The Theory of Evolution vs. Creation Science
What the Theory of Evolution Says What Evolutionists Say We Ought to See What We Actually Observe in Nature What Scientists Say Creationist Explanation
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The study of stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies, and their physical properties. The study of the earth's physical nature and properties. The study of fossils, the hardened remains of prehistoric animals and plants. The study of heredity and variation in related animals and plants. The study of chemical process occurring in living plants and animals. The use of numbers, symbols and equations to study quantities and their relationships.

What the Theory of Evolution Says 

The Theory of Evolution (sometimes referred to as macroevolution) states that all living things – all species – have come from a single ancestor through a process of natural selection of small variations or descent with modification over a long period of time.

Before Darwin, biologists classified living things on the basis of similarities in appearance.  But Darwin proposed that kinds of animals (species) should be classified on the basis of ancestry, in the form of a family tree called phylogenetic tree.  The most recent species to evolve would be like twigs at the ends of ancestral branches.  These branches are attached to larger branches of still older ancestors, and then to a trunk representing the first living form which all were evolved. 

What Evolutionists Say We Ought to See 

Darwin hoped that the fossil record would agree with and strengthen his theory by containing many transitional forms between species, filling out the branches of his hypothetical “tree.”  The record was very incomplete at the time but he expected additional discoveries to make it more complete.  Darwin also expected to see only gradual changes, not abrupt changes such as Cambrian “explosion” of life, dated some 550 million years ago. 

If Darwin’s theory of evolution were true, we should see transitional forms in fossils showing gradual change.  Instead gaps occurred because these transitions forms were not found. 

Many explanations for gaps in fossil record are given.  For one thing, fossilization is relatively rare, especially for land-dwelling animals.  The vast majority of fossils are of animals that lived in the sea.  Darwin expected fossils of the earliest ancestors to occur in the oldest layers of compacted sediments from sea bottoms. 

What We Actually Observe in Nature 

In general we do not see fossils of transitional forms between different species of plant and animals. A few fossils that appear transitional have been reported, but major gaps remain.  Most of the transitional forms (the missing links) Darwin expected to find are still missing.  Despite the illustration in textbooks showing a gradual transition in the family tree of the horse or from ape to man, there is no hard evidence for it.  In the case of ape to man, virtually every “missing link” has turned out to be either an ape or man, but not a transitional kind of ape-man.  Some finds were deliberate hoaxes. 

Another finding, the “Cambrian Explosion,” seems to contradict Darwin’s theory of gradual change over long periods of time.  Layers of sediment from the Cambrian period, estimated to be about 550 million years ago, show a sudden appearance of about 100 phyla of plants and animals.  Biochemist Michael Behe uses the phrase “the biological big bang” to describe this period thought to be less than five million years in duration. 

Biologist Richard Dawkins, in commenting on the Cambrian Explosion in The Blind Watchmaker, said, that “It is as though they [these species] were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.”  This mystery has caused some scientists to modify parts of Darwin’s theory and adopt a new theory called punctuated equilibrium (or “punk eek”).  Punk eek suggests that most transitions happened quickly in small isolated groups of animals so there never were transitional forms. 

What Scientists Say 

Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate fossil links? Darwin writes, “That our paleontological collections are very imperfect, is admitted by everyone.”  Nonetheless, fossilized shell species and vertebrate species fragments preserved in deposits are observed in nature, and from these, evolutionary sequences are assumed and proposed as evidence supporting Darwinian evolution.  Paleontologist Stephen Gould writes, “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.”  Gould says further, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. . . . .  The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.  Heribert Nilsson writes, “The family tree of the horse is beautiful and continuous only in the textbooks.”  Darwin, in a later book, the Decent of Man, proposed that man evolved from lower forms based on comparison of body dimensions, effects of environments, use and disuse of body parts, distinctive facial features, natural selection, social habits and intelligence.  According to zoologist Percival Davis, Darwin did not cite a single reference to fossils in support of his belief in human evolution.  Clearly his original idea of human evolution did not grow out of a study of human fossil evidence, but out of a previously held opinion about the origin of man.

Explanation Offered by Creationists 

Creationists believe the rarity of observed transitional forms is due to the rarity of actual transitional forms because natural evolution alone did not produce what we now observe.  Most creationists regard the history of life on earth as following roughly in the same order and sequence given in Genesis 1.  Young-earth creationists do not accept the geological timetable in general, nor its use to infer any dating of fossils, in particular.  They believe in God’s direct intervention in the creation of life and of major “kinds” of living things. 

Old-earth creationists who accept the geological timetable also give God credit for the origin and development of living things.  Creationists may differ on how much of the process was actively directed by God’s hand.  Research scientists Don Stoner, in his book A New Look at an Old Earth, says, “This [Cambrian Explosion] is an interesting companion to the Bible’s phrase, ‘Let the water teem with living things’.” 

Darwinists believe that man evolved from the lower primates.  Davis says, “Darwinists have been searching for fossil remains to establish their belief that man evolved. . . .fossil remains of hominids are not comparatively few in number, they are usually very fragmentary . . . . [And paleontologists] cannot agree on any scheme of evolution