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Does the Geologic Column Prove Evolution?
John D. Morris, Ph.D.
Back To Genesis
No. 67b, July 1994
Probably every textbook in use in America which in any way deals with evolutionary subjects includes a presentation ofthe "Geologic Column," or the "Geologic Time Scale" as it is sometimes called. This vertical display of the variousgeologic eras, periods, and epochs supposedly illustrates the nature of the fossil record, with recent fossils on the top andolder ones on the bottom. By following the fossils from bottom to top, one can "see" evolution.
Single celled organisms evolve into marine invertebrates, which in turn evolve into fish. The fish eventually produceamphibians and then reptiles, which give way to birds and mammals and finally man. Surely, evolution is true if thefossils are arranged in such an order.
But what is the truth of the matter? Actually, the geologic column exists only in one placein textbooks. There is no place on Earth where all these layers, with these kinds of fossils, are found in this sequence. The geologic column is simply a statement of evolutionary dogma, not geologic and paleontologic fact.
Now don't get me wrong. A trend does exist in the rocks which is compatible with the column. For instance, when fossils of dinosaurs and trilobites are found in the same geographic location, the dinosaurs are usually on top. But this trend is only part of the story.
First off, in order to demonstrate evolution, different organisms must be somehow connected to one another. There must be numerous in-between transitional forms, showing one basic body style evolving into another. As has been well pointed out, we see no evidence of any major change. There are minor variations and adaptations, but no evolution!
Furthermore, each basic body style (phylum) has been present right from the start. In the lowest level of abundantmulti-celled organisms, the Cambrian Period, fossils of each phylum have been found, including vertebrates! Many fossilorganisms are found which have gone extinct, but no new body plans from the start. Did evolution stop at the start?
Among the vertebrates, a case can be made for some change. Fish fossils are found in the Cambrian and people aren't.But, people are vertebrates, as are dinosaurs and birds. In many ways, our skeletal features are comparable to that ofa fish. We're certainly a whole lot more like a fish than we are to a coral, a clam, or a jellyfish.
And when you look at the geologic column in the textbook you will notice that [it] is mainly a statement of vertebrate evolution, it has very little to say about the other fossil types. But it's very constructive to look at all the fossils and then come to a conclusion.
As it turns out, 95% of all fossils are shallow marine invertebrates, mostly shellfish. For instance, clams are found in the bottom layer, the top layer, and everylayer in between. There are many different varieties of clams, but clams are in every layer and are still alive today. There'sno evolution, just clams! The same could be said for corals, and jellyfish, and many others. The fossil record documentsprimarily marine organisms buried in marine sediments, which (as discussed elsewhere) were catastrophically deposited.
Of the 5% remaining fossils, 95% of them are algae and plant fossils (4.75% of the total). In that left-over 5% of the 5%, insects and all other invertebrates make up 95% (0.2375 percentage of the total). *
All of the vertebrate fossils considered together, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, comprise only 0.0125%of the entire fossil record, and only 1% of these, or .000125% of the total, consist of more than a single bone! Almost allof them come from the Ice Age. Surely, the vertebrate fossil record is far from complete.
Where we have a good record, no evolution can be seen. For the very scanty vertebrate record, an evolutionary story canbe told, but the facts don't support it, and certainly don't prove it.
* Paleontologist Dr. Kurt Wise provided these figures.
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