, the chance that there are many other color balls gets less and less with each sampling. This is true with every geological era. The same fossils keep showing up with an occasional new one.

    There have been multiple samplings of the Cambrian and the missing fossils are still missing. There is always the possibility that future samples will show the supposed missing fossils.

    Also the radiations in Cambrian are unlike any other radiation after this era. They are of unique and completely different body plans. That is the main point of the book. Things which are very different from each other and from what preceded it suddenly show up. These differences are such that there is no easy way from some common ancestor to the various forms because it would have taken massive alternations to the information in the organisms which lead to form.

    As I have said on another thread the most interesting thing will be to see the dance of the anti-ID people who disagree with Meyer. I believe we are seeing elements of this dance here.

  21. 21

    jerry

    As I have said on another thread the most interesting thing will be to see the dance of the anti-ID people who disagree with Meyer. I believe we are seeing elements of this dance here.

    jerry, if you automatically categorise any rebuttal as a “dance” then there is no opportunity for discussion.

    Fossilisation is not a random sample. It is nothing like “reaching into an urn and getting only red balls”.

    At best it is like reaching into an urn and getting only red balls because the urn contains vastly more red balls than blue, and then concluding that there are no blue balls.

    This is the case, for example, as I said, with organisms at nodes. Adapted populations will consist of very many more individuals, and will remain much more constant over time than populations in the process of adapting. This is is simple logic. But to be absolutely clear: when a population encounters a new niche it tends to evolve very rapidly (we can even see it happening in real time), the population rapidly growing in numbers as it adapts. Eventually it reaches equilibrium, and, if there is no further environmental change, may remain largely unchanged for millenia. So if you reach into the “urn” of these creatures, how many more will you find from the adapted, and thus fairly morphologically static population than from the originally rapidly adapting population?

    Thus, even random sampling will give you far more exemplars from stasis than from rapid radiation.

    But the sampling is not even random. It’s massively clustered. It’s as though you sampled 10000 people from New York and 10000 people from Texas and 10000 people from Washington State and then came to the conclusion that accents changed abruptly from region to region, with no “intermediates”, despite the vast number of individuals in each sample.

    And not only that but it is perfectly true that soft-bodied organisms are far less likely to leave a fossil trace than a shelly organism. The fact that occasionally we find fossils of soft-bodied organisms does not demonstrate that all soft-bodied organisms will leave fossils. The vast majority of sea creatures do not leave fossils at all.

    Finally, it’s not as though the periods of stasis show no longitudinal evolution. They do. We have extremely good transitional series.

    These issues are not “dancing”. They are absolutely pertinent, and Meyer either dismisses them in a sentence or too or ignores them altogether.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    if you automatically categorise any rebuttal as a “dance”

    The dance goes on. You have a problem, because I have read Meyer’s book and know what he says. I have also followed the debate for 15 years and know the nonsense used in the debate. There are only assertions, not evidence or proof of anything. I have never seen any proof and I have read widely. Even Dawkins in his “Greatest Show” somehow failed to provide any proof. Wonder why? When Provine said he had no proof but only faith he was being honest. Pigliucci admits there is no evidence.

    because the urn contains vastly more red balls than blue

    This supports Meyer’s assertion. Why should the urn contain vastly more red balls when there should be vastly more blue balls in order to make the Darwinist point? Yes, the fossil record may not be a random sample of life’s history but somehow pretty thorough sampling of this non random sample amazingly misses all that would support the Darwinist position. Amazing, like someone had it in for Darwin. Some how the millions of transitions are missing and only the beginning and final states are present.

    I suggest you defend your position with evidence and not just wishful thinking and excuses. But if you did you would be the first one who did. But maybe all that is available is to dance.

  23. 23

    jerry:

    This supports Meyer’s assertion. Why should the urn contain vastly more red balls when there should be vastly more blue balls in order to make the Darwinist point?

    I just explained why.

    And, interestingly, your impression of the debate is an exact mirror image of mine. That should give us both pause for thought.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    I just explained why

    No you didn’t. You provided wishful thinking.

    interestingly, your impression of the debate is an exact mirror image of mine

    That is sadly most likely a truthful statement but it is still part of the dance. I suggest evidence and proof. It will be a new dance step but will do wonders for your position. But as I said I have never seen it done but there could always be a first time.

Leave a Reply