Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creationists love the “Cambrian Explosion”

Cambrian Explosion. Explosion! Sounds very sudden. Kind of instantaneous. Something you might expect from – GOD. Kind of what you get from Creation!

Here’s a typical "analysis" from an anti-evolution website:

…fossil record all of a sudden without any pre-existing ancestors. The vast mosaic of living organisms, made up of such great numbers of complex creatures, emerged so suddenly that this miraculous event is referred to as the "Cambrian Explosion" in scientific literature.
Most of the organisms found in this stratum have highly advanced organs like eyes, or systems seen in organisms with a highly advanced organization such as gills, circulatory systems, and so on. There is no sign in the fossil record to indicate that these organisms had any ancestors.

Naturally there is much intentionality in the disinformation creationists put out about the Cambrian. For instance, they know that in a world filled with the first small members of the Cambrian, the reason there is no fossil record is for the same reason there wouldn’t be a fossil record from many of today’s animals, such as jellyfish or worms. There is nothing left after death to fossilize.

But I believe there is another problem besides outright disingenuousness. The problem is with the very term “explosion” and their inability to understand it in the evolutionary sense that science is referring to. It is much like their inability to grasp the word “theory”, which they liken to some kind of a guess or hunch. In science a theory is a well established group of facts that consistently confirm other data and leads to new understanding.

The “explosion” that is being talked about in the Cambrian Explosion transpired over 50 or 60 million years! Now, this is a number that most creationists have a very difficult time digesting. Remember that these people think the planet has only been here for less than 10,000 years. The only “explosion” that these folks can relate to is what happened the day Billy Joe ran his ’84 Ford pick-up into the gas pump at 1st and Main. And, by the lord, THAT was sudden!

The strange creatures of the Cambrian, many of which are unlike any present life forms, present another problem for Creationists. See, none of them are around anymore and, by most creation story accounts, the good lord created all the animals of today in their present form. So where did those creatures go, and why are none of today’s animals found fossilized in the Burgess or Maotianshan shales?

It’s always fun when creationists attempt to apply science to their beliefs.

Here’s an interesting article about some new thoughts on the how the Cambrian Explosion got its kick-start and how modern life can find its roots there.


The Exterminator said...

Good article, but its phraseology -- and others' like it -- is partially responsible for the misconceptions that IDers have.

[T]here has never been another event as sweeping as that which occurred in the Cambrian seas 500 million years ago ... (The boldface is mine.)

When people think about an "event," they imagine something that happened in about the time it took for Billy Joe to have his unfortunate tryst with the gas pump. Better to describe the Cambrian growth-spurt as a very, very, very long series of events that took place over 50-60 million years.

John Evo said...

Yep. "events", "explosions" and "theories" are not words that one can use with confidence when talking to many people. I've been saying "fact of evolution" lately.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, go easy on Billy Joe. I once ran a Ford Granada into a gas pump. My run-in resulted in a spill rather than an explosion (which was obviously a good thing for me and my progeny). Neither the station owner nor my insurance company were happy with me that day. Come to think of it, the deacon was also less than pleased. ;)

The Exterminator said...


How many millions of offspring did you have after that event?

PhillyChief said...

It's always fun to see the duplicity of theists' use of science. Does it support our beliefs? Great, let's use it. It doesn't? Well condemn it.

bullet said...

Apparantly, with God you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious as to how high up Billy Joe evolved when the gas pump exploded.

Anonymous said...

EX: I've only had two offspring, but if they each have at least two, and so on for several generations, the potential for a vast number of future chaplains and deacons could be very bright indeed.