Understanding the Cambrian Explosion Part 1

Over the year’s critics of Darwinian evolution have used an anomaly in the fossil record as evidence against the theory.  A few years ago I wrote a paper detailing why the facts of the Cambrian Explosion are strong evidence against Darwinian evolution.  My objective for posting this series is to equip you to make a strong case against the theory of evolution.

When Darwin wrote the Origin of Species a dramatic change occurred in the way Western culture viewed design in nature.  Prior to this publication it was assumed that the complexity of all living things were the product of an intelligent designer.  In science today this is no longer the case.  Many scientists say this design, that seems apparent in nature, has given us a false impression.  Francis Ayala, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wrote:

“The functional design of organisms and their features would therefore seem to argue for the existence of a designer.  It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.”[1]

This was a powerful claim and today seems to be stance of the majority of today’s biologists.  They claim all living systems are the product of natural processes and ideas of design are relegated to the religious.  These scientists assert we have come of age of science and reason and no longer have to attribute the biological design of the earth’s creatures to an intelligent Designer.  Has science explained away the need for an intelligent designer?  Can evolution explain the sudden appearance of complex life in the Cambrian geological period?

I am going to argue that neo-Darwinian evolution and punctuated equilibrium cannot explain the fossil evidence during the Cambrian period.  I will not attempt to explain how the sudden explosion of unique fossils of the Cambrian geological period actually lends support for intelligent design.  I have previously written a 21 part series called “Establishing God as the Creator,” which goes into more detail on the topic of God and intelligent design.

Let me begin with a few definitions:

  1. Neo-Darwinism:  Teaches that natural selection acts upon living organism populations causing genetic variations.  The main source of these variations is mutations.  Neo-Darwinism evolution supports the theory that macroevolution (large changes) is the result of an immense amount of small changes (microevolution) that occur over a vast amount of time.
  2. Punctuated equilibrium:  An evolutionary theory that teaches change in living organisms is done in rapid spurts followed by long periods of stasis.  Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould were the first to propose this theory.
  3. Intelligent Design:  A science that studies signs of intelligence.  According to intelligent design, the world contains events, objects and structures that exhaust the explanatory resources of undirected natural causes can only be adequately explained by resorting to intelligent causes.  It thus takes a long-standing philosophical intuition and cashes it out as a scientific research program.[2]
Go to part 2 here


[1] Francisco Ayala, Darwin’s Revolution (Creative Evolution, 1994) pgs. 4-5

[2] William Dembski, The Design Revolution (InterVarsity Press, 2004) pgs. 33, 37

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