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DANCING WITH DARWIN guest writer Bronwyn Pearse

In 2010, An Australian ecologist Trish Lavery and her research team discovered that while sperm whales eat giant squid at deep sea levels, these squid eat iron rich fish and thus the squid themselves become iron rich. When the sperm whales finish eating the squid they return to the surface where they defecate soluble iron in their faeces. They then put this iron into the photic zones where all the phytoplankton exist.

This acts as a fertilizer for the phytoplankton. Phytoplankton remove 50-70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When they die they sink to the deep ocean taking the C0 2 with them. These levels of removal would be higher if the world’s population of whales was allowed to increase. The more whales we have the more phytoplankton there is to remove the CO 2. (1)

I highlight this amazing research to make the point that different life can have a profound effect on our environment and indeed on the planet at large. And it is how different life on earth has benefited our world that underpins the basis for my discussion.

Signs of life

As mentioned in my previous blog there was life on the planet in its early history transforming the primordial metals and creating a future safe environment in which advanced life could live. Over the next two blogs, I will continue looking at these signs of life and the role it has played in the history of our planet. I layout some of the reasons as to why such an old earth (4.5 billion years). This presents an old earth creation view and includes information taken from course notes by Biochemist Dr Fuzale Rana and Astrophysicist Dr Hugh Ross on ‘Why the fossil record is the way it is’(1) available at reasons.org. This is a snapshot please see the referenced materials for more details. 

The Dance of life.

When putting together their understandings, biological evolutionists rarely look at the fossil record from the perspective of astronomy. When they do they come across factors that complicate their findings and make the naturalist framework tenuous at best. But from what reference point do they come from. The father of evolutionary theory is of course Charles Darwin.

In Darwin’s books, ‘Descent of man and Origin of Species’ he made numerous predictions as to what he believed scientists would discover in the future if his model was indeed true. It is interesting to note however that what he predicted has not come true. In Darwin’s day, in 1850 the fossil record was largely incomplete. Today, it is much more complete. Enough for us to actually be able to draw conclusions about certain trends that we are seeing. Darwin presumed that within the fossil record scientists would find gradual changes from one species of life to another. To put it analogically he presumed a ‘Smooth Waltz’. Where the transitions from one life to another were harmonious. We can definitively conclude that this is not the case. What we do find however is that it is filled with quantum jumps and interruptions. This dance of life is more like the ‘Quick, Slick, Box Step’ as in Fred and Gingers routine The Bossa nova seen here.

The ‘Bossa nova ‘ with all its classic dramatic leaping routine. They make it look easy!

These interruptions and jumps defy the naturalistic explanation. Furthermore as noted by paleontologists’ ‘Gould and Eldredge’ in the late 70s, “the fossil record is typified by species remaining in extended statsis (little or no evolutionary change for millions of years.) interrupted by sudden appearances of very different species.” (2) It is “not only at the species level where quantum leaps are observed but also at the levels of families, orders, and classes of organisms. (3) “But more on this in later.

Caught between a rock and a hard place

The latest research has brought to light an origin of life dilemma when looking for the allusive prebiotic material. In reference to the primordial soup from which first life is suggested to emerge Astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote in 1966 that the “prebiotic molecules percolated and evolved slowly through billions of years.”(4) However some 50 years later as Dr Rana points out “origin of life researchers now recognize that at most only a few million years transpired between the possibility of life appearing and the appearance of the first life-forms.” To complicate matters further there is no evidence at all of the prebiotic material in the early rocks. To compound this dilemma physicists have now discovered “both oxygen and ultraviolet rays frustrate prebiotic chemistry.  … Without prebiotics, no reasonable possibility remains for a natural origin of life on earth. “  Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home’ H. Ross) for more on this. The scientific community continues to grapple with this huge problem. When the Nobel laureate co-founder of the DNA Francis Crick was asked,

How did we come to be then? How did we have all these components?” To which he responded. “It would have to a spaceship that came from another planet that brought spores to seed the earth.” 

As Dr Sy Garte, the once adamant atheist and scientist, now Christian explains “As the laws of physics cannot explain or describe the actual event that triggered the big bang, the laws of biology cannot explain or describe the origin of life.” (5)

Shock and Disbelief!

The ‘Late Heavy bombardment’ mentioned in my earlier blog which proceeded life on the young earth increased the temperature of the surface of the earth enough to evaporate all its water and melted all the rocks. “Then, according to multiple isotope studies, (6) just as the surface temperature cooled enough for the possibility of life’s existence, life appeared. Paleontologist Niles Eldridge makes this comment regarding the fossil record.

“One of the most arresting facts that I have ever learned is that life goes back as far in earth’s history as we can trace it……In the oldest rocks that stand a chance of showing signs of life, we find those signs.“(6)

There appears no wide time window for life to emerge slowly as a naturalistic framework would suggest. This factor appears again and again. One such oxygenation event saw “complex multicellular organisms appear with little or no measurable time delay. The oxygen level goes up and the organisms appear.

The Evidence also shows sudden rather than gradual changes in body size and complexity. So sudden and profound (was) this transition that paleontologists’ refer to it as the Avalon Explosion. “This particular explosion happened not once but twice. Yet none of these microbial forms possessed eyes, ears, mouths, or digestive tracks. “(6)

Explosions and Other Unexplainable Things

These early life forms suffered a massive extinction event around 543 million years ago. Then within a million years following this, what has been called the Cambrian explosion occurred. As Dr Ross explains “The sudden appearance of new life forms, called the Cambrian explosion, included every kind of skeleton known to have existed, past or present. .. One well preserved fossil exhibited a heart, central and dorsal aorta, (and) a relatively large brain. ….. An international research team found fossils of shrimp like creatures that possessed a brain optic neural lobes as well as a heart and fully developed cardiovascular system. “(6) Researchers find this period one of the most incredible and convey this in their research. Here are some comments.

“At no other time in earth’s history has there been such a profusion, such an exuberance and such an overwhelming diversity in so short time, within one million years. (Andrew Parker, zoologist) (6)

The Cambrian explosion of body plans is perhaps the single most striking feature of the metazoan fossil record. The rapidity with which phyla and classes appeared …poses an outstanding problem for macro evolution (Gregory Wray, evolutionary biologist) (6)

“Elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself.”(Kevin Peterson et al evolutionary biologists) (6)

“The Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. 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. “(Richard Dawkins evolutionary biologist.) (6)

Evolutionary biologists have come up with models to explain the Cambrian explosion appealing to a common ancestor between the dates of 851 and 777 million years ago for this to work. However the lack of oxygen and mineral nutrients on the planet within these dates rule this out. To which evolutionary biologists like Thomas Cavalier- Smith and others agree. (6)

It’s Just Dirt!

We take for granted much in life but while life was evident in the oceans “scientists explain that dirt is neither common nor ordinary. …. (As) humanity’s most valuable resource, it allows us to grow food and advanced plants to thrive.

But dirt wasn’t here when life began or even soon afterward… a complex … ecosystem known as the biological soil crust (bacteria, algae and clay) turned earths barren landmasses into nutrient rich surfaces that make possible… the flourishing of advanced plants.” Creating on many continents some 10 feet of top soil. (7)

This process indeed took millions of years. The rich history of life, extinctions and new life events prepared the earth for more life and “particularly for human beings and advanced civilization.” All our coal, gas, oil, petroleum, limestone, rich soil and much more come from the remains of this past life.

Attempts to explain these deposits along with the fossil record, within a shorter time period fail to address (amongst other thing) the fact that these fossil and minerals are found 100s of meters below. The problem of the movement of plate tectonics (in order to bury them) demand earthquakes 125 times greater than the worst (11) experienced in modern times. For which there is absolutely no evidence. See (Navigating Genesis, H. Ross) for more details.

Scripture does however make reference to these extinction events. Psalm 104 a great creation text makes an important statement. In reference to animal life it says in verse 29-30 “when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust and when you send your spirit they are created and you renew the face of the earth. “But more on this in my next blog where I will continue this theme and address the implications the changing sun had on life’s tenuous existence.

In closing, while I was at school evolutionary theory was presented as fact but the more I learn, the more I realize that the whole truth has not been presented. Rather than it be an absence of evidence it has been the suppression of it that is the issue!

“Over and Out.” 

See ‘Dancing with Darwin 2’ Go to the icon above and scroll down. 

References

1. Exploring Science and scripture course lectures reasons.org   mp3-download-hugh-ross-fazale-rana

2. ‘Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home“. H. Ross pg 19 ..quoting . N. Eldridge and S. Gould “Punctuated Equilibria” 1972 pg 115 George Simpson, ‘Tempo and Mode’ in Evolution ( New York . Columbia University Press.1953)

3.Intelligent life in the universe Carl Sagan pg 237

4. The Works of His Hands: A Scientist’s Journey from Atheism to Faith“>The Works of his hands. ‘A scientist Journey from Atheism to Faith.’Dr Sye Garte

5.‘Improbable Planet’. H.Ross pg 97 pg 173-175 Cambrian Explosion quotes pg 177 -178

6.Improbable Planet pg 139

Others ..Dr Fazale Rana ‘origin of life : biblical and evolutionary models face off.’ See reasons.org

Re Francis Crick.. See Ravi Zacharius “ The Existence of God”. youtube

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