Larry King Live - John MacArthur Holds the Line

Educated People Should Know Better


by Dan Paden

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Sometimes, things appear in the paper that almost seem to be a gift. Such was the "Readers Forum" piece by John Hartman in today's (9-11-05) Tulsa Whirled. Hartman is an educated man, or so one would assume from the note at the end of the piece: a professor of Environmental Sciences for Western International University. Being properly intimidated by his credentials and suffering from a lack of time, I won't take issue with all of his statements, even though some of them--notably, his claim that Intelligent Design is not legitimate science, even though by the exact same criteria, neither is evolution--are just begging for analysis. No, I'll confine myself to the fruit he left hanging lowest on the branch, his comments about testing

“ the case of evolution, one could search for sudden discontinuities in the history of life, in which a new structure or function has arisen without any previous history and no relationship to structures or functions in other related organisms. (Such new structures have not yet been found, by the way.)”


If this seems like gobbledygook, I don't blame you. It's not uncommon, when I deal with those who defend evolution, to find that they can't even coherently state their position. In this case, I know what Hartman says. What he says is that he wants, as disproof of evolution, new structures without a previous history (He knows of new structures with a previous history?) and further, those structures must show no evidence of being related to structures in related organisms. I know, it sounds silly. What he means is that in order to falsify evolution, the fossil record (this is what he means by "the history of life") must first show at least some structures that cannot be traced through intermediate stages to earlier, usually simpler, forms and second, that the fossil remains of any given species must not look like the fossil remains of any other species. His second requirement may be a little confusing to some; he asks this because in the mind of the evolutionist, it is axiomatic that homologous structure indicates common descent. The obvious and perfectly valid objection that homologous structure is equally well explained by a common designer either hasn't struck him, or he has dismissed it out
of hand. Hartman winds up this paragraph by stating that no fossils have been found that meet his requirements.

Well, I'm not going to bother any more than I already have with Hartman's second requirement. "Common designer" is a perfectly valid alternative to "common descent."

What about Hartman's first requirement? Is Hartman correct when he says that no

" structure(s) or function(s) has(have) arisen without any previous history and no relationship to structures or functions in other related organisms."?

Have no such structures been found in the fossil record? Does the fossil record record the in-between--transitional--forms he thinks establish evolution? Perhaps he'd care to take it up with some of his fellow evolutionists. I have a few of their quotes here. Any emphasis is mine.


“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." (Gould, Stephen Jay [Professor of Zoology andGeology, Harvard University, USA], "Evolution's erratic pace," Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, pp.12-16, May1977, p. 14)

"The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless. 2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and`fully formed.'" (Gould, Stephen J. [Professor of Zoology and Geology, Harvard University,USA], "Evolution's Erratic Pace," Natural History, Vol. 86, No. 5, May 1977, p.14).

"Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of `seeing' evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists the most notorious of which is the presence of `gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them." (Kitts, David B. [Professorof Geology, University of Oklahoma], "Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory," Evolution, Vol. 28, September1974, p.467).

".. I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualise such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic licence, would that not mislead the reader?' (Patterson, Colin [late Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London], letter 10 April 1979, in Sunderland L. D., "Darwin'sEnigma: Fossils and Other Problems," [1984], Master Book Publishers: El Cajon CA, Fourth Edition, 1988, p.89).

"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism, confirmed by the work of population genetics, and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record." (Mayr, Ernst [Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Harvard University], "Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1988, pp.529-530).

"No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen….. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution." (Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate," [1995], p.hoenix:London, 1996, p.95).

"The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running- wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line. Moreover, within the slowly evolving series, like the famous horse series, the decisive steps are abrupt, without transition: for example, the choice of the middle finger for further transformation, as opposed to the two middle fingers, in the evolution of the artiodactyls; or the sudden transition from the four-toed to the three-toed foot with predominance of the third ray." (Goldschmidt, Richard B., [late Professor of Genetics, University of California, Berkeley], "Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist," American Scientist, Vol. 40, January 1952, p.97).
"At the core of punctuated equilibria lies an empirical observation: once evolved, species tend to remain remarkably stable, recognizable entities for millions of years. The observation is by no means new, nearly every paleontologist who reviewed Darwin's Origin of Species pointed to his evasion of this salient feature of the fossil record. But stasis was conveniently dropped as a feature of life's history to be reckoned with in evolutionary biology. And stasis had continued to be ignored until Gould and I showed that such stability is a real aspect of life's history which must be confronted-and that, in fact, it posed no fundamental threat to the basic notion of evolution itself. For that was Darwin's problem: to establish the plausibility of the very idea of evolution, Darwin felt that he had to undermine the older (and ultimately biblically based) doctrine of species fixity. Stasis, to Darwin, was an ugly inconvenience." (Eldredge, Niles [Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History], "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, pp.188-189).

Dr. Richard Dawkins regarding the "Cambrian Explosion": "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." The Blind Watchmaker, 1987, p. 229.

Dr. Gerald Todd on Fishes: "How did they originate? What allowed them to diverge so widely? And why is there no trace of earlier intermediate forms?" American Zoologist, vol 20, 1980 p.757.

Dr. Robert L. Carroll: "We have no intermediate fossils between fish and amphibians." Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, 1988 p. 138.

Boyce Rensberger: "The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed fox-sized creatures living 50 million years ago to today’s much larger one-toed horse, has long known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct.Transitional forms are unknown." Houston Chronicle, 5 Nov 1980, p 15.


Well, just call me an idiot (I know some of you out there will do this very thing), but it certainly seems to me that a fairly substantial number of evolutionist scientists would not agree that the fossil record shows that no "new structure or function has arisen without any previous history and no relationship to structures or functions in other related organisms." Perhaps they are wrong. Perhaps Hartman is wrong. Certainly both cannot be right. Either there are is abundance of transitional forms in the fossil record, or there is not.

For those who don't know, there are two main evolutionist "camps," if you will: the neo-Darwinists and the Punctuated Equilibrians. The latter, hatched principally by Gould and Eldredge, says, basically, that evolution couldn't have happened by small, gradual change over time because there is no trace (there are, 150 years after Darwin, only a handful of hotly-disputed examples of so-called transitional forms) of such change in the fossil record. Evolution must therefore have happened in great big jumps that somehow--dare I say miraculously?--never got recorded in the fossil record. The neo-Darwinists respond that there is no known mechanism that could possibly account for such rapid, massive morphological
change, and that therefore, "punk eek" is just plain stupid. They'll have the fossil evidence someday. Or maybe we wouldn't recognize a transitional form if we saw it. I kid thee not. That's what's going on in the scientific community.

At any rate, for Professor Hartman to allude to the fossil record as though it settles the whole issue is silly. It doesn't even settle it within the evolutionist community.

Evolutionists frequently amaze me. To sum up their public position, they say: We don't agree on whether evolution happened gradually, in tiny steps, or rapidly, in great, big jumps. We don't agree on mechanisms for driving evolution. We don't agree on the implications of the fossil record. We don't have a workable scenario for the origin of life other than spontaneous generation, which, embarrassingly, Louis Pasteur disproved more than a hundred years ago. We can't even agree on the value of the Hubble Constant. But by gum and by golly, we expect you, the public--great unwashed mass of idiots that you are--not only to kowtow to us and believe that this same body of evidence that doesn't even produce agreement amongst ourselves somehow establishes evolution as a fact, but to pony up the funds to indoctrinate your own children with this idea. Once again, I kid thee not. That's what they say.


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