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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Darwin's Dilemma

The students in my class have to read Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells. (Nobody said university was going to be fun!)

One of the "icons" is Chapter 3: Darwin's Tee of Life where he discusses the Cambrian explosion and why it refutes evolution. Scientists know this isn't true but the IDiots persist in their attmepts to use any means possible to challenge evolution.

The latest attempt is Darwin's Dilemma, a movie that's promoted on the IDiot web sites [Darwin's Dilemma, New Intelligent Design Film, Due Out Sept. 15]. It's about to be released. If you pay good money to buy the DVD then make sure you take something to settle your stomach. Oh yes, don't forget that if you see the movie in public, you mustn't laugh out loud, that's not polite.


  1. But, but that's all MIDDLE Cambrian stuff (except for the Chengjang site shown very briefly). A good 20 million years after the start of the Cambrian!

    Besides, sites like the Burgess Shale, Chengjiang and Emu Bay actually refute the claim of sudden appearence.

    These sites are famous for showing soft bodied forms (organisms without hard parts such as shells or bones), and, importantly, that these forms outnumber forms with hard parts. In other words soft-bodied forms dominate the ecosystem, but the fossil record does not record them, except in exceptional instances. These exceptional sites prove that the normal fossil record is not representative of ecosystems that have existed.

    So we know that the fossil record is missing the majority of the ecosystem that existed at any particular time. Therefore most soft-bodies ancestors would not be preserved.

    The 'sudden appearence' is due to the aquisition of hard parts which are easily preserved, and not the 'sudden appearence' of life on Earth

  2. Larry, I read you blog regularly and enjoy it alot. Your style is more academic than other similar blogs, which can be good, as you provide, and expect, a higher technical understanding, but it can also be, I believe, a problem.

    I am aware of creationist claims about the Cambrian and know that the many scientists and researchers who actually work in this area dismiss them as baseless. But I know very few of the details. I would love to read a blog post giving me this background - linking to pictures of pre-cambrian fossils, explaining how these evolved into the Cambrian-Explosion with the emergence of much greater bio-diversity.

    I presume you know most of that, and so feel able to link to a beautifully produced creationist video (how I wish pro-science sites had such graphics and a real explanation of the evolutionary history of these animals) and just leave a sneer about laughing at it.

    I don't have that knowledge and am left relying on an argument from authority - Larry Moran says laugh at these IDiots - that is highly disatisfying and I would really rather some didactic guidance from you rather than a sneer about stupid creationists.

    Can you help? - where is the best resource on explaining the pre-Cambrian and how it puts the Cambrian explosion in an evolutionary context.

  3. Neil Taylor,

    Try the book Evolution, What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero (2007).

    It's an excellent resource in general and covers the "Cambrian Explosion" issue and abiogenesis in the Precambrian.

    You might also look for Evolution of the Earth by Prothero & Dott - a very well done and detailed treatment of historical geology. It's a textbook and expensive but you might be able to locate used, including earlier editions.

  4. Neil Taylor,

    I should also mention that both of these books might be available in college or university libraries.

  5. Having them read a good anti-evolution book is a good idea. However, where do you guys buy the books? Wouldn't you be unintentionally helping creationists by buying their books?

  6. I liked the dramatic Anomalocaris music

    Chris, not all of your claims about non-suddenness are confirmed. There is still some debate as to the actual relative time the explosion took. Although fossil data are inconclusive, as you rightly point out, cladistic analyses and other phylogenetic tools can give us a rough indication of the nature of the event.

    The Shape of Life, by Rudolf Raff, makes this all very clear

    However you are correct that, of course, the explosion could not have been as fast as a literal reading of the fossil record would indicate

  7. Sounds like a lot of belly aching and name calling. The comment about refuted claims of sudden appearance by the Chinese is so far from the truth its laughable. If you believe this to be true I suggest you read an article that was published in the Washington times recently.