Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The "debate" over creation and evolution

A favorite argument against evolution put forward by Young Earth Creationists, is that there are gaps in the fossil record. Thus, because of these gaps the fossil record is falsified. This argument is often put forward either because of an honest ignorance of the facts or as a deliberate, under handed attack on the methodology of evolutionary theory.

The facts of the matter are quite different. As any good paleontologist will testify ...of course there are gaps in the fossil record. By the very nature of how fossils are laid down in rock strata, there will always be missing links or gaps in the fossil record.

The very idea that every single species that had ever lived, would somehow be perfectly preserved in rock strata, is what many creationists demand. If scientists cannot produce (as creationists see it) a perfect fossil record; then by default the fossil record is falsified.

Not only is this demand for perfection an attack on evolution, it is an attack on objective reality. The obvious facts of reality tell us that for all species to be perfectly preserved, is quite simply impossible. Therefore, there will always be missing links.

The ignorance and it has to be said dishonesty among many creationists, is that they focus only on the "missing links" and not the fossil record. In other words they are not focusing on the abundance of evidence presented through the fossil record, but instead are diverting their attention and focusing on a zero ("there are gaps, therefore there is no evidence"). This is not only anti-Darwinian, it is anti-scientific.

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