Is the Cambrian Explosion for Real?

I’ve had many discussions with evolutionists on evolution and the fossil record, but I’ve found that few really understand it, and the following articles by Gunter Bechly are a prime example.

In my previous article I was critical of Intelligent Design (ID) for being weak on biblical theology. Nonetheless, I still find value in their work, and in his series of responses, Gunter Bechly, a paleo-entomologist and an Intelligent Design proponent, does a brilliant job debunking evolutionist Dave Farina, who runs a YouTube channel and calls himself “Professor Dave”. Farina mounted a scathing attack on Stephen Meyer, a former geophysicist, and his best-selling book, Darwin’s Doubt. But Bechly exposes Farina’s lack of understanding on a wide range of scientific topics.

Farina is openly hostile towards ID and religion, which is apparent as he misrepresents the motives of ID, suggesting the leaders in the field are horrible people and nothing but nefarious. He continuously resorts to childish name calling, referring to Meyer as stupid, clueless, a liar, moron and dishonest, and insists that it is Meyer who deserves nothing but contempt and ridicule. How pleasant. This is a common response I’ve come to expect from staunch evolutionists. Farina is severely biased, and, as Bechly points out, he isn’t interested in civilized discourse or honest debate.

Aside from his incivility, there are two main problems with his criticism. Firstly, Farina makes many scientific claims that are simply wrong. Second, he grossly misrepresents what ID and creationists actually believe and confuses the two. He builds his straw men, knocks them down, then ridicules. And his audience cheers.

Bechly took issue with a naïve but common evolutionary tactic when Farina claims it is “science denial” to dispute transitional fossils. This is funny because Bechly, like many intelligent design proponents, believe in common descent and have no problem with transitional fossils at all. So Farina’s claim is entirely bogus. Bechly also points out that the term “transitional fossil” is ambiguous, and he’s right. What one considers to be a transitional fossil varies, and just because one scientist believes a fossil is transitional doesn’t mean it is, or that all scientists agree.

I also contend that disputing transitional fossils is good science. That’s what science is all about. If no one questioned science, then science would never progress. Farina actually acknowledges this when he criticizes Meyer for quoting Stephen Jay Gould on science that is now “obsolete” due to modern technology. So, if the science of Gould’s day is now obsolete, then is it possible that some of the transitional fossils promoted by Farina may one day be obsolete? Absolutely! And it already is, as we shall see. Therefore, questioning transitional forms is not “science denial”, otherwise Farina is guilty.

For example, one of the “transitional fossils” touted by Farina is no longer a transitional fossil. He boasted, “The evolution of the turtle’s unique morphology is exquisitely documented in transitional fossils such as Eunotosaurus, Pappochelys, Odontochelys, and Proganochelys.” But the problem is that, according to a recent comprehensive phylogenetic analysis (Lichtig & Lucas 2021), neither Eunotosaurus nor Pappochelys are considered closely related to turtles. So those exquisite transitional fossils were pulled out from under Farina’s feet. Will he apologize? I doubt it.

Time and again throughout his tirade, Farina accuses Meyer of lying about the fossil record, but Bechly obligingly provides peer reviewed documents to support Meyer’s position and refute Farina. In fact, Bechly shows that it is Farina who is misleading his viewers, particularly on the suddenness of the Cambrian Explosion. And, unsurprisingly, Bechly catches Farina using incorrect terminology, such as “clade” and the word “plesiomorphic”, and dutifully corrects him.

This is just a short sample of faulty arguments and tactics used by evolutionists to justify their beliefs. Yet, when we analyze their claims, it’s just bluster. The Cambrian Explosion is real, and many of the so-called transitional fossils are not transitional at all. Unfortunately, many people fall for such claims because of apologists like Farina, who come across as convincing.

I don’t think Farina is lying, but he is misleading people because he doesn’t truly understand evolution (or ID) as much as he thinks. He uses his own worldview as evidence for evolution, so he sees what he wants to see, even when there’s nothing there. This is obvious when he’s unaware that some of his favorite transitional fossils have dropped off the tree.

Farina took aim at ID, but I’m glad to see Bechly and others at the Discovery Institute fighting back against the indoctrination and false claims.

Evolution requires millions of years in order for the theory to work. But even if we accept the premise of millions of years, they still don’t have enough time, and they don’t have the candidates necessary to make it work. The Bible, on the other hand, describes a young earth where God created animals to reproduce after their kind, so I don’t buy into the claim of millions of years, but I do enjoy Bechly’s criticism of evolutionary dogma, which rings true. Each refutation of his makes the case stronger for a young earth by making evolutionary theory even less plausible.

There’s a lot to digest in this series. It’s a saga that covers months of back-and-forth, starting with Casey Luskin, and much of it gets technical, but I found it to be quite informative and helpful.

Gunter Bechly

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