4. His expectation of intermediate fossils
His expectation of intermediate fossils
During his life, Charles Darwin was puzzled over the fossil record. For it to back his theory, the evidence should show a fine gradation between the different animal species and have millions of intermediate links.
He stated it this way: "The number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great. But assuredly, if this theory [of evolution] be true, such have lived upon the earth" (The Origin of Species,1958, Mentor edition, p. 289).
Yet faced with the evidence, he admitted: "The distinctiveness of specific forms, and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty… Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection to my theory" (p. 287).
He thought that eventually the "innumerable transitional links" integral to his theory would be found. But have they?
As paleontologist and evolutionist David Raup readily admits: "Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much.
"The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time… So Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection" (Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 1979, p. 25).
Where is the gradual evolution of mutated species from one kind to another, what some scientists have dubbed "hopeful monsters," that Darwin predicted would eventually be found in the fossil record?
Niles Eldredge, another famous paleontologist, reluctantly answers: "No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history.
"When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution" (Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate, 1995, p. 95).
"This is the verdict of modern paleontology: The record does not show gradual, Darwinian evolution," notes journalist George Sim Johnston. "Otto Schindewolf, perhaps the leading paleontologist of the 20th century, wrote that the fossils ‘directly contradict’ Darwin. Steven Stanley, a paleontologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins, writes in The New Evolutionary Timetable that ‘the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another’" ("An Evening With Darwin in New York," Crisis, April 2006, online edition).
In other words, the fossil record has let Darwin down. The "innumerable" missing links of mutating species among the classes of animals and plants are still missing. All that has been discovered are varieties of viable and supremely designed species that adapt to their environment—but that show no positive, gradual mutations or any type of evolution taking place.