ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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Uneven fossil record

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1Uneven fossil record Empty Uneven fossil record Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:07 am



Uneven fossil record


Yet another interesting finding concerning petrified trees , is that many of them extend vertically through millions and millions of years of sedimentary rock.  How can this phenomenon be explained?  A common explanation is that these do not represent areas of the standard geologic column, but areas of rapid local flooding and sedimentation.  Therefore, the layers that these trees pass through do not represent thousands and millions of years.  However, the pictures shown to the right are of a petrified tree (located near Katherine Hill Bay  next to Flat Rocks Point, Australia) extending up through many sedimentary layers and  through two separated coal seams (See Video Below).4  The tree itself is twelve feet tall, and was uncovered by a coal mining company.   If the two separated coal seams represent long periods of time, how could this tree be extending between them both?  It seems to me that this is a difficulty for the current understanding of science.  Notice also that the layers themselves show no weathering between one layer and the next even though each layer was supposedly the surface of the earth for thousands if not millions of years.  These combined mysteries are more easily explained by rapid underwater burial with quickly forming sediments.  The theory that each fossil bearing layer in the geologic column represents eons of time seems inadequate to explain such problems that are easily explained by a quick catastrophic event.

David Raup, paleontologist
Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin's time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it is not always clear, in fact it's rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors.   In other words, biological improvement is hard to find.

Stephen J. Gould, paleontologist
All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt.  

Simon Conway Morris, evolutionary biologist
William Buckland knew about it, Charles Darwin characteristically agonized over it, and still we do not fully understand it. “It”, of course, is the seemingly abrupt appearance of animals in the Cambrian “explosion.”

Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker
The Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 500 million years, are the oldest ones which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history.

“There’s something damn funny about the stratigraphical record’. The record is spasmodic and ridiculously incomplete, with particular strata and fossils extremely widespread, but separated by vastly longer gaps than anything that is preserved. The same strata and fossils, though to all intents and geological purposes synchronous (laid down at one time), must have spread diachronously (laid down through multiple exposures). Traditional ideas such as gentle, continuous sedimentation (and perhaps similarly continuous evolution) are not adequate to explain what we see. Nor is the idea of the ‘stratotype’ satisfactory as a means of establishing and international stratigraphical language. The record is spasmodic and must be treated as such. The ‘layer cake’ analogy just will not do". 1971 a secular geologist, Derek Ager, in particular a specialist in stratigraphy (studies of sedimentary rocks) wrote the book, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record.

1) http://www.detectingdesign.com/fossilrecord.html

Last edited by Admin on Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:09 am; edited 4 times in total


2Uneven fossil record Empty Re: Uneven fossil record Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:01 pm



Disparity preceding Diversity graphic on Cambrian Explosion from ‘Darwin’s Doubt’

"As Whittington analyzed the Cambrian fauna at the Burgess [in the 1960s], he realized that Walcott (before 1917) had grossly underestimated the morphological disparity of this group of animals. Many of the creatures in the assemblage featured unique body designs, unique anatomical structures, or both. Opabinia, with its five eyes, fifteen distinct segments, and claw at the end of a long proboscis exemplified the unique forms on display at the Burgess. But so did Hallucigenia, Wiwaxia, Nectocaris, and many other Burgess animals. To this day, paleontologists describing Nectocaris, for example, can’t decide whether it more closely resembles an arthropod, a chordate, or a cephalopod (a class of mollusk)".
Stephen Meyer - 'Darwin's Doubt' (pp. 52–53).

Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
"In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution."
Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology

Investigating Evolution: The Cambrian Explosion Part 1 – video
Part 2 – video

The Ham-Nye Creation Debate: A Huge Missed Opportunity - Casey Luskin - February 4, 2014
Excerpt: "The record of the first appearance of living phyla, classes, and orders can best be described in Wright's (1) term as 'from the top down'."
(James W. Valentine, "Late Precambrian bilaterians: Grades and clades," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 91: 6751-6757 (July 1994).)

In Explaining the Cambrian Explosion, Has the TalkOrigins Archive Resolved Darwin's Dilemma? - JonathanM - May 2012
Excerpt: it is the pattern of morphological disparity preceding diversity that is fundamentally at odds with the neo-Darwinian scenario of gradualism. All of the major differences (i.e. the higher taxonomic categories such as phyla) appear first in the fossil record and then the lesser taxonomic categories such as classes, orders, families, genera and species appear later. On the Darwinian view, one would expect to see all of the major differences in body plan appear only after numerous small-scale speciation events. But this is not what we observe.

"The sweep of anatomical diversity reached a maximum right after the initial diversification of multicellular animals. The later history of life proceeded by elimination not expansion."
Stephen J. Gould, Harvard, Wonderful Life, 1989, p.46

Darwin's evolutionary theory would have us believe that we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes. These following timeline graphs highlight the loss of phyla through time:

Origin of Phyla - The Fossil Evidence - Timeline Graph

The unscientific hegemony of uniformitarianism - David Tyler - May 2011
Excerpt: The pervasive pattern of natural history: disparity precedes diversity,,,, The summary of results for phyla is as follows. The pattern reinforces earlier research that concluded the Explosion is not an artefact of sampling. Much the same finding applies to the appearance of classes. These data are presented in Figures 1 and 2 in the paper.

Disparity precedes diversity - graph

Creation and Evolution: The Biological Evidence - Dr. Marc Surtees - Disparity precedes Diversity - video (7:20 minute mark)

“Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas."
James W. Valentine - as quoted from "On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine" - video

Disparity preceding diversity is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion but is found after it as well. In fact, in the following paper, some Darwinists tried to argue that since Disparity preceding Diversity is a consistent pattern in the fossil record after the Cambrian Explosion then, by their reasoning, that means the Cambrian Explosion wasn’t that special after all:

Cambrian Explosion Solved? - October 2010
Excerpt: Looking at the big picture, though, they argued that the Cambrian explosion was really not all that special; other parts of the fossil record show similar patterns: “the observation that disparity reaches its peak early in a group’s history seems to reflect a general phenomenon, also observed in plants (Boyce, 2005), the Ediacara biota (Shen et al., 2008), Precambrian microfossils (Huntley et al., 2006), and within many individual animal clades, such as crinoids (Foote, 1997), gastropods (Wagner, 1995), and ungulates (Jernvall et al., 1996). Although of significant interest, this high disparity soon after a group’s appearance is not unique to the Cambrian,” they said.

Well, despite what the preceding researchers would like to believe, Disparity preceding Diversity is NOT what Darwinian Evolution predicts (But such a pattern is what ‘top down’ design predicts):

Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head - July 30, 2013
Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: "This pattern, known as 'early high disparity', turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn't a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.",,,
Author Martin Hughes, continued: "Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: "A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,

“The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

“It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century

“Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document a gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series.” –
Ernst Mayr-Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

“What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

“In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999


3Uneven fossil record Empty Forest polystrate trees Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:53 am



Forest polystrate trees

List of science papers on Petrified Forests

Pennsylvania:! 'fossil forests' in growth position (T° assemblages): origin, taphonomic bias and palaeoecological insights 
62 lycopsid forest layers are preserved (Davies et al.2005)

Giant cladoxylopsid trees resolve the enigma of the Earth’s earliest forest stumps at Gilboa

Palaeozoic landscapes shaped by plant evolution

Uneven fossil record Petrif10

A fossil lycopsid forest succession in the classic Joggins section of Nova Scotia: Paleoecology of a disturbance-prone Pennsylvanian wetland

Uneven fossil record Petrif11

Conservatism of Late Pennsylvanian vegetational patterns during short-term cyclic and long-term directional environmental change, western equatorial Pangea

Alluvial sedimentology and basin analysis of Carboniferous strata near Joggins, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada

Uneven fossil record Petrif12

My favourite polystrate is a fossil leaf I found standing upright in diatomaceous rock layers in south central Queensland Australia. Diatomaceous rock is made from Diatoms. These are microscopic creatures made of silica that fit millions to the teaspoon and so the usual argument is it would take vast ages to form even one centimetre of diatomaceous rock layers, let alone metre thick beds. Now my fossil leaf was around 10 cms in height, stood vertically though thousands of layers of diatoms, and since the bottom tip of the leaf was the same age as the top of the leaf those 10 cms of diatom layers got there before the leaf rotted or even fell over. Fast indeed. And yes, in the same deposit was also a vertical tree that went through several meters of strata made of microscopic diatoms. This leaf was green when first excavated and rapidly altered to a red brown and has now faded to a light grey brown.

Prof. Derek Ager lists the current observed rate of deposition of siliceous ooze made of diatoms as varying from “as little as 0.05g/cm2 per thousand years in the tropics to as high as 50g/cm2 in the Gulf of California.” (Derek Ager, 1993, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, 3rd Ed. John Wiley & Sons, p43. ) At that rate my leaf would have rotted long before it could be buried standing up and the vertical tree nearby would never make it to fossilization either. The present cannot be an accurate guide to the past as Darwin’s mentor Charles Lyell taught him and every generation of modern geologists since. No wonder geologists are being forced to become catastrophic. It is absolutely demanded by such evidence as polystrate fossil leaves, which prove the whole bed is definitely catastrophic. Rapidly formed. No help to the millions of years camp. 1

1. http://askjohnmackay.com/polystrate-fossils-vertical-fossil-trees-any-other-polystrate-fossils/





Broadhurst, F. M., & Loring, D. H.: Rates of sedimentation in the Upper Carboniferous
of Britain. Lethaia, Vol. 3, pp. 1-9. Oslo, January 15th, 1970.

From near start on varied shell bands surrounding this tree
“ Yet when the shells are measured an absence of small shells is discovered. The smallest shells are considerably larger than are the smallest growth stages indicated by growth lines on the shells. The significance of this observation has been discussed elsewhere (Broadhurst, 1964), where it is suggested that such a restriction in size-change characterises assemblages of shells in mudstones (as distinct from shales), and that it results from relatively rapid sedimentation (in contrast to slow sedimentation of shale).”
The evidence from the Gastrioceras cancellaturn marine band studied by Potts (1960) and Heptonstall(1964) indicates that the rate of sedimentation was directly related to degree of water turbulence at the time. But the evidence
from the Coal Measures succession at Atherton indicates that the rate of sedimentation and the degree of water turbulence at the site of deposition are but poorly related. The most rapid rate of sedimentation is indicated by
the sediments enclosing the upright trees, the slowest by the coals. The slowest rate of sedimentation presumably coincides with the least amount of water turbulence (coal deposition), but apart from this there is little
correspondence between rate of sedimentation and degree of water turbulenceOf particular interest are the sediments containing the upright trees. These sediments are characterised by a wide range of silicon/
aluminium and sodium/potassium ratios. Thus sedimentation, although always rapid, has apparently occurred under changing conditions of turbulence. This turbulence was not strong enough to destroy the trees, probably because water depths were so shallow that the total stress at one time on the trees was limited. The area of deposition was probably subject to periodic flooding, so that successive phases of sedimentation would rapidly build up considerable thicknesses of sediment (see Broadhurst 1964).
Our Better conclusion …trees and sediment arrived at same time ..thats why no damage and why mixed shells etc


On a fossil tree found in an opencast coal site near Wigan, Lancashire




Lindsay Marks Harold   ·MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017

The rock strata of the world being found in layers with fossils in a general progression, though with some mixing, is actually very consistent with a global flood. Most creation scientists believe a lot of the layers were deposited as slurry flows, not minute sediments settling out of suspension. In that sort of scenario, we would expect distinct layers to form, with various organisms caught in the flow and being deposited according to their ecosystems, which were the source of the sediments.
The most popular model for the global flood is known as catastrophic plate tectonics (or CPT) and involves rapid, runaway subduction of at least one crustal plate followed by formation of new crust through cooling of mantle rocks. I also happen to think there was an inversion of the land and sea such that the continents we now have were once ocean floor. The pre-flood continent delaminated and the bottom portion subducted, dumping the top portion off as sediments on the ocean floor.
In this scenario, we would expect to find benthic oceanic life at the bottom of the geologic column, buried where it lived, with a general progression vertically of ecosystems from coast to further inland. On top of that general trend, we would expect more intelligent and motile organisms to flee the rising waters by moving inland and thus be found in upper layers, not necessarily where they lived. There would certainly also be cases of mixing as well, with some fossils found in unusual places, but this may not be the rule.
This model also explains how we can have contiguous layers spreading over hundreds of square miles and across continents and with knife-edge sharp boundaries between layers, yet with no sign of erosion or normal land topography to indicate it was an exposed surface for a long period of time. It explains rapidly buried fossils, in positions of asphyxiation, trauma, or with other signs of very rapid death and burial and with impressive preservation. For example, we have fossils of animals buried in the process of giving birth or with food still half-eaten in their mouths. We also have mass graveyards of disarticulated bones from many different organisms, which would be expected in areas of greater turbulence. A global flood explains preservation of soft bodied organisms like jellyfish which literally disintegrate in a matter of hours when exposed to the elements, yet which appear in the fossil record in nearly perfect detail. It explains preservation of ephemeral markings like raindrop impressions, ripple marks, and animal tracks, which had to be buried extremely rapidly. A global flood explains these and many other details of the fossil record much better than gradual sediment accumulation over long periods of time.

Toward the end of the flood, we would expect the denser new crust formed from cooled mantle rocks to sink isostatically, causing the previous ocean floor, now covered in sediments, to rise and become continents. The continents also broke apart at some point and divided to form the Atlantic Ocean. Further movements and collisions of the plates pushed up mountain ranges such as the Rockies, Andes, and Himalayans. Water rushing off the continents into the newly sunk ocean basins caused the extensive erosion on the continents, especially noticeable in places like Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon.

It is often suggested that the fossils from the bottom of the geologic column are less sophisticated than those at the top, but this isn't necessarily true. We do see a general trend that benthic oceanic creatures are at the bottom, but some of these were very sophisticated and advanced. The body structure of the trilobite, for example, is highly developed and complex. And these bottom-dwelling ocean creatures of the Cambrian layers appear quite suddenly, with extremely diverse and well-developed body plans, without any known ancestors in the layers below them. It's a serious challenge for the old earth narrative to explain this explosion of diversity. But in a flood scenario, this makes sense. They were already at the bottom and got buried first.
We also expect, as I already pointed out, that more motile and intelligent animals would be able to flee from danger and are more likely to be found in upper layers, having been overcome later by the rising waters.

The fossil record isn't a record of long ages of time, but a record of a global catastrophe. It's a whole different way of looking at the evidence we find in the rocks, but it does fit a lot of observations, and in fact makes more sense of some observations than the standard viewpoint.


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