What does the Fossil Record show in light of Design Science?
Dr. Stephen Meyer and his best-selling book Darwin's Doubt:
The Geologic Column
And Charles Lyell in 1830, building on the work of some other guys and along with some other guys, he really developed what we call the geologic column. How many have ever heard of the geologic column before? All the textbooks teach this in the public school system and all the ones on earth science or geology or even biology. The geologic column was invented in the early 1800's and it’s by William Smith and Cuvier and some other guys, but Lyell was the primary culprit as far as I can figure out. In that geologic column, they took the earth (which has many layers to it) and they gave each layer a name and they gave it an age and they gave it an index fossil. Like, for instance, maybe you saw the movie Jurassic Park. Well, the Jurassic was supposed to be an era that lived millions of years ago and they have an index fossil of the dinosaurs. So each layer of the earth was given a name, an age and an index fossil.
Where’s the Geologic Column?
Now, you might want to know a couple of things about this geologic column—and I taught earth science for 15 years—the geologic column is the bible to the evolutionists. That’s their bible folks. Secondly, it can only be found one place in the world—in the textbook. The geologic column does not exist in reality. The textbooks admit that. “If there were a column of sediments...unfortunately no such column exists.” The whole thing is imagination.
Now, it is true, the earth has many layers. That is not the question. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Royal Gorge, been to 49 states and 20 countries, been to the San Andreas Fault, the Hayward Fault, the New Madrid Fault—none of them are my fault but I’ve been there, done that, seen that, have a T-shirt. There’s no question the earth has layers. The question is how did they get that way? How did the earth get all those layers?
Rock Layers and the Flood
There might be two ways to look at that. (How fast was that calf going?) Keep that thought in mind. It could be that each of these layers is a different age or it could be all of those layers were dumped off in one big flood. You know, if you had a flood lasting for 12 or 13 months, like the Bible says the flood lasted—.
See, just the earth turning under the moon—the moon causes the tides, and if the earth were totally covered by water the tides would become harmonic. You music folks understand that. People have calculated that the tides would go [through a] 200-foot tidal change. If the earth were covered with water, there would be no continents to stop them. And with a 200-foot tidal change every 6 hours and 25 minutes, you would get reshuffling of the sediments down at the bottom for thousands and thousands of feet. You would get over a mile of sediments down there in finely stratified layers.
You can get a jar [of mud] out of your yard here, put some water in it, shake it up and set it down it will settle out into layers for you. Hydrologic sorting. They say those layers are different ages, I have a hard time with that because don’t you think if each one of those layers laid there for millions of years waiting for the next one there would be a few erosion marks in-between the layers? Why are there no canyons and gullies and cricks in-between the layers? I mean, why is it all stacked up like pancakes? Those layers are not different ages and the Grand Canyon did not take millions of years to form.
Colorado River in Grand Canyon
I was in a debate a few months ago and the professor said, “Mr. Hovind, obviously the world is millions of years old. Look at Grand Canyon. It would take millions of years to form Grand Canyon.” I said, “Sir, did you know that the top of Grand Canyon is higher than the bottom?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, did you know the river only runs through the bottom?” He said, “Well, yes.” I said,”Did you know the top of the canyon is higher than where the river enters the canyon? So if that river made that canyon, it had to flow uphill for millions of years to cut the groove deep enough to flow down hill.” I don’t think so. I don’t think the river made that canyon. I think the flood made Grand Canyon, probably in a couple of hours when the mud was still soft and there was lots of water running through. We cover lots more on that in video number six about the flood.
But oftentimes there are two ways to look at things. (How fast was that calf going?) I took my family one time when I was preaching in Union Center, South Dakota. Now, Union Center, South Dakota is not quite the end of the world, but we could see it from there. We were close. I mean, it’s the middle of nowhere. There were forty people in the whole town. Thirty-eight of them came to church. (I don’t know where the other two were, out pulling a calf I reckon.) But anyway, we had a great meeting. And the preacher said,”Hey, Brother Hovind, lets get the cars and vans and lets go down to Rapid City, South Dakota, where they’ve got a museum with a bunch of dinosaur bones in it.” I said, “Alright, I like dinosaurs, lets go.”
In the Museum
So we all drove down to Rapid City, South Dakota. We walked in this museum and a guide, an older fellow met us at the door and he said, “I’m a guide here, would you like me to give you a tour?” We said, “That would be great, sir.” The first place we stopped on the tour was a great big huge chart all lit up called the ‘Geologic Time Scale.’ The geologic column. And the guy started his speech right there. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this layer of rock you’re looking at here, is about 70 millions of years old.” My daughter was twelve at the time. She raised her hand. She said, “Sir, how do you know how old the rock layers are?” He said, “That’s a good question honey. We tell the age of the rock layers by the types of fossils they contain. They’re called index fossils.” She said, “Thank you, sir.” We walked around the other side of the dinosaur. We’re standing over there and the guide said, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, these bones you’re looking at here are about a hundred million years old,” or something like that. And my daughter raised her hand again. She said, “Uh, sir—how do you tell the age of the fossils?” He said, “That’s a good question honey. We tell the age of the fossils by which layer they come from.” She said, “Excuse me sir, but when we were standing over there, you told me you knew the age of the layers by the fossils and now you’re telling me you know the age of the fossils by the layers.” She said, “Isn’t that circular reasoning?” I thought, “Wow, a chip off the old block!” That guide had the strangest look on his face. It was almost as if he were thinking. He looked at my daughter; he looked at me. I wasn’t about to help him. I thought, “Wow! This is going to be good!” He looked back at my daughter and he said, “You know, you are absolutely right. I never thought of that before.” He said, “That is circular reasoning.”
That poor fellow drove fifty miles one way that night to hear me preach in Union Center, South Dakota. The crowd swelled to thirty-nine. We set up a chair in the aisle. Afterwards, he talked to me for nearly an hour. He said, “Mr. Hovind, is everything I believe about geology wrong?” He said, “I teach this stuff at the college.” I said, “Oh no, no. Man, I like geology. You learn lots of good stuff. You learn all the names of the minerals.” Just that’s a good trick folks. There are 1200 minerals, some have names about that long. I said, “You learn to prospect for ore, the hardness test, the Rockwell test, the scratch test.” I said, “No, no. I like geology and there’s nothing wrong with geology. But as far as the layers being different ages,” I said, “Yes sir, that’s all bologna.”
Blinded by Money
Now, he doesn’t dare quit teaching it because he’ll lose his job. And kids you might as well learn this today: to some people in this world, money is more important than truth. And if they have to lie or teach a lie to keep the paycheck coming in, they will do it because money means more to them than what happens to you if you believe their lie. And there are teachers all over the world that do not believe in evolution but continue to teach it because they’re afraid they might lose their job. We know who their god is, don’t we?
The Bible talks about those folks whose god is their belly. They are more worried about keeping that paycheck and keeping that food coming in, which is really what it boils down to. Well, you’ve just got to make a decision some time in your life if you’re going to serve God you’ve got to decide, I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I’m just going to serve God. Like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We don’t care what Nebuchadnezzar says. We are going to serve God. If that means going to the den of lions or the fiery furnace, “Well, okay!” Boy, we need some folks with some backbone like that; who are just going to stand up and say I’m going to do what God says regardless of what anybody else thinks about it. But there are a lot of teachers, even Christian teachers in our public school system, that teach evolution for fear of losing a job. They are cowards. They should quit. They should get an honest job picking peaches or changing tires and quit destroying boys’ and girls’ lives. That’s my humble opinion on the subject. Anyway, I have a lot of humble opinions on lots of things we’ll talk about.
Rocks by Fossils or Fossils by Rocks?
So, let’s see what the evolutionists say about this circular reasoning in the textbooks. Do they really use the fossils to date the rocks and the rocks to date the fossils? Well, here’s Glenco Biology. On page 306 they date the rocks by the fossils. On the very next page, page 307 they are dating the fossils by the rocks. Circular reasoning right in the text book. “The intelligent layman has long suspected the use of circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results.” (J.E. O’Rourke) “Ever since William Smith at the beginning of the nineteenth century, fossils have been and still are the best and most accurate method of dating and correlating the rocks in which they occur. Apart from very modern examples, which really are archeology, I can think of no cases of radioactive decay being used to date fossils.” (Derek Ager) Don’t tell me they date those layers by carbon dating or potassium argon dating, or rubidium strontium, or lead 208, or lead 206, or U235 or U238; that’s not how they date them! They date the rock layers by the fossils in every case. “Paleontologists cannot operate this way. There is no way simply to look at a fossil and say how old it is unless you know the age of the rocks it comes from.” Quote goes on. “And this poses something of a problem. If we date the rocks by their fossils how can we then turn around and talk about patterns of evolutionary change through time in the fossil record.” That’s Niles Eldredge, one of the biggest evolutionists there is. American Museum of Natural History in New York. He knows it’s circular reasoning.
How about this: “The rocks do date the fossils but the fossils date the rocks more accurately.” (Figure that one out) “Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning if it insists on using only temporal concepts, because circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales.” (J.E. O’Rourke) They have to use circular reasoning. “The charge of circular reasoning in stratigraphy can be handled in several ways. It can be ignored, as not the concern of the public (In other words, it is none of your business) or…it can be denied, by calling down the Law of Evolution. It can be admitted, as a common practice…. Or it can be avoided, by pragmatic reasoning.” (J.E. O’Rourke) Don’t tell me that you know the age of those rocks or those fossils because they are both based upon each other. It’s all based on circular reasoning.”…evolution is documented by geology, and… geology is documented by evolution.” (Larry Azar) Figure that one out, would you please. It’s all based on circular reasoning. It cannot be denied.”…from a strictly philosophical standpoint geologists here are arguing in a circle.” (R.H. Rastall) They date the rocks by the organisms they contain and the organisms by the rocks they are found in. Folks, it’s all based on circular reasoning.
I like to show evolutionists the geologic column, and I ask them this question: “Now, fellows,” I’ll say, “You’ve got limestone scattered all throughout this geologic column. I mean there is limestone and shale and sandstone and conglomerate and limestone and sandstone and limestone and shale. And I say,”How do you tell the difference? If I hand you a piece of limestone, how would you tell the difference between 100 million-year-old Jurassic limestone and 600 million-year-old Cambrian limestone? I mean, how would you know how old it is?” There is only one way they can tell the difference: that is by the index fossils. It’s all based on that. “Radiometric dating would not have been feasible if the geologic column had not been erected first.” (J.E. O’Rourke) They don’t date them by carbon dating folks; it’s all based on fossils.
Trilobites and Graptolites
This is from a textbook. It shows a trilobite. It says, “Trilobite fossils make good index fossils. If a trilobite such as this one is found in a rock layer, the rock layer probably formed 500 million years ago.” You think the rock with the trilobite is 500 million years old? Well, I have a question. How come somebody found a human shoe print where somebody with a shoe on had stepped on a trilobite? They asked geologists all over, how could a human step on a trilobite? I mean trilobites lived 500 million years ago, man didn’t get here until three million years ago and he didn’t start wearing shoes until five thousand years ago. How can this be? One geologist said, “Well, maybe aliens visited the planet 500 million years ago.” Yes, that will do it every time. Another guy said, “Maybe there was a larger trilobite shaped like a shoe that fell on a small one.” Oh there are some big ones, but they are not shaped like a shoe.
Anyway, if you took this fossil and showed it to any University professor who believes in evolution, and said, “Sir, how old is this rock?” He’d say, “Ah, this is an easy one. This contains an index fossil. That index fossil is in graptolite, and the graptolites lived 410 million years ago. It’s the New York State fossil.” That’s what they said until 1993 when they found that graptolites are still alive in the South Pacific. Oops. Well, now, think about it. If they are still alive, maybe they lived between 400 million years ago and today. Maybe they could be found in any rock layer. Maybe all of the dating we’ve done by geologic positioning is bologna, and it is by the way. By the way, there is good indication that some trilobites are still alive in the Deep Peruvian Trench. In the Pacific Ocean. All that geologic dating is crazy. However, it has a profound influence on folks. As we’ll see in a minute.
“Dinosaur blood found in bone. Medical pathologists examined dinosaur bone under a microscope and found dinosaur blood inside the bone.” (Earth June 1997) How could the blood survive seventy million years? Well, it couldn’t but they don’t want to admit that. Eighteen million-year-old Magnolia leaves from Idaho shale were still green when the rock was cracked open. Kind of interesting don’t you think? Folks, those layers are not different ages and if you’ve been taught that the earth is millions or billions of years old, you have been either lied to or deceived. Hopefully, the teacher doesn’t know they are lying to you. But they are regardless. It’s a lie. The earth is not millions of years old. Those layers are not different ages.
Here is a petrified tree standing straight up running through many layers of rock strata. Now, think about it for a minute. If those layers are different ages, you’ve only got two choices: the tree stood there for millions and millions of years and didn’t rot or fall down, or it grew through seventy-five feet of solid rock looking for sunlight. Which do you prefer? Petrified trees standing straight up are found all over the world, folks. They are called Polystrate fossils. Evolutionists have no explanation for this. I’ve seen lots of them. Petrified trees standing up. How can this be? Well, according to evolution, this is a real problem. They call it a geologic enigma. Because it doesn’t fit the theory. Sometimes the petrified trees are upside down running through many rock layers. Explain that one, would you please? The tree grew upside down for millions and millions of years? “That sun is up there somewhere, we’ve just got to find it, boys—keep growing!” I don’t think so.
No, this geologic column does not exist anywhere in the world. But in spite of that it has had a profound influence. It has changed people’s worldview. The geologic column was accepted in the early 1830's—long before there ever was any carbon dating. That was done in 1950. But it turned people away from a Biblical worldview. Up until that time people accepted the Bible as God’s word and the earth is about 6,000 years old and the world was destroyed by a flood. It was just a common, accepted worldview. This geologic column is one of the primary things that changed people’s minds about the authority of God’s Word. And it is still taught in your textbooks today, by the way, in earth science and geology classes.
The Geologic Column and Charles Darwin
Especially this had a very profound influence on Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin graduated from Bible College to be a preacher. The only degree he ever got, by the way. Charlie Darwin, at age 22, fresh out of Bible College, couldn’t get a job. So his dad pulled a few strings and got him on board HMS Beagle. He was going to sail around on this ship for five years collecting bugs and birds for somebody back in England.
What is the "Cambrian Explosion?"
One of the most remarkable pieces of evidence disproving evolution is the “Cambrian Explosion” Most textbooks never mention it, and the ones that do relegate it to a short phrase or paragraph as if it is some insignificant detail. This phenomenon is so pronounced in the fossil record that Scientific American called it “life’s big bang.” It is considered one of the biggest challenges to evolutionary theory. Many reputable and highly accomplished scientists at major accredited universities worldwide say it is an insurmountable challenge. Moreover, I believe it is proof that evolution is merely a widely held myth of popular culture.
“Cambrian explosion” refers to the great quantity and diversity of life found in what is called the Cambrian layer of the geologic column. The Cambrian age in the geologic time scale is dated by scientists as being about 530 million years old. What is really interesting is not just what is found in this layer, but what is found in the layers above it, and what is not found in layers under it. The Cambrian layer has virtually every phyla known to man. Yes, all major body plans and enormous varieties of each all coexist in this layer. No evolutionary sequence here, they are all coexistent simultaneously.
Layers Above and Below
Remarkably the layers below the Cambrian have practically nothing with regard to fossilized specimens. The few creatures that are found in pre-Cambrian strata are all soft-bodied organisms like worms. So essentially you have nothing along the lines of organic complexity and diversity pre-Cambrian, and then suddenly everything. But wait, it gets even more interesting. To compound this huge problem the number of species fossilized in the layers above the Cambrian period gradually decrease with each successive layer. Once you reach the most recent layers approximately 98% of every thing that has ever lived is extinct. Have you ever heard that 98% of everything that has ever lived is extinct? This is where that saying came from—hard scientific fact. A reasonable and honest person must conclude from the evidence that the fossil record is diametrically opposite what would be predicted by evolutionary theory. It is noteworthy that these conclusions are derived from a geologic time framework that is put forth by scientists own interpretation of geologic evidence. In fact, the belief that the strata represent different geologic ages is just that, a belief. Nevertheless, it is a belief held among scientists world-wide.
Darwin and his contemporaries were aware of this problem with the fossil record some 150 years ago, but they believed that the fossil record had been insufficiently sampled up to that time. Their “belief” was that paleontological research in the future would more adequately sample the fossil record and show it to be more in line with evolutionary theory. They were wrong! Exactly the opposite happened. After a century and half of excavating fossils from the strata we have found the problem to be worse, not better. Contrary to the tree of life depicted in the school books, the fossil record depicts exactly the opposite story. The tree of life is an inverted cone, and not a tree at all.
Remember, evolutionary theory states that everything evolved from a common ancestor that climbed out of the primordial soup. This ancient ancestor gradually evolved. Its evolutionary progress branched out into different paths and these different paths led to the creation of increasingly complex and divergent organic forms. The paths continued to branch out resulting in the great diversity of life we have today. Now, if this is true, what would you expect to see in the fossil record? Of course you would expect to see simple organisms in the lowest layers and a gradual increase in diversity and complexity of life as you progress to more recent layers in the geologic time scale. But what do we really find in the fossil record? We find the exact opposite. Not something ambiguous like everything found in each layer. No, you find the exact opposite of what is predicted by evolution. From a correlation perspective you do not find a factor of 1, meaning perfect correlation, or a 0, meaning no correlation, you find a -1, meaning perfectly uncorrelated to the prediction. Now I don’t know about you, but I find this compelling proof that evolution did not happen. This begs the question, how much proof do evolutionary scientists need anyway?
Belief In Spite of Evidence
You must be saying to yourself at this point, “How could that be? How could they speak about this theory with such surety with such strong evidence to the contrary?” The answer is simple. They believe the theory in spite of the evidence. That is why many leading creation scientists keep referring to evolution as a philosophy of science or even a religion. This belief is so strong in academic circles that scientists are chided if they even question evolution publicly. Why are they ridiculed? They are ridiculed because the only alternative to evolution is creation. Some like to pretend there are a variety of options in explaining origins. This is simply not so. The options often presented are merely shades of the two primary options, and scientists know this.
If evolution did not take place, if the natural forces at work today did not create the diversity of life we see on our little blue world, then something supernatural must be responsible. True science seeks to understand, no matter what the philosophical or metaphysical ramifications may be. That is why evolution is not science, but rather a philosophy, for it seeks to explain things within only one possible framework, whether or not this framework is true. The facts are that the scientists' own interpretation of the fossil record clearly demonstrates that every species appeared at once suddenly and then gradually died off with the passage of time. The significance of this great body of evidence against evolutionary theory in the fossil record cannot be stressed enough. It is utterly devastating to evolutionary theory completely by itself. But in the final analysis, it is but one of a plethora of scientific facts that refute the 19th century fable that is evolution.
In closing I would like to share with you some of my favorite quotes on the subject by leading evolutionary scientists, and even Darwin himself. By their own words they admit this very important piece of the evolutionary puzzle does not fit, and never will. Enjoy.
“There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.” (Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 348),
“The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations, has been urged by several palaeontologists—for instance, by Agassiz, Pictet, and Sedgwick—as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.” (Ibid., p. 344),
“To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.” (Ibid., p. 350),
“The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.” (Ibid., p. 351),
“The most famous such burst, the Cambrian explosion, marks the inception of modern multicellular life. Within just a few million years, nearly every major kind of animal anatomy appears in the fossil record for the first time ... The Precambrian record is now sufficiently good that the old rationale about undiscovered sequences of smoothly transitional forms will no longer wash.” (Stephen Jay Gould, “An Asteroid to Die For,” Discover, October 1989, p. 65),
“And we find many of them [Cambrian fossils] 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. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists.” (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987, p. 229),
“One of the major unsolved problems of geology and evolution is the occurrence of diversified, multicellular marine invertebrates in Lower Cambrian rocks on all the continents and their absence in rocks of greater age.” (I. Axelrod, “Early Cambrian Marine Fauna,” Science, Vol. 128, 4 July 1958, p. 7),
“Evolutionary biology’s deepest paradox concerns this strange discontinuity. Why haven’t new animal body plans continued to crawl out of the evolutionary cauldron during the past hundreds of millions of years? Why are the ancient body plans so stable?” (Jeffrey S. Levinton, “The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,” Scientific American, Vol. 267, November 1992, p. 84),
“Granted an evolutionary origin of the main groups of animals, and not an act of special creation, the absence of any record whatsoever of a single member of any of the phyla in the Pre-Cambrian rocks remains as inexplicable on orthodox grounds as it was to Darwin.” (T. Neville George Professor of Geology at the University of Glasgow, “Fossils in Evolutionary Perspective,” Science Progress, Vol. 48, No. 189, January 1960, p. 5).